This blog is a celebration of novel, novel characters!

I love reading novels, and as an artist I know a great exercise to stretch one's illustration skills is to portray characters from a description in a book. This blog is a challenge to myself to do just that so I'll be posting illustrations from whatever book I'm currently reading. Feel free to add comments and send me your fan art for these great titles too!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Landon & Piper from Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Having just read Dani’s first book, “Submerged,” I immediately started in on her next book, “Shattered” which continues with the lives of the McKenna clan and their friends just a few months later. I thoroughly enjoyed, “Submerged” and am happy to share that I liked “Shattered” even better!

It was great to have Cole and Bailey, stars of the first book, also have an active role in this one, with the relationship for the characters that will star in the third book (Gage & Darcy) getting a kick start as well. I absolutely love how Dani has built up the lives of her characters in this way. Their overlapping stories, weaving together as it is in real in life. By the time I finished “Submerged” I was chopping at the bit for Piper & Landon’s story, thankfully Dani had kindly sent me copies of both so I already had it on hand. Dani, you’ve got me hooked! I can’t wait to read your next book, “Stranded.”

So, back to “Shattered,” the story takes place in the winter over the holidays so it would be a great one for a cold winter’s night, or if you need to cool off, one for a little “Christmas in July.”  But don’t let me give you the impression that it’s all candy canes and sugar plumbs, once again there’s a mystery surrounding a murder with a cold-blooded killer at large.  Not to mention, the wrong man behind bars.  It’s up to Piper and Landon to discover the truth in order to absolve Piper’s somewhat estranged brother Reef, of the murder charges.  Will they be able to find the proof they need in time?  Dun-dun-dun!

Piper’s problem is Landon, and Landon’s problem is, he wants to kiss Piper.

Piper & Landon’s story is great.  It’s always fun to have a couple characters who think they have each other figured out suddenly realizing they don’t.  Before the start of the book Landon has already recognized his changing feelings towards Piper, but true to life, it isn’t easy for him to express himself.  While Landon struggles with fear and doubt, Piper remains happily clueless at first to the depth of her own feelings towards him.  Landon’s inner struggle makes him exceptionally likeable, but right from the get-go Piper is one of the most likeable characters you’ll find in any story.  She’s perky, spunky, bright, athletic, but also tender-hearted and loyal.  Definitely the kind of girl you’d want for a best friend.  I won’t add too much more about Landon, but I did find a great spotlight on his character on the Fiction Hero blog, so if you’re so inclined, check it out.

Fiction Hero spotlight- Landon Grainger

“Shattered,” was a hard story to put down and I finished it pretty quickly.  There was a good balance of action vs. romance.  The great plot to keep the story moving and true depth of character to keep you emotionally invested.  I highly recommend it.

There's quiet a bit about snowboarding in the book, so here's Piper ready to hit the slopes!

If you haven't visited it, Dani has a fun pinterest page up with photos to go along with “Shattered.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cole & Bailey from Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Now that I’ve had this blog for a few months, I’m starting to realize something.  I have a problem.  It’s very serious.  I just can’t stop.  I simply like too many stories!  I’m starting to wonder if I’ll make for a horrible critic because reading novels is like eating pizza for me.  Always good, just different.  “Submerged” is definitely different fare than my usual order of historical romance, and I found myself liking it a lot.  I love that it’s set in Alaska, that it involves diving which I know nothing about, and that there’s a nice balance between romance and murder mystery.  As soon as I finished, I picked up the sequel, “Shattered” which I’ll post on as well, soon.  I want to thank Dani Pettrey for sending me copies of both so that I can share about them on this blog, thanks Dani! 


As I mentioned, “Submerged” takes place in Alaska, but in the fictional town of Yancey.  Which, according to Dani’s post on the LifeWay blog, was inspired by the very real tourist town of Sika.  I’ve already read several stories inspired by Sika, so one of these days I think I’ll just have to visit.  When I think about it, on second thought, despite Dani’s great description of Yancey, maybe it’s not a good place to visit after all.  The deeper you dive into “Submerged,” the closer you’ll get to discovering what kind of dangerous men lurk in the shadows of this supposedly peaceful tourist town.

When the story starts with a series of murders made to look like an accident, it’s just the beginning of a captivating story of mystery and suspense.  Upon her aunt’s untimely death, the main character Bailey has no choice but to return to Yancey.  Bailey hates retuning to the town where she grew up, having to face her old high-school reputation and the man she left behind, but putting her aunt’s affairs in order is something that must be done.  She takes charge of her aunt’s shop, the Post, which specializes in Russian-Alaskan antiques and immediately starts putting things in order to sell, until the bodies start piling up and Cole needs her help to track down the murderer.  Bailey's knowledge of Russian-Alaskan history and diving bring her deeper and deeper into a captivating and thrilling case.
Bailey with a very important journal.

"Submerged," is full of mystery, suspense, and adventure but it is also a love story.  Bailey Craig and Cole McKenna, have a shared faith and shared passion for diving, but it's their shared past that stands in the way of their future.  Cole is definitely the kind of man you want on your side, and Bailey is great, but has so much trouble getting over the past that it clouds her self-worth.

Along with Bailey and Cole, the stars of the next book, Piper and Landon also have a very large role in “Submerged.”  If this secondary romance wasn't introduced, I think I may have gotten a bit impatient with Bailey's slow progress in the love department.  As it was written though, Dani did a great job of laying the foundations for Piper and Landon’s love story while allowing Bailey & Cole time to work through their relationship.  By the end, I was just as emotionally involved with Piper & Landon as I was Bailey & Cole.  It made me so thankful I had the next book in my hands already!  It would have been hard to wait.


Dani Pettrey’s site:

Here’s a fun character interview of Bailey on the Relz Reviews blog:

Here’s the post from the LifeWay blog where Dani shares a little bit about the town in the book:

Dive Alaska, I think the McKenna's business would be like this:

When I went to draw the characters I looked up reference on scuba gear.  I had no idea it was so complicated!  Check out these two great sites I came across.

Learn all about scuba gear for treasure hunting:

Dive Gear 101; this article was written by a real live Cole, and I think the girl in the picture would look like Bailey if her hair color was darker!