My reviews for MMGM, Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, under the Magical Gazebo this week include three books that all involve going through a portal or transition to a land beyond. They couldn’t be more different than one another but each has a distinctive experience in another land, powerful lessons they learn there, and key decision points that will change their lives forever. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley A dying grandfather shares amazing stories of a circus with an invisible tiger, a flying birdwoman, and the magician called The Man Who Bends Light, stories that may in fact be real. Young…
Elizabeth Van Tassel
Middle Grade Fantasy Author, Public Speaker
I write Middle Grade Fantasy. You might find a gem or two. You’ll definitely find legend and adventure.
Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery.
A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands both the power of loss and the power of hope. She shares her story of resilience, and provides tools for rebuilding at public speaking events and on her blog. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband, John, and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, haunting her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.
On her Thorn & Vine blog, she blogs about Life 101: living well and intentionally, A Beautiful Life: exploring creativity and beauty, and Life Stories: stories of resilience, inspiring interviews, and book reviews.
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Recent Thorn & Vine Posts
Spring Thoughts From My Journal It’s been a wet and windy day in Northern California and I’ve been in our new home for just over a year and a half. I’ve noticed in certain conditions, this season especially, dewy rainbows hug our area with the green, sloping hills in the far distance. I’ve been on a Spring cleaning and organizing binge as part of celebrating hopeful new beginnings with my fiction, making ready for dreams to take root. My children are also growing at alarming rates, one popped up a whole shoe size in a month and his voice dropped…
In honor of #storieswithstephfeb19 – An encouraging friend – When I think of someone inspiring, I consider actress Amanda McDonough and her new book #readytobeheard – How I lost my hearing and found my voice. Amanda and I met at a writer’s conference and I was immediately drawn to her sunshine personality and positivity. It was only when she moved her hands with sign language that I realized she had hearing issues. 🤘🏻 The main character in my middle grade fantasy is hard of hearing, so I felt honored when Amanda shared her story of waking one day to complete…
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What people are saying...
—Pam Farrel, author of 47 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti
“Elizabeth’s life is a testimony and tribute to her wisely walked words of wisdom. She IS RESILIENT in every sense of the word.”
—Kathleen Freeman, Northwest Christian Writers Association Program Coordinator
“Our NCWA group had the pleasure this week of hearing Elizabeth Van Tassel speak. She was professional, fun, and a delightful speaker. In her talk, she took us through disaster, story-telling skills drawing us in, and fabulous pictures holding us. She pulled our hearts along with her family, helping us relive their ashes, then lifting us from them and turning our eyes toward hope. It was a perfect way to begin a year. I hope your group is as blessed by her words as ours has been.”
—Soncee Partida, Director of Development, Maranatha Christian Schools
“Elizabeth exudes infectious enthusiasm! There is no smell of smoke, no after effect of ash, no char from the flames that claimed all her worldly possessions. Hers is a joy genuinely journeyed. Her remarkable story of resilience will leave you forever changed.”
– Debbie Hamer, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) mentor director
“During her children’s young years, Elizabeth was a compassionate leader and sought to help other MOPS moms by sharing her stories of endurance and miracles. When she spoke to our group, her hope to rise above difficult circumstances encouraged many.”
-Sara Ella, young adult author for Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson
“As a mom, I’m always seeking clean adventure reads for my girls. Elizabeth’s storytelling can only be described as magical. Her passion for the Word shines through her writing. Tweens (and adults) will be swept away by Elizabeth’s imaginative story-world.”
-Sally John, novelist, Family of the Heart Series, Side Roads Series, and others
“From being my cohort in surviving a wildfire, to using her perspective of resilience to inspire others, Elizabeth’s enthusiasm helps her audience and friends find fresh hope.”
– Nadine Brandes, young adult author with Enclave Publishing
“Elizabeth’s passion for the life story God’s given her helps youth and parents alike to rise above the weight of this world.”
– Bob Hamer, former undercover FBI agent. Author of American Heroes of the Homefront.
“Elizabeth and her family have faced great challenges and refused to let their light dim. We’ve walked in their home’s ashes and witnessed their medical miracles first-hand. What Elizabeth has crafted helps others live with more resilience whatever they’ve faced and will help this generation with great hope.”
– Sandra H. Esch, President, San Diego American Christian Fiction Writers, author of the Amber Leaf Trilogy
“Elizabeth has an uncanny ability to see a broader picture and the energy and generosity of heart to share it with wit and wisdom. To say she lit up our audience is an understatement.”
– Tina Radcliffe, Harlequin Love Inspired author and Seekerville Blog
“Elizabeth is the real thing. She radiates joy inside and out. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and it’s evidenced by joy. That’s the message she lives and delivers.”