Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Down by the Riverside | Music Video

A few years ago, one of my students asked me to arrange her a spiritual, for her to play for her daddy. I actually got some books and studied styling to expand my knowledge in this style. And I had a blast. Since then, I've added another verse to it to make it a more complete arrangement. Enjoy!


 For more information on the sheet music, visit:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mephibosheth: A Picture of the Redeemed

The other day in my Bible reading, I read about Mephibosheth -- and realized how he is a good picture of the redeemed. Look...
"And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually." 2 Samuel 9:7

- It was nothing he did to merit a changed position; we did nothing to merit salvation with God.
- He could have rejected the king's offer but accepted; we could have rejected salvation, but accepted.
- David blessed him for Jonathan's sake; we are blessed because of Jesus' sake.
- He was still lame, but his position changed; we are still flesh, though our soul is redeemed.
- He stayed loyal to David out of love and gratitude; it ought to be love and gratitude to God that keeps us faithful.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Scripture Designs 04

This week I decided to add the thoughts that I originally shared when I posted the verses on FB and IG (below the images).

If all that is within me is focused on blessing God, then it leaves no room for grumbling, self-pity, selfishness, or pride.

In times of discouragement, where is our focus? On how cast down we are? Or on the God of our hope, our praise, and our health?

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Galatians 5:13-14

Whether our trouble is flooding in Louisiana, fires in California, terrorist attacks, or simple, everyday struggles, God IS our very present help in our time of need!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Create a Company with Me!

I need help with something fun! I have decided that, for my Civil War story (aka, "Journey of Choice"), I will create my own company to be in the 18th Missouri regiment. This means I need 100 men (I probably won't mention them all by name, but I need to know of them as an author, right?). And I have four. ;) I feel very dry when it comes to thinking up SO many names, so I'm asking you: what are some Civil War-era names? First and last. Shoot away!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Befriending the Beast" | Cover Reveal

I am super excited and thrilled to be able to show everyone my cover for "Befriending the Beast!" To be honest, I designed the cover before the first draft of the story was completed. ;)

Be on the lookout for "Befriending the Beast's" release! Or ... just mark your calendars for September 30!

Oh yeah, that's right. You're probably more interested in a new book cover than in my jabbering (because, after all, I like drooling over covers more than reading someone's exuberance almost any day too ;) )...


May I present to you ....

About the Book
Belle has returned unannounced to the castle to restore her relationship with the king, her father. Her hopes are dashed with the devastating message: "The king refuses to see you." Convinced that God has led her home, she is unwilling to return to Lord and Lady Kiralyn.

Time is running out for the decision that will change her life. When tragedy strikes, will she and her father be pulled further apart or knit together? Could she stay at the castle even if she will never see her father again?

Would you like to be a part of "Befriending the Beast's" release?
Sign-up for the blog tour or book review.

A quick "thank you" to the lovely ladies who joined me with the cover reveal: Jesseca, Janell, Faith, and Kellyn!

Blessed Assurance | Blog Tour and Giveaway

Who doesn't like a good mystery? I'm sure there are a few, but most people do like mysteries. What about a mystery within a mystery. Faith Blum's new novella is just that. First there's the mystery of who tried to dupe five mail order brides. Then Adelaide finds out someone is claiming she's a runaway bride. What happens to her? Find out in Blessed Assurance.

About the Book

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Adelaide lost her parents a year before and now a rich man in town is making unwanted advances toward her. Desperate, she writes to two men and quickly accepts the one from Cheyenne, Wyoming. On the final leg of her journey, in a stagecoach with four other mail order brides, her suspicions are confirmed. Will she ever find a man she can truly trust?

 About the Author  

Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she
could write better than Dr. Seuss. Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.
There are many ways to connect with Faith online. All of them can be found in one convenient place: On her website you can find links to her various social media sites and both of her blogs as well as learn about any events she has coming up. 


Mr. Reese looked him over. “I’ll be right back.”
Mr. Harris and Mr. Connor looked at each other. He was gone for two minutes before he came back with a piece of paper in his hand.
After Mr. Reese settled into his chair, he spoke, “Do you mind answering a few questions, Bradley?”
Bradley shrugged. “I guess not.”
“Good. Are you a born-again Christian?”
Bradley blinked once. “Yes.”
“What do you mean by that phrase?” Mr. Reese asked.
Bradley shifted in his chair. Where was he going with this? “It means that I surrendered my life to God so that I could be born of His Holy Spirit through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Mr. Reese smiled slightly. “Thank you. How far are you willing to go to earn someone’s trust?”
“If I really care for that person, I’m willing to do whatever is necessary.”
“As a Christian, aren’t you supposed to care for everyone?”
Bradley took a deep breath and smiled. “Yes. So I should be willing to do that for everyone, too. Although, I don’t do it as much as I ought.”
Mr. Reese chuckled. “Who do you love more than anything else?”
“If you were to marry, would that change?”
“I hope and pray not. If it does, I pray someone points it out to me.”
Mr. Reese stared at him for a few minutes. “How old are you?”
Bradley started. “What?”
Mr. Reese raised his eyebrows. “Do you have a problem with the question?”
Bradley cleared his throat. “I just wasn’t expecting it. I’m twenty-six.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Adelaide lean against the doorframe.
Mr. Reese leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “When you enter a courtship, are you willing to court the young lady for at least six months before you ask her to marry you? Assuming of course that the courtship lasts longer than a month to begin with.”
“What are you doing?” Adelaide asked.
“Let him answer the question and then I’ll answer yours.”

Bradley pondered the question. With closed eyes, he said, “If—and that’s a big if—I were ever to court a woman, I would take my time. I haven’t ever thought of an exact period of time since I never planned to marry, let alone court a woman, but if she is most comfortable with at least six months, I will respect her wishes.”


Faith’s sister, Naomi, graciously hand painted two beautiful bookmarks for this giveaway. There will be one lucky winner. The bookmarks are made with Adelaide in mind. Aren’t they gorgeous?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule  

August 26
BookishOrchestrations-Tour Introduction

August 27
Blue-Brown Books-Author Interview

August 29

August 30

August 31

September 1
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview (Adelaide)

September 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Conclusion and Winner

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Giveaway Reminder, Guest Post

I don't always post short "just links" type things on here, but I wanted to make sure that all of you had a chance to enter Jen Turano's giveaway from last week. It ends tonight! Hop over to enter!

And then, since I was posting for that anyway, why not steer you over to a lovely blog, Noveltea, where Lydia did a guest post and book review for me, centered on "Me? Teach Piano?" So if you're interested:

Anne Mateer | Author Interview

Today, let's welcome author Anne Mateer, author of Playing by Heart, At Every Turn, and more Christian historical fiction.

In reading the "about you" on your page, you mention that writing is only a portion of your life. What does a "normal" writing schedule look like to you? Or is there nothing normal about it?
17350821I prefer to have a “normal” writing schedule—though 2016 has not brought any such days thus far! My best schedule is to write an hour or so mid-morning, then a couple of hours in the afternoon. I can usually get my word count done in those few hours of intense writing, and its about as much in a day as my brain can take. The harder writing times are at the research and brainstorming stages of a book. Those are much more time consuming for me than the actual writing, though revisions are also times where I work many, many hours each day!

I can definitely understand the research-and-brainstorming stages being more difficult!
Besides writing, what are some of your favorite things to do?
I consider myself a reader first and foremost, so I still read a lot. I usually have three or four books going at any one time: a non-fiction book, a fiction physical book, and a fiction ebook—with often a research book added to those. I also enjoy crocheting and any kind of tangible history—visiting museums and historic homes, that kind of thing.

Sounds like a ton of fun!
What is the easiest part of writing for you?
Characters. They just seem to appear in my head and take up residence, pretty much fully formed.

What is the hardest?
Plot. While my head is peopled with characters, they don’t come to me already living their story. In other words, I have to work at making things happen to them rather than just enjoying their company!
Do you find your real life reflected on the pages of your books?

Absolutely! It might be in little ways, such as a character dealing with whatever is irritating me at the moment, or in bigger ways, such as creating a character based in large part on someone close to me. Or sometimes it’s just using stories to address the issues I see those I love dealing with on a daily basis.

That is very neat! 
Why historical fiction?
I’ve always loved history. Even in elementary school I gravitated to the books in the school library that revealed life in another place and time. Books like The Little House on the Prairie series orStrawberry Girl or Caddie Woodlawn. As I grew older I discovered that I loved reading real history, too, and ended up majoring in history in college.

Which story has been your favorite to write? Which character?
That is such a difficult question! I have loved each story and character for very different reasons. But I think the favorite book to write was probably At Every Turn. It was my second contracted book, so I didn’t have that nervousness of wondering if it would ever find a publishing home. Plus its historical setting and premise was a brand new topic for me, and I loved learning about it. Also, the story itself was just plain fun.

13432068My favorite character to write is even tougher, because there are so many! I’ll have to go with two: Irene, the older woman who befriends Rebekah in Wings of a Dream and Blaine, the self-sacrificing hero in A Home for My Heart. Both were wonderful characters who exemplified Christ in their actions toward others. They are who I want to be.

At Every Turn was a fun book! 
Who are the authors that have most inspired you?
There are so many! In my early years, Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery, and Louisa May Alcott. Others include: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Eugenia Price.

What is the #1 thing you'd say to an aspiring writer?
Don’t be afraid to write books that don’t get published. My first 4 novels are still in my computer, and while I might someday re-write them (and I mean completely re-write, using only the basic story premise from the original!), I am fine with them never being published because they were HUGE in my personal development as a writer. They were not failures. They were building blocks to being published. They made me a better writer.

Resounding "yes" to that tip!! :) 
Thanks again for taking your time to "visit" my blog!
My pleasure! Thanks for asking!

About Anne

Anne Mateer has loved reading and writing stories since childhood. In 2000, she began studying the craft of fiction and working toward publication. Ten years later, she received her first book contract. Anne is a three time Genesis contest finalist, a Carol Award finalist, and a contributor to A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts.

Anne and her equally history-obsessed husband live in Texas. They are the proud parents of three young adults who spent many family vacations touring historical sites.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Two Music Videos

Last weekend, our family did revival services at a church about 1 1/2 hours from us. What a blessing it was! Such a sweet spirit!

Some of you may or may not have heard my family sing. I've posted some videos on here before, but I really and honestly and truly love being able to still sing and play with my family--so why not share another song with my blog readers? ;) Being raised in a musical family has been a tremendous blessing! Sure, we have difficulties (like when your older siblings "grow up apart" from the music group and you have to completely revamp everything you do), but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

I'd like to hear from you: does your family sing together? (even just "around the house for fun")

And then, the usual Wednesday piano solo: Softly and Tenderly (arranged for intermediate pianist)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Pantster's Lifesaver

I recently posted this on Word Painters, and thought I'd share it with my readers here as well (though, if you're a writer, I highly recommend you start following Word Painters!)

I write what's considered a "pantster" writing style. You know, "fly by the seat of your pants." Writing before you have it all outlined. Thinking up plotlines as you go. It's great fun to do so, but there can very easily be major pitfalls in writing this style. One of the most common pitfalls is inconsistency. You've probably seen them in amateur writing before -- the one comment that suddenly makes you stop with, "Wait! I thought this character had blue eyes three chapters ago..." And of course, as a writer, this is the type of mistake I'd like to avoid. However, if I'm creating characters, scenes, and situations as I go, it means that I most likely haven't sat down to think them through carefully.

I have honestly tried to print out character sheets and outline my characters before I write them, but that just doesn't work for me (you know, the ones where you have to decide their whole back story, eye color, favorites, and everything else). My characters tend to form as I write them -- and sometimes, I don't have the same "list of knowledge" for each character (e.g. I don't know each of my character's family trees). That being the case, I just create Word documents which save my pantster-loving life (er, my story).

As soon as I introduce a character in my story, I create a document for him. 

Yep, just a name. Then, as I write a little more, I might add something like this:

His character develops more -- an interesting trait or something -- and with every addition I put in my manuscript, I put in my character page. I also jot down anything I think is important for me to remember. Sometimes, I'll add a quote from this character or special phraseology, if applicable.

Here, we must leave my Zeke Thomas example, because this is as far as I've currently developed him. As I continue to write Journey of Choice, and if Zeke continues to show up in the scenes, then his document will grow. And as I continue to write, I have something to go back to, to glance at, to keep me consistent.

One more example before I leave, because this method helps me for more than just characters. Here's my castle plans for my WIP, "Befriending the Beast." I have more rooms floating around in my mind, but Belle hasn't yet entered these rooms, so I haven't quite decided which floor they're on, or what they looks like. When I do decide, you can be sure that it will find its place in this document.

I know there are magnitudes of methods for preserving your ideas as you write. This is just the method that works best for me, but I'd love to hear your side. 
How do you develop your characters, scenes, and plots? 
Do you use premade outlines and character sheets? Do you plan your characters before you write them out, or do they develop "on their own?" Do you keep a notebook by your laptop? Do you sketch house plans? What is your secret?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Scripture Designs 03

What are some Scripture verses that have blessed you this past week?

This one I made for my phone's lock screen

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