Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two Impromptu Arrangements

Yesterday, as I realized that it was coming upon Wednesday and I hadn't prepared a song to record, I decided I wanted to do something different -- an impromptu arrangement. You know, just sit down and play (okay, so maybe I did actually figure out the chords for "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" before hitting record...).

I asked my FaceBook friends for suggestions and got several responses. I had so much fun doing one that I decided to do two on the fly. ;) Here they are.

What songs would you like to hear? I can't do every song suggested, but I'd like to have a list to work from. :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Last Day on Deals

Just a reminder 'cause I like deals and wouldn't want y'all to miss out on these. Last day! :)

Visit WAJN

Visit Amazon

OR get $2 off each paperback book on CreateSpace by applying code E42CX3RT

Scripture Graphics 15

"So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God." 2 Chronicles 27:6
Compared to 2 Chronicles 12:14, "And [Rehoboam] did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD."
Too often, we try to be "accidental Christians" -- assuming that we will do right just because God is good, or because we're saved. But doing right (even for the believer) takes work and preparation - purposeful living. How much time do we spend daily, preparing our hearts and ways before God? If we don't spend any time seeking God, why do we wonder when He withholds blessings, or if we fall?

There is no better way to start our day than in praise to the Lord -- whether in song or in gratefulness to Him.

He sought God...with all his heart...and prospered. His goal was not just following the law and doing good works -- his heart sought God. It is easy to get so pulled into doing and checking off my "spiritual checklist" that I stop seeking God and just follow the rules.

"And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses." 2 Chronicles 34:14
If Josiah hadn't been faithful in doing what he knew to do, they would not have "stumbled" on God's law and, by it, further led to do right. It never hurts to examine daily: am I doing that which I know to do?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Birthday Bash!

Today, I'm excited to be a part of my friend's book birthday bash! When I first heard about Faith Blum, her book titles intrigued me (I mean, combine hymns and western and I'm so hooked!). I have since gotten to know this lovely young lady and recommend her books for those who like clean westerns. If you're a writer, keep reading to the end of the post, because I invited Faith to share some of her research gold mines. But first, let's celebrate!!

November 19th was the third birthday of Faith's debut novel, AMighty Fortress. To celebrate, she has all sorts of fun going on. First, she’s released a newly revised version of A Mighty Fortress. Second, she has most of her published books on sale. Third, she’s releasing the box set of all five of her novels for a special discounted price. And fourth, but not least, she now has the audiobook of her AMF available! Read on for more party fun.

“Stay back!” Joshua ordered.  He kept his eyes on the scene below while waving his arm in Ruth's direction.  “Get deeper into the woods and stay down low to the ground.”
Joshua hazarded a glance behind him.  He could no longer see Ruth and breathed a sigh of relief.  In one swift move, he grabbed his rifle and lay flat to the ground.  Extending the rifle, he aimed at the shorter man whose gun was pointed at Bradshaw. 

Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who's hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom's gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss's right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what's one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God's strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town?   Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running--the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?

Faith is offering three prizes!
Grand Prize:
·         Audiobook of A Mighty Fortress (MP3 download)—Could be a short delay
·         The Solid Rock Notebook
1st Prize:
·         Feather Quill Necklace

2nd Prize:
·         eBook set of Hymns of the West: The Complete Series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda has asked me to share some highlights of my favorite research gold mines. It really varies between each book, but I’ll give a stab at it.

Amanda actually sent this link to me, but I have found it extremely helpful. On the sidebar there are also options for other name generators, so even if you don’t write during the Old West, you could probably find something useful.

If you need a timeline to keep you story straight, this is a great resource. It’s simple to use, free, and you can color code things, too.

When I decided to connect many of my series’ together, I knew I needed to create some family trees so I made sure not to duplicate too many names, that this couple really could have a baby in this year, etc. Family Echo is a great place to create family trees.

I got this book just last year, but it has been a wonderful reference for everything Wild West. If the information wasn’t specifically in this book, there was a bibliography at the end of each chapter. Using that bibliography helped me find other books I could use to research pretty much anything I needed.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
I can’t believe I was able to write without this book before! The Emotion Thesaurus has been absolutely essential to helping me add better descriptions to my books. I highly recommend getting a paperback copy of this book.

The Cowboy at Work by Faye E. Ward
I haven’t used this one a lot yet, but I got it from the library first and used much of the info I found in there, so I bought it, too. What I have used, was extremely helpful to make my books more accurate, especially since I’ve never personally done any ranch work.

I use this search engine a LOT. It is my go-to search engine for one simple reason, the founders knew security and privacy are important. They use Google search results, but they will not track your IP address, your searches, or target ads to what you searched for. That’s kind of comforting to authors since they don’t really want a government organization to come knocking at the door asking where the bomb is that they are building…

Those are the top seven research tools I can think of at the moment. I’d love to hear about some that you may have found, though, so feel free to share in the comments.

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. (The picture doesn’t show it well, but there are scribblings on the page of Green Eggs and Ham). 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.

Every eBook in the Hymns of the West series is on sale. A Mighty Fortress is permafree, and the other eBooks in the series are $0.99. In addition, the spin-off novella series has a book on sale as well.

Life and Salvation: Hymns of the West Novellas 1-3

Faith also has the paperbacks on sale if you buy them from Createspace with the discount codes.
$2.00 off (8.99) with code: MBJB3XSY
$2.00 off (6.99) with code: GQ3KTJYY
$1.50 off (9.49) with code:93LQLRJ8
$2.00 off (11.99) with code: TJXAYXD2
$1.50 off (10.49) with code: 7626YZAK
$2.00 (6.99) with code: V4Y5K46D

Tour Schedule
November 19
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction
Author Franky A Brown-Book Spotlight

November 21
Writing Dreams-Author Interview
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae-Character Spotlight-Joshua
Zerina Blossom's Books-Author Interview

November 22
The Overactive Imagination-Review of Be Thou My Vision

November 23
Frances Hoelsema- Book Spotlight
Thought of Anna S. Brie-Author Interview

November 25
Bookish Orchestrations-Candid Author Interview
Firethorn Blog-Author Spotlight

November 26
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview with Ruth
Ladies in Defiance-Guest Post

November 28
Once Upon an Ordinary- Author Interview
Written Rest-Character Spotlight -Anna

November 29
The Overactive Imagination-Review of A Mighty Fortress
Jaye L. Knight- Character Spotlight-Caleb

November 30
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and winner

Huge Black Friday Book Sale!


Y'all know me. I love any excuse for free things and discounts. ;) So, it's Black Friday. Let's just throw on the fun! :D I'm joining several other Indie Christian authors with discounted books and free eBooks. Hop on over to see what all we have (disclaimer: I have not read all of these authors so cannot endorse them all). From Nov 25 (that’s today!) through Nov 28th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping$0.99 ebookspackage deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, we’ve got you covered with some freebies!
Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

A few of mine are ONLY FREE TODAY! So you have to get them fast!

And these are free/discounted for the weekend until Cyber Monday.
- For $0.99 -

- FREE -

Grab yourself some copies, then spread the news! :)

Also, my paperback books are discounted. 

Here are the links:

Apply the discount code E42CX3RT for $2 off each paperback book!

And don't forget, there's still the 5 for $5 on WAJN.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, hands'-down. It is probably a mix of the focus (to be honest, sometimes gifts get in the way of the focus of Christmas), or because I love the way that our family celebrates it -- each of us children makes a dish, and we all come together at Dad and Mom's home to enjoy a feast (okay, so technically only one sibling doesn't live on our property...). But that isn't the best part. After we've filled ourselves to the point of possibly-sinning-with-gluttony, we all sit around and share our hearts -- what we're thankful for for this year. Wow, it's amazing! There's usually some tears and quite a bit of laughter. I'm so, so thankful for my family and that we can be open with each other!

This year, I decided to do "30 Words of Thankfulness" on InstaGram. Since I don't do so great with keeping up daily posts on my blog, I figured that I'd just wait until Thanksgiving day to share the first fifteen. Then, hopefully I'll remember at the end of the month to share the other 15.

What are some things you're thankful for this year?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Music Sale!

I don't have a new music video for y'all this week... but I DO have something pretty amazing! Until Cyber Monday, you can get ANY 5 of my arrangements for $5 (digital copies only). Yep, ANY. Beginner, intermediate, advanced, Christmas... doesn't matter what the list price is. And the best thing is, if you order 10, then you can get 10 for $10 or 15 for $15 or 50 for $50 (wait... I don't have 50 pieces up yet... scratch that idea).

So, if you're a musician, hop on over to WAJN and browse our music!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Journey of Choice | Quote Day 05

Well, Journey of Choice has taken an interesting turn this month. My goal was to write 20,000 words and finish the rough draft. I wrote 10,414 and reached a dead end. :) So, I printed out what I have and am about to read through it -- to get ideas, to critique, that type of thing. I may actually start my editing/rewriting before I have the ending solidified. :) There isn't a law against that, is there? :)

This type of thing has happened before in my life: where I thought I knew what direction I was going then slammed to a halt and had to regroup. What about you? What is one area that you thought you had something mapped out, then God allowed things to go differently than you planned? How did you grow from that experience?

Now for the promised quotes...

Envisioning the battle...
Honestly, reading up on what our brave ancestors went through, I feel like I just cannot do their service justice. But to imagine the battle, men in action... it is sobering and exhilarating. 

^ True story ^

Monday, November 21, 2016

Scripture Graphics 14

"And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak." 2 Chronicles 18:12-13
Whether we are preachers, counselors, writers, speakers, or just friends, what do we speak? Do we veer from God's truth to speak that which ears want to hear? Or are we faithful to speak only that which God says?

"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you." 2 Chronicles 20:17
Some battles are won by seeking the Lord (2 Chron 20:3) then standing back and letting Him work.

The power of influence is shown here. But living upright only under godly influence is not enough. If that influence is taken away, will we still follow God? If not, then were we following God or a person?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear | Music Video

This one was arranged per request of one of my students. It was fun, because most of my students are late-beginner/early intermediate. This student, however, can do the runs and chords. So I had a blast. ;)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Change it Up!

Today I'm happy to have a guest blogger over, Rebekah A. Morris. Rebekah has a whole bookshelf of novels and short stories that she's written. Check them out!

Have you ever heard those words shouted at a hockey game? Have you watched some players suddenly leave the ice and take a seat on the bench while others vault over the sides to join the game? I've only seen it happen in movies because where I live, well, we don't have any hockey teams.

But just the same, I think there is a lot to be said for that little phrase in regard to us writers.

Have you ever felt like you just couldn't write? Like your creativity was being stifled or lacked that something that you use to have? I have! Many times. And that's when I've begun to discover something.

For years I've known that I wrote best in the evenings. From after supper up until time for bed was the best time. But I wanted to write more. So, since I don't do well staying up late, I decided to start writing before supper. At first it was hard. I could hardly get anything written. Then it got easier. And easier.

I used to write sitting on my bed. Then I tried standing up when I was tired of sitting all day long. I discovered that I wrote better that way most of the time. But sometimes it still couldn't write. So I tried a chair in the other room.

Sometimes your writing may need you to "change it up."

Now I may write standing up and using my music stand as my desk. Other times I find more inspiration sitting in a chair near a window, or perched on the edge of my sister's bed with my music stand lowered. My writing time can now start as early as 3:30 or as late as after supper. I've never tried a coffee shop though. (Maybe because I don't drink coffee.) But I did discover that I could write in an empty class room at church on Wednesday night after I helped with the nursery class.

So, if your writing is feeling blah and you just can't seem to find the excitement, "Change it up!" Don't be afraid to be different. Move to a new place, stand instead of sit, write at a different time. That might be all you need to get fresh energy. Don't get stuck in a rut because someone told you that you "need to always write at the same time." Maybe you need a change.

Have you ever experienced a fresh energy for writing by changing how, where or when you write? What is the most unusual place you have found yourself writing a story? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Scriptures Graphics 13

The ability to learn is there. The comfort and hope is there. Do we apply ourselves to glean from God's Word?

I was working on memorizing these verses last night, and the beauty of it struck me. Jesus Christ, centuries before I was born, laid down His life for mine -- not because I'm someone special, but because He loves me.

What a blessing to know that God does not help us based on our greatness or our ability. Whether it is in small areas or large, He is our help in time of need.

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