Wednesday, July 31, 2019

26 Days!

// EXCERPT // 
Dumphey crouched down beside Betin. He swiped his clammy hands on his jerkin, not able to shake the thought that he knew something more than he realized. “He trained you to take his place.” He didn’t doubt it as he watched Betin grip the dagger again. Its blade flew expertly over the staff, creating angles that didn’t make sense to Dumphey, but seemed to please Betin. “Betin, are you out for revenge?”     

Betin’s freckled face pulled tight in concentration as he ran his fingers over the wood he had just shaped. His movement was quick and sure. Finally, he spoke. “Not revenge. Vengeance is of the Lord.” He paused again and took a deep breath. “Oh, how I wanted to. That eve when he hung. Every part of my being wanted to rush forward and kill Barat and the others. But such are not the ways of the Lord.”

“Why are you here, then?” Dumphey asked.       

“Every man has a choice. He can choose blindness concerning the evil that surrounds him, or he can choose to make a difference. I am determined to be the latter man—to fight for justice in this land. I just need to be patient until I can. Until I can do all in my power against Feroci.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

27 Days!

Befriending the Beast” was dedicated to one of my friends, Aimee. 

The Secret Slipper” was dedicated to my grandparents. 

Protecting the Poor” is dedicated to my Uncle Reuben and Aunt Iris…
You have become my third set of grandparents. I cannot with words express how much your lives have impacted mine with your love for God, the church, and your family. I know that you love me like one of your own, and I cherish all of the memories I’ve made with you. Thank you, especially, for supporting me in my writing and always asking when the next book is coming out.

Monday, July 29, 2019

28 Days!

Have you read any of the “original” Robin Hood stories? I had to read at least one, and I settled on Howard Pyle’s

// REVIEW // 
My review is a bit torn between two. Robin Hood in this retelling was nothing but a rogue and restless fellow. There was no King Richard for whom he was fighting behind the sheriff’s back. Instead, he was just at odds with the sheriff and the sheriff could not overcome him or his men. So, there really wasn’t much noble in Robin’s character here. That, I really couldn’t admire.     

On the flip side, the humor in this was hysterical. I had several laughing aloud moments. I can appreciate good wit, and the merry men surely had it. Of course, as with any wit, it did go too far at times.     

There was a heavy theme of drinking throughout the pages. The only form of Christianity would be the priests who cares more for their purse than their parishes (which was to be a revealing of hypocrisy). There was next to no romance (sorry, no maid Marion in this book, besides her name being mentioned once). It’s possible that the songs they sung could have had some questionable content, but I’ll be honest and confess that I skipped over the poetry, so I don’t know what they contain.    

A good way to think of this book is as a collection of short tales of Robin Hood, as the flow wasn’t exactly novel-type.      

The adventures were a mix of fun and some with which I could not approve (they just lacked the integrity and nobility that I have seen in Robin in other retellings). I could revisit some of the stories and cannot say I wish I hadn’t read it.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

29 Days!

// Excerpt //

Life in Abtshire had always been unfair, Feroci punishing the commoners at his own whims, caring nothing for the limitations of the aged or young. When he had hauled Zuzene away, Dumphey had been a small lad, Noel only a babe. There was nothing he could do for his grandmother. He had grown up, adjusted to life with Zuzene in the dungeon, never fully understanding why she was there or why Feroci never released her. She avoided his questions on the matter, so he submitted to the fact that he could do nothing about it. ’Twasn’t what he liked, but he had grown complacent, calloused to the cries of men and women falling under Feroci’s rule. Until Lia.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

30 days!

A month until release day! Wow, how could it have come so quickly?! And yet… it has almost seemed like it has taken forever, because I’ve been waiting SO long to share Dumphey’s story with everyone! In the next thirty days, it is my goal to bore everyone out with quotes and tidbits from Dumphey’s and Noel’s story to where you have to know the ending (after all, it’s likely someone could die…). ;) 

JK… I’ll try not to bore you out. Just whet the appetite. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Announcing... Wedding Score!

Most girls dream of their wedding days. Except me. I’m too busy practicing piano to be the live soundtrack for everyone else’s weddings to think about my own. I’ve survived most of my twenties with harmonious chords and pleasant days. So why is it that now, at twenty-seven, a discordant feeling presents itself? Is there a solid solution to loneliness when there is absolutely no potential husband on the horizon?

I am beyond excited to announce a new project: "Wedding Score." When a writer writes, they put a little of themselves in each story. I did with the entire Tales of Faith series. With other short stories I've written. But nothing comes from the depths of my heart like this one. Pianist? Yep. Single? Check. Struggling with contentment? Been there, done that. I have yearned to write this story since 2016, but the timing was never right. Today, the timing is right.

After having four siblings and countless cousins and friends marry, there have been so many lessons God has taught me in the singleness journey. Yet, if you look at bookshelves, you really don't find many stories about that. They're about finding the one true love. Falling in love. But what about staying content when there really isn't hope on the horizon? When you really don't know what the future holds--staying single or getting married? What then? This is the message I explore in my upcoming novella and I look forward to sharing it with the world in October, Lord willing!

Want to be a reviewer and influencer for "Wedding Score" and read it free? Sign up here!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Review and Interview | Tour Stop at Singing Librarian Books

Review and interview over with Singing Librarian Books today! I loved the questions she asked! Do you want to know what I took away from writing each book in this series? What my current WIP is? What top 5 books are currently on my TBR pile? My favorite summer activies? Read the interview here.

Figure out my newest title!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've already seen this. If not... well, tomorrow is the cover reveal for my upcoming novella (the one I told you about here).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Adding Angst | Blot Tour Stop at Faith Blum Author

Ever read a book where you are just as torn apart as the character? Yeah. That’s what angst is.

 In “The Secret Slipper,” the biggest lesson I learned was about upping the stakes—intensifying the angst. I want my readers to feel it with my characters. But I usually fall flat in my first attempt (courtesy of my personal lack of emotion) and have to edit to add it. For me, it’s an ever-learning process of upping angst.     

Join me today over at Faith's blog for my thoughts on adding angst to your story.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

It's modern... it's musical... it's... a new project!


I have another new project going on right now.

Yeah. Not the Horseback Librarian project. That one is in the hands of some alpha readers, so progress is slow on that story right now. And, I mean, I had to write something... right...?

Right now I'm working on... well, I'll just leak out what I've leaked out on social media (so if you follow me, you already know this ;)). Each day this past week, I've given a new clue for what the new project is all about.

Day 1 - Modern
There’s a new project on my desk and I’m super excited to share it with you!!! Keep a lookout each day this week for clues about it. I’ve had a few people guess that I’m writing another historical fiction—wrong! This time, I’m going modern! 😄 And it has been FUN!!! Tomorrow I’ll share a little more.

Day 2 - Pianist
For the first time, I am writing about one of the things I know best: piano! So, we have a modern story where the MC is a pianist and a piano teacher. I have loved throwing musical elements into my writing! What’s a musician-based book you’ve read?

Day 3 - Short Story
So... I may have already spilled this bit of info, but my new project is a short story! I think... if ten chapters and about 12k words can still be categorized a short story? If may be breathing on the neck of novella. What do you think? Is 12k a short story or novella?

Day 4 - First Person
I haven’t written in first person POV since “Letters from a Scatter-Brained Sister” (which was one of the first publishable short stories I wrote). Modern fiction just couples well with first person. And I love the style it helps me have—whimsical, humorous, and casual. Which point of view do you like to read? First or third?

Day 5 - Stephanie
And we have a name! The modern pianist maybe-short-story (maybe novella?) written in first person is about Stephanie—or Steph, as her friends call her. She’s a single 27-year old who lives on her own about thirty minutes from the main hubbub of the city, teaches piano, and is a pianist. Anything more might be spoilers...

Day 6 - Contentment
The theme of Stephanie’s story is contentment. Psalm 37 is a powerful backbone to the message of contentment for her. What are some verses that speak to you about contentment?

Day 7 - Caiden
"I shook my head as I grinned. If we weren’t cousins, I would have definitely had a crush on him when I was a teen. Short-cropped dark hair, a slight grunge instead of a full-fledged beard—well, that wasn’t there as a teen—and a well-built frame that boasted of Caiden’s diligence to the gym."

Next up...
I'm sharing the title and cover soon! Keep your eyes peeled!!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Interview | Blog Tour Stop at We've Got Pockets

Today I'm over at We've Got Pockets with a very fun and different interview! What details do I slip into my books that no one really knows about but me? What honor would I choose for my book? Which book am I most proud of? Find my answers for these and more over at Esther's blog here.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Excerpt from "The Secret Slipper" | Blog Tour Stop at A.M. Heath

Last week, you got to read the prologue at Wildflower Acres. This week, author A.M. Heaht is sharing another excerpt from "The Secret Slipper" over on her blog. Spoiler: it's a scene with Lia and "Protecting the Poor's" own MC, Dumphey! Read it here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

What's in a Dress? | Blog Tour Stop at Drop in the Ocean

Lia buried her hands in the folds of Geva’s gown, the soft linen not calming her at all. She made sure her steps were slow and even, making her appear the careful lass Bioti claimed her to be. Had she not spent the last hour transitioning from filthy rags to this pale green gown, she would have doubted that she was the same lass mucking the stalls this morn. She lifted her eyes, taking in every embroidered flower that decorated the deep gray silk of Lady Yzebel’s gown. The beauty of elegance stopped as she looked at the lady’s face.

What’s in a dress? Today, we might not be able to look at a stranger and automatically assume their position, financial status, and wellbeing, but in the medieval era, dress was all about those very things.

Last week, I discussed weaving historical elements into fantasy (ish) fiction over at Author Abigail Harris’ blog—particularly village life in reality vs. fantasy and my mix of both. Today, I'm over at Drop in the Ocean discussing medieval clothing. Read the full article here.

Friday, July 12, 2019

One Word: Balance | Blog Tour Stop at Blossoms and Blessings

You know, sometimes it's just the right time to throw aside propriety and ramble. If you're me, that is. ;) Maybe other authors have it all together all the time, but I definitely don't.

Today I'm over at Blossoms and Blessings sharing an "About-the-Process" post which includes... totally forgetting that I have more than just "Protecting the Poor" on my desk right now. *hides face* Yep... I'm not the only one who struggles with balance, am I? ;)

Read the full, rambling post here.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Writing Two POVs | Blog Tour Stop at Writings from a God-Girl

Have you ever wondered the difference between writing one point-of-view and two (or more)? Have you ever considered if your book needs just one POV or two? Do you know how to make that decision?

I don't know that I have the answers for everyone, but I absolutely loved writing in two POVs for "The Secret Slipper" and "Protecting the Poor"--and, like so much about this series, it has been a huge learning experience!

Hop over to Writings from a God-Girl to read a little of my thinklings about this POV process.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Weaving History into Fantasy | Blog Tour Stop at Author Abigail Harris

Let’s be honest. When we think of the medieval age, we tend to romanticize it. I mean, who else gets these images in mind? (credit: all images from Pixabay)

This is more the style that I featured in my Tales of Faith series, but it's not historically accurate. Read the full article over at Author Abigail Harris's blog.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Excerpt from "The Secret Slipper" | Blog Tour Stop at Wildflower Acres

Another grave. This time, a short one. 

Have you read the prologue of "The Secret Slipper" yet? Well, you can now. ;) The full prologue is shared on Wildflower Acres. So hop over and read it--and see what else this blogger has to offer.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Yours Truly, Thomas | Book Review

The premise of this story was amazing: a dead letter office worker who feels pity for a man who’s running out west yet yearning for his love back home. As the story unfolds, there are many more juicy story bits that are creative, but it’d spoil it to tell you.

The romance in this story was sweet and there really wasn’t any moment I felt it was inappropriate. Penny is definitely a romantic dreamer at heart, but she does get a taste of reality through the story.

There were references to God and things being ordered by Providence, but it seemed that the characters who “are changed now” were changed by circumstances and people, not God. Thomas mentioned reading the Bible and there was one verse shared (that I remember), but it wasn’t a super strong spiritual thread.

The writer in me did not wholly enjoy this book. There were fantastic ideas, but I felt like the story was dialogue-driven and I wasn’t really allowed to *feel* the characters because they were always talking. But I do try not to let the writer in me shade my review rating too much. If someone just wants a sweet read with a twist of a mystery, they may enjoy this one.

*I received this book from Revell reads and happily provided my honest review* 

Purchase this book on Amazon.
Connect with Rachel.

About the Book
For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people's mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more--a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn't expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

When Penny's undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring--perhaps too much--for the one who wrote it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Matter of Trust | Blog Tour Stop at Maidens for Modesty

It’s easy to trust God in areas that don’t really matter to us—in areas that are going in a smooth flow anyway. But what about that thing that is nearest and dearest to us? That one dream that we’re trying to hang onto for dear life? Can we trust God with that? He’s not a cruel master, demanding we give Him our all so that He can torture us and gleefully take away what we hold dearest. He’s a gentle, loving Father. And He knows what is truly best for us. But do we truly believe that? If we did, would we fight so hard to surrender our plans, dreams, and desires to Him?
Today I'm over at Maidens for Modesty sharing some important lessons God taught me on trust while writing "The Secret Slipper."

Read the full article HERE.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Logic of God | Book Review

This is an impossibly hard book to review. It covers so many topics and so very thoroughly and well, I can’t begin to give a cohesive overview. There are chapters on fear, peace, hope, convictions, confrontation, dealing with diverse world views... basically, it is a good book for any Christian to read. It has gotten me to think deeply about many things. I do wish to read it in a slower fashion and not on a review-book deadline, because it’s not the best book to skim.

Personally, I preferred reading the Scripture quotations from KJV (each chapter began with several verses). But the theology was sound, from all I could tell. I highly recommend it.

Just a sample of the quotes:
“Behind every belief is a believer, and behind every question is a questioner.”

“Listening is a vital part of responding. The more and better we hear others, the more and better they will hear us.”

“God has revealed Himself through His Word, through Jesus Christ, His Spirit in the life of the church, and even His created world. Is God hidden?”

"For every person who feels that prayer has not 'worked' for him and has therefore abandoned God, there is someone else for whom prayer remains a vital part of her life, sustaining her even when her prayers have gone unanswered, because her belief and trust are not only in the power of prayer but in the character and wisdom of God. When God is the focus of our prayer, I believe He sustains and preserves our faith."

“There are only two options: either go to God on His terms and find our perfect peace in His acceptance of us, or play God with self-defining morality and kill.” (Speaking of Cain)

“The kings steeped the young men [Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego] in Babylonian philosophy and tried to change their names and worldview. But God’s faithful servants ended up changing the kings’ allegiance and identities.”

“I would suggest that sometime we lose our ability to sense God or see Him at work because we choose not to obey Him.”

“Only when we surrender to the light of God’s truth in our own lives are we enabled to truly see and then be a beacon of hope and healing in our dark world.”

“...Thomas Merton observed that man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself, and he is not at peace with himself because he is not at peace with God.... So what lies beneath our struggle is a daily routine based on a momentous decision. That decision is to deal with what we do to hurt ourselves, not what others do to hurt us. The attacks of others simply will not succeed if we have taken the protection to guard our souls.”

“... giving all that is your best to God is worship at its core. This cannot be done without the sacrifice of the acclaim and adulation of the world.”

*I received this book from Book Look Bloggers and happily provided my honest review*

Buy on Amazon.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy July! | Tales of Faith 3-Month Tour

Happy July! This is an exciting month for me. Why? Let’s see if I can narrow it down…
Note: these are in no particular order of importance. ;)

1) It’s month two of the 3-month “Tales of Faith” tour!
I don’t know if you went through and read all of the first month’s posts, but I had a blast with all of these bloggers. The tour started out here where I reminisced the whole beginning of the "Tales of Faith" series. From there, we had reviews of "Befriending the Beast" at Wildflower Acres, Singing Librarian Books, and Tangled Up in Writing. A special excerpt at A.M. Heath's Blog. I did an interview at Writings from a God Girl. I shared an inspirational post on waiting on We've Got Pockets. Two bloggers featured special behind-the-scenes posts: Maidens for Modesty (in which I share my brainstorming--never before shared publicly!!) and Drop in the Ocean (all about names and how I came up with them). On Faith Blum's blog, I shared a historical note about castles. And last but not least, I shared three instructional writing articles on Blossoms and Blessings (on writing the perfect length), Author Abigail Harris's blog (on my stages of research), and Honey Rock Hills (Top 5 Tips for Christian Authors). Each of the links I just shared is a direct link to my articles, but I encourage you to browse these blogs and follow them. It doesn't end there! 

This month is a whole new set of posts up on each of these blogs, featuring "The Secret Slipper"!! (pssst, it's also on sale this month!) I hope you follow along.

2) I’m going to Canada to visit my sister!!!
That’s right. My sister found herself a Canadian to marry. The downside is that I haven’t seen her since January. The upside is that I now have a place to visit wayyy up north! I'm already trying to figure out which books to load on my Kindle (I have Kindle Unlimited, so suggestions are welcome!) and plan on doing a mix of reading and writing while we take this several-day-drive up there.

3) “Protecting the Poor” releases next month!!!
I can finally say it: NEXT MONTH!! This means a busy writing month for me (yep, I’ll likely be editing on our trip to Canada). Welcome, editing, formatting, promoting, and all that jazz. Yep, it will be a busy month indeed!

4) Our church has revival week!!!
Before we go to Canada, it's revival week at our church. I absolutely love that our church still does a full Sunday-Friday revival week--but more than that, they also do morning services!!! It's really like a week of Sundays! And I always, always need this week of revival services.

5) I get to do some book formatting!!!
Besides "Protecting the Poor," I mean. ;) This may sound like something minute, but I really do like book formatting and with college, it has been a long time since I've gotten to do it. Lord willing, this month though, I'll be formatting three books! I'm really excited about that. I love making books look as pretty on the inside as the outside.

What's on your July list?
I'm sure there are many more things in July that I'll get to do, but those are the "big five." ;)

What are you excited about this month? Have you been reading much this summer? Have you gotten to do anything new?

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