Friday, August 30, 2019

Thankfulness Habit

Why is it that bad habits are easy to keep and good habits are easy to lose? About a year ago, I began keeping a “gratitude journal” where I wrote 7-10 things I was grateful for each day. Then, life got busy and I neglected my journal. 

This summer, God convicted me that I needed to pick it up again—and this time, I decided to keep it on my phone so I could add to it randomly throughout the day. And then I realized... it had been *weeks* since I added to my journal.

My first reaction is to give up even trying. But then, I realize that *that* won’t help me anyway (seeing as the whole purpose of a gratitude journal is to get my focus on the blessings instead of the burdens of the day)... 

So today, I journal. Tomorrow I may forget, and if I remember three days later, I’ll journal again. Giving up because I’ve forgotten one too many times is not the solution. 

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Is it by hand or on a computer or phone?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Two New Books! | Rebekah A. Morris and Angie Thompson

Rebekah Morris is a friend who's writing I can trust, so I'm excited to have her and a friend on my blog today for their release tour!!!

Thanks for joining the excitement of the release of two new books! This may be a different kind of blog tour than you've ever seen, but I hope you'll join the fun! Each blog post on each day will be different. No two will have all the same images, or information, so to learn more about these books, check out the other blogs this week!

And yes, each book is on sale this week for only 99¢, so get it before the price goes up!

A quote from A Brother is Born

"The door was closed, but a sudden burst of laughter sounded from behind it, and I paused, fighting the sudden longing that swept over me—a longing to slip in and hug Jess goodnight before I went to sleep, to feel his arms around me and know his love for me was as secure as Johnny’s."

A quote from By Paths Unknown

  “But how will I know the way, Mom?”
       “You will, son. If you pray and ask for wisdom, He will give it. He’ll also give you peace about your path.” She drew a long breath and closed her eyes, her hand still holding Austin’s.
       He had wanted to ask her if she had peace in the path God had led her, but he didn’t have to. He knew. He had seen it behind the pain in her eyes, he had seen it in her smile. She had peace.

Purchase your own copy!
A Brother is Born – 
By Paths Unknown – 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Release Day!!!

Today has come a VERY LONG LAST!!!!!! :D To say I'm excited is almost an understatement. I have a lot of feelings right now. I have learned so much in the time that it took to write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, edit, edit, and edit again. This has by far been the most difficult project to date, but I am very thankful that God has faithfully seen me through it and has given me everything I needed to release another book. And I am so thrilled that it can finally be in your hands!!!

I had to do an improptu mini-photoshoot. ;)
I still only have the proof copy in, so I'll just have to do another photoshoot later... :) 

A group of wonderful book bloggers has joined me in celebrating the release week of "Protecting the Poor." Almost every post has something different, so be sure to check them all out!!

Monday - August 26, 2019
With a Joyful Noise - Protecting the Poor Release Post
Life of Heritage Corner - Interview, Review, Giveaway
Great Books for God's Girls - Interview, Review
Peculiar Miss Darcy - Interview
Honey Rock Hills - Review
Debbie's Dusty Deliberations - Spotlight, Review, Guest Post

Tuesday - August 27, 2019
Maidens for Modesty - Giveaway, Guest Post
A Brighter Destiny - Spotlight

Wednesday - August 28, 2019
Soldier Girl Stories - Interview
Purposeful Learning - Spotlight, Guest Post

Thursday - August 29, 2019
Rachel Rossano's Works - Spotlight, Guest Post
In My Bookcase - Review, Giveaway

Friday - August 30, 2019
Losing the Busyness - Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Resting Life - Guest Post

Saturday - August 31, 2019
Blossoms and Blessings - Spotlight, Review, Guest Post
Verbosity Reviews – Spotlight, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
Reading on the Edge - Spotlight

Monday - September 2, 2019
With a Joyful Noise - Giveaway Winner Announced

It wouldn't be a release party without a giveaway! One U.S. Winner will receive the complete paperback Tales of Faith series, and one International Winner will receive the complete eBook series.

Do you want to get a signed copy of "Protecting the Poor?" Order here!

 And the book fun continues!!!!!
Do you want to be involved in my next release? 

Wedding Score is open for reviewers, bloggers, and influencers. Sign up here.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

1 Day!

As I was working on editing “Protecting the Poor,” I listened to a sermon that just fit perfectly with the message I was presenting (it shouldn’t surprise me when that happens—maybe I should say, it encourages me, because it just solidifies that this is the message God has for this specific work). You have Dumphey, the rugged and strong, and Noel, the timid and inadequate. And Alistair Begg so fluently expounded on our perception of what makes a Christian leader and who God chooses. Here are a few quotes from the sermon.

“Jehoshaphat is a reminder to us that the kind of contemporary picture of effective Christian leadership is in the strong, rugged, ruthless, handsome quarterback. When you read the Bible, what do you discover? That the men and women that God picks up and uses are so often marked by hesitancy and timidity and caution, uneasiness, a sense of their own personal inadequacy—in other words, unlikely people.”

“God’s purpose is that we might depend upon Him entirely.”

“You see, but the temptation is to go to the bookstore to find a book that tells me how I may not be powerless and clueless. That will be a bad book! That will be an unhelpful book! Because it is in my very powerlessness, and it is in my very cluelessness, that I come to stand before God and say, ‘I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are upon you.’”

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Behind the Cover | Blog Tour Stop at Honey Rock Hills

Designing book covers is probably one of my top favorite things to do when publishing a book (well, that and actually writing the story and formatting it and getting to share it... ;)). Today, I'm talking about some behind-the-scenes in designing covers for the Tales of Faith series. This includes a glimpse at some of the covers and ideas that didn't make it. Visit Honey Rock Hills to see what all went on behind the designs!

2 Days!

TheSecret Slipper” is a lot more closely related to “Protecting the Poor” than “Befriendingthe Beast.” Dumphey, Noel, Philaon, Barat, Feroci, and Zuzene first emerged in “The Secret Slipper.” You can still read “Protecting the Poor” without having formerly read “The Secret Slipper,” but a few details make more sense if you read Slipper first.

About “The Secret Slipper”
Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn't even know is searching for her?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Review | Blog Tour Stop at Faith Blum, Author

Early reviews are such a blessing for me! Especially when they come from other authors. Today, Faith Blum reviewed "Protecting the Poor" over at her blog!

Her unique spin on the classic tale was well written when memorable characters.
Read the full review here.

3 Days!

It is not necessary to read Books 1 and 2 of the Tales of Faith series before “Protectingthe Poor,” but I do reference all former MCs—especially toward the end of “Protecting the Poor” (but I’ll not say any more to give away spoilers). I will say this: the epilogue concludes all of their journeys.

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?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

4 Days!

Throughout the ages, Robin Hood has been known as Robin des Bois, Robehood, Rabunhod, Robyn Hode, Hobbehod, Robert Hod and many other variations of “Robert” and “Hood.” Though historians cannot prove his existence, there is a traditional grave for him in Yorkshire. Some insist that Robin Hood never existed but was, more or less, imagined for bedtime stories for the wee ones. 

What do you think? Did a Robin Hood likely exist? If so, do you think he was more culprit or hero?

Giveaway | Blog Tour Stop at Singing Librarian Books

Do you want to own the entire Tales of Faith eBook collection?!?! Guest post and giveaway over at Singing Librarian Books today!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

5 Days!

Robin Hood first appeared in historical recordings as early as mid-1300s. Many refer to “Robin Hood and the Monk” (an originally untitled piece) as one of the first ballads of Robin Hood. It is 92 stanzas long, so I’ll just share the first two (read the full ballad here:
In somer, when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long,
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song,

To se the dere draw to the dale,
And leve the hilles hee,
And shadow hem in the leves grene,
Under the grene wode tre.

If your Robin Hood addiction (ahem… fascination) wants to learn more about the tales, ballads, and historical elements, here are some great websites to check out:

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

6 Days!

How often do you actually see back covers? I mean, you don’t share back covers. You see the front covers. On Amazon. On Goodreads. Everywhere. But, coming from a cover designer, we put just as much focus into the back as the front. 

When I look at a book, sure, I love the front covers, but I also want to see the back. The entire cover. The aestheticism and continuity of the entire piece. I don’t know that I have ever shared just the back covers of my books. So here they are.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Excerpt | Blog Tour Stop at Drop in the Ocean

Who remembers Barat from "The Secret Slipper?" Well, he's back in "Protecting the Poor" in full force and today I'm sharing an excerpt of the first scene between him and Dumphey. It begins...

“Ah, there you are, my good lad.” Barat’s tone belied his congenial words.

For the rest of the excerpt, hop over to Drop in the Ocean blog!

7 Days!


Noel turned to his back and stared up at the darkness. He and Dumphey had lived in this room since before Mother passed—and she was a distant memory. Yet Noel could remember her stroking his head at nighttime when he was afraid in this small, dark room above the cooper’s shop. She had often placed her fingers under his chin and tilted his face up to look at hers, and together they would count up the blessings of this place.

“’Tis a roof over our head,” Noel whispered, “Shelter from the wind, protection from the snow, provision from God, a place to—”

Sunday, August 18, 2019

8 Days!

One of the biggest lessons God taught me while writing “Protecting the Poor” is seasons (a lesson I’ve technically “learned” before, but needed a reminder). I had finally finished a full draft after several months’ of hard work… only to put it aside and dive into full-time college work for the first time (I’m considered a “non-traditional student” – aka, old ;) ). In December, I did a brush-up edit (but wasn’t able to fully focus on writing, as I had two siblings get married in December and January), then had to push it aside again for my second semester of school. It wasn’t until May that I finally got to focus on writing. I am totally not used to letting a project rest, but for right now, in this season of life, it’s not a fully-focused writing season. It’s a season to focus on music (my major and job, as I teach). It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow, but it has been a beneficial lesson, realizing that God holds my time in His hands and that He knows exactly when this or that needs to be done. Surrendering my schedule to Him isn’t easy, but it’s needful. 

What lesson has God been teaching you lately?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Writing Retellings | Blog Stop at Tangled Up in Writing

I've already shared some rewriting tips in today's count-down post... but I go into a little more detail on Tangled Up in Writing Blog. What did I do specifically in writing my retelling of Robin Hood? How did I get the specific ideas for all three in the Tales of Faith trilogy? Read the article here.

9 Days!

What are your top tips for writing retellings? 

After writing three retellings, I definitely have my opinions on retellings. I won’t claim to have it mastered, but I have definitely learned some things. 

Tip One
Make sure it’s a retelling, not a rewrite. I have read some retellings where, if you compared it to the original, all they did was change the setting, era, and character names (and… maybe not even those). The conversations were almost verbatim. There wasn’t much originality to it. 

Tip Two
Give a unique twist. In light of the first tip, be sure that yours has a very you flavor. For instance, the unique twist for “Befriending the Beast” was that the beast was Belle’s father. Ironically, my twist for “Protecting the Poor” is that Dumphey has a disagreement with some of his team about stealing from the rich to feed the poor. Oh, and not to mention that none of my stories have magic in them. That in and of itself violates the backbone of most fairytales. ;)  

Tip Three
Make the retelling recognizable. This seems contrary to the first two points, but it’s just that fine line to balance. If you’re going to market it as a retelling, your readers need to actually be able to recognize the original. I read a story that I realized after the fact was a retelling—and then it was just because another reviewer mentioned the original tale (either I didn’t know the original fairytale well enough, or it just wasn’t strong enough to have that retelling flavor). 

Have you read some retellings that you absolutely loved? Why? Or did you hate it? If so, why?

Friday, August 16, 2019

An Early Review! | Blog Stop at Maidens for Modesty

One of my first reviews for "Protecting the Poor" is up!! For me as an author, I always have a bit of apprehension when a book is about to release. Did the readers glean the message I was striving to share? Did I just butcher something completely? Did enough of my Amanda-isms get edited out? (inside joke between me and Mom, my main editor)

And then I read a review like this one, and I almost want to cry. God is so good. The message was relayed and a valuable lesson seen clearly by the reader. Praise the Lord!!!

One thing I have always loved about Amanda’s books is that they are unapologetically Christian in nature, and this is no exception. The way biblical themes are woven into the very essence of the story is delightful, and watching the characters grow more like Christ throughout the story is precious! I loved how the characters each had their own individual struggle and sought to overcome it with the help of the Lord. The way that Dumphey and Noel and their friends learn truths about forgiveness, vengeance, and fear was beautifully shared!
Read her full review here.

Sneak Peek | Blog Tour Stop at A.M. Heath's blog

Do you want to read a little more of "Protecting the Poor" before it releases? Sneak-peek over at A.M. Heath's blog!!

Remember, you can order a signed paperback copy here!

10 Days!

Are you a pantser or planner? The Tales of Faith series is a testament to my very-pantsery-pantsering. In my teen years, Mom had me go through a writing course where I planned every detail of my book and it totally *killed* me. I felt restrained. Uncreative. I think that was when I really learned that I was a pantser (though I didn’t know what the term was until years later—and yes, I realize that I’m probably making up different tenses of pantser that might not exist). 

But, my pantsering has shifted over the years. I’ve found myself putting in way more thought into my *entire* story than when I first began. Now, I usually still don’t know exactly how the story ends, but I know at which point the story ends—what has to happen in order for it to end. And I’m getting to the point where I almost need to know that before I start writing my story. Who know? I might end up still being a planner one day (ha…).

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Historical Names--or Not | Blog Tour Stop at We've Got Pockets

Dumphey, Betin, Stephan, Arther, Patey, Dickie, Noel, Feroci, Barat, Lydda, Zuzene… I was going to look into each of these names and share some history behind them. Then, I decided to try to find definitions. Yeah. Turns out, I didn't choose very historically accurate names--or names that have a given meaning to them at all. So I'm asking: what would you define these names as? Read the full post and list of undefined names over on We've Got Pockets blog.

11 Days!

Who else was raised on a bushy-tailed Robin Hood? Yeah… that Disney cartoon… ;) It’s been years since I’ve watched it, but that and Disney Richard Todd movie were the foundation of my Robin Hood knowledge. 

In more recent years, I’ve become hooked on BBC’s Robin Hood series (note: I’ve only watched the first two seasons because I’ve heard details of the third season that I didn’t want to watch; added to that, a few episodes in the first two seasons contain details I’ll not plan on re-watching). 

Who else has watched any of these? How has your Robin Hood education been?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

12 Days!

// First Paragraph // 

Lord Feroci slammed the desk with his fists. “I didn’t send you on a fool’s errand, Barat.” He clenched his teeth as he glared at the missive opened before him.     “Aye, sir. I cannot help that others are the fools.”     Feroci released his anger in a growl. Barat stood patiently, his arms crossed. 

(Protecting the Poor, Tales of Faith, book 3)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

13 Days!

// First Paragraph // 

Another grave. This time, a short one. Nes tossed the spade onto a patch of unturned earth and stood straight. Mayhap the plague would take him next and spare him from seeing body after body plunge from healthy to dead. He was old enough. His aching back provoked the reminder. He looked at the hole in front of him. He’d rather die himself than bury another child—let alone the lord’s child. 

(TheSecret Slipper, Tales of Faith, book 2)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Robin Hood and History | Blog Stop at Blossoms and Blessings

How Much of Robin Hood is History?
As a kid, I thought Robin Hood was a historical figure. Well… then I grew up. And got much wiser. And crushed my childhood fantasies...

View the rest of my thoughts on Blossoms and Blessings.

14 Days!

// First Paragraph // 

Belle wasn't sure she was ready to return. But she knew it was time. She sank back into the plush red cushions of the carriage and took a deep breath to steady her nerves. The next second, she leaned forward to stare out the window. The scenery should look familiar by now, yet it didn't. But then, didn't things change with time? 

(Befriending theBeast, Tales of Faith, book 1)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

15 Days!

It is always interesting to see the theme of a story unfold. When I started “Protectingthe Poor,” I wasn’t fully sure where Noel’s and Dumphey’s journeys would take them. They are two very different characters—and one thing that I find unique is they both have strengths that the other person envies. 

Noel is the shy, quiet type, but he is grounded firm in what he believes is right and wrong Biblically. Dumphey tends to be more headstrong, leaning on his own understanding, but one of the first to take action when he feels it’s needed. 

In "Protecting the Poor," they both have to learn to do something that God is leading them to do, but they are scared to do it. Have you been there before? What helped you to follow God regardless of your fears?

Saturday, August 10, 2019

16 Days!

The whole kingdom around these three books is something I didn’t actually plan about until… well… book three. 

Ouch. Yeah. 

In “Befriending the Beast,” I just needed where Belle had lived and where she was living now. In “The SecretSlipper,” I needed a little more, so I added a few towns. Then, when it came to “Protecting the Poor,” I needed to know more intricate details of Abtshire. So finally—belatedly—I drew a map. 

And now you see why I’m not an artist. ;P 

So I sat down to plan. What was north, south, west, east of Abtshire? I’m visual, so I needed to see the layout. Oh the woes of pantsering. But I think I learned a lesson. Next time I worldbuild, I’ll start at the beginning of the series (though in my defense, I didn’t know this was going to be a series). 

Have you done any world-building? What things helped you? What would you recommend to other world builders?

Friday, August 9, 2019

17 Days!

Now that the Tales of Faith series is wrapping up, my brain is going to other projects. Will I write anything similar? Another series of retellings? 

The answer: I don’t know. 

Currently, all of the ideas on my desk are original, no retellings. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for a retelling. If I were to predict another retelling, it would likely be a Jane Austen retelling. But we’ll see. 

What about you? Do you prefer retellings or original stories best? If you were to write a retelling, what would it be?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Review and Giveaway | Blog Stop at Author Abigail Harris

Author Abigail Harris reviewed all three of the Tales of Faith books AND has a giveaway for all three eBooks on her blog! This is the first ever giveaway for "Protecting the Poor" -- and there are many more to come! :D

Visit her blog (and enter the giveaway!) HERE.

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