Friday, June 30, 2017

The Coronation | FLF and Interview

Happy Friday! This week I'm featuring a new release--one that I hope to read soon, but haven't been able to yet. Livy joined me for an interview today, but before I get into all of that... the first line!


Golden leaves sparkled and danced in the gentle breeze, 
waving sweetly to the bustling city below.
The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch



To find out more about The Coronation (and to see other blogs featuring this book--with reviews!) visit Livy's website: www.livylynnblog.com

~*~*~
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Now, for the interview!! :)

1) Hi Livy! And welcome to With a Joyful Noise! To start off with, can you tell us a little about yourself? What are your top five favorite things to do?
Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for having me! Well I'm twenty-three-years old and live in the beautiful state of Northern Michigan. (There is a difference between Northern and Southern Michigan! If you've never been to the far North, you should absolutely come visit. It's beautiful here!) Hmm, my top five favorite things to do? Writing, (of course!), playing guitar and singing, worshiping the Lord in song, chatting with friends, and brainstorming new story ideas! 

2) How long have you been writing?
I've loved writing ever since I was in Kindergarten. I told everyone that I wanted to be an Author when I grew up! 

3) When did you get the idea for The Coronation? How long did it take you to get from idea to publication?
This is somewhat of a challenging question for me, because I honestly don't remember where the idea first came from! As a young teen, I had many story ideas floating through my mind each day, and some of those ideas just really stuck with me even into my young-adulthood.  I've always been fascinated by the concept of modern day royalty, and it was such a blast to daydream about what life might be like growing up in a famous European palace, while having tourists visit from all over the world who hope to take photos and make memories at the iconic building: meanwhile there's a real family living inside facing real, daily issues that every family goes through, except on a much larger scale!


I actually wrote down the initial idea for this story and drew a map of the palace when I was around sixteen or seventeen. I wrote half the book, and then gave up because I wasn't very good at finishing projects. (Writers, you know what I'm talking about! We love starting stories! But actually finishing them? Yikes.) 



It wasn't until last spring (2016) that I read through this idea again and thought, "Wow, I really should finish this! This might be really fun!" So I finished the second half of the book, then started the dreaded editing process with the first half (because, to be completely honest, it was awful.) 

I finished my first "rough draft" in November, took a huge gulp, prayed for courage, and invited several teen girls who follow my magazine, to read it. After getting their feedback, it was time for another round of edits.  And then in January, another round of editing. And then in March, even MORE editing! (Side note to all the aspiring authors out there, be prepared for lots and lots of editing. Which is my least favorite part of the process - but much needed and always worth it! Every new edit can feel like you're chopping apart your precious project with an ax, but once it's put back together, it's far better than it was before!)  


4) What is the #1 lesson you hope readers will glean from The Coronation?
Wow, I feel like that's a really loaded question! It's been such a blast to hear feedback from readers who got a special sneak peek of The Coronation, and they each shared how God spoke to them through the story. What surprised me, is how the Lord was teaching people things that I didn't even think about when I was writing. That's one of my favorite things about creativity, how the same story can speak to dozens of people in a completely different way! But the main theme that I really wanted to sow throughout this story was the seed of trust, and how trusting God is the foundation for our entire lives. 
Each character encounters unique challenges, but at the end of the day, they each have to decide if they truly trust the Lord with all of their hearts, especially in the area of the affairs of the heart. A personal choice that I've made in my life, is to surrender the pen of my love story to God, and allow Him to someday introduce me to the person He has for me to marry. As young ladies, sometimes it can be tempting to rip the pen out of God's hand and attempt to 'make things happen' ourselves, or foolishly remove the guard of protection from around our hearts and emotions. Several characters in The Coronation have important choices to make concerning potential relationships, and the have to examine their hearts and ask, "Do I truly trust God with my love story? Or have I taken the pen out of His hand and gotten myself all worked up over something He never intended for me?"
So it is my hope that The Coronation reminds young women the value of guarding our hearts and encourages them to trust Jesus, no matter what!        

5) Who has inspired you most as an author?
I feel a little bit nervous about sharing this, but to be completely honest, I don't read much fiction from other authors.  (Gasp! I know, such a huge 'no,no' for authors.) I'm not sure if's because I have trouble finding things that I like, or if I already have far too many fun ideas swirling around in my head that if I dare read another book I think my brain might burst! Whatever the reason, I don't really read fiction. My main inspiration comes from the Word of God. The Bible truly is the Living Word, and it's amazing how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through it. Sometimes if I'm stuck with a story and don't know how to move things forward, or I'm not sure what the answer should be, the Lord will give me an amazing idea, either through a scripture verse, or a principle that I've learned in my life personally, and I can then apply it to the characters. I do read a lot of non-fiction, inspirational, devotionals, etc. In that realm, some of the authors who have inspired me the most are Lisa Bevere and Lesley Ludy.  

6) What are some of your favorite books/authors?
As a young girl, I adored the American Girl series, as well as The Sophie Series, and as a teen anything by Melody Carlson, and Robin Jones Gunn. Right now my book shelf is loaded with Francis Chan, Lisa Bevere, John Bevere, Leslie Luddy, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton.

7) Would you mind sharing your salvation testimony with us?
I was very blessed to have grown up in a Christian home, so I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age. I remember being in pre-school and flipping through my Beginners Bible and thinking, "Wow, God seems so interesting, I would really like to know Him." When I learned about the Cross and how Jesus took my punishment for sin, my heart was so broken and drawn toward Jesus, even as a four-year-old. I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life and have been walking with Him, pursuing that daily relationship with God ever since! It's the best decision I ever made! 



8) You have thirty minutes free time. What will you do?
Write! Or, if I've already been writing, I'll play guitar, spend time with the Lord, or take a walk. :) 


9) You can go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
London, England!

10) Coffee or tea? Cold or hot?
Tea. Definitely warm! (Although I do enjoy cold peppermint tea in the summertime. :) 

Thank you, Livy, for hopping on my blog today!


About the Book
Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities. Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene.

Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig.

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?


Purchase on Amazon here.

MY REVIEW

Be prepared to be swept into a different life of modern princes and princesses as the Royal Family faces individual struggles, kingdom attacks, and questions of marriage.

I didn't fully know what to expect when I picked up The Coronation. It was an adventure for me every step of the way. I didn't live a normal "modern American teen" life with all of the pop stars, teen magazines, and movie raves of the day, so that was all different for me (just a note: though Tarsurella is supposed to be a European country, it felt very Americanized).

The Christian aspect of this: there were good messages about guarding your heart (though they were all geared toward guarding your heart romantically, not necessarily guarding against worldly influences--I personally don't believe that a Christian should rave over rock bands, glamour, and what is popular in this world, as we are called to be set apart from this world) and messages on forgiveness and trusting God. It did kind of seem like there was a "time to preach" and the messages didn't fully impact the characters' lifestyles. So I'm not saying I condemn the messages portrayed...I think it's the whole leaning-toward-wordly lifestyle that threw me off.

The romance...there were a lot of feelings and midway through it felt like, "Let's figure out who Addison, Bridget, Chasity, and Hope all end up with" but things didn't end as usual for romance in books. I really liked how some of them were handled. There weren't any kisses (one almost-kiss) and there were just a few mentions of "not going too far." I feel it was well done for a teen audience.

Overall, this book was interesting and held my attention and somewhat kept me guessing. The author shows a lot of promise, and I look forward to seeing how Olivia hones her writing skills in future works!

*I received a copy of this book from the author and happily provided my honest review*

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Aaron Baker Music

You know those people that you've known for years and you have always looked up to (and they've stayed faithful and true to God throughout the years)? That is Bro. Aaron Baker for me. I was around seven when I met him (he was "such an old and mature teen" then). At various times, I have taken classes with Aaron, accompanied him as he's sung solos and led children's camp music, and have learned a lot from him and his wife, Laura. If you haven't heard of him, I highly recommend his album. You can find it on most music retailers. Here is one of my favorites from his album.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

3-of-3 | Journey of Choice

Today I decided to share something from the rewrite of Journey of Choice. Praise the Lord, I've reached the 30k mark and am still working for at least a 60k novel. It's exciting to get these words in!

So 3-of-3... the first three lines of the first three chapters. ;)

Chapter One
New York City, April 1861
"Shush or you'll get us caught for sure." Nat glanced around, taking in the details of his surroundings. One quick look was enough to show him that the street, though littered with trash and sewage, was safe enough.

Chapter Two 
New York City, April 1861 
"Up with you!” The voice echoed through the cell door before Nat saw its owner. 

Nat snapped his jackknife closed and thrust it into the worn-out leather he had strapped to his feet as a sort of shoe. The cell door opened and two officers walked in.

Chapter Three
Alton, Illinois, April 1861 
Lije's head bounced on Nat's arm with the movement of the train. How can the boy sleep? It was his first time on the train, and Nat wasn't sure it was something he would choose to repeat. He preferred to be on his feet—in control of exactly where he was going—not stuck in the midst of a group of children, carted out somewhere west.

----
Okay, so that last one was four lines... ;) Couldn't resist.

Now... I'd like to see some of your work! Let's play this game two ways...
If you're a writer, share the 3-of-3 from your work.
If you're a reader, share the 3-of-3 from the book you're currently reading.

And if you're a blogger, feel free to take this challenge onto your blog!
Let me hear what you have to share!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Scripture Graphics #45


"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!" Isaiah 31:1
These attributes of God -- Him as our help (Ps. 33:20; 124:8), our trust (Ps. 20:7; 40:3), our strength (Ps. 46:1; 81:1) -- can be found elsewhere in the world but they are artificial. Do we seek temporal strength and help, or do we seek the Source of help and strength?




God closed two doors because He had a door wide open in Macedonia (vs. 9). If we are sincerely following God and all paths lead to closed doors, it may mean He has an open door, leading straight to a harvest ready to be reaped.

This verse is in the middle of a passage basically exhorting those who were seeking God to stay looking to Him. We often think about encouraging the faltering to seek God, but it's also needful to encourage those who are walking after God to "keep on keeping on."

Where are you in your Bible reading this week?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Haven't I Learned Enough? | Writing



Another article is up on Wordquill (I mean, another article by me... there are regularly other authors posting on there--so I do recommend you just follow Wordquill for yourself).

------

When I was teen writer, I was on top of things. I had quite strong opinions on what was right, what was wrong, what was accurate, and what was completely laughable. I knew how to write.

Then I grew up.

One of the most important steps of this “growing up” was realizing that nope, I don’t know all there is about writing. The next step in “growing up” was to do something about lack of knowledge. The result of that? 







Friday, June 23, 2017

FLF 6.23.17 | Promise Me This

I stood at my bookshelves for a while, deciding which book to pull for this First Line Friday. I landed on Cathy Gohlke's Promise Me This which is a Titanic and WWI story. This one I got through Tyndale Rewards program (basically, you earn points then spend them on books--if you sign up with my link, they'll give you a bonus 25 points!). You may read my full review of the book here. For now, I'll just share the first line.



"The great ship returned late from her sea trials beyond 
the shores of Carrickfergus, needing only her sea papers, 
a last-minute load of supplies, and the Belfast mail 
before racing to Southampton."
(Promise Me This by Cath Gohlke)



~*~*~
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Love of God | Music Video

It has been too long since I've posted a new video -- I started out the year well with one a week... and then my focus shifted to working on the 10-song album, Reflections of the Cross. I'm just now able to put my focus back on other stuff, and then a busy summer hits. ;) So we'll see how I do with a new one a week.

But for this week, I have an old hymn favorite of mine. This is actually the first piano solo I've arranged of "The Love of God."




You can get this piece of music as part of the 5-for-$5 digital sale!
(in other words, you can get sheet music for this and four other songs for only $5)


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Deleted Scene: The Secret Slipper

There was one deleted scene in "The Secret Slipper" that I kind of liked. A lot. But it was in the first draft (read: when Raoul knew all along that Ellia was alive and had given up the search until a fresh lead came in; yep, there was a very good reason the story changed). I tried finding a place for it in the new edition, but it just wouldn't fit. You will notice some of the thoughts made it into the final draft, but the scene in its entirety didn't. I really liked the exchange of the unnamed woman and Raoul. Who knows? I may use it in another story. But it didn't make it to Slipper. 

For the readers who've read "The Secret Slipper," please note character changes from first draft:
Nele is Nes
Gale is Galien 
Reynold is Jolin

Yeah. Characters changed a lot. ;) I was still trying to figure out who was who in my mind.

So...read along for my rough-draft deleted scene. Enjoy! :)

~*~*~

It was like repeating a nightmare. He hadn't come out to town to search, but he couldn't keep his eyes off the ground…or, to be more specific, observing the step pattern of every girl and young lady that passed by him.
What is the likelihood of childhood deformities healing themselves? The thought plagued him, just like it had years ago. His mind brought up all of the information that he had put away as soon as Belle had entered his life. But instead of urging him forward in his search, it haunted his every step. Solid, steady steps that his daughter may never have.
Gale walked up to Raoul. "M'lord, Reynold said you sent for me?"
Raoul scowled at him. "As if I would talk in public."
"I beg your pardon, m'lord. Shall I call the carriage?"
"Aye."
Raoul waited until they were settled in the plush cushions, with the curtains pulled shut before he leaned forward to begin the discussion. "We are going to Nele's."
Gale tilted his head. "Are you certain, m'lord?"
"Aye."
"Will you reopen cases with all former servants?"
Raoul leaned back and let out a sigh. "I think not."
"Why Nele?"
"He left before I could question him. I feel he could be hiding something."
"As if he would speak now." Gale crossed his legs and rested his hands on them. "May I ask why you requested me?"
"You know him. Reynold does not."
"And you believe this shall help?"
"Aye. While I discuss, I would like for you to analyze him. You have a discerning eye. Is he telling the truth or not?"
Gale reached out his hand and pulled back the curtain, staring at the moving scenery. "And if he refuses to give any information?"
"Then we shall take the following step needed."
The carriage fell silent and miles crept past. When it slowed to a stop, Raoul didn't wait for the footman to dismount before he jumped to the ground. A row of ramshackle cottages cluttered the countryside.
"You are certain he's here?"
"Silence, Gale. I asked you to accompany me, not question my methods."
"Yes, m'lord."
Raoul straightened and walked to the first house, displaying the authority he possessed. He stopped himself before pounding on the door. It would likely fall down under the force of his knocks. He tapped the doorframe.
"I didna' ask for no company," a harsh feminine voice called out.
"I have just one question," Raoul said, putting a tight clip to his voice.
 "The walls aren't too thin to be asking out there. What is it?"
"Can you tell me which cottage belongs to Nele?"
A pause.
"That was my one question," Raoul prompted.
"Five houses yonder. If he's home."
"And if he's not home?"
"Your one question is spent up."
Raoul spun away from the door, barely hearing Gale give the lady a thank you for him. At the cottage a few steps away, Raoul gave the same gentle tap. No answer.
"Nele. Are you in there?"
"Nay. I'm out here like a good working man ought to be."
Raoul turned to the voice.
"If it isn't the good ol' Lord Kiralyn."
"Aye."
"My services are no longer due to you."
"I would agree to a certain extent."
Nele's eyebrows lowered, their bushiness almost hiding his eyes. "What d'ye want?
"I have a few questions, Nele."
Nele lifted the bucket he had apparently set down before. "I haven't a few answers, Kiralyn." He stared boldly at Raoul.
"Well then answer what you can." Raoul didn't move his glare from Nele. "You left the palace suddenly--"
"That is an accusation, not a question."
Raoul ground his teeth and clenched his fists. "You interrupted."
Nele opened his mouth in a toothless grin. "Continue, m'lord."
"Just one day after you left, Ellia disappeared. Did you know this?"
Nele shut his mouth, his eyes darkening with a scowl. "If you came to accuse me of taking your precious wee one, nay, I didn't. Nor did I see anything."
"But what do you know?"
 Nele pushed past Raoul and opened his door. "I know that you are a desperate man because of the time you think you have lost."
Raoul reached out and blocked the entryway with his arm. Nele was a good head shorter than him, yet he stood tall. Never intimidated, that man.
"I will say nothing more. Your time here is wasted, Kiralyn."
"You understand I have power if I discover you to be lying."

"Aye." Nele reached out and removed Raoul's hand from the door frame. He brought his bucket inside and turned to shut the door. "If you discover it."

Monday, June 19, 2017

Scripture Graphics #44


The progression here: desire, seek, teach. If we end our night with our heart set on God and desiring Him, then He will be the first thing we seek in the morning. In other words, preparation for morning Bible time starts the evening before. If we squander our evening to where we are exhausted and rushed in the morning, how does that prepare us to seek God?


"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word...And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Acts 6:4, 7
God's Word increased, followers of God multiplied. But that came after the dedication of prayer and the ministry of God's Word. Also, it came after men were faithful to do their part--some of the men weren't ministering in the Word, per se, but were serving tables. What if they hadn't been faithful? God uses every part of the body in many different ways.



"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:7-8
It takes courage and strength to obey God's Word in the midst of the world. Yielding to the pulls and beliefs of the world proves our lack of courage and trust in God.

"And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:" Joshua 7:20
If Achan had just waited, he could have rightfully received his garment, silver, and gold. Impatience and greed may provide us short-term enjoyment, but waiting for God to bless in His time is always far better than "what we missed out on" before. Is there something we just can't wait to have? Be patient...not an Achan.

What Old Testament character have you learned from?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Story Cure | Book Review

31521907Three stars. 

There were good elements to this book. I copied down over a dozen "quotes to remember." But when I think of the book as a whole, it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. First of all, I can't say that this book was Christian at all. It definitely wasn't conservative. There were both mentions about gods and them being created "to explain thunder, floods, births, deaths, the inexplicable movements of the sun" as well as a reference to "Christian myths." Add to that, there was a bit of "mild cussing" and one explicit scene that I really could have lived without reading (plus a few other adult-topic scenes). I would not hand this book to a young and aspiring writer--it was probably written more for "adult aspiring writers" though the presentation of the book made me think "younger reader."

Having read a few other books on writing, this book didn't really shed any light for me (I'm not lowering my rating because of that; the lowered rating is because of "content" that I personally don't like). The main thing that stands out to me as "learned something new" was when he broke down the story structure and gave a few pages about the various types of story structure.

Moore did a great job with presenting the information in a very understandable fashion and if you like parallels such as "the story structure and plot are your skeleton" then this is a book you'd enjoy. The references to doctor offices and body parts was both amusing and slightly corny, but it worked. I mean, it's the "Story Cure" by the "Book Doctor."

Being a fiction writer and not a memoir writer, there were a few parts that weren't applicable to me. I would say that it was a nice balance of help for both genre-writers out there.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books and was permitted to give my honest review*

About the Book
People want to write the book they know is inside of them, but they run into stumbling blocks that trouble everyone from beginners to seasoned writers. Drawing on his years of teaching at both the university level and at writing workshops across the country, Professor Dinty W. Moore dons his book-doctor hat to present an authoritative guide to curing the issues that truly plague writers at all levels. His hard-hitting handbook provides inspiring solutions for diagnoses such as character anemia, flat plot, and silent voice, and is peppered with flashes of Moore's signature wit and unique take on the writing life.

Purchase the Book




Friday, June 16, 2017

Threads of Suspicion | Review and First Line Friday


This was my first Dee Henderson book to read. Given that I enjoy a taste of suspense, I thought I might like it and I was right. There was the perfect balance of “regular life” with the suspense of Evie being a detective on a cold case. The entire plot of Jenna had me intrigued. I was kept guessing as to what the answer to her disappearance was. I felt like I journeyed along the quest with Evie and David.


I really appreciated the spiritual content. David had a simplistic earnestness about him, and his testimony was realistic and Biblical. Evie’s prayers were sometimes a little too familiar (like calling God “Dad” and chatting with Him something like, “I don’t have time to talk right now, but I’ll catch up later, okay?”). Yes, God is not just a “great judge sitting up in heaven,” but we are to reverence Him. That seemed to be a little lacking. There was one character that was debating the question of salvation. I’m unclear as to whether or not she actually accepted Christ. It appeared that she just took a step that direction (which I don’t have a problem with; it just wasn't 100% clear to me).

The romance was very little in this book. Evie and David were co-workers, yet were not love interests. I was afraid a love triangle might happen (which I don’t like), but it didn’t. Evie and Rob were a great pair and David and Maggie a great pair. I actually appreciated Evie’s struggle with her relationship with Rob (as in, she didn’t have relationship problems; she just had to decide why she was hesitant to say a hearty “yes!” to him). It was very realistic—not all of the “romance is nothing but rosy” viewpoint. There were some kisses mentioned as well as hugs, but they were all casual. I don’t recall any of the feelings explored. So, in short, I liked the romance aspect in this book (shockers!).

Now…the writer in me…this was a dialogue-driven book. If I were to give a guesstimate, it appeared that about 80% of the book was dialogue. Given that they were talking through a case, it was interesting. The downfall was that I didn’t really feel that I was “in” the characters. I didn’t really know them. I realize that this is my critique as a writer, so it would be injustice to knock a star for that. I did enjoy the read. I just had to shut off my writer’s brain for the narrative.

Overall, this leaves me waiting to get my hands on another Dee Henderson novel.

*I received this book from Bethany house and happily provided my review*

You may order the book here.

NOW FOR THE FIRST LINE...



"As Governor Bliss came to the podium, Lieutenant Evie Blackwell 
dug her hands into her coat pockets, grateful the January cold would 
keep this press announcement on schedule and limited to twenty minutes." 
(Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson)

Have you read any Dee Henderson books?
What is your favorite of hers?
Or are you not a reader of suspense?

~*~*~
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Recitals and Music Video

I know it's late for a post today, but after two evenings of recital, I wasn't ready to schedule things quite yet last night. So here you have it... a late Wednesday music post.

First off... recitals!
This year, I divided my music studio into two recitals. Violin...


And piano...


Not all of my students were able to come to recitals (this late it ran into summer programs). Both recitals went amazingly well and everyone did so great! I don't remember a moment when someone completely froze, unable to go forward in their piece. It just might have been my best recitals yet.

Now... I've already done a WAJN video of "Joshua Fit de Battle" but it's much more fun to see things played in person. Three of my sisters played "Joshua" for recital so now you can see live-action trio.



Have you ever been a part of a musical ensemble? Trio, duet, other?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Behind the Cover and More | The Secret Slipper

Book covers. I remember the days when I would get a CBD catalog in and flip through the pages slowly...admiring covers (and critiquing the ones I thought needed help, let's be honest). I really didn't see cover designing in my future, but as God has graciously helped me in figuring things out, that's one of the things I do.

Now, for the cover of "The Secret Slipper."


If you didn't notice, I took the same formatting as "Befriending the Beast" (I mean, it's a series).


For "Befriending the Beast," I used royalty free images (meaning you have license to use them, but they're more or less stock images). When it came to Slipper, I had just gotten the idea when my friend with SunKissed Photography posted a "throw-back picture" she had done. And I was like, "YES! That's it! That's the one!" Elizabeth and her model graciously allowed me the use of her photograph. The cover would not be the same without it.

Then the back cover also has a mention:



Do you see that carefully-crafted deformed slipper? :D :D: D I have an amazing friend. Really, I do. Not only does she read through my drafts and give wonderful input, but also... a week before I wanted the cover done, I mentioned, "I really wanted slippers for the cover, but I can't find what I have in mind." Three days later, the slippers were mailed to me. Emily's got talent, y'all. In fact, she's got an Etsy shop for her sewing--if you ever need something custom-made, she's wonderful.

That concludes the cover. 


Since I'm acknowledging behind-the-scenes people, I figured I'd continue with the acknowledgements. These you can find the back of "The Secret Slipper," but I'd like to acknowledge them publicly and HERE you get to have links so you can check these amazing people out yourself (I may forget a link or two or don't know them all; so sorry)!

~*~*~*~
Author's Note
It is all the fault of my author-friend, A.M. Heath. Not long after “Befriending the Beast” released, she messaged me, “Have you ever thought of doing a Cinderella story, where the prince is the father?” I stayed up until midnight with my mind churning the what-ifs. I think I got the title before I really solidified an idea. “The Secret Slipper” has had many firsts for me: writing from two perspectives, writing as a married character, and having an active antagonist to mention a few. I have not enjoyed every moment of writing, re-writing, editing, and learning, but looking back, it is something I wouldn’t want to trade, for I have learned so much!

Now for thanks…these are getting harder and harder to write, as there seems to be so many who offer their assistance.

Anita – like I said, this was your fault. ;) Thank you so much for being my writing mentor and selflessly offering your brain and expertise to help me! My writing has grown from your friendship.

Faith – you’ve been my accountability writing partner for the process of this story. You’ve helped me to stay on my toes, and I’m grateful!

Kenzi – how many times have you read my manuscript? Just as many times as I have, I do believe. I don’t think you know just how much I appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and suggestions with my many projects.

Elizabeth (SunKissed Photography) – the picture of Lia! I am so honored to use your photography for my book cover, and grateful for you allowing me to use it (and thanks to Rachel W., the subject).

Mom – the years of red pen seem to have finally paid off! Thank you for your unending encouragement in my writing.

My Family – thanks for bearing with me as I talked about my characters and ideas and everything. Your support means so much!

My FaceBook Street Team – thanks for letting me flood your newsfeed on my writing days with questions, thoughts, and prayer requests! Y’all are an amazing support!

To those who read my pathetic and very needy first-draft: Katie, Janell, Rachel, Anita, Kenzi, and Aimee. Thanks for your suggestions and input. You always make me think twice as I edit, and I need that! Special thanks to Katie and Rachel, who also read this manuscript multiple times. Y’all are amazing!

My beta-readers: Faith, Olivia, Jesseca, Kellyn, Hannah, AnneMarie, Liberty Baehr, Liberty Bluebelle, Alicia, Marlene, Darcy, Hanna, Esther, Joanna, Naomi, Emily...your help was wonderful! I know that this Slipper shines because of your input!

Again, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to my Lord Jesus Christ. Not only does He supply ideas for new stories, He is also faithful to give me wisdom for every place I have questions. To Him belongs all glory and honor, for without Him, I am nothing.

And to you, my reader, thank you. Unless you are also an author, you likely do not know how encouraging it is for me to have you reading my book and leaving your reviews! Thank you.













Monday, June 12, 2017

Scripture Graphics #43


"That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30:20
If someone were to look at us, what would they say is our "life?" Some sport, hobby, work, fandom, or source of entertainment? Or could they clearly see that GOD is our life -- our love, Lord, passion, obsession, focus?



In many churches, pastors try to "preach boldness" into their congregation. In some groups, people push their members to be bold. But how often are we exhorted to pray sincerely for boldness? It is possible to force ourselves to be bold for Christ, but that does not always mean that we have the boldness OF Christ. Like anything else, what we do in our flesh may last a little while, but will soon fade away.


"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Do we let the "daily afflictions" wear us down, or do we daily approach the throne of God to find grace to help in time of need? Is our focus only on the difficulty of today's temporal trouble, or are our eyes fixed on the hope of Jesus Christ and His eternal promises?
I needed the reminder of these verses today!



What has God been teaching you this week?
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