Second Draft Crazies

I did Camp NaNoWriMo again this month! My goal was to accomplish 10,000 words of revisions to my WIP “Kiera”.

Between releasing The Twin Arrows, celebrating Independence Day, and selling books at the homeschool convention, I only wrote fourteen days this month; but I’m happy to say I made my goal! 😀

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It’s been really neat to dive back into this story. I’m getting to flesh out characters, add meaningful description, and even include a little foreshadowing. *grins evilly* And of course I like spending time with my characters. 😀

I can’t share pictures directly from Pinterest here, but if you look at my board you can see my inspiration and try to intuit spoilers. 😉

I’ve been getting to laugh at “First Draft Katie” a bit too. I had the story set in spring AND summer. How even??! I used my word count tracking calendars from my WriteMind planner to plan out the time my story takes place in. Hopefully this fixed the problem once and for all. 😉

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One of the scariest changes I’ve made to my story was splitting the first three chapters into six when I realized they were much longer than my other ones. Who wants to read chapters that are 15 pages long? Not me. 😉 I’m hoping this will also help me title them more easily.

Two things I’m looking forward to (besides finishing) are…

1. Possibly having a real title for this novel soon!! I’m not quite ready to announce yet, but EEEK! 😀

2. Adding four scenes that will beef up the story and build the characters a little more.

Thanks so much to my delightful cabin “The Chatter Box Girls” and some other writers from church for your encouragement and word sprinting! 😉

Now… Would you like a very short excerpt? Kiera’s brother Thorne just heard that they will be babysitting a little girl named Jade that evening. This conversation happens. 😉

“I’m delighted that Jade’s coming,” Thorne said. “This place needs livening up; you’re getting too old.” He gave her an innocent face over his glass as he drained it.

Kiera shook her head in amusement. “What would I do without my oldest brother?”

“Miss your annual birthday chocolate, maybe?” He winked and pulled a small flat package out of his pocket.

The doorbell interrupted before she could take it. “Okay, you’re my hero, and I forgive you for everything, I think.”

Did you do Camp NaNoWriMo? How did it go?

Create for Him

Artists aren’t mentioned often in the Bible, but the few times are pretty interesting. King David was a psalmist, instrument players and singers were designated for the temple, and the Proverbs 31 superlady made herself tapestry and fine linen. Even the beginning of Hebrews and the ending verses of John are written almost like poetry. 😀

Even more interesting to me is what God says about the chief craftsman He had chosen to work on the Tabernacle…

“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.” (Exodus 31:3-5)

The Holy Spirit promotes art? Gives skill and inspiration?

Art is more important than I thought it was! Apparently I should never feel lesser or guilty for pursuing my interest in this area of life.

Being an artist can be just another way of glorifying God. Bringing people closer to Him. Beautifying this world. Living out His image in creativity.

So go and create. For Him. From Him. To Him.

(A really fantastic article that goes into more detail on this issue can be found here. They frankly say it all better than I do. Maybe this should have gone at the beginning of this post. 😉 )

Book Review: Henry and the Chalk Dragon

32337619“In the town of Squashbuckle, just about anything can happen, and when Henry Penwhistle draws a mighty Chalk Dragon on his door, the dragon does what Henry least expects–it runs away. Now Henry’s art is out in the world for everyone to see, and it’s causing trouble for him and his schoolmates Oscar and Jade. If they don’t stop it, the entire town could be doomed! To vanquish the threat of a rampaging Chalk Dragon, Sir Henry Penwhistle, Knight of La Muncha Elementary School, is going to have to do more than just catch his art–he’s going to have to let his imagination run wild. And THAT takes bravery.” (from Goodreads)

This book by Jennifer Trafton caught me up and flew me along on the back of a frightening, jungle green dragon. I met a little boy wearing raincoat armor, who (much like myself) was bursting with creativity and afraid to let the world see it. I met Jade (the secret agent? alien? poet? knight?), the adorable bus driver Mr. Bruce, a few adults who used to be “superheroes”, and Oscar the scientist with an art of his own. I grinned my head off over the literary references (La Muncha? Pimpernel? Bigger on the inside? Elementary?) and felt Henry’s icy cold (like a popsicle) fear when all his worst nightmares seemed to be coming true. And I cried over the beautiful thing that happened to his chivalry and how he began to think of people. This book warmed my soul and taught me it takes courage to be an artist.

Best quotes (just so you get a sample of this author’s BEAUTIFUL style 😀 ): “Dragons aren’t scary–well, they are, but they’re a good kind of scary. They’re the kind of scary you want to be scared of. People are the bad kind of scary, he thought. Dragons can only eat you, but people can laugh at you, and that is like being chewed to death by a smile.”

“It’s a dangerous thing to open a door. But that, after all, is the only way to find an adventure.”

“Oscar,” said Henry, gazing up at the circle of blue sky, “if this day were a chocolate-covered peanut, you would be the chocolate.” Oscar grinned. “And you would be the nut.”

Altogether, I loved this fresh, adorable, and brilliant book. (Even just looking up those quotes whetted my appetite for the descriptions and made me bawl like a baby. 😛 )

(Just a note to parents of small children, some of the action gets pretty intense and there are several fantastical things that happen.)

How to Love a Book

Booklovers love books. It’s a given. (Otherwise, they would be called something else.) The funny thing about us is that we love some books more than others. 😉 Here’s how you can love a book of your own!

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  1. Get a paperback copy. You know a book is something special when it makes it past the experimental I-got-this-on-a-Kindle-deal stage to must-have-it-in-paperback-now. I’m currently in the process of choosing which books I’ve loved enough that I should buy them in paperback. 😉
  2. Reread it at least once. (And all your favorite scenes whenever you’re in the mood.) Favorite books are like old friends–you’re always happy to see them! And if you’ve expertly creased the pages, it will always open to the best bits. Basically the ideal book. 😀
  3. Bend the cover (accidentally, of course). I was probably reading it as I walked somewhere, carrying it to loan to a friend, or rearranging my bookshelf when I last bent one. Well-loved books always show a few small signs of use. 😉
  4. Cry on the pages. Enough said. *sniffs*
  5. Underline favorite passages to love and quote later. I try my best to keep my books in mint condition; but when I bought a used copy of The Book Thief last year (since it was going to be edited with whiteout anyway), I realized that it would be perfectly all right to underline in this copy. Underlining is such a fun way to tuck a book into the corners of your heart! (Especially with this book. I’m planning to draw in it on my upcoming re-read.)
  6. Leave a review. Not only does it sort of thank the author for their work, but it also spreads the word about the treasure you discovered. (And it’s really fun to collect your thoughts about what you liked.) 😉
  7. Loan it to a friend or read it aloud to a sibling. Because good things must be shared! ❤

So now that you know exactly how to love a book, go curl up with a paper wonder of your own. I’d love to hear what you decide to read!

A Tale of Two Beginnings

I quake in my metaphorical boots every time I share an excerpt with you all because a) it hasn’t been through a million rounds of editing yet and is definitely cringeworthy, so b) I’ll probably change it at some point.

Last year, about this same time, I took the plunge and published the first scene of my WIP “Kiera” for all of you to see. (Here’s a link if you missed it.) And I did change it.

I enjoyed writing all the sensory descriptions and setting a peaceful but intriguing tone. Several others who gave me feedback loved these aspects as well; but as I recently turned to editing it, I realized it was lacking a few important aspects for a solid first scene.

So I rewrote it. 😀 I’m happy with how much better it is but also a little sad to see my idyllic, beautiful scene go. It’s an author problem. We get attached to our words. 😉

Would you like to see?

Summertime. The season when the promises of spring begin to show full potential. A gardener’s favorite season.

The earth felt cool against her skin as she pushed the broad leaves aside and plucked the ripe tomato hiding near the stem. She smiled at its shiny red skin and wiped a fleck of dirt off on her oversized sweatshirt before placing the vegetable in her basket with the rest of dinner. The breeze spun her light brown hair in messy waves around her shoulders as she moved toward the other raised garden bed.

There was nothing there that would add to dinner, but she couldn’t resist visiting her flowers. A few bright blooms had drooped in the afternoon heat, and she gently removed them to make room for others. Running her fingers through the rich, black soil, she pulled up the tiny weeds that invaded the little space her flowers owned.

“There you go. Now you can breathe,” she said, grinning at the bright pink petunia that bobbed a curtsy at her.

A gust of wind blew across the yard making the shade trees and flowers dance furiously. The young woman held on tightly to her basket and glanced up, shading her eyes against the retreating sun. Gray clouds were stretching across the sky and crowding each other out for a place on the horizon. She sprinted across the soft, synthetic grass and slid open the glass door.

Mom looked up as she headed straight for the kitchen island and set down her basket.

“Well, that was quick,” she remarked, surprise showing over her glasses.

Her daughter slid into a chair at the computer desk and waved her hand in front of the device. “I think there’s a storm coming.”

“What kind?”

She didn’t answer as she scrolled through the apps, looking for the weather one.

“Kiera, what kind?” Mom came over with a wrinkled carrot in one hand and a peeler in the other.

“Radiation,” Kiera sighed. “Really high levels.” She gestured to the map of their neighborhood with the pulsing, animated circle of storm front.

Mom pursed her lips. “Oh, dear. I suppose dinner will be indoors tonight then. No barbecue, so I’ll have to think of another main dish.”

“I’m sure Thorne won’t mind,” Kiera said with a wink that brought the smile back to her mom’s face.

Mom disappeared into the pantry and emerged a moment later with several jars of spaghetti sauce. “I’m so glad he is able to get the time off. And Pastor Silas will enjoy leading the Bible study again, even if it is just this once.”

Another gust of wind blew against the house, and Kiera sprang up from the chair, letting it swivel around behind her as she hurried outside. Keeping one eye on the lightning torn sky, she hauled both raised garden beds under the porch cover and pulled the waterproof shades down. She hooked them securely in place and checked them twice. She didn’t want to risk letting her garden get rained on. That would mean starting over.

“Jade eats meatballs, right?” Mom asked when she entered the kitchen again.

Kiera grimaced and shrugged apologetically. “I’m not sure what she eats right now. Brennan says she’s on hunger strike, so it doesn’t matter to her what you make.”

“If you can make it past her being two years old, I promise babysitting might be easy again,” Mom encouraged.

Kiera grinned. “I just hope it doesn’t ruin Thorne’s family time too much to share his evening.”

Mom made an incredulous face.

Kiera giggled. “Thorne is probably the last one to mind her, isn’t he? I think he’d never forgive me if I cancelled her coming over the one night he was home.”

“There would definitely be trouble. Your brother loves that tiny girl like you wouldn’t believe!”

“I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t, but he certainly wins the prize for her most devoted admirer.” Kiera rolled up her sleeves and rinsed her hands. “Anything I can help with?”

“If you roll these meatballs, I’ll take care of salad assembly,” Mom said, unloading the basket and laying the crisp vegetables out next to the sink.  

Kiera took off her sweatshirt and rinsed her hands then skimmed through the document app to find the meatball recipe. Thunder crashed outside and her hand slipped, navigating her away to an app she rarely used. News. And the worst news she could ever imagine staring her in the face.

“Mom?”

“What is it, Kiera?”

Her voice shook. “War with Russia is official. The President just declared a draft.”

Somewhere behind her, Mom dropped a dish. Lightning flashed through the blinds in front of her, lighting up her face and the tears shining in her eyes. A storm of another kind was coming.

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There you are! That’s my current story beginning. 😉 It will probably change again, but I’m happy with it for now. What do you think?

Book Review: The World of Pooh

24293206“Here’s where Pooh’s adventures all began. Published in 1926, this is the original Winnie-the-Pooh with illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. Beginning with “Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees,” here are ten classic tales featuring the whole gang: Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga, Little Roo, and Christopher Robin. Rmember when Pooh visits Rabbit and “gets into a tight place” as he attempts to enter Rabbit’s house? Remember Eeyore’s very eventful birthday party? Piglet’s water-filled rescue? The beloved stories are all here, as A.A. Milne wrote them more than 70 years ago.” (from Goodreads)

I got to rediscover the 100 Acre Wood with my youngest sister. ❤ Here’s what we thought…

Our Review
We love it! It was the little sister’s first time hearing a lot of the stories. We like the relationship of Pooh and Christopher Robin and all the others and all the others. It was funny how all the animals sign their names because they can’t spell. We’ve played Pooh sticks before. Eeyore was actually really funny like how sarcastic he was. We cried at the end.

My Review
To tell the truth, I want to be Winnie-the-Pooh when I grow up. For a bear of very little brain, he’s got a lot of heart. He’s loyal, adorably honest, and a good friend to everyone. In fact, of all the characters, he’s probably the least remarkable or unusual; but his blundering, good-natured contentedness is what makes the story (with a little help from the delightful others, mainly Piglet and Eeyore). As an artist myself, I enjoyed Pooh Bear’s poetry and how he claimed you don’t make poetry it “just comes”. And the literary quality! Oh, I loved every minute. 😀

This time around though, it wasn’t just a cute children’s story I was sharing with my youngest sister. It wasn’t just an old classic to make this author’s heart happy. It was a story that reminded me of God’s love for me. As I thought about Pooh’s ordinary-ness and his relationship to Christopher Robin, it was as if I were accidentally reading an allegory. Who does Pooh bring all his troubles to? Who fondly says “silly old bear” then helps him out? Who loves him as a friend?

It may seem like a stretch, but it was often on my mind as the story progressed. Here’s when I started crying…

“What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?” “Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best—” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. And then he thought that being with Christopher Robin was a very good thing to do, and having Piglet near was a very friendly thing to have; and so, when he had thought it all out, he said, “What I like best in the world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying ‘What about a little something?’ and Me saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet’, and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.”

I think I will definitely have to re-read this book in the near future. And if you haven’t, it’s time you meet my friend Edward Bear. 😉

The #Voices of YA Tag

Zane from Simple Impossibilities (a super awesome blog) did this blog tag the other day and left it open for anyone to consider themselves tagged. 😉 It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, so I decided to pick it up. Thanks, Zane! (Caitlin Lambert originally created this tag here.)

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Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Link to the original creator

  • Answer the ten questions

  • Tag at LEAST two other YA writers/bloggers

  • Share with the hashtag #VoicesofYA (if you’re into that sort of thing…)

All right, all the Q and A coming right up.

About the Writers

What draws you to YA?

To tell the truth, I actually probably read and write more MG fiction than YA (*grins*), but do enjoy the genre quite a bit. I tried to look up the definition of YA fiction and the answer is basically “teenager books”. I like the spunky, original feel of these types of books, and it’s especially fun that they deal with deep themes but are cleaner than adult books. 😉 I’m currently working on a novel for older teenagers.

(The thing that does pull me away from this genre though is when there is too much attitude and drama and inappropriate romance…)

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?

Ooooo!!! That question. The answer is twofold (use that word whenever you can, y’all)–yes and no. I’m a plantser, which means I like seeing where the story takes me and having a plan. With my short stories especially, I know the main character, a few side characters, and the opening scene when I first start out. Partway through I know what the end scene will be and hopefully what my main thrust of the story is. I find writing almost as delightfully suspenseful as reading!

With longer stories like the novel I’m working on right now, I need a slightly tighter plan to keep my words from dissolving into a messy pile. I start out with a simple outline of the eight major plot points (a.k.a. The Important Stuff). If I’m shooting for a certain word count, I write out the number of plot points and a little description of each scene. (Below is a sneak peek of my plot for “Kiera”. All things are subject to change and copyrighted by Me.)

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How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?

I’ve been writing since age six, but as far as seriously writing? The last five years probably. 😉 In my journey I am just discovering how to structure, write longer works, bring in side plots, and develop deep, lovable characters. (I just published my second book which is also super exciting.) 😀

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

I actually don’t like having either while I write. 😛 I prefer using a computer with a good keyboard or my Dana Alphasmart. I also love scribbling in notebooks especially when brainstorming since it gets my creative juices flowing! If I’m having writer’s blocks, I like switching between formats just to see if that helps shake things up.

Snacks, good company, a quiet place, tea, and stormy weather are helpful to my inspiration. 😉

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN “don’t give up”), what would it be?

God gave you five senses–use ’em! Whatever you focus on when reading or thinking about a memory, use that to bring the scene alive to me. What do you notice first when you walk into a room? The rich, delicious smell? The softness of the carpet? The sound of soft music? What do your eyes pick out as important to the people living there or what’s about to happen. (If you were Sherlock Holmes, how would you draw your deductions?) Use these amazing tools to your advantage, writer!

About the Books

What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)

Well, I just finished At Home in Mitford ( ❤ ) which isn’t hugely suspenseful. The best plot twist I’ve read in awhile is actually from a MG book Henry and the Chalk Dragon. It still astonishes me with the hilarious and surprising ending. 😀

What books are you most anticipating for this year?

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September 5th my younger sisters and I get a new adventure to share! ❤ (Told you I read a lot of middle grade. 😀 )

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I have very mixed feelings about this series, but the fifth book ended on a very unfair cliffhanger that I hope I survive. (*is probably going to read this* *is slightly mad Fitz is not on the cover* *also does not recommend the series* *but read my reviews on Goodreads to get the full picture of my opinion*)

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Another in the Vintage Jane Austen series! This is a reimagining of Pride & Prejudice by one of my favorite authors. 😉

And I usually find out about new releases like a week before they come out, so I’m sure there are plenty more lovelies I’m looking forward to but don’t know about yet. (If that makes any sense at all.)

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?

*cudgels brain*

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If you’ve never read this, don’t read any synopses ever! Just go into it blind and enjoy. ❤ It’s pretty unique. 😉 (I reviewed it here.)

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Just looking at the cover, you can tell this is unique. I promise it’s not creepy, but it is more on the fantasy/sci-fi side of things.

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Word War II as you’ve never heard it before! This book (with some whiteout) is one of my absolute favorites. 😉 (Read my fangirl-y review here.)

What is your all-time favorite quote from YA lit (I know, I’m cruel)?

It’s probably from The Book Thief, but I have a few others I like. 😀

“Wouldn’t it be strange, she thought, to have a blue sky? But she liked the way it looked. It would be beautiful – a blue sky.”
― Jeanne DuPrauThe City of Ember

“But if a man truly loved you, he would see the beauty that lies much deeper than those scars.”
― Sarah HolmanWaltz into the Waves: A Cinderella Story

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaptation?

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❤ ❤ ❤ I even have the actors picked out! NOTHING must be changed though, and the author should be involved. 😀

So, I answered the questions which means tagging is next on the agenda. Therefore, I tag…

Maggie Joy from My Attic Corner

Paul Willis from Project Blank Page

And anyone else who would like to grab this! If you don’t have the time or the blog to answer all of these questions, you can answer them in comments. I’d love to see your answers! 😉

Sarah Holman Interview

D&D Blog Tour

Today I’m excited to be interviewing author Sarah Holman and introducing you to her latest book in the Tales of Taelis series! 😉

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“Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.

Dara’s life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.

Dresden’s initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?”

(Buy the book for the special pre-order price here.)

There also happens to be a very awesome giveaway!

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Enter it HERE! 😀

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Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: a homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined. Find her at www.thedestinyofone.com.

And now you get to know her a little bit better with this interview. 😉 Join me in welcoming author Sarah Holman to Once Upon an Ordinary!

Sarah, tell us a bit about yourself.

When people walk into my room, they see a lot of books. When they ask me about it I shrug and say:

“What do you expect from the daughter of two story addicts?” We are a family of avid readers and I have to say I think I got more than my fair share of story obsessiveness. I like hearing people talk about stories, I read constantly, and even when I am out in town, I watch people and try to imagine their stories.

When I’m not doing anything with stories, it is usually because I am hanging out with my awesome siblings, taking my morning run, or working on a quilt

What first made you decide you wanted to be an author? 

I was always making up stories, but at eleven I hit a point where I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. I found the books written for my age simple and silly. I was ready for more but not quite the ready for adult books. So I started writing the books I wanted to read. I based Brothers and Betrayal after the first book I ever wrote.

Would you introduce us to the Tales of Taelis series in general and Dreams and Devotions specifically? (And congrats on having a four book series!)
Taelis is a fictional country in Europe where many wonderful adventures take place. In each of the books, I tell tales (actually, Zale does), of adventure, faith, and young people. This is a series that I am writing to kids ages 10-15 (although a wider range has enjoyed it) to give them deep stories that challenge them but are safe to read.

Dreams and Devotion is about a young man who has just become a priest and his sister. Separated by many miles, they both face hardships of their own, along with someone hurting them deeply. It was a difficult story to write. However, it has become one of my favorites.

What is your favorite aspect of the ordinary life God has blessed you with?
My family. Living every day with them is such a blessing. It is like living with your best friends all the time. They give me so much material for a story and are there for me through everything.
Any plans for further projects?

Oh yes! I have the rest of the alphabet before me. Escape and Endurance is already written and I am half-way through the book based off the letter F (no title yet). Grace and Grumbling has a clear plot, and I have some ideas for almost all the other letters. There are many more tales Taelis has to offer.

I look forward to reading them! Thank you so much for coming! 

 

 Be sure to check out this amazing series and hop on the rest of blog tour!

July 8

Bookish Orchestrations ~ Faith Blum

July 9

His Princess Warrior ~ Katie Hamilton

July 10

In the Book Case ~ Tarissa Graves

Jessica Greyson ~ Jessica Greyson

July 11

Gods Peculiar Treasure Rae ~ Raechel

Read Another Page ~Rebekah Morris

July 12

Whimsical Writings For His Glory ~ Jesseca Dawn

Shannon McDermott ~ Shannon McDermott

July 13

The Page Dreamer ~ Deborah O’Carroll

July 14

Knitted by God’s Plans ~ Kendra E. Ardnek

With a Joyful Noise ~ Amanda Tero

Once Upon an Ordinary ~ Kate Willis

July 15

Jaye L. Knight ~ Jaye L. Knight

Book Review: Martin and Marco

25798689“The Lord of the Rings meets Calvin and Hobbes in The Dragon Lord Saga, a new five-part graphic novel series from Jonny Jimison!

Martin the soldier wants an adventure. Marco the stableboy wants to stay at home. Adventure takes them both by surprise as they encounter all the dragons, curses, thieves, and monsters the outside world can throw at them.” (from Goodreads)

Filled with danger, the occasional dragon, and a lot of humor, this was a fun read. My younger sister and I were in stitches over some of the lines, especially the exchanges between the brothers. My favorite character was Marco (darling eleven-year-old). He was so cute reading in the stable, “not hiding” under the bed, and discovering he had a slightly rotten talking horse. 😉 (That horse wins it for the humor, although the owl satchel is so goofy looking!) And it’s pretty sweet earlier in the story when Martin promises to protect him. *sniffs* Just a note there are some scary creatures, magical elements, and a few instances of humor parents may not want younger kids emulating.

I won’t be picking a best quote because the whole book is so quotable. My sister and I can’t stop referencing it. 😀

Altogether, I very much enjoyed this graphic novel and can’t wait to read the sequel.

And remember, don’t open the satchel.

My Weekend at the Generation Rising Authors Booth

Last weekend, six independent authors and I came together to form a booth at our local homeschool convention selling ten different titles. We had a profitable and encouraging weekend (and a ton of goofy fun to boot)! Here’s a recap. 😉

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Thursday night, we were blessed to hitch a ride to set-up with another author’s family. We carried boxes of stock into the convention center and set up our table arrangement for the next day.

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My brother’s novel and my newest release side by side! One of our authors who was selling World War II fiction had a welded Star of David (with a cross inside ❤ ) and a swastika on the table near her book. I decided I wanted props as well. Mom kindly took me to Hobby Lobby where I picked up two metal arrows and galvanized tin paint to make them look the proper shade of silver. 😀 I think they turned out pretty awesome. You can see them in some of the pictures I’ll share later in this post. 😉

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The next morning, our whole family bumped along in our fifteen passenger van with a friend we were giving a ride, a golden retriever puppy (training to be a service dog and representing a service dog school), way too much food, more decorative items for the booth, and two bookshelves. (Surprise!) We arranged our extra stock on the bookshelves behind the table for easy access and cool factor. You think it looks pretty? I wish I had a picture of when we started selling out of some books! 😀

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Like our snazzy business cards? The first day was pretty slow, but we handed out a lot of business cards and had some great conversations. (Like if Hobbes from the comic books is a pooka or Calvin’s imaginary friend and what the best series of all time is. Not to mention Superlapsarianism and independent publishing. 😀 Mom said our booth looked like a constant party.) Many people also promised to stop by again the next day.

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Which must have been the truth because on Saturday we were SWAMPED!! Just look at all those customers! (We met some very special people. One of my favorites was an older man with dyslexia who was excited about learning to read his Bible.) It got pretty crowded inside the booth with seven authors, three other “sales reps”, and a few friends that stuck with us just because. (That’s me in the pink shirt squeezing past someone to grab an author to come sign their book.)

There were a few times when some of us left to explore the exhibit hall and meet, encourage, and buy from other vendors. One of my favorite authors, Rebekah Jones, was there, so I enjoyed hanging out with her and her chocolate. 😉 It was also really funny walking past the Army recruiters and noticing that they were eating pink ice cream cones. Something new every day! 😛

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We were very busy up until the last few minutes, but we managed to take a group picture (thanks to the awesome sister of one author!). Doesn’t our table look sooo pretty? I think we did a great job. 😉

 

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We decided to take a picture holding up our books, but the two “sales reps” weren’t sure what they should hold. I handed them the receipt book and calculator at the last second because even if they aren’t published (yet) they still did a ton to make this booth happen!

Left to right: Elijah holding the receipt book (our CEO–chief encouragement officer and one of the main young men who headed us up), Paul holding Crossroads (he sold out! He was also our other header-upper and graphic designer for the website and promotional materials), Anna with the calculator (sales and sister support, also collecting candy from other tables 😀 ), Maggie holding The Star Under the City (our bestseller, high five!), C.L. holding Garden Day and Levi’s Grouchy Day (gotta love picture books!), Yours Truly holding The Treasure Hunt and The Twin Arrows, Susie holding The Mystery of the Mansion and True (congrats on two books!), Justus with His Father’s Command (he also sold out), and Tanner holding The Blue Blur (major hit since it’s about a Christian superhero!). Not pictured: Malachi another sales rep and super-encourager.

We look forward to adding his, Elijah’s, and Anna’s upcoming books to our website Generation Rising when they publish them!

It was a great weekend, and we all feel very blessed and tired! 😉 We’re already making plans for next year. 😉

(Thanks to Emily, Gabby, Anna, and Perry Elisabeth for taking pictures! We didn’t have the time or brain space.)