It’s my birthday this month, and forcing you to read my favorite books this tag seemed like a great way to celebrate. 😉 I stole this tag from MyBookWorld24, and it seems to be originally created by Antonia’s Always Books. Thanks to both of you, and I hope your birthdays were fabulous. 😉
Let’s get into it!
Birthday Cake: a book with a plot that seems cliche, but you adore it anyway
If you just read the blurb, Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant would look like a cliche, but adorable and swoony YA romance novel. Except that’s part of the point and the story contains much more growth and beauty in addition to the cute storyline. 😉
Party Guests: your most anticipated book release for this year
Ahhhhhhh! Toni Shiloh’s The Love Scriptis pre-ordered and waiting for me to gobble up the second it drops. 😉
Birthday Presents: a book that surprised you with how much you loved it
A Curse for Christmas by Anna Christine, hands down. I tend to excessively research books before I buy them, but I went into this completely blind and adored every moment. Absolutely worth it, and I’m on the campaign to get everyone to read it. 😉
“Happy Birthday” Song: a book that certainly deserved all the hype it got
Ignite by Jenna Terese. I don’t often enjoy very hyped books (*has a lot of triggers*) but I’m so glad I went for this one because it knocked my socks off. 👏👏
Happy Music: a book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, absolutely. I probably talk about this book far too much, but I don’t care. 😉 It broke my heart, mended my soul, and taught me there are no rules for writing.
Getting Older: a book that you read a long time ago, but you think you would appreciate more if you read it as a more mature reader
Also The Book Thief. 😉 I just know there’s more in there for me to discover. 💖
Sweet Birthday Memories: a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life
I can’t remember a specific time, but the series Kate’s Case Files by Sarah Holman. I always gravitate toward reading them when I need something to cheer me up or draw me out of a reading slump. 😉
Nyree moves when she loses her job, hoping to reconnect with herself and her grandmother in time for Easter, but when she stumbles upon a hidden garden, she discovers just how much she’s been missing. The Prayer Garden by Kelsey Bryant, inspired by The Secret Garden
Felicity goes out of her comfort zone and invites Adam Moore to Easter service, but their business rivalry has him ready to prove her evangelization wrong. Lilies and Thorns by Abigayle Claire, inspired by Romeo and Juliet
Samuel is haunted by his past and unsettled by the present, but as the Easter season begins, Ellie could show him what his future could be. An Easter Canticle by Sarah Holman, inspired by A Christmas Carol
Addie hopes for a fresh start when she and her family move to the mountains to live with Grandfather, but some wounds seem too deep to heal, even at Easter. Addie’s Mountain by Kate Willis, inspired by Heidi
Four classic-inspired Easter stories full of hope, faith, and the miracle of resurrection. (from Goodreads)
My Review 💖
As a longtime fan of my fellow anthology authors, I was very excited to read their stories, and they did not disappoint! Here are my (slightly biased) mini-reviews…
The Prayer Garden This book was so beautiful, with quintessential spring vibes, natural Christian themes, and some really sweet relationships. Also, talk about a meet-cute. 😉 The end truly brought tears to my eyes.
Representation: depression, dementia.
CW: medical facilities, emotional distress.
Lilies and Thorns I highly enjoyed the inherent drama of this one, lol, which is not usual for me. It started out seeming on the way to an expected, Hallmark movie place, but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong, and I’m a huge fan of where the story ended.
Representation: social anxiety.
CW: mentions of loss to cancer, dysfunctional family relationships, shaded truth.
An Easter Canticle This one was much different than I expected, and I loved it. The “Scrooge” character was actually quite loveable, and I appreciated seeing him deal with the fallout of his life changes. The retreat center was a lovely setting, and I’m excited to read the other stories about it now.
Addie’s Mountain Ooo, that’s my story! I don’t have much to say except there’s a lot of spring vibes, some church trauma, a really cute neighbor boy, lots of baking, and a bookish main character (of course).
I ran a book table at a vendor fair this past weekend. 👀 (“For the first time in foreverrrrrrr!” 🎶) And it was pretty fun and went pretty well. 😉
I thought I’d share some pictures under the guise of sharing tips with y’all. 😉 Mwahahaa.
1. Order stock early!
I’ve had a few scary events where my books have arrived literally the day before, and I won’t let that happen again if at all possible. If you’re ordering through KDP, I recommend giving yourself three weeks at minimum for the books to print, ship, and arrive. If you’re ordering during a busy season (mid-summer and holidays seem to be the worst) or this is your first run of this book so it may not go smoothly, go ahead and give yourself even more time. You won’t regret it. 😉
2. Pack yourself an emergency bag!
That’s extra change, pens, tape, scissors, granola bars, anything you (or your helpers) are possibly going to need. If this is an all-day event, bring something to do for the slow moments. 😉
3. Bring a cashbox.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but this will help you keep track of different bills and feel more secure about your earnings.
4. Use book stands.
I like to get mine from the Dollar Store. They literally last forever, and you can buy a large quantity if needed. They add more visual interest to your table, and if you have display copies people can flip through, it’s even better.
5. Think about your pens!
Are you going to be signing books? Pick pens that are easy to use, don’t smear, and last for a long time. I love using silver Sharpies for this. Or if you’re not personalizing, you can pre-sign all your books at home.
6. Price stickers aren’t necessary.
But they can look extra professional. 😉 This time I went with a picture frame “menu” just for ease and cost reasons. Sometime I’ll get myself some gorgeous reusable stickers. 😉
7. Choose packaging wisely!
If this is an all-day or outdoor event, you may want to provide customers with packaging to protect their new book. Whether that’s a bag, tissue paper, Kraft paper, etc…. And cute packaging that shows off your branding is kinda a bonus. 😉 I chose tissue paper which it ended up being wayyy too windy for. 🙈
8. Step it up with business cards!
These are actually pretty easy to make,(especially with templates from Canva) and print at Staples. Don’t include so much info it’s cluttered, just the basics like your name, where to follow you, where to find/buy your other books, etc.
9. Be strategic with your booth decor.
Choose items that add visual interest, practical use, or aesthetic to your brand/books themselves without being cluttered. This can be a huge way to set your booth apart from the others and encourage customers to check it out. 😉 It’s also pretty fun.
10. Personalize thoughtfully!
And finally, if you’re personalizing books and want to ensure you get the customer’s name right, have them write it on a scrap of paper for you to copy.
I hope you enjoyed seeing a peek into my booth and get to do one of your own sometime! 💖
“The Chosen” has been one of my absolute favorite shows lately, and I decided to pick out *just* three reasons why. (It’s tough, y’all. 😭) Here they are…
1. It’s such good storytelling. 😍 Seriously, every scene is so thoughtfully, creatively, and artistically done. The characters are beautifully developed with their own goals and fears and character arcs, down to the local Roman who used to guard Matthew. I often get tired of bad Christian art, so this excellence is a breath of fresh air. 👏👏
2. It’s culturally respectful. Especially as I connect with my Jewish heritage, I grow more tired of Christians either ignoring or appropriating it. (Put your shofar away, please!) So far in every episode I’ve seen, I can tell they are doing their cultural homework. I can especially see it in the humor style and how natural the Israeli actor of Peter is. Also, Z using Krav Maga fighting styles. 😍
3. I can find myself in it. Because this series draws out and creatively imagines the lives of the disciples and other side characters, there’s always someone to relate to. Mary Magdalene and Andrew are my favorites, and I learn so much and am encouraged by seeing the change Jesus makes in their lives. 💙
There are many other things I love–the take on Jesus, specific healing scenes that bring the tears, real life issues handled gently, the care paid to the truth of Scripture–but these seemed a good place to start. 😉
It was a dark and stormy day, and I had the perfect writing time planned.
Tea, laptop, cozy vibes, new work-in-progress… Yes.
I just had to wait for the water to boil so I could steep my tea.
I probably paced a little. Listened to the kettle, waiting for that sweet whistle of readiness. Wondered what to do in the meantime. Stared at the kettle, making sure it was centered on the burner. Paced some more.
After a few minutes of this, I sat down in my writing space.
What else was I going to do? My brain and my laptop, aka my two most important tools were ready. I had creative energy and time.
So I started writing.
And I wrote an entire chapter before my tea was even ready, and the writing time only improved once it was.
I do love a good peak author moment when the sun slants just right and my hair is in a curly updo and I have cozy blankets and warm feelings and the perfect mug of spiced chai. Some days I need to curate this to fuel my creativity or prepare my emotions.
I recently got up the courage to start writing a new book.
Then about a week in, an old project stole my heart, and I haven’t looked back.
You’ve probably already guessed (or hoped) what I’m working on, especially if you follow me on Goodreads…
I’m pleased to say, I’m over 40% of the way through draft three of my fantasy novel, “Awake”. 😍 That’s all of part 1, and some very tough but very important scenes from part 2. 😉 Also, character development!!
It feels like I’ve been working on this novel forever, but in reality, it’s just the one that gets pushed to the back when other deadlines call my name. I’m excited to be making progress again, and it feels like maybe this book will *finally* be a thing. 😉
I’ll share with you my *real* project soon, but for now, here are some movie-esque posters I mocked up for inspiration. 😁 (All images from Canva.)
Okay, back to editing and devastating your hearts. 💖
This book has such a quiet soul, tuned in to observing people and loving them in all their humanity but definitely from afar. It also gives me autumn vibes, which I feel like is the season we introverts thrive most.
Can accidentally becoming a beekeeper lead to love?
Single mom Cordy Brown can’t catch a break. Not only does she lose her job, but the quaint English cottage she pools her savings to purchase is the very definition of a money pit. To top it off, a delivery man appears on her doorstep with a shipment of bees and announces she’s their new caretaker! Could life get any more complicated?
Ronan Thomson is only in England for one reason: to drag his underage brother back to Ireland for end-of-year exams. He quickly learns, however, that nothing about this will be simple and he finds himself holding a baby goat on Cordy’s doorstep. Falling for a beautiful American is easy. Ronan’s problems lie in the overabundance of animals, his stubborn brother, and the unexpected guest from Cordy’s past.
Can Cordy and Ronan overcome all the obstacles standing between them? After all, some things just feel meant to bee. (from Goodreads)
My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book… *sighs happily* From the cover inward, the cozy British town vibes were perfectly blended with the story of a woman struggling in life. I rooted for Cordy, grew frustrated with her at times, hung on every word of her learning beekeeping and other skills, delighted with her over Poppy, and waited with bated breath to see how she would handle forgiveness.
(Which, the forgiveness storyline was a breath of fresh air! It acknowledged boundaries and left no room for disrespect/abuse while encouraging to forgive. I haven’t seen another book quite this nuanced.)
The romance was super sweet. The story pacing did seem to speed up halfway through, but I grew used to it and loved every moment. I especially enjoyed how respectful yet honest they were with each other, and I was hardcore rooting for them.
Don’t get me started on how much I loved the pro-life after birth themes and the supportive side characters. 👏👏
CW: harassment, lying side character, judgemental local. Some kissing.
I can’t wait to read more of this author’s work, and I love the heart you can clearly see shining through every page. 💛
I have a cover design problem; maybe you have a solution.
You see, I love designing them for absolutely no reason (although commissioned covers are fun too). Whenever I’m bored during a movie, waiting for something, or just randomly have a design idea, off I pop to Canva and I’m doodling up something.
Because of this, I have far too many cute covers without stories, and that’s where you come in. Would you be willing to buy one of these? Maybe there’s one that fits your current WIP, or a book that needs a design refresh, or one holds your next idea…
If you’d like to “rescue” a cover from the depths of my files, here’s how it works.
You browse through and fall in love.
Notice the letter and number on the caption.
Fill out the Google form with that number and your info.
I contact you, we do PayPal or CashApp, I customize the title/author name, and it’s all yours.
Simple as that. 😉 Let’s get to the covers…
These covers are ones that were more simple for me to make, and I’d like to offer them for $5 each.
This is my mid-tier flight of covers for $10 each.
And these are my top-tier covers for $25 each.
I’m also currently offering custom ebook covers for $25 and an added back cover (to any cover you purchase) for $15.