A Very Bookish Easter // My Semi-Biased Review

A Very Bookish Easter // My Semi-Biased Review

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 sheโ€™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.
Addieโ€™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 ๐Ÿ’–

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-reviewsโ€ฆ

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 Iโ€™ve never been so happy to be wrong, and Iโ€™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 โ€œScroogeโ€ 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 Iโ€™m excited to read the other stories about it now.

Representation: mixed-race heritage, celiac disease.

CW: medical emergencies.

Addieโ€™s Mountain
Ooo, thatโ€™s my story! I donโ€™t have much to say except thereโ€™s a lot of spring vibes, some church trauma, a really cute neighbor boy, lots of baking, and a bookish main character (of course).

Representation: Jewish heritage, anxiety, chronic illness, deafness.

CW: anxiety symptoms including an attack.

Meet Claire – The Get to Know My Character Tag (Again) (Because)

Meet Claire – The Get to Know My Character Tag (Again) (Because)

I’m doing this tag again just for fun, and because it’s imperative you get to meet Addie’s younger sister Claire.

(Again, thanks to Anna from Anna’s Idea Blog for creating this tag.)

Whatโ€™s your full name?

Hi, I’m Claire. That’s all you need to know. *waggles eyebrows mysteriously*

How old are you?

I’m 12, which is more fantastic to be than 11, in case you were wondering.

Where do you live? (You can be as specific as you want)

I live in the upstairs bedroom on the right side of the hall on the right side of the room at my grandfather’s house with my older sister and cool aunt in the tiny town of Mush. You said to be specific. ๐Ÿคช

What has been your greatest achievement in life?

Oh, boy. I reached level 500 on one of my video games, but just because I was sick a lot and needed something to do.

Do you have friends? Enemies?

I’m friends with Addie, my aunt, my grandfather, and the KITTENS. Also, Skyler is really cute but he’s more Addie’s friend. My enemies are mostly my chronic pain episodes, and a tiny bit anyone who is rude about my illness.

Whatโ€™s your hobby/hobbies?

Video games, also sometimes reading, and sometimes gardening. I’ve just discovered I like it.

How would you describe your personality?

Typical annoying little sister? *laughs evilly* No, but I’m really cheerful and enthusiastic because I want to enjoy every moment I’m well to the fullest.

Describe your family. Siblings, parents, pets, etc.

I have Aunt Mae, she’s pretty cool. Addie and I are working on getting an uncle, but so far no luck. I have Addie, who is kinda the best older sister. And I have a grandfather straight from a book. And KITTENS.

Oh, and of course I had parents, but they passed when I was really little.

Walnuts and Brownies, yay or nay? (I feel like this is an important question)

DOUGHNUTS

Favorite book to read, or if you donโ€™t like to read, something else you like to do?

Books with tips about my farming videogame. ๐Ÿ˜‰

BONUS! If you had a choice, what would you tell your author? Would you wanthim/her to change your story? Explain.

Find an uncle for us, please and thank you. I need the cuteness in my life. ๐Ÿ‘

And that’s Claire. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you haven’t met Addie, her older sister and the main character of Addie’s Mountain, yet, read her character interview here.

Addie’s Mountain is now available in the A Very Bookish Easter anthology!

A Very Bookish Easter Is Here! (+Thank Yous)

A Very Bookish Easter Is Here! (+Thank Yous)

IT’S HEREEEEEEE!!!! Our anthology is finally born, and ebook copies are going out with paperbacks soon to follow. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

I hope you enjoy diving into this anthology this Easter season. ๐Ÿ’–

I’m so overwhelmed with joy to be a part of this (and to be back as an author!), that I’m honestly out of words and emotions except happy dances and hugs. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

I think I’ll let my acknowledgments from the novella speak for me.

The author wishes to thankโ€ฆ

My Joshuaโ€”for your support, encouragement, and adorable face while I was trying to concentrate at the coffee shop that one time.

The Very Awesome Mikaylaโ€”for letting me send you chapters for motivation and for giving me the cupcake mascot.

Lillian Keithโ€”for your encouraging comments on my blog throughout the whole process.

My A Very Bookish sisters, Sarah, Kelsey, and Abigayleโ€”for having me as part of this anthology. It means so much to be in your company. 

My fabulous beta-reading team, Perry, Rosy, Kaitlyn, Havelah, and Rebekahโ€”for your enthusiasm, thoughtful questions, and grammar skills. Itโ€™s been a delight to have you on my team. 

Kelseyโ€”for the always amazing editing and encouragement.

Birkenfeld, Oregonโ€”for being such a beautiful, dynamic place to grow up. Your people and your flowers fill the world with color.

Godโ€”for resurrecting me.

May hope invade your heart! ๐Ÿ’–

The Get to Know My Character Tag: Addie

The Get to Know My Character Tag: Addie

I found and snagged this tag from Bree at Laughs and Literature, and I’m very excited to share more about one of my characters with you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, so much thanks to Anna from Anna’s Idea Blog for creating this tag. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today I’ll be interviewing my character Addie from my upcoming novella Addie’s Mountain. ๐Ÿ˜‰ There are some very minor spoilers, but I hope you enjoy getting to know her. โค

Whatโ€™s your full name?

Hi, I’m Addie! It’s short for Adelheid, like in the book Heidi. My middle and last names are not revealed in my book, but I’m sure they are very cool.

How old are you?

I’m about fifteen, though some days I feel younger than that and others I feel older. It’s a funny age like that.

Where do you live? (You can be as specific as you want)

I grew up around central Oregon, and we just moved far north to the tiny town of Mush to live with Grandfather Ari. I’m not sure how long we’ll stay, but I hope it’s forever. โค

What has been your greatest achievement in life?

This is going to sound really funny, but it’s actually how hard I’m working to handle my anxiety. Secondarily, it’d have to be how many books I read in a year… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you have friends? Enemies?

Lol, I love this question. My sister Claire and I are best friends, I’d count Aunt Mae and Grandfather Ari as friends too, and I’m starting to make friends with the neighbor boy, Skylar. No enemies, unless you count Ryan from kindergarten. (He spilled my crackers and laughed.)

Whatโ€™s your hobby/hobbies?

My hobby is reading, early and often and happily ever after. I might add baking to my official hobbies soon, if Grandfather has anything to say about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

How would you describe your personality? Describe your family. Siblings, parents, pets, etc.

I’m a shy extrovert living with my Aunt and younger sister Claire. Aunt Mae took us in when we were very little, and she’s been taking care of us since. We all moved in with Grandfather and his two dogs, Penny and Luke. I have anxiety from some past trauma.

Walnuts and Brownies, yay or nay? (I feel like this is an important question)

Brownies = yes (if they’re Grandfather’s maple ones!), Walnuts = no. I’m partial to pecans and cashews. Walnuts feel too much like eating a tree.

Favorite book to read, or if you donโ€™t like to read, something else you like to do?

I’m currently reading Heidi (and yes, I’m aware of the parallels to my life), and when I finish, I’ll probably read an old mystery or something…

BONUS! If you had a choice, what would you tell your author? Would you want him/her to change your story? Explain.

Oh, hmmm. Maybe less trauma, please? And more books for me to read. I saw that scrapped storyline where I got to renovate a library…

There you go! That’s Addie. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you have a question for her or for me, drop it in the comments, and we’ll answer you soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Very Bookish Easter releases on March 1st and is available for pre-order now.

Some Very Bookish Updates ;)

Some Very Bookish Updates ;)

Guys, I’m getting more and more excited by the day. ๐Ÿ˜ It finally hit me today, after a video call with my fellow anthology authors, that this is real!

AHHHHHHHH!!! I’m here to spill all the details. ๐Ÿ˜‰

First off, we have a blurb…

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 sheโ€™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.
Addieโ€™s Mountain by Kate Willis, inspired by Heidi

Four classic-inspired Easter stories full of hope, faith, and the miracle of resurrection.

And we have a release date–March 1st, 2023–which also means it’s AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! *happy dance* We’ll have some pre-order goodies available soon to boot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And if you’d like to be part of the launch team (maybe get an ARC of one of the stories? ๐Ÿ‘€), you can sign up here.

Wow, that was a lot. I hope your week (and this new month!) is going well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

*disappears back into cave* *temporarily*

I Did It!

I Did It!

Remember when I shared I was part of A Very Bookish Easter anthology and my plans for a Heidi-inspired novella? I wrote a large chunk during my escapades as a NaNoRebel but soon fell into writer’s block and dissatisfaction with the tone and direction of my story…

Each day as my deadline drew closer, I knew I couldn’t continue writing it.

Two days before the year ended, I took the plunge and completely started over. Square one, fresh document, no borrowing words from the original draft (except a short description).

Back when I was just starting chapter 3 ๐Ÿ˜ญ

I wrote like a crazy fiend for the next two weeks through vacation, illness, and ginormous work projects. I wrote in the car, in bed, at the coffee shop, in my living room. Lots of tea was consumed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chai and cupcake Squishmallow for support

As the story took shape this time, I found both the joy and the deep theme I was missing. It became a celebration of spring, of a hometown very inspired by my own, of a close-knit family and community.

And it became an exploration of church hurt and longing for wholeness again.

I really am so grateful (and mildly shocked ๐Ÿ˜…) to have this novella completed. It’s been three years since my last new book, so this feels like a huge step and a big blessing.

My coffeeshop buddy ๐Ÿ’–

It’s currently in the hands of my fabulous beta-reading team and after that it’ll be sent on over to my editor. ๐Ÿ™Œ

I named it “Addie’s Mountain”, and I can’t wait to share it with you. ๐Ÿ’–

Crunch Time

Crunch Time

Greetings from crazy author HQ. I haven’t updated you all on my WIP for the Easter anthology in quite a while because I’ve been frantically writing it. In fact, tomorrow I turn “Addie’s Mountain” over to beta-readers. Tonight I finish writing it…

I truly can’t believe this is happening. It’s been a while since my last project, and this one has had so many setbacks. To get to this point, well… I’m both excited and terrified out of my mind. ๐Ÿ‘€

*stares into the void* *flexes writing muscles*

As this week is proving too dynamic and busy for blogging, I thought I might pacify you all with a (very rough draftish) excerpt… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Addie awoke to soft gray light playing with the curtain and a chill running through the room that made her want to burrow deeper into her blankets and never leave. She yawned and rolled over to face Claire but her sister was already awake, sitting close to the window with her blanket draped over her shoulders.

“What is it?” Addie asked. She sat up but her body shivered in protest. 

“It snowed,” Claire breathed, and she was over to the window in seconds.

Soft, glittering snow had covered the whole backyard, dormant orchard and dead garden, and even balanced on the fence that separated yard from pasture. Small flakes still floated down here and there like butterflies skipping from flower to flower. Penny ran by wagging her tail and twisting with joy as she tried to snap up the flakes. The sisters exchanged glances and made a snap decision, changing into snow clothes and charging out the backdoor before breakfast could even be mentioned.

Addie chased Claire around the big maple tree, throwing handfuls of snow and dodging Penny who was determined to get under foot. Claire’s cheeks grew rosy with the cold and laughter, and she stopped suddenly and shoved a handful of snow right into her.

Addie shrieked and the snow battle was on. They sank down on the porch together and stared out at the slushy yard that was beginning to melt. A movement near the barn caught Addie’s eye and she looked in time to see a tall boy turn away and duck into the building.

I’ll be back next week with more project details and a very fun bookhaul. For now, send help and Chai. ๐Ÿ’–

(Also, J and I got a library card!)

2023, Bookish Goals for Me

2023, Bookish Goals for Me

Welcome, 2023! Make yourself comfortable and stay awhile. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As in past years, I’ve decided to share a few of my hopeful bookish goals for this year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. Publish my A Very Bookish Easter novella

My entry to this anthology is coming along well, and I can’t wait for you all to read the finished product. ๐Ÿคฉ I think it’s gonna give you allll the cozy feels. ๐Ÿ˜

2. Commission character art

This was actually something I attempted last year, but it didn’t end up working out, and I’m really excited to give it another shot. I have some gorgeous art of Kiera and of characters from the Arrows and Archers series planned. ๐Ÿ˜

3. Dive back into dormant projects

This includes but is not limited to… promised sequels, “Awake” draft bazillion and seven or something, and a middle-grade WWII homefront novel. I am hoping to ease back into regular writing routines, and the big dream is to publish at least one new project this year. ๐Ÿ™

4. Sell books in person?

It’s been a few years now since I’ve had the opportunity to sell my books at an in-person event, but I’m really hoping/praying/scheming to get something together this year. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

5. Read 35 books

I barely made my goal last year, but I am planning to read a lot, so I’ve started my challenge at a nice, moderate 35 books. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ I’m hoping a high percentage of them are new indie releases. ๐Ÿคž


There you go! Those are my bookish goals for this shiny new year. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’™ In the personal sphere, I’m also planning to continue working on my mental health and to move on from my current day job to something that fits my needs better. Also, more baking, but that’s a given… ๐Ÿ˜‰

What are your hopeful goals for 2023?

Shalom and Goodbye to 2022

Shalom and Goodbye to 2022

If I had to choose three words to describe this year, they would be “sorting”, “softness”, and “new” memories. ๐Ÿ’™

Year one of marriage has been great! We’ve had so much fun getting settled in our little house, bringing his dog Nugget into the mix, and becoming pros at grocery shopping and communication (almost). Also, hospitality makes us feel like really cool adults. ๐Ÿ˜Ž My favorite new memories have been us sitting on the porch watching it rain and our very bookish vacation this summer.

My mental health journey has been a ride. Oh boy. ๐Ÿฅด Lots of coping with comfort shows, a cute computer game, and amazing naps, lol. I feel like I lost a lot of time this year to survival mode, but I’m so grateful to be six months into treatment and feeling way better. And just this month I got answers and a plan for 3+ years of “mysterious” physical illness. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ˜

It’s been an amazing author year in ways I could have never expected when I dove back in! It’s been encouraging and fun to find you all stuck around, and growing my bookish Instagram community has been great too. ๐Ÿ’™ I released the special second edition of Kiera, a literal dream come true, published Enjoy the Poodle Skirt in adorable tiny paperback form, and wrote Operation Robin and most of a novella. I’ve also been gaining confidence (and a low-key obsession) with cover design. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

So much more reading happened this year! And a huge percentage of it was indie, which makes me ridiculously happy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ From debuts to short stories to years-in-the-making comebacks, I’ve been delighted to support my authors and discover new fictional worlds. I’ve also gotten to experience a couple buddy reads which is always quite fun. Check out my Goodreads “Year in Books” to see what I enjoyed.

My husband and I really bonded over movies while we were dating, and the fun has continued into our marriage. Thanks to him, I’ve seen a TON of really good movies this year, so I had trouble choosing my top 5. (That’s why there are six. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘€) If you have any questions about a movie/content, I’m happy to share my thoughts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I got to bake a lot more this season, and my favorite repeat recipe has got to be these cookies. So delicious and light. ๐Ÿคค I had to buy a new computer early this year, and collecting stickers on it makes my nerd heart so happy. ๐Ÿ˜ As does my growing Funko Pop family and the book sleeve collection I accidentally started. ๐Ÿ˜Š

It’s been quite a year, and I’m really, really grateful for it. ๐Ÿ’š I’ll be back next week (next year! :O ) with my nebulous goals for 2023.

Thank you for being part of my 2022!

A Little Bit of Writing, and That’s All // NaNoRebel Wrap-Up

A Little Bit of Writing, and That’s All // NaNoRebel Wrap-Up

Despite my optimism, best intentions, and strongest will to write… Well, no more writing happened. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was a deadly combination of the world’s weirdest flu, holidays (and baking and decorating for them!), fatigue and depression, and being distracted by some pretty cool books and an adorable computer game (oops).

Goals are hard for me.

I blame myself when I don’t squeeze out every last minute, when I look back and realize I let quite ordinary energetic days pass without writing, when I’m confronted by my procrastinating and lazy tendencies.

I get discouraged when in this season of life it’s more than likely my body or my emotions (or both) will randomly go on strike for daysss at a time and leave me catching up and choosing between work and pleasure with the time I get.

I feel embarrassed when I have to update you all that I failed another goal, again.

Now comes the part where I let go and move on. I remind myself to be grateful for the words I have written and focus on the numerous other joys that have come about and will continue to come as we turn toward Christmas hope. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope, whether you accomplished your goals last month or not, that you lean into grace and joy. โค