Book Friday Just Gets Better

First there were 150. Then it grew to 280. Now, this year the Indie Black Friday Book Sale has 400+ titles for free and $0.99. 😍😍

Within those titles are a lot of old favorites. 😉

Emmeline by Sarah Holman. The first three books of her Kate’s Case Files series. (I love this series, y’all.) Perry Kirkpatrick’s Kitten File Mysteries, The Accidental Cases of Emily Abbott (including the most recent ones! 😍😍), and the Shallows trilogy. The entire Firmament Series is on sale too, and I just gotta remind you all–the most recent book wrecked me and I’d like to share my pain.

*runs around screaming*

🤩🤩🤩

If you’ve been waiting to try any of these authors or need to catch up on a series… now is the time. 😁

I’m also eyeing a few new books I just might give a try. A quick reminder, the prices aren’t live until Friday 11.27. 😉

I scrolled by this cover a few times thinking the cover looked like a cute sister story, but then the blurb made me wonder–is this the same girl in different worlds??? And now I’m intrigued. 😁 (Link to book)

Rebekah Morris has a new series, y’all! I didn’t know more than just the first book were released, so… I’m tempted. 😉

This one honestly sounds like such a cute idea, and I seriously love the vibes of that window. 😍

A matchmaker grannies series?!! With adorable covers??? Someone send help before I buy everything. 💗

I need more superhero books. Simple as that. Okay, and the cover got me. 😂😛

All of my books and short stories are discounted for Black Friday through Cyber Monday as well.

But my favorite thing about this year? That’s more proof that it just gets better and better? 😍😍

I’m finally able to offer signed, deeply discounted paperbacks through my own internet store front. (Thanks to Perry for creating it on such short notice!) 😁🤩

Discounted prices will go live on Black Friday proper, but you can take a peek at the shop here.

I have to stop shopping now because there’s some pie to make for Thanksgiving. 😉 I hope you all have a blessed celebration, whatever that may look like this year! 😉

Batteries and a Book Club

I got batteries for Chanukah (eight nights x one gift per night = eight traditionally practical gifts), and it’s been so amazing. 😉 My Dana Alphasmart electronic typewriter is delightfully ancient and completely useless without batteries, so I’m super happy to have it back in comission. I’ve already writen 5,000 new words (distraction free!) on my fantasy story these past two weeks alone. ❤ It’s been going really well so far, and I’ve been loving fleshing out these characters and their motivations. (More needed on draft two, of course.) I just finished part one this weekend, so now there’s going to be a completely new setting and character dynamic to figure out which is SO. MUCH. FUN.

Also, I really, really love this dog side character that decided to be more important in the story than originally planned. *shrugs happily* And I’m really, really sad about what I’m about to do to some characters in just a couple hundred words. 😦 The life of an author is a complicated mess… (Especially when you accidentally lose two scenes. 😛 Don’t worry, it’s all good now.)

I get to go to a book club this week! *grins hugely* As a guest speaker! *smile falters* Which is honestly so cool, and I can’t wait to meet the girls and answer their questions about my writing and Kiera. 😉 (Don’t tell, but I’ve also put together a few minibook copies of my Kiera short story to share with them. Thanks to a Staples run and Perry’s legendary stapler. ❤ ) The book they’re discussing this month is Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen, so I’m gonna get up to speed so I can follow the discussion. Pray for me that I won’t get too tongue-tied and am able to bless the girls. 😀

Last week, I spent a ton of time* trying to write a synopsis for Sincerely, Jem. The anthology was limited edition, so I needed an individual synopsis for releasing it on its own. Skimming, an hour phone call with back up, and a gazillion drafts later, I posted it on Goodreads. With a release date. And much happiness. 😀

Dear Reader,
My name is Jessie. I’m an expert at introversion and cheesecake eating. (#skillz) I’m trying to become a writer, but gathering inspiration = social interaction, so… no.

The world’s best mail carrier suggested I get a pen pal, so this is the story of that pen pal experiment and the beautiful way it opened my eyes.

Merry Christmas and much cheesecake to you!
Sincerely,
Jem


This lighthearted novella is inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster and originally appeared in the anthology A Very Bookish Christmas.” (from Goodreads)

And then it was time for FORMATTING! It’s not as scary as it looks, and I was actually able to do it all on my own this time. My sister Perry has helped me with it multiple times (#ninja), and Draft2Digital is really intuitive and easy to use, so yep. 😀

It’s releasing NEXT MONDAY, a.k.a. 1/20. 😀 (I really can’t wait.)

2019 in Review ;)

A long time ago in 2016, some friends and I were commenting on a sci-fi looking outfit. “Woah, that looks like it’s from 2020 or something.” Seconds later, we all freaked out when we realized that sci-fi-sounding date was only four years away.

And now 2020 is today. O.o.

Start practicing writing it on papers now, y’all. 😀

At the very beginning of this year, I want to take a few moments to share some of my highlights from the last one. 😉

(Such a silly Kate)

In the blogging sphere…

2019 felt a little bit different for me as far as blogging goes. With all the writing/publishing deadlines I had this year, there were some rough patches with fatigue and a lack of inspiration, but I’m excited to see that fading. 😉 Thanks for sticking with me through it! I also did my first vlog with My Face in it and got to reveal a ton of really pretty book covers. 😀

I looked up my stats for the top five posts of last year (minus giveaways/collabs cause those naturally get more hits), and here’s what the numbers show…

  1. Shipping Is the Best is actually one I posted in late November 2018. It was super fun sharing memes about shipping (as in wanting two characters to get in a relationship) and sharing my tips for shipping books in the mail. XD
  2. Do I Have That Book? Challenge was super fun. I enjoyed searching through my books to find ones that answered the questions.
  3. The End of the Line: My Thoughts on Avengers Endgame. Okay, this one took so much work to write and put together, and I loved every moment of it. The movie was definitely a highlight of my year. ❤
  4. I Love Book Thrifting (and You Can Too) was disguised as a thrifting tutorial, but it was really just an excuse to get to go book shopping. 😛 😉 (Also another one that was posted late 2018 and took off the next year.)
  5. A Smorgasbord of Writing Music is a collection of some of my favorite songs to write to. (Obvious from the title, but this needed a description to match the others, right? XD)

And if I had to choose two favorites, they’d probably be #3 and My Shoes Have Bows. 😉

(Books, books, books…)

In the reading sphere…

Last year (it feels so weird to type that!), I found soooo many good books! Some really fun experiences this year were my very first buddy reads with my friend Mikayla, getting to finish reading some serieses (wooohooo!), and trying Kindle Unlimited for the first time. 😉 Goodreads put together a fun summary of my reading year (you can view it here), but I’m gonna go ahead and choose five keep-these-in-my-heart-forever books to highlight. 😉

  1. Legends by Denver Evans was something I was absolutely not expecting, and I still struggle to review it properly. Is it too cliche to say that it broke my heart and put it back together? Knocked my socks off? Asdfjkl; and other random gibbering? It’s full of ordinaryness and identity and identity found in Christ. 
  2. The Mysterious Benedict and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trention Lee Stewart is one of my favorite books out of the trilogy (I haven’t read the new book or the prequel yet), and it’s here happily representing all of them. Guys, I love the feel of these books and the characters and the themes so much. ❤
  3. Red Rover, Red Rover by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick. So, I already warned you all that I read a lot of series this year, right? 😀 My summer was full of this book and the other five that followed in quick succession. So satisfying and brilliant and hilarious.
  4. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais gave me so much to think about and I absolutely love the cover. Also, it is reaaaallly heartbreaking. 
  5. Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix… How do I explain it? It messed with my classic sci-fi expectations and have me a big dose of hope. 😉

And because I read quite a few picture books this year, I want you all to know that Hair Love and How to Bake a Book are amazing. 

(That moment when you upload the book!)

In the writing sphere…

My writing year in one word: surprising. I’m so grateful for all the writing that I’ve gotten to do this year, and the places God has taken it that I could never have imagined. Some favorites…

  1. Completing the first draft of my novella “Imperfect”. I love this book soooo much, y’all. 😉
  2. Finally publishing The Night Archers, sequel to The Twin Arrows, and taking it to the homeschool convention with some fellow writing friends. ❤ I’m so happy to have this book out in the world, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has cheered me on (and given me the hard truth XD) as I revamped and edited it.
  3. Brainstorming, drafting, redrafting, and finishing a brand new novella in just eight months. I’m so excited to have been published in A Very Bookish Christmas with some of my favorite authors, and I’m so grateful to Sarah Holman for inviting me. ❤
  4. Getting to write some spur of the moment essays to process and/or enjoy some things I was thinking about.
  5. Writing ¼ of my fantasy novel. I AM SO EXCITED about this one! I didn’t expect to be able to get this far on it so soon, so it’s been a nice surprise. 😉
(I went to a cookie decorating party at a local coffee shop this year. So much fun!)

Besides the things I regularly talk about on this blog, life has been full of new experiences. A mixed bag for sure, but I’m sooo grateful for it. We joined a new church, and I’ve been loving the healing/convicting sermons, getting to sing in the choir, and doing volunteer childcare. I also started another online job (which has been a stretching and wonderful gift) and discovered gluten-free flour which is pretty fun. XD 

I’m sure that’s a pretty incomplete sketch of all the gifts I’ve been given last year, but God has blessed me so much, and I feel very loved. ❤ Here’s to the rest of this year! 😀

How was your 2019? And what are you grateful for?

Announcing Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway last week! It was so fun seeing your entries come in, and I hope you had fun doing them. 😀

(Also, if you asked a question on Goodreads, I’ve answered them all now, so you can check those out here.)

I used Rafflecopter to pick a winner at random and the winner of this first prize…

…is Ariel Ramey! Congrats, Ariel! I will be emailing you shortly. 😀

And the winner of the second place prize–digital copies of The Twin Arrows and The Night Archers–is Noreen Bruce. Congrats, Noreen! I will be emailing you as well soon. 😉

Again, thanks everyone for entering! Have a great week. 😉

Thank You, Wow

Last weekend, I spent my third year with Generation Rising at the AFHE homeschool convention. There were a ton of amazing, hilarious, goofy, and downright does-my-brain-even-exist-now-I’m-so-tired conversations. We met with friends, new customers, and fans. Some of my favorite moments were when readers stopped by to tell us how much our books have impacted them. My answer to those stories was, “Thank you, wow.” And then teared up silence.

And after this weekend, those words pretty much sum up how I’m feeling. 😉

Below are some of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

The cast and crew of this comedy–er, booth. (Minus one member.) Look at all those books! 😀

Day one! In the booth! Looking tired and goofy!

Car selfie on the way home. I was very happy about that sandwich… #stillabetterlovestorythanTwilight

Second day!

That moment when a book club stops by to get copies of Kiera. [insert crying emoji] So blown away!

After clean-up selfie…

I’m so grateful to get to be a storyteller, and now I need to sleep for a week. 😉

Convention Countdown: Pretty Book Stock!!!

It’s just 62 hours until the homeschool convention, and the last of my book stock came!!

These are the very first copies I’ve seen of The Night Archers, and I love how they turned out. ❤ (Big hugs to my cover designer!)

Just look at them!

One book, two book, green book, blue book!

I’m still a little bit in shock that this is an actual series and I actually just held a copy of my new book in my hands. So sorry for all the jabbering. 😉

Also, I will have a giveaway for y’all soon. 😀

Convention Countdown! (+A Free Chapter)

Guys, it’s only three(ish) days until the homeschool convention! Once again, this year I’ll be selling my books at our Generation Rising booth. There have been meetings, errand-runnings, and eagerly-waiting-for-book-stock-ings (I’m still waiting for some XD).

(There are some pictures on Generation Rising’s Instagram and Facebook pages, FYI…)

In honor of the convention coming up and my new bookbaby The Night Archers releasing last week, here’s the first chapter. Enjoy! 😀

Chapter One: Storming

Curls of wood fell away from his knife as a spoon took shape in his hands. It would be large enough to stir a pot of soup for the whole family and sturdy to last a few seasons to come. The young man smoothed away the loose sawdust, then bit his knife into the wood again. 

“Gavynn-Gavynn!” a sing-song voice called, and he looked up from his work.

He laughed at the little girl dancing in the line of children waiting at the well and raised a hand to wave. “I see you, Rosie.”
She grinned at him and turned away, light-colored braids seeming to skip with mirth and impatience. 

Gavynn shifted on the cottage doorstep and held his project up to the light. It was nearly perfect. Just a little more work, and it would be ready for sanding and oiling. 

A strong breeze tore across the square, whipping at the children’s clothes and ruffling their wheat-colored hair. Another gust followed on its heels and scattered his wood leavings out into the grass. 

He squinted up at the sky and quickly rose to his feet, sheathing his knife. “Rosie,” he beckoned to her but kept his eyes on the shadows that hung low brushing the top of the keep. “Rosie, come inside. There’s a storm almost ready to hit.”

She skipped over to him and slumped her shoulders, but he teased a grin out of her the next moment. “I’ll fill your bucket for you if you set up the blanket house with Maire.”

She shoved the bucket into his hands and entered the house, sing-songing for her sister. 

Gavynn left the shelter of the cottage doorway and joined the line of children. He pushed his limp, dark hair off his forehead, conscious of the curious looks directed his way. Smiling ruefully to himself, he met their gazes, grateful they at least didn’t ask any questions. 

The line inched forward as the neighbor girl, one of the blacksmith’s children, scrambled away from the well with her little brother at her heels. Gavynn stretched and looked over the heads, then caught a glimpse of someone he knew.

Farren. She was close in size to the children but nearer in age to him, and she drew her cloak tightly about herself, shuddering in the wind. 

A heavy raindrop splashed on his forehead, then another, and shrieks of surprise came from the line. A few children broke away toward their homes, but the majority huddled together, blinking and squealing at the rain that fell faster and harder with every second. 

Gavynn shook his head and pushed his way to the front of the line. Taking a bucket from the first child, he quickly filled it and sent him on his way, ready for the next one before anyone else knew what was happening. He hurried to fill as many as possible, but a flash of light and a rumble from the woods caused him to drop the bucket.

“Everyone home, now! This storm is more than just rain.”

The children scattered in every direction, and he watched them go through the downpour.

“Gavynn?” A slender hand clutched at his sleeve, and Farren stared up at him with wide, unseeing eyes.

“I’m here.” He covered her hand with his own. “Let’s get you inside.” He draped his soaking cloak across her shoulders and guided her, head down, up the emptied street.

Day had turned dark as dusk, and a coldness slipped into his bones. Here and there, a glow escaped the shutters of the houses, and he fixed his eyes on their guiding lights. They passed the keep and the empty stables, and Gavynn reminded himself not to look for what he knew wouldn’t be there. A gray horse, strong and alert; his horse, at least when he had trained with the cavalry. Thunder echoed off the stones beneath their feet, and he tightened his arm around Farren’s shoulders.

“Gavynn?” Her voice was little more than a whisper under the wind. “Are we almost there?”

Gavynn lifted his head into the rain and scanned the street. Just up ahead, a cottage door was wide open to the storm and a woman stood silhouetted in it.

His answer came in a gulping breath as he guided Farren forward. “We’re there.”

Farren’s mother let out a cry of relief and rushed out into the rain to take her daughter, gesturing for him to follow them into the house. Gavynn looked out into the black rain that rushed down the street in little rivers then again at the warm, inviting house. He shook his head. He was needed at home.

With a whispered prayer, he plunged into the storm, bending his body against the wind and hugging his arms against himself. Water rushed across the cobblestones, seeping into his boots and turning the ground into a slippery mess. He took one step, then another, then the next. Terror pushed at the edges of his memory. The darkness seemed to reach out, desiring to crush him in its grasp.

“It’s just a storm. Just rain, wind, and thunder. I’m far, far away from the sea.” He hugged his arms tightly around his body. “I’m safe. I just need to get home.”

The cottage was just down the street, past the smithy and the neighbor’s dwelling. A cry broke into his thoughts, and he lifted his head, eyes focusing on the little girl who stood in the open doorway of the nearest cottage.

The thatch roof had collapsed inward on one end and more threatened to fall with every second. He ran forward and guided her trembling body away from the cottage. Moments later, a woman burst from the house, carrying her young son in her arms and calling frantically. 

“Aelie?!”

“She’s here,” Gavynn answered. “Go. Up the street to my house. They’ll let you in.”

The woman drew Aelie to herself, but she glanced back toward the house, torn. “Caelan’s still in there.”

Gavynn nodded grimly. “I’ll get him.”

Rain poured in from the open roof of the cottage, and Gavynn peered through it into the dark recesses of the dwelling. “Caelan? Caelan, are you in here?”

“Back here!” A voice called.

“What are you doing?” Gavynn spluttered, venturing closer.

“Trying to stop it!” The tall boy pushed up on the sagging thatch with a board in an effort to support it.

A creaking noise rippled across the remaining timbers.

“It’s too late. Get out now. You’re mad!”

“And you’re a coward!”

Gavynn felt a familiar anger, but he reached out and jerked the boy away from his work just as a sagging beam fell. Caelan gasped and didn’t resist as Gavynn pulled him out the door and up the street to his own cottage. He pounded on the door, and it opened immediately.

“Gavynn!” His stepmother’s eyes went wide and she stepped aside to let them in. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, Anwen. I’m all right, I think.”

He barred the door against the storm.

Copyright 2019 Kate Willis

Plate Update: Spies, Welsh, and Buddy Reads

Does anyone know what happened to May? I have my calendar here to prove that it happened, but still… 2019 is galloping by. XD

Last month’s plate was full of… more cake. I love this baking thing. 😀 (Oh, and this series is actually named after the idea of a “full plate” being all the responsibilities and projects and celebrations in life, but I still mention food because I like to.)

Anyway, here’s a quick update on my full plate last month…

Pleasure read:

Red Rover, Red Rover (five stars)

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA (five stars)

Lightporter (read-aloud, four stars)

Plan to Fail (five stars)

Beautiful Blue World (buddy read, four stars)

Opposite of Always (two stars)

Bad Things, Small Packages (five stars)

Threads of Blue (buddy read, four stars)

Answered:

Emails and texts

“Book or movie?” in a vlog with Anna

Googled:

Using half a cake mix

Strawberry cake

Gymnast hair (oh, the strange research authors do! 😛 )

Person of Interest fanvideos ❤

Welsh words

Enneagram types

How to steal–er, download–videos off Facebook

Congress/House of Reps

Granola recipes

Food allergies 😦

Tangrams

How to pronounce “Mjolnir” (very important)

Wrote:

Reviews, like crazy XD

Character profiles for a future story

My summer reading list 😀

Blog posts (the top five being My Bookshelf Had a Growth Spurt; A Fangirl-y, Suprisingly Thoughtful-y Vlog with Anna; The 5 Stages of Finishing a Book; I Love Duologies; and Books with Friends.)

Edited:

5,194 words on “The Night Archers”

A friend’s blog

Miscellaneoused:

Baked cakes x 4 (one was a cheesecake) 😀

Watched Avengers: Endgame again… 😉

Organized my new bookshelf!

Made a really fun greeting card

I also had some amazing celebrations/hangouts with family and friends, ate the world’s best Oreo ice cream, and enjoyed a double buddy read with Mikayla. 😉

In the remainder of this month, I’m looking forward to releasing “The Night Archers”, prepping for the Generation Rising booth at the homeschool convention next month, and experimenting with some web design. And we’ll see what else God sends my way. 😉

How was your May? What are you looking forward to this month?

Plate Update: Christmas, Peppermint Bark, and Livestreams

December.  A month of Advent candles and coldness and anticipation and family gatherings. ❤

December’s full plate was an…erm…stocking FULL of candy. 😀

Anyway, here’s a quick update on my full plate last month. 

Pleasure read:

Ember Rising (five stars)

Anomaly (five stars)

The Father Christmas Profession (four stars)

Unshakable Hope (five stars)

The Matchmakers of Holly Circle (four stars)

Read for review and beta-read:

Twinepathy (four stars)

Shadowkeeper (releasing this month!)

Answered:

Questions on a live chat with my siblings XD

Googled (not sure this is complete, busy month):

USPS self-service checkouts

Les Mis MBTI

Favorite songs to show my family

Peppermint bark

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms showtimes

Wrote:

3,138 words on “Imperfect”! 

Last month’s newsletter

Blog posts (the top five being Plate Update: Buddies, Minibooks, and Paper Quilling, A Christmas-y Update, A Little Gift Inspiration for You, We’ll Just Call It a Christmas Book, and More Than Fluff and Nonsense.)

Reviews, reviews, more reviews 😉

Published:

The Least of These (a Kiera prequel Christmas story!)

Miscellaneoused:

Loved “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” movie (on VidAngel) ❤ ❤

Made a Christmas card or two

Celebrated Advent with my family

Watched a livestream of my favorite Christmas concert

Shopped and shipped O.o. 😉

Celebrated two family birthdays

Enjoyed “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” with some family members and a friend (super awesome!!)

I also crafted Christmas ornaments, made gingerbread houses with my Generation Rising buddies, hung out with various cousins for the first time in years, attended a beautiful candelight and Christmas Eve service, and made way too much peppermint bark. My Christmas day celebration with my family was amazing and lovely as well! ❤

This month, I’m looking forward to chomping away at my draft of “Imperfect”, keeping up with my new devotional plan, and getting some sewing done. 

How was your December? What are you looking forward to this month?

A Christmas-y Update

Apparently blogging on schedule is not my thing during December. XD Sorry to leave you all in the lurch, though I have been having a great time celebrating and preparing for Christmas. ❤

My family and I are doing Advent again this year, and this time we’ve added watching Bible project theme videos to our traditions. It’s been a beautiful time of reflecting on all facets of Christmas and looking forward to Christ’s second coming. And just hanging out specially as a family. ❤

(This week, the third week of Advent, is all about joy!)

Another thing that has been sooo special was watching the annual Behold the Lamb concert put on by Andrew Peterson and guests. My oldest sister and her family brought the livestream and some snacks over to our house, and we all sat around enjoying it. This is the second year we’ve watched the concert, and it’s quickly become a special tradition. ❤

I’ve also been running around like crazy putting together Christmas presents. It’s really been more fun than stress for me (which is a blessing!), and I’m so excited about what I’m giving my family that I keep almost spilling secrets. XD (80% of my gifts are books… What does that say about me? 😉 )

I spent a delightful few hours in Barnes and Noble the other day. Seeing brand new releases I’ve only seen on Goodreads or at the library in person was simply amazing. I kept crowing over book editions, and at one point I was hugging a book with one hand and holding eight others in the other arm. *shrugs* *grins sheepishly* It was pure bliss, even if I looked like a sociopath straight from the library basement. 😉

We’re still at the decorating stage of a “Christmas cage”, but it’s quickly filling up with my presents. 😀 (And I keep almost telling siblings what they are…)

I finally published my short story prequel to Kiera! It’s free on Amazon (for forever), so have yourself a merry little copy. (There’s a snowball fight and sweetness and a really, really good gift.)

For the third year in a row, I’m participating in an epic gift exchange, so I got to go to the post office yesterday. I did have to stand in line for a while, but there were so many package-laden people around to watch that it was actually fun. 😉 And the kids who had been dragged along to stand in line with their parents were hilarious. Also, it seemed like a few people were in a contest of who could carry the biggest package, and I think we need handcarts just for that. XD A couple of my friends and a random stranger will be getting mail from me this weekend. 😉

Speaking of exciting, I made two huge batches of peppermint bark yesterday and today Anna and I put together little packages of them. They turned out soooo cute! I, unfortunately, don’t have a picture but imagine little clear bags (with cute tags) full of brown and white and red yummies. ❤ Also, breaking really thick chocolate with sharp shards of peppermint on it is really good for your self-esteem but not so much for your hands. You might feel like a superhero once it’s all broken. 😀

While I was writing this post, my parents and older sister just dragged in a Christmas tree, and it smells amazing. ❤ I’m so excited!

As I finish up this post, I want to share one last thought… Jesus is more than just the baby in the manger, but the manger is still worth celebrating. The God of the universe, the Savior of the world, loved us so much He came to live with us and die for us. And it all began with the Baby. Immanuel. ❤

ornament

Merry Christmas!

 

I’ll *probably* post one more time this week, and after that, I’m taking an official break for the week of Christmas. I’ll be here to reply to comments though. 😉