Christmas Cards for My Characters

My characters mean a lot to me. I love creating them and I love sharing them with you all. 😉 Just for fun, I decided to “write” Christmas cards to my characters. 😉 Most of them are from published stories, except the last one…

Enjoy!

Dear Kiera

Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you and the baby are doing well, and give Jade a hug for me, please. I think of you all often! ❤

Love,

Kate

Dear Drewin and Ryla,

Happy Christmastide! I hope you all have a lovely holiday! Enjoy the absolutely decked castle and some fantastic pies.

Love,

Kate

Dear Gavynn

Happy Christmastide! Enjoy being together with your family, and send my greetings to Farren. 😉

Love,

Kate

(Card made by Emma)

Dear Jem,

Meeerrrrry CHRISTMAS!!! ❤ We just met this year, but it’s been so fun and I feel like I’ve known you forever. Eat some cheesecake for me. 😀

Love,

Katie

(Card made by Pearl)

Dear Kylee, 

Merry Christmas, friend! Also, happy painting and Happy New Year! 😉

Love, 

Kate

And dear readers of my blog and my books, Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to you! ❤ I’ll be back here for New Years… 😉

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. 😉

The Night Archers GIVEAWAY

Greetings from Lady Shelly Addison Middleton, a.k.a. me. I found this cool “author pseudonym generator meme”, and the name sounded rather royal and slightly medievalish, so yeah… 😉

Behold…

As the creative title of this post suggests, I have a giveaway for y’all!! 😀 In celebration of my new book The Night Archers, I’m giving away a signed paperback copy and a themed bracelet. *grins ginormously* There’s even a second prize too!

A failed test. Ruined crops. Night archers.

The war against the rebels rages, and Riverside’s famous cavalry is called to the King’s aid, leaving behind the women, children, and Gavynn.

Gavynn knows why he was the only man left behind. Every day in the town is a painful reminder. But storms, sickness, and sudden danger threaten his people, forcing him into an unexpected role.

Could his failure be a blessing in disguise?

ENTER HERE

(Also, if you haven’t read chapters one and two of The Night Archers, they are available for free here. Enjoy!)

Fine print, because why not: Cool slatted and fern backgrounds not included. Grand prize only ships to contiguous United States.

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

A Phone Call with the Dropcap Ninja

Today I…

  1. Did some final, minor edits on “The Night Archers”.
  2. Gawked over the full spread of my cover.
  3. Learned some formatting tips and tricks from my sister Perry Elisabeth over the phone. (Dropcaps are so cool! So is Perry.)
  4. Formatted.
  5. Almost bought an ice cream sandwich. Was saved by having no change on hand.
  6. Formatted some more.
  7. Added back in some formatting that had gone missing.
  8. Previewed my files.
  9. Found a missing quotation mark and guided it home.
  10. Ate some sort of food sometime.
  11. Was surprised by and grateful for some amazing formatting options. (Can’t wait for you all to see them!)
  12. Uploaded my files. *sucks in a deep breath*
  13. Scheduled some exciting sales on my other books. (Stay tuned.)
  14. Sent e-copies to my reviewers and beta-readers! ❤
  15. Wrote this blog post.
  16. Thought about food again.
  17. Realized there was still some day left I could do something with. 😉

I am soooo excited to share this book with you! It’s a little surreal that I’m this close to releasing this book since I’ve been working on it for so long. 😉 It’s happening in just the next few days, y’all!

Thank you all for your patience and encouragement! ❤

18. Got off the computer.

The Night Archers Excerpt (+ Reviewers Needed!)

It’s been a while since I’ve shared anything related to “The Night Archers”, so here’s an excerpt of what might be one of my favorite scenes. Gavynn and his archers are gearing up for action… (Insert obligatory this-is-not-the-final-draft warning here. 😀 )

A team of rebels rammed at the gates with a heavy log. Others held shields above their heads while Sir Heywan stood just out of bow range and directed their work. Gavynn clenched his teeth and turned toward his camp.

“Caelan, Rogan, you, and you,” he pointed out two more archers, “to me. Bring your bows.”

They grabbed helmets and ran forward, and Caelen tossed his bow up toward him. Gavynn caught it and strung it, then said aloud. “Let’s slow them down.”

They let loose a volley that glanced off the shields and embedded in the grass at the rebels’ feet. They paused in their work, but a shout from Sir Heywan sent them forward again.

“No good,” Gavynn said. He motioned to his archers to duck down and pulled off his helmet. “We only have so many arrows. Wait until they break rhythm with the men holding the shields and shoot then.”

They stood up again, bows taut and eyes narrowed in anticipation. Gavynn glanced at Sir Heywan and saw the mocking smile that twisted his features. He focused down the length of his arrow and murmured, “So, you’ve heard of our cavalry, meet our archers.”

I love my boys. XD

So, other reason for this post–I need early readers! 😀 Sign up HERE or HERE. (It’s the same link, I’m just being weird.) (Update: the sign-up is full! Thanks, everyone! :D)

And FYI, I’ll be sending chapter one to my newsletter subscribers in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that. 😀

Have a great week!

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?

A Shiny Thing!!! (A.K.A. Cover Reveal)

Guys, a thing happened. A shiny thing. 😀

Today I’m going to show you the AMAZING cover for “The Night Archers”!!!!

But before I do, I just want to tell you… This has been a long journey. I had a lot of doubts about the story, a lot of roadblocks both emotionally and logistically, and times I felt like quitting. God stuck with me all the way through this, and I love how He keeps teaching me through the stories I’m trying to tell. 😉

So today I’m very relieved, grateful, and EXCITED to share the cover and synopsis with you. 😀

Do you want to see it?

Maybe?

It is sooo pretty.

And a bit epic.

There’s fire.

And greenness.

And Gavynn, a character I’m sure you’re going to love.

Behold…

A failed test. Ruined crops. Night archers.

The war against the rebels rages, and Riverside’s famous cavalry is called to the King’s aid, leaving behind the women, children, and Gavynn.

Gavynn thinks he knows why he was the only man left behind. Every day in the village is a painful reminder. But storms, sickness, and sudden danger threaten his people, forcing him into an unexpected role.

Could his failure be a blessing in disguise?

Add on Goodreads

Preorder in ebook on Amazon (releases 5/29!)

There you go! Have a great rest of your evening. 😀