COVER REVEAL: GOLGATHA by Angela R. Watts!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Hey everyone!  Today's post is one that I'm super excited about: a cover reveal for Angela R. Watts' upcoming fantasy novel, Golgatha.  It sounds like an awesome book, and the cover...mind blown.  So without further ado...




SYNOPSIS

DARKNESS HAS A PRICE AND THE LIGHT HAS NO MERCY FOR SINNERS
Prince Moray will lead his empire to glory, even if it means dabbling with forbidden black magic. But when their parents are murdered, Moray and his brother are cast into Golgatha -- the second realm where no man can survive. Finnigan fiercely believes the Creator Elohai will help them escape, but Moray will never trust again.
Princess Ama promised marriage to Moray to ensure her Clan's safety from rival tribes. But she arrives during a coup and becomes trapped in a realm where hope is dead. Surrounded by strange monsters and ravenous demons, Ama must fight to hold onto her faith in the Creator -- or lose everything.
Despite Ama’s Gift of prophetic dreams, Finnigan’s Gift of energy, and Moray’s magic, nothing can rescue them from their own wicked hearts. If they fail to find their way home, the darkness will devour them and their peoples will suffer under a traitor’s rule.
NO ONE IS SO FAR GONE THAT THE LIGHT CANNOT SAVE THEM

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Angela R. Watts is a Christian author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.


Are you looking forward to reading Golgatha?  And what about that cover?!?  Sound off in the comments! 

NOW WE HAVE TIME TO READ: Kindle eBook sale!

Thursday, March 26, 2020



Hey everyone!  So...lots of crazy stuff going on in the world right now.  The whole world.  That's what's so astounding - this virus is so widespread.  So while people all around the globe are pausing, it's a good time to take your mind off the present and read some good books.  I've been seeing some people requesting book recommendations for "nice soft stories" and that's basically what I write.  Yay! 

(Meanwhile, I've been debating whether or not I should reread The Hunger Games and scare myself by drawing similarities to our government.  Don't be like me.)

Anyway, on Monday (or was it Sunday?) when I scheduled this sale, a part of me was really hoping that all of this would blow over by now.  I know a lot of people who are legitimately fearful in this time, and not the kind of fearful that goes out and buys all the toilet paper in the universe.  I'd be lying if I said I had no concerns.  But we're still in the midst of the most chaotic "global pause" I've ever heard of.  And a fine distraction is to read. 

So all of my books are currently free for Kindle from Thursday through Saturday (the 26th-28th, if you still know what day it is.  I don't, but I guess Amazon does.) Please click HERE to check out my books!

Stay safe, read lots of books, leave a review or two if you can, and please pray for those who are most at risk for this virus and the essential workers who are risking infection daily.  If you have a prayer request, please feel free to DM me on my Instagram. 




COVER REVEAL: Sarah Delena White's SHADOW LIGHT!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hey everyone!  Today, I'm super excited to help in the cover reveal for Sarah Delena White's upcoming novel, Shadow Light!  With all the craziness going on in the world right now, it's nice to take a moment and appreciate a well-done cover design, isn't it?  And best of all, the wait for Shadow Light's release isn't that long - March 31st!  So you'll want to add this to your TBR as soon as possible.  Shipping might be slower over at Amazon right now, but that just means it's your Kindle's time to shine!


So without further ado, here's the cover for this gorgeous new book...and can I say that I LOVE this? 




SYNOPSIS

Night lived in a tower at the end of the world.
Her name was Layla, and the world did not know her.

Day had no tower.
His name was Aeric, and the world held no refuge for him.

Yet with the evil Coroc and his army of shadowfiends terrorizing the lands, Layla and Aeric must work together to restore light and hope before all is lost.

Night and Day must unite to save all peoples from eternal, terrifying evil in this lyrical tale that combines the wonder of George MacDonald's fairy tales with the beauty of Tolkien's The Silmarillion.



(Okay, can I just say that I got chills reading that synopsis for the first time?!)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark.  She's an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds.  She is the administrative manager of Uncommon Universes Press.  When she's not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte.  She can be bribed with dark chocolate.




Are you looking forward to reading Shadow Light?  

SPECIAL POST: Online Learning Tips

Friday, March 20, 2020

Hey everyone!  We're definitely changing it up a bit today, but it's something I've been mulling through this week and I really feel like I need to share this.  Today's post is geared toward the switch to online learning, but it can just as easily be applied to those who are working from home right now - or those who are thinking about starting their own business from home.

A lot of people across the country - well, the world, really - are making the switch (or have already moved to) online/distance learning because of this nasty COVID-19 stuff.  I really feel for the seniors (both high school and college) who are up in the air at this point, not even knowing if they'll be able to walk in commencement or not.  It's a lot of stress to handle on top of the whole pandemic.  So I hope this post helps you in some way, shape, or form, and if you know someone who might be helped by it, please feel free to send it to them!  I'll be right here in the comments section if you want to ask questions or need to vent.  I've tried to make this list as broad as possible because everyone learns differently.


Maintain your normal schedule.  This is so important, not only in the event that this all blows over before the end of the semester, but also to control the stress levels in your body.  Your body gets stressed when you're thrown off a schedule you've held for quite awhile, so make sure to keep your schedule as close to normal as possible.  If you get up for school at 5 A.M., get up and get started.  If your first college class isn't until 2 P.M...well...whenever you wake up for that, keep it up.  It will also help you remember classes and assignments.

White noise.  If you are used to a lot of background noise, people talking, chairs squeaking (or the teacher who chuckles loudly over pictures on Instagram while you're taking a silent exam) - look into white noise videos on YouTube.  There are some that will run for up to twelve hours.  If you have an Amazon Alexa device, you can use it for the same purpose without slowing your computer down.

Movie scores and gaming soundtracks.  If you aren't into white noise and need a productivity boost, check out some movie scores or gaming soundtracks.  Legends of Zelda, the Marvel suite, Star Wars...see, a bit of psychology plays into this: for decades, movie scores have been created in similar fashion.  Sweet music plays for romantic scenes; loud bass for action; slow melancholy for death; the screechy violin that predicts something terrible is about to happen.  When we consume movies, while we might not know it, our brains are subconsciously affiliating those sounds with the subsequent action that occurs.  Gaming soundtracks are produced to encourage productivity and heightened senses.  When you hear the music get louder and more bass-filled, you know that your next enemy is approaching, right?  (And if you've watched the new Jumanji movies, you get a game soundtrack as a movie soundtrack).

So, if you're into music, look into some gaming or movie soundtracks to increase your attention to the task at hand.  It sounds weird, but it works.

Goal based learning.  If you're a go-getter, you'll do well with a goal-based system.  Create a list of goals for your daily or weekly school schedule - do you want to complete your normal day's schedule, or do you want to work ahead a bit so that you can have some free time to go for a walk?  Make sure to list your goals clearly and then check them off once you've accomplished them.  You'll be much more motivated to complete your schoolwork!

Reward based learning.  If you need a little encouragement to get through your normal schoolwork, treat yourself.  Again, create a to-do list of schoolwork to do for the day and give yourself a bit of a treat for completing each task.  Did you get all your English work done?  Have a cup of coffee (or tea) and a short break.  Finish that first senior seminar draft?  You deserve all the candy.  (Seriously, though, you do. Seminar drafts are hard!)  By doing this, you'll essentially condition yourself to be more motivated to complete schoolwork, because you know you'll get something good at the end. Just don't let your reward be "5 hours of scrolling on social media" because that is the opposite of motivation!

Be timely.  Consider this an exercise in the "real world" where you'll be expected to be self-motivated and complete workplace assignments on your own.  If you get an email from a teacher or a new assignment is handed out, make sure it's taken care of in a timely manner - same goes for your normal courseload as well.  If you don't procrastinate, you'll feel a lot better.

Audio learning.  Some people learn best if they're hearing instructions spoken to them.  While you might excel in school because you like listening to your teacher talk, that might not be an option now that you're a distance learner.  Some professors and teachers will probably do videos, while others may not.  If you're struggling to retain information, read your textbooks aloud or, if you're using an e-text, see if you can have the computer read it to you!

YouTube.  Okay, so don't go down the rabbit hole where you're looking for a certain video and then, five hours later, you're watching Dr. Pimple Popper.  But YouTube is actually a fantastic resource if you need help on an assignment and your teacher's not readily available (and give them some slack, too - they're just as new to this as you are).  Search for the specific issue you're having, such as conjugations in Spanish, grammar diagramming, or any kind of math topic.  I can guarantee you'll find some great resources.

Stay AWAY from your phone!  Seriously.  If you don't already turn your phone off or put it on silent when you're working, now's a good time to start.  When you're left to complete assignments on your own, it's super easy to procrastinate and scroll through social media, especially to see what your buddies are up to in their own quarantine situations.  It's okay to take short breaks, but don't let the siren song of social media drag you in.  It'll create a lot more stress in the long run if you put off assignments to the last absolute second, and you do NOT want to do that as an online student.  Internet outages and learning platform glitches are a very real thing.

Explore your learning platform/modules before your first due dates.  In doing so, you can familiarize yourself with the layout and how the website works.  It'll put your mind at ease, kind of like having a map so you don't get lost your freshman year.  If anyone is using D2L (Desire2Learn) and need help with figuring something out, feel free to comment - that was my entire existence for the past four years.

Check to make sure your syllabus is still the same.  Chances are, your teacher or professor might change assignment due dates depending on how everyone's doing with online learning.  Some might change the syllabus without letting you know, but hopefully that isn't the case.  All the same, it's a good idea to check maybe a few times a week, especially in the first couple of weeks as everyone gets used to online learning.

Take breaks!  Especially if you're studying for an exam, it's a good idea to take a fifteen minute break every half hour or so, especially to get up and move around.  If it's nice outside, go for a walk - your brain will get a break and you'll feel refreshed.

Keep in touch with your peers.  Even though you're not in the same classroom anymore, that doesn't mean you can't keep in touch!  Email, direct message, or text your peers to see how they're doing.  Even though I spent my entire college career online, I was involved in the college newspaper and some honor societies that were on-campus.  I also have several friends who were/still are in college at the same time.  Chatting with friends and on-campus peers from those groups really grounded me.  Not only did I see that some of my issues with school were the same as theirs, but I was also able to keep up with campus news!  Especially right now, when everyone's feeling a bit stir-crazy and isolated, it's important to keep in touch with others.  We're all in this together.

You aren't alone.  Legitimately the vast majority of people across this country - and abroad - are dealing with the same exact issue to some extent.  You aren't the only one struggling to make the change to online learning; in fact, your teachers are too!  Take it easy on yourself and on your instructor.  We'll get through this.



Were you homeschooled or have you participated in online learning before?  Feel free to add your tips in the comments section below!  Again, if you need to talk, I'll be floating around in the comments section.

COVER REVEAL --- TREASON'S CROWN by Anne Wheeler

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hey everyone!! Today I have a cover reveal for Anne Wheeler's newest book, Treason's Crown -- and the cover is gorgeous!! It was designed by Alea Harper (follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or her website).



About Treason’s Crown:
The last thing Riette expects on a snowy winter’s evening is Meirdre’s royal guard appearing on her doorstep. Their purpose? The king needs a bride, and tradition dictates the position is hers to accept. Desperate to secure her parents’ future, she agrees to the marriage and is whisked away to Lochfeld Castle, all too aware her childhood friend is there as well—imprisoned as a rebel in the dungeons below.

Leaving him to hang isn’t an option, even as her nuptials and his execution grow closer. No matter what secrets the castle holds—mysteries she alone can see—or how desperate King Laurent is to marry an unknown peasant girl, the glittering crown in her future is nothing more than a distraction from her new mission: she’ll free Thomas or die trying.

But what happens when succeeding at either means the downfall of Meirdre?

Click HERE to preorder Treason's Crown! It releases May 12th and, at the time which I wrote this post, is a #1 new release in Christian Fantasy on Amazon!


About the Author:
Anne Wheeler grew up with her nose in a book but earned two degrees in aviation before it occurred to her she was allowed to write her own. When not working, moving, or writing her next novel, she can be found planning her next escape to the desert—camera gear included. She currently lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and herd of cats.
Website  Facebook  Instagram

You can also check out Anne Wheeler's blog post HERE!



Do you plan on preordering Treason's Crown?  Sound off in the comments below!

REVIEW + RELEASE DAY: The WINGFEATHER SAGA 1 & 2 by Andrew Peterson!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Has anyone read the Wingfeather saga by Andrew Peterson?

I was introduced to the series by a friend a few years ago, but truly dug into it in earnest a few weeks ago, having had the wonderful opportunity to be on the launch team for the first two books in the series, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten.  I mean, the titles alone will draw your attention!

I was completely taken aback by how easy it is to fall in love with these books! Within the first few chapters of the first book, I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down.  Between the splendid prose, the gorgeous illustrations, and the captivating storyline, it's easy to see Peterson becoming the C.S. Lewis of our time.  If you have read and enjoyed the How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell, you'll also enjoy this series thanks to the imaginative worldbuilding and prose.

ABOUT THE BOOKS

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness:

Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog, Nugget.

Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers' groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning.

Order from Amazon HERE. 

North! Or Be Eaten: 

Now in hardcover for the first time, featuring all-new illustrations! First they found themselves On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Now they must make their way North! Or Be Eaten . . .

Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past. But now they know they're really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them.

In order to survive, the Igibys must flee to the safety of the Ice Prairies, where the lizardlike Fangs of Dang cannot follow. First, however, they have to escape the monsters of Glipwood Forest, the thieving Stranders of the East Ben, and the dreaded Fork Factory.

But even more dangerous are the jealousies and bitterness that threaten to tear them apart. Janner and his siblings must learn the hard way that the love of a family is more important than anything else.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, North! Or Be Eaten is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers' groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning. Extra features include new interior illustrations from Joe Sutphin, funny footnotes, a map of the fantastical world, inventive appendices, and fanciful line art in the tradition of the original Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz storybooks.

Order from Amazon HERE.

Might I add that the all-new collectible hardcover versions of both books are on sale from Amazon right now?  Best time to order them!

You can also order from the Rabbit Room Store HERE.

These stories have been published previously, but feature over 40 new illustrations as well as new covers, which are gorgeous.  The other two books in the series will be releasing September 15th of this year!  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey, folks. If you're just discovering me or any of my work, it can be a little confusing because there are several facets to it. Here's the rundown:

* I write songs. I also record them to these cool things called CDs and put on concerts around the country. (And beyond! To my great delight, I get to play in Europe every year or so.)

* I write books. I've just completed a four-book fantasy series for young readers called the Wingfeather Saga. I also drew some of the pictures (but not the awesome ones). (WingfeatherSaga.com)

* I'm the proprietor of the Rabbit Room, a community of songwriters, authors, and artists interested in storytelling, faith, and fellowship. We have a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, which is as strange and wonderful as it sounds. (RabbitRoom.com)

* I've been married for twenty-four years to Jamie, and we have three sweet children: Aedan (20), Asher (19), and Skye (16). We live in a magical place we call the Warren, just south of Nashville.

The common thread in all this is my love for Christ and his Kingdom, my belief in the power of story and art, and my need for family and community. If I had to boil it all down, I'd say this: I want to use my gifts to tell the truth, and to tell it as beautifully as I can.

That ought to get you started. For a more in-depth look at what I do, visit Andrew-Peterson.com. Thanks!





Visit Andrew Peterson on his website HERE and learn everything about the Wingfeather Saga on THIS website!



MY REVIEWS


On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

As I mentioned before, this book drew me into the lore within the first few chapters.  The characters simply seemed to jump off the pages.  From a grandfather who chases varmint from his gardens to siblings who like to drag each other into trouble (well, mostly one in particular), this book starts out as a completely normal story for middle-graders.  That's one thing that Peterson instills very well in his stories: the absolutely ordinary in completely extraordinary, unique circumstances. It makes readers feel like they could just climb into the pages, or that the characters could just hop right out.  We soon learn about the absolutely worrisome corruption in the world that Tink, Janner, and Leeli are growing up in.  Children and elderly alike are taken by something called the Black Carriage, never to be seen again, and groups of things called Fangs terrorize citizens.  With a mysterious map, a few dangerous encounters with these Fangs of Dang, a mysterious man ostracized to the forest, and some equally mysterious jewels to track down, this story grabs you and draws you in.  While the story is fantasy-laced, the children, especially Janner, learn great lessons about family, bravery, and responsibility that will be crucial to middle-grade readers (and perhaps some great reminders for adult readers as well).  It's something that anyone of any age can enjoy, really.  It's a refreshing, original storyline that I loved.  And the prose is absolutely a work of art in and of itself. 





North! Or Be Eaten

This one is easily my favorite of the two.  While I loved the fast-moving pace of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, this book picks right up and dives into something deeper and grittier.  Some of the elements surprised me as being in a middle-grade novel because it deals with extremely real situations like child labor, kids being kidnapped and mercilessly put to work in a factory, and some other matters. Again, Peterson infuses the very ordinary/daily life into the extraordinary, as he did with Book 1.  It's so jam-packed with action that I feel like if I say anything about it, I'll be spoiling something...So beware! Continue with caution.  

Through a series of truly heartrending events, the kids have to fight through circumstances that are either brought on by themselves or by those around them - not even the adults are blameless here - and they have to do a lot of maturing in order to find a way out.  It's a book that, right down to the wire, you're wondering if they will really get out of that scrape alive....and it's "out of the frying pan and into the fire" (to quote Tolkien) for the next crisis.  There are a lot of twists and turns that are well-done, things that you won't see coming, and problems that are riveting.  Again, the prose is wonderfully executed - typical Peterson - and some scenes are especially touching.  I can think of about three or four in particular that really got to me, but I can't even name names because then the book will be spoiled.  But let me just say that if a middle-grade novel is making a "doesn't like to cry" adult reader tear up, it's doing something right.  Again, there are many themes that readers of all ages will gain something from; I might even say that if your kiddos read this book when they're young and re-read once they're adults, they might gain new layers to the story from circumstances that are more nuanced.  Tink (excuse me, Kalmar) and Peet's journeys were especially touching in this book, and although the book follows Janner more closely, it seems like the other characters are developed more in this book than in the first one.  And from what I can tell, the story's really just beginning!  

I can't wait to continue reading the series (I'm just trying to decide whether I can wait until September or if I'm going to go scrounging online for the former editions of Books 3 and 4...)



Have you read the Wingfeather Saga?  Do you plan on picking up these books?  And if you have read the Wingfeather books, feel free to discuss in the comments section below!  




FREE ON KINDLE: All my books!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Hey everyone! Just popping in to let you know that all of my Kindle books are FREE today and tomorrow (2/28-29) because of leap year. When there's an extra day in the year, why not celebrate with free books?!  If you've been waiting to read my latest release, Guide Me Home, it's available for free too!  Click HERE to check them out! 

Do you plan on doing anything fun on the extra day we have this year? Plan on picking up any freebies?