TITLE & BLURB REVEAL: LEGENDS OF LANARIA BOOK 4!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Hey everyone! If you've been following the Legends of Lanaria series, I've been holding onto this secret for quite some time. Like, since 2022. But book 4 has a title and a blurb--which I'm sharing with you now! The cover reveal will be soon, so stay tuned!



BLURB:

Two kidnapped sisters and a secret to ruin a kingdom.

As the race to find the rest of the written prophecy continues, Asta, servant and sister to the Norvege queen, holds a grim secret.

When a Lanarian guard secretly arrives to infiltrate the castle, Asta must make a decision: betray her wounded sister, or betray the countries at risk of crumbling. Abused and broken by her sister’s rule, it should be an easy decision.

But yet another secret ruins the reality Asta once knew: the man commanding the Lanarian guard to capture and kill the Norvege queen…is their father. She is offered freedom and refuge—at the cost of her sister’s life. Will she accept the new world offered to her, or will her loyalty to her sister be her undoing?

Loosely inspired by the biblical story of Joseph, you won’t want to miss this touching story of humility, forgiveness, and healing from bitterness.


The Kingdom's True Queen, book 4 in the Legends of Lanaria series, arrives in 2024. 


Are you ready?


REVIEW: DON'T BYPASS RED FLAGS by Jessica Lewis!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

 Hey everyone! Today I'm sharing about an incredibly important nonfiction book by Jessica Lewis, Don't Bypass Red Flags: Identifying the Signs of Drug Abuse in a Loved One's Life and Knowing When to Walk Away. It's a new release from January, and it's so, so important. I had the opportunity to not only work with Jessica Lewis on editing, but I also had the opportunity to read a review copy! Read on to learn more about the book.


BLURB 

"This book will be so impactful for those dealing with similar situations." ARC Reader.

When I married the love of my life, thought my happily ever after began once my husband lifted my veil at the altar. Yet, a few months into our marriage, a startling revelation uncovered his double life—filled with deceit, drugs, and unimaginable betrayal. The merging of his secret world with our shared life unveiled the stark truth about his priorities and lifestyle.

In Don’t Bypass Red Flags, I share my journey, intertwining memoir and self-help elements. This book delves into the red flags I overlooked during my relationship with a drug addict, incorporating biblical scripture to offer glimpses of hope amid the chaos.

Structured into three pivotal sections—identifying red flags, prioritizing safety, and finding hope in the unknown—this book goes beyond merely recognizing drug addiction. It guides readers through the aftermath, providing essential tools for those in relationships with addicts or seeking healing from toxic connections. These tools empower individuals to reclaim control over lives that were once overwhelmed by the madness of this lifestyle.

In a time when drug use and addiction are soaring in America, Don’t Bypass Red Flags emerges as a timely guide. It stands as an encouragement for those who resonate with my story, offering solace, understanding, and practical insights.


BUY THE BOOK 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

From the book -- "Jessica Lewis's story is a powerful testament to resilience and the transformative power of faith. By sharing her journey of being married to a drug addict, Jessica not only sheds light on the struggles she faced but also aims to empower others who may be dealing with similar challenges. As a licensed athletic trainer with experience in various settings, Jessica brings a unique perspective to her ministry work. Her background in health and sports, coupled with her newfound focus on ministry, allows her to approach empoewrment from a holistic standpoint. The debut of her book, Don't Bypass Red Flags, suggests a candid and insightful exploration of recognizing warning signs and navigating the complexities of relationships with individuals struggling with addiction. Through her writing, Jessica aims to guide individuals in recognizing their self-worth, establishing healthy boundaries, and finding strength in moments of despair by relying on the promises of God. Jessica lives in Central Florida with her two sons. Her life is a blend of her parrion for ministry, love for literature, and commitment to family. Her interests include reading self-help and poetry books, writing, visiting the beach, and spending quality time with loved ones." 

Follow her on Instagram HERE and visit her website HERE.



MY REVIEW

This book is so, so important. With practical insights on how to identify red flags common to drug abuse--and more subliminal flags that might be otherwise missed--this is critically important as drug abuse rises worldwide. Paired with Lewis's personal story of escaping an abusive relationship, this book will be a necessary eye-opener, comfort, and guide for those who are impacted by drug abuse. Lewis clearly has a heart for helping others through her testimony, making this a quick but thought-provoking read complete with action steps and healing, biblical perspectives to help readers with what may be some of the most difficult choices in their lives.


SINGLE ON VALENTINE'S DAY (and why that's okay)

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Despite my dear friends' best efforts, this author is still as single as the day she was born (and that's okay). So I might not be the best for advice-giving in this area. But it came to mind, and it's something I'd like to incorporate into a book at some point.  

I know for a lot of people, this holiday hurts much more than it should. I know folks, both male and female, who bounce from toxic relationship to toxic relationship, who will take the scraps of love that only sour with time. Logjammed with the awkwardness of coming home for the holidays, getting nitpicked by relatives who want to see a ring, February 14th can be just plain disheartening. And I'm not bashing anyone, not shaming anyone, or picking on anyone who's struggling. But there are a couple verses in particular that keep coming to mind when I'm thinking and praying for friends who are struggling with singleness right now. 

"When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen." (Isaiah 60:22.)

"My times are in your hands..." (Psalm 31:15.)

Are these verses about love and romance? No. They're actually about winning battles against enemies. God assured those battles would be won because He was involved. When the Lord Almighty rolls up His sleeves, there's nothing anyone else can do except let God do His thing and follow Him close.

But this heavy discouragement that comes from being single and not finding "the one" or just not being where you thought you'd be by now? The hurt? The frustration? That's a battleground. And it comes from Satan. The enemy wants you to waste your time on earth right now. He wants you to let this nag at you, he wants you to mope, he wants to make you feel like you aren't worthy of love at all (which is wrong), like you have to settle for anything short of an equally-yoked relationship or marriage (which is wrong), like you have to change yourself or view your body negatively (wrong)  like you'll never get it right (wrong) or even that your past mistakes will ruin any chance you have in the future (also wrong). He wants you to feel worthless (guess what? WRONG.) He wants you to question God and His timing. He wants you to fall in the ditch of stagnant faith so he can kick you while you're down. Don’t believe that God is punishing you or withholding a relationship, either. (That falls under “works.”) God does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him and live righteous lives (Psalm 84:11). Instead, see it for what it is: another life experience often jaded and robbed by the fallen world we live in. That’s why “situationships,” cheating, people who string you along and downright abuse you — that’s why those problems exist. But you trust God to give you this next breath. Why not try to trust Him with this, too? 

Instead of letting Satan get you down? Serve God in the meantime. Keep your eyes so focused on Him, asking Him to give you strength to focus on Him instead of what you want. There's nothing wrong with longing, but put it to good use: ask God to mold you into the person you need to become to be a good spouse, if that's in His will for you. Tell God your frustrations and hurts while you’re at it. He’s the best one you could ever vent to, and He won’t gossip, either. 

And remember this: Waiting is an opportunity to grow. (Much as I HATE to say that, as an incredibly impatient person by nature.) 

And while everyone isn't promised marriage, handing that desire over to God and trusting Him to prepare you and steady you is the best anyone can do. He loves to help us, and when we are weak, He is strong enough for you and then some. God's already factored our personalities and mistakes (and just plain idiocy, sometimes) into His plan for us...so take comfort in that. 

And if you're married or dating right now? This one's for you, too. Because Satan uses an entirely new level of attack against those who are serving the Lord in their marriage and relationships. Recognize those attacks and don't let them move either one of you. 

Our times are in God's hands, no matter where we are in this world or what stage of life. He will protect you, but you still have to keep your eyes wide open and watchful of attacks that seek to destroy everything that is good.

So if you're discouraged right now, let's take some time out of the rat-race to look up to God, ask for help when we're down in the dumps over it, and ask Him to help us grow while we're waiting. 

(And since this is a reading/writing/bookish blog? Check out Chip Ingram's Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships no matter what relationship status you bear.) 

FREELANCE FRIDAY: CONTENT CREATION...

Thursday, February 8, 2024

 


So you’ve launched your product, service, business–whatever it may be–and now…

Now, the real work begins.


One of the biggest difficulties (and second-most-popular question I get) of running your own gig is actually the day to day marketing and content creation. You can’t just throw this puppy out into the world and expect people to find it as-is.


Marketing is tricky because it should be unique to you and what you offer. You have to come up with things that showcase you PLUS in a way that helps your audience connect with you on a personal level (circling again back to Simon Sinek’s Start With Why that I mentioned in the last Freelance Friday article HERE.) 


So while I can’t tell you exactly how to run your business or marketing plans, because that’s unique to you, I can give you some pointers. 




DO study the algorithms for your platforms…and stay up-to-date. Hashtag importance comes and goes, likes, views, etc. not to mention a whole host of other things. Some quick Google searches for the social media platform and the current year will help! While it’s boring and somewhat technical to learn algorithm hacks, it’s critically important to growing your platform and establishing healthy posting habits. And I promise that studying the algorithm and working with it DOES help a lot. 


DO watch some solid webinars. Note that I said solid–I’ve read a lot of muck from the marketing world, folks who promise that if you do XYZ, everything will fall into place and you’ll retire at 30. While maybe it worked for them, it’s not the end-all-be-all, and what works for them might not work for you…and what works for me might not work for you, etc. Find highly-recommended books, attend a webinar or two. Make sure their offering aligns with your own goals, too. If you know fellow business owners/freelancers/indie artists who are well-established, you might even ask them for a conversation or two if they’re approachable and you have a good standing rapport with them. The discussions I’ve had with such people have been absolutely invaluable. 


DO create your own brand while you’re at it. I will add here that marketing and branding are a bit different: marketing is for your product, and branding is for you. Think about some things that are really important to you, or to the persona you portray online. People crave authenticity, so your “brand” is intended to help your audience feel connected to you, feel like they know you, and your brand is also intended to help you stand out from the crowd. Is there a certain aesthetic you love, like vintage or cottagecore or minimalist or bold colors? Employ that in such a way that people scrolling by will instantly pick out one of your posts from the crowd. This may take some time to settle into, and maybe it will shift over time as you gain more experience and get comfortable. But getting started (even before you have anything to sell, if you’re ahead of the game and awesome) is the most important step. So you love flannels, vintage LPs, and hazy vignettes? Snap a shot of your favorite LP and use a caption to chat about what you have to offer or why you do what you do. Take shots of yourself in flannels or perusing LPs at the local antique store…and so on. 


DO plan ahead. The most important thing you can do for content creation is planning ahead. You never know when something will happen or you’re just too busy to work on your content creation. Planning ahead will help take a load off your shoulders and free up time to work on what actually brings finances in.


I personally take half an hour or so to make a plan for the entire month ahead, then another couple hours to take photos or make graphics, etc., and another day to schedule them, type captions, etc. spread out over a few days or weeks if I have to. That way, I have most of the month to work while my posts are (hopefully) posting themselves. I do try to take time to interact with folks on my posts and add stories to Instagram, but that’s secondary and takes a LOT less time than actually planning it out.


DO try new things. While staying true to your brand, don’t be afraid to stretch and try new posts that are a bit out of your comfort zone. For example, I started recently sharing more about my own books (and showing pictures of my face) in 2023 and found that I get much more personal interaction on those posts even though I personally hate doing them. Reels? Try ‘em. Lives? Why not? Longer captions? Worth a shot! Experiment and have fun with it. 


DO make sure your audience is getting something out of interacting with you. Maybe they need edification. Maybe they need a pick-me-up or a hard reminder. Maybe they could use a silly post to lighten their day, a question to answer, SOMETHING. Audiences are more likely to interact when they feel welcome to do so, and they’ll stick around if they feel like they’re getting something out of your account. 


DON’T copy what others are doing. Gathering inspiration from others is fine, maybe even crucial as you are starting out and learning. But never straight-up copy them–first of all, what they’re curating and what you’re curating may be completely different.


DON’T worry about hitting every mark every time. Some posts will just flop, and that’s okay. But:  If there’s a pattern of low interaction, it might be time to look at when you’re posting (days of the week as well as time factor into that), what you’re posting, the hashtags you’re using, and the algorithm for your platform(s) overall. There are a lot of moving parts to the content creation game. Consistency (i.e. posting regularly) is the most important thing you can do, but if you miss a post or something comes up, it’s not the end of the world. 


DON’T be too repetitive. Consistency doesn’t mean you post about the same topic over and over–it’s more about scheduling than the content. Make sure to give your audience a bit of variety with what you offer and talk about. (For example, if you sell crochet projects, every single post doesn’t have to be about crocheting. You could do an update on your business-oriented goals, something you’re learning in life, a new stitch or yarn you’re trying, some of your favorite tools to use, why you enjoy crocheting, etc — see the variety there?)


DON’T only share your products exclusively. Especially as freelancers, entrepreneurs, or indie artists, community is critical. Build friendships and working relationships with others in your field and celebrate their achievements too. Audiences will see someone who’s willing to work with others, who’s friendly, and who is confident enough to rejoice with others about their success. Likewise, don’t be afraid to advertise your products from time to time–just balance it out! 


SO: the beast of content creation and marketing is pretty wild, and sometimes it’s like riding a tornado because you just aren’t sure where the next twist or turn will take you. BUT not only is it important for what you’re offering, it can be brought under control to a manageable level for your personal goals. Taking time to plan is critical and while I will say it takes time to get used to, it’s doable! Not only that, you’ll get to meet people along the way who are as passionate about what you do as you are–and sometimes that’s the biggest reward of all.



What are some of your favorite marketing tips and tricks? Sound off in the comments!


ROMANCE FREEBIES! (Feb 10th thru Feb 14th)

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

 Hey everyone!

It's that time of the year again...the "romance-author's-birthday-slash-Valentine's-Day" sale. It's becoming an annual thing. *jazzhands* 


SO. Why not load up on some free novels, get caught up on some of my latest releases, and hype up a series or two for new books coming out this year?

From February 10th - 14th, click the titles below to snag a FREE copy on Kindle. Share with your friends!



The Lady of Lanaria

The Healer of the Brigade

A Dance of Rebels

Between Us

Back To Me

Faith, Hope, and Love Collection: Volume One

REVELL READS REVIEW: EMBERS IN THE LONDON SKY by Sarah Sundin!

Monday, February 5, 2024

Hey everyone! Today I'm excited to share a review of Embers in the London Sky by Sarah Sundin. I do enjoy her books quite a bit, and this one was no exception. Plus, it just so happens to be release day today! A solid 4/5 rating--and you can check out my review below! 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

As the German army invades the Netherlands in 1940, Aleida van der Zee Martens escapes to London to wait out the Occupation. Separated from her three-year-old son, Theo, in the process, the young widow desperately searches for her little boy even as she works for an agency responsible for evacuating children to the countryside.

When German bombs set London ablaze, BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood reports on the Blitz, eager to boost morale while walking the fine line between truth and censorship. But the Germans are not the only ones Londoners have to fear as a series of murders flame up amid the ashes.

The deaths hit close to home for Hugh, and Aleida needs his help to locate her missing son. As they work together, they grow closer and closer, both to each other and the answers they seek. But with bombs falling and continued killings, they may be running out of time.

AMAZON | GOODREADS | CHRISTIAN BOOK



MY REVIEW: 

This is an excellent novel, very thought-provoking and endearing, which is pretty much on-par for Sundin's works. The characters were easily relatable, and I absolutely loved poor Theo. Disability rep was fantastic to see in this story! The scenes are immersive, characters dynamic, and the story keeps you guessing up until you realize--and then it's a race to see if the characters themselves find out in time. 
(And I gotta given an honorable mention to a scene where a cat went missing. Granted everything else that was going on in the book at the time, that one just took the cake as The Last Straw...) While there were a few times where I wanted to yell at the characters to get their stuff figured out, this book is easy to get into and I read the second half of it in one sitting, so I daresay it's a good one. 

If you enjoy WWII-era historical novels, this one is a must. 

INTRODUCING MIDNIGHT HOUR BOOK 5

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

 Hey all! Today I'm sharing the title reveal for Midnight Hour Book 5! 

If you haven't caught up on the series yet, check it out HERE.

This will be the final main installment of the series, which is incredibly bittersweet. HOWEVER, I have many many plans to add supplemental books--ones you don't have to read to grasp the rest of the series, but they're there for folks who want to read more--following some minor characters, the major cast, and maybe even a few new faces. I'm also toying with a new series set in the thousand years Christ reigns on Earth mentioned in Revelation. So this certainly won't be the last you'll see of the crew.

I'm too attached to them now to let them go just yet. xD

But without further ado...Until Kingdom Come will arrive this year. I'm hoping for a summer release, but I haven't ironed out the exact date yet. 



Oh, you're still here? I didn't suggest that you needed to stay any longer. But since you have...


BLURB

War is coming. Persecution has arrived. The New Beginning is a breath away.

In the aftermath of the worst natural disaster the world has seen, the survivors must persevere. Safety is no longer a guarantee for Marked and Unmarked alike, creating a deadly scramble to simply survive. As Tarik Azrael prepares for the war to end all wars, anyone without a Mark is gunned down for a reward: simple provisions to live another day. Desperation breeds dangerous insanity. 

While the final violent birthing pangs of the Second Coming rock the world, Tikvah and her motley family makes one last radical attempt to follow the Sealed man's orders and serve Adonai. The cost will be steep. But the battle will be won. 

We all look up to the clouds. 
Take a breath that catches.
And fall to our knees in awe...

UNTIL KINGDOM COME is the final installment of the Midnight Hour series.