Wednesday, November 26, 2014

whatever it shall cost us


It bothers me that Americans tend to celebrate Black Friday more than Thanksgiving these days. The one day that we have set aside to be thankful is becoming a day to get more. Want more. Please, let us remember the Pilgrims. They had nothing; and yet, they had everything. They had the gifts of God. They had courage. Hope. Faith. They went through the darkest of times. They lived in a ship -- a tiny, bone-chilling, vermin-infested ship -- for weeks and weeks. In the middle of an unsteady, violent ocean. And yet, their trust in our Father was steady. Perhaps it wavered -- in fact, I'm sure the faith of some wavered tremendously. But they continued believing. And despite the surrounding insecurity, they continued trusting.

The fact is this: they chose. They chose to live a miserable few months. And when they came out, with loss and hardship and memories of agonizing days and nights still clinging to their hearts... they were thankful. Truly thankful.

Why can we not be the same today? Why can we not place our focus on thanking and praising God rather than spending our Thanksgiving thinking and planning about what we are to purchase for a probably-good deal? Why can we not lay our heads on our pillows in peace instead of storming out after Thanksgiving dinner to buy more?

I understand that some may have less money than others. I understand that there is some good in Black Friday, on that aspect. I think my point is that the world disgusts me. And it's days like these that I have to be reminded of this quote from Lord of the Rings: "There is some good left in this world, and it's worth fighting for."

“O BEAUTIFUL FOR PILGRIM FEET,
WHOSE STERN, IMPASSIONED STRESS
A THOROUGHFARE FOR FREEDOM BEAT
ACROSS THE WILDERNESS!
AMERICA! AMERICA!
GOD MEND THINE EV'RY FLAW,
CONFIRM THY SOUL IN SELF-CONTROL,
THY LIBERTY IN LAW.”

– Katharine Lee Bates

Friday, November 14, 2014

the mirrors of time





Paper leaves crowned her head
shivering in the moonlight.
An organ groaned, soft and clear,
drifting off from star-heights

The night bats hovered overhead,
scorning humanity
as the little child poured her tea
in cracking pottery.

Eyes blinked in the blackness
as the wolves gathered around
warding off the evils
that haunted the hunting ground.

Life sprung from the dirt
and the leaves fell from above
as Autumn sang a tuneless breeze
and the child hummed a song.

Her voice chanted a lullaby
and the nymphs fell asleep;
the moon sang of soft remorse
and Summer didn't peep.

Sparks shattered the shadows
like a golden firework
as the little girl nodded off
and the pottery broke.

A sharp wind tore the moon
and split her crown in half
as the child dreamt a nightmare
of Autumn's untimed death.

An eerie carol rode the howl
as Christmas flitted past
and the year screamed of birthing pains
as it breathed its hour last.

The sky exploded orange and blue
as the new year burst forth
but the child slept until the May
when Spring rapped on the door.

Upon the threshold she stood gaily
a daylily in her hand
and the child sprang with joyfilled glee
as sleep dripped off the land.

A shining glow filled the earth
as memories grew back
and Spring breathed a newfound love
when life did not lack.

The little maiden was child again
and her pottery made new
as she skipped off to breakfast
through the sunlight's sprinkled dew.

© 2015 by Emily Chapman

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

autumn favorites

MOVIE

Picture via Google images

SHORT STORY

WILLA-MY-WILLA by Elizabeth Rose

SONG


SHOW


Picture via Google images

BOOK


(1. This movie involves some cursing, etc. 2. I love this short story; link is beneath photo. 3. I listened to this song over-and-over this time of year last year. It's nostalgic to me. 4. Watch with care. 5. It Took a War releases this winter.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

dozens of copies sold!

That's my marketing slogan for Cry of Hope. I'm pretty proud of it. ;)

Sometimes an author runs across a review for her book that puts into words the exact things she's always meant to say about her book, but couldn't quite because of clarity of thought (or lack thereof) and the sheer fact that it's awkward for an author to insert a correct mix of honest praise and criticism of her own work. All that to say, here's a sweet review that I found on Goodreads...

: : :

My! I love this story! So much. I love John, and Hope and Joshua and Patience. At first, Hope's hopelessness and tendency for hysterical sobbing/blacking out in sad moments annoyed me: also the description, especially in the early section of the book, sometimes bordered on being verboise and a tad melodramatic. But that fixed up beautifully by the second half and the authoress truly excels in her dialogue, and in the historic tones of the story. But as I reached the climax, and the aftermath I came to appreciate where Hope was and what the story of her endurance and faith lead her. The second half was so beautiful and touching and I was deeply inspired by the theme of hope in faith in God and of family too. I related a lot to Hope's journey and her finding healing. That was beautiful, and I was deeply stirred many times! I was really thrilled at how much I enjoyed Cry of Hope!

: : :

Thank you to the stars, Joy. You are the sweetest, and you've echoed my exact thoughts on my little story.

To those of you who are looking for a touching historical read, now is the perfect time to purchase Cry of Hope. Thanksgiving is approaching, and an in-depth look into the personal life of a fictional young Pilgrim will perhaps give a more thoughtful tone to the way you celebrate this year. Cheers!

Friday, November 7, 2014

the good things

Friends who buy you donuts.


Being blessed with the precise thing for which you prayed.


Charlie Brown.
Laughter in the face of winter.


Watching Full House all day during rainy days.


Meatloaf for dinner.


Makeup because no one has clear skin all the time.


And Christmastime.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"not 'soon', sir. 'anon'. it's more shakespearean."

The time is now, the day is here! It's the release of Anon, Sir, Anon by the ever-darling Rachel Heffington. The fact that the release is in November is perfect in more ways than one. First of all, there's enough time to put it on your Christmas list. ("SANTA!! I know him!") Secondly, November is the perfect month to experience such a mystery. It makes you want to curl up in a big old chair on a cold, rainy day with a mug of hot apple cider. It's delightful, really.

On that note, let's get on with the announcements! For those of you who might be wondering, "What is this strange magic?" ... this is what Anon, Sir, Anon is about.


THE 12:55 OUT OF DARLINGTON BROUGHT MORE THAN ORVILLE FARNHAM'S NIECE; MURDER WAS PASSENGER. In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets. When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door. Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.

YOU CAN NOW PURCHASE IT ON AMAZON!

For those of you who might be wondering, "Who is this enchanting person?" ... this is who Rachel Heffington is.



RACHEL HEFFINGTON IS A NOVELIST, A NANNY, AND A PEOPLE-LOVER LIVING IN RURAL VIRGINIA WITH HER FAMILY AND BLACK CAT, CRICKET. Her first novel, Fly Away Home, was independently published in February of 2014, while her novella, The Windy Side of Care, was published by Rooglewood Press in the Five Glass Slippers anthology in June of 2014.  Visit Rachel online at www.inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com.

She's a regular Mary Poppins, my darlings. She's also that nice lady who gives you goodies.

The Cozy Quagmire Party Pack is something she fabricated herself, and you can enter below to win everything you'll need to host an evening worthy of guests such as Vivi, Farnham, and Dr. Breen. It includes P.G. Tips (Rachel's favorite British black tea), a five dollar Panera giftcard for toasting-bread, a Yankee candle, matchbook, and a paperback copy of Anon, Sir, Anon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now I propose we do this: go pop over to Rachel's blog and shower her with confetti and hugs. Okay? Okay.

Monday, November 3, 2014

beautiful people | jem halcott

I don't know what work-in-progress will arise next. Originally I was planning on diving into a Beauty and the Beast retelling as soon as my summer calmed down, but now I am hesitant. Hence the reason I'm exploring the characters of another novel, currently nameless, with a hefty plot that hasn't quite taken shape yet. Let us find out more about this fellow -- Jem -- together.

1) What does your character regret the most in their life?

When your entire family suddenly depends upon you as their source of strength, a fellow finds many things to regret in his past, present, and even future.

2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?

His happiest memories are those of he and his brothers fishing by the creek with their pa on their little Maryland plantation. His most sorrowful memory is of the day his father was brought home dead from the war... and sadly, that memory is all too recent.

3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves? 

When his sister insists she be right, and then it turns out that she really is right. When young men don't up and do the right thing, no matter the cost. (And unfortunately, he himself falls under this somewhat often, which vexes him all the more.) When his toast is burnt. When snow creeps into his boots as soon as chores begin.

He's a pretty normal human being.

4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how? 

When around young ladies (not counting his sisters, of course), he has a tendency to be on his best behaviour and can be rather cocky. Typical fellow. When he is around other fellows, the Halcott trait of competition kicks in. That trait is found stronger in his younger brothers than in himself, but no fear. It's instilled in Jem's blood.

5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)

Jem is a born-again Christian. He does not have any superstitions, but it makes him very uncomfortable when people talk about superstitions.

6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?

He often says, "'Member when...?"

7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?

Jem was always taught to face his fears, and that is exactly what he desires to do. However, when circumstances arise, throwing him in the thick of a war amidst a war, his courage often wavers and his longing for the guidance of his late father often washes out his ability to clearly seek guidance from God.

8) Do they have a good self image?

People often call him "Jeremiah" now that his father has passed on, and it cuts him deeply each time he hears it addressed to himself. He does not believe he can be what his father was, in spite of the fact and because of the fact that so many people believe he can.

9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?

There are very few people he will turn to when he is upset, and while he feels the keen need to do so, he would much rather isolate himself than seek comfort and guidance from those he has sworn to himself to protect.

10) If they were standing next to you, would it make you laugh or cry?

I would laugh and cry because he was real. Wouldn't everyone do so for the sheer actuality of their hero or heroine?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

cover reveal | it took a war

Sometimes I just get really, really excited about the release of a book. And today is one of those days where I get really, really excited about the release of a book. Today is the cover reveal for It Took a War by one of my dearest friends, Emily Ann Putzke.

And you guys. This is a good book. It's a sweet, simple story that drips with historical accuracy and human nature. It's full of emotion and genuine characters. I'll go into more detail at a later date, but right now I'll share the synopsis with you. And take a look at that beautiful cover!

1861 - Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.

:::

EMILY ANN PUTZKE is a 19 year old Catholic, homeschool graduate and history lover. Besides writing historical fiction, she enjoys photography (especially photographing her nieces and nephew), reading, spending time with her family, Civil War reenacting, traveling and a good cup of coffee. She resides in New York State where she drinks in the beautiful autumns and tries to endure the long winters. Her debut historical fiction novella will be in print this winter.