this enchanted corner

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I have forgotten.

I've forgotten the gentle joys of putting out a hand into the vague space of blogging and embracing other lives and kindred spirits. I've forgotten the thrill of having my own stories invading the worlds within the worlds of other humans. I've forgotten to keep contact with those whom I haven't met in person. I've even forgotten to keep in contact with Em! my own dear Em!

Here's an open apology to you and you. I confess I do not know when I will meet with you again. Perhaps in a month, perhaps in a year, perhaps two. Writing has slipped to the very back crevices of my mind, and my thoughts are enthroned Elsewhere.

I have forgotten, but I will never truly forget. Someday my weary feet will trod back to this cozy corner of the worlds. Someday I will ease myself down in front of the soothing fire, and I will write again. I will write to you, and I will write of far-off, imagined places. For now, I am on an adventure. And I don't know when I'll return.

Here's my last smattering of ink. Here's my last drop of tea, my last shred of cyber paper, my last train of thoughts to the blogging world.

Bess and Gi will continue to be with you, in the form of Ain't We Got Fun. Hope and John will ever remain in their simple Cry of Hope. Characters such as Chet and Genevieve, Dani and Ashlee, and Jeremiah Frost will live among the archives of Entirely Bonkers, making mischief in their happy imprisonment.

And I will return.

Until then, adieu.

summer's close

images via pinterest
cookies n' cream ice cream

high school musical

busy mornings & afternoons at the cafe

gently purring ceiling fans

bare feet

unfinished books

wishful thinking

the dick van dyke show

juicy watermelon

tears spurred by sermons

family family family

ain't we got fun reviews

getting stranded while hiking

lots of talking about things

post-recital roses

messy rooms

front-row tickets to newsies

pizza nights

fireworks-less fourth of july

learning forgiveness

new beginnings

this was my summer.

corroded thorns | review

PURCHASE YOUR COPY HERE!
Author :: Emma Clifton

Summary :: A fairy godmother—in prison? Madeline can’t remember even being a fairy godmother, let alone doing something bad enough to land her in a cell. When a mysterious lady sends her back to her old village with cryptic instructions and no answers to her many questions, Madeline must find a way to free her father, who has been imprisoned in a tower by a terrible beast.

First banished by his father the king, then cursed by an angry fairy, Prince Darcy will do anything to escape this fate and achieve revenge and power. Just when he thinks his chance has arrived, by some cruel trick of fate a girl from his past returns and once again wreaks havoc on his life. Worse still, he begins to question what he truly desires.

First line :: Someone had come to visit.

Last word :: That.

My thoughts :: It's no secret that I am a fan of the prequel, Broken Glass. So when Corroded Thorns was announced, I was unquestionably excited.

The story does not disappoint. A deeper, darker magic than that of the prequel makes its grand entrance into this story, along with all of the goodies called love and betrayal and greed and hope. A conniving queen, a confused and rejected village girl, and the greed of a broken prince collide in a larger than life game, fashioned among the sprites, that sets lives at risk and the fates of kingdoms in jeopardy.

It's short, fast-paced, and undeniably sweet and sinister in turns. All together, it's a clever Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Corroded Thorns is certainly worth your time.

Pros :: Exciting plot, sparkling new and old characters, descriptive worlds, and unique settings.

Cons :: Sometimes the plot felt a bit haphazard and thrown together, and it was very fast-paced. But that didn't keep me from enjoying the story.

Recommended age :: All ages! (There is death and mildly creepy aspects, however, so a sensitive child may have a more difficult time taking it in.)

Rating :: Four stars. It was a fun and entertaining read.

big ben

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"Is that it?"

We stood, hand in hand, in front of the big clock. Chet's mouth had dropped open, and he was just staring at it. "He's okay," he said at last, wriggling his fingers out of mind because it was pretty awkward.

"Who? Big Ben?" I snickered, knocking his shoulder with my fist. My hair blew in my face, covering my sight for a moment with a wave of auburn strands. Although, technically my hair was more of an auburn-blonde-brown. What was that called? Flaxen?

"Yeah, Big Ben. He's okay." Chet smirked, wiping his brow and pushing back his backwards baseball cap. "He could be bigger."

"Yeah, he could be prettier, too." I kicked a pebble in the street, and it bounced across the pavement until it accidentally hit a cab that inched by. Chet laughed at me as the cabbie glared.

"He could be stronger, probably." Chet squinted in the sun.

"And he could be made more useful."

"Say, let's tear him down when we become millionaires, Genevieve, and build something better."

"I don't think London would allow that." I sat down on the sidewalk, sighing as my feet relaxed. "Besides, he is rather ... well-known."

"But we will own London then, when we're rich," Chet argued. He bit his lip as two giggling British girls walked by, staring at him. I squirmed because nothing like that ever happened to me. Not that I want girls staring at me, of course, but I mean guys. I did have eyes like Jennifer Lawrence after all. Chet said so.

Though, come to think of it, I wasn't exactly comfortable with a hundred strange guys staring at me.

"Genevieve. Earth to Genevieve." My best friend nudged my shoulder. "Where are you?"

"Nowhere," I said, pretending I had been staring at Big Ben. "I was just admiring his good looks."

"You just said he could be prettier." Chet cocked an eyebrow.

"Well, he could." I licked my lips. "Say, Chet ... is my hair red or brown?"

Chet snorted, but he was used to my rather random questions. "Both."

"Oh."

"I like it."

"Oh." My voice was a bit cheerier there. "Shall we go onward?"

"Of course." He whistled a cab, but it ignored him and kept driving. "What an idiot. Hey, Viv, how do you get to Baker Street?"

alpha to omega

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I've been very uninspired lately, especially when it comes to blog-writing. So what do you do when you can't write a blog post? Why, you answer tag questions. It's probably against the Blogger Code of Rules to answer tag questions that you weren't tagged in, but I'm going to be a rebel here and break that code of rules. (MWAHAHA.)

I found this very interesting tag on a blog I stumbled across, and I want to try it out. So, here goes!

A-Z BOOKISH QUESTIONS

Author you've read the most books from: When it comes down to it, it would frankly be Valerie Tripp, Beverly Cleary, or Lois Gladys Leppard. I read so many American Girl books when I was little that were written by Valerie Tripp; I read all the Ramona books and Henry books and other books by Beverly Cleary; and I read probably around fifteen or twenty of the Mandie books by Lois Gladys Leppard. Yes. Heavy stuff, guys.

Best sequel ever: The first thing that comes to mind is the third installment of the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne of the Island. It was my favorite book in the series, and it counts as a sequel, right? We'll say it does.

Currently reading: A multitude of books, it seems. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Emma by Jane Austen, and Resist by Emily Ann Putzke. Technically, I'm editing that last one. And boy, oh boy! When this book is finally published, you're going to hear all my many, many fangirlish rants thoughts on it. So far, it is so good. So, so good. And it's very different from Ain't We Got Fun. Resist ain't a light read in the least!

Drink of choice while reading: Either lemonade or a smoothie in the summer, or hot chocolate in the winter.

E-reader or physical book: Back a couple months ago, I would have said physical book without a doubt. However, I am now so accustomed to using my screens, be it computer or phone, that it's almost become easier for me to focus on something that's on a screen. It's horrid, really. I need to wean myself from this habit.

Fictional person you would have probably actually dated in high school: Well, I just got out of high school ... but I likely would have dated Peter Pevensie. Heck, I'd still be dating Peter if only he wasn't fictional.

Glad you gave this book a chance: Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. When I was thirteen, I read Stengl's first book, Heartless. And I hated it! It disturbed me to the core of my being, and I didn't dare continue the series. However, as I've grown older, the things that made me uncomfortable to read when I was younger (such as some violence and fantastical imagery) don't bother me as much. So I read Veiled Rose, which was okay. But that led me to read Moonblood, and that story is so rich and beautiful. I emerged christening it one of my favorite books.

Hidden gem books: When I was younger, I rarely read books outside my realm of American Girl and Ramona Quimby books. However, one obscure book that caught my heart was Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. I read that book over and over again.

Another book that I enjoy today (and isn't so very well known) is Interrupted by Rachel Coker. That is another book I didn't love when I was younger, but I've grown to love it as I've grown older and my tastes have changed. It's a sweet little story. If you liked Ain't We Got Fun, you'd probably like Interrupted. It has more heartache than AWGF, but it's still very sweet and fun nonetheless.

Interesting bookish question that you wish this list included: Which book is most dog-eared on your book shelf? Well, this is going to be a toss-up between Heidi, Caddie Woodlawn, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and The Scarlet Letter. The first three are merely childhood favorites, and the latter is a book I had to read for school last year. Meaning I needed to refer to it many times, and it, therefore, wasn't handled in the gentlest of ways. 

Just finished: I honestly cannot recollect what book I read last! I think I reread Interrupted last, but the last new-book I read was The Scarlet Letter, I believe. Or was it The Giver?

Kind of books you won't read: Books with much gore and immorality. Those are books I won't read. Those and the tomes that simply would take too much time to delve into. 

Longest book you read: This is tricky! Which book is longer? Little Women or To Kill a Mockingbird? Because I believe those are the longest books I've read. Unless you count The Lord of the Rings as one whole book. ;)

Major book hangover: I think I'm going to say The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. I don't think you'd be able to leave that series without a major hangover  especially not with the way Lewis ends it! Although, Moonblood left me with a pretty hefty hangover as well.

Number of bookcases you own: One, and I'm quite proud of it. It's my favorite part of my bedroom.

One book you've read multiple times: Well, this is tricky. Perhaps A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett?

Preferred place(s) to read: My bed! Or the sofa. Or the cushioned bench on our back porch.

Quote you like from a book you read: Well, this is rude. I cannot pick just one. Therefore, I'll share a couple.

"There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for." 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

"I'll choose an ugly truth over your pretty lies any day." 
― Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Moonblood

"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are - are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


Reading regret: Having become too caught up lately with technology to enjoy a good read. I need to sit down and read again. I'm thinking a good start would be one of the books on my reading list: The Horse and His Boy. It's been too long since a visit to my favorite world.

Series you started and need to finish: Perhaps the Anne of Green Gables series, or the companions to The Giver. 

I stopped after reading Anne of the Island, because the ending felt like a perfect ending to the series. (And my mother said that they rather go downhill after Windy Poplars.

I also own the companions to The Giver, but I haven't had the heart to read them yet.

Three of your all-time favorite books: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (is that cheating? ;)), and Ain't We Got Fun. Wait, I'm not certain the latter counts since I'm one of the authors ... but in all actuality, it's one of my favorite things ever. So perhaps it does count.

Unapologetic fangirl for: The Chronicles of Narnia.

Very excited for this release more than all the others: Resist by Emily Ann Putzke! Oh. Oh, the feels. But I'm not even finished with it yet.

Worst bookish habit: Starting too many books at one time? Dog-earing the pages? Putting a book down to go watch Netflix? You pick the worst.

X marks the spot (that is, bookmarks): I only have one bookmark. As the bad habit hints above, I tend to dog-ear pages. Although, I'm becoming a bit more peevish about that, so maybe that habit is waning. Anyway, I use this bookmark a lot: a Jane Austen sketch bookmark that I won in a giveaway. It's rather pretty, and it has remarkably not gotten lost.

Your last book purchase: I believe it was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Zzzzz snatcher book: I don't have one in particular. Just any book I happen to be reading for the first time that has me all caught up in the story.

- - - - - -

This took me an entire hour to fill out. I'm off to go contemplate my life choices.

mine

"you made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter."
- taylor swift -

I held my breath, clutching my stomach as if someone had just hit me. Someone sort of had. In my eyes, anyway. Ashlee would wave her perfectly manicured fingers, scoffing at me for considering love at first sight to be a tragedy.

Was that love at first sight? I felt like I needed some air, but he had gone out there to get a paper. I would run into him. But he was coming back inside. Why didn't I put my foot down? Now I would go to work without breakfast, because I would be far too distraught and nervous to eat. It was a pity, too. This was my favorite diner.

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Oh, dear Ashlee. If only she were here. I clicked my heels together under the table, impatiently waiting for the young man to return though I dreaded it. Daddy said there was no such thing as love at first sight. He said it was only mumbo-jumbo that would get you into trouble later. That's what happened with Mom.

I didn't want that to happen to me.

Then the door clanged as the young man returned, a paper stuffed under his arm and a cavalier smile on his face. "I hope you didn't mind my inquiries to sit with you, Miss ...?" He looked at me questioningly with those clear, green eyes that would be permanently implanted in my mind.

"Um ... everyone just calls me Dani," I choked out, hugging myself tighter. There they were again. Those butterflies in my stomach. I wanted to quench them, but then I didn't. "I don't mind you sitting," I found myself saying, and I didn't quite regret it.

"Good." He sat down across from me. "Dani," he mused, laying the newspaper on the table and thoughtfully clasping his hands together. "Is it short for Danielle?"

"Yup," I replied, looking toward the kitchen. I rather wished they had forgotten my order. Three pancakes and bacon on the side. How fattening. I would have to eat it in front of him, too. He, of course, would insist that I eat, denying any impoliteness it would cause.

"Nice name," he said. "It's like the girl from ... what's that movie called? The Cinderella one."

"Ever After." I smiled, feeling the butterflies rise to my throat.

"Yes," he mused, gazing at me deeply. "You look like her, too."

I snorted before I realized it. Then I blinked in embarrassment and stammered, "I look nothing like her, sir."

"Well, if it's not her face then it's her beauty." He winked and snapped open the newspaper.

That was forward. I stood, feeling rather uncomfortable and enjoying it. "I must leave," I said, finding it hard to breathe again. "I must go."

"Oh, must Cinderella leave so soon?" he exclaimed, resting his arm on the back of the chair. "Why, it's not yet twelve o' clock." He winked.

"I forgot, I ... I need to meet a friend."

"A friend?" His eyebrows rose. "Ah, I see. Prince Charming."

"Oh, no, no!" I cried. "I don't have one of ... those."

His charming grin spread again. "Really? I'm surprised."

I paused, halfway out the door. I wanted to stay, but I knew I couldn't. I needed to breathe. Maybe I would return. Maybe. Just in case, I spoke. "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."

His green eyes sparkled at my interest. "It's Dave, Cinderella."

summer reading list

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I'll let you in on a Sort Of secret. I've actually never compiled a summer reading list for myself. I never liked the idea of it. That's no fun, I thought. It's like ... schoolwork or something. It's like a cage. "Read this. Don't read that." I liked the freedom of choosing what I wanted to read, and reading it when I wanted to read it. However, I've noticed my reading declining steadily in the past, well, year, and I'm beginning to realize that having a reading list might, in fact, pique my interest again in the written word. Plus I have several books on my shelf that need to be read. (For although I may struggle with actually reading books as of late, I've had no problem buying new ones. Because books are so pretty, guys!)

- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty White -

- Emma by Jane Austen -

- The Adventures and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -

- Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott -

- Resist by Emily Ann Putzke -

- The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis -

- Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge -

- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott -

- Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl -

The first four books have been on my shelf for quite some time now -- except A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, actually. I picked that one up at a used bookstore just a couple weeks ago. It was a rather spontaneous purchase, too. I can't resist pretty, used books. Anyway, those four need to be read because I own them. It's a fact.

Resist is actually not published yet. Fortunately, I'm pretty good friends with the author. ;) And I've been recruited to help edit it. (Okay, okay ... I was asked to help edit it, to which I responded "YES!" quite heartily.)

I've only read The Horse and His Boy once in my lifetime. I picked up this little copy as well at the used bookstore, after having a discussion with a man at my church about the Narnia books. He mentioned this one, and I recalled I hadn't read it in a very long time. I knew I needed to fix that as soon as possible.

Captivating was recommended by a lady I like to consider my second mother. I'm already halfway into it, and so far, a good portion of it has been very good for the soul.

Naturally, Little Women is a reread. I have several reasons for wanting to reread it, one of which is the fact that I haven't read it in a very long time. I miss the characters.

Starflower. Chloe, I'm looking at you. ;) Chloe gave me Starflower about eight-ish months ago to borrow. Ashamedly, I never ended up reading it. I still want to read it, however, even though I returned it to her a short while ago while attending her graduation party. (Hey, on that note, here's a public congratulations to you, friend!) All that to say, we've both decided I'm coming back to her house soon to borrow it. Then I'll have to return to her house to return it to her. So you see, it's all a very good method. I get to see her at least twice in the process. Very good, very good.

WHAT SORT OF BOOKS ARE YOU READING THIS SUMMER?

ain't we got fun tour | day five

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Well, this has been a journey! Emily Ann and I have had so much fun visiting your blogs and sharing peeks into our world of Ain't We Got Fun. I only hope y'all have enjoyed it as much as I!

First of all, I feel I should apologize for this post appearing so late in the day. I had work this morning and early afternoon, and then I came home and crashed in my room to scroll through Facebook and breathe a bit. Here I am, now! Let's get on to the stops for today's tour.

Emily Ann guest posted on "The Pen of a Ready Writer" to talk about character creation ...

... Use [flaws] to stretch and change your character. Pride gets Gi in quite a few scrapes. Throughout AWGF, she’s constantly battling with it. Everytime she thinks she can tame her pride, it flares up again. It’s not until the end of the story that she finally makes headway into defeating this flaw. She realizes that she can’t do everything on her own, and that she needs to rely on God, not herself.


I also guest posted today, over at "Fullness of Joy." I decided to tackle the topic of meeting deadlines and remaining sane all at the same time. The post doesn't seem to be up yet, but I'll update you when it is. In the meantime, how about a sneak peek?

I'm going to go out on a limb again and guess that I'm not the only one who struggles with deadlines -- whether it be for writing, homework, blogging, et cetera. Therefore, I thought I would compile an Emily Approved list of Ways to Stay Sane While Meeting Deadlines.
1. Eat chocolate. And coffee.

Funny story, but ever since I met Emily Ann three years ago, her biggest piece of advice to me when I would have troubles with lack of inspiration was this: eat chocolate and drink coffee. There are countless times I've received this well-worn advice from her, and it's a good piece of advice. Whether it helps with inspiration or not, it does revive you a bit. Coffee = caffeine. Caffeine = a more awake author. Chocolate = happiness. Happiness = a more cheerful author. Both are rather necessary things for meeting deadlines.


One more tidbit of Ain't We Got Fun information for the day ... I'm not entirely sure who, but someone added our book to a list titled "Epistolary Fiction" on Goodreads! Thank you, anonymous friend who did so! It's currently 70 out of 338 books. This is where you come in! Let's try to get this little novella higher on the list. You can vote for it here. The more votes she gets, the higher on the list she goes!

Now, if you missed any of the blog posts this week, never fear! Below I've compiled the entire week's tour into a handy little list for you! (Okay, I actually copied and pasted it from Em's blog. Cough, cough.) Thank you again to all the bloggers who participated!

MONDAY:

Book view by Audrey at THE MEASURE OF A BOOK.
Interview by CARMEL ELIZABETH.
Challenges and Joys of Writing Historical Fiction (a guest post by Emily Ann) at
THE MISADVENTURES OF A GLOBETROTTER IN TRAINING.

TUESDAY:

Book review by Hanne-col at AIN'T WE GOT FUN.
Book review by Reyna at A PEACE OF THE PAST.
Incorporating Christianity Into One's Writing (a guest post by me) at APPLES OF GOLD.

WEDNESDAY:

The Writing Process of Ain't We Got Fun (a guest post by Emily Ann) at FULLNESS OF JOY.
Book review by Anne Marie at AM STATION.
Cover + Giveaway Info at LETTERS FROM AVONLEA.

THURSDAY:

Interview at THE WHISPERING COTTAGE.

FRIDAY:

How to Meet Deadlines and Remain Sane (a guest post by me) at FULLNESS OF JOY.
Character Creation (a guest post by Emily Ann) at THE PEN OF A READY WRITER.

- - - - -

Only a few more hours left to enter the giveaway! If you haven't entered yet, you can still jump on the bandwagon. (Open to U.S. residents only.) We will be announcing the winner tomorrow!

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ain't we got fun tour | day four

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Facts about Me and Ain't We Got Fun

- I still don't know how to pronounce "Willoughby" ... so I just call him "Will" when speaking out loud.

- Tom originally was meant to sort of parallel Teddy Laurence.

- I knew the instant I read "dashing journalist" in Emily Ann's letters that she would turn him into a very important character.

- I'm a lot like Bess, which made the story a lot easier to write. We even look alike. And we're the same age. And we love to read. And we're somewhat shy (although I'm fighting to overcome that). And we're both daddy's girls. Okay, I'll stop now. ;)

- I'm not sure why the Great Depression was chosen as the era. I think it had a lot to do with the dust bowl, actually. I wanted to write a story around that time, and then I found out that the dust bowl happened during the Great Depression. And the rest of the undeveloped plot fit perfectly into that era.

- Bess sprains her ankle a total of three times during the story. Funny enough, Tom is always the cause, too.

- I may have been known to have squealed out loud when reading Gi's replies to Bess' letters. I might have blushed when she mentioned Tom, I might have laughed when Gi recounted her blunders, I might have cried when Gi sent her last letter. I might have.

- Gi and Bess' mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Donovan. Bess was named after her, as was Donny.

- That time when I took the pictures of me dressed like Bess? Originally I was going to take them in a field across from the tiny apartment my family was living in at the time, but there was a very short amount of daylight left because I had to work that morning and most of the afternoon ... so I picked the best corner I could in the apartment, threw on a too-small sweater and a crinkled blouse, and snapped a couple so-called Bess pictures. (Also it was very cold outside, and I had no 30's coat to speak of.)

- - - - -

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading those random little facts. One more thing before I close this portion of the post and get on to the stops for today's tour ... have you gotten your copy of Ain't We Got Fun yet? If so, take a picture of yourself with your copy (it can be paperback or Kindle!) and send it to us! 

emilychapmanauthor AT gmail DOT com
authoremilyannputzke AT gmail DOT com

We love seeing ridiculously excited faces with our book. :) If we receive enough pictures, we might compile a post of y'all.

Now, on to the blog tour! Today we have but one stop, but it's a rather fabulous one. Today we were interviewed over at "The Whispering Cottage." Libby had wonderful questions, so if you want to go read a bunch of Ain't We Got Fun paraphernalia, hop right on over there! Here's a sneak peek:

9. If this book had a soundtrack, what are a few songs that would be on it?

E.C. : Fascinating question! First off, definitely "Ain't We Got Fun" sung by Renee Olstead. I also listened to "A Life That's Good" by Lennon and Maisy Stella a lot while writing AWGF, and it occurred to me more than once that it echoed the story very nicely.

E.A.P : Yes, “Ain’t We Got Fun” would definitely be the first song on that soundtrack! I listened the Miss Potter soundtrack while writing, and it definitely would be a soundtrack for AWGF. Also, “When You Taught Me How To Dance” by Katie Melua.


You know what's crazy? There's only one more day for the blog tour! And that means ... there's only one more day left to enter the giveaway! Don't miss it! (Open to U.S. residents only.)

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ain't we got fun tour | day three

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I'm just going to steal Emily Ann's idea, and reminisce about the last crazy days writing the Ain't We Got Fun letters.

I suppose you all already know how we posted the letters on our blogs during the month of January as we wrote them. The first couple weeks we had written far ahead, and we had plenty of time to get the rest done. But then, as life caught up to us and things got busy, time crept up on us to get the last letters written. As Em said, she was at her expecting sister's house, and I was behind in schoolwork at the time, struggling to catch up and finish my first semester of the school year. Not only that, but I was living in a tiny apartment at the time with my rather large family. And we were in the middle of moving from the tiny apartment to a new house. And I was preparing to leave town for the entire month of February. Lots of moving, packing preparations, and schoolwork cramming for me. So, as the last couple letters suddenly demanded to be written, Em and I were both in the midst of crazy situations and had to buckle down and focus!

I honestly cannot remember when and how I wrote the very last letter. I do remember, however, filming the vlog to announce the end of the writing process and the beginning of the publishing process. I called Em that evening and we talked things over. I was also catching a cold, so my voice was raspy. It was the night before the vlogs were supposed to go up on the blogs, and we both were having major issues. Mine wouldn't upload and hers was glitching. It was a mess. Time and I don't tend to get along well at all, so when I have to race against it, I usually just scarcely win.

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We ended up making it in time. Barely. I tore up to my attic and -- between coughs and a hoarse voice -- managed to film an awkward vlog. And Em ended up re-filming hers.

Ah. The joys of deadlines and writing issues. And technical issues. We both are sometimes technologically challenged.

(Curious about the vlogs? You can watch mine HERE and Emily Ann's HERE.)

Now on to today's stops on the blog tour! Emily Ann guest posted over at our friend Joy's blog, "Fullness of Joy." Care for a sneak peek? :)

"Many people are curious about how exactly we co-authored a book. I’m here to let you in on the process!

... Most of the letters contained new information that surprised the other writer! We really didn’t do a lot of plotting. We had vague ideas of where the story was headed, but we didn’t know how each other’s characters were going to get there. We really didn’t start plotting until the final letters. We had to make sure our endings were headed in the same direction. The writing was the best part! We were so excited to get an email from each other with the next installment! It was like opening a present … we had no idea what each other’s letters contained."


Ain't We Got Fun also received an applause from a sweet reviewer over at "AM Station."

"The characters of Bess and Gi are so unique to each other. They're clearly sisters, but also clearly very distinct people. I loved being a part of their joys and struggles. I came to feel as though I was one of them, privy to their thoughts and feelings. The character development was extraordinary. Even though Bess and Gi definitely were kept "in character" throughout the length of the book, they were clearly grown by the end."


We also received a shout-out on "Letters From Avonlea."

Thank you so much to all the bloggers who have helped out this week, and those who have expressed so much interest in our book! It's unbelievably encouraging. We love you all!

Oh, and one more thing ... don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open to U.S. residents only. I promise this is a giveaway you don't want to miss. :)

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ain't we got fun tour | day two

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What did I do during the Big Release yesterday? I slept 'til noon. (The weekend had been very long one, so I decided to reward myself.) I went through many comments and posts about our book when I woke up, and as the day was lazy and rainy, my family and I did just that. We were rainy and lazy. Most of my day was spent here on the blogosphere, following Ain't We Got Fun wherever it went.

(Also I watched Granite Flats last night, and if you don't watch that show, you really should. It's one of my favorite shows ever.)

Anyway, I promised I would keep you updated on where we went on our journey, and today's stops are rather fun. Two snazzy book reviews, guys. I think I was blushing as I read them.

"Vivid characters is something of a trademark that I have experienced with both authors’ writing from the smaller short stories/scenes they have posted on their respective blogs and Ain’t We Got Fun follows in that vein. You are running across the Kansas prairie with Bess or downing uncountable cups of coffee in New York City with Gi. Not only are the two narrators vivid but also the people they encounter and describe. You even have a rough idea of what the musician couple who play the V-instrument are like even though they never really have 'on screen' time ..."

- hanne-col from her blog "ain't we got fun" ... guys, ain't we got fun appeared on "ain't we got fun" in the form of a review for ain't we got fun.


"... I can't think of a single thing I disliked about it. It's one of those books that makes you feel all warm and happy inside, yet is not at all lacking in serious elements of sickness, family issues, and a bit of danger as well (very mild; nothing scary). The thing I really loved was the writing style. The authors' writing styles were distinguishable from each other's just enough to make it really seem like two sisters writing to each other, yet the story still had a nice flow."

- reyna from her blog "a peace of the past"


Today I am also appearing on Jessica's blog, "Apples of Gold", in which I talk about how to incorporate Christianity into one's writing.

"I've written three novels/novellas in my lifetime. Cry of Hope, which was published in March of 2014, focused very deeply on Christianity. However, my other two novellas, Sensical Nonsense and Ain't We Got Fun, are rather light-hearted stories that focus mainly on relationships with fellow people. Both could, in fact, be classified as romances.

It's a bit more difficult to incorporate Christianity into these sorts of stories. Why? Because Christianity is such a wide-ranged topic that one simply cannot begin to delve into it only to drop it later on because it's drifting away from the storyline! Below I have a list of ways on how I try to incorporate the faith into my writing ..."

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY (OPEN TO U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY) BELOW!

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ain't we got fun | release + giveaway!

The time is now, the day is heeeere . . . !

It's pretty nostalgic, looking back on all of this. Ain't We Got Fun has taken Emily Ann and I further than either of us ever expected. Gi and Bess have practically become a part of us. (Whenever I write Em a letter, I address it to Gi Rowland. Her contact in my phone is Gi Rowland. Our blogger profile pictures are of us dressed as Bess and Gi. Okay, we might be a little obsessed really excited about our book.)

The happy note about all of this? IT'S AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT LAST. All bound up in a pretty little book!

If, for some reason, you have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about (Hi, lovely new person! I'm so glad you stopped by!), my dear friend and I coauthored a novella. What's it about, you might ask? I'm glad you asked!

- 1936 -

It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room for depression. For in a world of such wonder, ain't we got fun?

But wait! There's more! (I've always wanted to say that.)

Are you ready for the unveiling of the Very Big giveaway? We've been working on this package for a couple months now, and I hope it does not disappoint. (Heck, I want to win this package. It's a pity I'm rather disqualified from entering.)








The big question is ... how can you enter?! Unfortunately, this giveaway is open only to those who reside in the United States. My sincere apologies to all of you dear foreign dwellers.

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*throws brownies in the air*
It's published! But the really exciting thing? This is only the beginning of the adventure.

One more thing! All throughout this week, Emily Ann and I will be stopping by various blogs, discussing our book and answering questions and fangirling over our own characters. We'd love to have you come join us! I will feebly attempt to keep you updated on where we are headed next. (You see, to be perfectly honest, Emily Ann is the Ring-Bearer and Wisdom-Bearer of the adventure. I'm merely the hobbit who was voluntarily thrown into the deal, blunders apologetically, and enjoys good food and song. And occasionally helps out by talking too much and giving Presents.)

Today's stops:

AIN'T WE GOT FUN BOOK REVIEW BY AUDREY AT THE MEASURE OF A BOOK.

AN INTERVIEW BY CARMEL ELIZABETH.

CHALLENGES AND JOYS OF WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION (A GUEST POST) AT THE MISADVENTURES OF A GLOBETROTTER IN TRAINING.

ain't we got fun blog tour plans

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Exactly two weeks from today. Exactly two weeks from today is the release of Ain't We Got Fun. You know what's also funny? Exactly three years ago come June marks the day Emily Ann and I first started chatting over email. You know what one of the primary topics were in those first few emails? Publishing a book. That was a dream of both of ours. To publish a book.

Guys, we're publishing a book. Together.

Anyway, now that nostalgia is knocked out of the way, let's get down to business. (TO DEFEAT THE HUNS.) Ain't We Got Fun releases Monday, May 25th. Em and I want to host a blog tour for its release that runs from Monday, May 25th to Friday, May 29th. We are also putting together a pretty sweet giveaway package to go along with the tour, and the lucky winner for that will be announced on Saturday, May 30th. 

If you would like to be a part of the blog tour (we would love to visit your blog!), you can sign up below! We are also offering five bloggers the opportunity to review an ebook copy of Ain't We Got Fun ... but there are only FIVE spaces for this, so sign up fast! If you read Ain't We Got Fun back in January, we would love if you would review it on your blog during the tour. (Naturally, this means you are disqualified for the ebook copy because of that ... but keep calm because May 25th is almost here!)



Thank you, readers. You have no idea how much we appreciate your encouragement and willingness to help us along this journey. Heck, we like you so much, we even mentioned you in the Acknowledgements! Thanks again for all you do! Here's to big virtual hugs from us.

begin again

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I brushed aside a sigh and strode over to the man bent over his coffee, pasting on a smile like a good waitress. The man was softly stroking his mug. He seemed a normal man, at first glance. Tall, thin, not especially handsome with rather colorless dark hair. But at a second glance, when he looked up at me, I was almost taken aback by his eyes. Intensely blue eyes, they were. And intensely sad. He looked as if he had no hope in the world.

I almost asked what was wrong but bit my lip. He didn't look so very sad, I convinced myself. That was just his appearance. So I conjured up a brisk tone of voice and asked him if he might like more coffee.

"No, ma'am," he replied, his Adam's apple bobbing. He stared at me a moment, and I honestly could not take my gaze from his eyes. They were fascinating.

"Well, then," I said after a moment. "Can I get you anything else? Pie, maybe, or a cinnamon roll?"

"No," he said. "No, I am not hungry."

Well. That was that. "I'll be at the counter if you need anything," I said, pivoting and sitting down behind the counter. The shop was uncomfortably quiet and empty, excepting his uneasy presence. I pulled out my phone and began to browse.

There was a long silence of ten minutes. I swear the man didn't move a finger during the entire time, despite the fact that an open journal and ready pen were sitting just inches from his fingertips. His dejection almost frightened me.

"You know what the problem is," I heard the man suddenly say in a gravelly voice. "People act like they don't care anymore because they're afraid of getting hurt."

I didn't know what to say. I stared at him. His sad blue eyes watered up as he went on. "From the time that they are babes, children are supposedly taught to speak their minds. Home is supposed to be a ... safe haven. But the world ... it isn't like that. Sin leaks into homes anyway. So innocent babes are trampled for their opinions and for their interests and their talents -- or perhaps lack thereof -- and they learn to shut their mouth and their hearts to things or, primarily, people who might turn around and stab them in the back for who they are and what they believe." He paused for breath, and I noticed his back was heaving as if he had just greatly exerted himself.

"Don't strain yourself," I muttered under my breath, ashamed because that's the only thing I could think of to say. When did I become so sullen and ... unvulnerable?

The man bit his lip, and I realized he had heard my remark. He gave me a crisp nod and said regretfully, "I sorta thought you might be different."

I sucked in my breath. I wanted to say something. Desperately. I wanted to ... pour out the misunderstanding and hope that had been raging in my mind for three years. But coherency had been lost in the muddle and I didn't know how. So instead I said, "Let me get you some pie."

I ran into the kitchen, accidentally cutting a too-large piece and slapping it onto a plate. Then I brought it out to him and slid it onto his table. He had picked up his journal again and was scribbling like mad. His intense blue eyes roved the blank pages, as if he was searching for something that couldn't be found. He looked up at me again, realizing I was watching him. "What's your name?" he asked me, running his fingers along his pen. "What's your story?"

I opened my mouth and realized I had choked. Then my eyes watered up, and he gently pulled out a chair. "Shall we talk?" he said.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Jeremiah Frost," he said. "I'm a ..." He hesitated before saying in a whisper, "I'm a writer."

(This piece of flash fiction is tied into another piece of flash fiction 
I wrote awhile back entitled WINTERAnd the man with the sad blue eyes 
was inspired by a stranger I met at a cafe on April the first.)

it's okay

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Sometimes you don't have words. Sometimes you can't sort your feelings into thoughts. Sometimes you can't grasp the stories you are begging to speak. Sometimes you can only sit and wrestle with the emotions and then breathe. It's okay to not speak. It's okay to not be heard, sometimes. Sometimes it's okay to just be and no one needs to know it. Sometimes it's okay to just sit with Jesus and be in only His presence and no one else's. Sometimes that's good. Very good.

I've been struggling a lot lately with accepting a future molded by Him and not me. I've been struggling with putting my identity in Him and not in people. I've been struggling with being content where I am. I've been struggling with fear and anxiety. I am human. I struggle.

It's okay, you know. It's okay to not have answers. It's okay to blindly walk through life because we really can't see, anyway. He's the only one who can shed light for our path. Sometimes He snuffs out the light. Sometimes He just takes our hand and holds fast, pulling us through a darkness we cannot penetrate no matter how hard we try. It's okay. Because He's there.

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that life's pretty sweet. Yes, it's tragic. Yes, it's gloomy. Yes, sometimes it's dull. Yes, sometimes it breaks us. But even so, it's beautiful. It's exhilarating. It's mysterious. It's good. Life is good, you know. "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." Genesis 1:31a

I just thought you might need to know that it's okay to be.

imagination & no updates

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It's rather surreal.

Most times I'm so caught up in my everyday life that I forget the fact that I have published one book and that I'm in the process of publishing another. It's surreal when I stop and think about it. It's surreal looking at Ain't We Got Fun's beautiful cover. It's surreal. But it's real.

I'm itching to write another novel. Flash fiction only suits me but so often. I want to get caught up in another story. There's one that begs to be written, set in the War of 1812. There's this fellow named Jem Halcott. He has many siblings. He lost his father. And he's good friends with Francis Scott Key.

I mentioned the other day that I long to write a book set in the 40's. I want to write a book from the home front of the States. I want to write about a girl with a normal life. Not a spy. Not an English girl in the midst of the bombings. Not a Norwegian hero. No, I want to write the sort of life I would have had I been young during the Second World War. My brother would probably be drafted right now. He would probably be heading off to training camp, or worse, to the front lines. Many of my guy friends and honorary brothers would be doing the same. That's a scary thought. Many of my girl friends would have brothers and cousins and uncles and sweethearts sent off to fight the Nazis. And I know not all of them would come back alive.

You see, just imagining your life being set in another era can not only give you a whole new perspective on how you live, but it can easily stoke the proverbial flames of imagination and plotting.

Stories come to life.

All that to say, I wish I had more updates on my current writing state. I don't. But I can assure you that I want to write. And where there's a will, there's a way.

Anyway, Bess and Tom will be coming to you shortly. Ain't We Got Fun releases a month from Saturday.

*accidentally sets off too many fireworks and blows up the sky*

COVER REVEAL | ain't we got fun

Today is a momentous occasion. It has been 3 months and 13 days since we posted the first Ain't We Got Fun letter. Gi and Bess have grown into practically real people to me and Em. Also, it's a Monday, which means there's a whole week ahead of us. It's the 13th, and 13 is Taylor Swift's lucky number. (Who says 13 is unlucky? I say it's unique. Sorta like eleventy-one and thirty-three.) It's also been Spring for awhile. That's special. The sky might be blue where you are. That's also special.

Okay, I'm stalling. I feel like I should blindfold you and then BAM. Unblindfold you and reveal this beautiful cover.

I can't do that, though.

Maybe we should count down?

10 . . .

9 . . .

8 . . .

7 . . .

6 . . .

5 (GOOOOLDEN RINGS) . . .

4 . . .

3 . . .

Okay, this is silly. Let me present to you . . .


1935 :: It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room for depression. For in a world of such wonder, ain't we got fun?
.
.
.



Isn't it gorgeous? I'm in love.

 IT RELEASES ON MAY 25TH, 2015!

You can now add it on Goodreads, and don't forget to spread the word! Em and I are already brainstorming a fabulous giveaway package for its release . . . ^.^

*gif via google images

P.S. Thank you so much to all who helped with this reveal. You are The Best.

ain't we got fun extras | beautiful people

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linking up to beautiful people

BEFORE READING THIS, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT IT IS A SORT OF EPILOGUE TO AIN'T WE GOT FUN. SPOILERS ENSUE. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. AND AS FOR A FORTHCOMING SEQUEL, NOTHING IS GUARANTEED.

I kicked the table legs impatiently. "You ready yet?"

"In a moment," Will replied, lifting his eyes for a brief second to give me his signature teasing look. Foul man. Then his eyes fell back on his paper, and he continued writing meticulously.

I sighed, crossing my arms. His wedding band glittered as it caught the sunlight, and I still couldn't hold back a grin from seeing it. Something about the word "brother-in-law" crowned his dark head perfectly.

Finally, Will looked up. "Alright. Question number one on the article titled "Sisterly Relationships: Perspective Two"... What--"

"That's a stupid title," I interrupted, crossed from having to sit in the hot kitchen for so long.

Will rolled his eyes, ignoring me. "Question number one: What is the first memory you have of Gi?"

I bit my lip, thinking. Then I said, "I think I was a baby. No, I was definitely a baby. She was dangling something over my cradle, and I was trying to catch it. Then, when I did catch it, it moved and frightened me. That is why I am now terrified of snakes."

Will looked at me in a sort of disgusted disbelief. "My wife would never touch a snake," he said positively.

"She did when she was little. She was quite the tomboy, I'm afraid." I turned up my chin. Then I said, "Next question, please."

Will shook his head, scribbling down my answer on his paper. Then he said, "Describe your relationship in three words."

I thought for a moment. In fact, I thought for so long two flies flew in the open window and one flew back out. Then I said slowly, "Loving. Exciting. Fun."

"Very interesting," Will breathed dramatically, teasing me. He scribbled them down--much quicker than when he had written out the questions, I noted crossly. Then he asked me, "What kinds of things do you like to do together?"

"Bake, go on walks, talk a lot, tease each other, irritate each other, sigh over Laurie Laurence--" Tom's face popped into my head, and I missed him. "--and we like to compete at being the best raiser of Donny. I think I'm winning, considering I'm the only one who lives with him now. Someone stole Gi away."

"The brute," Will shook his head, grinning. Then he asked softly, "Hear from Tom much?"

I bit my lip, my eyes welling up. "Not much. He says not to worry. He said to let him do the worrying." I looked at Will. "He knows that never works."

Will nodded, reaching out to squeeze my hand. "You know we're here for you, Bessie," he said softly. "I've been praying for his safety."

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"Me too." I took a deep breath, twisting my empty ring finger. Wars last a long time.

Then Will tapped the table with his pencil, saying, "Next question. When was your biggest fight?"

"November of 1934," I said instantly, a slight smile flaring up on my face. "She told me her secret plans to move to New York and make a fortune. I insisted she tell Mama and Papa. She refused. I told her I would tell them. She pinned me to the floor and made me promise I wouldn't. We wouldn't speak to each other for a week." I laughed a little. "She's fierce."

Will chuckled. "Don't I know it."

The next question was this: "How far would you go to save her?"

I hesitated only a second before saying, "I would die for her."

Will paused, his pencil in the air. "Really?"

"Yeah," I said. "It would be an impulsive thing, and I'd probably be dead before I had a chance to worry or reconsider."

Will nodded. "I believe it," he said and wrote down my answer. "What are your pet peeves about her?"

This didn't take long for me to answer. "She's too impulsive, she's too wild, she doesn't think before she speaks, she encourages Donny's naughty side, she doesn't let Papa buy her peppermint sticks, she forgets to put yeast in the bread dough, she teases me mercilessly about Tom..." I paused, because I didn't necessarily mind that so much.

Will cut in, laughing. "That's enough answers, I guess. I'll let you know if I need more, though." He winked. Then he continued with, "What is your favorite thing about her?"

"My favorite thing?" I asked. "Can it be many favorite things?"

"'Fraid not." He grinned wickedly. "What's your favorite thing about her?"

I sighed, thinking. Then I said slowly, "She is loyal. She is very loyal."

Will's eyes softened, I noticed, as he bent to write that down. He's very much in love with his wife. Then he cleared his throat. "What traits do you share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks...?"

I pushed back my chair to go pour a glass of milk. "We both love Little Women," I said, as I opened the cabinet door. "We shared clothes and shoes until she moved out. Although, her dresses were always a little too big for me. We look alike in that our eyes are the same shape, albeit different colors, and we have the same nose. Our face shapes are similar, too. As for mannerisms, I'm not entirely sure. Answer that yourself. I'm sure you'd know more than me." I sat back down, sipping the cold milk.

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Will laughed. "But the point of this interview is to compare your answers with Gi's. I can't answer them."

I waved my hand. "Next question, then."

"Who has the strongest personality?"

We looked at each other. "Gi," we said simultaneously. I laughed, wiping the milk off my lips.

"How has your relationship changed over the years?"

I leaned back in my chair. "We've grown closer," I said softly, "Even though we've moved apart. I love her more now than I ever did. We went through more together through letters than we did when we lived together. Funny how that works, ain't it?"

Will smiled, writing down what I had said. "Yeah," he said. Then he looked up. "Well, that's the end of this interview." He stood up, stuffing his papers under his arm and reaching across the table to shake my hand. "Thank you for your time, Miss Rowland. Or should I say, Mrs. James?"

I smiled painfully. "We aren't there yet, Mr. Reeves."

"Yeah, but you'll get there," he said, breaking his faux professional stance and wrapping me in a tight hug. "I know you will."

Ain't We Got Fun is releasing May 25, 2015!
(Check back here on April 13th for the cover reveal.)

GO READ GI'S INTERVIEW OVER AT TAKING DICTATION.

AWGF cover reveal date

Most of you know that Emily Ann Putzke and I are publishing our novella Ain't We Got Fun. It doesn't seem like it's been three months since we posted that lovely little series on our blogs! It's definitely taken us farther than either of us expected! And I've got some pretty exciting news regarding it. Rachel Rossano has been putting together a gorgeous cover for it. And we're going to reveal it to y'all on . . .

April 13th!

But we need your help! To spread the news to as many people as possible, we need to know if y'all would like to participate with the cover reveal by posting the cover and book information on your blogs the same day. If you are interested, send me or Emily an email:

emilychapmanauthor AT gmail DOT com

authoremilyannputzke AT gmail DOT com

We can't wait to hear from you! And we seriously cannot wait to show y'all the cover. :) And like Em said, the perks to being a cover revealer is that you get to see the cover before the rest of the world...!