GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Author Kadee Carder

Welcome, everyone. We have a returning author, Kadee Carder. She is one of my favorite authors to have on. She is just one of the most encouraging people in general, and as a fellow author, she is always there with a word to lift up others and spur them on in their journeys. Just incredible.

Kadee is here with her new release, Kingdom Come. And she has agreed to give us a long excerpt as a guest post. So, let’s get right to it:

~ The Greatest Person You Know~

(an excerpt from the book KINGDOM COME)

Humans have many kinds of powers. What amazes me is that we forget we own them. Imagine if Superman forgot he could bend steel? Superheroes of the comics base their lives around their powers. They sharpen them. They thrive utilizing their powers.

You and I have power, too. The power to use a word for good, to share conversation with a friend, to lift up the human beside us with a smile, with words, with art, with kindness, that rectifies the cruelty of the world one soul at a time.

Jade Teta says humans have five powers, ownership being one. My ability to recognize my abilities shows power in itself. My cat doesn’t do that. She does not sit in the window pondering if she will need to do the dishes later or if she needs to do laundry. I, however, can recognize and analyze if I’ve done my best for the day. How beautiful is that fact?

Recognizing the possession of certain abilities offers an arsenal of strength. Recognizing the amazing person I was created as — senses riddled with textures, scents, pops of color, clicks of light, and a slurry of sounds — and that I can do far more than I imagine, put me on a higher playing field if I simply acknowledge my own presence. This one goes for you too. Seeing people, actually seeing them in their hurt, their pain, their trial, their joy, their bliss, shows just how powerful ownership can be. Have you ever been with someone who seemed to See You and enjoyed your presence? We humans need light and life. We create it even unintentionally. Ownership, the intentional recognition of the beautiful power held within, will guide a human toward life or it can crush the spirit like a weight sinking in the sea. What five abilities do you recognize within yourself? When given the option to empower yourself or limit yourself, which do you choose first?

“There is one grand lie — that we are limited. The only limits we have are the limits we believe” (Krista Johnson). In the face of danger, the human body releases adrenaline. It’s a natural way to protect. Lions have claws and fierce prowess, wasps sting heavy and hard, and humans — well humans can lift over twice their weight, survive under crushed buildings or tunnels for weeks at a time, swim farther, run faster, carry torn limbs, walk through fire, and dance in the hurricane. See, the natural human condition protects life. The instinct protects.

Have you ever considered that Superman only knew he could be strong, and so he was? For some reason we let in scarcity and timidity. We begin allowing the scrapes and bruises to win. We feel the cold winter nibbling at our fingertips and we withdraw from the ice.

Instead, learn to create fire.

The human brain takes its time to develop, becoming a fully-functioning body part around the late twenties, on average, age twenty-five. Have you ever taught a child to time travel? The fully-developed brain (typically one about thirty years old or more) uses the logical, rational portions to make decisions. Before the age of twenty-five, an average human brain does not fully utilize its total functional capacity because the area has not developed. Asking a child to make a rational decision compares to asking a child to time travel. He simply cannot. He can’t even comprehend the statement. But imagine if that child, from an early age, was daily surrounded by science, technological studies, encouraged to read about physics and astronomy, and was told he had the ability to travel through time? By his thirties, imagine this person and all he would know. Now, imagine a baby in a small room, surrounded by dim lighting and who had no access to books, education, or positive reinforcement to study and learn? By his thirties, who will this child be?

Now, every person has a unique fingerprint, but which child will believe he has the ability, and could possibly even travel through time? I’m betting on the first. So we are with our ownership of power. If you’ve been told that you’re broken, if you’ve been told you’re useless, if you’ve been told you’re lacking, then that will be your default. But my friend, you were built with intention. You are intrepid. You are creative. You are an intellectual. You are stronger and more powerful than you know. The thoughts you tell yourself, the input you process, that leads to the life you prove.

Do the heroes build their stories upon fear or upon saving life? I vote for life. I vote for leveling up, for choosing power, because it’s what surges bliss throughout our cores.

Own your abilities. Own those marvelous aspects of you which contribute to the lives of those around you. You’ve got a courageous story to create, my hero. Exercise who you want to be when the darkness drifts in. Train yourself to react to fear by facing it instead of running away. Train yourself to use your strengths when weakness would shout lies. Reiterate your own beautiful ethos when those thoughts sprinkle down. Who do you want to be when the lights go out? Who will you be if you believe you can walk humbly with grace and strength? Practice that. Act that. Be that. The time to go save your world approaches.

Wow. What a way to start the blog. Just wow. I LOVE this, Kadee! I am eager to hear more about this book!

Opt in for an adventure to discover purpose, tenacity, and to build your empire. Are you stuck? Questioning your purpose? Are you tired, broken, and hurting in the stale crumbs of the daily grind?

Even the most ordinary of humans can do impossible things. The elements of storytelling are tools to help us understand our purpose and to build a life greater. Here we discover the three protocols every hero satisfies in order to fulfill the mission. You’re the hero in your own story. Transforming into the hero may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Within these pages, discover the ultimate objective in understanding and experiencing the combined unity of these three tools in your hero story. Get ready to travel the vast horizon of the hero plot line and forge new paths toward your legacy.

What was the inspiration for Kingdom Come?

In my research and life experiences while writing my soon-to-be-released novel EARTHSHINE, I found myself in this dark, aching place of brokenness and hurt, of lost dreams and tainted hopes. While I wrote the story of a girl who had to get back up, I found my own self in the shadows. Could I be the girl who got back up? In my Sunday school class, our leader mentioned that all people had three tools they carried which God uses for good. I had never heard this premise before and immediately looked into what he meant. Within the next few months my life changed, from a place of devastation, to intention. My attitude changed, my purpose shifted, and I found true focus on what I knew my life needed to be, as I unearthed and sharpened my three tools. I didn’t need the ache of loss; I craved adventure and purpose. Here I’ve collected my thoughts, study, and research which offer readers applicable, faith-based tools for braving the earthly plot line and forging empires. From this guidebook KINGDOM COME, we begin rewriting the stories of our lives to fulfill our mission and create the life less ordinary.

I can so connect with what you are saying. I am completely drawn in…

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I adore 90’s punk rock, Imagine Dragons, and random indie bands. During my writing and research for KINGDOM COME and EARTHSHINE, I listened to several songs which inspired me to write these stories. Here are a couple links to YouTube videos if you’re interested in listening along while you read:

“More Than Life” by Whitley – https://youtu.be/dk8XrTbCPYs

“All The Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters – https://youtu.be/ieOL4X3nk2c

“Believer” by Imagine Dragons – https://youtu.be/7wtfhZwyrcc

“You’re Gonna Be Okay” by Brian and Jenn Johnson – https://youtu.be/LjF9IqvXDjY

“Hard Love” by NeedToBreathe – https://youtu.be/tE3Fp8C_ufg

“The Adventure” by Angels and Airwaves – https://youtu.be/JMl8cQjBfqk

“In the Name of Love” by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha – https://youtu.be/RnBT9uUYb1w

Thank you so much, Kadee, for being on the blog and sharing these words. I know I will be processing them for days to come…maybe even weeks! But I will hand the blog back over so my readers can delve into Kingdom Come!

Kingdom Come

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Fierce yet sparkly, I rally seekers to thrive in their stories. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach English on the university level when I’m not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.

INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, INDELIBLE, HERE BE DRAGONS, and non-fiction inspirational KINGDOM COME roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along on KadeeCarder.com.

Connect with Kadee and her books

Website: kadeecarder.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/

Instagram: kadeecarderink

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkYQcShpWHBua-7VVi9Swg

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kadeecarder/

Twitter: @kadeecarderink

And please feel free to subscribe for encouraging blogs! Kadeecarder.com

I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com/subscribe. Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

CURRENTLY FREE ON AMAZON FROM KADEE CARDER!

Follow Tucker Thompson to the brave wilds of the Australian Outback in search of his long-lost home (which he doesn’t remember) and to rescue the remnants of an undercover op gone wrong (which has been attacked). HERE BE DRAGONS is a young adult science fiction adventure for the thrill seeker and action taker.

“Those voices that tell you to stop, those are wrong. Those voices lie. They steal your victory. Out there be dragons, but in here—” Burkman tapped my chest, “—here lodges your sword and shield.”

Can Tucker lead his small crew in a daring rescue mission? Or will the ghosts of his past and the tech of tomorrow rip him to shreds? Find out now with your free copy of HERE BE DRAGONS!

Just click here: https://amzn.to/2KYcdVj

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

Kadee Carder is offering one (1) ebook copy of Kingdom Come by Rafflecopter. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION: The art of keeping up with yesterday

 

Procrastination...is there anything more frustrating? Or more thrilling? That last minute adrenaline…the rush of that fast approaching deadline…the burst of creativity…and the promises to never do it again, but deep down knowing that you will.

Why do we do this, procrastinators? We know about these deadlines. They are on our calendar. They stare us in the face every time we open our planner (those of us that have them). They loom over us, weighing down everything until they get done. They do for me, at least.

I can’t truly have freedom and fun until the project/work is done. But still I tend to push it off. Though it trails me, taunts me.

Thus my behavior makes absolutely no sense.

Oh, yes, we procrastinators tell ourselves we think better in a crunch. We perform at our peak in those rushed moments. We have to tell ourselves that because otherwise, we really did just waste all that energy and stay up all hours of the night and into the wee hours of the morning for no reason.

What if you could conquer procrastination? Stop putting off those deadlines?

I have no simple fix. I’m not a snake oil saleswoman.

What I have to offer is routine, discipline, practice, and dedication – things we tried to avoid in the first place.

I went from being a perpetual procrastinator to being ahead of the deadline – yes, earlyevery time.

Before you click the close button on my tab, hear me out! It came out of a need. Once I entered the writing/publication world, I saw the need to be a bit more serious about these things. It would just be plain unprofessional, in my opinion, to miss a deadline. And I hated the idea of presenting myself unprofessionally.

So I set up some things to prevent the procrastinator in me from rearing its ugly head.

I set MY deadline…two days before the actual deadline. This way I do have padding in case something wonky, like an unexpected sickness comes up.

Then I break up the project and make mini-deadlines. This allows me to make sure I’m on target to make it to the major deadline. Some of you, like me, may have a full life. I don’t have the luxury of devoting hours to my work to catch up for procrastinating like I did in college. So, I have to stay on top of things. These chunks of work attached to mini-deadlines are life-saving. In the beginning, these milestones were attached to rewards. Now, I only reward myself for the big deadline, but you do as you need.

Lastly, when it was the scheduled time to sit down and do the work. I did it. Period. This is probably the hardest step. Because more days than not, I didn’t feel like it. That’s not easy for a writer. There are strategies I have learned to employ to start the creative juices flowing (like doing a writing prompt, editing the last scene written, etc) that are very helpful. And I have had to find a tool that would block out parts of the internet (namely social media) that would suck me in when I sit down to write, but allow me to access places for research purposes. There are a ton of great tools out there.

So, there it is…my plan. My path from procrastinator to early finisher. I sleep better, I enjoy my time more, and I get things done with less stress. I won’t lie, there are still times I struggle with the procrastinator in me, but it becomes easier to overcome that tendency. More and more as time goes by.

Do you have other strategies that have worked to overcome procrastination?

 

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW: Author Krista Wagner

Welcome, readers! I have an author for you to meet today – Krista Wagner. I met Krista through our publisher, Clean Reads. And I am so excited for you to read more about her very intriguing book. And to see this fabulous cover! So, I won’t spend a lot of time gabbing here when I could be introducing you…

Thank you for being on the blog, Krista. First, can you tell us a little about this novel with the gorgeous cover?

A YA supernatural mystery, Cassi Is In A Coma deals with the worst kind of betrayal. The most liked high school senior is suddenly ostracized by all of her friends, and not given a reason. Seeking answers and feeling alone, she winds up falling ten stories off a water tower, which sends her into a coma. Did she commit suicide, like the papers say, or was she pushed? Through flashbacks, dreams, and an out-of-body journey, she will attempt to uncover the truth. Cassi is the third novel in the Small Town Secrets novel series.

I will admit this isn’t my primary genre, but I’m intrigued…

What was the inspiration for Cassi is in a Coma?

Everyone, at some point, has been betrayed, and often there is no explanation or justification. I wrote a story that we can all relate to, one that offers a way to get through a painful lonely adversity.

So true! I love this idea!

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

Yes! I have been writing since I was seven. I started penning plays and songs and then went to short stories and poems in high school, where I also contributed and edited our high school’s literary magazine and co-authored a zine. I have six novels published now, and am currently at work on the prequel to Intent, my spiritual dramatic thriller.

As much as we love writing, we all like some parts a bit less… What part of the writing process do you dread?

Timelines. Because certain events/plot points/character interactions can change, so do timelines. It is easy to lose track of them.

I, too, struggle with timelines…as a historical writer, some of mine are set (sometimes to much frustration). I find myself wishing away YEARS sometimes. Alas, they don’t let me change history…

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Take a break from your first draft, at least a couple of weeks, so that you can return to it with fresh eyes; this will allow you to see things you weren’t able to before. Having beta readers is invaluable—a myriad of perspectives can spot issues you won’t see, and get a good editor and proofreader.

What are you currently reading?

Fahrenheit 451

My readers know that I have to “set the mood” when I write. Most often that includes music. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t typically, but I have been known to listen to 80’s music from time to time.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Yes, at night, at my desktop, when the kids are sleeping.

How long does it take you to write a book?

With revisions and editing, about a year, but if I committed to writing 10 hours a day, every day, I could have a finished product in one month.

Right? If only…

Thanks again, Krista, for being here and for chatting with us. I won’t keep my readers any longer from enjoying the wonderful tidbits below about Cassi in a Coma. So, without further ado…

Cassi in a Coma

“You are not wanted”

Cassi Walker has been Royal High School’s most-liked girl for the past four years, but a lot can happen in two days. Suddenly, she’s the school’s most-hated girl, but before she can figure out why, a ten-story fall off a water tower sends her into a coma. Soon, rumors start to fly that it was attempted suicide. Unfortunately, she has no memory of those final seconds before the harrowing event. Through a strange barrage of dreams, flashbacks, and an out-of-body journey, Cassi will attempt to expose the secrets and uncover the mysteries behind what happened to her. But will she be able to handle the truth?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You will pay for it. You have to.” His voice was hushed, unlike the kind soft voice he’d always used with me. His eyes, which had once shone with warmth, were hard and flat. I detected a hint of disappointment there too, and I wondered what that meant.

His words haunting me, I found myself in turmoil not for the first time. The question that refused to be answered—what had I done?

“What did I do?” I said out loud.

“You know exactly what you did.”

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Krista Wagner is a 70’s product best known for her spiritual suspense and fictional realism. In addition to being a recipient of the Reader’s Favorite 5-star seal, she has been praised by award-winning screenwriter Sean Paul Murphy for her writing skill and strong plotting. Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an English associate instructor with an indispensable faith in Christ.

Connect with Krista and her books

Find out more about Krista here: kristawagner.wixsite.com/author/bio
Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/kristawagnerofficial/
Twitter: twitter.com/IntentBook04
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8509957.Krista_Wagner

GIVEAWAY

Krista is giving away an ecopy of her book featured on the blog today, Cassi Is In A Coma. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW: Author Jennifer Pierce

Welcome, readers! I have a new author to introduce you to today: Jennifer Pierce. Her book has romance, suspense, mystery…what else? And an all star rating on Amazon. It seems you can’t go wrong! And one lucky winner will get to find out first hand! But lets not just take my word for it…I’ll step aside and turn this show over to Jennifer and her release so they can speak for themselves.

Welcome to my blog, Jennifer! Thanks for being here. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

All Maggie Jones wants to do is sell her late father’s property and get out of Whitehaven, Texas as fast as possible—before she runs into the one man she’s spent the past six years avoiding. Someone has other plans for her, though. Sinister plans. And when a seemingly harmless act of vandalism turns into a series of menacing threats, she has no choice but to turn to last person on earth she wants to see for help.

Sheriff Cody Smith never expected to see Maggie again, especially after he’d broken her heart all those years ago. Maybe this is the second chance he’s always wanted. But when he realizes Maggie’s in grave danger, he intends to keep her safe at all costs. With lines from an old nursery rhyme as their only clue, he needs to find out who’s behind this deadly game before the rhyme ends and Maggie’s time runs out. Can he protect her, catch the bad guy, and make amends for past wrongs? Or will old wounds get in the way?

Nice. I like a good mystery! What was the inspiration for Hidden Danger?

I started with a scene where a woman comes back to town and runs into an old flame. It developed from there.

Not a bad place to start!

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

Being a writer was never on my radar. I actually wanted to be a veterinarian.

Not at all close…but when that writing bug get’s you. It tends to be a sure thing…

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

2015. My father died in January 2014. I spent the rest of that year with my nose in a book. I read 135 books that year. In 2015, I was reading and thought “I can do that.” And I did.

I like that.

And as much as we love writing, there are things we don’t like so much…for every author. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning. Follow your favorite authors on social media.

As much as conferences and books on craft feed our skills, I believe reading does as well. What are you currently reading?

JoAnn Durgin’s Gentle Like the Rain.

I have to set the mood when I write. Do you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

It depends on my mood. I have a playlist of love songs ranging from the 80s to present day. Mostly I listen to current Christian music.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

It’s not my favorite but it’s my most productive, at work on my lunch break. I can’t focus at home even if I’m home alone.

I hear you. So much distraction at the house.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Hidden Danger took me about a year. I don’t think my second novel took that long.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

They say you write what you know. There are some things that happened in real life that I incorporated into Hidden Danger. The most obvious is my father died and we had to go through his stuff. We really did find lots of expired medications. Also, there’s a scene/story about a snake. It really happened.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

My second novel, Expecting Danger, will release December 4, 2018. You’ll learn about Maggie’s brother Jacob. I’m currently working on book three in the Small-Town Guardians series.

Thanks again, Jennifer, for being on the blog! Now, readers, onto the details…

Hidden Danger

“Loved this book! I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next. The combination of romance and mystery was perfect. Maggie and Cody warmed my heart. I look forward to reading more books by this author.”

~ KB (Amazon Reviewer), 5 Star Review

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Well, if it isn’t little Magpie Jones. The prodigal daughter returns,” an unforgettable southern drawl announced from behind her. She’d know that voice anywhere. The voice that used to bring comfort now only angered her. She spun around, the last man she wanted to see occupied the waiting room seat.

“Well, if it isn’t the heartbreaking Cody Smith. I should have known I’d meet you at the sheriff’s office. It was only a matter of time before you were on the wrong side of the law.” Her words held the pent-up anger she’d thought she’d released a long time ago.

“Now, Magpie, don’t be like that.” Cody furrowed his brows.

“Don’t you Magpie me. You know how much I hate that name. My name is Maggie.” She crossed her arms over her chest.

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

I live in Arkansas with my husband and two children. I’m a paralegal by day and a referee by night. I’m an avid reader with a to be read pile that will never be finished.

Connect with Jennifer and her books

Facebook.com/JenniferPierceauthor

Twitter.com/JennPierce82

Lovereadwriterepeat.wordpress.com

GIVEAWAY!

Author Jennifer Pierce is offering an ecopy of her book, Hidden Danger, to 1 (one) winner to be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please follow the directions below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SPOTLIGHT & INTERVIEW: Wendy May Andrews’s “Sophie”

Welcome to a special Wednesday, friends! I have an opportunity to introduce you to a book series that has so intrigued me that I am on the edge of my seat waiting for you to read about it! Fellow Clean Reads author Wendy May Andrews, whom you may have met here on my blog, is sharing about Book 1 in a new series (which I have already added to my TBR (To Be Read) pile). And the cover is AH-mazing. But I’ll stop and let “introduce” you to Wendy…

Thanks, Wendy, for being on the blog today. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Sophie is a prequel to a series I’m launching that will follow a group of young women as they escort a trainload of orphans as they head out west to start new lives. Each book will feature one of the young women and how this adventure leads her to love.

I am intrigued. My first love is clean Historical Romance. Can you share some of the historically significant events behind Sophie?

In the 1850s there were so many orphans due to the high death rate amongst the impoverished of New York. Mr. Charles Brace, a philanthropist who helped found the Children’s Aid Society, believed there’s always room for one more at a farmer’s table. He sent many of these orphans out west to be adopted into new families. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. The farmers could use help and the orphans could use a family.

I am only somewhat familiar with this tidbit of history. And I’ve seen other novels featuring this piece of history. But I like your concept. Three women escorting a train. And you are sharing their backstories through these prequels. I LOVE this concept. What was the inspiration for Sophie?

A friend was adopting a child and I began researching the history of adoption. It was fascinating!

It is so true that writers find inspiration everywhere! That’s one of the best parts of the process for me. But we know it’s not all fun… What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing. And blurb writing. Yuck! I love writing the first draft, though, and that makes up for it all.

That is the truth! That blurb writing will give a writer a complex (well more than we already have)!

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Well, you’re already a great writer. But always grow. The biggest room is the room for improvement.

Thank you! I hope I do always strive to improve. I ask this question because I know that everyone, no matter where they are in their journey has wisdom I can glean from. I am always looking to learn.

What are you currently reading?

I’m an avid reader so this changes too often to say. But a friend of mine just released the 2nd book in her series. Rebekkah Lee Jenkins is her name and the book is Hope in Oakland. I read it while it was in rough draft form. I’m anxious to read the finished product.

This is maybe the strangest question like to ask, but a lot of non-writers are curious about it… How long does it take you to write a book?

It really depends on what else life is throwing at me but I can write 1000 words per hour of decent first draft writing. Double that for editing. So a 50,000 word book is going to take at least 100 hours. That 100 hours could be all in one month or spread out over six months depending on life…

I like how you put that. Because it’s so true. There is rarely a “normal”. It all depends on that particular season of life.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m working on the first draft of the fourth book in the series. I love these books! This is my first truly planned series and I’m really enjoying the process.

Wonderful. I just want to say that this cover is FABULOUS! And I myself am eager to dive in. So, I won’t keep my readers from digging into this sneak peek of Sophie.

Sophie

the Prequel

Book 1 in the Orphan Train Series

His pursuit of her threatens everything – except her heart:

Sophie Brooks has lived at the orphanage since she was ten years old. Now nineteen, she’s not only a resident, she works there as well. It’s the only true home she can remember and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep it safe.

When her budding relationship with the son of one of the orphanage’s benefactors threatens the charity’s funding, Sophie must choose between her loyalties and her heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt

She was just pinning what she hoped was a gracious smile back onto her face while scanning the gathering crowd, looking for the rest of her group, when her gaze collided with that of the most handsome man she had ever seen. His blue eyes were so clear and bright, they reminded her of the Atlantic on a sunny day. His dark hair was almost black and was clipped short. It looked as though it would have a tendency to curl if he had not controlled its length. His square jaw and high cheekbones should have looked fierce, but his lips quirked up in the corners as though he had a propensity for smiling or laughing. Sophie’s breath caught as she tried to take it all in and once again found herself hoping her mouth wasn’t hanging open.

He strode toward her, as she was frozen in place. There wasn’t much space separating them, so he was beside her in a few paces.

“Good evening, miss. I haven’t had the pleasure of making your acquaintance. I just saw you talking with my mother.”

Sophie blinked and almost turned to look behind her before she remembered that she had just been speaking with Mrs. Rexford. Feeling a blush stain her cheeks, Sophie tried to achieve coherent speech, but nothing intelligent came to mind so she merely offered him a slight curtsy like she had done with his mother.

Buy Links

Available for free through Kindle Unlimited!

$0.99 for Kindle: https://amzn.to/2MUwCJ9

More About the Author

I’ve been writing pretty much since I learned to read when I was five years old. Of course, those early efforts were basically only something a mother could love J I put writing aside after I left school and stuck with reading. I am an avid reader. I love words. I will read anything, even the cereal box, signs, posters, etc. But my true love is novels.

Eight or nine years ago my husband dared me to write a book instead of always reading them. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but to my surprise I love writing. Those early efforts eventually became my first published book – Tempting the Earl (published by Avalon books in 2010). There were some ups and downs in my publishing efforts. My first publisher was sold and I became an “orphan” author, back to the drawing board of trying to find a publishing house. It has been a thrilling adventure as I learned to navigate the world of publishing.

I believe firmly that everyone deserves a happily ever after. I want my readers to be able to escape from the everyday for a little while and feel upbeat and refreshed when they get to the end of my books.

Connect with Wendy and her books

Website: www.wendymayandrews.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WendyMayAndrews

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GUEST POST & INTERVIEW: Author Sarah MacTavish

Firebrand Book Club!

by Sarah MacTavish

Summer is in full swing! For a Texan like me, that means spending my days hiding from the heat indoors, and my evenings in the pool after the sun goes down (I burn like crazy). But I’m also a librarian, so it also means Summer Reading–busy days hosting fun (indoor) events for the community, helping swarms of kids and teens find books to read, handing out prizes…

Which inspired me this year to do something fun for my book, Firebrand. I’m currently hard at work editing the sequel, which should be out before the end of the year. So to get ready it’s release, I decided to host an online Summer Book Club during the month of July, with weekly live chats and giveaways as we read (or reread) Firebrand together.

Here’s a little more about the novel:

Firebrand is the first of a 4-part series about two abolitionist teenagers, Saoirse and Westleigh, as they survive one of the darkest chapters of American history, the Civil War. In the first book they find themselves struggling through the summer of 1860, trying to fight against the evils of slavery while also keeping their families safe, but they quickly realize they might not be able to do both. The story is told in two alternating perspectives: Saoirse Callahan, an Irish girl living in north Texas, and Westleigh Kavanagh, the son of a Pennsylvania sheriff.

All you have to do to participate in the book club is visit my website (http://www.sarahmactavish.com/book-club/) and sign up for my monthly newsletter, where you’ll get exclusive downloads, updates on upcoming novels, and be eligible for prizes in my drawings!

Then join me in July online every Sunday afternoon as we talk about the chapters for the week.

In preparation for this, I’m also releasing three short prologues each week that lead up to the events of Firebrand. You can find the first two for free on my website now (http://www.sarahmactavish.com/short-stories/).

That’s about it! You can find more details on my website. I hope you join me!

Thank you, Sarah! Both for the informative post and for being on the blog today. You know I love Historicals and I love how history inspires authors. Can you share the more historically significant events behind your story?

There was an event in Texas history called the Fires of 1860, or the Texas Troubles, that is the background for Saoirse’s part of the story. There was a series of mysterious fires that burned across most of the counties around modern day Dallas and Fort Worth that sparked rumors of an abolitionist-led slave uprising.

Today, historians think the fires were the result of a combination of volatile matches, Texas summer heat, and a drought. But at the time (just months after John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry), most white southerners feared an insurrection, so North Texans created vigilante committees to interrogate (or worse) suspected abolitionists.

By the presidential election in November, over 100 people were killed, others run out of town, but there was never any actual evidence of a plot found. So Saoirse’s part of the story centers around trying to uncover the truth of what’s really going on.

Westleigh, on the other hand, is up against the Fugitive Slave Law, which required lawmen even in free states to aid in the capture of people who’ve escaped slavery, or face fine and/or imprisonment. When Westleigh finds out the man staying in their house is actually on the run, he has to keep it a secret from his father, the sheriff, and soon finds out he’s in way over his head.

Wow! So intriguing! What was the specific inspiration for Firebrand?

My mother. When I was young she gave me the idea of writing about an abolitionist boy from the South that runs away to fight for the Union Army in the Civil War. It was immediately interesting to me–a character that goes against the way he was raised to fight for what is right. That idea grew to include a girl from the north who disguises herself to fight as a soldier. Eventually the two characters swapped places, and I realized I wanted to start the story before the war, to give a better picture of why they both become soldiers.

Now I’m really hooked! I know we authors are always looking to the next thing…that imagination is always going… Do you have current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

Yes! As I said, I’m working on the sequel to Firebrand right now, Paladin. This will pick up at the beginning of the Civil War, when Saoirse, Westleigh, and their friends enlist in the Union Army. You can check out the book cover and description here! (http://www.sarahmactavish.com/books/paladin/)

Firebrand

In the summer of 1860, when slavery ruled the heart of America, two young abolitionists discover how dangerous it can be to believe in freedom for all.

Saoirse Callahan’s family is broken. Hunger forced them out of Ireland and they still struggle to survive in their new home, where scorching Texas droughts threaten their small farm. Then, on one blazing Sunday afternoon, a series of mysterious fires devastates the region. Whispered rumors of a slave rebellion soon flame into a statewide panic. Vigilantes scour the countryside for arsonists, targeting foreigners and slaves in a bloodthirsty witch-hunt. Saoirse is determined to find out how the fires really started, but the more questions she asks, the more she puts her family and friends in danger. And the truth may be more than she can handle.

Meanwhile, safe in Pennsylvania, Westleigh Kavanagh can call himself an abolitionist with little fear. But when he realizes his father’s new boarder is actually a runaway slave, he must keep the wanted man’s identity a secret. Because Westleigh’s father is the sheriff, and bound by law to help capture fugitives, whether he believes in slavery or not. Westleigh wants to protect his father from the truth, but the longer he lies, the greater chance they will all be caught. Then Westleigh makes his own discovery—an old forbidden journal that holds secrets of his father’s past. Secrets that lead to the Callahans. Secrets that, if unraveled, could destroy both families.

Enjoy an Excerpt

My cousin sank into the armchair and wilted, limbs sprawled. “There were fires in Denton yesterday afternoon,” he said hoarsely. “Dallas, too. Pilot Point. Corsicana…”

“All on the same day? But–”

“They figured ours started at the general store. Sam thinks it was those new matches everybody got in.”

“Just the matches?” I sighed in relief. “That’s welcome news.”

“It would be, if that was the word being whispered ‘round town–” he stopped to cough up more smoke. Then his head started to droop.

“Well? What are they saying?” I kicked his foot. “Jack!”

He lifted his red eyes. “Arson.”

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Sarah MacTavish is a small-town Texan with “Yankee” roots, and a heart that belongs to Ireland. In addition to being a writer she is also a teen librarian, incurable Star Wars nerd, and proud Hufflepuff. Her first historical novel, Firebrand, was described as “a moving, expertly written, and entertaining work of Young Adult fiction” by Self-Publishing Review. Connect with her online and get the latest updates about the Firebrand series at sarahmactavish.com

Connect with Sarah and her work

Website: sarahmactavish.com

Instagram: @sarahmactavish

Twitter: @sarahmactavish

Facebook.com/authorsarahmactavish

OVERCOMING GOOD CHOICES: Is there a best option?

We all make choices. Every day. Many times a day. To get out of bed, to shower, what to wear (a BIG decision for some), what to eat for breakfast, and the list goes on. Some of these decisions are so easy they don’t really feel like options any more. We do them automatically. The better choice seems obvious.

Choosing between staying in bed and getting out of bed, for example (if you are not sick or struggling in some other way), seems like a bad choice (or an unhealthy choice) versus a good, healthier choice. It’s pretty easy. (Although if you haven’t gotten adequate sleep, it may not always be so easy 🙂 )

Likewise, moderate choices in life about your schedule, for example, may come easily too. Do I say yes to this huge thing that will take up a lot of my time and doesn’t fit in with my goals? Or turn it down? Now, that’s relatively simple to see that you might should turn that down. The people pleaser in some of you is saying…yeah, right! I know. I’ve been there. It’s sooo hard to say ‘no’. But it is necessary. Let’s take this a step further.

What if the choice is between two good things? A pastor asks you to serve in a ministry at your church. That is an awesome thing. Nothing wrong at all with that. BUT…has God called you to it? Yes, we are generally called to serve. But we are not called to burn ourselves out. God equips and calls us to specific things. As I’ve said before, right now, I feel He has led me to focus on my family, my writing, and the moms ministry I am a part of. So, this request to be a part of another ministry is not a bad decision, but it may not be my best choice.

What if, for instance, God is nudging someone else? If you step into that role, that person will not have the chance to step up. They may end up feeling their help is not necessary and never step up.

And imagine what adding something to your already overwhelmed schedule will do? It may end up hurting your other calling, even if what you are doing is good. The things you have been called to may suffer for it. You are just one person. And can only do so much.

So this choice between good and good is actually a choice between good and BETTER. Maybe, even, you could say good and BEST.

If you have a full schedule, like me. And struggle to people please, you may need to remember that every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else already on your plate. So, saying yes to that added opportunity, means saying “no” to one of those three areas – my family (maybe dinner around the table, devotion time with my kids, etc), my writing (making a deadline, having the time to market, etc), or this moms ministry (I end up staying up all hours of the night finishing a talk for the meeting, I am rushing last minute to get a newsletter done, I drop the ball on my leadership team, etc).

Is it worth it?

When these opportunities present themselves, it’s all about perspective and wisdom.

I no longer answer with “yes.”  Or even “no.” I say “let me pray about it and check my calendar.” Then I weigh the time commitment and pray, seeking God’s will for my involvement. Then I can answer confidently. If they need an answer that second, it has to be “no.” Because I cannot know, but I DO know that my schedule is pretty tight as it is.

What about you? Is your schedule crammed as it is? Are there things you need to pare down? Say “no” to?