Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Test of Loyalty Cover Reveal

Today, I have the great pleasure of taking part in a great cover reveal for my good friend, Jack. Yes, indeed, it is true! At long last, the second novel in Jack's Loyalty Trilogy is coming... well, not to DVD and Blu-Ray, but you get the idea. 

When I first read A Stretch of Loyalty, I loved it way more than I ever thought I would, and I knew I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next books. Thankfully, Jack asked if I'd be interested in reviewing an advanced copy (my answer: WELL DUH!), so I didn't have long to wait for A Test of Loyalty. Let me tell you folks, if you haven't read these books yet... you're missing out. Put them on your to-read list TODAY.

And here's the lovely cover of book one of the Loyalty Trilogy. Yes, I put it strategically there so that the real cover for this reveal wouldn't pop up automatically on your blog dashboard and give you no reason whatsoever to read this post. So there. Besides, it's an awesome cover. I want a cape like that.

Okey dokey. Now are you ready for the reveal?

Delightfully scrumptious, isn't it? *grins*

About the book:
Upon learning he is one of the sons of the now dead king, Prince Lachlan is forced to leave the only home he has ever known. Fleeing for his life, his step-brothers a step behind, Lachlan finds safety and friendship with a young seamstress named Magda, a hermit, an Elf, and two Dwarf brothers. Determined to keep the young prince alive, Magda and the others seek out help in the surrounding Nations.

Everywhere they go, the fugitives are constantly turned away. They are followed by Lachlan's half- brothers who are determined to kill him so that one of them might take their father's crown and become the next king. With every place Lachlan is taken, his brothers close in and when the finally catch up Lachlan is forced to face the question that has been haunting him since he left home.

Lachlan was saved in the hopes he would become a better king then his father and his brothers. But the last thing he wants is to sit on the throne. If he refuses the crown, will there be anyone willing to fight to keep him alive? 

About the author:

Jack Lewis Baillot has the ability to wear a red shirt because she is convinced she is Scottish and therefore immune to expendable dying. It also helps that she has a last name.

Jack claims the title of Author, which makes her feel like a Time Lord when she capitalizes it. She has a sonic pen which deepens her Time Lord claims. She enjoys a good Science Fiction story though spends most of her time writing Fantasy and Steampunk, or a mixture of both.
She believes cliff hangers are terrible and feels the need to apologize over and over when one of her books ends on one.

When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen often, she goes on long hikes through the ice lands she calls home. She believes she will one day meet the Abominable Snowman and share a cup of hot chocolate with him.

You can learn more about Jack's other published work and upcoming books at her website,

Friday, May 30, 2014

My Top 10 Fantasy Books

BIG NEWS! I will be participating in Jack Lewis Baillot's cover reveal for A Test of Loyalty tomorrow, so be sure to mark your calendars for the occasion! 

Well, in honor of the excitement, Jack has asked us to post about our favorite fantasy book. Because I like reading so much, I don't have just one. Just as you'd expect. So, to keep this short, I've decided to compile a list of my top ten favorite fantasy books. And by "fantasy" I mean a made-up land in which there exists a conglomeration of interesting characters. I have to be specific about books otherwise, I'd never get just 10 books onto this list. Also, if you ask me in a week or two, this list will probably change. Probably... no, most likely. And I'm *cough* adapting the list to fit mostly series. What? Don't judge me. I'm sure plenty of you would do the same.


10. Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain

Very epic tales. There are five books in all, but I think the last one, The High King, is my favorite. Lloyd Alexander is considered a genius in the fantasy field, and I find his books quite enjoyable. His Westmark trilogy is also very fun (with the exception of a few unprintable words).

9. Wayne Thomas Batson's The Door Within trilogy

Truth be told, my favorite books from Wayne Thomas Batson are his Pirate Adventures, and I highly recommend them. However, The Door Within trilogy is also very good. I love the allegory Mr. Batson weaves into the story.

8. Jeri Massi's Bracken Trilogy 

Yet another trilogy: The Bridge, Crown and Jewel, and Two Collars. I can't really say how long these have been some of my favorite books. I must have read The Bridge fifteen times since I was nine. 

7. Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga

Who's familiar with these books? I simply can't wait for the fourth book, The Warden and the Wolf King. Seriously, this guy has a way with words. "Adventure. Peril. Lost Jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree." *grins*

6. Jack Lewis Baillot's Loyalty Trilogy

Well, well, well... how in the world did *this* trilogy get onto my list? Hmm... *winks* The more I read of Jack's work, the more I love it. Yes, I'm super excited to be able to show you the cover for the second book tomorrow, and you really need to read these. NOW.

5. Rick Barry's Kiriath's Quest

Hey look! I'm capable of having a favorite fantasy book that isn't a series! Too bad, though, because I'd love to see where Rick Barry would take Kiriath after the finish of this novel. You could say that I'm a little biased toward this book because Kiriath and I almost share the same name. Well, the first four letters are the same. But if you want an epic quest chock full of friendship and adventure (and no magic) then this is the book for you.

4. Chuck Black's Knights of Arrethtrae

Technically, this should include the prequel/sequel/whatever series The Kingdom Series. Short, but powerful, you can't help but love all twelve books. Personally, Sir Dalton and Lady Carliss are my favorite of the twelve, but they're all really good.

3. Donita K. Paul's DragonKeeper Chronicles

My sisters and I found this series in a Christian book catalog, and as we were just getting into fantasy stories, we thought we'd give this a go. The result? We LOVED it! Dragons, quests, humor... what's not to like?

2. C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia

What fantasy list could be complete without the awesome tales from C.S. Lewis? I absobloominglutley love this series in every way. I have great chunks of passages memorized, even though technically I've only read through the series twice. Yeah, twice. I know; it's kinda embarrassing. But I've listened to the audio drama by Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre a dozen gazillion times. And seen the movies. And... yada, yada, yada. Narnia fan all the way.

1. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

And what comes in at Numero Uno? Tolkien's epic world of elves, hobbits, dragons, kings, and dwarves. And with The Lord of the Rings comes The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, for no trek through Middle-Earth would be complete without visiting those tales. I'm not an expert on all things Tolkien, but I do consider myself an avid fan nonetheless. 

Be sure to drop by tomorrow to see the cover reveal!

God bless!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Beautiful, the Sunflower, and the Elvensies

Well, it's that time of year! I've been awarded again! 

First off, Anna S of A Cowgirl and a Dream gave me the Beautiful Blog Award! Thank you so much, Anna! 

Anna's Questions:

Favorite book from The Chronicles Of Narnia series?
Probably The Horse and His Boy. I love the epic tale of Shasta fleeing to freedom and saving a country on the side, and who can not love the title? Shasta is only the horse's boy, right? 

Last movie that you saw at the movie theatre? 
I've never been to a movie theatre.

Favorite musical, if you like them?
LOVE MUSICALS! My favorite?? Asking this is like asking for one's favorite piece of grass. There just isn't one. Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof, Beauty and the Beast, Singin' in the Rain, and the list goes on and on and on. We could be here a while. 

Fiction or Non Fiction?

Favorite time period to read from?
Probably medieval or early American history. 

Favorite/Lucky number?
Hmm... I don't really have a lucky number, but my favorite might be 8. That's how many people are in my family, so it's an easy one to choose. *winks*

And... Evie S of A Period Drama Fangirl gave me the Sunflower Blogger Award! Thank you, Evie! 

What do you think is one of the most undervalued professions right now?
I know most people would say motherhood, and I'd have to agree. Yet, I'd like to give a shout-out to those few people who do internet/computer/HTML stuffs for a living. My dad is a self-employed web designer, and I've been doing a lot of work for him lately. Making a website isn't just sticking some words and pretty pictures up. It involves a lot of work, creative work, that most people just take for granted. And keeping a website up and running and updated isn't an easy job. It can be tough at times, and usually, one small problem can require hours' worth of fixing. Next time you log into Facebook, Pinterest, or Blogger, remember that.

How would you explain your basic life philosophy?
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." ~ Philippians 3:16

Would you rather be hated or forgotten?
Hmm... interesting question. *rubs temples* Well, probably hated. God tells us that we as His children will be hated by the world, yet He promises never to forsake us. I can deal with people who disagree with me, even though most times I feel like I'm more of the forgotten girl when I go out in public. 

If you knew you would die tomorrow, would you feel cheated today?
Nope. God knew exactly what life He gave me, and if I was dissatisfied in whatever way about it, then that was my fault. Besides, death for a Christian only means the beginning of eternal life in the presence of our Lord. How can I feel cheated when I consider that?

And then thirdly, Jack tagged me with the Elevensies Tag. Ready?

1. Post 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions given you
3. Nominate 11 bloggers
4. Make up 11 questions for the nominees to answer

... or something like that.

My 11 facts:
1. I've never turned a cartwheel.

2. I wish I knew ballet.

3. I like Anna over Elsa. Go ahead. Judge me. *insert epic Anna gifs*

4. I have a scar on my right pointer from cutting myself when I was nine opening a can of pumpkin for pie.

5. I can never get my hair to curl. Sometimes, it'll go into wavy mode for a short while (if I put five braids in with my hair wet), but real curls -- forget it. I haven't got the patience to bother with irons or curlers.

6. I have written over 144,000 words already this year.

7. When I write, I usually wear a black cap - my writing cap.

8. In Summer is one of the best songs from Frozen, and it bothers me that people don't like it.
9. I also love Frozen Heart. 

10. I have the entirety of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (the kids' book) memorized from reading it to my younger siblings multiple times.

11. I used to have Make Way For Ducklings memorized as well. Now I can only recall the first two pages or so.

Jack's Questions:
1. How do you feel about main character deaths?
That depends on the character. If the character is the main-main, I'm usually upset at his/her death, but most of the time, I can understand why characters die. I've never cried over a fictional character's death, though. The closest I've ever come to tears while reading was when one of the main characters died in the Left Behind series -- I was touched because her testimony was so beautiful, and while you felt sorrow for the family she left behind, you couldn't help feeling her joy as she went to be with Jesus. And no, I won't give you her name; spoilers, you know.

2. What does TADA! mean to you?

Honestly, when I hear "TADA!" I always think of my CBC, Count Bob. He has an unusual knack for performing the most outlandish and clumsy acts. When finished, he acts as if he meant to do all that just transpired and announces, "Tada!" to all gathered. So, now my siblings and I yell, "Tada!" whenever we do something stupid and didn't mean to do it. "Tada!" makes any stupid situation redorkable. And yes, I'm saying redorkable is a word. I just made it up. So there, spell checker.

3. If I walked up to you and yelled, or whispered, HAIL HYDRA! What would you do?

I haven't seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet (or S.H.I.E.L.D. for that matter), so all my Hydra experiences come from TFA. I'd probably look at you oddly for a moment, and then either jump into Hydra-soldier-mode and yell it back at you with a firm salute or whisper, "How could you?" and walk away.

4. If I gave you a pet duck would you take him for a walk in the park?
YES! If only there was a park nearby... 

5. What was the last book you read that had you either crying, laughing, ready to fall out of your seat, forget how to breathe, or all of the above?

Umm... this is a tough one. I don't cry during books, but I do randomly burst out in laughter. One that got quite a few chuckles was A Stretch of Loyalty. I won't say what I was laughing at, but Jack -- boy, have you got a way with words!

6. You would come to a sleep over? We could make a tent out of blankets and sleep on couch cushions thrown on the floor.
And popcorn?? Please, let's have popcorn!! Sleepovers are awesome, and tents are amazing, but popcorn makes everything epic.

7. What was the last song you listened to one repeat over and over?

King of New York (Newsies 1991 soundtrack). Alan Menken, peoples. What more can I say?

8. What was the last movie you saw that... gave you the same emotions I asked about with the book?

My family has been going through an Avonlea phase for the last month. We watched the Anne movies, and now we're well into season one of Road to Avonlea. I'd forgotten how funny those stories were! Wow!

9. Do you think reindeers are better than people?
If all reindeers are like Sven, then yes. Sven doesn't ask stupid questions, and he cares about people's lonely souls.

10. How do you feel about the giant rats of Somalia?

Personally, I'm more partial to R.O.U.S.

11. When you were a kid did you used to play Cowboys and Indians? (Germans. I mean Cowboys and Germans.) (PLEASE tell me someone got that reference.)

Sorry, Jack. I didn't get that reference. But yes, we played Cowboys and Indians. Usually not mixed together, but we had plenty of horses and lassos and tepees. We were never allowed to scalp, though.

Okay, to keep things simple for me, I'm just going to post 11 questions here, and it is your responsibility (yes, you reader who's reading this) to answer them either in a comment below or a blog post of your own (negotiations came be made if you want to swipe an award as well). Because everyone likes answering tag questions. And I like reading your answers. Ready?

1. What's your favorite fairy tale retelling (book only)?
2. How many mosquito bites do you currently have?
3. What was the last film you watched? And would you recommend it?
4. Closest object to your right? Go!
5. What song describes your mood right now?
6. Opinion on flip flops?
7. If you could ask any literary character one question, who would it be and what would you ask them?
8. Favorite soundtrack?
9. I'm inviting you to a costume party. Who are you going to cosplay?
10. Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, or the Great Wall of China?
11. If Christ were to return today, what would He find you doing?

God bless!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Do You Want To See Some Costumes?

Oh, you do? Okey dokey, you'll have to pop over to my sister's blog.

What am I talking about? Well, my littlest sister, KT Bugs by name, turned 5 whole years of age on Sunday, and at her special request, we held a costume party for her. It was great fun getting up outfits for everyone, especially as each family kept their own costumes secret from the other families. 

My other sister, Jessa, just posted all the pictures from our costume party over on her blog, Freckled Adventures. She's got a poll up and everything, so please stop by! HERE is the link in case you missed it.

God bless!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Writing Plans

I think it's time I'm honest with you all...

I had fully intended to edit, polish, and publish Children of a Legend sometime this summer/fall, but as 2014 slips away, I don't think that's happening. For me, the story that begins in CoaL is just that -- the beginning. It's the first in a series (hopefully only a trilogy) and the story is one and the same to me even though its path is divided into three books. That's The Dragon Tamer. I still am not entirely sure how the whole story is going to play out. Don't get me wrong, I know my main plot points and all the scenes I'm dying to write, but exactly *how* everything comes about... well, you never really know how that's going to be until you actually get to it. 

What I'm trying to say is that I'm having a hard time reconciling myself to writing a part, publishing a part, writing another part, publishing another part, etc. For me, it never was three separate books but one story as a whole. I can't publish even the first part until I know the last part. *shrugs* Sorry, guys. 

{Experimental, promotional whatever cover...}

Since May 1st, I've been working on book two (Rebirth of a Legend), and I've penned about 17,000 words so far this month, bringing the entire novel up to just over 63,000 words. I'm excited that it's been going so well, and I'm having loads of fun! For one thing, RoaL includes all of the main and minor characters of CoaL, and introduces a bunch of new ones. While in CoaL, I wrote mostly from Davin's POV with a few chapters going to Lord Vernd or one of his croonies, I'm finding RoaL to be a lot more complicated. In order to follow the entire story, Davin's POV isn't enough, and I'm currently following about four different people and their POVs as the chapters progress. It's great fun. *grins*

In the meantime, as bizarre as this sounds, I think Secret of the Hazel Tree is the closest to being published out of any of my stories. Truthfully, it's the only *complete* story among any of my works. I had thought on April 30th when I finished writing it, that it would sit for a few months, and then I'd edit it, run it through a passel of beta-readers, and then hopefully publish it sometime 2015/2016. Yet.. reading over it, it doesn't seem to have as many problems as I thought it had, and the few people I've let read it have loved it. Obviously, it's not perfect, but I'm hoping that the problems can be fixed within a decent amount of time.

What am I saying now? I'm asking you to pray for me. I'm considering trying to self-publish Secret of the Hazel Tree this year. Yes, this year, as in 2014. I'm not positive it will happen, but I'm content to know the timing is all in God's hands. I am planning on my first year at college this fall, so any book releases will have to go around that somehow, and I'm not sure how that's all going to go. It's odd -- I already have the entire release party for SotHT planned, and the book's not ready yet. :D

So, please pray for me as I start this endeavor. Also... a question: From what you know of SotHT, would *you* be interested in reading it and helping me promote it this year?

God bless!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Who Is Jesus To You?

Many times I feel that, as Christians, we take life for granted. We go to church, we attend Christian schools, we talk and have fun with our special circle of Christian friends. Life's just simple, and everything is grand on the outside.

But we're shy. We don't want to talk about our personal prayer lives, lest people think we're less spiritual than we should be. We volunteer to pray for each other, as the Lord commanded us to, yet upon making that promise, we go home and immediately forget to pray. We hesitate to offer tidbits from our personal devotions because we fear that people may scorn at us and say, "You only read two chapters a day? I read a minimum of five!" 

Worse still, when given the opportunity to speak to someone about Christ, we panic and wonder what we'll ever say. What if they refuse me?  We think. What if I say something wrong? What if I'm just not the witnessing type? We allow our fears to overwhelm us and we let the opportunity to witness pass by. 

Why are we doing that? Christ set us on this earth for a reason, and that reason is to spread the glorious news that He is alive. He saves. He loves. We spend our whole lives cooped up in our "comfort zones" because of some ridiculous fear of being laughed at or rejected or scorned. WHY?

I'll admit, I'm horrible at this. I'm not a social person, and I will sometimes regrettably go out of my way not to talk to someone I don't know. I'm shaky as a leaf in a hurricane when I do have to talk about people, and even then, it's hard enough to say mundane remarks about the weather. How in the world am I supposed to tell someone about the God that I love? 

Perfect love casteth out all fear. ~ 1 John 4:18

The times of timidity need to be over. We are God's children, and if we're not letting people know that, we're not doing our job. How many times have you passed a friend at the library, a cashier at the check-out line, a neighbor on the sidewalk, and said nothing more than hello? Do you know if they're a Christian? Worse, do they know you're a Christian? In a sense, because of our silence, we're "friend-ing" people to hell; we're their friends, yet we don't care enough about them to give them the message of salvation. We're giving up any chance to witness because we're scared that they might reject us. 

Guess what? They can never reject you. They can only reject Christ. When you present the truth, they can only walk away from the truth. But just remember this: God's Word will never return void. If you plant even just a little seed, it will not decay. That seed will blossom, but we may never see it. 

We shouldn't witness because we have to or even because we want the world to know we're awesome Christians. Those shouldn't even be on our motivation lists. We should witness to people because God loves them. He loved us first, even when we were sinners. How can we do any less if we're to be "little Christs?"

"But I don't talk to people!" You may shout. "I get all tongue-tied, and I never know what to say!"

Hush. Moses doubted his ability to talk, and look where that got him. He lost the blessing of speaking the words of the Lord to Pharaoh to his brother Aaron, and later his disbelief and anger caused him to miss out on the Promised Land. If we're doing the work of God as He commands us to do, He will be with us each step of the way. We are speaking His words, not our own. He will not leave us alone, and in His power, we will disclose the truth. You don't have to be important, you don't have to be powerful, you don't even have to be rich. God uses those with a willing heart to be His servants. 

But we're not promised it'll be easy. The work of Christ is a difficult work, and we need to be warriors to persevere to the end. The first time a person witnesses, more than likely it'll be rough. We're not used to it, you see. But you have to take it and learn how to do it - just as you learn to ride a bike. It won't happen all in one afternoon. But you'll find that the more you share Jesus, the more you talk about Him and His love, the easier and more natural it'll get. 

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? - Romans 10:14

We meet thousands of people in our lifetimes, and we don't even notice them. Jesus noticed them, so why don't we? Whether you like it or not, you may very well be the only Bible that some people will ever read. Do we hide our faith beneath a casual facade? Or do we let the truth of the gospel and the love of God shine through for them to see clearly? When people "read" you, what do they see? 

Denying Christ is not only standing as Peter did and verbally claiming you don't know Him. Denying Christ is also not standing up at all. Why are we so silent? If we have the wondrous truth of all time, the glorious light for all men, why do we keep it to ourselves? Who is Jesus to us that we fall back on our duties concerning Him? Who is He to us that we no longer think of speaking in His name at the grocery store, the library, the neighborhood park? Do we love him enough to fulfill His commandments? Is He important enough to us to show His love and the truth of His salvation to others?

Answer this: Who is Jesus to you?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth... - Roman 1:16

God bless!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"... And They Lived Happily Ever After."

198,027 words.

5 months.


And the first draft for Secret of the Hazel Tree is complete.

Yes, indeed, dear friends, yesterday I typed the last words of a manuscript I began for NaNo last year. What started as a 20,000 word contest entry morphed into an almost 200,000 word novel. I'm not sure how that happened, but there it is. *grins* I'm thinking I should blame Ken for getting 10x as many words as I intended. 

And just because I'm floating on Cloud 9 right now, and really don't know what to write here, let's give you some stats, shall we?

November: 72,250 words

(December - no writing due to holidays)

January: 18,038 words

February: 20,297 words

March: 44,835 words

April: 42,607 words

Best day: Nov. 7th with 6,093 words

Worst day: Jan. 9th with 0 words

Ooh! How 'bout some snippets? Everyone loves those! Finding good ones that don't give anything away will be difficult, but let's try anyway!


Hasteri rushed into the kitchen, her face a grand flush of exhaustion and wonder.

“Thed-duke,” her words came out in a rush. “'Ewantsya.”

Ahna and Celesta stood simultaneously.

“'Speak so's we can understand ya, 'Asteri. Yer all shook up. Who wants who now? Nice an' slow.”

“The duke. 'E wants ta see C'lesta.” Hasteri gave a small gulp. “'E asked fer 'er right away.”

Ahna turned to give her darlin' a sympathetic gaze. “First the duchess an' the magpie, an' now 'im. I'm so sorry, Miss Lesta.”

“'E's in 'is study,” the maid offered timidly with a finger pointing in the direction.


 “Have you many children then, Girdorn?”

“Five, Sire. Five of the most wonderful blessings in the world, yet five of the hardest troublemakers Iron ever saw.”


At least, he noticed with relief, no one seemed overly eager to rope him into a dance. And, if any girl was desperate, he could very neatly escape by claiming pain in his arm. The wound, so newly healed, still smarted; not badly, but it could be persuaded into a greater discomfort should the need arise.


Ahna's strong arms were around her once again. “Stop cryin', darlin'. One'd think ya'd run outta tears by now. There's always time ta make it right with 'im. Don't tire yerself out with useless wailin'.” She blew a small huff into Celesta's blonde hair. “Though, I gotta admit, I'm a bit jealous.”

Celesta pulled back. “Jealous? Of what?”

“You.” The housekeeper tapped her nose. “'Ere I thought ya were the timid, little girl I always knew, an' now yer standin' up ta killers an' doin' who knows what else? An' where was I all this time ya were playin' the 'eroine? Stuck 'ere in this kitchen, that's where. I missed ev'rythin'.”


 “Julien? Oh, my poor boy!”

His mother's voice came from far away, out of a fog, and he fought to hear her clearly. He took a breath, wincing as his lungs ached with the effort.

“He's waking up!” The shriek nearly deafened him, and a tight hand grabbed his arm. “Julien! Oh, Julien, speak to me!”

His lips were dry. “Ow,” he managed.

Queen Louise Altonsina fell across his chest, gripping him tighter. “Oh, you're not dead! Thank our blessed Creator!” 

And now I'm off to celebrate with editing Children of a Legend

God bless!