How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Indie E-Con Mystery Show and Tell

It's Mystery Day at the Indie e-Con, so I wanted to share about the indie-published mysteries I've read and enjoyed. Mysteries are one of my favorite genres, after all, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity!

Although this book isn't technically indie-published, the author is an indie author who wrote a book for the Vintage Jane Austen series, Emily Ann Benedict. This is a clean, clever, and funny FBI mystery with a refreshing Christian message. Read my review on Goodreads.

This book is by one of my favorite authors, Sarah Holman. It's the first of a series (I've enjoyed them all!) that's exciting, clean, and character-driven, with great Christian depth. Read my review on Goodreads.

This mystery was so much fun! Written in the crisp, witty, and deliciously descriptive style of old British detective novels, Rachel Heffington's book was a wonderful experience. Read my review on Goodreads.

I've only read books 4, 5, and 6 of this fun and absorbing series, but I'm itching to read the others. Lisa B. Thomas is an author I proofread for with a real knack for spinning a mystery.

What are your favorite mysteries?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Indie E-Con Scavenger Hunt 2018 - Stop #4

Hi, everyone! I hope you're enjoying the Indie e-Con kickoff. Welcome to your next stop on the scavenger hunt. I have the immense pleasure of hosting Tammy Lash, and it's been wonderful getting to know her. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!

Hi, Kelsey! Thanks for hosting me on your blog today! Hey, everyone!

Kelsey and I met this week through Indie e-Con. I learned that this super-sweet gal lives in hot and sunny Texas. That’s waaaaaaay far away from the wilds of Michigan’s upper peninsula where I live. My family and I live just minutes away from chilly Lake Superior where SNOW and ICE CHUNKS are still glistening happily on the beaches. I think Kelsey would appreciate this last bit of snow. I don’t mind sharing! What do you say, Kelsey? Join me for snow cones?

The U.P. is a beautiful place to be. My family and I moved to our favorite vacation spot just eleven days ago--so life has been too hectic to enjoy the scenery that inspired my first novel, White Wolf and the Ash Princess. When renovations slow down on our new fixer-upper, I plan on resuming work on the two companion novels to White Wolf, a short story, and a children’s devotional. I love writing Hybrid History. Wait. What is it? Well, it’s a brand new genre--that I made up. I combine romance, adventure, inspiration, steampunk, fantasy (in the form of Native American legends), and I mix it up with historical elements. Want to see what it’s all about? Discover Hybrid History by reading White Wolf and the Ash Princess. It’s waiting for you in paperback or Kindle on Amazon--OR--you can contact me for a signed copy.

Get on Amazon!

You can follow me on the following social media sites. I’d love to see you! I can make you a snow cone, too...but for a limited time! Our snow pile next to our house is daily shrinking. ;P

Kelsey popping back in to give you some links to follow for the scavenger hunt. You can find my post on Katy Huth Jones's blog.  To find the all-important first stop on the scavenger hunt, go to Kandi J. Wyatt's website. And to find the complete list of participants, go here.

 Don't forget the fantastic giveaway prize package!
Ace Carroway 2-Book Set
3 random ebooks from Indie e-Con authors
Cover Design by Alea Harper
Bookshelf Necklace donated by Rachel Rossano
(Please note that the Ace Carroway Paperbacks and the Bookshelf necklace are US only.)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Indie E-Con Approaches!

Coming up May 21-26 is the 2018 Indie e-Con. The theme for this completely online writing conference is fiction genres. It features informative articles, videos, critiques, a writing contest, a scavenger hunt, and more, all presented by indie authors. I participated last year, had a blast, and am looking forward to this year’s event. Go to GiraffeCrafts for all the exciting info!

The Indie e-Con is also having awards for indie books published in 2017 and early 2018. I went ahead and entered my book Suit and Suitability, just for grins. It’s on sale until May 5 for 99 cents along with all the titles nominated for the awards, so check out this page to find a host of great deals! Voting takes place during the conference. 

I hope to see you at the conference! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Writer's Retreat

I sit here at my desk with my laptop, trying to speed up the rate at which I can process the wonderful weekend I just had. I need to blog about it, but it’s hard because then I have to admit that it’s over, when really I want it to live on. And perhaps it does, in memory and impact.

I helped organize a writer’s retreat for homeschool authors at a sweet little vacation house I’ve known for years. The owners, dear friends of mine, were thrilled to allow the ten of us young Christian writers to stay for the weekend and have all the writing fellowship we could cram into those not-quite 48 hours.

Surrounded by a beautiful property, complete with a valley vista, a peaceful river, and end-of-season bluebonnets, we had a marvelous time. We grew closer to one another as friends and encouraged each other to use our writing to glorify God. We had morning and evening devotions and discussions; lectures on different aspects of writing; opportunities to work uninterrupted on our WIPs (aka, write-ins) and to read aloud pieces of our stories; and games that word nerds love. 

Photo Credit: V. Kathie Ardnek

I’m so grateful that God brought each of the young women here. Published and unpublished, with amazing abilities and passion, each unique but sharing many traits and interests. I know the encouragement and refreshing I received will be a long-lasting fuel to my writing, as will the friendships I made and cultivated.

If you’ve never been on a writing retreat with others, I can’t recommend it highly enough! After arriving on Friday afternoon, we played an icebreaker game. Our first writing activity was a write-in. I’ve never participated in one before, and I was a little doubtful that I’d be able to concentrate with others writing in the same room. But I loved it! For an hour, the clickety-clack of typing and the presence of all these writers making progress on their stories spurred me to do the same. It’s beneficial peer pressure.

We finished in time to watch the golden sunset from the cliff over the valley. Then, late into the night, we played a hilarious game called Bring Your Own Book. Each player chooses a book (novels work best) and tries to find punchy quotes that match a particular prompt. Everyone takes turns being the judge for each prompt and selects the person he or she thinks has the best line. It’s become one of my favorite games.

We ended that night and began the next morning with writing-related devotions that I wrote, followed by discussion and singing hymns. We had talented singers in the group. Saturday was a day of sharing knowledge and ideas and reading aloud our projects. I talked about editing; Sarah spoke on knowing your audience and having the courage to reach them with God’s message; Claire answered our medical questions for accuracy in our fiction; Grace gave us a bunch of great tips on writing a series; and Deborah read a superb essay by Stephen Lawhead on being Christian fiction writers. 

The authors' published books. Photo Credit: V. Kathie Ardnek

It was enriching and fun to get a taste of everyone’s writing talent as we read aloud and discussed each other’s work. Also on Saturday, we walked down to the river in the valley, played Scattergories, and shared about books that have inspired us. Ending the night and beginning Sunday morning with devotionals and hymns was just what we needed to cap off a meaningful retreat. We went to a restaurant for a farewell breakfast and one by one said goodbye as each departed for home.

Yes, this retreat will have a lasting impact on me. Everyone was so passionate about their writing and using it for God’s glory. I was reminded of why I write. The nature around us infused peace and joy. But the fellowship and encouragement was the best part of all.

Friday, April 27, 2018

At Her Fingertips Blog Tour + Guest Post from Peter W. Strauss

I'm excited to participate in Kellyn Roth's blog tour for her latest book, At Her Fingertips. Although I haven't read her books yet, I'm looking forward to doing so. They're set in one of my favorite places during one of my favorite time periods: England in the late nineteenth century.

At Her Fingertips 
(Book #3 in the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy)
Alice Knight is looking forward to her debut as it means she will be able to carry out her plan. She will have her first Season in London, she will meet her husband, and she will marry him. However, Alice struggles to make her feelings reconcile with her goals.
Alice is sure that, if she can only cling to her plans, she will manage without help from anyone — including God. A childhood friend returning unexpectedly, a charming gentleman who is not all he should be, and an American author with strange ideas about life all make her question the plan.
With the life she longs for at her fingertips, can Alice grasp it?
Character Guest Post
I'm privileged to host on my blog Peter W. Strauss, an important character in At Her Fingertips.

My Trip to England
by Peter W. Strauss

Hello Reader,

My name is Peter Strauss. I’m not your regular writer, so I’ll briefly introduce myself. I’m a reporter for the Pennsylvania Herald and author of various poems and a few adventure novels.

I’m American, so you may be wondering, “What are you doing in this novel? It’s set in London, isn’t it?” That might be a bit confusing. Yes, I’m American, and yes, this story—‘At Her Fingertips’—is set in London.

You see, the editor of the Pennsylvania Herald—Thaddeus B. Goodington JR—got irritated with me. Why? Well, I may or may not have let slip in front of his mother that he’d been allowing anti-suffragette articles in the paper. If I had known he wanted to keep it a secret from her, I wouldn’t have said a word, but … it just slipped out!

Perhaps he deserves it a little, though. Honestly, I don’t know what Teeb has against women. I need to look into it. If he got his heart broken, perhaps I can help him through it. More likely he’s just ornery, though I hate to think that of any man.

At any rate, when Teeb—my nickname for him—learned that it was me who leaked his secret, he called me to his office and told me he was sending me to England to write a series of articles. Which is something of an old joke between us—he’s always threatening to send me somewhere. So I laughed. And he pulled out a boat ticket.

Teeb’s serious face is exactly the same as his joking face. Though if I had really taken a moment to look in his eyes, I think I might have guessed. But I didn’t think he could be serious. Who sends one of their reporters to England when they’re mad at them?

So here I am, on the ‘blessed plot’ of Shakespeare, writing a series of articles about the British upper class. Thank goodness I already had my foot in the door—I’d met an Englishman, Mr. Gibson Ashfield, when he was touring the American West a few years ago. He’s only a boy—a slightly older boy than he was when I met him last, yes, but still a boy—but he’s a rich boy. And he was glad to have me here.

Rich people collect creative types like pets.

Don’t get me wrong; England is glorious! I’ve seen the Tower of London and London Bridge and the Thames and all sorts of other things that I used to read about as a child. I plan on seeing any number of other landmarks before I leave. It’s quite exciting—the land of Shakespeare, Dickens, Scott … the list goes on! All my heroes.

So no, it’s not England. England is perfect. It’s just rather disagreeable to be sent away like this whenever your boss says so. First it was New York then Georgia then Oregon. I keep getting farther and farther away from home. Before I know it, I’ll be on the moon, and I don’t know if I can come back from there.

All joking aside, I suppose I am secretly thrilled to be here. High society is absolutely fascinating. All the social cues and rules are lost on me, I’ll freely admit, but I am slowly coming to understand them.

The Ashfields, who I’m staying with, are a confusing family—they present a unified front in public, but I sense all is not right at home. I’ve refrained from including any personal details in my articles, but they are an interesting case to study.

I’d say a great many people here are interesting cases, though. It seems as if everyone’s hiding something—or perhaps my imagination is misleading me there. But I do believe a great many people pretend their wealth and the gaiety of their lives is making them happy—when truly they are miserable.

I wish I could sit down with each and every one of them and talk about God, even for just a few minutes. But that is impossible; I can’t reach them all. But even just a few would be a blessing.

I don’t believe religion is a polite subject—at least not religion as I would like to present it. Society may be quite pious and moral on the outside, but I don’t believe it’s any more real a few levels down than it ever is in this world. I wish they could know how much joy there is to be had in God.

But I’m rambling. I was going to tell you about England some more.

London to me seems quite foggy. It takes on a greenish glow, especially by lantern light, that is ridiculously eery. I see where Dickens got his inspiration for spectres. I can almost imagine ghostly shapes in the shadows! But I know that’s all nonsense.

The city is big and loud. I’ve mostly stuck to the cleaner sections, except for a few brief forays, so I’ve seen more of the inner circle. I’ve been to Hyde Park, now—it’s winter but I can tell it will be lovely once it is all green and warm.

My favorite was a quick trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace. He’s always been my favorite—I adore his plays—so this was a special treat for me. I barely talked Gibson into it—anything that drags him away from society and/or Miss Knight for more than a few hours annoys him. But he finally gave in, and it was a wonderful day. Besides, Gibson can stand to get away from London every so often, truly.

Now, that’s about all I have to say—I’ve ran rather long as it is! I tend to write lengthy prose—my apologies.

I enjoyed writing this article and hope you enjoyed reading it,

As ever,
Peter W. Strauss


Don't miss your chance to win lovely prizes from Kellyn! Here is the link: Rafflecopter Giveaway
About the Author

Kellyn Roth was born and lives on a cattle ranch in North-Eastern Oregon. Always fascinated with telling stories, she created crazy games to play with her little brothers as a child. Today, she writes Christian and Historical Fiction with a focus on truth and family. Find out more about her and her novels at
Social Media
Facebook: @krauthor
Twitter: @ReveriesofRuby
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Tour Schedule

April 23
Author Interview by Julia @ Julia’s Creative Corner
Author & Book Spotlight by Rebekah Devall @ Hunting for Truth
Guest Post from a Character by Kiki @ K.E. Stanton

April 24
Review/Character Interview by Heather @ Frozen Book Blog
Character Interview by Sel Young @ Hearth
Author Interview by Gabriellyn @ PageTurners
Author Interview/Review by Caitlyn @ Salt and Light
Book & Author Spotlight by Brian W.

April 25
Character Interview/Series Review by Libby May @ Geo Turtle
Author Interview by Medomfo @ Writings from a God Girl
Series Review and Author Spotlight by Charis Rae
Guest Post from the Author by Lela Markham @ Aurorawatcher Alaska
Author Interview by Sarah Addison Fox

April 26
Book and Author Spotlight by Grace Matlyn Buckner @ Literatura
Book Spotlight by Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Character and Author Interview by Amie @ Crazy A
Author Interview by Jessica Grayson
Author Interview by Rachel @ Rachel Rossano’s Words
Character/Book Spotlight by Erika Mathews @ Resting Life
Series Review & Character Interview by Victoria Lynn @ Ruffles and Grace

April 27
Author Interview by Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing
Series Review/Author Interview by Lisa @ Inkwell
Guest Post from Character by Kelsey Bryant @ Kelsey’s Notebook
Author Interview by Germaine @ The Writing Mafia
Book Spotlight by Angela @ The Peculiar Messenger

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus

A Review 

Note: I’m passionate about studying the Bible and learning to follow our Messiah, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review this book.

In today’s world, we recognize the need to understand and respect cultural differences. Besides being necessary, it’s hugely enriching! How much more, then, should Christians become more familiar with the culture and viewpoint of the people for whom the Bible was first written? It would help us better understand the Word of God that we live by. Lois Tverberg’s book is a compelling path into the Hebraic culture of Bible times, enjoyable and accessible for readers at all levels of biblical knowledge. It’s perfect for Bible study groups because each chapter has questions for further discussion at the end, as well as recommended reading for further study.

First and foremost, Tverberg’s book is significant because it puts Jesus back in His Jewish context while fully upholding the tenets of our faith. It explores Messianic prophecies, how they were viewed in His time, and how He fulfilled them. (I got chills reading about Isaiah 53.) This book explains how He claimed to be the Messiah in ways that non-Jews might miss.

The book also shows how understanding the cultural context and historicity of the Bible is faith-affirming. If there’s something that our Western minds can’t grasp, we’re apt to dismiss its veracity. But when we get a glimpse of the radically different mindset of non-Euro-American civilizations, we realize that what we questioned makes perfect sense to the other half of the world’s population. I enjoyed learning about the differences, especially the ones that explain some confusing parts of the Bible (such as why the “begat” sections are important).

I loved how Tverberg examined the full meaning of the Hebrew words behind terms that are pivotal to our faith, such as Christ, gospel, king, and fear/reverence. There’s an appendix called “Thirty Useful Hebrew Words for Bible Study,” a wonderful resource that curates the words she talked about in the book as well as words she didn’t cover.

The section on how Jews read the Bible was also very enlightening. As the book depicts, adopting some of their methods would be beneficial to Christians in our search to better know God’s Word and understand our Messiah. It’s amazing how they memorized it, how they connected it, how they quoted from it … and what a sophisticated scholar Yeshua was.

There’s so much more I could say in praise of this book, but probably the best thing I could do is encourage you to read it. It will deepen your appreciation for God’s message to humanity and for His chosen people, and it will remind you of His greatness!

(I was graciously provided a copy of this book for my honest review.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spring Cleaning Writer's Tag

Spring is my favorite season, and where I live, most of the trees have burst out in brilliant green and wildflowers are peppering the thick grass with color. I really should be working on spring cleaning my actual house . . . but Deborah O’Carroll’s blog tag is far more fun! She created this challenge and tagged me.

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Share the picture
3. Answer the questions (naturally...) or even pick and choose which ones you answer
3.5 Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them

1. Dust-Bunnies and Plot-Bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)
In my first post of the year, I listed a few goals. They haven’t changed much, but at least one of them is getting more concrete: publishing my retelling of “The Bremen-Town Musicians.” (I really should set a calendar date for that, but that calendar has to be very forgiving if I do.) The other goals – working on my longer novels and exploring short story ideas – are a little nebulous, but I poke at them now and then. I do have two new goals: 1) finishing the first draft of another animal fairy-tale retelling (any guesses as to what it is?) and 2) getting as much as I can out of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May (so excited about going!).

2. Which Stage Are You At?
Everyone’s writing (and spring-cleaning) processes are different, and at different stages. Pick the one that most applies to you and tell us where you are in your writing process!
a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in the vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet . . . just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

I pick b – painting the walls. Most of my editing is done with the Bremen-town musicians story (that’s going to have an official title soon, I promise!), so I’m having fun writing my newer stories, particularly the Six Cousins novel set in Prince Edward Island and the other fairy-tale retelling.

3. Treasure from the Back of the Closet: Snippet Love
How about some snippets from my children's story “The Bremen-Town Musicians”? These contain each of the main characters: Etzel the donkey, Jäger the dog, Katarina the cat, and Rüdiger the rooster.

Etzel the donkey just couldn’t face walking to the mill this morning. His knees and back ached as if the heavy sacks of grain or flour he often carried were already on his back. His master, Herr Hoffmann, stood at the doorway to the shack, clucking his tongue like an angry woodpecker.
Ach! Are you coming or not, you insolent, lazy beast?”

The sun had reached its peak about an hour ago and was slipping now. Its blinding warmth lay like a blanket on Etzel’s back, as if tucking him in for sleep. Ah, it was like sunning in the pasture; he ambled so rhythmically he felt he was standing still. It had been too long since he had walked this far without aching from a burden. When they first started out together, Jäger had gone from tree to tree, rejoicing in the freedom of new sights and smells; but now he kept a steady pace beside Etzel.

Instead, the cat gave a tremendous sneeze and cough, spraying water all over Jäger, who leaped back and fell into the stream as if he’d been shot. “It—it—it’s alive!”
The cat raised a bleary-eyed head, blinking at Etzel and Jäger with a green, filmy gaze. It coughed again, delicately this time, and ran the tip of its pink tongue around the edge of its mouth. “Of course I’m alive, Dummkopf. I’m a cat, aren’t I?”

Who’d have thought a rooster was so smart!” Jäger exclaimed. “You talk smarter than Etzel; I almost can’t understand you.”
Thank you, my good fellow. I merely quote the wisest of them all, the great animal storyteller, Aesop himself.” Rüdiger’s red crest stood high and his gold, green, and brown feathers puffed out, swelling his size.

If you want to do this, consider yourself tagged and please let me know! You can visit Deborah’s original post for more information on the challenge.