Friday, February 28, 2014

Writing Friday: Top Ten Most Influential Books

Happy Friday!
Yesterday I saw the Kansas City Ballet's performance of Dracula, and boy, was it good. I absolutely love seeing theatre, whether I see ballets, musicals, or plays. :)
Today, I have rehearsals and then I get to have a break on the weekend. I love rehearsals, but I also would like more time to write.

Anyway, on to today's post. My awesome friend Bethany tagged me in her blog post to create a post about my ten most influential books.


1. Swept to Sea by Heather Manning.
This was obvious. It definitely influenced me, because it was the start of my career.
2. Felicity American Girl Series
I loved all American Girl books, but these series were the first I loved, and Felicity was one of my favorites. It helped get me hooked on historical fiction.
3. Samantha American Girl Series
This is the same with the Felicity series. I loved these books and they really made me enjoy the Victorian era.
4. Okay...this counts three books but they're all in the same series. Little Town on the Prairie, The First Four Years, and These Happy Golden Years.
I was really obsessed with this series for quite a while, but the last three were my absolute favorite. I really loved reading about Laura and Almanzo.

5. The Falcon and the Sparrow by MaryLu Tyndall
This was the very first inspy historical romance I read. It made me fall in love with the genre.
6. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Before I read this, I had not enjoyed many classic novels. This quickly became my classic and is still one of my very favorites.
7. The Phantom of the Opera
Another very good classic novel. I read this book after seeing the musical and watching the musical movie. I really enjoyed it.
8. The Restitution by MaryLu Tyndall
This was the second novel I read by this talented author. It was the first book centered around pirates that I read and it really stuck with me.
9. The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist
This was the first Deeanne Gist novel I read, and I absolutely loved it. I read every book written by her after that.
10. Out of Control by Mary Connealy
I think this was the first Mary Connealy book I read. It was amazing. I fell in love with the characters and the setting and it was perfect.

Now, I don't have time to tag any bloggers, so if you have a blog, please feel free to participate. 
Now, in the comments, tell me five of the most influential books you have read! Go! :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Music Thursday: Meadowlark


Hello, everyone! I am glad to be able to post here again...here is a pretty song. Enjoy "Meadowlark" performed by the talented Patti Lupone. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bible Verse Wednesday: Just Believe

I have my computer back finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay! So hopefully posts around here will be a little more regular. Now, on to today's post.



Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Mark 5:36

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Unfortunate Hiatus

Hi everyone! Unfortunately, I have some bad news. My computer died, and I have little access to other computers. So, I will probably not have many posts for you this week.
I am very sorry. Please wish me luck on getting my computer fixed.

Cover Reveal: Never Let Go

Hey, everyone! As you may have noticed, this week is a little bit switched up.
That's because, today I am taking part in a cover reveal for Never Let Go by Angie Brasheer!

So, I have a guest post from Angie and at the very end I will show you the cover. Here's Angie:

Christian Fantasy: A Life-Saving Genre

Definitions of literary genres can be…well, complex. Even tricky. Attempts to define Christian

fantasy vary, though I’ve spent little time fretting over an official definition. I mean, Christian

fiction typically illustrates a Christian world view within its plot, characters, or both. And the

fantasy genre commonly uses myths and legends as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. So,

in my opinion, Christian fantasy embodies fantastical elements in an internally consistent setting

all the while reflecting aspects of the Christian world view.

But the debate (at least for some) surrounds who writes Christian fantasy. Writers who are

Christians, writers who claim to be Christians, or writers who believe Christianity is a fantasy to

begin with? It’s not a debate I choose to enter, for the truth lies outside the discussion: the genre

influences nonbelievers. My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.

Lewis aloud to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the

while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered,

Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the

wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher,

a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until

the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son,

and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all

started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading

expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach

And Never Let Go was born.

In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl.

That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth.


Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila

Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars

Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the

Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are

preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the Rendow

Clan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but

the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove

herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?

Pre-order Never Let Go here.


When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night

after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband.

Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life.

She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her

husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://

twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.


And now....the cover! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review Monday: Postponed

Did you have a good weekend?

I hope so!

Just to let you know, my weekly book-related post is going to be postponed until tomorrow, when I will have a cover reveal for you.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Writing Friday: Letters to Romeo and Juliet

Hey, everyone!
Happy Valentine's Day! Are you doing anything special today?

So, on Sunday I wrote something I thought was pretty neat, and I thought I would share it with you since I don't always post about my writing. I had just seen the play Romeo and Juliet the day before for the second time performed at a local theatre, and I decided to write something.

Well, I wrote two letters: one from a vial of poison to Romeo, and another from a dagger to Juliet. I thought it would be fun to share today, since Romeo and Juliet are a symbol of a love story, I would share it for Valentine's Day.
Here's what I came up with.

Dear Sir,
Do you realize the impact of your actions? Please hesitate before you do anything rash. Yes, I know how much you love her. I know how much you care for her. I realize that you feel you can’t live without her.
But have you thought about the bug picture? I mean, yes, you feel awful right now. But you have a family. A mother and a father who love you. And guess what? That pesky man who writes about you and your life on parchment with quills knows something that you don’t. You know what that is? She’s not dead. She’s still alive. Your touching me will absolutely break her heart.
How, you ask? How is this dear lady alive when her hart seems to have ceased beating and her skin has gone cold? She befriended a relative of mine. He courses through her veins as I write this, but rest assured, she will wake. And imagine her terror when she does and she finds you lying there, lifeless and cold. I am stronger than my relative. If you touch me, you will never wake.
Now, I understand that you can’t control your actions. Mr. William Shakespeare does unfortunately, so I fear you will meet your death at my touch.
But please, think before you act rashly. My power is strong, but I cannot stop you from what you are about to do.
I apologize for that.
Sincerely,
A Vial of Poison




And, next up, we have another lovely letter.


Dear Lady,
          You are about to awake to something very unfortunate. I almost wish you would never wake up so you don’t have to go through this, but there is nothing I can do about it.
You see, you’re about to wake up. I’m certain you will be a little disoriented at first, since you have been sleeping for hours on end. Well, when you do wake up, it will be dark. You will be in the tomb of your ancestors, and you will be afraid. But that’s okay. Just please don’t look to your left.
Oh, you decided to look to your left, young lady? Well that’s just great. I know, it’s absolutely tragic that he died. You loved him with every bit of your heart. It is understandable that you would be upset. I’m upset myself. I tried to get a letter to the vial of poison that stole his last breath, but the mail delivery around here is really slow. It’s quite unfortunate, really.
But anyway, now you have seen him. Maybe it will comfort you to know that he took his own life. Paris, your intended, whose body is lying over there, did not do it. You see, your young man found you before you woke up.  I’m so sorry. A few minutes could have saved both of your lives. But alas, he feared you dead, and, because he couldn’t live without you, he died himself.
Isn’t that a pity?  Such a waste of someone so young. Do you feel awful right now? Yes. So imagine what it would be like for your family to discover you in a similar state. It would be life-shattering. Now, I’m sure you are heartbroken. But please don’t do anything drastic. You aren’t even fourteen years old yet. You have a long life ahead of you. You could accomplish great things. You are smart, kind, and spunky. There is a bright future out there for you. Please, please, please, think before you act out by your grief.
Affectionately,

Dagger 



So, what do you think? I thought these were a lot of fun to write. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Music Thursday: Postponed

Hi! I should hopefully have a post up here later for you. Sorry...I've had long rehearsals all week. Go listen to your favorite song. :)

Bible Verse Wednesday: Salvation

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review Monday: Saving Juliet

Last week, I got to see the play Romeo and Juliet, which was the first Shakespeare play I have seen live. I really enjoyed it, and I had not expected to like it so much.

Anyway, after I saw it, I remembered a book I head read a LONG time ago. It was called "Saving Juliet" and was written by Suzanne Selfors. I remembered that I owned it, so I dug through my room until I found the book. I reread it in two days. 

Here's a little about the book, taken from Amazon: 
"Mimi Wallingford, Great Granddaughter of Adelaide Wallingford, has the life that most girls dream about, playing Juliet opposite teen heartthrob Troy Summer on Broadway in Shakespeare's famous play. Unfortunately, she has no desire to be an actress, a fact her mother can't seem to grasp. But when she and Troy are magically thrust into Shakespeare's Verona, they experience the feud between the Capulets and Montagues first hand. Mimi realizes that she and Juliet have more in common than Shakespeare's script-they are both fighting for futures of their own choosing. Mimi feels compelled to help her and with Troy's unexpected help, hopes to give Shakespeare's most famous tragedy a happily-ever-after-ending."
(My nails matched the cover!)


My Thoughts:
The Idea:
This is about a girl who is not happy where she is. Her mother is basically forcing her to continue her career in acting, although she has grown to dislike it and has developed a terrible stage fright. Then, she is launched into the world of fictional Verona, with none other than Troy, the pop-star who isn't a great actor but was brought into the production to bring in money. 
I thought this story was a fabulous idea. I love "time-travel" stories and I love acting, so this was right up my alley.

The Characters:
Mimi is a headstrong girl who is trying to turn her life around into what she wants--to follow her passions. But her mother is set on keeping her on the stage. Her narrative was very clear, and I did find myself rooting for her.
Troy was an interesting character, with many different sides that are revealed later on. He is more than just a self-centered pop star. 
There is also a cast of well defined characters including Romeo, Juliet, Lady Capulet, Friar Lawrence, Mercutio, and Benvolio, all from Shakespeare's play.

The Plot:
The plot was interesting...I read it in two days, so obviously I found it entertaining. :)

The Setting:
I loved the setting. Broadway and Verona. Isn't that fabulous? Also, medieval Verona was described very well. I enjoyed it. 

Overall:
I recommend it as a quick, fun read! It is especially fun after seeing a production of Romeo and Juliet. :)

About the Author: 

Suzanne Selfors lives on an island near Seattle where it rains all the time, which is why she tends to write about cloudy, moss-covered, green places.
She's married, has two kids, and writes full time.
Her favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Dickens, and most especially, Roald Dahl.


You can visit her at www.suzanneselfors.com.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bible Verse Sunday: Salvation

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Friday, February 7, 2014

Writing Friday: I Have a Street Team!

It's already Friday and I've had a couple of snow days this week. I would say that makes it a pretty good week.


Also, I thought I would announce that I have a street team! I am pretty excited about that. It is basically a group of about 20 people who were awesome enough to agree to help me out with promoting my book. Every six months, they must do three things from a list I created to help me, and in return, every six months, I will give away a prize for them.


They even have a pretty button just for them that I created:

Would you like to become a member of the street team? Let me know! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Music Thursday: The Mist


Have you read Bram Stoker's Dracula? It is my favorite classic novel. Anyway, did you know there was a musical made of Dracula? It is not incredibly accurate, but it does have pretty music. Here is the song "The Mist" from this musical. This takes place after Mina finds Lucy sleepwalking. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bible Verse Wednesday: A Lying Tongue

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Proverbs 12:19

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Broadway Tuesday: In Summer


Hello, everyone! It is very cold here and snowing...so, what better song to share with you? Here is a little project I created in my computer class at school, inspired by Olaf in Frozen. Enjoy!

video

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review Monday: Embassy

       Guys! It's actually February already! Isn't that crazy? I know everyone says this, but it really seems like January completely blurred by for me.
       How are you doing? Have you read lots of books during the first month of the year? Do you have any favorites so far?
      Just the other day I finished reading Embassy by S. Alex Martin. This book was not only great, but I am proud to say that I am friends with the author. I look forward to even more good things coming from S. Alex Martin.

Here's a little about the book from Amazon:
"When Arman Lance fell in love with Ladia Purnell, he made it his life's goal to find her after she left his planet. But amid tragedy and his obsession of Ladia, Arman struggles to fight the mental isolation he has built around him. He sees joining the galaxy's Embassy Program as only one step on his journey to Ladia, nothing more. Now he explores the Embassy, flies a Molter, and competes in the fast-action Hologis tournament. At last, Arman boards the expedition that will take him across the stars to Ladia, but the journey might change him in ways he would have never dared to imagine."

My Thoughts:
The Idea:
Especially compared to the genre of books I typically read, I thought Embassy had a very original idea. It is about Arman Lance, a guy who has built a mental barrier around himself ever since he fell in love with a girl a few summers ago. He joins the galaxy's Embassy program to get to the girl who lives many planets away. This book is about his mental journey to live in the moment rather than letting an obsession take over his life and make him miserable. There are sci-fi elements that make the story interesting, but not overpowering, as the plot is very character-driven. 

The Characters:
This story is about character growth. In the beginning, Arman is not extremely likable. He's a grown to be a but of a sourpuss. But that's the point of the story. It's about him learning to be a happier, better person. 
A character I particularly liked was Glacia. She went to Secondary school with Arman, and then joins him in the Embassy program. I really admired her, and her ability to bring out the best in Arman. 
There were many other characters, all of whom were well developed and played a part in the story. 

The Plot:
The plot was good. I could say it was slightly predictable, but I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I enjoyed it. The first part of the book took place on Arman's planet, Undil. The middle is on a spacecraft in outer space, and the last part is on Belvun, where he planned to reunite with his love, Ladia. 
I was invested in the characters and I am excited to read the next books in the series. 

The Setting:
Embassy had a very fresh setting. I don't typically read novels in a futuristic setting, but I thought this was very, very well done. The descriptions were spot-on. Even though it was such a unique setting, I understood everything. 
I particularly enjoyed the Hologis tournament in Embassy. Hologis is a very creative game that is like a mixture of dodge ball and laser tag in a maze arena. It was really cool! I kind of wish it was a real thing. 

Overall:
Embassy is a great novel by young author S. Alex Martin! I look forward to books in the future by him. 

About the Author: 
S. Alex Martin grew up fascinated with astronomy and reading Harry Potter. He worships the Oxford Comma, argues that Coke is better than Pepsi (sadly, Coke is not the fountain soda sponsor at his college), and collects coffee mugs wherever he goes. He draws 30-foot long mazes, is a street hypnotist, and stands by the unwavering fact that the 10th is the best, but he can't wait to see how Capaldi fits in with the crowd. Alex is 21 years old.


Find S. Alex Martin and Embassy Online:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bible Verse Sunday: Sawdust

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 
Matthew 7:3