Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves is releasing May 4th, as I’ve shared before, but now I have a couple other things to announce!
The cover reveal is next Thursday, the 23rd of March!!! I can’t wait for you to see the beautiful cover that Erica Richardson designed. For now, here’s a sneak peek of the cover!
For Chip, I decided not to do a launch team with ARC copies of the story. But I’m excited to share that that doesn’t mean you can’t help with the story’s release! If you love sharing cover reveals, release days, and all things bookish, I would love for you to join the 21:25 Books Street Team!
What all will be involved in the street team?
This team will be for my publishing company as a whole, instead of for just one book. There will be a group chat on Instagram where I’ll share announcements and posts with everyone. You’ll get a first look at covers for my new books, new bookish treasures for the Etsy shop, release dates, book titles, and all sorts of things!
All I ask is that you help me spread the word about my books and Etsy shop! The time commitment will be very small; all you’ll be asked to do is share some of my posts to your Stories on Instagram, or for a cover reveal/book release, make a post on the day!
It will be a fun chance to join other book lovers in doing what we enjoy most: spreading the word about good books! Along the way, you’ll be helping me pursue the calling God’s put on my heart with 21:25 Books 🙂
One day, my dream is to begin publishing other authors and open a physical bookstore, but until then, I’m really excited to grow this online, bookish community! I hope you’ll join me!
If you’d like to help with the cover reveal of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, be sure to join the Street Team before next Thursday!
What I’m Reading: The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kellyn Roth & The Pale Phoenix by Noah Lynch
What I’m Listening To: Birds by Anna Golden
How about you? What books and tunes are you enjoying now?
Happy Saturday, everyone! Is anyone else very grateful to have reached the weekend? This week was a good one, but pretty full, and I’m ready for a slower pace. This morning, that’s looked like sipping lemon green tea and reading my Charles Spurgeon devotional. I thought I’d share a few updates and random things with you (maybe this will become a weekly thing!)
This week, I finished the basic interior formatting for my children’s story, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, which is releasing on May 4th, and I sent all of the illustrations to my friend and fellow author, Erica Richardson, who designed the absolutely gorgeous cover and will be adding the illustrations to the interior for me!
One of the things I’m most excited about with Chip is that the illustrations can be colored as you read the story! It will be so fun to see everyone’s coloring creations 🙂 The cover reveal is coming soon, but I haven’t settled on an exact date. I can’t wait to share it with you, though; it couldn’t be more perfect!
I’ve also started writing the sequel to Chip. I wasn’t at all expecting to write it right now. Currently, I’m working on the first book in an epic Christian fantasy series, so as far as I was concerned, the sequels to Chip and Penelope Grace were on hold for the time being. God had different plans haha.
Even though it’s unexpected, I’m really grateful for God leading me to write Chip’s next adventure right now. As some of you know, Chip’s first adventure all begins because he wants to know if God hears his prayers or even cares about them at all. This next story is also about prayer, but in a different way. This time, Chip’s adventure begins when the answer to a prayer very close to his heart is, “No.”
My family and I have experienced several “Nos” and “Not yets” lately, in answer to our prayers, and I wasn’t prepared for how painful and hard it would be. I knew that this was the theme of Chip’s sequel months ago, but I didn’t know when God gave me the idea how much I would need this story for my own healing and faith. I’m only at the beginning, but I think this book will help me know God’s character better, and I hope the same will be true for you, too.
In the meantime, Chip’s first adventure will be available very soon, and it will be a joy to share that story with you 😊
Here’s a peek at one of the illustrations, featuring a persevering old owl named Nesbit. I’m thinking of adding the illustrations as printable coloring pages in my Etsy store! What do you think?!
Family History & Other Story Ideas
For a long time, I’ve been really interested in family history. Those of you who have been part of my writing journey so far will know the different family stories that became part of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel. I have a few different stories in mind (some connected to Penelope Grace and some not) that I’m really passionate about writing, but I’ll need to do some digging into family history first.
One of the stories will involve my great-grandma, Mary McLean. She was born in England (in Manchester, we believe) and then married my great-grandpa, George Saris, who met her through a mutual friend after he left Greece and joined the Merchant Marine. Here are photos of the two of them (excuse the poor quality). This is the only photo we have of my great-grandma when she was young and it’s the only photo we have of my great-grandpa at all. I’m hoping to find more as I research.
Right now, I’m focusing on learning more about my great-grandma and her family. I believe her father’s name was Peter and that he was from Ireland. From stories, I know that he served in the army. My grandma told me that one of the family’s servants would cut up his old uniforms to make rag rugs. As far as my great-grandma’s mom, the only thing I know is that she worked as a hand model in England and that she died in a hotel fire. I don’t have much to go on, but I’m hoping to learn more, and I’ll share it with you here as I do! I’m excited to see how my story ideas take shape and change as I find out more about my family.
I’m on Ancestry, but if you know of any other good places to start researching, please let me know! And if you’ve done family research of your own, I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned about your family, if you’d like to share 🙂
Books & Tunes
What I’m reading:
Between Two Worlds by Cheyenne van Langevelde
& Morning by Morning by Charles Spurgeon
Favorite Song at the Moment: Sails – Live by Pat Barrett, Steffany Gretzinger, & Amanda Cook
That’s all I have to share for now! I’ll be back soon with more updates and writing adventures. In the meantime, feel welcome to share your own updates!
A few weeks ago, I started an extended break from social media. This was a change I had been thinking about for awhile, but it was this quote that inspired me to actually do it.
As created beings our reservoir dries up and eventually cracks, but the well of the Creator never fails. Happy is the person who lives by the well, having an abundant and constant supply close at hand.
Morning by Morning, Charles Spurgeon
I recognized that social media was consuming my focus, discouraging my heart, and distracting me from God.
So, here I am, a few weeks into living by the well, and can I be honest? It’s been uncomfortable.
I didn’t expect it to be. I was sure that there would be a sudden and constant influx of peace. And don’t get me wrong. I have felt much better since I’ve been off social media, but that lack of distraction did something I didn’t expect.
It gave me time to talk to God and to listen. It exposed other areas of my heart that I didn’t even realize were hurting. Places of discouragement and fear that I didn’t know were lingering in the back of my mind.
So, my time by the well has been refreshing in many ways, but it’s also been stretching, and stretching (while good) can also be painful and uncomfortable.
Today, I’ve found myself wondering if this calling God has placed on my life will ever come to anything. It feels like I’ve exhausted all my options, tried everything I could try, and still come up short.
In the midst of feeling that way, God nudged me to pull out my phone and start penning this blog post. Right now, in the midst of my fear and uncertainty.
And as I’ve been typing this, the Spirit’s been speaking. Perhaps, reaching the end of my efforts and options is exactly where God wants me. Maybe it’s why He led me to the well, this quiet place where other voices quiet and only His remains. Maybe it’s here, in this place where any way forward seems missing, that I’ll see Him do what only He can. And maybe that’s a sight you can only see from the well.
I’m not sure how long this journey will take, but I would be honored if you’d walk with me throught it.
I’ll be continuing my social media break, but I will be sharing updates on my life by the well, current projects, and other things here. You can subscribe to receive an email when I post.
You can also find me and all sorts of bookish treasures on Etsy. I also write book reviews for Clean Fiction Magazine, so you can check that out on Amazon! The Spring edition just came out and it’s beautiful 🌷
I would love to hear what’s new with you! What are you writing or reading right now? I just finished Moondrop Miracle by Jennifer Lamont Leo, and it was absolutely fantastic! Perfect for historical fiction fans 🙂
It would mean so much to me if you would check out the list! Some of my very favorite books are featured and it was so fun to share more about why these stories are so important to me.
One thing I want to mention! There is a purchase link for Penelope Grace in the list. If you’d like to buy a copy, click the button that says Direct! The story is only available on Etsy, not on Amazon or Bookshop!
Hi everyone! It’s been a little while, but I’m excited to get back to the blog with a little tour of my Christian fantasy novel, Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel.
Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel is a winter tale told in three parts 🎄❄🕯
Part One: Christmas begins just as the holiday season is starting. I chose to start there for two reasons.
First, my mom loves Christmastime, and the story is inspired by her, after all, so I wanted to fill it with things she loves!
I also chose it because the holidays, which are meant to be so full of light and hope, often feel dark for those who are suffering loss and loneliness.
My family knows the joy and sadness that can come with this time of year, and I wanted to write a story that acknowledges both.
Whatever your holiday season looks like this year, I hope this story inspires and encourages you in the midst of it ❤
“Fighting for Me” by Riley Clemmons is one of the songs that inspired me while I was writing Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel, especially once I got to Part Two: Winter ❄
Winter is a dark time of year for most and it’s a season that many dread.
But I have seen God show up for me and my family on the darkest of winter nights, radiant in all His power and glory, and I wanted to write a story that celebrated His faithfulness in dark times.
Whether winter is a season you love or one you strive to get through, I hope that Penelope Grace’s adventures through the world of Ellura shed a little warmth and light for you 💙
Part Three: Apricity is so special to me. 🕯 When I was thinking of the three parts of the story, Christmas and Winter came instantly.
But I knew that God was leading me to something a little extra special for the final part of the story.
I Googled words related to winter and God brought me to an article featuring a word that is now obsolete (or was, until I wrote Penelope Grace!)
Apricity means, “the warmth of the sun in winter,” and I knew instantly that this was the title of Part Three. I remember being unable to believe that this word was obsolete. It’s so beautiful!
And when I think about the meaning of it – the warmth of the sun in winter – I think, “What a necessary thing!”
Isn’t the time of year that can feel so dark and hopeless the time when we need the warmth of the sun most? Isn’t that the time of year when we need powerful reminders of God’s radiance and faithfulness?
Isn’t that when we need to remember that the dark and cold, the grief and depression that can grip our hearts at this time of year, aren’t frightening to God at all?
This is why I wanted to bring this word, Apricity, into the story. I wanted this final part to be a fresh reminder for everyone who needs it that God is not overcome by darkness. He obliterates every shred of it and, as if that weren’t remarkable enough, He then gives us the eyes to see the radiance He brings to take darkness’s place.
More than anything, I pray that you get to see that radiance for yourself this winter.
If you’d like a copy of Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel, it’s available exclusively in my Etsy store!
You can get a regular copy, one that is signed, or bundle a signed copy with a handmade ornament!
You can also check out reviews of the story on Goodreads! Thank you to everyone who has reviewed the book so far! I’m really grateful.
Next week, I’ll be sharing my review of Harvesting Hope by Lisa Howeler!
I recently started the book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table by Louie Giglio (by recently, I mean this morning!). I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now, but have always managed to get distracted by other books on my list.
But FaithGateway is hosting a study of this book, starting in September, so now seemed like the perfect time to set distractions – literary or otherwise – aside and finally pick up this book. I’m so glad I did.
My thoughts have been the enemy’s playground for far too long. It’s so simple to let thoughts of shame, defeat, or temptation lead the way. My emotions become my biggest focus, and he’s having a field day before I know what’s happening.
Have you ever been there?
It seems like, just when things are looking up, he chooses to attack. I don’t think that’s on accident. A new edition of my first book is releasing at the end of this year, I’m working on my next story, and things are falling into place. Naturally, the enemy wants nothing more than to derail those good things. And, for the most part, I’ve been letting him.
Discouragement and comparison have gotten the best of me often and, when I’m beginning to feel at my most content, I will scroll past something that threatens to make that contentment topple.
This book, though – Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table – has fallen into my hands at just the right time, and I’m guessing it might be just the right time for you, too. All those struggles and attacks I just mentioned? I know I’m not the only one experiencing them because I know that mine is not the only God-given purpose that the devil would love to destroy.
It feels overwhelming. Like this battle is an impossible one to fight, let alone win. But this quote from Louie Giglio’s book helped me to remember that it’s not actually up to us.
“My place at the table didn’t mean that my enemies would be removed from the equation. In fact, the table was set right in the midst of my enemies. That captivated my imagination and held my attention.
“I didn’t need to vindicate myself. I didn’t need to clear my name. I didn’t need to control this equation or work overtime to improve it. My task was to concentrate on the Good Shepherd, the One who owned the table.
“My invitation was to put my trust in the One who prompted me to lie down in green pastures, the One who led me beside quiet waters and restored my soul.”
Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, Louie Giglio
Our job is not to win the battle. Our job is to fix our eyes on the One who already has, the One who invites us to sit at a table laid with grace and compassion. We’ve already been given everything we need to live in all the fullness of peace and clarity that God has offered us. We’ve already been assured of victory.
Our hearts can become hardened into rock by all of the attacks, by all the discouragement, defeat, and despair that we get bombarded with.
But do you hear it? It’s the sound of stone breaking, of hearts beating fully and freely for the first time, of thoughts being reclaimed by the truth of what Jesus accomplished for us. And I believe God is using the message of this book and the promise of Psalm 23 to do it.
For the past few months, I’ve been exploring the world of junk journaling, and it’s become one of my favorite creative projects! I thought it would be fun to share my progress 🙂
One of the things I love about junk journaling is the way it takes items that people might otherwise consider to be trash.
Things like torn paper, old cardboard, bits of twine or lace.
Things that people take one look at and think, “Unusable. Past the point of usefulness or worth.”
These broken things become part of a bigger piece of art, and suddenly, they’re striking and beautiful and inspiring.
The more time I’ve spent making this junk journal, the more I’ve realized how the process mirrors God’s careful fashioning of us.
He takes these broken pieces that make up our lives, unafraid of their sharper edges, and He remakes them into something radiant and new.
Suddenly, we’re beautiful. Suddenly, we’re part of a bigger, God-fashioned work of art, and we get to see how those pieces we thought were useless come together to make the artwork precisely what it was meant to be all along.
When I discovered this craft, I never anticipated the way God would use it to help me know Him better, but I am so grateful He did.
What’s something unexpected that God’s shown you lately?
I’m heading back to junk journaling and writing for now, but I’ll be back here on Friday to share a writing update and my review of Starganauts by C.E. Stone!
Happy Cover Reveal Day to Kimberly Duffy and her upcoming novel, The Weight of Air. I have loved every book that Kimberly has written, and I’m sure this one will be no exception 🙂
Below, I’m sharing the book blurb, as well as links to fun pre-order goodies!
The Weight of Air releases on February 7th, 2023!
In 1911, Mabel MacGinnis is Europe’s strongest woman and has performed beside her father in the Manzo Brothers Circus her entire life. But at his unexpected death, she loses everything she’s ever known and sets off in the company of acrobat Jake Cunningham for America in hope of finding the mother she’s just discovered is still alive.
Isabella Moreau, the nation’s most feted aerialist, has given everything to the circus. But age and injury now threaten her security, and Isabella, stalked by old fears, makes a choice that risks everything. When her daughter Mabel appears alongside the man who never wanted to see Isabella again, Isabella is forced to face the truth of where, and in what, she derives her worth.
In this evocative novel from Kimberly Duffy, the meaning of strength takes center stage as the lives of three circus performers become entangled beneath the glittering lights and flying trapeze of Madison Square Garden.
You can pre-order The Weight of Air from Amazon and Baker Book House! When you pre-order from Baker Book House, you’ll receive some fun pre-order goodies!
I can’t wait to read this story! Have you ever read any books by Kimberly Duffy? She is one of my very favorite authors. Click the titles to read my reviews of A Tapestry of Light and A Mosaic of Wings.
Do you ever struggle to trust that God is working things out for good?
This morning, I was reading Psalms 57 and 61, and I realized that, lately, my answer to that question has been a resounding, “Yes.” Sounds bad, right? But it’s true. Logically, I know that God is trustworthy, but that knowledge hasn’t necessarily been reflected in my thoughts or actions.
I see photos of people getting married or having children, and discontentment stabs me. I wonder why it hasn’t happened for me.
I get caught up in numbers and likes, and I forget that feeling seen or unseen by people doesn’t define or determine my worth. I forget that God is more than enough.
And God knows all this about me. He knows where my thoughts tend to go. He knows how the enemy attacks me. He knows all the ins and outs of you, too.
He knows us so intimately and cares for us so carefully. I had forgotten that. He used Psalm 61 to remind me.
I call to You as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”
I’ve read those verses before, but they held my attention this morning, more than they ever have before.
They reminded me of how close God is.
Of how trustworthy He is.
Of how, even when I don’t understand His timing or why certain things are happening (or not happening), I can take a deep breath and know He is right there next to me. And that’s enough. That’s all I actually need.
Instead of drowning in doubt, discontentment, or plain, old impatience, I can echo David’s words in Psalm 57.
My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast.”
This is a heart space worthy of staying in, a space where we stop allowing circumstances to diminish or derail us, a space where God comes so, so close, and stays.
God used these verses to light up some dark places in my heart, and I’m confident He will do the same for you. What has He been teaching you lately?
Now, I’m off to brew coffee and befriend some (fictional) dragons.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I am so excited for all that God’s taught me over the last several months and for the way that He redirected all my plans. I definitely had a very specific vision of what life would look like by spring of this year and where 21:25 Books would be.
Then, life happened, and God showed me that, no matter how good I thought my plans were, His are so much better.
Initially, my plan was to design a full website with an online store and new blog. Roadblock after roadblock kept popping up, until I finally realized that those roadblocks were God’s loving way of telling me, “Not yet.”
I didn’t necessarily like hearing that answer at first (OK, I didn’t like it at all), so I kept trying to push my own agenda for a bit. After spending a lot of time talking to God about things, He led me to stick with this version of the blog. Not always, but for now. I felt such a weight lifted when I finally followed where He was leading.
So, what does this mean for the online store?
Well, it does exist, just not in the way I thought it would!
If you click on this fancy link, it will take you right to a form where you can browse my store and purchase any bookish items that you like! I’ll be adding more products as time goes on, but for right now, there are some beautiful bookmarks available and handmade wax seals for your stationary or craft projects! (Please note that shipping is U.S. only for now)
I discovered how passionate I am about making handmade bookish products to share with my fellow readers and writers, something that I would have missed out on if I had stuck with my original plan. It turns out that God knows best, after all 🙂
In other news, I just launched The Writers’ Nook, a pen-pal group for Christian women writers! I’m so full of anticipation for how God will allow us to encourage each other through this group. If you’d like to sign up, you can read all the information and do so here!
Receiving cards or letters in the mail is one of my favorite things (and a welcome break from all of the junk mail), and I thought, “How wonderful would it be for us writers to receive random notes of encouragement or congratulations when we hit a roadblock in the writing process or when we celebrate a book release?”
There are few things as special as finding a tangible reminder that you’re not alone in the writing process, and The Writers’ Nook is an opportunity for writers to offer that reminder to each other on a regular basis!
There is more news to come, but I’ll leave you with that for now! What’s new in your own writing/publishing journey? What has God been teaching you? I’d love for you to share in the comments.
Come visit on Friday, when I’ll be sharing a book review of Etania’s Calling by M.H. Elrich!
Happy reading & wordslinging [ my dad’s term for writing 🙂 ]