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?
God gave me the most fun idea today and I’m so excited and grateful!
Like I mentioned in one of my last posts, my children’s book, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, is a storybook to color.
The book itself will have 18 illustrations for you to bring to life with colored pencils, markers, or whatever strikes your fancy. But how fun would it be if you could color these pictures outside of the book, too?!
So, each week, I’ll be releasing two illustrations in my Etsy shop as digital coloring pages that you can download and print 😊
I hope it will be the perfect way to pass the time on rainy spring days and that the illustrations will bring a spot of joy to you!
First up, are Nesbit the owl and Wilfred the fox!
Here’s a sneak peek of Wilfred and Nesbit! You can see the full illustrations and get the digital downloads right here!
I’ll be back later in the week with more updates! It feels like the countdown to Chip releasing has officially begun; I can’t wait to share this story with you and your families!
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 🙂
I wrote it after we lost him to Parkinson’s and Dementia, and my hope is that it encourages anyone who struggles to see any light or hope in winter and times of grief.
Last year, I also got my Etsy store for 21:25 Books up and running! This is where I sell my books and other bookish goodies. Before I get to my news, here is a quick peek at some of the items you can find there:
I’m so grateful for the blessings and opportunities that God gave me, and it’s been so cool to hear how Penelope Grace has encouraged people who have read it 💙
But now, God’s leading me (and you, my fellow readers) to some place new.
Much as I love Penelope’s world and the land of Ellura, it’s time to say good-bye (though just for now).
Flowers are already beginning to bloom in a forest called Everleaf, and a young and curious rabbit is eagerly waiting for us there…
My children’s story, Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves is releasing on May 4th!!
This was a story that I never expected to write, and I am so thrilled to be releasing it in paperback this spring, on the National Day of Prayer!
The story will have a little something special, though 😊 This is a springtime tale to color and will include many illustrations that I hope inspire you to break out your colored pencils and add color to!
I’ll be sharing much more in the days to come, but now, I also want to announce something that I’m only sharing on the blog right now.
For many years, I have had a Christian epic fantasy series planned. This will be a nine-book series, divided into three trilogies.
Today, I want to share a little sneek peak of what’s to come. The photos below give a teaser of the aesthetic of each trilogy!
For the first trilogy, I’ve shared the name of the trilogy & given a separate aesthetic for each book, which may or may not offer a clue or two about what’s in store 😉
For now, that’s all my news! I can’t wait to share the cover of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves with you! Erica Richardson has already designed it, and I can’t get over how absolutely stunning it is 😍
A winter tale of wonder is coming, reader. The fire is crackling in the hearth and the melody of a winter carousel is softly playing as its frost-covered animals begin to turn. The tale invites you to set foot in the land of Ellura, but it begins on a snowy November night in London, where a young woman is holding tightly to wonder.
Here is the prologue for you to read and enjoy, and I hope you will join me for the whole adventure…
Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel
Penelope Grace was a remarkable girl.
Of course, that word – remarkable – can mean many different things, depending on whom you ask.
Upon entering the Saris household, you would first be taken to the kitchen for a warm cup of tea to fight off the early winter’s chill. There, Nurse Sasha – who oversaw everything – would happily offer you her opinion. She could hardly find it less than remarkable that a girl of sixteen could behave so like her nine-year-old brother as to be nearly indistinguishable.
Once welcomed and enlightened, you might continue to the living room and find a comfortable chair near Penelope’s mother, Mary, who is patiently mending the latest torn and dirt-stained dress. She would share with you how her daughter is remarkably and admirably unconcerned with what others think of her.
Over the years, her friends marveled to find that Penelope was just as likely to pick up an imaginary sword as an intricate piece of embroidery. Growing serious now, Mary would tell you of the many encouragements she has received to rein her daughter in.
But it is too rare a gift to see a child’s spirit endure into adulthood. As Penelope’s mother, she would ask, how could she do less than safeguard it?
But just then, young George would come bursting in, his great-uncle Alex not far behind, and insist on knowing what your conversation was about.
“Well, George,” Mary would ask with the warmest of smiles, “what do you think makes your sister remarkable?”
He would think hard about it for a minute or two but, his nose crinkling up as he grinned, would soon reply with a firm, “Two things.”
And then, leaning forward as if to share with you a very great secret, George would tell you a story. Just last week, Penelope had, remarkably, succeeded both in assembling an entire regiment of nutcracker soldiers in the foyer and in vanishing from sight before Nurse Sasha could certainly accuse her of having done it.
“And the second,” you would ask, sincerely eager to know.
“She is the only grown-up who isn’t only teasing me when she says she still believes in Father Christmas.”
Equally impressed by both these reasons, you might then turn to great-uncle Alex, whom you would find no less willing to join in the conversation.
He would have to say that Penelope was remarkable for her persistent delight in all things simple, yet extraordinary. Even now she remains as enchanted with his magic tricks as she was on the day he first arrived from Greece to share them with her.
But of all her family, acquaintances and friends, only her father, John – who has been listening by the crackling fire all the while – could tell you with absolute certainty what it was that made Penelope Grace genuinely remarkable:
Join me for the carousel ride and the fight for wonder. Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel releases this November!
I thought I’d drop in to share a writing update this week. I’ve never really done these before, but I think it will be fun to share how my next book is coming along! While scrolling on Facebook (instead of writing), I came across an ad for a summer writing challenge called Pizza for Pages.
This immediately caught my eye because I absolutely loved the reading challenges that they hosted in elementary school, where you earned a pan pizza for reading a certain number of books. Those were good times!
This writing challenge is inspired by those summer reading programs, and while you don’t earn free pizza, you do earn pizza-themed goodies if you reach your weekly goal for 8 out of the 10 weeks of the challenge.
At first, I was a little skeptical because National Novel Writing Month left me burnt out on writing challenges. I found the goal of almost 2,000 words/day for 30 days straight to be really overwhelming, and it just sapped my creativity. I didn’t like feeling that I was writing only for the sake of the word count, rather than really being still with God and following His lead for the story. Long story short, NaNo just does not work for me personally.
But with Pizza for Pages, you set your own word count goal! Mine is 2,500 words per week, for a total of 25,000 words by the end of the 10 weeks.
The first week, life happened, and I wrote a little over 1,000 words. Even though I didn’t reach my goal, I did write something!
This week, the writing is going very well! I’m on track to reach my goal by the end of this week, and I’m just falling in love with this story. I started writing it when I was 11 years old, but the older I got, the more I believed that I wasn’t capable of writing it, so I set it aside for so many years.
I think that’s why God allowed me to write Penelope Grace and the Winter Carousel and Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves first. Writing them gave me confidence that this is God’s calling on my life and reassurance that He gives me everything I need to carry out that calling.
Now, I can write Fidelia (not the full title) and just enjoy the process, rather than being filled with dread and doubt every time I pick up the pen.
Right now, I’m on chapter two, and I’m spending time with an elf named Elezar under the leaves of Lydaea Forest. The story really feels like it’s beginning to take shape, and I’m so excited to see that continue. I have lots of ideas for chapter two swirling around in my caffeine-deprived brain, and I feel like I can’t write fast enough 🙂
What about you? How are your writing projects going? I’d love to celebrate with you if it’s going great or offer encouragement if it’s not (we all have those days!).