I know of a certain badger named Romulus Took, whose home is full of all sorts of oddments, trinkets you’d be unlikely to find anywhere else.
For a badger, he’s an unusual sort, but I’ve grown to love him, and I believe you will, too.
Here’s a look inside Romulus’ burrow, and the items he’s acquired from a place called Elsewhere…
Any guess which is his favorite? 😉
I can’t wait for these postcards to make their way into the world! 📬
Until then, here’s an excerpt from Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, featuring Romulus!
“It was widely accepted that Romulus Took was an odd sort of badger, though a well-loved one. He was notorious for collecting all sorts of trinkets from the human world; the badger was fascinated by them all, but it was candles that he loved best.
Chip’s father often related the day, quite some time ago, when Romulus Took had brought the first candles to Everleaf.
The skeptical and the enchanted alike had accepted Romulus’ gift with curiosity, which quickly turned to delight as, candle by candle, a small corner of Everleaf Forest was illuminated by dozens of flickering lights.
He never would say where he found the candles or the countless other oddments that filled his cozy home. No matter how many times Chip asked – and the badger had long ago lost track – all Romulus Took ever offered was a smile and wink, and perhaps, a self-satisfied, “Oh, Elsewhere.”
What do you think the secret of Elsewhere is? There’s certainly more to this badger than meets the eye!
Until you can uncover these secrets for yourself, please add Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves on Goodreads and be sure to follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss out on any writing updates!
The day is finally here!!! Happy release day to H.A. Pruitt and her new book, Earth Quaking!
All of the other books I’m currently reading will be promptly abandoned as soon as this story arrives on my doorstep, and I’m certain you’ll feel the same once you read this special excerpt!
“No, honestly, it wasn’t,” Ella instantly brightly assured her and, after chuckling at Kindle’s dumbfounded blinking, explained, “It was quite awful—all I thought I’d lost—for a long while, but one day I was so overtaken by the unfairness and all I felt because of it that I told my papa about it. And, Kin, I remember it just as he told me. He sat me down in a chair and knelt down beside me and pointed his finger right at my nose. He said, ‘Young lady, you are precisely where you ought to be and everything going on in your life is happening precisely as it ought to be. I found out a long time ago that we can’t go thinking this and that is the way it ought to be because this and that never was. All that you’re conjuring ain’t the life you was to live—this is, right as it is happening right now.’ He told me that, Kin, and I knew he was right. That all I had imagined … was not the life I was meant to live. My life happened as it did and our lives are happening like this right now because they are supposed to be happening this way. Everything that’s gone on has happened for some reason, and now you’re not at your home and I’m away from my papa for some purpose.
“Ever since he told me that, I’ve known that every bit of life happens as it should—never wrongly or mistakenly or out of order—but I’ve never really understood how so many strange, mundane, and mad things can all be for some real purpose until now. You see, it’s the makers, Kin. They’ve made everything, and not just the wood of these trees and things, but a plan and purpose for all of it and Anelthalien. There’s no other way they could know what we must do before we’ve done it. Do you see? It must be quite like when my papa stews a soup—he takes all sorts of mad bits of this and that, and you can never see how it will all turn out, but once it’s done and you taste it, you see how it all worked out. The makers aren’t just guessing at where we need to go or what to do when they tell us to go somewhere or do something—they know precisely why we four are the ones here and how all the strange, mundane, and mad bits of this journey are exactly what we need when we meet them and have some reason we may not see until it’s all done and worked out. Kin, all this is happening precisely as it ought, and we and Tad and Andrew are all precisely where we ought to be.”
“Sally stood up, scanning the room filled with chattering, jostling garden gnomes. ‘I have one gnome who has not yet shed his wishdrop… I think he’d be pleased to help you out,’ she said, still scanning the room. ‘Cott? Cott? Where are you, Cott?’ Sally called. ‘I have some visitors for you!’
Luna lifted her head and noticed the conglomeration of gnomes on the staircase begin to shuffle and squeeze, as if making way for someone to pass through.
A stubby gnome popped out of the group, waving his hands in the air.
‘I’m here, Miss Sally!’ he hollered, continuing to weave his way through the crowd.
Luna noticed two gnomes trailing behind him. One had two cute braids sticking out from under her pointed hat. She wore a blue dress and had rosy cheeks. Behind her was a gnome who was even shorter and stubbier than the others. Luna knew right away he was a child – even though he had a large, white beard. He held onto his mother’s hand and waved cheerily at every individual they passed.
When the three gnomes finally reached Witch Sally, they bowed politely and introduced themselves.
‘The name’s Terracotta Glaze. ‘Tis a pleasure to make your acquaintance.’ He lifted his leg and showed them an inscription on the bottom of his boot. It said: 100% Terracotta. Then the gnome bowed humbly once again. His red pointy hat seemed to be so firmly attached to his head that it didn’t even wiggle as he bowed. Luna thought he was quite charming.
‘This here is my lovely wife, Dripdrop,’ Terracotta gave her a peck on the cheek, making a clinking sound like two glasses bumping into each other. He gestured to the smaller gnome. ‘And our son, Bert.’
Terracotta had a cheerful face and a shiny white beard – made of the same hard material as the rest of him – framing his face. He reminded Luna of the pictures her family, the Robbins, always hung around the house during Christmas time. What did they call the man with the red suit and white beard? But the gnome wasn’t wearing a red suit, just a red pointy hat. His clothing was blue, matching Dripdrop’s blue dress.
Edwin stepped forward, ‘It is an honor to meet you, Mr. Terracotta Glaze.’ Edwin extended his hand. ‘I am Wizard Edwin – an old classmate of Witch Sally’s.’
Terracotta extended his own little hand, reaching up to shake Edwin’s. Seeing the size of the garden gnome’s hand, Edwin corrected himself and instead of his entire hand stuck out a single finger, using it to shake hands.
‘Pleasure ta meet ya’! And call me Cott. My friends all call me Cott,’ the little gnome insisted, smiling warmly.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel sure that Terracotta Glaze is a friend worth having!
Get to know him better and join him as he helps return Hoover to his owlish state in Hoover’s Horn, book two of The Cottonwood Chronicles!
And check out these fun, whimsical coloring pages that Erica Richardson designed herself! I can’t wait to color them 🙂 You can see more and download your own coloring pages here!
And be sure to follow Erica’s writing journey on Instagram!
Next week, something different is coming…
Earth Quaking by H.A. Pruitt releases June 30th, and the celebration is just beginning!
Luna’s first adventure with her newfound friends has hardly ended, and the next one is already beginning…
Wizard Edwin is up to his magical tricks once again, and Hoover – Luna’s beloved (and sometimes grumpy) owl friend – has paid the price.
Transformed into a fierce rhinoceros and none too happy about it, Hoover demands to be turned back into his dignified, feathered self this instant.
But it will take all of Edwin’s magical resources and friends to undo this latest mishap, and they’ll soon learn that their hope rests on one noble gnome, Mr. Terracotta Glaze.
It seems impossible, but you never know, young reader. With a few willing friends and a wish fulfilled, Hoover might regain his feathers yet.
Hoover’s Horn is a wonderful continuation of The Cottonwood Chronicles. I continue to be delighted by Erica Richardson’s God-given gift for taking a whimsical tale full of child-like wonder and adventure and then filling it to the brim with heart-warming reminders of true friendship and what’s really worth treasuring in life.
If you’re longing for a story that’s sure to bring your family together for an adventure full of magic and delight, look no further than Hoover’s Horn, book two of The Cottonwood Chronicles, and all of the magical adventures yet to come.
If you’re just discovering the wonder of Erica’s magical tales, you can find a copy of Luna’s Rescue on Amazon!
While you’re there, you might as well grab a copy of Hoover’s Horn, so you don’t have to wait a moment to find out what happens next 😉
When you’ve finished, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads! It’s the best and quickest way to help out your favorite authors!
You can join Erica’s writing adventures on Instagram 🙂
This Thursday, I’m sharing a special excerpt from Hoover’s Horn and a peek at the coloring pages that Erica designed for her stories!
“Sometimes little things held more strength than the grand.”
For Ottilie Russell, life has been an unending pattern of loss.
First, her father and siblings, wrenched away by illness.
Then, her mother, stolen away in a senseless accident that leaves her with the daunting responsibility of caring for her grandmother and younger brother, Thaddeus.
Ottilie is determined, though. Amidst the swirl of doubt and grief, she steels herself to use her unique gift for embroidery to honor her parents’ legacy and provide for her family.
But Ottilie soon learns that her mother’s plans for them were quite different than what she expects, and plans have been set in motion that promise to rip away everything that is familiar.
Everything comforting and reassuring.
As much as Ottilie has wrestled with her British and Indian heritage, she is about to find herself more torn between the two than ever before. The only way forward is to carefully gather the smallest scraps of faith and courage she has left and discover if they will be enough to make something with real strength.
Kimberly Duffy’s books are absolute wonders and a gift to anyone who reads them. In A Tapestry of Light, the pages are filled with characters who hold their darkest struggles up to the light with a courage and vulnerability that is exceedingly rare.
Readers will be comforted to know that they are not alone in their doubts or pain, challenged to ask the hardest questions, and emboldened to face their long-held fears.
There are countless lessons and comforts to be found in the pages of this book, but, by far, the most important one for me is this:
Sometimes, it is the smallest stitches that transform a tapestry into a work of stunning beauty, and, often, it’s the seemingly insignificant seeds of faith that make a person radiant with the hope that even a life fragmented by loss can be daily made whole.
A Tapestry of Light is available on Amazon and Bookshop, a really fantastic site that supports indie bookstores with every purchase!
I’m so excited to share my interview with M.H. Elrich! She shares the heart behind Etania’s Worth, the inspiration she hopes readers find in the story, and her plans for the rest of The Daughters of Tamnarae series!
Etania’s Worth is such a powerful, redemptive story. What inspired you to include characters who are struggling to receive grace and accept God’s calling on their lives?
First off, thank you for the compliment. I definitely wanted that to come across in my book, so it makes me happy that you discovered it! I was actually inspired by real life circumstance. I have also struggled with receiving grace and accepting God’s calling on my life. For a long time, I vacillated between doing an office job and teaching. Eventually, God convinced me to teach, albeit kicking and screaming, and I discovered he was right, I love it! So I can relate to Etania very much about not being sure if this is what God really wants. I also have thought I didn’t deserve God’s love or grace, so writing that for Etania came through easily.
What made you choose to write in the Christian fantasy genre? How do you think this genre uniquely speaks into readers’ fears or struggles?
I chose to write in the Christian fantasy genre because I realized it was impossible for me to separate my faith elements from my fiction. Many people are able to write clean fiction without faith elements, and maybe one day I will be able to do that. But right now, I find it easier to have a God character in Melchizedek and focus on the Christian audience. I think this genre speaks uniquely to Christians in that it inspires them in their faith. I think that more Christians need books that help them grow in their faith, and not through nonfiction, but through the fiction format. Plus, this helps the nerds like me out there who love fantasy, but also love God.
Parents are typically absent from young adult stories. I love that your book is different! What led you to give the parents such pivotal roles in the story?
I actually want to reverse reader expectations, so that’s a good catch. 😁 As a reader myself, I saw the absentee parents trope and thought: that’s not realistic! Most people have one or two parents. So I wanted to create a relationship dynamic with parents that was realistic. As a young woman, I wasn’t as close to my father as I am now. Formulating Etania’s relationship with Jakin was easier because of these experiences. I haven’t gone through exactly what Etania went through with her mother, but I know how I would feel if I did. Thus, I created parents that reminded me of my own, but different.
I walked away from Etania’s story with a fresh understanding of Who God is and who I am in Him. What do you most hope that readers take away from reading Etania’s Worth?
Honestly, that is the message I wanted people to take away from my story! I’m so happy you got it! 😀 I recently added to the novel the key verse, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies.”-Proverbs 31:10 KJV. I want every young woman who reads this book to realize that God loves them and values them far more than rubies.
Can we look forward to a sequel to Etania’s story?
Yes! Finally, after two years of finishing my credential and the draft of Etania’s Calling, I am able to work on finishing it. I hope to come out with the sequel in December, God willing, and publish the next book in Etania’s series the year after that. Therefore, Etania’s story will take place over three novels, Etania’s Worth, Etania’s Calling, and Etania’s Destiny. After I finish working on Etania’s stories, I intend to start publishing three books on Etania’s daughter, Lavanna, and at least one book on Etania’s mother, Tala. That should complete my Daughters of Tamnarae series, but who knows? God may inspire me to write more. The best way to stay tuned to my book progress is to join my email list or to follow me on Instagram.
I talk about it more on those two platforms than anywhere else.
Thank you so much for the interview!
Thank you so much for doing this interview! Follow M.H. Elrich’s writing journey at the links above, and be sure to grab a copy of Etania’s Worth on Amazon or Bookshop!
Next week, I’ll be featuring my review of A Tapestry of Light and an interview with the author, Kimberly Duffy! I can’t wait!
What a delight to share this wonderful story with you this week! Read my full review of Etania’s Worth by M.H. Elrich below! And come back on Thursday for a special interview with the author!
“Etania. She felt Melchizedek’s voice, warming her whole body… Lean on me.”
The land of Tamnarae and its people are at terrible risk. Melchizedek is no longer amongst them, and the forces of Malstorm, known as the Skazic, are rising once more.
Yet, there are those blessed with Neuma – unique gifts bestowed by Melchizedek Himself – who remain loyal and are willing to risk all to fight for what is good and true.
But when Etania, along with her family and friends, is called to join the fight, she discovers that leaning on Melchizedek in faith is the greatest battle of all…
Etania’s Worth is such a remarkable story. Full of adventure, love, betrayal, and courage, it’s a novel that is sure to entertain readers of all ages and challenge them to face their fears with bold faith.
The characters struggle with real brokenness and doubt, but what truly sets this story apart is the redemptive arc that most of the characters experience. Reading a novel where many characters learn to receive grace and healing was so refreshing. I’m sure that readers will agree, as they turn the last page, that we need more stories as brave and full of faith as Etania’s Worth.
I’m so grateful that I had the chance to read this remarkable story!
Pick up a copy for yourself and a friend at Amazon or Bookshop (a wonderful site that supports independent bookstores with every purchase)!
Join me on Thursday as I share a wonderful interview with M.H. Elrich!
This week, I’m sharing my book review of D.M. Sonntag’s YA fantasy novel, The Lightning Bride! Read on for my full review and come back here on Thursday for a special interview with the author!
Have you ever wondered where you belong?
Maydeline Shadow is wondering the same thing and all the more as her family’s life and reputation in the Northern Kingdom begins crumbling.
Reviled for their connection to a world of mermaids and magic, it seems that the Shadow family is relying on Maylie to find a husband who can restore their standing.
But as Maylie searches, she realizes that her family is swept up in a story years in the making, hunted by a crazed mage who is desperate for revenge. And as the days pass, the most urgent question becomes if the Shadow family will survive the danger at all…
The Lightning Bride is an action-packed, YA fantasy novel that blends myth and magic in an exciting and unique way. Whether you’re looking for adventure on the sea or longing to know what dangers might lurk beneath the waves, this story will have something to intrigue and delight YA readers.
The biggest difficulty I had while reading The Lightning Bride was finding Maylie unrelateable at times. I struggled to connect to her character, and it made it difficult to root for her throughout the story.
That being said, there are many strong aspects to this novel. I particularly loved the way that so many different cultures were included and explored.
All in all, D.M. Sonntag has created a unique world, one that readers looking for a fantasy adventure will enjoy!
The Lightning Bride is available on Amazon! Once you’ve finished the adventure, please leave a review on Goodreads! A simple review is one of the very best ways you can support authors!
You can connect with D.M. Sonntag on her website and Instagram, so you don’t miss out on any writing updates or news about new book releases!
This Thursday, D.M. Sonntag joins us for an author interview!
What are some of your current reads? I’d love to know who your favorite indie authors are and always welcome ideas for books and authors to feature on my blog!
I’m so excited to share my interview with C.D. Hulen as we continue to celebrate the recent release of his sci-fi novel, Abort!
Read on to learn more about the inspiration for Abort, C.D. Hulen’s advice for fellow indie authors, and his thoughts on how to include a powerful, faith-based message in novels!
I really enjoyed reading your novel! What inspired the story of Abort?
Thanks so much! Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what inspired me, outside of God of course (as all things work according to His will). This particular story concept came to me almost fully formed, which wasn’t super common for me. I thought it would make a good book, so I wrote down the idea and then promptly forgot about it for about 6 months. But obviously, I found it again, and here we are.
One common pro-life argument that is used to confront abortion is that of comparing unborn children to people in a coma who are going to wake up (both are dependent on others, neither are highly responsive, and both are in their respective states for a limited amount of time, i.e., the person in a coma will wake up and the child will be born). This particular argument was definitely an inspiration. After the initial stages of writing, I drew inspiration from other sources, such as my Christian faith, my Dad’s suggestions, Ray Comfort’s videos on abortion, and Paul Washer’s articulation of the gospel, in order to add more depth to the story.
Throughout the story, Mason wrestles with divided loyalties and the distinction between right and wrong. Was he a difficult character to write? What do you think makes characters like him so compelling?
Definitely one of the most difficult things about writing Mason was keeping the reader from being completely disgusted by him. What he’s trying to do is terrible, and readers generally don’t want to root for that, so it was a struggle to balance the sympathetic aspects of his character without excusing his actions. I think his relatability and understandability help make him compelling. Although the reader hopefully won’t agree with his mission, they can understand why he’s doing it, and can relate to the many trials he faces on the HS10.
Christian sci-fi isn’t a genre that I, personally, hear much about, and it was exciting to read your novel! What about sci-fi do you believe uniquely positions the genre to share a faith-based message?
There’s definitely not much Christian sci-fi in mainstream media—none in film that I’ve seen, and not a ton in literature. But anyway, I think science fiction can be uniquely poised to tackle current issues as well as delve into compelling allegories. The concept of Abort was perfectly setup for a science fiction setting—I didn’t even consider another genre! I also believe that with science fiction you have something that Fantasy can struggle with—a real presentation of the gospel. This can be done in contemporary and historical fiction for sure, but fantasy generally relies heavily on gospel allegories if it wants to approach the Christian theme (Jesus). Science fiction has the privilege of dealing with the real thing.
What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced as a self-published author and what enabled you to overcome them? Do you have any encouragement to offer fellow writers who want to follow that same route?
I think the battle against anonymity has been the hardest. I can learn how to write good prose, design a book cover, and develop compelling characters, but as an author who started with zero platform, it’s been challenging. I think what’s to be learned is that it’s all up to God. If He wants the book to go far, it will. If not, it won’t. I have to hold my dreams loosely, trust His plan, and be faithful. If the marketing of this book has taught me anything it’s that God is in control.
A note of practical advice for writers: keep writing, keep getting feedback, and write again. It’s a long slog sometimes, but the more you do it, the better you get. And if you’re a Christian who is writing fiction, don’t tack your faith onto it. What I mean is that the gospel isn’t an afterthought, so if you’re a Christian and writing a story, don’t force the gospel into it, allow it to permeate the entire thing. Don’t sprinkle the gospel onto your story, soak your story in the gospel. All or nothing. Don’t be afraid to be preachy but tell a good story, make it real, and give it over to God.
Can you share any details with readers about your current or upcoming projects?
Well, I don’t want to share too much, but I’ve always got story ideas in my head. People who’ve followed me for a while know that I’ve wanted to write a musical, as well as refurbish and finish my historical fantasy trilogy. I also have some more Christian sci-fi stories brewing which address the current issues of the woke church and Christless conservatism. All that to say, I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, but whatever it is, I want God to be glorified.
Thank you so much to C.D. Hulen for joining me for this interview!
Happy Release Day to C.D. Hulen and his brand-new novel, Abort!
This is a science-fiction adventure unlike any other, and I’m thrilled to share my review below (and an interview with the author later this week)!
When Commander Mason Wyatt wakes up on a starship, he has more questions than answers.
Discovering his mission should have been a comfort, but the clock is ticking to complete it, and Mason finds himself stuck with a partner who is asking difficult questions, questions that unsettle his understanding of right and wrong and that put his precarious reputation at further risk.
When he first awoke on the starship, Mason thought the most important thing was to complete the mission, but as time runs short, he must decide if he even has the right to do what the mission demands…
C.D. Hulen has created a masterful, stand-alone sci-fi novel that is both a thrilling adventure through space an intriguing exploration into a character’s struggle with right and wrong.
With a faith-based perspective that effortlessly permeates the entire story, Abort is a novel that will both entertain and challenge readers, and it’s certainly an adventure that they’ll never forget.