Hello, fellow book lovers and writers! Welcome to the first behind-the-scenes look at Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!
Every Saturday, I’ll be sharing more about my journey of writing Chip, creating the artwork, and binding the manuscript edition!
Let’s turn the first page of this woodland journal and let the adventure begin!
It all started on a chilly March morning, a little over a year ago. I had just sat down at my desk when a little rabbit nestled down in the grass outside my window.
That’s certainly not an unusual sight at my house, but this rabbit was different.
Set apart from the rest.
He had a big chip in his left ear, and I immediately suspected that this rabbit, in particular, had seen his fair share of adventure.
I would see him from time to time, chasing after other bunnies, snoozing in the afternoon sun, and taking his pick of our flowers (we planted them for his benefit, right?!) 🌸🌷
I felt a story beginning, but I had no clue where God was leading yet.
I picked out what felt like the perfect journal to use for a story about a rabbit and his forest friends and began to scribble notes.
My first thought was that this would be a simple story about 3 bunnies: Chip, Riley, and Sara. It would chronicle their adventures, their mishaps and mischief.
And I suppose that would have been an entertaining and sweet tale, but it was not the one that God was calling me to write, and it would have been a shame to miss out on the adventure Chip did, in fact, have.
Little did I know that over the next few weeks I would come across a beautiful devotion written by Charles Spurgeon, and God would use it to change everything…
But that’s a story for next week 😉
Join me here next Saturday for more about this altogether unexpected story that God gave to me and all the wonderful things that resulted from it.
If you’ve received your copy of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, please share with me! Tag me (@2125Books) with #bookofroseleaves 📖🌹
I’m so excited to see the book in readers’ hands and everyone’s coloring creations!
And once you’ve finished the story, will you please consider leaving a review on Goodreads? Reviews help authors so much and don’t have to be anything fancy. A simple 5 star rating and an, “I loved this book” is perfect!
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.”
There’s only one more day to wait for Earth Quaking, book two in the Anelthalien series, to release!
Anelthalien is one of my favorite books, and H.A. Pruitt is such a gifted writer, who boldly pens every word God gives her as this beautiful story continues to unfold.
If you’d like to learn more about this fantastic series, read the synopsis below and check out my review of Anelthalienhere.
If you ever knew something wasn’t quite right, Anelthalien is waiting.
Shaken from their encounter with the cloaked figure, Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew continue their quest across Anelthalien to find and end the evil throne. Fractured by a secret among them, the heroes escape into a forest trembling with Anelthalien’s memories. Their goal to reach the evil throne dims, though, as the elements, obscure foes, and the past push them to doubt their mission and even if they can trust one another.
Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew must remember who they can trust or their disunity will rip all hope away from them and Anelthalien.
Earth Quaking is the second book in the Christian fantasy series Anelthalien. Anelthalien begins the story of four teens who are transported to a strange land when they find mysterious necklaces. The four teens learn they are heroes who are tied to the salvation or demise of the land of Anelthalien. The Anelthalien series can be enjoyed by middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. Anyone who loves reading portal fantasy books with a deeper message would enjoy Anelthalien.
Earth Quaking is a fantasy adventure but also teaches spiritual truths and answers difficult questions of faith such as: Why do bad things happen? Who can I trust? Can I trust God and how do I know? How can I discern God’s voice from other voices?
Although Earth Quaking provides an escape into a wondrous fantasy land, it also equips readers with encouragement and Biblical truth that will help them in daily life.
More about H.A. Pruitt:
H.A. Pruitt is the Christian fantasy author of Anelthalien. She lives with her rowdy herd of guinea pigs and her sarcastic husband. She never wanted to be an author and would have been content to remain unknown to the world, but God decided that she would be perfect to hear the story of Anelthalien and share it with the world. Now H.A. Pruitt’s goal in all she does and writes is to listen to, obey, and glorify God.
Please add Earth Quaking on Goodreads and come back tomorrow to read a special excerpt from the book! I can’t wait to share it!
Haven’t read Anelthalien yet? I know of a few retailers who can solve that problem 😉
I’m overjoyed to welcome Kimberly Duffy to the blog today! She shares what drew her to writing historical fiction, how struggles with grief and doubt wove their way into her stories, and what’s in store for her next book, Every Word Unsaid!
This interview was such a delight, and I hope you enjoy!
Grief and doubt are topics we often dance around, but you confront them with a remarkable honesty and courage. What led you to address both in A Tapestry of Light?
I have always struggled with fear. Some of my earliest memories are of OCD flares (which I was diagnosed with post-partum after my second child was born) and I can’t think of anything that scares me more than losing a loved one. As a reader and writer, I process through story. Through imagination and words. As someone who suffers with OCD, it is nearly impossible for me to turn those thoughts off. They are relentless, coming at me with a ferocity that sometimes has me paralyzed. They are graphic and disturbing. And for brief moments, when my breath is coming short and shallow and my heart is twisting, I think, “How would I survive this if it was more than intrusive thoughts?”
So I pour it all out in my stories. I live vicariously through my characters. I watch them suffer and struggle and, ultimately, discover they can survive. And that offers me a bit of hope. We’re resilient. We’re created for more than this place, these bodies, even the love we’ve discovered here.
And doubt…it’s something I’ve struggled with for about a decade. I have no idea where it came from. No idea what triggered it. My faith walk is split into the before and after—before, when I was certain of everything I’d been taught, and after, when nothing was as it should be. I deconstructed—that’s a buzzy word. Deconstruction. Thankfully, I didn’t wallow in the shards of my shattered faith. I cut myself loose of all the extraneous stuff that had nothing to do with Christ. Like Ottilie, I protected that fragile, single seed. And every time I found myself doubting, questioning, I said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” It was enough. For YEARS. And then I began reading through the Bible. I filled myself with the word. I read apologists and great minds like CS Lewis and Chesterton. And eventually, the doubt began to flicker. It didn’t completely extinguish—every once in a while it is fed a little bit of oxygen—but mostly it leaves me alone.
Unfortunately, I felt very alone the entire time of my struggle. No one was talking about it. No one was addressing it. It was dismissed. And I don’t want any other Christian who struggles with it to feel as though they have no one walking beside them.
What first drew you to writing historical fiction?
I love history. I spent six months in tenth grade digging deep into the ancient Etruscans. Another six months in Ancient Rome. A good part of my 11th grade year researching everything I could on the Civil War. Most days, I shoved aside my history textbooks in favor of historical narratives, autobiographies, classic literature (I never studied a moment for any of my history exams yet I got a nearly perfect score on the AP test. I’m a big believer in learning history through what Charlotte Mason called “living books”.) I spent a bit of time scared of writing historical fiction—choosing instead to write contemporary romance—but my love for it eventually won out and from the moment I typed the first line of A Mosaic of Wings, I didn’t look back (or forward?) I love that people don’t really change. The same things we want and struggle with today are the same things they wanted and struggled with a hundred years ago. Human nature is fairly constant and, as a woman and mother of three girls, I’m fascinated by the amazing things women achieved in times when it was nearly impossible to step outside expected social norms and carve a path for themselves.
Historical fiction is an extremely popular genre. What do you think gives historical figures and events such a unique ability to speak into our present-day experiences?
I think there’s a comforting kind of familiarity that’s tempered with enough differences—enough years—to give us a bit of distance. It’s like seeing someone you know in the same stage of life dealing with something adjacent to your own personal struggles. It’s not exactly the same so you can comfort yourself by saying, “Well, that’s not happening, at least” but it’s close enough that you can watch and see how they handle it. Learn from their experience.
The descriptions in your novels are so stunning. What helps or inspires you when trying to bring a certain location or period to life for readers?
Thank you! I work hard to immerse my readers in every scene. I want them to feel and taste and see and hear everything my characters do. I’m lucky that I write during a time when photography was becoming more widely available and there are a ton of photographs available online. Especially when I was researching for Tapestry, there were so many of Kolkata during the 1880s-90s. I could see the streets, houses, fashions. I spend a lot of time collecting images in Pinterest boards and searching them for any detail I can add that will lend an engaging sensory detail to my stories. I also read a lot written during the time I’m writing. There’s no contemporary essay or article or book that can replace the authenticity of actual personal accounts.
What are you currently reading? Do you have certain books that you’re always recommending?
Currently I’m reading two nonfiction health books (I’m usually reading a health book of some sort) and trying to work through my TBR. I got super behind while I was on deadline. I just finished The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel which was fantastic. I started The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch (her books are always very engaging) yesterday and am planning on finishing up doing a read aloud of The Hiding Place with my older two girls soon. I can’t say there’s any particular book I recommend all the time because it just depends on who is reading and what they enjoy.
Can you share any details with us about your next book?
I’d love to! Every Word Unsaid releases November 2, 2021 and it’s about Gussie Travers—globetrotting, adventure seeking, unintentional trouble making photographer who, through no fault of her own, creates a scandal and escapes to Poona, India—landing right in the middle of a bubonic plague epidemic. There’s an adorably geeky doctor hero, fun scenes set in some of India’s most beautiful cities, and a heroine who, no matter how hard she tries, can’t seem to escape the reach of the words that chase her.
Thank you so much, Kimberly, for doing this interview and offering such thoughtful, heartfelt answers!
“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!
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.
Have you ever read a book that left you with the feeling that you’ve never encountered anything like it before?
For me, that book is Anelthalien by fellow author, H.A. Pruitt.
This story is something special, friends.
It follows four young, reluctant heroes – Kindle, Tad, Ella, and Andrew – all of whom are looking for something different, longing for an escape. As they travel through an unfamiliar land – encountering friends, questions, and mysteries – each of them must decide if they will accept their role as heroes or turn their backs on Anelthalien and its people altogether. It’s a thrilling and powerful adventure!
But, perhaps, even more remarkable than the journey the characters go on is the wonder this story works on every single one of its readers.
While journeying through Anelthalien alongside the four heroes, I witnessed true courage.
I was reminded of what patience (even with the most seemingly unloveable) looks like.
I encountered the Savior and learned what being a hero truly requires.
And I emerged better for it.
All because of a courageous woman who was simply willing to pen the words of Anelthalienexactly as God gave them to her.
What a remarkable gift that I can never properly thank her or God for.
Pick up this book, fellow readers, because Anelthalien isn’t only something different; it’s something altogether rare.
What an honor and joy to be part of this blog tour that celebrates one of my very favorite books and authors!
Grab a copy of Anelthalien for yourself and a friend, and get ready for the next installment of the journey, Earth Quaking, releasing June 30th! I can’t wait!
Connect with H.A. Pruitt on Instagram and her website to follow her writing (and guinea pig) adventures! I’ve been so blessed to get to know her, and you will be, too! 🙂