Friday, August 26, 2016

Befriending the Beast cover reveal!

Hey all!!! Today I am a part of the cover reveal for Amanda Tero's amazing new book, Befriending the Beast!
Now I have to just say, this book is amazing. I had the privilege of beta-reading, and . . . I can't wait for it to be published! It's such a sweet, little story!
So. Without further ado, here is the BEAUTIFUL cover!


Ahhhh! Isn't it amazing?! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!
Well, since I am absolutely sure that the cover makes you want to hear more about the story...


Back cover blurb:

Belle has returned unannounced to the castle to restore her relationship with the king, her father. Her hopes are dashed with the devastating message: "The king refuses to see you." Convinced that God has led her home, she is unwilling to return to Lord and Lady Kiralyn.

Time is running out for the decision that will change her life. When tragedy strikes, will she and her father be pulled further apart or knit together? Could she stay at the castle even if she will never see her father again?



*sighs* Isn't it just a  dreamy cover and blurb? I can't get over how beautiful it is! :D And here's something else to peek your interest.



So yes. Are you looking forward to the publication of the book yet? I am!!


About the Author
Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!


“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)


Connect with Amanda
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com
Website: http://amandatero.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaterobooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandateroauthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amandaruthtero/
Blog: www.withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmandaTero
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/amandatero



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Flights, airports, and the wild blue yonder!

I know, I know. A post on Wednesday is super unusual.

But.

Guys. Guys. GUYS!

Guess where I am going?!?!

In  forty days, and approximately 5 1/2 weeks from now, I will be getting on a plane.

And I will be flying.

To. . .

Spokane, Washington!!!!

Ahhhh!!! It's happening at last!!! Can you tell I'm excited??? :D
Barring no major illnesses or catastrophes, I will be leaving on October 3rd to meet a very dear friend, Emily McConnell, and spend ten days with her and her family!

When we took a trip up to Washington and Oregon last year as a family, I had been planning to meet her, but God decided it wasn't the right time.

And so the matter was laid to rest.

Then earlier this year I started tossing around the idea of going up to visit. I prayed about it, talked to Emily about it, and we were tentatively planning that I would come up in October. But there were still so many things that needed to work out.

Well, a few months, a summer job and a phone call between our dads later, and . . . I bought the tickets yesterday. Okay, technically it was wayyyy too early this morning, but who cares about technicalities?

And I'm going to Washington to meet her!!!!! :D

Pretty sure this will be me . . .

So yes. I'm sure y'all will be hearing a lot more about it in the coming weeks. ;)

God has been so, SO good, and I can't wait to see how everything turns out! For now I will simply say good-bye and go and dance around the house. I can act a little crazy, right? After all, what else is excitement for? ;)
See y'all Friday!


*Both pictures found on pinterest

Friday, August 19, 2016

Large families: A glimpse into their lives, and how to stay sane around them.

Hellooo folks! How do you like the name of the title? Make you curious?
Good, I'm glad! Today we have a different sort of post. Anyone who has been following me for any amount of time probably knows I'm part of a large, homeschool family. And being such, there are a lot of funny quirks and things that happen within our family that don't happen in families with less kids. Just because, well, to put it in words I've heard many times before "we're weird." ;)
So today I have enlisted the help of a few other friends who are in large families, and we're going to set out to share some glimpses into our lives, and ways to survive if you ever come in contact with any of us.
If you're from a large family, hopefully you'll understand, and if you're not, I hope we'll be able to keep you entertained. ;)


~~A Glimpse into our Lives~~
Quirks we live with--because large families aren't the norm. 


Ahh, yes.  All those things we're subject to. Let's take a look...

(Contributed by yours truly. ;))

--Walking into a store, and it's as though a parade has come to town. No one can keep their eyes off of you. 
Hmmm, shall we sell tickets?

--As the oldest, I have had many times where our whole family will be at the store and I'll have one of my siblings' hands.  Then someone will walk up to me and say something along the lines of . . . "Oh, your child is so sweet!" Or perhaps, "How many of these are yours?" 
There was also the time dad took some of us to Costco, and someone thought dad was my husband, and we had 8 kids. I took no time in getting that straightened out . . .
Do I look that old?! It was fun to laugh over later on, though. ;)

--People always ask "How do you do it?"
Ummm, the same way you do? Just multiply it a couple times.

--Hotels tend to be a pain. To the point where my mom calls and she's like "We have three kids . . . plus two . . . plus three more, I think." 
Yeah . . . we'll just split into groups. That should help. xD

--When you visit people and they watch for you, they joke that your vehicle is a tour bus. 
Welll, we're not that big.

--People are always asking why you're not in school.
We are. I'm learning how to socialize by talking with you. Would you believe me if I told you we have these trips just so us home-schoolers can be socialized?

--You instantly connect with other large families.
You go into a gathering, across the way there is a family with a bunch of kids. Your eyes meet . . . and your moms are friends forever. And of course, all the kids then must be friends as well. 

-- There's always a someone waiting for the bathroom.
Because either no one has to go, or everyone needs to go at once.  

--You get asked if you've ever re-enacted "So long, farewell" from The Sound of Music.
We have. Please don't ask us to do it for you now. 


Contributed by Kaitlyn K.

--During mealtime, everyone speaks at once.  
We all have something to say that is important. . .

--Also during meals, a conversation something like the following will happen:
Sibling 1: "I'm the biggest, so I get the last piece of dessert."
Sibling 4: "No fair!  You ALWAYS get the last piece!"
Sibling 6: "Mooooooom!"
Mom: "Fine.  We'll split it into 8 even pieces." *Cuts piece into thimble-size pieces* "Everyone happy?"
10 years later, everyone's like, "We seriously did that??"
We did. Shhh, no comments.

--Everything is shared.  Conversations, clothes, etc.
The most used saying in the house is "We all share. You don't share, no one gets it."

--We LIVE off the thrift store.  And grocery store.
Because clothes seem to wear out far to fast. And food as well. We don't want to starve . . . 

--Lots of family time during road trips; no plane rides.
Can you imagine the look on the face of the flight attendant if all of us boarded a plane together? 

--A kid can get left at church.  Or any other gatherings.
It happens to everyone . . . a headcount gone wrong, you know. 

--No friends riding in the car with you; there's BARELY enough room for your family!
You want to sit on our laps? Technically it's illegal. 

--When Mom's grocery shopping, she needs two big shopping carts.
Don't give me that look. We all need to eat. 

--Your van looks like a tour bus.
Did we ask? 

--You make up both full-size teams of a ball game in the backyard.
 No recruiting needed!

--You learn to drown out loud noises if you want to read.
Otherwise you would never get past page one. 

--You go anywhere as a family, and people walk up to your dad and say, "Are these ALL yours?!?!?!"
No, you see, a couple of these kids joined us on our way in.  Want to take them off our hands?

--When there's a funeral, everyone gives you a BOATLOAD of desserts because you're such a big family.
Why thank you! I'm sure my mom was dying to have us all loaded with sugar.





Contributed by Rebekah Eddy

--Neighborhood walks become almost a parade. 
We joke that we really should buy candy to throw to people who watch us when we take a family walk.

--Costco trips end up being much more.  
Because why not line all your siblings up outside the bathrooms and have them cross their arms and look smug?  
It beats standing around the carts.
 
--Walking through the mall becomes something of a game. 
 You get to watch people's mouths as they count you. Our family walks in height order sometimes...that really drops jaw

--You become something of a legend at McDonalds. 
I mean, who else orders 30 cheeseburgers? 



Contributed by Emily McConnell

 --You're constantly having to explain to people that yes, your siblings are fully related to you and none of you are adopted.
Yes, I promise it's the truth. 




~~How to stay sane around us~~
Because we've been told we're just controlled chaos


Contributed by Kaitlyn and I 

--Go with the flow. You see, we most of the time we do have a plan, the problem is there are so many things that can change at any given time, that what was planned may end up not happening. 
Don't worry, we still try to be on time. Though it may not always happen. 

--Remember that we're normal. 
We're just like you. We have fears and doubts, we worry about things we shouldn't. We don't always appreciate being the "odd one out."
No matter how put together we may (or may not) appear to be, we're really not that different from you. 

--Think about the lives you'll touch. 
I'll admit, in all the chaos and noise, it can be hard. But just think, when you come across a large family, how they will impact different peoples' lives, and how you can be an influence OUTSIDE their siblings.

--It can be hard getting used to a big family. But just imagine what the world would be without them.  You can enjoy the company of the older siblings, and have fun with the little ones.  Like Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me." And this, I believe, can apply to all families, not just large ones. :)


Well, that's all for today's posts, folks. I hope you all enjoyed! If you're from a big family, did any of these describe you? 
If you come from a smaller family, do you know any "strange" large families like ours?
I hope your week was amazing! See y'all next week! :)

P.S I just must add this song. Because it just fits so well with the rest of the post. ;) 




Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Heart Most Certain--Book Review

~Description~


While Lydia King's reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father's debts and her mother's persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task--to ask the town's wealthiest man to donate--seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they'll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align.

~~My Review~~
5 out of 5 stars

Wow.

That's literally all I have to say about this book. 
I had never read any books my this author before, and I wasn't sure what to expect, as I tend to be pretty picky about what sort of books I read.
However, this sounded interesting, so I thought I'd try it. And I'm so glad I did! For the first couple chapter I felt like rolling my eyes and thinking "I knew it!" It seemed to be the same opinionated-women -and-guy-who-likes-her-but-doesn't-say-a-thing type of book.



But once I got past the beginning I relaized it was anything but.



The questions and themes that are dealt with in the book are a lot heavier then it appears on the surface. This book made me stop and question exactly what I'm doing for the Lord. It can be so easy to sit back and be comfortable in our walk with the Lord, but God has called us to action! And this book was a great reminder!



As for the romance, for the most part it was just super sweet. There seemed to be a bit of a beauty and the beast retelling, too, that only added to the story! 
The ending scene seemed a little much, and I was like "Okaaayyyy, you can stop kissing now". ;P 
Also, there are heavier themes such as drinking and prostitution that are a large part of the book. I believe it was handled well, but there was the implication that some of the more minor-main characters were involved quite a bit in these activities;  that would be my only caution. 



One thing I appreciated was the emphasis on how the church shouldn't turn their eyes away from these problems, and just simply ignore them, but that we should be willing and open to helping those from that sort of a background and work to show them the truth, not simply "preach" at the and tell them how wrong they are. Yes, they are sinning, but aren't we all sinners? We're no better then them in God's sight!



So yes. It was a delightful book that I fully enjoyed! I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!



~I received a copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review~

Friday, August 12, 2016

Writing, writting is so fun...

...until you think you're almost done. Then comes a character on the run, with more plot twists. ;) 
Yes, that was super random. It's actually a sing-song rhyme about doing dishes. I just changed it to apply to writing. xD Because how many times have we thought a story is coming to an end, and then a character decides to do something else and a whole new dimension is added to the story?!

Anyway...augh. It's been forever since I did a post totally dedicated to writing. So. I decided to update you on how a few of my projects are coming. 


--A Question of Honor--


Oh, this book. This book has managed to make me laugh and cry. In fact, it's the first book I've ever written where I cried while writing it.
It has hurt me, and yet at the same time shown me the beauty a single beam of light can bring into a hurting world.
Life it hard. War is hard. It hurts. And it changes people. Because after surviving through a living hell, nothing will ever look the same.

...they would learn together what it was like to go from living beneath gray skies and the constant threat of attack, to a place where the flowers still dared to show color and the sky seemed to always be blue.
 (From A Question of Honor)
This book has taken me the least amount of time to write, but the longest to re-write and edit. During the 2nd draft, a huge part of it was re-written, and a ton of small details from my research notes were added. It took way longer then I would have wanted, but it was needed.
A week after The Silent Blade was published, I completed the 3rd draft.
After that, I sent it off to my editor for the first go-through, and two alpha readers.  
And once I have it back from them...I'll be looking for beta-readers in the middle-ish of September. 
 Also...For nearly a year now I have had a secret pinterest board for this story, but now it is public! So if you're you'd like to see some of the story ideas/pictures I've pinned...you can now see it here! 
And even if you don't have a pinterest account, you should be able to view it. :)

 That is how that project is coming. 
Since I'm kinda taking a break from it, I'm super excited to be starting the book that will come directly after it. I have a  tentative title, but I'm not sure if I'll be using it yet, so...I'm not going to share it. ;) 
It's still during the Second World War. Some of the minor characters from the first book are there, and you get to know them a little better. This book will take place almost exclusively in France, so research for that has been quite interesting. Here are a few pictures I've found just as references for when I write.




You know that moment when you find a picture and you're just like 'That's my character'? Well, that's what happened when I stumbled across these pictures. It was awesome. *hugs characters*

That's pretty much all I'm currently working on. I have many ideas for other stories, but I haven't done anything else other then dream about them. ;)  Of course, sometime they'll probably come to life as a short story or some other such thing, but for now they're just waiting. 

So, tell me. How is your writing coming? What helps inspire you to write? What's your favorite time period to write/read?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Dear Research. . .

Hi all! I hope your week has been splendid!
I spent my week discovering the reason penicillin was once called "The wonder drug." It really is. It works splendidly. I'm eternally grateful for the fact that I'm not allergic to it, like a couple of my siblings are. It works fast and I feel awesome! ;)
In other words, I have been down half the week with strep throat, and I once again have a healthy respect for antibiotics.

Anyway.

Research. It something that anyone and everyone who writes has to do. Yes, historical fiction needs the most research, but even genres like fantasy and sci-fi use it.
Basically, if you write, it's something you can't get very far without. But like everything else, it has its good and bad points.

My thoughts on the matter are varied. And what better way to try and explain them than a letter?

Dearest Research,

I know we've met a few times, but each time we part I feel as though you have personally tried your hand to emulate the methods of the Gestapo. 
Also, I believe you enjoy giving me the run-around. I decide to use you to find one thing I need, but instead, hours later, I have a notebook filled with random tidbits of information that might be useful. Herein lies the problem; I still have not yet found the information I was originally looking for. 
And then there's the hands-on work. I do declare, you enjoy laughing at me. I go to a museum with a mental list of questions that have been on my mind for months, but when I am finally able to get an actual real person in front of me, my mind goes blank. Every single question that I have ever had suddenly dissipates into thin air.
But I'm sure you already know that. Since you were there. 
Now, I must admit that though our relationship has been a bit strained, there have been many ways I have been able to benefit from our companionship. 
For one, I am convinced my arms are considerably stronger then they were before we met. Encyclopedias, maps, and 400+ page non-fiction books work better then weights, in my opinion. 
Another plus to our interesting relationship is the people I am able to meet. Granted, every question may leave me, but I do suppose that sometimes it's okay. The stories I'm able to hear and the information I gather (even though it may not be what I needed) never fail to give me more story ideas then I know what to do with. 
I'll close the letter with this. While there have been a few bumps in the road of our relationship, the day we met forever changed me. I can honestly say that I will never be the same. You insured that I would never again be ignorant of the world around me, and never again would I allow someone else to tell me what to believe. And of course, you go quite well with my favorite beverage, a glass of iced tea. All this to say, I look forward to many more late nights poring over your pages, and attempting to have my questions answered. 

Respectfully yours,
Jesseca Dawn 

P.S. The next time I am able to interview a WWII reenactor, please, do not wipe the questions out of my brain as if it were a slate to be erased. It's frustrating. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, August 1, 2016

June/July month in review

And...I'm back for the June/July month in review post! 

June:

Oh, June was a busy month! Which is why I didn't get the review post up. I'm going to just write about a few highlight of both June and July, and then for the writing, reading, etc., I'm just going to combine them all. :)

 — I got the last few beta-readers for The Silent Blade. And one of my beta-readers, Amanda Tero, designed me the most awesome cover ever! :D 

—I attended the 18th birthday part of my dear friend, Deborah! I watched a Sight and Sound production for the first time and it was awesome! We watched Ruth, and I'm looking forward to seeing the others! Also, I was introduced to scattergories. And I LOVE it!



—My parents celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary, so they went out for the weekend and our wonderful piano teach came to stay with us. :) 

—I met one of my internet friends, Kaitlyn, for the FIRST TIME EVER! AND IT WAS AWESOME!



—I got an email saying Merry Christmas from a friend of mine. (It was totally intentional.) 

—Hosted my very first guest post here on the blog! You can read it here. (It was amazing!)



July:

—I turned 18. *hides* Yes, on the 1st of July I legally became an adult. And I have an amazing family. I woke up to doughnuts, a rose and birthday card from my dad, and then all sorts of birthday cards from my siblings and friends. God has blessed me with so much! And we ended the day with a midnight trip to Sonic to get a milkshake. Hey, no one said I had to act like an adult.

—A friend kept making me cry with all the story clips she sent me. 

—I avoided a strangling by a friend. I just got her focused on someone else. We had an awesome time. (And yes, I know this makes no sense. Think fictional strangling. ;))

—We celebrated the 4th, of course! Red,white and blue, fireworks, hamburgers and the annual frog races! (What, you've never seen a frog race? They'e super fun. ;))

—I was able to watch a restored B-29 take off for the first time since WWII! Mom and all us girls went out to watch it, and it was so amazing!! After it was finished and we started walking back toward the van, we were able to talk to a WWII vet. His story was just incredible, and I'll write up a post on it soon-ish! Until then, here's a teaser picture.



—And. . .I published The Silent Blade! That was sorta a big part of the month. ;)


-Reading-

A Heart most Certain--Melissa Jagears
Secret Sabotage--Andrew Eddy
The Lady of the Vineyard--Kellyn Roth
The Fragrance of Geraniums--Alicia Ruggieri 
Dawn at Emberwilde--Sarah E. Ladd
Remembrance--Theresa Breslin 
Never--J. Grace Pennington
The Silver Flower--Rebekah Eddy

Light in the Shadow of Jihad--Ravi Zacharias 
Recapture the Wonder--Ravi Zacharias 
Coffee Cake Days--Amanda Tero
Where Shadows Lie--Tialla Rising 
Finally Home--Deborah Raney 
Annabeth's War--Jessica Greyson
Anchor in the Storm--Sarah Sundin
Twinepathy--C.B. Cook
Touching the Clouds--Bonnie Leon
A Way through the Sea--Robert Elmer

So yes. Eighteen books in two months. Not too impressive, but not too bad. 


-Writing-
If I remember correctly, all I got written these past two months was the epilogue for A Question of Honor, and my 4th of July story, Freedom's Price. However, I did edit The Silent Blade two more times, edited A Question of Honor once more, and sent it off to my editor and two alpha readers. I'm looking forward to getting back to actual writing this month, though. :) 


Well, that's how my past two months have gone! I hope you guys have had an amazing summer! I can't believe it's almost over!!

Also, I'm just going to add this in here, my mom hasn't been feeling well lately, and she has some Dr.'s appointments tomorrow. If you all could keep her in your prayers, that would be awesome. :)

I hope your week is off to a great start! God bless!!

The Tomb is . . . empty.

Matthew 28:1-9 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mar...