Blog Tour! White Wolf and the Ash Princess Spotlight

Hey y’all! This week I am greatly blessed to be apart of this awesome blog tour for Tammy Lash’s new release, White Wolf and the Ash Princess. Today I will be sharing a spotlight and giveaway, (with awesome prizes, y’all!) so stick with me and we’ll have some fun! 


About the Book!

izzy ebook

Eighteen year old Izzy’s limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore…”Who am I?”

Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was injured in a fire. Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued her and took Izzy in as their own, but who did she belong to before they took her in?

Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne’s young stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall to a world that promises possible answers, but also great danger. A scorched castle in the woods and a mysterious cellar filled with secrets sets Izzy on a path to the New World, where she will not only have to face her own terror but face the people responsible for her scars.

It is here, in the untamed wilds of the seventeenth century that she finds love and a home in the most unexpected of places


You can find The White Wolf and the Ash Princess on Amazon and Goodreads!


About the Author!

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Tammy lives in Lower Michigan with her husband and her three children. Izzy’s home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Munising) is where she and her family enjoy exploring. Tammy enjoys hiking, kayaking, beach wandering, “hunting” for birch bark and hopes to someday find a porcupine quill. White Wolf and the Ash Princess is her first novel. She is published in Keys for Kids and has been in children’s ministry for over twenty years.


You can find Tammy at her Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon!


About the Giveaway!

Rules: Only open to USA entrants. But don’t despair if you are international. Tammy has graciously offered to giveaway one ebook copy to an international entrant!

First Prize: One autographed paperback copy of White Wolf and the Ash Princess.

Second Prize: One Birch necklace inspired by the book and handmade by Tammy

Third Prize: One Birch Bookmark inspired by the book and handmade by Tammy.

Giveaway ends Midnight Eastern Time zone, February 8th, the last day of the tour.

And, finally, the giveaway link! 

Giveaway take 3

Alright, y’all! Thanks for joining me! Be sure to add The White Wolf and the Ash Princess to your To-Be-Read shelf on Goodreads! It looks like a winner to me! Have a lovely weekend! 

 

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Blog Tour! Review of Bound and Author Interview

Hi guys! Today I am very blessed to get to be apart of the blog tour for Miss Victoria Lynn’s beautiful new novel, Bound. Today I will be reviewing Bound and interviewing the lovely author herself! There is also an awesome giveaway that I will be sharing! So stay tuned for a rollicking time!
bound blog tour banner

Author Bio:

headshot for book and website - CopyVictoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she’s not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at http://www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings.


You can find Victoria on her: Blog, Website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Author Interview

Welcome, Victoria! I am so excited to have you with me today. Now, what inspired Bound? Was it a movie, a book, personal life experience?
It was a picture prompt that I wrote for my blog. While there are a lot of my life experiences intertwined in the book and the stories of the characters, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they are what inspired the book itself. Between that original picture prompt and Gods inspiration, that is what created this book.

How many years have you been writing?

Since I was very small. I have a notebook from when I was nine. I have always enjoyed creating my own worlds. . . probably because I have an extremely active imagination!

What’s your favorite genre to write in?

To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite. Which is the reason that I write under the very broad umbrella of Christian Fiction. I love trying my hand at pretty much everything, except gruesome horror stuff of course. I enjoy fantasy, modern fic, historical fiction of course and many different branches of those.

Have you ever had a story take a turn you weren’t expecting in the least?

In a way, yes. When writing Bound, as the story was still forming in my mind, I was at an event and a plot twist hit my head and I literally gasped out loud and dove across the table for a notebook and pen to record the thought before it could escape. I got a few strange looks that day. LOL! 
Out of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is most like you.
Mmm. . . That is a tough one. After going through them all, I would probably say Dudley from London in the Dark. His personality is most like mine. I am very empathetic, and try to make things better and fix problems. I would have to say so far that he is the most like me, though his story is a little too underdeveloped (since he isn’t a main character) to tell yet.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing or reading?

I love to design things. Sewing would probably be my highest thing I find enjoyment in aside from those two things you mentioned. I got to design and create a wedding dress this year and that was an experience to remember!

If you could meet one author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Dang. . .These questions are so hard!!!! Victor Hugo or E.D.E.N. Southworth.

Favorite book of all time?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Anne of Green Gables, and Three People by Isabella Alden. I could survive on those three.

Biggest book crush? I mean, let’s be honest, we all have one!

Gilbert Blythe. *blushes* All the way. I would marry him in a heartbeat. 

Now, for the most important question of all. Milk chocolate or dark? 😛

I like them both, it depends on my mood. But generally dark chocolate.
Thanks so much for having me, Gabriellyn!
You bet, Victoria! It was great to get to pick your brain! 

Bound Review

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Two souls don’t find each other by simple accident. ~Jorge Luis Borges~ 

Levi thought he was making this journey alone. But when he meets an eight-year-old girl at the train station, that plan is turned on its head. 

Casey is running away and finds out that Levi is too. They decide to journey together and their lives are suddenly bound together in a journey they will not soon forget. 

Both children come from abusive situations and are running from the dangers of their previous life. Levi is confident he can handle this on his own, but when Casey is injured on the journey, he must seek help from the first person that comes into his path, or rather people. Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth are simple farm folk with a heart for kids and a passion for serving God. When their unconditional love and gentle care surrounds Levi and Casey, the troubles of their previous lives melt away and they start to flourish. But when Casey is dragged back into the abusive world she came from, the emotional trauma, pain and distrust resurfaces. Will they be forever bound by their past? Or will God answer their prayers? 


 

Overall Impression

Bound was heartwarming. It tells the story of two sweet kiddos who are lost in more ways than one. I was involved from the first chapter and rooting for the characters all the way. The honest truth is, I wasn’t expecting a story this good. I  read Victoria Lynn’s London in the Dark, and had didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. So, when I read Bound, I was rather awestruck.
Bound, in my opinion is so special because of the level of heart behind it. Not only does it surpass London in the Dark, but it surpasses the level of heart you’ll find in many well-known authors. Bound means something. It is STRONG. It is TRUE. It is God’s HEART. 
Another thing I especially appreciated was that the story wasn’t whitewashed. Something that really annoys me in Christian fiction is when authors whitewash evil. Victoria didn’t do that with Bound. But, at the same time, she found a graceful balance in the amount of evil she showed. Victoria was able to expose the complete total depravity and hellish conditions many children are sadly living in without over doing it. She kept the truth that the world needs to hear without making it unnecessarily dark.
I would recommend Bound to single readers 12 and up and some families. For a few content reasons (more later), I would recommend parents skimming through before handing to very young children. 

Characters:

Levi was a sweetheart. I loved how even though he had been so horribly mistreated and had the people he loved the most horribly treated, he was full of life in his wishes to protect Casey. 
What could have made Levi focused on protecting himself only and trying to gain security for himself above all else, instead nurtured a desire to protect someone who was in the same situation as he was. It was beautiful. 
Casey. Awww! Poor little thing! I loved Casey so much and felt so bad for her. No child should have to go through
 what she did. And, while I understand that Casey isn’t a real child who actually has gone through these awful things, her character is powerful because she puts a face on the thousands of children who have and are living in hell around this country. ‘
Casey was quite a well-balanced character. She had so many God awful things done to and around. She was ‘mature’ in a way that no child should ever be. But, at the same time, her true, un-violated childlike spirit would peek out occasionally. And, by the end of the book, it showed with a true force. Casey was superb.
Mr. and Mrs. Bellworth, (HOW SWEET WERE THEY! ❤ ❤ ❤ ) Mikayla, Jason and the other more minor characters were also done quite well. 

Plot:

From the first chapter, I was drawn completely in. I NEEDED to know how Casey and Levi’s journey would end. From the moment at the train station, all the places between, and our lovely ending, I loved it. 
Victoria did a wonderful job on the character and story arcs. The POV’s made sense, the reactions to new things happening were on point, it all was very cohesive. 
Also, those plot twists with Jason, did NOT see them coming! 
The plot and progression was solid and engrossing all the way.

Bravo, Miss Lynn! 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None
Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Some light descriptions of injuries. Mentions of blood. Children are hit by their parents. Multiple instances of physical abuse-never any sexual abuse. Several intense parts/memories. I would advise for ages 12+. 
Sex/Nudity: None
Other: Some of the plot has to do with drugs and drug dealing-it is looked upon as evil. 

I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

 

Giveaway!

Bound Giveaway

OFFICIAL GIVEAWAY POST!

(This includes all the info on what you will actually be winning!) 

GIVEAWAY LINK!

 


Well, that’s about it for our Bound festivities! Thanks for hanging with me today, guys! I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂

 

Writing: Story Sprints #2

Story Sprint


LOVED

Autumn sunlight held Aubrey in it’s arms and staved off the chill of the brisk air. Small, golden leaves blew down from the white birch in front of the house and onto  the porch swing where Aubrey sat.

Aubrey breathed in a deep, drawing breath as she picked up one of the leaves that had fallen on her blanketed lap. The action tired her weak arms out more than it should have. How long would it be before the cancer took all the strength that she had left?

Aubrey turned to look at the beautiful hills below her home. The greens of summer had changed to the splendid ochers of fall. The world was so beautiful that it seemed to pain her soul. The golden sunlight, crisp air, and the dancing leaves seemed almost to taunt her with their beauty. Mocking her. Mocking what she would soon lose.

Aubrey squeezed her eyes shut and two large tears streaked down her face and dripped onto her lap. Would she miss it? This beauty. Would she remember it ever even existed? Would she…

“Aubrey.” A whispered Voice broke through her thoughts and a warm Presence encased her.

Aubrey’s eyelids popped open and she looked around, surprised when she saw no one. Had she merely imagined it? Aubrey swept her eyes about her property and the surrounding hills one last time before shutting her eyes again.

“Aubrey.” The Voice spoke again. Aubrey opened her eyes, searching. Still, no one appeared. Aubrey rubbed her eyes and squeezed them shut. Perhaps she was just tired. Maybe it was just…

“Aubrey!” This time, the Voice called her with such a strong certainty that she couldn’t deny that It was real.

Aubrey opened her eyes. Sitting on the porch swing next to her was a tall Man.

His presence was all encompassing, awing her with His mightiness. From head to toe, He exuded light. His entire countenance glowed in a beautiful, unearthly way.

Suddenly, Aubrey felt exposed. It was as if every sin she had ever committed was written on her forehead. Her ugly body seemed to scream of her unworthiness before this beauty.

Aubrey yelped and fell off of the swing and onto her knees. Pain jarred her bones and though her weak body protested,  she managed to scramble several feet away from the swing.

The Man had stood the moment she had fallen. He had reached out as if to catch her, but drawn His hand back seeing that she didn’t want to be near Him. Now, He crouched near where she cowered on the porch.

“Aubrey.” His eyes were gentle. “Do not fear. I won’t hurt you.”

“How…how do you know my name?” Aubrey gasped out scratchily, holding a hand up to her eyes to shield herself from the glowing Presence. He was so beautiful that her weak, damaged body felt like some alien deformity in that holy, glowing Presence.  

“I have known you since before you were born, beloved, should I not know your name? Be at peace, I am here to help you.”

Aubrey scooted back a few inches further from the glorious figure before her, a small glimmer of sadness seemed to gleam deep in His eyes. Was He sad she was pulling away from Him?

“Why? Why do you want to help me?” Her voice held disbelief, fear, and some other indistinguishable sentiment.

How she had even dared to speak in His Presence, she didn’t know. Every new second she sat near Him, she felt more and more like something so mean and unworthy that she didn’t even belong in the same place as this Man.

“Because I love you, Aubrey.” The Man’s voice was earnest, passionate, loving.

Through her shame and fear of this glorious Man, a glimmer of longing pulled in Aubrey’s heart. The love in His voice was strong, caressing her name when He spoke it.

“I…I am not worthy of your love. I have been selfish my whole life…I’m getting my reward now.” Aubrey looked down at her weak body, shame filling her and smothering the faint longing in her heart.

“You are right. You are not worthy on your own.”

Aubrey looked up suddenly. She had known this, but His confirmation stabbed deep at her heart. She dropped her eyes from His again, tears beginning to well up.

“But,” the Man spoke suddenly. The hope filling His voice drew her eyes to His almost against her will. “That doesn’t matter, Aubrey. My love overcomes all. Nothing you have done or ever will do can be larger than my love for you.”

A sob rose in Aubrey’s throat. How she wished that was true. How she wished she could reach out and take the love, how she wished…

“You can, Aubrey! You can have it!”

Aubrey gasped as the Man answered the very thoughts she was thinking.

“How…how can I have it?” Hope tinged her voice.

“Accept it. That’s all you have to do.” The Man’s rich, brown eyes pulled her in, glimmering with love. Love she could have.

A wave of doubt filled her. She was unworthy! She was dirty and…

“Please, Aubrey, let me love you!”

The Man’s voice broke through the doubt she was drowning in and offered her a safe escape.

“I accept!” The cry broke from Aubrey’s lips.

The split second she spoke, everything changed.

The fear, doubt, and shame was blasted away with such an overcoming wave of peace and love that Aubrey shut her eyes in it’s surging strength. A groan came from somewhere deep within Aubrey, pain and sorrow seeping out with it.

Aubrey felt the Man’s arms about her. He lifted her to her feet. Aubrey gasped as she opened her eyes, it was as if a lense had been taken away from her eyes.

She thought the Man magnificent before, but now, the true depth of His love, power, and beauty was unveiled before her and it took her breath away. Awe filled Aubrey’s heart. She couldn’t even begin to comprehend the love before her.

Tears spilled over Aubrey’s cheeks and she was unable to speak. The Man pulled her into a deep embrace. The warmth of His touch healed long broken places in her heart. Aubrey sobbed as the pain of her life was washed away.

Aubrey’s vision began to darken and the Man grew further away, but she was not frightened. A soft voice, the Man’s, whispered in her ear.

“You are loved…”

Time stilled and all grew dark.

Aubrey opened her eyes, feeling as though she had been asleep a long time. She sat on the porch swing, her blanket still tucked comfortably about her legs. The leaves still blew softly, the sun shone goldenly, and the air blew crisply as it had before. Nothing appeared to have changed.

But, Aubrey was not as she had been before.

Aubrey glanced to the side of the porch swing where the Man had first appeared. A large, leather book sat on the swing, it’s gilded pages glowing in the autumnal sunlight.  

Aubrey picked the book up and leafed through it’s pages. It was enormous and seemed to have many books in one. Closer to the end, Aubrey paused as something caught her eye. A small cross was marked next to two passages. The cross flickered for a moment, then disappeared.

Aubrey’s eyes crossed over the passages that had been marked by the cross.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The word soaked into Aubrey’s soul and testified their truth.

A small smile flickered along Aubrey’s lips as she continued to read, feeling stronger than she had in years.

She was loved.


 

I hope you all enjoyed this latest story! Comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see more story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of LOVED?

Writing: Story Sprints #1

Story Sprint


Hey, y’all! I am trying something new this week. I am hopefully gonna be releasing short ‘story sprints’ either every week (HOPEFULLY! IF I UTTERLY FAIL I NEVER, EVER SAID THIS!) or every two weeks.

To start off my story sprints is a fun bit of fantasy entitled, Endure! Enjoy, guys!


ENDURE

Darkness settled over the East. Heavy, roiling clouds rolled westward. Menacing yellow lightning fingered it’s way across the black sky.

“They have come.” Markian’s voice came from over Nikaia’s shoulder. A shudder coursed along Nikaia’s spine both from the reality of  her brother’s words and the icy winds that blew from the East.

“So they have…” Nikaia’s voice was soft, ending in a trembling whisper.

There was no evading the Order now. They had found them. Two, warm tears dribbled down Nikaia’s face as  deep fear and defeat filled her heart. Their doom had come. Every moment the clouds moved closer so did the cruel deaths that awaited them. Markian must have perceived her thoughts for he placed a strong on her cold shoulder.

“Nikaia.” His voice kept Nikaia from drowning in the helplessness and fear that clawed at her heart. Nikaia turned but stared at the ground. She didn’t want to look her brother in the eyes, to see the certainty of death that she felt reflected in his face.

Markian placed his warm hands on Nikaia’s face and gently tilted her head upwards so that their eyes met. Markian’s eyes practically glowed with intensity and strength.   

“I will protect you. We will not die today, my sister.” Markian’s voice grew low and passionate. “We shall endure this day as we have endured the days and the Order before. Have hope, dear one!”

“How do we endure?” Nikaia practically screamed, a sob catching her voice at the end. “How do I have hope when there is none left inside me?”

Markian’s brows furrowed and his eyes pierced Nikaia to her very soul. “Because, my sister, there is else left for us! There is only hope.”

Nikaia’s lip trembled and she looked again to the ground.

Markian’s voice rose in intensity and volume. “Nikaia! They…” he pointed to the darkened East. “They have taken everything from us! Do you now let them take your hope as well? Will you let them steal the last vestige of value from your life?”

Nikaia swallowed and turned to look at the eastern sky. Menacing. Dark. Overshadowing. The Order had taken everything from her and Markian. Their family, their home, and now…her hope? Would they have her hope, too?

Nikaia squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her jaw. She felt Markian’s eyes watching her as the battle raged inside. She could only hope she was strong enough to win it.

Will they have my hope too? The question came in her head again. Thoughts of despair, helplessness, and fear fought for her attention at every side. But, amidst the clamoring of the despair, a small answer was spoken in her spirit.

No. No, they will not.

Nikaia opened her eyes and looked again on the ever nearing darkness, a flare of hope lighting in her soul.

“No!” Nikaia voiced, strength mounting at the word. She looked to Markian. “They shall not have our hope!”

Markian’s eyes glowed with passion, love, and…pride. Taking his sister’s hand he gave it a squeeze. “No, dear one, never shall they have it!”

Together, Markian and Nikaia turned to watch the approaching darkness and the Order that followed it. They would endure.


 

I hope you all enjoyed, comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of Endure?

Writing: Three Ways to Avoid Bunny-trailing

 

Smith & Sons

Hey all!

To me, something that can often detract from a book is when the story or characters bunny-trail. It is greatly frustrating to me when writers do this, they take space up in a book with excess characters or plot lines and waste the possibilities and potential that is at their fingertips. So here are 3 tips on how to avoid the ever frustrating bunny-trail.

 


  • #1. If something doesn’t add to your main story goal but rather is a personal pet idea be prepared to crush it mercilessly. It’s that scene that you have played out in your head 236 times and is really cool but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. Most of the time it’s not a good plan to structure your entire story around one little scene that has no purpose beyond making you, the author, happy. If you can fit these beloved scenes into the story without them detracting from the flow of it, then go ahead and enjoy yourself, but not at the expense of your story’s purpose. 

 

  • #2. Avoid characters that are unnecessary. The more often you bring in characters who serve little to no purpose at all the more often you will injure your story and distract your readers from the overall goal. Often these characters end up flat, annoying, or plain weird! 

 

  • #3. And last but not least, have characters and plot threads serve dual purposes. Often time the best way to a good story that doesn’t bunny-trail is by taking a smaller amount of people and plot threads and using them for multiple things. Rather than have many characters who serve one single story purpose and end up lacking the time to develop the personality of each and every one, make your characters influential and important in multiple ways and gain time to showcase their individual personalities. Instead of having one incident serve a single purpose in the plot have it serve three. Your plot and people will be stronger, more realistic, and you will avoid the annoying bunny-trail. 

 

Alrighty, guys, that’s it for today. I hope these tips are helpful in your present and future writing endeavors! Comment below with your thoughts-do you agree with these tips? 

Happy writing, y’all! 

The Importance of Picking Apart Your Books

Everything we see, hear, or read is a tiny seed planted in our hearts and minds. A seed that we have to decide what to do with. Whether to water it and let it thrive, or to starve it! To yank it up from its roots, and burn the toxic ideology that is disagreeable to our beliefs. 

The difficulty is, sometimes you can’t recognize the seeds. Ideas and beliefs can be so easily slipped into books. Woven into the literature so seamlessly you don’t always realize they are there. So, when reading, it is import to digest as you go.

For example: with Fantasy sometimes it’s easy to pass something off as part of the story-world that really isn’t good. Since it’s Fantasy, it’s easy to say, “Hey, it’s how the world works. So maybe in the real world it’s evil to touch that dark, pyramid-shaped object and chant the special words to glean magical powers, but here? Eh, I’ll let it pass. After all, the main girl is using her powers to save the group who represent Christendom.”

So, when reading a book of any genre, it’s important to look closely. If something sounds or feels a bit funny, take a closer look. And hey, if it’s a bit off base, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the book is completely off-limits. But when you are aware of the snake in the grass you can avoid being bitten.

Don’t just accept everything you read, pick it apart. And even beyond identifying the things that don’t match up with your beliefs, picking a book apart can be a great idea. As a writer and reader the more you dissect a story the more you understand the art of literature, the more you understand the way to work your own theology and beliefs into the stories you create. 

The heart is easily swayed and the mind can be quickly fooled, and both impact how you see the world. So don’t accept all you see or hear. Dissect, prod, pick apart, and whatever you find you’ll be glad you did!