Thursday, June 21, 2018

I Don't Dance // Blog Tour + Book Review



Greetings, readers! I'm here today with the blog tour for the newest release of my sweet author friend, Jesseca from Whimsical Writings for His Glory. Yup, this little gem releases today!

I suppose we could begin by drooling over this lovely cover and graphic... <33


Synopsis

Ty and Jen have been friends for nearly as long as anyone can remember. But when Ty goes off to college and leaves her behind, he has to face the reality that he cares for her as more than just a friend.
As graduations approaches and with only one summer left before he begins basic training, Ty must make a decision. Military life is never easy; is it fair to force it on the one he loves?
In the midst of wrestling with the question and coming to the realization that summer is quickly drawing to a close, Ty struggles to face questions he cannot answer, and is forced to examine his own heart.
Is it possible that God has a future for him with Jen? Or will the summer close with only memories of days gone by?

Their relationship would be old fashioned. But that was okay. Because old fashioned and whimsical fit perfectly with a southern summer.

Amazon || Goodreads

Review

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin?! My critique partner stepped out of her domain in the world of historical and into my beloved genre—adorable summer contemporaries!

If you'd told me this time last year that I was even going to be writing this review, I would have laughed. "Jess, writing an old-fashioned romance? I think not." But here we are, on release day for I Don't Dance. A sweet lil' book that holds a special place in my heart, all the way down to the country-music-hinting title and a setting that I'm familiar with.

So yes, this darling little book is a love story, about two young people who find themselves falling in love in a whirlwind summer, under a sunset sky. A time of sibling chaperones, ice cream dates, and making the most of their time together.

The romance is sweet and precious and everything a romance should be. Ty is the honorable knight in shining armor. (Or...uniform. Whichever you prefer.) Jen is the sweet girl who's best friend is falling for her. Mike is the hilarious sidekick, full of laughs and jokes and excellent advice. Not to mention I'm 109% for him getting his own story...

The faith themes were so real and well-done they brought me to tears. Their questions, their doubts, their above-all-else faith and trust in God. It was inspiring. <3

This book is summertime and Scotty McCreery and Krispy Kreme donuts. It's uniforms and pickup trucks. It's holding hands and dancing in the rain and falling in love.

It's beautiful and sweet, and I love it oh-so much. <3


Author Bio

Jesseca is a daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano. And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.


Giveaway

First Place will receive a paperback copy of I Don’t Dance + Scotty McCreery’s Clear as Day album (U.S. winners only) 

Second place will receive an e-book copy of I Don’t Dance + $5 Krispy Kreme gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour


Thursday, June 21st
Soleil Bourdon//Review, Book Spotlight - Reviews By Soleil
Faith Potts//Review, Book Spotlight - Stories by Firefly
Janelle Martin//Review - The Ramblings of a Bookworm

Friday, June 22nd
Laura//Review - Beautiful Things
Chloe//Review - Purely by Faith Reviews
Rebekah Eddy//Review, Author Interview, Book spotlight - Rebekah’s Remarks
Molly Anne//Review - Set Apart for Him
Abigail McKenna//Review - Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors

Saturday, June 23rd
Angela Watts//Book Spotlight - The Peculiar Messenger
Kaylee H.//Book Spotlight - Keylee’s Kind of Writes
Kellyn Roth//Review - Reveries
Kate//Book Spotlight - Twin Thoughts

Window Fellow {pt.3}


Need to catch up? Pt.1 and pt.2 are at these links! :)


I went back the next day—kind of inevitable unless I wanted to walk three extra miles around town. My steps slowed as I neared the street corner, wondering… 

Just as I’d feared, he wasn’t there. No sign of anyone at the second-story window. I held my head high and smothered out the threat of tears. This wasn’t going to get me down. 

But my resolve wasn’t nearly strong enough. 

I felt awful all day. So preoccupied was I that I missed three questions in second period and nearly plowed a professor in the hall. 

The day that followed wasn’t much better. I overslept, missed the bus, and arrived at class twenty minutes late. I was going to have to do something. 

On the way home, three days after I’d learned his secret, I stopped at the corner where Window Fellow’s house was situated. Withdrawing the note that I’d written earlier from my pocket, I re-read the scribblings.

Please come back to the window. I miss your smile. 
-Annalyse 

I’d written “I miss you,” overthinking every thought that could possibly (in a thousand years) cross his mind when he read it, before deciding that it was a tad presumptuous and flirty. So I added “r smile” and stuck it in the mail slot before I could talk myself out of it. 

Which wouldn’t have taken long.


*


I don’t know what power I expected my little note to have, but I definitely had high hopes. Those hopes were rather dampened, however, when again the next morning he was not at the window as I passed. 

Nor the next day, or the next, or the next… 

A week passed. During which, I struggled to keep up with classes, while simultaneously mourning the loss of a friendship. A friendship that I didn’t realize the value of until it was presumably lost for good. 

But on this particular morning, I was choosing to look on the bright side of things. Like, the semester being nearly over and the long, glorious summer stretching out ahead of me. 

I leaned my shoulder against a telephone pole behind the bus stop and let my eyes drift close, enjoying the warm sunshine, the chirp of birds, and the hum of a city coming alive. 

“Good morning, Annalyse.” 

I jerked upright at the sound of his voice, spinning to look across the street. Please, please, please… 

Sure enough, he was back at the window. 

Forearms leaned on the windowsill, hands clasped together, face wearing a hesitant smile. 

“G-good morning,” I stuttered. “I wasn’t expecting you.” 

He didn’t reply, only kept studying me in a manner that was partially unnerving and partially endearing. 

“Thank you for the note.” 

I shrugged, quaking inside. I wasn’t sure if I could have this conversation. “You’re welcome. It wasn’t much of one.” 

“It was what was written in between the lines that meant the most.” 

I smiled, a load lifted from my shoulders. He understood what I couldn’t say, couldn’t write, couldn’t find the words to express. 

“I guess you were right about every pattern being broken.” 

Honestly, this guy. I laughed, shaking my head. “I made that up on the spot.” 

“And you thought I didn’t know that?” He grins down at me, quite handsome, come to think of it. 

“Uh, so, do you want to go out sometime?” 

I smiled, really smiled. Broad and happy and (probably) stupid looking. “Sure, but don’t you think I should know your name first?” 

“They call me Nate.” 




(Yes, that is the end...at least for now. I left it hanging on 
purpose until I decide if I want to continue. )



Thoughts? Did you enjoy the story? 
Would you like to see more about Nate and Annalyse? :D

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Thief, the Damsel, and the Dragon || Cover Reveal


Happy Saturday, lovelies! I'm off to a graduation party this morning, but first I have a wonderful treat for you all. 

My friend Angela from The Peculiar Messenger is releasing her darling little novella—The Thief, the Damsel, and the Dragon—and today is the cover reveal! It looks amazing and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. :D 

Half of y'all probably skipped this intro anyway (let's be honest, here... I do it too xD). So let's move along to the gorgeous cover and book details! 



Synopsis

“... the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” ~ Psalms 91:13

Edward Prosner is going to steal from the small town mayor of Fall Springs, North Carolina. He’s got a flawless plan of action and is determined to return honor and justice to his father’s good name. The problem he faces? He needs a date for the mayor’s dinner party.

Lucy Levitt is a huge romantic at heart, but with her family’s ranch and her part-time job, she has no time for dating. She believes God will place her soulmate in her life when the time is right. When the new man in town asks her out, how can she say no?

The first date seems ordinary enough, but then they begin to realize that they can’t fight their dragons alone.



Author Bio

Angela R. Watts is a sinner saved by Yahweh's Grace and she strives to glorify the King in all she does. She’s a homeschooled highschooler who lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, with her loving family and ranch animals. She’s been writing stories since she was tiny and hasn’t stopped since, though she also enjoys ranch and housework, painting, babysitting, and watching sunsets.




Are you as excited to read Angela's debut as I am?! :D

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Window Fellow {pt.2}


Find pt.1 here, if you missed it! :) 


The next day, I was actually a few minutes ahead of schedule as I tromped down the rickety stairs from my apartment and waved to Mr. Phelps. I wanted to have a few minutes to talk to my window fellow before the bus came, so I’d actually crawled out of bed after only hitting the snooze button once. 

I cast a furtive glance to the heavens as I trekked on, praying those weren’t rain clouds I was seeing. Navigating campus was exhausting enough without having to stay dry in the midst of it all.

Halfway to the bus stop, an alarming shriek caused me to jump out of my skin—and slosh coffee all over my shirt sleeve. Ick. 

Swapping my remaining coffee to the other hand, I shook the liquid from my hand and forearm. Deciding the stain wasn’t too bad, I glanced into the yard to my right. 

A woman—probably 60-something—stood under the stoop outside her backdoor, broom in hand and gaze focused on a bush a few feet away. 

“Something wrong, ma’am?” I felt inclined to ask, having already been inconvenienced by whatever her dilemma. 

Obviously perplexed, she glanced up, seeming to see me for the first time. “Oh, thank heavens. I’m ever so grateful for the sight of another human being. A man would be better, but you’ll do.” 

The way she said it, I almost felt like she was doing me a favor by letting me help her. 

Still unsure as to what my purpose was here, I traipsed across the grassy lawn to the stone path that wound around from the front of the house to the back stoop—where the problem was apparently located. 

It didn’t take long for the missus of the house to relay to me that there was a family of mice in that bush and that ‘divine intervention’ had planted me in her yard as a means of getting rid of them. 

Having never cared for mice (or any other tiny, crawly rodent, now that we’re on the subject), I wasn’t too gung-ho about the task that was rather shoved upon me. But feeling a bit obliged—I did offer to help her—I resolved to do my best. 

Unfortunately, that meant helping the lady decapitate and capture all seven of the little critters. By the time, I’d been thanked for my assistance, collected my forty-pound bag of belongings and the newsboy hat that had somehow became disconnected from my head, and resumed my walk (now at a much quicker pace), the rain had found us. 

Drat! Despite my disdain, the wet weather only increased. I ended up racing all the way to the bus stop, possessing a fear of being late and a dislike for arriving saturated. 

At the bus stop, I ducked into the crowded space under the rickety roof. Usually, I avoided getting this close to others, but this sideways-blowing rain was all-business. 

Remembering my ritual of waving to Window Fellow, I turned and glanced up. Sure enough, he was at the window. When he caught my eye, he lifted a hand in greeting but made no moves to open the window and conduct a conversation. 

I waved back and returned to the pitiful protection of the bus stop’s covering. 

It looked like I would have to wait another day to learn his name. 


*


The day following the one in which I killed mice and got caught in a downpour, I was again a few minutes early as I sprinted down the street toward where my window friend was presumably waiting. 

When I reached the street corner, no one was waiting at the bus stop yet—which clarified my earliness. He probably wasn’t even expecting me yet. 

“Good morning, Annalyse.” 

Or...maybe he was. I turned and smiled up at the guy, dangling halfway out the window with shirtsleeves rolled up his forearms. 

“Good morning, Nameless.” 

“Ahh, getting cocky, are we?” He wiggled his eyebrows, seeming to enjoy this as much as I was. 

“Perhaps.” I crossed my arms and pinned him with a glare. “When do you plan on telling me your name?” 

“Hmm…” Elbows propped on the windowsill, he tapped his chin with a long finger. “Possibly never.” 

“What?!” I sputtered. “But you said—” 

“I said I would tell you if you came yesterday.” 

“I did come yesterday!” I squinted over at him as the morning sun broke over the building across from me and invaded my eyes. “And I would have been here before the rain if a grandmother hadn’t recruited me as a critter-catcher.” 

“Intriguing tale, madam, but I’m not buying. You’re running late more mornings than not.” 

Rude. I switched on a scowl, hoping he could see it at this distance. “As if it’s any of your business.” 

“Never said it was.” He grinned, still hanging out the window. Honestly, it’s impossible to stay mad at this guy for more than 8.973 seconds. 

The notorious drompa-drompa-drom of the bus can be heard as it crests the hill just south of the grocer’s. It’ll be here in less than a minute, true to my previous calculations. 

You know, the calculations I made in the days before I spent my time at the station chatting with a handsome window guy. 

Not that I’m saying he’s handsome. 

(His smile isn’t bad, but you didn’t hear that from me.) 


*


And so our relationship continued. We chatted every other weekday morning, at least. Daily, at best—sometimes in the evenings too. 

Window Fellow insisted that, since it was raining the day that he was supposed to reveal his name to me, fate didn’t want it to happen. (I’m pretty sure he made that up, like I made up the line about patterns being broken.) 

But he was never anywhere other than that window, and I never had too much time to spend standing on the street corner and carrying on an often-near-shouting conversation. 

Until one day, smackdab in the middle of semester finals. 

My last class of the day had been canceled, so I was walking home earlier than usual. Instead of taking the bus, I decided to walk the extra two miles and enjoy the spring sunshine. 

As I neared the corner where Window Fellow lived, I wondered if he would be there. Not likely. Typically, if I saw him during my evening commute, it was on a day when I’d stayed out later than normal. 

I reached the corner, stopped at the crosswalk, and pressed the button. While I waited for a walk signal, my gaze wandered to a van that had just pulled into the short drive at Window Fellow’s house. 

The back door opened, a ramp unfolded, and a young guy in a wheelchair emerged. I could hear him talking to the driver, but at the distance and with the traffic, I couldn’t make out their words. 

As he turned to wheel around the van and approach the house, he swiveled— jarring to a stop when his gaze snagged upon me. 

I stared back, mouth agape, just as shocked as he was. So that was why I’d never saw him around… 

It was my window fellow. Seated in the wheelchair, hands paused in midair, face blank and expressionless—so odd for the smirking, joking personality I’d become friends with. 

Without a word, he turned away and wheeled toward the house. I wanted to say something, wanted to tell him that I hoped this surprise meeting would have no bearing on our newly-formed friendship. But not even knowing his name, I would feel awkward calling him back. 

So I kept my mouth shut, crossed the street, and continued on my way. 


But the heaviness in my heart as I recalled Window Fellow’s expression when he saw me was difficult to ignore. 


*

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Class of 2018 || A Letter



Dear Class of 2018,

First, let me congratulate you amazing people. You've accomplished something that 25% of high school freshmen in the US never do. (Yes, I googled it.) You've made the most of the opportunity of education available to you in your country of residence. You powered through rough days, less-than-satisfactory grades, and the moments you just wanted to give up.

But we did it. We finished 12 or 13 years of schooling before our 20th year of life. We earned the cap and gown, swapped the tassel, and now the future is stretching out before us—gleaming bright and free and slightly daunting.

Now that I've built you up a bit, let me say something on another note.

This isn't your moment of glory. This isn't the time you were born for.

Your destiny is so much greater than high school gradation.

I know, it feels pretty special—and it is. It's the end of something that has been apart of our lives for so long. But in the journey of life, this is only a beginning, y'all.

God's plans for our lives are playing out, and we're living it, and it's beautiful to watch. It's only getting better from here. There's adventures yet to be lived and memories yet to be made.

We're the first graduating class that was born in the 21st century. We're millennials, sure. We have cell phones and more technology than any prior generation. We speak the language of Snapchat and Instagram, and talk in the slang terms of lit, fire, legit, cray, OTP, dead, ship, and TFW.

But the millennial stereotype doesn't have to define us. We're young, y'all. We have our whole lives ahead of us to make a impact in this ol' world. Because, let me assure you, you are making an impact. Every life effects another—or, more accurately, many others. It's your choice whether you will have a positive or negative impact.

Let's change the world for His glory.

Whether you're going to college, taking a gap year, or just sitting back and contemplating your options, know that I am praying for you. Whatever you decide, however God leads, great things are in store for you.

Follow the Savior, my friends. By His power and in accordance with His plan, we truly can change the world.

~Faith


No mirrors for looking back, no room for someday
We can play it safe or we can play it loud
Not afraid to stand out in the crowd
These are the days we've been given
Right now we gotta live 'em
Whoa oh whoa, this is our time

~ This is Our Time, Emerson Drive 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Third Blogiversary {How it All Began}


This past weekend marked three years since I entered the blogging world. And wow, y'all, what a three years it has been. I've made some amazing friends; learned a lot about writing, blogging, God, and life; and became an author.

To celebrate my third blogiversary, I'm hosting a giveaway on Chosen Vessels and sharing the story of how I found the blogging world here, along with some stats to look back on. :)

Story 

In the summer of 2014, I read the Circle C Adventures series by Susan K. Marlow. After reading book-1, I flipped to the end, scanned the author information, and saw the URL of the author's blog. Hmm...looks like fun. I grabbed the iPad or a parents' phone (can't remember) and pulled it up.

What I discovered was a treasure trove of Circle C goodness—fan stories and behind-the-scene tidbits and photos of characters. Over that fall and winter, I soaked it all up, reading every new post and every old one as well. I began writing fan stories of my own, some which I finished and some which I never will.

By the next spring, I was following several blogs that I found through Andi's Blog. The more I read and interacted with other bloggers in comment sections, the more I wanted to do something other than just read others' life tidbits and stories and randomness. I wanted to share my own.

So in June of 2015, I started this blog, and then almost immediately split it into here and Chosen Vessels. Things I wanted to post and share was quite varied, so I thought two blogs might be the best route. And it's worked pretty well. ;)

467 blog posts later, I'm still here. Writing stories. Sharing my life and my words with the world.

I have no doubt that God was smiling that summer day when I stumbled into this corner of the internet world. Little did I know then how much it all would come to mean to me. <3

Stats 


Stories by Firefly 
~
Subscribers: 1,234 (Um, pretty sure 
this is wrong.... I would guess about 40 of those to be legit.)
Followers: 91
Comments: 1,000
Posts: 316
Pageviews: 88,167

Chosen Vessels 
~
Subscribers: 20
Followers: 39
Comments: 880
Posts: 151
Pageviews: 24,361


Thank you, each and every one, for being a part of this journey. A blog wouldn't be much without followers, and y'all's support means the world to me.

Best wishes, friends, and thanks a million. <3

~Faith

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Window Fellow {pt.1}

Happy Thursday, lovelies! As I mentioned in my Camp NaNo April updates, and again in my May recap, I wrote a short story on a whim and I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. And now y'all get to read it! A chapter a week, every Thursday, starting today.

Hope y'all enjoy! <3



I walked that route every single day during my sophomore year of college. And, until yesterday, he was always there. 

Come to think of it, a lot of things about that year were routine. Every morning, I tumbled out of bed, donned the randomest outfit I could find, and played with my hair just enough to make the messy curls look intentional. Then, I brewed a pot of coffee and poured it into a tumbler mug with nearly as large a capacity as my skull. With a patchwork-patterned messenger bag over my shoulder, crammed full of textbooks and study notes, I was ready for the day. 

Staggering down the stairs from my above-a-coffee-shop apartment, I waved a cheery ‘good morning’ to Mr. Phelps who always managed to be swapping the sign at the front of his store to ‘open.’ It didn’t matter if I was ten minutes early (rare) or ten minutes late (common)—he was always there. 

I would breathe in the morning air, sip my coffee, and thank the Lord above for another day to be lived to the fullest. Then, at the corner of 5th and Maple while waiting for the bus, I would wave at the good-looking fellow in the second-story window of the house across the street. 

Because he was always there. Part of my routine like he was supposed to be. Dependable, you know. 

Until yesterday. 


*


I still remember the first day that he was there. I was waiting for the bus, shoulder hunched forward and hood hovering over my eyes. It didn’t really matter—the rain got in anyway. 

I turned away from the main road where the bus would soon come to creaking, grinding, water-spraying halt—and I looked across the adjacent street to the cute little house that sat there.

I’d looked at the house before, but never really had time to study it. Now, I did study it, in detail.  It had an aura of belonging, origin, and peace. Like it had always been there and would always be there, because that’s the way some things are meant to be. 

A harsh phase of raindrops hammered down on my head, knocking my hood down into my eyes. Not wanting to remove a hand from my cozy pockets, I jerked my head backwards. The hood lifted from my eyes, but a stream of water splattered down into my face. 

As I did, my gaze caught with a pair of eyes from the second story of the house I’d been admiring it. A person—a young guy, it appeared—was watching me through his raindrop-streaked window. And he was laughing at me. 

Not knowing what else to do, I laughed with him. 


*


From that day on, he was always at the window when I came by. Rain or shine, early or late. He became as much a part of my routine as Mr. Phelps, and coffee, and barely-passable physics grades. 

Sometimes he waved first, sometimes I did. Other times, we just smiled and nodded and went on about our days. 

After a few months of this routine, on the first day that lent evidence to the suggestion that spring may actually be on its way, the fellow was sitting at the window—the window that was open for the first time ever. 

Hand over my eyes, I squinted through the morning sunshine. This was definitely not part of my routine, but he didn’t look like a creepy stalker, so I was chill with it. 

“Good morning!” 

“Good morning, yourself.” 

I laughed. He sounded as jovial as he looked, arms propped on the windowsill.

“What’s your name?” 

“Annalyse. Yours?” 

He shook his head, smirking and grinning at once if that’s even possible. “Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you.” 

“How do I know you’ll be here tomorrow?” 

He shrugged, then held his hands palm-up. “I’d say we have quite the pattern going.” 

“Every pattern has been broken.” I actually wasn’t sure if that was true or not, but it sounded intelligent and philosophical so I went with it. 

“Then I guess we’ll have to be the exception.” 

I was more focused on his usage of the word ‘we’ than the obvious fact that I’d be taking this route every day for the foreseeable future—or until graduation. 

I sighed, the rumble of the bus catching my ear. “You’ll tell me your name if I’m back tomorrow?” 

“Yes, ma’am.” He winked and ducked his head in what I guess was supposed to be a bow, then withdrew to the inside of the window. 

Barely resisting a snicker, I gave a little wave and turned back toward the street to wait for the bus. I could nearly feel his gaze on my back, but the bus came before I had time to cast a discreet glance upward. 

I boarded the shaking, rumbling, death-trap of a bus and took the first available seat. The middle-aged lady in the side next to me huffed at my boisterous entrance and rolled her eyes at my mismatched attire. 

But I only smiled in reply. I had a window friend, and tomorrow I would learn his name. 

Life was pretty darn good. 


*