Thursday, September 29, 2016

Five Fall Favorites // Novellas

Hello, hello, hello! 

Today I pop up in your inboxes and on your dashboards (just...not the car ones...) to bring to you my five favorite novellas! :D Sounds like fun, huh? 

In case y'all missed the invitation I posted the other day or you haven't been taking part in all the hubbub on several lovely blogs, I suppose it's up to me to enlighten you. ;) Author Rebekah Morris at Read Another Page is hosting a blog party! All week long (September 26th-30th), posts filled with book recommendations are popping up there. The other participants are Blessing Counter at Counting Your Blessings One by One, Sarah Holman at The Destiny of One, Amanda Tero at With a Joyful Noise, Kellyn Roth at Reveries, and Kate Willis at Once Upon an Ordinary. :D 

After noting the invitation to post about your own five favorites in a certain genre, I decided to do just that. :) I was going to do this post on my five favorite WWII historical fictions. (Because, let's be real. I could talk about that for hours.) I had titled the post, picked out the five books (a chore in itself), and was copying over the synopses from Goodreads when...I changed my mind. Y'all hear about that enough. So here I am, trying to be 'original' *wink* and giving you five of my favorite novellas. :D 

A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu 

A Maid, a Prince, and a Duke. A Gardener, a Stepmother, and a secret... 

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after. 

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream...of the same prince. 

In the end, are dreams even all they're made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed? 

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella. 

This is such a sweet fairytale retelling! Ellie and ___ (sorry, spoilers! :P) were just so adorable! I've read this novella at least twice and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sweet, short, God-honoring love story. :) 

Dearest Jean, Dearest Walter by Rose Holman

During the last days of World War II, a young married couple exchanges letters, and their hearts, across an ocean. This is a fictional tale love, faith, and struggle, told through their letters to each other.

A story told through the letters of a young husband and wife during war-times, what could be sweeter?! And then the whole story of the Bible was just...amazing. :) I picked this one up for 99¢ and wasn't disappointed in the least. :D 

Waltz into the Waves by Sarah Holman

Amelia has always lived in a manor by the sea with her father, and looks forward every summer to a visit from Alex. However, her perfect life is dashed one summer when tragedy strikes. Will her life ever be happy again? 

A 7,000 word short story of faith, love, and happily ever after.

*happy sigh* Ahhh, yes. Another Cinderella retelling. What can I say? This was a free ebook when I snatched it up...and I read it within the hour. It was so sweet, people! Seriously, if you enjoy a sweet this one! 

Finally Home by Deborah Raney

After being injured in Vietnam, Brian Lowe returns home in a wheelchair to the family mansion on the Mississippi River in Missouri—and to a nation that has seemingly turned against the very men and women fighting for its freedom. As if life couldn’t get any more complicated for Brian, he is assigned a beautiful, sassy physical therapist who just happens to be an outspoken war protestor. Kathy Nowlin has lived her life with passion, but her passions for her career and her strong feelings about the war collide in the person of Brian Lowe. Can these two searching souls ever find common ground? 

Set against the nostalgic backdrop of bell-bottoms, Volkswagen Beetles, tie-dye, and rock and roll, the darker rumblings of the Vietnam War era cast their shadow as Raney's novella explores timeless questions of life, love, and faith. 

(This on is not a retelling or WWII related...promise. ;)) Until picking up this one as a free ebook back in May (Memorial Day weekend, actually) I hadn't read much of anything set in the 70s or centered around the Vietnam war. I was so happy to see that change. ;) This books was so great! I love Brian and Kathy, seeing how the war had effected them and watching their relationship progress. :) 

This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof 

There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams. 
Go to college. Become president. Fall in love. 
And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done. 

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life. 

*cries just looking at the beautiful cover* This book...THIS BOOK!!! Written in the fresh style of first-person, present-tense, I fell in love with this story right away. That Saturday this month when I read This Quiet Sky, I laughed and cried with Tucker and Sarah (and was an emotional wreck for hours, but...). *hugs book* Gaahhh. I...I just...I can't. Trust me, you have to read it. It's *that* beautiful. 

And that wraps it up! I hope y'all are having a great week and I'll see you Saturday, Lord willing, with my September recap. :) 

Oh! And be sure to check out Rebekah's blog for the awesome giveaway!! :D If they reach 100 entrants a third place prize will be given. They were at 94 when I check, just a few minutes ago!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Imagine This #7 ~ Entries

Wow. Wow, wow, and more wow. That's honestly all I can think to say about the amazing stack of entries I received for the seventh installment of Imagine This, a series of writing challenges I've had going here on the blog for awhile now.

All of the stories were so unique, and yet they all shared the same sweet reminder – war tearing families apart and spreading heartache. Judging was an absolute chore. (To be perfectly honest, I may or may not have had each of you as 1st place at some time or another... Yeah, judging was that hard. ;) Every time I read an entry it was like, "oh, this is getting first!" :P) 

A huge thank you to all the lovely ladies who entered! :) I know you all want to read the stories and see who placed where, so let's move on! 

Our lovely picture and theme... :) 

After much thought and consideration of all entries, I'm pleased to announce that first place goes to Victoria Minks! Victoria, your short-story "A Picture of Truth" was outstanding! I love the POV!! I hadn't even considered the person who captured the sweet moment!! :) 

   I snatched my hat off and wiped my brow. Boy, was it hot! I shifted my camera bag, then afraid it might somehow sense my grumbling attitude, gave it a loving pat. "I wouldn't trade you for the world, baby," I grinned. "You're all I got."
   "Hey!" A curly-haired girl ran up to me, holding out a couple tickets. "Buy a ticket for the new movie mister? Eighty percent of the proceeds is going to the army."
   "Army, huh?" I frowned. "Well, I ain't got any money. Sorry."
   "You joining up, mister?" the girl trailed me as I pushed past and continued down the sidewalk.
   "Not if I can help it." I snorted.
   "There's a whole shipment of soldiers going out today at the train station."
   "Look," I spun around and faced the girl. "What is with you?"
   Her cheeks reddened, but I detected an odd glimmer in her brown eyes. "My daddy is somewhere in Europe by now, I guess."
   I took a step back, sucking my breath in with surprise. "Sorry. I didn't mean-- I mean--" I shrugged helplessly. "Sorry. I ain't too good with words and-- and stuff. I didn't mean to make you cry."
   "I'm not crying." She sniffed and her jaw jutted out. "But if you want some good pictures--" she jerked a thumb at my camera bag, "Then maybe you ought to get some of the men leaving. You know. Sell them to a newspaper or magazine as a look into real America or something."
   "Say," I let out a long whistle. "That's a pretty keen thought. Thanks!" I was about to jog off when I chanced to take a look at her again and noticed the firm set of her mouth. Her arms were crossed and I felt as though I suddenly knew exactly what determination looked like. "Hey, can I come back when I'm done and take pictures of you?"
   She tilted her nose up a bit. "Certainly not. But you can use that money you get from selling those pictures to buy War Bonds or something useful."
   I grinned and held up my hands in surrender. "Ok, ok. Well, thanks for the tip-off." I darted away, clutching my bag to me. When I got to the train station I was puffing from exhaustion. I elbowed through the soldiers, trying to get in the midst of them for a chance at a good shot.
   "Daddy!" I heard the shout of a little boy before I spotted him, dragging his mother through the crowd. "Daddy, you forgot to kiss me goodbye!"
   The man leaned further out of the train. "Here, Jimmy," he called. Jimmy? I thought. Weird, that was my name. I slipped closer to hear better.
   The mother lifted her little Jimmy up, and her husband reached down to reach him by the arms. The grab turned into an embrace--the kind that breaks your heart at the tightness of it. The father buried his nose in the little boy's collar as he kissed him.
   The mother was silent, hanging onto the boy's ankles as if that would stop him if he fell. My throat felt clogged, and I blinked. "I'm sweating into my eyes, it's so hot," I complained to myself. I pulled out my camera and focused it quickly on the trio by the train.
   There was a satisfying click and I lowered the camera, frowning. I wondered if the father would ever return to his family. He finally released his grip on his son, lowering him slowly back to his mother.
   "I love you, Daddy!" The boy Jimmy called. "I love--" his voice broke and he tried again. "I love you, Daddy! Don't forget!"
   The man stretched his hands out as the last few soldiers boarded the train and a whoosh of steam rose up from the wheels. "Be good, Jimmy," His voice was husky, the kind that hints at tears in the soul. "You're the man of the family while I'm away."
   "I know." Jimmy nodded, scrambling down from his mother's arms.
   The man glanced at his wife--just a glance, and it said so much. She raised her hand until the train disappeared, but still stood even after it had been gone for a few minutes.
   I felt like I was going to choke. So that was what family was like...and that was also what courage was like. I felt like a miserable coward. This photo was not going to be sold to a magazine, but I was still glad I got it. It had opened my eyes to the truth--there was a job to be done. But could I do it?
   By the time I reached the girl selling tickets again, I had made up my mind. "Hey, where's the recruiting station?"
   Her eyes grew wide, then she gave a shy smile. "I could take you."

Second place goes to Amy Lane with her heartbreaking tale, That Day When He Left. Amy, your beautiful story evoked such emotion in me. :') I loved the way you told it with the wife thinking back to his departure. :) 

December 25, 1944.
I remember that day, when he left. It was the spring of 1942, and the sun was rebeliously shining in the morning sky like a war wasn't raging. I wonder how many times the sun has shone over a scene like that one—a scene of longing and fear, of love and selfish wishes.
As my husband, Jackson, my son, Lawrence, and I drove to the train station, Lawerence wouldn't stop asking why Daddy had to leave. He had been told many times before that Daddy had to go defend America, but he didn't understand. When we arrived, Jackson parked the car, and grabbed his things, "Well, Martha, this is it."
I just looked at him, with tears of sadness forming in my eyes, "Oh, Jackson, I wish..." My tears sufficed for words as I rushed into his arms, and cried. He gently held me, stroking my brown hair.
"Okay, I'll be late."
I pulled away, composing myself and wiping my face, "Right....I am going to miss you."
"I'll miss you to," Jackson assured.
Before he left, I gave him one last kiss and hug, and Lawrence did also. I watched as he dissappeared into the train and then through the window as he found his seat.
With smiling face and torso out the window, he said, "No matter what happens Martha Wright, I love you."
"I love you, too." I said, trying not to choke up, for his sake.
"And I love you, buddy," He said to Lawrence.
"Momma? I want to hug daddy."
I told him he couldn't. But looking at my husband, said, "I'll lift you up."
Picking up the toddler, I lifted him as high as my arms would carry him—halfway up to the train window. Jackson took over, and grabbed his son up till all I had was Lawrence's legs, and hugged him, saying something to him that I couldn't understand except for fragments.
But just as I had started to tear again, the station master called out, and I took Lawrence back, holding him on my side.
"Daddy leaving," Lawrence sadly said.
The train jerked to a start, and I reached for Jackson's hand, holding our son with the other.
"May God keep you safe; and don't forget to write!" I called to him over the loud train noise. I walked quickly, and didn't let go of his hand until I had to for the speed of the train.
"I love you" I called.
"I love you," He replied.
And then, as he rode away in his green uniform, I held on to his memory.
"Wave at Daddy," I said to our son.
We waved until he was out of eyesight, and then, putting Lawrence down, we walked back to the truck. On the way home, I cried both in my heart, and out.
"Don't worry, Daddy'll be back," Lawrence comforted, "He said not to worry, and that no matter what happens, God will take care of us."
I listened to his words, and was ashamed I had let myself cry so much in front of my son, who sat beside me in the middle seat, "Anything else?"
"Daddy said that he was proud of me, and that he loved me. He said that he had to leave to help the army, but he will always remember us. So don't worry, Momma, God's got things under control," He reassured, bouncing in his seat, and a confident expression upon his face.
"You're right, Lawrence, He does."

Yes, I remember that day. It was sad, but I had hope—hope that the war would end, and Jackson would come home and be the husband and father I needed him to be. The days following were tough, but we managed. Jackson and I wrote each other and Lawrence drew pictures. Sometimes it was difficult because I would not hear from him for months. But then, I would rejoice when I recieved a letter saying that he was safe somewhere in Europe.
A year later I recieved a telegram that Jackson was reported MIA, followed two weeks later by a killed in action telegram.
I was devestated, and didn't know what to do. But I knew I could find comfort in God's arms, so that's where I ran.
What I didn't know that day my husband left, was that I would only see him a few times more, before he died. If anybody told me, I would've never let go. But we can't know these things. So we have to place our lives in God's hands, not ours. And if tragedy happens, we have to trust Him that things will turn out fine in the end. And I'm am still doing it today. The war has still not ended, but I trust God will bring us through.

Coming in at a third place is Jesseca Dawn! Your entry was amazing, Jesseca! It was the only one from the father's POV and also the only entry not written in first-person! Woo-hoo! :D 

Betty blinked away tears as they neared the station. Gil clutched her right hand, toddling as best he could after insisting on walking. 
Her left hand was tucked securely in Walter’s arm as he led the way up the boardwalk. 
Just a few more minutes. Then he is gone. The thought pierced her heart, and she no longer attempted to hold back the tears. This felt right. Her, Walter and Gil. A family. But in minutes they would be separated. And only the Lord knew if she would ever see him again. The war had taken many loved ones, and in her heart Betty knew it would claim many more before everything was over.
Walter squeezed her hand in an effort to comfort her. She only clutched him closer as they made their way toward the train. 
The station was filled with many other men in uniform. All ready to be shipped off to some place overseas. 
Walter stopped and turned her to face him, and everyone around them seemed to fade. She studied him, etching his face in her memory. The laugh lines around his eyes, his lips when he smiled, and those blue eyes that looked so much like David’s. 
“You know I’ll come back, Betty.” He reached up a hand and stroked her cheek. “I’ll do everything in my power to make it back to you.” 
Betty nodded. She knew he would. Yet, sometimes it wasn’t enough. War was no respecter of persons. She caressed his fingers, willing herself to believe he would come home. “The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is let you go.” Her words were hardly a whisper, and Walter had to lower his head to hear them. 
“God is with me, Betty. He’ll see me through.” 
Betty bit her lip. She knew it was true, but sometimes God didn’t see them through the war … instead He saw them through the pearly gates and into paradise. 
Leaving her alone. 
“Hey, Betty.” He tipped her chin. “The first thing I want to see when I come home is your smile. And you. You and Gil both. Thinking of you will help me work harder to make it through and come home to you. And then I’ll never leave.” His eyes bore into her, wearing the most serious look she had ever seen on his face. “I’ll never leave, Betty. You hear? We’ll build a life together. We’ll have our farm, raise our kids, and grow old together. And that’s a promise.”
Betty smiled through her tears. “It sounds wonderful. I love you, Walter.”
The train whistle sounded, and Walter grinned. “And I love you, Mrs. Sullivan.” He turned as if to leave, but then swiveled back around and pulled her to him, pressing a kiss onto her lips. For one breathless moment, all her worry seemed to melt away as his arms went around her. This is how it should be.
But all too soon he stepped back. “I’ve got to go, but I’ll come home soon.”
He turned and picked up Gil, who had been watching the exchange solemnly. “Now you watch over your mamma for me, ya hear?”
Gil smiled and nodded. “Don’t worry, daddy. I’ll keep her safe.”
A grin spread over Walter’s face. “That’s my boy. “
He set Gil in Betty’s arms. “Now, this is how I want to see you both when I come back. Standing here a-waiting for me.” 
With that, he turned and bounded up the steps to the train.
Walter shoved his way past the other men, and situated himself at a window seat. Leaning out, he saw Betty and Gil standing where he had left them. An ache filled his heart as he saw them there, alone in a sea of people. Had he done wrong marrying Betty before he shipped out? She had already lost one husband to the war, and through it had been nearly two years, he knew that in times like this, the pain was still fresh. 
He was putting her through this a second time, and that was more than any woman should have to bear. 
At that moment Gil spotted him, and reached his chubby hands toward the train. 
A smile stole across Walter’s face as he propped open the window. Betty stepped closer to the train, and Walter chuckled and pulled Gil close. “I’ll sure miss you, buddy.”
Gil didn’t reply, only landed a slobbery kiss on his face. “I love you, daddy.” 
“I love you, too, buddy.” He lowered Gil down to Betty, and once again was struck with how much Gil looked like his father. He had blond hair and blue eyes, the opposite of Betty’s darker hair and hazel eyes. 
Gilbert would have loved his son. The thought flitted across his mind. Walter had never been close to Gilbert, but because David and him had been best friends, he had gotten to know him like an older brother. 
Gil will know what his father was like, Walter vowed. He’ll grow up proud of the Wilson name.  
His gaze traveled to Betty.
Her eyes shone with determination. She knew the risk of losing someone, yet she still stood strong. God bring me back.  He blinked hard as the train moved away from the station, leaving the two he loved most in their world behind. Please bring me home, and back to Betty.

Our shortest (but nevertheless sweet!) entry comes in at fourth place with Raechel Lenore's story, Forever. :D Your writing is so beautiful, Raechel! I can feel the love between these three. <3 

I had to keep a smiling face for him. For them. Really, for all of us. I knew that if I didn't smile, I would cry. And I didn't like crying - before today, I never had much reason to cry. There was always so much to be happy about.
"Give Daddy one last kiss now, my lad," Jim's strong voice brought my thoughts back to reality - the crashing reality that I wished was not true. 
Our little boy, Timothy, swung his arms up around Jim's neck, clinging to him with the fierceness of a child. Jim clung right back.
The train would pull away at any moment. I held tight to Timothy's little legs as Jim gave him one last fatherly hug and kiss.
Then it was time for me to pull our boy back to safety. If only I could pull my Jim back to safety too. Forever. But a man must fight for his country - I understood that, but my heart yearned for something else.
"Goodbye, Leslie." Jim said my name so softly it was almost like an embrace. "Goodbye Jim. Be safe. I love you, darling."
Jim leaned far out his window and kissed me gently. A sweet goodbye kiss. I hope it wouldn't be the last. "I love you too, my dearest Leslie. My beloved. Forever."
At that the train pulled out. It was too soon. But I lifted a hand to my lips, blew him a kiss, and hugged Timothy close to me.
I smiled for him. "Goodbye, Jim. Come home soon," I whispered in my heart. And I know he felt the same. We were one, even when apart.
"I love you forever".

Coming in at a close fifth is Kaitlyn Krispense! Kaitlyn, I loved the way you used the POV of the father's friend, and then carried us away from the train station and clear to the battlefield. Bravo! :) 

  I watched with tears in my eyes as my best friend, Lucas, said goodbye to his family, leaning out the train window.  When Lucas received his son from the arms of his wife, Millie, and held him close for a long moment, I realized just how much family meant to him.  It was a scene I’ll never forget: the early morning sun bathed the platform with its golden light, illuminating dozens of wives, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends saying their goodbyes to men they might never see again.
  The train jolted and started to move. Lucas quickly handed his son back to Millie, and she blew him one last kiss.  Then she turned to me.  “You keep him safe for me, y’hear, Micah?”
  I nodded, swallowing around the lump in my throat.  “I promise, Millie.”  We waved, leaning far out the windows, until we went around a bend and they were out of sight.
  No one told me what I’d go through to keep Lucas safe; I never would’ve believed them if anyone had.


  Gunfire; cannon booms; the cries of wounded men.  War is terrifying.
  All of a sudden they were upon us: Germans, in their gray uniforms, surrounding us on all sides. 
  “Retreat!”  I heard my commander shout.  “Retreat!”
  Lucas and I backed up together, side by side, shooting our way backward until we were safely in the cover of trees.  Then we turned and ran like madmen.  Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lucas grab his shoulder and fall to the ground with a groan.
  I stopped short and turned around.  A mental image of Millie’s tear-streaked face at the train depot filled me with determination.  “You keep him safe for me, y’hear, Micah?”  Her voice came back to me, shaking with emotion.  I would keep Lucas safe, even if it was the last thing I did.
  I ran back to him and dropped to my knees.  “Can you walk with me?”  I asked anxiously.
  He nodded and rose to his knees.  I helped him to his feet, and together we slowly made our way back.  I was walking backwards, guarding us with my gun in my right hand, supporting Lucas with my left. 
  I kept a wary eye on the brush ahead of me, all the while walking backward, when the first kraut stepped into my line of vision.  I swung my gun around and fired once before he got a shot off at us.  The man spun around and fell to the grass.
  I still heard shooting and cannon fire, but it was somewhat muffled by the foliage around us.  Then, about five hundred feet in front of me, a German stepped out of cover with his gun raised.  Everything seemed to happen in slow motion; I shoved Lucas to the ground and stood between him and the kraut.  I raised my gun, but it was too late.
  I saw the German’s machine gun jerk with the force of its unloading bullets; I felt a searing pain in my shoulder, in my leg, my head.  I was falling, and I couldn’t do anything to stop myself. I hit the ground.  My vision was obscured because of the pain.  Then everything went black.


  Drip, drip, drip. Something was on my face.  Drip, drip, drip.  I opened one eye, only to receive a drop of the wetness in my eye.  I didn’t burn, so I knew it was water.  I opened the other eye, and received the same treatment.  I tried rolling my head to the side, but that just brought awful pain to my head.
  “Oh, you’re awake; here, let me take care of that.”  I heard a voice above me say, and the dripping suddenly stopped.  I opened my eyes to see none other than Lucas sitting next to me.
  I sat up suddenly, instantly regretting it; Lucas did too, what with the look he gave me.  “You do know that every time you move, you make your wounds bleed again, and every time your wounds bleed I have to change the bandages, and when I have to change the bandages I move and my wound bleeds again, which means-”
  “All right, I get the point!”  I said with as much of a chuckle as I could muster.  I settled back against the tree I had been leaning against.  Rolling my eyes upward, I saw that Lucas had draped his own jacket over a low-hanging branch to keep the trees from dripping their early-morning dew on me.
  “How long have I been out?”  I asked with difficulty; my wounds made my entire body ache like never before.
 “Just a few hours.  Right after that kraut shot you, I managed to get him.  Then God gave me enough strength to drag you over here.  The medics are going through this area; they’ll be here soon.”
  “I was supposed to take care of you; fine job I did.”  I mentally kicked myself.
  “Are these words coming from the same man that stood between me and a bloodthirsty German?  Micah, you took three bullets while protecting me.  That doesn’t sound like a bad job to me.”
  “But you’re the one that dragged me here while wounded.”  I could see the medics now through the trees.
  “That’s what friends are for, buddy; besides, I’m just returning the favor.” 


And there you have it, folks! Weren't these all some great stories?! :D Any thoughts on if I should have monthly or bi-monthly writing challenges? 

Hope y'all have a great week! :) 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Beautiful People ~ September

Hey everyone!! And welcome to the September 2016 edition of Beautiful People! :D 

First off, if I have been missing from any of you lovely people's comment box, please try to find it in your heart to forgive me. 11th grade is crashing in on me (literally. I'm like buried in a stack of nonsense. I don't even care what kind of fungi is mushrooms...) and blogging has taken a backseat. Actually, come to think of it, blogging is no longer even there (luggage rack, perhaps?). It's like front-seat: God, family, church, friends, school. Backseat: writing, reading, beta-ing (totally a word). Luggage wrack: blogging. 

*laughs at self* That didn't even make sense. XD 

SOOOOOO. *regains composure* For today's Beautiful People I'm going to do this with a character I've never before revealed on this blog. (Okay, that was a half truth. He's mentioned HERE in the one about character description.) 

Introducing... Joshua Trueheart, the amazing character from War Tears

So, um, yeah. In the picture the guy is obviously in the RAF. Joshua is not (he's in the US Army Air Force) buuuut. I really like the picture. :) 

>> How did you come up with this character?
*snickers* Oh, this question made me laugh. Have you ever had one of those characters that literally just created themselves? Like, you didn't want them, wasn't looking for another minor character, and then there they were? And they're just standing there smirking at you and say "– 

Hello everyone! Joshua breaking in here. Faith is getting about half of this wrong. (It's not her fault that she isn't all that smart. Bless her heart. <3) First off, I do NOT smirk and secondly I am NOT a minor character. Minor characters are like those people who barely get there name in there. I, on the other hand, am vital to the plot. 

*sigh* If you're going to talk at least tell how I came up with you. (I honestly regret it sometimes...) 

Okay... (We'll let that last remark slid for the sake of time. Don't think I didn't see.) So, Faith had had me in the story since the beginning, but I was one of those side characters (that's name barely got mentioned, ya know). And I got shot. That was it. The absolutely only part I had!! *bonks Faith on the head with a heavy book cuz she has plenty of heavy books lying around and she deserves a bonking* ..... Hey, you're right; talking 'in stars' is fun. 

I'm always right. B-) Now proceed with your explanation...filled with inaccuracies... 

*rolls eyes* But then. One dark, dark night as Faith was doing whatever it is girls do (I'm kidding. She was writing.) I came about. I just walked in, nice and casual-like, leaned against the wall, offered her my story, crossed my arms,...and waited. And that was all it took. She loved my story from the beginning. And here we are, like a year later, and she still hasn't finished this book. But I'll try to be patient and gentlemanly. *winks* 

Well, despite all the jokes poked at my lack of brainpower and obsession with big books,...he's pretty much got it. ;) 

>> Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast? 

Break the fast? Ha! Talk about corny dialogue. 

It's not dialogue. It's perfectly logical question. 

It's not dialogue? You JUST said it, aloud and under your breath. It's dialogue. 

Just answer the question. Have you ever been starving? 


Have you ever thought you were going to starve? 

Well it did cross my mind a couple times when ——————————————— *censored for spoilers*. 

Sorry you can tell about that. :P 

But SHE knows...

But SHE isn't the only one capable of reading this... B-)

Oh. Right. 

>> Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?
Well, personally, I don't think pride is a good thing. I am a wiz at math though if I do say so myself...and if that's considered a talent. *wink* 

You can do my math then. Shh, Mom will never know. XD 

>> List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.
1) People that goof-off during serious situations, especially when their foolish actions can put others in danger. I've seen this some overseas. Some guys just don't think about what effect their foolhardiness can have on other guys in the squadron. 

2) Men that don't treat their wives/girlfriends/mothers/sisters with the upmost respect, honor, and love. 

3) Somone who beats an animal. People, this is Biblical. I don't know the exact reference, but I could find it. *wink*

>> What is their favourite type of weather? Least favorite?
Summer is my favorite, with sunshine AND swell thunderstorms. Least favorite would be rain...unless it's a thunderstorm, obviously. 

>> What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality? 
I have no idea what 'Hogwarts house' even means... But Joshua's personality type is ESFJ...nearlythe  opposite of me. ;) Here's a pretty good description

Wait, my what? 

Your personality. Pretty sure this wasn't a thing in the '40's...sorry. XD

>> Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?
Neither. ;P Joshua is a really laidback guy. But if we have to pick one... 

...then it would be worrying about present problems. But, Faith's right (rare occurrence), I don't worry much. 

>> What is their favourite thing to drink?
Ahhh. This one is great. Lemonade! You wasn't expecting that, huh? Haven't had any in months (haven't you heard, there's a war on?!) so coffee has become my favorite. (We'll just blame that one on David. Because Faith seems to think he's perfect.) 

I do not think that.  


>> What is their favourite color? Least favorite?
Favorite color? Anything but this drab and olive-y stuff the Army has got us in. I look so much better in blue. 

*snickers* I wouldn't say that. You and David look nice in dress uniform. 

*rolls eyes* 

>> What is a book that changed their life?
The Bible. The answer is simple. :) 

Alrighty, hope y'all enjoyed that rather-lengthy chat with Joshua. :D   Also! Before I (we!) sign off, I want to pass along an invitation to you all. :D 

This starts Monday!! :D So looking forward to it! 


I know, I know... You want got Imagine This entries? They're coming Sunday... Or Monday... Promise. :) 

~ Faith 

~Joshua Trueheart, swellest character ever 

Swellest? *eyeroll* 

Friday, September 16, 2016

POW/MIA Recognition Day

Hey guys! :) 

Sorry – this post is going up at a weird time. I should have written it ahead of time (like last week would've been nice), but yesterday it just didn't happen among school, a funeral, fall decorations, and When Calls the Heart (first time ever, folks, and I love it). But without further ado, let's jump right in. ^_^ 

  Do you know what today is? If you read the title of this post, you probably have a pretty good guess. 

  Up until this past spring, this day – the third Friday of September – wasn't anything special in my mind. But then I came across the story I'm about to share with you,...another story (which I'll mention and link to)...and an article in our local newspaper. 

  Today is POW/MIA recognition day, the day we fly the POW/MIA flag (I mean, someone does. I don't have personally own one. XP). The one day a year set aside to remember those prisoners of war and missing in action soldier who never came back to American soil. 

  This spring, while in a WWII-mood (when am I not?) I was reading Faith Under Fire by Stephen Rabey. And I came across a story about a man named Newt Heisley. Mr. Heisley, a WWII vet, designed the POW/MIA flag in the early ‘70s. 

  In 1971, while the Vietnam War was still being fought, Mary Helen Hoff, the wife of a service member missing in action and member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for a symbol of U.S. POW/MIAs, some of whom had been held captivity for as many as seven years. The flag is black, and bears in the center, in black and white, the emblem of the league. The emblem was designed by Newt Heisley, and features a white disk bearing in black silhouette the bust of a man (Jeffery Heisley, Newt Heisley’s son, a returning Vietnam veteran), watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire; above the disk are the white letters POW and MIA framing a white 5-pointed star; below the disk is a black and white wreath above the white motto: "You are not Forgotten." The POW/MIA was flown over the White House for the first time in September 1982. 
>> Borrowed from Wikipedia.

  The second source I came across earlier this year, Finally Home by Deborah Raney, tells the story of a returning, injured Vietnam veteran. It was in this that I first learned about the bracelets. (Seriously, those elementary/middle grade history books overlooked so much.) 

  These metal bracelets worn by anyone who so wished too, starting during the Vietnam war. A name was engraved into it, a name of a soldier who was missing or prisoner of war. The person wearing the bracelet was not to take it off their wrist until the soldier, most likely a complete stranger to them, was found. The metal band served as a visual reminder of those left behind. Some people wore those bracelets for over twenty years. 

  Lastly, there was an article in our local newspaper a few months back about Vietnam vets. Did you know there are still many men who fought in the Vietnam war and aren't accounted for even now? Their families don't know for certain if they are dead, POW, or MIA. That is so sad! They fought for our country. They deserve better. They deserve to be remembered and honored. 


  Remember our POWs and MIA soldiers today and always. Both those who eventually came home and those who didn't. Pray for them and their families. 

In Christ, 

P.S. The seventh Imagine This challenge was scheduled to end today, but I have decided to leave it open through the weekend. :) So if you would still like to enter you have through Monday night! 

**All photos borrowed from Pinterest. 
**This is a ‘double post’ which is going up here and at Chosen Vessels

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15th Anniversary of 9/11.

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, the first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. Join my in praying for our country on this day. That we remember where we came from, Who we owe everything too, and that we'll turn back to our Savior. 


Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Lady of the Vineyard ~ Blog Tour & Book Review

Hello, everyone! And welcome to one of the first stops on Miss Kellyn Roth's blog tour for her new (and absolutely darling!) novella, The Lady of the Vineyard. :) Let's jump right in! 

Judy has lived with her egocentric mother since her parents divorced when she was a baby. When her father, Troy Kee, shows up at her sixth birthday party and whisks her away to his vineyard in France, Judy is more than happy to go with him. But Adele, Judy’s mother, isn’t quite ready to give up her daughter. Can Judy forgive Adele? More importantly, can Troy? 

Excerpt (Chapter One):
        A little girl, perhaps five or six years old, perched on a low bench sporting rose-printed cushions which sat before a tall window overlooking the London street below. She gazed absently at a lonely moth fluttering against the lamppost.
It was past ten o’clock. She’d promised her mother to be in bed by nine. However, she was not the kind of daughter who trusted her mother, light-headed as she could be, to arrive home safely after a date with her fiancé, Henry Acton.
        Judy Collier, short and delicate with sky blue eyes, red-tinged blonde hair, and a turned-up nose, was dressed in her pink pajamas and bunny slippers. These stared up at her as if wondering why they hadn’t been shoved under their mistress’s bed long ago.
The clock ticked the minutes away angrily. It chimed the half-hour with much ado, urging her to hurry to her room and rest her head upon the pillow.
        Time passed. Fifteen to eleven.
        She rubbed her eyes and adjusted her dolly’s gown. Marilou, a gift from Granny, was almost as big as Judy herself. She had blonde ringlets and blue eyes that clicked shut. The doll was outfitted in a dress that Judy’s mother had sewn in the style of a low-cut, sparkly evening gown just to spite Granny. But Judy was very proud of Marilou, despite the fact that Granny claimed she looked cheap.
        As the clock struck eleven, a taxicab disengaged itself from the regular flow of traffic and stopped in front of the apartment house, its shiny black paint glowing in the streetlight. Out stepped a short, broad-shouldered man. He turned and offered his hand to the other occupant of the back seat. She took it and stepped out.
Adele Collier was a dark-haired woman in a gaudy dress of sheer turquoise metallic lame, a glittering, almost iridescent fabric, set here and there with glass beads. Standing at about five foot one, even her fiancé dwarfed her in size. She possessed flashing, obsidian-like eyes and self-curled hair of a slightly lighter hue.
        Judy leapt off the sofa and raced around piles of dishes, books, papers, and other arbitrary items that lay about the living room. She hurried past the kitchen door, down the hall, and into her little bedroom across from her mother’s, Marilou bumpity-bumping behind her all the way.
        In her bedroom, she carefully closed the door and weaved between various toys and clothes until she got to her bed. She heaved Marilou up onto it first, then rolled in herself. In a minute, they were both carefully tucked in, Judy’s eyes shut, the peaceful look of an innocent baby angel on her rosy face.
        Adele unlocked and opened the door to her apartment.
        “Can you come in for a minute … have a cup of coffee, maybe, Hal?” she asked her fiancé.
        “I’d love to, but it’s dreadfully late, isn’t it?” he asked.
        “Just after eleven,” Adele replied, examining a diamond-set wristwatch, her fiancé’s most recent gift to her.
        “No … I guess I’d better not,” Henry Acton decided resolutely. “I’ve a busy day tomorrow. You have, too.”
        “True,” Adele said, yawning.
        “Night, love,” he murmured, bending down to give her a kiss.
        “Night!” she called as he turned and walked down the hall. She watched him go, then closed the door, and kicked off her high-heeled shoes. They flew across the room and banged into a wall. Taking off her hat and coat, she walked slowly to her room.
        I’m so happy, Adele thought as she began removing makeup and clothing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy since I was a kid, before all this stuff happened to me. And I’m doing the right thing if it makes me happy. I wouldn’t be happy if I were doing the wrong thing … right?
        She shook her head to rid herself of her dismal thoughts. She was happy, and nothing else mattered. Nothing else had ever mattered, and she had been an idiot to try to make anything but her own happiness a priority.
        Of course, I’ve got Judy to think about, Adele admitted reluctantly. She didn’t really like to think of herself as a mother. Or as twenty-nine, for that matter. Twenty-nine wasn’t exactly old, but it was almost thirty, and thirty required a certain level of maturity that she wasn’t quite willing to adopt.
        She resolutely forced her lips to smile. They weren’t very fine lips, but a bit of rouge fixed that problem quite well. She thought this fault was compensated for, though, by her skin, which was naturally tanned. She would be eternally thankful to her great-grandmother for marrying that rich Italian.
        She lay down on her bed, pulled the covers over her head, and almost immediately fell asleep.

Sounds intriguing, huh? 


4.5 stars 

Such a whimsically beautiful and heartwarming story! If you're a lover of historical novellas or 1930s European settings, this is one you won't want to miss. :D 

I read this book in an afternoon and I really enjoyed reading Judy and her parents' story. :) The characters were so great! 

Judy was a sweet, precious child. I adored her and Troy's relationship (and their first meeting!). 
Troy was a nice guy, probably my favorite character, and I loved the way he stood up to Adele. 
Adele was the annoying character of the story, but at the same time you kind of had to like her. I, personally, was able to relate to her habits concerning, um, clutter. (Though my mother may consider killing me if I was THAT bad.) :P

For such a young author, Miss Roth's writing is superb. I found no cliches or cringeworthy sentences. And if there were any grammatical errors (I don't think there was any, but I could've missed it/them.) they were minimal. 

The one downfall I found in the novella was the lack of biblical content. The book isn't listed as Christian fiction, so I would've been fine with just a clean, historical fiction, except for one thing. There's one mention of Joseph and the Bible at which time we're told Judy does not understand what her father is telling her. So...why isn't it explaining these things to his daughter? Telling her Bible stories? 

All in all, this was a sweet, historical novella with a dash of romance. I enjoyed it immensely. ^_^ 

**I received a free e-ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

Author Bio:
Kellyn Roth lives with her parents, two little brothers, incredibly needy cat, and faithful border collie Gidget on a ranch in the country. She's a Christian, country girl, and professional skydiver (yes, we are playing two truths and a lie here). Ever since she could talk, she had a fascination with words, always making up songs and poems. Now a homeschooled highschooler, she spends her spare time (away from the real world) writing novels when she’s not procrastinating or blogging (which is just a higher form of procrastination) at

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday (the 8th):
Lana (The Music of Words) ~ author and character interview
Faith Potts (Stories by Firefly) ~ review, book spotlight
Aardvark Magazine (Aardvark) ~ author interview, book spotlight
Friday (the 9th):
Jesseca Wheaton (Whimsical Writings) ~ review, book spotlight
April McLauren (Liv Dreams) ~  author and character interview, book spotlight
Alyssa (Writing Anyone) ~ review
Saturday (the 10th):
Lily (Living By Chapters) ~ review, author and character interview
Grace (The Girl Upstairs) ~ author interview, book spotlight
Selene Silver (Hearth) ~ review, character interview, book spotlight
Katrina (Katrina Creative) ~ author and character interview
Kate (Wandering in Bookland) ~ review, author interview
Sunday (the 11th):
Angela R. Watts (The Peculiar Messenger) ~ review, author interview
J.C. Buchanan (Beyond the Amethyst) ~ review
Daisy Ferrell (Happy Days with Anonymous A) ~ character interview
Monday (the 12th):
Morgan Dusky (Studies in Character) ~ author/character interview
Willowy Whisper ( ~ book spotlight
Kate Willis (Once Upon an Ordinary) ~ author interview