Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Solid Rock Blog Tour // Excerpt and Author Interview

TSR Release Banner FB and Blog 

I am excited to be part of this blog tour for a new Christian Western! Faith Blum joins us today to talk about her new release, The Solid Rock. It is about a talented detective with a mission to find his kidnapped colleague who finds himself working undercover with a heinous outlaw who has more plans than first meet the eye. 

Author Interview


How long have you been writing? 
Since I could spell. ;) I’ve been somewhat seriously writing since I was in in high school, so probably about 10-12 years.

What's your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process? Least favorite? 
My favorite part of the process is probably writing the first draft. Even when it’s hard to write, I enjoy coming up with the plots, letting the characters take over, or simply researching something they will be doing.
My least favorite part is usually editing, but I tend to enjoy that mostly, too.

Do you write by hand or on a computer? Why? 
Yes. I do a bit of both. For my first draft, I have recently gone back to writing by hand most of the time. There are some projects, though, that I write on the computer instead. It really depends on if I’m in a handwriting mood or a computer writing mood when I start the book/story. I really like writing by hand because when I type the story up on the computer, it gives me a more thorough way to edit since I really do have to read every word of every sentence.

Which of your published books is most special to you and why? (I know, terrible question. :P
Yes, that is a terrible question! It’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite kid. That being said, I think I would have to say The Solid Rock and not just because it’s the one I just finished. First, it was the easiest novel to write the first draft of. I wrote all 60,000(ish) words by hand in just 32 days. Second, I branched out into a slightly different genre as I tackled a mystery. And third, some of the elements of the story really helped me through a tough time as I edited the story after letting it sit for a couple of months.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Faith! 

Thank you!!  This book sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it. ;) 

About the Book

3D The Solid Rock
Joshua woke with a quiet groan. As his senses woke up one at a time, he cracked his eyelids open. Sure enough, there was a silhouetted form standing at the foot of the bed. From the smell, the person was either from the brothel down the street or had recently left one. He forced himself to breathe evenly and reached for the knife in his thigh holster. With as tough and evil a voice as he could imitate, he spoke, “State your intentions.” 
 Pinkerton detective, Joshua Brookings, is sent on a job that seems simple on the surface. His fellow detective has been kidnapped and his boss, William Pinkerton senses foul play. Joshua is sent to investigate Edward's case in hopes of finding the kidnapped detective and helping solve the case that has taken over ten years to investigate. Arriving in Cheyenne, Joshua finds much more than a simple kidnapping. Yet again, he must go undercover, something he made his boss promise never to make him do again. The only Christian in the outlaw group, Joshua falters and almost loses faith in God’s providence. Will he stand on the solid Rock or drown in the sinking sand?

buy-button-amazon 
You can also preorder a paperback copy here for $14.00 plus shipping.

Excerpt



Four days later, Joshua and Poseidon left the train to ride the rest of the way to Cheyenne. He took a deep breath and marveled at how different it was from Chicago. He could hardly believe his brother-in-law, Micah, had lived that city for so long. It was so hard to breathe.
He mounted his horse and started off in a gentle canter.
“Heavenly Father.” Joshua paused and sighed. “You know how heavy my heart is right now. Protect Mr. Harris and give Elizabeth peace. I can’t imagine what it’s like for either of them right now.
“You are awesome in power, unchangeable, immutable, always present, all-knowing, all-powerful, You are the only True God. Despite my heavy heart and how my mind is racing ahead of me to figure this mystery out, I can’t help but praise You.”
Poseidon snorted and Joshua patted him. “Sorry, Boy. I’m talking too much again, aren’t I? Now, where was I? Oh, yes, praising my Savior.”
Poseidon shook his head and fought the bit. “You wanna run?” Joshua laughed and looked around. 
There was nothing for miles, not even a hill. “All right, let’s go.”
He dug his heels into Poseidon’s sides as he urged the horse into a gallop. Yeehaw!” Joshua yelled as he grabbed his hat before the wind stole it. He closed his eyes and relished the whip of the wind brushing his face and blowing through his almost too long hair.
The smile on his face couldn’t have been wiped off even if he had wanted it gone. The exhilaration and intense joy he felt was something that could only be found when galloping on a horse in the summer winds.
Joshua watched the flat farmland whiz past him, the only things marring the wheat and corn fields being the scarecrows sticking their ugly heads over the waving crops. Joshua laughed as Poseidon splashed through a stream, soaking them both.
“Thank you, Poseidon, I needed to be cooled down.”
Joshua slowed his horse down. “Nice run, Boy. I think we both needed that. I’m glad the trains didn’t connect so we could ride.”
He rode on a few more hours in silence, listening to nature, meditating on God’s Word and mulling verses around in his head, praising God, praying, and making his way one step at a time closer to Cheyenne.

Giveaway


TSR Release Giveaway Meme

Faith is giving away a full set of paperback books! Fill out this form to earn entries to the giveaway. Each entry gives you one point, plus there are opportunities for bonus entries.

AMF Availability
If you haven't read any of my books and would like to try one for free, I am working on getting A Mighty Fortress available for free on all formats. It is currently free on Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. If you also wouldn't mind helping me get it free on Amazon, I would appreciate that. To help, all you have to do is grab 1, 2, or 3 of the links where it is free and go to AMF's Amazon page, click on "tell us about a lower price" and submit a link or three. Thank you! 

Facebook Party

TSR Release Party Banner FB
To celebrate her release, Faith is holding a Facebook party on March 31st from 2-4 Central time. You can join her and 3 other authors here. There will be fun, games, giveaways, excerpts, and more. Some of the giveaways will stay open through Friday evening, April 1st. Fun fact: the other three authors are all homeschool moms. 

About the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped
Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. Now that she's grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn't stop her from trying. When she isn't writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, writing, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin. 

Writing Dreams-Excerpt and Spotlight
Tee Garner-Excerpt, Spotlight, Interview

George's Shorts-Spotlight, Review
Karan Eleni-Excerpt, Spotlight, Review
BlondeRJ-Excerpt
Zerina Blossom's Books-Excerpt, Spotlight

In the Bookcase-Excerpt, Review
Kelsey's Notebook-Review, Interview
With a Joyful Noise-Excerpt, Spotlight
Melanie D. Snitker, Author-Excerpt, Spotlight
Wildflower Acres-Spotlight

Jaye L. Knight-Excerpt, Spotlight
Stories by Firefly-Excerpt, Spotlight, Interview 
Chess Desalls-Excerpt
Kendra’s Thoughts-Excerpt, Interview
Frances Hoelsma-Excerpt, Spotlight

David Todd-Interview
Reading in June-Excerpt, Spotlight
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt, Spotlight
Trust and Obey-Guest Post, Spotlight

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Tour Wrap-up, giveaway announcement



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bookshelf Tour!! ~Catch-up & C~

Okay, folks. If you've been following my blog since January, then you might remember The Post In Which I Said I Was Temporarily Discontinuing The Bookshelf Tour. But that has changed. B-) If I can sort through those boxes of books to pull out stuff for book tags, I can do this. Besides, I was really enjoying the bookshelf tour and I hope y'all were as well. :) 

If you missed any of the previous posts, here's the links. :) 

First off we have some catching-up to do. :) I've got some 'A' and 'B' books since I did those posts, so I'll give those books to you now. ;) Because y'all really want to see them...right? *doesn't accept no for an accurate answer* 

Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee -- You can read my review for this book HERE
The Good Fight: How World War II was Won by Stephen Ambrose -- I read this book for school, and to be a 'children's book' it is really informational and I love it. :) 
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi -- I won this book in the Love is in the Heart writing contest and I'm enjoying it very much. :) 


The Westward Christmas Brides Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett, Vickie McDonough, Olivia Newport, Janet Spaeth, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, & MaryLu Tyndall.  
America at War by Stewart Binns and Adrian Wood -- from the Barnes & Noble sale rack. :P 
G.I. Joe and Lillie by Joseph S. Bonsall -- You can see my review of this super amazing book HERE. ;) 

And, lastly, my Time-Life World War II books by Ronald H. Bailey. I love these books sooo much. I haven't read them all cover-to-cover, but they're so great for research. 
The Home Front -- I got this one last summer, but it somehow got excluded from the tour. :-/ 
The Air War over Europe
Prisoners of War 
The Resistance 


Okidoke. Now on to the C books!! :D 

~C~ 

A Life of Faith: Kathleen Mckenzie by Tracy Leininger Craven
Kathleen's Shaken Dreams
Kathleen's Unforgettable Winter
Kalthleen's Abiding Hope
Kathleen's Enduring Faith


United We Stand by Colleen L. Reece, Joan Croston, Jane LaMunyon, & Darlene Mindrup 
Aircraft of World War II by Chris Chant -- I really thought this dude's last name was Grant. Oops. xD
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman 
A Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection by Amy Clipston


Interrupted by Rachel Coker -- As you may guess by the bookmark sticking out the top, I'm rereading this one. ;) (My original review can be found HERE.) 
Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker 
The Christmas Star by Ace Collins 


Favorite book(s): Interrupted!! 
Books I haven't read: Westward Christmas Brides collection, the Time-Life books, The Christmas Star, Chasing Jupiter, United We Stand, Aircraft of World War II, and A Kaufman Amish Christmas  
Book I've had the longest: The Kathleen series 
Books in this post: 21
Books thus far in the tour: 126


And that concludes this 'chapter' of the tour! I'll have the next one up next week if not before! :D
Thanks for reading, guys! 
~Faith 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Adversities // Short Story

Hey everyone! Here's a short Easter story for you all! :) By the time y'all are reading this it's probably not even Easter anymore, but that's okay. I ran across this just now and remberred that this is what I was going to post for Easter on this blog! :P So yeah. Anyway. This was my entry for the 2015-2016 Circle C short-story contest. :) I hope you enjoy! 



Easter Adversities 

~ April, 1878 ~

 Ten year-old Andi Carter scampered into the dining room. "Good morning, everyone!" She greeted cheerfully. She hugged and kissed her mother and then continued around the table with a kiss for each of her brothers. 
 "My goodness, you're in a good mood this morning," Chad teased, sending a wink her way. 
 "Don't you know what today is?" Andi plopped into her chair between Justin and Melinda's empty seat. 
 "Monday?" Chad guessed. 
 Andi sighed. "Of course, it's Monday, but that's not what I meant." 
 Before Andi could explain, Melinda swished into the room. "I'm sorry, I'm late, Mother." 
 "Perfect Melinda, late for meal time?" Andi taunted with an innocent smile. 
 Mitch nearly choked on his eggs. Chad snickered. Justin hid a grin behind his cup of coffee. 
 Unlike the boys, Mother did not find it comical. "Andrea, please apologize to your sister." 
 Her smile quickly erasing, Andi nodded. "Yes, ma'am. Sorry, Linda, I didn't mean anything by it." 
 "Don't worry about it," Melinda smiled. "I'm too excited to be mad at you today," she added quietly. 
 “Well?” Chad prodded. “You were about to tell us what's so special about today.” 
 “Today is six days until Easter,” Andi answered matter-of-factly. 
 Chad scratched his head. “So? Is today a holiday or something?” 
 Glaring across the table at her older brother, Andi nearly dropped her fork of scrambled eggs. “Didn't you hear me? Next Sunday is Easter!” 
 “Don't raise your voice, Andrea,” Mother reprimanded. 
 “Yes, ma'am,” she quickly apologized. “It's just that I'm so excited!” 
 “And you still haven't told us why.” Chad's elbows rested on the table, waiting impatiently. 
 “Well…” Andi glanced from her brothers to her sister and back to her mother. “Melinda and I have an idea to present to you, Mother.” 
 Elizabeth smiled. “And what is that?” 
 Andi folded her hands politely in her lap and prepared herself to bring up every good point she could think of to convince her mother that her idea was grand. “We would like to do something special for Easter this year.” 
 “We always do something special for Easter, honey,” Justin spoke up from the opposite end of the table. 
 “I know,” Andi bit her lip. “But we haven't had the same celebrations we had when Father was alive.” 
 Her last words caught everyone's attention and a somber mood passed over the breakfast table. 
 Finally, Mother nodded. “You're right, dear.” She glanced down the table to each of her children to be sure everyone was of the same mind. “We would love to hear your idea.” 
 “I want to have a party. We could have lots of good food and music. Melinda and I can decorate the house, the barn and all the other buildings. I'll invite friends from town and… Oh, Mother, it would be so wonderful! Please, say yes.” 
 “Please?” Melinda chimed in. “A party would be such fun.” 
 “It sounds like a lovely idea, girls,” Mother praised them. “What do you say we start making plans when you two return from school this evening?” 
 “You mean we can do it?” Andi exclaimed. 
 “May do it,” Mother corrected. “And yes, you may.” 
 “Yippee!” Andi bounced up and down in her chair, but instantly stilled when she noticed her mother’s disapproving look. “I’m sorry, Mother.” 
 Justin stood from his seat and strode down the length of the table. “If you two are riding into town with me, you’d better be ready in five minutes.” 
 Andi nodded. “Melinda, will you please get my books when you fetch yours?” 
 “I guess so. But why?” Melinda quickly resumed eating her breakfast. 
 “Because I need to go tell Diego my plan. He can help us with decorating everything outside!” Andi sprang from her chair and was clear to the foyer before anyone could think of stopping her. 
 “Andrea!” Mother called. “You didn't finish your breakfast.” 
 “I'm too excited!” Andi tossed over her shoulder on her way out the door. This was going to be the best Easter celebration the Carter family ever had. 

********

 Andi bounded off the porch and scampered across the barnyard, enjoying the bright sunshine of a spring morning. She was nearly giddy with excitement. The Easter party was going to be so fun! 
 She swung open the barn door and hurried into the dark, damp interior. “Diego! Are you in here?” 
 “I am back here, señorita!” The long-time ranch hand replied. 
 She skipped through the barn, breathing in the rich smells of hay and horses. 
 Diego appeared from the tack room, broken bridle in hand. “Can I help you, Señorita Andrea?” 
 Andi nodded eagerly. “Mother has agreed to my idea for an Easter party! Isn't it wonderful? She says we can start making plans after school!” 
 Diego chuckled under his breath and set aside the bridle. The young girl’s sparkling eyes, exuberant personality, and high level of energy amused him. “I'll do whatever I can.” 
 “Thank you,” she smiled and followed him towards one of the occupied stalls. “Are you hitching up the buggy for us?” 
 “Si,” he nodded. 
 “Can I help you?” 
 Diego shook his head. “Probably shouldn't do that, señorita. Señora Carter would not like to see your school clothes dirtied.” 
 Andi's shoulders slumped. “I guess you're right.” She leaned back against the barn wall, but quickly straightened hoping the rough boards hadn't pricked the fabric of her school dress. 
 A door was heard creaking open at the opposite end of the barn. Expecting Justin, both Andi and Diego turned in that direction. 
 Two men, dressed in the attire of down-on-their-luck cowboys, entered the barn. Andi's forehead wrinkled. What did these men want? And what nerve they had waltzing in like they owned the place! 
 As they hurried towards Andi and Diego, the two men were speaking among themselves. When they reached them and she could clearly see their faces, Andi froze. These two weren't here to ask about ranch work. 
 “Can I help you?” Diego stepped out of the stall to stand next to Andi. 
 “You sure can.” The man closest to them drew a pistol from the holster hanging about his waist. The other man, slightly shorter than his partner, grabbed Andi by the arm. 
 “Let go of me!” she screamed and kicked his shins. The man swore under his breath and snagged her around the waist, swinging her up under one arm. 
 Andi was too consumed in her own battle for freedom to pay much attention to the other man shoving Diego into the tack room. 
 The man soon returned and stopped in front of Andi. “What's your name, girl?” 
 “I won't tell you,” she replied defiantly. 
 “Fine. I don't care what your name is,” he scoffed. “Do you live here?” 
 Why does that matter? Andi wondered, but refused to voice the question. 
 “Of course, she lives here,” the man holding her grumbled. “Duke said this here family had two purty daughters.” 
 Andi looked away from the other man and bit down on the hand that held her. Hard. 
 “Yeow!” he yelped, but didn't let her go. 
 “Be careful with her, Finian!” The other man growled. 
 “Be careful?!” The one called Finian exclaimed. “Dexter, did you see what this little filly did to me?” 
 Dexter rolled his eyes at the teeth marks on his partner’s hand and arm. “Quit your whining and bring her along.” 
 Bring her along? A shiver raced down Andi's spine as she realized the evil intent of these two. “Where are you taking me?” she demanded, thought neither of the men answered her. 
 “And make her shut up!” Dexter hissed. 

********

 Walking across the yard a few minutes later, Justin was surprised to not find the buggy hitched up and Andi waiting nearby. 
 Entering the barn, he was further alarmed to find neither Andi or Diego. That's strange. He hastened his pace, through the barn towards the tack room in the back. “Andi! Diego?” 
 Justin was about to turn and go back outside, thinking maybe he'd somehow missed them, when a scuffling noise caused him to pause and listen. What was that? 
 The faint racket continued, accompanied by what seemed to be a muffled scream. Unlatching the tack room door and hurrying inside, Justin found Diego – bound, gagged and wrapped with a length of rope around the post which supported the high ceiling. 
 “Diego!” Justin ran to loosen him and remove the gag. “What happened?” 
 “They took her, Señor!” he exclaimed. “They took Miss Andrea!” 
 Justin's heart stopped. “Who, Diego? What are you talking about?” 
 The older man’s wide eyes, jerking hand motions, and flustered Spanish revealed he was frantic. 
 Justin tried to convince him to calm down without success. Slowly, bit by bit, he put the pieces of the story together and came up with the following. Two men had snuck into the barn, kidnapped Andi, and tied up Diego. 
 “Did they say anything to you as to why they were taking her?” Justin asked. “Anything at all?” 
 Diego shook his head. “No, señor. They say nothing to me.” 
 “Come on,” Justin called as he ran out of the room. They'd just reached the house when Elizabeth came out the front door waving a slip of paper. 
 “Justin!” 
 He quickly met her. “Mother, what's wrong?” 
 “Luisa found this stuck in the kitchen door.” She handed him the paper. “It's a ransom note. Where's Andrea?” 
 Justin and Diego exchanged a worried glance. 
 “Oh, no…” Elizabeth's hand flew up to cover her mouth and she sank into a nearby wicker chair. 
 “Don't worry, Mother,” Justin said. “We’ll find her.” 

********

 An hour later found the Carter brothers rushing into the sheriff’s office. After relaying all that had transpired that morning, Justin, Chad, Mitch, the sheriff, and a few deputies that could be spared from their duties in town, left in search of Andi. 
 They rode back to the ranch and, after searching for only a short amount of time, discovered the kidnappers’ trail. They’d left a rather obvious trail and it was soon concluded that these two outlaws were either stupid or were planning an ambush of some sort. 
 After following the trail for several hours, they came across a dilapidated, old shack. Two horses were tethered to a tree out behind. 
 The group left their own horses down the trail a short ways and crept up through the brush. 
 “You in the shack!” Sheriff Tate called. 
 No response came. He tried again. This time a gun barrel appeared through a window opening. “What do ya what?” 
 “We want the girl!” 
 “I left ya a note about that! Can't ya read?” 
 They went back and forth for half an hour without getting anywhere. Sheriff Tate returned to the brush to talk it out with the Carter brothers. 
 “If we could just get Andi out of there,” Justin thought aloud. 
 Chad looked up. “I could go.” 
 “Go where?” 
 “I could slip in behind them and get Andi out of there. I'm certain I saw a back door.” 
 Sheriff Tate shook his head. “I can't let you do that.” 
 Chad glanced around their woody seclusion. “I've got a plan.” 
 “Well, let's hear it.” 
 After Chad's plan had been explained, thought over, and worked through by the group, they put it into action. 

********

 Sitting in the corner of the dark, battered shack, Andi prayed for all she was worth. She could hear Dexter and Finian arguing with Sheriff Tate and Justin, and she prayed that God would keep them all safe and get her out of there soon. 
 Over an hour later, she was startled by a familiar voice coming from the opposite side of the shack wall.
 “Psst! Andi!”  
 “Chad?” Her voice quavered. 
 “Yeah. Are you alright? Have they hurt you?” 
 “No, I'm fine.” 
 “Good. Now listen. I'm going to come in the back door. When I tell you to, you get out of there and run down the hill to where Justin, Mitch and the sheriff are waiting, alright?” 
 “O–okay.” Andi consented, terrified of the unknown that lay ahead of them. 
 “No matter what you hear, you don't stop.” 
 “I won’t,” she assured him, her voice stronger this time. “And Chad?” 
 “Yeah?” 
 "Please be careful,” she whispered. 
 "Don't worry about me. Just be ready and watching for my move.” 
 Andi agreed and Chad slipped away. Turning back around, she gasped to find Dexter standing over her. 
 He grinned and, grabbing her by the arm, roughly drug her across the dirt floor to his partner. “There's somebody outside. Hold the girl.” 
 Finian held Andi in his right arm and kept his vigil, watching out the window. 
 Dexter slipped over to stand in the corner next to the door, pistol in hand. 
 Andi's heart beat faster and faster. Chad would be coming in that door any minute! She struggled against Finian. “Chad, look out!” 
 But her warning came too late. And the events of the next few seconds would be forever etched in Andi's memory. 
 Chad shoved open the door, rifle trained on Finian. “Hold it right there!” 
 Hearing the voice of an intruder, Finian whirled around with the shotgun; throwing Andi aside in the process. Without noticing Dexter lurking in the shadows, Finian fired both barrels of the shotgun in Chad's direction. 
 Both Chad and Dexter crumpled to the ground. 

********

 As was the plan, Mitch snuck along the woodline opposite the shack from Chad. Once in place, he waited and prayed. 
 Seconds after watching Chad enter the run-down building, a deafening roar pierced the nervous silence. He thought it was two, separate gunshots, but they were so close together one could hardly tell. Mitch was certain that neither of them had came from Chad's rifle. Sounded like a shotgun… 
 Mitch tried to stay optimistic as he kept a close eye on the front door. Andi running out would be his signal to go in. But she never appeared. 
 Something is wrong. Their plan having, most likely, gone wrong, Mitch made a decision on his own. Without relaying his intentions to Justin and the sheriff, he slid down the muddy embankment and approached the open doorway. Bursting through the back door, he blinked as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. 
 “Hold it!” Mitch pointed his revolver at Finian, who was in an apparent state of shock over what he’d done, and glanced around. He spotted Andi and started towards her until he took notice of the two bodies lying in the floor in a pool of blood. Dread coursed through him. “Dear, God…” he swallowed hard and looked back to his sister, huddled in the dark corner and refusing to meet his gaze. “Justin! Get in here!” 
 With the gun held on Finian, Mitch was at a disadvantage. That being, he couldn't take his eyes off the man long enough to check his brother for a pulse. 
 He studied the girl in the corner. “Andi?” 
 She wouldn't answer. 
 Justin, Sheriff Tate, and a handful of deputies kicked the front door down and barged into the shack. 
 Quickly realizing what had taken place, the deputies took Finian into custody. Mitch holstered his gun and dropped next to Chad. Sheriff Tate and Justin joined him. 

********

 From where Andi was, she couldn't see what Mitch, Justin and Sheriff Tate were doing. They were kneeling next to Chad and Dexter with their backs to her and blocking her view of the two limp bodies. 
 Andi wanted to stand and walk over to them, but she couldn't. She was frozen there, almost as if in a trance. 
 Mitch walked over and knelt next to her. “Andi? Are you alright?” 
 She slowly turned towards his caring gaze. “Oh, Mitch!” she sobbed. “It was just awful!” 
 He pulled her into his arms and held her as she cried. “Shh, it's going to be alright.” 

********

 The events of the next couple hours went by in a blur for Andi. Chad was loaded into a wagon to return to the ranch, one of the deputies riding on ahead to summon the doctor. The two kidnappers, one dead and one alive, were taken back to Fresno by the remaining deputies, while Sheriff Tate remained to insure that all four Carters made it home safely. 
 Once back at the house, Andi saw her mother briefly before she left to be with Chad and the doctor. Melinda insisted that Andi needed a bath after her escapade, and then continued to insure she did a thorough job. 
 The doctor was still there when Andi was sent to bed, much against her will and to her great dismay. 
 She had been trying for hours to fall asleep, when a shaft of light fell across the bedroom floor. She rolled over and looked across the room to determine the reasoning. Someone stood silhouetted in the doorway. 
 “Are you awake, honey?” Her eldest brother whispered. 
 “Yes.” She sat up, and he came in and sank to the bed next to her. 
 “What’s wrong, Justin?” 
 “It's Chad,” he answered quietly. 
 “What about him?” Andi whispered. She crawled out from under the covers and sat on the side of the bed next to Justin. 
 “The Doctor doesn't know if, uh…if he'll make it.” 
 “No,” Andi shook her head defiantly. “No, that’s not true!” She fell into Justin’s arms and sobbed. 

********

 Justin carried his youngest sister through the house and set her down at the door to Chad's room. 
 “Come on, honey. Chad asked to see you.” 
 “I can't.” 
 “Yes, you can. I know it's hard.” 
 Andi sighed, tried to pull herself together, and reluctantly followed Justin into the room. 
 Doctor Weaver had left, but the room was still crowded. Across the room stood Melinda, sobbing relentlessly, and Mitch, trying to comfort her. 
 Andi glanced over at Chad, so still and pale, then to her mother and Justin. 
 Justin motioned for her to go ahead. She took a deep breath and slowly stepped up next to Chad. 
 He smiled and reached out his hand. She quickly took it. 
 “Hey, what are those tears all about?” 
 Andi just sniffed and shook her head. 
 “I know I'm hard on ya sometimes…but I do love you, little sister.” 
 "I love you, Chad,” Andi sobbed. “I know you only want what's best for me." She swiped at the tears running down her cheeks. Please, God… Heal my brother. Give us an Easter miracle. 

********

 Day after melancholy day passed with no change in the condition of the middle Carter brother. Neither of the girls attended school and Justin all but closed his office. Andi spent most of her days roaming the quiet ranch, opposed to Melinda who did any housework she could get her hands on simply to stay busy. Mitch, with the help of Sid, kept up with the necessary ranch work. 
 Saturday night, five days after all these troubles began, Elizabeth was with Chad when Justin returned home from town. He stepped up behind his mother and placed his hands on her shoulders. She sat in a straight-back chair next to Chad. The Bible, which Justin recognized as his late father’s, lying open in her lap. 
 "Mother, you've ate nearly nothing since it happened and you haven't slept at all. Why don't you go rest for awhile?” 
 Elizabeth forced a smile and squeezed his hand. "Thank you, son. But I'm fine." 
 Justin sighed and shook his head as he squatted next to her chair. “You're not alright. Truth is, none of us are." He took both of her hands in his. "Please, go get some sleep, Mother. I'll stay here with Chad and then Mitch can relieve me later.” 
 She finally gave in. “Alright, son. If you insist.” 
 “I do,” he removed the Bible from her lap and placed it on the nightstand. 
 She stood with a weary sigh. “Good night, Justin.” 
 He kissed her cheek. “Good night, Mother.” 

********

 Andi sat perched on the end of the bed with Melinda behind her, brushing her younger sister’s long dark hair. 
 Andi spoke up, breaking the uncomfortable silence. “Linda, tomorrow is Easter Sunday.” 
 "I know…” Melinda whispered as the comb caught on a tangle. 
 "No one even remembers the celebration,” Andi mourned. “Some Easter. What if–” She trailed off, leaving the rest unsaid. 
 Knowing what she was thinking, Melinda smiled sadly and turned Andi to face her. The two sisters hugged. 
 The door softly creaked open and Elizabeth entered. “I just came to say good night, dears.” She kissed each of her daughters and they returned the affection. 
 “Good night, Mother.” 
 All three were soon crawling into bed, each of them sorrowfully wondering what the next day or week would comprise. 

********

 Andi awoke the next morning with a start. She'd tossed and turned for hours the night before, until she finally fell into a fitful sleep. 
 She slipped out of bed, carefully so as not to disturb Melinda. Grabbing her housecoat from the bedpost, she tiptoed out of the room and down the hall. When she reached Chad's room she considered knocking, but soon decided against it. Whoever else was there had probably fallen asleep and she didn't want to wake them. 
 She turned the knob and the door slowly swung open. She stepped inside and immediately noticed Mitch, snoring away in the armchair. Looking to the other side of the room, she suddenly gasped. 
Chad was awake and gazing out the window at the breathtaking Easter sunrise. 
 Andi stood stock-still. "Chad?" 
 He slowly turned his head and smiled at her. “Morning, little sister.” 
 Running back to the doorway, Andi leaned out and yelled to the slumbering household. "Everybody, wake up! It's Easter morn and we are so very blessed!" 

The End

Click Here for an Easter poem written by me. ;) 

Happy Easter everyone! Celebrate His Ressurection!!! 
~Faith

Friday, March 25, 2016

Imagine This #6 ~ entries /// Thank you!! // Writing Contest

Hey guys! As you can probably tell by the title, there are several important things in this post. ;) 

First off, thank you sooo much to those of you who sent cards for my brother's birthday. Y'all mean so much to me. *smiles* Though he wouldn't admit it, I know he was thrilled. His response when he went to the mailbox and found several cards was "I've got a card from people I don't even know!!" LOL. ;) So yeah. Thanks guys!! :D  

~~~~

Next up, is the results of the last Imagine This writing challenge. :) I only received one entry this go-around and it was fabulous!!! :D A huge thank you to Jesseca Dawn for entering! And here's her amazing entry. :) 

I made my way to the mouth of the cave and sat down, hugging my knees to my chest. The flat, barren landscape spread out before me, and the cool breeze whispered softly. The sun had not yet risen above the horizon, still I knew I had only a few minutes of time to myself.
I took a deep breath, and the smell of the morning air seemed to overwhelm me with memories. Some I wished to hold onto forever, and others seemed to haunt me. 
My life had, at one time, been peaceful and perfect. Sure, we had our squabbles and differences, but who didn't? We were all together; we were still family. And then, like a storm swooping down out of nowhere, my life had been snatched away, leaving me feeling alone. Suddenly the weight of responsibility for my siblings fell heavily upon my shoulders. I could no longer tell papa my struggles, and mama had become to busy to notice me. It wasn't as if I could blame her; I knew she was taking it hard. 
That left me. I had to be strong. Everyone looked to me, and I dared not let them down. But even though it all, a voice still seemed to remind me. This is only temporary. You will again be a child soon. 
Oh, how wrong it was! 
I could no longer remember the last time I had done something simply for the fun of it. I had missed the years of learning and growing, and now I would never be able to return. Because, in only a few short days, I would be an adult. And all childish things would be put away without my ever having a chance to treasure the. 
I wiped a tear from my cheek. I hadn't even realized I was crying. It had been so long since I had cried, the feeling felt foreign. 
I sensed rather then felt someone take a seat beside me. Two small arms wrapped around me, and I turned to see my little sister, Ruth, sitting there. Her sweet dimpled face was etched with worry. "Oo be okay, Jamie?"
I brushed back the long, auburn hair that had come loose from the knot at the back of my head and drew her into my arms. "Yes, Ruth. I' okay. We'll all be okay."
​She seemed satisfied with my assurance, and wiggled herself free. "I be hungwy, Jamie. We eat soon?"
"Yes." The sun had risen and I stood. I knew the little ones would be hungry, and right now, their needs came before mine. The barren hills still stood the same as before, dotted with sagebrush, and the rising sun only hinted at the warmth the day would bring. 
All the thoughts that had overwhelmed me earlier were pushed from my mind. Today, I would take the children to safety or die trying. There was no choice. I wouldn't let them take them from me. 
~~~~

And, last but not least...an upcoming writing contest! :D 


I'll soon have a post up with details for this awesome writing contest. ;) In case you can't see the graphic, this will be taking place April 15th – May 16th. :) 


Thanks for reading! Have a blessed Easter everyone! :) 
~Faith

Monday, March 14, 2016

Stealing the Spotlight! // Darien & Aster



Hey guys!! :) I hope you're all have a great Monday! I have something special for you all today. A neat look into the lives of my two main characters from my new (!!!!!) fantasy/dystopian/contemporary book idea. I've never written anything like this, so it's definitely a new experience. :D I was going to let Darien and Aster each write a quick bio of themselves, but decided against it for several reasons. 1) Darien doesn't know what a 'quick bio' is, and... 2) Aster is too keeps-to-herself to write a decent and truthful bio of herself. ;) 

Anyway, on with the post. Here's a quick description, so you're not totally confused. ;) 

  The peaceful world Aster Kilyan once knew has been overtaken by an evil foreign power. Her father joining The Community, a group working against the dark oppression, does nothing to ease Aster's mind. When her home is invaded by the enemy, resulting in the deaths of both her parents, Aster is more terrified than ever before. 
  Darien Appalach, a leading member in the Community, vows to protect her and keep her from harm, but can she learn to trust him? 
  Alone in a world of danger and chaos, to whom will Aster turn? Will she give her life and her soul to the devilish man in power? Or fight back and overcome the darkness with the help of her God? 

  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
       Ephesians 6:12 KJV

From here on, to keep things straight, I'll be 'normal' type, Darien will be bold, and Aster will be in italics. :) 

*******

Hey everyone! How are you? My name is Darien and I'm so excited to be guest posting here this week! 

This week?! Um, no. It's just today. 

Whatever. *tries to backspace Faith's words until she stops me* 
Anyway, Aster and I would love to get to know you all (because it's very likely you'll one day be reading our story here) so leave any comments or questions you'd like, and we'll hack into Faith's account to answer them. B-) Mwahahaha!!!! 

*sigh* Darien, cut the small talk and tell them about the book. 

What if they like the small talk? Huh? 

*eye roll* Oh, just go on. 

You see, Aster and I are actually who's writing this super awesome book. Faith is just giving us some writing tips and thinks that makes her the writer. Excuse me? IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT. But we'll let her keep living in that nice little dream world of hers, 'kay? 

You do know I'm reading over your shoulder, right? Stop lying to my friends and tell them something about yourself or the book. Now. *glares* 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, about me (because we have to make Faith think she's winning somehow). If we were to meet in person, the first thing you would notice about me is my eyes. I have a condition called Heterochromia iridum. And yes, I can spell and pronounce that. ;) It means that the iris of my eyes (the iris is the colored part, in case some of y'all aren't ophthalmologists.) are different colors. One is blue and the other is green. I think it's pretty cool, but it creeps some people out. ;) 

Much better. ;) Alright, now let's hear about your work with the Community. And for Pete's sake, let Aster talk. 

Hear that, Aster? 

Like how could I not? You go ahead, she wants everyone to hear about the Community. 

Yeah, sure. The Community is a group of people fighting against this horrible dude (Faith won't let me say his name) and doing everything we can to disrupt his plans of controlling the world. *clears throat* Aster's father was killed for being a member of the Community. 

Well, this conversation went downhill fast. (To Faith), you said this was going to be fun. 

It is fun! :) Um, why don't y'all tell how you first met? 

Which time? 

The good time. 

Okay, the story of how we first met. I'm walking down the street and– 

And that's the way all good stories start. :) 

Um, wrong. And you're interrupting. I'm going to lock you in the closet if you don't stop. 

-_- Has anyone ever told you you're impossible? 

Only you. Now back to the story. I'm walking down the street and I take a shortcut through college campus. I see this girl up ahead of me, sitting on a bench and sobbing her heart out. 

I was not crying. 

You were too. Anyway, I decide to go over to her and see if she's okay. She must've heard me coming because she stopped crying and wiped her eyes. I'm like, "hey, are you alright?" She says– 

I can handle this part. I said, "yes. Why?" 

"Oh, no reason." She grabs her backpack and starts walking down the street. I follow her, of course. 

"What do you want?" I demand. 

"May I walk you home?" I ask politely. 

"No, you may not." 

How could she have the nerve to turn me down like that?! I know I have to do something drastic. So I sigh and say, "some birthday this has turned out to be." 

"It's your birthday?" I ask, unassumingly. 

She was playing right into my hands. "Yeah, and you won't even let me walk you home." 

What could I say without being completely heartless? "Okay, sure. You can walk me to the bus stop." Darien suddenly finds this ridiculous grin to show off. 

Ridiculous? Geez, you are heartless. 

*eyeroll* Since I'm going to be stuck with this guy for the next several blocks, we're going to have to talk about something. So, trying to be polite, I ask, "so how old are you today?" 

"Twenty and a half," I reply...and watch her explode. 

Explode? How could I not?! You lied to me!! 

I did not lie! It was my twenty-years-and-six-months birthday. ;) 

Darien, no one celebrates that. 

I do. And so does Faith. B-) 

*eyeroll* What does that prove? 

Uh... Before this gets out of hand, we're going to have to sign off. Aster, Darien, say goodbye to the readers. :) 

Here we go again with Miss Bossypants. And just when it was getting good too. I guess we should be nice and 'obey' her. See y'all later! Leave a comment and let us know if you'd enjoy hearing more of our story, if you've ever heard of heterochromia iridum, or if you celebrate half birthdays. :) 

Bye guys! I'll be around to answer comments as well! ;) 


Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you enjoyed! :D Leave any comments or questions for these two and I'll allow them to come online and answer them. :) Also, I'm extending the Imagine This writing assignment until Friday, March 18th. :) 
~Faith 

By 'allow' she really means she's afraid I'll lock her in the closet. I've did it before. And, just for the record, she has a really small closet. ;) 

Like they care what size my closet is! *sigh* 

*whispers* Bye guys! 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Birthday Surprise!

Hello friends!! How are you on this lovely, summery Saturday afternoon? :) This is not the post I had planned for today (that one is coming soon, I promise.) but Mom gave me this idea earlier and I thought it was splendid. :) 

The past year/year and a half has been a difficult one for our family. Leaving a church we'd been at for seven years was tough for everyone. Then going to another church and dealing with the "we-won't-be-here-long-don't-get-attached-again" sort of thing, wasn't easier either. (On a side note, that is the church Dad is now pastor of. Praise God!!) I think all of this was probably the hardest on my little brother. 

Tucker has said many times that he loves getting mail (who doesn't?!) and since his 13th birthday is next Friday, March 18th, I think it would be amazing if a flood of cards and birthday wishes came in. :-) 

Last summer he roped me into playing photographer while he dressed up like Indiana Jones. ;) 

If you wouldn't mind to take a second and send him a card or a quick note, he would love it and I would appreciate it. :) 

He would kill me if he caught wind of this, so don't mention it (I'd like to stay alive). But if you/your family would like to, send me an email (blogger contact form is at the bottom right of this page if you don't have my email!) and I'll send you our mailing address. :) 

Thanks so much guys!! :D 
~Faith 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Get to Know Me Tag!

Hey guys!! :-) Jonathan from Fishing for Ideas tagged me for the Get To Know Me Tag! 




Vital Stats

Name: Faith (like y'all didn't know that...)
Nicknames: Oh, dear. These questions are already getting personal.... Um, okay. Spunky, Spunk, Sissy, Sis, Faithful, and I've often been called...(wait for it) Faithy. *clears throat* 

Place of Birth: North Carolina


Firsts

Best Friends: The first friend I would consider a 'best friend' would be a girl I met when I went to a private Christian school for kindergarten. We were the only girls (and only kids for that matter) in K-5. Emily and I were pretty close then and for several years after. ;)

Award: Um... I don't know. What exactly is considered an award? I 
can't think of anything that would fall into that category. 

Sport: I don't do sports. B-) 


Real Holiday: Um, what is considered a 'real' holiday? My birthday is in the summer, so I guess Christmas. The first holiday that I can really remember (assuming 'real' means that...) would probably be my fourth Christmas. 

Concert: My own violin recitals. ;) 


Favorites

Film: These questions are tough. I guess I would have to say Beautiful Dreamer, though I have many favorite movies. ;) The other night I watched Believe in Me again and remembered how much I love that movie too. And of course I love all the Anne of Green Gables movies! :) 

TV Shows: (At least this one is plural.) I Love Lucy, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, The Waltons, The Big Valley, Little House on the Prairie. All the old stuff. ;) 

Color: Blue. A blue/green like the background of Chosen Vessels is a color I really like right now. :) 

Song: You want me to pick one favorite song?! Are you kidding me?!!?!? Axsthimndsxhjhyijnn. My favorite country song is American Honey, my favorite hymn is I'll Fly Away, and my favorite in Christian music (besides everything by Tenth Avenue North!!) is Just Be Held by Casting Crowns. 

Restaurant: It used to be Nick & Nates, but they closed. -_- I really like Mexican food, so any of the Mexican restaurants around here. :) 

Books: But...but...but... There are so many!!! To mention a few... A Cousins Promise by Wanda E, Brunstetter, A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin, Dare by Tricia Mingerink, Interrupted by Rachel Coker, and A Christmas Peril by Diane Moody. 


Currently

Feeling: Happy. :) 'Cause it's finally spring! 

Single or Taken:
 Neither...I'm reserved. B-) 



Eating: Cheese! :D 

Watching: Like right now? I'm watching letters appear on the screen in front of me. And I'm backspacing alot of them, because I keep misspelling things and autocorrect is no help. :P Actually, I'm watching Daniel Boone with my family and we're all trying to figure out who killed who. ;) 

Wearing: Green shorts, red t-shirt, and my red Canada hoodie. Like I said, it's finally spring! *cuts a cartwheel through the living room* 


Future

Want children: A house full. ;) 

Want to be married: Yes. :) 

Careers in Mind: Potter, writer, president of the USA, neurosurgeon,...the list goes on and on. ;)  

Where you want to live: You mean after I travel the world? B-) Probably somewhere right here. I love my mountain. :-) 


Do You Believe in

God: Yes!! :) 

Miracles: Yes, again. 

Love at first sight: Hard question, that. I think they're can be such thing as love at first sight, but it don't think it usually 'happens' that way. 

Ghosts: Just the Holy Ghost. ;) 

Aliens: Nope. 

Soul Mates: Um, not exactly. I liked Jonathan's answer to this, that there's not only one 'match' for everyone.

Heaven: Absolutely. 

Hell: Yes, I do. 
W. 
Kissing on the first date: Eww, no!! Who wants to kiss someone you've, very possibly, just met?! Just...no. 

Yourself: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13 KJV :-) 


And I tag... 
Lauren F. @ My Random Ramblings 

If you want to do it (tagged or not) feel free and if not, don't feel obliged. :) 

Here's a repeat of the tag, so it's easier for y'all to copy over. :) 
Vital Stats...  Name: Nicknames: Place of Birth: 
Firsts...  Best Friends: Award: Sport: Real Holiday: Concert: 
Favorites...  Film: TV Shows: Color: Song: Restaurant: Books: 
Currently...  Feeling: Single or Taken: Eating: Watching: Wearing: 
Future...  Want children: Want to be married: Careers in Mind: Where you want to live: 
Do You Believe in...  God: Miracles: Love at first sight: Ghosts: Aliens: Soul Mates: Heaven: Hell: Kissing on the first date: Yourself: 


Thanks for reading all!! I have a neat post coming up in a day or two. I think you'll enjoy it. ;) 
~Faith