Friday, August 31, 2018

Dog Sitting, Hallmark Movies, and a Farewell to Summer // August Recap

Guess who survived her first month of adulthood? *points to self* Guess who hasn't did anything too drastic like flee the country yet? *also points to self*

|| Life. ||

>> So, I finally started work this month. xD Not full time yet, but hopefully soon! In the meanwhile, I've found lots of random jobs to compensate. Pet sitting, for one. I looked after an older couple's dogs last Saturday, and then I've taken care of two dogs for the lady I work for several times this summer. Goodness, they're sweet girls. <33

>> I also ended up driving a neighbor to and from work one weekend and made some extra cash, so that was cool. Early one day, get-up-at-6:00 kind of early. O.O  (I'm not a morning person. In case you couldn't tell.)

>> I attended a corn roast/cookout with my family! So that was cool. xD

>> One night, I was hunting for my desk for a somewhat empty binder that I could clean out to use for ASL 3. And I ended up clearing everything out of my desk, tossing it into the floor, and sorting through it. I may or may not have found stuff from like 24975 years ago. Along with books that someone lent me and I never read...or returned.

>> My favorite songs of the month were Love by Jane Kramer, Blue Tacoma by Russell Dickerson, Every Storm by Gary Allen, and Come On Down and Dear Life by High Valley. And basically everything from Scotty McCreery's latest album! <3

>> So...Dairy Queen closed, y'all. The one we went to the most closed. The Sunday evening hangout spot for, like, half the county. The place with lots of memories of ice cream and laughter and friends. <33

>> I watched lots of Hallmark this month! I finished my re-watch of the lovely Signed, Sealed, Delivered series. I also watched All of My Heart, Summer of Dreams, and A Summer to Remember.

>> I may or may not have ate key lime pie for breakfast. Like three days in a row. #RockinTheAdultLife

|| Books. ||

// Reads

Outpourings of a Beloved Heart by Joan Embola -- 5 stars -- Review here.
The Boxcar Children Beginnings by Patricia MacLachlan -- 4 stars
I Survived: The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Lauren Tarshis -- 4 stars
Shower Thoughts by Gray Marie Cox -- 5 stars
Love Finds a Way by Wanda Brunstetter -- 3 stars
Mere Hope by Jason G. Duesing -- 5 stars -- Review here.
The Hallelujah Lass by Wendy Lawton -- 4 stars
The River Between Us by Richard Peck -- 4 stars
Thoughts in Verse: A Collection of Poetry by Rebekah Eddy -- 4.5 stars
The Way to Go by Rebekah A. Morris -- 3 stars
Behind Enemy Lines: A Young Pilot's Story by H.R. DeMallie -- 4 stars
Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis -- 5 stars
The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof -- 5 stars
The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins by Walter Dean Myers -- 4 stars
The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall -- 4 stars
Love Blind by Angie Thompson -- 4 stars

This month, I got nine Beverly Lewis books, two books from the Miracles of Marble Cove series, A Life of Joy by Amy Clipston, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall, and Thoughts in Verse by Rebekah Eddy! :)

|| Writing. ||

The first half of the month was rather crazy in the writing world. I finished the second edit/third draft of A Soldier's Freedom, which included lots of new scenes. That book is now in the hands of beta-readers while I focus on other projects and decide what happens with it next. ;)

However, there wasn't much happening during the second half of the month. I worked on some random short stories, as well as planning out the stories that will be included in Behold.

Hmm, I haven't told y'all about that, have I? Behold is a Christmas short story collection that will be releasing on September 7th! Super excited for this one. <3 No cover yet, but here's the synopsis.

From two siblings caught up in the harrowing days of WWII to separated foster children in the US…
From a missing child in the wake of a natural disaster to a memorable roadtrip across the Southeast…
You’ll be swept into the Christmas spirit with the endearing stories tucked inside these pages. The storylines range from family to romance to the bond of community, with settings scattered across America and beyond.
Behold the beauty of the Savior’s birth with this gathering of stories that warm the soul and bless the heart.

So yes, that's what going on. Oh, and somewhere in there I technically failed the Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 challenge without realizing it. Whoops. xD

Word Count: 9,943

|| Blogging. ||

// Favorite Posts 

Apples of Gold ~ The Best Thing

twilight to dawn ~ DEFINING BRAVE

Counting Your Blessings One by One ~ Choosing Joy

The Rebelution ~ What Disappointment Taught Me About Dreaming Big

Inside Out Designs ~ Why Good Graphic Design is Crucial to Authors

The Introverted Extrovert ~ How are You for Real?

// My Posts

|| Goals. ||

~ August Goals 

>> Read 8 books.    Score!

>> Finish editing A Soldier's Freedom.      Yuusss. :D

>> Catch up on blog posts.     Most definitely!

>> Start editing War Tears.      Nope, but I decided to get Behold shipped off to betas first. xD So, halfway?

>> Go camping. *fingers crossed*      *sniffles* nope...

>> Complete a beta-reading project.        Yes, and gracious, it was fabulous. <33

~ September Goals 

>> Read 8 books.

>> Send Behold to beta-readers.

>> Edit pt.1 of War Tears.

>> Be a hosted author at a local book fair. #nervous

>> Host another readathon. (I'm thinking September 14th-16th... Would anyone be on board for that? I'll update the page and post more details soon!)

Quick announcement. I'm going to be participating in the Five Fall Favorites blog party again this October! Super excited to take part—and I was thrilled to see some new (though familiar) names on the list of participants. Take a peek at the invitation and be sure to mark your calendars for a week of bookish fun!

How was your August? Are you ready for fall? Saw any good movies lately? Last amazing book you read?! Let's talk! <33


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

End of Summer Giveaway // A Free Book

Greetings, everyone! :)

Hope y'all are having a fabulous Wednesday. If you are, it's about to get even better. If you're not, I have something that just might brighten your whole week. Today I'm sharing about a special giveaway—one in which everyone is a winner!

Livy Jarmusch, author of the lovely Tales of Tarsurella series, is holding a book sale. During these three days book one of the series, The Coronation, is free on Amazon Kindle!

The Tales of Tarsurella series is set in a fictitious European country, and the stories are clean, whimsical, and God-honoring, eloquently weaving family ties, a dash of romance, and the struggles that come with living as royalty.

The series is comprised of The CoronationThe Rebellion, and the yet-to-be-released third book, The Wedding. And The Coronation is currently free, so this is the perfect time to snag a copy and hop a plane to Tarsurella to check it out for yourself!

Just click the quote graphic below and then enjoy the adventures between the pages! <3

Have you downloaded The Coronation yet? Are you a fellow Tarsurella fan? :D


Monday, August 27, 2018

Rain {Pinterest Stories: August Edition}

Does anyone remember the series I started awhile back (think—over a year ago), short stories from Pinterest prompts? (If you don't, don't feel bad. I didn't either until I found this little gem in some old draft posts. xD)

I can't promise that this series will make a comeback, but for the time being, enjoy this little flash fiction! <3

  Standing on the sidewalk under the tree with my damp hoodie covering my head, I watch her in wonder. 
  She spins and dances in the middle of the wet street. Rain pours down from the sky, steam rising from the warm asphalt. People scurry into their homes and places of abode to escape the downpour, but not Jaylynn. 
  She rises up on her toes, pirouetting and twirling like the beautiful ballerina princess she is. She must have felt my eyes on her for she turns and grins at me, motioning for me to join her. I know she can't read my lips or catch my signs at this distant, so I just shake my head and pretend shiver. 
  I detect a stealthy eyeroll, and she ignores my negative reply and persists. Shaking my head and snickering, I call out, “I'm not a dancer!” 
  She doesn't know what I said, but still she grins at me, shaking droplets of water from her hair. 
  My focus is drawn past Jaylynn and on up the street to...a truck. A pickup truck traveling top-speed down the residential street. Water from the pavement slings up creating a phantom-like mists behind his tires. 
  In the following split-second, I glance to Jaylynn and back to the truck. She stands barefooted on the centerline, face upturned to the rain. But he sees her...right? 
  As the truck continues to barrel down the road, I realize no. 
  He doesn't see her. 
  He hasn't slowed down at all. 
  And he's headed straight for her. That driver must be drunk, blind, stupid, or psychotic. 
  “Jaylynn!” My scream sounds like pure terror, but I couldn't care less. It should sound terrified; I'm scared to death. 
  She can't hear me. Of course, she can't. I know that. I've always known that. Why did I even scream? A barrage of stupid thoughts race through my brain as another split second passes. My mind flashes to what's about to take place before me, and the tragedy of it all forces me into action. 
  I race out into the street, into the flooding rains, and straight to Jaylynn. She hasn't budged, has no idea we could both very easily be dead within seconds. I grab her around the waist and haul her back towards the safety of the cement sidewalk. 
  She jolts and starts as my arms come in contact with her body. There's no time to sign an explanation. Odd thing to notice at such a time, but Jaylynn was right. The wet, warm asphalt does feel good on bare feet. 
  She twists in my arms as I struggle to stumble out of harm's way, but I don't release her or loosen my hold. We’re not out of the oncoming lane yet. 
  Another series of staggering steps and we’re to the side of the road. My foot slipped on the drain grate between the sidewalk and the road lane, and I vault forward. Somehow managing to end up with my backside taking the brunt of the fall and Jaylynn arriving in safety without a scratch, I slap across the ground on both concrete and grass. 
  As my cheek comes in contact with the wet grass, the pickup truck whizzes by. Never even slowing down. He would've killed her. Both of us, if I'd been a millisecond later. I could break something with all this anger bottled up inside of me. 
  I get my bearings enough to sit up with only a groan. Jaylynn is to my right, her knees drawn to herself, staring out at the spot she stood mere seconds ago. 
  I reach out and touch her arm. She's trembling violently. I notice something else too. 
  Jaylynn is no longer smiling and the rain has ceased. 

What do ya think? Would y'all like to see more of this type of stories? 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Choose Your Own Story ~ Journey Through Taelis

Welcome to Stories by Firefly! Today I’m taking part in Sarah Holman’s Choose Your Own Story event. This is to celebrate the release of her latest book, Escape and Endurance. (In this event, you get to pick the outcome of the story by making choices. A lot of different things can happen.)

What are you waiting for? Start your adventure by clicking the image below.

He reached the West River and approached an old bridge. The next moment his horse jerked back as a rock hit him. 
“This is my bridge, none shall pass.” 
Sir Andrew rolled and withdrew his sword. “Come now! Show yourself! Who dares delay a knight of the king?” 
An old man appeared from the bushes. “I’ve lived in the cottage yonder all my life. My grandfather built this bridge, and it is mine. You can either give me your horse and cross or fight me.” 
Andrew thought for a moment and decided to…

Are you interested in reading about a knight, a tower, a princess, and a servant? Pick up a copy of Escape and Endurance! Haven’t read the other books in the Tales of Taelis series? Not to worry. Each book can stand alone.

About Sarah

Sarah Holman is a not-so-typical girl, a homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and lives in the great state of Texas. If there’s anything adventuresome about her life, it’s because she serves a God with a destiny greater than anything she could have imagined. You can find out more about her at her website:

You can join the Adventurers (her newsletter) by going here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

What Summer Means to Me.

Summer is... 


laughing until you can't breathe

sundresses and loose hair

staying up late and sleeping in

days by the pool, chlorine in your hair 

ice cream every day 

wading in the creek until your toes go numb

a hairband tan line on my wrist 

spur-of-the-moment thunderstorms

eating outdoors

flip-flops and peeling sunburns

cloudless skies

fireflies in the dewy grass

dandelions and fresh-cut grass


sunsets and sunrises and the days when you see both

cruising down a back road with the wind in your hair and country music up loud

heat and humidity

blackberries growing wild 

garden dirt between your toes and tomato stains on your fingers

books books and more books

deep thoughts

ball caps and road trips

dancing in the rain

campfire sparks against an inky sky

staying up until 3 AM to talk to people you love

open windows

being spontaneous and crazy and wild and free

Dear summer 2018, I'm not ready to say goodbye... 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Mid-Year Book Freak Out // tag

Happy Thursday, readers and friends!

After watching Lindsey's and Rebekah's book tube videos of this tag, I decided to do my own rendition. I'm not doing a video and dragging y'all into the misery of watching me mumble and be camera-shy for ten minutes (you're welcome), but I thought the tag still looked too fun not to join. ;)

And yes, it's past the mid-way point of the year, but we're gonna go with it. Just...let me live in denial a bit longer...please...

Best Book you've read so far in 2018

That's a hard one...but I would have to go with Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury. I literally have no words for this book. If you haven't read it, I seriously don't know why.

Best sequel you've read so far in 2018

A toss-up between Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury and The Rebellion by Livy Jarmusch? ;) Both were amazing and nicely continued the stories from the first books!

New Release You Haven't read yet but want to

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis and Falling for You by Becky Wade both qualify. I'm hoping to read them both super soon.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

A Question of Loyalty by Jesseca Wheaton releases in a few months! It needs to join the first two books in the series on my shelves... ^-^

Biggest disappointment

Love Finds a Way by Wanda Brunstetter was definitely disappointing. I've really enjoyed Mrs. Brunstetter's books in the past, but the three stories in this collection were...rather boring.

Biggest Surprise

I'm pretty sure I'm still recovering from When Sparrows Fall by Diane Blackstone... I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, other than I figured it would be kind of dark. It was, but ohmygoodness, it was amazing. <3

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

I'm not sure I've acquired a new favorite author yet this year... Karen Kingsbury could definitely become a favorite, though, if all her books are as good as the four I've read so far. :D

Newest fictional crush

I don't have one?? (Congratulate me, guys. I've stopped fangirling over guys that don't exist.) Noah from The River Between Us could be, though...if we got more of his story.

Newest favorite character

Natalie (Nattie) Livingston from Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis! She is so precious and I basically want to adopt (ha, pun) her!

Book that made you cry

Not only did this book make me cry, The Pursued by Willowy Whisper ripped my heart out and kept me up all hours of the night. And it's like 400+ pages and I read it in under 24 hours, so #record.

Book that made you happy

Just Dance by Patricia MacLachlan was so sweet and darling and full of happy feels! <3

Most beautiful book you've bought/received this year

This was hard...because I ooh and ahh over book covers, like, daily. But I'm going to go with A Midnight Clear by Pattie Berg.'all.

Books you need to read by the end of the year

This lovely stack and hopefully some others, as well as oodles of Christmas books. :D

Favorite book community member

Um, wait, what?! I can't pick something like that! Each and every one of you in this book/writing/blogging community are so special and unique. How could I ever pick a favorite?! <33

Have you done this tag? Saw it around? What's the best book YOU have read so far this year? 


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Midnight Comes by S.J. Blasko // author interview + blog tour

Happy Tuesday, reader pals! 

Today I'm here with an author interview, in celebration of S.J. Blasko's newly released poetry collection. I had the privilege of beta-reading this gorgeous collection a few months ago, and y'all... *collapses to the ground* It. is. fabulous. If you enjoy poetry, twisted fairytales, or just want to support teenaged indie authors, you're not going to want to miss Midnight Comes! <3 

I had so much fun doing an interview with the author, so read on to check that out! :D


Once upon a time...
There was a sorceress, who cursed a prince to become as beastly as his pride
There was a daughter, who watched from her window and ached to see the world
There was a mermaid, who traded her voice for a human soul
There was a stepmother, who saw beauty only in others, never in herself
And there was a boy, who forgot the warmth of love.

In five narrative poems exploring the darker, more human side of these classic fairytales, rediscover the characters as they are given a voice of their own.

Author Interview

What inspired the idea of writing a poetry collection?
A couple of factors came into play for that. First of all, April is National Poetry Month, so I followed a couple of daily prompt sites and was bombarded with ideas from those XD. Second, my high school English and Creative Writing teacher held a poetry reading of his works and a classmate of mine opened for him with some beautiful poems. And thirdly, as if those weren’t enough, I was the co-editor of my school’s literary magazine this past year, which centered around (you guessed it) poetry. So I guess writing my own poems naturally followed.

Have you always written poetry or is this something you’ve started more recently?
I wrote a few poems growing up, but with the exception of a select few, they will most likely never see the light of day. It wasn’t really until this past year that I started writing the poems I’m proud of.

Which poem from the collection is your favorite?
That’s so hard to choose! I think for my personal favorite, I have to go with Mirror, Mirror.

How long have you been writing in general? (poems, stories, whatever)
I’ve been writing seriously for about five years, but I’ve loved stories my entire life. When I was little, I made up tons of them, but I either told them to myself or acted them out with my toys. I didn’t start writing them down until I was thirteen.

Do you prefer to write by hand or on a computer/tablet? Why?
For poetry, I prefer writing on a computer. It’s easier for me to organize my thoughts with the unlined white space, and it’s easy to move around and delete segments and lines that don’t work.
For story writing, I much prefer paper. It’s the same reason for both, ironically, the different mediums give me the right amount of space in my head to get the words out.

What does your typical writing schedule look like? (Like, how often do you write, where do you write, and what time of day.)
My typical writing schedule looks like tears and bursts of inspiration and more tears. I haven’t found a way to consistently work writing time into my day yet, so until I do, I’m a write-when-the-muse-strikes kind of author. And boy, does the muse strike like a sledgehammer.

Do you plan to publish more written works in the future?
Absolutely!! I’m already working on two more themed poetry collections, as well as a few novels. My biggest novel project right now is a retelling of the Peter Pan story, where Pan and Captain Hook are brothers, and the story centers around a girl with cystic fibrosis who comes to Neverland.

That sounds fabulous! Thanks for stopping by, Sierra! 


Your turn, readers! Do you read and/or write poetry? Did you enjoy the interview? Think you'll check out the fabulous book? I'd love to hear! <3


Monday, August 6, 2018

Sunshine, Author Biz, and Sweet '18 || July Recap

July, one of my favorite months of the year, is gone again. And it was a dandy, y'all. <3

|| Life. ||

>> I had a fabulous time celebrating the 4th of July with my family. We hung out at home and ate good food and the bro set off fireworks after dark. To my surprise, he had a pretty good show. ;)

>> I re-read my darling novella, Dandelion Dust, which debuted last June. I hadn't read it since the final proofread, so it was rather bittersweet. And I didn't cringe *too* much. ;)

>> I got a job dog-sitting for 3 days, then another—cat-sitting for 11 days. And I'm going to be dog-sitting for three weeks next month, so I'm basically a professional now... B-)

>> I watched lots of Signed Sealed Delivered during the month of July. xD I finally got around to seeing Road Less Traveled, followed by To the Altar. Then I started re-watching the entire series. Golly, I love these people. <3 I also completed my DVD collection of SSD. ;)

>> I received the largest book order I've ever placed! I'm participating in a local author book fair in September, so that should be fun. Prayers that all goes well would be appreciated! <3

>> Speaking of author-ish news, I did a few other things. I started a Facebook page, designed and purchased business cards, and created a website!

>> Another thing that happened in July, and a reason that it's one of my favorite months, is my birthday. I turned 18. For awhile before, I was a bit apprehensive about that seemingly-hunormous number. I mean, adulthood!? But, as a friend reminded me, it's just another season of life. It's a beginning; not an ending. <3

|| Books. ||

I read like 16 books this month, y'all, and acquired half that many... *heart eyes*

// Reads

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, WA by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss -- 4 stars
Almost Home by Wendy Lawton -- 4 stars
How I Had Fun Writing 10 Novels in 13 Months by Sarah Addison-Fox -- 4 stars
Finding Christmas Joy by Amanda Tero -- 4 stars -- Reviewed
The Missing Piece by Libby May -- 4 stars
Meet Marie-Grace by Sarah Masters Buckey -- 3 stars
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman -- 3 stars
Just Dance by Patricia MacLachlan -- 5 stars
Where Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn -- 4 stars
The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan -- 4 stars
Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts -- (I kinda love this little book.)
When Sparrows Fall by Diana Blackstone -- 5 stars
Early Sunday Morning by Barry Denenberg -- 4 stars
Happy Birthday, Josefina by Valerie Tripp -- 4 stars
Josefina Saves the Day by Valerie Tripp -- 4 stars
Changes for Josefina by Valerie Tripp -- 4 stars

I got several lovely books this month and only paid for two of them! ;) 

God in a God-forsaken Land by Gene Stark -- review book
Woman of Character compiled by Lawrence Krimbough -- gift
Emmeline by Sarah Holman -- gift from a friend 
I Don't Dance by Jesseca Wheaton -- gift from a friend 
Mere Hope by Jason Duesing -- review book
Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg -- gift from a friend 
Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof -- CBD 
Max by Jennifer Li Shotz -- Barnes & Noble

|| Writing. ||

Writing actually went pretty well this month, all things considered. I was still participating in Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 challenge, I did Camp NaNo, and I finished the first draft of One Summer.

For Camp, my goal was to finish One Summer and finish the third draft of A Soldier's Freedom. I didn't get anywhere near finishing the editing side of my projects, but I'm okay with that. I've made good progress since then, and hoping to finish this week and get it sent off to betas.

If you want to read more about how Camp went or see snippets of my WIPs, check out the Camp NaNo updates that I did throughout the month! :D

Word count: 36,863

|| Blogging. ||

// Favorite Posts 

The Write Conversation ~ The Serendipity of Hope

RebekahAshleigh ~ Summer Book Recommendations

// My Posts 

|| Goals. ||

~ July Goals 

>> Read 8 books.      Nailed it!

>> Write 10,000 words.     YUSSS.

>> Finish another edit of A Soldier's Freedom + get it ready to send to betas.   Heh, not quite. xD

>> Finish writing One Summer.      Yup!

>> Post weekly on both blogs.       No...?

~ August Goals 

>> Read 8 books.

>> Finish editing A Soldier's Freedom.

>> Catch up on blog posts.

>> Start editing War Tears.

>> Go camping. *fingers crossed*

>> Complete a beta-reading project.

How was your July? Did you do Camp NaNo? Any plans for August? Are you a SSD fan?! 

Blessings, dears!