Monday, October 14, 2019

Dewdrops & Butterflies by Libby May || Blog Tour + Guest Post

Greetings, readers! My friend Libby is releasing her debut book, Dewdrops & Butterflies, and I'm participating in the blog tour. Read on for a guest post by Libby herself, about all things bookish! The next stop on the tour is tomorrow, at my friend Abigail's blog!

Hi everyone! Thanks Faith for letting me guest post! I’m super excited! 
My name is Libby and I am 19 years old. I started writing when I was 12 years old and I finished my first full novel when I was 14. It was full of plot holes and historical inaccuracies, like cellphones in purses ONLY when there was an emergency that called for one. We’re talking advanced 1800s technology. This was not on purpose. 
Anyway! Fast forward 5 years, and I’ve completed two novels, and here I am, publishing the first of the two, Dewdrops and Butterflies! 
I want to talk a little about writing your own stories. Do you have a story you want to tell? Have you started? If not, what’s holding you back? Is publishing something you want to do in the future? 
When I first started, I knew I wanted to publish, and the main point of my story, that bad historical fiction that I’m still somehow proud of, was to write something for girls my age that didn’t have anything to do with high school or junior high drama or an overload of crushes and boy/girl relationships, and something that didn’t pressure girls to do the things society thinks is “cool”! 
Dewdrops and Butterflies is about Rose, a girl who grew up in a difficult home and got placed into the foster care system. Fear drove her out of that home and she tries to make it on her own. The point of the story is to show that God is the only one who can protect us completely and fully, and that no matter how much we try on our own, we can never fulfill our own life. 
The second part of the story is from the point of view of her foster father, Alex Johnson. It’s a little bit of a different image on who Rose was and how others saw her. The point of this part of the story is to show that when we ARE in God’s hand, we can still stumble and fall, and ultimately, He will always take us back and continue to teach us. As time went on, I realized that Alex was almost a very relatable, contemporary version of the parable of the prodigal son. 
This story grew and changed and molded into something so much bigger than I had first imagined, and bigger than I could have done on my own. I started writing praying that God would use my hand and my heart for His glory, and through every part of the process, He was literally one step ahead of me. I’ve been so blessed and learned so many things. 
If I were to give one piece of advice to new writers, I say this: Write. Don’t give up, don't judge yourself, and don’t compare to others. But always pray. Have fun, and let the Holy Spirit work through you. Be ok with changes, have an open heart and learn through the process. Maybe the person you’re writing the story for is yourself! God may have something He wants to say to you, and  
He’s ultimately going to work in you and grow you as you go through this process and get to know your style of writing and your characters and how everything works. 
I encourage you, if you ever wanted to pick up a pen (or a laptop) and write something, now is your chance to do it! The world can always use more stories! 
Read, Write, and Love!~Libby

“I smiled and acted like I was supposed to be there. It was amazing how much people assumed by a simple glance. An outfit, an expression, a tone of voice. Anyone could pretend to be anything.
Today, I was a rich girl.”

Thirteen year old Rose Wells was determined to make it on her own. Running from authority one last time, the forest became her home and the cafe her source of food, with a fear driven determination keeping her there as long as she could help it.
Not everybody was ok with that. Alex and Jenni Johnson would do whatever they can to find their foster daughter and bring her home, giving her the genuine love she’d never known. 
Over the course of a single summer, hearts are broken, scars exposed, friendships blossom, and ultimately a greater truth is learned. 
A greater God is understood. 

releasing October 16th! 

are you interested in reading Dewdrops & Butterflies? isn't the purple aesthetic eye-catching? 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Crazy Life + Freedom's Release || September Recap


Also this is late again, but can I even help it at this point?? Nope.

|| Trip to See Friends

• My fam went to visit friends a few hours away the first weekend of the month. Sometime I'm going to do a post about these Nameless Friends that we hang out with every other month or so. But until then... *photo dump*

"I love ripped denim and I cannot lie"

• While there, we went riding up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a gorgeous day and the scenery was breathtaking. <3

oh hi tall kid

|| Random Life

• A super sweet customer brought flowers to work for the employees to enjoy!

• We had an employee dinner a few weeks ago, and I took the opportunity to dress up and look nice. For once. xD

• I was house-sitting/dog-sitting the last weekend of the month, with these sweet pooches.

• BeFunky has, like, changed a ton of fonts since I last used it and they GOT RID OF the font I used to ALWAYS use for blog post graphics?? #rude

• And I guess that's it?? I basically spent the entire month at work. Or so it seemed. xD

• The only book I finished was The Judgement by Beverly Lewis, book two in the The Thorn trilogy. I've been inching my way through this series since early in the year, but I'm over halfway through the final book now, so yay. :D

One book looks so lame, but I've already read 3 books this month (October), so that's good??

|| Freedom

• Oh my goodness, where do I start? Y'all, my precious book baby that I've laughed through and cried over for—legit— available to the world. It's a crazy, but special, feeling. Especially since the book has been, for the most part, readily accepted and adored. <3

• The blog tour, 13 Reasons Why, with the lovely Kaitlyn Krispense, was an absolute blast. The vast number of people who hopped on the bandwagon and shared their own Reasons to Live (R2Ls), either daily or sporadically, made me smile so much. Not to mention, we all had a lot of fun during the almost-two-weeks too. ;)

• There was also a fundraiser connecting to the release of Freedom. In preparation, I wrote up a few paragraphs, explaining that I would be donating profits from Freedom during the month of September to Cover Me Veterans, a non profit organization that's fighting against veteran suicide. And I prayed about it. And I waited to see what would happen. Um guys... Combining paperback sales, ebook sales, and a couple anonymous donations, we raised $420.28. Given that the original goal—and one that I wasn't even sure would be reached—was $100, I was utterly blown away. Thank you all so, so much. God is good. <3

|| Chasing a Dream 

• Now that Freedom is out in the hands of the world (wow that's scary), I'm trying to re-immerse myself into the wonderful world of Chasing a Dream. Right now that means some plotting and outlining, as well as working out minor timeline details and figuring out exactly how it fits in with Dandelion Dust. I'm really excited for this story. It's gonna be good, y'all. :D

|| Final Days of Recaps 

• So, uh, I doubt I'll do anymore monthly recaps after the end of the year. When writing a recap post is something that I literally dread doing and put off for days... yeah, that should be a dead clue that something is wrong. At the beginning of the year, I thought I needed to organize things more. So I revamped the way I did recaps—ironically making it take more time+work—and I don't even really like the format now. I'll finish out the year with this type of recap each month, just because I don't wanna leave things undone, but after that, I'm going to switch things up.

• I've been thinking about maybe doing something like "Life as of now: October 11, 2019" every 4-6 weeks, with an update of what's going on in my life. Same sort of content as the recaps, with less organization and formality. Just bulleted highlights, probably some rambles, and snapshots of life. Maybe writing snippets and/or new story announcements. Thoughts on that?

|| My Posts

One ~ Two ~ Three ~ Four ~ Five ~ Six ~ Seven ~ Eight ~ Nine ~ Ten ~ Eleven ~ Twelve ~ Thirteen 

|| September Goals

• Rock the world with the 13RW tour.     CHECK.

• Release Freedom.       YESSSS.

• Mail all preorder paperback copies.      *thumbs up* the post office people love me.

• Keep up with social media.      EHhhh, not so

• Clear my inbox.     *maniac laughter*

• Figure out what to do with myself once I'm not spending every waking moment freaking out over anything and everything Freedom related.          Did I seriously think I'd be bored...?

|| October Goals

• Outline Chasing a Dream + do some minor related research.

• Read 5 books.

• Catch up on blog post scheduling, book reviews, and marketing plans.

• Start planning 12 Days of Christmas. (Anyone interested?)

how was your September? are you excited for fall? best book you've read so far this year? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Five Fall Favorites Returns for a Fourth Year!

Calling any and all book lovers!
This invitation is for you if you love books!

Just click on this image on September 30th to be whisked away to the Literary Lodge (otherwise known as Read Another Page).…-hop-real-heroes/

I am happy to share this invitation with you today because I have participated in this blog party before and it was such fun!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Wrap-up + Winner Announcement

Greetings, friends. :)   Honestly, can't believe I'm already writing the final post of the tour. It seemed forever away when we first started planning, then everything flew by once the tour started, and now it's nearly over!

Anyway, moving on... Thank you all so, so much for the sweet support and encouragement you've shown to us and our books during this almost-two-weeks. I've been so blessed by the outpouring of love. <3  And, also, thank you for sharing the fundraiser preorder for Freedom! We've broke past $150, well on our way to the new goal of $200.

For today's post, we're answering a few more questions from the Q&A that we received after Monday's post—a couple below and more on Kate's blog. Teal is Kate, purple is me. And the giveaway winners are announced at the end of the post! :)

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Q&A  2.0

Who's backstory was the hardest to write in Beloved? 
Probablyyyyyyy Titus and Fergus’s. Just because it got changed more than once until I was finally satisfied with it.

In Freedom, how long did editing take? 
Ehh, nearly two years, on and off. I did work on multiple other projects during that time, but yeah, quite a while. Freedom has grown and changed a lot during that time. 

How did you decide what you wanted your cover to look like? 
I knew that I wanted it to have a water/beach theme, and after experimenting with about a gajillion mock covers, I finally found one I loved. *shrugs*

Relatable. At first, I just knew I wanted there to be a flag on the cover in some way, because of the book’s strong military ties. Other than that, I didn’t really know what I wanted. But when the broken glass idea struck, it was…love at first sight.  

|| Giveaway Winners 

1st Place: Ellen

2nd Place: Abby G

3rd Place: Patience

Congratulations, girls! We'll be emailing you each to work out details. :)

thank you all so, so much for being here during these 13 days <3

Friday, September 13, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Choose to Stay

Welcome, the next-to-last post in the 13 Reasons Why tour. I can't say enough how amazed I've been by the number of people who showed up and spoke out in support of the tour and these books. May God be glorified. <3

Today, we're sharing R2Ls that all of you have shared over the past twelve days. Read through these and be reminded all over again how beautiful life is and just how much you matter. Even more R2Ls are being spotlighted on Kate's blog. <3

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Reasons to Live

Family. You see, your family most likely cares and suicide doesn’t just take the person’s life, it takes the life of a family.
- Abigail Harris

Colour. The vibrancy of red. The depth of blue. The lushness of green. The serenity of lavender. The cheer of yellow. There are so many beautiful and amazing couleurs that surround us every day. They have me in awe. Stop and appreciate the colour in your life for a minute. 
- Katja Labonte

To see another sunset and another sunrise.
- Angela Watts

My R2L for today would be America. Seriously, we live in the greatest nation on earth! Sure we have our problems, but you can have a chance to change that! We are the freest nation in the world and you know what? As a whole, we care about what happens to you! Because you are a part of our people. You matter. God put you here for such a time as this! What are you called to do for the betterment of America (or your home country?) People are willing to die for should be willing to live for her 
- Ryana Lynn Miller

Stories. Stories are everywhere. Everyone’s life is a story. Every book is a story. Every building has a story. And God writes the best, most mind-blowing stories ever. 
- Katja Labonte

Seeing happy dogs while out in town. 
Funnel cakes during festival seasons.
- Angela Watts

A reason to live is laughter. God has given us laughter to cheer us up from even the darkest places. Have you ever heard that laughter is the cure for anything? I believe it is. I don’t mean just a slight chuckle I mean a full out, belly hurting, laugh. I know that no matter how I’m feeling if something happens – or someone says something – that is hilarious, I am out of my mood instantly just because of laughing. God wants us to have joy and be happy. He wants us to have laughter in our lives. Don’t punish yourself by not laughing. You will find that it is amazing how much laughter helps.
- Abigail Harder

Smiles. Dimpled smiles, broad smiles, smirking smiles, happy-tears smiles, baby smiles, loving smiles, how-do-you-do smiles, welcoming smiles, I-love-you-so-much smiles. So many smiles. 
Laughter. There is so much humour in life. Laugh. Enjoy it. The smallest things can make you giggle—don’t smother it or feel ashamed or childish. God gave us laugher for a reason. 
- Katja Labonte

The one reason to live I'm going to share is Jesus Christ. Think of it, He made the ultimate sacrifice so you could live! Jesus made a way for sinners like us to have L i f e .  Jesus is our reason to live because He has made a way for us. He has a reason and purpose for us to live. And He loves us so much!
- Brooklyne

A JOB TO DO. There is an endless list I could give as reasons to live, and why I live, but I picked this one because it’s powerful. We as Christians have a job to do, and we as breathing, living, humans have a job to do. There is not just a reason to live, but a REASON YOU ARE ALIVE. There is a PURPOSE to your life and no human was ever brought into this world by mistake. You were molded and formed and named in your mother’s womb and whether you know God now or never have yet, He has created you with fingers of love and He knew that the world could not get along without you. So LIVE. Fill your role. Love the people around you, work hard, and never, ever doubt the fact that you are IMPORTANT.
- Libby May

Choose life today because you are alive! God has gifted you with life, and you woke up breathing and living. He wants you here, on this earth, for some purpose of His. It's not for you to decide when to leave this life; you didn't create yourself. It's up to the Creator Himself. Yes, life may be painful right now, and you may be struggling with things no one in this world can understand. But that doesn't give you liberty to escape this life -- it means that God has promised us trials and he has also promised to make us stronger through them if we endure to the end.
- Kaitlyn S.

Hoop earrings. Rhinestone rings. Ruffles and lace. Your favourite skirt. Those little accessories and outfits you love. The things that make you smile when you put them on. 
- Katja Labonte

My parents. They are the best and I seriously don’t know what I’d do without them. They’re always there for me. <3
- RebekahAshleigh

Here’s the short version of things: We’ve all been in dark places, and in a dark world, we’ll keep going there. But you are not the only person on this planet. You are not the only person who’s struggling. You are not alone. Suicide is not your last resort; don’t let it be your last resort, because no matter how lonely you seem or feel, if you’re reading this, there’s someone out there who will weep over your death. Please don’t take your own life when it could cause another to make the same decision. Please don’t take your own life when you could be helping someone else with theirs. Life will try to get the better of you. But, and I’m quoting Abbie Emmons here: “When life knocks you down… get up.” People can and will relate to you if you let them. And also… always be a happy camper.
- Merie Shen

Dreams. Goals. Plans. Aspirations. Desires. Making us push and rewarding us. Stepping out in faith, holding God’s hand. Surrendering to His call. Accepting His plan. 
- Katja Labonte

Late night conversations with the stars.
- Angela Watts

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: You. Are. So. Loved. More than you will ever be able to understand or comprehend, you are loved. The God of the universe give His only child for you—an unfathomable love we will never be able to fully grasp the magnitude of. And there are people on this earth, right now, who care about you. Who are thinking about you. Who love you. So please. Stay. You are wanted here. <3

|| Today on the Tour

Friday, September 13th

Abigail @ Novel, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors — Review of Freedom
Isabel @ Chasing Fantasia — Review of Freedom
Molly @ Qadash - Set Apart, for Him — Review of Beloved
Kaitlyn @ Maidens for Modesty — Review of Beloved

Last day to enter the giveaway

what's your R2L? <33

Thursday, September 12, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Thirteen Reasons You Should Read Beloved

Day Eleven...

Honestly, I'm still trying to process that we've made it this far, y'all. God is good. The tour is going strong, and the Cover Me Veterans fundraiser/Freedom preorder with a new goal of $200 was at $138.95 last count. <33

Today's post is a little special. Just in case these stories haven't been hyped enough, allow us to lead you through thirteen reasons you should read Freedom/Beloved... Freedom's list is on Kate's blog. ;)

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Thirteen Reasons Why You Should Read Beloved

1. Cara. The intricately fascinating main character is reason enough in herself. But also, did you know that her name means beloved?

2. Suicide - dealing with it. As you probably already knew, the main character of Beloved deals with thoughts of suicide and makes a few attempts. I'm so blessed to see more and more books dealing with this topic.

3. Suicide - losing someone to it. Similar to Freedom, the main character of Beloved lost someone they were close to to suicide. I love that, in this way, the book shows both sides of suicide.

4. Peter. Can he just be a reason on his own? Please? This dude, though... #allmine

5. Brothers. All the brothers are so amazing and adorable. Dorky and quirky. Broken and precious. And highly entertaining.

6. Foster family dynamics. While I've read many books that contained foster parents, foster families, and various types of temporary custody/adoption/etc. situations, they usually feel...awkward. But this...THIS. <3  Best foster family setting I've saw in fiction.

7. Legit all the heartbreaking backstories. This story brings light to many other hard topics besides suicide, including abuse and abandonment.

8. The California setting is just really cool. I appreciate a story that has a beachy vibe, without feeling touristy.

9. Martha. If you haven't read the book, you don't know who Martha is and I can't really tell you without spoiling things... But seriously, read the book for Martha, if for no other reason. It'll be worth it, promise.

10. THE S.N.A.R.K. Spot on, y'all. Spot on. I love sarcasm and snarky-ness in books, and Miss Krispense nailed it.

11. Is the epic cover and lovely formatting a silly reason? Because, seriously. I'd read a book because of that...

12. The ending...isn’t the original ending. (Thank heavens. *zips lips because I can't say why*)

13. The love of Christ shines through so, so beautifully. Read this book if you need to feel special and loved and adored. <3

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: Christ's sacrifice. Think about it for a minute. He gave His life—His all—for you. He literally bleed and died to give you life. It's not your place to take it out of His hands, dear one.

|| Today on the Tour

Thursday, September 12th

Esther @ We’ve Got Pockets — Interview 2x

Only two more days to submit to the Q&A or enter the giveaway!

so what are you waiting for?! 

Beloved is available in paperback, Amazon Kindle, and signed copies. <3

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Book Recommendations

Y'all... Release day completely blew me away. Like, I think I'm going to cry.

Release day of Freedom was unlike any previous release day for a book. Starting with, I was at work for 10 hours, which doesn't happen *too* often. xD  Secondly, it's my first dual release. And then, perhaps most importantly, the book has gotten SO much attention around the social media realms. My heart has been so blessed by everyone's love and support.

Also, quick update on the Freedom fundraiser. The goal was to sell 14 copies, which would mean donating just over $100 to Cover Me Veterans. As I write this at 11:35 last night, we've sold 15 paperback copies, received a sweet donation, and sold 2 Kindle copies. Bringing the total to just over $120.

*happy smiles* God is so good, y'all. So so good. And—because of that—we're going for $200. God didn't stop at $100, so we aren't either. Keep spreading the word. Keep sharing the love. Keep being the hope and the light. <3


Today's post is book recommendations that deal with common subjects from Freedom and/or Beloved. Hop over to Kate's blog for more!

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Related Books — Recommendations 

Homeward by Angela Watts

This story, y'all. It's the best description of how suicide wrecks a life and a family that I've read. Not to mention it's free and the author is a complete dear. Do yourself a favor and give it a read. <3

Freedom's Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

While I didn't enjoy this book on all counts (more info in my review), the author did a fabulous job of dealing with suicide, PTSD, and the brutal effects of war—all of which I really appreciated. 

Live Again by Sarah Grace Grzy

A short story prequel to the author's debut, Live Without You, Live Again is a darker look into the lives of the same characters. A battle with suicide. And a choice to live or not to live. <3
Available exclusively to Sarah Grace's newsletter subscribers! 

If I Run series by Terri Blackstock

These books are like a gold mine of unexplored, under-appreciated topics and tropes. From suicide, to mental illness, to depression, to PTSD, to amputees... what does this series not have? 10/10 recommended. 

Beloved by Kaitlyn Krispense

Obviously, I'm kinda partial to this author... :P  But it's not without reason! This book is filled to the brim with the real life struggles of depression and suicidal thoughts. It's not one to be missed. Read my full review here.

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: your story. While we're on the topic of stories and books again, I want to remind you of something. Your story and the example you set is being watched by all those around you. Choose life because of the people watching you. You could be the hope in someone else's story. <3

|| Today on the Tour

Wednesday, September 11th

Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh — Interview w/ Kate
Faith @ Faith Lane Author — Interview w/ Faith + Spotlight of Freedom
Hannah @ Elizabeth’s Corner — Interview w/ Kate

The giveaway and Q&A forms are both still open! 

have you read any of these? spot a favorite author or genre on the list?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Release Day + Review of Beloved

*grins nervously* Folks... it's time. Release day is here.

And I am frEakiNg oUt. Freaking out. Freaking out. 

Just sayin'. But, regardless, here we are. We made it. Things are mostly in order. We're both still alive and well. The tour is going strong. And today, World Suicide Prevention Day, both of our books are releasing to the world. To say I'm stoked would be a slight understatement.

In honor of the release, Kate and I are reviewing each other's books! Find her review of Freedom as well as all the information on how to get YOUR copy of Beloved at the link below. :D

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Release Announcement

Having just returned to American soil from the desert sands of the Middle East, James Greene is done with his life. 'Double amputee' doesn't seem like a strong enough phrase to label the physical and emotional pain he bears. Add the lack of love and communication with his family members, the demons that haunt him day and night, and he can find nothing worth living for. Ending it all is the only way out.  
Alexandria Lorance is a not-so-ordinary physical therapist, content with aiding in her patients' recoveries. Her work gives her fulfillment, but alone in the silence, she still endures the hidden scars of a past, unhealthy relationship. Reminding herself that true healing is found in Christ alone, she seeks to show kindness and love to everyone she meets. 
When these two broken ones' paths intersect, the spark of friendship is ignited, bringing hope and joy to both. Can they step out of the darkness of suffering and into the freedom of grace?  
A Marine, broken by war. A therapist, scarred by words. A chance meeting in a parking lot bonded them together. But can love grow in these two hurting hearts? Or are they truly too broken to ever find lasting happiness?

Goodreads || Amazon Kindle || Amazon Paperback

If you're contemplating buying a paperback, I have two things to say. First, thank you. I'm so honored that you want to hold my little story in your hands! The paperback is definite #eyecandy. And secondly, would you consider not purchasing from Amazon? Would you choose instead to purchase through this form?

I would love to be able to donate $100 to Cover Me Veterans at the end of the month. This non-profit organization makes custom gun skins for veterans at no charge. Donating $100—which will cover the costs of 5 gun skins—means selling 10 more copies of Freedom through the special preorder offer.

Can we make it happen? Can we beat the statistics and have a positive influence in this world? More details are on the form, and I'll be around as much as I can to answer any questions. I believe God has great plans for this venture. Prayers always appreciated. <3

|| Review of Beloved


After I read this book the initial time, I literally sat there for about five minutes, just trying to breathe and collect myself over that ending. Then, I made sure I was still breathing and proceeded to pick up my phone and yell at the author for 8.94 minutes about how amazing she is. Because that’s what good friends are for.

Jokes aside… I don’t think I can adequately put into words how special and amazing this story is. But I shall try.

// The Characters 

Cara: The main character. The girl who is so very beloved, and doesn’t even know it. From page one, there was something about Cara’s humorous snarkiness that drew me in and made me love her. Her feelings of being unloved and worthless was just… <3  She was a darling, beloved dearie. (And, goodness, let’s not forget Martha.)

Erich: Um, I like this guy. Like, HELLO, he rescued a total stranger from suicide (something he has a past with) and then made a joke about resuscitating her with mouth-to-mouth. Total winner. Like, how amazing of a dude can this authoress create? Pretty epic, obviously.

Kade: From the moment this dude stepped on the ‘set’, I knew he was special. And once he left that scene, I had a feeling we hadn’t seen the last of him. And I’m quite partial to his return. (If that's a spoiler...forgive me.)

Allllll the bros: I loved them. I loved the camaraderie of the foster/adopted family. They were precious and lovable; they just needed Jesus. For the sake of time, I won’t comment on all of them, but they were all adorbs and funny and THOSE BACKSTORIES. <3 (Side note – I thought the author did an epic job of giving the reader all the backstories at times that made sense, instead of dumping all the info into like one scene. *nods and beams*)

A last note on the charries: Peter is mine. That is all. Hands off, gals.

// The Theme 

Gracious, don’t even get me started. A book that shows girls (well, anyone really) that they are loved, and cherished, and treasured by the God who created them is something I’m going to love, anyway. And Miss Krispense pulled it off quite flawlessly. It wasn’t cheesy. It wasn’t preachy. It was gold and relatable and endearing. <3

// The Writing 

I had read some stories by this author—all of which were good—but this book is BY FAR her strongest and clearest creation. Kaitlyn is a dear girl with a heart for letting others know that they are beloved. And I'm so, so glad she chose to publish during this special week with me. <33

5 stars!

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: freedom. True freedom is found in Jesus Christ alone—He is our freedom and we should never take that for granted. As Americans, we're also blessed with freedom in the US—freedom to live and love in this country of prosperity. As someone pointed out to me the other day, if someone was so willing as to die for our freedom (whether it be Jesus Christ or the American Soldier), why shouldn't we be willing to live for it?

|| Today on the Tour

Tuesday, September 10th

Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh — Review of Beloved
Abigail @ Books, Life, and Christ — Interview w/ Kate

Remember to enter the giveaway, and the Q&A form is still accepting entries! 

who else is stoked?! *raises hand* 

Monday, September 9, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Author Q&A Collab

*sets off rockets filled with confetti*

The day has arrived! Together, Kate and I answering the questions that all of you submitted through the Q&A form. Kate's answers are in teal and mine are in purple, because these are the colors (along with yellow) that represent suicide prevention and awareness. Teal is also the color of the PTSD awareness ribbon.

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Q&A

Who was your favorite character to write? 
All of the siblings. So fabulous. But particularly Eddie.

James. I love Alex—well, and everyone else—and I always will. But James is my favorite. 

What is one essential piece of advice you'd give to new indie authors?
Get yourself a writing partner. Get someone to whom you can scream about plot twists, sob about inconsistencies, and complain about editing, all without worrying about them getting annoyed with you.

Not to intentionally create an oxymoron, but don’t follow all the advice you receive. When I first started writing, I was overwhelmed by the amount of advice I got. And, because I’m a rule follower, I tried to do everything that everyone said. I quickly decided that a lot of it wasn’t going to work for me. 
For example, there’s this age-old line that says: “write what you know.” Ehh, nope, not a fan of that one. The whole concept implies that you should only write about what you know well—whether that’s knowledge of specific countries, cultures, or workfields, or experience in certain hardships—which is a really close-minded perspective when you think about it. If we only write what we know, then we’re not learning anything new. And isn’t that half the point to any endeavor? 

What part of the story touched you the most?
The whole thing . . . ? I mean, each part of the story touched me differently. But if I had to pick just one scene . . . the second one with Erich & Cara on the boulders (if you’ve read the book, you know what I mean!)

I’m going to go with the scene that I affectionately refer to as the “In Christ Alone part.”  Some of you already know what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t, it’s a church scene in the second half of the book where the song plays an important role. Those paragraphs still give me chills. 

How long did it take to write your book?
Little over a month, actually.

*squints* Like two years? I wasn’t working only on this project during that time, though. Obviously. 

What inspired you to write about the topic of suicide?
Uhhh . . . Pinterest? It was pretty much the first thought and I never really thought of going any other direction, honestly.

Originally, Pinterest for me, too. But then further into the project, I was encouraged and inspired by the constant reminder of the many lives who’ve already been lost to suicide. I can’t tell all of their stories, but I can tell this one. 

What did God show you while writing these novels? How did you grow closer to Him while writing them?
No matter how many times I doubt, He’s always there to love me. <3

Every life has a purpose. It’s something I’ve always known, something you hear all the time in places like church and Sunday School and Bible study. But it’s a truth that I didn’t fully comprehend until I placed myself inside the mind of someone who’s lost all hope. 

How do you figure a book cover to wrap around and fit the spine?
Algebra. *shudders* Since I don’t have a special app that tells me what size to make everything, I make the front cover, then take the number of fully formatted pages and plug ‘em into an online calculator that tells me how many inches wide the spine will be. Convert that to pixels, then calculate the size to fit with the rest of the file, then make the back cover, then put ‘em all together and pray they all fit. If that all makes sense. XD

*coughs awkwardly* I ask Kate to do it for me. That’s how I do it. 

Or that . . .

What’s one big lesson you learned from writing this book? 

I can write coherently . . . ? Also that God will make a way. He loves us. <3 And that how we treat others makes a huge difference. Shall I go on?

Suicide is so much worse and happens much more often that I realized. It deserves more attention, awareness, and understanding than it gets. Let’s show some grace and love, and get rid of the contemptuous mindset. 

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: purpose. No matter how burdened, alone, or unwanted you feel, God has a plan. In every aspect of your life, He has a plan. Even right here in this very moment, He has a plan. I love the words of Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you..."  He doesn't have to specify that He has a plan for us, because it's a given. Instead, this verse seeks to instill in us that His plans are good and they are of a peace-filled future.

|| Today on the Tour

Monday, September 9th

Alyssa @ Alyssa N —Review of Freedom + Interview w/ Faith
Victoria @ Victoria Paige — 2x Review

be sure to hop over to Kaitlyn's blog to continue reading the Q&A collab! 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Interviewing My Release Buddy

Happy Sunday, lovelies!

I hope y'all have/are having a marvelous day, rejoicing in the Lord's goodness. <3 As for me, I'm out of town visiting some friends this weekend—and consequently writing this post from their couch at nearly midnight last night, haha.

Today's post is another fun interview. This time, Kaitlyn and I did "author interviews" of each other, almost as if we don't know each other and the stories behind each of our works. So that was cool. Read on for my interview of Kate, and visit her blog for her interview of me.

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| Interviewing My Release Buddy

Hello, my dear! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey. 
Hello! I'm Kaitlyn, a farmer's daughter that loves books, writing (obviously), music, and going barefoot. I'm a born-again believer in Christ, and it's Him that gave me the inspiration for this story. I'd dabbled with creative writing for a few years (even wrote a novelette that'll never see the light of day, thank goodness), mostly with fan fiction for my favorite book series. But then in 2016 I saw a pin on Pinterest that inspired the story of what is now Beloved. When I first started it, I wasn't planning on publishing it. I mean, there was always that tiny hope in the back of my mind, buuuuut I didn't really take it further than that until my writing partner read it and was like 'YES YOU'RE PUBLISHING.' She more or less got me hooked on the idea. And now we're here. #mindblown

I understand that Beloved is your first completed novel. How long did the writing process take and what was your favorite and least favorite parts? 
Yep! And hopefully not the last! ;) I started this baby in July of 2016, and finished it that September . . . I think? I'd have to go look through one of my notebooks to be sure, haha! So, yeah, it took just over a month. My favorite parts . . . Anything with the brothers. I love these guys so much. Though *cough* Erich is probably my least favorite? *cringes* Even though he's the heartthrob, he's just . . . too perfect. And yes, I'm aware that I'm the author saying this. It just . . . happened. But I love those couple scenes between him and Cara. No spoilers, ya know. ;) My least favorites . . . anything with Mrs. C. She drives me nuts. And that scene in the middle of the book (I can't give any spoilers *cries*) with Erich and Cara . . . while I love it and it's precious, I rewrote it and edited it and reread it and I still feel like it's the weakest part of the book. *sigh* I hope that's just because my eyes were tired of looking at it.

From Beloved, which character do you relate to the most and why? 
Cara, hands-down. I mean, I basically created her as mini-me. I'd been struggling with depression and insecurity and self-worth when I wrote it, so I wanted Cara's path to redemption to reflect what I knew was true, but was having a hard time getting myself to really believe and live out. Her struggles, her sarcasm . . . yep, Cara is definitely the one I can relate to the most. ;) Though, I don't have conversations with my conscience . . .

Your debut novel is releasing in two days—how does that make you feel? 
Uh. AHAHAHA. NOT READY. NOT. READY. *coughs* I honestly feel soooo unprepared for this, even though we've been planning this thing since . . . January? Yeah. Anyway. I'm super excited to take this step, I'm freaked out at the idea that my book baby might not be good enough (I wrote this for God's glory, not my own, but what writer doesn't want her stories to be loved?), I'm overwhelmed by God's grace that allowed everything to get this far. I hope my book touches someone for Him. <3

Thanks for being here today! Any parting words or advice for new writers? 
Thank you so much for hosting me! Ahh, there's so much I could say here . . . for one, write what God's put on your heart. Let His hand guide your words, and when you're doing His will, don't let the outcome scare you. Also, get yourself a writing partner! They're so amazing, and encouraging, and they don't get tired of you screaming about random plot twist ideas! ;)

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: sunlight. There's something about sitting out in the sunshine, lifting your face to it's warm beams, and letting the sunshine-y glow seep into every fiber of your being. My worries become more bearable, my heart fills with joy, and no matter what's going on, I can't help but smile a little. It's just one of those simple, every day occurrences that makes life worth the living. <3

|| Today on the Tour

Sunday, September 8th

Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh — Interview w/ Faith
Rose @ Adventurous Bookworm — 2x Spotlight
Hannah @ Elizabeth’s Corner — Review of Freedom

We'll be answering questions from the Q&A in tomorrow's post, so get your questions submitted! Giveaway is open through the 13th, and the paperback sale/fundraiser is open through the 30th! 

is Kate a dear or what? what's your R2L of the day? 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

13 Reasons Why || 13 Random Facts

The weekend is here! Buuuuutttt we're still in full-blown party mode, so stick around, eh?

Today I'm going to be sharing 13 random facts about Freedom. And, of course, the lovely Miss Krispense is sharing her 13 facts about Beloved at the link below. :D

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

|| 13 Random Facts

1. Pinterest was the original inspiration for the story. Don't discredit the perks of the endless scroll, y'all.

2. I battled over the title of this baby from the beginning. I could probably spout of discarded titles ideas for hours...

3. This book utterly wrecked me. And the only thing that kept me from being destroyed was the #snark.

4. Through multiple edits, Freedom grew from 63,000 words in the first draft to 75,000 words in the final, published version—making it my longest published work by over 25,000 words.

5. I learned more about the United States Marine Corps than I ever thought I'd know.

6. I now own a "22 a Day" t-shirt and hoodie, as well as some semicolon jewelry, thanks to the impact the themes in this book made on me.

7. Early on, I planned to pursue traditional publishing with this book. But, clearly, God had other plans.

8. This book had approximately 217 mock covers before I figured out what I wanted. And settled on the perfect choice.

9. Freedom is the first book I've published with plans for a series.

10. I cried more over this book than any other book or story I've written to date.

11. It's also the first book I've written in which the main girl character doesn't have an amazing best friend who she's super close with and tells everything to.

12. This book is the first story I've written in which neither main character has parents that are good role models.

13. The final version of Freedom has 22 chapters in honor of the 22 veteran lost to suicide each day.

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: you are unique. I know, I've heard that dozens of times before. But it's SO true, my friend. There is only one uniquely perfect you. Embrace your identity in Him. You have a place in this world that no one else can fill. And I don't want that special place to be left empty. <3

|| Today on the Tour

Saturday, September 7th — Three interviews and three reviews, it's a full day!

Angela @ The Peculiar Messenger — 2x Author Interview
Laura @ Beautiful Things — 2x Review
Molly @ Qadash - Set Apart, for Him — Review of Freedom
Hannah @ Elizabeth’s Corner — Interview w/ Faith

You know the drill...  Submit your questions for the Q&A, enter the giveaway, and claim your special preorder copy! <3 

did you already know any of these facts? which one surprised you the most? 

Friday, September 6, 2019

13 Reasons Why || Storyboard + Playlist

How on earth is it the fifth day of the tour already? Literally cannot believe that's possibly. It's been nearly a year since the idea of this tour first sprang to life, although I can't believe that much time has passed.

Kaitlyn and I are being creative today, with a fun and laid-back type of post. We're sharing images from the books' storyboards (basically pictures and/or quotes relating to the books) and songs from the playlists!

As usual, Kate's post can be found through the link below. <3

Kaitlyn Krispense, Author

Don't forget! You can claim your copy of Freedom today and support veteran suicide prevention. <3

|| Storyboard

|| Playlist

Someone I Used to Know // Zac Brown Band

Someone I used to know, ran himself in the ground...

Come to the Table // Sidewalk Prophets

To the thief, to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier... 

Semper Fi // Trace Adkins

Semper Fi, do or die
So gung ho, to go and pay the price
Heres to Leathernecks, Devildogs, and Jarheads
Parris Island in July, Semper Fi

Scars // I AM THEY

My brokenness brought me to You and these wounds are a story You'll use...

A Soldier's Memoir // Joe Bachman

Part of me is here at home and part of me's back there

Why // Rascal Flatts

Who told you life wasn't worth the fight?
They were wrong
They lied
And now you're gone
And we cried

Call It Grace // Unspoken

It knows your deepest secrets, but it never looks away...

Stand // Rascal Flatts

When push comes to shove, you taste what you're made of
You might bend till you break because it's all you can take

Dress Blues // Zac Brown Band

Mamas and grandmamas love you, American boys hate to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

Drowning // Chris Young

All I think about is how you were taken way too soon
It ain't the same here without you
I gotta say, missing you comes in waves
And tonight I'm drowning

|| R2L

Today's reason to live is: music. There's nothing quite like soaking up the notes of a slow, thoughtful song. Or dancing and jazzing out to a loud, lively, and upbeat song. There's nothing quite like words put to music that are able to express how your feel and allow you to relate like nothing else can. Music is a gift. Music is therapy. Music is pain and joy and sorrow and beauty and love—assigned to a tune. Music is a reason to live.

Maybe it seems like a "small thing," but honestly, if you overlook the little things, what do we have left?

|| Today on the Tour

Friday, September 6th

Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh — Review of Freedom
Amanda @ With a Joyful Noise — Spotlight
Kaitlyn @ Maidens for Modesty — Review of Freedom

Reminder: There's a Q&A to take part in and a giveaway to enter! 

which song do you think best fits the story? which day of the tour has been your favorite so far?