Showing posts from December, 2013

Guest Post: From Cassia's Camera

From Cassia's Camera by Cassia Schaar
Hey there! I'm Cassia, I'm a high school student from Canada and I've been doing photography for about three years now.
To be perfectly honest, getting into photography was a fluke. I signed up for a class that was supposed to be for film but I was mistaken. I hated it at first but pushed through it, not wanting to be a quitter. At the end of the class, I won an award for 'best female photographer' and thought that maybe I was ignoring a gift God had given me.
So I took it up. The below photos are a result.

Author Interview: Oliver Dahl

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend a lot (definitely too much) of time on the internet. YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit... you name it. I also love to play piano and read. Homework from school also takes up some time.

I think the internet thing comes with the job. ;)

What inspired your book? How did it all start?
Well, I talk enough about what inspired my first book, The Dreamers, so maybe I’ll talk about my upcoming book, Lies. In my American History class last year, we were reading in our textbooks about pre-colonial America, the 1600’s or so. While reading, I was appalled to see that the Salem Witch Trials were mentioned once. The textbook summarized the events and moved on in one paragraph. I had always been kinda fascinated and horrified by the Salem Witch Trials, and to see them almost blown off in a class textbook was... shocking. We’re talking about an event that hugely inspired our modern judicial system--an event that speaks boldly about human nature, and the aff…

One Word 365: 2014

It's that time again, my lovely readers. Time to pack up the tree and toss out the wrapping paper. Time to find homes for all those Christmas presents. Time to get ready for New Year's Eve!

Along with a new year comes new year resolutions. After a whole year of honing in on just one little word, dream, I've decided to keep up OneWord365 as a tradition. So for this year, my one word will be...

What to Do With Your One Word Originally posted December 30, 2012
Claim your word - with free blog buttons made by Melanie, personalized with your word to match your blog design (the images above? those are buttons she made for me!).  You  can also share your word on, and link up a post about it on Melanie's blog here.
Wear your word - on personalized jewelry from Etsy!  You might know of an Etsy shop that makes personalized, hand-stamped jewelry.  If not, here are a few I've found: Tiny Tokens DesignsBee Baubles JewelryWSayle Silver and Stone.  I think this …

Blog Tour: Bold by Hannah Stewart {+ Giveaways!}

Tell us a little about yourself first.

Well, let's see. I am a Christian, and was a pastor's daughter for the first 15 years of my life. I'm now a student at the University of Akron, working toward an English major and Political Science minor with an end goal of teaching high school English. I've lived all over the country, including a five year stint in New York City where my family planted a church. I'm currently working as a cook at my parents' ice cream and BBQ shop and as an English tutor. British literature is my passion, especially Charles Dickens and Shakespeare - definitely Shakespeare. In my "spare time," I'm also an equestrian in the process of retraining my exracehorse, Moose, and have recently taken up acting as well. In other words, I'm a very busy person, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?

I would have to say my faith in our Savior has had the greatest influence on…

Author Interview: Brian McBride

Tell us a little about yourself first.
First and foremost, I am a Christian. There, now that we have that settled, we can move on. ;) I am seventeen years old (almost eighteen!) and I write mostly fantasy, but a little bit of dystopian and sci-fi. I published my debut young-adult novel in June of 2013 and am working on many more ideas. I am a musician; I play the piano (10 years), the drums (5 years), and the bass guitar (2 years). I LOVE – as in, I’m obsessed with – iced tea. Like, seriously, I have to have it EVERYDAY. I am currently unemployed and searching for a job. Right now, my only source of income is from my book, Paradox, and the drum lessons I provide to a member of my church.

How long have you been writing? 
Since I was about 11, I believe. I started with short stories and poems. Then it grew into my first novel, which I realized had little potential. Now, it is permanently shelved, but I can’t say I’ll ever forget it.

A Change of Plans

I was supposed to have a guest post in for you today, but a few of my guest bloggers this year have been behind schedule. Therefore, my lovely readers, today you get lucky. I felt it wouldn't be right to just leave you with nothing today, so piggybacking off yesterday's cover reveal for Sixteen, today I have for you...
the back cover copy!

Yes, here it is! The official summary/blurb for my debut Christian novella, Sixteen:
Nicole "Nikki" Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it's no surprise that Matt's age is all her mom sees. Just because he's twenty-four and she's sixteen doesn't mean he's a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki's dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine...  Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship -…

Merry Christmas! Plus My Surprise for You

Today we're taking a break from the party to celebrate Christmas. However, before you go back to opening presents and sipping hot chocolate, I have a gift for you, my lovely readers....


It's cover reveal day!

This, friends, is the beauty that is my first book cover. All credit for the lovelies goes to Melody Simmons at I can't wait for you all to see the book when it releases in January!

Merry Christmas!

Author Interview: C.F. Barrows {+ Giveaway!}

Tell us a little about yourself first.
Well, I'm nineteen years old and a former homeschooler. I come from a family of five kids (I'm the fourth), and we're all pretty much nuts in our own ways. I'm a Christian, and plan to publish only books with Christian themes and messages, as I see very little point in writing if what I produce does not bring glory to God, who gave me my ability to write in the first place. I also possess some OCD tendencies, which have earned me the nickname 'Monk' with my family members. I am a first degree black belt in Taekwondo, but am inactive due to Lyme disease. And I am a Grammar Geek. Not a Nazi, but I may go insane if grammar has been mistreated and I'm powerless to do anything about it.

Okay, now for questions! How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Poetry was big for several years, and I've been coming up with stories (however ridiculous) since I was quite young. The oldest …

Guest Post: Hannah Stewart on Christmas in Raven Falls

Christmas in Raven Falls
By Hannah Stewart

Raven Falls is the fictitious town in upstate New York that acts as the backdrop for my Breaking Shadows series. It was based off of Thornton Wilder’s Grover’s Corners… that is, if Grover’s Corners were dropped into a filthy, dystopian future with parallels to the French Revolutionary Era. The world of Breaking Shadows is a dark one, a harsh one, governed with a militaristic mindset. Raven Falls is a place where only the strong survive, and good people have to do bad things. But Raven Falls is also a place of hope. It’s a place to rise up from the ashes of oppression and begin again.

This dystopian future is bleak, and very different from the world we live in now, but there are some things that remain. Christmas is one of them, though it, too, is very different. Most holidays have been banned, along with music, in an attempt to subdue the people. Christmas was the exception, as it has always been a huge staple of our country’s economy every ye…

Author Interview: Zara Hoffman

Tell us a little about yourself first.

My name is Zara Hoffman. I’m sixteen going on seventeen, (Emily starts humming The Sound of Music) a junior in high school, and self-published my debut novel on November 13, 2013. It’s a fantasy romance novel, and the first in The Belgrave Legacy Trilogy.

I love The Sound of Music! Oh, wait... getting back on track here. Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?

My grandma and mom, both of whom strongly encouraged my love of reading and writing. And authors who inspired me are Philip Pullman, JK Rowling, and James Patterson.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Lots of homework, singing, and playing with my puppy.

Ugh. Homework. It's the one thing adult authors have over teens: no homework.

What is your writing process? Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits?

I get an inspirational dream, then write it down, then I go back and do a loose outline for the book. I try and write at least 100-300 word…

Giveaway Time! Etsy Watercolor Print

Guys. You guys.
I totally scored the jackpot for you today.
Our Etsy sponsor for this year's blog party is an absolutely stunning artist: She paints animals in watercolor, and let me tell you, I envy whoever wins this beauty.

One lucky winner will receive an 18" x 24" print of that darling. Open to US only - again, sorry, my international readers, but shipping outside the US gets kinda steep.
I'd say more about Jess and her art, but really, it speaks for itself. A photo is worth a thousand words. I'd say her paintings are worth five thousand each, at least. I'm not kidding. Whoever wins this, I will be jealous. I have never wanted to win my own giveaways this badly!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post: C.F. Barrows, Failure, and Fear

Overcoming Atychiphobia Regarding Our Work... And Ourselves
By C. F. Barrows

Note from Emily: C.F.'s original title read "Failure-Phobia," not "Atychiphobia." I thought it'd be cool to use the actual word that means a failure phobia. So there you have it.

Anyone who has ever published a book and is honest about it will tell you this: it is a terrifying experience. We take great care to ensure that the characters are relatable and realistic, and that the plot flows well and makes sense. We polish our prose so as to make things clear and understandable for the reader. We pound our heads against our desks and struggle for half an eternity with our work, until we reach a point where there is little else to do but to take a couple of aspirin and declare the project "Finished."

But even after all this work and agony, we are afraid. Petrified, even.

Whether we like to admit it or not, each of us weaves a bit of his or her soul throughout the pages of each …

Author Interview: Frances Hardinge

Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?
I was lucky enough to have a childhood surrounded by books. Both my parents read to me and my sister, so I absorbed a love of the written word very early.

In terms of inspiration, I also need to mention my late grandfather, H Mills West. He belonged to a poor farming family, and was one of many children who had to leave school early so that he could work and help make ends meet. He was extremely intelligent, however, so he used books to educate himself, to the point where he was able to get a place in a teacher training college. Not only did he become a teacher, he went on to write about a dozen books which were accepted by a local publisher. I'm very proud of him for achieving so much despite the odds stacked against him.

How much research do you usually put into your books?
I tend to do a lot of research, and as far as I'm concerned it's one of the fun parts! It's also helpful in terms of accuracy and realism,…

Guest Post: Jillian H, Keeping Christ in Christmas

Keeping Christ in Christmas
by Jillian H.
Holiday music drifts from hidden speakers in department stores. Lines wrap around the local mall, filled with bright-eyed children who have waited all year to see Santa Claus. Women bustle from store to store with large shopping bags tucked under their arms, as they fumble with coupons and Christmas lists. This is Christmas.
There's nothing wrong with the annual Christmas traditions that have become so prevalent in society. In fact, I love Christmas trees, presents, and chocolate advent calendars! However, I think that we often get caught up in the middle of these traditions and lose sight of what this season is truly about: Jesus.

Blog Tour: Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl + Giveaway!

Answer to the True or False question from the last stop:  False! 

About the Book: Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl:Traveling with her parents brings Lydia, daughter of explorer and singer Buddy Davis, plenty of adventure and mystery - from hidden clues in bookstores to cave paintings deep underground.

About the Author:  Whether she’s building life-sized models of dinosaurs with her adopted family, trying her hand at cooking at a private retreat, or living in a barn, author Aidyl Ewoh (aka Lydia Howe) seems to have adventures follow her wherever she goes. Check out her book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl and find out more about her at her BlogFacebook, and Twitter

My Introduction to Answers in Genesis, Part One: 

I’m not even sure when or how or even why exactly I started liking Answers in Genesis (referred to as ‘AiG’ from now on) in the first place. I know the first thing I remember watching from them was Dinosaurs, Genesis and the Gospel which was a DVD for kids. It was of a speaking…

Author Interview: Sam Graber

Tell us a little about yourself first.
Well I’m a homeschool graduate and a college student. I’ve been writing off and on since I was around 7 or so, but I wasn’t really serious about it until about a year and a half ago. Recently I’ve been working on a project that I hope to make my debut novel. On the side I work part time as a software developer.

What is your book about? Target age range?
Korina of Two Worlds (KOTW) is about a girl who must choose between the land where she was born and the land where she was raised. Though she was born a human, she was brought to be raised among a blue skinned people called the lithus. Trained to protect, she is given a mission to act as a secret bodyguard to a noblewoman in the kingdom where she was born.
The target age range is between 18 and 25, though I hope it will prove enjoyable for adults as well.

Guest Post: Stephanie Kehr on "Lollipop Perfectionism"

Pitfalls of Lollipop Perfectionism - and the Truth that Sets Us Free By Stephanie Kehr
I remember those markers. They were perfectly wet and splashed brilliant colors of purple, sea green, and orange across my poster board with each stroke. I was enjoying myself. Colors had the ability to cast a spell of joy over me. Not only that, but someone had asked twelve-year-old me to design a sign for church. I felt pretty special.
“Can we help?”
I turned to the two boys standing next to me. No, I wanted to say, impulsively. They were good friends, but this was my project, and I wanted it to be done my way.
“Okay,” I gave in, trying to be nice.
The two boys sat down next to me gleefully and picked up my perfect markers. “I’ve outlined all the letters here, so all you have to do is color them in. But every stroke has to go the same way, and they can’t be overlapping. You can’t scribble.”
“Why not?”
“Because it doesn’t look good.”
I explained the color pattern to them, and just in case they forg…

Guest Post: Bethany Baldwin Talks Hanukkah

Celebrating Hanukkah... as a Christian Non-Jew
by Bethany Baldwin

Hello everyone! I'm very glad to be here today. Emily asked me to talk about Hanukkah. You see, my family has, many times in the past, celebrated this holiday, in a way. But as Christians, our perspective on it is a bit different.

Hanukkah came about when, in 164 B.C., a group of Jews known as the Maccabees (led by Judah Macabee) took back Judea from the rule of Seleusids, which were Syrian rulers who supported the spread of Greek religion and culture. In fact, they tried to destroy every trace of Jewish religion. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of this recapture, and of the re-establishment of the Jewish Temple. The Maccabees ruled until 37 B.C. when Herod took power.

Hannukah is an eight-days-long festival. It centers around a nine-branch menorah. There was a menorah in the Temple which had seven branches. The menorah for Hannukah has nine for this reason: eight to remember each day…

Author Interview: Caitlin Hensley {+ Giveaway!}

Tell us a little about yourself first.
Hi, everybody! *waves* I’m Caitlin, I’m 19, and I live in a little community in rural Oklahoma. When I’m not writing, I’m usually clogging, catching up on reruns of my favorite TV shows, or getting lost in a book. By day, I’m currently attending a two-year course to become certified in graphic design, which is loads of fun, and at night, I teach blogging classes at a nearby vo-tech.

When did you first realize you wanted to write books?
I don’t think there was really a certain moment in time when I realized, hey, I should write a bunch of books and become an author! For as long as I can remember, basically, I’ve been scribbling down stories on bits of notebook paper and reading them out loud to my sister. As I got older, I switched to a laptop, and now I make my sister read my books on her own, but the general principle’s the same. ;)

What is your writing process? Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits?
I try to write …


All images from

Hang the holly, trim the tree, wrap the presents, and party with me! That's right, my lovely readers - today we kick off our totally amazing holiday blog party!

If you're new here, don't be shy - we're all quite friendly, I promise. This is my third annual blog party, which doesn't have an official name. Why? Because it starts on my blogoversary and runs through Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and New Year's until, finally, we end on my birthday. That's over a whole month of partying! I never could settle on what to call such a massive celebration, so I just went with "Party." Keeping it simple... or something like that.

How does this party work? I'm glad you asked. :)

A Few Words on Spam

Note: This post does not apply to Google+ comments, which I have semi-recently started using, because you can't use word verification with Google+ comments. Yay!

A long while back, I was reading one of my favorite blogs when I came across a post on CAPTCHA and spam filters. (For those of you wondering, I'll explain what these are in a moment.) Basically, the post was so convincing, I turned off my CAPTCHA settings for this blog. In three years of blogging, never once have I turned it back on - or even considered it.

So let's talk about spam, because this is something that bothers me lately.

Obviously, I'm not talking about processed meat in a can. Nor am I about to launch into a discussion of how much I hate spam and can't trolls and hackers find something better to do? There's enough of that on the internet; it's obvious the only people who don't hate spam are the ones sending it.

No, I'm here to talk about CAPTCHA spam filters, and how they're …

Just One Word

Once upon a time, a teenage girl who liked writing and trying new things decided to do this whole New Years thing called One Word 365. She wanted a fun word, a pretty word. She landed on "dream."

She wasn't really expecting it to become a heavy word, a serious word. To that girl, "dream" meant smiles and laughter, anticipation and excitement, happy days and big, bright emotions. Sacrifice? Waiting? That's not what "dream" was about, not for her. No, she wanted to reach out and grasp her dreams - today.

Christmas Cheer

I'm writing this at ten o'clock at night. Well, my time. At Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, it's nine, and we still have another hour to go until the Ayers 1 live nativity begins - as does the judging of the Christmas decorating contest.

Let me back up.

Once upon a time, the oldest child and only girl of four kids knew she wanted to go to college. Then she realized she needed to figure out which college she was going to, and soon. Thus began a series of extensive, tiring college visits with her momma. One of these visits took them through way too many hours of Thanksgiving-weekend traffic and led to a prestigious Christian university in Jackson, Tennessee.