A few nights ago we had a torrential downpour here at the cabin. The phone screamed flood warnings nearly every hour all night long, and the forest became a river. Water poured from the sky and rushed along the forest floor, pushing over trees, and piling up debris that raced along in front of the torrent. Broken limbs, fallen leaves, and anything else that had been lying around was swept up as the water pushed everything along the path of least resistance.
A few days later, after the water had subsided, and the mud had dried into soft soil again, we took a long walk through the woods to see what damage might have occurred. Uprooted trees that had once towered over the landscape were pushed aside, leaning heavily against their neighbors for support. Piles of debris were in strange places where the water had pushed it into corners against some immovable object, and then left it there to rot. The grass was swept in one direction, as though a giant comb had been raked over it, giving away the direction the water had gone in its mad rush across the forest floor. The water seemed to have carried away anything that wasn’t holding on tight, deeply rooted in the soil, and even then, nothing survived untouched. The flood had left its mark.
I sit on the back porch, staring into the forest, and listen to the gentle gurgle of the stream below. Sunlight dances through the trees as the breeze moves their branches far above beneath a cloudless sky of brilliant blue. A bird sings in the distance. It is hard to look at this precious, restful scene, and think of the damage that was done just days before in this same place. How can it go so quickly from torrent to babbling brook? Those plants that held on through the storm are now blooming, rising up a little taller with each passing hour of sunshine as their roots drink in the water left behind after the storm. And it makes me wonder…
How have you weathered the storm?
Have you been swept away, caught up and ripped from your place to be carried along in a direction you didn’t want to go? Are you dashed against the rocks, and left to fend for yourself once the flood waters have subsided? Do you feel beaten, broken, and abandoned, wondering why others around you seem undamaged? Or, have you dug in, held fast to something solid that won’t let you go when the waters rage against you, and threaten to destroy? When the flood dissipates, and the storm is gone, are you a little bent, but not broken? Rising tall as the sun hits your face again, and certain you’ll remain right where you’re planted?
I’ve spent the last week loving friends who are in the midst of their storm. When it rains, it pours has been the theme of the week, it seems. I watch them fighting hard against the waves, digging in their heels against the rising floodwaters their life has become, and I am in awe. Determined, and inspired, I stand behind them, my shoulder leaning into the task as we fight to hold the water back. They won’t be swept away, they are rooted in solid ground. Their faith in God is what holds them there, certain he will rescue them even when they can’t see how. The thunder roars overhead and the wind screams in their faces, all while the water rises, but they won’t let go. Their hope is in something bigger, something that has never let them go, and so they hold on.
As I sit here listening to the stream sing its sweet song as it moves beneath the trees, I am overwhelmed with hope. Yesterday the storm raged, but today the water is back in its banks. Instead of destruction, today there is peace, and it is carried along beneath a bright blue sky. Today there is hope for those who held their ground, and the flowers bloom right where they stand beside the quiet stream as it wanders through the wood.
What are you holding onto? Will you bloom today, or be washed away?
The hardest part of packing was sorting through my office and trying to decide what to keep, what to take with me, and what to let go. In the end, I packed up a huge pile of fabulous gifts and sent them out to my street team, The Sutherlin Circle. They have worked so hard this year sharing my books on social media, posting graphics and ads they created to share when my books went on sale, and generally cheering me on whenever I needed a rally cry. It was fun choosing what treasures to send them.
Then, I packed one last box of story notes and journals to take to France, and sent the rest with my inlaws to their home out in the country where my desk will wait for me to return. I can’t imagine all the wonderful stories I’ll dream up in the French countryside, but I’m sure they are waiting for me to discover them on long walks in the wood or quiet afternoons in the chateau.
Wishing you could join the adventure? I really wish I could take you with me, but I just don’t think you’ll fit in my suitcase. Instead, how about a pack of treasures to make you feel like you’re the one traveling to France this weekend? It includes a signed copy of One Paris Summer by the fabulous Denise Grover Swank, a travel diffuser and lavender oil from Young Living essential oils, a French themed journal, a copy of my book, A Familiar Darkness, a handmade bag, and lavender bath fizzes to help you envision yourself in a relaxing French bath while you read.
I’ll be choosing the winner from my author newsletter list, so sign up HERE to enter. Already subscribed? Well, you’re already entered then, you lucky duck! Be a good friend, and share this giveaway with your book-loving friends online. Maybe they’ll loan you the books if they win. 🙂
Happy Halloween! I have to admit Halloween snuck up on me this year. 2016 has been packed with travel and BIG changes in my personal life. But after a whirlwind of activity and life-altering decisions, I’m excited to finally spill the (jelly)beans…
WE’RE MOVING TO FRANCE!
That’s right. It’s crazy, I know, but it’s true. In one month we’ll be moving into our new home, a 12 bedroom chateau in the middle of the French countryside. It’s an adventure that we never planned on, and I can hardly wait to see what happens next. I keep thinking I’ll wake up to find it’s all a joke, it can’t possibly be happening to me…but this is definitely real. It’s happening, folks!
So, while everyone around me is planning their Halloween costume or stocking up on treats for their neighborhood party, I’m planning final errands and packing lists. I can’t wait to get started and I’ve decided to bring you along with me on this wild ride. So, grab some chocolate and meet me here each week for the latest news. It’ll be an adventure to remember.
Today’s hot new release is from fantasy author, Missy Sheldrake. Welcome, Missy! Tell us all about your incredible series, The Keepers of the Wellsprings.
I’m excited to announce that the third book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, Call of Brindelier, is now available on Amazon! If you haven’t read the previous books yet, read on for a super-quick crash course.
When I started writing this series, I really wanted to tell a story that was rich with fantasy, but not overly dark or mired with war and violence. I wanted to show the light side of fantasy: the cheerful, magical, uplifting side which I always drink up whenever it emerges in a story, and which always seems to be so fleeting in fantasy tales. I wanted to tell a story that would capture the hearts of young and old alike. Don’t get me wrong, my books aren’t void of conflict and evil. They tell of uncomfortable moments. There is violence and wickedness, but it’s those moments in my stories which are the fleeting ones. In the pages of my books, you will find fairies, Mages, Paladins, Elves, Dreamwalkers, Princes and Princesses, and even dragons. You’ll travel through a world rich with magic and wonder.
In Call of Kythshire, you’ll learn all about Cerion, a seaside kingdom which has celebrated peace for over a century. You’ll meet His Majesty’s Elite, a guild that is the right hand adventuring team of King Tirnon Plethore, and you’ll join Azi Hammerfel, a young squire who has grown up within the guild’s halls, through disappointments and triumphs. By her side is Rian, her childhood friend, an Apprentice of the Mage Academy. You’ll meet Flit, a fairy from Kythshire, who is as tricky as any fairy you might imagine, but has a depth of character and a sense of purpose uncommon for a typical fairy. You’ll see her world unfold, and feel the evil threat of Sorcery that looms, waiting to destroy it. You’ll learn a little about the Wellsprings, but not too much, for their existence and workings are a well-protected secret. (Click here to read an excerpt from Call of Kythshire.)
In Call of Sunteri, you’ll meet the strong-willed slave boy, Tib, who makes his first appearance as he escapes from the grips of Sorcery in the desert continent of Sunteri. He has help crossing the vast oceans to reach Cerion, but he doesn’t realize it at first. A mysterious being speaks to his mind, controlling his thoughts and making suggestions to ensure his own survival. In the meantime, Azi has been given the task of escorting the Prince of Cerion and his wife-with-child to the lakeside Kordelya Castle as the prince faces suspicion and ridicule after the events of Call of Kythshire. But a darker force emerges from the Dreaming, whose wicked intent is to use any means necessary to escape its prison and claim the magic of the Wellsprings for his own. In this book, you’ll see the devastating effects of the overuse of magic, and what it does to the Wellsprings and the creatures who thrive around them. (Click here to read an excerpt from Call of Sunteri.)
In Call of Brindelier, a dark force looms, more powerful and destructive than any threat Azi and her guild have yet faced. You’ll follow Celli, a scrappy street fighter, as she is enticed into the grips of a powerful Sorcerer. You’ll watch Tib come into his own as he sneaks through the streets of Cerion, uncovering the darkness while also working on a mysterious project. You’ll follow Azi on a quest set by Princess Margary to find proof of Brindelier, a city in the clouds which is the key to all of the Wellsprings in the Known Lands. But Margy is not the only one interested in Brindelier. A dark force has been gathering, poised to claim it for their own. Control over the Wellsprings hangs in the balance. (Click here to read an excerpt from Call of Brindelier.)
This series is appropriate for all ages, but I recommend 13 and up due to some violent themes. There is no sex, swearing, or excessively graphic violence in the Keepers of the Wellsprings. Throughout the series, you’ll encounter daring sword fights, violent magical moments, and a few quick deaths.
Call of Brindelier, the third book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, is now available on Amazon. This weekend, I’m offering book one of the series, Call of Kythshire, for free, and book two, Call of Sunteri, for just 99 cents. Click here to download your ebooks while they’re on sale!
It’s new release week! All week long I’ll be featuring new releases from incredible indie authors and it all leads up to the release of my new book, A Familiar Darkness, on April 5th. Today’s new release is COMPETING WITH THE STAR by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams—Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning.
A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated…
After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend—who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson.
The past is the past—or so they say…
Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe—especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school.
Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.com/B01CQ47Z2S
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.com/1680585495
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0149HTAK0
What readers are saying about Competing with the Star:
From Reader’s Favorite:
Competing With The Star is the continuation of Krysten Lindsay Hager’s epic YA drama series, The Star Series. Through a captivating plot, amazing character development, and Krysten’s flawless writing, the story captures the true essence of the drama, confusion, and emotional high that is teenage romance. It brings to life the beauty of YA romance with all its uncertainties and possibilities. In the midst of all the drama, confusion, and romance, the story also gives off a beautiful and serene sense of family. I especially loved how the book dived into the story right away, and captured the genuine feeling of the story down to details, language, and interaction between the characters. Lovers of YA romance will definitely love The Star Series.
From Katie’s Clean Book Collection:
Oh, the feels! Krysten Lindsay Hager has a way of drawing me right back to my high school days with her writing–feelings and all. This book is a continuation of Next Door to a Star. Hadley is now settling in and a new boyfriend, Nick, really helps her feel like she belongs. What girl hasn’t felt insecure at one time or another when trying to figure out if “he loves me, he loves me not?” Hadley is real. She has real struggles, real strengths, real reactions, and real emotions. Nick once had a crush on former TV star, Simone, and although Simone swears her friendship with Hadley means more to than anything, but oftentimes, actions speak louder than words and Simone is an actress…
Nick is a great boyfriend, especially for a first relationship, as he and Hadley have a lot in common. Many assumptions lead to drama and realizations as Hadley, Nick, and their friends try and navigate the confusing roads of teenage life. I love how this story seems to unfold like a TV show–easy to picture and imagine. The characters and situations are vibrant, almost leaping off the pages and I felt like I was either a fly on the wall or a silent friend, sitting smack in the thick of it. I love the dynamics and can’t wait for more to the story!
It’s new release week! All week long I’ll be featuring new releases from incredible indie authors and it all leads up to the release of my new book, A Familiar Darkness, on April 5th. Today’s new release is from Frances Hoelsema, author of Growing Up Neighbors and she’s pleased to announce the release of the second book in her Neighbors series:
Next Door Neighbors
Elena Montgomery, an elderly victim of fibromyalgia, has two main loves in her life:
Brian, her attractive and hard-working son; and Jill Stevens, her caring friend and next door neighbor.
When Brian and Jill meet for the first time, they have a chemistry that no one can deny.
Although Jill finds herself wanting to get closer to Brian, she believes she can’t. Being hurt in the past, she vows to remain single the rest of her life, thinking it’s better not to love than to love and get burned. Brian, on the other hand, wants to get to the bottom of her fears and show her that not all men are the same. He is determined to win her trust, her heart and her hand in marriage.
Through pain, passion and pursuit, will Brian be able to prove to Jill what true love is all about?
Next Door Neighbors is a clean, contemporary romance that will not only pull on your heart strings, but leave you wanting to read more!
Here’s an excerpt:
For the few brief seconds that they gazed into one another’s
eyes, Brian’s urge to kiss Jill grew intensely. If there was ever going to be a moment to display his
affection, this was it. Brian slowly, eagerly leaned over to just inches before Jill’s lips, stopping just shy of
delivering their first kiss. Excited she didn’t move away, he reached his destination, brushing his lips with
Their kiss started off gently, softly. It was tender and sweet. The
longer it lasted, though, the more Jill had melted into it, and the deeper and more passionate it became.
She needed him.
He needed her.
But a moment later Jill froze. The heat between them instantly
turned to ice as she abruptly pulled away from what the two of them were enjoying just seconds ago.
Puzzled, Brian asked, “Is everything all right?”
She couldn’t do it. As much as Jill admitted to wanting Brian and
as great as their kiss was, traveling down that road again was too big a risk. And with him leaving soon, she didn’t want to start something she could never finish. Shaking her head, she said, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I can’t allow myself to get involved with you or any other man again.”
Providing no other explanation, she completely freed herself
from Brian’s hold and ran out of the room.
Brian followed swiftly while shouting, “But I’m not
With the slam of a door, Jill was gone.
Next Door Neighbors is available on Amazon
For more information on Frances and/or her writing, please connect with her on Facebook at
You can also find updates on her blog at: www.franceshoelsema.wordpress.com.
It’s new release week! All week long I’ll be featuring new releases from incredible indie authors and it all leads up to the release of my new book, A Familiar Darkness, on April 5th. Today’s new release is from the fabulous JJ DiBenedetto, author of the Dream Student series. This one is a brand new adventure and I can’t wait to share it with you!
2 men she can’t trust.
What could go wrong?
FINDERS KEEPERS is the first book in the new Jane Barnaby Adventures series:
It should have been a simple job. All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple.
And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake. Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts. The one that a team of international art thieves is after.
Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves. And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.
It’s available everywhere eBooks are sold:
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
About the author
J.J. (James) Dibenedetto’s fans would swear he’s got a sixth sense when it comes to seeing into the minds of others and often wonder if his stories could possibly be fiction. He enjoys suspending disbelief with suspenseful paranormal tales that are a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy.
His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.
Born in Yonkers, New York, he currently resides in Arlington Virginia with his beautiful wife and a cat he is sure has taken full advantage of its nine lives. When it comes to the cat, he often wonders, but then again it might just be his imagination.
Here’s an excerpt from Finders Keepers:
The thieves simply made a mistake. Whether Tom had put his box in the wrong room, or whether the thieves had gotten their wires crossed, who knew? She’d had trouble reading Professor Welldon’s writing; she hadn’t been sure if she was meant to go to Room 16 or Room 18 herself. It hadn’t mattered because the thieves had already gotten there and made the choice for her.
“When they finally got where they were going, they opened it up, and you can imagine their surprise.” Jane noted the vagueness there; she assumed Alex knew exactly where that was and, for whatever reason, didn’t want to say. She didn’t challenge him; she kept up her happy façade instead, and he went on. “They knew they couldn’t go back and steal the right box, but they had the label on your pottery, they knew where it was supposed to go.”
“They’re headed to Mallorca!” Jane couldn’t help herself; the words just poured out. “They’re going to wait there until I show up and try to trade, the pottery for the artifacts!”
She knew she’d said too much. Alex’s eyes lit up, just for an instant, when she mentioned Mallorca. That was something, obviously, he hadn’t known. But he caught himself almost immediately, and so did she. She wondered if he knew that she knew he was putting on an act. She wondered if he knew that she knew that he knew she was, too. And she wondered if she had any aspirin in her purse, because that train of thought was giving her a headache.
Last, but not least, to celebrate the launch of FINDERS KEEPERS, James is giving away a signed paperback copy of either this new book, or any one of his Dream Series novels (winner’s choice). For your chance to win, just click HERE to enter!)
For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.
Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.
But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.
Are you a Kobo reader? This weekend they’re hosting a Super Sale with 5x bonus points available on select books. SEEN is one of the featured titles and that means that it’s eligible for bonus points! Not only that, but if you sign up today, you get a $5 account credit.
Not a regular Kobo reader? We’re not going to leave you out! We’ve put it on sale across the world on all of your favorite devices. Grab SEEN today for just $1.99.
SEEN, The Wanderer Series book 1
Through a portal, into another world, on an impossible quest…This wasn’t how they planned to spend the summer.
Rory has no idea what’s going on in the woods behind her house, but it’s driving her crazy. On the last day of her senior year she finds herself caught up once again in the curious happenings of the forest and walks away without any of the answers she was hoping to find. To make matters worse, she is sent to visit a sick neighbor and instead finds the hottest guy she’s ever seen. When she discovers his brother’s incredible secret she falls further into her own chaos and into a fate she never could have imagined.
Jaron is just counting the days until the summer is over and he can get back to his real life. Stuck with his little brother on a tiny farm in rural Oklahoma is not exactly his idea of fun. But when Rory shows up on his doorstep with an armload of pie, he knows his summer has just taken a sharp turn into new territory. He never expected the adventure they would discover next or the quest that would change their lives forever.