Monday, September 18, 2017

Poetry Leaves #1 - My Place of Solitude

With autumn soon coming, I find myself in a nostalgic state that always comes when the air grows cold and leaves begin changing colours. This year, however, it's different. Instead of just thinking, it's made me write. I want to finish those stories I've started. I want to write more poetry. I want to take myself out of a mindset of dreaming of the things I could discover on pen and paper and acting on those dreams instead.

Which leads to this blog post. I've decided to share the poems I write on this blog, in hopes to keep myself motivated to write them and give me a reason to be a little more active in Blogland. :)
Here is my first poem:

photo from the Internet
My Place of Solitude

I know a place of solitude
It's down the road a stretch.
I can go there when I need to
Have a place to sort my thoughts.

It's a spot down at the river
Where it makes a little bend.
I found my special "Thinking Rock" there
For quiet reigns as king.

As the peaceful river
Goes gliding along
And the glow of the sun is reflected
Like a thousand diamonds in the water

It soothes and rests my soul,
And I can ponder the countless ages past
Or consider all that can be
In the days yet to come.

Time itself is apt to stand still
In my place of solitude.

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Burning Rose" by Hope Ann - Cover Reveal

It's here! It's here! It's FINALLY here!

Item one: I prefer physical copies of books over e-books. Item two: I adore the Legends of Light novella series being written by Hope Ann. Item three: The first the books are coming out in paperback in October. Item four: I have some fangirling to do. Item five: Who wants to see a gorgeous book cover?


A war, founded in ancient legends, changes the lives of those it touches forever.
Elissa, a villager from the northern mountains, attempts to save her brother and ends up trapped in a hidden valley with a strange host and a treacherous enemy.
Evrard, the Wingmaster of the Prince’s army, races against his own weakening powers to discover the location of his twin and save her from deadly mistbenders.
Haydn, a pardoned rebel from Tauscher’s army, confronts shadows of myth and former comrades in his struggle to keep his sister safe and find the stolen Stormestone.
BONUS 
Before the war, before the legends, before the Separation, there was a man who started it all. There was a curse, a promise, and a sacrifice. There was the Oathkeeper.

Fairy tales retold as you have never heard them before.
ROSE OF THE OATH: Beauty and the Beast
SONG OF THE SWORD: Rapunzel
SHADOWS OF THE HERSWEALD: Hansel and Gretel 
and
ROSE OF THE NIGHT: a Rose of the Oath prequel

If you haven't heard my gush about the Legends of Light (see this post, this post, this post, and this post), you can check out each ebook individually here or the Burning Rose page here. The Kindle version is available for preorder, but the paperback won't be up to buy until the launch on October 3rd. In the meantime, you can add Burning Rose to your lists on Goodreads.

And now, can I get drum roll? 🥁 ..........................................................................

Designed by Kate Flournoy
Less than one month until you can finally hold Burning Rose in your own hands! I know what I'm looking forward to most in October. 😁

Skip on over to learn more about Hope Ann and her writings at: https://authorhopeann.com/

Ps. I'm having trouble with the design on this blog, so apologies if things look boring or out of place.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Treasured Friendships


Isn't this a lovely thought? I'm so blessed by the many treasured friendships I've made through blogs. Here's to you!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Roses, Scars, Wolves. . .an Exciting "Beauty and the Beast" Retelling Release

Hullo, dear friends! I come today with some very exciting news. You may know by now how much I love the "Legends of Light" series which is being written by Hope Ann, and she just released another one!!


War clouds the horizon and rebels gather under a mysterious leader. Alone, with her two younger sisters, Elissa watches the mountain road desperately for her brother’s return. Instead, she receives news of his capture by a strange figure covered in scars and cloaked in wolf skins. With rebels drawing nearer, she sets off to find her brother. To save him. There is no one else who can.


Yet she soon finds the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Though her strange host claims the ancient promises of the Prince’s return and victory over the rebels, Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. Elissa will do anything to keep her family safe, but more than one kind of wolf stalks the Blackwood and danger lurks closer than she could ever imagine.

For some clarification, this is the new first book in the series. It's replacing the previous "Rose of Prophecy" and it adds more details about the history of the kingdom of Aslaria and sets a good foundation for the rest of the series.

My review: ✩✩✩✩✩
This book was so engaging! If it wasn't an e-book, I'd say I couldn't put it down, but as it is, I'll say that it was very hard to close it out. :) I've learned to be prepared to be surprised when reading something by Hope...you never know where she's going to take you, but the destination is satisfying. "Rose of the Oath" was quite a bit darker and more dramatic than its predecessor "Rose of Prophecy" and the characters much deeper. The plot developed very well and was gripping. As always, the whole cast of characters were amazing and surprising. Beauty in this version was harder for me to relate to than the other one, but seeing the fact that's she's given a harder past, that's understandable. And I loved how the tragic past made her more relatable to the Beast. Throught the story we're shown plainly and beautifully what true love is, and I also found faith to be an important theme in it. Magical, inspiring, pleasing. . .this novella is highly recommended in my opinion!

And listen to this lovely good news. . .it's being offered for free!! So what are you waiting for? Go and download yourself a copy!

Download at: Amazon • Smashwords • iTunes

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

But don't go away yet! There's also a prequel to this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose of the Night - an account of how the ‘Beast’ became the Beast.


Click here to claim your free copy!
Add to your shelf on Goodreads

Can things get any better? Yes! In honor of the official release of Rose of the Oath, Hope's other novellas are $0.99 for this week only!

Buy Song of the Sword: A Rapunzel Novella

Buy Shadows of the Hersweald: A Hansel and Gretel Novella

About Hope Ann


Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has
self-published three Legends of Light novellas and writes regular articles for Kingdom Pen as the
Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age
eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write
thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After
graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings.
She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting
shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration.
You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,

This post is bursting with good news for anyone who loves Christian fantasy and fairytale retellings. If you fit into one of the mentioned categories, go and read them for yourself. Then I'd love to hear your thoughts. (And so would she...help support your fellow authors!)🌹

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Love of Good Books

Photo from the Internet
"I remember hearing Grandpa say that a love for good books was one of the best safeguards a man could have.” 
― Archie, from Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

A favourite quote from a favourite author.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Scibbler Award

Once, in a time long gone by that no one but the ancients can remember. . . S. F. got awarded the "Scribbler Award" by the amazing Saphira. And for a reason not even the ancients can remember, she didn't post it. So some adventurous person went and dug it out of the dusty drafts. . .

Presenting
😊 El Premio del Scribbler 😊

Rules~
1. Link to the person who nominated you. See above.
2. Link to your favorite writing blog, so we can check it out, and/or share your favorite writing tip.  See below.
3. Pass the award along to a maximum of 5 people. I seem to always pass tags along to the same people, so I'm not quite sure who to tag this time. If you're a "scribbler", consider yourself tagged!

Favourite writing blog: Hope Ann's "Writing in the Light" has lots of brilliant things for writers. Kara and Naomi's "Writing to Inspire" also has great writing tips. And if it counts, I love "Kingdom Pen".

Favourite writing tip: "Don't be afraid of rewriting. It means you not only have something worth saying, but saying well." We all need to hear this so much, don't we? :)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

🕮 A Bookish Tag 🕮

Welcome to the Bookish Tag. It's very booky. ;) Kara over at Saved by Grace tagged me, and here you have it!

Photo from the Internet

RULES:
You must be honest
You must answer all the questions
You must tag at least 4 people

1. Which Book Has Been On Your Shelf The Longest?
Probably Meet Kit from when I was four, or the Nurse Nancy Golden Book I got about the same time.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you'll read next?
Currently I am reading Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. I am loving it so much, especially the dear characters. I think the last thing I read was a re-read of The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis. And next will be Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter.

3. What book did everyone like but you hated?
No book comes to mind.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read but you probably won't?
I have so many I keep telling myself I'll read and I hope to read them all. . .one day. . .and who knows if I will or not? Not me!

5. What books are you saving for retirement?
As in, books that are so long I won't read them now, or books that are special so I want to keep them? ??? I'm not sure.

6. Last page: Read it first or wait until the end?
Uh. . .I sometimes do a flip over the pages I haven't read yet, but I never read the last page first!! Though admittedly I once read a book that was a tad boring and had a predictable plotline, so when I was half way through I skipped to the last chapter and read it before giving it back to the library. 😉

7. Acknowledgments: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
I like reading acknowledgements. It's fun to see a bit of what the author did to make their book a finished product.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
This question stumped me. Really! I usually would have an answer. . .stick me somewhere in Lewis's, Tolkien's, Alcott's or Montgomery's books and I hope I'll survive and be happy. 😀

9. Do you have a book that reminds of you something specific in your life? (Place, time, person)
The Annotated Hobbit we got when my sisters and I were "Hobbit" crazy.

10. Name an interesting book that you acquired in an interesting way.
After I read the first few Anne books, we didn't have the rest. So my pitiful cries for the next one was answered by my wonderful mother ordering the rest along with several other LMM books. ❤

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
Methinks I probably have for Christmas or birthdays.

12. Which book has been with you most places?
Well. . .Pollyanna was with me on a long trip, but then so was Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery. And whatever book I'm reading goes all around the house with me.

13. Any required reading in High School that wasn't so bad two years later?
Honestly I can't think of any required High School reading. . .

14. Used or brand new?
I like both, though the way brand new books won't stay open on their own is a bit irritating, but it's fun to be the first to start breaking them in.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
Nope.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more then the book?
Does saying that I liked what happens concerning the Arkenstone in The Hobbit movie better that what happened in the book count? 😊

17. Have you ever read a book that made you hungry (cook books included)?
Farmer Boy. Only I'm not sure if it made me hungry; more likely towards the opposite effect because of all the food that was talked about. ðŸ˜‰ The Golden Picnic in Anne of Avonlea made me want to have a picnic, so I'll say that.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?
My sisters.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
Well now, can't say I've read any thing out of my comfort zone, but if I did I apparently didn't end up loving it!

And now, I pass the tag to SW, Chloe, Lily, and Hope.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Shadows of the Hersweald Blog Tour


Welcome to the launch of Shadows of the Hersweald, the third novella in the Legends of Light series! This Hansel and Gretel retelling is an amazing novella that I was privileged to read it before it was officially released and I loved it! The author Hope Ann does a wonderful job with this series blending together allegorical, fairy tale, and "fruits of the Spirit" elements. So hang around if you enjoy Christian fantasy and fairy tale retellings to learn more about this Hansel and Gretel novella!


They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Harsweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Tregaron in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked.

A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.


With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?

Full of danger, loyalty, and betrayal, all tinted red from the shuddering glow of the firecarn, this is more than a mere retelling of a favorite fairy tale.



Although the history of Aslaria and the conflict between the Prince and the rebel, Tauscher, flow chronologically through the series, each novella in the Legends of Light series is a stand-alone story. Each novella focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while twisting fairy tales in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner.

Buy now on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords. Add on Goodreads.

~ My review of Shadows of the Hersweald ~
Where do I begin? Well, first, as I stated before, Hope magnificently ties together allegorical, fairy tale, and "fruits of the Spirit" elements. I haven't read any other fairy tale retellings so I don't have anything to compare it with, but it was so fun to read this brand new tale and see parts of Hansel and Gretel woven in. It gets intense at times with Haydn's memories of the war and some of the rebels still hanging around, and there's lots of mystery at the beginning as you read and try to guess what it all means. And believe you me, when you get the answers at the end you will be amazed and love it!
The fruit of the Spirit that this novella focuses on is peace. It teaches it so beautifully and in a real way that applies to each of us personally. Haydn's struggles are so real--a sinner who can't understand why he would be forgiven through Christ's death and sufferings, and tries to find another way to gain peace.
You know, one of the main problems with the original tale of Hansel and Gretel is the characters--wicked stepmother, flimsy father, child-eating witch. . .all of that is fixed up in this retelling! Hope did a great job of making all of them real and relatable and interesting. The sweet brother and sister relationship between Haydn and Gorawen was delightful to read, and both individually are great characters.
If you do read it, you'll find lots of delicious descriptions like: "A fountain wept distantly, mourning under the reddening evening sky that shed its dying light about him."
And the story line, it's AMAZING! It was very engaging, swift, and something I could have read in one sitting if I hadn't been interrupted. It happens after the war between the rebel Tauscher and the Prince (during which Haydn fought with the rebels) and the Prince has won the victory. I loved the individual journey of Haydn as he deals with life after the war and encounters its aftereffects. There were some magical elements like the "stormstone" that made the story more interesting and deep. Although a few things were a bit hard to understand, when I finished it I was amazed at how well everything was tied in together. 
In conclusion, I very, very heartily recommend it to everyone who loves fairy tales, mystery, Christian fantasy, and being surprised. :)

~ Interview with Hope Ann ~

What was your inspiration to write the "Legends of Light" series?
I had the idea to write a series to write a short story for each aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit several years ago. A little bit later, I wrote my first fairy tale retelling for the Rooglewood Beauty and the Beast contest. When I decided I wanted to start self-publishing, both ideas clicked together—fairy tales and the Fruit of the Spirit. So I took off with it. 

Which of the three books you have already written in the series would you be part of if you could?
Probably Song of the Sword, if I could walk in the Melody Realm. That would be so much fun.

What important lessons have you learned from writing?
Endurance. To keep going, even when writing is hard or I’m tired or I don’t feel like it… I’ve learned that, in the end, I will figure out my problems and it will be worth it. The harder the struggle, the more satisfied I’ll be with my final success.

My blog tour post draws nigh to an end! Two last things and then. . .well, then you'll have to read it for yourself and see what I'm talking about! :)

~ Quotes ~

"The Prince doesn’t stop all harm. It is a testing, even now. But he opened a way for our reunion with the King. He died, Haydn. You said you were there. You know what he did. What more could anyone give?" ~Traveon

Haydn muttered a rough oath, sending the echoes of the past shivering in all directions. 

They were safe. Battered, empty—but clean. Clean as the morning dew glittering in the dawn.

~ About the Author ~
Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings.

She has been writing for over five years and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults.

Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase.

Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration.

You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring is Sprung!


Spring officially arrived yesterday! Hooray! 🌷🌸🌼 It's so exciting, although the weather has felt like it for the last little while, but it's lovely to say it's SPRING! :)

Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
Nightingale,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,—
Merrily,
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.
~William Blake

Welcome, beautiful spring, full of hopes and new life! Are you looking forward to anything this spring?

Love ~ S. F.

PS. Remember this post about Song of the Sword by Hope Ann? The next book in the Legends of Light series is coming out in one week! It's called Shadows of the Hersweald and is a "Hansel and Gretel" retelling. I was privileged to read it before it was released and I would tell you all about how amazing it is, but you'll have to wait for my post next week that's part of its book launch blog tour. 😉AND there's a short story that goes along with it, so the brilliant-ness doesn't end when the novella does. Ok, my fanbling (fan + rambling) is done until the next post. 😊😁

Monday, March 13, 2017

Life is Glorious

picture credit

There is so much to love about life, and so much to do to enjoy it. 

I recently read a blog post by SW on A Free Mind and it made me think once again about how true the above statement is. Here is her beautiful advice~

Be humble. Be kind. Know that you'll make mistakes and it'll be embarrassing, but have a sense of humor.
Laugh.You might as well have fun.
Tell people you love them, and be gentle.
Question everything, and I mean everything. Because the truth can take it, but nothing else can. And it's the truth that matters.
Take chances and do things that scare you. Never close your eyes to possibility.
Don't box up reality and pretend you know its walls.

Look up, at the sky. Taste the air on the tip of your tongue. Watch the clouds move.
Take care of yourself, always be gentle. Cry if you need to, but don't give up hope. Look for things to be grateful for. Smile. Hug. Breathe deeply, in and out. Do it now.
Be brave. Seek out life. Know that adventure is close to you, rubbing up against you daily. Take it by the hand and welcome it in.
Notice colors when you see them, tell yourself "that's blue" or "pink". Look for your favorite colors.
Be aware of your self breathing in and out, thinking, feeling. Close your eyes and let your mind go black. Rest.

Don't make assumptions. Don't judge. Don't become too familiar with your opinions.
Laugh, smile, make laughter creases around your eyes.
Drink water. Stretch. Skip. Read books. Clap your hands. Shake your head around so your hair gets messy. Scrunch up your nose. Smell flowers. Taste your food like you're on a cooking show. Talk to people.
Have discipline. Be tidy. Be polite. Enjoy things. Learn. Take initiative.
Sing. Dance. Twirl. Give piggyback rides. Use more adjectives. Cuddle. Remember the things you love. Make a list of them.
Have fun. Work hard. Sleep well. Look up, at the stars.
Check out this incredible world. Be friendly.
Think, before you act. Be safe.
Love, as much as you can.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In Case You Were Feeling Down. . .

 Are you having one of those days when it seems a bit hard to go through? Have a dormouse~


And while you're at it, have lots of dormice!!!


*squeal*Aren't they just the cutest?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."
~Psalm 139:14


Recently I cut my thumb and removed the top layer of skin. Instantly, it started to heal itself and make the skin anew. And not just any skin--perfect skin. And a new finger print, too! How amazing!!

There are those moments sprinkled through everyday life when you stop and look at this wonderful world and you just know that everything was divinely created. Sometimes it takes a moment when we're pondering birds wings and how they undeniably formed and fashioned by an all wise Creator, to help us understand that He knows us and He has a just as perfect plan for our life.

I marvel at the range of colours our beautiful world has.
It is the seeds of springtime, the zinnias of summer, the way leaves fall in autumn to make a cover for the sleeping earth, and the ice pictures in winter, the way plants can heal, the birth of animals, eggs hatching, caterpillars becoming butterflies, the miracle of life that help to grow my faith along with God's words in the scriptures.

The way frost edges these in perfect order!
 Then when I study in more detail cells and other such things science, I know, I know, I know that everything is with a purpose; nothing is a mistake. God knows me and loves me and made me perfectly to fit the wonderful plan He has for me. Fearfully. Wonderfully. Perfectly.

Everything is perfect (how many times have I used that word in this post?). Everything is a miracle.

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars." 
~ Attributed to Martin Luther

Look at this zinnia!!!
Praise the Lord for His marvelous works!

Yours truly,
S. F.