Thursday, November 30, 2017

Announcing the War of Loyalties Giveaway Week

War of Loyalties is LIVE on the Amazon store. After six months of editing, praying, designing, and a concerted effort from friends, it's now

Book Description: 
April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered. 

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham's British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after encountering death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn't as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.

You can meet a precious charrie who will do anything for integrity. You can meet an Irish power king. A 16-year-old violin prodigy, and a jolly Irish rebel with a kind servant's heart, a young woman who is strong in the face of abandonment, and a blonde-haired sister with a love for home.

My heart is brimful with joy. We're snatching moments today to marvel and wonder in our home as we celebrate with family and friends, but very soon we're going to kick off the online party too. Tomorrow I'm over talking with Lydia Carns, so stayed turned at her blog here

But today, I wanted to tell you about a special giveaway that I'm kicking off from November 30-December 8th--with your chance to win a copy of War of Loyalties for yourself.

First Prize Winner:
-Paperback copy of War of Loyalties
-“Jaeryn’s Vow” 8x10 poster
-Custom War of Loyalties mug

Second Prize Winner:
-Ebook of War of Loyalties
-Real vintage Folkestone postcard (this is a postcard that has actually been posted in 1917.)

Third Prize Winner: (open to international winners)
-Ebook of War of Loyalties

US residents only for 1st and 2nd prizes. Accounts created solely for giveaways not eligible.

Just click this link to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

War of Loyalties {how to support the book release + upcoming posts}

If you've been wondering how to support War of Loyalties this week, you're in the exact right spot. Here's a handy, easy how-to guide to things that every author loves to see for their book releases!
  • Add the book on Goodreads! This shows it to your friends and gets more people interested. 
  • Purchase the book for Christmas gifts for family and friends. :) 
  • Post pictures of you with the book on social media, or email them to me! 
  • Read and comment on the upcoming blog tour posts. 
  • Share the blog posts with others via social media or email! 
  • Review War of Loyalties on Goodreads or Amazon. 
  • Sign up for the McConkey Press newsletter. (check out the top of this page, on the right.)
  • Share the Amazon purchase links with friends who love books, historical fiction, and BBC dramas! (Coming tomorrow!)
  • Enter the giveaway! (Links coming tomorrow!) 

Be sure to join My Lady Bibliophile throughout this week, as I post links to interviews and guest posts on all kinds of wonderful blogs! I'm so grateful to the team of people who are joining up to spread the word about War of Loyalties, and can't wait to share it all with you! This post will have a master list of all the guest posts and where they're at, so be sure to check back in frequently!


Blog Tour Posts: 

November 30:

My Lady Bibliophile: Announcement Post 
Lydia Carns: Book Spotlight

December 1

Defending the Legacy: Book Spotlight
The Ink Lizard: Book Spotlight

December 2

Lydia Carns: Author Interview
My Lady Bibliophile: My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness 

Monday, November 27, 2017

War of Loyalties {meet Pearlie Dorroll}

all photos taken via Pixabay
This post is a little late...we finished up getting the book baby ready, and had to spend some days recovering...and now we get to spend the next ten days celebrating with you all. :) 

Just over a hundred years ago, in a little town in Virginia, there lived a girl who was used to being forgotten.

Sometimes she didn't mind. On good days, her brother came home after school and talked to her while he worked on homework. At the end of the night, he would pick her up where she fell asleep on his bed and take her to her own bed.

Other days, when he worked after school, she would make supper in the kitchen and wait for him to come back to her.

But ten years later, when her brother left for college, the girl came to realize that she no longer had people to remember her. So she loved the only thing she had left.

And that was home.

Home is all very well to love until home, too, is taken from you. Sent to a strange country with the hope of seeing the father she's never met and the chance to reacquaint with her busy brother, Pearlie finds herself thrust into a place where she is faced with disappointment and danger.

Loneliness she has been used to. Loss of hope is a heavy burden to bear.

Until a red-haired fellow with a Celtic cross tattoo walks into her life.

And everything changes.


Pearlie's favorite things: 

muslin curtains blowing in the wind // a beam of sunshine turning a glass jar of honey golden // a baby's laugh // tea with a friend // scrubbing floors all polished and clean // feeling the strong hug of someone she loves // penmanship all elegant and fine // someone to hold her when she cries // cherries tucked into a flaky pie crust //  first love //  evening lamplight shining on golden curls // an Irish rebel's grin 


He traced a hand down her arm. “What can I do? I want you to be happy here, but I have to keep you safe. Tell me what you want.”
Her breath drew slower as she calmed down, and her little white-gloved fingers twisted in and out of one another. “I want…I want a place that feels like home. A place where I can sweep the floors and put the washing on the line and polish the windows, and love it every day. When you were gone I didn’t have anyone to love, but I could always love home.” Her breath caught and choked. “I want to be loved. I want to see my father.”
Ben thought of Alisa, just come, alone, and desperately in need of help. Perhaps there was a way to fulfill two claims of duty after all. He took Pearl’s hand this time instead of her elbow, and she didn’t feel as tense under his touch. “Maybe I can give that to you after all. I was going to tell you, only you ran away before I came home for supper. Charlotte and I went to see Alisa Dorroll today. She has about a month until her baby comes, and she doesn’t have friends here. We mustn’t tell her who we are. It wouldn’t be safe for her. But if you came as a friend, then you would have an old house full of memory to care for, and I know she couldn’t help but love you. It would be your own place, to make a life for yourself for however long we’re here. Would you like that?”
She thought for a long moment as they took up their walk again towards the line of cabs. Then she nodded. “I would like to try it.”
“Grand.” He squeezed her fingers. “I’ll have to teach you how to actually use a Webley, just to be on the safe side. And mind, you’re not to breathe a word about our relation to her.”
“I can keep secrets.” She glanced up at him sideways.
Ben smiled wryly. “You’ve proven that. Let’s go home for supper.” 


Meet Pearlie Dorroll for yourself on November 30th, 2017. 

Join us tomorrow for a brief post on how YOU can help support the War of Loyalties book release--and don't forget that Thursday kicks off the War of Loyalties book release and blog tour!!! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

War of Loyalties {invisible friends}

For the past several years, I like to call the War of Loyalties characters "my invisible friends". When you come to know me, sooner or later it's inevitable that you'll be introduced to them as well. I've hung out with them so long, we're kind of a package deal.

I taught a class on characterization recently, and one of the things I told the kids was that they should think of their character as a real person. Ben and Jaeryn and Charlotte are about as real as fiction gets. They're the invisible coworkers, showing up, shifting, changing, as my maturity or life experience shifts and change. They've never quit. We have rough days sometimes where the writer's block shows up and everyone's lazy, but overall, we have the biggest fun on the planet.

It's not surprising that they've gradually showed up more and more on the blog, and for the next couple of weeks I want you to be able to meet the process of War of Loyalties for yourself. I want to introduce you to a blonde-haired young woman with a tenacious dream of humble obscurity.  I want to tell you about some of the dreams that have come true with this story. I want to tell you how the Lord has answered prayer.

Living life with these characters stands out as the most golden experience of my post-highschool path.

The moment when one of your introverts finally decides to open up to a character interview on a Saturday morning.

That year you make a random run for apple pie and sporks to celebrate a character's birthday.

That year you finally find a song that encompasses two characters falling in love.

That moment when you watch a performance of Handel's Messiah, imagining a character sitting down there as concertmaster.

That year when your character changes from a philanthropic American medical student to an Irish doctor with crooked fingers.

The beautiful thing about a first book is that it's an unmatchable experience. You can take time to work it out. You can get to know the characters in an intimate, lengthy way that you might never have time for in later books. Seven years has been a long time, but I saw a meme on Facebook the other day that said after seven years a friend becomes family, and that really honestly feels like the truth.

I love all the things about the characters that would never fit into the book. My blackmailer with the streak of nobility in his soul. The way Jaeryn has a favorite sweater he reaches for that makes him think of memories and childhood. The way Ben runs his fingers through his wife's hair. The way Terry rolls up his sleeves when he's out in cold weather instead of putting a jacket on.

Some of them dream of freedom, and some of them dream of stability. Some of them dream of home, or marriage or living out a life of loyal service. Some of them dream of money or position or the supremacy of Britain. They've lived together so long they can rub each other wrong in big and little ways, and come together when it matters.

This is a celebration. After seven years, they deserve a celebration. We've lived so much life together, and we're almost at the end of the road.

For book one, that is.

We still have a lot of life left to live together--and I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather live it with.

Come back Saturday to meet on of the characters for yourself. I can't wait to introduce you, and you can meet all of them in official book form on November 30, 2017!

Friday, November 10, 2017

{how it feels to be near the finish line} + pray for War of Loyalties?

via Pixabay
In every story, there is an inciting incident, a middle part, and a climax. In the publishing of every story, it seems that there are all those things too. This spring, making the prayerful decision to start a Kickstarter campaign was the inciting incident. The weeks of editing have been the middle. And now, we are gearing up for the climax.

If you see me right now, I'm probably in part brain fog. Slowly, the brain is gearing up into laser-focused concentration for the final stretch.

I honestly don't remember the last time I picked up the clothes in my room. I have cried once this week wondering how everything is going to work out. I have no idea what I'm forgetting, but if you ask my family, they'd probably be able to tell you.

chores, schuyler, chores 

But it's a wonderful, happy time. This morning I just ordered my first proof copy of War of Loyalties, and I expect to get it sometime next week. God has given above and beyond anything I could have imagined for strength and inspiration for this book's edits. I'm so grateful for the people who have given ideas on how to make it better, along with their time, encouragement, and loads of love. We're so close.

For the next couple of weeks, we're going to kick off the partying with some War of Loyalties themed posts on the blog which I think you'll really enjoy. We have character spotlights, heart ponderings, and little tidbits on the publishing process. There will be even more partying to come after that--you are all cordially invited to enter the Folkestone world!

While we gear up, would you consider partnering with this process through your prayers? I would be so grateful. Here's what's most on my heart right now:

-Good health for the final stretch.
-Keen eyes for anything that needs to be fixed.
-A heart fixed on the Lord throughout the process, and that he would be glorified.
-The ability to make wise decisions in a tight timeframe.
-Fast turn-around times on Createspace with high-quality printing for the book deliveries.

Thank-you friends. Love to you all! I will see you on Tuesday with some War of Loyalties thoughts you won't want to miss.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Cinderella 2015 {positive role models and parent relationships}

via Pixabay

My first interaction with 2015 Cinderella was watching the trailer on Facebook some months before it released.

My first impression: Not getting into a Disney Princess movie after all these years. Kit's eyes are way too blue.

But then, I can't remember if it was my sister who watched the trailer, which inveigled me into seeing it a second time. And this time, instead of hating on Kit's blue eyes, I heard Cinderella's mother speaking with a sweet, breathless earnestness: "Have courage and be kind. Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic."

Those two lines tugged at my heartstrings.

On the night of my twenty-first birthday, we watched Cinderella. We haven't stopped watching it since. And there was so much for my heart to love about this movie adaptation.

Cinderella is about as pure as it gets. There's a wonder, an emphasis on good moral character, and an overall theme of endurance in affliction that uplift while they entertain. As Cinderella faces life without her beloved father and with the cruelty of her step-family, her actions emphasize again and again that kindness is a choice, not a feeling. We see her feel hurt, even anger sometimes. Cinderella knows when to confront her stepmother with troubled eyes and ask, "Why are you so cruel?" But she also knows when to smile and serve with a gentle voice, holding on to the courage and kindness that her dying mother encouraged her to cling to. Pursuing love and unity as a follower of Christ take incredible courage. And while Cinderella isn't out there to teach Scripture, you can see the practical application of what the fruit of the Spirit should look like in the life of a Christian.

The other part I really loved about this movie was how well Kit and Ella get along with their parents. There is a celebration of life with strong family relationships: From a child, Ella is used to love and bedtime stories from her mother. Even when her father wants to marry again, the bond between Ella and her father isn't shaken. She fully supports him moving forward, and they love and understand each other on a heart-level.

Kit, even when he wants to marry the girl in the forest instead of a rich princess, still maintains the maturity of a man and a prince. He and his father disagree, but they don't fall overboard into anger, and when Kit gives his final refusal, he begins it with, "I love and respect you."

Kit and Ella may have a fairytale romance with fairytale colors. But they were shaped by their closeness with their parents so well that when the time came for both of them to step out and be adults, they had the maturity and grace to do so. And in that, I think they can be wonderful role-models.

There are a few sentences that spill into Disney morals and don't enhance the overall theme picture. Following your heart, believing in everything, and being taken care of by fairy godmothers aren't exactly the stuff that solid faith is made of. But they're very brief blips on a beautiful script and beautiful cinematography.

Those are the serious thoughts. But one should not always be serious when watching Disney films. Here's a rapid series of what I loved:

  • Gus-Gus is the cutest mouse on the planet. We have a serious Gus-Gus fandom around here. 
  • Ask us about the torn butterfly sometime in Cinderella's treasure box. 
  • I just love the lizard footmen with their green hues. 
  • The captain js the. best. sidekick. in the history of ever. 
  • And if you ever want to know, we can point out just where to find the animals on the day of Cinderella's wedding.

Oops. I just told you the ending.

schuyler how could you i didn't know 

Parent Guide:
Sexual: Low-necked dresses. Cinderella and Kit share a kiss.
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