Captains Courageous

May 23, 2019 at 3:44 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: Captains Courageous

Author: Rudyard Kipling

Length: 129 pages

Almost everyone hears the name Kipling and immediately thinks of The Jungle Books, myself included. I read all of The Jungle Books as a child, watched the various movie adaptations, and continue to enjoy them as new ones continue to be made. However, I honestly cannot recall if I had Captains Courageous as a child. I think I did, but the idea is so vague in my mind I cannot trust it.

So I read it as a 34 year old, just to make sure, joining the adventures of the overly privileged fifteen year old Harvey Cheyne as he grows into something that resembles a responsible man, denying his previous existence as a turd.

Published in 1897, it is full of nautical adventure, Victorian era Americanism, and all the qualities that Teddy Roosevelt would applaud – and he did applaud the book, vigorously.

Captains Courageous is a commonly overlooked classic. I can say this with authority having worked in a bookstore for 12 years being able to count on my right hand the number of times I’ve sold a copy. There are some books I’d run out of fingers in one day, so to get through 12 years with one hand tells me its rather neglected. Don’t be that reader, don’t neglect Captains Courageous. It’s too good to be forgotten.

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Cozy 2018 Summer

May 11, 2019 at 4:04 am (Art, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

No, I did not type the date wrong. I took a very long break from consistently reviewing books and blogging, and now I have returned. I’m easing myself back into the practice by logging all the titles my blog missed each Thursday until I am caught up. So welcome to Throwback Thursday (or Flashback Friday, because I’m even warming up to the idea of easing myself in).

Title: A Crafty Killing

Author: Lorraine Bartlett

When I first read this book in June of last year, I uploaded the following review to my Goodreads account:

“Exactly what you’d expect from a cozy. I had a harder time relating to Katie than I have with other leading ladies of the genre, however.”

I gave it 3/5 stars.

That assessment holds true nearly one year later. Katie may not be my favorite, honestly I don’t remember a thing bout her, but Artisan’s Alley and the Victoria Square, are definitely memorable. Ironically, the victim of the crime had a bit of personality too. I do so enjoy getting to know characters “off screen,” so to speak, in everyone else’s memories of them and zero direct contact. I look forward to reading book two when the mood strikes me because I want to see what happens to the business Katie is building. I have a degree in Entrepreneurship, work retail, and wrote The Bookshop Hotel series, so clearly in regard to fictional businesses, I’m biased.

Title: A Dark and Stormy Murder

Author: Julia Buckley

Despite my 2/5 star rating on A Dark and Stormy Murder, I probably enjoyed my reading experience of Buckley’s work more simply because my boyfriend read it to me while I crocheted my daughter’s comforter set. This book was utterly ridiculous, but the voice of the one reading was so marvelous I was thoroughly amused.

Turning my “old lady” vibe up a notch last year, I didn’t stop at reading cozy mysteries, I taught myself to crochet on youtube and am now a full fledged crochet hobbyist. I’ve begun listening to more audiobooks via Scribd, an app/website that I refer to as Netflix for books: https://www.scribd.com/ga/7adrgu

There is something truly amazing about the monotony of crocheting endless rows for the most ridiculously huge blanket ever. I enjoyed every minute of it. Since then, I have also made hats and scarves and am less than 1/4 through another large project and I cannot recommend learning to crochet enough. It has calmed me during a time when I needed to bask in calm and solace. It has added an extra depth to my pursuit of cozy.

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Seed Savers Continues!

April 22, 2019 at 6:55 pm (Uncategorized)

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Robinson Crusoe

April 20, 2019 at 5:08 am (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

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Title: Robinson Crusoe

Author: Daniel Defoe

The only memory I have of my father reading to me is when he read me Robinson Crusoe. I was ten. I don’t remember why, of all the moments, he chose to read this particular book to me – when I was already reading at a post collegiate level on my own and had been for awhile – when my sister and my mother had previously done most of the read-alouds in our family. Maybe it was good timing with work, maybe he was excited I was interested in it, who knows? Neither of us remembers at this point, twenty-five years later, but what we do know is this: It mattered.

So it was a pretty big deal to me when in February of 2018, I found myself in the car on a cross country road trip to the Creation Museum with my daughter, my dog, both my parents, and began reading Robinson Crusoe out loud in the car.

Robinson Crusoe was first published on April 25th, 1719, and even though we know it to be a novel now in 2019, it still has elements that lead first time readers to believe it to be a true account of a man’s travels. It was mistaken as such during its early release, an intentional marketing ploy by Daniel Defoe, because even in the 1700’s, sensational stories are sold most efficiently if we think they’re real. Look at James Frey and his Million Little Pieces “memoir.”

The first edition of the book touted Robinson Crusoe as both author and protagonist, but now we know that Crusoe is merely a character. In my personal opinion, not even the best character, I have always been most drawn to Friday.

There are many things inherently wrong with Robinson Crusoe if you look at the story from twenty-first century eyes: Robinson Crusoe works hard and then God blesses him to become a king-like fellow. One, that’s just not how God works, and many 1700’s boys and girls were then encouraged to be like Crusoe with this lordship at motivation. Two, it highlights the slave trade, and if you ask most modern Americans they’ll tell you this is a story of white supremacy, white privilege, oppression of all others, etc. etc.

Despite these hang ups, I love it. I think it’s a story that starts conversations. We need to be having conversations with our kids. What makes a protagonist? What makes a hero? What’s right? How do you feel about Crusoe and Friday’s relationship? Do you think this is appropriate? Do you think its duplicatable? Should it be duplicatable?

Kiddo was only seven when we read this together, but I think she got a lot of out of it and it definitely gave us a better view of the 1700’s as we studied all aspects of history. We got to the travel the world through the eyes of an author who lived during the times, and whether his worldview was good or bad, right or wrong, Defoe described it all vividly.

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The Reading Life – Hurricane Harvey to Now

April 29, 2018 at 3:35 am (Reviews, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s been 8 months since Hurricane Harvey swept the Gulf, the flood gates of Conroe were opened post-storm, and our house was overtaken by 13-14 inches of water. We’ve done a lot of moving around, renovation, and – of course – reading.

Martin Luther: The Great Reformer – J.A. Morrison

Studying Martin Luther with my first grader was pretty interesting. Knowing enough about your denomination to explain it to an inquisitive seven year old is harder than I thought it would be. There are many things we do that we might not know why we do until we really dive into the history behind them, and celebrating Reformation Day on October 31st was definitely more exciting after having gotten to know Martin Luther a little bit better. Morrison’s biography is designed for middle grade readers, so it’s actually great as a read aloud to an elementary age student. Morrison also included sheet music for a hymn written by Luther, which fell in nicely to our tin whistle practices during the holidays.

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) – Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas has become a guilty pleasure of mine. Assassins, fairies, War… yes, please. Naturally, there’s a romance because strong female leads can’t seem to exist without a love interest, but she rarely gets graphic enough to make me blush. The series is slated for young adult, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable handing them to anyone under sixteen.

Jorie and the Gold Key – A.H. Richardson

We are loving the Jorie series. So far we have read Jorie and the Magic Stones and its sequel Jorie and the Magic Key. Kids who are into Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or the Wrinkle in Time series should enjoy Richardson’s fun little saga. The books remind me most of The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles. We can’t wait to read the next installment.

Tales of Pixie Hollow – Kiki Thorpe, Laura Driscoll

Kiddo is a huge Tinker Bell fan, and these stories never let her down. They are a fairly easy going chapter book series, tie into the well beloved movies (available on Netflix), and are beautifully illustrated in the typical Disney style. We will eventually read them all, but this year have only tackled the first 9 or so.

Will I Ever Be Free of You? – Karyl McBride

As its subtitle states, this book is a self help title to aid in navigating a divorce from a narcissist. I needed it, found it helpful, and am glad I read it.

1066: The Year of the Conquest – David Howarth

I absolutely love history books the length of a a novella. Dive in, get to the heart of the information, and move on. Howarth does this nicely with 1066, it is short and sweet, but an extremely detailed account of one year in history that changed everything. It should be on every high school student’s required reading list.

Nooks & Crannies – Jessica Lawson

Could a young adult novel be more fun and reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes?! I adored this. So did kiddo. We definitely both got a little more than choked up at the end and we look forward to more books from Lawson, she is both clever and gifted – like her main character.

Peter the Great – Diane Stanley

This children’s picture book is a great addition to any homeschool mom’s library, especially for history lovers. We read it for fun, and now that we are studying Peter the Great in our actual history lessons we are pretty impressed with how thoroughly Stanley wrote the great Czar’s story. Her entire account is quite memorable and we’re pleased to own a copy.

The History of the Medieval World – Susan Wise Bauer

As I teach my kiddo, I’m trying to keep up in my own studies as well. After all, Education is a lifetime pursuit. Bauer presents the history of the world fabulously for young students in her Story of the World series, but is also very efficient at the task for adults. I plan to use these books as core history “textbooks” when kiddo is high school aged, but for the most part they give me a glimpse into what I want to study in detail, pointing me to people and places I may never have known existed. They are great starting places for adult history students.

Twenty Shakespeare Children’s Stories: The Complete Collection Box Set – Shakespeare

Kiddo and sort of went on a Shakespeare binge this winter. We read all the stories, both in these chapter books designed for early readers, and in beautifully illustrated picture books. I highly recommend this set to keep on hand so that the stories of Hamlet and Macbeth, the confusion of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and the tragedy of Othello may always be a part of childhood memories.

Story of the World #2: The Middle Ages – Susan Wise Bauer

I honestly don’t know how I would homeschool without these books. Although we are currently a part of Classical Conversations, we look to Susan Wise Bauer for our day to day homeschooling structure. We love learning chronologically through history and kiddo is enthralled with these books. We recently acquired the entire set on audio as well and can’t wait to repeat each title as we repeat each “cycle” as per the Classical model.

The Five Love Languages of Children – Gary Chapman

If you have a kiddo and have never read up on love languages, this book is very helpful. I had read The Five Love Languages about twenty years ago and didn’t find the information for children all that unique, but it did help me relate to my child a little better and ask more pointed questions to ensure I wasn’t missing or misinterpreting how she receives love.

Adjustment Team – Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick just never gets old, and I love re-reading this old short, especially when I’m gearing up to re-watch the Matt Damon and Emily Blunt version titled Adjustment Bureau.

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life – Alison Weir

Alison Weir is one of my favorite biographers, and she didn’t fail me with this history of Eleanor’s time. There’s little known about Eleanor, so the biography is heavy with information about her family and the political world. It took me longer to read than her books usually do, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

The Double Life of Pocahontas – Jean Fritz

Jean Fritz is another must have for teachers and homeschool parents. We loved learning about the real Pocahontas and comparing her true life stories to those portrayed by Disney. Reality versus fantasy is always a riveting discussion topic in our house and Pocahontas offers a foundation for digging for truth in the half truths of legends.

Bloomin’ Tales: Legends of Seven Favorite Texas Wildflowers – Cherie Coburn

As a family, we tend to gravitate to legends, folklore, and fairy tales in our down time. We also spend half our time outside as eager amateur Naturalists and gardeners. Also, we’re Texas girls. Of course we love this book, of course! We were sold from the second we saw the cover.

King of the Wind: The Story of the Goldolphin Arabian – Marguerite Henry

Kiddo has been horseback riding for over two years now. It is P.E., it is diligence, it is empathy, it has become a cornerstone for everything in our lives. Naturally, we felt the need to highlight this in our reading lives and stumbled across a unit study prepared by Beautiful Feet. We pieced the titles they include in their study and lined them up chronologically to coincide with our existing school schedule as best we could. It’s a little off every now and then, but we’re learning the history of horses and the practices of keeping them along with our study of people. We also covered a lot of geography with this particular book as the Goldolphin Arabian made his way from Morocco to England. This was a childhood favorite of mine and I was so pleased to share it with my kiddo as well. I cried at the end, just like every other time I’ve read it. Marguerite Henry truly had a gift.

Anthem – Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead is one of my favorite books ever. That being said, I didn’t care for Anthem. I found it contrived, a tad annoying, and though the message was well presented, I wanted my hour and a half back.

Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

When I met Brandon Sanderson while working Kevin J. Anderson’s booth at DragonCon in Atlanta, most my coworkers back in Houston were a little perturbed that I had gotten to bask in the glory of the most amazing fantasy writer of our day. I hadn’t read any of his work yet, so I admit it seemed a tad unfair. I’m glad I hadn’t read his books when I worked with him during his signing, it would have rendered me completely inarticulate, because I love the Mistborn series so much now. Finally diving in and reading them on my vacation was the best birthday present I could have given myself this year. If you haven’t read these yet, stop what you’re doing, and order them now. They are truly amazing.

Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola Africa

How exciting it is to discover all these great female leaders of history. I was not familiar with Nzingha as a child and I’m excited that my kiddo has had the chance to discover her. We’re pretty smitten, and now when we’re practicing archery it’s not just Queen Susan from Narnia she pretends to be… sometimes she is Nzingha!

Black Beauty – Anna Sewell

Another childhood favorite. Another recommendation from Beautiful Feet. I cried over the last pages, Kiddo patted me. Oh goodness, sometimes I’m not sure who the books are for, but I am sure she is getting something out of them so I keep doing what I’m doing.

The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms – Amy Stewart

I have always enjoyed finding earthworms in my garden. My daughter and I tend to play with the worms and name them, both in the garden and when we go fishing. Amy Stewart propelled this love for the little Annelids further by being such a warm writer. I can’t wait to start my very own earthworm farm.

Madeleine Takes Command – Ethel C. Brill

Have I mentioned how much I love homeschooling? My kiddo is getting a rich and well rounded education and I’m learning so much too! Madeleine de Vercheres lived in Canada in the late 1600’s. This historical novel brings to life the events that made Madeleine famous: at fourteen she was left in command of Fort Vercheres, where her parents were stationed, and thwarted an attack by the native Iroquois.

The Earth Moves: Galileo and the Roman Inquisition – Dan Hofstadter

As kiddo was learning about Galileo and we began basic astronomy lessons, I wanted a deeper insight into the war between the Catholic church and the heliocentric view. I like these Great Discoveries books, and Hofstadter delivered exactly what was promised on the jacket blurbs, however it took me longer than anticipated to finish such a short book. It is well written, just too easy to put down. I’m still glad I read it, am happy to own it, and look forward to picking it apart with Kiddo when she is older.

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers – Ralph Moody

A good friend recommended I read this out loud to Kiddo and I am so glad I listened. This is a new favorite, a must read for all, and we’re currently saving up to buy the complete series! I don’t know how I didn’t discover Ralph Moody sooner. Moody rivals Laura Ingalls Wilder and Mark Twain in my heart.

Niels Stensen: The Scientist Who Was Beatified – Hans Kermit

I constantly marvel at people who cannot understand my fascination for science as a field of study and my Christian faith. To me, those who think the two cannot coexist have not studied one or the other sufficiently. Niels Stensen is a comfort, an inspiration, and I’m certain if I had ever met the man in person I’d have been madly intrigued.

I Hope This Reaches Her in Time – R.H. Sin

Sometimes I am too tired to do much, but not ready for sleep. That’s when I read poetry, those moments between awake and dreamland. This particular collection is for Lang Leav and Rupi Kaur lovers.

If you wish to browse or order any of these books through Amazon, please click through my link here: https://amzn.to/2r72WPI

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Harvey

September 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , )

Pre-Harvey I had made a plan. I now had Fridays off from work and I was going to get on the review writing routine again. I had planned to post a review and a book related blog article every Friday and fully embrace my life as a bibliophile.

Then Harvey happened.

I did what all good Texas women of the Gulf Coast do: I checked my back up water supply (ten already filled gallons which had been stored in the spring for potential summer hurricanes), I made sure we had food (the canned goods closet for such occasions was already stocked by my mother), I filled up my gas tank (it was only on half and that’s when I fill up usually anyway), I stopped by the ATM and made sure I had some emergency cash. I explained the process to my six year old as we deep cleaned the house (if you’re going to be stuck inside for a few days, you want everything spotless). I knew I was forgetting something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until the next day when I started craving pie. Bake. All good Southern girls bake during a hurricane. We made a cherry pie.  If you scroll through a southern Facebook feed, you’ll see an awful lot of cookies and cakes too.

We made it through the rain and the wind. We prepared a tornado closet under the stairs during the warnings. I had the go bags with extra clothes, provisions, and toiletries already packed. I even packed an emergency go-homeschool bag so we could continue school work.

I watched the west fork of the San Jacinto rise. Conroe opened the flood gates and I watched the river rise some more.

Tuesday morning, my street that didn’t even flood in the Great Flood of 1994, had water so high that when my friend in a truck came to get my daughter and I (because my car, Nigel, is not an appropriate one to escape in such weather), that he had to borrow a boat.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy this one of kiddo:

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The water would later reach this man’s waist. Let’s gloss over our adventures in taking shelter at the church where kiddo had an absolute blast and the dog made all sorts of new best friends. (Seriously, we actually had a lot of fun there.) To the part where my car, Nigel, was completely flooded and is completely totaled and molded. The house got 13 inches.

And yet, God provides and we are well.

God blesses through amazing people. By the grace of God and generous friends I am now driving Irma-Joan. My lovely friend Shelly Veron hosted a GoFundMe which met its initial goal of $3k to cover a down payment, and has raised it to help me cover future car payments. I could not ask for more amazing and wonderful people in my life during and after the storm.

I am back to work, and my parents are renovating the house. We made it through everything safe and sound and I’m currently residing with my best friend. God is Good, even when the world feels like crap. And people are kind and gracious, especially when the world feels like crap.

https://www.gofundme.com/a-vehicle-for-andi-after-harvey

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Dear Duncan Jones…

August 12, 2017 at 12:55 am (Guest Blogger, Reviews) (, , , , )

Title: The Zebra Just Couldn’t Decide

Author/ Illustrator: Duncan Jones

We had the pleasure of receiving a new Duncan Jones picture book in the mail. Years ago, we were privy to his first book. My kiddo attended a book signing of his at Half Price Books in Humble. She has been wearing t-shirts he designed ever since.  Needless to say, she was pretty thrilled to discover he had sent her a NEW book.

“Dear Duncan Jones,

I think it’s a silly a book because every single animal wants to be the color that they already are. The flamingo wants to be pink and the flamingo IS pink. All rhinos are gray, people know that. The green snake already is a green snake. The wildebeest wants to be brown like the ground and he already is brown like the ground. The zebra just can’t decide and I’m kinda glad he can’t decide, because if he chose the color that he already was, he’d be as crazy as the others. I don’t know why the others want to be the color they already are.  I think it’s a pretty silly book, but I like it. And thank you for writing it.

Love, silly me”  [Ayla, age 6]

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My Art Soothes Me

June 26, 2017 at 12:33 am (Art, In So Many Words) (, , )

17883548_10100212876206789_1026546583218474412_nI used to draw a lot. I found that over the years I have done less and less, and the more I discovered the dark plot points of the marriage I thought was a beautiful work of fate, the more I realize why so much of me began to get buried.

It would resurface, bouts of artistic fancy. And I’m equally strong willed and oblivious, so it’s kinda hard to quash my spirit.  I’m naturally pretty confident and bold despite my anxieties.

Still, I finally know why I wasn’t drawing. Snippets of the comments and criticisms and endless amounts of his self loathing after seeing me working on a piece, I stopped doing it as much, or tried to do it when he wasn’t paying attention. My sketches just became something he would behave bitterly and annoyed about because I could draw and he could not. He’d praise me in front of others then get hopelessly drunk and emotional and yell about how it must be nice to be me and why the hell wasn’t I making any money at it.  Then tell me it was all just copying other things and that I wasn’t an artist anyway.  He said that last bit so often, I’ve even repeated it to others.  I love to draw. I sell pieces now and then, but ultimately, I don’t want my drawings to be something I have to force for pay.  Where career choices are, I’d rather write.  Can’t I keep one thing for myself and not sell out to the worship of the Dollar Bill?

Ultimately, I didn’t even see it as something I wasn’t doing because he was oppressive; it was merely a way I showed my love… not flaunting something that he got so upset about.  Why would you do things that make your best friend feel bad? You don’t. The terrible truth, however, is that he gets so upset over everything.  I cannot be responsible for his emotions, and I’m finally learning – in my thirties – that we can only be responsible for our own behavior, not our spouse’s feelings.

So, back at my parents house, I’ve been building a garden and raising my daughter. I’ve been rediscovering the beautiful embrace of my Heavenly Father’s love, something I’ve been struggling to do since my husband decided that he wasn’t really a believer anymore and decided that Judas Iscariot was actually the ultimate hero of the bible.  And I’ve been revisiting my sketchbook, almost weekly now, instead of yearly.  In it, I am soothed.

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Jorie and the Magic Stones

June 25, 2017 at 7:20 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

19437293_10100245730471579_2579479098578961460_n.jpgTitle: Jorie and the Magic Stones

Author: A. H. Richardson

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Length: 263 pages

Kiddo and I received this book some months ago as a review copy. We adore fantasy and fairy tales and Cabrynthius was an exciting addition to our travels which already included Narnia, the Land of Stories, Neverland, Hogwarts, and more.

Kiddo is six years old and her official review goes as follows,

“Jorie is a great book. I love the adventures she had. I want to learn more about the mysterious book she found under her bed. Please make a sequel.”

She also asked me to include three happy face emojis, of which I will refrain. But if we’re working on a happy face system instead of star ratings, she gives it three in a row. (I think happy faces may be worth more than stars.)

Richardson is a talented children’s adventure storyteller. I can say I probably would have enjoyed this book thoroughly as a second grader, although the average reading level might fall in a third or fourth grade level.  As an adult reading a children’s book, the story was appropriately paced, the trials and life lessons were concisely addressed, and I looked forward to reading each chapter with my little girl.

My only criticism for the work as a whole lies in an editorial preference: too many instances of the word “quite.” In future works, I hope that Richardson takes a red pen to every use of the word “quite” and marks it out. Keep three, maybe, but lose the rest. I found the word more distracting than descriptive.

All in all, Jorie and the Magic Stones belongs in children’s libraries everywhere. All kids long to go on a quest and to be chosen, but have to learn lessons of discernment and ethical choice; Richardson presents all these things well.  Like my daughter, I look forward to a sequel.

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Uhtred and I

June 23, 2017 at 3:46 am (AJ and Ivy's Bookshop Hotel, In So Many Words, Uncategorized)

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for awhile. I went back to working in the bookstore full time and between homeschooling my kiddo and working 40 hours a week, even though the reading didn’t stop, my reviewing slowed greatly.

However, last spring I was head over heels into the Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell.

It was a time of hope for me.  I had finally moved out of my mother-in-law’s house and into a rent house. We lost our home in 2014 and a year and a half of paying off debt and trying to start over at my in-law’s, my husband and I were on our own again at last. The previous five years had been beyond rocky. My husband was struggling, I struggled to deal with his struggling, my daughter was becoming more aware of the situation; but finally, there was light at the end of the tunnel. My husband was on probation for his second DUI, but there was nowhere to go but up, right? We’d all hit rock bottom together and it was time to grow.

I binge read the Saxon Tales (I’m still reading them, but I read the first four or five all in a row that season), and while smitten with the character and the author, and the entire idea of the era (we homeschool chronologically through history and were studying a lot that coincided with the books), I found the energy to write a novelette.

The novelette is called Nancy & Uhtred, and it’s about one of my favorite characters from my imaginary small town, Lily Hollow, falling in love with the Saxon Tales.  It’s hopeful and funny. It’s evidence that, though I don’t write autobiographical fiction by a long shot, elements of my mood can be found in my writing. It’s my shortest published work in the series, but possibly my best. I love it, I love the time period it represents in my life… before everything finally came crashing down once and for all.

The other shoe dropped – again. The proverbial rug got ripped out from underneath me.

My husband was out of work, drunk while on probation for another DUI, screaming at us, and as my daughter barricaded the door – again – I thought, “This won’t end.” My hope and my funny left me.

So I kicked him out, obtained a restraining order, begged him to get help, and  waited.

Seven months later, we are not legally divorced, but he has public online dating profile, attempting to woo women with what a great guy he is.  I’ve loved him for more than half my life.  I’m devastated.  I am grieving.  I don’t know what the future holds. But whatever it is, it’s in God’s hands.

All this to say, Nancy & Uhtred is published, and reminds me of what I can accomplish when I am focusing on God, focusing on hope, digging deep and taking inventory of my life and who I am, and making an effort to be the best version of myself I can be.  It is my best writing and I hope to write more like it in the future.  Nancy speaks to the me I used to know and encourages me to wake up, pray hard, and try new things without abandoning the old things that I’ve always loved.  I hope others find something good in it, too.

Currently, back in my parent’s home, I am catching up on all the reviews I meant to do in what I thought would be our glorious recovery and reconciliation phase that has not happened.  He’s apparently sober now, thank God, but has no interest in being my husband.  I pray for him daily and hope my readers who pray will too.

So as well as an awkward announcement of my latest book release, this is also a shout out to the many patient indie authors awaiting reviews for copies they sent me. We are almost finished reading Jorie and the Magic Stones, I’ve been reading it aloud to the kiddo and we’re having so much fun with it. I’m also slowly plucking through High Flier by Susan Kotch, but I admit I’m having a hard time caring about teen romance when the man I’ve loved since I was fourteen is discarding the promises we made to each other.  This is not Kotch’s fault, it’s a good book, like the first in her series, I’m just not interested in romantic love in the slightest right now. The very thought of it starts to nauseate me.

I’ve been Anakalian Whims for a long, long time, and though my posts have been rapid at times and nonexistent at others, I will continue to write. I will continue to process my life through the pursuit of God, and the reading of more and more books.

I am not looking for sympathy, I do not need comments or messages, please if you read this and feel anything at all, just take a moment to pray.  Goodnight, world.

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