Friday, November 24, 2017

Indie Christian Book Sale!

 Good morning FFFs!
Happy Thanksgiving (one day late), Happy black Friday, and Happy anything else you want to include.
How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was pretty quiet. My grandparents were at a cousin's in Chicago, my brother and his family were with his in-laws, and so it was just the four of us. Dad and I did get part of the yard raked. I think my sister and I are going to see if we can get more of it done today. In between my decorating. :)
Yes, I'm starting to decorate for Christmas! Finally! ;) The boxes have all been pulled out of the Christmas Closet, and I have all the fall decor down. I even got some Christmas things up yesterday. Not many, but it's a start. The Christmas village this year is going to be different because we have a new shelf, so that should give it a new look. I'm hoping I can get a Tour of Garlandsburg written for you this year.
Speaking of writing, I have written some. I actually was working on a "Kelsey's Christmas" story. And I have an idea for a new Christmas story involving a military family and policemen. Sound interesting? Pray that I'll be inspired to write.

And now, since today is Black Friday, I don't have a story for you yet. I'm trying to get "Kelsey's Christmas" (or whatever it's going to be called) finished so I can post it next week. But, to keep you happy, here's a book sale! 

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Books has a perfect event for you. (I'm heading over now to check out the books. Want to come along?)


From Nov 24th through Nov 30th, a huge selection of independently published Christian books are on sale. You can find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, we have some freebies for you! Need even more of a reason to support indie authors and fill your shelf with good stories? When you purchase a paperback book through you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card!
You can meet our authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? We’d love to have you join our week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days.

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as "Sold Out." This is because they aren’t selling those directly through their site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Happy Book Hunting!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Something Different - Part 7

Good morning FFFs,
I'm more in a fall mood this week than I was last week. The weather has been warmer this past week which might have something to do with things. Not that it's been really warm, but it's been in the upper 50s - upper 60s. And the last few days have been sunny. Our yard is covered with leaves! And I mean covered. When we rake all the leaves down to the sidewalk for the city to collect (isn't that nice of them to come collect all our leaves?), we fill up almost the entire section near our house with mountains of leaves. Of course kids love playing in them.

This week I've already written close to 4k! I did get stuck on this Christmas story on Wednesday, but I was able to connect with some of the girls from my "NaNo Cabin" and they helped me brainstorm. Now I just have to get it to all come together. I will tell you right now though, this is too long of a story to post on my blog. It's already 14k words. And I haven't reached the end. But you can expect a new Christmas book next year. πŸ˜‰

Today is the last day of my Christmas Collection Blog Tour. Stop by Read Another Page if you haven't already done so, and go read the reviews and interviews. You might learn something new.

And here's the final part of this story. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Something Different
Part 7

    Abby nodded and Lindsay continued.
    “Mrs. Willman was there! I wondered if she had something to do with this since she seemed to know so much about it when I talked to Dr. Willman that first day. And several other people were there as well. The principal of the Christian school and some board members, or something. Anyway, they showed us around and let us ask questions. Then they let us write on the chalkboards and sit at the teacher’s desk. Oh, Abby, I want to teach there!” And Lindsay’s hands tightened into fists at her sides as she tried to fight back her almost overwhelming desire to scream. Drawing a deep breath, she went on. “Then we were all told to find a seat. Everyone else went outside except one older gentleman who is the son or grandson of someone who actually taught in that school! Doesn’t that just give you chills to think about?” She kicked off her shoes and tucked her feet up under her before going on. “He gave us a set of papers and a pencil, and then told us we were going to take the teacher’s exam!”
    Abby’s eyes widened. “Just like that? No time to prepare or anything?”
    “Just like that. I was so thankful that I had looked up what they were like, so I at least had an idea of what to expect. I don’t think anyone was really prepared. Unless it was Sharon. But that gentleman is a certified teacher and had the right or authority, or whatever it is, to give us the tests. And we had to do them right there. In those desks. And no phones were allowed. I forgot to mention that he asked us to turn our phones off for the duration of the test.”
    “Didn’t he trust you?”
    “Probably, but they don’t want your phone to ring, or beep, or something when you are in the middle of a test. The test took us a good long while. Next came lunch. Most of us ate out on the porch. I discovered Grandma’s friend and spent the entire lunch time hearing all about the schoolhouse and the history of it. Oh, Abby, it was so exciting!”
    “Sounds like it. But it’s several hours after lunch, what happened next?” Abby prodded when Lindsay sat staring at the opposite wall with a dreamy expression on her face. “Lindsay. After lunch?”
    “Huh? Oh, sorry. They had us all stay outside, and we took turns going inside to be interviewed in person for ten or so minutes.”
    “Were you nervous?”
    “Yes! I don’t know how well the interview went because I can’t really remember a thing about it except that I had to tell why I wanted to teach there. I don’t think I’ll get the job though, even though I want it so badly.”
    “Why ever not?” Abby demanded.
    “I probably looked like a scared kid. Sharon and one of the guys, Jared, were as cool as though they applied for positions at one-room schoolhouses on a regular basis. One of them will probably get it, if one of the outside group doesn’t. I wish I had more of your poise when talking.”
    “My poise? Ha! Lindsay, you have the poise you need. You get passionate about what you love, and you give all you have to whatever is before you. If you don’t get the job, it’s because God has other plans for you. But don’t give up hope until there is a definite no. Got it?”
    Lindsay nodded. “Thanks. We’re supposed to hear by Monday evening. I’m not sure I’ll be much good in class that day.”
    “How do you think you did on the test?”
    “No idea. Dr. Willman was right. It was harder than I was expecting. I’d like to take it again when I’m not so nervous and see how I do.”

    Lindsay’s phone rang while she and Abby were eating supper Monday night. Picking it up, she looked at the  number and her face grew pale.
    “Answer it,” Abby ordered.
    Swallowing hard, Lindsay tried to say something, but it was only a croak. Quickly clearing her throat, she tried again. “Hello, this is Lindsay.”
    There was a long silence on Lindsay’s side as she listened to the voice on the other end.
    “Uh huh. . . . You did? . . . Yes. . . . I will. Thank you. Goodbye.” Her hand was shaking as she hung up and set the phone back down on the table. “I . . . I . . .” She lifted her eyes and looked at her best friend. “I got it. I’m going to teach. In the little one-room schoolhouse!” Her voice rose as the reality sank in. “Abby, I got it! I get to do it!” Her excitement was met with a delighted hug from Abby.
    “You’ll do a great job. Did they say anything about what you have to wear?”
    “An e-mail is being sent to me with more information.” Shoving away her plate, Lindsay grabbed her laptop from the counter, and opened it. “I didn’t think I’d get it,” she breathed almost to herself. “But I did. I’m going to teach!”

    The scarlet leaves of the sumac, the yellow of the silver maple, and the brown of the oak trees danced in the breeze outside the windows of the small schoolhouse. Energetic clouds raced across the sky in a constant game of tag while the sun shone benignly down from its blue throne.
    “Good morning children,” Lindsay said with a smile as she stood before her first class, “My name is Miss Crawford.” Turning around, she felt the gentle swish of her soft brown dress about her ankles as she picked up a piece of chalk and deftly wrote her name on the blackboard. She was doing something different, and she prayed that her influence would tell for eternity.

Do you like surprise tests?
Do you get nervous waiting to hear about something?
Did you visit my Blog Tour?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Something Different - Part 6

Good morning, FFFs!
It's a lovely fall morning here. There's a light frost on the ground, but the sun is coming up and the sky is mostly clear. There are leaves all over the ground, but some of the trees are not ready to give up the last of their leaves. After five days of cloudy weather, we were delighted to see the sun again on Wednesday.

I taught my last writing classes this week. Well, at least until January. 😊 I am working on my list of things to get done before Christmas! But my desk really needs cleaned off. It's a mess. I've done some reading this week, and worked on blog posts.

Speaking of Blog Posts, put it on your calendar to come to Read Another Page on Monday! That's the start of the Christmas Collection Blog Tour! I think there are 22 bloggers signed up to be a part of it not counting myself. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ I'm super excited about this as it's my first ever Blog Tour for any of my books! There are interviews, book spotlights, book reviews, and I can't wait to read all the posts.

Writing. Yes, I did get some writing in this week. I actually got two days of writing 1k or more! This story is really coming along. And then when this is finished, I have another short Christmas story to write.

Everything is going by much too quickly! I want to enjoy things, not rush through them. So, let's take time to actually enjoy each day this coming week, shall we?

Something Different
Part 6

    “I don’t know for sure. Grandma said her friend had told her that each applicant would hear back even if they didn’t get the position. I just don’t know when that will be. Oh,” Lindsay wailed, “I hope I can concentrate on my own classes!”
    “You’ll have to, if you want to teach,” Abby informed her bluntly. “You don’t think they’ll choose someone who is failing in her classes, do you?”
    Somehow Abby’s words calmed the butterflies in her stomach, and Lindsay drew a long deep breath of the chilly air. She would wait. And while she waited, she’d put a hundred and ten percent effort into her own studies, if for no other reason than to keep herself too busy to think.

    Days passed. They marched steadily onward with a relentlessness that left no doubt that autumn was not going to drag its feet. Though she worked hard on every assignment she received in class, often doing more than was required just for the sake of keeping busy, Lindsay felt that the days must surely have passed for choosing the teacher. But she still had heard nothing. She said not a word to Abby, but her friend seemed to know what she was thinking and tried to encourage her.
    “It’s only been a week since you turned in your application,” she said one evening. “If it’s as Dr. Willman told you and people are applying from across the country, it’s going to take a long time to go over them all. And if everyone wrote as much as you did, it’s going to take even longer,” she finished with a little laugh.
    “I know. I just wish I could hear something. No one on campus seems to have heard anything either. And there wasn’t much time to get the word out on campus here before we had to turn the applications in.”
    A tune began to play from the pocket of Lindsay’s backpack, which sat on the floor near the couch where Lindsay was reclining. Reaching over, Lindsay felt around and pulled out her phone. A glance at the number brought a puzzled expression to her face.
    “Anyone you know?” Abby asked.
    Lindsay shook her head and answered. “Hello?” A sharp intake of breath and then a slightly quavering, “Yes?” alerted Abby that it was an important call. “Uh huh. . . . Of course!” Fanatically Lindsay sat up and made writing motions to Abby.
    Quickly handing her a notebook and pen, Abby held them steady as Lindsay jotted down an address, a time and a date.
    A few more words were exchanged before Lindsay hung up and, dropping the phone on the couch beside her, sagged against the back.
    “What?” demanded Abby. “Was it about the school?”
    “Yes. They want to meet me out at the school Saturday morning, but they made it clear that they haven’t made a decision yet.” She stared from the writing on the paper up to her best friend’s face. “I’m going to go see the schoolhouse.”

    It took every bit of Lindsay’s effort to concentrate on her own studies, but when Friday afternoon arrived and she had nothing to work on, she grew restless. If it hadn’t been raining, she would have walked off some of her nervousness and excitement on campus, but it was, and Lindsay paced the hall, the stairs, and the small confines of their apartment. Finally Abby tossed aside the book she was trying to read.
    “Sit,” she ordered as Lindsay wandered through the room for the seventh time. She pointed to a chair she had pulled out from their small table. “We may as well see if we can get your hair to go easily up in the correct style for a one-room schoolhouse. If you get chosen we won’t have hours to spend each day getting it up.”
    “Oh, Abby, I hadn’t thought of that. If I have to dress the part, what am I going to wear? I don’t have anything that looks like it’s from the eighteen hundreds.”
    “Don’t worry about that. Let’s just focus on your hair right now. Do you know how it’s supposed to look?”

    The autumn sun was bright in a sky washed clear by yesterday’s rain, and only a light breeze tickled the splendidly dressed branches of the trees on campus. It was after noon when Lindsay parked her car and climbed out in front of her dorm. In a daze she entered the building, not paying any attention to the alluring colors and warm sunshine. Slowly she walked up the stairs and down the hall. Stopping before her own door, she stood, silently staring at nothing until the door was flung open and Abby stood before her.
    “Well? Did you get it?”
    “I don’t know.”
    Abby pulled her inside and shut the door. “What’s come over you, Lindsay?” She gave her a little shake and then pushed her down onto the couch. “What was the schoolhouse like?”
    Some of the stupor left Lindsay, and her eyes began to glow as she told of the small schoolhouse, painted red on the outside with a bell in a little shelter on the roof, a stack of wood beside the porch, and the white trim around the windows. “Oh, Abby, it’s the most delightful place I ever saw! There’s a stove inside to keep it warm, real blackboards, old fashioned desks, and a little platform with the teachers desk up on it. There’s a door near the platform that used to just go outside, but now it goes to a little hall and the bathrooms. There is an outside door in the hall though. And there’s a coat room when you first come in, so the children can hang their coats and a shelf for them to put their lunch pails.”
    “But who was there, and what did you do besides look around?” Abby demanded.
    Lindsay blinked. “Oh, sorry. Sharon and three other students from college were there as well as five other applicants. I didn’t know the two guys who were from here, though I recognized them, but the other girl is Jeanette–somebody, the friend of the Carmichaels.”

What makes you give 110% effort into something?
Even if you weren't going to teach, would you like to visit that schoolhouse?
Will you be joining me on Monday for the Blog Tour?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Something Different - Part 5

Hello FFFs,
It's dark outside. Can you believe the time change is this weekend? Or that it is November? That's crazy. And, while I'm getting excited about Christmas and all the decorating, and books, and music, and such, it doesn't seem right. It can't be almost Thanksgiving, can it? The weather certainly didn't help the feeling any yesterday. It got to around 80ΒΊ! Not the kind of weather that makes you think Christmas and Thanksgiving.

So, what have I been doing this week? Let me think a minute.
Oh yes.
On Sunday the choir sang for church, then Sis and I went down to the gym early and set up the food for the fellowship meal afterwards. We also had a baby shower for a family in church. The afternoon I spent reading.
Monday was a busy day with getting things done and then my nieces and nephews came over. Even the baby got to come over and spend a little over two hours! He did great. He talked and smiled, laughed with Grammy, took a nap on Papa, and was happy to watch his siblings. We also celebrated Funny Boy's 8th birthday! How can my buddy be 8?
Tuesday I sent out a lot of review copies of my Christmas books to those who are participating in my Blog Tour. (If you have a blog and haven't signed up, but want to, let me know.) I taught writing classes, then worked on other projects. I did get just a little bit of writing in.
Wednesday was one of those days when I just couldn't seem to think, couldn't focus on anything, and didn't want to. So I read. I did get things done in the afternoon, and in the evening I worked as a substitute in Cubbies at church.
Yesterday Mom and I went shopping. We actually were looking for some new Christmas decorations! That was fun! We found some and I'm looking forward to using them and sharing pictures with you all later. I did write last evening and am now ready to get a new Christmas story to my editor.

And that, my dear readers, is a quick look at my week. How was your week?

Something Different
Part 5

    “I don’t know,” replied the first speaker, “but they’ll probably want some outgoing personality type. I mean just think how hard it would be to teach twenty kids all different ages, all at the same time. And no computer.”
    “Yeah, that would be hard. Hey, I wonder if Sharon would be interested. She’s always talking about teaching and has so many ideas. We should make sure she’s seen it.”
    The other nodded and then they turned to leave, saying a casual hi to Lindsay as she stood against the wall as though waiting for someone.
    As soon as they were gone, Lindsay crossed the hall and read the paper. It didn’t tell her anything she didn’t already know. But hearing the talk had raised her doubts about getting the position. If someone as vibrant, friendly, and creative as Sharon applied, what chance did she have? Sharon was always a leader in things, and she was outgoing and brimming with ideas on any subject. She could direct twenty children in a one-room school with no trouble at all, of that Lindsay was sure, while she, on the other hand, loved children and worked well with them, but when it came to large crowds or her peers, her confidence vanished.
    The words of Dr. Willman came back and she squared her shoulders. “I’ll just forget about Sharon and everyone else. I’ll do my best on the application and leave the rest up to God.”

    It was mid afternoon before she had a chance to do more than look over the application. She was a little surprised that there was so little about what qualified you to teach. But if that part was lacking, other parts were not. She was requested to tell why she wanted to teach, and what she wanted to get out of it. It also asked her to give an overview of what she thought a typical day in the school would look like under her care. At this she nearly laughed. One of the things she had done over the weekend was research one-room schools and what was taught and when and how. Grateful for the ideas she had gleaned, she started her outline on a blank paper in her notebook. It wouldn’t be perfect, she knew, but it was at least a start. She could rework it later before copying the final version down to hand in.

    Tuesday evening, Abby arrived after a late class to find Lindsay hard at work, papers spread across the table, her shoes kicked off and her hair pulled back in a ponytail.
    Lindsay shook her head and scribbled madly for a few minutes. Then she looked up. “No, the application.”
    Abby’s eyes widened. “It takes this much effort to fill out an application to teach in a one-room schoolhouse? Yikes!”
    Glad of an interruption, Lindsay stood up and stretched. “Maybe I am overdoing it a little, but Dr. Willman said I would be up against people from all over the country.” She looked down at the papers. “And I heard today that Sharon is applying.”
    “Sharon Gladstone?”
    “Yep. And if I’m to stand any chance against her, I have to do my very best.”
    For a moment Abby was silent. Setting her backpack beside the couch, she said, “Let me change into something more comfortable and then I’ll come help.”
    Staring at the door that had closed after her friend, Lindsay was dumbfounded. Abby wanted to help her? She knew she had been praying with her about it, but this was different. As soon as Abby came back, Lindsay burst out, “You want to help me? Why?”
    “If you want to teach in that schoolhouse this badly, the least a best friend could do is lend a hand in applying or preparation. Now,” she continued, seating herself in the other chair at the table, “what do I do?”
    For hours the two girls worked. Abby reading over answers, pointing out grammar mistakes, or suggesting better, clearer ways of saying something. Together they made a school schedule, not just of one day, but getting a little carried away, they planned the entire week, which Lindsay then copied in her neatest hand. “I thought of typing it,” she told Abby, who had risen to find something to throw together for supper, “but they didn’t have computers back then, and I thought they might want a sample of my penmanship.”
    “I hadn’t thought of that,” Abby replied. “I wonder if it’ll make a difference. Sandwiches or pizza?”
    “Sandwiches. I don’t want to risk pizza sauce on my papers. I don’t know if it’ll make a difference either. Maybe it’ll hurt my chances.” She frowned. “Perhaps I should send both. It doesn’t say what form to send them in.” Twirling a piece of hair around her finger, Lindsay looked at the schedules she had already copied. “Abby, if I don’t get to teach here, what am I going to do with these schedules and lesson plans? I don’t think I want to just throw them away. Not after all this work.”
    “You could use them in the school play and be the teacher.”
    Lindsay’s eyes grew wide. “No thanks! Dressing up and acting on a stage is not my idea of fun.”
    “Yet you call dressing up and spending a full day teaching a room full of children fun.” And Abby shook her head.

    “Abby, save me a seat,” Lindsay said as the two friends hurried down one of the leaf strewn paths toward their first shared class. “I want to drop these off at Dr. Willman’s office.” And she held up her application, all neatly stapled together as the instructions had said.
    “Why don’t I just wait for you?”
    “Do you mind?”
    Abby shook her head. “Why would I mind? It’s a lovely fall morning.”
    It took only moments to drop off the papers, and then the girls continued on their way. “When are you supposed to hear back?”

Do you have a friend who would help you like Abby helped Lindsay?
Do you ever worry that something could be done better by another person?
Are you getting excited about Christmas?