Turning Points – A Time to Rise Blog Tour

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I’ve been thinking a lot about turning points lately. It has been about two months since I posted on this blog, and most of that is due to stumbling across and purchasing a fixer upper house, moving, and making do without internet. A new house, a new turning point.

As I’ve posted about before, I’ve been into listening to history courses through the Great Courses lately. If you get them through Audible, they are pretty affordable. Recently, I listened to one on Turning Points in Medieval History, done by an English professor, not a history professor. Her perspective took on history as one big story, showing how each turning point isn’t a separate event standing all by itself, but interconnected with all the past turning points and influencing all the future ones. As a Christian, I could appreciate this even more because I believe the reason history is so interconnected and seems to be one story is BECAUSE it is one story. Christ’s story. God’s story.

Our own lives are also filled with turning points. Days and events that stick out to us as the moment something changed and set us on a new course. Often, these turning points are tragedy. But not always.

And sometimes, someone else’s turning point affects your own turning point.

Nadine Brandes has talked about several times how a turning point in her life started her on the path to writing her debut novel A Time to Die. In this novel, the main character Parvin experiences her own turning points when, with only a year left to live, she realizes she’s wasted her life, and she sets out to change that.

This was all a good three years before I even knew Nadine Brandes existed. I was partway through college, getting my degree in writing and dreaming about being a published author.

Fast forward a few years. I graduated college, was a year into a full time job, and was submitting a nonfiction manuscript I’d written and getting nowhere with it. I was frustrated that my dream of graduating college and having the time to write books hadn’t worked out. I felt like I had no time and would never have the time I wanted.

Honestly, I don’t remember what made me sit down and give myself a good shake from my pity party. One day, I realized that the reason I wasn’t a writer and wasn’t finishing books was that I was wasting time whining about my lack of time.

This was March 2014. That same month, I started writing Dare. Three months later, I had a completed book. I set it aside and started Deny.

During this time, I also turned my attention away from researching nonfiction publishing toward fiction publishing. I read blogs, books, articles. Traditional publishing. Self Publishing. All of it.

And this is where the turning point thing starts getting cool. I stumbled across Jill Williamson’s Replication as a free ebook. It was the first time I’d discovered the whole Christian speculative fiction world out there. I then went on to read her other books, and the Blood of Kings trilogy showed me that there was still such a thing as Christian fantasy besides Lewis and Tolkien.

Since I was researching publishing, I tracked down the publisher. It was Marcher Lord, right when it was transitioning to Enclave Publishing. I explored every inch of that website, and of course read the blog. Guess who had posted on the blog promoting the release of her debut book?

Yep, Nadine Brandes. nadine-early-release-2

The book sounded really cool, so I stalked her site. Learned she was an editor. Submitted Dare to her for editing. I was too late to officially join the blog tour for A Time to Die, but I unofficially joined it with a post of my own. It had to have been one of the first two or three posts I did on my blog, since I started my blog in August of that year, and that post is from September.

When I was finally able to read A Time to Die in October, Parvin’s realization of wasting time mirrored my own realization from a few months before. Wasting time. Waiting for something to plop out of the sky instead of actively pursuing God’s will.

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That idea of being active in pursing God’s will and glorifying Him stuck with me. It still resonated when, early in 2015, I sat down and had to decide how I should publish Dare. Traditional or indie? Through all my research, the indie route had tugged at me, but I wasn’t sure I dared do it. What did I really know? What if I messed all this up and Dare flopped and…and…

It was all my fear talking, and finally God made it clear indie was the route to go with these books. That moment I hit the publish button, I gave it all to Him. I’d sown the seed. The increase was His, no matter how large or small or whatever it might be.

But I wasn’t wasting time anymore. I was doing my best to actively pursue His will in a way I hadn’t before.

And He did bless the increase way beyond anything I had dreamed for that book.

Then the fall of 2015 came around. I was drained from the rewrites of Deny. Wondering if it would ever measure up to everyone’s expectations. Scared because everyone HAD expectations now, when they hadn’t with Dare.

Then A Time to Speak, Nadine’s next book, released. It was Parvin’s time to speak, to draw on the confidence of the lessons she’d learned in the first book. atimetospeak5

But it also pushed me to speak. To stop stuttering and stammering and hoping someone would change the topic when they asked about my books. To figure out how to keep giving it all to God now that this crazy ride was set in motion.

It’s strange to look back now and see how much a year and a half can change a person. In the year since publishing Dare and reading A Time to Die, I’ve become much more confident in how I interact with people. I’ve signed books at a craft sale. I spoke at a small Christian school. I’ve gone to two writer’s conferences and was able to relax instead of remain a bundle of introverted nerves in the corner. All of that confidence, those turning points, led to the turning point I started this whole post with: buying a house, moving. It wasn’t something I would’ve been ready to handle a year ago.

Looking back, I’m amazed at the way God used the turning points in my life to bring me to this point.

If I hadn’t gotten Replication as an ebook…

If A Time to Die hadn’t been releasing…

If I hadn’t stumbled across Nadine and found an editor and friend…

If A Time to Die and A Time to Speak hadn’t given me pushes when I needed them…

Would I have published Dare? Would I have gone to the writer’s conferences and made a whole bunch of writer friends?

And now, another turning point. A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the Out of Time series releases officially in 10 days, though Amazon is shipping it early if you want to order it now. You can read my review (also known as flailing fangirling) of the book here.

Yes, you all totally have the Out of Time series to thank, in part, for the fact that I ever published The Blades of Acktar.

Have you experienced turning points in your life? How have they affected you?

 

Want to connect with Nadine yourself? Because, after all, she’s an awesome human being.

Nadine is also the queen of Facebook parties, so you won’t want to miss the one she is hosting on October 18

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Want to check out the Out of Time series for yourself?

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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A Time to Rise

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Posted in Book Recommendations, Christianity, The Blades of Acktar, Writing Blogs, Writing Life, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , by with 6 comments.

A Time to Rise Cover Reveal

I have a super special treat for you guys today. A cover reveal! But not just any cover reveal. This is a cover reveal for A Time to Rise, book three in the Out of Time series by the extraordinary Nadine Brandes. Yes, the same Nadine Brandes who happens to be the freelance editor for The Blades of Acktar.

I was super excited when I got the chance to sign up for the cover reveal and see the cover a day earlier than the reveal. The benefits of being on Nadine’s street team. If that sounds good to you, you can find the sign up here.

Now, the cover reveal…

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Ta da!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Isn’t it gorgeous? Then again, I didn’t expect anything less. All of the covers for the Out of Time series have been amazing, done by Kirk DouPonce, DogEaredDesign! I can’t wait to have this book on my shelf!

About the Book

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Add to Goodreads

Release Date: October 14, 2016

How am I ever going to survive until October? Ah!!!!

If you want to add a countdown timer to your blog (because you’re an excited fangirl like me), then here’s the link for one: https://countdownsbyerin.com/cd/time/

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Sadly, the preorder isn’t available at this time. But if you haven’t picked up the first two books, you can find them here:

 A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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You can connect with the author Nadine Brandes at her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

To top off all the fun, Nadine is hosting a giveaway for Happy Hello Out of Time character bookmarks. Follow this link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c244e3122/?

What do you think? Isn’t the cover amazing?


Posted in Book Recommendations, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , by with 5 comments.

Fun with Book Selfies

Okay, so I wasn’t actually planning to write this post, but I had so much fun last night taking pictures that I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

I decided to take a few selfies of me with my horse with Nadine Brandes’s book A Time to Die to celebrate the release of it’s sequel A Time to Speak (which released today! Yay! Though, only the ebook version is available. Click here for Nadine’s full explanation of why).

Anyway, I marched over to the horse pasture with book and camera in hand.

My horse refused to cooperate until I bribed him with treats.

My horse: “Can I eat it?” Me: “Um, no. That’s my super special paperback that I got signed IN PERSON. You are not allowed to so much as breathe on it too deeply.”

I’m making a sneaky ninja face while my horse still refuses to cooperate. Not enough bribes yet.

I finally convinced him to read the book with me. 😉

Another ninja face while my horse makes a stealthy sneak attack looking for more treats.

And, finally, a good one. 🙂

My horse: “Can I eat it?” Me: “No, that’s my camera.”

If you couldn’t tell by the great lengths I went to, I really, really love this series. And, if you enjoyed the characters in Dare, it is in part because Nadine was my gracious editor to point out things where “this decision doesn’t make sense” or “this character is really flat” or “this character doesn’t do anything but sit around and cower the entire book.”

Her books are available here:

Book 1 (A Time to Die) – bit.ly/AmazonATtDpaperback
Book 2 (A Time to Speak) – bit.ly/AmazonATtSPaperback

Have you ever done a selfie with a book before? How about a selfie with an animal? Ever tried doing both at once?


Posted in Book Recommendations, Writing Life, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , by with 10 comments.

An Interview with Adventuring Author Nadine Brandes

Today, I’m interviewing author Nadine Brandes about adventures, writing, and other awesome randomness. 🙂

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You can connect with Nadine on her website, blog, NEWSLETTERGoodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google plus.

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and join the Facebook party to celebrate A Time to Speak‘s release.
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Hi, Nadine! I can’t believe I haven’t interviewed you on my blog yet. Time for that to change! 

I happen to know you really like tea. What’s your favorite kind? Do you have any special way you make tea? (rituals, tips, special teapot, etc)

Ooh! My favorite kind of tea is Yorkshire Tea – I discovered it when living in York, England and I drink it with milk and sugar. When I have a long day of writing ahead of me, I’ll usually make an entire pot of it. I have a couple cool teapots I’ve collected from around the world. One looks like a globe with a lid and has pirate ships on it. That’s my favorite, haha.

A globe teapot with pirate ships on it? That does sound epic for a teapot! And living in England? That sounds like an adventure! 

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You live in Idaho not far from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons (I’m a little jealous. I love that area!). What’s your favorite part about living where you do?

I love being able to go on adventures! In just the past two years I’ve done so many exciting things like dogsledding, rock climbing, and walking in nature for inspiration. Hubby and I got married here and even got to ride away from our wedding in a one-horse open sleigh. *Hums Jingle Bells* You just don’t get to do that in other places.

That does sound amazing! The one time I’ve been to that area, we had a blizzard in June and we had to hike through knee-high snow in our tennis shoes. It sounds like it is just as adventurous to live there! 

Unity Village, Parvin’s home town, is in a dystopian Missouri. What made you pick that state for her village?

I was living in Missouri at the time and completely adored that state. I prefer writing from experience, so I set it in Missouri simply because I’d be able to tackle the descriptions much better while living through them – down to the time of year, weather, etc.

Missouri is very beautiful. My friends and I took a road trip there this past summer. 🙂 

You take Parvin on quite an adventure in A Time to Speak. How much research did you do for the book? What was your favorite part of researching? Least favorite?

So much research! My goodness! Without giving too much away, I spent days and weeks and months watching videos, reading books, and interviewing travelers about Antarctica. I also traveled with my dad to Panama and rode a sailboat through the canal. I chased a boxcar train and ate a raw potato. If you couldn’t tell…I go all out. 😛 My favorite part of researching is probably getting to go on adventures…with a notebook. [grin] My least favorite part of research is when it’s something I can’t experience. Like…Antarctica. (Trust me, I looked up costs to visit. Um…NO.) Because no matter how much I research, there’s nothing like first-hand experience.

Even if you didn’t get to go to Antarctica, you had me convinced! Then again, you’ve had first had experience with ice and snow where you live. 

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What is one thing on your bucket list of adventures/things to try (besides travel to Antarctica some day)?

I want to go skydiving! Yes, because it will help me with a certain scene in a future book, but also because I really want to imagine I’m flying. And I hope that my many adventures will inspire my children to have adventurous spirits. (I’ll probably force them into adventures whether they like them or not.

Now you have me really curious for this next book!

My parents dragged my brothers and me through many adventures when we were growing up, and I’m glad they did. 

Thanks, Nadine, for stopping by my blog!

Now, Nadine has a question for all of you:

What’s an adventure on your bucket list?


Posted in YA Authors and tagged , , , by with 11 comments.

Fun Fiction Friday – A Time to Speak

For today’s Fun Fiction Friday, I’m spotlighting A Time to Speak, which releases in ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any one else excited for this yet? Because I’m beyond geeked for this book!

Lucky for me, I got to read an ARC version. 🙂

About the author

Nadine

You can connect with Nadine here:

About the book

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What happens when you live longer than you wanted to? 

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

My Recommendation

Sounds amazing, right? Well, it is. In my opinion, it’s even better than book 1 A Time to Die. While A Time to Die is a sucker punch in the gut that keeps aching in your heart long after you’ve finished it, A Time to Speak is a stirring marching song that straightens your spine and sends you out into the world determined to do something. 

After the events of A Time to Die, Parvin has to come to grips with the fact that she’s still alive. Not only is she still alive, but her friends Willow and Elm are in trouble and her family is in shambles. Parvin is determined to help her friends, help her family, and help her village.

I adored Parvin’s determination, and I think it is the main reason I enjoyed this book better. While Parvin had to search for her path in book 1, she has found it in book 2. While her determination sometimes get her into trouble and makes her a tad reckless, I could connect with her need to accomplish something. Her courage and faith is inspiring.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Time to Speak (though that ending!), and I can’t wait for book 3!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Nadine is hosting a Facebook party to celebrate the release. Nadine does Facebook parties exceptionally well, so you won’t want to miss it!

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Nadine is also having a giveaway for signed copies of both A Time to Die and A Time to Speak. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Posted in Book Recommendations, Fiction Friday, YA Authors and tagged , , , by with 9 comments.

Called to Speak Blog Hop

I’m proud to be part of the Blog Hop promoting A Time to Speak. Not only is this book amazing, but Nadine Brandes is a great friend who I was blessed to meet in person a few weeks ago. This hop is to spread the word about her new dystopian novel, A Time to Speak, releasing October 16th. It is also to encourage myself and others to speak out for things we are passionate about.

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I will speak out about Christian Young Adult speculative fiction.

I was that girl who read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings and then…couldn’t find any other Christian fantasy to read. Because there wasn’t much available when I was growing up.

I read a lot of secular fantasy and science fiction. Some of it was really good. Some of it was junk. I stumbled into stuff that, looking back, I wish I hadn’t read. Because it wasn’t edifying. And it’s only gotten worse. Two of what were my favorite Young Adult fantasy authors went downhill with some of their recent books. I was so disappointed with one I didn’t even finish it and promptly returned it.

It took me years to pick up mainstream Christian fiction. The little I had picked up was boring to me. I’m the person who looks for action and adventure in a book. I’m the girl who didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until I forced myself to listen to a book on tape version a few years ago. I cheered when Lydia ran away with Mr. Wickham because FINALLY something happened.

The books by Dee Henderson and Marylu Tyndall finally showed me that not all Christian fiction was boring.

Then I got a free book by Jill Williamson and learned that Christian fantasy did exist. And it was a growing.

I’d found a new passion. I began writing my own Christian fantasy series. I began tracking down Christian fantasy authors to read. And when I started this blog, I added a fiction finder to tell other readers about all the Christian YA books I was discovering.

I’m not going to argue why fantasy. Many other people have argued that point much better than I can. And I understand that fantasy, science fiction, and other speculative genres are everybody’s thing. Then again, neither is romance. There’s a place for both.

I’m speaking about Christian fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, etc. While secular books in those genres can be very well written and a Christian can sometimes see things like good vs evil, no book can touch a Christian’s heart like a Christian book.

A secular dystopian like The Hunger Games ends without hope. A Christian dystopian like A Time to Die breathes hope. That’s the difference.

Yes, I can read secular works. I’m not saying Christians must only read Christian books. I believe in being widely read.

But, the older I get and the less time I have, the pickier I become with the books I read. Since I have limited time, I look for books that edify as well as entertain. I look for books that help me grow in my faith, not detract from it.

For me, the speculative genres, especially fantasy, are the ones that touch my heart the most.

I’m calling for my fellow readers to wake up and support the growing Christian speculative market. Not just because I’m one of those authors. But because I know a lot of teenagers, young adults, and adults who are reading secular speculative works, but not Christian speculative fiction. Perhaps they don’t know there are Christian speculative fiction books out there.

I’m going to do all I can to change that. If you want a book recommendation, I have it. I have a whole list.

And here’s one recommendation to start: the Out of Time series.

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How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

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What happens when you live longer than you wanted to? 

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

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To celebrate the release of A Time to Speak, Nadine is hosting a Facebook party!

And a Rafflecopter giveaway!

If you want to see what other bloggers are speaking out about, here is the list of the rest of the bloggers:

9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel
9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes
10.01.15 – Jason Joyner
10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)
10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink
10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)
10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx
10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito
10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah
10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine
10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen
10.17.15 – Megan Besing
10.19.15 – Angel Roman
10.20.15 – Charles Franklin
10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees
10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu
10.27.15 – Natalie Walters
10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian
11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine
11.17.15 – Amanda Fender

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Posted in Book Recommendations, Writing Blogs, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , by with 17 comments.

Take the Adventure That is Sent Us

Recently, I finished my yearly read-through of The Chronicles of Narnia. Each time I read them or listen to them, something new strikes me.

This time, the concept of adventure stood out to me.

Reepicheep

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Reepicheep is always harping on honor and adventure. The little mouse’s courage pushes everyone on the crew to greater heights of courage because they refuse to be outdone by a mouse. The others sometimes become annoyed with Reepicheep because everything is an adventure to him. Any time they want to turn back or be cautious, Reepicheep pulls the adventure card, and they can’t turn back.

“This is a very great adventure, and no danger seems to me so great as that of knowing when I get back to Narnia that I left a mystery behind me through fear.” Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

But for all his annoyance with Reepicheep, King Caspian seems to have remembered Reepicheep’s words because in both The Silver Chair and The Last Battle, descendants of King Caspian also emphasize adventure.

“Doubtless,” said the Prince. “This signifies that Aslan will be our good lord, whether he means us to live or die…let us descend into the City and take the adventure that is sent us.” – Prince Rilian in The Silver Chair

In the end, Eustace and Jill begged so hard that Tirian said they could come with him and take their chance–or, as he much more sensibly called it “the adventure that Aslan would send them.” – The Last Battle

The amazing thing about these quotes? They all happened, not when the characters were facing something fun and safe, but when they faced danger and a great possibility of death. Actually, death was the most likely outcome.

Death, an adventure?

Yes, that’s the point. Everything in our life is God’s adventure given to us. The good things. The bad things. The horrible things we’d rather never, ever face.

Let that sink in.

Life is an adventure.

Death is an adventure.

Everything in between is an adventure.

As Reepicheep would say, it is the greatest adventure that has ever been heard of.

But we don’t always treat life as an adventure. We live like it’s the dullest thing ever. A lot of times it is, but even epic voyages had long days of sailing on boring, empty seas with barely a breeze to push the ship along. But that’s still part of the adventure. You can’t get to the next island without the boring sailing in between.

This was something I’ve been thinking about even before re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia, which is probably why it struck me this time. I’ve been thinking about it ever since reading A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes, a book that asks the question: how you would live if you knew when you’d die. Would you live your time or would you waste it?

And when you find you have time, what do you do with it? That’s one theme of the sequel A Time to Speak that releases on October 16. You’ll be hearing a lot more about that book since I’m a part of Nadine’s launch team and it’s made me think a little more about what I’m doing with the time I’ve been given.

God has given me this life, this adventure. It can be scary. Overwhelming. Adventures usually are. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be a little bit more like Reepicheep and face it with courage and an adventurous spirit. Because what biggest regret is there than turning back and leaving an adventure undone?

What about you? What adventures has God given you?


Posted in Christianity, YA Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , by with 2 comments.