The Bookshelf Tag!

Tag Catch-Up Post #5

Aspen tagged me for the Bookshelf Tag — thanks, Aspen!! Eeeeep, I’m so excited to do this one — it looks so awesome! *flailing* I just love love LOVE lists and books, and this combines them perfectly and aaaahhh!

Okay. I’ll get to the questions now and quit fangirling. 😉

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from: In this case, I have three bookcases, each with five shelves plus the top (which I totally keep books on too), one white, two black. The white one was from a garage sale. The black ones were from Target and I helped assemble them and it was awesome. I think I need a forth one though, because… overflowing. Yes.

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books? Fictional books I’ve read are organized alphabetically by author… Then I also have some nonfiction and picture books etc., organized kind of by subject. And of course, my Tolkien books and Lewis books and Lloyd Alexander books have places of their own, apart from the general fiction. So much for read books… My unread books have their own bookcase, and I organize those however I feel like it, and it changes periodically, but mostly it’s organized either by category/genre, or by how much I want to read it right now, or some combination of the two…

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf? I’d say my dictionary, but it’s on my desk, sooo… If we’re going to go with overall pages, probably my Complete Shakespeare of which I’ve only read one play, and is 1300 pages. But collections aside, probably Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke at 782 pages.

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What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf? Little Mommy by Sharon Kane at 24 pages. It was kinda my childhood… *memories*

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Is there a book you received as a birthday gift? The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson.

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What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Carson Levine.

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Aside from my Atlases… Prince Valiant Vol. 11: Intrigues at Camelot by Hal Foster.

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Is there a book from a friend on your shelf? Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. (Thanks, Kelsey! ^_^)

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Most expensive book? Probably Time and Mr. Bass by Eleanor Cameron.

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The last book you read on your shelf? Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

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Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read? I literally don’t remember because I’ve been reading basically forever… Maybe Pippi Longstocking? That was early, anyway.

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Do you have more than one copy of a book? Honestly, a lot. Because I go to library booksales and can’t resist multiple copies of my scrumptious lovelies. They make great gifts, too! But if you want specifics… The Lord of the Rings. Lots and lots of The Lord of the Ringses, precioussss.

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Do you have the complete series of any book series? Yes. Lots and lots.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf? I don’t know which individual book was technically the latest, as I got fifteen books at a library sale recently…

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What book has been on your shelf FOREVER? The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 50th Anniversary Edition.

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What’s the most recently published book on your shelf? Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, published May 19, 2015.

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The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)? Probably an old gorgeous G.A. Henty book that I haven’t read yet, At Agincourt. Published 1896, and on the front page it’s marked as given to someone in 1897, so it was new at the time! O_O

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A book you won? King’s Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt.

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A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)? The Sign of the Seven Seas by Carley Dawson. I found it for a quarter at a garage sale, and later found out it’s kinda rare and expensive. Which is sad, because it’s kind of beat up and I LOVE it, and the first book is out of copyright and free on Gutenberg.org, which makes me wonder if The Sign of the Seven Seas is as well, or not…? I still periodically check Gutenberg to see if it’s been put up there but it never is, and maybe the copyright was renewed but… I don’t know. I wish I knew more about this sort of thing because if it’s just that nobody has a copy of it to scan, I would totally figure out how to help Gutenberg with that! *flail*

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Most beat up book? In Chimney Corners by Seamus MacManus. I almost didn’t get it at the library sale I found it at, but I couldn’t resist Irish folktales, so I got it, beat up condition and all — and I don’t regret it because it’s awesome!

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Most pristine book? Tossup between England Adventure by Kelsey Bryant and The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis, because I got them recently but had read them before and haven’t reread them yet so they are in gorgeous condition and practically untouched (except for when I take them off the shelf and gaze on their beauty and pet them. What, you don’t do that with your new books?? *innocent look*).

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A book from your childhood? The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

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A book that’s not actually your book? I’m going to steal Aspen’s answer to this and say Stephen R. Lawhead’s Hood Trilogy which are my brother’s, that I still haven’t read… Also my sister’s Goldstone Wood books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.

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A book that is your favorite color? The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. Close enough, anyway…

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Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read? The Book of Merlyn by T. H. White.

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Any signed books? Yes! Several by friends, but my favoritest is my copy of The High King by Lloyd Alexander that I found at a library sale and was signed! *hugs it*

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So there you go! I don’t know about you, but I had a TON of fun with this!

I’m supposed to tag people but I don’t even know who to tag because I want to tag EVERYONE.

So basically, if you think this looks fun, do snag it and do it on your blog and let me know so I can read your bookishly delightful answers! (And you don’t have to take pictures of books unless you want… just answer the questions.)

But I do specifically tag Christine (because I want to see your answers and hear about your books!) and Cait (because you can do your awesome bookish photography and I know you love lists and BOOKS! You know you want to). Y’all don’t HAVE to do it, of course, just if you want. 😉

BUT I TAG EVERYONE. SO THERE.

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March Ishness

Greetings, dearest bloglings!! (Is that a word…? Pft, if not, we shall make it one!) I have missed y’all! ❤

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been around here much this last month… I’ve been trying to step back from the internet a bit in order to get some stuff done. So here I am with a bit of a March overview!

Here’s some of the ishness I’ve been up to of late.

For one thing, I had a birthday (I’m old now…), and I also “celebrated” my 8-year Writing Anniversary. In other words, the anniversary of the day I decided I was going to finish my first book and be a writer. (I once told that story here.)

Other than that, I’ve been . . .

Getting excited about these books coming out:

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England Adventure, Heidel, and Out of Darkness Rising

And also The Penderwicks in Spring — which I have on hold at the library and am dying to read as well! So many awesome books came out in March! I’m going to devour them as soon as I can. ❤ Speaking of which…

Reading

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see my Goodreads Reading Challenge

I finally finished reading Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series! Sooo fun! And Chrestomanci himself is the BEST. ❤ The Pinhoe Egg, which wrapped up the series perfectly, may be my favorite book of the year so far! *flail*

Though Frederica and the book I’m editing are up there too… 😉

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Editing

I did a whole lot of work on editing my friend’s lovely book… Not quite done that, but I’m this close to finishing! It’s so exciting to see it coming together! ❤

Writing

Not much on the writing front in March… I’m a little burnt-out, methinks, and have been stepping back from that a bit as well, giving it a rest. That said, I did get a little bit of writing done, and a bunch of plotting.

I wrote nearly 2,000 words of snippets, some for my Kedran’s Wood series, but mostly for my latest story idea, which is still haunting me and refusing to leave.

I also did a bunch of brainstorming on that one (because the characters are insisting they’re all messed up and broken so they made me write out backstories and relationships and I’m like GUYS THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A LIGHTHEARTED THING. SERIOUSLY. *headdesk*), as well as for a possible candidate for this year’s NaNo — a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling!

And my contemporary-fantasy Kedran’s Wood series decided to inform me that instead of having only 3 books, as it did in February, it now has 4, plus a prequel, plus a couple of short stories between the books. Oh yeah. That’s a thing that happened…

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Plans for April

Sooo… what’s up for this month?

Well, for one thing, I’m not doing Camp NaNo. That may come as a shock to some (I did both Camps last year and the year before, after all, and have been doing the November one every year for 5 years…).

I kind of really want to do Camp, especially when so many lovely friends of mine are doing it this time, but… I really feel like I need to step back from writing challenges for a bit, and try to rediscover writing because I WANT to write, not because some graph somewhere or some challenge I committed to says I SHOULD. I absolutely love NaNo, and Camp NaNo has helped me to write several things I’ve loved getting into, but I decided not to do it this time.

For those of you who are doing Camp NaNo, though — AWESOME! Best of luck! Write on, intrepid writers/campers! You can do this!!!

Anyway, I’m not making many plans this month… I’m going to finish my editing and then see what else happens. So to be honest, I don’t know what April’s going to look like.

…Though I have hopes that some of it will look like this. 😉

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All the yummy books I want to devour!

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How about you?

How was your March? Do you have plans for April?

Are you doing Camp NaNo (and why/why not?)?

I want to hear! Share all in the comments!! 🙂

England Adventure & Interview With Kelsey Bryant

Today is a day I’ve quite been looking forward to for a good while — it’s the release date for a new novel from a good friend and talented authoress, Kelsey Bryant!

I’m excited to share with you a little about the book, and honored to have the author over on my blog for an interview! 🙂 Kelsey’s one of the sweetest people I know and I’ve been watching the book’s journey to publication for awhile now… So this is a very exciting day! Be sure to check out her lovely blog, and another interview with her in honor of England Adventure‘s release!

So, let’s get this party going!

RSCN0847Bio: Kelsey Bryant is a homeschool graduate from Central Texas. Books have been a part of her family for generations. Ever since she can remember, Kelsey has been writing stories and dreaming of the magical moment when her books would join the ranks. She draws inspiration from the Greatest Story Ever Told, which culminates in the Messiah’s salvation offered to every person. Her life would be meaningless without her relationship with Yeshua (Jesus). She’s also inspired by the classics, especially the works of her favorite authors Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Louisa May Alcott. She loves history and even her contemporary fiction has a historical bent.

England Adventure

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England Adventure (Six Cousins, book 2) by Kelsey Bryant

Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Marielle has dreamed of seeing England in person. When kind grandparents send her and her cousins there to visit old friends, she can hardly wait to see the places she’s known in fiction and film. The Endicotts are perfect hosts—and their worldly American granddaughter Paris, perfectly beautiful.

But it soon turns out that nothing is as it seems. Her cousins Abby and Reanna, once the best of friends, appear deeply at odds, and the picture-perfect Endicott family is hiding secrets of its own. Distanced by an ocean from home and her family’s protection, Marielle finds herself challenged by a troubling new world. She befriends Paris, but Paris seems opposed to what Marielle stands for. Can Marielle be the witness who helps Paris overcome the lifestyle that’s harming her? Or will Marielle and her cousins be overwhelmed by the conflict this supposed dream trip has brought them?

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My Mini-Review

England Adventure, book 2 in the Six Cousins series, is the sequel to Family Reunion, but I think it stands on its own quite well.

I had the privilege of reading along with the book before its publication. It’s quite a delightful, sweet story, with some good messages and gorgeous scenery (and no wonder, as it’s set in England, and Kelsey Bryant has an extraordinary talent regarding description — such poetry!), plus a memorable cast… I’m beyond amazed at how well the author manages to differentiate between 7 teenaged girls in this book! Their personalities were so well-crafted for me to tell them apart and follow their stories. My favorite is quiet Reanna — and another character, English and grandfatherly Mr. Endicott, of course! 😉

The story was enjoyable, the characters a delight, the descriptions gorgeous, and at one point I found myself near tears at a beautiful part of the spiritual journey in this Christian contemporary YA novel, steeped in a historical feel. I felt like I was visiting England myself!

For the rest, you’ll have to read it for yourself… I know I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on a real-live copy of England Adventure and settle down for a quiet read of the final version! 🙂

Interview with Kelsey Bryant

1. Did the experience of going to England yourself after writing England Adventure help enrich the story?

It definitely enriched it for me personally. I felt like I was in my story, to some extent, which is one of the best sensations a writer can have. 🙂 It also made me wish I could fit more of my experiences into England Adventure. But surprisingly little of my descriptions and so forth needed to be changed, which I was very relieved to discover! I learned enough new things, however, to make me even gladder I had gone myself before publishing so I could fix mistakes and enrich descriptions.

2. As Christian homeschoolers from Texas with a love of literature and so forth, there seem to be some parallels between you and Marielle, the heroine of the Six Cousins books; do you think she’s very similar to you or still very much from your imagination?

Ah, you uncovered the similarities! 🙂 Marielle is much like me, particularly when I was her age, fourteen. We think the same way about a lot of things. She is shier and sweeter than myself now; as she grows up, I’m not sure how she’ll change. I think she won’t venture quite as much out of her shell as I have, but then again, she may surprise me!

3. What sort of audience do you think England Adventure would most appeal to? (Age-range, girls/boys, homeschoolers/not..?)

I had Christian girl homeschoolers, ages 12 to 16, in mind as I wrote, but as the story doesn’t focus on homeschooling, it’s not exclusive there; the heroine’s being homeschooled, however, probably makes her appeal most to homeschoolers. It’s also a fairly long and involved story (at least from my perspective …) so anyone older than that has a fair chance of enjoying it, too. As for boys … it might not appeal to them unless they can appreciate its universal aspects, like spiritual lessons and travel … sorry, boys! There is Mr. Endicott, and some fun young guys at the end, but still ….

4. Do you have a favorite character (or two, or three!) in England Adventure, and if so, why?

I love any book character who loves writing, literature, and viewing life poetically, which describes Marielle, so I hope I’m not being vain when I say she’s my favorite. 🙂 I also enjoy Reanna, because she’s quiet, mysterious, musical, and somewhat marginalized. I love Mr. Endicott for making me laugh and feel safe, and Winifred Braithwaite for her spiritual maturity, whimsicality, and lifestyle tastes (house, land, food, literature, music, art!). (I hope four is allowed, because I couldn’t leave out any of them!)

5. What was the most challenging thing about writing England Adventure?

Remembering the days when I wanted to tear out my hair, I have two memories: 1) constructing Paris’s character arc and 2) making sure, from afar, that all my details about England were accurate.

6. How long have you been writing, and what got you started?

I’ve been writing stories since I could print (maybe five or six?) and therefore I don’t remember what got me started … probably being read to my whole life! I was inspired by stories I heard and somehow got the urge to create my own worlds from that.

7. What do you think were some really influential books in your life or writing, consciously or subconsciously?

There is the Bible, but that one’s kind of obvious for Christians. 🙂 Jane Austen’s six novels influenced me because of her attention to everyday life and character analysis rather than action and suspense. L. M. Montgomery made me ravenous for scenery description. Nancy Drew and American Girl’s History Mysteries stoked my love of mysteries, which show up from time to time in my work. Young adult historical fiction, like the Royal Diaries, Dear America, Elizabeth George Speare’s books, and the Little House books made history important to me (history usually shows up in my writing, even in contemporary stories). The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia gave me an appreciation for inspirational fantasy epics. I probably wouldn’t be the same spiritually if not for Christian fiction like Elsie Dinsmore, Christy, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Hind’s Feet on High Places. I can say the same for Christian nonfiction … books by people such as K. P. Yohannan, D. Thomas Lancaster, and Hannah Whitall Smith. And then there are the writing books that helped me improve my fiction techniques. 🙂 You asked a very good question, Deborah!

8. Do you have plans for more books in the Six Cousins series?

Yes, I do! Remember those England experiences I mentioned in the first question? I have to put them somewhere, so a third book in the series, when Marielle’s 18 or so and returns to England, would do nicely. But I haven’t started actually writing it yet, so right now it’s just that—plans. I also have ideas for a fourth book when Marielle is all grown up.

9. What other writing projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on a story set in the Great Depression … and that’s all I’ll say for now. 🙂 Well, I must add that it’s been a blast so far, both writing and researching.

10. And, finally, is there a particular message you are hoping England Adventure will share with its readers? (Or do we have to read the book to find out? ;))

Readers may find out more for themselves, but the messages I had in mind while I was writing were these: to make yourself a tool in God’s hands; to not underestimate what He can do with you if you give Him the reins of your life; to be kind to people because it’s the right thing to do and you never know what will make a life-changing impression on them; to be ready to make a stand for the Lord; and, last but not least, to find your worth in God, not beauty, popularity, success, or any lack thereof. I didn’t quite realize there were that many messages wrapped up in the story until I answered your question, but maybe it’ll all be better absorbed once readers read the book! Thank you SO MUCH for having me, Deborah! I really enjoyed being here and answering your questions!

So glad to have you, Kelsey! Thanks for joining us! 🙂

Readers, you can find and connect with Kelsey online in these places:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

And don’t forget to check out England Adventure for yourselves!