writing

Book Review + Giveaway Tour: The Ornament Keeper

The Ornament Keeper is more than a sweet Christmas novella! Win a copy here.

By The Book

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Welcome to the blog tour & giveaway for The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

the ornament keeperTitle: The Ornament Keeper
Author: Eva Marie Everson
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Holiday

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays.

The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.”

Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Eva Marie Everson is a…

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Books · writing

I’d Rather Be Reading (or writing or anything that isn’t dishes)

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When we moved into our “new” house, one of our friends hefted one of the (many) boxes of books and told me if he’d have known this was the gig, he’d have bought us all Kindles.

No thanks.

I don’t know you about you, but I have strong feelings about books in hand, books on my shelves, books stacked two deep on windowsills, and accruing library fines because I haven’t written down all my favorite quotes yet and can’t bear to take it back. (I promise I’m returning Guernsey … next week.)

I’d love to know how books–even if they’re downloaded by the hundreds to your device (to each his own) or arranged alphabetically or carefully curated to match your decor–affect your life?

Are books a must-have? A luxury? A compliment? As necessary as strong coffee and good wine?

What are your favorites? Which ones are you ashamed you haven’t read? What did you hate–but still value? What did you hate and regret the money, time, or energy lost? What do you love but never admit? What do you pretend to love so you look smarter?

I’ll tell you mine if you’ll tell me yours. All this week I’m sharing book love in my Instagram feed and stories (@lindseypbrackett). The books that stir me, save me, challenge me, and gut me.

The kind of books I’d write about in my own collection of bookish essays. But I haven’t written that yet so instead I’ll just have to give away a copy of I’d Rather Be Reading!

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A few years ago, just as I came out of the fog of young motherhood and began to wonder how, exactly, one became a writer, I found Anne Bogel, aka Modern Mrs. Darcy. She was a reader. And a writer. And a unique lifestyle enthusiast.

She was a breath of fresh air in my feed and inbox and oh my gosh, the book recommendations. Girl knows her story. And plenty of others. But I think I was sold on this little fact she doesn’t make her platform–she’s a busy mother of four kids. She’s homeschooled and private schooled and public schooled and all the in-betweens. Her words felt like the cry of my heart for learning and literature–among the laundry and meal prep and motherhood.

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Her new book, I’d Rather Be Reading, releases TODAY! You can snag it from your favorite online retailer, indie bookstore, or big chain. You can order it on Audible (read by Anne herself). You can request your library add it to their collection.

You can win a copy over on Instagram by following (and engaging) with my posts this week because I absolutely can’t wait to share this book with y’all. And I really can’t wait to meet Anne Bogel in person at The Story Shop in Monroe, Georgia on September 11!

Just call me fangirl.

If you sign up for my newsletter, Just Write Life, you’ll be entered for ANOTHER CHANCE TO WIN a copy of I’d Rather Be Reading and you’ll get a monthly installment from me with writerly-bookish-helpful things like recipes, reading suggestions, and quick listen podcasts. I’d love to know how I can help you find more time for the creative life among your everyday ordinary.

Until then, happy reading!

 

P.S. Don’t forget, sweet readers, I want to talk all things bookish with you on Instagram this week, so follow me over there or leave me a note right here in the comments, and I’ll give you a shout out (and an extra entry to win).

 

 

 

amelia · gus · just write life · motherhood · writing

When Determination Comes at the Pace of a Bear Crawl

IMG_0368They tell me bears are fast. If we see one when we’re hiking, the worst thing we can do is run because they will chase us down and eat us.

Okay, not really, but mauling for sure. Maybe.

My kids participated in a bear crawl this morning because the bear is their school mascot (of course because we live in the mountains) and this fun run raised lots of money for their school. Specifically the teacher’s classroom libraries, which I think should be stocked with Cynthia Rylant and plenty of gorgeous picture books.

(I told this to my youngest’s kindergarten teacher from last  year. I don’t know his first grade teacher well enough yet to go all book bossy on her.)

Thirty-five laps around a “track” made of tiny cones and discarded water cups. I have no idea who long the actual footage was, but I know it took most kids about thirty minutes to complete. I expected my turbo charged little boy to run his heart flat out.

He did. He also made his hair look like this which is why I cannot bring myself to cut it.

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But my third, my youngest daughter, who has given us a history that involves words like atrophy and MRI and oligloconal banding, the girl who wears a brace to walk so she doesn’t get too tired, the child who had a complete meltdown at my kitchen table Monday afternoon BECAUSE THIRD GRADE IS SO HARD, I didn’t have any expectations. I just hoped she wouldn’t get run over.

Y’all.

She ran and ran and grinned and ran and cheered and laughed. She beat her friends. She never stopped, never gave up, never worried that she couldn’t do it. Watching her reminded me she’s stronger everyday. She’s better every scan. She’s living with a new normal that’s been her normal for over half her life now.

This is her life.

And she’s determined to live it at high speed–not crawl through it cowered down by the what-ifs.

I think it’s time I took a cue from my baby girl and found my own endurance.

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I adore this book. It is wonderfully written and tells the story beautifully.-2

summer · writing

Tips for Time Management (not ironic coming from me at all)

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For us, summer started behind and never caught up. All good things. But there hasn’t been enough watermelon on the porch time.

And I’m tired. Between camps and deadlines and driving 264 miles a day (an exaggeration but that’s how it feels), I’m wishing I had someone to manage my time.

Instead I just made some notes so I’d remember how to do better. Then I blogged them over at one of my other internet homes.


People crack me up when they ask how I “do it all.”

I’m pretty sure if these same people were a fly on my wall, they’d:

a) have full run of the house because I’m too busy to buy a fly swatter.

b) realize pretty quickly, I’m definitely not doing it all.

Read more at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers.

just write life · Recipes · summer · writing

Creative Summer Suppers

3 Creative Summer Suppers

These days supper might be my most creative moment. Four busy summer kids is a lot to handle, making the moments we gather around the table all the more special. Summer cooking is its own lesson in creativity and color, and there’s nothing I love better than the simplicity of yellow squash and green zucchini tossed with a sliced onion and sizzling in my cast iron skillet… Read more.

Sharing simple creative summer suppers over at Soulful Ink today. Join me there?

just write life · writing

Still Waters Wins Selah Awards!

My writing career launched in 2014 through the connections I made at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. So last week, when I was double nominated as a Selah Award finalist for First Novel and a fiction finalist for the Director’s Choice Award, I felt like I’d come full circle.

Four years ago I sat in that crowd and wondered if I’d ever cross that stage to accept a plaque with with mine and my book’s name on it.

Last week I accepted three.

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My oldest daughter, Madelynne and my husband Joshua came with me. Joshua, to be a my support. Madelynne, to fangirl over fellow writer, Kristen Hogrefe, whose book The Revisionary was also a double winner for Speculative and YA.

Still Waters won the Selah Award for First Novel and to my everlasting surprise, I also won Selah Fiction Book of the Year.

Eva Marie Everson is the contest director, but she wears many hats, and one of those is as my editor. She’s a great secret keeper.

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Then, conference directors, Edie Melson and DiAnn Mills, talented and accomplished women who trusted me enough to name me a member of their prestigious faculty in 2017, announced the Director’s Choice Award for Fiction.

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And I received another decoration for a wall I didn’t know I needed.

I’m deeply honored and humbled to have my story recognized for its merit in the very place where I first believed I could write and sell a novel.

As Cora Anne learns, there’s nothing like coming home.

Photo credits: Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and friends.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

school · writing

How to really appreciate your kids’ teachers this week (and all year long).

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Y’all. It’s May-hem. May-member. May-day. May the force of common sense be with you.

And Pinterest crafting isn’t in my wheelhouse this month. (Or ever, honestly. So if you love some sanding and painting and cutesy font notecards this post is not for you, and please, sell me your services next year because I have the black thumb equivalent of gift giving.)

I love my kids’ teachers. LOVE them. One math teacher gave us her cell so we could text if my middle schooler is on the verge of fraction-induced tears. My son’s kindergarten teacher has a son with the same name as mine AND THE SAME BIRTHDAY 10 YEARS REMOVED so she basically treats him like he’s hers. These are good, good people teaching my kids how to navigate Google and divide negative numbers.

However.

I can’t be all thanks a latte because you helped me grow into one smart cookie since you’re such a sharp teacher.

(For the record, I do appreciate the puns.)

Between my four kids we have TWENTY TEACHERS.

We’re all barely surviving May as it is. Teacher Appreciation week should be moved to September because HALLELUJAH! SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION AND WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

Also, teachers really need supplies. And support. And extra snacks because some of us (hangs head in shame) can’t be trusted to read the snack schedule.

So if you want to appreciate your kids’ teacher without feeling like a crap mom when everyone else (i.e. half my Insta feed) is cranking out adorable-ness on their Cricket, the best things to do are simply done all year long.

I taught school for years. Middle school mind you.

And this is what I appreciated:

  • Boxes of expo markers
  • Extra supplies for a kid in need
  • Cases of Lysol wipes
  • New books for my classroom
  • Kids who came to school on time
  • Kids who were picked up from extracurricular activities on time
  • Kids who said “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” and “please” and “thank you”
  • Ink cartridges
  • Tissues
  • Agenda signed
  • Homework done
  • When you have a problem and you come to the me before the principal
  • When your kid is dressed appropriately for school so I don’t have to measure their shorts with a ruler
  • When you see me in the grocery store and you say, “My kid really loves your class.”
  • When you see me at church and you say, “My kid really loves that book you made him read.”

According to my kids, what their teachers really want is:

  • Quiet
  • Good listeners
  • Mint chocolate candy
  • Pepper

Here’s what one third-grade teacher told me she wanted:

  • Parents to read her newsletter
  • But she’ll take a gift card

Here’s the thing. For years, teaching was my job. I didn’t need a reward for doing it because it’s the job I chose and the job I loved/hated and like parenting—my days were endlessly long but those years flew by.

I have a box full of teacher ornaments and magnets. They’re buried beneath a stack of letters from kids telling me my class was their favorite. I’ve long ago spent the Starbucks cards and broken the personalized tumbler (blame: toddlers) and lost half the pair of earrings.

But those parents who raised up respectful kids? Lovable kids? Those are the parents who showed appreciation everyday because they recognized teaching is hard and kids are harder and it’s a calling and a profession that commands respect—those are the parents and kids I remember.

And these days, in the grocery store, I go out of my way to speak to them.

P.S. That picture is from that time my students had a “stick it to ’em” day and stuck post-its all over our doors. BEST GIFT EVER.

P.P.S. In case you didn’t know (but your probably do) I quit teaching to write books and have this fourth baby.My debut, Still Waters, released last fall and is currently a finalist for three different awards. But thank you notes and reviews from readers (like thank you notes from students) are still the most appreciated.