Today I am SOOOOO THRILLED to have Laura on my blog! <3
Laura is one of the sweetest humans and her kind heart filled the pages of one of the most precious books for writers. "Dear Author" is an inspiring book filled with uplifting messages to authors! With encouragement at every walk of an author's journey, and fun illustrations, this book is perfect for ANY writer!
Without further ado, let's dive into the interview, shall we?! <3
Can you tell us about the book?
Hi Aleigha! I am soooooo excited to be chatting with you today! *massive squeals* *coughs* Sorry! Did I mention I was excited? ;)
I would love to share about Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl!
Dear Author is fifteen letters with six illustrations (yes, six because I’m a big fan of books needing more illustrations these days) that are specifically written to indie authors. I wrote about all the emotions a fangirl like myself feels when reading their books and what I would love to say to authors personally as they labor over their works-in-progress.
What inspired you to write this book?
Earlier this year, it became blatantly apparent I was struggling deeply with postpartum depression after my third child was born due to a lot of stress. In order to focus on my mental health, I felt like I needed to stop book blogging as well as pull back from a few other commitments I had.
To say it broke my heart is an understatement. I am extremely passionate about supporting authors and was scared I would be unable to blog for a time. Because of that, I decided to write a letter to my author friends, pouring out my heart of why I cared so much for them and their stories (and wanted them to keep writing). It was sort of a moment of me asking, “If I could say only one thing, what would it be?”.
However, after that first letter, I didn’t stop. I was deeply moved by what I had written and continued sharing all of what was in my heart. It helped me handle the days when I felt lonely and missed being active online.
What do you hope readers will come away with after reading “Dear Author?”
When I was brainstorming messages I wanted or could include in the front of Dear Author with my signature (which is still SUPER surreal by the way), I knew I wanted to convey something that could sum up my book in one sentence.
It turned out to be two (LOL), but it was this: “Keep dreaming! Keep writing!”
I would definitely say that is what I hope readers will come away with when finishing Dear Author. I want them to be encouraged to keep dreaming about their stories and writing them down because there are readers waiting for a story only they can share.
Do you have any other book projects or ideas in the works?
I do! And I’ll say multiple! LOL!
I’ve actually been a little nervous about answering a question like this because my plan had been to work on my Christian manga, Denying Me, next. Writer’s block has really been a thing for this story though. Every time I’ve tried working on it, I’m just not happy with it. I feel like pieces are missing and not fully sure what those pieces are.
BUT! I am soooo happy to share that I’m feeling deeply inspired about a new direction for the story that I believe is the best direction. I’ve been letting it “stew” with some of my other story ideas. ;)
However, to directly answer your question, yes! I am currently working on a short story about a female samurai named Reiko. (She is amazing! I love her so much!) It started from a challenge I gave to some close friends of mine where we should write a samurai story with a happy ending. Later that day, this story was demanding to be written (and I’m excited to share it is written as of writing this blog post)!
I’m very happy with it and praying I can finish my personal revisions by this Christmas so I can send it to my editor. (My illustrator already said she’s impatient to work with me! LOL!)
What was the most exciting part about this whole book process?
I would definitely say physically writing these letters by hand.
One of my best friends recommended I should be more specific in my letters and suggested I write them all by hand. I’ll admit, I wasn’t super thrilled at first, but it was so much fun to actually write by hand! I feel it birthed my love for writing and showed me it CAN be fun and not just once in story’s lifetime kind of thing. (I wrote my samurai story by hand and have been doing revisions by hand too.) It was a very big turning point for me in wanting to continue to write because I found the process more engaging then typing it on my computer.
Thank you SO much for letting me share, Aleigha! I had a blast and so blessed by your support!
JOIN THE PARTY!
Join in the celebration of Laura A. Grace’s debut motivational, Dear Author: Letters form a Bookish Fangirl, on December 5th from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM EST (5:30 PM PST and 6:30 PM MDT)!
Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of encouragement, games, and giveaways. (Possibly an exclusive sneak peek to upcoming projects!)
Special guests Janeen Ippolito and Katie Phillips will also be joining in the fun!
A sweet friend once said, “think about depression like you’re a ship on the sea. Calmly ride out the storm; don’t try and fight so hard.”
There’s a lot of truth to that. Not just in depression, but in every area of our lives.
When we’re faced with rougher waters, when we suddenly find ourselves up against a vicious storm, I think a lot of times our first thought is “how do I get past this?” We have that desperate longing for the calm. To get back the life of normality we had before.
While it's certainly not wrong to wish for calmer waters, what if we thought about our storms a little differently? What if instead of fighting them so hard, we instead rested calmly in the arms of our Savior, trusting that He will carry us through?
Because whatever you’re going through right now, it’s just a season. It will pass. I promise.
The storm will end and you’ll look up and survey the sea around you. And you’ll realize that the calm you longed for is a bit different than what you imagined. It’s better. And you’re stronger and more beautiful and braver than you were before it started.
I love this song by Danny Gokey. It speaks my heart in all of this!
A lot of you know I’ve been on a health roller coaster this last year. Juggling this new world of Lyme disease and dysautonomia.
I never imagined I’d walk this road. This last year of pain and suffering and loss. The uncertainty of knowing how I’ll feel each morning when I wake up.
For months I wished for my old life back. A life where nausea didn’t affect my ability to eat, the days where brain fog was just a word and writing was possible, a time where I could tackle my to do list and still have energy left over.
And for months, that wish never came true. It still hasn’t come true. But you know what? That’s okay. Because I don’t want my old life back anymore. Yes, I still hope for the day when my nausea isn’t so consistent. The day I can write again and go places and do things without my health holding me back.
But if I had a choice, a decision to go back to the days before I was sick, I wouldn’t go. Because I’m not the person I was last year. That version of me was far less brave and stronger and wiser.
Because your trials, friends, however excruciating and devastating and painful they are, God is using them to shape you and mold you and form you into the beautiful work of art you are today.
So don’t fight so hard.
When a potter goes to the wheel and proceeds to make an object, that lump of clay does absolutely nothing. It merely sits there patiently, letting its maker mold it and shape it and work it until it’s just perfect.
Imagine if the clay had a mind of its own! Fighting against the hands of the potter, stubbornly trying to mold itself into the object it thinks it should be. It would be quite silly, wouldn’t it? It’s simply a lump of clay! How on earth could it even know what it needed?
We are those lumps of clay, friends. And Jesus is our Potter. We don’t know what we truly need, but Jesus does. And He’s working on us, bit by bit. Using trials and suffering and tribulations to break us and shape us into beautiful vessels to be used for His glory.
To wish that a trial never happened, or to hope for the pace of a former time, we might as well desire to stay as half formed lumps of clay.
This life is hard. Trust me, I know. But whatever it is you’re going through, big or small, it has such a beautiful purpose. You’re not going through this in vain. God is using every moment, every prayer, every tear, to make you braver and wiser and stronger.
So, let Him work. Trust Him and rest in His promises during the storms. Believing that He’s using them for your good.
Because He is.
And you’re going to walk away from this with so much more faith.
And far, far, stronger and more beautiful and whole then you can ever imagine. <3
There’s still time to snag your copy of “A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm” and claim your goodies!
These bookmarks and baby keychain of the book are just begging to go home with you. ;)
Just email me a copy of your receipt and I’ll work on getting the gifts to you right away!
Get your copy today!
I wrote “A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm” years ago. One of the hundreds of poems I added to my collection. But there was something extra special about this one. From the moment I wrote it, I could vividly see each character and the charming animals. I just knew that one day it would become a children’s book!
But finding an illustrator proved to be such a difficult task.
I tried everything. From contacting artists I found online, to searching through the children’s books at the bookstore and writing down my favorite illustrators. I spent hours researching, but nothing came together. They were either too expensive, or too commercial, and the style was never right.
I finally just settled. I wasn’t too entirely pleased, and nothing ever felt right. She did a few practice illustrations and I sat down one afternoon to tell her to go ahead with the rest of the designs. But no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find her email! All of her contact information had completely disappeared. It was so odd! But looking back, I now know it was 100% God.
I ended up giving it all to the Lord, something I should have done long before then. If He wanted me to find an illustrator, He would bring me one in His timing.
A couple of years later, I was scrolling through Facebook one evening and came across some photos a friend posted from his trip to Realm Makers. Being the nosy totally-non-creepy-stalker that I am, I explored a group photo and clicked on some of the people he tagged. I stumbled upon Mariposa’s profile shortly afterward, and my excitement grew with each picture I saw. She was such a talented artist! Her style was 100% what I had envisioned for A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm. I couldn’t have found a more perfect match.
I quickly sent her a message and waited for a reply. But the doubts began to creep in. “There’s no way such amazing illustrations are going to be sold for cheap.” “She doesn’t even know me! She might not answer my message! She probably thinks I’m such a weirdo!”
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the complete opposite. I not only found my illustrator that day, but I discovered a new dear friend. We bonded over our mutual love for Charles Spurgeon, and the same excitement over the characters from A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm. These characters quickly become our own as we created this world together.
It just goes to show you that God has such a marvelous plan for your life. He cares about your dreams, maybe even more than you do. So just some encouragement for you today, if you’re not exactly where you want to be, just trust that God has a beautiful plan. And it’s going to be far, far better than you can ever imagine.
Are you excited?!
And Finn is SO excited he tried to eat the book.
You can check out the story here!
Unfortunately, the cover image hasn't shown up yet. =(
But we're not letting that damper our spirits! Finn told me this morning that it was because the cover was SO awesome, the website couldn't handle it!
This story has been in the works for so many months now. Watching it come to life has been one of the most exciting projects on earth.
We have some fun things planned for you today!
I created a post a few days ago, asking for your questions. Ya'll had some fun ones! And Mariposa and I had a blast answering them. You'll find the Q&A below!
We are also SO. EXCITED. to announce that we're giving away goodies to the first 50 people who order A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm! (An exclusive keychain, and bookmarks!)
All you have to do is send a copy of your receipt to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll work on getting your goodies sent out as soon as possible!
Would you like a chance to win a keychain? We have a fun game today that you can take part in! Any time you share about A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm, (make sure to tag me in the post) and you'll be entered to win a keychain! (More details are on my social media sites).
Are you following my author page on Facebook? Or Instagram? A lot of the fun will be happening over there!
Some easy links:
Questions for Aleigha!
What are your childhood favorite stories?
My childhood favorite stories were Janette Oke's Animal Friends book series. The illustrations were adorable, and the plots cute and intriguing! I also enjoyed Magic Tree House, The Boxcar Children, and Daughters of the Faith series.
What was your favorite part of working on this book?
Watching my story come to life. I’m a very visual person, so seeing my characters and each illustration bring this story to life was such a joy! Also, working with Mariposa at the very beginning to nail down each character’s likeness and what I was envisioning for our story was so much fun!
Was Aleigha ever chased by a crazy horse like in the story?
Hehe, thankfully the answer is no. Surprisingly, I’m not actually around animals much since I’m allergic to most of them. But I think all baby animals are ADORABLE.
What do cows do with all four stomachs?
Great question!! I pulled the answer from the internet because it explains it better than I can. ;)
“When the cow first eats, it chews the food just enough to swallow it. The unchewed food travels to the first two stomachs, the rumen and the reticulum, where it is stored until later. When the cow is full from this eating process, she rests. Later, the cow coughs up bits of the unchewed food called cud and chews it completely this time before swallowing it again. The cud then goes to the third and fourth stomachs, the omasum and abomasum, where it is fully digested. Some of this digested food enters the bloodstream and travels to a bag called the udder, where it is made into milk that will come out of her teats, while the rest goes towards the cow's nourishment.”
Are pigs as scary nasty as some people say? (44 teeth!)
Well, I would say it probably depends on the breed. And the pig! And whether the pig has grown up around lots of people. But every pig I’ve ever encountered has the sweetest personality! We’ve even owned a 400-pound pig named “Gilbert” who would try to curl up in people’s laps! (We had to put a stop to that quite quickly, for obvious reasons.)
Questions for Mariposa!
Does Mariposa live on a farm?
Nope, but I’m a proud country girl (and always will be), and I have a pond in my backyard that’s an apartment house for a slew of frogs and turtles.
What's your favorite animal to draw?
My favorite animal to draw is a dinosaur. I had a fondness for them as a child, and I’ve adored them ever since (I was probably the only girl who collected dinosaur toys as a child).
As a Myers-Briggs lover, so fun to see INFJ in Mariposa's bio. Does she write as well?
A whole-hearted YES! I actually enjoy writing slightly more than drawing because I’m fascinated by creating characters and plots. I always weave my art into my writing, though, and I intend to illustrate my books.
Any other books she has illustrated?
No, A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm was my debut as an illustrator, though I hope to release an illustrated middle-grade book of mine (hopefully) sometime next year.
What does Mariposa like to draw the least?
Jungles and forests—drawing leaf, after leaf, after leaf is extremely boring (as a side note, I tend to draw jungles a lot because that’s where most of my books are set— apparently I like to torture myself).
What is her favorite medium to use?
Pencil is my favorite medium (that’s what I used to illustrate A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm), with acrylic paint being a close second.
What was your favorite part about working on this book?
Getting to work alongside Aleigha. I was nervous at first because I didn’t know her and this was my first illustration job. I didn’t know how easy she would or wouldn’t be to work with. But after the first couple drawings, I found out what a sweet and wonderful person she is, and now I look forward to every time she contacts me for an art project.
I also really enjoyed becoming acquainted with Aleigha’s characters. By the time I’d reached the last drawing, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend I’d come to know and love.
Childhood favorite stories?
Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, Angelina Ballerina, and any American Girl book (I practically grew up on those).
Get your copy today!
(And remember, don't forget to send a picture of your receipt to: email@example.com, so you can claim your goodies!!)
I’m so excited to finally get to share the cover for “A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm” with you all!!
What do you think?!
Mariposa did such an incredible job with the cover and all of the adorable illustrations. <3
And Finn is posing quite nicely, don’t you think?
A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm releases in just three weeks!
I plan on posting some fun things in the next couple of weeks!
Until then, here’s a little more about this children’s book!
“Today we’re going to Oaklenbrooke Farm, I can hardly stand the wait. Let’s hurry and get ready, it wouldn’t do to be late!”
Follow along as brother and sister embark on a colorful journey to meet all the creatures at their neighbors farm! A wise goat, a family of messy pigs, a silly old donkey, and a curious kitten are just the start of the charming collection of animals you’ll visit at Oaklenbrooke Farm.
15 delightful illustrations bring this warm, rhyming story to life, and help children learn insightful facts about the various creatures on the farm.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN YOUR COPY OF THIS DELIGHTFUL STORY?! ❤️
Entry details below!
To enter to win a signed copy of A Visit to Oaklenbrooke Farm, all you have to do is:
🐴 Share this blog post on any social media site
🐴 Subscribe to my email list (or ask a friend to subscribe. Extra entry for every friend!)
🐴 EXTRA ENTRIES: Follow me on Instagram or Facebook
(Don't forget to comment below and let me know which entires you used!)
The winner will be announced on release day! Good luck!!
Today was an adventure!
It started out with blood work, and ended with a trip to the allergist. I'm basically allergic to everything, haha! (Environmental wise. Food allergies came back great!)
But that explains my asthma attacks lately, and a lot of other things. So we've switched my inhalers and I'm looking forward to slowly feeling better! <3
I only learned about having asthma a couple of weeks ago. But it explains a lot!
And I'm so thankful for amazing doctors, and medications that make my attacks a lot less scarier. And hoping for brighter days ahead!
These scriptures have lifted my heart lately. <3
As a lot of you know, I was diagnosed with POTS several months ago. It’s been a battle of ups and downs, sorrows and joys.
Each day has its little mountains to climb. But through this trial, I’m learning to take pleasure in the simple things.
And rejoicing over every little thing I can accomplish that day.
I haven’t been feeling the best these last couple of weeks, but that’s when scriptures like these are so important to recall. That’s why we must hide them away in our hearts.
Everyone has their mountains to climb. Whether big or small, we all have obstacles we must overcome.
That’s why we have to cling tightly to scriptures like these. Scriptures that promise hope.
These scriptures in 2 Corinthians have so much truth and hope packed into them!
From the very first word “momentary” reminding us that the pain doesn’t last forever. To the hope of an eternal glory that far outweighs these earthly trials.
And the precious reminder to fix our eyes on not what is SEEN, but what is UNSEEN. Because these trials, these things that press in on us, the battles that sometimes grow bigger, and the mountains that seem to keep growing taller, It’s all going to pass away.
And one day we’ll be with Jesus in paradise. And the lame will walk and the blind will see. And no one will suffer, no tears will be shed.
But until that glorious day, we can fix our eyes upon Christ. Upon what is eternal. And trust Him to meet our needs and carry us though these storms.
I don’t know about you, but thinking about that always seems to give me the courage to press on.
So keep fighting friends, take joy in the simple things of life. In the laughter of your family, or the clouds and sunshine or drizzling rain. And always remember His promises and cling to scriptures like these!
I’m praying for my warrior friends today. Those I know who are going through hard things. Keep pressing on, friends!! It’ll get easier. Remember to cling to His promises and never let go. He’s never left you before, and He has no intention of doing so now.
What are some of YOUR favorite scriptures to turn to for hope?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, let's keep our lights shining for Christ!
Love you all!! <3
Today I'm super excited to have Livy on my blog! Not only that, but she's here to tell us about one of the most amazing giveaways this year!!!!!!!!
It's amazing because:
a. It's the most EPIC blogging course you'll ever find
b. It's currently on sale for the most INCREDIBLE price
c. Livy is AMAZING, and she's the one who created the course. So yeah. ;)
Okay, I'll stop talking and let Livy tell you how you can snag yourself a copy of this course!!!
Oh the joys of blogging! There are so many rewarding things about using our pens to bless and encourage others. With that being said, there are also a lot of bumps and challenges along the road, am I right?
Hey guys! My name is Livy and I'm SO excited to be here at Aleigha's blog today! Aleigha is such an amazing friend (as you all know who are following her!) and she offered to partner with me for a GIVEAWAY! Woo hoo!
So what exactly is this giveaway for, you might ask?
Fabulous question my dear, fabulous question, I'm about to tell you!
Last year Aleigha took a Cheerleader Session with my sweet friend Bella and I. Bella and I love coaching authors and bloggers: determined dreamers who are ready to take the next step and pursue the dreams God has given them in the writing and blogging world! We offer a service called Cheerleader Sessions and specialize in making a personalized Game Plan for you! Every author and blogger has a different journey and we want to help design a plan that works for you and your life.
We had such a blast doing a session with Aleigha, talking about her amazing books, website, and beautiful Bookstagram! Bella, Aleigha and I know that growing an online platform takes work and patience. But we also know that when you have a clear roadmap with consistent, daily steps, you CAN accomplish your goals and dreams!
This month, we're giving away a FREE Cheerleader Session!
Entering for a chance to win is super simple! Just hop on over to my blog and sign up for my free email updates (and I’ll throw in a free e-book, just to say thanks!) and you’re all set!
Good luck! Bella and I can’t wait to meet you and help create your Game Plan!
Or, if you’re a blogger who’s looking for a pre-made Game Plan, we have that too!
I’m SO excited to share my 20 Day video series for bloggers! It’s called Fire Starter: Launching a Blog that Blazes! This interactive course teaches bloggers (both old and new) how to create their dream blog or website, monetize their site, AND give them all the tools, encouragement, and support needed to be truly successful on their journey! The Fire Starter course is listed at $150.00 but we have a special code for you to get $100 off! Simply grab Aleigha's coupon code below, add it during checkout, and you’re all set!
You can check that out here!
Well, that's all for now, friends! Have fun entering the giveaway above and good luck! <3
About the Author:
Livy Lynn is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She enjoys crafting YA fiction that is pure, lovely, inspirational, and of course, entertaining! When she’s not writing, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies!
Come get connected at www.livylynnblog.com
The chance to read "A Visit to Oaklenbooke Farm" before ANYONE else!
PLUS, a fun giveaway and other exciting prizes JUST for those that participate!!
Find out more HERE!
Today I'm so excited to have my sweet friend, Allison, on my blog!
I had the pleasure of mentoring Allison and watching her grow into an even more talented writer.
We even had the pleasure of meeting each other in person, my highlight of 2017! <3
When I first read this poem by Allison, I literally had chills running down my arms. It resonated with me so greatly! This poem, it sums up my entire vision for my writing life. The goals I strive towards with this blog.
"Do you see Jesus living in me?"
It's a question we should ask ourselves every day. Are we shining the light of Christ for the world to see?What do others see when they look at us? Or more accurately... WHO do they see?
Without further ado....
If I asked you to define me,
Would you see what is inside me?
Would you say I’m just a shy girl,
Or a writer,
Or just another face in the pew?
Would you see Who is living inside me?
Would you say I’m the girl who laughs,
Or has that cute dog,
Or has the braided hair?
Would you say I’m kind,
Or call me special?
Would you see what really should define me?
Would you see Jesus in me?
If you asked me to define you,
Would I see what is inside you?
Would I call you the girl in the nerdy T-shirt,
Or the boy who always cracks jokes,
Or the girl with the freckled nose?
Would I see Who is living inside you?
Would I call you the artist,
Or the boy who plays the drums,
Or that girl in the corner?
Would I say you are sweet,
Or a hard-worker?
Would I see what really should define you?
Would I see Jesus living in you?
When we look at each other,
What do we see?
Do you see Jesus, living in me?
If you looked at my life,
Would you see my Savior,
Would you see Jesus in me?
Does my life look like a light in the darkness,
Or does it just look like words on a page?
Does my life look like a burning fire,
Or just like another smiling face?
Does my life look like salt to the earth,
Or just another face in a sea of the lost?
I don’t want to be defined as kind,
I don’t want to be known as a writer,
I don’t want to be the girl who makes everyone laugh,
Or the one with the cute blog.
I want to be the girl who stands up for Jesus,
Even when it’s hard.
The girl who loves as Jesus loved,
A young woman who gives it all.
When you look at me,
What do you see?
Do you see Jesus living in me?
Did you enjoy Allison's poem? Leave her a comment below! <3
Until next week, friends, let's keep shining our lights for Christ!
Looking to buy books with your Christmas money? Honestly, who isn’t?!
All of my paperback books only $10.00 each!
I have a few copies of each that are looking for wonderful homes! ;)
Drop a comment below if you’re interested!!!
This is the perfect time to snag those remaining copies to finish off the trilogy! Or for gifts! Or gifts to yourself, haha! ;)
Hope you are having a blessed day, friends! <3
***(Shipping costs around $2.60 for one book, $4 for two, and $6 for all three)