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"You Can Do Only a Few Things at All Well, and They Are More Than Enough.”

“You're not impatient any more. Then you were in a hurry, because you thought you could encompass everything in your life. You wanted to learn everything and experience everything and be everybody. In a way, that was charming and delightful in you: I used to write in my notebooks that you were zestful. But it also made you seem confused. You did things in fits and starts. You learned as a stammerer talks ... Today, you are not in such a hurry. I think you have decided that you can do only a few things at all well, and they are more than enough.” —John Hersey

In my ever increasing interest in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, I've been gathering books from various libraries to try and wrap my brain around the perilous and courageous act of the Jews of Warsaw during 1943. One of the books in my pile was The Wall by John Hersey, a 640 page novel that I honestly wasn't sure I'd get around to any time soon. But then I read the first few pages and I was hooked. It was a lot to take in. I feel like I need to read it a few more times to fully understand everything. 

The story opens with four survivors of the Warsaw ghetto finding the buried Levinson Archives.  Noach Levinson is a Jewish historian who documents life in the ghetto from 1939-1943. Levinson—a recluse—is forced to move in with strangers when the ghetto is formed. But they become like family to him as the story progresses. The cast of characters are diverse and entertaining. Levinson finds, to his great surprise, that he rather enjoys being apart of a family. He writes of the day to day struggles of living in filth, poverty, and persecution. You see the hard and sometimes horrible choices people had to make in order to survive. When the Nazis start to deport the Jews to Treblinka, the Jews make the choice to fight back. They begin smuggling in weapons and the Z.O.B. (Jewish Fighting Organization) is formed. The family is broken up by the "relocation" but those who are left take up arms, build bunkers, and prepare to fight back.

It's all fictional, but the archives are so believable that at first I thought they were real. The historical accuracy is amazing, and although Hersey changed the names of actual historical people, I was able to recognize some of them from previous research. Noach resembles Emmanuel Ringelblum, Jewish writer whose archives were discovered buried in an underground bunker. Rachel Apt's leadership is very similar to Zivia Lubetkin. Yitzhok, I believe, is intended to represent Mordechai Anielewicz. The head of the Judenrat is most definitely based on Adam Czerniak√≥w.

The writing is beautiful. It's one of the books you feel enriched by every time you pick it up. It's full of pain and bravery, horror, and determination. It's a hidden gem of a book that I'm very glad that I found.

Have you ever read The Wall?


Black Friday Book Sale

It's time for the epic Black Friday book sale! Along with 70 other books by Christian Indie authors, It Took a War and Ain't We Got Fun are on sale from Nov 27 (that’s today!) through Nov 30th. The ebook copies are $0.99 and paperbacks are $6.99.

You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more on the Indie Christian Books website! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted athmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.


What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for?
 What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?


Pinterest Storyboard Event

Elisabeth Grace Foley is hosting a super fun blog event where authors share their Pinterest storyboards with each other! I have quite a few boards, some public, some private so I've chosen seven to share with ya'll. Thanks for hosting this event, Elisabeth! Hop on over to The Second Sentence to link-up and check out other writers' boards.

I'm going to start out with the storyboard for my completed novel, Resist. This board is mostly comprised of actual photographs of Hans, Sophie, Alex, Willi, Christl, and other members of The White Rose resistance group. This board just made the story even more emotional to write because I would study the pictures of these real, brave students and see their faces every day as I wrote.

Follow Emily Ann's board STORYBOARD: RESIST on Pinterest.
One of my favorite boards is Ain't We Got Fun. It was so fun to write that story with Emily Chapman, and to have somewhere to share pictures of characters and scenes. We still pin new images to that board every once in a while. 
Follow Emily's board ain't we got fun on Pinterest.
 I also have a storyboard for is It Took a War. I didn't make it until after I had written that story, so there aren't a ton of images but you can still get a glimpse of what the characters look like.

Twenty-Eight Days is my WIP about the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The storyboard is pretty intense ... but then again, so is the story. I haven't worked on it in a few weeks, but I hope to get back to it sometime soon. I still have a ton of research to do.

  Another WIP that I've left abandoned is This is Worth Fighting For. It's a novella about four friends who are separated by WWII and promise to reunite after the war.

Broken Music is a story I started writing a few years ago, but never finished. I really want to get back to it one of these days. It's about a Jewish musician and his family during WWII.

The Smell of Ink is another abandoned novella. It's about the Newsie strike of 1899. I have a new idea for it that I want to try when I'm done with a few other things!

Bonus! Share your favorite storyboards of other authors. Hanne-col's board for her WWI novel, The Point of No Return, has me very intrigued. WWI seems to be an overlooked time in history, especially in fiction so I'm really excited about her story! Speaking of The Great War, Jenna Lynn is writing a WWI novel, Tethered, taking place in India! Super excited about that one, too. And Jack Lewis Balliot's board for Brothers-in-Arms is one of my favorites. I LOVE THAT BOOK.

Hop on over and link-up!


P.S. Today is my niece's 5th birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLARE BEAR!

"Resist" Announcement

Munich, Germany 1942—Hans Scholl never intended to get his younger sister involved in an underground resistance. When Sophie Scholl finds out, she insists on joining Hans and his close friends in writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets entitled, The White Rose. The young university students call out to the German people, begging them to not allow their consciences to become dormant, but to resist their tyrannical leader and corrupt government. Hans knows the consequences for their actions—execution for committing high treason—but firm in his convictions, he’s prepared to lose his life for a righteous cause. Based on a true story, Hans, Sophie and all the members of The White Rose resistance group will forever inspire and challenge us to do what is right in the midst of overwhelming evil. 

After much thought and prayer, I've decided on a new course of action for my novel, Resist. Being the control freak I am (at least when it comes to my books) I'm going to be publishing Resist under my imprint, The White Rose Press. Expected publication is February 22nd, 2016.  I'm a little bit excited. Just a little. =)

At the moment, Resist is under going historical editing. Last week I put it into the hands of one my editors, the director of a WWII museum. My sister and I dressed vintage for the occasion. One simply does not step foot into a WWII museum without dressing vintage.

 Also, I'm super excited because Kathryn J. Atwood, author of Women Heroes of World War II, Women Heroes of World War I, and Code Name Pauline has agreed to be an advance reader/reviewer for Resist

I thought it was about time to make an actual website for my books. I'm now ready to reveal the new site! Check out it out HERE.

Resist is on Goodreads and I'd really appreciate it if you'd add it to your bookshelf! Cover art is absent, I know. It will be forthcoming.

I'm blown away whenever I think about God's hand in this project. I could never have written it without Him. Never. I would have given up, closed the computer, said it was too hard. He placed this story on my heart to encourage and inspire others and I can't wait to see what He does with this story.


They Have a Story Link-Up | November Edition

It's time for the November edition of They Have a Story! This month's picture was submitted by Clara Stone. =)

What is They Have a Story? It's a monthly historical fiction link up hosted by yours truly. Once a month I'll post a historical picture. Your job (and mine ... I'm totally doing this!) is to write a short story inspired by it. It can be as short or as long as you like. Have fun with it! Post the monthly picture, your story, and blog button on your blog, then link up. Let’s see how many different stories we can get from the same picture!

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with!


P.S. Good luck to all those participating in NaNoWriMo this year!