November 12, 2012

Trust—Now Available!

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The day has come! Trust, the final book of my Makilien Trilogy is now available. Kind of crazy to have come this far from the first version I wrote ten years ago to publishing the final book.

The eBook is available right now from these retailers, and I’ve set a special release/holiday price of only $0.99!


In the coming weeks it will start to show up other places like Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony, etc. If you do not have a Kindle, other formats are available from Smashwords in the meantime.

You can purchase the paperback from:


As always, reviews are HUGELY appreciated. Even one or two sentences are fantastic.

October 08, 2012

Trust Cover and Synopsis

Well, after a slight delay in getting them both ready, I am very excited to present the cover and synopsis of Trust, the third and final book of the Makilien Trilogy!

* * *


   “I just can’t understand this, Elohim. When is any of it going to make sense? I really need You to guide me.”

   Struggling to cope with the losses of battle, Makilien seeks to live each day in trust of Elohim’s plans. As the conflict of hope and reality war in her mind, a sudden arrival changes everything, bringing to light a new scheme wrought by the remnant of Zirtan’s men.

   Finding herself witness to a shocking act of treachery, Makilien is thrust into the very center of the dangerous schemes of the enemy. Trust is something she must give carefully as those who appear trustworthy fail even as those she would least expect could hold the key to success. Can she and those around her secure their safety and freedom or will they find themselves outwitted by their enemy’s final act of dominance?

October 02, 2012

Trust Cover Costume

With the release of Trust fast approaching (I’m planning on a November release date, if all goes well), it’s time to start sharing things such as the cover, synopsis, book trailer, and all that good stuff. To start it off, I wanted to share a little about the costume that will appear on the cover. This one didn’t have nearly as many pieces as the Courage costume, but it’s a costume I’ve wanted to make for quite some time.



First we have the shirt. I’ve wanted to make a dress or shirt this color for a long time. The pattern I used was New Look 6179. It was a wonderfully simple shirt to make. I chose it because the drawstring neckline reminded me of a historical shift, and I thought it worked well for a fantasy outfit. The only modifications I made were to the sleeve length.








Then we have the overdress. This was another piece I’d wanted to make for a long time. This was quite the project. I used a grand total of 350 metal eyelets! All put in by hand. It took about three days of working hours at a time to attach them all. But I love the result. It turned out just like I hoped. The skirt of the dress has eight separate panels, which I can either lace or leave open, obviously for the easy of riding, combat, and other such activities. For underneath I have a matching pair of khaki pants. Like my Truth dress, I used McCall’s 5499 for the pattern. I again modified it to lace up in the front instead of the back, and I removed the sleeves. It is made out of 100% linen in it’s natural color, which is gorgeous and really adds to the historical feel of the outfit. It smells very natural too. :)




The primary inspiration for this costume came primarily from this outfit worn by Marian in BBC’s Robin Hood (the first two seasons are fantastic, by the way). I LOVE the aqua shirt and how it goes with the gray.






Inspiration for the construction of my overdress came directly from this dress (another Marian outfit). I just loved the idea of all the skirt panels lacing together. It was very out of the ordinary.

So there it is, the Trust costume. Now all that’s left is to release the cover. Are you excited? Fantastic, because I’m setting the official release date of the cover and book synopsis for this Friday, October 5th. Make sure to check back! I can hardly wait to share this new cover.

September 14, 2012

Favorite Gluten Free Recipes

I’ve been very neglectful of my blog lately. Unfortunately, when I get busy, it’s one of the first things to slip. Just a lot of things going on, not the least of which is learning to live gluten free. (It has made a huge difference in my health and quality of life, by the way.) It’s been a challenge, but also fun at times. My mom and I have been doing so much baking and making things we would otherwise have bought at the store. I don’t know what we’d do if we did not have the internet. There are so many great recipes, so I decided to share a couple of our favorites we’ve discovered in the last few weeks.

Best Blueberry Muffins
These muffins are AMAZING, and that is coming from someone who LOVES muffins. I was so sad to think I’d never get to enjoy my favorite muffins again, but these definitely cheered me up. They are probably the best muffins I’ve ever made, GF or not. I didn't take time to make the jam for the top, and I just used frozen blueberries, but they tasted delicious anyway. 

Hamburger Buns
This recipe comes from the same lady as the muffins. (She has amazing GF recipes!) I love a good cheeseburger and needed to find some good buns to go with it. A lot of GF bread is dry or too dense, but these buns are wonderfully soft just like they should be.  

Focaccia Bread
 These were the first hamburger buns we tried. I thought they were too dense and not soft enough for hamburgers, but for sandwiches they are excellent. They have a wonderful taste and smell divine when you’re mixing up the dough/batter and baking them. A very tasty and simple recipe, especially if you were to add some spices.

These are just a couple of the recipes. There are many more we plan to try. We have a few birthdays coming up so I’ll be looking for good cake and pizza recipes, and I'll be sure to share what I find. :)

August 06, 2012

Introducing the Ilyon Chronicles!

After much delay and frustration with my complete lack of ambition (thanks Celiac), it gives me great pleasure to finally announce the series title of my “secret” fantasy project!


I’ve been busily preparing for this day for the last couple weeks, only to keep pushing the announcement back further and further due to no creativity and a total lack of ambition when it came to this blog post! But here it is at last. I’ve wanted to come out with the series title for a long time. It’s no fun to always refer to it as my “secret” or “current” fantasy project. But I wanted to get a few things done before that. Like building a website for the series! :)

Ilyon Chronicles is still in the early stages of being written, but I like to share bits of information here and there, and build excitement. That’s part of the reason I’ve set up the website as well as a couple other social media pages where everyone can follow along with my progress. Just follow the links below to discover more!

Facebook Page
Pinterest Inspiration Board

July 31, 2012

Book Review—Karen Witemeyer’s Books

Over the last couple weeks I have had a delightful time reading through Karen Witemeyer’s four historical romances. As usual with series like this, I read through them so fast that I didn’t have time to sit and write a detailed review after each one, but here a few of my thoughts on each book in the order I read them.

A Tailor-Made Bride

My mom downloaded the Kindle copy of A Tailor-Made Bride when it was free on Amazon a few months ago. It was a book I had seen before and was always interested to read considering my love for 1800s romances. Not to mention the cover is both beautiful and humorous, and very eye catching. I have to say I was slightly disappointed. The book didn’t draw me in like some of my favorite stories. I was tempted to skim the first half, but it did get much better toward the end. I think the problem was that I didn’t love the guy. For me, the guy in a story is important. More times that not, I love the guy much more than the girl. This was the exception. I liked him . . . eventually, but didn’t love him. Still, despite my personal opinions, I was incredibly impressed by Witemeyer’s writing style. Her phrases and descriptions, particularly of emotion, have me a little envious! For this reason, it’s definitely worth the read.

To Win Her Heart

First, I have to say thank goodness I didn’t stop after reading A Tailor-Made Bride!! To Win Her Heart is one of the best, if not my favorite, historical romances I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. This is very cliché of me to say, but I couldn’t put it down. I adored Levi, and I actually quite liked Eden. I enjoyed the progression of their relationship and really felt for Levi in his struggles. And I can’t say enough about the gorgeous cover. This is the book that drew me to Witemeyer’s fiction in the first place. What can I say? I have a thing for blacksmiths in historical fiction. :) Once again, the writing style left me in awe. All the emotions felt so real, and left this hopeless romantic with a dreamy sigh and big grin at the end. ;)


Short-Straw Bride

I anxiously dove into Short-Straw Bride as soon as it came in at the library shortly after finishing To Win Her Heart, and it did not disappoint. This gave me all the dreamy sighs the last one did, plus a healthy dose of giggles. This book cemented my opinion that Witemeyer not only writes great main characters, but also fabulous supporting characters. I was absolutely delighted by the sibling relationships between Travis and his three brothers.The story was fairly light-hearted compared to a lot of fiction I’ve read, but I liked that. My only complaint was some of Meredith’s actions. Over the years I’ve developed a pet peeve for woman in fiction taking matters into their own hands when the guy is perfectly capable and responsible for taking care of things. It comes up in almost every historical romance, it seems. Maybe it’s starting to feel cliché. Either that or it’s just because I’m not that kind of woman. Whatever the reason, it didn’t detract from my love for this book.


Head in the Clouds started out a bit slow for me, but once I got into it, I very much enjoyed it. This one seemed more serious than the other three, but still fun. What I loved about this one was how different it was from a lot of 1800s romances. Gideon, the main guy, was actually English and the son of a baron, but he moved to America to set up a sheep ranch. Because of this he definitely wasn’t the cowboy rancher I was used to in western novels. I really loved both Gideon and Adelaide, and thoroughly enjoyed the plot.

My conclusion is that Karen Witemeyer is now one of my favorite historical authors. In my opinion, she is one of the most skillful authors I’ve come across, particularly when it comes to emotion (something I would love to learn from). Her characters felt remarkably real, and I’ve found myself thinking about them long after I’ve put her books down. My biggest regret is that I don’t have any more of her books to read! I can hardly wait until she comes out with something new. I highly recommend these four books to fellow lovers of historical Christian romances. (Though, on the flip side, if romances aren’t your cup of tea, these probably aren’t for you. I’m not sure I’d recommend them for teens either.)

To learn more about Karen Witemeyer, visit:

July 25, 2012

Gluten Stole My Ambition

It’s been a while. My strange post title is part of the reason. About a month ago I discovered that I have celiac disease. I can’t have anything containing gluten. Ever. That’s something that takes a long time to wrap your mind around. You would not believe how many things contain gluten besides bread and baked goods. It hides everywhere! It’s pretty overwhelming when you realize you’ll never be able to have an Oreo cookie again, or buy your favorite birthday cake, or bake anything normally. And I can’t just have a taste here and there. Nope. Even the smallest, invisible trace of gluten will make me sick (I’ve already experienced this). And it’s not just an annoying allergy. Gluten actually damages my small intestines, so it’s basically poison to me. Crazy, huh?

However, once I got past the mindboggling ramifications of going gluten free for the rest of my life, I was glad to know I had celiac. The thing is, I’ve been sick for almost three years. I suddenly got really nauseated one day, and it pretty much never went away. I had good days, but never felt normal. At one point, it got so bad that almost all I ate was crackers (which I now realize were just poisoning my body) and was down to 95 lbs. It was a scary time, and no one could tell me what was wrong! All my blood tests showed I was perfectly healthy. I eventually started eating more again, but the symptoms just wouldn’t go away. Then, last summer, I began struggling with depression. It lasted through the fall, winter, and early this spring. I’d completely lost all creativity and ambition, and even felt like I’d lost the ability to write! Now there’s a depressing thing for a writer. I was tired all the time no matter how much sleep I got. I attributed it to Seasonal Affective Disorder (which I get in the winter), but it didn’t go away with springtime and longer days.

Finally, and I think this was God stepping in after months of desperate prayer, I looked into celiac disease a little over a month ago. After reading through this page of symptoms, I knew that’s what I had. I found symptoms on there I never would have connected to my stomach issues, but it all started to make sense. I’ve been gluten free for four weeks now, and I’m noticing a huge difference. I don’t remember the last time I felt so healthy. My stomach problems have begun to disappear, as well as other symptoms, particularly symptoms I always thought were just bad allergies. And I’m even more sure gluten is bad for me after accidently glutening myself last week. I went from feeling amazing to being tired, depressed, and more stomach problems within a day. I’m finally now starting to feel better again.

So, now I have an answer to all those months of inactivity and lack of ambition. Never want to go through that again. I may mourn the loss of many of my favorite foods, but none of them are worth feeling sick all the time. My ambition is finally coming back. The problem now is how out of practice I am in my writing. It’s been a struggle to really get back into it again, but I’ll keep working. I’m sure it will get easier and easier to get back to normal the longer my body has to heal. It’s been a lot to take in and learn, and I’ve still got a long way to go, but I am so thankful to finally have answers and understand what’s been going on. It’s definitely something God has used to teach me patience and trust.

June 18, 2012

New Author–Pamela Kay Murphy

WSWWCover-SmallI am very pleased to introduce the new Living Sword Publishing author, my mom, Pamela Kay Murphy! After everything she has taught me over the years (I wouldn’t be where I am today with my writing if not for her), it’s been so much fun watching and helping her get to the point of publishing, and it’s especially fun to have her published through my company. Her first book, Wooing Sam Walker’s Widow, a contemporary Christian romance, is available in eBook on Amazon and Smashwords right now. In a few weeks it will also begin to show up on other eBook retailers like Barnes & Noble and iBooks. She just ordered her first proof copy of the book so it shouldn’t be too long before the paperback is also available. To find all the information, you can visit her blog here:

You can also find her on Facebook:

If you like contemporary romance and family relationships, make sure to check it out!

June 08, 2012

Publishing Website Makeover

With some amazing new templates just added to Weebly, I’ve given my publishing company website a makeover. I’m thrilled with the outcome. It looks far better than it did before. Not only that, but I will soon reveal a brand new author on the website! You can check it all out here: I will share more information once the new author’s book is ready. :)

May 30, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration

I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to get sucked into Pinterest because I knew how much time I could waste with it. However, I did end up signing up and it has become one of my favorite writing tools. I do still end up wasting time sometimes, but the inspiration to discover is endless.

Now here’s a question. Have you ever wondered what celebrities an author might have in mind while they are writing a character? I have, and many of my own characters have been inspired by photos I come across or celebrities I see on TV. I never really considered sharing much of my inspiration before, but Pinterest presents a fun way to do that. So, whether or not you have Pinterest, if you’d like to see a some of my inspiration for characters and settings, you’ll find boards for all of my latest books. And here’s something exciting, that even includes my new fantasy books I’m currently working on. I will continue adding to it as I go through the series. With my inspiration board, you can get little bits and pieces of what it’s going to be like. Just follow the link to check it out.

April 23, 2012

The Secret New Project

So, after a long absence, I thought it only fitting to fill you in on what has kept me busy, at least in the last couple weeks. I call it secret project just because I’m still not giving away too many details. I mentioned this new project briefly at the beginning of this year. After the worst bout of writer’s block or whatever it was that kept me from writing anything the last couple months, I finally had a breakthrough a week and a half ago and have been writing like crazy. I’ve basically accomplished writing 9 chapters in 10 days. That’s a big thing for me. It’s made me really excited, and I hope to finish book 1 within the next couple months, but then who knows what might come up in the meantime. A release date is still a long, long way off, but, considering this is now my main project, I wanted to share a little bit about it, so I decided to compile a list of fun facts about the series that don’t give too much of the plot or details away. Here it is:

  1. So far, I still have the series planned for seven books total. It should stay at that number, however, with this series, I’m not ruling out any major changes.
  2. It is another fantasy series. To describe the world in one sentence, I'd say it's ancient Rome set in a medieval world with some somewhat modern society twists.
  3. I cover a few modern day issues, which has been and will be quite interesting.
  4. This new fantasy world has five races of peoples (one more than I originally had planned), each one very different from the others.
  5. The entire series covers a three year period of time.
  6. I have my two primary main characters, a girl and a guy, as well as two secondary main characters, both guys.
  7. The characters are some of the most flawed and troubled characters I've ever written about, but I love them dearly.
  8. This whole monster of a project started with one small spark of an idea for a character who is now the main guy. Everything else has just exploded and grown around him.
  9. I'm barely half finished with book one, but I probably have more notes for this series than all of my other books combined.
  10. As frustrated as I get and as hard as I've tried at times to write something else, this story keeps pulling me back to it.
  11. And lastly, inspiration for this series has come from a huge array of places. That’s part of what makes it so much fun. I never know when something else might come along and add even more to it. Here are just a few of the completely random things that have sparked my imagination and given me inspiration for characters, plots, scenes, or just random little details: DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul, The Mentalist, a commercial for Unforgettable, The Hunger Games, Thor, Non-Stop Music, Future World Music, The Eagle, Unearthing Ancient Secrets: True Gladiator (Science Channel), The Errant King by Wayne Thomas Batson, and Robin Hood.

I very much look forward to sharing this series one day in the future. It’s seriously unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It is stretching my writing abilities in every way possible, which is good, yet can be very frustrating and trying. But I am completely in love with the story. I’ve never followed so many lives and plotlines before. I’ve barely begun and it already feels like I’ve been on a journey with these people. It certainly has the largest cast of characters I’ve ever worked with, each character bringing a unique aspect and view on things. And the craziest thing is, even though I have a general plot to follow, things are constantly changing and growing, and I’m just going with the flow. It’s quite an adventure. Sometimes I look at it and think, what in the world have I gotten myself into? After all, with seven books planned, this is a project that will span the next few years at least. That is a huge undertaking and a little overwhelming. But, when I think of the end result, there is no way I can turn my back on this thing. I’ve come way too far and the characters have way too tight a grip on me to step away from it now. So, whether it takes the next couple years or the next ten, I look forward to someday being able to let others share in the adventure. And don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated along the way. ;)

March 22, 2012

Courage–Paperback now available!

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At long last, the paperback version of Courage is now available. It is showing up on Amazon, and I am also taking orders for autographed copies from my website. Just follow the links!

Autographed Copy

March 13, 2012

An Interview and Update

I have been especially bad lately at updating my blog and responding to everyone I would like to. I’ve had so much going on in the last few weeks. First of all, I was interviewed on a great blog called Virtuous Girlhood. You can see it here:

I’ve been so busy lately with both book and personal things. It has taken longer than usual for me to get the paperback version of Courage to the point where it is available. I’ve had to order a few proof copies trying to get the colors right. Blue is notoriously hard to get to print the exact shade you want it. I finally settled on something I’m happy with, so I will hopefully have paperback books available in the next week or two.

Personally, my focus lately has really turned to homemaking. I’ve been having a great time collecting and trying recipes, researching different home remedies, and really getting into different aspects of the home, more so than I ever have before. It is one of my greatest desires to someday marry and have my own home, and I believe God is using this particular time to really prepare me for that. So my focus on that has really cut out a lot of my effort to stay updated on my writing and social networking. But I hope to get back to updating a little more regularly, and hopefully even start sharing some of the interesting and helpful things I’ve been coming across pertaining to the home.

February 16, 2012

Courage–Book Trailer

I intended to have this done before now, but I’ve been so busy with everything else involved in getting Courage ready for publication. But, now that things have settled down a bit, I have finally finished putting together the trailer for Courage. Enjoy!

Courage–Makilien Trilogy, Book 2

February 14, 2012

Courage–Now Available in eBook!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00025]At last, I can announce that Courage, book 2 of my Makilien Trilogy, is now available in eBook! Unfortunately, the paperback is taking a little longer as there were some issues with the formatting of the interior file, but I hope to have those resolved soon. In the meantime, for those who love eBooks, you can get Courage for only $2.99. It’s available for Kindle and in a variety of other eBook formats from Smashwords. It will take a little time before it shows up elsewhere such as Barnes& and iBooks. Just follow the links below. I will update them as it becomes available.



And just to get the excitement going, here is the official back cover text of the book:

* * * * * *

“You will never be alone. Take courage in that always.”

Determined to follow the will of Elohim, Makilien faces daily threats and hardship. But an even bigger threat is growing. Bent on destroying his opposition once and for all, Zirtan amasses a devastating force to take control of Dolennar. When a dangerous secret comes to light, Makilien, along with her family and Aedan, are thrust into the middle of the struggle.

Faced with an army far outnumbering their own, Makilien and her friends risk everything—injury, captivity, even death—to gather their allies. But in the end, their hope and courage must rest in Elohim. Can the forces of good achieve victory, or will the might of evil prevail? Who will be left to see the end?

The adventure continues . . .

February 03, 2012

Want an autographed copy?


It’s been on my to-do list for a very long time, but I have now, finally, set up my website to take direct orders for autographed copies of my books. You can also get the entire set of Pirates & Faith (and eventually Makilien) at a discount by buying directly from me. Just follow the link to take a look.

February 01, 2012

Lower Price for Truth eBook

TruthKindleBig announcement today. With the new month starting and the release of Courage (Book 2) fast approaching, I’ve lowered the eBook version of the first book of my Makilien Trilogy down to only 99¢. I’m hoping many more people will join in the adventure this way. You can get it for Kindle from Amazon and from Smashwords right now, and the new price will soon show up on Barnes& and other eBook retailers. Just follow the links below.


January 31, 2012

I is for Indiya

I know, it’s been a while for one of these posts, but here, at last, is the next post in my A-Z Makilien series.

Indiya (pronounced like “India”) is the only female dragon in Truth. She was the first of the dragons I created and the first one to make an appearance in Makilien. I never had dragons in the original story, nor had I ever written about dragons before. I never realized how much I loved dragons until I started writing about them. They are definitely one of my favorite fantasy creatures, whether they are portrayed as good or evil.

It was great fun to figure out the certain characteristics and appearances for my dragons. The biggest thing I knew from the start was that I wanted them to be realistic. I didn’t want giant, fire-breathing, indestructible beasts. I wanted them to be vulnerable. So first, I made them smaller than a lot of fantasy dragons, only the size of a draft horse. I also limited their fire-breathing ability by making it so they can only use their fire for short amounts of time before it builds inside them again. It’s these types of little world-building things that make it so much fun to be a fantasy writer.

Once I’d figured out the characteristics of my dragons, I got into their personalities. Indiya was a fun character to get to know. I think from the start I had a cat in mind when it came to both her movement and personality—the graceful, independent, playful, and slightly mischievous nature. She’s lovely, feminine, and kind, yet can instantly become a deadly adversary when the occasion calls for it. Both Indiya and her mate, Emaril, are young dragons, just a bit over one-hundred years old. I chose indigo blue for her color not only because it suited her, but blue is also my favorite color. It was only natural for my first dragon to be that color.

January 30, 2012

Homeschool Authors Interview

I just did an interview on a really awesome new blog all for books by homeschool authors. Thanks very much to Sarah for having me. You can check it out here:

January 27, 2012

Courage–The Cover

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And here it is!  The cover of Courage, the second book of the Makilien Trilogy. I have been waiting with giddy anticipation to finally share it. I think it almost has to be my favorite of any cover I’ve done so far. Maybe because the “feel” of it matches the story so well. I am extremely pleased with how it turned out. When you begin a project like this, especially when you’re taking the photos, you really don’t know how well it is going to come together. But it did far easier than I was expecting, and a lot more quickly. It was just one of those “meant to be” things I am always so thankful for. I can hardly wait to share this next part of the adventure.




Now, along with the cover release, I have also given the Makilien website a makeover, which is now live. You can take a look at it here: I’m very excited about how it turned out as well.

I am just about to start my final read through of Courage so it won’t be too long now until it is in print!

January 25, 2012

Courage Cover Costume–The Vambraces


I love the whole Courage costume, but the vambraces have to be close to my favorite piece. This is something I had wanted to try for a long time, but this was the first costume where I had definite need to do it.vambraces3 

What are they made of? Craft foam. I came across this ingenious way of making fake armor quite a few years ago (again during our Lord of the Rings obsession phase). If you put “craft foam armor” in Google, you’ll come up with all kinds of results. This is the first page I ever looked at concerning how to do it: It’s amazing what you can do, isn’t it? This is the page I read through when I was making my vambraces: 

It was sort of trial and error for me at first. I printed the design I made and used the end of a mechanical pencil to “trace” it into the foam. After I was happy with the result, I applied the Decoupage to seal the foam. I tried painting it first, but it just soaked up the paint. Once it was sealed, I gave it a couple coats with glossy black spray paint and used a tiny paint brush to apply silver paint to the designs. vambraces2 

Each vambrace is actually two pieces as you can sort of see in this picture. Once I was finished with the painting, I glued the pieces together to keep them from shifting, and then sewed around the edges by hand with thick, black quilting thread. Then came the eyelets. This was tricky because it’s really easy to accidently leave marks in the foam. I used a hole punch first and carefully worked the eyelets in. After that, I applied glue around each one to make the foam stronger and not as likely to rip when the laces are tightened.

Overall, the vambraces turned out looking exactly as I’d hoped. Combined with the rest of the costume, you really can’t tell they are not real leather. The greatest thing about them is how ridiculously cheap they are to make. The foam sheets cost less than a dollar each, and most of the other supplies I already had. It’s certainly something I’ll be doing more of because it’s really a fun project and you can come up with all sorts of designs.

That pretty much does it for the look at the costume, which leaves only one thing, seeing how it all looks together. By now, I hope I’ve been able to raise your anticipation level because, on Friday, I will officially release the cover of Courage. I, for one, can hardly wait. :)

January 23, 2012

Courage Cover Costume–The Chain-mail


And here it is, the chain-mail. I procrastinated this piece for so long, even going so far as to contemplate going without it.Certainly glad I didn’t do that, because, you will see soon, it really adds a lot. The thing about the chain-mail, is it felt like it was going to be harder than it really was. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed working on it. It’s killer on your hands, but it’s really fun to craft something like this. Now, as you can see, I didn’t make a full shirt. I didn’t have near enough time for that, but I will someday. For this project, this worked just fine.chaim-mail2

Besides what you need for making the coils (which I will get into), there really isn’t much you need to make chain-mail. This is everything I worked with. The only thing not showing is the fingerless gloves I wore after the first day and the bolt cutter I used to cut the rings.





Once you learn what you are doing and get into it, it’s actually really easy to make. You get into a rhythm and it comes together pretty quickly. As you can see in the picture, you need both open and closed rings.





For the rings, I used fencing wire. Now I can’t remember what gauge it is because I actually made the coils years ago. I first learned how to make chain-mail around seven years ago with my brother while we were going through our  Lord of the Rings obsession phase. We started using PVC pipe like they actually did for the movies, but shortly upgraded to wire. We learned how to put it together from this website: (I can’t believe I still had the link after all this time!) The tutorials and diagrams made it so easy to figure out and I’ve never forgotten how to do it.

As for for making the coils, I also found the original video we watched to learn just how to do that. (Amazing how this blog post as brought back so many memories. :)


In all, the front piece and two sleeves took me about three solid afternoons to complete, and I used about five 16-20” coils. Despite how I put it off, it all came together perfectly in the end.

Now on Wednesday, I’ll get into another piece of armor and the last piece of the costume—the vambraces. I tried something I’d never done before with those, and I am thrilled with the results.

January 20, 2012

Courage Cover Costume–The Vest and Overskirt


This is a part of the costume I’ve had in my mind for a really long time, ever since I wrote Truth. I had wanted to make it for just as long so it was a lot of fun to see it finally come to be. There are technically two versions of this outfit that Makilien wears in the trilogy. The first time you read about it is in Truth. It’s Makilien’s ceremony outfit. That’s the first version of the outfit. The second version Makilien wears to battle in Courage. The battle version is a bit less decorative than the ceremony version, and it’s the battle version that I created here. I made the entire thing out of a very nice black suede. Originally it sold for $25.99 a yard, but I waited to buy it until I could get it for 50% off and had an additional 20% off coupon. I had been thinking of getting something cheaper, but I am glad I waited because this particular suede is so soft and was nice to work with.





The vest was something I debated about for a long time. I wanted something very specific so it took a while to find the right pattern. I ended up settling on Simplicity 2633 and it really turned out nicely. It was a simple, easy to use pattern and had just the fit I was looking for. Another debate was whether to use buttons or clasps. The ceremony outfit I described as having silver clasps. However, I never did make that distinction about the battle outfit. After a lot of going back and forth for a while, I finally settled on buttons. One, they are much more budget friendly, and two, it seemed to me buttons would stay much more secure during a battle than clasps. So buttons it wabuttonss.


And I do LOVE the buttons. They look very fantasy/medievalish.











The second piece to the outfit is the overskirt. It is actually sewn with four separate panels making it open in the front, back, and along the sides. This is a style I’ve gone with for most of the dresses and skirts in Makilien (the wearer than has on a pair of pants underneath). It makes moving, running, riding, and fighting easier. For this I used Simplicity 9825. It is an excellent pattern that made it really easy to modify in order to have the separate panels.








The one other modification I made was removing the zipper and instead having laces to give it a much more authentic fantasy feel. This was really a very simple process.




In all, aside from cutting out the pieces, it took me two and a half days to sew this part of the costume. Both of the patterns were simple and went together quickly. In the end, I am very pleased with how it turned out and how it looks altogether with the rest of the outfit.

On Monday, I’ll be sharing the creation process of the most challenging piece of the costume, the chain-mail.

January 18, 2012

Courage Cover Costume–The Dress

The first piece of the Courage costume is one of my favorite pieces. It was a type of dress I had wanted to make for a long time. I’d never before made one that laced up in the front. For the pattern, I used McCall’s 5499. At first, I was pretty leery about using it. These types of patterns that contain all sizes from girls’ through women’s in one package usually are not the highest quality patterns. Let me say, I was very pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be one of the best patterns I’ve ever worked with. The finished dress not only fits perfectly, it is also much more comfortable and wearable than most costume dresses I’ve created, which makes it feel much more authentic. Now, I did do a fairly major alteration to the pattern, though I don’t think that affected the fit. The dress is actually supposed to be laced up in the back. Thank goodness I had the experience of making a few dresses before this. That made the altering pretty simple since I had a good understanding of what needed to be done.

The fabric of the dress is 100% linen in a sort of navy blue. I can’t say enough about linen. Having worked with it quite a bit while making reenactment clothing, I’ve found it is so nice and easy to work with. It does wrinkle easily, but I love the look of the weave and it gives added authenticity to a historical/fantasy outfit.

mariandress2The inspiration for the dress came from the dress worn by Cate Blanchett in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. From the moment I saw it, I fell in love with it and knew I had to recreate it. It’s so simple, yet beautiful.

It’s not so much fun actually wearing it, but I love all the layers of historical clothing. Being this dress opens to the front as it does, you have to wear a shift underneath (in the movie she was actually wearing two). I have yet to create a shift specifically for this dress, but it was easy enough to use the cotton shift I have for attending buckskinner reenactments.

This is actually the same dress on the cover of Truth as well. I considered making a new one for Courage, but little of it actually shows this time so I thought it prudent to reuse what I already had. Unfortunately, as much as I love it, linen is not the most budget friendly material.

So that is the story behind my Makilien dress. I’ll certainly be using this pattern again one day. Most likely it will be used to create a dress for the coming cover of Trust as well.

On Friday I will share the creation of the next layer of the costume—the vest and overskirt.

January 16, 2012

Courage Cover Costume

SuppliesA few of the supplies I used.

In the past couple months, one of my focuses has been working on the costume that will be on the cover of Courage, the second book of my Makilien Trilogy. It was one of the biggest things left to complete on the way to publication. It has also been one of the biggest costume projects I’ve ever undertaken. There were so many pieces involved, pieces that really took a lot of time and effort to put together. I tried a lot of new things with this costume as well. At times it was frustrating, but on the whole, it’s been a very enjoyable process. I love to see a costume I’ve designed come together. Now that I’ve successfully completed it, I wanted to begin a little series of upcoming posts on the creation process. Over the next couple of weeks you can expect posts detailing the creation of each piece of the outfit, including photos. All this will lead up to . . . *drum roll* . . . the very first look at the cover. The costume itself consists of the dress, a vest and overskirt, chain-mail, and a pair of vambraces. First up will be the dress. Be sure to check back on Wednesday to get a closer look at the foundational piece of the outfit!

January 13, 2012

Movie Review–Twilight

220px-Twilight-dvdI’ve been planning to review movies for a while, but I certainly never expected the first one to be on Twilight. The thing is, I’ve considered writing a post on Twilight for a long time, but, ever since the books and movies exploded into our lives, I have adamantly refused to read or watch them. I wanted nothing to do with them for very specific reasons, and since I hadn’t watched or read them, I didn’t share my thoughts on them. However, after a lot of thought and debating, I came to the decision that I wanted to be able to adequately defend my reasons by knowing exactly what I was talking about. So, the other night, I sat down with my mom and watched the first two movies. To say I’m disturbed, upset, and deeply saddened is probably an understatement. I have always been saddened about the diehard following Twilight has, but to actually see it for myself really drove home why I am upset.

Let’s look at the obvious for a moment. The story centers around vampires, werewolves, and evil elements no one, let alone Christians, should be dwelling on. It would be one thing if it were portrayed as what it is, evil. Something wrong and repulsive. But it isn’t. All these things are portrayed in a positive light. That is my biggest objection to Twilight. It makes things that are undoubtedly wrong and portrays them as okay and desirable. It portrays giving into desire and temptation without any real regret or consequences. I will say right now, I firmly believe it's dangerous, especially to the hearts and minds of young women, and that is horribly troubling.

Now, to get into some of the details. One of the very first things that jumped out at me was that Twilight exhibits the very height of foolishness when it comes to relationships. Bella’s constant “I’m not afraid of you” and “you won’t hurt me” to Edward after learning he is a vampire is as naïve and foolish as it gets. If you’re attracted to a guy you shouldn’t be with, convincing yourself you’re safe with him and that he’s a good guy isn’t going to make it so! I can’t think of any area more dangerous to throw caution to the wind, which is what Bella does throughout the first two movies. Edward’s “dedication” to Bella may seem romantic, but trust me, in real life there is NOTHING romantic about such obsessive, stalkerish behavior. Nothing. When you really sit and think about it, his behavior is just plain scary. Seriously, sneaking into her bedroom to watch her sleep at night? How can that be romantic? And Bella doesn’t even bat an eyelash at it. I’ll be the first to tell you, if God blesses me with marriage someday, I want to be married to a man who will protect me, but a guy who is so obsessed he’ll do anything is wrong. The entire thing gives such a poor and warped view of a true, loving, and God honoring relationship. Say what you will, but I completely believe it has the power to influence how young women might view a relationship and give them a desire for something that isn’t wholesome.

One thing I found particularly disturbing is Bella’s complete disregard for her soul. All she wants is to be turned into a vampire so she can be with Edward, and she doesn’t care at all that she’ll end up in hell as a result. As long as she has what she wants now, her eternal future doesn’t concern her. Seriously consider that for a moment. To be so obsessed and desire something so much, you don’t care what it costs you. What kind of message is that? Adding to this is how neither one is willing to live without the other. Edward comes right out and tells Bella that she is the only thing worth living for. No one is the only thing worth living for except for God. Our relationship with Him is the only relationship that should consume us. Everything and everyone else is second, and shouldn’t dictate our lives, which leads to that fact that, at the end of the second movie, when Edward comes to the false assumption that Bella is dead, he goes to the head vampires to have them kill him because he won’t live in a world without her. Oh, this is such a dangerous, dangerous message, having two people who don’t even think twice about committing suicide if they lose each other. And it wasn’t just Edward. Throughout the second movie, Bella, deep in depression after Edward leaves her, turns time and again to self-destructive behavior just so she can see these visions of him.

And I can’t overlook the obvious gruesome violence and darkness that comes from having a story centered around vampires. Numerous times you see them biting into the necks or wrists of helpless victims, and while this should be something horrific, most of the time it was portrayed as an act of kindness by the “good” vampires in order to save the dying since the venom turns them into vampires themselves, saving their lives. Really no mention is given to the fact that, in the story, this means all these people are now going to hell when they eventually die. Not only that, but on other occasions, you see the “good” vampires either lose control or nearly lose control of themselves at the scent of blood. It’s horror, plain and simple, and all very uncomfortable to watch.

There is so much more than what I’ve covered, but it all pretty much boils down to two things. First, there is no purity in this story. Everything is just so warped and twisted. It goes against everything in Philippians 4:8. And two, there is so much obsession with self-desires that there is nothing God honoring about it. I could say there were little redeeming qualities. Bella’s dad is a really nice, loveable character, Jacob (despite the fact he is a werewolf) is a sweet guy (and far less creepy than Edward), and Edward’s sister Alice is really a great character. I’m sure there is a long list of other things someone could point out to me. But why? If you sit and be 100% honest, what purpose does it serve? Does it take away any of the other facts? Despite what good may be taken away from this story, the rest is still there. You can’t take that away, you can’t justify it. It taints everything. Evil can’t be excused or justified.

The conclusion is that I came away feeling shell-shocked and disturbed. To re-enforce that, I had a horrible night sleep because of it, waking up in the morning feeling burdened and repulsed. Yes, Twilight is fiction, but the things we let into our lives, the things we do for enjoyment, do have an effect on us. Unfortunately, nothing is just harmless entertainment. That is why we must be so careful in guarding our hearts and minds. Satan will use whatever he possibly can to sway and deceive us, and something like Twilight, I believe, is powerful ammunition.

January 05, 2012

1,000 Books Sold

With the closing of 2011, I reached another milestone in my writing career. I have now sold over 1,000 copies of my books. It’s been a goal for a long time, and with the popularity of eBooks and the success I’ve had with them, I was able to make that goal a lot sooner than I would have otherwise. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has bought my books, reviewed them, shared them, and spread the word. I am also very thankful for how God has directed me in all this and blessed me with success in something I love so much. I hope I can continue touching many people with the gift He has given me. And with 2012 already looking promising, I’m very excited to see what goals I’ll meet this year.

January 02, 2012

On to 2012

So, I’ve decided to go into the new year with a fresh new blog theme. It’s been a while since I had anything different. It’s always fun to start a new year with a change.

2011 was an interesting year. It was certainly my best as far as book sales. I was incredibly blessed with the number of eBook sales I had, particularly last month. I’m very thankful and encouraged by it. I guess you could say it was a good year for writing, though a lot went on that distracted me from focusing on my books. Writing Trust in the spring and publishing Truth were my biggest accomplishments of 2011. I think 2011 was the year I really figured out who I am as an indie author/publisher and settled into what I am doing.

Now, what is in store for 2012? Well, I still have quite a bit of work to do to publish Courage. We’re going through the final edits now. I’m still in the process of putting together the costume for the cover. It’s MUCH more involved than the last one. By involved, I mean sewing a vest and skirt, making vambraces, and putting together some chain-mail. It’s a very big project for sure. I was always in a hurry to publish Courage before now, but I decided to slow down and really take my time with it to make sure everything is perfect, and that’s been really nice. But I’m definitely excited to publish. I think this book might be my favorite of the trilogy…maybe. I also have a LOT of editing to do on Trust, the final book. I’ve been working on it slowly, but my focus has been Courage. Once that is finished, fixing up Trust will definitely be one of my main projects of 2012.

So what am I actually going to be writing this year? Seems like I always have this type of announcement for the new year, but here it is -- I have actually been working on a brand new fantasy series. I haven’t said anything about it until now, and am not going to share too much, but I’ve been working on it since June last year and am nearing the halfway point in book one. It’s definitely going to be the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken. At the moment, it looks like there will be 7 books total. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a series where I’ve had such an abundant flow of ideas. I’m terribly excited about it. I’ve completely fallen in love with the characters and their stories and struggles, and hope future readers will as well. The whole story centers around corrupt government, persecution, and rebellion, so it’s very action packed. At times, it’s also the most tragic story I’ve written so far, and the characters are wonderfully flawed. It sets the stage for some excellent character growth. I especially love the family dynamics in this story. There are some very interesting relationships. The world building has been a blast. For this fantasy, I have four intelligent races besides humans. Figuring out their characteristics and histories is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in writing. Hopefully the last half of book one will go quickly so I can move on to book two, and maybe start sharing more information over the next year. Not sure when an estimate publishing date on the first book will be. I think I’ll have to have at least three of the books written first, so it will probably be a while, but we’ll see.

Besides that, we’ll see where God leads me. I’m hoping and praying for a great year in my writing. With this new series, it’s certainly starting out exciting.