Saturday, December 2, 2017

War of Loyalties is now Available for Purchase!

I am so excited about this book and can't wait to get my hands on it. I've yet to read it, but I have read other pieces that Schuyler has written and she has a wonderful way with words. Some of us have followed and prayed for her since before the manuscript was finished, and here it is, 100 years from when if would have taken place. (How cool is that?)


Book Description: 
April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered. 

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham's British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after encountering death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn't as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.

Does that sounds like something that interests you? Follow the link below for a chance to win your copy of the first of the Folkestone Fellowship novels, War of Loyalties by Schuyler McConkey. 

 War of Loyalties is officially available for purchase on Amazon now, and when you're finished reading, a review is always appreciated, dear readers! You can also review it on Goodreads. If you like a novel, the best way to show your appreciation for that author is by reviewing and sharing on social media. 

About Schuyler

Schuyler McConkey is a writing teacher, book reviewer, and ministry leader living half of her life in happy fellowship with her family and spending the other half in angst-filled fictional worlds. She is passionate about classic, Dickensian stories and characters who encounter deep struggles touched by grace. Irish music, British movies, and chai lattes provide the fuel for her dreams.

Monday, November 27, 2017

So Let the Christmas Music Be Set Free

So unofficially, I've been listening to Christmas music since Reformation Day (at least) but I can speak freely about such things after Thanksgiving and I'm going to.

I love Christmas and I love Christmas music! I love that everyone is singing praises to Jesus everywhere, even if they do not mean to, and I love the festive sounds all around. It feels especially nostalgic when it is snowing those big fluffly flakes on dark, cold evenings. 
As soon as Christmas music is permissible (or before), I can be found on a Sunday afternoon between services curled up with tea, listening to Christmas playlists while crocheting. Here are some of my favorite artists and songs to listen to at this time of year. I am a fiend for collecting seasonal music, so I would love to hear yours! Please do share!

*Suggestion for listening: Right click on links to Open a New Tab so that this window remains open. Turn up your speakers, and enjoy!

1. Who doesn't love Pentatonix? Their vocals are amazing, and they blend so well together! Here's a chilling version of Mary Did You Know? which happens to be one of my mother's favorite's of theirs, too.

2 .Okay, so I'm suggest something drastic. I am not a Disney-music person and I don't go for musicals, but I love Vivaldi and I think this mash-up by the Piano Guys is brilliant, regardless. Let it Go / Vivaldi's Winter

3. I Heard the Bells by Casting Crowns is just beautiful. Need I say more?

4. Lindsey Stirling has some lovely, creative pieces that I really like, and this is one of them. Her unique style is like none other. Here is her version of  Carol of the Bells

5. Keith & Krystin Getty have a tenderly sung piece called How Suddenly a Baby Cries/ Narnian Reel, with a melody that warms the heart. I like a lot of their music, but this one is special and it's nice to hear something different besides the other traditional pieces. Also, it includes a Narnian Reel. Narnia always makes me feel Christmasy.

6. Trans-Siberian Orchestra has a number of entertaining, excitement-building pieces. I had a difficult time choosing just one to post here and settled on A Mad Russian's Christmas. (But Wizards in Winter is of honorable mention.)

7. Ah, but this one I highly recommend you watch instead of just listen to. For the record, I normally find this song very annoying but this version is worth the laugh. 12 Days of Christmas

8. I am absolutely besotted with Position Music's Christmas melodies. Really. I had the most difficult time just choosing one, and settled on We Three Kings only because it wasn't already on this list. Go listen to all of them, I beseech thee.

9. What is a Christmas playlist without some Manheim Steamroller? Have a listen to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. It was told to me by my mother that she listened to Manheim Steamroller when she was pregnant with me, and whenever I hear this song I am filled with all sorts of memories from my childhood. I am instantly transported in time whenever I hear it.

10. Finally, my very favorite: Thomas Bergersen's Christmas Medley. It is incredible. I highly recommend that you listen to it with good speakers, turned up. Bergersen has unmatched talent composing modern symphonic music that makes you feel like everything is epic. Try listening to any piece of his while sweeping the kitchen and doing the dishes. I dare you. It feels like an impossible mission to conquer. In this case, it makes Christmas feel as triumphant as it should be.

I hope your December is filled with blessings, love and joy as only Christ can fill you up with.
And now, flood me with Christmas music in the comments below! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Announcment- Amarylis has been submitted!

Many of you have already been aware that I have been working on a short story for the Write Michigan contest. I have been keeping it pretty quiet on social media until submission, and today was the day!


It is officially submitted! 

Synopsis: 
"In this allegorical story, Amarylis finds herself unhappily engaged to kindly Albion. In attempting to distract herself from the impending marriage, she makes a choice that will lead her to learn something she never expected." 

Images from Pixabay

I look forward to sharing this with you!

If you would like a reminder for when voting opens and the story is available to read, please Subscribe using the "Subscribe to our mailing list" box to the right of this post.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happy Tuesday! (In which I share Brandes' new book cover and some crocheting.)

Happy Tuesday everyone!
I meant to post this yesterday, but alas, the internet was having a Monday and went kaput. (If you are Dutch you know that word.) So basically everything I was in the midst of had to stop and dumb it all, I had to shop at Meijers (where I got some nice tan yarn). After that I made alfredo sauce on lasagna noodles for dinner. There was this delicious recipe posted on Facebook that my mom and I sorted of followed because we couldn't open the links to read the instructions. It still turned out amazing. So the point of this is that the internet went kaput but life still went on. 

What I meant to post yesterday was an exciting update from Nadine Brandes! I was surprised to see that she has finally shared with us her new book's cover and a little synopsis! (Click on the link for that synopsis- it sounds fantastic!)
Isn't it pretty? All that blue and gold and that mysterious mask. *Spinning and twirling* It sounds delightfully suspenseful. I cannot wait to read it and I want it on my shelf. 

I am in the middle of several projects (writing and otherwise) and dealing with life-happens stuff which I won't bore you with, so Ember is glaring at me right now but I'm praying my way through this.

One of my projects is crocheting. I have a few things that I am available to be commissioned for. If you are interested in any of these projects, please visit my Facebook page and PM me. 
Here are some of my projects that I am able to do for you. ~ Please note that this may be opened for a limited time, depending on how I can keep up with it. 

Scarves 10.00 ea
I believe this particular one may not be available (I think someone else has her eye on it), but I am posting it as an example. This particular yarn is also all used up, and I do not know where I got it from, sorry!
I use soft yarns that are comfortable on the skin and if you don't know what colors you want, just tell me what you like and I will find something. I often pick up random textured yarn and so forth when I shop, so I can look for different colors while out.
Colors I have on hand at the moment: 
*Red
*White
*Tan/beige (It is called "Heather")

I can purchase any other colors you wish and can also do stripes or add tassels. 1.00 more for a third color.  

Fun fur scarves 12.00 because fun fur is not actually as much fun to work with as it is to wear and look at. Even though it is so so soft and yummy.




(I apologize for the strange alignment, here, it was not allowing me to format this the way I wanted.)

Christmas Stockings 15.00 ea.
I have just nearly completed a complete set for my family and my mother loves them. 
I can do them with green also, I just don't have of that color on hand right now. No lettering/ monogramming offered. They are a nice big size.

Crochet Cradle-purse 12.00
These make great Christmas or birthday gifts for any little girl! They are nice for church because she can carry a small pen and mini notebook in it, too, and a great quiet-time toy. 
I can do any two colors of your choice. (See scarves for what colors I have right now.) 1.00 for a third color. Bunny/doll is currently not included. 
Blanket or pillow is 1.00 more, blanket and pillow together 2.00 more. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Happy 500th Reformation Day

Most of you will be celebrating Halloween, but there is something else that marks that same day, a page in history turned... and sadly, forgotten by too many.
We are just five days away from the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, marked by the day Martin Luther nailed the ninety-five thesis to the church door. I am amazed at the legacy that the Lord blessed from that moment.

If you missed my second-to-last post, you can click on the link provided to follow my thought process. I have been thinking about what has shaped me as a writer and made me love words. This week, I began reflecting on what the Reformation means to me. What does it say about who I am?

I am proud to call this my heritage. I have no blood connection or relation to Martin Luther at all, nor to any of the other known Reformers, but that is not the only way someone can be a part of who you are. I may not ever know all the people in this world who I am related to, or all the people who came before me that I could be related to. That doesn't really matter so much, as they are only a part of who I am physically, and physically I will not last forever. The other part of me is the spiritual heritage that is just as ingrained in me as my DNA, and it will last forever.
It affects the way I think and the way I treat others.
It affects what I believe and what I read.
It affects who I choose to call friends.
It affects what I choose to do in my future and how I choose to react to what happens to me today and in the future.
That is far more impacting than any blood connection or DNA in my physical body. It changes what I take in, and it changes what I give out.

Luther knew the precious value or words, and with fiery dedication he pushed the church to reconsider its purpose and to teach individuals in the church how to appreciate their heritage in it instead of being indebted constantly. Christ died for us and gave us hope, but He didn't leave us with just the idea of hope, He left us with real words so that we can know not only who we are and where we came from but also where we are going. There is no physical DNA strand or blood test that can tell me what's going to happen to me in the future, but my identity in Christ does. Isn't that amazing? The greatest part about this is that I don't have to do anything except know with all my heart and soul that I am His.
I am thankful for those men who sacrificed their life and comfort to teach and share God's words so that I can have them readily available at any time and any place. I am thankful to witness the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Go make a Reformation cake! Throw some confetti! Pray a prayer of thankfulness! Comment below and tell me what you will do to celebrate this day in your Christian history. I would love to hear!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

War of Loyalties Cover Reveal

So folks! Friday was the official date the Folkestone Files #1: War of Loyalties cover and release date was revealed! I am thrilled to share this with you, as Schuyler McConkey is a wonderful word-crafter, story-teller, and woman of God and I could not be more happy for her. War of Loyalties will be released on November 30, 2017 (that's just 49 days away!). Congratulations on your ink baby, Schuyler!
Here is a summary from the back of the book, and the gorgeous cover (I mean really, just look at it). I've already got my copy ordered and cannot wait to read it!


April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered. 

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham's British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his a new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after an encounter with death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn't as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.








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Check out more about War of Loyalties at My Lady Bibliophile

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Childhood Books That Made Me Love Reading

I have been thinking a lot lately about what shaped me as a writer. I have decided to do a few posts on this but what better way to start than at the beginning! One of my favorite activities as a child was reading, and so I thought it appropriate to reflect on what stories I loved, which stories made me want to write, and which have stuck with me all these years.

I don't remember when I decided to write. I only remember always wanting to tell stories, to create and to build. Everyone else in school was building things with their hands, solving difficult math equations, and choosing careers that made sense but I had no interest in those things. I just wanted to create worlds and weave stories. Making something from scratch was more interesting to me than following a set of instructions to make a pre-designed plan work out.

My first experience with reading was being read aloud to, before I knew how to decipher the letters and sounds myself. Those nightly routines of after-dinner devotions and before-bed stories were highly influential in how I perceived the world and live in it today. It was comforting to listen to my father's voice after my belly was full of supper and my schoolwork finished. My parents were loving and wanted us to know God as a loving Father, too. Sometimes we heard about people in the Bible but other times, if one of us had a particularly rough day, my father would choose a passage of instruction, comfort, or reassurance- what he chose would sometimes depend on the situation and what we all needed to hear. God is like that; He knows what we need and if we talk with Him daily we can see that He provides in a very specific way for us.
The day ended with other stories from picture books, not from the Bible, either spoken aloud by my mother or father and snuck into bed with me after lights-out. There were certain stories that each parent had a knack for. Sometimes mom would cuddle us. Sometimes dad would do funny voices. I often share stories that I read now, but rarely stories I have read before. In contemplating which stories have shaped me as a writer, I wanted to think a little more deeply on which stories I started out with, even if they don't seem that significant.

Trumpets in Grumpetland
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This particular story had to be read by dad. Mom just couldn't do it right. There were voices for each of the characters, and multiple sound effects. The illustrations inside were wonderful, with lots of detail, and the whole world it takes place in so imaginative and detailed! The creatures looked like hippos, who rode in cat-faced helicopters and wore World War II uniforms. The story itself is quite simple and easy to follow, but told in a completely original way with those unique illustrations.

I Love You Forever, I'll Like You For Always
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This was one that mom always read. Tucked under her wings, pressed close and our bodies finally still after a busy day, she would say the lines like she had written them herself and drop kisses on our foreheads after.

A book whose title I can't remember :(
I tried to find it, and alas, it was not to be found. I remember nothing about the words in the book, because I spent so much time pouring over the illustrations. I remember sitting up late paging through it over and over, making up stories to go with each page. Each picture had detailed cross-sections of animal homes inside trees or underground, complete with kitchens, furniture, and decorations. In some of the pictures, mice had pet snails on leashes and held picnics. It was such a charming book, that I am a little sad that I couldn't find it and can see the pictures so clearly in my head.

Bread and Jam for Frances
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I loved Frances. She was sort of a snot sometimes, but I was entertained by her wit and confidence. I specifically recall how she ate her lunch one bite at a time, alternating food, and how I tried to eat like that in kindergarten more than once. I liked how mom read this one, though I can't remember what, exactly, she did when she read it that I liked so much. It was just the pattern of her voice, I suppose, something about its cadence that is stuck in my head.

Dr. Seuss
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Like with the Grumpets, there were certain voices and sound effects for each page, and the illustrations for Dr. Seuss stories were unique and imaginative. Our favorite one included a character who played his violin badly, and Dad would make sounds like a wretchedly played violin that would have us in fits of laughter.

Harvey's Hideout
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Equally as entertaining to me as Frances was Mildred, the sassy muskrat who wouldn't share with her brother Harvey but she was so interesting because she had a secret hideout and tea parties. Besides which, in the end she and her brother made up and that was nice. Even though Harvey and Mildred were sassy little muskrats, they were not above forgiving one another to mend their brother-sister friendship.

There is one collection of stories that I can't really title and I can't really tell you where you can buy them, but it was perhaps one of the most memorable bed-time stories I was told. This collection of stories was mostly shared on cool summer nights, around a flickering campfire beneath falling stars. My father was a wonderful story-teller, his head so full of ideas that he could free them with a blink of an eye. There were numerous Ricky Raccoon adventures, and a very amusing tale on How the Cat Bird Got Its Call. Never once was a story told exactly the same, and they always became more grand than the last time- if he ever did tell them a second time. It was like magic, the way the stories were born in the dark and shaped at that very moment. I already loved words, and this was just proof that words were the least recognized but most valuable currency.
Words were shared in the morning when we woke, and whispered in prayer. They were recited midday at school and murmured after supper, then shared before bed to usher us to peaceful rests. The greatest gift Jesus gave to us was His Word, infallible and invaluable and that will always be the most precious book I have and will read.