Category Archives: Homeschool

Release Day! The Trojan Horse Traitor Is Now Available

The Trojan Horse Traitor is now available in both e-book and paperback formats!

Click HERE to order!

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Left on Castle Island to attend Camp Classic, thirteen-year-old, scrawny, redheaded, homeschooler Levi Prince finds himself at the center of an enchanted world of amazing abilities, cloudy motives, and wicked beings that will challenge his very spirit. He begins to form friendships, but life at camp becomes more confusing as questionable activities and uncertain agendas bring about conflict that tests his character in ways he never expected. Finally, faced with a friend’s betrayal, Levi is forced to confront true evil. Will he find the courage to stand his ground, and to become the hero he was always meant to be?

I’m hosting a giveaway of two paperback copies of The Trojan Horse Traitor on Goodreads. You can enter now through December 14th.

Also available at Books A Million and Barnes and Noble!

Fifty Years of Blessing

This is my 11-year-old’s first publication, recently sold to Encounter Magazine. It’s in celebration of my parents’ upcoming 50th anniversary. So proud of my son and thankful for my parents’ marriage!

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On July 18, 2015, Grandma and Grandpa had their 50th anniversary celebration. Although their real anniversary is December 21, we had their party at the Sanders Family Reunion since we were all there.

We all gathered on the steps of the Edgewater Plantation antebellum house while Grandma and Grandpa rode to the party facility that was shaped like a boat. They were driven up the long drive in a horse and buggy, with a sign that said, “Just married 50 years ago.” After a feast of catfish, boiled shrimp, hush puppies, and fries, we toasted their 50 years. We ended the evening with joking, laughter, and dancing.

Over the years, I’ve watched Grandpa love his wife as Christ loves the church, and I’ve seen Grandma submit to her husband as to the Lord. I plan to model my life and marriage after Grandma and Grandpa because of their faith in God and commitment to one another.

My To-Do List for the New Homeschool Year

Now that August has rushed in and the new school year looms large, I desperately need my homeschool checklist to ward off panic mode. I thought I’d share my list in case it might help you out as well. Don’t forget to put that wonderful little checkmark by each item as you complete it!  free-school-clip-art-123786

THIS WEEK:

___ Join/renew membership to HSLDA.

___ Get assessments/portfolios done from last school year. In Columbus, Home on the Rock can help you prepare for notification. For non-Ohioans, check with HSLDA for your state’s requirements.

___ File/store last year’s school stuff.

___ Sort out old curriculum. Sell/give away what you won’t need again (Consider using Ebay, Craigslist, or The Homeschooler’s Curriculum Swap). Store what you will need in future years. Don’t forget to look through what you bought at those used curriculum sales in June so you don’t buy it again.

___ Order curriculum. My favorites are Rainbow Resource (free freight for $50!), Amazon (free shipping on most orders over $35), and Ebay (compare prices before bidding!).

 NEXT WEEK:

___ Prepare your letter of intent to home school and intended curriculum lists for each child. Here’s a form for Ohioans. (Again, check HSLDA for other state’s requirements).

___ Check the superintendents list or your local school district webpage so you can plan when to send your notification packet. Make sure you get the right address! Plan to send the packet by certified mail 2-3 days before the school district start date. Don’t forget to keep copies for yourself.

___ Clean out school room/desks/bookshelves/computer areas.

___ Buy school supplies for the year (while they’re on sale!)

___ Set up school space.

___ Prepare record-keeping materials (Homeschool Tracker, grade books/programs, lesson plan books/programs).

THE FINAL WEEK BEFORE SCHOOL:

___ Clean the rest of the house.

___ Prepare lesson plans for the first couple weeks of school.

___ Print worksheets, projects, etc., including copies of notification materials to keep with you until your letter arrives from your school district.

___ Run errands.

___ Do grocery shopping.

___ Do laundry.

___ Make lists of daily schedules for each child.

___ Make a chore chart for the children.

___ Remember to send your notification packet by certified mail 2-3 days before school starts for your district!

Happy schooling!

Cover Reveal: The Trojan Horse Traitor

I’m excited to unveil the cover for The Trojan Horse Traitor, my YA fantasy novel about homeschooler Levi Prince, set to release in late 2015 from Hallway Publishing.

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Here’s the blurb for The Trojan Horse Traitor:

Left on Castle Island by his parents to attend Camp Classic, Levi Prince finds himself at the center of an enchanted world of amazing abilities, cloudy motives, and wicked beings that will challenge his very spirit. He begins to form friendships, but life at camp becomes more confusing as questionable activities and uncertain agendas bring about conflict that tests his character in ways he never expected. Finally, faced with a friend’s betrayal, Levi is forced to confront true evil. Will he find the courage to stand his ground, and to become the hero he was always meant to be?

Whitewashed Giveaway

I’m giving away 3 paperback copies of Whitewashed, my Christian suspense novel about 18-year-old homeschooler Patience McDonough. For more information about Whitewashed, please visit my On the Brink page.FC---Whitewashed (3)

While you’re here, please take a minute to check out my blogs. On the Homeschool page, you’ll find information about my other novels and some free study guide downloads. On the Pastor’s Wife page, you’ll find my tips for the rookie pastor’s wife.

On the left-hand column, you’ll find a spot to sign up to receive my latest blogs straight to your inbox. You can also follow me on Facebook  and on Twitter.

Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Whitewashed! This giveaway runs from May 25th through June 22nd. After you visit my Facebook page and/or follow me on Twitter, be sure to return to this page and mark “I visited” on the Rafflecopter box to complete your entry!

Or, if you want your copy of Whitewashed now, follow this link to Amazon. Whitewashed is available in both print and ebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Coming in February: Colorblind

 

 

Guess what? I just signed the contract for Colorblind, the second book in my On the Brink Christian suspense series!

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Here’s a blurb about Colorblind:

Eighteen-year-old homeschooler Christy Kane has always been her daddy’s princess, and her dream has long been to use her musical talents as children’s music leader for his nationally known mega-church. Her first day on the job as music intern, the media shatter her world with news of her daddy’s affair with the church preschool director. Christy feels like God betrayed her as surely as her daddy did.

When her mom sends her to Buckeye Lake, Ohio, to help Aunt Jo, a relative Christy didn’t know existed, with her School of Music and Dance, Christy’s problems only increase. She’s expected to spend every day in the rebuilt Pier Ball Room, which sits on Buckeye Lake itself, and Christy is terrified of water. In addition, she and a handful of semi-talented volunteers who have underlying antagonisms she doesn’t understand are expected to prepare a professional-quality performance for the Grand Reopening of the Pier Ball Room on August 7th, with the added pressure of knowing Aunt Jo will lose the ball room if they fail.

Christy finds a diary written by Lillian, a girl who lived in Buckeye Lake ninety years earlier. Christy is intrigued by Lillian’s world in 1920s Buckeye Lake, when thousands came to play at the amusement parks and dance in the ball rooms. But soon Christy’s interest turns to concern as events from Lillian’s diary happen in Christy’s world, ninety years to the day after they occurred the first time.

Between her shattered family, her uncertain future, and her bizarre present, Christy doesn’t know where to turn. Will God rescue her?

 

If you haven’t yet read Whitewashed, the first On the Brink book, pick up your copy on Amazon today. FC---Whitewashed (3)

 

 

Whitewashed Is Now Available

My new adult suspense novel, Whitewashed, has released! It’s available in both paperback and Kindle editions through Amazon, as well as in paperback through Mantle Rock Publishing. Here are the buy links:

Whitewashed in paperback on Amazon

Whitewashed in Kindle on Amazon

Whitewashed in paperback on Mantle Rock

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Here’s the blurb about Whitewashed:

Eighteen-year-old Patience McDonough has a plan. Despite her parents’ objections, she will attend Verity College in Hades, Mississippi, and live with her grandparents. She’ll complete her degree in record time and go on to become a doctor. But things at the college are strangely neglected, her class work is unexpectedly hard, Grand gets called out-of-town, and Poppa starts acting weird—so weird she suspects he has Alzheimer’s. On top of that, she has to work extra hours at her student job inputting financial data for the college—boring! But soon her job gets more interesting than she’d like: she finds that millions of dollars are unaccounted for and that something creepy is going on in the Big House basement. She discovers secrets tying her family into the dark beginnings of Verity, founded on a slave plantation, and she is forced to question the characters of people she has always trusted. Finally, confronted with a psychotic killer, Patience has to face facts—her plans are not necessarily God’s plans. Will the truth set her free?

The Gift

My son sold the following story to Encounter-The Magazine. It will appear in the Fall, 2015.

The gift. It was a small thing in one sense. She did stuff like this all the time. But it wasn’t a small thing. It is mine only because of her kindness.

It was just another Wednesday night. I was going to a program they had at Southside Baptist Church where they taught music for free. We drove into the German Village area, where most buildings are made of brick and the streets are so thin that you can barely fit one car and yet people still park on the street. We pulled into the parking lot a few minutes early as always. I got out of the car and grabbed my old student violin. I walked across the parking lot and down the concrete steps into the church. Inside the cacophony of sounds hit me as always. I heard banjoes being tuned and guitars being strummed, mandolins being plucked and violins being bowed. I put my case down on the pew and opened it. I pulled out my old violin. I tightened my bow and walked into the back room where lessons were held. Inside the room sat three or four different people, including Mary, an older lady who had been coming for a few months. She always brought a different violin. I grabbed a chair and sat down. I noticed a violin case sitting in the middle of the room.

“Go ahead and play it,” said Mary. I set down my student violin carefully and opened the case. I took off the cover and took out the violin.download (3)

“It’s beautiful,” I said, and it was. The body was slim and perfectly formed. The neck was a little wider than some, but also thin. The varnish was a deep, rusty red, and the back had the stripes that I’ve always admired on the good violins. I took up my bow and began to play a sweet sad tune called ‘Ashokan Farewell.’ The violin had a tender sound in my hands as I played. Each note sounded so much more beautiful than on my own violin.

After I finished Mary spoke. “This is a Hoff violin. It was factory made in nineteen hundred. It was pretty badly damaged when I found it. I pretty much had to glue it all back together.” Mary smiled at me. “And it’s yours.”

I was shocked. This was completely unexpected. It was a work of art. It was an impossible gift. It was so generous of her to do this for me.

“Thank you,” I said. It was all I could say. “Thank you so much.”

Now several years later I still play that violin, though I now play it under a Doctor of Music in a classical setting, rather than at a church in a group of beginners. Even today I’m still astounded by her kindness to me, giving me the violin. It’s a gift that I didn’t earn, a free gift. It was one the greatest gifts of my life.

Of course, there is a greater gift that I was given. Another gift I didn’t deserve; another ridiculous and wondrous gift. A gift that cost much more. A gift that cost the life of the Man who gave the gift. A Man that didn’t give me a temporal gift, but an eternal gift. A gift of eternal life with Him. It is the greatest gift of my life. It is the greatest gift.images (1)

Meet My Character–Patience McDonough

This week I’m participating in a blog hop tour, an opportunity for authors to introduce a character from their recent or upcoming novels. I was invited by Carrie Anne Noble, winner of this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Young Adult category. I met Carrie at a writer’s conference last year. Carrie’s YA fantasy, The Mermaid’s Sister, will be released February 24, 2015, by Skyscape Publishing. I can’t wait to read it! You can pre-order The Mermaid’s Sister on amazon.com. Check out Carrie’s blog at at www.carrienoble.com.

And now…meet Patience McDonough.FC---Whitewashed (3)

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?  Patience McDonough is a fictional character.

2) When and where is the story set?  Most of the story occurs at Verity College in a fictional town called Hades, Mississippi, in June-July, 2014. The historical parts occur at Heaven on Earth Plantation (which becomes Verity College) in June-July, 1864. 

3) What should we know about him/her? A life-long homeschooler, eighteen-year-old Patience is completely impatient. Despite her parents’ objections that she’s earned the grades to go to school anywhere, she’s decided to attend Verity College and live in Hades, Mississippi, with her grandparents. She plans to fast-track her degree and become a doctor ASAP.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? Patience’s big plans are threatened from the beginning. Besides her horrible first day, she finds that Verity is really rundown, just as her parents feared. Poppa acts so weird she fears he has Alzheimer’s. Patience has to work a ridiculous amount of hours inputting data from Verity’s ancient paper files into their new computers (their first ever!). She quickly falls behind in her schoolwork, something she’s never done before in her life. On top of that, she suspects somebody of stealing millions from the college. Oh, and a psychopath wants to kill her.

 5) What is the personal goal of the character? Patience wants to become a doctor like her grandpa McDonough, one who cares for the whole person, not just his/her physical symptoms.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? Whitewashed is the first novel in my three-book On the Brink YA suspense series that follows three homeschooled friends as they step out into adulthood. Check out the On the Brink page of my website to read more.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?  Whitewashed released February 15, 2015, from Mantle Rock Publishing. It is available on Amazon in both Kindle and print formats.

I’ve invited Tamera Lynn Kraft to continue the blog hop tour:

Tamera Lynn Kraft writes Christian historical fiction. She’ll be telling about her novella A Christmas Promise, published by Pelican Book Group and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GM59GN4/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmbhttp://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=512, and http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=48711EB&item_code=WW&netp_id=1206746&event=ESRCG&view=details

You can contact Tamera online at these sites: Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/TameraLynnKraftTwitter: https://twitter.com/tamerakraft.