How was your Christmas? Did you have a chance to catch up to anyone special over the weekend? I know this holiday can be filled with blessings for some and filled with heartache for others. I pray you received a taste of joy in the celebration of the birth of Christ. One of the things I’ve committed to do more of lately is praying, and although I pray for my readers all the time, is there anything, in particular, you’d like me to pray about? I’d love to add your name to my prayer journal. Email me directly HERE.
It’s Thursday. Well, it was when I started writing this, anyway. So even though it’s after midnight and you won’t be getting this until Friday (Christmas Eve Eve, for those of us who are – I mean, aren’t – panicking!), in my book, it still counts as a Thursday post!
Here are 3 things I’m thankful for this fine Thursday…
Yep. I’m sick. December hit me like a ton of bricks. Hit me hard. Took me out at the knees and is now kicking me while I’m down. And…it has also stolen my voice.
This is not good if you make a living as a narrator or voice actor.
Oh! But check out the snow on my website!!! (Look! A Squirrel!)
And I’m excited about what February is bringing with it, aren’t you?
My life is filled with marvelous news from friends and family about adoptions, births, pregnancies, weddings, anniversaries, and so many, many more reasons to celebrate…although please join me in the moment of silence for our beloved Broncos….
This week brings with it the very first issue of BraveHearts Press, my monthly newsletter to your inbox!
You still have a few days to sign up for that – it’s short and sweet and full of fun stuff to brighten your day, AND it will give you access to the first Episode of Elderberry Croft, January Breeze, on Audiobook!
Speaking of Elderberry Croft, the novel is no longer available here on Hope Through Storytelling. Volume 1 remains free where e-books are sold (except internationally, but it’s only approximately .99 cents!), but the other three volumes are now priced at $2.99 each on Amazon. You can still find them at Barnes & Noble and other retail sites for $1.99, but that’s only until the Smashwords distribution services catches up, which could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, so get your copies now if you haven’t already.
The Complete Collection Kindle version is $5.99 – essentially, that’s the same price as you were paying for all four volumes! And honestly, I’d rather see The Complete Collection begin to reflect a readership as it is the novel I’ll be distributing to libraries and other resources.
The paperback is also available to purchase (sale price varies from $16.99), but only on Amazon at this time.
For those of you who HAVE read this and are willing to leave a review on Amazon – nothing extensive; one or two lines would do nicely! – I would be GREATLY appreciative!!!!
I also have some great news about Bravehearts Audiobooks coming later this week – the Lord is opening doors in wonderful ways, and I’m very excited, so stay tuned!
Happy February and have a wonderful week!
My beloved and oh, so patient readers,
Elderberry Croft, Volume 3: July Madness, August Memories, & September Longing is UP AND LIVE on Smashwords! Smashwords allows you to download in almost every ebook reader format, including a PDF download you can read on your PC. There’s also an Online Reading option for viewing samples and free books. Smashwords. It’s awesome.
It’s free for a month, so get it now!
It’s also up on Amazon, but it’s listed at its full price of $1.99. Of course, I’d love to have you purchase it through Amazon, but if you’re like me, and there’s a free version available, I’m all over that! Well, guess what. You can also download a Kindle version of this volume on Smashwords for FREE. I’ve included the instructions for downloading a Kindle .mobi file from Smashwords here:
- Scroll down to bottom of the Elderberry Croft: Volume 3 page and locate “Available ebook reading formats”
- Find the Kindle version (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps) and click on “Download” (the far right column)
- Save the downloaded file to your desktop…or to a folder on your desktop marked “Elderberry Croft” so you’ll have one place for all 4 volumes!
- Open your personal email account and compose an email to your Kindle email account. (For instance, mine is TheRenTeam@kindle.com)
- Attach the downloaded .mobi file – it will be on your desktop (or in your Elderberry Croft folder) as a pdf .mobi file – and hit send. Remember that your personal email address must be on your Kindle account’s “Approved Personal Document E-mail List” in order for your Kindle to receive attachments from your personal email address.
- Power up your Kindle, and if Elderberry Croft: Volume 3 doesn’t automatically load up, go to your menu and select “Sync and check for items.”
It’s taking a little longer than I’d hoped to go live on the other sites (Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc.) but you can download any of those version for your e-readers from Smashwords, too. The process is fairly similar to the Kindle’s above. If you’d rather wait for your favorite e-reader, it should only be a matter of days. Just keep checking your stores!
One more thing….
Would you be willing to help me promote Willow Goodhope of Elderberry Croft and the rest of the gang at The Coach House Trailer Park? If you’d be so kind as to rate or review (or both!) Elderberry Croft on any of the sites listed below, I’d be tickled pink! Most sites use a 1-5 star rating system (1 being “What is this ROT!” and 5 being “Loved it!”), so if written reviews aren’t your thing, you can just rate it with the number of stars – a simple click. Regardless of which method you choose, the more ratings and reviews I get, the more notice the series gets, so anything helps.
- Rate and/or review Volume 3 and/or Volumes 1 & 2 on Smashwords.
- Rate and/or review Volume 3 and/or Volumes 1 & 2 on Amazon.
- Rate and/or review Volume 3 and/or Volumes 1 & 2 on Barnes & Noble.
- Rate and/or review Elderberry Croft on any other e-book seller where you purchase ebooks.
- Rate and/or review any of the Elderberry Croft volumes on Goodreads, if you’re a Goodreader.
- And while you’re there, Elderberry Croft has been added to two lists on Goodreads: Favorite Christian Short Stories and Novellas, and Best Serialized Novels and Stories. I’d be totally jazzed (did I just totally date myself?) if you’d vote for Elderberry Croft and/or add more volumes to those lists, or any other lists you might like to see it on!
Don’t forget: Volume 1 is always FREE!
For a little fun, come check out Elderberry Croft inspiration on Pinterest!
Volume 3: July Madness, August Memories, September Longing!
This third volume should be available by the 25th, if not earlier, wherever e-books are sold – distribution to all the ebook retail sites can take up to ten days from the time it goes live on Smashwords this weekend – I’ll keep you posted with the direct links.
In the meantime, you can catch up on Volumes 1 and 2 wherever ebooks are sold – Volume 1 will remain FREE indefinitely, and good ol’ Amazon has Volume 2 at 99 cents while everywhere else it’s priced at $1.99.
Readers, if you like this series, and if you’re the kind of reader who likes to leave reviews, would you mind leaving a review of any one of the Elderberry Croft volumes on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Goodreads, or anywhere else you might stumble across these books? I can’t begin to tell you how much that would mean to me! Even just giving it a star-rating would be extremely helpful.
September Longing is a little delayed, but it’s scheduled to be up both here and on the new website by this weekend, as well. I apologize for the delay in publication!
If you haven’t yet, do come by and check out my new website, Becky Doughty: Falling into Grace. I’ll be slowly transitioning stuff over to the new site during the next few months, making it my primary site by the end of the year. I don’t want to lose a single one of you in the process! You can sign up for my Grace Notes blog posts (approximately 2x/wk), or my quarterly newsletter, Brave Hearts Coffee Press, or both!
Well, as you can see, July Madness is still not yet up, and it’s no longer the 10th of July. In fact, it hasn’t been the 10th for two days!
Due to some unforeseen July madness of our own, Elderberry Croft’s July Madness has been delayed until Monday, July 15th. It’s coming folks, I promise!
However, to keep your whistle whetted, here are a few updates on Elderberry Croft and the direction I’m taking Willow and the Coach House Trailer Park gang. (Tweet this!)
Elderberry Croft, Volume 1: January Breeze, February Embers, March Whispers, was published as an e-book on March 2nd, 2013, and is available through Smashwords (in multiple formats), Barnes & Noble for Nook, Amazon.com for Kindle, and other e-book stores. You can download this book in any version from Smashwords, and most other e-book stores, like B&N, for FREE, but it is a 99 cent cost on Amazon. And yes, there’s a free kindle version on Smashwords, just so you know.
This first volume has received some reviews that really blew me away, and motivated me to keep going, keep writing, keep publishing.
Here are just a few things folks are saying about Elderberry Croft, Volume 1:
“Loved the book, great story, still watching for book 2! Such a nice read, no violence, no swearing, no sex. Thank you.”
“The best book I have read in a long time. I can’t wait for book two. This book can make your heart sing.”
And here’s a favorite of mine, because I feel the same way about Willow:
“It would be a blessing to actually have someone like Willow as a friend and neighbor.”
~ ~ ~
Elderberry Croft, Volume 2: April Shadows, May Enchantment, June Melody was published as an e-book on June 29th, and is available at Smashwords (all e-book formats), Amazon.com, and soon–very soon!–on Barnes & Noble and other e-book stores. Again, it’s FREE all places but Amazon (99 cents).
A few comments on this second set of episodes:
“Such a lovely, gentle story… You are helping me look at the world differently. Thank you for sharing the story of Willow and her ‘family.'”
“The plot thickens as you continue to add character after character! I love this story and can’t wait til the next episode.”
“I tried to savor it–I really did–but gobbled it up in one sitting.”
~ ~ ~
For those of you who aren’t yet following Willow Goodhope of Elderberry Croft, here’s a little blurb about the series.
The residents of The Coach House Trailer Park are just as run-down as the park itself. In fact, they’ve all come here to die. Then one day, on a crisp January breeze, Willow Goodhope sweeps into the neighborhood. She moves into the lonely little shack on the other side of the driveway, bringing her potted plants, her Elderberry gifts, and her outrageous laughter. The Coach House residents can’t resist her charm as she breathes new life into hardened hearts, but there’s something about Willow, a terrible sadness that hovers at the back of her enigmatic eyes, and it has everyone talking, wondering, worrying. Kathy overhears her sobbing in her kitchen. Doc catches her burning letters in her fire pit. Myra swears she drinks alone out on her patio in the middle of the night. Patti knows the beautiful girl is after her husband, and Eddie and Donny, forever-feuding brothers, are competing to see who can make her smile first, even though they’re both fairly sure she’d prefer her men with real jobs, real homes, and real teeth. What–or who–is haunting the mysterious Willow Goodhope of Elderberry Croft? Will her new “family” be able to rescue her before it’s too late?
~ ~ ~
HOW THIS WHOLE THING WORKS:
Because this is a SERIAL NOVEL, I’m releasing monthly episodes here on my website around the 10th of each month. Although July Madness is a little tardy this month, August is scheduled on time to get everything back on track for the remainder of the year. The final episode will air around December 10th. These monthly episodes will remain up on my website this whole year. After January 1st, 2014, however, they’ll be taken down for publication reasons, so do enjoy them while you can!
However, I’m also making it available in e-book volumes (of 3 episodes each) for downloading to your e-readers and PCs.
Volume 1 and Volume 2 are already available (see above), and in September, the third volume, Elderberry Croft, Volume 3: July Madness, August Memories, September Longing, will be published as an e-book volume like the first two. In December, the final collection, Elderberry Croft, Volume 4: October Mourning, November Awakening, December Promises will be released as an e-book as well.
Here’s the catch – yes, there’s always a catch, isn’t there?
Volume 1 will remain free this whole year (except for Amazon where I’m required to have a minimum charge because of the method I’m using to publish). Each new volume will go up as FREE for approximately two-four weeks, then they’ll be priced at $1.99. Yes, Amazon’s price will go up as well on each volume. So be SURE to get your free copies when they first come out!
And one final BONUS, just in time for the holidays!
I have decided to publish this whole collection as one hard copy book. It will be available for purchase around the end of October, and yes, it will include the final November Awakenings and December Promises episodes! So those of you who prefer hard copies will get a jump start on everyone else!
Psst! I’ll be sure to keep the price points for the hard copies very reasonable, too!
Thank you for sharing this ride with me. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know the Coach House Trailer Park residents this year, and I hope you have, too. I’m looking forward to unwrapping the rest of Willow’s story with you!
Do you have any questions about Willow? About elderberries? About the story behind the story?
Willow Goodhope has the gift of giving. She finds great pleasure in touching people’s lives with the gifts that God puts on her heart to give.
Her favorite resource for her gifts is the common elder, also known as the black elder, the sambucus nigra. She considers the elderberry to be the quintessential “Giving Tree,” and most of her gifts are home-made items in which she uses parts of the elderberry. (It is important to note that ONLY the berries and flowers of the sambucus nigra are edible. Many other sambucus species are, in fact, poisonous. Know your herbs or buy your herbs from a reputable source, such as Mountain Rose Herbs, one of mine and Willow’s favorite online resources.)
~ ~ ~
In the first episode of my new serial, Elderberry Croft, Part 1: January Breeze, Willow gives her neighbor, Kathy, an elderberry twig basket filled with an assortment of homemade items, including her special elderberry tea.
Nestled in the folds of a currant-colored dish towel was a set of two oriental-style tea mugs with no handles. Inside one was a small honey bear squeeze bottle; in the other, two old fashioned tea balls on chains. A muslin drawstring bag was stuffed with something crinkly and lumpy, and a stitched-on label gave a description of the contents in pretty, scrolling handwriting.
Elder berries and flowers, ginger, and lemon zest
Add a dollop of honey – you’ll be sure to get some rest
Colds, coughs, fevers, and malaise
They’ll all flee and the flu will fly away
Elderberry tea is a tried and true cold and flu remedy that has been used for generations. Native to Africa, Europe, and Asia, it now grows, and is cultivated, in much of the United States. Renown for their antioxidant constituents, both elderberries and elder flowers boost immunity to flu viruses and help strengthen the respiratory system, and so are quite effective against colds, coughing, bronchitis, and influenza strains. They also contain substances that ease inflammation and pain, soothe headaches, and help settle the stomach, making them effective against irritable bowel symptoms. Besides all that, these berries and flowers taste good!
As with so many homeopathic treatments, there are many variations of this tea.
Willow Goodhope’s Elderberry Tea
1 Cup Dried Elderberries
1 Cup Dried Elder Flowers
2 TBSP Dried Ginger Root (not powder)
2 TBSP Dried Lemon Rind
2 Cinnamon Sticks broken into pieces (optional)
Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix gently with a wooden spoon, making sure all ingredients are evenly dispersed. LABEL (very important!) and store in a sealed paper bag in a cool place up to one year, depending on how fresh your ingredients are. If you store this in a clear jar or plastic bag, make sure you use your tea within three to four months to ensure effectiveness. This recipe will make approximately 25-30 cups of hot tea.
Stir ingredients first, then put 1/2 cup of the herbal tea mix in a thermos, or in a tea diffuser if available. Pour 4-5 cups of boiling water over the top of the herbal tea mix and let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, add HONEY to taste, and drink. If you prefer to steep your tea in a pan on the stove-top, keep your burner on simmer for 15 minutes. Makes approximately 4 – 5 cups of tea.
Willow prefers fresh ingredients and uses them whenever they are available, especially ginger root and lemon rind. She also likes to use her cinnamon stick as a stirrer, rather than breaking it into the tea blend. Just remember; sometimes using fresh ingredients will require you to adjust your measurements. As long as your essential ingredients are included, let your taste buds help determine how you drink your tea.
Do you have a favorite home remedy for cold and flu season?
Let me introduce you….
AND watch for upcoming fun recipes and how-to posts about the gifts in Willow’s elderberry twig baskets!
Have you ever met anyone like Willow Goodhope? Have you discovered the amazing elderberry or is there a culinary or medicinal herb that you can’t live without?