Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's Giveaway Time: Two Delightful Movies

Trading The Runner from Ravenshead for two Circle C Adventures books
NOTE: This giveaway starts bright and early Monday morning (November 28), so check back soon!

I'm excited to offer my wholehearted recommendation for a couple of movies I have come to enjoy. Kids, especially, will delight in them.

In 2010, I was at a homeschool convention in Portland, Oregon, and met this little girl, Amelia. I traded a couple of Circle C books for a movie their family had produced, The Runner from Ravenshead. Amelia was one of the actors and the oldest child in the all-child-cast movie. She was ten or eleven at the time we met (nine in the movie). I was very impressed!

Harrison, Amelia, Tate, Alayne (and newest baby in the stroller) in Phoenix
Fast forward six years. You can imagine my surprise when I ran into this homeschooling family again (with two more children, bringing Amelia and her siblings up to eight) this past July at the Phoenix, Arizona, convention. They had finished producing The Defense of New Haven, their second award-winning movie.

We swapped a few more books for the new movie, and it's a delight like the first one. My grandkids love these movies!

Out of the generosity of their hearts, Joel and Lisa (the parents and the writers, producers, and directors of these two movies from Little Crew Studios), gave me both movies to use as a giveaway! Read my reviews of the movies then use the Giveaway Tools at the bottom of the blog post to enter to win! Tell your friends. Share this post! Let's spread the word about good, fun Christian DVDs!



The Runner from Ravenshead (2010)

With a unique all-kid cast (the oldest is 9; the youngest 2), this delightful movie won my heart and the hearts of my grandchildren six years ago. The Runner from Ravenshead tells the allegorical story of “Sam,” who has been sent to Ravenshead Prison. It is a dismal place, so when she finds a way to escape she takes it. The prison is guarded by wardens who keep constant watch for runaways and relentlessly go after them. Sam is no exception.
Enter the City of Refuge Guide Service. They are dedicated to directing poor souls to freedom in the City of Refuge, where the wardens cannot enter. Unfortunately, the guide service is understaffed and forced to send Henry, the day-dreaming, accident-prone Guide Service janitor, to lead Sam to this city. Through a series of narrow escapes, untiring Wardens, Henry’s good-hearted bungles, and the runner's desperation, there is never a dull moment as Sam seeks to find freedom from the “wardens” in her life that are intent on keeping her imprisoned. It’s a children’s allegory along the lines of Pilgrim’s Progress

My eight grandkids of all ages adore this movie! The five child actors are gifted, and the visual effects (to make it look like many other characters are playing roles) and musical score give the movie a feel of the big screen. The movie climaxes with a mad chase involving a rocket car that zips along a zip line at fantastic speeds. (How did they do that?) Written, produced, and directed by Joel and Lisa Steege, the children’s parents, The Runner from Ravenshead is truly a “family affair.” Two thumbs up!  

The Defense of New Haven (2016)
Imagine my delight when I discovered that the Steege family was at it again! A brand-new movie six long years later, The Defense of New Haven does not disappoint. The original five actors are back, along with two younger siblings who join the cast. This time the story is set in the city of New Haven. The City Defense Force is the only protection against the merciless Raiders, whose purpose in life is to wreak havoc on unsuspecting citizens of various cities. When the people of New Haven begin to disappear from smoke-filled buildings, the CDF springs into action. 

Alec, who is missing an arm, hopes to join the City Defense Force team after he inadvertently gets caught up in a skirmish and carries a secret message to headquarters. He is allowed to join the CDF, but no one really believes he will succeed. He muffs crossbow practice and can’t figure out why one special Book keeps appearing on his cot, especially after the head of the CDF has encouraged him to study “other” books he says will help him more. 

The Defense of New Haven does not believe in lag time. It sprints from one action scene to another, sprinkled with humor and occasional serious moments about the importance of the Book. Alec is a true hero and an appealing character. The Raiders are believable, even when they bungle their assignments. And in the end, good triumphs over evil and all is well.  
Child viewers, especially, will thrill to the steel boats, the cannon fire, and the explosions on the river. The sets, visual effects, and musical score are professional and well done. An unexpected plot twist caught me by surprise.  

All eight grandchildren (ages four to seventeen) sat glued to the screen for eighty-two minutes. (I'm thinking the seventeen-year-old was trying to get a handle on how they produced the special effects). When it was finished, the younger ones asked, “Can we go back and watch the first movie again?” They’re hooked on Little Crew Studios movies.

*********
I am giving away this set of two Little Crew Studios movies The Runner from Ravenshead and The Defense of New Haven. Enter to win on the Giveaway Tools below. Contest runs two weeks (November 28 - December 12). Tell your friends about these delightful movies! 
 




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Courageous Love final sneak peek

Happy Thanksgiving from the Circle C ranch. Here is the final sneak peek from Courageous Love before the book comes out in January. I apologize for not having it ready in time for Christmas, but honestly, it's not my fault. It was a publisher decision. *sigh* 

I won't tell you the setting for this short excerpt. It's best to keep you in suspense.

     Loud banging roused Andi what seemed like minutes later. The door rattled. “Open up!”
     She groaned and opened her eyes. Sun streamed through the holes that passed for windows. She lurched across the dirt floor and unbarred the door. Procopio stepped inside with a flamboyant “buenos días.”
     “Little Santos spent a restless night, but he ate breakfast without screaming and is now napping,” Procopio cheerfully told Lucy, who looked groggy but awake. “You may come and go as you like, señora, until your temporary illness passes. Eat when you are hungry. Lend a hand if you feel up to it.” He frowned. “But stay away from the child. I do not want him upset.”
     Lucy sat on the makeshift mattress with her arms encircling her knees. She glared at Procopio and said nothing.
     “You, chica. Come with me.” Without waiting for Andi’s assent, he whirled and left the shack.
     Andi and Lucy exchanged glances. “At least he’s not leaving us locked up in this gloomy place.” Procopio’s impatient shout sent Andi scuttling out the door.
     “You will do whatever Benita tells you,” Procopio told Andi when he led her to the fire. “She speaks a little English”—he grinned—“enough to make her wishes known.” He waved his wife over.
     Benita strolled up, carrying a dozing, thumb-sucking Sammy.
     “I have instructed this girl to obey you, querida.” Procopio smiled at his wife.
     “Can I send her to the woods for firewood?” Her scowl showed how much she hated that task. “She will not run away?”
     Procopio shook his head. “From what I have observed, she loves her family. She will never abandon them, especially not the niñito.” He gazed fondly at Sammy. Then he chuckled and kissed Benita’s cheek. “You have a servant for life, or at least until we return home.”
     A faraway look came to the Mexican woman’s eyes. “How long, Tomaso? Give me hope.”
     Andi stared at Sammy and feigned indifference to their conversation. She must learn everything she could about the outlaw’s plans.
     “Not long. A few weeks. I have men out on jobs. They must return. I am also planning one last job of my own. Then we will be on our way. Have patience, querida.” He gently pinched her cheek, brushed a hand across Sammy’s hair, and headed across the camp where Jed, Vega, and four other men huddled in close conference.
     Benita wasted no time ordering Andi around. “Wood. You get.” When Andi looked longingly at the cooking pot, Benita shook her head. “Wood first. Then eat. Go now.” She hiked Sammy up higher on her hip and pointed. “That way.”
     With pleasure.
     Andi took off for the forest in the direction they’d originally arrived. She found the trail and followed it for a few minutes. When it curved, she left the path. Lofty pines and firs rose all around her. Brush, grass, and small trees covered the ground beneath.
     But no branches. This place had been plucked clean of easy limbs and dead wood.
Andi trekked on, glancing behind her shoulder every few yards. Procopio was right about one thing. She would never run away and face her brother empty-handed. But she might get lost. A posse of a hundred skilled trackers could never find this hideout, much less find one person who wandered off by mistake.
     “Even if I did decide to go for help and found my way out,” Andi mused aloud, “how would I ever lead anybody back through these hills?” She paused to listen. No river or creek bubbled nearby to show her the way to the lowlands. She’d wander around in circles until she died of thirst or starvation.
     Andi shivered and checked her position. Keeping the smoke from camp in view, she dodged a dead tree trunk and veered to the left. She spent the next twenty minutes scrounging dead wood other scavengers had missed. When she had an armful, she headed back. “It’s going to take all day to trudge back and forth one puny load at a time.”
     A rope. That’s what she needed. She could tie up—
     Crack. A branch snapped.
     Andi dropped her load and whirled toward the noise. Not far away, the underbrush rustled. Bobcat? Coyote? Her hand flew to her pocket. She curled her fingers around the derringer and slid it out.
     She shook so much she knew she’d miss any cat or coyote that showed its face. Glancing behind her shoulder, she could barely make out her position to camp. Would running be better?
     More crackling. She jerked her attention back to the moving underbrush and steadied the pistol.

I hope you enjoyed it! 
 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

All Is Well. Chat Box Up and Running

Will wonders never cease? I went into the Shout Box site and just "saved changes" to make sure the Premium settings were active, got a new code, and put it into a gadget. And now it works! Bye-bye possible new blog. (And bye-bye ads, I hope.) We are good to go here! Scroll down on the right sidebar and see if the Box is there for you.

P.S. I will try and bring you a new excerpt from Courageous Love this next week.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Courageous Love Sneak Peek

You readers have been very patient with Mrs. M and her absence from Andi's blog recently.
As a thank-you, here is an almost 1,000-word sneak peek from chapter 15 of Courageous Love. The book is still on schedule for me to have copies sometime soon after the New Year. For now, enjoy the excerpt!
To read chapters 1 and 2, click here: CHAPTERS 1 AND 2 OF COURAGEOUS LOVE.
Setting: Andi is staying with Lucy and Sammy at Justin and Lucy's house in town. Riley stopped by to say howdy, and just as he is leaving a little boy comes by the house with a disturbing note.


      Andi let the hastily scribbled warning flutter from her fingers. Her heart pounded in her ears. They’re watching me. Watching Lucy. Watching the baby. Bile rose, choking her. Whoever was behind the Carter troubles knew Justin was out of town. “The cat’s away . . .”
      Before the paper touched the porch floor, Riley snatched it up. One moment he was scanning the words. The next instant he stuffed the note in his vest pocket. “I’ll be right back.” He took the steps in one bound and hit the walkway running.
      “Riley!” Andi’s voice cracked. What was he up to? No explanation. No by-your-leave. No nothing. “Getting the sheriff won’t help!”
      Riley vanished toward town.
      Hands shaking, Andi lifted Sammy from Tucker’s side. The dog sat on the edge of the porch, head cocked and ears pricked. His attention was fixed on the empty sidewalk, but he made no move to follow his master.
      Sammy howled. “Doggie-e-e!”
      “Hush.” Andi crushed him in a worried embrace and glanced around the yard. She had always liked Justin and Lucy’s house near the edge of town. The cottage sat on a shady lot well away from the noisy, dusty, uptown traffic. The shed in the big back yard housed Justin’s horse and buggy.
      Perfect house. Perfect setting.
      Until today.
      Now Andi felt isolated. Alone. The neighbors on either side seemed acres away, their places surrounded by ornamental shrubs and spreading valley oaks. Andi’s heart beat faster.
      Sammy ceased his howling. He went limp in Andi’s arms, clearly sensing something was not right. “Mama,” he whimpered.
      “Shhh. It’s all right. Let’s go find your mama and . . .” Andi paused. And what?     Smoldering annoyance gnawed at her gut. Why had Riley bolted like a runaway locomotive? Where was he? “Come on, Tucker,” she ordered. “Inside.”
      The dog whirled. Tail wagging, he brushed past Andi’s legs and slipped into the house ahead of her.
      “Doggie?”
      “You can play with him inside.”
      She had no sooner put Sammy down and bolted the front door when an insistent rapping startled her. She peeked through the curtains. Riley! Throwing open the door, she lit into him. “Why did you—”
      “Not now.” He ducked inside, hauling a squirming little boy with him. Dirty tears streaked the urchin’s face. Riley dumped him at Andi’s feet. “You tell Miss Carter exactly what she wants to know, starting with that note. Do you hear me?”
      At Riley’s ferocity, the boy burst into fresh tears. “He g-gave me t-two bits to deliver it,” he blubbered, wiping his shirt sleeve across his runny nose.
      “Who?” Riley pressed him.
      The boy shrugged. “Dunno. I was lookin’ for pennies down past the railroad depot.” He sniffed. “A Mexican fella came by and grabbed my collar. Said he’d pay me t’ run an errand.” His eyes widened. “A whole quarter. Y’know how much licorice two bits can—”
      “What did he look like?” Andi cut in.
      “Kinda old, like my pa, but slicked up in fancy duds. Black moustache and beard, trimmed up real nice. Black hat.” He scrunched up his face in thought. “Another fella was with him, scribbling on a scrap of paper. The Mexican grabbed it and handed it to me.” The boy’s eyes filled with fresh tears. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean no harm.”
      Andi bent down and gripped the boy’s shoulders. She forced a smile. “I know you didn’t. It’s not your fault. Riley didn’t mean to scare you. You did a good job remembering what he looked like. What’s your name?”
      “Mark.”
      “Listen, Mark,” Andi said quietly. “If you see him again, come right on over and tell me where he is. I’ll give you a silver dollar.”
      Mark’s tears dried up. A wide smile showed two missing front teeth. “No foolin’? A silver dollar?”
      “No fooling,” Riley assured him with a friendly grin. “Do you know how much licorice a whole dollar can buy?” He ruffled the boy’s hair. “You can run along home now.”
      “Yes, sir! G’night, miss. I’ll find him. I’d do most anything for a silver dollar.” Mark slammed past the screen door. It banged shut behind him.
      Riley closed the front door and leaned against it, shaking his head. “I’m sorry I scared you, but I was afraid I’d lose that little fellow. He’s our only clue to—”
      “Never mind.” Andi waved Riley into silence. “What good is a Wanted poster if no one recognizes this bandit? Looks like he has free run of the town.” Her heart raced anew. So did her thoughts. We can’t stay here. Not now. Not after seeing that note and hearing the description of—
      She clenched her fists. “I’m taking Lucy and Sammy out to the ranch.”
      “Now?”
      Andi nodded. “Not one minute longer will we stay in this house without Justin. Not even with Tucker.” She shuddered. Mother thought town was so safe. How wrong she was!
      The Circle C ranch shimmered in Andi’s mind—just out of reach—as the only safe place in the valley. Maybe even in the entire state. Chad was there. Mother was there. Two dozen ranch hands were keeping an eye out for trouble.
      Andi looked at Riley. Riley’s there too. He’d promised to yank her out of the next fix she found herself in. Well, this was one fine fix.

(Another sneak peek will come sometime in November. Stay tuned!) 
 


Friday, October 7, 2016

From Fans to Friends

Mrs. M is up to her eyebrows in:
1. Revising the first book of the Stepping Stones (my publisher sent it to me yesterday)
2. Finish study guides and lapbooks for the Milestones' last booik
3. Editing for another publisher . . . a very long (300pp) manuscript
4. Signing up for conventions
5. Revamping other lapbooks and study guides. 
SORRY Andi and I have been absent. 

But I got this sweet email from Hannah M. and wanted to share it with you all. I do remember everything she is talking about, and it is so thrilling to have had a part in connecting new friends from opposite sides of the world!

Hi Mrs Marlow!

I just wanted to let you know about something really special that happened about a month ago. Do you remember, in early 2015, exchanging emails for me and a girl named Anne M? Well, we corresponded via email all last year, and ended up meeting each other in August of last year for an afternoon. (I believe you posted a photo on your blog)

Well, our friendship has continued! All of this year, we’ve messaged each other daily, and have been hoping and praying to get to meet again. Finally about a month ago, it happened! Because we live about 4000 miles apart, it’s not something we took lightly, and it was such an answer to prayer to spend 3 days with each other.

Anyways, I just wanted to let you know this, because it’s all because of the CCA blog that we met! God truly does work in mysterious ways, and he used your blog to orchestrate the start of this amazing friendship. Thank you for all your hard work in writing books and keeping the blog up! I hope you feel encouraged at how appreciated both things are!

Hannah M.
Anne M. and Hannah M.--- from FANS to FRIENDS

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Delightful Fan Fiction Story by Julia S.

Here is the sequel to The Tax Collector, a fan fiction story written by Julia S. last April. I had no idea she had planned a sequel. This story from young (fourteen-year-old) Tony's first person point of view is exceptionally well written. Tony's "voice" makes him feel like a real person. And she has kept all of the Circle C characters in character. Well done! (I wonder if Julia will be considering entering next fall's (2017) short-story contest?) One hint. She will have to keep her stories within the word count for her age group. This one is over 4,000 words.

Enjoy!

Tony's story: What Happened When I Went to School 


 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Top Five Party!

Our blogging friend Rebekah is hosting a Top Five Party on Monday, September 16th. It sounds fun and we thought you all might like to know about it so you can join in over on her Read Another Page blog. The details are right here on this super-fancy postcard. Consider yourselves invited!

(Feel free to pass this invitation along on your blogs. Let's spread the fun!)


 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Five Reasons Why You Should Read

Greetings, Andi fans! I'm happy to put up a link for an Andi fan, Audrey French. I've met her a couple of times at the Arizona homeschooling conventions. When she shared the good news that one of her articles had been published, I hastened to click over to it. It's great! Read it for yourselves! (She didn't ask me to post it. I just thought you'd all enjoy it.)

Five Reasons Why You Should Read posted on the RebelUtion Blog.

 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

New Younger Andi series covers

As usual, I have lost my notes. I believe the two fans who thought up the series title Circle C Stepping Stones are Jesseca Dawn and Karalyn Krispense. Please let me know somehow that I am on the right track. I want to make sure these ladies receive the first two books, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top, when they release next March. You may send me your mailing addresses to CircleCAdventures@gmail.com

Thank you so much for helping me find an appealing series title for these six books.
Here are the covers:




Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fan Stories

A couple of fan stories came in a while back, and I have been remiss. So I will post links to both of them here today so you can enjoy!

If a Fight Is What You Want . . . by Abigail G. 

God's Plan . . . by Abbi G. 

 

Friday, August 26, 2016

New Covers for the Circle C Adventures

Mrs. M is over the moon excited about the new covers her publisher has come up with for the anniversary editions of the Circle C Adventures. Shhhh . . . sneak peek . . . here are the first three:
Long Ride Home is the extended version (but alas, not with all the POV changes and scenes Mrs. M put in the Tenth Anniversary book. She had to stay under 40,000, and that Tenth Anniversary was . . . like . . . 50,000).

But Mrs. M wrote a new chapter (so 18 chapters instead of 17), fixed a TON of stuff (since she is a much better writer now), and just made it a fun read.

Mrs. M is especially excited that they are NUMBERING the books in the series this time. Hurrah! What do you all think? Remember .. . .  you saw it here first!




 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fires and Floods!

Wow, from Louisiana to California, the weather is crazy . . . and dangerous. Bethany R. from California has asked for prayer regarding her family's safety, as well as the safety of everyone in the path of the flames. Mrs. M understands completely, as our corner of the country was overrun with fires and evacuations this time last year. Please join in prayer with Bethany!

I have an urgent prayer request and I'd appreciate it if you could post it on the blog: Currently, California is on fire. Fires are springing up all over the state. They are rapidly growing and burning up significant areas. A week ago, a fire started in my area?The Chimney Fire. At first we didn't think it was going to reach us, but over the last 2 days it jumped the river that everyone was hoping to hold it at and is headed for us. Many structures are in danger, and we could really use all of your prayers. If we lose power, I may not be able to update you, but I will do my best. Please join me in asking God to spare my home, my region, and all of California. Thank you so much! Bethany R.

 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

And the Winner Is . . .

The winner of the Reader's Choice Award for the short-story contest this summer is . . .
Abigail G, for her story "Monumental."Abigail. I have sent you an email so you can tell me which book you would like. 
That is what you won . . . your choice of any book, autographed and personalized.

Congratulations, Abigail! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Urgent Prayer Request from Louisianna

Olivia sent this to me tonight. Let's join her in prayer for this situation, for peace and safety in the midst of a very scary circumstance.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon You, because he trusts in You."  Isaiah 26:3

Hey Mrs. M,

I have a very urgent prayer request (if you could post it on the Circle C Blog, that would be great).

I'm sure a lot of people may have already heard, but Louisiana is flooding like never before! They're calling it 'The Great Flood of 2016'. SO many people are being evacuated and have water in their homes, and it's only expected to worsen. We are safe at the moment where we are, but they are saying that once the waters start to recede, it will start flooding back south, right near where we are located. Prayers for NO MORE flooding and peace and comfort for those whose homes have been flooded would be very much appreciated!

It's amazing to see the church of Christ coming together through this, though! We just helped cook, package, and deliver meals of jambalaya to some of the local police and fire stations with a bunch of others from our church. (They've been working so hard the past few days!) We'll be at the church again first thing tomorrow morning to deliver more.
There are also many people opening their homes to those who have no place to go.

Just please pray, pray, pray!
Thank you!!

Olivia J. (Livi Jane)
 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Reader's Choice Award-pick YOUR winner

The summer is getting away from me! I posted the winner but did little else but send her prize. Now . . . drum roll . . . I have created a document (PDF file so it's easy to download and read) of the June contest entries. I have left off the names, so if you want to identify your story by number and give your name in the comments, that is up to you. Click on the link:

JUNE SUMMER CONTEST ENTRIES

And now for my crazy idea!
I'm running a READER'S CHOICE AWARD. There were sixteen (16) stories--which is an incredible turnout for such short notice. I put up a voting widget on the sidebar and am offering a "book of your choice" for the winner of the READER'S CHOICE AWARD. (Note: Story #7, "A Long, Long Day" was the original winner, so you can't vote for it again. It is not listed on the widget.)

NOTE: a number of contest entries came in without story titles. I named these stories, so if you don't think your story is here, trust me, IT IS. Start reading and you will recognize your story. :-)

Judges read and like things that other judges may not enjoy so much. Let's see what young (and old) readers have to say. Have fun . . .Voting ends August 20, so tell your friends and pick your winner!

Monday, August 1, 2016

June (Summer) Contest Winner

Congratulations to Sadie Parker for winning the June (Summer) writing contest. She won the horse etching kit and the book of her choice (Courageous Love). Her story is titled "A Long, Long Day." And thank you to my judge, Colleen Reece, multi-published author, for reading all of the entries.

A Long, Long Day
by Sadie Parker



 Sixteen-year-old Mitch Carter flung a fishing line into the creek. Glancing over at his sister Andi’s face, he knew that fishing had been the perfect thing to do. The clear sky above them was the result of a dreadfully rainy day the day before. The bright sun hung high above them, bathing the sparkling, dewy grass with its gentle rays. (Read the entire story on the Circle C Contests and Giveaway Blog.)