Six Years of Really Living

This picture was taken at the end of April 2017. At this point, life was good. After dropping out of high school, a failed marriage, twenty years of bulimia, and no achievements, I had a good marriage, two beautiful children, a group fitness certification, and a growing Beachbody Coach business. I was finally doing it! At the age of 34, I was finally becoming something.

Until it all came to a crashing halt. The me in this picture holding the apple for my healthy eating following had no idea what would befall her in a little over a week. Everything would change and she would be no more. And to the outsider looking in, there seemed to be no reason why.

It was the night of May 7th, 2017, I dozed off and had a short, vivid, dream. My son, Ryan, who was four at the time was dancing around our basement in this whirl of smoke. Suddenly from my right side came a vivid, multicolored snake. It had streams of bright green, blue, white, and orange markings running lengthwise down its body. It raised in the air and grew to be massive then swallowed Ryan completely! But then he unswallowed him—I don’t know how to describe it correctly; the snake covered him and then uncovered him. The next thing I know, Ryan was behind me in the dream all dressed in white.

I said, “Are you okay?”

Ryan looked himself over and replied, “Yes. And look at me! I have a new body!”

I woke up feeling strange. The dream was not normal. It was extremely vivid and symbolic. I didn’t know if God still gave people dreams today or not, but if He did, this dream seemed like one from HIm.

I was terrified.

I had always been an obsessive person. The twenty years of bulimia is only one example. Once a thought hit me intensely, it stuck with me, good or bad. I couldn’t stop thinking about the dream.

Does God still talk to people in dreams? Is this dream from God? Is he telling me that Ryan is going to die and go to heaven? If so, I don’t want to know!

I couldn’t get away from the wondering. I thought about the dream and Ryan’s possible fate more and more until it was all I ever thought about. Anxiety grew and grew until it began to present itself as physical daily panic attacks. Weeks passed, months passed. I grew more and more insane with worry.

Until this point, I had called myself a Christian. I was baptized around ten years old, then went on to try my hand at the “Most Rebellious Teen” title. I ran away from home, dropped out of school, and lived the most sinful life I possibly could all while still calling myself a Christian and saying prayers at night before bed. But in my mid-twenties, stuck in a horrible marriage and dying of bulimia, I decided Christianity was more trouble than it was worth and became an atheist.

God was still gracious to me. I met my current husband and we got married six months later. I decided I believed in God after all but there was no life change. We had Ryan two years later. I had never loved anyone or anything so much. In my mind, this love was definitely from God, and it was how He loved His creation! But still, I hadn’t grasped His love. I didn’t know the fullness of His love that was Jesus Christ.

Four years later, I had our second child, Anna, and life was as I said it was at the beginning of this post. Good. Having a family, being physically fit, the group fitness certification, and a multi-level marketing gig that was actually bringing in income was the best it had ever been for me. I had come to love the Lord and thanked Him for all I had. I loved Proverbs 31, the Excellent Wife, and tried to be her daily. I even made a vision board with all of my goals on it and surrounded them with verses from Proverbs 31. I prayed over it daily, giving my plans to God—I was going to be an excellent wife!

A word of caution: when you pray to God, when you commit your plans to Him so that He will establish them, He will answer you. But if you have a lot of refining to be done, His showing up will be your undoing.

And it was.

The May 7th dream happened and I went crazy in the months that followed. Looking back, it seemed much like when God took Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. I couldn’t get a hold of myself! I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t stop crying. Did God speak through dreams? Did He speak through feelings? Because if so, everything He was telling me was something terrible. I had never read the Bible and thinking there was no time for that now, I watched and listened to sermons obsessively and scoured the internet for words of comfort. I found none.

Sometimes anxiety is from God. Sometimes fear is from the Lord.

See, there are tons of comforting sermons online and there are wonderful God-glorifying articles too. But God kept me from seeing any of them back then because I had never read His Word nor had I grasped the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Praise God that He didn’t comfort me or ease my fear when I asked because I would have never come to the Bible out of sheer desperation of not finding answers anywhere else!

I would have never read the Old Testament. I would have never seen how God is perfect and requires me to be perfect. My heart would have never broken over my hopelessness that I cannot please God. I am not worthy of His presence. I am not deserving of anything good. And the punishment for my sin is death.

I would have never gotten to the New Testament where a baby was born. The Son of God born of a virgin. And that baby grew into a man who would tell a woman of the town who lived a sinful life that her faith had saved her and she could go in peace.

If I wasn’t affected, I would still be ignorant of the weight of Christ’s death. He is perfect and He is worthy, and He.died instead of me, He died on the cross that I deserved. And when He rose again, He not only miraculously came to life but gave me new life with His life. He made me a New Creation—the old has gone and the new has come! Thank you, LORD!

The dream was from God…He used my greatest fear to drive me into His Word and plant the Gospel in my heart.

And my greatest fear, my son dying, is what God did for us. He sent His Son to die for the sins of others. What kind of love is that? The greatest of all loves.

Something terrible could still happen to Ryan. I have no assurance that it won’t. But the affliction is gone, and I do not think about it. I have peace and true joy. May 7th, that dream will have been six years ago, and it has been only six years that I’ve been really living.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Psalm 119:71



Princess Maggie Prewitt has finally exercised her rights as Emily’s Head of Castle during the perilous Em Games Triad—and now she’s stuck in bed recovering from a severe head injury. Thankfully, the Queen’s Doctor is in the house. A jolly king with a twinkle in his eye will be caring for Maggie during her stay in the castle’s hospital. And as luck would have it—or possibly Pippin—King Jacksie has quite a story to tell. Listen in as many secrets come to light—Secrets of Pippin’s chosen Seven, the miraculous construction of Brumbletide Kingdom, and the sinister deception that led to the Emily Castle we know today.

What does it all mean for Maggie? Everything.

Maggie and the Queen’s Doctor are resurrecting many things in the castle’s Hospital Wing. The dark night is dying though many will keep it alive at any cost. Will a new day dawn? Those of you up early, come and see!

FInd it here:

Justice Was Not Served

Reading the Bible, I want to place myself as the women and men I adore so much because of their stories. I want to be Esther, the chosen queen. I want to be David, the greatest of kings. I want to be Solomon, the wisest of men. I want to be Ruth, who chose what was good.

But in reality, I am the brothers of Joseph, who beat him, plotted his death, and then sold him as a slave out of hatred.

In 2017, God changed me forever. For no other reason than God opening my eyes through the Old Testament, I was suddenly extremely aware of the destruction I’d left in the wake of my sin.

Every one of the Commandments I had broken. Every single one. Until 2017, my attitude toward my sin was, “yeah, but everyone sins like me.”

       There were sins, and then there were sins. Things like actually murdering someone, not just murdering them with words like Jesus said. Murdering with words couldn’t possibly be as bad as murdering in real life. Stealing twenty dollars is nowhere near as bad as stealing a thousand. And everyone lies. You almost have to sometimes!

I sinned all the time, asking God to forgive me with no mind to change my ways…because I wasn’t that bad.

If this is you, beware. When you get the notion to move closer to the Lord because of something said at church or wanting to better yourself with a New Year’s Resolution…

When you call out to the Most High, He will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)

And you will be utterly undone.

The funny thing about our “not that bad” sins is that they are actually that bad, and not only does God detest them, but unbeknownst to our blind, self-absorbed, and self-worshipping unredeemed selves, we don’t realize that our “not that bad’ sins have tremendous ripple effects of disaster. They are the cigarette flicked by the driver who blissfully drives away, unaware of the forest fire soon to blaze behind him.

There I was, blissfully smoking cigarette after proverbial cigarette, never once looking backward or even questioning the smoky smell.

Then for whatever reason, I called out to God one day. And God dropped the Gospel of Jesus Christ on my head like a ton of bricks. He hit my smoking driver with His Mack Truck, sending me flying off into the forest where suddenly I had no choice but to acknowledge the disaster I had caused, or I would deservedly burn up with all.

Terrifying. Absolutely horrible. Terrifying and horrible was God coming after me. And terrifying and horrible were the sins that I had committed. When God opens your eyes, you don’t question back. You don’t say, “I’m off the hook because the Bible was translated wrong,” or “This is alright because we are in a new age and it’s more accepted now.” No. When God opens your eyes, you are sorry for even things you aren’t sure are wrong or not. You are distraught, completely aware that you deserve the worst punishment there is. I knew with every fiber of my being that I deserved the absolute worst of punishments for my “not so bad” sins. Because they were abominable.

Justice was not served.

By the end of the Old Testament, I fully expected my world to go down in blazing flames. Justice had to be served! The people I had hurt, the forest I left blazing in my wake—retribution had to be paid. There was no question. I had to be punished for justice to be done!

Imagine my surprise when I found Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Justice is served when the smoking driver dies in flames in the blazing forest. Justice is served when the murderer is murdered. Justice is served when the thief is finally robbed of his life and placed in prison for decades.

But justice isn’t served when someone else purposely suffers the punishment instead of the guilty. That isn’t justice at all.

If someone else takes the punishment that someone else deserves, not only is the guilty off the hook but the ones who suffered because of their sins are left offended and questioning.

But that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The punishment I rightly deserve, He took on the cross leaving me guiltless and free. How in the world is that justice?

It isn’t. I have received what I do not deserve.

What good can come from this?

Well, a lot. When a sinner like me receives this sort of unimaginable grace, it is impossible not to walk away unimaginably different. A new person so grateful, and a new person who has experienced a sorrow over their sins that leads to actual repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Those of us who have been given this unimaginable grace are fully aware of who we are in the story. We are the wicked brothers who beat and planned the murder of our brother. Then we sold our brother into slavery out of hatred. And Christ is the ultimate and better Joseph, who not only forgave them but welcomed them back to him and lavished them with good things.

Justice was not served. How is this good for those who have suffered because of the guilty?

The good is that the abominable sinner is no longer an abominable sinner, but a vessel for the power of God in the earth. Glory, glory, glory to Jesus Christ who laid down His life for those who were not His friends.

Repent. The Kingdom of God is at hand.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… Romans 1:16

Throw a Daughters of the King Party!

Next Tuesday, I will turn 40. My gift was to throw this fantastic party! It was such a perfect day and the LORD was obviously so with us, that I have to write it down so that you all can throw a Daughters of the King party one day as well!

We all dressed in gowns and crowns to remind ourselves that we are daughters of King Jesus.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
John 1:12

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7

I adore this amazing bookstore in Monroe called The Story Shop. Not only have I always wanted to have a party in their spectacular party room, but I knew that I wanted to tell a few stories to my guests. The Story Shop was the perfect venue. They have many party themes to choose from. I, of course, chose the Once Upon a Time theme because it made me think of Pippin.

The table only had twenty seats. It was so difficult to not invite every woman I love, but I hope when you throw your party like this, you keep it as intimate as possible. You will see why as we proceed. I ended up inviting the women who have been in my Discipleship groups and then those God laid on my heart to invite.

I fashioned the party after the five love languages (I have never in my life read the actual book): quality time, acts of service, physical touch, gifts, and words of affirmation.

This fantastic party was definitely quality time. For acts of service, everyone paired up and served each other the food. No one got anything for themselves, but everyone ate. Because not everyone showed up at the same time, we didn’t do the physical touch of praying hand-in-hand until the end. For gifts, we all brought a gift to exchange that we felt the recipient would find useful in the year ahead.

And for words of affirmation, I gave everyone a “name story.” I found out the meaning of everyone’s name and wrote how it could possibly point to God’s mission for them here on earth along with a Bible verse that kind of matched. Never will I ever get over these incredible paintings done by my friend, Shannon, that I got to write it all on!

There was also a time of stories. It was a Story Shop, after all!

I told four stories and then ended with a short reading from Triad Champion.

The four stories were:

  • Abraham being called out to a place that God would show him, and becoming the father of the nation of Isreal
  • The Exodus and the Passover
  • The birth of the Passover Lamb
  • John 15:5 – Jesus is our Vine, we are the branches

We are daughters of the Servant King Jesus who was born just to die for us! Now He is risen and lives in us and through us—our Vine, the Light of the world. Thank you, LORD.

From Brumbletide and the Triad Champion…

The first class of the day is Subjects. This doesn’t mean school subjects, although it is one of Emily Academy’s subjects. The subject of Subjects is the study of the subjects of a kingdom.

We are gathered in a different part of Justice Tower today, a level I haven’t yet been in. It is a very warm and inviting room, and there is a table with fresh bread and Bubblegin. Squashy armchairs sit behind large wooden buckets like those from old times. Queen Mother Erline welcomes us all in warmly.

“Welcome, your majesties. Today’s class is special. With the happening of recent events, my zeal for reading has returned, and I have started with our sacred book. I have changed our lesson for the day as I have noticed that our beloved King Pippin has unique methods of dealing with his subjects. We will learn one of those methods today. Alright, let’s see, Prince Eden, Princess Shay, Princess Calysta, Princess Graisse, and Princess Thorn, have a seat in the chairs, please. Princess Maggie, Prince Atticus, Prince Jamari, Princess Missy, Princess Lauren, each of you kneel in front of one of them.”

We do as we are told. Atticus goes to Calysta. I go to Thorn since the only other left is Graisse, with whom poor Missy ends up.

“Now, class, this will seem strange to all of you, but those of you on the floor will wash the feet of the person in front of you.”

“She’s not touching me!” squeals Graisse.

No one else objects, but the looks on their faces are less than pleased. I glance up at Thorn, who shrugs.

“Begin,” says Queen Mother Erline.

 I dip Thorn’s perfect feet into the water and use the cloth to wash them even though they seem perfectly clean already.

“Don’t forget to clean between the toes. A queen’s feet need extra attention,” Graisse tells Missy. “And massage. Don’t forget to massage the feet and legs.”

I can hear Calysta and Atticus giggling together. After I clean between Thorn’s toes, I massage her ankles and calves.

“Ah, that’s so nice,” she says. She is completely relaxed in the armchair with her eyes closed.

After several minutes, a pearly handbell rings. “Alright, well done! Come over now for some refreshments,” Queen Mother Erline says, indicating the bread and Bubblegin on the table.

As we clean up and make our way to the table, Queen Mother Erline asks, “Well? How was the royal treatment?”

 “Could have been much better. Missy’s got a lot of work to do if she’s ever going to please a royal,” pipes Graisse.

“Oh, well, I am sorry to hear that, Princess Graisse,” replies Queen Mother Erline. “Luckily, you were not the royal in the scenario. It was Missy. A true royal—a true heir—serves their subjects.”

The Brumbletide Series

Here you will find each book of the Brumbletide series. There will be seven in all so keep checking for new releases!

Brumbletide and the Daughter of Eve

Royals, royals everywhere! Little Ipswich is an otherwise average, small town except for one thing. Set afloat in the Lux Sea that borders it is Emily, an enormous stone castle where magical and miraculous things are said to go on. After being scared out of her wits by a doomsday prophecy involving the castle and a strange place called Brumbletide, twelve-year-old Maggie Prewitt begs her mother to take her to Emily to find out what it’s all about. Inside, Maggie finds a talking candle, magical creatures, and flying children called Snickerlings. And if that wasn’t enough, the general public is treated as royalty getting to sit on luxurious thrones and dress in fabulous gowns and sparkling crowns. Emily also has its own academy where young people are “groomed into their royal destiny,” which, like it or not, Maggie gets the chance of a lifetime to attend. At the academy, she undergoes a drastic transformation, learns lots of new things in classes such as Disposition and Non-Common Sense, and even finds out that she is a descendant of one of seven highly esteemed ancestors chosen by the Great White Stag, Pippin. But it isn’t long before Maggie realizes all that glitters is not gold at Emily, and that things unseen may not only be secret, but sinister.

Buy it here!

Brumbletide and the Changing of the Crowns

Who goes there?
Are you sure you want to proceed?
Be warned, these pages live.
Some, they will hurt. Some, they will heal.
All, they will mark.

Welcome, Your Majesty, to the ever-prestigious Changing of the Crowns ceremony where the new Head of Emily Castle will be revealed. What will the people of Little Ipswich think when they see that it is none other than thirteen-year-old Maggie Prewitt? And if that wasn’t surprise enough, six royals thought to be long dead are at her side!
In this second novel of the Brumbletide series, you will follow Maggie’s exciting and perilous journey to the Changing of the Crowns, get to know more about the mysterious Seven and the great White Stag, meet new arrivals to Emily, and find out old secrets long hidden.

Buy Brumbletide and the Changing of the Crowns here:

Brumbletide and the Triad Champion

It’s happened. What Maggie feared has come true. Princess Magdalene Prewitt of Firebreather is now Head of Emily Castle and has been made so by King Pippin, no less. Now there is certainly no turning back! Thankfully, Maggie’s best friends, Calysta and Atticus, will be by her side, and she also has the aid of King Mortimer McShanihan and the Boggletrice Company. But even with the help of her most trusted royals and Horsemen, she is still completely sick at the thought of ruling such a prestigious establishment at the young age of thirteen.

To Maggie, life couldn’t possibly be any more stressful…that is, until she’s told about the Em Games.

Of course, she would become Head of Castle just in time for some kind of Olympics that only Emily royals seem to know of. And, of course, the Head of Castle is to lead every event—and leading means doing the most outrageous and dangerous sports Maggie has ever seen! And, of course, Maggie is the clumsiest and most unathletic person in the academy.


And through it all, the wicked King Michelle still lingers throughout the castle. But since he’s dead, he’s found in the most unsuspected places.

Buy Brumbletide and the Triad Champion here:


Princess Maggie Prewitt has finally exercised her rights as Emily’s Head of Castle during the perilous Em Games Triad—and now she’s stuck in bed recovering from a severe head injury. Thankfully, the Queen’s Doctor is in the house. A jolly king with a twinkle in his eye will be caring for Maggie during her stay in the castle’s hospital. And as luck would have it—or possibly Pippin—King Jacksie has quite a story to tell. Listen in as many secrets come to light—Secrets of Pippin’s chosen Seven, the miraculous construction of Brumbletide Kingdom, and the sinister deception that led to the Emily Castle we know today.

What does it all mean for Maggie? Everything.

Maggie and the Queen’s Doctor are resurrecting many things in the castle’s Hospital Wing. The dark night is dying though many will keep it alive at any cost. Will a new day dawn? Those of you up early, come and see!

Buy Brumbletide and the Queen’s Doctor’s Story here:

Thank you so much for reading! -J. Reese Bradley

A King’s Tears

Today, I am sharing a few of my favorite parts of Brumbletide and the Triad Champion. I love Chapter 3: A King’s Tears because it gives some insight into what exactly Pippin is doing in Castle Emily. Christians might find Maggie’s vision familiar…

Chapter 3: A King’s Tears

The next class is Academics with Queen Mother Felberta in Soleil Tower. I have never been more glad to be in the dark and dreary tower, even if there is a creepy white dragon head mounted to the ceiling above us. Aren’t heads of animals usually on walls? Soleil Tower, like Justice, has many levels, and today we are at the very top. Science and Math are taught here, but the equipment and techniques used by Queen Mother Felberta are by no means ordinary for high school. All around us are dusty beakers and bottles containing strange liquids, dead reptiles, and even human organs. These are by no means the most disturbing; large wooden beds with leather straps stand erect, leaving one only to guess what is done to someone in them. Tall metal walls full of bulky Frankensteinish switches are creepy décor that pop and spark randomly during lessons. I try to imagine little spikey-haired Soleil, so spunky and vivacious, working experiments and equations here. She is the Queen of Science and Mathematics.

Despite all the creepiness and dreariness, it’s warm, and I’m not expected to climb two hundred feet. Queen Mother Felberta is at the head of the class wearing large black goggles; her short grey hair pokes out of the strap and top of her crown. Her pointy nose looks even more pointy between the circular lenses, and thick black rubber gloves cover her hands and arms all the way to the elbows.

“Good day, your majesties,” she says kindly. “We have an exciting class today. Give me one moment to clean up; we were picking brains last period.” She giggles a strange giggle at her pun.

The desks of Soleil Tower are old, tattered, and wooden. Nothing nice is needed for dissecting, burning, and blowing things up. Calysta is next to me.

“I’m doomed,” I whisper. “And I’m mortified. We were to climb George Tower this morning in Hoplology. I couldn’t even get five feet up.”

“Ugh, we had to do that yesterday. Isn’t it the worst? I hate it.”

“Were you able to climb it? How high did you get?”

“I went the whole way, but it was awful.”

My cheeks burn.

Queen Mother Felberta emerges from a closet now looking like a perfectly splendid queen.

“Alright, class, I need a volunteer.”

No one raises their hand. This is because Nathan Youngblood’s hair is just now growing back from when he decided to volunteer a month ago. I hesitate, waiting for someone else to offer, but a small voice in my head taunts, “redeem yourself from the morning,” and the next thing I know, my hand is in the air.

“Ah! Princess Maggie. Excellent. Come up here with me, please.”

As I trudge past the student’s rickety desks and wide eyes, Queen Mother Felberta rolls out a gigantic coffin.

Of course.
            She pops open the lid revealing that it is about half full of water.

“Today, we are studying sensory deprivation. Princess Maggie here is our specimen. My dear, hop inside and make yourself comfortable. I’ll have a Snickerling bring you another gown.”

Unable to speak because my throat has closed, I silently step into the coffin and sit in the water.

“You have to lay down, Princess,” says Queen Mother Felberta helping me lay back into the lukewarm water. Now, all but my face is submerged. 

“See you soon,” Queen Mother Felberta says, but right before closing the lid, adds, “It might be a while.”

I am now in complete silence and darkness and water. My throat is still closed, and my heart is beating so hard I think it’s touching my ribs. I start breathing through my mouth, taking large gulps of air, but this seems to make my head spin. I close my lips and breathe through my nostrils, fighting the urge to gulp air again. Slowly, my muscles relax, and I float in the water. Slowly, my throat opens, and my shoulders loosen. The class could have up and left for all I know because I can’t hear a thing. Slowly, the blackness seems to blend with my thoughts, and images appear in a way that I’m no longer sure if they are in or out of my head…

Yes, yes, I see crowns and gowns, scepters and thrones—royals in a room with glimmering chandeliers, flames dancing among them. Everyone is smiling and laughing. I see Calysta and Atticus dancing together. She is teasing him as usual, and he is blushing. I smile watching them. My foot taps to the Snickerling’s song.

At once, they are dry bones.

In the lavish Throne Room, gowns and crowns sparkle through the pile of hideous rubble. What has happened to everyone? My stomach lurches seeing both Atticus and Calysta’s crowns laying together amongst the debris.

Two antlers appear in one of the balconies. A great White Stag peers down at the mess of decayed bodies. He is crying, and I cry. Whatever happened here, there is no hope—all is lost. The Stag continues to cry. He hangs his regal head over the edge, and his tears become larger and larger as they fall, splashing with such mighty splashes on the bones that I fear everything will wash away. The Stag leaps from the balcony and walks on the pool—walks right on top of it. Giant tears continue to fall from his brilliant green eyes, and as they do, something miraculous happens.

The bones raise.

Skeletons are walking around, wobbling on their unsteady legs. Pippin picks crowns out of the mess with his antlers, drawing some out of the water as they float by and setting them on the heads of some of the skeletons. Those skeletons, in turn, begin picking up crowns themselves and placing them on the heads of others. In a short time, all the bones have become skeletons, and every skeleton is either giving or receiving a crown. But now the water is so much and so great that it covers everyone. The only one above it is Pippin, who crouches on the water, looking down into it at all the royal skeletons about to drown. He seems to be counting them—making sure they are all there, maybe?  He bobs along the waves doing this until finally, he stops counting. He stands, his great crown gleaming brilliantly between his glorious antlers. At once, the lake of the dead parts; each side rushes up the Throne Room’s walls and escapes out of the upper windows.  As the water parts, Pippin lowers into the midst of not skeletons but beautiful royals kneeling all around him. The brightness of their gowns and crowns is almost too much for me to look upon.

The lid opens. Queen Mother Felberta smiles down at me. “All done.”

She takes my hand and helps me out of the coffin. Snickerlings bring towels and dry me off a bit.

“Would you mind telling us your experience?” asks Queen Mother Felberta.

My face in my hands, I shake my head. “Can I gather myself a minute, Queen Mother?”

“Ah, you’ve hallucinated. How lucky! Yes, we’ll discuss it after you get changed. Use my office.” She turns to the class full of curious faces. “Class is dismissed for today.”

With disappointed groans, the class gathers their things as the conical roof opens and Snickerlings bring carpets to fly them to High Noon Fare. Calysta waves down to me just before disappearing into a cloud above.

Queen Mother Felberta runs her fingers along the glass jars on an old dusty shelf and stops at a small one containing a long, squishy pinkish organ. Written on some tape is “Tongue of Man.” When she pulls the jar, the shelf moves to the side, revealing a spiral stone staircase lit by torchless flames and Miriam, the Snickerling doomed to die before Pippin rescued her.

“Follow me, Princess.”

As Felberta, Miriam, and I descend the winding stairs, I am able to peak into other levels of Soleil Tower, ones we haven’t yet explored in Academics. You would never know one of them was inside a building because it looks to really be outer space! Wes has certainly not seen this, or he would have already talked my head off about it.

“The Heavens,” calls Queen Mother Felberta behind her. “Only for Last Years, Rexes, and Reginas.”

Calysta told me about Rexes and Reginas. They are sort of leaders of their year. I’ll have to tell Wes.

A few more stories down, Felberta unlocks a giant dungeony door and lets Miriam and me into her office. Her desk is extremely messy, books are scattered everywhere, some laying open as if she began reading but got distracted by another, and then another. There is a bookshelf, but most of the books are gone or stacked sideways. A blackboard is covered in chalk with equations I could never hope to figure, and another giant white dragon, not just the head, hangs from the ceiling as the only decoration. It is very lizard-like and has a fierce expression, nothing like the pint-sized, lumpy warmouth that belongs to Soleil.

“Go ahead and change in here. I’ll be right back.” Queen Mother Felberta pulls the heavy door closed with a thud.

Miriam helps me with my gown.

“Miriam! It’s good to see you! I’m so happy you’re alive.”

“Thanks to you, ma’am,” she replies sweetly, tying my sash. She flies backward and looks me over. “Perfect.” Then coming in close, she whispers, “And now that you are Head of Castle, all will be well with my kind again.” She beams as she flies to the door, opens it like it isn’t the least bit heavy at all, and is gone.

My stomach sinks. Why is she so confident? It is true that Snickerlings will probably not be killed for their magic now that Julian and Louie are dead, but Michelle’s spirit is still in the hearts of everyone loyal to Emily Castle, and we have yet to find the stones of the Seven. As long as they are missing, the ancestors cannot leave the Axiom or they’ll die. In awful addition, we have placed trust in Lenore, who surely wants me dead, to help us with it all. Speaking of Snickerlings, a bunch of them were helping Lenore try to kill us! Here’s to hoping they’ve all reformed.

“Knock, knock,” says Queen Mother Felberta as she cracks open the door. Seeing I’m ready, she breezes in. “Have a seat, Princess.” She sets a roughed up wooden chair in front of her messy desk. “Watch out for splinters.”

I carefully take a seat, and Felberta leans back on her desk, crunching some papers beneath her bum.

“Tell me what happened in the chamber.”

“I saw a vision…er…or maybe it was a dream?”

“Hallucinations are common in sensory deprivation. It was probably a vision. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t true.”

Her last words take me by surprise. “Oh. Well, I saw loads of students in the Throne Room dancing and having a good time when suddenly, they dropped dead and were just a pile of bones! Then Pippin came—”

“The King,” Felberta says under her breath.

“Yes. Pippin came, and he was crying. But his tears became an ocean of sorts and somehow brought the royals back to life.”

Queen Mother Felberta’s eyes are as wide as saucers. “Anything else?”

“Not that I can remember.”

“This is no dream, Princess. With recent events, it is no surprise you’ve seen what you have.” She looks around as if something will appear suddenly in the air. Staring off into another world, she whispers, “Pippin is on the move. Anything can happen now.”

A thrill, both exciting and frightening, creeps through my skin. The “recent events” she speaks of is the defeat of the wicked ancestor, Michelle, by the great White Stag, Pippin—does she know about that? The return and then the dreadful exit of the six ancestors, George, Flori, Justice, Eve, Soleil, and Sara Lisa, whose stones that keep them immortal outside of Brumbletide have yet to be found. The escape of the ex-Head of Academy, King Julian, and his accomplice, Lenore’s husband, King Louie—I killed them both with the Scepter of the Seven and still haven’t come to grips with it. The Lux Sea turning to blood, signaling that Pippin is likely eradicating evil from Emily once and for all, but that war is probably imminent as well. And lastly, Pippin showing up during the fight between Lenore’s Snickerlings and the Boggletrice Company, terrifying Lenore and causing her to agree to step down and make me Head of Emily Castle. She also agreed to help us find the stones that were stolen from the Six so that they can leave Brumbletide and rule Emily with me.

As you can see, it’s been an average run-of-the-mill school year so far. Sheesh!

Queen Mother Felberta has come back to earth. “I won’t have you tell the class. We’ll discuss something else. You should, however, tell King McShanihan. Now go, hurry to High Noon Fare before you miss the meal.”

She heaves the great door open and whistles a loud whistle with her forefinger and thumb to her lips. In seconds, Snickerlings have brought a white carpet. I bid Queen Mother Felberta goodbye, and the Snickerlings fly me through the stairwells and then out of the conical roof to one of the high windows of the Throne Room. Inside, Atticus and Calysta greet me warmly. The balcony is loaded with a magnificent feast for High Noon Fare. Starving, I immediately take a seat on the third throne and pile my crystal plate full of fish and chips.

Have yet to discover the magic of Brumbletide? Find it here!


Today, I want to share with you a few of my favorite parts of Brumbletide and the Triad Champion. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2 that I laugh at every time I read it. Poor Maggie. Enjoy!

My first class is Hoplology with Atticus and Thorn. We are freezing—absolutely freezing. The weather is frosty, and we are all gathered on carpets in midair in front of Queen Mother Berthilda. Two or so dozen young royals are bundled in white furs and huddled two or three to a carpet held by Snickerlings. The magical flying children are dressed in no more than their usual patchwork attire and seem unfazed by the cold.

            Four Snickerlings hold Queen Mother Berthilda’s carpet in front of the others while she raises her large arms to get everyone’s attention.

            “Hear, hear! Attention, your majesties! As many of you know, the one hundred and seventy-fifth Em Games are right around the corner. In preparation, we will be performing exercises more daring than usual. We break the ice today with Tower Climbing.”

            Gasps escape from around the carpets. Even the Snickerlings appear a little worried and lean in to whisper what I gather to be consoling words to their passengers.

“Now, now, not to worry, class. You will be monitored the whole time, and if you happen to fall, Snickerlings will come to your rescue immediately. Any questions?” Queen Mother Berthilda scans the class.

            “Has anyone died before?” shouts Eden Kung over the wind.

            Berthilda considers his question as if she isn’t sure whether to answer honestly. “Yes, some have. None in the past few years though.”

There have been no games in recent years! The last were twelve years ago!

“And if the worst should happen, what a way to go, eh?” The Queen Mother flashes a toothy smile reciprocated by no one.  “Right. Now, everyone, do your very best—especially you, Champions. Let this not be the year we break our Triad winning streak.”

            “Yeah!” shouts Atticus. “Let’s do it, Champs!” A few other Champions whistle and applaud as well.

            Meanwhile, I haven’t gotten past the name of the event—Tower Climbing. My head is back as far as it will go as I take in the massive monstrosity that is George Tower. It can’t mean what it sounds like, can it?

            “For those of you unaware,” pipes Queen Mother Berthilda, “Tower Climbing is exactly as it sounds. You will be climbing George Tower.”

            Pushing Thorn out of the way, I lean over and puke off the side of the carpet into the Lux below.

            “Maggie!” shouts Atticus. “Are you alright?”

            I sit back up woozily. “No.”

            “Blimey,” mumbles Thorn, checking her gown for vomit.

            Atticus nudges my shoulder and whispers, “Heights are my greatest fear, but I’m going to suck it up and go first since I’ll be leading the Em Games and all.” He raises his hand.

            “Yes, Prince Atticus? Oh, are you alright, Princess Maggie? You’re green.”

            I lean over and puke again.

            “Eesh, let’s trade places,” says Thorn, crawling to the center of the carpet.

            Atticus waits a second to show a little concern but no longer. “I volunteer to go first, Queen Mother Berthilda.”

            “How wonderful. Your carpet can come forward then.”

            To my horror, the Snickerlings fly us to the ledge at the bottom of George Tower. A large stone winged hound—George’s warmouth—sits at the corner permanently fixed on Little Ipswich.

            Queen Mother Berthilda’s carpet hovers next to ours.

            “Our brilliant ancestor, King George, designed his tower to be climbed. There are grooves all around it for your hands and feet. The things to overcome are the wind, your lack of strength, and, of course, your own fear. Prince Atticus, godspeed.”

            Without hesitation, Atticus grabs hold of the hound and pulls himself onto the ledge. He catches a glimpse of the Lux far down below on his way, and a flash of panic sweeps his face. But without closing his eyes, he takes a deep breath and stands up straight. Immediately, he begins climbing fast up the tower. His small frame is of benefit to him here. He stumbles once, and Snickerlings lunge forward, but he immediately regains his footing and continues upward at an impressive pace. Before long, Atticus has made it halfway up the tower and waves to us from what is certainly two hundred feet in the air.

            “Bravo! Bravo, Prince Atticus! And a Champion, no less,” Queen Mother Berthilda shouts gleefully.

            Snickerlings soar to Atticus and bring him down safely to our carpet. In the snowy wind, he is sweaty and out of breath.

            He swats the air. “Wasn’t anything. A nice warm-up.”

            Thorn is next. She doesn’t seem happy about the task but not terrified either. Quietly, she steps onto the ledge and is smart enough not to look down. Not so quickly as Atticus, but at a decent pace, she climbs the tower.

            “Steady, calculated, precise— the Firebreather way,” Berthilda tells us quietly as if not to disturb Thorn’s concentration.

            Eventually, Thorn reaches the halfway point and raises her hand.

            “Well done, Princess Thorn!” Berthilda shouts as Snickerlings fly her to the carpet.

            “Next we have—” She pauses because I’m apparently still green. “Princess Maggie.”

            I hoist my body, which seems to weigh a ton, onto the ledge and cling for dear life to the wings of the stone hound. I feel woozy and, without meaning to, catch a glimpse of how high I am. Puke immediately projects into the air and makes its way into the carpets holding my classmates who squeal in disgust. I close my eyes and breathe, trying to compose myself, and when I feel the first bit of relief, turn and mount the tower.

            Atticus and Thorn have deceived me. Even pulling myself onto the tower takes all my strength, and my arms are already burning as I hold myself up. The flag marking halfway up the tower seems a mile high. I’ll never make it. I won’t even make it five grooves in. I let go of a groove and immediately grab the next closest. My legs and arms are trembling, and my body is getting heavier by the second. I’ve never been athletic—how am I going to do this? Atticus and Thorn must have done this before. Yes, of course, they have!

            With my arms already so fatigued that I can’t raise a hand, I yell, “I can’t do it! My arms are giving out!”

            In a blink of an eye, I am in the arms of Snickerlings and then back with Thorn and Atticus on the carpet. I don’t feel that ashamed when Queen Mother Berthilda doesn’t give me a “good try” or anything, but little do I know the shame will grow heavier and heavier as every single student climbs high onto the tower. Even Eden, whose fear had him crying on his way up, made it to the flag. I alone was the only one not strong enough to do it.

            And I am supposed to be the Head of Emily Castle. Pathetic.

Have yet to discover the magic of Brumbletide? Find it here!

Lesson from the Apple Tree

Five years ago, my husband, Jason, planted two apple trees in our backyard. And for five years, not one apple grew. We had pretty much given up on them; in fact, we didn’t even pay much attention to them anymore. So when a single apple was found on one of the trees in early August, we all marveled with surprise and delight. There was finally fruit from the trees we’d almost given up on!

Of course, the kids wanted to eat the apple immediately, but I wouldn’t let them. It was from the backyard and might have bugs or worms. After all, I am accustomed to the shiny apples at the grocery store. Those apples are bigger, polished, and beautiful; even the organic varieties are still much better looking than this one from our tree. So despite the kid’s pleas, I set it on the kitchen counter for us to look at until it went bad, and then I would throw it away. But surprisingly, the apple looked exactly the same after almost three weeks. Still happy the tree had finally grown an apple, I decided to keep it longer.

Then today, I was cleaning the kitchen, and there was the apple. The thought crossed my mind that after five years, God saw fit to yield an apple from those trees…why not at least cut it open?
I washed the apple and sliced it in half. I should have taken a picture of the inside because I had prepared myself for a worm, a wormhole, or at the very least, for the apple to look unappetizing in some way. But no, the inside was brilliant white and smelled wonderful!
I sliced it up and got the kids to try it with me. I admit I was a little nervous because of some spots I saw on the skin that I didn’t know why they were there. But heck, I eat the store-bought apples all the time without a clue of what goes on with them before they get to me! We all took a bite, and low and behold, it was good.

This all probably sounds silly to you. Who in their right mind would be afraid to eat an apple right from the tree? But consider this: Eve. There she was, considering a fruit. That one was forbidden, but she decided she knew best and ate, plunging us all into darkness. And now, with all things in life, we have to really try to not see them backwards. The things that were prepared for us from the beginning now seem much less pretty than the things this world has to dazzle us.
Don’t we all know that not everything that glitters is gold? We know, but we forget! Go back to the fruit of the Spirit given to us by Jesus Christ, who died and rose again so that we can bear it. He is the true Vine, after all. The one Vine you can trust even though, at first, following Jesus may seem less pretty, less clean—even dangerous. But taste and see that the Lord is good. You can trust Him.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Brumbletide and the Triad Champion: RELEASED

Happy news!

The third in the Brumbletide series is LIVE. Find it here on Amazon!

ALSO, books one and two are remaining on super sale for THREE MORE DAYS! So if you haven’t yet discovered the magic of Brumbletide, now is the time!

Thank you for reading, Loves!

Brumbletide and the Triad Champion

It’s happened. What Maggie feared has come true. Princess Magdalene Prewitt of Firebreather is now Head of Emily Castle and has been made so by King Pippin, no less. Now there is certainly no turning back! Thankfully, Maggie’s best friends, Calysta and Atticus, will be by her side, and she also has the aid of King Mortimer McShanihan and the Boggletrice Company. But even with the help of her most trusted royals and Horsemen, she is still completely sick at the thought of ruling such a prestigious establishment at the young age of thirteen.

To Maggie, life couldn’t possibly be any more stressful…that is, until she’s told about the Em Games.

Of course, she would become Head of Castle just in time for some kind of Olympics that only Emily royals seem to know of. And, of course, the Head of Castle is to lead every event—and leading means doing the most outrageous and dangerous sports Maggie has ever seen! And, of course, Maggie is the clumsiest and most unathletic person in the academy.


And through it all, the wicked King Michelle still lingers throughout the castle. But since he’s dead, he’s found in the most unsuspected places.