March Special – chance to win a copy of The Perfect Blindside.
Share with friends who may be interested!
March Special – chance to win a copy of The Perfect Blindside.
Share with friends who may be interested!
On the anniversary of the plane crash that took the life of her beloved grandmother and threw her own mother into a deep depression, 16-year-old Katelyn Roberts discovers a single bead from her grandmother’s rosary – a rosary lost in the crash
A chance encounter with a stranger, who tells Katelyn that a similar bead saved her friend’s life, launches Katelyn and her family on a quest to find the other missing beads.
Their mysterious journey, filled with glimmers of hope, mystical events and unexplained graces takes them further into the unknown. Katelyn turns to the Rosary for answers and soon finds that family, prayer and the help of others may be the key to restoring what was lost.
A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman, is a beautiful young adult novel that centers around a family in need and a special rosary that affects the lives around them.
This engaging story touches on very real and difficult issues such as loss and depression while focusing on the power of prayer and the importance of family.
I was intrigued with the main character, Katelyn, and how she was influenced not only by the crisis of faith in her own personal family but also the very strong beliefs held by her large extended family. The journey that Katelyn is drawn into surrounding her grandmother’s rosary is mysterious, thought-provoking and moving. What a joyful message for anyone that our prayers can be so powerful and life-changing.
A Single Bead would make a wonderful Confirmation gift.
A friend recently asked me what my writing time looked like. She was genuinely curious about how I managed my time. I’m not really sure what I answered in that moment but lately I’ve been thinking about her question and am reminded of a cruise my family took a few years back.
During one of the days at sea two of the entertainers, very accomplished jugglers, held a little seminar to teach passengers the art of juggling. We joined our kids who were eager to learn this new skill. The performers started everyone out with one ball, to practice tossing it in a perfect arch. When that was mastered a second ball was added. They told the rapt audience that only after perfecting two balls could a third be added.
Well, that is kind of how my life as a writer feels lately – like I’m juggling multiple things.
When I first began my writing journey, The Perfect Blindside was my only focus – the only sphere I had to worry about. I spent years writing, editing, re-writing, sending it out, collecting rejection letters, etc.
Eventually when the novel was picked up by Pauline Books and Media and the long editing process began, I started to write a second book – adding a second item to my juggling act. I admit there were a few times when I had trouble tossing around the two projects. Once during the revision process my editor sent back one of the new scenes she had asked me to write and questioned who the new characters were. I couldn’t believe I had used the character names from my second book in this new scene for the first book.
But for the most part controlling the two writing spheres was not too overwhelming.
This past summer when The Perfect Blindside was being printed, I put the finishing touches on my second book and actually began a third novel. Even then I had no idea how challenging the juggling would become.
Even thought The Perfect Blindside is a finished book and printed, the work doesn’t end. The never-ending marketing aspect has begun, for if no one knows of the book, no one can buy it.
So now I find my writing time split three ways. First, I’m constantly trying to find ways to market The Perfect Blindside, set up school visits, contact bloggers, etc. Second, I’m trying to secure a home for my second book, which can be a very time consuming process full of query letters and researching publishers. And third, my new writing projects need quite a bit of my time and attention to get written and edited.
This new stage is exciting because I enjoy having so many projects but it’s more challenging than I would have imagined. If I focus too much attention on one – the others fall. I just wish I had it figured out and could juggle it with the ease of those entertainers on the cruise ship.
We all juggle different parts of our lives and struggle to keep them all in motion. Lenten season seems to be the perfect time to remember that we must rely on God and let Him help us when we’re weary from managing it all. Our loving Father will always be there to help us keep everything perfectly orbited.
This month “The Perfect Blindside” won a silver medal – just like the book’s hero Jake!
I’m very excited about this honor but must give the glory to God who placed this story on my heart and in my mind. I pray this recognition will help me further my message of finding and using your gifts from God to help others.
When I first found out my book was going to be published I was ecstatic. I had dreamt about it for years but I didn’t really think much about what would happen if my dream ever did come true.
I had heard over the years, from authors, that the marketing aspect of the profession was the tough part. It’s not that I doubted that assessment but at the time I was totally focused on actually getting published and thought – gee, stop complaining, I wish I had such problems.
Getting the word out about the book is tricky and rather time consuming but last week I was blessed with a full week of indepth marketing activities. A school visit to share my message with an 8th grade class, a radio interview, a bookstore meet and greet, and a library event with 7 other authors.
These of course are great opportunities and I was thrilled to have them but for someone who would prefer sitting on the couch wearing pajamas and being creative from the comforts of her own home – these things are terrifying.
Standing up in front a room full of people to give a speech is one of the worst things I can imagine. Thinking on my feet while being asked unknown questions for an audience is something I’m completely terrible at. The added stress of having to do this while “on air” makes me feel like hiding under the bed.
The underlying theme of my book is about using your gifts from God to help others. This is a belief I feel passionate about but I can’t help but wonder if God is chuckling a little because while I spread the message of using our gifts I am having to face my biggest fears and use skills that are definitely not among my talents.
Before each event I prayed. I asked for God to calm my racing heart, to give me the right words to say and for God to – and I’ll quote my favorite TobyMac song here – “steal my show.”
Of course God was faithful and answered my prayers. Some events went better than others but with His grace I made it through them all.
To my delight those middle school students were sweet, attentive and had a ton of great questions. The radio interview was an interesting experience which I’m not sure I care to repeat but learned a lot if there ever is a next time. At the bookstore I did sit there most of the time with no one buying the book as a snowstorm howled outside keeping the patrons away but I survived it. And in the process I met some wonderful people and came away with some great ideas for my sequel. And at my library event, I was able to connect with some other authors who shared some marketing tips and was blessed by the encouragement of several friends who came to support me.
I’m not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable with this part of my writing journey but as I told the middle school students during my presentation – we don’t always know what God’s plan is for us but if we say yes he will always lead us in amazing ways. I said “yes” to this journey when I began to write The Perfect Blindside and I guess I should take my own advice and enjoy the incredible ride.
I’m incredibly thankful that people are responding so favorably to my book. My vision has always been to encourage teens to find their gifts from God and hopefully deepen their faith. Below is a review I received from Children’s Bookwatch. Thank you God for leading me on this journey. ~Leslea
Children’s Bookwatch: November 2015
Fresh off a championship medal, Jake is becoming overwhelmed by everyone who wants something from him: reporters, fans, girls, companies, his parents. He can’t figure out who is real and who just wants something. To top it all off, his parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far away from his teammates and anything interesting. Then there’s smart and savvy Sophie. She has spent the summer before her junior year of high school following Jake Taylor, recent snowboarding sensation, in every magazine and article she could find. Now he’s moved into Silver Springs and she finds out what the reporters and everyone else seems to have missed Jake’s letting the fame go to his head. He’s just a jerk and Sophie has no respect or patience for that. Peaceful Silver Springs, however, has an even bigger problem than Jake’s inflated ego. Wildlife is dying inexplicably, tires are getting slashed, and everything seems to be falling apart. Can Jake and Sophie work out their differences to discover what’s really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be. Exceptionally well written and a thoroughly absorbing read from beginning to end, “The Perfect Blindside” is very highly recommended for high school and community library YA Fiction collections.
Below is a new review on my book. I’m so thankful that people are responding and understanding my vision for teen fiction.
First, I want to applaud Wahl for telling a realistic story, weaving in the Catholic faith artfully without overwhelming her readers or detracting from the plot. When I was a young teenager, many of the Christian teen novels I read frustrated me because they were cheesy; the characters, model Christians in constant inner dialogue with the Lord, lacked depth. WithThe Perfect Blindside, Leslea Wahl strikes a harmonious balance between the Catholic faith and her moving story.
The Perfect Blindside shifts between the first-person voices of characters Sophie and Jake (i.e., every other chapter is Sophie’s perspective). Sophie Metcalf, fed up with the antics of arrogant snowboarding prodigy Jake Taylor, sets out to expose his true character. Sophie, a gentle and intelligent high school junior, despises Jake for moving to her small Colorado town. Jake wants only to focus on snowboarding and his newfound Olympic fame. But a series of odd circumstances surrounding an old silver mine forces Jake and Sophie to become partners, amateur sleuths in a puzzling mystery.
Unlike the empty Christian characters I became accustomed to as a young teenager, Sophie deals with the typical struggles of her teenage life while learning to rely on God. The Perfect Blindside is not about Sophie’s prayer life; it is the tale of Sophie and Jake and a perplexing crime. Sophie’s quiet, faithful devotion to the Lord adds depth to her character and offers a connection with young readers who are trying to live out their Catholic faith in a secular world.
What I love most about The Perfect Blindside is that Sophie and Jake are normal teenagers. They are not young Christian robots, nor are they rebellious teenaged runaways experiencing major conversions. Sophie and Jake are simply teenagers who struggle with relationships, the Catholic faith, listening to their parents, and avoiding risky situations. They deal with crushes and mean girls at school. They use cell phones and shop at the local mall. Young readers can connect with Sophie and Jake. The first-person perspective shifts allow for both girls and boys to relate with the characters. Drama and mystery lurk within each chapter so that the reader never bores.
Thank you, Pauline Media, for allowing me to review The Perfect Blindside. I recommend this book to teens, tweens, and Catholic parents searching for wholesome, intriguing novels for their children! The Perfect Blindside is the book I wish I had read as a young teenager.
Pauline Books & Media provided me with a free copy of The Perfect Blindside in exchange for an honest review.
Today, I am reviewing The Perfect Blindside by Leslea Wahl. Before I start the review, I want to share a couple of links with you:
I really enjoy reviewing books for teens because my son is about to turn twelve and I want to make sure I have “the right kind of books” here for him to read. Sure, we love all the classics, but as our Priest said on Sunday (paraphrased), ‘As parents teaching your children about our Faith and morality, starts with you, at home. The love of God in your children’s hearts; the teaching of virtue and commandments ALL start with you.’ My immediate thought was – “NO PRESSURE!”
A few weeks back I introduced you to Cassidy Klein and her incredible project through the Girl Scouts of America to create a library at the Joshua Station transitional housing facility here in Denver. The Tattered Cover bookstore collected donated books for the project and even donated one new book for every 10 books brought in.
I had the wonderful opportunity last week to attend the Grand Opening of the library. I was so honored to be there. Cassidy worked very hard to create this special place filled with books and comfy couches. The library is a beautiful space for families facing difficult times to share with their children. It was truly touching to see the joy on the faces of the children as they celebrated this event.
I’m so proud of Cassidy and the amazing work she has done. She’s truly using her gifts to help other.