fifty activities with little to no screentime

A list of 50 activities you can do while social distancing that use minimal or no screen time, from an introverted extrovert with lots of experience with small children and cabin fever. Most are child friendly.

  1. Read a book.
  2. Listen to an audio book.
  3. Read a book out loud—you don’t have to read TO anyone. Just read to yourself or a pet. Exercise your voice.
  4. Play a board game.
  5. Play a card game.
  6. Do a coloring page.
  7. Make a drawing.
  8. Make a painting—don’t underestimate children’s watercolor palettes.
  9. Write a letter.
  10. Start a journal.
  11. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  12. Study maps.
  13. Learn to crochet.
  14. Learn to knit.
  15. Learn to weave.
  16. Learn knot tying.
  17. Learn to eat with chopsticks.
  18. Sing—it can be terrible.
  19. Go for a walk.
  20. Wave at someone.
  21. Start a garden.
  22. Start a mini garden.
  23. Start a single plant pot on a sunny windowsill.
  24. Practice calligraphy.
  25. Doodle.
  26. Learn Cat’s Cradle.
  27. Practice jumproping.
  28. Try yoga or pilates.
  29. Bake bread. If it fails, try again.
  30. Wash the windows so you can see outside clearly.
  31. Make candles.
  32. Hug a pillow or a stuffed animal.
  33. Build a blanket fort.
  34. Build a city out of legos, duplos, or building blocks.
  35. Play an instrument—it can sound terrible, just try.
  36. Write a bucket list.
  37. Write a poem.
  38. Trace the alphabet in a thin layer of cornmeal or sand on a cookie sheet.
  39. Bake some cookies.
  40. Make Playdough.
  41. Make slime.
  42. Make cornstarch gak.
  43. Roll a single dice and record the number of each roll—enjoy the randomness.
  44. Play Solitaire.
  45. Learn to swing dance.
  46. Try meditation.
  47. Make bath bombs.
  48. Take a bubble bath.
  49. DIY facials and manicures.
  50. Call a relative or neighbor or friend, and chat.

Happy Book Birthday! {giveaways!}

I’m utterly speechless.

May 15th will be two years since Spinner of Secrets was published.

It feels like yesterday and at the same time, it feels like it was a hundred and seventeen years ago.

To celebrate…

GIVEAWAYS.

There’s a giveaway of Through the Pages, with a paperback for US winners and a Kindle edition for everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And a giveaway of Spinner of Secrets, with a paperback for US winners and a Kindle edition for everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wouldn’t be where I am today with the support you all have given along the way. This is my way of saying thanks for an awesome two years. I’m looking forward to many, many more.

Blessings,
Annie

The Witching Hour {book spotlight}

Guess who’s late again? Google broke the ‘schedule posts’ feature on my blog, and I’m still working on a schedule that works, so here we go, a date late. 
Today I’ve got my sweet friend Savannah on the blog!

Do you love cats? Do you enjoy frolicking fantasy, sweet romance, good versus evil, and stories with a good redemption angle? If so, you’re sure to fall in love with The Witching Hour, a fantasy with fairy tale themes and lots of giggles.
Witching Hour_Character Card Graphic

{about The Witching Hour}

part one
As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Romeo takes it upon himself to find a suitor for his human Isabel in order to save the city and sets his sights on the unlikeliest of candidates. Can true love really save the day? Read Part One for FREE on Kindle and Most Digital Stores.

part two
When Isabel disappears in the middle of the night, matters take a turn for the worst. Romeo finds himself trekking through the dangerous wildlands to rescue the young queen with a clownish wizard, a sassy she-cat, a pretty healer, and a mysterious solider. However, their only hope may be the very thing Romeo fears most. Can Romeo and his friends save the day before the shadows consume them?

Preorder for $.99/Releases March 25! Don’t forget to add the novella to your Goodreads Shelf.

The Witching Hour is a frolicking fantasy adventure with fairy tale themes and clean romance. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander. Rated: PG for thematic elements and mild battle sequences

 You can enter to win a FREE paperback of THE COMPLETE STORY, Parts One AND Two in one cute paperback. To enter, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway. Winner will be chosen March 30th.

This giveaway is US ONLY. Enter the Giveaway!

DSCF6135

 


{about the author}

Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

Learn more about Savannah Jezowski

Want to know about sales and new releases? Sign up for Savannah’s newsletter.

Be sure to check out all the stops in The Witching Hour Blog Tour. There will be fun character interviews, guest posts, book reviews and more!

March 18 – http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
March 19 – http://cobonham.com
March 20 – https://thefoldedworld.wordpress.com
March 21 – https://tammylash.wordpress.com/
March 22 – http://jenelleschmidt.com www.angeleya.com
March 24 – http://corinnejet.wordpress.com
March 25 – https://dragonpenpress.com/ RELEASE DAY
March 26 – https://annielouisetwitchell.com/
March 27 – www.hlburkeauthor.com/blog
March 28 – http://megdendler.blogspot.com/
March 29 – http://sjeckert.wordpress.com

A Letter to Santa Claus



A short, fictional letter exchange I found myself toying with while I made lunch on November 29th. It was originally posted here.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Dear Santa Claus,
Hi. I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I’m Emily Grayson from Temple, Maine. It’s been a while since I’ve written a letter to you. I think the last time I did, I was eight. I’m almost thirteen now. But my town is hosting a Letters to Santa thing at the library and I’m stuck here while my mom reads Christmas books to a bunch of little kids, and I figured, what do I have to lose? Nothing.

Here’s the deal. Santa, I don’t think you’re real. I think you’re just a story, made up to keep kids happy. (And to make them behave.) My brother likes to talk about the numbers and how it’s impossible for you to do what they say you do, but the numbers aside:

My friend Carole didn’t get any presents last year. I’m not allowed to go to her house anymore because her father drinks and my parents don’t think it’s safe. I know Carole wrote to you last year, because I paid for the stamp on the letter. (She picked a stamp with your picture on it.) She said she asked for two things, but she only told me about one of them, a bike so she could come over to my house a lot more often.

She didn’t get her bike. And I don’t think she got the second wish either.

I don’t think you’re real, Santa. If you’re real, then why are there still wars and sick people and all that? For that matter, I don’t think God is real either. He’s supposed to love us. And you’re supposed to bring happiness. Well Santa, things aren’t so happy for Carole. Either you don’t exist, or you don’t care, or you failed at your job. And same goes for you too, God.

I’m tired of seeing Carole get disappointed. She’s always believed in you, Santa. She’s always trusted that you’ll make things better. And things are never better, and she gets sad, but then she says, “Maybe next year.” But next year isn’t ever different.

If you’re real, Santa, or God, or whoever reads this letter, you have to prove it. Carole’s address is 165 Meadow Lane in Temple. If you’re really real, give her the best Christmas ever.

Sincerely, 

Emily Grayson

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Dear Emily,

I received your letter. Thank you for writing about these concerns. You simply would not believe how many people just give up hoping, instead of trying to do something about it.

Emily Grayson, maybe I am just a story. But stories are mighty powerful things, young lady. Stories let us dream. Stories let us hope. Stories let us believe. And stories show us the light and good in the world.

In the end, Emily, that is what matters most. Love is even more powerful than stories, young lady, and when hearts are full of love, they light up the world. I know your parents might think you are too young to be worried about wars and death and darkness, but you see these things. They worry you. They worry me too, and all the other helpers.

You see, I am a helper. Humans are curious creatures, Emily. They can withstand impossible things, but if you take hope away from them, they fade away so fast that you wonder if they were ever there at all. As a helper, my job is to keep that spark of hope alive. You’ve seen it in your friend Carole. She always hopes that next year will be different. And it is because she hopes that she is so strong.

I am only one of a great many helpers. And I would like to invite you to be a helper, too. You see people. You care about them. You want things to be better for them.

Maybe you have all the proof you need.

With love,
Nicholas

P.S. — I will see what I can do for Carole.


Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Image from Pixabay

Black Friday {sale and giveaway}


I wanted to tell you about a HUGE sale that is going on this weekend! There are over 150 titles available and they are all either $.99 or FREE! There are also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly discounted prices as well, and the good news is they are all clean reads! Be sure to go check out this amazing sale here.

There is also an amazing giveaway going on! Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the 2nd place winner gets 20 e-book titles from the sale for free!

You can sign up for the giveaway here.

Giveaway runs from November 22nd till November 26th @12AM ET. Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd place prize is open Internationally.

2nd Place Winner Receives 20 E-books:

Gather Round the Fables by Erika Matthews
The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Kirkpatrick AudioBook
The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick Audiobook
Coffee Shop Christmas by Ryana Lynn Miller
The Land of Cotton by Ryana Lynn Miller
Entertaining Angels, Entertaining Angels Book 1 by Emerald Barnes
Secret’s Kept by Jennette Mbewe
The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue
Beyond Broken Pencils by Julie C. Gilbert
Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert
Soldier On by Vanessa Rasanen
Burning Rose by Hope Ann
Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
Imani Earns Her Cape by Bokerah Brumley
October by J. Grace Pennington
Disowned by Sarah Addison Fox
My Compass Home by Michaela Bush
Summer Shadows and Necessary Evil by Killarney Traynor

Grand Prize Winner Receives 20 Paperbacks:

Mythical Doorways by Jenelle Schmidt
Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum
Kiera by Kate Willis
Because Anonymous Diana L. Sharples
After: Book One in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
Specter: Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones
Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash
London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn
When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn
Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood
Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman
Bridgers: A Parable (paperback) by Angie Thompson
Love Blind (paperback) by Angie Thompson
Code by Angie Thompson
Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah Morris
The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek
He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness by Sara Willoughby

{Links}

Book Sale takes place HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ink Blotted Beka {blog tour}

Here are some of my favorite pieces from Beka’s portfolio! I’m definitely going to have to contact her to do some character sketches. 

{Schedule}

Oct. 1

Oct. 2

Oct. 3

Oct. 4

Oct. 5

Oct 6.

Oct. 7

Oct. 8



{Creator Links}



{Creator Bio}

Beka hails from the Great White North (aka Canada), where she reads, dreams, and doodles away. She loves bringing characters from the written page to the visual eye, and dabbles in pencil and coloured pencil and the occasional watercolor. Her dream is to one day get into digital art and save some trees.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Through the Pages {blog tour finale}

{This post was supposed to be shared yesterday, but my scheduling isn’t working on my blog (I had it scheduled and it wouldn’t publish) and I was so busy yesterday, I never had a chance to get on and post it. So here’s my finale post, on the 16th instead of the 15th. Oh well.}
Lately, I’ve been thinking about ‘why’. I saw an ad on Facebook for a promotion company, and they said finding your ‘why’ for your art can help a lot. I got upset at first because I didn’t have a why, and I felt a bit threatened. It was weird. 
And then the other night I was walking the dog and thinking about things and I realized I knew what my ‘why’ is. 
My friends have some pretty incredible reasons why they write, and mine isn’t very big or incredible like theirs, but it sums up the reason why I write, very well. 

I write to tell stories. 
That’s it. 
There are themes in my stories that stay the same through most of them–themes of hope, love, forgiveness, joy–but at the end of the day I write to tell a story. 
Like I shared in The Hobbit {my favorite book}, stories are terribly important to me. I write stories because stories are what saved me. Not a sermon thinly wrapped in prose, not someone else’s agenda. Just stories. 
The stories I write are varied, in all genres, of all types. My reason for writing is just simply to tell you a story. I hope that they will be stories you enjoy. I hope they will be stories that move you. I hope they will be stories that someday, will climb down into the pit with a kid and help them back up to daylight, just like I had happen. 
I’m learning. 
I’m growing. 
And as I learn and grow, my stories will grow with me. 
But today and always, my goal is to lay before you a good story. 
Join us on Sunday, September 16th for a Facebook party and a giveaway at the party! RSVP here.
The Kindle e-book edition of Through the Pages is only 2.99 for just a couple more days! Click here to pick it up. 

-Annie

Through the Pages {blog tour and poems}


Today, I’ve collected a few of Harper’s poems to share with you all. Well, poems and journal entries. They often end up being the same thing when Harper writes them.

It feels so odd to be free. We’re not at war. Didn’t think the war would end. Didn’t think I would come home. But I did. Irene was waiting. We’re getting married. She’s beautiful but that doesn’t begin to describe her. She’s like the stars I could see from the ship, way out there in the ocean.

Been home a few weeks. Pa doesn’t care if I do chores. He didn’t think I was coming home but here I am. Found this old journal in the bottom of my duffel and forgot about it. I’d almost forgotten about Christopher. It’s been years. At the same time it hasn’t been any time at all and I can still hear his voice in the back of my mind. “Harp, you’re going to tell my girl that I love her, right?” I promised him I would but the issue is, I don’t know her name.

Irene’s an angel. I’m good if she’s here. Wish she’d sing more. Her voice is perfect because it’s home.
House is freezing. Some of the farm help didn’t come home. They won’t come home again. Pa’s collected their things to post back to their families.

I didn’t have to live, God. You know that, right? Sometimes I wish I hadn’t. Coming home and seeing all the dead hopes and all the new tombstones and — all the empty seats in the church pews. War is hell. God’s not there. I am sick of the stink of blood and sound of death. I can smell it. I can hear it. Said it was for right and freedom but I don’t know anymore. I can hear the shells in my mind. I can hear the screams. God, please, make it stop. I think I’m going insane.

I want to live on a mountaintop somewhere. A quiet place. With Irene and maybe some kids.

H.S.

1946


Do not weep for the fading of the autumn
Do not weep for the drifting leaves
Do not weep for the earth at rest
Do not weep for the changing of the stars
and the chilling of the air
The winter is near
A world of peppermint ice and frosted lace.
Do not weep for the changing tides, my love
Life is ever changing.
Life is the same.


H.S.
November 1982






These people here, these young and happy folk,
they don’t understand.

Their minds are filled with colors and equality and they fight, not in mud-filled trenches, but in minds and hearts. They don’t understand us but I think, maybe, I don’t understand them either.

They are young.

They are free.

They are brave.

They’re the future, and I am the past.

Both of us are soldiers, I and the little girl who stood at the front of the crowd on the sidewalk who jumps when the guns fire the final salute. My name isn’t on the memorial statues, but so many other names that I know are.

It will be good to rest, won’t it?


H.S.
Memorial Day 1992



Thanks for reading!

Join us on Sunday, September 16th for a Facebook party and a giveaway at the party! RSVP here.

The Kindle e-book edition of Through the Pages is only 2.99 for just a few more days! Click here to pick it up. 


-Annie


Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Through the Pages {blog tour launch}

Through the Pages never got a blog tour or a release party, because it was a secret birthday surprise for my mom. So we’re doing one now, a month or so after the release date. Better late than never, right? 

Spring will always follow Winter. 

Misty doesn’t know who she is. Nineteen years old, she’s trapped inside who she has been, with no idea who she could be. 

When she goes to Mill’s End to take care of her stubborn, book-loving grandmother, she finds herself torn between past and present. The answer to who she is lies hidden in her grandmother’s library. Her path to find herself takes her through the fading pages of dusty books and the memories of a woman who has lived a full life. It is up to Misty to write the final chapter to the dearest story of them all.

In this tour, you can look forward to meeting some of the characters, reading some interviews and reviews, and at the end of the week, we’ll have a Facebook party and a giveaway!

Here’s the link to the Facebook party so you can RSVP: Through the Pages Release Party

The Kindle e-book edition of Through the Pages is only 2.99 for the length of the tour! Click here to pick it up. 

This is a week-long event! Here’s the approximate schedule:

Sunday, September 9th:
Monday, September 10th:
Tuesday, September 11th:
Wednesday, September 12:
Thursday, September 13th:
Friday, September 14th:
Saturday, September 15th:
I hope to see you around!

The Worth of a King {blog tour}

The Worth of a King Blog Tour




Okay, for starters, look at this cover: 
Isn’t it AMAZING? I’ve been watching this for a while now, just because of that cover. I didn’t end up with time to do a review of it, because I didn’t have time to read it, because I’ve been a little busy with my own novel, but I have a short excerpt to share with you!

{Book Description}

Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.
The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.


{Excerpt}

IN his panic, Adrian forgot that there was a party outside. A party for his twin sister. Because their father had been killed the day they were born.

It was impossible. It was a bad dream. It had to be. Perhaps a practical joke taking advantage of how he shared a birthday with the princess. Yes, yes, that was all this was. It had to be.
“Oh, Adrian!” Christa’s voice cut into his thought. “You’re awake! Oh, if I had only stayed just a few minutes longer! How did you like the cake?”
Adrian swallowed. He’d not even taken a bite of the cake, and he couldn’t tell her that. “I liked it,” he answered instead. It wasn’t a lie. It was a cream cake and she had made it.
“Good.” She gave a satisfied nod and then narrowed her eyes. “Are you all right, Adrian?”
As Adrian floundered for an answer because no, he wasn’t all right, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and Jerolin answered for him. “Oh, it’s just finally set in for him that he has turned eighteen and his carefree childhood is over. I’m sure that you’ll understand next year when you have to leave childhood.”
Christa rocked back on her heels, her frown easing, but not disappearing entirely. “Oh.”
“And you know how grumpy he always is on his birthdays,” Jerolin continued. “It’s just going to be worse this year. You might want to give him some space. Just for today, that is. Come tomorrow, everything should be back to normal.”
Normal? How could Jerolin say that? So flippantly, too. Things wouldn’t be normal tomorrow. Things couldn’t be normal. Never again. He was a prince.
He bolted again. Tore himself from Jerolin’s grip. Headed out of town. Dodging people. Trying to get away. To be alone. To think. He reached the edge of town and kept running. Down the road. Into the woods.
His foot caught on a root and he fell, face-first, into the dirt. He made no effort to get up. Just lay there as the world spun around him.
His parents weren’t his parents. He was the son of Queen Adelaide and the dead king. The murdered king. Was he expected to return to the castle and kill King Ossian in return? Was he supposed to become king?
Oh, but he hated politics.





{Add Book on Goodreads}
{Author Bio}

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.


Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon 



-Annie