The Little Blue Cottage Opens Soon!

Do you love sitting around with friend chatting about books? Does the idea of curling up with a good book and cup of something warm make you smile? I’d like to invite you to come join me at The Little Blue Cottage — OPENING IN ONE WEEK ON NOVEMBER 12! 

LBC Banner

LBC LogoThe Little Blue Cottage (LBC) is the name of a brand new virtual gathering spot for us to discuss all things reading, creativity, faith, and friendship. Imagine pulling up a crunchy gravel driveway to a cute little cottage just off a country road, tucked under tall shade trees and hugged by blooming bushes or showered by dancing fall leaves. There’s a porch for rocking, a fireplace for cozy chats when the air is crisp, stacks of books everywhere you turn, and fresh coffee is always ready.

You can “visit” the LBC by way of a monthly email and an exclusive Facebook group. Here’s what you can expect when you pop by the cottage each month:

  • A FREE Short Story. If you’ve been around a long time, these “flash fiction” stories of approximately 500-1000 words will be similar to the Blue Ridge University series I used to offer in my newsletters. The sweet Southern stories with a hint of romance will be included in each mid-month email. Each installment will build on each other like old fashioned serial stories. You’ll get to know the characters and anticipate what happens next!
  • Book Talk. I’ll share news of new titles releasing, great sales/deals, and recent reviews or book cover reveals from around the Christian fiction community. From time to time, I’ll even welcome an author to stop by for a mini interview or chat.
  • Community & Friendship. Each month in the email, there will be something shared by a member of our LBC community! This might be sharing about a favorite book, posing a question or short devotional to the community for discussion on our private Facebook group page, or even sharing a favorite recipe, memory, or creative idea. If you’ve got ideas on how to encourage our community, let me know!
  • Exclusive Membership in LBC Facebook Group!  Subscribers will receive a link in our first LBC email on November 12 to join a private Facebook group where we can continue getting to know each other. (Subscribing after our LBC launch? No worries! New subscribers will be sent a link, too!) We’ll imagine sitting on the porch in rocking chairs, casually sipping on iced tea (or coffee during the cooler fall season), and chatting the day away.

If you’re already subscribed to my email list, there’s no need to sign up again! You’re already in. If you’re not yet subscribed and would like to join us at The Little Blue Cottage for all things books, reading, writing, and friendship, click the button below!

LBC Sign Up Button

Share this post with your friends so they don’t miss out on a minute of the fun, too!

SEE YOU SOON, FRIENDS!

5 Christmas Novellas to Get You in the Spirit

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the book community! Below are five Christmas novellas (or collections of novellas) that have either recently released or release soon — just in time to get you in the Christmas spirit.

The Perfect Christmas by Bell RenshawTHE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Bell Renshaw

Will the perfect Christmas be enough to convince Beau that a life with Ansley could be equally perfect? Born and raised in Winter, Montana, Beau Bradley can’t imagine life anywhere else. During the holiday season his coffee shop, Mountain Grounds, is as busy as ever and now that his girlfriend is back in town, things finally seem to be lining up—until he gets a call that could change it all. Ansley Strauss is back in Winter after a nine-month, art intensive in Canada and she’s ready to celebrate the Christmas season in the tried and true Winter-style. There’s only one problem: her boyfriend lacks Christmas spirit. Her solution? Make this Christmas perfect to remind Beau just how special this time of year is. Set on a course for ultimate Christmas joy, Ansley and Beau find that life doesn’t always work out the way they hope it will. Beau faces the reality that plans can’t account for everything and sometimes risking it all is the only way. Ansley will have to come to the realization that no matter how perfect things are, it’s the imperfections in life that make it worth living. It’s another Christmas in Winter, Montana where the coffee is always hot and the mistletoe beckons lovers to share a kiss.

Available Now on Amazon

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Once Upon a Christmas novella collectionONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS by Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Toni Shiloh, Angela Ruth Strong, and Jaycee Weaver

Embrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

Upon a Dream (Boyd) — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.

Claim My Heart (Dawn) — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.

A Snow White Christmas (Shiloh) — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.

Christmas Ella (Strong) — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.

A Splash of Love (Weaver) — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

Available Now on AmazonLeaf

Like a Winter Snow by Lindsay HarrelLIKE A WINTER SNOW by Lindsay Harrel

In this standalone holiday novella, return to the charming Cornish village readers fell in love with in The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

Women’s counselor Joy Beckman has always been a friend and helper to all. That’s why she’s given up everything to be with her parents as her mother suffers through Alzheimer’s. Joy may not have a thriving career or a love life at the moment, but she’s doing what she does best—taking care of others. And even though it’s difficult, she knows it’s where she is supposed to be.

But life throws a curveball when she has to leave her parents temporarily to travel to Cornwall, England, for the Christmas-time wedding of her best friend. While there, Joy helps Sophia tackle her last-minute to-do list, and in the process, finally meets a man who turns her head—and her heart. The only problem? He lives in snowy London, and her life is with her parents back in sunny Florida.

She tries to resist Oliver Lincoln’s charms, but it’s harder than it should be. With her heart torn in two, Joy is forced to choose between a life she knows she’s meant for and the one she didn’t see coming.

Available for Pre-Order (releases October 29) on Amazon

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The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachel HauckTHE WEDDING DRESS CHRISTMAS by Rachael Hauck

December comes to quaint Hearts Bend, Tennessee, with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there is no place like home. Her onetime love of adventure ended when her life in the big city came crashing down. Now that she’s home, she never wants to leave again.

Country music sensation Buck Mathews has charmed the world with his smile and his music. However, news of his mother’s illness brought him home to Hearts Bend for the holiday season.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. But when her high school crush returns to town, her buried feelings surface.

Busy with his career, Buck hasn’t had time for family and friends, much less love. Seeing JoJo in The Wedding Shop reminds him there are things more important than his career.

But JoJo and Buck have opposing life goals, and there’s no middle ground. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmas, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

With the help of a very special wedding dress, there just might be a Christmas miracle.

Available Now on Amazon

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51ID3OjaRjL._SY346_ROYALLY YOURS by Ashley Clark, Liz Johnson, Betsy St. Amant, Melissa Tagg

Royalty meets small-town charm in this collection of four heartwarming romances.

Tinsel, Vermont is known for its no-paparazzi policy and Christmas decorations that are fit for a queen. This holiday season, join four royals on a stroll through town square as they each find their Christmas wishes for a happily-ever-after…tiaras optional.

Available for Pre-Order (releases November 5) on Amazon

 

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Have you read any of these yet? Let me know what’s been your favorite so far, what you’re most excited to read, or what other Christmas books you’re looking most forward to this season.

You’re Invited!

You're invited to follow me on Instagram!

Long lost friends of this little corner of my world! How the heck are ya? I’m oh so slowly tip-toe’ing into a revival of my author/designer self…much like fall is oooooh sooooo slowly creeping into Texas.

For now, I’ve got one simple reason for writing. YOU’RE INVITED to join me on Instagram! I’ve just launched an author account dedicated to all things books, writing, happy endings (and the may journeys it takes to get there), encouragement, laughter, and much more. If you’re on Instagram and think this sounds like your jam, you can find me @teresatysinger_author.

Want to go a step farther? Share my new account with your friends and family! There’s always room at the table for more of us!

I can’t wait to catch up with everyone and start sharing what’s going on in my world, all the new books coming out soon I’m excited to read, what’s on the horizon for my own writing, etc. Tell me what’s up with you in the comments.

HUGS!

Weary But Willing

Weary But Willing by Teresa Tysinger

Have you ever been to the beach and found yourself stuck in a barrage of oncoming waves? Unable to catch your footing or your breath before another wall of water knocks you over? It’s a debilitating combination of fear and exhaustion.

I’m in a season that feels like a perpetual turnstile of wave after wave pushing me into the rough sand with just enough breath to survive another jaunt to the surface. A husband working out of town full-time for going on nine months), up to 2-hours of a commute every day, an illness of a parent that left me worried more than I realized, and now a move back across the country planned for the end of the summer. Packing our household up on my own, managing a super full summer of camps and activities for my daughter, fitting in time with family and friends before we leave, finding a new job. And writing this novella that’s been in the works for months now and is due to my editor in ONE MONTH.

I can’t catch my breath.

Today while sharing with some friends about the struggle to write a story that just isn’t coming to me (in the little amount of time I have), I wrote something that stopped me in my tracks. I’m weary, but I’m willing.

Woah. God doesn’t expect me to have it all together. In fact, just the opposite. 

Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

He wants me to come to Him with my exhaustion, loneliness, uncertainty of the future, and over-committed schedule and let him carry it. I also bring him my willingness. I’m willing to do the hard work. I’m willing to welcome Him as my guide and partner. I’m willing for Him to use my writing to tell even one person about His truth and love. 

During this season that our family has been living apart, we’ve adopted the motto “We can do hard things!” It’s a quick reminder that we are bendable but not breakable. If you need proof that God gets it — understands what we often go through on this side of heaven — just consider some of the most recognizable Bible verses:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” – Philippians 4:13

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, I you will not drown.” – Isaiah 43:2

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

My draft is due to my editor on June 7. So, I’m working on a writing schedule for the next month. It will mean pushing myself to some limits. Late nights. Saying no to other things. Asking my daughter for extra patience and independence. But we can do hard things.

You can do hard things, too. God is there to take the burden when the waves crash in and steal your breath. He will  not let us break.

Amen!

Watch Me Write & a SALE

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You know those friends who you can go months or maybe years without speaking to, then pick right back up where you left things in one single phone call, text, or visit? I’m hoping we’re those kinds of friends!

It’s been another hot minute (are kids still saying that?) since I posted anything here. It seems finding my stride has proved illusive during a season of life that can only be described as a bit chaotic. My husband is still on on the road full-time with one of the national tours of Hamilton, my commute to work here in Nashville is consistently 50 minutes each way, and our daughter is at the age where her after-school calendar makes mine look pretty sad.

Given all of this, maybe you won’t be too surprised to hear that I’ve written exactly ONE CHAPTER of my novella that’s due to my editor in early June. To recap, this novella is part of a collection of six contemporary re-tellings of fairy tales with a holiday twist. The collection will release in the fall and I’m so excited.

But, it won’t write itself.

So, in an effort to seek some accountability, I have started #WatchTeresaWrite on my social feeds. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter as I log my word count, aiming for a total of 28,000 words. (I’ll check in periodically here, too.)

Want to know more about the fairy tale I’m retelling? Check back soon for a little more, but our heroine will be busy looking for something (or someone) juuuuust right. Any guesses? Stay tuned…

SALE ANNOUNCEMENT

Technically, this isn’t a sale, but hopefully that got your attention. The Kindle eBook of my debut novel, Someplace Familiar is now permanently reduced to just $0.99! Get your copy and add it to your To Be Read pile today!

Someplace Familiar $0.99

I Must Be Crazy – NaNoWriMo and Other Fall Things

We’re knee deep in autumn here in Middle Tennessee. Leaves are an impressive array of golds and reds and oranges, the breeze is a little cooler every day, and pumpkin has permeated everything from our porches to our coffee cups. Halloween has come and gone, ushering in what, for most of us, is the busiest season of the year. As the saying goes, the New Year will be here before we know it.

I Must Be Crazy: NaNoWriMo and Other Fall Things

So, November naturally serves as the perfect time to take on a massive new project, right? Along with several author friends, I have accepted the challenge to once again participate in National Novel Writer’s Month, referred to as NaNoWriMo, and write 50,000 words during the month of November. I must be crazy.

I do have my reasons (she said behind wide eyes and a racing heart). I’ve signed on the be part of a very exciting novella collection set to come out early next fall! I will join hands with five other Christian authors to bring you some unique stories sure to satisfy your love story cravings. I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon.

You won’t be surprised to know that I’ve not written steadily for quite some time. Book two of the Laurel Cove series is still in need of a lot of attention! But this novella has really inspired me and I’ve decided to let NaNoWriMo give me the chance to hammer out the first draft. If you’ve been with me for a long time, you may remember that the first draft of Someplace Familiar was written during NaNoWriMo way back in 2013! If I can stick with it, it’s a really fun and exhilarating experience.

The novella needs to be only about 25,000 words. So, book two might just get the chance to grow a little, as well. I toyed with the idea of cramming in a Christmas novella, like I’d announced I had plans for a while back. But I’ve learned the hard way recently that life sometimes throws wrenches into the mix. Back in September, my husband joined one of the national tours of Hamilton! We’re so thankful for the opportunity, but that leaves me flying solo at Fort Tysinger. Less time for myself and a few more responsibilities. The days feel shorter and to-do list longer.

Have I said how crazy it is to take on NaNoWriMo right now?

But, we serve a BIG God who somehow empowers us to do much bigger things that we consider ourselves capable of managing. Often times, it’s just saying “Yes, God” today, then tomorrow, then the next day. And having grace with ourselves on days we need to take a breather and rest in Him.

If you’re still hanging on, I’d sure appreciate your encouragement and prayers during this crazy month. How can I pray for you?

Back in the South Again

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve likely seen that my family and I recently made a big move. We packed up and left the summer furnace of Texas for the rolling warm hills of Nashville, Tennessee.

And my Southern-loving heart couldn’t be happier.

While a new job opportunity for me sparked the move, there is so much to be thankful for being back in the Southeast. Here are my top five reasons this relocation has me feeling all the feels…

  1. We’re closer to my family than we’ve been in 20 years. Ever since I left for college back in 1999 (gasp!), I’ve not lived closer than 8.5 hours to my parents. Now, they are a short and easy 2-hour drive straight down I-65! What’s better? My sister and nephew are not much farther, too! So long to the days of planning flights months in advance, boarding the dog, and TSA security lines just to hug their necks. We’ve already seen my folks several times and my mom is even here this week helping take our daughter to VBS while we work.
  2. I can now commune with my muse. (Wow, what a cheesy line. Sorry. LOL) My author tag line is “Charming Southern romance inspired by grace.” While many consider Texas to be a Southern state, it’s got nothing on the charm and small town culture of this region. Now, my office building is on historic Music Row near downtown Nashville, so I’m not claiming to be front porch rockin’ all day long. But the surrounding rolling hills, blue grass music, down home meat-and-three meals, and friendly hat-tipping are what the stories in my heart are made of. Can’t wait to see how this place inspires me to get back to regular writing.

    IMG_8040The gorgeous (and green) view from our new porch!

  3. The food scene is insane. Now, to be fair, we had zero complaints about the food in Fort Worth. No arguments from us that Texas knows how to do BBQ, Tex-Mex, and margaritas. But, Texas ain’t got nothing on Tennesee fried chicken, Southern sides, cobbler, and sweet tea. We lunched at the famous Puckett’s Grocery in downtown Franklin after church this past Sunday and might end up regulars. Don’t take my word for it, let the picture of my lunch prove it.

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    To top it off, you’re hard pressed to find an eating establishment in the area that doesn’t offer sensational live music. I mean, it’s “Music City” for a reason and everyone is good.

  4. We are within driving distance, once again, to some of our favorite places. When we lived in North Carolina, we were used to being able to drive a few hours and be in numerous different states, destinations, landscapes, etc. Then we moved to Texas and felt a tad land-locked. There were a lot of great places to see in Texas, but we love the ability to get in the car and take a day trip to some of our favorite places: Atlanta for a Brave’s game, Gatlinburg for fall festivities, Chattanooga for family fun, and just about any direction for some of the best outdoor exploring through hiking trails, waterfalls, scenic views, and more. We can’t wait to get out there again!
  5. The charming, small town culture warms my heart. Really similar to number two, this final reason to celebrate our new home really hones in on the sort of family experience I love. We’re settling in Franklin, a quaint but fast-growing town about 25 minutes outside of Nashville.

    Downtown Franklin Main Street_0Photo courtesy of tnvacation.com

    You may have heard of it as a top choice for celebrities looking for some anonymity to raise their families without being hounded by paparazzi. (I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Natalie Grant, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, or maybe Carrie Underwood and will report any sightings!) But, there’s a lot about Franklin I’ve wanted for my family for a long time…things like a mix of country/city, lots of festivals, steeped in American history, Saturday markets where folks stroll and engage in friendly catching up. I know Franklin doesn’t have the market on this sort of place — maybe your town is the same! But the DFW area of Texas was more metropolitan than I care for, and I’m excited to enjoy this new pace of life.

While I’ve got your attention, be sure to pop over to Faithfully Bookish where Beth is talking to one of my favorite authors, Courtney Walsh about her favorite book cover fonts. So excited and honored that Someplace Familiar made Courtney’s list! There’s some great other covers as well as a giveaway of Courtney’s latest release, Just Let Go.

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99 Cent Sale – Through May 31!

Get Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger for ONLY $0.99 this month!

Just breezing through super fast (what a crazy busy week as we prepare to move across the country to Tennessee in just over a week!) to give an announcement you won’t want to miss!

What better way to celebrate a BOOK BIRTHDAY than to have a SALE?!

Read Someplace Familiar on your favorite e-reader this summer for only $0.99*! The sale ends when the birthday does, after May 31.

Get Your Copy Here!

*US only; also discounted in other countries, but prices will vary slightly.

Embracing Freedom (Not Guilt) When Taking Control and Doing Things Your Way

Embracing Freedom (Not Guilt) When Taking Control & Doing Things Your Way

When I blogged earlier this week, it was for the first time in months. If you’ve been a long-time follower, you know that there have been other seasons when I’ve backed away for various reasons. Life happens, people. I have learned a great deal about myself through the process of blogging, writing at my own pace, seeking traditional publication, and ultimately choosing to independently publish my book.

In many ways, I’ve gone against the flow of some of my peers enough now that I’ve learned to let go of the guilt and insecurities and instead embrace the freedom that comes with realizing I’m in charge of my own life.

Now, before I go on, let me be clear. I am in NO WAY saying that those who find themselves on the more well-paved path of any journey in life are going about it the wrong way and giving up control. In fact, just the opposite. Whatever you do, whichever road you take — be it paved in gorgeous cobblestones or totally uncharted — you’re the driver. Own it.

Some things I’ve learned about myself through the last year of navigating my path I’ve actually known deep down for a long time. I just never wanted to admit it. Because in my head, what are actually truths about me were being filtered through some crazy cultural (maybe emotional, too) machine that spewed out a distorted lie. Here are a few examples of lies I grew to believe and the truths I’ve had to rediscover.

LIE: I am lazy.
TRUTH: I have high standards and feel paralyzed when I feel overwhelmed.

LIE: If I can’t produce (book writing) on a regular schedule, I am a failure.
TRUTH: My value is in Christ and not in my accomplishments.

LIE: I am too emotional and irrational.
TRUTH: God made me a highly sensitive person and He has plans to use it for good.

I like those truths much better. They give me life instead of stealing my joy. Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that not working at the same energetic pace as my husband, for instance, who can get more done in the blink of an eye than I can in a whole weekend, made me less-than. I convinced myself that being emotional most of the time equated to weaker.

Kill the Spider by Carol WhittakerA while back, I read Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker. In this straightforward personal account of battling demons, Carlos shares the brilliant concept that we’ve got to stop simply sweeping away the cobwebs and finally find and kill the spider producing them. (I admit to feeling gobsmacked by such a simple yet profound analogy!) I’ve realized that I’ve been feverishly sweeping away the cobwebs made up of lies like the ones listed above. But where was the spider spinning the webs? What does it look like and where does it hide?

For me, the spider is false identity. I’ve been putting my identity in things other than the Truth:

  • Teresa the Overweight
  • Teresa the Emotional Basketcase
  • Teresa the Lazy
  • Teresa the Overwhelmed
  • Teresa the Less-Than
  • Teresa the Out-of-Control
  • Teresa the Quick-to-Frustrate

There are so many to name that the resulting cobwebs became too thick to sweep away. And, so, my true identity became hidden behind a thick, sticky mass of cobwebs.

I lost sight of my one true identity:

  • Child of God, which makes me the Princess of the King of Glory!

Wow. Sounds like a WAY BETTER perspective to live by. It is the ONLY identity that matters. It is the true identity that informs all other parts of me. And living into THIS identity leaves me no choice but to cast off the lies and take joy in being in control of who God made me to be.

There is FREEDOM, friends, in doing things the way that feels right for you. I needed to take time off from writing until God placed back upon me the desire to create again based on His prompting. It may take me another three years to write a book, like it did the first time around. And if it does, that’s OK. I’ve got a lot of life going on in the background that’s just as important.

The “Places” in Someplace Familiar

We’re a few days in to the month of Someplace Familiar‘s FIRST BOOK BIRTHDAY! It’s fun to sit and remember the story that became so dear to me over the years of writing, editing, and promoting. I thought it would be fun to take a few minutes to remember one of my favorite places in the book: The Laurel Cove Inn. (Promise, no spoilers!)

The inn is Livy’s first stop once she pulls into the quaint mountain town of Laurel Cove, NC. Sitting in her car fresh on the interstate, she gives us a sneak peek at what she sees.

Livy, the heroine from the southern romance novel Someplace Familiar, details her first glimpse of the quaint Laurel Cove Inn.

Interesting behind-the-book detail: the Laurel Cove Inn is based on a REAL PLACE! Laurel Cove is inspired by the hometown of my best friend from college, Burnsville, NC. The Nu-Wray Inn sits on the square of Burnsville and directly inspired the inn in the book. While I’ve not been to the Nu-Wray in over 15 years, its charm and beauty have stuck with me all this time. Here’s a picture of the actual Nu-Wray Inn…

The Nu-Wray Inn in Burnsville, NC inspired the Laurel Cove Inn in the novel, Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

Isn’t it gorgeous? That white siding! The brick columns! The “dainty” iron stoop on the second floor window! Be still my country-loving heart.

If you’ve read Someplace Familiar, what is your favorite part of the inn? Which scene that takes place at the inn is your favorite? I’d love to know!

I’ve also had some readers ask if the Laurel Cove Inn’s beloved innkeeper, Aunt Bea, will show up in any future stories. She made her way to the top of the list of many readers’ favorite secondary characters (and mine, too!). I have no doubt you’ll be seeing more of Aunt Bea one day. Wink, wink.

Stay tuned for more fun memories, favorite reviews, behind-the-book exclusives, and maybe even some fun giveaways throughout this birthday month.

Not yet read Someplace Familiar?
Get your copy HERE today!