‘my rock and my refuge’ book tour: interview with author Rachel Kovaciny.

Hey, everyone! Today, I’m thrilled to present an interview with Rachel, a dear friend and a gifted writer. I reviewed her newest book My Rock and My Refuge a couple days ago, so if you’re wondering what all the hype is about, go check out my review! And now, let’s get right into the interview.

Describe My Rock and My Refuge in five words.

Human beings don’t thrive alone.

What first inspired you to write My Rock and My Refuge?

Um. Well, I came up with the basic idea for it about the time I wrote Cloaked. I knew I wanted to do a series, and I kind of mapped out which six fairy tales I thought I could retell as westerns — and that was back in 2016. So the first germination, I don’t directly remember. I do know my idea from the start was to retell Beauty and the Beast with a heroine who wasn’t a starry-eyed teenager. And it all built from there.

What was the hardest part about writing My Rock and My Refuge? The easiest?

The length has been a new challenge — the second round of revisions bumped it up to 125,000 words, which is far and away the longest thing I’ve ever written. The whole writing and publishing process has just been so much longer because, even though the final version is only around 103,000 words, that’s twice as long as any of the previous books I’ve published, and so every step takes twice as long.

The easiest part was getting to know the characters while writing the first draft. I didn’t have one single stinker who didn’t want to open up, this time. Usually, I have at least one who just will not talk to me and share their motives or plans or desires, but everyone in this was really amenable!

What elements of Beauty and the Beast are included in My Rock and My Refuge?

BATB is tricky to retell, I found, because it doesn’t have as many recognizable outward elements as a lot of fairy tales. Like, there’s a rose and a painting of Beast before his transformation, and a beautiful person and a not-beautiful person. Not like Cinderella with her glass slipper and her fairy godmother and her beautiful ball gown and the coach, etc. I really had to dig into the story itself to find the core themes and story arcs, and go with those.

So, yes, there’s a rose that gets taken without permission. The ‘beast’ lives in a castle-like house. We do see a painting of him from before his scars. The main character is a beautiful woman. Instead of a magic mirror that lets her see her family, we have telegrams and letters. Also, the original version of BATB has lots of siblings for Beauty — sisters who are snide and selfish, and brothers who are just absolutely wonderful. They try to take their sister’s place as the Beast’s captive, they try to stop her from returning to him later — they’re super. So I gave my Beauty, Marta, a wonderful brother, Jakob, who goes on her journey with her, protects her when he can, guides and comforts her… but also causes a few problems. They have vain sisters back home, too.

But what I really leaned into was the themes of Beauty and the Beast, which I see as being 1) It’s not good to live alone — people need companionship, and 2) When you love someone, they become lovable, not the other way around. And I tried to work those into the story arcs for both Marta and Arthur — both of them have been really lonely, and both of them are not especially lovable in some ways, but when they start to love each other, then they each become more lovable.

Is there any special significance to the names of your main characters—Arthur Wendell and Marta Beckmann?

Of course there is! Arthur means “bear.” Wendell also means “bear.” Not only does Arthur’s backstory involve a significant encounter with a bear, but he even compares himself to a bear hiding in a cave, at one point.

Marta comes from the Bible account of Mary and Martha, two sisters who were friends with Jesus. Martha is described as an incredibly hardworking and hospitable woman who works and works to make a meal for Jesus and his disciples. Marta here has that same drive to serve and help and make and do. And she also needs to learn that she can’t and should not do everything — that listening to God and relying on him more than on herself is more important.

Beckmann means baker in German. The Beckmann family have been bakers for a long time, so that made sense to me for a family name. And it looks distinctly German, so I like that it tells you their ethnicity right away.

Can you share a few of your favorite, non-spoilery quotes to whet our appetite?

Try these for size:

We found ourselves surrounded by buildings that all leaned drunkenly to one side. Paint peeled from their wooden walls, and the roofs bowed and twisted at unnatural angles. The windows in those buildings had no glass, making me think of empty eye sockets. I shivered.


“We maybe all should have scars we can see, if they would help us remember the times when we have been hurt but He did not allow us to be destroyed. The scars can remind us of escaping too, can they not? Even the ones no one else is seeing.”


When he had closed the door behind himself, I groaned. This would not do. I should not be noticing how nice my employer looked when he walked. I should not be saying things to make him smile. Between us, there could be a small comfortableness, only that. No friendship. Certainly nothing beyond friendship. I must watch myself.


I closed my eyes. This, I thought, is how any woman would like to be kissed. As if she is a treasure that a man does not want to let go of.


Big Ben had the strangest response of them all: he placed one hand on my head and said, “Bless you for reminding us to be human, Marta Beckmann.” Then he turned away before I could pretend I had not seen the tears in his eyes.

Who’s your favorite secondary character?

Jakob, Marta’s brother. He’s a brick. But he’s also funny. And kind. And loyal. And protective. He’s how I’d want to be if I was an older brother instead of an older sister.

Which character do you relate to the most?

I see myself the most in Mrs. Craig. She’s sensible and hard-working, she’s kind and welcoming, and she sticks with her friends no matter what.

What music did you listen to while drafting My Rock and My Refuge?

Mostly, I listened to the soundtrack for Quigley Down Under by Basil Poledouris. That really seemed to hit this book’s cozy, hopeful, but also serious vibe really well. The first draft and the two rewrites were probably 99% that soundtrack. During polishing, though, I went more for Bobby Darin and Dean Martin because they keep me energized.

What’s coming next in the Once Upon a Western series?

Directly next, probably a short story follow-up to MRAMR. The next book, though, will be called Steadfast and is a retelling of the Steadfast Tin Soldier that is going to be… gritty. And dark. And somewhat violent — we’ll get an actual shoot-out or two, and definitely some brawling. So that will be very different!

What is something you hope readers take away from My Rock and My Refuge?

That isolation doesn’t help. Avoiding people, hiding from people — it never leads to good and healthy things. Did I write this book during the aftermath of a pandemic in which many people became afraid of being around other people? Yes, I did. Am I a very shy introvert who often has trouble wanting to be around people? Yes, I am. Do I write my books to preach to myself sometimes? No, not sometimes — always.

Also, pray first. That’s a huge thing I taught myself with this book. I even got myself a ring with that inscribed on it that I wear every day now because I am so bad about remembering to pray before I jump in and try to fix things myself.

Any writing and/or self-publishing advice to share?

Learn how to persevere. Writing for publication is a long haul. If you give up whenever you’re discouraged, then you’re going to have a lot of problems. Get stubborn and don’t let yourself give up.

Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you, Rachel!

Where to find ‘My Rock and My Refuge‘ + Rachel Kovaciny online

Purchase My Rock and My Refuge

Add My Rock and My Refuge on Goodreads

Book tour + giveaway!

Author website

Author newsletter sign-up (free novella!)



Amazon author page

Main blog

Book blog

Do you enjoy fairytale retellings? Did those beautiful quotes inspire you to read My Rock and My Refuge? Do let me know your thoughts about Rachel’s answers!


book review: My Rock and My Refuge by Rachel Kovaciny.

Beauty and the Beast… re-imagined

Marta knows she shouldn’t feel this way toward Mr. Wendell. She needs to keep her job as his servant, especially because her family back in Germany depends on the money she and her brother Jakob send home. Marta’s new feelings can’t be as important as helping her family save their bakery, can they?

Marta doesn’t want to believe the rumors that Mr. Wendell profited from another’s tragedy to gain his wealth. Although his face bears terrible scars, she sees past them to his kind and generous heart. Still, she wonders why he never leaves his big house high in the Colorado mountains. Does he hide himself away because of his disfigured face, or because he has a guilty conscience?

While Marta tries to push away her questions, others are determined to find answers. Their efforts lead to a fresh tragedy that threatens Marta’s hope of finding happiness with Mr. Wendell. Will Marta fail her family and her new friends, or will God bless her efforts to build a happy future for them all?

I remember reading an early draft of My Rock and My Refuge in the summer of 2021 (before it even had a proper title). I read the whole thing in one day and when I was finished, I told my mom “All of the Once Upon a Western books have had heart. But this book has a soul.” Now, over a year later, I’m thrilled to celebrate the release of such a special book—first with this review and, in a couple days, an interview with Rachel herself.

My Rock and My Refuge is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it was a lot of fun seeing all the different ways Rachel incorporated aspects of the fairytale. The stolen rose, the magical mirror, [Disney] Belle’s love of reading (which is uniquely subverted in this retelling), a painting of the Beast, helpful servants, a curse (of sorts), and so on.

Additionally, My Rock and My Refuge contains elements of Jane Eyre. What those elements might be, you’ll just have to read the book to find out. (But there are no wives locked in attics, manipulative heroes, or St. Johns. So…not to worry! XD)

On that note, Marta Beckmann, the main character of My Rock and My Refuge, reminds me of an older Jane Eyre. But she’s also her own forthright person. Although Marta is usually right in her observations of people and situations, she’s not perfect—I absolutely loved how she realizes that she needs to depend on God at all times (instead of herself).

…too often, I relied on myself and my abilities for help, and only asked our Lord for guidance or assistance if I could not solve something myself. That was the wrong order.

When I’m feeling discouraged or downhearted, I gravitate toward movies, shows, and books that have a more overt Christian message. My Rock and My Refuge contains a few theology-heavy conversations (and Marta’s internal monologue is filled with references to her faith and her Lord). I can see why all of that would come across as preachy to some people, but sometimes that kind of thing is just what I need, personally. So I don’t mind the focus on morals and attending church and correcting one’s behavior and thoughts to match up with God’s will.

But anyway! Back to the characters…

Arthur Wendell is the ‘Beast’ in this retelling, but he’s far from beastly. A little gruff at first, even rude. But he’s a good man at heart, something that quickly becomes clear. No, he doesn’t give Marta his library. But he gives her something even better—the means of learning how to read the books in his library. Wendell is deeply loyal to the people he cares for, and that soon includes Marta. Their romance is straightforward and sensible…but also swoon-worthy.

Speaking of swoon-worthy, Marta’s brother Jakob is a sweetheart. Stubborn, but a sweetheart. I agree with another reviewer who said that Jakob should get his own spin-off. I also liked Dan McLeod (Arthur’s friend), Mrs. Craig (Arthur’s housekeeper), Peter Craig (Chip? XD), the miners who buy Marta’s bread, the Lings (friends of Marta’s), and so on. One thing I appreciate about My Rock and My Refuge is that there’s plenty of conflict without anyone being nasty. (Well, with the exception of a few very minor, very racist characters.)

And last but not least, there’s Alex McLeod. He’s the ‘Gaston’ of My Rock and My Refuge (but not a villain). I have the biggest soft spot for Alex. He’s not-so-secretly my favorite character, bringing good days to his mother and buying Marta’s bread and going through the pain of suddenly being an only child instead of the youngest child. I think I’m probably in the minority when it comes to liking Alex, but that’s okay. 😉

My Rock and My Refuge is a Western, a romance, and a fairytale, all wrapped into one beautiful story. It’s like a loaf of good bread: warm, wholesome, and strengthening to the heart (see Psalm 104:15b). I think you’ll love it! I know I do. ❤

Where to find ‘My Rock and My Refuge‘ + Rachel Kovaciny online

Purchase My Rock and My Refuge

Add My Rock and My Refuge on Goodreads

Book tour + giveaway!

Author website

Author newsletter sign-up (free novella!)



Amazon author page

Main blog

Book blog

Have you read My Rock and My Refuge yet? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!


my favorite heroes of 19th century literature.

Having recently read both The Count of Monte Cristo and A Tale of Two Cities, I felt inspired to chat about the heroes of both books—and several others, as it turned out. So without further ado, here’s my list of favorite heroes from books written between 1800 and 1899!

Dan Kean / Little Men & Jo’s Boys (1871 & 1886)

Dan is my favorite fictional character of all time. I’ve discussed him at length in this blog post, but suffice to say that his protectiveness toward those weaker than himself has always endeared him to me. Dan may not seem the most outwardly heroic character at first glance, but he saves many lives and follows his own complicated (though upright) moral compass and…I just love him a lot.

Edmond Dantès / The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)

The Count of Monte Cristo was a wild roller coaster ride of a book. I started out loving and pitying Edmond. When he transformed into the vengeful Count, I drew back from him—he became a borderline villain and, while I still was enjoying the story, I couldn’t like the character anymore. But then…Edmond Dantès came back to himself and I still can’t get over how amazing the transformation was. I’m forever a fan of the book because of the stunning Edmond→Count→Edmond journey.

Sydney Carton / A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

On my latest re-read of A Tale of Two Cities, I noticed more of the book’s flaws. Some of the characters are quite thinly drawn, a fact not helped by all the time jumps. (So. Many. Time jumps.) Some chapters are downright boring. (I skipped them. No regrets.) I even saw more flaws in Sydney himself this time around—I used to give him a pass in the ‘The Fellow of No Delicacy’ chapter, when he says that there’s no chance for him to better himself. But that isn’t really true. He could still have taken the high road and worked hard and made something of himself, despite his broken heart.

But despite all of that, I forgave all the flaws of both the book and Sydney by the time I reached the last few chapters. Because Sydney does change. He does redeem himself. (And I truly believe God redeemed him, which is the most important character change of all.) Sydney’s actions and words toward the seamstress are enough to make me love him forever. And I do—I really do.

Colonel Brandon / Sense & Sensibility (1811)

I admit that my love for Colonel Brandon is at least half due to Alan Rickman’s excellent portrayal of him in the 1995 movie. But the original Colonel Brandon is still a great character in his own right: kind and thoughtful and honorable. (Even if he should have told Elinor and Marianne what he knew about Willoughby.)

If you’re also a fan of Colonel Brandon, I highly recommend Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange. She does a wonderful job of bringing even more depth to the character. ❤

Sherlock Holmes / A Scandal in Bohemia (1891) and on

It’s Sherlock Holmes! What more do I have to say?

Jean Valjean / Les Misérables (1862)

Valjean is undoubtedly selfless. To some people, he may seem too perfect. But when you read the book, you see Valjean’s inner struggles against temptation and wrongdoing. (This is also brought out in the musical, though not as strongly.) I find Valjean both relatable and inspiring and I love how Hugh Jackman portrayed him in the 2012 movie. (Although my favorite Valjean is probably still Colm Wilkinson.)

Honorable mention: Edward Rochester / Jane Eyre (1847)

To be honest, I don’t really love Mr. Rochester. I’ll defend him forever. I’ll even swoon a little over Timothy Dalton’s portrayal of the character. I just don’t have a deep-seated love (or even…liking, half the time) for Mr. Rochester. But he’s an icon of 19th century literature and I do feel a connection to him, despite everything, so honorable mention it is!

Did you spot any favorite characters on this list? Who would you have included? Should I do a ‘favorite heroes of 20th century literature’ post? Let me know in the comments!


cover reveal: TITAN by Brian McBride.

Another exciting cover reveal for you all! This one is for Titan, sequel to Mammoth by Brian McBride. I was a beta reader for Titan, and let me tell you—it’s one exciting, cinematic read. But before I share the synopsis, pre-order details, and all that, take a good look at this stunning cover:

I really, really, really love it. The skull shape, the Indiana Jones (and Lost!) vibes. The beautiful art. I’m such a fan!

Here’s what Titan is about:

In the wake of Apocalypse Island, the Jailbirds find themselves reeling from their loss as winter storms buffet the coast of Mammoth. A failed attempt to expose Orion Clark as the villain he is goes awry, and the Jailbirds are left defeated and desperate once more.

When news breaks of their father’s untimely death, Lydia inherits a mysterious family heirloom while Orion lets Reid in on the family business. A hidden letter from Tommy’s dead father turns up in the Highland home, and the Jailbirds embark on their most dangerous adventure yet. Sailing across the stormy Pacific with Reid and Orion in hot pursuit, they set a course for Peru where deadly revelations and rumors of an ancient curse await them. As a web of secrets that span centuries begins to unravel, everything the Jailbirds thought they knew about themselves is called into question.

A city plagued by a decades long war between the rich and the poor… A rainforest that harbors family secrets and deadly curses… A quest for a legend that just may be more fact than fiction… Adventure comes at a cost, and everyone will pay the price.


Titan on Goodreads

Mammoth on Goodreads

Brian’s Instagram

Brian’s author website

Have you read Mammoth? Are you planning to read Titan? What’s your favorite adventure novel? Let me know in the comments!


cover reveal for MY ROCK AND MY REFUGE by Rachel Kovaciny!

Today, I’m so pleased to be sharing the beautiful cover for Rachel Kovaciny’s soon-to-be-released novel My Rock and My Refuge. MRAMR is a non-magical Beauty and the Beast retelling set in the Old West, book four in the Once Upon a Western series. Rachel has been working on this book for over a year; it’s extremely exciting to finally have a cover!

So without further ado…BEHOLD:

Isn’t it beautiful??? The pink roses are my favorite design element, but I also love the mountains and the mansion and, oh, basically everything. About a year ago, I read an early draft of My Rock and My Refuge, and this cover captures the feel of the book so well: cozy and serious and homey and mysterious.

If you like…

  • Strong and capable heroines
  • Brooding, mysterious, kind heroes
  • Cottagecore vibes
  • Faith-filled themes
  • Fairytale retellings
  • Westerns
  • Happily ever afters

…then you will probably love My Rock and My Refuge. ❤ It release November 8th, so mark your calendars!

Handy links

My Rock and My Refuge on Goodreads

Rachel’s author website

Rachel’s Bookstagram

What do you think of the cover? Are you excited for MRAMR? Have you added it to your Goodreads shelves yet? Do let me know in the comments!


a Tolkien Blog Party 2022 tag.

The annual Tolkien Blog Party (hosted by Rachel @ The Edge of the Precipice) is running for the duration of this week, and it’s been a LOT of fun so far. As always, Rachel has provided a tag for the party participants to fill out. Here are my answers!

Who first introduced you to Middle-earth?

My oldest brother. He bought all three LOTR films (extended editions, thankfully) and showed them to my family. Although it wasn’t until I watched the trilogy by myself a few weeks later that I became really obsessed, I’ll always have my brother to thank for opening my eyes to the wonders of Middle-earth.

Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?

I have a whole shelf dedicated to Tolkien books and movies and merch, so…yeah. 😉 The books and movies and movie soundtracks are all so beautiful; my life is richer because of them.

Have you ever dressed up like a Tolkien character?

Nope. Maybe someday though!

What people in your real life would you want in your company if you had to take the ring to Mordor?

The first person I thought of was my pastor. Which might sound a little odd, but he’s a good archer and knows a lot about the outdoors, camping, edible plants, and all that. He’d also provide spiritual guidance and encouragement when the ring/the quest threatened to send us all plunging into despair. I see this as an absolute win.

As for the rest of our group, I can think of a few other people in my church who’d be good to bring along. But my pastor is my number one pick.

What Middle-earth location would you most like to visit?

Rivendell, for Elrond and the beauty and nostalgia and friendliness of it all. My second and third picks are easily Minas Tirith and Ithilien

Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention?

Éomer. Farmer Maggot. Beregond. Almost everyone from The Silmarillion.

Would you rather attend Faramir’s wedding or Samwise’s wedding?

I’M TORN. Probably Sam’s wedding, even though I love Faramir a lot more. If I saw Faramir, I’d probably end up wishing I was the one marrying him. XD Whereas at Sam’s wedding, I could focus on the delicious food and possibly have a chat with Frodo and/or Merry. Which would be wonderful.

How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?

The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Letters from Father Christmas, and Leaf by Niggle (which is more a short story than a full book).

Are there any books about Middle-earth or Professor Tolkien (but not written by him) that you recommend?

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War was quite good. As was On the Shoulders of Hobbits.

List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the Middle-earth books and/or movies.

...[the Ring] abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable: Bilbo from the Shire! Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought. —LOTR, ‘The Shadow of the Past’

The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment the orcs quailed and the fiery shadow halted. —LOTR, ‘The Bridge of Khazad-dûm’

“But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,” said Frodo.

Sam looked at him unhappily. “It all depends on what you want,” put in Merry. “You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the ring. We are horribly afraid – but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.” —LOTR, ‘A Conspiracy Unmasked’

“Look at me. You look at me.” —Bard, The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

“A great Shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land… —LOTR, ‘The Field of Cormallen’

“If ever beyond hope you return to the lands of the living and we re-tell our tales, sitting by a wall in the sun, laughing at old grief, you shall tell me then.” —LOTR, ‘The Forbidden Pool’ (especially because Tolkien also quoted this in one of his letters to Christopher, who was away fighting during WWII 😭)

And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise. —LOTR, ‘The Grey Havens’

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. —LOTR, ‘The Land of Shadow’

And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns, in dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the north wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last. —LOTR, ‘The Siege of Gondor’

“I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.—LOTR, ‘The Council of Elrond’

How were you introduced to Middle-earth? What are some of your favorite Tolkien quotes? Let me know in the comments!


an appreciation of Éomer.

This blog post is a contribution to the 10th Annual Tolkien Blog Party hosted by The Edge of the Precipice.

While Frodo will forever be my favorite Lord of the Rings character (with Boromir not far behind), Éomer has had a special place in my heart for a while now. Éomer doesn’t get a lot of attention within the fandom, from what I’ve seen, but like many of Tolkien’s characters, he’s wonderful. So today, I’ll be taking a closer look at what makes him one of my favorites.

Éomer is loyal to his family…

The chief obstacles to an easy conquest of Rohan by Saruman were Théodred and Éomer: they were vigorous men, devoted to the King, and high in his affections, as his only son and his sister-son; and they did all that they could to thwart the influ­ence over him that Gríma gained when the King’s health began to fail…It was [Gríma’s] policy to bring his chief opponents into discredit with Théoden, and if possible to get rid of them.

It proved impossi­ble to set them at odds with one another: Théoden before his “sickness” had been much loved by all his kind and people, and the loyalty of Théodred and Éomer remained steadfast, even in his apparent dotage, Éomer also was not an ambitious man, and his love and respect for Théodred (thirteen years older than he) was only second to his love of his foster-father.

‘The Battle of the Fords of Isen,’ Unfinished Tales

Right from the start, we see that Éomer is a loyal, honest, and true-hearted man. The fact that all of Gríma’s manipulation and machinations couldn’t make Éomer waver from his love/respect for his uncle and cousin…it’s truly admirable.

In the movie, of course, it’s very easy to see that Gríma is a creep. But I think that, at the start at least, his deceptions and lies would have been very difficult to spot. If Éomer had already been harboring resentment, dislike, or disloyalty in his heart toward the more royal members of his family, he could have been easy prey for Gríma’s lying flatteries. That he withstood them all says a lot about his character.

…and to his friends, no matter what.

i know it’s a behind-the-scenes pic. but my point still stands, y’know?

At length Aragorn spoke. ‘As I have begun, so I will go on. We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall. Let none now reject the counsels of Gandalf, whose long labours against Sauron come at last to their test. But for him all would long ago have been lost. Nonetheless I do not yet claim to command any man. Let others choose as they will.’

‘As for myself,’ said Éomer, ‘I have little knowledge of these deep matters; but I need it not. This I know, and it is enough, that as my friend Aragorn succoured me and my people, so I will aid him when he calls. I will go.’

‘The Last Debate,’ The Return of the King

Éomer’s friendship with Aragorn had a shaky start, but by the time we reach ‘The Last Debate,’ they are firm friends. I mean, Éomer literally walks into Mordor for Aragorn! It makes my heart happy to think of Aragorn ruling Gondor and Éomer ruling Rohan, with such a great friendship between their two countries.

Éomer is a good brother—if a little unobservant at times

Then [Aragorn] laid [Éowyn’s] hand in Éomer’s and stepped away. ‘Call her!’ he said, and he passed silently from the chamber.

‘Éowyn, Éowyn!’ cried Éomer amid his tears. But she opened her eyes and said: ‘Éomer! What joy is this? For they said that you were slain. Nay, but that was only the dark voices in my dream. How long have I been dreaming?’

‘Not long, my sister,’ said Éomer. ‘But think no more on it!’

‘The Houses of Healing,’ The Return of the King

‘I knew not that Éowyn, my sister, was touched by any frost, until she first looked on [Aragorn]. Care and dread she had, and shared with me, in the days of Wormtongue and the king’s bewitchment; and she tended the king in growing fear. But that did not bring her to this pass!’

‘My friend,’ said Gandalf, ‘you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on…Who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?’

Then Éomer was silent, and looked on his sister, as if pondering anew all the days of their past life together.


Éomer is a wonderfully protective brother to his younger sister. Yes, he should have probably realized just how difficult things were for Éowyn in the days of Théoden’s ‘illness.’ But there was a lot going on, and just because Éomer didn’t see everything that was going on doesn’t mean he didn’t care about Éowyn. Consider this quote that comes right after he discovers she’s still alive after the battle of the Pelennor:

Then hope unlooked-for came so suddenly to Éomer’s heart, and with it the bite of care and fear renewed, that he said no more, but turned and went swiftly from the hall.

Éomer truly cares about Éowyn, worries about her. And he’s very, very happy to see that she and Faramir have fallen in love. In fact, Éomer’s happiness for Éowyn leads to happiness for himself as well—he ends up marrying Faramir’s cousin Lothíriel. ❤

Éomer is capable of great humility.

Théoden rose and put his hand to his side; but no sword hung at his belt. ‘Where has Gríma stowed it?’ he muttered under his breath.

‘Take this, dear lord!’ said a clear voice. ‘It was ever at your service.’ Éomer was there. No helm was on his head, no mail was on his breast, but in his hand he held a drawn sword; and as he knelt he offered the hilt to his master.

‘How comes this?’ said Théoden sternly.

‘It is my doing, lord,’ said Háma, trembling. ‘I understood that Éomer was to be set free. Such joy was in my heart that maybe I have erred. Yet, since he was free again, and he a Marshal of the Mark, I brought him his sword as he bade me.’

‘To lay at your feet, my lord,’ said Éomer.

‘The King of the Golden Hall,’ The Two Towers

‘…we could find a use for Gimli’s axe and the bow of Legolas, if they will pardon my rash words concerning the Lady of the Wood. I spoke only as do all men in my land, and I would gladly learn better.’

‘The Riders of Rohan,’ The Two Towers

Literally, just…read that second quote. I rest my case. I LOVE HIM.

Éomer is brave in the face of terrible danger and overwhelming odds.

The Rohirrim indeed had no need of news or alarm. All too well they could see for themselves the black sails. For Éomer was now scarcely a mile from the Harlond, and a great press of his first foes was between him and the haven there, while new foes came swirling behind, cutting him off from the Prince. Now he looked to the River, and hope died in his heart…

Stern now was Éomer’s mood, and his mind clear again. He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark. So he rode to a green hillock and there set his banner, and the White Horse ran rippling in the wind.

‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields,’ The Return of the King

When all hope was lost, Éomer continued to fight—both on the Pelennor Fields and in Mordor itself. His courage shines through so clearly on both battlefields. And that’s yet another reason why I love him: like all of Tolkien’s best characters, Éomer doesn’t accept defeat even when everything seems hopeless. The result? The Shadow is destroyed, and Éomer got to be a part of its defeat. He gets a happy ending, and it’s a well-deserved one. ❤

Although I’ve focused on Book Éomer in this post, I have to say that Karl Urban’s portrayal of Éomer is pretty close to perfection. That heartwrenching cry when he finds Éowyn on the battlefield? I rest my case! Or the whole “Théoden king stands alone” “Not alone” exchange. *happy shivers* OR when he takes out two oliphants with one spear throw. o.O And also…he’s just one very, very handsome guy. Which doesn’t hurt matters. At all. 😉

What are your thoughts on Éomer (book and/or movies)? Did this post help you see him in a new light, or have you always known just how awesome he is? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


shiny new book release: A Flash of Magic by Allison Tebo.

Today’s the day! After much waiting and anticipation, Allison Tebo’s newest book, A Flash of Magic, is now out in the world. I’ve followed Allison and her writing for years, and I’m excited to dive into my own copy of A Flash of Magic.

Allison writes delightful fairytale retellings set in the fictional land of Ambia. A Flash of Magic is the fourth book in her Tales of Ambia series, the previous titles being The Reluctant Godfather (Cinderella retelling), A Royal Masquerade (The Goose Girl retelling), and Poppy’s Peril (companion to A Royal Masquerade). I’ve enjoyed each of Allison’s novellas, and I’m sure that A Flash of Magic will be no exception.


Ambia’s most reluctant godfather is back. A Flash Of Magic is a magical and rambunctious compilation featuring eight stories with eight irresistible characters navigating their way through the oddities and the wonders of fairy tales.

The Tales of Ambia series continues with this charming collection of short stories and novelettes offering a deeper look into a magical land like no other.

Whether it’s an intimate look at Ella’s wedding day, a hilarious glimpse of Burndee’s holiday baking, or an explosive first meeting between a prince and his fairy, there is adventure for everyone in A Flash Of Magic.

Add it on Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon


Allison Tebo is a writer committed to creating magical stories full of larger-than-life characters, a dash of grit, and plenty of laughs. She is the author of the Tales of Ambia, a series of romantic comedy retellings of popular fairy tales, and her flash fiction and short stories have been published in SplicketySparkInklings PressRogue Blades EntertainmentPole to Pole PublishingSaddlebag Dispatches, and Editing Mee. Allison graduated with merit from London Art College after studying cartooning and children’s illustration and, when not creating new worlds with words or paint, she enjoys reading, baking, and making lists.

Newsletter / Facebook Instagram / Patreon / Website

Have you read any of Allison’s books? What’s your favorite fairytale retelling? Let me know in the comments!


five upcoming book releases I’m excited about (+ cool character art!)

Today’s post will be a bit on the shorter side, as this week finds me in the middle of my church’s VBS (Vacation Bible School). Therefore, I’m super duper busy. As the title says, I’ll be talking about some soon-to-be released books I can’t wait to see on my shelves—and I’ll also be sharing some awesome character art for Rachel Kovaciny’s newest Once Upon a Western novel. But more on that in a bit!

Now, here are my top five favorite upcoming releases.

Wishtress by Nadine Brandes

I had the wonderful opportunity to read an e-ARC of Wishtress a couple months ago, and it’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. Nadine Brandes spins an allegory as few others can! And I love the fact that Wishtress is a stand-alone—no need to take a chance on a long series (though I’d also read one of those, if Nadine wrote it).



Pre-order goodies (+ form)

All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes

It’s by Amanda Dykes. Of course I’m going to read it. *sniffles*



Pre-order goodies

Titan by Brian McBride

Mammoth, the first book in Brian McBride’s new series, was a near-perfect, atmospheric read. (Read my review here.) I’ve got a beta copy of Titan (the second book) sitting on my Kindle app right now, and I’m pretty excited to dive in!


Dìlseachd – A Stolen Crown by Cheyenne van Langevelde

You know, I’m not one hundred percent sure what to expect from this book. I’ve never read anything by Cheyenne before, after all. But it’s set in ancient Scotland (win!) and Cheyenne writes absolutely beautiful posts on Instagram (another win!). So I’m more than willing to take a chance.



Pre-order goodies (+ form)

My Rock and My Refuge by Rachel Kovaciny

Did I save the best for last? Why, yes, I believe I did. Heehee.

I’ve been a firm (and enthusiastic) fan of My Rock and My Refuge ever since I read an early draft about a year ago. (That was before it even had a title.) MRaMR is a clean, non-magical Beauty and the Beast retelling set in the Old West (1870’s Colorado, to be exact). I happen to think it’s half a Jane Eyre retelling as well, so if you like Jane Eyre you’ll probably want to read MRaMR. Just saying. 😉

My Rock and My Refuge doesn’t have a firm release date yet (just sometime in Autumn 2022, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise), but what it DOES have is brand new character art. Feast your eyes!


Seriously, I’m so excited for this release. Cannot wait to get my hands on a final copy of the book!

What are some book releases you’re looking forward to? Do let me know in the comments—I always love discovering new, interesting titles to check out. ❤


the honestea tag.

The time has come for me to bare my soul in this tag of brutal honesty. XD

Let it begin!


  • No lies allowed. If an answer is too shameful to expose you may substitute the answer with a gif/image of someone drinking tea.
  • There are optional bonus additions to questions but these are not for the faint of heart.
  • You complete the tag having answered every question + the bonus additions (no gifs used), you are dubbed a certified tea chugger, and you deserve a badge to show the world that you are not afraid of a steaming hot cup of TRUTH.
  • Tag at least one other person (a tea party with just one is not very fun. trust me.) Untagged persons are more than welcome to fill it out as well (nothing cooler than crashing a tea party).


What is a ‘bad’ (generally disliked) movie that you actually love?

I know that many people love Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man now, but I think that his solo movies (particularly the second one) still get a bad rap. So I’ll just say it: I love The Amazing Spider-Man. And I like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 more than I dislike it. I do wish Harry had been the main/only villain, but oh well.

What is your most shocking reading habit?

This isn’t a habit, since I don’t personally do it, but I really see nothing wrong with dog-earing pages.

Tell us the number one lie you write in your posts.

I try not to lie in any of my posts. On occasion, I will hype up a book or movie a tiny bit more than I really feel like doing. (As in, I may have felt a bit more meh about a book than I let on in the review.) But I do really try to be honest with my reviews! Especially since I’ve been gypped by gushing reviews. (Don’t get me started…)

Tell us the worst character name you’ve ever thought up. {Bonus: share a character name you find ridiculous in a book/movie.}

I’m sure there are bad character names I’ve come up with, but I’m drawing a blank.

Okay, okay.

I wrote a western once upon a time where the main character’s name was ‘Edward Smythers.’ Not the worst, but what is that last name??

As for another author’s character name that I find ridiculous, Charles Dickens has a lot. But they’re meant to be ridiculous, so I doubt that counts.

What is the real reason you procrastinate writing your work in progress?

Laziness. And probably some fear of failing to write perfectly.

What is a genre of music you secretly love?

I don’t know about genre per se, but I’ve enjoyed songs from ABBA despite not listening to their music/that genre in general.

If you’re a plotter, what do you really think of pansters? If you’re a panster, what do you really think of plotters?

I’m a hardcore plotter. I don’t understand pantsers at all. But if it works for them, who am I to say nay?

Share at least three lines of dialogue from one of your first writing projects. {Bonus: give us the good stuff. your most gruesome butchering of the English language.}

From an extremely juvenile horse story I wrote a decade or so ago:

“This horse is pretty bad-looking,” Mrs. Smith was talking. “But if anyone can pull him through, you can Mr. Hardy.”

“Well Mrs. Smith, we’ll do our best.”

“Do you want to keep the horse once we’re finished with him?” Burt asked.

“Do you think he’ll be any good as a saddle horse?” Mrs. Smith queried.

“I think there’s a fine horse under all this dirt, and I’m determined to get that horse out. Just leave it to us.”

” ‘Us’, what do you mean ‘us’? I thought it was a one man operation here.” said Mrs. Smith.

“No, I do the actual training and that, but my daughter brushes and talks to the horse, winning his trust you know, and my wife is kind of the treasurer of these stables.”


Tell us the title & artist of the last song you listened to.

Rubber Ball‘ by Bobby Vee.

Which beloved book/movie character do you dislike & why?

Samwise Gamgee.

But before you unfollow me, let me explain!!!

Although I do dislike Sam more than I probably should, I also recognize how wonderfully self-sacrificing and loyal he is. (And please note that ‘dislike’ does not equal ‘hate.’)

My dislike of Sam stems from a couple things. I resent him because he gets all (or most) of the praise from the fandom, and Frodo (my favorite!) is generally and unfairly overlooked. I recognize this is quite petty. XD But my second reason? Sam is actually horrid to Gollum time and time again. He undoes all the work Frodo has done with/for Gollum in trying to bring Gollum back to the side of goodness.

Now of course there are extenuating circumstances. They’re in dangerous territory, Gollum really is quite a fiend, and Sam feels a big responsibility to protect Frodo from any danger. All well and good. But Sam antagonizes Gollum a LOT when he could have just held his tongue and followed Frodo’s example of mercy and kindness. He didn’t though. And the fandom all but ignores that side of Sam, which really bugs me.

Anyway, just take a look at what Tolkien said in Letter #246!

Sam is meant to be lovable and laughable. Some readers he irritates and even infuriates. I can well understand it. All hobbits at times affect me in the same way, though I remain very fond of them. But Sam can be very ‘trying’…If he had understood better what was going on between Frodo and Gollum, things might have turned out differently in the end.

For me perhaps the most tragic moment in the Tale comes in II 323 ff. when Sam fails to note the complete change in Gollum’s tone and aspect. ‘Nothing, nothing’, said Gollum softly. ‘Nice master!’. His repentance is blighted and all Frodo’s pity is (in a sense) wasted. Shelob’s lair became inevitable.”

If no one agrees with me, it’s okay. Tolkien would have. =)

Tell us the title & topic of a post you have left in draft.

‘The Christian Themes of A Quiet Place

Will it ever see the light of day? Who knows!

What is a book you pretend you’ve read/would like to read but know you never will? {Bonus: share a time when claiming you’ve read a classic/well-known book didn’t end well}

I don’t pretend to have read books. (At least not anymore.) There’s no shame in not having read a book!

Tell us the title & topic of the most embarrassing post you’ve ever written. {Bonus: include. the. link.}

Too many to choose from, hehe.


I’m not going to specifically tag anyone. It’s open to anyone who’d like to answer these questions, as indicated in the tag rules, and I’ve included a ‘clean’ copy of the questions below, for your convenience. 🙂

What is a ‘bad’ (generally disliked) movie that you actually love?

What is your most shocking reading habit?

Tell us the number one lie you write in your posts.

Tell us the worst character name you’ve ever thought up. {Bonus: share a character name you find ridiculous in a book/movie.}

What is the real reason you procrastinate writing your work in progress?

What is a genre of music you secretly love?

If you’re a plotter, what do you really think of pansters? If you’re a panster, what do you really think of plotters?

Share at least three lines of dialogue from one of your first writing projects. {Bonus: give us the good stuff. your most gruesome butchering of the English language.}

Tell us the title & artist of the last song you listened to.

Which beloved book/movie character do you dislike & why?

Tell us the title & topic of a post you have left in draft.

What is a book you pretend you’ve read/would like to read but know you never will? {Bonus: share a time when claiming you’ve read a classic/well-known book didn’t end well}

Tell us the title & topic of the most embarrassing post you’ve ever written. {Bonus: include. the. link.}

What’s a genre of music do you secretly love? A movie you adore that critics despised? Let me know in the comments!


Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑