Have you heard about The Bespoke Project? Some of you may have caught the whispers that are going around about what Amanda Dykes has been doing over the summer to raise money to donate bicycles for Gospel for Asia.
I have had the joy and the privilege to walk alongside my friend as the gentle idea of this tale grew into what you see today and each step of the way, I’ve been amazed not only by her heart for story, but her heart for others. And then I got to fall into the pages of this Christmas novelette. I got to meet Aria and James and see the Isle of Espoir, taste the warm cocoa, and witness one of the sweetest tales I have ever read. I’m telling you. This story is a Hallmark movie in the making.
A Secret. A Bicycle. A Promise…
While the elusive Secret Symphony of Giovanni St. John captivated the world’s fascination, it left his daughter closed away in the Silent House – she, the one who holds the fullness of truth about the ninth symphony. Now Aria St. John is determined to not only break free of the loss that has defined her, but to honor her father through one final gift in his last days.
On the tiny Isle of Espoir, only one man can help in her quest: James Shaw, the village blacksmith… and the lost friend of her childhood. Will they be able to overcome the tragedy that separated them before it’s too late?
The purpose behind Bespoke:
What makes Bespoke so unique, is that it’s not for sale. It’s simply a gift. Wanting to serve others this Christmas, Amanda Dykes has teamed up with Gospel for Asia to raise money to send Bicycles to people in need around the world. Amanda thought maybe… maybe… one bicycle could be earned. But you know what? NINE bicycles will soon be on their way to countries in need. I am so proud of Amanda and I’m so thankful to the readers who have been a part of the Bespoke project. It’s so excited! If you want to donate, just click on the button below. It can be any amount. Even a few dollars. Your thank you? Your very own copy of Bespoke will wing it’s way to your inbox as part of a thank you from Amanda Dykes.
And I must share that Gospel for Asia has always been so dear to my family. My grandpa served them with his whole heart in his final years and served them up to his very last day on this earth. I’m so proud of him and of Amanda for what they’ve done for those in need. (getting teary…)
And how about a peek into the first pages of Bespoke?
(to enlarge, simply click the image center)
And to celebrate all that God has been doing with this project and to say thank you for visiting and for all the outpouring of encouragement that has been rolling in for the fundraiser, we have a little giveaway!
~ Giveaway ~
Up for grabs is this adorable bike mug (I can say that because Amanda provided it and I secretly want to enter!!), a box of my favorite black-vanilla tea, and an e-copy of BESPOKE.
To enter, simply leave a comment below! You can leave any comment, but for fun: where is your favorite reading spot? If you were to settle down with a steaming cup of tea and a cozy Christmas tale, where would it be? (P.S. Amanda and I are going to answer this question, too, since we’ll be hanging out with you in the comments!)
One winner will be drawn at random on Saturday, November 22 and contacted via email (I’ll also announce it here!).
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of tales. She grew up just down the mountain from Lake Tahoe, a lake that holds a special place in her heart. It’s here that she now enjoys setting her historical fiction. She is a Novel Crossing contributor, co-founder of the Christian Fiction Book Club, but most of all, she’s just a girl redeemed, grateful for the gift of story, the hearts of those who read it, and the God whose love changed everything. Amanda would love the honor of connecting with you online at www.AmandaDykes.com.
Want to help spread the word?
I love to read in front of the fire in my comfy recliner
Christy, that sounds cozy!
Christy, there is nothing like the warmth of a crackling fireplace and a just-so chair! In fact, there’s a scene (or two) in Bespoke that echoes that truth wholeheartedly. Thanks for being here today! 🙂
My favorite reading spot is the living room wrapped in a throw with a cup of tea.
Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.
That sounds lovely, Katrina! Happy reading to you!
Katrina, you are a kindred spirit, indeed! Tea and a warm throw make everything better. 🙂
Since it’s so cold & snowy outside I like getting all warm & cozy in front of my fireplace to read. I have never read any of Amanda Dykes books and would love to win one. I love tea also! Thanks for the give a way.
Doris, that snow sounds heavenly. We are still waiting on ours around here. You are in for SUCH a treat with Amanda’s story!
Doris, what a joy your words are! The snow seems to be making its entrance early this year, doesn’t it? I confess, it even has me lighting my pine-tree scented candle earlier than usual. Thank you for being here today!
Girls, this is really sad to admit – I have no favorite reading spot. However, I always have a book with me so when time allows, you guessed it, my nose is in a book! I have been to places most people never dream of being able to visit, and I’ve seen incredible sights, and heard incredible sounds, all from the pages of my books. And you girls are kind enough to share what God has blessed you with so that I’m able to continue doing what I like best…..reading! Godspeed.
Adventures like that sound like a great way to pass the afternoon, no matter where you sit. 🙂 Thanks for being here! I know we have both been blessed by Amanda over the years.
Melody, it is always such joy to see your name pop up online! You carry light and grace wherever you go. 🙂 I agree with you– reading enriches life in so many, many ways.. I adore the way you describe the phenomenon of being able to travel and experience, see, hear all sorts of places and events– all within the pages of a book. 🙂
I am with Melody Amis on this one…my comfy chair, the porch swing, my bed at night, all cozy under the covers… the list goes on for favorite reading places cuz when I read, I am transported to another place and time as I devour my wonderful books! Hugs to Amanda! She is a remarkable woman full of grace and courage.
So many good places to read! And I’ve sat in your chair and know just how comfy it is. ;)I’m so glad that you were apart of the Bespoke prayer team and can you believe it? I get to go hang with Amanda in just over a week!!
Nettie, oh my! Hugs right back to you! Your words were so very kind. You must know how much like family you feel to me, especially after all of your incredible prayer support for Bespoke, and learning what a beautiful role your family has played in GFA’s ministry work. Thank you so much for your beautiful heart in all of this! And Joanne– just over a week! I can’t even believe it. I am thrilled beyond words!! Prepare yourself for slightly spastic kindred spirit gushing because I’m not going to be able to contain myself. 🙂
I love to curl up on the comfy living room couch with pillows and a warm blanket.
Sounds so nice, Jennifer! It’s that time of year for warm, cozy nests, isn’t it? 🙂
Jennifer, that sounds heavenly! Winter was made for reading, I think, with the couch and pillows and blankets beckoning as soon as the sun goes down. Now if only we could find a way to get the dishes to do themselves, we could sneak in a few more pages every day. I think I’m on to something here. 😉
Oh, I love this mug and the cover on this book is beautiful. I know the writing is too! How kind and very Amanda-like to think of this project! 🙂
Okay-fave place to read. Oh boy, I read everywhere. I like reading in bed at night but I tend to read at the kitchen table when I take a lunch break. OH but I love reading on my front porch in the summer (it’s where I read your first novel, Joanne!).
Isn’t it lovely, Heather? We were talking about packing a lot of story into a small amount of space and BOY did Amanda nail it. I keep thinking how much I would love reading one from YOU.
And awwww… I love hearing about you reading Be Still My Soul there! *huge grin* and I can’t wait to go there someday. I am still dreaming and scheming of getting there. I’m ACHING to work on that story, too. 😉
Joanne, *blush*, you are so sweet! Writing a shorter story is a whole different animal, isn’t it? But wow, did you ever master it (breathtakingly!) in This Quiet Sky!! And I’m with you– how I would love to see a novella from Heather. She’s awesome!
Heather, you are so kind!! Your words completely filled my heart. I love outdoor reading in summer, too; there’s just something sun-warmed and wonderful about it. Thank you for being here and being AWESOME, Heather! 🙂
Absolutely loved This Quiet Sky! You should giveaway hankerchiefs away with that one. Love the mug. My dh commuted by bike for years, in rainy Seattle. Thank you.
Favorite place to read this time of year is by the woodstove.:)
Karen, what a delight! Can I send you a thank you squeeze for your kind words and for reading TQS?!
Oh wow… a rainy Seattle bike commute sounds like an adventure! Like your husband, my dad always rode his bike to work… but he was in sunny CA 😉
Karen, yes! If there was ever a book that deserved beautiful handerchiefs, it is that one. I plan to read it again, and I know I’ll have a hankie on hand! I love that your hubby commuted by bike in Seattle– I bet he saw some amazing things on his rides! I’m always amazed at how much more I see and notice about the world and life around me when I’m on my bike, as opposed to in a car.
For a Christmas tale, I love sitting in front of the lit tree by the fireplace, curled up in the purple afghan my grandmother crocheted for me while drinking my tea and watching the birds outside the big picture window at the bird feeder. For most of the year, the bird feeder is in the backyard outside the sunroom where I enjoy reading wrapped up in that same afghan petting my American Bulldog and Chihuahua.
Oh April, that is the BEST place for reading around Christmas time!! I have such fond memories of doing that as a girl and still love to read (or write!) near the tree with it’s lights. Sounds like with your puppy pals you are all set! Happy reading!
April, I am with you and Joanne– reading by the lit tree is such a special experience. Warm and quiet and peaceful… I confess, the soft white twinkle lights are probably my favorite part of decorating for Christmas. I actually have some up year-round for a touch of whimsy on our mantle (not in an especially Christmasy way– just tiny little lights wrapped around some driftwood). And how special that you have that afghan crocheted just for you by your grandmother! Such a cherished gift, I am sure! I was just running my fingers over some stitches in something my grandma made for me long ago, wondering at the love in each stitch. What a treasure.
Thank you for spotlighting Amanda’s wonderful Bespoke project, Joanne!!
I echo every comment about Amanda – she is the epitome of graciousness, a giving spirit, love for others – there is beauty in everything she does, and her light for God shines. I love the Bespoke” story and your “This Quiet Sky” – and am honored to be a part of the Bespoke project.
It’s no wonder the two of you are such good friends – you’re two of a kind in so many ways, both very talented ladies, and my accolades of Amanda fit you also. I’m a little jealous you get to spend time with Amanda soon – it’s on my bucket list to meet both of you precious ladies!!
My fave place to read is in my recliner next to a window – today it will be while drinking hot cocoa, wrapped in a throw and gazing at the beautiful snow outside the window.
Love you both – hugs and congrats, Amanda and Bespoke!!
So well said, my friend. Her love for God really does shine in all that she does.
And, awe, that’s so sweet! Wishing we could both give you a hug. Yes, I am so blessed to be able to visit Amanda this month. My hubby and kids and I are driving up to Tahoe for Thanksgiving and staying in a little cabin and Amanda and I are carving out some time to visit as much as is humanly possible 🙂
Hugs and happy reading to you in your cozy spot! And thanks for your kind words about This Quiet Sky. <3
Sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving!! Have fun sharing with each other, blessings to both of you and your families – and I’m thinking you need to post some pics of that beautiful place and the fun – for us to enjoy!!
I sure will, Bonnie! And I think Amanda and I are going to cook something up for the Christmas Chronicles which is a very big secret (<<< a video!!) 😉
Oh, Bonnie! Wherever you go, joy follows. There is no end to your graciousness! I know I can safely speak for both Joanne and I when I say we are so deeply blessed by you. Your trademark encouragement, the strength and light and faith you carry through this life– every bit of your heart is such a gift and we are blessed beyond measure to know you. Your prayers for Bespoke as such a cherished part of the prayer team have meant so much!! What a joy it would be to meet you. We’ll be sure to toast our teacups in honor of you next week, dear lady!!
A comfortable chair, A warm room and A quiet spot is where I like to read.
Sounds heavenly, Kim! I’m glad you’re here. 🙂
Kim, that sounds perfect. I, too, relish the quiet and warmth– especially in these dark winter months!
And as promised… my favorite reading spot is on my bed. As a homeschooling mommy of three, there is something so delicious about curling up in a cozy spot and reading for a few hours. And now, my hubby added a (remote controlled! – I know, the mountain girl in my fainted over this concept) fireplace that I can turn on and enjoy as I read. It’s my happy place 🙂
Sounds heavenly – love fireplaces, completes the reading picture!!
Joanne, you are so right. There truly is something delicious about a few solid hours of reading when they’re so rare to come by. And would you believe it? I have been eyeing those fireplaces of late, too. How I would love to curl up by one to read. In the meantime, I employ candles as a close-second for the same effect. 🙂 Thank you so much for hosting Bespoke today!!! There is truly no end to the beauty of your heart, my friend!
Oh how I love to read!! How sad life would be without books and the Word! My favorite spot is a cushy red recliner, snuggled in a corner in my bedroom. There I can hide away from the world and laugh and/or cry and thank the Lord for such a blessing! Joanne I chuckled at your remote controlled fireplace 🙂 We have 3!!! One used to be by my reading chair, but hubby gets cold so easy so he gets it in his quiet place…I just use my hot socks. So enjoy the pleasure and know you are not alone!
Oh your reading corner sounds heavenly. Cushy and hiding… two reading delights 🙂 I love that you have your time there with the Lord, too. That is awesome.
I’m glad my remote controlled fireplace gave you a chuckle! We don’t have television or a microwave, but boy I love that remote controlled fireplace, lol. Happy reading and happy holidays!
Thank you, Joanne. Glorious holidays and a blessed Christmas to you also!
Cathy, what a delight your special spot is! It sounds like the perfect refuge, so welcoming and warm. I imagine you’ve had many-a-precious-moment there with our Lord. Thank you for sharing this with us, and being here today! You’ve made it an absolute joy. 🙂
Joanne, I can’t thank you enough for the blessing of this blog post! Your family has played such a special role in Gospel for Asia’s work– your grandpa was one amazing man!
As for my favorite reading spot– in the summer it would be on a picnic blanket on the lush green grass out under the sun (with just enough shade). In the winter, though, any cozy, quiet spot will do. Lately it’s been my old soft wingback chair that’s tucked into a corner of my room, with candle or two lit nearby. Soft music is a plus too– especially instrumental Christmas music like Christ Rice’s Living Room Sessions (Christmas version). So lovely!
I have such fond memories of my grandpa and his love for GfA. He served them with his whole heart.
Oh, your reading spot sounds divine! I just KNOW that you have some beautiful outside areas in Tahoe. And your house… SO cozy!
and hehe… I’ve been listening to Christmas music all day thanks to Bespoke! 😉
I love to read in the early morning…sipping a cup of coffee…wrapped up in a quilt…sitting on my comfy chair…awaiting the morning light.
It’s so lovely to see you here, Karen! Your cozy reading spot sound heavenly.
Karen, there’s something so beautifully fresh and peaceful about those early morning hours. I love them so much… when I can make myself wake up for them. 😉 Happy early-morning reading!
I love to read with a fire going and a hot beverage in hand in the corner of the couch with a warm blanket wrapped around
Hi Kimberly! So fun to see you here! Ooh, that sounds heavenly. Because even Hemet gets cold! 🙂
Kimberly, everything about your favorite spot says warmth and comfort– the perfect setting for reading!
Joanne and Amanda, it sounds like such a sweet tale is heading our way. I’m so glad y’all could encourage each other through this one.
My favorite reading spot… Hmmm… Probably in the car on long road trips. The closeness of my family during those times is so special, and we always have a blast traveling across the country. And, of course, I bring along my books. Well, these days I bring along my Kindle, to save space in my bag, but believe me, I still love my paperbacks.
Andrea – that sounds like fun! How nice to not have to be in the drivers seat but to read instead! It sounds like we have this very much in common — loving our paperbacks, but also loving the convenience of a Kindle. For traveling on planes and such, I’ve been so glad to have my Kindle!
Andrea, I love that you tie reading to the closeness of your family trips. We often check out audiobooks to share as a family on trips, which is such fun too, but I agree– Kindle is so convenient for travel, and paperbacks will always win my heart. 🙂 Thank you for your sweet words and for being here!
My favorite reading spot is the recliner. I love to read and basically read anywhere that I get the chance to. Thank you to Amanda for doing this great project!
Sounds comfy, Donna! Happy reading and I’m so glad you’re entered!
Oh Donna, thank YOU for our encouragement! Your reading spot sounds just glorious. 🙂
I can make any reading spot cozy! 😉 But if I had to pick a favorite, I’d say in “my” chair, with the footstool and a blanket, warm beverage and book (or Kindle) in hand!
So true, Beth! I like that attitude 🙂 And your spot sounds cozy!
Beth, that sounds just perfect! And you’re so right; the coziness of a space largely depends on what we do with it.
My favorite reading spot is curled up on the couch in front of the fire place with my cozy blanket and a really hot cup of coffee (sorry, no tea for this java girl).
I love to read on my rocking chair curled up under a blanket. 🙂
My favorite reading spot is my bed! I also love the tub and the couch! And if the mosquitoes are ever not horrible, I love a hammock!
I love to read in my bed especially when it is not bedtime or not even close to it! Reading in bed to me just seems cozier and more relaxing!
I am a wandering reader. I like to cuddle up all propped up in the middle of my comfy bed…only to grow restless and end up curled up in the corner of the couch. If the weather permits, I will at some point find myself sitting in the chair on the porch with my feet propped on the rail. As a child, my favorite spots were the rocking chair and the tire swing. I’d lay back in the swing and kick it back and forth, round and round, while engrossed in one book or another.