As I was debating who to feature for today's My Friend Friday, my friend Tiffany Harkleroad sprang to mind. And I'll tell ya why. =)
Back when A Stray Drop of Blood first released, I was really into my blog tour. After each guest spot ended, I would email each person who had commented, just to respond to whatever comment had been left (knowing they don't always return to the blogs to read replies to their comments), to thank them for taking the time to visit, and to offer a coupon code for those who didn't win.
Tiffany was one of the folks who had commented on a blog, and who I subsequently struck up an email conversation with. She was tickled by my offer of a discount and proceeded to by Stray Drop. She loved it, which is nice for me, LOL. But more than that, we got to talking about our love of books, what we expected from them, our Christian backgrounds, our goals. Tiffany had just begun blogging and wanted to make a real mark with it, wanted to do book reviews as a way of expanding her career. She joined the Christian Review of Books (is even co-moderator with me on our Facebook page), signed up to receive books directly from publishers who offer programs, and basically dove in head first.
In the year and a half since then, I've watched her online presence explode, and it's been so much fun. Her book review blog, Tiffany's Bookshelf, now has over 500 followers. She has two other blogs for other aspects of her life, Tall Tales from a Small Town, and The Tales of Dexter, Nora, and Chloe. The last is about her pets, and the Tall Tales is about the things she discovers in everyday life in a suburb of Pittsburgh.
Here's what I really admire about Tiffany. She's reasoned through her faith, has a heart for the Lord, and lives it in the real world. She looks for books with meat to them, but that can offer the same reasoned view of Christianity that she discovered--one that doesn't sugarcoat but comes back to Jesus as the answer to the woes we encounter in life. And when she reviews, she reviews honestly. Totally honestly. She reads books from across the spectrum, Christian and mainstream, and can give feedback on them exactly like what I always wanted the Christian Review of Books to offer: what is good in them, what might offend, to whom she would recommend it.
I also love reading about her hometown discoveries. I rarely encounter someone who connects so incredibly to wherever they live, who goes out exploring, determined to find those gems that sets one neighborhood apart from the rest. To me, this speaks of a heart that is set on loving people and places as they are, where they are.
I've yet to meet Tiffany in person--we had a visit planned last year, but silly me got the flu and spent the day puking instead of driving up to the lake where she was vacationing. =( And the busier she's gotten online, the less we've just chatted. But whenever we do, I have to smile, especially when I see how she's accomplishing her goals. She's making a presence, in her real world and her online one. She's being exactly who she is. She's taking the opportunities the Lord gives her.
Today I'd like to invite you to drop by Tiffany's world of blogs. Read through a few of her reviews (she has a great one on Jewel of Persia, LOL), see her world through her eyes, chuckle over her cute pets. And drop her a word of encouragement, here or on her blogs, to let her know that she's doing a great job in striding forward to her dreams.
If you leave a comment here (or here or here), you'll be entered to win my August giveaway, which consists of Heiress by Susan May Warren, To Die For by Sandra Byrd, Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall, and the obligatory Jewel of Persia by yours truly. For an extra entry, follow the blogs of any of the folks I've featured. And please spread the word, and, if you have someone you'd love to see featured here, link me to their website/blog!