Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Tomb is . . . empty.




Matthew 28:1-9
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.



Because the tomb is empty . . . we have hope
Because the tomb is empty . . . we have a Savior
Because the tomb is empty . . . we can find forgiveness
Because the tomb is empty . . . we need not fear the grave
Because the tomb is empty . . . HEAVEN IS OPENED!

We have access to the throne of grace, though Him who loved us enough to sacrifice himself for us. 

But remember. The empty tomb came through the cross. Easter morning came after the darkness of death. 
Pain came before glory. Humiliation before victory.
But death was defeated! The grave was swallowed up in victory.

He endured that for us, that we may be forgiven. Guys. He's forgiven us everything. That's the power of the cross! And the empty tomb. He's alive, He's alive, now in heaven glorified!

I hope and pray you and your family have a very blessed Resurrection day as we set our eyes on remembering the event that forever changed history . . . and the world!

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Camp NaNo --Week #2

And . . . week #2 has come and gone! And I have a friend staying here, so this post is gonna be a bit on the short side. ;) My total word count is now 24,828 words!
12,837 were written this past week. I have a friend visiting from Washington, so we've been having fun together. So far I've managed to keep up with writing... we'll see if that continues. ;)
So now. Snippets. Enjoy. ;) And I'll have a better blog post come your way sometime in the next few days. xD

The man grinned at him. “Hi again. Looks like we got stuck on the same ship.”
Rafe nodded. “It would appear so.” Out of the hundreds of ships in the navy, and the three hundred or so designated to the pacific, they just would have been stuck on the same ship. He shook his head.
Art pointed at the fighters. “You a pilot?”
“Yeah. You?”
Waving a dismissive hand, Art shook his head. “No. I’m just your normal, ordinary, run-of-the-mill sailor. I specialize in having a peculiar sense of humour, dressing smart, and being handy with the ladies.” He paused, and then put up a finger. “Oh, did I mention sarcasm?”  
Rafe shook his head. “No, no I don’t think you did. Quite the resume.” 
“Isn’t it? I worked quite hard to get it just right. I think I’ve perfected it now.”
Shaking his head again, Rafe rolled his eyes heavenward. This guy had an ego the size of the Pacific. 



They met halfway, each holding twelve shoelaces. Quickly they tied the ends together. Two shoelaces for each bunk. They were long enough that they could be tied to either side, making it impossible for the guys to sit up and swing themselves out of bed.
Art glanced at his watch. Two minutes. He quickly started work on the beds nearest to him, and they both finished with thirty seconds to spare. Art grinned, surprised none of the men had awoken. We must be able to be quieter then I thought.
They both stepped out of the room and shut the door behind them. Rafe turned. “You be the commander.”
He nodded. “Okay. Just keep me from getting killed.”
“No promises.”
The wake-up bell rang, its clattering waking even the heaviest of sleepers.
“Now!” Rafe exclaimed in a whisper, pulling the door open and shoving him inside.
“Up, every man at attention, now!” Art did his best to make his voice low, inserting a note of demand. As if by magic, all the men’s eyes shot open, and then scrambled to get to their feet.
Only to be stopped by the shoelaces.
Art couldn’t help it any longer. He doubled over, slapping his knee as he roared with laughter. The guys went to work trying to free themselves. Rafe walked into the room and stood behind him, a merry grin on his face. “Mornin’, fellows.”
“Aww, come on!” a frown creased Darren;s face. “Seriously? Our shoelaces?”
Art shrugged. “Well, as the old saying goes, you gotta pull yourself up by your bootstraps. We decided to teach y’all how to do that today.”

Gus slid out from under the shoelace, and busied himself with untying the knots. “Apparently I’ve got to get up with you guys if I want my possessions to stay intact.”



She started down the sidewalk, and signs of the little town waking up from its sleep were everywhere. Strains of Don’t sit under the Apple Tree drifted out from the cafe, where the strong smell of coffee was wafting its enticing aroma into the street. Lily slowed as she walked past it, and then stopped and turned. Coffee sounded heavily before heading home. The door opened into the small shop that was tucked close to the hospital. Lily was quite sure that the owners benefitted greatly from the business that was brought to them by the doctors and nurses. She slid into a seat up at the counter, and the waited for the waiter to turn to her. “Well, what can I get you this fine morning, dearie? Long night?” Glancing down at her uniform, Lily nodded. It was a symbol of long nights and service. And that was fine. “I’ll just take coffee, please. A little cream, no sugar.” “Comin’ right up.” Lily brought up a hand to smother a yawn. It had been a while since she’d worked the night shift, and had forgotten how demanding it could be. Her eyes strayed to the cinnamon buns that were so fresh they were still steaming. Her mouth watered. She really shouldn’t buy one when she could grab one at home . . . Her stomach defied common sense, and when the waiter brought the coffee, she pointed to the rolls. ‘May I have one of those, too, please?” The waiter nodded and grinned. “Sure look good, don’t they.” She reached over and used a napkin to grab one of the steamy pastries and set it on a late in front of Lily. ‘There ya go. Enjoy.” Lily pulled the outside of the bun away, eating the outer layer first and making her way to the sweet, gooey middle. Nothing made her day quite like one of these heavenly things. Wiping her hands on her napkin, she reached for the coffee. Taking a sip, she winced. It was good, but hot. She blew on it before taking the next sip, and then closing her eyes to enjoy the blissful taste. The song on the speakers changed to The White Cliffs of Dover. There'll be bluebirds over The white cliffs of dover Tomorrow Just you wait and see I'll never forget the people I met Braving those angry skies I remember well as the shadows fell The light of hope in their eyes The words were slow and peaceful, yet wistful and sad, too. I’ll never forget the people I met, braving those angry skies. The words made her mind travel to London. And the bombings. The planes. And Gil. She turned back to her coffee with a sigh. The morning seemed empty, somehow. A picture of what her life was becoming, And what she was trying hard to not let it become. Eating alone is just wrong. The thought came to her out of the blue, and she almost laughed. Apparently, her brain couldn’t decide whether to be serious, or random. She was tired. The sound of someone clearing their throat behind her startled her, and she turned. A uniformed man stood there, his crush cap held in his hands and a hopeful look in his eyes. “Can I join you for breakfast, Ma’am?” Lily smiled, trying her best not to let her mind wander to where life would soon send this young man. She nodded. “I’m almost finished, but sure.” The man gave a boyish grin, and slid into the seat next to her. “Are you married?” “Holding up her left hand, Lily smiled. “I was. Now I’m engaged.” “Ahh, well, hopefully your intended doesn’t mind me keeping you company this morning.” The man motioned the waiter. ‘I’ll take what she had.” “Oh, following my example, eh?” The man leaned back and grinned. ‘I’ve learned that women end to have the best tastes in food. So I try and do my best to follow their example in that respect.” She nodded. “That sounds like a good idea. My name’s Lily Wilson, by the way.” She popped the last bite of the cinnamon roll into her mouth and savoured the flavor. “What’s your name? Oh, and where are you headed?” “Oh, I’m sorry, forgive my manners.” He put out a hand to shake hers. “My name is Evan. Evan Pedersen. As to where I’m headed? The pacific. Sometime this next week.” The sparkle left his eyes for a moment as he spoke, but the look quickly passed and he turned to her. “How about you? Where’s the lucky guy who’s got his ring on your finger?” Lily sipped the last of the coffee before answer. “He’s in the pacific, too. He’s a pilot on a carrier.” She pushed the cup away and smiled. “Maybe You’ll meet him.” Evan took the coffee the waiter gave him, and downed the whole thing in nearly one gulp. “Maybe. If I meet him, I’ll be sure to tell him he's got himself the prettiest woman in the state of Kansas.” Lily smiled and glanced down. She’d gotten used to the compliments of guys in uniform. For the most part, they were grasping for any and every sense of normalcy. And pretty girls, well, they were just a part of normal life. They chatted for a moment longer, and Lily waited until he finished before bidding him farewell and good luck. And promising to pray for him. He seemed a bit more cheerful when they parted, and Lily had a new spring in her step as she made her way toward the car.Thank you for giving me the chance to brighten his life. The prayer was heartfelt. It was what she had needed this morning.



So . . . there they are. *cringes* I know, they're not the best. xD Tell me, how is camp NaNo coming for you? 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week #1 of camp NaNo + Snippets I SURVIVED!

Well, well, well, the first week of NaNo is over and I'm still alive! *whispers* Okay, so, that isn't a huge surprise . . . but seriously, I didn't think I'd get through the first couple days. Life was crazy last weekend. But I did manage to get my page count in! And now I'm about three pages ahead of my goal, so I'm really happy right now.
Alrighty, well, let's get on with the post . . .

Since Camp NaNo has the option to use pages instead of words for your goal, I set my goal for the month at 90 pages. Which ends up somewhere between 45K-50K words for me. Right now I'm at 21 pages, and I'm thinking that this story is going to end up a lot longer than I thought. ;)
I've also gotten better at keeping up with my daily word count . .  . because I've been writing a chapter a day. Which has been a  new experience, since I normally don't write in chapter.
Also, I owe a huge thank you to Faith P. and Kellyn Roth for allowing me to send them all sorts of questions and story snippets this weekend. You guys are the best! ;)

-Day 1: Saturday, April 1st WC: 1,921 

Day 2: Sunday, April 2nd WC: 2,339 I might have written some of this chapter on Monday . . . but honestly, I can't remember. ;P 

Day 3: Monday, April 3rd WC: 987 New character + new POV = I had no idea what I was doing. ;P

 Day 4 Tuesday, April 4th WC: 2,634 Yeah . . . I was writing a really sweet scene and it took forever to get where I wanted it to but... *grins* Yeah, it was so worth it! 

Day 5 Wednesday, April 5th WC: 2,001 

Day 6 Thursday, April 6th WC: 1,698

Total words written: 11,580 


Snippets: 


Flying fighters off the deck of an aircraft carrier wasn’t exactly what he had in mind when he entered the service. Water, planes, and every explosive imaginable. What could go wrong?
Rafe shook his head and chuckled as he folded the paper containing his order. He then placed it back in the envelope, and slid it in his breast pocket. The open skies above him, the mysteries of the sea below, and his own personal fighter to go out and defend his homeland. It sounded pretty good. The problem was, he knew there were at least two people who wouldn’t see it quite that way.


He turned from the window, giving Sadie his full attention. She was pretty, this sister of his. Her red hair curled around her chin, and her green eyes shimmered with unshed tears. He knew she understood. Reaching out an arm, he pulled her into a gruff hug. “I’ll do my best, Sadie girl. You just be sure no other dapper dressed in navy blue steals your heart while I’m gone or he’s gonna have me to deal with.”
Sadie laughed, and the sound was music to his ears. “I’ll be sure and send them all to your ship for your approval before they come near me.”
“That’s my girl. You do just that. I’ll put them through the gauntlet before I let them near you. The ones that survive, I’ll send back home.”
At that, her face twisted into a frown. “The poor sailors! They’ll probably wish they’d never heard of me!”
Art chuckled. “No, I won’t be that hard on them. Just hard enough to see what they’re made of.”


David turned and caught Rafe watching him. “Is it my imagination, or were you drilling a hole through my head with your eyes?”
Raising his eyebrows, Rafe shook his head. “I don’t see any hole in your head, so there’s no need for that claim.”
David’s face cracked a smile. “You know, I’m gonna feel sorry for your commanders.”
“Why? You do know I’d obey their orders even if I don’t obey yours, right?”
“What did I ever do to get stuck with you for a younger brother?”
“You were born.”
“Like I said, I’m gonna feel sorry for your commanders.”



Rafe shoved his brother toward the window with his shoulder.
Catching himself, David turned and narrowed is eyes. “What in the blazes did you do that for?”
It had been a while since David had thrown that death glare his way, and Rafe grinned. “Nothing. Did you ever consider joining the Navy?”
“The Navy.”
Rafe nodded. “Yeah. You know, it’s another part of the Armed Forces. Sorta like the Army Air Force, just on the water.”
Rolling his eyes, David leaned back against the seat. “Well, thank you Mr. Sullivan for that explanation. And in answer you your question, no, I didn’t. The thought never even crossed my mind.”
“It’s a pity.”
Now looking mildly curious, David cocked his head. “What’s a pity? That I get to enjoy the feel of solid ground beneath my feet, while all you get is the pitching and rolling of the ship’s deck? I agree, it is a pity.”
“Nope. It’s a pity you’ve got to have the green and brown of the earth beneath you instead of having the blue of the sea.”
“Well, you do realize that your lovely ocean of blue can be interrupted at any time by the single dark blot of a Japanese carrier. Or a Zero coming straight at you.”
“Oh, I realize that. But see, I want that Zero coming at me. Then I have a chance to shoot it down. If it dives and starts doing fancy aerial maneuvers, I’m shot.”
“Literally.”


And . . . that's all for today! Tell me, did you enjoy the snippets? How is Camp NaNo going for you? 


Friday, March 31, 2017

My Camp NaNo project: Prologue + Snippets

*waves* 'Ello, all! Well, the end of March is here, and Friday is here, and . . . I don't have a post planned. So last night, I decided I'd just talk about my Camp NaNo project!
If y'all read my last post with the writing update, you're already gonna know what my camp NaNo project is, so today I'm just gonna post the synopsis *winces* (I'm terrible at those), and a few snippets that I've written this past week. ;) Since I have a few new characters, I wanted to get a feel for them before I started writing. Thus the very random snippets. ;)

Also, *warning* For those of you who have not read A Question of Honor, The synopsis has minor spoilers in it.

Synopsis: 

A man. A decision. A destiny. 

Rafe Sullivan never imagined the war would come to his doorstep. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked, and America's focus suddenly shifts to the pacific, he finds he can't ignore the problem anymore. 
Leaving his fiance behind, he joins up to do what he does best. Fly. 
Yet, nothing could have prepared him for the horrors of war, and the struggle that is going on in his own heart. As a outstanding navy pilot, he has a permanent spot flying fighters from the deck of an aircraft carrier. But could God be calling him to go inland, and help the Marines who are struggling to hold the small Island of Guadalcanal?

Lily Wilson gives her all to help the hurting community around her. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the war is brought home to many American families. And as a nurse, she longs to be able to relive some of the suffering. But her own grief is still fresh in her own heart, and even though she's made the decision to get on with her life, she can't seem to leave the past behind. When healing at last comes, the guard she placed around her heart slowly begins to crumble. But when she receives the news she hoped she would never again hear, can she find the courage to go on, even when it seems that everyone she loves is taken away? 

Arthur Warrington saw the Navy as an escape from the life he left behind. And it seems good for him. He is able to forge new friendships, and distance himself from the his tragic past. But when his best friend makes a decision that rocks his world, he is left grappling with the question: what is true courage? 

Three lives. One War. And a search for the Courage to go on. 


 Did you get through all that? If so . .  .you have my sincere admiration. *hands you chocolate* Most likely that won't be the final synopsis. But hey, it's the best I can do, so it'll work for now. ;P 

Okay, now for the prologue and the snippets! :) 

Prologue: 

We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by air. President Roosevelt has just announced that the attack was made on all naval and military activities on the principal island of Oahu. 

The words shattered the after-church calm in the small town of Topeka, Kansas, and across the world. 
Beyond the oceans, the rest of the world waited with bated breath to hear what America's reaction would be in response to the treachery that had taken place that Sunday morning on the sunny island in the pacific, where over two thousand men had been eternally silence by the attack of the Imperial Japanese Army. 

But that afternoon, as he entered the kitchen and heard the strains of the broadcast that stunned the world into silence, one man already knew what he had to do. The others in the room faded away, and he didn't even notice the icy breeze thrusting itself through the door he left open behind him. 
What had started out as a normal Sunday had determined the destiny of the rest of his life. His country needed him, and he would serve.

The small cry of an infant startled him from his reverie, and he looked up to catch sight of the woman he loved quieting the son that lay in her arms. 
That attack on Pearl Harbor threatened to bring war home to those he cared about. And he would do everything in his power to make sure that never happened. 

But no one knew just what they were up against when America declared war on Japan. And it would be a bloody conflict, more ghastly than anyone could have ever foretold.


Snippets: 

Snippet #1

Rafe unbuttoned his jacket and tossed on the corner of the bunk. A groan escaped his lips as he lowered himself onto the relative comfort of the mattress. 
Art watched him with a grin, slamming the barrack’s door behind him. What are you doing?"
Rafe's voice came out muffled from under the pillow. "Getting some shut eye for the next ten minutes.”
Art shook his head as he ran a hand through his white blond hair and straightened his collar before slapping his officer's cap back on his head.
"What in the world are you getting all primped up for?"
He turned to see Rafe emerging from the pillow, a look of bewilderment on his face. "I thought you were dead set against girls and marriage."
"Oh, and you're right." Art replied as he turned and took a seat on his bunk, facing Rafe. "But you see, as far as I can figure, these W.A.V.E.S. girls are something like sisters to us Navy men. And I'd take my sister to a dance."
Rafe shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Something tells me that if these girls had brothers, they wouldn't quite see eye to eye with that statement."
Shrugging his shoulders, Art stood the slipped his jacket on, and buttoned it. "Well, you're more than welcome to come along and keep me in line. Unless. . ." He allowed a flicker of teasing to seep into his voice. "Unless your head's too full of little-blond-curls back home to have any fun."
Rafe sprung from his bunk, picked up a boot, and tossed it at Art, who ducked out of the way just in time. 
Art bit back a chuckle. "Well, didn't know she meant that much to ya, seeing as you told me she was like a sister to you." He stressed the word with a grin and leaned against the bunk, crossing his ankles. 
A mischievous twinkle settled in Rafe’s eyes, and Art knew he’d stepped smack into a trap. 
"She's as much as sister as that little brunette you're taking to the dance."
At that moment, Art wanted to pound his brain that couldn't think of a comeback, and it must have shown on his face as Rafe laughed aloud. 
Art groaned. "I guess I left myself wide open for that."
Rafe laid back down, and a smug look of satisfaction crossed his face. "That you did, Art my boy. That you did.” 


Snippet #2

Art quirked his eyebrows as the top of the hatch began to slowly open. Thinking quickly, he took two steps back and to the right. Perfect. Now he was out of the line of sight of the occupant. He stood still for a moment, hands clasped behind his back, and his officer's cap placed at a jaunty angle on his head. The sea breeze threatened to shake it loose, but only managed to muss the red, wavy hair that covered his forehead. His green eyes danced with mischief as he stood ramrod straight, being careful not to make any unnecessary noise.
Just then the fingers of the man in the tank appeared, and quick as a flash Art stepped forward. As silently as possible he slowly lowered the hatch till it sat on his fingers.
There was a yelp from inside, though Art knew that he hadn't lowered it fast enough to really hurt.
Still, the heavy metal would be uncomfortable when it lay on your bare knuckles.
A moment later, he heard a snarl from inside the iron contraption. "Art, you lift that now or I swear you'll regret it!"
Now how in the world had Gus known it was him? He shrugged, though he knew it didn't really matter. It wasn't as if Gus could see him.
"Art! I'm warning you, I've had enough of this! Now open the hatch!"
Pushing his cap further up on his forehead, Art rubbed his temples, seemingly in great thought. "Well, now, let's see. What's in it for me?"
The only answer was yet another snarl, and Art grinned. It wasn't often that he had the chance to play something like this. Especially not out here.
"You open that hatch, or I'm gonna tell Rafe you're writing his girl!" The words echoed against steel walls.
"What? You'd lie about me? Your old pal?" Art's voice betrayed his hurt.
"Huh, some pal. Trying to get my fingers chopped off."
"Nope. If I wanted them darling little fingers gone, I would have simply slammed the hatch down and kept on walking."
"Oh, just shut up, would ya?" The words from the tank had increased in volume.  "I hate how you have an answer for everything."
Art chuckled as he reached down and lifted the hatch, and took a step back. A moment later, a dark brown head of mussed hair appeared as Gus used his arms to haul himself out. "They need to install stairs in this rotten thing," He muttered under his breath. He sat down on the lid and inspected his fingers. No blood had appeared, though they were streaked with grease from the seal on the hatch.
"Yup, they do need stairs. Also, keep those hands of my uniform." Art removed his hat, and ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't need any grease spots on this nice, new, white suit."
"Art, I'm gonna kill you!" Gus exclaimed vaulting to his feet. "No, correction. I'm gonna make sure every part of you is smeared in grease, and then I'm gonna kill you!"
But before he could take a step forward, the alert alarm sounded, and both men instantly raised their eyes towards the clouds.
Small black specks suddenly appeared on the horizon, and the smile disappeared from Art's face. "You might not have the chance. The Japs might just take care of that for you."
He slapped his cap back on his head. "Come on, let's go."



And . . . there you have it! Did you enjoy the snippets? Does the story sound interesting?
Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Writing Update

So, I just realized last week that I haven't posted a writing update on here in forever! And today, I set out to remedy that. Let's get started . . .



To start off with, A Question of Honor won the "Best Historical Fiction" award during the Indie E-con last week. A huge thank you to everyone who voted! I was so excited when I realized it had won!

Also, Camp NaNo starts next week! To be honest, I haven't actually written anything since last . . . December? *hides* I know, terrible. I mean, I've done some short random scenes and all, but not actually written in any story. Part of this is because I was so busy with the release of A Question of Honor. However, this next month, crazy as it will be, I'm determined to try and set time aside to write. Hopefully camp NaNo will be helpful with that . . . since I seem to be able to write a lot better when I have a goal and a deadline.

I'm sure some of you are wondering about the next Questions of War book. Wellll . . . yeah, there's been some changes. xD In my outline for the series, I had the second book in the series A Question of Loyalty, which went more into Erich and Micah's story, and than the third and final book would b A Question of Courage, which told Rafe's story. Based on this order, I wrote the first draft of A Question of Loyalty last year during NaNo

Well, about a month ago, I sat down and took another look at outline I had written. And than I relaized something.
A Question of Courage needs to come second.

Since I had been planning to edit AQoL during Camp, that really was a drastic change. And for past few weeks I've been scrambling to plot out the book, so that I can get the first draft written during Camp NaNo.

For anyone who is wondering, A Question of Courage will include three POVs, as the first book did. Want to know who they are?
I'm not sure I should tell you . . .

Okay, who am I kidding. I'm so excited about this, I have to share it! The three POVs featured in A Question of Courage are . . .

Rafe, David's younger brother, who is briefly mentioned in A Question of Honor. 
Lily. I think you all know who she is . . . (You can thank me now, Kellyn. ;))
And a new character. Art, Rafe's best friend.

It took me FOREVER to nail down three POV to tell the story from, and I'm really happy with the three I decided on. I can't wait to get into writing, and see how their story unfolds! And don't worry, for all you who are wondering, Erich and Micah will be back in the 3rd book! ;)

And . . . I think that's all, as far as writing is concerned. Yes, I'm one of those rare writers who has to have only one project going at a time or else I get overwhelmed and my brain shuts down. ;P

Oh, wait, there is one more thing . . . do you remember the short story I wrote and posted last year? It was titled "A Place Called Lonesome", and it won first place in a short-story writing contest. Well, I'm working on fixing a few things in it, and than it'll be published on kindle, hopefully within the next month!

Okay, now I think we are really done. ;)

So what do you think? Do you approve of the new POVs? Are you doing Camp NaNo?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

When Tides Turn --- Book Review

It's been a while since I did a book review on here, so lets remedy that! ;) This is my new favorite book, and my review might be a bit long. You've been warned.


Synopsis:
The last thing naval officer Dan Avery wants to see on his radar is glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont—even if she has joined the WAVES.

When fun-loving glamour girl Quintessa Beaumont learns the Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, determined to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. No-nonsense and hoping to make admiral, Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills to fight German U-boats. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess.

 For her part, Tess works hard to prove her worth in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston—both to her commanding officers and to the man with whom she is smitten. When Dan is assigned to a new escort carrier at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he’s torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help Tess root out a possible spy on shore. The Germans put up quite a fight, but he wages a deeper battle within his heart. Could Tess be the one for him?


My Review: 5 Stars

Okay, full review. And I'm just going to point out at the beginning that while I'm doing my best to keep this review to a moderate length . . . that may not actually work. xD

Well, Mrs. Sundin has done it again. And this is by far my favorite of ALL her books! (Followed closely, of course, by "Blue Skies Tomorrow" ;)) Since I could ramble on and on about it, I'm gonna focus my review on three different areas. Characters, Content, and historical info. 

So, characters. Dan is, by far, one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. And yes, while I understand this may sound a bit weird, I related to him so well. The things he struggled with, the way he looked at life, his being the oldest brother in the family . . . I related to him more than I have any fictional character in a long while. I always appreciate the the depth there is in Sarah Sundin's characters, and he was no exception. He had real life struggles, and I learned a lot and was encouraged in my walk with Christ by reading his story. 
Tess was awesome, too! She's quite a bit different than Dan, but I loved the energy and enthusiasm she added to the story. Her struggles and flaws were also so, so real. I love how Mrs. Sundin deals with some difficult issues in life, instead of skirting around them like so many christian fiction authors do.
The supporting characters were, as always, spectacular. But I'll refrain from further comment on them. ;) 

The content was very light! There was no swearing, cursing, or excessive violence of any kind. As for romance, there were two kisses at the end, and a wedding . . . but other than that, there really wasn't much at all. I think this actually was quite a bit lighter on the romance than her other books, and I really enjoyed and appreciated that!

Historical info was fascinating! I've never studied much about the Navy in the Atlantic, so this was a fresh look at a whole new part of the war for me. I loved reading about all the equipment, ships, planes, etc. Also, reading about the Battle of the Atlantic and the first U-boat sinking by the Americans was really interesting!

Sooo, yeah. I loved the book. can you tell? ;P This is the first book in a while that I've actually not found anything I disliked in . . . the writing style fit, the history was astounding, and the spiritual message extremely relevant.

5 out of 5 stars!

*I received a free copy from Revell in exchange for my honest review*

Friday, March 24, 2017

Writing The Next Book

And . . . today is the last day of the Indi E-Con! I've had so much fun with it all, and I can't believe it's almost over!



Okay, today we're talking about the next book in a series. There are many different ways to write a series Sometimes, it's continuing the main character's journey from the first book. At other times, it's only a semi continuation of the story. Meaning you stay within the same family/character group, but use a different POV for each book.
Since I'm using the second method for my Questions of War series, today we'll talk a little bit about that. More specifically, how to keep the characters unique and the plot intriguing with each book.


     1.) Make sure each character is its own, distinct person. 

Now, this may seem obvious, but this goes a bit further than making them look or talk differently. Every character in each book, whether the main character, or minor, has got to have a different drive. A different struggle. A different way of looking at things. 
I don't care if your characters look like mirror images of one another. (Okay, well, maybe I would mind a bit.;)) But they have to have their own distinct personalities. Perhaps they are a lot alike, but there have to be subtle differences.

In my first and second book, I have two very similar characters. Or, at least at first glance they appear similar. But they aren't.
Gil is outgoing, friendly, and he has a teasing streak. He also can be dead serious within the snap of a finger.
Rafe is also outgoing and teasing, yet he doesn't relish attention as Gil did. Also, he will never be quite serious with you unless he fully trusts you.
Gil's drive was fighting for what he believed. His trusting nature was just that---trusting. Yes, he had the good sense not to trust every person who crossed his path, but he looked at people with the "trust them until proven otherwise" motto.
Rafe's drive is fighting for those he loves. He is friendly with everyone, but extremely wary. His motto is "people have to earn trust."
For Gil, his lighthearted look at life is who he is. For Rafe, teasing and making light of things is a guard.



     2.) Make the struggles different. 

In the first book, the struggle for my characters is accepting things that happen in life as a part of God's perfect will, even when we can't see it. 
In my second book, the struggle is taking the next right step, even when the outcome may not be what you want it to be.
The struggle needs to fit the character. What one character struggles with, your other character may not.
Don't try and force your characters to fit into the same struggles, because it's not realistic. Yes, as humans we all have some of the same struggles. But we are all also wide and varied in so many ways. And because of this, we'll all have many struggles that are unique.



     3.) Add  Variety.

 I'm sure y'all are rolling your eyes at me and thinking obviously!  But just hear me out! ;) Everyone is different. Everyone has a different way they view life. Perhaps one character walks around quoting books, much to the annoyance of everyone else. Maybe another loves music. The way they look at life will be different than the way a non-musical person will look at life. (Trust me, as a musical person, I can couch for this. ;))
Also, give different characters different quirks. Don't rely on physical features only to tell them apart. Does one character always whistle? Perhaps another is known by their signature grin, or the way they are always rubbing their chin when deep in thought. Maybe your main character has a habit of twirling her hair around her finger.
At times this takes a bit of extra effort on the part of the author, because these are such common, everyday occurrences that they are often overlooked. But never underestimate just how much they add to your book!



     4.) Adjust your plot according to the characters. 

So far, I've been talking mostly about characters. And I'll admit, I tent to like character driven books much more than plot-driven ones. However, every book needs to have a plot of some sort. But don't try and make the characters in your second book fit into the same plot structure as the ones in your first book.
Did the characters in book one go on some sort of epic quest? Well, what if this adventure-structure story doesn't work with the second book?
Let's day the main character in book one is the kind of person who is bored and restless with life. This literally sets the stage for something big and exciting. Enter the quest. The character's passion and talents are discovered on this journey.
In book two however, the main character is the younger sibling, who has always lived under the spotlight of the older one. Their plot is going to be a bit slower. They're not longing for adventure like character #1. Perhaps their journey is simply finding and discovering their passions, and how they can use their gifting to help in the every day life of the world they live in.



     5.) Realize each book is a different journey for yourself. 

Yes, I know, I've abruptly left plot and characters behind. But I think this is something that is worth pointing out. Wherever you are in life right now, whatever struggles you're having, these are going to be reflected in your writing. And whatever answers God shows you through the course of writing the book, will also work their way into your writing, whether consciously or not. 
Each time you begin a new project, you're at a different stage in this journey we call life. And this is going to be reflected in your writing. So journey with your characters to find the answer. Pray, and ask our Heavenly Father what He would have you learn through the writing of this particular book. I can guarantee you, there will always be a different lesson He's waiting to teach you as you turn the project over to Him.


Well, there you have it. The five ways I use to make sure my first book, second book, and so on are different, and not simply a different way of repeating the same thing we learned in the first book. What guidlines do you use when you start the 2nd book of a series? Any tips you can share with me?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Best Stock Photo Sites

And . .  .we're back as a part of the Indie E-Con! Okay, today we’re talking about . . . publishing! And more specifically, I’m talking about places to find good stock photos.



Stock photos are wonderful for everything from blog posts to book covers, but with so many sites it can be hard to figure out which ones are good to use, and which free ones are actually legal. So. I’ve compiled a list stock photo sites that either I have personally used, of sites that people I personally know have used and can be recommended.

Free Sites:

Pixabay.

I’ve used pixabay for nearly two years now. They have a nice selection of royalty free photos, and you don’t need to have an account with them in order to download pictures. Be sure to read through their terms, though. They do have some limitations when it comes to photos with identifiable people. ;)

Wikimedia. 

So far, this is the sight I’ve used for my Questions of War series covers. I’d especially recommend this site for black and white images from the 1900s. They have a wonderful selection, and I may be known to spend hours simply looking through historical images.

Morguefile

I’ve only personally used this site once, I think, but I know others who use it quite a bit! They seem to have less selection than pixabay, but they still have a good variety.

Unsplash

This is a site I have never personally used, but my cover designer told me she has used it and has been able to find some amazing photos.

Pexels

Yet another site I haven’t personally used! However, I’ve heard many good things about it, and from my quick look over the site, they seem to have an amazing selection!




Paid Subscription Sites:

Dreamstime

Dreamstime has a wide selection of photos, as well as a small selection of free ones. Their pricing plans are very reasonable, and they really have some amazing images. I’d definitely recommend them if you’re looking for more professional photos.

iStock

Their prices tend to be a bit more on the expensive side, but they also have some amazing photos I haven’t been able to find in other sites, especially if you’re looking for full color historical images. (They have some amazing WWII ones! ;))

Shutterstock

Their prices are about the same as Dreamstime’s, and they have a decent selection. (Especially if you're looking for images of swords! ;)) I haven’t used it all too much, though. :)

What are your favorite stock photo sites? 
Have you used any of these? 
Oh! And as a part of the conference, there is some book awards going on, and two of my books were nominated.(A Question of Honor and Beyond the Horizon)  I'd love it if you would head over here and vote for them if you've read and enjoyed them! (http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/p/2017-indie-e-con-book-awards.html)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Using Google Docs for Writing

Hey All!! Today is the first day of the Indie e-con 2017! Be sure and head over to Kendra's blog to take a look at all the things she's got going on there. Word wars, games, articles, and more! Oh, and there is some voting for book awards going on, too!
Today's subject is writing, and there are a lot of great authors sharing their insight . . . so be sure and check it out!

Using Google Docs for Writing:

For the first draft of any book or story I’ve written, I always use Google docs. While you can’t really format much in it, or upload it on a self-publishing site, there are several reasons and factors that have come into play that have made me decide to use this writing platform.

Google docs is fairly simply to use and understand. It has a good selection of fonts, and it’s pretty simple to customize it in any way you’d wish. And of course, it’s free. If you have a google account, you can sign in and start using Google docs. Below I’m gonna list some of the advantages and reasons that I use Google docs in my writing. 

     1.) It’s accessible from any internet device. For me this was a huge thing, because it meant I could sign in on a tablet, phone, our second laptop, or even the computer at the library and get some words written. When I’m working on a first draft, I like to be able to write any idea down just as soon as I get it. And there are times when I have to spend the day somewhere else, and I like to write whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes. 

     2.) It’s easily shared.  Now, I know, you’re probably thinking “Share?! My writing?!” I know, it seems a bit intimidating, but if you ever decide to get beta-readers, or even want to share it with friend or sibling, it’s quite easy to add them to the document. All you have to do is click the blue “share” button at the top right corner, enter their email, and press share. They now have access to your document. This also requires no downloading to your computer or device, such as Word Doc would. 

    3.) People can leave comments and suggestions right in the document.  This is so much easier than sending someone a Word Doc or PDF and having them try and critique it. In Google docs, they can comment on pretty much everything. This option is available in Word Doc, however, only one person at a time can comment in Word Doc, which makes the process more time consuming when you have more than one person reading your writing. 

     4.) It doesn’t require yet another platform to keep track of. In this day and age, most of us have a gmail account, or are some way a part of the google network. Another beauty of Google Docs is that one account is all that is required. And you don’t have to remember another password, because this is the same password as your email. 

     5.) It is simple to convert into PDF or Word Doc. Because I used Word Doc for publishing, pretty much any platform I use for writing is going to have to convert to Word Doc easily. Thankfully, google docs does just that. At the top left corner of the screen, click “file. Then, go down till you get to “Download as”. Then choose whatever form you want it downloaded in. It’s as simple as that! 

So have I convinced you yet? Will you give Google Docs a try? What platform do you use for writing? 

Friday, March 17, 2017

"The sky calls to me, and I can't ignore it."

From Pinterest.
You know those moments when life is good and everything seems right . . . yet you feel restless? Often, it comes at a time you weren't expecting it.  You watch the sunset and, long to see what lies beyond the horizon. You want to see the sun sink beneath the waves of an ocean; you want to watch the clouds turn into molten gold from above them, not below. Suddenly, you feel small in the universe. Life seems short. And oh, you want to live life. To experience it to its fullest as time swiftly slips away. It's as if the horizon is calling, beckoning you to come and press its boundaries.You can almost feel the ache physically. You long to go beyond the day to day routine of life. You long to feel complete and utterly . . . free. Without the weights of this life pressing at us on every tun. Without the drudgery of small tasks that seem to never end.

My picture. All rights reserved. ;) 

I've felt that way. No, I don't feel the call of the sea (perhaps because I live in Kansas? xD) But I have felt the call of the skies. I've flown three times that I can remember, and each time I fell more in love with it. Nothing stirs up a feeling of longing in my soul more than looking to the skies and wanting to see the earth from the other side of the clouds. For some reason or another, the skies stir up something in me nothing else does. 

From pinterest. 

I heard a song the other day when I was shopping with my mom. I don't remember all the words, but the chorus is simply summed up. Life is short, live it up. Do what you want to now, because you'll" never get a second chance. 

I don't agree with the message of that song, but I think, to an extent, there is some truth to it. Friends, life is short. We can spend our days as teens or young adults longing for a life different from out own. We can spend those days wishing we were doing something else.Wishing we were somewhere else on this journey called life. 

Or, perhaps, we can simply grasp hold of the days that are swiftly passing us by and make them count.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. Ecclesiastes 9:10

The days that pass we will never again live. With each day that ends, twenty-four more hours of our life silently slips away. In those past twenty-four hours, did we live them with eternity in sight?

The Bible says whatever we find to do, do it with might. Perhaps it's studying. Maybe it's doing the dishes, or helping with the laundry. Seemingly everyday tasks. But are we completing them grudgingly? Doing them because we know it's the right thing to do, and because it has to be done, but not really embracing it as our mission from God?

Wherever you are in life right now, you are in the middle of God's will for you in this particular time. Whether it's being a daughter/son in your parent's home, a college student,or a best selling author, it's where God has you for this season. No matter how small or insignificant your life may seem, it matters. Every day needs to be lived to the full. But not for ourselves. Not for our selfish desires. 

No, each day needs to be lived to the full with eternity in view. Yes, in a way, we need to keep our eyes fixed on a goal. On the horizon of eternity, where time will never end. Yet, at the same time, we need to keep our feet firmly grounded on what we're to do with the season of life we've been given. 

Wherever you are in life, live it to the glory of God. Pray about your desires, about your passions, about your dreams for the future. Perhaps, one day, what you hope and long for will come to pass. 

Have a goal here on earth, and work towards it. But in doing so, don't let the days slip by while your gaze is focused only on what you're working toward. I know how easy it is. Oh, do I know! It's so easy to look at the future and hope for the day when your dreams become reality. To long for the day when what you've worked hard for becomes your life.

from pinterest

But until that day comes, we have got to be so, so careful to not waste the days we are given now in the pursuit of our long-term goal. Don't become so focused on tomorrow that you lose sight of today. No, live like there won't be a tomorrow. Because a new dawn is never promised. Someone who is here today may be gone tomorrow. What your hand has found to do more, do it with might! If it's schoolwork, than apply yourself to it. If it's a job you're not fond of, double your efforts to do a good job. If it's the seemingly endless drudgery of chores, think of those you are serving as a way to serve the Lord. Live today like eternity, our end goal, comes tomorrow.

Friends, today is a steppingstone to tomorrow. What we're going through now prepares us for what is ahead. 

Sometimes, the hardest thing in life is being content in our circumstances. But let's remember. We are where we are for a purpose. God has us here for a reason. So let's keep our eyes on what's a head of us, while still waiting with excitement for what's around the bend. 

My dream is to be a flight nurse. And who knows, maybe someday that dream will come true, and I'll be able to fly again.  To feel the weightless feeling that becomes addictive. The feeling of being suspended between earth and space, with nothing but the plane keeping you up as you defy the law of gravity. 

But until then, my feet are firmly on the ground, and I'm doing my best to keep my head out of the clouds. Because right now, God's will for me lies on this soil.

Not above it.



From pinterest.

Oh, and in case y'all were wondering, the title is a quote from one of my stories. :) 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Writing conference/kindle book Sale!

Hello all! I'm just poping in first to let you know about . . . an online writers conference coming up next week! Have you ever wanted to attend a writers conference, but there were none near you? Or perhaps you couldn't quite afford to go? Well, a fellow India author has put together an online Indie writer's conference! Yep, you can attend it from your house, and it doesn't cost a thing! Want to know some more about it? Go here to read all about it. And remember, it's happening next week! :)



Also, as a part of the conference, there are some book awards happening for the authors taking part in the conference! Because of this, the kindle of both A Question of Honor and Beyond the Horizon are on sale for $0.99 for the rest of the week. So head over here and grab the links, and pick up your copy! :)

The Tomb is . . . empty.

Matthew 28:1-9 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mar...