Monday, May 21, 2018

Writing Romance

Anddd...the Indie E-can is in full swing! Today's genre is romance, and there's a lot of fun things going on.

never thought I’d be writing a blog post about writing romance. Why? Because in my mind, I never really wrote romance. Maybe I’d include it as a side plot or some such thing, but I’d never write anything that could be classified as romance.

All that changed this past February when God put a story idea on my heart that wouldn't leave me alone. The result was my novella I Don’t Dance which will be released June 21st. I’d like to share a little here about why I decided to go ahead and write a romance, and maybe I can convince you to do the same. (Even if maybe the thought makes you gag right now. ;))

My idea of romance isn’t falling passionately in love the first time you meet someone. It’s not scandals and love triangles and wondering who the girl will end up with. Romance, in my mind, is two people who are attracted to each other  working together and letting God lead them to see what their future may hold. It’s not easy, and it’s not looking through rose-colored glasses. It’s life. It’s precious. And when God guides, it’s beautiful.
So anyway. That definition might be nice to keep in mind as we go on. ;)

The first reason I decided to write a ‘romance’ is because I was really getting annoyed at reading love stories at seemed to superficial. The characters were obsessed with the attraction to each other, and it made me cringe to read it. I knew enough people who had experienced sweet, innocent love stories to know that such a thing was possible. I just couldn't seem and find any books where that example was followed.

Secondly, I wanted a romance book that I felt I could hand to girls without warning them of the content. I hate having those books are are amazing but you have to be like, “skip this page and this chapter because there were some things in there that were a bit unnecessary.” That kinda defeats the whole point of reading the book when you’re already training your eyes to watch for things. You can’t simply just sit back and enjoy it.

Thirdly, I wanted a book where the family was involved. I’m not even going to get into the whole ‘whether or not the parents should be involved’ debate. I’m pretty certain most of you know where I stand on that. But regardless, I feel like so few books have the siblings involved. Coming from a family of ten, it was always assumed that any guy who was interested in any of us girls would have to get along with our siblings. Because they’re kind a huge part of life. So I wanted to write a story about a guy and girl who’s families already were great friends and got along. Because the romance just just include two people; it’s includes their families, too.

And last but definitely not least, I wanted to read a romance where God was a huge part of it. I didn’t just want the characters to believe in God, or to refuse to date if the other wasn’t a christian. Those are good, but I wanted more then that. I wanted Christ to be a part of the romance story. Because after all, He is the author of our love stories.

So yes. the four reasons I decided to write a romance. Have I convinced anyone else to join me? ;)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Indie e-Con Scavenger Hunt 2018 Stop #12

Hello all! Welcome to the Indie E-con. Maybe you've seen a bit about it around, but aren't quite sure what it is. Well, it's an online writing conference for anyone who would like to attend. There are prizes, contests, informative posts, and much more. Today is the kick-off for the Indie E-con, and this is the twelfth stop on the scavenger hunt. I'm hosting one of our amazing authors, Angie Thomspon.

-If you want to know more about the Indie e-con and find out more info go here.
-To start the scavenger hunt at the beginning go here. 
-To read my post on Morgan's blog go here.



The Quote That Changed My Story
Angie Thompson

What if I told you that one of the most pivotal influences in my whole writing journey was a quote? Okay, you’re probably not surprised. What if I told you it wasn’t a quote from a book but from a movie? Well, I’m sure you’ve heard that bookworms do sometimes watch movies. But what if I told you it wasn’t a quote from a Hollywood blockbuster but from a little, independent Christian film called “Facing the Giants”?
Are you scratching your head yet? If you’ve seen the movie, maybe not; it’s got a lot of inspiring scenes and soundbites to choose from. But what if I told you that God used a quote about making the football team to completely overhaul my perspective on writing?



No, the quote didn’t inspire one of my stories. It didn’t clarify a fuzzy character motivation. It didn’t send me away determined to write something just as inspiring and powerful.
What it did was to bring me face to face with my own fears and insecurities in a way I’d never seen them before.
The quote God used to rock my world and my writing came in a scene where former soccer player David is talking to his dad about the idea of trying out for the football team. After David gives several reasons why he wouldn’t be a good fit, his dad asks, “Are you saying you’re not interested? Or that you’d like to try out, but you’re afraid?”
David replies, “What if I don’t even make the team?”
And his dad answers, “Well, you’re already not on the team. You can’t be any more not on the team than you already are.”
The scene went on. The movie went on. There was more inspiring talk about fear and failure and potential. But with the words above, my life had changed.
Not immediately, mind you. In fact, my first response was to shake my head and say, “That’s different.” But the Lord began to prod me. To ask me why. To make me dig down into a little corner of my heart that I’d never tried to explore.
And when I got there, I found that I didn’t fear missed opportunity. That there was something else at the core of my fear of failure. That what I feared most, deep inside, was rejection.

You see, if David never tried out, he would always have a “might have been good enough” to cling to. But if he tried out and didn’t make the team, a little part of his hopes and dreams would die. Someone would have judged him not good enough. Not competent. Not worthy.
He wouldn’t be “not on the team” by his own choice, but by the choice of another.
As I wrestled with the quote and my reaction to it, I was forced to face my own personal giants--the looming fear of rejection and desire for approval that lurked in the shadows of all my goals. I’d always hoped to be a published author, but in my heart was an undercurrent of fear that found voice in David’s hesitant, “What if I don’t even make the team?”

Slowly and gently, God opened my eyes to see that David’s dad was exactly right. Not trying out didn’t carry the same sting for David, but it didn’t put him any closer to reaching his potential. Not accumulating a stack of rejection letters meant fewer tears for me, but it didn’t put me any closer to sharing my stories with the world.
In fact, I discovered that not trying was a shield. A prop for my pride. A selfish way of hiding my light under a bushel for fear it would be extinguished if I brought it out. But I serve a God big enough to defeat my fears, wise enough to carry my dreams, and gentle enough to shelter my heart.
The message finally took root.
It was nearly ten years after this revelation when I finally wrote a story that I thought might be worthy of publication. And when I finished it, I hesitated. The fear was still real.
“You’re already not on the team.”
I sent it to a small publisher. It was rejected. Maybe it really was as flawed as the editor thought.
I cried. But I lived. And I proved the truth of the quote that had made me send it. I wasn’t any further from my dream than I had been while sitting in my kitchen with an unsubmitted manuscript. The rejection stung. But I had done my part.

Nearly two years later, I had a massive streak of inspiration where I wrote and edited a completely new book over the span of a couple months. I’d been learning more and more about independent publishing and wanted to be able to give my grandpa a real book for Christmas (as opposed to the printer-paper manuscripts he usually gets). I went for it and suddenly found myself confronted with the monster task of telling my friends, contacting reviewers, and getting the word out online. Not one potential rejection but dozens. (Yes, just dozens; I’m still working on the marketing thing.)
“You can’t be any more not on the team than you already are.”

In His grace, God has used that quote to remind, center, and encourage me more times than I can count on this long and sometimes rocky journey from writer to author. It reminds me that rejection doesn’t destroy, that fear stagnates, and that my part is to step out, to try, and to leave the results in His hands.
So congratulations, David. After all these years, we’ve both made the team. :)


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Life

Writings, editing, conferences, book sales, traveling, friends, craziness, change. Okay, I think I summed up April quite well.



*waves* Hello, readers. How was your April? Mine was insanely busy and wonderful. A lot happened, and I have a feeling that it kinda set a precedent for how the summer is going to roll. We already have SO much planned.

On the writing side of things... Rebekah Morris, a friend of hers, and another friend of mine shared a booth at our local homeschool conference! It was so much just to hang out and be able to have fun and talk to people. Talking about and attempting to sell books to people I sorta knew was weirder, and I came to the conclusion I'd never be a good salesperson. xD If you were on Instagram you probably saw a lot of pictures of our time there. We had a lot of fun and it was an amazing experience. ;)

I did participate in Camp Nano. Originally my goal was to edit 60K in A Question of Loyalty, but life had other ideas and I ended up lowering my goal to 35k. The good news is, I did manage to edit that much, so I'm happy. As of now I'm taking a break from the rest of it to focus on getting I Don't Dance published, and then during July camp NaNo I'll, Lord willing, be able to finish it up and send it to beta-readers in early August.

Andddd...I Don't Dance! The publication date is just a little over a month away! Beta-readers finished up with it today, and I'm just about completed with the last huge edit I plan on doing before sending it off to the amazing Abi who is going to give it one last edit before publication. My cover designer is working on perfecting the back cover and spine for the paperback, and let me just tell y'all... It's gonna look amazing!  I'm honestly so excited for the release of this book. Perhaps more then with any other book I've published. I never thought I'd be writing a contemporary christian romance novella. In fact, if you had told me I would, I probably would have chuckled and dismissed the idea.
But God has other plans that are so often different and better then ours, and the journey of this book has been amazing. It's definitely my baby. *cuddles book*

On a totally different note...
I've been thinking a lot about dreams and the future this month. When we were little, we dreamed of what we would do when we were older. We wanted to grow up and do something special. The world was an exciting adventure we couldn't wait to travel. And I think too often as we get older and adjust to the duties and routines that life demands, we lose sight of that God-given dream. But just remember, God put that passion in your heart for a reason. Trust Him. Don't be afraid of the unknown. Wait for His guidance. And then don't let anything stop you.


So yes. Somewhat of an update on how April went and a random rambling thrown in for good measure. ;) How was your April?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

I Don't Dance - Cover Reveal

Hello all! First off, I apologize for not having replied to last week's comments. They seriously made my day and I will reply to them soon! However, this week was busy and I really didn't get much of anything blog-related done. Hopefully I can remedy that this next week. ;)

Yes, this is incredibly boring. I was too tired to come up with a better title pic. xD
Anyway, on to today's post. I think the title is kinda self- explanatory. Today I'm revealing the cover for my soon-to-be-released novella, I Don't Dance! And I'll be a nice author and not make you scroll down for it.



*sits back and looks at it* *grins* Isn't is so beautiful?! I love it so much and my cover designer did a fantastic job! *whispers* She's already made the cover for the book that comes after it... ;)

And yes, that's literally all I have to share today.  I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Built to Last

That moment when you sit down, look at the screen, and think . . . what in the world am I even going to post about? So, since Jess didn't think ahead of time and plan a post that would match up with the schedule, we're gonna go ahead and do a post on a completely different subject.


As of late, I've been listening to a lot of  country music. Most of the songs are alike, but every once in a while, a song stands out to me that I know I won't forget. The other day as the radio was playing, Built to Last came on. And as I listened to the lyrics, I had to pause. Because they made you think. And there aren't too many songs that do that.

Built to Last. What does that mean to you? If we're looking at buying tools or machinery, we want things that will stand the test of time. When we put our money into things, we want to be sure that it's worth it. That we're buying something that won't depreciate in value, or become useless in a year or so.
But at the same time, in other areas of our life . . . are we really making sure things are built to last?

We live in a world now of plastic and glue
Disposable honor, replaceable truth
If a part breaks, why fix it?
Man, what's the use
It costs less to buy it brand new

In the world we live in, we want everything fast. We want it now. And we don't want to be bothered with things that may require too much of our time or energy. Why put effort into something when you don't have to? Even truth is negotiable. Because if it hurts us, well, maybe we can twist it just a bit. We've become accustomed to a culture where things come easy. Generations before us literally put blood, sweat and tears into making their homes and earning a living for their families. Into making our country the land of the free and the home of the brave. They learned the value of work. They learned the truth that when you work hard at something and pour yourself into it, those things become so much more precious to you.
I'm sure you've heard someone say something along the lines of, "well, they just don't make things like they used to." And sometimes I wonder . . . is it that things aren't made like they're used to, or is it that we no longer expect things to made to last?

Here's to the makers of things built to last
The pledge of allegiance, the stars and the stripes
The words in the Bible, the sun in the sky
And here's to the twinkle in old married eyes
Still there after fifty years past
Here's to the makers of things built to last

There are some things that hold a value that can never be replaced. Never be forgotten. And so often, in all the "here and now" of life, we lose sight of those things that are designed to last. 
A country founded on biblical principals. 
A marriage where the couple is made one before God. 
The Holy Word of God. 
The traditions and family heritage that made us who we are today. 

And friends, these things don't come easily. Freedom must be kept and fought for by each generation. Marriage is designed to be forever, but it requires two people who are willing to work each and every day to put God first and their spouse second. And those generations past who have made us who we are today? Well, that requires willingness on our part to learn from those who have gone on before us. Sometimes, the old fashioned ways of doing things really are the best. 

In a world where so many things are focused on the here and now, let's take a moment to pause. Because those things will fade. Five years from now, most things that concern us today really won't matter. Lets put time and energy and work into the things that will last. Friendships. Relationships. Witnessing to others and sewing seeds that will reap in a harvest for all eternity. 

Not everything is built to last. But the things that are, they're worth investing time and energy into. 


Here's to the makers of things built to last
Like church bells and bridges, and baseball on grass
Like Ferguson tractors and Lucchese boots
My daddy's old tools I still use
Here's to the makers of things built to last



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Guest post! Rebekah Morris

Hello, y'all! How is your week coming thus far? Mine has been good, but busy! And that trend doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. ;)
Some of you may have noticed I missed Saturday's post.  There were a couple reasons for that, and this is one of them; I'm having Rebekah Morris here with a guys post today! So without any further ado,  let's get on with it. 

Hello Everyone!
I know, you were expecting Jesseca to be sharing another delightful post, weren't you? Well, she is. Only it's not here. We decided to switch blogs today because we wanted to share something.

This weekend, April 13-14, Jesseca and I will be sharing a booth at the
TPA Homeschool convention in Wichita!

Two other friends will be with us, and we will have our books for sale! If you are in the area we'd love to have you stop by our booth and say hi!

But we didn't just decide yesterday to share our books with everyone this weekend. (Don't I wish it were that simple.)

When Jesseca first contacted me last fall about sharing a booth at the convention, I was excited. While I've been to the TPA convention many years, it's always been as part of my brother's both (Light of Faith) and my books were simply more books on his very full shelves. However, I've wanted to try having a table where my books could be easily seen, and where I could talk to people (I do like to talk to people), so this chance was perfect. After several emails back and forth between us, emails to our friends, and consultation with parents, it was settled. My best friend and I would bring our books (Yes, she has a book too.) and share a booth space with Jesseca and her friend. Jesseca took on the responsibility of getting the booth, and all that sort of work *cues applause and showers of chocolate*

Then for several months the plan was just tucked into the back of my mind and I didn't really think about it. But suddenly I realized I had to get ready! *gulp*



Let's see, I had to bring books. But how many copies of each of my books should I bring? I talked to Kate (author of The Twin Arrows) and she said she took 20 copies of each of her books to the convention she did last year. That's all well and good, but I had a problem. You see, I have 25 published, paperback books! If I took 20 copies of each one that would mean I had to bring 500 books!!! Nope, not happening. For one, I knew I wouldn't sell that many, and two, I didn't have enough money to buy that many to begin with. So I had to do some guesswork, some figuring, some finding out how many books I already had available to bring, and then place my order for new books. So, if you should come to our booth, and I have run out of one of my books, sorry! I promise I will order you one.
For me, that was the hardest part about preparing. The other things (hotel, food, set up, selling) will be easy. 

There's excitement in the air as we plan when to meet to set up the booth, talk of getting ice cream together, ideas of how to set up the tables, eagerness, and maybe a bit of nervousness realizing that we're going to be doing this on our own. But it's going to be fun! And yes, we'll take pictures! (My best friend is a photographer.) And we'll share pictures after the conference is over. At least, if you want to see them. :)
 
And that, is what Jesseca and I are doing this weekend. Are any of you going to be at the TPA Convention? We'd love to meet you if you are! Come talk books with us.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

What God's been Teaching me - March



March is . . . gonna be over tomorrow? It doesn't seem quite possible, but the calendar is telling me it's the truth. A lot happened this month in my family. Winter officially morphed into spring. New blossoms are on the trees. God answered prayers in ways we couldn't even imagine, and continued to say 'wait in other areas.
 Meanwhile, the Kansas air transformed from the chilly wintry winds to breath the sweet, warm breath of springtime. And yes, that makes me really happy. Because I love summer and spring means it's on its way here. ^_^ 
This month was busy, but a bit quieter then the first two months of the year. I was able to spend a Sunday visiting with a dear friend, finish up some writing, as well as plan out April a bit . . . because that month is gonna be crazy busy. ;) 

This month I finished up my writing project, I Don't Dance. Why am I mentioning that here after I've already talked about it so much? xD Well, because a lot of what God taught me this month He taught me through my writing of that little book. 

To be honest, the whole writing process of that book had God's hand on it. I never would have told you that I've ever be writing a contemporary romance. Those are two genres I am not a huge fan of. One reason is because it seems like so many of them are cliche or ridiculous. Another reason because I've realized that with every book I write, there are little pieces of me that make their way into each one. And while I was writing historical fiction, that was totally fine. I could hide behind the characters in times gone by. But writing contemporary . . .well, it's not as easy to hide. And those who know you well can pretty easily see where a part of your life impacted the writing. 
I Don't Dance was no exception. One of the main themes of the book trusting God, and being content when He says wait. No, I haven't exactly been struggling with it in the same situation the characters in the story do, but I have been struggling with it. 

And when it got to the point where I was going to send my little book to others to read, I was terrified. This book had so much of what God had been teaching me in it, that it was near and dear to my heart. I couldn't stand the fact that there would be people out there who didn't enjoy it or understand it. And then I realized something . . . God didn't just want me to write a sweet story. He didn't want me to write a story and then keep it to myself. No, He was teaching me to be vulnerable in my writing. To write something I loved and then hand it over to others and know that it's gonna be okay. No, not everyone will like it. But you know what? God guided and directed this story. I'm writing for Him. 
And in the end . . . that's really all that matters. 

God's been teaching me to be honest. With myself and with others. To not hide who I am because I'm afraid people won't understand or accept me. I don't write so that people will like me or my writing. I write because I feel that God has called me to. He's given me the gift, and I strive to use it to honor Him. 
And that writing that I often hid because I was afraid of what people would think? Well, I've begun to realize it's as much a part of me as my family. ;) For so long I've had two different lives. Real life, and writing life. At times they would mesh, but normally they were separate. And this month I've been realizing . . . they're not things that need kept separate. 

My everyday life impacts my writing. Should not then my writing also be a part of that life? Yes, that means people who know me will read my books. Yes, it means they'll probably be able to see more clearly then most where the lines between fact and fiction face. 

And that's gonna be okay. Because I don't need to hide that anymore. 

So what point am I trying to make in all that rambling? ;) Be you. Be honest. Be real. Be vulnerable. Follow what God has given you to do. Go where He's leading. Wait where He says to pause. But never waver in your obedience because you're afraid of what people will think. Trust Him. He's got this. Yes, I applied this to writing, but it can be really be applied to any area of life. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. 

What has God been teaching you? What scripture verse has been an encouragement to you this month? 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Friendship

Friendship. There have been so many things said about it throughout history that I can't even begin to imagine I'm saying anything original.

But that's okay. Because I think sometimes, we need to hear things repeated. Otherwise we forget the importance of them.

Friendship is one of those things. And I think oftentimes, in the buisness of life, we forget that. We take forgranted the friends we have, and it's only when life and change take them away from us that we realize the treasure we once held.

There are always seasons in life. Things will always change. I've been learning that a lot as of late. And I've also come to the realization that in the world we live in, it seems to be an accepted fact of life that as things change, friendships also change. After all, can you expect that the same girl you shared your heart with in highschool will stand beside you in your wedding?
Lives change. Goals change. Perspectives change. Priorities change.

But in all that change, you know what?

Friendships don't have to change.

Or maybe I shouldn't say that. They will change. They will grow. They will become stronger. And true friendship, friendship that is grounded in Christ, like the tides of the ocean, will always remain constant.

And nothing can stop it.

Maybe you're laughing and wondering where in the world I'm getting all this from. Well, first off, I promise I'm not making it up. ;) Let me explain.

Remember the story of David and Jonathan in the Bible? David and Jonathan were friends; close friends. And then Saul, Jonathan's father, began to despise David. And tried to kill him.
But not Jonathan. Jonathan helps David escape. And David promises he'll always do good to Jonathan, and Jonathan's family. Time passes, and Jonathan is killed. David eventually becomes king. And one day, he remembers his promise to Jonathan. And wonders if there is any of Jonthan's family still alive, that he might be kind to them, as he had promised. He asks around a bit and finds out that, yes, there is still someone alive. In fact, Jonathan's crippled son is still alive.
David sets out to find him. And when he does, David brings him into the palace, sits the man at his table, and treats him like family.

Y'all, even in death, their friendship was strong. The covenent they had made during their lives was honred even after one of them had died. And death is the ultimate change, is it not? If a frienship can withstand it . . . can it not also withstand anything else this world may hand out?

God places friends in our lives right when we need them. And seeing as how we're sisters in Christ, I don't think He expects them to leave us anytime soon.
Friendships are like rays of sunshine in a world that is often dark. They leave us encouraged, and put a smile on our face. And even if it's talking about the craziest things, a talk with a dear friend just seems to make the whole day a bit brighter.

So treasure each and every friendship you have. They're all gifts. Such precious gifts! But don't expect it to be without hard times. Life brings those. And it's the friends who have been with you through the rough times who will be able to rejoice with you when the sailing is smooth once again.

Often, It's the little thing in a friendship that mean so much. Like that friend who learns the lyrics to songs just so she can sing with you, even when she's not a fan of the artist. Or that other friend who understands exactly what you're going through and stuggling with, and is always willing ot listen and encourage.
Or yet another friend, who shows that she cares for you by teasing you to death.

Such little, insiginificant things. But when placed on the foundation of Christ, it's the little things that add up to be big things.

Today I challenge you. Give that friend who means so much to you a hug. Let them know how much you treasure them. And then work on building a friendship that will stand the test of time.

I can guarantee you, it's a decision you'll never regret.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

From the Selves: Books I'm currently reading/loving

Hello all! *waves* How are y'all doing this fine Saturday? We've been enjoying the wonderful weather here; the kind that's just perfect for reading outside! ^_^ (Well, unless it's windy. Then it turned into more of a fight to get the pages to lay straight.)


I haven't done a post about books that I'm reading for a while (*gasps*) so let's change that. ;) These are just a few of my favorites that I've enjoyed during the first few months of this year.

The Homelanders Series: 

Y'all. I'm not one for YA mystery/thrillers. (Is that even the genre these would be considered?) I'm also not a huge fan of first person and contemporary. But guess what, I loved these. Which means Andrew Klavin is an amazing author! I read these a few years ago and decided it was time for a re-read this year/. I loved every nail-biting, heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat moment of these books. Definitely worth a read. ;)



Passion and Purity:

This is a book I've been told for a while that I need to read. And when dad bought and gave me a copy I was like, "Okay, not I don't have any excuse." ;) So I started buddy-reading it with a friend, and . .  . y'all. It was fabulous. It was exactly what I needed to hear, right when I needed to hear it. I'm glad I didn't read it any earlier, because it wouldn't have meant that same thing  to me. It's truly a precious book. <3 I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a godly view on relationships.


Meet My Boyfriend:

Despite the somewhat cheesy title that originally made me steer away from this book, after seeing some friends review it I decided to give it a try. And I'm glad I did! It was a bit deeper and more serious then I expected, and it had a cute "summer-y" feel that I loved!


Perception: 

I've never read the Jane Austen original, so I'm not sure how this compared. But I loved this book for what it was. A story about a family facing hard times in the early 30s . . .and it was fabulous! While some parts left me confused, most of the time I was right there with the characters, loving every moment spent with them.


Raptor 6:

I haven't finished this one yet, but so far I'm loving it! There's one element of the story that's a bit hard for me to read, but the rest is fabulous! I'm loving the whole feel of it. You can definitely tell the author has done her research, and you feel like you're in the Middle East. Not like you're in the U.S and being told you're in the Middle East. ;)
I'm excited to see how it ends, and boy howdy is the mystery part driving me crazy!


So, there you have it five book (or series! ;)) That I've been enjoying this year! Have you read any of them? Any that you plan to read soon?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I Don't Dance + A Question of Loyalty -- what's going on?!

This is a completely random, unplanned post to clear up something I'm sure some of y'all are wondering. In all this talk of I Don't Dance  . . .  what has happened to A Question of Loyalty? 

Welllll . . . it's still alive. xD

In January of this year, I sent it off to several Alpha readers, who have just completed going through it. During the time it was in their hands, I needed something to work on, which is where I Don't Dance came in. It wasn't supposed to be book length, but it seems God had other plans. And so, as of now, I have two completed manuscripts that should be published sometime this next year.

Buttt . . . in what order?

A Question of Loyalty was tentatively scheduled to be released around September of this year, and that hasn't changed. It needs a lot of work and re-writing, then Beta-readers, edits, etc, but that's still the plan. Hopefully nothing too major happens during the summer that would mess up that date. ;)

As for I Don't Dance, the scheduled publication day is June 21st. Because it's a sweet, summer romance, and it needs to be released on the first day of summer. (Yes, that's seriously the only reason I choose that date.) And it's a sweet story without a lot of sadness or heartbreak, and I thought y'all might enjoy something like that before A Question of Loyalty.  No, that wasn't a reason that I wrote it, but hey, it works. xD I've had a lot of people ask me if I could write just a sweet, happy story. So I did and I'm actually really happy without how it came out, which I was not expecting! Not that I don' like happy books, they just so often seem unrealistic to me.

So yes. A stand alone contemporary story will be released before the 3rd book in the Question of War series, but it won't change the release date of said Questions of War book.

Hopefully that answered any questions y'all might have had about the two books. I'm so looking forward to embarking on the publication journey of both of them with y'all this year!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Writing Update

So, I sat down to write a blog post and looked at the schedule and was like . . . wait, didn't I just do one of these?! Well, turns out, no. It was exactly a month ago that I did a writing update, though I kinda feel like I've added a bit about writing in all of my more recent-ish posts. 
(Also, y'all, what do you think of the new blog look? Isn't is amazing and summery and beautiful?! Sav did an AMAZING job!) 


Writing. Ah, yes. My dear friend that seemed to have left me behind since last November during NaNo. To be honest, I've kinda been on a writing slump. A Question of Loyalty needs a lot of work, and just looking a it makes me wonder how I'm gonna improve it. I've been dreading editing . . . hopefully I can get somewhat excited about it by the time for April NaNo comes?

In between trying to get excited about NaNo and waiting for the weather to warm up, (*coughs* Jess is not a cold weather person) I got a random idea for a short story. For Valentine's day. Anddd . . .it ended up a lot longer then I thought.

Sooo . . .in nineteen days I've completed a 27k word novella. I believe this is the fastest I've ever completed a writing project. My little short story project has turned into a novella that is very close to my heart. And the expected publication day is June 21st. Yes, I know publishing a book on a Thursday is a bit strange, but I have a reason. It's a novella that takes place during the summer, and June 21st is the first day of summer.  It needs some editing, but it's one of those stories that you write and love and look forward to editing. Hopefully it stays that way?

Blogging is going well. ^_^ I've manged to stay on a consistent posting schedule this year which makes me happy. It feels good to be back to actually blogging on a regular basis. (And yes, I'm totally counting blogging as writing. I mean, the post is pretty much made up of words, soooo . . . )

Hopefully by next month during the writing update I'll have a bunch of editing done to report. (Wait, does editing count as writing? It must . . . right??)  In the meantime, I hope y'all are having a wonderful start to your March! Be sure to join me next week, because I'm going to do a post I haven't done in ages. Namely, Currently reading books/recommendations!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

What God's been teaching me- February/Story Introduction

Well, look at this, I'm becoming the queen of combining two posts in one. xD


Did I say January had been crazy? Because February was so much more so. Like, um, really? It's March?! I feel like this month was non-stop one thing after another, in a good way. This month was very blessed in so many different ways. It was also challenging, but through it all, God's been good.
This last month, something that really spoke a lot to me was how many times God tells us to fear not. Like, y'all, it's literally a command from the God of the universe. The God who loves us enough to send His son to die for us.
He commands us to fear not. To be still. To watch Him work in the situations were in the midst of. And that's not easy. Life in general, the future, things that may or may not happen--it can be scary to think about. But God is love. Perfect love casts out fear. If we are dwelling in God, in His word, we have no reason to fear. Because we can rest in the knowledge that the God of the universe is in control of everything that happens.

"The opposite of love is fear. Fear is realizing that you aren't in control. Love is being okay with that. And without trust, there is not love." (Quote from Jordan)

We can trust God because He has proven His faithfulness. We love Him because He first loved us. And we don't need to be in control because we know God is. Why would we need to fear?

Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 


*<-><-><->* 

So. Onto the random part of this post that no one was expecting. But after the post I did last week, I decided I need to introduce you properly to the story. So without any further ado, here's the synopsis for I Don't Dance. 

-----

Sometimes it takes a a sunset to show you what really matters in life. But it's the sunrise that bring the promise of a new beginning. 

Ty and Jen have been friends for nearly as long as anyone can remember. But when Ty goes off to college and leaves her behind, he has to face the reality that he cares for her as more then just a friend. 
With only one summer left before he graduates from the ROTC program and is gone for good, he must make a decision. Military life is never easy; is it fair to force it on the one he loves? 
In the midst of wrestling with the question and coming to the realization that summer is quickly drawing to a close, Ty is hit with unexpected news that forces him to examine his own heart. 
Is it possible that God has a future for him with Jen? Or will the summer close with only memories of days gone by? 

Their relationship would be old fashioned. But that was okay. Because old fashioned and whimsical fit perfectly with a southern summer. 

-----

It's about 1/3 done, and I'm hoping to finish it in the next week or two. Now that y'all have read the first chapter (in the last post) and now the synopsis, what do you think? I went ahead and added it to Goodreads, and my hope is to have it published as a novella sometime in June. We'll see. xD

How was your month? Anything God's been teaching you? Any new writing projects started?  

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Short story . . . or not.

(I totally didn't have to go and look at the schedule to see what I was supposed to post today. *clears throat* Not at all.)
*waves* Hello all. Yes, I missed last week. No, it wasn't on purpose. I had a post I was gonna write but I didn't get a chance to write and schedule it on Friday night like I normally do, and dad decided on Saturday it was time for a family day out. Which meant I wasn't able to get anything written. So yes. That's the explanation for last week. ;)

Anyway. today was supposed to be a short story. And if everything had gone according to plan, I would have had it ready. But see, the story disobeyed me and rebelled. It decided it had a lot more that needed to happen. It decided to turn into a novella. So yeah. The short Valentines day story has decided to turn into a longer contemporary romance type story. From a guy's POV. All new things for me.
As of right now I'm honestly not sure how it's gonna turn out or end. Hopefully next week I'll be closer to finding an answer. xD
For now, here's the first chapter of it. I'd love to hear your thoughts!



The moon was shining bright overhead, slicing a streak of white light through the window pane. 
 Tyler lay awake, tossing and turning in his bunk. Shifting his position to his back, he winced as the bed creaked. From up above, he heard a frustrated groan. “Ty, man, can you worry about the girl some other time?”
Some other time? Ty refrained from uttering the words he wanted to reply with, and gave a rough, “sure, sorry.” 
The only problem was . .  . no, he couldn't worry about her another time. Doing his best to make sure the wood didn’t creak, he slipped out of bed and grabbed his phone off the side table, tucking it in his pocket. Then, he slipped his feet in his boots. The March air threatened to be chilly, and he grabbed his jacket before he opened the door and stepped out into the hall. 
The house was silent, and he was thankful the the fact that his buddy's parents slept on the other side of the house. For that he was grateful; he could slip outside without bothering anyone else. 
It was only a handful of footsteps to the backdoor, and he placed a hand on the knob, opening it with no resistance. Apparently, the town was small enough that people didn't bother to lock the doors. The thought made him smile and long for home. It was spring break, for goodness sake,. Why did he ever agree to come home with his roommate and meet his family when he could be spending the time home with his own family . .  . and Jenny. 
Jenny. As he shoved his arms into the jacket sleeves, he let out a deep breath. It frosted in the air around him, and disappeared into the moonlight. She was the reason he couldn't go home yet. He had to figure out what to do first. 
Taking his phone from his pocket, he unlocked it and turned it off sleep mode. While he waited for the apps to load, he made his way down the steps and then took a seat on the bottom one. 
It was times like this that he loved being awake while others slept. To see everything silent. In the twenty-first century, it wasn’t often anything took the time to slow down. But then, everyone needed sleep. And at night, the world slipped into an enchanted state of silence that never failed to leave him in awe. 
Life looked different through the eyes of the night. 
His phone vibrated in his hand, and his eyes cut to the screen. Instagram. One new message. He clicked the notification, reminding himself for the tenth time that he really should turn them off. He spent too much time on here. 
As he had expected, the message was from Jenny. She was telling him in detail about how her last class had gone at the university. A grin tilted his lips as he scanned the message. 
I don’t mind the hands on classes, and I love the science. Sometimes, though, I wonder if there’s even any reason for me to take more English, but it’s required for graduation. I ended up spending the day diagramming sentences. And to think, I thought I had bid them goodbye when I finished high school. 
Anyway, I’m sure you don’t want to be bored to death hearing me complain about English. 
How’s life for you? Any idea when you’ll be back? Everyone here misses you!
His smile grew even bigger at the last line. Everyone. Did that include her? His hand hovered over the keyboard, but instead of typing, he clicked her name and was redirected to her profile. He’d seen the pictures more times then he cared to know. Most of them had to do with books, school, or her family. Four younger siblings sure kept her on her toes. He remembered the night he’d offered to help her babysit. She’d been so adorable taking care of everyone. 
A sigh started from somewhere deep inside, and escaped his lips. A good friend. He knew that’s all she’d ever seen him as. And for year it had been how he saw her, too. 
But not now. Time away had made him realize how much he missed her. More than just a friend. Problem was, he was sure she didn’t feel the same way. 
His eyes scanned the pictures, and a new one caught his eye. She was standing next to her dad, and on her other side was a guy he didn’t recognize. His brow furrowed as he read the caption. "Having fun with my two best guys!"
There was someone she hadn’t told him about? As soon as the thought hit him, he shoved it aside. It’s not like she was entitled to tell him anything at all. Though . . . It was strange that she hadn’t said anything about him. With as much as they talked, there wasn’t much he didn’t know about her. 
He sighed as he closed the app and switched over to the phone. It was there. The ten digit number he needed to call before he put another step toward the direction of home. 
Her dad.
But what if there was already someone else, and he was too late? What if he said no? Ty knew Mr. Davis had some strict standards for any potential suitors.  And the fact that he wore a uniform may complicate things. 
What father wanted to give their daughter to a man who may be spending months and years on the other side of the world? Jenny deserved so much more. 
The door behind him opened with a protest, and Ty swung around. Behind him, a bleary Mike, rubbing sleep from his eyes stepped out onto the deck. “Man, you woke me up and I can’t get back to sleep.”
Ty winced. “I’m sorry, man.” 
“Eh, don’t worry. I’ll make you pay for it.” Mike flopped down next to him, and motioned to the phone. “That her dad’s number?” 
Looking down, Ty realized he still had the screen open. He nodded, “yeah.”
“All right, you may be right in saying I know nothing about romance. But you know what, you need to make that call. I’ve seen how you’ve been struggling with this, and it’s not gonna end till you’re honest. Take the risk, Ty. The worst he can say is no. But,” Mike leaned close as if sharing something for his ears only. “I’d wait till a decent hour. If a man called me at two in the morning to ask if he could start a relationship with my daughter, I’d probably feel like shooting him.”
Ty shook his head and shoved Mike away. “You’re annoying, you know that?” 
Mike shrugged and grinned. “Hey, what can I say? Observing other’s love life is a hobby of mine. I can’t help but meddle in your affairs.”
Before Ty could stop him, Mike had grabbed the phone. The open Instagram window instantly lit up her page and the picture he had been contemplating. Mike like out a low whistle. “Better make your move, man. This guys isn’t as ugly as you are.”
A snort was Ty’s only reply and he wrestled the phone away. When it was safely back in his hands,  he locked it and slid it into his pocket. “You know, back in training I tried for the ugliest guy award, but they informed me you’d already won that.”
For a moment Mike didn’t reply, and when he did he shook his head. “One day you’re gonna regret that so bad. Just sayin’.” He stood and ran a hand over his face. "Well, now that you’ve decided what you’re gonna do, think you can get some sleep and stay quiet so I can get some, too?”
Ty shrugged. “You go in. I’m gonna stay out a little while longer.”
Mike nodded. “Just stop worrying. It’s getting on my nerves. And I swear, if you don’t call her dad tomorrow, I’m gonna look her up on Instagram or Facebook or some such thing and tell her how you really feel.”
The spark of mischief in Mike’s eyes left no question in Ty’s mind that he’d do just that. “You send her a message and I’ll--I’ll” He couldn't think of anything bad enough, and Mike snickered. “Looks like I got the last word this time.” The self assured smirk that made Ty wanna pound him lit up his face. “I’ll be waiting to hear how that phone call went.”
With that he walked inside, closing the door softly behind him. 
Alone again, Ty returned to his quiet vigil of the town. Well, he was calling her dad tomorrow. It wouldn't be that hard . . . would it? 
Mr. Davis was very easy to talk to most of the time. But he had a feeling it wouldn't’ be quite the same with the phone call. 
He wasn’t calling to talk about work or fishing. He was calling to ask permission to talk to his daughter about forever. 
Yeah, this was every bit as terrifying as everyone had made it out to be. 

Sooo...thoughts? I'd love to hear 'em!