Single Story Line Challenge!

I’m taking on the Single Line Story Challenge! I won’t even call it a tag, because it is definitely a challenge and requires thinking fast.

Let’s go!

Rule 1: Thank the person who nominated you. Thanks, Lily!

Rule 2: Write 5 single line stories that fall under any of these genres (you pick which ones).

Fantasy

Romance

Thriller

Mystery

Western

Contemporary

Historical

Drama

Dystopian

Adventure

Sci-Fi

Paranormal

Young Adult

Rule 3: Nominate 5 blogger/writers who you’d love to see participate and leave an open nomination for all writers!

Rule 4: You may do the challenge more than once.

All right. Movin’ on . . .

I’m officially bending the rules (maybe) and combining fantasy with romance. (Don’t worry, I’ll only count it as one.)

Fantasy/Romance

She never bargained on finding the portal her grandfather went to his grave swearing was real – and she didn’t bargain on falling in love on the other side either; a romance more impossible than the portal itself.

Yikes. Don’t worry. I came up with that on the fly.

Western

Because, why not? It’s not like I’ve ever written a western in my life.

He’s a gunslinger in a tight spot, she’s a mail-order bride getting in his way – saving her will cost him everything.

Historical

A homeless orphan on the streets of Virginia during the Civil War is trying to accomplish the impossible: find his family, who are scattered on both sides of the national divide.

Dystopian

A desperate synth on the run . . . and her hostage: a human boy who will show her her own humanity.

I actually had a piece of an outline already written for this idea.

Sci-Fi

A man decided to use his breakthrough invention to send himself to the future in the hopes of finding a cure for his dying wife . . . but the future may not be all he hoped it would.

Made it! Now to tag people . . . (No pressure, honestly.)

Sarah Baran

Chelsea R. H.

Kate Willis

And whoever wants to do it! 😉

What Makes You a Writer?

What makes you (or me) a writer?

News Flash: It’s not the number of followers you have on Instagram.

It’s not the amount of sales you’ve made on Amazon.

It’s not the reviews you plead with readers to leave, or the glowing report from your grandmother.

It’s not the comments on your blog.

It’s not the aesthetic of your writing space or the organization of your bookshelf.

It’s not the number of words you wrote (or didn’t write) last November.

It’s not the epic length of your new novel.

It’s not the fervor of your street team or the excitement of your beta readers.

No. It is none of those things.

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What makes you a writer?

It is the hours spent pouring your heart and soul onto a sheet of paper.

It is the blood you bled for the sake of words . . .

. . . the tears you shed for your characters (or somebody else’s).

It is the weeks you spent writing that story no one will ever read.

It is the dedication you put into your first draft.

It is the sweat you soaked your second draft with.

It is the private joke when you see a person who looks like your character.

It is the personal thrill when you write that perfect sentence.

It is the unseen accomplishment when you write something you’ve never written before.

It is the daring escape when you break into a new genre or style.

It is the gallant quest you undertake every time you sit down and put pen to paper . . .

. . . what makes you a writer . . .

is you.

And the longing within you that will never be silent.

What Christmas is All About

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

Calvin Coolidge

Merry Christmas one and all! I hope your day is filled with joy and with the reason for the season. May 2022 be a year of good health, bold dreams, and HOPE.

Oh, yes. And most importantly of all . . .

. . .

. . . I sincerely hope you are watching George C Scott’s A Christmas Carol tonight, because . . . it’s Christmas. And you have to.

A Christmas Carol (1984): Marley's Ghost on Make a GIF

Caption Challenge WINNERS!

We had our first (in a while) Caption Challenge two weeks ago with this picture:

Lighthouse, Sea, Sunset, Evening, Ocean, Horizon

And

the

winners

are

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Flash Fiction:

Kate!

A ship sailing far away
Can’t see through the storm
A shining light, beautiful and bright
Shining far away
Turn of tides
The wind may slow
When they turn their boat towards home,
The light leaves the sky
The storm gives a sigh
But the lighthouse keeps shining on

And for the six-word story:

Grace!

Lights shine across water, overcoming darkness.

Congratulations to both of you!

Now for the NEW picture. Ready?

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Snowflake, Ornaments, Christmas Tree, Christmas

Your entry should have something (anything) to do with Christmas. It doesn’t have to be strictly based on the picture. Think of it as more of a theme.

Comment with your entries – flash fiction, a six-word story, or both! Happy writing!

The Return of the Caption CHALLENGE

Yes! It is time to revive the Caption Challenge. We had so much fun with that a couple months ago, and I’m so happy to bring it back.

So. Here’s how it works. I’ll share a photo, you come up with a six-word story AND/OR a bit of flash fiction (90 words or less) and submit it in the comments. You have TWO WEEKS.

Ready?

Here goes.

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Lighthouse, Sea, Sunset, Evening, Ocean, Horizon

Have fun! Any genre you want (poetry, too), just keep it clean.

The Fine Art of Sticking With It

“Sticking with it” is an art I haven’t mastered yet.

But I’m way better than I used to be! 😂

Seriously, though, I was thinking today about when I first came up with the idea for Fate of a Prince, my upcoming YA fantasy. I spent so much time outlining it, I was afraid I’d never start writing it. AND I wrote the prologue weeks before I started writing anything else. Usually a bad sign. 🤷 Nevertheless, not only is Fate done and with an editor, the first draft of the SEQUEL is done. *happy sigh*

But sticking with something – a job, a new book, a project – isn’t always easy. Forks in the road, turbulence, bad weather, all make it hard to “hang in there”. One thing I’ve learned about my writing (actually, my whole creative process) is that if I’m not on a deadline, I NEED to give myself permission to take breaks. To stop and breathe. Go work on something unrelated. I need those moments of stepping back in order to dive in again.

So if you’re struggling with the fine art of sticking with it, here is your encouragement to keep going – it WILL be worth it. You never know the impact your story will have. ❤

And if you need a break, here is your permission to take one. Be kind to your creativity – you’ll thank yourself later.

Let’s chat! How is the creative life going for you lately? Writers’ block? Breakthroughs? Plot bunnies? Let’s here ’em!

When You Write Two Books in One Year . . .

Friends! I come bearing a book update! (Because I know you were all white-knuckled at the edge of your seats waiting for one….of course. 😂)

So, yes, the title of this post is deliciously accurate. In about a week, I will be able to say I have officially written not one, but TWO books in a year. So. Crazy. Exciting.

Let’s recap.

In the beginning of January 2021, I started writing Fate of a Prince, a YA magical fantasy inspired by a Christmas song (😉). The synopsis is as follows:

In a land controlled by the power of four immortal sorcerers, a young prince learns that he was chosen before birth to be among those sacrificed to the usurpers.

Lance always hated the sacrifice – now, having learned of his fate, he despises it all the more. And that his own parents could have marked him for death is unthinkable. There seems to be no hope of circumventing the decree . . . but his servant isn’t willing to accept that.

Kyden is a restless, nimble-fingered sorcerer, running from his past as fast as he can. He never planned to wind up indebted to the prince and working as a servant, nor did he plan on counting Lance as a friend – a friend he is not willing to watch die.

Then, on January 25th, I released my debut novel, the YA fantasy Promised Land.

I finished writing Fate of a Prince in just a couple months, and then set it aside to plot new ideas, outline the sequel to Fate, etc. Well . . . that outlining went pretty fast. And I started writing book two. Then I stopped. Took a break. Wrote other things. Edited lots of music videos.

Finally, I went back to it.

And . . .

. . . it’s almost finished.

*cue excited screaming* *don’t mind me* *just another excited author*

But alas, I can’t give you any details yet. But I CAN say I’m about to get Fate of a Prince back from my first editor, and then I’m going to be cramming to get it all done in a couple more months (while book two collects dust *cough*) AND THEN . . .

I can give you the release date. ‘Cause I actually already know it. 😉 I just can’t announce it until I’m 100% sure we’ll be ready.

So, while I get back to work, tell me what you’re working on! New WIP? Editing? Publishing? Let’s chat!

COVER REVEAL – Tabor (Remnant Trilogy #2)

So excited to share this crazy amazing cover with you guys today! This book is the second in Angela Watt’s Remnant Trilogy. Stay tuned for some amazing giveaway and preorder information.

BLURB
Five ragtag friends must close the Rifts between the Realms before an ancient war snuffs out all innocent life for good.

King Finnigan’s kingdom is crumbling—traitors plot in his midst, a witch has fled execution, and enemies attack allied lands. When Rifts form between Golgotha and Mazzabah, the ragtag remnants must close them before the ancient warlock, Shafiq, takes control of the realms.

With darkness engulfing both realms, the group parts ways to seek answers about the histories and what can be done against Shafiq. But what they find changes everything. If they can’t fight the darkness, Mazzabah will be lost, and so will every innocent life left behind. But to survive the ancient war, they need help. And with more help comes more traitors.

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Ready for the cover?

Really ready?

‘Cause I’m just warning you, it’s amazing.

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Ready?

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WOW. Just WOW.

Okay, okay. Listen up:

PREORDER INFORMATION: Preorders begin TODAY (October 20th) and all preorder receipts must be sent in via the form (link in Angela’s Instagram bio) before 11.15! The first thirty preorders will receive a print map, print character cards (Gunnar, Moray, Finnigan, Ama, and Sadon), a bookmark, a customized note, as well as an EXCLUSIVE monster art print! TWO readers who preorder and submit their receipts will be entered to win signed paperbacks of Golgotha and Tabor AND a scented candle inspired by one of the characters as well as the swag previously mentioned.

PREORDER FORM LINK: https://forms.gle/6WT4rBpfn3Xtw6fP8

Go and preorder this book – fast!

WHERE GIANTS FALL – Cover Reveal!

I am so excited to be part of this cover reveal for what is (I have no doubt) an amazing fantasy anthology! While writing the sequel to Fate of a Prince, I couldn’t get my act together enough to submit anything to this project, but I’m glad to be sharing the cover with the world.

First, the blurb.

The theme of this fantasy anthology is light in the darkness. This anthology offers bold, heartfelt stories that will leave the reader deep in thought and breathless from fast-paced action! If you enjoy stories about underdog heroes, or scary foes, this anthology will keep you reading past your bedtime! Releasing early 2022!

Now . . .

. . . the cover.

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Well, not yet.

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Gotta keep up the suspense, you know?

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Isn’t it COOOOOOL!!! *squeals*

I cannot wait to read this thing. Happy cover reveal to Angela and Michaela!

An Apprentice Escapes BLOG TOUR (Author Interview)

I’m so excited to be helping out with the blog tour for Lillian Keith’s debut novel, An Apprentice Escapes.

Without further ado, take a look at the synopsis:

At least we still had each other…until they came.

Thirteen year old Lyla is on the run, simply because she and her mother had an underground apothecary’s practice—the last in the whole province. Now, with Mama in jail, Lyla must escape the Daviron city officials who are bent on catching her. Befriending a runaway street boy, Lyla sets out for the only refuge she knows: the forest. Yet danger lurks in every dark shadow, and seemingly friendly people could be enemies in disguise.

Will her mama’s final words be enough to guide her forward and lead her to the safety of the forest?  Or will Lyla be caught and sent away to an unknown fate?


Welcome to Lillian Keith’s debut middle-grade story, set in a fantasy 19th century-style universe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lily (as she prefers to be called), is a Christian homeschooled graduate who loves children’s literature.  Growing up, she read amazing, thought-provoking stories that nurtured her love of storytelling and sparked her imagination.  Now, she hopes to share her God-given gift to other kids and inspire them to dream up new adventures and look at the world from a new perspective.  You can find her entertaining kids on her blog (with her sister of course!)  Or you can connect with her on Pinterest where she’s starting up storyboards (and organizing all the random pins she’s saved.)

Now . . . for the interview!

  1. Thanks for joining me today! What was your first inspiration for this book?

Hi Hannah!  Thanks so much for having me on your blog; I feel so blessed to be here.

Okay, so it started in the spring of 2020.  I was taking an online writing class and had to come up with a 1k word children’s story.  I was trying a new technique of brainstorming called ‘clustering.’  It’s where you take one idea, or object, say, a ‘candle’.  You write it down and circle it; then you draw spokes outward to connect random thoughts that come to your mind when you think of the word ‘candle’ (or whatever idea you picked.)  I can’t remember what word I started with exactly, but I ended up with this mental picture of a girl all alone.  I remember hearing about real life stories where kids became separated from their parents (they became lost, or disaster struck, war came, etc.) and I wanted to explore the ‘what if’ of a girl whose mother was taken and now had to survive on her own (also, I developed a love for MG dystopian stories, so that played an influence on which genre this story would fall into.)

  1. Did you have a music playlist and/or Pinterest board you frequented during the writing?

Actually, I don’t listen to music while I write *haha*.  I like to be able to fully concentrate on my story.  As for a Pinterest board, I didn’t put one together until the story was done.  However, I did have a couple pictures of my main character (Lyla) and a favorite side character.  I would refer to those to get inspiration on who they were and what their personalities were like (and how they would clash *grins slyly*)

  1. What is your favorite thing about your main character?

I love Lyla’s loyalty and relationship with her mom.  I also admire her perseverance to hold to what she’s learned, even when circumstances or people challenge her worldview.

  1. Do you and your main character share any traits or likes/dislikes?

Hmm. I’d say that Lyla and I are both pretty quiet people. We both love our moms deeply. We also don’t like to see people suffer. However, I don’t have the stomach to be a medicine practitioner, so Lyla trumps me on that one!

  1. What was the biggest challenge for you when writing this book?

I’d say doubt and some unrealistic expectations (especially in the self-publishing arena) were my biggest challenges. While I was reworking An Apprentice Escapes, I had doubts that it was good enough to be published. It wasn’t until people I trusted most pushed me to face an important question: would I be okay with writing stories that were never read by anyone but me? Would I be happy to keep writing as a ‘side hobby’? Publishing was hard and something few people do. You really have to persevere to get published, whether it be the traditional or indie route. Yet, I had always wanted to hold my story in my hands and share it with people. I knew that I wanted my story to become a book. So, I took a big step toward reaching the goal of publishing a book, as scary as it was.

As for unrealistic expectations, well, I confess that I’m a perfectionist 2.0 *cough*. I had a vision for how this book would turn out and how I’d get it self-published. But then, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome (one, being the doubt I mentioned before). I learned that even if you did all your research on writing and publishing, there’s always going to be some unforeseen circumstance that changes your plans. So learning to be patient, and letting go of everything you want has been an important lesson for me. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly as planned. In fact, something better may come out of the unexpected.

  1. Do you have another book planned? *wink*

Haha…. Oh wait, you guys are serious?  Well, I am kicking around a few sequel ideas and talking with the characters to see if something will come up.  Unfortunately, my characters thought it’d be fun to take a vacation and haven’t gotten back to me yet *sighs*.  Oh well.  On the other hand, there is this MG novel that’s feeling rather neglected, so I’ve started revisiting it and working out the kinks in the plot.  We’ll see how this one goes. *fingers crossed*

  1. BONUS! Tell us one random humorous thing that happened while you were writing this book.

So, the middle of my story needed to be expanded and worked on.  And I needed to add some new characters.  One day while sitting at the desk, a character showed up at my door (I won’t spoil it and say who, but….) he insisted on being in the story.  I had planned on him being in a completely different book, but he insisted he belonged in this current one.  After going back and forth for quite some time, he won the argument and I finally gave him a spot in the story. (I can still see him grinning triumphantly. Side characters! *rolls eyes*)

Thanks a million, Lilian!

Check out the rest of the blog tour fun below!

Oct. 5th: The Pencil Sisters (Blog Tag)
Oct. 6th Hannah Gaudette (Author Interview)             
Emily Begren (Blog Tag)
Oct. 7th: Teen Writer’s Nook (Author Interview)
Oct. 8th Christine Smith Instagram (Spotlight)
Oct. 9th: The Pencil Sisters (Tag and Wrap-Up)