Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Personal, Writing

A (Super Exciting) Writing Update!!

*throws confetti and throws gluten-free pizzas in the oven*

We have a writing update.









I’m gonna cut to the chase.









(insert cool GIF of confetti and cats dancing)

So, there ya all have it. I finally sent Promised Land to an editor. Which is technically just the first step in the long road of fixing this thing, but it’s exciting, nonetheless. I’ve never been so close to publishing anything. And I think this is going to work. *cue internal screaming*


I’m so excited, it’s kinda hard to focus on a new first draft of a new project (which is undecided, so don’t worry, you’re not being kept in the dark). But while Promised Land is out of my hands, it’s a perfect opportunity. So just keep telling me to go write. 😉

It’ll be a few more weeks at least before I have another update, and in the meantime, I have to start thinking about the cover design. Yikes.

And this is the first time I’ve ever sent a whole manuscript to an editor, so . . . do forgive this hasty and unpolished blog post. But those are more fun anyway, right?

So, what I want to know from you, is how is your WIP going? Planning to publish? Any words of wisdom? 😉 Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, NaNoWriMo, Writing

A Book Update and Possibilities!

We’ve got a book update! Hurrah! You’re all invited to the pizza party.

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. I have finished the first round of editing for my fantasy novella, Promised Land. In fact, my critique partner finished reading it, and along with her suggestions for further edits, she liked it! That’s encouraging. All in all, it doesn’t need a ton of work that we can see. And I like my book for a change. 😉 Usually, I find reasons to all but throw it away. *cringe*

But to celebrate, I’ve arranged a few snippets. 🙂 Enjoy! And please, let me know which you like best.



Further snippets:

Running low, Clarke Creek splashed under our horses’ hooves, and I heard Fraeda laugh as it soaked through her stockings. Aaron good-naturedly threatened to throw Issac into the water after their horses nearly collided.

And . . .

Looking at those waves, I could not imagine one living so close to them. Yet in their destructive strength and cold gray-blue ferocity, there was a certain beauty, too. They were like the mountains, these waters. Powerful, redoubtable, but full of mystery and hope.

I turned my gaze back to the governor’s home, and I determined that it was built by men as redoubtably as Adonai built the sea.

So there you have it, folks! Another book update comes to a close, and now I must chose whether to write the first draft of a new project – no spoilers here! – for NaNoWriMo, or dive back into Promised Land for the edits. Decisions, decisions . . .

Also, as we move into the holiday season, I’m looking at some new possibilities for blogging come New Year’s. Namely, I’d like to be able to host one or two writing contests for short stories. 🙂 However, I don’t know if I’ll have enough of a following to do so, so if I can get some opinions on this, I’d appreciate it.

Meantime, back to the editing! Or . . . NaNo. Argh! Too many book ideas!

So, are you doing NaNo this year? Do you have a WIP underway? If you’ve been following Promised Land’s progress, what do you think so far? I’ll need participants when I get around to publishing this thing. 🙂  Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, NaNoWriMo, Writing, Writing Tips

How to Choose Between Book Ideas

We all get to that point, sometime or another, when we have to choose between a handful – or a hundred – lovely book ideas scribbled on a page and . . . yikes! I want to write them allllllll!

Yeah, but seriously, it happens. I’m getting towards the end of the first round of editing for my current WIP, Promised Land, and that means making plans for my next book, and hopefully, NaNoWriMo. I SO want to do NaNo again this year! I MUST! Anyway, it seemed an appropriate topic for this post on this painfully neglected blog. 😦 Dear friend, you must forgive me. I am in the middle of editing, and blogging takes a back seat. Unintentionally, of course.

How to choose between book ideas . . .


This may seem simple, but it’s crucial. You won’t be able to write a 50,000+ word novel without being inspired for the thing. Writing is hard, folks. (News flash!)

Now, you may not know which of all these beautiful/exciting/best-seller ideas catches your eye the most. Try writing a chapter of each. Try writing an outline, see if you can figure out logistics, an ending. Run the idea by a friend. There may not be an idea there that really sticks out to you. Keep thinking.


If you plan to publish, this is an important question. Now, I can’t tell you exactly how to go about this research, but see if you can find what the current market of books is up to. What’s popular in your genre? Obviously, this is not going to be the deciding factor when it comes down the wire of story ideas, but please take it into consideration and do your research.


Which idea is the most publishable, in other words. Can you figure out the logistics, the ending, the climax, the character arcs? If you answer yes to those questions, it’s probably doable. Next, run the idea past a friend or family member (providing they can be totally honest), and ask them, “Would you read this book if you picked it up off the shelf?” That could answer the publishable question for you right away.

There are many possibilities to help you choose between all the book ideas that spring up in your head. But these should help you get started. Now that I’m coming to the point where I have to hand Promised Land off to my critique partner – *squeezes book tight because she doesn’t want to let it go* – for the second round of editing, I’ll have time to apply these questions to the ideas I have for NaNoWriMo. Stay tuned . . . there just might be another book update on the horizon!

Don’t go away. Are you fishing through the waters of creative juices? How do you choose between all those tantalizing fish that are novels and novellas and epics in their infancy? Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Personal

And the book is . . . (A Book Update)

If you all remember, I announced my newest novella project a while ago, which I was writing with my mom. She completed her novella about five days ago and is ALREADY through the first stage of editing. I had a slightly longer word count so I finished a couple days ago.

Which translates as





Which is kinda exciting. 🙂

Because my mom and I want to publish together, at the same time, and we’re off to a good start. We’re using the same system to edit our stories, to give us the best chance of finishing at the same time. So far, I have kept the title Promised Land for my book, as it really fits. I’m trying to work out some details for the cover, which is also exciting, because at some point I’ll be doing my first ever cover reveal. *stares into space*

But yeah, this all starts with editing, which is where I’m at now.

And when I announced the book, I promised you all another snippet. So let’s see if I can find one. *digs through the 109-page book*

A bitter wind lanced the cabin, blew wide the heavy quilts.

Aaron raced to one window to remedy the problem. “Get that other quilt back up there!”

Father reached that window before me, nailing the quilt in place. But the damage was done. The icy air was now trapped inside, impervious to the defense of our fire. The blizzard’s snow now left a dust-like layer over everything. What a cruel awakening from a night’s sleep.

Father set aside his hammer. “It’s all right. You both get back to bed.”

With the candles blown out, I felt my way back to the cot Fraeda and I were now sharing downstairs. We’d abandoned the loft a week ago when these blizzards began. Shivering, I took an extra quilt from the top of the trunk. When Aaron took another as well, we had no more to spare. I could hear Fraeda’s teeth chattering together as I crawled back onto the cot.

“Talia?” Her voice shivered as my whole body did.

“It’s all right. Go back to sleep.”

But did any of us really sleep anymore? Where was Issac? Where? He’d been due back the day the first blizzard came. Was he still down in the flatlands, waiting for clearer weather? Or had he been trapped somewhere in these mountains, with the year’s hay and both horses?

“Adonai, keep him safe, please,” I whispered in the dark while the wind roared.

So there you go! Rough draft, but you get the idea.

During the pre-publishing festivities, (*nervous laugh*) I want to formally introduce both main characters in a blog post. Meantime, I’m back to editing, jotting ideas for my next project – yippee! – and figuring out the book cover. So, farewell for now, friends! You know where to find me! 🙂

Are you currently writing or maybe planning to publish something? What’s your take on book cover styles? Oh, yes, and November is coming up. Anyone here going to dive into NaNoWriMo this year? (I heartily recommend it.) Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Personal, Writing


*throws confetti and invites you all to the pizza party*

Okay, yes, I have a writing update. As I mentioned in my last post, my mom and I have decided each to write a novella in three months (roughly fifty-thousand words). We’re holding each other accountable and cheering one another on. You’ll be able to learn more about my mom’s (really, really cool) WIP on her new blog. I am writing a YA fantasy (big surprise, right?) but it is not my portal fantasy, One Light Shining. It’s a NEW BOOK! I had the rough idea for this story a couple years ago, but it actually flopped because I didn’t take the time to develop the outline. I didn’t know where it was going.

When we began this adventure, I decided to give it a closer look and, WOW, has this little story taken me along for a fun ride. 🙂

Ready for the synopsis? Okay.

Talia has lived her whole life in the mountains, sheltered from every conflict of her world, including the threats against her family’s faith in Adonai. But the world is brought to her doorstep, and her family is thrust into a battle against the king’s “reformation” efforts, designed to change their beliefs any way he can.

The son of a reformer and a reformer himself, Owen was assigned as a spy to the mountain folk, and was ultimately responsible for the arrest of Talia and her family. But this has never been a simple task for him. His brother is a Follower, in hiding. Owen swore to protect him, and this does not make his job easy. The responsibility he feels he owes to Talia is dangerous – could get him killed. But can he ignore it?

Talia watches as Owen struggles to find where his loyalties lie. Owen watches as a broken young woman must choose between freedom and faith. And neither one expects victory.

So, it’s a very rough draft of a synopsis, but you get the idea. It’s the first time I’ve written a book in the fantasy genre that did not involve a portal or time travel. 🙂

Now, on to a snippet or two. After all, it’s been a long time since I had a writing update to share with you all. 😉

A cold October wind barreled down from the high country early that year. The turning leaves shuddered, the birds went silent. The nuts and berries were sure to expire early as well. And for anybody living in the Barton Mountains, that meant a hasty and efficient harvest.

As I watched the whey drip from the cheese which hung from a wooden peg on the wall, I thought about the nut and berry gathering. Father would undoubtedly send us just as soon as he and Aaron returned from hunting – their final hunt of the season, most likely, higher up in the mountains. So, after taking the broom to our dirt floor, with cold fingers, I gathered up the baskets.

I thought I would have one more, until I remembered I haven’t uploaded the second file from my word processor onto the computer. 😉 So, one more will have to wait.

Wow. I haven’t been writing really at all in the past five months, so in the past week alone, I’ve written a little over twenty-thousand words. Since this is a novella, I’m already looking on to the plan for the climax/ending. Later this week or next, I’d like to do another update on this, and formally introduce my two main characters. They’re different in some ways from any characters I’ve written before (that’s probably a good thing), so it’s been challenging and fun to get into each of their heads through a first person POV.

And there’s also a particular secondary character I’m really excited about. She was unplanned. Don’t know where she came from. But she’s already got her own subplot going, and has become a huge blessing to the MC.

Don’t you just love secondary characters???

That’s about it, I’m afraid! But one blog post can’t convey my excitement to be writing again. Be sure to check out my mom’s blog, as she will be posting some details about her upcoming novella as well! EEEPPPP! SUCH FUN BOOK THINGS.

Let’s chat! What are you currently writing? What’s your take on secondary characters? Are they useful? Fun? Annoying? All of the above? 🙂

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Inspirational, Writing, Writing Tips

The Solution for When You Don’t Want to Write (I’m not kidding)

We’ve ALL been there. We started out just loving this thing that we’re writing and then, middle of the book, or maybe the second draft, and PLOP! We hit a wall. What is that wall? Writer’s block? Maybe. Or maybe you simple don’t want to write this monster anymore. I hear ya.

If you asked me for advice on writer’s block, I might tell you to take a short break or just to write through it, but what about when you hate your book? What about when you suddenly realize your writing is immature and not half as good as that other writer you admire? (I think this way all the time. It’s poison.)

My mom and I have challenged each other to get out of our writing slump and each write a novella in three months. *news flash! news flash!* Yes, you all finally have a writing update from me. More details to follow. However, when we made the plan to do this, we were researching, believe it or not, some answers for why we weren’t writing – why was there a mental block when we tried to put words on paper?

The best piece of advice we got was this: MAKE A SCHEDULE AND COMMIT TO IT. I know I’ve talked to you all before about deadlines and how they help you to write, and this is similar to that principle, but it literally means picking up that book when you don’t want to and finishing it.

We are not perfect writers. Not one of us. We can’t be perfect writers.

What we can be is the best writer we can be. And once you accept that, once you’ve accepted that your writing is only going to get better if you keep at it, then an enormous amount of that pressure can be lifted off your shoulders.

Don’t expect perfection. You’ll be disappointed.

Take critiques and let them make your work better. Team up with somebody else to hold you accountable and encourage you – like what my mom and I are doing now! *throws confetti because she is distracted and totally excited*

Anyway, you see what I mean? There are times when you need to let go of that story that just refuses to be written (see my last post). But at the same time, there are instances when you need to sit down, buckle up, and write. No matter how much you find you hate writing. I’m serious. There are times I hate writing. But then there are times when the river flows, the words pour out, I’m right there with the characters, my mom says it’s awesome . . . and then, right then, I’m so glad to be a writer. 🙂

Please, a show of hands. Who else thought they were alone in this struggle, this battle of words? What kind of moments make you love to be a writer, no matter how hard it can be? Let’s chat in the comments! I LOVE to touch base with you guys.

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Personal, Writing

An Exciting Writing Update . . . at Last!

So, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably aware that it’s been MONTHS since my last personal writing update. Since November-ish, I think, since NaNoWriMo. And there’s a reason for that. But it’s not a good one.

I haven’t been writing.

*gulp* Yeah, no, I haven’t been. For the past several months, there has been so much going on around the farm, with planning, working the soil, trying to plan, and then there’s been me, trying to plan and trying to figure out life. You know, what we’d all like to figure out. 🙂

But if there’s one thing I haven’t been doing, it’s writing. Or reading. And I’m kind of ashamed, but sometimes it does help to back off and take a good look at what you’re doing. This spring has been so full of thrilling “ups” and discouraging “downs”, it made it too difficult for me to sit down and write. The words were empty.


Alas! Yes, this is a writing update, not a non-writing update, and not an excuse as to why I haven’t been writing.

A few days ago, my mom and I sat down and basically decided that I needed to start writing again. Now.

So, that just left the question of “what”. I had the option of Ashes Remain, the contemporary action novella that I’ve finished the first draft of. Then there was One Light Shining, my never-ending YA portal fantasy. And of course, something new.

As I mulled over that . . . I had a funny dream. I had a dream in which I’d written One Light Shining, published it, and it had been turned into a movie. 🙂  (I know, wouldn’t we all like those dreams, all the time? I NEVER get to dream about my books, ever!)

While thinking about that dream, I was reminded of the intended message of that book. A hard-hitting, powerful message of forgiveness, compassion, and grace. A story that timely encompasses the problems of today and combines them with struggles that have reached across the ages, set in a made-up world. Action, adventure, relationship, redemption . . .

There’s something there. I know there’s something in that.

So . . . yes. I chose One Light Shining.

My mom is going to read through the last draft that I wrote, for NaNo last year, and when she does, I’ll transmit her feedback to my outlining process. Then, write the next draft – what is this, the seventh? – and then find an editor. 🙂 I know, so simple, right?

And that is the sum of this long-belated writing update. But now I’m going to leave you all with one or two snippets from my beloved portal fantasy novel. Ready?

This one is from the new rewrite of the prologue:

He trod lightly upon the stairs, fully aware of which ones moaned when you stepped on them, avoiding those, and avoiding the windows where the moonlight peered in, uninvited. His foreknowledge of this home was critical. Trespassing was a serious business.

Okay, and so is this one:

But this was no time to lose his nerve. It was all he had left. He pushed on. There was a deadly earnestness in his steps, one that frightened him. Part of him still knew how wrong this was. No matter how hard he tried to silence those doubts, they turned his memories on him. Memories he’d spent the last year twisting, burying. They left his breath shallow and faltering.

    The hall turned dark as the windows disappeared behind him. An occasional candle in a wall sconce cast enough light – not that he didn’t know this hall by heart.

    Two doors to go.


There you go! A sneak peak into the rewriting process. I’ll have more updates coming later on. Who knows – someday I might even be publishing this book and I’ll be calling all you faithful followers together for a blog tour. 🙂

What are you working on right now? What is your writing-rewriting style? And please let me know if either of those snippets encourage you to read on. Feedback is everything while I’m revising! Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, Highlights and Goals, Personal

I Have Finished the Book (a book update)

So I mentioned in the last post that there was an unplanned project that came into existence – don’t you love how they do that? – in January. I had temporarily put my portal fantasy novel on the back burner to give myself some breathing space, so I had time to write something new.

And I did.

And I finished it.

*throws confetti and invites you all to the (gluten-free) pizza party*

Now . . . details!

Ashes Remain was born from a New Year’s Resolution to have a book published by the end of 2018. Now that’s my kind of Resolution. To make things a little easier, I wrote this book in novella length. I started on January 3rd, finished on February 1st.

Ashes Remain is a novella taking place in the modern world – culture shock from my typical fantasy manuscripts – at a time when the American electrical grid is attacked and essentially disabled. Trying desperately to get to away from the ensuing chaos is a family that includes lovesick teen Wren and her brothers and sister. I can’t tell you how many times the little things kept changing during the writing. It is true – the characters won’t do what you want in the first draft. 🙂

Ashes Remain is a story of triumph, really – triumph over impossible circumstances. Hope, while seemingly inaccessible, is everywhere you look. And when God seems out of reach, even callous, He’s holding us and all our tomorrows. That, my friends, is my new book, Ashes Remain.

*throws confetti again ’cause I can’t believe it’s done*

I’d like to share one thing I learned from this writing process, besides the last post I did on finishing the first draft, and that is, the benefit of setting aside the first draft when it is completed and taking time to breathe. I am moving on to a new (or old) project after this, for just a couple months, while this first draft simmers and ages on my shelf. Then comes the second draft. We won’t talk about that right now. 🙂

If you’re jumping up and down – like me. I don’t know if you’re jumping up and down, but I sure am – then I do have a couple fun extras going along with the completion of this draft. Okay, one fun extra. Up until now, the Pinterest board containing all the secret tidbits and inspiration of this story has been secret. Shh! I’m giving it just to you! Follow this little link to get an exclusive sneak peek inside the story that I’m totally too excited about. (In case you couldn’t tell.)

🙂 🙂 🙂

Don’t forget to check out Pinterest for those bonus points!

And now . . . let’s chat.

Posted in Book Updates, Bookish Things, NaNoWriMo, Personal, Writing

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a Book Update

So, friends, let’s get back to blogging after a substantial break. Christmas can get busy, can’t it?

How was your Christmas season? Show of hands – how many of you received either reader- or writer-oriented gifts under the tree? Like a good book? Or a new notebook? Or a stash of bookmarks just for you? (Do you lose bookmarks as often as I do? I literally lose as many bookmarks as I acquire.)

Movin’ on, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions . . . or revolutions? 🙂 I haven’t set any yet. *grins sheepishly* I’ll let ya all know. But anywho, resolutions are good. Goal-setting and all that. Anybody making plans for NaNo in 2018? Okay, that is one resolution I’m making.

We covered Christmas and New Year’s pretty quick . . . but I did promise you all a book update, now didn’t I?

It’s been ages since I announced the stage of my portal fantasy novel, but since NaNoWriMo, there hasn’t been a ton or writing going on. I’m going to be taking January to actually finish the second draft of the novel. Eeeppp! Prayers needed, folks, seriously. That and pizza, please??? Or a little ice cream. Or a lot of cold chicken legs. Mmm, those are good. Who else is taking January for a writing surge? Let me know so I can send you some of that pizza and those cold chicken legs . . . or would you rather just the pizza?


Yeah, yeah, I’m rambling. But anyway, I’m also polishing up a revised synopsis, which I won’t actually – probably – release until my critique partner and I go through the second draft together, as I’ll need to garner her opinion on a few plot adjustments.

So there is where we be at this December 27th, 2017-soon-to-be-’18. (Was any of that grammatically correct, I wonder.) What’s up in your world?

Let’s chat! Where are you going this New Year? Any special plans? If you haven’t already seen it or made a plan to see it, you must watch The Man Who Invented Christmas. It . . . is . . . fantastic. If you’re a writer or a Charles Dickens’ fan or just a reader, watch that movie. Seriously.

Posted in Book Updates, Inspirational, NaNoWriMo, Personal, Stewardship

NaNoWriMo and an Awesome Autumn Announcement!

Okay, folks, I survived the first four days of National Novel Writing Month. Got a little cross-eyed on Saturday and my word count dropped, but my word count was above where it needed to be on the days prior to that, so it evened out. I’m on track so far.

Are you part of NaNo this year? How is it going for you?

Anyway, I promised an awesome autumn announcement. Ready for it? You may remember I posted a short while ago about some developments on our farm and an agriculture research project I’m working on. Well, this awesome autumn announcement is along those lines.

To keep it short and sweet, our farm is on its way to being fully launched in 2018. We’ve launched our fundraising campaign. We want to open our farm up as an educational, hands-on, community farm. And you can help us! If you would take just a few minutes to visit this link – – and share it with friends and family on social media, we would appreciate it more than we can say. No gift is too small, and simply sharing the project, reaching people we cannot, is a huge gift.

Okay, enough about that. (Although you can also find more info here if you’d like.) A little book update if you missed it last time, I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo with the second draft of my portal fantasy, One Light Shining. So progress is being made on that despite the roadblocks experienced this year.

And since I’ve missed two months of Highlights and Goals, I’ll be getting back to that in January. The new year and all.

And now, I’m off! Be sure to check out the campaign and share it with friends. Meantime, let’s chat – have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo? Are you involved this year? Are you interested in saving family farms? Such fun this month of Thanksgiving. 🙂