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.

*sighs*

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!

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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.

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.

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 – https://www.gofundme.com/savethefamilyfarms – 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. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Coming to Town!

Okay, a show of hands, how many of you are getting ready for NaNoWriMo this year? I’ve wanted to enter forever, but was never in the position with a WIP that I could do it. But can you guess the reason for this blog post? I’m finally taking part in National Novel Writing Month! *is thankful I like writing at night* 🙂

And, yep, I’m going for the 50,000-word goal. Hey, if I’m doing this at all, I might as well do the whole thing.

I will be taking part with my current WIP, One Light Shining, a YA portal fantasy of which I penned the “first” draft this year. I kind of tried to forget about it, but, yeah, books just don’t work that way. 🙂 50,000 words should give me about half or so of the second draft.

So it looks like I’ll be staying up late, getting up early, finishing schoolwork as fast as possible . . .  Fun stuff like that. Nibbling chocolate. Drinking apple cider. Petting the cats when my blood pressure skyrockets . . .

Okay, so I thought I’d show you guys the synopsis of my WIP, in part because NaNoWriMo kicks off shortly, and in part because, by the end of November, that synopsis is going to look a little different. With rewriting always comes changes. Here goes:

Ties of blood are easily broken.

The words Cade spoke the night he killed his brother. Or . . . almost killed. Nothing haunts him more than the reality that he failed all those years ago to end the raging conflict between the nations. So, when two strangers come through the mysterious portal in answer to an ancient prophecy, Cade is ready to see his brother pay in full.

Wrenched from their modern world into a land of swords, bloodthirsty brothers and a nonsensical prophecy, Katrina and her long-time neighbor and nemesis, Andrew, grope for some kind of purpose in this strange world . . . but on opposite sides of a dangerous border. Spurred on by embittered contempt for Andrew, Katrina is more than ready to join Cade if he takes up the sword against the country of Mithunda. Until her own lust for revenge reveals a side of herself she never knew existed.

In a sea of secrets in which both are haunted by inner demons, Katrina and Andrew are forced to give the prophetic words a closer look, to search for what they truly mean. But the prophecy is shrouded in mystery, and all around them, people are proving determined enough to go to great lengths to see it negated.

And there you have it. Keep this storyline in mind, because I’m going to publish the revised synopsis at the end of November/beginning of December.

And I must know . . . have you ever done NaNoWriMo before? How did you survive? Tips you can share? Let’s chat!

How to Write When the Music Fades – Chronic Writer’s Block

When the music fades, write on, courageous writer!

But when the music fades, it can be hard to find a tune to write to. There are a million “best writing playlists ever” and a million blog posts with guaranteed keys to success in overcoming the fading music disorder, but . . . do they really negate the issue? Or is it something you, personally, must face?

Confession: The music faded recently for me. For now. You see, the WIP you may be familiar with, my YA portal fantasy, was a WIP. It is now RIP. For now. There are simply times when you have to accept the amount of work a story will need in its revising process, and I came to that point with the portal fantasy. However, I also realized that I did not have what it would take to rush into a second draft. It has been moved to the back burner.

And soooo . . . with that confession comes a little announcement. I am presently working on a new idea. Alas! I can’t divulge the details at this time. I must outline, outline, outline, and I must write, write, write! Stay tuned, because I’m eyeing my September “highlights and goals” post in just over two weeks for any *cough* official bookish *cough* announcements. But know, my friend, that I am marching on in the writing world, with or without the music, and I encourage you do to the same.

Everyone gives out tricks to the trade in overcoming writer’s block, but I think there’s only one thing you can really do when writer’s block turns chronic. Step back from your story and ask yourself what might be wrong with it OR what might be wrong with you. It isn’t always the manuscript. Don’t let that become an excuse to not writing. It may be sheer laziness. Yes, I’m being cruel! But believe me when I say I know how it feels.

In the case of chronic writer’s block, it may be the manuscript or it may be you. In my case, it was both.

So does that mean you’ll never read my portal fantasy? I doubt it. I believe in another year or so – maybe after I’ve finished this WIP, providing the outlining goes well in the next few days here – I will pick that story back up again. That’s the beauty of the moment when the music fades.

And so, when the music fades, write on, courageous writer!

Psst . . .  I will say, my critique partner has given the first chapter of this story idea a very good review. 🙂  Stay tuned.

Confessions of an Author and Farmer

(Update: You can now follow the Musings of a Goat Herdess series on this blog. For more information: WIPs)

We all have retractions in one area or another of our lives. That’s what we’re hearing today. Some of you will know that I’ve recently completed the first draft of my YA portal fantasy. The plan was, of course, to push through and get to work on the second draft. There have been some . . . changes to the technicalities of that plan. Allow me to explain. I think you’ll be excited with me by the end. 🙂

AUTHOR CONFESSIONS

“To everything there is a season,” says Ecclesiastes. The past five years of writing have been like one long season. I’ve learned so much, grown in so many ways. I thought I knew the direction God wanted me to take – to reach people through writing fantasy and historical, and the offshoots of those genres. And maybe that will be a factor of my work later on – in fact, I believe it will be. But to everything there is a season. And things are changing just a bit for this one.

FARMER CONFESSIONS

I’m a total diehard. According to the dictionary, “a person who vigorously maintains or defends a seemingly hopeless position, outdated attitude, lost cause, or the like.” And, well, farming is a lost cause. Somewhere around 2% of the American population is involved in agriculture. But really, that’s just nuts. All our food coming from massive corporations, small farms dying faster than drone bees . . .

But that’s a lecture for another day. 🙂

SO . . . WHAT AM I GETTING AT?

You’re probably waiting for me to stop chatting and get to the point. Okay, okay.

I’ve had this idea before, but never has it taken root. When I was talking with my mom a few days ago, it clicked. You’re going to start seeing something of a blog series appear here, though not in order of the chapters I’m currently writing, as I plan is to publish the novella I’m now working on. This manuscript is non-fiction, and fairly simple, entitled, Musings of a Goat Herdess.

I am, if you couldn’t guess, the goat herdess of our farm. It is a task I’m somewhat new to, though we have had goats for years on the homestead. Now I’m putting the hours spent with the nomadic caprine herd to print. This project is only a few short chapters underway, but the joy I’ve found in sharing such a special thing is immeasurable. Maybe you have little or no experience with goats or farming, but that’s okay. I hope you’ll be able to follow this project anyway.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I will be posting the first chapter of Musings of a Goat Herdess on this blog in three days (my next post). I’ll do a brief recap on what I’ve covered here, and as well, you’ll see a new page appear on this site where all this information and more, including projected release, cover design when available, synopsis, and more will be available. So please, dear friend, follow this adventure! In the simplest thing of the “nomadic goat,” as I’m calling this project, I’ve found such peace, such joy, such hope. I know you will be as refreshed as I have found myself.

So don’t forget, the first chapter will be here in only three days, and the designated page will follow this announcement as soon as possible.

As for my previous WIP, One Light Shining, I don’t have an answer on that yet. I’ll be taking it to prayer. I want to make sure I know what the best move would be right now. However, for now, you’ll be hearing more about Musings of a Goat Herdess than the portal fantasy.

If you’d like to learn more, just comment! I’m happy to talk goat. And writing. And goat. And writing. And more goats and writing . . .

Ta ta for now, my friends! Keep an eye out for chapter one and the exciting new page for more details. 🙂

Book Update – Don’t Miss it!

Ookkaayy, time for a book update. As some of you may know, I’ve been writing for months to finish the first draft of my YA portal fantasy with the working title, One Light Shining. And now . . .

. . . I FINISHED IT!!! Please celebrate with me and throw confetti! 🙂

Of course, we’re having a party here today. Come one, come all! To celebrate, we’re doing two special things. First off, you all get to see the synopsis of this WIP (work in progress). This has only been seen by about three other people, so consider yourselves invited to something special.

Ready? Ready? Okay . .

Ties of blood are easily broken.

The words Cade spoke the night he killed his brother. Or . . . almost killed. Nothing haunts him more than the reality that he failed all those years ago to end the raging conflict between the nations. So, when two strangers come through the mysterious portal in answer to an ancient prophecy, Cade is ready to see his brother pay in full.

Wrenched from their modern world into a land of swords, bloodthirsty brothers and a nonsensical prophecy, Katrina and her long-time neighbor and nemesis, Andrew, grope for some kind of purpose in this strange world . . . but on opposite sides of a dangerous border. Spurred on by embittered contempt for Andrew, Katrina is more than ready to join Cade if he takes up the sword against the country of Mithunda. Until her own lust for revenge reveals a side of herself she never knew existed.

In a sea of secrets in which both are haunted by inner demons, Katrina and Andrew are forced to give the prophetic words a closer look, to search for what they truly mean. But the prophecy is shrouded in mystery, and all around them, people are proving determined enough to go to great lengths to see it negated.

All right, what do you think? Now, the story itself is still in first-draft stage, and to understand this, I highly recommend you check out Nadine Brandes’ take on first drafts. It’s brilliant. In short, I’m not finished. This is a 170,000+  word manuscript. I probably shouldn’t have made it so long when there’s another draft to be written. 🙂

Right now, the plan is to launch the rewriting during this November’s NaNoWriMo. Meanwhile, it’s an exhilarating feel to have the whole summer to tackle another project! Which shall it be???

Now, for the second part of this celebration, I’m part of the launch team for Tricia Mingerink’s new book, Deliver, which I reviewed here last week. To help wrap up the launch, I’m going to share with you guys today some of the other release-related posts hanging around. All this to say . . . “YOU MUST READ THIS BOOOOOOOK!” And mine, too, of course, but it’s not ready yet. *sighs*  So, to hold you over, check out Tricia’s series. It’s awesome.

BLOG TOUR POST 1 — BLOG TOUR POST 2 — BLOG TOUR POST 3 — BLOG TOUR POST 4

Well, that concludes our celebration. Did you have fun? I’ll keep bookish updates coming here and there, so follow along! It’s an exciting journey filled with twists and turns and triumphs and thudding and flying and failing . . .  You get the picture, right?

My Current Reading List and a Book Update

Well, it’s almost April, and I have read one of my TBR books so far. *shakes head in exasperation*  I hope you’re all doing a lot better than I am at your Goodreads goal. I set one of those for the first time this year, and I am not off to a good start. Anyway, I finished Melanie Dickerson’s The Beautiful Pretender. It took a little while to get through – just not my favorite plot style, but it was well written.

In other book news, I’m re-reading Richard Paul Evans’ Fall of Hades, the sixth Michael Vey book. And if you haven’t read that series, just do it. It’s epic. I’m sure you’ve heard the hype. It’s legit, trust me.

A BOOK UPDATE

I promised one! Here goes: I am officially on chapter fifty two, with roughly three or four to go. At that point, it’s edit, edit, edit. And I’m playing around with a few cover art ideas, though nothing is definite yet.

Oo, I almost forgot – I won in a writing contest last week. Indie e-Con over at Kendra Ardnek’s blog has just wrapped up for this year, but she ran a contest. I won in the category I entered. Eek! Outside of Faithwriters, I have entered almost no writing competitions at all. I’ll post the winning story on here in a day or two, so stay tuned!

HOW IS YOUR READING COMING?

Better than mine, I hope. I’d like to say I’m slacking because of school, writing, youth group . . .  Hmm. Those sound like excuses.

What’s on your TBR list? What’s on your has-been-read list? Let me know, and we can chat about bookish things!