Monday, December 25, 2017

Memorable Christmas//Guest Post

Hello darling people!
I’m Rebekah, random human from Own It Fashion.
Amanda asked me to share a Christmas post with all of you, so here I am.
To me, there’s something very special about Christmas, and everything leading up to it, and
everything following it. However, some moments were more memorable, and some years more
special So here is Christmas, to me, in its most memorable forms.
The yearly family picture under the Christmas tree.
This tradition has been in my family since before I was alive and it stands out to me as one
of the most memorable parts of every Christmas.
The time I ruined it.
One year I watched my sister opening a package that had just come in the mail a few days
before Christmas. As I looked inside I was really excited to recognize the item...I shouted what
it was, and my mom, the intended recipient, was sitting in the room.
That moment is infamous in my family, and the story is told nearly every year even though I was
so young I only vaguely remember it.
Silent Night.
For as long as I can remember at the end of my Church’s Christmas Eve service we all light
candles and sing Silent Night. Every year I tear up. There’s something very beautiful about it.
Guessing gifts.
One year I picked up a bag and guessed that it was a Barbie, I opened to find a skein of yarn.
I’m not sure why, but I was very embarrassed and have never been able to get over that moment.
Therefore, Inever guess presents, for fear of embarrassment.
On Christmas Eve, drinking eggnog and hanging ornaments representing the names of Jesus
on the tree, and reading the verses that go along with each one.
One year Christmas was on a Sunday, when I realized this I was very upset to think I would
have to wait until after Church to open Christmas presents. Then I was even more disappointed
when it was decided that we wouldn’t open presents until my brother got home from where he
lived nine hours away. It was evening when he arrived and my patience has rarely been stretched
so much.
Perhaps my most memorable Christmas moment is the year I celebrated it in October.
It was early, but it was beautiful. There was an evangelistic party where we talked about our
Christmas traditions, what they mean to us, and how they lead back to Christ. Then we handed
gift bags, sang songs, and had a wonderful time.

This is Memorable Christmas to me. I hope you enjoyed this post and will comment what
Memorable Christmas means to you.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

My NaNoWriMo Journey

I realize my blogging has sort of become obsolete...sorry about that.

At any rate, I have decided to blog today...whatever that's worth.

I just recently completed my NaNoWriMo journey! For any who might not be aware, National Novel Writing Month is when a bunch of people attempt to write a novel during the month of November.

The whole experience was a lot of fun for me. I loved the community; it was very welcoming and supportive throughout the long month of writing a story. I also just love spending time with like-minded people. Writers are a different breed, and it's so much fun to be around them.

I expected, going into NaNoWriMo, that I would write the novel way faster than the allotted month. The last book I wrote was Queen of Caradale and I wrote that book in all of 9 days. I thought I'd be done in the first couple weeks and spend the rest of the month editing and such-like. I could not have been more mistaken. I did start out the month 5,000 words ahead of the goal...but by week 3 I had fallen behind and on the very last day, November 30, I was 7,000 words behind.

I spent all evening writing on Thursday, desperately trying to write those 7,000 words.

I am an under-writer, so I encountered a problem around 40K which was simply that I had already finished the novel, the story had gone through its full arc and come to a close and I still needed another ten thousand words. Because I'd already finished the story, writing those last 7,000 words on the last day of NaNoWriMo was initially a very big struggle.

I eventually resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to get 50K words, I wasn't going to win NaNoWriMo. And I was okay with that. The point of NaNoWriMo isn't to get that 50K words, it's to write a novel. And I had written a novel. I was content with my progress and okay with not winning.

And then suddenly I found something to work with: I discovered a had a subplot that I had touched on but never fleshed out, so I spent time fleshing out that story arc and then looked up to realized I'd surpassed 50K and had won NaNoWriMo...with about 20 minutes to spare!

And I was so excited! I realized that even though I would have been okay with not winning, because I had actually written a novel, I was more eager to win than I had let myself believe.

I am very excited that I did, in fact, win. I'm even more excited that I got my next novel written! I love this story and I'm excited to eventually be able to share it with the world (I still have two other novels in the editing process right now, so this one will have to wait).

So that was my first ever NaNoWriMo experience. I loved it! I am definitely going to do it again next year!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Return to Sherwood

Now that Queen of Caradale is with my editors, my main focus is my brand new series! The first book in that series is Return to Sherwood.

Today I thought I'd share a little bit about my new project.

This story follows the same characters from my Robin Hood series, with a few new ones added in. It will follow the adventures of Robin Hood and his family, as well as his Merry Men, after the events in Sherwood have long since been over.

Because my version of the Robin Hood story is a little legend and a little history mixed together, their story doesn't end with a happily ever after. According to history, after King Richard the Lion-Heart died, his brother John became King. In my story, as in most others, Prince John was not exactly fond of Robin Hood. So I thought to myself, "what would happen to Robin Hood and his gang if John became King?" And because John did, in fact, become King (historically speaking), I had the perfect opportunity for a new story!

I have spent the last week or two brainstorming, outlining, and preparing to write this new adventure. I have also been doing a lot of research! Because I've been writing my Robin Hood series for five years now, I have that era in history pretty well memorized. However, now I'm writing a new era--if only by a decade--so I have a lot of history to catch up on. Before I began my research, the only thing I knew about John Lackland (aside from his association with Robin Hood legends) was that he signed the Magna Carta. That was the extent of my limited knowledge. I have discovered in the past two weeks that there is a lot more to his reign than just that.

I simply LOVE the research aspect of writing! I have a blast delving into the details and learning new things. I'm also having fun re-assessing my now well-known to me characters. It's been a few years, and people grow and change over time. So it has been fun learning how these characters have changed since their years in Sherwood Forest.

I am also bursting with excitement because it has been a long time since I had a completely new story. I've been writing the Robin Hood series for five years now. And that series is structured in such a way that I basically wrote the exact same story over and over for five years (which got boring). I have also been writing my Finding Hope trilogy, which to date has been my favorite writing experience. But that story has also been with me for more than a couple years. I haven't had anything completely new to work with in a very long time. Now, however, I have a blank slate with all sorts of new directions to go and I am more excited than I can tell!

I do realize I have the same characters, but working with the same characters is not the same as working on the same story. I have a new story, one I don't know yet, to write and I cannot wait for this journey to begin!

Overall, I am quite simply beyond eager to write this story and see where it will take me and my characters! :)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Quarterly Writing Goals #4 [2017]

It's a new month! And more than that, it's a brand new quarter of the year...which means, I'm about to do writing goals!

For those of you who don't know, I make myself a list of goals related to marketing/writing and things of that nature every three months to keep myself motivated and productive.

This is the very last quarter of the year, which I find hard to believe. I know everyone says it, but seriously, time flies, people.

Last quarter my goals were 1) Edit The Tragedy of the Traitor --which I did accomplish, 2) Publish The Tragedy of the Traitor--which I did do, 3) Write Kaelyn's book--this one I didn't finish. I did write in it, but I did not finish the book. 4) Update my previously published works (second editions), out of the 4 I was hoping to update, I did 2 of them, 5) Stay on top of author social media and post weekly vlogs, this one I didn't do so hot with this quarter.

And now for my new goals! This quarter is slightly odd, because November is smack-dab in the middle of it. November, for those of you who are ignorant of this fact, is National Novel Writing Month. This is the month where thousands of people all across the world attempt to write a novel in a 30 days. I've never participated in NaNoWriMo before, but I'm doing it this year. I don't know how my normal writing schedule will be affected by this, and there's also more actual writing related goals than usual because of this.

Edit Queen of Caradale  This book has been written for a while, but because I already had several finished manuscripts, it simply had to wait its turn. Now it's time to send it off to my editors!

Edit The Story of Gisbourne  This one has been written since I was 17 years old. I always wanted it to be the final story in my Robin Hood series, and now I have FINALLY finished writing that series and it is time to get this one edited and published. (The published part will have to wait til next year)

Publish Queen of Caradale  I would like to publish this one in December, but that will depend on my editors.

Finish Kaelyn  If this one doesn't happen I won't be disappointed. I want to write this story, for multiple reasons, but it isn't my main focus.

Second Editions  I still have 2 previously published works to update, so hopefully I can get that done.

Outline Return to Sherwood  Now that I have finished writing the Robin Hood series, and my dystopian trilogy is about to be complete (with the publication of Queen of Caradale), it is time to start a new series. This series will follow the characters from my Robin Hood series, but it has been a few years since the adventures in Sherwood. King Richard is dead, Prince John is now King and he is dead set on finding Robin Hood and his gang and killing them all. This series will focus on the adventures that befell Robin Hood after the legendary events in Sherwood transpired. I'm super excited about this one!

Write Return to Sherwood  This one is the book I'll be writing in November. In October and December I'll hopefully get work done in Kaelyn's book (although October will also be focused on prepping Return to Sherwood so I'm ready to write it in 30 days).

Stay on top of author social media/post weekly vlogs  One of these days I will actually be consistent with this one.

So those are my goals for this next three months! Having them here is a way for me to have some accountability and also a simple way for me to refer to my list. If you are a writer, you should definitely think about doing writing goals. They don't have to be quarterly, just whatever break-down of the year that works for you.

And if you aren't a writer, you should still make goals! Having a list of goals to achieve every month, or quarter, or whatever, tends to make people more productive. So do it! (You can thank me later...)

Happy Writing, everybody!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Learning the Secret of Contentment

"...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."
Philippians 4: 11-12

Being content isn't always an easy thing. But it is an important thing to learn, and certainly makes life more enjoyable. When you aren't stressing out or worried, and you aren't wishing for all the things you don't have, you can actually appreciate what you do have and enjoy every moment in life. Even if what you do have is only a little bit or so many moments are filled with darkness, you can still find joy in your life.

Where does that contentment come from?

I've been in a lot of different places in my short life. My near perfect childhood with my parents and my six siblings, growing up in that loving household without a care in the world. Sexually abused and living with a darkness because of that for many years. And more currently, a little stressed about money, or the lack thereof. And yet in every stage of my life, I find myself content, happy even. The how and why behind that peace is relatively simple.


He gives me peace in my life, and my contentment grows from that. From the knowledge that He's going to take care of me, no matter what my life circumstances are. He's good, and He loves me, and I can fully trust Him to have my best at heart. That's where my contentment stems from, and I'd wager the apostle Paul would have a similar answer if you asked him why he was able to find contentment despite everything that went on in his life.

God offers that peace to everyone. We can learn the "secret" of being content when we give all our wants and desires, all our stresses and worries, to the One person who can take care of it all.

Hey, guys. So I know this post is a bit different than what I usually do, but it was pressing on my heart so I knew I had to share it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Naming Characters

Ever wonder how your mother chose her name for you? What made your parents decide to call you what they did? My kids won't ever have to ask such a question...because I've got a formula!

I'm not even kidding.

The most likely outcome, if and when I have children, is that I will use the same method to name them that I have used for all of my creations (novel characters...).

Then again, perhaps not, since my method involves already knowing a bit about the person before giving them a name and it would be unfair to leave a child nameless for a few years until I'd figured out what their personality was like. So I guess they'll have to ask those questions after all.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm going to be talking about naming characters today! :) 

So how do I come up with thousands of names for all these people living inside my head? There are several different ways this tends to transpire.

Number 1: They come with a name. Not even kidding. Most of my Main Characters (henceforth known as MCs) come with a name. I don't know where it comes from, how it gets into my head, but I do know I don't have to find a name. Lucy from the Robin Hood series. Yep. She was just Lucy from beginning. Cassy Wilmark from my dystopian trilogy. Yep. She was Cassy Wilmark from day one. That's how she introduced herself to me.

Number 2: Seeing as option number 1 is limited to only MCs and doesn't even happen for every MC, option number 2 is much more likely. After brainstorming and creating a general outline, I have an idea of who is who in my story. This is when I begin to make character profiles, and this is when I name my characters. Step 1 is to discover what makes these people tick. Who are they? What's they're most dominant character trait? What do people say about them? "This person is sweet"? "This person is the most annoying person you'll ever meet"? Are they a hero type? Based off of their personalities and character traits, I generate a list of names that have meanings that correspond to said character traits. And I pick one of them. Sometimes this means I get a name like Hope, from my dystopian trilogy, which is just an embodiment of who that character is. She is hope for her people, for her sisters. She's the light of Jesus to the world. She's Hope. Or I'll have a character like Dusty in Robin Hood who was so named because she is a warrior and one meaning of Dustin is warrior. (Dustin seemed like a dude's name though, so I made it Dusty)

And of course, there are surnames. This is similar to naming my characters in the sense that I do a little research to get a list of 15-20 names like I do when finding first names. The difference is, I don't look at the meaning of names, I just look at names that I like and more specifically names that I haven't used before (that last part also applies to finding first names. I won't have more MCs named Cassy or Lucy anytime soon). Once I have a list of names, I grab a friend and give them pairings. One name at time. I'm going to use Cassy as an example, even though I didn't do this for Cassy's character.

I'll go to my chosen buddy and say "Do you like the name Cassy Wilmark? Or Cassy Harrison?" And then I run down the list of all the surnames, slowly, and listen to the feedback that I get. Based off of what appeals to me and what appeals to my friend, the list usually gets narrowed down to 5 names. And from there, I choose whichever surname I like best.

So that's how I name characters. It's actually relatively simple. Do a little bit of research and find names with meanings that pertain to the character and then pick one of them. And then find a buddy and play around with surnames. 

And of course there's the random MC who just comes with a pre-ordered name. Seriously, I still don't know where those names come from.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Woes of an Under-Writer

I am an under-writer in the sense that my novels tend to come up short of actual novel length and would more likely be classified as novellas. This isn't always the case, but more often than not, my stories are short.

I have reached a point in writing Queen of Caradale that I have had to put my foot down and say "No. This one won't be a novella." Because let me honest, it isn't even a novella at this point. It's a sad little novelette (yes, there are distinctions in novel length...crazy, I know...).

I don't expect this book to be huge. The first in the trilogy was barely 100 pages, the second under 200. Small is fitting for this particular series. But not this small.

As of right now, it's a sad 75 pages and 26,000 words.

So. I'm doing a major overhaul, something I've never had to do on a story before. We are adding to this story, people.

For the first time in my entire writing career, I am setting myself word count goals. And yesterday, the first day of word count goals, I achieved said goal! :) But the story is still tiny, and I haven't finished my overhaul yet so no celebrating.

Thankfully, there are things that I can easily add to the story without it being forced or ridiculous. I don't want length for length's sake, I want a well-rounded story. I wrote Queen of Caradale in 9 days (yes, you read that correctly). Because of the speed at which I was writing, there a plenty of things I have already discovered that need to be added to the story and I have a list of things that could possibly also be useful although I don't know yet if they're necessary to the plot. We'll see. Having a list of things to add, an actual plan to implement, is very helpful. Because adding to stories is not something I do very often. I don't wax eloquent. I state the obvious and move on.

I'm learning a few new things along this fun little journey I've found myself on for this novel. Growing that word count isn't as easy as some authors led me to believe. Maybe that's because they aren't under-writers like I am.

One of the first things I learned is that the majority of tips to be found online for lengthening stories is for lengthening short stories. Stories that are supposed to be under 3,000 words. That's not helpful. I'm trying to lengthen a novel here, people. Aren't there people out there like me who are trying to reach that 80,000 word mark?

(I'm going to take this moment in the middle of my blog post to muse over the fact that I don't under-write blog posts...just novels...*sigh*)

Playing around with pacing and tension is one thing I've been doing to lengthen Queen of Caradale. Stretching out the build-up and climax of tense moments. I actually think this particular undertaking is helping the overall story arc as well, so that's a wonderful added bonus. :)

Backstory. This is something that will definitely beef my word count because the main character of Queen of Caradale has a full, complicated, and fascinating backstory. I've been working parts of her life's story into the novel and it's been incredibly fun to do so! The problem comes in with POV. This book is written in a first person narrative, and more than that, it is first person present. As in, "I am sitting on my bed, my laptop before me, writing a blog post about the struggles of lengthening word count." You can't have flashback scenes in first person narrative so working in the backstory is a lot of internal dialogue and also tactfully bringing it up in conversations with other characters. It's a complicated business, but I am loving this particular challenge! :)

Adding descriptions. Putting the five senses to good use. This is one of my weakest points as an author in general anyway, so I always have to go back through and add character and setting descriptions in my stories. In this specific story, it's going to help me add to that word count. Descriptions are massively important outside of word count though. They draw the reader into the story, so that's the "real" reason I want to go through my stories and add them. The larger word count is an added (and in this case, needed) bonus.

Today's word count goal is 5,000 words. Hopefully I can make it. And then again tomorrow...and the next day...and the next...

And then, some day soon, I'll have a novel that is novel length and I can finally celebrate. :)

Happy Writing, everyone! (and thanks for listening to my ranting on word count today...)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

How Well Can You Count to Five?

Apparently even schedules, which I love, aren't enough to keep me consistently blogging. :/ I haven't exactly been keeping up with the blogs I read either. And I can't say I've been terribly busy, because I haven't.

At any rate, I'm here now.

I've been deep in the editing world of late, going through the manuscripts from my editors and fixing up The Tragedy of the Traitor which will be published in just under two weeks. I'm excited for this book to be completed and published! Today though, I don't necessarily want to talk about the editing process or the book itself. I simply want to highlight my amusing mistakes. Because everyone makes mistakes and it's okay to talk about it sometimes. It reminds us that we're all human, that none of us are perfect (and hopefully also reminds us that despite our failings, we have a wonderful God who loves us anyway).

I'm not talking about huge mistakes today. Just some silly editing nonsense.

Mostly counting.

Counting isn't something I would normally say I have a problem with. And until today I was unaware I did have this problem...but, as you shall see...

These are only a few of the instances I came across today where I miscounted a group of characters. I'm pretty sure the one I always seem to forget is Dusty, which is a pity. She's a lovely character and I honestly have no idea why I keep forgetting her. But at the very least, it gave me something to laugh about today. :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I'm Stumped (25 Blog Post Ideas for Authors)

As a writer, vlogger, and blogger I know all too well how difficult it can be sometimes to come up with something to say. Choosing a topic to blog about is occasionally very easy. There are days when I know exactly what I want to say. And then there are days when I don't have a clue and I scour the internet for ideas and still come up empty-handed.

I'm sure there are plenty of other writers who blog who have faced this dilemma time and time again. In honor of them, I'm going to create a list of possible blog topics, both as a reference for myself and for everyone else out there who doesn't have a clue what to blog about! :)

This list is definitely going to be geared toward authors, because writing is what my blog is all about.


-writing update (what have you been working on recently?)

-book review (what have you been reading?)

-describe your writing space (and include pictures!)

-describe your ideal writing space

-your inspiration juice when writing? (most writer's tend to say coffee, but mine is definitely tea!)

-post a chapter of your current manuscript

-how do you beat writer's block?

-how do you feel about NaNoWriMo?

-your biggest distraction when writing?

-interview a fellow author

-interview one of your readers

-quarterly writing goals

-your story as a writer (where did it all begin? How far have you come? Who influenced you the most?)

-the biggest mistakes you've made as an author

-did you self-publish or go traditional? Why?

-your favorite book of all time?

Polls (get your audience involved)

-for naming characters

-for naming books

-for what to write next




-character mapping


-choosing a story


There you go...that's my little list! If you're still stumped, I would recommend checking out this list!   It's one I use a lot!

Hope that helps! :)

Happy writing, everybody!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Elyon's Strength

When I was in high school, practically everyone I knew was reading the same books. They spread like wildfire through our ranks. Everywhere I turned, there they were. Black. Red. White.

I never read them though. 

Everyone seemed completely obsessed, but I never did pick them up.

Well, now I have.

The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker are the books I'm talking about. Black. Red. White.

And now I understand what all the hype was about. These books are absolutely riveting!

The characters are believable and relatable. The story is thought-provoking, intense, suspenseful. I've been on the edge of my seat, furiously turning pages, since I picked up Black and I haven't settled down yet. I am nearly done with book 3, White, and all I can say is that these books are a must read.

The story is about a young man who gets caught between two realities. A little like Narnia...although mostly not like that at all. At any rate, both realities are facing the end of the world, basically, and he's got to save them both...somehow. In the midst of it all is the Great Romance. Elyon's wooing of his bride. I love the way that Ted Dekker has portrayed God's love (Elyon's love) of his people through these stories. It's captivating and emotional for me as a follower of Jesus myself to watch the Great Romance unfold within the confines of this trilogy. It's glorious. I really can't say enough about these books.

So if you want to be challenged in your faith, captivated by your Creator's lavishing love, and spell-bound by an intense, suspenseful story...what are you waiting for? Go read!

Elyon's strength.

I'll probably be saying that all year now. I just can't get over these books. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2017


I just spent a wonderful week at church camp counseling 7th grade girls. I had an absolute blast and am so sad it's over! I cannot wait until next year!

Obviously I got zero done in the writing department all week because I was incredibly busy from sun-up to sun-down keeping track of seven girls, leading devotions, playing games, trying to find time for personal Bible study and maybe some sleep (please) too. Despite no writing getting done, this has been the greatest week of my summer so far. :)

I thought you all might like to see a little bit of how my week went, so I'll give you a few pictures to enjoy. :)

Rebekah, preparing her half of the devotions for our girls. (we counseled together this week, which was a blast)

Our girls!

Rebekah got very dirty during the counselor hunt. (I did too, but I didn't get a picture of that)


And a random photo with three of our girls. (Not exactly random, it had a purpose...we had a Picture Scavenger Hunt and one of the things to find was something red, hence the picture with my red shirt)

So anyway, that's a small glimpse into the insane and spectacular week that I just had. I had fun with the girls, and I felt stretched by the Lord while counseling throughout the week. (I've been a "counselor" at camp before, but never had to actually do a counseling session til this week, and it was amazing and scary and wonderful all at once)

Now that I'm home I'm going to be diving back into the world of writing. At this point, it's mostly going to be a lot of editing rather than story crafting until I dwindle down my stack of finished but unpublished manuscripts.

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Quarterly Writing Goals #3 [2017]

It's a new month! It's also a new quarter of the year, so it's time to take a quick look at last quarter's goals and make some new ones! :)

I make myself a list of goals related to writing/marketing and such like every quarter of the year to help me stay focused and get everything done that needs doing. And I post it online for accountability and just so I have a place to reference my list.

I actually did remarkably well last quarter, and not only accomplished all my goals, but got ahead on writing as well. My goals were to 1) publish Courageous Heart which I did in fact do. 2) Brainstorm and outline book #3 in my Finding Hope series, which I also did (and more than that, I actually wrote the whole a little ahead of myself there). 3) Finish The Tragedy of the Traitor, which I did accomplish. 4) Edit The Tragedy of the Traitor. This one isn't "done" per se, because it's still with my editors, but I got my part done. I gave it to the editors. And 5/6) stay on top of author social media and post weekly author vlogs on YouTube. Both of these started out not so great but by the end of the quarter I was doing great. :)

So that was last quarter. And now for my new goals!

-Edit The Tragedy of the Traitor This will mostly just require patience as I wait for my editors to work through the book and send me their edits.

Publish The Tragedy of the Traitor As soon as I get my edits, this will be done! I'm looking at September 10th being my publication date! *fingers crossed* Hopefully editing won't take too long for that to be true.

-Write Kaelyn this one is already outlined, because again, I got ahead on writing last quarter and got all sorts of things done. So now I'm going to be writing this book this quarter instead of brainstorming/outlining.

-Second Editions I am hoping to go through my previously published works, especially the earliest ones, and fix them up. Some of them have mistakes within the story that I've found, and some of them are missing copyright pages and/or title pages and things of that nature. So I am planning on fixing them all and publishing the second editions this year. Whether that happens this quarter or next I don't care, but I'm putting it down for this quarter. I got so far ahead last quarter that I'm pretty sure I can get most if not all of them done.

Stay on top of author social media  I'm still not quite as consistent with my blog or my author Facebook page as I want to be. So I'll work on it.

Post weekly vlogs I've actually gotten really regular with this! I'm very proud of myself.

So there you go. Those are my goals for July, August, and September! We'll see how much I actually get done. Though judging by last quarter, I'm sure it will be all of them!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

His Plans Are Always Good

It's a Tuesday, and here I am blogging! I am quite proud of myself, actually. :) Let's see how long I can keep this up.

On a more serious note...

Today I just wanted to share what's on my heart these days. Mainly, just this: God has a plan.

I don't always understand His plans. Sometimes I get impatient with His plans, sometimes I get frustrated and discouraged, and sometimes I am overjoyed and thrilled and excited by His plans. Regardless of how I feel, however, He does have a plan and it is a good one. Even when I am discouraged or I can't see where He is taking me, I can always trust that His plans for me are good. He is a good and loving Father and whatever is in store for me in the months and years to come, it will be good. And more to the point, it will be for His glory.

I'm at a bit of an odd place right now. On the one hand, everything about my life seems perfectly in place. My genuine love for children is fulfilled in my nanny job. My passion for writing is taking me wonderful places in the books that I am writing. Everything seems to be exactly as it should be. On the other hand, my books aren't selling the way I'd want them to, certainly not enough to live on or pay any bills I might have. I've been struggling lately because of that.

I've always felt that this was what I was meant to do. Write stories, use them to brighten people's lives and point to Jesus. That feeling hasn't gone away. I do still strongly feel that writing is something I should be doing. But lately I've discouraged by the fact that my books aren't selling. It's almost like the devil is whispering to me, "How can your stories be a witness for the Lord if no one is even reading them?"

Learning to trust His plans, whether that be writing or doing something else entirely with my life, is not always easy. But the peace I have when I do let go and let Him have control is amazing. It's beyond words.

For now, I'll continue writing the stories that I know He is putting on my heart. What the future will hold, who can say? Whatever happens, I will rest in my Father's safe embrace and simply let Him carry me wherever it is He wants me to go. :)

Have a lovely day, dear readers. And trust Him. He knows what He's doing. :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Newest Novel//Kaelyn

So, in the world of writing, I have news.

In my last post, I talked about schedules, mostly about how I am now using one to keep me motivated and on track with posting on my blog and other social media. I also have a schedule, more of a two-year plan really, with books I plan on writing and when I will outline, write, edit, and publish them. Well, because of said two-year plan...I've been writing more than ever before. And it's amazing!

The Tragedy of the Traitor is with my editors and will be coming out in September!! The last Robin Hood book, The Story of Gisbourne, is written and in the waiting pile now. My third Finding Hope book, Queen of Caradale is finished and is now waiting for my editors as well (I don't think it would be fair to overwhelm them with more than one book at a time). I've never written a book as fast as I wrote Queen of Caradale...which could be an indicator that editing will be a nightmare. Now that I have the Finding Hope trilogy completely finished, and the Robin Hood series done as well, I'm moving on to new things. This is a bit scary and also thrilling! I've been writing the Robin Hood series for four years, so it will be strange to be doing something different now, but I'm excited!!

The next book that I want to tackle is my own. I'm going to be writing a work of fiction based off of my own life experiences. (Although my character is NOT going to be named Amanda...that's just an awful character name). I've mentioned this book before, and the story behind it, so I won't go in too much detail. The book I'm going to be diving into now is about a girl called Kaelyn who was sexually abused as a child and addicted to porn as a teenager. She's going to overcome these things through the saving power of Jesus Christ. My hope and prayer is that my story will be able to minister to other girls who have gone through similar situations.

I have a feeling writing this book is going to be more than a little emotional for me...but it will be good. Therapeutic, at the very least.

So anyway, that's what's new in my writing world!

Have a lovely Tuesday, everybody! :)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Schedules (Face-Palm)

So...remember when I said I wasn't going to be blogging regularly?

Okay, so I finally had a face-palm moment and decided that instead of constantly apologizing/complaining that I have too much going on to blog consistently I will simply make myself a schedule.

Yes. This should have been my first approach to the problem. It wasn't. Still, better late than never, right? 😉

I already had a schedule for my author vlogs on YouTube, which is likely the only reason I've been consistent with that. So now I'm scheduling everything. Why didn't I think of this before? Silly me.

I'm going to be blogging on Tuesdays and on Saturdays. However, Saturdays will be touch-and-go depending on what my days look like each weekend. So really, expect Tuesdays and then sometimes I'll give you a Saturday gift. 😇

You learn something new everyday, folks. I'm learning that schedules are brilliant, absolutely brilliant. 😏 (also I found the emoji button....)

Happy Writing, everybody!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How Do I Develop Writing Ideas?

I know I said not to expect me to be blogging as much, but here I am. I do want to be consistent, I just said don't expect it of me.

Today I wanted to answer the question: How do I develop my writing ideas?

I don't actually have a good answer to this, and certainly not a succinct one. How do I develop my ideas? Well let's start at the beginning.

My stories come to me at various times and in a myriad of situations. I got the inspiration for my Finding Hope series while I was reading The Giver. I know exactly where I was when that happened. Whereas with my Robin Hood series, I can't pinpoint an exact time when the story entered my head. Sometimes I'll be watching the Olympics, or a movie, or people-watching and a story idea will just come to me. I can picture a character in a setting and the story is born. On rare occasions I get story ideas from dreams. Sometimes story ideas come from discussions and banter with friends. Conversations that weren't about books but then a story comes out of them. Sometimes stories happen when I buy a car. Don't ask me to explain my brain. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes...and cars, apparently.

It's always different for each book. The ways stories come to me are vast and varied. After I have a story in mind, I write it down. Not the just the idea, but the story itself.

When a story enters my head, my brain starts working on overdrive and unless I want to explode, I have to get the story out. So I sit down and write, furiously write, until I run out of juice. Usually this leaves me with two or three chapters of a story written. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but generally around two or three chapters.

After that, I outline and plot the story using the chapters I have written as a starting point. I dive into character profiles, emotional journeys, story arcs, research (especially for historical novels), and everything in between. My two or three chapters already written usually introduce me to the main character, the main conflict, and a couple of side characters (usually family members or close friends). Once I start outlining, I flush out the characters I already know, and then work through all of the unknown factors of the story. Once the story is fully outlined, I write it.

That's how I create stories.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Excuses, Excuses

Wow, it's been a bit since my last blog post. I have blogged since that post, just not on this blog. I've been filling in on my sister's blog for a couple weeks while she's been out of town and away from technology.

Still, it's been a while since I posted something on my blog. I think part of that is because it's becoming increasingly harder to 1) keep up and 2) find topics to discuss. Both of those things are a struggle for a variety of reasons. I'm a busy human being. I am a full-time nanny, which is no laughing matter. I am an author, and have been doing a lot of writing (more than usual). I have my Youtube channel now where I do author vlogs and talk about writing things. That last one is what has made it hard for me to come up with things to talk about here on my blog. I struggle deciding on a topic anyway, but deciding on TWO topics (for a blog and a vlog) in the same week is nearly impossible.

All that is to say, keeping up with everything is a struggle.

One of the biggest reasons my blog has fallen to the wayside is the amount of writing I have been doing lately. My focus has been solely on my books. I created a two-year plan for when I would outline, write, edit, and publish various novels over the next two years. It's been extremely motivating. I wrote basically an entire novel in two months. Which leads me to a writing update...

The Tragedy of the Traitor is finished!! It's being sent off to my editors and beta readers now! And now I'm going to focus my time and energy on writing the third Finding Hope book: Queen of Caradale.

I am super excited with my current pace of writing novels. It's been great to write every single day and get a lot done. I'm insanely eager to see where my stories are going and how the Lord is going to teach me through the writing process! :)

I guess this is kind of an apology, kind of a bunch of excuses, and also a heads-up if I don't blog consistently in future.

Happy writing, everybody! :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Courageous Heart PUBLISHED

I am running on a crazy high tonight, guys! Courageous Heart is officially published!

I get immeasurably excited about every book I publish, but this one by far has got me the craziest. Even more so than my very first novel. I'm stoked!

Anyway, here's the link for the CreateSpace store where you can purchase it. Courageous Heart at CreateSpace  I'll put the link on my books page too, as well as the Amazon link once it is available there. :)

Happy writing, everybody! :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Courageous Heart//Update

Editing for Courageous Heart has officially come to a close! Yay!

I'm so excited!!

Courageous Heart will therefore be published VERY SOON. I will put up a link as soon as it is available for purchase. :)

In the meantime, if you haven't read book 1 in that series you can pop over to my website and pick it up if that is something that you want to do. (hint hint). My Website

I am so super excited about Courageous Heart!! Hooray!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I am Mercy//Book Review

I recently read an historical novel by a young self-published author. I chose to read this book because the author is a young female struggling to balance writing, self-publishing, and college life and I felt kinship with that. I was in that very same place not so long ago. Also, we have the same name, so, how I could not read her book? (For those of you who aren't aware, I often go by Mandi). Anyway, that's how I came to the decision to read this book. Also, it has a very fantasy vibe and fantasy is my jam.

At any rate, after reading it, I decided I should definitely review it. However, it has taken me more weeks than it should have to actually get around to doing the review. So without further ado...

Here's my review of I am Mercy by Mandi Lynn.

Imagine living every day, knowing your family doesn’t love you. Imagine living a life in a world that looks at you as a curse. In 14th century France Aida is accused of being a witch when the Black Death wipes through her village. Abandoned by her family she is surrounded by death and disease, but when a woman who may actually be a witch tells her how to cure the plague it may mean uncovering a dark magic. But if that means being able to save those you love, wouldn’t you do it? Even if they didn’t love you back?

First off, my overall impression of the book was that it is well researched and an enjoyable read.

The book takes place in France in the 14th century. Miss Lynn expertly brings the setting vividly before the reader's imagination. Her descriptions of the places, the customs, and general life in that period of time are intriguing, fascinating, and fun. The setting comes to life beautifully and I loved that portion of the book.

Mandi Lynn's characters are interesting to say the least. They jump right off the page and demand your attention. They are all complex, fascinating people and I enjoyed seeing their various struggles, victories, and how they grew and changed throughout the story. The main character, Aida de Luna, is captivating and her story is compelling.

Miss Lynn definitely succeeds in taking the reader on a gripping journey, and should you venture to read I am Mercy be prepared to have your emotions strung out and played like a harp. Miss Lynn will no doubt quite effectively play a haunting melody with those strung out emotions. Her understanding of human emotions is astounding and since I for one am a sucker of tear-jerking stories, I loved it.

I will add, though, that it started out as a slow read and it took me several chapters to get into it. That aside, by the time I was finished I am Mercy more than earned its spot on my bookshelf.

Also, for any of my readers who are against fantasy/magic, this book definitely has some of those elements so read at your own discretion.

Here's Mandi's Website so feel free to go check it out! :)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Isolated Excerpt

In light of Courageous Heart nearing publication, I thought I would share an excerpt from one of my books. Not from Courageous Heart, however. I'm going to be sharing a small piece of the first book in my Finding Hope series, Isolated, because if you haven't read Isolated, Courageous Heart probably won't make a whole lot of sense to you.

Of course, if you haven't read Isolated, an excerpt probably won't make a whole lot of sense either.

Oh well.

Here's to confusing all my readers with a excerpt out of context! :D Enjoy!

"About my family...I guess all you need to know about my mom is she's the kindest person you'll ever meet. But she's also insane.

As for my sister...where do I begin? I'm a triplet. Mom only kept two of us, 'cause she couldn't feed three more mouths back then. That's what she says anyway. I always assume the third either died or had something terribly wrong with it. But at any rate she kept my sister and me. But that's about where our resemblance ends.

My sister is everything. I am nothing.

Her name is Cinderella. I'm Cassy.

She's what you call the beautiful, talented, intelligent type.

I'm not. Any of those.

I won't say it hasn't been hard growing up in her shadow, but we're as close as anything. I'd do anything for her and she'd do the same for me.

Oh, and we don't call her Cinderella. That's her name to be sure, stamped right onto the birth certificate it is. But we just call her Cindy."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Mountains to Hurdle

I don't usually do "list posts" but I'm going to give one a go today. I want to talk about the obstacles that crop up in every writer's life, more particularly in the lives of fiction authors. So let's begin!

1. Self-doubt is probably the biggest obstacle to writing. It plagues writers day and night. Every time they sit down at the computer it stops their fingers from typing. It's powerful and it is crippling. We all have that voice in our head constantly saying things like, "Your writing is terrible" "You'll never be good enough" "Everyone will laugh at you" "You'll never find a publisher" "You'll never write anything good" "You'll never finish your book"...etc. It is never-ending and it is hard to get past it.

Here's the thing though. You are amazing.

You have a story to write. No one can tell the story like you can. And you will be amazing. Maybe the first draft will suck...guess what? First drafts always do. Just keep going. Tell that voice to shut it, and then write what is on your heart. You have unlimited creative power if you'll only learn to silence the voice in your head and just write. Some days it will be hard. I still have hard days. But just remember that you are amazing, and that YOU are in charge, not that negative voice in your head. So show them who's boss.

2. Distractions. They come in many forms. Social Media. Books you want to read for pleasure. Movies. The mall. Don't get distracted. You have to learn to stay focused and diligent or your story will never get written. That isn't to say never do other fun things. It's all about balance. The way I find balance is by making myself a schedule of specific times that I have to write, specific times I'm allowed to read, and so forth.

3. Criticism. This one is especially hard. You pour your very soul into the stories that you write. When people have negative things to say about that story, it feels like a personal affront. That story isn't just a story, it's you. I get it. I struggle with accepting criticism and not letting it control me. You have to learn to be objective about it. When you get the criticism, in whatever form, take a day to feel the emotions. Maybe you'll cry. Maybe you'll be angry. Don't, DON'T, complain to people or yell at people or do anything irrational. Just keep to yourself and feel those emotions in private. Because you only get one day. After that, you have to get over it.

I start by writing down the criticism that I received. I look it over, and try to find the root of the problem. Is it the story itself they don't like? The writing style? The characters? I figure out what the problem is. And then I take a good hard look at my story and decide whether or not they are right. Sometimes, I do have terrible character arcs. So if someone points it out, instead of getting all riled up I thank them and then study my characters a bit to see what I can change to make it better. You have to learn to let the criticism become a positive thing. It can help, I promise. Just don't get emotional after the first day. I do one day for the emotional feelings because let's be honest: criticism hurts. It's painful. That's your heart and soul they're talking about. So yes, have a good cry. And then pull yourself together and figure out what you can fix.

4. On the flip side of that, only having people in your life who tell you how awesome you are and how amazing your writing is doesn't help either. You need those people, because authors suffer from self-doubt like a leper does from leprosy. It's constant, and painful, and you can't write without having self-doubt. So yes, gather up those encouraging people and surround yourself with them. You need them. But don't cut out every negative voice. You need someone, not to criticize perhaps, but to be rational. Be truthful. Be objective. If something isn't good, you need to have someone in your life who will tell you so. Otherwise you'll never notice anything is wrong and you'll never fix it. Meaning you'll never improve your writing and you really will suck. So find someone who will speak the truth gently but firmly and listen to them.

5. Comparison. A huge no-no. Don't ever compare yourself to other authors, it will only lead to more self-doubt. We all want to be like our heroes, or like those famous authors who have become household names. I get it. I want that sometimes too. But don't compare your writing. One, those household names are generally household names because they spent years honing their craft. You're a tiny green shoot, they're the full-grown tree. Also, you're never going to be like those authors, and you shouldn't want to be. You have a unique voice, so use it. Don't try to be like someone else or compare your work to someone else's. They aren't you, you aren't them. Your writing is special in its way, the same goes for theirs. And comparing yourself with other authors will only lead to you judging yourself and finding yourself coming up short. So don't. It doesn't matter what they do. You aren't held to their standard. You are held to your own. It is not a competition against other authors. It's a competition with yourself. Compare your recent work with something you wrote a couple years ago. See how much you are improving? That's great! Keep it up!

Well those are five of the many obstacles that writers face. Avoid them, at all costs. 

Happy writing, everyone! :)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter [2017]

Celebrating with family this weekend and thanking Jesus for his sacrifice. I will never get over the fact that the Creator of the Universe loved me, and you, and all of us, enough to die so we might live. I can hardly fathom it, but I am immensely and eternally grateful.

Also, it's my niece's very first Easter!! :)

Have a blessed Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Letter to the Dreamers

Dear Dreamer,

So you've got it into your head that you want to write a book. That's wonderful! So do it.

I'm going to share some things with you, so put those listening ears on and pay attention. Writing a novel is much harder than it sounds. Writing a novel is also one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. And writing a novel is definitely more fun than most anything else I've ever done.

If you want to write a novel, because you've thought about it for years, or because it just came to your head now, here's what I have to say to you: don't give up. Writing is fun! But writing gets hard. Outlining. Editing. Re-writing. Research. Publishing. It's hard. So keep that chin up and push through it. You CAN do it.

You'll encounter distractions. Ignore them.

You'll encounter skeptics. Ignore them.

You'll encounter encouraging souls. Surround yourself with them.

Your writing may be absolutely terrible right now, and that's okay. Just keep writing. No one's writing is perfect the first time they try. No one's writing is perfect the second time they try. No one's writing is perfect. Period. Don't judge your writing. Write your story.

Find the story you are passionate about. The hardships of writing lessen tremendously when you are passionate and crazy excited over the story you are telling. So find that story and write it.

Don't think for one minute that you can do this your own way. Will your writing be unique? Yes. The more so, the better. You need your own voice, so don't be afraid to be yourself. However, you can't throw aside all the things that previous writers learned along the way. They know what they're talking about, they've been in your spot before. So learn to listen. And don't get discouraged if you don't know how to do it. You can learn, if you keep your mind open. Just listen to those who have gone before.

Don't try to avoid the things you don't like. I hated outlining books and avoided it like the plague. Once I gave in and learned to outline, I loved doing it. And more than that, my books improved a hundredfold. So don't shy away from the aspects of writing a novel that you don't enjoy. Learn the trade and do it well and your books will be the better for it.

More than anything else, you have to believe in yourself. It sounds cliche, but it is true. As a writer there will be a million voices telling you not to do it, that you can't do it, that you shouldn't do it. And no voice will be louder than your own. Self-doubt is a disease that plagues every single writer in existence. Don't listen. You are a writer. You are amazing. Tell your story.

Write every day. Write in your novel. Keep a journal. Start a blog. Any of it. All of it. Write.

Takes classes. Learn the trade.

Be diligent. The novel you want so badly to write is never going to get done if you don't sit down and write it. So make sure that you actually sit down and write it.

Outline. Plan ahead. Research. These things are important.

Most importantly...write the book. Tell your story.

Don't give up.

It's more than worth it.

with love,
A fellow writer

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Official Website

Guess what? Guess what?!

I have an official website!


I am so excited! :)

I probably shouldn't be so happy about something as simple as a website, but I truly am. I'm elated! I put it together myself and did all the work alone, which means there's probably mistakes to be found. But I'm still very proud of my website and very happy that it exists at all. :)

Here's the link if you want to go check it out: My Website

Since doing my little blog post about marketing I've been looking into effective ways to market books and one of those things is to have an actual website which is one reason I took the plunge and got a website. It also adds a level of credibility as an author to have an official website, so that's another reason. And it was fun to put together, so there's another reason. :)

That's really all I have to say for now.

Have a lovely day, everybody!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Quarterly Writing Goals #2 [2017]

Taking a look back over the previous quarter's goals, I only got about half of them done and only if I am being generous. I had six goals to accomplish in the first three months of the year: 1) Finish Courageous Heart, 2) Get Courageous Heart through the editing and beta reader process, 3) Work on the Tragedy of the Traitor, 4) Post weekly vlogs, 5) outline the third book in my Finding Hope series. 6) stay on top of my Author social media (facebook, twitter, blog, etc).

I did finish Courageous Heart (yay!) and I did start the editing process. Only half of my editors/beta readers have finished though, so the the editing part isn't done. It's half done. But I'm counting it, because I did my part, I'm just waiting for everyone else to do their part. The other goal that I did accomplish was working on the Tragedy of the Traitor. But I wasn't on top of social media, I didn't post weekly vlogs, and I most certainly did not begin outlining book #3 in the Finding Hope series.

All in all, I do actually feel good about the first quarter of the year. I did finish Courageous Heart and work on the Tragedy of the Traitor which were the two more important goals for me.

And now I've set my goals for the second quarter (April-June):

-Publish Courageous Heart. All that is necessary for this one is that my editors and beta readers finish their portion of the work and then I will have no obstacle to getting this book published! :)

-Brainstorm/outline book #3 in the Finding Hope series. There is no set deadline on this, which is probably why I didn't get it done last quarter. It is just something that I want to get done and the sooner I start working on it the sooner I can write the book. I have beta readers clamoring for it now, since they've read book 2, so maybe that will motivate me to get it done.

- Finish the Tragedy of the Traitor. I was able to get a little bit done in my fourth Robin Hood book in the last couple months. So now I want to actually finish the book.

-Edit the Tragedy of the Traitor This might not happen this quarter, but I'm throwing it out there in the event that I do indeed finish writing the Tragedy of the Traitor.

-Post weekly vlogs I did not do a good job of this, so hopefully this quarter is better.

-Stay on top of social media. I wasn't good at this either this last quarter, but I do want to grow and maintain my presence as an author online so hopefully this quarter I'm more on top of things.

So those are my goals for the next three months. I am confident I can get at least some of them done. My focus will most likely be on the Tragedy of the Traitor now that I've got Courageous Heart out of the way (other than publication, but that part is easy once my editors & beta readers are done).

Saturday, March 25, 2017


What do I enjoy about marketing?


What do I hate about marketing?


I believe there are several things that have fueled my hatred of marketing. One of those things being my own laziness. Or rather, my dislike of anything that isn't easy. I don't mind working, if it's simple and easy. If I have to use a lot of brain power or energy...well, I don't enjoy that as much. So yes, my laziness is a big reason I dislike marketing, because marketing takes a lot of work.

Another reason I dislike marketing is because I still don't have a clue what I'm doing and I hate the new and unfamiliar in all walks of my life, marketing included.

One of the biggest reasons I dislike marketing is because I hate talking about myself and my work. Don't get me wrong; I could talk about writing all day. I could go on and on about my books. But not about why you should buy them. I just love talking about what I am passionate about; my stories. I don't love telling people to go buy said stories or why they should buy them or convincing people I am a great author (that might also be because I don't believe I'm that great yet, but that's another topic). I am very wary of being narcissistic. I don't know why, particularly, but I am extremely paranoid about it. I don't want to be all about me. And marketing has always felt like it was just me singing my own praises and I hate that.

So...that's why I hate marketing.

On a sort of brighter note: I am doing a lot of research and also taking a class on marketing so that I do know what I am doing. That will alleviate at least one of my reasons for disliking marketing and hopefully I'll enjoy it more or at the very least be better at it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Guest Post//Cassy Wilmark

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Cassy Wilmark and I'm one of three. I have a sister, Cinderella, whom we call Cindy. There's also the last of the triplets whom I have not met yet, so I have no comment on that subject. I guess I grew up poor, but that doesn't matter.

Tell us about your childhood.

There's not much to say. I was happy; I had my mom and sister. And Dad too, not that I remembered him.

What did a normal day look like for you?

I'd collect eggs and herbs and other edible plants in the forest and make breakfast for the family. I'd sell some of our eggs to Mr. Crane, and other things too, so I could make money to buy the things we needed. I took care of Mom. That's how my days went.

How did you find out who you were?

Well, an army came and ruined my life and then my stupid amnesia wore off and there you go. I remembered who I was.

What was your first reaction?

I don't know...glad my sister Cindy was really a princess, I guess. She always seemed like one to me.

How did your life change?

Finding out who I was didn't change my life. It was my grandfather and the lobsters that changed things.

Did it affect your relationships?

It didn't change my relationships with Cindy or James, and those are the only people who matter right now.

What do you want people to learn from what you have experienced?

Don't trust the King and hide when you see lobsters.

What are you going to do next?

Save the world. Duh.

Interviewer: Rebekah Hutchinson
Interviewee: Cassy Wilmark

Hey, everyone! Amanda here. That, if you haven't picked up on it, was an interview my sister conducted with Cassy Wilmark...for those of you keeping track of these things, Cassy is a character in my novel Isolated. She also appears in the sequel, Courageous Heart which is going to be published very soon! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Life is distracting, people.

Of course, this isn't news to anyone. Life is busy. Life is crazy. Of course we get distracted. That's just how humans roll.

Today, I'm going to share some personal distractions. More specifically, the five things that, more than anything else, distract me from writing.

I feel like "life" as an answer is just a cop-out, so I won't use that as one of my examples...but it is so true. Life is so very distracting.


Facebook is a huge distraction for me. I open my computer and almost the first thing I do is check Facebook. Only Facebook, as I don't really do other social medias. I do have a Twitter but I haven't checked it in like...a month? But Facebook? Facebook, I am always checking. And I get sucked in so easily! And then forty minutes later my niece is waking up from her nap and I'm wondering what on earth I did with that time I was meant to be writing. Oops.

YouTube. This is an even bigger distraction than Facebook, to be honest. I watch other authors' vlogs, I listen to new songs, I watch silly videos...and hours upon hours could pass without me even noticing. YouTube is dangerous, people. It's a giant black hole and it will suck you in! Beware!

Other books. Usually my own. I'm currently trying to actually write The Tragedy of the Traitor instead of just thinking about it...but every time I open it up I get distracted by my other books. I'll open up Courageous Heart instead and do some editing or I'll work on my outline for my Next Generation series of Robin Hood stories. I have not made much progress on the book I intended to write this month...but I have worked on other least I've been productive...sort of...

Sleep. I get exhausted watching a baby all day long and sometimes I just want to sleep. Sleep is not necessarily a bad thing. But seeing as writing is technically my "job" then I do need to be a bit more strict about my hours. Even writing for an hour before going to bed would be better than just going to sleep right after dinner (which happens more often than not, I'm afraid...).

Addison. Hands down, my niece is the biggest distraction. Whether that's waking up from her nap when I am in the middle of writing the climax of a story or if that's me sharing all the pictures I take of her with my friends when I should be writing, or anything in between. To be honest though...I don't really mind her being a distraction. She's the best thing ever :)

So those are five things that distract me from writing. What are some things that distract you from your responsibilities?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cover Reveal

Courageous Heart is still deep in editing and won't be ready for publication for a month or two yet. In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you what the cover looks like, since it just arrived in the mail today!

the lighting is not great and my camera died mere seconds after I took this photo :/ But there you go.

I am so excited about this book!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Writing Update

Courageous Heart has been sent off to my editors! Depending on how long the editing process takes it will either be April or May when it is officially published. I'm not going to give a specific date because these things always seem to take longer than I anticipate.

In the meantime, I have dusted off the partially finished project, The Tragedy of the Traitor which I intend to finish writing before Summer has come and gone. :) This will be #4 in my Robin Hood series and will follow the story of Allen A Dale; his youth in Scotland, his part in the Third Crusade, and his adventures in Sherwood of course. I'm excited to get this one finished soon! It's been sort bouncing around the back of my head for a while. I started writing it a LONG time ago, but I put it aside to focus on the Finding Hope series (Isolated and Courageous Heart). I'm excited to get back to it now. I'm hoping it won't take ages to write this one.

It is truly fascinating to me how long it takes me to write books because, frankly, it varies. I wrote Lucy's Legend in one month. It took me at least a year, quite likely more (I wasn't paying that much attention...) to write Dusty. So at any rate, I'm curious how long The Tragedy of the Traitor will take. We shall see, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Okay. I feel the need to apologize for my last post. It sounded like I was ranting and no one needs to hear that. I don't want my corner of the Web to be a place that adds to the negativity of the world.

However, I do also want to clarify that I wasn't actually ranting. When I was writing that post I was not angry, or upset, or even mildly frustrated. To be honest the strongest emotion I was feeling at the time was amusement. It amuses me more than annoys me that people keep asking me if I am still writing. Granted, I'll roll my eyes on occasion, but I am not nearly as frustrated by it as my last post suggests. I read over that post a few days after I published it and was truly shocked by how "ranty" it felt to me, because that isn't how I felt while writing it.

I run into this problem a lot.

And it isn't just on the Web, where you can't see my face or hear my voice so maybe it's understandable things don't come across correctly. No. I have this problem is person too. I always sound more upset than I actually am. I have no idea why my voice and/or body language convey so much more negative emotion than I feel, but I swear it happens to me all the time. And I feel awful about it.

So anyway, I wasn't trying to rant but it definitely seemed like one, even to me, so sorry about that.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Are You Still Writing?

It comes in many shapes and sizes, this question. Curiosity. Scorn. Skepticism. Genuine interest.

Are you still writing?

I have been asked this question more times than I could ever count. Many times from the same people...over and over and over. And my answer is always the same. Yes. Of course I'm still writing.

And yet the question keeps coming.

Some people are just curious. Are you still writing? Some people are less pleasant. Are you still writing? As if writing was the worst career anyone could ever choose to pursue.

But my answer will always be the same. Yes. Yes I am still writing.

Still, the question follows me everywhere I go. People don't understand, no matter how many times I tell them. So today, I'm going to help you understand.

Asking a writer if they are still writing is like asking a human if they are still breathing.

I have never understood the basis for this question. Do you think I would give up on my passion? Do you think it was just a passing fancy?

Are you still writing?

Let me explain something to you.

Writing is not my hobby. Writing is not my passion. Writing is my existence.

I don't write because it is just something that I enjoy. Do I enjoy it? Immensely. But that is not the point. I write because I have to. I cannot stop writing. It's a part of my very being.

So please, stop asking me if I am still writing. Ask me what I am writing.

And I will gladly tell you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quarterly Writing Goals #1 [2017]

It's January! I don't know what to make of that...

A brand new year.

I'm starting something new this year. Similar to New Year's Resolutions, I suppose. But not quite the same. A lot of authors do quarterly writing goals to motivate them and help them get everything done that they want/need to get done in a year. I have personally never done quarterly writing goals, but I thought since it's a new year maybe I'll give them a try.

So these are my quarterly writing goals for the first quarter of 2017 (January-March):

-Finish Courageous Heart. I am nearly done with this book, I swear I am. There just always seems to be more of it to write, that's all. But I do need to get it finished if I intend to publish it in April.

-Edit Courageous Heart (and get it through the beta reader/editor process). Again, April is not that far away. I need to get all this done.

-Outline book 3 in the Finding Hope series. There's no deadline on this one, but it needs to get done.

-Work on The Tragedy of the Traitor. This is book 4 in my Robin Hood series. I already have a portion of it written, but I set it aside a long time ago to work on the Finding Hope series. I need to go back to it and get it finished eventually.

-Post weekly vlogs. I've actually started to really enjoy making my author vlogs, which you can watch HERE (speaking of vlogs--this is a completely different subject, but--my younger sister, one of my cousins and myself have started a Youtube channel to chronicle the craziness that is our, if you feel like having a good laugh, you should totally check that out too, just follow this link HERE)

-Stay on top of social media. I am terrible when it comes to posting on my author Facebook page or my twitter. I'm just not a social media person. But I want to do it because it's a great way to connect with and reach more readers. So, I'm going to try to be more on top of it this year.

So those are my writing goals for this quarter. We'll see how I did when we get to the end of March. :)