Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sunshine Blogger Tag

I was tagged by Snapper for this lovely tag, shining forth with all the light the sun is capable of giving. Oh, and go read hers... her answer for number five was really funny!





1. If I asked you whether this glass were half empty or half full, what would you say?
First, I can't see this glass you are referring to... Second, it would really depend on my current mood. Third, normally when I want to drink water I want to drink more than a whole glass full. You know, I'm always striving to have a my cup overrunning ;)

Psalm 23:5c My cup overflows.

So, maybe I'd say, "Bring me a full glass, or I'll pour that half glass down your back."

Just being real, guys ;)





2. Cereal or Bagels?
I could seriously get fat off bagels.
And I don't need anything with them. No cream cheese, no butter. Just bagels and me, any flavor, all day long!

#dreamlife


3. Take all your personality traits and flip them. What would you want to be when you grew up then?
Well, I am grown up, I'm told.
But I'll try to imagine...

I'd probably want to be a lazy bum? That's seriously the opposite of me ;p

Or maybe I'd want to burn all media? Or become a prison guard? Or help make processed foods? Or... are you ready for me to stop imagining?

I think it's good I'm me instead of... not me.


4. Pancakes. What would you do to get them?
Smother them with Greek yogurt, drown them with maple syrup, stab them with a fork, then chew them slowly. Finally I'd swallow them to darkness.

I'm even meaner to waffles :D


5. Do shiny, sparkly things describe your life more? Or would you say you like things more Hobbit-like?
I'd say both.
I love the simple, real life.
But I love color and sparkle! I hope I'm not obsessed like Gollum. But then  I do like Gollum. So who knows?
Gollum was a hobbit, after all, who loved bling!

Yeah, definitely both :D


6. What song would you choose to play when you reached a huge life goal?




7. Which children's book was your favorite?
Surprisingly, this is the easiest question of them all! Even though I'm obsessed with children's books.... Silly Sally is my all time favorite! And I have the whole thing memorized ;D But I can't stop with one... I also love The Little Engine That Could.

These two books are some of my prized thriftstore finds ;)




I tag: Clever BunniesLydia Howe, and Abigayle Claire

To answer the following questions:

1. Name two unconventional things that aren't people or God that make you beyond happy.

2. What is your favorite thing to think about?

3. What do you think others should think about more often?

4. If you owned the whole world for a day, what would you do?

5. What is your favorite thing you've ever written?

6. Do you enjoy crying (I know some people that say they do)?

7. Are there any conspiracy theories backed up by fact, in your opinion.

8. What does the word identity mean to you?  Does identity really matter, or is it something people think about too much?

9. How is time meant to be spent, to enjoy life? Have fun with this one!

10. Forget the accepted definition, but to you, what is the difference between an introvert and an extrovert? 


And anyone can answer any of these if they like ;) What do you think of the tag and my answers? How has your week been?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My First American Girl Doll



Yes, I'm twenty-one. 

Yes, I don't really play with toys anymore.

Yes, I'm crazy. Are you surprised??? 

I have like the most amazing story ever to tell. It involves that doll selfie you see up above. You see I really like selfies... that's actually not the point of this post, HAHA.

Anyways, for as along as I can remember I always wanted an American Girl doll. We'd get all the catalogs, and I'd devour every single picture until the next catalog came in. I wanted one of the dolls so bad.

Felicity and Josefina were my favorites, but I also liked the doll of the current girl of the year (I can't remember which one she was anymore).

I finally decided I wanted an American Girl doll so badly I'd save for one and buy her. I was nine years old when my dad took the money to the bank. I was so excited! I finally had enough money, I was finally going to get the doll of my dreams.

But that very day my aunt called to tell my mom something she had just discovered about AG. The company supposedly donated part of their proceeds toward supporting abortion. I was stunned.

Why would a company for girls kill future customers? Why would a children's company kill children? 

I was sad to not buy my doll, but I decided then that American Girl would never see any of my money. 

And so I got my money back. From that small ordeal I learned to save money and I have loved saving ever since, to such the extent that I can barely spend ;p But, again, not the point of this post ;D 

My love for the dolls never ended. My mom said she'd help me find one of the dolls at a thrift store, or maybe online. Meanwhile, I bought every AG book I could find at thrifts stores and yard sales. My aunt sent me a bunch of books on a couple occasions. I continued receiving the free catalogs (I figured it was better they waste their money sending me the magazines. Less money they'd have for abortion). I would cut the magazines up and make paper dolls.

But I never did find a doll.

I found beds. I found a rocking chair. I bought tons of books.

My friend, Mary, also was obsessed with American Girl. For the same reasons as me she would never buy from the company. She, too, collected their books and catalogs, though.

We both grew up loving the dolls, but hating the company more.

We even talked of starting our own doll company... she loves sewing, I love writing. I have a great idea for a doll book series. And you should see the clothes Mary makes!

When I was visiting Mary last year we randomly decided to look on Craigslist. And what did I find? A listing for two identical original American Girl dolls!!! I was super excited. We were able to buy them together for a decent price.

Mary and I were super happy. Here's her post about her doll. Felicity had been both of our favorites. And she was even wearing our favorite dress... the original dress before they decided to "update" her look. And even better yet, the dolls were made by Pleasant company. Some of the pieces were even made in Germany! Which made me happy, as I'm obsessed with Germany, too.

Anyways, we both are twenty-one. And we both finally have our dream dolls. And we never gave AG a single penny.


That's pretty awesome, I think. You can laugh, if you like, but we are both happy! ;D 

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Lawrence Children: Chapter 7

Vern Lead's An Adventure


Vern allowed himself to eat his porridge slowly, enjoying the taste and warmth of every bite. It wasn't often that he could just sit and eat and think of nothing stressful.
But he allowed himself that pleasure on most Sundays.
I should –, stressful thoughts of all he needed to do broke free through his mind.
But no – Lucy said even the mind needed a break. He slaved over books and work the entire week. Sure, there was always more to do. But he still lost much sleep over what he was able to do.
All the children sat around the table eating noisily, talking and laughing and singing. He enjoyed his own silence – not speaking. But the others' sounds felt like a soothing tonic – happiness was good.
But then someone said his name.
Vern sighed, knowing he'd need to answer back.
“Do you think we can still visit the shack today?” Ann asked.
Vern smiled finding talking wasn't that bad after all, “Sure – who all wants to go?”
A chorus of “me's” rang around the table.
Even little Julie stood up and started dancing on her bench, raising both hands and shouting “Me-me-me!”
Lucy spoke, “The children need to finish their chores first – and homework.”
“I finished mine yesterday,” Ann said.
“Me, too!” Noah said.
“I couldn't finish mine 'cuz I need help,” Fred-O said, with a half whine.
Vern said, “I'm sure Lucy will help out –”
“Or you could,” Lucy said. “I have a lot to do today.”
“How so?” Ann asked. “We washed all the laundry, scrubbed this place sparkling, and did so much cooking yesterday. I am so tired from all of it.”
“There's always something more to be done,” Lucy said, mimicking Vern's own thoughts.
“We all need breaks,” Vern told Lucy. “Even you – you haven't even sat down to eat your breakfast. Take a seat and eat while I read the Bible.”
Lucy did as she was told – but half reluctantly. Vern felt slightly worried – Lucy wasn't acting normal. But he pushed the thought out of his mind, figuring she was probably just in some mood.
“Fred-O, want to get me father's Bible?”
Fred-O jumped up excitedly. All the younger children seemed to love to touch their father's Bible, so Vern let them have turns bringing it to him.
“Today we will read from first John, the first chapter,” Vern said. And then he began to read over the words, occasionally looking over the children's faces.
Lucy appeared worn out, stressed, and tired. But she was paying attention to the words – even seeming interested at times with the mentions of God's words concerning His Glory, light, and sin. She leaned against the wall, also holding on to Julie, trying to make the small girl sit still. Vern doubted Julie heard anything he was reading.
Ann was not mentally in this room – Vern could just easily guess where she was – in another shack on this property looking for treasure and solving a murder. The girl was obsessed, but at least she was happy.
Noah, ever present smile on his face. His elbows were planted firmly on top the table, his chin in his hands, and his whole upper body leaning toward Vern.
Fred-O fidgeted, moving all about as he finished eating his own food. Vern did not know whether to think his littlest brother heard or not, for he was sure this was Fred-O's normal manner even in school, and the boy received decent grades.
Vern finished reading. “Well, finish up what Lucy has for you all and then we'll head out to the shack.”
Ann jumped up, “Lucy we'll need to bring lunches!”
“You all will be gone that long?” Lucy asked.
“Aren't you coming?” Vern asked.
“I don't know if I should,” Lucy said. “It's a long walk for Julie, and there's so much to do. Besides, it's rather a waste of time. To be honest I don't know if Ann should be so enthused with this murder scandal.”
Vern shook his head, not even wanting to address the last part of her words. Couldn't she see it was harmless, a good way for the children to heal? “I'll carry Julie,” He said at last. “The fresh air will be good for all of us.”
“I guess I'll pack lunches...” Lucy's voice trailed off. She scraped her bowl clean and rose. “You can do the dishes, Ann.”
“Why do I have to do them?” Ann questioned.
Vern interceded before Lucy could snap, “So we all can leave sooner. And I'll help Fred-O with his homework. That way we'll all be done in no time.”
Fred-O jumped up from the table leaving his dirty bowl where it sat and running off to get his English books.
Ann made a face, and began to clear away the dishes. Neither she nor Lucy said anything.
Vern was thankful for that – today was supposed to be good. Not unpleasant.
Noah headed out to start on chores as Fred-O sat beside Vern, his stack of books in front of the both of them.
“So, what do we have here?” Vern asked.
“English and vocabulary,” Fred-O said. “I'm learning about phrases and clauses and I have to write an essay with indented paragraphs. In cursive.”
“You are learning cursive already?”
“Yep. And I don't like it.”
Vern laughed, “Well, this shouldn't take us long to do.”

Vern hoisted Julie onto his shoulders. She giggled and grabbed for his hair – it was growing a bit long for his preferences, but made perfect handholds for Julie.
Noah and Fred-O carried the lunch pails, but they were still able to keep up with Ann as all three ran ahead.
Lucy walked slower than the rest of them, bringing up the rear.
Vern took a look to make sure she was fine – a small smile rested on her face and her eyes were roaming all over the mountain side. She seemed happy.
So, Vern kept his focus on the path in front of him.
It didn't take long to reach Grandpa's shack – it was built less than a quarter a mile away. Just happened to be in a direction they rarely went, so most of the kids had never really been in it.
Ann reached the shack first.
Vern felt himself catching onto Ann's excitement. Happiness was a contagious oddity.
Ann came running back past the boys to Vern, “The door is locked shut.”
“To keep snow and animals out,” Vern said.
“Oh,” Ann skipped next to Vern. “You walk slow.”
“You think you can go faster with the baby?”
Ann laughed and changed her words, “What do you think we'll find inside?”
“Dust and spiders and maybe old furniture,” Lucy said.
Vern turned in surprise to see that Lucy had caught up with them. “Lucy is probably right,” Vern admitted.
“I think we are going to find a clue, too.” Ann said, certainty threading through her tone and even manner.
“We might even find the treasure!” Fred-O shouted from ahead.
Lucy laughed, “I think you all are getting ahead of yourself – the map starts at Grandpa's shack. No treasure inside. But away from it.”
They reached the shack door. There was a pile of firewood in front, covered in a light sprinkling of snow. Behind that the door was bolted with a large beam. “We are lucky there isn't a drift against this door,” Vern announced. “Or we most certainly couldn't go in until spring.”
Noah and Fred-O set the pails on the snow-covered ground by one of the walls of the shack. Vern handed Julie to Lucy and then gave the pile a couple quick and hard kicks so that the wood would become loose. The boys along with Ann began to move all the firewood away, throwing it out onto the ground behind them.
“No, need to make a neat stack anywhere,” Vern said as he tossed a couple pieces away. “We will have to put it all back against the door before we leave.”
The wood was at last moved and Vern was able to raise the beam away from the door.
The door was cleared, ready to be opened. “Everyone ready?” Vern asked.
Even Lucy seemed excited now as they all gathered waiting for him to open the door.
Vern threw his body against the door. It wasn't stuck too much – just enough to give him a little trouble. After the third try the door swung open sending Vern falling inside onto the shack floor.
Everyone laughed as Vern picked himself up.
They stepped over the small incline of snow into the shack.
“It's dark in here,” Ann said.
“One window doesn't allow for much light,” Vern pointed to the only window in the shack.
“Plus it's dirty,” Lucy added, letting Julie down on the floor.
The shack was exactly as Lucy had described it, minus there weren't any spiders visible, just lots of dirt and dust and spiderwebs.
There was a broken chair, a broken crate, and an old rug on the floor. The fireplace was full of cold ashes, above it hung an empty mantel save for a half inch of dirt. Small twigs scattered over the floor, crunching under their feet.
“There's some things!” Fred-O pointed to a small pile of junk in a far corner. “Bet there's treasure in that.”
Noah laughed, “Bet there's not.”
“Why don't you have a look,” Vern said. He went to open the window, to let in more fresh air.
Fred-O and Julie ran over to the pile of odds and ends.
“Doesn't look like there's much here,” Ann said.
Lucy found a broom behind the door, “Imagine living in this small shack – only one room. It would be so miserable.” She started sweeping at all the dirt, making a pile of it in the center of the room.
Noah picked up the broken chair and crate. “Would make good kindling,” he grinned.
“Want to shake out the rug, Ann?” Lucy asked.
Vern watched Ann respond. She wasn't hiding her disappointment at finding the shack so bare. But she obeyed, picking up the ragged rug.
Dirt fell to the floor. Vern noticed a crack in the floor under the rug.
“Looks like there's a trap door under this,” Ann said.
Vern moved away from the open window to the trap door. There was a small rope handle for pulling up. Vern grabbed it and yanked – it was harder than one would have thought, as the door hadn't been opened in a while. The wood had swelled together from age and weather.
But it finally came loose – meanwhile everyone gathered around to look in.
Nothing but darkness.
“Probably their cellar,” Lucy declared. “At least Grandma had some extra space besides this one room. It would have been hard to be organized in such a small space.”
Vern felt Ann shudder next to him, “It's so dark though – I would rather be more crowded up here than go down there.”
“Perfect place for rattlesnakes in the summer,” Vern agreed. He let the door back down and Lucy swept over and around it as Ann took the rug outside, shaking it well.
She came back in, her disappointment no longer evident. “Once the dirt is gone it has some elegant colors!” Ann held the rug up in the light from the open door.
Sure enough, it was very colorful – though faded, mostly reds and blues, old pieces of thick cotton materials.
“I bet Grandma made it,” Ann said as she lay the rug back over the trap door.
The place looked decently clean – less dirt and more organized.
Fred-O had gone back to his small pile of treasure – old bottles, bent silverware, scraps of material, even part of a rusty knife blade.
Lucy spread a blanket over a section of the wood floor, “Well, I'd say let's eat.”
Vern nodded his agreement, “I'm starved – all this dust would make anyone want to eat a ton.”
“Never heard of dust making someone hungry,” Noah said.
Vern laughed at Noah's confusion as Noah tried to make sense of what he'd said. “Oh, it's not exactly the dust – but the thought of all the work that went into putting the dust here in the first place. All that work makes me tired.”
Noah's confusion only increased, “But dust wasn't put here by work, but lack of work. Laziness.”
“That can make one equally tired,” Vern said.
Everyone laughed, sitting around on the clean blanket as Lucy passed lunch around.


Make sure to return the second Monday of next month for the next installment of the Lawrence Children! 


Father Tells a Story posted 10/9/17
No More Good-nights posted 11/13/17
Lucy Learns to Live posted 12/11/17
Never Know, Noah posted 1/8/18
Grandpa's Mystery  posted 2/12/18
Ann Finds Answers posted 3/12/18
Vern Lead's An Adventure posted 4/9/18
A Friendly Visit posted 5/14/18
A Real Clue? posted 6/11/18
Fred-O is Frightened  posted 7/9/18
Good Job, Julie! posted 8/13/18
Hello, Life posted 9/10/18

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Question Marks Are Broken Hearts


I'm the type of person that loves to find meaning in everything. Pain only amplifies my desire to know why. That is why when my friend, Laura, texted me one day, telling me about some new thoughts of hers they resonated with me.


"I started drawing random things this morning. Basically just lines and punctuation marks. It kinda hit me that question marks are hearts that have been broken and started to cry. The half heart with the dot at the bottom for the tear... And it just was hard for me to kinda re-realize that some questions will never be answered here on Earth and will sometimes just bring tears..."


Drawn by Laura Santee

This hit me like, "Wow, Laura, that is amazing!"

As I said, pain brings so many questions... when you're hurt, alone you wonder why? When all you feel does become questions.

"Why do I have to feel this pain? Why do I hurt so much?"

"Why did God allow me to love if only to have that love ripped away?"

"Why is the world so selfish?"

"Why are people so complicated?"

"Why are we all so ready to be loved, but few are willing to actually love others?"

"Why am I dealing with this?"

The questions never end. And sometimes it feels everything I once held dear only falls away, becoming yet another question mark, no answer.

Life... love dying to the mystery of why.



This is really an exclamation mark, but I saw it as a question mark the first time around.
source

I found this emoji, shortly after my friend texted me.

Immediately I was reminded of her words, but this time my thoughts took another turn. In a hopeful direction.

It doesn't have to end with tears, question marks, pain.

You can grow, even out of unanswered why's.

You can heal.

You can move on and find beauty, laughter again.

And then, slowly, surely your questions will fade. The heart will become whole... become an exclamation mark.

You may never know why. I will never know why I lost some of the people I lost. Or experienced  some of the pain I did. But that's OK...

Broken hearts will be questions marks. We cry the pain away in questions. And then slowly, life picks up. We are given new things to love. New and better people will come onto our path, a long with some of the same old awful kind.

And slowly we forget the questions as we choose to keep loving.

And our questions become exclamations of joy.

For no reason we are happy, we smile.

"Why?" 



Who knows? Maybe it's just part of the cycle of growth God has for us. Maybe it's the result and consequences of sin alive in the world. Maybe it's something I can't even think to ask.

But all that matters is this: we are continuing on despite pain or smile. Despite a possible future of pain that may reemerge. Despite everything, we keep on healing and growing and loving.

We are alive, we know beauty even among the broken question marks and their tears.


Thank you, Laura, for helping me see this, for sending me your honest, beautiful text!



What of you? Have you ever felt like this, that everything beautiful always seems to break into a question mark, over and over? Have you ever learned to be OK with the unanswered questions? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! 



Friday, March 30, 2018

The 5-Part Writing Special: WIP Aesthetics, Art, and Music





Can you believe it's the last week of the link up???? Wow. Thanks sooooo much for creating this amazing link up, Julian!

It may just be the most fun, though! For now I finally have pictures to show off!

Cover my friend Lauren Grinder designed for me for book #3.. the book that started this series  :D 

A cartoon a friend of mine drew for Silent Thoughts :D 

Nano cover for my series.... yeah, it's so simple and not at all appealing ;p But it worked ;D



I have made very few collages.... I'm going to try and capture my novella series with a few pictures.
I guess each of you get to be the judge of whether or not I succeeded  ;D



Music:

I listened to a lot of Owl City while writing this series. Two songs I had on a lot were Justine Bieber's Love Yourself  and Forever Young. But this was my normal music I listened to while working, too. I also had a lot of secular Christian music playing. I'm one of those weird people that can listen to music with lyrics as I write.

In fact the lyrics actually help...

I also listened to my own music a little.

And I believe that's all, people! I do hope you enjoyed learning a little about what I'm working on! I'm currently rewriting this series. I hope to have it ready for beta readers within a few months (if you are interested in beta reading, just let me know and send me your email and I'll add you to my list!).

Eventually, within the next couple years, I hope to have it polished enough to start submitting to publishers!

Make sure to check out the rest of the group's posts! Thank you, Julian, for starting up the writing link-up! I enjoyed it tremendously.





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mythical Doorways







About the Anthology






Eleven Tales of Magical, Mysterious, Mythical Doorways!

Step through portals and into adventure as the authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy take you on another journey into fantastic worlds. Travel through time, space, and realities to encounter monsters, mechanical foxes, and the Fates themselves. You'll fly with dragons, save implausible beasts, and perhaps find your true home. Choose your path wisely, for dangers lurk in the lands beyond.

In the third anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy, eleven authors promise you journeys into fairy lands hidden within the modern world, futuristic universities, and lands of ancient myth. So what are you waiting for? Cross through our Doorways for the adventure of a lifetime!

Download the ebook (free to download starting March 27th) at your favorite digital store: https://www.books2read.com/u/bxq70e

Mythical Doorways Authors

- Katy Huth Jones
- D. G. Driver
- Lauren Lynch
- H.L. Burke
- Savannah Jezowski
- A. J. Bakke
- Laurie Lucking
- Jenelle Schmidt
- Arthur Daigle
- Bokerah Bromley
- J.M. Hackman

(Click the author to learn more about them and their books!)


Let's Party!



Fellowship of Fantasy is celebrating their third short story anthology release, Mythical Doorways!

Whether they open onto new worlds or just new opportunities, doorways allow us to step through and uncover great adventures, discoveries, and risks.

Where will these Mythical Doorways take you?

Grab your favorite drink and snack on March 29th at 8 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST) and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with multiple authors, games, and giveaways!


Giveaway Time!




The Fellowship of Fantasy and Deep Magic E-Zine have joined together to offer you an awesome paperback giveaway! Dive into eleven new worlds by entering to win a paperback of Mythical Doorways! (US only.)

About Deep Magic E-Zine: The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. Deep Magic is a quarterly e-zine dedicated to creating a safe place for minds to wander in the worlds and universe of SFF. We want all who visit to feel welcome and confident that they will encounter professionally written fiction of the highest quality that is safe for all to read.

Click here for more information: http://deepmagic.co/giveaway-fun/

Enter the Giveaway!


Interview with H. L. Burke 


Hello, and welcome to Keturah's Korner! Could you please introduce yourself to my readers?
My name is Heidi but I write under H. L. Burke. I'm a mother of two super-hero-princesses, dragon keeper, cat servant, and military wife. I like to write whimsical fantasy with creative worlds and extra helpings of snark.


Mentioning no writerly type things (including reading) what do you enjoy doing?
Crocheting has been a long time hobby for me. I can make toy animals, but I tend to make mostly dishrags because my kids want to keep all the toy animals and we run out of room in the house. I also enjoy watching YouTube and playing puzzle games.


Why did you start writing? And why do you continue writing now?
I've been writing since before I could write. I have vague memories of dictating stories to my mom in preschool, and since I've never really stopped. I don't think I'm capable of stopping. It might be the coffee … it's probably the coffee. Umm, now I want more coffee.


What is your favorite thing you've ever written?
A blog post I wrote about Sneks. Not snakes. Sneks. It was part of the Coiled blog tour. The main hero in that is cursed to turn into a giant snake when anyone looks at him, so I started sharing a bunch of cute snek memes (they're kind of on the same level of lolcats and doge memes, cute or derpy sneks talking with intentionally bad grammar).
When my publisher for that book, Uncommon Universes Press, asked me for some related blog posts for a blog tour, I wrote about Calen (the prince from Coiled)'s daily struggles with his snek self, and included ALL the snek jokes. I have written novels I haven't been as proud of as that silly post. I have a weird sense of humor. 
Read about Sneks here! 


Advice, because deep down we all love it even if we say we don't. What are the wisest words you've ever heard? They can apply to writing... or not if you so choose!
I don't love advice, so I totally deny your premise. I loathe advice. If I can't figure something out on my own, I feel like I'm cheating. I rarely ask for advice, and when I do, I almost always regret it because I don't like the responses I get and end up doing something completely different. There's nothing I hate more than unsolicited advice.
I've learned to force myself to take input into consideration on things like my writing that I'm trying to improve/edit, but I have to run it through my own filter and weigh it against how I personally feel about something, and by the time I've dragged it through the other side, and put my own spin on it, I've probably forgotten what the original advice was. I'm just fiercely independent that way.
I also HATE giving advice. I can give suggestions. If it is practical advice like “how to do a thing” I'll give you pointers, but I'm a big believer in individualism, so if someone asks me for advice, I get squirrely. I LOVE talking about what works for me, but I'm really quick to assume that it won't work for anyone else. There's not really one way to do anything, and it's so much more fun to try the various ways and figure out what works for you than it is to listen to what anyone has to say on the matter.
So my favorite advice is anti-advice like my own mantra “never ask permission to create art” or Neil Gaiman's “When people tell you there’s something wrong with a story, they’re almost always right. When they tell what it is that’s wrong and how it can be fixed, they’re almost always wrong.”
Basically I like advice that gives people permission to do whatever they want.


Have you ever read a book in a genre you didn't like, and then liked that book and wished the genre had more books like the book?
I generally don't like a lot of romance because it gets tied up in silly things I don't personally find very romantic like poetic speech or romantic gestures … and a lot of the conflict tends to be based on petty drama and misunderstanding. I have found a few romance authors, Ines Bautista Yao and Liwen Ho, who do write gentler romance that relies more on just sweet stories where the couples don't always fight about stupid things. However, I'm well aware that romance readers LOVE the drama and the Hallmark moments, so I feel I can let them have their fun while I go in the corner and play with my dragons.


What makes you smile? Share a joke with us!
CATS! CATS make me smile so much. Also any chance I get to quote Psych. So I'll just say, “You heard about Pluto?”
My people will understand.


Tell us a fun fact that you rarely get to share, but always want to say!
America has never lost a war when donkeys were in use.


What have you recently learned about writing?
Don't send out your beta copies during flu season and expect immediate response. Seriously, last time I sent out my book for my beta readers, I swear I somehow infected four different beta readers, in different states, with some sort of death virus. I'm not going to say that manuscript was cursed, but it might've been.


Tell us about YOUR story in Mythical Doorways and why you are excited about it!
Jericho and the Magician's Daughter is a prequel to my Spellsmith & Carver trilogy. It features one of the two leads, Jericho Carver, as a teenage boy who has recently been apprenticed to the local magician. When he finds out the magician's daughter is forbidden from learning about magic, he decides to take action to right this wrong, even if it might cost him his place in the magician's employment. There's also a magical bronze fox named Jaspyr … and maybe another cool mythical creature, but that's a bit of a spoiler.
I spent most of last year writing the Spellsmith & Carver series and towards the end of it couldn't shake the characters, so I used some of their backstory as an excuse to write the short and visit them again.
Also, while I try not to write my husband as all my fictional love interests, but occasionally I indulge and write a character who is very much him. Jericho is a lot like my husband, which means I adore him. He's smart, reliable, snarky, and perceptive. Also tall. Really really tall. I like tall guys. I think it is Tolkien's fault. Growing up I was like, “I want to marry a Numenorean Ranger.”


Where can we connect with you?
I'm scattered around the world wide web, chasing dragons, mostly, but I'm most active on Facebook. You can also find links to all my books and subscribe to my monthly newsletter at my website.


Thank you so much for joining us today! May your writing and may you be blessed!


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, March 27th
Wednesday, March 28th
Thursday, March 29th


Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Battle of Satisfaction Won

Surprise post for this wonderful Saturday morning!!

I have another video on YouTube ;)

I've also created a page for The Whatever Girl on my blog ;D 
I think most of you know I have ten younger siblings? I try really hard to record when my siblings aren't around... I literally record over and over as they keep coming in on the scene, "Keturah, what are you doing?"

"I thought I told you to stay out until I'm finished."

"You didn't tell me."

Ah, so hopefully you hear mostly music and not siblings ;p 

This is another of my own piano compositions. I hope you enjoy it :) 




Friday, March 23, 2018

The 5-Part Writing Special: Supporting Characters (and villain!)





Introduce your side characters, explain what makes them unique, and perhaps include their relationship to the MC.
  • Stewart Orson should be a main character as he is responsible for the worlds, and one of the planets is named after him. But he is in the stories very little. Shortly after discovering the rifts and losing his credibility in the scientific world, he found God, making the world look at him as i he were doubly crazy. Because of this his wife left him and Nixie. 
  • Anthony, the first person to befriend Nixie in FIRST THOUGHTS. His father is the science teacher at the school Nixie attends when moving to USA. He is unique because of his quite kindness, his too short red hair, his love of science production.
  • Roni, Hedley's younger sister. Noise is something that fascinates Hedley, especially Roni's laugh.
  • Mellie, the first girl Hedley loves in UNCONTROLLED THOUGHTS. 
  • Greg, a father-like figure to Hedley. He is in several of the books, after mysteriously disappearing in UNCONTROLLED THOUGHTS.
  • Professor Gregory Sheppard, professor at OUM (Orsona's University of the Mind) and mentor to Taylor in SILENT THOUGHTS. 
  • Brian is a little boy Taylor befriends in SILENT THOUGHTS. He helps Taylor see past his desire for knowledge to a desire for truth, and even helps Taylor like kids a little.
  • Steven, a Believer.
  • The girl with no name. Hedley has a strange fascination for her. But her secrets may hold answers he needs...
  • Captain Payne, Mashaki's father. He is the most respected Space Captain, responsible for capturing the most Rebels.
  • Captain Vase, the man Taylor works for. Mysterious, but efficient with his work.
  • Zeroe, Akerly's cousin in DECIDING THOUGHTS. He takes Akerly's loyalty for granted, and lives a wild life, drawn to the Rebels.
  • Charlene, a girl Zeroe meets and falls in love with.
  • Amity, Dale's wife. 
  • Rosa and Thorne, Dale's twins. 
  • Ross and Janeen, the people that help Mashaki feel at peace with the world.
  • And there are more... but here are some of the most important.




Provide snippets from your WIP for each side character (can include the villain).
  • FIRST THOUGHTS: 
“Oh, good,” Nixie said. “I suppose you can show me the way?”

“Sounds like a plan. By the way, I never got your name?” They both entered the elevator and the boy pushed an upward arrow.

“Nixie,” Nixie smiled.

The boy returned her smile and held out his hand, “I'm Anthony. It's very nice to meet you Nixie.”
Nixie accepted his hand. It was big and warm and friendly. Very friendly. It was the first hand ever offered to her for her own sake. “It's nice to meet you, too, Anthony.” She took a good look at this boy. She couldn't tell if he were the same age as she, or younger. He almost looked cute, despite his light red hair being cut much too short.

  • UNCONTROLLED THOUGHTS:
Hey, Hedley. Long time no see.

Hedley grinned, spinning his head around as he sensed Mellie Troy. He stepped away from the fence he was repairing, setting his tools on the ground. Now isn't that a beautiful sight?

Mellie had the same wonderful gift Roni possessed, laughter that sounded and filler her surroundings with music. She laughed at Hedley right then.
Mellie was beautiful. She used to walk by quite often to visit her brother, Xander. Hedley would watch her, never revealing himself for fear his thoughts would reveal more than they should. Though he wondered if that would be so bad? If he didn't get her, Carver would.

You're awful silent today?

Hedley's muscles tensed with pain. There were so many thoughts he kept hidden that just wanted to burst themselves onto Mellie.
I guess I'm just not sure what to think around you. Oh that came out so wrong.

  • SILENT THOUGHTS:
What is your name? A small boy asked Taylor.

Taylor.

My name is Brian. I've never been to Earth before. The kid seemed to be about ten. His mischievous innocence went with hid dusty blond hair. Brian was very active.

Neither have I.
Taylor wrote the boy's name down. The "B" was nice and bold. But Brian bumped him on the "r", making it longer and sloppier.
He handed the finished tag to Brian, and helped him draw designs on it.

Do you like swimming? Brian asked.

  • DECIDING THOUGHTS: 
The white moon fascinated Akerly the most. It had no purpose, yet it always came. It continued to live even as they saw it as meaningless.
It was an odd phenomenon, one Akerly meant to study. For one usually discovered even the most mundane thing had significant purpose. What did the white moon have to say?

Same, Akerly.

I guess we could find girls. Settle down?

Not a bad idea. Zeroe chuckled. But I want to do more. Something great. Spectacular. Prove to the world that we are more than what some person thinks.

Or what a test says. Tests are stupid. Akerly regretted the thoughts at once as they released.
Zeroe's chuckled desisted.

Akerly kicked his bare feet into the lake. Sorry… I didn't mean to upset you. I can be so stupid at times.

No, Akerly. You are fine. You said nothing wrong. And you've been better than a brother—I want to thank you for sticking by my side-

How could I have done otherwise?

  • BROKEN THOUGHTS:
Dale? His wife's thoughts sounded into his mind. What are you doing out here?

Dale motioned for his wife, patting the stairs beside him. She slipped through the door, closing it softly. And then she sat beside him. Is everything alright?

Dale nodded. Yes, Amity. Just resting in the morning.

Amity's head sank into Dale's chest. He stroked her uncombed hair, comforted by her presence. If it wasn't for her he wouldn't know what to do with his broken self. The constrained thoughts that boiled within him were enough to drive any man crazy.
That's why he needed Amity.
Do I have to go to work today?

Amity chuckled softly into her chest. He felt her eyes open, as her head slowly rose away from him. Are you feeling homesick today?

Maybe a little. Dale grinned.

Amity wrapped her arms through the one closest to her. For what home?

This home. With you and the kids. Though at times I still dream of Orsona. And of no more nightmares.

  • FINAL THOUGHTS:
Ross laughed. Hey! I just heard you were promoted. Congratulations.
Mashaki resumed her natural face. Thanks! Do you and Janeen have plans tonight?
Only with you. Ross winked.
Mashaki smiled, feeling it was her first true smile for the day. Already her worries were slipping away. And her regrets.
Ross and Janeen had a way with making her happy.
Awesome! I really wanted to spend one last night with you all before my career takes control.




Which of your side characters is closest to the MC?
Well do each book ;)
  • First Thoughts: Nixie is very close to her father, though she and Anthony become very close.
  • Uncontrolled Thoughts: Hedley was closest to Greg, but he disappears. After that it is his sister, Roni.
  • Silent Thoughts: Hedley and Mashaki are side characters in this book, and Taylor is close to both of them.
  • Deciding Thoughts: Zeroe is Akerly's best friend, a cousin closer than a brother.
  • Broken Thoughts: Dale is closest to his wife, Amity. 
  • Final Thoughts: Mashaki is close to her father, Captain Payne. But she feels at ease around Ross and Janeen, who are like her adopted grandparents. 




How do the good guys work together as a team?
But who is truly good? Who is not? ;)
The society works together, building a safer, cleaner atmosphere and society. They train, they educate, they let their thoughts flow free.



How do they clash with each other?
Questioning why always brings tension. Tension is not peace. What is not peace is not good. No, people rarely clash.
Though deep down they all know you can't always understand one another's thoughts.
In Hedley's book his father cannot understand Hedley's wild thoughts... why he chooses to live so differently. And that causes distance between the father and son.



Describe your antagonist/villain in 3 words.
Indefinable or nonexistent



Why is your villain bad?
Because (ideas) threaten the peace and security of the other side.



Is the villain an “I work alone” sort of person, or the kind who has a ton of minions?
I'm afraid my book doesn't have that sort of villain. Just people with ideas, ideas worth fighting and dying for.



How does your villain walk and talk?
Like a person, I suppose. Though most of my people don't talk, just think ;)



What are the villain’s main mannerisms that define him/her?
To not think through what they are doing (this applies for all the characters). They do what they do because it's right... They all think. Thoughts flow free.  But do they actually consider why they think what they think? Few do.
And that defines every individual... who thinks, and who thinks they think?





Do you have a favorite snippet or side character from this? And should I have a definite bad guy?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

There's Too Much On My Plate, But I Hate Leaving Left-overs.

When I went to Summit a couple years ago I remember one thing jumping out to me and me thinking, "This doesn't apply to my life and never will because I'm good at doing too much at once and keeping at it."

I brag about my multi-tasking skills. 

I believe it was Jeff Meyers that said, "There will come a time in your life where you have too much on your plate. And either you will have to take stuff off - or God will."

"No,” I thought. “This is a good conference. But these words don't apply to me. You see I'm the person that likes having too full of a plate - I thrive on stress, on chaos, on doing too much!"

Oh, I also hate waste.



Literal plate: always wiped clean. Others' leftovers: could end up being on my plate. It's not that I love food. But I just can not stand waste.

Anyways, fast-forward to the future (or rather now).

"Empty your plate, or God will."

No kidding, Meyers, God has been doing just that.

With both the literal and the  figurative plates in my life - I have watched so much slip away.

Mostly, it seems I am watching frustrations and stress slip away. Bonus, you say?
              
Well, yeah... but it came in the forms of me selling my goats, prioritizing friendships, resigning my nanny job, taking less time to do other things so I can write more, sleeping more, doing less, saying no (I want to say yes to every impossible job!), and just doing less.

Don't get me wrong, I still do a ton. But I am more focused on a couple things instead of everywhere.

I plan my traveling more carefully so that I don't spend as much, go to as many places, or even pack as much.

I plan my life so it isn't so all over the place with hobbies, jobs, animals, and people.

I plan my future so I am focused on my jobs (now) and my writing (future). No other things matter right now (the present may be dead...)

I focus on one person at a time, so that way I can be the friend God wants me to be to everyone.

I don't even finish everything on my literal plate anymore. Waste still bothers me, but I've learned that there's more than one way to look at it - (waste or waist ;p) Haha,

Seriously, when going to places we children had been taught to try a little of everything (not to offend). I still did that up until recently. But I've discovered people really don't care if you eat everything.

Try what needs to be tried. Eat to be satisfied. But you don't have to get too much. And you don't have to finish it all ;p Though, I do say, I'm more careful with just getting less instead of leaving waste.

That still feels wrong.



It's funny how the literal and figurative overlap.

So much to do. So little space or time. 

And what with and how to fill that plate?? Which is pretty small, I've found ;)

This may be a weird post... I'm not really sure where I'm going with it.

Just that lately as so many things have been taken from me, and even as I've had to just do less because I mentally can't handle more Jeff Meyers words have resounded into my mind once more.

"Empty your plate, or God will."

Yes, I'm learning. It's obvious I'm doing certain things better than before. But it's only because God had to teach me first - by upsetting the whole plate, and me having to dig through the mess on the floor seeing all of it for the first time and needing to decide, "What's really worth putting back on?"

Especially after it all felt completely ruined after being turned upside down.




Of course you could be one of those that God is still calling, "Do more!" 

But I feel all of us might need a break... and realize that doing more might be doing a lot less so that way God has room to do His stuff. 

The thing is, He's going to do His stuff anyways... it just might be a little less messy if you don't have your junk (priorities) in the way.

Is it just me - or do some of y'all struggle with plates that are just way too full of your dreams?


Friday, March 16, 2018

The 5-Part Writing Special: Main Character(s)




Introduce your Main Character(s): (Just like a name, and who they are…)
  1. Nixie Orson, daughter of the once famous scientist Stewart Orson. She was born and raised in Germany. Her story is FIRST THOUGHTS.
  2. Hedley Kieffner, lives on Orsona in a small town with his large, red headed family. They raise horses for the giant mosquitoes diet. His story is UNCONTROLLED THOUGHTS.
  3. Taylor Ibori, the one who made this series become. His book was written first, though it's book #3. The young black man is nearly 30 and his story is SILENT THOUGHTS.
  4. Akerly Gray, has lived life doing everything his best friend and cousin, Zeroe, has. He has just dropped out of OUM after Zeroe was expelled. Life changes for them as they join the Rebels. Their story is DECIDING THOUGHTS.
  5. Dale Oehler, is a chief interrogator on Babel. His life has purpose because of his wife and children. His story is BROKEN THOUGHTS.
  6. Mashaki Payne, daughter of the High Captain of the skies and ex-girlfriend of Taylor Ibori. She and Dale grew up as best friends. Her story finishes the series in FINAL THOUGHTS.




How are the goals of the main character and the villain clashing?
Each of my main characters believe differently than the other, all three main worldviews spread between the six of them. As you can imagine that brings much trouble.

War. Death. Imprisonment.

There is no "true" villain in this series, for each character gets the chance to be main character, side character, and villain. They all desire their own version of peace. But peace means something different to each person, according to what they believe.



What motivates your MC?
  • Nixie lives for her father and to serve God. She hopes that someday her mother may return to their family dynamic. 
  • Hedley is motivated by curiosity. 
  • Taylor desires to speak, to know, to be educated. 
  • Akerly is motivated by his cousin.
  • Dale's family keeps him passionate.
  • Mashaki is motivated by pretending she is OK.




What lie does your MC believe in?
  • Nixie believes that thoughts can be understood, that people can eventually understand.
  • Hedley believes he can find purpose once he learns to control his thoughts.
  • Taylor believes knowledge is the key to healing.
  • Akerly believes loyalty to his cousin is worth any cost. 
  • Dale believes his actions are justified by necessity. 
  • Mashaki believes what she and her father does is necessary, and that regret is too late for her.




What is one trait the MC disapproves of in his/herself?

  • Nixie doesn't spend much time thinking of herself.
  • Hedley hates how he cannot control his thoughts.
  • Taylor is about improvement. He does not wast time pondering his bad traits.
  • Akerly hates how he has no purpose outside of his cousin.
  • Dale hates the brokenness that dwells inside.
  • Mashaki hates how she acts so cold, indifferent about things that matter. Yet how else could she live her life?




What does the MC love about him/herself?
  • Nixie is proud of her Aryan looks.
  • Hedley loves the excitement he feels from a new discovery.
  • Taylor loves that he can learn easily.
  • Akerly rarely thinks about himself in a positive way. 
  • Dale loves that he can do efficient work.
  • Mashaki spends too much time being prideful about her accomplishments. But that is just because she is too busy trying to forget about regret.




What is your MC’s greatest strength and weakness?
  • Nixie: trust 
  • Hedley: excitement
  • Taylor: knowledge 
  • Akerly: loyalty 
  • Dale: strength of will
  • Mashaki: indifference 




What does your MC like to do when they’re bored?
I'm afraid I never give my characters the chance to get bored... but we'll pretend...
  • Nixie: stare at the stars and dream of the day when her mother might come home so that her whole family may be together and worship God.
  • Hedley: Listen to his sister... or Mellie... sing. If they aren't around he'd read.
  • Taylor: Boredom could lead to bad dreams... must not be bored. Will study, read, train, anthing.
  • Akerly: work with the animals, maybe go for a walk and sit by the river.
  • Dale: watch his wife play with the children.
  • Mashaki: visit Ross and Janice. Or find someone to lecture. Most likely the latter.




What does the MC look like? (Bonus points for picture)
Sorry, I'm terrible with pictures ;/
  • Nixie: she is petite, young. Her mother calls her "My little Pixie", as she looks much like a small fairy. She is pale, with long blond hair, light blue eyes. Her smile is sweet, naive, wanting only peace between everyone.
  • Hedley: Hyper, his red hair seems to be every where at one. His skin is pale with freckles splashed all over. He is muscled from working on the farm. In the summer he is always sun burned; he does not tan.
  • Taylor: He is negro, medium height. His hair is fashioned after the Greeks, due to his love of study, he has two inch long smooth curls spread evenly about his head.
  • Akerly: A tall negro man, muscled from work on his family's farm. In the beginning of the story he and Zeroe have dreads.
  • Dale: Tan, softening muscles, dark hair cut too short. His dark eyes are deep, full of the pain he tries to hide. Normally he succeeds and instead one sees intense power, and instead are afraid of the pain he might inflict.
  • Mashaki: Negro, curvy. Her full lips always smile, whether truly for your gain or your pain may not be known. Her hair is styled, past her shoulders, with a slight 




How is your MC similar to and different from you?

  • Nixie: When I was younger I used to too wish that all might just get a long. Just like her I had to find out that hard way that this just isn't possible.
  • Hedley: I've been told already that we two are very much alike, despite him being a guy. His random thoughts, his hyper unexpected ways. I may have just wrote my mind open to the whole world...
  • Taylor: I, too, have desired certain things intensely only to discover it was not meant to be, and so I had to accept the new dream God would have me accept.
  • Akerly: loyalty is extremely important to me, and it, too, has hurt me in exchange. But like Akerly I have found that regardless of the pain I had to continue on loving.
  • Dale: When I lost what I loved most is shook my world. Darkness came, but necessity helped me to push through until hope was able to light my world again.
  • Mashaki: in many ways I am too much like Mashaki in that I will hide my pain behind laughter, pretend to be callous and indifferent just because I can't face the hurting. And because of that I, too, have been accused of being cold-hearted when all I was wanting was to be understood.





And those are my characters! Which do you like best? Least? Do you have characters with traits similar to yourself?  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...