Behold! A Cover!

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for…

My novel Kiera has a cover!!! 😀

Perry Elisabeth Design did such an amazing job on it. ❤ I seriously can’t wait to see it in print. 😀

I wanted this cover to look unique and pretty but not romance novel-ish. Which is a pretty tall order, actually. XD But she handled it masterfully, and I’m very pleased with the results.

 

Do you wanna see it?

 

Okay…

 

You can see it…

 

Kiera final cover

 

“Kiera is looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. The official end of school, a party with her best friend, and chocolate cake. A sudden military draft, no possible exemptions, had never crossed her mind.

Kiera is terrified! Getting drafted would mean leaving her family, her little friend Jade—life as she knows it.

A surprising offer from Brennan Stewart just might be the answer to her prayers, but an even worse trial leaves her with one question…

If God truly loves her, why did this tragedy happen?”

 

Kiera is a YA dystopian novel releasing late June 2018. (That’s next month–EEK!) You can add it as to-read on Goodreads here.

So, there it is!! ❤ What do you think?

 

I have some dear bloggers and social media users helping me celebrate by sharing the cover sometime today as well.

A super special shoutout goes to…

Raechel at God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

Perry Elisabeth on her Facebook

Abigail at Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors

Mikayla at Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Father

Yusra at The Mystic Mango

Anna at A Storynerd’s Life

Paul at Project Blank Page

Thank you all! 😀

When the Stories Won’t Stay Away

Last Tuesday, after a very long and harrowing stint of HEAVY EDITING (*hyperventilates into imaginary bag*), I sent my manuscript to my editor. She’s making amazing progress, and I’m so glad I chose to work with her. ❤

Right now, though, I’m in this funny in-between stage. I don’t technically have a story to work on, but until this book is published, I don’t have the time or brain space to start another project.

I’ve purposed to rest, communicate with my launch team, and spend my time enjoying my family and stories written by others. 😀 For a few days, that was easy…

…and then the stories came.

(Just read that in a scary voice. You gotta admit, it sounds very ominous.)

I have this idea for a “Kiera” prequel about Brennan and Jade’s backstory. Sounds fun, right? I’ve been collecting pictures for it on a secret Pinterest board for a while, but this week it’s been “plaguing” me more than usual. 😀 The first scene (and several others following) are very clear in my mind. Well, almost all the scenes actually except those hateful middle ones that are impossible to write until you actually write them. XD I’m already trying to name side characters and have to pull myself back.

Since “Kiera” is releasing in late June, I thought ahead and attempted to decide what to work on in July. Which brought my brain to the draft of The Twin Arrows‘ sequel waiting patiently for its rewrite… I cannot wait to dive back into that world!! The main character of this book is probably my favorite character I’ve ever written, so of course my mind Most. Definitely. And. Entirely. had to run away with ideas for the third book. Why?!! Focus, Kate, focus.

But it gets even worse. A friend of mine from church likes to trade short stories with me, and I’ve recently run out of new ones to give her. I dredged up a story I started last spring and printed out the first part. My siblings all read it on the way to church and actually liked it. I caught a few snatches of it too and realized–hey, it’s not half bad! Now I really want to finish it. XD

What to do, what to do…

Fortunately, I have my busy life, some super special projects (I just went to the craft store ❤ ), and library books to help keep me busy. Also, I have index cards galore and my WriteMind planner to help me capture these ideas. I’ll be okay until it’s time to switch projects again. 😉

The Eclipse Tag (x2)

I was tagged by fellow author Tanner Froreich, and just a couple days later Gabby tagged me as well. So this means double the questions! Woohoo! Thanks y’all. 😉

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The rules of this tag are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for this tag and link to their blog.
    List the rules so the next nominees will know them. (This can be at the beginning or end of your post.)
  • Include the ‘Eclipse’ image somewhere in your post.
  • Answer the 3 questions, and ask 3 questions for the people you tag to answer.
  • Nominate 3 people, and make sure they find out that they have been nominated.

I actually didn’t get to see the eclipse this year since I didn’t have the equipment for it and was in school during those hours. I do remember how weirdly dark it got at that time of day, which was pretty cool. 😀

One of my favorite things about the eclipse, though, is all the weird memes that have come out of it…

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Okay, memes over. (For now. :P) Now for the questions!

Tanner’s questions

  1. Name your top three favorite historical persons and why. Hrrrrm… This is a terrible question because CHOICES. (Does Sherlock Holmes count??!) I guess I’ll go with Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a Vatican priest who saved 6,500 Allied officers and Jews during World War 2. Next up, John Hyde “The Apostle of Prayer”. (He’s been quite the inspiration to me!) His missionary work through prayer far transcended his physical infirmities. Lastly, Sir Nicholas Winton, an English journalist who smuggled 669 children (most of them Jewish) out of Czechoslovakia as World War 2 was just beginning. I have many other heroes as well, but these were the first three that came to mind.
  2. If you were stuck on a desert island, with all physical necessities met, which book of the Bible would you bring with you? It’s really a toss-up between The Book of Isaiah and The Gospel of Jesus According to John. Isaiah is one of my favorite books–full of Messianic prophecy, mercy, and yes, some uncomfortable justice too. Also, it’s very long, so that’s in its favor! But John is full of God’s love and the Gospel which would definitely be more encouraging and helpful when stuck on a desert island. As you can see, it’s very hard to choose, so hopefully, when I get stuck somewhere, I can have my whole Bible with me. 😉
  3. What is the one food that you absolutely refuse to eat, not because of dietary issues, but personal tastes? (For example, I hate plain peas. I can not and will not eat peas. The flavor and texture do not blend. Now split pea soup, that’s a different story!) Wow, so of course none of the exotic ones like scorpions and the-head-of-this-gross-thing-and-it’s-eyeballs-too. Also, no peas. I guess the food that would fit best into this category is seafood. Bleck, bleck, bleck. It’s like squishy bland stuff that’s like oatmeal but even worse and probably has eyes.

Thanks for the questions, Tanner!

Now for Gabby’s…

  1. If you were told you were to die tomorrow, would you continue living as you are now? What would you do differently, or would you continue on just as your day was planned? I think I would plan my day a little better, just to get all the important things like saying goodbye, giving my stuff away, and opening the correct book to die with done. In all seriousness (if that’s possible), I would live more gratefully.
  2. What is one thing always in the back of your mind that you dream of doing but constantly put off and decide that ‘someday’ you’ll work towards, accomplish or just do? Hrrrm… I think it would be to participate in NaNoWriMo (a challenge to write 50k words in the month of November). I’ve skipped it the past two years for very good reasons and may have to again this year. It’s still a dream of mine to do it sometime, but we’ll see. 😉
  3. And lastly…why in the world do you suppose we have to add this completely irrelevant picture to a game of tag?? My guess is that this tag was originally created back when the eclipse was happening, but no one can know for certain. 😉

Thanks for the questions, Gabby!

And now my questions for you all, if you’d like to pick this tag up and do it on your blogs. I’m gonna go with six questions since I was double-tagged (does this mean I’m frozen??), and you can choose your three favorite questions to answer.

  1. Did you watch the solar eclipse this year?
  2. What is your favorite type of flower?
  3. How do you feel about snail mail?
  4. Rain or sunshine? Why?
  5. Who is your favorite person in the Bible, besides Jesus Christ?
  6. What is your favorite time period in history?

That’s all, folks!

MEME TIME!

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Short Story Review: Create

createcover“An allegory for artists…

A creative misfit is trapped in a bubble, separated by an invisible barrier from the rest of humanity. She believes nothing will ever break the barrier.
One day a musician begins to play a new song inspired by something she wrote…

A short story.” (from Goodreads)

THIS STORY. So short it’s about the size of a long blog post. Perfectly descriptive of the isolation artists face. The melancholy sadness of being alone. The power of art to bless and to connect.

Happy sigh. I loved reading it. 😉

Best quote: After a moment, a single violin note wept behind her. Then another.

I read this aloud to my younger sisters. While it was somewhat esoteric for them, my youngest sister has announced that it was “cool and very creative”. 😉

Altogether, a short but encouraging and beautiful read!

(This short story is permafree on Kindle.)

Short Story: Lanterns

I wrote this story for my creative writing class last fall. It was a little outside of my usual writing style, but I enjoyed writing it. So, I present to you, this dystopian allegory “Lanterns”.

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Day or night, the City was always alive. Never silent, never still. A long stream of hunched people snaked away from the factory gates. Smog filled the air above the factory section, obscuring a bright moon.

Diamond had never seen the towers so closely before. The sleek towers rose above the smog layer, home to the people who could see far enough to rule. They built the factories and paid the workers. And they built the roads across the river.

Afraid to be caught staring, he ducked his head.

The column shuffled to the side to let another pass. Workers for the factory. The next shift. Their thin coats were buttoned to their chins, and they studied the cobblestones beneath their feet.

Diamond stamped his boots impatiently and rubbed his cold hands together. He winced as he traced the bandage on one palm. His work had given him a cut ready to turn into a scar.

The column lurched forward again. Buildings hunched along the streets, their narrow windows glowing orange from the furnaces within. The ashy, sharp smell of industry faded as they broke out of the maze of streets.

Outside the gaslit factory section, the cold air tore at the workers. Water from the swollen riverbanks seeped into their shoes. They straightened slightly at the soft light that met their eyes. The lights here came from lanterns, set in niches along the wall.

“Almost ‘ome, aren’t we?” a raspy voice ventured.

“Yeauh,” another answered.

Diamond looked back at the towers. Their lights were far away now, and he shook off the oppressive feeling he had known all day. It was new to him. Just like the factory job and the itchy sweater he was wearing.

He glanced at the others, still plodding in a line. They weren’t waiting for work or food or pay. No wardens had organized them; it was all they knew to do. They passed the first niche in the stone walls that held the river back from the bridge. Lantern light glowed on the tired, sooty faces.

Diamond stepped out of line and broke into a run. The cool air felt good on his cheeks, and he lifted his face to the moon. He passed another lantern before he slowed to catch his breath.

“Not tired, that one,” an old man in two coats remarked.

A young man glared at the sky from under his hat. “Give him a few more days at the factory, and he’ll walk like the rest of us.”

Diamond shuddered inwardly at their words. Between the wardens and the towers, he already felt tired when he worked. It was a temptation to let the work slide like others did. They all got paid the same no matter. He shoved his hands into his pockets.

The wind was picking up, and the column began to hurry a little. A few anxious faces tore themselves from the path to look at the sky. Diamond ran again. Mother was waiting for him with listening ears and hot soup. Perhaps she had something to soothe his cut.

He stopped running once he was alone, but his thoughts caught up with him. They demanded he sort them out. “I don’t like the wardens, but no one does. They watch too closely like they think we want to make a mistake.”

Diamond kicked a loose stone. “My work’s all right,” he told himself. He pressed on his bandage to relieve some of the pain. “It wasn’t a bad first day.”

A gust of wind slammed into him from behind, and he stumbled forward. He sat down slowly, leaning his back against the wall and holding on to his shaking knees. He blinked. The lanterns had flickered out.

The river rushed on the other side of the wall, and the stones were cold through his sweater. Diamond shut his eyes. It was no darker than if he had been sleeping. There was nothing to fear. He just had to think. A muffled sob broke the stillness, and he realized it was his.

His eyes sprang open. Maybe the moon would guide him home. Only a sliver peeking out from behind the cloud, just enough to prove he hadn’t gone blind. He took a cautious step forward. Then another. Two more before he hurried into a walk.

A loose pebble turned under his heel, and he fell to his knees. The tears were back again. Silent but desperate. They ran down his cheeks and slid off his chin. “Help me, please. I can’t get home.”

Diamond reached out to touch the cold stone wall. “Help me.”

The wind whipped at him, stirring his hair with its freezing blast. He shivered and shoved his hands into his pockets. Pulling himself to his feet, he felt a small something shift in his pocket. A match! His fingers closed around it. What was it doing in his pocket?

“The lanterns!”

He reached his bandaged hand out to the wall and slid his fingers along it, taking hesitant steps. The eerie quiet amplified the pounding of his heart. It skipped a beat when his hand touched nothing but empty air. A niche. With trembling fingers, he drew the match out of his pocket and struck it on his boot. The end burst into flame with a sizzle.

He looked at the rusty, steel lantern, puzzled. It was already open. He shrugged and lit the wick. A gust of cold wind rushed down the road, and he shoved himself against the niche to shield the lantern. It died down in moments, and he ventured to look at the lantern. The flame still shone bright.

Diamond shut the lantern and took it by the handle. The soft light illumined the road around him. “Thank you,” he whispered. “I can go home.”

The way before him was bright, but he ventured a glance behind him. So much swallowing blackness. Diamond’s heart sank when he remembered the column of people. He looked toward the light and back to the blackness. So many were lost just like he had been.

He turned his feet away from home and broke into a run. The precious lantern swung by his side. He heard a gasp and a shout as he rounded a bend in the road.

“Where did you get a light?”

“May we borrow it?”

“We’re saved!”

“Tell us!”

The voices scrambled over each other. Faces questioned and pleaded in the flicker of his lantern.

Diamond caught his breath. “We must walk together.” He helped lift an old woman to her feet. “The light is meant to be shared.”

He shone his light on hunched workers staring listlessly at the silver thread of moon. More stepped into the light. The old man with two coats let a tired mother lean on his arm. A few others carried children, and they all followed Diamond down the cold stone road.

“Who is it?” A harsh voice spoke when the light seeped up the shadows. A young man leaned against the wall, snarling. His hat was pulled down tight over his ears. “Wardens? Come to take us to the endless halls. Bad workers we’ve been, eh?”

“No, it is only Diamond and the others,” he spoke out. “I have brought a light.”

The man’s laugh mocked. “A light, eh? How long will that burn?” The man gestured to the empty lantern in the niche near him. “Something or someone put out all the others.”

“I found a match in my pocket. A gift, I don’t know how. The others weren’t closed against the wind before, but I made sure mine is,” Diamond explained.

One of the workers spoke from behind him. “Tary, does it matter? He has a light. Come with us.”

Tary shook his head. “Follow the kid, fools. I’m staying here. I enjoy the darkness anyway.”

“Let us light your lantern then,” Diamond pleaded. He reached forward, but Tary pushed his arm away violently.

“I said that I enjoy the darkness,” he hissed.

Diamond could feel the workers behind him tense. He sighed and turned away. There was nothing he could do. Still, he couldn’t believe someone would refuse this gift. Not after the terror of waiting in the dark.

The group grew larger than the circle of light, and they lit another lantern from its blaze.

Diamond turned. “Do we have everyone?”

“Everyone but Tary.” The words were low and dismal.

“Where’s Byona?” the old woman asked.

He found himself surprised that they knew each other’s names. “We’ll find Byona and then we’ll turn toward home,” he decided.

They found the girl near the entrance to the road. The tower lights glittered like eyes, and she shivered in their gaze. The old woman hobbled over to her.

“Byona, Diamond has brought us light.” She let go of her cane and laid a withered hand on the girl’s shoulder.

Byona brushed strands of hair out of her eyes. They were large in the glow of the lantern. She fixed them on Diamond but spoke to the woman. “He has?”

Diamond nodded. “It is for everyone who will follow it. A gift.”

The girl smiled and stood up. She put her arm around the old woman’s shoulders, and they melted into the group.

“Now we go home,” Diamond whispered. His words hung on the air as the clouds parted to show the moon.

The people were no longer a column when they reached their quarters. They were a huddled mass of humanity, sharing the gift they had found. Joy and gratitude formed into words. Neighbors called a hearty goodnight by name.

Diamond was alone again when he trudged down the street to his row. He climbed the steps to his flat. Leaving the lantern on the steps, he looked out into the night.

“Thank you for the gift.”

 

Copyright 2018 Kate Willis

Book Review: Shallows

shallowsbookcover“The sea isn’t safe. Only the bravest and strongest become sailors. Luminescent mermaids roam the depths and the shallows, mouthing words no one can hear, never surfacing. 

Raised all his life in an island fishing village, bookish Emerson Kadwell has always been warned away from the shore. But an infant memory of a song and the lapping of waves continually draw him.

When Emerson finds a mermaid stranded in an isolated part of the shoreline, the truth about his past and hers will change his world forever. 

A luminescent mermaid. A bookish inventor. A terrible truth. 
Shallows is a clean YA fantasy novel with elements of paranormal and romance. It is the first in a series.” (from Goodreads)

This was a little out of the box for me, but I liked it. A lot. 😀

The author did a great job presenting a world so authentic-feeling it almost seemed like historical fiction besides the huge splash of a speculative element.

Emerson was a sweet, relatable character. He’s an absentminded, big-hearted inventor who wears a newsie cap and looks like a young Andrew Garfield. What’s not to love? Also, he has social anxiety and panic attacks which never made him seem weak but instead made me root for him even more.

I appreciated the portrayal of good parent/child relationship and the theme of not jumping to conclusions about people. Emrie and Saria are the cutest e.v.e.r. And I may or may not have cried a little at the end.

This book may not be classified as Christian Fiction, but the strong pro-life theme really spoke to me. Like Emerson, I have trouble speaking out, but this book encouraged me to be a voice for the voiceless–no matter how uncomfortable it is for me.

Just a note, this book does include mermaids and a sweet, appropriate attraction between older teens. Also, the evil dude is the leader of a pagan religion that practices human sacrifice and magic, though we never see him doing any spells, fortunately.

Best quote: “His planned words forgotten, Emerson blurted, “I’ve been a horrible person. I didn’t really see the real you. I didn’t really hear you. I was inexcusably rude. I’m… sorry.” He ran a hand through his hair frustratedly. “It’s not enough, I know.”
Saria was quiet for a moment.
“I am sorry I would tease you when we were little,” she said softly.

Altogether, I’m so glad I gave this book a try. A great debut novel from this author! I can’t wait for the sequel. 😉

Also, Andrew Garfield.

Interview of Livy Jarmusch

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Today I have a special treat for y’all… an interview of a super sweet author of contemporary Christian fiction!

Join me in welcoming author Livy Lynn to Once Upon an Ordinary!

AuthorPic1Livy, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a twenty-something author, singer, song-writer, blogger, and coach. I have a slight obsession with all things Disney, fairy-tale, castles, ball gowns, glitter…pretty much anything lovely and whimsical! My goal as an author is to write stories that follow the words of Philippians 4:8. (Whatever is pure, lovely, noble, admirable, etc.) All of my published work contains pretty strong sprinkles and dashes of all the things I love. (Castles, ball-gowns, puppy dogs…)

What first made you decide you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always enjoyed storytelling, ever since I was a little girl, but I didn’t make the decision to begin pursuing writing professionally, until a few years ago. I was running my online magazine for Christian girls (www.crownofbeautymagazine.com) and I had a few fictional projects I had been working on, just for fun, collecting dust on my computer. I thought, “Hmm, what if our Crown of Beauty girls would enjoy these stories? What if I’m not the only girl who is frustrated with the selection of YA Christian fiction we have available today? What if someone else would enjoy a trip to Tarsurella?” (Tarsurella is the fictitious, modern European country where The Tales of Tarsurella take place.) So I decided to enlist a few Beta Readers, get their feedback…and wow, I was blown away and humbled by their responses! I thought, “Okay God, maybe this is something You have for me. Maybe this is yet another avenue to share truth, and to put your Love and Beauty on display for the world.” And then I started writing like crazy, haha!

May we have an introduction to Tarsurella and The Rebellion specifically?
TarsurellaPosterOf course! The Rebellion is a sequel to The Coronation, which is book #2 in The Tales of Tasurella trilogy. In The Coronation, Prince Addison is only two weeks away from inheriting the entire Kingdom of Tarsurella. In spite of all the excitement while preparing for this grand event, Prince Addison and his younger siblings (all 7 of them!) must carry on with the daily activities of life. Prince Addison is advised not to begin ruling without a wife by his side, so he’s receiving a lot of pressure to fall in love and find the right woman. Of course, he wants to do things God’s way, which means things aren’t always going to go as one would imagine! The Rebellion picks up just a few months later, as Addison has finally fallen in love…but the political terrain of his nation is incredibly rocky. Rumors of a rebellious uprising among the youth in Tarsurella intensifies, as acts of violence and protest break out across the city. Addison is determined to discover a hidden instigator who is fearlessly blogging democracy-driven ideals, with a secretive pen-name.

Do you have a quote or story passage that makes you smile?
I think one of my favorite quotes from The Rebellion, is:
“An adventure? In a library?” Hanson asked.

“Why of course!” Her eyes shone. “That is where all adventures begin!”

The Rebellion by Anna

(And another quote just for good measure. 😉 )

What is your favorite aspect of the ordinary life God has blessed you with?
Oh wow, what a question! I think it could take me ALL day to answer that! Do you have a few hours? Haha! Truly, I am so blessed. And a day doesn’t go by without my heart exploding in thankfulness as I look back in wonderment at everything the Lord has done in my life. I’ve seen Him work so many miracles. Open so many doors. Teach me so many lessons. Give me so much grace. Just the simple fact that there are excited, precious, priceless souls out there who actually want to read what I write, and hear what I have to say is just: wow.

But honestly, my favorite part of this entire journey, is that I get to do it with Jesus. His Holy Spirit is with me every single moment. He’s there when I can’t fall asleep because I’m crazy excited about a story idea. He’s there when disappointment strikes. He’s there when writer’s block hits, frustration breaks out, or I accidentally lose a VERY important file. He’s there during the long hours, and lonely nights. But He’s also there in the joys! He’s there when I hear feedback from readers who say they’ve been inspired to pray more, who say they realized they were in a toxic relationship and need to get out, or who were simply delighted by a pure, clean, uplifting story. And that’s when I can take all those roses of adoration and glory, and toss them up to Him! He gets ALL the glory, so the fact that He wants to use me in this manner is just…ahh, so fulfilling! ❤

Any plans for further projects?
Of course! Book #3 will be coming out, as well as more episodes of Regal Hearts! Regal Hearts: The Unlikely Story of a Princess, a Popstar, an Amish Girl, and an Average Girl was written in an episodical, TV show, type-format, and I release the continuation of those stories in “Episode Bundles”. Season 2 will be coming out in paperback and Season 3 on digital! What a lot of readers don’t yet know, or are still figuring out, is that Regal Hearts is actually connected to The Tales of Tarsurella! So if you want more Tarsurella fun, be sure to check out Regal Hearts! (You can actually read Episode 1 for free, on my blog!)
I’ve got several other projects in the works, some of which I can tell you about, and some I can’t! Haha.

But one of the projects I CAN tell you about are the new Author Coaching Sessions my sweet friend Bella and I are offering, for authors who desire to self-publish their first book! We also offer sessions for established authors and bloggers who desire to grow their reach, build their platform, or even launch a brand new blog. It’s SUCH a joy being able to help encourage other aspiring authors, and Bella and I have some pretttyyyyy fun stuff up our sleeve that we’ll be releasing soon, so if this sounds like something you’d enjoy, please come check us out!
We have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cheerleadersessions/ & Instagram @cheerleadersessions if you’d like to connect with us! Or you can find all the details about what we do, here! 🙂 https://www.livylynnblog.com/for-authors-marketing/

Connect with Livy on her blog, FacebookInstagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. 😉

 

In Book News…

I spent the day at my sister’s house, hanging out with her and her boys and working with her on the final version of my book cover. It’s gonna look so great, y’all! I can’t wait to share it with you. 😉 *counts days on calendar*

Also, today–HUGE MILESTONE–I actually wrote a good back cover blurb. Can you believe it? 😀 Writing a blurb is the worst part of publishing, in my opinion. How do you explain a 53k word novel in a handful of concise words that will appear everywhere from Amazon to a stranger’s blog? (Get your mom, dad, and a couple sisters to help. They’ve been so great.)

Blurb incoming…

“Kiera is looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. The official end of school, a party with her best friend, and chocolate cake. A sudden military draft, no possible exemptions, had never crossed her mind. 

Kiera is terrified! Getting drafted would mean leaving her family, her little friend Jade—life as she knows it. 

A surprising offer from Brennan Stewart just might be the answer to her prayers, but an even worse trial leaves her with one question…

If God truly loves her, why did this tragedy happen?” (from Goodreads)

My dad finished reading my book last night, and while he hasn’t been the only one to love it, his feedback was special to me. He caught all the themes I had included, shared his emotions over certain parts, and got me overall jazzed about the project again. Feedback from him (and the rest of my super cool beta-readers) has been a crucial blessing since editing can get kinda depressing. God has gifted me with some great encouragers. 😉

In other blessings, I would never have believed you if you had told me I would one day finish a full-length novel. I write short stories and longer short stories that happen to be books for middle-grade readers. Just three years ago, my record wordcount was 25k, and this project itself was lucky to reach 42k on the first draft. I am so blessed to have this book be long in comparison, not just because it’s a record breaker for me, but because I know in this case, longer means a fuller story. 😉

There are some pretty big pros and cons of having a longer book, though. It’s certainly been a learning curve. 😉 Here are just a few…

Cons:

Getting lost in the endless chapters while editing

It takes 5+ hours to read through

It will have to be priced higher…

 

Pros:

More time with characters ❤

It's thick enough for an interesting spine

New readership demographic (since longer usually equals older readers, but not always)

It's gonna look so pretty on my bookshelf 😀

 

Every day we're getting closer to a book release! Are you excited? Nervous? Biting your fingernails? (Okay, now I'm describing myself.) 😉 Thank you so much for your prayers and support as I get this book finished.

Book Review: The Shield Ring

theshieldring“The story of a young Viking boy who wishes to prove himself a worthy warrior at the time of the Norman invasion.” (from Goodreads)

I can’t quite put a finger on what makes this book so timeless for me. Is it the idea of a last stronghold in the hearts of men? A hero who is brave in more ways than the battle kind? A young woman who loves him with the fierce love of deep loyalty? Or the sprinkling throughout of music to express loneliness and stir hearts?

Something. Bjorn and Frytha, Aikin the Beloved and Garm, Gille and Ari Knudson, and the mazelin have shaped me and my ideals and my writing much. I didn’t realize how much until this re-read.

There were so many key pieces of the story I had forgotten. A quote here, a line there. Even the onomatopeia-ic beauty of the word “holmganging”. This time it was not just an adventure, but I saw more clearly the struggle and the growth of Bjorn. I caught the lines I had missed at Bjornsthwaite and again at the end. I remembered what finally happened with Erland.

I love books that I can read more than once and enjoy just as much. There was a double-edged beauty of looking back on the ten years since I first read it and seeing how the book shaped me while discovering the story all over again.

My older self understood the negatives of the story more clearly as well. The feminism, sadly accurate to their pragmatic and desperate culture. The meshing of the “old gods” and a watered down version of Christianity. The justifiable but sorry idea of revenge.

I have an old copy of this book. The dust jacket is gone, showing the lovely gray-blue cover with three swords and shields. Inside, there is an old library checkout card. A “Michelle B” was the last to check it out in 1975. Such an old story, but a good one.

Busy Day, Good Day

Raise your hand if you almost entirely forgot to blog today! Just me? XD

What have I been doing instead?

Reading…

Beta-reader comments, emails, reviews, etc. This is one of my favorite things about the publishing process, and I’ve been blessed with a pretty cool crew. 😉 I’ve been working on it almost all day, and it’s beautiful to interact with these lovely readers and see my story improve. 😉

Snatches of The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre, a new book by Gail Carson Levine.

Hebrews 3 (I decided it was time to read this book again)

 

Making…

Better sentences XD

Ice cream for my brother’s birthday

 

Listening to…

My mom read-aloud The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street 

The Chariots of Fire played by 2Cellos

Nephew chatter ❤

 

It's been a busy day, but a good one. 😉