Butterflies or Ghosts

Butterflies or Ghosts

I should probably keep resting–it’s only been two weeks since I finished my novella. My writer’s brain needs time to recharge.

Besides, I have library books to consume, a closet to organize, and that batch of muffins.

But stories flow through my mind, flitting like butterflies or lingering like ghosts.

The mermaids wait in the ocean, thumping their tails on the floor to communicate–congregation, location, danger.

Five siblings need their personalities to be explored and tied into ordinary wartime adventures.

A young nun must set out on her own to find the family she was sure she lost.

There’s a prophesied apocalypse to outrun. A WW2 hospital ward to visit. Ashkenazi Jews surviving in space. The girl in the compression suit. The girl who loses every friend. Something very wrong with clones.

I wouldn’t blame me for resting for a while longer. And I also wouldn’t blame me if I dove into a project head first. πŸ˜‰

I Did It!

I Did It!

Remember when I shared I was part of A Very Bookish Easter anthology and my plans for a Heidi-inspired novella? I wrote a large chunk during my escapades as a NaNoRebel but soon fell into writer’s block and dissatisfaction with the tone and direction of my story…

Each day as my deadline drew closer, I knew I couldn’t continue writing it.

Two days before the year ended, I took the plunge and completely started over. Square one, fresh document, no borrowing words from the original draft (except a short description).

Back when I was just starting chapter 3 😭

I wrote like a crazy fiend for the next two weeks through vacation, illness, and ginormous work projects. I wrote in the car, in bed, at the coffee shop, in my living room. Lots of tea was consumed. πŸ˜‰

Chai and cupcake Squishmallow for support

As the story took shape this time, I found both the joy and the deep theme I was missing. It became a celebration of spring, of a hometown very inspired by my own, of a close-knit family and community.

And it became an exploration of church hurt and longing for wholeness again.

I really am so grateful (and mildly shocked πŸ˜…) to have this novella completed. It’s been three years since my last new book, so this feels like a huge step and a big blessing.

My coffeeshop buddy πŸ’–

It’s currently in the hands of my fabulous beta-reading team and after that it’ll be sent on over to my editor. πŸ™Œ

I named it “Addie’s Mountain”, and I can’t wait to share it with you. πŸ’–

2023, Bookish Goals for Me

2023, Bookish Goals for Me

Welcome, 2023! Make yourself comfortable and stay awhile. πŸ˜‰

As in past years, I’ve decided to share a few of my hopeful bookish goals for this year. πŸ˜‰

1. Publish my A Very Bookish Easter novella

My entry to this anthology is coming along well, and I can’t wait for you all to read the finished product. 🀩 I think it’s gonna give you allll the cozy feels. 😁

2. Commission character art

This was actually something I attempted last year, but it didn’t end up working out, and I’m really excited to give it another shot. I have some gorgeous art of Kiera and of characters from the Arrows and Archers series planned. 😍

3. Dive back into dormant projects

This includes but is not limited to… promised sequels, “Awake” draft bazillion and seven or something, and a middle-grade WWII homefront novel. I am hoping to ease back into regular writing routines, and the big dream is to publish at least one new project this year. πŸ™

4. Sell books in person?

It’s been a few years now since I’ve had the opportunity to sell my books at an in-person event, but I’m really hoping/praying/scheming to get something together this year. πŸ™ˆ

5. Read 35 books

I barely made my goal last year, but I am planning to read a lot, so I’ve started my challenge at a nice, moderate 35 books. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ I’m hoping a high percentage of them are new indie releases. 🀞


There you go! Those are my bookish goals for this shiny new year. πŸ˜πŸ’™ In the personal sphere, I’m also planning to continue working on my mental health and to move on from my current day job to something that fits my needs better. Also, more baking, but that’s a given… πŸ˜‰

What are your hopeful goals for 2023?

A Little Bit of Progress // NaNoRebel Week One

A Little Bit of Progress // NaNoRebel Week One

Last week I shared my (hopeful, rough, overly optimistic, creative, CRAZY) plans for NaNoWriMo, and with the first week in the bag, I thought I’d give a small update. πŸ˜‰

Goal One: Novella Wrap-Up

I’ve actually written quite a lot this month and nearly doubled my wordcount, but the novella is still coming more slowly than I want it to. I’m having the ups and downs of “this is horrible” “this is amazing” “what even are words” on a small scale, and I even had an internet scare (everything was saved, phew!) and did some late-night writing in my email drafts. πŸ˜‰ Basically the whole NaNoWriMo experience just for these 5,000 new words. πŸ˜‚πŸ«£

I planned to wrap it up by the 7th, but I’m going to need more time, and since I’m a Rebel, that’s really okay. πŸ˜‰ *insert Rebel Alliance flag* *gives self a nerdy space nickname*

Goal Two: Organize My Novel Notes

Transferring the scribblies on my manuscript to more clear, useful notes in my notebook was something I thought would take forever (since the manuscript is a literal minefield of red ink), but I got it done in a day or two. ❀ Y’all, it’s sooo satisfying, and I feel ready to take on this next draft.

Goal Three: Fantasy Novel Edits

*stares longingly* Gotta knock out Goal One first… πŸ˜‰

Miscellaneous Happenings

I am (as usual) absolutely loving a good cup of tea. It pushes me into the cozy, focused space writing needs, and I also feel infinitely British (which is also important).

I invented myself a lapdesk! I prefer writing on the couch but also don’t want to overheat my computer, so I took a wooden food tray and flipped it upside down over my lap, and voila! #socool

I got distracted by making mock-up covers for NaNo projects (and they’re actually available for sale if you want one πŸ˜‰). Not to mention mental health, family events, a very cool computer game, and the cat who adopted us. πŸ˜‰

This month may not look exactly as I planned, but I’ve accomplished some good things, and I’m excited to continue my projects. πŸ˜‰ And I seriously can’t wait for you all to meet my adorable characters. 🀩

A Little Bit of a Plan

A Little Bit of a Plan

Happy November!! You know what this means… πŸ˜‰

It’s go crazy writing month!!! This turtle of a writer is joining NaNoWriMo as a Rebel. 😎😎

I planned to commit November to editing my fantasy novel, but my October project is running late so there’ll be a little bit of overlap.

Which is okay with me, since having writing to do helps keep editor-me sane. πŸ˜‚

So here’s the current optimistic plan…

1. Wrap-up my current project, a.k.a. the first draft of my Easter novella, within the first week of this month. πŸ˜¬πŸ™

2. Organize my notes for the next draft of my fantasy novel in the first week as well. πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

3. Get my fantasy novel safely through an entire draft and all shiny for beta-readers. 😍😍

Now, my life is very dynamic right now, so I hold these plans loosely, but I’m having fun making them and feeling hopeful and ready to go! 🧑

Do you have writerly plans this month?

An Absolutely Unnecessary Notebook Tour

An Absolutely Unnecessary Notebook Tour

I live in notebooks, and I mean notebooks plural because I’m never content using just one. πŸ˜‚ They’re simply too useful and cute to resist. Here is my current collection (minus one or two I can’t find which is mildly concerning)…

I’m sensing a color scheme… 😁

Notebook HQ! My very happy little notebook that is used for everything from to-do lists to design brainstorms to entire plots for the next two Arrows and Archers books (shhhh). I really love the size of it, and spiral-bound is always perfect for laying out nice and flat.

As you can see, this one is just a *bit* well-loved. It’s also miscellaneous, but it includes entire chapters of stories and some highly important notes for the fantasy novel I should be editing. I’m a huge fan of polka dots too, so I’ll be sad when this one is full soon.

And my adorable book sleeve came and truly does fit (some) notebooks?!!! πŸ‘πŸ‘

My most recent addition to the notebook family, and one I’m very much in love with. I couldn’t find my notebook stash in the chaos of moving until very recently, and I was in desperate need of something. J bought me this one from the back-to-school section, and it was an added bonus that it’s so cute. πŸ˜‰ I wanted a spiral-bound one so it can lay flat for notes on my novel manuscript, but so far I’ve just planned a blog party in it (oops).

And last but not least, the two empty lovelies! I’ve had the pink one for a few years now, and I absolutely love the foil words on the front. I bought it along with the pink polka dot one (and another currently stored/missing) so my color scheme theory definitely holds up. The sky blue and daisies one is such a gorgeous cover texture and it’s hardbound, which absolutely deserves something amazing written inside. (I’m not sure what yet.) My dad actually bought it for me at the prompting of my sisters because they knew it’s my colors. 😍

I also have dark brown with foil feathers notebook somewhere around here in this mess of creativity… πŸ˜…

I absolutely love how my notebooks foster a level of creativity and brainstorming that just cannot be matched. Plus, people keep making more and more cute ones, so if a month from now I have 20, don’t judge. πŸ˜›

Which notebook is your favorite?

What If…

What If…

What if I never finish another novel?

What if the sequel isn’t as good as the first book?

What if my theme isn’t clear?

What if I hurt someone with my ignorance and preconceived notions?

What if my story isn’t Christian enough?

What if everything I write is too short?

What if it’s all been done before and better than I can?

What if I’m working too hard?

What if I’m not working hard enough?

What if this edit ruins what I had going?

What if I lose money from this book too?

What if nobody actually wants to read what I write?

What if I never have another in-person community?

All these questions (and more πŸ˜‰) are mine, and if you ever have doubts about being a writer, just know you aren’t alone. πŸ’™

“What’s Your WIP” Tag — Meet My Fantasy Novel

“What’s Your WIP” Tag — Meet My Fantasy Novel

It’s about that time to switch gears on projects again (now that my book-baby Kiera is successfully out in the world!), and I thought this tag would be a great way to share what’s been brewing… *evil laugh of authoriness*

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you & link to their blog.
  • Link back to the creator,Β Katja @ Little Blossoms for Jesus, & add the tag graphic.Β 
  • List the rules.Β 
  • Answer the questions.Β 
  • Feel free to add snippets!
  • Tag as many or as few people asΒ you wish & let them knowΒ they’re tagged.Β 
  • Add a clean copy of the questions at the end of your post for the β€œtagged.”

Thanks for creating this tag, Katja!

Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be?

Yes! I’ve chosen the final title of “Awake”. It’s a reference to an important line in the story, a subtle nod to the themes, and is honestly just a beautiful word. πŸ˜‰

Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about?

We do not speak of blurbs at this time. (That horrific institution is something we leave for the very last minute. *glares in author*) Nevertheless, I will be brave and give you a taste of the concept…

In a world where stars tell the Maker’s plans and men study years to read them, King Harbor and Queen Marinne receive a terrible prophecy at their son’s christening. Elite palace guard Arrow is chosen to accompany the Queen and prince to a place of safety no one is even sure is real.

Chaos descends on the kingdom. Wolves and traitors roam the night, and soon even the earth itself begins to crumble.

Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind?

I have a slight idea in mind, but I’m doing a little more market research and head-banging brainstorming before I come up with one. πŸ˜‰ I often don’t have very clear ideas for my covers until my designer sends mock-ups. 😬😭

How did you get the idea for this story?

This story idea came from me dealing with the problem of religious leaders misrepresenting God and downplaying His love and mercy for us. A bit of a sequel to some of the issues in Kiera, really. I also wanted to write a full-length novel in the fantasy genre and had a couple beautiful world-building ideas I wanted to use. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Ž

How long do you think it will be? Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be?

I originally plotted it for 50k words (hey failed attempt at NaNoWriMo!), but in rewrites, I’m hopeful and fairly certain it’s at least going to hit 60k. We’ll see. πŸ˜‰

Who’s your favourite character so far?

My favorite character currently is Arrow. He comes the most alive to me, and his dog (or the dog that chose him, rather) is pretty amazing too.

What’s your favourite memory related to this WIP?

I have a really beautiful brown and copper notebook I first outlined and brainstormed this story in. Every time I see it, it reminds me of the excitement and anticipation of planning my sophmore novel. 🀎

Any special person(s) who helped create it?

Since I’m really only draft two, I haven’t opened it up to a lot of feedback yet, but my sister Emma and my bookish friend Mary have been so encouraging and enthusiastic. ❀️ Their excitement fuels me on to get this story done. πŸ˜‰ (And I text Emma when the characters are not behaving. #theyhaveissues)

What’s your favourite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)?

Almost all of my favorite scenes are spoilers, oops. 😎 But there’s one where Marinne and Harbor are doing some relief work (because crazy world goes to kaput), and the sweet unspoken support between them is just heart happy. πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯°

Can you give us a snippet? 

Absolutely! It is draft one material, so be kind πŸ˜‰

Arrow walked down the corridor to the Great Hall, the black dog following at his heels. The day had been long, and he still had dinner to eat and paint to remove from his face. Mace had a look in his eye that said there would be a long, worrisome meeting in the guard shack later.

He threw a glance at the dog. The animal had stuck with him all day, whether Arrow wanted him to or not, and he knew that somewhere in the days following their meeting the dog had decided to be his.

When he entered the Great Hall, the cook handed him water and ash to clean his face, then traded these for a bowl of stew. He swung his legs over a bench and leaned over his bowl, losing himself in the comforting food.

The dog nudged his foot, and he threw him a scrap of meat. Sooner or later, the animal would need a name. 

Is the story still what you thought it would be or has it thrown you a couple curveballs?

In some ways it has stayed very close to my original plot, but in others it has really blown my mind. One of the characters has a secret identity, another demanded an entire POV of their own, two are falling in love maybe (??), and I realized I need a kingdom map, a castle map, and a sky map. #sendhelp #allthemaps

Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story?

Honestly, none so far. I did take inspiration from a scene in one of my favorite movies, though. πŸ˜‰ Also, I stole how two of my male characters look from a Marvel show and a BBC show…

When and where have you done most of the writing so far?

I began writing this story in 2019 and finished draft one in 2020 (it’s been a little bit of a long road), so it’s likely that I wrote it mostly sitting on my bed, the floor, or the couch at my parent’s house.

Where do you get inspiration for this story?

I have a Pinterest board I collected a few things on very early on, but mainly it’s just letting my mind play and enjoying how much I love medieval fantasy. πŸ˜‰

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

For longer projects, I’m a plotter and then let the smaller details (see above) take me by surprise. πŸ˜‰

Do you have a little ritual before you start writing?

Not really. I just tend to get social media out of my system, grab a snack or drink, and get to work. Lately, I’ve been lighting a candle for the vibes. ❀️

Are you thinking of publishing this story?

Yep, that’s the plan! Indie publish sometime before next summer! πŸ™πŸ˜

What things have you learned while writing this story?

Just how key worldbuilding is and how bad I am at it. πŸ˜‚ Also, if I want to have a plot twist, I need to work hard to keep all you smartworms from guessing it. *disappears into brainstorm lair*


Tell me about your WIP!

  1. Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be?
  2. Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about?
  3. Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind?
  4. How did you get the idea for this story?
  5. How long do you think it will be? Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be?
  6. Who’s your favourite character so far?
  7. What’s your favourite memory related to this WIP?
  8. Any special person(s) who helped create it?
  9. What’s your favourite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)?
  10. Can you give us a snippet? πŸ˜‰
  11. Is the story still what you thought it would be or has it thrown you a couple curveballs?
  12. Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story?
  13. When and where have you done most of the writing so far?
  14. Where do you get inspiration for this story?
  15. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
  16. Do you have a little ritual before you start writing?
  17. Are you thinking of publishing this story?
  18. What things have you learned while writing this story?

Happy weekend and happy writing. ❀️

All the Things I’ve Ever Changed

All the Things I’ve Ever Changed

I’ve hinted that there were some bigger edits I wanted to make to Kiera that drove this second edition, but I thought I would dive a little deeper into my thoughts behind this.

1. Diversity

The problem: I was just learning the importance and beauty of diversity and wanted to reflect this in my novel, but if you blinked and missed it, I don’t blame you. I had very little exposure to people of color growing up in small town PNW and even less knowledge of Black culture. I also had the mistaken idea that any mention of skin color automatically meant racism, so I did a pretty poor job giving my characters full-bodied experiences and identities.

What I changed: While I felt it was too late at this point to give Destiny and Niyanna what I now know they deserve and was worried doing so could feed into some stereotypes (i.e. Destiny’s family), I made sure that any mentions of their race were inoffensive and used some more accurate/specific terms for their hairstyles than just “braids”.

In the future: Before I attempt to write characters of a different culture from mine again, I’m spending some time listening and soaking in. If you have any recommendations for resources (fiction or otherwise), please share them down in the comments.


2. Child Raising

The problem: In the original edition, I included a scene where Kiera physically disciplines Jade. I had her do it with patience and calmness, which to me was somewhat countercultural to what I was surrounded with. A little while after publication, I heard from a reader or two that they would not be reading the book due to the triggering nature of this scene as it reminded them of child abuse they had witnessed. This really grieved me and got me thinking that maybe this wasn’t the best or only way to raise children.

What I changed: I ended up removing this scene completely as it served no other purpose in the story and detracted from my main message of love.

In the future: I would like to focus on the positive, nurturing but still honest and hard aspects of raising children with gentleness and grace.


3. LGBT+ Portrayal

The problem: This last one makes me a little bit sad, and I hope my readers will be forgiving. I needed a divisive political issue, something that would wreck the church in this book, so I chose LGBT+ issues, a.k.a. the current β€œboogeyman” of my church experience. I won’t go into the storyline, but I soon realized this decision and the way I wrote it could be unintentionally villainizing and very hurtful, especially to young readers who may be seeking God on what He says about their sexual orientation.

What I changed: I decided that this book, with very little plot space for nuanced, empathetic discussion and a storyline focused on love not controversy was not the place for me to talk about this. I removed the storyline completely.

In the future: I will not be writing any more stories with LGBT+ identities painted as a divisive issue, as I believe it is much more human than political, personal than dogmatic.


Whether or not you agree with these changes, please know that I felt God’s calling to implement them and did so in good faith with very little meaningful change to the story. I hope to continue to grow in my empathy and knowledge and write more stories showing the love of God. πŸ’™


Bloggers we’re celebrating with today…

Lillian Keith

(Don’t forget to enter the giveaway πŸ˜‰)

Speaking Of…

Speaking Of…

Hello again! I think I needed a little break after all the excitement of the cover reveal (you all are amazing), but I’m back again. πŸ˜‰

I’ve been reading a lot more this year than in the past two, so much so that I’m ahead on my Goodreads challenge for once. *happy dance* Challenge aside, though, it’s been delightful to be experiencing new worlds again. My picks have been ranging from new indie releases to adorable middle-grades (currently reading a cupcake-themed one and yes, child Kate would have been obsessed) to even a highly clever, adult mystery.

Such a wild mix πŸ˜‚ #moodreader

Speaking of books, I got some delightful new ones for my birthday. 😍 My siblings gave me the latest two Kate’s Case Files in paperback (eep, thanks!), and Joshua took me on a trip to Barnes and Noble. It was so much fun browsing new releases and iconic classics that I ended up with quite the hefty “maybe” stack. I ended up getting The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and The List by Patricia Forde (will report back). And my shopping buddy was the best ever. πŸ˜‰ (Thanks, J! ❀️)

My pre-bookstore happy face 😁
My favorite ❀️

Speaking of birthday, I experimented with flavors and made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and raspberry filling. It was absolutely delicious. 🀀 I just got to make another cake with the same flavors (I have three cake orders in four days, send help) and this time I went all out on the classy decorating. πŸ˜‰ Such brilliant fun, and after I finish this post, I’ll be mixing up more batches for the next order…

(I promise I fixed that weird flat spot.)

Speaking of “send help”, editing gives me anxiety, y’all. Not a ton usually, since I know my professional editor and proofreading rounds will catch what I missed, but this time is a little different. I’m making *minor* changes to an already edited, formatted book and the terror of “what if I add new typos to this?” is real. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I eventually came up with a system to run the new material through Grammarly just to double-check and that eased my mind enough that I could finish it up this weekend. I sent the files to my formatter, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. 😍

Time to make some more cake. Talk with you all again soon!