Self-Care Moment

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Due to a cold, there won’t be a blog post this week. I want to take it easy, but also inform you guys about what’s going on. Which, in a way, when you’re sick you have time to snuggle with a book! Thanks to a crazy past few weeks, books have been put off again. But at least I have time to catch up, and maybe get more writing things in order regarding places to submit to, writing reference books to read, and so on.

If you’re sick, don’t forget that a book can be your best friend!

Happy writing!

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Getting Back to Basics

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I had an interesting epiphany earlier this week.

Change, for many of us, is hard. Stressful, overwhelming, even unfair depending on the situation. We want things to remain as they are and not change because we don’t like a certain direction we may be heading towards. We weigh on decisions that have to be made. On Thursday, I found myself in this situation.

Until a thought from a woman I spoke with about my struggles made me pause. She had commented to me about “getting back to basics” with things. For some reason, that comment made me think back to my writing. How all of a sudden writing had become stagnant for me. That I was so focused on everything else that writing slipped into the background and out of sight. That my writing desk and book shelf was getting very disorganized, collecting dust, and left untouched unless I grab a book or my laptop.

As I write this, I see rain briefly coming down even though the sun is shining bright. Heh, that always catches my attention for some reason. Maybe because it’s a sign of despite any sadness that may come your way, the joy will always outshine the pain.

So, it’s time for me to get back to basics so I can write again. Because I have a lot to say.

Happy writing, and please, keep writing. when the going gets tough. Also, don’t ever be afraid to start over to find your way back.

When You Cannot Find Words

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I think we all can agree that writing is a challenge for various reasons: reworking outline after outline, dropping or adding scenes, changing characters, and so on.

But what happens when you cannot find the words to put your story on paper or computer? You have idea after idea in your head, and they sound great! You think to yourself, “This would make a great story,” or “I cannot stop thinking about this character.”

But then when you make time to sit down at your desk or wherever you write, nothing comes up.

This is something I’ve struggled with as I’m sure you have. Is it self-doubt creeping in when you’re not looking? Is it thinking too much about being perfect with your manuscript or piece? I would answer yes to both questions.

We all get scared of what we share with the world. The critics, complete strangers, and more that could tear your work apart without even knowing you. The self-critic haunting your soul and telling you your work is not good enough.

So how do we confront these demons and the things out of our control?

  • Surround yourself with people who support you
  • Give yourself breaks to get in touch with your heart and soul (I really think there’s a deep connection between what we write and what lies in one’s heart)
  • Look back on previous works that you are proud of and remind yourself you can do it again
  • Remember words shared by friends, fellow writers, authors you admire that made you feel confident
  • Write; and don’t censor yourself.

I’m sure I can list many more things you could do. We can get out of the funk and try again. Be the writer you were meant to be, and remember that one can always get better with hard work and persistence.

Your work will be remembered one day.

Happy writing!

Reading a Book Series: How Many Have You Read?

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I’ve had this thought for a while with reading a book series. Why do I sometimes resist the temptation to pick up the next book after reading the first one? Is it because I have a preference for stand-alone novels where everything is wrapped up in a nice, pretty bow and you never revisit the characters again? Or does the fear of being let down by a second, third, or even fourth novel after reading a fantastic first book plague my thoughts?

The two books I recently purchased during Barnes & Noble’s Labor Day sale are part of a series. A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story is book four in the Daughters of the Promised Land series. The previous three books focus on Rahab, Deborah, and Ruth.  Just Let Go is book two in the Harbor Pointe series. The 1st book is Just Look Up. With these two books, I did not read the previous novels.

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That is a rarity. Usually with a book series, I read the first and don’t touch the other ones. Sometimes other books in a series don’t interest me. Other times, I do check one out and feel the writing, story, or characters are not as great. When other books are released, I feel I may be disappointed again and don’t bother. Or, I don’t want to follow a series and just stick with the ones I’ve read.

But just because I may have reservations about reading a series of books doesn’t mean I avoid them altogether. I have read a couple series in their entirety. Most books were fantastic from start to finish. Others had a few duds that weren’t as memorable. I think it’s all about preference and how much time and energy you want to dedicate to a series of characters and books.

Here are some book series I’ve read in their entirety:

  1. The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (# of Books in Series: 4)
  2. The Porter Family Series by Becky Wade (# of Books in Series: 4)
  3. The Royal Wedding Series by Rachel Hauck (# of Books in Series: 4)
  4. The Wives of King David Series by Jill Eileen Smith (# of Books in Series: 3)
  5. The Paper Hearts Series by Courtney Walsh (# of Books in Series: 2)
  6. The Angels Walking Series by Karen Kingsbury (# of Books in Series: 3)
  7. The Banister Falls Series by Kathryn Springer (# of Books in Series: 2)
  8. A Lineage of Grace Series by Francine Rivers (# of Books in Series: 5)
  9. The Treasures of the Nile Series by Mesu Andrews (# of Books in Series: 2)

Whereas…

This list shows some book series I’ve read some, but not all, of their books (this list may change if I get a chance to read more):

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Books in series: 7, read books 3, 6, and 7)
  2. Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (Books in series: 3, read book 1; series also includes 4 novellas)
  3. The Red Gloves series by Karen Kingsbury (Books in series: 4, read books 1 and 2; books 3 and 4 on to-read list)
  4. Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes (Books in series: 3, read book 1; will skip book 2, book 3 on to-read list)
  5. Love is a Destination series by Carly Morgan (Books in series: 5, read book 1; book 2 on to-read list, no decision on next 3 books)
  6. Backstage Pass series by Janice Thompson (Books in series: 3, read book 1, no decision on next 2 books)
  7. The Living Water series by Stephanie Landsem (Books in series: 3, read book 3, book 1 on to-read list, skipping book 2)

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What are your thoughts on reading a book series? Do you read all the books or pick and choose which ones interest you?

Happy writing!

Writing Prompt: Fall

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Image: Greg Henry (freerangestock.com)

The first day of fall is a couple hours away! I’m excited for the season: cooler temperatures, the leaves changing, a time to pause and enjoy nature, and cider donuts.

Here’s a prompt to get you excited for fall:

Free Write: Write about the Fall season however you choose, but make sure your piece includes at least one of these themes, objects, or symbols:

  • Apple picking
  • Fall foliage
  • Cider donuts
  • Pumpkins (you can mention Halloween)
  • Farms (hay rides, picking out fall decorations, etc.)
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Pecan Pie
  • Football
  • Sweaters
  • Caramel Apples
  • Leaf peeping

Happy writing!

Finding the Right Fit

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Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t read but then you return to it later on and realize why you checked it out in the first place? I’m starting to see that with this book I’m currently reading called Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton. I’ve only read a few chapters so far, but I’m enjoying the story. I’ve seen it in emails for a while from authors I’ve subscribed to and at my local library, but always avoided it for some reason. So recently, I picked it up, but still left the book untouched. Until Thursday, when I finally started read a few chapters. Emotional, excellent pace, and great characters so far have me intrigued.

At the same time, though, I couldn’t finish another book and put it aside. It was a short story collection I checked out at the library. A few of the stories were fantastic, and then all of a sudden I lost interest and just gave up altogether. I’m bummed, but maybe one day I’ll give that collection another try.

Sometimes a book doesn’t fit what you need right now, just like things in life don’t happen when you want them to. Probably a weird comparison, but I have weird thoughts sometimes! I’m not sure what journey I will be taking with Hurricane Season, but I think it might be interesting. We’ll see if it makes my September Book of the Month!

I’m keeping this post short this week so I can catch up on some reading.

Happy writing everyone!

Life Changes, as Do Books

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A week ago, you all read about me being in a difficult place creatively and spiritually. I felt like I was losing my purpose. However, I have felt a change in direction this week.

Ever since I read The Reason by William Sirls in 2013, I’ve come to believe that God uses people to encourage me when I am at my lowest. Sometimes, I even stumble upon the right book that gives me comfort and answers.

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Image: Amazon.com

With Labor Day weekend, Barnes & Noble had a Labor Day sale. I decided to purchase Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh, her latest book on my to-read list. But I couldn’t decide on the other book I wanted to get. Reading reviews for a second opinion, debating if the second book I bought would be something I would cherish and read again, and wondering if I was just buying the book so I could get free shipping.

You might remember my review earlier this year of Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith and the story that led me to discovering this author and my path as a writer. She has since written more Biblical Fiction books, including her latest, A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story.

I chose that book.

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Image: Amazon.com

The reasons:

  1. Familiarity with the author
  2. The themes of the book (hope, patience, being kind in the midst of meanness)
  3. The story from the Bible (Hannah is the woman who would be blessed with Samuel, a boy who later becomes a great prophet)
  4. Wanting to read a different story (this was the first book I’ve seen about Hannah)

I believe finding the books that I do that will help me understand my faith, myself, and my writing will play a bigger role in my journey going forward. Sometimes you need to learn about forgiveness and God’s goodness, other times about love and finding peace. Whatever literature leads you to these revelations, I pray you find them. I hope with these new books I will find the newest lessons I need to learn.

So one day, I can write a book that I will be proud of.

Happy writing!