Archive for April, 2015

h1

I’m Published!

April 18, 2015

10885572_1632378190329559_4754062938500301205_nHurray!!  Today is a long-anticipated day for me.  My first published story is now available to read in the newly released April issue of Havok Magazine!!  *squee!*

The theme of the issue is “Crossover Chaos,” combining speculative genres into unique and unexpected tales.  I was super excited to see this cover for the first time and realize that the second story they chose to feature was my own – “pirates and fairies after the same booty” is a reference to my flash story, “Fall Like a Stone” – what a thrill!

I know it’s a flash piece, so it’s small and short, but it’s my first baby step into the world of being a published author, so I’m giddy with excitement over this!

YAY!  I’m published! 😀 😀

I am so thankful to God for providing me with the inspiration for this story, and blessing its path into the world, and also for the friends and beta readers who helped me hone the piece into the story it is now.  Thank you all!

If you’re interested in reading the story, click the photo of the magazine cover – it’ll take you to a page where you can purchase a digital or print copy of this issue. 🙂  I hope you enjoy!

h1

Simmer Starters – April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015

Here are the Simmer Starters for this week!  Lots of links today…

Are You Weak Enough for God to Use You? (J.D. Greer) – Thoughts about the story of Gideon and God using us in our weakness.  “…Periodically, God will step into our lives and reduce the size of our army, because he wants us to trust him—and that’s often the only way we will.”

You Will Change the World (Jon Bloom, DesiringGod) – LOVE this.  “Lives are changed for better or worse by how we live the life we’re given and what we make with the talents we’ve been given. In fact, if you knew how much your life actually impacts others, how far that impact extends, and some of the unforeseen massively important things that result, it might frighten you into near paralysis, fearing you might cause a calamity.”  (I also really liked this article from the same writer: Steward the Gifts God Has Assigned To You.)

Personal Predilections (Shannon McDermott at Speculative Faith) – A reminder that personal taste does not determine whether a book is good or bad.

The Story You Tell Yourself (Rachelle Gardner) – I think many of us are prone to this, not just writers! But writers, being storytellers by nature, may be especially susceptible. “One thing that persistently thwarts a writer’s ability to stay positive and optimistic is the tendency to see a set of facts and then construct a ‘story’ from those facts — a story that isn’t objectively true.”

Proudly Humble (Tim Challies) – Interesting thoughts here.  “When Paul looked at his life, he saw undeniable evidence of God’s grace, and all he could do was marvel. Once a Pharisee, he now saw the beauty of grace; once a persecutor, he was now willing to be persecuted; once proud of his lineage as a Jew of all Jews, he now knew that this gave him no advantage. His life gave evidence of God’s grace in its every part. Paul knew it, and Paul rejoiced.  As he looked at God’s transforming grace, he could humbly say, ‘Be like me.’ ”

Delighting in Death? (Carl R. Truman) – Wow, fascinating insights here.  “Why is it that the people most vocally committed to causes connected to death (abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia) are often the same who are committed to progressive sexual causes? And why do abortion advocates frequently see it not as a necessary evil but as a positive good?”

h1

Use Your Words

April 13, 2015

My oldest daughter will be three late this summer, and she is going through a definite “terrible twos” phase right now.

All of life is a meltdown waiting to happen!  Sometimes – often – I’m not even sure what she’s upset about because she’s been crying and angry about a continuous string of things all day.  She’ll crumple in a heap at my feet and wail without a single word of what happened to upset her, or burst out shrieking in frustration at the first sign of a challenge.

I find myself using the same phrases a lot.

“I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s bothering you.”

“Don’t just start screaming right away – ask for help first if you’re having trouble.”

“Use your words.”

If only she’d express what she needs or wants before imploding into a firestorm of freak-outery!  But she’s a toddler, a mass of intense emotions contained in a tiny body, and she’s still learning to control herself.  She’ll learn…and until then I need to work on being patient so I don’t explode along with her.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.45.42 PM

This phase is educational to me, because, you see…

I just turned twenty-four, but I am going through a definite “hormonal and pregnant” phase right now.

All of life is a meltdown waiting to happen.  Sometimes – often – I’m not even sure what I’m upset about because I’m crying and angry about a continuous string of things all day.  😉

It occurs to me to wonder if God is observing me much like I observe my toddler daughter, and asking the same question.  “Why exactly does she do this to herself?”  Being all-knowing, of course He doesn’t have to ask what’s going on, because He knows the depths of my heart and every detail of my life.  But so much emotion!  So much stress!

So much unhappiness could be averted, if I would just use my words.

Instead of being anxious for three hours over a potential misunderstanding with a friend, and arguing with myself over whether it’s really a big deal, what if I turned right to God at the first sign of anxiety? – and said, “Please give me wisdom in this – I’m concerned she’s mad at me, and it makes me worried.  I don’t understand, and I’m scared.”

I’ve started doing just that.

It sounds silly when I do it, and simple, and embarrassingly childish.  As with all the rest of life, my unfortunate inclination with prayer is to wait to communicate until I’ve sorted out all my thoughts, decided what’s worth saying, and formed an eloquent petition that encapsulates my problem perfectly and respectably.

But I don’t think God cares about eloquence one bit.  He wants us to cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us!  When emotions rage, especially irrational fears and frustrations, sometimes putting the emotion into words is enough to partly diffuse the explosion in my heart.  I don’t understand.  I’m scared – or hurt, sad, angry, overwhelmed – because of this thing that’s happening.  Help me!

It doesn’t make the situation go away, but it reminds me that I have a Help, a Friend, and a Father who is standing right there, holding me, and who has all control over the circumstances that feel too big for me to handle.  He cares about how I feel, and can reassure me, smooth my ruffled feathers, and give me the peace to move forward.

So when my daughter explodes with a shriek and throws her fork because she can’t successfully skewer a bite of waffle on her first try…I take a deep breath and remember that she and I actually have a lot in common.

We’re both still learning to ask for help first.  We’re both still learning to use our words.

*

“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
for he trusts in You.”

– Isaiah 2:3

h1

Introducing – A Hot Potato Story!

April 11, 2015

Three fellow writers and I are creating a “hot potato” story!  It will be tossed around between us, with new installments each Saturday on our respective blogs.  You can follow along here (I’ll link to their installments each week too), or follow all our blogs, and be on the watch for hashtags #chroniclesofchadwick and #hotpotatostory on Twitter.

The story isn’t written for children but will be clean and family friendly – it is a fantasy tale with a humorous bent.  Each installment will be roughly 500 words.

This week we’re introducing our main players.  Each of us is in charge of one character, and each character has a secret or ulterior motive that only their special writer knows.  Hehe!  So none of us knows exactly what all the other characters are up to…  There shall be intrigue, surprises, and plot twists!

Interested?

Follow along and see where the story takes us!

Introducing the Characters

Check out these other characters on their writers’ blogs!

Bea Brightbolt – Author H.L. Burke

Thrush Vonsel – Author Nat Davis

Princess Y’manya – Author Parker J. Cole

My Character: Rheban the Dragon


Some dragons are mainly concerned with what’s crunchy and good with ketchup, but Rheban has higher goals in mind – like world peace.

The sleek, enormous gray dragon prides himself in being one of the most fearsome and dangerous dragons in the area, yet using the humans’ fear for noble purposes by keeping the neighboring kingdoms at peace.  Those who warmonger he threatens with instant roasting…  But to those who are peaceful, he shows a smiling, benevolent face, handing down occasional nuggets of wisdom and foresight to those he considers worthy.

Having the gift of prophecy and keen observation, he sees much, knows much, and keeps many secrets…  But what are his intentions, exactly?  Nobody knows, and when a powerful entity could either avert your death with a timely prophecy or roast you and consume you with mustard, you don’t wanna mess with him.

*

Check back next Saturday to meet the protagonist of our story, Chadwick, and begin following the story!

h1

Simmer Starters – April 10, 2015 (Plus an Excerpt From My Book!)

April 10, 2015

I don’t have many links today, but I’ve been doing lots of writing this week – hurray!  Down below the Simmer Starters I’m putting a short excerpt from my work-in-progress, for your interest and reading. 🙂

What it’s Like to Be Laughed at on the Internet (Amy Salloway) – A great reminder to all of us to consider first before we treat other human beings as laughingstocks!  “I treaded for 80 minutes, my typical time, and when I was done, there was still more House to partake in, so I changed back into my regular clothes, dragged a chair onto the treadmill, and kept watching.  And I should have known.  I should have realized.  The comedic gold, of this body, sitting in a chair on a treadmill, staring glassy-eyed up at a screen. … With everything I’ve lived through already, I should have been smarter.”

4 Lessons I Learned From My Readers (Kathrese McKee on Ralene Burke’s blog) – Good advice on writing and critique here.

10 Bits of Stellar Writing Advice from J.R.R. Tolkien (Jenny Hansen) – I’m not sure all of these are really from Tolkien, but there’s good advice here too!

Splickety Writing Contest – Fellow speculative fiction writers, here’s a great opportunity!  Enter this flash fiction science-fiction and fantasy contest for only $10, and at the very least you will receive a year’s subscription to their digital flash fiction magazine.  (That’s $2 less than their usual price, so basically by entering you can get a discount on a flash fiction magazine, if you like flash fic!)  Winners of the contest will get lots more!

*

Short Excerpt from The Trusted: Book One of the Kraesinia Trilogy,
by Bethany A. Jennings

This is, of course, a draft and not a finished product.  But here is a short snippet from the latest scene I wrote.  Kevin, the main character, has just encountered some Drivvs (the villains) for the very first time…

Kevin stopped Lunatic under a spreading tree as soon as they were far enough away from the Drivvs to feel safe. Uryaldis’s wound was a wide gash, but not too deep – the largest gauze patch in the med kit was not quite big enough to cover it entirely. Uryaldis sat stiffly on Lunatic’s back while Kevin wrapped the edges with smaller bandages.

As Kevin packed up the medical kit, the lid and bottom clattered, and he was forced to stop and still the shaking of his hands before he could shut it neatly.

“Now I know why they made you my Companion,” Uryaldis said, zipping up the front of his uniform.

“Why?” Kevin hoped he hadn’t noticed how badly his hands were trembling.

“Because you’re a lunatic, just like my Heth,” Uryaldis quipped.

Despite his stress, Kevin laughed. “Says the guy who was going to stay behind and fight off ten Drivvs by himself!”

“At least I had training. And a weapon.” A smile crinkled the corners of Uryaldis’s eyes.

“I didn’t have to have training to know my job.” Kevin clipped the pack to Lunatic’s saddle again. “We’re supposed to have each other’s backs.”

Uryaldis gave him a low, thankful nod. “I am not sure I would be alive if you hadn’t returned. I don’t know what would have happened. So I thank you.”

Anything…any one thing gone differently, and we could be dead now. All it takes is one shot aimed in just the right place, or one spear thrust, or one sword swing. All it takes is for me to make one mistake or miss one thing. Kevin’s head spun. This is the life I’m giving myself to. This is my life now.

He leaned into the Heth’s warm, fuzzy mane. Every part of him ached, and more than anything he wanted to collapse somewhere and sleep…sleep away the rest of this fear and pain and uncertainty, until it felt far enough away to ignore. But there were too many questions, and Lorekrez’s face was burned into his mind’s eye, as vivid as the scar on the Drivv’s temple……

Heth, saddled for two riders - drawn by me back in 2009.

Heth, saddled for two riding companions – drawn by me back in 2009.