Archive for the ‘Internet Life’ Category

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#WIPjoy Is Over…NOW WHAT DO I DO?

February 1, 2017

Awwwww, the fun of the January edition of #WIPjoy is over, and the giveaway too. Now what???

Well, #WIPjoy is coming back in April, Lord willing! 😀

But since I created the first #WIPjoy last year, a lot of similar hashtag games have been created by other authors, so if you’re feeling a daily-tweet-shaped hole in your heart and it needs to be filled right NOW, one – or all – of these upcoming games should satisfy that itch! 🙂

Click on the images to go to the hosts’ profiles on Twitter and follow them!

#FebWIP

The lovely Reagan Colbert held #DecWIP back in December, and in February she’s back with a #FebWIP! All the questions for this one are supposed to be answered by your main character.

#Authorconfession

A lot of you were doing the #Authorconfession challenge alongside #WIPjoy. Well, good news – there’s another one from J.M. Sullivan for February!

#FictFBFeb17

And last but not least, Faith Rivens has made another character-centric game, a daily challenge to help you connect with your character – neatly themed by words beginning in F.

I hope you rejoin me in April for another #WIPjoy, and in the meantime, happy hashtagging! 🙂

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Geeking Out Over Noblebright

August 17, 2016

Last night I discovered the term “noblebright.” I’m still geeking out about it. *happy squeak* 😀

It describes so much of what I write, and the tone of almost all my favorite stories.  Finding this term is like finding a word to describe a mood I have seen and loved all my life, but not had a way to describe.  It makes me so happy.

The term “noblebright” was created as a reaction to the negative term “grimdark,” which generally describes a setting that is dystopian, amoral, pessimistic, and/or violent – think Game of Thrones, or possibly Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.  (The last few books of Harry Potter might also be described as “grimdark” in tone, although overall I don’t believe the series could be called grimdark.)

This Wiki page describes the differences between grimdark and noblebright:

In a grim world, no matter what you do, an individual can’t secure more than an individual victory, if even that, because the rest of the world is too big/scared/powerless/selfish to act upon his impulse. A noble world is one where the action of a single hero can change the world, and a single big villain can f*** it all up : there are important people, who are so either by birth, rank or sheer willpower, and every single one of these people matter.
Now, a bright world is one full of opportunity, of wondrous sights to behold. It doesn’t mean that it has to be [My Little Pony], it can be dangerous, but your first instinct when looking at a new location should be awe and wonder: people may adventure to save the world, but they leave town with a smile upon their face, eager to see what comes next. The shadow of Risk is largely erased by the glint of Adventure. … A dark world is one where life sucks, and usually not long: whether it be because of demon overlords… or even the lack of water, everyone in this story may die, and they die for good.”

Art by Jane-Aspen

(There are also hybrids like nobledark – heroic heroes fighting evil in a very dark world – and grimbright – which I guess would be the ability to secure only individual victories in a world of wonder and adventure?…weird combo.  But I’m just sticking to the two main terms here.)

There is a basic worldview difference between these kinds of stories.

There are the stories where there is no hope, no meaning, and no lasting joy to human existence, where everything is sad and pessimistic – versus the stories where lives are meaningful because every individual makes a difference, good triumphs against evil in both small and great ways, there is beauty in the world, and there is real hope of victory.

Which of these is truer to my own worldview as a Christian?  The answer is obvious.

Art by Sandara

Now.  I believe there is truth to grimdark stories as well.  The world is fallen, cruel, full of atrocities and sometimes unspeakable evils.  Sometimes we need to look that in the face.  Sometimes we need grimdark stories.  They show us truth about this passing life.  We need to confront not just the evil in the world but the evil in ourselves.  We do live in a universe where “good people” do bad things, where every person has a dark side (except Christ).

But that’s not where my worldview ends.  When I look at the universe I see a noblebright place. I see true beauty.  I see right and wrong.  I see God working through even the worst circumstances to bring about ultimate glory for Himself and joy for His people.

So it makes sense that all the books and movies I love best fall under the “noblebright” category in some fashion.

Art from a video game: Lord of the Rings Conquest

Noblebright stories include: The Lord of the Rings [edit: one could argue this one is more nobledark], The Chronicles of Narnia, Firefly, some Marvel movies, and most 0f Star Trek.  There may be horrible villains, and dark parts of the tales, but a sense of wonder, morality, and nobility courses through these stories.  Beauty is real.  Life might be full of despair and destruction but that is not the end of the story.  The heroes might be flawed, but they are ultimately fighting for the good, and good will ultimately win.

I never knew there was a word for it.  I knew it was there.  I knew this undercurrent of hope, light, and beauty ran through all the stories I love the most.  It was part of my goals as an author to create worlds like this, running deep with joy, beauty, and love.  But I didn’t know it had a name.  And now I do!

I love noblebright.

Noblebright stories forever!!! 😀

Do you like stories that are darker or lighter in tone?  Which kind of truth impacts you more?  What are some awesome examples of noblebright stories you’ve seen or read (because I want to know more!!)?

Art by Sandara

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Sunshine Blogger Challenge – 11 Questions Answered!

July 19, 2016

I was tagged for this fun challenge by Gracie Mae DeLunac!  The idea is that you answer the 11 questions the previous blogger asked, and then “tag” 11 other bloggers and write them eleven new questions to answer.

I know not everyone enjoys (or likes to pass along) these challenges, so I won’t tag anybody specific here. But if you take a fancy to my questions at the end, consider yourself tagged! 😀 Answer the questions on your blog, then link back here in the comments so I can see your answers. 🙂

Here are Gracie’s questions, answered by me!

1. What is your favorite movie/tv show quote? What is it from? Why is it your favorite?

That’s a tough question!!  There are so many good movie quotes.  I think these few tie for my favorite…

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I love this quote from the captain deeply, because it reminds me of a much deeper and more beautiful truth: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Jesus, Matthew 25:40

And my second favorite:

Every human soul has significance.  None of us are unimportant.

And my other favorite:

This one I love because it reminds us that what goes on inside our heads is immensely powerful.  It shapes us!  (This is especially true for writers.  And for reading.)  Just because something is imaginary doesn’t mean it won’t impact us in a real way, perhaps for the rest of our lives.

2. What do you like to think about most when plotting (characters, plotline, plot twists, villainous acts, etc.)?

I think about characters, plot twists, and intense moments the most.  The parts I’m most looking forward to writing, and the characters’ motivations, and what drives them toward each point of the story.

3. What is your preference of “apocalyptic” groups: zombies, aliens, or mutants?

Mutants all the way!!…if we’re talking X-men type mutants, that is.

4.  What kind of food do you eat to feel decent enough to write?

I’m a little confused by this question, as I don’t really consider food a part of my writing prep at all, and I usually feel decent enough to write as long as I’m not having a bad day or something.  For writing snacks, that totally depends on the day. Sometimes I just want a glass of water. Sometimes I want a big plate of healthy snacks like string cheese, applesauce, wheat crackers, carrots and hummus.  Sometimes I want a mug brownie with a dollop of ice cream. 😀  And no, the brownie and ice cream probably don’t help me feel decent, but my mouth is fond of it…… 😉

5. Do you bring your own personal views (especially political and religious) into your tales?

I think it’s impossible not to do this!  What we write flows out of our hearts; no matter how hard we try, our beliefs will show up in our writing in some way.  Some of my stories portray my faith more overtly, with openly Christian characters and religious themes.  In others, it shows up more quietly and symbolically.  My current WIP probably has the least religious content of any I’ve written…I’ve been kind of surprised at that!

6. Would you say you “commune” better with nature when gardening [hands on], lounging outside [kinda near], or viewing it from inside your place [far away]?

Can I say moving outside? 😀 I’m weird about nature.  I am more of an indoors person.  And definitely not hands on so much!  But I don’t find outside a very relaxing place to be.  I consider it an active place to be, for the most part – I’d much rather be walking, hiking, dancing, biking, etc. than lounging!  I think I subconsciously feel like if I stay still too long, the bugs will get on me more easily… Hahahaha.

7. What is the strangest/rudest thing you have ever heard your written characters say?

Well, my villain in my current WIP used a swear word in the latest chapter…..this is totally a first for me and I’m not sure what I think of this. O.o  I’ve never had a character who swore before! But this is definitely what he would say….so it fits him as a character 100%.  I haven’t decided yet whether to censor him. 😉

8. Paper or plastic or re-usable?

I love my re-usable bags, made by the owner of this Etsy store, Jiggety Pig! If I don’t have those with me, I prefer plastic, because…….well, to be honest, they make good sacks to tie stinky diapers in when you’re on the go. 😉  And I’m never sure what to do with a paper bag after I’m done with it. Throw it away?? They’re so sturdy and “nice” compared to plastic bags that it feels like a waste to just toss it!

Some of Jiggety Pig’s bags, because I know the maker, and the bags are awesome:

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 3.57.00 PM

9. What movie/book/show would you say has made the most impression on you? When? Why/how?

There are so many…  I’m going to go with my gut on this one and say Lord of the Rings. *happy sigh*  I was obsessed with LotR throughout most of my teens.  I lived and breathed Middle-Earth everything.  And while I was a little bit unbalanced in my obsessions at the time, 😉 I still deeply love Tolkien’s world, because there is so much love, beauty, and truth in it.  The beauty of sacrifice, the love of friendship and loyalty, and the truth of light versus darkness and nobility and courage in the face of certain death.

10. What is your favorite color?

Now that’s an easy question.  Purple!!!

As a teen I painted my side of my bedroom in my favorite shade of lavender.  I miss having that beautiful purple writing corner… Someday, someday, I hope to have a purple writing nook again. 😀

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11. If you were able to publish one of your tales and go somewhere to showcase it (author tour, opening night for the movie, etc.), where would you go?  Why?

I confess I haven’t thought about this much!  I have considered a bunch of plans for future release parties for my main story-love, The Kraesinia Trilogy…foods I would serve, excerpts to read, costumes to potentially make, gifts I’d give away.  It really depends on the book, I suppose!  Going off my current WIP, Disillusioning, it would be awesome to do a semi-local author tour in some nearby states…sign books in Barnes & Noble and meet readers face-to-face. That would be fun. 🙂

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Thanks for the fun questions, Gracie! 🙂

Here are my 11 questions to anyone who’d like to pass this challenge onward…

1. If you could have any magical/supernatural ability, what would you choose?

2. What’s one of your happiest childhood memories?

3. What is your favorite writing spot / workspace like? Why do you like to work there best?

4. What ministry or calling is closest to your heart?  What’s something you dream of doing for that cause someday?

5. Chocolatey desserts or fruity desserts??

6. What was your favorite book as a small child?

7. What’s something you used to be afraid of but aren’t scared of (or not as scared!) anymore?

8. What’s your favorite kind of outfit to wear?

9. What Bible verse has God used most powerfully in your life recently?  How?

10. How do you feel about rollercoasters? Love ’em, hate ’em?

11. Do you like sad endings or movies/books that make you cry?  Why or why not?

Let me know if you decide to take on the challenge and send me a link to your post! I’d love to learn more about you. 🙂

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EDIT: Author Yaasha Moriah answered my questions, and she had some beautiful answers! Check out her post here: http://www.yaashamoriah.com/home/sunshine-blogger-challenge-11-questions-answered

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Bringing Joy to the Journey – Logo Reveal and Blog Redesign!

July 11, 2016

Hello, friends – if you’ve been at the Simmering Mind in the last few days, you may have already noticed that things look a little different around here!

I haven’t blogged much lately (and missed some Simmer Starters…eek), but I’ve been hard at work.  Mostly this work has involved four small children and that thing we call “real life,” but I’ve also been busy working on my new story…and then there is this!

Untitled design (2)

My husband and I designed my author/blogger logo together, and I am totally in love!!! 😀  It represents so many things…

  1. BOOKS.
  2. Light.
  3. Being a light in the darkness.
  4. Illumination through reading.
  5. God’s word being a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths.
  6. It kind of looks like a TARDIS. (I promise that actually wasn’t intentional!) 😀

My husband and I had the same exact concept, to blend a book and lantern together – we’ve been jokingly calling it “the blantern” 😛 – and it was really a team effort to take it from a rough concept to the beautiful graphic above (the digital side was ALL my husband’s work, people…he’s amazing!).

This symbol perfectly illustrates my aim as a writer and a blogger – to make people’s paths brighter and broaden their perspectives in a dark world.

In keeping with the lantern motif, I’ve redone my blog look!

But I had to keep the purples, and I had to keep the STARS.

Stars give light in the darkness.  Stars are what you see above you as you journey through the night.  Stars are a symbol of “infinity and beyond,” reminiscent of my favorite genre, sci-fi.  And because God is awesome, stars are not only pretty, but also a tool we can navigate by, and trace pictures and myths.  I have long felt a kind of closeness to the stars. 🙂

And hand in hand with having a logo, I have a new tagline:

Bringing Joy to the Journey

This is my passion: in writing, in blogging, and as a person.

I want to bring joy.

I want to bring the joy of a good story.

I want to help people find their own joy along the road, appreciating that every step on the journey is meaningful, even the places where it seems like they are stuck and not moving forward.

I want to shine forth the joy that comes when we have Christ, and when we are fully submitted to God and serving Him with our lives.  People talk of the peace that passes understanding, but seldom of the intense joy and delight that comes of turning your whole self over to God with no reservations.

Not everyone I make contact with in my journey as an author and blogger (and #WIPjoy organizer!) shares my faith, so I do want to be sensitive to that.  My goal isn’t to push an agenda on people or preach at them, but to support and uplift them as human beings, and to share with them the love of Christ and be an example of His joy.  Joy is infectious!  I aim to be an encouragement to all.

But this is who I am, my identity. This is where my light comes from.  My desire as a Christian is to stir others up to seek God like this, to have this joy and this consuming desire:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

…for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

From Psalm 63 (emphasis mine)

I’m so excited about my journey as a writer! – and I pray that I will be able to bless your journey through life with my stories, my blog, and all social media fun as well.

Hopefully I will be back in the saddle soon with some fresh new posts and some Simmers compilations! 😀  I’m so grateful to those of you who follow the blog and take an interest in my writings.  Thank you so much for reading!

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What do you think of the new website look? If you’re an author/blogger, do you have a logo? What does it look like, and how did you go about designing it?

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Simmer Starters – May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016

Just a friendly reminder that #WIPjoy is coming up in less than a week!!!  Keep your eyes on my Twitter and Facebook pages for the upcoming list of daily prompts, and I might post them to the blog too. 🙂

And now, on to the Simmers!

Steps to Finding Your Story’s Hook (Brianna de Silva) – Good tips on that nerve wracking thing – talking to people about your story!

How Badly Do I Want Healing? (Your Other Brothers) – Targeted to Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction, this article is relevant to all of us.  “Do I really want complete healing, or am I satisfied being a lifelong ‘struggler’? Is the self-pity I’ve surrounded myself with for so long too hard to leave?”

The World is God’s Classroom (J.A. Medders) – I love this thinking!  Beautiful truth that is also applicable to writers and worldbuilders, in my opinion.  “Far from belittling theology, God provides unending object lessons for us. His world is filled with purposeful echoes of him. We didn’t luck out that the world helps us grasp the contours of God and his ways. God designed it this way. God embedded lines of code into the universe, revealing his attributes, teaching us how to think, feel, respond, love, taste, and behold — how to live for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our textbooks are his world, his word, and the Word made flesh.”

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds (Tristan Harris) – This one was very thought-provoking.  While at times conspiracy-theorist in tone, and criticizing features of tech that I personally appreciate as useful rather than evil, there is a lot here to think about.

Reboot Your Phone with Mindfulness (Tristan Harris) – Related to the above article – I appreciated the kind, helpful tone of this post.  Simple, great suggestions to help us do what we all want to do…mindlessly check our phones less!