Week In Review: Goodbye June

Saturday, June 30, 2018

I can't believe it's the end of June already! I need to start my Christmas shopping....yeesh. 

Next week I have a final for my forensic psychology class, which I'm kind of sad about - I actually enjoyed this class.  The content, anyway, not the people that tried to pick fights in the discussion boards or...called me Abby....?  Anyway. 

Currently Reading: I finished the Barbara van Tuyl series from last week, and I'm planning on getting a bunch of Kindle books this week...and reread The Hunger Games. 

Current Projects: I'm prepping Something New for NaNo July and WIPjoy on Twitter, and I'll be working on plots and whatnot for a few other things so I'm busy....not writing, but busy.  

Current Bible Verse: Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves. (1 Peter 2:16 NIV) I think this is an excellent reminder for the 4th of July!  

Now, I will also be having a special post for Monday on top of the normal Wednesday and Saturday, so make sure to tune in for that one as well!  

What are your plans for the 4th?  Any Camp NaNo plans?  I hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July! (In my state, fireworks are now legal, so I imagine there will be a lot of people NOT staying safe...)

Something New: A Fresh Start

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

It took three different plots before I settled on Joanna and Walter's story.  Before that, countless "one-shot" chapters and chapter variations, even different versions of characters, ages, settings, and so forth, took shape before Beautiful Chaos was published. 

Now I'm working on the second book in the series.  After a brief hiatus with the Clarksons of the Faith, Hope, and Love Collection, it's good to be back in Kentucky with the Markuses and Larkins. 

There were a good many driving forces behind the book: the opioid epidemic sweeping our nation, and the problems with assaults and freedom of speech college students face, especially, are focused on in the first book and will continue in the second book.  Perhaps on a more positive note, though!  We also see Joanna, whose character is torn by a broken family, learn how to grow despite many setbacks -- something very common in today's society as well. 

In the second book, I'm planning to explore the role of Christians in these situations -- with the hope of exploring and opening up communication about them. 

I've been writing this series while witnessing a lot of things in my college community and what seem to be the biggest issues young adults are facing.  I can't wait to get started on the blog series about book #2!  I had a lot of plans for this blog post, but there have been storms all day, especially as I'm writing this, so I think it's best to get it posted before the power goes out.  Again...!  We'll be covering a myriad of topics in the following Wednesdays, and I hope you're as excited as I am!

Have you read the first book?  What do you hope to see in the second installment? 

Week In Review: Ides of...Summer?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hey everyone!  It's been a slow, rainy week: work, school, animal chores, create a tissue army against this cold of mine -- and repeat.

Currently reading: The Bonnie series by Barbara Van Tuyl.  It's a book series from the '70s about thoroughbreds and it has been a favorite of mine since childhood -- passed down from my mother.  They're on my "reread every summer" list. 

Current projects: I am going to begin working on Something New now that My Compass Home is out.  Heh.  Heh.  I'm working on something new.  A pun and a book title -- alright, I'll stop.  Anyway, I also have about three or four new novel ideas that I came up with this week (either in the ides of intellectual boredom or a fever-induced delirium; either way, they're good ideas). 

Current Bible verse: "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up....I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"  (Luke 18:1, 8).  Let's not forget Who holds us -- and it isn't a void of nothingness or our political leaders.  God is the One to whom we belong, and we shouldn't forget that in our daily lives.  No one else can take that position. 

This is when I realize that I haven't done a "Week In Review" since before the play at my church.  It feels like it's been months since that play...!  I may as well mention a few awkward moments that I can laugh about in retrospect.  I was excited because one of my uncles, whom I didn't think I'd see, ended up coming after all for it.  (Which one of the ladies at the church enlightened me of, to which I went "....Who?" and then "OH" and then "Wow, cool."....as she squinted at me for not knowing who she was talking about....)

The play came off without a hitch and everyone did SO WELL.  I think a lot of people must have enjoyed it, considering the amount of laughter we got.  That was good, except for the fact that I was so keyed-up with nerves that every time the audience laughed, I was trying not to burst into a round of giggles myself while onstage.  (I may or may not have also laughed until the point of crying over a creaky door.) 

And I had a nice little thank-you written that I planned on presenting in front of the audience at the end, which acknowledged how much work everyone put into the play.  I had it with me the entire play and lost it in the last scene, so then I had to speak publicly without notes.  That's something I always have and always will fail miserably at.

A portion of the thank-you note: "Everyone was so busy -- we had college and high school finals, work schedules, graduations -- and they still set aside time to take this play, work on ad-libs and improvs that fleshed out these characters.  [Turning to the cast]  You guys brought the play to life in ways I couldn't even imagine.  So...thank you.  And I think we should give them another round of applause!"

That portion, except what I said off the top of my head (because it's ingrained into my memory forever) : "Everyone put a ton of work into this thing.  We had a ton of stuff going on and-and-and...work, school stuff, graduations...so thank you guys. [Awkward flailing towards cast]  You took a half-baked plot -- and it was --  and turned it into something really great, and it turned -- I think it turned out great.  So thank you.  Again.  Um...we're leaving now, so make sure to say hi in the vestibule-thingy before you leave."

Anyway.  The play turned out marvelously. 

And now I'm in my usual "I just finished my project and now I'm in a slump" mood....also known as the exact same feeling as Sherlock here:

Sherlock, "Bored!" (The Great Game)
Credit: BBC Sherlock // Goodreads
(I have never identified with a fictional character more in my entire life than I did while watching this glorious scene.) 

Except I have a double dose of that because....it's heeere! (My Compass Home, that is)
You can search for it on Amazon or go on my Facebook page and use the "Shop" button.

(Special thanks to my mom for the use of the flower props, which she uses in her Etsy craft shop)

Now I'm planning on working on Something New for Camp NaNo in July (although I'm starting it this week...probably) and I want to flesh out some of those ideas I mentioned as well.  What are you guys planning for Camp NaNo?  I've seen a lot of indie authors releasing their books this month/summer as well, so if you have a book you just published or are planning to publish this summer, say so in the comments below! 

The Road to "My Compass Home" : Cast Interviews

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hey everyone!  In case you missed it, I published My Compass Home last Wednesday, and it can be found on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.  You can also click HERE to enter a giveaway I'm holding, in which one winner will received a signed paperback copy of My Compass Home.  (Details included on the giveaway page).  The giveaway closes this weekend, so don't wait to enter the giveaway!  Finally, the first book in the series - Welcome Home - is available for free on Kindle until June 20th at midnight.
With all of that out of the way, I recently read about a fun idea: doing a "cast interview" for the characters of your books.  Without further ado, well, the "cast" of My Compass Home!  I'm treating it more like a movie interview because, well, I have no clue how to make this seem like I'm not a total nutcase otherwise. 

Interviewer: This question is for everyone. What are you most excited about in  My Compass Home?  

You really haven't seen many spoilers for this, have you?  There are a ton of things to be excited about.  I'm not always a fan of romances - come on, you can't beat the action genre or a graphic novel - but I guess it's different alongside such great folks.  Not to spoil anything (looking at Levi) 

Levi: (Coughing awkwardly) Yep.  No spoilers, sorry, but it's a pretty great story.  In my opinion, anyway.  Too. 

Spencer: And they're not the only ones who get the spotlight.  Lu and I --

Lucy: Have the best news ever!  I mean, for us.  You guys (gesturing to Ellie and Levi) have super-awesome news, too.  Don't want to steal the spotlight. 

Interviewer: Okay....what do you think was the most difficult scene out of all of them?

Ellie -- Hands down, yelling at Levi.  I mean, look at this face! 

Levi -- (Blushing) Not to mention that you're terrifying when you yell at me.  I mean, your face gets as red as your hair, and you know what they say about redheads and tempers -- (Ellie swats his arm) Ow! 

Spencer -- I think she just proved his point. 

Interviewer: And the best scene?

Levi -- All of the ones I had with Ellie, obviously.  But I also have to point out that the kissing scene was spectacular. 

Ellie -- I have to agree.  But the arcade scene was pretty fun, too--(teasingly)

Lucy --And ours...well, I think we had a lot of good scenes too, right?  And I love how this installment ended for us.  What a cliffhanger!

Spencer -- Yeah, I'm interested to see how the writer handles the cliffhanger.  Who just contacted you?  A stalker, weird-o, or really your-- (Lucy jumps up and clamps her hand over Spencer's mouth) 

Lucy -- No spoilers, remember?

Spencer -- Yep, sorry. 

Interviewer: Alrighty.  You guys handle spoilers a lot better than the Marvel Cinematic Universe folks --

Ellie -- Ooh, I know!  Have you seen the newest movie?  It's--

Levi -- So good! Did you see the scene--

Interviewer: Okay, let's steer this ship back around.  Sorry, just...on a tight schedule here.  Anyway, what are the most important messages that you think are involved in My Compass Home?  

Ellie -- Don't be afraid to heal and move on from your past.  It's important to learn from your mistakes, but learning also means that you shouldn't hold yourself back because of them. 

Levi -- I can vouch for that too. A message I liked, or at least one I hoped I could convey for the audience, was that second chances are great, but only for the right people.  I gave my ex all the chances she could ever want, but she never changed.  Ellie, on the other hand, was willing to see how her emotional barriers were problematic and she worked to improve.  Now, I could've just turned my back on her, but she was the kind of person that deserves a second chance.  Someone who doesn't intentionally hurt or manipulate you, and if they do hurt you, they try to change themselves for the better. 

Spencer -- Forgiveness is another factor, and I think it ties into Ellie's and Levi's responses.  Forgiveness of others, and seeking forgiveness for yourself, is important in a lot of healing processes, especially healing of the mind.  And not being afraid to ask God when you know you've messed up, too. 

Lucy -- Hmm...you guys took all the good responses!  I think my answer will probably feed into the third installment.  Faith is an important staple in everyone's life, and we should hold onto it even when the going gets tough.  Remaining hopeful in the face of dismal circumstances helps us keep the faith, not to mention our spirit.  Even if you can't see the way out of a situation, there's always a way.  And love -- all kinds of love, like the love of God, love for family, love for friends -- keeps us together no matter what.

Interviewer: Okay.  That seems like a pretty good place to stop.  Thanks for stopping by, everyone!  Make sure to grab a copy of My Compass Home to see what these guys were just talking about. 

Cover Reveal: The Thief, The Damsel, and The Dragon by Angela R. Watts!

Friday, June 15, 2018

I am interrupting our typically-scheduled blog post today for some super-exciting news!

That's right -  a fellow writer (though she far excels me in skill) is releasing the cover for her novella, The Thief, The Damsel, and The Dragon!  

From Angela R. Watts comes a novella that is sure to thrill!  Thieving and romance mixed with a little mystery?  Sounds like an all-around epic read to me!  

 The Thief, The Damsel, and The Dragon Synopsis: 

"...the dragon shalt thou trample under feet." ~ Psalms 91:13
Edward Prosner is going to steal from the small town mayor of Fall Springs, North Carolina.  He's got a flawless plan of action and is determined to return honor and justice to his father's good name.  The problem he faces?  He needs a date for the mayor's dinner party.  

Lucy Levitt is a huge romantic at heart, but with her family's ranch and her part-time job, she has no time for dating.  She believes God will place her soulmate in her life when the time is right.  When the new man in town asks her out, how can she say no?

The first date seems ordinary enough, but then they begin to realize that they can't fight their dragons alone. 

About The Author:

Angela R. Watts is a sinner saved by Yahweh's Grace and she strives to glorify the King in all she does.  She's a homeschooled highschooler who lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, with her loving family and ranch animals.  She's been writing stories since she was tiny and hasn't stopped since, though she also enjoys ranch and housework, painting, babysitting, and watching sunsets.  

Make sure to give her a follow on all of her social media platforms, linked below, so you can be the first to know when The Thief, The Damsel, and The Dragon is released!  

The Road to "My Compass Home" : The Final Stages

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Exciting news, everyone:  I'm in the last stages of editing and the preparation period for sending it to CreateSpace for approval has begun as well.  Of course, this might be the most hectic period of time, even more hectic than actually writing it! 

Now that I'm in the last leg of working on this project, I've created a separate playlist of songs that I use for editing purposes only.  They attempt to capture the "aesthetics" of the project overall, not simply a certain scene or chapter within the book.  Basically, they evoke the same feelings that I want to evoke in the book overall.  No rhyme or reason here, guys.  Nonetheless, I love each of these songs and use them very often for editing purposes.  They're listed below if you would like to listen to any of them!

Do you use different playlists for editing and for writing?  Are there any songs in particular that you "fall back on" (so to speak) for writing projects?  

Week In Review: *Muffled Shrieking*

Friday, June 8, 2018

Hey everyone!  Whew.  I wasn't sure I would have the time to write this up.  It's been quite a week, I'll tell you that much.  I'm also going to publish this a day ahead of time because I know I'll either be too busy tomorrow or too much of a nervous wreck to even write coherent sentences!

The 150th anniversary play is going to be this weekend.  Finally. 

And now for an accurate representation of my emotional, mental, and maybe even physical state:
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Pinterest /// Disney's Tangled
I've said this before and I'll say it again: presenting your writing to a live audience as a play is both the most exhilarating and most terrifying thing ever.  Even more if you're acting in the play and you hate being in front of people.  Even more if you helped direct and you have this pit-of-your-stomach feeling that you forgot to do something really, really important.

It's always kind of bittersweet presenting plays that I've written (this is the second time I've done this).  I am thankful that my mother and father will be there, of course, and running the sound system and curtains to boot.  If they remember, one of my aunts & uncles might come as well.  But I always really wish the vast majority of my relatives would have a desire to be there for it. Pro tip for readers: Don't be that person who just gives a ton of half-baked excuses when someone's inviting you to something that they're really excited about. 

But to be honest, I'm really pumped to do this play.

Pro tip: if your family's like that -- and I know a lot of people deal with this too, hence why I'm sharing it -- look for the people around you that matter already and be satisfied with their presence. 

I'm focusing on the folks who matter: the ones onstage beside me, the ones who volunteered their time and energy to helping to turn this thing into a reality.  The friend that sticks closer than a brother, who keeps better track of my own script than I do (and then teases me when I get stress-induced giggles until I can't breathe).  The helper that races from work to play practice to be there.  The cast members who put their heart and soul into bringing my characters to life in ways I couldn't even dream of. (In hindsight, this script was seriously half-baked, guys.  It took a lot of work on their end to make it what it is now!)  Instead of crowd-searching to find the faces that never have and never will be there, I'll look beside me onstage at the people who have put everything into this play for the past month and a half, and then out to the audience to see all the people who have contributed in one way or another to the play.  (Creative expertise, drafting, casting, working curtains, putting together slideshows, donating time, donating pictures and historical information, working the sound system and the slideshow...and on and on and on.)

I tip my hat to them all. 
Image result for tip my hat gif
Reaction GIFs // Pirates of the Caribbean
Everyone's done a fabulous job on it and I really hope the audience enjoys it too. 

So....here's to the play going off successfully!  (And for getting this insanely busy week over with!)
Image result for jimmy palmer gif
Gipher /// NCIS' Jimmy Palmer
Currently Reading: You'll laugh.  Rapunzel and the Vanishing Village by Leila Howland.   Yes, it is a kid's book technically, but I watch the TV show and they left it on a surprising cliffhanger, so I pre-ordered that book with the hopes that it would clarify some things.  

Current Projects: ...Well, I edited three chapters in My Compass Home this week if that counts.  Otherwise, my answer will be in bold - underline - italics - capitals: THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY PLAY.  I still have a few things to take care of, which I'll be doing when I hop off of the Internet after I publish this....

Current Bible Verse: The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Exodus 14:14, NIV).  Something I struggle with?  Letting go of things I can't control.  I know a lot of people probably feel the same way, so here's your reminder to let go and let God!  

How was your week?  Anyone else have a constantly-running-insane, get-me-off-this-rollercoaster mess of a week?!   

Week In Review: Beautiful Chaos Indeed

Saturday, June 2, 2018

First off, the results of the Memorial Day sale:
1 paperback copy of Welcome Home sold
63 free downloads of Beautiful Chaos
Sixty three, guys.  I am blown away.  I was excited to see FIVE downloads!  After ten months of only one person having read this book (I jokingly refer to it as the book only a writer-mama could love), now sixty three different people are reading it.  I can't even fathom it and I am so thankful to you guys!  I really hope you all enjoy it....(even though now I'm freaking out because this is the largest audience I've reached.  Yikes.)
Credit: Pauley Perrette // giphy

Don't forget to leave reviews on Amazon!

Currently reading: The Rose of the Oath by Hope Ann and Stalling For Time by Gary Noesner.  So far I've been very impressed by both, and Hope Ann's book is free on Kindle right now, so I'd recommend picking it up. 

Current projects: I'm down to the last two rounds of editing for My Compass Home and the last WEEK of practices for the play at my church.  Whew.  I'm gonna go scream into a pillow right now because I'm always nervous before a play when I'm acting in it, but adding onto the fact that I wrote it?

And then helped run it?

Goodbye, cruel world.

Current Bible verse: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).  In light of the "news" this week pertaining to Samantha Bee and Roseanne Barr, I think we need to remember that.  Nothing good comes out of petty, childish insults.  Not even in the name of comedy (because name calling isn't comedic, but bullying).

Next week, I also begin my summer class in forensic psychology.   I'm interested in the book, but I don't want to do the tests and whatnot that come with it.  Or give up my summer.  *sigh* the college life.

On an upside, today I got some Bantam chicks!  I've been wanting to have some since pretty much forever, so I'm really stoked about it.

What have you guys been up to this week?