Week In Review: Life -- It Goes On

Friday, September 28, 2018

All in all, I guess that's all I can say.  Life goes on. 

(Credit to a Robert Frost quote for the title)

Well, I'm hoping to get back on track with the Wednesday blog posts on October 3rd.  The week before last was insane with studying for exams, and this week was when all 5 of those exams hit (not to mention the...5 or 6 sub-exams and normal assignments).  I actually would have been able to write this Wednesday, but it just turned out otherwise.  As I mentioned on the Facebook page (if you follow me on there), Wednesday I was waiting for the farm vet to come out for an emergency visit.  Unfortunately, the outcome was not favorable.  This is an older picture of the horse, but one I always liked.  

Credit: Avengers: Age of Ultron //Gyfcat
I concur, Hawkeye.  (It's been a long week, more like).  

Anyway, hopefully next week isn't quite as catastrophic.  Before I get hung up on more college stuff (one class just posted a sizable exam for next week)--I was wondering what kind of content you'd like to see on Wednesdays.  So I'm asking you to vote before Oct. 3rd, either on here in the comments section or on whichever social media platform you'd like....
A) Behind the scenes for Guide Me Home 
B) Behind the scenes for Keeping Cassie
C) Writing tips for short stories, because of Everything And Nothing 
Sound off in the comments, and whichever gets the most votes will be covered first.  Thanks! 
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Credit: Thor: Ragnarok /// Pinterest
Currently Reading: Not that much.  I'm kind of brain-mush from this week...if you can't tell.  And if I randomly start typing in Spanish, that's because I was working on my Spanish exam before writing this and in at least one instance, I had to delete some text from the blog post because it was some weird Spanish-English mix...I don't know what I'm doing anymore. 

Currently Writing: Everything And Nothing.  Hey, one good thing about negative emotions from this week?  Great poetry angst mood there.  I could do without it though.

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 current political atmosphere, I think it needs saying.  Regardless of which side of the aisle you err to, it's important to not let ourselves deepen the divide because we can't be prudent with our words.  

How was your week?  I feel like this is a loaded gun, but since that's how I roll, what are your thoughts on the current political atmosphere -- with Ephesians 4:29 in mind?  

Week In Review: Snapped

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hey everyone!  How was your week?
Mine, well....
Credit: The Office // Giphy
The things I learned this week:
1.  Stop popping pimples.  One day you're innocently poppin' those pimples and the next you wake up with your eyesight partly blocked off because blind zits are the worst and will take revenge, guys.  They'll swell up to the size of Texas and if your face is only the size of a human face, there's a problem.

2. Don't order shoes online to evade going to the store, especially if you have weird feet.  You may also have to explain to a poor clerk why you've spent the past hour in the same aisle, systematically trying on every shoe because none of them fit right.  (I'm getting a head start on graduation stuff and I had to buy some dress shoes for it...and my feet defy all logical measurements.)

3.  Make sure your computer / typing device doesn't have autocorrect features.  Mine does.  I don't want to talk about it. 

4.  Professors...

Because of professors, this is an accurate representation of my last nerve, courtesy of my violin string that snapped in my face earlier. (And I took a picture because my mind immediately went to a meme)
5.  DO research before you buy a class ring!  I don't know how many of you guys attend public school or college, but I recently got a flyer about ordering my class ring for college and the company's prices were ATROCIOUS.  Me being me, I spent the day researching and found that Walmart, indeed, sells everything.  So I got a $50 class ring instead of a $400-600 class ring, engraved and everything.  Not too shabby.

Must be those rollback prices.

Also, the first newsletter got sent out this Monday (the 17th)! If you want to see a copy of it, head over to my Facebook page. If you want to get a free copy of my upcoming short story book, sign up!

 Anyway --

Current Projects: Everything and Nothing is currently at the top of a very long list of ideas. I also want to write a few short stories to submit to a handful of journals, though, which is a "mission critical" for this weekend.

 Currently Reading: The Insanity of God and Overcomer by David Jeremiah.

Current Bible Verse : "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 NIV

What are you guys up to, and how's school going?  I'm also thinking about adding a column onto the blog, a page that I'll add to rather than weekly posts, about my escapades during my last year of college.  In a humorous way, of course.  Would you be interested in something like that?

Week In Review: *Muffled Shrieking*

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hey everyone!

So this week, I got my Etsy store up and running, so you can check that out HERE if you want signed paperbacks. 

Something you might want to be part of: I was recently accepted to another honor society and as part of my induction, they recommended putting together a "goal-setting support team."  I thought it'd be a good thing to try out.  Basically, we'd meet online once every week or every other week, talk for a few minutes about our goals and any problems we have had achieving them, and give each other feedback and support.  Kind of like an accountability team as well.  If you are interested in being part of this group, please comment below or email me.  We'll probably use Facebook Messenger or email for the group "meetings" and just set a day where we can talk as opposed to a specific hour, thus alleviating issues with timezones and schedules.  Anyone interested?  Please let me know ASAP!

I'm also going to send out the first newsletter on Monday, so sign up HERE if you aren't on the list already.  I'm hoping to have the freebie book ready by October-ish for you all!

Whew.  With that out of the way, this week was...somehow a whirlwind and boring all at once.  I got a lot done but I suppose it was boring, thus the odd illusion I just mentioned.  As I said before, I set up my Etsy store, took care of schoolwork, had at least 3 panic-stricken days after receiving a flier in the mail about ordering a class ring from the university (read as: IT'S MY SENIOR YEAR HOLY MACKEREL) followed by the realization that this semester's GPA will determine what level of Latin honors I'll hold for graudation.  No pressure.  And I'm pretty sure I did a bunch of other things too, I just can't remember because I'm hung up on that whole "graduation" thing now that I thought about it again...oh, and I set up an online portfolio too. 

Currently Reading: Every Now & Then by Karen Kingsbury and Overcomer by David Jeremiah. 

Current Projects: I didn't write again this week...except for an article for my college's newspaper.
Credit: House//perpetualpageturner.com

Current Bible verse:  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 1:11 KJV).

How was your week?  Are you looking forward to fall, or are you more of a summer person?

Something New: September Takeover #2!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hey folks!  This is the second September takeover post for the month, so I sat down to write this as soon as I came home from teaching.  Your suave, handsome (okay Joanna says I'm being self-absorbed) host for the evening is none other than Walter.

I could talk about my day, but I have a couple of larger bones to pick about this week.  I'll try not to rant like the girls (Joanna or Alison...or even my sister Lex) would.

There were two pretty big dates this week: 9/10 being the national day of awareness for suicide prevention, and 9/11 being the 17th anniversary of the U.S. terror attacks.

I think both of these dates are important ones to remember.  Especially after what happened with Jo's brother.  While I don't know whether he overdosed on purpose or not, and I won't ask Jo about it because I don't want to make her upset, his death was a sampling of what thousands of families have to deal with because of suicide.  Sudden loss is horrible to begin with; purposeful death adds a palpable heaviness to it all.  But there's a way out, I promise.  Whether you're dealing with the loss of a loved one or suicidal thoughts yourself, I promise you're not alone and God is there, wanting you to let Him in so healing can begin.  I don't know, Alison would've been better for this, but just know that God is there for you and things get better.

Don't tell Alison I said she would've done a better job than me.

Secondly, let's not forget 9/11/01 and the lives lost when the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania turned into mass graves and a battle cry for the fight against terrorism.  With the growing threat of ISIS, we can't lose sight of that day.  Especially not the younger generations: at 21, I can remember watching when the planes hit. But kids just a couple of years younger than I...well, they just don't.  They don't know about growing up with that day seared in their minds, that deep-pitted knowledge that even though you were just a kid, you still knew something horrible and evil had just happened.  They know the war on terror as a vague thing that is reported on once in awhile and criticized on TV.  They might know it from the videos replayed once a year, but they don't know it, you know?  Kind of like World War II.  You read about it, but it's removed.  So let's make sure that, in the generation of ISIS and Middle-Eastern unrest, that we stand strong as a country and refuse to lose sight of what was sacrificed and what makes our country worth the effort.

I don't know, I suppose I was supposed to promote the new book in some way, but I just had that on my mind this week and I thought I'd say something about that instead.

What are your thoughts - on both topics here?

Week In Review: Winners (Literal) and Losers (Metaphorical...?)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Hey everyone!  I want to start on a good note, so I'm announcing the winners of the giveaway!  Last week I announced the start of a giveaway for PDF copies of Beautiful Chaos and Something New.

The grand winner of our giveaway is the lovely Angela R. Watts of The Peculiar Messenger!  While I head off to email her prizes, why don't you give her a follow on Facebook?

No second-place winners to announce, according to Rafflecopter.

Now for the week in review:

This week was...a week.
My thoughts on this week are below, artfully captured in gif format.
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The Office //Glee Wikia (why was this on a Glee Wikia?) 
(On a side note, I was thrilled to find this gem while I was looking for reaction gifs.  Never have I seen something that was so perfect for describing this week.  Or my reaction to it; either way.)  

 I was ready for time travel to be invented by Wednesday or so.  That was when I spent the better part of the day, from 9:00AM -2:00PM (when I just gave up and started on schoolwork), emailing and messaging back and forth with various folks from college because legitimately everything was going wrong.  Some other things started to work themselves out by midweek, I have to admit. But we're on Saturday now, so maybe the worst of the weird, the communication failures, the college class mishaps, and the unexpected are done with?  Like, for the year, please?
Image result for please gif
The Voice//PicGifs.com
That being said, before I have to run off and do an exam that was, wonderfully, scheduled for over the weekend, some updates:

Currently Reading: Uh...nothing this week, but I just ordered  several books and I'm waiting impatiently for them to arrive.  Even though I just ordered them yesterday afternoon and they haven't shipped yet.  I'm still watching...and waiting.

Current Projects: Again, nothing this week.  Too much "putting out fires" and not enough "hey I have free time!  Yay!"  

Image result for everything is on fire gif
But let it be said that I had several things I wanted to work on.  Just couldn't this week.

Current Bible Verse: To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV)

Oh, and make sure you check out these "ICYMI" announcements from Wednesday, HERE and HERE, about something I'm collaborating with H.S. Killian for!  I recommend just checking out the first link there, which is to her post.  Hers is about a hundred times more logical, and I haven't been able to elaborate further on mine because...well, see above dissertation.  

And make sure you sign up for my newsletter HERE.  The first of the monthly newsletters will be arriving to your inbox September 17th and I promise to be more upbeat, albeit still snarky (c'mon, that's who I am).  You'll also be put on a list to receive a free copy of Everything And Nothing once I get it published, which will be...sometime soon.  

How was your week?  Any exciting book mail that you're waiting for?  Sound off in the comments below!  I'll be checking in on the comments after I'm done writing my eulogy.  

(That caught your attention, right?  Eulogy?  It's for a college course, don't worry.  Somehow if we can write our own eulogies for communications class, we're golden for this week.) 

Something New: September Takeover #1!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A/N: Hey everyone! September is here and while everyone's working hard at NaNo (or school, or both) I thought it would be fun to do a "character takeover" for the blog.  This month, characters from the Mount Sterling series will be taking over the weekday blog posts.  Fun, right?  (What?  You say I'm going too far, I say I'm being fun and imaginative!  Tomato, tomatoe) 
Image result for Shrug gif
Credit: Spider-Man: Homecoming //Giphy
And I have an announcement: a writer friend, H.S. Killian (of The Writing Worm) and I decided to make our own hashtag on Twitter and we'd love everyone to participate!  I'll let Joanna here give you the down-low about the specs, but make sure to jump into the conversation on social media with #countercultureliterarymovement today and invite your friends!  

Alright, everyone.  I guess what the author is trying to say above is "I'm too busy with college to bother coming up with anything original so I'll write generic stories in the blog instead," but whatever.  It is the senior year, after all.  Oof.  I suppose I can't judge too much, at least not aloud or in front of you all.  I suppose you don't know who's talking either, right?  Well, it's Joanna Taylor Larkin.  You probably know me as Joanna Markus, but life happens.  And suddenly you're marrying your grade-school nemesis and turning over new leaves right and left.  Not a bad deal, just incredibly ironic.  If I could travel back in time to tell my younger self this story, she'd probably try to yank my arm off and beat me with it.  (Walter's reading over my shoulder and would like to add that he's been threatened with that exact occurrence more times than he can count.  The fact that he's talking in the present tense rather than the past tense can probably tell you what today has been like.) 

What's up today, you might ask? I was forewarned to not say much about the newest chronicles of our life because of spoilers or whatever, but I think I've already done so by giving you my married name...or maybe you already knew about that.  Oops?  Anyway, it's safe to say that the lovely little dump of a place fixer-upper we purchased as our home has sprung a leak in the roof.  As in...I have a waterfall in our bedroom right now because it's raining.  We took apart this whole place and put it back together again and never thought to check on the roof's integrity...but we are now!  We can't work on the roof until it stops raining, though, and Walt's friend who is in construction, Travis, is out of the state this week, so who knows when we'll get that fixed?  That aside, it's a good day to stay in the living room, change buckets underneath the leak about a zillion times so the floor doesn't rot out (AKA the last straw), and try to ignore the upcoming roof expenses.

That aside, I have instructions to introduce you all to the #countercultureliterarymovement "mission statement" that was mentioned above.  Basically, a couple of writers are really tired of reading unhealthy relationship roles in stories, ones that are praised and then leech into reality, making folks gauge their own relationships off of these poor measures.  These writers are sick of reading about relationships, romances, and other human interactions that are based on lust, selfishness, and disloyalty (or even plain filth or abusiveness as seen in Fifty Shades books...from what I've heard) and actually seeing them being praised and encouraged.  Tired of seeing society's gender wars leeching into books: men who are holier-than-thou and women who are either "100% kick-butt" or "100% damsels in distress," creating flat or unrealistic characters just for the sake of saying they wrote about them.  Why not write about and celebrate purity, healthy relationships, and complex characters that are real, that don't need to fit molds because people don't need to fit molds or labels.  Have a female character take care of herself but have a good cry too.  Have a male character sit down and play with a puppy instead of "mansplaining."  Write about pure, unselfish, true love instead of the complete trainwrecks-of-relationships presented in secular fiction today.    If you want to see more of that in the books you read, spread the word and get out there on social media!  Promote the wholesome fiction you love reading,

Anyhow, with that rant over -- and I could go on, but then you'd be in for an hour-long rant about my former college dorm-mates.  But they've turned leaves over just as I have, so I suppose I should just go...dump some buckets of rainwater, probably.  Talk to you later!  Next week, I think Walter's going to be writing -- just so you know.  Head on over to Twitter now, or whatever social media accounts you're on, and get that movement rolling!  I would if I could, but...you know.  I'm just the figment of someone's imagination...or whatever.  

Week In Review: Hello College, My Old Friend

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hey guys!  It's been awhile since I did a "week in review," right?  Well, have I got some news for you all!

1) I did have a newsletter set up with MailChimp to start up, but alas, the popup stopped working.  So for right now, if you want to sign up for a monthly email from me, click HERE.  (Goodness, I hope that works...) If you do sign up, I'll also put you on a list to be the first to receive free copies of my upcoming book of short stories/poems, Everything And Nothing!

2) While the blog tour plan for Something New didn't exactly pan out 100%, you can still enter the giveaway!  It will run from today, Sept. 1, to Sept. 8th and I'll announce the winner(s) on the 9th.  You'll want to enter this one!  The first place winner will receive PDF copies of Beautiful Chaos and Something New; the second place winner will receive a PDF copy of Beautiful Chaos (or Something New if they've already read the first book in the series). a Rafflecopter giveaway
3) Labor Day is on Monday, so I have some Kindle sales going on that you'll definitely want to check out when Sept. 3rd rolls around: Welcome Home, My Compass Home, and Everything I Never Said will be available for free downloads on Labor Day ONLY!  So you'll want to snag as many copies as you can! I'll probably post again on Monday with the links for you guys, so stay tuned.
Image result for gif of grabbing all the books
Credit: Disney's Tangled // YA Midnight Reads
4) I will be opening an Etsy store soon - probably in the next 3 weeks because KDP has been very aggravating slow getting my copies of books shipped out.  So if you'd like a signed paperback copy of any book, feel free to keep an eye out for that link!  I have social media icons at the bottom of the blog right now which should lead you to the Etsy store as well as all my other social media accounts.  If a bunch of folks are interested in buying copies before I get the store up and running, I'd appreciate it if you'd go ahead and leave a comment or message me if you intend to buy a specific book so I can order extra stock!

Okay.  Whew.  That aside...
College started again this week, and God willing, it will be my senior year.  
Image result for sound of silence gif
Credit: BBC's Sherlock//uproxx
I only got three weeks of summer break, but here we are.  Heading back to give professors a hard time, write controversial articles for my college's newspaper, and edit even more articles.  I'm sure they're glad it's my last year, too!

Currently Reading: The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken and Overcomer by David Jeremiah.  Last week, I read Rare, Medium, or Done Well by Mike Huckabee (review to come), EntreLeader by Dave Ramsey, and Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines.  I guess I've been reading a lot of nonfiction lately...!

Current Bible Verse: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ.  (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV)

Currently Writing: I just started writing out some ideas for Guide Me Home (FHL #3) and Keeping Cassie (Mount Sterling #3) and I'm trying to finish up Everything And Nothing as well as start a kid's book about Disney's movie Tangled, so I'm busy in that front!  Now if only I could get all of them done during NaNoWriMo!  Speaking of, will you guys be working on anything this month?

What are you guys working on?  Any good reads you'd recommend?  Apparently, I need a new list of good fiction to read, so let me know what you're reading right now!