SpireGirl 2018 Blog Tour: Spotlight!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hey everyone!  I'm excited to be participating in the SpireGirl 2018 tour both today and Thursday!  Click HERE for the full tour schedule so you can catch up on posts and look forward to the upcoming features.  While you're there, make sure to check out Medomfo's blog!  She has some awesome content. 

Now for the spotlight:
If you were familiar with the Robertson family back when they had their own show - Duck Dynasty - you may already know who this is because she was on a few big episodes.  For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you'll want to look them up online because each person in their family is inspirational, and they have authored some wonderful books as well.  The inspirational lady I'm highlighting today is Mary Kate Robertson, who is married to John Luke. 

She blogs on The Little Duckwife and while she doesn't tour or speak like her sister-in-law Sadie, she often writes very worthwhile, wholesome posts.   From anything about being a Christian college student to what it's been like being married at what society considers a young age, she provides a window into her life honestly and with grace.  She's an excellent role model for young girls and a source of encouragement for ladies her age and perhaps older.  Her social media feeds prove that being modest, kind, and courageous -- a Proverbs 31 kind of woman -- is exactly what we should pursue as believers of Christ. 

Honestly, it's such a great thing to see a young woman like Mary Kate living life fully from a Christian perspective.  She opens up about dealing with health struggles and many of the worldly issues we face -- through an encouragingly Christian lens.  Even if she's famous, she's still human.  Down-to-earth.  That's why I love following her online -- she especially has a presence on Instagram -- and I think you will, too. 

Week In Review: October Farewell

Saturday, October 27, 2018

How was everyone's week?  I've been busy working on graphics and some other fun plans for the rest of the year.  If you want to check into social media tomorrow, I have some exciting news for you guys, especially indie authors, and then on Tuesday and Thursday I'll have some special posts that you won't want to miss.  This means that the normal Wednesday post won't be up, but I think these ones will be more interesting!  Come to think of it, I'll also have a quick post on Monday, so I guess next week will be "every day EXCEPT Wednesday..."

ICYMI: Kellyn Roth's newest book, Beyond Her Calling, is out now. Click HERE for my review.

Currently reading: When We Were Young by Karen Kingsbury and Why Do I Believe? by Chip Ingram. This week I also read and finished The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi , the novel adaptations of the movies, and they were pretty fantastic. I also read The Love Languages of God  by Gary Chapman (thanks Netgalley!) and you can check my review out on Goodreads.

Current projects: A lot of non-writing stuff right now. 'Tis the season for being busy, so I haven't had much time to write. Anyone getting ready for Camp NaNo next month? I wish I could participate this year!

Current Bible verse: "'Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you,I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’" (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

Today, as you probably know if you've seen the news at all, there was a mass shooting in a Pittsburgh, PA synagogue.  The suspect was known for spewing anti-Semitism and also said on social media that he was a Nazi who was infatuated by Hitler.  I ask that you pray for the community, but also for change in our hearts.  When I went on Twitter, Pittsburgh was #1 trending -- because everyone was going tooth-and-nail at each other and trying to decide which political party to blame.  That set me off pretty quickly -- what about the loss of life?  Nobody cares about the people who died.  The families who are planning funerals now.  They just like to grab those victims and use them to beat the other political party because of this policy or that speech from 100 years ago.  And anyone who disagrees is a "Nazi."  People who think differently are not Nazis and to say so is to cheapen WWII and the Holocaust.  This man, the one who shot a currently-unknown amount of Jews, who caused a crime scene that the safety director of the town called "the most horrific crime scene he has responded to," (as a former FBI agent who has seen plane crashes, as per his interview) -- the shooter is a Nazi.  He took the lives of Jews because he hated their religion.  He is a Nazi because he is a literal throwback to the 1940s when Jews were rounded up en masse and slaughtered for their beliefs. 

Nobody cares that people died then, or today.  They only see another weapon for their platform.  For their cause.  Do they even grasp the idea that those people are dead, that they were murdered? 

Folks on the internet who disagree with one another are not Nazis.  A political party with whom you disagree should not be deemed Nazi either.  Because they aren't.  Those who believe so should be ashamed of themselves right now.  Those who are using this event as a means to win the midterm elections should be ashamed even more. 

I apologize.  I try to keep politics off of this page, but in this case, I'm throwing a "shame on you" out to both sides.  If we can't figure out a way to overlook differences in opinion, things like this will only happen more often. 

Blog Tour: Review of "Beyond Her Calling" by Kellyn Roth!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hey everyone! Instead of the boring "writing tips" post that I had planned for you guys this week, I am excited to be reviewing Kellyn Roth's new release, Beyond Her Calling, as part of the her blog tour. This was a beautiful book and I loved pretty much every part of it. Let's get to it, then!

Beyond Her Calling
"At twenty, Ivy Knight feels as if she hasn't accomplished anything of worth. Her life stretches on before her, empty and pointless. Though her faith in God and her mental abilities have strengthened, she still doubts herself. Does God have a purpose for a socially awkward, often confused and frightened young woman?

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. Though he has accomplished a lot for a farm lad such as himself, he fears that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he won't really make a good doctor. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents' farm.
Helping Jordy with his work at Keefmore seems like the perfect opportunity for Ivy. Still, she doubts herself. Is there a purpose to Ivy's life?"

My Review
Beyond Her Calling is nestled in 1800s Scotland and follows Ivy and Jordy as they try to realize God's plan for them. Both struggle with past experiences that cause them to think less of themselves - which was a very relatable theme within the book. It was really sweet to watch them grow together, both in their faith and as people just stepping out to discover their place in the world.

If you noticed somethin' a wee different about the quote above, I'd also like to add: some of the characters in the book speak in a Scottish accent (obviously, since Keefmore is located in Scotland). In my opinion, accents depicted in books can go either way - either they're perfectly executed or they're horrible. Beyond Her Calling falls into the former category - perfectly executed. I could hear the brogue when I was reading it, which was an especial treat.

Beyond Her Calling also deals with a lot of topics near and dear to my heart, involving disabilities and mental health. For this I commend the author -- not many books are willing to "go there" in a healthy, respectful manner. This book touched on anything from the minor to jarringly dark when it comes to mental health, and it did so with grace and balance. The darker end of the spectrum usually deals with Violet Angel, a mutual friend who accompanies Ivy and Jordy on their journey. Likewise, the balance occurs with Ivy, who deals with her own mental health diagnosis and being seen as "different" but on a lighter level at this point.

I also love that the book discusses healthy boundaries: being there for others but not letting them drag you down, knowing when to help someone and when to give them space, as well as a variety of boundaries appropriate for the time era. It's evident that this was thoroughly researched.
What else is there to say about this book without giving away a lot of spoilers? The romance felt reasonably well-paced and appropriate for the era as well as for Christian fiction; the mental health and diagnoses aspects were realistic and not overdone or made light of; the book has wonderful themes about finding one's place in the world, following God's calling even if it seems absurd, and many others -- and did I mention the Scottish brogue? I thought that this book was beautifully written and I look forward to reading more about Ivy and Jordy!

About the Author
Kellyn Roth lives on an Eastern Oregon ranch with her parents, little brothers, border collies, cats, and a few dozen cows and chickens.  Always a lover of a good story, and especially of telling one, she's been writing since she was seven and published her first novel at fourteen.  Now a homeschool grad, she divides her time between penning her next Christian historical novel, creating professionally silly articles at kellynroth.blog, and her actual life.  Actual life plays second fiddle sometimes, though.  

Find out more on her website: https://kellynrothauthor.com

You don't want to leave without entering the giveaway!  Ms. Roth is giving away a signed paperback of Beyond Her Calling, which you can enter to win by clicking HERE! 

This book is available for Kindle and paperback formats now -- make sure to click HERE to snag a copy. If you plan to read it, make sure to shelf it on Goodreads HERE!

Make sure to check out the Facebook group as well as the rest of the tour - lots of great posts!

Saturday, October 20th

Intro Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Author Interview // Molly @ A Sparkle of Light
Review // Lisa @ Inkwell
Review & Character Interview (Jordy) // Amie @ Crazy A
Character Interview (Ivy) // Jo @ The Lens and the Hard Drive
Book Spotlight // Annie @ Letters from Annie Douglass Lima

Sunday, October 21st

Theme Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Guest Post by Character (Ivy) & Review // Grace M. Morris
Book Spotlight // Erika Messer @ Maiden of the Pages
Author Interview // Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger

Monday, October 22nd

Ivy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Character Interview (Ivy) // Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing
Review // Andrea Cox @ Writing to Inspire
Character Interview (Jordy) // Liz @ Home with the Hummingbirds
Author & Character Interview (Violet) // Julia @ Julia’s Creative Corner
Review & Character Spotlight (Ivy) // Caroline Kloster @ Inside the Autistic Life

Tuesday, October 23rd

Jordy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Author Interview // Faith Blum @ Bookish Orchestrations
Review & Guest Post // Cara @ Jessie Bingham
Guest Post // Lindsi @ One Beginner To Another
Character Spotlight (Ena) // Shannon McDermott @ Shannon’s Blog

Wednesday, October 24th

Violet Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Guest Post // Germaine Han @ The Writing Mafia
Review // Jana T. @ Reviews from the Stacks

Thursday, October 25th

Real Life Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Book Spotlight // Gabriellyn Gidman @ PageTurners
Author Interview // Sara Willoughby @ Th!nk Magazine
Review // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing
Guest Post by Character (Violet) // Peggy M. McAloon @ Peggy’s Hope 4U

Friday, October 26th

Future Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Review // Abigail McKenna @ Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors
Review // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura
Review // Bella Putt

Saturday, October 27th

Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Character Interview & Spotlight (Jordy) // Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Book Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ

And be sure to check out the Facebook party every day this week for exciting updates!

Week In Review: Head Above Water

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Hi, all! How has your week been?
I just finished Everything And Nothing ahead of schedule, so on Monday I'll be emailing PDF copies to everyone who signs up for my monthly newsletter!  It's all free, so why not check it out?

My week has been the new-ordinary-too-busy-help variety.  I just realized that I had some sale plans for November/December that I needed to work out, which I hadn't.  At all.  Oops.

Also, the great realization that the fancy ole degree I've chipped away at for the past 7 semesters -- probably isn't worth much of anything.  Times are a'changing.  When I started college, everyone told me it was a must if I wanted to get a job that isn't in foodservice.
I worked foodservice for 2 years to pay for this degree.
I would rather keel over into a vat of boiling oil than go back.  I have the scar to prove that burning oil means business.
Cue three and a half years later -- "job requirements: high school diploma or GED."
I don't know how many job listings I've seen for remote copywriting or editing positions this week.
Credit: TBBT///Giphy 
I know this isn't the case for a lot of jobs, but it's definitely a discouragement. Or maybe a "screaming-WHYYY-at-the-sky" moments.

Point is, times are changing.  The job market is saturated with degrees since schools started pushing degrees as a prerequisite to the American Dream and now they've decided that experience and hard work, by far, trump degrees.  Duh, but...ugh. 


Current projects: Taking a break since I finished off Everything And Nothing !

Currently reading: Beyond Her Calling by Kellyn Roth. I'll have a review written for it on Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled for a special post! I also read The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, which I'll be reviewing soon, and Overcomer by David Jeremiah, the review for which you can see HERE.

Current Bible verse: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23 KVJ)

Week In Review: Where's the Pause Button?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hey everyone!

This week's been...a bundle of craziness, but that isn't even unusual at this rate.   
The good part is that I'm in the homestretch of Everything And Nothing, which means that...I have a ton of stuff to finish.  Book cover, formatting, and so forth. 

Friday, I  took a look at the Spring 2019 course catalog for my school and, as my advisor said, it looks like there's a May 2019 college graduation in store for me.  Boy, if that isn't a 'yippee' and a panic attack rolled up into one!  On top of that, I completed the final assignments for induction to the online chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success, or Sigma Alpha Pi. 

Related image
Credit: Tangled /// Gifer

Image result for psych excited gif
Credit: Psych /// Tenor

Thursday night, I was surprised by another one of my horses, Remy,  having a case of colic, which is both one of the milder conditions a horse can get and also the most severe, life-threatening condition a horse can get.  That's the thing about horses -- stomachaches can literally kill them if it's bad enough.  This was just two weeks and a day after my Miniature mare, Ella, passed away suddenly, so my first thought when I found Remy sick was that Ella had had something contagious and he'd just gotten it.  (AKA all of our horses would be dying.) 

Sooo the vet was able to come out on an emergency call, despite not being able to do a lot for him except to give him some pain medication, verify that it was just colic, and give him some oil to, ahem, help get things moving.  Thankfully, Remy did pull through and he's eating like...a horse...(I had to). 

Cue this morning (Saturday) when I went to feed the horses and heard groaning coming from someone else's stall. 
 Busted through the stall door. 
The horse was groaning because she was stretching and upset that I had woken her up.  The diva.

Image result for crazy loki gif
Credit: The Avengers /// Bustle
Back onto good things, I wanted to share some fun news with you: it's still in the works, but Kellyn Roth has been putting together a group of talented editors, designers, and social media gurus for Reveries Co. with the plans to service independent authors affordably.  She and Angela Watts, the manager, have put a lot of hours into setting the website up and creating the business plan themselves, so they're running a fundraiser to recoup some of their time and expenses.  If you'd like to donate, click HERE for the GoFundMe page!  You'll be hearing more about the company in forthcoming weeks. 

Also, if you'd like to receive a free PDF copy of Everything And Nothing, make sure you're signed up for the monthly newsletter!  October's will be sent out on the 15th, and copies of the book will be sent out on the day it's released.  If you're not a poetry/short stories fan, I'm also looking into some exclusive sales that I can offer through Etsy during the Christmas shopping season, so if you like coupons and discounted books...click HERE to make sure you're on the list! 

Current Projects: Everything And Nothing, which I've set a tentative publication date for...October 29th!

Currently Reading: An ARC copy of Beyond Her Calling by Kellyn Roth, Overcomer by David Jeremiah, and some odds and ends that I can't remember the titles for. 

Current Bible Verse: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV).  This was at the bottom of the vet's receipt on Thursday, and it struck a chord with my panic-stricken, head-cold, half-delirious self. 

How was your week?  Anyone enjoying the start of fall? 

Everything And Nothing: Flash Fic

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I have a fun cold right now and hardly slept last night as a result, so this blog post is going to be as short as its topic.

Flash fiction is a fun and growing trend--the act of writing stories that are less than 1,000 words in length.  They might even be considered the haiku of prose because of the form that some of the shortest stories take.  Typically, you have instances of flash fiction and then you have "x-word (or sentence) stories" where you try to tell a compelling story in a certain amount of words or sentences.  For example, the 6-word horror:

"Heard bedroom door slam.  Live alone."

A popular example you may be familiar with is "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." (author unknown, despite being commonly attributed to Ernest Hemingway.) 

While there are specific guidelines, which I'll provide a link for later on, flash fiction is a great way to explore your writing abilities while also easily producing some work that you can send to journals or keep for publication in a book of your own.  The most important thing, as always, is to enjoy writing while also practicing it.  The added bonus for flash fiction?  You can see results almost immediately, which is great if you're stuck in a writing rut.   

Check out this link  from Writers' Digest to learn more about flash fiction guidelines. 

Have you ever written a six-word story?  If not, give it your best shot in the comments below! 

Week In Review: Just A Quick Update

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Hey everyone!  Just a quick post tonight -- busy weekend.

Current Projects: I got several pieces written for Everything And Nothing so that's a plus!

Currently Reading: Overcomer by David Jeremiah. Great read so far!

Current Bible Verse: "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4 NIV)

How was everyone's week? 

Everything And Nothing: Small But Mighty

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Hey everyone!  I've dubbed October the month for short stories and poetry, since I'm on the last leg of getting Everything And Nothing out there for you all.  Today, we're touching on short stories and why you might want to try your hand at writing them.

I was introduced to short stories through, admittedly, writing fanfiction years ago.  Early on in my college career, I took a short stories and poetry class.  Most of the work from that one was published in Everything I Never Said, with a few remnants being published in Everything And Nothing. Short stories are certainly fun to work on, but it takes a little practice to get started.

One thing that stuck with me from my college class: our professor always wanted us to be ambiguous.  He said that, if we're ambiguous or open-ended with our work, we'll appeal to a lot of people.  The intrigue is what makes a story stay with a reader once they've closed the book.  While this isn't always the case - sometimes readers abhor ambiguity and sometimes stories just aren't meant to be ambiguous - it's a good thought to keep in mind.

Short stories are best written with an impactful, emotional punch.  Remember, you don't have nearly the space to elaborate a full-length story, so you have to really pare down your writing to make sure you're only including information that propels the story.  It has to be moving in some way, shape, or form.  The professor for that class once told us that we should try to cut whatever we have written  - the word count, of course - in half.  It's a great way to practice your writing, whether or not you plan on publishing the story.  Being concise is important!

If you'd like to try your hand at short stories, whether for practice or for a future publication, here's a fun resource for you!  I happened upon THIS page awhile ago.