2019 Reading List


I mentioned in my OneWord post that I would be focusing more on non-fiction Christian books in the new year, and I wanted to share some of the books I plan to read.

Her-Story is a devotional. Each day of the year, you learn about a woman from the Bible or Christian history who had a love for Jesus. I’ll be reading this throughout the year.

This is something I’ve wanted to study for a while now, and 2019 is the year. I had to think about how to do this. I wanted to break it up either by one question or chapter per week, but at 107 questions, in 64 chapters, that won’t be possible to complete in a year. So, I’ll be doing two chapters a week, which will give me some wiggle room if anything comes up that I can’t do two in one week.

The rest are books I’ve had on my shelf; some for years, some for just a couple months. Some classics, some modern. Here are the covers:

Have you read any of these? Do you have one waiting on your shelf? Tell me about it in the comments.

One Word 365 (2019)


     The purpose of One Word 365 is to put aside the usual New Year’s resolutions that we never seem to keep. Instead, you pick one word. Just one word that you want to spend the year focusing on and living out… whatever that may mean for you, personally.

I’m a bit early with this for the new year, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

My One Word for 2019 is devotion.

Our modern dictionaries define devotion as “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.”

According to the Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, there are three Greek New Testament words that are translated as “devout.” Two of these words are adjectives which “describe those who are godly, whose lives are characterized by whole-hearted, pure worship of God.” The third is a verb meaning “worship,” but is used three times to mean “God-fearing ones.”

2018 has been a year of spiritual growth for me. I faced a surgery with a peace that I know could only have come from God, and that I know I didn’t possess just a couple of years ago. I find myself at peace and content in situations that, in the past, would have left me frustrated and angry. I’m in church again after a lifetime of spotty attendance at random places, and I’ve never felt so at home. I owe God so much, and that starts with my devotion.

I’ll be cutting back on reading fiction in 2019 to focus more on books about God, faith, and the Christian life. I’m also limiting myself to one book at a time so I can truly focus.

Do you have a One Word for 2019? Drop a comment below and tell me what it is. If you have a blog post about it, leave me a link.

Green by Ted Dekker


I finally finished re-reading The Circle series. Here’s the review I wrote the first time I read it…. one of the first reviews I ever did. 🙂

Green is Book Zero, both the final and first book of Ted Dekker’s Circle Series. This novel picks up with Thomas of Hunter and the Circle ten years after the events in the novel White. But now the Circle is breaking. The followers of Elyon have begun to doubt that Elyon will return for them as promised. Some doubt he ever really existed at all. To make matters worse, it is Samuel, Thomas’s own son, leading this turn from Elyon. Thomas must fight to keep the Circle together. Their hope lies in the Lost Books of History and making a way from the future world back to our world.

Ted Dekker, the author, says you can read Green as either the first or last book of the Circle series. I admit, I was doubtful. But I can now see how it works. The story does indeed come full circle…

View original post 138 more words

Interview & Giveaway


I recently had the opportunity to participate in 3 Questions Wednesday over at Inspired Prompt. You can learn a little about me as I answer the following questions:

  1. Can you describe yourself in three words?
  2. Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?
  3. If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

You can also enter for a chance to win one of my favorite novels:

Cabron-ButterflyViolin

Many thanks to Inspired Prompt, and Jennifer Hallmark, for having me!

Please visit my 3 Questions Wednesday post to enter the giveaway, which ends tomorrow at midnight PDT.

I’d love to see your answers to the questions! Drop a comment here, or over at Inspired Prompt, with your answers. Or, ask me something else you’d like to know!

The Bullet Journal: To Plan or to Track?


I’ve tried a lot of ways to get myself organized with my writing. Not just in terms of keeping track of ideas and notes, but in terms of making myself sit down and get things done. I was using a Monthly/Daily planner for a while, but I eventually fell away from keeping it up. I was planning out my entire day by the hour, and I felt like it was too rigid for what I was trying to do.

Enter the Bullet Journal. I am brand new to this. I discovered it while looking for planner tips, and put off trying it for a long time because it seemed too involved. But the more I researched, the more I was drawn to how flexible and customizable it is. So, I finally gave in and purchased this lovely little journal.

img_0699

After looking at tips on what to put inside, I decided to keep mine very simple. I have lots of collections right in front, because I love lists, and it’s honestly how I best organize my thoughts.

img_0730

The logs, however, are where I cut back. I almost cut the monthly log, but the more I thought about it, it’s the daily log that is unnecessary for me. This journal will be purely for writing and reading. I work a full-time job, so I don’t do a lot of planning during the week as my schedule can vary if I suddenly need to stay an hour or so later at work. A weekly spread seemed to be more beneficial, so I came up with a layout I think will work for me, including a habit tracker.

img_0728

Unlike most weekly planners, I gave myself more space on the weekend, since this is when most of my writing will be done.

Once I had this in place, I sat to jot down a few tasks to get me started in the coming week, and I blanked. Doubt crept in that I’ll ever find something to truly work for me. Scheduling my writing tasks, at least in detail of what I need to do, just seems so burdensome. I think it’s partially due to the fact that this is my first novel, and I’m trying to take my blog in a new, broader direction. It’s unfamiliar territory. How can I plan the unknown?

As I stared at the blank Monday, I realized I shouldn’t try to plan. What I’ve decided to do instead is use this weekly spread to track what I’ve done. My monthly log with tell me specific items that must be accomplished. My habit tracker tells me what my priorities are. It’s my job to focus and do them, and I’ll keep track of my success with my weekly spread. Did I discover character details? Did I research a post for my blog? I’ll list everything I worked on when I finish for the day.

I’ll be doing this for a while, trying to get the hang of it. I don’t want to judge the progress too soon.

Do you use a bullet journal? How have you customized it to fit your needs?

You can learn about bullet journaling here.

 

Will You Join Me On My Journey?


A couple of months ago I shared that I entered a writing contest as part of my plan to treat writing as a career and look for opportunities to be published. I’m still waiting on the results of that contest, but I want to share some things on my writing journey as a whole.

I shared last time about a Ko-fi account that I created that would allow my readers (you guys!) to help support me on my journey, and I am very grateful to have received a couple of sizeable (more than I would have ever expected) donations that have allowed me to purchase a few writing resources/tools (including Scrivener) and join the American Christian Fiction Writers. A membership in ACFW can mean great things for a writing career in terms of support and connections. I am thrilled that I was finally able to do this.

I also mentioned in that previous post that I was considering using Patreon as a way to get support, and I’ve done it (click the picture below).

patreon

The great thing about Patreon is that I can set up donation tiers. Even the smallest amount helps, because those small amounts add up when more people give.

My tiers are $2, $5, $10, $15, and $25. At each level, you get a little something: from periodic updates about my writing, to being able to suggest topics for a blog post, to book giveaways. The more you give, the more you get.

This support means a lot to me. To be able to purchase the things I need to not just write, but move toward publication, is amazing. Another item I was able to purchase with the last donation through Ko-fi was The Christian Writer’s Market Guide. This one purchase can help me greatly with publication possibilities.

So, I’m asking for two favors.

  1. If you can, please become a Patron, at whatever tier is comfortable for you.
  2. Whether you can become a Patron or not, please spread the word. This post will be shared on Twitter. Please consider sharing it there. If you have a WordPress blog, please consider sharing this post to your blog.

One day, when I reach the publication of a novel, I’ll try to do something amazing for my supporters. For now, this is what I can offer in return for support that would mean the world to me.

Thank you all. God bless.

One Word 365 (2018)


OneWord2018

Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  (Romans 12:9-18 CSB)

My One Word for 2018 is persistence.

I always look for scripture when thinking about my word for the year, but this one I could only find once. It’s placement, however, is a section of scripture that I was immediately drawn to. God has been working in me to make me more like Jesus. I feel it more and more as my heart changes. I’ve been drawn to studies lately that deal with what our external behaviors should look like when our hearts are focused on Christ, and this scripture is an amazing summary. We can’t do these things in our own power. It takes the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

With God’s help I want to be persistent in all these things. I want to be persistent in my pursuit of Him.

I also, with God’s help, want to be persistent in my writing; both in practice and in study.

I want 2018 to be a year of never giving up, even when everything is telling me I should.

Do you have a One Word? Tell me what it is in the comments. If you have a One Word post on your blog, feel free to drop a link there.

 

Photo by Ruben Mishchuk on Unsplash

Another Year Gone. A New Year Ahead.


2017 wasn’t all I wanted it to be, but it had its moments. I read some great books, learned a lot about writing, took a big step on my writing journey, and drew closer to God. Now we’re all reflecting on the time that has passed, and looking to the time ahead to make changes and grow.

Great Books from 2017

I didn’t meet my reading goal this year, but I still read a good bit. These are the books I loved.

Fiction (Christian):
Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund
A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd
The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Fiction (Secular):
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo
11/22/63 by Stephen King

Non-Fiction (Christian):
The Legacy of Luther by R.C. Sproul and Stephen J. Nichols
A Time for Confidence by Stephen J. Nichols
The Truth of the Cross by R. C. Sproul
The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

What Jesus Demands of the World by John Piper (review coming soon)

Non-Fiction (Secular):
The Inkblots by Damion Searls

On Writing:
The Dance of Character and Plot by DiAnn Mills

Moving Forward in 2018

In the new year, I will focus on two things:

  1. God
  2. Writing

My focus on God will require the time and dedication of personal Bible reading and Bible study, theological study, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines.

My focus on writing (which includes both my novel and this blog) will require the time and dedication of writing (getting myself in a chair and making it happen, though I am outlining first), planning, research, studying the craft, and reading.

I’ve laid out my long-term and some short-term goals to start me on the right path. I know some things will change as I find the routine that works for me, but the important thing is that I have taken the first steps.

I hope you’ll join me on my journey in 2018!

What are your goals and hopes for the new year? Let me know in the comments.

 

Header photo byMorgan Sessions

A Chance at Publication


I just took a big step on my writing journey! I submitted an essay to The Writer magazine for a contest. Part of the prize will be publication in their magazine!

Unfortunately, it may be a couple of months before the winner is announced, so I’ll have this on my mind until then. But I’ve been looking at what I need to do (other than actually write my novel) to truly turn this into a career. At the very least, a part-time career. Let’s face it, not all authors can have writing as their sole income.

With that in mind, I’m going to ask a favor. This contest, as do most other writing contests, comes with an entry fee. I’ve already put out a decent amount of money on my writing journey, and if I plan to pursue this more seriously (and I do) then it will require more.

I started a Ko-fi account:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ko-fi lets you buy me cups of coffee. These cups of coffee are completely symbolic, mind you. It’s actually a way to give small (or large, if you so choose) donations to your favorite content creators.

Part of my journey to get more serious about my writing career includes this blog. I want to provide more content here. In addition to my book reviews, I want to post more on writing and the world of publication. With a full-time job, which sometimes extends into overtime, most of my spare time would consist of writing (both for my novel and this blog) and reading for reviews. Honestly, I’ll do this without the donations, because it’s what I want to do, but I could use the motivation, and it would be nice to know that people are truly interested in the content I provide. It would be awesome to know that I have your support!

I’m also considering starting a Patreon to offer some exclusive benefits to regular supporters, but I’m not there yet. I want to be sure that I can provide good, consistent content before I ask anyone to become a consistent supporter.

With the Ko-fi donations (as well as the Patreon if I ever set one up) the money would go toward my writing career. Writing resources, memberships, conferences (possibly in the future), blog costs, entry/submission fees, etc, would be covered with your support.

So, please consider this. And let me know if you would be interested in becoming a patron through Patreon.

God bless!

Update (due to lack of updates)


It’s been a couple of months since I’ve consistently posted. Part of this is due to the fact that I’ve hit a reading slump. Life got hectic, and my brain has been exhausted to the point where reading was the last thing I wanted to do. Writing was second-to-last.

I’m trying to get back in the groove, though life is still hectic. I’m beginning by starting a new book. I was a little less than halfway though my re-read of The Fellowship of the Ring when I hit the slump, and I can’t seem to get back into it. So, I’m stopping. I won’t be counting that toward my 52 books challenge, and I am 9 books behind on that.

A co-worker loaned me a couple of books, so I’m going to start one of those tonight.

Zevin-StoriedLifeFikry
I’m hoping that the fresh start with an unread book will help, and that I can work toward catching up on my reading goal, as well as get back to my writing.

Times like this I have to remind myself that we all hit slumps, even with things we love. Especially when we’re trying to do too much.