Quote of the Weekend

There is so much I’m not getting to do this Christmas that are normally part of my Holiday Spirit. But, this quote sums up how I feel. I get to be with my family. I am loved. I have so many people I love. Christmas will be a happy time even if all the packages and bows aren’t here.

Merry Christmas!

(Don’t forget! Come January 1st all my content will move to my new blog: Faerie-Stories.com. Make sure you hop over there and follow so you don’t miss any of my upcoming articles!)

Advertisements

Blog cover Page

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you have survived several changes. I’ve been writing since 2000, and blogging for almost 10 years. My first blog shared my vampire thrillers as a series, writing lessons, and general thoughts on a wide range of topics. By choice, I kept my religious beliefs in the background, wanting to appeal to as many readers as I could. I wanted my writing to be good writing, not Christian writing…if that makes sense.

About four years ago, I made the choice to step away from my thrillers and my blog. I made the choice to take my writing in a different direction. You can read about that here.

This year, I had my first story published in something that I can hold in my hand. I have submitted stories to publishers and to magazines. I have had another story rejected by a magazine, but shared on their blog. One of my pastors has asked me to write a story for the children of our church. I’ve been working with an illustrator. I’ve submitted a fairy tale to a writing contest. One of my nieces keeps up a constant hue and cry for book 2 of my YA Series: The Artists Return. I wrote ten children’s stories this year for my little nieces and nephews. I had a blog post shared on the blog of an artist I admire very much. I wrote the rough draft of a novel in about three weeks that solidified a story motif in my mind that I want to run with: Huntsmen and HearthKeepers. And, last but not least, my brother-in-law wants me to do some writing for him for his Home Owner’s association. I’ll actually get paid to write on a regular basis. All this means two things:

One, more publicity.

Two, less time.

And I’m still doing all of this, except the writing for my brother-in-law, in a 40-minutes-to-an-hour-and-a-half-per-day window of writing time. I pretty much only write early in the morning before my day starts which is limited by how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I can write during lunch at work, but it’s not much. See, writing isn’t my career or my focus in life and it never will be. My home and my church are my focus. Writing is a way to serve both. I would love to supplement our income. I want to encourage my church. But, it isn’t the be all, end all of my life. 

Faced with many projects and limited flex time, l approached a tech savvy friend and asked for help!! We both agreed that as my writing goes more public it’s important that my social media presences is more unified. I have half my accounts as personal and half as public, and none of them have the same name. My blog sounds like a blog of a woman who is only going to talk about homemaking, not a homemaker who is talking about everything from theology, to movie reviews, to WW2, to how abortion has shaped her stories.

At first, I wanted to call all my accounts Warrior Stories. This is the heart of who and what I am and what I write, but almost every time I looked up the name for a username it was taken. The names started getting stranger and more disconnected the more I tried to hold onto the Warrior Stories. After consulting my tech savvy friend who knows my writing heart almost as well as I do, we decided on this:

Faerie Stories: Warrior Stories for the Brave

(Stories let us practice being brave before we have to be.)

The name ‘Faerie Stories’ allows me to communicate the child/YA aspect of my writing. It catches the eye with the alternate version, the one Tolkien used, to spell Fairy. And it was available across the board.

Over the next few weeks you will start to see @faeriestories pop up here and there. Go ahead and follow me. I don’t have much content yet, but I’m working on it. I hope to launch a new everything with the New Year. My goal is to make it look polished, professional, and me.

I want to communicate the way westerns, redemption, mythology, and steampunk combine in my imagination to create a unique cocktail. I want to show that I write a range of stories from Children’s Picture Book stories, to YA Fantasy, with some Christian allegory on the side. I want my Christianity to stand in a forest of good writing. I hope that by reading my blog, following my FB, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, and Pinterest you will get an idea of who I am and what I write. I hope that you will see that I write from a Reformed Baptist perspective, a Texan perspective, and a warrior perspective.

As I pull myself together on social media, I hope to gain followers, readers, and fans. I don’t think my style lends to an easy gathering of readers, but it does appeal to a wide range of readers. With all this in place, when I submit work to be published, a publisher or magazine can see that I’m active and engaged and ready to help put the word out. I hope it will make it easy for fans to find me across the board, and connect in a way that is meaningful for them. And, I hope to save myself some time by getting on a consistent, manageable schedule.

Right now, I’m looking at one blog post a month, one Instagram post a week. I haven’t decided yet on how many tweets or FB posts. I don’t interact with Twitter much, but I need to start. My FB post will be informative, but also interactive so that readers can give me feedback. I’ll share links as I get things published, and probably excerpts of what I’m working on. As this gets going, please let me know what you think.

I’m excited! This last year my writing has been pretty spastic, flitting from thing to thing. But, it’s also been a year of huge leaps forward. My writing is getting noticed, my YA voice is finding itself, and my collection of children’s stories is growing. I’ve submitted like crazy. Now, it’s time focus.

So, what do you look for in an author’s social interactions? Do you have any authors you follow regularly? What’s your favorite type of content?

Stories let us practice

 

 

An Ordinary Thanksgiving

I’ve missed several days this week just due to a busy schedule. The bottom line is that I’ve been generously provided for. God is good.

To wrap it up, I’m thankful for holidays. They change life up, make us pause and think, and let us celebrate with food and drink!

I hippie you make merry today! Happy Thanksgiving!

The Passing of a Man I Loved

One of my favorite stories has the line in it, “Everybody dies alone.” I’ve always loved the brutal honesty of that statement. That no matter what, no matter who you are with, no matter who you are, you face death alone. We live in a world where honesty about death is hard to come by. We work out, eat right, and do plastic surgery to avoid it. We take drug after drug after drug to keep it at bay. And when we must face it, we sanitize it, cover it up, and hide it. Yet, we’re all going to die, each and every one of us. That’s the horror of this life. That’s its curse. We’re going to die. This life ends.

About three weeks ago, a man I loved died.

“Had he been sick, or was his death unexpected?” The first time someone asked me that I just stood there, trapped between both yes and no. Yes, my dear extra father had been sick for a very long time, and had given us some good scares, but that’s just it. He’d been sick for so long, we just kinda expected him to keep plugging along, or for the downhill spiral to be more gradual. So yes, he’d been sick for years, and yes his death was unexpected. I had just seen him. I knew he wasn’t doing well, but I kept telling myself, “The doctors aren’t panicked, so I’m not gonna panic.”

The next morning he died.

It wasn’t a ‘peaceful’ death like Harry’s, surrounded by saints singing, holding his hand, praying, reading scripture, and doing their duty to the end. It wasn’t like what I’d heard of Glenn’s, where he was able to give his children marching orders before he passed. It was a cold dark morning with EMT’s and doctors struggling, fighting to find a pulse, find a breath, bring him back. It was a police officer taking us away from him to give them room to work. It was us huddled in the emergency room hallway trying to reach our siblings, knowing, having to decide this was the end.

For me, the next few days were busy. Planning a Memorial Service is like planning a wedding, on the fly, in four days. There were lots of tears as we started to put my extra Dad’s life together one last time. There was laughter as we shared stories. Both good things, but for me there was also a layer horror hidden under it all. A profound sense of unrest. I’m not even sure what I was reacting too. I just felt disturbed.

So, I preached to myself. Over and over and over, I recited the truth to my unhappy heart. I knew that my extra Dad had died, but I also knew where he was. I knew that he wasn’t in some void, that he wasn’t lost forever. I know, I know that I will see him again. In fact, the first thought I had was that my extra Dad was now up in heaven with my Yankee Dad. They are up there and someday I’ll be with them. I’ll shed this mortal life with all its temporary, yet heavy burdens, and I’ll join them at Christ’s feet for all eternity. Oh happy thought.

I knew the truth, but the sense of horror didn’t ease up. It just didn’t go away.

What was creeping me out so much?

The Sunday after his Memorial Service we gathered in our normal spots in the church building. That was hard, being there without him. Not hearing his voice while I was singing. Not hearing his ridiculously loud whispers to Wanda during the service. Seeing my husband try to stay emotionally in control. Hearing my extra Mom cry. It was all hard, hard, but good. Then we took the Lord’s Supper. I’m not exactly sure what Jarrett said, but I’m sure it was something about Vidal being with the Lord now, while we’re all still “in remembrance of” Christ. That’s when it hit me: Vidal did not die alone. Not everybody dies alone. There are a few, a happy few, we band of brothers, who do not ever die alone. Christ was with Vidal every step, by horrible step. When we weren’t there, Christ was there. Vidal didn’t die alone. I can’t think of a more beautiful or wonderful thought. Christ, the one who took on death for us, was with Vidal at the end, just like He was through all of Vidal’s Christian life. The Holy Spirit was with Vidal at the end, just like He was through all of Vidal’s Christian life. He was there to help him across the dark waters to the Celestial City, where Vidal is now perfect with no sin. He has seen Christ, his only hope. He is at rest. Vidal is more alive than all of us. He has left the Shadow Lands. He has finished the race, finished the war, found his hope.

The sense of horror slipped away.

Peace has followed me every day since.

I miss the old guy. I miss his love. I miss his support. I miss him being proud of me. I miss him being proud of his son, my husband. I miss his stories. I miss his generosity. I miss him. I will miss him until I join him, but I know he’s safe and so am I. I know that my missing of him is temporary.

It’s strange to lose a parent. It’s strange to face life without them. It’s strange to realize you are going to finish the rest of this life, possibly forty years or more, without them. You can’t share with them and they aren’t there to support you anymore. It’s a strange feeling. Yet there is peace. “Our Father in heaven…” Our Father. We have a forever parent. One who can’t be taken from us, and one who will not leave. He won’t abandon us. He won’t fail us. He won’t exasperate us. He won’t disappoint us. He won’t die. We have a heavenly Father who loves us in the most perfect way of a father with his child.

Here is hope. Here is hope in death. Here is hope in the loss of a man you loved and have loved for years.

Not everybody dies alone, not everybody.

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 18, 19, 20

I got a little behind over a busy weekend.

For the 18th, I’m thankful for leaves blowing in the wind. I’m thankful for the smell of wet leaves, and the sound they make when you kick through them. Autumn is filled with lovely sounds, smells, and sights.

For the 19th, I’m thankful to have a place to go for thanksgiving when everything falls apart and you can’t do what you planned. I’m thankful for friends who love me and I’m thankful for family who I will miss.

For the 20th, I’m thankful for family get togethers, even little ones, even when someone is missing. I’m thankful that we love each other enough to miss each other.

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 16

I’m thankful for God’s generosity to me. I’m thankful that I not only have a roof over my head, but a beautiful home. I’m thankful that I not only have clothing on my back, but a while closet filled with beautiful things. I’m thankful I’m not only starving, but have to watch not over eating. God has been generous in so many ways, and I’m thankful.

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 15

Today, I’m thankful for trees. I love all trees, from towering oaks to small cedars, from redwoods to mesquite trees. I find their shapes appealing and beautiful. I love their steadfastness. I love how often the Bible compares a battle-hardened Christian to a tree planted by rivers of water. Deep roots and and the water of the word.