The Life and Times of Abby Jones

 

Cruises make the best pictures.

I think, as it is the new year, I should post something about what our family has been up to recently. Consider this the Jones 2016 Christmas Letter.

My blog has gone a bit by the wayside lately, as I’ve been working on some faery stories and finishing Book 2 of The Artists Return Trilogy. For various and sundry reasons, I’m hoping to get back in the groove of blogging. You’ll see why a little later.

Pretty much my new favorite line.

2016 was a doozy.
My health started to improve in May, which was a blessing because about that time my extra Dad ended up in the hospital. I know it’s not quite accurate, but it feels like we spent the whole summer in and out of the hospital. As far as my health goes, it seems that most of my issues stem from an inability to produce vitamin B. I can’t make it, or get it from the food I’m eating. Now, I take a B supplement every night before bed. I think this vitamin deficiency, combined with years and years of running on adrenaline while we owned the boutiques, and while I tried to do all the things, is what caused the Abby Collapse of 2015. I still have to watch how many things I commit to and listen to my body when it’s tired, but I’m much better.

About the time my extra Dad’s health was leveling out, our dear friend Ron Baines passed away right before we went on vacation. As soon as we returned, we found out our Pastor Jarrett has Parkinson. Changes will have to be made as he deals with this life altering disease. Next, our church hosted the Founders Conference SW. At this point in time, it is the end of September. I’m not sure what happened in October. That month is a big blank in my mind.

Halloween was in October!

November saw big changes in our family. The final decision for Price to go back to school was made along with the decision for me to look for a part time job.
Did I say doozy?

I started my job search in November, hoping to get picked up for holiday help, prove my worth, and stay on afterwards. I anticipated finding a job would take weeks if not most of the rest of the year. Nope. It took less than a week. Nordstrom hired me right away. I was flattered, but also slightly terrified. Starting a new job just as the holidays rolled in was enough to turn any woman’s hair gray.

On top of the college paper work, Christmas, a new job, Price teaching at church, and all that, we decided to revamp our home accounting. New home project right in the middle of the craziness! Yay! This has been a challenge, but also something we can work on together, so it’s been fun. As fun as accounting can be.

Just before all this craziness started, Emily Shiflet and  I had a Band of Brothers party. We watched all ten episodes in two days. Emily said she now understood what it was like to be in my head much of the time. 🙂 It was a much needed weekend of snacks, drinks, fellowship, and my favorite TV show. (See, the year wasn’t all bad.)

Christmas 2016 has been titled The Christmas that Wasn’t.
Sister Baking Day didn’t happen. Everyone’s lives were crazy. Jason only got to join us for a few hours on Christmas Eve. Remi was sick. Liz was enjoying her first trimester. Mom got sick on Christmas Eve and had to hide in her room all day. It was hot. Things were just off.

Christmas with the Joneses went a little more smoothly. We had a wonderful afternoon after church, spending time together.

Just when you thought life couldn’t get crazier, Price and I decided it was time to venture into the world of self-publishing. I have many stories sitting around. It’s time to see if they can survive out in the world and bring in an income.
First step: Panic.

Second step: Find an illustrator.

Third step: Everything else.

Thankfully, the Lord has already started to provide in this area. One of the girls at church, who is an amazing artist, wants to break into illustrating. We are going to combine our ignorance and collaborate on my first book, Sanctuary. We hope to keep learning together and put out 2-4 books this year and next. Please pray for us. I have several online friends who are letting me pick their brains and cry on their shoulders. God is good.

In addition to this, Pastor Jarrett approached me this Fall with the idea for a children’s allegorical story based on the Beatitudes in Luke 6. He’s been preaching through them and hopes to publish a small book based on his sermons. He wants a children’s story to go with it. This was a huge huge huge moment for me. Not only did it show me that my writing has grown enough for him to want to use it, but Jarrett has inspired several points in my stories. I am honored, excited, and horrified all at the same time. The name Lewis, and even Sproul, have been thrown around. That’s auspicious company to find yourself in.

Between all the faery stories, I’m still working on my Trilogy. Book 1 is simmering. Book 2 is going through the first round of edits, and Book 3 is percolating in my head. I’m also writing each of the kids a story for their birthday. I hope to collect these into one book to publish at the end of the year.

I have had to set aside almost all of the beta reading I was doing for different writers. This is something I hope to put back in my normal rotation, but I haven’t found time yet.

January has now rolled around. Price has started classes. He is working full time, taking two classes, and teaching almost every Sunday. I hope to see my husband in a few months. Lord willing, he will graduate with a BS in May. I am working part time, managing the cleaning, eating, secretarial work, and accounting, and odds and ends, and walking down the publishing path.

Niece or Nephew number 10 on the Vincent side is on the way. Price’s nieces turn 14 this year, and are both taller than me. They are beautiful and amazing and I love them. Vacations are being planned.
2017 promises to be very interesting. (Isn’t that an old Irish curse?)

How is your year shaping up?

 

 

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You’re Help Needed

I probably need this more than you do.  Every once in a while I need to remind myself of my goals, my dreams, my hopes.  I need to keep them before my eyes or I might lose my way.  I might get lost in the fog of possibility and never complete a project.  I might never grow beyond where I am today.  Being a writer means having other people living in your head.  They queue up to have their story written, but they don’t know how to stand in line.  They push, shove, cut, and get in fistfights.  One moment, I’m all pumped about finding the opening lines for a new story.  The next, I finally figure out how to re-write a scene that’s just had a temper-tantrum.  Then, this blog needs a new article and I’m off to find a 1000 interesting words.  Soon, my nieces and nephews do something adorable that must be captured on my computer.  But wait, my pesky fairytale pushes ahead of it all demanding my attention.  See how maddening it can be to be a writer!  (Yes, you literally feel crazy sometimes.)

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There are four writing goals at the forefront of my life:

1. Children’s Stories:  Capitalizing on my growing number of nieces and nephews, I’m working on a handful of children’s stories featuring their many adventures.  My goal is to have a handful of whimsical stories and a handful of moralistic stories to present to a Christian publisher.  Right now, I have two moralistic ones dealing with the differences between boys and girls, and two whimsical ones.  I envision watercolor illustrations, but I’m flexible on that point.  I hope to publish with a traditional publisher and market them towards homeschoolers.

2. FairyTale:  When I think back to the stories I read as a teen, I find many of today’s YA stories lack true adventure.  Oh sure, they have vampires and witches, but they don’t have innocents or strength.  Most of them are based entirely around romance, too easy to read, and self-focused.  They too quickly cave to raging hormones to gain readers and don’t remember that someday these people need to be able to deal with real life.  My goal is to write a Fairy Tale series featuring both grownups and teens captured in the flow of history.  They will face darkness, but light will win in the end.  Friendship will be the focus and theme.  This series will take me many years to finish, but I hope to have book one’s rough draft done around this time next year.  I don’t have any specific publishing plans yet, as the book is still in the rough draft stage.  I am sharing it with my writing group and have gotten rave reviews.

3. Blog:  I plan to continue to feature two to three articles on my blog each week.  The articles will cover sanctification type posts, movie and book reviews, writing articles, guest posts, and interviews.  My goal is to expand my readership base (followers) so that when I’m ready to publish I can prove I have an engaged and active platform.

4. Finish my two series:  When I made the switch from Urban Fantasy to Children’s Stories and YA, I left two intense series unfinished.  They may never see the light of day, but for my own sanity, they need to be finished.  If I don’t finish them, questions will haunt the back of my mind forever.  This is my hobby/vacation project.  I don’t plan on working on these stories on any sort of regular schedule.

These are my writing goals.  I don’t plan to spend more time on them than I currently do.  Writing is not my career.  My church, husband, home, and family are my careers.  But, part of the service I can offer is writing these stories.  I want to serve my church and my family through my writing.

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How can you help?  Well, that’s easy!  First, read my blog.  Read and comment.  Let me know you were here.  I check my stats page to see how many people viewed my blog each day, how many looked at different articles when they came, what articles and subjects are the most popular.  When you read the blog, comment, and share, I know!  Please, share my blog with your friends and family if you’ve enjoyed it.  If you like the children’s stories, read them to the little people in your life and let me know what they thought.  If the writing articles helped you, tell me and share it with other writers.  If you were encouraged by the more spiritual articles, maybe someone else will be too.  Read, comment, share.  Last, follow me on Facebook.  Facebook is an easy way for me to let you know how my writing is going on a daily basis.  It gives you insight into the mind of a writer and who doesn’t want that??  It’s also a convenient way for you to share me with all your friends and family when you’ve enjoyed something I’ve written.

A writer is only worth their salt if they have readers.  I am so encouraged by the number of you who regularly read my ramblings, like my posts, and even stop me at church to tell me you’ve enjoyed my stories.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me.  To all you Moms who’ve told me about reading my stories to your kids, two words: DAY MADE!!!  All writers feed on their readers.  You’re what drives us to keep going.  You’re what keeps us going when we feel like that was the biggest, garbbled pile of green ooze ever written.  Thanks for reading my musings.  Thanks for supporting me in my change of direction.  I love all of you!