Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: books

Dance in Faith. Stand on Holy Ground. Run on Mission for God.

I mentioned previously how I took a big (for me) leap this summer by signing up to be on two different launch teams (I reviewed the first of those books, Holly Gerth’s Fierce Hearted, here in case you missed it). The second of those books (actually the first one I signed up for) came out yesterday. I’m so, so glad that I took the risk and said yes to be on these teams, because I’ve been so blessed by each book, albeit in different ways.

Dance Stand Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground is a book that author and pastor’s wife Jess Connolly (co-author of Wild and Free) felt led to write after trying to convince three different women that they needed to watch the show Pretty Little Liars. In church. On Easter Sunday. And then, as she tells it, she went home feeling disappointed and let down, and as she prayed expressing her confusion as to why their congregation didn’t experience the spiritual awakening and revival that they’d been hoping and praying would happen, she remembered those three conversations, and a thought struck her: “Have we forgotten about holiness?”

This is, at its core, a book on the fundamentals of Christianity. That might strike some as being too elementary, but the hard truth is that we all need a refresher course on the fundamentals of faith. I think we all know church bodies — as well as individual believers — who are so legalistic they’ve forgotten about grace. Just as we also know those who emphasize grace to the exclusion of holiness, righteousness and sanctification–fearing that to even mention the idea that receiving God’s grace should transform us to be more like Jesus is a slippery slope that leads to legalism and bondage.

In Dance Stand Run, Connolly firmly but gently presents a Biblical case that grace and holiness go hand-in-hand, and that to focus too much on one and not enough on the other leads to a faulty Christianity. She makes the case that, while it’s certainly a blessing to rejoice in our deliverance and what we were delivered from, we also need to remember what we were delivered to — to a life of transformation and sanctification made possible by the Holy Spirit. Grace says we don’t have to be holy — but that we get to be holy.

I especially appreciated the chapter that talks about drawing a circle around yourself and your own holiness. I and the Holy Spirit in my are the only ones who get to decide what holiness looks like in my life, just as you and the Holy Spirit in you are the only ones who get to decide what holiness looks like for you. So if I’ve decided that I can’t watch Game of Thrones that doesn’t mean I get to decide other Christians shouldn’t be watching it, either. And if you feel like you shouldn’t read Harry Potter you don’t get to decide other Christians shouldn’t read it.

Connolly doesn’t pull any punches, even delving into that touchy subject of alcohol, and getting a big ol’ YES AND AMEN from me when she points out that we can get drunk on all kinds of things–things that might be innocent on the surface and perfectly fine for someone else can be crutches or stumbling blocks if our motivations and our relationships with these things aren’t what they should be. She invites each of us to examine our own lives and encourages us to focus on identifying the planks in our own eyes and not getting distracted by the specks we see in the eyes of other people.

I also like that each chapter includes a section of Bible study, taking a close look at a relevant passage of scripture, as well as questions to aid self-examination and personal application. I haven’t read it myself, but I know that there’s also a Bible study guide available to go along with the book.

This book confirmed a lot of my own beliefs, which might bias me in its favor, but it also convicted me more times than I’d like to admit. I think this is a timely book that’s needed in today’s Church, full of life-changing truth and encouragement. It could just spur the kind of spiritual awakening and revival that Jess was hoping for on that cringe-worthy Easter morning.

I’m a Fierce Hearted Woman (and So Are You)


I did a rash thing back a couple of months ago, and that thing was applying to not just one but TWO book launch teams for books coming out in October. Signing up to that first one already felt a little wild and crazy for me, but taking on a second one? Whoa Nelly.

Y’all are probably starting to think that I have a pretty low bar for what constitutes “rash” and “wild and crazy” in my life. And you’re right. But I was still so caught up in the habit of overloading my plate that I tended (and still do) to guard my precious time and capacity like a mama bear guards her cubs. I was a chronic “no” sayer. So saying yes to these books, to helping usher them into the world, was kind of a big deal for me.

But they have both been so worth it.

The second yes was actually for the first of the books coming out this month. It comes out today, actually (which was yesterday by the time this gets posted). That book is Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holley Gerth.

Holley writes beautifully, in a way that is accessible and relatable. But the thing I love most is that reading this book felt a lot like sitting at a table across from a wise, funny big sister (which is funny because she’s probably a little younger than me) who doles out love, encouragement and sound advice over coffee. I get the sense that Holley is wired a lot like I am, and she’s had a lot of the same experiences and hardships that I’ve experienced, and it’s shaped her in a way that makes me kind of want to be her when I finish growing up, except that she would tell me–and does in her book–that I should only want to be me, the truest, fiercest version of myself that God created me to be.

I feel like this lady gets me, is what I’m sayin’.

Fiercehearted is a relatively short book. It’s 40 chapters long, plus an introduction and epilogue, but each chapter is only a few pages long. Each one relates an anecdote from the author’s life and lessons the anecdote taught her about life and faith and how those lessons can apply to all of us. If the amount of pink highlighter that got used up in my advance reading copy is any indication, practically every page resonates with encouragement and truth. Sometimes those truths are hard, but she always brings it back around to hope.

This book helped me confront some hard truths about myself and my own life, helped me lay down some things I’d been holding onto too tightly that had become too heavy to bear, and helped me find healing and hope in ways I did not expect. I didn’t know I was signing up for therapy when I signed up for the launch team, but to say that this book has been therapeutic would not be wrong.

All in all, this book has been a real blessing, and saying yes to this opportunity has been one of the best yeses I’ve given all year. Hopefully, you’ll say yes to it too, and be just as blessed by it as I have been.

Did you pre-order this book? Are you planning to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments! Oh, and PS – that link is an Amazon affiliate link. The book is also available pretty much wherever books are sold, but if you decide to order it from Amazon, doing so through that link will give me a small commission that will help to support this site. Thanks!


The Essentials of Essentialism

Recently, I joined the launch teams for two upcoming books–one by Jess Connely and one by Holley Gerth. I will talk about each of those books in future posts–two different posts, because it wouldn’t be fair to make them share–but today I want to talk about the fact that guys, I signed up to two different launch teams!

That’s a big deal, and here’s why: until recently, I would have seen the invitation to apply and thought to myself, “Wow, I wish I could do that, but there’s no way. I’m just too busy,” and let the opportunity pass me by. But this time I was able to respond to each invitation with a resounding YES without any hesitation or guilt.

So what’s changed?

The short version is, I’ve stopped giving so much of my time and capacity to unnecessary things. I’ve been working on not only clearing the physical clutter from my life, but also the mental and emotional clutter. And that has left me with more time and energy for things that really matter to me, things I really want to do, like getting to say yes to reading advance copies of books from amazing authors and helping to publicize them.

This is a shift that’s been happening in my life for a while now–for at least the past year–and this summer I’m starting to see a lot of fruit from my efforts to pare down my life to what’s essential. And now I want to tell you about some books that helped me get here.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – This is the essential book on essentialism, which, in a nut shell, is the discipline of saying no to the things that aren’t actually important and get in the way of your goals so that you can say yes to the things that actually matter. The book deep dives into what that looks like and also how it can make your life both saner and more productive–like how not being pulled in a million different directions actually makes it easier to focus on the important tasks–as well as how to discern what is actually important from what isn’t and how to say no when it’s not. It comes down to understanding that everything is a trade off. Every time we choose to give our time or energy to something, we’re choosing to ignore something else. And if we don’t consciously decide which things to say yes or no to, other people will decide for us.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman – I first read this book last year, and at the

time I devoured it as quickly as I could. I’ve been re-reading it this summer, and this time I’m taking my time with it, sitting with it and taking time to slowly process each new idea. Overall, this is a book about uncovering the art we were each uniquely designed to make with our lives in order to bring glory to our Maker. But there is a section on putting first things first that made me realize I’ve been giving priority to second things. There’s a quote from C.S. Lewis about this in the book and I’m going to go ahead and share it here:

Put first things first and we get second things thrown in; put second things first and we lose both first and second things.

I know when I let secondary things take over, I end up too tired and burned out to do anything. But when I put what really matters first–give it the first of my time, energy and focus–I not only have enough capacity left over for whichever secondary things are actually needed, but also better perspective to discern whether they are indeed actually needed.

Which brings us to…

The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine – I just read this one last weekend. This is a book for anyone still struggling to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a helpful guide for those struggling to settle on one career or vocation because you have so many different passions and interests. Maybe you’re like me. I’ve always known I wanted to be a novelist. I know I will always be a novelist. But I don’t and have never only wanted to be a novelist–I have at times also wanted to be a web designer, a graphic designer, a freelance writer, a professional crafter, an editor, a musician, a psychologist, a nutritionist, a marketing professional, a career academic, a college professor, and probably some other things I’m forgetting. And I have actually been (and still am) some of those things at times.

This book gives practical advise on how to not only identify and narrow down which passions actually fit into your life in the current season you’re in, but also how to organize your life to make room for them. But one exercise I found particularly helpful was one that involved writing down everything currently on my plate that’s demanding my time and attention and identifying which of those things help to further my goals and which actually serve to further the goals of others, even if it’s just perceived goals, even if the “others” in question is just the mean boss in your own head. In other words, which tasks are done solely to please other people, and what needs to happen for me to stop giving my energy to those things?

One thing that stood out on my list was book marketing tasks that I don’t enjoy and that don’t actually do anything to help me connect with readers and sell books. I’ve been doing them solely to please my publisher, or because authors are “supposed to” do these things. So I’m just not doing them anymore. That alone has freed up a ton of time and energy that I can devote to things that matter–like saying yes to book launch team invitations and reading books that can help make all our lives more enjoyable and sane. 😉

What about you guys? What are you saying no to so that you can say yes to what matters? And have you read any life-changing–or just super-useful–books lately? Let’s chat in the comments! ♥

What I’m Reading: June 3, 2016

What I'm Reading: June 3, 2016


I’ve always been a voracious reader. But there for a while, I fell out of a regular reading habit. Life seemed too busy, and I became convinced that I couldn’t make time for reading and writing, and chose to focus on writing.

Of course, my writing suffered for that decision, because you can’t constantly pour out words without filling yourself back up with them. You have to take time to fill that creative well in order to find inspiration. It’s not even that simple, really. Writers need exposure to other people’s writing in order to help process ideas and not only know what they want to say, but also become equipped with the right vocabulary to say them properly. Reading is important, y’all!

A couple of years ago, after a long reading dry spell, I finally figured this out, and made a conscious decision to fit reading back into my daily routine, even if it was just fifteen minutes a day. And do you know what? It’s amazing how, when you decide something is important enough to make time for, other, less important things have a way of shifting around or even falling by the wayside to make room for this new priority, without you even having to give it much thought.

Anyway. The point is that I’m reading so much these days, I might as well start using this space to document and share what I’m reading. These are my current reads. I typically read two books at a time now–a nonfiction work digested slowly in small bites throughout the day and a fiction work that I devour in big chunks on nights and weekends–which is amazing to me because I’ve always been a staunchly one-book-at-a-time type of reader. See what I mean about things shifting around to accommodate conscious priorities?

Nonfiction: Even if Not by Kaitlyn E. Bouchillon – This book was on my wish list and I didn’t even know my husband had ordered it for me. It arrived just in time to accompany me to the ER when he had a health scare, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate reading as we waited for answers (which we’ve since gotten, and in case you’re wondering, he’s fine now). It’s a hope-filled memoir with an encouraging message about choosing to trust God in the in-between–in the waiting time between questions and answers, between problems and solutions, between hard times and deliverance–and making up your mind whether you will still trust Him if things don’t turn out the way you hope they will. It was appropriate to that upsetting weekend at the hospital, but it also speaks to the bigger picture of our lives these last several years, and it’s been doing a lot to encourage me and renew my hope in the middle of my own in-betweens.

Fiction: Paper Hearts by Deborah Williamson – I picked this up on a whim at a used book store. It’s not the sort of thing I typically read, but I’ve been trying to branch out and expand my horizons beyond the gritty genre fiction I typically prefer. And you know, I’ve actually been enjoying some of the more light-hearted and heartwarming reads I’ve come across lately. This is one of them. A teen running away from her abusive past has a chance meeting with an old widower who’s ready to give up on life, and they end up rescuing each other. It’s set in small town Oklahoma and filled with believable and believably quirky characters that I’ve quickly grown to care about. I particularly appreciate that Williamson, a fellow Oklahoma native, doesn’t paint any of her characters with a stereotypically Okie brush, and yet I can recognize the Oklahoma in them. It almost feels like I’m reading about my own neighbors and kin.

I’m nearing the end of both books, and hope to wrap them up this weekend. So hopefully I’ll have a couple of new books to share next week (including Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall, which I can’t wait to get started on).

What about you guys? I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Do you have an recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

What I Learned In March

This week I’m doing my first link-up with Emily P. Freeman in which we look back on what we learned in the previous month. This is kind of a doozy because March was a big month for me as far as spiritual healing and growth, which means we’re going to get a little vulnerable here. Which brings me to…


1. I learned I need to let myself be more vulnerable. I’m pretty good at that in writing (although there’s room for improvement; also, some people *cough*myhusband*cough* might say I have a tendency to be a little too vulnerable, if by “vulnerable” you mean “tending to overshare about things nobody wants or needs to know”), but face to face I can be pretty reserved and closed off, and it’s hard, even online, for me to reach out, put myself out there and take risks with people. So, praying about that, and resolving to work on it.


2. I learned that I’m a fan of Emily P. Freeman. I’d read posts on (In)Courage and on her blog before that gave me that eerie feeling that she’s peeled back my skull and peered directly into the inner workings of my brain, but after reading her books Simply Tuesday (which I finished in early March) and A Million Little Ways (which I finished last week), that feeling intensified to the point that I got all Anne Shirley over how she’s a kindred spirit. That lady GETS me.


3. I learned that I need to be kinder to my own soul. This includes accepting–nay, even embracing–how God made me instead of constantly fighting it and believing that I’m not enough. It means shedding the lies that the enemy used to prevent me from becoming the woman God wants me to be. And it means understanding that desire, in and of itself, is not a sin, is not selfish, and it’s okay to move beyond survival mode and spend time and money on the things my soul needs to thrive. It’s okay to want nice things for myself.


4. I learned that I enjoy passing the evening with a book instead of a TV show. I mean, I love my shows, don’t get me wrong. But we were in such a habit of feeling like we had to have something to watch together in the evenings, even when our shows aren’t on. But our Prime membership expired and we haven’t gone back to Netflix yet, and we’re down to just a small handful of network shows each week, so for the last couple of weeks we’ve been spending a lot of evenings just sitting quietly together and reading, and it’s been lovely. And I got a TON of reading done this month, which was nice.


5. I learned that my soul needs these things in order to really thrive:
  • Quiet and stillness
  • Opportunities to sit, think, process and dream
  • Opportunities to be creative, not just in writing but also hands-on things like crafting and visually creative things like graphic design or even just doodling
  • Beauty and art
  • Opportunities to connect with nature
  • Pretty things: a pretty home, pretty surroundings, pretty clothes, pretty tools, etc.
  • Intimate connections with people — having a few close relationships with people who really understand me rather than a lot of casual acquaintances
  • Books/good stories via any medium
  • Kindness and gentleness from others; assurance that I’m loved and cared for


6. I learned my “love language,” which is, probably unsurprisingly, me being a word herder and all, words of affirmation. I also realized that I need to feel really listened to, heard and understood in order to really feel loved on a deep level. A close second is physical affection, which also isn’t very surprising, seeing as how I’m both a hugger and a patter.


7. I learned that I think God is nudging me toward writing inspirational romance, except then I went to the bookstore and checked out that section and it all seemed to be stuff about either cowboys or Amish people, so probably that’s the wrong label for it. If there’s a category for chick-lit style books featuring strong and snarky but broken heroines figuring out their lives that are clean and explore Christian themes without being all preachy, then that’s the category I mean.


8. I learned a lot about Jesus. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been slowly working my way through the Gospels (I’m still in Matthew — that’s how slowly) with an eye toward trying to connect more with the human side of Jesus. When I think of Bible characters I can relate to, people like Elijah and Peter and Paul spring to mind — flawed, broken, plain ol’ human people who were prone to screwing up sometimes. As much as I love my Savior, I’ve always had a hard time relating to Jesus as a person. This latest round of gospel reading has really opened my eyes in that regard. This is stuff I plan to elaborate on here on the blog at some point.


9. I learned that I enjoy reading memoirs. It used to be like pulling teeth to get me to read nonfiction, but this year I set an intention to broaden my reading horizons, and so far I’ve been sticking to it. After reading the above-mentioned books, plus Wild in the Hollow and Bird by Bird (which is about as much memoir as it is writing advice), I’m eager to read more in this vein.


10. I learned that I’m really tired of feeling bad and being in constant pain and I’m finally ready to do something about it. Which is why on Monday I’ll be kicking off my first Whole30. I’m slightly trepidatious but mostly I’m looking forward to it.

Weekly Goal Follow-up: Feb 23-27, 2015

Well, I got my wish to get out of the house this week. The sun came out on Tuesday and cabin fever got the better of both of us, so we went out on a lunch date to a Thai buffet we’d been wanting to check out (JK’s Thai Buffet in Broken Arrow; not a big selection, but what they had was definitely worth the trip), then stopped by Krispy Kreme to take advantage of their free donut giveaway (and, in what was probably an unwise move, picked out a dozen to munch on over the next few days). Then Wednesday, after our semi-weekly Sprouts run, we paid an impromptu visit to Oklahoma Joe’s to try out some of their bbq sandwiches for lunch. Afterwards, we swung by our favorite used book store, where I picked up a good grammar reference book along with a Jennifer Crusie paperback and a Steampunk novel.

By the time we got done with our weekly Aldi & Walmart run on Thursday, I was ready to not leave home again for at least a week. Which is a good thing considering we’re in the process of getting snowed in again as I type this.

In other news, I finally did our taxes this week, and I don’t want to talk about how that turned out. I’m just glad I can finally check off that square in my bullet journal. As for the rest of this week’s goals, here’s how those turned out:

  • Daily prayer time
  • Daily novel writing

I didn’t manage to write every day, but I added over 1,100 words, which is a big improvement over last week, and I outlined the next several scenes to keep things on track.

  • The critique and editing gigs that filled up my Fiverr queue over the weekend, plus a sample edit for a potential direct client.

I’m taking a break from the last of these as I write this. I’m hoping to get it done before I shut down this evening, but I may have to end up working tomorrow to clear it off my plate so I can start in on book editing projects next week.

  • Write & post two more blog posts
  • Finish reading Let’s Get Digital
  • Update the descriptions on various Fiverr gigs
  • Add some features & static content to this website

Nah. I barely managed time to blog, let alone add anything extra.

  • Make a pot of chicken soup from scratch

Hah, no. Partly because my husband keeps cooking hearty casseroles and partly because I’ve got all this instant pho stocked up from last week’s trip to the Asian market. Maybe I’ll finally make it tomorrow, though.

  • Get out of the house for something other than groceries

See above.

So it hasn’t been a terribly unproductive week, but it could’ve been better, particularly on the noveling front. At any rate, it was enough to tire my brain out, so I’m looking forward to a weekend of vegging out with another Gilmore Girls marathon.

How was your week? Any big weekend plans, or would that require shoveling snow?

The Power of Cliches: Life Lessons from Little House

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Not long ago, as the weather turned cold and we started looking forward to the holiday season, my husband and I both started reading the Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I had found an almost complete set at the used book store, and it seemed like just the sort of thing to put is in the mood for winter and Christmas.

Of course, like most GenXers, I grew up with the Little House on the Prairie TV series, so I thought I knew what to expect. I also thought I had read these books already when I was about 10 years old or so, although it turns out I had only read the titular book, not the entire series. At any rate, I didn’t expect to develop such a strong fascination for the Ingalls family and their way of life, or to become a Laura Wilder fangirl.

I also didn’t expect to get so much from these books that I can apply to my own life. Not just the detailed instructions for things like making cheese and sour dough bread and baked beans and building a log cabin (not that I’m likely to ever need that particular bit of knowledge… but you never know), but also attitudes and philosophies about life.

It seems that Charles and Caroline Ingalls (a.k.a. Pa and Ma) put a lot of stock in sayings that we think of as cliche. But sometimes the reason things get repeated to the point of becoming cliche is because they’re true. The Ingallses met with a lot of hardship and adversity in their quest to carve out a living from the land, and their ability to remain positive and keep their optimism in the face of catastrophe was breathtaking.

Here are a few of the sayings of which they were most fond, that did so much to carry them through hard times.

Wash on Monday . . .

This isn’t so much a saying meant to cope with hard times, but this little rhyme definitely helped Ma with her considerable amount of housework and chores:

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

Other versions of this rhyme say “Market on Thursday,” but being that the Ingalls family usually lived quite a distance from town and raised their own food, Ma’s modification was more fitting.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought about how to adapt this rhyme to modern life and my own household needs, which don’t actually include having to make my own dairy products. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Vacuum on Monday
Laundry on Tuesday
Sprouts Market on Wednesday
Aldi on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Big projects/yard work on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

So far, so good. I vacuumed (and swept) the floors yesterday, and today I’m getting the laundry done. Wednesday’s and Thursday’s shopping trips are already part of our routine, so we’ll just have to see if I manage to fit in cleaning on Friday and muster up enough energy to tackle one of my big organizing projects on Saturday. I guess I’ll keep you posted.

All’s Well that Ends Well

Pa was fond of saying this after narrowly surviving disaster or narrowly avoiding getting his family killed. It seems at times like a way of brushing off boneheaded decisions, but really, it’s not a bad attitude to adopt. You can’t change the past and you can’t take back bad choices; and if things work out in spite of your mistakes, then there’s no point in dwelling on what you could have done differently. Just give thanks that nobody got (seriously) hurt and move on (and try to be more careful in the future).

There’s No Big Loss without Some Small Gain

This was one of Ma’s favorite sayings, a more modern equivalent of which might be “look for the silver lining.” Ma trotted out this chestnut in the face of some pretty major disasters — such as when blackbirds ate their entire crop of corn, but Pa managed to kill enough of the blackbirds to provide meat for days — as a means of staying focused on the positive. This is definitely a trait I could do well to emulate in my own life.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

If you think about it, the pioneers never would have made it in the West without a tenacious streak a mile wide, and Pa exemplified this trait. This is something I used to believe wholeheartedly when I was younger, but since I’ve gotten older I’ve grown a lot more cautious and more likely to let obstacles dissuade me from pursuing my goals. Pa and the rest of the Ingalls family have reminded me how far hard work and determination can go toward achieving the life you want. You just have to be willing to do what’s necessary, and to not let fear hold you back — two things I’ll be doing my best to remember as I chase after my writing and publishing goals this year.

What about you guys? Do you have any favorite cliches that you’ve found to be true? Have you read the Little House books (and aren’t they great)? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Book Review: When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes

I originally posted this review in March of 2012. We’ve recently pulled this book out and started going through it again, mainly because it has a lot of good advice for staying warm in the event that all of these winter storms knock out our power. I stand by my original review — the info in this book really holds up. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list who might need some coaxing when it comes to adopting a preparedness mindset.

You might know Cody Lundin from The Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival. Or you might know him as that guy from Youtube with the sustainable underground house. But if you don’t know, Lundin is a survival instructor based in Arizona whose instruction focuses primarily on indigenous skills—in other words, surviving off the land the way the Native Americans used to do it.

But Lundin broadens his teaching focus for When All Hell Breaks Loose, his manual for urban survival in a SHTF situation. Whereas in his survival school Lundin primarily works with hikers, campers and other outdoor sports types who are at a greater risk of getting lost in the desert or wilderness for a stretch of days, his book is more concerned about long-term survival for the entire family, and it’s deliberately written in terms that even Grandma and Grandpa can understand. Continue reading

The Dresden Files: Ghost Story

Dresden Files Ghost Story

I FINALLY read this book (seriously, y’all, sometimes I almost want to quit writing just so I’ll have more time in my life for reading, which is not easy to come by as it is). It was an enjoyable read, as always, with lots of tugging at the heart strings and wanting to give Harry a big ol’ hug. The ending was pretty much exactly what I expected, although I kept wondering throughout the book how it was going to end up there, and although unsurprising it definitely set up some interesting dynamics for the continuation of the series. I don’t really have anything to add by way of review, just some fan-girl babble that I will place behind a cut because it is somewhat spoilery and also, fan-girl babble.

Continue reading

How George R. R. Martin Killed My Novel (except not really)

This is my least favorite time of year. Strike that — it’s my second least favorite, behind those long dreary (and occasionally icy) weeks of winter when the holidays are done and you just want it to be spring already. Now the summer holidays are done and I just want it to be fall already, but it’s not quite as bad as the winter doldrums, because that time of year is depressing, whereas this one is just irritating. And hot. I will never be a fan of Oklahoma summers.

But the writing is plugging along. I passed the 50,000 word mark on Dominion last week, which NaNoWriMo has trained me to see as this great milestone and feel like I should have a party or something, even though with this book that’s only the halfway mark. But it’s not as far along as it should be, mainly because I made the mistake of deciding it would be a good idea to re-read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series so it would all be fresh in my mind when I read A Dance With Dragons.

BIG mistake, at least as far as my writing goes. It’s generally just not a good idea to read a book that you’re fannishly obsessive about while you’re in the middle of trying to write your own story. It’s especially not a good idea to engage in an entire series that you have such feelings about, and ESPECIALLY when the shortest book in said series weighs in at around 700 pages.

So now when I sit down to write, I find my mind wandering to George Martin’s characters instead of thinking about what my own should be doing, and instead of writing I want to go outside and sit in the shade with a tall glass of lemonade and lose myself in Westeros all day forever. It’s especially bad now that I’m up to the third book, which is my favorite (so far) and heavily features my three most favorite characters (who I can’t even mention by name because even that would be a spoiler to you TV show fans who are trying to stay pure). In fact, I would be reading it right now, but I promised myself I’d post a writing update today, so here we are.

Clearly, I need to get me some ASoIaF/Game of Thrones icons Got some.

But I am still forcing myself to write, and once I get going I remember how much I love my own characters and care what happens to them, so that’s good. I’m planning to have Dominion ready for publication by October, in time for Halloween–which seems fitting, seeing as how it began on a Halloween.

And now I’m off to read.