Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Exciting News and the Subsequent Screaming

Hi guys! 
I break this hiatus to bring you exciting news—I signed with an agent! 

The Story: 

I believe I mentioned early this year that I pitched my Alice in Wonderland spinoff, The Queens Three, on Twitter during #FaithPitch. I got two requests from agents, so sent out my query letters to them. About that same time, another agent turned down Blood and Dust, but invited me to query her with a different project, since she liked my writing. So I sent her a query also. 

Within a week of #FaithPitch, both agents responded. One passed on the project, but let me know that she had passed it along to another agent she thought might like it—which was awesome of her. The second asked for a full. 

Fast forward a while, and I get an email from Kenzi Nevins, of Cyle Young Literary Elite (C.Y.L.E) asking to see the full. She had been passed my query from the original agent and was really intrigued. So I sent it to her and waited. 

Last week I got another email from her. Apparently her emails to me had been bouncing (horror of all horrors) but she was trying again because SHE WANTED TO REPRESENT ME AND MY BOOK. 

Cue the screaming. 

My mom wouldn’t answer the phone, and Jarod was excited but not exactly sure what I was talking about, but luckily I have some excellent writing friends to scream with (you gals are the best). 

After a good bit of screaming and some heart palpitations, we set up a time for a phone call, and had a lovely chat. I was terrified for the first 45 seconds, and then things calmed down and I felt really good by the end of the conversation. Kenzi is super easy to talk to, which is great. 

After the phone call I spoke with one of Kenzi’s other clients about what it’s like working with her, then emailed the two other agents to let them know I had an offer, which I’m told is standard query etiquette. 

The next day I heard back from both of them. Both had some very nice and helpful things to say about the book. One passed due to lack of time, and the other made her own offer of representation. 

Cue more screaming and heart palpitations. 

So I scoured the internet looking at agency websites, and recent books, and all that good stuff. I talked to some of my writing friends, my family, and prayed on it. 

After a few days of stewing on it, I emailed Kenzi to let her know I accepted her offer. 

*Happy Scream* 

She sent over the contract, I asked a few questions, and then ladies and gentlemen

I am THRILLED to be working with Kenzi, and so excited to start taking steps to bringing this (and hopefully many more) books to life. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

To Be Continued

Hi guys!

As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been around here much (at all). Sorry about that.

Rather than keep you waiting, this is my official announcement that I’m going on a blogging hiatus. My brain just isn’t doing well right now, and rather than write complete garbage blog posts, I’d rather just pause and come back with fresh energy later. 

You can still keep up with my updates on social media, and I’ll see you guys soon. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The ABCs of Pandemic Survival

Hello good folks. 
I’m coming to you today with a comprehensive list of how to survive a worldwide pandemic. Having made it this far, I’m basically an expert. Especially considering I was doing most of these long before social distancing started. 

A) Be a hermit.
It’s cool, really. Bilbo was a hermit and he’s loved worldwide. Don’t go outside, and if you do make sure it’s just to the boundary of your own garden. 

B) Be antisocial. 
Again, Bilbo perfected this, and he’s loved worldwide. It served him very well too. You’ll notice that when Bilbo broke his routine of antisocial hermit-hood, he was very nearly eaten by a dragon and thrown from the parapets by a gold deranged dwarf king. Avoid any such unpleasantness and all other people as well. 

C) Stock up on the essentials. 
Since you’ll be at home speaking to no one, you’re going to need a few things. I’m going out on a limb here and assuming you’re part of the population who didn’t make it to the store before the army of crazies descended and stole all the toilet paper. If that’s the case, may I suggest Imodium? A toilet paper pandemic is not the time to get the flu. Also, coffee. It prevents insanity, depression, and homicidal tendencies. (Results may vary) 

D) Binge watch
There’s never been a better time to watch your favorite shows. But, might I suggest taking into account the people you are isolated with? You’re already mentally taxed at this point. You really don’t want to have The Zombie Talk with a three year old. 

E) Binge cook 
All the recipes. Main dishes, side dishes, desserts and every dish in between. Remember though that trips to the grocery store are limited, ingredients are scarce, and there is no toilet paper anywhere. Binge cooking also tends to lead to binge eating, which could mean your pants won’t fit by the time this is all over. Binge with caution. 

F) Spring Clean. 
Use this time at home to tackle all the neglected cupboards and closets in the house. 
Actually, don’t. No one needs that kind of negativity. 

G) Video chat with friends and family. 
Just make sure you never actually enter the camera screen. I know we’d all like to think we’re rocking a cool apocalypse outfit, but we’re mostly rocking the look of death by anxiety and sleep deprivation, with an unhealthy dose of caffeine and sugar high. 

H) Home and yard improvement. 
Beautify your space! Just remember, social distancing applies to the hardware store also, and your bank account is empty because you bought all the groceries for binge cooking. 

I) Embrace the opportunities 
Never before has it been socially acceptable to cosplay on a daily basis in public. Are you just gonna let that slip by? Why stop at a basic face mask when you can dress like the worlds best supervillain. And I, I will be on my couch, laughing hysterically at the memes people make of you. 

J) Cruise Baby.
Talk your town into putting on a cruise night. Wave and honk at people like you actually like them. Pretend it’s the golden days and play oldies. Wear sneakers and poodle skirts if you want. Hype of the fact that your dad and husband are gonna tear up the town like they did as youngsters. Then stare in awe and shock as your little sisters get pulled over instead. 

K) Get a creative outlet. 
Now is the perfect time to start up a new novel or other art form. It’s also a great time to scream into the sky that you hate it. 

L) Procrastinate. 
Now is our time procrastinators. We can put off today what can be done tomorrow. Know why? Because we’ll still be stuck in the stupid house tomorrow. 

M) Internet shop. 
We’ve already spent most of our life savings. Why stop at most? 

N) memes. 
Memes are the answer to everything. They will get us through. 

O) Let it out. 
Yell. Scream. Cry. Whatever. 

P) social media. 
There’s some cool stuff going on with everyone trapped inside going insane. And no one can pick on you for staring at your phone because they’re all doing the exact same thing. Your move, boomer. 

Q) Don’t rule out zombies. 
Just because they haven’t arrived yet, doesn’t mean they won’t start. Also, vampires. We’ve all been locked inside away from sunlight for awhile. 

R) Read.
Old books, new books. Read them all. 

S) Garden.
Unless you live in Nebraska. 

T) Sled.
If you live in Nebraska this is your alternative to gardening.

I bet you thought I was going to go through the whole alphabet with tips huh? Or even that I would match the first letter of the tip to the corresponding letter of the alphabet. But no. Just because I have the time to do it doesn’t mean I’m going to waste my time doing it. 
It’s not like you can come over here and stop me. 

How are you getting by through this weird time? Are you still clinging to your sanity, or have you embraced the madness? 

DISCLAIMER: This is in no way meant to belittle or make light of the people who are struggling with this illness or are suffering job loss because of it. My heart absolutely goes out to them and I’ve been praying every day this will end soon. This post is strictly me trying to find a little humor in the insane times we find ourselves in. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Dance of Thieves book review

Hello all!
I hope you’re doing well—staying healthy and sane. 
I’ve recovered from the flu and am soaking in the sunshine, doing some yard work before the snow comes this weekend. #nebraskaweather

Today I’m going to be reviewing the Dance of Thieves duo by Mary E Pearson. 

It’s going to get a collective four stars from me—five stars for the story itself, but there was more cussing than I’d like so.

Here are the blurbs:

 Dance of Thieves:

A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations.

A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power.

Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen's premier guard.

A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself.

A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.

When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their livesand their hearts.

Vow of Thieves:

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before themthe Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor's Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor's Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apartand each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits. 

The characters:

It’s been two years since a book kept me up all night reading it. These books ended that streak. (I bet you thought my sleep deprivation lately had to do with a new baby—wrong.) 

Kazi and Jase have securely wedged themselves into my top literary couples. At knife point.
They are everything I love in a character. Sassy, sweet, strong, broken. All in a nicely balanced way. 

Their interaction with each other is hilarious, and they’re one of the few fictional characters that actually felt like teenagers to me. Yes, they are outlaws and soldiers, but in the scenes where we got into their personal lives—especially the romantic aspect—they felt like kids to me, which was really refreshing. 

Jase really fascinates me. I definitely have a type, and there are certain things about Jarod that fit that type, but generally speaking he’s nothing like my fictional crushes. Except Jase. Jase is A LOT like Jarod. It was just a little bit disconcerting. Obviously Jarod’s not the leader of an outlaw family (or is he?) but I couldn’t help but think that if we plunged Jarod into this world, he would react the exact way Jase does. It was cool. Anyway, back to the story. 

The supporting characters were just as epic. I love Jase’s siblings, and his mom. Several of his brothers are hilarious, and I absolutely adore Kazi’s friends. I thought they really lended to the idea that all the characters were just kids as well. They talk too much, they wonder about adult things, etc. 

The Plot:

This was a very fun plot with all sorts of twists and turns. You really had to stay on your toes. It reminded me of a cleaner, sweeter Six of Crows. The scheming was so fun and it was a constant guessing game of who was playing who, and trying to decide if it was on purpose or if they really were having feelings. It really kept the emotional tension as full power. 

The books are tropey, but in a good way. Enemies to lovers, being trapped with someone you hate, all that wonderful awkward stuff. 

In short, I love these books. I will read them again and again. They are absolutely gorgeous inside and out. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sick Leave

Hi guys.
Due to dying of stomach flu, I’m going to skip out on a blog post today. 

If you need me, you can find me curled up on one of the social media platforms, trying to trick my husband into believing Johnny Depp passed away before he realizes it’s April Fools Day. 

Stay vigilant! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I’m Not a Therapist, But—

These are strange times we’re living in, people. And I’m not sure what I think of them. 

Scrolling though my email and social media feeds, I see everyone is sharing their tips and tricks to avoid anxiety in this bizarre situation brought on by Covid19. 

And guys, I am not the person to write that type of post. I’m not a super cuddly, emotional person who is gonna give you a virtual hug and assuage all your fears. I might send you a meme. A somewhat morbid, rude meme. Because you can’t be scared when you’re laughing, right?

So I’m not going to try and give you Six Weapons to Use When Slaughtering Covid19 Fears and Anxieties (even though it sounds kind of fun to write). 

I am, however, going to remind you that God told us these sort of things would happen in the last days. Are these the exact and literal last days? I don’t know. They very well could be. But regardless if this is the beginning of the end, or just a super flu that’s going to blow over soon, we should remember God’s promised and commands to us. 

He promises to never leave us. He’s not practicing social distancing. 

Deuteronomy 31:6
Deuteronomy 31:8

He tells us not to fear and panic. 

Hebrews 13:5 (stop hoarding the toilet paper, guys)
Isaiah 41:10-14
2 Timothy 1:7 (I can’t read this verse without singing it anymore)

Pray. Pray. Pray. 

1 Peter 5:7
Philippians 4:6-7
Psalms 55:22
Hebrews 4:16

He’s got it under control. 

Romans 8:28

And if this whole Covid19 panic buying, quarantine infested life has you considering God for the first time, he’s got promises for you too. You don’t have to start tallying your good deeds when things get scary and hope it’s enough for God to lend you an ear. Our good conduct isn’t enough. But the good news is, it’s so much simpler than that. It’s as simple as Admit, Believe, Forever Receive. 

  • First, you must admit that you are a sinner and need to be saved.
  • Second, you must repent and be willing to turn from your sin.
  • Third, you must believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
  • Fourth, you must receive through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.

Romans 3:23 KJV “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 6:23 KJV “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 KJV “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 10:9 KJV “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Romans 10:13 KJV “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 8:1 KJV “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Romans 8:38-39 KJV “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So stay healthy, friends. Now is not the time to get the gang together and start licking door knobs. But rest assured we serve a risen savior who is more powerful than any virus or toilet paper shortage, and as his children we can talk directly to him when things weigh heavy on is. And if you ever need a listening ear, hit me up. We can chat. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

To Best The Boys Book Review

Yes, yes. I know I’m way too late in reading this book. But better late than never, right? I’m here and I have thoughts. 

The Blurb: 

The task is simple: don a disguise. Survive the Labyrinth. Best the boys.

In a thrilling new fantasy from the bestselling author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, one girl makes a stand against society and enters a world made exclusively for boys.

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port have received a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see if their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone is ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

Honestly, I think I’m going to give it five stars. I have no complaints. Zero. 

Right at first when I started reading, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I get really tired of the whole Girls Can Do Anything spiel. I’m sorry. I just do. BUT this book was good. It felt very balanced and non-preachy with the girl power, and I fell in love after the first chapter. 

The characters:

Rhen is an awesome protagonist. She’s quirky and fun, strong, caring, and awkward. She felt very real, honestly, and her desire to “best the boys” felt was very natural rather than a soap box. 

Selini may take first place for best friend character. Usually the rich proper friend is also an airhead and weakling, but not Selini. She’s with Rhen every step of the way, and I loved how she portrayed being strong and capable but still 100% feminine. I also loved that her highest aspiration was to be a wife and mom—and that she was happy with it. So often homemakers are looked down on in fiction, and as a wife and mom myself, that makes me really sad. 

And you can’t best the boys without boys, and man were the boys in this book awesome. The villains were completely vile, and I actually did not see the final reveal coming at all. That was quite the surprise, and made perfect sense. I LOVE Will and Sam and really enjoyed their friendship with Rhen. And Beryl is absolutely hilarious, I can’t even stand it. 

Obviously, Lute is a heartthrob—anatomically correct lips and all. I just wanted to hug him. His story made me so sad, but yet he’s so perfect, and he’s so manly, but then he can wax poetic too (who doesn’t like a boy who talks about the sea? I mean, come on). He was perfect. That is all. 

The world: 

The world is very cool. I loved how chill it was with the magic. Oh yeah, there’s sirens in the water. Ghouls will rip your chest open. No big deal. It doesn’t give any explanation, which was really cool, because why would a character bother to explain if all of that is normal in their world? I really liked it. It was nice to just be able to accept, yes there is magic and monsters, and you just have to deal with it and watch out at night, without getting bogged down in a full blown epic fantasy explanation. 

The whole concept of Mr. Holm and his labyrinth is stinking awesome, and the way the labyrinth is described is so cool. This is a very vivid book, and Rhen’s quirky voice is absolutely awesome in describing it. 

The plot: 

It’s awesome. I had heard a lot about how good this book was when it first came out, bought it right away, then didn’t read it. So all the details I had heard before kind of slipped away from me, and I came into reading it with absolutely zero expectations. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, so every twist of the plot was a complete surprise and thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time (did I mention I read it in like, two days?) and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. 

It was really neat to have dyslexic and autistic characters in the story too. I feel like the author kind of took all the hot topic items of the day—diversity, representation, feminism, etc—and put it into a story that somehow magically doesn’t sound like a political rant. It’s fantastic. 

So, long story short, this book completely caught me by surprise in the best possible way, and if you haven’t read it you really should.