January Highlights: Writing, Reading, and Outlining

I give up. I don’t know what normal weather here in the midwest is anymore. We had a few good snow falls earlier in the winter, but part way through this month all the snow melted. Which generally happens sometime each winter, except this year it kept getting warmer. We had a few days was it was in the 50s and 60s! I went out shopping with no coat! And we saw the sun. That was a nice treat.

A few days before the day it was sunny, my brother mentioned how the weather was supposed to be cloudy for the next week and a half. Mom made a comment about ‘no sun’ and I blinked. The sun? Right. I forgot about the sun… And then I wished they’d not mentioned it because I started missing it, despite the drama of mist and gray weather.

My Life

Home life is busy. My sister and I used to split a number of tasks, but now she is either at college or work six days out of seven so I have a little more to do. Though with a brother who helps make bread now, and Mom and I splitting laundry days, it isn’t too bad.

My own job of knitting hats is easing up. I’m only making ten a week now and generally go to the shop three days a week for an hour or hour and a half.

I’ve also started trying my hand at calligraphy (read: I got the markers out and doodled with them one night when I couldn’t think about writing anymore.) And I’m trying to find time for painting. Kind of. Watercolor is very fun, but it’s not high on my list of things to do; not with all the writing I’ve been doing.


Every month I seem to try and do more…



  • Shadows of the Hersweald is going well. After working through beta reader corrections and some polishing of my own, it is now in the hands of an editor.
  • I outlined Scarlet Rose this month. First the book, then the trilogy and overall character arcs. When I decided to write a trilogy, I didn’t realize how more than one book complicated a story arc. But I am pleased with the results of my brainstorming. I’ve the main plot points of each book worked out and am working an hour a day on Scarlet Rose itself.
  • Fidelyon… *insane laugh* I have, umm, reoutlined this novel. I knew something was missing and finally realized the first half of the main character’s arc was missing and there was no definite midpoint to the story. So I’m plunging into another rewrite. Well, I say rewrite… some parts will stay the same, with just minor changes. Other parts, especially in the first few chapters and pretty much the whole last quarter, are up for a major overhaul. I’m excited about it, even if I do wish I could just GET THIS NOVEL DONE!

Other Writing

Writer’s Confessions

  • Sometimes I run a search on my own blog to find past articles
  • I schedule posts a month in advance but don’t add content until about a week before they are due to be posted. So if I ever die vanish into another world, you guys are going to get a bunch of blank posts… *smirks*
  • I can’t brainstorm on lined paper. I can outline with lines, but I need blank paper to let my ideas flow right
  • When I do use lined paper for notes, I write super small, fitting two lines in the space of one line. Still not sure why I do that…
  • I have been writing for years, but grammar remains a mystery and sometimes even spellcheck doesn’t recognize my words
  • I use the effort of brainstorming a project or the triumph of finishing an outline or manuscript as an excuse to go get onion rings at Culvers



Yep, you never really know. Same if I am humming under my breath. I might be happy, or I might be trying to keep frustration or stress contained…

Oh, one final bit of news. I was on Kingdom Pen‘s first Live Panel Writers Discussion last week, talking about writing for a full hour! I was supposed to be one of three writers, but due to technical difficulties, I was the only one who ended up getting on. So it was just the moderator and I. But it still went well and I think all involved had fun.

So, what about you? Have you seen the sun much this winter? Have you ever outlined a book series before? What is your favorite treat to reward yourself with during or after your writing?

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Caption Challenge: January #5

First last week’s winners. 🙂


Caption Challenge winner is: Oliviakimwrites

“You’re wrong, princess; this fight is a dice, not a coin — there are so many more sides than you can see.”

Six-Word-Story: Anne of Lothlorien

‘A people united by one’s betrayal.’

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage.



All pictures from Pinterest

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge! Actually, I’ll post it in two Mondays because next Monday is when I’ll post the winner of January #1 challenge. Go check it out. You’ve one more week to enter if you haven’t yet. 🙂


Shadows of Hersweald Cover Reveal

Shadows of the Hersweald Cover Reveal

Yes, it is time! Already!


Shadows of the Hersweald is the third novella in my Legends of Light series and retells the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. And I am very excited to be sharing the cover with you today.


A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows the only end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor is chains, followed by punishment and possible execution. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment for the rebellion, and nightmares of murder and fire hovering in the back of Haydn’s every thought, can he save the only ones left he cares about before it is too late?

Find out in Shadows of the Hersweald!

And…I suppose I should actually show you the cover now. So, without more ado, here it is!


This gorgeous cover, by the way, was created by a good friend of mine who just started a blog and who you can find here.

Oh, and one more thing. There is something else I’ve been looking forward to sharing. The book trailer for Shadows of the Hersweald. It is the first book trailer I have made and I had fun with it.

Well, what do you all think, of both the cover and the trailer? Looking forward to the end of March yet? 🙂

Left to Die Blog Tour


A good friend of mine, Ivy Rose, is publishing a new novella! I was privileged to help beta read it for her, and it is quite a sweet story. Check it out. Also, there is a giveaway at the end, so stick around. 🙂


Lindy Greene’s life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a small hospital in China, soon brings the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn’t even like babies.

Nathan Thomas can’t find balance. College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. The chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the hospital does nothing to help him focus.

The Chinese mission field isn’t for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing them together: a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive.

Find Left to Die on Goodreads and on Amazon

I was also able to interview Ivy Rose and so, without more ado, here it is:

What was the original picture or idea which prompted Left to Die?

The idea for Left to Die is actually a very old one that has been bouncing around in my head for longer than a decade (haha, I’m old enough to say that now. 😉 ). But in honesty, the main inspiration comes from my sister, who we adopted from China almost ten years ago. The orphan crisis has been heavy on my heart ever since, and hopefully, this book will raise awareness.

Does Left to Die tie into any of your other works?

It does not—at this time. I may write more China stories and connect them to Left to Die.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I’m learning to use the Snowflake Method of outlining. Writing-wise, I’m working on my Dystopian novel–which is top secret right now, but hopefully I will be able to share about it soon!!!


About the Author:

About the Author:

 Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, eating chocolate, traveling, reading, and doing TaeKwonDo. She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.

She can be found at various places on the internet:






Follow the Tour


Becoming Lost – Review

Beyond the Amethyst – Review

Anika’s Avenue – Review

Once Upon an Ordinary – Interview


Whispers on the Wind – Interview

Read Another Page – Review

The Left-Handed Typist – Review


Counting Your Blessings – Review/Interview

Stories by Firefly – Review

Writing in the Light – Interview


Reveries Reviews – Review

Marrok Macintyre – Interview


A Purpose and a Promise – Review

Having a Heart Like His – Review/Interview

Whimsical Writings – Review


Rebekah’s Remarks – Interview


Click here to enter the giveaway!

Caption Challenge: January #4

First the caption challenge winners:


Caption Challenge winner is: Quinton of Boron

“Well, it would be goodbye if I was actually your brother.”

Six-Word-Story: Corissa, Maiden of Praise

“Two brothers. One battle. No victors.”

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage.



All pictures from Pinterest

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge!


Fidelyon: ‘K’ and ‘L’ with Ethaniel

Ethaniel, the main character in my novel, Fidelyon, has taken it upon himself to introduce you to his world by going through an alphabet of terms and names.

‘K’ with Ethaniel



Keros would dream of wearing something like this, but still…

Keros is the natural choice for ‘K’. A fellow messenger, he has also grown to something like a friend during the times he’s been posted nearby. Generally stationed at the neighboring Messenger Outpost 8, Keros had moved up and down the messenger line more than once, filling in for sick or hurt messengers.


He is quiet and keeps to himself, though Drexin sometimes manages to get him talking and even laughing. Keros is steady, determined, and quick.

His past is a bit of a mystery although, considering he appears to be a mixture of Volandum and Elentisaren blood, it’s little wonder he doesn’t speak of. He doesn’t speak of himself much at all, really, except to occasionally mention his father who he says he will rejoin one of these days. There are some messengers who doubt such a man really exists, but they quickly learned to keep their mouths shut on such a subjected if they valued their further wellbeing.

‘L’ with Ethaniel:

There are two men who sprang to mind when I was given the letter ‘L’.

The first is Lasher. First a ranger, then a jester in King Kysten’s court, he must be in his 50s at least. Short, wiry, with sharply cut graying hair, he carries himself with preoccupied purpose. He has a dry sense of humor, but not enough to make a good jester. How he got the position is beyond me. Though I am told that he is great at juggling. Especially when it comes to knives. No surprise there.


Lathen is cloaked in this picture, followed by a close friend and helper, Serin.

The other is also an older man by the name of Lathen. A Volandum Follower, he lives across the border near the main pass between our two nations. A healer and a leader of the Followers of the Prince in his village in Voland, he also has a wry sense of humor and a commanding presence whenever he enters a room.

Both men are very loyal, though Lathen takes a more relaxed view of duty than Lasher. Still, the two could almost be brothers. (They aren’t. I’ve looked into it.)


Sign up to my newsletter to get regular updates on my writing and secret stories about the realm-leapers and fantasy time travelers, Kirin and Elena, each month. Join the Legend Seekers here.

Caption Challenge: January #3

First the caption challenge winners:


There were some really good ones and it was hard to pick, but the Caption Challenge winner is:  SleepwalkingMK

“Don’t promise hope when there is none.”

Six-Word-Story: Anne of Lothlorien

‘A crown means nothing to rebels’

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage.



Pictures from Pinterest


Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge!

Author Myths: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

The writer’s life is surrounded by myths, both inside and out. ‘Oh, you are a writer? You must be rich?’ ‘A writer? Are you a starving artist? I didn’t think you could make any money that way.’ ‘Just write a book and put it out there, it will take off.’


So…yes. Lots of myths. So I decided to collect a few; some from Facebook, some from articles I’ve read, some from things I’ve heard or heard of so much that they are now stuck in my head.

Myths on the Inside:

That you have to write every day to be a writer. Ok, so there is truth that you need to write to be a writer, and you need to keep writing and not just write every two months as the inspiration seizes you. But it is also fine to take occasional breaks and not write every day.

You don’t need an editor, editing yourself is fine. I tried this. Nope, not really fine. Though I’m an awful editor myself. I think even editors send off their work to others for correction.

There is no need to worry about grammar and punctuation. The publisher will assign an editor-minion to take care of it for you. Just dash off your book, and relax and enjoy your six-figure advance. Insane laughing. I wish, but no. Just not happening.

Just write you book, put it ‘out there’ and readers will come flocking to buy it. Sadly, no. For readers to love our book, they need to know about it. They aren’t going to come searching for something they don’t know exists.

Myths on the Outside:

That writing is easy because it isn’t a real job. Excuse me. Does your job fill your mind day in and day out, and take up all your free time? Do you know how hard writing is, both emotionally and physical (I mean, really, who has time for sleep?). Also, don’t you dare count my success by how much money I make. Success is about so much more.

While writing, you are unemployed and available for major tasks/projects. *chokes* Yes, I am writing. No, that does not mean I am free. Writing and free are like opposite ends of the spectrum…

People are self-published because no traditional publishing house would consider it. Hardly. Traditional publishing houses can only publish so much, after all. And did it ever cross your mind that maybe we wanted to be in control of everything ourselves?

Self-publishers shouldn’t charge money for their books – they should be grateful if anyone deigns to read them at all, so they should always give them away. The only reason I will not blast anyone who dares think or say this to ashes is because is because you are so ignorant about what goes into writing that I don’t even know where to start.

When you publish that book, you’ll make tons of money. Also, you won’t make any money at all. Marketing. Email lists. Followings… You could make lots of money, or you could make a little, or you could make a middling amount. There isn’t one catch-all figure.

Because you are a writer, you know how to spell every word under the sun as well as all the rules of grammar. Please, I am horrible at both. Sometimes even spellcheck doesn’t know what I’m looking for.

It is assumed you can pull plots or character out of thin air for a friend (or younger sibling). It’s really not that easy. You want to be a writer? Figure it out yourself. I’ve more plots than I know what to do with right now.

Of course, you want to read and critique anything a friend (or stranger) offers you. There is this thing called time, you know. I don’t have enough of it for my own work. And, unless I offer, I probably don’t have any to spare for reading everything else under the sun.

I’ve come to the conclusion that writers, like many kinds of artist, will always be misunderstood. Not by everyone. I have some very supportive family members. I also have one who doesn’t quite get it. But that is fine. That doesn’t make those who don’t understand stupid, even if we might want to shake them sometimes. One day they might understand. Or not. But it is something we will face, and it is something we’ll have to live with.

So learn to laugh at it. Laughter can make about anything better. Besides, quite often what a nonwriter thinks about a writer can be funny. Don’t worry about what others think. As writers, we need to have a strong confidence in what we do and why we do it, then accept encouragement, ignore discouragement, and keep on writing!

Do you have any writing myths to share? Either something you’ve learned or something someone has said to you? Comment below!

Caption Challenge: January #2

First the caption challenge winners…oh, wait. Last week was the month-long challenge, so we don’t have a winner this week. So I’ll guess I’ll just go ahead with the prompt.


Picture from Pinterest

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure your six-word-story tells a story, instead of just being a six-word caption. It needs to go with the picture, but it needs to stand alone as a story as well. Somewhere, they’ve turned into short captions, and I want to get them back to stories.

On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge!

Shadows of the Hersweald: Cover Reveal Signups!

Shadows of the Hersweald: Cover Reveal Signups!

Shadows of the Hersweald comes out in less than three months, guys! That seems like a lot of time. It also seems like a very short time.

Today I have two cool things for you all. Firstly, here is my January Vlog. But instead of being a normal vlog, it is focused on Shadows of the Hersweald, name pronunciation…and there is a cool treat at the end. *grins*

The second item is a chance to see the cover for Shadows of the Hersweald a week early by signing up to host a cover reveal post on your blog! And the cover is very cool, let me tell you. Signups to take part in the cover reveal end next week, January 13th. I’ll send you all the cover, graphics, and base cover reveal post on the 20th, and the cover reveal itself will run from the 27-31st. So, whether you decide to sign up for that or not, it is something to look forward too.