Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Bees Found Me

Once upon a time, my apartment was invaded by honeybees...

...and Rooglewood Press announced the theme for their next fairy-tale novella contest: Sleeping Beauty.

It seemed only right to connect the two events.

The latest WIP I've been working on sporadically? A project I've affectionately titled Sting Me to Sleep. (It's quite possible this title is as bad as The Shedding of a Star - the original title for How a Star Falls. It sounds quite epic and clever to me, but, um, you can see that I don't always have the best judgment when it comes to naming my work. So...let's just call this a working title for now and see what happens!)

What started as a terrifying experience has turned into story inspiration and an odd sort of fascination. I've even been collecting various bee paraphernalia (some items gifted by my mom): honeycomb-shaped bee dishes for my kitchen counter, bee pajamas, a bee notepad, and, from my most recent trip to the coast, a bee dishtowel, bee necklace, and a nonfiction book called The Beekeeper's Lament.

It's interesting how writing through your fears can be so freeing. A new perspective - a bit of distance to see the size and shape and solutions - can make a world of difference.

(Does this mean I won't freak out again next spring should I happen to hear buzzing in my stove vent? Mm, probably not. But still.)

Sting Me to Sleep has been quite fun to write so far. :) It's a contemporary romance with a slight fairy-tale flair. I don't know if I'm going to enter it into the Five Magic Spindles contest, as I feel it's more a modern "reimagining" of Sleeping Beauty than a retelling. More "inspired by" than strictly following the plot. I'm really not sure how exactly it's going to turn out, but I hope to finish it soon-ish and find out!

If you'd like to see my inspiration board for the story, hop on over to Pinterest. Below you'll find a snippet from the beginning of my WIP and some pictures of honeybees hard at work at a rose garden I visited with my mom and sister on Saturday...

* * *

Unedited Snippet from Sting Me to Sleep

There were two things I feared in life above all others. 

Bees, and inconveniencing another person. 

The latter dread resided deep within me—a calcification built layer by layer, glare by glare, reprimand by reprimand, and solidified with my mother’s disappointed tears. That’s why I didn’t ask for help when the bees came. 

It was just last spring. I lived in a small rental home on the edge of town, where the grass grew a little wild because I had never bought a lawn mower and the nearest neighbors weren’t near enough to care. 

I liked the solitude. Any freelance editor would. And I was proud to have my own space after several years of rooming with strangers while building up my business. 

But the bees found me after only several months of peace. 

I had known they would find me, eventually. The kind of knowing that friends mock but always proves true. Maybe a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Still, I wasn’t prepared for the battle that awaited me in my own home.

* * *

*Note: I haven't forgotten about Morning Glory (Book 3 in The Heart's Spring series) or Where Trains Collide (another NA novella)! I still plan to finish and publish both stories in time, Lord willing. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Which Heart's Spring Heroine Are You?

Crazy4Fiction (Tyndale House Publishing) recently posted a quiz regarding their latest fiction heroines, and I guess that inspired me, as I found myself thinking today about what sorts of questions I might include in a quiz for my books. :) So I created a personality quiz for "The Heart's Spring" series. Thought it might be fun!

Find out which heroine you're most like...

(Possibilities: Annabelle from Bellflower, Elizabeth from Forget Me Not, Sally from Bleeding Heart, Margaret from Fairy Slippers, or Felicity from Morning Glory)

Disclaimer: This is just a for-fun sort of thing. If the description doesn't really fit you - or if it eerily matches you to a T - I hope you'll remember I'm not really a mind reader. :) Hehe.

I'd love to know which heroine you are and whether or not you agree with your result! Which heroine has resonated most with you from the "Heart's Spring" books you've read so far?

Monday, April 13, 2015

When an Author Gets Off Track... (With Consolation Giveaway)

Some seasons the words flow, and the story falls together as if everything you had previously experienced led to this collection of pages.

Some seasons the words won't come, or they feel all wrong, and the story closes itself tight within a bud not ready to be peeled open.

And some happens. The words fit together if you force them, but you know there's a better way and a bigger picture if you would just stop rushing to see the puzzle completed.

* * * 

Here I am once again, asking for your forgiveness. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson with Morning Glory, but one can hope the lesson has at least sunk in deeper now.

(Note to self: Try not to announce target release dates until you have a first draft completed.)

I've come very close to finishing a first draft for Where Trains Collide, and there are some things I'm happy with, and others I'm not. I know for sure and for certain that there's no way I'll be publishing it on Earth Day, which was my goal - and for that I sincerely apologize. :( I think this story needs some work, and I still need to factor time in for editing by my proofreader and myself.

And it's quite possible that what this story needs, more than the energy that I don't currently have, is time and life. Perhaps I should factor that into my story process more often... That's what made all the difference with How a Star Falls. The story became something completely different and infinitely better when I let myself ponder it over the months and experienced life transitions in the meantime. When the time was right, the story flitting around in my head finally flew onto the page.

I know it won't always be easy. Sometimes the words will stop and start and eventually find the updraft they need to glide through to the end.

Sometimes life will plunge you into the sea, with words all around you but nothing to grasp onto yet.

My grandpa recently passed away, and between his loss and family turmoil and busyness at work and busyness after work, I've gotten off track (although I was already heading that way before his passing). And while I know it's not OK to make commitments and not keep them (and for that I'm truly sorry), I know it is OK to take time to ponder and feel and live. To readjust priorities. To rest. To remember.

* * * 

Lord willing, Where Trains Collide and Morning Glory, whenever they might finally be released, will be better for the wait. 

For now, I have a pair of extra paperbacks (Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart) that I'd like to send one of you, which I'll be happy to sign to the winner. These are the updated matte/softcover versions. (The content is the same, but the covers are tweaked just a bit from the first batch, with the corresponding series number on the spines.) 

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only due to shipping costs. But I'm also running a sale this week for the Kindle ebook versions:
  • Forget Me Not: FREE April 13-17
  • Bleeding Heart: Countdown Sale April 14-21 (starting at $.99 and increasing incrementally)
Thank you so much for your constant support and friendship! I hope that whatever season you're in, you'll ultimately be blessed by those times you get off track and experience life in new ways.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Her Paul Bunyan - Sneak Peek at Where Trains Collide

Paul’s voice had turned a smidge deeper than she remembered, but it still had the ability to soothe her and bring her home. 

Her Paul Bunyan of the redwoods. 

In her happy memories, he wore his red “lumberjack” shirt, dark jeans, and hiking boots. Despite everything, it always made her breathe out a little laugh to think of him at the Trees of Mystery, standing on the boot of Paul Bunyan’s statue with his fists on his hips, trying to hold a straight face but failing miserably.

Unedited snippet from Where Trains Collide | Photo taken at the Trees of Mystery

* * * 

Getting closer to "The End," friends. It feels a bit like wandering in the woods, but we'll get there, right? :)

Still have to incorporate my critique partner's feedback and have my proofreader read through the manuscript, so it's going to be a race down the track to get this next new-adult contemporary romance novella out by the end of April! But I'm not giving up hope yet. Prayers for guidance with this story would be much appreciated! More updates to come...

Monday, February 16, 2015

15 Years Later... From a Certificate to an Audiobook

Hello, reader friends! How have you been since...*checks last blog post date*, November? Thank goodness I get to chat with most of you over at Seasons of Humility and on my social media pages! Otherwise, you'd think I'd have fallen off the face of the earth - or perhaps out of the sky. (Lame How a Star Falls joke, I know.)

Today I just wanted to share with you a photo that my parents sent me. It was taken nearly 15 years ago, on my 9th birthday.

For those of you have read How a Star Falls, you might recognize the reference from my Acknowledgements page. :) This is me when I received as a gift an International Star Registry certificate notifying me that a star in Orion's Belt had been named after me. Pretty cool, huh? And so fun to look back and see the beginning of one element of inspiration for my novella!

It was also especially neat to see this picture on the weekend that I approved the files for the How a Star Falls audiobook! Patrick (the narrator) has been so great about conveying Derrick's voice and taking into account my editing suggestions over the past week. We're just about set for launch now!

Assuming the files pass ACX inspection, the audiobook could be available in anywhere between 5-10 business days. Here's hoping we can release the audiobook before March! I'm so excited to share this and to chat a bit more about hearing a story come to life in a new way. :)

Question for You: If you could choose any constellation in which to have a star named after you, which would you choose?