Monday, March 28, 2016

Thank You

He took all the pain. All the agony. The stripes, the nails, the suffering. He took all the blackness of the world. Him so pure, so beautiful, untainted. Perfect. But He took on every bit of it anyway.

But I don’t deserve it, I whisper.
“I love you,” He says.
But I deserve death.
“I love you.”
But I mess up so much.
“I love you.”
But. . .but. . .but. . .
“I love you. Forever. Unconditionally. I love you, My child.”

He calls me child, when I should be nothing but a slave to the darkness. He calls me beloved, when I’m so filthy.

When I was born so tainted. Too ugly to even look upon His goodness. He loved me. He wanted me.

“I’ll take these stripes, the pain, this suffering, for you. For you. For you.”
But. . .
“Because I love you.”

He gave His beautiful, beautiful blood and washed it over me. Me. The unworthy urchin. With His blood and tears and love, He wiped away the darkness, cleansed the layer upon layer upon layer of filth. And then, oh, and then the unthinkable happened. He took my hand. The hand of the once hideous beast deserving only of death. He took my hand. He looked at me.

“I am yours. And you are Mine.”

My own wickedness which once kept me so far from Him was gone. And now He looked at me, He held me, He claimed me. He loved me.

He could have left. He could have turned His back. He could have been done with my mistakes I make again and again and again. How could He even tolerate such a being?

Instead He gladly took the stripes. The stripes I put there myself. Over and over. With my petty mistakes and selfishness. But He took them. He took it all onto Himself, stripped me from the darkness, spilled His blood over me so I could be clean. The shackles fell from my wrists, and He promised me freedom forever and ever.

Then He came back. He did not abandon me. When He could have. When I deserved it. But He returned and held my new body. My new body, cleansed by His blood.

“It is finished,” He said. “You are Mine.”
Because You love me, I say with tears in my eyes as I look upon the print of nails in his hands.
”Because I love you.”

Thank you, Jesus. I am so, so undeserving. I make so mistakes, every single day. But you did it anyway. You suffered and died and returned. You are mine. I am Yours.

Because You love me.

Though Easter may has passed this year, what He did is eternal.

Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Beautiful People - Larke {March 2016}

It’s time for me to join up with Beautiful People again! *confetti* If you haven’t yet (which most of you probably have, I’m always behind), do leap or skip or hop or jump (or walk, that’s fine, too) over to Sky's post or Cait's to join in yourself.

We’ve had a lot of awesome editions these past few months, including Beautiful Books and last month’s Valentine’s edition, but this go round there’s no special edition. Just ten questions to interrogate our characters with and get our brains whirring. And, honestly, I’m quite excited about it. I love all the fun themed editions but there’s something special about just the regular Beautiful People. I’ve also been anticipating a good set of questions that would suit a particular character. I’ve wanted to do a BP with this character for like. . .a year. When I saw these questions, I knew it was time.

Some of you have probably seen me talk about him, a certain mischievous fae from my Beauty and the Beast retelling, Burning Thorns. If not, well, you’ll meet him today. And him being the cocky fae he is, he’s insisted he answer the questions himself. I very hesitantly agreed, as long as I can oversee it. We’ll see how this goes. . .

So, against my better judgment, I guess I’ll hand it to him now. Everyone, meet Larke.

     Larke took a couple of more steps before glancing at his empty side and blinking. He swerved on his heel to face her. "Problem?"
     "Yes there's a problem." Marigold firmly placed both hands on her side. "We've been walking through this stupid forest for hours and you haven't even told me what I'm doing here. I didn't agree to a nightmarish hike through the woods!"
     He raised a finger. "Firstly, I'd rather you not insult the Forest, I'm quite fond of it." He paused and glanced at the ground, eyebrows scrunched, before snapping his head back up a second later. "Secondly, that's it." Another finger joined the first. "Secondly, it's hardly been a full hour yet."
     "Well, who can tell in this merciless darkness? I'm not moving a step more until you tell me where exactly we're going."
     He pointed a finger to his left and little behind him. "Right there."
    " Excuse me?"
     "Right there." His finger shook in emphasis. "Across that bridge, that's where we're going. But if you want to take a break." He shrugged and plopped to a sit where he stood.
     She squinted through the fog and spotted a thin, moss covered bridge stretched over a wide drop-off not five feet away.
     "That? That's our destination? The thing looks like it'll collapse if I breathe on it!"
     "So don't breathe, then."

~ Larke ~

1. What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based them off?
Inspired? Based off of? I am who I am. I’m a very unique and fascinating individual, thank you very much. What do you mean—

*shoves Larke out of the way* Ahem. Okay, I may have to answer some of these questions for him. (Italics is me talking.) My first spark of an idea for Larke was sometime during the early stages of outlining the novel. This was originally a novella. When I decided to turn it into a full-length novel I knew I needed some bigger plot devices, something more in depth. I also thought it’d be fun to add more fae characters, since there wasn’t much in the novella. Next thing I knew, there was Larke, his sassy personality full intact and ready to take over the novel. I didn’t discover his backstory until later though while I was outlining. Now it’s strange to think this story once existed without him. He’s such an important piece.

Emphasis on important.

More like causes a lot of trouble.

Isn’t that what I just said? Life would be so boring without a little fun.

Anyways. *shoots him a glare* Very, very soon after the idea for him came to me, I was thinking about an actor who would suit him. Almost immediately it hit me. Robbie Kay, specifically as his role of Peter Pan in the ABC show Once Upon a Time. He was Larke.

2. Describe their daily routine.
My day starts off like anyone’s. I wake up, eat some breakfast (I’m partial to rudenberries that grow along the ground nearby my cave home), then maybe take a nice walk to where the Forest meets the human boundaries. My favorite days are when curious children brave coming to the Forest edge. They’re quite fun to. . .play with.

Larke, get that grin off your face.

What? It’s true. Humans are far too amusing. Occasionally I’ll even sneak into the human kingdoms and play tricks on them. Though I’ve been rather preoccupied ever since that Rose girl came into the Forest. . .

3. If they joined your local high school, what clique would they fit into?
Erm. How high is this school and what does it click with exactly?

I’ll have to answer this one for him, too. You have to remember he’s a fae from a fairytale, medieval-type setting. XD What clique? Honestly, he’d probably be the leader of the bullies and constantly causing grief to the other kids for his own amusement. Or at least playing mean tricks on them. >.> His charisma tends to make people flock to him, so he’d most likely have plenty of other bully-buddies behind him. Though he’s not one for making friends, so really he’d treat these “friends” more like minions.

4. Write a list of things they merely tolerate. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in their lives…
People I merely tolerate? There are some people I don’t even tolerate. But we won’t talk about that.

Dwarves for one thing. Sure, they’re useful with a shovel, but how many underground tunnels do we really need? Who even wants to live underground? They’re far too stubborn and practical for my taste. Oh, and that’s another thing. Practicality. Those people who think you only ever need the essentials and to follow the rules. Don’t you ever want to have a little fun? Those oranges humans grow aren’t very tasteful either. Have a grandel we grow in the Forest instead. They’re like oranges but far sweeter.

5. How do they react in awkward silences?
If it’s awkward it’s your fault, not mine. Personally, I like silence. Who ever said it was awkward?

6. Can they swim? If so, how did they learn?
Of course I can swim. Quite well, too. There’s a specific lake I used to frequent all the time as a child. These days the merfolk hog it though and try to drown anyone who gets near. Psh, selfish. Aha, that’s another thing I merely tolerate. I really have no use for those greedy fish.

7. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
Ha! What about that time my judgmental—

*bounds over and slaps both hands over his mouth* Sh, sh, sh! Spoilers!

*he shoves me away* Shadows alive, woman! Fine. I said we wouldn’t talk about that anyway. So we won’t talk about it. We definitely, positively won’t talk about it. Why would I even want to talk about that time when—


I said I’m not talking about it!


8. What things do they value most in life?
Well, I value my life quite a bit. I seem to be the only one though. I don’t see why. I’m a very interesting person.

Larke. . .

All right, fine. I value the Forest. It’s my home after all, and I don’t appreciate humans bothering it.

9. Do they believe in giving other people second chances? Do they have any trust issues?
*his eyes go dark* Second chances? Trust issues? Why should you ever give people second chances when they disappoint you the first time? Do you think I—

*quickly intervenes* Let’s just say second chances are not his thing, no. And he has serious trust issues.

Trusting people is a waste of time. I should have realized that a long time ago.

10. Your character is having a rough day…what things do they do to make them happy again? Is there anyone they talk/interact with to get in a better mood?
Stealing curiosity from those innocent, oh-so-naïve human children is always fun. Curiosity is so tangy. Excitement is also quite delicious.
If I don’t feel like dealing with mortals, I’ll stay in the Forest and take a shiny trinket from the imps. Watching them skittering around in fury is hilarious. The fairies are also fun to tease but they’re much harder to catch.
Talking is boring. I’d rather play. Besides, making lasting friendships is not exactly part of my normal routine. Waste of time.

I enjoyed myself. We should do this again sometime. Maybe next time my author will actually let me fully answer the questions.


You know you love me.

No comment.

~ ~ ~

Well, there we go. Larke is. . .yeah. Larke is Larke. I don’t know what to do with him.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Writer: Stamped on Your Heart, Poured in Your Blood

Just this past week or so a realization hit me. Something I really wish I had learned a long, long time ago, but something I think all writers struggle with.

I believe we writers far too often measure our self worth by that title of “published” or “not published”. I certainly have. I tend to think if I ever get published I’ll have “made it”, but while I’m unpublished I’m a nobody. Just a person holed up in her room thinking up silly stories. “I am nothing until I’m published,” I tell myself. Over and over again.

But you know what? I’ve been lying to myself. Almost every single day, I’ve fed myself these lies.

Being published is a wonderful thing, and something we should put effort into if that’s our goal. But not because we believe it’s the only way to “be somebody”.  Publishing is not the end of it all. It's not the line of being a “worthy” writer or not. It's just yet another part of the writing life should we choose to pursue it.

But the writing life, the real purpose of it, is to WRITE. To love stories and our characters and our worlds and just write about them because we love it. Because we want to. Because it makes us happy. If we want to get published, then sure, strive for that. But we should never, ever let it get in the way for our love of writing. Or let it measure our worth.

It occurred to me the other day, the people I most want to read and enjoy my stories already are and already can. I'd LOVE to get published, of course. But what I really want is to share my stories with loved ones. And I'm already accomplishing that.

There are so, so many more aspects to the writing life besides having your book in print by that big publishing company. For example, blogging. That’s one of my favorite aspects to writing. In a sense, it’s like being published. It’s public, anyone can read it. I get to share my writing with so many wonderful people, and in turn get to read their delightful posts. It’s like I get to “publish” something every single week (but without the hassle of all those edits and marketing, heh).

But the point is, blogging is just another aspect of writing. It’s not for everyone. Just like publishing may not be for everyone. And that’s okay!

Publishing is one of the aspects of writing. It’s not “the one”. It’s just one of the ones.

Publishing does not have to be the end goal. I mean, even published authors still haven't “made it”. There is no making it. It's always a learning experience. But mostly, it's something fun and magical. Writing is unlike any other thing on this planet. What other job lets you sit around daydreaming about kingdoms being built and torn down? About dragons soaring through the air? About daring escapades and true heroes?

No matter who you are, no matter where you are in your writing, whether you’ve published 50 books or are just starting that first ever first draft, you should be writing for the sheer enjoyment of it. Not because someone told you to or because you want to be published to feel worthy. Don’t force yourself to write about a wizard boarding school or a high action dystopian even though you hate those genres because you want to be the next J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins.

Write the stories in your heart. Write the things you love. Write because creating stories puts a thrill through you heart and joy in your soul.

Write because you love it.

With that said, if it is your dream to be published, then pursue it with every fiber of your being. Don’t ever let harsh critiques or that 20th rejection letter stop you. Never let loose that dream.

But don’t ever forget WHY you want that dream. Yes, it's a wonderful feeling when people love your writing, but you should be the first to love it.

Writing is in our very being. Ink is in our blood. We don’t write for fame or fortune. We write because without words we’d cease to exist. We’d be empty shells lost in this chaotic world. Don’t ever let rejection or discouragement or rules or expectations clog your joy for creating stories. Write because it’s your passion.

And I believe that’s the end all goal. Not to land an enormous contract with that big dream publishing house. But to simply create stories because it’s our passion. Don't let this noisy, ever changing world dry up those creative juices, block you from your love of stories. Just write.

You are a writer. Publishing does not give you that title. The yearning you have in your heart to create beautiful words stamps “Writer” on your being. And you are completely worthy of that title.

So go out and paint those stories in your head with a swirl of words. Release your creativity from your mind to your fingers. Pursue your dreams. Pursue the aspects of writing you love. Because you want to. Because you need to. Because you have to in order to breathe. Not because it measures your worth.

Because you love it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Brothers-in-Arms Cover Reveal!

I’m diverting from my usual Monday post this week (because I’m always sooo punctual *cough*) due to some very exciting news. More than exciting, thrilling. My dear blogging buddy Jack has landed a publishing deal!!! And well deserving of it, too. Because she’s amazing and hilarious and makes the most loveable characters and basically THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER.

And today I get to share with you the absolutely epic cover for her soon-to-be-released World War II book, Brothers-in-Arms. I told you, exciting things!

But first, a little about our dear Jack.

The Author

Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.

When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.

She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn't quite equal to Prince Adam's but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.

Visit her: Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog | Brothers-in-Arms GoodReads Page | Brothers-in-Arms Pinterest Page

And now the part we’ve all been waiting for. . .


*more drums*

*throws in some trumpets*

*and bagpipes*

*pushes a grand piano in the midst of it*

*breaks out the violin*

Okay, okay. Juuust kidding. *grins*

The Book

Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler's Germany?

Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high.

With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.

With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.


I’m pretty sure this book is going to destroy all our feels and it’s going to be wonderful.

What do you think? Isn’t it such an enticing cover? Don’t you just want to snatch this book up NOW? I love friendship books! How about you?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...