Monday, January 29, 2018

Self-Love vs. God’s Love

“Believe in yourself.” | “Make yourself happy first.” | “Treat yoself.” | “Love yourself first. | “Be who you want to be.” | “You’re worth it.”

Do some of these look familiar? Maybe you’ve seen quotes like this on Pinterest in front of a pretty, inspiring background. They’re common things to see on posters and makeup commercials, scattered about on Twitter and Instagram, hear people say on Disney Channel, or just passed from one person to the next. They’re motivating, right? Make you feel good about yourself.

How about this one?

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” –Matthew 16:24

WHOA. Wait a minute! That doesn’t sound right. Deny ourselves? That’s not what we’re meant to do! We’re supposed to love ourselves. That’s the most important thing. Self-love. Because if we don’t love ourselves, we’re incapable of loving anybody or anything, right?

Well, that’s certainly what today’s society is trying to teach us. But you know what I’ve discovered through the year? Selfishness leaves no room for others.

A lot of people may instantly recoil at this and claim “self-love” has nothing to do with selfishness. I realize that, I understand where people are coming from with it. (Which I’ll discuss more in a bit.) But the thing is: Humans are selfish beings. Why do you think these self-love quotes capture us? Because we’re selfish. We want to be told it’s okay to focus on ourselves.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

That looks awfully familiar to today’s society, doesn’t it?

Selfishness is rooted into human nature from the very beginning. Think about it, little children have to be taught how to share because it’s their natural instinct to claim everything for themselves. To have their way. We have to fight the urge of selfishness from the very second our brains are capable of understanding what that is. Aren’t we all still toddlers, desperately wanting our own way? It’s a fight, every single day. And when the whole world is telling you to “love yourself”, it makes that fight a whole, whole lot harder and, eventually, seem pointless, wrong even, to deny self.

But self-love can be so destructive. The selfishness of our society makes me sick. Sometimes I can’t even watch TV because you can physically see the self-centeredness on actors’ faces. And it’s not attractive, let me tell you.

You know what is attractive? What makes a person beautiful and truly shine? Humility. Selflessness. Love for others.

Have you ever had one of those conversations where the person ends up solely talking about themselves and doesn’t even seem to acknowledge you? Do you walk away thinking, “Wow, what a wonderful person. They’re so confident in themselves. How admirable.” Prooobably not. It’s usually pretty annoying, am I right?

Now what about those individuals who ask you questions about yourself and shows enthusiasm for your passions? Aren’t those the beautiful, admirable people in this world? The people we want to be like?

Self-love says we can’t truly love anyone until we love ourselves. But focusing on one’s self makes other people fall by the wayside.

I struggle with selfishness daily. It’s one of my worst problems. My vanity is a big, ugly thing I’m constantly trying to fight, and constantly finding it creeping back in, taking over everything. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from it, it’s that the more I focus on myself the less I see others.

Being a writer makes it harder. Because we’re supposed to promote ourselves. It’s literally our job to draw people to us and praise our work and gain as many followers as we possibly can.

This used to be very hard for me. Over the years of blogging and immersing in social media, it’s become easier, natural even. In fact, I rather like “promoting myself”. Maybe too much. Because, yes, it’s definitely my job to grow a platform, but God gave me this passion for writing to use it to glorify Him. And I fail at that daily. I get so caught up in gaining followers and trying to prove I’m a good writer, that God gets pushed behind me, me, me.

But when God gives you a gift, it should never be kept for yourself. We are supposed to take it and then pour it out for others. Show people God’s amazingness through us, show what He has done.

Now, I think a million and one people would get on me for saying these things. Because isn’t denying ourselves unhealthy? People hurt themselves and commit suicide every day because they hate themselves, feel unworthy and unloved. It’s heartbreaking. I love people. People is my jam. And it tears my heart in two when I see others hate on themselves.  So I absolutely get this self-love movement.

I’m a huge believer in confidence. I have spent almost my whole life working on being a confident person and few years back something clicked with it. Ever since, I have been much more satisfied. We should be confident in ourselves. But there is a fine line between confidence and selfishness. And our human nature does so love to slip into that selfish behavior more often than not.

It’s a tricky thing. Sheesh, I agree with some of those “self-love” quotes. And there is a time and place for self care and to focus on our own pursuits. We can pour ourselves out too much and need time to refuel. And we should leave plenty of room to pursue our own passion. Lately I’ve been realizing I spend so much time helping other writers, I haven’t really left any room to work on my own books. And thus I have had to learn to say no (which is hard because I love supporting all my dear writer friends!) and take time out each day to work on my personal projects. I’m not saying we should pour ourselves out until we’re dry to the bone and don’t ever get to chase our own dreams. Again, I get what we’re trying to do with this “self-love” movement, but I think we’re going about it in the completely opposite way we should be.

You know what brings true joy and happiness and satisfaction and love?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” –Philippians 2:3-4

Value others above yourselves.
Now that is quite the different tone from these motivating self-love quotes, isn’t it? Because that’s the thing with those quotes—there’s a pattern. Can you see it?

Every single one of them acknowledges YOU. Love yourself. Make yourself happy. You’re worth it.

But God’s Word tells us over and over again to deny ourselves, to die to self, to seek humility. The answer to happiness and love can never be found within ourselves. It’s through GOD. But there’s absolutely no room for Jesus if we’re filled up on “self”. But if we fill up on Jesus, we will never run dry. We will find that His goals for us are our dreams and passions, and can chase them all the farther because He is the one driving us, not ourselves.

I’m sick and tired of this world of focusing on self, self, self. It’s a sickness that grows larger and larger the more we feed it.

To truly shine, is to put “self-love” away and accept God’s Love.

He is all the beauty and love in this universe. And when He is within you, you will shine more brightly, live more confidently, find more joy, and love more deeply than any amount of inspirational self-love quotes can ever give you.

Self-love is a shallow love that will eventually lead to bitterness. God’s love is true love that will lead to fulfillment and satisfaction. If we honestly want the best for ourselves and to “treat ourselves”, we will stop glossing over our sins and instead hand them over to Jesus and accept His love for us.

“Believe in yourself” is the big slogan Disney is very fond of using. Well, I don’t know about you but I’d much rather believe in the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Creator of the Universe than myself.

“And all these things shall be added unto you.”



Hope you guys didn’t mind the rant! I know this is a bit of a different post from normal, but it’s been on my mind for…a long time. And, as writers, I do think it’s extremely important we keep centered on Him and use our gifts for His glory. SO LET’S TALK! What are your thoughts on this issue? I know it’s a tricky one and I’d love to debate it with you all and bounce ideas off of each other!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag

Look at me, actually doing a tag I was tagged for!

Confession: I love tags. They’re fun and clever and wonderful for when you can’t come up with that next blog post (which happens to me…a lot). But do I ever actually do the gazillions of tags I’m nominated for? Erm, no. Why? I HAVE NO IDEA. For some reason I just never get around to them or forget or…WHO EVEN KNOWS? But I do love them, I promise!


About 187 years ago (a.k.a October), the most sunshiniest bean and my dear friend Mary @ Sunshine and Scribblings created The Bibliophile Sweater Tag. A tag which involves SWEATERS and BOOKS. Could you ask for a better combination? I think not! Such is the brilliance that is Mary. Obviously I had to join in! Even though it’s taken me aaages. But hey, it’s still sweater weather! Even more so than in October. IT’S FREEZING OUTSIDE, GUYS. (And I’m loving it.) What better time than now to jump in?



Gorgeous image created by Mary



  • Give the person who tagged you a never-ending supply of cookies (or just thank them - either works) – THANK YOU, MARY!!! And I’d absolutely give you cookies. I just need to hire some cookie-making elfs first…
  • Answer all the questions and use the blog graphic for this tag somewhere in your post – *points to Mary’s image directly above*
  • Pass along the tag to at least five other people – See end of post.
  • Wear a sweater (okay, this is optional...but why wouldn't you want to??) – I’m not actually wearing a sweater right now. SHAME. But there’s one in my picture at the start of the post, so that counts, riiiight?





Fuzzy Sweater
(a book that is the epitome of comfort)

By Maud Hart Lovelace

I never really see anyone talk about the Betsy-Tacy series, but oh man, guys! MY CHILDHOOD. The amount of rereads these books received over the years! Set in the late 1800s/early 1900s, this series follows Betsy and her best friends Tacy and Tib from when they were little girls all the way to Betsy’s wedding. They’re such cozy, happy little books about Betsy’s life.

I think what really drew me to these books is that Betsy was me. Like…it’s kind of uncanny the similarities we share. This series will forever hold a special place in my heart.


Striped Sweater
(book which you devoured every line of)

The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins

This was hard to choose, because there are so many! I finally had to go with The Hunger Games though, because DUDE! I’m not sure I’ve ever inhaled a book so fast. These books suck you in like a vacuum with no exit (um…?). Let’s just say the first time I read it I…stayed up late. Like 3 in the morning late? And I’ve literally read the whole trilogy 5 times over since. *COUGH* What can I say? Some books are hyped for a reason.


Ugly Christmas Sweater
(book with a weird cover)

A Wrinkle in Time
By Madeleine L’Engle

I…yeah. I don’t think I need to explain this one. It is in fact the copy I own. And yes, it kind of freaked me out holding it while I was reading that thing. Just…wut? I guess it fit the book because…um. Whaaaaat even? I like weird books to an extent, but not this kind of weird. Let’s just say I’m not a huge fan of the Wrinkle in Time series.
(Though I am semi-intrigued by the movie coming out soon, but we’ll see. *shrugs*)


Cashmere Sweater
(most expensive book you've bought)

Le Morte d’Arthur

By Sir Thomas Malory

Another hard one because I really have no idea! Buuut one day I was in Barnes & Noble and this book gave me puppy dog eyes, just begging me to take it home. Obviously I couldn’t say no. It was a bit of a treat to myself. BUT JUST LOOK AT IT, GUYS. I couldn’t leave the store without it! My Arthurian legend-loving heart needed it, I tell ya!


(favorite classic book)

The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien

I mean, is that even a question? This book shaped me into the person I am today. The moment I first read it when I was 10 changed my life. And FUN FACT: I’ve reread it more than any other book I own. #Obsessed


(book that you bought on impulse)

By Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I’ve bought sooo many books on impulse (see: Le Morte d’Arthur). Eheh. But this one stands out to me the most. I saw this one on the shelf back in the dark ages (like, back when this book was new). Those days, I really neverrr bought a book I knew nothing about. (Oh, how things have changed.) But this one looked so good (fairytale? dragons? I NEEDED IT), plus it was Christian so I figured it’d be clean.

Little did I know it’d become one of my favorite books of all time and one of my biggest writing inspirations. After I first read it, I told my mom my biggest hope for my writing is to one day write as beautifully as this author. I still hold to that dream.

I find it even crazier that yeeeears later, I’d end up in a circle of writing buddies who are all huge Anne Elisabeth Stengl fans, and then later take place in her fairytale collection contest, which is where my pet project, Burning Thorns, first originated.

It’s a crazy world. Needless to say, this book is very special to me. Moral of the story: Impulse buys can often lead to treasures!


Turtleneck Sweater
(book from your childhood)

Amelia Bedelia
By Peggy Parish

Did anybody else read these children’s books? We’ve had them in the house for as long as I can remember, and they were a favorite of mine. Amelia is a housekeeper who…takes things preeeetty literally. As in, when she was told to dust the furniture, she literally put dust on the furniture. Or to dress the turkey, she dressed the turkey up in a nice, dapper tuxedo. These books are adorable!


Homemade Knitted Sweater
(book that is Indie-published)

The Rose and the Balloon
By Kirsten Fichter

MARY, WHY DID YOU MAKE SUCH HARD QUESTIONS??? I’ve read so many fabulous indie-published books. Choosing one made me cryyyyyy. But I finally chose this one because I haven’t talked about it in a while and you all need this delightful novella in your life. A Beauty and the Beast retelling with precious characters and hot air balloons? YESSSS. JUST GO READ IT.


V-neck Sweater
(book that did not meet your expectations)

Princess of Thorns
By Stacey Jay

I had great high hopes for this one. It had such potential. It’s about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter and has some The Six Swans threads (which is a fairytale I’ve wanted a retelling for since…FOREVER). I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS. And wow, dat first chapter. Dark and eerie and epic with promise of some amaziiiiing world building. I WAS HOOKED. And then…nothing happened. Except the two main characters being attracted to one another whilst walking…and walking…annnd walking. The entire book was basically: Flirt while we walk. Yay? Not only that, but the two main characters drove me crazy. They were so annoying. And then, to top it off, there was a ton of immoral behavior going on…just ‘cause. Bleh. Such a disappointment.


Argyle Sweater
(book with a unique format)

The Door Within
By Wayne Thomas Batson

I haven’t really read any of those uniquely formatted books going around. Though I’d love to try some! But this book has blue text instead of black. Weird, right? And the 3rd book in this trilogy has green text. Oddly, the 2nd book is normal black text and I would think it’d have purple, since the book is purple (they each have a color theme going), but my copy has black text anyway. Not sure what’s up with that. Anyways, it’s all very…different. At the time I thought it was cool, but I wonder if I reread them now if I’d just find it annoying. Lol.


Polka Dot Sweater
(a book with well-rounded characters)

Angel Eyes
By Shannon Dittemore

Again with the hard questions! I finally had to go with this one, because all the characters in the Angel Eyes trilogy are so real and raw and precious. It got to the point where it was hard to think of them as not real. Mrs. Dittemore is the master at storytelling! This whole trilogy was so powerful and amazing. Highly recommended!


Well, that was a total blast! Thank you again, Mary, for creating this and tagging me! Now it’s my turn to choose some peeps…


Katie Grace @ A Writer's Faith | Jameson @ Lovely Whatsoevers | Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen | Kate @ Story and Dark Chocolate | Kenzie @ Smudged Thoughts | + ANYONE who wants to do it because we all deserve to immerse in sweaters and books on these freezing days!

Here are the Questions
(For copy and pasting purposes)

Fuzzy sweater (a book that is the epitome of comfort)

Striped sweater (book which you devoured every line of)

Ugly Christmas sweater (book with a weird cover)

Cashmere sweater (most expensive book you've bought)

Hoodie (favorite classic book)

Cardigan (book that you bought on impulse)

Turtleneck sweater (book from your childhood)

Homemade knitted sweater (book that is Indie-published)

V-neck sweater (book that did not meet your expectations)

Argyle sweater (book with a unique format)

Polka dot sweater (a book with well-rounded characters)


Obviously we must discuss bookish things! Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? And if you have, do you agree/disagree with my assessments? Any you want to read? (They all link to GoodReads for your convenience. *wriggles eyebrows*) And how do you feel about all this cold weather? (Winter is my faaave so I’m totally basking in it myself! *twirls*)

Monday, January 15, 2018

{Book Review} The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz

The adventures of Beaumont and Beasley are at an end.

The Council of Scions has finally caught up with Nick Beasley and his friends—and the sinister enchantress Madame Levesque has plans for them. Nick and Cordelia must solve an ancient mystery for her. Otherwise, Crispin and Molly will be lost forever.

The investigation leads Nick and Cordelia to the Castle of Basile, a bizarre place detached from space and time. Old friends are trapped there, and Nick and Cordelia are soon imprisoned along with them. Their jailer is the Fairy Godmother from the tale of Cinderella…who turns out to be far less benevolent than the storybook version.

A masked man offers to help—but can the White Rabbit really be trusted? What is Cinderella’s dark secret? And what will happen when the clock strikes twelve?



I think the best way to describe my feelings about this book is SKDLJFLKJDS:LFJL:DSKJ:LFKJ:DLSKJF:LKJDS:LFJKSLDKJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okey doke. Now that we have that established…

The Stroke of Eleven is the 3rd installment in the Beaumont and Beasley series, of which I’ve been screaming to you guys about since I read the 1st book back in June. BECAUSE I LOVE THIS SERIES. (You can read my review for the first book, The Beast of Talesend, HERE. Annnd I realize I didn’t actually do a review for the 2nd one, Tomb of the Sea Witch, because I faaail at book reviews. Well…JUST READ IT. IT WAS EPIC. It involved an Antihero Magic School, mermaids, a DRAGON(!!!!), and a band of “mythfits”. <--- Boom. A review. I’m amazing.)

This 3rd book may be my favorite yet. I DON’T KNOW. They’re all so good! But where the first two (the first especially) was more on the lighthearted side, this one took the feels to a whoooooole ‘nuther level and just… *collapses* THIS BOOK, GUYS.



Where The Beast of Talesend was a Beauty and the Beast retelling and The Tomb of the Sea Witch The Little Mermaid, The Stroke of Eleven is a Cinderella retelling. (Though with these books I use “retelling” loosely. They’re more…fairytale continuations-ish?)

I’m aware there are like 293982 Cinderella retellings out there, but, personally I neverrrr get tired of them. And this one took the events and made them so, so epic. Trust me, you’re gonna love it! And, again, it’s not really a retelling. More like the events after the story of Cinderella happened. In a sense.

ANYWAYS. Nick, Cordelia, Crispin, and Molly have finally gotten captured by Madame Levesque. To keep Crispin and Molly safe, Nick and Cordelia must go to this mysterious, phantom castle for Levesque and do what she asks. Once there, things start getting even more dangerous than they realize. *cue complex, epic plot things and FEELS*



The whole gang is back. I’d say Nick and Cordelia were even more spectacular in this one. The things they had to do and experience added a whole other level of depth to their already amazing characters and brought them closer and skdljflskjdfs. I CAN’T WITH THESE TWO.

Crispin was of course the BEST. As always. Except there was sort of a sad lack of him in this one. Still, the scenes we did get with him were fabulous. Molly, too, wasn’t present for a lot of it. But there was one scene in the beginning with her that made me crack up and love this sweet girl even more.

The Mythfits are back!!! Which I was so ecstatic about. I was worried they were just going to be in The Tomb of the Sea Witch and that be it. But nope! They were a very big factor in the plot of this one and it made me ridiculously happy.

ALSO MALCOLM. This cranky, shapeshifting dragon becomes even more epic in this installment. Every time we get a taste of him and his backstory, I want to know mooooore. I find him one of the most intriguing characters in the Afterlands. PLUS HE’S A DRAGON SO THERE’S THAT.

We also have new additions. Like the White Rabbit who was soooo mysterious and cool! And Cinderella and the Prince themselves! I. LOVED. THEM. The Prince had me cracking up. Kyle is the best at flipping over cliches and surprising you with the characters. Cinderella was a sweetie, which I was so glad of! The tenderhearted, nice Cinderellas are always my fave. I seriously adored both of them!

Basically, the whole cast is perfection and I am so attached to these people, it’s probably not even healthy.



Um…everything? Seriously, there was just soooo much epic stuff going on in this book! But there are definitely a few things that literally had me shrieking with excitement.

- IT’S TIMEY WIMEY. We’ve got time travel and time loops and time staying still and just…TIMEY WIMEY THIIINGS. Which is my faaaavorite. I can’t even express how ecstatic I was when I heard this book was full of convoluted time travel-y things. One of my favorite story aspects in one of my favorite series? YES PLEEEEEEEEEEASE!!!

- ALICE IN WONDERLAND THINGS. So the other books have had hints of some Wonderland stuff going on. But this one dove right into it with the addition of the White Rabbit and some other stuff. And and and AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! You all probably know how unhealthily obsessed I am with all things Alice in Wonderland. I was literally whisper screaming over certain parts and at each and every nod this had to Wonderland. IT MADE MY WONDERLAND-LOVING HEART SO HAPPY. I cannot waaaaaaaait to see where all the Wonderland stuff goes in the rest of the series.

- The Castle of Basile. Trying to avoid spoilers here, but the mystery involving the castle and the way it worked was SO. FUN. Everything was just so funnn!

- Nods to Beauty and the Beast. Despite being a Cinderella story, there was actually a lot of continuation to the Beauty and the Beast threads and it was so sweet to see! I LOVED all the nods to that.

- The humor! Kyle’s specialty. And despite this book being more feelsy, there was still pleeeeeeenty of humor to go around. Basically every other line is quotable. I was laughing so much!

- THE FEELS. When I wasn’t laughing, I was wanting to cry. Because ACK. And yes, this is a positive. GIMME ALL THE FEELS. I looooved how this story got way deeper and more feelsy than the previous installments. Humor and feels—precisely what I look for in novels!

- PLOT TWISTS. Plot twists eeeeeverywhere!!! This story had me reeling right and left. I just love how much deeper and complex this story took everything! I’m so anxious to see how everything continues to play out because EEEEP. ALL THE THINGS.

I need to stop or this list will go on forever. But like I said, I LOVED EVERYTHING.



*cricket, cricket*


Seriously, I’m trying really hard to think of something I didn’t enjoy, but I’m coming up with nothing. I guess there were some events I was suuuuper nervous about. But they actually sorta turned out better than I hoped. Though I won’t know the full outcome of Certain Things until later books. So it’s sort of like a…half complaint but not really because I don’t know how things will turn out?

Wow. That made zero sense. It’s hard reviewing a 3rd book of a series because SPOILERS. Anyways! I really just loved everything.



Nothing, really. Though this one was more feelsy and complex, it still kept to the clean style all the others books have run. Lots of magic and fantasy things with a few fights, but descriptions of gore is down to a minimum.

Though, there were a few instances where characters said “Oh my God” or things like that. Which I realize everybody in the universe and their cousin’s talking dog uses that term like 300 times a day. But…I just am not a fan. I hate how we now use God’s sacred name so lightly over eeeeverything. But that just may be a me thing. And it wasn’t used much in the book, only a few times that I can remember.

Other than that teeny tiny thing, it was perfectly clean. I highly recommend for ALL ages!



Between the feels, deeper plot, timey-wimey things, Alice in Wonderland threads, and twists around every corner, this 3rd book may top as my favorite Beaumont and Beasley novel yet!

If you’ve read The Beast of Talesend and The Tomb of the Sea Witch, YOU NEED THIS NEXT BOOK ASAP. And if you haven’t, what is wrong with you???? Go immerse yourself in the delight that is the Beaumont and Beasley series! Fairytales, humor, endearing characters, 1920s-feel world, epic plots, and all manner of twists—IT’S JUST THE BEST.



HAVE YOU READ THE STROKE OF ELEVEN??? If so, I need you to fangirl/boy with me! If not, goooooo! NOW. (Just read the first two books first because this one will make zero sense if you haven’t…) And do you enjoy fairytale crossover stories?
(I’m obsessed.)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Goals of 2018

HAPPY 2018!!!

I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year's. I have returned from my (very brief) break, refreshed and excited for the new year!

I have many plans in the works for 2018. Plans I’m actually going to make a for reals effort to achieve unlike last year. But after spending 2017 reevaluating my life, learning more how to balance things, and healing after a not-so-great 2016, I am back and more excited than ever to dive into a year of productivity and accomplishments!

Which means today, for my first 2018 post, I’d like to share what my goals are for this year. (Because it’s a fact one is more likely to achieve their goals if they shout them to the whole wide world. Huzzah for peer pressure!)




My absolute #1 goal for this year is to do another full revision for Burning Thorns. (Which is my YA Beauty and the Beast retelling for any who don’t know.) Yes, that was my main goal for last year and it didn’t happen…at all. But this year I’m ready! SUPER READY. I’ve already started reading back through the manuscript to give me a full scope of the story and what all needs major changes.

I HAVE MISSED MY BBYS. I love these characters and the fairytale world and all the pain I caused and just the STORY. I cannot wait to work on making it the best it can be. (Annnd I may need another round of beta-readers later this year. *wriggles eyebrows*)

After I do a full-on revision (because I’m thinking there may be some drastic changes to the story, though that’s still in the works), I’ll probably do some smaller polishing up.

My goal is to get that done by July. Becaaaaause…




Now, it may not happen. There is definitely a chance it won’t work out. But if I can get enough time and money and everything together, IT COULD HAPPEN. I’ve already talked to my family about it and we’re trying to make this dream a reality SO WE’LL SEE. And hey, even if I can’t make it this year, maybe all the work I put toward it will make it where I can go next year? Whatever happens, I AM making it to Realm Makers someday! Buuuut I’m reeeally hoping that someday will be this coming July. *SHRIEKS*

SO YES. That’s gonna keep me busy as well as I prep for it. Getting Burning Thorns ready to pitch there is of course the main goal, but there’s other prepping I want to do as well like make business cards, a one-sheet, research all the staff/editors/agents/etc. that’ll be there, and all that fun stuff that conferences require.

The best thing about this, even if I don’t go, is it’s setting up a deadline and something to work toward. Yes, getting published has always been my main goal, but sometimes it’s hard to force myself to edit and look into literary agents and work on query letters, etc., etc. when I don’t have a tangible goal to work toward. Does that make sense? With Realm Makers, I know I’ll have a real, physical thing to keep me pushing on with editing Burning Thorns. And I need that. Boy do I need that! Having this July deadline is just the motivation I’ve been searching for!



This is something I’ve been meaning to do for, erm, years? And I’ve failed. I want to buy the Guide to Literary Agents 2018 and start combing through it. BECAUSE I’M SERIOUS ABOUT THINGS THIS YEAR, GUYS. I AM!



Am I the only one who is terrified of these things? I mean, essentially it’s just a couple of paragraphs about myself and my novel (both of which I have like thousands of words of blog posts of). If I sat down and worked on one, I’d probably find it’s not all that overwhelming. But for some reason just even the term “query letter” makes me want to go hide in a hole at the ends of the earth forever. I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

BUT I NEED TO MAKE ONE. This may happen later in the year, but it’s gotta happen.

Although I would like to also build a “resume” of sorts for a query letter. Such as writing articles for some magazines and things? Soooo that may also be on the goals-list this year, but these thoughts are still in the works. But hey, if you guys have any good ideas and or/links of magazines, contests, what-have-you I can join to help build that writers resume, I’ll give you an infinite supply of (virtual) cookies and love you forever!



I fail at this so, so, so, soooo bad! The year before last I had gotten into a pretty good exercise routine, but this last year I got busy and just…stopped. IT IS NOT GOOD. This year I’m getting back into it! I’ve got to stretch and exercise my body more. Being a writer requires like 29389 hours a week (you can do that math…) on the computer which is not good for our poor bodies. So yes, EXERCISING HAS GOT TO HAPPEN.

I will be doing stretches and exercising nearly EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I WILL!



It’s just sad how little time I make for reading. For the past few years, 30 books a year is my average. PATHETIC.

I’m realizing I’m probably not always fueled to write because I’m not filling my brain with story like I should. For some reason I have in my head I’m not allowed to read until I have all my tasks done??? Well GUESS WHAT. It’s basically impossible to have everything done. There are aaaalways things to do. Thus I just…barely ever get around to reading. And yet last year I spent like a gazillion hours playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and watched a ton of movies??? Hmmmm. Priorities, Christine?

This year that’s all gonna change! I’m going to make time for reading, and try to choose books over pointlessly scrolling on social media for hours on end. I also want to read some writing-help books. (Because I’m bad and tend to only ever get around to reading fiction.) But I’d like to give Go Teen Writers a reread (that book is when my writing life completely turned around and I got serious about things, 30000% recommend), and I also received Storyworld First by Jill Williamson for Christmas and definitely want to dive into that one soon.

Basically, I WANT TO READ MORE. And need to read more. I think my writing is suffering because of my lack of reading. READING IS GOOD. READ BOOKS, CHILDREN.

(I also own waaay more books that are unread than read and that makes me weep daily and it must be fixed.)



Ooooobviously this is happening. I’ve done it 8 years in a row and most certainly don’t plan on stoppin’ now!

I have an idea of a book I may write for it. But sheesh, that’s 10 months away. I’ll probably change my mind 87 times before then!



Despite all my big writerly plans, I very much want to unplug more. If the last couple of years taught me anything, it’s that one cannot spend every waking second on the computer and social media. That’s just not good!

I’m thinking I may set a time in the evening (like 7 or 8?) where I have to stop and not touch the computer again until the next day. And use those hours before bed to, ya know, read or something. This isn’t a solid plan. I’m still figuring things out, but it’s certainly something I’d like to try. My natural instinct is to work until I diiiiie. I am not one to take breaks. But one can’t survive without breaks. That’s not healthy! I’ll be able to do more work and produce better quality if I give myself rest and refueling time each day.

And on that note…



Another failure of mine—time organization. I’m either working 24/7, or wiling away my time scrolling on Pinterest for hours, or being productive with useless things, or…yeah. You get the idea.

This year I want to be more organized with each and every day. This means daily goals. At some point last year, I started making Thursdays my blog post writing days. Every Thursday I knew I’d need to write a post for the following Monday. That way, I wasn’t overwhelmed the other days thinking, “Should I write a post today?” but I also wasn’t scrambling around on Sunday or Monday trying to get a post together. This helped ease the stress of blogging a ton. And made it where I could relax during the weekends knowing I had a post all set for Monday. I’d like to do this with other things as well. Such as setting a day or two out of the week for answering emails, and doing social media, and another day for researching things. And so on and so forth.

But, on a smaller scale, I’d like to set hourly goals. Such as from 3 or 4 answer emails. Not sure if this will work, but if I can get it to, it’ll really help me not wile away my time, but, on the flipside, help me not spend so much time working and draining myself. Because once the hour is up I’ll have to stop.

I haven’t actually worked out any of this yet, but it’s something I’d really like to try. I think it’ll help me stay focused and ease the stress of each task if I had a specific day and/or time for everything. I know it works with blog posts, so I suspect it’ll work with all my other projects as well!



A lot of people choose a word for each year, something to focus on and live by throughout the year. It’s a wonderful thing to do, and I’ve done it myself for a few years now. But this year, I hadn’t planned on choosing a word. I was just going to go with the flow and work on my tasks and do the best I could.

Then, right as the new year rolled around, I found myself using and focusing on a single word.


It just kept cropping up on its own accord. I couldn’t seem to shake it. And then I realized, that’s exactly what I want to be this year. Intentional. Because I’m not always intentional about the way I live. I don’t pursue my dreams as hard as I should, I can be so selfish and not intent on helping the people around me, and even my walk with God gets pushed to the back burner far, far more than it should. I’m not intentional with my life at all. But this year, I want that to change.

I want to purposefully work toward being publishing, I want to help others more, be there more for my family and friends, and follow God with every fiber of my being.

I want to live intentionally.

Not wandering aimlessly, not wasting time and putting myself before others and throwing my dream to the wayside. I want to be intent in everything I do.

God gave me a word for 2018 after all. And I hope to pursue it with all the energy I possess.


So those are my plans for this year. More may come. I’m still working on my list, and I suspect little things will be added to it as I think of them. But these are my big ones—edit Burning Thorns, work on making it to Realm Makers, and living intentionally.

I think 2018 is going to be an amazing ride!



Let’s talk the new year! Who’s shocked we’re already to 2018??? (*raises hand and waves it wildly* Me me me!) What is your main goal for this year? Who’s all attending Realm Makers??? Because I WANT TO MEET YOU ALL SO BAD!!! Any hopes you have for this year? Let’s make it the loveliest one yet! <3

P.S. What do you think of my new leafy text dividers??? I’m trying to make things more fancy schmancy ‘round here. AND I’M EXCITED. But I’d looove to know your opinion! Though bear with me because they are subject to change. I’m still playing around, but I do like these. So watcha think?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...