Monday, August 20, 2018

Mid-Year Book Freak Out // tag

Happy Thursday, readers and friends!

After watching Lindsey's and Rebekah's book tube videos of this tag, I decided to do my own rendition. I'm not doing a video and dragging y'all into the misery of watching me mumble and be camera-shy for ten minutes (you're welcome), but I thought the tag still looked too fun not to join. ;)

And yes, it's past the mid-way point of the year, but we're gonna go with it. Just...let me live in denial a bit longer...please...

Best Book you've read so far in 2018

That's a hard one...but I would have to go with Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury. I literally have no words for this book. If you haven't read it, I seriously don't know why.

Best sequel you've read so far in 2018

A toss-up between Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury and The Rebellion by Livy Jarmusch? ;) Both were amazing and nicely continued the stories from the first books!

New Release You Haven't read yet but want to

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis and Falling for You by Becky Wade both qualify. I'm hoping to read them both super soon.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

A Question of Loyalty by Jesseca Wheaton releases in a few months! It needs to join the first two books in the series on my shelves... ^-^

Biggest disappointment

Love Finds a Way by Wanda Brunstetter was definitely disappointing. I've really enjoyed Mrs. Brunstetter's books in the past, but the three stories in this collection were...rather boring.

Biggest Surprise

I'm pretty sure I'm still recovering from When Sparrows Fall by Diane Blackstone... I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, other than I figured it would be kind of dark. It was, but ohmygoodness, it was amazing. <3

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

I'm not sure I've acquired a new favorite author yet this year... Karen Kingsbury could definitely become a favorite, though, if all her books are as good as the four I've read so far. :D

Newest fictional crush

I don't have one?? (Congratulate me, guys. I've stopped fangirling over guys that don't exist.) Noah from The River Between Us could be, though...if we got more of his story.

Newest favorite character

Natalie (Nattie) Livingston from Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis! She is so precious and I basically want to adopt (ha, pun) her!

Book that made you cry

Not only did this book make me cry, The Pursued by Willowy Whisper ripped my heart out and kept me up all hours of the night. And it's like 400+ pages and I read it in under 24 hours, so #record.

Book that made you happy

Just Dance by Patricia MacLachlan was so sweet and darling and full of happy feels! <3

Most beautiful book you've bought/received this year

This was hard...because I ooh and ahh over book covers, like, daily. But I'm going to go with A Midnight Clear by Pattie Berg.'all.

Books you need to read by the end of the year

This lovely stack and hopefully some others, as well as oodles of Christmas books. :D

Favorite book community member

Um, wait, what?! I can't pick something like that! Each and every one of you in this book/writing/blogging community are so special and unique. How could I ever pick a favorite?! <33

Have you done this tag? Saw it around? What's the best book YOU have read so far this year? 


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Midnight Comes by S.J. Blasko // author interview + blog tour

Happy Tuesday, reader pals! 

Today I'm here with an author interview, in celebration of S.J. Blasko's newly released poetry collection. I had the privilege of beta-reading this gorgeous collection a few months ago, and y'all... *collapses to the ground* It. is. fabulous. If you enjoy poetry, twisted fairytales, or just want to support teenaged indie authors, you're not going to want to miss Midnight Comes! <3 

I had so much fun doing an interview with the author, so read on to check that out! :D


Once upon a time...
There was a sorceress, who cursed a prince to become as beastly as his pride
There was a daughter, who watched from her window and ached to see the world
There was a mermaid, who traded her voice for a human soul
There was a stepmother, who saw beauty only in others, never in herself
And there was a boy, who forgot the warmth of love.

In five narrative poems exploring the darker, more human side of these classic fairytales, rediscover the characters as they are given a voice of their own.

Author Interview

What inspired the idea of writing a poetry collection?
A couple of factors came into play for that. First of all, April is National Poetry Month, so I followed a couple of daily prompt sites and was bombarded with ideas from those XD. Second, my high school English and Creative Writing teacher held a poetry reading of his works and a classmate of mine opened for him with some beautiful poems. And thirdly, as if those weren’t enough, I was the co-editor of my school’s literary magazine this past year, which centered around (you guessed it) poetry. So I guess writing my own poems naturally followed.

Have you always written poetry or is this something you’ve started more recently?
I wrote a few poems growing up, but with the exception of a select few, they will most likely never see the light of day. It wasn’t really until this past year that I started writing the poems I’m proud of.

Which poem from the collection is your favorite?
That’s so hard to choose! I think for my personal favorite, I have to go with Mirror, Mirror.

How long have you been writing in general? (poems, stories, whatever)
I’ve been writing seriously for about five years, but I’ve loved stories my entire life. When I was little, I made up tons of them, but I either told them to myself or acted them out with my toys. I didn’t start writing them down until I was thirteen.

Do you prefer to write by hand or on a computer/tablet? Why?
For poetry, I prefer writing on a computer. It’s easier for me to organize my thoughts with the unlined white space, and it’s easy to move around and delete segments and lines that don’t work.
For story writing, I much prefer paper. It’s the same reason for both, ironically, the different mediums give me the right amount of space in my head to get the words out.

What does your typical writing schedule look like? (Like, how often do you write, where do you write, and what time of day.)
My typical writing schedule looks like tears and bursts of inspiration and more tears. I haven’t found a way to consistently work writing time into my day yet, so until I do, I’m a write-when-the-muse-strikes kind of author. And boy, does the muse strike like a sledgehammer.

Do you plan to publish more written works in the future?
Absolutely!! I’m already working on two more themed poetry collections, as well as a few novels. My biggest novel project right now is a retelling of the Peter Pan story, where Pan and Captain Hook are brothers, and the story centers around a girl with cystic fibrosis who comes to Neverland.

That sounds fabulous! Thanks for stopping by, Sierra! 


Your turn, readers! Do you read and/or write poetry? Did you enjoy the interview? Think you'll check out the fabulous book? I'd love to hear! <3


Monday, August 6, 2018

Sunshine, Author Biz, and Sweet '18 || July Recap

July, one of my favorite months of the year, is gone again. And it was a dandy, y'all. <3

|| Life. ||

>> I had a fabulous time celebrating the 4th of July with my family. We hung out at home and ate good food and the bro set off fireworks after dark. To my surprise, he had a pretty good show. ;)

>> I re-read my darling novella, Dandelion Dust, which debuted last June. I hadn't read it since the final proofread, so it was rather bittersweet. And I didn't cringe *too* much. ;)

>> I got a job dog-sitting for 3 days, then another—cat-sitting for 11 days. And I'm going to be dog-sitting for three weeks next month, so I'm basically a professional now... B-)

>> I watched lots of Signed Sealed Delivered during the month of July. xD I finally got around to seeing Road Less Traveled, followed by To the Altar. Then I started re-watching the entire series. Golly, I love these people. <3 I also completed my DVD collection of SSD. ;)

>> I received the largest book order I've ever placed! I'm participating in a local author book fair in September, so that should be fun. Prayers that all goes well would be appreciated! <3

>> Speaking of author-ish news, I did a few other things. I started a Facebook page, designed and purchased business cards, and created a website!

>> Another thing that happened in July, and a reason that it's one of my favorite months, is my birthday. I turned 18. For awhile before, I was a bit apprehensive about that seemingly-hunormous number. I mean, adulthood!? But, as a friend reminded me, it's just another season of life. It's a beginning; not an ending. <3

|| Books. ||

I read like 16 books this month, y'all, and acquired half that many... *heart eyes*

// Reads

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, WA by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss -- 4 stars
Almost Home by Wendy Lawton -- 4 stars
How I Had Fun Writing 10 Novels in 13 Months by Sarah Addison-Fox -- 4 stars
Finding Christmas Joy by Amanda Tero -- 4 stars -- Reviewed
The Missing Piece by Libby May -- 4 stars
Meet Marie-Grace by Sarah Masters Buckey -- 3 stars
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman -- 3 stars
Just Dance by Patricia MacLachlan -- 5 stars
Where Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn -- 4 stars
The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan -- 4 stars
Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts -- (I kinda love this little book.)
When Sparrows Fall by Diana Blackstone -- 5 stars
Early Sunday Morning by Barry Denenberg -- 4 stars
Happy Birthday, Josefina by Valerie Tripp -- 4 stars
Josefina Saves the Day by Valerie Tripp -- 4 stars
Changes for Josefina by Valerie Tripp -- 4 stars

I got several lovely books this month and only paid for two of them! ;) 

God in a God-forsaken Land by Gene Stark -- review book
Woman of Character compiled by Lawrence Krimbough -- gift
Emmeline by Sarah Holman -- gift from a friend 
I Don't Dance by Jesseca Wheaton -- gift from a friend 
Mere Hope by Jason Duesing -- review book
Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg -- gift from a friend 
Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof -- CBD 
Max by Jennifer Li Shotz -- Barnes & Noble

|| Writing. ||

Writing actually went pretty well this month, all things considered. I was still participating in Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 challenge, I did Camp NaNo, and I finished the first draft of One Summer.

For Camp, my goal was to finish One Summer and finish the third draft of A Soldier's Freedom. I didn't get anywhere near finishing the editing side of my projects, but I'm okay with that. I've made good progress since then, and hoping to finish this week and get it sent off to betas.

If you want to read more about how Camp went or see snippets of my WIPs, check out the Camp NaNo updates that I did throughout the month! :D

Word count: 36,863

|| Blogging. ||

// Favorite Posts 

The Write Conversation ~ The Serendipity of Hope

RebekahAshleigh ~ Summer Book Recommendations

// My Posts 

|| Goals. ||

~ July Goals 

>> Read 8 books.      Nailed it!

>> Write 10,000 words.     YUSSS.

>> Finish another edit of A Soldier's Freedom + get it ready to send to betas.   Heh, not quite. xD

>> Finish writing One Summer.      Yup!

>> Post weekly on both blogs.       No...?

~ August Goals 

>> Read 8 books.

>> Finish editing A Soldier's Freedom.

>> Catch up on blog posts.

>> Start editing War Tears.

>> Go camping. *fingers crossed*

>> Complete a beta-reading project.

How was your July? Did you do Camp NaNo? Any plans for August? Are you a SSD fan?! 

Blessings, dears!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Four {July 2018}

Ahh, yes, the final week of the month. Not a lot to report, so this may be brief, but my July recap should be up tomorrow. ;D Let's dive in!

day twenty-three // Monday // 1,273 + 1,080

After going to a craft fair and eating some fabulous homemade ice cream and seeing this insane sign *points to pic* I got home and settled in to write...and I finished One Summer, y'all!! ^_^ I'm super pleased with how my darling little novelette turned out.

day twenty-four // Tuesday // 170

Didn't do much on Tuesday... Went to town to the post office, which is like one of my happy places, and then got Starbucks because #yas.

I break out of his gaze, staring down at the tiled floor again. My heart pounds at the thought of putting the imagery in my mind into words, even if it would be understood instead of avoided. Even if he would listen, instead of consider me crazy and war-warped.  
But I don’t. I avoid it for a few minutes longer by responding with a question. “What branch did you serve in?” 
“The best, of course.”  
A fellow Marine.

day twenty-five // Wednesday // 265

Wednesday was my first day of work! I worked 9:00 to 2:00 and then got home in time to shower and head to church. Not much writing happened that day... :P

day twenty-six // Thursday // 107

On Thursday, I helped my mom with a painting job, and went to the pool. Again, not much writing/editing. xD

day twenty-seven // Friday // 5,695

Friday, we did some more painting and I got blood-stained hands. Oh, and I finished one book and read the entirety of another. Summer reading, for the win, y'all. <33

day twenty-eight // Saturday // 3,061

On Saturday, I got lots of reading done, quite a bit of editing, and... *wiggles eyebrows* I received the darling little business cards I ordered last week!! They're sooo pretty and I can't wait to show them to y'all in my next post...if you haven't already saw them on my Instagram. *wink*

day twenty-nine // Sunday // 3,401

Sunday was...a typical Sunday? Nothing too special, just church and lunch and lots of laughs over my grandmother's tale about her one and only plane trip...'twas amusing... xD

As we’re ushered into the house, in the space between the kitchen and open living room, another voice meets my ears. I cast a sidelong look into the kitchen to my left and find myself smiling yet again.  
Sashaying around the kitchen, Miss Lorance manages to toss together a fresh salad while waving a knife and singing along to Lee Ann Womack’s finest at the top of her lungs.  
“I hope you dannceeee.” She whirls toward the doorway—and stops mid-word when she spies three guys standing there, amused and greatly entertained. 

day thirty // Monday // 3,096

More painting. Or rather, painting a garage inside and out. And painting myself head to toe. I still have paint on my wrists and ankles and the back of my arm because it won't go away.... *taps chin*

day thirty-one // Tuesday // 0

Tuesday was rather fabulous. I admired birthday gifts from friends and family and piddled around with my book arrangements and tried to wrap my head around being an adult now and ate cinnamon rolls and pizza and watched Signed, Sealed, Delivered and it was fabbbbb. <33

(That totally wasn't a run-on. Do not doubt me, younguns.)

Camp goal: 40,000 words
Current word count: 36,863 words
Status: Didn't win...didn't even make half of my original goal...but pleased with what I did get accomplished. ;)

Yup, this post is even lamer than the proceeding three. *wink* I considered not even writing it, but moving on to my July recap without finishing this "series" would feel off to me, so here ya go. I have a couple more posts planned for the remainder of the weeks, and (hopefully) lots of good on-time posts for August!

Did you win Camp NaNo? Finish your project? LET'S TALK. xD


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Three {July 2018}

Well, whatdaya know? I survived another week. And I'm still desperately behind. And I still don't care. It's fabulous, y'all. xD

day sixteen // Monday // 828 

On Monday, I went to town to run errands, had a visit from an out-of-town family friend, and finished up a cat-sitting job from the previous week. Oh, and I posted a poll on Instagram to found out how many people sucker their tomato plants (do you??) and the sucker-snappers lost.

Garden bounty

day seventeen // Tuesday // 137

Walmart trip, nursing home visit, went by the DMV office to renew my drivers license and ended up registering to vote, then hung out by the pool and read an entire book...definitely a good day. ;)

Oh, and I assembled a desk chair that ended up not working at my desk... *taps chin*

“Prospective?” I sputter. “I’m the only aunt!”  
“Well, I guess Brock’s sister-in-law is technically the baby’s aunt too.”  
I roll my eyes. “She’s only related by marriage. Besides, she lives in like Antarctica.”  
“Canada, Char. They live in British Columbia. Something to do with Brock’s brother’s job.”  

day eighteen // Wednesday // 1,179 + 1,908

Wednesday was my sweet mom's birthday! <3 We didn't do much that day, but I did get quite a bit of writing and editing done. :D

"People say that you can’t fall in love that young, that you don’t know what you’re talking about, that it’ll never last. But they aren’t always right, Gracie. Sometimes, if it’s His will and if they’re being faithful, God lets two people fall in love young, so they have their whole lives stretched out ahead of them, instead of spending those years finding Him and each other. Not always, mind you, but sometimes." 

day nineteen // Thursday // 700 + 138

I got a new bookshelf on Thursday! This cubic shelf used to be in our living room, in several different arrangements, and behind the couch most recently. Mom mentioned that she wanted to move it out since she won't need nearly as much space for textbooks this fall and asked if I wanted it. Um, yes please! xD

Since taking this picture, I've gotten a lamp for the top and added some more books to the empty cubes. It looks so nice!

day twenty // Friday // 0

I went shopping with my mom on Friday in celebration of her just-passed birthday and my upcoming birthday. We drank Starbucks, ate Chick-Fil-A, found some clothing bargains, each bought new Chacos, and I snagged a book and a season of an enjoyed TV show from Barnes & Noble. <3

day twenty-one // Saturday // 2,257

Saturday was a nice relaxing day, which I spent mostly reading. I also made cookies for a meal at our church on Sunday, tried a salted cold foam cold brew (RECOMMENDED, Y'ALL), wrote lots of fabulous words, watched Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and danced around the house singing country music at the top of my lungs. (Don't you wish you lived on our road??)

stars on my shirt, stars in my eyes 

day twenty-two // Sunday // 715

Sunday was homecoming at our church, so after the special service and following meal, we came home and had a restful afternoon/evening. I reorganized my books by color...and hated it so much that I immediately pulled them all back off and re-did it by author. Apparently I'm slightly OCD when it comes to books.

Camp goal: 75,000 words 
Current word count: 18,715
Status: One week left and I'm not even halfway there... O.o

How is Camp going for y'all?? :D I know I keep saying this, but I really am going to get back active in blogging...maybe next week. Or next month. Ya know. *wink* 


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Two {July 2018}

Already halfway through the month? I don't even think this is legal. Like, seriously, somebody needs to give summer a speeding ticket. (Wow, Faith, nice try there... xD)

day nine // Monday // 105 + 611 

As I may have mentioned before, Mondays at the Potts house are pretty slow. Last week, I mostly just hung out, did a little editing, and read. And cooked spaghetti and took a walk and received four packages. Mail makes me happy, y'all. ^_^

Hmm...why is Faith buying so many author copies?
An announcement is coming about that...sometime.... ;)

day ten // Tuesday // 0

Ahh, yes, the day I tackled running errands (libraries are officially in the 'errands' category now), catching up on blogging, a dentist, and a funeral home visitation. Oh, and then I let the little bro come along for a cat-sitting visit. Let's just say he keeps things interesting.

day eleven // wednesday // 245

More reading, blogging, and catching up on emails. ;) Mom and Dad were attending a funeral and visiting a lady from our church at the hospital, so I picked the little bro up from work. We got ready, grabbed supper, and went to Walmart. He went in to buy a phone charger, and came back to the car because he was $0.62 short. xD A rollaway buggy nearly plowed the front of my car (yes, I unbuckled, jumped out, and grabbed it in record time. A guy in a nearby car was so amused), but we still made church in plenty of time—laughed a lot and played with glow sticks like preschoolers.

I'd say we did pretty good adulting alone.

day twelve // Thursday // 0 + 3,933 

Totally rocked editing Thursday morning by conquering an entire chapter in, like, 20 minutes. xD Our church served a lunch to a World Changers crew last week (if you know what that is, speak up), so Mom and I helped with that and attended another funeral visitation that afternoon. It was one of those days that calls for a sundress and a smile and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to chat with amazing people. Re-watched I Can Only Imagine, too... 10/10 recommended, y'all.

day thirteen // Friday // 255

Friday was pretty slow as well, and then cat-sitting with the bro that night... Well, we won't even go into how he accused me of losing the people's their house... *cough*

(The cat was fine, in case anyone was concerned. Fat and sassy as ever. Just hiding from the long-legged noisemaker I'd brought along. Can ya blame him?)

day fourteen // Saturday // 258

Saturday, I attended a lovely 10:00 AM. (Is that normal? Because I will totally not be doing it. 10 PM is much more likely for this chick. Mornings aren't my thing.)

“People have different dreams and different goals for their lives, and rightly so. Everyone’s story is different and no two lives are the same. Some people dream of living in faraway places or traveling the world, but I’m not one of them. This church, this community, and that ranch a few miles south of here is my future. I’m sure of it.”  
I contemplate Ryder’s words while he answers a question that came from the far side of the room. He’s sure…he knows exactly what his future will look like. With so many unknowns in my life this year, just the thought of that reassurance makes me long for what he has. 

day fifteen // Sunday // 101

On Sunday, we had church (obviously) and then lunch with friends (funnn). I took a dozen selfies and read something about the meaning of the word 'propitiation'. It means "a sacrifice that bears God's wrath and turns it to favor." Can we just stop and think about that for a second?! <3

Total goal: 75,000 (Yup, I lowered it.)
Current word count: 10,853 words
Status: Still behind. Maybe I'll catch up, maybe I won't. As long as I finish One Summer this month and get A Soldier's Freedom edited in time to send off to betas, I'm not gonna stress over it. It's summertime, y'all. ;) 

I may be around again this week with a bookish or life post, but no promises... I'm behind on both blogs and my Camp goal, and yet I'm lazing by the pool, reading books, and brainstorming a book trilogy? Why, yes. Yes, I am. *wink*

Blessings, dear friends! Thanks for sticking with me! <3 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week One {July 2018}

Greetings, writerly pals!! Who is powering through their Camp goal?! *imaginary hands raise* Now, who is dragging behind and hoping to catch up later this month? *Faith's hand pops up*

Yeah, I've not been very focused on writing or anything related to it lately...which is where we're going to toss the blame for my needy inbox and the lateness of this post. xD

I'm doing Camp NaNo a bit different this month. Instead of the usual-for-me one project, I'm working on two—the first draft of One Summer and the third draft of A Soldier's Freedom. So far I'm doing pretty good at swapping back and forth without leaving my brain (and motivation) in one or the other of the WIPs. In my daily word count listed below, the first number will be for One Summer and the second will be for A Soldier's Freedom. ;)

day one // sunday // 0 words 

Not much to tell about Sunday. Since we had just gotten home from the missions trip on the evening before, I basically just wanted to sleep. xD

Oh, and I stole Dad's shoes.

day two // Monday // 158 words 

Again, I had too much of a trip-hangover to do more than relive the previous week, write the bare minimum, and sleep. xD

day three // Tuesday // 134 + 346 

Ahh, yes, the day I began to feel human again. I got some words written and edited, went to town to the post office (I love that place. #SSDfeels), and drank a huge coffee because...because life is too short. *nods wisely*

As we roll down a dirt road, I rest my forehead against the cool window and stare out across the wide expanse of spacious prairie, dotted with cattle. It’s pretty…but rather flat. I don’t have anything against flatland, but it’ll never hold the same appeal that a majestic range of mountains does. 
But I’m definitely grateful to be here, in Oklahoma. I can deal with the vulnerable feeling of being visible from what seems like a dozen miles away. It’s not like I’m moving here. 

day four // Wednesday // 488 + 75

Happy fourth, lovelies! I spent the day writing, reading, dog-sitting (more on that in a second), watching fireworks, eating good food, and wearing red, white, and blue like a true American. xD

day five // Thursday // 556 words 

Wednesday through Friday of last week I took care of two sweet pooches for a neighbor. Ruby, pictured below, is an adorable but crazy wild mess of energy. xD

Just look at that face though! <3

day six // Friday // 106 words 

Good grief, this post is looking lame... Not much special happened on Friday either. I went to the pool, but a thunderstorm blew in and we didn't get to swim. xP

day seven // Saturday // 392 + 1,593 

Saturday was a rainy, dreary day...which I soaked up while writing and editing and reading and enjoying not having much to do. ;)

“I didn’t come to Oklahoma to fall for some sweaty cowboy.”  
Finally, Hannah turns to face me, a smile gracing her cute face. “You didn’t go to Guatemala to find a bestie either. Never say never, Char.”  
I laugh along with her, flopping onto my back and leaning my head on her shoulder. “This is different though. I don’t have time for anything other than soaking up the next twenty-four hours until I have to say goodbye to you.”  
“Ugh…” Hannah reaches over to grab my hand. “Don’t remind me.” 

day eight // Sunday // 175 + 1,322 

Our church is hosting a World Changers group this week (if you know what that is, please tell seems that no one does xD), so they were at church on Sunday morning and we had a meal afterwards and hung out for awhile. Then we visited my grandmother and went back to church for the evening service 'Twas a good day, and I got some writing and editing done that night. ;D

Total goal: 85,000 words (roughly, 10k in One Summer + an edit of the existing 65k A Soldier's Freedom + 10k in new ASF scenes)
Current word count: 5,345
Status: Terribly behind, but oddly okay with that, because the rest of the month should allow me more brain-power to focus on my stories.

Who else is doing Camp this month? How are y'all doing on your goals? New or repeat project? Anyone else hyped just because it's summer?! <33