Saturday, January 12, 2019

What to Expect in 2019.

Hey there, lovelies!

As promised, I'm here to ramble on about what's to come this year, what 2019 will look like in my blogging and authoring life, and that sort of thing. I'm breaking it into sections and specifics to keep from being *too* disjointed and rambly.

|| Life. ||

// Work

Hopefully within the next few weeks, I'll have a full-time job at a nearby country store. There's a whole long, boring story behind that, which I'll refrain from deluging on y'all right now. But work is going to totally whack-out my nonexistent schedule. The plan is to juggle writing, editing, author responsibilities (emails, social media presence, newsletter), and blogging during non-work hours.

// ASL

This week, I began the second semester of my third year of American Sign Language. I'm not entirely certain what my future in this area will be, but after finishing ASL 3 and Conversational ASL in May, I'm planning to pursue ASL interpreter certification.

// Other

To be honest... I have legit no idea what any other area of life will look like this year. *shrugs* I'll be traveling next week and hopefully going on our becoming-annual mission trip in June. Other than that? God's got this, I suppose. ;)

More: Being present in the moment. Having courage. Focusing on the good and going for the gold.

Less: Stressing over things that don't matter. Trying to please people who don't deserve it.

|| Blog. ||

// Design

I was planning to totally revamp both my blog's design formats—and I still am. But I've also toyed with the idea of combining the two blogs, and posting faith-related articles here each Saturday, instead of on Chosen Vessels. Not sure if/when that will happen or what it consists of, so for now I'm keeping it separate. And yes, updating the design. :D

// Posts Schedule

I'm planning for one post a week on each blog. If time, energy, and inspiration permits, there may be two here on occasion. Saturdays are the norm for posts on Chosen Vessels, and I'm not setting a specific day for Stories by Firefly. Probably Mondays or Tuesdays, additional posts on Thursdays or Fridays. And, as usual, monthly recaps will be on or within a day or two of the last day of the month.

// Monthly Recaps

The monthly recaps of Stories by Firefly are often my most popular posts, so they will remain. However, I'm changing the design, re-working the layout, and tweaking the content. Less meh and more quality, for lack of a better way to put it. ;) Stick around to the end of the month to see what that means!

More: Updates on my writing—what I'm up to, how it's coming, that sort of things. Writing related posts in general, advice and such.

Less: Blog tours. Boring nonsense. Tags. Basically, less stuff that's fun but not that engaging, or find a way to make it engaging.

|| Authoring. ||

// War Tears 

So, um, yeah. I've been talking about this book for ages, and I honestly feel kinda bad that I haven't gotten it out to the world yet... But while editing the other day, I realized something. Something that changed the way I view the entire hunk of 127,000 words.

This story is no longer my heart. 

Dandelion Dust was my heart for a season, and now A Soldier's Freedom is. War Tears had it's season too, but that season is not now. And ya know what? That's just fine.

The reason I've been having a hard time working through edits isn't because the book is awful or the story is pointless or the characters are drab—even though all some of those things may or may not be true. It's because it's not my heart, the theme not passion.

So, War Tears. My WWII baby, the first book I started writing. It'll still see it's publication date, hopefully sooner rather than later. For now, I'm going to continue editing, and I have a few alphas lined up, but I'm not rushing things. If it's meant to be, it'll be.

// A Solder's Freedom

Ahh, yes, the one thing that's actually going according to plan and sticking to a schedule. Baring any catastrophe—like an earthquake or my tragic demise—this darling tale (not that I'm biased) will be released the second week of September. National Suicide Prevention Week. The first book in a trilogy that does/will deal with harsh topics and raw pain, this is a book so dear to my heart. I can't wait to share it with y'all! <3

// NaNo Novel

I'm hoping to participate in NaNoWriMo this November and write a new novel. Most likely the second book in the trilogy that A Soldier's Freedom seems to be broadening into...with or without my permission. ;) I'm hoping to write that book this year, as well as another idea I've had on the back-burner for awhile, and hopefully some short stories for the blog.

More: Devotion to putting the words on the page. Social media presence—Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, newsletter.

Less: Months of not writing. Procrastination. Mediocre planning and marketing.

so yup, that's the plan! what are you aiming for this year? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Goodbye 2018 >>> Hello 2019

goodbye 2018

A year has ended, a new one has just begun.

And Faith is setting down to curse bless y'all with her thoughts and opinions on the matter a week late because she's still trying to put her thoughts into words. For a writer, you'd think this would be fairly easy. It isn't. Mostly because I don't even know where to begin.

2018 was nothing like I thought it would be on January 1st. And yet, in many ways, it was so much more than I even dared to hope.

January through April was an absolutely crazy season. I was swamped with wrapping up my final semester of high school (chemistry lab reports, anyone?), keeping up with blogging, and sorta having a real life. Although it was wild and crazy (gracious, I even wrote about stress during those months), it was a good season. The posts I wrote then are among some of my favorites as I look back today. I created pottery, took 864 selfies, planned a trip, and published a wee little book.

Then May. I finished high school and took a hiatus from blogging and traveled across the continent. Taking two tests, my last two subjects to complete, in one day and then celebrating by having supper with friends were pretty darn epic. A few days later, my family packed up and set out. Three weeks on the road, going nearly coast to coast, through like eighteen states, getting to see/meet three darling friends... It was so amazing.

here's a random pic of my cute (not-so-little) little bro in CA.
In case y'all were getting bored. 

Next up... Summer. It was awesome. Senior pics, graduations party, a mission trip. Turning eighteen—and attempting to "adult." Getting caught in the rain, spontaneous ice cream, long walks, starting a new job, and days by the pool. Wildflowers to pluck, sunsets to chase, laughter to share, and memories to be made. Cute sundresses, adorable puppies, country music...all the lovely things summer should be made of.

The mission trip in June was particularly awesome. Old friends to catch up with, new friends to make. Work to do and the Gospel to share. Long van rides, shingle jokes, games of jenga, and matching t-shirts. I don't even know how to sum up everything that week was. <3

September was...different? Not starting school like any other good kid was weird. xD I had my first ever author event—a table at a book fair for local authors—so that was fabulous. Then, I spent most of the month house/dog sitting about half an hour from home. (I came home for supper nearly every night, ssshhh.)

October through December was a wild and crazy end to the year. I keep using those words, but it's true. Mostly normal life, with more work, another two weeks of house-sitting, getting to meet another online friend, and publishing another book.

Reading back over this, it doesn't sound that out-of-the-ordinary. It sounds pretty...normal. Just life. Just living and breathing and trying to make some sort of a difference in this ol' world.

But it was so far from ordinary. I don't even feel like the same girl who wrote a recap of 2017 only twelve short months ago. I'm not. Yet in so many ways, I still am her. Always will be.

// Accomplishments
  • published a short story/novelette 
  • published a collection of Christmas short stories 
  • traveled across the continent 
  • hosted/co-hosted two blog parties
  • wrote 161 blog posts
  • graduated from high school
  • wrote 72,000 words in WIPs
  • read 200 books
  • went on a week-long youth/ministry trip
  • turned 18
  • spent nine weeks away from home
  • met/re-met four online friends in person
  • grew closer to God <3

hello 2019

Hey there, 2019. I'm rather looking forward to you. A few weeks ago, I wasn't. New Years Eve, I still wasn't. I'd gotten used to 2018. It was a crazy year, but it was so good.

I didn't want to say goodbye. But without goodbyes there would be no hellos. So I'm being brave and having "good courage." My 2019 word of the year was (quite literally) dropped in my lap a few weeks ago.

Courage. This will be a year of stepping out, being courageous, and leaning on God's strength. Let's believe that greater things are ahead than anything we've left behind.

Dear 2019, I can't wait to see what you bring. <3

// Goals
  • publish War Tears
  • publish A Soldier's Freedom
  • start full-time job
  • read 160 books
  • blogging consistently 
  • read the Bible, cover to cover
  • travel
  • go on a missions trip
  • exercise more

best memories of 2018? what are you most looking forward to in 2019?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Release, 200 Books, & A Blog Party || December Recap

(Yes, this is a tad late. We're going to blame that on the fact that Faith has been enjoying not blogging and reading an exorbitant amount of books. But here I am. Better late than never, am I right?)

I released a book, hosted a Christmas party, read 200 books... Oh, and it's been a year since I last wrote a December recap?? Like, what?? It's 2019—2018 is over? I haven't talked to y'all since last year?!


|| Life. ||

>> We got over a foot of snow. Legit made me so happy. We were snowed in all weekend and I read four books and we got ridiculously tired of each other and it was fab. xD

>> You might be in the south, if the Taco Bell guy says "sorry for the wait, y'all. Alright, y'all have a good day now."

>> Having five dozen wacko conversations like this one.

Bro: a sister is something you have and don't want. A wife is something you want and don't have.
Me: *burst out laughing*
Bro: Wait... I think I said that wrong...?

>> My family went shopping one day, a week or two before Christmas. After hitting several stores and wandering Main Street, we went to Dairy Queen for lunch. And got locked in the restrooms. No joke.

So like, you go through the seating area and through this door into a hall that has restrooms and some employees entrance or something. My mom, bro, and I went in, and when we're headed back to the restaurant where Dad was waiting...the door we'd legit just came through wouldn't open. We all tried it (laughing until we couldn't breathe, of course), and it would wiggle but wouldn't open.

Apparently we were just doing something wrong and laughing too hard to realize it, because a guy on the other side heard us and got up to let us back in. So as we come through, laughing and telling Dad what happened, another guy spoke up across the room—"Y'all seem to be having way too much fun."

Yup, pretty much, sir.

>> Allll the Christmasyness. Christmas play + dinner at church, Christmas music everywhere, all the secrets and wrapping paper and packages received and packages to mail. Decorations, ornaments, nativities, books, outdoor lights *points*, a blog party, and SO MUCH DARN FOOD. Gracious, I love that time of year though. <3

>> Throughout the month, I spent about two weeks house-sitting/pet-sitting, for two different people/couples. One has an ADORABLE puppy who I basically just cuddled and adored and played with for like over a week...

Honestly, though. Just look at that face. And ignore my weird position.

>> Over the final weekend of the month/year, I enjoyed a fabulous readathon with a handful of other gals! It was so much fun. We had crazy-random discussions, read loads of books/pages, and danced in confetti...virtually, of course. ;)

|| Books. ||

// books

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti -- 5 stars -- Review
A Happy Trails Christmas by Roy Rogers & Dale Evans -- 4 stars
Silent Star by Tracie Peterson -- 4 stars -- Review
A Christmas Peril by Diane Moody -- 5 stars
Hope Your Heart Needs by Holley Gerth -- 4 stars -- Review
Savanna's Gift by Camille Eide -- 5 stars -- Review
Decree by Tricia Mingerink -- 4 stars -- Review
The 12 Ways of Christmas by David Jeremiah -- 4 stars
At Your Request by Jen Turano -- 3 stars
Coffee Shop Christmas by Ryana Miller -- 4 stars -- Review
Then Came You by Becky Wade -- 4 stars
The Old Mansion's Secret by Rebekah A. Morris -- 4 stars
The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson -- 3.5 stars
The Haunted Cabin Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner -- 3 stars
The Angel of Bastogne by Gilbert Morris -- 3.5 stars
Runaway by Dandi Daley Mackall -- 4 stars

short stories //

The Least of These by Kate Willis -- 4 stars
Emmanuel by Angela R. Watts -- 5 stars
Songs in Our Memories by R.A. Rooney -- 3.5 stars
Even in the Grey by Laura Guenot -- 4 stars
Kind by Kellyn Roth -- 4 stars -- Review
The Villain Who Saved Christmas by C.B. Cook -- 4 stars
These Three Things by Gracelyn Buckner -- 5 stars

|| Writing. ||

December in the writing realm was...interesting. I always say that, don't I? I can't say the month was exactly productive... But it wasn't bad? I published a book, wrote a short story, tried to keep up with editing and failed, and planned January to be an EPIC month.

I published my darling collection of Christmas stories! Behold turned out to be such a cute, lovely little book. (Lovely on the outside anyway. I guess y'all will have to be the judges of the inside.) But yup, it's out in the frightening world of Amazon, in paperback and Kindle.

Other progress in the writing world would be the cutesy little Christmas story I finished (after starting in '15 or '16...), edited, and shared on the blog this month. A Carnathan Christmas is a prequel to War Tears, the epic novel y'all have heard me talk, cry, whine, and ramble about for like years. Which I'll hopefully have a major update on by the end of stick around, kay? There will probably be more tears.

|| Blogging. ||

// favorite posts

A Small Dream ~ Important Nothings

it's just part of the story ~ Twilight to Dawn

I See You Growing ~ Dancing in the Rain

// my posts

One ~ Two ~ Three ~ Four ~ Five ~ Six ~ Seven ~ Eight ~ Nine ~ Ten ~ Eleven ~ Twelve

|| Goals. ||

// December Goals 

>> Read 15 books.     YESS.

>> Publish Behold.     *nods*

>> Host 12 Days of Christmas blog party.    Ahaha, yes.

>> Edit pt.2 of War Tears.

// January Goals

>> Read 12+ books. (Yes, I'm crazy.)

>> Finish editing War Tears. (Even if it kills me.)

>> Post weekly on each blog. (Quality posts, at that.)

>> Re-vamp both blogs. (More on this coming soon!)

How was your Christmas? Did you read any adorable Christmas reads? What was the randomest thing that happened to you this month? If you tell me you've also been locked in a DQ hallway, I'll probably laugh until I choke...