Beautiful Books #2: The Writing Process | Blocked

November 20, 2015

Linking up for Beautiful Books #2 in the midst
of somewhat of a block. Perhaps it's the return to normal life, two queries rejected,
and wondering if my writing style is really all that great/readable. *sigh*
Kind of in a funk.
Hoping the link-up reinvigorates me To Just Write and not overthink so much.

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations? Can I answer by saying, "Both"? :) It's going where it needs to go, and it is surprising me. The beauty of writing by the seat of my pants (more or less.)
2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)? Keep in mind it is rough and will look differently in the end result, ya'll.

Blinking back into reality, Connor looked around before taking the witch hazel from the proprietor looking at him askance. Connor focused on his hands; the tremors were getting so bad he could hear the witch hazel sloshing in its bottle beneath the brown paper. The visions dissipated but the drugstore still seemed shrouded in a half-dream and the tremors were uncontrollable now.
He let Adam down. 

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out? I am more of a pantser but I do do some light plotting before and occasionally through out the actual writing.
4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal? Some episode of TV. ;) Or chocolate.
5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names? The names in this book I've had since I was in fifth and sixth grade for this story--the main characters at least. Margaret is my favorite female name, Connor I For obvious reasons. I try and keep to names that are period-correct for the most part, but that still sound pretty, strong, etc.
6. What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why? The beginning. I thought about it for a moment and realized this was true; ends are so hard to write. To get just the right ending is so much pressure, at least to me! But I do love the sweet satisfaction of finishing the first draft of a novel.
7. Who’s your current favorite character in your novel? Connor Doyle. Wounded soldier now homebound due to his injury at Gettysburg, his healing is quite a process, but its happening. And it's really great to write. And I picture him as looking like Jared Padalecki, so... ;) 
8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? I have a gazillion Civil War encyclopedias and atlases for details about the battles' landscapes and such, but my favorite book I've utiliized was courtesy of my parents for my birthday. It's a simple booklet of published letters from people in Chambersburg at the time of the Great Fire of 1864 when McCausland raided and burned the whole city. I'm super close to writing this into my story, and am so excited!
9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself? I write better alone, but word-warring across the miles with friends is wonderful. I got to word-war once in person with my longtime friend Brittany and we more talked writing than actually writing but it was still just as fun and productive.
10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? I'm in the process of training myself to write whenever, wherever. My headphones help to block out the background noise of my awesome family ;) and Spotify playlists are a beautiful thing. I write best in the afternoons but of course that seems to be the busiest time of day, so I try and write before lunch and after dinner. After 9 o'clock in the evening though, most days now, I clock out of writer mode unless I'm really driven or in the mood to just write.

How a Star Falls 1yr Anniversary / New Cover / Giveaway from Amber Stokes

November 18, 2015

The original cover
Poking my head in here to share about a dear friend's New Adult Novella that released a year ago, and is now being re-released with a gorgeous new cover and an audio book edition! Happy 1st birthday to How a Star Falls, Amber!

A Note from the Author

A year ago today (November 18th), my little star story, How a Star Falls, landed on Amazon. I’m thrilled to celebrate the anniversary of its release with you by introducing a brand-new cover (where the hero, Derrick, makes an appearance) and sharing a fun giveaway with prizes from some of my favorite Etsy shops!

If you journeyed with Derrick and Brielle when their story first released, thank you for allowing them into your heart. And if this will be your first time meeting them, I hope you’ll be encouraged by their story and reminded of the hope of Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.”

Blessings through life’s seasons!
About the Book

Sweet New Adult Contemporary Romance Novella 

How does a star fall? 
Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly. 

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he'll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it's far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won't stop trying to run his life. 
Then Brielle falls into his world. 

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she's crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can't just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home. 

And his whole world falls apart. 

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

This novella is available in the following formats:
Paperback ($6.99)
Kindle ebook ($.99)

Author Bio

Amber Stokes works as a marketing content writer for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home.
You can learn more about Amber’s books, sign up for her author newsletter, join the Amber’s Gems street team, and more at

Cover Designer Bio

Lena Goldfinch writes inspirational historical romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled black Labs.
Visit Lena at


Fill out the form below to enter to win one of three prizes from some of the author’s favorite Etsy shops! The prizes are…

·      Sparkle Green and Red Christmas Earrings from Baubles, Beads and Stuff
·      Silver Compass Crystal Charm Necklace from Jaye L. Knight
·      Santa Bunyan Note Cards (Set of 3) from Cindy Lindgren

Why these prizes? The earrings include stars, which fit this occasion for obvious reasons. ;) The compass is a reference to a song mentioned in the story: “If My Heart Was a House” by Owl City (you can listen HERE). And the cards are a little teaser for my next contemporary romance, Where Trains Collide. (Let’s just say the hero’s nickname is Paul Bunyan. Can you guess the heroine’s nickname?)

Note: Giveaway is open to US residents only due to shipping costs.

When What is Seen Breaks Your Heart | #PrayforParis

November 14, 2015

I slept in today, and woke with my heart heavy for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is Paris, Beirut and so many other places ISIS has left their mark of death and hate recently. It's everywhere. Disgust, anger, fear swelled when I read that ISIS admitted less than 24hrs after the attacks to their heinous work.

I can't write, my heart's aching and there are moments of, "Lord, where are You?"

Times like these test my deep faith in the Great God Unseen. Times like these when so much that is seen and strewn across televisions and web pages show how upside down, unfair and deeply wrong the world is.

I can't explain it-- but I just know He is here. My heart still aches, but He is my Peace, my Comforter. The same yesterday, today, at 9/11, through every war and tragedy and natural disaster the world has ever seen--just as He will be forever.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
John 1:1-5

Lord God, sweet Jesus, Holy Spirit--flood every hurting heart, strengthen every wounded body and bring healing to every soul overseas, every wandering soul lost in the mire of a world so dark just looking for light. You are our Everlasting God, our true Peace and brightest Light that will always win out over darkness.

A hashtag seems so grossly trite. But with the use of such a social media tagging platform, perhaps, perhaps, God will cause people to talk to Him that haven't in so long.
#PrayforParis #prayingfortheworld
via TimeWarpWife

Tomorrow is another day

November 12, 2015

Via Tumblr

So NaNoWriMo is swimming along and I am genuinely happy and a little excited (through my exhaustion) with where my story's going. I'm holding loosely to 50K in a month but just in the first twelve days I've written over 13K. Clearly behind with NaNo, but hey. 13,000 words A Rose Long Awaited didn't have before. I have moments of head-desking like above...or just wanting to throw my laptop across a room until I remember it's a Mac and that'd be bad

I've never really been a spontaneous or flighty person. I literally won a responsibility award in (home) school one year. I do not kid. But maybe it's the emerging from a long convalescence or the holidays and winter coming soon but I am restless as all get out. If I could physically handle it I very well may've recklessly bought a ticket to any number of places and jet off. Or I would've (less recklessly/more realistically) booked a room at a B&B for a night in Gettysburg and have a weekend to myself enjoying the autumn in my favorite city on earth.

But this is reality, and I can't. And reality is good and full and so overwhelmingly blessed right now. But some days--it's just hard to remember all that. I can look back over the past few months, be humbled and touched and want to cry for the sheer goodness of God one minute...I can look forward with anticipation to how God will move and provide for the future...

And in the present I want to throw up my hands and just way, "Why?!" Wonder why there's nothing new at all, no news, nothing changed as I regain normalcy and independence. Oh yeah, that's new. Impatience and self-reliancy are two huge over-arching things that trip me up especially as I get back to normal, working through therapy, getting reacclimatized (yes, that is a word, people) back to work and all returns to...normal. I enjoy the stability and responsibility and resent it in turn. The heart's a fickle creature. 

The Inkpen Authoress and my favorite Rachel heart-sister/accountability partner sent me a really great quote though that really caught my heart in a net of conviction, for especially today, but everyday.

We habitually stand in our now and look back
by faith to see the past filled with God.
We look forward and see Him inhabiting our future;
But our now is uninhabited except for ourselves.
Thus we are guilty of a kind of atheism which leaves
Us alone in the universe while, for the time, God is not.
A. W. Tozer

This Northern Belle is literally pulling a Scarlett O'Hara and proclaiming that tomorrow is another day. With new mercies. Just like the countless mercies today. Just as the ever-sustaining, cannot increase or decrease, grace that finds me in the messy moments, the frustrated moments and the truly helpless moments.
Great is God's faithfulness.
Especially in The Now

Hello November | What I Learned in October

November 1, 2015

 Goodbye October and your torrential rains.

Goodbye to a lot of weakness and partial weight bearing. Here's to getting stronger!

Goodbye to October and keeping up with TV shows. I'll catch up in December. *whimper* I'm fighting for my art. I'm getting this done. I'm committing afresh to my novel. 

Goodbye this favorite month of mine; probably the hardest month this year, yet such a special one at the same time.

Hello November with my two sisters birthdays, two anniversaries and my favorite holiday. 
Linking up with Emily Freeman's What We Learned in October
October has been a month. What a month.
The lifelong but especially poignant of late lesson of realizing I am so NOT in control has been tough.
But freeing. So freeing.
Learning my new albeit temporary limits going from 50% weight bearing to 100% and starting physical therapy. Trial and error, much grace and rest. God is so good. He's drawn me closer to Himself and comforted my heart and reminded me that He is to be my sustaining comfort. Not any fallible human being who may be in my life. Blessed people nonetheless--but I am to look first to HIM for everything.
I've learned to fight for my art. That it's not a sin to put my writing high on my priority list ahead of other things for other people. And that is freeing, too. To write when I can first thing. Not putter around on Facebook or even the worthwhile endeavors like crocheted gifts or what have you. Write first. It reminds me of that verse about giving your first-fruits to God. Firstly, receiving daily bread from the Lover of My Soul and then giving first-fruits back to Him with praise, action and words in everything I do. But especially in my writing.

Hello November to slowly but surely seeing normalcy return.

Hello November and the goal of at least 1667 words a day on A Rose Long Awaited.
Hello November and caramel apple spice drinks, pumpkin spice lattes and Thanksgiving leftovers for days.

Hello November and the first snowfall of the year way in advance of the Winter Solstice. No we haven't had any yet; but it's coming.

Hello November with it's darker days, hats and scarves and frosted (car) windowpanes. October seems to be a more ideal month to write 50K words in, but it is November, with a major holiday at the end, and it'll be wonderful.

I'll try and write once  a week here during NaNo but no promises.
Happy NaNoWriMo, Happy November

On this eve of NaNoWriMo

October 31, 2015

So tomorrow officially begins National Novel Writing Month. Thirty days where writers of all genres and walks of life will try their hardest to log fifty thousand words. 
Thirty days where even more caffeine is drunk. Thirty days of less sleep. Thirty days of piling sand into a sandbox as a first draft. An imperfect one. A messy one. Words that may be cut or changed later. But words that are written.
I am excited. I'm worried over more than just attempting to log 50K words in my novel. November will see normal life begin to return to normalcy of continuing physical therapy as well as very gradually returning to work slowly but surely.
1667 words a day. That's a feat. If I'm in the zone I can log between 400 and 600 in twenty minutes. If I'm not in the zone...I can reread and edit and Pinterest or even bake or watch TV and basically do anything but writing with the intention of writing. Can anyone else relate?
I'm bending the traditional idea of National Novel Writing Month. The heart of it is 50K words. Period. Most go for a fresh new story. I'm working on getting closer to The End of A Rose Long Awaited. The plot is in place, resources are at the ready and I'm ready to dare and be brave and fight for my story. My art.
Who's with me?
Whether it be NaNoWriMo or committing afresh to your WIP novel or blog--do it. Go for it. Make time for it. The words won't leave you alone. So write them down.

Stormy Weather | A Tag

October 30, 2015

Thank you to my dear friend and fellow indie-author Amber for tagging me in this autumnal tag!
I've made no secret autumn is my favorite season. The cool, the colors, the spices and pumpkins and leaves and bonfires and the sweaters. Oh how I love layering and scarves and warm clothes! This week however has proved to be quite rainy and cold, but the colors still shine so I'm happy in spite of the stormy weather.

Favorite Candle Scent: Anything baking-inspired. Our home has four sugar cookie candles on the first floor and they're so lovely. And deceptive. And hope-shattering when you realize nothing is baking in the oven.

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Coffee is my first choice, tea my second and hot chocolate my third.
What's the best fall memory you have? The best fall memories include some of my best friends. Three years ago last week I spent a lovely ten day vacation in Idaho with Gabrielle and had such an amazing time. I love that city. 

Two years ago next week I traveled Down South for a long weekend. For a lovely backyard intimate wedding down in the hollow for Sarah and her hubby Jared. During which I met them for the first time as well as Rachelle as we both served as honorary bridesmaids. 

And last October I traveled down south again, this time to Charleston to spend a week adventuring with Sarah and Rachelle. Gosh I miss them all. This October's had me laid up and very sorely missing some of the dearest souls I know. But the memories are countless and I would not trade them for anything, and this "off" year/October is nonetheless special in its own right.

Best fragrance for fall: Citrus Bliss essential oil blend or Elevation essential oil blend. They're both so warm and cheerful and uplifting!

Favorite Thanksgiving food: Stuffing. I'm a carbo-loving gal right here and will never/can never give them up. And my mom makes the best and most moist stuffing. *drifts off into Turkey-Day dreamland*

Most worn sweater: Probably the silver sweater I'm wearing in the photo above with Gabrielle. Love that thing!

Football games or jumping in leaf piles? I'm not currently allowed to jump nor am able to but it'd definitely be jumping in leaf piles. As it is I'm soaking in all the gorgeous leaves and colors outside our home and thanking God for His beautiful creativity.

Skinny jeans or leggings? Skinny jeans normally as leggings don't qualify as pants for this curvy girl. But during my recuperation leggings (at home) are so much better and comfier than jeans.

Combat boots or Uggs? Cowboy boots? Can I make that an option?

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype? It is. It's like autumn in a mug. I like both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks'. Dunkin's is richer and stronger of a coffee taste while Starbucks' tastes like pumpkin pie.

Favorite fall TV show: Once Upon a Time and Agents of SHIELD are my constant top two but I'm also hooked on ABC's Sunday night crime drama Quantico. 

What do you want to be for Halloween? I would so love to one day dress up as Agent Carter. Navy blue suit, red hat, my hair all vintage with a bright red lip.

Hats or scarves? I like the idea of hats but don't wear them as often as scarves. 

What's your #1 favorite thing about fall? The graceful, beautiful change from a bright green summer into a gold and ruby and amber autumn before a cold, white winter.

Ruby Red and the Start of a Saga | Yarn Along

October 28, 2015

Crocheting: a ruby-red infinity scarf for a belated birthday gift for an amazing, gorgeous chica I've literally known since birth. I'm almost done with it, too! This particular stitch is so easy once you get going with it. It resembles knitting since you use a half double or any larger stitch but no smaller, and go into the third loop somewhat behind the two loops you normally go thru on top of the stitch.

Reading: a book in my favorite genre and set in my favorite era. Of course. A Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar is the first in the Shenandoah Valley Saga and, while it may be set in the South during the War Between the States, this Northern Belle is loving it and so excited to review it in late November, courtesy of LitFuse
Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.