Monday, July 22, 2019

A CHRISTIAN BUT ALSO A SPEC-FIC WRITER // rambly chit-chat + i'm published in a print anthology!


Two days ago, on July 20, 2019, Havok's first anthology, Season One: Rebirth, was released to the world.

Image result for happy screaming gif
via Tenor

I'm blessed and privileged to have four flash fiction stories published on Havok's website so far this year. I could provide individual links for all of them, but you could only follow those links successfully if you have a membership to their story archive (which is super affordable, by the way XD). But anyway, of those four stories, ONE of them was chosen to be included in their first anthology!! Which is available in print as well as ebook format!!! *cue more screaming*

First things first, CHECK OUT THE COVER.



SO. MUCH. GOLD. SO... SO PURE. *doesn't know what she's saying*

Second things second, it has a page on Goodreads you can check out. AND - of course - you can find it easily on Amazon, where it's available in both print and ebook. (I've already mentioned this, but... you know. EXCITED.)

At the time I'm writing this post, I haven't received my own physical copy in the mail yet, but I'M SO PUMPED TO HOLD THE THING IN MY HANDS.

Friends, I'm so humbly blessed to have this opportunity. Every time I've submitted a story, I've asked God for His will to be done with it. Every time I've prayed about the possibility of appearing in Havok's anthology, I've asked for His will to be done. His answers to those prayers show me that these stories and their publication have been part of His perfect plan for me since... well, since the beginning of time?? O_o I'm quite frankly BLOWN AWAY by how much He cares about my writing.

Part of the reason why I'm so awed is that I am currently in the process of learning how important I am to God as a writer. Too often I subconsciously try to bridge a gap between my writing life and my Christian life, as if they're not compatible. Maybe I wouldn't have a problem with it if I wrote contemporary stories featuring Christian characters or historical fiction set during Bible times. But I don't. I am a speculative fiction writer, which means I write stories with supernatural elements - or elements in general that don't exist in our world. The umbrella of spec fic covers genres like fantasy and science fiction. 

Moreover, I have yet to write a flat-out analogy like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or the lesser-known The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. All of this to say... It's easy for me to make the mistake of disconnecting my writing from my faith because I don't write explicitly Christian stories.

I could talk about sooooo many little ways God has already shown me I can and should build a firm connection between these two prominent areas of my life. It's sort of an ongoing lesson. In fact, just recently I was making the separation again and prioritizing writing over my relationship with God (double yikes). Thankfully, by His mercy and grace I'm back on track again. PHEW.

And now He's showing me some really cool things.

First of all... STORY EMBERS. If you don't know what Story Embers is, it's an epic website hosted by a group of epic Christian writers, chock-full of epic free resources + epic articles on all things writing - especially on how to write for God's glory as a speculative fiction storyteller.

...

Yeah, I'm a fan. XD

GOD'S TIMING THO.

Yellow Flowers

My current favorite article series of theirs is "How Should Christian Authors Depict _____?". The intro post realllllly inspired me and informed me on things I hadn't fully realized were confusing me (link above). There's an article on depicting darkness, an article on depicting violence, one on swearing, and one on sex. Reading through them has been absolutely amazing. It's prompted me to pray harder than ever for God to shape me into the kind of writer He wants me to be - the kind of writer who brings glory to Him in ways that are perhaps subtle but nonetheless impactful.

Then I started reading Philippians in my personal devotions and... WHOA. O_O

It all began with this verse:

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)


In these words I sense God's personal reminder for me that He still has a plan for my writing. Despite my constant failure to reach out to Him with it (specifically my novel-writing) in the past, He hasn't given up on me. He's never turned a blind eye to my words. He's been there in every writing session. Even when I haven't given Him full control, He's never left me nor forsaken me.

Then the message got deeper.


"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment," (Phil. 1:9) 


This made me think of Story Embers and their encouragement not to shy away from the dark realities of human depravity - as if I don't know about them or they aren't real -, but instead to portray sin in such a way that it contests the light and loses. Darkness causes light to shine brighter, and the light of Jesus' love always wins. I could expand on the word discernment here as well, but suffice it to say that this verse speaks to me A LOT. There's so much packed into it that I want to make more time to meditate on it. <3


"that you may approve the things that are excellent," (Phil. 1:10a)


This is pretty self-explanatory. As well as writing about bad things in such a way that exposes their badness (Ephesians 5:11), God wants me to approve excellent things by incorporating them into my writing. The challenge comes when I choose to be bold and write about excellent things the world might not consider excellent... I shouldn't shy away from those either, even if I want to reach a secular audience as well as Christians. Especially if I want to do that.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~ Isaiah 5:20


"that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Jesus Christ," (Phil. 1:10b)


Uh oh. There's that dread word offense. Maybe I desire to go out on a limb for Jesus, but I also don't want to offend anyone... And I don't want to go so far out on my limb that I offend the Word of God.

God is showing me in this verse that He wants to help bring me to a place in my writing where I'm sincere and without offense. I want to be able to handle every tough topic or serious aspect of a story with tact and taste. And I can't do it on my own, but God promises He'll be here to help till the day He comes back.

And finally:


being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1:11)


I want my writing to be fruitful.

I want my writing to be righteous.

I want my writing to bring glory and praise to the God of the universe.

Orange Flower With Butterfly

Well, I think my rambly chit-chat is over now. Kudos to you if you made it to the end! Maybe I made no sense, but hopefully I made at least a little sense? Idk, you'll have to let me know down below. XD

In summary, I'm a print author and I'm so blessed and God is growing me as a writer. And I wanted to share what I've been learning with all of you, because some things are too exciting to keep to oneself. Especially since I know a good number of my blog readers are Christian writers as well. Maybe these verses could encourage or inspire you in one of your writing struggles, or just in general.

Keep writing, my friends. And don't write for the world. Don't even write for yourself. Write for Jesus.

He wants to infuse every word that spills out of your fingers with true love and purpose.


The Lord's Truly,
What are some ways you've been growing as a writer? Have you heard of Story Embers? Which Bible verses inspire you in your writing life? Leave a comment and we'll chat!

"The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature." ~ C.S. Lewis

Monday, July 15, 2019

HANSEL MEETS KARIANA - PART 2 // character chat with Faith from The Writer's Song


Happy Monday! This week I'm coming at you with none other than a collaboration post with my good friend Faith from The Writer's Song. We had a character chat with characters from our respective WIPs, and we're going to share it with you today. ^_^

If you don't know what a character chat is, it's when two writers each take one of their characters, throw them into a fun or *cough* dangerous setting together, and sit back to let them interact. Or, if you're doing one by yourself, you take two characters from two of your WIPs (or the same one - there aren't really any rules here) and do the same thing. It's a lot of fun!

For this chat, Faith agreed to throw her character Kariana (from her high fantasy series) into the shapeshifter-infested forest from my fairytale retelling fantasy, Dusted Red. My character was Hansel, also from Dusted Red.

They had quite the entertaining conversation. XD

This is Part 2 of the chat, so you'll definitely want to read Faith's post over on her blog FIRST. Then come back here for Part 2! Naturally. :D

And, of course, I just had to make a Kariana and Hansel mash-up aesthetics collage.

(pics via Pinterest - all credit to original creators! sources HERE and HERE)

~~~

Hansel: Lascogine? Wherever that is, it isn’t anywhere near here. I’ve never heard of it. *gapes at light* *grips satchel even tighter* If you’re not a shifter, and you’re not a witch, what are you? A… a fairy?


Kariana: ...how did I get here? It’s…are you serious? A fairy? Never. I’m just a girl. This light isn’t even anything impressive—everyone’s got some power where I’m from. You should see our queen’s fire in the heat of battle. Now that is a sight to behold, unlike this paltry light of mine. Do you have a power?  


Hansel: Queen…? *shakes head* No, I don’t have a power. I wouldn’t have a power unless I were a shifter, witch, Neverland fairy, or some other creature from the old stories. *pause* If you promise not to kill me, I can take you to meet my sister Gretel. Maybe we can help you figure out where your home is and how to get back.


Kariana: I won’t kill you, idiot. At least not yet. There’s two rules when it comes to me: you don’t touch me, ever, for any reason; and you just assume that I do no trust you unless and until I tell you otherwise. Clear on that? If you’re offering, then yes, I’ll accept help. *mutters to herself* Ugh, who am I?


Hansel: *gulps* All right. Well, foll-- *sees something through the trees* *face blanches* Oh no. We need to get out of here.


Kariana: *brandishes knives* What is it? Talking squirrel or something?


Hansel: Shifters in their animal form don’t… Never mind. It’s hard to see because it’s fairly distant and it blends in, but… *points* A witch’s hut. They appear out of nowhere frequently when you’re this deep in Fawood. Whatever you do, you do not want to go anywhere near it.


Kariana: ...they appear out of nowhere. Houses. *pause* What sort of ridiculous place is this? 


Hansel: Ridiculous is one way to put it. *starts walking with wistful look on face* You never really get used to it.

Trees Under Cloudy Sky

Kariana: *walks at a casual pace to follow him but make it look like she isn’t* Ah. Interesting. Very, very interesting. So…if we can’t trust the animals and witches just appear out of nowhere, what does safety look like?


Hansel: If you live in a place with any semblance of safety, please don’t take it for granted again. There is no safety here. There’s literally no reason why a shifter wouldn’t jump out and attack us right now.


Kariana: Um. Okay. So why aren’t they, then? *looks around suspiciously and raises knives higher*


Hansel: I don’t know. No one knows their purpose for kidnapping people. We can only assume we don’t fit that purpose. Yet, anyway.
You mentioned the name Derek. If you’re lost out here, maybe Derek is too. We can help you look.


Kariana: *eyes light up and hands flash* Yes! Yes, we can find Derek and then he can get us out of this. He’s brave and he almost always knows what to do—I’m sure he can help us.


Hansel: *perks up as well* Help us? Do you… do you think he could help my sister and I? Does he have a special power that could help us find our home?


Kariana: Well...he does have a power, but I don’t know how much it’ll help with finding things. But he’s far less directionally challenged than I am and he can usually figure out an escape route—when I go spying I almost always let him decide my emergency exit. So I’m sure he could help you two as well. If we find him, of course. Where did you say your sister was? If we can find her then we can look for Derek.

Hansel: I'll take you to her. *amused smile* The two of you are going to get along very well.


~~~

And that's that. XD I'm afraid you'll have to deal with the cliffhanger; as of now we're not planning on continuing the adventure. What happens next is up to your interpretation!

This was actually the first character chat I've ever participated in, and I found it just as beneficial as I'd heard it was for refining character voice. Not only is it fun, but it's also great practice for making the way a particular character thinks, acts, and speaks more distinctive.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you next week! <3



The Lord's Truly,
How did you like this chat? :D Have you ever done a character chat before - with a fellow writer or by yourself? Talk to me in the comments below!