Saturday, December 15, 2018

TIPS FOR WRITING BITTERSWEET ENDINGS // at least... how i wrote one!

I've never been comfortable sharing writing tips here on the blog, which is why I tend not to post writing advice articles. For one thing, whenever I try to write writing-advice posts, I usually feel like a very amateur writer who doesn't know what she's talking about. And for another, I read a lot of blogs/websites whose primary focus is giving writing advice, and I don't want to end up unintentionally paraphrasing their epic words of wisdom. Especially if I don't have a whole lot of experience on the topic.

I hate being uncertain about these things. :P

Today, though, I have something to say. Advice I haven't seen before. A topic I have some experience with. And I couldn't say I'm completely certain about any of it, but then again, since when is anything about writing set-in-stone? The realm of storytelling is a vast ocean full of possibilities. Its flexibility is part of what makes it so fun, and so beautiful. <3

But I digress. Today we're going to talk about bittersweet endings. Why do I love them even though they're painful? And how does one write a bittersweet ending effectively? I haven't written a LOT of bittersweet endings - story conclusions that are a mix of happy and sad - but I've written one or two. So... I'm kind of wingin' it here, but not totally. :D

Why I Love Bittersweet Endings:

1) They're realistic. As a Christian, I know I'm going to ultimately have a sweet ending (and by ending I of course mean eternal ending, as paradoxical as it sounds). But temporally speaking, there's always going to be SOMETHING unpleasant, stressful, or downright painful going on in our lives, whether we're talking a pinprick or a tsunami. Most books, I'd say, end with at least a pinch of bitter along with the buckets of sweet. What I'm referring to by "bittersweet ending" in this post, however, is a more even division of the satisfactory and the sad. Like Allegiant, for example. (though maybe not quite so brutal as that, idk.)

2) They do things to your heart. Done right - and the rest of the book done right - bittersweet endings will TORTURE A READER'S FEELS. Something about that fascinating blend of satisfying and heartbreaking messes with us. And the realisticness of it only adds to the intensity of the feels punch, while at the same time solidifies once and for all our undying love for the book.

3) They're memorable. Ties in with #2. A bittersweet ending sticks with us more than a sweet ending does.

No one's going to forget the end of Allegiant.

White Sketch Pad Beside Cup of Coffee


Now that we've established why bittersweet endings are FTW, and briefly what I even mean by "bittersweet," the most important question now is, How does one write a bittersweet ending effectively?

Here are some things I think are important to keep in mind.

Tips for Writing Bittersweet Endings:

1) Make sure the bitter part of your ending is important to the story. Don't kill a beloved character simply for the sake of being able to say your story has a feelsie ending. If the bitter (sad, heartbreaking, etc.) part of the ending is thrown in with no relation to the main plot, doesn't have an equal or near-equal impact on the characters as the sweet part, or hasn't been foreshadowed/built upon throughout the story, then it's probably going to feel like it doesn't fit quite right. Which probably means that it doesn't fit right. Which probably means that your bittersweet ending is not effective.

By all means, lay on the bitter! Shatter my heart and squish my soul! But you've gotta make sure that feelsie ending is important. Make sure it fits.

2) Make sure the story has closure. Unsatisfactory ≠ bittersweet. Unless your story is the beginning or middle of a series, make sure you tie up all the loose ends. And whether there's a next book on the way or not, be sure the main storyline is resolved and complete. It's important to tie the plot together with its proper bow, because the sense of satisfaction it brings is what puts the sweet in bittersweet. 100% bitter will just leave a bad taste in the reader's mouth.

Don't leave me hanging. Instead...

3) Leave me with an ache in my heart but also with a smidgeon of hope. I don't care what horrible thing you did to your character(s) to put the bitter in bittersweet. By the very last page, I need a sliver of hope in regards to that horrible thing. I need at least a half-promise of healing and restoration, however small or gradual, to accompany the satisfaction of a well wrapped-up storyline and to tap the brakes on my broken heart.

The last thing you want is to leave your reader with a feeling of hopelessness. Leave them with tears in their eyes. Leave them soaked in feels. But please, don't forget to squeeze on a drop of hope that even after that terrible thing, maybe whoever or whatever was affected by that terrible thing will be okay.

Cappuccino Coffee Beside the Notebook

Examples of Books With Bittersweet Endings:

1) Allegiant by Veronica Roth (will never recover)
2) Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz (sooooo well-done *sobbing*)
3) North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (a little different because it's in the middle of a series, but it still fits the bill)
4) Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (wouldn't recommend this one, but it CERTAINLY fits the bill)
5) Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer (eeeeeep <3)
6) Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker (I hope I'm remembering this one's ending correctly...)
7) Messenger by Lois Lowry (#ShatteredHeart #SquishedSoul)


So that's my two cents on bittersweet endings - the most realistic, most feelsie, most memorable story conclusions. So heartbreaking yet wrapped up so nicely. Sad yet satisfying.

Now comment down below with your opinion on bittersweet story conclusions! Do you love them? Hate them? What are some of your favorite/least favorite books that end bittersweetly? I would love to hear all your thoughts! <3

The Lord's Truly,

Saturday, December 8, 2018

3 BOOKS GOD USED TO INSPIRE ME // that may inspire you!

God uses so many things to inspire us. His Word, definitely. Other believers, for sure. Music, absolutely. And, hmmm... What else? BOOKS, OF COURSE.

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It's always super special when I feel God's encouragement, His comfort, His very presence in a book I'm reading. <3

My two topmost pieces of advice for experiencing this are 1) Be in tune with God! Make sure your relationship with Him is priority in your life and that you're communing with Him in the Word. After all, if you aren't hearing from Him in His own Book, what are the chances of hearing from Him elsewhere? And 2) Step away from secular books for a moment and read! Christian! Books! I'm not talking about those popular "Christian" romances, obviously. Noooo, what I mean is delving into a search for the real gems. Goodreads, Amazon, Google in general, friends and family. There are SO many resources!

Oftentimes, though, Spirit-inspired books don't have to be hunted for. For me, they tend to plop into my unsuspecting lap almost out of the blue. The three books I'm going to be talking about in this post - three of the many stories God has used to inspire me - came from three different sources not the result of intense search: a casual library find, a Christmas present, and an advanced reader/blog tour opportunity.

Let me tell you about my experiences with these books.


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First, the casual library discovery. I honestly don't remember how I heard about The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. What I do remember is that it was around Christmastime (like now! *turns up Christmas music*) in 2016. It had to have been 2016 because my mission trip to Honduras was coming up fast, and this mission trip was a BIG deal to me. (Reading this book was only part of the spiritual prep God led me through. XD)

The Door Within is about a boy living an ordinary life until he discovers an important object (I think it was some kind of scroll??) and ends up entering a different world, where he is challenged beyond anything he could have imagined. When he thought he would fall, he was given the strength to continue. When he pressed on even through darkness, he saw and experienced marvelous things. I don't even remember most of the book, it's been so long. Only the vaguest outline of it.

What struck me in the heart about this book was that this boy (I think his name was Aiden...?) and I were on a parallel journey! Both of us had been transported by our King into new territory, where things were so different from what we were used to. I hadn't gone to Honduras yet, but 1) I would soon, and 2) God had taken me to a brand-new place in my relationship with Him as well, almost like a breathtaking new world. As I followed this ordinary, flawed, so very HUMAN protagonist through his up-and-down, faith-testing adventure, I related soooo hard and drew such inspiration from it.

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It didn't have an original fantasy plot, and the writing may have been on the juvenile side, but the story holds a VERY special place in my heart nonetheless. And the Christian allegory behind it may not have been subtle, but I actually loved it for that. It's what I needed at the time.


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Next up is the Christmas present. I hadn't put this book on my wish list - hadn't even heard of it - but I'm so glad I got Hidden Blessings by Kim Cash Tate because it turned out to be beautifully, heart-breakingly inspiring. A spring 2017 read of mine, I believe. :))

This story is an adult Christian contemporary about a woman living the dream, until her life is turned UPSIDE DOWN by a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Her fiancé backs out of their engagement even though their wedding was right around the corner, leaving her virtually alone and utterly broken.

Again, it's been a hot minute since I read this, but I can't say much even out of what I remember. It inspired me to find the warm light of joy even in the bitter cold, to reach for the already out-stretched hand of God even when everything seems to be going wrong. It inspired me with the reminder that God is here, and God is working, no matter what.

What also made this book so special was the new perspective it gave me. Stepping into the shoes of a main character whose main antagonist is cancer was a valuable, insightful experience. Reading it felt important, rather than just entertaining.

I give away nothing, but... I almost cried, okay??? There was something so raw and real, so brutal yet beautiful, about this story. And the title captures the theme SO WELL. <3


Image result for dagger's sleep tricia mingerink

And finally... the advanced reader/blog tour opportunity. This one is the most recent, a read of mine from earlier this year (which is over in less than a month, wut)!The blog tour post, including my review of Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink, is linked HERE if you're interested.

This book is about a prince and a princess. Now, that may not sound like anything special, but I promise you, this prince has a character arc that BLEW MY MIND, whereas this princess broke out of the mold so many YA princesses are crammed into it. It's gorgeously written, and it combines two of my favorite types of books: 1) fairy tale retelling, and 2) Christian allegory. You know how Chronicles of Narnia has probably THE most epic allegory of them all? Well, it may have been waaaaay too many years since I read Narnia, but I'll venture to say that Dagger's Sleep comes close. At least to me personally.

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What made the allegory aspect so epic wasn't any originality or clever subtlety of Christian symbolism. What made it so epic was how it made me feel. There's one scene in particular that was basically God reminding me that nothing can take my breath away like He can. That He is omni-beautiful (I hereby dub it a word). That He deserves all praise and respect and reverence. That He is everything.

That, simply, is how God used Dagger's Sleep to inspire me.


Well, friends, I'll wrap up this post with a word of encouragement: If your reading life has been feeling sort of dry lately, maybe pick up a Jesus book. There are so many secular books I love, SO many I want and plan to read, but I think it's important to read Christian books too (Christian books that don't just have the label but are truly Jesus stories <3). They're the real gems, refreshing the heart and soul because they are SPIRIT-INSPIRED.

So pick up a Jesus-inspired story. Jesus wants to inspire you.

The Lord's Truly,

All right, friends, I wanna know... What's a book God has used to inspire you?? And have you read any of the books in this post? (IF NOT, YOU SHOULD. THEY'RE LOVELY. <3) What are you thoughts on secular book intake vs. Christian book intake? I'm DYING to chat with you in the comments!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

KNOW THE NOVEL - PART TWO // participating in a link-up one day too late

You know that moment when you wanted to finish your post on Friday, but then life threw a curveball and you ended up going out of town that day and not coming back until about 12:30 in the morning, and then you realize after sleeping through half of Saturday that the link-up you wanted to participate in has closed?

Because that's how I feel right now.

Well, all I have is this post, and I need to post something. So, I'm jumping into your feed this fine Saturday evening to participate too late in the Know the Novel link-up, hosted by Christine @ Musings of an Elf. I didn't do NaNoWriMo, and I didn't do Part 1 of this link-up earlier, but after reading these questions for Part 2, I just COULD NOT pass up the opportunity to join (even though it's now too late to actually link up with the link-up)! Also, a writer can only go so long before gushing about her WIP again... *cough* I don't even know how many posts total I've written about Dusted Red (including the ones on my old blog), other than it's A LOT.

Click here to read more about the link-up and about November's set of questions! Even though it's DECEMBER 1ST NOW, WUT. O-o

1. How’s the writing going?

You know that writing slump I was talking about in THIS post? Well, I'm finally out of it!! Been out of it since November began, actually. (I would like an eggnog latte for my efforts, please and thank you.) So you could probably say that the writing is going PRETTY DARN WELL up in here. XD School and life and a new love for writing flash fiction keep me from being completely consistent with it, but I'm working on macro-editing (and plotting the sequel, which I'm ALMOST done with!) a lot more again and it feels soooo good. I love my story to pieces. <3

And I'm actually super excited to get to certain sections later on in the story that need serious editing/rewriting, as crazy as it sounds. Maybe because it involves Neverland...

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2. What's been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Figuring out my characters. Getting to know my characters. Becoming attached to my characters.  Characters, characters, characters. :D

3. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

I pantsed this book several times, so YES, I'VE BEEN SURPRISED A LOT.

I can't really think of any specific way, though. Maybe there are too many cases to choose from. Or maybe school has rendered me utterly brain-dead.

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4. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who's your favorite to write about?

*huggles all my characters*

*especially Hansel*

I hate to play favorites, but looking at my novel as a whole, and if I had to choose one, I'd have to say that Hansel is probably my fave. Many... INTERESTING things happen to him, especially later in the story, that make writing him sooooo very fun. *sobbing in corner*

5. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

I would probably have to be Delmy, since she's the MC, so I'm connected to her and her POV in a more intimate way than with any of my other characters. If we're talking about who I would want to be, I'd most likely say Tink. Tink is smart and doesn't get into much immediate danger throughout the book.

(Then again, the pressure hits her HEAVILY towards the climax... :P)

If I were Delmy, I probably wouldn't have the guts to inch even one toe into Fawood. So me being Delmy would end the story before it even truly began, lol. If I were Tink, I would most likely ruin everything by not being anywhere near as smart as her. XD

Hmm, am I selling myself short here? *taps chin*

6. Give us the first sentence or paragraph and then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!


We held the burning ceremony behind the baker's house.

We're just going to go with one. I know, I'm a rebel.

"Makes me think of a shifter cloak, only red." He stressed the last word, putting extra emphasis on the oddity of my cloak's distinctive color.
I debated for a moment whether to tell him - and Gretel too, who ignored us but could definitely hear us - about the weirdest aspect of my cloak. Even if they were Fawood horrors, which I could no longer believe, what difference did it make whether they knew about my magic cloak or not?
"When she gave it to me at eight years old, it fit me perfectly." I fingered one edge of the red fabric. "As you can see, it still fits."
Hansel's eyes widened. Gretel stopped in her tracks, then whirled around. "Wait, you mean it's magic?"

7. Have you come across any problem areas?

Well, Delmy is one. When I read through my first draft (well, third first draft) I discovered that Delmy acts rather stupid, annoying, and selfish at times. Her character needs a little work - nothing drastic, but still necessary. It's just one challenge editing has thrown at me.

8. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Not tearing my hair out.

In all seriousness, though, I'm very proud of my edited beginning. It was an utter MESS before, but after much rewriting (and by the grace of God, no doubt), it is now much improved and I'm so happy about it, because I remember thinking, "How am I going to fix this mediocrity??" as I was originally writing said mediocrity.

Beginnings are tough for me. (Not as tough as climaxes, though. Yeesh.)

9. Be honest, have you killed any characters off yet?

Sorry, that's classified information. Do I kill anyone? Do I not? Do I torture them almost to the brink of death? Who knows.

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10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this particular novel has looked like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

I hide in my hobbit hole bedroom most of the time, because then I won't have blaring television and chatterbox siblings to distract me. Sometimes, though, (read: rarely) I'll crave a change of setting and go into the living room.

Typically I like to be alone, lots of water is consumed, and no candles are lit. << I would love a library-scented one, though. Or book-scented one, or whatever it's called. As for music... ALWAYS. I need me some of them wordless tunes to get me into the writing mood.

As for procrastination, I've been doing better with it lately (I think), but you better believe it's happened to me MANY a time and will absolutely strike again. :P


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I said last post that I was back into blogging. I promise I actually mean that now. Why? Because thanks to a post by the ever-awesome Abbie, I have all my blog content for December and January all planned out. Get ready for posts by moi every week once again!

The Lord's Truly,

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A CERTAIN SORT OF MADNESS // review ft. aesthetic collages!

Oh look, it's Chandler! That naughty monkey crawled into my blog graphic while I wasn't looking. *is indignant*

Book reviews are waaaay less popular than other types of posts. At least, that's how it is on my blog and what I seem to notice on lots of others. I don't really have a right to criticize this when I myself will often pass over a book review post in my Blogger feed, especially if it's a book I'm not interested in or have never heard of. But it's still kind of sad?? I shall try to change my ways. :P After all, how else am I supposed to find new books for my TBR if I'm not reading reviews? My TBR list is always in DESPERATE need of more books, don't you know.

So anyway, for those of you who are actually reading this, I'm trying to spice things up a little bit! First of all, there's a monkey on my blog graphic. Not something you see every day. (Chandler is a character in the book I'm about to review, so his unprecedented appearance is relevant). Secondly, I made some AESTHETIC COLLAGES. We always make collages for our WIPs, but I don't often see collages for other books, so I thought... why not?? Besides, when I got this idea I had recently discovered the Pinterest board for this particular book and it is AMAZING.

I hope you enjoy reading all my flaily thoughts! (Yep, it's a five-star book, so... you've been warned.)


Insanity is catching…
Alicia Hareton is crazy. But that’s nothing new. Her insanity is inherited from her mother, just like her magical abilities and her blood ties to the strange and alluring world of Amar. She’s spent her life on Earth and yet Amar has always called to her, an intoxicating melody that she cannot ignore. Returning to Amar would put her life in danger, but Alicia has never let such technicalities stop her before.

However, when her mother is captured due to her reckless actions, Alicia will do anything to rescue her. That includes trusting her grumpy, sarcastic imaginary friend, who claims he doesn’t know her and doesn’t seem that imaginary anymore. Or that trustworthy. Together, with the help of her cousin and a band of misfits, they partake in an extremely ill-advised heist on the faerie court in order to find a way to defeat the most powerful mage in all Amar, who also happens to be Alicia’s grandfather. But not everything in the faerie court is as it seems, and soon this unlikely group find themselves fighting for their lives as well as the lives of those they love.

In a world of madness and magic, the lines between lies and loyalty are blurred and sometimes the only option you have left is to let the insanity loose.

See more about A Certain Sort of Madness on Goodreads HERE.


First things first...

Disclaimer #1: All pics in the collages below were found on Nicki Chapelway's Pinterest board, so I can't take credit for having found them all on my own. XD Srsly, guys, check out her board - it is GORGEOUS. (Feel free to follow her and love on alllll her amazing book aesthetics while you're at it. ;D I can't get enough of her My Time in Amar boards! *heart eyes*) 

Disclaimer #2: As aforementioned, I found the pics in the collages below on Pinterest. They are NOT mine. All credit goes to their original creators. Their sources can be found by locating the pictures via Nicki's board HERE.


So. A Certain Sort of Madness. Nicki Chapelway is a friend of mine, but I can assure you that this book hasn't received a glowing five-star rating just because of that. It can be easier than we realize to be biased in this way, but when I think about the characters, plot, setting, and other aspects of this fantasy story, I can't imagine giving it any less than five stars. I couldn't be more sincere in this: I found this novel to be AMAZING.

It's always a good sign when everything about the first few pages - the mood, the style, the main character - sucks me in and makes me feel like I'm THERE. The first few scenes took my breath away and already had my mind reeling like, I wanna keep reading. I wanna. keep. READING.

Alicia as a protagonist intrigued me from page 1. So many YA female protagonists feel like almost-clones, but Alicia is so incredibly different. She brings a unique perspective to the table, one that fits the mood of the plot and the vibe of the setting absolutely PERFECTLY. And most intriguing of all is that she's not all there. ;)

*see disclaimers above*

One smol gem I was delighted to encounter was how well-executed the respective POVs of Alicia and Olivia were. Their voices couldn't have been more distinct, and whenever the POVs swapped, each was like a breath of fresh air from the other. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed them both.

It's hard to talk about Dante because I legit FELL IN LOVE WITH THE GUY, s
o my brain sort of turns to mush when I try to formulate words about him. Suffice it to say that he's real and complex and soft and savage and quiet all rolled into one mysteriously attractive package. <333

In fact, ALL the characters are real and complex. Fun-loving Eugene wasn't just a blob of fun, like some comic relief characters can seem sometimes. He was funny, all right, but there are more layers to him than that. (He's like a puzzle trying very hard not to look like a puzzle. XD) Hector and Jane and Alicia's mother and even little Chandler... everyone had a fascinating edge to them.

As for the setting (I'm mostly talking about the fairy court here), it was descriptive enough for me to be able to picture it but vague enough that I had to wonder what exactly I was picturing. Which was an odd but also REALLY cool feeling! In short, the setting was a weird sort of aesthetic that I loved.

The plot was solid, sprinkled with clever twists that gave me metaphorical whiplash. XD Gotta love a delicious or devastating surprise, and A Certain Sort of Madness was full of such surprises.

The romance turned my heart inside out and had me SWOONING. *pause* Well, grinning like an idiot. The ships are just perfect. <3

It was just so, so, SO well-done in every way. The only negative thing I can say is that there were quite a few typos, but I did read an ARC, so the book wasn't in its final form. I expect that a lot of the typos were cleaned up before publication.

And as for the ending, all I dare say is that it stomped on my heart. I cannot WAIT for book 2.


So, does this book sound good to you? I assure you it is, especially for fans of fantasy that has dangerous heists and mischievous thieves and evil fairies. Comment below what you think about book review posts and - if you've read it - what YOU think of A Certain Sort of Madness!

The Lord's Truly,

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

OCTOBER 2018 // snippets and snapshots

I recently fell into a "reading old posts hole," which means I procrastinated for a while by reading my old posts on this blog. (Fellow bloggers, don't deny that you've done it - we all do it. XD) As you may or may not have noticed, I've been absent from blogging for over a month now (due to busyness and a lack of motivation ugggh), and whilst I was in the depths of my reading old posts hole, I missed blogging. I missed coming up with exciting post ideas several times a month and having a blast putting those posts together. I missed talking with all of you in the comments. I missed my consistency, and I missed being motivated.

I'm not sure about the consistency part, lol, but I'm trying to get my motivation for blogging back. I'm trying to get the FUN of blogging back. And to do that, I'm going to take ideas that excite me and feel meaningful to me, and then I'm going to pour my heart into them.

Starting with a monthly recap of sorts that - unlike previous recaps I've done - has very little order to it. Prepare for a haphazard scattering of snippets and snapshots from my October!


I've been learning to soak in the beauty of individual moments. As someone who thinks WAY more than she says, I often get so lost in my mind that I block out the sights and sounds and smells and feels of my reality - my RIGHT NOW - without really realizing it. But lately I feel like I've been slipping back into that simple enjoyment of losing myself in the right here and right now, choosing to loosen the grasp my chaotic mess of a mind has on me sometimes.

The feel of a book as I hold it in my hands. The comfiness of a blanket tucked against my legs. A glimpse of cloudy sky and swaying treetops through the window. The sound of a car driving past outside as I try to go to sleep.

There's a certain peace in allowing myself to clear my head and soak in the tiny beautiful moments of every day. The tiny blessings God sprinkles around so generously all the time. <3

Shout-out to Emma from missemmareadsalot for being such a huge inspiration to me in this regard!


Evangeline wrote a wonderful (and super funny) post called 17 Things I've Learned in 17 Years.



No better way to hear from God, to know His will and plan for my life, to know what I should and should not do and where I should and should not go, than by the Word of God.

Whereas zero blogging and not enough editing has been going on lately, MUCH reading has been happening. XD In accordance with the TBR I talked about in this post, I read The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill in September and very much enjoyed it. More recently, I've read two Alex Rider books and Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer, and now I've started reading Entwined by Heather Dixon (which is already proving to be the absolute perfect book for fall, ambiance-wise).

I'm also slowly making my way through the masterpiece that is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. This is one to take your time through and SAVOR, that's for sure.

I didn't love this one, but it was certainly entertaining!



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I can't just not talk about TØP, okay??? Their new album Trench came out early this month, and - to say more by saying less - I LOVE IT.

It's fun, it's fresh, and above all it's meaningful. There are so many hints, so many hidden messages, so many things to get us thinking. And I love how Tyler created a dystopian-esque world as the concept of the album - the world of Dema and Trench is so fascinating and symbolic.

Towards the end of "Leave The City" the first time I listened to the album, I realized, "Wait, this is it. This is the last song. I've... listened to this album in its entirety, and I can't listen to it for the first time ever again." It was a sad moment.

BUT. The awesome thing is, I can listen to it again. And again. And again. And that's what I'm doing.

(Gosh, I feel like such trash for their music. Probably because I am.)

I've also been listening to their older music, especially Vessel.



I cannot be anything but a complete Christian. I am not more complete on my best days and not less complete on my bleh days. Why? Because Jesus paid in full for my sin. It is FINISHED.


In time, I will leave the city
For now, I will stay alive
"Leave The City" by Twenty One Pilots

Hosanna Emily wrote a beautiful, encouraging post called Keep Burning, Keep Trusting. <3


Like I said, I haven't been writing a whole lot lately. A little bit, yes, but not nearly enough. It's been too easy to turn to more relaxing pastimes like sipping an Indian spice decaf chai while reading Les Mis. The thing is, once I do make myself sit down and write, it's never long before I get into it and don't want to stop.

I love writing. I know full well I do. But lately waiting for inspiration has not been an option and unfortunately, I've been treating it like one. (Which is why my Dusted Red Pinterest board is having a sudden growth spurt, lol.)

Other, less disappointing writing news is that I wrote and polished a flash fiction story within a week and sent it to Havok! It was nice to work on something different from my novel-in-progress for once. It's my first flash fic, but you can bet I'll be writing more in the future. :D


I sensed the siblings' presence beside me acutely, but didn't want to see their expressions. They knew what this meant as clearly as I did.
We were never getting out of here, and it was all my fault.
- Dusted Red by moi
(in which I make my characters do stupid things and then torture them for it :P)


I'm not doing NaNoWriMo because it would be too much pressure amidst all that's already going on in my life. Hopefully sometime I can do it, but this year I'll have to settle for trying my hardest to pull out of my writing slump.

My battle plan is to take a YouTube break all through November. And it actually hurts me to say that because I'm pretty much addicted to watching the BookTube channels and writing channels I've fallen in love with. Jessethereader, InsaneReader, missemmareadsalot, PeruseProject, Abbie Emmons - I've grown to love these channels SO MUCH. They're entertaining, inspiring, and... uh, devouring way too much of my time.

I think that to get out of my writing slump, I need to step away from YouTube and use the time I've been spending watching 30-minute reading vlogs and such (however epic they are *whimpers*) to work on macro-editing my novel and outlining its sequel. And writing more flash fiction.

I may let myself watch Abbiee videos because those are pure inspiration to CREATE, CREATE, CREATE. But that will be it. :)

So, that's sort of my NaNoWriMo alternative. Lame compared to the real thing, I know, but I'm excited anyway!


Condemning myself is not of the Lord. It is of the devil. Beating myself up about stuff is focusing on works instead of on the grace of God, which is sufficient for me.


Well, friends, I'm sorry if this post seems all over the place. You'll have to let me know down below if you like this set-up (or lack thereof, haha) or not. Either way, we stan an honest commenter. XD And tell me, is your fall as aesthetic as the pictures above yet? How do you feel about the cooler weather? I, for one, LOVE it. *burrows deeper into huge sweater*

I'll be back with a new post soon, m'kay?

The Lord's Truly,

Monday, September 24, 2018

#COVERLOVE TAG // time to show some coverly love

I have returned, and with a fun little tag about book covers: the #CoverLove tag! As a book-lover, pretty book covers attract my gaze like a moth drawn to dazzling lights. On the other hand, ugly covers appall me - like when I spot a moth (or any bug) hiding in my room.

I'm waxing poetic, so let's move on to the tag before it gets out of control. :P


- Thank the blogger who tagged you and link back to their blog (Ivie Brooks tagged me - thanks, girl!! <3)
- Answer the seven questions your nominator gave you
- Create seven new #CoverLove Tag questions
- Nominate seven other bloggers and let them know they've been tagged


1. A cover you loved the moment you saw it.


Although Discerned by Sarah Addison-Fox isn't my favorite book in the Allegiance series, its cover is most definitely my favorite of the Allegiance series' covers (which is saying something, because ALL the Allegiance covers are gorgeous). I loved it from the moment I saw it. Not only is the sparkly, purplish-bluish color scheme a feast for the eyes, but the meaningful image of the girl - I'm assuming it's Celeste - sitting on the Words of Etra is SO COOL, and it's just... it's just so pretty. :')

2. Your least favorite book cover on a book you love


I like the steampunk-y designs on the bottom half of the cover, but I don't like those... those people. First of all, that's not how I picture Alek and Deryn. Secondly, I just don't like faces on book covers. (Wow, I sound like such a drama queen. :P)

By the way, the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld is a REALLY good series that I 10/10 recommend! By this third installment, Goliath, I was feeling all the feels and rooting for the characters sooooo hard.

3. A cover you love on a book you hate


This Peter Pan retelling centered on the iconic Tiger Lily character was a disappointment to me when I read it... a year or two ago? I love love LOVE Jodi Lynn Anderson's enchanting writing style, and I love love LOVE so many of her other books - My Diary from the Edge of the World is probably my actual favorite book of all time - but this one was a very "meh" read for me for several reasons.

The cover, on the other hand, is super lovely?? It's aesthetically pleasing and happens to fit the mood of the novel really well. *nods*

4. A cover that makes you think of your childhood


The cover of The Forgetting Spell by Lauren Myracle only reminded me of my childhood after I started actively looking through My Books on Goodreads for a cover that might remind me of my childhood.

Anyway, when I was a young child (and didn't have any electronic devices, unlike little kids today haha) I would play in the backyard with my siblings from the moment we finished school until the sun started to go down. The setting sun and the wild-haired girl on this cover remind me of those times. *is nostalgic*

Even the story beyond the cover has a nostalgic feel to it. I distinctly remember enjoying it. <3

5. Aesthetic goals book cover


Need I say more?? The cover of this (really cool) novella is the definition of aesthetic. I get a little jolt in my heart just trying to absorb all its epicness.

I mean, you try taking in all the amazing elements of this cover and see if it doesn't make you suck in your breath! #challenge

6. A book cover with a food item you love to eat


Okay, so I admit... I've only had gelato once. (I think.) But I really liked it. It was Nutella-flavored, and I got to eat it while standing near the Caribbean Sea after dark, so that was super nice. <3

Although this is an adorable cover, with the gelato cones and little pink heart and all, Love and Gelato wasn't my favorite book? It was interesting and cute at parts, but some aspects of it were pretty darn annoying. :/

7. A book cover you love on a book you love


I love the simplicity of this cover, and I also love the darkness of it because that fits the mood of the story SO well. Heartless by Marissa Meyer is an Alice in Wonderland reimagining, and it. Is. INCREDIBLE. We're talking the "rip-your-heart-out-and-laugh-maniacally-while-you-fall-against-the-wall-and-slowly-slide-to-the-floor" sort of incredible.

I definitely recommend it. *finger guns*


My Seven "Questions":

1. A book cover you hate that is your favorite color
2. A book cover that doesn't fit with the story
3. A book cover you wish could be your WIP's cover
4. A book cover with a design that's too simple
5. A book cover that immediately made you want to read the book
6. A book cover that is a pretty accurate depiction of your life right now
7. A book cover with a clever incorporation of the title and/or author name

I tag...

Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer
Danielle @ Snapper
Nicole @ Wild Pennings

Well, that's almost seven other bloggers, so we're gonna roll with it. No obligation to do this if you don't want to do it or have already been nominated! :D

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read it - it means a lot to me. <3

The Lord's Truly,

Monday, September 10, 2018

THE BALANCING ACT CALLED LIFE // sept. 2018 general update

Won't you stay alive?
I'll take you for a ride
I will make you believe you are lovely
~ "Lovely" by Twenty One Pilots

Why did you go on an unplanned blogging hiatus? Why has editing of your novel-in-progress slowed to a crawl? Why have your comments on other blogs become so short? 

Why are you too brain-tired by the late afternoon to do anything except listen to music, watch YouTube videos, or read? Why are you always rushing out of the house to yet another out-and-about acitivity? Why are you so busy?

Yeah, well, life happened.

Because liiiiiiiiife. *headdesk*



It may seem like it, but I'm not illustrating the questions I think you may be asking me (blue), then providing the answer I want to give to your questions (red). What I'm illustrating are the questions we can sometimes ask ourselves (blue) and then the answer we always give. To ourselves. (And yeah, to our blog readers too. XD)

But lately, I've been wondering about this common answer. "Life is crazy. Life is rude. LIFE HAPPENED, UGH." I know it's a joke, one I use all the time, but it still makes me wonder sometimes.

Why do we complain when life keeps us busy?

Life is an adventure. I would even argue that it's most adventure-like when it's busy and crazy. We have to make a choice: Are we going to let the craziness stress us out, or are we going to trust God that He's taking us on a ride, that He holds us in the palm of His hand and only the circumstances He allows to come in can come in? Are we going to let the busyness annoy us, or are we going to accept that God has certain priorities for us? Are we going to humbly ask Him if there's anything He wants us to let go of to make room for those priorities, or are we going to try to stubbornly hold on to everything and let ourselves crumble under the weight?

Believe me, I get stressed out. I get anxious. I get nervous when the activities of life thrust me out of my comfort zone. But God is helping me to see that amidst all its challenges, even amidst all the jump-scares and mistakes and regrets, life is an adventure. An adventure with Jesus. And every morning of this adventure, His mercies are new. His forgiveness, love, and peace are never-ending.

So, if you're feeling stressed out or annoyed by the craziness of life right now, remember that life is an adventure and Jesus is taking you on a ride.

Stay alive, my friends.

cross stand under purple and blue sky


Life is an adventure, but it is also a balancing act. And we writers sometimes struggle to balance our writing with everything else, don't we?

The struggle is REAL for me right now.

Last time you heard about my progress on Dusted Red, I told you I was about to plunge into EDITS. Well, now I'm about fifty/sixty pages into said edits and it's a tedious process, especially here in the beginning where I have whole scenes and chunks of scenes I want to rewrite or write in. Or, I'll look at a scene I want to keep and think, I can execute this so much better. Hence, further rewriting. XP And I distinctly remember from my note-taking in July that I have loooooots of rewriting to do in the latter quarter of the book too. LOTS.

I have to say, it's kinda annoying. But at this point in time, what would be even more annoying is to get behind in school. So yes, I'm willing to sacrifice some of my writing time for the sake of my academic responsibilities. *nods*

Still, though... writing is my passion and I itch to devote more time to it. I hope I can get back into the swing of things soon. Editing is a lot of fun, it's just that it feels like more work to do, and after a day of school "more work" often doesn't appeal to my tired brain...? :P (And that's not counting the several evenings out of my week when I'm out running or socializing.)

In summary, progress is slow but not at a complete stand-still. ;)

Movies: Well, I watched Black Panther a few weeks ago. SO GOOD. I can't think of any others, but there are a lot of movies I have yet to watch and can't wait to! Infinity War, Incredibles 2, and Christopher Robin, to name a few. :D (Oh my gosh, that rhymesssss.)

Music: DUDE, I CAN'T WAIT FOR OCTOBER 5!!!! I was salivating over Trench's tracklist the other day, and I listen to "My Blood" ALL THE TIME, pretty much. Because it's THAT amazing. :')

I could say so much more about the Trench singles they've released, and the EPIC music videos and stuff, but not to worry - I shall restrain myself. It's hard, but... *deep breath*

Books: I'm reading several books for school, including Oliver Twist and To Kill A Mockingbird. They're both REALLY good so far! Oliver is my precious darling, and Jem is my wonderful boy. <333

I finished A Tale of Two Cities a few weeks ago. Five. Star. Read. I loved it to pieces. <3 I also just started reading Les Miserables because it turns out that I have to read it for school. Thankfully, I don't have to write anything for it - I just have to read it. And I can take the whole year to do it if that's what it takes. I'm barely into it, but it's already very interesting!

Another reading highlight is that I went to a library book sale and got Cinder, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the entire Hunger Games trilogy for LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS. My cheapskate heart is happy. XD


It's challenging to balance everything. School, writing, reading, and whatever else. The balancing act is all part of the adventure, though. I hope you guys are having fun on the ride Jesus is taking you on. He's got the wheel; He's in control. (I need this reminder all the time, haha...)

Your redemption won't grow stale
We are now just setting sail
"Lovely" by Twenty One Pilots

The Lord's Truly,
How's school going (for my fellow student readers)? How do you fit writing in amongst all the other crazy life things? Who else is pumped for the new Twenty One Pilots album???