How to Hop a Blog

I tricked you a bit…
I don’t really know how to hop a blog.
But I got your attention,
so now you can enjoy the answers to questions that have been given to me on a blog hop.

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My writing partner, Lisa Godfrees, gave me the honour of answering some questions about my writing process.
If you want  to check her post then visit her blog,
or if you want to read some of her fantabulous writing, check out her short story that was just published.
You’ll like it!

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Now to the questions…

What am I working on?
Well, I am working on the retelling of a Biblical story,
but in a very fresh new way…
I hate to say much more than that.
But keep close as I’ll be revealing in a month or so. 🙂
It’s challenging me in new and wonderful ways.

I also have a couple of short stories I’m working on,
both of them dealing with girls of African descent.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
It’s written by me…lol. 😉
In all seriousness,
as a Black Canadian who grew up in an all white neighbourhood,
I like to believe I like to believe I have a unique way of looking at the world…

But really, there is no story that hasn’t been told,
it’s the way that I tell it that is unique. 🙂

Why do I write what I do?

Is it me or is it getting hot in here?
These questions are tough!

I write about characters looking for something deeper,
something more than themselves.
I’ve written stuff with an apparent Christian thread,
and other stuff that doesn’t say God’s name.
But I like to think that my searching,
probing way of writing will get others to think about themselves,
and who they are.

To come away with a question,
that only God can answer.

How does my writing process work?

First I do an outline for my book (I use the Snowflake method).
Then I write down fast and furious without looking back–
the whole novel without filtering anything.
I then go back and make general story tweaks.
Finaly, I begin the editing process.

I am a busy person,
(too busy of late!),
but I try to commit to writing 1000 words a day.

I am a night owl,
so I write after the kids have gone to bed. 🙂

Well, that’s it for me.
I will be passing the torch on to the following people:

Heather Bootsma: She was one of my first writing buddies ever (truth be told…I taught her English when she was being homeschooled…that does not make me old!) She loves historical writing and reading.

Linda Jonasson: Another writer friend in my local writer’s group. She hosts a blog that deals with a lot of interesting non-fiction topics. A devoted writer and someone I am happy to spend my time writing with. 🙂

Sarah Grimm: Author of the book Breathless and an editor at Splickety Magazine and Pelican Book Group. As well, she is an amazing writer and friend. 🙂

 

Book Review: One Realm Beyond

Cantor D’Ahma has waited his whole life for this day. Born with a gift, the young Realm Walker is finally ready to leave his elderly mentor and accept his role as protector and defender of the realms.
But mere hours after he first steps through a portal, Cantor discovers that his job will be more dangerous and difficult than he ever imagined. The realms are not as safe as they once were, and members of the Realm Walkers Guild have become corrupt and can no longer be trusted. To make matters wrose, his first assignment–finding a dragon to assist him on his quest–has led him to one who is clearly inept.
With the help of his new friends Bixby and Dukmee, Cantor must uncover the secrets of the corrupt Guild before they become too powerful to be stopped. But can his skills progress in time? And will Cantor remember where his true allegiance lies?

First of all, the cover of this book is delicious!
A good balance of color and movement.
Lots of details from the book so that when I finished I could go back and spot my favorite tidbits. 🙂

Donita K. Paul has a real gift for creating worlds,
and One Realm Beyond is no exception.
Dragons, portals and realm walking…oh my!
Her story world is very rich,
and very unique.
Loved it!

I was also really impressed with the female protagonist, Bixby.
She was very strong and so creative.
Truly made me want to know more about her.

I wasn’t as connected to Tyrin as I wanted to be,
and it took me awhile to get attached.

The story was good,
but the jumping point of view was sometimes distracting,
(even for me who reads  a wide range of fiction with lots of shifts in the writing).

Also, Tyrin’s quest was…rambling,
and, although the ending was good,
it didn’t completely satisfy because I didn’t really understand Tyrin’s goals.

All in all though, Paul is a wonderful writer,
and the story still managed to catch my fancy.
When I finished I wanted to know what happened to the colourful cast of characters.

I would recommend this book to those who love rich story worlds and solid characters.
The book is clean with nothing terrifying,
and although there is conflict it is safe for the younger YA audience.

I give this book: fivestars fivestars fivestars fivestars

A great read from a great author!
I look forward to reading more. 🙂

You can learn more about Donita K. Paul here.
You can pick up her book here (or here in Canada).

Happy reading. 🙂

Truth #11: Puzzle pieces are Awesome!

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My shoes squeaked on the cold, gleaming floors.
The bell rung, rattling my confidence.

Why on earth am I here?

I clutched the strap of my backpack and took a deep breath.
I had been ripped from my home of ten years,
and transplated  in a whole new town with no friends,
two days before I started grade nine.

No big deal.
I could do this.

I took a deep breath and stepped into Room 217.
The room went silent.

It looked like any other classroom:
desks all in a row
chalkboard and
standard ugly metal desk at the front

My fellow classmates were similar to the ones I left,
perhaps a little better dressed,
but the average teen.

Yet every single one of their eyes held a note of disdain.

Then I remembered…

My skin was the color of rich coffee with a dash of cream.
(I often forgot having been adopted and growing up in an all white neighbourhood…
which is a story for another time).
In front of a sea of white…

From that moment on I did everything in my power to fit in.
Mended my jeans to be super skinny.
Bought uncomfortable knock off designer shoes.
Straightened my hair.
Laughed at their jokes.
Kept my voice quieter.

It was a mark of success when I got invited to sit with them at lunch.

But my heart was like a deflated balloon.

You see, I was not happy.
I wasn’t myself.
Everything I did was an act.
I wanted so badly to fit in,
to be like everyone else.

Cookie Cutter.

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I had forgotten the importance of…me.
The special gift of…me.
Known and knit together before I was born.
Each step planned long before I walked.

God made us all special and unique.
Each finger swirl, guffawing laugh, flamboyant hairstyle:
Unique but beautiful.
Not cookie cutters.

Puzzle pieces.

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Coming together to form a beautiful mosaic.
Beautiful because of our differences.

So I urge you to maintain your Uniqueness,
be who God wants you to be,
and let your True Beauty shine through
(“weird” and “different” look good on you!)

And what of me in that fateful grade nine year?
I found some true friends who made me feel comfortable.
They told a joke,
and I laughed.

Really loud.
And long…(my sides hurt!)

And they still cared about me.

With all my uneven corners. 🙂

What makes you Beautifully Unique? Share with me in the comments-I love to hear from you! If you like what read consider clicking the Follow button top right or join me on Facebook or Twitter. 🙂

Truth #10: We lie to ourselves

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After reading Outcasts last week,
something from one character (Omar) struck me.

He caught himself lying in his head.

You know what I’m talking about:
“I’m worthless.”
“I can’t do anything right.”
“I have no gifts.”

I do it
all.
the.
time.

I go to this dark corner,
in the cell of my own making,
curl up in the fetal position,
and repeat my mantra of lies.

‘Cause that’s what they are.
Lies.

No more.

That’s what I said in 2014.
No more lies to myself.
I will not speak them outloud,
or let them whisper through my bones.
No more.

“I am worthless.”
becomes
“I am precious in His sight.”

“I can’t do anything right.”
becomes
“I can do anything through Christ who strengthens.”

“I have no gifts.”
becomes
“God gave us each different gifts.”

So when the lies rear their ugly heads,
I will remind myself of God’s Truth.

This is God’s gift to me, and you,
and in 2014 I’m going to grab hold of that promise.
And never let go.

What lies do you tell yourself and how do you fight it? Please share it in the comment section along with any of your goals for 2014. I love to hear from you! And if you like what you read on my blog, consider clicking on the Follow button at the upper right side. Or join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Sneak Peek of Outcasts by Jill Williamson

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Jill Williamson’t new realease, Outcasts, will be coming out on January 7th.

She has graciously given a sneak peek of the novel before it comes out…
OOooooOOOOooo.

And let me tell you,
this book is even more delicious than the first one.

So without further ado:

Kendall strode around the curve of Belleview Drive and fixed her gaze on the messenger sign at the end of the block. The flying white envelope on a red circle flickered in the night.

She wanted to run—to at least jog—but held back, forcing her legs into long strides. Kendall swung her arms and breathed in the scents of dryer sheets and waffle cones from the Belleview Laundry and Cinnamonster ice cream shop.

Barely four weeks had passed since she’d given birth in the Surgery Center, and only two since she’d moved out of the harem and back to the Midlands. Kendall’s medic had told her to wait at least six weeks before doing serious exercise. So Kendall walked everywhere, determined to firm up her abdomen, look normal again.

Determined to forget.

She wasn’t supposed to work for six weeks, either. But staying home with no baby to hold … Add to that her depressing thoughts, worry over the girls from Glenrock, and the task director general’s summons—it had been too much. She’d begged Tayo to let her come back to the messenger office early.

Kendall picked up her pace. What could the task director want now? He’d taken everything from her. She’d served her term in the harem, had given the ultimate sacrifice. This couldn’t be a surrogacy request. Safe Lands customs said she deserved a two-year reprieve for her service to the nation.

This summons had to be personal.

A taxi turned down Belleview and sped toward Kendall, its headlights blinding. She lowered her gaze. The vehicle passed—and the product expo on its side caught her eye.

The face of her son. “Welcome, Baby Promise” scrolled underneath.

Kendall stopped. She watched her son’s face shrink away until the taxi vanished. Fortune was mocking her pain.
What kind of a name was Promise, especially for a boy? More Safe Lands strangeness. Her baby would always be Elyot to her.

Kendall choked back her sorrow and trudged the rest of the way to the messenger office. She used her SimTag to let herself inside and set her messenger bag on the front counter.

A single bulb cast yellow light and hard shadows over the messenger workstations and rows of nearly empty package shelves. Kendall crossed the lobby and slipped behind the counter, her running shoes scuffing over the concrete floor. She walked down the first aisle of shelves, her shadow creeping along beside her.

This place had always been ghoulie at night.

The task clock hung outside Tayo’s office door, located at the back. Kendall tapped her fist on it, officially tasking out for the night, and started back toward the lobby.

A low moan rose from the dark. She jerked her head around, spine tingling. Cocked her ears.

No more sound.

Kendall peered through the shelves on her right. “Hay-o? Who’s here?”

A gargled breath. “Help me.”

The words squeezed her throat. For a moment Kendall couldn’t move. Pushing down her fear, she forced herself around the end of the shelves. Peeked down the next row.

Empty.

She inched toward the third one.

Nothing.

Kendall glanced at her messenger bag. Her portable Wyndo was inside. She could tap Enforcer 10 for help.
She bit her lip, then eased around the fourth row. Halfway down, a man in a messenger uniform lay on the floor, one hand on his stomach, the other under his back. White-blond hair. Big feet.

“Chord?” Kendall ran to him.

Red everywhere, like a bottle of spilled Shower Paint. It had soaked Chord’s white T-shirt and the top of his green shorts, puddling under him. Still spreading.

She swallowed the bitter burning of nausea. “What happened?”

Chord lifted his hand. Kendall reached for his bloody fingers, but he pointed upward, to a large box high on the shelves.

“You want the box?” she asked.

He nodded and choked out the word, “Hurry.”

Kendall had to climb on the lowest shelf to reach the box. She held the shelf with her left hand and slapped the box with her right until it slid over the edge, careful to use her arms and not put strain on her stomach. She stepped down with the box, keeping her hand underneath to catch it as it fell. It was light and open at the top. She set it on the floor and pulled out a messenger bag. Chord’s? She met his gaze.

“Deliver,” he rasped.

“You want me to deliver your messages?”

“To the … addressees. No one else. Secret.”

She found four messages in his bag. Messages with no codes. In the Safe Lands, it was illegal to deliver mail off the grid. Enforcers monitored everything. She read the addresses. Chord worked the Sopris route, but these addresses were mostly in Old Town, which was her route.

“Chord, why do you …?” She looked up to find him staring past her knees. Unblinking. Unseeing. His eyes dull, mouth half open, face slack.

A breath rattled past her lips. She spun around, slipping in the blood. Kendall ran to the counter, withdrew her Wyndo from her own messenger bag, and tapped one zero. Her thumb—shaking over the glass screen—produced a one-eight-eight. She deleted the numbers and carefully tapped one zero again.

One ring and a female face showed on the glass. She had silver hair, mimicking Luella Flynn, no doubt. “Enforcer 10. Where are you located?”

“Midlands-east-messenger-office,” Kendall said, breathless. “A man’s been hurt. He’s bleeding. I think he’s … dead. Oh, walls! Don’t let him be dead!

~**~

Now, wasn’t that a great taste???
I know, right!

So here’s the deal,
if you head over and check out my post on The Scriblerians blog you can enter to win a FREE COPY OF OUTCASTS,
plus you get an extra entry for following this blog. 🙂

I love to hear from you. Leave me a comment letting me know what wonderful books you have come across so I can add more to my 2014 TBR pile. And if you enjoy my little blog then feel free to follow me (button on the top right).

Truth #9: November can be a brutal month. ;)

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Hey all…
I’m participating in Nanowrimo this month.

Furiously writing…
(can I count blog posts toward my word count…hmmmm….)

50,000 words due by the end of November.
Please cheer me on. 🙂

I promise I will be back next week to give you an update on how my wordcount is going.
If you are doing Nano as well, feel free to friend me (wordchurn).

If you are hankering for a Truth post then please check out my post about belonging over at the Scriblerian site.
I’d love to have you join me over there.

Have you ever set a really lofty goal for yourself? If you’d like to write a present goal in the comments I’d love to hear it. We can cheer each other on. 🙂 If you like what you see here (or some of my posts over at the Scriblerian site) then please consider clicking on the follow button at the top right of this page.

Truth #8: Rules = Love

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I snuck up the stairs,
careful to avoid the third step which was squeaky.
Closing my bedroom door behind me,
I glanced at my alarm clock: 3:00 am.
On a school night…

I don’t know why I bothered being careful.

My parents loved me,
and I know that.
But there were no rules in my house when I was a young teen.

None.

Hah!
Must have been nice!
You say.

Actually, it wasn’t.

It was if my parents didn’t care,
who I was with,
what I was doing,
if I came home.

It left me feeling adrift and alone in a hostile world.

Despite the irritation you feel when your parents,
check up on you,
insist on meeting your friends,
give you a curfew,
know this:

Their rules are a way of showing their love.

The rules are there because they don’t want you to get hurt.
If they didn’t care then it wouldn’t matter when or if you came home each night.

Just look at the way God treats us, His children.

THOU SHALL NOT STEAL.
Even those who don’t believe in Him know it is wrong,
if we didn’t obey this the whole fabric of society would fall apart.
And every Christian should obey it because it is one of God’s Laws.

But it’s so, so much more…

My child, when you steal from others you are treating them like nameless things,
not like an image bearer of God.
Each item taken hardens your heart against your neighbour.
Come to Me.
Heed My commands.
Trust Me.
Let Me Protect you.

So, the next time you are tempted to roll your eyes at your parent’s “silly rules”,
try putting, “I love you and that’s why…” before it.

You’ll be surprised at your change of heart.

My friend, can you think of a rule that may have kept you (or your heart) safe? Or perhaps a time that you disobeyed and regretted the decision? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Also, if you enjoyed this post and would like to read more please consider clicking the follow button on the right hand side. Or consider following me on Facebook or Twitter. 🙂