Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

The War Within: Proof Ordered!

Good morning, everyone!

Since announcing that I have begun the self-publishing process for The War Within about a week and a half ago, I’m ecstatic to update you on the latest developments! About 10 days ago, my sister, Sandrine, finished painting the absolutely gorgeous cover. It came out even better than I was anticipating! (Keep reading for a cover reveal!) I finished touching up the manuscript a few days ago and let it sit before scanning it again yesterday. After one last look, I uploaded the cover and manuscript on KDP and just like that, I was ready to order the proof!

The proof copy should arrive this Saturday at which time I will flip through it and make sure everything looks the way it’s supposed to. Needless to say, my original release date of Tuesday, March 31st, is tentatively rescheduled to Sunday, April 5th. Regardless, it should be available for purchase on Amazon by this weekend–what a crazy thought!

After I ordered the proof last night, we went on a walk around the neighborhood (something we’ve been trying to do every day since Quarantine began a couple weeks ago), and as we walked, I realized that within a week, my book will be published. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. For the first time in over 4 years, I’m self-publishing again! It’s been a long, arduous process with lots of breaks in between to focus on school, but at last, the day is almost here! I truly think The War Within is probably the best story I’ve ever written and because of this, I cannot wait to share it with everyone and hear their thoughts!

With these types of things, the work is hard, but the reward is great. There’s nothing like holding your own words in your hands…I suppose it’s a glimpse to what holding your newborn baby is like. But maybe that’s stretching it. 😉

Last, but not least, before I finish this post, I want to reveal the amazing cover Sandrine painted for me…

The War Within - Cover Final

Ta-da! Isn’t it beautiful?! ❤

Hopefully the next time I blog, it’ll be the official announcement of The War Within  being available to order on Amazon!!!

Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

The War Within: An Exciting Update

{ Photo credit : Liana Mikah }

With all the craziness concerning COVID-19 going around, I thought it was about time to change things up and let you know something super exciting happening over here that has absolutely nothing to do with a virus. 🙂

As some of you will remember, in the fall of 2017, I wrote a short story and entered it in a fairy tale retelling contest. The following April, I got an honorable mention for it. I was very content with my honorable mention, but since my story wasn’t picked for the compilation novel Rooglewood Press was putting together and I still wanted to hold it in my hands, I decided it was time to self-publish again.

Later that summer, I added another 10,000-15,000 words to flesh out the story and turn it into a novella. Then I spent the last two years editing it with my aunt on and off while pursuing my BA in History. There have been ups and downs and everything in between (mostly in betweens 😉 ), but after earning 6 credits in this past January and February, I decided I needed a brain break and it was about time The War Within got its day in the spotlight.

Once I was officially confined to my home this week, then I knew I really had no excuse. 😉 SO the process on CreateSpace (which has now been merged with Kindle Direct Publishing) has begun, my sister is currently painting another beautiful cover and I’m putting the finishing touches on my manuscript.

It’s really, really hard to believe that within a few short weeks, I’ll be holding another book of mine–again. I haven’t self-published since December, 2015–almost five years! There was a time in 2018 when I thought I might be on the road to traditional publication, and when that fell through, I became really discouraged and didn’t write or edit anything for almost a year. But with the support of family and friends, I got back on my laptop and now I’m on the verge of not only self-publishing The War Within, but also finally finishing writing Endeavoring (and that’s another blog post for another day).

In conclusion, I wanted to give you all an update on The War Within and let you know that it’s almost ready to order on Amazon! My current “release date” is Tuesday, March 31st, although release dates are pretty flexible when it comes to self-publishing. Either way, I’m so, so excited to share another story with all of you and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts soon!

Keep an eye out for future updates and have a safe, healthy day. 🙂

Posted in Words Upon Words

Tiny Tidbits: The War Within

I have lots of different writing projects going on right now–so many that I don’t often blog about it anymore. There isn’t really one thing I’m working really hard toward at the moment. I’m just constantly going back and forth between different stories and writing and editing. So I decided recently to create a new way of sharing my WIPs (works in progress) with you–Tiny Tidbits. In a Tiny Tidbits blog post, I will share either an excerpt from one of my WIPs or maybe give you some insight into my current writing/editing process (i.e., the struggles and/or victories I’m currently facing with that project). I hope to make this a semi-regular thing. But I say that about so many things, so…I better make no promises. 😉

Today I want to share a scene from The War Within, so before I continue, I’ll give you some background information. For those of you who don’t know, I wrote The War Within last year and entered it into a short story contest for a Snow White retelling (I didn’t win, but I did get an honorable mention, which was super cool!). My retelling is historical and takes place during the Civil War era. Lillian Clark is an only child whose mother died when she was a baby. Her father owns a very prosperous cotton plantation in Virginia and he remarries when Lillian is six years old. Lillian is determined to like her new mother–in fact, she’s determined to live a good life–under her terms. When her father arranges her to marry her best friend, Clifton Young, she does everything in her power to break the match. For she believes she has the right to choose who to fall in love with and when.

Now that I’ve gotten you introduced to Lillian’s world, here’s a sneak peek into Chapter One when Clifton and Lillian first meet.

It was a beautiful day in September. Lillian reveled in the feeling of the wind in her hair as she raced through the cotton fields to the apple orchard, her cheeks beginning to hurt from smiling so widely. When she reached it, she collapsed onto the soft grass and looked up at the blue sky through the swaying trees.

Something interfered with her view and her eyes focused on a bee flying a few inches above her head. She waved it off, but two more quickly replaced it. She sat up and heard a subtle buzzing nearby. She looked behind her to see a boy poking a fallen beehive with a stick. No, not just any boy.

Clifton Young.

Lillian rolled her eyes and stood up. She wasn’t sure what she thought of this grubby next-door neighbor who was almost three years older than her. He seemed to always be getting into some kind of trouble. She usually tried to steer clear from him, even though their fathers were good friends. So, she was turning away when she heard a yelp.

When she looked back at him, Clifton dropped his stick and started backing away from the broken hive. A swarm of bees was rising from the mess a few feet away from him.

This would certainly not end well.

“Clifton,” Lillian whispered. “Back up toward me. Then run!”

Without responding, he bolted toward her and shouted, “Run, run!”

Lillian screeched when she saw the bees following close behind him. She turned and began running again. But when she reached her favorite tree in the whole orchard, the biggest one with the most apples, she stopped and looked up. Then she called over her shoulder, “We’ll never outrun them. Hurry and climb this tree!” She jumped and grabbed hold of a sturdy branch.

Clifton was yelling, but he followed her lead and started climbing the tree. Lillian was only a few branches ahead of him when she heard a loud crack! She glanced behind her and saw Clifton grasp a thick tree branch with both hands as another broke under his feet. He held on, screaming as bees began stinging him. Lillian carefully inched down and held out her hand.

“Hurry!” she yelled.

He looked up at her, eyes wide and knuckles turning white, but didn’t budge.

Lillian leaned forward a little closer, her hand less than a foot away from his head. “Reach!”

Reluctantly, Clifton released the fingers from his left hand and thrust them toward hers. She seized his hand and pulled him up. He swung his legs toward the trunk and started to maneuver up the tree until his feet settled on firm branches again. They climbed a little higher and rested on the top boughs of the apple tree. They sat against the trunk, trying to catch their breath. Unfortunately, their plan only partially succeeded. Many bees still managed to find and sting them, but after a few minutes of torment, the rest flew off. She and Clifton worked through their faces, necks, arms and legs, searching for stingers and removing them. Bright red bumps were forming, but Clifton had obviously bore the brunt of it.

“What were you thinking?” Lillian asked bluntly.

Clifton shrugged. “I’ve never seen what a hive looks like on the inside. I didn’t think…”

“What? Did you think there weren’t any bees in there just because it had fallen off the tree?” She sighed.

“Well…” He scrunched up his face. “All right, so I was stupid. Thanks, I guess.”

“You guess?” Lillian asked incredulously. “You’re welcome, then…I guess.”

“You picked a good tree.”

Lillian smiled. “Of all the apple trees in this orchard, this one is my favorite to climb.”

“Do you like apples?”

Like them? I come almost every day each autumn to pick some. I love apples!”

Clifton immediately looked over his head and reached for the nearest apple. He tugged and when it gave way, he handed it to her. It was small and not quite ripe, but she accepted it anyway.

“A thank you gift…I guess.”

Lillian smirked. ” ‘You guess’? Well, I ‘guess’ I like it.” She took a huge bite.

“Do you…want to pick some…together?” Clifton looked at her hopefully.

“Well…”

Clifton blushed. “It’s just…there’s no one else…”

“No one else will play with you?” She knew what that felt like. Sometimes it seemed like Daisy was her only friend in the world.

“It’s just…there is no one else.” His face was pale.

Lillian didn’t know what he meant exactly, but as she started to decline his offer, she thought about the long walk back home…and realized that as much as she enjoyed playing in the woods like she had just now…it was lonely. Maybe, as silly as this boy was, it would be better to be his friend than to continue to play alone. After all, as Daisy was a slave, she wasn’t always free to play. “All right, then. I bet I can pick more than you!”

Clifton’s freckled face broke into a grin. “We’ll see about that.”

Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this Tidbit and I hope to share some more with you soon!

Posted in The Ponderings of Life

Onward and Upward

It’s that time of year again.

As 2017 comes to a close, I’m looking back on my New Year’s resolutions and patting myself on the back for the ones I reached…and crossing my fingers to do better next year with the ones I didn’t reach.

Here are my 2017 New Year’s resolutions I posted a year ago:

  1. Read 40 books.
  2. Finish writing one book (probably Endeavoring).
  3. Edit Bridget Returns.
  4. Edit and self-publish The Whistler Daughters.
  5. Year after year, I want to become more like Christ–as Colossians 3:12-17 says so perfectly.

How did I do?

Continue reading “Onward and Upward”

Posted in NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2017: Day 25

Here I sit at my computer, sipping some delicious hot chocolate, my nose running because of a cold, listening contentedly to the La La Land soundtrack. This week has been filled with some much-needed time set aside for resting, writing in my Snow White retelling, playing games with family and watching my beloved British dramas. Thanksgiving always arrives just when I need some time to relax as well as time to remember all that I have to be thankful for.

One of the many things I’m thankful for today is that I finished writing the rough draft of my Snow White retelling for the contest on Wednesday (day 23)! After writing the last paragraph, I have tentatively titled it The War Within and I’m pretty happy with it (title and overall story). It is definitely a major retelling of Snow White (i.e., mostly an original story with splashes of Snow White themes here and there), but I did my best and even if it doesn’t get to be one of the chosen 5 for the Rooglewood novel, I am very happy with it and would love to publish it on my own separately at some point. Besides editing it myself, I sent it to a few trusted friends as well as my aunt for some constructive criticism. All that to say, it should be finished by the deadline in mid-December!

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2017: Day 25”