Brief Humor & Check-Ins

New Seasons: Writing & Life Updates

We put away the last of our Christmas decorations today, tree included. Out came Valentine’s Day. New seasons; new changes. Sparkly red hearts, red garland, and heart decals. You pack each Christmas item away carefully, holding the ornaments and tinsel, wondering how your life will be different when you go to unpack them in eleven months. Or at least I do. Time is a complicated, strange thing.

Writing wise, I finished a novella recently, titled The Cellar Door. This started as a short story and developed into a feminist horror tale, set in post-war England in the early 1950s. The main character, Alice, popped into my head one day. I saw her standing by a window, half hidden by a brown curtain, looking outside to a dreary, overcast England. She was in deep thought, with shadows flickering across her eyes. Fellow writer and blogger, Mike Nevin, helped me get the English dialogue and speech right for the English characters and provided other valuable (and patient) feedback, including historical photos and documents. Fingers, toes and elbows crossed that a publisher scoops it up and gives it a big hug. If you know of any good publishers or agents wanting horror novellas, let me know.

Exercise wise: I have biked 75 miles so far this month on my indoor bicycle. It’s a goal of mine this year to take better care of myself and this is one way I do it–clear the cobwebs of my mind and body through pedaling. I have an iFit membership which I’ve found marvelous for this introvert. I tend to put on closed captions to follow along with the trainer, and listen to instrumental music.

Music wise: I’ve been listening to a lot of My Chemical Romance (the Helena acoustic is beautiful and haunting) , Taylor Swift (Anti Hero has beautiful vulnerability), Green Day (love this instrumental of 21 Guns), 21 Pilots (Chlorine) and some other goodies (Lord Huron, Sharon Van Etten, whatever I come across). I downloaded a self-care app recently and one goal I picked was to listen to a song I like every day. Voila.

Spiritual wise: I’ve been doing my daily Bible reading and journaling, and catching-up when I miss days. I have a difficult time reading the OT–it’s an honest depiction of the fall of humanity and the cultural context and history sometimes passes high above my head. It’s both frustrating and saddening. Figures like Jacob, Rachel, and Abraham run past me, saying this and that, doing this, not doing that–and I struggle to piece it together in my 21st century mind. But with patience and effort, and God’s grace, I trust He’ll guide me through this. 2022 was a very difficult year for the Saint and I. I am clinging to Jesus’ robes to continue in strength and faith, and to make changes in 2023. He is with me; He is with us.

Hope you are all well and continue to pursue your own writing goals and journey. For any readers in Ukraine, I am thinking of you and continuing to fly your flag. Take care and God bless.

Brief Humor & Check-Ins

“Don’t believe the hype”: Writing Updates, Story Releases, Podcasts and some Music

One of my favorite bands is 21 Pilots. They write a lot of deep, authentic music and advocate strongly for mental health. Sometimes the phrase “Don’t believe the hype” (from one of their songs, The Hype) will come into my mind when I find myself distracted by something in the world. “Buy this product” American society says, or “Join this group; network with this person; this is what success looks like–don’t you want to be like them?” Or “worry about this catastrophic event now”, says the 24/7 news cycle. Sifting through this information overload, trying to sort the gold from the fool’s gold is sometimes an impossible task. “Don’t believe the hype,” I will sometimes tell myself. “Just keep walking. Don’t be distracted.”

I have been walking through a difficult season in my life. It’s involved exhaustion, being extremely overworked and other personal challenges. It’s devoured my time and energy and, a long story very short, enough has been enough. I have been stumbling along with the guy in dusty sandals through the ordeal, learning to lean on him and not myself. He is leading the saint and I to calmer waters, but it’s taking some time to get there. These past few weeks have felt like the last miles in a very long bike ride. Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling. Eyes on the finish line, eyes focused forward, trying not to be distracted by any sideline games and foolery.

Writing wise, I have a few updates I’ve been posting. As a recap, I will be publishing a short horror story, “The Letter” this Fall in an anthology with other authors (preorder link here). My first short children’s story, “The Mermaid and the Yellow Jellyfish” is coming out this December as part of Fae Corp’s Kid’s Week (preorder link will be up later). I hope you’ll check out both and leave reviews. I have another short story I’m waiting to hear back for another anthology, and have been continuing to submit my novel to agents.

A more personal achievement–I donated blood for the 25th time recently. This was a goal I had been working towards for the past few years. If you ever thought about donating blood, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a constant need, as blood has a limited shelf life. Each donation can save up to three lives.

I also wanted to share a podcast I came across recently, for those interested in Christian and Jewish history in context of the Bible. It’s called the BibleProject. Currently, I’m listening to a talk on the 10 Plagues and Exodus. The history, the original Hebrew text and words–all so fascinating. So far, I have really enjoyed their balanced, loving approach to presenting and understanding the Bible and Christianity. I’ve also been on an Egyptian history kick, so all boxes crossed there. Good to listen to while bee-bopping on the rider, or doing some gardening. They’re funny, too.

I’ll end it here with a another song that’s been my jam lately. Stay well and happy writing.

Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts, Reposts/Reblog Shares

Blog Share: The Lord Is a Warrior, and That’s a Good Thing — Like An Anchor

I’ve been revisiting my Spiritual Warfare series of posts as I work on my next study guide about the Armor of God. While most of that series’ focus is on us fighting spiritual battles with God’s help, studying that topic also highlights a role God fills which I don’t think we talk about all that […]

The Lord Is a Warrior, and That’s a Good Thing — Like An Anchor

Highly recommend subscribing to Marissa’s blogs. They’ve become part of my weekly, Saturday spiritual reads. Cheers.