Waiting on the Day, Christmas Day — A Novella

October is just a week away, which means the holidays are quickly approaching, and I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of the holidays, my mind immediately goes to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans, specifically, Countdown

I’d like to revisit the story of Natasha, Mitchell, Renee, Bryan, Rita, and Antonio this year, but in a special way…

Bound together in a short, self-published novella kind of special way.

Ambitious given it’s already the end of September, and I haven’t even begun to tackle this monstrous beast! Will I have time when I’ve barely had time enough to write anything other than my name this year? And what about the cover? As graphically challenged as I am, who will do it (for little to no money), or will I save that money and keep it simple—a picture and some text would do, right?

I’m not sure of all the logistics yet, but one thing I do know is that the story IS written. And just this morning while lying in bed, I thought of a synopsis to go on the back cover…

Six friends. Six personal battles they must all face and conquer before one Christmas wedding.

Natasha and Mitchell have been in love since college, and finally they are ready to profess their love in front of all of their friends and family and God most of all on the most special day of the year, but will one hastened mistake derail the life they planned together before it even starts?

Bryan and Rita both have troublesome vices Renee is desperate to have them overcome before the year ends. For Bryan, it’s cursing like his drunkard, retired navy sailor grandfather. For Rita, it’s a lifetime of bad choice, usually involving the opposite sex. Will they finish the year in victory, or will the pressure to turn their lives around for the better be too great to handle?

Antonio is recently saved and struggles to come to terms with his new Christian life and the remnants of his past, sinful life in the form of his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, who repeatedly finds ways to get under his skin. Will he find a peaceful balance, or will he backslide into despair before he discovers the exuberance of being a follower of Christ during the most wonderful time of the year?

All of these stories come to a head on THE day, the day when most people celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. Christmas Day.

Will it be worth the wait?

If you’ve never read the original Countdown series, does this synopsis interest you? Would you want to read more? Would you want to read it in book form (more like Kindle form)? Let me know! I’m eager to get started. Christmas will be here before you know it!

2016 A to Z Challenge Reflection

I’m back from my extended vacation after blogging from A to Z! I know you’ve been missing my stories. As soon as April ended, I fell into deep writer’s block. I committed myself to so many projects in April, not just the A to Z Challenge, and it completely drained me of inspiration — and motivation — to write. Hopefully, now that the hustle and bustle of April is complete, I can get back to my regularly scheduled blogging, coffee in hand.

So what can I say about the A to Z Challenge? This is only my second year participating, but I feel like a seasoned A to Z pro! I think I had more fun writing about Grandma’s 26 dead husbands than I did last year’s melodramatic novella, though, both stories ended up being quite popular, for which I am eternally grateful. It’s nice to know that I’m not talking to myself when I publish new blog posts. 😉

I wasn’t able to finish on time this round, and likewise, my reflection post is also late. The Schedule Post feature is the Holy Grail for bloggers who have lives outside of blogging, and my goal for next year is to actually USE IT! I tried to schedule ahead for this year’s challenge, but alas, my brain only functions when I’m procrastinating, apparently. I’ll work on that. I’ll work on it while I spend the rest of the year thinking of unique themes to use  next April.

Of course, I met a few new blogging friends along the way, whose stories I wish never ended. I like that the A to Z Challenge has become just as much a community as it is a writing challenge. While I wasn’t able to reply to everyone’s comment, I did read them all. So thank you to everyone who stuck around to the final letter, and to you who liked 26 Husbands — 26 Unusual Deaths so much you decided to follow me, I won’t let it be for nothing; new stories and poems are on the way!

A few of my blogging buddies suggested that I publish 26 Husbands — 26 Unusual Deaths as an e-book. Self-publishing has often crossed my mind, but I’ve always put it on the back burner, convincing myself that I have to actually write something first before I can publish it. Silly me for forgetting that I already have a ton of material right here on my blog! 26 Husbands — 26 Unusual Deaths, wouldn’t be the only story I’d publish, though. Last year’s A to Z story could possibly become an e-book, as well as a series I completed earlier in March, Buried. I don’t want to overcommit myself again, so I’d have to remember to pace myself — one at a time. We’ll see what happens. Who knows, one of these stories might be in a Kindle store near you this Christmas . . .

Well, that’s it for my 2016 A to Z Challenge reflection! Thanks for reading, as always. I’ll see you next year for another fun-filled April A to Z!

 

Where Are the Good Books? Reading into 2016

New Year’s Eve, 2014. As the ball slowly descended onto Time Square, counting down the seconds to midnight, I recited my list of resolutions I wanted to accomplish in 2015: Lose weight, eat healthier, make better choices in boyfriends, write a novel, read at least 100 books.

Confetti flies around the ball and countdown clock in Times Square on New Year's Eve in New York January 1, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY) - RTR4JSGR
Confetti flies around the ball and countdown clock in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in New York January 1, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES – Tags: SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY) – RTR4JSGR

365 days later. Did I meet any of my goals? Well, I lost a few pounds…and gained several more. I ate healthy…sporadically…for a few weeks. I don’t have a boyfriend. I’ve started on my novel (two, actually), and while I haven’t posted any updates on said novels for several weeks now, I am still fervently writing. As for the 100 books? Um, no. Not even close.

I might have read five—count ’em, 5—books in their entirety this year. Three I’ve posted reviews on (Fifty Shades of Grey, Mrs. Poe, and White Oleander). Between the other two, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Jacquelyn Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean, I enjoyed the latter more. The Deep End of the Ocean is an amazing story of family drama, love, pain, suspense, mystery, self-discovery and coming-of-age, and much more. Out of the five—count ’em, 5—books I’ve read this year, The Deep End of the Ocean is the one I recommend you all to read if you haven’t already (White Oleander comes in a close second). Gone Girl was good, but I didn’t much care for the second half of the novel. It got predictable, and for lack of a better word, cheesy. And I just hated that god-awful ending. Talk about anticlimactic!

Gone-Girl_Rosamund-Pike

So why is it that I’ve only read five—count ’em, 5—books in 2015? Well, it has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve just been a picky reader this year. I’ve picked up (insert downloaded) many books this year, but by chapter six, I lose interest, and in some cases, even sooner than that. Either the books were complete snooze fests—pages and pages of boring and useless descriptions that did nothing to propel the plot—or they had no plot at all—complete chapters with nothing but dialogue, short paragraphs of summary and more unnecessary dialogue, flat characters, cringe-worthy repetition, a wandering narrator…

This Christmas, I spent nearly two hours on Amazon.com looking for a good book to have sent to my mom’s kindle on Christmas Day. After reading countless previews and finding nothing that piqued my interest, I finally settled on James Patterson’s latest Alex Cross novel. Couldn’t go wrong with that, right? I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t reading James Patterson and his iconic character, Alex Cross. However, the whole point of spending my entire lunch hour and more surfing Amazon was to find a great book and a new author she’d get hooked on and read for years to come, like James Paterson.

51TCoOGHAiL__SX319_BO1,204,203,200_

The problem I have with Amazon is that it has so many books that just aren’t good. I would find a book with a four or five star average rating, but after reading the preview, I’d wonder, how on earth did this even get published? Often I find myself reading the negative reviews first. Unless it’s a controversial author, the negative reviews are usually the most honest and less bias. If they don’t sound too bad, then maybe I’ll consider making the purchase. For some books, however, I don’t even get past the back cover for the very confusing synopsis. If the synopsis is that bad, the book has to be horrible!

Most of the novels I’ve purchased from Amazon lately are in desperate need for an editor. I don’t mean to say that they are poorly written. On the contrary, many authors are excellent wordsmiths. Unfortunately, 300 pages of pretty words do not always make a good story, and that is the problem I’ve been consistently running into.

Maybe in 2016 I’ll have better luck finding good books to read. I won’t aim quite so high, though. My resolution is to read (cover to cover) six books next year—that’s one more than this year. Hopefully, I’ll far exceed my expectations.

stack_of_books

Did you struggle to find a good book to read this year? What novels do you recommend I read to get out of this funk? If you’re an author, post in the comments a link to your novel! I’ll add that to my list of books to read in 2016. I can’t promise a review, though. I’m too much of a procrastinator for that. 😉