Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Reading List


What are we doing?

READING

What are we reading?

ALL THE BOOKS!

I'm reading all the books right now. A medieval mystery, an 1800s historical fiction, a super intense fantasy, a book on Christian art, and a book on ditching writing rules. It feels awesome, a regular literary feast of Christmastide.

I love posts this time of year. They're traditional, so I know exactly what I'm going to do. Today's post is the official Lady Bibliophile 2016 Book List. Thanks to Goodreads asking me about several titles, I found that I actually did get over 40 done.

squeeeeeeee 

That makes me so happy. I didn't think that was going to happen.

So pull up a cup of tea and let's chat together.

(list made in not exactly regular orderish.) 

1. The Bells of Paradise, Suzannah Rowntree
2. Lost Lake House, Elisabeth Grace Foley
3. Creating Character Arcs, K.M. Weiland
4. To Get to You, Joanne Bischof
5. Now We Are Six, A. A. Milne
6. The Sparrow Found A House, Jason McIntire
7. Grace Triumphant, Alicia A. Willis
8. Light of the Last, Chuck Black
9. Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens
10. Fierce Convictions, Karen Swallow Prior
11. Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon
12. Miracles, Eric Metaxas
13. The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, Rosemary Sutcliff
14. The Inheritance, Michael Phillips
15. Flight School, Jason McIntire
16. The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
17. Visual Theology, Tim Challies and Josh Byers
18. Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay
19. When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne
20. Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace
21. What is the Gospel? Greg Gilbert
22. A Cast of Stones, Patrick Carr
23. The Bridezilla of Christ, Ted Kluck and Ronnie Martin
24. Tintin (vol 5), by Herge
25. A Sparrow in Terezin, Kristy Cambron
26. 20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves
27. Hood, Stephen Lawhead
28. Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
29. Tintin (vol 6), by Herge
30. Go Teen Writers, Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson
31. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas
32. Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst
33. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
34. A Time to Die, Nadine Brandes
35. The Ringmaster's Wife, Kristy Cambron
36. The Prisoner of Zenda, Anthony Hope
37. Face to Face, Jayme Hull
38. The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp
39. The Heiress of Winterwood, Sarah E. Ladd
40. Anne of the Island, L.M. Montgomery
41. Anne of Windy Poplars, L.M. Montgomery

13 nonfiction--that's one for every month, plus an extra. And 28 fiction from a variety of ages, countries, authors, and genres. That sounds about like Schuyler. It was a great year for building up the mental compost.

As for next year's goals, that's all on Tuesday, when we celebrate 5 years of Lady Bibliophile and roll out plans for 2017. Please do join us for lots of cupcakes and bookish chat.

Have an awesome New Year, folkies. God is good, and he's taking good care of us. I know this year has been a challenging one for a lot of folks. I was reminded yesterday of the verse in Nehemiah 8:9 during this holiday season. While it's a slightly different situational context, I think the main thought can apply to life now. It's easy to get sucked into fear and sadness, but I'm going to try to set aside these last two days of 2016 for a time of joyful feasting on the riches of God's love and grace.

May your 2017 be full of bookish delights, and the joy of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord our God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016



It's been a year for the books.

oh schuyler i knew you'd say that

I never know quite what I'm going to find when I start recapping the blog. Will I find a good year? A flat year? One with not much interesting content, and not much going on? I feel like 2015 was a year that really knocked the ball out of the park as far as wrestling with things and thinking through deep subjects. 2016, was, perhaps, a year of a different sort. Learning to think on my feet. Planning blog posts I could get done in between work and lesson planning and Bible studies. It was a year, not of personal cleverness, but of sustaining grace. And even if I feel like I didn't get quite as much energy as I wanted to tackle a blog redesign and knock out a long book list, God allowed me to accomplish several excellent things that I had been hoping to do.

2016 was the year of big books. I knocked off Ben-Hur and Bonhoeffer, as well as Our Mutual Friend, 3 books I was really hoping to read. I finished reading Return of the King for the second time and tried out a fantastic variety of new authors (Stephen Lawhead, Lysa TerKeurst, Nadine Brandes)  as well as some new books from beloved favorites (Suzannah Rowntree and Elisabeth Grace Foley). I helped out with book releases and beta read for friends. We also did the first link-ups and had a new feature of once a month guest voices.

2016 has been a thriving year of growth and new horizons. So spend a happy morning clicking links, and please tell me what YOUR favorite memories are from My Lady Bibliophile this year!

Favorite Articles From 2016
The level of nostalgia this year has reached an unprecedented height. I'm so glad, without really planning to do so, that I was able to write down some memories about reading and my own personal testimony on paper. It is wonderful to have official records of childhood memories.

The Shining Company and the Ethics of War 
Open Letters to Various Bookish Characters 
My Writing Process: The Backstory 
My Good Friday Story
Why Reading Boundaries Are a Good Thing (written when the internet was awash with hashtags to make certain characters gay)
Top 9 Fictional Dishes to Try (because I actually am a foodie)
A Walk Down Memory Lane (our library days growing up)
In Which Jaeryn Graham Has a Birthday 
Drawing on Your Inner Gold 

Guest Articles From 2016
Bibliophile Tabletalk--Elizabeth Newsom 
6 Ways to Encourage the Creative Process In Writing--Emily Hayse
From the Dark to the Dawn: Book Review--Carrie-Grace 
On Poetry and How Amazing It Is--Victoria Marinov
Why Modern Readers Should Care About History--Jordan Jachim 
Bibliophile Tabletalk--Katherine Forster 
Fairytale Interview--Suzannah Rowntree 

Favorite Book Reviews From 2016
Light of the Last, by Chuck Black
Fierce Convictions, by Hannah More
The Sparrow Series, Jason McIntyre
Poetry by A. A. Milne
To Get to You, Joanne Bischof 
20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves, Peter and Kelli Worrall
Tintin Comics, by Herge
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst
The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp

Nonfiction of the Year

20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves

Written with deep heart and practical encouragement, this book tackles a lot of things twentysomethings feel lost and need help with. If you're in your twenties and wish you had a source of wise counsel, this book offers more than ideology--it offers desperately needed practical suggestions founded on good ideology. By Peter and Kelli Worrall.

Fiction of the Year

Kidnapped

One of the most enjoyable reads of 2016, I deeply savored this adventurous experience. It's a novel I've revisited many times, and still one of my favorites. If you haven't read Kidnapped yet, make 2017 the year to do it. By Robert Louis Stevenson.

Author of the Year

Ann Voskamp

A woman who writes with heart, grace, and desperately needed honesty, Ann Voskamp's new book The Broken Way, cemented my liking for her thoughtful work. She writes with the beauty and anguish of the vulnerable, wrapping her thoughts in a poetic celebration of everyday life. The author that lingers in my heart after a year that makes me feel both pain and gratitude.

Blessings, my friends. It is with a heart full of gratitude that I think about books and Jesus and all of you. What are your favorite books from this year? Or the best memories you've had so far with reading or writing? I'd love to know!

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Character Awards #Booktag


(thanks to Cait from PaperFury for this amazing 2016 wrap-up tag.) 

1. MOST RELATABLE CHARACTER
Tintin, because ya know, I'm always getting secret clues and traveling to worldwide locations like money is no object. 

Ha. ahahahahaha. ahem. 

Actually, two right now. In reading Anne of Windy Poplars, I find Anne extremely relatable at this time in my life. She and I are about the same age in that book, and the way she describes things in her letters, deeply enjoys people's various stories, and tries to navigate life are all very much the way I see things. 

Also Davie Balfour. I've always found him so terribly relatable in his outlook and personality, in spite of zero parallel between our life circumstances. 

2. MOST PURE AND PRECIOUS ANIMAL COMPANION
I was going to say SNOWY because how could you not, but then I realized that I've read several animal books this year. 

But seriously. Snowy. He is PRECIOUS. Go read Tintin immediately. 

3. FIERCEST FIGHTER
Ugh. How to choose between Finn MacCool's band, Drew Carter, or Erroll Stone.  THIS IS NOT GOOD, FOLKS. 

However, lingering in my memory are two fellows--Fiachna and Innsa, the sons of Finn MacCool. Their stand in The Hostel of the Quicken Trees makes my heart ache with glory. 

4. MOST AMAZING SIDEKICK
Oh, ow. Saul from To Get To You. He's a really fun guy, and it's cool to see the dad in the story have a friend instead of the kid.  

5. ONE YOU’RE SURPRISED YOU LOVED
Rudolf Rassendyll, from Prisoner of Zenda. I was expecting a fun little swashbuckler, but didn't expect my heart to be completely captured by his brave, honest courage. He's a hero worthy of accolades. 

6. BEST SASSMASTER
I don't remember any good sass, which is a pity because I love a little bit. OH. I know. Max and Ruby in Death Be Not Proud, by Suzannah Rowntree (part of the ONCE fairytale collection). They had lovely sass. 

7. BEST ANTI-HERO AND MORALLY GREY GRAPE
Best anti-hero would be Erroll Stone, hands down. Or Jack Boughton from Gilead

8. BEST WORST VILLAIN TO HATE
No one in books, really. It should have been Messala from Ben-Hur, but I didn't find him quite as dark as the radio show. So I'll go with Colin Campbell from Kidnapped because I'm a staunch Scottish lassie. 

9. TRULY ASTOUNDING WORST YA PARENTS
I think I read three YA books this year, and none of them had bad parents? Is this a new record? 

10. TRULY ASTOUNDING BEST YA PARENTS
Drew's mom and stepdad from Light of the Last. Their son goes into one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and is always showing up in jail or on a run for his life, and does this bother them? 

here honey, you can spend the night. totally not freaking out here. 

11. TOOT TOOT BEST SHIP OF THEM ALL
Looks at all the ships to choose from and decides to go down with the ships rather than choose. 

BUT if I had to choose...

Bella and John were such fun in Our Mutual Friend, I can't wait to see more of Parvin and Solomon, and Anne and Gilbert will always have my allegiance. 

12. THE MOST IN NEED OF PROTECTION
Drew Carter. He's got angels turned out in full force to look after him. 

13. MOST BORING AS A BARNACLE
There were a couple, but we will not mention them. 

14. BEST LITTLE ROYAL
Abdullah from Tintin. Takes royal to a whole new level. 

15. VERY SURPRISED YOU’RE STILL ALIVE
I just--don't know? There was one, but that would be spoilers, so no names. 

16. BEST AT HORRIBLE DECISION MAKING

ANNE WHEN SHE REFUSED GILBERT. 

worst.decision.ever

17. CUTEST DORK
Professor Calculus. Because seriously, who else? 

18. CLEVEREST LITTLE GUY
Jude, for his tune chip and for his other fascinating abilities, which we will not talk about because spoilers. I loved him very much. (A Time to Die

19. MOST IN NEED OF A NAP

me me me 

But seriously, Kaja, in A Sparrow in Terezin. She needs it way more than I do, in a serious and heartwrenching kind of way.

20. WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT YOU
Riley Kane, from To Get To You. I would totally love another novella about him and his new family dynamic. He seems to be on an upward trajectory after working really hard to get there, and I really enjoyed his character arc. 

Stay tuned next week for the 2016 blog wrapup and this year's reading list--which is longer than I thought, because Goodreads hasn't been counting everything. 

Merry Christmas, my fellow bibliophiles! May your weekend be bright with joy and worship. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter TBR


Tomorrow is the first day of winter. We have our ever-faithful winter companions of snowdrifts and icicles to keep us cozy and indoors. I, personally, am keeping warm with thick sweaters and socks and extra heat on my bed.

Along with books, of course, which warm the heart.

awards self Pulitzer prize for that sentence of literary excellence

I'm currently reading L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Windy Poplars) and Nicholas Nickleby. Both are amazing good fun. I'm also watching Bleak House.

(Is reading Dickens and watching Dickens too much Dickens for one Dickensian fangirl? Of course not.) 

All right, all right. I'll leave you my winter reading list and stop trying to make up bad jokes.

Nicholas Nickleby
Been waiting to read this little humongous fella for a few years. I have my own copy, and discovered a long lost postcard in it with beautiful artwork by Jan Bower that I didn't know I had. It was a pleasure to re-discover. So far I like Nicholas, but his uncle is nothing to write home about. I also want to know more about Mr. Nobb. I have a feeling I'll like him.

Storm Siren
I'm going to co-read this with Annie Hawthorne so we can discuss and swap thoughts/feels/etc.

Dostoyevsky
I can't remember what I'm going to start with, to be honest, but I think it's The Brothers Karamazov. Or Crime and Punishment. Whatever is the bigger one. High time to crack into Russian literature.

finish The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2, by Tolkien
Two years on the TBR stack is long enough, especially since I promised to read the Fall of Gondolin long ago.

God and Charles Dickens
One I very much want to finish before the winter season is out, so I can draw some intelligent conclusions on his life.

There you are, folkies. Small. Hopefully manageable and accomplishable. What do you want to read this winter? I'd love to know!

Friday, December 16, 2016

7 Favorite Writing Memories From 2016


Writing down good memories can be a bit misleading on the internet. It makes it look like your life was one Tangled lantern fest (not that I've ever seen Tangled...). But this year, I'm liking to look at recounting 2016 as little lanterns of memory and goodness that God has sent throughout the year. Otherwise it's easy to get sucked into the negative of what didn't happen or what you wish hadn't happened. It's all about--gratitude.

I could choose to look at the fact that I thought I'd have the second draft of War of Honor done up to the midpoint and off to beta readers. Life derailed that. 2016 was hard. But God was there. God is here, right now. There were gifts that he sent to unwrap all throughout the year...and these are some of the good memories he sent to me writing wise. Both beacon lights of hope, and Ebenezer stones of faithfulness.

1. Camp NaNo
Camp NaNo was a treat this spring. I had a pretty epic cabin of ten people, and great was the encouragement, awesome snippet sharing, and general camaraderie. Nano lights up my life and sharing snippets fuels my work. I was writing the portion of War of Honor about the Spanish flu epidemic, something I'd been waiting to write (and had scenes written about) for years. I also wrote one of my favorite scenes ever in the entire novel, inspired by Hobbit theme music.

so presh i can hardly stand it  

2. Celebrating character birthdays. 
I have many lingering memories of happiness from 2016. One of the dearest connected to my characters was the random night a friend and I went in quest for apple pie to celebrate Ben Dorroll's birthday. Apple pie is his thing, and I'd never celebrated his birthday with it before. We found the loveliest, yummiest little apple pie, the perfect size, and had birthday dessert for two, sitting in the front seat of our car and laughing like children of sunshine. I still have the cardboard box the pie came in. I just can't bear to throw it away.

don't judge 

Also, it was super cool, thanks to all y'all's questions on Jaeryn's birthday, to discover why he dislikes shortbread (I didn't include all the details in the post because they have to do with a mystery.) In writing War of Honor, I heard him hint at various cases he's been involved in after SEVEN YEARS OF SECRECY. Seriously, that guy said nothing all this time. But someone spilled his secrets for him. And I was like whoa, the world needs The Casebook of Jaeryn Graham. DV, you'll get one someday. Now forget I said that, because it's going to be a while. Though hopefully not a decade or anything.

i just don't think this folkestone stuff is ever going to end 

3. Reading my stories with friends 
We were in the car with friends on the way to a beach in Canada, and we decided to read one of the Caribbean novellas on the way. It's a novella with a certain mix of sweetness + trauma in it, told completely through means of emails, letters, and social media. I really had a lot of fun writing that in story form, though it was written in late 2015. As we read, we laughed and lingered together, taking turns every time a different character started writing. We couldn't have timed the cliffhangers better.

4. Attending Writer's conferences 
Getting to attend two local writer's conferences this year was a dream come true. I didn't know it was possible to have my creative well so deeply filled as it was at each place. There were fun, creative people to talk to, times to wander and commune with my own soul, and idea after idea pouring through my mind on ways to make my stories better, or new stories to start writing. Writing flash fiction in the sand (it was not romantic, the black flies were biting) and crying over characters in an empty gym late at night made for some pretty great memories.

5. Writing in odd settings 
I've written in a car on the way to Missouri, in a car on the way to Texas, and in a car dealership while my brother bought a car. This car theme seems to be a thing. It was good practice to write on the go, even when life came up and changed plans once in a while.

6. The Coffee Shop Experience 
I also got to experience this thing called writing in coffee shops. I don't know if I'd never been able to before, or just never had the cash to blow $5 a drink, but at any rate, I found myself coffee shop writing several times this year. Jaeryn got his due when I celebrated on his birthday with a pumpkin spice latte. I also got to write at a little local coffee shop while attending a writer's conference with a special friend. I'm not sure what I loved more: the new story idea, Escape from Windermere, or the lovely, creamy mug of chai latte, with foam that would make you weep with joy.

7. Finishing War of Honor 
But my favorite coffee shop experience was the day I finished War of Honor. I had made a coffee date with a friend, so I brought my laptop and wrote a bit beforehand. Tying up loose memories in a series is always nostalgic. Tying them up in company with I Vow to Thee My Country and The Last Goodbye on repeat achieved the perfect note of poignancy. In this series, I equaled the Lord of the Rings for word count, which was pretty epic. And though the ending needs some tweaking, I think by the time it's done it will pack just the right emotional punch for all the characters (and the readers) will have experienced along the journey.

Gifts of friends-- of The Ends, and ideas, creativity, strength, music to write to, people to share stories with, and characters to celebrate--these are some things I'm so grateful to God for from 2016. And though I don't have time to write eloquently, since work is calling, I can't wait for 2017, where I hope you'll be able to click that little purchase button next to something with my name on it.

As the Lord leads.

What are some of your favorite writing memories of 2016? Tell me all--I'd love to know!

Friday, December 9, 2016

One Thing Every Bookworm Should Do Before 2017



Lingering is the best antidote to a goodbye. As we say goodbye to 2016, it leaves us with memory. For some, exquisite happiness. For others, some very dark days of wandering without being able to see the stars.

God is there in both places.

In my life, I've made two mistakes about remembering which I suspect most everyone has made: the one, is to not linger long enough in appreciation of good times, and the other, is to not correctly process the sorrowful seasons.

Such times come even to bookworms. So as we rapidly close out the old year, I thought it might be fruitful to write an article about how to linger and remember the bookish side of our year during the holiday season.

I'm the queen of lists here, so I'm going to put this in list format.

1. Make a list of books you've read. (Or head over to Goodreads). 
I'm a big proponent of making book lists. I used to make them by hand, but Goodreads is a lot easier for people who are on the go on their computer. Just mark a book as finished when you're done, and away you go! At the end of the year, you can look back at all of them, marvel, laugh, and remember. If you don't have Goodreads, get out some gel pens and nice paper. Don't sweat if it you can't remember all the books. After all, this is supposed to be fun.

2. Make a list of new books you enjoyed. Mark off old favorites that you revisited. 
I discovered Jason McIntyre's Flight School, A.A. Milne's Poetry, and Fierce Convictions. All of them gave me new thoughts about children, gospel, and women in the culture. I also got to revisit Kidnapped and The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, two beautiful old favorites.

3. Write down the books on your TBR list that you checked off. 
I got to read Metaxas' Bonhoeffer this year. I tackled Ben-Hur. I'll recap more in future posts, but those were big books I had been putting off for years, saying "I'll read it next year." I was pretty tickled to have those done.

4. Write down a regrets list: books you regret not reading, or books you wish you hadn't read. 
I don't regret the books I read, but I regret not being able to read The Shock of Night, by Patrick Carr. I love his books, and I'd been waiting for book 2 all year, but it was too intense to handle right now. So for the state of my own mental health I'm waiting. And that was disappointing. I also regret choosing so many review books that I got burned out, though I don't regret any of the ones that I read--almost all of them were a home run.

5. Share what books you got your friends into. 
I love the fact (though I sometimes look longingly at commissions) that I can get books into the hands of friends through this blog without worrying about affiliate links. Recommendations have power, and it tickles me to no end when someone says "I bought this book you told me about." Books this year were 20 Things We'd Tell Our Twenty Something Selves, A Sparrow in Terezin, and The Broken Way. I'm sure there were others as well. (And friends got me to buy books, too. You'd better believe.)

6. Write down the books you read with your family. 
Maybe y'all don't read aloud, but we still do (after all, Jane Austen adults did in their stories, even if Edward Ferrars couldn't read poetry to save his life.) It's a tradition I highly recommend starting if you haven't already. Probably Sutcliff stands out as the shining star of our reading time this year. We read both The Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch, and sis read them beautifully. But we also got a taste of John Bunyan, Gene Stratton-Porter, and Jan Karon.

7. Jot down a list of books you want to read in 2017. 
I'm already picking out my themes for 2017, but I'll share those later. Jot down a theme list you want to follow, books that are releasing, authors you want to try out, or recommendations you want to pursue.

8. Jot down a list of ways you want to read differently next year. 
I want to be more intentional about judging my time and energy for review books. In some instances, that might mean buying the book so I can read it on my own time rather than getting a free copy with a deadline.

9. Write down some big themes you took away for your own spiritual walk in 2016. 
Reading is fruitless if we merely absorb without allowing the content to change our thinking and ultimately, change our actions. What things do you want to apply from 2016 reading? Maybe it's a way of thinking, maybe it's something you want to improve in your walk with God, a relationship you want to handle better, a writing technique you want to apply, or an author you want to support.

Speaking of...

10. Jot down a list of authors to support in 2017. 
I already have several in mind. Suzannah Rowntree, Nadine Brandes, Patrick Carr, and more. Buy books from these people. Leave them Amazon and Goodreads reviews. Follow them on social media, and give them as gifts to your friends. That's the gift that keeps the book world spinning.

Linger over these prompts if you want. Make your list a pretty, artsy keepsake. Or scrawl it out on the back of old envelopes during the car ride to Christmas gatherings. Throw it up on your blog, put it on a social media post, mail it to another bookish friend. Email it to me. However simple or complicated, short or long--take some time to relish and remember this past year's bookish victories.

Let's carve out some time on Christmas break and linger over what we've learned and loved this year. I'd love to hear your answers to any of these prompts in the comments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Currently // December 2016



This post was written Monday on three hours of sleep. Beware.

Writing // A Colby Country Christmas. Full of donuts and coffee and snow and family time and aesthetic galore. Don't you just love the word aesthetic? It sounds so artsy and smart. This story is all about aesthetic, and nothing too traumatic so far.

(besides separating an engaged couple over the holidays *cough*)

Listening // To Christmas music. Here are my recommendations:

Joy: An Irish Christmas, Keith and Kristyn Getty (The studio CD is my favorite over the live rendition, but that's just me.) With joyous, heartstirring melodies including Mary's Magnificat and Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven.

A Hollens Family Christmas, by Peter Hollens--with two renditions of his new favorite, December song, as well as stirring acapella versions of Belief, O Come O Come Emmanuel, I've listened to this several times since it released.

Heavenly Christmas, by Jackie Evancho--still my favorite of her two CDs, with beautiful renditions of Walking in the Air and O Come All Ye Faithful.

Someday At Christmas, Jackie Evancho--I'm just beginning to explore this new album, and aside from Hallelujah, I like all the song selections she chose.

The Classic Christmas Album, Celtic Thunder--This is an updated version of their older Christmas album, which I actually prefer much better, but if you're looking for some classic Christmas songs done very well, these guys nail it. I like all the songs except Fairytale of New York, which I don't recommend.

Studying // How to have a sophron (sound, reigned-in, healthy) mind through the True Woman 201 study by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This is truth my mind needs so much, and I recommend this study to everyone.

Celebrating // The last day of teaching before Christmas break. What ho, writing time! Debating over working on War of Honor or novellas. My poor patient beta readers. It's just, I have to make VERY DIFFICULT DECISION about the plot, (basically who dies which will affect everything) and I am Miss Betwixt and Between.

(Kudos if you can name the book that spin-off came from.)

Watching // I need to watch The Scarlet Pimpernel, because I lost my skip n' mute list for that movie, so I have to replace it. Basically, I am the manual VidAngel remote for this household. I love stories so much that I'm willing to take the time and effort. Plus, The Scarlet Pimpernel is worth the trouble.

Bonjour, Monsieur *howls of laughter*

Lately, we've polished off Little Dorrit, A Matter of Faith, and Mansfield Park. Because I'm on Amazon Prime trial, I'd also like to polish off Bleak House before the Christmas holidays end.

Thankful // creamy drinks, colored Christmas lights, melted snow dripping on the roof, wakeful nights with Jesus, friends who pray with and for me, cozy sweatshirts, Bible studies about Jesus in John.

I am so thankful for a life with aesthetic. Aren't you?

That's my word for the day. Tell me what you're watching/studying/thankful for, folkies. I'd love to know.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Go Teen Writers Guide to Getting Published

Lest the blog title scare you away, this book isn't just for teens.

Navigating the publishing world can be scary and overwhelming--you hope you make the right decision at the right time, and you really, really want to impress the right people.

Do you have a proposal ready? Do you know what a proposal even is? How about an author bio? And how do you write a pesky synopsis of your entire story in three pages?

That's where Jill Williamson and Stephanie Morrill decided to come together to gift their teen writing community with a guide to getting published. It explains practical documents you need to have and mindsets you need to develop to make this publishing journey a success.

These two authors have a lot of experience to offer, and they offer it in such a kind, encouraging, factual way that this book is a gem for any writer of any age who wants an understandable editing and publishing manual to work with.

My Thoughts 
I've used this book again and again for various projects, particularly the section on novel proposals. A proposal is a giant document of your references and experience, your book's marketability, and its synopsis and main teaching points. Go Teen Writers was a lifesaver when I had a manuscript request a couple of years ago and didn't have a proposal and didn't know how to put it together. Stephanie and Jill give lots of easy lists and bold headings, making it easy to find advice on every section of this document. They even give advice to writers who don't have a lot to put on a resume yet.

If you need some quick, clear advice on proposals, then grab this book now and it will help you with a lot of your questions. If you're not quite at the proposal stage, but you want to avoid doing things at the last minute, then grab it now and study it before you need it. It's a lot easier than Googling myriads of articles, though you might have to do both. There is a sweat equity component to writing, after all.

This book is good for navigating the world of proposals and agents, but it's also good for two other things: editing, and brainstorming. At the back of the book is a gold mine of lists for hobbies and traits your characters can have, phobias, time periods for them to live in, and more. The editing section of the book, which is a hefty portion of it, helps you go step by step through a list of things to fix: from theme, plot, and characterization in the macro edit, to point of view, dialogue, and correct document formatting in the micro edit. All practical things that can take long periods of time trying to learn one by one, and are much easier to read about when they're collected in one place.

For a limited time you can snag Go Teen Writers for .99 cents on Amazon. When I saw that deal, I thought it would be a good time to review and recommend it, but I wasn't asked to do so--it's simply because I enjoyed the product, and think it would be a huge help to any writer dreaming of publication. You can pick it up here on Amazon.
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