My Writing Life

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

I have been writing fiction for a very long time and I love it. It is my favorite thing to do. However, it takes a very long time to make any money as a fiction writer. Yes, I have a completed historical fiction novel, but only the first draft is completed. I am working on revising/editing it, but time is another problem I struggle with.

As a homeschool mom with one remaining child/student, I spend every morning working with my child, which means I don’t get to do any writing related items until the afternoon. So, roughly three hours a day, then it’s time to make dinner. Then I may or may not have two hours to work on writing related items after dinner before I get too tired for my brain to focus on such tasks. So, on a good day, I get about five hours to work on writing related items.

What writing related items do I have to work on? Well, I have this blog, which I really enjoy writing posts for. As a writer, it is also suggested that I have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, which means posting on all of these media sites daily. But I don’t. I have found that I am not very interested in social media, so I try to have a presence by connecting my blog posts to my Facebook writer page and Twitter accounts. At least that keeps me present there.

I have been writing for Almost an Author, a popular website for writers, for about a year now. I am one of the regular columnists for the site and am required to post four romance and four historical posts each year. This is not a huge commitment, but it is a commitment nonetheless. I am also a regular interview writer for Faith Filled Family Magazine and have been doing this for almost a year. I love the writing I do for both of these. However, none of these wonderful jobs offers a salary, but I am not willing to give them up. I enjoy them too much. Besides, they give me material for my portfolio.

Back to the part about homeschooling. Being a homeschool mom means being there for your child(ren) all day every day. This was an important decision my husband and I made seventeen years ago, and it was an important decision we haven’t regretted.  However, it can be quite challenging to live on one income in today’s world.

Therefore, I have entered a new writing world–the world of freelance writing. I have also taken my freelance editing skills with me, and have become active on a reputable freelance website, where I am applying for writing and editing jobs that I will actually get paid to do. However, the writing is not fiction. So I am learning and experiencing writing in the “real” (nonfiction) world. It’s very different and quite challenging as compared to my preferred fiction world, but I am finding it enjoyable so far. But, it is time consuming–time to look through the “want ads”, time to write proposals to apply for the jobs I am interested in and believe I am able to do, and then, time to do the jobs. So now, I am working with solid deadlines–no procrastinating is allowed or tolerated.

In conclusion, my writing life has changed once again. For now, I need to put most of my time into the freelance writing that will enable me to earn an income. That may mean that my fiction works, like my novel, will have to wait longer to meet the world. But, as in every part of my life to this point, I have always been one to do what needs to be done and to keep my priorities straight.

There are three more years, after this one, until my last child graduates, then I’ll have eight or nine hours a day to write. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself.)

Rowan’s Chronicle Vol. 1 by Andy Toppin Jr.

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Rowan’s Chronicle — Volume 1 by Andy Toppin Jr. is Mr. Toppin’s first book and the first volume in what he intends to be a series. I found it interesting that Amazon had the book listed with the cover on the left, and Goodreads had the book listed with the cover on the right. Personally, I prefer the cover on the left.

This is an action adventure story with steampunk elements, as well as some romance. I believe the author tried to include too many genre elements to try to reach a wide variety of readers.. The setting is 1834 and 1833 and the first five chapters take place in 1834 and the last six chapters take place in 1833.

I must say that I found the story hard to follow as it began with two characters, Chester Young and Jane Primstone. However, Rowan happens to be the captain of a ship that Chester and Jane board. Chapter two and chapter four tell the story of two different characters that seem to have no connection to Chester and Jane, but do have a connection to Rowan. Finally, chapter five introduces Rowan’s love interest and the rest of the book focuses on the two of them.

In addition to finding the story hard to follow, I also found it a bit disjointed and I felt that it had a lot of description and not enough action and dialogue. Also, the characters weren’t developed enough to really capture and hold my interest or make me care about them.

Finally, the ending is an abrupt cliffhanger, which is something I dislike in a book.

 

 

Tea and Poetry Tuesday

Today’s Tea Tidbit: If you live in Korea, you might be enjoying a cup of Chrysanthemum tea — a favorite tisane, which is said to help ease headaches and fever as well as refresh the brain.

Broken, But With Hope
by Kelly F. Barr

I slip into the dark pit,
Wanting to be left alone.
Angry and hurt, I’m unfit
for the company of others.

Pain and numbness beside me;
They are my companions.
I always thought I was smart,
But your deception I did not see.

Your lies cut to my soul.
You made me a fool.
I am left with one goal–
To heal and find myself again.

I must again be strong
Relying only on the One above;
From whom real love comes,
And to Him only, I belong.

Used Book Tour #2

Last Saturday, my friends and I took our second Used Book Tour and it was just as much fun as the first (well, a little better in one aspect — I was able to purchase more books!).

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This was stop #1. See the rack to the left that says, “Free Books”? Well, I found one book on that rack that will be part of someone’s Christmas present!

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This was stop #2. I didn’t make any purchases here, but the lady running the store was very friendly and helpful, and the photo below is her sweet doggie/sidekick. He was so well-behaved and quiet, I walked past him twice and didn’t see him! His name is Winston.

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T G Books was stop #3 and it was definitely our favorite stop. The two ladies working there were so welcoming and helpful. I purchased quite a few books here (my biggest haul for the day). The photo below is a cute reading corner they have inside the store.

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Of course we had to include a comic store on the tour. I didn’t buy anything here but at least I was dressed for the occasion.    🙂

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Stop #5 was The Book House and the book rack out front had books that were 25 cents apiece or 5 for $1, so one of my friends and I spent quite a bit of time looking through them. Together we came up with 5 books, then we went into the store and were amazed at how full of books it was! I found many treasures, but didn’t actually purchase anything here.

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Our sixth and final stop for the day was The York Emporium, whose looks were deceiving. It looks quite small from the front, but it turned out to be quite large inside and houses upward of 500,000 books! We spent quite a bit of time in this store.

These are my purchases from the day. My friend, Ben, found the Batman Knightfall book for me at TG Books, and I was thrilled. It’s actually a chapter book, not a comic book, based on the comics! Bane is Batman’s nemesis in this story and the author was a DC Comics editor for some time. Yes, I am a huge Batman fan! Ben also found the Speed Racer DVD (brand new, never been opened) at the York Emporium. When we went on our previous book tour, Ben found the first book I purchased on that tour — an historical western book. So, after this tour I told Ben he has to come with me every time I want to go book shopping because he always finds my greatest treasures!  As for the books in the last photo, I collect Maeve Binchy’s books. I love her stories set in Ireland. I also am a recent fan of Lori Wick, since some friends loaned some of her books to me. Sophie’s Heart is my absolute favorite so far, and since that was one that was loaned to me, I was very happy to find my own copy.

 

Flash Fiction Friday: The “Block” Button Part 2

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Photo by Justin Snyder Photo on Unsplash

The “Block” Button – Part 2
by Kelly F. Barr

One week after pushing the “block” button, Theresa found that her credit card had been charged a couple thousand dollars she hadn’t spent. When she called about the charges, she wasn’t able to have them all returned, so the way she understood it, she was now responsible for $1500 she didn’t have.

She knew how those charges had occurred. It had to be him. I guess pushing the block button was the right thing to do. How could he say all those sweet, loving words and take advantage of me like this? The world seemed to have a lot more cruel people than when she was a kid, or maybe it only seemed that way because now she was an adult and more aware of people’s actions. Well, she’d gotten that credit card canceled so he wouldn’t be charging anything else.

December arrived and Theresa dreaded the coming Christmas. Christmas was supposed to be for spending time with loved ones but she was alone. All she could think about were the “what ifs”–What if he hadn’t been a scammer? What if he’d really loved her? What if he’d actually come to town to see her?

She walked through town, cold and alone, hands shoved deep into her coat pockets as couples walked by holding hands, talking, and smiling. She barely looked in the shop windows all decorated with colored lights, Christmas trees, and Santa Clauses. As she approached the steps to her apartment building, she noticed a man standing next to the stairs blowing onto his clasped hands trying to warm them. Would it be safe to enter her building or should she pass like she didn’t live there?

The wind picked up and stung her face. She’d have to chance it. She had nowhere else to go and it was too cold to keep walking. She raised her shoulders, ducking deeper into her coat, and kept her head down as she passed the man.

“Theresa?”

She stopped, turned to look up at the guy. She’d never seen him before. How did he know her name? “Who are you?”

“Roger Altland.” He stared at her, studying her face.

It was him. He was here. But she’d blocked him. “How did you find me?”

“It wasn’t difficult with today’s technology. After all, you’d told me the name of your town and state.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I miss you. You blocked me so I couldn’t contact you through email anymore, and when I went back to Facebook to find you, I couldn’t find your account.”

“I deleted it.”

“Listen, it’s cold out here. Can we go somewhere warm and talk?”

“What’s to talk about? You scammed me and now I have a $1500 credit card bill I can’t afford to pay.”

“I understand you’re hurt and angry, but could you please give me a chance?”

“I gave you your chance and you used it to stab me in the back.” She turned and started up the steps.

“Please. I know what I did was wrong and I’d like to make it right. Besides, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. You were the first woman I attempted to scam with a romance scam. After you blocked me I couldn’t stop thinking about you or the things we’d said to each other. I really did develop feelings of love toward you … please … can we talk?”

She turned and looked him in the eye. “Love doesn’t stay where there is no trust.” She turned and hurried into the apartment building.

Do You Like Connecting with your Favorite Authors?

FALL IN LOVE WITH A GOOD BOOK

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Photo by Aung Soe Min on Unsplash

That’s what the landing page of Find Christian Books says. Have you heard of “Find Christian Books”? No?

Well, let me tell you about it. It’s a new website, created by JP Robinson, to help both new and already-established authors share their talent and personal stories with the world. It makes it easy for readers to find new authors of Christian Literature, both fiction and nonfiction, or keep up to date with authors you already know and enjoy.

It’s a place where readers and writers can connect, and if you can’t find the author, you’re looking for, on the site right now, keep checking as they’ll be adding new authors in the coming months.

They even have a newsletter you can sign up for that will give you information on promotions, offer you free reads, and more!

The thing I like best about it is that there are direct links to the author websites that enable you to quickly read more about your favorite author or any that are new to you. And, if you can’t find the Christian author you’re looking for, you can contact that author and tell them about “Find Christian Books” and they can apply to have their book(s) listed on the site.

Do you enjoy Christian Literature? Then, what are you waiting for? Go check out Find Christian Books now!