Sunday, December 30, 2018

Author Spotlight - Jessica Greyson

because this author just keeps SLIPPING UNDER THE RADAR AND PUBLISHING NEW BOOKS and everyone who does not realize this is missing out. XD

I mentioned this book in my sum-up-2017 blog post earlier this year, and I can't believe it's a year old already, but it's worth mentioning again! I'd been waiting for this book to be published ever since I first heard about the true story that inspired it, and the end result is delightful. The combination of Old West and Jane Austen is so FUN, and Sophie Brown is a grand heroine, predilection for fainting notwithstanding. (Personally, I liked her reaction to things. XD) Jesse is a mess, but he is a fantastic mess, and I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions throughout and found them a hilarious duo. Also, I adore that Jessica Greyson so often brings children into her books, and the way she does it in this story is marvelous.

It's not a fluffy book - it touches on mistakes and regret and learning to trust God despite pain and loss, and there are some aching moments of hurt - but somehow every time I read it what stands out to me is how purely enjoyable this book is. I love Sophie's romantic, book-loving side as well as her no-nonsense deputy side, and Jesse's regrets and self-doubt do not at all negate his burning desire to do the very best that he can to protect those around him and his efforts in that direction, no matter how hard the path he must take. Their story is intriguing, and the book an easy read that pulls you along to the very end.

I think the author's discussion of this book is challenging, and I am incredibly looking forward to the stories she is planning...but Tracking Ruby is a delight to read, and a great addition to any library - and even if it merely gives you a taste of what's ahead, I think you'll find it worthwhile.

This book was more prominently featured on my blog, and I just want to say...I know a great many unmarried Christian women, and I've heard enough testimonies from recently engaged/married girls to know how incredibly tone-deaf they can be. I've heard precious few from women who are single but long to be married, and that is where Jessica Greyson's first non-fiction book comes in. It can easily be read in one sitting or used as a week-long devotional challenge to one's thinking and heart attitudes, while gently assuring you that you are definitely not the only one struggling with missing something so largely outside your own control.
I do not feel like singleness is something I have spent a great deal of time considering or lamenting, but I found myself provoked to consider several things in a new light while reading this book, and so incredibly appreciate Jessica Greyson's openness in sharing her heart here. This testimony is extraordinarily needed, and I recommend it to any young woman, single or married, who is learning to trust God while waiting for something dearly longed-for. Raw and real, this is a book of beautiful encouragement.

Aaaaaaand her most recent book, Enemy Born, which came onto the scene juuuust in time for Christmas. (If you didn't get it for Christmas, I'm so sorry, and book-buying is definitely something that should show up on your New Year's Resolutions, so...)
Another short read, this one comes in somewhere between A Look in the Mirror's painfully beautiful look at our relationship with our Savior and Captive of Raven Castle's fictional weaving of Scriptural themes, while being entirely its own story. It is a dramatic allegory in the vein of Pilgrim's Progress that uses the historical/castle/princess setting that Greyson communicates so easily, while drawing from the gorgeous themes of both the New Testament and the Song of Solomon to illustrate our position and relation to the King of Kings and the Son of God who loved and gave himself for us.
It tells a story I know so very well (and even tried to re-tell myself in the similarly princess/castle/enemy/Prince-themed story of Ransomed), and yet I found myself pausing several times simply to reflect on beloved truths striking me in new ways. The thought of all our God offers beyond and besides salvation from everlasting death and the sheer HORROR of how often we are uninterested caught me hard. How can we be content with so little when the Lord of all Creation and Master of the Universe made it possible for us to know Him? How can we live the surface life, how can we stay at acquaintance level with One who died to draw us close? 

We were literally His enemy, born into the kingdom of darkness, and yet...the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins...and you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory

Colossians contains some of my favorite word-pictures about salvation/sanctification, and Enemy Born takes these truths and spins them into a full-blown allegory. The story of a princess who finally understands the truth behind her own and her country's greatest enemy, and the Prince who is willing to take on a traitor's punishment for the sake of the relationship that was originally meant to be...the full and perfect forgiveness offered for enmity and betrayals greater than we understand and the unbelievable love offered to us over and over again are exquisitely brought into sharp relief. 

Cleanly and carefully written, this is a short story that challenged me to to reevaluate the lies that so easily creep in and poison the relationship I could have with both the Father and the Son. Whether this is to you an old, old story or one you have never heard, I recommend stopping to pick up Enemy Born.

On another note, did you know that Sufficient Grace is also available on audiobook? Or that the audiobook version of Annabeth's War is on its way, read by Jessica herself?? I have not listened to an audiobook literally since I was a small child, but I am ridiculously excited about these, and the new audiences that can now be reached by these stories...and if anything is to get me back into listening to might be these. XD

Also, I have to say, I always enjoy seeing her covers, which makes a lot of sense, considering she is a graphic designer. (See:

Which of these are you most excited about? XD
Are there any authors you wish were more in the spotlight?  

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Welcome to December...

And my true start as a senior resident in the critical care section of the hospital...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book Review - Left Turn to the Promised Land

Isn't that a delightful book title?

It's written by Rachel Starr Thomson, a writer who opened my eyes to the wonder of the internet and made me fall in love with new types of characters, when, as a young teenager, I discovered her story Taerith, written in serial form on a blog. I followed her writing with interest, and when I decided to publish a book while in college and she happened to be making a living editing at the time, I hired her for Ransomed. I received every bit of the insight, guidance, encouragement, and improvement I had hoped for and more besides. I've continued to follow her writing, and every so often will send her a writing or editing question which she has always graciously answered.  (I also interviewed her on this blog way back when.)
This book? It's an autobiographical story of how she miraculously died and came back to life, created a reader audience of 30,000 people in 3 months and earned $12,000 with a single launch, and then very nearly went bankrupt and became incredibly ill and required serious surgery.

It is an easy read in her usual lovely style, and the feel of the writing reminds me, inexplicably, of Maggie Stiefvater's All the Crooked Saints, making it a delight. More, it's a story of God's faithfulness and of what it's like to keep following and to keep believing in that faithfulness when you're sure you've heard His voice and yet nothing is working. I vividly remember bawling in the shower night after night my first few weeks of medical school, knowing each step I had been specifically led, and yet unable to see past the mess in which I now found myself. Rachel Starr Thomson is a writer and a teacher, and her calling is far different than mine at the moment, but the truths in her story are universal, even if the path is not. She writes frankly, without hiding what it feels like to follow through the storm, and that feeling translates easily whether the calling or the storm is the same. Nor does the story end on the cheerful, upbeat note of 'everything was fixed because she did what she was supposed to do' - it ends hopefully, but not falsely, because her story is not yet ended, and she is trusting through the storm still.
I am, to put it bluntly, going to pieces from the stress. I pray. And pray and pray and pray and pray. I try to think clearly, strategize, problem solve. I have a million good ideas, but you can’t do that many things no matter how good they may be, and fear is a terrible driver. Fear does not bring clarity, insight, or strength. It creates a cloud and fills it with buzzing gnats that get in your eyes and your ears...
Part of the mental battle of this year has been the need to understand and embrace a truth: that everything can change in an instant, and sometimes it does. The whole thrust of this season, the message the enemy is trying to bludgeon into my head, is You’re stuck here, nothing ever changes, it’s hopeless and it’s never going to shift. Miracles don’t happen; that’s what this year wants me to believe. And yet, that’s not true.
This year coming to a close has brought so much stress to so many I know, whether friends or family or the patients I have worked with...stress and fear and lies that work together to keep down those who should be victorious, but who instead are struggling to know even what direction they are to turn. In the midst of that, it could be discouraging to read the story of yet one more person brutally beaten down by circumstances as they simply try to obey God...but instead it is a reminder that the Promised Land is real, that the call is true, and that the One who calls is still faithful.

Monday, November 26, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 21

I finish this Thanksgiving weekend glad for the 21 days of purposeful thankfulness, and I hope you enjoyed the randomness over the past 3 weeks, too. XD  I have some more blog posts I want to do in the next few weeks, but given the upcoming business, we'll have to see how far I get!

(1) Christmas. 
I sent a pile of things with my mother today, since I will likely not see anyone over Christmas, which was somewhat bittersweet...but it's so fun to put things together for grandparents and nieces and Christmas is my favorite season and asdf;lajksf;asjkdf;askjdf. XD  IT'S STARTING.

(2) ...the sheer amount of theological thought available to us in this century. 
The fact that we have from Moses to Ravi Zacharias is incredible. I can read a book by a young female blogger or by St. Augustine, and I can read Matthew Henry's commentary on the Bible or look up different translations or use the dictionary to look up the original Greek or Hebrew words. All this, beyond the fact that I have the Bible translated into my own language and can read it freely. Sometimes it's really worth considering the amazingness of that.

(3) Vacation: 
I think as a country we have forgotten how to rest. We live at a constant, frenetic pace and though people chill, lounge, binge-watch shows and browse facebook and pinterest, they no longer entirely understand how to rest

This Thanksgiving my mom took me on a last-minute vacation (complete with me emailing my scheduler that HEY I KNOW THE DEADLINE IS PASSED, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT POSSIBLY LETTING ME HAVE A VACATION DAY THAT FRIDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING?) that she set up in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, a little town originally set up as housing for immigrants, where the company founder took work and relaxation and civic duty all with exquisite seriousness. His immigrant boarding house is now a luxury resort, and the business plans literally named "---'s Folly" in the newspapers of the day is now basically a world-wide business empire. 
I of course brought my work computer along, only for technical difficulties to occur which prevented me from even so much as checking my email. That's probably the longest I've gone in an entire year and a half without doing a lick of work. One of the massive leaded windows in the great dining hall
(rules were that the factory workers got a 90 minute lunch break, and they could eat well at the hall provided so long as they ate everything they took
bore the inscription 
Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality.
In medicine it's hard to mix those two. Especially the art. It's easy to become too exhausted to consciously relax, to consciously rest, and even to consciously seek God. I can "waste time" attempting to "rest" doing a variety of things (from tumblr to mindless web searches), but to purposefully incorporate art into my life in such a way that rest also makes me a better person...that's hard. 

Despite the placement of this song in the story as a whole (I've never watched the whole musical, but I've listened to some of the music, and I've definitely read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...and while I "get" the scientific draw in what he does, and adore the emotion poured into it by the musical {which I somehow felt was pretty lacking in the book itself}, this is one of those Let it Go songs that is a little messed up)...I still love this song.

This is the moment; this is the day
When I send all my doubts and demons on their way.
Every endeavor I have made ever
Is coming into play, is here and now today.
This is the moment, this is the time
When the momentum and the moment are in rhyme
Give me this moment, this momentous moment;
I'll gather up my past, and make some sense at last.
This is the moment, when all I've done
All of the dreaming, scheming and screaming become one.
This is the day, just see it shine
When all I've lived for becomes mine.
This is the moment, this is the hour
When I can open tomorrow like a flower.
And with my hand to, everything I've planned to
Fulfill my grand design; see all my stars align;
This is the moment, my final test;

Throughout this past month, I've felt a continuous call to renewal. To holiness, to purpose, to the knowledge that my life is not my own and I am bought with a price. That to God belongs all glory and honor and every atom of my past and present and future. It's been coming for a while, but I think this month I finally lifted up my head to listen. I had three separate messages from three different people in about as many weeks emphasizing discipleship, relationship, and the very meaning of Christianity and of answering the call to Follow Me. I've thought again about Chesterton's "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried" and the Moody-associated quote "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him" and heard second-hand about an Ellerslie minister who says "My answer to God is always yes." I have not yet fully unpacked that statement (what does a life look like, truly, when the answer is always yes? how long will it take me to come to a place where I know God is speaking clearly enough that I can answer yes?), but it's given me a great deal to think about. 

In case you can't tell, my mind is still considering, still turning things over, still contemplating...I don't quite know what I need to say yes to, what I need to do next, what I need to prepare for - I know I'm starting work as a senior and this means everything is that much harder, I have that much more responsibility, and I'm that much closer to becoming a board certified physician able to work on my own in whatever fashion God calls me. It's terrifying, but I've also repeatedly been reminded this month that fear has no place here. This IS where God has called me right now, and perfect love casts out fear. The terror that tries to convince me that failure is inevitable, that mistakes are inescapable, that I will be soon responsible for unnecessary death, that I will never be able to learn all I need to know - this is not of God, but rather an attempt of the enemy to steal my joy, cripple my witness, and set me on a path where "messing up" becomes ever more likely because my eyes are on the waves and not on the One who called me out into this storm. 

Courage, dear heart, eyes on Him.
Steady my hands. Steady my heart. Steady my eyes. So I can see where you are...
This is the moment. 
Every moment. 
Living as a Christian is not about the future, is not about someday-Heaven, it is about this moment now being lived for Christ. Life, whether in industry or art, lived as my life is Christ's.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 20

(1) Free Books. No, good free books, a shocking rarity and all the more awesome for that. I might be saying more on this blog about Left Turn to the Promised Land...

(2) 'good job' - my biggest struggle last year was going day after day never hearing that. I appreciate constructive criticism and teaching, but I also need to know the things I'm doing right...and I've very much appreciated my med-peds faculty's attempt to infuse clinic days with a good atmosphere and teaching on the encouraging side of good things. 

(3) .....kpop stars. Because whenever I feel overly restricted and exhausted by the contract I signed to turn me into a "real doctor" (Velveteen Rabbit fans or haters unite) and my 11 years of post-high school training and the hours and the insanity and the debt and the stress...I recall that not only do Korean music stars do all this and worse, they also have to look good while doing it. Nothing like that to push one onwards while in residency. XD 

and what is this? Xia/Kim Junsu, who, in one of the more dramatic kpop stories, became such a big star that he was able to sue his company and break free along with two of his bandmates. Which may be part of why I've always loved his version of this song from Mozart! and the idea of Junsu playing another musical genius struggling with music, himself, and finding his place in the world. 
Anyway. Inspiration for those of us in slave contracts everywhere. XD Be careful with Junsu, though. Fall too far down the rabbit hole and he'll burn your eyes. XD

Monday, November 19, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 19

(1) Fellowship. There is something about Christian fellowship that cannot be replicated. Confessional, sharpening, encouragement, hoping and's pieces that we so desperately need, and I am thankful beyond words for the gifts I have been given. 

(2) Time to breathe. This month, like all months where I am not pressed to the grindstone and sleepless from work, has found me running hither and yon, trying to get together with residents for non-work-related things, trying to see my friends and family after months of exhausted phone calls, trying to binge-watch tv shows and binge-read any book that looks remotely interesting at the local library, and write all the unknown pieces of Prevent the Dawn while editing sense into Contract to Time Travel, and while working on all of this, also catch up on all the assignments I have been unable to do during the other months. It's an impossible thing, but at the same time I can feel myself starting to lift up my head. Can imagine a future where I have space in my life to live. It's gonna be amazing. XD

(3) Winter clothes. There is something in my sunshine-loving soul that despises the necessity of donning multiple layers, boots, socks, leggings, lined skirts, long-sleeved shirts, vests, long alpaca coats...but there are times my rebel heart delights in dressing up and defying the cold, in being warm and comfortable in the middle of ice and snow, marching out and seeing my glimpse of blue sky for the day and claiming all the sunshine I can reach...before eventually slinking back inside to curl up like a cat on the right side of my glass sliding door. 

another that I like...

Sunday, November 18, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 18

(1)...all the times that scheduling posts worked out so far this month...XD and that I'm managing to stay ahead of the day of, so far...

(2) Homemade bread. And bread machines. I have one I got for 10 cents nearly a decade's still going strong, but the pan is a little beat up, and my mom just sent me a new one. Which she got for like a dollar. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHO'S DUMPING THESE THINGS, BECAUSE FRESH BREAD IS VERY NEARLY THE BEST FOOD EVER. XD 

Story time: when I first started college I was making fresh bread for the family quite a bit. Had a busy week with tests etc, and my brother was dying for fresh I told him "Use the bread machine. I have the recipe book right next to it. Any idiot could do this."
He grabbed the wrong cook book and made a recipe meant to be done by hand, with about 3 times the amount of dough made. When dough spilled out everywhere and nearly fried the machine, he came looking for me. 

(That same brother later got a job at a bakery while in college. XD)

(3) Discovering new things. Even if only new music. I don't know what it is, maybe the bluegrass roots in my family, but hearing this song for the first time made my night. XD It reminds me of harpsichord and organ, but it's NOT. Isn't it COOL? And now I'm just thinking of classical banjo, and all that could be done with it...XD

Saturday, November 17, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 17

(1) Electives. 2 rough months done and 2 rough months coming...but one month in between is the lovliest...Imagine getting EVERY WEEKEND OFF. And working SEVEN TO FIVE with much of that time relaxing work, instead of high pressure. So good.  So beautiful. Such happiness. XD

(2) Eggnog. You guys. There is eggnog in the store. I am so excited. I have a very distinct childhood memory of a person telling my mother her children refused to drink eggnog and my ensuing shock, because How do you not like eggnog???
Yes, I did buy a quart, and yes, I will see how long I can make it last. XD

(3) Good news. While there are still a great many questions at the moment, the cancer scare no longer looks like cancer, and that is a beautifully, gloriously, good thing. I don't know what else to say beyond that. 

I love something about this song...
steady my hands, steady my heart, steady my eyes, so I can see where You are

Friday, November 16, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 16

(1) RollerBlading! It's like high-speed dancing without having to touch other people unless you feel like it (or I guess if people crash into you) and even if you can't dance, you can just skate. Makes for a great evening out, and I have much plans to teach my nieces how to do this at some point. XD Also it's nice when people invite you and want to hang out with you. XD

(2) NaNo! Because it means lovely writing, sometimes from one person, sometimes from another. It has meant more stress in the past, because of not having time to beta read people's works, and I am VERY behind right now...(my version of failing NaNo: not having time to READ what people wrote, let alone write my own...) but right now I'm just determined to enjoy what I have time to read. XD 

(3) Light in darkness, and the steps toward healing, no matter how small they are. I feel worlds better with a single day off, and I cherish every bit of strength I see in those I love. We're all going to get through, and it will be good in the end. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 15

(1) A clean home. After two months of chaotic running, I actually did some solid fall cleaning today, and it's amaaaaaaazing. Considering how much my surroundings affect me for good or ill, I need to be careful in the next few months to keep it clean. XD

(2) Handiwork. Okay, so there's something to be said for time saving and ready-made things, but there's something about crocheting that is beautifully relaxing. To see exactly the progress you've know a missed stitch is neither life-threatening or all that get to thoroughly tangle up in yarn like a true cat...okay, maybe that last one is just me. But it's been a long time since I did any, and I'm a huge fan of soothing simplicity. XD

(3) This reminder of discipleship, living by grace, and the incredible grandeur of the gospel that modern Christianity has so nearly forgotten:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 14

(1) Writing. I sat down and wrote 600 words this morning, which is the most I've written in in the past wasn't a great scene, the writing wasn't terribly well-done, and I don't know if I'll even include it in the final version of Prevent the Dawn, but it was writing. It's amazing how much better writing can make me feel about life in general. (Also. How has it been a year I've been working on this story?? I mean, I'm 40,000 words in, which is about 100 words a day...which I guess makes sense for the past year...but...O.o wow.)

(2) Knowledge at my fingertips. It's amazing to live in a time period where we can access so.much.knowledge. Yes, there are indications (skyrocketing anxiety levels across the country and world, for one) that we've outpaced our ability to process this information, and yes, there are incredible amounts of misinformation present...but today I'm thankful for all the incredible things we can learn and share in ways never before possible. 

(3) The strength of those I love. This is...abstract...I know. But to see the people I most care about knocked down in the fight, pressed beyond bearing, and to watch them grit their teeth and get to their feet and keep going is a gloriously beautiful thing. To watch them choose light over darkness, holiness over ease, to continue the battle despite the breaking...I am blessed and inspired to know them. Imago Dei. His grace in them. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 13

This is one of the days where it's really hard to find 3 good things.
A baby died after 2 weeks of misery drowned in morphine...two children sustained horrific cranial injuries and may very well die in the next few days...some twisted mess of computer-human error resulted in an adult dying needlessly...I'm two months of tired, plus I was very exhausted in August, so my "easy month" really was not. And on top of the rest, there is a cancer scare happening right now in my family. Someone I adore has symptoms of returning cancer, and we won't know what is going on until next week. 

(1) Bronze eye liner. I don't know why we get to appreciate beauty, when there is so much darkness and evil in the world, but color and texture and light-reflection are tiny glimmers of what life is meant to be and what it someday will be, when we see beauty unmarred by sin. 

(2) Certain Beloved persons. I am trying not to get ahead of myself, but I can't help but wonder about losing this person I so care about...but I think I have enough common sense left to know that today's evil is sufficient and I can wait for the test results to be back. And to know that as horrible as that loss would be, I am blessed beyond words to have known this person and experienced their love for so many years. 

(3) Words of encouragement. There are people with slick words and people with gilded words but then there are people with words that truly are like apples of gold in a network of silver. I don't know how I have been blessed enough to be friended by such people, but God is good and so are they. When I am mentally/spiritually/emotionally tripping, words from others become the hand that catches my stumbling self and pulls me back on track. There is darkness, so much of it, around us, but we have been gifted with a glimpse of the Light, and that Light fills us and guides us. We have been translated from darkness into the Kingdom of Light...let us live there, at the feet of Goodness Himself, Giver of every Good gift.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Know Your Novel, Part One: Prevent The Dawn

I know, I many times can I introduce the same novel? I tried last a NaNo entry, no less...  -__-

Maybe 4th time's the charm...I wanted to do this when I saw Christine had done it...then Arielle did it for her novel, and forced Mirriam into it...does her also calling my novel delicious mean I should try again to introduce this novel of mine? XD

Let's see what happens if I do...

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
Really, the first spark came from an afternoon working with refugees while in medical school. Later pieces, including Korean dramas, music from Kurdistan, influences of previously read novels, began to filter in later, but the afternoon of glimpses of people's lives, hearing pieces of their stories via translator - that was the first piece where I knew I'd write something someday. (Even though this story has morphed incredibly from where it started.)
I suppose I should mention that Moon Lovers had a huge influence on one of the main characters..

2. Share a blurb! what this story is about? I'll let you know when I figure it out...Right now it's something about A mask-wearing mercenary infiltrates a foreign court in order to return home to his own country and find his younger brother - who turns out to be an assassin/slave currently working to frame the queen. 

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
Where does it NOT take place...this thing crosses 3 continents, despite my strong objections to writing a travel story. It's definitely a fusion sort of story, with influences of Zagwe,
 Kievan Rus', and Silla Kingdoms, as well as a strong dash of the Golden Horde. I love getting to explore different palaces, different court systems, different lifestyles and beliefs...but it's HARD to research + translate such corners of the globe. 

4. Tell us about your protagonist.
I direct you here, because it is still most accurate. 

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
Ooh...well...there's as post I haven't yet done. 

It really depends on where you're standing. 

Is the Ruskan king a villain, or is he a misguided antihero? Which of his queens will you ask? Will you ask his son, caught in the horrific place where the father he adores has ordered the execution of his beloved mother, for the crime of treason? Or will you ask his Translator, honor-bound to serve him, but also honor-bound to bear witness to the truth and name off every crime he sees? 

Is the Zenian princess an imposter and a thief, stealing the rightful queen's place? Or is she a queen trapped into an unexpected alliance, doing the best that she can for her own people, determined also to do her best for Ruska and Ruska's king as a believer in the Great God should?

Is the Hidden Kingdom's queen a traitor who has murdered the rightful queen her sister, and will the country be better off once she has been removed? Is the mastermind behind the plot to take her down a patriot for the people, or is he a power-hungry monster using slaves because he can so conveniently dispose of their bodies once they have fulfilled his will? 

Are the Mengu warriors pillaging monsters, a scythe of destruction sweeping over the land and threatening every country in their path? Or are they a democratic society seeking to defend their people and their lands and to offer freedom to others? 

I think readers will get a pretty good idea of who is who and where they stand on the line...but like when reading the Old Testament list of kings, there's a few who don't stay nicely on one side or the other. Based on the opinion of a single character, though? Heh. Good luck deciding anything from that alone...XD

6. What excites you the most about this novel?
Hmm...I think how different it feels from my other stories. There are definite themes that seem to carry over story to story (what, more brotherhood friendships?), but it's very much new territory and I'm excited to see what I learn while writing it. 

7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?
...Standalone...Hope Sprang Up started as a standalone, then morphed into a probable trilogy. Contract to Time Travel turned into a book in need of a sequel in the almost-last chapter. 

I don't see how Prevent the Dawn can turn into a sequel right now, though. I plan to wrap all their stories all nicely up, or to leave them with the kind of bittersweet ending you don't want a sequel to touch.

8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?
...More pantsing than usual. Usually I have at least a general direction, I know the ending or a scene near the ending, I have some theories on what it will take to get my characters to that ending. For this story? I have random scenes and no idea (yet) how they connect. 

(How did these two characters who are tribal, philosophical, political, and personally visceral enemies in this first scene end up in prison in a 3rd country kissing each other in the next scene? I got nothin'.)

9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.
...Having not read all stories under the sun, I don't know how unique it is...I know I haven't read anything terribly similar...I originally considered historical fiction (all the above-named kingdoms existed in very similar time periods...), but I really wanted to play around with dates, and didn't want to be constrained by particular historic happenings. (Even if Zagwe's final king being called Za-Ilmaknun, or The Unknown, the hidden one, is just BEGGING for a story twist...)
I think the combination of a multi-kingdom story and strong Christian themes will probably end up setting it apart a little bit. (Is it one of my books if there is not God, romance, drama, and torture somewhere in the story...)

10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Pinterest board: here.

If you want to see some other character inspiration fun....

3 Good Things - Day 12

(1) Mango lassi. Never actually heard of it before, but a fellow resident brought it today and it is like tangible, drinkable sunshine. The saffron makes it gorgeous and the mango is amazing 
not mine. but mine was with home-made yogurt and fresh mango puree. yumm

(2) I only have 2 more call days this month! Which is usually the # of call days I have total on the pediatric side, but this month it's eight 28 hour calls, which...makes itself felt. XD But hey. This week I get to sleep in my own bed the whole week and then finish the month with 2 calls days and a bang. XD

(3) I have 1 of my 2 presentations for this month 99% done! And I got to delay it, which was soooo helpful. Usually I just do it and don't worry about doing it all the night before...this time I asked for more time and I was given more time, which was super lovely helpful. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

3 Good Things - Day 11

(1) A day off. Yes, I have a paperwork to finish, but considering I'll be at work every single day next week (our 1 day off in 7 only has to be averaged over the month), this is a lovely treat. I slept until 10:30, and don't feel nearly as sick as I did yesterday. ^__^ I'm actually eating breakfast while sitting down instead of running around. I cleaned out part of my fridge. I'm going to wash the dishes after I get some work done. I can listen to music without headphones. It's great. 

(2) My state license came. Technically, in my state, this now means that I could go out and set up a practice, should I wish to forego the rest of residency. Fair warning, you guys: don't go to a physician who isn't finished with residency and board certified. XD But, that said, it's one more milestone along this extraordinarily long road.

(3) Snow. XD I choose to be glad about this. Mostly because I don't have to go outside today and can just watch the snow fall behind a lovely glass wall. I'm living in a snow globe and somebody tipped me over. XD


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