Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Christmas is drawing ever nearer! I hope you're as excited and expectant as I am. I hope your day is one filled with love, appreciation, and good times with family and friends.
Also, a happy early New Year! 2017 is set to bring great things!
I will be taking a leave from my blog (and the internet) starting today...though there's more about that below.
First, though: thank you all again for traveling with me on my journey this year! I hope you are well and are looking forward to the New Year to come. Don't ever doubt that you're wonderful, and that there's something awesome in store for your life. Keep moving forward, and bringing new light to the world!
2017 Writing Goals ~
I've been thinking about my writing goals for 2017 -- I guess I should really say my creative goals.
My goals for 2016 were: to let my creativity lead me; to write some of the "weird" stories I had been planning; to say hello to old stories; to really just enjoy my writing process.
I think I've managed most of those this year, and I'm very proud. I still am learning and changing, but I'm not afraid of writing what needs to be written anymore, and taking my time on works. It's difficult sometimes, with our world that likes to rush, but I'm learning the importance of letting things be, and being with them.
My word for last year (if you're curious about words for the year, click here) was "forward", and that fit 2016 perfectly. I've discovered my word for 2017 is "cheers", and I'm excited to see what that means.
This next year, I really want to focus on giving things my all: writing, drawing, creating of every kind. There are plenty of new things I want to try, and I want to work at being more creative in implementing my ideas. I also want to reach out to my fellow readers and writers more, hopefully with some new ventures that are in store.
Which leads to...
2017 Sabbatical (Until The End Of May)
No, don't worry, I'm not taking a year off!
I like to take the first few months of the year and the summer "off" of the internet and my blog. It helps me to refresh and refocus, but with the work I've been doing and the things I've been noticing, I realize that this time I need more time.
I have a lot of things I am working on and am preparing for next year, and I need time in which to focus on them. I prefer the term "sabbatical" to "holiday", because it has a more spiritual context -- and so does my leave. I'm taking off to focus both on myself and my writing.
What is in store for 2017? I can't say too much yet, but I can say it's exciting. I'm working on some new projects, a work to query, a new avenue for Shadows of Past Pages, artwork, and more. All I can say is that it's worth the wait (promise!).
I will be taking off the blog through May 23rd, when I will be posting a check-in post to say hello and update all of you on how the year is fairing! I also hope to post the 2017 Drawing of the Year then. I'm not sure if I'll be taking the summer off too or not, but I will know by then.
Until May, I wish you all happy days, inspiration, and peace in your travels.
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope you're all enjoying your Holiday season. I'm excited for Christmas as always, and have been up to my ears in wrapping and gift-giving (not that I would have it any other way).
As the New Year (2017 already?!?) draws closer, I try to reflect, as always, on what made this year special. I am so blessed to have wonderful people in my life to walk with me on my journey, and I thank God for them every day.
I also thank Him for my journey, and the twists and turns it takes. If this year has made me think about anything, it's the need to be appreciative of our obstacles, because they only serve to make us stronger.
So...without further ado, I present: 2016 In Review!
This year I completed my first quarter of a century, and I've had many ups and downs, as has my family, but things are looking up and we are finding our way together.
I went back to writing on the computer after at least a year of writing solely by hand. For anyone struggling with writing, I definitely recommend notebooks for at least a little while. It really helped me reconnect with my stories and myself as a scribe.
My style has really changed this year, but I'm learning to embrace the change rather than be wary of it. Change is good, and it leads us to new places! Don't be afraid of your own, personal story!
Also, don't be afraid to speak out, or to try things that might sound crazy. You never know what those wacky ideas will bring you. My favorite innovators were known for trying weird ideas, and I want to be known for that, too.
Follow your heart, wherver it leads!
The first notable thing this year (as far as my writing and publishing life) was the rewriting of my website. I really enjoyed putting together the Story Vault, for readers to see some past ideas.
Back in early 2016 or late 2015, I joined an online writing group, and was able to learn quite a bit about inspiring other writers from the experience. This spawned my blog post "Christians, It's Okay To Write Fantasy", which I'm very proud of, and the message of which is very important to me.
As a side note to the blog post above, I also wrote a post entitled "Diverse Books: Writing About The Different Loves", another thing that is very important to me. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and I was happy to put the spotlight on this other aspect of it that doesn't seem to get enough light.
Next in my year was the posting of a free short story, "The Origin Of Tears", the first of a series of original fairy tales I have been working on. It was fun to write, and is quite special to me. If you haven't read it yet, please enjoy!
Possibly my biggest personal success for this year, in April I finished penning the rewrite of one of my most beloved stories, (now) entitled Shadows of Past Pages.
In a moment of truth, I realized that it was, in fact, the first full-length novel I had written in 3 years, and also the first I had typed in quite some time. I still can't get over how much I love this book...and don't worry, we haven't seen the last of it (for our review, or in real life!).
In May, I released the last book in my first completed series (yay!), entitled Beauty Beheld. This is a series of shorts retelling Beauty and the Beast, and I released the last book on National Teachers Day, in honor of my friend, who works so hard as a teacher to enrich the lives of kids (and who happens to love, love, love fairy tales).
For the summer, I took off the internet, as I typically do. But first I was able to do a writing workshop at Barnes and Noble for their first ever teen bookfest!
That was such a fun and thrilling event, and I met some wonderful budding writers. You never know how your inspiration or support will help someone!
Coming back in August, I wrote a little about working towards your own definition of success, not everyone else's -- and also about not comparing yourself to other (writers) -- two things I struggle with. I think that getting my feelings out has helped me in these areas, and hopefully helped someone else, too.
For those of you who were following (and thank you!), back in September I started posting chapters of Shadows of Past Pages here on my website for readers. I wanted to try something new, maybe a little bit crazy, and see how it worked.
Unfortunately, it didn't work exactly as I wanted, and I decided to go with another idea of mine instead. It's important to be flexible! In late September I wrote about how I wasn't giving up on my story -- and I'm not, as I'll tell you a bit more about next post (sneak peek: it's a secret). This time in my writing life has taught me to seek what I really want, even if it's a little crazy or seems impossible.
I've also learned that dreams change, and so we have to be aware of our own hearts and where we are being lead.
October was an extremely busy month for me, and full of amazing things!
Not only did I finish my first-ever Inktober with the amount of drawings I intended to do (you can see some here), but I also celebrated my 6th publishing anniversary!
Another special thank you to everyone who has supported, and continues to support, me. You're all amazing!
Also in October I released some NaNo Prep posts (with worksheets!), and published the next to last story in the Snowflake Triplet, The Tale of Wind and Winter!
I completed my first NaNoWriMo in several years, and posted a blog post about what I learned in the beginning of December.
Followed by a new Snowflake Triplet coloring page, and a Snowflake Triplet reading guide, the year is all wrapped and pretty like a Christmas present!
Thank you for journeying back through the year with me! It's been a long, learning year and I feel like I've come so far. Thank you all for walking the path with me, and sharing your thoughts! I'm excited for 2017!
Coming Thursday: Writing Goals For 2017, Merry
What has your year been like? What major changes have you made, and obstacles have you overcome? What excites you most about 2017?
So, recently I had a reader ask me which order the Snowflake Triplet books flow in. And while I've done my best to post the order on my affiliate sites, and here on my website, I thought it would be fun to go a little deeper into why the order is, well, the order.
Please enjoy the post, and don't forget to download your FREE copy of Clara Claus and The Christmas Wish! Happy Christmas!
Read #1: Clara Claus
Clara Claus is where the story really starts, and where you will be introduced into my world of Winter and Immortals.
Published originally in 2010 (paperback exclusive, at the time), Clara Claus was my first released book, and continues to be both a fan favorite, and an author favorite.
The cover was redesigned come 2012 (if I remember correctly), adding the hints of red and green.
Read #0.5 / #2: The Christmas Wish
A while back, I had a reader suggest the best way to begin the series is to read the first half of The Christmas Wish before Clara Claus, then the second half of TCW after.
While my favorite is reading CC first, I think this is also a good way to read the series, as the first half of TCW takes place before Clara Claus.
TCW was spawned from a mistake of mine: I forgot to tell Jack when Clara's birthday is! I knew I had to write about that.
Read #3: North of Perfect
North of Perfect is one of my favorite bits of the series, and it introduces the character Holly, who makes her first (official) appearance in The Tale of Wind and Winter.
This short was originally a paperback exclusive, contained in Clara Claus, but when I realized that Holly would become a big part of the last book in the series, Clara Frost, I knew I had to release it as an ebook, too, for my ebook-favoring readers to enjoy.
Read #4: Sugar Plum Dreams
Sugar Plum Dreams is a novella that tells the backstory of the Sugar Plum Fairy (and some other characters besides...like the "original" Jack Frost).
It also marks the first appearance of the series' villain, Eclipse.
SPD is an odd book, and not exactly what I was expecting to write, but I'm really happy to have penned it, especially since it introduced me to Eclipse. It mostly ties into the upcoming last book.
Read #5: Christmas In July
Christmas In July takes place before Clara Snow, and also includes Eclipse. It's a fun, sweet story, mostly centered on Jack and Clara.
This short was born from a happy accident. A friend of mine made a clay figurine of Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, and accidentally baked it too long...giving Jack a tan.
I thought it was awesome, and wanted to write a story where my Jack unwilling got a tan, too.
Read #6: Clara Snow
The second (technical) book in the series, Clara Snow is one of the major turning points in the series.
This book was so much fun to write. Not only was I able to introduce new characters -- like South and Gertrude -- but I was able to focus some on my villain, Eclipse, and give Clara the chance to discover who she really is.
Clara Snow is possibly the absolute fan-favorite so far.
Read #7: North of Trial
The second of the North-centered shorts, North of Trial takes place directly after Clara Snow.
Holly returns! (I absolutely love Holly.)
This short was fun to write as a continuation, and to see more of how North reacts to the events in Clara Snow. Plus, it was nice to write about Holly again, and have her...well, you'll see when you read.
Let's just say she's spunky, and I like it.
Read #8: The Christmas Compass
The Christmas Compass is another novella in the series, and the (technical) third book. Taking place after Clara Snow, this story is an interesting one.
I wanted to tell a different story here, and delve into the "what could have been" by flipping the story. My original inspiration was another short I had intended to write for the series, detailing some of Jack's past.
This is also the story where we, the audience, discover Eclipse's endgame and what he's wanted all along...or do we?
Read #9: North of Dreams
The third and final North short, I think this one may be my favorite.
What can I say? It's simply a fun short. Holly appears again, and makes a mess as usual.
It's a nice, fun, light short before the events that are to come, and it has a romantic ring to it.
In short (haha): I really love this one.
Read #10: The Tale of Wind and Winter
This year's release, The Tale of Wind and Winter takes place after North of Dreams, and prior to Clara Frost.
This short was actually completely rewritten, and is very different from its first draft. It includes some elements, but originally it was just a short about how Holly meets South.
Now it's a story about family, and I'm very proud of it. It also includes some important (and fun) backstory on North and South.
Read #11: Shadows of Christmas Yet To Come
This is actually a free short I posted here on my website a few years ago.
Inspired by "A Christmas Carol" (though it has little in common), this short takes us back years before Jack met Clara. It's mainly about giving, and was also inspired by some of my childhood experiences.
I put this short as a "read after Wind and Winter", because you might pick up on more subtle hints if you read it following. Really, it can be read anywhere in the series, but I feel this is the best spot.
Read #12: The Christmas Angel
This short is another jouney into the past -- but this time it's Clara's father's past, telling a bit about how Clara's parents met.
This is, to date, the only short that has very little to do with the overarching plot, though it's a fun short, and it gives a little more backstory on Sebastian, Clara's father.
I enjoyed writing this short because it's more romantic, and I was able to write more about Clara's mom, who we see the least of in the series.
The forgotten pieces.
The remembered past.
The fluctuating future.
What do you do when you can't fight destiny?
The thrilling conclusion to the bestselling series!
HOLIDAY SEASON 2017
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope you're having a wonderful Holiday season, are enjoying the spirit of Christmas, and time with friends and family. I love this season so much, because it has a way of reminding us what is important in life.
I also love this season because the spirit of giving that it seems to bring out in everyone. I love giving gifts, and so...I have new gifts for you, my dear readers!
Last year I posted a free Snowflake Triplet coloring page, and this year I have another free page for you to enjoy! Coloring is stress-relieving and fun -- and of course, artistic!
Download and enjoy, and then if you'd like, share your masterpiece using the hashtag #SnowflakeTriplet. I'd love to see your design!
This year, I have another fun surprise, too!
If you're just starting the Snowflake Triplet series, you can download the first ebook FREE (links below), but now you can also download the first short story in the series, The Christmas Wish, FREE as well.
I had a reader suggest that the first part of the short should be read before Clara Claus (as it takes place right beforehand), and the second part after (ditto), which I think is a great idea. Please enjoy the short, and the first book!
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and an amazing Holiday season!
New: Get Your Free Copy of 'The Christmas Wish'
iBooks: iTunes (US) --- iTunes (UK) --- iTunes (Australia) --- iTunes (Canada) --- iTunes (France) --- iTunes (Germany) --- iTunes (Japan) --- iTunes (Italy) --- iTunes (Spain)
Amazon: US -- UK -- Australia -- Canada -- Germany -- France -- Italy -- Japan -- Spain
Get Your Free Copy Of 'Clara Claus'
iBooks: iTunes (US) --- iTunes (UK) --- iTunes (Australia) --- iTunes (Canada) --- iTunes (France) --- iTunes (Germany) -- iTunes (Japan) --- iTunes (Italy) --- iTunes (Spain)
Amazon: US -- UK -- Australia -- Canada -- Germany -- France -- Italy -- Japan -- Spain