This is where I'm at. I've been waiting for the "push" to post another blog post, and then I saw today's devotional in my email. And I was like... this is it. This is where I am with PITY ISN'T AN OPTION. This is what I see in how He's making everything fall into place. And I can look at the last four years and say with all certainty that all of this is what HE did! (In that second to last sentence, throw "writer" in there, too!)

Be blessed,


But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me… I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10, NLT
Grace To Do All Things Through Christ

The apostle Paul “worked harder than any of the other apostles.” But he attributed his success to the favor or grace of God in his life.
My friend, God’s grace will never provide you with reasons to just sit around and wait for a miracle to fall into your lap. No, it will give you faith to believe that God is working in and through you despite your limitations. It will give you a get-up-and-go-for-it spirit. It will make you say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)!
So in whatever role or position you find yourself right now, see the Lord’s favor empowering you to do what you need to with extraordinary diligence, creativity and effectiveness. The more you lean on His grace in all that you do, the more you allow Him to make you an excellent and extraordinary employee, manager, business person, parent or minister. That’s how you allow Him to work in and through you to bring you from one level of success to another!

An announcement I'm glowing about

Only two days after I shared how much I want to review the books I love, something awesome has happened: I received an invitation to join Afterglow Book Reviews!!! This is amazing, exciting, and most definitely the Lord doing HIS work (while I rest), and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to join this group!

For those of you who've never heard of Afterglow, here's a quick description: 

Remember the feeling you got when you closed the back cover on a book that spoke to you? How you set it aside on your end table or night stand and lay back feeling amazed, traumatized, bewildered, and somehow changed? That's the afterglow.

I mean... YAY!!!! What an awesome title and description, right? 

Also,  Lovemuffin is going to be so relieved, because guess who has to listen to me go on and on and on about what I just finished reading and oh-my-gosh-and-then-this-happened-and how-dare-they-make-me-wait-a-year-to-know-what-happens-next and... ??? Yep. Poor Lovemuffin. And let me tell you... he doesn't care about my afterglow when I'm done reading a book I loved--he wants me to aftergo away and stop talking about it! (Ha ha... pun intended!) So now I'll be running to Henry (the ol' laptop) to type all those feelings out ASAP so I can share them with my reader friends, and Lovemuffin gets a break. I'm truly not sure who is more excited. I mean, talk about a win-win!

So thank you to the awesomesauce Afterglow peeps (and Lovemuffin sends his thanks, too) for welcoming me into your group. I can't wait to share the readerly love. 

Here's the link if you aren't already following Afterglow Book Reviews. I'm sure I'll see you over there soon!

Be blessed,


Fears and the way they hold us back

So in this process of writing over the past four years, I've overcome a lot of things (with the help of my wonderful Father above) but there's still something I am having issues with here, so I thought I'd be raw and open and upfront about it and see if anyone else feels where I'm coming from.

First, why don't you mosey on over to this post real quick: THE POWER OF POSITIVE CUSTOMER REVIEWS, because Katrina makes some great points (for readers and writers alike). Then, come on back over. (Feel free to leave a comment first--I'm sure she'd enjoy that!)


Reviews. I read them. Constantly. And especially on Goodreads. (Love that site, by the way. What did we DO before Goodreads????) Pretty much any place you can purchase a book online, there's also the option to review it. (Barnes and Noble. Amazon. Smashwords. ibooks. The list goes on and on.)

And here's my problem.

My writing isn't out there. Oh, it will be, in a few weeks tops, but right now, it's not. And the thing that plagues me (and that I've yet to let go of and completely give to God--He's lovingly prying my fingers off of it, one at a time) is that I CAN REVIEW BOOKS and IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO REFUSE TO READ MINE when they come out (or review them all sucky-ish because of my reviews).

This is a major, major issue. One I've only recently come to terms with enough to speak about. As I said, this journey has been a long one, and the further along I get in it, the more I realize that His control is the best control--it's restful, and easy, and unique.

The other day, another part of the process for getting PITY released came up, and I felt the Lord specifically tell me to ask someone else to handle it. (This is one of those things that, two years ago, I NEVER would have done. I like being in control. I like it a lot, because... things go exactly the way I want.)  So I'm in bed the other night, talking to Lovemuffin about it, and I say, "I know I probably could probably have done it myself--but He told me to ask her."

I went to continue talking, but before I could finish, this was Lovemuffin's response:

"Well, yeah. He wanted you to have her do it because He wants it to be obvious that the work is not of your own hand."

Whoa. I mean, I knew it, but I didn't at the same time. And that's the summary of it all, folks... that me doing the writing all on my own was getting it nowhere and nothing was happening. There is no question that the place everything is at right now is there because I handed it over to Him.

So my point... my point... Well, first, the person I asked to do that thing? That will be revealed soon, and she's talented and more than capable and is doing an amazing job and I can't wait to share the final result. I *could* have taken it on. And I *might* have done a decent job. (Might have.) But sometimes He puts people in your life not only to benefit YOU, but so that He can BLESS THEM THROUGH YOU, too. He knows their talents, because He is the One who created them. And that's what's going on here. He's going to bless her because of this (in ways neither one of us even know about), and in the process, people will see that none of this is MY doing. It isn't MY hard work, but His.

Rest. (I'm telling you. It's awesome.)

And now I've come full circle, and we're back to the part about fear:

I want to do reviews. (As me. Not a pseudonym.) I want to be able to share the word love, help others see what I saw in the books I fell in love with, and I want to let them know where I, personally, thought things fell short. I want to be able to post reviews with no worry or shame or what ifs coming at me, not only for the potential readers who aren't sure what they're looking for, but for the authors as well. (That IS how we writers grow, is it not? To hear what parts could have been embellished, or removed?)

He's helping me, tickling my fingers, supporting me while letting me let go. It's a process... One that's easier and more restful the sooner you let Him take over. I know this. And had to share it with you, too.

Has anyone else gone through this? The review thing, the letting go and trying to be in control, or anything else along those lines? If so, I'd love to hear about it.  (And I promise other people will benefit, too!)

Also, before I go... I thought this picture was quite appropriate:


Be blessed,


Your thighs are going to love me: Coffee cake in a mug

Being as my thighs have grown considerably over the past month (reading + writing/editing + eating = thigh "enhancement") and I care about you so much, I figured it was only fair to give you all the same option of thigh growth. (I'm so thoughtful, aren't I? Yes. Yes I know.)

So here's the first in an ongoing installment of


Are you exited? I know I am. :)

The first recipe I decided to share is one I tweeted not that long ago; a 5 minute coffee-cake-in-a-mug recipe that my 13 year-old daughter makes at least a few days a week (mainly for her and Lovemuffin). (Oh--and before I forget--here's a big thank you to bloggers and pinners everywhere for sharing this stuff!)

I'm going to share the link to her recipe (as her post is way funnier than mine would be), followed by one picture from the blog. Her pictures are awesome (notice the owl-dorable mug?)

You have now been fed, and entertained! (You're welcome!)

If you liked this #mugdessert (or have a different one to share) check me out on pinterest! I've been lurking around the interwebs for a while and am slowly racking up a list of quick mug desserts! (See the Food or **gift ideas** boards.)

Have a blessed week, thighs! (And the rest of your body as well...)


The refreshment that release brings

I just wanted to share how wonderful it is to be at a point where every single query has been tied up into either a rejection or no response folder, and I can look at my outstanding queries and see that it's empty. Things are coming full circle, I am no longer daily looking to my email, hoping for requests; and every day brings me a little closer to PITY being released.

The lack of frustration and anxiety is amazing. His peace is not the world's peace.

Be blessed,


What jealousy really means

There's this feeling called jealousy--maybe you've heard of it. If not, let me give you a little description: Jealousy wreaks havoc on your body. It makes your heart hurt, your head throb, causes you to get TMJ, not be able to sleep, and makes you drive your nails into your palms until you have two sets of mini-craters.

Jealousy makes you overanalyze your work, try too hard; it can turn you into a very judgmental (and sometimes arrogant) person, or do the exact opposite and make you hate everything about yourself that, at one point, you used to love. But most of all, jealously makes you lose site of what's important.

Not long ago, YA author Leigh Ann Kopans shared a post about jealousy, and it got me thinking. This jealousy is something I know a lot about, considering I've been writing for 4+ years now and have received, I'd say, more than 150 rejections/no responses from agents/publishers (for three separate books--mind you, I'm not saying that they were all perfect).

I agree with a lot of Leigh's points, including truly being happy for other writers when they announce signing agents and/or deals (while at the same time wishing the same thing for myself). But there's a few things that came to me as I read, and I felt they were necessary to mention.

1) For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that Lovemuffin was very sick a while back, and a few things changed for us personally afterwards. My relationship with the Lord grew immensely as He showed me more about His true heart, and who we are in Him, to our Heavenly Father.

As a result of that, He's opened my eyes to a lot of things, one being that when He opens a door, no one can shut it. I used to think I had to do everything on my own. It's a pretty popular mentality: If I don't do it, no one will. But the problem is, that mentality makes you rely on your own effort... which can end up being a problem.

For one, you look at other people's journeys and try to mold their steps/happenstances into your own in order to achieve the same thing. But each of us has a completely different story, and He has written a unique plan for us as well. We are meant to touch different people, to rub against different people, to move and learn and brush off on different people as they brush off on us. We can't look at anyone else's writing/publication (or any other kind of) journey and expect it to be our own, any more than we can look at one person's diet/workouts and expect the same results.

Another reason that thought process gets in the way is we depend on man to work when Someone much higher and more powerful can change things for our favor instantaneously.

Knowing that simple truth gives you the power to work and not worry about what is going to happen in the future. Knowing He wants what's best for you and has a plan for what's been put on your heart gives you the desire to continue.

2) I recently heard a sermon where the pastor made a comment about jealousy. He said that, when we get jealous, what we are really saying is that we think God doesn't have enough power/smarts/ability/ect. to make all of us prosper.

At first, that comment bounced right off me, but as I thought about it for a while, I realized he was so right. When we get jealous about someone "making it", what we're really thinking is "That's not fair--I wish it were me."

There's nothing wrong with wanting something for our lives--having the desire to show what we've accomplished. But knowing Who helped you accomplish it makes a big difference in it getting accomplished.

Here's the thing. Like I mentioned above, in thinking

"that's not fair--I wish it were me who had insert item here" (this could be a book deal, a promotion, a new house, a new car, a child, and on and on and on)

we are inadvertently saying

if they have it, then there's no way that I can. They already got it. It is no longer available. 

And that is not true.

There are tons of positions, there are tons of agents, there are tons of publishers, there are tons of friends, there are tons of cars, and I am convinced you could apply any situation you are in to this sentence and the same would be true. Problem is, we see things a specific way. Here's an example of what I'm trying to say:

A guy and his son go out to a park near their home, and stand at the edge of a little, man-made lake.

The son says to his dad, "I like this place. It's beautiful and wild and calm and fun and blue."

The dad looks out over water, at the ducks paddling around in it, at the movement their webbed feet cause, the waves rolling over the dirt embankment, at the trash floating nearby. He sees where the grass has died due to dogs peeing, and notices a lone shoe sitting in a patch of mud that a child must have left accidentally.

Though the park looks dirty, he doesn't think it looks sad enough to be considered blue.

"What do you see that is blue?" he asks his little boy.

This is his son's answer:

"The sky, Dad. The sky above the water--it's blue, it's calm, it's beautiful. The sky beyond the lake, off near our house--see the clouds shaped like cotton candy? It's fun, 'specially that one right there that looks like a cowboy on a wild adventure."

The dad looks out across the lake and realizes he'd missed so much... he didn't see the airplane flying above their house, he didn't notice the pack of girls sitting on a blanket off to the west near the teeter-totters, laughing. He didn't see the couple on bench on at the other end of the lake, holding hands. And he didn't see that when you look at something, you can look right at it and expect what you see to be all there is available; or you can choose to look at the whole picture and beyond, knowing there are many things your eyes have yet to notice.

That's how He works. He sees the whole picture. We try out for jobs, for positions, for agents (or whatever), thinking this is the only way things can happen. The reality of it all though, is that His plan may have you submitting to so-and-so, yes, but then they may know someone who sees something and tells someone and six months down the road you get a call that you never expected from someone you'd never heard of. (No, this didn't happen to me.)

Bottom line to this entirely too-long post? He is able to do everything. And, He is willing. His plan may seem to take longer than you want, but, ultimately, it's constructed better than you ever could have attempted for it to be. So when you get down because someone else appears to be receiving blessings you've been wanting, and start to hear that voice in your head that makes you think it's not possible for you or you need to do this or that (thereby losing sight of the reason you had the desire for it in the first place), remind yourself who's really in charge. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and say,

 This can be mine, too.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Be blessed,


New books! Eagerly anticipating upcoming releases

Yay! It's a new year! You know what that means, right? NEW BOOKS!

Most readers have at least a few titles they're anxiously awaiting to hold in their hands as a new year commences, and seeing as how that seems to be the theme on the blogosphere this first week of January, I figured I'd share a few I'm waiting for, too. :)

So, here are five books yet-to-be-released that I'm looking forward to reading (maybe one or two of the titles will be new to you)! Click the link above the cover photo to add it to your goodreads profile (you can also click on the author's name, and become a fan--you'll receive their latest news in your feed!), and... enjoy!


Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall, #1)

Blurb from goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

Now, I'll be honest: Normally this storyline would not grab me. But I've lurked stalked followed Shannon on her blog for a long time. She's a great person who continually spreads the reader and writerly love by giving away books; and following her story and journey into publication alone is what made me pre-order LET THE SKY FALL! (Check out her blog here!)


Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

Blurb on goodreads:

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

This was already on my TBR list before I realized that Kasie West and I are practically neighbors--I hope to meet her in the near future!!!!  :D   Can't wait to gobble up this one... and isn't the cover is gorgeous?


Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

Goodreads' description (sorry about the teeny print!):

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life

This is the second of a trilogy (not counting DESTROY ME, considered book/novella 1.5, available as ebook, only). After getting into Warner's head in the novella, I do feel for him a bit more, but Juliette and Adam are still my favorites--I can't wait to find out what happens between them. (Pssst! *whispers* Hey, Juliette... choose your heart!!!)


The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)

Goodreads blurb:

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

I cannot get enough of stories like this; especially Jaron's! Love the way Ms. Nielson has written his point of view--if there's a surprise in Runaway like there was in TFP I can't wait to see what it is! This book is technically middle grade, but my two younger daughters (ages 12 and 13) and I really enjoyed the first in the series (THE FALSE PRINCE is set to be adapted into a screenplay by the story editor of HBO's Game of Thrones!)




Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

Natalie is someone else I've been following here on the blogosphere for a quite a while. I'm so excited that it's her turn to shine... and can't wait to read this!

And there ya go... five of my I-can't-wait-to-hold-this-book-in-my-fingers-and-devour-it-in-one-sitting-whilst-drinking-coffee books that are coming out in the next few months!

What about you? What books are you looking forward to? Feel free to share so I can add it to my TBR list! :)