I’m extremely excited to share some news with you today. Amy Brock McNew’s debut novel, Rebirth, has a release date AND a gorgeous cover I get to show you! I’m particularly jazzed about Amy’s novel because she’s not only my friend but one of my amazing editing clients. She and I worked together on Rebirth for several months, and I couldn’t be more pleased to share Amy’s special news with you.
Remember how I posted about my 2015 focus word, and what it ended up meaning through the year? Well, after several days of prayer and contemplation, I got my 2016 word. Or rather, phrase:
And you can’t give that phrase to a video game geek without bringing certain things to mind. Hence my nifty little graphic here.
As is always the case with a new focus word, I’m not entirely sure what it means. Is it my year to level up as a mom? Maybe. I’ll have another child done with elementary school, come spring, and that feels like a big transition. We’re preparing to close escrow on a new (to us) house, and that’s a huge level-up, too. (more…)
I stole a peek at Daniel between my eyelashes. He was staring. We both smiled and returned to shoving the powdery snow into a mound.
“Make sure it’s wide enough.” Daniel grinned. “We need a good base for this guy if he’s going to be as tall as I’m imagining him.”
“This guy?” I quirked an eyebrow playfully. “Who says it’s a guy? I thought we were making a snowlady.”
He laughed. “Fine. Snowlady it is.”
A chorus of shrieking and giggling sounded nearby. I looked up to see the neighbor girls and a few of their friends building their own snowperson in the empty, snow-covered field behind our houses.
“Hi, Kristen!” Maddy waved to me but didn’t wait for my response. She was back at her building before I had time to wave back.
I smiled at Daniel. “Neighbor kids. I babysit for them sometimes.”
“Yeah, I know. Maddy and Grace.”
He said it casually, like it was no big deal, but inside, my heart melted. Most guys at our college weren’t exactly known for their thoughtfulness or listening skills. That Daniel remembered my babysitting charges’ names was enough to make my nineteen-year-old heart swoon. (more…)
The idea of picking (or praying for) a focus word for the year seems to be gaining steam. As we round the bend into 2016, I see more people talking about their “word of the year” than I do “New Year’s resolutions,” and I think that’s a great thing. “Resolution” is almost a byword these days. A short-term ideal that’s quickly discarded when obstacles arise or we simply run out of gas.
Focus words are different. Focus words aren’t necessarily about bad habits we want to break, good habits we want establish, or that next benchmark of success we’re determined to reach (“THIS will finally be my year!” we cry). Focus words are quieter. More personal. Focus words may very well reach into every aspect of one’s life, not just health or career or family or spiritual development, but all these things.
In March 2015, I prayed for a focus word and got: (more…)
Okay, so the only thing truly Irish about these is the fact that I use Irish beer in the cake, Jameson whiskey in the caramel, and Baileys Irish Cream for the frosting. But they look real cute with their naturally colored green sprinkles. 😉
By request, here’s the recipe:
Chocolate-Stout Cake Substitute an equal amount of stout beer for the liquid in your favorite cake recipe. When making these gluten-free, I use Pamela’s Chocolate Cake Mix and sub beer for water, leaving everything else the same. (more…)
There have been many awesome recaps written by my fellow conferees about Realm Makers, so I thought I’d do something a little different. Rather than discussing how fabulous our keynoter, Robert Liparulo, was; or how amazing the workshops taught by Steve Laube, the SuzyQ team, Mike Duran, Kirk DouPonce, David Farland, and a whole host of others were; or how fun the special events like Splickety’s pre-party, the costume awards dinner, the zombie apocalypse NERF war (yes, you read that right), or Jeff Gerke’s early-bird session were, I’m going to get a little more personal. (more…)
The Basics: Travel with Empress Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine the Great, on a perilous journey through ancient Judea to Jerusalem.
Abandoned by her husband, in danger because of her faith, but with an implacable will to do what God calls her to, Helena meets those who would help and harm her along the way. Miracles seem to follow this humble but determined woman as she wins many over to the faith, and changes lives forever—including her own. This unforgettable story is a vivid portrait of one of Christian history’s most important women.
My Thoughts: I hadn’t really studied the history (and legend) surrounding Helena before, as most of my studies about this era in church history have been centered on her son, Constantine. But after reading The Pilgrim, I know I’ll be doing further research into the life of Helena. Bunn does a great job of fleshing out her character as she deals with heartbreak and loss while she works to fulfill the calling she received directly from God. I enjoyed taking the journey with this woman of faith and courage. (more…)
The Basic Premise: In this high-concept thriller, three competing interests race to master a dangerous and mind-bending technology even as time itself twists in unexpected directions. As perception and reality become entangled, no one escapes unscathed.
I chuckled to begin my review with “the basic premise.” Trial Run is as trippy, complicated, and abstract as a techno-thriller gets, so boiling it down to a basic premise seemed a bit overwhelming. Which is why I snagged the one above from the Goodreads description. 😉
Strengths: I love the creative, out-there ideas of Thomas Locke. Trial Run is an utterly perfect example of what happens when a brilliant, abstract mind asks “What if?” As a speculative fiction junkie, I’m always interested to see which weird “What if?” Locke will explore next.
As you can imagine, this is a book that may not appeal to everyone. In fact, I know it won’t appeal to everyone. Even as someone to whom the “weird” appeals, I had to make sure I was in the right mindset for this book whenever I sat down to read. It’s not the book I’ll reach for when I’m consumed with my grocery list, my looming deadline, or that invoice I forgot to send to a client. But when I can allow myself to be carried away, swept along, taken on a journey? Absolutely. (more…)