Entering Advent

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Since getting engaged, we’ve been working through every weekend making sure that we get everything ready to send out Save-the-Dates, setting up all the wedding preparations, and figuring out everything that needs to get done, and when it needs to get done, in 2016. On top of that, the fiance and I have been looking for our first house together. As of right now, we are under contract on a house, but the inspection didn’t go as well as we had hoped. Pending whether or not some of our issues can be fixed by closing, it looks like we might have to start the whole process over again and our dream of closing on a house before the end of the year goes out the window.

It’s easy at times like this to become discouraged. You build up all of these expectations for yourself and the moment that something goes wrong it feels like nothing will ever go right again. It happens in my writing career all the time- a short story I love doesn’t get published, a book release doesn’t have me reach any best-sellers lists, a beta reader tells me that they hate my favorite character in one of my projects-in-progress, I get stalled in my edits. It’s so easy to let myself take these things as proof that I’m not cut out for these kinds of things- to be an author, to be an adult.

As a Catholic, I’ve just entered in to the season of Advent. These four weeks before the Christmas season begins symbolize the period of waiting before the birth of the Savior. They symbolize desire, waiting, patience, preparation and readiness. I feel like I could learn a little from Mary, here, to apply to my own unease- as a consecrated virgin she was suddenly told she was going to have a baby that no one had planned for, that she was going to have to rely on Joesph to protect her, and then because of the census they were going to have to travel a long distance, while she was pregnant, so that she could have birth far from her family. And in between that she even went to visit her cousin who was also pregnant. That’s a lot of ups and downs in preparation for a pretty big up that wouldn’t come until nine months of anxiety and suffering.

So this Advent, I’m going to practice my patience. I’m going to pray for the Virgin’s help in calming the storms currently raging in my heart. I’m going to pray that she helps me both stick to my plans as best I can, but also be able to let them go when I need to.

Whether or not you are Catholic or Christian, I do think that this time before Christmas, before the end of the year, is a good time for this kind of reflection. Take a look back at all the plans you made for 2015. How many of them worked out for you? How many of them fell apart, only for better things to fall together? How many were you unable to recover from? How could you better enjoy the moment in the coming year? To go with the flow both in your daily life and in your career? The truth is that we can make all of the plans we want, and life is still going to go the way it’s going to go regardless of whether or not it fits into your plans. To be prepared without being unmoving, to be patient but not overly stubborn is a gift. One that I think is imperative to both living as a good, well-centered person and to having a good, healthy career.

What do you think, readers?

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Happy Easter!

I hope all of my fellow Christians are having a wonderful Easter. Christian or not, I hope for all of my followers a day full of love, peace and contentment.

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“The fasts are done; the Aves said; The moon has filled her horn; And in the solemn night I watch; Before the Easter morn. So pure, so still the starry heaven, So hushed the brooding air, I could hear the sweep of an angel’s wings; If one should earthward fare.”

Edna Dean Proctor, “Easter Morning”

He Who Wrestles With God: Now Available!

My newest short story, He Who Wrestles with Godis now live on the hiRSCHworTH magazine website!

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   This short story is another one of my crisis of faith pieces, again inspired by real-life events. This story is part of an online zine and is free to read, so if you’ve ever wanted to try out the style of my writing, here’s your chance!

The Covers That Almost Were

One of the most fun parts of the authoring process has to be the making of covers for novels/ stories. I tend to do a lot of it in my spare time, just for kicks and giggles. So when I get to the part of publishing where I actually get to banter back and forth with my editors about what kind of cover is going to be used, I get rather excited.

To give you a hint of that- here is a peek at some of the ‘covers that almost were’ for my last publication (from last week), the short story Wanakufa:

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Pretty neat, huh? Each of the different covers highlighted a different aspect of the story. We went with the one with the jaundiced eye because, well… maybe you should read the story for yourself to find out 😉

Book Blog Tour: Second to Last Stop!

Well, it’s been a blast everybody! I’m glad that I got this awesome opportunity to tour around a couple of great blogs and meet some new potential readers, as well as take the time to really examine myself as a writer, and my book as a product.

So for my last stop, we have something most dear to my heart- On Day by Day I talk about my own faith and how I came to see how domestic violence is incompatible with a Christian worldview. Whether or not you subscribe to this particular belief, I know that many of us have been affected by the ways that religious doctrine can be used to keep people in bad situations. I hope that my arguments for the unacceptable nature of abuse in the Christian tradition will at least release women of that faith from their bondage- and give other tips on how to explain to victims they might know why they are allowed to leave their attackers.