In Which I Talk About Some of My Favorite Blogs

In Which I Talk ABout Some of My Favorite Blogs

In the blogging world, I’ve found that some things are far more important than numbers and following.

Friends. Inspiration. Quality. The list could go on.

There are so many fantastic blogs out there that encourage and inspire me, or are run by the nicest people imaginable, and this handful, I think, deserves your attention.

So please, check these people out and give them a follow!


Curious Wren:

What you’ll find there: A little bit of everything. She interviews people, writes thoughtful articles, posts snippets, and makes everybody feel welcome.

What I love about it: It is like walking into a lovely old house with nooks to explore, gingerbread and tea, and delightful goings-on.

Favorite Posts


My Lady Bibliophile

What you’ll find there: Thought-provoking posts on reading and writing, book reviews, and the occasional vlog.

What I love about it: Schuyler does not write lightly. When she tackles a tough topic, you can bet she’s put a lot of thought into it. She reads widely and prolifically, and she’s a wise, thoughtful voice in a world where it is common to blurt out your thoughts the minute you think them.

Favorite Posts


The Penslayer

What you’ll find there: Articles on writing and writing life, snippets, life updates.

What I love about it: Jenny is like a cup of strong coffee. She has strong opinions and states them strongly. I don’t always agree with her, but I do admire her fire and passion for what she does, and she has some great advice. Her articles are short and easy to read, and she posts frequently.

Favorite Posts


Story Port

What you’ll find there: Writing tips, story updates, and practical articles. I understand that she will be making some changes in the near future, so look out for that. It may be slightly different, but it’s going to be good.

What I love about it: Brianna da Silva is both a thoughtful writer and a born encourager. She’s sharp and perceptive of the writing world around her and she has advice worth hearing.

Favorite Posts


Sarah Letourneau’s Official Website and Blog

What you’ll find there: Many things! She has lots of posts on technical how-to for writing, she posts updates on her WIP, reviews of everything from TV shows to tea, and links to her frequent guest posts elsewhere.

What I love about it: She’s down-to-earth, friendly, and writes conversationally, while giving you helpful, honest advice.

Favorite Posts


These are only a fraction of the wonderful blogs I’ve had the privilege of reading and enjoying. If you enjoyed this post and are interested in seeing another one like it, comment below and let me know!


A Beautiful Day to Die: Snippets Post


In January I set myself a writing goal, and in trying to disconnect from Crowning Heaven as best I can in between edits, I have been writing like mad.

So far I have finished two novels, a novella, and a short story. So in celebration (and also just for fun), here are snippets for you all.


 Novel//Alaskan Fantasy//A small community fights for their existence against treachery and foreign raiders//

Tarrant slid his spear into the crook of his arm and grasped both of Bayhard’s arms. “Bayhard, my cousin, my cousin—how can I thank you?”

“How could I do any less?” Bayhard answered steadily. “Did you think I would stand by and not hazard a drop of my blood while they spilt yours? We are kin.”

“Bless you.”

“Well, this must be farewell.” Bayhard’s voice caught on the edge of his words.


He sat down upon the step to his house, leaning his back against the comfortable familiarity of the doorway, gazing out at the tall pines that ringed his stead so majestically, at the sky that was a bright, promising blue. Birds sang overhead, and somewhere on the hills north of the village he could hear a herd of deer passing through the woods.

It was a beautiful day to die.


Three good dogs dead and nearly twice that number hurt, and he out of his head four days with fever, and perhaps months before he could walk and carry a spear—all for that Horned Beast which had been nowhere about when Tarrant arrived.

Life had played cruel with him.

Like a bear, he thought, that would end you with a careless slap and think no more of it.


Missing April

Novella//Modern Mystery//When crime strikes a small London family people are forced to rethink their decisions before it is too late//

She debated within herself a moment, and then she went up to him. “Hello,” she greeted in her stern policeman’s voice.

His eyes barely flicked up to meet hers, which nettled her. “Hello, Commander.”

“What are you doing here?”

“You keep asking me that about public places,” said Lesley, holding a cigarette in his mouth as he lit it. He put the lighter back in his pocket and took a draw, leisurely breathing out the smoke. “Seems to me you might be afraid I’m onto the very same thing you are.”


The apartment was quiet and empty, and it had that cool, air-vent smell that he secretly liked. Even so, he should think about getting one of those air freshening things that you plug into the wall. Every so often the place started to smell faintly of cat and that would never do.

The cat, which belonged most definitely to his sister and not to him, met him in the kitchen, meowing conversationally and rubbing against his leg.

He set the bags of food on the counter, and scooping up the cat, took it to April’s room and shut it in. It would sleep until April got home from school and then she could take care of it. He had just bought some very expensive filet mignon and he could not afford for the cat to get it.


Maureen had been inside the school for over an hour, and had given no thought to her careless words, ‘Stay here, I will be back soon.’

Of course, he could break her order and go in, but that was hardly suitable, since she was an officer. Officers were like that after they had been authority long enough: ‘Wait here’, ‘Go do this lovely job or that lovely job’, with no thought to the future logistics.

In other words, the car was hot, he was thirsty, and his back was beginning to ache from the strange curve of the seat.


She pressed the send button and reached over to take a sip of her coffee. And her heart froze.

Sitting across from her, a coffee in his hand, was Lesley Granville, looking as smug as a cat who had got the cream.



Short story//Historical Fiction//Honor and ethics collide in a Roman arena//

There was a certain smell to an arena, that once you’d been there, you never forgot. The smell of hot sand in the sun, of sweat—men’s when you were beside the gladiator pits, and animal when near the cages. There was the heavy smell of the animals themselves, above it, thin and sharp like sword beside the face, the metallic smell of blood that never quite went away, and to mock it all, the faint homey smell of bread and onions which the gladitorii ate.


He went to the weapons rack to select his weapon. There was the sword with the worn place in the pommel—his usual sword. He picked it up and weighed it in his hand, testing for the thousandth time its balance and keenness.

It had been his faithful defender for fifteen years; it would do one last time.


There was echoing in his mind a conversation he had overheard some years ago between the trainer of the young gladitorii and a rich woman who had come to personally bestow gifts upon her favorite gladiator, a fellow who unfortunately had been dead these past three years.

“I was told by a gladiator once that there is no honor among them—they are trained like animals, and they will kill each other practically for their next meal.”

“On the contrary,” the trainer had said, “he who says that has not long been among the gladiators. It is a strange honor, and not understood by many outsiders, but honor it is.”

Funny, how that of all things should be going through his head now.


His master came and told him it was time, but he did not need to be told. He knew better than anyone else that the time was come.

He smiled to himself as he stood before the grated door, hearing the people calling his name. The blood-thirsty rabble that had haunted his dreams, tainted his life.

Even they would be gone, by and by. But honor, that remained. Honor was worth sacrificing for.


The long, drawn-out howl of a wolf cut through the low hum of the noise in the pits and Martinus raised his head.

Two hours. Two hours and he would be out on the glaring, hot sand, with the crowd screaming, screaming for blood, his perhaps, perhaps Flavian’s. Either way—there was blood to be spilt.

Had he not been so long in the arena, the idea would have made his stomach sick, but now he no longer cared. It was a thought as plain and distant as wondering what the weather might be outside the pits.

Ten Ways to Stay Healthy as a Writer

Ten Ways to Stay Healthy as a Writer

Writing is one of those professions/pastimes which can easily catch you sitting for long periods of time, staring at a computer screen, chugging coffee or losing sleep. Generally speaking, doing things that are not all that good for you.

That’s not to say it has to be that way. There are lots of small, easy things we can do to make sure we are taking care of ourselves while we crank out those words. Here are a few things I have found to be helpful.


—Drink lots of water: Try it with some lemon squeezed in for extra health benefits.

—Stretch: As little as five minutes makes all the difference in the world.

—Proper posture: Wrong posture does terrible things to your body. ‘Nough said.

—Take breaks: Try for at least once an hour.

—Unnplug: Take time to do something entirely different, don’t even think about your writing.

—Know your limits: Learn to stop when your body says stop. It is better to stop a little earlier and do something else than to beat a dead horse and accomplish nothing but frustrating yourself.

—Take an internet/electronics break: Get away from the screens, the social media, and do something real.

—Get lots of sleep: Everything works better and faster when you are well rested.

—Find an active pastime: Running, biking, skiing, dancing—it could be anything.

—Change up where you write: Buy a standing desk. Write in a notebook. I know someone writing on a typewriter right now. Find ways to keep writing without staying in front of a screen or sitting down the whole time.

What do you do to stay healthy? Are there any important tips I didn’t mention?

Nine Books That Have Influenced My Writing

Nine Books That Have Influenced My Writing

I find writers’ journeys fascinating: what they choose to write, how they write it, why they write. I wrote a post a month or so ago about ways to encourage the creative process in writing, and in it I talked a little bit about how your choices in books and films are often reflected in your writing. That got me thinking about how authors are all made up of little pieces of the things they love and the things that influence them. Tolkien’s love of legends and languages is clearly shown in his writings, Armstrong Sperry’s love of Robert Louis Stevenson and travels in the south Pacific are clearly portrayed in his choice of setting and genre. All writers are influenced by something.

Today’s post is going to be the first in a multiple post series of what things have gone into my melting pot.


Books: Fiction

I found the subject of today’s post extremely challenging, because I have read widely since I was very little, and I was read aloud to long before I could read myself. While I have narrowed it down to nine books, these are but a sampling of the host of books that shaped me as a writer in the early stages of my life. There are dozens of books I love dearly and some I have probably forgotten that might deserve a spot on this list, but these nine have greatly influenced my writing.

1 Carry on

  1. Carry On Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

This is one I read over and over again as a girl. I loved the sense of journey: it follows the main character from the time when he was just a little boy until he’s an old man, and I was always inspired by his work ethic.

2 Bound

2. Bound for Oregon by Jean Van Leeuwen

This was one my mom read aloud to me and my sisters when we were quite small. It is a true story, so it is tinged with sadness, but the real life ups and downs of sickness, adventure, long starry nights, and even humor found on the Oregon Trail has stayed with me all these years.

3 Call it

3. Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry

This is another one my mom read aloud. It is not a long read, but Sperry’s imagery is so vivid (I felt like I was there) and his story so compelling (the growth of a boy who was a coward into a man who did things of legend) that I see echoes of it in many of my own stories.

4 TheyLoved

4. They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth.

This is a treasure of a book. It’s the story of an orphaned girl who goes to live with a family with five rowdy boys that love to tease (something she does not like!). I loved the sense of family, of time passing, of the relationships that were built. It’s one of those books that you laugh and cry through.

5 San Domingo

5. San Domingo: Medicine Hat Stallion by Marguerite Henry.

As an author, Marguerite Henry influenced me a great deal. Most of her books were centered around horses, but her time periods were all over the place and I loved going everywhere with her. I had to choose just one of hers, and this is probably my favorite. It is bittersweet, and once you read it, you feel like you’ve lived through the joys and the sorrows and have come out the end an older and wiser person.

6 Madeline

6. Madeline Takes Command by Ethel Brill

The true story of a fourteen-year-old girl who holds a fort against bloodthirsty Indians for a week with an old man and her two little brothers. This story was inspiring on so many levels.

7 Adam of

7. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray

This is one of the stories that gave my mind a picture of the medieval times. I loved the adventure, the people, and the settings.

8 The Shield

8. The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff

I cannot say enough about this book. Somehow in this book Sutcliff captured the beauty, ruggedness, heartbreak and tender love of a community fighting to retain its freedom. There are times when the language itself brings you to tears, and there are people and times lost that can only be fond memories in the end. It’s real life.

9 Mr. Revere

9. Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson

This may seem a bit of an odd one, but keep in mind that these are books I read when I was younger. I loved the fact that it was about a horse, I loved the historical setting, and I loved the adventure.


So now I would love to know…what books have influenced your writing?