A Reason to Celebrate

I was originally going to write a deep emotional, thought-provoking mental health post for this week, and as I read over it, it was really depressing. So, I scrapped that. I'm just not feeling it today. I want my good day while it's here.


As some of you may have seen, I finished writing my novel last night (I mean, it was 2AM, so it was technically this morning). I decided when I woke up today that I would rather talk about that a little bit, and me. Where am I at with life? What am I up to?


For those of you who don't know, my novel's name is Secrets in Ashes. It's the first in a series of three, maybe four books, and I've been working on this particular novel for about five years.


Secrets in Ashes originally started as a project about a girl who gets pulled into her favorite book series, but that idea changed completely. I barely even recognize my characters now. I have new characters thrown in, old characters taken out, a first chapter butchered into perfection and a hard hitting final line.


I can't believe how long it's been since I've started it, and I'm so excited to share it with the world. Even now, I'm listening to the playlist I used when writing it. I have so many emotions going on inside of me, and I'm so proud of myself. I set a goal to finish it by the end of this month, and I did.


So, what now?


Now, Secrets in Ashes needs to be properly formatted. I writing everything long-hand (read: by hand) and then transfer it over digitally. I've edited my novel three separate times, and rewritten it just as many. Now, as I convert my hand-written story into it's final manuscript format, I couldn't be more excited.


Um. Wow, okay. I'm actually crying.


I don't think people understand how much this means to me.


Writing is my one true love, and always will be. It is my one truly God-Given Gift and it's the one thing I know without a doubt that I'm amazing at. I have big ambitions for this novel, and the story of Jarric and his misadventures and I'm so excited to see where God is going to lead me.


I'm so thankful for everyone who has been beside me, encouraging me every step of the way. From my local librarians, to my best friend, to my parents. Every single one of them.


And, of course, let's not forget one of my best friends, Rachel, who was so wonderful and drew illustrations of three of the characters from my novel. I think I only shared two of them, but I was so overwhelmed with feelings when I saw them.


I just. Wow. There are no words that can come to mind with how I'm feeling right now, but let's just say it's on the really good side of the spectrum.


Oh! And I can't forget to thank Sarah! She's the only person who read the very, very rough version of my rough draft all the way through. She gave me so much helpful insights, or different way to phrase mouthy comments and inconsistencies in my novel. Whooo. Yeah, she really saw the rough stuff. I should really pay her. Like, wow. It was rough. I still have those journals. Dang. Yikes. Rough.


That being said, thank you, Sarah! <3


So, what next?


Next, I finish properly formatting Secrets in Ashes, and really decide to go from there. I'm already looking into finding a literary agent, or seeing if it's better to go on my own. I'm looking into publishing houses, and of course, I'll need to find someone to look over my contract (with the agent or publishing house) before I sign it and all that jazz. But, honestly? I am so excited for this. I am so ready.


I'll keep everyone updated with novel progress, of course, but in the meantime, I'm in the process of enrolling in Southeastern University online. And, I have a super secret project I'm working on that I can't wait to share, so we'll see how that goes. *wink*


There's a lot going on right now in the best way. Maybe one of these days, I'll get around to sharing an excerpt.


Oh, just kidding. Did you think I was going to write this whole big blog post without sharing an excerpt from my novel? Haha, that's funny.


Here's a really fun scene that I enjoyed writing from what is right now Chapter 25. (As of right now, this is how the scene is written. Minor edits will probably come in at some point.)


I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!



Ivan nodded, sheathing his sword. "Can we eat now?"


With a slight snort of laughter, I returned my sword to its sheath as well. "That's fine. We have plenty of rations to-"


I cut myself off.


Ivan's brows drew together and he pursed his lips. "What-"


Vigorously, I motioned for him to stop talking, mouthing the words as my hands moved animatedly.


An unpleasant roar filled my ears. I grabbed Ivan by the arm and pulled him closer to me. When we were almost chest to chest, I spoke to him in a whisper.


"There's a bear. It's close. We'll need to get the horses and get out of here as quickly, and quietly, as we can. I haven't-"


"Uh, Jarric," Ivan whispered back. "it's right behind you."


As slow as I could manage, I turned around, holding out an arm in front of Ivan.


Well. This was great.


The bear was huge.


Swears were the only thing racing through my mind, and mouth apparently.


"If you could stop swearing for a minute," Ivan hissed through his teeth, and, wow, he sounded like his sister. "we could try to get out of here."


I pressed myself backwards, taking a slow step back, guiding Ivan to do the same.


The bear watched us, its beady black eyes never shifting away.


The sky grew dark above the trees.


"Slowly, and carefully, back up to the horses."


Thunder roared in the distance, startling the bear.


"Go! Go, go, go!" I gave Ivan a shove toward the horses. He stumbled, placing a hand on the ground to to restore his balance and sprinted. I followed behind him, drawing my sword. We swung up onto to the horses.


As soon as we began to ride, the bear struck my horse and I fell.


"Jarric!"

Lightning cracked across the sky as it started to pour. A hand clasped onto my wrist before I could hit the ground.


I met the eyes of my savior and they weren't Ivan's.


Instead, they were the eyes of someone I hadn't seen in a very long time.


"Matthew?" My question was lost to the rain. I was hoisted up onto his horse.


The hooded man shoved a staff at me, shouting over the sound of the rain, "Point it at the bear!"


I held the staff steady, angled towards the bear. Hands glowing silver gripped the end of it. Magic that was comparable to a bolt of lightning erupted from the opposing end, straight into the bear. With a mighty roar, the bear collapsed.


I hope you enjoyed it! I do plan to tweak some of this scene and throw a bit more description in there, but it's one of my favorites. I feel like it has some comedic value (compared to the scenes surrounding it), so it was pretty fun to write.


I hope you're intrigued, and when I finally get this baby of mine published, I really hope you pick up a copy. It's been a long journey, and I just want to say thanks again to everyone who has been a part of it with me.


There is no feeling that compares to what I felt when I wrote the last sentence of my novel after bursting through the climax. I've never felt so proud or so happy with myself and others. So, I'm going to celebrate today and head straight back into work on it some more tomorrow. Trust me, you will be seeing photos when I get it bound for the first time.


I can't wait to share some upcoming projects with you guys, but for now, hit me up with some celebratory Q&A! Anything you can think of is fair game.


Until next week, as my beloved Jarric would say, Guardian bless you all.


(Actually, he's kind of a rude character. So, he probably wouldn't say that. But I am.)


God bless, y'all. See you soon!


Written: May 13, 2020 at 2:00pm

Binge: Station 19

Current Jam: Hold On by Chord Overstreet

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