Friday, November 25, 2011

Fiction Fridays: Another Conversation

Another conversation from the Promising Light prequel. The prequel takes place over a long period of time, about eight years, so this takes place a couple years after the last one.

Sierra looked over her shoulder at him, then turned completely and faced him. “Tisha tried to talk me into leaving the Avialies again.”

Evan gritted his teeth and shook his head. “He’s such slime.”

“I know. He even hinted at me working for them.” 

“What?” he snapped. 

She sighed. “It’s kind of creepy. I’m sixteen, I don’t have any magic in my blood. . .why does he even care?”

“He thinks we’re corrupting you. He’d probably feel really good about himself if he was the one to save you from us monsters.” He scoffed and flopped down on his back. The next firework that burst into the sky resembled a dragon, and he wondered if Mahris had helped with them. The Protectors were fine with magic when it suited their purposes. 

Sierra leaned on her elbow. “I wonder if they’ll ever see you as real people.” 

“I doubt it. In their eyes, Avialies are abominations.”

“Do you think we’ll ever find a way to break the curse?” 

Evan glanced at her. Her gaze was fixed on him, her face serious. He sighed. “I don’t know. It’s been three years already. You’d think if they could have broken it, they would have already.” 

She touched his tunic, playing with a string. He held his breath. “I wish we could do more.” 

“Me, too. I wish I could hunt that Thieran down and kill him.” 

Her fingers stilled on his chest. “Kill him?” 

“After making him reverse the curse.”

“How would you do that?” 

“I don’t know. I’d do whatever I had to.” He fell silent, thinking of torture or threatening his family members. He gazed at the fireworks above them. What kind of a person did that make him, that he’d be willing to do things like that for his family’s future? How else were they going to reverse the curse?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Biblical Literalism, Biblical Lifestyles

I haven't updated too regularly this month. I had midterms, then Nanowrimo, then a bunch of other real life stuff. But I've recently been reading Marcus Borg's The Heart of Christianity for my religion class, and I really wanted to write about it.

He speaks a lot of the "Earlier Paradigm" vs. the "Emerging Paradigm." Basically, the earlier paradigm characterizes traditional Christianity, biblical literalism, emphasis on the afterlife. The main difference, Borg seems to think, is the function, origin, and interpretation of the Bible. The emerging paradigm sees the biblical as more metaphorical, a human response to God, and they emphasis transformation in this life.

I grew up in a traditional Christian home. My parents were Salvation Army Officers, and our first doctrine is, "We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice." My dad is like a biblical guru. Go to him if you want to know something about the Bible. He quotes of verses like it's nothing, and from a very young age, I read and treasured this book.

These days, my family and I aren't your typical traditional evangelical Christians--no, we also take into account the laws of Torah, including keeping kosher, biblical feasts, Sabbath, etc. We don't see the Old Testament as old or the "former" covenant, and we embrace the "New" Testament. Our rule? "Scripture interprets scripture."

So, reading Borg's book has been a little difficult for me because he's questioning what I see as the very foundation of Judaism and Christianity. At first, I felt like by questioning it, he could hardly be considered a Christian at all. He views the most basic tenets of Christianity such as the virgin birth, crucifixion, and the resurrection as metaphors. But I kept reading, and I think I've become more forgiving of his views as he goes on.

One of my favorite chapters of this book has been a chapter on the Kingdom of God. Borg asks, 'What does the kingdom of God look like? How are we as Christians trying to implement these ideals and bring these changes into our world today?' The specific examples he uses are health care (taking care of the sick), the environment (taking care of God's creation), economic justice (being fair and just with our money), the use of imperial power (being compassionate and helping instead of violent and proud). I thought, 'Wow, how much does this relate to the Occupy movement that is going on right now?'

Then I started to consider if I look at my bible, the one I profess to believe every word of, what does it have to say about belief? Paul does say that we will be saved by our belief (Romans 10:9), Jesus says those who believe without seeing are blessed (John 20:29), but there is much more of an emphasis on a lifestyle dedicated to God rather than a belief that God created the world in six days, cursed the tower of Babel, then killed everyone with a flood a few hundred years later, etc.

Will Jesus be separating the sheep and goats based on what they believed, or on how they treated the poor? (Matthew 25:31-46) Actually, earlier on in Matthew (7:21-23) Jesus says there were be people who say to him, "Lord, Lord" but he won't even know them.

Did God smite cities such as Sodom, Gomorrah, Tyre, and Jerusalem because of what they believed, or because of the injustice in their societies? (Ezekiel 16:49-50, Jeremiah 21:11-14)

Does he promise blessings on the Israelites because they believed there was one God, or because they lived their lives as though there was? (Deuteronomy 30:1-10)

Did Jesus say we would know them by their beliefs, or by their fruits? (Matthew 7:15-20)

I will admit there are some serious things I disagree with Borg about. I do believe that he is underestimating God when he views the resurrection of the dead as a metaphor. I do believe that my God can do all things, even--no, especially--the impossible. But am I going to judge Borg, or other Christians who view the Bible as metaphorical, if they worship the same God and uphold the same tenets of love, justice, mercy, and holiness? I don't think I should.

I also don't want this to come off as a "as long as other religions are doing good things, they're okay" post. The Bible speaks about idolatry and following after other gods nearly as much as being unjust and cruel, so I can't ignore that aspect if I'm going to listen to another.

One last note: Jesus and his crucifixion and resurrection. Borg tends to think of God as a metaphor and sacrament of God, not God himself. At first, I'm inclined to be harsh on this mindset, but then I have to think of how I view observant Jews. They believe in the same monotheistic God, they align their lives to his laws, and they dedicate all to him. If they don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah because of how we have presented him, is that their fault or ours? It varies from case to case, I'm sure, but I think I want to give extremely liberal Christians the same grace.

I do believe Borg and other biblical metaphoricalists (I just made it a word, okay?) are shortchanging God a bit. Do they really believe he couldn't do those miracles if he wanted to? I feel like they're missing out. Jesus' resurrections points to his triumph over death. It points to the fact that God is willing to do anything to be close to us. It means we were separated from God by our sin and we have a chance to be reconciled to him. What's neat, though, is I've gathered that even if Borg doesn't think these things actually happened, he still sees the messages. And those messages are important because they shape the way we view God and how he factors into our lives.

Perhaps this has rambled a bit, but I felt like there was so much to talk about and get into one blog post! I haven't finished the book yet, but I will soon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hidden Haikus

Using, I found some inadvertent haikus in my stories. Neat!

Finding Fiona (Chapter One)
The girl’s eyes stung with tears,
and she took a steady breath,
trying to hold them back.

Melanie's Secrets
“I really like you.”
The words come out of my mouth

Promising Light (Chapter One)
She felt completely
exposed to him, physically
and emotionally.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fiction Fridays: A Conversation

A conversation from the Promising Light prequel.

Seth turned away and picked up a knife and an apple. It was silent for a moment before he spoke. “I’m sorry about earlier today. Maybe I went a little hard on you.”

Sashe raised her eyebrows at him. He surprised her everyday. She tried to fit him into a little box, but he was different. If he was Evan, he never would have apologized. If he was Dar, it never would have happened. He was somewhere between the two of them. She shrugged. “Maybe.” 

“I just really want you to be safe.” His voice was soft as he brought apple slices to the table. He sat down across from her, and she picked one up. They’d eaten apples when they first met nearly six weeks ago. “I was telling Evan. . .my mother didn’t know how to defend herself. I always wonder. . .if we’d taught her, would she still be alive?” 

Her eyes widened, and she slowly chewed up her apple slice, gazing at him. His gaze was fixed on the table. He truly cared about her safety, and it touched her. She reached out and touched his hand. “You told Evan that?” 

His eyes met hers. “Yes. Why are you smiling like that?” 

She shrugged. “It’s probably good I’m not the only one you talk to.” 

His thumb ran over hers, sending chills up her arm. “I can’t believe you don’t treat me like a freak.” 

She stood and moved in front of him. She put her hands on the sides of his face, running his black hair through her fingers. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead. His hands touched her waist, only a few layers from her skin. 

“You’ve just been through more than us,” she said softly. “That doesn’t make you a freak.” 

“What about a murderer?” he whispered. 

His eyes searched her face, and she was struck by how young he was. Sixteen, and yet he’d already lost his parents. Already killed three men. And she was upset at a long lesson with the dagger. She couldn’t even think past her anxiety around him and how he made her feel when the Protectors were killing people. She shook her head, brushing some hair back from his forehead. “They’re the murderers. You saved Vin and Caleb’s lives.” 

“But not my mother and father’s.” His arms pulled her closer, and she lost her balance, nearly falling into his lap. “Sorry.” 

She sat on his legs and pulled his face toward hers. Their lips met.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiction Fridays: The Protectors

I will be publishing a series soon, titled The Protectors. The series is comprised of three books (but it could be four in the future, I'm not 100% sure).

Promising Light: Grace has followed the rules most of her life. Starting a secret courtship with the noble Dar is one of the first things she does against her father's will. Their relationship is cut short when a mysterious man warns her about him and Dar leaves her. She searches for answers to mysteries surrounding Dar but only encounters people determined to keep the truth from her—until she's kidnapped by Dar's family. Based on a vision from an elder, they claim she can break a curse set on their family ten years ago by the Protectors.

Grace is intrigued by these people, but turned off by the claim she must get pregnant to break the curse. Her father and the prince are determined to keep her from the shape changers, but will Grace choose to help the innocent instead of living a comfortable life with their oppressors? If she does, she'd have to leave behind everything she knows. If she doesn't, the shape changers could die out forever.

Promising Light Sequel (Currently untitled) continues the story that started in Promising Light. I could post the blurb, but of course there will be a few spoilers. I'll release it once Promising Light has been released for a little while.

Promising Light Prequel (Also untitled - I'm the worst with titles, okay?): The Protectors are merely rumors and distant whispers for Sashe until a new boy moves to her hometown. His parents were killed by the Protectors, and he personally killed three of them. When pregnant women start dying, Sashe realizes just how far reaching the Protectors' hatred is. She and her sister Sierra aren't shape changers, but they've considered them nothing less than family. Years pass with more battles and deaths, and the shape changers become desperate for a way to break the curse. When an elder approaches Sashe and Sierra claiming they could break the curse, will the girls risk their lives for the chance at a brighter future for the shape changers?

If all goes according to plan (must allow time for beta readers, editing, proofreading, etc.), the prequel will be released as a free read in late December, and Promising Light will follow in January. I also posted some cover art, but I haven't made the final decision yet. It was mostly me playing around in Photoshop. The stock photo is from This is the official cover!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Finding Fiona Cover and Reviews

A lot of exciting things have happened this week! Finding Fiona has a new cover featuring a quote from the lovely Keary Taylor about the novella.

"Fantastic! An emotional roller coaster that will leave readers both satisfied and craving more."

If you've read Eden by Keary, I think you'd enjoy Finding Fiona. Alternatively, if you enjoyed Finding Fiona, I know you'll like Eden! There are some similarities between Eve and Fiona, but there are some big differences, too. Keary also just released the last book in her Fall of Angels series. Check it out if you like paranormal romance.

Thank you, Keary! And thanks to my lovely husband for the cover. (Psst, if you like accordions, Indie rock, and great melodies, check out Tent City.)

There have also been some new, lovely reviews. Here are quotes from a few:

"This novella was phenomenal. It was definitely one of the most original works I have read this year." ~from LyzzieB on

"One of those diamonds in the ruff that you stumble upon. Great YA sci-fi novella. Highly recommended." ~from Wendy-Reads on

 "I am not exactly sure how I came across Finding Fiona, but I am so glad I did. . .It's a great novella! Full of action, not overly romantic, the writing is wonderful." ~from Anonymous on

It's almost the weekend, so cuddle up with Fiona and follow the twists and turns of finding out who she is. Only $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, and various other retailers!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Edition of Passages Available

One downfall of the new electronic world of self-publishing is anyone can upload a book as soon as they find out about it. I thought Passages had been through enough editing, but a few reviews have pointed out some typos and errors.

Typos and misspellings are embarrassing, but one benefit of this new world is the ability to upload new editions immediately. So, as soon as I realized Passages had more than one stray error, I read through it again and uploaded a new edition.

Mya has now been accepted into college, not excepted. Yay! Lesson learned, and I am researching my work thoroughly and finding proofreaders for the Protectors series.

Buy the new edition on Amazon today. If you've already bought it, I'm not exactly sure how to send you the new version because Amazon doesn't make it easy to send new editions. You can contact me and I will try to send you a new one. Enjoy the new edition!