Fantasy Reads: Meg Boepple

The question of why do you write has come up several times recently in my group of writing friends, and most recently, on one of my #BeStill blog posts. Everyone has a reason that they started writing. I love to hear these stories because sometimes it reflects my own journey in some way. And sometimes it reminds me of how powerful it is to connect with readers through our stories emotionally. This happened when I read this week’s author, Meg Boepple’s article on why she writes fantasy. 

Welcome, Meg!


 

But…why?
by Meg Boepple

“Why do you write fantasy? You should write what’s real.”

Yes, someone seriously said that to me, not very long ago!

Well, in a nutshell, here’s why.

When I was not quite thirteen years old, wearing the uncomfortable identity of “the poor little girl who lost her father to cancer,” I found solace in books. Madeleine L’Engle and Andre Norton were my favorite authors, but any book would do if it helped me avoid how I was feeling. When the language arts teacher pointed out a dusty trilogy in the school library written by a British linguistics professor, I practically moved to Middle-Earth.

My mom had to pry the first book out of my hands the night of the memorial service, where a parade of grownups eulogized a stranger who bore no resemblance to my daddy. They described a stuffy old preacher who liked to play golf and tennis and had been in the old Army Air Corps.

Where was the beloved man with the zany sense of humor and the crooked smile who dished out a bowl of ice cream every night? The man who ran beside me for miles after he took the training wheels off my bike? Who made a monthly ritual out of reading each new issue of National Geographic from cover to cover with me?  I desperately wanted to escape. Anywhere.

When we finally arrived back home, I dashed upstairs to see how Frodo and the Fellowship would get through the dreadful blizzard, while two dozen well-meaning folks sat around downstairs and did the “wake” thing with my mom and older sister.

Soon, tears I hadn’t dared to show earlier poured down. I tossed the book on the floor, huddling on my bed.

My sister came into my room. “What’s wrong?”

I buried my head against her shoulder. “G—g—Gandalf’s dead.” Not Daddy’s dead. Gandalf.

“Keep reading. The story’s not over yet,” she said.

That night, JRR Tolkien taught me to believe in eucatastrophe, the sudden happy turn of events that follows on the heels of sorrow.

Gandalf didn’t stay dead.

Through the magic doorway of fantasy, I got a handle on my feelings of grief. Even young children can grapple with good and evil, lean to face the things that go bump in the night, when they listen to tales that begin “Once upon a time” and end with “They lived happily ever after.” Identifying with loss on such an epic scale as Gandalf’s fiery plunge into darkness gave me a safe way to acknowledge my own pain. I didn’t need a reality check … I needed something that transcended reality.

I still do. Maybe all of us do.

So, that’s why I write fantasy. Because I want everyone to know … the story’s not over yet.


FIrstLove_imageEveryone has had a first love…the one they had new experiences with and the one they can’t forget. Whether it be the boy next door, a loyal princess, or a supernatural being, all of these stories have two things in common: love at first sight and elements of fantasy.

In “Message in a Bottle,” Moira is immediately attracted to the tall, handsome man who’s a fellow volunteer on her beach-cleanup vacation. But he’s got a ring on his finger. He’s equally fascinated by the alluring woman. He thinks she’s a Siren, not the Mermaid he’s engaged to but has never seen…and she has no idea that he’s a Selkie. She doesn’t even believe in them. And she can’t possibly be his Mermaid, since she can’t even swim. Is it love at first sight? Or will fate keep them apart forever?


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Meg Boepple is the pen name for Sara Meg Seese, an author who writes fantasy, romance, and inspirational women’s fiction. She wrote her college honors thesis on the works of JRR Tolkien and has been looking for evangelium and eucatastrophe in stories ever since.

Her second published short story starts off the FIRST LOVE fantasy romance anthology (released this past February) and her third story comes out next month in SEA OF SECRETS.

She lives in Fort Worth with three feline companions/editorial assistants, Her Majesty Sparkles the First, Ambassador-Plenipotentiary Peanut the Cowardly Lion-Hearted, and Lady Pistachio “KitKit” Sharpclaw, aka She Who Kneads Sensitive Body Parts at Midnight.


Social Media Links:

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/MegBoeppleAuthor

www.tinyurl.com/dspFirstLove

Before you go, make sure you connect with Meg online and check out her latest release, First Love, and her upcoming release, Sea of Secrets

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Wisdom Wednesday: Dakota Caldwell

It’s time for you to write. You sit down at the computer and what happens next? Does your desk have to be spotless or is messy okay? Does the house have to be quiet or maybe you have to have a constant stream of noise? 

Today, we have author Dakota Caldwell sharing his writing tip.

Welcome, Dakota!


Name: Dakota Caldwell

Genre: Various (sci-fi/fantasy, comedy/horror)

Latest Release: Apocalyps Squad

Writing Tip:

When you sit down to write, what do you do? Naturally, you have to pull up both Facebook (to provide ample opportunity to post about how you keep getting distracted), Youtube (to provide the distractions. And cat videos!), and Google (to provide obscure answers to random issues in your book that most people will skip over anyway). However, once this is done, you likely pull up your favorite music player and tune out the rest of the world.

Music is a key part of writing that I honestly believe is far too overlooked. For some people, simply listening to an epic soundtrack can provide the inspiration to create truly mesmerizing imagery, to invoke the natural resonance of a scene. However, it can actually be taken a step farther than that.

Simply put, audio is the most powerful form of stimuli that we have access to. Your mind will retain a noise for many times longer than it will retain an image, a smell, or a feeling. Hearing a song that you listened to in high school can bring back those feelings of being a teenager, the examples go on. With this in mind, it’s actually quite possible to train yourself using music.

In short, pick one type of music to listen to while you’re writing. Once you’ve done that, don’t listen to that music ANYWHERE else. After a while, after simply hearing that particular type of music, your brain will automatically switch into writing mode. For me personally, it’s helped eliminate writer’s block on more than one occasion, and has improved my focus a hundredfold.

I love listening to music while I write. My pandora playlist is a mixture of genres, but as soon as I hear  80s’ music (my favorite), my mind starts rolling with ideas. I will have to try only listening to one genre!

Advice For New Writers: 

In the interest of providing the most cliche and overused advice on the internet: Go for it.

Yeah, yeah, I know I sound like a shoe commercial, but… The fact remains that this single piece of advice has lead me to the point where I stand today. Allow me to explain.

Through my writing, I go to a lot of comicons. They’re fantastic places, indeed. Wonderful venues to gawk at cosplay, full of amazing people to meet and befriend. When I started going to them around two years ago, I quickly met a number of other local authors. Friendships formed almost immediately, and I am still in contact with many of them today. I’ve met high schoolers self-publishing their first book, and I’ve met seventy-year-olds who are just getting around to releasing their first novel. And… Something struck me as quite interesting about it all.

The older members of the author crowd were full of advice and wisdom, life experience and wonder that they placed carefully into their books. However, almost every one of them had a single regret: “I wish I had started writing sooner.”

In fact, as I’ve continued doing cons through the years, this has become a theme. I have never once met an older individual that didn’t wish that they had started writing earlier in their life. Conversly, I’ve never met a younger author that regretted starting out when they did. And… I think a lot of this comes back to fear. We fear the unknown, we fear rejection, we fear all these terrible and horrible things that could come with putting ourselves out there. But… We’ll never know how far we can fly unless we get some air under our wings. Our close friends and family, those beta readers that have put up with us for years, are never going to be able to point out all the flaws in our writing. There’s no way that we could truely know how people will respond to going on a journey with our characters.

Maybe you succeed right off the bat, maybe it takes a few releases to build up steam. Maybe people hate the book, maybe they love it. The fact of the matter is that there’s only one way to find out. I published my first novel in January 2017, against the wishes of… Well, pretty much everyone except my girlfriend. Two years later, that book has been taken out of print, that girlfriend is my wife, and my writing is better than it ever would have become if I hadn’t put myself out there. The road might be full of bumps… But there’s only one way to know for sure.

I think you’re right. When I was in high school, I wanted to be traditionally published and well on my way as a writer by the time I was thirty. Life happened, and then that goal changed to completing my novel by thirty. I ended up going back to school to get a degree in Creative Writing in my thirties. My first novel was traditionally published by thirty-five. Looking back, I wish I would have majored in Creative Writing from the very beginning, instead of trying other things first. Don’t let fear stop you!


Apocolyps squad cover (1) low res

The Apocalypse Prevention Department is a secret division of the United States Military, tasked with detecting and preventing world-ending events before the world, well… Ends. Of course, since the world isn’t really in the habit of ending that often, the government keeps it staffed with their misfits and renegades. For years, the ragtag group of bureaucrats has enjoyed a life of luxury. However, when their department is threatened with budget cuts, they’ll be faced with a task even more daunting than saving the world: Actually doing their jobs.

 


 

bio

Dakota Caldwell is the author of multiple series that involve violently ending the world (and a few that involve saving it). He currently lives in Kansas City with his wife (who doesn’t want to see the world end) and his daughter (who basically is his whole world).

 


 

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/dakotacaldwellauthor/ 

www.leadpyramidpublishing.com (blog/online store)

Before you go, take a moment and connect with Dakota on social media and check out his latest release, Apocalyps Squad. 

What about you? Do you listen to music while you write? And if so, what kind of music?

Wisdom Wednesday_Dakota

Fantasy Reads: The Fay’s Apprentice

I’m excited to share with you a new release for my new blog segment, Fantasy Reads. Author Amy C. Blake is here to talk about her brand new release, Fay’s Apprentice.

Welcome, Amy!


Levi Prince and The Fay’s Apprentice

Today I’m celebrating my newest release, The Fay’s Apprentice, the third novel in my four-book Levi Prince YA Christian fantasy series. This series features scrawny, redheaded, homeschooled pastor’s son Levi Prince during his summers at Camp Classic, a camp for classically educated kids that’s actually a haven for mythical creatures.

Years ago, when I first dreamed up Levi and Terracaelum, it was only natural that Levi be a redheaded, homeschooled pastor’s kid like my own children. Camp Classic came into being because we follow a Classical Christian educational system for our homeschool, and I thought it’d be intriguing to include stories from Classical mythology into my plotlines. The Trojan Horse Traitor plays off of the Greek Trojan horse incident. The Fall of Thor’s Hammer incorporates the funny Norse myth about Thor in a wedding dress. The Fay’s Apprentice integrates the Ancient British legend of Morgan le Fay’s apprenticeship to Merlin.

My Levi Prince series is set in Terracaelum, a realm populated by mythical creatures yet ruled by a human man and a human woman. The name Terracaelum comes from the Latin words terra (earth) and caelum (sky or heaven). Camp Classic is on Castle Island, a tiny island in the middle of Lake Superior. Unknown to most of the campers, the far northern cliff of Castle Island is the connecting point with Terracaelum, which is invisible except when the drawbridge is lowered. Besides the director and his wife, Camp Classic’s staff is not human; it is comprised of elves, dwarves, and pixies who pass for humans to the campers who are unaware that they’ve left Castle Island and entered Terracaelum. Beyond the castle live many other mythical creatures—dragons, mormos, basilisks, dvergar, harpies, griffins, rocs, unicorns, merweavers, lake monsters, and a shape-shifting demon sorcerer named Deceptor.

While my flawed but lovable main character Levi is a homeschooler, making him appealing to home educated kids, he’s also relatable to traditional-schoolers and even adults. While especially geared toward 10- to 16-year-olds, readers of any age will enjoy watching Levi tackle archery, fencing, canoeing, dragon jousting, Latin verbs, History dates, and, of course, Deceptor and his evil cronies in their bids to take over Terracaelum.

If you’re interested in reading Levi’s stories, you can buy my books on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle formats. I’ve included the buy links and blurbs for each book below.


TrojanHorseTraitor_FlatforeBooksThe Trojan Horse Traitor (book 1)

Left on Castle Island to attend Camp Classic, Levi Prince finds himself at the center of an enchanted world of amazing abilities, cloudy motives, and wicked beings that will challenge his very spirit. He begins to form friendships, but life at camp becomes more confusing as questionable activities and uncertain agendas bring about conflict that tests his character in ways he never expected. Finally, faced with a friend’s betrayal, Levi is forced to confront true evil. Will he find the courage to stand his ground, and to become the hero he was always meant to be?

ThorsHammer_Flat (1)The Fall of Thor’s Hammer (book 2)

Stay out of the cellar! One of Camp Classic’s firmest rules puts Levi in a dilemma when he hears banging on the cellar door. Could it be a Lake Superior sailor driven into Terracaelum’s underbelly by a storm? Or is it one of the Dvergar trying to lure a foolish camper to certain death? It’s only the first night back in the castle and already Levi must make a potentially disastrous decision: Should he disobey Mr. Dominic at the risk of his own life? Or do as he’s told, possibly leaving some poor sailor to wander in darkness until he starves?

FaysApprentice_FlatThe Fay’s Apprentice (book 3)

On Levi’s third summer at Camp Classic, he’s torn between two responsibilities. On the one hand, his parents expect him to watch over his little sister Abby, who has no clue their summer camp is a haven for mythical creatures. On the other hand, Mr. Dominic wants him to train at Fort Terra, a full day’s hike away from his sister, because of Levi’s previous encounters with the demon sorcerer Deceptor. Although he enjoys training with his friends, Levi finds life at Fort Terra difficult thanks to the ongoing tension between him and Hunter and the stress of having his former kidnapper Regin as his chaperone. When the woman Regin claims to be the evil sorceress Anna appears, Levi faces a whole new challenge.


SONY DSCAward-winning author Amy C. Blake is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of four. She has an M.A. in English from Mississippi College and has written articles, devotionals, and short stories for a number of publications. She’s also writing two series for the Christian market, her Levi Prince YA fantasy series and her On the Brink Christian suspense trilogy.

WhitewashedColorblind, and Tie-Dyed, featuring three homeschooled girls on the brink of adulthood…and danger, are available in paperback and Kindle. The Trojan Horse TraitorThe Fall of Thor’s Hammer, and The Fay’s Apprentice, about homeschooled pastor’s kid Levi Prince and his adventures in Terracaelum, are also available in paperback and Kindle.


Before you go, make sure you check out Amy’s newest release, The Fay’s Apprentice and connect with her on social media.

http://amycblake.com/

Amy C. Blake Facebook author page

Amy C. Blake Twitter page

Wisdom Wednesday: Kandi J. Wyatt

Sometimes, we need a reminder of why we started writing in the first place and that writing is a journey. One that takes time and requires discipline. Author, Kandi J. Wyatt is with us today for Wisdom Wednesday. 

Welcome, Kandi!


Name: Kandi J. Wyatt

Genre: Fantasy

Latest Release: An Unexpected Escapade

Writing Tip:

Keep writing. No seriously, the best thing you can do for your writing is to write. So many writers think they’re doing well, but they haven’t finished a first draft. Nothing can be done without a finished draft. Even if it’s sloppy, finish it. Then you can revise and edit.

 It will be sloppy, believe me. I’ve heard of first drafts described as throwing up on paper. Embrace the sloppiness, and view it as the beginnings of a masterpiece. Author Tosca Lee says that the first draft is like throwing clay on the potter’s wheel. You first must put clay on the wheel before you can do any pottery. First draft potter quote Tosca Lee

When I get discouraged or when time gets away from me, I remember this advice, and I keep writing. I plug away in the sloggy middle-ground where my characters feel flat and unexciting, and I write. Eventually, I finish a draft and give it a break. Then I can go back to it and see the good things, take out the bad, and adjust the mediocre. Without a first draft, I’d have nothing to work with. It’s been this mentality that has allowed me to publish eleven books and finish writing another three novels for future publication.

Great advice! Years ago, I used to let perfection keep me from finishing rough drafts. Now, I love the rough draft process.

Advice For New Writers: 

My best advice comes from a Twitter conversation with Margaret Weis four years ago. Earlier there had been a conversation with other authors about ‘making it big’. The advice I’d been given was being an author is for the long-haul. It’ll take at least five years before you start to see results. The same week as that conversation with my publishing team, I came upon a conversation between Brian Rathbone and Margaret Weis saying that she was told when she started out to not expect any fame for the first six years. I think it’s wise advice. Many people think becoming an author will lead to immediate success, but that’s not the case. It will take hard work, many years of labor, and hundreds of thousands of words before people will begin to notice you.

This is an excellent reminder to all of us to keep writing and keep going. It does take time and lots of persistence. 


2 An unexpected escapade front cover preview

Protect friendship, family or a creature that’s not supposed to exist?

Ana and Daisy have been friends since third grade, but a rift in thspace-time continuum in their little town may change that. When unicorn waltzes into the pasture with Daisy’s appaloosas, a poacherwho will stop at nothing to gain the unicorn horn and its healing tearsshows up. Daisy is focused on saving the unicorn while Anas parentface sudden life-threatening health issues. When Ana learns about the healing tears, she’s forced to choose between friendship and her family’s health.

Can the girls and the grace to compromise and save Ana’s parents and the unicorn?


 

Kandi J Wyatt Author small

Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandhad learned to put words together on paper to create stories for thosshe loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that‘s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi‘s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.


Social Media:

Website: http://kandijwyatt.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kandijwyatt/

Google: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+KandiWyatt/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kandijwyatt

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kandijwyatt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13817774.Kandi_J_Wyatt

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KandiJ-Wyatt/e/B00ZTC4T10/

Before you go, take a moment and connect with Kandi on social media and check out her latest release, An Unexpected Escapade

Wisdom Wednesday_Kandi

Wisdom Wednesday: Mary Schlegel

Do we have any procrastinators here? I can raise my hand on this one, and I know I’m not the only one. I can list a hundred different things that I need to accomplish today, (okay, maybe not that many) and it’s easy to make excuses for pushing writing further down the list. 

Today, we have author Mary Schlegel with us for Wisdom Wednesday. Welcome, Mary!


 

Name: Mary Schlegel

Genre: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Latest Release: The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo

Writing Tip:

I don’t remember where I originally heard this or who said it, but I wrote it down and used to have it pinned on my wall: Writers write. Other people make excuses. This has been a really important thing for me because I am so very good at procrastinating, at telling myself I’ll write tomorrow, or next week, or once work isn’t so busy, or once the holidays are over, or whatever. And yet identifying myself to others as “a writer” is something that’s really important to me, so it’s good for me to have this reminder that if I want to use this label I really love for myself, I actually have to do the thing the label describes.

Great quote! I think every writer should print this out and hang above their computer. I don’t know why it’s so easy for writers to make excuses, but we’ve all done it at some point in our writing careers. Writing takes discipline, and it’s something we have to learn. 

Advice For New Writers: 

 It’s okay to read your own writing just for enjoyment. Everybody goes around telling new writers that they should write the story they want to read, but then everyone seems to think that it’s super vain or arrogant of them to then go back and actually read it. That’s silly. You wrote the book you wanted to read because nobody else had. Now go and read the thing and enjoy it!

We should want to re-read our own stories. I know for me, I find things in my first novel that I wish I would have written differently, but that’s part of the process. You will grow and get better each time you write. I love it when readers ask me questions about my series because I love talking about the story world I created. Great advice!


Last Will cover art

From the tragedy of The Little Mermaid, and the mystery of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, comes the truth that ties them both together: the story of the love that saved a life and started a war, of the quest that became an obsession…of the seaman who, for love of a mermaid, became a legend.


36896901_10156615884633970_4696471284190543872_n Mary Schlegel is a tea fanatic and four-leaf clover hunter who writes speculative fiction and dabbles in various other forms of creative expression. Mary lives with her husband Aaron in the heart of the Ozark Mountains.


 

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormaryschlegel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormaryschlegel/

Before you go, take a moment and connect with Mary on Facebook and Instagram, and check out her novel, (look at that cover!) The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo on Amazon.

Wisdom Wednesday (5)

Wisdom Wednesday: Candace West

How many books do you have on your bookshelves? Are they filled with only your favorite authors? Or perhaps you keep everything you read, and the shelves are overflowing? Today, we have author Candace West sharing her favorite writing tip.

Welcome, Candace!


 

Name: Candace West

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Latest Release: Lane Steen

Writing Tip:

“I wish I could write like that!” Whenever you read a fantastic novel, do you ever think this? My bookshelves are bursting with books that inspire me. I’ve read thousands of lines that almost make my mouth water. They are so beautifully written.

I admit that my writing falls short of so many other authors I admire. Most of us probably feel that way when we’re pouring over our manuscripts or freezing up at the keyboard when the perfect word eludes us. A perfect quagmire for frustrated writers. When those moments come, turn the tables on those doubts with these tips:

Never compare your writing style to other authors. It’s wonderful to learn by example from them, but don’t fall into the trap of berating your voice. As writers, we never stop learning the craft whether we are beginners or best-selling authors.

Focus on being yourself. Let your words shine through the story you are called to tell. When others help polish off those rough edges, let it blossom. With a lot of time, patience, and practice, your voice will transform into one that is uniquely yours.

I read so much that sometimes I fear my ideas are too close to other writer’s ideas.  Sometimes I write and read something later that’s close to my own. But their voice and my voice are distinctively different. This is an excellent reminder that other writers can influence your writing, but to always let your unique voice flow through. 


 

Lane Steen Book Cover

How can she let go of the past when she is forced to confront it?

At sixteen, Lane Steen never imagines she is living a lie until a new schoolteacher, Edith Wallace, comes to Valley Creek. Yet Edith is more than a schoolteacher. She is part of the past–a past hidden in a mysterious dream that has haunted Lane since childhood.

Lane yearns to escape from her embittered father. Getting an education is Lane’s only hope. Carefully, Edith works to earn Lane’s friendship, but love and trust doesn’t come easy for a heart plagued by hate. But then the truth shatters Lane’s world.

The truth sends Lane on a turbulent search into the past. Leaving Valley Creek behind, Lane reunites with a family she cannot remember–a family that surpasses her wildest dreams. A family that belongs to her.

Despite her newfound joy, her hatred for her father only deepens. Although she desires to experience the faith of her family, Lane can’t cast away one thing she holds closely: the hatred that helped her survive.

Digging into her father’s unbelievable past, she confronts the story behind her father’s ruin. Will she always be bound by hate?

Yet something even stronger binds her. Something stronger than her family, something stronger than her will. She is bound to Valley Creek, the place of her stormy childhood, the place of the man she loves, but more importantly, the place of God’s calling. Ironically, she finds love, purpose, grace, and forgiveness in a place she’d sought all her life to escape.


Author pic

Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. When she was twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” Since then, she has dreamed of writing Christian fiction. Over the years, she has published short stories as well as poems in various magazines. Since her teenage years, she has written many church plays. In 2018, she published her first novel Lane Steen. By weaving entertaining, page-turning stories, Candace hopes to share the Gospel and encourage her readers. She currently lives in her beloved Arkansas with her husband Aaron and their son Matthew along with two dogs and three cats.


Social Media:

Sign up for my quarterly newsletter at www.candaceweststoryteller.com! I love getting to know my readers! Also, visit my author page at www.facebook.com/inspirationalnovel.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/candacewest111.

Before you go, check out Lane Steen and connect with Candace on social media. Thank you for joining us today! 

Wisdom Wednesday (2)

One of those days

We had a break in our Wisdom Wednesday guest authors today, so I wanted to share with you a new blog series that is starting this week and will take place on Tuesdays.

IMG_1565Monday was our son’s 100th week in our third phase of cancer treatment. In case you are unfamiliar with our story and his journey, our youngest son Gabriel was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) Leukemia on December 29, 2016. We were sent by ambulance from his pediatric office to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was a whirlwind of uncertainty, change and scary for us all.  Gabe started chemo immediately and within fifteen days went into Remission! For his type of cancer, there are three phases. The first phase, lasted approx 6-8 weeks. The second phase also lasted 6-8 weeks and had very intense chemo and multiple hospital stays. You can read about our journey during these phases in the archives section of the blog. The third phase is the Continuation phase, and it lasts 120 weeks. This week we hit the 100th week! Which means we only have TWENTY weeks left of treatment!

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we are so excited. There are still some bumps in the road as Gabe is dealing with leg pain and has to wear braces. But we can see the finish line. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for us. As I mentioned in another post, I haven’t been feeling well, and then this week at St. Jude we had a long appointment day and car problems. We had to stay an extra day in Memphis and a long time sitting around waiting for our car to be fixed.

Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong, does?

I was starting to feel like that. We’ve had quite a few ups and downs throughout our cancer journey as a family. It’s been incredibly difficult. It’s tried our patience, and zapped our joy many times, so when more things happen it just seems to pile on and ultimately be overwhelming.

Last night, I messaged my husband the Midnight Dad devotional post and added a few personal words to the message. I know he needed to hear a few things and I needed to say a few after the frustrating forty-eight hours we’ve had.

But it sent my mind racing, and I realized something. Those couple of short sentences of encouragement was not only true, but I knew it was his love language. He enjoys words of affirmation. I knew it would mean a lot to him, and I was intentional in taking a few moments and sending him something that would lift him up. What if I was that intentional with the ones that were the closest to me? What if I found out what would make the most significant impact by doing something small for my kids? To my sisters? Parents? Best friend? What if I took a few moments and did something on purpose for the ones who are the closest to me? I could play a video game with my oldest son because he loves to play games. With my daughter, I could do something artsy, because she has seemed to inherit my love of crafts. With my youngest, I could watch him play a video game or play with him. He’s five, so I will have to be a little bit more creative. But you get the idea.

What would happen if I did this once a day, for a week? Or a month?

I can tell you this. When I took this very frustrating couple of days and focused on how good Gabe is doing with treatment, how supportive my husband is, how I had friends that said they would come to get us, and family that helped take care of the car situation, my frustration was gone. I didn’t go to bed upset and down last night. I was grateful for these relationships.

I know I’m not alone. You may be reading this right now and going through some of the same things. Everyone’s situation is different, but we all struggle. Everything that could go wrong may be going wrong in your life right now.

 I get it. I see you. I understand.


Be still & know Relationships play a huge part in my series, The Kalila Chronicles, and really, they should be important in our own lives too. What about joining me on Tuesdays and let’s get more intentional and hold each other accountable? Sometimes it’s good to have others who are going through similar things to help you to remember to look for the good when you are in the middle of a situation.

#BeStill blog will be on Tuesdays, and I will have discussion posts on my author accounts on Facebook and Instagram. You can comment and interact on either the blog or social media. Use the hashtag #BeStill to find the posts.  Next week, I will dig deeper into why this phrase means so much to me and my writing.

Ready to jump in with me and list five relationships or areas where you want to be more intentional? Or maybe you’re having a bad day, and you need to find the good in the situation. In that case, list five things you’re thankful for. Post yours in the comments sections on this post or the social media post. I will post mine in the comments too!

Hugs,

Erin