Audiobook Chapters 20, 21, 22 for Book 2 are here!

A shockingly productive weekend–about three hours of listening pleasure for you! (Ok, “pleasure” may be pushing it a bit.)

Mahrree wonders if people give into coercion and force because of fear, or because of lack of faith.

This has been my question for nearly two years now, especially when I look at my own responses to everything since March 2020. Often I stand up with faith, and often I bow down in fear–no, not so much “fear” but in deference others who are fearful, to make people around me “feel better” in the face of what I consider ridiculousness. I don’t want to offend or hurt feelings, but I also don’t want to hide what I believe is correct.

It’s a tough, tough balance, one that I have yet to handle well. But one verse from the apostle Paul keeps coming back to my mind: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Faith over fear. It’s hard to achieve, hard to maintain, hard to demonstrate without offending. But it’s the only way to get through anything.

Then again, it’s so easy to be brave . . . in theory. So easy to make promises . . . when you don’t have to follow through yet. So easy to feel so much pride . . . when you’re untested.

I confess I’m much like Mahrree, but only when she’s believes she much tougher in her mind than she is in real life. It’s so easy to label others cowards . . . until we face the same situation. (And I’m such a coward, but I wish I weren’t.)

And sorry there’s no visual on this last chapter. I have NO idea where my screen went. Usually you can see the text I’m reading (and revising as I read), but in this chapter? Just some odd, clipped image. I’m clueless. Sorry.

Audiobooks Chapters 14, 15, 16 of Book 2 “Soldier at the Door”

“After terror, the people are willing to forfeit all kinds of freedoms to ensure their security.”

Some of the lines I read out loud give me goosebumps when I see how the same scenarios are happening in our own countries, already. This one especially. I’ve said before I knew we’d come to this, but it’s all happening faster than I anticipated.

And the fact that Dormin is a “straw man”–I’m teaching logical fallacies to my students right now, and this label jumped out at me today with additional layers. Read about straw man tactics here: https://thinkbuthow.com/straw-man/

Also, pink is not my favorite color either, Perrin. I totally get your reaction. I’d feel the same way.

Audiobook FINISHED! Chapters 23-24 now available

It’s finished, guys! I thought this would take me until January to get finished, but once I decided to do it, I found ways to keep going. The Forest at the Edge of the World is complete! (And that last chapter is just over an hour, so take an extra long walk or deep clean your fridge as you listen. Why do I write such long chapters?!)

Yes, that means Book 2, Soldier at the Door, will be coming soon. I need to work on the thumbnail for it, then I’ll start recording chapter by chapter for that one as well.

Audiobook Chapters 17-19

I teach high school English at a residential treatment center, and today I showed my students selections of “Mulan” as part of a unit in Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. (We’re tracking the cycle in a variety of stories and movies, such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games).

As my students spontaneously sang along with, “Make a Man Out of You!” I realized that Capt. Shang has a lot in common with Perrin, except that Perrin is of Japanese descent (“shin” means “truth”) while Shang is Chinese.

I hadn’t realized before how much Shang may have unconsciously influenced my character development of Perrin:

“Tranquil as the forest . . .”

(Admit you, you sang along in your head, didn’t you?)

“Mysterious as the dark side of the moooooon!”

(There. We both knew we had to finish it.)

Audiobook Chapters 11-13 ready (14 delayed by Relf-voice)

I was really hoping I could 14 done tonight, too, but my voice couldn’t hold out for two long chapters, and started sounding as gravelly as Relf Shin. Sadly, I didn’t have any Relf Shin lines to read, though. (Mahrree’s lines were really starting to sound bad.)

I’ll have to record chapter 14 tomorrow. Stay tuned . . .

Chapters 6-10 Audiobook ready on Youtube

Yeah, I’m cranking these out. It’s absolute joy.

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to going to my closet to read out loud. When I’m having a rough time at work (I teach at a residential treatment center for high school girls), I remind myself, “Just a few more hours and I get to read out loud about Edge. That’s your reward!”

There’s so much in these chapters that I couldn’t think of which to “meme” (plus I’m late with making dinner, so I don’t have time). But I’m finding myself startled by how much I wrote is actually happening to us right now. I kind of suspected some day these problems would be ours, but I didn’t think it’d be so soon.

The big questions: Who do you trust? And what would it take for you to completely change your mind about something?

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 Audiobook “Forest at the Edge of the World”

I never thought sitting in my closet talking to my laptop could be so fun. (And not only because I heard my husband walk into the closet and exclaim, “A chair? Why is there a chair in here?” Our walk-in closet is also part of the bathroom, so he was really confused as to my purpose. I think he’s put it together now, though, when I vanish in there for an hour at a time and talk to my clothes.)

It’s fun just reading these stories out loud, and also freeing. A dear friend of mine assured me that perfection isn’t necessary; my best is enough. What a liberating, delightful assurance! God also doesn’t ask for perfection; He asks for our best, and that is enough.

Wow. You can really get through life with that attitude.

(I did redo one of these chapters entirely, though, because I had a coughing fit in the middle of it and realized that was not my best effort.)

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Book 3 is coming! (And so is some other great stuff, but you have to read to the end to find out)

Book 3: The Mansions of Idumea is in its final editing stages (meaning, I’m going through it when I’m not grading students’ essays, or taking children to lacrosse practice, or cleaning the toddler’s jello mess, or helping another child with homework . . .)

I’m hoping to release it by the end of April (yes, of this year, and that clarification is pointed to a wonderful but annoying friend; you know who you are, so don’t act all innocent).

Thanks so much for asking, for prodding, for rolling your eyes at me when I promise that it IS coming, but I want to get it as good as I possibly can, and that takes time.

You see, I’m a fast and sloppy writer; I actually have the entire 8-book series fully drafted and waiting in my computer, and I completed the saga in just over 14 months. 

But oh, is it messy!  “Fast and sloppy” also means “rather crappy.” I never claimed to be a good writer. But I am a decent editor, if not slow. And since I don’t notice issues on the first edit—or even on the thirtieth (and honestly, that’s about how many times I go through each book, cleaning it up, tweaking the language, improving the pacing, clarifying the dialogue, etc.) it takes me a bit of time to make it readable. And even then, once I have the paper copy in my hands, I find about a dozen minor proofreading errors that eluded me each pass. (That’s what revised editions are for, correct?)

Self-published authors don’t have the luxury of professional editors (well, they could if they shelled out the big bucks, which I don’t currently don’t have) so we rely on marvelous friends who are generous with their time and help go through our drafts.

And we also rely on understanding readers who embrace the story and overlook teeny tiny errors that they’re sure will be fixed on the next release.

For some more exciting news (aren’t you glad you read this far?) I’m currently turning Book One: The Forest at the Edge of the World into an audio book (and as I read it I circle those nagging typos to correct later this year). Once it’s ready, it’ll be available as FREE DOWNLOADS from podiocast.com.

So no, my friends, I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing since I released the first two books, and there’s still a great deal more to come!