January To-Be-Read List

This is nine days late, I know, and I’m sorry. My laptop…let’s just say Spike was having a few problems. Thankfully, he’s all fixed now, and so here I am. Anyway, this year, instead of doing goal announcements like last year (we all know how those went *cough cough*) I’m doing monthly TBR lists. As you all know, reading is something I’m very very VERY v e r y passionate about, so instead of announcing goals that I’m going to hate in a month, I’m doing this–something, in my opinion, much more realistic. (At least for me, as swamped in school work and mentally unavailable as I am.) And, when I read these books, I might post a few reviews, though I wouldn’t bet on it XD, and I’ll definitely say what I thought of the books at the end of each month. (Also, this list kind of short because it’s finals week and I haven’t had a lot of time, and probably won’t for the rest of the month)

 

Image result for silenced jerry jenkins

Second in the Underground Zealot series. I read the first one, Soon, a while back, and it was sooooo good. Basically, the series is kind of an allegorical rewrite of the book of Acts; the main character is Paul Stepola. An Italian. Who goes blind….you see what he did there? Lilyan got me in the second and last book in the series, and I am so excited.

 

 

Image result for god's smuggler

I’ve seen books along these lines before and wanted to read them. The closest thing I’ve read would probably be a Jim Elliot biography, which is a far cry from that. So, anyways…

 

 

Image result for left behind the kids book 40

This is a re-read, but it’s been several years, and I love to finish re-reading it this month. So, maybe…I still have sixteen books in this series to read before I get to this one, so I guess this list is sixteen books longer xD

 

 

Image result for animal farm

A “You haven’t read this yet? Read ASAP” moment from Dad. It’s been on the list I’ve never gotten around to (along with 1984).

 

There you have it, folks! Sorry is this so messily written; I just really needed to post it but I didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. Thanks for the love!

 

–Abilene (a tired, brain-fried highschooler)

Advertisements

2018 Wrap Up

593f19ec8f74d5704b95689a751eb609

 

0914181911

3d0a56bf40c91697765c8f3def8f716e

0531181617

 

Things that Happened

I failed at my new year’s resolutions. Miserably. Except for the writing ones.

I finished a book! I officially completed the rough draft of Though He Slay Me on March 6, 2018.

Happy Best Day Ever GIF

I read. A lot.

I finished another book! I completed Voyage on the Phantom on November 30th, 2018.

roc nation happy dance GIF by Mr. Paradise

I did National Novel Writing Month for the first time, thus Voyage on the Phantom. 

My cousin, Kenzie, married a boy named Sam on May 19th, and now they are expecting an addition to their family in July. I am very excited at the prospect of becoming an ‘aunt.’ Between Kenzie’s family, our family, and Sam’s (very large) family, that kid is going to be SPOILED.

Another friend, Lizzie, wed a dude named Dustin on December 7th. The wedding was gorgeous, and they left burning rubber in a Camarro.

My sister and cousin both graduated. We’re all growing up.

I turned sixteen this year, which seems crazy, and I am a junior, which is equally nuts. A good friend, Lilyan, graduates this year. Insane, I tell you. INSANE.

I wrote another half of a novel, The Alley Runners, over the summer. I still haven’t finished it but am currently 55k+ words in. It’s going pretty well.

I got a ‘job’. Also over the summer I participate in a Youth Employment and Education Program, or YEEP. Along with twenty other girls who were in the program, I learned about employment opportunities in my area.

I started playing the piano regularly for my church. Nervewracking, but oh-so-rewarding.

I rode a mechanical bull, something I’ve wanted to do ever since I found out they existed.

I got a Fitbit Flex. It’s pretty nifty, if I can convince myself to wear it regularly. My only complaint is that it takes a while to charge (but not as long as it takes my sister’s Blaze to charge, so I guess it’s okay.)

We visited the LST 325, a ship used in World War II that landed tanks at Normandy on D-Day.

My sister and I spent a week in Indiana with our mother’s side of the family. It was super busy, but a lot of fun.

My family also went to rural Kansas for Thanksgiving to see family I hadn’t seen for four years. It was really good to see and spend time with them, and I would say it’s one of the brightest highlights of my year.

I got a drone (something I’ve wanted ever since they were popularized), a Ryze Tello. It’s a ton of fun to fly it, and though I haven’t ventured outside with it yet, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of photos and videos it will take of the valley I live in.

I’ve always wanted to get into hunting, and in April I hunted for the first time for turkey. It was, like, twelve degrees on my first day, and the temperature kind of turned me off from it. XD But I went again a few weeks later when the weather was nicer, and it was much more enjoyable, though I didn’t get anything. I’m looking forward to going turkey hunting again this spring.

I went to my first writing conference! It was a lot of fun, and I met New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf, who lives in my hometown.

Books Read

 

adult blur books close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

–Alex Rider: Stormbreaker, and eleven subsequent novels–Babylon Rising and three subsequent novels–19 books in the Left Behind: The Kids series (technically a re-read)–The Legend of Annie Murphy–A Hitch at the Fairmont–Will in Scarlet–Catch You Later, Traitor–The Door Within (also technically a re-read) and two subsequent novels (not re-reads)–the eleven original 39 Clues–The Borrowers–All Over Town–The prequel Left Behind trilogy, Glorious Appearing, and Kingdom Come–Julius Ceasar–The Scarlet Letter–a Jack London biography that I can’t recall the name of–The Iron Heel–Unbroken–Endurance–The Borrowers Afield–that totals to sixty-six books.

revenge of the sith episode 3 GIF by Star Wars
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist

 

 

Conversations

 

laugh lol GIF by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Me: *singing Full House theme song*

Lily: *joins in*

Lily: The milk boy, the paper man, even TV!

Me: *dies laughing*

Lily: What did I do?

 

Friend: So I heard you threw (little girl at my church) into the snow twice.

Me: Technically it was only once, and that was because she put a bunch of snow in my hair.

Friend: That’s not what she said.

Me: Hmmm.

 

Me: Why are the flags at half mast?

Dad: For the death of our republic.

Meredith: Too late!

 

Kenzie: *shows me a maternity skirt she is wearing*

Me: *notices that she didn’t go out of her way to tell me that she and Sam are not expecting a child*

Me to Lily: You know what this could mean?

Me: *wishes on a thousand shooting stars that my theory is confirmed*

Me a month later: I KNEW IT.

 

Lizzie: (talking about the books I am writing) So this is the book you were working on in like February, right?

Me: Dude I finished that in March. Remember, you read the blog post?

Lizzie: Oh. Well, I must read it then.

Me: No.

Lizzie: Why?

Me: It’s not perfect yet.

Lizzie: I thought you finished it!

Me: THE ROUGH. DRAFT.

 

Weather: *snows in October*

Me: AND I-I-I AM DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMA-AS!

 

Me and Lily: *rant and rave about fictional characters when we should be doing schoolwork*

 

Me: So Lily and I want to get Nintendo Switches

Mom: Why? So you can play against each other?

Me: Ha! How’d you know?

Mom: I don’t know, it’s not like you two are competitive against each other or anything…

 

Author at a writing conference: *makes comment about how most writers are introverts*

Me: *laughs nervously*

 

Me: What do you want for Christmas?

Lizzie (who was still engaged): A wedding ring

Me:

Me: Let me rephrase; what do you want for Christmas from me?

Lizzie: A grand piano!

Me: ……………..

 

Me and Lily: *sing Baby Shark using oven mits as sharks*

 

Me: I should work on my NaNo novel…oh look that short story I never finished!

 

Me: *legitimately writes fan fiction instead of a narrative essay and turns it in*

 

Kenzie: You wore mascara? Oh, you’re such a girl!

Me: I know, it’s terrible.

 

Favorite Written Quote

Their former selves became shadows, and in the shadows they lost their souls.–The Alley Runners, current work in progress. Written 7/18

Favorite Verses and Quotes

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.–Revelation 4:11

…her sins, which are many, are forgiven–Luke 7:47

It’s hard to throw stones if you’re busy washing feet. Don’t let people steal your joy, keep loving people like Christ.–Luke Lezon

To be human is to be beautifully flawed.–Eric Wilson

 

 

Overall, I’m thankful for a great year that God has given me, and am looking forward to the year that is to come.

 

–Abilene

Not Grey

Hey guys! I wasn’t going to introduce this but because it is pretty vague and goes in several different directions I thought I should. This is a short story set in a dystopia much like the USA (after World War III), in which the government is completely totalitarian. I’ll let you decide for yourself why the characters in this story disagree with the government; as this story practically wrote itself, I will not limit it, but I think the characters are members of an outlawed religion and a government resistance movement. Hope you enjoy!

“No, Grey. Why are they doing this?” I say, slamming the phone on the counter, trying to hold back hot, angry tears that are stinging at my eyes. Grey reaches out to comfort me but then quickly pulls his hands back, but not before I’ve seen. “Show me your hands, Grey,” I whisper.

“It’s nothing.” He sticks his hands in his pockets. I grab his arm.

“Please, Grey, be honest with me. I need to know.” He half-sighs and pulls his hands out. Under his fingers—blood. They were using the needle method. I knew. We had seen it before. “Why are they doing this? What did we do to deserve this torture? Why can’t we just run? Please, Grey, let’s just run away from all of this.”

“You know why they’re doing this,” he says, pulling me into his chest and stroking my hair. “The same reason they did this to our parents. Because we don’t agree with them. And those that don’t agree with them….” He doesn’t finish his sentence. He doesn’t need to.

“I hate it,” I say, clenching my fists and pulling away. I wipe fiercely at my eyes. “Why can’t you just give them what they want?”

“I can’t, El. Our parents died for this.”

“Well, they shouldn’t have left us here alone.” I know it’s unfair. It isn’t their fault, but I’m too scared to think rationally.

“Electra, they didn’t leave us alone.” His grey eyes, the origin of his name, are watery. He hugs me, and I cry into his shoulder.

The next morning, Grey was taken again.

The Soldiers break into our apartment. Grey wakes me up, but I’m still groggy. “Climb out the window and shimmy over to the Hesse’s. Go!” he hisses. He opens the window and pushes me out. I cling to the brickwork, and Mrs. Hesse helps me into her living room.

“Mr. Hesse is out warning the neighborhood,” she says. “Is your brother still in your apartment?”

I nod, gratefully taking the cup of tea she offers me. “He thinks that if he cooperates, they won’t hurt me.” From the other side of the wall, I hear loud voices and a crash. I pray furiously for Grey.

Mrs. Hesse looks worriedly toward the wall. “I’m sure he’s alright,” she says. I don’t quite believe her.

Two hours later, Mrs. Hesse takes me over. The door is hanging on one of its hinges. I take a deep breath and walk in. Father’s desk is overturned, drawers and papers scattered around the room. The lock box is open and empty. Some furniture is on the floor, and a dark blood stain is on one wall. A trail leads to the door and down the hall. I bite my lip, and Mrs. Hesse wraps an arm around my shoulder. “You can stay with us tonight.”

I awake that night to pounding on the door. Mr. Hesse answers, and the Soldiers push their way into the room. “We got a tip about an Electra Jondin staying here,” one of them says. I squirm further down into the cot. Mrs. Hesse looks at me apologetically.

“She’s right over there, Captain Rye,” she says, pointing to me. I gasp, and two of the Soldiers grab my arms and haul me out of bed.

I look back at Mrs. Hesse. “You betrayed me?” She looks guilty, but Mr. Hesse’s face is stone. The Soldiers thrust me from the room. Cold manacles clap around my wrists, and I know I won’t be coming back.

I wake up, cold and hungry, in a cell. I’m curled up against one wall as there is no bed or blanket. I look myself over. My clothes have been taken and I am dressed in a black jumpsuit whose legs are cut off at the knees. My feet are bare. Dark bruises cover my body from where they have beaten me the night before. I’ve been in custody for a week and they’ve withheld food for three days. But these are the least of my worries.

Going back and forth between my cell and the interrogation room, I have heard whispers. I am not the only prisoner in the cell block. There are others, and though talking was strictly prohibited, we find ways to communicate.

Grey is not one of the others.

The whole cell block is waiting for a slipped word from the guards, a sight from beyond the cell door. But there is nothing.

I hear the jangle of keys and look up. Captain Rye is standing in front of the iron gate of my cell, hands clasped. An ugly expression that I can’t read covers his face. “What?” I ask. “I’ll never renounce, and I’ll never tell. Just kill me already.”

“No,” he says. “Not you.” Someone thrusts a boy into my view in front of the bars. He looks up, and I recognize the battered, bruised face of my brother.

A doctor holds a needle up to his shoulder. “No!” I shriek, suddenly on my feet, reaching through the bars. The doctor pushes the needle into Grey’s arm and empties the syringe. I’m choking on words, begging him to stop.

Grey looks up at me and winks as well as he can with his black eye. “I love you, Electra,” he murmurs, and his eyes close. He sags, and the doctor catches his body and drags it away.

“No!” I scream, collapsing to a puddle on the floor. My chest shakes with sobs, and I struggle to breathe, struggle to think any other thought than the one that pervades my mind and beats through my heart: Grey is dead. I scream in anger, tears pouring from my eyes. My shouts reverberate through the cell block. I can’t stop.

Hours later, I sit curled in a ball near the door of my cell, rocking back and forth. I can’t live without Grey. I cannot go on. It is impossible. He is my life, and now he is gone. They might as will not waste the energy to kill me, for I am already dead. “Not Grey,” I whimper. “Not Grey.”

–Abilene

NaNoWriMo Update

I was not going to post today. I really was not. It has been a really long week, a reaaaaally long month, for that matter, but I have some news. And it is….

Winner 2018 - Square

I did it!

 

Voyage on the Phantom final wordcount: 50,169 *screeches like a possessed penguin*

 

It’s been an interesting month, guys. I started out strong, but by a week in I had doubts. Why am I doing this? I am never going to win. But, obviously, that word count and little badge proved me wrong.

 

I honestly do not know what to say. This month was hard. I felt like giving up a million times. I can honestly say that I wrote each and every day, though I wrote more on some days than I did on others. Writing over the Thanksgiving holiday was really hard– either staying up L A T E or ignoring my cousins because “I am writing a novel.”

Voyage on the Phantom is not the best book I have written, but it is the second completed rough draft. It is messy. As the New York Times Bestselling Author Heather Gudenkauf told me in early November when I attended a mini-conference, I wrote ugly. VotP is quite a bit ugly. The plot, especially in the second half of the book, needs a revising. My main character needs a little more spirit, a little more life. Some minor characters need to be interacting with the main character more. But overall, I am extremely proud of all that I have accomplished in thirty days, and I could not have done it with out you.

 

You, the blogger who has commented and liked and kept me going, the fellow WriMo who updated their word count every day that worked almost like a challenge against me. You, the online friend who is posting their own writing posts, like drought, inspiration, self confidence. You, the real life friends who let me write during our recesses at school, who shared my indignation when the space bar on the school computer was acting up. You, Lily, who I ranted to almost non-stop, who told me ways I could make my story better and relished the lines I would read to you. You, Lizzie, who encouraged me, who took an interest in my story. You, Destiny, who told me “Typing is a soothing sound” in an effort to make me keep typing. I do not know if you know that it helped me or not, but it did. You, Meredith, who always believed I would get there and pushed me to get there faster because “I want to watch Numb3rs on Friday night, and we cannot do that if you are writing.” You, Mom and Dad, who encouraged me, believed in me, let me do ‘my thing’ for a month and never doubted.

 

I cannot thank all of you enough. You all helped me in ways you will never understand. My only hope is that you will do the same next year.

That’s right. Who’s participating in National Novel Writing Month 2019? Me.

 

–Abilene, an excited authoress

 

 

thankful

thank You, Lord, for saving my soul

thank You, Lord, for making me whole

thank You, Lord, for giving to me

Thy great salvation so rich and free

–seth and bessie sykes

 

sometimes you just have to sit back and thank God for what He has done. family. friends. freedom. salvation. mercy. hope. love. peace. grace.

 

–abilene (a grateful child of the King)

NaNoWriMo 2018: Voyage on the Phantom


“My name’s Micah. Micah Pickford.”

 

——–

—————————————————

GUESS WHO’S DOING NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR!

 

You’re right, your brother-in-law, Jeffrey.

 

Idk about Jeffrey, he very well may be doing it, but so am I! Lol.

 

 

So yusss. I finally decided to do it. 50,000 words in a month. Can I do it? Yes. Will I do it? We’ll see!!!

 

Anywho, I’m very very v e r y very VERY excited about National Novel Writing Month and my project, Voyage on the Phantom. Here’s the (very cringy) blurb:

 

It is at the height of the American War for Independence. Warned by his late father of the danger of the conflict, Micah, as was his father’s wish, signs on board the mysterious Captain James Lyle’s ship as a steward. But while in the middle of the Atlantic, the ship is attacked–only for Micah to be captured by the most feared pirate of the high seas: Captain Dungil. As a cabin boy, Micah plots his escape. But while on board, he meets a young Japanese boy with a few dark secrets of his own.

 

 

Oooh, mystery! Muahahaha! Just kidding, I’ve never written mystery before, so not revealing some things at the beginning of the story is kinda hard, but I’m doing it. My current word count is 3,515. *screeches in excitement*

 

 

If you’d like to see more about my novel, here are some links:

My NaNo profile

My Pinterest mood board

 

 

 

On another note, because of NaNoWriMo, I won’t be posting as much on here (not that I post on here a lot, anyways). So it’ll be quiet around here for a month. The most I’ll probably be doing easy posts like tags and such (so tag me, peeps :D).

 

 

Are any of you all doing NaNo? If so, what are your novels?

 

I’ll see you in December!

—Abilene

 

 

 

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag

Hey, guys. Sorry for that long, unplanned hiatus–I was working on a few new posts and then caught a nasty virus dragged me down for almost two weeks. As you can imagine, I’ve had z e r o energy. Now, I’m over that, and have been for about a week, but life happened. Anyway, here’s a fun shortie tag from Gray Marie. Hope y’all enjoy!

 

Fuzzy Sweater (A book that is the epitome of comfort)

The Majesty of Grace by Jane Langton

I’ve read it so many times as a kid (and as a teen) that I know exactly how it sits in my hand, how it smells. I’ve memorized passages on accident.

 

 

Striped Sweater (A book you devoured every line of)

The Zoo at the Edge of the World

A quiet, unassuming middle grade novel that sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go.

 

 

Ugly Christmas Sweater (A book with a weird cover)

Image result for wonder cover

this is so popular it’s cheating i know don’t judge me

 

 

Cashmere Sweater (The most expensive book you bought)

Millie’s Fiery Trial (based off of the original Martha Finley books). Even though I’ve been over this series for what, five, six years, MFT finally was affordable (it had been eighty dollars because the series is out of print) so I went ahead and bought it for $16. It was kinda hard to do, honestly. I still haven’t read it yet.

 

 

Hoodie (Favorite classic book)

The Black Arrow by R. L. Stevenson. Despite a lack of fully-developed characters *cough cough*, it still maintains the title for my favorite book. Ever. And considering how many books I’ve read….yeah, it’s that good.

 

 

Cardigan (A book you bought on impulse)

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

Because what about a thirteen-year-old being an ace detective doesnt’t sound logical???

 

 

Turtleneck Sweater (A book from your childhood)

Another case of youngsters solving mysteries. Personally, Ruth Rose was my favorite.

 

 

Homemade Knitted Sweater (A book that is Indie published)

erm I usually don’t read much Indie (except for fanfics but those don’t count) but…*digs through piles and piles of books*

Image result for tale of peter rabbit

Again, cheating. Don’t look at me that way.

 

 

V-Neck Sweater (A book that did not meet your expectations)

Image result for ivanhoe book

I was given this as a birthday gift and told “If you like The Black Arrow, you’re going to love this.” And my sister was always talking about how good it was, and it was, like, the classic ‘knight in shining armor’ novel. So I was thrilled. And then–nope. I liked the storyline, but Scott took waaaaaay too long to get around to it. And Rebecca deserved Ivanhoe much more than Rowena, I didn’t like her. Kind of vain. But Rebecca–so awesome.

 

 

Argyle Sweater (Book with an unique format)

Yellow star.jpg

The first book I ever read that was written completely in free verse.

 

 

Polka-Dot Sweater (A book with well-rounded characters)

literally nothing by rl stevenson jk jk

Because JAMMMOGEN. And Roden and Tobas+Amiranda. Not to mention Mott, the absolute best…..

 

Well, there you have, folks! I’ve opted not to tag anyone else since I wasn’t officially “tagged”, but feel free to steal! What are some of your favorite books?

 

–Abilene