Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Beloved {My Book}

As promised, here I will tell you allll about my book.  And share lots of snippets.
And maybe a character spotlight.
So.  Without further ado, I present... my book, Beloved.

The unofficial cover ;)
Sixteen-year-old Cara Richards can't seem to figure out what she wants.
Alone and unloved—or so she believes—she decides that there's only one answer to the nightmare that's become her life.  When an unwanted intervention disrupts Cara's plans and turns her life in a direction she never imagined, she must make a decision.  Is death really the answer?
Can everyone truly be loved, no matter what?

It was a late-July evening, when I was out in the garden with a watering hose in one hand and the phone in the other, browsing Pinterest (Yes, watering the garden is BORING. XD), and I came across this pin:

So... I think, at some point in their lives, every girl (others too, but this is geared more for gals) goes through at least some insecurity.  And I, being no exception, have dealt with it, too.
But my point for writing this book is not a pity party.  
Sure, the protagonist is incredibly sorry for herself, but that's not the reason I wrote it.
I wrote this book because girls need to hear, again and again, how priceless they are in God's sight.
This isn't a love that lets us do anything and everything we want—we misbehave, and get punished for it.  But we are loved.

On to the rest of the post.


His head comes up and he cocks his head.  “In a little financial trouble, are you?”
I nod.  I meet his eyes, my own filling.  “My mom kicked me out of the house, and I’m so alone, and…” I let my voice trail off, sniffing.
He rakes a hand through his hair.  “Then can I… is it all right if I pray for you?”
Oh good, I happened to pick a religious person.  “Sure.” I nod.
He folds his hands, elbows resting on his knees, and closes his eyes.  I follow suit.  “Dear Heavenly Father, Who knows all our needs and wants, I come to You today to lay your hand of protection and providence over this young lady I have sitting with me here.  Give her guidance as only You can, and show her how much You love her.  In Your Son’s name, amen.”  He sits up straight and smiles at me.  “May God bless you.”
That’s it?  No ‘let me help you pay for your ticket’ or ‘can I help you to where you’re going?’  Lovely, I’m gonna have to resort to plan B.


The water laps at my feet.  Surprised by the chill, I do a little dance, then inch forward again.
The water rises to my ankles, then my shins.  My knees; my thighs; my waist.
It’s coming up to my neck.  Oh, it’s so cold.  I shiver—from both the cold and from the anticipation—and keep going.  The contrast is strange—the sun heating the top of my hair, the water chilling me to the bone under the surface.  I hold my breath.  My mouth goes under.  My nose.  My eyes…  I’m underneath, the water filling my ears and prying at my eyelids.  I keep going, though I’m half-floating.  I let myself sink.  
I’m running out of breath, and I automatically open my mouth to suck in some air but all I get is a lungful of water.  My eyes fly open while I begin to panic, inducing tears to flow from my stinging eyes and mingle with the salty water.  Is this what drowning feels like for everyone?  
The awful-tasting water slides down my throat in a painful trickle, then in gulps.  I begin to kick, despite my intentions.  I’m choking, and my arms thrash about.  Black spots appear in my vision and gradually block out everything else.  I feel my body going limp.  Yes, this is it.  I’m going to die.
I feel something grab a hold of my arm and yank it, but I can barely feel it, much less register the pain; my mind won’t focus.  Finally, I can feel myself falling into the welcoming dark abyss of unconsciousness.  Death, here I come; are you ready for me?


I scream.
The visions of a bright blue, sunny sky vanish as reality—cold, freezing reality—breaks into my senses.  I scramble out of bed, nearly falling face-first to the floor in my haste to crawl out of my ice-filled bed.
“Ready to go?”  Erich’s annoyingly amused voice greets my ear.  I hop to my feet, glaring with all I’m worth.  
“I swear, Erich, I’ll—”
“—Kill me?  Yeah, I’ve gotten that reaction a time or two before.”  Erich waves my empty, unfinished threat away with the flick of his hand.  “I knew I’d never get you to church otherwise.”
I inch toward my bed, hoping my movements are subtle enough that he won’t realize I’m drawing closer to my weapon.  Suddenly I spring into my sheets, ignoring the bone-chilling cold that chills through my bare feet.  Gathering several chunks of ice in my fists, I hurl them at Erich, who tries to duck, but fails when a piece knocks him in the forehead.  I heave the blocks as hard and as fast as I can, basking in the satisfaction that most of my ammunition finds its mark.
Erich holds up his hands.  “I give, I give!”
I pause, hand cocked in midair, ready to fire at the slightest sign of hostility.
From his lying position on the floor, Erich scrambles to his knees.  “I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” he said, “but good grief, Cara, can you make this any harder?”
I raise an eyebrow.  You have no idea how hard I can make this, buddy.  I lower my arm a little, not yet willing to trust him.
With good reason.  He suddenly dives to the side, out of vision from my perch.  I crane my neck, then squeal with pain and surprise when hands suddenly clasp my arms behind my back, then bind them together with something—probably Erich’s leather belt.  
Once my hands are tied, he grabs the back of my collar and dumps ice down my spine.  My back arches involuntarily, and my body convulses at the temperature shock.  
“Give up?”  Erich’s voice hisses in my ear.
My stubborness kicks in.  “Never,” I whisper through teeth clenched to keep them from chattering.
“All right, we’ll do this the hard way.”  Another avalanche of ice slides down my nightshirt, then another.
Finally I can’t take it anymore.  “All right, all right, I’ll go to church with you!”


Once they’re gone, Erich shudders.  “I hate it when she pinches my cheek.”
“That’s exactly why she does it, Brother.”  For good measure, Peter reaches over to tweak Erich’s cheek and dances out of reach.
Erich whirls.  “So help me, I’ll—” he doesn’t finish his sentence, leaving me to wonder exactly what he’ll do.  Peter just laughs and disappears into the dining room.
“That bonehead,” Erich mutters, returning to the dishes.  We work in silence for a moment, until he takes on a high-pitched voice and British accent.  “Whenever someone cooks, there’s always pots to wash.”  He scrunches his shoulders, gives a girly giggle, and shoots me an exaggerated grin.  “And that’s my job today!”  He begins to sing, “I like washing pots, that’s what I do; I scrub the food away and make them shine too!”  
I stare at him, hands poised in midair with a dripping plate dangling from my fingers.
“I hold them up for an inspection, because I like to see my own reflection in a nice, clean pot.”  He gives me one glance and throws his head back with a laugh.  “Cara, you should see the look on your face!”
No thank you, I’d prefer not to see myself looking like a gaping idiot.
“Lame, Erich.  Real lame.”  Fergus, finished with his sweeping, grabs a towel off the counter and snaps it at Erich’s behind.  Erich spins around and locks his sopping, sud-caked hands on Fergus’s hair.  “Oh yeah?  Think you can do better, huh?”
Fergus rolls his eyes and twists out of Erich’s grasp.  “Well, I can certainly do better than a little kids’ TV show song.”  He frowns, cocking his head.  “Come to think of it, how do you know that song?”
“Don’t ask.”  Erich rolls his eyes, chuckling.  


Suddenly an arm slips around my middle and abruptly jerks me back under the water almost before I catch and hold my breath.  Once I rise again to the surface, I can barely keep myself from attacking Fergus.  I give him a glare that would fry eggs.  “And what was that for?”
He smirks.  “You need a little spice in your life.”
I roll my eyes and turn away, then quickly spin back around, scooping water into cupped hands.  I fling the liquid in Fergus’s face and grunt in satisfaction when he gasps in pain, rubbing the brine from his eyes.
“Don’t mess with me.”  I shoot him a heated look.
He returns the glare.  “Just because you don’t tolerate my intolerance, doesn’t mean I have to tolerate your intolerance of my intolerance.”  He pauses and frowns.  “And that… barely made sense.  But I think—I hope—I got my point across.”  Folding his arms, Fergus shifts his weight to one hip and raises an eyebrow.  “I’m going for my best irritated Cara look.  How’m I doing?”
I slug his arm—hard—and dive at his legs.
“Hey, what the—” his words are cut off as his head is submerged under the water.  The wake created nearly knocks me off my feet, and once I regain my balance he’s reemerged and launches himself at me, arms spread wide.  I scramble to get out of the way, but my feet simply slide around on the shifting sand.  Fergus’s body comes down on me like a deadweight, dragging me back under the surface.  I let out one squeal before I hold my breath.  When I resurface, something strange comes out of my mouth—something I never thought I’d hear myself do again.


Yes, that’s what this is:  an unrealistic novel, written by something out to destroy me, designed by nightmares from my childhood.
Nightmares, Cara?  Really?  Since when did you have nightmares about a quirky family in California that make you actually consider laughing?
Shut up, Martha.  Correction: they try to make me consider laughing.  For the record, I don’t think it’s working very well.
Yeah, sure, go ahead and tell yourself that.  But you are changing, aren’t you?  You’re definitely not who you used to be, Cara Richards.  You can’t deny that.
Quiet, Martha; I can deny anything I want, whenever I want to.  Granted, I don’t necessarily want to kill myself any more—the boys are too amusing to keep from seeing who’s going to make a fool out of themselves next—but that hardly means that I actually like the people.
Oh yeah?  Prove it.


He grabs my shoulders.  “No, Cara, that’s not true; you know that’s not true.”  He gives me a violent shake.  “I love you, y’hear me?  I love you.
I gaze at his face, his features blurred by the tears swimming in my eyes.  “But why?  Why would you love me?”
He pulls me into his embrace again.  “Because you bug me; duh.”  He chuckles.  “Actually, it’s more than that.”  His voice turns serious.  “I love you, not as a girlfriend, not even as just a friend, but as a sister—a sister in Christ.  And that makes you priceless.”
“My mother didn’t love me.”  My voice is small, betraying my insecurity.  “What kind of a girl is priceless if her own mom doesn’t love her?”
“I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the mind of your mother,” he replies, “but I know one thing: everyone is precious in the eyes of God.  We’re mortals; we can’t see what He sees.  But Cara, when He looks at you…” he breaks into a grin and studies the leaves, as if they possess the words he’s looking for.  “When He looks at you, Cara, I think He points at you and says, ‘she’s Mine, and I love her more than words can say.  I bought her, I redeemed her with My Son’s blood, and I claim her as my own.’  Words can’t even begin to describe the depth of love He has for us.  Our minds can’t fathom it.”


Okay, that's all the snippets, I promise! XD

Pins from the Pinterest storyboard:


My sweet writing partner took this pic for me when she went to the beach! <3

Ever heard of a book's soundtrack?  It's like a movie soundtrack, only... for books. XD  When I find a song that I like and that seems to fit my book pretty well, I'll save it to my playlist.  Here's a few:

Beloved - Jordan Feliz

You are Being Loved - Steven Curtis Chapman

Drops in the Ocean - Hawk Nelson

Tears - Matt Hammitt

Priceless - For King & Country

There you are, folks!  Interested? ;)

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Hey, I abandoned y'all again.  Sorry 'bout that. XP
Life update... where do I even start?!  So much has happened in the recent months.  

-We took a family vacation with some dear friends to Branson, MO—namely, Silver Dollar City.  On our way there, we took a slightly LARGE detour to go look at a piece of farm equipment (surprise surprise XD), and, being 10 minutes from the Tennessee border, we just decided to drive on over.  
Then, on the way back from MO, we stopped by Big Brutus (a giant steam shovel in eastern KS).  That thing's huge, peoples.
Unfortunately, I currently don't have any pictures of SDC, and I'm too lazy to get one from others, soooo XD

Crossing the Mississippi...
...and into Tennessee!
Big Brutus
-I began to frequently tag along with Kordell to check his cows.  There'll be a calf on the ground any day now!

-We finished pulling the sweet potato patch.  There were a LOT, folks.

Kara had fun with the vines. XD 

-Two of my brothers got engaged, one of them now happily married, the other one soon to be!

-I made and decorated a cake.  I did a swell job, if I do say so myself. ;)

-I took an actually GOOD picture of a candle (#random), and haven't brought myself to delete it off the phone yet because it's one of the few good pics I've taken with the phone. XD

-Kordell got ahold of Mom's phone and started taking all these incriminating selfies... but I'll refrain from sharing any on here because he might kill me if I did.  And that would be bad. XD

-I made Oreo balls for Christmas, and took so many pictures to hopefully get a post written about it for this year's 12 Days of Christmas (yeah, I've always been an early planner... NOT.), soooo... get after me to actually WRITE the post so I can delete the pics off mom's phone and make her happy. *nods* XD

-Christmas happened!! ^_^

-WE GOT SNOW. TWICE.  ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY COLOR THE GROUND WHITE.  It wasn't enough to cover the grass completely, and we didn't get a white Christmas... BUT STILL.

-Also, HAPPY NEW YEAR, FOLKS!! May you have a year filled with blessings as God helps you through whatever happens. <3

So now... my big announcement... heh.
I'm kinda really terrified and really excited at the same time to say this.
I... wrote a book.  Yes, a BOOK.  One of those things made of paper and ink that you read and, if it's good enough, get lost in.
It's basically about dealing with issues of self-worth and hurt, and the love of Christ, and... yeah.
If you're really interested... I'll post more about it this week.
Oh, who am I kidding?  I'm going to post about it whether y'all like it or not. XD
I've been praying about it, and trying to see what God wants me to do with it, and... maybe I'll publish, maybe I won't.  We'll see what happens. 

All this said, I'll see y'all later!