Nov 17, 2014

Still Here

     I don't know about you, but I am still here.

This is how Mr. Smiley protests my long absences.

     A lot has been going on in my life. I went to Haiti for a week. Then I went to Massachusetts for a week. Then I did an intense childcare program for a week.

     I have been working on Flight, though not as much as I should. I have gone back to working out the plot. I think I will write faster if I know where I'm going, what the next step is supposed to be.

     Not gonna lie; I feel like I keep going in circles. I'm getting frustrated because I JUST WANT TO GET THIS FIRKIN-MOOSE STORY ON PAPER! But then I realize that I don't really know exactly what the story looks like. And then I come and vent to you.

     And speaking of circles, I still haven't decided if I'm going to the writer's conference. It's about $1,000 to go, and I'm naturally a Scrooge at spending money on things for myself (except when it comes to books -- I spend stupid money on books). This is assuming, of course, that I don't win the scholarship. Because, seriously, I probably won't win. I might not even enter, because you have to submit 1,000 words (if only words were dollars!) of your current project. Flight doesn't have a set of comprehensible words that long yet!

     Sheesh, I can't even believe how good I am at this being-a-writer thing.

     Ok, sarcasm aside, here are a couple good points:

  • Now that life has slowed down a little, I am getting back on a routine of working on Flight. If you wouldn't mind, I would appreciate prayer for creativity in nailing this plot down. Also, to help me in this department, I am currently reading The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman (though I have only gotten to the character development parts. Which I have already done. But it is making consider going back and doing it again... NO! I WILL PRESS FORWARD! < I don't know why, but I heard a German accent there, did you?).
  • I have until the end of December to get my submission for the writer's conference scholarship in. Even so, I feel that I am very close to just throwing the money at them and going. It would be fun and $1,000 isn't going to look like much over the course of my life. Plus, it's on the Game Plan.
  • Chocolate oranges are back for the season. 

Ok, I gotta quit procrastinating and go work on Flight.

Post Tenebras Lux!


Sep 29, 2014



     It's Japanese.

     So, yeah, Attack on Titan was the first anime I've seen and I loved it. Not every moment of it
Epic fanart by Lowah
(anime is not for children, let's set that straight), but the overall story is good; All of mankind is trapped behind a wall. The wall is there to keep these giants called Titans out. When the Titans break down the wall, all hell breaks loose.

     I may or may not have been listening to the theme song while writing (or any other time I want to feel epic; like while I'm doing laundry or dusting). It doesn't seem to be helping me write, though, because progress has been slow. Working the kinks out of the climax and the beginning is taking a long time. And I keep on catching myself surfing the internet. It's hard to focus.

     After only getting about a page's worth of notes done before quitting for bed, I asked myself, "Why do I feel ok with my slow progress? Why am I content with just a page of notes? I want to get this project done and yet I keep wasting my time! Why?"

     It's because I'm afraid. I have encountered this Titan before and it always paralyses me. In this particular instance, I am procrastinating because I am afraid of committing myself to the story as it is now and then having to go back and change it.

     Well, that's stupid, because that's a writer's life. I didn't get it right the first time and I may not get it right the second time or the third time. At some point, I need to call it quits and just finish.

     It's over, Titan of fear. I ain't playin' this game. I am determined to complete this book. "SIE SIND DAS ESSEN UND WIR SIND DIE JAGER!"

Post Tenebras Lux!


P.S. What Titans have you or are you overcoming in your life? What did you/are you doing to win?

Sep 26, 2014

Adventure in Haiti (A True Story)

     This past week, my family and I visited Haiti. It was the first time I had been out of the country (unless you count the Canadian side of Niagara Falls).

All the cousins before the wedding.
We went because my cousin, the lovely Nicole, was marrying a Haitian man named Onny. Nicole and her family have been involved with the Haitian church for years. Now she and her new husband will continue the work together from inside the country.

     After hearing about Haiti from Nicole for the past few years, it was exciting to finally experience it. My sisters and I rode with Nicole and Onny from the airport to the house where we were staying for the week. Onny commented that we didn't talk much, but that was because we were absorbing everything with our mouths hanging open. Talk about culture shock.

Homes built into the mountains. Picture by Michaela.

     Haiti is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. The towns we drove through felt like half inner-city slums and half Indiana-Jones-style Middle Eastern. The house where we stayed had no indoor plumbing. Electricity ran for only a few hours in the evening via a generator. It was fun to adapt and learn an everyday life different from my own.

     Though the earthquake in 2010 devastated Haiti, we saw people getting back on their feet. There were many gardens growing tomatoes and cabbage (say "shoo" in Creole), very few piles of rubble, and even roads being re-paved.

     My cousin and her family have been working closely with a particular Haitian pastor. This pastor has many projects to help people. One thing he does often is take orphans into his home.

My sister and I with the village kids on the wall of their original church.
     We went to a village that had a church made of tin and tarp. Their original church of stone was
destroyed by the earthquake, and now the people are exposed to the elements during the services. The pastor and several members of the church are working to rebuild the church, plus build an orphanage and a hospital. Nicole and Onny have a vision to be part of this huge work.

     We also visited a woman's house that had a collapsed roof and cracks in the walls caused by the earthquake. With help from my uncle, the pastor is working to build her another house. They have the land bought. Now they are waiting for funds to build the building.

     The pastor also works closely with a school. The school currently has about 50 students, but it is capable of holding 200 more, if people could afford to pay the government-imposed fines.

Kyle "Foo" (cousin), Michaela (sister), Nicole (cousin).
Spiritually, the people of Haiti are much like Americans. We all fear and do not see how powerful God is; for unsaved Haitians, they fear voodoo. We all misplace priorities and put emphasis on things we can see and touch, rather than eternal things. We all need the counsel of others to spur us toward Godliness. Though these things are our faults, we all do some things well. We worship from the heart. We care for the hopeless. We hold to the true Gospel; that Christ died for us, rose again, and will return, and we will be with Him forever if we trust Him.

     Our cultures are very different, but if we only have the Gospel in common, it is enough to share the love of Christ. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to see Christ's crazy ("foo" in Creole) love spreading over Haiti. Please pray with me for both countries, Haiti and America.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 11, 2014

Game Plan Report Card

  • Writers Conference -
         I got in contact with two writer friends who have been to several conferences (respectfully, Johnnie Alexander, who gave me Jeff Gerke's wonderful book years ago, and my cousin Heidi Chiavaroli). They were both extremely helpful and more than willing to give tips. Much to my relief, they also gave the same basic advice: start at a small local conference, then go to the larger national conferences. There is a good conference near me next year, so I will save my pennies.
  • Learning the Craft -
         Thus far, my research has revealed that there are no creative writing classes at the college closest to my home, though I could take English or journalism. There is another college not far from my house that offers a creative writing class. However, the semester has already started. In light of this mess, I am currently doing what all former homeschoolers like me do very well: self-education. I am reading several blogs and books on the subject of creative writing. My goal is to compare different styles. There are TONS of materials out there. I've found books everywhere: the Amazon Kindle store, my local library,, and even an old textbook of a Hermione-approved thickness at Goodwill. I think I will be busy for a while, at least until I decide to take classes or not.
  • Writing Flight -
         Currently working out the details of the climax and the beginning. Since these are related, it shouldn't take too long. Stay tuned.
Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 5, 2014

Climactic Confession

     Benjamin came clean.

     To translate for all those who are unlearned in Writerese, this means that I spent a lot of time thinking about Benjamin's backstory last night and came up with good ideas.

     Praise. The. Lord. I think I finally have my climax. I'm almost afraid to say that, in case it turns out to be a dud. But, for now, I am giving thanks to the Creator of creativity for answering my plea.

     By the way, I was right. Benjamin is ashamed of his secret. Tsk-tsk. That one is gonna come back to bite him.

     And I wonder why my characters don't trust me.

Post Tenebras Lux!


Sep 4, 2014

Whovian Wednesday

     It's Thursday today. I forgot to post this yesterday.

     This summer at WOL, I started Whovian Wednesdays. I got a cheap eyeliner and drew tally marks on people's arms. Pretty soon, Whovians were wearing their Doctor Who T-shirts and carrying sonic screwdrivers on Wednesdays. One girl even had a fez. People who have never seen an episode of Doctor Who were asking me to tally mark their arms. It was fantastic.

     So, in honor of all the fun people who joined me in craziness this summer, I posted my article yesterday on Whovian Wednesday. I hope some of them read it and enjoy it. If you are a Doctor Who fan, I hope you will read it and let me know what you think!

     Here's the link: "The Weeping War: In Defense of a Doctor Who Adversary" @

     And to the left is a picture drawn especially for the article by the lovely Elizabeth Buller. She was so gracious to give her time and talent to this project. Isn't it great?

Post Tenebras Lux!

What's Happening and What's Not

     So, the game plan is doing well. I'd be a liar if I said that I've been keeping to the code perfectly. I was about 15 minutes late to the drawing board tonight because I was captured by a warden and a wolf king. But reading is good... right? (This is where you say, "No, not write. Sometimes write, but only to get your imagination kicking, not distract you! Too much read is not write." I blame the sock man.)

     It's really incredible how far I will go to not actually write. I catch myself wandering all over the internet and the refrigerator, losing my train of thought again and again. Imagination and creativity are difficult to catch sometimes.

     I wrote a bit of the story tonight: 140ish words. Most of my time lately has been spent in working out the plot. I have a crude idea of where I'm going, but that's it. I know the beginning (sorta) and the middle fo sho (well, pretty sho), but the end is definitely missing this important thing called "a climax."

     This is mostly Benjamin's fault. Let me introduce you to Benjamin. He has an imposing physique. His voice is deep as a drum, but gentle in tone. He was in love once, but he never married her. And he is apparently hiding a secret.

     Let me state, once again, that I love secrets. Especially in a story. But Benjamin's secret is driving me crazy. This character is tight-lipped. I know that once I figure it out, I will have an important piece of my climax. The threads are just so tangled! (I really do need to stay away from Google and the kitchen.)

     I tried conducting an "interview" with Benjamin the other night. We did not get very deep. Then I tried getting the backstory from his crush, but she was a brick wall. Tonight, I just straight up asked him, "Why won't you tell me your secret?" There was an awkward silence (and not just because Benjamin isn't real). He tried defending himself, but I had already caught it. Shame. He's ashamed of his secret. Why? I dunno yet. But I will find out. Ya'hear me, Benjamin? You better fess up, cuz I need to get this story written!

Yes. Yes, I had coffee. 

Post Tenebras Lux!



Sep 1, 2014

The Dreaded (But Necessary) Game Plan

     Well, I’m back. And what an adventurous summer I’ve had! For the last couple of months, I have been (yet again) serving at Word of Life. It was amazing. I was able to watch God work in lives in a way I never saw before. The people I served with were incredible men and women dedicated to making the name of Jesus famous. We survived and thrived through many tales worth retelling, though this blog is not the place to relate them. For me, it was a tremendous blessing to be at WOL this summer.

     Now that I am back home, I am working on the next steps in my journey. I have created a game plan to help, which I will now share with you (you being my loyal… loyalists… who keep me accountable and will hopefully and loyally smack me if I stray very far from my plan).

ST’s Not-Very-Complicated-But-Effective Game Plan For Writing and Publishing:
1. Go to a writer’s conference (or two or three). I’m in the process of researching this out. What I am mostly finding is that it costs a bucketful of cha-ching to attend any conference. I haven’t robbed a bank lately, so it might take a bit to save up enough to go. I am also looking for any tips on which conferences are the best, so if you’ve been to one, let me know.

2. Learn the writing craft. I know a LOT about writing, but learning more is always good. This step may be a process of just researching the interwebs, or I may take some classes. Don’t know just yet, but I am moving in this direction.

3. WRITE! Flight is still my current goal. I have developed a schedule to force myself to sit down and work on it. Basically, on every available night from about 9 to midnight, I will be the Princess of the blank page. I’ll go to bed at the stroke of midnight. I tested this plan last week and it seems to work well. I’m a  night owl, so my brain works creatively in those hours. The trick will be finding available nights, but my life is fluid enough to  this out.

     There it is, folks! That’s the plan. I will keep you updated as it continues to unfurl. 

     If you are a writer, what kind of plan do you have in place to help you get your project done?

Post Tenebras Lux!

Oh, P.S. I will very soon be posting the Doctor Who article I mentioned previously. I'm so excited about it. I hope you love it. The title is "The Weeping War: In Defense of a Doctor Who Adversary." Don't blink and miss it! ;)

Jun 4, 2014

People Come and Go so Quickly Here

     Life happens really fast.

     No, this is not an excuse for why I haven’t been writing. It is an explanation. Big difference.

     Right now, my life is very busy and will continue to be so for the next few months. Maybe it will calm down around October. Hopefully.

     I would love to say that I will continue to work on Flight and my other projects during this time, but I would be psyching myself out. So, once again, here is a pause in my writing journey. I may find time to do bits an’ pieces, but don’t expect much to be going on here for the next couple of months. It’s ok, not a huge deal, just time for traveling a different road for a bit. As I said, life goes quickly, so I’ll be back in a flash (Lord willing and the internet don’t die).

     See you in a while!

Post Tenebras Lux!

May 10, 2014

Confession Time: I am an Indecisive Creative

      After my last post, I opened my draft and wrote nothing. Inspiration just wasn't flowing. I was second guessing myself on everything from the plot to the characters. It was like ramming my head into a brick wall.

     I was still having doubts a couple days later. "What if I did it that way instead? What if I have too many characters? What if I change what I've already written?" On and on and on. Finally, I realized that I just have to MAKE A DECISION and run with it. And thus I discovered that I am a naturally indecisive person. I think it is good to know that about myself. Now I can control it better.

     In other news, I think I found some good from my long illness. All that Doctor Who watching inspired a speculative article, which I will be posting on when it is finished. It's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Cinderella would slap me if she heard me telling you my secret wish, but I kinda hope the article gains some attention. Maybe even inspires a future episode, if the idea hasn't already been uncovered. I dunno. That'd be cool. *insert dreamy stare into space*

     One more creative splurt: You know how people say stuff like, "It captured my imagination?" Well, I was thinking about that, and it doesn't really make sense to me. As a writer, I don't want to capture readers' imaginations. I want to set their imaginations free to wander over unexplored places, unsolved mysteries, and unknown universes. So, I made a picture with that thought. Feel free to steal it for your Pinterest or Tumblr.

Post Tenebras Lux!

May 4, 2014

Took a Sick Week

     I have been sick for almost a week. I think it was allergies, but since it lasted so long, I'm not sure. I absolutely hate being sick. Makes me feel so... unaccomplished. I missed meeting my favorite comic book artist on Free Comic Book Day. I used up a mountain of Puffs. I got my fill of Doctor Who episodes. I was supposed to be starting a two-week weight loss regiment, but I couldn't exercise. Most annoying of all, I have not written one word of Flight since my last post. I'm scared to check the post date. I suppose I could have written some this week, but I kept thinking, "I'll be better tomorrow." Then tomorrow would come and I'd be worse.

      Ugh. I really hate being sick. I am seriously so thankful for God's healing. Now, back to the black-and-white.

Post Tenebras Lux!


Apr 25, 2014

Birds of a Feather

     600 words on Flight today. I wish I could write more, but I'm working out the plot as I go. I have the middle of the story down pretty well, but the beginning is fuzzy and the end is totally wrapped in fog. That's bad, I know. I keep praying for creativity and reminding myself that Flight is supposed to be a fairly short book. Nanowrimo calls for 1,500 words a day, but I'm not trying to finish in one month. I have time. 600 words are MUCH better than nothing.

     My best friend called me last night. I told her I had been trying to write, but would gladly procrastinate to chat with her. I think she said, "Oh, you're writing your bird book, hu?"

     Dear bff, let me assure you that, despite any appearances, Flight is not a book about birds. But, seeing as how it is a story for you, I can add a bird or two in there, if you really want. ;)

     I usually listen to Pandora while I write. I've gone through phases of film scores and Skillet, but now I'm on an Owl City stretch (once again, the fact that an owl is a bird has nothing to do with my book). I really like "Hello Seattle" and "Embers." Music is so inspiring, even helpful. "Say Something" came up on the station, and I realized it perfectly described an incident in one of my character's past. Ever had one of those moments, writer friends?

Post Tenebras Lux!

Apr 23, 2014

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

     I wrote just over 300 words today. The amount is not very exciting, but I am excited because those words make up the current start of Flight.

     If you've been paying attention, you may be wondering why I suddenly started writing the actual story instead of character developing short stories. Well, I'm still developing characters. There was one guy (you can call him John) that I needed to do major work on, but his short story rolled out nicely and helped me really see him. Now that John is done, I only have one more character with a murky backstory, so I'm still working on him. Remember, I've been hanging with these characters for over a year, so I think I have most of them down pretty well.

     By the way, if you're reading my posts, thank you so much! You are keeping me accountable, motivating me to get this story written so I can tell you about it. Maybe no one is there and I'm writing to myself, but I guess the push to write comes from the knowledge that, even if no one cares now, someday someone may be encouraged by my words.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Apr 17, 2014

TEST- please disreguard unless your name is Dianne Murphy

Dear Mom,

Thanks for helping me with technical difficulties on this blog. I love you. I wanted to post something inspirational about our relationship, some quote that would make you go, "Awww!" But all the quotes  I found were so sappy. This is the only one that was truthful:

If at first you don't succeed,

do it the way Mom told you to in the beginning.

Apr 16, 2014

I'm Givin' All My Secrets Away... NEVER!

     If you check out my collection of favorite characters on my Pinterest board, you'll notice that most of them fall into one of two categories; they are either hilariously funny, or they have huge secrets. I've got Snape, the Scarlet Pimpernel, River Song, and several more. I love character secrets. I especially love discovering character secrets.

      So, naturally, I made Flight top-secret. It motivates me to write so I can share the story with everyone.

     Unfortunately, not everyone likes secrets. I'm beginning to realize that my sister and best friend may fall into this category.

     They are both complaining. After reading the part in my previous post that said, "I especially want to keep my sister and my best friend in the dark," my best friend declared (and I quote), "But the anticipation is such a burden!" My sister backed her up by saying that, "The book will be like blah and then we're gonna be like, 'Really? We waited for this?'"

     Yeah, secrets aren't really their thing.

     Now, to be fair, let me state that I do believe they are both just teasing me (to some extent). If someone were keeping a story from me, I'd say the same things. Probably.

     Anyway, they have been huge help to me in the past with book writing. They both provide great advice and ideas. I have nearly talked my sister's ear off many times, trying to verbally solve writer's block.I would probably get Flight done a lot faster and more efficiently if I included them in the details.

     But maybe that's another reason why Flight is top-secret. I want to prove to myself that I can do it on my own. Completely.

     Is that prideful? Probably prideful.

     I hope it's worth it. I hope they don't think the story is "blah." If they do... eh, I'm going to make like Scarlet O'Hara and "think about that tomorrow." I'm not nearly ready enough to spill my secrets today.

     Please excuse me while I go find more secretive characters for my Pinterest board.

Post Tenebras Lux!


Apr 15, 2014

Cooking With Cadi

     I wrote about 270 words today (not counting a recipe I typed up for a friend). The 270 were on a character development short story. It was slow going, but helpful in discovering more about the character.

     Now, before you give me a pat on the back, I have to confess my treachery. I stayed up until 1:00 am a few nights ago and wrote almost 1,000 words... but not for Flight. It was a completely different and unrelated sliver of a story that I was suddenly feeling inspired to write a couple pages for. Sometimes inspiration is like taking care of a child; fun, but not always controlled.

     I admit to being a little conflicted; I want to get Flight written so people can read it, but I also want to do my best. Trouble is, my best takes time. I still have a year and a half. I pray for creativity and disciple for my inspiration.

     Since I can't share my 270 words with you (top-secret, remember?), here is a copy of the other words I typed today. This is a yummy recipe and healthy to boot!

Broccoli with Garlic
Original Recipe by Greg Tingstrom, tweaked by the Murphy Family

2 lbs. broccoli florets
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbs. coconut oil (original recipe called for olive oil, but we use coconut)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. water
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I sometimes put a little less. It just depends on how hot you like the flavor.)

Cook broccoli until barely tender. (We steam a bag of frozen florets, but the original recipe called for fresh broccoli, cut and steamed.)
Place oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add garlic. Saute, stirring frequently, just until the garlic starts to soften. Add water, salt, and cayenne. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Place broccoli in a large serving bowl. Pour garlic mixture over it, mixing gently to coat. Serve hot or cold (we've never actually had it cold, so I don't know if what the original recipe says is really yummy).

Keep all vampires clear of the area, because that garlic is strong! Enjoy!  :)

Post Tenebras Lux!

Apr 12, 2014

What the Hattedsmileyball am I Doing?!

     Flight. I am doing Flight.

     And a million other things, of course. 

     Those other things include StoryShoutOut, childcare, hospitality, reading, counseling, studying, sleeping, exercising, teaching, cooking, procrastination, preparation, relaxation, worshiping, worrying…. Sorry, whew, I ran out of breath!

flight     However, as far as this writer’s journey goes, Flight is the current focus of my pen.

     Flight is the working title/code name of my new manuscript. I started working on it this past year (and last Nanowrimo). My previous book, the one I was working on when I began this blog, has taken a backburner. (This is because the characters are stubborn and refuse to give me a coherent plotline. I think they are upset with me because I dragged them through Nanowrimo 2012).

    secret smiles Flight is top secret. Whereas I have previously shared my drafts and ideas with close friends and family, Flight’s plot is going to be completely confined to my mind until its’ completion. I especially want to keep my sister and my best friend in the dark until then. They usually have huge influence in the stories I write, but I want Flight to be a special glimpse inside my imagination for them.

     What I can tell you about Flight right now is:

  • The genre will be Science Fiction.
  • The story will  not be very long; one or two short books at the most. 
  • I really want to have the story done before I turn 24, so I have about a year and a half. That might seem like a long time, but if you take another look at the “million things” list above, you’ll understand better.
  • Most of the research phase is done. Right now, I am working on character development. That mainly looks like short stories focused on each individual character, showcasing their past and present lives. I will be updating this blog as the work continues. 
     And so the Road goes ever on!

Post Tenebras Lux!

Feb 11, 2014

i Sees ALL youre Misteaks!

     A friend told me about a book he read that was written and (presumably) self-published by one of his friends. I asked for his opinion of his friend’s writing. He hesitated and then said, “He’s not professional yet. There were a lot of editing problems.” I cringed inside.

     Editorial failure is one of my greatest pet-peeves. The slightest mistake can pull a reader out of a story faster than a spelling bee stings. It degrades an author’s reputation as a reliable storyteller. It is the bane of suspended belief.

     I don’t know any writer who edits perfectly by themselves. Even I don’t. (Shocker!) Auto-correct only goes so far. Sometimes you just need another pair of eyes.

     Trouble is, most professional editors are super expensive. If you need someone to just go over the basics of your manuscript, please consider me. I am not a professional, but I do have a knack for spotting poor grammar, incorrect sentence structure, telling instead of showing, etc. 

     The best part is, since I’m not a pro, I won’t charge you anything for short stories or the first few chapters. If you have a long novel you would like me to edit, we can talk about that after the first chapters.

     If you would like me to edit something for you, or if you have questions, please email me at or contact me on Facebook.

Post Tenebras Lux!

"Cadi is a thorough editor with a keen eye, and found every mistake I missed. She provides compassionate critique and whips grammar, structure, and point of view into shape. Editing with her was an enjoyable experience, not just work. I'd recommend her work to any writer." 
                                         - Mirriam Neal, author of Monster

 "As a writer, being able to see through your reader's eyes is invaluable. Cadi does this very well indeed, and is excellent at examining the course of your plot and the usefulness of your prose. If you're looking for a roadmap for your revisions and a way to make every change count, I highly recommend Cadi."
                   - Jake Buller, writer