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! ;)