I’d rather be just about anywhere else, but Jake wanted to come this morning, and I’m sick of arguing with him. Don’t have the energy to fight. I hardly do these days. It’s a blessing, I’m sure, or else I would have said some nasty things by now. Not the kind of things you apologize for in the morning when you wake up and your mascara’s caked onto your face and your eye sockets are so puffy and black you’d frighten a raccoon. I’m talking about the really bad things. The things that destroy couples, even ones who haven’t gone through half of what we have.
Four hundred and fifteen points. I added it up once. I found this quiz online, and it’s supposed to tell how much stress you’ve gone through in the past twelve months. Getting married, that’s a hundred points right there. Pregnancy racks up another sixty, which is half of what you get when you add a roommate, and in the past year I went from living by myself to sharing a trailer with two adults and a newborn. Fifty points for moving? Yeah, does living in a hospital room count?
There was even a category for serious illness in the family, which added on another eighty tallies. As if getting married is more stressful. Of course, serious illness could mean anything from measles to cancer. Whatever psychologist or clickbait-hungry web designer invented the quiz, what would they know?
Earlier this week I blogged about my grandma's prayer legacy, and I mentioned that the character Grandma Lucy who first appears in Turbulence is based off her.
Today I'm sharing a snippet from Turbulence that will give you a little insight into the boldness of Grandma Lucy and why so many fans of the Kennedy Stern series have grown to admire Kennedy's new friend.
For the past couple Christian Fiction Friday posts, I've talked about this recurring character that shows up in a lot of my novels. I'm not talking about someone like the mysterious red-haired journalist who keeps popping in (who IS he, by the way?!). I'm talking about the same character type that seems to show up no matter what I'm writing.
She's always smart, worldly, a full of life, and she always is the roommate of a tamer, more introverted main character.
A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Willow, Kennedy's everyone-learns-to-love-her-in-spite-of-her-weird-hair-styles roommate in the Kennedy Stern series. Last week, you met Mee-Kyong, the feisty, street-smart North Korean inmate from The Beloved Daughter.
Today, I'm sharing a snippet about Chun-Hee. Never heard of her? That's probably because she belongs to my Agent Ko spy thriller series, which is published under a slightly different name since the characters are grittier and the story lines more intense than an Alana Terry Christian fiction novel.
But ... surprisingly or not ... Agent Ko finds herself indebted to a roommate who's like Willow with black hair or Mee-Kyong outside of a North Korean prison camp.
For last week’s Christian Fiction Friday post, I introduced Willow to anyone who hasn’t met her yet. Willow is Kennedy’s roommate in the Kennedy Stern Christian suspense series, but the worldly roommate who takes the new fledgling under her wing is a recurring type in a lot of my novels.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Mee-Kyong. If you’ve read Slave Again, you know her story in full, but right now in The Beloved Daughter, readers are only just now getting introduced to Chung-Cha’s feisty roommate in a North Korean prison camp.
I love hearing from readers about Kennedy's roommate Willow. A lot of people say things like, "I'm actually surprised, but I like her a lot!"
Willow is Kennedy's foil and the perfect opposition to her high-strung personality. It's hard to picture two college students any less alike, yet their respectful coexistence morphs into true friendship.
The funny thing is I've discovered a character like Willow in every one of my series to date. A few days ago I blogged about The Author's Subconscious and the times I've surprised myself by recognizing recurring characters or themes in my books. Usually, I can pinpoint where those personalities came from, but in Willow's case, I'm perfectly clueless.
As far as I know, with the exception of a cabin-mate during a two-night orchestra camp when I was in junior high, I never developed a deep friendship with someone like Willow, but the feisty, worldly roommate who jumps in and takes the more prudish newbie under her wing shows up in the Kennedy books, The Beloved Daughter, and my Agent Ko Spy Thriller series.
I've said it before, but I don't mind saying it again. The thing I love most about Kennedy Stern from my Kennedy Stern Christian suspense series is that she is always growing. She's being constantly stretched, her worldview is constantly expanding, and she's slowly gaining that maturity she lacked in chapter 1 of Unplanned when she made her way to Pastor Carl's pregnancy center for the very first time.
It's not just her view of the world that's expanding either. Kennedy's faith is slowly growing, slowly gaining momentum. Included in that is her prayer life. This conversation from book 4 in the Kennedy Stern series really stands out to me because it speaks so much about our own prayers and quiet times. I actually heard a pastor preach the same thing the camp speaker told Kennedy so many years earlier, and I think a lot of us have fallen into the same trap she did.
Kennedy knew she should pray but lacked the spiritual stamina to do so. As a little girl, she’d once gone to a Christian summer camp where the speaker shared a story about what happened when he told his atheist friend, “I’ll be praying for you.”
“Why?” the atheist wanted to know.
It’s time for another scene straight from the morgue file! Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as macabre as it sounds. The morgue file is where I keep deleted scenes that didn’t make it from the first draft to the finished product.
This scene is from the story that is currently kicking me in the pants. I mean ... the story that I'm currently working on.
It’s Friday, and I don’t think I’ve been more ready for the weekend all year! My husband took off for a week for some much-appreciated (and needed!) encouragement at a pastor’s conference. I’m grateful to say the boys and I survived the ordeal but were thrilled to have Dad back home.
Writing’s been a little strange this week. The boys are on spring break, which means we’re cutting back on homeschool stuff and the kids aren’t involved in electives at the public school. I’m also taking some time off my current project to take care of some edits and behind-the-scenes sorts of things.
The good news is I have the next Kennedy book off for its first round of edits!
I've been working on a project that's pretty drastically different from my normal Christian suspense titles, and even though I'm a little gun-shy about releasing full details, I do want to tell you I've got something new I'm trying and I really hope you enjoy it when it comes out!
Since this is a new feel for me, it's a little more slow going. In fact, last week I realized about twenty chapters in that I needed to do a complete revamp. I used about 15% of what I'd already written and the rest landed in my morgue file - that little file in my computer where deleted scenes go to die.
I'm feeling excited about my newest project. It was giving me problems for several weeks, but I think I've finally found a groove that (Lord-willing) will carry me through to the finish line with this one!
Today I'm including a short snippet from my very first novel, The Beloved Daughter. If you haven't read it yet, you can grab it (and other religious/inspirational fiction titles) off of Instafreebie. It's totally free.
No, come on seriously. Go grab it. And find a few other favorite authors while you're at it! Need the link again? Click here to see what free Christian fiction titles authors are offering.
And now, the excerpt. The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha, a twelve-year-old girl thrown into a North Korean prison camp. This scene may give you a hint as to why she was sent there.