Sunday, December 5, 2021

Peace...

Second Sunday of Advent - Love
The Second Sunday of Advent, we focus on peace

In the chaos of the world, we need to find our peace. The seemingly simple answer is to find peace in Jesus. While this is very true, it is not always "easy" for one to do.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 KJV

We do not always understand the peace that God grants us, but we need to trust it. Trusting God to provide peace is the biggest obstacle to get over. Once we do trust, the peace surpasses what we ever thought possible.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Isaiah 54:10 KJV




Friday, December 3, 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

NaNo no more just like the turkey...

NaNoWriMo 2021 Winner
Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo and sadly I did not finish the project I started on. I have worked on it though and I have direction with it. When the writer's block struck I switched over to working on the fiction writing. 

I have completed a good skeleton with the main story and developing some of the characters. I have also worked on another project that involves LOTS of typing.

The word count is on pointe, just not on one project. This is where I sit back and ponder if I accomplished what I wanted. The answer is yes and no. I wrote every day and have gotten further than I was. Unfortunately I did not finish the project I wanted to at least have in draft. I am not disappointed in writing over 55,000 words this month though.

In other news, I mostly took the holiday weekend off from the socials to enjoy some family time and to read a book that I was really looking forward to be released last Tuesday. I am only about 60% of the way done with said book so, I am not going to speak on it as of now. 

We had a nice Thanksgiving, it was a quiet one. Our annual bonfire will have to wait though because it rained. Adaption. When life presents different than you plan you adapt. (Not to mention, I have learned my plans are often the wrong plans. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Do you wanna build a snowman?
We did decorate this past weekend. I believe it is the most we've done in a few years. I still have the tree inside to put up. My favorite of the lights we put up is a snowman. If you know me, you know my love for snowmen. I am told it is because I was born during a blizzard that I have an unhealthy love for snow. I believe it is only looked at as unhealthy because I live in the south. ๐Ÿ˜…

Anyhow, I have snowmen in my decorations because I understand that having the amount of snow I crave in middle Tennessee just is not going to happen and even if it did, it probably would not be good. 

Wrapping up, congratulations to everyone that completed NaNoWriMo, that participated in NaNo, that developed the daily writing habit, or was just along for the ride. ๐Ÿ˜†

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Hope...

 As the Advent season begins, this first Sunday we focus on hope.

Hope - first Sunday

When we look around us, for some hope can seem far fetched. Our world has changed a lot in the last couple years. 

Our hope should not be in man. Our hope should be in the Lord. It can be hard to look up and see God when we go through life troubles. There are people that have financial, medical, housing, and many other concerns. 

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; For I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

Psalm 42:11 KJV

If hope is difficult for you to maintain, look to the Lord. Pray for Him to reveal Himself to you. Lean on God and trust Him.

"For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: Thou art my trust from my youth."

Psalm 71:5 KJV

Monday, November 22, 2021

Thankful Heart

A reflective time of year it is. 

I see that my book Advent A Journey of Preparation is enjoying it's first birthday today. I am thankful that the journey that took me to write it and publish has opened other doors and built confidence for me. 

My desire to be an author has been around since before I could actually write. When I was little I would sit in church and draw the sermon into a picture or a panel story, simplifying the message to what I understood at the time. (I wonder if my mother has any that she saved.)
 
Frostbitten Rose photocredit FTJ
I am very thankful I joined this amazing group of writers summer of 2020 that had a crazy idea to create a magical town in north Shropshire. While I had chaos happen and did not get to join the first anthology with my writing, I did get in on the second. The group has been AMAZING as a writer and I believe friends as well. 

I am thankful that Falling Through is published in Whitstead Harvestide A Speculative Anthology.

I am thankful to be back to consistently writing. Doing the blog (attempting to update every Monday) and the featured photo helps keep me on track. Every creative person has to have a schedule of some sort in order to function. Or at least it feels that way to me. ;)

I am thankful I have started taking photos again. They may not be award winning or even good, but it makes me happy.

Most of all, I am thankful for my friends, family, and you!

God has blessed me this year. It doesn't all look like a blessing, some of it looks like a lesson or even chastisement, but it is still a blessing.

What are you thankful for?


Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday Featured Photo - November 19, 2021

 

Jack Frost came visiting


This is my photo of the week. A visit from Jack Frost has sparked the muse a bit. Stay tuned to see what mischief he is up to. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Woah... where did Monday go? ๐Ÿคฏ

What day is it?
When the weekend gets a way from you and Monday disappears. Anybody else have that happen? 

(I can relate to Grogu so well in this meme that I found on google images.)

Anyhow... why did I lose track of time? What was it that has kept me so very busy that I lost a Monday of all things? 

I have been working. Sadly not on my books. But working nonetheless. I am unsure if you all are aware but the Holiday season is knocking on the door. Seriously, Thanksgiving is November 25th, Advent and Hanukkah both start November 28th, St. Nicholas Day is December 6th, Christmas is December 25th, and there are a lot of other days in the mix that people hold dear to their family or religious tradition.

So, I have picked up a second job to help. This weekend is when I started the job and as you can imagine, it wore me out. Hopefully in the next week or so my body will adjust and all will be well. ๐Ÿ˜„

Meanwhile, does having two part time jobs hinder my writing? Yes, and no. Am I actually typing things down and getting my word count? No, but the creative process is still flowing and I am taking notes on ideas and such. Then when I have downtime, I write. Plus, I am still working on the big project for my primary job that involves lots of writing. I really hope to get it finished soon so it will be behind me as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now then.

I have two books that I am part of that is available for sale. ๐Ÿ˜Š

For the Anthology we will be having a "kickoff" for the book this weekend. You can find out all kinds of information about the Whitstead community in Whitstead Events on Facebook.

Have you read anything that I have worked on? Please let me know. I love comments here and also reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Let your friends know that you love what you've read. ๐Ÿ˜

I am an affiliate of Amazon.com and the links to purchase the books listed will generate a small commission for me. Thank you.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday Featured Photo - November 12, 2021

 This week I have a hard decision on favorite photos, but I have made the decision. 


Inviting bench from a stroll in the park

That park bench sure does look inviting. ๐Ÿ˜„ It is easy to picture yourself sitting there drinking a nice beverage and reading a book.




Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Whitstead Harvestide: A Speculative Anthology

 Guys, I am so VERY excited to share this. I mean, over the moon excited! ๐ŸŒ

Whitstead Harvestide is the second anthology in the series. It is an amazing collection of stories that cross several genres.  I may be partial as I have worked with this amazing group for the last couple of months. My new short story "Falling Through" is featured in this book. (Yes, I am a COMPLETE fangirl here. You all must get a copy of this book and read it.)

From the cover --

"Whitstead, Harvest 1845

Whitstead Harvestide: A Speculative Anthology

Darkness slips over the village of Whitstead as the harvest season comes. Evil forces are on the move, threatening not only the town as a whole but individual hearts and minds. As All Hallows' Eve approaches, the veil between worlds begins to thin, and demons, vampires, dangerous fae, and madmen are not the only threat—spirits and ghosts loom near as well.

The barriers of time are crossed. Love is lost, won, and threatened. An exiled heir seeks audience with dragons. An ancient guardian faces his most dangerous challenge yet. Aliens seek lost equipment. A ghost must face unfinished business to find peace. A mother searches desperately for her lost daughter. A fawn faces defeat, and a terrible quest. The autumn queen of the faeries visits an old friend… And a cowardly boy must learn the power and courage of song.

Sacrifice and redemption. The value of children. Injustices confronted and overcome. Despair in the face of loss and the light of hope. The chill of the season and ultimate peace despite adversity as bounty and wonder touch Whitstead in autumn.

Thirty stories of struggle, courage, adventure, humor, loneliness, and family, myth and legend, home and homecoming."

About "Falling Through" --

"Falling Through" by Faith Tilley Johnson featured in Whitstead Harvestide

This short story is inspired by a series that I am working on. 

Chenoa Damhsรณir is a young woman with a unique ability, only that ability sometimes (okay nearly always) occurs unexpectantly. In "Falling Through" we will see her appear in a place that leaves her in a position where she does not know anyone.

The inspiration for the series that this belongs to is complicated. ๐Ÿ˜… It is difficult to share some of the inspiration without giving away spoilers. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let's see what I can do though. 

I have always been fascinated with the Cherokee peoples of Appalachia. My family has connections to the area as well and as muddled as our family history is, there are stories. A couple years ago I was looking into some history of the area and discovered the Du'Hare clan that had settled in the Carolinas.

The Du'Hare were large people. The chieftain or "king" was estimated to be 8'2" and his wife was right up there as well. They were not dark-skinned, in fact, they were ruddy and tended to have red or auburn hair. Based on the clan name, it is believed that there is an Irish connection. Based on the tools and location, there are hints of Viking ancestry. (Why am I explaining all of this when it is conjecture? Because it feeds into my inspiration.)

Anyhow... I will share more on the inspiration after you all purchase Whitstead Harvestide and read Falling Through. Come back here and ask questions, let me know how much you loved it, hated it, or were left wanting/needing more.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Magnificent Monday! not to be confused with Maleficent ๐Ÿ˜

 And before anybody else says it, my 16yo has made sure I am aware that my funny bone is not funny. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Maleficent - photo from disney.fandom.com
photo from disney.fandom.com
This past week has been hectic. I am not sure I can even pinpoint why. Perhaps because it is November. ๐Ÿคฃ

At the time of writing, I am just past 12,000 words with Nanowrimo. I ended up working on two projects because I got stuck. I learned in the past to always be willing to back up and punt. While this will definitely push back publishing "I Call Him Lord", I am still writing and working on projects. I will publish something in 2022. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Currently, I am working on making sure to have dedicated time to writing. Being consistent with what you are doing is very important. I strive to write at least an hour a day. That is not a lot when you think about it.  

Depending on the day, I get up and spend some time in meditation. For me, that is focusing on God and reading scripture. Then I have coffee with my husband as he is getting ready for work. Then I try to get some exercise in. This does depend on the day. I was up to 3 miles every morning until I twisted my ankle. ๐Ÿ˜ญ Since then I have tried to at least do a video workout a couple times a week. After that, I either go to work or start writing. On days I work I get my writing in at night.

Anyway, aside from writing and recovering my ankle I have been re-reading an old favorite. The Emerald Ballad Series by B.J. Hoff. I am on Book One, Song of the Silent Harp. It's funny because I first read it thirty years ago (literally the original publication was in 1991). What we remember when we read I believe is determined by what stage of life we are in. As a teen reading the series I didn't remember the potato famine and the horrors that were described in 1847, I remembered the love story that is not as blatant. Now as I read I have a different perspective and it leaves me in a different place.

You might be asking how can I write and read at the same time? It can get tricky. I normally will only read fiction if I am writing non-fiction. Normally. Right now, what I am writing versus what I am reading is not related. I am reading Historical Fiction and writing Fantasy Fiction in addition to Non-Fiction. There is a line though. You have to be very careful about maintaining your voice and your character's voice. My main character in the fiction I am writing has a very definitive voice, I doubt she could be affected. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

So, have a Magnificent Monday. Those writing I pray you meet all of your goals and then some. 

Much love!

(I make commissions off of my Amazon links.)

Friday, November 5, 2021

Friday Featured Photo - November 5, 2021

 I bet y'all thought I forgot to post today, didn't you?

Well, you are almost correct. I almost did. But alas, here is my favorite photo of the week... 

Mystery Snail?

Isn't he lovely?

Monday, November 1, 2021

November 1, 2021

WriterFTJ at nanowrimo.org

 Who all stayed up all night to get a jump on NaNoWriMo?

Who all got up early?

And who all is just here for the pictures? I will do my best at posting some. Just remember where my focus is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This year November 1 is the double-up day for NaNo. I will be honest, I am hard-pressed with this because I work a long day today. But, I am going to give it my best shot. The typical word count per day to complete 50,000 by November 30th is 1667. So for the double-up day, it is 3334. This is where it is VERY beneficial to have research and an outline completed.

Now, I will tell you a secret. Normally with NaNo, I fly by the seat of my pants. Fiction just flows when the muse strikes. But this year... I am doing nonfiction. I have an outline and research. This will help in the event that I get stuck. I can move on to another section. 

Nanowrimo is not for the faint of heart. Many people do not finish, or if they do the novel or book they write never sees publishing. I say this because I believe somebody out there needs to hear it. Because you can participate in Nano and not "win". I believe I have only "won" 3 or 4 times. I participate because I love the connections I make with other writers. It stretches you as a person, even if you are an introvert and only participate virtually. (which is pretty much what everyone is doing this year)

So, get your pen and paper or your laptop/PC, and let's get to writing! We can do this and we will do this! It will be fun. What are you writing about?


P.S. The number one purpose of NaNoWriMo is to have fun and while having fun be consistent in writing. It's okay if you don't "win". It's okay if you don't plan or do plan. It's okay if you work on something you've had sitting or to start something new. Do not stress. Have fun. Make some connections.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 31, 2021 - What will come?


 For the last 20+ years, in some fashion or the other, I have at least attempted to complete NaNoWriMo. Keyword attempted.

Last year I was doing really well with As It Comes Together until I happened upon an old project that I tweaked and published. (Advent: A Journey of Preparation) This year I am returning to another project that has been in the works for a long time. Read, lots of research, and should be fairly simple to pull together. Also read, help I need prayers that I will FOCUS.

I am seriously hoping that the focus will be there and I complete I Call Him Lord at least in draft form.

So, here it goes. NaNoWriMo 2021!

WriterFTJ on nanowrimo.org

P.S. Keep an eye out for an announcement this week!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Friday Featured Photo 10/28

 It's that time already.

This week I was hard pressed. I didn't take that many photos. But I have found one that I really do like.

Autumn trees

While the photo doesn't quite grasp the vivid color, it does highlight the autumn change. I love taking photos in the fall, the colors tend to pop and look like paintings.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday Mayhem... or not?

 Did everyone have a good weekend?

I tried to unplug over the weekend. I know that the insanity of November is quite literally just around the corner. You may ask what I mean by insanity, well of course mean National Novel Writers Month. I have participated in some way for 20 years. (Maybe 21) I haven't always won. I don't necessarily have evidence of my efforts either thanks to not learning about backing files up until too late.

BTW... BACK UP YOUR FILES.

Halfmoon Double Tail Betta
Anyhow, as I was saying. I tried to unplug. It was nice. Working on the organization of my office some more. (It's about time, it's been a year.) I did adopt a new pet. Those on Instagram probably saw the picture. He's beautiful. (I said I tried to unplug ;)) Still working on a name for him. The boys think Dave is a good name. I am thinking Muse. He is a Halfmoon Double Tail Betta. Isn't he beautiful?

I almost got a Stars and Stripes as well that was iridescent purple but felt that adding one would be an adjustment. Maybe after we get the routine down for taking care of this guy I will add another. Or not. We will see.

Halfmoon Double Tail Betta
The question then is why a fish? right? Did you know that the simple act of watching a fish swim around in its environment is relaxing? My goal for my office is for it to be a relaxing environment that exudes peace. Nature is peaceful for me. Worship music is peaceful for me. Meditation on scripture is peaceful for me.

What do you do to relax?

This doesn't sound like mayhem to me. For that, I am grateful as this week is starting. I am finishing this post up as I am getting ready to get my morning exercise in before I go to work. 

Remember that what you put out there will come back. As this week gets off, I pray that you find peace. Jesus is my peace, is He yours?

Friday, October 22, 2021

Friday Featured Photo 10/22

 I take a lot of pictures through the day/week/month/year. It's one of those things that helps when I am wanting to describe something later in a book or story. So, on Friday's I will share one of my photos that I love. ๐Ÿฅฐ


Purple clematis on cedar Fence


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Current Writing Projects

I have three main projects I am currently working on along with shorts and other things. I figure I will share a little about them. Note that just because this is what I share today, it does not mean they will remain. Writing is a glorious journey that takes one down many different paths.


I Call Him Lord
I Call Him Lord 

The first one I am sharing is a project that I have worked on over the last several years. I would do research and work diligently on it and then get distracted. It is nonfiction and about God. In the book, it will delve into who God is to us.

This project I am throwing as much focus as possible to currently. I hope to have it written in its entirety by the end of the year so it can go through edits and all this spring. Hoping to publish in May.

The cover may change between now and then, I'm not sure. I like this one right now but depending on how the end product of the book speaks, it may need to change.

Current Status:: Researched and Outlined


As It Comes Together
As It Comes Together

For the next project, those of you that have followed me for a while may remember that I was working on this one through NaNoWriMo 2020. I got quite a bit done and then I got distracted. I will finish it, but I need to put some more research into it and develop the characters some more. The intent is for As It Comes Together to be a stand-alone novel.

While there is some romance, it is a supernatural mystery. The main character works in a private investigator's office and, well... she learns more about herself as the mystery unfolds.

Current Status:: Researched, Outlined, Draft Started, Shelved 


Wanderer: A Kamama Story
Wander: A Kamama Story

Again, this one has been lulling around for quite a bit. Initially, it was just going to be a short story. As the plot has been developed and the main character developed, it will be a series. How long of a series, I am not sure. I will have substantial work completed before a publish date comes forth. (I hate reading a series that has years between novels, I want to know what happens.)

The Kamama are beings that have traits normal, or average, people do not. They are gifted. Not everyone has the same gift, either. One may be a seer, one a traveler, one a healer, and so forth. They have an amazing story that I can not wait to tell.

Current Status:: Researching, Character Development



Monday, October 18, 2021

2021 - The year that has gotten away.

 It's October 18. 

October.

18th.

Where has this year gone?

I mean sure. There have been struggles in the personal and family life that directly affect the productivity of the professional life, and I believe that family should always come first. But... OCTOBER? 18th?

Seems like this time last year I was full of hope and dreams and... ya.

We all know what 2020 and 2021 have been like. No matter who you are and where you live you have been affected. I pray you are safe.

Moving on.

I have found myself in a position where I can focus more on my pseudo-hobbies while still working at my place of employment. I am not teaching aside from homeschool my 16 yo at this point and am enjoying the ability to explore areas I have not in recent years.

My focus in my downtime is still writing. I have a project that involves lots of writing I am doing with my job and I am working on another non-fiction book. My next book has the tentative title "I Call Him Lord". The title is subject to change as the book comes to completion. It will be a full-length book and I pray I can get the bulk of it done in the next two months. I have researched off and on the last few years, so it is really a matter of pulling all the research together and putting it in the correct format.

Good Morning!

Once I have that book finished, I have one fiction book that at this time looks to be a stand-alone book and then another that will head a series. Both of these are WIP that has been set on the shelf for now.

Hobby-wise, I have decided to see if I can get back into crochet. I used to crochet as a child and when arthritis grasped my hands as a teen I quit. Just like cross-stitch and embroidery. I would like to return to those as well. :) I also sketch and do photography. 

Professionally, I am working on my graphic design skills. I taught desktop publishing for a few years and I want to get back at the top of my game with it. (It also helps with marketing and self-publishing.)

So that's my update for now. 

Faith

P.S. Don't forget that Advent: A Journey of Preparation is available on Amazon!

Friday, October 15, 2021

Preparing for Advent

 October 16, 2021 you can download the ebook version of Advent: A Journey of Preparation on Kindle for free. It will be available for 24 hours free.

I only ask that if you like it, order a print copy. Tell your friends about it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Get Advent: A Journey of Preparation here.


Advent: A Journey of Preparation