Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back at 2016...

This morning, I just slightly reviewed 2016… meaning, I haven’t gone back into my day-by-day journal to see exactly what 2016 entailed. Just hitting the highlights by memory, 2016 has seriously been a crazy roller-coaster of a ride.

- We moved into our new house
- Daniel (sibling #4) got married
- Christopher (sibling #2) got engaged
- Elizabeth (sibling #6) got a promise ring
- Samuel (sibling #7) gave a promise ring
- Helped with a ladies’ retreat in LA
- Headed up the Louisiana home-school convention’s children program (for the first time)
- Helped with Mississippi church camps
- Helped with LA flood relief

- Started working with children’s Bible Drills on Wednesday nights
- Read way too many books (something to the tune of 66 books)
- Bought my new laptop (and, in all of that, saw in an amazing way God’s faithful provision in my personal life)

- Published my first novella (Journey to Love)
- Published my second novella (Befriending the Beast)
- Published my first non-fiction work (Me? Teach Piano?)
- Published one short story (“Letter of Love”)
- Finished rough-draft for one novel (Journey of Choice), one novella (The Secret Slipper), and one short story (to be titled), ready for editing in 2017

- Went from 10 students in January to 30 students in December
- Moved into my (hopefully) permanent music studio
- Published “Surrender” piano book
- Started selling music on Sheet Music Plus
- Published over 30 individual songs on WAJN and SMP
- Recorded over 25 songs and published on YouTube
- Recorded my first Christmas piano album

I know that since this is all coming off my unreliable memory (ask my students how bad it is ;)), I am probably missing something. I realize I didn’t include the random photography and graphics design jobs I had nor the dozens of 3+ hour trips to Louisiana, but I think I hit all the big things.

2016 was an amazing year… but I would be lying if I said it was an easy year. Now, looking back on ALL that happened, I think it makes sense why it was a tough year. :) A lot of changes happened, particularly with my siblings. A lot of work has been done. And through it all, as I reflect, I can see how very faithful my God is; how much He has cared for me and helped me through this year. I have no clue what 2017 holds (Lord willing at least one sibling married and a few books published… ;)), but whatever comes up, I know Who holds tomorrow! Here’s to another exciting year!

What are some of your 2016 highlights?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Scripture Graphics 19

If I seriously evaluated every activity with, "Will this keep me from pleasing God?" then how different would my days look? my time be spent?

"At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:16-18
- Are we willing to stand, even if no one stands with us?
- Is it enough to "only" have God and His strength?
- Are we confident--not in this life--but that God will eternally preserve us?
- If I am the only one who will go, is that good enough for me to follow God's leading? Or will I only follow Him if my "network" is big enough, I have a good "support group?"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Is | Music Video

The title song for my Christmas CD ("Christmas Is a Gift") is just a pretty melody until you put the lyrics to it. Thus, I have created a music video with the lyrics so you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Don't forget, if you want the "Christmas is a Gift" digital album for FREE, you may sign up for your copy here (and share the link with friends so they can enjoy it too!).

Friday, December 23, 2016

Free Christmas Album | My Gift to You

Y'all!!! I am beyond excited about the secret project that I've been working on this past week -- one that, ONLY by God's grace and mercy, has been brought to completion and is now ready for you all as a Christmas gift!!

Yep! That's right. I have recorded my first Christmas Album. Oh, how I loved playing through all of the old favorites. AND, added to those we know well, I included an original Christmas hymn written by my talented sister, Elizabeth Tero (it also happens to be the title song).

For the next three days, you can reserve your digital copy of "Christmas is a Gift." I could send you to WAJN's website, BUT since you're all friends here, you can go directly to the sign-up link. ;)

Feel free to copy the image and share -- I want to give this gift to as many music-lovers as I possibly can!

If you're interested in knowing the complete song list...

And now... Elizabeth's lyrics to "Christmas is a Gift."

Christmas is joy, joy in our hearts;
God’s gift of joy, song of angels on high;
Heav’n came down, God smil’d down.
Christmas is joy, God’s gift of joy.

Christmas is love, what wondrous love;
God’s gift of love, as the gift of New Life;
God’s own Son, Love has come;
Christmas is love, God’s gift of love.

Christmas is peace, peace from above;
God’s gift of peace, as sin’s chains release.
Jesus’ birth, peace on earth;
Christmas is peace, God’s gift of peace.

Christmas is hope, hope for the world,
God’s gift of hope, the hope of new birth;
Christ’s own life, paid sin’s price.
Christmas is hope, God’s gift of hope.

Joy and love, Peace and hope;
Christmas is a gift – God’s gift to us.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Scripture Graphics 18

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men." Hosea 10:12-13
Even as believers, we need the reminder of how we sow and reap, because we can still fall into the trap of hardening our hearts and not seeking God, but trusting in our own ways.

As a new day begins, these verses are highly encouraging. I had exceeding abundant mercies to live by yesterday -- and those mercies are renewed today. They will be renewed tomorrow. Every day, God extends to us His mercies and His compassions to face what is in store for us.

Are we faithful to hold to this commandment among our family and friends, in our daily life?

To be a good minister is simply to remind others of God's truth. This means that I myself must know these truths, which in turn makes me a healthier Christian, because God's Word nourishes.
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12
It's not about "no man despising" the youth/young, but about me being an example in these things -- about knowing them and applying them so we can, in turn, lead others in these truths and be a good minister.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Interview with Ellyana | eBook giveaway

Remember, there's an eBook giveaway going on! Be sure to check it out here if you missed it.

As part of this giveaway, all of us authors are swapping interviews! So hop on over to all of our blogs and see what everyone has to say. :) 

Now that you've looked into all of the above authors... let's find out more about Ellyana!

Me: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Most people look at writers as if that's all they do. ;) So what are some of your top favorite things to do?
Ellyana: Being the oldest of 6, there's always something to do! Me and my brother enjoy doing voice-overs with our youngest siblings and yelling Shakespeare lines at each other from across the room or on long car rides. (to the bitter annoyance of our parents) But I will be found with riding horses whenever I get the chance. I love reading mysteries, Shakespeare, and historical fiction. I'm also a baker, archer, crafty-person, crocheter, and music player. (e.g Guitar, Piano, Tin whistle, and Ocarina) And I have a slight British accent because I watch too much Narnia and read far to much Shakespeare.

Me: Now, to explicitly writing. How long have you been writing?
Ellyana: I first started writing before I knew how to spell "fall".

Me: When did you first dream to become a published author? When did you realize that dream would become actuality?
Ellyana: Honestly I never thought my book would be published. It was my brother who said that this was a book that had to be out. (As well as the encouragement of some dear friends) I also thought that publishing was something scary that only adults, who knew everything, did. So, two years ago, once I realized how easy it was to publish, and how much I adore writing, I embarked upon the epic journey!

Me: When did you first get the idea for The Wings of Antheon? In contrast, how long did it take for you to write, edit, and publish it?
Ellyana: I got the idea, actually, from a toy I had seen when I was eight. It was a man with the splendid wings of a hawk. I loved the idea and added it to my world of imagination - which I entered every night, deep into the night. I wrote The Wings of Antheon because my friend challenged me to do NanNoWriMo a little over 2 years ago. I popped the book out in a hasty 4 months at only 40k for words. I thought it was fantastic when I first made it. But when I went back and read it again I realized that I had created a world that held a lot more potential. I knew it needed more. I fixed it up in another year and sent it to a PenPal of mine. She promptly delivered the Honey and the Hatchet, ripping my book apart and pointing out the Good and Bad. It was back to the drawing board for another year until I finally produced a book that I don't cringe at and actually can't think of anything else I could ever put in to make it better! Also the book doubled to 80k for words as the story plot grew so complicated that I needed to keep a separate book to keep track.

Me: Do you have any other works in the thinkings right now? :)
Ellyana: I tend to think of new ideas faster than my fingers can type! The Fall of Antheon is currently being edited. (no release date yet) And the last book for the trilogy The Five Thrones of Antheon is in the holding dock due to a new inflow of ideas that I haven't had time to put in. Some other works I'm hoping to begin after I finish the Antheon Trilogy is a series called Sage Land Series about a young Christian teen and her life in the boonies. (Drawing heavy inspiration from my own life out in the Blue Mountains with no neighbors that I can see) And one that I am super excited to start is Prince of Pirates, which will be about a young exiled prince named Reynold, his band of pirates, and the mystery of the French War that destroyed Reynold's life.

Me: Who most inspires you as an author?
Ellyana: An author named Chuck Black. I was so tired of reading books that were considered "Christian" and finding a dumb teenage drama with the name of God tossed in to slap the title on. I picked up Chuck's book, The Knights of Arrethtrea, with heavy skepticism. Needless to say, I was blown from my chair. His books were truly Christian and even had biblical references for some of the lines he said. And it's medieval with tales of daring knights. What's not to love!? I would finish each book challenged to become a warrior for Christ! I want to show people that you can write a wonderful book without anything gratuitous.

Me: If you could tell an aspiring author one thing, what would it be?
Ellyana: Write for the glory of God! If He lives in you than it should show in how you write.

Me: How does your relationship with Jesus Christ influence your writing?
Ellyana: Whenever I think of a problem that my character has I'm always solving it according to how Christ tells us. If it's bitterness, they need to forgive like Christ forgave us. If it's anger, they need to learn that love overcomes everything. If my character is running away from authority so they can rule their own life, they learn that it's so much harder to do it yourself. Humans were made for God. We all have that God shaped hole in our hearts.

Find out more about Ellyana's book here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I Wonder as I Wander | Music Video

This one was fun to arrange. It's a slightly different style than I have really done before. Given the haunting reflection of the words, the arrangement is more meandering, wandering.

Sheet music is available here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Secret Project!!! | Writing Update

After finishing the rough draft of Journey of Choice, I put it aside while I wrote a novella (yes! In just a few days, the Lord allowed me to complete a 17,000+ word rough draft!). I'm not quite ready to divulge what this "secret project" is yet, but if you'd like to play a game with me, I'm game. ;) 

Ever play "20 Questions?" It's where you try to get an answer by asking less than 20 "yes or no" questions. So...ask away! I'll answer any questions you ask, and I'll try to stay on top of them... I know that I'm not usually that great with replying to comments quickly, so sorry!!

Here's a hint: it is in an era that I have already used.

- - - -

As an update for Journey of Choice, last week I read through the entire rough draft. There is a LOT of work to be done with poor Nat. A lot of holes. A lack of arc. But there are some good things in it too.

As I read the draft and thought over the story line, I've been seriously praying and thinking about how to change some things up to add conflict and interest. I have an idea for the beginning; I'm not sure how it will change things up (besides majorly rewriting several chapters/adding some new ones), but prayers are GREATLY appreciated! Nat's going to take a lot of work before he's ready to be presented to the general public, and I know that I'll need patience and endurance... and wisdom! Recently in my Bible reading, a lot has been standing out about God's glory, and I definitely want God to be glorified through the message of Journey of Choice. And I realize that for that to happen, I need to be yielded to His direction. So again, I covet your prayers!! Thanks for helping me here!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Scripture Graphics 17

Twice in this Psalm is the reminder that God endures forever -- and both references come after the Psalmist acknowledge difficulty or dark times. He didn't stay focused on the sorrows of this world -- he turned his eyes upon God and His eternal kingdom. We should learn from this example and, when tempted to surround our thoughts with the dismal events of today, instead turn our focus to our eternal God and praise Him!

In writing "Journey of Choice," I definitely desire God's Word to have free course -- and have had days struggling to know exactly how to portray God's Word in perfect truth. I know this verse applies to preachers, but I don't think it would be taking it out of context to say that it is a good prayer for writers as well. We never know whose hands our books will fall into -- and oh how much we need to be surrendered to writing God's Word in accuracy so that it is glorified!

God not only has given us everlasting consolation (solace) and hope, but He also gives us daily comfort and stablishes us *today* to do every good word and work!

If God holds us up to His standard, would He have controversy with us? Do we pursue mercy AND truth AND the knowledge of God?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The First Noel | Music Video

I'm excited to introduce another first for WAJN. My first violin/piano video up on YouTube. This is one that I arranged for my sister (and student), Naomi.

Interested to hear: what instrument(s) do you play? While I play predominantly piano, violin is my main secondary instrument.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Scripture Graphics 16

The key to being holy and unblameable before God is not how many sermons we listen to, how many chapters in God's Word we read daily, how we dress, or what convictions we hold to. All of these are important, but if "I have not charity, I am nothing." How is our attitude towards those around us? We can do all "the right things" externally, yet be selfish, arrogant, judgmental, and unloving.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..." Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11a
God's timing is always best, because He is all wisdom and understanding. He sees that which we do not see; He knows all of the details of what surrounds us. Do we trust Him?

I know I've shared this verse before, but it does me good to be reminded to spend my day -- not just serving, but with GLADNESS. And then the latter half seems to be a key with how to do that -- because I can't sing praise to God and grumble as I work at the same time.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

30 Words of Thankfulness

For November, I decided to meditate on 30 words that I'm super thankful for. I shared the first fifteen on Thanksgiving Day. Here are the rest!

It's past Thanksgiving, but as believers, we should never stop being thankful! What are you thankful for!

Friday, December 2, 2016

More Book Fun! (Giveaway and Game)

Who's ready for some free books? If you're like me, the answer is a huge, "ME!" Always. I know. I can be pathetic.

Anyway... here's a chance for you to get some free books too. :) Seven other authors and I have gotten together and are giving away seven free eBooks this Christmas!

If you're interested, read on... it looks all sophisticated with "Rules" but it's not that hard. ;)

If you want to win one of these lovely thingies, choose one of the entry options and follow the instructions to gain a point. (Hint: you can enter with as many options as you like to increase your chances of winning.) The giveaway starts December 3rd and ends on the 20th, so you'll have plenty of time to enter. We'll pick eight winners at random and contact them before Christmas so you can have your eBook delivered whenever you like.

Authors and Books

So let's get to it. Click on the book title to read about it on Amazon, and click on the author to see their awesome bookish blogs.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Books I read - November 2016

Didn't I just do October's post? Wow! November wasn't a big reading month for me. I'm still in the middle of my book about writing and then a devotional book (so December's reading diet will be more than just fiction), but here's what I did get finished...

Click on the covers to read my reviews.

I also had the opportunity to read two books by young, aspiring authors. Since they're not published yet, I can't paste a review. ;) But they were fun stories set in the medieval time.

And now that I said "November wasn't a big reading month" then listed six books... two of them were novellas, and two of them I mostly read in October and just finished in November. And actually, the last week+ I've been fighting a cold, so that gives more reading time. Okay, okay... maybe I'm just making excuses. ;) I just read more than I thought I read this month. That ever happen to you?

The book I'm currently reading (and will probably finish today as I have three chapters left) is...

So... what did you read last month? What are you hoping to read this month? Any books you'd recommend? (not like my TBR pile isn't long enough as it is...)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...