We Need to Read

As a Christian, we are called to live out of this world.  After all, it's not our home.  We are just travelers here, waiting for the day when we will be with our Father in Heaven.  Lots of books have been written and sermons preached about worldliness in the life of a Believer.  We have to beware of being too much in and like the world, for it can lead us away from Christ.

So why should we bother writing books?  It all will come to nothing, right?  Everything in this world will pass away.  Why waste our time?

If we are not of this world, then why should we bother reading and writing?  Have you ever faced this question before?  Have you ever had anyone question your writing (or even your reading)?

Reading saves us

God has given us the Bible.  This is not an accident.  We are to learn to read, to understand what we read, and act upon that understanding.  That is one of the means God uses to save us - His Word.  That's why we read the Bible daily, why we hear it read, preached, sung, and prayed on Sunday.  It's why we meditate upon it, day and night.

But in order to do so, we have to learn to read.  And then we have to practice reading, so we can read better.

Reading is a fact of life

When you're going to a friend's house, you have to look for their street sign.  You read labels to see what's inside the package.  A sign "do not touch the electric fence" can keep you from getting zapped.  "Wet paint" keeps you from siting down on a newly-painted bench.  And on and on...

Reading is how we learn and grow

When we need to learn how to do something, we often look it up on the internet and watch a YouTube video.  But until 3-5 years ago, people would buy instruction books.  Any bookstore you go to is bound to have a shelves of DIY books.  My family has lots of books where we can learn how to do things.

One shelf from the bookcase.

Horse things, running, publishing, chess...you name it!
And this isn't the only way books teach us things.  A novel can teach us new words.  Historical fiction can give us a closer look at what life was like hundreds of years ago.  Even contemporary fiction can provide a taste of what life is like in other sections of the world (or even in another state in the US).

Reading is an excellent activity for children

Everyone is always complaining about how children are constantly on their phones or playing video games these days.  They need to read more, people say.  Homeschoolers are especially notorious for reading a lot.

No one complains about seeing children sit around reading, right?  (Unless they have chores they're supposed to do...)
Not everyone enjoys reading or has an easy time of it

One of my sisters struggled with reading, and really had no interest in books at all until we came across the Dragons in our Midst series.  She sped through them, and started reading a lot more - going so far as to read books on her own that weren't even required readings for school.  :)

My friend Evangeline hated writing and was a pretty bad speller until she and I started handwriting stories together.  Her handwriting, legibility, and spelling all got waaaaay better!


I would argue that reading is not a waste of time.  We need to learn how to do it, and we have to practice it.  It's something we have to get good at doing.

(I will argue that if you read the same book over and over and over and read nothing else, than yes, perhaps that might be a waste of time...but that's just common sense.  We need to branch out and read new things!)

But all of this being said, there's an even bigger question.

What are we supposed to read?

Everyone talks about the good things that reading does, but what can we read?  I don't know if anyone has been to a bookstore these past few years, but a lot of the middle grade/young adult books just...don't look that great, y'know?  I can't tell you how many times I've grabbed a new book and found out it was cringy, boring, or plain awful.

With a countless number of books coming out that hold questionable content, a lot of people turn to older books (the classics genre) for their children to read.  And let me just say this...those often aren't that great either.  Either they're dull, pushing un-Christian agendas, or have immoral characters and scenes.

Honestly, a good read!

That book downright made me fear a lot of "classic" literature.

And even those classics that are nice (who doesn't enjoy a little Jane Austen now and then??) can loose their enjoyment when re-read over and over - not to mention it's rare for boys to enjoy them.  And they need good books to read, too.  Hardy Boys are great, but what did I just say earlier about re-reading?

So to all you people who might scratch your heads and wonder why we write, who think we're wasting our time, who think that our books will never amount to much...

We're writing for you.  We're writing for your children.  We're writing for those like us who want good literature.  We're writing for ourselves.  We're writing because we want to honor God by writing good literature.
Perhaps our books will never be seen sitting near the front door in bookstores.
Perhaps they'll never get made into a movie.
Perhaps lots of people will never even read them.
But some people...maybe 10...maybe 100...maybe 1,000...some people will find our books.  And they'll be so excited to have something new to read, something to enjoy reading without worrying about content.
That's why we write.

So I Failed (a blogoversary)

Apparently I messed up the date for my own blogoversary post (I thought it was next week??), but oh well.

Saver of Memories has been up for around a year, and the only thing I have to say about that is, "I'm sorry guys, I failed."  I'm still around.  My apologies that you've had to deal with me for so long, and it looks like it's not stopping here.

A year ago, Sarah and I decided to start blogging.  I can't quite remember why, tbh.  It just kinda happened.  But it's been nice.  The other bloggers are so nice and wonderful, and I love getting to hear about all these new stories that are in the works!

To celebrate this, um, celebration, Sarah and I are hosting a giveaway.  It includes some little jars filled with writing prompts and word crawls.  You can use them for whatever you want, really, but that's just what will be inside them when you get them.  And then the two notebooks.  Those are really pretty.  (I'm contemplating not shipping them and just hoarding them for myself, but shhh! don't tell Sarah!)  Lastly, there will be a tote bag, made by Sarah herself, to carry all those writing materials that you always have to have on your person.
Check out Sarah's post for pictures.  (Evangeline Diasimah offered to take the pictures, but for some reason neglected to send them to me...)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to all you lovely folks who follow and comment and encourage!!!  You guys are the best!!

What Have I Learned?

When I first started writing, I honestly knew nothing.  I didn’t know what in the world I was doing.  I was simply given a laptop, and I planned to type up a little story - just for fun.  I didn’t do any prep.  I didn’t have a plot.  I didn’t even have spell check (scary, I know).  And then I decided I wanted to publish said story.


I didn't research things.

I just wrote.

Eight years later, I like to think I’ve gotten a little bit better.  I don’t just wing my stories.  I have a decent word processor (with spell check!!).  I even have (slightly more) realistic plans of publishing.

So how have I grown as a writer?  Let me count the ways...

I start a new paragraph every time a character talks (and, as a bonus, when the subject changes!)

I no longer have people with guns randomly showing up in a fantasy novel (please don't ask)

My characters act their age (because when I was 12, a 17 year old was old and very much an adult)(now that I'm 21, I think 17 year olds are practically children)

No longer are the characters copies of myself and my friends

There is actually decent worldbuilding (or at least attempts at it)

I start each story knowing, more or less, where it is going to go

I actually finish stories I start (mostly because of the above point)

I know what steps needs to be taken to actually get published (or at least, more than I knew when I first dreamed of it)(thanks to GTW)

There is a larger variety of characters (not just a girl trying to prove she’s better than boys, and the guy with anger issues) and an even greater variety of weapons (cause not everyone uses a sword, y'all)

I know for certain that I have no clue what I’m doing (and thus am constantly learning)

What have you all learned after writing for a while (be it years, or just weeks)?

2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Confession time: I hate flash fiction.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I actually really enjoy reading it.  There's something amazing about these tiny little stories, crafted in a thousand words or less, sometimes inspired by just a brief sentence or a single picture.  Not only that, but flash fiction can be written in a single sitting.  It can be read in a matter of minutes.  And it still is compelling.

What is there to dislike?  Yet, for some reason, I cannot stand writing flash fiction.

Me attempting to write it usually goes something like this...

Step One:  Oh, fun!  A prompt!!!  *reads prompt*  Wow, I can't wait to create a cute little story out of this!!

Step Two:  No ideas.  None whatsoever.  *thunks head repeatedly on desk*
Step Three:  Finally!!  I think I know where to take this prompt...  *types on laptop for a while*  *checks word count*  Whoops, I just wrote a novel...
Despite this problem, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, hosted by Rosalie Valentine.  Because what better way to get good at something than to just go ahead and do it, eh?  So enjoy my flash fiction, found below.

The horse was tall, with hooves the size of dinner plates. His eyes, small and brown, hid beneath a thick, curly mane. He was every bit of magnificent the trader claimed him to be.
“The deal is off."
My voice rasped through my dry throat.

“This isn’t what I expected.”
“Nonsense!” Jayke nearly dropped the lead rope. “This is what you wanted me to find for you, Tessa! You said you wanted a beautiful horse, black as the night, and easy to ride. I’ve found this one for you. Now where’s my money?”
I suppose it served me right for bargaining for horse traders. You never knew what exactly you would end up with. “Jayke, you must be playing a trick on me. I can’t ride that horse! I can’t even climb up on him! I never thought I would have to tell you “make sure he’s a good size for me” when I gave you my criteria for a new horse.”
The beast stretched his mouth open in a yawn, clearly bored. The horse beside him, a lovely little chestnut mare, pricked her ears forward in my direction.
“What about that mare, Jayke? I wanted a horse like her - something small and pretty.”
“But that’s not what you said!” Jayke scratched his gray beard, almost confused by my sudden distraction. “You wanted black and easy to ride. I brought you this one. Give me the money and if you don’t like him you can trade him off yourself!”
The money bag clung to my hand, but the horse trader snatched it from my grip, leading the mare and a few other horses away. I wiped my hand on my shirt, then again, trying to dry the sweat away. The black horse stood still as a stone at the hitching post, ears pricked in my direction. I turned away, a pit in my stomach. I knew the risks, and still I had dared hire a trader to find me a horse. Could I really have expected a better result?
“Scared, Tessa? Perhaps I’d better walk you home.” Tink’s sneer could be felt all the way across the road. He lounged against the door frame of a shop, a half-eaten apple in his hand. “That horse would likely eat you alive if you got close. You practically shrink in his shadow!”
“I’m not scared!” The words escaped my lips before I could catch them. “Why don’t you ride him yourself, if you think he’s such a dangerous horse!”
Tink merely took a bite of his apple. “He’s just a plow house. No spirit or speed in him. It’s embarrassing to even be seen near him. No one rides plow horses, Tessa. You should have gotten one of those little horses from the East, or even a smoother horse from the mountains. Much better suited for you.”
He was right. But I wouldn’t let him have the satisfaction. “I just wanted something beautiful and black. That’s what I told Jayke. This is what I got.”
“I’d say he got the better end of that deal.”
Maybe. I studied the horse for a moment. No saddle. No bridle. Just the halter and a lead rope. And my wounded pride.

I untied the rope and tossed the end over the muscular neck. The horse barely blinked as I ducked under his chin to tie the other end of the rope to his halter, making crude reins.

“You’re actually going to ride him?” Tink arched an eyebrow. “Have fun with that.”

Despite weighting hundreds of pounds more than my skinny frame, the horse moved sideways at the poke of my finger. He patiently watched as climbed onto the hitching post, and from there onto his broad back. I picked up the reins and hesitated. The ground was quite a long way down.

Tink snorted. “What are you going to do if there isn’t a hitching post around to use to get up there?”

“Guess I’ll just walk.” I didn’t even bother to wave goodbye as the horse plodded up the road. If I squinted, I could almost see the ground shake as he set down each great hoof. If I fell and ended up underneath him… I peeked over my shoulder. Tink was watching.

I clicked my tongue, and the horse easily moved into a trot. If the ground wasn’t shaking before, it certainly was now. Window panes rattled as I rode along the street, and children jumped out of the way, staring in surprise from the safety of their front porches. When I reached the edge of town, I grabbed a handful of mane and tightened my leg grip. The black horse jumped into a canter, his neck arched and hooves pounding the dusty road back to the farm.

Laughter rose to my lips, surprising the last shadow of fear away. I had been afraid for nothing.

This was the best deal of my life.

My prompt...

So, do I have a future in writing flash fiction?  Is it possible for me to actually write something that doesn't have horses in it?  Hmmm...no on both counts, I think.
Also, be sure to check out Rosalie's blog later this month for the epic wrap-up post, where you'll get to read tons of flash fiction!!!

Horse Problems

We love throwing problems towards our characters, don't we?  We all complain, "Our poor hero - all these things have happened to him/her.  Maybe I should go add a few more..."

Well, look no further!  I have a list of a few more problems you can give them, and they all center around horses (because I'm a horse person, if you didn't know that already).

As the average horse person knows, things with horses don't always go as expected.  As writers, we can use this to our advantage...
Your MC needs to ride to the rescue, or bring some important news, or even just happily ride off into the sunset.

Let's go ruin that moment, shall we?

Option 1
The poor character (hereafter dubbed PC) grabs the nearest horse and swings into the saddle to go dashing off...only to discover the horse is extremely lazy and only offers a half-hearted jog.  Despite lots of kicking and shouting and slapping from the PC, the horse makes little effort to go faster.

Option 2
The PC has started their epic gallop...only to discover they should have checked their girth before swinging so dashingly into the saddle.  Now, as they streak across the plain, the saddle begins to slide to the left...and slide a little more...a little more....

Option 3
After a few steps, the horse begins limping badly.  They may be missing a shoe.  Maybe their toes are long and they need a trim.  Perhaps they are sensitive to the rocky ground.  In any case, this horse is in pain, and should not have been picked for this important ride.

Option 4
This horse is not trained, and really has no clue what the PC is asking of them.  They may attempt to buck their rider off, or just stand stock still in confusion.  They may go alright, but stop?  No....  Turn?  No....

Your MC is attempting to show off - maybe to their love interest, someone they look up to (like their mentor), or just some casual passers by.

Option 1
The horse sees a tasty patch of grass and jerks his head down in an attempt to get a bite.  The rider is jerked forward, almost toppling out of the saddle, and begins a tug-of-war to get his mount's head back up.

Option 2
Nature calls.  The horse decides it needs to use the restroom (which for horses is basically anywhere they feel like it).

Option 3
As the PC puts on a broad smile, attempting to be cool and casual, their horse sees something in the shadows (probably a saber-tooth tiger) and leaps into the air, terrified, and attempts to gallop to safety before being eaten alive.  The PC may or may not be left behind.

Option 4
The PC swings out of the saddle with great horsemanship, ready to confidently strut to said person they are attempting to impress, when the horse sneezes, sending horse boogers all over the clothing of the PC.

Option 5
As they canter along, perfectly in snyc, like the lovely team of horse-and-rider they are, the horse trips over his own feet and staggers forward...

There's a wild, beautiful horse running free in a field, or maybe kept in a stall, or tied to a hitching post.  No one can ride him.  The PC tiptoes up, a small smile on their face.  "I'm good with horses," they say softly, and prepare to make the horse their own.  The horse will likely snort or rear a few times, but then he'll behave like they have some deep, mysterious connection.  Who knows...give him a week or two and he'll probably know a few tricks.

Option 1
The horse takes off leaping and bucking.  He's never been ridden before, and a human sitting on his back is a lot like some mountain lion up there, trying to eat him.

Option 2
The horse doesn't know what's expected of him, and refuses to move forward.  He doesn't rear, he doesn't buck, just...doesn't move.  He's not stubborn, just confused.  How is he supposed to move around with a human sitting on his back?

Option 3
So maybe the horse doesn't buck that PC right off.  But if they've never been ridden before, how do they know basic horse manners?  Like, stopping, turning, standing for mounting, not kicking other horses behind you, or running over those in front?  That poor horse just doesn't have a clue.  At least, since he's behaving well, the PC can continue to ride him and give him those miles he needs to learn how to behave decently.

Option 4
Before the PC even gets a chance to get close, that wild horse spins around and delivers a powerful kick, sending our hero flying through the air...

 A Non-Comprehensive List of Other Things to Throw at your Poor Character
  • Tack problems - maybe a rein gets unclipped, a girth snaps, a bridle breaks.  Trust me, it's not totally unrealistic for something to happen in just the wrong moment...like a rein breaking while you're galloping, or a loose girth to cause the saddle to slip.  If the saddle doesn't fit the horse, it can either slip at the slightest movement, or pinch the horse, possibly causing bucking, biting, or at the least, soreness and a grudge.
  • Water.  I know three horses (all are retired show horses, so that might be the cause or just a coincidence) who never drink when out on a trail.  No matter how hot it is or how long the ride, they will not drink until they are back home.  Horses can get dehydrated, too, writers!!  Make sure they're drinking - or not drinking...
  • Sometimes horses get along, and sometimes they don't.  My TWH can be best friends with a number of horses...then put him with a certain Haflinger and suddenly there's a fight to the death.  And you can never tell when horses will get along and when they won't.
  • Horse are trained differently.  You can get along great with one horse, and then swing onto another and have no idea how to get him to turn, stop, go fast, etc.  Generally, horses are trained to do such things in similar ways, but you're always going to come across that one horse that is totally different.
  • Stirrups.  Every person has their own set stirrup length.  It depends on their style of riding and comfort levels.  And when you ride someone else's horse, or jump onto a random horse, the stirrups must be adjusted accordingly, or else....  An old saying goes "If your knees hurt, your stirrups are too short.  If your butt hurts, your stirrups are too long.  If everything hurts, your stirrups are just right."
  • Horses move differently.  There are gaited and non-gaited horses, plus draft horses and ponies to think about.  Each horse has their own particular way of moving, usually related to their breed, but also their distinct personality.  They might be smooth, bouncy, fast, slow.  They might mix up their gaits.  They can be clumsy or surefooted.  But, believe me, a rider can tell the different, and if you're used to riding one way, a different way is sure to feel weird, and possibly make for a miserable journey.
Have I missed anything worth nothing?  Have I inspired you to add some more horse antics into your stories?  Or are you now afraid to even ride one yourself?