Author Archives: sarahb5149

About sarahb5149

When tasked with how to describe myself, I get quiet, leading people to believe that I am trying to come up with something deep and meaningful. In fact, I am trying to decide which to display without confusing them. I'm a Christian. And that doesn't mean that I simply say it - I love the Lord and have figured out over the years that He knows what He's doing, even when I am stomping my feet or looking at Him like I have no clue what is going on (*hint* it happens more than I'd care to admit). Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a wee lil' thing; I kept my first poem in all of it's stammering, unevenness. Wife and mom, daughter and sister, aunt and Sunday School teacher, I adore the roles that God has given me. A bit of a sci-fi nerd, geek and self proclaimed dork, there isn't much that I won't try at least once...unless it involves mayonnaise because that stuff is just gross.

10 Years

What if you only had ten years left to live? Or three? Would you change how you are living—who you spend your time with? Would you take the time to hang out with your friends over a cup of coffee and some pie? Maybe carve more time out to hang out at your niece’s piano recital? Sit next to your dad while he watches his favorite television show?

God doesn’t give us any warning about our lives. No buzz shock before a broken heart. There are no flashing lights before our earthly bodies fail. So, are you doing what you want to be doing in life? Are you finding joy in the small things God plops into your lap?

crazy

Years ago, I went to my first writer’s conference. It was overwhelming and strange. One person alone gave me encouragement. And so I walked away. Fast forward twelve years, when I went to Mount Hermon. Again, not much support. Last time I went, I didn’t seek support, just to learn and that was what I needed.

And then it hit me. Although I’ve heard the cliche “do what you love,” I was pounding myself into someone else’s box. Now, my embers are kindled. Still don’t have a book contract with my sarcastic fiction, but I have jumped some hurdles: I have won some contests, signed with an agent, and finally feel like I am doing what I love.

My dad is my reminder to run the race (with endurance!) that God has set before me. I don’t want to give up before I cross the finish line. I work toward the goal, even if I’m crawling. And my race is different than yours. I’m learning exactly what endurance means.

race

(image courtesy of jesusandcoffee.com)

This week has reminded me, like a Gibbs slap to the back of my head, to focus on what I love to write, not be a performing monkey.

If you need me, I’ll be fiddling with my stories.

 

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wink

That was totally boring.


Tooting My Horn!

There is an odd little thing about being an author. Well, there are several, but this blog post will focus on self-promotion. I hateses it. It is akin to having to take professional pictures.

 

Jungle web

 

In order to get my name out there and to help my skills, I enter writing contests. It’s a tricky business because you usually have to pay up front and when you’re writing as a hobby, you have to look at is as an investment. Personally, I pick contests that give me feedback from judges. While I may not agree with their comments, it certainly opens my eyes to the possible plot holes and character faults.

 

During my recent hiatus, I had the pleasure of hearing back from a couple of these entries:

 

wizzel-announcement.jpg

This one is a short story that has so much of me in the lines. It is scheduled to be printed in an anthology (group of short stories) next year.  I’ll let you know about the release date as soon as I know!

 

Ironically, another story of mine will also be published by ACFW Houston soon, in a separate anthology. While “Katrina in Wonderland” wasn’t a finalist at the time, they asked to include it in the publication. Guys…it’ll be the first “real” book with my name on it!

 

Jars of Clay emotion

 

Then, this just happened:

Rattler announcement

Totally out of left field! I entered the suspense category for two reasons: I couldn’t enter the YA category because my fantastic agent was the guest judge and I wanted some feedback on this new genre. Slap me with a fish when I received this!

 

So, I now consider my horn tooted.

 

Have you ever entered any contests? Besides Publisher’s Clearinghouse?


An Alignment

This life, mine or yours, has times that aren’t easy. There are parts when everything is lollipops and unicorns. And days (or months) that downright suck—whether it’s one reason or a dogpile of suckage.

 

I’m not going to air my absence on this blog or Facebook. Heaven help me when I read the verbal diarrhea some post. Edit, people. I don’t need to know you were blowing chunks this morning, or your UTI.

 

han

 

Pastor Jim said something that caught my attention: “It is entirely possible to hear the Word of God and have it go in one ear and out the other.” Those words prompted this return blog post.

 

Further back in the book of John is one of my favorite verses. No, not John 3:16, you cheaters. It’s John 16:33:

 

John 16

 

Tribulation? Big “Christian” word alert! It means “bad stuff.”

 

Yup. No easy button. As a matter of fact, there’s NOT an option to skip the bad parts.

 

The best part of that verse? “But.” Jesus isn’t going to let you swing in the breeze. He will give peace and courage. I don’t know if your troubles are quick and painful days of barely getting by, or if you are watching a loved one suffer. Peace and courage for those times.

 

Don’t be the five-year-old who reads John 16:33 and it drops out of your ear when you turn your head. Forget the easy button.

 

easy

 

Quit being the backseat driver. God’s got this—even when the car rams the curb. He totally means to do that, because your life, and my life, needs an alignment.

 

muppets


Suicidal Butterflies

Part two of my Realm Makers trip!

So I left off with random Converse. Here are some random people during a break.

RM

 

Met up with my critique group for dinner. We take great pictures.

Also was able to spend time with my closest writerly buds, Hannah Prewett and Rosemary Johnson

Amigas

Don’t let this picture fool you. They are waaaaay dorkier in real life:

I had the chance to meet with a handful of editors and get to send in some manuscripts for consideration. No, I won’t say who or how many, thankyouverymuch. Took a couple of classes and left partway through the closing session with the keynote speaker, Ted Dekker. Now, since the conference has ended, there are a metric ton of things flying around about people’s thoughts on his sessions. I, for one, thought they’d be more centered around writing. But hey, not everyone will fit into a box. And if there’s one thing everyone attending Realm Makers can agree on, it’s that Ted Dekker fits in no box.

I stayed up waaaaaaay too late and ended up posting this lovely video.

My only regret is missing the Nerf war! I had my guns and ammo, but had to skip out on the fun.

The drive back was mostly uneventful. I was stuck behind a flatbed truck at one point, and flakes of red bark kept hitting my window. WAIT! Those are butterflies! Yes, my readers, I was on a fairytale road filled with thousands of red butterflies.

And then they started smacking my windshield and it wasn’t so magical. Snow White and Cinderella didn’t have to deal with suicidal butterflies.

When I got home, I was so tired that I fell asleep face down on the living room floor (there’s no photographic evidence).

Since returning, I’ve been writing, and Phish lends me her expertise:

amwriting

 


Beware – Forest Cows

Friday, 5 p.m. couldn’t come soon enough. I was stuck at work while my friends were playing at Realm Makers in Reno.

 

fair

 

So five seconds after 5, I bolted out the back door and headed up the mountains. Look at this drive!

 

highway

 

It’s a short three and a half hour drive for me to Reno, but I’d decided to stay the night with friends in Susanville. This family is fabulous…like, donate my bone marrow to fabulous. And they’ll never serve me mayonnaise, which strengthens the deal.

 

Tunes were jamming. There were areas to pass slower trailers and semis. Then I saw it—the sign that made me pull over to the side of the road:

 

cow.jpg

Der are cows in deez here woods.

 

I’ve seen these signs all over the rural roads (means there are range cattle and they have the right of way on the roads), but it must’ve been the fact that I was on my way to a writer’s conference for fantasy and sci-fi authors that sparked my brain this time.

 

Arrived at my friends’ home and enjoyed their wonderful company. Even though I stole the most comfy bed, I was up at four in the morning after having a dream that I slept in until 7. I was up and out of the door by 5:45 because I simply had to get to Reno. This was my reward on the way out of town:

 

sunrise

 

A venti Starbucks and an hour and a half later:

 

atlanti

 

The Atlantis in glorious technicolor! Blue sky, puffy white cloud—all was right in the world. Dodged the slot machines and found my way to the second story, right up to check-in. I just gave them my name, because I was too embarrassed to introduce myself to Ralene and Desiree.

 

It took less than twenty minutes to finally meet my critique partners in person. I’ve been working with these ladies for a long time now. While some of our group couldn’t make it to Realm Makers, the four of us made sure to meet up at least once. But we were like magnets and kept finding one another throughout the day.

the girls

Jebraun Clifford, Jill Hackman, me, Deanna Fugett

 

We hail from all over. Jeb is originally from California, but lives in New Zealand now (no, she doesn’t have an accent). Jill is from Pennsylvania and De flew in from Colorado. I’ve rewritten this sentence several times, to try and describe how meeting them filled my heart with joy and satisfaction, but I can’t put it into words the love I have for them, even having spent less than 24 hours with them. Jill is the lucky one, though. She had the smarts to go to bed before De talked me into making a FB live video near midnight.

 

So ends my first of a two-parter for Realm Makers 2017. Stay tuned for more shenanigans. And watch out for those pesky forest cows.


I’m Not Special. Perfect.

I’ve been absent for awhile. And there are a plethora of lame and valid excuses. But it all boils down to this: I am not that special. I have a handful of blog, Facebook, and Twitter followers. Not everyone cares about my latest contest rejection, the tasty ice cream flavor I’ve discovered, or that my kitten had tapeworms. It’s true. And gross…but the vet bill is even worse.

 

I guess that I backed away with purpose this time. Nothing new to report and frankly, I’m not an over-sharer. I’m just not that special. My teeth are okay, I don’t have any abdominal issues, and don’t check into every location.

not special

(designed by zonia)

 

Being a writer is a waiting game. A long, long, looooooong game. It’s worse than a fully-played Monopoly or Risk game. And I’m not special enough to have skipped to the front of the line. I wrote a short story for an anthology next year, received my first “professional” rejection, and am having a ball writing for Geeks Under Grace.

 

So, no news is NOT good news. It’s exactly that: no news.  I have no special headline. I still haven’t met Jami Amerine, don’t have a book contract, and am still writing. But the Lord knows my skills, so I wait.

 

Until my next post, I’ll be basking in my ordinary sarcasm. Which is exactly the point of this post–I am not special. I’m not fishing for, “Hey, Sarah, God loves you and you are special!” Yes, yes, I know that my mom thinks I am special. But seriously, people, I’m about as important as the color of a shoelace.

sarcastic

And also, my hubs certainly should have an award for dealing with me. I’m sure I act “special” some days.


Slow Drivers

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve checked in with my twelve readers, so here’s the scoop:

 

I was involved in a confidential matter where a teenage girl feared for her safety. Yes, there is more to that story. No, I won’t tell you…yet. Some people, who saw what was happening from the sidelines judged me harshly, without all of the facts because I cared more for her safety than their need to satisfy their curiosity. I invested my whole self into helping her escape, yet she right back in the same situation today. Exhaustion doesn’t even begin to touch the way I feel. There is an emptiness from my failure, a gaping hole of “You suck.” And though people involved have tried to tell me that I was brave and did everything I could, I still wonder how that beautiful girl will fare in a few weeks—in three months.

 

On the way into work this morning, every.single.car. drove 5-10 miles per hour under the speed limit. I wasn’t late, but it was annoying. Like, making-up-lyrics-to-the-song-on-my-radio-to-make-them-move-faster annoying.

drivers

Then there’s the face palm of a contest. I don’t know why I see a contest and think “That’s a good idea!” It’s the shiny toy I can never have. Every time I read the judges’ comments, I simmer. I thought the contest was based on the writing, not the synopsis. My mental “Bite me!” rears up and I delete the email because I wasted $30. Another fail.

fail

But in the vortex of suckage, there are moments where I laugh and remember God has mercy:

  • Being assigned to review Wonder Woman for Geeks Under Grace (hey, I had the Underoos)
  • And Blade Runner! SQUEEEEEEE!
  • Laughing at Thing 2’s green, chlorine hair
  • Planning a Walt Disney World trip
  • Taking Thing 1 to see “Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man Tell No Tales” (skip it!)
  • Hubs. He’s just the best ever—even when he says I snore. Whatever, bub.

 

Here’s the thing: people who believe that Christians don’t have bad days, epic fail moments, or that God doesn’t allow these things to happen don’t read their Bible (1 Peter 1:6-7 is my fav example). There will be bone-weary trials, and minutes hours when I question my sanity. It doesn’t mean God has abandoned me or decided He should sit this one out. These past couple of weeks, I just needed to find His mercy in the little things until I surfaced for air.

 

And guess what? There will be more slow drivers. Days when every radio station has eye-rolling songs. Who knows, I may find a judge who doesn’t complain about my teenage character…complaining. Until then, I’ll be wearing my Converse, drinking coffee, and contemplating this note on my computer monitor:

best

Aiming high, people. It’s better than driving slow.


I’m not 29…again

I know that someone will tease me about being “29 again” today. But really, as I stared at the little lines at the corners of my eyes this morning and decided to wear my favorite jeans, I really don’t mind being my age.

 

Here are the revelations I had while stretching my sore muscles this morning:

 

  • My reputation will not fall because of my perpetually dirty house. But finding socks jammed between the sofa cushions still is gross.
  • I am at the stage where my own kids say, “That would look good on you.” AKA: Mom-clothes.
  • That saying age is just a number? No. It means I’m closer to retirement and discounts at restaurants. I’m going to be your cheap date.
  • I’ll never be 29 again. Don’t ask me to do that. I was pregnant part of that year. And living in a travel trailer…in my parent’s front yard.

grumpy gma

  • There’s a special cream I have to use on my face for those little lines. Don’t laugh. Unless you use some too, your wrinkles will look worse than mine.
  • So I color my hair? And get the occasional pedicure. It’s nice to take the time to visit with my mom and my friends.
  • Sometimes I keep old shirts because of the memories (sorry Kathi Lipp).
  • I don’t always return texts. I’m a jerk.

IMG_7763

  • Writing is so much more fun/stressful/rewarding than I thought it would be. And you may become a character in a book, so just keep that in mind.
  • God is good. Even past 29. I realize that now more than ever. I mean, He knows the hairs on my head—including the gray ones (which I don’t even have).

 

Yes, there are a few things I do care about, but as a whole, I’m happy where I’m at. I love my morning coffee(s). It’s pure joy to watch my Things grow up—except on the mornings that they are not so sunny. My hubs is still my best friend and the love of my life—except for those socks. Ew, honey. Gross.

 

For everyone who has wished me “Happy Birthday,” thank you from the bottom of my nose ring.


Ta-Da! I’m a Geek!

You guys! I’m so excited to announce this because I get to embrace my dorkiness for a cause!

Introducing, one of the newest movie reviewer for Geeks Under Grace:

squee-pin

Now, I have an excuse to go to movies or stay up late.

Please stop by their website for reviews on movies, gaming, tabletop games, music, comic books, television, and all things within the geek realm.  I wanted to make sure to share their mission statement with you, so you can understand my excitement:

The mission of Geeks Under Grace is to:

EDUCATE Christians on how to safely consume pop culture from our worldview.
EVANGELIZE geeks with the message of the Gospel by building bridges between Jesus and the geek community.
EQUIP Christians and churches to reach geeks with the Gospel.
ENCOURAGE Christians as they grow into a deeper relationship with Christ.

Stellar, right?

I’m working on my first “real” post, a review for Guardians of the Galaxy, but was able to squeak in abbreviated predictions for 5 films coming out this month. Cut me some slack, I was writing on my phone’s notepad from a campsite on the Oregon coast.

Click on the image below and be whisked into a magical adventure of geeky Christian awesomeness, rolled up into one convenient website.

GUG-NEW-WHITE


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