The Three R’s of Historical Fiction

Research. Rewrite. Research again. These three “R’s” are things I have learned while figuring out how to write a novel. I am no expert but I love sharing practical application things I’ve learned along the way. But maybe you’ll find these helpful and as you write!

The First

In the world of online gaming, I’m what they call a “noob.” In the world of writing, I am also a “noob.” Whether you’re a “noob” or a well-seasoned author, some level of research is needed no matter what genre you’re writing.

If you know anything about research, you know that you can so easily get down that rabbit hole. One train leads to another leads to a- well, you get the idea. Using all those facts you build your outline – so you can show off your knowledge of the time period. You spend all that time reading up on everything so it deserves to be there.

Right? Not necessarily.

The Second

Okay, so you’ve written that first draft. Added plots, and chose the big historical events to anchor everything together. However, something isn’t quite right with it so you scour your manuscript several times. You even set it aside for a day or two. And when you come back BAM…there it is. As obvious as obvious can be; a giant, glaring hole or crossed wire.

1. Do you leave it as is and explain things through prose later? or
2. Do you rework it into something awesome?

You choose number 2. The good news is, now that you see the error (or, what I did, errors. As in plural), you know what’s necessary to include and what can be implied. Back to the books and drawing board you go!

The Third

This “R” might seem like a cop-out of the first one and in a way it is. Though this time you can make purposeful choices. That whole rabbit hole concept I mentioned earlier can now be honed, tweaked, specified and so on. You can use specifics at the beginning to set the tone for your time period, but you don’t need to include every minute detail to get the point across. Now that you’ve hashed out what works and what doesn’t, your plots and sub plots are a bit more manageable.

The thing of it is, everyone has their own writing style and their own “rules” with what works for them. This process has helped my brain sort out the bombardment of facts I found myself piled under. I knew writing any form of historical fiction was going to be a beast of a project but I willingly took it on. So use your strengths, knowledge and tallyho! Research, rewrite and research again.

A Day in My Life

I have this habit of making things more difficult for myself than need be. This applies to writing blog posts as well. I had paragraphs and paragraphs of explanations for things in my life that didn’t need to be there written and formatted. But why? So let’s keep this simple, sweet and to the point!

If you want to get technical about things, I know morning is longer than 9:00 AM. I chose to use this time frame as a reference for the hours I get up between. Balance is non-existent with me. It sounds like such a nice word, where both routine and five perfect writing hours are built in.

It’s just that simple, right? Wrong.

My job has an ungodly start time – 6:00 AM. As such, I get up anywhere between 4:45 AM and 5:30 AM for those shifts. I loathe mornings but here I am, crawling into the shower and running out the door before the sun appears.

I should have breakfast but I never do. Coffee isn’t a thing in my house. (You almost stopped reading this post at that, didn’t you?) Work between noon and 2:00 PM.

Work is done anywhere between noon and 3:00 PM, depending on how early they start me, so I have the whole afternoon to do all the “adulting” and writers stuff I can squeeze in. From treadmill-ing to bill-paying and those pesky errands, that’s what the afternoon is reserved for. I was going to post a “snapshot” of my week but unless a big trip is planned or a doctor’s appointment is scheduled, it’s pretty mundane.

Sundays are church and family days, though typically now have an afternoon work shift attached. Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty mundane unless I go to the library. On Wednesdays my parents watch my niece and nephew on Wednesdays so my sister can work her part time job (my brother in law has two jobs). Wed. night equals Family Dinner Night. I was able to only be available until 6:00 PM so I can still enjoy it. It’s a great time to unwind and be together without having to plan anything. Though sometimes we do. Thursdays through Saturdays, pretty mundane once again.

I’m a boring adult, no?

All the Hobbies

I’ve asked my parents to tell whomever my next boyfriend is that I don’t need much in life and prefer to keep things simple. That, and to always have a first aide kit around. This applies to my hobbies too.

I barely watch American prime time television, preferring to stick with Star Trek, Netflix, anime and Asian dramas. If I’m not working a rare closing shift it’s usually Star Trek on at 8:00 PM when the H&I evening schedule begins.

I love film scores, an odd mix of Japanese, German, Irish and Chinese music, as well as Korean pop (SHINee, Girls’ Generation and BTS for the win!)

I recently got back into cross-stitching and I hope to take back up wood burning. No, I’m not playing with matches in my house or the backyard. It’s a pen-like tool with interchangeable tips to change how you’re able to burn the wood. I also broke in a new cast iron skillet so I can try a different method of cooking and, if I may say so, I’ve been loving the results (so far!)

Well, okay. All those interests may not be entirely simple, but they’re the only things I’ve managed to balance. I learned the hard way a long time ago that I don’t need to do everything in one day – there’s not that many hours! I can cross-stitch and have Trek on one evening, and the next throw on some traditional Irish step dancing and write for three hours.

Now if only I can apply that kind of balance to my writing life…

Why I Chose to Write HistFic When I Watch Star Trek and Read Fairy Tales

Historical fiction. Or historical adventure. Or historical fantasy. Or gaslamp…okay…my head’s spinning already. There will always be sub-genres within genres. Since childhood I’ve known I wanted to be a writer. Since childhood my mom has complained that I “make up stories for every little thing,” and I would always ask her, “What’s wrong with that?” It was my parents who fed the interest in our vacations. Dad was in the United States Air Force for 34 years, so many of our trips happened whenever Dad had to go to Florida or Texas or Georgia or Germany for some kind of training. Those trips included museum visits, travels to places of significance and learning.

Now I could go back into the whole “what inspired me to write,” but I have a whole blog post on that already. Visit this page to read about what started this journey as a whole. But I digress. All three of the genres in the title of this post have inspired me in one way or another, but the massive history of my own Commonwealth (if you’re a Pennsylvanian, you know we’re called a commonwealth) is what drew me in the most.

Enter in the idea for the series I’m working on. Novel research has never truly intimidated me. Maybe a bit at the beginning when I first started out and got a bit overloaded. As time went on I was able to discern what I actually needed to know and what wasn’t relevant. So the next three points will highlight the things that are relevant to historical fiction/adventure

1. Settings. All the settings

The United States is a big place. I’ve been a citizen my whole life (born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA) and I think we get so focused on our own little regions that we forget that. It’s like when someone from another country decides to visit America and they think that Miami and New York City are close.

The same thing applies to Pennsylvania. Sometimes we don’t hear of places until something bad happens there and it ends up on the news. I don’t know what my original goal was when I began looking into my commonwealth’s history, but the more I learned about places I’ve only seen on maps the more I want to go there.

Last summer we went to Franklin, PA. An oil and train town, there’s so much richness in one tiny place that you could really spend several summers learning everything about what made the place tick. And when you realize how many familiar, historical names crop up there, it makes the experience all the better.

So, rich rich settings drew me in. What was vs. what’s there now quickly became a huge interest of mine. I hope to travel more for novel research in the future.

2. The Complicated Personalities

Let’s face it, there’s complicated folk all over the place in modern history, not just the past. Back then, however, Twitter did not exist. Language was more eloquent. People had real connections with each other rather than what we see online. I love the idea of the simplicity of that time.

It doesn’t matter which century you choose there’s a plethora of personalities to investigate, some with more information on them than others.

3. To Not Forget

There’s this funny agenda in modern times where people are attempting to either rewrite history or to let it fade into nonexistence by no longer teaching it. There’s history so gruesome we’d rather forget it but we can, we must learn lessons from it.

Immediately after the horrible events of 9/11/2001, the #NeverForget tag began to be used by news outlets, folks online, was printed on t-shirts and used in every day conversation. Eighteen years later, 9/11 is barely spoken about unless it’s the day of and perhaps in high school history classes.

That may have been an extreme example to use, but it perfectly illustrates the biggest reason why I write history. To never forget it.

The Firedamp Chronicles is an historical adventure series – based on real names and events that happened – I hope to continue focusing future stories centered on my home state. From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s tumultuous and rich history provides more than than enough curiosities to explore, and I hope, one day, to be blessed enough to share them with you.

The Writer Tag | Twenty Questions and their Answers

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, they say. Now I may not understand half the Twitterness out there and some of it still confuses me, but I saw this one crop up recently and decided to participate. Apparently it’s been around for awhile and I’m just late to the party. But what else is new? I’m really not one to follow trends or go along with the crowd.

It’s been some time since I’ve updated my blog, and some time since it was a fun kind of post. There were so many examples of this tag to choose from and decided to go with the one on Inkblots and Icebergs‘ website. I don’t think you’re supposed to nominate anyone after you’re done posting it, like you do on Twitter. Let’s see how this goes!

1. What type of writing do you do?

Prose. All prose. I attempted poetry as a teenager for the Creative Writing class I had to take in high school and it wasn’t the greatest. I dabble in some short stories, but I like the flexibility writing novels gives me. Perhaps once I’m more practiced I’ll enter short story competitions but for now, I have a few posted on my site.

2. What genres/topics do you write about?

Right now it’s historical fiction; possibly a cross between historical fantasy and gaslamp. I’m still trying to figure it out! I do have another story on the side, an idea that came to me incredibly late one night, sitting in an untouched document for whenever I’m done with this first series. That one’s definitely more young adult.

3. How long have you been writing?

Since childhood. I can’t pinpoint the exact age, but I remember staying up late at night writing. There was also the Unfortunate PC Event where my computer, a Frankenstein of pieces from other desktops, fried and spit out ozone. The whole house surged in power and I lost everything. This was the early 90s. We barely had space on floppy discs for documents longer than five pages. I just aged myself…

4. Are you published?

Only in my high school’s literary magazine. And after that, only in my dreams!

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

Apparently I wrote fanfiction before I knew that existed. So I’m fairly positive that my first story was based on Star Trek: Voyager. Decidedly one of the least popular of the genre, it was one of my favorite series growing up. I never showed them to anyone and typically inserted myself into the story. I also used to write Supernatural fanfiction. One was pretty popular but I’ve always had trouble ending stories. So I ran out of steam and direction and never finished it.

6. Why do you write?

To get out aggression and perhaps things I wouldn’t say in real life. That really makes me sound like an angry person. I’m really not, though I’d say I’m more of the “glass is half empty” type. But writing calms me and allows me the freedom of expression. I typically don’t volunteer things in group conversations but boy can I write one! Introverts for the win!

7. How do you find time to write?

I guess the common-sensical (I made that word up) answer is by looking at my calendar. My job is part time right now (hoping to gain more hours soon), so sometimes I have a couple of days in a row I know I can write.

Another thing that’s been helpful is I deleted my Instagram account before Christmas last year and just last week I deactivated my Facebook. Both were great distractions and I found myself asking “I don’t have time to write, but then I have all this time to mindlessly surf the web?” Now I only use this site and Twitter.

8. When and where are the best time to write?

I, honestly, find this a very poorly worded question. The wannabe editor in me is mentally screaming at it right now. Moving on. I can write almost anywhere – except when my niece and nephew are tearing up my parents’ house during family dinner nights. I’m definitely more focused writing away from home, like in the library or at Panera. Set times don’t exist in my life.

9. Favorite foods/drinks while writing?

I’m going to sound like an old lady with this answer but for my drinks it’s chamomile tea with honey and ice water. And I don’t really like munching while I write. I reserve that for when I need to take a break and walk around.

10. You’re writing playlist?

I have several playlists spanning multiple genres. Feel free to follow the links below to discover something new! (They’re all links to YouTube lists).

International (Irish, German, Chinese, Japanese)
BTS, Girls’ Generation & SHINee (South Korean Pop)
Writing Playlist (I can only handle this one in small doses)

11. What do friends/family think of you writing?

It was quite a mixed reaction when I told them I’m working on a novel series.
Dad: doesn’t see it as a viable profession
Mom: “I’ll correct your grammar for you!”
Uncle (who’s published): “It’s good enough to be middle grade…shorten your sentences…”
But I think what they’re all thinking is that I have a history of not seeing things through that I start. I’m determined to see this through!

12. What parts of writing do you enjoy the most?

The research, choosing my words carefully and editing. I’m not much of a plotter so going by way of having an outline has been quite helpful.

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

Tenses. Tenses tenses tenses. I always seem to flip back and forth between past and present tense so I always look back through every paragraph I write to try and catch them before moving on. Sounds obsessive compulsive, I know. But I have to.

14. What do you write with/on?

For the most part I use my Chromebook, with an occasional note that I stick on a wall or my fridge. All my research is in notebooks. I like being able to cross things out, “arrow” and asterisk and highlight things I may include.

15. How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes I don’t. I just let it happen. If it’s for a month or more, so be it. I found that if I force it the story just doesn’t seem right. It’s forced. But then there’ll be that day I’ll get a spark of an idea and I can’t stop writing for hours.

I think I’m also too logical with this writing business for my own good (probably because I’m less logical in other areas of my life). I refuse to start any other projects until this series is written. So I don’t allow myself the luxury of having side stories so I can churn my outline over and over in my head.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

I think I’m also too logical with this writing business for my own good (probably because I’m less logical in other areas of my life). I refuse to start any other projects until this series is written. So I don’t allow myself the luxury of having side stories so I can churn my outline over and over in my head.

Did I truly answer that question? Eh…it is what it is at this point!

17. Author(s) who inspired you to become a writer?

Easiest question in this survey: Cornelia Funke. My uncle gifted me with the first book of her Inkworld series as a teen and I immediately fell in love. Later, when my one cousin got old enough, I bought her a copy and asked Ms. Funke to sign it. She agreed, I sent her the book, and not only did she sign it for Maddie (my cousin), but she signed a bookmark for me! I don’t even use the bookmark. It sits proudly on my shelf staring at me as I write.

19. Writing goals this year?

  1. To finish writing my series; or at least book one
  2. To travel more for research
  3. To join the Historical Novel Society

20. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

I’ve forgotten who said it or where I read it, but I’ll paraphrase it here: pave the way for yourself. You’re not obligated to have to do it one way or another. Write the story first. Everything else is secondary.

Everything else is secondary.

Even “networking” on Twitter.

*goes and posts this blog up on Twitter*


When Confidence Disappears

I’ve lost my confidence. I don’t know if it’s in the story or in my writing ability but it started before Christmas. I Tweet out something like, “I’m going to write tonight!” but end up watching five episodes of Star Trek that I’ve seen a dozen times over.

Has this ever happened to you? Am I alone?

For a time I was all gun-ho in my outlining, my plotting, my researching and my writing community hashtags. There comes a point when the line is crossed between procrastination and burn out. I think I’ve happened upon that line and am precariously walking it between scrapping the whole project and taking a complete break from it all.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 contained a rough combination of events, culminating in a hospital visit with two emergency-esque surgeries. As much as I’d love to get this story written, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve just been keeping things status quo with my health for too long a time.

I was using writing as an escape, creating characters to focus on and gave them their own problems to work through rather than correcting my own.

So I’m glad I made a post in early December on my Twitter feed that highlights smaller, more obtainable goals:

Okay. Some of them aren’t that small, but I didn’t have goals or my own journey map drawn out for 2018. I think that’s what I need for 2019 — my own fantasy style map where I draw my own “x” marks the spot.

So maybe it is a lack of confidence I’m experiencing right now. Maybe I just need to keep reminding myself of the dream I’ve had since I was a kid — to become a published author. And I know for a fact that I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a long process for me. While others are tweeting out that they “cranked out another outline or full first draft manuscript in one night,” I need to concentrate on my own journey while being happy for those who are farther along in the process.

Which isn’t always an easy feat. I wish I could include that song from The Sound of Music, “I have confidence in sunshine. I have confidence in rain,” but I really can’t. Because that’s not how I feel.

Hi. My name is Leigh. I am a small time, unpublished writer with insecurities galore and a dream perhaps similar to yours. It’s nice to meet you.

5 Useful Tools & Online Tags

Building an audience while still writing your manuscript(s) can be a tricky business. You either get noticed right away or it takes a long time. There always seems to be that one little niche that’s more popular than others, but don’t think that just because you haven’t grabbed readers’ attention right away that it’s never going to happen. This is where that “patience is a virtue” thing comes into play.

Ever since I was a kid, reading on the playground while others around me socialized (yep, I was that kid sitting along the fence, the school building’s wall, or against a tree in the woods with a book), I’ve never been one to go with the flow. My mom knew it would take time for me to come out of my shell, despite my teacher’s concerns that I was “spending all my time reading.” And look, mom was right.

Now, as a 33 year old adult, I’m learning to find what works best for my writing ability in the midst of all the noise of publishing. It doesn’t matter if you’re self publishing or going the traditional route: there is a LOT to learn and a lot more to decide if it’s right for you or not. 

In everything I do I strive for simplicity. Simplicity in what I own. Simplicity in what I use. Simplicity in how I explain things to folks I cater to at work and when I write. Who truly cares about doing this, that or the other thing? Set your own expectations, discover a program or two you love to use and go with it. So below I’m going to merely suggest, in no particular order, Five Useful Tools and Online Tags that have helped me along the way. Perhaps you’ll find them useful as well!

1. Google Docs

Finding the right word processing system to write your story with can be one of the hardest things to do. I found that it was. For years I used Microsoft Word, which is still the standard. Then you have Apple’s Pages system for MAC users. Add to that the now defunct (I think) Open Office and a plethora of others who tried to beat out the Big Two. There are dozens of other programs out there built specifically for manuscript writing and book building. A website called First Manuscript has a fantastic blog post on the Best Novel Writing Software by Dax MacGregor that’s worth a read. The problem with some of the items mentioned is, depending on the type of laptop or desktop you are using, they may not be compatible to even download and test it out. 

That’s my conundrum. I don’t have years of writing & publishing experience under my belt, so, for now, Google Docs works best for my needs. I can still add notes, check my word count and format the document into MS submission format. The bare necessities. While I do appreciate what I can do for me, there are a few things I wish Google would fix: (1) document load time – gets a bit sluggish the longer the doc. becomes, and (2) word count without having to use a shortcut or menu to view it.

I suppose I can always break back out my desktop computer, have Microsoft install over two years’ worth of updates and try some of the other programs out in the aforementioned blog. But it’s Christmas. That’s too much work…

2. WordPress

I’ve used WordPress for years. I tried out Wix some time ago but found it super slow and a bit buggy. I used it to set up and maintain my church’s website, and now I use it to host this site for my writing. Just like with anything else mentioned on this list, there is a slight learning curve when it comes to developing something others will see. WordPress also recently updated their interface so I’m having to learn things again myself.

WordPress also provides web hosting. While you can, of course, have a completely free site, build it with free templates and the like, I found my OCD was flaring up every time I saw my site’s name with the after it. So I bought my domain and I’m still a happy camper. 

Not only do they do web hosting, their customer service is fantastic as well. They’ve troubleshot me through fixing bugs, formatting how I want my site to look, and more. I swear, this post is not an ad for them. I just like giving credit where credit is certainly due. So if you’re looking for an inexpensive web host, give WordPress a try!

3. BeFunky

Along with web hosting comes a plethora of photo editing and graphic design software you can use to add personal touches to your site (if you so choose to). You can always use stock images your host provides, but there is always the risk of running into copyright issues if you do a web search for other things.

That’s why I choose to create my own graphics using as much as my own photography as I can. I use the free version of BeFunky. I suppose I could purchase a monthly subscription to be able to use more of the options but I have yet to bite that bullet. I’ve been able to avoid it so far, though I have been considering it for quite some time. You can always go even bigger with Adobe Photoshop, but I am not that skilled in the graphic design realm. I’ve created graphics for church, other people and myself. It’s one of those “guilty pleasure” kind of things I don’t mind taking a break from my manuscript to do.

4. Twitter

Networking. What do you think of when you see that word? Perhaps you think of something like this scene from Ugly Betty:

Sure, there are times when this is applicable. Maybe not the lying part of it (because that always come back to bite you in the butt later), but it’s what I’m learning about becoming a writer. While networking isn’t exactly critical, you can get connected to other writers, literary agents and agencies through social networking.

Social networking still takes common sense. Don’t be that writer who DM’s (direct message) their info to said agents. Many, if not all of them, have websites or use a site like Query Tracker for manuscript submissions. I’ve seen many Tweets where folks automatically block folks who don’t follow those guidelines. Might seem rude, I know. But imagine being an agent who just wants to have a silly conversation and is constantly being sent unsolicited items. If they want to know you, they’ll seek that information out themselves. It may very well work in your favor in the future

Along with all that common sense stuff, there are numerous hashtags many writers use to promote, query and connect. I have this page bookmarked, 85 Hashtags Writers Need to Know, to refer back to for ideas. I only use maybe 3-5 of the suggested tags in the link. Find what works for you and have at it!

I only use maybe 3-5 of the suggested tags in the link. Find what work for you and have at it!

5. Pacemaker

Pacemaker is something new I’ve added to my writing routine. The idea for this project came to me back in 2016, but I wish I knew exactly when I started writing it. There’s something called “NaNoWriMo,” or National Novel Writing Month, which encourages authors to reach certain word count goals throughout the month of November. I didn’t start working on The Firedamp Chronicles until December, but that concept seemed just too stressful for my writing needs. So I refused to track anything, or set goals for myself.

Two years later (it’s now December 2018), through several rounds of development, writing and editing, I wish that I had. So I searched up a word count tracker to help me keep myself accountable for the time I spend actually writing versus the time I spend procrastinating. From apps on your phone to websites on your tech there are dozens of options. I liked the simplicity of Pacemaker once I saw the interface. Of course there are other functions you can pay for, but the free option works just as well.

Not all interfaces are created equally. If you’re looking for a program like this, choose one that’s right for you!

The moral of the story is:

There’s lots of noise out there. Lots of things to distract you from the core of what you’re doing: writing your story. Everyone can suggest all the things in the world, but find what works for you. You can either stick with the same system and routines or mix ’em up to keep yourself on your toes. Feel free to check out any of the above tools and happy writing!

Facing It | Writing Lessons I’ve Learned in 2018

When I first began this post it was October. Leaves fell apart in your hands when your fingers crumpled them up into mulch and Halloween was just around the corner.

In October my life was between a rock and a hard place. Interpret that how you will, but I was finding it harder and harder to write and stay honest with everyone around me because of certain life decisions I had made.

How could I even hope to blog about writing when personal issues stood in the way?

The biggest lie you can tell yourself is that you can hide your fallacies and do it successfully without anyone finding out. From seasoned, published authors to those of us just beginning the process, perfection just doesn’t exist.

Some are better at hiding it than others. Some just don’t care and pull the wool over others eyes just for reads/views/attention.

I’m going to use yet another Star Trek analogy because, let’s face it, I’m a dork like that.

There is a fictional “race” called the Borg. They grow their presence in the universe by assimilating other species into their fold because they believe their existence is the most perfect one. If your deemed unworthy of being added to that collective, then you’re either ignored or completely annihilated:

Okay, so I could’ve found a less creepy example, but it perfectly explains my point. There are some things that should be left unsaid because we are on the World Wide Web after all. Even if you’re one of those insanely popular YouTube vloggers, constantly in front of the camera, you shouldn’t have to feel an obligation to air your dirty laundry for everyone to see. That also doesn’t mean you should completely hide from everyone either. Having a presence online is a balancing act, and here’s what I’ve learned in 2018:

  1. HumilityI’m going to get all Biblical here and reference Scripture, if you’ll allow me to for just a moment or two (without getting preachy, I promise).


    Ephesians 4:2 – “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

    James 4:6 – “But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”I could go in depth about the people these Biblical letters are addressed to, but I’d be drawing from my Bible college education and completely miss the mark of what I’m attempting to emphasize.In a time when the people love calling one another out for mistakes they made ten years ago, I think we’ve forgotten that no one is innocent. Painting yourself in that light doesn’t always end well. Neither does practicing humility.I’ve always told myself to stay humble online. Whether I’ve actually succeeded in that, I don’t know. From my time on Star Trek message boards in the early 2000s to now, I’ve learned lessons the hard way (without going into too much detail).”The Greatest Generation” is leaving us with a great task: who is going to step up? That’s you, that’s me. “Actions speak louder than words.” Remember that saying? In an era of instant communication, words have become more powerful than ever.

    It’s how we choose to use them which defines us the most.

  2. PatienceI can’t seem to get Scripture out of my head today, which isn’t always a bad thing. There are a few verses in in the book of Galatians that will highlight my next point quite nicely;Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forebearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”By the time the New Testament letters were written by apostles like James, Peter and Paul, Christians were facing trials within the Roman Empire. The lessons of grace and forgiveness are still appropriate today, regardless if you call yourself a Christian or not.Distraction is the name of the game online. Getting ahead of someone else, or giving off a false image of your own persona are often rewarded and tolerated. (Clearly evident in YouTube culture).Impatience has always been a downfall of mine. Because of the online connections we have it’s easy to want to take shortcuts. I’ve fallen into that trap. No, I’ve never plagiarized or even thought of it. But I have been so convinced that my manuscript was ready and perfect and “the best” that my head grew three sizes too big.

    “Girl, please. You’re still mixing up your tenses!”

Good leadership is hard to come by in this 21st century. Most of the role models I try to emulate are long dead. I’m hard pressed to name one or two nowadays who’d I want my future children to learn from.

I know I didn’t really go into complete detail of happenings from 2018, but I think the lessons I’ve learned from my mistakes are more important than the decisions that lead to needing a refresher course in life.

I don’t think I’d ever want to be an “influencer” or a public figure, but I know that is a possibility if I’m ever published and a book tour happens. I pray that the reminders in humility and patience will help keep me grounded in 2019.

Let’s face it, 2018 was (and still is) a tumultuous year.

Who knows what 2019 is going to throw our way.

If you can’t be honest with yourself, who CAN you be honest with?