Summer Reading List: 2017

This is not my usual Monday blog post, but I thought I would take a break from writing tips to share my summer reading plans. I am being a bit ambitious this summer, especially with my editing plans and full time job; however, I hope to finish most of these books, even though I have a total of 15-21 book goal. I have enough books on my reading this this summer that I decided to categorize them into writing research and classic/literary fiction. Ready?

My writing research centers around the question, “What does good Christian fantasy look like and how do I write it?” Pretty simple. So I am reading a good number of essays on Christian fiction in general and also on Christian fantasy. I am also reading two authors that I want to draw from for my own writing: Flannery O’Connor and George MacDonald. Finally, I am reading some Christian fantasy that has been published within the last two years by one of the publishing companies that I hope to query this fall.


Technically, I have already finished two of these books: Phantastes and King’s Blood, but I listed them here anyways since they were part of my early summer reading. Both were phantastic in different ways; I would recommend MacDonald to any reader who loves fairy stories and wants some beautiful and mature themes, and Jill Williamson’s series, Kinsman Chronicles, is the model of Christian epic fantasy for the college age group. The second part of this lists are books that I would love to get to but are lower priorities than the others.

The purpose of my second reading list is to spark conversation and explore some classics. My next door neighbor and I will be reading through these together, and so I hope to have some great conversations with her. Since she has great handwriting, I’ll use her note and put links below.

I may see if I can talk her out of A Tale of Two Cities and A Midsummer’s Night Dream— not because I don’t think they will be good (I actually have some limited experience with both and still hope to read them fully someday)– but because I want to prioritize some of my writing reading, and I may add a book on modern Israel.

So I am extremely excited about reading all these good books (even despite the fact that I have to barrow many of them from the library), but what are you guys planning on reading this summer? Have you read any of these books before? What did you think of them?

God bless,


Note: As of next Monday, I not have access to internet for about two weeks. I will still have scheduled posts on Monday (and maybe a guest post– we will see), but I will not be posting Open Pen Critique or be able to reply to comments until I return. When I do return, stay tuned for a special post about a topic that is very important to me but I have yet to write about on this blog 🙂



What are Your Favorite Blogging Resources?

 I know this isn’t a typical Monday writing tip, and I am sorry. I am a tired college student, and my original plan for this post fell flat. I started writing a post with some blogging tips and resources, but then I realized that I only had a couple links. I know a lot of my followers have blogs or want to start a blog soon, and I wanted to send some resources their way. So if you have been blogging for a while, would you help me help them out and share some knowledge?
I am looking for some practical, easy tips and links to put into a blog post on March 13th. This will be a collaboration with anyone in the comments, and I will make sure to attribute each tip to whomever suggest it 😉
So how do you find inspiration for blogging? Do you have any tips or resources on blog design? Do you know a great formula for an about page? Where do you find public domain pictures? What do you think is the most important thing to have on a blog (particularly a writing or author blog)? What is the one resource that you keep finding yourself using when you write a blog post? Any tips for social media and spreading the word about your blog?
For example, two of my favorite blogging resources are Gimp and the Hemmingway Editor (I will talk more about these in the collaboration post). So what about you?
I hope you all have a great week, and I am excited to hear about the blogging resources that you use!
God bless,

I am Indeed Not Dead

I apologize for not posting for several months and being generally absent from the writing world. I left for my first semester at college in the middle of August, and I finished my first week of finals on last Thursday. It has been an interesting and even difficult few months for me, but I am back to blogging—at least, until the beginning of February, when I go back to school and must figure out if I can manage college and blogging at the same time.

*Gif is not mine but from WiffleGif


Before I update all of you on what I have been doing, here are a few house keeping things for this blog.

Open Pen Critiques

I have nine submissions for critiques—the oldest dating back to May… which is unfortunate for everyone involved. So, this week, I will be e-mailing everyone who submitted to Open Pen and seeing if they are still interested in having a critique and if they would like to change or update the piece that they originally submitted. As soon as I get responses, I will start a new queue and will be posting the pieces for critique starting this Saturday. If you would like to submit a piece for critique, please feel free, but priority will be given to those submitted before I returned.

Monday Writing Tips

Yes, I will start posting writing tips on Mondays again. Do I have any idea what I will be posting about? No. None whatsoever. So if you have any requests, I am taking suggestions.

Beta-Reading of Child of the Curse

Back in July, I asked for beta-readers for my work-in-progress, Child of the Curse. A surprising number of very kind people volunteered, and I never got back to them with the actual manuscript. I am dedicating myself to finishing my edits of the last three chapters, and then I will e-mail those volunteers asking if they are still willing to read it. I know you have heard this story from me three or four times over these past months, so I have low expectations. Mostly I have learned not to ask for beta-readers until you finish editing—no matter how close you are to the end.

Highlights of my First Semester at College

For those of you who do not already know, I am studying English Literature at a small Christian school (which will remain undisclosed to you, though you may find hints about the climate and such below– probably enough hints that you could figure it out if you really tried. Oh well.) I am in their general honors program (which is fantastic—if you hear me talking about a courses with weird titles like “Wisdom” or “Beauty” this is the honor’s program).  I despise the climate, but the people and professors are wonderful.

I learned a lot this semester, so here is a quick and incomplete list:

  • I learned that I need to double major if I want to stay at this school for four years.
  • I did not learn what I should double major in.
  • I learned not to write blueprinting thesis statements.
  • I learned what a cicada is and how much I hate them.
  • I learned that wisdom is actually about loving rightly.
  • I read Harry Potter for the first time and learned that I am a Slytherin.
  • On a completely unrelated note, I also learned that ambition is a sin.
  • I learned the value of ritual and joined a liturgical (though Protestant) church.
  • I learned exactly why George Washington did not want a two party political system.
  • I learned that caffeine is a precious necessity.
  • I learned that some states should really abstain from cooking “Mexican” food.
  • I learned the value of not understanding.
  • I learned that the modern, Christian fiction writer should take up the role given to Old Testament prophets.
  • I learned that prophecy is actually about “showing sin as sin and grace as grace.”
  • And finally, I learned that Jesus wants to devour me. (E-mail me if you are too curious.)

Books I Read

I have read a lot of books over the past couple months, including my favorite novel, Till We Have Faces, a bunch of new books, and a couple new series. So I won’t go through each book with my recommendation (with the exception of my favorite book), but if you want to ask me in the comments about what I thought of these books, I would love to discuss them!

  • Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis (Reread): This is my favorite book, even before this semester when I reread it as the capstone to my honors course—if you have not read this book, you need to. Not only is it a retelling of a Greek Myth, has a sword fighting queen as a main character, and is written by C. S. Lewis, but it is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and relevant books that I have ever read. Read it.
  • Confessions by Saint Augustine: Highly recommended though it is a hard read and not for everyone
  • Shop Class as Soul Craft by Matthew Crawford: Highly recommended
  • Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn McEntyre: Recommended
  • Mengzi: A highly situational, cautious recommendation
  • Leisure by Joseph Pieper: Highly recommended
  • Christian Scholars in the Age of Reformation by E. Harris Harbison: Informative but not enlightening
  • Various Short Stories by Flannery O’Connor: Highly recommended
  • The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (Reread): Highly recommended (duh—it’s Lewis)
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Reread): Highly recommended (duh—it’s Tolkien)
  • Harry Potter (through The Order of the Phoenix) by J. K. Rowling: Enjoyable and extertaining but not my favorite
  • Attack on Titan Manga (through Chapter 88): Highly Recommended with a few disclaimers

So I am back and ready to write and interact with you guys again. I have missed blogging and writing.

God bless,