Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Adventure Continues

Hello, my friends and readers! When I started Anonymous to Author back in 2010, I had just self-published my first book, and I wanted a place where I could share my self-publishing journey with other aspiring writers.

Five years and three books later, I still write young adult suspense, but I also have made young adult discipleship an emphasis of my writing ministry. Yes, ministry. Whatever God has called us to do is our ministry, and writing is one of mine.

That said, the bulk of my blogging time is now dedicated to a website I've created called, an online community for young women who want to think biblically about themselves, others, God and anything else. If you are a teen or know one, I'd encourage you to stop by.

I also invite you to visit my author website for updates on my writing and speaking.

Of course if you have questions about self-publishing or publishing in general, I'd still be glad to answer your questions if I can. Feel free to contact me. Perhaps you will see the answer in a post here at Anonymous to Author one day.

Blessings to you in your writing adventures!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Road Taken

The immortal words of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” are some of the most quoted in poetry. The road not taken leaves the poet looking back with a “sigh,” but he also believes that choosing the lesser-traveled road made “all the difference” in his life.

Of course, there are two takes on the poet’s meaning. Did he make the right choice, or did he make the wrong one?

The other day, I was talking about this with my brother. His practical interpretation is probably the best I’ve ever heard. “I think he took the right one,” he said, “but even when you make the right decision, you still look back with a sigh sometimes.”

Leaving an established job and taking a step of faith. Parting with a friend because your paths are going separate directions. Saying no because even though it hurts, your heart tells you that it’s the right choice. Life is full of bittersweets.

A new year is ahead, and I want to challenge you with something Andy Stanley said. This simple truth can make all the difference in the road we take.

He said, “Attention establishes direction which determines destination.” There’s a three-fold challenge for us in those words.

1.     Attention: What are we focusing on, and is our focus where it should be? What goals are we working toward this year, and are we seeking God’s guidance in achieving them?

2.     Direction: What we focus on will determine where we are going. It’s a cause and effect. Look back over the last year. What choices did we make, and what can we learn from them? Do we need to adjust our course? Where we are today was where our attention was yesterday.

3.     Destination: Our focus shapes our journey and takes us to our terminus. A few cases in point:

·       If we decide to make pasta and sauce, we shouldn’t except to get steak instead of spaghetti. If we forget to stir the pasta, the noodles might clump, but it will still be spaghetti.

·       If we desire a certain achievement and take intentional steps to achieve it, we will grow closer to reaching that goal. We may fail along the way, but many people fail their way to eventual success.

·       If we earnestly spend time with God in prayer and His Word each day, we should trust and not fear the plan He reveals for our lives. Our steps may falter, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t guiding us.
Make it personal. My attention establishes my direction and determines my destination. You and I are responsible for the path we take. We can’t blame circumstances or anyone else.

We choose the road we travel. Let’s not dwell on the one we didn’t take. That’s in the past.

The one we take now will make all the difference in the year ahead.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thinking Thankful Thoughts

Is it really November 23? As I think back over the last few months, I am thankful and excited to share with you several updates.
  1. Awakening Sun is available in both paperback and Kindle formats. If you can’t think what to get the teenager in your life for Christmas, may I suggest it would make a marvelous Christmas gift?
  2. I’ve launched a blog called Think True Thoughts designed for teen girls and their friends. Living in today’s world is anything but easy for teens, and I’ve designed this blog community to be a place they can find refreshment, encouragement and motivation for living lives pleasing to Christ. Take a moment to stop by and visit!
  3. I will be joining the faculty at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference (FCWC) next year, presenting a workshop on free and easy technology tools available to help writers present themselves and their platforms with professionalism.

Thoughts on Thanksgiving 

This time of year leaves many feeling fatigued – as if they are sprinting to the year’s finish line – and sometimes, I feel that way myself. *Gasp* The year can’t be gone! I have so much else I want to do!!

When I feel that way, I have to pause and remember all the good things God’s given me this year – and also the things He’s chosen not to give me. (After all, God’s refusals are His mercies.)

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to enjoy quiet time, refreshment, and good old-fashioned fellowship with friends and family. I’m tempted not to look at the Black Friday ads, because I don’t want to face mobs and mounds of merchandise. I want to curl up at home and catch my breath. 

That’s my challenge to you this Thanksgiving: Take a breather and count your blessings. The year’s finish line is weeks away, and if we’re going to finish well, we can’t be out of breath.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Awakening Sun Dedication: To Devon Curtis

“You’ve got some explaining to do, young lady!”

That was my friend Devon’s text to me when she received Awakening Sun in the mail. I had thought about telling her that I had dedicated my book to her, but no, that would have spoiled the surprise. And Devon is not the easiest person to surprise.

*Cough* As in the LAST time I tried throwing her a surprise birthday party. My surprise was so much of a success that she almost didn’t come. (You will be pleased to know that this year, some friends and I succeeded in surprising her for her birthday.)

There’s actually a three-way dedication in my book, but Devon starts it off. She’s been my friend going on forever. Not just my friend. My “I-will-get-you-out-of-your-comfort-zone” friend. And I love her for it.

A few years ago, Devon convinced me to go to Nicaragua on a mission trip with her. So some of the mission trip episodes mentioned in Awakening Sun MAY or MAY NOT be a case of truth tinted with fiction. (I’ll give you a hint: This may involve glitter.)

In Nicaragua, you eat a lot of rice and beans. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m all for rice but have never been a big bean fan.

The first morning in Nicaragua, Devon scooped a healthy portion of black beans onto my plate.

So I tried them. They were okay… mixed with rice.

Later, she slipped goat cheese onto my plate when I wasn’t looking. I smelled it. And I didn’t try it. I just took her word for it that it was gross.

We’ve dropped 65-feet in a giant swing together, courtesy of the Wilds (Me: Screaming / Devon: Laughing). She introduced me to Downton Abbey. She’s taught me what little I know about nail polish (thanks to the fact I didn’t have a sister and was born a low-maintenance tomboy). “Did you use a top coat, Kristen?” She will ask me, and I will guiltily admit I did not.

So Devon, thank you for challenging me to try new things. Thanks to you, I discovered my love for mission trips. And thanks to you, there are now four shades of Essie nail polish on my bathroom counter.

I would be remiss not to mention the rest of those friends in my dedication, starting with Devon’s parents Tim and Rosario who have truly become like a second family to me.

And then there are the dozens of people I’ve been blessed to meet on mission trips – from Nicaragua to Montana to New York. You know who you are. You have permission to write your name on the dedication page.

Thank you all for enriching my life. In some small way, I hope Awakening Sun will enrich yours.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Awakening Sun - Now Available!

I’m excited to release Awakening Sun, the third and last book in my Wings of the Dawn young adult suspense trilogy.


The story opens with a seemingly final sentence for the trilogy's villain Neil DeWitt and a fairly simple case for its heroine Abby Grant to solve. Yet things are not as they seem, and what appears to be a standard clinical drug trial turns into something much more complicated and dangerous.


Second chances. Are they possible? At what cost? Abby and friends face some of their darkest moments yet. Through them, they realize both the intense risk and reward of giving second chances.

Your Turn

The paperback is now available at Kindle readers, stay tuned! It will be converted into a Kindle version as well.

Share the news with your friends. Then, make coffee, find a cozy chair, and let me know how long it takes you to finish this last installment.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Never Forget the Hope

Photo Credit: Eric via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo licensor is not affiliated with this blog.
Last Thursday was thirteen years since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

For me, and for many others, the day is branded in our memories. For my seventh grade class, most weren’t even born. My eighth graders were infants or toddlers.

“Never Forget” was an American slogan that came out of that day’s tragic events, and although my students have no way of remembering the day itself, they need to know what happened.

Not because I want them to become angry or bitter, although a certain amount of anger against the atrocities committed is certainly understandable.

No, they need to know what happened, because it is part of our nation’s history. A nation with no sense of its past can make no sense of its future.

So last Thursday, we took the time to watch a few videos. My favorite was one by The Skit Guys, created a few years back. Others included clips from CNN.

We took the time to read about United Flight 93 and the heroism of its passengers that prevented the plane from reaching its target destination.

We talked about the hand of God in history.

Several students struggled. How could a loving God allow such horrible events to happen? How could God possibly “work all things together for good” in this circumstance?

The problem of living in a broken world

Those are understandable responses. We had a Cliff Notes' discussion on man’s free will and the sovereignty of God.

The bottom line: God gave mankind a free will, the ability to choose to obey or disobey Him. Man chose to disobey, and as a result, we live in a broken world. A world where terrorists crash planes into towers and innocent people die.

But did God know 9/11 was going to happen? Yes, He did.

Then why didn’t He stop it? For that matter, why doesn’t He stop natural disasters, heal children dying of cancer, or interfere in the myriads of other barbarisms that occur in this world?

Sometimes, He does. Sometimes, He doesn’t.

On my way home from church this morning, I turned on the radio to hear Dr. Erwin Lutzer talking about this very matter. He said, “Faith doesn’t judge God on circumstances.” In other words, faith doesn’t stop believing God because He doesn’t answer prayer like we want Him to.

Look at the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Moses, Gideon, Samson, and many other men and women of faith overcame their circumstances by faith. Other people of great faith were sawn asunder, tossed to lions, and died for their faith.

Too often, we let go of our faith when we focus on life’s circumstances and slip into believing the lie that our problems here are too big for God to handle. That’s what happened to Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus. He began to sink amid the raging waves.

The question we should be asking

Instead of asking how a loving God could allow bad things to happen, we should be marveling that a loving God made a way of redemption possible.

After all, sin was our choice, our mistake. Not His.

I asked my eighth graders to use an online concordance or topical Bible to find at least five verses that offer hope or encouragement in the face of tragedies like September 11.

Here are a few of their discoveries:

1.       Psalms 16:8 (ESV): “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

2.       John 3:16 (NKJV): “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

3.       John 16:33 (ESV): "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

4.       Romans 8:28 (NKJV): "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

5.       Revelation 21:4 (ESV): “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
I hope we “Never Forget” what happened thirteen years ago. One American history class in Spring Hill, Florida won’t.

But more importantly, I hope we Never Forget the Hope made possible only through the mercy of God, who loved us so much that He sent His own Son to die for the sins of the world, to make a way of redemption possible.

At the end of the day, history is His Story. Whether good or bad, the events of this world are paving the way to the climax of redemption’s story: His glorious return.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Remove these words from your dictionary

Three weeks into the school year, I’m more concerned with my students removing certain words from their dictionaries than adding to them.

Student or not, find the nearest dictionary, and cross out the following words:

·         Impossible
·         Can’t
·         Hard
Our culture has simplified and cushioned our lives so that many of us view pain, hardship and challenge as bad things.

Now don’t get me wrong. Life can be hard, and sickness, physical pain and death are no laughing matter.

However, the idea that our futures and dreams should be handed to us on a silver platter – that life “owes” us something – needs to stop.

Somehow, we have to reverse this mindset, and I’m going to start with my seventh and eighth grade classes. The following phrases are hereby banned:

·         It’s too hard.
·         I can’t do it.
·         That’s impossible.
The only way we grow is through challenges. Self-discipline needs to be welcomed as a friend, not shunned as a foe.

In keyboarding this year, I’ve introduced my students to keyboard covers which hide the letters and numbers of the keys when they type. Why? If students can’t see the keys, then they have to refer to their textbook visual and learn the proper fingering – no hunting and pecking allowed.

Each day when I hand out the covers with this huge smile on my face, I’m met with groans. You would think I were asking them to memorize the Hebrew alphabet.

Before we are too critical of my dear students, let’s stop and think. What are the “keyboard covers” in our lives, the things God gives us to challenge us and make us grow? Do we find ourselves thanking Him for them – or complaining about them?

Keyboard covers – and many other trials in life – aren’t going to kill us. They’re designed for our good.

So let’s embrace our challenges and stop pretending this life is supposed to be easy. God’s Word never said it would be, but it does say that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil 4:13).