Dear Author

thumbnail_Dear Author - ebookGuys, guys!  I got a chance to beta read this super encouraging book of letters, and I HIGHLY recommend this for every author out there.  Our art can be super discouraging on even the best of days, and Laura A. Grace takes it upon herself to gush, encourage, and move us authors to tears with her sweet praise.  Please check this book out!

 Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From “character conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release day—there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

“Dear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.

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About the Author

thumbnail_Laura A. Grace

Laura A. Grace had a lifelong dream of getting to know authors behind the covers of her favorite reads. Little did she know that one day she would become an author too! Now an avid book blogger at Unicorn Quester and writer of clean, Christian manga, Laura creatively balances her passions of supporting indie authors and feeding her readers new stories. In between, she wields plastic lightsabers with her children and binge-watches anime with her husband. Join her quest to find wandering unicorns for your favorite authors at unicornquester.com!

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My Blood is Warm

It always surprises them that blood is warm

They expect it to be cold

Lifeless

Dead

When they slice, when they stab

They expect my blood to leak like a long-abandoned puddle of rainwater

 

But it gushes

Flows

It is a life-force

Hot

Fresh

Attached to me

Directly pumped from my heart

 

It coagulates on their hands and they grow angry

Why is it warm?  Why is it thick?

Why does it have weight?

Why does it stick and stain?

Why doesn’t it evaporate like transparent tears?

Why doesn’t it come off without painful scrubbing?

 

Because it is me.

Because you haven’t speared through condensing steam.

You have killed me.

And I beat warm for you.

My blood, my life-force carries my love

And it is hot.

 

People Aren’t Toxic

I’m going to be the first to raise my hand and say, “I love psychology.”

I love a healthy splash of psychology with my theology in deep, dark discussions.  I love understanding the brain *and* soul of a human being, and the great strides we’ve taken lately to understand neurological health as well as physical health.  We promote mental health, we discuss it, we share about it – overshare sometimes – and we have learned to take a second look into what makes people tick and how they have been shaped and/or damaged from childhood.  We see shrunken, atrophied hippocampuses and huge, leaky hypothalamuses that prove personality disorders and PTSD are as real as seizures.

And I eat that stuff for lunch.  I find it fascinating, and my heart beats for these people.  ❤

Yes, some people take it too far, and special snowflakeism isn’t a fun thing.  Often, the spiritual side of things – the ugly sin stuff – is overlooked, and pills are popped maybe too often.  But on the whole, I think my generation of Millennials have started identifying something very real and very dangerous and very prevalent.  And I applaud some of those new strides in mental healthcare and identification of mental health problems.

HOWEVER.

There’s a buzzword that’s become a disappointing trend.  Spoken often, spoken loudly, and spoken with force.

And that word is “TOXIC.”

People are now being labeled “toxic.”

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And we don’t mean “a good kisser,” Britney Spears.

We mean dangerous, poisonous, irredeemable.

The Google dictionary definition for toxic is simple.  A single word. “Poisonous.”  Toxicity levels measure the amount of harmful poison.  Toxic means the substance is inedible.  Damaging.  Hazardous.

Synonyms for “toxic” include noxious, venomous, and deadly.

Unless you’re challenging a Sicillian as the Dread Pirate Roberts in a Princess Bride movie, toxic substances are always going to be toxic.  Almost no one can adapt.  They drink cyanide and they’re going to die.  Plain and simple.  Toxins don’t become less toxic with time.  They don’t change their substance.  They’re inconsumable.  Period.

Folks, we can’t label people as poisons.  We can’t write them off as forever poisons.  They aren’t made of venom.

Situations can be toxic.  Actions can be toxic.  Behavior can be toxic.  Speech can be toxic.

But a human soul is not a committed poison, never to be anything but a poison.  A human being is not cyanide.  They’re made in God’s image, and they always, always, always have the ability of being redeemed.

I understand what you’re trying to say: But this person is abusive, harmful, deadly to me, and I need to remove myself.  YES.  By all means, do that.  This isn’t a blog post to promote remaining in abusive situations, waiting for people to change.

But if God could save the chief of sinners (Hint, it’s me.  Oh wait.  And Paul.), then he can save anyone.  Call the situation toxic if you must.  Remove yourself.  Walk away. Go no contact. Call the police.  Seek church discipline.  Block the number. But label the human being a sinner like everyone else.  Pray for them (from a distance!) Pray for repentance.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts and bring them to salvation.  In our sin nature, we are all seeped in toxic behavior.  But God didn’t see us as icky.  Christ died for our toxic sinfulness.  He may choose to save them like He did you.

People aren’t toxic.  Behavior is toxic.

So leave.  Be safe.

But don’t label people as permanent poisons.

 

Frost

Waking up, toes frigid

Gray daylight stripes through blinds

Prickly bumps on skin

Ice embedded in the chest

Ears rosy, breath cloudy crystals

You too

I wake and you still have not thawed

It shocks – gray stripes in your heart

No warmth, blocks of fear

Hide the sunlight that used to light your face

The tears that once shared

Crystals melted on your face

If only your soul was not frost too

Thanksgiving

When I was a child, the lists came easy

Four or five of the same things, always consistent

Mom and Dad and pecan pie

Stuffed animals, best friends, and a really fun movie

 

Giving thanks meant spouting the list

Not complaining or you’d get extra chores

Writing obligatory lines of gratitude on stationery

Making sure I smiled when shaking hands

 

Now that I am grown, the things I could name

Have sprouted along with me, an endless monologue

But instead of just writing my one thousand gifts

And calling it a holiday, I am now aware

 

That Thanksgiving isn’t a feast with loved ones

Or a card to satisfy a homework assignment

It’s an attitude like a heavy breastplate that must be strapped on

And the process each day can take hours

 

Giving thanks is a battle, the key fight in a larger war

It’s bloody and sweaty and exhausting

It’s ongoing because the enemy stretches like waves on the horizon

And each step makes my muscles scream, “I can’t!”

 

But each new foot place in front of the other

Is less hard than the last, I found

Each swing of the blade hurts a little less

And habits and disciplines appear

 

Because my Captain fights beside me

Gleaming white horse thundering forward

We’re all in a war against gratitude and joy

But I know who’s going to win

 

 

 

 

 

Gossamer Tears in a Patchwork Heart

If this isn’t bravery, I don’t know what is
Entering again with your second little lamb
Trying when advised even though you were the statistic
Arriving at the place where your heart stopped beating
Where his heart stopped beating and yours with it
Bravery isn’t falling off cliffs or high dives into the ocean
It’s not wrestling crocs and swimming in Amazons
At least not for me
It’s walking on your own two feet toward the dark stain of past blood
Erecting an altar and saying, “God I’ll try again.”
It’s letting the shiny gossamer tears reflect the light boldly
And not wiping them away.
it’s announcing my heart is a patchwork quilt of ragged, messy stitches
But it’s warm
It can keep us both warm
I have everything to lose, but my heart will add another patch
Let me hope and try again
If this isn’t bravery, I don’t know what is

– from Gossamer Tears in a Patchwork Heart
(Coming in 2020)

MY NEW NOVELLA! – Captivated by Catalina!

Guys!!!
I spent my tenth anniversary enjoying my husband and the beach and charm of Catalina Island!  Getting inspired by one of my favorite places, I wrote a Christian romance novella set right in the gorgeous town of Avalon.

The novella is being edited and will be available on December 5th, but is up for pre-order now!

You can get it HERE.

Here’s the blurb:

Getting stuck on an island might be the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

Marcella Brighton is a single, lonely career woman whose job promotion means she is forced to move away from everyone she knows and loves. When her older sister offers a comfort cruise to exotic islands, she jumps on it, and falls in love with Stop #2: Catalina Island. The charm of the small city of Avalon is both refreshing and heartwarming. And she especially bonds with the hot Hispanic zip line guy, Josef, who’s also a dedicated Christian.

Yet when a lost phone keeps her from getting back to her cruise on time, Marcella finds herself stuck on the island without a single familiar face – except Josef’s. But is forty-eight hours enough time to truly fall in love

AND DRUMROLL

The cover!!!

Catalina cover smaller