Monday, October 23, 2017

Prep Work for Another NaNo

by Andrea Renee Cox

It’s just about that time again. NaNoWriMo begins on November 1, which is barely over a week from now. In case you haven’t yet heard, NaNoWriMo is short for the National Novel Writing Month—November—during which writers come together online and try to each write 50,000 words in a new book. Some are rebels and work on screenplays, short stories, or a new draft of an old book. I’ve been one of those rebels before, but this year I’ll be starting from scratch on an entirely new story.



How does one go about preparing for NaNoWriMo?

That’s a fantastic question. I used to simply wing it. Yep, I’m serious. I’d pick the idea most prevalent in my mind and dive into it with zero prep work done. No character sketches, no timeline, no backstories… nothing. It seemed to work… for a while. Then I’d get stuck. Not just I’m-in-the-ditch-someone-tow-me-out stuck, but actual I’m-in-a-fifteen-car-pileup-and-the-rescue-team-is-behind-miles-of-traffic stuck. It would typically take three to five days of precious writing time staring at the page and maybe getting a single paragraph written during that entire span.

In recent years, though, I’ve changed from a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants, or without a lot of prep work ahead of time) to a plantser (a combination or pantser and plotter), but this year I’m considering myself more of a plotter (someone who prepares ahead of time and might have at least a rough outline of their story and/or character sheets worked up).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Upcoming Reading Marathon

by Andrea Renee Cox

Coming up in November, I'll be hosting a reading marathon of Katherine Reay's books in celebration of her new release, The Austen Escape, which releases on November 7. Stay tuned through this article for more information about the books involved in the marathon. I hope many of you will join in on the reading fun. I've checked with Ms. Reay, and she said she may stop by to answer any questions we have about her books as we discuss them. How awesome is that? I love it when authors get involved in discussions of their books.



Where?

The Katherine Reay reading marathon will take place on Goodreads in the Christian Fiction Devourer group, of which I'm one of the moderators. You may find the thread for the marathon by clicking here.

Can't decide yet? No worries! There's another opportunity to join near the bottom of this article, and I'll be adding a reminder to the bottom of the next several articles for your convenience.

When?

These are the dates of discussion for each book. Spoilers will be allowed for each book on its discussion date, so beware of that if you're popping in while you're in the middle of reading one of the books. The pace is one novel per week, but you don't have to participate in all of them if that doesn't fit into your schedule.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

by Andrea Renee Cox

Heartache in a Book

*** 
DISCLOSURE: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, authors, and sites like Netgalley, Litfuse Publicity Group, and Blogging for Books. They do not require me to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
***


From the outset of this story, I knew it was going to twist my heart into a pretzel. While I didn’t much care for Philip, his arguing with his wife was what first endeared me to Clare. It was clear she wanted the best thing for her family, and it’s hard sometimes to know what that is, especially when the leader of the family is off chasing a whim. I’m glad I stuck through with Clare through the stubbornness she displayed often throughout the remainder of the book, because her heart journey was exquisite. To have one’s son stolen by Indians and then to attempt to gain those Indians’ trust in order to get merely a glimpse of the child lost to you… I can imagine how much one’s heart would wrench and ache in that scenario.

My favorite character was Wolf-Alone. He was quite mysterious, and I can’t remember him in The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn (I wish I had time to reread that one right now!), but he was the type of guy who stands for what he believes in and tries to keep the peace but is willing to fight for his people too. Ultimate hero, right there. So yeah. I may have to dig out my copy of Tamsen after all. I want to see what happens next to Wolf-Alone, who might just go by a different name in the other book.

Monday, October 2, 2017

See: A One Word Update

by Andrea Renee Cox

Recently, I read an update on Cara Putman’s One Word. It’s an interesting article, and I hope you’ll give it a look.

After reading that one, and recalling that I was planning on updating you guys on my own One Word for 2017, I am here today to share how God has opened my eyes this year.


My word is "see." One of the things that God whispered to me pretty early on was, "See what I'm already doing in your life." Okay. So I thought I was appreciating them as they came along, but sometimes life sweeps us along too fast if we aren't being deliberate about it. God has done some pretty amazing things in my life this year. Here are just a few:

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Question of Honor by Jesseca Wheaton

by Andrea Renee Cox

DISCLOSURE: I received compensation for my honest review. Writing a positive review was NOT a requirement.

The heart of A Question of Honor was engaging, well expressed, and heartrending. While there were typos, inconsistencies, and factual and historical errors, this was a powerful, emotional story that easily gripped my soul. There is room for this author to grow in her craft, but she is already carving out space for her beautiful stories in the world of literature. I am eager to read more from her.

The way two different story lines came together was interesting. It was fun getting to know both sets of characters and their quirks, hopes, and challenges. Even more enjoyable was when their individual stories crashed together. It wasn’t always pretty – war’s an ugly thing, after all – but a thread of hope was the binding agent spreading to every page.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why Not Ask for Patience?

by Andrea Renee Cox

This article began by my reading a guest article on Tricia Goyer’s website. (Stay tuned for a link to that article.)



There was a line in the article that said, “It’s kinda like praying for patience. Never do that either.”

My hackles went up on that one, to be completely honest. Who was this woman to tell me what my faith journey should look like? How could she possibly know what spiritual lesson I need to learn? And why do people keep telling me not to ask for patience?

(The rest of the article was amazing. Amy Matayo had some great points, and I appreciated her insight on faith being hard sometimes. So true!)

Why should I not ask for patience if that’s what I truly need to learn?

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

by Andrea Renee Cox

Before we get to today's article, let's take a moment to pray for the folks in the path of Hurricane Irma and anyone who will be touched by Hurricane Jose. Also, for those who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Katia, the earthquake in Mexico, and the wildfires blazing across western portions of the United States.

Father God, please comfort and protect the people in the paths of these storms and natural disasters. Help them to stay as safe as possible and evacuate as needed. Please infuse each heart with Your love and comfort. Help hearts all over the world to draw closer to You because of these disasters we're facing. Thank You for all the volunteers and authorities who have all been helping residents through these storms. Bless each of them for their commitment to helping those around them. In the name of Jesus Christ, I praise You for being our Port in the storms of life and ask safety and recovery for those in the path of these storms. Amen.

***

There are things in my past I cannot change. Things that have broken me, left behind scars... Only one God could reach into those dark places and heal them. The scars remain, as do the lessons learned, but the pain has been transformed to divine joy.

The Lady and the Lionheart reminded me of my journey with God to discover just how far inside a person His healing touch can go. This story of a tattooed beast and a soiled beauty was a charming, deep, richly flavored tale with such heart and raw pain laid bare for the audience to do with what they will. That's what I cherish about Joanne Bischof's stories: Her heart—vulnerable and honest—flutters on every page, through every word.

I was surprised that the faith thread wasn't clear or really noticeable until chapter nine. This was different and unexpected. But then faith oozed into the fabric of the story and swept into a magnificent crescendo, so it turned out not to be a bother that faith was a latecomer. Better late than never, as they say.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

by Andrea Renee Cox

Today is Labor Day, so tell me:

How are spending Labor Day?

Are you having a barbecue?

Is your day being shared with friends or family?

Are you able to enjoy a day off from work?

Monday, August 28, 2017

#PrayingForTexas and #Harvey2017

by Andrea Renee Cox

Right now it's Sunday evening, and I'm watching The Weather Channel's coverage of now-Tropical Storm Harvey. There is severe flooding throughout southeastern Texas, my home state. Thankfully, I live in north Texas so am safe from the storm's path of severe wind and rainfall. But that doesn't mean I've been uninvolved in the storm.

While I have not been able to physically take part in any rescue efforts, I have done what I can do: pray.

Courtesy of Google Images

All over social media (Facebook and Twitter are the sites I use a lot), I saw Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey updates with the hashtags #PrayingForTexas and #Harvey2017. These were encouraging to me, and I started using them too, hopeful that they would encourage those most affected by the storm.

I don't use these hashtags lightly either. My mind and heart have been in a constant state of prayer for everyone in the path of Harvey. I've prayed for safety, comfort, encouragement, and aid. I've prayed for spirits to be uplifted, for souls to discover God's love, and for the storm to dissipate and flooding to recede swiftly.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Note from the Psalms

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hey y'all! I hope you're having a very blessed day. Something that recently blessed me was looking at some notes I'd jotted down in one of my many Bibles. (One for every occasion? Maybe....)

The one I was using isn't even in this old picture. :)

Take a look at this verse from the Psalms:

"Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my adversaries; make Your way straight before me."
Psalm 5:8 HCSB


Monday, August 14, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

by Andrea Renee Cox

A stuttering author and a beautiful thief. What could possibly go wrong?

Now Available!
Before I get into why I enjoyed this book, let me first share with you the two things that bothered me. Firstly, there were lots of minor expletives, words that many people wouldn’t consider bad but, in the context, quite likely are. Examples include blighted, blasted, blazes, etc. In and of themselves, not terrible words. But like I said, within the context of how they were used and intended, they were replacements for the really bad ones, which equals the same thing to me.

Secondly, there was a moment when the leading man, a Christian, “could hardly begrudge” the leading lady “mumbling and grumbling and growling words no lady should know.” This was disturbing to me. Curse words should never be okay from a Christian perspective—whether saying them or being okay with other people saying them—because they do not honor God, and a Christian’s goals should include honoring God with every word we speak or think. Since Peter was thinking that he couldn’t fault Rosemary for cussing up a storm, it seemed to me that he was okay with it, that he was condoning it. That, to me, was inappropriate and out of character of him.

Because of that bit of a faith flub, I couldn’t give more than three stars, even though I really wanted to. You see, A Name Unknown was a rich, deep, thoughtful story. Its characters were sublime—minus those couple of things I mentioned—and intriguing and complicated. The plot was delicious and kept me riveted to the pages. The pacing was spot-on, bringing fast action scenes and ebbing pauses to let one catch one’s breath. Sweet, salty, sumptuous, suspenseful, secrets… this novel had a little bit of almost everything, and it kept me guessing on most points. I particularly appreciated Ms. White’s attention to detail and historical accuracy. Those are a couple of things I have come to expect with her books, and I was delighted to see they had continued to be strong and richly written in this novel, one I’d looked forward to for months prior to its release.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Traffic Jam Contentment

by Andrea Renee Cox

How do you handle a traffic jam?

Yesterday morning, I read Philippians 4, and the two verses that leapt out at me were these:

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Philippians 4:11-12 NKJ

My family headed home from a weekend trip shortly after I read that section, and wouldn’t you know that would be the day of bursts of heavy rain that slowed us down, a side trip that was for naught, and multiple traffic jams that had us inching along slower than a slug.


But I didn’t panic. Or freak out. Or get frustrated at any of it.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Learning to be Patient

by Andrea Renee Cox

In church these recent weeks, we are studying Ecclesiastes. A verse that really leapt off the page at me yesterday morning was the second half of chapter seven, verse eight:

“… The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8b NKJ

Patience is something I’ve been working on a lot in the last many years. I’m nowhere near mastering it, and I’m not sure I ever will accomplish that goal. But I feel I must try.

Why?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

by Andrea Renee Cox

One of my least favorite things to do is write negative reviews. I understand how much time and effort it takes to write a book, and it's never easy for me to aim an exposing spotlight on a book's shortcomings. However, sometimes it's necessary.

A book I recently read fell into this category.


The gorgeous cover of Grounded Hearts fooled me, as did the premise. I expected a sweet story about a midwife who rescued an injured flyboy, but once I dug into the plot, I discovered the sweetness was merely a mask, and a flimsy one at that. The majority of the story ended up being crude and sensual.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Name Reveal + Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

by Andrea Renee Cox


Two things have me really excited today.

1. Character names

2. Kim Vogel Sawyer's newest book

Hang in there with me today, because I've got a lot to say. Hopefully you're just as eager to hear it all as I am to tell you about it.


Let's tackle my own news first.


Last week, I asked for help naming three characters:


Father
tall, elderly, quirky, sense of humor, fading memory

Son
serious, too busy for love, trouble deciding what's best for dad

Stranger
quick wit, optimist, romantic, world traveler

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pick a Name

by Andrea Renee Cox

Remember when I had you help me choose which project to work on? You ended up choosing a really fun story for me to work on. Now that I'm getting deeper into the plot, I've got another opportunity for you to help me out.


How would you like to help me choose some character names?


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

by Andrea Renee Cox

The premise for this book really intrigued me, as did the title. I was disappointed that the title barely had anything to do with the plot, though. I think there were two mentions, perhaps three, that the leading lady was the daughter of a captain, and she never once set foot on a ship. This was a large disappointment to me, as I really had hopes of a good ship scene or at least a more involved explanation for the title's claim.

A rather large inconsistency in Rosalyn's intuition about smarmy men irritated me throughout. She immediately sensed one character was a no-good rascal, yet another similar character with a slightly smoother but still clearly deceitful nature received welcome attention from the same woman, with little regard to anyone's warnings about him. What happened to her intuition? It vanished so quickly and with no defined reason that I found it difficult to feel sorry for her when things got tricky because of the neglect of her own common sense.

I enjoyed the complex characters from the beginning, and though this dipped a little due to Rosalyn's inconsistent intuition, the majority of the characters remained consistent throughout and I was quite able to enjoy their journeys.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Autumn 2017 Reading Challenge

by Andrea Renee Cox


Are you a fan of reading challenges?

In the last couple of years, I have become quite an avid fan of them. They are fantastic for discovering new-to-you authors or genres you've never tried before. The thing I really love about them is seeing which of the books in my towers and piles will work for each category.



I've finally decided to design my very first reading challenge, and you're the first to learn the categories here on Writing to Inspire.

Monday, June 19, 2017

And the Winner Is...

by Andrea Renee Cox

Last week, I asked for your help in deciding which story to work on for the rest of June. To recap, here were the choices:


Option #1
A woman wakes up in a hospital unable to remember anything about herself, but the doctor recognizes her immediately – only he doesn’t want to tell her the truth.

Option #2
Several ladies head out on a cross-country road trip, but each one’s secrets cause problems along the way.

Option #3
A former singer hides out with her daughter in a quaint horse town, but a stranded journalist thinks she could be just the story he needs to revive his stalled-out career.

Do you have a favorite in mind?


And the winner is...



Monday, June 12, 2017

Help Me Choose

by Andrea Renee Cox

Sometimes deciding what to write is hard.

I could write an entire catalogue of articles on how many times I’ve struggled with what to write about for my blog articles. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

How does one choose which story to focus on when there are a dozen, two dozen, a hundred ideas floating around in one’s mind?



Sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes it really hurts, to have to choose. It hurts because once a writer has invested time and energy and precious brain cells building a particular story world populated by a bunch of intriguing characters that the writer begins to love, it’s really tough when a new idea comes along and begs for attention. Sometimes a writer has multiple projects, all with great settings and problems and characters and pets. The tough choice then gets even tougher, because in order to say yes to one set of characters and their world, the writer inevitably has to say no or not now to all the rest.

For this writer in particular, that’s really painful.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Compassion on the Court

by Andrea Renee Cox

Compassion on the Court
June 1, 2017

There was a moment this morning at the French Open (otherwise known as Roland Garros) that had tears pouring down my face. It was a moment in which tennis, competition, winning, losing, the seeding chart… all of that faded away and failed to matter. In this moment, one man’s heart appeared to be breaking, and the other man offered unparalleled compassion (which is understandable considering that he had been through injuries himself many times before).

Both Juan Martin Del Potro and Nicolas Alamagro were dealing with some discomfort and injuries cropping up in their second-round match today, but then things took a sudden turn. Juan Martin served, but Nicolas found himself unable to move to strike the ball. He then broke down in tears of apparent frustration. I won’t presume to know what was coursing through his mind, but I know playing in the Grand Slams is huge for any tennis player. Having to retire from a match is never easy, I would imagine, especially after pouring so much time and effort into training and fighting for each round of every tournament one competes in.
 
Nicolas Almagro (left) and Juan Martin Del Potro (right)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake

by Andrea Renee Cox

Have you ever read a book that made you crave your favorite dessert?

Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd was one of those books for me. Just thinking about it now, months after I read it, has me wishing I had some crème brûlée or some red velvet cake (two of my favorite desserts). Maybe I'll bake something delicious this afternoon.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Psst! Want to Get a Sneak Peek?

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hey you!

Yes, you. Would you like to see a little piece of my recent Camp NaNoWriMo project? Well, your wish may just come true.

This story I worked on was from an outline I drew up in only thirty minutes one afternoon. I was so surprised at how quickly my first manuscript outline came together. It was definitely God-designed, I'll tell you that. A couple of things changed along the way, as I was writing the story, but most of the outline remained intact. It's only the second time I've used an outline, but both projects didn't take me long to write, and I credit the outline and God's guidance very heavily for that.


The scene I'm about to share with you is unedited, so please forgive any typos. It may not stay in its current form once I start editing in a month or so (after I finish the first draft of another book in the series). Even so, I thought you'd enjoy getting a glimpse at my hard work from last month.

Fair warning: If you're anything like me, you might want to have some tissues close at hand when reading this snippet.


Sneak Peek!*

Monday, May 15, 2017

Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace

by Andrea Renee Cox

Forensic Faith inspired me. It was such an encouraging book with lots of tips and suggestions for how to increase one's faith in an evidential way that will lend itself well to leading others to explore their own faith in God. This book was hard to put down at times, and I really appreciated the passion with which the author shared his message.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Forgetful Me

by Andrea Renee Cox

So, y'all, I have to apologize. I completely forgot about my blog. This past weekend flew by, and as I was heading to bed on Sunday night, I remembered, "My blog!" So here I am, at a quarter after eleven on Sunday night, and I have no clue what I'm going to write about.

But you guys deserve a blog article.

A good one.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti + Giveaway!

by Andrea Renee Cox

When I started reading A Fragile Hope, I wasn't sure what to expect. Several chapters in, I was still unsure what was to come, but I saw glimpses of the heart-wrenching tale that was to commence. By the time I finished the last page, I was overwhelmed with varying emotions: devastation, hope, joy, a sense of refreshing, and a keen dose of peace that only comes with forgiveness.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Miles + Giveaway!

by Andrea Renee Cox



Optimism and positivity are things I've worked hard on since I was an early teen. Sometimes I still struggle, especially on difficult days, but overall, my mind has been transformed by the mighty hand of God. When Unsinkable Faith came up on my reading list, I had a feeling it was going to be good. Once I dove into it, I realized it is a fantastic tool for guarding one's mind against those pesky negative thoughts that like to creep up in the worst of moments. I am so glad I read this book, and I hope you'll find it helpful too!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Times of Refreshing

by Andrea Renee Cox

Have you ever found yourself tired and weary and in need of a good rest? Last week was a busy one for me, and it seemed like it caught up to me over Easter weekend. I was exhausted and had to sleep in pretty late a couple of times.

He is risen!
Happy Resurrection Day!

Yet, on Sunday morning, I found this gem as I was reading in the book of Acts:

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,"
Acts 3:19 NKJ

Monday, April 10, 2017

Need a Short Read?

by Andrea Renee Cox

This month, as you might know, is a Camp NaNoWriMo month. That being the case, I am hard at work this morning, working on a novella. I'm already on the eighth chapter, and I'm just starting the second week of camp. Needless to say -- but I will anyway -- I have a secondary project to work on for later in the month. I'm hoping for just as much success on that one, but I still have to finalize my outline and finish up the last three chapters in the novella before I can start on the next project.

Since I'm working on a novella right now, I got thinking about a couple of novellas I've recently enjoyed. This past weekend, I read the Lynette Eason one I'll share in a moment, but it's been a few months since I read the Cara Putman one, and I'm hoping to be able to reread it soon. It's a quick read, so I think it will fit into my schedule one of these weekends.

Do you like novellas? Why or why not?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer

by Andrea Renee Cox



What an amazing story. It's going to be hard to narrow down my thoughts and not give anything away, but here goes...

The themes of this story really captured me more than anything else, though there was a ton more to love about this book. From vanity, greed, and fear, to trust, serving Jesus, Good Samaritan, and putting God first, this novel was filled to the gills with lessons that were thoughtfully woven into every detail. None of them seemed over the top or preachy to me; rather, they were subtle and sweet and brought just the right touch of grace to the story line.

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Bittersweet Friendship

by Andrea Renee Cox

Easter is just around the corner, and this time of year always has me thinking on Jesus’s great sacrifice in order to save me from eternal death. It is with deep gratitude and a humble heart that I recall the immense suffering my Savior went through in order to fulfill His Father’s will. I am forever in His debt and want to always remember His finest hour.

Yes, I believe it was, up to today, His finest hour. I believe He will have an even finer one when He returns to fetch God’s children home, but until then, Jesus’s death on the cross, burial, and resurrection will remain, in my view, His finest hour, for it was through those three events that He conquered death for all eternity.
 
Jesus has conquered death.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller + GIVEAWAY

by Andrea Renee Cox

When I first saw this book, I was immediately intrigued by the beautiful cover and the back cover copy. The story within was clearly inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, yet it holds its own flavor and style. I particularly enjoyed how circumstances pushed the characters to examine their behavior and make changes to improve themselves. The theme of controlling women losing the people they tried to control came through quite well, and I found this to be a direct reflection of real life.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Prayer Requests

by Andrea Renee Cox

It's late, late, late Sunday night (or way too early Monday morning!)... and I am not yet happy with the article I've been working on for you. So I'm scrapping it for now and will come back to that particular one for another week. For now, though, I leave you with a beautiful verse which has often been a comfort to me.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo + a Sneak Peek!

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hey y’all! How are you this fine Monday? I am busy as a little bee, working really hard on an outline for the project I’ll be writing for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. (Stay tuned for a fun sneak peek!)



Ever since my friend Hannah invited me to participate in Camp last April, I have loved and looked forward to it. Camp NaNo is a one-month writing session online (CampNaNoWriMo.org) where one may join a cabin of writing buddies. I like Camp better than regular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) because of the cabin atmosphere and being able to set one’s own goals rather than being mandated to do 50k words. Sometimes I only have time for 20k or so; other times, I fly to 60+ thousand words before the third week of a month. Either way I go, the words build up into something amazing.

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Soul Sings by Kim Vogel Sawyer

by Andrea Renee Cox


Do you believe in jinxes?

I don’t.

But there’s a fictional town that completely does, and a young woman is suffering because of their superstition.


Kim Vogel Sawyer’s My Soul Sings contains an incredible sweetness that I have come to expect and admire in her writing. I especially liked how she wove that in amongst trials such as disability, outcasts, superstitions, hermits, and prejudices. Not only that, but she laces the entire tale with a thread of humor that perfectly balances out the weighty topics. One thing more that I enjoyed was how she’s got such a wonderful ear for nuances of speech. That really comes through well on each page.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Half-Empty? Or Half-Full?

by Andrea Renee Cox

There's a glass sitting on a table. The water inside kisses the midpoint.


Would you consider that half-empty or half-full?

Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

There was a time when I argued with my cousins about this very thing, and I kept insisting that the glass was half-empty.

Half-empty?


Why was I so insistent upon that?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Inspired by Lovely

by Andrea Renee Cox

Hey, y'all! Things are crazy around here right now, which usually happens to me when I'm on the last week of an editing deadline. Dishes are piled up, laundry needs to be washed, but I'm determined to finish these chapters even if my chores get shoved aside for a couple of extra days.

One thing that isn't allowed to get shoved aside, though, is my time in God's Word.


Every morning, I pull out my Precious Moments Bible and the workbook I'm going through and find my quiet spot for the next forty-five minutes. This isn't something I've always done, but it has quickly become my favorite time of day. There's nothing more beautiful than spending time with my heavenly Father.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Control Girl by Shannon Popkin + Prize Pack Giveaway!

by Andrea Renee Cox

A mother raises her voice to get her toddler to stop scuffing his feet when he walks.

Now available!
She sighs heavily when her teenaged daughter won’t put down her phone while they’re out eating lunch.

A woman asks her husband a question that undercuts his authority in front of their friends.

She decides the discipline her husband doled out to the children was too harsh and changes it.

A young lady whispers to her friend all the bad things someone else said about her and claims to be the person’s only real friend.

Sound familiar?


We’ve all known controlling women in our lives. For some it may be their mother or mother-in-law. For others, it may be their “best” friend. Sometimes it’s the people we work with or members of our book clubs. But have we stopped to consider that we may be the controlling ones too?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Fear of the Lord

by Andrea Renee Cox

I am enjoying a one-day break between two copyediting jobs, and thankfully, it's a Sunday, which means an off day from my tutoring job as well. I love both of my employments, but sometimes a girl just needs a break. Today is that day for me.

During this minuscule reprieve, I sought refuge and rest in the Word of God. Best place to find it, if you ask me. A recurring theme in the verses I read this morning was the "fear of the Lord." As those words soaked through my skin and into my heart, it occurred to me once again that the fear here is not that we are necessarily afraid of God, but more than we respect Him with a holy reverence. He is so amazing and absolutely wonderful, how could we not have the utmost respect for Him? May praise and honor for Him spill from our lips.

Here are the verses that got me meditating on the "fear of the Lord" this morning. (All the verses are in the New King James version, as that is the one I read them from.)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Be My Guest: Jessica Freeman

by Andrea Renee Cox

Poetry isn't a medium I think about very often, because I am more drawn to manuscripts and screenplays, but poetry is fascinating in its own right. I am excited to host Jessica Freeman, who chats about how modern-day poetry remains relevant today.


New Ways to Treat Modern Poetry
by Jessica Freeman

For those who appreciate genuine inspiration as the initial point for creating poetry, the presentation of poetry through books is simply… not enough. Yes, you can publish a collection of poems and allow your readers to respond after processing the poetry through their own filter of emotions. However, the modern era gives you many other ways to express poetry. It would be a shame to limit yourself to print.

Courtesy of Jessica Freeman

Why isn’t modern poetry suitable for paper? What makes it so different?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr.

by Andrea Renee Cox

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day! May we always remember to do what is right no matter who tries to stand against us. I like that Dr. King spoke for freedom in a peaceful way. I think the world could use more of that style of progression even now. But it begins with each of us.

Monday, January 9, 2017

One Word 2017

by Andrea Renee Cox

For many years now, I’ve seen One Word floating around on various blogs. It’s a movement to focus on one word per year rather than do resolutions. I was not interested in this movement because it seemed restricting. Only one word for an entire year? Wouldn’t that limit what God could do if I only focused on one word?

Well, this year, before seeing anyone’s blog about it, One Word floated through my mind in a new way. I’ve been struggling with focus lately, and the more I thought about One Word, the more it made sense for this particular year. Perhaps that singular focus is exactly what I need in 2017.

So I’ve jumped into One Word. I’m not really sure how to do it, but I trust that, since God’s brought me to it, He will show me the way through it. He has already shown me how to choose my word for the year. I had been praying over a few different words when a completely different one came into my mind. I quickly realized that was the way God was giving me the word He wants me to focus on.

Therefore, my One Word for 2017 is…


Monday, January 2, 2017

Setting Goals

by Andrea Renee Cox

Can you believe it’s 2017 already?

It’s a bit hard to imagine, but it is that time of year again. Time to crack open a new calendar. To eat black-eyed peas (if you’re into that; they aren’t to my liking and I don’t buy into the superstition of the tradition). And to make new year’s resolutions.

I stopped making resolutions probably fifteen years ago. I never saw them through. Most of the years, I barely made it two weeks. Of course, I was a teenager at the time and hadn’t yet developed good follow-through skills.