After a Short Coffee Break...

Submitted by Mary on Thu, 05/22/2014 - 01:01

Oh wait—I don’t drink coffee. And come to think of it, it wasn’t a short break, either. Hopefully I’m not the only one who’s noticed that I’ve been gone from ApricotPie for a very long time now. I promise, it wasn’t intentional. So first, a brief update on my life, and then an explanation for my absence followed by some thoughts on the future.

It’s been an amazing, awesome, crazy, and at times very tough couple of years. I’ve said goodbye to people I love, added some new and incredible people to my life, learned some hard lessons, grown in my faith, watched God slam some doors in my face only to drag me through others I wasn’t expecting, let go of some goals and achieved others, joined forces with an awesome ministry that God is using to do great things, and while I can’t say I’ve enjoyed every single minute, I can say that I love what God is doing in my life and the things He’s taught me about Himself over the last few years have made me more in love with Him and more confident in His sovereignty and goodness than I ever imagined being. I am so excited to see what He has in store for the future!
Right now I am blessed to be my own boss, earning my living teaching music and cleaning offices. I spend my weekends volunteering with Creation Ministries of the Ozarks as a tour guide and apologist at one of their two museums, where I have the awesome privilege of helping Christians become more confident and informed in their faith and the reliability of the Bible, and occasionally debating with a skeptic or atheist who happens to wander in. My prayer is that God will use me to bless each and every guest I host at the museum, but so far I’m pretty sure I’m the one getting the most blessings out of the deal!
After almost twenty years of writing, and almost twelve of actually knowing I was going to be a writer, my writing has finally started really going somewhere—namely, New Zealand! This past winter, I signed the contract for my first novel, Song of the Wren-Falcon, with Splashdown Books of New Zealand. Right now I’m working on editing Song... and writing the sequel. And next winter, I’ll be following my manuscript to New Zealand to serve a two-month internship with my publisher, Grace Bridges! (See what I mean about God’s goodness being more than I could have imagined?)
I’ve recently been featured in two issues of Havok Magazine as well, as winner of the 2013 Realm Makers flash fiction competition and a finalist in the 2014 Steampunk versus Cyberpunk genre contest.
After years and years of trying to get my writing out there, it’s finally happening! And honestly, that’s a lot of what has brought me back to ApricotPie. In meeting with all this success, I’ve been thinking a lot about my roots, and the things that got me to where I am today as a writer. ApricotPie is one of the main characters in that story. Without the outlet it provided for my creativity, and the honest but loving criticism I received over the years from the friends I made here, my writing journey might have taken a different path—it certainly would have been much more difficult. I’ve met people through ApricotPie that are still my friends today, and I’ve watched people I introduced to the site become some of its most popular writers. Honestly, I’ve missed it.
And so after a very long non-coffee break, I’m back, and I hope to start writing regularly again.
However, that brings me to a quandary: some of you may remember the serial I was posting before: The Forests of Evenlear. I was really enjoying writing it until I realized that the plot hinged on a love triangle. I tried to rewrite the plot to avoid such a situation, but the story just won’t work (or at least, it won’t be interesting) without the love triangle. Knowing how most of my fellow Apricots feel about love triangles, and despising the wretched things myself, I decided to take a break from posting to try to figure the problem out. Unfortunately, that break turned into a more-than-two-year leave of absence. (Sorry.)
So now I need input from people who read the first few chapters I posted of The Forests of Evenlear. Is the story beginning I already have worth continuing, love triangle notwithstanding? Or should I just let it go, perhaps say a few touching words over its grave, and focus on something new?
Whatever you guys think, I’m totally fine with it either way. I don’t want to post something that’s going to make people roll their eyes and think “Great, she’s turned into one of those writers!” but I also don’t want to leave something hanging that people were enjoying. So please let me know, and please be honest, like I know you all are. Whichever you think I ought to do, I’m super excited to be back and I’m looking forward to more fabulous years of writing and reading.
It’s good to be home.

Author's age when written


Wow, how exciting! I look forward to reading more of your writing. I just caught up on The Forests of Evenlear, and I think you've got such intriguing mysteries about the place that it'll make for a great story, love triangle or not. I'd really like to see what happens next, with Mira and the forests and all. : )

And it's always exciting to hear where God takes His people. Good luck on your first novel and have fun writing in New Zealand!

I was so glad to see another writer post again! I've read all of the Falls the Shadow on the blog regularly. It was amazing. I may have read "Forests of Evenlear" a couple years ago, but I read it again today and I really love it. You were so good with descriptions, and the story has me "hooked". It's very intriguing and I would totally enjoy more. I particularly love your writing style in this one - how you describe and describe, and I think it's perfect to be in first person. To answer your question, I didn't spot a "love-triangle", and I one hundred percent encourage you to finish this story because I think there's alot of good things you can do with it. :) Please post more!! -- Megan

Oh, and yes, I'm glad that it's such an exciting time for you in terms of writing!

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's so good to have you back, Mary! I've missed your writing! To be honest, it's been so long that I can't remember much of The Forests of Evenlear, other than I did like it - but I like ALL of your writing so you posting again, whether something new or old will make me happy. :)

Ahhh, Mary, I'm SO happy to see you! Of course we remember you and noticed your absence! I'm so happy you're back, not just because you're my age and that category is dwindling, but because I loved your writing and kind, sensitive, insightful comments. And also because you're one of the first people I knew who said so firmly, "I am a writer and going to be an author," and look where you are now... I think you're our first, or one of our first, APers to be published. We should throw an online party. So proud! Good job!! Can you send a link to any online site for it? I'm sure a lot of us would like to look at it or purchase it. :)
And: YES, keep going with the book and don't skirt away from the love triangle: that's life and it happens and it's heartbreaking, but so many of us have been in them, it's comforting to hear a sympathetic voice about it. We need books like that! And so many classics have centered around that theme, as you know (I'm reading Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome" right now, which is exactly about that) (not that I'm recommending the book - I'm not really getting into it right now, haha).

Aww, you're all so sweet!
Thanks for such a warm welcome back, everyone. It makes me smile and I'm actually almost tearing up right now.
Since you all seem so enthusiastic about the story, I think I'll probably go ahead and finish writing The Forests of Evenlear, though I may wait a little while and post some other things here and there before continuing with the serial. Honestly it was very touching to hear all your remarks about how much you enjoyed it... how am I supposed to say no to that?
I wasn't the very first APer to get something published... that claim might belong to Anna, and I know LoriAnn was published before me for sure... but I might be the first one to get a full-length novel published, unless someone else has while I've been gone.
And yes, of course, as soon as Song of the Wren-Falcon releases (which my publisher says should be around November) I'll send you all the information and throw a huge online release party, to which APers will receive special VIP invitations. ; )
One of these days we really should think about having an ApricotPie convention somewhere...

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

Hello! Don't believe we've met. Hi. I'm Maddi :)

Well, I'm glad you're back, even though I never existed here when you did. Anyway, so maybe I'll have to go read your story. But, having not read it, I would personally encourage you to start anew. Fresh! But, if I went and read it perhaps I would have a different view. Whatever you decide, I'm looking forward to reading!

How exciting! New Zealand! That's like....neighbours with me...almost. All the best and blessings for that!

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Nope, we haven't met, but I'm very pleased to make your acquaintance. I'm so excited to see all the new writers we've added since I was last here! I just went back and read some of your poetry. Very nice!

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

Well even though this was a more personal, blogish post, I very much enjoyed your style of writing. It felt almost as if you were on the verge of telling a joke any minute, so I think I was smiling the whole time I read.

Wow!!!! New Zealand!!! That's so exciting!!! You'll have to visit Hobbiton! And do they have a Narnia tourist attraction there? But that's so great that you've been published. I'm now inspired to keep up what I'm doing so that I might too become published ;)!

YES!YES!YES!!! AP convention! We've gotta do it! Maybe (hopefully) when Maddie, Homeschoolgirl, and I are all a bit older (and when we have jobs to pay for plane tickets and hotel rooms!) we can do an AP convention! Or maybe start something... Like maybe an annual thing? Every year... Or if that's too much, maybe every other year? I don't know? But I ADORE that idea!!!

Welcome back, I hope to get the time to read Forests of Evenlear, sounds good!
May your blessings continue to blossom ;)

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
Write On!

Mary, it is good to have you back. You have been gone quite a long time. I definitely encourage you to finish The Forests of Evenlear. I still remember most of what it was about, although it's been a few years so I'll have to go back and refresh myself. And, I see you've already posted the next chapter, so I am off to read it.
Welcome back!
PS I wouldn't worry about having a "love-triangle" in your plot. It's the message you send in how you handle it that counts.

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Yes! A convention-thing....whatever you Americans call it, haha. But that'd be awesome! Maybe as Kassady said like annually or every other year. And maybe for those who couldn't make it, we could set up a Skype so they'd still see everyone...or, as well as you can see on Skype. I wouldn't be able to come for at least a few years, although I do plan on travelling in my gap year.

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

I'm very curious to what you all mean by an apricotpie convention. Do you mean more like an apricotpie get-together? Please answer my question. :)

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mary, I'm glad you're back! I'll have to go back and re-read Forests of Evenlear. I remember bits and pieces of the plot but not the whole thing! Also, Megan, I think they're talking about a get-together :) which would be awesome.

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Godspeed in NZ!

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief