Friday, November 9, 2018

Fall & Writing Breakthroughs


Shortly after last week's blog, I took this photo. Unfortunately, I am unable to share a photo of the red trees. We got a lot of wind. Then, this morning, we had snow!

I know it's Indiana, but I was working in the yard in a sweatshirt twenty-four hours ago. Oh, beautiful Fall, why must you be so short?

At least it gives me plenty of reasons to wear my knee boots and sweaters, drink lots of coffee, and bundle up with a blanket and a good book.


I'm still reading Fawkes.

Don't get me wrong, I like this book. Sometimes I plow through books in a few days, sometimes longer.

This is just one of those books I'm reading at a leisurely pace.

But I do need to pick up the pace because I'm likely to get two new books today. 😐


On the subject of books (When am I not on this subject on this blog?), I penciled in two writing days this week.

I got my wax melter going, my coffee ready. I've been beginning with a bit of scripture reading and prayer beforehand, which is great. I think I'm finally getting past that hump.

Things feel a little less like trudging through mud. However, this is definitely turning into two books. There are too many characters and subplots for me to let this go yet.

My writing mood music has been "Fight at a Carnival" on Ambient Mixer.

With a little prayer, music, and the scent of passion fruit, I'm making strides. I was so happy the other day when I stopped writing to make dinner . . . I had to pause a number of times, dry my hands, and run to the post-it notes to jot a few ideas down. I love the moments when inspiration hits. I can't get to the paper fast enough.
 Praise Jesus! 💖


QOTD (or week):

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
--Albert Camus

Have a great weekend!

Blessings, J

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fall and Fantasy

Friends, it's fall!

It's one of my favorite times of year. We're past the sticky summer heat, and not yet to the frigid cold that is Indiana winters. We have some beautiful leaves, a lot of yellow and red, around here. Unfortunately, this is the only good snap of them I got on our street. (You have to go up a couple of blocks for the really pretty leaves.)


Yesterday was National Authors' Day.

I'm incredibly blessed to be a part of this special group of people. Writers are diverse, from age to genre, to our personal process. What a privilege to say I am an author!

Yesterday was also Men Make Dinner Day. I didn't hold the man-friend to this. But since I got groceries in the rain, I gave myself a pass and served salad for dinner. 😉


What I'm reading:
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. I'm roughly 1/3 of the way through. Hopefully, I'll have pretty quotes for you next week. This is a historical fantasy, meaning it is contains both. As a lover of each genre, I find this idea really intriguing!

Quote of the week:
Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson


On Instagram? You should follow me (@jessicamccartyauthor)!
If you aren't following me, you might miss gems like this.

I did this picture as part of a YA November photo challenge. Today we posted our Fav Fantasy World (#theyasisters). You should get in on this. There are books to be won, and the authors are fantabulous!

My favorite fantasy world is Faelen.
If you are a fan of fantasy, Do Not Miss This Series. It's no secret I'm a fan. From Nym's attitude and storm summoning abilities, to her complicated relationship with swoony Eogan, I just can't get enough. And meat eating horses? Never thought I'd be a fan, but here we are.


Some final thoughts:
This year has flown by. Lately, I feel busy. But when I look back over my week, I can't decide what took up so much of my time.
With the holidays approaching, it makes me want to slow down, take a breath, and refocus.

After watching a YouTube video by Nadine Brandes about getting in the writing zone, I purchased a wax melter. I was struck by her practice of having a scent for each book.
A Pinterest board? Yes. A song play list? Yes. These are things I do. But I don't do the scent thing. However, I'm going to give my passion fruit wax melts a whirl tomorrow. At worst they'll be distracting. I can unplug it. At best, I'll have a new tool in my belt. I can always use more of those!
For those of you who like to create/write, please check out Nadine's videos. Her advice is spot on and she always makes me smile.

In short, slow down and take a breath . . . maybe a scented one.


Well, aside from my garage sale of shame (no one came) and my upcoming girls' day (hoping I'll have a few pics for y'all), that's it!

Blessings, J

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sconces, Kindness, & Dragons

Sconces. I have wanted a set of candle sconces since the hubs and I got married. That's eight years, a long time. Being frugal, I can't stomach the thought of paying full price for something that holds a candle. It's ridiculous.

This morning I visited my local thrift store in an effort to find my husband some work pants. No luck there, but . . . 


It was half price day, so I got two for $1.50! They are also my favorite color, blue. Hooray! They're a little chippy. You can tell they were once gold. But I don't care. I'm totally digging the shabby chic-ness. Plus, it goes with the brass around my fireplace.

I left the thrift store feeling pretty good. I headed out to run errands, only for a guy to cut me in line at the bank and another person pull out in front of me. Cue panic. I drive my husband's old car and have yet to get used to where the horn is at.

I honked, a little delayed, mad at people's rudeness. Why are people so unkind? I pushed my cart around the grocery store asking myself just that. I've found that, as I've gotten older, I ask myself that a lot.

Why can't people be nice? Why are they so unnecessarily rude?

My mind was drawn back to my thrift store trip. Every time I go in there, the place is packed with volunteers. Most of them are elderly (and women), but they are nice! As I was checking out, I found I was part of a conversation with four or five other people. I wasn't a number. I wasn't a customer. I wasn't somebody to rush past or cut in front of because the other person was in too big a hurry to use their manners. I was a person.

Thank the Lord for these sweet ladies (and the man who jokingly told me there was a hundred dollar bill in the bottom of the one dollar purse I had purchased). They were the shining part of my errand running and a reminder that I need to be that for someone else. It was so timely. And isn't that how the Lord works? The moment you need a lesson or a reminder, He sends you something beautiful to bring it to the forefront of your mind.


Yesterday, I finished The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. It was scrumdiddlyumptious. 😋

This book had elements that felt like Disney's Aladdin, Sky in the Deep (Adrienne Young), and The Dragonriders of Pern (Anne McCafrey).

I haven't read Dragonriders of Pern since middle school, but this book has a similar bonding-with-dragons vibe.

I want to say so much about this book, but spoilers!

Asha is the Iskari, the dragon killer. She is also daughter of the king. Dragon killing is her way of earning redemption. When she was a child, her storytelling drew a fire breathing dragon close to her home. Many people were lost and Asha was left with a terrible scar (both inside and out).
Torwin is a skral, or slave. He is not allowed to touch Asha or look her in the eye. When she is injured, he breaks both rules.

All I can say is romance! Drama! Dragons!
And, oh, the character development . . . the things Asha knows about the people in her life and what she believes of herself will be tested.

The Last Namsara quotes:

"I am the danger!"

"When darkness falls, little sister, the Old One lights a flame."

"Greta used to say," he said as he played, "that every one of us is born with a song buried deep in our hearts. A song all our own. And our mission in life is to find that song."


Friends--You can find me now on Instagram and Goodreads!

Instagram: jessicamccartyauthor
Twitter: 1JessicaMcCarty
Facebook: JessicaMcCartyAuthor


Friday, October 19, 2018

Corn Girl

Yesterday marked one month since the release of A Desperate Love.

(I'm in love with the above photo. I didn't intend for it to be so dark. But it's okay. It makes it feel mysterious.)

(This one takes me back to middle school yearbook class. I loved when we did the black and white photos. I still have them!)

I know, I took a lot of photos. I'm so proud of my baby!


I made fall cookies last night! Yummy!

One of the drawbacks of living surrounded by corn is that it's occasionally hard to find things. For example, I visited four stores and found zero leaf shaped cookie cutters. Zero bottles of fall sprinkles.

What's a corn girl to do?

I made my own leaf stencil and cut them out of the dough one by one with a plastic knife . . . 
Some I made into circles. I'm not crazy.

Then I sprinkled them with either cinnamon or red sugar.

'Cause that's how I roll.


Currently, I am really close to finishing Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West.

Twenty-nine pages left. Ah!

After receiving an elicrin stone from The Water, Bristal trains under the tutelage of Brack and Tamarice, fellow elicromancers. Brack warns her to keep an eye out for anything dark that Tamarice may be playing around with.
Brack's worries aren't unwarranted. Bristal has barely begun her training when she must whisk a baby princess into hiding to protect her from a curse made by Tamarice herself.
As the princess grows, Bristal uses her Clandestine ability (she can transform into other people or animals) to influence the kingdoms. The goal? Unite the kingdoms, build an army, and prepare to defeat Tamarice when she returns.

I need to finish this! What happened to Anthony? I need the next book! Gah!!!


I will be guesting on my publisher's podcast, That's My Book, on Monday. You can find her podcast on the Mantle Rock website. For a direct link, go to my Facebook page (Thursday's post).


I am now on Goodreads! Feel free to give me a follow.

Love, J

Friday, October 12, 2018


I was standing in my kitchen earlier this week and had to ask myself, "Am I spiritually hangry?" You know what I mean when I say hangry, right? That moment when you're unnecessarily grouchy because you need to eat.

I was realizing that, man, was I ever being a grouchy jerk. The thought struck me that all my talking with God over the course of the past few days had not remedied said problem. I have to wonder if God was pointing at His Word during my grumpiness going, "Jess, eat a sandwich."

So, I read my devotional this morning, bleary-eyed as I was, and I ate two granola bars (don't judge me). And I feel pretty good. Now for coffee!


I finally finished Waking Beauty.

I think this book was 467 pages. It was long. Really long. This is a fairy tale retelling with a Christian twist. The character known as "The Prince" (AKA Jesus) was worth getting to at the very end. He is beautifully written. There's also a battle in the midst of him finally being revealed, and wowzas, so many truth nuggets!

There is a lot of witty humor in this book. I would love to meet Sarah in real life. I bet she's a blast.

To sum up, this book is worth the read. Just make sure you're ready for the time commitment required.

(Sorry, I had to share this one too.)


My favorite quote of the week comes from a family member who posted it on Facebook. I don't know the original source, but it is:
She's brave, but she's exhausted.

Sometimes, there are days. Take a little time for yourself to breathe, to just be, to refocus.

It's important to be brave, but don't neglect yourself in the process. The world needs you in all your awesomeness.


You can now follow me on Instagram @jessicamccartyauthor.

You'll find things like this . . .

Hopefully, I will get better at bookish photos. I'm trying to follow as many people as I can who are way better than me at it.

I'm thinking about checking out photography books to learn more (nerdy girl that I am). Thoughts?


I guess that's about it for this week. It's become very abruptly Fall, prompting me to pull out my fleece lined leggings today.

Next on the Autumn to-do list: make leaf cookies. 😋 

Have a great week y'all!

J 💙

Friday, October 5, 2018

Last night was the final high school soccer game for the third eldest child, marking the end of a chapter for us. From the beginning of my marriage, I have endured rain, sun, and cold watching the four young ones run up and down soccer fields. Mind you, I am not from a sports family. My husband is one of three boys (all sports guys). Needless to say, it was a bit of a culture shock for me.

But I can tell you, I know way more about sports than I ever dreamed I would. I can also tell you that my husband loves the Cubs. I can name a few of the refs' hand signals when we watch football. I can also tell you that I still have no idea what offsides is, no matter how many soccer games I've seen. All I know is that certain players are too far ahead of other players. But I'm proud of myself for knowing that much!


Speaking of learning things, I have wanted to learn how to make a Word document into a picture for a long time. This week I googled it, played around with it, and you know what? It was easy. SO easy.

What was I waiting for?

I think what finally prompted me to try was a combination of my book release and other authors tweeting mood boards of their books. I got a little jealous! I wanted to make a mood board. And I did!


Not bad for a first try. My encouragement to you today is: Try the scary thing. The thing you think you can't do. The thing that sounds difficult. That thing you really, really want but are too afraid to try.

Go! Do it!
You might surprise yourself.

It should be noted that in this picture . . . 
I was trying not to cut, poke, or jab my face. I took my glasses off for this picture, which meant I couldn't see myself. I made a number of attempts to get the picture just right. I tried different angles, etc. All of this while holding a phone, a kitchen knife, and no glasses to help me see what on earth I was doing.

I don't recommend it.
P.S. I did not cut my face. Praise God.

This one is my favorite. I'm considering putting my quote on this photo and framing it for my office.


Thing I'm reading this week:
I'm still reading "Waking Beauty," but I'm near the end. Next up, "Kingdom of Ash and Briars" by Hannah West.

Favorite quote of the week:
This one comes from a friend and a discussion we were having about young adult books. My friend was commenting that guys tend to not like a lot of romance in their fiction. Her thought on that was, "A good book has both sword smashing and lip smashing."
I totally agree!

Song I've got on repeat this week:
"Head Above Water" by Avril Lavigne
I know, you're thinking, "What? Avril Lavigne?" But hang with me a minute. A Christian friend posted this on Facebook. I saw later that it was a trending video on YouTube. I listened to it and, oh my!
Avril sings about needing God and finding Him at the altar. The official video features Avril in a flowing white dress on a cliff over the ocean. The background and lyrics are lovely.
As another Facebook friend said, this video/song is "stunning."


If you didn't catch my interview with fellow Mantle Rock and historical fiction author Cynthia Roemer, please check it out. Cynthia is author of the Prairie Sky series. 
You can find her blog, "Sowing Seeds of Hope," at

For my local friends, there's still time to enter to win the book gift basket (Flora Library). You have until October 11 to enter. Winner announced October 12. *Family is, unfortunately, not eligible to win.*

If you've read A Desperate Love, pretty please, leave a review for me on Amazon. Reviews help authors! To those of you who've already done so, a thousand blessings!
**Internet hug**

Finally, if I were giving out badges this week, my husband would get one that said, "Master of Marketing." He's been such a blessing by telling others about A Desperate Love, even sending a link to a coworker so he could tell his wife about it.
He told me he's earned twenty brownie points this week.

Have a great week, guys!

God bless,
J 💜

Friday, September 28, 2018


Happy Friday, friends! Do you ever have a weird week? Maybe strange is a better word. This week we are celebrating Christmas with my in-laws, before they go back to Florida. We're having pizza for Christmas. My question is: What kind of dessert do you serve for Pizza Christmas? Should I serve pumpkin pie? Iced Christmas cookies? 😕

My hubs also cracked the windshield on his car this week. He wasn't sure what hit it, but he took Tuesday off of work so someone could come fix it . . . only to have to take Thursday off as well, because the whole windshield needed replaced.

Like I said, strange week.


I finished The Story Peddler and I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel, due out next year. This is a sweet little story. I enjoyed reading it. And it has a pirate! Um, yay!

Right now, I'm reading Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin. It's a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

It is taking me longer to read this particular book. Don't get me wrong, I do like it. But it is 467 pages. 😧

It honestly reminds me a bit of The Princess Bride. The author uses more humor than authors I normally read. The prince, Arpien, is from a kingdom that prides itself on elaborate bowing and flowery speeches. Arpien employs a number of bows to impress his princess (who is less than impressed), such as the Half Bow of the Potential Wooer Upon First Stage Introductions.

Unfortunately for Arpien, not only is Brierly not falling in love with him, she thinks she's still asleep. What's a prince to do?

I don't know either. I'll have to finish it first and find out. 😉


This Week I'm Watching:
The pilot episode aired this week. It stars Josh Dallas (aka Prince Charming on Once Upon a Time). Josh's character, his sister, and his son take a later flight than the rest of their family. They experience extreme turbulence on the flight. When they land, they discover they've been gone for five years and their families thought they were dead.

All I can say is, watch this!

That, and why is Josh always in shows where one of his children ages and he doesn't? These are the questions we need to be asking, people.


Banned Books Week:
This week is a celebration of the freedom to read whatever we want! 💓


Word I Discovered This Week:
(And used in my WIP.)

Merriam-Webster defines it as "gloomy" and "causing gloom or darkness."

Not a happy sounding word, but when you're describing evil and villains, you need a word that does the job.


Don't forget to pick up your copy of A Desperate Love from Amazon! Already have a copy? It would make a great Christmas gift!

If you know me, and live in the area, I'd even be willing to sign it for you. 😄

And for those of you who can enter my gift basket giveaway (family aren't eligible, sorry), you have until October 11 to enter. The winner will be announced October 12.

If you haven't picked up your free key chain (available at the Flora Library), don't wait! There were seven left yesterday. They're going fast!


Favorite Quote This Week:

"For demons, knowing their own weakness, for this reason formerly set men to make war against one another, lest, if they ceased from mutual strife, they should turn to battle against demons."
--Saint Athanasius

J <3

Fall & Writing Breakthroughs

Fall! Shortly after last week's blog, I took this photo. Unfortunately, I am unable to share a photo of the red trees. We got a...