Today I’m thrilled to walk you through Painted Prose’s stock in honor of the Black Friday sale I’m hosting! Everything is 35% off, which is one of the best sales Painted Prose will have until . . . well, next Black Friday.
“Fault in our Stars” by John Green is one of my favorite books from my reads in 2021. A classic that has a beautiful movie made as an adaption. I painted a silhouette of Augustus and Hazel with a galaxy background.
Cinder is a YA icon, starting a rush for YA in the whole market. I love the absolute beautiful earth and moon reference, and then the Cinderella at the floor of the ballroom to signify the end of Cinder. (Won’t give any spoilers!)
I had a hard time figuring out what to do with this one, but I think we can all agree that it fits just perfectly. ❤
Dearest Josephine was one of my top releases in 2021, a book written in the format of emails, letters, and texts, it’s exactly what penpals want to read. I could picture myself next to Josie as she typed her hilarious adventures to her besties, and I could smell the tea Elias was drinking as he penned letters to Josephine. This book represents that people can be in the same place, doing the same thing, just hundreds of years apart, thus the pen and paper verses the computer.
Adrienne Young is one of my favorite authors, and you have to admit that her book, “The Girl the Sea Gave Back” is exactly the type of fantasy for grey evenings with a cup of tea. I had so much fun painting this cover. Fun fact, as a beginning artist, my favorite thing to draw or paint was birds, specifically birds of prey, so I was very happy to go back to my roots with the front of this cover. “The Girl the Sea Gave Back” deals with different tribes fighting, a girl struggling to find where she belongs, and a boy who isn’t sure he’s ready to be a man quite yet.
Sara Ella is my all time favorite author, so when I was getting ready for this launch, I knew that one of her books would be featured. Unblemished is the beginning of a fantasy trilogy involving a girl with a blemish, a girl who’s whole life has been ripped away from her in the death of her mother . . . and it’s only then that she finds she has so much more to loose. Eliyana is a beautiful character, and I relate to her on so many levels. I think this might be one of my favorite covers I’ve done yet ❤
Fawkes is a fan favorite in the Christian YA circles, and it’s certainly a memorable story about Guy Fawkes and his son who are at war in an England that is choosing sides between whether you should stick with the tradition of the masks, or follow the voice within. I love painting the masks, and giving Thomas a face, particularly with the fact that he has a stone eye . . . something you’ll have to read about if you get the book!
How many of you are Anastasia Romanov fans? I for one, certain am after this beautiful book came out in 2019. Romano by Nadine Brandes follows the Romanov family into imprisonment and imagines what might have happened behind close doors and after certain gunshots. On this cover, I followed the design of the dress for Anastasia on broadway, tying in more of Disney’s elements to this story that already is overfilling with magic.
Once Upon a Broken Heart will certainly SHRED your heart, if you haven’t already read it. One of my absolutely favorite books, it’s a novel set in the world of award-winning, New York Bestseller Caravel! I’m so thrilled to paint this book, and while it didn’t turn out like my dreams, it still is a beautiful cover to capture a simply delicious story.
WINTER, WHITE and WICKED was released days after Fifteen, and has always been one of my favorites for that reason and for the beautiful author who wrote it. Think of Max Fury meets our beloved Frozen, in a world where the only way to outsmart Winter is to work with her, as her slave. I love painting eyes, and if you’ve read the book, you know that the main character has some very special eyes. This one is without a doubt my favorite painting I’ve done on a book so far, so whoever gets this one is a lucky bean. 😉
How many fandom lovers do we have out there? A lot? Well then, I have awesome news for you! I have made fandom stocking stuffer bundles for Potterheads, LOTR nerds, Narnia dwellers, and Tributes from the Hunger Games. If you are into any of these fandoms, now is your time to snag the swag before it goes off of sale. Usually $60 for a 6 piece set, it’s only $45.50 for the time being! Snag them while you can!
Don’t see your favorite book for sale? Never fear, because my creativity is right here. *taps my head and then blushes* Sorry, get carried away sometimes. Anyway, right now a custom order is $45.50 instead of $60. As long as the book you want painted comes in hardcover, I’m more than happy to work with you. Send me a message on whatever platform you’d like, or purchase the custom listing from my shop down below.
Yesterday was technically about thankfulness, but I think today is about it, too. I’m so thankful to be able to have this shop, to be able to minister to people like you through it and through this blog. I hope that some of you are able to purchase some books, and that they bring as much joy to you in your hands as they did while I was painting them.
In the early months of 2020, I was a directionless writer. I had come to a point where I knew I was good and I could accomplish being a published author. I just didn’t know how. There was no step by step plan. Everyone I asked for advice was too busy for me, and I knew I needed a mentor or some kind of program that was a step further than anything else that was offered at the time.
That’s when I heard about the Author Conservatory, though at the time it was just called Author. As one of the founding members of this program, I’ve been through every change and I’ve watched it grow and blossom into what it is now. And it’s something extremely special.
A conservatory dedicated towards raising a new generation of authors who are business savvy and story sound. A generation of artists who no longer starve because they know what their work is worth and how to reach people with it.
I started Author after one of the hardest years of my life, thinking that 2020 would be my year. As we all know, it wasn’t anyone’s year, and two weeks after I joined the program, I lost my job and ended up staying at home without leaving for the next eight months. But I wasn’t alone, and instead of the isolation and social dryness everyone else complains about, I was so blessed to have a whole community of authors, plus Brett and Kara invested in me and my work.
But now you’re wondering . . .
What is author like?
Author is a dual track three-year course. The first track centers around story telling, craft, and actual writing, where you’ll dive into the roots of plot and structure, learning every last thing you can about having a strong, well-rounded story that will impact your readers for years to come. The second track is business, where you’ll learn how to appreciate your own value and how to create and maintain a pop-up business.
Author isn’t only about the lessons you’ll learn, it’s about the community you’ll join, complete with sprints, movie nights, game nights, book clubs, and more. You’ll find young (and some older!) people who are just as nerdy and invested in the literature world as you are. It’s honestly amazing to see how you can find people all around the world who enjoy the same thing you do, and a great place to create relationships and bounds you’ll have for a long time to come.
Who started the Author Conservatory?
Brett Harris and Kara Swanson are the co-owners of the Author Conservatory. What started as a vision to help young authors has blossomed into a vision to help authors in general create quality works in order to impact the publishing world. Brett Harris is the New York Best Seller author of Do Hard Things, and Kara Swanson is the award winning author of Dust, Shadow, and The Girl Who Could See. But they aren’t the only ones who are apart of this conservatory! Authors like Mary Weber, Sara Ella, Joanne Bischof, and Nadine Brandes all invest in the students, while Steve Laube (agent) and Katie Phillips (editor) each have different roles in the program. Andrew Peterson has even visited before!
What is the Author conservatory like in your life?
When I started the conservatory, I was a high school student, but now I work full-time. When I was in school, Author easily took 15-20 hours of my life. But now as I work full-time, it mostly depends on what stage of the process I’m in. Right now I just finished drafting, and I’m in the second year of Author, so I’m getting ready to jump into editing a novella and working on writing some concepts. Because of this, I’ve spent roughly 10 hours this week on Author.
Brett has done an amazing job making sure that the Author program can fit all different people in all different areas of life. Obviously the more you prioritize Author, the more results you’ll see. But Author is also very understanding about the different seasons of your life.
Would you encourage young writers to join?
Author is a college alternative program. So while I think almost all writers should eventually invest in Author, I do need to caution that Author requires personal maturity. There’s critique, there’s stress, and there’s a lot of investment. I’ve had three times where I’ve thought about quitting, either due to personal life struggles, or just the stress that comes with “never having the right story.” Writing isn’t easy, and while I can testify that Author makes it easier in the long run, there’s still that uphill climb that takes a lot of energy and endurance. I’ve ended multiple critique calls crying, as have most of the students I know. It’s hard to see what you love critiqued, and even harder to be told that sometimes where you wanted the story to head isn’t the best direction to take it. But you have to have the wisdom to realize that in order to grow you must be trimmed, and the instructors are very gracious in their tree trimming. 😉
Now for the good stuff!
The Author Conservatory is hosting a giveaway, and it includes a book from my business, Painted Prose Designs!
All of these prizes are from Author student’s businesses, so even if you don’t end up winning, you can go check out the shops. Information about the giveaway is on the Author Conservatory Instagram. You can find it here.
In summary, Author is a wonderful opportunity for Authors to get their leg into the door and to learn needed skills that go along with writing. Now you don’t have to learn by trial and error, you’ll have mentors and coaches to help you for the next three years of your writing career.
For me, they haven’t only helped my writing life, they’ve helped my spiritual life, and my mental health. I’m so thankful for their influence and input in my life. ❤
Recently someone said to me, “People usually like people that like them.” That hit me hard. I’ve always assumed that people wouldn’t like me, regardless of how nice I was, how sweet I came across. I’ve been the first one to make fun of myself, to say what I already assume they’re thinking, to beat them to the critique, to beat them to saying the thing that will wound me.
I’m a people pleasure. Nothing makes me more happy than the people around me being happy. Everything about me craves affirmation and a smile from the people around me. My love language is words of affirmation. All I want to hear is that I’m enough for those I care about, that I doing enough, soothing their needs, and brightening their days. In a way, this can be a strength. People tell me about my caring heart, about how I notice things about people and remember their favorites.
But it’s also one of my biggest weaknesses. The minute I attach myself to someone, I’m loyal until they break me. Until they destroy me, bring tears streaming down my cheeks, and I’ve tried everything to be enough.
Olivia Rodrigo says in her song, “Enough,” these words:
Yeah, you always say I’m never satisfied
But I don’t think that’s true
You say I’m never satisfied
But that’s not me, it’s you
‘Cause all I ever wanted was to be enough
But I don’t think anything could ever be enough
There’s nothing I want more to be than enough for those who I love. I want to be enough for those who just meet me, I want to be liked by the person who just greeted me. But I immediately expect I won’t be enough, that I won’t be liked.
Because my whole childhood was never being enough. My whole childhood was being disliked, being teased, being excluded. I’m used to be the wallflower.
The thing is . . . I was told this by someone in January. And I’ve done a lot of growing since then, especially when it comes to the problem of being enough.
Me on my own would never ever be enough. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, all I do, it would all be in vain. But I’m not left on my own. This year I’ve been learning about my identity, learning about who I am, and what that means.
I am a child of God. Which means Christ died for me, and gave me his enough (he was perfect, so of course he was enough!). He wrapped in in his enough, tying it around me and giving me a smile. And because of his enough, I get a smile from God, too. It doesn’t matter what I do, how much I screw up, I still have Christ’s enough. (And let me tell you, I screw up A LOT every day.)
I’m enough, and not only am I enough, and I have God’s smile, but I have an relationship with Christ and God the Father! It’s wild, that Christ and God would want to have a relationship with me, a tiny human on a small planet called earth. The creator of the universe cares about me. And not only cares about me, he calls me daughter!
My mind is truly blown.
But now I don’t have to worry about being enough. I don’t have to worry about coming across as perfectly nice and sweet so everyone likes me. I am who I am, and not everyone will like me. And if you ask me, that’s perfectly okay.
Each moment I just had to take a breath and remember why. Why I’m doing this.
God knows it isn’t because I wanted to have a poetry book out there for the world to critique. Fifteen isn’t for me. It’s because God has called me to do it for you. For the people who need to read it, who need a helping hand.
It’s been a whole year since Fifteen was published, a whole year since I wrote those words, and so much has changed since then, and yet, so much is the same. It’s strange to look back and see exactly what I was thinking during that time period, what was going through my soul as I readied myself to launch my first book.
I’ll forever be proud of Fifteen.
It’s the story my heart needed to tell, it’s what I wanted everyone around me to hear and believe. The poems that fill Fifteen are poems that tell a story, a story that I felt everyone has lived, everyone has understood.
The story of a person breaking, but trying to tape themselves back together. The story of a person who loses it, but then realizes that they don’t want to be the person sunk in depression anymore. They don’t like who they are anymore.
So they start picking up the pieces and learning. Learning what it is to be a person in a world that is broken. The story is about finding joy among broken things, finding love in broken people, and loving your broken body.
Today I’ll be doing my very first book signing at a coffee shop, and I couldn’t be more excited to be able to talk to people about my book. I can’t wait to see people holding my book, flipping through it’s pages. It’s something to know that people ordered my book, it’s a totally different thing to see it in people’s hands.
So happy birthday, Fifteen.
I’m so glad you’ve been in the world for a full year. I’m so glad you’ve been able to touch people, and I pray you touch so many more in the future.
I started blogging when I was thirteen. Something inside of me craved a blog, craved to take my words and put them inlace on the internet. I wanted to find people like me, people who would read my words and understand. Understand the emotions that filtered through my mind. And when I started blogging, there was one thing I swore to myself.
I would never stop blogging.
It’s been years on WordPress now. It’s been about four different designs for my blog, four different ways to present myself. And part of me isn’t disappointed. I haven’t been disappointed with the people I’ve met, with the stories I’ve told. I’ve found myself through poetry, I’ve found who I am as I’ve grown and changed. But this year, I entered a new season of life.
I’ve been working full time, while being a part of a writing conservatory, and trying business ventures. Overall, I’ve just worn myself out. Each moment I have is taken up with some kind of work, whether it’s art, writing, or actual work at the coffee shop. My soul finds itself growing exhausted, my mind doesn’t have enough brain cells to split with everything.
But thankfully, I have five days off work. Five days with nothing to do except heal. Because I’ve had wisdom teeth surgery. Needless to say, surgery is NOT fun, lol. But I’m surviving. I look like a a chipmunk and feel like I’ve been in a fight, but on the positive side, it’s giving me time to write. Time to come back to my blog, the place where I belong.
This past week has been full of amazing things. First off, I started drafting a novella, which I’m so excited about.
Astoria’s existence revolved around her scientific discoveries — no, really. If she didn’t make scientific discoveries, the rulers of the merrealms would euthanize her and her family, turning them into the sea foam that capped each wave. And even though she was a mermaid, she had no experience with humans or luring them into the depths. . . that is, until a siren brought in a half drowned man with the perfect genetic makeup to save their world — and her life — once and for all.
Weapon of the Deep, concept
I started it on Friday, because besides watch movies, that was about all I could do. I’m afraid reading has had no attraction for me, and sleep has been hard to obtain. So being productive is the only other option. I’m so excited to see how this project turns out.
And talking about writing, I finished writing my last project on Wednesday. It was a fairytale mashup high-concept fantasy story that I had been writing since May. Which means it was the longest it’s ever taken me to write a book, but I don’t think I regret it. Different seasons of life mean that things take different amounts of time. And I’m proud of this book, it definitely caused me to grow as a writer, and that’s what’s important.
I’ve been doing a lot of that, growth. And I don’t know if it’s been fun or if it’s been miserable. Probably a good amount of both, if I’m being truly honest. It’s not fun to have to grow, but it’s what it is.
I also started a new business, called Painted Prose Designs.
It’s a business where I hand paint hardcover books, and I’m so excited about it. The first launch was on Wednesday, so if you’d like to take a look at it, click the button right up there ^
I had so much painting these books, and I hope that you can purchase your favorite book with it’s unique cover. I also have some Christmasy ideas that’ll be launching soon, so make sure to follow the store, or follow Painted Prose Desgin’s Instagram @paintedprosedesigns.
So yeah, to say the least, I’ve been a bit busy this week, lol.
Back in 2017, when I first joined the blogosphere, one of the main questions was why do you blog? And I always struggled with that answer, but I think I know now.
I blogged because I needed it. Now I blog because I know others need it. And I’m so glad to be ale to blog. So thankful to be able to impact other’s lives. It’s something that carries such weight, but also such honor.
Well, we’re back to have coffee. I wasn’t sure if you’d be free . . . or to be honest if I would be free. But here I am! Alive and well, and about to head off to work.
A lot has been on my mind. In fact, I wrote something in my head the other day, and maybe I’ll add it here:
Do the last ten months continue to drag on? After a sentence of eighteen years, do the last ten months cling to you, reluctant to let change take it’s place? Are you terrified of life outside of your cell, but you want more than anything to be free and alive. To be something besides the shell of a human you are.
Do the last nine months whisper eternity? After proving to yourself that eighteen years is just a blip in time, do the last nine months roll on like the credits before a movie? Are you tired of counting each hour the clock ticks? Or are you spending each moment capturing the last bits of this reality you now know?
Do the last eight months whine forever in your ear? After eighteen years of silence, does the noise just suddenly appear? Are you worried that the world will be too loud for your brain, or are you happy for once that you’re brain will have competition again?
Do the last seven months burn your soul? After eighteen years of ice are you ready to be whole? Do you shiver when the flame comes close to your skin, or do you reach out a grab it, relishing the burn it begins?
Do the last six months laugh at your misery? After eighteen years of sorrow, they just won’t let you free. Each moment you’re still stuck in their vice like grasp, and you’re wondering if this is a dream or if it will really last.
Do the last five months spring over each other? The hope that began is now forever and ever etched in ever dream that echoes in your heart. Creating something for you to watch fall apart.
Do the last four months snicker at your fears? After eighteen years of hell, what else do you have to fear? All who care about you are waiting to welcome you home, but you’re still dwelling on the action that took you far from them.
Do the last three months tighten your chains? After eighteen years do they continue to drain and drain everything you have left for the life you’re about to live, the world you’re about to meet, the family you’re about to be free for?
Do the last two months echo empty praise, promising relief from the eighteen years that have snuck up towards this day? Is there ever a moment where your breath just stops because for the first time in eighteen years you realize your life will no longer stopped.
What about the last thirty days? Each sunset and sunrise of eighteen years have lead to this day, but you still wonder what you’re going to say. Who will you hug when the bars are gone? Who will you love once your chains are sawed off?
And the last day? Does it feel real? Eighteen years. Twenty four hours. Freedom at last.
It’s taken me almost a month to write this post, lol. It’s 2:18 in the morning as I write now. I’ve been so sick the past week, thanks to allergies, so each day I’ve slept for around 15 hours. It’s like my body was on overdrive just to keep me alive and breathing, so in order to do that, it just had to keep me unconscious.
But tonight I’m awake.
I’ve been thinking a lot about knowing yourself. Can you ever really know yourself? Can you know what is best for the person you have to take responsibility for? Can you actually know you’re strengths and weaknesses, can you see who you are, not the person you want to be taken for?
I don’t know.
I wish I did, because it would make life so much easier. It would make each decision so much nicer. No second guessing because you know. You know what’s best and what won’t help. You know the direction of your life, there’s no need for regret.
I wish that was life. And maybe it can be life. If it can, I’ll try to find it.
But for now, I make coffee and tea for a living, come home and try to write novels and create music when I’m not sleeping or eating.
This summer has been empty of the summer vibes that you long for, but I think I’ll always look back at the summer of 2021 with a smile.
It isn’t the pool/sunscreen/watermelon/gardening days of years past. Instead it’s so much exhaustion you can barely peel your eyes open. It’s laughter as you sing off key with your coworkers. It’s learning, growing, stretching, and smiling.