White Mesa Hiatus + New Work-in-Progress

Sometimes You Need Something New

I typed the first words of the first scene of Book 1 in the White Mesa Chronicles on April 2, 2015. That day we were moving all the stuff out of our house (into Grandpa’s basement), and I sat on the carpet in the bedroom I grew up in to get in a few words amidst all the chaos. (Why? ‘Cause that’s the carpet where I nestled on the floor in the corner and thrashed out the lion’s share of Hayes and Hayes.)

White Mesa has been a great journey, trying to look forward to what life will be like after the U.S.A.’s death throes. I (with help from my family) got to construct an entire world, and populate it with people with motivations and thought-patterns different from my own!

When you get the cover done before writing the actual book…

But it’s time to move on.

I decided this after typing 1 and 3/4 first-drafts of Book 6: Feral. That’s 53,290 words of a NaNoWriMo draft, plus 27,490 words of a fresh “blind draft”. I found myself going days or weeks without looking at the file, and whenever I did sit down to work I had to drag the words out. I figured such uninspired dreck might well give readers the same sense of lethargy that it gave me…

So, we folded it up and put it on the shelf. Books 1 through 4 are out for your reading pleasure, and Book 5 has good bones. After a breath of fresh air, and turning my mind to new projects, I’ll be able to finish the last three books with more energy…more passion…more joy.

So What “New Project” Is Next?

I’m currently story-boarding the story of a perfectionist assassin who realizes he’s been given corrupt orders.

Yes, sweet little churchy Kimia is writing about an assassin.

I am the girl who brutally poisoned one of my leads in Sons of the King, and gave a teenage boy an OD in Hayes and Hayes. But it probably won’t be as bad as all that.

This is how I’m plotting it:

Winds of Change — Kimia Wood

Image from Pixabay

But this is probably how I’ll write it:

Winds of Change — Kimia Wood

Image from Pixabay

I once wrote a short story about ritualistic human sacrifice. Know how my dad responded? “Cute.” Yes, “cute”!

So despite my best efforts to be “gritty” and “realistic”, I doubt my style will be much different from the up-beat, family-oriented narrative you’ve come to know and expect from Hayes and Hayes to Renegade.

What’s this New Story Actually About?

Well, check out this first draft blurb and see what you think! 😊 (Then, come back when it’s actually written and find out how different it is from what we planned!)

Eric likes his job. Why not? He’s very good at it.

Get in. Don’t be seen. Dispatch the target. Exit. No collateral damage or stray casualties.

Sure, he’s killing people; but they’re bad people. Someone has to stop them and protect the rest of society. And with his amplified abilities, his agency has a track record of always taking out the right targets – and no one else.

Until the night he follows his tactical Heads-Up into a room…and discovers his target is a seven-year-old boy.

As his faith in the system crumbles, his protests to his handler yield no answers. This is the correct target…well, somebody’s target.

Eric aborts the mission – and finds everyone he used to work with shooting at him.

He was always one of the “good guys”. What’s going on? He’s determined to keep protecting the innocent…but can he?

And will he live long enough to try?


Kimia WoodKimia Wood lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a free copy of her post-apocalyptic novella Soldier, plus updates on her latest projects and other cool stuff whenever we think of other cool stuff.

Marriage Advice for a “Golden” Relationship

Today is my parents’ “golden anniversary”, meaning that they’ve been married for 29 years and it’s the 29th of July.

Marriage Advice for a Golden Relationship — Kimia Wood

After observing them for some time, I’ve gleaned these pieces of marriage advice from their relationship:

How to Be “Happy to Be Stuck With You”

Put Jesus at the center.

Marriage Advice for a Golden Relationship — Kimia Wood

“I gave up my life in your place. Now you do the same for your wives.”

My parents weren’t married “young” in the sense that they were still teens, but they were definitely younger than they are now (truism!). Not only were their personalities and ideologies still developing, but the Holy Spirit hadn’t done as much renovation in their lives as He has at this point.

People who become entangled in relationships at a very young age can find that, as they grow and mature, they aren’t so compatible as they once were. The best example off the top of my head is the protagonist from God’s Not Dead and his girlfriend. (My brother can hate me for mentioning it if he wants.)

Those two started the relationship before they really had to live their faith in a way that challenged them. When the guy tried to follow God in the direction he felt called, the girl refused to go that direction – and split.

If you are a Christian, you have to make sure your life-partner is a Christian, too. If both of you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, teaching you want God wants, then no matter how you each change other the years you’ll be pulling in the same direction. You’ll both be yoked to the same Master. Continue reading

Interview with Allison Tebo

I’d like to welcome Allison Tebo to the blog with an interview. Her book The Reluctant Godfather caught my eye during one of the indie Christian author sales, so when I saw the chance to read a review copy and participate in a blog tour to celebrate its relaunch, I said, “Why not?”

Enjoy getting to know her and hearing some advice to developing marketers/authors 🙂


Interview with Allison Tebo — Kimia WoodTalk about your family and upbringing. My family is a huge influence in my own writing journey; has yours been supportive of you? Have any siblings to base your annoying characters on? ; )

I have two wonderful parents, a fantastic older brother, a lovely older sister, and a precious twin sister!  I was homeschooled and brought up in a rich environment of exploration and creativity that put God first with parenting that directed me on how to see everything through the eyes of faith.

Yes, my family is a HUGE influence on my writing journey and are incredibly supportive!  My siblings and I have a writers club and for the last ten years we have met nearly every Sunday to help each other brainstorm, to reach selections of our work, and to help each other along in the writing process.  My mom has faithfully provided one of the dearest thing an author could ask for—objective critiquing.  My dad is also in sales, and eagerly promotes my books and is always hunting for opportunities for me in my writing.  I am very, very blessed to have a family that is not only so supportive, but have always guided me with unbiased criticism to guide me towards striving for the best.

Same for me!

You say you’re a sales representative. How has this helped you as you build your author brand? From your sales experience, do you have any advice for developing authors?

Yes, I am!  And it most definitely has helped me in my writing journey.  One advantage I feel that I might have is that I’m not so self-conscious about marketing myself.  I see so many indie authors who seem almost apologetic about selling their books.  This can be a rather damaging approach—unprofessional as well as lacking confidence. By necessity, I have to be pretty fearless in selling myself or whatever I’m selling—people expect it, so it’s not something to apologize for.

Being a sales person has also given me a daily dose of rejection.  Writers talk a great deal about rejection, but it’s something I deal with all the time – I can be turned down as many as fifty times in one afternoon, sometimes rather nastily.  Being in sales has helped me to begin to learn not to take rejection personally and to persevere.

Good advice. It’s hard to develop that thick skin.

I’ve seen a lot of fairytale retellings in indie author circles lately. What attracted you to this genre, and what about it particularly interests or inspires you?

I feel that most fairy tale retellings often focus solely on romance – romance that can get downright steamy at points.  At other times, I’ve found many retellings can get disturbing and excessively dark.

What attracts me to fairy tales is a desire to put into book form what Walt Disney did with old fairy tales – extracting the good, adding a unique spin and creating a clean and fun retelling that engages the whole family.  The other thing that attracts me about fairy tales are the strong messages woven through them. It seems that many people can be distracted by the glitter of fairy tales, and miss the morals.  There are incredible themes of truth tucked into fairy tales.

What is your favorite author (and book) ever and WHY?

Oh my goodness me. Such an impossible question!  I really have to cheat here and list my top three authors, as well as my favorite books from each other.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  The Dark House On the Moss, Reb and the Redcoats, and Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery and The Lantern Bearers andThe Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff.  As to why I love them—each of these books contain all the necessities to entrance me.  Stupendously crafted plots, exquisitely drawn characters, lovable characters that take immense bites out of my heart—and a shiningly, glorious hopefulness.  Sometimes painful, sometimes happy—always beautiful in its constancy and radiating truth.

C.S. Lewis I’m familiar with. My current favorite book of all time is That Hideous Strength. I might have to check out those others!

Where do you see yourself in five years? Still writing books? Do you have any other accomplishments you’d like to achieve?

Lord willing, I’ll be writing till the day I die!  I’m not sure one lifetime is enough to unleash all the stories in my mind, clamoring to be let out.  My main ambition in life is to become a successful author.  Aside from that, my only goal is to follow God’s leading in my life, and be quick to follow any path He charts out for me.


Thank you for answering my questions, Allison! Wish you all the best with your writing and beyond!Interview with Allison Tebo — Kimia Wood

Allison Tebo is relaunching her book The Reluctant Godfather (Amazon link; author’s site store):

A humorous and magical re-telling of Cinderella from a unique perspective.

Burndee is a young and cantankerous fairy godfather who would rather bake cakes than help humans. A disgrace to the fairy order, Burndee has only two wards entrusted to his care…a cinder girl and a charming prince.

A royal ball presents Burndee with the brilliant solution of how to make his wards happy with the least amount of effort. He’ll arrange a meeting and hope the two fall in love.

The debut novella from Allison Tebo, ‘The Reluctant Godfather’ is a new addition to the charming fairy tale tradition of Cameron Dokey and K.M. Shea.

Come back on Sunday to see my review of the story. If you’ve been hoping for a Cinderella story with a fresh ending, this might be what you’re looking for!

There’s also a GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can connect with the author on any of these sites:

Website: http://allisonteboauthor.com/
Blog: http://allisonswell.website/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192992.Allison_Tebo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allisonteboauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllisonTebo

Be a Dog Not a Cat

Be a Dog Not a Cat

Dog and cat – the eternal dichotomy of the first world (since we can’t talk about men and women anymore).

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

The dog says, “You feed me; you shelter me; you play with me; you care for me…you must be God!”

The cat says, “You feed me; you shelter me; you play with me; you care for me…I must be God!”

We take an extreme example to make a point – and the point is this: Decide to be the dog. Here’s why… Continue reading

Life Lessons from Mom

My mom taught me much of what I know. Here’s some of her advice and training from over the years:Life Lessons from Mom — Kimia Wood

-If you don’t like what’s for dinner, you’ll still sit quietly and be polite about it.

-If you get there by cheating, it doesn’t count. I’m looking at you, math worksheets…

-Dilution is the solution to pollution.

-Chocolate fixes a whole lot of things.

-How to make tuna salad, chop an apple, tie a bow in shoe-laces, pet animals…

-If he won’t give you a ring, a surname, and legal rights, he ain’t worth it.

-High-risk behaviors cluster. Counting red flags is not the same thing as “stereotyping”.

Now, some things I didn’t learn from Mom (but had to gather from life experience):

-“Cookie” doesn’t mean “saltine cracker”.

-Those colorful machines in stores have candy inside.

-The little cars and fake ponies in the mall move if you put money in them.

-Those shiny, crinkly wrappers have MAGIC inside (I was already two-years-old when I found this out)!

One last thing – did your mom have her “favorite sayings” that she used more than once? Here are some of my mom’s:Life Lessons from Mom — Kimia Wood

“Give me five bites for a five-year-old.”

“Somebody’s not obeying me.”

“You eat a pound of dirt before you die.”

“Just try to go potty for me.”

“You’re too loud – I can’t hear you!”

“Sit and talk to us about pleasant thing you’ve seen and done.”

Mom’s guidance made me who I am! How did your mom guide you?


Life Lessons from Mom — Kimia WoodKimia Wood grew up under an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives with her family somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Join the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier!

Not Hopeless: Be 25 and Perfectly At Home

I’m 25 and still living at home. But that doesn’t mean I’m a failure, or that my life is a failure. And it doesn’t need to mean that for you, either!

Not Hopeless: Be 25 and Perfectly at Home — Kimia Wood — home

There are lots of reasons to share a roof with your parents, even in your mid- or late-twenties. It’s not a reason to despair. (Although I sometimes feel that way, too.) Here are some of my reasons – feel free to reference them the next time that church-member or well-meaning relative gives you that pitying look and says, “So…” Continue reading

20 Steps to a DIY Thread Rack

Ready to make your very own DIY thread spool rack? Yay! This is totally just like one of those peg-board racks you’d buy in the store, except made by you and a lot different.

You will need:

a zillion spools of thread (left over from your hoarder grandma);

skinny dowel rods (1/18-inch to 3/18-inch work best–they need to fit through the spools);

boards;

nail and hammer;

hooks (I used “brass plated cup hooks”. They have a curving head so they don’t accidentally drop anything);

fabric;

staple gun and staples;

patience

READ ALL DIRECTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING Continue reading

Easter Sunday Song

To the tune of “Doe of the Morning” (as far as you know)

Half the praise team is singing off key.
The director’s trying to pick up the time.
These dumb modern songs that just grab a hymn
And stretch out the chorus with weak-sauce rhymes.

It’s covered by the blood;
It’s covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done
The race’s all been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Je-sus!

That “Jesus” can’t be out of his teens.
Y’know, he ain’t shaved in over a week –
And they still had to make up his hair and his face
S
o he looked over thirty, the poor little tyke.

It’s covered by the blood;
It’s covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
The race’s done been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Je-sus!

I just gotta tell you, my hat is the best.
Admire my dress while I stand here and boast.
Say, here comes that snooty Mz. Emily West.
Oh, look at her hat! I hate it the most!

It’s covered by the blood;
Covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
The race’s all been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Je-sus.

Mom won’t take me to Calvary’s egg hunt,
And Grandma’s burned the Easter Sale ham.
(What’s worse, this piggie was clearly a runt.)
Now Grandpa’s singing that “Just As I Am”.

It’s covered by the blood;
Oh, covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
The race has done been run.
It’s covered by the blood of Jesus.

“The dumb-ness of God is smarter than men;
“The weakness of God is stronger than men.”
That’s why I bury His Word in my brain;
He’s forging me stronger – again and again.

I’m covered in the blood;
I’m covered by the blood.
Compared to what He’s done,
My race is fully run —
I’m covered in the blood of Jesus.

3 Things Owning a Dog Taught Us

Two years ago, my family got its first dog. 3 Things Owning a Dog Taught UsHe’s a mild-mannered Border Collie with beautiful coloring and a low-maintenance coat – but that just tells you about his outside.

In the course of training him, we didn’t just learn about the way dogs think. We learned several things about human nature, as well.

I Can’t Read Alpha’s Mind

Border Collies are very smart. Too smart, in fact. Because they’re also lazy (like humans) they will try to guess, and “work smarter, not harder”.

When the military tried to train them as tracking dogs, they found that the Border Collies wouldn’t follow the scent. Not because their noses weren’t strong enough. But because they would try to take short-cuts, and guess.

Instead of following the clear scent trail, they would try to “skip ahead” and cut the quarry off – and 50% of the time they’d guess wrong. Continue reading

The Huge Crisis for Christian Romance

The Huge Crisis for Christian Romance

There’s something rotten in Christian fiction. Personally, a romance in a book has to work pretty hard to impress me, but I want to specifically address the authors who claim the name of Christ publicly while including romance in their fiction.

Romance itself is not bad or disrespectful to God; evidence: Ruth, Genesis 24, Ephesians 5 (vs. 25), etc. I’m looking at a few specific issues I’ve noticed in some recent Christian romance novels that I think every sincere follower of the Lord Jesus Christ needs to take seriously. Continue reading