Shawn Smucker is an author that always leaves me thinking. His plotlines are always clever. In his recent novel, These Nameless Things, my mind was racing trying to sort out the truth. I can’t stop thinking about this book. The undercurrents, the double meanings, it all has me astounded. I’m left with a deep appreciation for his carefully crafted words and the journey the characters must take in order to escape their personal demons and the abyss.
This is a deep read. It is thought provoking. It’s a lot like the television series LOST, but with its own twists and turns and a much different ending. I highly recommend this novel.
And now a message from Shawn:
Ten years ago, I started writing a story about a man named Dan who had escaped a mountain of terror. But he didn’t go far, because his brother remained trapped in the pain and the suffering inflicted by their tormentors in the mountain. So, Dan waited in a village for his brother to escape, too. What Dan didn’t realize was that the rest of the villagers were also waiting for his brother to escape, each for their own reasons.
PICK UP YOUR COPY TODAY!! Anywhere books are sold.
If you had asked me last week, “Catie, are you well?” I would have told you no.
The weeks leading up to last week were not kind to me. Between a series of rejections, failings, and flare-up of my auto-immune disease, I emotionally collapsed. I did not feel well mentally, emotionally, and physically. I wanted to cave. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be sad. Not a great place to be. I was letting my outward journey determine my inward journey. I was letting disappointments dictate the wellness of my soul. Negative thoughts can be quite alluring in the valleys of life. But what does negative thinking achieve? Nothing. Does it make me feel better? No. But did I feel justified in my negative thoughts–yes. That’s the catch. That is what makes them alluring. I feel I have a right to think negatively and be sad and throw myself a this-isn’t-fair party. So I did. I dwelt in that space for a few weeks. It made me more depressed.
Then, God spoke to my heart and said, “Enough. It’s time to move on.” He, of course, was right. It was time to move on. I cleaned up my office space. I put my storyboard away. I filed all current books-in-progress. I have to stop striving to make things happen that just aren’t happening.
I can’t control my health. I can’t control my publishing career. I can’t control the unknown. But, I can rest in Jesus. I can let go. I have to let go.
In my last novel, Marvel and Mayhem, my main character, Mattie, wrestles with anger toward the song and belief, “It is Well With My Soul.” She feels that the song was a lie. Life hasn’t been good to her. Each character in Marvel and Mayhem is confronted with hardships on some level and must respond to it–either with resentment or surrender to God. My youngest character in the novel, Effie Emery, understands surrender. She knows that no matter how bad things may get, with the Lord holding our hand through it, we can still say, it is well with my soul.
As you can guess, I’m more like Mattie. Surrender doesn’t come natural to me. But God hasn’t given up on me. I see more clearly now that God called me to write Marvel and Mayhem because He knew I needed to process this journey with Mattie. We are connected, her and I. God has been leading to me a place of relinquishing control and placing my trust in Him.
The lyrics of the old hymn say, “When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
I’m still working through this. It doesn’t come natural to me. BUT, I know one thing for sure, I am reaching out and God is reaching back. This is WELL. With Him holding my hand, I can be WELL.
If you are interested in my novel, here’s a quick link for more information:
No one ever expects to walk the road of loss. In our minds and hearts, we hope for better things, happier things, but sometimes life sets us on a detour.
My detour came in 2011 when my husband and I lost our first child, and then it happened again in 2012, when we lost a second baby. Heartbreak doesn’t begin to fully encompass the pain. It doesn’t describe the complete let down, ripped open, barrenness of dream, time, and life. I have wept and still weep many tears. It’s hard to describe the great depths of emptiness and grief. It’s a messy thing, this grieving. It rolls in and out. It is never once and done. Sometimes, it will catch you off-guard when something triggers a memory. Suddenly, I’m standing in an aisle at Meijer wanting to weep.
One thing I have learned about grief—it’s oftentimes lonely. I rested in a space of unyielding pain, feeling lost. The world continued to go on around me but I was cemented in place.
Every year, I encounter more and more friends that have grieved the loss of a child. It’s like a secret club that you only discover once you yourself have suffered loss. It’s a sad thing that most women don’t talk about, and yet, it’s so very common. So many women have suffered the death of a child. Many of us are in the club.
That’s why I decided to share my full story in a book form. Standing Lost is a collection of my journal entries, my pleas to God, and my grasping for ways to somehow go on. This small book is a way of saying- “You’re not alone. I’ve been there too.”
Looking for gift ideas for your kids, nieces or nephews, or co-workers children? Look no further. Give a book. Not just any book–a Christmas story filled with awe, wonder, and adventure. What book is this? THE MAGIC SNOW GLOBE.
In this story, you will join twins, Willow and Wendell Potter, on an exploration of magical worlds, transported through none other than an antique snow globe.
In each new land, the twins will discover secrets to real Christmas magic and the joy that fills the holiday season.
I feel like swinging from a chandelier. Too bad I don’t have one of those handy.
No worries, today is the official release of my 1920s novel, Ramble and Roar! It’s been a crazy journey in making this book. It started as an idea in 2008, and now it’s 2018 and available to buy. Over the last ten years, I’ve researched the roaring 20s, moved three different times, had two children, started a hobby farm, wrote several drafts, and started my publishing company. (And that’s just some of it). There were times when I wondered if I ever would get this book into a tangible form. I dreamed of the day when I’d hold it in my hand, smell the pages fresh off the press, and clasp it to my heart, thanking God.
Most of the time, dreams only happen in our sleep. When we open our eyes, the dream ends and reality begins again. But once in a while, our most delightful dreams do become our reality. Today, I’m fully awake and this dream is real.
I’m 33 years old and releasing my debut historical fiction novel, Ramble and Roar. It’s an adventurous story about a debutante-turned-flapper named Eliza Belcourt who travels to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a famous jazz singer. But her sparkling dream comes with a price, and the Irish mob is ready to collect. As Eliza grasps for success and love, she finds that her city of bright promise might offer only dazzling lies.
Ramble and Roar is an honest, daring story that captures the pleasure–seeking decade of the 1920s in all its glory and grit. This story was a fun challenge for me to write. It took years of research in order to capture it accurately, but I’m pleased to finally share it.
Now, all that’s left to do is to continue dreaming of the next adventure.
In my upcoming novel, Ramble and Roar, I delve into Irish culture, everyday lingo, and grammatical placement in speech in order to bring my mobsters and my other Irish cast to life. It required a lot of research in order to immerse myself, and I loved every minute of it! Someday, I will tour Ireland and experience it all firsthand. But in the meantime, I made a friend who does in fact live in Dundalk, Ireland. Her name is Jean Gilson. She was born in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and later moved to Dundalk, a southern town in Ireland, with her husband. Dundalk is about an hour and half from Dublin, which is where many of my Irish mobsters emigrated from in Ramble and Roar.
Jean is an absolute doll. I wrote her on instagram to ask if she’d help me fact check my Irish bits in my novel. To my delighted surprise, she said, “yes.” It’s been a fun adventure ever since. Jean has read through several excerpts of my novel, offering advice and has given me lots of fun sayings and phrases, specific to the Dublin area and the 1920s.
Today, I’ll be sharing some of her tidbits with you!
The Craic- (pronounced ‘crack’) This is a vital word used in Ireland. It can mean “what’s the news” or “how’s the fun/ entertainment.”
A drugstore is called the Chemist.
Especially in earlier Irish culture, sentences tended to be carried on by using the word, ‘so’ at the end. For example, “Oh, you like her so.”
If you’re looking to add cream to your coffee, you’d actually say milk. Cream is reserved for special occasions like Christmas.
In words with “th” as in thank you, would in fact be said as “tank you.”
“Deadly buzz” – a good time
“How ya” – a way to say hello
“Bleeding spanner” – a stupid person
“Go ask me bollix” – get lost
“C’mere till I tell ya” – I have news to share with you
“Not a bodder”– Doing good, a reply to how are you
“Pulling the devil by the tail” – having a bad day
“You scuttering hurebag” – again a dumb person
In grammar, Dubliners tend to use the “present continuous” (be doing) or habitual action “does be.” It’s much more common in the countryside nowadays than in cities.
I do be working every day.
It’s her I do be thinking of.
I done went to the Chemist.
Want to read more fun phrases and lingo? All right! My book, Ramble and Roar, will be coming out on May 22, 2018.