Independence Day + Nightstand Books + Updates

I promise, I’m going on hiatus… at the end of this blog post… which is why I’m rolling this month’s Nightstand Books and Adventures and Episodes into one big post.

I might have some character interviews coming in the near future. I know at least one of those is going up this month. July is a bad month for hiatusing, apparently. But this is my last regular post until August.


Be safe, have fun! Remember why we celebrate…

Second, it’s the first Wednesday of the month, which, of course, means it’s time for NIGHTSTAND BOOKS! Which is a monthly meme thought up by DJ Edwardson in which we all share what we plan to read in the coming weeks. My nightstand is properly color-coordinated… almost. Look at all the shinies!

Nightstand Books July

The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. I’ve been meaning to read this trilogy FOREVER, and finally got around to starting it… in no small part because I’m going to be listening to Mr. Batson talk at Realm Makers and thought I should probably have read something of his before that happens. It’s pretty good so far. I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, probably because I’m just getting pickier about my YA/MG fiction as I get older, and the allegory is a bit heavy-handed, buuuuut… it’s adventurous.

Mercy’s Prince by Katy Huth Jones. This one’s been on my bookshelf for a while, and I did a poll on my facebook page a few weeks ago to ask your opinion on what to read next, and this is what won!

Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra E. Ardnek. This was the June book club read. I’m about halfway through it and I am enjoying it very much. I didn’t get through it in June because… well, you’ll see in my “Adventures and Episodes” portion of this post.

Joey: How a Blind Horse Helped Others Learn to See by Jennifer Marshall Bleakley. This is a brand-new release by one of my friends back in NC and I am so over the moon excited to read her debut book! There’s been a ton of chatter about this book, it hit the #1 best-selling new release Christian novel charts, and I believe that there is even a MOVIE in the works!!!! I’m not jealous…. okay, maybe teensy bit…. okay, maybe a lot. But mostly I’m just so thrilled for her and looking forward to reading this book.

Ellie and the Prince by J.M. Stengl. I love fairy tales. (I’ll wait while you get over that shock) and so of course I’ve been super excited about the Faraway Castle series.

So that’s what’s on my list of to-read in the near future. I know for a fact I won’t get through all of that in a month… but I don’t know how to set small goals when it comes to reading.

And third… let’s find out what all happened in June… shall we?

Adventures& Episodes



Writing is basically all that happened this month, people. I wrote… wait for it…. 40, 031 words in June!

That is my best month of writing EVER… rivaling that very first summer when I wrote King’s Warrior. I still can’t believe I hit that number. I also passed 100,000 words in Turrim Archive book 3… and while I’m a little bummed I haven’t reached the end of the story, I’m fairly certain that the close is drawing nigh. It’s also very possible that I’ve already written some of book 4… but we shall see. One character arc is complete, and that’s the one that might actually go a teensy bit over into book 4 material. I have two character arcs that are very close to completion… one might be done, depending on how much of a cliffhanger I want to leave everyone on. I’ve never ended a book on a cliffhanger before, and I know a lot of readers don’t like it, so I’m a bit nervous about that idea. And one character arc that is only about half finished. All told, I probably have between 15,000 – 20,000 words left in this story.


Because of ALL THE WRITING, I managed to read half of Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra E. Ardnek in the month of June. And that’s it.


We did watch quite a few things in the month of June….

Derek and I decided to re-watch the entire Thor thread of the MCU, so we watched Thor, Avengers, Dark World, Age of Ultron, and Ragnarok. It was extremely interesting to watch the movies like this, mostly focusing on the character of Thor. I liked Dark World and Age of Ultron a whole lot better this time around. The story arc was so fun to watch unfold in that way, and now I want to go back and do the same thing with Captain America and Iron Man and see how the story changes when I focus on a different MAIN character.

Star Trek: TNG – we’ve been watching this as a family and it’s fun to revisit these beloved characters. I didn’t watch really any Star Trek until after I got married, so I’m a more recent convert.

Trollhunters: Tales from Arcadia – we finished up season 3 and I thought it ended well. This has been a fun cartoon to watch with the kids. It can get a little creepy, though, so more sensitive kids than mine might be terrified.

Voltron: Legendary Defender – we also just finished up the 6th season of Voltron… which I love. It’s such a blast from my past, and they’ve done an excellent job remaking this show. The kids love it, too.

Derek took the big kids to see Incredibles 2. I want to see it sooooo badly. Don’t anyone tell me anything!!!!

Heartland – this is my go-to show for rewarding myself for getting writing done. Such a sweet show, and it makes me nostalgic for my horse-back-riding days as a kid. That’s not something I get to do much anymore.

Edited to add… I can’t believe I forgot Lost in Space!!!! Derek and I watched our way through the new Lost in Space on netflix and AAAHHHHHH! SUCH an intense show. We watched slowly because I couldn’t handle more than one episode at a time. Just a lot of things that made me want to hide behind the couch (which is hard, as our couch is pushed up against the wall). I appreciated that it was a clean show, and a lot of focus on family and things… but SOOO intense!!!


The kids all had swim lessons in June, so that kept our mornings busy for a couple of weeks. They’re also participating in the annual summer-reading challenges at the library, which are fun and not just all about how many books you can read. Brant is taking a t-ball skills class, which is equal parts adorable and hysterical. Watching three-year olds learn baseball skills is…. ALL THE HEART EYES! It was probably silly of me to sign him up, since he’s so little… but he thinks it’s AWESOME and seems to have fun, so… worth it.

We finally signed a contract with our builder and will soon be the proud owners of a large hole in the middle of our property!

Other than that, it’s just been trying to stay cool… doing some baking (it’s strawberry rhubarb pie season, so I had to make at least one of those), playing i the sprinkler, eating popsicles, doing some chemistry experiments, going to the park, going for walks, riding bikes, and just enjoying the freedom of the summer schedule.

Future Plans

This month is Realm Makers!!!! I know, I know, it’s practically all I ever talk about these days, but I am just sooooo excited to be going this year. I’ve wanted to go ever since 2013, which I think was their second year, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to make it. We are also rolling our trip to RM into a family reunion, so that’s fun. Love that we’ll get to see some family and the kids can play with cousins.

Hoping to have this rough draft done before we leave… we shall see if that happens.

I just submitted a 300-word piece of flash fiction to a contest thing for Realm Makers the other day… not sure if that will go anywhere, but it was fun to write. It could also flesh out into a much larger story if I wanted… not that I need more story ideas.

And that’s about it. The rest of the summer should look much the same as the beginning has. I can’t believe it’s July already… but we have some fun things to look forward to before I need to start pulling out school stuff again.


Happy Fourth of July! How was your June? Do you have any plans for July? Are you going to Realm Makers? Are you doing Camp Nanowrimo? I’d love to hear from you!



~ jenelle



Your book stack is beautiful. *nods* Regarding The Door Within— I used to love those books so much! My dad read them to me when I was ten or eleven (we didn’t give up storytime for a looooong time), and they and the DragonKeeper Chronicles were my introduction to Christian fantasy. (Or, modern Christian fantasy, anyway.) Now I have trouble getting through them because the writing quality is kind of lower than what I’m used to, which is sad. :P

Anyway. Rambling reminisces aside, congratulations on your awesome writing month! That’s fabulous! And also congratulations on your soon-to-be hole in the ground. XD

Nancy Walker

I hope Realm Makers is all and more that you have hoped and dreamed it would be! So glad you’ll get to meet a few of your author friends in person!!! THAT is so cool!
Happy July!!! (May it slow down a little bit and not fly by as June did so we can savor summer!) :)

Allan James

I am exhausted…….just reading about everything going on in your life! I hope you can get a nap once in awhile!

Deborah O'Carroll

Aaaahh, the pretty stack! :D I’m… 5% into Water Princess, Fire Prince. *cough* I’ve been busy with RM stuff and I don’t have a shiny paperback like you (*JEALOUS* XD) so I’m slower on that. I haven’t read The Door Within but I did read Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson a few years back and loved it! I have a couple other of his books I’d like to read before Realm Makers (along with several by other authors) buuut I kind of suspect not much reading will happen between now and then. o_O I’m leaving early because road trip so I have LESS THAN A WEEK to get ready and I’m freaking out.

OH MY GOODNESS YOU WROTE 40K IN JUNE!!! :O So in awe of you. I’ve only done 50 during NaNo months and never approached anything like that otherwise. And you’re almost donnnne yay! And congrats on 100K! :D

Yay for Thor and Trollhunters (which I’ve only started the first season but funnn). I’ve never tried Heartland but I’ve heard good things. Aaaand I still haven’t seen the FIRST Incredibles. *cough*

I just submitted a 300 word flash fiction to the contest thing too!! :D I had so much fun with that.

RM is SO SOON AAAH. I’m incredibly excited and also overwhelmed because I have so much to do before then. XD

I am NOT doing Camp, due to RM, because I would probably die. :P

Happy Fourth of July to you and best of luck with your writing! I can’t wait to meet you in a couple of weeks!! ^_^


I’m so excited to meet you and all my blogging buddies!!!!

I can’t believe I hit 40K words… I’m still a little in shock.

I might have to try Isle of Swords. Door Within is just not pulling me in… I don’t DNF books very often… maybe I’ll read it out loud with the kids…. I think I’d love it if I were 10…

Heartland is super cute. It’s just kind of sweet and low-key. It’s a nice one to relax with – and if I have to stop in the middle of an episode, it’s not a big deal. It’s so gentle and a little slower paced than normal, lots of horses, which makes my heart happy. There’s some drama for drama’s sake, but it’s usually pretty in-character/personality based drama, so it doesn’t annoy me the way other shows can. :) If that makes sense.

I forgot to add that we also watched the new Lost in Space, which is like the exact opposite of Heartland on the tension-scale. I love that it’s clean and family-friendly but MAN is it intense!!! I’m not usually like, “jump behind the couch/hide me I can’t watch because I’m certain all the bad things are going to happen to my favorite characters” but this show did exactly that to me.

See you in TWO WEEKS!!!!!!

Abbey Stellingwerff

Happy Fourth of July! And congratulations on all the writing you’ve been getting done! That’s soooo cool. :D And amidst busy life-ing, too. I will always admire you for that.
Also, I must congratulate you on watching TNG. My Trekkie heart is made happy whenever someone says that they are watching Star Trek. :P
Have a great time on hiatus and at Realm Makers! #jealous. I can’t wait to see everyone’s posts when they get back. Happy July!


Thanks :)

I came to Star Trek after I got married. My tv-watching growing up was pretty limited to Saturday morning cartoons and Highway to Heaven… with the occasional Little House on the Prairie and Mr. Rogers’ Neghborhood. :) Voyager was the first series I watched, and I love it to bits. (Enterprise is my favorite, though… *ducks*) It’s been fun watching TNG with the kids. Leiana is the only one who really sits through the episodes with us at this point… Brant and Nathalie get a little bored if Q or children aren’t present in the episode. LOL We’ve gotten to Season 7 and I think we’re going to continue with Voyager when we finish up the series.

Madeline J. Rose

That is a lovely book stack, I do say. ^_^ Aah, I’ve been wanting to read Water Princess, Fire Prince for soooo long now!!

I’ve been debating if I should watch Trollhunters. At first glance, I thought it was just another kid’s show, but I guess it’s actually really good, from what I’ve been hearing? I should give it a watch.


WPFP is really good! I’m enjoying it a lot!

Trollhunters is fabulous! It was a little intense for my kids at first, but the whole family ended up really loving it.


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