Hello readers! I am back from Mission Camp with the tiniest of tans, some great life lessons, and a host of marvelous memories! My friend...

Hello readers! I am back from Mission Camp with the tiniest of tans, some great life lessons, and a host of marvelous memories! My friends and I had a great time hanging out, serving people, and learning more about God and each other.

I spent last week at a rec center, working with a bunch of kids aged about five to twelve. We played games in the mornings (Who knew dodgeball could be so insane? Seriously, I was sore everywhere), then swam at the pool in the afternoons. Pretty basically, my group just spent time with them, letting the kids know we cared enough to hang out and get to know them.

One of the coolest parts of camp, though, started when our student pastor mentioned that we shouldnt reserve serving for the mission sites. We could serve right there at camp, too, by holding doors for people or taking othersplate to the dish return after a meal.

To be honest, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I thought those were just examples, you know? We didn’t have to take them literally; they were just suggestions of how we could serve.

But after the next meal, a bunch of the younger girls went up to complete strangers and asked to take their plates. I probably don’t have to tell you I was flat-out amazed.

And inspired.

I started by taking my friends’ plates, and by the end of the week, I’d taken a stranger’s. I think by the time we left, most of us had done it at least once. And all to serve and show the love of God.

I went to camp to do that – to show the love of God – but I gained a lot from everyone there as well. The band was amazing and being in constant worship certainly grew my relationship with Him. The preaching was phenomenal, opening passages, revealing truths in Philippians I’d hardly noticed before. As I said, it was girls two or three years my junior who motivated me to serve right where I was. And I can hardly forget the kids I hung out with at the rec center. They were all wonderful and super-sweet; even though I only knew the latter group for a few days, I already miss them and will always remember the time we had together.

I learned a lot over that week, too: to be more humble, concentrate on God more, and be anxious less, trusting in the Lord instead. Mind you, Im not saying I have any of that down, but with Gods help, I am working on it.

Overall, camp was a phenomenal experience, and I can’t wait for next year! Seriously, why is it not next summer right now?

All of us on the last day of camp. I'm the black girl in the back.
Link to a picture of us with all the kids on Instagram

What about you? Have you been to camp or had any other cool experiences this summer? I’d love to hear about them!

Hey! This post is for a contest I heard about via my writers’ group. Pitching my main manuscript: Title: Sketchy Moments Author: Me...

Hey! This post is for a contest I heard about via my writers’ group. Pitching my main manuscript:

Title: Sketchy Moments

Author: Me. Alexa S. Winters

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

Word count: 53,000

Synopsis: After the most humiliating incident of his life, Elliot “Andreas” Sharpe moves to another foster home armed only with three scars, a locket, and the determination not to like his new family. All Elliot wants is a break: some time off from being the butt of every joke and a few weeks where he doesn’t have to hear the words “Home Kid” even once. Then the Blanchards are welcome to send him along to the next placement, and they can all go about their merry way.

But then it seems as if the family actually cares about him – and Elliot finds himself liking them in return. And when tragedy strikes, bringing him painfully close to losing the girl he loves like a sister, Elliot must choose: run for the hills before things get ugly or risk being hurt worse than ever before.

Hello! Today, I’m going to tell you about my fantasy manuscript, Unattainable. It’s the story of three royal siblings: Montreal, the oldest,...

Hello! Today, I’m going to tell you about my fantasy manuscript, Unattainable. It’s the story of three royal siblings: Montreal, the oldest, the reckless, and the wooer of the princess of an enemy country; Negasi, the middle, the tactician, and the lover of his brother’s betrothed; and Jenaiah, the youngest, the dreamer, and the sweetheart of a servant boy  which, compared to her brothers, is really not so bad. 

As you might guess, it’s a three-way romance (which I only recently discovered, so plenty of editing to do), but with a lot of sibling-ly vibes thrown in because none of the three of them can have what they want, partially because of each other.

Unfortunately, I only have two scenes with all three of them together, and none with the three of them alone. So instead of doing an excerpt, I decided to have a character interview and show you some of my notes to give you a hint of my writing process: just what goes through my head as I write and plan.

Without further ado, everyone please welcome Prince Montreal, Prince Negasi, and Princess Jenaiah of Eporue!

Jenaiah: Thank you, Miss Alexa. It’s wonderful to be here.

Montreal: Yes, spectacular.

Negasi: *smiles slightly* A true pleasure.

Me: Thanks guys! Let’s go ahead and get into it, shall we?

What was the darkest moment of your childhood that shaped your past?

Montreal and Jenaiah: *stare at me*

Negasi: *dryly* You like to start off with the hard questions.

Me: *shrugs* Breaks the ice.

Jenaiah: *frowning* What ice?

Me: It’s a saying, Jen. Don’t worry about.

Montreal: Then speak Uni, would you?

Me: We are speaking Uni. I’m just using a different version of it.

Montreal: *mutters* Peasants.

Me: I heard that, Montreal Omorede. Now you get to answer the question.

Montreal: *shrugs* Who knows what the darkest moment of their childhood is? 

Me: I do.

Montreal: Then maybe you should answer the questions.

Me: I’m not the one being interviewed. Now answer!

Montreal: Fine.The moment my father told me he didn’t love me, I guess.

Jenaiah: *frowns* You know he didn’t mean that.

Montreal: Perhaps. Your turn, Jen.

Jenaiah: *deep breath* When our mom went... well, you know.

Montreal: Crazy?

Jenaiah: *shoots her brother a disgusted look* She had a nervous breakdown, Monty. It wasn’t her fault. Anyway, *turns back to me* Dad sent us away because of that.

Me: Very good. Now your turn, Negasi.

Negasi: *quiet for a moment* I’ll go with Jen’s.

Me: *raises an eyebrow* All right then, moving on.

What kind of a person are you today because of that?

Montreal: Do I have to answer?

Me: That’s what an interview means, Mont. Now, come on.

Montreal: Well... I don’t know. I guess I’ve decided I don’t love him either.

Jenaiah: *gasps* You can’t mean that.

Negasi: Perhaps now isn’t the best place to have this discussion?

Me: Shut up, Negasi; it’s the perfect place. *smiles at Monty* Go on, Monty.

Montreal: *shrugs again* There’s nothing left to say. My father hates me and I hate him. *sets jaw* And I’m perfectly fine with that.

Negasi: *rolls his eyes* You’re such an awful liar.

Monty: Apologies. *sarcastically* You’re quite good at it, you know.

Negasi: *frowns* I told you–

Me: I told you no fighting! And Negasi, I also told you before we started that youre not allowed to insult your brothers responses. Just for that, you get to answer next.

Negasi: I believe it was Jenaiah’s turn.

Me: Not if I say it’s yours.

Negasi: Controlling, aren’t we?

Me: Answer. The. Question.

Negasi: You can’t pry into people’s inner thoughts and emotions and not expect them to get testy. But, in answer to your question, I suppose I’m... more mature. Because Monty’s useless at everything, I became Dad’s advisor when Mother dearest went insane.

Jenaiah: Negasi!

Me: Jen, your brother is allowed to express his opinion. That’s what this interview is for after all. Now what about you?

Jenaiah: *still glaring at Negasi* I guess I’m more mature, too. I’ve had to take care of Mum all these years, while the boys get to stay at the palace.

Montreal: Being at the palace isn’t exactly fun either, Jen.

Jenaiah: *glares at me* Can we move on?

Me: Wonderful idea.

Who would you die for?

Me: Well don’t everyone answer at once.

Jenaiah: *thoughtfully glances at her brothers* I guess I’d die for my dad. Or my mum. Or Ainsley. Or either one of my idiot brothers.

Montreal: That’s sweet, Jen. But who’s Ainsley and why does he come before us?

Jenaiah: Hes

Me: Uh... we’ll get to that later! Your turn, Monty!

Montreal: Well, like Jen said. I’d die for mum. Or Chasina. Or Jen. *glares at his brother* Negasi can suffer, though.

Negasi: *rolls his eyes* Touching, brother. I’m going to go with all of the above. Except for whoever this Ainsley person is.

Me: What about Alistaira?

Negasi: *meets my gaze steadily* You’re not allowed to modify my answers.

Me: I’m the author. I can do what I like. But this time, I’ll let you slide. Next question.

What are you good at?
Montreal: *smirks* everything.

Me: Gosh, you need to take that pride down a notch.

Montreal: You made me this way.

Me: No, you came out that way. I wanted you to be the sweet kind of boy who would fall for a servant girl, and then all of the sudden you up and decide to be some sort of Romeo!

Jenaiah: Who’s Romeo?

Me: Nevermind. Monty, answer the question seriously please.

Montreal: *confused* I just did.

Me: *sighs* All right then, Jenaiah?

Jenaiah: *thinks a moment* Nursing skills, I suppose. And... listening. Gotten quite good at that with Mum. *laughs without pleasure.* Knife-throwing, too.

Montreal: *chuckles* Yes! Negasi you remember the time she knocked you right off your horse with the blunt one?

Jenaiah, Montreal, and I: *laugh out loud* 

Negasi: *smiles wryly*: I also recall that she did the same to you moments later.

Montreal: *opens his mouth*

Me: *interrupting* I said no fighting. Geez, you lot never behave. Negasi?

Negasi: *thoughtfully* I’m not a bad warrior.

Me: That doesn’t answer the question. I asked what you were good at.

Negasi: *shrugs* I already told you I was father’s advisor. I’m a tactician, a diplomat.

Me: Finally, a straight answer. Maybe we’re getting somewhere.

Montreal: Don’t gamble on that.

Me: Shut up, Montreal! Our final question is...

What's your greatest dream?

Me: And... silence again. You guys! I thought we were getting somewhere!

Jenaiah: *sighs* I suppose the boys should know. My greatest dream... is for the whole family to be back together again. The way we were. *shakes her head* But that simply cannot be.

Me: *pats her hand* You never know what’ll happen, Jen.

Monteral: You do.

Me: Eh. Sometimes. More often, I know about as much as you do.

Negasi: That’s comforting.

Me: *ignores him* Monty, can you answer?

Montreal: Well, you know. I want... I want to be with Chasina.

Me: *grinning* That’s a sweet answer. I think I like you again. Negasi?

Negasi: *stares at me and smirks* I plead the fifth.


Me: *mouth drops open* You can’t do that! How do you even know about that? You don’t even live in this world!

Negasi: *shrugs* Pays to know your enemy.

Me: I’m not your enemy.

Negais: Enemy, author, interviewer. All synonyms.

Me: You have to answer the question.

Negasi: I don’t.

Me: You do!

Negasi: Hardly.

Me: *glaring* Fine! Jenaiah, you’re my new favorite.

Montreal: What about me?

Me: You’re sweet, Mont, but you’re also an idiot and you have no tact.

Negasi: Been saying it for years.

Me: Shut up, Negasi! Ugh, I can’t believe you! This interview is over. I’m killing all of you off and sending Chasina to fall in love with Byronneus!

Montreal: You wouldn’t!

Negasi: No, she woudn’t. She loves your story too much.

Me: *throws clipboard* I’m done. *and stalks away*

Jenaiah: I don’t know if you should’ve made her mad, Negasi. What if she decides to kill you?

Negasi: She won’t. She likes me too much.

*huffs* That’s what he thinks, but I’m actually considering killing him off and not letting anyone end up together. True story.

Anyways, there you have it! A look into my insane writer’s brain and an interview with three of my favorite characters. If you write, I’d love to hear something about your writing process and current works-in-progress!

Also, I’m going to be gone all next week at a church mission camp, so I won’t be posting next Saturday.

I was listening to the Weekend 22 , a radio program that plays the top twenty-two Christian songs every Saturday, when I heard a single ca...

I was listening to the Weekend 22, a radio program that plays the top twenty-two Christian songs every Saturday, when I heard a single called “Dead Come to Life.” Thats a pretty cool song, I thought as I listened, humming along by the last chorus. Later on, the tune got stuck in my head, so I went and looked up the music video. The rest, as they say, is history.

I could listen to Jonathan Thulin all day. His songs are just so beautiful, so inspiring that, no matter what I’m writing, one of them always stimulates my muse. My favorites are all on his newest album, The White Room, but I love his older stuff, too.

This song reminds me of my MC, Elliot, from my main manuscript, Sketchy Moments.

Plus, he wrote a song from Peeta’s POV in The Hunger Games, making Mr. Thulin pretty much the coolest artist ever!

All right, I’m done gushing now. What’s your favorite music to write to? While you decide, here’s one more of my favorites from The White Room!

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