Why Do Novels Matter?

There’s truth in fiction. Sometimes more than we want to admit. But it’s a safe way to learn and experience truth about ourselves, our struggles, and our faith. Nonfiction gives it to the reader straight, a great approach to subjects and themes relating to the human soul. Still, confronting a subject head-on is something we don’t like, especially if it’s unpleasant or downright horrible truths about ourselves.

Enter fiction. We step back and watch someone who’s more real than our next door neighbor and recognize bits and pieces of our own heart in action. We see ourselves from a safe distance.

Cancer, loss of job, car accidents. What good can come of the trials and troubles beating our already weary bodies back into the dirt from which we came? In the midst of crisis, a direct message or true to life story draws too real of a comparison with our own situation. The pain deepens with the continual burn of “why?”

Enter fiction. The more realistic, the better, yet it still lets us hold the pages away from our wounds while applying a salve we didn’t know it contained. We evaluate our agony from a safe distance.

What of faith—or lack of? Who is God? What’s His place or power in your life? How can He restore a heart as broken and reeking of garbage as ours? Why so many questions? Do I really want to know the answers?

Enter fiction. Hiding behind the words of a make believe world, we peek out at the interactions between a Father and child. We watch and wonder. We may even pray, because our questions about God were asked and answered from a safe distance.

When we see things from a distance, it suddenly feels safe to take a closer look at ourselves, our troubles, our God. All through the safety of fiction woven in the fabric of truth. That’s the power of a novel, and why the novel matters.


Why do novels matter to you? I'd love to chat about it in the comments.


For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth


A New Journey Begins

I’m giddy. Last Thursday morning, as I prepared for work and family and friends coming in from four directions, nearly an entire novel downloaded into my brain. In my heart, I believe the download was sent by God and I couldn’t wait to scan through it.

On Monday, after work ended, company left, house cleaned, laundry done, freelance work caught up, I sat down to capture the virtual world I hope will become my debut novel. Yes, I’ve written other novels and novellas (starting more than I finished) but none of them are publishable in their current condition, maybe never. This story is different. I hope.

Lord willing, the first draft begins January 18 and ends April 18. I’ll keep a journal here on the blog of this creative process, to help me stay on track and accountable.

Stay tuned!

For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth


8 Cool Things about the Kindle Touch

I’ve had my Kindle Touch for almost two weeks, and I’m head over heels in love with this e-reader. Sure, there are things I wish were different about it, such as a faster web browser (don’t count on doing much browsing), but I knew what I wouldn’t like about it going in. No surprises. One thing that did surprise me was I bought mine at Wal-Mart. I just felt better buying local where I could take it back if it was a lemon, without hassling with shipping. And it helped me take the step to actually pluck down the money if I knew I could take it back in fifteen days.

For those who find an e-reader in their stocking this Christmas morning, or like me, got it early, here’s eight pretty sweet things you might want to know:

1. Send personal documents for free. This is super cool. I can send my current work in progress (WIP) to my Kindle and read/make notes on the go. It also gives me a different look at the words, similar to printing it out. (Saves me bookoos of paper and ink)

Now, there are two ways to send docs to a Kindle. The first will cost you money. But if you know me, I pinch every penny til the copper bleeds. (It took a month to talk myself into actually buying my Kindle)

Read through Amazon’s instructions here to the part about sending to the “free” address. Super cool.

2. Instant dictionary. I use this often to make sure I understand the meaning of a word, especially if it doesn’t seem to fit the context. The Kindle Touch comes with two dictionaries. All you have to do is press on a word for a few seconds and the definition pops up with the option to read the full text. You can go right back to reading where you left off. No losing your place.

3. Highlight/note. I like the ability to highlight and make a note. You can even touch the upper right hand corner to mark a page. This is helpful when I want to share something in the book with someone later. It’s easy to find the place again.

4. Experimental browser. No, it’s not fast and can’t read every web page, but I can get on Facebook and Hotmail, the main sites I visit in between work or reading. It’s Wi-Fi, and while I’m on that, let me say that the 3G version would be $50 wasted for me. You can ONLY use the 3G to access Amazon’s store for instant book purchasing. Useful for someone who travels often or doesn’t have Wi-Fi at home, but for otherwise, not too helpful.

5. Collections. I have my books sorted in collections, making it a cinch to find the book I want. You can put the same book under more than one category. There are two ways to move books around: One, press and hold on the book, then select what you want to do. Two, go to the collection, tap the top of the screen and tap Menu, then Add/Remove Books.

6. Font size. I don’t have trouble seeing things up close, well, as long as it’s ten inches or less from my nose. With my Kindle, I set the font on a nice middle size that doesn’t take too much page turning yet allows my eyes to relax and read.

7. Social sharing. I haven’t done this, but I’m sure I will. How often I’ve read a passage and wanted to share it on Facebook, but by the time I get online, I forget to do it.

8. Library books. You can check out e-books from any library where you hold a card at and that offers them. That does not include my beloved county library that just got Wi-Fi this year. It may take them awhile. In the meantime, I do have a card at the Tomball College Library (long story, I may share sometime if you ask). They DO have e-books, and I can’t wait to check out some Karen Kingsbury.

In summary: With my Kindle Touch it’s just plain fun and easy to read. But I still can’t stop myself from buying paperbacks, going to the library, and using classic hardbacks to decorate my shelves and desk.

What about you? Have you taken the leap to get an e-reader yet, or do you think you will?

A year ago, I said I never would.


For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth


P.S. If you haven’t already, grab a copy of my e-book (yes, I published one before I ever had an e-reader) Third Side of the Coin, Seven Flash Fictions. If you have, I pray you were blessed, encouraged and left with more hope than you had before.

Update: I now have several ebooks on Amazon, including Third Side of the Coin (A Short Story Collection) with the original 7 flash fictions plus dozens more.

Amazon for Kindle: Third Side of the Coin (A Short Story Collection)

A Different Perspective—An Original Flash Fiction


I wrote this back in June for the blog Gracylu Originals. Hope you enjoy this flash fiction—from a different perspective.

For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth


Everyone’s making faces at me. I want to cry, so I do.

They keep making faces. I breathe and scream as loud as I can. Then something bright catches my eye. I look. It’s waving back and forth over my head. I twist, trying to see better. It lowers to my nose and tickles it.

I smile and giggle. They stopped making faces and I look around at them again. There’s so much to keep up with.

I want to cry again, but warm arms pick me up and hold me close. Ah, this is the familiar place. Close to the beating heart I know well. The heart that gave me life. I focus on the eyes of the one who holds me. She wipes the bubbles from around my lips, so I make more. She laughs.

A jolt and I’m handed into other arms. Ah, these are familiar too. He swings me back and forth, and dangles the bright thing over my head again. I reach up to grasp it. He tugs but I hold fast. He laughs.

Wait. What’s this? She slips something over my head. I cry and try to move away. I wiggle, and realize I’ve let go of the bright thing. I grab it and hold on.

My eyes try to capture the soft fabric on my head, but it’s out of sight. Still holding the bright thing, I rub my other hand along my head, trying to push the fabric off.

A laugh and a gentle hand lowers my arm and tickles my tummy. I giggle and blow more bubbles.

She disappears from sight for the longest time, but I’m having fun playing with him as he tries to tug the bright thing from my fist.

Then he lays me on my tummy. I push with my hands and lift my head. A giant sits beside me, but it’s okay. The giant has spent many nights asleep in my bed. His fur is fuzzy and soft. I grab the giant’s foot.

“Smile, Sweet Pea!”

My eyes find her again, something dark in her hands. Wait. It’s not her, but another her. But him and her stand close, so it doesn’t bother me.

I pull on the giant’s foot until I can put it in my mouth. Part of it, at least.

A flash of light shines in my eyes, but I’m used to it. It’s happened every since I took my first breath outside of her. I’m not sure if I like it or not, but as long as I have her or him or the giant, it’s okay.

I rub at the thing on my head again, until the gentle hands move my arms down and rolls me to my back. The other her is standing over me now, and more bright flashes. Lots of hims and hers crowd around.

They’re making faces again but I decide not to cry as I kick up with my feet and wave my arms through the air. This is fun.


Stuffed Animal Kingdom: The Keys to Storyworlds

  I took a heartbreaking journey recently. The painstaking, memory filled process of sorting three trash bags full of well loved stuffed animals.

Okay, that was a little dramatic. But I did cry once through my grin.

My mama laughs sensitively if the subject of my growing up years enter a conversation. I never wanted to let go of childhood. I remember asking her, “What can you do as an adult?” Stumped her there. But I soon learned. Still, when something triggers a memory from those glorious years I thought was life, warm fuzzies dunk into my heart and bring back a tear on the rebound. Such a beautiful girlhood.

As I sorted each stuffed animal by family, I found it hard to recall all their names or even who was married to whom once upon a time. “Is that your mama?” I asked them. I don’t think they cared. They were quite exhausted from the years of play my brother, Jon, and me put them through. I took group pictures and thought about the story worlds we created. In the afternoon long process, I realized how important those days were.

Aha! This is where my imagination began developing. No two of these critters were alike. No family was alike. They had their own voice, made their own decisions. I learned how to create compelling stories. After all, if it couldn’t keep the attention of an eight and ten year old, we moved on.

I learned what drives a story forward, how to create conflict and resolve. I guess you could say my first coauthor was my brother. He took on one set of characters, I took on the other. We constantly pitted them against impossible odds and extreme dangers. I usually let him take on the part of the antagonist. (He was a natural)

When our mama made an announcement for dinner, the answer was typically a question, “Can we finish this scene?” At a “stopping point” we’d leave them set up in a way we could pick up the story right where we left off. Sometimes the same one would last for days. How inconvenient when we set up our world on a bed. It was destroyed nightly and had to be rebuilt. Same with hallways. My dad might scoot plastic horses and their stuffed animal riders out of the walkway when he arrived home from work, only to have us screech, “No! They were all set up for the next scene!” Anyone who lives with a writer is probably cracking up with laughter at the parallels here.

The bags sorted, I sent my brother a text asking if there were any stuffed animals he wanted to save. It took three texts and a face-to-face conversation to get him to answer, “Oh, probably just Jimmy and Smoky.” He wouldn’t admit it, but I could bet my favorite teddy bear, Springer Sr., that deep down, he loves those memories as much as I do. And he’s a natural storyteller.

I wonder why.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Prov. 3:5-6

For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth