What You Let Them Do

I watch their ambling machines,

and I hope you dance,

I hope you surprise—

people will tie strings to you if you let them;

What_You_Let_Them_Do

don’t let me tie strings to you.

People will make a machine out of you,

fine-tune the life out of you.

Perfectionism is an illusion [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

Potshards

When I was younger,

I collected potshard stories

about a place where grown-ups lived.

I wondered about it on summer days—

feet had grass-tickled toes and mud-caked heels,

potshards

fingers were perches for butterfly kisses,

ears were homes for the angels’ laughter,

eyes were puddles for shooting stars to land, [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

KP Book Review: One of the Few

Will you be one of the few? Jason Ladd, a former Marine fighter pilot, draws a powerful correlation between our Christian search for truth with his own experience in and out of uniform in his book, One of the Few. This semi-autobiography tells the story of Ladd’s journey to Christ as he grappled with the disparity between his preparedness for the role of soldier and the role of husband and father.oneofthefewreview

Throughout his novel, Ladd presents his own journey to Christ with uncommon vulnerability and constant clarity. If you love sugar-coated maxims and prosaic rainbows, then this book is not for you. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

Song of the Storm

Marina windows glowing with

moonlight and lightning,

I’m standing on tired toes,

peering into the sky that tastes like ocean,

trembling with wonder as the sky smiles.

Jagged white teeth stretch to touch cotton cheeks

aglow with the cool light of midnight.

songofthestormpost

Laughter rumbles out from the depths

of a midnight ocean whose tide never turns toward the shoreline [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

Learning

“What is it like—saying goodbye?”

Her eyes misted as her mind tumbled backward, down spiral staircases and through doors—some which were locked, some open, a few dark, and yet others inviting.The winds of change were blowing behind her. The winds that pushed her forward—the winds that sometimes made her forget.learningstory

“It came very quickly—faster than anyone could have convinced us it would,” she said, pressing her steepled fingers into the bridge of her nose. Her eyes closed slowly, and a smile spread across her face. “It was beautifully heart-wrenching in the best sort of way… like the last day of Kindergarten when you believe for a day that you’re not a child anymore because your best friend told you boys have cooties and your mom told you to act more grown up after bullying your sister off the swing set yesterday—but really you still are a child, you just don’t know it. You cry because you think you’ve lost something that you’ll never find again—and in some ways you have, but—“

Her fingers wandered across the table, pausing as she drew in a deep breath and opened her eyes, “Then you realize that it’s not so hopelessly dark and scary that you can’t go on. Which you do, because that’s what people do—what we must do.”

“Do you remember all of them, then? All of your goodbyes?”

She sighed. “I do.” And she did. She remembered imagining her tears filling mason jars and, with trembling hands, placing them on shelves etched by sweet remembrance and colored by time’s sometimes-gentle aging. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

7 New Reasons to Love Microsoft Word

In a world where gaining and maintaining writerly motivation is about as hard as putting down a good book, we need all the help we can get, and these simple time-savers are sure to appeal to the tech-savvy soul and maximize your motivation—no matter how long that motivation lasts. microwordpost

Before you start celebrating with your characters, however, beware: these tid-bits will minimize one of your secret guilty pleasures: formatting. For hours. Don’t deny it. Everyone knows that the first 24 hours you spend on your novel consist of font choosing, chapter headings, and paragraph formatting. Writer’s block? Must be something about those pesky margin settings.

So, if ye be brave, tread on and learn a few not-so-well-kept secrets of Microsoft Word.

1. CTRL+Z – Microsoft’s Eraser

 Make a mistake? Realize that the sentence you just erased was actual gold? Delete the entire document by accident? Decide you really liked the format from three-hours of tweaking ago? Use this tool to remedy your most spectacular blunders and make it like they never happened.

 2. CTRL+V – Paste All the Things

 Any time you’re moving things from one place to another—be they words, chapters, documents, pictures, or entire folders, this handy shortcut will save you a right-click and scroll. Simply cut or copy as usual and follow this command to paste whatever you want wherever you want it (or wherever your cursor is blinking). [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

Hello, My Name Is

 

Hello,

my name is

overwhelmed with sadness;

I’m tired of feeling like 

I’m worthless.

I’m spinning,

spinning,

spinning

tales of greatness,

when inside I’m

broken.

hellomynameispinterest

 

How can I–

How can I–

fix this 

before it’s over. 

But I can’t

fix this heart

beating in my chest

that reminds me that I’m

alive;

and each breath I take

is labored with 

one thousand regrets

and one thousand scars. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

What Baby-Sitting Can Teach You About Writing

Quick. What’s your first reaction when you hear that the “littlest” members of the family are coming to spend some time at your house? For some of us, it may not be excitement. It means no computer time and an indefinite number of little kids to watch for the duration of their stay. Synonymous with the end of the world? Maybe not, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park either.

Babysitting Pinterest

I mean, really. Authors, the predictable species that we are, are already self-conscious enough about our writing. Hide the screen at all times—even if it’s just the innocent passerby. And one plus prying pairs of eyeballs? Yeah… there goes your last hope for finishing NaNoWriMo. Introverted? Too bad—the family is expecting you, being the responsible young adult that you are, to keep your cousins occupied.

 

Now what, aside from what sounds like Sarah feeling the need to tell you about her most grievous position over the holidays, does this have to do with writing? They’re little kids, after all. They can’t even read yet. Ah, but it’s not them that will be learning something. It’s you.

 

When my two little cousins, Charlie and Nora, arrived yesterday, the first thing we did was jump right into the action– we went to our big swing at the end of the field. Well, right after introductions.

 

Think about it. What kind of beginning do you want to have in a novel? Certainly not one that starts off with a bunch of boring information dumps about how life has been for the author, or all the not-so-important conversations about daily life and normal things, God forbid that we have remotely normal lives. No, you want to jump right into the action.

[Read more…]

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

Exclusive Author Interview: Lisa T. Bergren

Kingdom Pen’s own Sarah Spradlin had the opportunity to ask a few questions of the best-selling, award-winning author Lisa T. Bergren. Read the elusive interview below!

KP: In the end, our goal, as Christian authors, is to further the Kingdom for Christ and glorify Him. But it had to start somewhere. How did you come to know Christ as your savior and how has that influenced your writing?

LB: I was raised in the church and feel like I’ve always known Him. But I dedicated my life and work to Him after a personal reformation RemnantsSeasonexperience I had when I was a tending bar in Utah! You never know when and where God will summon his people…

KP: When we first think of Christian authors, our first thoughts may be more along the lines of Max Lucado or Andy Stanly, who are better known for non-fiction based material. How big of a place do you think Christian fiction has in the overall Christian media? Has this influence grown in recent years, or is there still room for lots of expansion?

LB: I don’t know if there’s room for a lot more expansion. I’d like to see more Christian voices in the mainstream, rather than segregated out, which is partially why I wrote the “crossover” series, River of Time (WATERFALL, etc) and now REMNANTS.

KP: Speaking of River of Time, the main plotline isn’t hinged on Christianity. Despite this, you have woven a lot of lessons and moral thinking into your novel. Characters such as the priest and many of the main characters speak about their faith throughout the series. How did you find the right balance in plot and Jesus, and how can young authors today find that for themselves?

LB: For that series, specifically, I was attempting to write for anyone in my daughter’s high school class. I wanted a faith aspect to be present, but to present it as a seeker might consider such matters (which Gabi is), rather than from a clearly Christian perspective. For me, the faith element always has to be natural to the characters—how they’d realistically think/believe (or not), rather than what the author WANTS them to think/believe. That’s just good characterization tactics. If other authors seek to do the same, I think they’ll find that same balance.

KP: River of Time also features many elements of fantasy, namely time traveling. Finding the right balance between fantasy and reality can be difficult, especially when writing from a Christian perspective. What were some ways you made sure things remained in good boundaries and what are some suggestions you have for other Christian authors endeavoring to write their own fantasy novels?

LB: Oh, heavens, I’m pretty liberal on this front so maybe I’m not the best person to ask. My own thought is that God gave us a creative mind, and Jesus told stories to get his ideas across, so that gives us a pretty broad platform. That said, I strive not to write anything that pulls people away from their faith or morals.

 

“God gave us a creative mind, and Jesus told stories to get his ideas across, so that gives us a pretty broad platform.”

 

KP: The River of Time series can accurately be labeled as a romance novel. And while some people may not be all out for the mushy-mushies, others may want more. Have you ever been pressured to put more romance into your novels—perhaps even parts that are more adult in nature? If so, how did you respond to those pressures and what advice do you have to authors who are trying to write clean, Christian romance.

LB: I’ve never been pressured to write more and I don’t think I’d write for a publisher who demanded it. I’m already pushing the physical attraction angle as far as I’m willing to go. As it is, I consider my writing pretty edgy for the Christian market. So I’ll draw the line there.

KP: It’s very clear what the stereotypical Christian romance book is: guy meets girl, girl has ton of faith, guy is sketchier, she brings him to Christ, there are some struggles, and they live happily ever after. Or at least some variation thereof. The River of Time series was not at all like that. What methods did you use to keep your romance from becoming cliché and unoriginal?

LB: Hmm, I guess I just always seek to tell a new story, about unique characters, and it emerges from there. 

KP: Publishing is often the hardest thing for an author to accomplish. What was the first book you submitted to be published? Was it rejected or accepted, and how can young authors best brace themselves and be okay with being rejected?

LB: I was in the right place at the right time. Christian fiction was young and I had a new concept novel drafted (contemporary romance) when there wasn’t much competition. The same day I got a job with a publisher, they gave me a contract for my novel, and that novel did crazy-well. So….God smiled. I was incredibly blessed. And have been ever since. * ducks now to avoid flying plates from other authors * I know it doesn’t come down for many that way and am grateful. That said, if you believe God has called you to be a writer, keep at it. Set aside the novel you’ve rewritten 10 times and try another. Go to a writer’s conference where the publisher you dream of pubbing your book attends. Get a meeting with the editor. And then get a meeting with the series-publisher who accepts many more newbie writers. Gain some experience wherever you can and then go after the dream-publisher again. Any and all experience in publishing helps.

KP: Remnants: Season of Wonder, the first of a new dystopian series, was released on April 8 of last year. Tell us a little bit about it and what your outlook for it is.

LB: I’m jazzed to be writing for the YA market again. I love writing for teens (and their moms!). I’m antsy about the reception, because once again, I’m cutting into new territory. To my knowledge, there haven’t been many fantasy-romance-spiritual-suspense-dystopians out there.

KP: Seeing your book in print for the first time must be one of the best feelings in the world. If you could pick only one word to describe the moment when you held your first printed book in your hands, what would it be and why?

LB: Glory! Totally stunning, overwhelming, is-this-real moment. 

KP: Authors can do some crazy things. Whether it’s talking in character, pulling all-nighters to make deadlines, or dressing up in full costume and storming libraries and bookstores everywhere, it can be pretty exciting. What is the craziest or most memorable thing you’ve done as an author?

LB: Nothing truly crazy from this author. Most memorable? Research trips to England, France, Italy, Alaska and Maine. Love that part of the job…

 

LTB_author_picLisa Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 40 books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold. Recently, she has published a YA series called River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne & Tributary) and Remnants: Season of Wonder, with a sequel soon to follow. Hailing from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mrs. Bergren balances both managing home base and writing. She and her husband Tim have three kids–Olivia, Emma and Jack.

Maker sure to check out her website and books!

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.

Listen

grand-piano-2

By Sarah Spradlin

 

“Music is what feelings sound like.” – Unknown

 

Dark, tangled locks hang like wild wisps over weathered, young fingers traipsing across ivory keys. Feet dance against brass pedals. The breath of power escapes thin pressed lips. A heart sings along to the beat of rhythm echoing deep as she falls out from every boundary wrapped around her.

Her eyes follow a journey, held captive in the flurry of her soldier-like fingers. Leading fearlessly an epic quest, seamlessly unfolding at her fingertips. Swords clash and the songs of battle echo out into the darkness. Light meets shadow’s acrid breath.

Forget your fear.  I am with you.

Shadowed keys fade away, and gusts of wind push back wayward curls as she tips back her head and her eyes flutter closed, tangled locks falling back onto her shoulders.

Open your eyes.

A knight stands before her, his blade kissing rays of sunlight. Ranks of men, chins tipped high, raise their swords behind him — a young, brave fire kindling in their eyes. Shining out. Singing out.

Shimmering gilded flags flap in the icy-cold wind that could only come from the gathering darkness that roars in the East. The gusts bite through the men’s armor and whisper in their ears. The sun suddenly hidden from sight in a dark swirling mass of clouds.

Voices tear at them — snarling, growling, biting. The knight shouts words of encouragement, but they are lost in the howling winds that weave around his men.

You’re not worth it. You cannot defeat the darkness.

It has already taken hold. Its roots are already too deep.

You cannot hope to save them now.

Not your families, they hiss. Not your friends.

Not your country. Oh, your pathetic little country that thought it could stand by itself, they jeered. Does it hurt to see them wallow in the pain and suffering they brought on themselves?

Enter fear. It’s descent upon the hill like those of phantoms cloaked in shadow. Their voices raise, beating and beating. Never ceasing.

Despair.

Despair.

Wallow in despair. Like a cat’s hiss, they wail and moan, taunting and jabbing. Stinging and stabbing.

Doom.

Doom.

All doomed to die.

The song falters for a brief moment. How could there be purpose in such chaos?

Remember Me.

A whisper of silence before a single ray breaks the shroud of darkness. The gentle touch of golden light falls, glistening on battered armor.

Remember My promises. You are My people. You are strong. This battle has already been won.  Hope ignites as the majesty of their King’s voice embraces them like the breath of soft, spring winds that first thawed the cold clutches of winter’s grasp.

And now she smiles. Fingers playing. Feet dancing. Heart racing.

Flying.

Charging. Down into the valley the knight leads them, the thrum of the feet of the warriors surging ahead of them over the barren, cold ground. Clouds breaking before their fury. The darkness quails at their ferocity. Their power. Sending them back into the shadows.

Shattered are the chains that held captive the lost. Broken are the doors that kept the world from salvation.

Victory.

The knight bows his head and kneels before his King, laying his sword before him.

It is finished.

And now the journey ends.

The fingers slow.

And silence whispers over the ivory keys.

Tanned hands rest.

A heart beat quiets.

Until next time, when maybe the world will listen.

Profile photo of Sarah Spradlin
If you’ve ever emailed us at KP, you’ve probably “met” Sarah—a passionate storyteller with a huge heart that loves Jesus and everyone she meets. Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry, where she attends the University of Georgia, majoring in International Affairs and Agriculture Communication. When she graduates, Sarah wants to help people all over the world succeed in the agriculture industry and tell the all-important story of the farmer. She joined the Kingdom Pen Team as Secretary in September 2013 and now serves as the Director of Community Happiness. Sarah has been homeschooled, private-schooled, and graduated from Madison County High School in May 2015. She attended Summit in July 2015. She’ll read pretty much anything (if she had to pick, though, her favorite author would be Frank Peretti) and has tried her hand at pretty much every kind of writing out there, though she likes writing fiction and poetry best. But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction via the Forum, on one of the many social medias down below, or through the KP e-mail: kingdompenmag@gmail.com.