Author: Robin Meeks Page 1 of 2

30,000 Words + a Snippet! | For Such a Time as This

Hola mis amigos! I hit 30,000 words 😮 on my dystopian Esther retelling on Thursday! I’m nearing halfway through, and I’m so excited.

I decided to celebrate by posting a snippet, which I haven’t done in a long time! I hope you guys enjoy! 🙂

Also, let me know in the comments if there are any milestones (big or small) that you’ve reached recently!

For context: “Followers” are Christians.


Once Esther was in the hallway of the saferooms, she let out a long breath. What a day. She followed Candyse down the stone hallway, lined from one end to the other with guards in their dark gray uniforms, to a metal-doored, locked room. This time, Esther had to scan her own palm and Candyse’s on the wall’s scanner to allow them to enter.

“This will be yours and King Xander’s bedroom until the lockdown is over,” Candyse said. “The servants brought down some of your things from your suite.” Esther scanned the room, which reminded her more of the servant’s quarters than a bedroom for royalty. Still nicer than Myrick’s apartment in the Outercity, though.

Her first night as a married woman. Spent with a king who hated Followers, in a saferoom beneath the White House after King Xander was nearly assassinated. Not spent with Abel, the man she loved with all of her heart, in their own little house far, far away from D.C. and the king.

Curse them. Curse everything.

Shaking, she said, “I’m going to be sick, Candyse.”

With concerned eyes, Candyse led her to the bathroom, where she lost her dinner. She sank down to the cold bathroom floor, trembling. Candyse sat down with her, not saying anything.

Once her stomach had settled, Esther attempted a weak smile. “Some magnificent queen I am, right? Throwing up in the toilet, lying on the floor in the bathroom.”

Candyse chuckled. She lowered her voice, her motherly, kind eyes shining. “Magnificent or not, if we had a king half as capable as you, this country wouldn’t be the mess that it is.”

Esther leaned her head against the wall, her heart feeling heavy.

“The king loves you, you know. You could really make an impact by making it known to him what you think should be done.” Candyse shifted so she was sitting cross-legged. “In all the years I’ve worked here, I’ve never seen the king ask his queen for her opinion.”

Esther stared at the tile floor, picking at the fabric in the red dress she still wore from the wedding reception.

“Esther,” Esther looked up at Candyse. “Are you afraid of something?”

Esther turned away. Yes. She was terrified. Terrified of her family’s secret being discovered. Terrified of her and the family and friends she had left suffering the same horrible death that her parents had in the church attack all those years ago. She could not let that happen again.

“Yes,” she whispered, so low she could barely hear it herself.

“Hm,” Candyse said, a short, I-thought-so sound, and Esther knew she wanted her to say more.

“Are there security cameras here?” she whispered.

“No, not in the bedrooms.”

Esther took a deep breath. “My family and I–we’re Followers.” Her eyes welled up with tears. “We’re not even allowed in this country. We were kicked out after the Second Civil War. We should be in prison. And things are just getting worse and worse. We may even be executed one day, if we’re found out. Me being here in D.C. endangers my family, much less being the queen of the entire United States.” She inhaled, slowing down. “My parents were killed in an attack on their church when I was young. I don’t want that to happen to my cousin and my sister. And Abel.” She let her head droop. “So yes, I’m afraid.”

Candyse sat in silence for a moment. “I’m sorry, Esther.”

“Are you a Follower?” Esther asked.

Candyse hesitated, then shook her head. “No. I have some Follower friends, though, and I respect their beliefs. And I certainly don’t support the way our country treats them.”

Esther nodded. “I just don’t want to be here. Abel and I are supposed to be finishing our schooling so we can get jobs and move away to somewhere that’s tolerant of Followers and start a family together.” She bit her lip. “We’ve dreamed of it for years. And we were so close. I just can’t help but imagine that one day–one day I’ll get out of here, and we’ll still have a chance at fulfilling that dream.”

“Maybe there’s a reason you’re still here. Here in the palace.”

Esther felt a familiar anger burn inside of her. “You sound like my cousin.”

“As I said, Esther, the king likes you. You could make a difference.”

“Maybe,” she answered.

Candyse smiled, then stood, throwing her long braid over her shoulder. “I’ll prepare your bath. Are you okay? I can call a medic. Do you want anything to eat or drink?”

Esther finally stood. “I’m okay. I am hungry though. Candyse,” her voice wavered slightly. “Thank you for being a friend to me. I appreciate you more than you know. You’ve been like–” she swallowed, “A mother to me.”

“It’s been an honor.”


NEW W.I.P. – “For Such a Time as This” – A Dystopian Esther Retelling

Mock cover!

*screams with excitement*

I am so excited to finally introduce “For Such a Time as This,” my Esther retelling! 

I started brainstorming for this novel back in May of 2018, so I’ve already been working on it for over a year. I wanted to be 100% sure this was a project worth pursuing before I talked about it, and now I can proudly say that I am super duper happy with what I have so far! 

“For Such a Time as This,” named after the Esther 4:14 verse, is a dystopian retelling of the Esther story. It is set in the futuristic United States, where the country has turned back into a monarchy after the third World War.

To introduce my new book, I’m sharing a mock cover I created (above), some character descriptions, and a snippet from my first chapter at the end! Hope you enjoy!


Characters

Esther Noel Colburn (Esther)

Esther is (obviously) the main character of my story. Esther is a determined and smart 18-year-old. She hates dresses and heels. She can be stubborn sometimes, but not always in a bad way.

Esther is known as the most beautiful girl in her city, even though she does everything she can to avoid this reputation. She is weeks away from going to the college of her dreams with a full ride. She plans to marry her boyfriend Abel when she graduates. She’s on her way towards the life she’s always dreamed of having- when the King’s search for a new queen snatches her away.

Esther lives with her cousin Myrick and her sister Eden. Esther and her family are Christians, which is illegal.

Abel

Esther’s boyfriend. He plans to marry Esther once they both graduate from college. Abel is protective and tense, yet sweet and kind to those he trusts.

King Xander (King Xerxes)

King of the United States of America. In his forties but looks younger. Can be a bit naive and gullible. Carefree, pleasure-seeker.

Queen Vera (Queen Vashti)

Previous queen of the United States before she’s sent away for disobeying the king’s orders.

Hadrian (Haman)

One of King Xander’s personal assistants. Power-hungry, secretive, and greedy. Wants nothing more than to rise to the highest position of power possible.

Myrick Colburn (Mordecai)

Esther’s cousin. In his upper thirties. Myrick is like both a father and a brother to Esther and Eden. He hosts a secret church service at his apartment, which he shares with Esther and Eden. Quiet and thoughtful.

Eden Colburn

Esther’s younger sister. Esther would do anything to keep Eden safe.


Snippet – from Chapter 1

Abel nudged Esther with his shoulder. She looked up at him. His eyebrows were knit together with concern. “Don’t look, but I think there’s a royal officer following us,” he whispered, leaning closer so Sara could hear as well. Esther’s eyebrows shot up, but she refrained from looking behind her. Her heart started to pound. Had her family’s secret church finally been discovered, and now they were after them? 

“What should we do?” Sara whispered back, eyes again wide. 

Abel bit his lip. “I’ll take a different route to school but I don’t think it will help anything.” Abel turned to the left down a street they didn’t normally take, Sara and Esther following. Esther noticed that Abel’s hand now gripped hers a little tighter.

They continued down the street at a faster pace. Esther was thankful Abel seemed to know where he was going because she was getting lost. 

After a few minutes, they turned and made it back to the route they normally took. The school was just down the road. 

When they made it to the school, Esther let out a breath of relief but her nerves didn’t settle. Following the sidewalk around the parking lot, they made their way to the front entrance. They entered through the large double doors, then put their bags on the baggage scanner and stepped through the metal detector. When the small glass door in front of Esther slid open, confirming that the scan was complete, she grabbed her bag from the conveyor belt and entered the school’s hallway. 

“Where’d they go?” Sara asked in a low voice, toying with her hair. 

“I didn’t see them again after a few minutes, but they definitely were looking at us,” Abel replied, also in a low voice. “There were at least two of them and a royal police android standing around a government car. They pointed at us and were talking on the phone.” Esther bit her lip. Royal soldiers and their androids didn’t typically just hang out in the alleys for no reason. If you saw them, it meant something was going on. 

“Hopefully it was nothing,” Esther said. “I think we should just go about our day normally. What if it was a mistake?” Esther said it mostly to convince herself. 

Abel’s eyes met Esther’s. “I’m walking you to your class,” he said firmly. Esther complied, even though she knew Abel couldn’t do anything against royal officers should the need arise. 

Esther and Abel headed off down the hallway to the right. “Text me later,” Esther said to Sara as she headed in the other direction. Sara nodded.

Esther could feel Abel’s tenseness beside her as they walked. Esther wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans. She knew they could be in serious danger. Her cousin Myrick had been hosting a secret church service in their apartment every other Friday morning for years, and it was only a matter of time before they were found out. Maybe today was the day. Her heart jumped in her chest. Were Myrick and Eden okay? Oh gosh, if anything happens to them…

Abel grabbed Esther’s hand again so suddenly that Esther jumped. She looked up, and her heart stopped. The officers, three of them clothed in gray with the American flag on the upper arms of their thick jackets, talked with a student at the end of the hallway. The student pointed in their direction, and the soldiers started heading straight towards Esther and Abel. 

“Esther Colburn, halt in the name of King Xander of the United States of America,” one commanded. Not knowing what else to do, Esther stopped walking, still desperately gripping Abel’s hand. She turned to look at Abel. His face was stern, looking straight ahead. 

The soldiers approached them, the human-sized android rolling close behind. Esther instinctively stepped back. “You are Esther Noel Colburn?” a tall African-American man asked.

“Yes, sir,” Esther replied, trying not to let her voice squeak.

Another soldier grabbed her wrists, yanking her away from Abel, and clamped a white band around her right wrist. 

“You are required by order of His Majesty to come with us and obey what we say,” the first soldier said. He held up a hand, showing a band on his wrist that looked like Esther’s, but black. “If you get over three meters away from this band, the white band on your wrist will administer an electric shock that will worsen the farther away you get. The police android is equipped with a microphone and camera and is recording. If you refuse to cooperate there will be consequences.”  The second officer handcuffed her hands together. The first officer grabbed Esther’s upper arm, and they began to lead her back towards the entrance. Esther looked back at Abel with panic in her eyes. 

“Sir?” Abel said, worry evident in his voice as he followed. “May I ask why you are taking her?” 

The African-American officer responded. “The King has ordered that all the most beautiful girls in America be brought to the palace to compete for Vera’s crown.” Esther’s eyes widened.

“Wait, what?” Abel said. The stern look was gone, replaced with raised eyebrows and a gaping mouth. He kept pace with them, trying to get closer to Esther. “You’re taking her to the palace? To compete to be queen?”

“That’s what I said.” They went back through the exit and into the parking lot, still pulling Esther along by her upper arm. The students they passed eyed them curiously, whispering to each other.

“Abel!” Esther cried. 

“No, no, no, anyone but her!” Abel said, running in front of the officers. The second officer backhanded Abel across the face and shoved him to the side. Esther cried out.

“Mind your own business,” the officer said. Abel regained his balance. They continued down the hallway, and Abel didn’t go after them. There was nothing he could do.

Interview with a Teen Blogger | Julia Nelson Blog Launch!

Hello, everyone! Today, I am excited to share an interview with Julia Nelson as part of the launch of her new blog, JuliaNelsonAuthor.com!

Julia is a teenage blogger, author, and fellow member of the Young Writer’s Workshop (YWW), an online community for young Christian writers. She is one of the sweetest young writers I’ve met and she loves serving God and others with her words. She has been published on The Rebelution, a popular blog for Christian teens, six times. (Click here to read her most recent article, The Greatest Love You Could Find This Valentine’s Day!)

In the interview, Julia tells us about her writing projects, her blog, being published on The Rebelution and more.

So, without further ado…


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi there! My name is Julia Nelson. I’m a teenage girl with a passion for writing, blogging, and living for Christ. As a writer for TheRebelution.com and member of the Young Writers Workshop, I love watching my writing impact others.

Aside from writing, I enjoy playing the piano, knitting or crocheting, reading, acting, dancing around the house, and hanging out with my best friends.

A few random facts about myself:

  • Blueberries are my favorite!
  • I can’t stand coffee or bugs.
  • I took dance lessons for ten years and loved every minute of performing on stage!


What is the purpose and goal for your blog?

The purpose and goal for this blog is to encourage teens in their walk with the Lord, and to help aspiring young writers in writing and blogging.

On this blog, I will be posting about:

  1. Writing tips, tricks, and techniques to help you with your writing
  2. Blogging tips, mistakes to avoid, and ways to serve your readers better
  3. Novel snippets from my own WIPs
  4. Answers to your writing questions
  5. Posts to encourage you in your walk with the Lord
  6. And more!

How long have you been writing? Do you write fiction or nonfiction?

I’ve loved writing and working with words for as long as I can remember, but I’ve only been writing seriously for one year, after joining the Young Writers Workshop in January 2018, and I’ve been accomplishing so much! I write both fiction and non-fiction! Fiction books and stories, and non-fiction articles and blog posts.

What are your current fiction projects?

Currently, I am writing Healed by the Storm. It is a Christian historical fiction short story, set in the year 1873. A Candle in the Window is the novel I am editing. It is also Christian historical fiction, with romance.

Although I haven’t started it yet, ideas for another novel are already forming in my head. I’m thinking about possibly participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write—or begin writing—that book.

What was it like to be published on The Rebelution for the first time?

Submitting anywhere is always nerve-wracking, especially when you’re submitting for the first time. When I submitted to The Rebelution for the first time, I took a breath and hit “send” on the submission email. The next week, I received a reply.

I was nervous. I knew there were only two options–accepted, or rejected–and I feared my article might be rejected. Opening the email, I found that my article had been accepted! It was very encouraging and exciting to read the email, and I couldn’t wait for my article to go up on the site. I love watching my writing glorify God.

How long have you been blogging?

I started my first blog on March 13, 2018. Now, in order to celebrate my one-year blogiversary, I am launching a brand new blog–one that is much cleaner and easier to navigate. I believe I will be able to better serve my readers with this new blog.

What is your favorite thing to blog about?

I love blogging about writing, blogging, and Christian living. I love expressing myself through words that glorify God, and I enjoy helping writers and bloggers.

What are some of your favorite blogs?

A few of my favorite blogs to read are:

Abbiee — This one is an awesome blog for writers. I’ve been following it recently and have enjoyed reading Abbiee’s tips for writers and bloggers!

Glory Unbound — This is my friend’s blog. She has a beautiful heart for Christ, and I love her so much. Her posts are so encouraging, and I love watching her express her love for Christ.

GirlDefined — I recently began following these ladies–two women striving to follow Christ, which is what I want to do too.

How has blogging helped you grow as a writer and as a believer?

With my blog, I am reminded that God can do great things through the little things. My blog might be small–or it might be big one day–and God will use it. He has already been using me, a teenage writer and blogger, to encourage fellow believers through my blog and through The Rebelution. It’s just a reminder that God can use little things to bring glory to Himself.


I hope you will take a minute to check out Julia’s blog! She really is a great writer and person, and you can see her love and passion for serving Christ in what she writes.

You can find Julia’s new blog here: JuliaNelsonAuthor.com

You can also read her most recent articles on The Rebelution here:
The Greatest Love You Could Find This Valentine’s Day and
4 Ways to Share Your Faith in Extracurricular Activities

3-Year Anniversary of My First Novel + A Snippet

Hello, friends, and happy Valentine’s day!

Today is a special anniversary for me- three years ago today, I started Never Forget, my first “big” writing project!

To celebrate this little anniversary, I thought I’d give you guys some updates on the book and a snippet. As mentioned in a previous post, I haven’t been working on Never Forget much recently, but I hope to work on it more in the near future. I may write the next draft for NaNoWriMo 2019.

Amber Rose Harris, the main character, is the most well-developed and most-loved character I’ve ever created. Amber is an autistic savant (this means that she has really strong abilities in some areas, in her case with numbers) with synesthesia (causes senses to be perceived as a different sense, like light as sound and words as colors) and several other mental conditions. Amber was in a car crash as a child that killed her mother and sister and resulted in the traumatic brain injury that caused her conditions. She has an incredible memory and is a genius with numbers.


The story focuses on Amber trying to overcome her fear and hatred of her father, whose drunk driving caused the car crash and killed her mother and sister. After years of not seeing her father, he shows up at her adopted parents’ home with news: Amber’s sister Evianna is still alive.

I need to do a lot of planning and plotting before I can do much more with this book, so that’s what I’ll be working on in the future.

But for today, here’s a scene I wrote recently that may become the first scene of the book. Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!


Possible First Scene – Never Forget

It was raining. A twenty-six day.

Amber watched the raindrops blow against the glass for a moment before pulling the curtains closed.

She would not be going to school today. She never left the house on twenty-six days.

She straightened the curtains before turning away. No, she would not let her mind take control this time. She refused.

A scene flashed before her eyes, quick as a heartbeat, of a car window scattered with raindrops. Amber flinched and bit her lip. No, no, no.

Blinding lights. A stretcher, a crushed car, and rain. The number twenty-six.

Amber clenched and unclenched her fists and set to straightening up her room to distract herself. Smooth the sheets, straighten the books on the bookshelf that she never read, wipe off the desktop. She tried not to face the window.

She sighed. It was going to be a long day.


Image credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/784259722581940167/

My Newest WIP: Breathe

I am finally ready to introduce my newest WIP, Breathe!

But wait, what about your other WIP?

Don’t worry. I haven’t flushed it down the toilet. Because of my current skill level, I’ve decided to take a break from Never Forget and come back to it later. It may end up being a novel, a novella, or a short story. We’ll see!

But for now, I’m focusing on Breathe, a science fiction YA (young adult) novel.

This project is still very early in its development, so I will not be posting too many snippets. To introduce my novel, I decided to share a story summary with you all. I hope you enjoy!

__________________________________________________

After a series of risky, dangerous surgeries that almost cost her her life, Apryl is the first human to live permanently underwater.

For nearly ten years, she has lived in a tank in the laboratory of Dr. Kacper Morgan, a cruel scientist who hopes to become the richest man in the country through his experiments. After years of being treated like nothing, Apryl’s ready to give up hope that she’ll ever be able to leave. When her only friend in the lab, Dr. Morgan’s second-in-command, Zandra, comes up with a plan to get her out, her life suddenly flips around. Dr. Jones, a respected, kind-hearted scientist and his son Noah have agreed to break Apryl out and transfer her to Dr. Jones’ lab. While attempting to rescue her, their plans are hindered again and again. Apryl begins to doubt that she will ever be anything more than a science experiment, and wonders if she will ever survive outside of a lab. As the struggle to break Apryl free continues, Apryl discovers the greatest, truest form of love there is: sacrifice.

The Search History of a Writer

So… it’s been a while.

But I’m back!

Today I thought I’d do something fun.

Writers often say that their search history is enough to convince anyone that writers are out of their minds (Which, honestly, we probably are).

You have to know a lot of information to write a book, which is why Google is a writer’s best friend. You can find information about anything- from shades of purple to blood vessels of the body.

I decided to scroll through my search history and pick out the most random searches I could find- all related to one novel.

This is also the first sneak peak into my newest WIP (work in progress).

So, without further ado, I present my browsing history… 

Colorado
Colored contacts
Shades of purple
What is a serious surgery called
Modern last names
Can we get oxygen through an iv
382 milliliters water to milligrams
Earth temperature trends
Latest fashion trends weirdest
Predictions of the future
New mexico
Sign for hello
Is Casper a boy name
Types of mens haircuts
Mountain areas map america
What happens if you cry underwater
Blood vessels of the body
Why do humans need so much oxygen
Biblical names all male
Last names
Alternate spellings of april
Unusual boy names that start with K
Taken aback
Vernix
Maceration
Gills
Pathogen
Can you use waterproof spray on skin
How do shark gills work
Fastest way to swim underwater
Dolphin kick
Respiratory and digestive system

The Root of our Thankfulness

Hello, my friends! I’m back, and happy Thanksgiving! Now that it is Thanksgiving break, I finally have time to write. And just in time, too, because now is the perfect time to talk about being thankful.

Being thankful is commanded in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks to God in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It explicitly says that it is God’s will for us to be thankful! 1 Chronicles 16:34 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

It couldn’t have been made more clear that God wants us to thank him constantly. However, many are mistaken in their beliefs of where our thankfulness comes from.

John Piper has inspired me time and time again of this topic in his series “The Blazing Center” (you can watch it on his website here). He speaks on how God commands us to be joyful over and over again in the Bible. But, he says, we shouldn’t be joyful simply because it’s commanded. We should be joyful because God’s grace fills our hearts to overflowing, which then spills out in our own lives in the form of joy. You are so satisfied in God that you can’t help but be joyful!

It is the same with thankfulness. We understand that God has filled our hearts with joy and that he has saved us and given us what we really need: Jesus Christ. Therefore, we express thankfulness to God because of what he’s done! Not with an attitude of, “I have to be thankful. It’s commanded. I am going to be thankful whether I like it or not. I’m going to write down 5 things I’m grateful for even if my heart doesn’t feel like it.” But with an attitude of, “God, you are so great and so good to me. I know that you have saved me and supplied me with what I need. And not only that, you have given me even more: shelter, food, friends, a job, education. And I am thankful.”

‘Never Forget’ Snippet #2 – Intro

Hello, everyone! It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything… whoops. So, I decided to give you guys another snippet of my book- this time it is the very beginning. So here you go!

 

I run a hand down the photograph- worn and fingerprinted from constant touching. My hand lingers on my parents’ faces. They stand on a beautiful beach, a gentle breeze rippling their hair. My mother’s waist-long, almost black hair and coffee-with-milk colored skin tone show her Hispanic roots, while my dad’s chocolate-colored hair, blue eyes, and sand-colored skin offer a stark contrast. My mother holds my baby sister- Evianna Noelle. Her entrancing hazel eyes seem to sparkle in the evening sun. 2-year-old me stands in front of my dad, clutching onto his strong hand. I close my eyes and try to dig up a memory from that night on September 19th: I feel the sand between my toes, I hear the water lapping onto the shore, I see an image of my parents’ faces. I sigh and open my eyes, focusing on the photo again. They look so- peaceful. You would never have guessed that all three of them would be killed mere weeks later.

I fall back onto my bed, still holding the photo. A memory from the tragic crash returns to me- a blurry image of the roof of an ambulance, a wailing siren, a phantom feeling of pain, a vague sense of fear…

“Amber, you need to get going! What are you doing?” I hear a voice call from downstairs. I snap out of my memories, shoot up from the bed, and hastily grab my backpack.

I Will Write – a poem

I tiptoe towards the desk

Evening sun casting beams against the carpet

I sit, giddy, in my seat

Chai tea in my mug

I open my laptop.

I rest my fingers on the familiar keys

Drawing a deep breath

Letting it out-

 

And then I write.

I write until I’m gasping for breath

Too engrossed to even breathe

Until the tea bag in my mug is cold

I write until the sun is far past the horizon

And my eyes are burning

I write until my fingers are cramping

And my tongue is dry

And my stomach rumbles.

 

I write.

And I will keep writing.

I will keep writing until the world understands.

I will write.

 

‘Never Forget’ Snippet #1 – Sandwich

This is a snippet from the book I am planning on publishing one day, titled “Never Forget”.

 

“Hello-o, Amber,” Kara says, waving her hand back and forth in my face. I gaze at her blankly for a moment before realizing what she said. “One of these days I’m going to give you a Sharpie mustache or something and you’d never even notice.”

“Ha, ha,” I reply. I look down at the picnic table, ready to grab my pepperoni and mozzarella sandwich, but all I see is an empty Ziploc bag. “Hey, where’d it-” Kara snorts and covers her mouth with her hand, hiding something behind her back. “Oh, you sneaky little monster,” I say, desperately trying to reach my sandwich.  

“That was way too easy,” she says between giggles, handing me my sandwich. I slap her hand playfully.

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