All posts by Amy

Steps to Goodness

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

We live in a world where it’s a popular belief to depend on one’s understanding. I hear people say that each person’s own truth is the perfect truth and path for each individual.

This ideology makes my skin crawl!

I work with 12 and 13 year olds. I’ve heard and seen things that will make the common man gasp and feel uncomfortable. If what little tweens think and say is considered to be okay, then there is something seriously flawed with that ideology.

We are so afraid to be politically incorrect and “offend” someone, that we simply smile as say that each person is entitled to their own opinion. But I think most people can agree that our country has lost a lot of what has made it special and influential by dropping its standards.

Now, I understand that we live in a wonderful country with many freedoms–the freedom of religion for example. You can choose to believe in one deity, hundreds of them, or none at all. That’s fine. I’m not disputing that at all.

But I do want to point out a theory on goodness that has stood for thousands of years. God, the creator of the world, wants us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This is the formula for understanding what is good.

Step 1: Act justly.

This doesn’t mean that you need to go around and judge everyone around you and condemn their souls to eternal damnation if they don’t repent. It means to be fair in your dealings with men and women, not trying to cheat or abuse them for your own personal gain.

Step 2: Love mercy.

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness. When you have the opportunity to punish or harm someone for their misdeeds, choose instead to have gentle heart and forgive them. This doesn’t mean to let someone walk all over you and let them hurt you over and over again. Loving mercy is more like understanding that none of us are perfect and we make mistakes sometimes. There is a merciful God that loves you no matter what you’ve done and wants to give you another chance. Extend that to your fellow man as well.

Step 3: Walk humbly.

Us humans are selfish by nature. We wish to take care of ourselves to preserve our own lives. But God tells us to push those egocentric feelings aside and care for other people. Think about a time in your life when you needed help. Did someone give up some of their time and/or resources to aid you in your time of need? Didn’t you feel grateful and blessed at their assistance? If more of us did what we could for the less fortunate, this world would be a much brighter place to live.

Handling Fear

Fear is a natural thing. It is a reminder–a warning from past mistakes that caution you to take care. As much as we all like to put on a brave face, fear is something that EVERYONE feels.

 

It’s something that has ruled my decisions and outlook on life for years. The past twelve months in particular were full of moments when I was more afraid than I’d ever been in my 28 years. Although I knew all those moments were learning opportunities, they still plagued my heart and damaged my spirit.

 

I’ve been going back and forth on a fairly important decision for months now. My naturally-occurring optimism wants me to decide one way, while my fear of failure and being unworthy is leaning towards the other.

 

Steven Furtick tweeted something today that really hit home for me: “Faith doesn’t eliminate fear. It enables you to handle it. (See Exodus 4:1-4)” The verse is when God is dispelling all of Moses reasons why he shouldn’t be sent to Pharaoh. Moses says that no one will believe him. So what does God do? He gives Moses the ability to turn his staff into a snake! I’m pretty sure that Moses had no idea that God would do that for him. He still had some doubts, but Moses had faith in the Lord and was able to overcome his fears of not being good enough.

 

I’m obviously not Moses. God hasn’t appeared to me and told me that I’m going to save His people, but I do believe that God has a special plan for me. It’s okay to be afraid and worried; I’m human and I have my frailties. However, I don’t have to give in to them. I can be confident that God will equip me with what I need to do what He has called me to do.

Undoing Life Q&A

Q: What kind of influences affected the story of “Undoing Life”?

A: “Undoing Life” is like The Truman Show meets Groundhog’s Day meets The Butterfly Effect. (Thanks to ‘Nefarious Old Man’ for mentioning it in the review you wrote!)

 

Q: What is “Undoing Life” about?

A: Sal Chancellor has a mundane, unfulfilling life until he finds a watch that lets him go back within his time line. He uses his new ability to undo all the horrible events that has happened to him. Sal is able to make enough money to leave his dead-end job and pursue wooing the woman he’s been dating on and off for a decade. All the while, Sal is being observed from a militant research team 400 years in the future. Colonel Lucile Arbeck along with her crew study the ramifications of time travel as Sal is changing his life. Every one who has played with the Time Devices has met with tragedy.  Arbeck’s team hopes to learn enough by observing Sal in order to prevent future catastrophes.

 

Q: How did you first come up with the concepts in “Undoing Life”?

A: I grew up without a filter on my mouth. As a child and young adult, I tended to say every little thing that came to my mind. I often said things that were inappropriate or offensive–without meaning to. In college, this was particularly humiliating as I was attempting to be involved in class discussions and collaborations. I wished I could go back a mere 10 seconds and keep myself from saying things that I shouldn’t. The rest of the story grew from that single desire, mixed in with my paranoia about being spied on. (PS: If you haven’t seen The Truman Show, you really should.)

 

Q: Who is your favorite character from “Undoing Life”?

A: That’s always difficult to answer. There are minor things about every character that I love: Fanny’s confidence despite physical flaws, Selma’s dismissive cynicism, Velma’s blind passion, Graham’s strange speech style, etc… But I suppose my favorite character is Colonel Arbeck. Lucile has a rather fascinating back story–most of it I’ve hidden from the readers until the very end of the book. I’m hoping someday to write a sequel that I can explore deeper into Arbeck’s past.

 

Q: It’s been over 2 years since you first published “Undoing Life.” Now that it’s been revised and released for a second time, what kind of changes did you implement?

A: “Undoing Life” is essentially the same as it has ever been. The plot lines are still whole and follow the basic progression in both. All I did in revisions was fix basic punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. I added a tiny bit of descriptions to a few places. So if you purchased the original e-book through Kindle, don’t worry; it’s still almost the exact story–just with a prettier cover!

 

Q: When will you write a sequel to “Undoing Life”?

A: I can’t answer that right now. I do hope to write another story. I certainly end “Undoing Life” in a good place to set up novella number 2. My time and creative energy is currently devoted to other writing projects, but my subconscious is stewing over a couple ideas.

 

 

You can get “Undoing Life” through most e-book providers (with the exception of Kindle until 2019).

 

For the first time ever, “Undoing Life” is available in paperback! To get a physical copy, you can go to most bookstores and have it shipped directly to your home. (If you know me personally, let me know you’d like a copy and I can save you taxes and shipping costs!)

 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to my Newsletter to get information on my up-coming books:

  • “Iris” (Coming February 2018)
  • “Reps and Royals” (Coming March 2018)
  • “Mended by Ashes” (Coming April 2018)
  • “The People’s Order” (Coming Summer of 2018)

 

–Amy Engle

Mended by Ashes Inspiration

Now that National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is done, I’d like to thank everyone who has visited my site to view my very amateur poems. They can be viewed under the Poem Category in case you missed seeing them. I shall be posting more every once in awhile as I’m inspired to write them.

 

With NaPoWriMo done, I can focus on finishing my next book, “Mended by Ashes.” It’s been a long year trying to get the manuscript even close to being done. A lot has happened and I’ve been distracted with my full-time job and other writing projects. On top of all that, I was disappointed at the lack of sales and positive feedback from my last novel, “Reps and Royals.” Still, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made with “MBA,” despite how long it’s taken.

 

But I’ve recently had a creative revitalization. I had the pleasure of returning to my old high school to see a production of “Les Miserable.” Of course, it was wonderful. The next morning, I remembered that the original concepts for “Mended by Ashes” were inspired when I first saw the film adaptation a couple years ago. I’m taking it as a sign that “MBA” needs to be completed. Sure, it still needs a bit of work, but I’m confident that I’m up to the task.

 

I’ve been asked a lot what “Mended by Ashes” is about. I reply cryptically that they will soon find out. However, I’d like to share just a little bit about it here.

 

“MBA” follows the story of an eighteen-year-old girl, Myx, who has grown up without any skills. The two civilizations that inhabit her planet have been at war on and off for generations–ever since the planet was first colonized. Myx has no place in this military world.

 

With “MBA,” I am exploring how hardships shape people. Myx is essentially a blank slate with very little knowledge and even fewer skills. But the difficulties that she faces are greater lessons for life than she had bee taught in school.

Writing Woes

“Writing Woes”

–Amy Engle

 

National Poetry Writing Month 2017 Poem #30

 

The ideas won’t come.

Creativity is blocked.

Writing isn’t happening.

A desire burns in my

Exhausted, upset brain.

Social media isn’t helping.

It distracts and discourages.

Words are trapped, silenced.