Coincidence? Providence? AKA: My testimony

Today I’m going to do something a bit different. This post might not be for everyone, and it’s on the longer side. Because today, I’m sharing what in Christian circles is referred to as a testimony. Basically, the story of my walk with Christ. Things are going to get…vulnerable.

Now, typically, this blog is for writing-related things. But it’s also about me, and being a Christian is part of me.

I’ll be honest. I used to hate testimonies. A few weeks ago, I completed the membership class for my church, and one of the last things was writing down your testimony.

I felt like my testimony was at best lame and at worst a counter-testimony. “Hi, my name is Selina. I grew up in the church. I accepted Christ at eight. I’ve had lots of struggles, nearly walked away from the faith in high school, often still struggle with doubt and sin, and I can’t point at a moment when ‘everything changed’ because I became a Christian. I know we’re saved by grace, but I often feel like a bad Christian because I struggle with doing the things Christians should do.”

I feel like most testimonies are like allergy medication commercials. “Everything was blurry and foggy and I was wandering through life, but now I’m dancing in a field of flowers.” And that’s…not my experience with being a Christian.

My experience is struggling with depression. My experience is knowing I should read my Bible and not wanting to. My experience is times of spiritual growth and highs, and times of failure and having to remind myself, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) If my testimony wasn’t a miraculous change, did I even have a testimony?

But as I was talking with one of the pastors after the class, I realized I do. It’s just more long-term. It’s about divine intervention. It’s about providence.

So let me tell you my story.

My parents weren’t Christians when I was born. When I was two, they went to a parenting class in a public building, not knowing it was hosted by a church that met in that building. They met some great people who invited them to church, and they went. My parents got saved.

That church moved to another building as it grew. I accepted Christ. The church purchased its own building. I became a teenager.

High school is rough. You learn a lot about what the world is really like. You see hypocrisy you hadn’t noticed before. I saw people I thought were good Christians acting like…donkeys. I saw people suffering. I saw my family going through a hard time and struggling to stay together. I also found that rules were annoying, as high schoolers tend to do.

I was home schooled. Why is this relevant? Because my mom bought me science curricula that included apologetics and bought me apologetics books. Apologetics, if you don’t know, is showing reasons for why Christianity is true–arguments for God’s existence, the historicity of Christ and the Bible, evidence of a Creator, things like that. And I became convinced Christianity had to be true, even though I didn’t like my church anymore. Even though I was hurt by Christian friends.

To be honest, I was kind of a bitter believer. My attitude was–and sometimes still is–I believe, but I’m not happy about it. It’d be easier if this wasn’t true. I firmly believe often people don’t become Christians less because they honestly think it’s false, and more because they emotionally can’t let go of their own control of their lives. But, anyway.

My family moved churches. I didn’t care for that church. Since then, in the midst of other life things, I’ve tried a few churches before settling where I am now. But here’s the thing.

The church I’m going to now? When it first started, before I heard about it, it met in the building owned by the church I grew up in.

The building my church just bought and moved in to? It’s literally RIGHT NEXT TO the public building where my parents started going to church when I was two.

That could be coincidence. But I see God saying, “I saw you. This whole time. I’ve been watching, and I’ve been caring. I know where you are.”

I could ignore one coincidence. But there are others.

In 2012, after four years of saving and a couple opportunities that didn’t work out, I finally went on a tour of England and Scotland. I wanted just to see Scotland, but figured England would be fun, too. We stopped at Oxford on that trip. It was a funny group. All retired people and nineteen-year-old me. This older man and his wife told me as we were walking through Christ Church College (after knowing me a whole three days), “You’re smart. You could go to Oxford.” I literally laughed.

In 2013, I went to a two-week student worldview and apologetics conference. They had an info meeting during a break about a study abroad program in Oxford. On a whim, I went. The program sounded awesome, but it was intense, expensive, and aimed at people in four-year colleges. I was at a two-year community college. I talked to a lot of people and prayed. I decided I’d apply. If God wanted me there, I’d be accepted.

I was accepted.

I spent a year saving and fund-raising. Every March, I get a memory on Facebook. A desperate, heartbroken post talking about how I didn’t think I was going to be able to afford Oxford and would have to drop out. Every time I read it, I remember the tears that accompanied writing it.

But every September 1, I get the Facebook memories of flying from Denver to Heathrow. Because somehow I still don’t fully understand, God provided. I had enough money for the tuition, housing, and food. A friend used their frequent flier miles to buy my plane ticket. I even ended up with enough money to visit Wales and Ireland with my sister at the end of the semester.

I met some of my best friends on that trip. I learned what real community feels like. Because of those friends, I’ve driven coast-to-coast.

I moved to Maine for four and a half months last year and lived with one of my flatmates from Oxford. When I moved back, my mom flew out, and we visited Acadia before driving back to Colorado. As we were driving past fog-laced trees decked in autumn colors, I looked at my mom and said, “Remember how I begged you not to leave me at that student conference in 2013 because I was so nervous about all the people, but you wouldn’t let me back out?” (She was insistent at the time it was a spiritual battle. She was 100% right.) “If I had left like I wanted to, I wouldn’t have gone to Oxford. I wouldn’t have met Alexis. We wouldn’t be here right now.”

And that’s not even going into all the things–academically and spiritually–I learned while at that conference or in Oxford.

When I look back, I see God moving things into place. I see God saying, over and over again, “I know what you need. I see you. I’m here. I’m guiding you, even when you thought you were lost. Even when you’re not paying attention to me. Even when you’re doubting. I haven’t abandoned you.”

There are other, smaller things. Things that at the time, looked impossible but God somehow made work. Things that I hated, but something good still came out of them. Things that I might still have hurts over, but can see how it grew me.

My testimony isn’t short and pithy like it’s supposed to be. But I do have one. And if you feel like me, you probably do, too.

If you ever want to talk, I’m here. DM me on Facebook or Instagram. Use my Contact Me page on this website.

Until next time,

Selina

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Writing and Life Update

Check out my new Facebook page for updates, book geekiness, and excerpts!
http://facebook.com/selinargonzalez/

Hey, all! It’s been a minute.

Clearly, I am doing exceedingly well at my resolution to blog once a week. Sigh. Oh well. Life trudges on.

Life Update

I am working suuuuuuper part-time from home doing social media/advertising stuff for a small Colorado-based company. I also just finished a big temporary project for that same company creating instruction videos and documents.

Reading Update

I was doing so good (for my recent track record). I was reading about four books a month, and I got ahead of my Goodreads goal of 40 books this year. But for various reasons (one of which being that work project), I’ve slowed down a bit and haven’t finished a book in awhile. The other reason, though, is…

Writing Update

Since my last post, I:

  1. Finished the rough draft of book 2 of the Prince of Shadow and Ash duology (working title Staff of Nightfall, but I don’t love that).
  2. Did some rewrites/edits on book 1 based on awesome alpha reader feedback.
  3. Did a little editing of book two.
  4. And, finally, in the space of about two weeks last month, I wrote an entire new novel.
  5. I read this new novel to my sister and have been editing and revising.
  6. Started a writer Facebook page (I’ll change it to author when something is published.) 🙂 I’ve recently posted some excerpts there from this new novel, if you’re interested.

What??? Another novel?

Yes. Basically, I first got this idea in 2015, started thinking about it again in December but was busy with Staff of Nightfall, and then… Last month, I literally could not sleep because I had to get it out of my head. It was an odd experience, and one I doubt I’ll ever repeat, but it was fun in an intimidating way.

Tentatively titled A Thieving Curse (thanks, all my bookstagram friends for helping me choose!), my most recent work-in-progress is a medieval beauty and the beast retelling. On her way to an arranged marriage to a prince, Princess Raelyn is captured by a dragon-man who claims to be the rightful crown prince. It’s currently 95,700 words–but I think I might trim some of the first few chapters. I’m hoping to finish up some editing and maybe think a bit more about world-building and then see about sending it to some alpha readers.

So…what’s next?

I wish I knew! I keep telling myself I’m going to read some of my writing books, and I keep not doing that. I have an ever-growing list of books I want to read, and keep changing my mind about the priority, which is resulting in me just…not reading. I’m still thinking about/looking for another job. And now I’m trying to figure out what I want to do publishing-wise: Do I want to publish Prince of Shadow and Ash or A Thieving Curse first? Do I want to traditional publish? Self-publish? Small press? My head is spinning with the pros and cons of each. I also have the Realm Makers writing conference coming up in July (excited and nervous!) and made a couple pitch appointments. So I’m thinking I’m going to focus on getting all three novels as polished as possible by July, see how pitching goes, and make decisions from there.

Until next time,
Selina

#WIPJoy : Things to see, things to eat, and lines to break your heart

Happy Monday! (If such a thing exists.)

I decided to do one blog post for this week’s #WIPJoy prompts! Let’s dive right in.

4. Things to see in your WIP (aesthetics welcome!)

Me with my claymore, aka one of my favorite swords.

Swords. Lots and lots of swords and daggers and knives… I have an addiction, no lie.

Also dresses—I try to keep the descriptions few and not too detailed, but enough to satisfy the people like me who like to know what pretty dresses the female protag is lucky enough to wear. And the guys get a couple chances to shine as well.

Castles. I love castles! That’s part of why I love writing medieval fantasy: I get castles. Also swords… *cough*

Trees…so many trees. Fact: Monparth’s aesthetics are loosely inspired by Maine thanks to the four and a half months I lived there last year. When I try to think of what sorts of plants or trees might be in a scene, I think about what trees I saw in Maine. When there’s a few scenes near the coast of a sea, I picture roughly Maine’s coast.

Now…have some character aesthetic/mood boards!

5. A song for your WIP

I’ve admittedly been on a hip-hop kick since watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, so that’s mostly what’s been on my mind lately. So, my three top picks for songs for book two of this fantasy duology:

Hide by Juice WRLD, Seezyn

“Think I met my soul mate, Yeah, I know it. When it gets dark outside, In you I confide, You help me face my demons, I won’t hide.”

Superheroes by The Script

“All the hurt, all the lies, All the tears that they cry. When the moment is just right, You see fire in their eyes. ‘Cause he’s stronger than you know, A heart of steel starts to grow.”

Home by Machine Gun Kelly et all

“How did all my dreams turn to nightmares, how did I lose it when I was right there? Now I’m so far that it feels like it’s all gone to pieces, Tell me why the world never fights fair. I’m trying to find Home: A place where I can go, To take this off my shoulders. Someone take me home.”

6. What would your MC’s loved ones say they smell like?

Regulus…let’s be honest, he tends to smell like a guy and probably like his horse. But on his better days, he probably smells of leather and linen and pine.

Adelaide likes lavender, so Regulus tends to associate her with lavender.

7. Foods your characters eat.

This is a medieval world, so they eat a lot of roasted, boiled, and salted food. Monparth has a coast, and the characters are wealthy, so they eat a variety of meat and fish. For their traveling, I decided to have them mostly eat dried venison jerky because it was the easiest way to get them food. But they also eat fruits, rabbit, and fish while traveling.

Adelaide’s favorite food is nalotavi, a flaky chocolate pastry from Khastalland that is inspired by babka and baklava.

8. If your WIP was a hug, what would that hug feel like?

Hmmmm. I think one of those really tight long hugs where you’re trying to hold each other together and communicate all the comfort and understanding you can’t put into words. The kind where you won’t let go because you can feel the other person trying to keep it together and you want to give them time to decide if they’re ready to fall apart or to square their shoulders and move on, and you’re waiting to see if you’re going to need to sit with them while they cry or stand next to them while they face the world head on.

9/10. A line with deep emotion.

Hmmm. I’m going to pick a couple, since “deep emotion” is vague. Good emotion? Negative emotion? How about one of each?

“That’s why I’m not leaving you again. We need each other. Just like you and your sister and your father and mother all need each other. Just like Drez and I need each other.”

And…from the most emotional scene I’ve ever written:

She howled her pain out of her and into the air until her throat was so raw she couldn’t make a sound, and then she pounded her fists against the floor.

That’s all for this week’s installment of #WIPJoy!

Until next time,
Selina

#WIPJoy: What I love about my book-in-progress

Happy February!

Over on my Instagram, I’m participating in the #WIPJoy challenge, hosted by Bethany Jennings and SD Grimm. But I wanted to talk a bit more about today’s prompt, things I love about my work-in-progress, than really works on that platform. I also decided to combine it with tomorrow’s prompt on introducing my MCs. So I decided to write a blog post!

First, some information on my WIP.

Currently, I’m calling it The Prince of Shadow and Ash duology, but I’m debating about calling it The Mercenary and the Mage. I’m not sure about the individual titles. Titles are hard! I have a rough draft of book one, and am getting close to the end of the rough draft of book two. (Although the climax is giving me fits, so this is good timing to talk about what I like about this story.) It’s a romance fantasy with (obviously, since there’s a mage) magic! I’m still fiddling with the blurb/synopsis, but here’s a version for book one:

Synopsis

A former mercenary and the illegitimate son of a lord, Regulus Hargreaves is bound by magic to serve an evil sorcerer until he pays off the debt he owes. The daughter of a Monparthian nobleman and a Khastallander common woman, Adelaide Belanger couldn’t hide her mixed ethnic heritage if she wanted to. But she has a more dangerous secret: she’s a mage, possibly the one only left in Monparth after a mysterious threat killed every mage in the kingdom before she was born. When Adelaide meets Regulus, she is fascinated by this man that her fellow nobles treat with disdain. But loving him would mean trusting him with her secret, a secret her parents insist could get her killed. Regulus can hardly believe that someone like Adelaide could see beyond his scarred face and mercenary past. But would she still love him if she knew the truth? When secrets surface and the sorcerer asks the impossible of Regulus, their choices could affect not only each other, but the future of all of Monparth.

So what do I love about this story?

I’m more of a plotter than a character-driven writer, so I started with a plot. But the characters have become what I love most. (Hence why I decided to lump today’s prompt in with tomorrow’s on main characters!)

The hero Regulus might be my favorite part of this story. He’s tough, strong (physically and emotionally resilient), and incredibly selfless. He would do anything to protect the people he cares about. He had a hard childhood with lots of rejection, so his heart is fairly guarded, but once he’s opened his heart, it’s open.

I also love his best friend, Dresden. He’s a bit cocky, but he’s passionate, loyal, pragmatic, and hates injustice. He always has Regulus’ back, and even though Regulus is his lord, he isn’t afraid to tell Regulus when he’s being an idiot. I particularly love him because he doesn’t turn his back on Regulus when Regulus has given up on himself, and he doesn’t let Regulus wallow in self-pity or think that he doesn’t deserve the best.

I honestly struggle with writing female characters. (I know, I know. I’m female. But, it’s the truth.) But I do love Adelaide. She’s complex and sometimes at odds with herself in a way I totally understand. She loves her family deeply and has a close relationship with her mother. She’s the kind of female I want to read about—strong but still feminine. One of the things I love in this story is that Khastallander women have a heritage of teaching their daughters to use throwing knives and daggers to protect themselves. So Adelaide always has at least one blade hidden on her person, and is often seen playing with a knife or dagger. And if someone were to ask her “how do you know how to do that?!” The answer isn’t “my dad wanted sons” or “I have brothers.” But she also does calligraphy and her favorite hobby is sewing her own dresses—something else she learned from her mother. She’s learning to become her own person, and trying to decide if she’s going to continue keep her magic secret like her parents want, or use her gifts.

On that note, I LOVE ADELAIDE’S PARENTS. They. Are. Adorable. I love a married couple that are still flirtatiously in love. They’re imperfect and both can be stubborn—not to mention overly protective of their youngest, Adelaide.

Nolan. Oh, Nolan. Nolan Carrick started as just a foil for Regulus, but he grew into my favorite antagonist I’ve ever written. He is horrible. I honestly hate him more than the sorcerer (the titular Prince of Shadow and Ash). I hadn’t set out to use Regulus and Nolan to highlight differences in confidence and pride, secure masculinity and toxic masculinity, and love and obsession, but that’s what’s happened and I hope I do it well. While the sorcerer is a big-picture, ambiguous threat, Nolan is the more run-of-the-mill evil. And both the sorcerer and Nolan show how power in the hands of those with selfish ambitions hurts those around them, while Regulus and Adelaide demonstrate how the selfless use of power can be used to help.

I also love that there’s a lot about Adelaide and Regulus learning to accept themselves, including their scars (external and internal). They realize that they’re stronger when they don’t rely on only themselves. There’s love and understanding and trying to figure out how to best support each other. They help each other face their demons, whether they are doubts and fears or the story’s villains. And not just Adelaide and Regulus, but Adelaide and her parents and sister, Regulus and his knights—they make each other stronger and help each other survive.

Finally, the magic. This is the first book(s) I’ve written with magic in it, and it is a blast. I’m still working on solidifying my magic system and rules, but I didn’t want something too narrow because it loses it’s fun. The magic is very loosely inspired by the aesthetics of the magic in Skyrim. Magic in this WIP is of two basic types: pure magic, which manifests primarily as blue light, and sorcery or corrupted magic which manifests primarily as green light. Mages are closer to paladins, who use their magic primarily to help, heal and defend. Sorcerers aim to acquire as much power as possible through any means necessary and don’t hesitate to use their magic to hurt innocents. Their greed and cruelty twists their magic into something it was never meant to be, giving them more power but at greater cost.

I could say more about what I love about this story—the armor, the dresses, the dragon-slaying, the fairies in book two, the sword fights and magic battles, the way the characters grow. The way they sometimes break my heart. But this post is more than long enough, haha.

Until next time,
Selina

My Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

In my last post I highlighted what movies I’m most looking forward to seeing in theaters this year. So I thought today I’d highlight what books I’m most looking forward to reading this year.

This is honestly SO HARD to narrow down. I haven’t been reading a lot the last few years, and have fallen so far behind on books I want to read. For every book I read, I think I find ten more to add to my list of want to read! Which, I suppose is better than running out of books to read, haha.

I’ve narrowed it down to the top fifteen books/series I want to do my best to get around to reading in 2018, and a brief note on why. I’ve picked a mixture of previously-published books and new/upcoming books, just to keep things interesting. Will I get to all these? Who knows. I’m so ADD with my TBR, and have even more books on top of these I want to read. But, without further ado and in no particular order: My most anticipated reads of 2019.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This book sounds fascinating, and so many people love it. It’s been on my radar for awhile, and now that I have a paperback copy (thanks to a giveaway from @lieneslibrary!), I’ll be sure to make it to this series this year.

The Last Namsara and The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

I found about these books through bookstagram (bookstagram is absolutely not helping my TBR problem! haha). The covers are BEAUTIFUL. They have DRAGONS. And I’ve heard that they are amazing. I recently bought The Last Namsara, but I think I’m going to wait to read it until I have The Caged Queen, too.

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

I have loved every book by Nadine I have read, and I’m super excited for this historical fantasy retelling of Anastasia. (Out May 7, 2019!)

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is another book that comes highly recommended by so many people, it’s probably a sin I haven’t read it yet. I’ve been meaning to read it for years, and since I found a used copy for super cheap, it’s finally getting moved into my more immediate TBR.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be hanged if I don’t finally get around to trying this series. Jk, jk. But it really is dumb how long I’ve had ebook copies of the first three books sitting unread on my Kindle.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I’m not sure I need to explain why this book, which received an almost unbelievable amount of hype, is on my TBR.

Space Drifters: The Iron Gauntlet and Space Drifters: The Ghost Ship by Paul Regnier

I enjoyed Space Drifters: The Emerald Enigma so much, and it’s honestly a tragedy TWO MORE books have been released, I own the ebooks, and I haven’t read them yet. That MUST be rectified this year.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I found out about this book, which releases at the end of this month, also through bookstagram. It has such an eye-catching cover, and it’s a Beauty and the Beast (my fav!) retelling that sounds super interesting.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I read Cinder last month after sitting on it for years. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I plan on reading Scarlet soon, and how I like that one will determine if I finish the series or not.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I do have other non-fiction I want to read this year, but this one is at the top of the non-fiction list. A friend recommended this book, and I’ve heard good things about it. It’s also part of my conscious effort to widen my perspective and learn more about race in modern America.

The Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams

I honestly should be banned from being ebooks, I have so many unread ones. (#ashamed) I mean, look at these covers. This is the kind of fantasy I jump at. So I’m going to try really hard to get to it this year.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

In an attempt to try new genres, and because The Dresden Files sound interesting and I’ve heard good things about them, I’m hoping to finally give this a go this year.

Children of the Blood Moon trilogy by S.D. Grimm

I knew I’d like this book the second I saw the cover and read the synopsis. So WHY HAVEN’T I READ IT YET? Because I am a horrible person. But now that the final book is releasing, I MUST READ THEM.

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Yet another #bookstagrammademedoit. And now that Netflix is developing a series based on this and Six of Crows, I SERIOUSLY have to get on reading these.

Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Um, ninjas. NEED I SAY MORE. But for real, this new release from Evelyn Skye looks so cool. AND THAT COVER. *dies*


What about you? What are your must-reads of 2019?

Until next time,
Selina

My Movie-Going Plans 2019

Yesterday I got back from a fun but exhausting week with one of my best friends, helping her prepare for and being in her wedding. I’m jet-lagged, tired, and have a bit of a cold, so I decided to do something easy for this week’s blog post–take a look at what films I’m looking forward to this year.

January

If Beale Street Could Talk (R) — This is only sorta a January release. It was shown last summer/fall at film festivals and started being released to theaters on Christmas, but I’m pretty sure it just got to my area this month. The critic and audience reviews on this look great, it looks emotional, and the plot looks interesting. I might wait until DVD since it’s rated R (which I don’t often watch), but we’ll see.

“Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.” (All synopses from movieinsider.com)

The Upside (PG-13) – Jan 19

For some reason this is listed on IMDB as having released in 2017, so that’s confusing. But anyway, this looks funny. I’m not a big Kevin Hart fan, and what I’ve seen is hit-or-miss. But I’m hoping this is good. It looks like if Me Before You (which I HATED because of the ending) was a buddy dramedy, and I’m here for it.

“After being paralyzed in a hang-gliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker.”

February

So often nothing comes out in February I want to see. Which is a tragedy, because my birthday is in February. But not this year! This year, February is looking pretty good at the theater.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (PG) – Feb 8 — I LOVED the first Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. And the trailers for this are hilarious, with all the ridiculous meta- and fourth-wall-breaking-humor I loved in the others.

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel (PG-13) – Feb 14 — I’m SO seeing this for my birthday (which is a couple days before this comes out). Cyborgs and androids and action and fight scenes…oh yes.

“Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she’s grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.”

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PG) – Feb 22 — The first HTTYD is one of my favorite movies. I really like the second one, too. But I have to be honest, I’m a little nervous about this one.

“What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic trilogy spanning their lives. In this next chapter, Hiccup and Toothless will finally discover their true destinies: the village chief as ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, and the dragon as leader of his own kind. As both ascend, the darkest threat they’ve yet faced—as well as the appearance of a female Night Fury—will test the bonds of their relationship like never before.”

March

Chaos Walking (??) – Mar 1 — I honestly don’t know much about this movie. But I love Tom Holland and really like Daisy Ridley. So it’s on my radar. Plus, the plot seems interesting, if confusing.

“Set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts.
Only young Todd Hewitt (Holland) holds the key to stopping planet-wide destruction. As he flees with his dog in hand, he stumbles upon a strange and silent girl, Viola (Ridley). They soon set off on a white-knuckle adventure into the depths of unexplored New World to find a way for Viola to contact her people on a distant spaceship and Todd begins to realize that he must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure things out.”

Captain Marvel trailer 2 screencap

Captain Marvel (PG-13) – Mar 8 — I AM BEYOND READY FOR THIS MOVIE. I’ve been excited since it was announced, more excited since I’ve read some Captain Marvel comics, and have loved what I’ve seen in the trailers. I’m definitely a Marvel fangirl (not even sorry), so yeah. I’m now officially on my “new content ban” where I stop watching teasers and trailers and reading anything about the movie so I can experience as much as possible for the first time in the theater. Also, #girlpower. (Please be as good as Wonder Woman, please be as good as Wonder Woman.)

“Follows Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot whose DNA is fused with that of an alien during an accident. The resulting alteration gives her with the superpowers of strength, energy projection, and flight.” Also, Skrulls. And young Sam LJ. And Coulson.

April

Shazam! (PG-13) – Apr 5 — I have very mixed feelings about this, and I’m not sure if I’ll really like it. But I love Zachary Levi, so I’ll try it.

“A teenager becomes the superhero known as Captain Marvel when he utters the magic word “Shazam!””

Avengers: Endgame (PG-13) – Apr 26 — Do I even need to explain why I’m excited for this?! No. If you understand, you understand, if not–you won’t understand. haha

May

The Sun is Also a Star (PG-13) May 17 — I’ve heard that this book is pretty good. I need to read it, and then, if I like it, watch the movie.

“College-bound romantic Daniel Bae and Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley meet—and fall for each other—over one magical day amidst the fervor and flurry of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two strangers, who might never have met had fate not given them a little push. But will fate be enough to take these teens from star-crossed to lucky in love? With just hours left on the clock in what looks to be her last day in the U.S., Natasha is fighting against her family’s deportation as fiercely as she’s fighting her budding feelings for Daniel, who is working just as hard to convince her they are destined to be together.”

Jasmine in 2019 Aladdin

Aladdin (PG) May 24 — Aladdin is tied with Beauty and the Beast for my favorite childhood Disney movie. I’ve wanted a live action version since forever. And the photos and trailer for this have me all kinds of excited! I WANT IT NOW.

Do you really need the synopsis for this? Really? I didn’t think so.

June

Men in Black: International (PG-13) – June 14 — So, I haven’t actually seen any of the others (although I plan on fixing that soon), but I was all for this when I saw “Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.” And the trailer is pretty good.

“The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.”

July

Spider-Man: Far From Home (expected PG-13) – July 5 — Spider-Man. Tom Holland. Jake Gyllenhaal is playing a villain?! Mysterio in a movie?! Um, YES. (No synopsis yet.)

Then, there are some dark months where nothing currently is striking my fancy. Maybe once some more trailers are out.

November

Frozen 2 (expected PG) – Nov 22 — Obviously. I just hope it’s comparable with the first one–which, while probably over-rated, is good.

December

Star Wars: Episode IX (expected PG-13) – Dec 20 — Because even if Last Jedi was a let-down, I enjoyed it fairly well in the moment, and I’ll always turn out for Star Wars.

See any movie you’re hyped for? Did I miss any you’re excited to see? Tell me about them!

Until next time,
Selina

New Year, New Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve! 2018 is ending, and a new year with new adventures is nearly upon us. It’s a time of reflection, and a time of looking forward. I haven’t done resolutions in a few years, but I felt like it’d be a good way to prepare myself for a new year that’s pretty different from the last several—mostly because I’m not longer in university. So, I thought for the sake of getting it written down and for accountability purposes, I’d make a blog post with my resolutions/goals/plan for 2019. Don’t worry—it’s considerably shorter than my last post!

Spiritual Resolutions

  • Read my Bible more regularly
  • Attend church more regularly
  • Become a member of my church
  • Join a church small group
  • Read some of my Christian living books

Personal Resolutions

  • Make at least one new IRL friend
  • Be kinder
  • Be braver
  • Exercise regularly
  • Visit RMNP more than once
  • Make time to get out and do things with family members and friends

Writing Resolutions

  • Figure out the end of the Prince of Shadow and Ash sequel
  • Finish writing the sequel
  • Edit Prince at least twice before June
  • Attend a writing conference (hoping to attend Realm Makers!)
  • Read at least two books on writing
  • Post at least once a week on this blog (hopefully on Mondays)

Reading Resolutions

  • Book goal for 2019: 40 books
  • Keep up bookstagram account (@nighttooisbeautiful)
  • Finish The Lunar Chronicles
  • Read at least one new genre
  • Read at least four non-fiction books

Do you do New Year’s resolutions? What are you resolved to do in 2019?

Have a happy New Year!

Until next time,
Selina