The Better Yes: Beating Your Fear of Missing Out

One of my greatest joys as an author has come through getting to know other writers, and Jerusha Agen is one of those writers. Although we’ve never met in person, I’ve read some of her inspirational suspense novels and had the privilege of writing for her Fear Warrior blog. Recently, she invited me to be a guest blogger again and share what’s on my heart that might encourage readers who are facing their fears.

Below is a re-post of my piece that published on The Fear Warrior blog today. You will definitely want to hop over to The Fear Warrior blog to take advantage of a giveaway I’m offering there as well as to check out Jerusha’s other outstanding content.

Post from The Fear Warrior Blog

Have you ever had to pass up a good opportunity? Maybe you weighed your options, and at the time, that prospect wasn’t a good fit for you. Then later, looking back, you wonder if you made the right call.

I’ve been there. Like most writers, I work a day job as well. The challenge for me—and anyone else who has a side hustle—is finding enough hours for work, family, obligations, and the passion that keeps me up at night.

I’ll never forget when two people in the writing industry invited me to be part of their new venture. It had so much potential for growth, but it was on commission. I had a mortgage to pay and had just started driving about forty minutes every week to be part of a singles Bible study. I couldn’t afford to leave my job, which meant I’d be working nights and weekends—and would have to give up the Bible study. In the end, I said thanks but no.

Fast forward to today. That venture has indeed grown and led to some amazing opportunities for those involved. I’m happy for them, yet part of me wonders if I made the wrong choice.

As I was sharing my doubts with my husband, he asked, “Okay, you said no to that opportunity, but what did you say yes to instead?” It was such a good question! I realized I’d said yes to the Bible study, which led me to join that church group, which led me to meeting him. In short, I said no to one opportunity so I could say yes to another—and ultimately yes to my husband.

Perspective #1: Provision, Not Perfection

I share this story to offer some perspective, which is sometimes hard to find. When doubts and discouragement plague us, we have to fight that fear of missing out with truth.

One of my favorite promises is Psalm 138:8, which says, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands” (NKJV).

I love the idea that God cares about what matters to me and is “perfecting” a good work in my life. However, let’s not confuse “perfecting” with “perfect.” The former carries the idea of an ongoing work in progress. As a writer, I know how messy that process can be. Rough drafts are riddled with problems that need attention. That “perfecting” or revising process takes time. Even when I finish a book, I’d never call it “perfect.”

Yet as human beings, we crave perfection and often unrealistically compare ourselves to unachievable standards. When we do, we run ragged and become ineffective.

Let’s be content with God’s perfecting work, which realistically requires us to prioritize. We can’t say yes to everything. We are the work of His hands, and when we are intentional in following His leading, He can make something beautiful out of the raw material.

Perspective #2: Providence, Not One-Hundred Percent

Another promise from Scripture reminds us that following God’s will doesn’t mean realizing one hundred percent of our dreams. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV).

Did you catch that? The verse begins with the assumption that we’re talking about a “good man” or godly person here. God directs the decisions of and delights in the person who is seeking His will.

However, this believer will still fall. I think we sometimes forget this reality. Even God’s children face failures, disappointments, and defeats. The difference is that God won’t forsake us and will stand by us through it all. He “upholds” or supports us with His hand.

When we choose to follow Christ, the most important decision we could ever make, we are not guaranteed one-hundred percent success in this life. If you’ve been following a name-it-and-claim-it “gospel” that suggests otherwise, you’ve been misled. Following Jesus means we believe in His providential wisdom and care over our lives, not a guarantee of our dreams and goals being met.

The truth is that God works through the imperfections and setbacks—all those “missed out” moments—to make us more like Him. The closed doors encourage us to lean on him harder and deepen our relationship with Him, which is so much more valuable than any lost opportunities. 

Perspective #3: Protection, Not Freedom from Problems

The point of the Christian faith is not that we will enjoy a life free from problems but that we can experience God’s protection—and direction—through them. Yes, we will miss out on opportunities. Yes, we will fail where other people succeed.

Yet sometimes, God’s refusals are His mercies, and He allows us to hear “no,” so that He might give us a better “yes” later. In the moment, grasping that truth can be difficult, but in the long-term, we are so much better off.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV). God desires our good, and His plans for us far transcend any fear of missing out we may experience.

The next time your mind wanders to “what ifs” and fear that you’ve lost your chance, may I encourage you to stop and reflect on all the blessings you have before you. In my case, my husband reminded me that saying no to one opportunity meant saying yes to something far more important: the answer to my prayer for a spouse. We never know how God may use a “no” in our lives to pave the way for a better “yes.”

We never know how God may use a “no” in our lives to pave the way for a better “yes.” @kjhogrefe

~ Kristen

The Revisionary Gets Featured on Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight, Spring 2020

I’m excited to share that The Revisionary was selected for the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight this spring! Enjoy this interview about how my dystopian fiction remains relevant for today and what else I have in the works.

Q:  What is your latest release/release you chose to spotlight, and what would you like us to know about it? What take away? If its theme is pertinent to the time of year or a holiday that’s coming up, mention that.  

Kristen:  THE REVISIONARY presents the theme of finding hope for tomorrow, a timely message given the uncertainty so many are facing today. My heroine Portia sets out to save her brother from a satellite prison camp, but ultimately realizes she needs rescuing herself. Her search for the true Source of hope leads her on an adventure of rediscovering America’s godly heritage that her government has suppressed.

Q:  Please tell both fiction readers and writers what your writing journey has been like. How long have you been seriously writing? What have you learned? Did you experience anything unexpected? What has been your greatest joy?

Kristen: My writing journey has been an adventure of its own! I’ve been writing seriously since college and have learned so much in the process: from self-publishing to working with a traditional publisher. A teacher at heart, I’ve adopted a “teach-as-you-go” style that has involved sharing my experiences at writer’s conferences and online courses. My greatest joy has come through meeting readers and building friendships with other writers.

Click here to read the complete interview. Special thanks to the board at Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight for this opportunity!

~ Kristen

The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe ~ Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight, Spring 2020

Merry Christmas Early! The Revisionary, Free on Kindle for a Limited Time

This Cyber Monday, here’s something you don’t need to buy. I’m excited that for the first time, I can give away copies of The Revisionary for free on Kindle. It’s my Christmas present to you! I hope you enjoy and share with other fans of young adult dystopian fiction.

Merry Christmas early! Download the award-winning dystopian novel, The Revisionary, by @kjhogrefe for free December 2 and 3. Available on Amazon.

If you’re new to the blog, you might wonder: What’s it about? I’m glad you asked! This futuristic thriller takes characters on a journey where they must rediscover America’s heritage to find hope for her future.

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy plans to earn a Dome seat and rewrite the Codex rules to rescue her exiled brother. Her journey demands answers from the past civilization, but uncovering the truth means breaking the rules she set out to rewrite.

You can learn more on my book page. When you finish the story, if you can spare a minute or two, I would be thrilled if you would leave a simple, honest review on Amazon or Goodreads. Again, there’s no pressure to leave a review, but I would truly be grateful if you would consider doing so. Reviews can go a long way in sharing books with others.

Now, it’s your turn to share: What’s been your favorite find this gift-giving season? I’d love to hear about your good deals (or good reads) in the comments below.

~ Kristen


Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Pamela on winning a copy of the Fresh Start Bible! Thanks to all who commented and shared on social media. This resource released December 1 and is available on Amazon.

My Gift to You This Thanksgiving Month

November is the month all about giving, and I’m starting it by giving away a Kindle copy of my award-winning novel, The Revisionary. This novel is the first in a futuristic dystopian trilogy where characters rediscover American heritage and find hope for tomorrow. You can learn more on my books page.

Today kicks off Celebrate Lit’s “Thankful for Our Readers” multi-author giveaway. When you enter, you have the chance to win, not just my book, but 40 other books by Christian writers, plus a grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card.

Click here to enter the giveaway, which runs through November 10.

Wishing you the best November yet!

Kristen

My gift to you this Thanksgiving month is a Kindle copy of my award-winning dystopian novel The Revisionary. Details to enter this giveaway at KristenHogrefe.com.

Two YA Authors to Read this Spring PLUS a Giveaway!

Spring weather in Florida is blissful and hints that summer is just around the corner! Maybe you have an official spring break, or maybe, you’re in my camp and don’t technically get one. Regardless, you can still hop in to some spring reading. If you’re a sunshine girl like me, I suggest grabbing a beach towel, some sun protection, and a book you’ve been wanting to read to enjoy the best of both worlds (in my case, Florida and fiction).

Perhaps you’ve finished your current read and are looking for something new. If you enjoy young adult fiction, here are two authors worth adding to your list. Also, be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post, because there’s a chance to enter a spring giveaway of 30 books (including one of my own) and a grand prize!

Emily Golus

Today, Golus’ sequel to Escape to Vindor releases, and I’m excited to share my review of Mists of Paracosmia with you. When Golus invited me to be an advance reader, I said yes, even though I was in the middle of wedding planning.

Golus spins another page-turning fantasy adventure in this sequel. This time, instead of Megan translating to Vindor, her younger brother finds himself there. Arden has been bullied at school, and when he hears there are Samurai in Vindor, he thinks he’s found his chance to train and teach the bullies a lesson when he returns home. However, though his journey, he learns the qualities that make a real warrior and hero are sacrificial, not selfish. Plus, Vindor’s problems are much larger than his own, and somehow, he must find a way to help.

I loved how Golus developed the sibling relationship between Megan and Arden. While Arden is trapped in Vindor, Megan is desperate to find a way to get him back—and risks everything in the process. We also see a more mature Megan in this story as she is now in college and learning what true friendship, and perhaps romance, looks like.

The ending was well-foreshadowed and still offered a delightful surprise. Why do the mists destroy memories in Vindor, and who controls them? This fantasy, with its well-crafted world building and lovable characters, offers a clean, thought-provoking, and memorable story readers of all ages will enjoy.

Lisa Mayer

Mayer’s first book in the Aletheian Journeys, The Arrow Bringer, released in March, which happened to be my wedding month. I had planned to read the book during my honeymoon travels but finished before I left because I had to find out what happened to the characters!

From the opening sentence, I was invested in Evie’s story. She’s dying of leukemia yet about to embark on the most important quest of her life, one that will decide the fate of her people and her soul.

Mayer’s descriptions are so vivid that the scenes spring to life in my imagination. Her world-building is masterful, and she makes me genuinely care about the characters. This story very much reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia with its redemptive theme. From what I hear, there’s a sequel, and I’ll be watching for it.

Spring Giveaway

Now through May 4, you have the chance to win thirty books and a $100 Amazon gift card! I’ve partnered with other Christian fiction authors in this event, hosted by Celebrate Lit, and am offering one of my own books, a Kindle copy of The Revisionary, as one of the prizes. I’d love for you to take home some good reads and the grand prize!

Click the image below to enter the giveaway or learn more at the Facebook event.

Do you already have books lined up for your spring reading? If so, please share in the comments!

Kristen

 

Tweetable

Two YA Authors to Read this Spring PLUS a Giveaway! – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

 

 

Kristen’s Christmas Letter 2018

Hello, dear friends! I’m an old-fashioned girl at heart who loves sending and receiving Christmas cards in the mail. But since I’m preparing the largest bulk mailing of my life (i.e. wedding invitations), I thought maybe an electronic letter this year might be more prudent and achievable. That said, I hope you enjoy my Christmas letter and year-in-review. Please comments with your own favorite 2018 memories!

January: Ski Trip Adventure

Last January was my first time skiing, and no, this Florida girl is not a natural with anything having to do with snow. You may remember my first-time-skier takeaways post. However, I loved getting to see a winter wonderland, learn something new, and spend time with friends. My then-boyfriend, now-fiancé, actually helped teach me!

Church group ski trip

March Madness: The Revolutionary Release

March 20 was release day for The Revolutionary, sequel to The Revisionary. I celebrated with a Facebook party, giveaways, and all the fanfare that comes with a new novel. I hope you’re enjoying this series! If you haven’t started yet, there’s still time to catch up on the first two books before the final one releases next year. They’re available on Amazon.

Release day!

May and June: Blue Ridge & Alpha Omega Academy Graduations

In May, I traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and enjoyed a busy conference about all things writing. I had the pleasure of rooming with my writer friend Ruth, so naturally, we had a blast. Plus, I was honored and thrilled that The Revisionary received the Director’s Choice Award and Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.

Receiving my Selah Award

These months are always busy with school and grading, but this year was extra exciting because my principal asked me to deliver both the virtual address and Orlando ceremony address. Getting to share my heart and God’s truth with seniors ready to launch out into life is always an honor and pleasure.

Alpha Omega Academy graduates

Oh, and I sneaked in a girl’s trip to visit my dear friend Rachel and her sweet family in Georgia, which is always a treat!

My friends Rachel and Devon

July: St. Augustine Summer Getaway

Summer is my favorite time of year but always breezes by! My brother, sister-in-law, and James planned a weekend retreat to one of our favorite cities, historical St. Augustine. This place never gets old.

Nothing says St. Augustine like a lion statue.

September: Italy!

Looking back on this month and the one month of planning for it in August, all I can think is, “Wow! Did that really happen?” Even now, I have to pinch myself. Traveling to Italy with my friend and colleague Maria was such a gift. A GIFT. Until then, I had only dared to dream that I could visit some of the settings in my next novel. This trip helped make those dreams a reality, and I can’t wait for you to read about more of them in the new year (and in my next book)!

Maria and I lived on gelato in Italy. That’s only a slight exaggeration.

October: Best Friend’s Birthday & Engagement Trip

When I think of October, I think, “My cup runs over.” The month started with a bang as friends and I celebrated my best friend Devon’s birthday in St. Augustine. Yes, I went to St. Augustine twice in one year. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all! James taught my friends how to surf, and we splurged on donuts and coffee trips. Last, we toured the St. Augustine lighthouse, a gem.

Happy birthday to Devon!

Little did I know that James and Devon were already plotting my engagement! Later that month, James, Devon and I piled into his Subaru for a road trip to Beech Mountain to “see the leaves change.” There, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, he popped the big question, and I said yes! If you missed it, you can read all about that story here.

I said yes!

December: Wedding Planning, Book Release Prep, & Holiday Hush

Now, here we are in the few lingering days of 2018. As we prepare to start a new year, I’m busy getting ready for The Reactionary to launch in February, planning a wedding in March, and just … breathing. I want to enjoy this special time of year with my wonderful family and friends, so you may notice me offline and posting less this week and next.

I hope you’ll take some time as well to be still and grateful for God’s indescribable Gift, the very reason we celebrate Christmas.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas and New Year!

~ Kristen

 

 

Come Adventure with Me! Italy in Real Life and Fiction

Starting next week, I’m traveling to Italy with my friend and colleague. Among other mouth-watering destinations, we’ll be exploring some of the settings for the final book in The Rogues trilogy, which include Orvieto and the Port of Civitavecchia. I can’t wait to share these places in real life with you and then take you into my heroine’s fictional story where she experiences them in her dystopian world.

Can you believe we’ve been on this trilogy adventure together since 2016 when I first signed my contract with Write Integrity Press? The cover reveal for The Reactionary will be coming soon, but for now, you can preview Portia’s climactic adventure.

Maybe you haven’t dived into Portia’s story yet. No worries. You have a few months before book three releases to catch up on the action. And this month, if you read and share your review about The Revisionary or The Revolutionary on Amazon and tag me in a social media post about it, I’ll enter you into my summer book challenge giveaway. (Maybe I’m in denial, but I’m not counting summer as over until the end of this month.) Bonus points if you review both or participate in the original summer book challenge.

Oh, what’s the giveaway? So glad you asked. It’s an autographed paperback copy of The Reactionary once it releases next year. (A winner outside the U.S. will receive a Kindle copy.)

Wherever We Go

As I’m hustling through all the last-minute trip preparation, I need to pause and remember: This trip isn’t about me. Yes, it’s a huge blessing and opportunity that has me antsy with anticipation. But at the end of the day, whatever I do and wherever I go, I want to shine God’s love and light.

No, this isn’t a mission trip by any means, but are we not always to represent Christ? Who knows whose paths I’m going to cross. My hope is that I’ll represent Christ well even if I’m tired, anxious, or inconvenienced.

Bottom Line: I’d appreciate your prayers during this trip and would love for you to share in this European adventure with me. I’ll be updating my Instagram stories @kristenhogrefeauthor and on Facebook, and you’re invited to follow me there.

Happy reading, safe travels, and adventure on!

~ Kristen

Tweetables

Come Adventure with Me! Italy in Real Life and Fiction – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Whatever I do and wherever I go, I want to shine God’s love and light. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

The Revisionary Receives Grace Award

This month, The Revisionary received the 2017 Grace Award for Speculative Fiction in faith-based fiction. The reader-driven Grace Awards first let readers select the finalists in each category before a panel of judges reviewed them to choose the winners. Here’s what the judges had to say:

THE REVISIONARY by Kristen Hogrefe (Write Integrity Press) ~ This dystopian novel was engaging and well-paced, reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, with a more modern vibe similar to The Hunger Games. The author uses deep point of view in a first person present style, in keeping with current tastes in fiction. The story never stagnates but keeps moving and surprising all the way through. The plot follows young Portia Abernathy who has clung to the belief that if she excels enough to get drafted into an upper-level educational system, she can change the laws that keep her brother in prison. Her meager existence with her father in a world without electricity or most basic creature comforts is a struggle, but she has learned how to survive and hopes to beat the system at its own game. Portia is shocked when she learns the system is not only stacked against her, but that there are those targeting her for failure. In the midst of the chaos, she finds surprising friends and allies. This volume is the first in a post-apocalyptic series called The Rogues and deservedly takes first place.

Thank you to all my readers for catching the vision of this story! If you enjoyed The Revisionary, check out the sequel, The Revolutionary. And be watching for the finale in this trilogy, The Reactionary, scheduled to release early 2019.

~ Kristen

Tweetables

The Revisionary Receives Grace Award – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Happy Father’s Day! A Goodreads Giveaway for you – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

The Revisionary Wins Selah Award

My heart nearly beat out of my chest as Eva Marie Everson, the Blue Ridge Conference Awards Director, called my name. Not just for finaling in two awards (an honor in itself) but for winning them both.

Last week, The Revisionary won one of Christian Fiction’s most notable awards, the Selah,  in its category of Speculative Fiction. It also received the Directors’ Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction.

At the Awards Ceremony with Conference Directors Edie Melson (left) and DiAnn Mills (right)

One of the best parts was celebrating with friends who also received awards. I remember meeting Lindsey Brackett at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference a few years ago when we were just talking about our book projects, and now, she won three awards for her debut novel Still Waters. Go, Lindsey, and congrats to all the finalists and winners!

Pictured with Multi-Selah Winner Lindsey Brackett (left) and Awards Director Eva Marie Everson (center)

I want to say a big thank-you to everyone who helped make this moment possible, including my family and supportive friends, my editor Marji Laine, and mostly my Savior Jesus Christ who entrusted me with a writer’s calling. Writing can be lonely, thankless work at times, but most callings can be. Praise God for the endurance to keep going, regardless if the podium is in sight or not.

The Revisionary and its sequel The Revolutionary are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

~ Kristen

Tweetable

The Revisionary Wins Selah Award – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

The Revolutionary Launch Party – Tonight!

Happy release day! I’m so excited to share The Revolutionary with you and hope you enjoy the next part of Portia’s story.

Tonight at 7 pm Eastern, I’m hosting a launch party on Facebook, and I hope you can join! There will be trivia and drawings for an autographed copy, Kindle books by some of my favorite authors, and a Starbucks e-gift card!

To join the party, click here.

As part of the festivities, see if you can solve the word scramble below. Hint: All the scrambled words are characters’ names, but there are a few new ones you’ll meet in The Revolutionary. Fill in the boxes to solve the message.

Hope to see you there tonight! And once you read The Revolutionary, I’d love to hear your thoughts and look forward to seeing your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

~ Kristen

Twitter

The Revolution Continues. Join the Launch Party tonight! – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)