Infiltrating Story Embers

Well friends, I did a thing.

Back in January, Story Embers opened applications for a staff writer internship — AKA killing brain cells and writing articles on a monthly basis. I saw the announcement email, thought, “hey, that’s cool!” and promptly forgot about it.

An hour later, one of my friends on the writing team messaged me. “You should apply,” she said. “You should at least try it,” she said. “You have decent thoughts sometimes,” she said.

I allowed myself to seriously consider this for exactly four minutes before laughing in her face. I am not an article writer. I write books, I write outlandish blog posts, and sometimes, if I’m especially lucky, I write threatening letters to library patrons who have six overdue DVDs. But articles? That entails a level of mental organization I just don’t possess.

I told her as much, along with the semi-important detail that I’d never written an article in my life.

She did the virtual equivalent of an unbothered shrug. “So? Just fake it.”


I allowed myself to seriously consider this for another four minutes while I fished through my deleted emails for the application form. I opened it, read the first three questions, and promptly deleted it again.

Please attach 3-5 examples of your work.”

As I already mentioned, I’ve never written an article in my life.

I returned to my daily life, but the conversation wriggled around in the back of my mind. I’ve been following Story Embers since before it even existed – I made friends with several of the staff on the Kingdom Pen forum many years ago, and at one point even found myself holed up in a cabin in the woods with a herd of them.

Left to right: Martin Detwiler, Hope Schmidt, Cindy Green, Anne, Hannah Robinson, Gabrielle Pollack, Brianna Densmore, Kate Flournoy, and yours truly. Gracie and Daeus were wandering around in the background somewhere.

(Yeah, that was a weird experience.)

Story Embers and the surrounding community have been a pillar of my life since I was fifteen and remain the single greatest contributor to my growth as a writer. I can truthfully say I would never have learned the difference between a character arc and and a piece of cardboard if it weren’t for their influence in my life. (I also probably wouldn’t have read Shakespeare.) They taught me the true purpose and impact of Christian fiction, and because of them, I learned how to plunge headlong into the intoxicating fire of of my pursuit.

So yes, I’ll admit, I sometimes thought about writing for them. They impacted me so much when I was a teenager, and now that I’m older, I wanted to pass it on. To be part of the action somehow, and put feet to my passion.

I even included this lofty aspiration in the list of 5-year goals I mapped out last year – keyword being LAST YEAR. I had another four years to go. I couldn’t apply now, certainly. I’m too young. I don’t know how to write articles. I wasn’t ready. I might… *shudder* get rejected.

“You’ll never feel ready,” my mom said in an unsolicited burst of tough love. “How will you know if you are ready if you never actually try?”

“But what if I submit some garbage article and ruin my reputation as a writer?!”

“At least you won’t have the reputation of a coward.”


I spent the next two weeks teaching myself how to write nonfiction and grinding out sample articles. My desk earned a permanent dent where I bashed my head against it too hard.

“At the very least,” I told myself, “this will be a good learning experience!”

(Learning how to suppress the urge to cringe in agony and fling my laptop through the nearest window.)

The night before the deadline, I sent off my application with trembling hands and expunged the entire sordid business from my mind. (Which definitely worked, except whenever I was trying to sleep, when every potential typo I may or may not have missed came back to haunt me.)

But, you know.

Two weeks (and a significant amount of hair loss) later, I found myself signing this:

So yeah.

I write for Story Embers now.

It’s pretty great.

My first article went up today, and needless to say, I feel like I’ve strayed into a fever dream. The child version of myself would be flipping out right now. The adult version of myself is flipping out too, but with significantly less composure. If you want to see my face officially plastered on their “about” page, here’s a shiny link for your convenience. And if you’re really brave, you can find my first article at the link below:

//3 Common Problems Writers Must Avoid To Craft Realistic Parents//

It’s not as snarky as my usual writing because it’s an article and therefore must be Serious,™ but you can still find a few Sarah-typical remarks lurking around the edges. Please give it a read when you have the chance. Drop a comment. You guys have no idea how much your support and kind words have meant to me these past couple months; when I was in the midst of my brain-dead article-writing haze, I reread a bunch of your comments on various blog posts and they single-handedly reinfused me with the will to survive another day. Y’all are a fabulous bunch of humans and I love you dearly.

That’s all for now, folks! Another stage in my world domination plan has been achieved! I’ll be out of town for the week so we’re going to pretend today is Thursday. See you next week!


38 thoughts on “Infiltrating Story Embers

    1. Thank you so much! (And YEAH, the blog makeover. It’s had the same look since 2018 and was languishing for lack of attention. I feel the same level of satisfaction as when I clean my entire house. 😂)

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’m proud of you, Sarah!!! I KNOW how nerve-wracking writing articles is but TRUST me, it’s worth it. Lol, and even though I literally write articles for a living…submitting my first Story Embers article was almost the death of me. I was so nervous. *dies now just thinking about it* But then I got published and it was such a good feeling.

    Aw, Gabby was right! Hooray for amazing friends who make us do crazy things. (Mari was probably right too cuz she told me I should apply but I never ended up doing it…soooo we’ll never know. *grins*)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now I feel cheated because WE’LL NEVER KNOW 😭 *wallops you with a newspaper*

      But seriously, thank you. It’s definitely generated some anxiety, but in the end, growing and learning and broadening horizons is DEFINITELY worth the pain. Stress makes us better! Or something like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AHHH CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I found Story Embers a couple years ago through my mother and have been avidly eating up every article since. Adding you to the team was a GREAT choice!! Can’t wait to read your stuff!


  3. A blog post on a Monday?!?! How pleasantly unexpected!
    Congrats!!! I’m sure you will do awesome, how could you not? By the way, I LOVE the blog makeover!!! SO PRETTY!
    I REALLY need to go read the article now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats, Sarah! That’s so exciting that you get to write for Story Embers! (erm, I don’t know how to fix the issue of dead brain cells and sleepless nights….*offers coffee as temporary solution*)

    I’m reading your article right now, and I’m loving it very much! (I still see your awesome snark in there from time to time; I think you’re doing a great job! I also love your About section on S.E. Made me laugh and smile 🙂 )


    1. Thank you! I will gladly accept coffee. Coffee makes everything better. 😏 I’m glad the sarcasm was detectable, because I tried really hard to get it in there. Bless the head editor for allowing it. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations!!!! This was an inspiring kick in the pants for me (thanks, Sarah’s mom and her friend Gabby). Love Story Embers and I can’t wait to read your articles!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The fact that my mother and Gabby have managed to vicariously be an inspiration to someone else by dealing with my pathetic self makes me weirdly happy. 😂


  6. This is amazing, Sarah! 😀 Good on you. I’d be having shaking in fear, and running far, far away, but I’m sure you’ll be incredible! Best of luck. ✌️


    1. Thanks ever so much, my friend! Shaking in fear was definitely a thing. Still is. Running was also on the table, but I’m a weakling who can barely make it up the stairs, let alone far far away, so in the end there was no help for me. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ahhh I remember when I wrote my third article ever and considered submitting to the Rebelution. So much time was spent suffering over it. I mistrusted myself, my writing, even my poor, numerous proofreaders. “You’re just being nice—this couldn’t possibly be good enough to submit to the Reb. It’s only by third!” Yet somehow it was accepted, and now I’m comfortable enough submitting articles I could casually do it out-of-the-blue, without a flinch.

    Anyways, congrats and wonderful work on the article. I think you’ve got tons experience from your blog posts, even if they’re a different flavor. And I bet the whole Story Embers staff secretly follows and devours The Sarcastic Elf, and decided in advance to hire if you applied. Your writing voice is awesome!


    1. I dearly love this. Just goes to show that pushing through fear and Doing The Thing really does pay off in the end, if for nothing more than making you NOT afraid of Doing The Thing. It’s funny to me how scared we are trying things even when we have literally nothing to lose. #doingthethingforthewin

      “I bet the whole Story Embers staff secretly follows and devours The Sarcastic Elf, and decided in advance to hire if you applied.”

      Thank goodness the one person on the team I’d never met was also the person in charge of applications/hiring. 😅 For some reason going out on a limb in front of people you know is just so much more awkward…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 1. CONGRATULATIONS I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! I thought about applying. Then I did not. I maintain stubbornly that it was not because of cowardice but because I am a full-time college student who also already has a job. I’d like to apply someday, thought. If I *never* apply, then it may be cowardice.

    2. your HEADER is DIFFERENT and I am not sure how to feel. Your old header has been a comforting reminder of Sarah in all her sarcasm and elvenness for years now. Ah well. I’ll cope… somehow.

    (It is really nice. I’ve nothing against the new dandelions. In fact, I like them. It’ll just take me a bit to adjust.)



      2.) I knowwww, it’s sad. I feel ya. The old header was very personal to me and changing it after four years was just… rough. It was loved and will be missed.

      Liked by 1 person


      I was literally JUST thinking about some of the various people I used to frequently rub shoulders with on Kingdom Pen and the internet at large and wondering where they all went and how they’re doing. Now one has resurfaced and it’s made my day. 😊




      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, sometimes I get nostalgic and wonder where everyone went. I still follow a few people’s blogs including yours, and Catwing has a YouTube channel, but that’s about it.

        I realized the other day that it was under a year from when I joined Kingdom Pen to when it shut down. It felt like MUCH longer than that. And now it’s been four years since then. Time is a relentless master.

        Anyways, that’s enough nostalgia for now. Congrats on the Story Embers gig and good luck with your writing!


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