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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Thursday, September 30, 2010

God Whispers

As a small child I whispered to your heart
Sharing my desire for you.
Your gifts and abilities were freely given
Use them to serve and follow me.

The world needs to hear of their need for me
My Son used stories to share
So too I have called you,
You are mine.

The path ahead has trials and struggles
But I'll always be by your side.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Let His light be your guide.

Your Loving Father,
God

Forward and Backward

The four chapters are edited to the best of my ability....at the moment. I find that whenever I read back through them, I can find things to change and improve. I guess writing is always a work in progress. I have been pleased I was able to finish editing it within a couple days time.

This afternoon was to be the day for me to actually start writing again....as soon as I got home from having lunch with a dear friend. But I arrived home to a phone message from my mother saying my step-grandfather had passed away this morning. He had been declining in health and was in the hospital with pneumonia, so it wasn't a complete surprise.

Even though I wasn't exceptionally close to him, I find his death affecting me. It looks like the only writing I wil accomplish this afternoon is blog entries - a chance to share a little of what is going on in my heart. I realize how unsure life can be. We never know how long we have on this earth. How important it is to share our faith with those we meet. How crucial it is to be assured of our salvation and our final destination. I pray that God uses my writing to share His message to those I may never meet in person. May His light shine through me of the hope I have because of HIM.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Chapters in Two Days

I managed to edit two chapters in two days time so far this week. I still have two more chapters to edit before Novel Track starts on Friday. My goal for October is 20,000 words, which will mean writing about two and a half pages each day. Definitely doable. It will keep me motivated.

I have found that my writing time has become quite intensive. I am setting aside three hours each afternoon throughout the week days. I haven't determined how much time I will spend on the weekends. My hats off to those writers who can sit down and write full-time every day. I find I need mini breaks to give myself a chance to step away from the computer screen and chair! :) Also my brain tends to fuzz when I go too long without stopping. I think that's what happened today. Now I feel like my head is twice the size it should be. Where do you go for a brain dump? :)

I am thankful that I have a husband that supports me on this journey. I couldn't do it without him. He was sweet and brought home stromboli this evening for supper. It only needed to be placed in the oven for about 20 minutes to cook. He even ran errands for me, so I wouldn't have to go out, and dropped our son at swim practice. What a blessing to have a husband that encourages me to write.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Today finds me back to life as normal? If there is such a thing as normal. It took me all of last week to recover from the ACFW conference. Talk about intense! It took me a while to process everything.

So now I'm back to the drawing board or should I say writing board. One of the classes I took at the conference was on showing vs. telling. I find that I still am trying to get a grasp on this concept. I'm beginning to recognize it in books I'm reading, but not always successful of identifying it in my own work.

Out comes the surgical knife as I try and cut out those sections in my four chapters that tell instead of showing. Today I managed to work through my prologue and first chapter. I'm taking a short break before trying again. This week I plan to go through my four chapters before moving on to writing chapter five. Friday will begin Novel Track again and my goal is 20,000 words this time - double what I wrote in July. It's good to be back in the saddle again! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Proceeding with God's Call

On Monday, I move forward in my quest to follow God's call on my life. It was a wonderful experience attending the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference in Indianapolis last weekend. I anticipated that God would lead me to a mountain top experience, but instead He came in a gentle whisper.

He reminded me of the call and desire He placed on my life when I was just a young girl, to be a writer. My mind keeps going back to the words that Terri Blackstock said in her acceptance speech about using the trials we are going through, to minister to others through our writing.

At this point, I didn't encounter the mountain top. In some ways I feel that I am in the midst of a desert/wilderness. I am reminded of the chorus of Michael Card's song "The Wilderness."

In the wilderness
In the wilderness
He calls his sons and daughters
To the wilderness
And he gives grace sufficient
to survive any test
And that's the themeful purpose of the wilderness


I feel that in order to write the story I am working on, I too need to go through a desert of sorts. I stand on His promise He gives me, to provide the grace I need to survive any test that is placed in my path.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Balance and Schedule

"Teach us to number our days aright,
       that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

This is day two since I returned home from the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference this past weekend. It was a wonderful learning and growing experience for me. Although I haven't started back into writing as of yet, I feel like I am at least in process of coming up with a writing plan and schedule that will fit into my lifestyle. I am still recovering from long days and not much sleep. I felt like a sponge that was sopping wet and unable to soak up any more information.

My week will be spent trying to get caught up from being away for five days. I am in the process of touching base with contacts that were made over the weekend. Then I plan to move on towards rereading what I have already written (my four chapters) and start further work on plotting, fleshing out characters, etc. Then next week I will start actively writing again. I'm looking forward to it.

I have been thinking about this Bible verse - the importance of ordering our days. It isn't enough to make our own thoughts and plans. We first must be seeking the Lord and learning His wisdom for how we should best order our time. I feel that I have been in process of doing that for a month or so. Now I finally have come up with a plan that I think will work. Even though it has been a longer process in arriving at a decision than I had planned, I am thankful to finally have a plan.

*Sorry for another duplicate with my other blog today. I find myself very slowly getting back into things. Still wandering through my foggy brain from this past weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Gentle Whisper

"The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 King 19:11-12

I arrived home last evening from the ACFW conference close to 10 PM. I admit to being one tired puppy today. My son and I decided to take a break from our homeschool schedule for the day, so I could try and get caught up with some things. Laundry and unpacking and some mail sorting have been accomplished, but not much else.

I find myself reflecting on my experiences. This was my first opportunity to attend this conference. It was a tremendous blessing to me. Two highlights for me, was that I was able to meet my two favorite fiction authors - Mary Connealy and Vickie McDonough. It took me a while to work up nerve to talk to each of them. I was with my extroverted mother, which for some reason tends to make me crawl a little more into my introverted shell.

I gained a lot of knowledge in my three days of attendance. In fact, I feel like my brain is quite heavy with all of the information! :) I enjoyed the opportunity to serve through helping in the bookstore and also the registration table. I plan to start implementing what I learned once I start writing in a day or two. I feel like I first need some rest to help clear out the fuzziness in my head!
I imagine for many that were in attendance they had a "ah ha" moment when everything seemed to click, or they felt a very clear direction of the next step on the journey that God was directing. This didn't exactly happen for me. I did not have the opportunity to speak with either an editor or agent. This time I was a sponge, just soaking in information.

For me, God showed up like He did with Elijah so many years ago - in a gentle whisper. I felt God reminding me of the calling He has placed on my life to write since I was a very young girl. I remember my early teens when I wrote my first novel. When asked at the conference, I said that I haven't really been published. But as I look back through the years, I realized how much writing I have accomplished. I wrote a teen novel while I was a teen. In my early twenties, I wrote my first historical romance. In the in between years, I have written a children's book, three Bible studies and a full length book on Proverbs 31. Now I'm currently working on my eighth book, which happens to be another historical romance.

As for being published? I had two poems published as a teen and actually received payment for them. :) The past two years, I have written a bi-monthly column for a homeschooling magazine, and still hold that position. Have I ever sought publications of my books? I did enter a contest with my first book, and sent my first adult novel off to one publisher, but that's it. I guess it's time to start being more proactive in this journey to publication.

At the awards banquet on Sunday evening, I was struck by something Terri Blackstock said in her acceptance speech. She mentioned that God has her go through situations, so that she can use it to help others, and she does this through her writing. It made me think about the Biblical truths that I desire to convey through the story that I am writing.

Sometimes we have those 'ah ha' moments or mountain top experiences in our life. That happened to me back in March, when God called me back into the pursuit of writing. But other times we may be in the midst of hard, difficult, dry times and then God chooses to speak in a gentle whisper.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Bolt of Confidence and Encouragement

My life has been so blessed since I joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in June of this year. I continue to be amazed at this group of people that have a love for the Lord, and a love for writing. I know it was not a coincidence that God has brought me on this path so far.

I am especially thankful and grateful to the women that have come alongside me. Some encourage, some pray, some inspire, some give bolts of confidence, and some spur you on to going beyond what you think you can do. So this is a special thank you to all who have done that for me. (Thanks Ruthie for calming those pre-jitters. You are a blessing! :) I'm also incredibly thankful for my dear, sweet husband who has always thought that I could/will make it as a writer. He's my biggest supporter.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Call for Help

I'm working on a pitch for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference that I will be attending next week. A pitch is a hook written in 25 words or less, with the goal of arousing curiosity in an editor to want to know more about your story.

Here is my pitch:


The light keeper’s daughter secretly longs to follow in her father’s footsteps. However her best friend’s overbearingly, pleasant brother threatens to thwart her aspirations.

I need your help. When you read this does it cause any questions to come to mind, and if so what? Any suggestions or comments?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Week and Counting

It's hard to believe that in a little over a week I will be in Indianapolis, IN attending the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference. Last I heard, there will be close to 600 people in attendance. Wow! That's a lot of writers! :)

I have been plugging along trying to take care of my 'to do' list that needs to be accomplished before I leave. I managed to complete my two writing lessons that are due this month, and submit them. This afternoon I emailed my homeschool article that is due October 1st. That's the earliest I have been finished! :) I completed the book and review that I needed to accomplish by September 2nd. Now I move on to finalizing my first chapter, writing a pitch and maybe dabbling with a one-sheet. I also need to finish up some homeschool lesson plans. I have them completed through September, but would like to have a bit more taken care of before I leave.

I pray that God starts preparing me spiritually for what He will show me, and what I will learn at this conference. I feel incredibly blessed for this opportunity to go. I don't want to miss out on anything that He has for me. I must admit though that Satan is trying his best to discourage and defeat me. I refuse to succumb. Please join me in prayer for God to do incredible things at this conference.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Inspiration

I always love reading a new book that is by a first time author. It always seems to inspire me that someday it will be my turn. I finished reading a book entitled Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad around 12:30 AM. I purchased the book on Friday morning and started it reading it. I found that it was one that I had difficulty putting down. I love books that grip me like this one did.

That is what I desire as well - to be able to write books that are hard to put down because the characters are so captivating. I desire for the reader to feel that they are a part of the story and that scenes are unfolding around them whenever they open up the pages. I pray that God continues to show me how I can carry this out in my own writing.

Well, it's time to head back to the keyboard to work on things that have to get accomplished - my writing assignment and homeschool article.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wow!

I just realized that it has been almost seven months already since I have started this writing blog. The time has passed by quickly. During that time I have felt God's call to write and have responded. I am taking a two year writing course from Christian Writer's Guild. I have joined American Christian Fiction Writers and will be attending their conference in less than two weeks.

I continue to write book reviews and blog about them for several different publishers. I enjoy reading the books and writing about it. It's a nice way to get a free book!

I also have started writing a historical Christian romance. I have four chapters completed and will be spending the next couple weeks polishing my first chapter and coming up with an elevator pitch. This is basically reducing the book down to 25 words or less.

I regularly write homeschool articles for Home School Enrichment magazine, and have four of these articles posted on www.crosswalk.com

I am looking forward to the conference and getting some new inspiration and encouragement. This past month has been a roller coaster, so I pray that things will calm down soon. I realize too, how vital prayer is in this ministry of writing. Satan doesn't want us to follow and do the things that God calls us to do. He would much rather see us get discouraged or distracted. I choose not to follow these lies. I choose to work toward the goal that God has placed in my life.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting There

I continue to plug along with my 'to do' list. I finished reading the book that I needed to blog a review about, and also wrote the review. So onward I go to my next set of assignments. One by one I'm making progress, one day at a time. Two weeks from now I'll be in Indianapolis at the ACFW conference. My goal is to have everything completed before then. So onward I go in my quest to accomplish my 'to do' list.