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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, October 25, 2012

Joy and Pleasure

Yesterday I finished the revisions of the book I've been working on over the past months. I chose to rewrite part of my ending, and I think I like the new one better than the original. As I was writing that chapter, I felt such joy and pleasure in the process. I realize how much I LOVE WRITING. It brings me such joy, and I praise God for the opportunity I have to do it. Someday I hope to actually get paid. :) But for now, it's enough just to get the words down on the page. I pray one day God uses my words to bring glory and honor to Him, and that hearts will be changed. Not because of me and my feeble attempts, but because of Him.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Revision Stage

It's been a while since I've posted. I've been dealing with a kidney stone the past few weeks, and haven't writting a whole lot. I'm in the midst of revisions, and have managed to weed through 92 pages of my current WIP - work in progress. I admit there are some challenging changes ahead of me, but overall I feel that the corrections I'm making is helping to improve the book and make it better. Hopefully the editor agrees. :)

I've been particularly blessed to do some brainstorming with some writing friends of mine, bouncing ideas, to see what would work, or not work. It's such a blessing to be a part of the ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers network. I've learned so much by being a part of this group, and also by going through a writing course with Jerry B. Jenkins, Christian Writers Guild. I'm looking forward to taking an advanced fictin writing course, starting in November, where I'll be working one on one with a published author.

I praise God for the people He brings into our lives, who help us along in the journey. My prayer is to honor Him, and to bring glory to Him in the words I write, and in the way I live my life. May He be praised.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Birth of a Character

I'm in the process of creating new characters for book two in the series that I'm working on. This is always a fun part of the writing experience, although I admit to having itching fingers, anxious to get the story down on paper. But in order to do that, I first need to breathe life into characters to play and interact on the pages.

One of my characters played a minor role in the first book, so this one will be his story. So for now I'm perusing books on personalities, and writing books about characters. I can see the heroine beginning to come to life with her foibles, insecurities, and strengths. I even have gone as far back as her childhood to learn her history - or back story.

So what memorable characters have you discovered in your reading and what makes them come off the page and live in your imagination?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Growth

I've been thinking lately about growth, and how much I've changed as a writer over the past several years. American Christian Fiction Writers has been a tremendous instrument in my learning and improving in my profession. I've been a member of this organization for over three years.

For 16+ years I've thought of myself as a homeschooling parent. As I typed the above paragraph, I realized it's the first time I've thought of writing being my profession. At this point I don't have a book in print yet... but I do have many homeschooling articles published. One of them just came in the mail today, in the Home School Enrichment magazine for the September/October edition.

It's been three weeks since I submitted my full manuscript to an editor. This week I plan to do a few more things here at home, before I go back to my writing cave and start on my next project. I find I have the most joy when I'm writing each day. It's a gift God has given to me.

I believe it's important to continue to grow, learn, and change...in all areas of our lives. Our desire should ultimately be to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ through what we do. This is my prayer with my writing. I desire to grow and improve - to be a better writer. May my heart be open as my Heavenly Father teaches me life lessons along the path.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing Update

The past couple months have been a blur of writing. I started in June with the idea for a new book and had planned out my characters, done the necessary research, etc., and figured my summer would be spent leisurely working on writing the new saga. After a speed pitch with an editor at the end of June, I found out she was interested in seeing the entire novel. Only one slight problem - I only had about seven chapters completed, barely 17,000 words of the needed 75,000.

So the past six weeks have been a whirlwind of writing and editing. I'm in the process of working on the technical things - cover letter, synopsis, etc. I still will read through my novel a couple times yet before I send it in, but I'm almost there. God has been so good at providing what I need for each day. I wouldn't have made it this far if it wasn't for Him. Even though Satan has been throwing all kinds of things my way, I continue to rely on God's word He gave me. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

May His name be praised!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Lamp to My Feet

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

It's been a busy few weeks since I had an editor request a full manuscript, which I haven't finished writing yet. Over the past two weeks I've written almost 35,000 words - more than I ever thought possible. What has sustained me is this verse. Each day God has been providing the strength and words I need, just enough for that day.

I praise God for His faithfulness in providing what I need. I don't know how God will use this time, but I've learned a lot about relying upon Him each day. I wouldn't be able to do this without Him. I praise Him for daily being a lamp and light.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Research - A Day in the Life of a Writer

Whenever I begin a new writing project, I enjoy digging in and learning new things as I research. Today I've been trying to find out more information about proxy marriages from the 19th century as well as information about the American Zoo, which actually was the Philadelphia Zoo. I was trying to discover if it featured an elephant when it opened, but I'm not sure. I think by 1878 they had four of the creatures, but I need to know for 1875 since this is when my new novel takes place. I actually have been trying to find out if there were any elephants in the U.S. during the mid 1800's. I learned that in 1855 Dan Rice had a circus which featured and elephant that walked a tightrope. As a historical writer, I try to be as historically accurate as possible. It's all part of the day in the life of a writer. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

All Good Things

I've been contemplating the saying, "All good things must come to an end." Or something like that. I find myself reflective this afternoon as I hit 'send' on my final (50th) lesson with Christian Writer's Guild Apprentice course. Since I began two years ago, the program has been totally revamped and now only lasts for eight months and 16 lessons.

I think I can honestly say that I have grown and improved as a writer these past two years. I definitely haven't 'arrived' and know I have a long way to go - actually I think learning about writing and improving needs to be a continual process. I'm excited about my writing future. As a dear friend recently said, "Your dance card is filling." I have almost completed my first chapter of my new novel. My Apprentice course is complete and I'm preparing to take the Craftsman course in November. Until then, I'll be kept busy with edits, writing homeschool articles, etc.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Roller Coaster Week

It's been a week of high and low emotions. I love how God encourages us when we need it the most. Since I finished homeschooling a couple weeks ago, I've been seeking the Lord on how to order my days as I enter a new chapter in my life. In just a little over a week my youngest will be gone for about two months, only returning home for a brief visit on the weekends. I will find myself with more time on my hands, and I desire to use it for His glory.

Yesterday I was accepted into an advanced fiction writer's course with Christian Writers Guild. My new class will start in November and includes a five day intensive workshop in Colorado working with gifted authors such as DiAnn Mills, Jerry B. Jenkins, etc. It provides a tremendous learning opportunity and I'm quite excited about it. My 'homework' before I begin, is to read these three books - Dialogue by Gloria Kempton, The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass, and The Power of Body Language by Tonya Reiman. The first two books I personally own, and the last one I'll be borrowing from our public library. In fact, it's already in transit from a branch library.

I also received feedback yesterday from three judges - representatives from Love Inspired Historical and Barbour Publishers. Both are ones I hope to target in the future with my writing. Even though I didn't win the contest, I had extremely positive feedback from the judges sharing minor things to tweak. It was a real encouragement.

This week I've written over 500 words with my new novel, and have worked extensively on characterization. I can't wait to see what this new set of characters will find themselves getting involved in, and what dilemmas they will face. I find novel writing to be so much fun, and I'm eager for how God will use this ministry in my life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Beginnings

Today is a new day in the new chapter of my life. I started work on a new novel I am writing. I haven't gotten very far - only 182 words, but at least it's a beginning. I plan to hammer out some more details with my character,s so I can breathe life into them. As I typed the words today, it was a sweet reminder of how much I enjoy writing. Can't wait to see what God is going to do in my life in this aspect.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tenacity

I find myself on the brink of a new chapter in my life, where I'm finally able to write full time, retiring after 16 years of homeschooling. I've been seeking the Lord in regards to my schedule, and how I should be spending my time. I find myself a bit fearful as I look at the unknown future spreading out before me.  I finally will have the time to move my dream of writing and being published into something hopefully concrete.

Missy Tippens said, "We'll never know what we'll have to show for our writing unless we stick with it." :) In order to one day be published I need to edit, query, submit, and pray, otherwise it will just remain a dream. So today, Lord, that is what I'm choosing to do. I'm making an active decision to write, and seek out what you have for me, and to wait for your perfect timing. Use me as an instrument of Your peace.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brief Hiatus

I've decided to take a brief hiatus from blogging. Things have been really busy with the final days of homeschooling, and preparing for my son's final evaluation, and graduation in less than three weeks. I look forward to getting back to writing once we've accomplished this mile stone in our lives - completing 16 years of homeschooling. Whew! I hope to return in mid May. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Countdown

After 16 years devoted to homeschooling my two sons, I find myself down to the final 18 days of my homeschooling career. It seems hard to believe. I'm ready to move on to a different area of focus in my life, but also find I'm a little sad to see homeschooling end. Although I must admit, I am very excited about life after homeschooling, where I'm finally able to devote full time to my desire to write, and eventually get published beyond bi-monthly magazine articles.

The next five weeks will be filled with our final days of homeschool, as well as lots of paperwork on my part, as I prepare for my son's final homeschool evaluation, and filling out the necessary forms required to receive his diploma on May 11th and June 16th. He'll have two graduations. The first one with the organization that has supported us through our entire homeschooling career - CHAP. We've attended their homeschool conference each year. Then in June, my son will receive his official diploma from PHAA.

When homeschool is a thing of my past, I will be moving on to concentrating on writing my next Christian historical romance. I have ideas for several books, and am anxious to get started writing again. So as I'm in the final countdown until I'm finished with homeschooling, I'm also preparing my heart for what God has next in my life.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Face to Face

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a one day mini writing conference with my Mother. We had a nice time together, and also meeting other local writers. The workshops were informative and inspiring. As I spoke with a writer at lunch, I realized the importance of face to face communication.

I have the distinct pleasure of being a part of ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers. There are many avenues of encouragement and learning through the group. They offer monthly courses, a prayer loop, genre loops, daily blogs, a yearly conference, etc. Members have the ability to connect via the world wide web and through email. As encouraging as all this has been for me, I realize how important it is to actually meet with people in person. Perhaps it's because you can see people's facial expressions. But there is something special about communication with others when you are actually all together.

It's been a week since I met with these other writers, and still I feel the influence from that day of connecting together. My writing has been a bit at a standstill as of late for several reasons. One is that I have been sick for the past three weeks, and just haven't felt up to it. Then there also is the fact that we are down to the last five weeks of my son's homeschool year. When we finish, I will have completed 16 years of my homeschooling career. The next month or so will be spent finalizing graduation requirements, working on final grades, homeschool evaluations, etc. Since it is our final year, I'm devoting my time to my son and our last homeschooling days.

But even with all that going on, I still decided to enter two more writing contests. I had the courage to do so because of my time spent with other writers last weekend, and also because of an email of encouragement from a friend of mine. I praise God for the different ways that He uses people to encourage us - in person and online.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Love to Write

I was working through my writing assignment this week with Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and I made a discovery - I LOVE TO WRITE. All right, it really wasn't something new, but it did remind me of how much I enjoy writing.

I had to write a two paragraph scene three different ways - first with no emotions - more like a narrator. The second one could show a little more attachment, and then the final was to be completely in character. Here's what I came up with for the assignment.


Very Distant

It was the winter of 1878. A cold wind blew, shaking the windows of the log house. A woman shuddered and wrapped her shawl tighter around her shoulders. She tossed another log onto the dwindling flames. A child’s cry sounded from the bedroom. The woman stretched her back and directed her steps to the infant.
            Screams reached a fevered pitch. The woman paced the room, patting the infant to no avail. A hound dog whimpered, nearly tripping the woman. The door open, followed by a blast of cold. A man entered.
Mid-Range
North Dakota was always cold and the winter of 1878 was no exception. The blowing snow rattled the windows of the log cabin. Emily Wentworth shivered, drawing her shawl around her shivering shoulders. Jack should have been home by now. Was he caught in the blizzard? She tossed another log on the fire watching as the flames popped and sprang to life. Jack Junior set to howling. He never woke cooing, but always with a cry. Emily sighed and stretched her aching back before heading to the bedroom.
            She picked up the infant as his screams intensified. Emily feared her milk wasn’t enough nourishment for the tyke. But at a month old, he wasn’t ready for anything else. A tear dripped off Emily’s chin as she nearly tripped over Tucker, their faithful dog. He looked up at her and whined as if asking her to make the cries stop. Emily paced to the kitchen when the door slammed open, followed by a cold blast of air. She shivered and watched as a snow covered man stepped in the room.
No Psychic Distance
            Devil’s Lake, North Dakota was the opposite of its name when it came to winter time. Frigid air constantly blew off the lake. Folks said the winter of 1878 was the worst they’d ever seen and Emily Wentworth believed them. It was much too cold for a southern gal. Too bad she hadn’t considered that before she agreed to become a mail-order bride. Emily shivered, huddling in her shawl as she threw another log on the fire. She couldn’t allow it to go out or they’d freeze to death. Jack Junior bellowed from the bedroom. Would he ever wake up happy instead of angry at the world? Emily sighed and stretched her aching back. She’d just put the month-old infant down thirty minutes ago.
            “Mama’s here.” Emily murmured as she adjusted the baby to her shoulder. She patted his back. Maybe she forgot to burp him again. Either that or her milk wasn’t satisfying her child. His insatiable hunger never seemed to be quenched. “Guess you’re too young for mashed potatoes.” Jack Junior’s screams pierced her heart. Will I ever learn how to be a good mother? A tear trickled down her cheek. Emily paced back and forth between the kitchen and the bedroom. Tucker, their hound dog, matched her steps, whining with each of Jack’s cries. Emily was about ready to give into her own sobbing when the kitchen door flew open. A snow covered man stumbled inside. She set the wailing child in the cradle by the fire and hurried to help her husband.


So what do you think? Which do you like better?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Keeping On...

The more I work at writing, the more I realize there is for me to learn. Perhaps part of being a writer, is that continual desire to learn new things. I never enjoyed history when I was attending school, but find it fascinating now. Good thing, since I'm interested in writing historical fiction. :)

I was impressed by a blog post I read yesterday on Seekerville, about keeping on with our writing, even if you don't yet see publication in sight. I felt inspired to keep on writing. I'm still editing my lighthouse novel, but decided too that I need to move forward with the plans for my mail-order bride novel.

I'm going to keep on, keeping on with this writing quest. I pray for God's anointing on the words and stories He gives me. May He one day use them to speak to hearts and to move in the lives of my future readers. May His name be praised on my writing journey.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lessons Learned

I've been thinking a lot about lessons learned through my writing. As I worked through the various books that I've written over the years, whether fiction, nonfiction, or Bible studies, there is always something that God teaches me through the process of getting the words on the page.

As I look toward starting a new historical novel, I can't help but wonder what God will be teaching me (and my characters) as I write. I pray that He not only conveys His truths into my own life, but also into the lives of my future readers too. May my heart's desire be to be more like Him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wholehearted Focus

As the months of my final homeschooling year are winding down, I feel God is calling me to have a wholehearted focus on His call on my life to write. At the moment it means turning down some things I enjoy doing, in order to focus on what is best. For now, it's enough to balance spending time with my son in his final year of schooling, and also focusing on my emerging career as a writer.

I continue the path to publication through entering various contests along the way. I pray each will bring me one step closer to being the writer God wants me to be. I'll be working on edits with my lighthouse book, while also researching and eventually beginning writing on a new book. Over the next three months I'll complete my writing course with Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

With choosing to say 'no' to some good activities, I have more freedom and time to spend with my son. I don't want to miss out on his final time in the nest. I praise God for this opportunity and also where He is leading me. May His name be praised.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moving Forward

At a women's retreat this past Saturday the speaker (Sherilyn Jameson) said in order to receive God's blessings we need to be moving forward. So with that in mind, I am moving forward with my writing. I continue to plug away on my writing lessons with Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice course. I am moving forward with learning how to write query letters, and synopsis, and book proposals. I will continue to enter book contests, and seek God's will in regards to my  novel.

While I continue to follow God's light in regard to what I've already written, I will also work on the new idea He has given me. This year I will learn more about the craft of writing and how to be a better writer. I am anxious to see where God will lead me in 2012.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Update

It's been quite a while since I've written an update on where I am with my various writing projects. I completed my novel last year and entered two different contests. They both were a learning experience that hopefully will one day bring me closer to actually seeing this book in print. Since then I have continued to work on my Apprentice writing lessons with Christian Writer's Guild. It's hard to believe I will complete this two-year course at the end of May. I only have eight lessons remaining. I also continue to write a column for the bi-monthly magazine Home School Enrichment. Some of my previous articles are even available on the website www.crosswalk.com.

What's new on the horizon is a different book I'm researching and plotting, about a feisty gal who marries by proxy to a minister. His mail-order bride isn't the demure and submissive woman he desired, but a gun-toting one with ties to the Texas Rangers. Many sparks will fly as these two learn to settle their differences.

The more that I write and research, I find how much I truly enjoy this business of writing. It's the call God has placed on my life, and I'm so privileged to get to do something I love. :)