Saturday, May 28, 2011

Storybook Reunion


This is the weekend of my 5th wedding anniversary. So I thought I'd celebrate by sharing it with all of you! At the time of the wedding I had a wedding website up, but now I'll just have to just give you a glimpse of our special day and of our storybook reunion.



It only seems like yesterday, but 5 years ago on May 27th I reunited in marriage with my first husband, the father of our two sons, to whom I had been divorced from for 12 years. Our first marriage lasted not quite 10 years and had we remained married would have celebrated 27 years on May 19th. We felt our new marriage deserved a new day. This day not only marked our remarriage, but our family reuniting.









A Page is Turned


The statement read by our pastor gives you a glimpse into our story.
"We have gathered together to witness the reconciliation of Brad and Carla as they enter into a new covenant of marriage. It was 22 years ago this month that they first wed, and although hopes were dashed and new paths found, somehow in God’s providence He saw fit to reunite them. It is their desire to honor God and celebrate this sacred moment with you, their loved ones.

They bring the fullness of their hearts, as a treasure and gift from God, to share with one another and bind together in the commitment of marriage. We rejoice with them in thankfulness to the Lord for restoring their relationship, which was made possible only by God’s grace and the power of his forgiveness –
a relationship built on the firm foundation of Christ, of friendship, respect and love." 

We were married underneath a chuppah that Brad built for us, which symbolized the covering of God's grace and our "New Covenant" marriage. I carried a worship tabret instead of flowers and on it, written in Hebrew, I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine. We had Lily of the Valley everywhere which signified "the return of happiness" as is the special meaning of the flower. And we exchanged beautiful Lapis Lazuli rings.

 

Our sons, 18 & 19 at the time, were thrilled about our reunion and gladly stood up with their Dad as his best men. My mom stood with me, just as she has through many seasons of my life.


My gown is tucked away in my closet, but I brought it out to show you! It was reminiscent of a Victorian fashion to give a nod to our first wedding which had a Victorian theme. I had even printed "1859 newspapers" for each of the guests. This time, my writing was shared through the message I wrote on a new covenant which our pastor delivered for us.

My wedding gown (click to enlarge)

Here are some wedding photos if you'd like to take a peek. I fear I don't look my best as I had a migraine that day and had recently gone off of a round of Prednisone. But nothing was going to keep me down that day and my heart was soaring!











God Blessed the Broken Road








Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sticky Notes: Sir John Harrington

“The readers and the hearers like my books, But yet some writers cannot them digest; But what care I? For when I make a feast I would my guests should praise it, not the cooks.”  ~ Sir John Harrington (1561-1612)
Side note: Also inventor of the flush toilet. ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Sound of Writing

Click, click, click.

Tap, tap, tap.

Ching.

The sound that I hear while I'm writing, typing on my keyboard, is like music to my ears. Like a sweet symphony playing in the background to my creative muse. Yet, I tune it out as it plays softly and focus instead on the words speaking to me from somewhere deep inside me.

Some of my favorite sounds in life are to hear are the river running behind my house, the laughter of my children, the beating of my husband's heart.  Listening to these things evokes a story in itself. Serenity. Joy. Oneness.

Bringing the element of sound into our writing can enhance it greatly, whether it is non-fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, or fiction. Sound is a sense that most of us can relate to. The absence of sound can also speak volumes.

The boom of fireworks.
Resounding hoofbeats.
A gun's report.
A shrill answer.
An echo.
The rush of waterfalls.
A child's whimper.
Wind chimes.
Scratching on the door.
Pattering of rain on a roof.
A growl.
A judges gavel.
Shallow breathing.
The howl of wind.
Thunder.
Tree frogs.
The humming of a lullaby.
A low whistle.
Words uttered beneath one's breath.
Word's left unspoken.

Is it near or far? Fading? Growing closer? Reverberating? Haunting? Singing? Imagined?


Some sounds incite varying connotations for the individual. Remember the click. click. click. tap. tap. tap. ching. that I mentioned above?  To me these very sounds evoke a different era. The click of my keyboard. The harder tap of a an old typewriter. The ching of a carriage return. A what? A faint and brisk patter - the sound of texting. Sounds are also cliche. The whistle of a train tells us that it is coming in to the station. That beeping sound tells us that a truck is backing up. Drip. Drip. A leaky faucet. Cooing is coming from a baby. The rattling lungs of imminent death. The wedding march. Drumming fingers. The turn of a page. You get the picture. The word picture. One cannot paint sound, but we can write it.

Liz Curtis Higgs shared a great example that illustrates how effective this can be. It's simply genious.

"The distant hoofbeats were growing louder."

Instantly I know that a horse, perhaps horse and rider, are coming nearer. I'm curious, anticipating, and right there. It's not only an inspiring piece of prose, it is an excellent hook.

So you can see how the use of sound can enrich our writing. It can help establish setting.  It can give clues to emotion. Give distinct traits to a personality. And bring our writing to life!


What are your own favorite sounds? How do you use the sense of sound in your writing? Can you share a favorite passage of writing that uses sound in a creative way? 



Here are some great sound videos on you tube to inspire you.



Monday, May 16, 2011

Weathering the Storms

1881 Snowstorm, Minnesota
So many storms everywhere reaping havoc all over the world. It can be a little overwhelming just to hear about it, never mind the unfortunate souls who must live through these experiences.

We all have our own personal storms of life to deal with and sometimes they can be overwhelming, leaving us feeling isolated and in our turmoil. There is much truth in that we alone have our unique experiences, but it is also true that others have endured, or are enduring, similar tumults.


Storms often have devastating consequences and sometimes lead to further disaster or difficulties, such as an earthquake setting off a tsunami. A heavy season of snow or rain storms creating flooding. A wrong decision for which we have to deal with the consequences. For me, how snow and rain storms trigger my migraines and joint paint. Almost losing my father, losing my step-father. My husband being laid off, still. Things that can set us reeling.

With inner storms or conflicts I find it's important to do everything within our ability to not let a situation escalate. To respond to strife without letting fear be our master. To allow a storm die down and not make it worse. To promote peace. To heal. But often our human nature prompts us to go to extremes and answer anxious situations with anxious answers. When instead of responding to a situation we react, with fear. And instead of taking an assertive approach, we become aggressive.

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Romans 14:19
Yet sometimes in emergencies an aggressive response is needed. Releasing the floodgates in one area to help curtail more widespread disaster in another, like they've had to do on the Mississippi River. But what about the repercussions from this? The homes and farm land it will damage? The effect the damage to agriculture will have on the economy? There is seldom an easy answer. Times like these require a great deal of wisdom.

I have a fascination with weather phenomenon. My mother was a science teacher and I'm plain curious, what can I say? One of my favorite books that I own is a 2001 reissue of Historic Storms of New England by Sidney Pearley, originally written in 1891. It's official title is Historic storms of New England. Its gales, hurricanes, tornadoes, showers with thunder and lightning, great snow storms, rains, freshets, floods, droughts, cold winters, hot summers, avalanches, earthquakes, dark days, comets, aurora-borealis, phenomena in the heavens, wrecks along the coast, with incidents and anecdotes, amusing and pathetic. The amusing and the pathetic part gets me and I can only imagine this description snuck in because from the writer's vantage point some of the accounts are rather strange. I know that this reader finds many of them to be peculiar accounts when looking back in time from a more modern, sophisticated, and educated perspective. Yet this book has given me some extraordinary insights into the lives of the people in early New England who lived through many storms and how they experienced them. The way they did was often dictated by what they knew and believed during that period of history. And often much different than how we experience them now. But there are also core emotions, etc. that remain the same as ours today.

1755 Earthquake, Boston, MA
When writing fiction conflict is key. It is important to continually raise the stakes. Conflict comes from not only external circumstances, but from the internal conflict that the characters experience: emotional, mental, spiritual. There is much we can learn from our own storms of every sort and bring that to our writing desk. We can also learn from others and the past. Or from the ingenuity of those who survived the Great Snow Storm of 1888  ("The White Hurricaine") who as a result developed the first subway system in the U.S. in Boston, MA. But what of the then residents of the Northeast who had grown complacent about the great threat of earthquakes (a danger to a subway), as 17th and 18th century New England had been a major area of seismic activity such as in the Great Earthquake of 1755. Time has a way of healing our recollections, our conflicts, our storms.

But we do learn. How to fight wildfires. Anticipate spring freshets. Deal with post disaster stress. Lend a helping hand. Offer hope. Share a word of peace. Go on. Find our center in Christ so when circumstances change we are not shaken.


How do you handle conflict in your writing? Is writing healing to you during times of conflict? What storms are you weathering?



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Meandering through the Maine Woods

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." ~ Henry Van Dyke


The weekend before Mother's Day I had a wonderful opportunity to wander through the woods of Maine on an historical tour sponsored by the Windham, Maine Historical Society.  The day's events began at the society's museum with a lecture on the gunpowder mills that manufactured 25% of the powder (6,500 pounds per day) for the Union Army during the Civil War. We toured some of the society's museum buildings and then we ventured toward the ruins of  the Gambo Gunpowder Mills for a hike of several miles on the preserved land trust.


There is nothing that I'd rather do on a sunny, spring day (one of the first!) in Maine than be in the woods, learn about history, and let my imagination take flight. And I spent the day with my research pal, Mom! 


Maurice Whitten, the 87 year old professor and author of the book The Gunpowder Mills of Maine joined us for the tour and provided many fascinating facts from his many years of research on the topic. I told him how his research was inspiring me to perhaps write a novel with this as the setting.


 

Located on the Presumscot River, an outlet of Portland Harbor in Windham and Gorham, Maine, the gunpowder mills began manufacturing in 1817 and closed operations in 1907.


Now all that is left is a memory of the thriving mills where 48 employees died over the years in explosions working at their dangerous vocation.

Navigation through the area was through a system of man made canals and trails. Centuries later the area provides a beautiful location for hiking and exploring the stone foundation ruins.


One of the mills that ground the powder, called the Wheel Mill, as it once appeared. Now, all that remains.





 

As I trod along the ancient paths it gave me an appreciation for the hardships that these folks endured as they worked in such rural conditions, supporting their families and serving their country in their own way.  Some of them heroes who died at their job.



Lori Benton at Past Perfect blogged last week about her own excursion into the woods that gave her story inspiration as she journeyed along. She said,

"It gives me the feeling that this story exists already, somewhere in my soul.
Like a vein of ore hidden beneath common old rock . . ."

I couldn't agree with her more.


Related Links:
An Explosive Lesson on the Civil War



What inspires your creativity?

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Blog! Colonial Quills


You are invited to join me today at a new blog that celebrates Colonial American Christian Fiction.  Colonial Quills is a group effort of an online group of writers who have joined together to help promote this wonderful sub-genre of historical fiction.  I am so honored to be included in this passionate and supportive group.  Come along and meet some of my favorite authors and make some new friends. This blog is for readers, writers, and history buffs alike!  We are launching the blog with a tea party and some special surprises!





Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do you "Like" your Favorite Authors?



We all have favorite authors that we just love! But do you "like" them?

Here are some easy ways to support your favorite authors, simply by "liking" them.  But first I'd like to start with how authors can help us to "like" them.


Authors:


Help us "like" you  by providing a link to your Amazon listing on your websites and blogs. Make sure you've gone over your book listings and include several tags.  The more tags a book has, the earlier it will show up when a search is done for that genre (tag).

Be sure you have an Author page set up with links to your online sites.

Create a Facebook fan page so we can "like" you there!

Readers:

1) Click on your favorite author's Amazon's book links or locate them on your own.
Example:

http://www.amazon.com/Brides-Bonneterre-Trilogy-Kaye-Dacus/dp/1616262206/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_10


2) Underneath book title is a LIKE button. Click on it.

3) Go to the Author's Amazon Page and LIKE it too.

4) Scroll down Book's Amazon page past the reviews and you will see a section titled TAGS CUSTOMERS ASSOCIATE WITH THIS PRODUCT. Now click the tags you consider relevant.

5) Go to cbd.com and like your favorite author's books there, too. You can probably do similarly on other book seller sites.

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?action=Search&Ntk=multiple.series&Nso=1&Ns=product.published_date&Ntt=Brides%20of%20Bonneterre


Also, if you read an blog review of your favorites it's always nice to retweet the post address and share it on facebook.

A little love . . . "like" . . . goes a long way!