Monday, May 31, 2010

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The infamous poem, "In Flanders Fields", written by Major John McCrae, M.D. of the Canadian Army was almost never published, though today it remains one of the most memorable war poems of all time. The doctor penned the piece follow a traumatic 17 day battle in Ypres Salient near Belgium at the end of World War 1.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Suffering Artist

"Not everyone creates an external work of art, like a painting or a book, but everyone creates an internal work of art, a life, a real-life story.  Everyone else creates a character, a person: we shape it into who we are.  The primary creative task of every person is becoming themselves.  We are always painting our own eternal self-portrait.  Each choice is a brush stroke.  We are sculpting our own likeness.  Each act is a cut of the chisel.  And since everyone is an artist and artists must suffer, therefore everyone must suffer.  Saints suffer most because they are the greatest artists of all."  ~ Peter Kreeft, Making Sense of Suffering

(My sons, Justin and Brandon.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

You as a Character in a Novel

Have you ever wished you could be a character in a novel?  Questions abound!  What genre would it be?  What time period? How would you cast yourself? And others? What role would you play - protagonist, antagonist, secondary character?

I had a little fun with some online photo editing sites and uploaded some pictures of me and my family for some novel fun! 

I would love to be cast in a novel, how much fun!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sticky Note

Writing is a craft, as well as an art, and that craft takes time to develop. Forget genius, forget inspiration. It takes time - measured not in weeks or months, but years. ~ Dennis Palumbo

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Like a Maze

The last few days scenes from one of my works in progress that I have set aside for awhile have been invading my thoughts. I don't know what triggered this, but I have had to interupt my existing WIP to write down the new scenes.

This story, Evergreen, which takes place in Victorian England is so different from my current story, a historical of about the same time period with a setting in America's southwest.

Sweet Blooms

I've posted a lovely poem at my Something Olde blog ~ Lilacs by Amy Lowell.  This poem is like a story that the bloom conjured up for the poetess, with thoughts of old New England.  I love lilacs, the various colors, the scent, the freshness of spring in the air.

Spring flowers make me think of my grandmothers. I liked to pick them as a child and bring them a bouquet of color. My Nana had an enormous Forsythia bush in her yard so I have a special reminder of her each spring when the bright yellow flowers burst forth.

Lily of the Valley was also planted by my Nana's front door. This delicate flower signifies  not only reminds me of our Saviour, The Lily of the Valley, but in the language of flowers it means "the return of happiness".  When I remarried my husband we used this as our wedding flower. Our first wedding was 26 years ago tomorrow. After being apart for over 10 years, we remarried 4 years ago next week. Same month, but a brand new day. 

Flowers are delightful reminders that can invigorate the senses and inspire us to tell our stories.

Have flowers ever inspired any of your writings? Could they?
What are your favorite spring blooms?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning from the Past: Weaving a Novel

The following book reviewers from the 19th century provide some interesting literary criticism that can be useful to today's novelists. These reviews have used the analogy of weaving to illustrate where these novelists have erred. (You may click on the news clippings to enlarge for easier viewing.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Author Confidence Issues

Here are a few items I discovered in the New York Times archives, from over a hundred years ago, regarding authors who struggled with lack of confidence. Looks like it's an age old problem for many.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Writing Gratitude

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul."
Henry Ward Beecher

I am so grateful for the gift of writing.  
First of all I am grateful for His Word.  I am grateful for the ability to express myself through my writing. To help me sort out my thoughts.  To use words creatively to tell stories.  To encourage others.   To read the words of others that encourage, inspire, challenge, and entertain me.  I am grateful for this gift of communication.
What about writing makes you grateful?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


As it has been many places in the country, it's been raining cats and dogs - though I'm so grateful that we haven't had the tragic rains they've had in the south. Yesterday and today the moisture was so heavy, like it was being held up in a canopy, and then the rain came bursting down in a torrent.  This is a metaphor for how things have been with my family lately.

My precious husband, Brad, just lost part of his fingertip last week on a table saw at work. You also may recall that my step-cousin was murdered in January. My parents could not attend the funeral in Florida because my Step-dad was too ill to attend, actually both my Mom and he had pneumonia then.

As many of you know that my Step-dad has been recently diagnosed with lung cancer.  He's been in the hospital for a couple of weeks now. He's doing somewhat better, but his blood pressure is very low and he was having a very hard time tolerating the radiation treatments. We are hoping he will be well enough to come home in a few days and be strong enough to take the hour long trips in to the city hospital every day and home again.  They way off the beaten path.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Writing Contests

I've judged book contests before, but never entered a writing contest until just recently. The judges are editors from various publishing houses and one was one of my target houses in the inspirational category.  I cannot be specific as the entries are anonymous. I submitted a first chapter and a synopsis will be requested from the finalists.  This one seemed like an excellent fit, and better than that the timing was perfect.  But it came about so quickly I didn't even have time to be nervous because I didn't have a chance to think about it. Once I let the fear get in I'm done. Can anyone say panic attack?

I know that many writers and published authors have great things to say about the value of writing contests. 
  • Constructive feedback from the judges.
  • Submission experience.
  • Confidence builder.
  • Name recognition.
  • Reward for finalists and winner.
  • Accolades for finalists and winner.
  • Resume builder for finalists and winner.
  • Sometimes a request for a full manuscript!
Here are a few links:
Stephanie Smith's contest chart for writers
Charlotte Dillon contest links

Do you have any experiences positive and/or negative from entering writing contests?

    Winner - April Writing Prompt & Giveaway!

    The winner for the April Writing Prompt and Giveaway for revisions is Katie McCurdy!  I like encourage you to visit Katie's Blog.  Katie is a  young writer who has posted her short story, A Time to Love on her blog.

    Sonia Parnham - I invite you to read her beautiful poem, Unconditional.

    Thank you to all who have entered my writing prompt giveaways. Due to limited participation, I'll no longer be hosting this on a monthly basic. I will continue to have giveaways periodically just for fun!