Monday, December 5, 2011

Sneak Peek

At last, my debut novel has gone to print! It will release through the Heartsong Presents book club in January 2012 and be available through trade markets (Amazon, CBD, etc.) in June.  I'm excited to give you a sneak peek at the beautiful cover that Barbour created. I cannot tell you how pleased I am as they took into consideration my suggestions and really captured the protagonist's essence.

 The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter
Colorado/New Mexico, 1875

  Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant on an expedition to survey and document the placement of a marker at the intersection of four southwest boundaries. Living in the shadows of his native heritage, a half-Navajo guide, Yiska Wilcox, is thrown off course when The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart. As they travel through dangerous terrain in New Mexico and overcome barriers of culture, faith, ideals, and secrets that they both keep, they at last discover common ground and stake a chance on love.
The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter is book 1 in the Love in Four Corners series. Book 2, Pride's Fall by Darlene Franklin and Book 3, Almost Arizona by Susan Page Davis

Friday, December 2, 2011

Season of Blessings

"All that we behold is full
of blessings."
  ~William Wordsworth 
I have so much to be thankful for! I know that Thanksgiving has past, and here we are at the beginning of December already, but I want to back track a bit as I am still enjoying the afterglow of my 50th birthday celebration (Nov. 16th).  So if you'll allow me to reminisce, here's how I celebrated during my birthday season of blessings. . .

First of all I enjoyed a wonderful two week long road trip with my Mom in August to celebrate our 50th and 70th birthdays. It was such a special time to spend together and we did so many things including visiting lots of family. I got a ton of research done to boot. It was one of the grandest times of my life!

Our amazing "Birthday Dinner" at the Riverwalk Restaurant
in Yorktown, VA.  Tillapia Fillet & Baked Sea Scallops
wrapped in parchment paper.
Then at the end of October my husband and I went to a Third Day concert. They also had Tenth Avenue North and Trevor Morgan with them and it was an amazing show and time of worship. We came out afterwards to a flurry of huge snowflakes, the first fall of the season! So beautiful!

Then came time for my actual birthday. I was blessed with tons of wishes and gifts including the beautiful flowers from a special friend. My husband got me an awesome "author, author" charm bracelet and he and my sons gave me a Kindle Fire! Woo!

And one very sweet moment at the end of a long day on my birthday was when my sons sang me a duet of Happy Birthday, which made this mother cry.

And now, my 50th year, I look forward to a new career as a published author of two books, with two more to follow the next year. I have lots to celebrate big and small in this season, and in all. 

"Seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart." ~ Hannah Whitall Smith.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


What a year this has been! So much going on between juggling sickness (I just got over pneumonia, thus my absence once again) and loads of deadlines for my two publishers ~ bio sheets, book cover design sheets, edits/revisions, final edits (galleys) and a host of other activities. Today I am! It's my 50th birthday! Wow, did I really just write that? Those are a few words I'd like to edit! Actually, life is very good and I'm very content, humbled, and excited beyond belief that I have three books scheduled for release in 2012-2013.

It's been such a whirlwind that I haven't even had time to order my photos from my head shots that I had taken this summer by my talented cousin, Kristen LaValley Walters. So here I am, what do you think? Any of the pics are available in varying finishes and these haven't even had their final touches yet.

So with all this talk about edits and polishing and all of the hard work that I've been doing this year ~ my year of preparation as I've been calling it ~ I hope to spend time in my 50th year, my Jubilee year, and ask the Lord to do a little polishing of me personally and to refine my relationship with Him. So follow along, I will try to be more consistent in my posting. I'm so grateful for you all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Her Own Prison

At last my dear friends, I return to my much neglected blog. Thank you for your patience while I have been rather indisposed of late. I've been sequestered in a prison of my own making and hardly seen the light of day, or so it seems.

My first priority was to finish my manuscript for my novella, Carving a Future (Barbour). This is the first story in the Colonial Courtships anthology featuring the four Ingersoll brothers in Glassenbury, CT, 1752.  Happy am I to say that I completed my task, or it would have been the gallows for me! 

My local writers conference occurred in the midst of this writing, though I had hoped to be done with my manuscript by then, I was not. The conference was a pleasant diversion, but it did require much of my time as I was one of the conference planners. I'll be posting soon on that wonderful day that I shared with two of my favorite authors, Susan Page Davis and Ruth Axtell Morren.

During this time, I've also submitted two synopses to my agent for potential inclusion in a series, and am very hopeful about these! We also communicated about my writing goals.  Did you ever notice how similar the word "goal" and "gaol", the old fashioned way of spelling jail are? There must be something to that, methinks.

At the end of this came the copy edits for my January release, The Shadow Catcher's Daughter (Heartsong Presents), and a request for description for the book cover. Now that is fun!

I am also beginning to write my next novel, A Design for Love, for Abingdon's Quilts of Love series. My story is set in Boston, MA, 1770. And though I keep myself in chains to my writing, it is where I want to be.

I promise, I really have been keeping out of trouble! Although, I've been trying to manage all this amidst headaches and an entrapped nerve in my neck and back.  I'll blame that on the stocks (pictured above at Colonial Williamsburg), they are a tad uncomfortable you know.

And thus is the work of an author, I am finding, not always comfortable, challenging me to my limits, it seems. But it is what I have chosen, and what God has chosen for me. So, lest you think I am complaining, I am not. I am ever so grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy, and endure, this life of mine that has changed and is changing me.

“Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sticky Notes: Deadlines

The ultimate inspiration is the deadline. ~ Nolan Bushnell

I'm writing under deadline.  Pray for me.  LOL! No, really!
See you when I come out of my cave.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday's Fortune

Today on my occasionally featured Friday's Fortune you'll find some great tips boster your writing and marketing techniques.

Donna Brennan shares Ways to Make Your Writing Stonger.

Mike Hyatt explains How to use Twitter to Sell Your New Book.

Literary Agent Steve Laube found a few useful tools that help check repetitive phrases and words in your writing in his post Every Word Counts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Haul: New Old Books!

I recently went on a little online shopping spree to obtain some much needed — and desired — research books on the Colonial America.  So here is a "blog haul" of some of my spectacular new finds from eBay.  Old books, but new for me! So please indulge me while I show you my new toys.
"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."
~  Austin Phelps

Home Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle. Mrs. Earle was an author from the 19th century wrote many books on historical times, especially the colonial period most likely in an effort to preserve the history of the unique culture of the day. I first came across her original books that are non-copyrighted, transcribed and available online (Google Books and elsewhere). This 470 page 1974 reprinting of her 1898 book was only $2. 

What can I say? Aren't they beautiful! These two volumes of Men, Women & Manners in Colonial Times by Sydney George Fisher, published in 1897 at the original price of $1.50 each, are in amazing condition with silver-gilt embossed covers, deckled edges, and tissue covered lithographs. Although I unintentionally purchased Vol. 2 at the cost of $21, I luckily found Vol. 1 for only $1.99 and am now delighted to have this rare set, having obtained it for about $23. 

I wish I could hear authentic language from the colonial period and translate that into my writing, especially the dialect of the area of my setting.  I would like to write in such a fashion, not solely, as it surely would be far too cumbersome to read, but sprinkled judiciously for effect.  But since they did not have devices to make recordings back then I must rely on the language itself, and being a wordsmith I have discovered these tools — glossaries of Colonial English.

Colonial American English by Richard M. Lederer, Jr., published in 1985, is a much sought after tome filled with words and phrases that were used in America from 1608 - 1783. This may be the only books on this topic, this particular period (at least that I could find), and thus some of them went for up to $218.  Since I've long considered trying to obtain this book,  my purchase price of $27.99 was a bargain.

You may wonder why I invested in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.  I promise you, the term vulgar denotes unsophisticated rather than, well, raunchy.  This is an edited version (1992) of English Capt. Francis Grose's infamous 1785 collection of common and slang used in the 18th century.  Who knows, I might find some interesting words to use for a lower class or unsavory story character. And all for $2.99.

So there you have it . . . well, almost . . . I do have one book I cannot show you lest I give away my secret plot for a forthcoming series that I'm developing.  I know, I'm so mean.

Have you found any book treasures lately? Ever?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'd Rather be Writing

I've only been home for a few weeks now and already I'm getting into trouble.  Tonight I ventured into the kitchen to bake 7 dozen cookies that supplied for the Under the Son concert at my church this Saturday. We are expecting about 1,000 people at this outdoor event and the food folks put out a call for 150 dozen cookies. Yikes! I answered the call . . . against my better judgement.

Although I can write HTML and plot stories in my sleep, you should just name me "Keep her out of the kitchen Carla" as I have a ridiculously difficult time managing myself in that dreaded room. But the need was so great I decided to lend a hand this time, even if cooking isn't my forte.  Both my sons are excellent cooks are employed as such, the gift must have skipped a generation. My Mom was a home economics teacher for years (while they still taught that in school). I do have a few specialties. But baking cookies, not so much. I'd rather decorate them.

Emergency call to Mom. "The cookies are flat, they spread out over the whole cookie sheet. Was it because I sifted the flour and it didn't call for that?" What was I thinking? Part of my problem is getting too creative and not sticking with the recipe, which my mother is a stickler for. (Always listen to Mom!) After adding some more flour and then refrigerating the dough I gave it another shot, with almost the same result. My squarish looking cookies didn't look too bad once they were cut away from each other and cooling, but they are not your typical round cookie for sure. At least I didn't burn them . . . not all of them anyway.

As I said, I do have a  handle on a few recipes and I tend to stick to what I know.  My family doesn't have to wonder why I serve them the same foods over and over again (though they never really get the exact same version every time).  But as I tend to shy away from the kitchen and am more comfortable with pen in hand, I have generally learned to decline areas of service where I'm not gifted.  But there are those times that we are compelled to help and I do so with good intentions.  But this exercise reminds me that I do need to stay on task and get back to completing my novella as I'm writing on deadline. And truly, I'd rather be writing!

What are some of your gifts and talents?  Do you stick to the areas where you are gifted or do you serve in any capacity?  How do you feel about that?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We'll Never Forget

"Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It's a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It's also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend-even a friend whose name it never knew. "
- President George W. Bush,
December 11, 2001

Some of us use our words to express our grief and feelings.
And sometimes there are no words...but His.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Digging up Character Names

Sorry I haven't been around of late, those headaches are still plaguing me. Still planning to share more about my trip. But today I'm posting at Colonial Quills today on resources to help find names for characters in your stories. I  hope you'll stop by and see me there.

Digging up Character Names

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Petticoats, Quilts, and Comforters

A week before my road trip, I scurried around putting together a short proposal for Abingdon Press's Quilts of Love series. I was very excited of the prospect of inclusion in this series and set to research for a colonial period quilting theme. Less than three weeks later my agent notified me that it was accepted!

I received the good news email on the evening of the first anniversary of my step-dad's passing.  Seems like my book projects come with highs and lows, the bitter and the sweet. Within moments of reading the email, and before I even had a chance to tell anyone my head felt like it was about to explode and started throbbing most intensely. I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and they suspected life threatening conditions and possible need for a neurosurgeon. After testing and bringing my symptoms under control it was determined that it must have been a strange variation of migraine combined with the intense high blood pressure. Apparently the news was too much for me! Now home, I've followed up with my doctor and am on Prednisone, yet again, and feeling much better. But the good news I received right before this episode was like a promise from the Lord that He still had work ahead for me.

So, without further ado . . .

A Design for Love (Whole-cloth Quilt)
Boston, Massachusetts, 1770
Honour Metcalf’s quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager’s niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton, comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan—a design for love.

Tailor at the Margaret Hunter Shop,
Colonial Williamsburg
It was much fun seeing the display of beautiful quilts, like the whole-cloth quilt pictured above.  I also was able to ask about quilted petticoats at the milliner and mantua-maker's shop (Margaret Hunter's Shop) at Colonial Williamsburg and view the exhibits on colonial dress at the Dewitt Walace Decorative Arts Museum on Fashion Accessories from Head to Toe. 

This lovely work bag (circa 1760-80) caught my attention as something that my quilter might own or acquire, and the period is perfect for my story. It is equipped with special compartments and pin cushion sides and I believe worn tied about the waist.

As a memento of my trip I brought home a pretty Kate McCrostie quilted placemat as a reminder of all the pretty things I saw and for the hope I had in my heart to write the story swirling about in my head.

This talk about quilting makes me also think of comfortors and the comfort I received from my joyful vacation, wonderful news, and God's watchcare over me during my time of grieving and illness makes me ever mindful that "our comfort is abundant through Christ." (2 Cor. 1:5)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back from my journey!

Carla's Mom (Joyce Buckley), Carla, and Carrie Fancet Pagels

I'm back from my trip! Join me over to Colonial Quills as I share some of my adventures. More to follow!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Road Trip

I'm heading out for a couple of weeks on a road trip with my Mom. I've never been further west than Mississippi so this is a grand adventure. This special trip overlaps the first anniversary of my Dad's passing, such a difficult season that we went through last year. But this time it will be filled with celebration.  In fact, this Mom and Daughter outing will commemorate our big birthdays. Mom will be 70 in September, and I will be, oh, dear, 50 in November. This trip will include time to write, research, and even visit a writer friend. My itinerary includes:  Photoshoot & Family Visits (MA). Family wedding (OH). Creation Museum (KY). Colonial Williamsburg & Visits with Writer Friends (VA). Family Visits (MA). Home again (ME) to finish writing Colonial Courtships.

See you when I return!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Writing Under Difficulties

Have you ever written under great difficulties?

I sure have. Sometimes I liken the life of a writer to that of a mailman. "Come rain, come snow, come hail or
Laptop of the 1890's!
sleet, the postman always delivers." And authors do, too. Many writers I know have endured terrible difficulties under which they had to press on. Last year at this time was such a time for me during the last days of my step-father's life I was writing my novel, The Shadow Catcher's Daughter. After Dad died I had 4 weeks remaining to complete it. My publisher graciously allowed me 2 extra weeks. And by the grace of God I completed it. There have been other difficulties I have worked through (health issues, family responsibilities, personal challenges, etc.) as many of you have. One thing I have determined — writing is not for the faint of heart.

Here are some excerpts from past times that testify to this fact. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A 19th Century Take on Women Writing Literature

'Writing is like flirting: if you can't do it, nobody can teach you; and if you do it, nobody can stop you.' So says the heroine of a contemporary novel, and I am bound to say that I agree with her.

So states Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, the author of an 1905 article in The Writer, a popular Boston literary magazine which commenced publication in 1882 and is still being produced. I get such a kick out of reading old writings — illuminating society of past times, yet sometimes resonating with the thoughts we have today.

As the article continues I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did for both advice and humor.

To those who feel that they cannot write now, but some day hope they will, I can only give the celebrated advice of Punch "to persons about to marry"— "Don't." If you feel that you can help writing, by all means do help writing, and turn your thoughts and your wishes in another direction.

"Mute, inglorious Miltons," believe me, are very rare birds indeed. As a rule genius — like murder — "will out." I fear I have not much patience with those people who are convinced that they could have done some great thing if circumstances had been different. Circumstances have very little to do with the question. These persons could have done some great thing if they themselves had been different, I admit; but that is the only "if" they can lawfully plead.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Make a Way

Make a Way by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (Streams in the Desert)

"I will make all my mountains a way" (Isa.49:11).

God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross--we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.

"Oh, fools, and slow of heart!" These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.

Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable.
Go back; submit thyself. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there. We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. "God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven"; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.--Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer

"The meaning of trial is not only to test worthiness, but to increase it; as the oak is not only tested by the storm, but toughened by them."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Bend in the Road

Silverton, Colorado.  A scene like one found in
The Shadow Catcher's Daughter.

After many years of trekking through the wilderness climbing toward the goal of publication I at last found myself reaching the summit. My debut novel was set to release in January 2012. Many of you have heard the announcement that came last week that Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents line is closing December 2011. Yes, my first book was set to release the following month.

Heartsong Presents operated its line for twenty years and almost 1,000 books, blessing many readers and authors alike. So the news shot through the internet world like wildfire. I received this news directly from my publisher while I was finishing up the content revisions that they sent me and had to press on because those of us who were under contract were asked to do so. Although they will not print my single title, they may publish it in e-book format and/or as an anthology with the two other books in the series (Love in Four Corners), but that will not be at least until 2013 and there is no guarantee.

Naturally, I am very disappointed that The Shadow Catcher's Daughter has hit this road block. But I prefer to think of it as a bend in the road.  As I continue to press on to completion (copy edits, etc.) with an uncertain destination, I'm reminded of the many times that I've had to keep moving forward under similar circumstances. If I allow my doubts and fears and other discouraging thoughts to assail me I have no chance of discovery along the path nor the potential opportunity that may await. I believe there is a plan for this book and the timing has been at God's discretion all along. So, I'm going to trust him for it. And even though I cannot see what is around the corner, I know I am on the right path. I'll continue on this journey through the struggles and the joys. 

I do look forward to May 2012 when Carving a Future, my novella in Colonial Courtships will be released. So my debut, although not a full novel, will come a little later. As for now I am busy writing the novella and getting a few proposals ready to submit. Moving forward with hope not in my expectation, but in God's plan.

"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps."
Proverbs 19:9

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Lenses

When I was 18 it seemed pretty grim to me for a time. My left leg became paralyzed due to a post knee surgery complication. I had the privilege of hearing Joni Eareckson Tada speak. Her books were also an inspiration and encouragement to me. Miraculously for me, the nerve damage I had was healed a year later. I literally had to learn to walk all over again. I'd like to share this devotional reading with you, written by Joni, and hope it will encourage you, whatever pain or trial you may be facing today.

By Joni Eareckson Tada
"Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to His children."
Lamentations 3:23-33

The Lord took no pleasure in my broken neck. Like any father who has compassion on his children, it pained his heart to see me hurt. Yet at the same time, it pleased the Lord to permit my accident. My spinal cord injury was something he sovereignly designed in and for his good pleasure. God's ways are so much higher than ours; He has the capacity to look at the world through two lenses -- through a narrow lens and a wide angle one. When God looks at a painful event through a narrow lens, He sees the tragedy for what it is. He is deeply grieved. In Ezekiel 18:32 He says, "I take no pleasure in the death of anyone." God feels the sting in His chest when a child dies of cancer or a husband is killed in an accident. However, when God looks at that same event through His wide angle lens, He sees the tragedy in relation to everything leading up to it,as well as flowing out from it. He sees a mosaic stretching into eternity -- it is this mosaic with all its parts, both good and evil, which brings Him delight.In the span of a single verse, the Bible asserts "the Lord brings grief," yet "He does not willingly bring... grief." God tried this out on Himself. He willed the death of his own Son, but He took no delight in it. God saw how Jesus' death would demonstrate His incomprehensible mercy, as well as bring His people to glory. God often wills what He despises because -- and only because -- He has a wide angle view on the world.

Lord, too often I have only a narrow-lens view of my world -- give me your perspective and may I rejoice in the beautiful mosaic I will one day understand. 

 What does your life look like?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sticky Notes: Laura Ingalls Wildler

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, who's first book was published at age 65.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting into the Groove Again

I've had to take it rather slow and easy lately because of my health.  But now its time to get busy.

Things on my agenda include:
  • Planning the MFCW conference for October 8th. So excited that Susan Page Davis will be our speaker and both she and Ruth Axtell Morren will be conducting workshops. Oh, and I'm doing a workshop, too!
  • Critiquing some chapters for my crit partner Susan Page Davis on her novel which is the 3rd novel in our Love in Four Corners series with Darlene Franklin (bk 2) and moi (bk 1).
  •  Finishing up my revisions for my publisher on said bk 1, The Shadow Catcher's Daughter.
  • Catching up on Website projects for a surgeon and several authors.
    • Baking Snickerdoodles.  Yes, I confess.
    • Planning my vacation for next month. Road trip!
    Now a few fun things. This cartoon pic of me, really looks nothing like me except the dress is my favorite color. You can MadMenYourself, too if you wish. It's a great way to waste time.

    Here's an awesome video about developing your pitch for an agent or editor. It's a real hoot, but I promise you'll learn something from it if you pay attention!

    What are you doing in the groove?

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    What Are You Hiding?

    When the drawer lower draw on our stove got off its track I couldn't get it on straight. I asked my huz to assist and he had to take it completely out to get it to work. But before it put it back he pulled out a trove of objects that set me laughing out loud. Along with the dust bunnies, out came 4 kitty toy balls, and fourteen, yes fourteen!, plastic hot roller clips that I have been missing.  I immediately new who the culprit was . . . our cat Dasha!  I had long wondered what she did with them, they just seemed to disappear. I had caught her in the act on occasion actually stealing them and then batting them around the floor. I didn't do much about it, until they had all but disappeared. I figured they would turn up eventually, but they have been long gone until today. I really don't know what the fascination is. Reminds me about my former mother-in-law's cat who used to wake her up every morning by pulling her curlers out of her hair!

    So, I left them out for a while to see what she'd do with her stash, although I can't say with certainty whether see hid them intentionally or just couldn't retrieve them.  Regardless, her reaction to them having been discovered was a little surprising. She just kind of looked at everything overwhelmed.  She started playing with one of the balls, but never touched her beloved curler clips.

    The episode make me think about the things I hide. Words, sometimes. I've hoarded special words and phrases or ideas that I want to use in my writing, not sure if I should use them with this project or save them for another. I hid my writing away for years, not wanting anyone to see a word I wrote and if they discovered something before I was ready I panicked. Then when I take out my stash of notebooks full of my writing I am overwhelmed with what to do with them, where they fit into my current publishing plans, if at all.  Hiding my words, my writing, has been a problem for me in the past. I'm still a little shy about it, but I have been finding my courage over the years through blogging, and taking the risk of putting my words out there for public viewing. It has really built my confidence. So I'm going to take a lesson from Dasha and ignore the dust bunnies, disregard the imitation/insignificant toys, and just play with the real thing/what has true merit. Most importantly not hide my words, or hide behind them anymore.

    Do you hide your words, your writing? What do you do to help build your writing confidence? Is there anything in your stash of writing that can be pulled out and shared with others? What are you waiting for?

    By the way, CLICK HERE to see Dasha's little story about A Writer's Life.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    A New Chapter

    As a fiction author, I know that every chapter in a book doesn't necessarily tie things up into a neat little package nor begin with a smooth transition. Instead they end and begin with hooks that generate enough interest to entice the reader to continue on with the story. Similarly, the chapters of our lives often end and begin with more questions than answers. Some things change. Some remain the same. And there are many unknowns. It can be a time of celebration, a time to grieve, a time to move on, a time for setting new goals.

    Over the past three weeks I've been recovering from pneumonia. It has been a horrible ordeal and I'm glad that I'm finally better. I can breathe. I also can take a deep cleansing breath as I move on to the next stage of my life, leaving behind the part-time job that I've held for the past four years. I enjoyed working for Literacy Volunteers, an excellent organization that helps adults improve their literacy skills. But over the past year or more it was becoming increasingly more difficult to manage because of my chronic migraines. At the same time I went through my step-dad's terminal illness and death, and have experienced the hard work and joy of making progress with my literary career, and also continued with occasional freelance website development projects. Over the past six months I have been wearing more hats than I was comfortable with and my author activities have become increasingly more demanding. It was all so chaotic and felt overwhelming at times, and totally went against my grain as someone who is a planner and likes a more peaceful life.  So as I considered transitioning away from some of my tasks I've sought to define where my time and energy would be best spent.

    Now I'm happy to say that I'm officially writing full-time which to me means that is where my primary focus remains.  This is my time of preparation for my books that will release next year and there is so much to do.  I'm also continuing to do freelance work as a website developer and graphic designer, as I have had increased opportunity to continue with that work.  I also plan to revamp my own online presence through my website and create promotional materials.

    My opening hook for this new chapter includes my questions about how best to prioritize my projects and reorganize my life. I also will attempt to find some answers to some of my health issues. So I prayerfully devote this exciting new time to the Lord and seek his leading in the story He is telling of my life.

    What is happening in the current chapter of your life? Are you at the beginning, middle, end?