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?

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Drafting the Declaration of Independence

    Every literary work starts in draft, even the greatest of them. On June 11, 1776 the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee to draft a document that would severe the colonies ties from Great Britain. King George III had forced the colonies to pay taxes without representation in Parliament and had sent troops to quell signs of rebellion, yet repeated attempts by the colonists to resolve the crisis peacefully were fruitless.

    The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. The document was crafted by Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer. Jefferson's rough draft was presented to Franklin and Adams for correction, prior to committee. Eighty-six changes were made to his draft, but  one of the most important edits was when Jefferson changed  "subjects" to "citizens", thus obliterating the term "subjects" from the colonist's vocabulary.

    The final version of the document was officially adopted on July 4th and went to print that very afternoon.  By the next morning copies were on their way to all thirteen states by horseback .  On July 5th the German Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote became the new nations's first newspaper to announce that the Declaration had been adopted and on July 6th, the first newspaper print edition of the full text appeared in the Philadelphia Evening Post.

    The Declaration of Independence has since become our nation's most cherished symbol of liberty.

    Rough Draft

    Drafting the Documents

    5 Obscure Facts About The Declaration of Independence