Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
May the Spirit of Jesus guide each of us to be an instrument through which He can do His Great Works!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Jeannie Campbell tagged me a while back, so here is my attempt at answering the first half of the questions.

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote was a quick edit of that Mistletoe piece posted on Monday from my current wip. The first thing I wrote (not including school projects for English class) are still tucked away deep in my hope chest, written in Pitman shorthand that I can no longer decipher.

2. Write poetry?

Almost never. Poetry is the most concise writing I've ever read, and I have issues with that. LOL

3. Angsty poetry?


4. Favorite genre of writing?

Contemporary Inspirational Romance

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

I'd have to go with Katrina's mother, Martha, in my very first novel. She is one obnoxious character at times, even though she means well.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?

That would be the plot in my second novel, My Gift. I can't really explain it without giving the ending away, other than that it's a twist on a frame story.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?

Oh, my, I think it might be that I actually did send one of my characters off to Cambodia when it seemed as though the whole mission trip would fall through. That extended that book for more pages then expected.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

I don't know if it's writer's block as much as a needed writer's rest. Sometimes my fingers just need a break while my brain keeps going.

9. Write fan fiction?

Okay, I'm going to look stupid here, but what exactly is fan fiction? Fantasy Fiction? If so, no, my brain doesn't seem to work that way, it can only handle earth as it appears to be.

10. Do you type or write by hand?

I type, but have been known to scratch out scene thoughts on any spare piece of paper that happens to be in reach when a thought comes to mind.

11. Do you save everything you write?

Most definitely. I create a new copy each day.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

Of course. My ideas often come as mustard seeds. I write the bit that surprises me and then my brain and creative spirit waters it sporadically as I'm working on something else, and eventually it's time for that seed to sprout and start growing in leaps and bounds.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

Sadly, my very first novel is still nearest and dearest to my heart, but it was so badly written that it's taking me forever to revise and get it written well. But I can't seem to leave that one alone, whereas the ones after it, I have been able to set aside for years without stewing over them.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas with The Babe's Spirit swirling around you in awesome wonder. May His presence bring you much peace and joy, friends!

Surrendering to Him,


2 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mistletoe Madness Monday

A snippet from my most recent writing of The Innkeeper's Christmas for 2009's Nanowrimo project.

Matthew finished tucking the sheet under like she’d taught him, then stepped next to her. Her heartbeat stormed to life as he grabbed her hands into his and pulled her close to him. A foot taller than her, she folded into him like a teddy bear to a child. She remembered this feeling. The security it provided that night of the break in. How he’d been there for her. Allowed her to fall to pieces in his arms. Well, as many pieces as she’d ever allow herself to crumble into in front of anyone.

But what was he

Matthew shifted his feet in some strange manner. He wrapped one hand around her to rest gently on the small of her back. With his other hand he held hers out to the side, raised. Oh, my. She gasped and pulled away. Matthew was trying to waltz with her?

The hilarity of it filled her with child-like giggles. The seriousness of his expression chastised her laughter. She blinked, willing herself to get under control.

“Cut me some slack. I embarrassed myself with a teacher to try and learn these steps, Beckah.”

She grabbed his arms and started dancing like she did when alone. Wiggling her booty, with no planned steps at all, she bounced, dipped, swirled in his arm and even bumped her hip to his. Only her hip met his upper thigh, which felt firmer than she'd expected. “See, this is how I dance for fun.” To his ashen face, she gave him a peck on his cheek. “Why on earth would you ever imagine I waltzed while cleaning?”

“Everything is either animals with you, cooking, or Victorian era.” He held his hands out. “I just assumed you ballroom danced while changing sheets.”

“And you took lessons just for me?”

“If that’s how you have fun, I wanted to give it a try. I know how busy you are, and figured getting you to go out would be more burden than anything.”

She stepped back, stunned by his thoughtfulness. No one had ever understood her needs before. Matthew may not approve of how she lived, but at least he tried to work within parameters to make life easier on her. “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me. Thank you. And thank you for staying and helping me get the rooms cleaned up.” If one could fall in love in an instant, this one would be about perfect.

“You’re welcome.” He took her hand in his. A current travelled down her fingers, up her arm. “How about a modern day slow dance for a minute, then we can get back to bed-making duties?”

She stepped into his embrace and breathed in the orange and musk scent unique to him. It felt good to savor the smell, rather than deny its appeal once again. He slowly moved her around the room. If chore time was slipping away, she didn’t feel it doing so. Wouldn't allow it to spoil the moment. “Are you aware of how good you smell?”

Bending his head, he looked down into her eyes. His golden irises had dark flecks she’d never noticed before. “No, do I?”

Nodding, she couldn’t pull her eyes away from his…until she realized his focus shifted to her mouth. Oh, no, this can’t be. They couldn’t be about to...

She should step out of his hold. Stop this from happening.

Rewind? Couldn’t she just rewind time and never have stepped into his embrace in the first place?

His lips caressed hers, gentle, as if asking permission. They travelled to the softness of her cheek, then slowly back to her mouth. She tasted peppermint. The one he stole from her candy dish on the side board just before following her upstairs to help with the Inn’s chores. The gentleness of his touch had her insides diving and flipping. How could something so wrong, feel so heavenly? Returning his kiss, she pulled him closer, feeling his warmth transfer to her whole being. Could two opposites such as them really make a relationship work?

“Whoa.” He stepped out of their embrace with tenderness that made her long for him more, but the strain on his face caused a vice-like grip to take hold of her heart. Matthew regretted kissing her.

Merry Mistletoe Everyone! I look forward to reading all the wonderful snippets out there soon!

Surrendering to Him,


4 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Writing Inspires...


Since writing with the intent to learn how to write, I must say I've had some fun times due solely to wanting scenes to be authentic. Have you ever had your characters take you where you haven't gone before? Or at least not recently enough to conjure up a scene that really comes to life?

When that happens to me, my family tends to benefit with a little excursion. And it usually means fun. Sadly, I have no trouble tapping into experiences that are more of a serious nature. It seems to be only the fun ones that stump me. Mmmmm...wonder what that says about me? Me thinks I need to write to include some fun in my life. Perhaps that's why God called me to this challenge. Interesting!

Anyway, I was tagged by Jeannie Campbell to do a very long questionnaire. I promise, I will do this next week, right after our Mistletoe Madness Monday, but I think I'm going to split it into two separate posts. So get ready, you'll learn a little more about boring me just in time for Christmas. How's that for a cyber Christmas gift from little old me?

So what fun times have you enjoyed due to your writing?

P.S. I just scanned my blogroll listing and I'm in awe at how many great posts are out there for me to read. The little topics and snippets have me wanting to rush over. Just wish there was way, way, way more time in a day to do so! It'll take me all weekend, stealing some comp. time, to take them all in.

Surrendering to Him,


7 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Imagery--A must?

As I struggle to get writing time in, I am at least getting some educational reading in in snippets. I came across this interesting paragraph in Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon.

"Imagery adds so much to a writer's style that with all practicality and crassness, I advise you to make sure to add analogies, similes, or metaphors to any pages requested by an agent or editor. Without question, make sure your revision includes imagery on page one." (pg. 48)

So, are you sparce with imagery, or do you wield it liberally? Are you making agents and editors smile, or flip pages struggling to find imagery that doesn't exist?

On a fun note:

Curtesy of Sherrinda, it's official, the Official Kissing Day Blogfest will be held on Monday, December 21st as a Writer's Tribute to Mistletoe!

I absolutely love this idea.

Hope you all will join in on the fun and post a snippet of your work where a kiss, or an almost-kiss is experienced. If you haven't written any such scenes, have you read one lately that you could share on your blog? The mistletoe will be floating around cyberland on Monday. Be ready!

Surrendering to Him,


9 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...


Can you believe that there are only eleven days before Christmas Day arrives? And, for me, only five days left before the kiddos are home for their two-week Christmas break? Astonishing!! Really, that's how it feels to me. The days are whizzing by at top speed.

We celebrated my eldest daughter's sixteenth birthday this past weekend with a surprise sleepover for her. It seemed to go over very well. Planning for that while dealing with a whole revamp of our laundry room stole all my writing time last week and I'm missing it. Feeling guilty, but yet, I know the sacrifice had to be made. Do you ever feel that way? Wishing you were two people so you could fit all you want and need to do in? This time of year makes me with for that often.

These next two weeks are looking to be just as busy as last, but somehow I'm going to see that word count start rising again to finish my Nano story. How about you guys, will you be taking a well-deserved break from writing during the Christmas break, or will you pressing onward, getting those words in?

Surrendering to Him,


11 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

General Consensus

Thanks all for your ever-present encouragement regarding my contemplating to write a YA novel for my girls!! It may never see the light of day outside our home, likely won't, but I do believe I'd regret not doing this for them, so I'm going to give it a try early next year.

So, since the majority of you say "go for it", guess what I'm going to ask next.

Any suggested readings? What my girls are after is not a sci-fi, fantasy type novel, but rather a contemporary normal-to-life one. Of course it needs to have horses in it somewhere and high school. I have a basic idea, with my girls help, of how to start plotting, but I really should read a few books in this genre before I come up with the 2 to 4 page synopsis that gets me going. So any suggested readings for a contemporary, no sci-fi, no fantasy, YA novels that I should pick up and devour and study?

Some of you were so kind to send me your suggestions via email after my Monday's post. Thanks so much. I'm wondering if I'll see any repeated titles to help me get started by asking here too.

In other news:

Writing has halted for me this week with Sixteenth Birthday Planning, Christmas planning, Clothes dryer on the fritz which resulted in a huge reworking of the laundry room, so if you've noticed that my novel word counter hasn't changed, that's why. I'm brewing the ending in my mind as I clean, organize, bake and plan away. Now let's hope that snowball effect we talked about last week doesn't sweep me in and roll all over me, right!!!

Also, my girls are totally bummed. They really thought they'd have a snow day today with the snow and freezing rain we're getting, but alas, the school board feels they can bear it. Huge Bummer!

Surrendering to Him,


16 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Story Just For ?

My girls have asked me several times to write a YA story. They even offer suggested story lines--very bare bones story lines, mind you, that I have no idea how to build a whole novel from, but their eagerness exhilarates me for sure.

So would you attempt to write a story outside your chosen genre if your teen asked you to? Would you ponder doing so for more than a moment's passing?

So far I keep putting the task off, but the seed of a YA story has been drawing in nutrients for a while and I'm now debating if I should let it have some sunlight in January as my next new project. Seriously, would you devote a couple months minimum to tackle a story for your children? Or would you leave it to the pros who actually know how to write in that genre and keep honing the craft with story writing you know best?

Surrendering to Him,


18 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Writing Inspires...

Time Management!

Every year seems to go by faster for me. I can remember as a kid the summers alone seemed to last forever with endless nights of neighbourhood hide and seek, bike rides, and family events filling my hours. But now, summers whiz by without warning. In fact, the whole year seems to run in fast forward mode, but yet I'm told the twenty-four hours in a day now, is the same length as the twenty-four hours in any given day back then.

So what's changed?

I believe it's that as we get older our responsibilities multiply.

And as writers, one more important thing gets added to our daily to-do list. The wonderful act of crafting stories--bringing characters, dilemmas, and settings hidden deep within our psyche to life on the page becomes another responsibility. It's not a grueling responsibility by any means, though it takes hard, dedicated work, and time management to accomplish this task.

What amazes me most with writing is how much can be accomplished if I consistently keep working at it, AND how little can be achieved if I put it off until tomorrow. Know why? Because, if we aren't careful, those until-tomorrows very easily multiply if we don't crack our own whip and get back on track immediately. Ever notice that about taking a break with your writing? Or is it just me that lets those breaks snowball on occasion?

When I think of my writing 50k words in one month and that I've been writing for near seven years now, but only have five stories to show for it, something doesn't add up. I know, I know, there is all that editing time required, too, and study hours as well. But still, I need to be more consistent with my time management and logging that needed daily writing time, and not letting just a little break turn so easily into a week or two-week break from writing that first draft or editing for the umpteenth time.

So, what about you, how do you force yourself back on track, fitting writing into your daily list of to-do's when the breaks seems to roll into one another?

Surrendering to Him,


21 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winner & A Deep Question

First, the question.

How does a mother prepare her young children for her own death while still grasping for a miracle? By the mere work of preparing for death, do we forfeit the miracle God might have provided if we had only just believed fully, intentionally, without a speck of doubt, that it was His will for us to be cured?

These are questions I've grappled with in the past, and once again find myself asking in the midst of news discovered during this past Sunday's service. I have asked myself many times why my husband's mother never informed her sons about her grave condition. From what I know, she knew well in advance of her death that her days were severely limited, and yet her death came as a complete shock to my husband, and likely his brother, too. I've never asked my husband's brother about this. He's far too fragile a man to ask, so I suspect he had no idea either.

For either of them, would the pain of losing their mother have been any easier if she'd have talked to them about what was to come? If she'd let them know that each visit they made to the hospital may have truly been the last time they'd get to talk with her, hold her, tell her they loved her, would their mourning process have been healthier, easier on them had she been open with them about her condition? Did she not have so much love to pour out on them to last them their lifetimes, but held back in seeking a divine miracle? That's the only explanation I have. She must have refused to accept the possibility of her imminent death, in belief that she'd be granted a miracle. Otherwise, surely she would have at least written her sons a letter filled with love and hope for their future. If she thought they were too young to speak of death to them at ages ten and twelve, then wouldn't a letter have been the least she could do for closure? After all, they'd already suffered the death of their father five years earlier. They'd experienced great loss once already in their short lives. I can only imagine how she must have clung to the belief of a miracle of healing. That God wouldn't leave her boys orphaned on this earth, that she'd endured enough heartache with the death of her husband, and that her sons had endured enough heartache already that God wouldn't take her just yet--submersing them into further heartache. Not yet, for the sake of her boys, I'm sure she clung to the belief that God would intervene with a miracle of healing her cancerous body.

But He didn't. She passed away without ever saying final heartfelt words to her boys either in person, or in a letter.

Surely God does not deny us His desire, even a healing miracle, because we strive to prepare our loved ones for what might be. I've seen the heartache that lingers decades after a death that loved ones could have been forewarned about, and am convinced that if I knew my condition was grave, I'd not deny it to my family. Oh, I'd be praying, seeking that miracle, but even if I knew that I would forfeit a possible miracle by preparing my children, I'd still prepare. Because that's all a miracle is before it's delivered.

Only a possibility.

We have no way of knowing what is God's will. But I do know that my children are worth more than my life, and leaving them with final words, final acts of love, for them to cherish all their life, is a miracle in itself that God provides just by giving us notice that our days on this earth are severely numbered. Is it not a gift we need to accept, no matter how difficult?

What would you do if you were told your days were numbered, but fought for God's miracle of healing? It's not an easy question. And what is right for one, would not work for another, depending on the individual's faith walk. It's not something we like to think about. But it does make me ponder creating/updating those letters to be hidden deep within the file cabinet. Does it you?

Okay, now that I've cried a tub full, onto the winner of Erica Vetsch's The Bartered Bride.

Congratulations, G.R.I.T.S!!! I've sent you an email, please email me your snail mail address. Thanks to all who entered!

Surrendering to Him,


23 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Bartered Bride and Book Giveaway

I'm so pleased to be a part of Erica Vetsch's blog tour for her debut novel, The Bartered Bride. Please read on to learn more about Erica's publication journey and a chance to win a copy of The Bartered Bride.

1) I understand you wrote the first draft of The Bartered Bride in five weeks. I'm curious, were there any scenes that you had to force yourself through in that time? If so, do they remain in the published version and did they require major rewriting?

Erica: This book fell together in a really amazing way for me. I don't remember struggling with any particular scene in the first draft. I've struggled more with subsequent books, and there are scenes from those that have gotten major revisions or cut altogether, but for The Bartered Bride, it survived the editing process intact.

2) You took about one month for revisions of The Bartered Bride to polish it before sending out to your critique partners, was there much revision required after seeing their critiques? How much longer did you work on it before submitting to Heartsong Presents?

Erica: I do remember getting dinged by my crit partners on one scene in the book where my heroine was coming across as too juvenile and petulant. And one scene I reworked myself to make it more realistic in my own mind. Those revisions took about a week or so, then it was off to the ACFW Conference to pitch it to an editor.

3) Publishing success has come full force at you since signing with HP.. Congratulations Erica on having six books contracted. How many of those books are ones you had completed before The Bartered Bride, and how many are slated to be written yet? Are you now selling on proposal?

Erica: The time line went something like this: The Bartered Bride written the summer of 2007. The sequel, The Marriage Masquerade was written the Spring of 2008 while waiting to hear back on The Bartered Bride. And because I thought the long silence from the editor indicated a strong possibility of a 'no sale' for The Bartered Bride, I began working on the first book in a new series called Clara and the Cowboy in the summer of 2008.

In the fall of 2008, The Bartered Bride was contracted at the ACFW Conference, and a few months later, Heartsong aquired five more titles from me. I'm currently working on the final book in those two series.

I am selling on proposal now, which has its upsides and downsides. Upside, I don't have to write an entire book then hope that someone is interested in it. Downside, I have to know more in advance what's going to happen in the book, and as a reforming seat of the pants writer, this is difficult.

Thanks so much Erica for sharing a little of your publication journey with us.

Now, before I share the back cover blurb of this fast paced, wonderful novel, I just have to toot a horn for this story. Really, I can't say enough about this novel. I'm not a huge historical fan myself, and I'm the universes slowest reader, so when I read this book in under a 30 hour time span, which included sleep, the usual family and household responsibilities, and writing over 4000 words into my own manuscript, you've got to know it's a good one. And as a writer, it's one I intend to dissect for sure. But certainly couldn't the first time through because it just kept me glued with its entertainment value. Seriously, if you haven't got a copy yet, pick one up, order one, or hopefully win one (which you can do by leaving a comment with your email addy in this post by Wednesday morning when I'll do the drawing.)

Back Cover Blurb of The Bartered Bride: Jonathan Kennebrae is furious when his grandfather informs him that his future has been decided. He will marry Melissa Brooke or be disinherited. Jonathan has invested years of his life in Kennabrae Shipping, but heaven help him if Grandfather decides to take it all away for this.

Melissa, too, is devastated when her parents make their announcement. As little more than a bargaining chip in her father’s business maneuvers, she feels her secure world slipping away. Engaged to marry a man she has never met—someone “considerably older” than herself? What have her parents done?

Can Jonathan and Melissa find a way out of this loveless marriage, or must they find a way forward together?

You can order a copy of this wonderful novel by clicking here.

Book Giveaway: Don't forget to leave a comment with your email addy to be entered into the drawing. I'll draw a name late Tuesday and announce the winner on Wednesday, Dec. 2nd. Good luck everyone!

This giveaway is closed now. Thanks all for entering!

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy American Thanksgiving!

Day four of Blog snippet week.

One of the greatest things about blogging is that you can span countries in an instant. I'm so thankful that I get to "celebrate" Thanksgiving two times in one year. And I am celebrating again, not with turkey and stuffing and cranberries, but in my heart I'm running through all the blessings in my life and lifting thanks for them. My blogging friends are just one of those many blessings.


May today bring you all much happiness and a feeling of togetherness with family and friends. May giggles and laughter fill your homes as you treasure the gifts of life!

Blessings prayed for you all.

29 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving/Christmas Recipe

Day three of Blog snippet week.

Continuing in the spirit of Christmas, and Thanksgiving, I'd like to offer a seasonal recipe favorite that our family enjoys.

Cranberry Jello Salad

1 small package raspberry jello
1 small package lemon jello
1 cup boiled water

Dissolve jello packages in boiled water.

Add 1 can whole cranberry sauce (14 oz can).

Beat on low speed with mixer for 2 to 3 minutes while hot.

Let thicken in fridge approximately 1/2 hour.

Stir in 1 14oz tin crushed pineapple (undrained) and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

Pour in mold and let set. (I do this the night before.)

Serves 12 people.

For those looking for a new Thanksgiving tradition in the food offering department, I hope this recipe works for you. I know my whole family loves it.

30 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Day two of Blog snippet week.

In the spirit of Christmas, I'd like to suggest a gift that keeps on giving all year long.

What about a Family Daily Devotional book?

Imagine the quality time you and your family can have delving into short devotions that spur questions, pondering, and answers at breakfast time, over dinner, before bed, or any other time you choose through the day. Or maybe you only have family time on weekends, you can always sift through the week's selections and pick the one that speaks the most that week for your devotional time.

Here's just one for you to check out: Link.

Is it time for a new devotional book for your family, or if you've not had luck with any actual Devotion books, what about reading a story together and pondering a chapter of it each session?

Many blessings prayed for you all as the American Thanksgiving approaches and thoughts of Christmas begin to seep in.

31 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, November 23, 2009

Blog Snippet Week Begins

Due to NaNoWriMo obligations, and more importantly, my writing goal for November, I'm taking this week as blog snippet week. I'm limiting myself to visiting ten random blogs per day this week. Can't totally cut you all out, I don't need to deal with addict withdrawal while trying to get 20k words down, now do I?

I may comment, I may not, depending on how my word count is going each day, but I will, as always, enjoy broadening my horizons with you lovely, inspiring blogger friends.

I've created a line-up of short posts for the rest of this week. All geared around the spirit of Christmas. Hope you enjoy them! Notice my Christmas Day count down has begun?

Which brings me to today's question: Have you started counting the days until celebrating Jesus's birth in community with all Christians in the world yet?

32 Days until we widely celebrate Jesus's Birthday on Christmas Day around the World!

Surrendering to Him,


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Winner of Patti Lacy's An Irishwoman's Tale

Congratulations to Wanda! Your name was randomly selected to win a copy of Patti Lacy's debut novel, An Irishwoman's Tale from this giveaway over at earlier in the month.

I've emailed you, please reply with your snail mail address so I can get this book out to you.

P.S. I'm cross posting here because many of my regular blogging buddies had entered the giveaway over there. I'll be doing another book giveaway on Monday, November 30th so stay tuned and hope to see you all entering to win it.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Writing Inspires. . .


Yes, you read that correctly. For me, writing inspires baking. And no, I'm not writing cookbooks. However, I do love reading a novel that includes a recipe or two that the characters enjoyed within the pages of the story. As a result, I've been toying with the idea of including at least one recipe at the end of each of my novels.

In my current wip, I'd pick the Pumpkin Spice Scones that my heroine created in her gourmet kitchen at the Woodcrest Inn Bed & Breakfast. As I typed that scene (and yes, it did include tension, as the guests happened to be the hero's doting parents) I just had to search for a recipe to match the rich pumpkin flavored, moist scone with delicate icing swirled on top that Rebekah, the Innkeeper, presented to her guests with evening tea.

So, of course, I Googled and found the following recipe on which I just had to test. A good writer does her research, even if it costs her tighter pants. Right? And a break away from writing the novel.

From my story to your kitchen, here you have a sneak peak at what Rebekah might serve you if you joined her for tea.

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tbsp. cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tbsp. half-and-half
1 large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. whole milk

Spiced Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. I bake mine on stoneware, but be careful they don't burn if you use a metal pan.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long by 3 inches wide). Use a large knife to slice the dough twice through the width, making three squares. Cut each square on a diagonal to create a total of 6 triangles for baking.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Just until light brown. Take care not to overcook. Cool on wire rack.

Whisk each of the glazes. Using a pastry brush, once scones are cool, brush the first icing all over the top of the scones. Then once the white glaze is firm, swirl the spiced glaze over top. (I scoop it into a sandwich back, cut a small tip off one of the corners and press it through the opening into a swirl pattern on each scone.)


These are especially nice with Pumpkin Spice Tea, and my whole family loves them. So glad Rebekah served these at her Inn, or I would have never thought to look up the recipe. So yes, writing inspires baking for me. Have your characters ever had you recipe hunting? Recipe testing?

Have a great weekend everyone, and blessings prayed for you all!!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writers Are The Best!

To all those who commented in my last post regarding field research, or sent me a personal email in response, THANK YOU so much for all your encouraging words and guidance. I am seriously blessed by having friends like you guys. Overwhelmed with gratitude, really! You are awesome examples of generosity of knowledge and encouragement.

For those who struggle like I do with field research, the general consensus is that people are happy to talk about what matters to them, so just ask. This surprised me with how busy people seem to be in our generation. But perhaps that's the very reason why they like to share information about their jobs or experiences--it's a break away from the rat race of their normal life.

So, when Google and Library searches fall short with the information you seek, having clear questions, and a desire to truly listen to the expert is all you really need. Seek and ye shall find. Sound familiar?

Once again I need to take the me out of the equation and trust God to open the paths I need. Since it appears I'm not alone in the shyness factor in this big blogosphere, I want to share a portion of an email I received that sums it all up. Shirley Atchison sent my post over to a friend, Michelle Flippin, who in turn responded with a wonderful example of how to do field research as well as the following words of direction and encouragement:

"I would not stress the fact that you are an unpublished writer. If you are a writer, you are a writer. Tell the interviewee about what you have written, are writing or like to write. If possible, offer to give them a copy of the book once published or manuscript once copywritten. Offer to acknowledge their contribution. Most people will gladly answer your questions to see their name or something they said in writing.

My final word of encouragement is this: Your confidence is in Christ. He enables you to do anything related to your calling, including research when writing a book. Trust in Him to guide your questions, your words and your interaction with the interviewee."

Those wonderful words, and the way they came to me, blessed my socks off. I hope it does the same for all who have struggled like me!

Thanks again for all your input and sharing! As soon as I'm done this first draft (in less than two weeks with NaNoWriMo), I'm definitely contacting the Inn keeper in our nearby town to gather those tiny details that I need to bring my manuscript to life with a whole lot of God-confidence inspired by you all!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Field Research--How do you handle it?

First, my definition of field research: Any kind of research an author does that involves speaking to another human being.

As an unpublished author who is somewhat of an introvert, it seems I have two strikes against me. One, my shyness causes stress in itself when I'm required to introduce myself to a stranger, much less ask them specific questions regarding my needed research for a novel. Two, how serious is a stranger going to take me, an unpublished writer, when I attempt to gather information for a novel that may or may not ever get published?

I don't know about you, but where I live authors aren't the norm. Never in my life have I ever heard anyone mention that they'd been interviewed, or their brain picked, for a novel in progress. It just doesn't happen around here.

So I'm asking those of you who have done research in person before, are you upfront, and explain that you're gathering information for a proposed novel, or do you gather your information incognito? Any ingenious ways to build self-confidence before venturing into field research, or even better, how to avoid having to do so without sacrificing the authenticity of your work? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, friends!

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, November 13, 2009

Writing Inspires. . .


The greatest joy I get out of writing Christian Romances is what my stories teach me. I'm forever discovering new truths. Truths about me and my sinful judgemental ways, harboring jealousy, being hot headed, hording stuff. The list could go on. Daily, my stories reveal new truths about me and in turn press me onward to become a better person.

But the truths don't stop with my sad characteristics seeping into the written characters for me to recognize in myself. There's the Biblical truths--the Christian themes--that are weaved through my stories. They get me searching through the Bible to be sure my work is Biblically sound. They have me entering into prayer more frequently so that I may depict His way truthfully within the fictional world I'm crafting.

What about you? What truths have you discovered in your writing journey as of late?

I pray that we all enjoy a wonderful weekend. If family time is on the slate, may it be joyful and warm, and if writing is in the plan, may the words flow like warm molasses all over the page, thick and rich with truth!!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My New Writing Best Friend

Do you have one of these?

With all that's happened with my laptop as of late, and the need to up my word count productivity, I decided it was time to make a bold change in my approach to writing.

My usual writing habit would be to have my email open, my blog open with the blog roll visible, and my word document. I'd write until I bit my lower lip as I pondered where the scene should go, or whose POV I should put the next scene in, or just what description I wanted to include. As I pondered away I'd click over to check email, or visit a new blog post. In either case, my break from writing would ultimately be much longer than expected.

Getting smart, I pulled my sixty minute timer from my kitchen and brought it to my writing space. I decided to test timing my writing with one hour intervals of uninterrupted writing. If I started nibbling on my lip, I'd nibble away, but I wouldn't click over to email or blogging in that hour because the only thing I'd allow open on my screen would be my word document for the whole hour.

If you read my earlier post, you would know that I was averaging 3500 words in four hours. Well, guess what, with staying disciplined and not clicking out of my word document, I'm averaging 1150 words per hour. That means in four hours of pure writing with the timer on, I get 4600 words in. That's a significant increase. By blog hopping or email checking during my writing time, it cost me 1100 words.

My timer is definitely staying with me.

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, November 9, 2009

Patti Lacy, Part II, and a Giveaway

I'm blogging over at International Christian Fiction Writers blog. Come on over to hear how Patti, a native American, wrote a book partially based in Ireland, and enter to win a copy of her debut novel, An Irishwoman's Tale.

Note: I've been having laptop issues again. This time it needs reformatting and all, so I'm way behind with my blog visiting. Please forgive me, I'll be jogging around cyber space soon to catch up with you all. My girls limit my time on the family computers, unfortunately!

Nano Update: Due to the above, I've also lagged on my Nano responsibilities. I'm 4k short of what I wanted to have by now. So this week I better get extra writing time in to catch up. By next Sunday, I hope to be half way done with 30k into the story. With my daughter's sleepover birthday party behind us, I'm feeling fairly confident that I can do this. Won't stop praying, though!

I hope you all are doing well with your writing goals. May the writing bug bite us all real good this week.

Surrendering to Him,


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Winner of Patti Lacy's What the Bayou Saw

The winner is QuietSpirit!!!!

Congratulations. Please email me your snail mail address so I can get this wonderful book out to you.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, November 6, 2009

Love Is...

Conquering Hurt.

We all hurt our loved ones from time to time. And we've all been hurt by our loved ones, too, I imagine. We may not realize it. And certainly, we may not intend to inflict such hurt, but the fact remains, we do it as much as they do it to us. When we're the recipient of that hurt, we have a choice to make, let it fester so that it becomes destructive to our relationship, or we can chose to conquer it--give our loved one the benefit of the doubt by entering into discussion. I say conquer instead of forgive in this case, because these are hurts we incur when forgiveness isn't really a part of the equation.

It could be as simple as a shrug offered when something seems insignificant to one, but is definitely not so minute to the other. Or it could even come as the result of a smile offered at just the wrong moment. The shrugger and smiler are oblivious to the recipients feelings and how it would affect them at the time, of course, but does the recipient recognize that? No way.

This week, my dear hubby mentioned in passing that our oldest daughter had asked him to take her to a post-secondary information night at her school. He smiled proudly, content that he'd been asked. But from my end of the short-lived conversation, all I saw was gloating.

She'd picked him over me, once again, to spend one-on-one time with, and he seemed more than pleased with what seemed to me a victory yet again for him. I was hurt. Not only that my daughter had managed to use this scenario to snub me yet one more time (intentionally or otherwise), but that my husband appeared to have no reservations about it at all. Clearly, to him, it seemed emotions should have no play in this. He was asked. He said yes. Informed me of the event. End of story.

Hello! No end of story for this brooding mother. I sulked, got quiet, withdrew, but went about my motherly and wife duties of cooking, chauffeuring, laundering, etc. all with a heavy heart. Then I got smart, and decided to conquer this hurt.

Ever suck that golf ball down your throat and just spit out your hurt? (As politely as possible, of course.)

Well, I did.

And you know what?

Hearing it from hubby's perspective gave me a whole new understanding, and the hurt was immediately conquered. No apologies were needed, though they were offered by both, because this hurt came purely from a misunderstanding of a smile (and a whole lot of baggage of emotion on my part).

So, have you had any hurts that needed conquering rather than forgiving lately? How do you conquer yours?

This will be my last Love Is... for at least a while. Why? I'm tired of loving. No, seriously, I like change, and since I'm not getting change through a renovated kitchen, or new bathroom fixtures, I'll get it through my blog. Much cheaper that way. I'm thinking of going with Writing Inspires... on Fridays for a while. What do you think? Would that interest you?

Book Giveaway Reminder: If you haven't commented on my Monday post for a chance to win Patti Lacy's second book, What the Bayou Saw, click here, and comment away if you want to be in the drawing. The more the merrier.

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's Your Track Record?

Since I write generally only Monday to Friday's, with weekends being strictly family time, I've gotten two days in so far for this year's NaNoWriMo challenge. And I've been tracking my writing time and word count closely. What I've discovered is that for me to write 3500 words, I need a solid four hours of butt in chair.

My goal is to write 60,000 words this month so that I can complete a whole first draft in one amazing momentum-building chunk. Broken down, that means I need to write 3000 words/day with one extra day to spare. So I'm glad I'm off to a good start with 3500 on each day so far, but I find myself trying to suppress this huge desire to increase my productivity in those four hours. What I'm wondering is, is 3500 words in four hours really all that good? Seems a bit slow to me.

I don't want my writing to be total garbage, so I do pause as I click away to make sure I'm working toward or against a goal as the case may be in each scene. And I'm concentrating on keeping tension/conflict carried throughout, so I guess I'm not following the NaNo rules totally by blocking the internal editor 100%, but still, am I producing at least on average for the time I'm putting in?

What about you? Have you kept track of how long it takes you to put in a certain word count? Am I in the ballpark, or way behind? Any suggestions on how to speed my creativity up?

If you're doing NaNo this year, I wish you increased momentum throughout the month. If you're not doing NaNo, I still wish you much joy in whatever part of the writing journey your dabbling in right now.

Book Giveaway Reminder: If you haven't commented on my Monday post for a chance to win Patti Lacy's second book, What the Bayou Saw, scroll on down to my last post and comment away if you want to be in the drawing. The more the merrier.

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, November 2, 2009

Book Giveaway and Interview with Patti Lacy

What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy,
Kregal, 2009

Back Cover: Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened to her and her best friend, Ella Ward, when they were twelve years old.

Now a teacher in Normal, Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten her past. Then Shamika, one of her students, is violently attacked, and memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou. Lies continue to tumble from Sally’s lips as she scrambles to gloss over the harsh reality of a betrayal that refuses to stay buried.

Finally cornered by the Holy Spirit and her own web of lies, Sally and Shamika embark on a quest to find Ella in post-Katrina New Orleans. With the help of friends, family, and God, Sally can glimpse a life free of the mire of deceit and truly begin to live with joy. Will she pay the price for a lifetime of deception? Can she save Shamika?

Click Here for Link.

Patti Lacy is one of my critique partners, so I had the privilege of critiquing What the Bayou Saw early on. It's a beautiful read with a lesson regarding secrets for us all. Patti has one of the smoothest, richest voices I've ever read. So very distinct. You're sure to love it, as I do.

For an inside look at the wonderful author behind the story, please read on for a short interview with Patti Lacy.

1) What influenced you to write What the Bayou Saw?

Sigh. It all started with a memory, just like An Irishwoman’s Tale. A woman named Sheila shared the saddest story of growing up in 1960s Alabama and yearning to play with the girl next door. Only the girl next door was the wrong race. The image of two hands, one dark, one light, reaching through a chain link fence to share toys gripped my gray matter and wouldn’t let go.

What the Bayou Saw also draws on several coming-of-age stories in Monroe, Lousiana—one of them my own.

2) What do you hope your readers take away from reading What the Bayou Saw?

The insidious nature of racism and lying. However, even these nasty sins can’t escape God’s grace when we seek forgiveness and repent (a la turn around and walk the other way.)

3) A typical writing day for you would go like what?

Oh, dear. Since God has blessed me with more speaking and teaching appearances, typical has blown out the window!

I like to rise along with Mr. Sun and spend some time in prayer and Bible study. If time permits, I tap away on a new WIP, which right now is called Reclaiming Lily. The to-do list includes book reviews, blog articles, workshop lesson plans, thank-you notes, treat sack stuffing—lots is going on in good old Normal!

4) What do you view as essential tools for writing?

No matter how clogged the Daytimer gets, I find time to READ, READ, READ books that will help me write better! I just finished Samson’s Embrace Me. That woman paints the most vivid characters!

Another is Piccoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. Talk about amazing. Piccoult juggles SEVEN points of view! What a case study!

Then there’s The Help by Stockett for killer dialogue, Scared by Davis for multiculturalism—Too many books, too little time!!

A critique group (or two) provides WONDERFUL feedback. I learn as much from editing other folks’ work as I do from writing my own!

5) What are you currently working on that we might soon be able to read? Any release dates set?

No release dates are set—yet—but I hope to have an announcement soon about Book Number three!

6) Any words of wisdom for those awaiting publication?

First of all, write for that wonderful Audience of One.

Second, print cards, put on a writer outfit, like a wild shawl or frilly jacket, or whatever it takes to convince yourself that you are a writer. Then do things that writers do! Write. Read. Edit. Blog. Support other writers. Go to conferences. Craft books…like all professions, the training never seems to end. But you can do it…because He did it.



Book Giveaway Info: If you would like to be entered into the drawing to win a copy of What the Bayou Saw, please leave a comment in this post with a way to contact you. I'll draw the winner on Sunday, November 8th, and leave an announcement on this blog. Be sure to check back next Monday for the opportunity to win another of Patti Lacy's books, her first published story, An Irishwoman's Tale.

Surrendering to Him,


Saturday, October 31, 2009

I DID IT!!!!

The first draft of The Unlikely One is finished.

Coming in at 59,197 words, it has room to shrink.

As all my stories do!

I'm a little numb right now. Pleasantly content with my accomplishment, but not over-enthusiastic at all. Maybe finishing a story on Halloween night, in the midst of tricker treaters can't compete with the fun of gifting scarecrows, pirates, spidermen, and prisoners with chips and various sugary treats. Or maybe I'm just exhausted, and know this isn't the end of working with Fiona and Carter.

In any case, The Unlikely One will rest in a safe place on my hard drive, and backup version too, until after NaNoWriMo, when I'll come back to it for its first round of many revisions. That leaves me a month to sharpen those editing knives.

So thankful for the gift of a new story to span the break between first draft and edits. Can't wait to get started on The Innkeeper's Christmas tomorrow. [Rubbing hands together in anticipation.]

What about you? How do you honestly feel when you finish that first draft? Is it different with each story? Is it bitter sweet?

Surrendering to Him,


p.s. These are the carvings my daughters did this year. The top one is a horse head. She drew it freehand and carved it wonderfully, I think. I'm so impressed!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Love Is...

Gross at times.

With Halloween tomorrow, I thought I'd gross you all out. Refrain from reading on if you have a weak stomach. I won't be hurt. Promise! But before you leave, Happy Halloween!

Okay, on with Love is Gross at times. Remember back to the love is... feline friends battlefield post? Well, since then, I was given the illustrious job by my veterinarian to collect a fecal sample from each of the new members of our family. Wouldn't want any parasites hanging around down there, now would we? Oh joy!

Grossness, grossness, grossness, is more like it.

You wouldn't think it would be that difficult to carry out those orders since Noelle and Emma are indoor cats and do their business in a litter box, would you? Besides the grossness part, I mean. But, in reality, I still haven't figured out which cat does which style of doodoo in their shared litter box, and I need to put Noelle's sample in her labelled bottle, and Emma's in her own labelled bottle. These cats seem to have scheduled their business dropping into the middle of the night, leaving me without an opportunity to tell which does what. And I'm sorry doc, but I'm not staying up all night to man the litter box and figure it out. Though, since I paid for these expensive tests already, perhaps I should.

Now, if we're to be honest, it's not only loving other species that qualifies for the gross factor in loving, though, is it? I can think of many festering soars through the years that I've choked back bile over in the process of nursing my little one's flesh back to health. That's all a part of loving. The bad with the good. And we won't mention the hours of clean-up we've partaken in due to the spattering remnants of flu, will we?

Oops, sorry, guess I just did.

Loving is sometimes gross, but I'm glad God gave me the ability to do all these things for those He has blessed me with. We really do get our strength from Him!! Praise God.

And since it is Halloween tomorrow, just to introduce our loved ones to a little of the grossness factor we've been dealt through the years and continue to so graciously deal with, I say we brew our families a pot of eyeball chili, tarantula biscuits complete with olive eyes, and mummy hot dogs for dinner tomorrow night.

And make them stomach it all!


So, what's your typical Halloween feast? Recipes welcome.

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Nasty Side of Revisions/Edits

My number one beef with revisions/edits for an unpubbed writer is that they...


Seriously, if you're a pubbed author, the edits come to an end when the deadline arrives, but if you're like me, unpubbed, there is always time for one more round of oh, I'll just try it from this angle instead, or, oh, now I just learned this, so lets get back in there and incorporate that somehow in this older story, too. Or, oh, I learned this new wonderful word, it's such a strong adjective and I remember in such-a-such-a-story this happened and I just have to replace that dull adjective with this one now. And of course, once you get in and make that one change, you start cooing and ooing over your old baby from start to finish again, making just one more round of revisions that magically morphs into several more.

And if you've set that story aside for months, even a year, think how much you learned through those craft books and at conferences to start the whole rewriting process again. It's like that song:

This is the song that never ends,
it just goes on and on my friends,
Just when you think you have reached the end,
the song begins again.

This is the job that never ends,
it just goes on and on my writing friends,
Just when you think your story sparkles bright, you discover something new,
and the edits begin all over again.

My second hate of rewrites/revisions/edits, is the initial overwhelming feeling that paralyzes me. Do you ever experience that? It's like you're trapped in a shed with knives hanging on every wall and a tornado comes smashing and howling in your direction. You curl up in a little ball, and start praying for God to just take you now before you feel the stabbing pain of each of those sharp, sharp daggers flying straight toward you. There are just too many for little weak you to conquer and heal over. It'd be better just to die of a heart attack, or bleed to death given the circumstances ... than bear the long, painful, tedious recovery ahead.

And thirdly, and I'll stop here, since I'm getting depressed, is that you go cross-eyed with the repetitive process of reading and re-reading as you layer in your revisions and make sure your I's are dotted and your T's are crossed, and your Was's are no more.

Taking a deep sigh here.

Boy, am I glad NaNoWriMo is just ahead. I'm wrapping this current ms first draft up by Saturday at midnight, then I'm packing it away in a box, and delving into another exciting first draft. And for one whole month, I will not think of revising any of my previously written stories. I will not allow myself to think of fresh new wording for any of those stories, period. I will just dance in the glory of first draft writing, denying all that is to come.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Got anything to add to my list of horrors? Halloween is coming, after all. This is when the ugly masks are allowed to come out and play.

P.S. I have an article posted on Writers' Rest today regarding my Monday night experience at a Writers' Collective. Would love to see you over there, too!

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, October 26, 2009

I Have A Love Hate Relationship With...

...Revisions and Rewrites.

First the Pros. I love getting into revisions and rewrites because:

  • They always result in a much smoother piece of literature.
  • Critique partners offer enormous insight and I want to incorporate many of their suggestions to make the story come alive.
  • Lost or dropped threads need a second, third, or fourth chance at getting found and being carried throughout the novel.
  • The only way I ever come close to writing concisely is by axing in the revision and rewrite stage.
  • Important layers that I never thought to put in initially shine bright in the revision stage.
  • Scene transitioning gets a nice finishing polish.
  • And, characterization and setting details get fine tuned and overhauled to perfection here.

Those are my top reasons for loving the revision and rewrite stage. Are yours similar, or different? Please, do tell. What do you concentrate on during the revision stage of writing? Do you revise in layers, or are you more the salad-bowl type, mix in a multitude of upgrades all at once?

On Wednesday, we'll take a look at the hate side. Hint: When an overwhelming destructive feeling attacks every ounce of your confidence and drive, how do you overcome it and write on?

Surrendering to Him,


P.S. My laptop is back from the doctor, all fixed, and my data unaffected. Just cost me a little stress and a cheque I hadn't budgeted for. Praise God for small mercies!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Love Is...


I was blown away with all the support and encouragement I received with respect to my earlier post this week. So I'm dedicating this Friday Love Is... to all you wonderful blogging friends--my encouragement cyber angels--without you guys, rebounding wouldn't have been near as easy.

Isn't it amazing that technology can allow us to encourage and love via cyber space? It is a blessing for sure.

Even though it can fail us, at times, too, like when viruses or worms can work their evil way through it into our computers. Like what happened to me. My laptop is still at the doctors, by the way. So I still don't know how much damage my laptop will be permanently inflicted with through this. But onward I go, with all your encouragement, I'm still getting word count in, and enjoying planning of a new story for NaNoWriMo. Life is good. Writing never stalled for me.

May you all be blessed with cyber angels of encouragement when you most need them, just as I have been this past week. Thank you all!

Surrendering to Him,


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Birthday Celebrations!

October 22nd marks two special birthdays in my family. Two individuals who are very dear to me, so I had to give them a little tribute by posting birthday wishes for them today. (Maybe they'll stop by and actually see it, too!)

Mom and Hubby (Phil)!!!

I hope you have the best tasting cake and ice cream today, and blessings fall like confetti on each of you, too!

And the girls would hate me if I didn't include them in on this little tribute, so...

We love you both loads and loads, Nana/Mom and Fazoo (Dad)/Handsome!

Eileen, Alisha, Sabrina, and Cassandra!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What A Day!!

Sorry, I had originally planned to discuss edits, rewrites, and revisions today, but with the Tuesday I had, my mind and emotions are set in another direction.

That, being one of absolute frenzy!

Up, down, and everywhere in between. You name it, Tuesday brought it on for this fake-highlighted blond. (And for the record, that's a google photo, not actually of me, though a good likeness.)

Shall I share details? Then, if you should have a similar day soon, you'll know that you're not alone. Right? I'd be more than willing to commiserate with you all, if that should happen, though I really hope it doesn't to you, too.

First, I got in a good word count, that is until... For now, I'll log that under the ups! Wait to see how it changes later.

Then, I received my first agent rejection.

"Although your concept is very appealing, we had problems with the opening of the story and the actual writing itself. This is still a rough draft and just isn't ready for submission to publishers yet. I am sure you will continue to learn, grow, and master the craft of fiction and eventually you'll be in print."

I so appreciate the gentle honesty given to me, but after six years of working on this manuscript, it does hurt, a little. What's worse, is that this very same manuscript is sitting in my dream editor's slush pile, and I wish I could just go and pluck it out so that she can at least see that pile reduced by one, without wasting any of her hard-pressed-for time. The fact that I can't retract it, quite honesty puts me in the dumps.

But onward with the day I go. Putting in a couple more pages of my w.i.p., until...

Oh, I'm so amazingly angry at this one.

My laptop gets infected with some evil worm that slows everything down to not a snail's pace, but far worse, and relentlessly keeps delivering these stupid virus alert pop ups. LIKE I'M NOT AWARE OF THIS ALREADY!!!!!

The tongue lashing I wish I could direct at the delinquent who gets his/her kicks out of sending infectious diseases through the web is like none I've ever delivered before. Trust me. I asked hubby if the turd would get prison time when caught. Man, he deserves it!!!

So, I hard shutdown my lappy, resolved that my incompetence isn't going to fix this monstrous beggar when I have to go anyway to pick up my kids for optometrists appointments looming.

What have we got score wise so far? One up, two downs, with the downs plummeting at rapid speed, I might add.

On to optometrist journey. One of my dear daughters loses her permission note and is down with a cold so she's dragging her size nine feet, and saunters into the van ten minutes late only to announce that I need to go with her to sign out now. Hello! That's what cell phones are for. Couldn't she have phoned me from her locker to at least cut off 5 minutes of our being late for said appointment? Total frustration has set in cold and hard by now as I think of all my precious stories being eaten by a worm on my laptop, when I've stupidly not saved them on a memory stick lately.

But why should I care, really? They're poorly written anyway, as I just learned hours before.

While waiting for my three daughters appointments, I miraculously pick up pen and notepad and start sketching out a not-too-flimsy story line and character history for NaNoWriMo. Considering I'm a no-good writer, the fact that I'm still acting like one at all so soon after the wake-up rejection, truly amazes me. And thankfully, the Optometrist keeps me on this roll of amazement by offering good news. No added expense of new glasses this time around. Yes! Another jump up, but since I'd fallen so far, I still have a long way to climb.

Dear hubby arrives home earlier than expected. Love it when that happens, especially when there's a worm I'm too weak to battle. I'm inching my way up the dark abyss. Strong, brave, smart hubby is home, hope lathers on.

And as I sign off tonight (using our uninfected, safe family laptop that jumps cursors more than a hungry cat meows) my hero continues to attempt to chop and mutilate that worm, but as we all know, worms have a way of reviving themselves...

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, October 19, 2009

First Drafts

With November being only a couple weeks away, many writers are preparing for NaNoWriMo.
Two years ago, I met the 50,000 words while taking the challenge, but last year I didn't even come close. I'm not sure why that is, but I suspect it was because my heart wasn't into it last year.

What I love, though, about NaNoWriMo is the opportunity to run with a first draft in a single wonderful swoop of a month. There is nothing better than getting a full story down in a relatively short period of time. It does mean doing some preparation, though, to make it really happen.

If you're a SOTP writer, you basically prepare your story in your head. You feel your main characters out. You figure out the main plot points and a few twists that you want to incorporate. And you know your story setting.

If you're a Planner/plotster writer, then you are probably filling pages of a binder with research notes, a full character sketch of each of your main characters at least, a detailed plot layout, and you might even have some pictures in that wonderful resource binder too. You may even go as far as a scene by scene layout. Oh, imagine how easy writing a full novel in one month would be with all that preparation. I'd be in my glory. But, unfortunately, I'm more of a SOTP type writer which leads to endless rewrites, I'm discovering. (More about that on Wednesday.)

So, if you're joining in on the NaNoWriMo challenge in a couple weeks, what are you doing now to give yourself the best chance at meeting your goal? If you're not taking the challenge, what other goal are you going to give yourself for the month of November in the writing arena of your life?

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Love Is...

A Battlefield.

Katie, thanks for this!! (For those who didn't notice, last week, Katie mentioned that my Love Is... Friday's always have her singing Love is A Battlefield.)

And some days it sure seems like one, doesn't it? I'm deviating from the romantic relationships in our lives with this post, though even they can seem like a battlefield at times too, but this week has posed a different kind of war zone for my family and I find myself relying on unconditional love to get me through.

Now, first, let me define my definition of unconditional love. It's loving even before you achieve any measure of bonding. It's loving despite anything, and I do mean, anything, because that's what makes the world a happier place!

Well, this week, my family, which is mainly me since I'm the one home alone all day, each day, has been working on integrating these two little rescued bundles

Noelle a.k.a. Bella & Emma

with these two well-established, well-loved, and very set-in-their-ways furs

Tucker & Tippy

As a result, there has been a lot of hissing, spine curling, spitting, barking, and chasing going on around our home. And all in the midst of my annual juicing. Oh what amazing fun! So, yes, love is a battlefield quite literally in our household as of late, and it's only love that is getting me through it!!

And praise God, it seems to be working. There are far longer cease fires between the open fires as the days pass by and so far no eyeballs have been plucked out, either. All's good when the animals still have their sight, even if their brains seem to be MIA!

So when was the last time you were involved in a battlefield? Did you have fun making up, or in our case, celebrating (what we hope to be doing soon with our integrated pets--oh, please Lord, let it be soon!)? And what did you learn from the whole experience? A better understanding of a loved one? Patience? How to use earplugs? That perseverance pays off? Oh, the list could go on and on...

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Doctor Appointments Anyone?

This week and next pose several trips to doctor's offices for my family--me being the chauffeur. It made me think, since life is full of these mundane chores, why don't we see them as scenes in many novels?

Think about it, the tension is there, at least it is with my girls. With the exception of optometrist appointments, my girls stress endlessly over dental and family practitioner visits. Sitcoms do whole episodes on one visit to either of these lovely establishments, so the needed conflict and tension is definitely doable. So why don't we write these into our stories for authenticity of our characters being living, breathing creatures, and as a source of entertainment value as well?

I don't have the answers, I'm just wondering, as it seems to me it's been a very long time since I read such a scene, but I've certainly seen a lot of them on t.v. Just for the fun of it, I think I'm going to write one into my current w.i.p. and see just how entertaining I can make that loooooong waiting room scene with screaming babies, and old people nodding off with their heads bobbing, seeking a non-existent resting place, and youth fidgeting in those plastic-covered seats, and oh, don't forget the coughing, sputtering, blowing-their-nose clients only too happy to converse with you while you all crowd in the waiting room...waiting!

Just a thought, as my head feels as though it's about to explode on this chilly fall day.

What normally mundane living experience have you exaggerated beyond experience in your w.i.p. lately? Let's have fun sharing how we made them entertaining.

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm busy whipping up pies and stuffing a turkey, but I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Whether you're Canadian or not, may today bring you much fodder for your seasonal stories! And I don't mean the conflict matter, but rather the resolution kind. Blessing to you all!

Surrendering to Him,

P.S. We got our first frost last night. I feel strangely exhilarated by it! Perhaps we'll turn the fireplace on tonight and curl up to a good movie, or even better, a great book! Care to join me?