Welcome Aboard

Welcome to my first blog.
I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me, as I blog my thoughts and adventures on the way to being a published writer. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

31 December, 2010

The End of the Line

Well it's December 31st. The last day of the old year.
2010 was an excruciating year for me. I learned a lot, but I would not like to repeat the experience.
2010 also brought me some victories:
1. Finished my first young adult fantasy novel.
2. Finished and submitted a science fiction short story.
3. Completed a screenplay in 9 days. Wait, 9 days? When did that happen? Last night/this morning at 12:45 am. I tasked myself with the goal of finishing a screenplay by New Year's Eve. I gave myself two weeks to complete it, as I was on vacation from work.
I did it in 9 days. Full length, feature screenplay. I never dreamed I would be able to do something as extensive as a screenplay in 9 days, but I did. (Course now the competitive person in me is wondering if I can do one in 7 days.)
4. Finding out my blog has been read by readers all over the world.

Is it time for me to take a bow? No. I wasn't able to do any of the above without God pushing and encouraging me along the way.

This morning I sat in Panera with my spiral notebook, and my 2011 calendar, planning out my writing projects for the year.
I have to admit it was hard. Was I out of ideas? No, quite the contrary, I had too many that were crying "me first", "me first".

As I have decided that the script I just finished I will be submitting to the Nicholls fellowship (after editing of course), I need to write another script along that genre-young adult, dark drama.
After that I am still in the deciding mode. I'll pull my spiral and calendar back out in the morning and finalize my writing timeline for 2011. Tonight I'm chewing over the ideas I have.

New Year's Eve. I am so excited about the potential of 2011.

As I sit down tonight to watch back to back action movies (sci fi and regular action), in the back of my mind one high-concept, action screenplay is trying to get my attention. Pick me to write first, it says. Let's blow stuff up, it says. Nobody's done it this way before, it says.
C'mon, you know you wanna, it says. And you know what? It's right.
Here's wishing you and yours a happy New Year's Eve and looking forward to an action packed 2011.

29 December, 2010

Countdown to New Year's Eve

I think today is Wednesday. I spent all morning writing, and all afternoon reading about my writing craft. Wait...yes, according to my iPhone it is Wednesday the 29th of December. Two days until New Year's Eve.
Have I made any resolutions like: lose weight, go on a cruise, etc.?
No, nothing like that.
Do I have any exciting plans for New Year's Eve? That's still up in the air also. I am leaning toward an evening out listening to the Florida Orchestra. We'll see.

I wrote for four straight hours this morning and finished 21 script pages in the process. I am now into act three and have one or two more twists to throw at my main character before I get into the resolution.

2011. A brand new year full of hopes, dreams and possibilities. My calendar is filling up with writing projects. Already my mind is churning about the next writing (screenplay and novel) project I have raring to go in January.
I have the young adult fantasy novel I am almost done editing. I have the young adult sci fi novel that is 80% completed, that I am going to also write the screenplay for.

I have to revise the screenplay I am currently writing in order to submit it to upcoming screenplay contests.

I have a list of writing projects (novels and screenplays), that I would like to work on for 2011.

So much to do in 2011.
I will be committing these ideas to my 2011 desk calendar in order to organize my writing better.

2011. Definitely looking forward to it.

27 December, 2010

Half Way There

If you had asked me five days ago if it was possible for me to write a complete script in ten days I would have said no. 
After five days I am at the 50% mark. I am on track to be done in five more days. 
Was this my goal when I started out?Yes.  I challenged myself, since I'm on vacation from work and I knew I could devote 4-6 hours a day to my writing, to complete a script by New Year's Eve. 

I have heard of screenwriters completing a script in a week.  I think I'm almost there. That would be 15 pages a day. It's doable if you plop yourself in your chair and don't leave it, literally for at least 4 hours-typing at least 50 wpm. 
I plan to crank out another ten pages on my script tonight. 

Morning writing is done and my daughter and I are at the mall. She is spending gift card money. I picked up some cute rhinestone hoop earrings and a rhinestone princess ring (it's a crown).  
I am itching to get back to work on my script and I'm going to let the fire in me blaze. Straight to the finish line. 

24 December, 2010

December 24th

War of 1812 is piping through my skull candy in-ear buds right now. I love Tchaikovsky. I love to play it while writing. Now that I think about it. I’ve listened to classical music while writing since I began creatively writing in elementary school.
These days I don’t always listen to classical music while writing, sometimes its pop music, or Celtic music.

My morning screenplay writing session is done for today-daily writing goal obtained.
The evening writing session is to finish editing my novel and will commence once I have returned from playing my flute for Christmas Eve Service. And, once I have finished making the gingerbread bundt cake and taught my daughter how to make pumpkin pie.

Yesterday I was at Panera writing and noticed the guy at the table next to me was drawing landscapes. The cool thing is that he was sketching and then transferring them to his laptop. Technology loves art.
I love being an artist. Interpreting what God, the creator has made.

Today is Christmas Eve. So what biblical insight do I have for you today? My friend from high school, Rhonda Knebel-Wells, has been posting verses that coincide with the Christmas story daily this week on Facebook. I like that she posts the verse so you have to look it up and voila, you are reading your bible.

My heart is at peace and joy fills my soul. I have been blessed with being able to write every morning this week, and into the next. Though the screenplay I am determined to finish by December 31st (act one is done and I am well into act two), is dark, there is light coming. Before all hope is lost, though it seems there is nothing left to hope for. Jesus is the light brought into the world of His own free will.

My word for today and for tomorrow.
Merry Christmas and have a prosperous, joy-filled New Year. Focus on what God asks of you. Determine in your heart to turn neither from the left or the right (Joshua 1:7), and stay on the path (Psalm 119:105). Believe.

I have purposed in my heart to stay on the write (get it-play on words) path God has deemed for me. I am entering the screenplay I am currently writing in the Nicholls fellowship in January.
I am also submitting my novel to agents in January (my “final” revision will be done next week). I will begin writing a very complicated sci-fi screenplay in January that I am working out with much prayer and vision.

Jesus did the work God gave Him to do in 3 years. He did not seek His own glory or gain. He purposed in His heart to do the will of the Father.

God blessed us with the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and Jesus blessed us with His death and resurrection. Let us purpose in our hearts this Christmas to do what the Father has asked.
See you in 2011.

21 December, 2010

All I want for Christmas

Do you have a friend or family member who is a writer? Are you puzzled as to what to get them for Christmas? Well I've decided to do my own top ten list of things I, as a writer, would love to get for Christmas.

10. One year subscription to Writer's Digest. I already have a running one with The Writer.

9. $25.00 gift card to Panera Bread or Dunkin Donuts. For my morning and weekend writing sessions away from home.

8. Assorted colored gel pens (1mm), and thick, hard backed, spiral notebooks. The different color inks help with multiple edits as I like to print a hard copy and mark it up. The spiral notebooks are for writing ideas, short stories, separate chapters of novels, scenes for a screenplay, etc. Bound journals are not worth the effort of trying to write on the back of the page-truly frustrating and nothing kills creativity more than frustration.

7. Writing chair (desk chair). One designed for a minimum of six hours of usage. And made for tall people. (Trust me on this. There is a difference.)

6. $300.00 Visa gift card. So the writer (me) can take a three day writing retreat when my daughter is off on a youth retreat of her own.

5. A real writing desk. Black to match my bookshelves.
Long and wide enough to simultaneously hold my laptop (or desktop), writing spiral notebooks, note cards, NASA coffee mug/pen and pencil holder, study lamp, and action figures ( I promised Iron Man, Warmachine, Bumblebee and the rest that they could have space to continue their matches); with drawers and storage cabinets for my copies of scripts and rough drafts of novels.

4. Desktop computer with a 19 or 23 inch flat screen monitor. To alleviate the neck strain of trying to pick away at a laptop. Plus the keyboard of a desktop is much kinder to my typewriter-trained hands (raised with space between the keys), as my fast fingers get tongue-tied on a traditional laptop keyboard. I also notice I can consecutively type for much longer (six hours as compared to three to four) on a desktop as opposed to a laptop.

3. Producer's badge to the Austin Film Festival in 2011. To attend one of the best film festivals for screenwriters.

2. $2,500.00 To fund my writing research trip to Scotland.

1. A ticket to the academy awards in Los Angeles February 2011. So I can be refreshed, renewed, revitalized. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child to be able to attend the actual award's ceremony. Not to get autographs or take pictures with the stars. But to spend the evening among like-minded creative folk-sharing in their dreams and successes. Gleaning any information, advice, wisdom I can from them, and bringing it home to infuse into my own creative work, or receive inspiration for new work.

20 December, 2010

What you know, not what you see

John 14:1-3, Jesus is speaking to the disciples about not being afraid, and to believe in Him. That He is going away to prepare a place for them and that He will come back.
Why did Jesus go through all the trouble of telling them this? Because very soon He would be betrayed and crucified. His body would die and the disciples would begin to doubt. Jesus told them these things because He knew on the third day He would (and did) rise again. He spoke these words to them to give them hope and for them to reflect on in the coming dark days.
Application: Trust in what you know, not what you see.

Today I went and got a hot fudge brownie sundae-before dinner. It was wonderful. All that gooey hot fudge, that thick brownie topped with vanilla bean ice cream, whip cream, peanuts and cherries. Oh yes, I was in the zone.
It was a treat to myself, something I don't often do and should do.

I had just read part of a book on novel writing and was inspired by the end of the book interviews with best selling authors. The author of the book asked them the same questions but it was surprising how many had similar answers. Best way to improve as a writer: Read and write. Best way to succeed: Hard work and effort. Have I heard these before? Yes, but two of the authors were some I had fond memories of reading in my childhood: Dean Koontz (Phantoms gave me nightmares when I read it and Watchers is my favorite book of his), and Richard Matheson (I Am Legend -say no more). Robert Liparulo is a current author I am reading and I think he would agree that hard work and never giving up are key.
It helps to know that you are on the same wavelength so to speak.

Trust in what I know, not what I see. Many of the author's interviewed for the book struggled through what I am facing now-time to write, doubts about the quality of their work, rejection letters.

Application point from Jesus's words to the disciples and in effect, to us:
Whatever it is He has put upon your heart to do. That one thing that make you burst out in laughter, or smile, or makes your heart race. That one thing that consumes your waking thoughts (or like me you dream about your novel). That one thing you focus your monetary resources on- in the words of Yoda :don't try, do. Do it with your whole heart and your whole being. Otherwise what's the point?

No more of this "well I guess I'll give it a shot." What will it hurt to go all out for what God has placed on your heart? Will it be easy? No. Will you come against resistance? Yes at first, but thinking back to Joshua when he had the troops and the priests march around the walls of Jericho-that wasn't easy. He had to trust in what he was told, not an impenetrable wall he could see. And on the 6th day they gave a shout and the walls came down. Just like God said.

14 December, 2010

The chapter that wasn't

I saw the cutest thing the other day. Santa Cow at Chik-fil-a. I have a thing for cows. An obsession that may be out of control but there you have it. Cows aren't my favorite animal. That distinction belongs to black bears.
I have a picture of me with a Chik-fil-a cow, but for my daughter's sake (embarrassment) I won't post it.
My love of Chik-fil-a cows reminds me of how unique I am. God made me unique-fearfully and wonderfully.

I just finished reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Book two in the Hunger Games series. I got it on a Friday night and finished it on Saturday. I really enjoyed it but I felt something after reading the book similar to what I felt after reading my first novel.
She tells an amazing story and I can't wait to read book three, but I felt like it was shortened.
There were scenes and chapters that I think maybe were edited out for page count or reasons unknown to me. I had a thought on more than one occasion while reading her novel that I wanted to know a little more in a scene, or I wanted the chapter to go on a few more pages. I had questions to be answered, curiosity that was peaked but not satiated. And the ending happened too quickly for me.

Looking at my first novel. I felt like there were chapters missing; scenes that needed more work. When I read my novel I truly am transported into my heroinne's world. I feel what she feels. I get nervous and goosebumpy (my new word for the day), at certain parts.
But I have also found myself wishing there was more in a scene, additional chapter (s), etc.
As I go through another edit of my novel (I'm up to page 63 as of this morning's writing session), I am adding more to scenes that I feel need it. Making my characters feel so real you will think they are sitting right next to you telling you their story.

Looking ahead I know there are chapters that need to be added in Act 2 and Act 3 (screenplay terms) and I am adressing that. In my lunchtime writing session currently I am writing the chapters that go with Act3. I'm not writing in order for a reason. I want to write it as a stand alone, like a short story, then merge it in with the novel. I even handwrite the additional chapters, to further detach it from the novel.

The reason? That answer is a two-parter. First, I want to write these new chapters fresh without seeing what I wrote before or after where I plan to insert them. Second, these chapters are pivotal to my main character's development, to what caused a severe change in someone dear to her, and to set up the second and third (or fourth) novel. It's like when you see a character do something on TV or on the movie screen and you yell out "don't to it", or you cheer them on. That's what these scenes are for.

So is the rest of the novel uneventful. No. Its got plenty of teeth to it. These are scenes and chapters I didn't write at first because I thought there wasn't going to be room.
If its vital to the story, then there is always room. Like a hot fudge brownie sundae after dinner. It's not dinner without dessert.
I have another hour and a half of writing to accomplish today so stay tuned.

05 December, 2010

Commitment

What do Ballerinas and Oil painters have in common? A commitment to their craft. They recognize that talent is only one part of their success story. A commitment to being the best at their talent is the key.
What is required of that commitment? Well for a ballerina she (or he), has to recognize that spark of excitement she gets when she dances as being more than mild interest. Building upon that she will take classes in method and technique, and practice, practice, practice. Finally she will dare to dream the impossible and audition for that role that was made for her.

What about writers? Do we make commitments? If we want to be successful we do.
I spent the morning on my porch with a cup of hot tea, my bible and my journal. I read and prayed and journaled my thoughts, frustrations, desires, fears. Making decisions that needed to be made for my writing.

I need to be singularly focused like the ballerina. I know I am a talented writer. No it's not prideful to say so. Pride would say I am better than everyone. I am talented. My writing has made people laugh, and made them cry. I recognize that my talent is more than a mild interest. It is my passion. I have to write. Ask me to show you the napkins I've written stories on at restaurants back before my iPhone and digital recorder. Come look at the post it notes plastered on cork boards in my writing cave.

Talent, passion, desire. Now I need method.
As I go through the last revision of my novel before submitting it to an agent at the end of this month, I am pouring over books on POV and character, and grammar. I can tell a difference in my editing. I'm looking more closely at what I've written. Is it true to my characters, am I short-changing them? Do I like what I wrote? No, then I change it.

Editing is slow, but after I've edited a page and look back over it I like what I see.
Reading back over the novel I finished this summer I like what I'm seeing. It looks good. I didn't say perfect, but good. I feel more confident in it's ability to hold it's own when I submit it later this month.
Dance ballerina, dance.

26 November, 2010

The 3 Ds

Discouragement, Doubt, and Defeat.
As I sit typing today's blog I am feeling the effects of all the above.
Thanks but no thanks for my sci fi short story. You're not a winner from the other two contest entries. What is it published authors always say? Hey keep at it, don't give up. I got X number of rejection letters and I didn't quit and look at me now.

Sorry for the sarcasm. It's probably due to reading too many Young Adult end of the world novels back to back, or that wonderful call from my doctor's office at 7:30pm the day before Thanksgiving.
Back to the 3 Ds.

God gently nudges me at this point and asks me where my focus is. See He told me to write. I said write what? He said write what's in your heart. I'm still learning about that part of my anatomy so I figured I would write what I love to read and watch, hence the young adult fantasy and sci fi novels finished or in progress.

A dear woman named Barbara who co teaches the Sunday School I attend (sorry I can't call it Bible Fellowship-I'm old school), pointed out to me Psalm37:5-6 Commit your way to the Lord, trust Him and He will do it and make your righteousness shine like the sun.
Ok so trust in God, write what's in my heart and He will make a way.
So why am I in the 3Ds? And why do I have this urge to stockpile canned goods and batteries. Oh the end of the world books.

11 months into the year and I have sacrificed much for writing, yet still a gentle spirit tugs at my mind. Yes you have sacrificed. Yes you have written much. Now are you ready to write what's in your heart?
Does that mean I have to write in an entirely new genre? No, I think it means God wants my heart to show in my writing.
My writing needs to be 3D-Three dimensional.

When my character is hanging on to roots of a very very old tree for dear life, I want my heart to race. For if my heart is racing, not sure if she will survive or not, then I know I have reached that point. That depth and richness only a heart on fire can describe. Fire in its very nature spreads. This fire needs to spread from me the author to you the reader.
My heart is truly on fire.

23 November, 2010

What do I need?

Thanksgiving break from work, and I've already caused my bum to fall asleep in this chair. I love my dining room chairs but they're not the most comfortable. I've been pouring over my magazines from the Writer. I love that magazine. Been a subscriber for years.
Looking at my fiction writing I'm seeing a pattern. Errors or omissions that I persist in.
It's like you know there's a problem but you are absolutely clueless as to how to fix it. Like a nuclear reactor meltdown. Well, actually I would know how to fix that. Hmm. The point is I need help. I need some instruction.
I've been going through my most current Writer mags (not sure how January 2010 got in there, but it was a great issue), looking for a particular issue. It listed the summer workshops.
I plan to attack my needs in a two-fold way.
1. Books on writing novels.
2. Attend an extended summer writing workshop.
I'll need a scholarship for the summer writing program and if memory serves me correct, which it is today, many of them had December and January deadlines.
Books on writing. A trip to Borders or Amazon.com and I am overwhelmed.
Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

And the most important thing I need: another laptop. No longer a want but a need. I am a techie, and I have done everything I can to Frankenstein that laptop but it is soon to be morte (dead).

18 November, 2010

Word count and other matters

I've been averaging 4 hours of sleep per night for a week. No it's not insomnia, I'm sick. Antibiotics are finally kicking in but the other medicine is keeping me awake. Should be done with all in 9 more days.
Word count: let's see, my YA sci fi novel current word count-unknown. Children's fantasy word count-unknown. Why? Did I stop writing both. Nope. I still work on both daily. But, I'm handwriting both and I haven't uploaded (typed them into my laptop) in roughly two weeks. That's an omission I will take care of tonight after work. Love being able to type 80-85 wpm.

Other matters:
I'm still looking to go to the academy awards if anyone knows of someone that has an extra ticket.
Speaking of movies. Last night, er this morning at 3am, I was reading on moviebyte's website about some upcoming screenplay contests. One is offered by Amazon.com. Starts in January and you can win two ways- original screenplay, or revise a screenplay on the website that was submitted. I like both, and if I could also try my hand at being a script doctor that would be cool.

16 November, 2010

What am I reading?

Some of the Hollywood studios are putting the scripts to their movies online for the public to read or download. This is legal since its their property. I'm reading the script from the 3d animated movie called 9. I'm also reading Syd Field's screenwrting. I've got 14 days left to revise some writing and submit before a November 30th deadline. Good thing thanksgiving is coming up-a week off of work to get this done.

12 November, 2010

Novel no more

Yesterday was Veteran's day and I enjoyed a day off work.
Partially- I spent the first half doing things I can't normally get done during the week due to my work hours. I took some time to reassess where I am in relation to writing and to my goal. The second YA novel is going great, I'm probably one chapter away from act 2. I'm about to drop a serious bomb on my lead character's life. One she didn't see coming and one the reader also won't see coming.
Nanowrimo: well, that's the funny thing. I have been working away on that novel strictly for nanowrimo and I was yesterday, but I couldn't ignore what my inner voice was telling me- this is better as a screenplay. I chewed on it or awhile as I sat on my floor( yes I do that a lot), with my laptop and notebook open. I looked over it and turned to a blank page in my journal and wrote out a script outline for it.
Guess what? It does work as a script.
I don't like to work on two different formats of writing at the same time- writing a novel and writing a screenplay have two entirely differently on-page formats, but I have this feeling deep within me that I need to write this screenplay and get it done before Christmas.
I could use my 9 day thanksgiving break to write a really rough draft.
But, even though they are different formats, they are also different genres- the YA novel is sci fi and the script is a children's fantasy-Christian allegory.
I think I can do it. We'll see.

02 November, 2010

In 3s

Yesterday started nanowrimo, national novel writing month. And yes, I took the plunge. I had the greatest story idea all plotted out then I sat down at my laptop and drew a blank. This was bad, like drawing a blank on a math test bad.
I went to my treasure box-my list of ideas for books and devotionals, and scripts I want to write.
Nothing peeked my interest. What was wrong with the original idea? I didn't want to write it. I wasn't feeling it and I have learned if I am writing just to get published or just to get paid it kills my life spark, my creative self.
With that in mind I thought to myself "self, what would you write if it didn't matter?" I replied "a crazy fairy tale."
With that thought I wrote an intro paragraph that made me laugh. I typed 1004 words in a mere 45 minutes based on a girl around 8. Her character is so opposite of me I wonder where she came from, but I now have my novel for nanowrimo. I only need 40,000 words, since I'm shooting fora middle grades or a chapter book, but it's interesting to see what happens while I'm writing it this month.
3s
that was project number 2, project number one is the one I work on every morning: my new YA sci fi novel. It's going well. I'm being slow and deliberate with it on purpose.
3s
third project is a sci fi short story taken from a bad dream I had. I work on it during my lunch hour.
Are you confused? I'm not. A little known secret about me- I read more than one book at time. Right now I'm reading a sci fi book and I'm also reading a fantasy book. It's just me.
I enjoy switching hats during the day. It refreshes my tired mind and helps me be a good steward of all my free time.
And when do I work on nanowrimo? At night via my laptop. Typing 80-85 words a minute comes in real handy.

29 October, 2010

Pins and Needles

I'm sitting in front of the remains of my strawberry belgian waffle and I'm constantly checking my email before I head into work. Today they announce the winners of the Hint fiction contest and on Monday the winners of the short short story contest. Haven't received a you didn't win email so I'm hoping that is good. Stay tuned, I will keep you posted.

28 October, 2010

4 days

Nanowrimo starts in four days. In case you haven't heard of it, it stands for national novel writing month. Look up www.nanowrimo.org
and peruse their website. Four days to get ready to write a novel in one month. Think it's crazy? Well it is and it isn't. Some people need a deadline to motivate them to finish their novel. Other people need that community of fellow writers to encourage them and to share in cheering each other on. Having completed one novel I know what it feels like to be able to look at it and say- I wrote a novel. It is possible to do. It's made writing the next one go much smoother.
So what am I writing about? I'm returning to my sci fi roots. It will be in diary format.
My focus is on getting the words on the page and joining in on the madness that is nanowrimo.
I'm still working on my second YA novel, I'm 7500 words in the past month. Taking the writing of this one much slower-not trying to win any medals in the 100 yd. dash. I'm more concerned with telling the best story possible with the richest deepest characters possible.
Check out nanowrimo and see what you think. I remember as a child my mom working on a story at her typewriter. Bet she could write a novel next month.

26 October, 2010

Decisions We Make

I'm actually blogging from home this morning. Yes, I know I've been gone for awhile. Still working out the bugs in my writing schedule. This new novel is consuming me so much that I hate to use any free time on anything but it. And yet, my blog is dear to my heart also.
I took the day off of work. To get things done during the week, that I normally cannot, and to rest and reflect.
Right now I am trying to type with a sore right arm. Flu shots will do that to you.
Let's see where did I leave off?
Decisions we make... sounds ominous doesn't it?
Decisions based on Christ require faith.
Decisions not based on Him require bull-headedness.
I have come to enjoy my morning writing ritual. Being a night owl, I wasn't sure how that would work out, but it has. I always thought there were two reasons that kept me from writing: writer's block, and being a night owl with an early morning job to go to. Now I find that both of those were symptoms masking the real condition-fear.
What if they like my writing? What if they don't like my writing? What if I win the academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay of my own novel? Ok that last one is a real dream of mine.
If I get stuck in my writing, I whip out "The Write-Brain Workbook" by Bonnie Neubauer. It helps me focus on a really short bit of writing, and some of it has spring-boarded onto ideas I've been able to put into my idea book for later use.
Too tired to write, I head to Starbucks, or put on a pot of my favorite loose tea, crack open my writing journal (not the laptop), grab a gel pen and write. Within five minutes I'm back in my zone. And it's ok if I only get one page out. The point is being consistent.
Staying up late wanting to work on my writing, or a read a book in a genre I'm considering writing in, or reading a screenplay to get the format down. Ok, I haven't quite figured out what to do about that yet. I stayed up late Sunday and Monday night finishing "The Dead and The Gone", by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I really couldn't put it down. Didn't want to Sunday night but the clock reminded me I only had six hours before I had to get up and go to work so I had no choice but to finish it Monday. Young Adult Sci-Fi but not hardcore, more end of the world stuff.
Being a night owl I get my second wind around 10p.m. and it will burn if I let it, until 2a.m.
What I am finding irritating is when I have to leave off my writing in a place I don't want to leave off. Because the clock says "Hey Des, you need to be in your car headed to work now". Or it says "You have to go to bed. You'll be too tired to work tomorrow." Grrrr! It's not that I want to finish the writing the entire novel in one sitting, it's just that I need to finish a paragraph or complete a thought and I don't have time to. Then I end up scribbling down in handwriting, that is worse than chicken scratch, just so I can get to work, or go to bed.
Grrrr!

Had to take a deep breath there. Even as I work on this blog, my mind is thinking about the scene in the novel I'm working on, and what I want to happen next. My main character has just been dealt a heavy blow. Last night, or really 3 a.m. this morning, when I couldn't sleep because my mind was going a thousand miles a minute, I thought back to all the heavy blows I've been dealt just this year. How we deal with those shows our character, our true selves.
What does this have to do with decisions? I made a decision to spend my free time writing. I write in the mornings. I write during my lunch break. I write at night before bed ( or I do research, or read other novels). I've noticed a change in my mindset as a result and I like it. I feel more and more like a writer. And I am signing off now so I can get back to my novel writing.

17 October, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night.

Cliche-yes, but it leads me to the task at hand. While having dinner Friday night at my favorite restaurant- Macaroni Grill (the chicken and spinach and penne pasta were baked to perfection), I was having a conversation with my close friend. She shares my love of writing and reading. This led to a discussion of nanowrimo (national novel writing month). Check our their website at www.nanowrimo.org. Anyway, she's doing it this year and we were brainstorming ideas she could write about. Something clicked in me, maybe it was the proximity of the date to Halloween, buy I gasped and looked at her and said "Thanks, you just gave me another story idea."
Then I groaned for two reasons: 1. When do I write this (where on my list of books I'm writing should it fall? And 2. I know nothing about serial killers, or mapping out a murder mystery.

The answer to number one is easy-I have a list of writing projects (novels, short stories, screenplays) that have a timeline including a due date for each. I jot down the title, the estimated word count and then I divide the word count by the number of days (750 words per day divided by 65,000 words for example) then I know what date I need to be finished by.
I found out this summer I work better with a goal of X number of words per day, rather than say "write 2 hours today". So problem number 1 is solved.

Problem 2- serial killers. I would have to do the research, and do an extensive profile of my protagonist and antagonist (light and dark). This would include reading about serial killers and reading books already written in that vein.
I guess this is confession time. The research and the writing of this novel are going to scare me. Not as in I'm afraid to leave my home scared, but as in-give me nightmares. Even reading the book of Revelation scares me and I'm a believer!

There have been two authors who have given me nightmares- growing up it was Stephen King, and now Ted Dekker. I can't read them right before bed, and I can't read them at night with just my booklight on. Nope. Now I grew up reading Stephen King- he was one of mainstays in middle school. I read him along with the likes of Bradbury and Alan Dean Foster, when other kids were reading Judy Blume. I was a huge sci-fi and horror buff with a little Anne McAffrey's Dragon riders thrown in the mix. I love to get scared. I even wrote a short story in high school based on a scary dream I had about Frankenstein growing up. It scared my friends-the ones I let read it.
I want to write this but I'm gonna scare myself writing it. I will have to plan the research and the writing for daytime hours only.
Yeah, that should cure that, until I do what I always do-think about my work in progress while falling asleep. Guess I need to head out to walmart and get a couple of nightlights.

16 October, 2010

Impossible

I have thought impossible thoughts. I have dreamed impossible dreams. Now the Holy Spirit reminds me to pray for these impossibilities.
Hebrews 11:6-now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe He exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him.
I had dinner last night with a good friend of mine. She talked about faith. My faith needs to be stronger in the area of the impossible. What that verse means to me is that God wants me to the point where I turn it over to Him. I have many dreams-to be a published, full time writer, to be married and have more children...
Case in point- my desire to go to Scotland to do research on two novels. Estimated cost $1400-1700.00. Do I have the means to pay for it? Nope. Is this desire to go from God? Yes. Solution. Pray for Him to bless me with the funds or a plane ticket to go. What should I not do? I shouldn't do what I found myself falling into-the surely God didn't say, or didn't mean it mind game from Satan.
I thought about Joseph. How he had a vision of his future life. I often wondered while he was in prison, did he doubt his vision from God? He spent three years in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Yet it lead to the fulfillment of the vision (see Genesis 50:20).
Do I trust God with my impossibilities?

11 October, 2010

I didn't win

I'm currently drowning my sorrows in Vanilla wafers. The generic brand. So the results came in today and I didn't win. There was only a first place slot-no second or third. Really wish they had given all the entrants feedback. If you're gonna read it, jot down some notes and pass those, or your tally sheet on to us. Help me out here. I'm just as in the dark as I was before the contest.
Oh well.
7 vanilla wafers later and the sugar has started kicking in. Keep moving forward right?
I had all day at work today to chew over, in my mind, what went wrong- Or what I think went wrong. So here is my critical analysis of chapter one:
By DM (my alter ego).
Ahem,
In her debut novel, the author, Desiree Middleton, presents to us a new spin on the female heroine. Her character is forced into a situation not of her own doing and finds that any wrong move can be deadly. I felt moved in several sections of chapter one-I even found myself cheering for the heroine, but- the opening scene while attempting to frighten only makes us mildly uneasy. I would like to see the author revamp the beginning scene and make me feel terrified of the dark and the shocking event that takes place. Slow starts are like death in waiting for a novelist.
I look forward to seeing the author rework the scene-adding an intensity so sharp that I jump at the slightest noise.

Dear DM, thank you for your insight into my novel. I will go back and rewrite the opening scene. I will make it so intense you jump if there is a knock upon your door. The novel does need to push the suspense alot more. I will get to work immediately on that.

See it does help to talk to yourself. Now send those guys in the white coats away, I've got work to do.

10 October, 2010

Watercolors

My favorite class in high school was Adv. Art Honors. You had to have the teacher's permission to be in the class. That involved taking Art 1, and showing her a portfolio of your work. If she likes it, you were in. You could repeat the class yearly, which we all did.
In class we were able to dabble around with different media. I tried needlepoint, silk screen, pen and ink, and finally watercolors. Our senior year we had to pick one media and base our work on it. I chose watercolor. I excelled at it-won some awards and even had my art on display at school and places around town. There was a point I was working on a huge painting (size), and our teacher was out for the week. Prior to leaving she told me she wanted me to try mix media in my watercolor-she wanted me to add acrylic paint to my watercolor. She gave me basic instructions and turned me loose.
Her first words to me upon her return to class were-Stop! You're ruining it. It wasn't said in a mean way-after being under her instruction for 3 years I knew it was her personality. But what was I ruining? I has painted a picture of a guy in a boat, fishing in the middle of a storm so fierce, the sky was grey and the seas were choppy foam. My thought was to add the acrylic paint on top of the watercolor to emphasize the clouds and the waves. While painting I never liked the way it looked so I kept adding black here, and white there, until in frustration I was going to paint it all gray and move on to something else.
She came along side me and dipped my brush in white acrylic paint, put her hand over mine, and helped me paint a white-capped wave. She paitiently did this several times, then she removed her hand and watched me fix the rest of the waves.
My writing is alot like my painting, I need someone to come along side me and tell me to Stop! Or show me how to fix something.
I know there are areas in my first novel I need to fix, but I need an expert to show me the best way.
I tried joining a writer's group. Our assignment was to take the story of Cinderella and rewrite it. We had ten minutes. As the others gathered read what they had written, it dawned on me-wow Des, you really are way out there. They had all, to a person, rewritten it, continuing in the happily ever after vein.
What did I write-I made Cinderella a bully who harassed and beat up her sister to get the invitation to the ball. It is Cinderella who rules the household with an iron fist and makes the women cry.
Yeah...
So I'm still looking for a like-minded (insane), writing group or class that can help me fix what I know needs fixing, and catch things I never saw.

07 October, 2010

Salisbury Steak

I've been splitting my time between writing my second novel and revising my first.
When I looked over what I'd written so far on the second novel I noticed something. Depth and richness.
My first novel is like Salisbury steak. Now I love Salisbury steak and always will, but my second novel is more like t-bone steak (med. rare with sautéed mushrooms).
Both are good but the latter is richer in flavor and satisfies better.
I want my first novel to be t-bone steak too, so I'm doing another revision, I think this makes number three, before I give it to my friend to edit.
Second novel-
I am really enjoying this character even though I'm still in the developing the character-setting up the premise stage.
She's not a good girl. Me growing up, I looked for ways to avoid getting into trouble, to not let my awkwardness show. I was painfully shy and liked to hide out in the library in middle school. My lead character seeks out trouble and doesn't care what happens-until she pushes too far and that which she did not see coming hits her full force.
It's still a YA Fantasy though.
Since I'm home today with a sick teenager I'll be writing while she's napping. My goal today is to get thru act one on the new novel and add a scene in act three of the first novel.

05 October, 2010

Too tired

I spoke in a prior blog about having to adjust my writing schedule. I had to split my writing time up. Instead of doing all my writing at night, I now have to do the majority in the morning-but not every morning. I literally have to look at my writing schedule to see which morning I'm writing. It's a learning curve and eventually I'll have it committed to memory, but yesterday was my morning writing day and I was tired. I'd had a long emotionally draining week prior and come Monday morning there was nothing in me that even remotely wanted to write. Then this soft still voice spoke to me-go to starbucks and take you writing notebook.
So I listened. I sat for a few minutes looking at the writing I had done previously then I decided to work on more ideas. I thought about how hard it was growing up in my teens and how I felt like I didn't fit in anywhere, least of all at home.
I wrote down my ideas for this new ya novel. When I write my ideas I am in essence doing a synopsis. When I looked back over my synopsis, one sentence caught my eye.
I re-read it, then I got a rush of adrenaline. I flipped to the next available blank page and fleshed out that sentence into a story idea.
I looked over it and realized-hey that's got enough meat to it to make it a novel series.
Listening to the Holy Spirit and writing when I didn't want to led to a blessing.
A synopsis for a young adult novel and a synopsis for a three-four part young adult series.
God is way awesome!
Eek! When do I find the time to write all of this? God always makes a way.

29 September, 2010

Observations

Sitting in Starbucks people watching. I forgot to put my writing notebook in the car to work on my writing before work. My evening hours have become more time restrictive so I've decided to use the thirty minutes between dropping my daughter off at school and my reporting time to work to pop over to the local Starbucks. Right now I'm watching a grey-haired lady sitting outside-dressed in a black shirt and skirt. Even her belt is black. All black except for her hot pink 3 inch heels. Her legs are curled under her, one leg crossed over the other. Jewelry is not flashy. In her left hand is a cigarette ready for the grave. She snuffs it out to light her third one. She flicks her thumb and pinky together to jar the ashes from the end of her cigarette. She's a pro. 8am venti coffee and three cigarettes-think she's super charged?

7 minutes and I have to head into work. Note to self put my spiral notebook in the car tonight.

Can you picture cigarette lady? Fill in your own ideas of how you think her face looks. I couldn't see it, but I am thankful for her helping me write this morning.

24 September, 2010

Fuel

I have a week to start and complete a short story. Now I just found out about the contest two days ago. I feel compelled to enter. Number one, it’s free. Number two the prize is $5,000 and I can use the money. Plus I cut my teeth on writing by creating short stories in grade school through college.

So what’s the problem?

I can’t decide if I should take something I’ve already written and tweak it, give it a fresh perspective; change the premise. Or, if I should write something new.

In the past week my life has been on a huge emotional roller coaster. Feelings I thought were gone have resurfaced. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since a week ago today.

History tells me, and I proved it yesterday sitting on my patio overlooking the pond, that I should write about what I’m feeling. I wrote two pages in my journal yesterday trying to mind dump what I’m feeling. Wish I could say it helped but I know it wasn’t enough.

I looked over my journal writing from yesterday and I came across two lines that made me do a double take. The lines were full of such raw emotion. I thought wow, that’s exactly how I feel, and then the writer took over and I thought, hey that would be a good intro to a short story.

Even though the short story contest is a fiction contest, I will be basing it on the situation I am going through now. Of course, fiction has to
be larger than life so I will be “amp”ing up what the protagonist (lead character) will experience and how it all resolves itself.


Due to the emotional nature of this short story I feel draw to write outdoors. I do my deepest writing outside. Now as I am still under the weather today, it will have to be tomorrow. Beach or Park? Hmmm. Thinking the beach. I haven’t been in awhile and seeing God’s glory in the raging waves will be just what I need to fuel my writing.

21 September, 2010

Holding Pattern

Are you tired of living your life in a holding pattern? It's a term I became familiar with on a flight. Bad weather in our connecting city forced us into a holding pattern around a different city. We circled high above Philadelphia for hours, only to miss our connecting flight once we reached. New York. It turned out to be a blessing because we were able to see ground zero the next morning. Sitting up in that plane circling for hours, getting hungry, wanting to land and not being able to was so frustrating.
Is your life in a holding pattern? Hebrews 11:6 states-"Now without faith it is impossible to please God; for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him." HCSB
There's that faith word again. I know what it's like to have your entire life stuck in a holding pattern. You want change and it doesn't happen. Everyone else's life seems to be taking off. You want to move on but you feel you can't. You're stuck there. Good!
Yes, Good-" be still and know that I am God." This is the time for you to hear what God is trying to tell you and for you do make some life changes. It's also a time that God brings people into your life in preparation for you leaving the holding pattern, as many of us on the plane started up conversations with our neighbors and people in other rows. Faith that God has your best interest at heart no matter the initial pain.
But did you know that holding pattern is not forever. God lands the plane and tells you "Ok, you're ready to disembark." That's where your faith kicks in again. Are you still on the plane? What are you waiting for? The creator has opened the gates of Heaven wide to bless you. He is ready for you to step off that plane and into the wonderful plan He has for your life.
Not sure you can take that first step?
Listen to the words of Jesus (read them aloud) Mark 5:36 "Don't be afraid only believe." and Mark 9:23 "-everything is possible to the one who believes."
Believe and be free.

19 September, 2010

Forgiveness

This weekend I had to forgive someone for something pretty important. My Christian friends were divided into two camps: forgive, or make the person suffer. I was shocked by the latter. May I speak openly today about this. Slight detour from my writing. Christ is the only reason believers are going to Heaven. His forgiveness of our sins. Our model prayer from Jesus even says "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Jesus also stated if we don't forgive neither will our heavenly Father forgive us. Knowing the bible teaches this, why are some actions forgivable and others not? To not forgive is to live with festering hate and anger and machinations of revenge. I have had to forgive much in my life:
Abandonment, abuse, rapes.
I chose to forgive someone Saturday. Now he knows he has a long road ahead to earn back my trust but I was looking at Jesus' example and admonishment. I trust God so I did what I knew was the right thing. And for those of you Christians harboring festering, feelings of anger and hate- STOP IT. Let it go. Do you not know that hate and anger is from satan? Who is Lord in your life? Forget about what people will think or what other believers will say. Concern yourself with what Jesus will say. No matter what, He is the authority, the model, the hope of forgiveness.

13 September, 2010

Novel number two under way

Yes you read the title correctly. I have started writing my second young adult novel. I'm interspersing my time between another revision of my first novel and work on my second. Revision of my first novel is in the tertiary stage- I'm going chapter by chapter, checking for weak dialogue and poor description; fixing both. Polishing my novel in preparation for my public reading of it on Sunday the 19th.
My second novel. The lead character is a teenage girl with a criminal past (present), from a broken home. It's still fantasy and I hope it draws in a larger niche of the ya audience. Those who are living in one parent, or no parent homes; those who think mistakes of the past will haunt them forever. I hope it shows them it's ok to live. There will be some tender moments, some tissue to wipe away the tears moments, but there will also be laugh out loud moments. Strap yourselves in. It's gonna be a roller coaster ride.

11 September, 2010

Contest entry-done

Friday I submitted the first chapter of my novel to a contest for new writers. The winner will be announced October 11th. The prize-agents and publishers having access to the chapter. Meaning if they like it, they will contact the author. I almost didn't submit my entry. Why? Fear. Yep, that ugly word. I had spent alot of time and effort on it. I didn't want it rejected, especially since the contest did not have a winner last month-they didn't feel any of the writing submitted was ready. I didn't want to have to face rejection of my passion, my dream. I wasn't looking at it in a logical sense-that if it's not selected, it may just need more polishing. No, I was looking at it as if it means I'm no good as a writer. I've heard it said, and have read, that writers (artists), are more emotional and more sensitive than others. Makes sense. We have to see, and feel the world around us in order to make great works. But that emotional side can also paralyze us if we are not careful. So I prayed and pushed through my fear and submitted it. October 11th, we'll see what happens. In the meantime I am beginning my second revision of my novel and moving from synopsis to outline on my second. Stay tuned to hear if I won. Course if I do, you'll hear my scream of excitement 'round the world.

07 September, 2010

My train is stuck

I was stuck this weekend. I had finished the first revision of my novel. Had printed off chapter one to review for an upcoming contest, and was ready to start my new project. I had my genre picked out (sci fi), my target word count; I even had previously written the first 3200 words... But when it came time for me to write the outline and synopsis, my train came to a screeching halt. I came upon an impenetrable question:so what? The novel is about a female space cadet who gets to realize her dream, in a way she didn't expect. She encounters danger along the way...but? I don't have any real reason for anyone to want to read about her life, no great conflict or life challenge for her to overcome. Her train is stalled behind an avalanche of boulders. It's ok. The novel I just completed- the main characters stayed at their kitchen table for six months before the real story became alive and I could resume writing it. So instead of giving into frustration (too late). I'm going to move on to another project. Here is where it gets tricky. I just found out there is a young adult novel contest open from Oct to Dec 31st. The only catch is that it has to be set in contemporary mode. Meaning no knights, no spaceships. Can I write it? Yes, but I already know my passion is for sci fi and young adult fantasy. But...I do have some ideas for contemporary YA fiction. I could write one of those. And being blessed with being able to type 80 words a minute. It is quite doable. The other side of the coin if I were to flip one would be to write a sci fi script. The perfect idea came to me over the course of the 3 day weekend. That I could have done in a month and with another month for editing, it could feasibly be ready for submission by November. Oh what to do? I could conceivably write both simultaneously: alternate days of fiction for days of screenwrting. But I have a feeling that train leads to madness. Best stick to one writing project at a time. But which one?
Guess I better go put the pot of coffee on. I know me. Once I make my decision tonight, I'm gonna want to write for at least four hours straight. Stay tuned to see what my next project is.

03 September, 2010

Are you a Pharisee?

Saw a friend on my way home tonight. On the road. He opened his door to throw up. He's driving drunk again. He considers the peace He feels from drinking worth it. I thought to myself. How sad. He still doesn't get it. I wondered in the past who I could partner him with, what spiritual man that he could finally see the truth revealed. But then I realized I know more Pharisees than I do true believers. Pharisees were those people who would go around professing their faith, quoting scripture, and making themselves look important; while rebuking people they encountered for breaking any of the hundreds of laws they added to the original law. These people are still among us. You're reading a blog from someone who strived to be like that, because she thought that was how a follower of Christ acts. Now that she has seen the light and truth has been reveals to her she understands. Christ is merciful and forgiving. He sees our past mistakes and does not hold them against us. Rather, He meets us where we are and brings us up to Him. So a modern day Pharisee would look at a woman who walks into church with a baby, and no ring on her finger and pre-judge her. They would ooo and ahh at the baby and even point her to a great bible study, but have a deep meaningful relationship with her? Get to know her heart and come along side her, mentor her, help her with her struggles? No. She's a fallen woman. They would proudly say-"It's so wonderful she accepted Jesus as her Savior, but don't let her sit near your husband", or "She is a Christian, but she had a child out of wedlock...yes she does wonders in the children's ministry...but she's one of those women, you can't be a real friend with them, don't even think about dating or marrying one of them."
So completely opposite of Christ's example. He didn't puff himself up, or look down his nose at people. Look at what He did for the woman at the well. He showed her real love and compassion, and He didn't care WHO saw him.
Are you a Pharisee? Are you more concerned with quoting scripture, being seen on Sunday morning, making sure everyone knows how much you "sacrifice" for the church? Or are you willing to be real. Take in that pregnant teen. Partner with that single mom. Approach that person God has put on your heart, regardless of appearances in front of other Pharisees.
Let's see some real Christianity. I pray my friend meets a real Christian man that will be honest and loving toward him, and will parner with
him to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

31 August, 2010

Revision One is done

Revision One is complete. Phew. That took some time. Am I done? Is it ready to submit to agents? No. Along the way I cleared up some fuzzy areas, and deepened the tension and added conflict, but I also found some areas I want to expand further. One thing is for certain. I gave it one gigantic cliff hanger. The plan is that this is book one of a three part series. Do I start writing the second book? No. Authors and agents agree: wait until you have sold the first one. Have a synopsis and outline ready of the remaining books in the series, but that's all. So now what? What's the plan? Well first I continue reading young adult fantasy novels to help me refine mine. Second I learn how to write a query letter for a novel and them write and submit some. Third I revise again my chapter one to enter in an upcoming contest, and then I let my novel sit for thirty days while I work on another writing project. What that project is I haven't decided yet, but I will plan it out and commit to it, just like I did with first novel. One thing I know: it will be a work of fiction- whether novel or screenplay. This is so exciting. I'm actually jumping up and down trying to decide what world and characters I will create next.
Oh and in one of my previous blogs I talked about not having an answer for God. Well I gave Him one this morning. The answer is yes.

30 August, 2010

Revision One is almost in the bag

Tonight's entry will be brief. I'm battling the beginnings of a migraine.I am now on the eve of finishing the first revision of my first novel. Just in time to, because there is a young adult fiction contest with a deadline of Sept. 10th coming up. They only require chapter one so that gives me time to go back and polish chapter one until it shines and it sings. Writing feels do good. Like an endorphin rush. It's so fulfilling to do what you are created for.

29 August, 2010

Love language

Gary Chapman has a book called "The 5 love languages". You can find out your love language and figure out your spouse's (or future spouse's), or children's. My daughter's is quality time. Hence the lateness of my blog tonight. We just spent the past hour at the dining room table cutting out laminated work for my classroom, and talking. I got to hear her heart. I really needed to hear her and she listened to me. She asked me about some painful experiences of my past and I shared them with her. I also encouraged her to continue to seek Jesus and reminded her of how much He loves her. I enjoy what I'm starting to call our table conversations. Just sitting at the dining room table after dinner or just to hang out, and hear from my blossoming, maturing teen. Neither I or my daughter like the assault approach. The "tell me what's going on and do it now!" tactic. We prefer to ease into it. My love language is two-fold and I have learned to adjust myself to meet my daughter's love language. 
Try it with someone close to you. Try and figure out their love language. If you get stumped, just ask them if they've taken the test by Gary Chapman and what the result was. If not, it's a great opportunity for you to find out your love language and theirs as well.
Oh, what are my love languages?  Acts of service and quality time. I'd much rather be surprised by having my car detailed and the oil changed (act of service), than a diamond tennis bracelet. A night at the opera, or a spontaneous cruise(quality time),  than a bouquet of flowers.
We're each created differently. It helps to know how to show love. 

28 August, 2010

Missed Opportunities

Saturday night football game:
It's rainy but we have an overhang over the bleachers. Seeing alot of missed opportunities tonight. How many of us have experienced the same thing in our lives? God is the God of second chances. Friday night my sister helped me celebrate the completion of my first novel. What does that have to do with missed opportunities and second chances? I'm getting there. 1998 was when I felt God moving me in the direction of being a writer. I had written things before, and was a reporter and staff columnist in college, but this was the first time I had that real burning desire. A hunger for writing. What did I do? I went out and got a word processor and wrote some children's short stories. Then I listened to doubt and put my writing on hold and moved to Florida. That was 12 years ago. I now have a crate full of writing I've done over the years, but didn't attempt to publish any of it. Fast forward to this year. Once again, that burning desire to be a writer was put on my heart, and this time I answered. Hence the celebration last night. God's second chance. I now have a completed novel that I am revising. I am glad God gave me this second chance. Is there something in your life you wish you had another chance at? You do. Have faith and get out there.

25 August, 2010

I don't have the answer

I'm driving down the interstate, taking my daughter to school this morning. In my mind I'm offering praises to God. Then I see something while I'm driving and God poses a question to me. And I couldn't answer it. I'm not posting the question here because it's such a good question I want to use it in the next screenplay I write. It's the kind of question that leads people to deep reflection and awareness. The kind of question that leads to a dramatic life change. Leads people to move to far away countries with only the clothes on their back. A question that cannot be ignored, but I know once I answer it...  my life is going to shift radically. 
Maybe that's why I haven't given God an answer yet- I know deep in my spirit it's going to take me down a path I have never been before. Will I answer it? Yes. I know Jeremiah 29:11"for I know the plans I have for you, thus saith the Lord..." the answer itself is multifaceted, and will take some digging. But I trust God and so I will answer Him. 

24 August, 2010

The Right Choice

Luke 10:41-42

41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her. ” (HCSB)
I just finished my take home work for school tomorrow. It was one of the best first days of school I've had in the five years I've been teaching. I had a choice to make tonight. I could have chosen an activity that was church-related, but today was the first day at a new school for my daughter, and I knew if I worked this event I would have had to drop my daughter off at home with a microwave dinner and not had a chance to hear about her day, help with her homework, and do my take home work. I know there are some people who will criticize my lack of attendance, but I chose the better path. Family time first. It's easy to get busy and try to put it under the blanket of good deeds. But serving and loving your family, that has an eternal impact on your children, their children through your example, and so on. I'm glad I was able to spend time listening to my daughter talk about her day, planning her lunch menu with her, making dinner. That was the right choice.

23 August, 2010

Tired

I'm staring at a blank screen on my iPhone. I literally forgot what I was doing. The result of no vacation, no holiday. Yep. Sabbath. A day of rest as God instructed. Some people take sabbaticals or leave of absence from their job for a year or more. I'm learning to take God seriously in regards to sabbath. Sunday: a day of worship and a day of rest for me. How do I rest? Nap, read a book, go for a walk outdoors. Also festivals of celebration were held. Finishing a novel is cause for celebration. Starting a new job is cause for celebration. I am at the point where I need to take some time and get away. Recharge my batteries; celebrate my novel. Rest and celebration. Of course being a writer, I want to find a spot that will stimulate my creativity. A teacher at my former school gave me a copy of her AAA Florida travel book. I'm looking forward to perusing it and finding the perfect: relaxation, celebration, creative spot. Details later...

22 August, 2010

Fixed point in time

I've been watching alot of Dr. Who. He's a time traveller. One thing he says when someone asks him why he can't go back and change something. Is-"it's a fixed point in time.". Meaning it can't be changed. Thinking about my novel, there are several times the heroinne wishes she could go back and undo circumstances or prevent events from happening, but they are a fixed point in time and are for her benefit. In my life there are events that happened beyond my control that I wish I could go back and stop from happening. However what I have come to understand is that these are fixed points in time. They have a purpose and yes, I have grown from them. The bible says in Romans 8:28 "All things work together..." 
As I prepare to start my next novel  I'm contemplating ways to add some of these life experiences. Stay tuned as the journey continues.   

20 August, 2010

Reflection

When I started typing this into my iPhone, it wanted to spell rejection not reflection (touch screen). I want to do a reflection of my first week at my new school and you know what? Rejection is correct. Rejection at one school led to acceptance at another my new school. When change happens we don't always understand why, even if it wasn't our decision. Remember God is not bound by time. He sees the past, present, and future all at the same time. I had a rough start today. The a/c has been sporadic at my apt since Sunday so I've not been sleeping well. I had to get adjusted to a new school, new faculty, new students. Parent's night, and so today I go into my room-did I mention I have 4 windows in my room that face the trees and the large pond by the side parking lot. Ok so I go to sit down and slip straight off chair onto the floor. Whomp! Then my printer was acting wonky and I started crying. Oh, I love my new school and they've been spoiling me since day one, but I was missing my friends at my former school. I needed to have that cry. Rejection without cause us hard but acceptance into something beautiful that God arranged for me is amazing. So I'm relaxed and happy and yes I am so looking forward to school officially starting on Tuesday-and looking forward to editing my novel this weekend. Thanks goes to God for opening a door for me and pushing me to say yes.

18 August, 2010

101

Miss Middleton just spent twelve hours at work due to open house. As a result I, her subconscious, will be writing tonight's blog.
101. This blog has reached a milestone. 101 Blog entries. Wow! I am amazed. I had (Desiree), had no idea there was that much writing in me. I guess you never know what you are capable of unless you step out there, trust God and try. Thank you my loyal readers. I look forward to many more blogs with you as I continue my journey to being a published writer.

16 August, 2010

First day back. Now what?

Today was my first day back. Preplanning for teachers. New school for me. Excited and nervous are how I felt this morning. Everything turned out wonderful and better than I could have imagined. I have one completed novel, and now what? What do I write next? I didn't have an answer for that so I prayed. God said what He always has-just write. Write what's in your heart to write. And therein lies the question. What is in my heart to write? That Scottish novel? Yeah, but I kinna think I need to be doing research there(say it with a Scottish accent love). Ok so that one will have to wait. What else? Hmm. Hollywood is buying sci fi scripts. Have one sci fi screenplay completed, and two great ideas for others. One I've already started, the other is a brand new idea; something that's never been done before. Or I could start work on another young adult novel, or get started on that CGI short film.
So many possibilities. I learned this summer: commit my way to the Lord. Know that He will help me and answer when I call, decide on what I want to write, commit to it, plan it out and stick to the schedule. By doing all the above I was able to write my first novel. Now it's time to pray, consider God's wisdom and get to it.

15 August, 2010

87 degrees

It's 87 degrees inside my apt. right now and the outside temp. is 91 degrees. I called at 8:30am and 5 hours later still no a/c. My little desk fan only circulates the hot air. I actually opened the patio door and back window hoping they would let in some sort of a breeze. It hasn't. My calls to the emergency maintenance number get answered but the maintenance guy doesn't call me back. They assure me he is getting his paged and calling them. Irritating-yes, I know it will get fixed today. I have faith, but I started wondering about when people die and go to- you know: h, e, double hockey sticks, also called  hades. (I use hades instead of the other word because some filters will block the content if  I don't). Knowing  it's God's desire that none should perish, why do people reject Jesus and choose to go there? What is it like? I'm sitting in an almost 90 degree apt and I've already gone out to the car to sit in the a/c. I can only imagine that place: eternal darkness, the cries of other tortured souls, shrieks of agony and suffering, unimaginable pain and torture, searing heat like sticking your head in a 500 degree oven for fourteen hours, unable to remove it. And of course your companions for all eternity-demons. For all eternity. They hate God, Jesus and us, His creation.  
Hey, the maintenance guy called- he's on his way. Question for you? Who do you know that is unsaved, that you haven't shared the gospel message with? I'm speaking to myself also. Is hades, where you want them to spend eternity, forever, with no possibility of parole? Does it matter to you that they are going to spend forever in darkness and torment? Does it bother you deep in your gut? Yes? Good. What can we do about it? Ask the Holy Spirit to embolden us and give us wisdom to speak the gospel, the truth. Ask God to bring us opportunities to share ( also called witnessing). Ask Jesus to keep us mindful of the price He paid and how much we need to share that gift with those who have not. 
Start this week. Share Jesus with someone. Afraid-ask for courage. And remember where they will spend eternity if you or I don't follow our command from Jesus.

13 August, 2010

Question

Tonight I have a question for you. Do you see people as who they really are, or do you come with a truckload of prejudices and slap them on that person? I'm just wondering why we don't take the time to look at another person the way God does. Instead we come with our own baggage and strap them on the poor person before tossing them into the ocean. Curious.

12 August, 2010

What If?

Just a quick blog tonight. I've spent a great deal of today running around and in meetings and such. My summer break has come to a close. There is a Perseid meteor shower at midnight that I am staying up for. I did go for a walk at 9pm, mistakenly thinking I could see it now, but I did catch a view of Venus. My telescope broken and not replaced yet, I had to look at it with my unaided eye. Still the brightest thing in the western sky. As I'm standing looking at Venus and all the constellations out tonight, it reminds me of how small I am. And it generated some story ideas. Science fiction is my first love. I own many first editions (paperbacks) from some of the giants like Bradbury, Asimov, Vogt, Pohl. Tonight I came up with some "what ifs". What ifs are how novelists generate story ideas. What if aliens come and invade and enslave the Earth?-"Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clark. What if someone erases your memory and gives you a brand new identity, but tries to kill you when you start remembering?-"We can remember it for you wholesale." by Philip K. Dick, they "loosely based the movie Total Recall on it. I'm not endorsing that movie btw.
Many of Phillip's short stories were turned into films-minority report, paycheck, bladerunner.
The idea is to start with a what if. I got a great what if just from looking at Venus, and a reminder about a novel/screenplay I wanted to write that is science fiction.
While I'm waiting for midnight to roll around I'm putting on a pot of decaf and cracking open the lap top. Tonight's goal-20 pages of retyping my editing.

11 August, 2010

Compromise

"If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him..." 1John 2:15 (my paraphrase). I picked up a book from the library. Recommended on a Christian writer's website. He said this book was written by a Christian and said it was amazing; that it tells the story of a man's journey in faith to God. I couldn't wait to read it. Started off good: overseas missionary, questioning his decision, wasn't a prayed over decision. Then I get to page 22 or 23, and the guy is having a discussion with someone and there in print was a very crude curse word. I slammed the book shut. It will be returned to the library today.
When did Christians believe it was okay to follow the world? I wonder if this author, or website owner were face to face with Jesus today would they turn to Him and spit out this vomitous curse word?
When did they loose the ability to see they need to be separate from the world? Can you imagine your pastor getting up on Sunday morning and launching into a string of curse words from the pulpit? Now these authors would argue that "they" are not saying it, their characters are. They would also say they use it to provide realism to their unsaved characters in their writing. I disagree. Thousands of words in the English language and your mind can only grasp a few curse words? If you take the profanity out guess what? It doesn't hinder your story. I actually did that as an experiment with a screenplay of a popular movie I bought. I took a black permanent marker and crossed out and either omitted or replaced all the curse words and used words with more depth and meaning, while still remaining true to the character. It worked.
In the novel I refuse to read further, the author had already established the vile nature of this character, ten pages ago without using curse words. So why add them now? Why add them at all? Christian writers are at the front lines of Spititual battle. Let's show our loyalties are fixed 100% on Jesus.

10 August, 2010

Change is good

Tomorrow I will be stepping into my new classroom for the second time. The first time was during a workshop and I didn't know at the time it was to be my future classroom, or my future school. I received some disappointing news from a friend at my former job today about changes there, and this job opening at this new school for me was right for me. I'd been at my former school three years. Three years of building friendships with teachers and staff; three years of getting to know students and teach siblings. It's hard. I've had a summer of reflection and change as a person through the power of Christ. The woman that is preparing to go back to work as a teacher is not the same person. That's not to say I'm not sad. I am. Saying goodbye is hard; forming new friendships as much so. Seems like so little a thing but God wants us to bring even the little things to Him. I bring to Him my fear of the unknown, my fear of change, and my worry about the negative change in my finances and I remember: I am His sheep. He is my shepherd. Jehovah Rohi.

09 August, 2010

I went to a teacher workshop today. As part of the ice breaker we broke up into pairs and had 1 minute to share some facts about us, then we switched turns.
My partner who I will call Jane Doe says to me -"Hi, I'm Jane Doe and I'm unhappily married." She went on to say some other things and then we had to switch. I was able to ask her to clarify her statement which she did, but to respect her privacy I will not give details here. But let me ask you-are you happy?
What would make her happy she says is to get a divorce. I can't think of a single one of my friends who has gone through a divorce that would agree to this statement. Hindsight is 20/20.
I'm not a twenty year veteran of marriage or anything. I still have yet to wear a wedding gown, or cut a wedding cake, or look upon a diamond engagement ring on my finger and not in a store window. (And if by chance my future husband reads this then I would wear whatever ring (size 7 1/2) you get me. Seriously I would. But if you want to know I'd love a 1/4 or 1/2 carat emerald cut diamond set in platinum. Never been one of those 2-5carat diamond ring women. I prefer small and elegant). Sorry being random again. What was I talking about? Oh yeah I'm about to give some marriage advice. How can I do this you say? Well I go straight to the authority-The BIBLE. The bible talks alot about trusting God, about being content in your circumstances, and being like Jesus. The verses I'm listing here, I'm going to put on one of my elegant, girly notecards, and give to her tomorrow. Will she read them. I think so. I shared the fact that I was a Christian with her and she said she was also. Evenso, partner with me in praying for her.
Ready, here are the verses.
1. 1Peter 3:1-2 wives submit to your husband even if he is not walking with God he can be won over by how you live.
2. Galatians 5:22 Fruits of the Spirit. If you keep these close to your heart and be mindful of them before you speak or act it's amazing.
3. 1Corinthians 13:1-13. The love chapter. Make these words come alive in your heart, in your speech, in your actions. Don't feel like it but
know you should, ask Jesus to help you.
4. Galatians 6:9 Don't give up. Keep doing good-harvest is coming.
Will any of this be easy? No. Is any of it impossible? No, as Jesus said in Mark 9:23 "Everything is possible to the one who believes."

08 August, 2010

I have nothing to say

I have nothing to say. Well, maybe just a little. My summer vacation from teaching is winding down and I am stressed. Stressed about starting at a new school. Stressed about finishing the first revision of my novel and getting it critiqued while I submit a synopsis to agents-go fishing. Stressed about how I'm going to get all these writing projects done. Stressed about whether or not my life is going in the direction God wants it to. Did I hear Him correctly? So I did the only thing that would help.I got on my knees at the edge of my bed and I poured it all out to Jesus. He already knows what's in our heart, but it makes a huge difference when we vocalize what's going on with us internally. That was ten minutes ago and I have "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding..." Philippians 4:7
Armed with that peace I am ready to tackle another night of editing and revising my novel, my eyes firmly fixed on what is "the hope of His calling..." Ephesians 1:18. Be blessed.

07 August, 2010

Praying Big Prayers

I'm learning to pray big prayers. Last night I went to a gathering of Christian singles. Christian rock praise music, and a great testimony from a woman who was changed by opening up. She reminded me to trust and have faith. My singles' pastor preached a few weeks ago about believing and praying for the impossible. Don't be afraid to. I've been taking him up in that and praying some big prayers. What really spoke to my heart last night was the fact that when she opened up, she started sharing her needs with others. Well I'm going to do that now. Unashamedly. I have two writing needs. The first is for a $200.00 gift certificate to IKEA. I would like to buy a bigger writing desk. One I can put my laptop, and printed manuscript, and thesaurus on all at the same time, as well as an ergonomic chair. Not to delve to far into backstory but in 2001, I was involved in a serious car accident. I got hit by a conversion van on the driver's side door and wheel of my car. The paramedics and ER staff were amazed. They kept telling me I should have died. My neck bent in half from the force of impact and I should have died. God had other plans. My injuries are still apparent and as I write today's blog I feel it. Bending my head down too long at a desk that's too short and the additional pull on my neck from sitting in the wrong chair. Today is a pain day, but still I write.
The second prayer is for $1700.00 to take a trip to Scotland for 10 days to do research for two upcoming novels. Yes that is a lot of money, but I know God wants me to do it, so I know He will put it on someone or someones heart(s) to contribute. I will be acknowledging my donor(s) in my first published novel. Phew! I did it. Opened up and shared my need.
May God richly bless those who answer to my need and those who pray for someone to answer.

06 August, 2010

Funny Day

Funny day
I went to bed last night at 12 am. My alarm was set for 7am. The wakeup plan-bible study for an hour, followed by four hours of editing my novel. Only one problem- I didn't fall asleep at midnight. 1am rolled around with me sleepy but unable to sleep. I reset the alarm for 8am, and figured while I was up I would pray for people in my life and or dear to my heart. 2am and I am wide awake. I'm getting frustrated because I have alot of work planned for today. I go to the bathroom to pop a benadryl. I pray some more and grab my iPhone. I figured the benadryl will kick in, in about 15 minutes and I'll drift off to sleep. I played checkers, and solitaire and still not sleepy.
3 am. I distinctly remember screaming (softy so I don't freak out my neighbors). No! I'm still wide awake. I have got to get some sleep. Tomorrow (now today), is too important of a writing day for me. I go to my TV.com app and start watching a star trek rerun-where Kirk first meets Khan.
3:30am. Now I fall asleep. Wide awake at 8am, I read through my email devotionals, then I go make my coffee and breakfast and have my quiet time. My brain is mush there is nothing creative in it, so I get to work on cleaning. I grab a box, that I'm almost ashamed to say, that I haven't opened in at least four years. Lots of old photos. A letter from my dad. My grandmothers pearls. It took me two and a half hours to go through that box. Reminiscing. My grandmother's pearls are a reminder of God setting into motion events in my life, in preparation for a promise, a vision that was to come. I have to get one strand fixed but the pearls are beautiful.
I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with my daughter. Reminiscing with her.
I didn't accomplish what I thought was important today, but something greater. A chance to reflect on God's goodness and time with my daughter.

05 August, 2010

Revision is hard work

I've just spent two and a half hours working on revising my novel. My vision is blurry and my neck hurts from being stooped over my manuscript. It's time for my lunch break and mental break. I feel like I've worked twice as long. I added four chapters today. I rewrote an entire scene, and added some peril where it was lacking. Thing of it is, I'm not even halfway through my novel. I reached a point this morning where I couldn't fix a key scene. I threw up my hands, got up from my kitchen table, and flopped down on my couch. I said-Lord I can't fix it. I gave it to Jesus. As soon as I did, a new scene came to mind. I jotted it down-problem fixed.
Reminds me that in my life, and even in your life, Jesus is the problem fixer if we would just step away and give it to Him.
Now I'm going to have an hour and a half lunch, watch a little Dr. Who during, and then type in my corrections and revisions so far.
Feels good to be a writer. Jesus did some major revisions in my life to get me to this point. I'm glad He did.

04 August, 2010

Fix a flat

Fix a flat is one of the neatest inventions. It pumps this foamy stuff into your flat tire so you can drive on the tire long enough to get the tire fixed. I'm home from orchestra rehearsal and I'm replacing the flat tire in Chapter 9-10, with a permanent replacement. I had to use the flat tire only long enough to get me to where I was going, chapter 11, and to finish my book. The thing about editing is it allows you to go back in and replace whatever you need to. In this case I just added a page of writing in between chapters 9&10. The flat tire required extensive work. The worst thing a writer can do is leave a foamy tire in there and send it off to the publisher thinking no one will notice. But just like the foamy tire that you can't drive on forever, your readers will notice.
So in my editing tonight I took a crucial scene and added more description. I increased the tension and the anxiety level. Now it's riding on a proper tire.

03 August, 2010

Faith without Doubting

I woke up early this morning with this feeling of doubt and uncertainty. Nothing new, same stuff I've been hearing since childhood, but with a twist. This time one sentence was added: God lied to you. He's not going to keep His promise He made to you.
About two years ago July 2008, God gave me a vision about my future and He's been backing it up with scripture and events ever since.
So on top of old feelings of being unworthy or even wanted, I now had this thrown at me. My usual response is to dismiss it as lies from Satan. But see I've been reading my bible with new eyes. This morning during my quiet time I wrote down all the lies Satan has been telling me on one side of the paper and then I opened my bible and concordance and followed Jesus' example. I countered with the word of God and wrote it down on the other side of the paper. When Satan comes after you don't use your own words, crush his lies with God's truth.
Satan tell you you are dirty and used? Speak God's word from Acts 10:15, or 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Satan tell you you are unworthy? Speak God's word from John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11.
Satan tell you the worst lie of all that God lied to you? Speak God's word from Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18.
Write down these verses and pray them outloud. They are part of our armor of God.
Knowing that God cannot lie means you can count on Him always.
I spent some time at Panera today after my morning quiet time, editing my novel. I worked on the first ten chapters. I even ended up adding a chapter. I have faith without doubt that I will be a published author because that is part of the plan God has for my life. If I didn't believe Him then I'm wasting my time. It was Jesus' trust and faith in God that led Him to die on the cross for our sins, knowing He would rise again in three days. It is my faith in Jesus that I am a new creation (2corinthians 5:17), that drives me to live this "new life" in honor to God.
I am to the point where I am praying big prayers. I want to see my writing touch the hearts of those misguided by Satan, those worn out and seeking a Savior. I want to travel to Scotland to do research on my next novel and spread the message of Jesus in every hotel, and cafe I go to there. Travel into London doing the same thing.
If I look at my meager salary as a teacher I am missing the point. God is a supernatural God. If He has placed this desire on my heart then all I need do is pack when the time comes. He will provide. As Jesus said in Matthew 21:21 "Only have faith and do not doubt..."

02 August, 2010

11:15 pm

It's 11:15 pm and I am past my nightly deadline. Wait, I can explain. I've been having mother daughter time. My daughter is going to be a junior in high school in a few weeks. So when I have the chance to spend the day with her I take it.
As such I am settling in to spend the next hour making her laugh before I drift off to sleep. 7am and I will be back in the editing seat for my novel.

01 August, 2010

Prologues and Rice Candy

I'm going through the first revision of my novel. Yesterday I took my printed copy and divided it into chapters (78 to be exact).
I read my first paragraph in chapter one and decided I don't like it as an entry point. Solution: prologue. Writing books differ on the use of a prologue. Some like it, some don't. TV shows use it all the time. It's what you see in the first five minutes. Fantasy books use prologue so I am in good company giving my novel one.
My prologue straps you into the rollercoaster, climbs up the hill and then quickly throws you into the first loop. It's good. And seeing my entire novel in print, all 189 pages, is a testimony to my God and the talent He created me with. I have two weeks before I head back into the classroom. Two weeks to knock out at least one complete revision.
Which brings me to my second point ((it actually doesn't but I'm being random me again), rice candy.
In the orchestra break room today was a bag with little squares of I don't know what. I was curious and lover of food that I am, I tried one. Yum!!
It had a nutty, sweet crunchy taste. One of our trombone players had friends (who were also musicians), visiting from Japan and they brought these to share with us. The one I ate turned out to be a black sugar rice candy. The crunchyness I noticed was the rice. Think of a mini mini brown rice crispy treat with a few toasted nuts. Then I tried the white sugar one. That one was delicious also. Tasted like peanut butter candy. I even tried the seaweed one. Definately a good one for sushi lovers. I didn't try the green tea one but she told me to take a bunch home, which I did. I asked her where I could get some here and she told me they don't sell it here (USA). Just like my Greek candy I can't get it in America. Why!!!
I can see now I have but one choice. I am going to have to do a world food tour. Bring an extra suitcase to carry home all the delicacies I find. Just think of all the writing I can do while exploring new cultures. The evangelizing I can do. Spreading the love of Jesus around the world. I would start in a place that's been in my heart for some time now- the United Kingdom.

31 July, 2010

Out with the old

I've been doing a major cleaning project in my home. Something God's been prodding me to do for three years, I'm now doing it.
It's been a cleansing process and a reminder of my past life: what was important to me, how much stuff I've accumulated. Yesterday I took five boxes of books to Goodwill and a bag of clothing. I've worn out my poor paper shredder, and I'm going through boxes from my move two years ago.
It feels good to purge all this unnecessary junk. And it's been rewarding. I was going through some papers and I found a bank envelope. The kind they give you at the drive thru teller. I thought to myself as I prepared to throw it away: " wouldn't it be funny if there was money in it?" I open it out of curiosity and shrieked. There was money in it. $40.00.
I said Praise the Lord I can put gas in my car next month.
Due to changing schools I find myself short a week's pay next month. Ouch you say. God just showed me how He blesses obedience.
So right now I'm going back in and finishing my cleaning goal for the day.
He truly is faithful.

30 July, 2010

Too much

I woke up this morning at 10 am. Two and a half hours later than my usual summer wake up time.
As a result I've been behind the eight ball all day. I know I'm exhausted from being out in the 100 degree weather all week and it caught up with me, but I needed those hours in waking mode not sleeping mode.
I did get my morning quiet time in. More treasures from Mark chapter 1.
I got the first draft of my novel printed out and ready for the first revision.
I had errands I've put off doing all week that I had to do. So now it's 5pm and I have to pick up my daughter and her friend, go to my youngest nephew's karate tournament, and still squeeze in four hours of editing.
Phew.
Yeah that verse is appropriate: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13.

29 July, 2010

Temptation

I'm doing a slow reread of Mark during my evening quiet time, but today I decided to switch it to the morning.
Mark 1:13 talks about Jesus being in the wilderness 40 days being tempted by satan. My original impression was satan bothered Jesus 3 times (see Matt 4), but then I looked up Hebrews 4:15 "...but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Thinking about all the temptations I've gone through, Jesus endured alot of temptation during those 40 days. Jesus in Matthew ch4, quoted out of the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a book Moses wrote to remind the Israelites of God's covenant. Reminder of their past, and a charge to be faithful.
In my life, and ours as believers, Deuteronomy reminds us of who we were, who we are, who God is and His promises to us. Once you have that ingrained in your mind and solidified in your heart, the lusts of this world will have no teeth.
I challenge you and myself to read Deuteronomy with a fresh pair of eyes

28 July, 2010

Reading Esther

Reading
I've started reading a book during my morning quiet time called "Living by the book". By Howard Hendricks
It teaches you how to study the bible. It's great for those of us who want to learn more about God's word without getting a seminary degree.
Today I learned about the value of rereading.
The homework is to read the book of Esther daily for the next 7 days. And not only that but to try reading it in different translations. I am blessed to have a bible app on my iPhone that has the bible in every translation and in every language dating back to the Luther bible of the 1500s.
Today I read Esther in the Message translation.
It does make a difference. I've read it in the New King James before but I never caught that Esther was queen 5 years before her time of testing. Or that King Xerxes allowed Haman to order the mass genocide of the Jews without a second thought.
I'm looking forward to seeing what else I discover as I read it again tomorrow.

27 July, 2010

What's the point?

I read an interesting e-article this morning about Christian Fiction.
The author made a valid point about his disappointment in Inspirational Christian Fiction which I will refer to as ICF.
To me the genre is similar to cotton candy. It's enjoyable for a time but there is no real substance to it.
There are some authors I feel inspired to make a change in my life after reading their work, but no one gets me on that deep gut-wrenching level.
As a writer who would like to get published, I have read all the "requirements" for getting a manuscript published by a Christian publisher. Long list of dont's.
But if you look at the real issues facing us today, and you look at what is being published there is a huge disparity.
To grow in your walk with Christ you have to read God's word- the bible. But God also gifted some of us with the gifts of discernment, prophecy, teaching; as well as creating us with the talent of writing. For us to use it for His glory.
So what's a person who feels strongly about writing a novel on sexual abuse to do? They have to find a non-Christian publisher.
One of the greatest problems facing Christians today is their fear of going deep. Content to float on the surface, they miss the abundant life Jesus promised. Why? Fear of the unknown? Unwillingness to let go of detrimental behaviors? Lots of things.
Let's say you have struggled all your life with lack of self esteem, no self-worth. What if you were browsing in the bookstore and found a novel about a woman who was so poor in self esteem she had been through marriage after marriage. Suffered mistreatment at the hands of some of her husbands, and finally decided to sleep around. Matter of fact she's living with a guy right now who she's not married to. You see similarities with you so you get it, hoping her life turns out better than yours.
Does it? If you've read John 4 you know the answer.
It's in the bible but it's considered too controversial for ICF.
My writing is Christ focused but it is not targeted to the ICF market. Primarily for non-believers though believers that want to go deep will find some that resonate with them, I won't be holding back.
May of this year I wrote a children's book dealing with sexual abuse. It breaks the ICF rules and that's fine. The important thing is that the reader knows he or she is not alone, that it's not their fault, that they can talk to someone about it; and that most importantly, God loves them.
To me the I in ICF should inspire you to change, to make a leap of faith, to grow more in your relationship with Jesus, to dive deep, to read God's word with new eyes.

26 July, 2010

Be Faithful, God Restores

From my journal dated May 1,2010.
Still sick so here goes...
I was reading in my journal during my morning bible time and I came across this note to myself.
I wonder if I was thinking about the verse in Joel 2:25...and He shall restore the years the locust have eaten.
Do you feel like it's too late to live the life God has asked you to? Do you think you don't deserve His blessing?
All I can say is be faithful, God restores.
Take the first step of obedience and watch what happens. 

25 July, 2010

Under the weather

Today's blog will be short as I am under the weather. Apparently I picked up a bug from one of my drama students last week. 
I hate being sick, but it does force me to slow down which is a good thing.
I have spent 11 days away from my novel. Time enough to go back and start my first revision. But before I change anything I need to plan it out. I have always been a seat of my pants writer. The closest I've ever come to planning was in college, working on a paper for class, I would jot down the important quotes I was going to use on index cards and then number them. As I wrote my paper I would grab an index card, insert the note and continue.
God had me sit down and outline this novel I just completed. There were times I would get stuck and then I would remember: hey, look at the outline, see what comes next.
So as I prepare to revise my novel, the first step is to plan what to do. In teaching you know that when you plan your lesson you start with the end in mind: what do you want the students to learn: i.e. the test, and  build your instruction around it.
For my novel the end result is to have a manuscript ready to submit to agents.
I need plan how I'm going to make improvements to it: Do I need to read up on how to revise a novel? Yes. Do I need to correct the grammatical errors? Yes. Do I need to check for description, dialogue, add scenes, shorten chapters, make sure there is conflict in every chapter? Yes. How about my ending? Is the cliffhanger big enough for me to write two more books in this series as I plan?
All of this cannot be done seat of my pants style.
Each of these has to be planned out.
Time for some more cold Medicine. 
Let the fun begin.

23 July, 2010

I can do all things

I love movies. Ever since watching Star Wars at the drive in as a child, movies have enthralled me.
I tried my hand at writing my first screenplay in 2004. It was about a coffee shop owner. Wasn't very good. Since then I've written two complete screenplays. One is science fiction. The other is set in medieval times.
I've had this idea for a movie. It is about a pregnant teen.
When I think about writing it, I get the feeling that I should not only write it, but direct it. That I should make this movie, not just sell the screenplay and see who buys it.
This is way out of my comfort zone, but after having spent the past week teaching drama: stage direction, voice, tone, characterization. etc.
I realized that I spent the week as a director. I turned 29 kids into actors and actresses. God showed me it is possible.
So when God gives me the green light to start writing the screenplay, securing financing, etc., I have this experience to look back upon and know
"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13