Oh MY!

Tonight when my husband and I returned from a walk at the close of this rainy Iowa day, we were looking up at the roof for some reason, and I spotted something that looked like a bird…sort of. But bigger.

Lance is nothing if he’s not persevering. He hung out until he captured an image of the creature…I can’t believe it! We have cardinals, house wrens, hummingbirds, and of course, crows in our yard. But this…never thought I’d see the like. Not here in our yard.

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Isn’t this the cutest baby owl? I’ve never spied one before, and this one added excitement to a rather gloomy, although productive day here in the Midwest. I’m a lot like my fiction characters, I guess – it doesn’t take a whole lot to make my day.

And this experience also goes to show that you can enjoy someone else’s hobby almost as much as you enjoy your own. Barn owls have made appearances in my historical fiction, and this little one…oh yes, you can bet she (or he) will pop up somewhere in a future story.

Good morning, sunshine!

A quiet Sunday morning, but after a great rain last night, our plants are grinning all over the porch and deck.

Geraniums garner fresh sunshine . . . the plant on the right has TWELVE blossoms right now.

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Rosemary and basil greet us . . .

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Petunias and johnny jump-ups join in.

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Yesterday the first edits for A Purpose True, the sequel to Addie’s story, arrived. A time to pay attention to details, to make things better, to brighten the world around us, and to enjoy the process.

Already, tomato blossoms promise a fruitful summer . . . what more could we ask?

Jodie Wolfe – A Novella is Born!

WElcome to DARE TO BLOOM, Jodie. Tell us about your novella, please, and what prompted you to write it? 

Here’s the back cover copy of Hearts Tightly Knit:

Orphaned at age ten, Ellie Stafford and her twin sister Mae made a vow—to stick together and never marry. Now in their mid twenties, they are bucking convention in Calder Springs, Texas, as women with respectable occupations who can take care of themselves. Ellie works at the Good Fixin’s Diner and spends her evenings knitting garments for The Children’s Aid Society. When a handsome local rancher shows up searching for a cook, she’s hardly tempted, despite his good looks.

Luke Rogers owns a spread just outside of Calder Springs. It was running as smooth as cattle going through a chute until his cook up and marries and high-tails it back east. With no cook and a bunkhouse full of ranch hands ready to revolt, he persuades Ellie to temporarily fill in until he can hire someone else. He should have known better than to get tangled up with another woman.

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I’m part of a group blog, Stitches Thru Time and several of the writers decided to work on a novella collection together. Each of our novellas released separately before being compiled into the collection.

Did the character come to you first, or the plot?

For this story, the plot came first. I wondered what would happen if twin sisters made a vow to always stick together. What would it take for one of them to change their mind?

What was the most difficult part of the writing? 

Hearts Tightly Knit is the second novella I’ve ever written. I’m used to writing novels that are anywhere from 85-95,000 words, so it’s a challenge to write something much shorter.

Which is your favorite part of the writing business – writing, editing, or promotion?

My favorite part is two-part…the research and also the writing process. I truly love delving into history and the whole story process. Getting words down on paper is my favorite part of writing along with breathing life into my characters.

Did this work require any research – what was that like? 

Each of the books I write requires at least some research. They are always set in the 19th century so I’ve done extensive research in the past to have a good handle of the time period. For this novella, I learned what I could about the Orphan Train, which is quite fascinating.

PURCHASE LINK:

http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Tightly-Knit-Jodie-Wolfe/dp/0997502606?ie=UTF8&keywords=hearts%20tightly%20knit&qid=1464649958&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

Jodie is giving away one print book (US only) to a commenter. Thanks for taking the time to visit, Jodie, and all the best with your novella.

You can find Jodie at:

Website: http://www.jodiewolfe.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913/; https://www.facebook.com/jodie.wolfe.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodieAWolfe

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116840153259583634192/posts

Blogs Jodie contributes to: Stitches Thru Time, Putting on the New and of course, Quid Pro Quills.

Social Media 2015

Going the Distance – Patty Smith-Hall

New Hope Sweethearts 2

 

Welcome to you, Patty, and to all of your followers! Patty’s new release, New Hope Sweetheartsis now available on Amazon.

Today, Patty shares encouragement for novel-writing … and for life.  Enjoy!

 

Going the Distance

This past weekend, I decided to decipher all the information on my iPod’s pedometer. It’s like a fitbit, keeping track of how many steps and how long you’ve walked over any given time period. I’m an avid walker but this is the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to find out exactly how many miles I’ve walked since the middle of May. To learn I’ve walked almost 175 miles was HUGE, considering that three short years ago, I thought I’d never walk without pain again.

That spring, I had a spinal fusion on my lower back. I’m not going to go into all the details but will say that I couldn’t stand, sit or walk without indescribable pain. But I was determined to get some semblance of my life back. When I asked the surgeon what I could do to speed up my recovery, I was surprised when he told me to start walking. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage that—just the act of putting one step in front of the other had been so incredibly painful for the few years leading up to my surgery, I couldn’t imagine putting myself through that. But if it helped me get better, I’d try anything. Two days after my surgery, I made it around our cul-de-sac.

Once.

But I kept at it. Before I knew it, I graduated to the walking track at the park next door. One lap soon became two; two became four. I began carving out time to walk and guarded it because I realized the doctor was right. For the first time in years, my pain was controllable. I was feeling better.

Writing is a lot like that. You look at the possibility of churning out a 90K novel and ask yourself if it’s even possible, or life gets in the way and you only get down 100 words for the day. How are you ever going to finish your book at that pace?

It’s all about pushing ahead, building up your endurance. Realizing you can’t run a marathon on your first day. If we’re honest, every writer wonders, at one time or another, if we can finish a book. Even now, after all the books I’ve written, that fear still gets a hold of me. It’s when we don’t give up, when we push ourselves further than we thought possible that that book becomes a reality. It’s about making daily writing goals and sticking with them.

Here’s a little food for thought: One page(250 words) over 365 days equals a 90K novel for every publishing house. Two pages or 500 words equals two. Two 90K books a year just from writing two pages a day.

That novel doesn’t seem quite as impossible now, does it?

Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Heartsong.  She currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter. She calls North Georgia her home which she shares with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her next release, New Hope Sweethearts is now available on Amazon.

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Richard Mabry – Round and Round/Giveaway

Please welcome Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to our blog today. He’s the award winning author of Medical Suspense With Heart, as well as the Prescription For Trouble series (Abingdon), Stress Test, Heart Failure, Critical Condition (Harper Collins), and  Fatal Trauma (Abingdon) To one fortunate commenter this week, he’ll give away a copy of Miracle Drug.

“Mabry combines his medical expertise with a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – USA Today

THE WRITING CAROUSEL

There’s a song in the musical, The Fantasticks, called “Round and Round.” In it, the couple sees only the good things that go by, even though at times the view from the carousel is of scenes that are less than pleasant. Why do I bring that up? I mention it because the view of writing from the standpoint of the pre-published writer is much different than the one seen by the author who has at least a couple of books under his/her belt.

Before I got a contract for Code Blue, my first novel, I wrote four novels over a period of four years, garnering forty rejections in the process. And that’s nowhere near a record. Although some authors (like Gayle Roper) got a contract for their first novel, others (like T Davis Bunn) collected lots more rejections than I did before a publisher liked his work. Eventually I, and lots of other authors, prevailed. However, shortly thereafter I also learned something interesting: that contract wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of lots more work.

First, I quickly discovered that, although my novel might be good enough to make an acquisition editor happy, it would go through a series of edits and rewrites before it saw print. And all those edits and rewrites involved me. Did it make the work better? Of course it did. Was it time-consuming? Yes—but I learned with each editorial letter and rewrite.

In addition, there was the process of cover design, a process I’m pleased to say I’ve been involved in for all my novels. That’s nice, but also takes a bit of time. In addition, there was the back cover copy and author information. It was necessary writing, but took some work to accomplish.

Then there’s marketing. Although the publisher works at marketing the book, there’s a good bit for the author to do as well. And I learned very fast that no one wants a book to be read by a wide audience more than the author does. Say what you will about “the good old days,” but nowadays it’s a necessity for an author to be active in social media and other aspects of keeping his/her name and work before the reading public. Don’t forget, of course, that this includes not only their own website and blog, but being available (and even making arrangements) for guest blogs and interviews on the sites of others.

Oh, and while all this is going on, the writer should be at work on their next book. After all, none of us want to be a one-trick pony. And after the first and second come…you guessed it—the third. Authors who quit after the first book aren’t unheard of, but they’re rare. It’s even been discovered that Harper Lee, who supposedly stopped after writing To Kill A Mockingbird, had another book sitting in a trunk or someplace.

Now, imagine trying to keep all those plates spinning. That’s where I’ve been for a while: arranging to get out the news about my forthcoming book, Fatal Trauma, while finishing edits for the next one, Miracle Drug (due out in September), and keeping up interest in my prior novels—the so-called “backlist.” Has it required time and effort on my part? Of course it has. Would I trade it for the status of an unpublished writer? Not a chance.

So that’s the writing carousel. If you haven’t been able to get on yet, don’t despair. Work on your craft and don’t give up. The view from here is pretty good, even as it goes round and round.

Miracle Drug

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is an active member of International Thriller Writers, a past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and a member the Romance Writers of America. His eight previously published novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. His novella, Rx Murder, released via Amazon in April, and Abingdon Press published his novel, Fatal Trauma, in May of this year. Miracle Drug is scheduled for release in September.

You can learn more about Richard on his website (http://rmabry.com) and blog (http://rmabry.blogspot.com). He can also be found via his Facebook author page (http://facebook.com/rmabrybooks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/RichardMabry).

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Don’t Let Summer Stagnate you!

It’s midsummer, and those who don’t like hot weather may feel a bit stagnant.  Sarah Sundin discusses stagnancy in a writer’s life – and her new release!

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Stretching Yourself

Sarah Sundin

Writers can become stagnant. We’ve all found authors we adored, and we quickly devour several books. But soon we find each book is essentially the same. Same spunky heroine (with a different hair color). Same stoic hero (with a different profession). Same story set-up or plot twist or setting. And we fall away.

Stagnant water becomes sour. Without stirring up, without infusions of fresh water, a life can also become stagnant. So can a writer.

When my first book was published, I vowed to keep stirring things up. For my new Waves of Freedom series, I challenged myself by including a mystery plotline for each heroine.

 

Dangers of Challenging Yourself

 

Risk of Failure

Never having written a mystery, I took a risk that I’d be lousy at writing mysteries. What if my clues were too obvious—or too obscure? Readers would hate it.

Risk of Alienation

Even if I wrote a riveting mystery, I risked alienating my current readers. What if they don’t choose to follow me? What if new readers don’t choose to join me?

 

Hurt and Frustration

Stretching hurts. Challenges are frustrating. Many times while writing Through Waters Deep I wanted to bang my head on the keyboard. It’s so hard. Why did I do this to myself?

How to Overcome

Fight Fear

Those questions raised above come from fear. Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Cast out fear and lean on the Lord.

Get Training

My accomplished writing buddy, Marcy Weydemuller, loaned me her favorite books on writing mysteries. I read them and took careful notes. I learned how to plant clues and red herrings, to craft suspects who looked simultaneously guilty and innocent, and to create a plot chart to track the details. Then I asked Marcy to read the rough draft.

 

Rewards of Stretching Yourself

Delight of Fresh Water

Once you get past the gate of fear and over the hump of frustration, fresh water beckons! How fun to try something new. How invigorating. As the pieces of my mystery fell into place, I relished the challenge.

Thrill of Accomplishment

Only when we accept the risks of a challenge and push through can we experience the thrill of accomplishment. When Marcy said she didn’t figure out who the villain was until the end—but that it all made sense—I danced around the house. My teenagers already think I’m strange, so why not?

No matter what happens with this book, at least I can say I stretched myself. I’m swimming in fresh water, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Bio:

Sarah Sundin is the author of seven historical novels, including Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. Sarah enjoys speaking to writers’ groups, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. http://www.sarahsundin.com

Through Waters Deep

Karen Milligan, June 21, 2015

 

Karen Milligan is a reader, teacher and writer. Teaching high school English, literature and a myriad of writing styles for the past 51 years has had its redundancies and periods. Grading papers = editing. (She began teaching when she was 14 years old at a rural summer school and later taught her younger brother and her son all four years of their high school.)

She’s published 30 children’s stories, a book The Great Church Mouse Caper and 5 teacher resource books on writing. Currently she tutors students in expository and creative writing, writes for a Wisconsin Genealogy newsletter and edits thesis papers. She’s also writing her childhood memoirs along with a historical genealogical family tree involving Dutch and Scottish ancestors.

She lives in Menasha, Wisconsin with her husband of 35 years, a former instrumental music teacher; they have one son and two grandchildren, 16 and 18 years old. Her hobbies include: sewing, flower gardening, long distance hiking, reading, travel, photography, bird watching, writing memoir stories, singing, and charcoal drawing. She is open to editing and proofreading and can be contacted at kmbooks50@gmail.com or befriend her at Karen Porter Milligan on facebook.

 

Credits to the Edits

Have you ever thought about how many actual words you hear in a day? The number, if you could count them, would be astonishing. The sheer number of words you read in a day could be counted, but who would take time to do that? We writers and editors, who love words, handle them every day with our eyes and our minds. As a teacher of English, expository and fiction writing, I cannot fathom the billions of words that have crossed my brainwaves.

You, as a writer, accept the fact that you must also edit. Re-reading, searching for mistakes, looking for anomalies, tweaking unclear phrases or spying flat-out typos can be tedious or joyful. This all depends on your viewpoint and time needed to seek the mistakes.

In essay papers corrected by teachers are the following real-life examples of… well, youʼll see… History of the World, a studentʼs answer: Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

Another student wrote: The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldnʼt have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns–Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in “The Iliad,” by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity,” in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

A third student opined: Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. A fourth student expressed: In mid-evil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

Now these were honest-to-goodness students’ use of the English language which is filled with funny, odd, humorous, out-of-place ideas and phrases. The rules, if you will, about editing take twists and turns. Two words that have been added to American language are: texting and impacting. The word “text” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. Mimi just texted me and I need to answer her!

The word “impact” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. But, we hear both used incorrectly almost daily. The students were impacted by the new campus ruling. One last word that has morphed since I was young is the word harassment. (And, yes, I used the word “morphed” correctly.)

Harassment used to be pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable, but is now pronounced with the accent on the first syllable. Who and where the change was sanctioned on all three words is a mystery to me. Editing will always be a mud-fuddled job. Wait! Where did that word come from? Yikes! I ended a sentence with a preposition. See what I mean?

Alright, all of you writers and editors out there, keep up the good work. (Please, edit out the use of “alright!”) I give you credits to the edits!

Karen A. Milligan Menasha, Wisconsin

Feelings….character depth – Shannon Vannatter

Welcome, Shannon, and guests! Here’s something special to commemorate the Heartsong Presents line since it’s ending this month. Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Rodeo Reunion. Ten copies will be split among names drawn during my blog tour from June 1st – July 1st. One winner will receive a baseball themed memory board personally crafted by the author. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 22nd.

And now, here’s Shannon with some useful writing tips.

Baseball Memory Board

Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings . . .

Anybody remember that song? Yes, I’m showing my age, but I thought it might grab your attention. The main way I add depth to my characters is through emotions. Feelings bring characters to life. I reveal feelings through reactions, both visceral such a jaw tic and physical such as clenched fists to show anger.

Another great way to reveal feelings is through internal thoughts—the things characters don’t say. So many times I think things I’ll never say. Often because my thoughts are rude, selfish, or too vulnerable to reveal. Characters need to have those thoughts too.

Our feelings, reactions, and internal thoughts are all shaped by our unique backstories. The people who raised us. The people surrounding us as we grew up. The things that happened—good and bad—in our lives. The place we grew up. Life-altering events—it all makes us who we are. Our backstories shape our reactions, emotions, and thoughts.

By basing a character’s feelings, reactions, and internal thoughts on their backstory, everything they feel, think, say, and do rings true. Yes, there are very writerly rules about backstory dumping. If you start the book with everything that happened to your character since birth, the reader won’t get very far.

We have to make the reader care about the character before they will care about what made them the way they are. The best advice I learned on backstory is to sprinkle it lightly like salt. A line or two here. A line there. Just enough to make the character reactions understandable.

Another great piece of advice—reveal your character’s backstory like you reveal your past to a new acquaintance—a little at a time as the relationship deepens. When you first meet, you reveal little, maybe your job, whether you’re married or not, and how many children you have if any. The next time, maybe you talk about your parents and siblings. It takes months to reveal some things about yourself, years for others, and some things you never reveal.

Characters should be the same way. Readers don’t need to know every little thing about them. Just the important stuff that shaped them and only over time as they get deeper into the book and in a deeper relationship with the character.

Here’s a fun way to tackle backstory form the movie, Tangled:

Rapunzel: “So Flynn, where you from?”

Flynn: “Whoa, Blondie, I don’t do backstory. But I am very interested in yours.”

But she doesn’t want to spill either. Later, after practically everybody in the kingdom is chasing them, Flynn fights off guards and a horse, and lots of destruction, they end up in a cave which is slowly flooding. Trapped and thinking they’re going to die, Rapunzel apologizes for getting him into this mess. In a vulnerable moment, Flynn reveals his real name—Eugene Fitzherbert and how he became Flynn Rider, the thief.

Characters don’t necessarily have to be trapped and on the verge of dying to get their backstory out. But their backstory should be revealed slowly as the reader needs to know it and organically to fit the story. Divulge the bulk of it well into the tale—after your reader is rooting for your character.

If every feeling, thought, and reaction the character has is shaped by their backstory, the character leaps off the page, three dimensional, and full of depth.

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Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows, and once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award. 

She has ten published titles and is contracted for five more. Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/.

 

Rodeo Reunion cover

 

Connect with Shannon on Facebook: http://facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29672798-shannon-vannatter, Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stvannatter/, and Twitter: @stvauthor.

Rodeo Reunion: RAQUEL MARRIS NEEDS A MAN WHO’LL STAY PUT 

And Slade Walker’s not a likely candidate. Even if the former major league pitcher just agreed to coach her son’s little league team. The single mom can’t risk everything on a bronc-riding chaplain who’s only passing through Raquel’s small Texas town.

Slade is taking a hiatus from the rodeo circuit to meet the sister he never knew he had. But the pretty widowed nurse next door is making him think twice about hitting the road again. He can’t turn his back on the cowboys who need him, but Raquel and her boy need him, too. Can Slade fulfill his calling and finally find a place to hang his hat?

 

Purchase Links:

 

http://www.christianbook.com/rodeo-reunion-shannon-vannatter/9780373487851/pd/487851?event=ESRCG

 

http://www.amazon.com/Reunion-Heartsong-Presents-Shannon-Vannatter/dp/0373487851/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431697907&sr=1-5&keywords=Shannon+Taylor+Vannatter

 

On Consistency – Brenda Poulos – April 13, 2015

This week, Christian Writers of the West president Brenda Poulos gives us some NEW YEAR’S ADVICE for April. Welcome, Brenda!

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A lot can happen between January and April. A writing plan made at the beginning of the year will simply not take us past spring, into summer and beyond. It’s time to revisit, update and, if necessary, rewrite.

In April, we may ask: Is my plan still working? Is it still realistic? What has changed in my life since the plan was written?  What needs to be adjusted?
Here’s what I have found. The culprit is time. In January, I failed to factor in time for research, webinars, and writing-related reading or allow for the hours to complete submissions.

Finally, I scheduled so much writing, I failed to leave enough time available for my personal life—family dinners, movies with my husband, walking the dog.

DSC01952Baxter was glad to hear that walking the dog was now part of the daily plan…
So, perhaps I need to include devotions, writing, exercise, volunteering, family/friends activities, housework, and leisure. I need to allow for the unplanned, too—that surprise visit from Aunt Martha, an unexpected phone call, a refrigerator on the fritz.
This quarter, I’m tackling this time problem, once and for all. I won’t answering the door or phone during my scheduled writing time. I’ll be answering voicemail, email, and texts once my writing time is completed. Second, I’m building in an hour of flex time—time for the “expected interruptions.”

I don’t know exactly when they will come, but I do know with a fair degree of certainty that they will. And when they do, I’ll be ready.
I’m hoping this new daily plan will keep me from getting frazzled and help me meet my husband at the door with a smile, rather than the wild-eyed look I’ve been famous for these last few months.

And, oh yes, I’m giving myself a little reward at the end of each day I actually keep to my plan.

Pleasure reading, calling a friend and chatting (yes, a real conversation, not a text), enjoying lemonade on the patio, and watching a favorite television show are on my short list.
Your problem may not be time, but self-motivation or organization. No matter what they are, problems will remain problems, unless we meet them head on.
It all starts with a plan, tweaked often so we can better reach our writing goals, and offering rewards in increments to encourage daily writing.
This year, someone will write words to inspire others for generations to come. Will those words be yours?

Learn more about Brenda and Christian Writers of the West Here:

www.brendapoulos.wordpress.com
www.spiritualsnippets.com

Please feel free to share your thoughts and what has worked for you, and thanks for stopping by. Brenda would love to have you visit her websites at: www.spiritualsnippets.com and www.brendapoulos.wordpress.com She lives in Gilbert, Arizona with husband, John, and aging pets, Baxter and Brinkley. She volunteers at Gilbert Christian School, Hospice of the Valley, and serves in various ministries at Grace Church in Mesa.

Things Hidden in our roots

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Last week I enjoyed a different perspective on  the Arizona Pine Trailhead trail.

Although a kazillion views of trees surrounded me, this one warranted a picture, an uprooted specimen with large rocks imbedded in its roots.

Wow, the parallels we could draw! But one simple fact intrigues us–the roots still cling to these rocks. Even though the tree’s been pulled from its moorings, its moorings stuck to it.

Ain’t that the truth about us? We may try to outrun our history, but no matter what, there it is. For example, we’ve known a man for over thirty years, and his choices have baffled, disappointed, and sometimes infuriated us. But just today, I heard about his mistreatment at the hands of a severe father. Life-threatening abuse.

This doesn’t excuse our friend’s decisions, of course, but realizing the rocks imbedded in his roots reminds us there are reasons for his behavior. Those physical, emotional, and verbal beatings he suffered as a kid still resonate in his inner being, though his father died long ago and he’s now a grandfather himself.

Later on the day of my hike, I was wandering in our yard and came upon this sprightly bit of cheer. Nothing as yellow and encouraging as a daffodil.

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There it was, blooming its little heart out, right in the treacherous path of elk and deer and javelina.

But somehow, it survived and testifies to the other side of things–one can grow up in nasty danger and yet thrive.

Patricia Evans, a pioneer in the field of verbal abuse, has something to say about this.

“Although people subjected to verbal abuse can recover, the confusion, pain and loss are beyond counting. Childhood anguish can, however, count for something: It can be transformed into the passion and determination needed to take a stand against verbal abuse and for awareness and life. This stance can be put to good use, to bring awareness, to save countless others from the relentless erosion of their self-perception, their personal reality, their minds.”

Patricia says, “This is an excerpt from my next book, readers will discover how to protect their children from verbal abuse. It will be announced this year, on www.verbalabuse.com.”

Our characters may have a backstory of abuse that figures into their present behavior. A couple of my women’s fiction novels feature heroines facing such after-effects. Whether it’s in 1870 Arizona Territory or at the eve of World War II, healing takes time–sometimes a great deal of time. But these women conquer and I can’t wait until you all can meet them.

And if you have questions for Patricia, please feel free to ask and/or visit her site, which has many helpful resources. Thanks for stopping by.