Dirty Little Secret #2

I suppose Mondays just are not good blogging days for me. I've had the weekend to try to unwind, but it's really my Mondays where I get to unwind. The busy weekend is behind me. Husband goes back to work. The kids get back into our normal, everyday routine...and it is quiet. It's relaxing...

And my brain refuses to think of things to 'blog' about.

Truth is...I don't know if I will be very good at blogging. Seriously, how much could a person have to say that's worth someone else reading? Now, my novels, I think those are worth reading. But these blogs...well, there's a few I'm happy people read.

Why does it have to be so hard to build a writer platform? Especially when you're unpublished? Who cares if you build a platform? You're nobody, right?

No, I'm somebody. I'm a stubborn nobody (wait, SOMEBODY) that is determined to carve out a niche and get my work out there (though blog posts aren't exactly the 'work' I'm working hard to get out there). So, I will pluck away at the keyboard...pick my brain for mundane things to post. I will facebook and make 'internet' writer friends and connections--even if that means people judging me for doing so. Why do people have to judge others in the first place?

But that's all beside the point. I guess I woke up a bit grouchy. :/

I was supposed to write a dirty little secret, because it is always interesting to learn someone's secret, right? And it makes for a short, snappy blog post (though I hijacked it with my lame musings).

So...what was the secret again? Last week it was my favorite song (Drowning Pool, really?!). This week...it really is lame.

When I crave something sweet, I just grab a tablespoon and eat peanut butter straight out of the jar.

Yeah. I know. It is a boring dirty secret.

I'll try again next week. ;)

To The Moon, Alice

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle incident. When I was young, I always thought it would be terrifying to be an astronaut. I was afraid of the daark...and outer-space is nothing but pitch blackness dazzled with stars. I could not imagine flying, willingly, up there where space and time were endless. Who would want to do that? Who could be brave enough to do that? Not me.

I did love the 1986 movie Space Camp...but as you can see by this clip, it didn't ease my fears.

But those that did have the courage and heart to become something great, inspired me, none-the-less.

Yet, somehow, my childhood went by without be ever understanding what people were talking about when they asked, "Where were you when the challenger crashed?" Ummm...barely in kindergarten. Today, I went back and read parts of President Reagan's address to the nation on January 28, 1986...that day the shuttle was lost. This is what inspired me:

"There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

I do remember where I was when the Columbia shuttle disintegrated. I was in my apartment in California, watching it on the television. I was devastated. How very strange to watch my TV and know that people were dying; right there on the screen. How very heartbreaking to know that their families were watching as well...unable to help...unable to stop what was unfolding.

"This cause of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose; it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation. We find the best among us, send them forth into unmapped darkness, and pray they will return. They go in peace for all mankind, and all mankind is in their debt. " ~President Bush at the Columbia memorial service.

I love those words. How true they are. When we are little, we are filled with questions that no one can answer for us. When we are grown, we set out into this world--into space--and we are determined to answer those questions. What an remarkable thing it is to be human. So curious. So courageous. So driven by the unknown and the excitement of adventure.

Where were you when these shuttles were lost? How did it impact you?


Hop In and Follow Me friday #7

Blogger hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy-for-Books.

This week's question:

"What book are you looking forward to being published in 2011? What are you anticipating about it being published?

The only book that I have been waiting for is Michelle Moran's Lady Tussaud.

I know it will be a great book. I've read her other books, and they are always more than fascinating.

Read an excerpt from Lady Tussaud here, and read more about Michelle Moran and her other books here.


Follow My Blog Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View.

This week's question:

What was/is your favorite subject in school?

Being a writer, it would be fabulous if I said my English class was my favorite. As it was, I failed in English...miserably. But not nearly as much as I failed in Math. Truth be told, I wasn't the best student. I was terribly shy, I never spoke up when I had a question, I never told the teacher that I didn't understand something, and I clammed up for tests. How sad.

That aside, I excelled in one thing...art. Want a portrait of your dead great grandmother? I was your girl...still am. I could draw, sketch, chalk, charcoal like no bodies business. But I hated it. I positively hated it. At the time, is seemed like art was the only thing I could do well. And how the heck was I going to use that when I grew up? ;)

History was my fav. Except for when my 9th grade history teacher yelled at me. Punk.


This Stinks...But I Have A Promise

(Listen as you read...)

This is just one of those days. I wake up with the best intentions...and my heart ends up attempting mutiny. The kids tell me I'm grouchy. Kids don't lie. I'm grouchy. And what a shame.

I just finished polishing my beloved manuscript for the zillionith time. This time, it made me cry. Not just a tear here and there. No, these tears sluiced down my cheeks; dripping off my chin. I do believe that my jaw trembled, at times. It is a beautiful story. It lives and breathes...

What to do next but send it back to my literary agent? But after doing so, I look at my contract. It ended in December. What? That tiny little voice that was always in the back of my mind, telling me that this was too good to be true, was now screaming in my ears..."See! Told you nothing was really going to happen! Got your hopes up for nothing."

But God's voice is right there. "Didn't I call you to this?"

Of course.

"Won't I see it to fruition?

I sure hope so.

"Didn't I promise?"

That's when I cringe.

My God's promises never go unbroken. Sometimes, I think they will...and then...right in the nick of time, He comes through for me. But, He doesn't just come through. He blows me out of the water with much more than I expected.

There was a time that my heart hurt too much from past miscarriages. I didn't believe I was going to be a mother. At this point, I didn't want to try anymore. The pain of losing something so precious hurt too much. Then, one day, I sat in church; pathetic and reeling from my pain. A woman I didn't know turned around and looked at me. "I know this sounds silly," she said. "But God wants you to know that you are going to be a mother."

"Thank you," was all I could manage to say. I was stunned. It was completely out of the blue. But God saw me from Heaven. No one in that church knew how my heart was hurting. They didn't know the thoughts circling my mind...but GOD DID! And it hurt His heart. "Oh, Andrea," He must have been thinking. "If you only knew what I have planned for you...you'd be dancing and singing my praises."

But, God didn't just think those things. He spoke to a strangers heart and gave her the words to speak to me. Goodness! God is amazing! He is so good! He didn't have to do that for me...but His perfect love would not allow me to sit there and keep hurting. I have two beautiful children today...testament to God's unfailing promises.

A few months ago, I was weeping. Life stunk. I don't mean just a little stinky. I mean, IT STUNK! Things had fallen apart. Everything was out of our hands. The mountains trembled, the water roared...and there I was, drowning in my fears.

"You're going to laugh about this day," God whispered to me.

I wiped tears off my cheeks. "If we ever escape this, maybe." (Why did I even counter Him with that??)

"No maybes." Then, it was as if He scooped me up in His arms, and pressed a fatherly kiss to the top of my head--cradling me. "This dream you have in your heart...I'm taking it, and I'm going to make it surpass everything you imagined. Be joyful in that."

And I just started laughing. I couldn't stop. Without second guessing Him, I took Him by His word...and joy overflowed in me. I'm not even sure I had a choice in the matter. Joy was just there, laughter was coming, and everything was suddenly okay.

Now, here I am. Again, it still seems like an impossible dream. I write and I write and I write...but nothing is happening. I'm scared. I wonder what is going on. I hear that despicable voice taunting me, telling me that it will never happen. I'm just a silly writer who wastes time with pages that will never find their home in a readers heart...a blogger that has nothing worthwhile to say.

And His gentle voice prods, "Haven't I already told you?"

Perfect Love, I hear You. :)

I'll put a smile on my face. I'll send this manuscript to the Genesis. And, if need be, I'll start the search for a new agent all over again. But this work that I am doing, It is God's. He will direct it. He will take it. He will send it where it needs to be. He loves me. He will not, cannot, go back on his promises.

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." ~1 John 5: 14-15

What promises has God given you? Hold onto them. Don't fear that they will go void. Because our God loves us. His faithfulness can never tarnish. In Him, you can put all of your trust. Even when things stink. I know, because I've heard His voice, and I've seen His promises come to life--literally--in the form of my children.


Bleary Eyed...and Jerry Maguire'd

For solid days at a time, I have been applying that last coat of polish to this manuscript. How many years has it been breathing in my heart? How many times have I cried over it, yelled at it, threatened to burn it, and smiled every time I came to the last line?

Well, until a publisher's editor tells me otherwise, it is finished. :) Curious? Read the first chapter here.

And, in this mad cycle of editing, it is funny the things that my mind catches whenever I steal a moment to watch a movie. There are times when I hear a character in a movie say something...and it gives me pause. "A real person wouldn't say something like that? They aren't witty enough," I say to myself. "That's something a writer would type...on the page." And even then the reader might scoff.

For instance, when Renee Zellweger's character walks into the kitchen in a stunning black dress, Jerry Maguire looks up and says, amazed, "Wow, that's more than a dress...that's an Audrey Hepburn movie."

Yeah, right. *rolling my eyes*

Though, I will admit, there are times when I've zipped myself into a black dress, and it would have been fabulous if someone had spouted such a line to me. ;) But that kind of thing--that kind of wit--just doesn't flow naturally from people's lips. Especially sports agent's. Not that I know any sports agents.

So, tired, weary, polished-out...I leave you with my rather dull post and the trailer to the movie. It is one of those movies where I just roll my eyes. I can't help it. It is heavy on the cheese factor.

But just out of curiosity, what kinds of things have you caught in movies where you think, "Yeah right," and roll your eyes?


Tuesday Teaser/Teaser Tuesday #3

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page, and BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Don't tease, Alice, and don't fall--" Her friend, Louise Renee grabbed Alice's gown, for by now Alice was leaning over the edge at a dangerous angle, the feet in her dainty satin shoes on tiptoe."

Dark Angels by Karen Koen

And now, for my Tuesday Teaser...inspired by i swim for oceans. If you are writer, take a line from your current WIP or published piece. This is a line from my novel, When The Night Is New.

"She shook her head, a sweet smile on her lips. “You’re a good man, Captain Dalton,” she breathed, standing on the tips of her toes to press a kiss to his lips. Her hands moved; one sliding to the back of his head to pull it down to her own. Her other hand lay flat on his chest with fingers splayed over his heart."


A Dirty Little Secret

Last night, I plugged something in and turned in on. As soon as I did, the entire room started glowing and humming...the lights flickering. Then, an end-of-the-world BOOM...orange-bluish light...and a hellish humming. The room went pitch black and silent.


I fumbled out of the room, groping for the doorknob, and found my husband with a lit candle. "Did you hear that," he asks.

Eyes wide, "It wasn't me!"

He explains that it was the entire town. The transformer blew up right outside the house. I held my breath...did I do that?

Nah, of course not. It was all the people watching the Jets game and FB'ing their torment. ;)

But then the house started getting really cold, so we woke our kids up, packed them up, and drove out to Grandma's house to spend the night.

I say all of this to explain...I had a terrible nights sleep. And this after several nights of being up until 2:30 am revising and reading my manuscript. Go ahead. Feel sorry for me. You know you want to. I'm the only one in the world that has had a fitful nights sleep. I deserve it. ;)

Now, here I am, sitting in Grandma's amazingly comfortable recliner, my legs kicked up, the warm laptop sitting on my--well, where else but my lap? I'm staring at the screen, my belly a little hungry, and I'm thinking, "What in the world am I going to write about today?"

That's when a song comes to mind...and I cringe.

You see, I'm the kind of girl that has a home filled with antiques and girlie--lacy things. I drink Earl Gray tea in place of coffee. I listen to film scores and haunting piano music when I write. I have a penchant for swing dancing...and long epic movies.

But then I'm the kind of girl that sometimes wishes she was a boy...who wished she was a fighter pilot when she was eight years-old. I have wicked good aim when out on the range. I giggle while playing paint ball with my brothers. I always, and I do mean ALWAYS, have chipped fingernail polish (that last part, I hate).

And, secretly, for reasons that I cannot understand or explain, this is one of my favorite songs in the entire world.

I know. I'm filled with shame. I can't explain it. But it is true.

And that's my dirty little secret.

Well, at least one that I will share.


Rest In Your Tomorrow

To 'hear' the words...push play ;)

What would it be like to be a ghost walking aimlessly through this world…sheltered by darkness…haunted by our own skin?

What would it be like to emerge from this life, feeling as if we didn’t quite make it…as if we missed the last bend in the road—the one that would take us to where we need to be?

What would it be like to see our life’s tears bottled up in heaven, knowing that they were wasted, that they were never needed, or their number too high?

What would it be like if we would learn to dance and laugh…tilting our faces to the sky and catching raindrops on our tongues?

What if you fail to hear the rain on a tin roof…or the sound of your own heart breaking?

Can you believe in yourself enough to run with all your might, chasing your dreams, determined through tears, sweat, and pain?

Can you let go of the past…believing that what was done gives you more of a story, more character…a deeper well to draw from?

Will you sit and drink tea, whispering prayers for those that hurt you…those that hate you? Even though you’re afraid your prayers aren’t good enough…

Will you believe in that which you once did not…in hopes that you will find something you thought was lost?

Can you trust? Can you jump? Can you open your hand and see the man or woman you were meant to be?

What would it be like to hold your Love’s hand and know that everything else that comes your way…will be filled with more love than your body can take?

What would it feel like to believe this is only the beginning…

It isn’t easy…this life. But together, intertwined in our faith, we can smile…giggle…love…write…and hope for something much greater than ourselves. We can have hope in our tomorrows and put to bed our yesterdays.

We can be free.
Rest in it.


Breathe Life Into Me

For years now, my life has been out of my control. I have children and my life must bend to their needs. I don't mind it at times, but there are moments when I wish I could hide under the bed with a book, a hot cup of tea, and headphones that cancel out all noise. The problem is...I cannot fit under my bed...and I don't have headphones like that. :)

Yet, my life bends to so many other things. Since the economy fell, daily finances haunt my husband and I with these big, green, monstrous hands that threaten to strangle us. This impish monster tries to keep us in bondage to fear and hopelessness. There are days when it does...and then there are days when I turn out and give it a solid, swift kick where it hurts. "My God is bigger than you," I tell it, smiling at its pain. "He can beat you up. And He can beat up your daddy!"

There are days when past shame and disappointments in myself try to keep me from walking into my destiny--a destiny that my Heavenly Father molded and shaped with His own hands. I know that before I was born, God held me in the palm of His hands. He smiled at me. He took His hand and gently ran the backs of His fingers down my cheek...much like an earthly father does to his new born child. He breathed a gentle breath of life into my lungs...seeing HIS life fill me...

Sometimes, something happens to me that steals that life right out of my lungs. I become a shell of who I am meant to be. I believe the lies--that I'm not good enough, that my dreams are too big and will never happen, that poverty will be my burden in life, that I'm not beautiful, worthy, uneducated, or too broken and wounded to love others. I walk for weeks, months, letting those lies walk on my heels, taunting me. "Give up," they say. I'd rather die, at times. What kind of life is that? What kind of woman am I? What kind of wife/mother will I be when I fail in so many ways?

When the darkness seems to be too much, I fall to my knees. I can't even pray. I'm too hurt and too angry. I just want to slip away. Maybe becoming all those lies will make it easier? Maybe giving up will be less painful? Perhaps if I just hold on to the pain...hold on to my shame...hold on to all of it...

"I will rescue those that love me..."

And I do. I really do. I love Him.

Tears fall. An ear-splitting cry bubbles up from the pit of my soul. My hands are tight fists, angry and ready for a fight. I'm none of those things. I have a purpose--a beauty--a worth. I feel my Father take my chin in his hand, lifting my face to His. There is no frown on His face. With the back of his hand, he runs his fingers down my cheek--much like an earthly father does for His daughter. He smiles upon me. He rejoices over me. He pours out His love on me. And then, when I think I can handle no more of His crushing presence, He breathes a breath of life into me.

And it isn't just me...but each of us...even those who do not believe. He loves us all...the ugly, the sinful, the atheist, and the liar. He will save you...rescue from your pain if you only let Him.

Psalm 91:14-16: "The Lord says, 'I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.'" (NLT)


Hop In And Follow Me Friday #6

Hope In and Follow Me Friday are two book lover memes created by Crazy-for-books and Parajunkee's View.

This Week's Question:

Who Do You Cheer For?

Um...me!! I get so excited when I get through a day with all of my fingers, toes, and hair still in tact. I mean, if I get all the laundry my kids go through washed and semi-put away...I'm on a roll!!! And because of that, I deserve a earth-trembling, ear-splitting, mind-numbing whoop of applause! This does not even take into account the editing, the chapter writing, the dinner making, the playdough scraping, the nose picking (not mine, mind you), the butt wiping (again, the kids!!), the homework doing, the floor mopping, the car driving, the church going, the bible toting, the down-on-my-knees-begging-God-for-more-strength doing! ;)

Oh. And I cheer for the Colts. But I'm way more talented than they are.


Why I Write In The Past

When someone sits does to do the research in which it takes to breathe a historical fiction to life, they are passing on a bit of our nation's heritage--a bit of courage to a new generation, that we desperately need. To have the ability to bring our past to life in such a way that it impacts the readers life, is an incredible gift. If we can inspire them to be better than they are, to live lives of importance and meaning, what could be better?

Watch this video and decide if it moves your heart, sparks your imagination, gest your blood flowing...

The courage and pains of our past deserve to still hold a place in our present. That's why I will write the way that I do.


I Want To Shed My Dragon Skin

I've been reading The Voyage of The Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis to my children. I'm pretty sure that I enjoy it more than they do. They don't quite understand the depth and breath of it. They still just get terriblly excited when Aslan comes to the scene, or when Reepicheep claims he will run his sword through Eustace. :)

But me, I find little treasures of truth throughout it that make me stop reading, blink away tears, and wonder about the goodness of my God.

In The Dawn Treader, Lucy and Edmond get sucked back into Narnia with their obnoxious cousin, Eustace. Eustace spends most of the time complaining and making life as miserable to the others as he possibly can. As they sail, he writes in his journal, lamenting over his plights (most of them imagined), fights with Reepicheep, and demands that the entire ship see him back to his own world so that he can report them all to the British Consult for kidnapping him. At one point, he wanders away from the group when they land on a mysterious island. Disaster strikes and Eustace is turned into a dragon and quickly finds that being a dragon is no fun at all. He is scared of his own reflection, finding himself ugly to look at. He doesn't know how to fly without crashing, breathe without blowing smoke, or eat the way he used to. His life is a mess, and there is nothing he can do to pull himself together.

One night, when everyone is asleep, the dragon Eustace wakes up to find a lion walking toward him. The lion leads him away from the group to a beautiful bath. Eustace is in so much pain in his new dragon body that jumping into the bath seems perfect--the balm to his aching body that he needs. But the lion stops him and tells him that he must first undress. Eustace looks at his scaly body, and with vengeance and hatred of this new skin, he runs his claws over his dragon belly...scrapping, peeling, convinced that he can shed this skin like that of a snake---and he does, but not enough. Frustrated, in pain, afraid that he will be stuck a dragon the rest of his life, Eustace sheds one layer of skin after another, but he is still not free...
Aslan, the lion, the Highest of all High Kings, stops Eustace, telling him that he will have to undress him. Painfully, but strangely gentle, the lion digs his claws into Eustace's belly, cutting, ripping, tearing away...until relief and peace washes over the dragon-boy. When Eustace emerges, the pain is gone, but he feels raw. Aslan leads him to the bath...the warm, healing water washing over Eustace...washing away all trace of the previous life Eustace had led. When he comes out of the bath, Eustace is free of the bondage of his dragon skin. He is a boy again, but he is changed--inside and out. The ugliness, both inside and out, that had been there before Eustace was even transformed into a dragon...was gone. Eustace was made new.

How many of us hold onto ugliness self-inflicted on ourselves, or inflicted on us by others? Sometimes, it is our disappointments in life--our heartbreaks--that keep us in bondage in a life that we can't seem to shed/shake on our own. Life is cruel, at times. Life hurts. Life is simply unfair.

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. " ~ Hebrews 10: 22-23 (NIV)

It hurt Eustace when he tried to shed his skin--his ugliness--on his own. But not only did it hurt, it didn't work. I cannot let go of past pain on my own. I cannot forgive my enemies on my own. I cannot become the beautiful woman I want to be on my own. I can try and try and try...but it will be futile. A new layer of hurt and pain will be right underneath the last. But if I stop trying to do it all on my own...if I willingly lay down before my Lord and let him take it all away...I'll rise up, tender and raw, but beautiful...even more so than before.

Lord, let me be a light--something beautiful that people can gaze upon and see Your face, Your smile, reflected. Let there be a testimony in my past pain and anguish, that others might see how I've become something new. Take whatever remains, whatever hurt I'm still clinging to. Make me shine. Make me shimmer. Make me completely...yours. Your ways will out weigh my own every time.

We are engraved on the palm of Your hand--each of us. Your eyes will never sway to the left nor the right, but be forever on us. Our walls are ever present before You, and You are determined to tear them all down. Take our pain. Make us new.

How wonderful to know that He loves us that much?


Tuesday Teaser/Teaser Tuesday #2

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page, and BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Poor, unsuspecting Mitch. The dear boy--well, hardly a boy--doesn't stand a chance."

From A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

And now, for my Tuesday Teaser...inspired by i swim for oceans. If you are writer, take a line from your current WIP or published piece. This is a line from my novel, When The Night Is New.

"He took a breath, and his head spun. The second breath caused spots to appear before his eyes. The third—a tidal wave of crushing nausea washed over him. He turned his head and heaved, rippling pain coursing through his body."


Shifting Sand

I don't know what is about to happen, but things are about to play out in this world, and in our lives, that will leave us speechless. Darkness will rise up, and look like it will swallow us whole, but a goodness is coming...a goodness as quick and violent as a famished lion. In the space of a heartbeat, all eyes will see what they've been hiding from all along. Something good is about to sweep us all up. Things are changing. Quickly.

And I'll be right here...writing about it.


And What If You Wore Their Skin?

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."

~Frederick Buechner

Yesterday evening, author Tricia Goyer posted a link to a friend's blog in which the owner, Dawn Meehan, has found her entire world turned upside down. Despite it, she has taken the ugly things that life has given her and turned them around, finding something to laugh/rejoice about in all of it. In the process, Dawn developed a large following--becoming one of them most read blogs on the internet. Yet, when she found herself completely overwhelmed by life's mounting troubles, her blog designer hijacked her site and asked her fans, friends, and readers if they could help. Today, Dawn Meehan's blog was featured here in the New York Times, where readers either wished Dawn well, or ripped her apart, labeling her little more than a failure. What do people think about? Has the anonymity of the internet really turned so many of us into raging monsters that would sooner kill with hastily written words, rather than reveal even the tiniest glimpse of compassion?

I suppose it is a rather new development that everyday people suffer drastic changes and conflicts in their lives, and that some of those people might be writers who decide to put it out there for the world to see. Not all of those people simply want sympathy and accolades. Some people sit down at their computer and open a vein, letting the pain, anguish, joy, and mercy from every aspect of their lives, flow through their fingertips. They, like Dawn, search their heart for a way to spin their pain in such a way, that it might bring encouragement and hope to a woman in a similar situation....

And that was fine, until her friend asked people to help her. Once that happened, the meanness in others came out. There are countless people all over the world in trouble and suffering, they say, why help this one? What makes her so much different? Why didn't she take precautions to prevent this from happening/save her when it did happen? She should have gotten an education, or stayed in the workplace rather than choose to be a stay at home mom.

Foolishness! All of it!

Do you want to know why I think people respond this way? Because it makes it easier to turn around and look away. It makes it easy to go on living your life without concern for those around you. If you don't see someone in need, or write it off as their own fault/problem, then you're off the hook. And it isn't just the blogging world--virtual strangers--that people treat this way. We treat our neighbors this way, or the people that sit in church with us, our children's classmates, our co-workers...

How very sad.

Blogging has become more than just a way to promote one's work, network, socialize, advertise, and stay in touch with family. Blogging has become a way to peer into the human condition, see how we cope, and see how we will respond to each others' plight.

As a writer and blogger, I hope that the sorrows I face, and how I handle them, will be a way to glorify my Lord--that His face might shine through the darkness. Just because I believe in His love, does not mean I am sheltered from pain. Life will still happen--with all its pain and joy. How I deal with it will be my token for good. Not only that, but I pray my heart will be tender to those like me, and those that are not like me. I want to love others, tend to their needs, and learn to love my enemies. It is a desire that will be hard to meet, but I'm determined.

Try to be compassionate to those in your lives, and even more compassionate to the stranger on the street--or the blogger lost in cyberspace. Choose your words wisely, for the taste of them will linger a lifetime in your mouth.


Hop In And Follow Me Friday #5

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books.

This week's question:

Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?

For the longest time, I have wanted to own a time machine. I often joke about it--how I have all the pieces in the basement but have no idea how to put it together. I guess this is why I love to read historic fiction. I can pick up a book and slip into the Civil War, breathe the life of heroes in WWII, or understand the adventure and horrors of trying to make this once rough and tumble country what it is today. But more exciting than reading it, is writing my own stories--going wherever I want with whatever characters I create. It is the best job/pastime in the world. :)

Follow My Blog Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee.

This Week's Question:

What makes up your non-human family??

What? You mean, besides the cast of characters than run rampant in my head? ;) Nothing but a lousy beta fish. I don't even like fish. I'm quite scared of them, to be honest. When I was young, I went fishing with my father. I caught a fish and was so excited, but I soon realized that everyone else at that fishing hole had caught the same fish. I reeled it in, as did everyone else, but the fish was being pulled apart from countless hooks. It was disgusting. I was repulsed--horrified. It was a nightmare that I can remember so clearly to this day.

PS: The fish's name is Nemo. My kids love him. Mostly.



A First Kiss Worth Writing About

The other day I was writing a scene where my main character nearly got her first kiss. It was so romantic. I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time a was writing it. My heart pounded, my palms were a bit clammy, and my stomach fluttered. It was as if it was my own...

But not hardly.

My first kiss has been written off--an event I never want to remember. I don't really count it as my first kiss, because it was forced on me. That's a terrible thing. What kind of boy steals a girl's first romantic dream and turns it into a joke? The villain kind, that's what kind--they make for the most weaselly of characters.

I count my first kiss with my husband as the true memory to cherish. But even that was not what one would expect. I was sixteen years old, and dating the cutest guy in school--I'm still not sure how that happened. One day, he was just sitting there and I worked up the courage to kiss him on the cheek. Of all the moments to turn and ask me something, he chose that one--my lips landing right on his. I was startled, frightened, horrified, and pulled away--eyes wide. I waited for him to say something, do something, maybe even kiss me back. But instead, he stood up, walked out of the house, got in his vehicle, and left.

Not exactly the best first kiss a girl could ask for, right?

I walked around like a zombie for the rest of the day, wondering why in the world he left. Certainly the kiss hadn't been that bad!

Then, as evening approached, his car pulled back into the drive. I was outside, my heart pounding in my chest, and my stomach suddenly filled to bursting with a multitude of butterflies. I watched him get out of the car, looking handsome and sure. He walked straight over to me, took my face in his hands, looked at my with beautiful blue eyes, and lowered his lips to mine. This was my first kiss! It was perfect, pure, sweet, romantic--everything a girl could dream of.

He pulled away and looked at me, my breath frozen at the back of my throat, all words gone, all thought puzzled...just the tiniest of smiles turning up the corners of my lips. He smiled, too. Then he walked away, got in his car, and drove off...

Since then, I've had an endless line of 'first' kisses. My first kiss as a bride. My first kiss when my husband came back from war. My first kiss as a mother. My first kiss as a wife married for ten years...

The romance only increases and I cherish every moment of it. I noticed, as well, that as I come to mature in romantic love and understand how ornate and precious it is, so it does in my character's lives as well.

My true first kiss might be buried in the deepest, blackest parts of my memory, but the first kiss with the man who I would marry, is one worth writing about.


How Would You Write It?

To make the reader feel the anguish and turmoil, pain and internal struggle going on within a character is key. How to you go beyond their heart racing, their hands sweating, their legs trembling? Where do those panicked thoughts come in? When do you make them suck in a desperate breath, rake a hand through their hair, or let their eyes slide close?

Sometimes I watch a movie and I wonder, how would I write that scene? I often find myself describing it--typing out the emotions that the characters are feeling that play so eloquently across the screen. But the movie characters don't tell us they are scared or hurting. We see it! Readers don't want to be told, either. They want to feel it. The art of being a spellbinding writer is finding the ability to make the words come to life as easily and effortlessly as if the reader were watching it as a film.

Watch this scene. How would you write it?


Yesterday's Tomorrow

Today I am going to believe that I am something beautiful that this world needs.

Today I am going to sit in the kitchen floor and play play-dough with my kids--relishing in every dimpled smile they give me.

Today I am going to hope that the clothes march their way from the hamper to the laundry, wash themselves, and then make their way to their designated homes--preferably not on the bedroom floors.

Today I am going to curl up with a hot cup of Earl Grey and spend some time talking to the Lord. He makes me smile...but nothing is better than knowing that I make HIM smile. ;)

Today I am going to kiss my husband...and leave him breathless.

Today I am going to choose to believe that I truly am a writer. It is only a matter of time before everyone else knows, as well.

Today I am going to finish reading another chapter of the Dawn Treader to the kids.

Today I am going to finish writing another chapter of my own.

Today I will try hard not to lose my patience or get angry too quickly--hopefully, not at all!

Today I will dance like a crazy woman and sing at the top of my lunge, making my children roll in the floor in hysterics.

Today I will not pout about my gluten-free diet.

Today I will not worry about tomorrow.

Today I will rock. That's all. That's good enough.

...I am God's.

What will you do today?


The Sound of Words

I write to film scores. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the emotion composers put in their music that makes it breathe and pulse--telling the story. But it isn't as if I write to just any film scores. I have a list of my favorites. These scores have a heartbeat, a life of their own. Sometimes, listening to the music and typing my words can lose me so completely that tears come to my eyes, my heart races...or I simply type the last word, look up, blink, and wonder what just happened.

My favorite score it that to Legends of The Fall by James Horner. I find myself turning to it when I need to write long, sweeping scenes of romance...or redemption. But I could listen to it anytime. It makes me smile.

The score for The Last of The Mohicans. *sigh* This one is just so full of passion...pain...excitement...

Goodness, I go to this one all the time. The movie is one of my favorites, as well. I think it was always the music that captivated me. Just listen to it and tell me if it doesn't evoke a depth of emotion that you didn't even realize was there. The possibilities of what you can create--or write-- when caught up in this...is endless.

This next one, I just discovered. It left chills running through me. I was stunned. I write a great deal of pain in my stories...and this song helped it ease from the dark parts of me and spill onto the page.

Film scores reach a part of us that other songs cannot. They tell a story and beg us to tell a story of our own. Scores haunt us long after a movie is finished, far longer than a chapter is written or read. They leave us breathless and wanting more. When the words don't flow easily, when they fight us to be released...a film score can open the vein.

It is rather romantic, actually.


Hop In and Follow Me Friday #4

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy-For-Books. This week's question:

“What book influenced or changed your life? How did it influence/change

To be honest, I would have to say that it was Captivating by Jon and Staci Eldredge. I read it years ago and use it in womens ministries all these years later. It isn't a fiction book, which is what I usually read, but every word felt as if it was specially written for me.

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is a weekly book meme hosted by Parajunkee's View.

This Week's Question:

What book have you discovered on another blog?

I discovered Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I would like to say that I read it all the way through, but I didn't. The reason is...I'm a prude. *Gasp* There were too many scenes that made me blush and check to see if someone could be reading over my shoulder--like my children (who are 2 and 4, BTW, so they don't read yet).

But here is what I LOVED about that book and why I truly did want to finish it:

Sara has an incredible writing voice--pulling the reader from one paragraph to the next. I enjoyed how the POV character moved from two different times in his life, letting us see his past, and letting us see how that past effected him much later in life. There were times when I felt the character's pain so significantly, that I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and huge him--telling him things would be okay. Funny how writer's never have the urge to do that for their characters--only the readers.

Water For Elephants has been made into a movie that will be released this spring. I'm looking forward to seeing it.


Sometimes I Scream At God

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continuously before me." ~Isaiah 49:16 KJV

I'm not sure when mine and my husband's life seemed to slip out of our fingertips, but I could feel it happening the day after our son was born. Shouldn't have been a surprise. My youngest was born when the nation's economy was slipping out of our government's fingertips.

Nearly two and a half years later, things are seemingly growing darker. Fear is always on my shoulder--and guilt. Good Christian women don't let the world frighten them, do they now? They stand firm in their convictions and keep their chin high--defiant. But not me. I suppose there are times when I am a very fine warrior--sure and strong--but mostly, I'm weak, scared, angry...and wondering...God, where did you go?

Do you ever feel that way, but maybe for different reasons? Have you ever felt the darkness so cold and suffocating that when you finally get enough strength mustered together to go before the Lord in prayer...all you seem to be able to do is stand ramrod straight, fists at your sides, tears streaming down your cheeks...and screaming at God?

I've done it, shamefully. But nonetheless, liquid peace flowed from the top of my head to the tips of my toes--washing away the tension.

I don't know or pretend to understand why my life must be the way it is right now. But Lord, if this is the way it needs to be for such a time as this, then all I ask is that You see my family through it all. Walk right beside me. I won't ask you to carry me--because I do need to be a big girl--but I will ask that Your presence be tangible beside me every hour of every day.

When the darkness rolls away, briefly, I see that I will shine beautifully. It is only a season. You care how I feel. You see my tears and know their number. You don't frown when I scream out my prayers in anger and desperation. You will never, ever, run away from me. You're there. And I am in the center of Your palm--my name engraved there. Everything will be okay.


PS: Please take a moment to read this amazing devotion by Mary Southerland. I bet a dollar it will bless you. ;)


If Characters Had The Pen...er, Keyboard.

Right now, I should be editing and revising my manuscript, but funnier things keep grabbing my attention. For instance, I've suddenly begun to wonder: What would it be like if my characters fought me for the pen? What would they demand? What would they want to do? The whole idea has me giggling...

The scene is set in 1941, and Pandora radio is set to Ella Fitzgerald. Rose, my rough and ready character bounces off the bed. Her silk robe hangs loosely over a slip. She spills hundreds of hair pins all over the wooden floor. With finger nails still wet with "Frankly My Dear" red nail polish, she looks up at me, a smile tipping one corner of equally red lips. "Ah, come on now, Toots," she would say with that Chicago attitude I gave her. "You know how I like to dance. How 'bout some Boogie Woogie? I wanna hear some Chattanooga Choo-Choo!"

Rose's roommie and coworker at Sternberg Hospital in the Philippines (they're WWII nurses, don't you see?) jumps in. I've made her the softer spoken--the good girl, so to speak. She doesn't like the one bit. "Now lookie here, Doll," she demands, hands on her dainty waist. "Why don'tcha let me get a kiss in with this Captain Dalton fella?" Her nose wrinkles up. "Actually, now that I get to throw in my two cents, how's 'bout you let me snuggle up with his best buddy, Rafe?"

"Now, wait just a minute, Sugar!" Rose gasp, red-faced. "Rafe is mine!"

"Yours?" She cocks her head with attitude. "We'll just see about that." Looking back at me, she begs with a whine, "Come on now. Give me just a little kiss with Rafe. Lets make Rosie here really mad. You give her all the fun, anyhow. And what do you give me? Nothing but that goody too-shoes, Peter Dalton!"

Rose grabs her friend by the throat. She's fighting mad. "I told ya, Rafe is mine!"

"Hey, at least she doesn't kill you off!"

I clear my throat and tap on the computer screen, trying to regain some sort of order over this situation. For some reason, the tap reverberates through the computer and rattles the ladies. They struggle to regain their balance. "Ladies...now, ladies. Calm down." I look pointedly at Pearl--my good girl. "What makes you think I kill you off?"

She narrows her eyes, glaring up at me. "It's the way you press the keys when you write my scenes. I can feel it."

"Feel what, exactly?"

"Feel that you're gonna kill me. You're the devious kind."

"That's ridiculous," I would say...knowing full well that she is right. ;)

I wonder what Peter and Rafe would demand? I'm sure that if Peter knew how Pearl truly felt about him, he'd be demanding that I send him off to a new book--one with a bombshell blonde in a tight, satin dress. Maybe I should send him off to my Hollywood manuscript? I bet he'd stumble all over himself as soon as I sat him down in the Black Kat nightclub where his bombshell--Delilah Love--would croon for him.

But poor Delilah has been through enough. If only you knew the troubles she's seen! :)


Okay, okay. That's quite enough of this nonsense. Enough distractions from the real project at hand. Back to the editing...

But, while we're at it, what demands do you think your characters would ask of you? ;)


PS: What an embarrassing post.


Tuesday Teaser/Teaser Tuesday #1

This is how this fun post goes:

If you are a reader, pick up the latest book you are reading and flip to a random page. Chose a sentence and post it, along with the book's title and author. Make sure not to post a sentence that would be a spoiler!

Next, (if you are a writer) flip through your WIP and chose a sentence of your own to post.

Last Step: Post a link for your own Tuesday Teaser in the comments so that I can see yours.

Tuesday Teaser is a meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Teaser Tuesday was an add-on idea over at I Swim For Oceans. Check them out to join in the fun. :)

Taken from "A Passion Most Pure" by Julie Lessman:

Her green eyes bristled. "Everything. I don't want anything or anyone unless it's what God wants."

PS: Click on her book cover to purchase a copy from Amazon. :)

My WIP "When The Night Is New":
Angie laughed. “You are a silly one, aren’t you Pearl Jessup? What good is a wedding day if you don’t have a wedding night?” She winked. “Besides, you’ll never forget it—out here in the middle of the jungle. In a broken down bus, no less!”

I promise that my WIP is not smut!! Just a bad sentence to land on, I suppose.


Did You Know: C.S. Lewis

When my daughter was barely over a year old, my husband read her The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at bedtime. I think it was most fascinating to me. I had never read anything by C.S. Lewis except Screwtape Letters (which I loved, BTW) and knew that Lewis was one of my husband's most favored childhood moments. He could recall being read the same books by his father, and therefore, had a special place for the old storyteller. Here are some interesting tid-bits about Mr. Lewis that I found interesting:

Lewis In A Nut-Shell

Born on November 29, 1989, Lewis was an Irish-born (born in Belfast, Ireland) Brit known to his friends as 'Jack'. He gave himself this nickname about the age of four when his dog, Jacksie, was run over and killed by a car. He then stated that now he should be called Jacksie.

He was a fan of Beatrix Potter's books and often wrote and illustrated his own books featuring animal characters.

At the age of 15, Lewis abandoned his Christian faith and became an atheist--interested in the occult and mythology.

In 1921, after moving to England and working as faculty at Oxford, Lewis met W.B. Yeats twice. In a letter to a friend Lewis wrote, "I have here discovered an author exactly after my own heart, whom I am sure you would delight in, W. B. Yeats. He writes plays and poems of rare spirit and beauty about our old Irish mythology."[10]

Lewis eventually turned back to his Christian roots and left behind his Celtic mythology that had once shaped his writing. Lewis went on to be one of the most noted Christian Apologists.

In 1917, Lewis joined the Somerset Light Infantry and experienced warfare in the middle of the First Great War. He was wounded once when an English shell fell short of its target. He suffered depression and homesickness during the rest of the war.

During the war, Lewis became good friends with fellow cadet and bunk mate. Together, they promised that if the other died, they would take care of the others family. His friend died, leaving Lewis to fulfill his end of the promise. Lewis cared for his friend's mother, Jane Moore until her death in 1951. Some people speculate that they were lovers for a time. But it was only speculation.

Lewis' wife, Joy Gresham, was from a Jewish background, a former Communist, and an atheist who converted to Christianity. The couple married with a civil contract so that Joy could stay in the UK. However, when Joy developed terminal cancer, the two two sought a Christian marriage and soon truly did fall in love. They were wed while Joy lay confined to her hospital bed. Lewis was 58. She died four years later.

Little Known Facts:

Lewis died on the same day as President John F. Kennedy.

The first draft of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe contained no mention of Aslan.

Aslan is the Turkish word for Lion

The image of a faun carrying parcels and an umbrella in a snowy wood came to Lewis when he was sixteen.

Narnia was the name of an Italian town, now called Narni.

Lucy spends more time in Narnia than any other child from our world, about four hours longer than Edmund.

Lewis' friend J.R.R. Tolkien so criticized "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" that Lewis nearly didn't finish it.

Lewis' Bio-Pic:
Check out Shadowlands for a pretty awesome portrayal of Lewis' life. Here is a quick clip from the movie where Lewis explains Narnia to his friends. :)

And I think this might be my favorite quote by Lewis:

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"
~C.S. Lewis

What books have you read by Lewis and truly enjoyed? If no books, what is your favorite Lewis quote?



Becoming a Writer...The Impossible Dream

In 2011, I am going to be published. I say this boldly, defiantly, hopelessly...because, when you are a writer, you learn to wrap every shred of life remaining in your dreams around that tiny splinter of hope that remains. It isn't easy, is it? Never giving up? You've already lost count of rejection letters, why not just take the fatal plunge into that abyss where turning back is not an option? I did. I don't regret it.

Of course, that is all much easier said than done...

I have this undying need to prove myself to those around me. I don't know why. I'm loved. In fact, I am loved and supported very much. If I never publish, my family and friends won't torment me relentlessly with never ceasing mocking. They will still love me. Yet, knowing that certainly doesn't make the journey any less worrisome.

It is a different path if you want to be a doctor. Sure, being a doctor is hard work, but at least while you are working toward that goal you have plenty to show for it. "What are you up to these days?" someone might ask you. "Well," you can reply, proudly hooking your thumbs in your suspenders all cocky and sure (as if you wear suspenders)."I'm in my fourth year of med school. It's a killer."

Being a teacher would have been easier. But as a writer? "What are you up to these days?" I clamor for an answer that might make me appear as if I'm truly sane and not simply a dreamer..."Oh, I just landed a literary agent. Zondervan is interested. They only publish one unpublished writer a year--that I know of." I ignore that skeptical gleam in their eye. A writer? Really? Why not a doctor?

Should I tell them what's in my heart, the promises I know about and they do not? Would it matter? It does to me. You see, I have the promise of the Lord. I know that He will see me published. I can feel it each time I sit down to write. It is as if He is breathing on me--turning my words to living flesh to inspire and heal those that read. I'm not merely pounding away on the computer, picking my brain for the right plot points, but letting His work come to life through my fingertips. If you have God working with you, nothing is impossible. Right?

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."
~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

This is my year. Something is going to to shift. In more ways than one. I pray this is the year that I feel in my palm, my token of good...my testimony that God uses, in mighty ways, what was once broken. This is our year. As partners.


Sometimes I cannot understand how an impossibly shy girl ever grew up to be me. Why Did God open my mind and pour in impossible dreams? Doesn't He know how foolish it makes me feel at times? But I know He loves me. I know He wants to use me. I know He wants me to become a writer. A published one. :)