Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year!

I posted this recently at my personal blog and wanted to share it with you too:

At this time of year most of us start thinking about the future---future goals, future pursuits, future dreams. It can be a great time of reflection, or it can bring us down as we think about all the resolutions we made and didn't keep.

But instead of focusing on what we haven't done, I'd like to ask you a question. What's holding you back from pursuing your dreams? Not just dreams of grandeur, but little things too. Maybe a desire to lose ten pounds. Or to spend more time with family. Perhaps you want to write a novel.

What if we didn't worry so much and dove in with abandon? What would our lives look like a year from now if we took a step out of our comfort zone and did one thing that God's dropped in our hearts?

How many years have you said things like, "Someday I want to _____"? I know I have many of those someday thoughts. Are they really that unattainable? Why wait for your kids to grow up or your hair to turn white before you pursue the things of your heart?

I'm not talking about shirking our responsibilities, of course. Our bills still need to be paid, our families taken care of. But I bet there's something we could pursue that would get us closer to reaching our dreams. Small steps are the key.

Let's not allow fear or what others think be our guides in 2011, but let's give our pursuits to the Lord who knows the exact next step we're supposed to take.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. --Psalm 32:8

What's your dream for 2011? What tiny step can you take in the coming weeks to get you closer to it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A lot of us Chicks are MIA this week with various Christmas preparations, so to all of you from all of us...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reasons to celebrate

We got a Christmas gift a little early this year...!!

Yep, after a SOLID YEAR of my husband not having a permanent full time job, he was offered a position last night by the district fire station TWO MILES from our house.

We have a job!

And not just any job, but his dream job, in his dream location. God is SO good and His timing SO perfect. I kept saying that all year, even though some days it was harder to feel than others, but I knew it to be true despite the occasional doubt clouds.

My husband has been volunteering at this station and working part time shifts for them off and on these past few months, while going through their hiring process against tough competition and performing other part time jobs to see us through.

Can I just say how relieved I am?????

I love the fact that I don't have to cringe anymore when I walk past his fire department graduation pic in the hallway. I love the fact that I don't have to cry nightly over our budget anymore. I love the fact that God provided us with some extra money recently that we could help share with friends in dire need, as others shared with us during our need. I love knowing that God set this up SO PERFECTLY and that Romans 8:28 truly played out.

I love seeing God's promises fulfilled and being able to brag on Him. :)

To GOd be the glory! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peeing on Sticks and other Dreams

I'd been forewarned, but it didn't make a bit of difference as I stared at the piece of plastic in my hands. I tried to hold them back, but the tears still welled up in my eyes.

One pink line. Again.

Would I never hold a baby in my arms?

I remembered the words of my doctor. People like me needed to be patient, she said. My condition made it more difficult to get pregnant, I was told.

I thought I was okay with that.

Then my friends got married. And pregnant. Many of them within the first several months of saying, "I do". I listened to complaints and woes about everything from swollen feet to premature labor.

Who would have thought someone could be jealous of those ailments?

But the longing in my heart ran deep beyond any temporary discomfort. I had one dream, and its reality eluded me.

Many of you also have a dream. People warned you at the beginning of this long publishing road that it would be difficult. You thought you were okay with that, but month after month, day after day, progress was slow --  and your dream began to ache.

Instead of bringing light and hope, your dream brought you pain and despair.

Can I encourage you today? If there was ever a time to believe in dreams -- it would be at Christmas. Take a moment today and ask your Dream Maker to show you how He -- the King in a manger -- can fulfill your dream in ways you might never expect.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ah, the proposal...

...and the dreaded synopsis. I am in the middle of working on a new proposal right now and I have to admit, I hate writing synopsises.

Or is it synopsi?

Either way, I hate it. With a passion. I do not like to outline, so often I don't know what's going to happen in the book until I'm writing it. I feel like a synopsis is just a big story-killer for me.

Any of you guys feel that way?

I've mentioned this before on this blog. And by the way, I need to apologize for not keeping up with my Monday posts as well as I wish I would. My little Nater Tot seems to suck all the time (and brain cells some days!) out of my days! I'm so sorry!

I have discovered a way to get through the synopsis though. Have you guys ever been SO excited about a book that you can't stop talking about it? And you pretty much ruin it for everyone around you because you spill the whole entire plot?

That is pretty much a synopsis. Write it down, make it about two to five pages long and then try to forget that you already ruined the story for yourself and go back and write it.

Unless you are one of those "outliner" types and enjoy ruining your stories for yourselves.

To which I say: Hey, could you please come write my synopsis for me? :)

Have a great Monday night!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reliving the magic...

I got free tickets via a freelance assignment for my local newspaper to DISNEY ON ICE - PRINCESS WISHES. I was able to take my mom, grandma and Little Miss to the show, and I don't know who was more excited - me or Little Miss. ::grin::
I've always loved the Disney characters, and the opportunity to see Little Mermaid, Belle, Cinderella, Mulan, Jasmine, and Sleeping Beauty, and other Disney favs was priceless! But the best part of it all was introducing Little Miss to the fun. She's been watching Disney movies at her Nana's house, has Mickey & Minnie figurines, and even knew what ice skating was thanks to recently viewing a Snoopy (Peanuts) cartoon where Snoopy skated on a pond.
Here's some pics of the show...

It was incredible, and I took a ton more pics I didn't post. It was fun watching her laugh, point, clap, and turn to me and Nana with a smile to make sure we were watching and paying attention too.
I was excited about seeing the show for myself, but I quickly realized that watching it through her eyes for the first time was even better. Little Miss, just by being there and being snuggled in my lap, put a new sense of magic into what still would have been a great show. When Jasmine and Aladdin skated together to A Whole New World, I actually cried. It was so emotional for me, the sweetness of being able to share that with her.
Sometimes I wonder if our writing could stand a new glimpse of magic. What can we give our characters to help them have a fresh perspective of life or their circumstances? What can they see through new eyes that will give extra depth to their character and our writing?
Let's help our characters relive the magic this holiday season as we write. And maybe get a glimpse of it ourselves in the meantime ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Writing a novel in three months

I'll start right off and offer a big apology for being so lax in posting to this blog! I'm so sorry guys. Things have been crazy, but you think I'd be able to find a few extra minutes to type up a post. Um . . . yeah.

But really, we all have crazy lives. It's all about balancing our various obligations. It's also about cutting the things in our lives that waste time and make us feel productive but in the end get us nowhere.

All that to say I've been struggling just like you with keeping all the balls in the air. But I'm still here! This is a great blog, and I'm thrilled to be able to offer my two cents every now and then.

As some of you know, my first novel Thicker than Blood was published back in January, and my second novel Bound by Guilt is coming out in March. I've been struggling with what book to write next and have even tried to start a novel several different times. Nothing seemed to gel. But I want to be a writer, not someone who's written, so I've decided to take a different approach to all of this.

Last Friday I started my third novel . . . again. But this time I've decided to give myself a time deadline. The goal is to finish a rough draft by March 1st. That means I have to write 1200 words a day, five days a week, for the next three months, and I can't go back over anything I've written the day before. That's a real key for me. If I start to go back over stuff, it'll put a damper on all forward momentum. Can't have that. Not when I have to be done by March 1st!

So, maybe some of you want to join me in writing a book in three months. It's not as hard as it sounds if you work hard to keep your internal editor chained to a chair. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why Wait Until January 1st?

I don't know what it was—the realization that it's already December (!!!) or the fact that I just watched Bridget Jones' Diary for the umpteenth time, but when I flipped the calendar page yesterday, I decided I wasn't waiting a whole month to start setting some goals (by the way, I've never been a fan of the word "resolutions," it's always sounded far too ominous).

Truth be told, I was ready for a new start—pronto. And there's just something about putting everything off until January 1st that's never quite worked for me. After all, if you've got more than one thing on your list, that's a whole lot of change to start implementing all in one day.

Cue David Bowie's "Under Pressure."

So I immediately went to work and started writing down some tangible goals yesterday, and for the record, those aren't mine at the left. Although, I certainly wouldn't mind accomplishing #1, 2,3 and 5, how about you?

As far as my writing goes, I have several goals that I'm ready to get going on right away. I'll be honest, I'm a little bummed that I haven't made more progress on my next novel this year. I had extremely, extremely high hopes, mind you. Since it's my been two years since my last one, Blessed Are the Meddlers, hit store shelves, I thought this year would be perfect year to wrap up the next.

But for whatever reason, it took me a lot longer than usual to actually settle on a really superb idea. See, I had three that I was toying around with, and they all equally competed for my attention, which is never a good thing. Now I'm happy to say that after much deliberation (and the helpful input of those I trust must), I've decided on one. But even if I was a writing Superwoman for the next of the month, it certainly isn't getting wrapped up this year.

With a full plate of freelance writing, my novel writing has often taken the backseat. And while I'm certainly not complaining about my surplus of regular paying gigs (I'm very thankful, especially in a tough economy/job market like ours), I really have to fight for time to get my manuscript done. And so far, I haven't fought quite hard enough because I'm only a few thousand words in. However, thanks to all that goal setting yesterday, I've got a plan.

Now I just need to stick to it, which is another matter altogether. But I can do it, right?

Ok, now that I've shared a little about my writing goals for the immediate future, I'd love to hear from you. What are some of yours? What do you hope to accomplish next year that you can go ahead and start now?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good news!

I'm super excited today to announce that I just signed a contract with Barbour Publishers for a YA novel, tenatively titled ADDISON BLAKELY - CONFESSIONS OF A PK, set to release January 2012.



God is good. This has been a long time coming and has been a twisty path!! I'm so blessed that He saw fit to open these doors for me at this time, and I can't wait to join the Barbour family and share Addison's story with you all.

To celebrate, Hubby took me to dinner and I signed the contract over sushi and cupcakes. :)

(yes, it's a good combo, trust me! haha)

I just want to say that I'm living proof that without Christ, my words are in vain. I'm considering this new contract a ministry opportunity and I can't wait to see what God does with the words He gives me. It's all for His glory.

Thanks for celebrating with me! Addison and I hope to see you January 2012 ;)