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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Today, I'm participating in Dale Eldon's "The Next Big Thing" blog hop. If you're an author and would like to participate, please let me know!Thanks to Jordyn Redwood for inviting me! Check out her "Next Big Thing" here: Redwood's Medical Edge
1. What is the working title of your book?  Conception, Moonbow, Book One

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? I dreamed the story about fifteen years ago. The dream was so vivid that I felt I needed to write the story.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Suspense/thriller, perhaps even sci-fi

4. What's the synopsis of your book?

Rayden Brooks, a fertility doctor, kidnaps Gisa, a young widow, pregnant after being inseminated with her dead husband’s sperm. Or, so she believes. Rayden informs her she carries an embryonic clone, and Die Auserwahlten, the Chosen Ones, want the unborn baby. Gisa flees and clashes with the doctor, whom she does not trust, and with her pursuers. She must make choices that will alter her life and the lives of others forever.
Are some men born evil? What if they got a second chance?
5. Will you book be self-published or represented by an agency? self published

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I've worked on it, off and on, for about a year.

7. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Boys from Brazil. However, I approach the book from a totally different angle.

8. What else about your book might pique a reader's interest? One of the pivotal scenes is based on a real-life event (one of my family member's).
Here are some more blogs for you perusal: 
http://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/another-next-big-thing-shout-outs-to-fine-bloggers-and-author-services/

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thundersnow Free on Amazon

Eternal Springs and Thundersnow, In the Shadow of the Cedar, Book 1, are free on Amazon today through Saturday. Click on the books in the sidebar if you would like a free ebook. If you do not have a Kindle, you can download an app for your computer. You are welcome to share! Thanks!



The eReader Cafe

Monday, December 17, 2012

Love

People hurt. People need people. People need a support system. friendship
Teen suicides are climbing. According to NY Daily News, 1 in 6 teens have seriously contemplated suicide. 1 in 6. In an average size class of 30 students, that would be 5 students who have thoughts of suicide running through their heads. Probably many others, while not thinking of suicide, are clinically depressed. Would it be too strong to say that perhaps half of the class, 15 out of the 30, are unhappy? I think not.
In our country we kick away the pegs and wonder why the tents collapse.
What are the pegs? To begin with, close-knit families, close Christian families, and close friendships.
I have noticed a disturbing trend. Many memes I see on Facebook have sentiments that basically say—act crazy, act needy, and I will walk away. Of course, they are not always so blunt. Read carefully, though, and you will see that’s the message. For example, these words I have seen—Some people are not capable of love. Let them go.
Is that true? Did God make some people incapable of love? Did God tell us to give up on the unlovable? No, I think just the opposite.
We no longer know what commitment means. Let someone disturb us, and we shut them out. Go figure out your problems on your own. I have my own problems to deal with. I don’t need your craziness. This is the message we send to others.
What is the message we need to send? Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.~I Corinthians 13:7
Autism is on the rise. Autistics have problems with socialization. In America we prize people who are social butterflies. The socially awkward are ostracized. Autism runs in my family. Autistics often have difficulty controlling anger. So, do we throw up our hands? Do we give up?
It does not mean they cannot become Christians. It means we have to work harder at showing them God’s love and sharing with them God’s message. It means having a heart of forgiveness. It means surrounding others, covering others, raining down our love on others.
Even love that extends to those who might be thinking the unthinkable.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. ~Eph 6:10-18
Our weapons against evil are these—truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Spirit, the word of God, and prayer. Let us speak boldly to all and do not allow our fear to keep us from showing love to all—including those we may be fearful of. God sent his Son to die for all. Even those we fear!
The world will know we are Christians by our love.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pinion and Pride

eagleAs often happens, and as I have mentioned before, certain topics and images enter my mind and then I will read articles and posts about the very thing I have been thinking of.

I have just finished Clothed in Thunder, and I’ve been going from depths of despair to periods of giddiness. How can it be that authors and other artists can be both self confident and so full of fear? That ecstasy can follow so quickly on the heels of agony?

Nathan Bransford's blog addresses this very issue. You can read his words for yourself by clicking the link.

On his blog, he had a picture with the words to The Progress of Poesy by Thomas Gray. I read these words in that poem: Two coursers of ethereal race,
With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace.

Whoa! What a coincidence that I read a blog post dealing with the very things I have been dealing with that included the words “thunder clothed.” (Probably would have been a better title for my book, but it’s too late now.)

Here are the last two verses of The Progress of Poesy (poesy means poetry, by the way)

Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy.
  He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living Throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace.

Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o'er
Scatters from her pictured urn
  Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
But ah! 'tis heard no more——
  O Lyre divine! what daring Spirit
  Wakes thee now? Tho' he inherit
Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
  That the Theban eagle bear
Sailing with supreme dominion
  Thro' the azure deep of air:
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
  Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray,
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the Sun:
   Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the Good how far—but far above the Great.

So, what do these verses mean? I didn’t have a clue, but I’m always ready to explore. I googled to find analysis of this poem. I found that most people are as clueless as I am.

Yet, these words seem to reflect the feelings I have. Therefore, I decided to summon up my courage and take a stab at analyzing these last two stanzas.

Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy.

To write this in simpler language, “Nor second he, that rode upon the angel wings of joy, the secrets of the deeps to see.” Now I am beginning to glimpse the meaning. When in the throes of creation, the artist, and I will equate this to a writer, sees deeper.

He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living Throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.

When we write, we are submerged into a different place, a different time. Sometimes the images are so vivid and elicit such strong emotion that we must close our eyes.

Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace.

Dryden, of course, was a famous poet. Gray is giving his opinion—what exactly that is I don’t know. To reword it, “Behold, Dryden’s less true chariot, wide over the fields of glory bear two horses of heavenly race, that have necks clothed in thunder, and an impressive bearing.” It seems to me that Gray is saying that Dryden was popular and seemed impressive but was lacking in truth.

Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o'er
Scatters from her pictured urn
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.

Ooohhhh, I like this part. “Fancy” refers to the artist’s imagination. Notice that while he is exploring (his hands the lyre explore), that “Fancy” visits. I have seen this again and again. It’s when I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard that my imagination takes flight. If we are lucky we can actually create “thoughts that breathe” and “words that burn.”

But ah! 'tis heard no more——
O Lyre divine! what daring Spirit
Wakes thee now? Tho' he inherit
Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
That the Theban eagle bear
Sailing with supreme dominion
Thro' the azure deep of air:

Ha! Sounds like writer’s block to me. The “Theban eagle” refers to the famous poet Pindar of Thebes who died in 438 B.C. “Pinion” refers to the primary feathers of a bird. Pindar had the self respect (pride) and the talent (feathers) needed to rise to great heights. What of those of us lacking in those two things?

Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray,
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the Sun:
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the Good how far—but far above the Great.

In other words, those of us with “infant eyes”? Although infants, we have images given to us by the “Muse”—whatever or whoever the “Muse” may be. I think most writers are aware of the muse in their writing lives. I believe in this context that “orient” refers to “radiant or glowing.” Therefore, I believe this is saying that even those of us who are not mature writers can still write beyond our skill, catching glimpses of beauty. Although we may not be “the eagle” (as Pindar was the eagle), we can still mount upon the eagle (our muse) and rise above our mediocrity.

Hmmmm…I can still catch the feeling in the last part about feeling inferior, unfit for the work we are doing, yet somehow still managing to surpass that and be able to sail, as Pindar did, upon the “azure deep of air.”

This reminds me of the verses:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint
.

Yes, this is the way I feel. I am the “faint,” the one who “has no might.” And, I become anxious because I forget the “the Lord shall renew” my “strength.” He will allow me to “mount up with wings like eagles,” to “run and not be weary,” to write “and not faint.”

Praise be to God we do not have to rely on our own puny efforts—for that surely would be pure agony. Instead we can experience the ecstasy provided to us by God. Praise be!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Before the Screams Die Down...

Some friends and I were having a discussion the other night. A couple of them said that they couldn't sing. But that's not true. We can all sing. The problem is that our singing may be so horrific that people cannot listen.

The same with dancing. We can all dance. However, sometimes it's painful to watch those with no sense of rhythm.

The same with writing. Some may tolerate our writing, even if we're writing "off key," even if we have no "rhythm." Some may even find it interesting. Much like William Hung who tried out for American Idol and became a media celebrity. But that type of celebrity is short lived.

Someone gave a stat the other day. Ten percent of people we come in contact with will dislike us. I'm sure that varies depending on the person. The point is that we will put our work out and at least ten percent of the population will dislike it. For no reason.

And it shouldn't matter to us. Especially Christian writers. We obey God and put our work out, not caring if 10, 20, or 50% dislike it. It's none of our business. It is only our business to put out quality work that glorifies our creator.

Yet, it's hard to beat down those feelings when we first publish a book. A lot of people have likened publishing a book with giving birth. Yes, it is a lot like that, but a lot more painful. At least for me.

I've said this before. When I write a book, I become immersed in the story. I am living the story. Most stories have a degree of conflict (otherwise how boring that would be!). So, I wrestle with the same problems as my characters. And, then, I publish the book. (Some people sit on their books for years before seeking publication. The following does not apply to them.)

With a baby, we are given years to "polish" the child. However, our books are pushed out into the world before our screams completely die down. Thus, our emotions are raw. We are vulnerable to the slightest slight. We are in the midst of postpartum depression. It doesn't take much to reduce us to tears.

Or, maybe that's just me.

We want people to revel with us in our joy of producing our work. We want people to wipe the sweat from our brow. We want people to support us on our wobbly legs.

I'm beginning to think that upon publishing a book a writer needs to completely distance themselves from it. Go on vacation. Take a cruise.

Yeah, I'll do that one day. Today, however, I have to stand upon my legs that wobble. I have to wipe my own sweat from my brow. I have to stuff my feelings down and repeat the mantra...I did my best. It's none of my business now who likes it. It's none of my business...it's none of my business...it's none of my business...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Signing for Clothed in Thunder

Whew! I think I'm going to make it! Got the cleaned up version of Clothed in Thunder, In the Shadow of the Cedar, Book 2 uploaded and ordered the books for my book signing.

This whole process of publishing a book is nerve wracking! Have I said that before? I'm learning, though, and I hope my next book signing will be less stressful.

If you are in the area and would like to purchase a book, drop by the Opp Public Library on Saturday, December 22nd at 2 p.m. Hope to see you there!