Categories
Writing

Posting at Writer…Interrupted Today

Hope you click on over and read my post, No Time For Doubt. It’s a ramble on time-management.

Have a great Thursday!

Categories
Writing

Heroes–What Makes Them Great?

Guess what? My hubby took our older girls out to set and check traps with him during three year old’s nap yesterday, and meanwhile, I got in almost three hours of work on my WIP (work-in-progress)! It’s a contemporary women’s fiction novel, with two point of views, the hero’s and the heroine’s.

It’s been forever, so I spent some time gathering my hastily jotted notes–yes, even when I’m not writing, I have great dialog and ideas for scenes flashing through my ever busy brain–and fleshed out an already started GMC chart for hero and heroine. GMC stands for goals-motivation-conflict, in case you’re wondering. 🙂

My hero needed some help. He’s a nice guy, despite his inner turmoil. Too nice, probably. So I was pleased to find these blog articles by Susan May Warren (author of Chill Out, Josey!) over at Book Therapy. The one I’ve linked to is the first in the series, and even if you don’t play around at writing like I do, you might enjoy checking them out. Writers evaluate everything. It feeds our creativity, lol. I can’t even watch a movie anymore without getting to the heart of every little detail…things that I love or hate, what makes the main characters tick.

So Susan’s articles on heroes and their “Noble Causes, Flaws and Fears” really hooked me. Especially as one of her examples is spot on for what I’ve written. My fictional hero’s dad died in the line of duty when he was 9 years old, and hero grew up wanting to be just like him (not dead, you know what I mean *wink*). He served in the military police, and came home to work in a small town police department near his childhood community. He has a “protector complex”, but I wasn’t sure what other flaws I should give the poor man.

He’s already made “his stunning mistake”, he is atoning for it, but I have yet to figure out how to have him betray one of his “deepest values” for the sake of the more important one. Have I lost you? Maybe Susan’s explanation using Mel Gibson’s struggle in The Patriot will help:

“Well, here’s why…because at some point in your story, your hero is going to have to choose between the two values. He’ll have to betray the one, and choose the other.

But why can’t he just have both?

Because, the best tension is INNER tension…and competing values are what makes a story take a reader’s breath away. It’s why we’ll cry at Sommersby, and why Mr. Darcy’s confession of love gets us in the heart every time, and why it’s so darn heroic when Mel Gibson comes riding up with the mended American flag after his son is killed in the Patriot. Every character has had to grapple with their inner values, and find the one that pushes them forward. The one that is most Noble.”

I should say that I’m on the fourth draft of this particular novel…yeah…so I still have a lot to learn and am using this story to hone my craft! May it someday see the light of day, one can always hope!Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger - The Patriot

My favorite movie heroes include Tom Hanks (You’ve Got Mail), Keanu Reeves (Lake House), and Mel Gibson (The Patriot). As far as book heroes go, I really loved Trevor in Deb Raney’s Remember to Forget, Landon in Denise Hunter’s Surrender Bay, and Jamie in Liz Curtis Higg’s Lowlands of Scotland series.

All my favorite heroes have one thing in common, they all make me swoon! They’re courteous to a fault, protective and committed. And usually tormented by their past, or the heroine’s past.

What do you look for in a hero, and what are some of your fictional/movie favorites? If you can think of their flaws/fears/noble causes, will you share them in comments?

Categories
Home Schooling Writing

Blogging and Other Updates

First~

Come over to Writer…Interrupted today and read my post, “Finding the Time”

Second~

Have you noticed the new “Comment Luv” plug-in here at the site in the comments section? It’s a pretty nifty way of letting us know what your latest blogpost was, and you only have to enable it once. Go for it, I’m waiting!

Third~

Some of you know about my seven year old daughter’s two month long ordeal with inclusion cysts on her foot. Long story short, she got the mother of splinters neatly stuck in and out of the ball of her foot. I got most of the splinter out, but had to take her in to the doctor to get the rest. He thought he got it all, but in the next few weeks, she developed two blue-ish cysts about an inch below the “excavation” site of the splinter. Took her back to the same doctor, he lanced them, drained them and said if they came back we’d probably need to go the surgery route. So yesterday we took her to “the big city” to a podiatrist who gently manipulated her foot, X-rayed it, and is setting us up for a foot ultrasound. If the ultrasound shows a foreign body within the cyst, then he’ll want to cut it out, which means somewhat of a recovery and that 7 yo will have to hobble around on crutches for a short while. If there is no foreign body evident, then we play the “wait and see” game. This is what we’re praying for. I’m also making an appointment with an expert in Alternative Therapies to get her excellent advice before we jump into the surgery solution.

Thanks for all your prayers! Btw, 7 yo is in no pain from these cysts, and she is still feeling great after her four days of 103*+ fevers!

Categories
Writing

Breath of Home

That’s the title of my post at Writer…Interrupted today. It’s a homemaking and encouragement post. I hope you check it out, if only for the “bed mite eradicator” tip…which also happens to scent your sheets something wonderful!

I also share what some of my favorite books from childhood are. What are yours?

Categories
Christianity Parenting Writing

Watering With Coke?

“If life is a box of chocolates, is it any wonder our Bibles end up at the bottom of our TBR pile?”

That’s how I began my post at Writer…Interrupted today! I hope you’ll stop in over there and read the rest of it. Incidentally, “TBR” is writer lingo for “to be read”.

What do you think? Does God’s word lose some of its appeal to today’s busy generation? Technology has advanced us, entertained us, and turned us into fast-paced consumers. How’s your spiritual appetite, or better yet, your child’s? And what can we do about it?

I shared my thoughts on this. Go read them and then share yours. 🙂

Or just share yours, because I’m interested either way!

Categories
Writing

Dreaming on the Five Year Plan

Had one of those great chats with hubby the other night.

I shared something exciting on the *writing front* with him and also shared my insecurities about this writing gig maybe taking several years to get going.

See, Dh and I both kind of thought I could pop a book out and get it published, no sweat. Embarrassingly naive, in light of what I now know about the publishing industry. Still, a common misconception among the optimistic masses!

Sweet man likened it to his debut into the saddle making biz. He started in 1990 (while still in high school) building his first saddle with no training whatsoever and in the meantime practiced his skills on other tooling projects, such as leather planners, photo album covers, barstool seats, headstalls and spur straps. By 1995 he’d finsaddle2.jpgished his first saddle and in the process gained valuable experience. He’s built many more since then and has repeat customers who spread the word. It took him five years to finish that first saddle. He’s faced many setbacks, most of them related to raising a family on one income while trying to get a home business underway.

In talking to the friends I’ve made at ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers, getting published in the first five years of writing is quite a feat. Yet, in the last year and a half, I’ve had this sense of impatience with myself. Wondering if I’m spending too much time fixing on this series, feeling guilty that it’s not “done” yet and being shopped around. Thinking it may never see shelf space.

Having an understanding spouse is so freeing. I’m being told in books on the craft, that every word written is a step progressing my journey. Nothing is wasted. Not even blogging.

According to fantastic writers like Deb Raney and Karen Kingsbury, the learning process never stops. And I’m loving it.saddle1.jpg

So is my husband. He’s hoping to add silver smithing to his list of skills. Being a “do-it-yourselfer”, he’d love to create every last piece of a saddle from the engraved silver conchos to the wooden tree at the saddle’s core.

Our *creative* hearts touched during that talk the other night. We understood each other’s dreams on a level that each could identify with.

And, yes. The saddles pictured in this post are 100% hubby’s work of art. Aren’t they beautiful?

Someday, I’ll have a writer’s nook in a back corner of my husband’s busy leather shop.

In five years? Doubtful, but we’ll keep dreaming!

Categories
Christianity Writing

Favorite Quotes

For a long time I had this quote as my signature line in my email account:

“Faith is the bucket of power lowered by the rope of prayer into the well of God’s abundance. What we bring up depends upon what we let down. We have every encouragement to use a big bucket.”~Virginia Whitman

I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. John 14:13

Do you have a favorite quote or verse to share? I’d love to read it.

Categories
Writing

Blogging Today at Writer…Interrupted

Read below for an excerpt of my post: Barbie…Interrupted, inspired by time spent with my good friend Deborah.

An apple-scented breeze provided a second’s relief from the humidity enveloping the pond. Barbara’s waist-length hair hung heavy and damp, she wished she’d had time to braid it, but Ken’s recent cell call had been insistent. He’d be waiting in the orchard, with news too good to spill over the phone. Or so he’d claimed. Her heart swelled, pounding in her throat. Had he heard from her editor?

She skirted a downed limb and stifled a half-giddy squeal. Being married to your own literary agent had its bonuses. Be still my heart, she cautioned herself, it might not be writing related. She’d reached the orchard, jeans darkened to the knees from morning-wet pasture grasses. Pausing to catch her breath, she studied the crooked trees for a glimpse of him.

I hope you will go over to Writer…Interrupted and finish reading my story. It’s the first fiction I’ve posted on the web, and my first attempt at humor.

So be kind. *wink*

Laughing as I sign off,

Mary

Categories
Writing

Email Accounts and Flash Drives

At the last writer’s conference I attended, Deb Raney shared that sometimes, as an extra precaution, she emails herself her latest book chapters. This way they’re backed up in more than one spot.

If you have a web-based email service like gmail or yahoo, this works great. Even if your computer crashes, you still have your WIP available from another computer. Flash drives aren’t eternal, and nothing is failsafe, so this is a great option. Plus, it’s free.

So I spent some time last night and set up an email account just for my writing. Got all the important stuff nicely organized by chapters and notes. Now I just have to remember to login to that account every 4 months so it’s not all deleted!

I saved everything to a flash drive a few months ago, but the revisions are going so well I decided it was time to update all my saves and take Deb’s great advice.

My trilogy update: I’ve got two completed books in various stages of editing and a third that’s shelved for the time being. I “label” them as women’s fiction, because though there is strong element of romance, they all deal with a variety of difficult issues from health to loss to alcoholism to marriage and divorce. They’re Christian contemporary and all set in the mid-west.

Categories
Writing

8 Random Things…

8 RANDOM THINGS……

Yesterday I was tagged by Georgiana D for 8 Random Things. You all know I’m a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom that loves cappuccino, writes, reads, cooks, survived an octopus “attack”, etc. I guess I can add a few new things to that list. That being said, here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Are you ready? Here are my 8 random things/habits:

  1. Dh and I rarely get to bed before midnight. On the rare occasion that we do, it’s ALWAYS 11:22 P.M.
  2. My least favorite chore is cleaning the ceiling fans.
  3. I crave jalepenos when I’m pregnant.
  4. My favorite summer treat is strawberries dipped in sour cream and then in brown sugar. Yum!
  5. I’m like the mouse in Mouse Cookie. If I bring in the step-ladder to clean the ceiling fan, I get sidetracked and stop at the kitchen light fixture to replace a light bulb. Then while I’m up there, I see that some cobwebs have collected, and pretty soon I’m washing the ceiling…
  6. I’m always running late and I hate it. (Perhaps tis the mouse’s fault?)
  7. I’ve been in all the states except Hawaii. My favorite one is Alaska maybe because I was old enough to really appreciate it. My parents loved to travel and we jaunted cross country in the Oldsmobile every chance they got. Have I mentioned here yet that I get violently carsick? (Just ask Deborah)
  8. I started blogging a year ago when friends at a writer’s conference said it was a good way to keep the writing muse exercising…I’ve found it to be a spiritual blessing as well. I really appreciate all of my bloggie friends!

So now I have to tag 8 people. I tag: Deborah, Brandi, Ann-in-Grace, Amy Melton, Amy @ Knight’s Acre , Jessica, Rhonda, and Larry