Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Dawn awakens and I attempt to do the same. With diet soda in hand and eyes still crusted over from sleep, I drag up the stairs and cross over into hallowed territory. In this sacred place I have witnessed miracles, waged wars and struggled to maintain my sanity. I love this spot nearly as much as I despise it. A turn to the left, my heart aiming to the right, and I sit to translate His daily symphony. My ritual has become almost commonplace, and I fear I might one day forget the awesome responsibility of this call – this blissful, gut-wrenching call.
The sublime dances alongside the mundane and I witness it all as my fingers prepare to transcribe the notes on the page. These two worlds confuse and delight me. Oh, the wonder of such a majestic composition! Oh, the fragility of a heart aching to be used. How great, the ensuing battle between the two. I find myself forever torn between wanting to do His will and wondering if I am capable of constructing even one intelligent sentence. Can I lay down my insecurities and selfish desires long enough to pencil the message the Lord places on my heart this morning? Will there be a message worth conveying?
The instruments begin to warm up – a harsh contrast to my ears as each one pits itself against the other. For a brief moment I’m baffled by the cacophony of sounds, the sheer confusion of it all. Then, miraculously, all of the dissonance fades into one clear, singular note and I am free to begin. My fingertips dance across near-silent keys, a stark contrast to the plinking and plunking of yesterday’s typewriter. Today’s message tip-toes out onto a stark white screen, and I come alive as the oil begins to flow – blessed, holy oil that washes over me with its invigorating power. The music is pouring now, and I am tuned in as never before. I race. I sit idle. I sing in three keys at once. I hold back, suspended in time. I press anxious keys. I wait in silence.
Sometimes, truth be told, I forget to wait. Some days I forge ahead, anxious to meet the deadline, state my case and impress potential readers with carefully crafted words. On those days, pride becomes my friend. We feed one another tasteless foods and toast our victories with empty glasses. Then, just as quickly, arrogance gives way to defeat. There are days when I search aimlessly for words, unable to locate even one. On those days, hopelessness seeps in and the enemy of my soul whispers the phrase I’ve grown to dread, “How can you offer up what you don’t even possess?” Just as quickly, the voice of the Lord echoes loudly in my ears, reminding me that I possess heaven and earth. Heaven, I can share with those on earth. Heaven, I must share with those on earth.
I clamor for forgiveness and the Lord whispers words of solace. Hope kicks in and I’m on my way once more. Faithful fingers begin to dance with joy and something miraculous occurs. In that moment, as heaven and earth meet, self gives way to the Spirit of God. I cease typing and He begins. Tiny black words tumble out onto a barren white screen, then somehow plunge forward into paragraphs. Paragraphs gently press their way into full pages. Pages majestically align themselves to compose chapters, and chapters gloriously sing until they erupt into books. I don’t mind playing the role of spectator as His stories take shape. In fact, I have grown rather accustomed to it.
Tomorrow morning I will rise from my bed and wipe the sleep from my eyes. I will once again face the challenge of the call of God on my life – to write, or not to write? As I step foot onto that hallowed ground I call my workspace, I will empty myself of all I desire and give myself over.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
If you visit Japan and use the railway, you will see an incredible sight at major train stations. Surely, one of the biggest challenges foreigners face when they visit Japan is riding the overcrowded trains. One of the most comfortable things about living here in Texas is that I don’t have to take the dreadfully overcrowded trains anymore. My husband used to take those awful commuters for two hours to get to his office every day and is now very happy with the 5 minute drive to his office. For those who live in such a big state with a less dense population, it must be hard to imagine such a nightmare.
An extreme level of urban overcrowding in Japan is so serious that its train system is known as the most crowded in the world. In fact, Shinjuku (shin-ju-ku), a major station in Tokyo, is used by more than 4 million people every weekday. While the trains arrive and leave within a few minutes in Shinjuku station, masses of people are still in long lines. Once a train arrives and the door opens, people stream out as if a floodgate had just opened. Due to the trains being filled beyond capacity, passengers can’t avoid squeezing in with other people. Sometimes the train door barely shuts and the train staff is required to push people inside. You definitely feel how a sardine feels in a can. To make matters worse, clothing is sometimes caught in the door and only when the train arrives at the next stop, can they be pulled out. The door on your side might not open next, however.
The environment inside of the car is awful, especially when it rains! If you get on the train on a rainy day, your shoes and the hemline of your pants can get wet due to numbers of sopping umbrellas. Also, the car is overwhelmed with the scent of sweat and bad breath. When someone sneezes right in front of you, it is as we say in Japanese, “BANJI-KYUUSU” (ban-ji-kyu-su) which stands for “the game is over.”
Even after you succeed in squeezing yourself into a car, there is still no relief. Now, you have to prepare for getting off the train. Believe it or not, it’s extremely difficult to exit the train when so many people are packed on. Since not all the people get off at your stop, you need to make your way through the crowd to the door shouting, “Excuse me! I’m getting off!” Still, sometimes you miss your stop.
I am so thankful that I no longer have to be a sardine in a train!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
I made a commitment at the beginning of 2009 to read books that are different from the norm. For me, the norm is inspirational romance or romantic comedy/chick-lit. So, when I received a copy of MaryLu Tyndall's new book, The Red Siren, I was a little hesitant. First, I don't read pre-19th century books. Second, I don't read pirate stories. Imagine my surprise to find out The Red Siren was both!
I publish with Barbour, just like MaryLu, so I must start by saying how ashamed I am that I've never picked up one of her books before. I'd heard of her, of course. Knew she was nominated for a Christy. But I wasn't sure I'd do well with her books because they're just so different from what I read and write. Boy, was I wrong! After reading only two pages of The Red Siren, I knew I would love this story. First, the writing is brilliant. Very intelligent, but not in a snobbish sort of way, as if often the case in pre-19th century historicals. Second, the story line is clever, different from any I've ever seen before. Finally, the characters are unique and well thought out, especially the heroine. (How many stories do you see where the heroine is queen of the manor by day, pirate by night?) I found myself caught up in the story very quickly and couldn't get enough. I'm a Pride and Prejudice fanatic, and this book definitely has that feel about it. It's got just enough of all the elements to keep the reader turning page after page. Conflict is key, and MaryLu does a great job of creating it. As you might imagine, I sat in the tub for an extended length of time, turning into a wrinkled mess. So, with those things in mind, I have to dub The Red Siren my first five-pruner of 2009. It's truly amazing!
Here's a synopsis of the story:
Worlds collide when a lady pirate meets a godly naval captain. Faith Wescott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself and her sisters from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the-manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. How long can she maintain this dual identity before she's caught red-handed?
God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates, is more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he's headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith?
Sir Wilhelm Carteret has always gotten everything he desired, but Faith seems to be unaffected by his charms. When he devises a plot to rid himself of his competition, more than Captain Waite's reputation is at stake as alarming secrets are revealed.
Will Faith regain her trust in God only to find herself headed for the gallows? Will Dajoy scuttle his good name--and neck--to save her?
Run to your nearest Christian bookstore and pick up a copy of this beautifully written book today!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
the Woodlands, Texas chapter of ACFW
invites you to attend a luncheon and writing workshop,
"Co-Authoring. . .A Novel Idea"
on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
Janelle Mowrey and Elizabeth Ludwig
at TaiPei China Bistro, 25807 I-45, The Woodlands (281)363-9188)
from 11:00am--1:00 pm
$5 at door
Bring a guest--if they Join ACFW National and our chapter you win an ACFW t-shirt!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
As you know, in order to have these small stores available to us, it is important we support them. Maria Galloway, the owner, would be very happy if you stopped by sometime to see her selection of new and used books and I would be delighted if you could make that visit on the evening I will be there at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 23, 2009.
I look forward to seeing you and please share this information with your reader friends.
Gayle Wigglesworth author of the Claire Gulliver Mysteries
Monday, January 12, 2009
I’m coauthoring the upcoming book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family, and we are looking for your true stories and poems about your off-the-wall, goofy or just downright strange family members. Stories can be serious or hilarious, or both, and should make readers realize that their quirky families are not so different from those of other people!
To submit your stories, go to http://www.chickensoupforthesoul.com and click on “Submit a Story.” Be sure to select “All in the Family” as the book title when you fill out the form. Submit under your real name, but rest assured that we will allow you, if requested, to use pen names for publication and change the names of family members to protect the innocent (or guilty!). We prefer stories and poems written in the first person of no more than 1,200 words.
[Note: We are not looking for stories about divorce or the normal trials and tribulations of raising children and teenagers.]
If your story is chosen, you will be a published author and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose. You will also receive a check for $200 and 10 free copies of the book, worth more than $100. You will retain the copyright for your story and the right to resell it.
DEADLINE IS JUNE 30, 2009. Book is scheduled for publication in October 2009, in time for the next holiday season!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Multi-published author, Anita Higman spoke on the topic of “Gothic Christian Fiction.” Our own ‘word wizard’ Linda Kozar entitled Anita’s talk “Don’t Be A Jane Eyre Head.” We learned that gothic fiction is a genre that combines elements of both horror and romance. Gothic “Christian” fiction is of course written from a Christian worldview. Anita pointed out that Christian publishing houses are accepting subject matter in novels that would never have been acceptable in the past. Her current release, in fact, has a character who is believed to be a vampire! Several well known Christian authors have pulled off writing about formerly untouchable topics quite successfully. Some examples are:
A demon possessed house – House by: Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti
Pregnancy as a result of rape – Atonement Child by: Francine Rivers
A Christian man falls in love with a prostitute – Redeeming Love by: Francine Rivers
An interview with a demon – Demon by: Tosca Lee
The search for Bigfoot – Monster by: Frank Peretti
A few tips Anita recommended for writing gothic fiction: Read a lot of the genre. Write a lot in the genre. Find your natural voice. Use your own personal experiences to enhance your writing.
Anita ended her talk by answering questions from audience members and signed books one and two of the Volstead Manor series, “Another Stab at Life” and “Another Hour To Kill.” She also had copies of her newest book, “Love Finds You In Humble Texas.”
Our members had a couple of announcements. Linda Kozar and Dannelle Woody learned the release date for Babes With A Beatitude, Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith is Oct 1st by Howard/Simon & Schuster. The book will be released in hard cover. Way to go girls! Annette O’Hare and Kathy Burnett were pleased to announce they would both be attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in April.
Join us next month when our guest speakers will be Janelle Mowrey and Elizabeth Ludwig who will be speaking on the subject of Co-Authoring A Novel Idea!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
"Author of the Month" for Houston.
Anita donated her manuscript I Can Be Anything to Literacy Advance of Houston. The book helped raise many thousands of dollars for literacy. She served on the Board of Directors of Literacy Advance and received both the Bell Ringer and Volunteer of the Year awards for her contributions to literacy.
Anita's book Who Will I Be for the Rest of My Life? (co-authored by Dr. Ruth Vaughn) appeared on the Houston Barnes & Noble best-seller list. The Celestial Helix, a collection of one-act plays through Lillenas Publishing Company was recommended in the national theater magazine,
Stage Directions, in a review.
One of Ms. Higman's books (A Tribute to Early Texas) has a foreword by Elmer Kelton and has won a San Antonio Conservation Society Citation as well as a Westerners International Book Award.
Ms. Higman has also written for radio, television, newspaper, ezine, advertising, and animation. She enjoys giving speeches and presentations at conferences, meetings, and schools.
She has a Bachelor of Arts (functional) degree in speech communication, art, and psychology. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Humor Writers' Group.
Anita was born and raised on a farm in Western Oklahoma but has lived in Texas for the past twenty-three years. Besides writing, her other interests include reading, going to the movies, and cooking brunch for her friends. She lives with her family near Houston, Texas.
No fee. $100 to winner. Publication of winning entry. http://www.readingwriters.com/contest.htm
ACFW NEWS from Camy Tang. . .The Genesis contest will be MOSTLY the same as last year.
So, if you have questions about the 2009 contest, most of your
questions will be answered on the ACFW website:
http://www.acfw.com/genesis/ and on the Genesis FAQ page:
Our categories are Short Contemporary, Long Contemporary, Short Historical, Long Historical, Women's Fiction, Romantic Suspense, and Novella. We're looking forward to a great contest. Thank you for your entry.
Nancy J. Farrier
IRC Contest Coordinator
First prize: Gift package worth over $500, including a professional edit and critique of up to 15,000 words, books on the craft of writing, and more.
Entry fee: $40. ALL ENTRIES receive a complimentary edit of the first 500 words, a detailed critique of the submission package, and an electronic copy of the Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook.
Entry Deadline: January 15, 2009. Inspiration for Writers will announce the winners on or before March 31, 2009.
Submit a one-page synopsis and first three chapters. Additional information at www.InspirationForWriters.com/contest.html or call Sandy Tritt at 304-428-1218.
Contest Deadline Extended!
Category Five Contest Entry Form
SATURDAY, May 7th from 9:30-11:00 followed by a booksigning 11-12:30
The Multiple-Author Booksigning will feature Patrick Scott, Martha Rogers and Linda Kozar!
Patrick Scott pioneered the Christian comic book market in 1995 and is a 12 time published author, a trading card game creator (Timestream: The Remnant™) and has developed and published 15 inspirational posters. Under his leadership, Cahaba Productions, Inc. received the International Christian Retail Show’s highest honor by receiving an “IMPACT AWARD” in 2003.
Patrick Scott has over 17 years of graphic design, venture capital fundraising and business experience within mainstream and the International Christian Retail Marketplace. Over those years Patrick Scott has developed a professional working relationship with Lovell-Fairchild, Dynamic Marketing, Focus on the Family, Propeller Consulting, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Dickson’s Inc., Cactus Game Design, Universal Designs, Lifeway Christian Stores and many more.
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