It’s always at the beginning and end of a project that I wonder why I ever thought I could be a writer. In the middle, I’m having fun. I’m in my groove, zinging along, letting the characters tell their story. And then I edit. And then I start putting the changes into the computer, and what’s this? I discover how a few characters have been acting up or acting out, as it were. How did I miss this? I thought I had them under control (ha!), but they’re misbehaving. They can get on soapboxes. They can rant and rave and repeat themselves. Actually, I love it when characters take over -- until the end when I see how far they went. That’s when my conversation begins. Oh, will you be quiet! Oh, no, you’re not going to say that! What’s going on in that head of yours? You sound like a dimwit. Enough with the attitude! Oh, dear, what’s my sweet editor going to think about what’s going on here? I’m...
Inputting corrections has to be the most tedious part of the writing process. Shannon and I have survived our experiment so far, and the dictation system is working. We’ve done one chapter together. It turns out she’s an editor as well as a good typist. She stopped me several times and made good suggestions. More changes. I also got feedback from the peanut gallery. Two home-schooled grandchildren are in the living room doing their work, but also listening to the story. They don’t have editing changes, but comments about my characters. My grandson has a way with words and puns; so we must avoid letting the comic routine start or we’ll all be laughing instead of working.
My office still has stacks of chapters with clips and notes. I have them in three piles; one pile of chapters that will need to be dictated or take me a week to do on my own, another pile I can do on my own, and the completed chapters (now...
The hardest part about writing is the first page. It feels like stepping high up on a cliff and seeing nothing below but fog. God says jump. Your instincts say stay put, step back. So you hover, doubting. Are You there, Lord? Sometimes it takes me a while to step off and let go of any preconceived ideas of what I outlined and let God be there in the mist I’m sailing through.
I finished the first draft. I shouldn’t really call it a first draft because I’m editing every time I start a new day. I read through the pages I did finish and rework them as a way of limbering up for the work ahead. I go back before I can go forward. It’s been months since I started. I printed out the 640 page manuscript a few weeks ago and am ready to go off the next cliff, with God in the mist, whispering. This is the part of writing I love. The...
I try to avoid politics when blogging, but feel I need to say a few things about the coming election.
I cannot in good conscience vote for any party that makes sin (unlimited abortion; gay marriage) primary points in their platform. Nor can I vote for a man who is actively hostile toward biblical principles and Christianity.
One of President Obama’s many attacks has been the repeated attempt to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities (abortion) that go against their beliefs. I believe abortion is just the beginning of what is included in “Obamacare”.
Everything is all about money these days. Baby Boomers are flooding the Medicare system. President Obama says he cares about people (giving 3% to charity?) and the elderly especially, but has already syphoned money to other programs. I believe euthanasia is coming. And I can hear the rationale from...
I didn’t have the opportunity to visit Jerusalem or Rome until after all three novels in the Mark of the Lion trilogy (A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness and As Sure As the Dawn) had been released. Rick had spent time in Jerusalem and Rome as a child. His family had lived in Aman, Jordan where Dad ran an airline. Hence, they were able to visit cities all over Europe and the Middle East. (Rick played golf in Tehran! “No grass on either fairways or greens. All dirt and rocks.”)
My first visit to Jerusalem came in 1995. Rick and I went with our pastor and his wife on a scouting expedition. We had an Arab guide. When we went back with a group from our church in 1997, we had a Jewish guide. Two views on everything, actually several more when you include the differences of opinion and claims of religious site locations from Catholic and Protestant sides.
Everywhere we went...
I was an average student. I received a D in reading in sixth grade. I’m still a slow reader. History wasn’t my favorite subject until I was introduced to historical fiction by my mother-in-law, Edith. After that, I was hooked, not just on fiction, but on facts and details.
First, I was fascinated by California history. All but three novels in my B.C. years were historical romances set in California between 1840 – 1880. Hence, upon becoming a Christian and having God nudge me to write again, I set Redeeming Love in California during the Gold Rush.
A Voice in the Wind fit better in ancient times. Struggling through the question of where the courage comes from to testify for Christ, I needed another setting. Jerusalem, Rome, and Ephesus seemed the best places. Christian martyrs died in these cities and the times were dramatic.
The trouble with writing historicals is a writer can get caught up and...
Contrary to what most people might think, I have had more freedom to write in the Christian publishing world than I did in the general market. In the general market, if a book succeeds, most publishers want a repeat performance. They gave out “tip sheets” for what they wanted in a story. I had one (general market) editor tell me I was getting in the way of two characters having sex and should put my morality aside. Say what? Another frequent comment when A Voice in the Wind was offered to general market publishers was “take out the Jesus stuff”. Nope. And I am not sorry.
My writing style has changed over the years and so has the content of my work. I want to saturate my stories with faith or lack of faith, depending on the character. I’m not a Christian who writes. I’m a Christian writer. There is a difference.
Frankly, entering the Christian market place at the time I did was a great and...
Hadassah was a light in the darkness for those who didn’t know or understand who Jesus is. It wasn’t what she said because, in the beginning, she said very little. It was the way she lived her life that impacted others. That is still true today for all of us who believe in Jesus. People watch Christians. They may criticize and want to crush us, but underneath all that animosity is a hunger to know: “Is it true?”
When we live our lives as Citizens of Heaven -- every day with love and without fear and with an eye to our future -- each and every believer impacts the world. We never know how many people we touch with a word or a smile or a helping hand.
The Voice will always be God’s throughout the generations, however many there may be before the end comes and the last trumpet sounds. God doesn’t scream and shout like Satan. God speaks quietly, in a still small voice. It’s easy to hear the devil, but...
When I became a Christian, I couldn’t write. Then, later, God opened the door through the story of Hosea. I could almost hear Him saying, “You’ve been writing about ‘love’ for years. So, write about love – MY kind of love.” It was a year of hard work and revelation. My desk faced a wall with the living/family room behind me. God taught me how to focus in chaos, to open my ears to His voice and not all the other voices surrounding me, real and from the talking box in the corner.
It was an honor and eye-and-heart-opening experience to write Redeeming Love, and I thought that was the end of my writing career. It shut more doors than it opened, and I thought it was my one and only message to those who had followed my steamy, historical romance career in the secular market. “You asked what happened. Here’s the answer. Jesus happened.”
But God had other ideas. He has a way of prodding us gently...
** SPOILER ALERT **
This is a question recently asked, and the simple answer is God would have found a way to save all those He already knew belonged to Him. Marcus would still have gone off to Judea to find answers and found God, but he might have married someone else. Julia’s struggle would have ended differently because Hadassah wouldn’t have been there to soften Marcus’ heart in time to forgive. Hence, he would have suffered regret. Alexander wouldn’t have had a story because Hadassah would have died and he wouldn’t have been able to take care of her and been impacted by her life. Atretes would have ended up back in the arena, taking more lives as he fought to hold onto his own.
All of which makes me thankful I had an editor who wanted to kick me when she read the first rendition of A Voice in the Wind and challenged me to think further than death in the arena as the only way to glorify God.
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