Monday, July 30, 2012

My Little(Huge) Writing Gets Published

"There are no small parts, only small actors."

This phrase jumps into my mind today as my tiny poem "Fruit Sale Cinquain" hits Every Day Poets.

I often think of my poetry writing as my "little" writing.

It is really short, tiny even, compared to my novel writing that has yet to be published.

And yet my poetry and short stories have been my giant in my publishing life.

Just check out my publication page here.

What do you see?

Poetry and short stories.

So, if there are no small parts, only small actors - have I become a small minded writer by belittling my own publications just because they are limited in word count?

Hmm. I think it's something I need to remedy.

So I'm going to shout it from the rooftops today.


The word count is tiny, but the part of my poetry in my writing life is HUGE.

Do you belittle your own writing?

And if so, do you think it's time to change and start shouting out your accomplishments?

 If you would like to read a poem in less than 30 seconds, check out Fruit Sale Cinquain at Every Day Poets.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tree Climbing and Novel Writing

My daughter is up in a tree. She can't figure out how to get past this one spot. She refuses to back down, and thinks through the problem, determined to go up and up until she reaches her goal.

I'm high up in word count, revision status, etc. I can't seem to get past this one spot. I refuse to go back, because I've done it too many times before. I think through the problem, determined to go up and up until I've reached my goal.

After my daughter can see over the roof of our house, and she climbs high enough to see Puget Sound (actually on of the bays), she asks if I can see her waving at me. I see a golden halo of her blonde hair against the branches of the tree and a flicker of movement. She starts to carefully climb down.

I'm nearing the end of my 100 Days of Revision. I'm not as far as I want to be. I have to get past through the last through rough branches in my story so I can see the horizon line at the end. Afterwards, I plan to ask for some editorial help for that careful climb down through the last bits of story.

My daughter is exhilerated from her tree climbing, and I hope I'll feel that way soon about my writing. At the moment, I've got tree sap and bits of bark clinging to my clothes, and I'm fighting a tangle of branches.

Ever climbed a tree and gotten stuck? Been in a sticky place in your story?
Do you refuse to back down or keep climbing?

Oh, and I'll only be around this morning early and maybe late tonight - it's my tree climbing daughter's birthday today. She's 11 and full of adventure.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Closing the Distance

If you've been around my blog for a while, or even a short time, you probably know that I believe in Jesus Christ as my one and only savior, my rock, and my foundation.

What you might not know is that I've been going through one of those "distant" times in my faith the last nine months. Nine months! It's been a long, long dry season that seemed to get drier and dustier with every week.

With Jesus calling heavily on my heart I accepted a position of leadership back in . . .October 2010 . . . a while ago. It put me in the midst of a leadership team, and in the position of planning and leading worship for nearly a year at a new (like brand new) church.

I knew in the core of my soul that God wanted me in that position. I felt him knocking on the door of my heart when the call went around a small group of people for a worship leader. I answered it, prayed over it, asked for help on it, and God's blessings abundantly overflowed.

I can't say it was easy. It took time and energy away from my family and my writing.

Yet, God provided at every turn. When I trusted Him, everything came together.

Then . . .I'm not sure what happened. My kids needed me more. I felt called to let go, but wanted to keep helping out. I came under attack after attack for decisions I made for worship. My friends stood by me, but it became obvious that my role as a worship leader was a stumbling block for a group of people at my church. I prayed, and I started to let go but kept holding on to "just a few things."

Guess what? A replacement was found for those last few things - quickly.

I felt hurt. Hurt by people, and hurt by God.

Why had he called me there if I wasn't supposed to stay? What was the purpose in that? Did I not do good enough? Was I supposed to stay with the new church? And if so, why? "They" didn't want me.

God didn't seem to want me to serve Him there. A few people asked me to serve in a few areas, but I prayed, and I tried and I felt . . . nothing: no tug on my heart, no pull on my soul, no certainty, nothing.

I went to Creation Fest this year for the seventh year running, and I went feeling empty, and distant. I am so thankful that my family "goes every year" because I'm not sure I would have gotten there otherwise. I needed to be there, to be surrounded by friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and convicted again and again by speakers and musicians.

I needed to see that my distance from faith was my sin, my choice, my test that I failed.

I trusted God in the good times, the "top of the world" moments of worship leadership, but I didn't trust Him in the times that I was attacked. I didn't trust Him in the times when I felt unwanted. I didn't trust Him to guide my family and I to the right place. I didn't trust Him hold me close in a time of waiting and rest.

Now I do. I trust Him. He makes my heart new. He lifts me up and fills me with His strength when I fall down. He is my joy. He is my rock and my foundation. He is my guiding light, my path, and my salvation.

I know with certainty that God loves me, that I am His, and He is my Creator, Savior, and Spirit. He is my life. I trust Him to lead me and my family on the right path.

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Creation Fest

This is where I am today:

And Saturday night, the festival will end with the Newsboys:

We love many of the bands that will be there this year (including the Newsboys), but my hubby is missing Skillet, and we're all missing Toby Mac. Skillet is working on the new album this summer, and Toby Mac is only touring the east coast while releasing his new album in August. 

Still, we're having fun, loving the music, the worship experiences, and the awesome speakers like Nick Vuijicic:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Hangers . . .those last lines in the chapters that just keep us reading until our eyes are gritty, and we know we're going to need extra strength caffiene to make it through the next day . . .or so we hope.

Welcome again to Hookers and Hangers Blog Hop brought to the blog world by the awesome crew of Falling for Fiction!

Here are a few Hangers from Champion in the Darkness, formerly known as The Crystal Sword:

Chapter 1: She knew exactly where she needed to go. 

Chapter 2: The room went silent, and Stelia leaned forward on the table, bracing herself for the coming storm of argument.

Chapter 3: “All right,” Clara acquiesced, but inside she was planning a route to the castle that she could take later than night.

Chapter 4: The dark sorceress had promised him power, a sword that would be more powerful than any the Sword Circle possessed, a sword of fire that he could use against the Rrysorri, the villains who had poisoned his wife.

Just sticking with those for now . . .and now I'm off to go see what other hangers are out there . . .

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hookers and Hangers part 1

Part 1 of Hookers and Hangers . . .the written kind.

Ok, the title threw me off a bit . . .made me wince a little, but it's all in good fun. Today we're posting hooks from our books - first lines from various chapters. On Wednesday we're posting hangers - the last lines. Then we get to hop around and give each other awesome feedback. The fun, encouraging blog hop is being hosted by Falling for Fiction - a great place to find writing tips, feedback, and more!

Chapter 1 (help! many revisions): Lightning flashed against dark clouds, and Clara woke with a start, disorientated by the sunlight warming the curtain over her small window.

Chapter 2: In a room without windows, set deep within the Sword Hall of Skycliff, Stelia watched Dantor ease into the council room.

Chapter 3:  Braced against the crumbling brown ramparts of Skycliff’s seawall, Clara leaned into the misty blue horizon.

Chapter 4: Behind closed the door of his topmost tower room above his private quarters, King Alexandros stood staring into an archaic mirror rimmed with a rusty frame.

Chapter 5: Stelia fought her way across Trinity Hall, cutting her way to Dantor.

Chapter 6: “A liability? And here I thought you had affection for our young Prince,” said Dantor.

Chapter 10: Clara stumbled over the doorway, and into darkness, falling into complete emptiness.

Chapter 15: Clara stayed still next to Master Dantor, pressing the cloth against his side, hoping to stop, or at least slow the bleeding.

Chapter 16: When Stelia saw Dantor’s wound she felt as if a knife had been plunged into her own chest, and she gasped.

Chapter 17: With her gear stored in a narrow bunk, and her sword still strapped to her back, Clara followed her mom into the medical officer’s cabin.

Chapter 20: Five days of routine passed, with no sea serpents or foul weather.

Chapter 21: Two more griffins flying towards the ship interrupted all conversation, and all eyes turned upward to watch them soaring, and circling, slowing with each round until they landed one after another aboard the ship.

Chapter 22: Down on his knees, with his neck uncomfortably exposed, King Alexandros wanted only one thing . . . a swift death.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Love and Understanding

My Aunt Linda's memorial service is today. I've spent weeks trying to come up with words that make sense with her life, and my relationship with her.

My first memories of her are bad. She had a tendency to rage at family gatherings, smack her kids, threaten me.

And yet, before my memory, my mom says that Linda was the only one who could comfort me when I cried as a baby and toddler.

And there is a song that I learned by heart at her house in a jumble of memories that seem so early that they are in a fog.

When I was a teen, my Aunt turned to Jesus for help, and she changed. When before she would scream, she would get quiet and cry. She had a Christian friend, and met a Catholic priest who walked her into faith step by step. She got an annulment of her previous (and extremely violent) marriage, and joined the Catholic church.

She began to laugh more . . .a dry, husky laugh that resonated deep within her and poured out like rain on parched earth.

When I was in college, we attended a writers' conference together for a weekend. We discussed writing, life, and where to get the best burgers.

She bought a house after years of renting, and started to grow a beautiful garden, determined to clean up the tough neighborhood that she had moved into on purpose.

I wish I could say that her life only improved from there. In some ways it did, and in other ways it didn't. She still struggled with her bitterness and anger, leftover habits from a hard childhood, and hard early adulthood.

She loved her family fiercely and protectively. There are things I know about her life that her grandchildren don't know, and may never know. She asked me years ago never to tell them certain details about her life, and I understand.

That is the part that amazes me sometimes. I didn't always like my Aunt Linda, but I understood her and I loved her. Her life and her character help shaped my own. She was a beautiful woman, a beautiful artist, a talented writer and gardener. She found and made beauty in the midst of tough circumstances.

And this is the song that will always remind me of her life, the song that I remember from a time before my memories really start.

an addendum, after the memorial service: At my Aunt Linda's memorial service, the priest and my cousin Brandon pointed out a pattern in my Aunt's life: when she relied on Jesus, she was happier, brighter and more beautiful. Her faith held her together.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Road Tripping and Writing

I just spent two weeks of road tripping through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California (then back up through Oregon and into Washington).

My husband is "THE Driver" and prefers things that way. I used to fuss over that, claiming I needed to drive, but after several years of marriage to "THE Driver" I'm content with a load of books, my laptop, and the amount of daydream time I get staring out the window. Plus, I have good conversations with The Driver. He's a much nicer driver than I am in many ways - if I'm driving I want control of the radio, heat, and basically everything that's going on in the car. I'm kind of a driver control freak. My husband just wants to drive and the rest is up to the passengers.

During our drive, I read aloud portions of my book to my family, and I discovered something during that time . . . I need to let my characters open the windows, and change the radio station now and then. I've suffocated the story in this last revision, forcing the highs and lows.

 My poor main character has been boxed into a tight passenger corner, not allowed to even open a window and let the sun shine on her face.

However, I need to stay at the wheel, and keep the shift engaged for the wild ride. Plus I need to clean the windows now and then . . .our car became bug spattered so often on our drive that we stopped more often to clean off the windows than we did to fill the gas tank.

The bugs on the windows of my story have a tendency to be massive amounts of repeated words and phrases. My family and I started laughing every time my characters "ducked," "turned," or "breathed." I think I used each of those words at least two dozen times in three chapters. Aagh!

So, I'm back at work, hoping that somehow this story will be the story I want it to be, hoping that when I get done it will feel like this:

My husband says this is how he wishes he could have driven through San Francisco.

Oh, and this is my 72nd day of 100 Days of Revision - I'm going to have to give my revision process more gas to make my goal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

IWSG - Face Your Fears

This month for Insecure Writer's Support Group, I would like to challenge everyone to face your fears.

On vacation with my family, I often get a chance to face my fears.

In April 2011 I swam in the ocean with huge manta rays, sharks, and green sea turtles. (I've always been afraid of swimming with little fish in any open water)

At the end of June (this year), I walked the rim trail at the Grand Canyon to Hermit's Rest and saw condors flying below us. The trail felt way too narrow at some points and too close to the edge. (my fear of heights was definitely challenged)

On July 1st, even though we're still on vacation, I submitted one of my poems for publication with a magazine.

Maybe that doesn't seem to be a big "fear-facer" type situation, but when I have those moments when I'm doubting my writing, submitting my work is all about facing my writing insecurities.

True, I've had some short stuff like stories and poems published before, but that doesn't seem to mean that I've lost all my fear of rejection.

Have you faced any fears lately? With your writing? Your life?

I highly encourage you to face your fears because I think you'll find that when you do, you'll be rewarded with renewed confidence.