Guest Blog: Why Do I Write?

Writing is a difficult yet rewarding experience. Readers sometimes ask, “Why do you write?” Writers often ask themselves that very same question!

Here is an inspiring word from poet and author Lois A. Wiederhoeft on that subject. Whether you are a writer or reader, I hope it touches your heart as it did mine:

Job 19:23: Oh, that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! (KJV)

As I searched the Bible for the word “write,” I saw many reasons why God assigned old testament prophets to write on a scroll or in a book. His reasons were mostly warnings to the people of Israel. Some were harsh.

You may ask, “How could God give such tough writing assignments? I thought He was a God of Love.”

He is a God of love, but He hates sin, and his people were deep into sin, worshiping false gods or idols. They were going into extreme moral depravity and behavior. Because He still loved them, He warned of judgement if they did not return to Him.

He did the same thing in the New Testament. It gets kind of rough when Jesus called the religious leaders, “white washed sepulchers.” Paul and Peter rebuked people in the book of Acts for their rejection of God’s commandments, and wanting God’s gifts for the wrong reasons.

So what does that have to do with my writing? He told Jeremiah, in Chapter 30, verse 2, “Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.” (KJV)

If Luke had not written two letters to Theophilus. We would not have the books of Luke and Acts. We never would learn how Jesus started His church if the apostles had not followed His directions. I thank God for His faithful prophets and apostles writing for our instruction and about God’s expectations for our lives.

One blessing about writing: people don’t assume what you’re saying and no one interrupts.

My life as a single person gives me more solitude time which writers need. I have uninterrupted time with the Heavenly Author as He inspires me, mostly in poems. They focus on the Lord, His ways, His Truth, His life, and His compassion for the sinner as recorded in the Holy Bible..

Why do I write?

  • I would be miserable if I could not write what God lays on my heart.
  • I write because I have something to say for the Lord.
  • I write because there is a secret fire burning inside of me. I must share my thoughts with someone else.
  • I write because I realize that I might die next week, or tomorrow, or five minutes from now, and I want to leave something behind for posterity.
  • I write because, along with God, nothing else will fill that emptiness. I want to find a way to connect with someone, anyone who might understand.
  • I write because no other person who came before me or who will come after me will be able to write in quite the same way that I was meant to write.

    I began writing poems soon after I was married, for birthdays of nephews, siblings and my mother. I wrote anniversary poems for my grandparents. But there was a vacancy in my soul, that led me to write as a seeker of the Lord. I wanted to know Him better. I wanted others to know Him. Through the years, I found out I will never know everything about Him, but His Word tells me to seek Him with all my heart, and I found Him. When I found the Pearl of Great Price, He commissioned me to share His truth, obey His truth, and walk in His truth.
    I can now do that in poems, devotions, essays, songs, and by stretching my abilities to writing an assigned Bible study, now in the editing process.
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Announcing New Novel’s Release Date with Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone! What a great day to count the many blessings God showers on us. And you–family and friends who love and take time to show you care–are chief among them.

  • Today I’m thanking God for my son Bret who volunteered to make the Thanksgiving dinner and bring it and his family here to celebrate. He visits most weeks to help with the yard, have a meal with me, and play boards games as we catch up on each others news.
  • I’m also thanking God for my son Rick who does so much for me throughout the year. All I have to do is call and say, “We have a problem!” He’s quick to fix whatever needs attention and lend advice as his dad might have while he was still alive. He also takes care of our hunting land, and Tuesday he brought over some lovely venison from the deer he harvested last weekend–roast, tenderloins, and steaks.Oven roasted venison stew, here we come!
  • An especially big thank you both to you family, friends, fans, and the staff at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and to the Lord who graciously answered your faithful prayers as I wrote my second novel. Lighthouse accepted its latest version on November 14.

I can now officially announce: the sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance releases next year on December 1. A great choice because Jill and Clay meet her birth father and confront more romantic suspense adventures over the Christmas holidays.

Now that I’ve shared a few things I’m thankful for this year …
What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

A Writer’s Life: Fall Fun!

While I’m furiously at work on the new novel, attempting to get it ready to release next year, for sure record breaking fall fun is all around us!

Gardens. How about this heirloom tomato? Measuring 6 inches long by 5 inches wide and 4 inches fat, it’s a gift from my next door neighbors and good friends. Jackie and Dennis cleaned out their 2017 garden and brought over this last luscious beauty. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, anyone?

Bugs. Rick stopped over yesterday to power wash my house. “Mom, you’ve got a major infestation of box elder bugs!” Major understatement, my son. Can anyone say, “Guinness Book of Records”? If I had the patience to count these nasty nuisances, this year’s “crop” would make its record breaking pages easily. When I told Dave, who will spray my house and yard next week, he just laughed. “Not a one will be found when I’m done.” Oh well … so much for my chance to appear in the Guinness Book of Records.

 

Driveways. Isn’t the blacktop apron of my driveway pitiful??? The one good thing about it is that when the back tires hit that dip, I know my car is safe while I run across the road to grab the newspaper. And the good news? I’m arranging to have it fixed. Hopefully before winter.

Now admit it. You picture authors enjoying this cushy at-home job with a hot cup of coffee nearby while peacefully writing marvelous stories and witty social media. Okay, that’s what I thought until my first novel released. Now I know writers lead normal lives that need attention on a daily basis just like yours.

As for “marvelous stories and witty social media,” let’s not go there. We do our best and hope it delights you. Oh, and did I mention that <cringe> I never got into drinking coffee? (My apologies to all who love the this aromatic brew.)

All that said, I do love writing … and chatting with readers. Absolutely!

Your turn: What’s happening with you this fall as you prepare for winter?

14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life, Part Two

Believe it or not, it’s time to get back to “14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing LIfe.” March 9, I shared the first half of those tips. I promised you seven more. So let’s not waste any time. Here is Part Two of …

14 Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life

Jessica Fletcher, best-selling mystery novelist in the fictional Murder, She Wrote television series, had to manage the many facets of her writing life just as we do,  That included not taking, but making …

  1. Time to write. We often saw Jessica sitting at the kitchen table of her home in Cabot Cove, pounding the keys of her typewriter. As she attempted to beat the publisher’s deadline for her new novel, she refused to be interrupted by all but dire needs. Later, in her New York apartment, she turned to writing at a computer  … and sometimes dealing with computer problems. Even Jessica had computer problems. Unlike us, they usually led to solving a murder mystery.
  2. Time for research. Do you remember Jessica poking around in the book stacks at a library? Or searching for information online? How about interviewing experts and visiting her novels’ settings to ensure the accuracy of her stories? I especially liked the scene where she made up a dummy to be the “murder victim” in her WIP (work in progress) and then acted out the scene to make sure the imaginary bullet’s trajectory was possible.
  3. Time for conferences. Every writer from beginner to published needs to spend time at writers’ conferences and seminars,and Jessica was no exception. Of course, when she showed up to network with other writers, or meet with her agent, editors and publishers, she invariably wound up involved in a murder mystery. I have to admit that with all the conferences I attended, not once was anyone threatened, much less murdered. So, you are not only safe going to a writer’s conference or seminar, you will love it. Here I am with three friends at Write-To-Publish, John, Cindy, and Kris.
  4. Time to teach. And how about those criminology classes Jessica taught at a college in New York? Or when she spoke at a writer’s conference? She not only became adept at writing and at solving crimes, she shared her knowledge with others. She also occasionally made time to read unpublished writers’ stories, offer suggestions, and encourage them to continue their pursuit of publication.
  5. Time for readers. No matter how famous  Jessica became, she made time for her readers. Time to autograph books. Time to speak to fans gathered at a meeting to hear her read from her newest novel and share some interesting facet of the writing of it. I loved the time she wound up involved in solving a murder mystery when she stumbled on a Jessica Fletcher fan club whose members had read all her books. Here I am, signing a book for Nancy who was kind enough to attend my novel’s book launch last year.
  6. Time for business. Yes, Jessica met with her editors and publishers, but she also had to stay on top of her investments. She was one of the authors who actually made a living writing her novels! No doubt she also had someone to take care of tax matters.
  7. Time to pray. Imagine my surprise at catching an episode in which Jessica prayed. You know the routine, Against a pressing deadline, we get stuck. There she sat at her typewriter, frustrated. Suddenly she folded her hands in prayer and looked heavenward. Yes, even Jessica had to pray to make progress with her WIP. I like to think that she, too, knew the importance of prayer to succeed in writing well.

And there you have it … the last of the “14 Tips.” I hope you enjoyed them. The truth is: fictional author or not, we all have to face similar challenges in our writing lives.

What biggest challenge as a novelist have you faced and, hopefully, overcome?

 

Missing in Action?

Missing in action? Yes, the last time you saw a post was the end of May, and I truly apologize. You are important to me.

But, sometimes life takes us by the hair and drags us wherever it wants. Have you ever felt that way? Well, that’s exactly what happened over the last two months while I was mysteriously ill. Finally, this past Sunday, whatever-it-was let go.

And I’m so glad to be back with you once again!

You all amaze me with your wonderful support. Within the past twenty-four hours, another five-star review of Her Deadly Inheritance appeared on Amazon: “Loved this book! The opening line to the last line keep you turning the page.”

What encouragement as I’m now physically able to work on the edits requested for the second novel by my editor at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Darla Crass. Once those edits are approved, LPC will set a release date for this novel. When that happens, I’ll be sure to answer your frequent question, “When is your next novel coming out?”

In the meantime, thank you so much for making Her Deadly inheritance a top-selling novel on Amazon since it came out last year, I’m so grateful to you and to the Lord.

2017 Selah Awards: Her Deadly Inheritance Is a Finalist

Exciting news! A few hours ago I received word that Her Deadly Inheritance is a finalist in the 2017 Selah Awards.

Eva Marie Everson, contest director for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, wrote, “Congratulations! Your work was up against quite an impressive list of other works … but your work is a finalist for the Selah Awards.

We are attaching a seal for you.”Selahs_Seal_Finalist_2017 - HDI

Her  Deadly Inheritance will compete in the “Fiction Genres: First Novel” category, and I couldn’t be more honored. Winners of the contest’s sixteen categories will be announced at the BRMCWC dessert banquet in Spilman Auditorium on Wednesday, May 24 around 7:15 p.m.

Edie Melson (author and social media expert) and DiAnn Mills (award-winning and best-selling author) are the co-directors of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Selah Awards finalists!

14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life, Part One

Actually, all but one of the 14 Tips came from the beloved TV series featuring fictional mystery writer, Jessica Fletcher. I know–a strange source of wisdom. But when the flu hit, I was so sick I couldn’t read. So I resorted to watching re-runs of Murder, She Wrote and was surprised to pick up some hints on balancing my writing life–a subject I had been pondering lately anyway. So here is Part One of my …

14 Tips on Balancing Your Writing Life

Let’s start with daily life–things we often crowd out in the busyness of our lives. No wonder we get frazzled and bored! Something that never plagued Jessica. So let’s see how we’re doing in taking …

  1. Time to exercise and eat right–Okay now, don’t boo and hiss. You know we need to do these things–like it or not. And I noticed Jessica not only rode her bicycle around Cabot Cove a lot, but she also jogged regularly. I kinda prefer walking outdoors, a half hour of gentle exercise to a CD indoors, and working out at Planet Fitness. Now–if I could just get myself to do those things on a more consistent basis! (One of my goals this year.)
  2. Time for family–Like Jessica, I’m a widow. So family time is now relegated to visiting, attending weddings and funerals, holiday celebrations, camping, birthdays, and the like. Sometimes, like Jessica, it means boarding a plane to do these things with out-of-state family. At home, I host holiday celebrations and enjoy visits from my sons and their families. Family gives a sense of connection and belonging that we sorely need for good health.
  3. Time for friends–Busy as we are, it’s easy to feel we don’t have much time for this, but Jessica always made time for her friends. Whether coffee and dessert around her kitchen table, her famous clam chowder and lobster dinner for a dining room full of friends, or dropping by to visit Doc Haslett or the sheriff. And she always made time for a friend who stopped by for help or advice. Friends are a precious gift that enrich us emotionally. We need to make time for them. This is Susan Engebrecht and me enjoying a fun time at Green Lake Conference Center in WI.
  4. Time for neighbors–Where would I have been without my neighbors when Jim died? They were totally outstanding in providing meals and helping me prepare for out-of-town family as well as coming to his funeral. They watched over me in the weeks and months to come, helping with every need they noticed–even told me to call in the middle of the night if I needed them. But this didn’t happen by accident, anymore than it did for Jessica. It was the result of developing relationships through the years. Getting together for meals, helping with each other’s needs, taking time to chat and visit–even if only for a few minutes. Taking care of each other’s yards and homes while the other was away. Helping to celebrate special occasions. I’m so grateful for the blessing of wonderful, caring neighbors.
  5. Time for home and yard care–Oh, yah! Being a widow does not excuse me from these duties. I neither have a maid nor a yard man. Though I have to say that my sons help me a lot with my one-acre yard and doing house repairs as needed. Friends and neighbors help out at times, too. But, like Jessica, I do all I can to keep my house and yard neat and clean as well as decorate for holidays. (Right now I have my Christmas tree decorated for St. Patrick’s Day!) In warm weather, I like to putter in my flower beds and small garden, too. In winter, I snow blow my driveway and shovel my sidewalks–just like anyone else. Physical work is good for the body and mind. It always feels good to look on a finished job with a cheerful, satisfied heart.
  6. Time for hobbies–Oooo! This is hard for me. I’m more likely to cut back on time for this than any of the others. How about you? Spending time on hobbies totally unrelated to writing feels non-productive. But I’ve noticed Jessica often took a break from writing to go fishing. It’s not likely I’ll ever take up fishing–though I have no problem with someone else doing this, but I do like working jigsaw puzzles and singing while accompanying myself with my Q-Chord. We all need refreshing breaks that carry us with delight into a totally non-work activity each day. And I’ll keep reminding myself of this until I get it right. LOL
  7. Time for community events–All right, let’s get out that lawn chair and head for the Memorial Day (or other) parade that celebrates our country and community. Jessica even showed up for hometown political rallies, dedications of new firetrucks, charity efforts, and more. Being an active part of community events gives us a sense of belonging and is anything but boring. Especially when shared with family, friends, and neighbors. What can be better than allowing out minds and hearts to be stimulated by new sites and sounds that we’ll never experience at home?

And this ends Part One of my “14 Tips.” But come back in two weeks to see what Jessica and I share in Part Two which covers the “writing” side of a balanced life. You won’t be sorry!

In the meantime–Did ideas for balancing your own life surface as you read this post? Please share. (We can all use good ideas!)