Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Back in 2009, I decided to jump off the hamster wheel of resolutions making and breaking them tradition, permanently. I hadn't actually tried to make any resolutions for longer than I care to remember. I felt such a failure in so many ways. I would set goals, and they'd fall apart in no time at all, sometimes by virtue of events beyond my control, but more often due to self-sabotage. I needed to find a different way of looking at them, so I wanted to keep them, and remain within the realm of possibilities. It's easy to say that you want to marry and make a million dollars, but there are a lot of factors that need to be considered in that ambition, including the other people involved in such goals.

Christmas has always been a difficult time of year, for me. Pressure, stress, disappointments. Then it dawned on me that what I wanted was Christmas presents that changed me. So, now I make a short list of gifts I am going to give myself over the next year.

December 2011:

1. I allowed lack of funds to curb my Just Because It's Tuesday gifts (gifts given on any day but Tuesday for fun). I want to learn to do it without spending a lot of money.

2. Lose the fat. A friend posted a picture showing the difference between 5 lb of fat and 5 lb of muscle. It made an impression. Like most people, every day, I plan on losing weight. Some days I'm successful; some days I'm not. I'm going to try to not think of it as losing weight, but losing fat. Who wouldn't want to lose fat?

3. Kindle - I need an ebook reading device.

4. Finish two more novels, in addition to becoming, in every sense of the words, a published author. I have a lot to learn. I would also like to learn how to write articles.

5. Do more about my appearance. I know I'll feel more comfortable in social situations if I feel more comfortable with my appearance. I've allowed a lot to slide because I wanted to pretend like it didn't matter. It does.

6. I enjoy natural beauty products, especially making my own, but I haven't done much of it, ever. This year, I'm going to do more of it. I have incredibly sensitive skin, and can't use a lot of products. Natural products, I make myself, seem to be easier on my skin.

7. Continue to be a blessing.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas...

The reason for the season:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanking God...

Desert Breeze Publishing has made an offer for contracts for three books in my Endless Possibilities series.

A Promise of Possibilities -- August 21, 2012
Hidden Possibilities -- March 2013
Unexpected Possibilities -- October 2013

God bless my sister writers in the Desert Rose chapter of Romance Writers of America. Kris Tualla encouraged me to submit to Desert Breeze Publishing. I'd heard of them and had put them on my list of possible publishers. After talking to Kris, I did my homework. The more I read, the more I liked what I was reading. Then I saw this on their site: "...Christian novels with a bit more real world flair. It's not always easy being Christian, and we would like to see novels that expressed that." And I knew I was home.

I am so incredibly honored, and delighted. I'm still laughing and crying.

This is part of the email I sent out to those who have been with me through this journey from the beginning:

After submitting, I prayed that if this was to be that God would help the editor see past my weaknesses and see the strengths and possibilities. Then I prayed that if I was going to be rejected to please let it be soon so I'd know and could move on. I marked the eight-week deadline in my calendar, last night. This morning, I woke early feeling restless. I took myself for a walk, but had to come home because it was drizzling. I knelt in my morning prayers and couldn't bring myself to ask God for another breadcrumb that I was headed in the right direction, because He'd already made it so obvious. Then I popped online, and found the email (from Gail R. Delaney, Editor-In-Chief) that was sent late last night. God is good.

Happy birthday to me and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Thank you all so much for being such an important part of this exciting adventure!

All is in God's hands.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Change of pace...

When my brain is feeling overwhelmed or overworked I've found that changing tasks is helpful. So, to that end, today I made cookies and bread. I also took the eggs I bought on sale and froze them. Since I use them mostly for baking, I beat two and add a bit of sugar, then pour them in a freezer container, and into the freezer they go. If I were using them for savory foods, I'd use a bit of salt. I've read that they can be frozen in their shell, but I haven't checked it carefully. I freeze them how I use them. They should last until eggs are on sale again. In truth, it's actually a good deterrent for me. I loved fried eggs, over easy, on toast. I'm also allergic to eggs. A little cheating isn't a problem, and I even have fried eggs on rare occasions, taking allergy medicine beforehand.

Yes, I'm still feeling scattered, but I'm writing again. Learning my own technique is an eye-opening experience. Becoming properly acquainted with my creative process will reveal paths that bring greater satisfaction as I embrace the gift God has given me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Taking a deep breath...

I enjoyed a delightful chat with a dear friend this morning. Thanks, God.

My thoughts are few and scattered. It's like that after meeting a deadline, even a self-imposed one.

There are other projects to work on for a day or two, and then it will be back to completing stories. Characters are clamoring for attention. Ignoring them only makes them testy and shout louder. :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No more revisions...

I went through all the required documents, today, endeavoring to make each the very best I could. Then there comes that feeling that nothing more can be done without chasing my tail. So, off it goes. Breathe in... breathe out...

All is in God's hands. Turning everything over to God is not my forte, but I am endeavoring to learn.

Tomorrow, I have plans to visit with one of my dear friends, in the morning. I'm looking forward to the gab fest. Then it will be home again and back to work. Book three needs to be finished, and there are two first-draft manuscripts in need of revisions.

Thanks to Funny Cat Photos for the heartwarming smile:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Revisions done...

It's late at night, really late. The book revisions are done. It's as good as I can make it, though assuredly not perfect. I'll take a last look at the synopses and query letter, and then off it goes. I try not to think about that last bit.

For future reference, note to self: I need to give myself more time for revisions. I forget how much time it takes to look up words, to be sure their era appropriate, and to find the perfect words.

Reminder to self: All is in God's hands.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Revisions, revisions, revisions...

I had planned to write the post ahead of time, writing out my plan for the day. However, I've discovered that I prefer waiting until the end of the day, and then reporting what was accomplished.

More than half the book has been combed for revisions. Nothing major has been changed, but I've found typos, and corrected them. I've also added a bit more, while cutting a few things, and of course the constant hunt for the perfect words.

Blessedly, my friend Constance Wagner called, this past weekend, and helped me make several revisions that were sorely needed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

One baby step at a time...

I finished the revision of the synopsis. I've glanced over everything, and it looks like rough drafts are done all around.

Today, I start in on revisions. Everything will be ready to submit, next week. I'm not as nervous about it. I'm not sure if that's because I'm that confident in myself, feeling that fried, or blocking out all the fear and anxiety. It could be any of them or a combination of all of them. :-)

I've no doubt that I'm making some choices and decisions that may come back and bite me, but I'm tired of living in constant uncertainty. Do I believe in what I'm doing or don't I? Am I committed to what I'm doing? Am I willing to trust myself? Do I trust that God will be there for me, no matter what happens?

I'm endeavoring to answer all those questions with a resounding, "YES!"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Continued prep...

Yesterday, I worked on the query letter, synopsis for the series, and the synopsis for the book, the last being the longest of the three. Completed first drafts are done for the first two, and the last is headed in the right direction. And the questions flood my mind. Is it good enough? Is it as good as I can make it? Is there something I'm forgetting?

Then I close my eyes, take a steadying breath, and remember that God planted my feet on this path. Though I don't know where it's going, He does. Even if it leads into a rocky way, God will be with me, and when I stumble He will comfort me.

Psalms 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."

Today, I will continue moving forward. I'll finish the synopsis. I'll review what I've done so far. I'll review what still needs to be done. I have a friend calling me this weekend, to give me some input. This will be ready by next week.

Feeling inadequate. I did a search through Yahoo for my website, and could only find references through my sister's site. Not good. If I can't be found, what good is all this? Feeling discouraged. Then I did a search through Google, and there I was. I need to rethink, re-evaluate, and make some changes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Video for me....

Its a 10-minute video by Diamonds And Heels. She is a beautiful, young model with severe acne, and by the time she finishes her makeup regime, you can't tell she has acne. Yes, I'm posting this on all my blogs, today. Why? Because it is a huge Game Changer for me.

I've often complained about how scarred my face is from acne. God, of course, has been listening, and apparently has decided I'm ready, even if I don't think so. God has taken away my excuse. God does that.

Now, what I haven't mentioned is how terrified this makes me. I've hidden behind the scars. People are uncomfortable looking at me. They don't want to stare, so they don't look at me at all. One cheek looks like there's a giant upside down "Y" on it. The fear has been building ever since I saw the video. Mind you, I haven't watched the whole thing, yet. I will before I post this. My stomach is rolling, as the fear has been growing.

Then Nikon Sniper posted Great Is Thy Faithfulness for the day, including this scripture:

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge--
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

So, I guess God can handle a bit of fear and some scars, too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Took a break...

Yesterday, I helped a friend, and it helped me. I did work on my own project, starting the prep for the submission process.

I finished Cara Colter's Rescued by his Christmas Angel. It's one of my annual reads. Under the Harlequin brand it falls under Classic Romance. It was funny and heartwarming.

We'll see what today brings. Yes, I've changed when I post. I noticed all the spelling errors I had to correct, after posting, late at night, and hope to improve that little problem created by being tired. I'm also curious to see if looking toward the next day will help me plan a little better.

Yesterday wasn't one of my finer days, but then I didn't actually expect it to be. By changing up the day, I allowed for the fact that I was having a little difficulty concentrating. The project I helped on was something I could do in bits and pieces, rather than my own writing that requires solid blocks of time.

Dear God, help me to be a blessing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Trying a different perspecitve...

I worry about income, a lot, for a variety of reasons. The problem is that sometimes my fretting paralyzes me. It fills me with dread, throwing doubt on my hopes and dreams.

Starting today, I'm going to try and live as if I'm going to die soon, so that money doesn't matter. This does not mean it doesn't matter if I go hogwild on a spending spree. I will continue to endeavor to be a wise steward with my sparse funds.

I know what I want to do most: I want to hunt my writing, as God has hunted me. Daily, without ceasing, without hesitation. He has sent me enough breadcrumbs to fill a bakery full of bread loaves that this is the path He wishes for me to follow. In truth, I have been pursuing my writing with everything in me, but I'm tired of the gloom that shadows the joy I find it.

May God bless you in finding your heart's desire and hunting it as He hunts you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Revisions continue....

I'm actually having fun with the revisions. I'm finding better words, and checking words that I hadn't checked before because I didn't know about the entomology dictionary.

I've been thinking about how much I appreciate my Desert Rose sisters. When things turned upside down, they were there for me. Their encouragement and passion lift my spirit and keep me moving forward when I want to quit or simply don't know what step to take next. The laughter and camaraderie are priceless. I cannot imagine my life without them. It certainly wouldn't be nearly as interesting.

Funny Cat Photos:

No matter what my questions or concerns may be, I need only ask, and someone will answer. I'm endeavoring to learn how to pass it along.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Working on revisions...

I'm almost half way through the book. Different word choices, adding, cutting; more adding than cutting, but now I have more leeway. This time, as I read through I think in terms of what I want to be there, without thought of pleasing anyone else. The book is about 260 pages, so this hasn't been a bad day's work at all. I'll be back at it, tomorrow.

Other projects were also worked on, as set by my own deadlines. I'm currently on top of things. All I can do is keep moving forward, one day at a time. I'll be turning in earlier than usual, but I think it's for the best, today.

All is in God's hands.