Author's Life

The Case for Writing

After doing my taxes this year, I once again wondered if having a writing career was worth the effort. Once before I listened to the wrong voice and took down all my books from publication and retired. It lasted almost two years before I knew it wasn’t a good decision for me. This time, I’m not listening to the wrong voice again.

See, I love creating new stories! I love feeling the characters guide me to show their lives on paper for others to enjoy. It’s part of who I am. Even though I hadn’t written for a long time, when I opened up my partially finished long ago manuscript, the words began to flow. The feedback on the finished book was really good. I knew then this was a path God had chosen for me to minister to the world.

For the past two weeks, I haven’t followed the schedule I established for myself in order to meet a self-set goal to complete this new book by the end of April. That’s what is great about being my own boss. I can change my deadlines, my schedule, and it’s perfectly fine. Everything happens in God’s timing, not mine. Accepting this makes writing even more joyful.

With God, I find when I open my work in progress, I don’t even have to think about what happens next. I’ve already written an outline which keeps me on track for developing new scenes, but I have the flexibility of writing as many as needed and in whatever way reveals itself. I just write. And the words seem to continue flowing. I don’t stop to think. I trust God.

I see and feel the characters. I write a lot of dialogue, mostly because of this. When people are together, they talk. That’s true for my characters as well. Dialogue moves the story forward and reveals hidden truths as needed. This works well in my contemporary romance books. I know historical writers whose stories are much, much longer than mine. Through years of studying writing and applying to my voice and genre, I began to write tighter stories. And that’s okay. I write to please God, not a word count, nor a publisher. I write because I love everything about it. I love the feel of the keyboard under my fingers, the very slight click of the keys, and all the words flowing across the white screen.

The book is finished when the story is told with all issues resolved and there is a happy ending. So, no, I’m not going to listen to the wrong voice this time. I’m following God’s path for the gift He provided. If the story reaches one person who needs to read it, then I’ve done my part and God will do the rest. That’s my case for writing.

Author's Life · Devotions

Why Do I Blog?

I’ve tried various methods of blogging through the years. As a blogger with a small audience, I feel the same as I do in the writing business–an author in a big sea of even bigger fish. I’ve tried different themes, all with the hopes of attracting a larger reading audience. But that doesn’t happen. So, why do I blog?

The reason I blog is because I love to write. And, it’s a way of expressing myself outside of the stories being created in my books. A way, I hoped, that would show the real me my book readers might want to know. When I finish a book, I appreciate reading about the author’s life if it is placed at the back of their books. It helps me feel connected to the authors writing the kind of books I enjoy reading.

It doesn’t really matter if I have a small following to my blog, but I sometimes wonder if anyone reads them at all, except for a small handful. I often question myself for being faithful in continuing to maintain a blog and website. I think we all fall into questioning things we do. Especially when we have a weak moment of feeling insecure.

In the past I have even questioned if I’m following God’s will by continuing to write books. I’ve prayed a lot over the years about this “gift” and how to best use it. I trust Him. And I write, hoping this is a ministry that reaches people I might never meet face to face. I trust Him to put my books in the hands of the people He chooses. If it’s only a few, then I’ve written this book for them. And that’s satisfying to my soul.

As I write this blog, I wonder how many will actually read it. How many might even understand what I’m saying. And that’s where trusting God comes into play. He gives me the words. I sit, place my hands on the keyboard and He provides the words that appear on the screen. I believe this with all my heart.

And so, I blog.

Author's Life

And Then There Were Websites

And then there were websites…what a crazy title, right? Let me lead you through why I chose this title.

I am a do it yourself woman, self-taught in everything since graduating high school. During some tight years financially, I purchased a green IBM Selectric typewriter. You might know it’s the one with the little ball that spins to type the letters. At the time, I was working at a university for a non-profit organization. I placed an ad in the college newspaper offering my services to type dissertations, theses, and term papers. That led to some long hours after my family was asleep to complete these papers for my clients. I had only taken personal typing in high school so I taught myself to type, practicing until I was tested at 100 to 120 words per minute when applying for jobs.

After the organization I worked for moved to another state, I had to find another job. I ended up in a position that gave me the opportunity to learn how to use the first Apple computer. Wow, what a difference from the magnetic card contraptions myself and three other women were using. This eventually led to the company upgrading to a universal computer system. I was a fast learner and one who would help whether it was my job or not. Yes, this led to several promotions, the last being Sales Administration Manager at a time the first laptops became tools for our sales force. You got it, I learned how to use that tool as well.

When I retired, I had a lot of knowledge about computers. My husband said I should have been a man because of my love of technology and how I wasn’t afraid to tackle adding memory or changing a hard drive. And this is how my writing career began. I left my position when the company was on the verge of merging with another and took a job in a telecommunications company. Only a few short months later, we lost a huge contract and everyone but a handful were let go. I was one who remained. Four years later, the company ran into trouble again and I was blindsided by being terminated from my position of Reporting Manager to the Vice President.

And that launched my desire to pursue a lifelong passion to write. I looked for another job but, I was turned down on offers because I was over-qualified. During my first ever time of not working, I took several online creative writing courses and began my first novel. A publisher gave me a contract for that book after many revisions. The second followed a year later along with a novelette being published in an anthology. I began to be uncomfortable following the guidelines for romance novels at that time in history, so I began my third novel but in a Christian worldview. I was handed over to a Christian publishing house and that book did very well.

Then came the big indie publishing evolution. I’d already learned a lot about the publishing world, so I decided to branch out. I was able to get back the rights to all my published books. One of them is still in publication on Amazon, Joshua’s Hope. It’s the first one I wrote in the new genre. Being on the self-publishing path, I was looked down on by members of the writing group I belonged to which was part of the RWA. I severed my ties and kept marching to the beat of a different drum.

And them there were websites. I knew I needed a website and a way to interest people in my books. So I learned how to do this myself. I’m not a professional. I cannot create a website like the authors who can afford to pay others to do the work for them. But I was savvy enough to set up a website on WordPress by using the free templates offered. Sometimes I get frustrated because I can’t find a template that allows me to do what I envision. It’s time-consuming to work on and occasionally I screw things up, but I have perseverance. I have a blog on my website and I am being faithful to post two to three times a week. I’m honest about myself and who I am. I’ve set up a presence on Facebook, but honestly, I’m not a marketing guru. Yes, some pay for that benefit.

Many might wonder why I continue pursuing a career in writing now that I’m a 79-year-old widow. The honest answer is “I love to write!” I love the feel of my fingers on the keyboard and watching the words in my mind flow onto the screen. I love the technology, the writing programs…everything about the writing process.

I look back to the typewriter generation and how I’ve evolved. I was typing dissertations for others one day and then there were websites.

Author's Life

With Joy in My Heart

The arrival of fall is my favorite time of year, and I’m awaiting it with joy in my heart. I’ve been told I seem much happier since Finnegan came to live with me, and it also shows in my writing. This fall and winter will be a time we spend together looking out the windows and being grateful for the warmth and safety of our home.

Writing is much more fun with Finnegan sitting on my desk next to me, and the months when I’ll spend more time with my fingers on the keyboard are certain to be joyful. I had my mind made up not to have another pet. With my age and my limited finances, I thought this was a good decision. However, God thought differently. He works through other people to show us His plan for us. In this case, these people were my doctor, my friends, and my brother. And, of course, Finnegan–a cat huddled in a cage, too afraid of getting out of his safe zone to join the other cats roaming free. A cat who had only part of his beautiful thick hair, but with eyes that pleaded, soft paws to touch me, and a very loud purr.

Life is different now for both of us. We are bonded. I’m once again reminded of how God works to bring hurting souls together to heal and grow. Nothing is impossible for God. I will spend the time over the upcoming months weaving stories with joy in my heart, ever grateful for God’s gifts.

Author's Life

This Writer’s Journey

I’ve been in cave mood this week, perched on a chair in my office running every scene of my book through a new editing program. Hope to finish today. Then one final reading and I’ll be going into the publishing phase. It’s exciting when the book reaches the final stages of publication. Then I wait anxiously for the sample paperback to ensure it is correctly formatted. The next step is the best…when I say publish it now!

I love the entire process of writing to publication. Unfortunately, a lot of writers have no idea what goes into making a book publishable. I don’t want to ruin my reputation by just writing and hitting publish without making sure the book has been properly edited. Writing is hard work, patience, and perseverance. It is being dedicated to a goal and having a passion to fulfill that goal.

Along the journey, since 2001, I admit I’ve faltered. So easy to fall into a trap of believing there are no more stories left to tell, to feel lost, broken, and useless as a writer. At times it is difficult to decipher between God’s voice and Satan’s voice. And, sometimes, we just need a hiatus. A resting period, because life requires so much from us, there is nothing left for storytelling.

This is the year God called me to return to write for Him. To share His goodness and how he takes brokenness and changes it to joy. In this soon to be published book, I named a little girl, Joy. The significance will become evident as you read Katy and Ben’s story.

Now back to cave mode.