Now for the hard part

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I sat staring at my screen for a while on Monday when I finished the first draft of my middle-grade fantasy novel. The panic didn’t set in until I hit send and the email whisked off into cyberspace; too late now to turn back.Now the hard part starts, waiting. I’m not known to be a patient person, but waiting for my selected few trusted readers to get back to me with their input and suggestions will ultimately help improve my editing. It’s always good to know what they liked, didn’t like, what worked, what didn’t work, or where they fell asleep!This waiting will also allow me the necessary time away from my novel so that I can start the excruciating task of editing with fresh eyes.Have you ever wondered what the actual process is for publishing a book?I think authors all have a different method or process and I believe it is crucial that we use whatever way works for us. My mom has a whole new appreciation for what an author goes through since her visit; she now asks how I’m doing rather than the dreaded question: “is it at the publisher’s yet?”So now the million dollar question is, what do I do while I wait to hear back?I could start another devotional book, or a children’s picture book like my niece asked me to, or I could start on book two. What do you think?While I tried to decide what I should do this morning, I planned the retreat day I will be offering my husband’s church, and I found all the supplies and prepared the music. Then in an effort to keep procrastinating from writing this blog, I did some housework, called my mom, checked my emails, and organized some paperwork!Ps. Let the research begin!

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What a crazy month!

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I loved having my mom here for a month; I only wish that she could’ve stayed longer with us. She is such a beautiful, loving soul and so much fun to have around. I am fortunate that my mom is my biggest cheerleader!

Every day she encouraged me to write, and after I’d written, she would ask me what horrible things I did to her favourite characters. Which always made me laugh. She has a new appreciation for authors now!

I love that my Mom has become a voracious reader since retirement! She read 3.5 books while here, and if you count my WIP, it makes it four books! It was distracting but hysterical listening to her giggle away at her one book, but it was equally cute watching her stress out, chewing off her fingernail while reading her James Patterson novel. I now know where my son and I got our habit of snuggling under the blankets with a flashlight to read! I caught her reading one night well into the night. Lol

If you’re looking for a good fantasy to read check out Academia Draconia or The Damsel and the Dragon by Mae McKinnon, I loved them. I read one in March (it took me five days), and I read the other one in 2 days! (Be sure to support your Indie authors both by buying their books and doing a review.)

Does anyone else struggle to get back into a healthy writing schedule and routine after being off?

I have a new writing buddy that is encouraging me to get the last three chapters written. I picked him up while on a driving tour with my mom and son! What a great weekend the three of us had. Nothing special, our goal was to make memories. We toured out to the breathtaking resort community of Tofino, BC.

As of today, my word count is 32, 737. I’m still on chapter 25, the word count of 1021. So close to writing those coveted words!

Guest Blog

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I am pleased to have the lovely and talented Nicole Ensing as a guest blogger again!

BIO

Nicole Ensing is a Worship Coordinator and a singer/songwriter living in Guelph, Ontario. Ensing’s original music has been described as a combination of “jazz stylings with folk charm and rock ’n’ roll energy”. She also enjoys spending time with artists, either engaging in their studios or her own. www.nicoleensingband.com

Lent blog:

The Art as Worship team that I lead in our church invites our congregation into a deeper reflection of who God is through exhibits hosted in our church art gallery. Recently the Art as Worship team held a mixed media cross workshop to prepare our congregation for Lent. As an artist myself mixed media is something I have been experimenting with for the last few years. I am intrigued by the use of found objects and scoured my husband’s shop for construction materials. The measuring tape in this piece is particularly interesting during the time of Lent, and the viewer is invited to consider what it means to be measured by the cross.

for nicole's blog

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Guest Blog

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I am pleased to introduce you to the lovely and talented Greg E Elliott!

BIO 

An illustrator and graphic designer, Greg has served extensively in small group ministry for men. His book, New life in the Boarding House describes the transformational potential and relevance of the Bible. Available directly from greg.liturgical@gmail.com or Chapters/Indigo.

What are YOU giving up?

The next 40 weekdays present an opportunity to renew our spirits and draw closer to God, relieving ourselves of the accumulating spiritual baggage that weighs us down, stifles and spoils the enjoyment of the abundant life and relationship Jesus offers us.

Since the 4th century, this is the season of Lent — a spiritual journey utilizing prayer, fasting, self-denial and repentance to prepare us for the triumph of Easter Day, the basis of our hope as we live through the challenges in our personal lives and increasingly disturbing world events.

My weary spirit however never seemed to benefit from using popular suggestions like ‘giving up’ that favourite colourful word or that sticky toffee pudding dessert or spending less time on Facebook. I only discovered this practice of Lent to be beneficial once I started to question whether options like those fit the definition of self-denial and fasting or where the prayer and repentance parts were accommodated.

Questions like — Is it worth continuing to carry anger or jealousy for that difficult family member or co-worker or is that a weight God hopes you will ‘give up’? Maybe deciding to ‘give up’ your noon hour quiet time to share a pizza and talk to that scruffy kid sitting on the sidewalk is what God would suggest is a beneficial ‘giving up’ option? How about ‘giving up’ 5 minutes each day to pray for the men and women serving us as elected representatives in these complicated times instead of vegging in front of the TV? — produced options that indeed lightened the baggage count significantly.

As the tradition goes, Lent is a chance for self-reflection and honestly ‘giving up’ something from your heart to God, who knows ‘giving up’ a chocolate treat is not the same as forgiving that person who hurt you. Think about Jesus’ original ‘giving up’ example.

Greg R Elliott, author of the renovation devotional A New Life in the Boarding House Chapters/Indigo or directly – greg.liturgical@gmail.com

 

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My heart is full…

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Wow, We are 11 days into Lent. Did you enjoy your pancakes? Did you make it to an Ash Wednesday service? I missed Ash Wednesday this year. My mom was sick on the couch after her flight on the 5th of March.

My sister and brother-in-law arrived on the 2nd of March after managing two stressful flights, both airports failed them in many ways. In my last blog, I mentioned the fun I was having trying to book wheelchair accessible hotels and how worried I was about my brother-in-law being able to get into and out of my car. I am happy to say that he managed my car great. My little Rav4 fit his wheelchair and our entire luggage, with only minor tetras manoeuvres. All in all my brother-in-law’s experience, once he got here in BC, was good. Travelling with someone in a wheelchair has opened my eyes. If you get the chance sometime spend a day travelling with someone in a wheelchair. You will view the world differently.

My heart is full! I loved my time with my sister and brother-in-law, but I have missed my characters and writing time.

That must sound weird to anyone who doesn’t write, but my book is a part of my heart and soul, it is my baby, and I miss it. Right now as I type this, my mom is reading my unfinished first draft. I’m nervous. She doesn’t read fantasy, so this is all new to her.

Letting someone read an unfinished first draft is always dangerous. I wonder how many writers allow anyone to read their first drafts? I am happy to say that after the first 10 chapters she was enjoying it, and we chatted about some of the characters. Who she loves, who irritates her, and who confused her (fantasy characters like my Ent). She loved the magical elements and can understand why kids love fantasy books. My heart is overflowing. I know I have work to do, but the fact that my mom, who doesn’t read fantasy, loves what I have written has given me the energy to keep going!

Mom is here for a month so I will have two guest blogs for you this month. I’m excited to introduce you to an author Greg and to have Nicole return to do a blog post!

WIP word count: 30674, chapter 24

How are you spending your Lent? Are you taking something on or giving something up?

Are you following any of the calendar activities? If so which ones are you doing?

Goodbye and Hello

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Since my characters are still running amok on me, I’m going to procrastinate by writing my blog post. Perhaps by turning my back on them, they will decide to play nice. For two days my word count remains at 28, 091.

My son and I had a lovely visit while he was home. We sat and read together, we played some games, and we went for some walks around the neighbourhood. There is nothing I value more than quality time together, even if we are only sitting side-by-side reading. The house is always so quiet after he leaves, not because he’s noisy but because his presence is gone. I go through empty nest syndrome all over again.

Does being an empty nester ever get easier? My mother enjoys it, or so she says.

This week I’m preparing for my sister and her husband to come for a visit! I am beyond excited. I’ve lived in BC for 10 years, and my sister has been out once. My brother in law has never been to BC. My prayers have consisted of nice weather for them, safe flights, and good connections.

My brother in law is in a wheelchair now and travelling isn’t easy for them anymore. It has opened my eyes and made me appreciate my life and health. I suffer from autoimmune diseases, which makes travelling a pain, but it’s nothing to what my sister and brother in law have to deal with. From booking hotels (there was only 1 in Victoria), checking my house to make sure his wheelchair can get through doorways (they can’t), and making sure he can get into my car, he says he can! I pray he can…

Needless to say, I will have limited writing time next week to write. There might be a few down times where I can sneak in a few hundred words if my characters decide to cooperate! I’m hoping that this reconnecting time will spur on my writing. The time away from social media in and of its self will be good for me.

Bring on the sunshine!

Procrastination blog

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The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and my son is home! To say I am happy is an understatement. I’m over the moon, and already driving my son crazy!

We haven’t done any co-authoring talk yet because he has to get his homework done first. And when he’s not doing assignments, he’s sending out job applications. He’s a dedicated young man, and I am one proud momma bear!

I have done tons of rewriting and as of this morning, I have completed the chapter where I noticed that my sub characters had hijacked my plot.

Accountability word count check: chapter 21–26, 932 words.

You would think I would be rocking with excitement, but I have officially kicked into procrastination gear by writing this week’s blog post! I usually do housework when I want to procrastinate, but I don’t want to interrupt my son’s focus on his assignment.

Shhhh — Don’t tell my husband but I’ve started to the spring-cleaning! I figure if I do it slow enough he won’t notice right? The temptation to do spring-cleaning has gripped me this year, and I am working my way through drawers, cupboards, and my eye keeps twitching when I look at the garage.

Do you do Spring-cleaning?

Do you do a personal spring-cleaning by self-reflecting?

A few weeks ago I mentioned doing self-reflection during Lent and spring. This past week I realized two things.

1) My husband got me two new books, and I noticed my TBR pile was getting rather high. (But we won’t talk about that)

2) I noticed that 9 of the 16 books were for personal growth or self-reflection.

How is your TBR? What books are you reading?