Thursday, February 16, 2006

Procrastination??? Not Me!

Here it is...a cold Thursday morning in February. Outside the weather is rather frightful. Could be worse for Chicago. A forecast of a mix of snow and freezing rain. A perfect day to write and yet I haven't yet gotten to it. Yesterday I started the first chapter of Murder For Breakfast. I've spent the last month or more fleshing out my story...adding the red herrings...researching the crime. The publisher I'm targeting wants cozies. No blood and guts, keep it "light-hearted," and that, I'm discovering, is not easy when you are dealing with murder. I love reading mysteries, but I'm learning that plotting one out and writing it is another whole thing. And, I'm also doing this in first person. Easy to do I thought. Not! Yesterday I started the first chapter and then after a couple hours of writing trashed the whole thing and started over. This time I think I've gotten it right, but it's far from ready for submission. After all, it's only a first draft. And before I ask my agent to send it off, it will go through the scrutiny of my crit partners and friends who do nothing but read stories.

The best thing I can do right now is pray before I put another word on this computer. God has given me this love of writing and the skill to do it. Without Him as my co-writer I am nothing. Like Paul said a clanging gong. So I'm off to pray...and then to write.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Never on Sunday?

Should a writer write on Sunday? Good question. You know, it is so hard to not ever write, yet isn't Sunday the Lord's day? Many of my writer friends make a point of not writing on Sundays and spending it instead with family. I am not a legalistic Christian, yet God has to be number one in my life always. It's so easy, especially for someone single like me to push Him off the throne of my heart and climb up there. But I've learned that whenever I get too comfy on that heart-throne of mine trouble happens. I start living my life the way I want to, rationalizing that I know most times God probably wouldn't like this decision or that action, but in this instance it is warranted because.... Then God hits me over the head with a two-by-four and says "Wake up, My child and listen to me." I find that when I start listening to God things turn around for the best. This past week has been difficult because of losing my cat to kidney disease, but I have a lot to be thankful for. I have my health, I have a roof over my head, I have good friends. Saturday I spent an enjoyable day with a very good friend. Something needed for sure. But even more than friends, the fact I have Jesus needs to come first. Without Jesus a dozen book contracts, more money than I could count, a healthy and sound body wouldn't matter a hill of beans. With Jesus I have eternal life with God the Father, the one true living God.

So yesterday morning I decided I wouldn't do any writing at all that day. At the time I wondered if I would really manage to stick with my decision. Would my WIP call me so loud I couldn't help but give in? It didn't. :-) I spent the day in total relaxation. Today is another day and I'm up early and will be getting to my cozy, "Murder for Breakfast" before too long. Have I got you curious??? I hope so :-).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Some Forks in the Road

It's been a long while since my journey has brought me to this place. It was a busy summer that quickly morphed into fall and the first fork in the road appeared. Maybe I should call it a detour, because unlike Frost's poem, I didn't have a choice in which direction to go. In October I was asked by my employer of almost 18 years to take early retirement. But wait!! This wasn't in MY plan. I still have a car payment and a mortage. Ah, there is a proverb that says man plans his life, but God determines his steps. And Jerimiah 29:11 tells me the Lord has plans for me, plans not to harm or cause calamity. Plans to give me hope and a future. So starting November 1st I entered the world of retirement. I spent a month or two trying to figure out what I was to do. Get a part-time job to make up the difference between paycheck and pension? Write like mad and try earning some money at it? By the time January rolled around I sensed God leading me down the writing path. At least give it a shot. Since then I've been making each day a work day. Up early and as soon as devotions are finished I hit the writing trail. Out the queries have flown to magazines, both secular and Christian. And a new cozy plot is developing and almost ready to pitch to a new CBA line. What fun! I'm loving it!

A few weeks ago I received news I'm a finalist in an upcoming anthology about real people coming to Jesus. I'll refrain from anymore details until I know it's a done deal. But what a boost that was.

Then this week another blow, another loss. My beloved cat, Max, became deathly ill. Actually I guess he'd been dealing with the kidney disease for a while before it got so bad I took notice of it. The vet assured me cats are masters at disguising it when they feel sick. Even so I keep asking myself if I was so preoccupied with my own issues that it blew right past me. You see by the time I took notice the disease was so advanced my only choice was to put him down on Tuesday morning. Again, I've been told there is no way to arrest the disease when it strikes...perhaps manage it by extreme measures, but you can't make it go away through medicine. I still have his half sister and we're doing okay. I've cried a bucket since Tuesday and I'm probably not over it yet. I know God is in control and His timing is best. I have to accept that. The photo at the top of this posting shows Max on the left and Chessie on the right.

So now I'm off to write some more. I just got a nibble on a query. Guess I'd better get that article written!