Monday, September 25, 2006

Meeting God in Texas

The 2006 ACFW conference is over. I went there to work because I'm on the board. I also went there to see friends and meet editors and agents. But, I got so much more than that! I met with God and that just about tops any to-do list!

I learned just before leaving for Dallas that my appointment with an agent was in jeopardy because the agent had to cancel due to a health issue. It was too late to reschedule as all the other agents' slots were taken. Because I've been without an agent since last winter, connecting with agents was my top priority. So there I was with no agent appointment and most of the agents there had little time to squeeze another appointment in. Discouragement is not a nice feeling, but that's what I felt.

It wasn't until Saturday morning when, with my mind in a fog, I skipped a continuing class and went to the prayer room. There, I opened my Bible and had the first "real" quiet time I'd had in several days. I spent my time once again at the feeding trough feeding on God's faithfulness (Psalm 37). I was reminded of how in so many ways already He'd been faithful to me. Immediately, I sensed without a doubt I was to let go of the agent thing and concentrate on getting my ducks in a row first. So I gave it over to God and was at peace. After all, I'd already had a request for the full manuscript for Murder for Breakfast, a request for a proposal for that story from two other editors, and a request for a proposal from two editors for Shiloh Legacy. Is that God's faithfulness or what????

More about the conference. Our keynoter was Liz Curtis Higgs. What a delightful lady. A great sense of humor with a deep spiritual message interwoven with the laughs. She was such a blessing. Here I am with Liz at the book signing event.

Saturday night we had our award banquet. In addition to Book of the Year and the Genesis Writing Contest awards, we had the Mentor of the Year for 2006 named. I had the honor of making that presentation. I'll never forget the look on Lena Nelson Dooley's face when I said her name. It was so priceless.

In addition, Texas is a great big state with a great big heart so I've learned. The one morning I had a few minutes to escape to do a little shopping I had a little God thing happen that let me know He's full of surprises. That will be another story on another day

I sure did meet God in Texas. But then as Psalm 139 says, we're never away from His presence. Meeting Him in Texas shouldn't have come as a surprise. He was with me all along!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

God's Money Well Spent

Is it really 12 days and counting? Did I get to the writing yesterday afternoon like I planned? The answers are yes and no. Yeah, you read that right. But wait! I have a good excuse.

For the past number of months my laptop (my only computer) has been giving me fits. One fit, as you may recall, was my own fault when I spilled Diet Coke on the keyboard. Yeah, that'll really muck up the works. I paid Dell to replace the keyboard and motherboard. All seemed well for a while, but then soon after the 90-day warranty on the work was over (of course) it started doing really quirky things.

Quirk #1: The cursor would jump up to the next paragraph or two right in the middle of my typing. I'd have to stop and delete what I'd just typed then move the cursor down to the where it should be. This got so bad I stopped using the keyboard altogether and went to the axillary keyboard which plugged into the USB port.

Quirk #2: When I put the computer to "sleep" or on standby I couldn't wake it up. I don't usually turn off the computer completely at the end of the day, instead putting it on standby by closing the lid. One day, I couldn't get it to wake up and ended up having to hit the on and off button and starting it up again. I tried all sorts of things like going to shutdown and clicking on standby. That seemed to work for a while, but lately that didn't even work. I was afraid one day I wouldn't be able to wake it up at all.

So yesterday after much prayer, I decided to look into an HP laptop on sale at Office Depot. The special price included a combination printer/scanner/copier, a wireless mouse, an extra battery, and a few more bells and whistles than I'm used to, like a built-in web cam.

View from my Web Cam

All for less than I would have spent on a less souped-up laptop elsewhere! Even at the good price, I hate spending the money. After all, it's God's money--not mine. I prayed very hard about this and I know I'll recoup some of the cost through rebates and tax deductions, even so it's harder than ever to part with my money when I'm on retirement status.

So the quirks are gone, only to be replaced by new ones. I can't get the file transfer program to work right between the two computers. I finally gave up late last night and went to bed. Today is another day.

So, you know what's coming next, don't you? I gotta get busy and get to that writing so I can sell something! Make this new laptop pay for itself! Haven't heard of getting paid for blogs, so I'm off to you know where!

Friday, September 08, 2006

13 Days and Counting

Thirteen days and counting. That's how many days left until the ACFW national conference begins, and I feel so behind on things!

This time my pitches need to be on target because I'm not only shopping my stories, but also shopping me. I need to find an agent and, God willing, the ACFW conference will point me toward doing that.

Since getting back on Monday afternoon from the three-day weekend, I've been bogged down with other responsibilities, including ACFW board stuff. Every day I've determined I would start working on Shiloh. Didn't happen until yesterday.

Okay, I have to admit the fault is partially mine. I've found myself easily drawn to doing something other than pulling out a story I haven't looked at in a year and a half. What's with that? As much as I'm excited about the new ideas for punching this story up a notch or two, I dread the process. It means getting reacquainted with the characters, thinking once more about the plot, trying to decide what stays and goes. I find it much easier to write a brand new story from scratch. But this is a story that won't let me go.

My story has a new name, and I've already jotted down new plot points. All I need to do is put rubber to the road as the saying goes.

Today is the day...but wait! This morning is booked. This afternoon is the afternoon. I'll let you know what happens.