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Thursday, April 10, 2014

READING AND WRITING April 3-9, 2014

This week, most of my "writing" time has been spent reading--proofing the galleys for the upcoming of three of my books, called Colorado Melodies.

I almost never read one of my books after it's published. I'm afraid of what I find. Isn't that strange?

I know that if I wrote my first published book, Romanian Rhapsody, today, I would write a very different story. It's not a typical romance in many ways. I would have discouraged me from attempting to market it.  As I read it, a powerful, emotional, story of grief and love and change, I love it. I would count it among my best books, better than the two books that complete the trilogy. It's also the most "autobiographical," in that the heroine was a young, rather na├»ve, woman, with equal interests in music and teaching children.

The biggest problem with Romanian Rhapsody, is that it was written 20 years ago and published 10 years ago. This "timeless" contemporary is clearly dated on a number of levels.

Plainsong picks up with Carrie's best friend from Romania. Although I wrote it after completing Romanian Rhapsody, it wasn't published for several years later. That experience taught me not to try to sell old books.  The editorial rewrite was excruciating.  The third book in the trilogy, Knight Music, combined a note of Colorado, my favorite place on earth, with the most opposite of hero and heroines, and a mystery to solve.

Aside from reading my repack, I also started reading a book called The Dante Connection. The heroine is unique, I enjoy the clues-from-paintings mystery, but . . . I still haven't quite figured out why this story matters to everyone involved. It reads like book 2 of a series, which doesn't quite make sense.  The concept was good, the execution, only so-so.

Seven devotionals left to write and one-third of Runaway Love. Time to get busy. The devotionals take more from me than I expected. To learn enough about a women who is only mentioned as "so-and-so-s daughter" to write a devotional? I discovered a reference to "Bat Asher" and jumped into a too-much-neglected resource, Jewish understanding of the Old Testament. They believe she lived even longer than Methuselah!

As the mother of a child who came to a violent end, writing about a mother whose son was stoned for blaspheming God came very hard.

Looking at the midwives who took care of Hebrew women as forerunners of civil disobedience--that was more fun. Writing it without pointing to current political issues we may believe we should fight, that came hard.

So this week I stare down the page at Tamar, Judah's daughter-in-law, and Tamar, David's daughter,
the slave girl freed from demons by Paul--and several others whose names you may not recognize. I didn't.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

POETRY ZONE (March 26 - April 7, 201)

AND THE WINNER IS:

The following poem was chosen as one of the weekly blooms at Creative Blooms in the CINQKI form:

Breezes

brush winter’s

cobwebs into

skeins of spun memories

new thread
 
My other cinqkis were:
Wednesday
Clients call
Eye-catching fashion
Mysteries mined ‘til clear
Hump day
***
 
Uh oh
Chocolate
Bunny bumps jar
Rolls out as candy egg
Easter
Prompt: "Back to Square One: To use 3 lines from an old poem to rewrite a new poem. I rewrote one of Jolene's poems which I published here years ago. As I wrote it, it reminded me of the promise in Isaiah about turning ashes into beauty. Then I read my first-ever published book, Romanian Rhapsody, for the first time ever since publication, (more on that on Thursday). In it, I refer to the same verse. God was shouting, pay attention!
 
In dire need she called out to You
Her life, like ashes in the wind,
Blown away where none could see
Leaving behind a hole that could be filled
No laborers to refill the emptied soul
No miracle-workers to resurrect the ashes
No master artist to restore the original design
Until. . .
You answered
The One who walked on water stilled her raging sea.
Filled her with joy and dressed her with praise
Crafted a crown from ashes
Centerpiece of Your grace
Form: Than-Bauk

Kiss and Tell?

Can’t kiss and tell

If I yell, your

lips fell on mine

To Spring:
April showers

May flowers bring

To spur spring’s joy
Prompt: Connection between color and emotions
My World is Blue

In winter-time, earth and sky lend ice

Not enough hours to entice

Blue when weather’s vice

Gives white prize

Chill

Equinox pours blue to each day’s slice

Teasing us with spring’s advice

Sky and field, so nice

So precise

Skill

Heaven is gold with rainbow’s allspice

Azures, sapphires, beyond price

Only sacrifice

Paradise

‘Til

Monday, April 7, 2014

TO POEM OR NOT TO POEM?

I asked the poetry group I have joined, is this a place I can ask about poetry as a "genre" (for lack of a better term,  for the division between fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) Or is the place where we discuss "poems"--a workshop on poems in process?

The only answer I received so far was: "poetry is a concept, poems are its practice". So my questions remain. Where do I go to ask the questions we discuss on the ACFW loop all the time. Where do I find markets for my poems? Am I foolish to try, as unprepared, as someone who completes her first book and asks how to get it published?

And what is the process of writing poetry? In writing fiction, I have decided I am a hybrid Plotter/Pantser.  I write lengthy synopses, as required for my publisher. But I find my characters come to life as I write about them. As I provide them with an activity to further their conversation and romance, that activity becomes a centerpoint in the plot. And so forth.

So I may think I am writing a point about one thing . .  .but since I don't have a publisher breathing down my neck, ready to slash red pen across my changes, I wing it. Sometimes it works. Is there a process, a routine, that most poets use? Any. . .expectations?

For many years, I would timidly confess that, yes, I do write. A few years, before my first book was publisher, I amended that statement: I am a writer.

April is "National Poetry Month."  Many poets take part in a "PAD" challenge, similar to NaNoWriMo. PAD stands for Poem a Day. With my looming deadlines, I decided against it.

But with my second weekly "bloom" (chosen from everything submitted in the past seven days) in the past 3.5 months, I am asking myself the question:

Do I say I write poetry?

Or am I . . . gasp. . . a poet?

Or perhaps it's where the strength of my fiction intersects with poetry . . .emotions and imagery, and the words that call them forth.

At the risk of repeating myself, here are the poems that won the recognition:

The Day My Daughter Died


I

wait by

the phone late

into the night.

Tick, tock, my heart grows

colder with ev’ry beat.

Will the police never call?

Mother retreats, perchance to dream.

Facebook friends join my pain-filled vigil.

Coroner’s office on caller I.D.

Time freezes, my heart stops.  I demand

answers--How? When? Not asking the

most important question: Why?

It cannot be answered.

Dead. Three Days. Hanging.

I disconnect.

“She’s dead, Mom!”

Wailing
                 Grief

(untitled poem)

Breezes

brush winter’s

cobwebs into

skeins of spun memories

new thread

So the question is . . . poet? or not?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

READING AND WRITING March 27-April 2, 2014

I enjoy reading fantasy. The problem is that most often these days the heroes are teens, as if Merry and Pippin had jumped center-stage of Lord of the Rings. (For those who have read the book, you know that Frodo is older than his cousins, not the fresh-faced Elijah Woods.)

Which is my way of saying that I enjoyed Call of the Herald  by Brian Rathbone very much once we got past the first section where their world as country bumpkins in the Godfist society is established. Caitin is a believable recipient of supernatural power, feminine without being weak, with a great supporting cast. I might even enjoy the rest of the series, but not until I get past my fifty or so free and $1 finds that truly appealed to me.

Next up: The Dante Connection by Estelle Ryan.

Writing-wise: I continue to delve through the women of the Bible. Sapphira, the co-thief with her husband Ananias; Serah, the only woman mentioned coming to Egypt with Joseph--and the interesting stories about her found in Jewish literature; Shelomith, who married an Egyptian then watched her son get stoned to death; and others. They are challenging.

No word on one project--may not for another two weeks.

For now, I'm working my way through my next book, Runaway Love.  At the two-thirds mark!

I also have the galleys to proof for Colorado Melodies, due out in August. :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

A CASE OF THE GIGGLES

For her sake, I'm sorry that Linda is back, for skilled nursing this time.

But, oh, what a smile to my face.  Linda was my first and best roommate.  A good friend. We would gladly have shared a room together but of course, I am with someone else.

That brings me to my next point. My present roommate. Brenda is about my age. Her mother recently died. Her body ravaged by polio, her speech difficult to understand, when I first moved in, all she did was to cry. She didn't like sharing a room and she missed her mom.

Something changed. Now we giggle - giggile! - about any little thing. The Cadbury bunny commercial. Her nickname of "Princess Brenda the Splendid" to go with mine, Queen Darlene.

We passed a barrier of tolerating each other to enjoying each other.

The gift of laughter is precious indeed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reading and Writing March 20-26, 2014

Ah, spring. What a lovely time.

Let's see. I've written two poems, edited three devotionals and sent them in. I worked on a couple of tough ones--about the 10 wise and foolish virgins, Samson's wife and Sapphira. Now I have to choose from an abundance of material about Sarah for three more.

As far as Runaway Love, I am officially over half-way. Telling myself that 200 words is better than none.

I finished reading Angels Watching Over Me by Michael Phillips. It is beautifully written, makes me want to find out what happens next, unlike most series openers. (I know they give the first book for free to encourage readers to buy book #2 and so on).

I also read a short story by one of our local OKC writers, For Mercie's Sake by Sharon Srock. Check it out--see for yourself of how ordinary can make a difference, becoming God's instruments of mercy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

POETRY ZONE March 19-25

Inspiration for Love Is came from a list of lines to include one or more in our poem. I started with "Love lies buried."  Can you guess at some of the others  included?

LOVE IS. . .

Love lies buried ‘neath the deepest sea

Furrows spuming tendrils to the light

Rhythms swell and spread, a crescendo

Tide wipes sand of doubt away for now

 

Love alone is tender, good for warmth

Evening is a shroud that love unveils

Laser beam lights one step, and N more

Blessed, not burnt, at sun’s inner core.  

 

Over time and distance love endures

Weathering both boulders and pebbles

Rarified air while hiking Zion’s Mount

Where we always laugh and dream

 

Misery may engulf but not drown it

Passion’s zeal may scorch but not burn it

Not even Paradise will complete it for

 

 Form: Nonette, 9 lines, as the word suggests. I have always found the translation of Galatians 5:1 in the New American Standard Bible fascinating: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
 

FREEDOM

 

Liberty’s birthright bound, locked and chained

Freedom’s fortress breached, choice by choice

Once surrendered for sin’s debt

No barter can buy back

Freedom is not free

Death the price paid

Inside and out

Always
Free