I was a daydreamer as a child. Actually, I haven’t changed that much–I’m still a daydreamer. My childhood wasn’t always easy, so I tended to find a happier place and hang out there. The place I found was usually in my head and possibly connected to the latest book I’d read, or something I’d watched on television.
As a stay-at-home mom raising three young boys, I found another reason to retreat to the happy place. I began to write stories. At first, it was a hobby. Then, as I wrote more and more, it began to be something else. A calling. And I knew, even if no one ever read anything I wrote, I’d still write.
But others did read my stories. I entertained family and friends. They were impressed and encouraged me to pursue my interest. I took a writing class at the local college, and the professor encouraged me to keep writing.
This past week, I attended a writer’s conference. I sat in classrooms with accomplished writers and writers on the way. Men and women who’d found their calling, their niche, shared what they had learned along that way. I soaked it in and used my pen for the first time in a long time, taking copious notes. Because what they’d found, I wanted.
Many professionals must continue to educate themselves in order to compete in their field. Writers are no different and conferences–good conferences–provide those opportunities.
Possibly even greater than the knowledge we receive at writers’ conferences, are the connections we make. There’s nothing like face-to-face discussions with friends we’ve made on Facebook and Twitter, or sitting down with someone who looks familiar, only to find they’re a multi-published, award-winning author. Gee, she seemed so normal.
I’d like to finish with this thought, shared with me by a new friend:
What I think is so great about these conferences is–how giving these authors are–they all want you to succeed, as they have.
And here’s why they’re so ready to share their hard-earned secrets — at some point, someone did the same for them.
I am a…I am many things: Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Writer. But my favorite and most defining title is Christian, by the grace of God.
You would like me when I’m…You would like me when I’m at Disney World, the happiest place on earth. You would also like me on my back porch, my at-home happy place.
You wouldn’t like me when I’m…I would hope you would always like me, but realistically, you probably wouldn’t like me when I’m stressed, focused, and trying to get things done.
What qualities I like to see in others: I love to be around people who seem comfortable in their own skin, so I guess that could be called self-confidence. I especially like people who have a great sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously.
Favorite way to spend an evening: My favorite way to spend an evening is to sit next to my husband and watch something good on television. We go through phases. Right now, we’re really into Columbo re-runs. (It’s even better if my husband rubs my feet)
Who I love to spend an evening with: Oh. I just answered that one. I love spending time with my husband. I like to say he is like still waters that run deep. He is quiet and doesn’t talk my ears off. But when he does say something, it’s usually something good that needs to be said.
Am reading (or want to read): My only reading right now is in the Bible. I’m currently reading through the book of Acts.
If I had a hammer…I’d give it to my husband. LOL But if this is a symbolic reference to what I would hammer out of society, it would be this:
Because I am a teacher, I see the dangers and pitfalls our young people have to face. I would strongly encourage parents to be more aware of the demonic influences attacking our children’s minds through media, movies, and books. Protecting and guarding our children’s minds and hearts should be a priority.
My favorite genre is: For fiction, it would probably be historical fiction. For non-fiction, it would be biographies of great people who inspire me.
My work-in-progress: I am currently working on Freeing Ellie, a contemporary fiction. It is Book 2 of the Redeemed Side of Broken Series, published through Write Integrity Press.
My favorite food is: I’m a southern girl. Really good fried chicken is always my “go-to” favorite.
I’m a collector of: Anything with a yellow butterfly on it. 🙂
My favorite happily-ever-after: My own life. Not only do I get to be “heirs together of the grace of life” with the man I love, but I also get to spend eternity in heaven, paid for by the blood of Christ. “ The Path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” It just gets better and better. And the best part??? It’s true and not a fairy tale. Talk about a happy ending!
Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Jesus and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan began her walk as a Christian when she accepted Christ as her savior two weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She graduated from Tennessee Temple Bible College in 1975.
Joan and Rene’, her husband of forty-plus years, reside in Prattville, Alabama, a charming city with Southern hospitality. They count their son, daughter, son-in-law, and seven phenomenal grandchildren to be their greatest blessings on earth.
Joan enjoys time well-spent with family and friends, but finds equal joy in quiet moments of solitude on her back porch. There, surrounded by bluebirds and yellow butterflies, she began writing her debut novel, Saving Eric.
An active member of her church, Joan enjoys singing in the choir. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is currently working on the second book in the Redeemed Side of Broken Series. She enjoys chatting with fellow writers and readers. Check out her web page: http://cjdeneve.wix.com/joandeneve
Eric Templeton’s well-ordered life as a top CIA agent is shattered when a traitor within the agency plots to have him eliminated. Sent on a bogus mission to Africa, Eric is ambushed and critically wounded. A helicopter pilot flies him to a remote mission hospital where Dr. Brock Whitfield and his daughter, Ellie, work to save his life.
If Eric survives, his life may never be the same, and he still has to deal with the traitor who wants him dead. Eric wants justice, but Brock and Ellie know that Eric’s survival is the least of his worries. What he needs most is mercy and truth.
I believe I first met Harriet Michael at a local ACFW meeting in a Barnes and Noble bookstore in our hometown. She is a lovely, outgoing individual, and I was both intrigued and a little in awe of her background. But I’ll let her tell you about it.
Harriet: Thank you for letting me share with your readers. I am excited to tell people about my upcoming book release. But first, a little about me and my writing.
I was born in the jungles of Africa as the daughter of missionaries. My family moved from that jungle station, in the Niger River Delta, to another Nigerian city, Ogbomoso, shortly after my birth. Most of my childhood memories center around the people and experiences I had in Ogbomoso. My childhood was idyllic right … until the Biafran war broke out. Things became turbulent and my family soon moved back to America.
Today I am a wife of 36 years, a mother of four adult children, and a grandmother of one. My writing journey began in 2004 during a difficult time in the life of someone close to me. At that time, I started a journal and personal Scripture-search on the topic of prayer. Four years later, I had a manuscript written, and a love of writing.
I began freelancing small pieces in 2009. Today, I have a growing list of published credits which include articles, devotions, and stories. My work has appeared in publications by LifeWay, Focus on the Family, Bethany House, David C. Cook Company, Standard Publishing, American Life League, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Judson Press, The Pentecostal Publishing House, Smyth & Helwys, The Upper Room, and more.
I am also a speaker and would love to be contacted for that as well, if any readers are looking for speakers.
And I am super excited to announce that my first full length book, Prayer: It’s Not About You, will be released in September by PixNPens Publishing company. Written from my search to better understand prayer, it is nonfiction and expository in nature. It looks at prayer and prayer warriors in the scripture; both the Old Testament and the New Testament. While still in manuscript form, it was named a finalist in the 2011 “Women of Faith” national contest.
As I searched the topic of prayer, I had questions I hoped to find the answers to. How did the people in the Bible approach God? What did they say to Him? How did they bring their requests to Him? How did He answer? Are there common threads that run throughout the Bible regarding prayer? What can I learn that will help me pray more effectively? What can I learn about prayer? What can I learn about God?
I learned a tremendous amount in my personal search and hope the readers of my book will as well. Anyone who longs to better understand prayer from a Biblical standpoint will enjoy this book.
Thanks again for having me on your blog, Betty!
Harriet E Michael, Christian author and speaker
Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet Michael is a writer, gardener, wife of over 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother of one.
She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions.
Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. Her book, Prayer: It’s Not About You, a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, is set for release in September, 2015 by Pix-N-Pens Publishing Company.
Early this year, I was ranting online about the rabbit damage among my freshly-planted flowers. It was springtime and I had happily transplanted rows of beautiful marigolds. I purchased marigolds of several hues and mixed them generously across the front of my flowerbed. At that point, I should have photographed them. Because they are no more.
One of the main reasons I chose marigolds was because last spring, something quickly devoured the lovely bright red zinnias I planted. I remembered my grandmother saying you should plant marigolds to keep pests away. Well, it wasn’t quite clear what the pest was, but I was willing to try. The marigolds danced their little heads in my gardens for oh, maybe twenty-four hours.
Devastation! Oh my stars and garters! Something was quite happy with my choice of marigolds. The destruction of the zinnias was nothing compared to this.
So, back to the drawing board. I looked online and found the lovely photo above. Then I caught the perpetrator red-pawed. But I’m a gentle soul and would rather discourage than draw blood or cause discomfort to a fellow earth-dweller. Except for snakes, snails, and spiders. And flies, of course, and mosquitoes, and…a few other things I won’t mention.
My local hardware store carried a wonderfully smelly solution. It contains a lot of garlic and yucky stuff that repels critters. It repelled me too. I had to encase the container in a sealed plastic bag between uses. But the stuff works. However, heavy rainfall this summer meant I had to reapply often to keep the ground around my new plants really stinky. Now the little hoppers head across the street and chew the neighbors’ plants. Sorry about that. No, I’m not! Ha ha!
Now I needed to fill the empty spaces inside my flowerbed. So I went back to the Internet and found some supposedly safe-from-rodents-with-big-ears plants. There aren’t very many of those plants and the list I found had a disclaimer on it that went something like this: …while these plants worked for me and my local bunnies, they may not work in your area. Good luck.
Rats! No. Rabbits!
But I felt it was worth a try, so I headed back out to the garden center with my list in hand. Trouble is, most of these plants don’t have showy blossoms. But I found some coleuses that filled the bill. Wow, do they pack a punch in my garden. They do bloom, but it’s not a show-stopping bloom. Who needs it, however, when the leaves look like this!
Snapdragons! Little beauties of all colors and varieties. They prefer drier weather though, so didn’t do great this year. Maybe later when the weather dries up. If ever the weather dries up. And in my neck of the woods, snapdragons sometimes winter over and also reseed themselves. Two thumbs up!
Dusty Miller‘s silver leaves accent the other bright colors in the garden. And of course, there’s always geraniums. Bright red ones fill my window box. Rabbits never touch my Russian Sage, regular sage, thyme, or lavender. They don’t bother the daylilies, Stellad’oros or roses. So I’m okay there. But they love to snack on zinnias, marigolds, and petunias. 😦 They eat the leaves, the flowers–everything except one pitiful stalk attached to the roots–then the plant promptly dies. I did manage to save my petunias by sticking them in a well-guarded window box.
What a year. My garden is now filled with bright colors, but it’s so overgrown, it looks like a jungle. This is the result of the torrential rains in June and early July. I plan to spend hours out there in the fall when the temperatures cool. But that’s another subject for another day. In light of all the things that have happened in the world this year, my little rabbit woes just don’t compare.
But I have to admit, the research, the work, running outside to scare cottontails–it’s all been great fun. And it broke up the monotony of my more writer-ly pursuits. I hope you’re enjoying your summer, wherever you are, and can take pleasure in the small things. Even when they have big ears and a healthy appetite for marigolds.