Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. My writing desk is feeling a bit neglected, so I sat down this morning with my cup of steaming coffee, intent on doing a little writing.

I was outside for a short time today, and though there is a definite chill in the air, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Birds are chirping and singing like it’s springtime already. I love to hear them. I don’t take their song for granted. Only a short few months ago, I couldn’t hear it. What a difference hearing aids make to those with genetic hearing loss.

Small blessings fill my life these days and I’m doing my best to take time to appreciate them. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, because today holds enough trouble of its own. Truth. And I’m finding that even in the midst of those daily challenges, joy is still a choice you can make. The old-fashioned idea of counting your blessings has become, “focus on the positive.” Same principle.

I choose joy.

Just in case you’re interested, I #amwriting. I’m working on a new series set in the early seventies. The genre is suspense, so it’s a bit of a challenge. I’m enjoying the work. I remember the seventies, but I’d forgotten a few things, so I’m having to make notes for research a lot more often than I’d expected.

Okay, I have more than one reader, but this one won’t mind me using her picture. Hi, Deb!

In the next few months, I’ll be able to give you more details, but for now, just know that I write with my readers in mind. I’m personally acquainted with many of my readers and they are so encouraging. I love receiving notes from them when they’ve finished one of my books.

You know that feeling you get when you’ve worked hard to prepare a meal for your family, and they enjoy the food and compliment the meal? Yes, that’s the same kind of feeling I get when a reader lets me know they loved one of my stories. So, don’t hesitate to send a note to an author, or better yet, leave a short review of their book. Recommend it on Facebook and/or GoodReads.

Enough about business! Another thing I’ve really come to appreciate is you. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to visit me here.

And thanks for your comments and encouragement regarding my mother’s health. She’s doing well at the time of this post. We visited her this past weekend and were able to take her out for a few hours. She absolutely loves Joseph-Beth Bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. So, that’s where we headed and lunched at Bronte’s Bistro! If you’re ever in Lexington, it’s a must-stop-in and plan to stay a while.

Photo by Jill Wellington, Pixabay Image

A Day in the Life

Hello, Thursday Morning! I usually say a word about the weather here. Like many of my readers, we’ve had an abnormally wet beginning to summer. This week has been a bit drier, but all this sunshine after all that dampness, creates humidity. I’m not complaining but I am staying inside (mostly).

My day begins early, since hubby leaves the house before six a.m. I have two part-time bookkeeping jobs, so a couple of days a week, I’m away from home. The rest of the week, I’m home, but working. And summer brings grandkids, at least once a week. So, the days seem to fly by at the speed of sound. I’m so amazed that we’re already halfway through July.

I spend about eight hours a day at least three days a week, working on the bookkeeping chores for two companies. Factor in my position as treasurer of a good-sized writers conference, and you have another few hours a week. I feel a little like a juggler at times. I confess, sometimes I worry, lest I fumble and drop everything.

Oh, and by the way, I write in my “spare” time. Such is the life of a writer. Sometimes I envy those who have entire days to dedicate to their craft, especially when a story is bubbling in my imagination and my fingers itch to write it. But I’m being real here. If I had that entire day to write, I’d be dawdling. I’d be chasing my thoughts amid myriad distractions, kind of like the flitting path of a butterfly.

Those who have an artistic bent can definitely identify. If you’re highly disciplined, you can take a day like that and create a masterpiece. I’m not saying I’m undisciplined, but I am sometimes unfocused. That’s putting it nicely. When I finally get a day “off” I have so many things I want to accomplish, I end up finishing—nothing.

So, you may be surprised that I’m ever able to finish a book at all. I continue to surprise myself by doing just that. I’ve finished two different series in the last five or six years, and I’m as amazed as anyone.

I’m sponsoring a contest with some of my fellow Write-Integrity authors:

Click the Meme to enter (ends July 27, 2019)

 

What Happens Now

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m looking at sunshine and blue skies right now. And a big, yellow forsythia bush, the abode of an extremely territorial and illusive cardinal.

This morning, I took a long, leisurely walk in the sunshine. On the way back, I noticed all the flowers blooming. The really early ones, like crocuses and grape hyacinth. Wild flowers too—well, weeds, really—but they still have beauty.

Sunshine certainly improves the mood. And it energizes me. But I didn’t need a lot of help today. I’ve completed the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. In a few days, I’ll send the manuscript to my publisher and then I’ll wait. And hope.

I’m excited about this final book for several reasons. It’s the last in the series (kind of sad). This ends me working on two series at the same time (not doing that again). And, it means something new is coming.

That’s not all. The final Kinsman Redeemer book is a baby without a name right now. I’m calling it, “book three.” And I have to confess, I went through an entire box of tissues writing the end of this book. And they were good tears. As I drew to a close, the readers on my critique loop were sending me threatening emails: please DO NOT send through another cliffhanger. So I had to send through two chapters at once. 🙂

What happens now? As soon as the manuscript is on its way, I’ll start building my Pinterest board for this book. I loved doing that for Rebecca’s Legacy. If want to follow me on Pinterest, click here. Then the marketing begins. Stay tuned!

coffee, cup, laptop, memeIt started with the book of my heart. I wrote a story near and dear to my heart, set in a familiar place and era. It was a retelling of the story of Ruth, that mixed in elements of my mother’s life.

The final book brings the story to a satisfying finish. As Annabelle’s neighbor, Tom, says, “Once you have Annabelle Cross in your corner, she’s there for life.”

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.—Psalm 30:4-5 NKJV

See you in April!

The Art of Conversation

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! What a wild ride the weather has given us so far this year! We’ve had nearly 70 degrees, now plunging into the twenties or lower. Brrr! I’m pouring another cup of hot coffee, as we speak.

Speaking—conversation—is my topic today. Conversation can be interesting and fun, or it can be deadly dull. Have you ever sat next to someone who couldn’t stop talking? Is it a nervous thing? After a while, I tend to tune them out (survival tactic) and hope it ends soon.

Even though that is definitely considered talking, it’s not conversation. A conversation is at least two-sided. It’s like a game of ping pong or tennis. There’s a lot of back-and-forth. And, like a game, it can be exciting. Even scintillating, depending on the content. My favorite books are those with a lot of conversation. We learn about people as they speak to one another, especially when there’s friendship and camaraderie between them. They are comfortable being themselves.

camaraderie: mutual trust between people who spend a lot of time together

My all-time favorite book is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë. Most of the story is in Jane’s voice, singular. She’s a definite introvert, though no reader doubts her mental and spiritual strength of character. But the moments in conversation with the rugged Edward Rochester gives the reader insight into more of her character (and his). We learn that she can be witty and wise. We learn that though sour and almost ugly, Rochester can be warm and caring. And we find out what has soured him on life.

When we’re comfortable (at ease) with someone, we tend to ‘fess up about stuff. That’s the interesting part. As in a game, it’s a balancing act. A writer needs to balance narrative with great conversation to keep a story moving forward.

What’s your favorite novel? Does it contain a lot of conversation, or is it mostly narrative? What draws you in?

I remember some of the early conversations with my spouse before we were married. We’d talk for hours. It was seldom boring. We still have those moments, when we hit on a topic that interests us both. Real conversations can bridge gaps and bind hearts. Relationship is a process. I don’t know if we can ever learn all there is to know about one another. But, we enjoy each other’s company—that’s conversation.

When I write, I try to develop my characters in this way. My main character meets a man, but she doesn’t really know him until they spend time together, talking. Through their conversation, they get to know one another better. Maybe at first, they’re bantering or arguing, but through contact and over time, they find similarities. They connect.

Jane and Rochester connected mentally and spiritually through their conversations. Those connective moments built a strong bridge that held them fast, even when all seemed lost.

So, next time you find yourself seated beside a chatterbox, try to look at the bright side and pick out interesting tidbits they may drop about themselves. Think of the game of ping pong. Try to jump in at some point and redirect. Make it fun. That’s conversation.

Click to Tweet: When we’re comfortable (at ease) with someone, we tend to ‘fess up about stuff. That’s the interesting part. As in a game, it’s a balancing act. The Art of Conversation with @batowens #ThursdayMorning #ThursdayThoughts

Back to the Land of Ruth

Happy Thursday morning! Coffee needed and keep it coming! We’ve had an extremely wet week in our neck of the woods. I’m hoping for sunshine and maybe a little more summertime.

I’ve spent several weeks in memory mode, contemplating my future writing. Now, it’s time to return to the story of Ruth. Once again, I’m immersing myself in the beautiful Biblical story. Once I’ve studied it, I’ll re-read Annabelle’s Ruth and Sutter’s Landing.

This past week, I’m also researching my setting for the third and final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. Something caught my interest, and may find it’s way into the story line. If you are of a certain age, and lived in the southeastern region of the United States, you may remember what happened in the late fifties/early sixties.

Jackson, Tennessee, just a short drive south from my rural setting, was often in the news in those days. It’s the home of Lane College, a traditionally all-black college (during that time), associated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Several brave young men and women took it upon themselves to force the desegregation issue by staging “sit-ins” at area drug store soda fountains (like the one in my stories).

This, and several other “powder-keg” events happened during the timeline of book three. So, of course, I need to find a way to incorporate it in the story.

Back to the present: the church I attend is culturally and racially diverse. Though comparatively small, our congregation has a wonderful balance. Right now, under the leadership of our pastor, we are studying The Third Option by Miles McPherson. It’s a book about honor and respect, and learning to love your neighbor without prejudice.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. One of the main reasons I’ve been able to handle the racial issues in the first two books in this series with grace, is the balance in my life. I believe it is directly tied to interaction and fellowship with my church family—a vibrant group of men and women united by their love for God and each other.

At one time in the south, it didn’t matter whether a person was Polynesian or Haitian, or African, or even Latin or Native American. They were considered a lesser race. Even a person of mixed race was denied the privilege to marry a Caucasian at one time. So my main character in books one and two had a couple of hurdles ahead of her.

Why even include this in my story? Why did I need the racial element in Annabelle’s Ruth? Consider the original story. If you’re familiar with the book of Ruth, you’ll remember that she was a foreigner, a Moabitess. She left her home, where she was in the majority, and traveled to Naomi’s homeland, where a Moabite was definitely a minority, and subject to prejudice. It is obvious from content that a Moabite looked different.

Ruth earned something dear—God’s blessing—through her loyalty to Naomi, one of God’s chosen.

As I complete this series, I need to finish with a bang and tie up all the loose ends. I believe I’ll find what I need in the pages of the original story. I can’t wait to find out what happens!