“Freedom is never free.”
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Do you ever have days when getting from one point to another — in any endeavour – is a major effort? Achieving forward momentum is like trying to run in knee-deep water or snow.
Hanging on the wall of our little cabin is a pair of my mother’s snowshoes — a cross between the Alaskan and Heron styles, wooden frames with rawhide lacing and leather harnesses. My Dad’s are at home in our basement — a similar but larger version of Mom’s. I still remember the first time I went snowshoeing with Mom, and the amazing sensation of NOT sinking up to my knees as I had been, prior to putting them on.
There was a knack to moving easily on them, but even my inexperienced and inept attempts allowed me to keep up with my petite and very fit mother. (I don’t want to admit she might have been accommodating me!) What a difference the right equipment made!
While I was in the cabin last week I had a small epiphany about my current manuscript — how the addition of one phrase … a clue… early in the story would solve the major dilemma I was having with a later scene. A glance at those snowshoes reminded me how much easier it was to utilize a proven technique for the desired result than it was to slog blindly ahead with stubborn determination. I’d been doing the latter for far too long and had become worn out and frustrated.
Now I’m back on the right track, as I get this manuscript ready to accompany me to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference this weekend. Just four more sleeps!
Do you know of any different analogies for things that have made your life or writing easier?
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I’m a terrible homebody! If I had my druthers, I’d probably be an armchair traveller and have a clone to do any actual travelling. While I love our fifth-wheel trailer and our little Cariboo cabin and I love visiting our children and their families, getting organized to leave home is always an effort. Staying home is comfortable.
On the other hand, I can’t imagine missing out on the sweet discoveries, the family joys, and All. The. Photo. Opps along the way. (Oh, and the cruising experiences… I have to admit to liking them, too.) So, I compromise and travel only to places that are meaningful to me. And then I come home. I said I was a homebody, didn’t I?
I’m home again after three-weeks-less-one-day away. I had a wonderful time, but it feels good to be back. Now I get to be the insufferable host(ess) for the next while, and bring out my photo albums…
(If you wish, you can click on a photo to enlarge it
or, if you prefer, you can skip the next part altogether.)
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The start of our vacation journey was not entirely uneventful. We had barely entered the town next to ours, when our brakes began smoking — never a good thing when you’re towing a 27′ trailer! Fortunately the services we needed were close at hand and, a few hours later and $900 poorer, we were back on the highway again.
Not long after, however, we came upon an accident scene involving a large transport truck. As the traffic control person eased us past the scene we saw what was left of the truck being readied for removal, and it was evident that someone else’s journey had begun with a much more serious incident.
Because of the delays, we didn’t cover much mileage our first day, but ended up spending the night in a small municipal campground along the Similkameen River. Instead of dwelling on the day’s unpleasant aspects, we said a prayer for the safety of the driver, gave thanks for our own, and opened our eyes to the view from our trailer’s window.
We were reminded that whatever life brings, there are still joys to be discovered in the blessings that surround us if we turn our eyes towards the Creator.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
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Lately there’s been a lot of journeying going on in the lives of friends and family members. Some of it’s easy to enjoy… some, not so much. When the terrain gets a bit uncertain, it’s good to remember, “we may not know what our future holds, but we know Who holds our future.”
Has life taken you into any uncertain, unfamiliar or not-so-pleasant places recently?
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Another week concludes, bringing us closer to the end of summer. I haven’t taken a significant blogging hiatus yet this year, but after helping one part of our family with their house-hunting and then their moving experience this month, and getting ready to help another move in two weeks, I think a little break is in order during the continuing chaos. I’ll try to pop in occasionally with some photography posts, but you may not hear much from me here over the next little while.
But whether it’s here or somewhere else, you can always count on lots happening around the internet and blogosphere. For instance, here are some of today’s findings that I found interesting…
With his sixth novel, HEART FAILURE, soon to be released, there’s a Facebook announcement from Richard Mabry that his first medical mystery, CODE BLUE, is free today on Kindle, http://tinyurl.com/jwe8be6, Nook, http://tinyurl.com/kovls2a, and ebook, http://tinyurl.com/k943z5d. What a perfect time to get introduced to his “Prescription for Trouble” series. Even if you’re reading this too late to get it free, I think you’d enjoy picking up his ‘medical suspense with heart’ books.
Valerie Comer and Angela Breidenbach use an engaging way to announce the contract signings for their September 2014 release of their two novellas in CHRISTMAS TIARA, that mixes “tiara talk with farm lit and Christmas” — check out their video here.
Here’s an earlier-this-week blog post from Laura Best with the final cover reveal for her next novel, FLYING WITH A BROKEN WING, which will be releasing at the end of September.
From Sue Harrison, a post reflecting on her week of virtual book touring, which celebrated the recent release of her six Alaska books in eBook format. There’s also a brand new video introduction to Sue that I’m sure you’d enjoy. You’ll find it here.
Also found a couple FB posts by Sheila Seiler Lagrand alluding to an upcoming Christmas collection called THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. ”Kathi Macias is our ringleader,” says Sheila. “We each will contribute a story in which all the action takes place on a single one of the twelve days leading up to Christmas. Each of the twelve stories will be released individually as an e-book.” Keep your eyes open for this one.
Denise Jaden’s “Friday Four” post today presented the cover for her February 2014 release, FAST FICTION:
“Fast Fiction is a quick, inspirational, step-by-step and day-by-day guide to writing a structurally sound and engaging first draft in the shortest amount of time possible. It provides a great starting point for writers as they ditch time-wasters, detour frustration, and overcome self-doubt, and it helps them decide where to go with their story and how to get there quickly, with results. Told in the empathetic and accessible voice of an author who can provide an insider’s look at her own craft and publishing experiences, Fast Fiction provides readers with their own writing coach as they embark on a quick, fun, and challenging 30 days to a first draft.”
Take a break to listen to this hand-clapping, toe-tapping music video via a link posted by Donna Pyle, founder of Artesian Ministries. She says, “Such a cool, original way to make traditional music fresh for the next generation.”
I’m told C.J. Box’s just released mystery, THE HIGHWAY, is a goosebump-raising change of pace from his Joe Pickett series. I’ve been a fan of his mystery stories right from the beginning. Now I’m not sure which to read first, THE HIGHWAY or BREAKING POINT, his latest Joe Pickett book.
And for my fellow pet owners, a FB link via Sandra Heska King, with news of a dog and cat food recall:
Both Iams and Eukanuba brand dry dog and cat food are being recalled. Both have the “best by” dates within the first two weeks of November 2014 and could be tainted with Salmonella.
There! With all that shared, hubby, dog and I are back to helping fill and empty packing boxes while enjoying the company of children and grandchildren. What are YOU up to this weekend?
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Thanks to those of you who were praying for our nephew David and his family. Sadly, despite the liver transplant, he could not survive the damage done by the hemochromatosis, and died peacefully in Toronto General Hospital’s ICU on Thursday afternoon, August 8th.
Hemochromatosis is an iron storage disease, a genetic condition which, in David’s case, was not diagnosed until significant damage to his liver had already occurred. His sister-in-law, Carole Garvin, gave him 70% of her liver during transplant surgery last Friday, but in the end the iron stored in his heart interfered with his ability to recover. Carole is recuperating well and was discharged from hospital on the 7th.
David’s family will gather this weekend to make plans for a Celebration of his life.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish,
and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
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My thoughts today are with my nephew, David, and his sister-in-law, Carole. David was diagnosed earlier this year with an inherited disorder called Hemochromatosis that causes the body to absorb too much iron. By the time it was diagnosed, irreversible damage had been done to his liver and it was determined his only option was a transplant. However his health deteriorated further, and he was admitted to the ICU of Toronto General Hospital two weeks ago. Two days ago it was decided he was strong enough to proceed with the transplant. Carole is donating 70% of her liver to him.
My prayer is that the surgeries will go well today, and both of them will make a full recovery. Amen and amen.
UPDATED AT END OF DAY #1:
“David and Carole are now both back in ICU after a successful liver transplant. Carole is doing well. The next days will be critical for David because of his heart. Thank you all for your faithful prayers and support. Please continue in the days ahead. “
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
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He caught me staring. My parents had frequently reminded me staring was rude, so when his eyes engaged mine, I looked away, leaving only an embarrassed smile in the space between us. But it was impossible not to snatch another furtive glance. This time it was his turn to smile. I dropped my gaze and tried to focus on the page, searching for the line of music in my hymnbook that everyone was singing except me.
I was a flustered teenager, standing beside my boyfriend during a Sunday church service, fascinated by the tall sandy haired young man in the back row of the choir loft, but totally unaware that he was my future husband. For days afterwards the visual encounter was imprinted in my memory. I knew little about him except that he was the minister’s son and the leader of the church’s youth group.
Later I discovered that he knew even less about me, but during those stolen glances it had occurred to him one day he would like to marry me! And three years later he did.
How is it our powers of observation can instill reactions and emotions with such life-altering results? Observation is more than mere looking. It’s seeing beyond the visible, discovering motivations before they’re obvious, and recognizing the attitudes behind actions. It’s taking in the view and examining how it relates to one’s presence.
For writers, observation is critical in the creation of our characters, especially the protagonist.
“Your protagonist is your reader’s portal into the story.
The more observant he or she can be,
the more vivid will be the world you’re creating.
They don’t have to be super-educated, they just have to be mentally active.
Keep them looking, thinking, wondering, remembering.”
This is what is meant by using Deep Point of View… writing from within the mind of our characters and seeing through their eyes.
Can you think of a passage in your current work that makes use of a character’s power of observation in such a way that readers will be able to “see” the scene for themselves?
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“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you,
as you are to them.”
Our son and grandson arrived here Saturday evening after a five-hour drive. On a trailer behind their truck they towed our 1946 Willys CJ2A Jeep which has been residing in their garage for several years. It was the start of a three-generation Father’s Day weekend, something they’d been planning since last June when they surprised my hubby by arriving from Ontario with his deceased brother’s 1930 Ford Model A. (You’ll find that story here if you missed it last year.)
With a few rattles and the odd puff of exhaust, both vehicles started up on Sunday and sedately rolled the miles to Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission, BC, where they were displayed at the annual ‘Old Car Sunday in the Park‘ event. This is advertised as “one of the largest shows of vintage, antique and collector vehicles on display in Western Canada.”
For my hubby, it was the perfect Father’s Day gift. It was a day of making and sharing precious family memories as well as checking out hundreds of very cool cars!
I don’t really have a writing application to offer from this, unless it’s to remind you that special family dynamics can enrich both real life and that of the characters about whom you write.
Do you include such events in the settings of your stories?
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