Category: Current fiction project

One Stop for Writers Emotional Wounds Thesaurus – Sharing as I Create Deep Characters for my WIP – PART 1

While seeking ways to create different, yet deep character traits for three sisters in my current WIP, I started to explore One Stop for Writers Emotional Wound Thesaurus. I had just ordered the Emotion and Negative and Positive Trait Thesauruses for reference, but didn’t know how powerful using these three resources could be until I began to dive into the Emotional Wound Thesaurus online.

Now, I already had a general idea of the three sisters – adult women with habits, hangups, and baggage from their childhood and teen years. But how could I ensure I gave them different personalities and responses to their current challenges, despite being sisters and having had several of the same experiences?

Check out my debut video below, and stay tuned for Part 2, where I demonstrate how I’ve used all of these resources and more from One Stop for Writers to create a handy, color-coded binder for easy reference as I build backstory and sketch out scene summaries in preparation for completing my first draft.

Using One Stop for Writers Emotional Wound Thesaurus [VIDEO]

Mount Hermon 2017 and My 40 Day Preparation Fast

In the time since my last post, God’s prompted me with things I need to let go of and change for my writing pursuits to reach their full potential. I’ve been excusing my lack of discipline and focus due to the constant change and chaos in my life.

As a result, I’ve begun efforts to change my normal default tendencies. I’ve eliminated gluten and other foods that increase my bouts of inflammation and irritability. I’ve also started the PiYo 60 day plan (a series of exercise routines that mix pilates and yoga and focus on correct alignment) and can say with 100% certainty, I haven’t felt better in body and mind in years!

All that back story to say that I’ve been mentally and physically preparing for this 40 day fasting and prayer long before I committed myself to the actual fast. It was in my prayer and journal time about 10 days ago that I realized yesterday (Feb 24, 2017) marked exactly 40 days before I boarded the plane for Mount Hermon. Could I really do this? What was God prompting me to fast and pray about?

Watch my Live Facebook Video on my Preparation and Reasons for my Mt Hermon 40 Day Preparation Prayer and Fasting


40-Day Mount Hermon Preparation Fasting and Prayer Goal List

Intercessory Prayer

I can’t be effective in praying for others if I’m struggling from the moment I wake to the minute I attempt to fall asleep. Although intercessory will be the focus of the second part of my 40 days, I will still be praying for others when prompted. I’ve written a list to include both National and Personal intercessory prayers. I’m sure the list will grow as I dive deeper into the routine of prayer, but these are my starting points:

NATIONAL

  • Our President, his cabinet, relations with other countries, and his family
  • That our Christian voice in America would become louder than any other
  • Justifications for sinful lifestyles would cease
  • Selfish Spirit would be quenched
  • Protection from Enemies (spiritual, foreign, and domestic)
  • Youth and Young Adults would see and seek Truth
  • Plagues of Abortion, Divorce, Drug Use, and Mental Illness Would end

FREEDOM comes from

  1. Confession
  2. Repentance
  3. Seeking God with all our Souls, Minds, and Hearts

PERSONAL

In my prayer journal, I have listed names. For the purpose of this post, I am only including the general focus. These are “personal” intercessory prayers because they involve people I know personally.

  • Authentic, life-changing Salvation for every family member and friend in my life who has not experienced the freedom and peace that comes from personally knowing Jesus Christ and seeking to know him through his Word, Holy Spirit, and God’s Divine differences that set him apart from human tendencies and other belief systems.
  • Physical and Mental healing for numerous church and biological family members.
  • For those who believe, but have not fully surrendered to all God has for them if they choose to turn 100% of their hearts and lives toward God.
  • A significant building up of faith among fellow believers. Our own understanding and perspectives are never enough to  experience the fullness of God’s plan. We must be willing to take risks, to step past our comfort zones, to get rid of distractions and hindrances, no matter how trivial or tremendous.

Immediate Family Prayers

These include my daily choices as I interact with and pray for each area. What I pray exactly will vary by day.

  • My marriage
  • My children
  • My grandchildren (present and future)
  • The current and future spouses of my adult children
  • My Christian friendships

40 Day Fasting Focus Areas

My personal fasting goals might be different than you think. Due to my specific dietary needs and fibromyalgia, I cannot go on the type of fast that would keep me from eating anything. For those of you who read this list, though, you can see how hunger will still likely be a part of the process! In addition to fasting certain foods, I will also be fasting things that interfere with my mental and spiritual health.

My new PiYo routine overlaps all areas here. I’ve already felt the benefits of how this form of exercise is purging toxins and increasing my emotional and mental health.

PHYSICAL FAST

Starting with a 21-Day Sugar Detox (based on the book by the same title), I’m eliminating all forms of sugar from food and beverages. This includes fruit (with the exception of 1 granny smith apple OR 1 green-tipped banana) per day. Other taboo foods include all grains, legumes, potatoes, and even high-carb root vegetables such as sweet potatoes. Again, an exception here is that I can have an extra serving of sweet potato or winter squash on the days that I exercise. Not even natural sugars or sugar substitutes are allowed. I’ve been meaning to do this for sometime to kill off any possible Candida overgrowth that could be contributing to my brain fog, pain flare-ups, PMS, IBS, or irritability. After 21 days, I will continue eating according to Paleo standards.

MENTAL FAST

Between evening television watching (which on my bad days can push 3 hours), and scrolling Facebook and Twitter without cause, I waste a lot of mental energy. Sometimes it does feel good to “not think”. And there is a time and place for that. But for me personally, it interferes with my ability to sleep. I stay up later than I should to finish watching a show. Or I get caught up reading some political or health food thread on my social media when all I really meant to do was clear out my notifications.

Meanwhile, I have this stack of novels I’d really love to finish before attending the Mt Hermon conference this year. Some are books I bought at the conference last year and I want to be able tell the authors I read their books this year. Others are for my pure reading enjoyment, but by the time I get to bed after (x)hours of TV time, I’m pressed to read a full chapter before I realize it’s midnight and I must sleep.

This could probably overlap into the category of SPIRITUAL FASTING since I know these things interfere with my spiritual well-being at times.

Essentially my mental fast means:

  • No evening TV show time (possible exception is a family movie night once a week). The point is to curb my daily routine and clear my mind.
  • No social media scrolling, interacting, or reading unless it’s directly related to a positive event of a close family member or friend, or engaging with other writers. Staying positive and not wasting time on senseless discussions or information is my goal.

SPIRITUAL FOCUS ON DAILY PRAYER GOALS

Depending on my other commitments (my life doesn’t stop just because I am fasting!)  —  I may complete these all at once, or in bits and pieces throughout the day.

  • Read the entire chapter associated with the YouVersion Bible Verse of the Day. You may see image quotes of these on my Instagram or Twitter.
  • Read a section of each of the books What Happens When Women Pray and The Daniel Prayer (these are part of the weekly women’s study at our church).
  • Confession. Pouring out is the first step to receiving from the Lord. This may include negative thoughts, straying from my fasting, or my list of worries (with three adult children (my oldest son turns 18 in March), two teenagers, and a grandson, this list is continuous). I firmly believe that worry is a form of sin. When we worry we’re saying we don’t trust God.

WORRY = LACK OF FAITH

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27, NIV

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6, NIV

  • Pure Worship
  • Gratitude
  • Intercessory Prayer
  • Personal Prayer for focus, productivity, physical healing, and WIP breakthroughs

Sharing my 40 Day Fasting and Prayer Journey with You

My goal is to post at least once per week on my progress, answers to prayer, and topics related to the two book projects I will be working on during the conference. I know most of this doesn’t seem to have to do a lot with writing, but trust me — it has everything to do with writing to the Glory of God!

Follow my Live Video on Facebook to be notified whenever I go Live.

Share your own version of preparing for Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference 2017.

If you are not a writer, can you still relate? If you are wanting to make major changes to your life, perhaps my journey will inspire you to begin your own version of a 40 Day Fast. I’d love to hear about it!

Six Things You Need to Know about Your Writer

Six Things You Need to Know about Your Writer

This is awesome! I fight my true urges reflected in these points daily and need to give in to achieve my writers’s potential. Read on if you’re a writer or know one…

Read. Write. Live!

writer girl

So your friend—or, God help you, your spouse—is a writer. Chances are, the more you get to know your writer, the more confused you’ll feel. Writers are odd ducks. We’re fun. We’re irritating. We’re enigmas and amoebas. How are you supposed to make sense of someone who flip-flops more than cheap rubber shower thongs? It’ll help you to know a few things about us that might make us a little easier to understand. Or not. No one says we are easy.

We are extroverted introverts. Writers realize the importance of socialization; in fact, we’re often pushed to network, self-promote, and mingle in order to make the necessary connections to publish our work, or sell it once it is published, so that we can publish again. We can juggle Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, all while texting and providing riotous dinner-party banter. Sometimes we are wildly gregarious, prone to spontaneous road trips…

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My Broken Hallelujah

My Broken Hallelujah

Broken Hallelujah, The Afters [VIDEO]

…this is a time of rapid acceleration and growth all for the purpose of God finding pleasure in me…He is confidant to transform and renew rest—to release my weariness. He wants me to dream— to live on the border of fantasy and believe…and he will push me into a deep place of receiving from His Spirit…

”God said…” will be enough.

God wants me to depend on His desire to see me blessed.

Logic will not lead to my inheritance.

—Words from the Lord during a “Soaking Session”, November 15, 2013



I came across these words, written in a spiral notebook that had since been placed in the “scrap school supply” pile on a bookshelf in my house. During our recent move, I flipped through the notebook to see if there was anything worth salvaging before I tossed it into a storage bin.

I had to read it several times.

Then, I tore it from the spiral binding and placed it securely in the pocket at the end of my journal. So much had happened since I wrote that. I remember feeling so tired and worn that evening I almost didn’t take the 30-minute drive out to my friend’s house. But I knew I needed it. I needed to soak in God’s presence. I needed to hear Him, feel His promise that there was a plan and that my current circumstances were not permanent.

There was nothing highly tragic about my life at that point. My life was full from dawn until midnight with what had become “normal” trials and challenges. It was all about survival, obligations, doing my best even when nothing in me felt like putting in even the slightest effort.

Continue reading “My Broken Hallelujah”

Humbling the Born Writer

The truly great stuff comes to life in those agonizing yet exhilarating moments when the artist is acutely aware of the limitations of his skills. For it is then that he strains the hardest to make the most he can from the imperfect materials and tools with which he must  work…

~Dean Koontz

About ten years ago, just after having my fifth baby, I decided it was time to start taking this urge to write seriously. Years before that, I realized my dream to become a young author while mothering my then two little girls was unrealistic. Instead, I dove into the responsibilities of motherhood and supporting my husbands efforts to provide for our growing family. Over the years, I had seen these ads in the parenting magazines stating “children’s authors needed”.

After baby number five, knowing holding down a day job would be years away, I decided to send away for more information. Thus, I eventually enrolled in my first publishing course, thinking my natural writing talent would surely blow away my instructors and I would soon be on my way to actual publication. If nothing else, I could start to earn some extra money from home by getting my short stories published.

Boy was I in for a humbling experience! If I recall correctly, one of the first “lessons” involved reading about the novice writer. Characteristics included refusal to revise, becoming defensive over criticism, and thinking one was such a great writer that they did not need to learn more. (I used to think my first draft was always my best!)

After I completed the course, I felt I had a better grasp of the children’s magazine publishing industry and attempted to submit several short stories to children’s magazines. Looking back, my heart and creativity had been thwarted and I was solely focused on the process itself.  I had a long way to go in establishing my credibility as a writer. Maybe writing non-fiction would be a better starting point. So I researched and learned all I could about submitting and writing for consumer magazines. Again, my heart and creativity sat in the back room. I could no longer view writing as a hobby. I had to look at is a business.

However, my life was about to take a serious turn. Our youngest child was sick without a diagnosis. I started to see that perhaps my desire to write was more about getting my personal story out there to encourage others. Although it didn’t light a fire in me like writing fiction stories, I felt a sense of satisfaction that I was helping other mothers around the globe who faced similar challenges with their own children. This part of my writing journey (coupled with many more hours of managing my household and learning to care for the needs of my son)–eventually led to me self-publishing a book about my experience. From the writer’s perspective alone, this experience resulted in deciding I would never self-publish again. It zapped every bit of creative juice out of me and since I could not afford to go another route, the final results did not have the visual appeal I had hoped for.

In between writing my initial draft and the final draft and self-publishing, I had also taken another publishing course. This one was focused on writing a young adult novel. After 18 months of outlines, character sketches, plot structuring and many hours of writing, the first draft of No Eye Has Seen was born. At the time, I thought it was excellent work. And this process had sparked my creativity again. But after a half-dozen rejection letters from traditional publishers, I set the manuscript aside. I did not feel equipped to analyze and revise to appease potential publishers. This story had been on my heart since I was 15 years old and I wanted it to be my very best work. So, instead of honing my writing craft, I decided to once again take the practical route. I would complete my education in hopes somewhere along the way I would achieve a professional platform that would pave the way to publication.

Five years and two degrees later, I dusted off the manuscript after joining a local writer’s group. This was it. I was ready to hear what total strangers thought about my story and my writing. I was ready for lots of criticism, ready to be told my story and my writing were far from professional. I was finally that humble writer willing to learn to able to accept the fact my writing process would never end–that there was always room for improvement. Publishing was not even my goal at the time. I simply desired to be the best writer I could be using the story I had invested my heart, mind, and soul into.

After a rocky start (major revisions to the introductory chapters) and only one year later, joining a writer’s critique group has somehow made me a better, more humble writer than ever before. No matter how much they praise my storytelling methods, no matter how much they claim I am a great writer–that little voice within tells me not to let it get to my head. I have a long way to go despite having honed some of the basics of writing and storytelling.

If I am, in fact, meant to write for life, becoming a published author is only the threshold of that journey. It does not mean that I have arrived at my destination when it comes to perfecting the writing craft. If anything, it is the door that will allow me to one day write for a living –in order to truly fan the flame of my gift into its greatest potential and to touch those lives God intended my writing gift to bless from the very beginning.