Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It's Getting Kinda Musty in Here!

"It's getting kinda musty in here." I spun in my chair and wrinkled my nose as Chuck stepped into our home office.

He looked around, sniffed. "I don't smell anything."

I rolled my eyes, swiveled back to the computer screen. "Well, I do," I muttered.

Good grief, he was typically the olfactory member of the Rife marriage. He could smell the kitchen garbage as soon as he put the key in the front door. Guess I suffered from--what's that television commercial call it? . . . Nose blindness?

Oh well, no matter. For whatever reason, I was the chosen one to detect the must, likely an odor wafting from the recently stirred up storage area in the utility room.

In the days that followed the encounter with the musty smell, a thought occurred, a Holy Spirit spark, if you will . . .

"Guard against the musties, Eileen. Must have this. Must have that. Must do this. Must do that." God spoke softly, yet firmly to my heart. "The musties will rob you of what's really important. A musty attitude will easily overwhelm your heart relationship with Me, snuffing out joy, contentment, and the quiet, unhurried life I call you to live."

I could almost hear a previous conversation 2000 years ago with Martha in response to her must-have-everything-just-right personality. "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42).

In her great effort to serve Jesus, she missed the opportunity to simply enjoy Jesus. In time spent with Him, she would learn what we all need to learn . . .

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).


Jesus noted one must: A personal relationship with Him.

If I enter into and grow that relationship, the rest will fall into place. He will show me what I am to be about for His Kingdom. His law of love will fill me and compel me to love others as He has so graciously and generously loved me (Galatians 6:2).

If your soul is consumed by the musties today, Jesus invites you to come, take, learn, and find rest in Him, your true soul satisfaction.

~~

Helpful Resources 

Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg
Available in book or DVD here.
 
Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
Available here.

~~

Eileen Rife speaks to women's groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story! Visit her Amazon Author Page. Visit her website. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Doesn't Kill You ... Still Hurts

by Carole Towriss
   The week before last my daughter made the varsity volleyball team. She’s the only sophomore on the team. The same week, two of her best friends didn’t make the cut for their JV soccer and dive teams. They had worked just as hard as she had, all summer long.
    Like almost everyone else, we’ve been watching the Olympics the last couple weeks. I would venture to say that every Olympic athlete has put their life on hold for the last four (or eight or twelve) years, sacrificing more than I could possibly imagine. They strained relationships as well as muscles, gave up movies and ice cream, and sometimes put years of education on hold. Every one of them. And yet in each duel, race, match, or game, only one individual or team took home that elusive gold medal.
    Disappointment. It hurts, especially when we don’t deserve it. Some of those athletes were injured out of the block, their only chance vanished like smoke into before they even began. Others lost a medal when someone else won it in a way some would consider cheap. Still others fought valiantly, only to lose at the last second after hours of competition.
    But it always hurts, whether in sports or life. It’s how we handle that frustration that defines our character. One of my daughter’s friends decided to be the team manager when she didn’t make the team. The coaches so admired her attitude and tenacity they still wanted her around, even if she wasn’t going to be a player on the team. 
     We’ve heard about Abbey D’Agostino, the American runner who collided with a New Zealander and tore her ACL. She ended up with a chance to put her faith into practice in front of millions. “In theory I’ve known that trusting God and giving my whole self to him is the only way in which you can feel that peace and joy and satisfaction that he offers. But it’s another thing to experience that and to be caught up in a situation where what you believe is exposed.”
    Her last-place finish allowed her to tell the world about Jesus, literally. 
    Other times we may never find a reason for our disappointments. I’ve written often about the loss of our first baby, and the birth of our daughter Emma exactly one year later on Christmas Eve. While it makes a nice story, it still doesn’t give me a reason for that heart-breaking loss.
    Sometimes we are just ... disappointed.
    And that is when we have to believe, as hard as it may be at that moment, that joy will come again.






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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ten ‘P’s of Writing Creative Fiction

GIVEAWAY offered below, so be sure to go all the way to the end! 

1) PRAYER – Most of my writing starts during prayer. In the afterglow of loving on and talking to God, in those quiet moments, that wonderful part of my brain where my characters live comes alive. I see and hear them move through the next scenes and hear the exchange between them. It comes in flashes sometimes, full blown scenes in others, as though I’ve already experienced them.

2) POT of Coffee – Later, after maybe a half a pot of coffee while I peruse my
social media messages, I move to the computer armoire and get serious.

3) POUNDING out – what  I’d seen and heard earlier. That’s when the real work begins. The first time, it’s all about getting the story from the keyboard to the monitor and saved.

4) PASSIVE, telling verbs need to be refashioned into active, show words. No one gets excited when there’s a was or were, have or had, be or been in every sentence. Readers read to live vicariously through my characters and their actions.

5) rePLACE – echo words. Slamming the words down onto the monitor to get to the end of the scene or chapter, I may use four ‘little’s on a page, but I go back. One is changed to ‘small’, another to ‘tiny’, and one to ‘runt’! Who wants to read the same word four times on a page or three times in a paragraph?

6) PRONOUNS to PROPER name ratio must be checked. Too many authors are so proper name heavy. During this step, I also make sure the pronouns refer back to the correct last proper name mentioned. On rare occasion, such as when position clearly identifies who the pronoun is referring to, I will leave a pronoun without repeating the proper name. Too many proper names—as a reader—annoys me.

7) PARAGRAPH starts need checking, too. Don’t want all of them starting with proper name, pronoun, or dialogue. If you have a compound verb (She turned and gave him a wink), you can change the first to an ‘ing’ (Turning, she gave him a wink) to get rid of a pronoun start. Rearranging the sentence you already have is another way, also.

8) PREPOSITIONAL phrases can be a great tool to mix up those paragraph starts. ‘After this’ or ‘Before that’ offer a springboard to move time along.

9) PUTTING sensory detail in is another great way to change up paragraph starts and enhance your writing at the same time. What does your point of view character see, hear, taste, smell, or feel (touch, not emotion)? Don't name emotions—it’s weak writing—using the word ‘felt’ when there’s actually nothing being touched with skin in order to ‘feel’.  SHOW instead! For instance, she felt nauseous. Ask yourself, can I put my finger on nausea and ‘feel’ it? Of course not, and it’s pure TELL! Consider this: Her stomach churned, acids rising in her throat. Bile stung first then erupted into her mouth and tasted terrible.  Doesn’t that rendition SHOW that she ‘felt’ nausea. Plus, telling your reader that your POVC saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or felt something is blatant author intrusion, shifting point of view. And speaking of…

10) POINT of View – As an editor, this is the most prevalent problem I find with new and old writers alike. It is a tricky tool to learn, but well worth your time to invest in study. For sure and for certain, no writer wants to kill the tension they've built. There’s no quick and easy explanation on POV, but I will point you to STORY & STYLE, The Craft of Writing Creative Fiction that I published in 2015. Written in a conversational format with loads of examples will really help you get a handle on POV, the tool that causes readers to say, “The author put me right down into the story!” Everyone who's reviewed this book has given it a FIVE-STAR rating!

The readers probably won’t know the why of experiencing being 'in' the story and 'knowing' the characters so well, but staying in POV is definitely what does it. Plus, a lack thereof confuses readers. Firmly in you POVC's head, you’ll report what that character (and only that character) saw, heard, tasted, smelled or felt (remember to ask with every ‘feel’, is my character’s sense of touch in play?). You won’t need all the ‘She heard’ or ‘He smelled’ either. Instead of ‘He smelled’ the coffee, let the aroma do something…The aroma of coffee wafted upstairs and tickled him awake. How much better is that than ‘He smelled the coffee’? And...now you’re SHOWING!

Write and rewrite. Remember this: Only God writes in stone. The rest of us rewrite. I pray these 'P' pointers help and are a blessing to you! 


Bio: Caryl is currently writing four series. One historical family saga—Texas Romance, covers three generations over six decades, and the contemporary Red River Romances their Northeast Texas setting in common. The Generations is her Biblical fiction series with four volumes now, Adam through Abraham. And she also writes for mid-grade readers and young adults with her Days of Dread series.
   Simon and Schuster published her first Texas Romance, then she went independent and loves being a hybrid author. Due to God’s great blessings, her marketing efforts succeeded in getting her novels into the hands of over two hundred fifty thousand readers in 2015. Wanting to help other Indy authors, she founded WordWyse Expos ( http://www.wordwyse.com ) with her daughter-in-love, Janis who is a virtual assistant and teacher of social media marketing. 
   Married almost fifty years to her high school sweetheart, Caryl has four children and sixteen grandsugars. She and Ron live back in the woods a few miles south of Clarksville in the Lone Star State where many of her books are set with two grandsons they’ve had for thirteen years, Christian and Benjamen.

GIVEAWAY: I'll offer one print copy of STORY & STYLE, The Craft of Creative Writing as a gift to one of my commenters here! I love hearing what you think! :)

Our next WordWyse Expo is a one day affair in Southlake, Texas on October 22, 2016! Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Take Heart!



Have you ever read a book and had to close it, look around, and see if the author was watching you? Like he or she based the main character on you?

Can I admit something to you? I’ve done that. I mean, I’ve based a character on a real life person. Actually, I’ve based two characters on a real life person.

Myself.

In my as-of-yet unpublished novel (that I’m thisclose to finishing!), my two main characters are quite the opposites. My heroine, Allie, is an introverted accountant, preferring to stick to her regular schedule of work, church, and gym. (And if we’re being honest, not even the gym.)

My hero, again, is the opposite. Tyler is adventurous, loves adrenaline rushes, and encouraging people to go way beyond their comfort zones.

But they both have one thing in common: fear.

I’m not a fan of fear, but for some crazy reason, I cling to it. I constantly think about what the ramifications would be if this were to change or that were to happen.

It’s distracting. And it takes away from the here and now.

We all know that the Bible tells us to “fear not.” And the Lord knows us well enough to know that, despite the fact He should have only had to say it once in order for us to get it through our brains, He repeats it more than 80 times in His Word. I’m thankful for that. Because probably unlike you, I need all the reminders and reassurances I can get.

Fear is a reaction that will come and go in our lives. There are many things in this world that are scary! But if you’re a follower of Christ, you have hope. And hope is a wonderful thing.


So take heart, my friend. Don’t let fear weigh you down. If and when it tries to, turn to God’s promises in His Word. He’ll refresh and renew your mind, and as you give Him your fears, He’ll replace them with His love.


For a little fun, I want to share you with an old hymn our church sings. The music is a little more modern, but still...this is one of my absolute favorite songs right now and gives me much hope and joy, easing any fears I might be experiencing. Click HERE, then press the play button. 

~Mikal