Friday, December 16, 2011

Twelve Ways of this Business













Mixin’ it up a little on this Moving Thoughts Friday. Had a little fun with this and posted it over at the Alley yesterday. In case you missed it…



The Twelve Ways of this Business


On the first day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… partridge (partial title of one of my novels) in a contract…wee! (Just playin’. No big announcements to share.)


On the second day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… new platform love & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the third day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the fourth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the fifth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the sixth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me…six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the seventh day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the eighth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!

On the tenth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me…ten verbs-a-sleepin’, nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… eleven editors Skyping, ten verbs-a-sleepin’, nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… twelve bloggers blogging, eleven editors Skyping, ten verbs-a-sleepin’, nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love & partridge in a contract…wee!


Join in & sing your own way of this business

*photos by flickr


**MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'm going on a blogging hiatus for the next few weeks. I'll still be online a little here, there (& well, of course not everywhere).













Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Grace Effect



The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief by Larry Alex Taunton piqued my curiosity from the minute I read the back cover blurb. I read it during a two day road trip and found myself reading many paragraphs aloud to my husband.


Taunton’s impressionable and intellectual exploration of the impact an atheist society can have on its people stirred me and prompted me to rouse numerous related conversations.


Throughout the book, I remained engrossed in Taunton’s experience adopting a young Ukrainian girl from an orphanage that didn’t even provide children with toilet paper. Aching with compassion for Sasha, I found myself rooting for the ten-year-old, longing for her to be lovingly cared for and taken away from her current surroundings.


Taunton tackled potentially sensitive subject matter in an intriguing and often humorous way, detailing his personal adoption story, as well as Ukraine’s convoluted corrupt history, in a conjoined, and at times jolting back and forth portrayal.


The injection of grace through authentic Christian living is what appealed most to me in The Grace Effect.


I valued how as an avid debater and Christian apologist, Taunton concluded what I’ve all too often discovered in my own faith—that personal life change is the most radical, grace-filled, and merciful way to experience the impression of God. What a joy to watch as that kind of impression leaves its mark on others.


You know what I really hope? I hope someday I get to read about this story from Sasha’s perspective.


*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for this honest review

Monday, December 12, 2011

Key Attribute for Strong Novel Writing



The longer I write the more convinced I become one specific quality has the greatest potential to improve my novel writing. But before I get to that, let me throw out a few brief scenarios.


Glimpse:


A shivering man on a bus shoves his way past a red-eyed woman as she clutches the hands of two shoeless children, both wiping away smears of mud from their cheeks.
~
A life support machine falls silent. An intimate crowd of what you guess to be loved ones release tiny tearful noises, but one. One woman (the only one with her eyes open) stands in the corner of the room by the stained curtain, twisting her watch on her wrist and you swear you spy the slightest hint of her upturned lip.
~
“I do,” she whispers as though we can’t all hear—we’re not all watching for this exact moment.


Out of character with his clean-shaven chin, the groom, the man I beat one hundred and seventy-six times at gin rummy, the childhood friend who extracted leeches from my calves until my skin bled, the only one I’ve told about that one locked memory, echoes the unrealistic promise.


I shudder as my oldest friend slides the gold band on her pencil-thin finger. I let out a sigh, making sure it’s louder than a whisper. I intend to be heard.
~


Have I left you in suspense long enough about that one imperative quality?


Empathy.


At heart, I believe every writer is a psychologist. People intrigue us. We wouldn’t write characters if that weren’t the case. With this, I’ve noticed the more empathy I feel toward others, the stronger my writing becomes. Characters take on more layered emotions, more depth, and more authenticity.


Ultimately, empathy impacts every single crucial aspect of novel writing, including two biggies, characterization and motivation.


It’s worthwhile to call upon empathetic feelings for main characters—our likable characters, but also for our antagonists.


Let’s briefly revisit the three above scenarios.


I want to know more about these people and I have questions based on what I’ve read (even though I created these w/in a few minutes time, playing w/ POV, etc.). This is good. Inspiring readers to ask questions is a sure sign you’ve conquered the first step in getting them engaged.


Questions about bus scene:
Why is the man shoving past a woman with kids?
What’s up with the woman’s red eyes?
Why are the kids shoeless and muddy and why are they suddenly wiping the mud off their faces?

~
Questions about hospital scene:
Who died?
Why does everyone in the room have their eyes closed?
Why is the one woman fidgety and potentially smiling?

~
Questions about wedding scene:
What’s up with the immediate sarcasm?
Why is the groom out of character on his wedding?
What has the narrator so riled up? Is it jealousy or what’s the story? And why is she so sure it’s an unrealistic promise?
~


Some of those characters above might turn out to be “the bad guys” but already I care about them. And that is the number one goal for an author—to incite readers to care.


Empathy. Unexpected, huh? But I swear by it. In life. In my choice profession. In fact, I have no doubt I’m drawn to writing novels because of the abundance of opportunities to demonstrate empathy.


As a reader or writer, have you noticed the powerful influence of empathy in a work? Can you tell when it’s absent? What say you about empathy being one of the best resources for novel writers?

*photo by flickr
**All “I”s are on somebody. Come see who in about an hour here!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday



















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.






It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.











Weathered antique or spring chicken?



*photos by flickr

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Word-woven Nest

Nathan Bransford wrote an excellent post on networking recently that homed in on my perspective of establishing contacts in and outside the publishing industry.


He advised people to view networking more as an opportunity to invest in friendships. He also raised a worthwhile point—the value of building something.


Of course that led me to evaluate what I’m building here at ~thoughts that move~, and on my FB writer page, and on Twitter…etc.


It didn’t take me long to come up with that answer.


I’m building a safe place for (primarily) women to engage in stimulating conversation.


And of course that led me to wonder what my answer entails. Well, on this I 8 Wednesday, I’m going to flesh out what’s involved in building the word-woven nest…


8 Unique Aspects I’m Intentionally Building:


Nonjudgmental Atmosphere
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I don’t comment on Fridays. I want anyone who comments to feel entirely free to write whatever comes to mind. I don’t want my input to sway any thoughts or lead anyone to answer a certain way. Every single day I learn more and more about how it’s not my place to judge. I want that to come across loud and clear here and anywhere else my thoughts travel.


Dialogue about Books, Writing, Reading
No surprise here. I heart books. I heart writing. I heart reading. So, yep, I plan to shake up conversation about all three. As a women’s fiction author (writer...take your pick), novels are of particular interest to me.


Vulnerable Approach
I’ve lived through a lot. So have you. U2 sings, “There’s nothing you can throw at me that I haven’t already heard.” I live vulnerably because I have nothing to hide. Open book here, peeps.


Vision to Poke & Stir Thoughts
My thoughts move. River fast. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who appreciates growing mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. (Done growing physically. Hear that, Snickers?)


Open-minded Environment
I don’t know everything. I could squeeze a lesson out of a rock. And instead of squeezing, I’d just have to touch it. My sensory aptitude is permanently heightened. Must have been dropped on my head as a kid. Either way, it inspires me to keep an open mind.


Invite Friends & Strangers Mentality
All are welcome here. While I focus a lot of my energy on bantering with women, I want everyone to feel welcome.


*I will, however, turn you away at the door if you offer only rudeness, inappropriateness, or hurtful comments.


Discussion of Relatable and Relevant Issues for Women
As previously stated, women are my audience. I appeal to you. I pay attention to what personally grabs me as a woman and I write about it, hoping you’ll be inspired, moved to action, or simply moved to think.




A Faith-based Worldview (this shows up organically)
I’m a believer so you’ll see God’s face here. Sometimes I go back over my posts and think, what do you know, He showed up again. He’s good like that.


Have you been intentional about what you are building? What are you building and what’s involved in the weaving?


*photos by flickr

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reaching for Blankets



One of my favorite roles as a mom is tucking my girls into bed. I love pulling their blankets high up to their necks, snuggling with them, saying prayers, and shutting off the light. It settles me knowing I’ve left them in a peaceful state.


However, some mornings I walk in their rooms only to find them shivering with their blankets kicked beyond their reach.


It’s this exact image that comes to mind when I think of seasons of life when I’ve forgotten to reach for my own blankets. There are a handful of trusted resources I count on when I want to be in a place of contentment and calm.


Reading, Writing, and not so much Arithmetic
I feel like I come more into myself when I’m reading and writing. I’m at home doing both of these activities and if I’ve gone for long enough not allotting time for one or the other, an anxiousness builds inside me, a visceral ache for words.


Exercise, Water, and not Noshing
Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it—that I would find rest and tranquility in the above? It’s not entirely in the workout or the chugging water or even in the restraint it takes not to throw back seven of those super mini Snickers, justifying it’s equal to a bar. The calm comes after the storm. After I sweat a rain forest and pound thunderously on our treadmill. Exercise has always been one of my most effective ways of righting my mind.


Friend Connections
It’s hard for me to put into words the value of friendships in my life. I’ve been bolstered and encouraged by dear women more times than I can count. And there’s simply nothing like the kind of soda-spewing laughter that trusted friends incite. Effervescence at its best!


Time to Chill
Me time. Say what? What’s that? I hear ya, and I know. When I’ve neglected to slow down and take a few minutes (ah, an hour…what I wouldn’t give for a solid hour) I’m more frazzled, quicker to snap, and I shiver at how fast my thoughts turn cold.


Prayer
Saved the most intimate for last. It changes me. Throwing up words or a call for help to God changes me. It’s a show of trust. It’s an act of humility. It’s demonstrative of my desire to connect. When I’ve communed with God it filters through every aspect of my life.


I forget to reach for these physical and emotional blankets in my life sometimes and I’m left in a vulnerable fetal position wondering how I got to such an unattended state. I simply neglected to reach for the blankets already in my life.


Do you ever forget to reach for the blankets? What are your blankets and what helps remind you to reach for them?



*All "I"s are on _________ here later today. Come check it out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.








You’re stranded on a deserted island with a television that’s unable to be turned off (yeah, I know, so realistic). Would you rather have The Jersey Shore or Keeping Up with the Kardashians airing 24/7 (and no, there is no way to drown, destroy, detonate, or silence the TV)?













*photos by flickr

Introducing . . . The After Glimpse

Corrine Boulder, Landon Young, and Aria Glynn share something inexplicable in common. They’ve all lost loved ones two years ago to the ...