Announcing Book 4

Here are the books from the series that are currently available. I am still waiting for the printer to confirm the date for the fourth title, but the eBook editions are available (Amazon and other popular platforms).

Click here to view information about the series.

I have been tidying up the tabs on the home page. There is now a tab that will take you to the River Wild Romantic Suspense page which has the information for all the related projects. Clicking on the images on that page then takes readers to the individual pages for each of the books.

Book 5 in the series is written and when I get my alpha reader reports back, I will start sending it out to my beta readers. An alpha reader gets the first draft with all the mistakes. The beta readers get the revised version for their comments. The editor has scheduled this manuscript for November-February 2021, with a projected publication date of April. I’m not making any promises, because ANYTHING could happen between now and then to throw the schedule out. The main characters are the two girls who appear in chapter 26 of the first book (Sara is the ‘heroine’ and Gina is her ‘friend’), and Oliver, the helicopter pilot who gets dragged into Piper’s adventures in Book 2, 3 and 4.

Book 6 in the series is being written now. I have finished the first two chapters, and am collecting inspirational verses that suggest there will be the usual kind of challenging situations for the characters to endure. In this story, the central characters are Sigrid (one of Piper’s agents – she appears in Books 3, 4 and 5) and Kurt (you meet him in Book 4)

I think that’s enough news for today 😉

Balance – Part 3

Photo by Andrew Beierle from FreeImages

Do you recognise the toy depicted on this sign? I have a childhood memory featuring a large wooden plank that would accommodate at least eight players. It came with a high risk that someone might fall off and hurt themselves.

Those were the days before warning signs.
The danger added to the excitement.

Much later, I learned the science behind the seesaw game. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or “What goes up must come down”.

Click here for the original photo by Andrew Beierle

What does this have to do with the writing journey? As one end of the seesaw rises towards the sky the other end drops towards the ground. For everyone involved, both on the way up, and again on the way down, there is a moment where the seesaw is in perfect balance. That is what I’m aiming for as a writer, that momentary perfection.

A seesaw needs more than one player to utilise it properly. Each person needs to negotiate with the other/s in order to anticipate actions and reactions.

Without readers,
the writing adventure
would have no momentum.
Thanks for joining me
in the game 🙂

In the last few weeks, I finished the first draft of Book 5 (When Promises are Forever) – possible release early 2021. I began negotiations about the cover for my first fantasy novella (pre-Christmas release) and received back the copy-edited Book 4 manuscript (Which Promise This Time?) which is scheduled for an early September release. I also brainstormed the opening chapters for Book 6 (no title yet). The accompanying up and down emotions have included confidence, self-doubt, anger, excitement, exhilaration and fear.

Writers are complicated souls. They work long solitary hours writing their stories. But after the story is published, they anticipate some kind of response from their readers. Without feedback, questions and comments from readers, the momentum can be lost.

That brings my reflections on balance to a close. Let me know if you have any suggestions for future posts. Until next time, I pray that you keep safe, achieve balance in work and play, and find time for reading.

Chrissy )i(

Balance – Part 2

click here for Balance – Part 1

My creative focus remains on the River Wild Series. At the moment, I have a fascination with moving bodies of water. That’s why my second post on balance has an ocean theme.

When life gets a little turbulent, my initial response is to retreat to the safety of the shore. Experience has taught me that I need strength and self-confidence if I am to maintain my balance when the waves are breaking. This realisation teaches me that, while I enjoy watching moving water, being moved by the waves has become a fearful thing. A reminder of all my limitations, which takes my eyes off the potential adventure and parks me on the shore of “I must not dare”.

God and I have been talking about how I can regain my self-confidence. There are parallels between my creative hesitancy and my physical wellbeing. I have a long-term infirmity that has kept me out of the waves for the past two summers. Here’s a photo of me – note the sensible walking shoes to avoid any possibility that I might trip or fall.

January 2019, Tiger Head Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania

Anxiety was the catalyst for my initial injury and anxiety continues to sustain the problem. I find myself pausing before I step forward to help someone, wondering if I will have the strength to make it safely home when I am finished.

Anxiety also nibbles away at my writing success. Not even three self-published books on my bookcase are enough to keep me upright when anxiety rolls in, like a thundering wave, and sweeps me off my feet.

The balance that I am seeking is halfway between “I am too afraid to try” and “my reckless decisions come at too great a cost”. I want to get back into the water, and to be confident that I won’t drown.

For me, the answer includes making a stand with God at my side. I’m looking for that place of safety, where He holds my hand. If the waves threaten to pull me off my feet, His strength sustains me. He created the waves and can see the danger that is coming, and He asks me to trust in Him. In everything I write, that search for balance is there.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.

The form you have selected does not exist.

It has been a while…

That’s an understatement 🙂

It has been more than a year since my last blog post.

A lot can happen in a year.

I released my first book…

And my second!

And I am in the process of releasing my third title in the series.

So what happened to my weekly posts?

Good question. There are a few reasons I stopped writing. Some of them are understandable, and others took me by surprise. I’m not going to fill this page with the details. I had some challenges to manage, and lessons to learn. But I’m hoping that I have come out the other side and found my online voice again.

What I want to share is why I have been able to make it back.

Once people discover that I have written a book, they ask questions. Some of those questions are tricky. Sometimes, they purchase a book, which leads to more questions. And some of my readers want to discuss the different themes that I have woven into my stories.

Please keep the questions and comments coming. Talking about my books, and finding answers to some of the trickier questions, is making me a better writer. And a stronger person.

That doesn’t mean writing and publishing are getting any easier. I made a rookie mistake that has set the release date for Book 3 back by a few weeks. But Book 4 is already queued into the Editor’s schedule and should return to me for more hard work mid-July. I am hoping to release that one in September.

Where can you get my books? Paperbacks are available from me. The eBook links are on my Facebook author page

When I work out how to add the links to this new version of the program I am using, I will add them here – this is another of those “things” that have changed while I was away 😉

Amazon links here. All three books are “live” here.

Universal Book Links UBL below:
Book 1: White Rose of Promise
Book 2: When Promises are Broken
Book 3: When Freedom is Promised (released June 11)

Talk to you soon,

Chrissy )i(

Judging others

Matthew 7:1 (WEB)
[Jesus said,] “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged”.

Before you start thinking I am making an announcement OR write to tell me that this cover is terrible, I am going to say that the image is ‘just a test’.

For an online definition of a test, please click the hyperlink. 
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/test

For me, the word ‘test’ refers here to the process of putting one of my hundreds of ideas for the cover into a visual format and then sharing them with others to see how I respond to the feedback. The end result is that I should have a better idea of what works and doesn’t work from this cover design. How I respond to this test becomes my testimony.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (WEB) 
Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good.

Luke 21:13 (WEB)
It will turn out as a testimony for you.

Another test, same roses. no text
Comments please?

If I had known the mountain ahead of me was so great, I might never have typed the first paragraphs for my manuscript White Rose of Promise. Then if I had realised that finishing the story was only the beginning of a much longer journey, I might have kept my creative writing to myself. 

But God seems to have a bigger vision for me than I ever imagined for myself. Here I am writing a weekly blog for an unknown readership, people who will somehow find White Rose of Promise and come searching for more. It takes a small dose of courage to write a blog for friends, and I have been doing that with my Butterfly Prayer House Facebook page for a few years. My circulation is tiny in the scale of internet fame, and my followers are mostly silent. Very few of them even click ‘Like’ and even fewer send me a response. 

Another test, aiming to make the rose look like a tattoo design.
Have I managed that?

It takes more courage to share my creative writing with acquaintances, people who have some direct association with me, my family and my wider social network.

But I have been doing that for a few years, first when I joined some art groups while I was studying for my degree (Fine Arts and Visual Culture, I’m still very excited about that – does it show?), and now as I join creative writing groups.

At first, I chose carefully groups where I could predict a sympathetic audience. People who had more than creative writing in common with me. But lately, I have joined some broader groups.

The first time I posted in one group (for advice on medical trauma in fiction) the experience left me with my own trauma to deal with. The comments were neither kind nor helpful. I did the polite ‘thanks for your opinion, here is some clarifying information that may better explain why I am asking’ thing. I know I have perfected this ‘thing’ – an ability to shut down my emotional response and address the content dispassionately.

I had to learn how to achieve that for study. The steps are simple, be polite, be on topic, seek clarification… and then run off to one of the safe groups and seek comfort.

I said I had tested hundreds…
this is closest to my original hand drawn sketch )i(

Naive would be a good way to describe me. This week, I shared the opening test design (white rose heart, red title) to a different group (one for people like me, trying to work out how to do a cover). I expected a better experience than the previous one I have mentioned.

Wrong.

Within a few minutes, a storm of comment notifications had me turning to the page eagerly. The first comment began with a blunt insult but by the time the responses had stopped, I realised that at least the person ended with a smiley face and a few words or encouragement.

Here is a summary of their comments:
It was obvious that I didn’t know what I was doing. (True)
I didn’t know what genre I was aiming for. (It was a mistake to include Romantic Suspense in my description, but I was wise in not adding the word Christian.)
Where was the blood, the gun, the knife, the darkness, the dangerous man? And why did I have a rose?

One of many colour tests
for one of my favourite ideas )i(

But the experience has taught me SO MUCH. The primary lesson was discovering my own resilience. God took my hurt feelings (I didn’t sleep well after reading some comments) and showed me the treasure that was hidden behind my responders’ passion. I found myself filled with joy that I had managed to elicit such powerful responses, and I sat down with laughter to write my ‘thank you’ comments. I was both surprised and delighted that I got replies.

If I was really brave,
there are a few people who I would invite
onto my team, because once I got past the criticism,
we were able to have a helpful discussion.

Excuse the pixelation
This was a VERY quick test

If you would like to be part of my closed facebook group for my creative writing project, start a conversation with me.

I have some spots available.

Disappointment

For my newest writing project, manuscript 3, I have been investigating lots of D words. Disappointment is one of those I am most familiar with. It comes with a big emotional back catalogue to give me plenty of personal references.

Usually, I am disappointed in myself, in my imperfection, and in the way that I struggle to remain true to the impossible goals that I have set.

The opposite of dis-appointment is appointment. I need to remind myself that I was created for a purpose (1 Peter 2:9), and that the Creator of the Universe has a much bigger plan (Jeremiah 29:11). While I  am struggling with this teeny little corner of the wider artwork that is my life, He is making something amazing (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I selected the featured image for this post because it presents a good visual example. The foundation was a small section of an ink on paper drawing that I really liked, so I scanned it and played with it. It was only when I tried to use it that I realised it had been such a tiny segment that the pixelations (those little ‘invisible’ squares that make up a digital image) were obvious.

Now I must confess that I am growing to like the awkward feelings that arise within me when something morphs into one of these less-than-perfect images. It helps remind me of all the hidden things that lurk beneath the surface, and are only available when something brings the whole image into full focus.

For the past few years, I have been spending a lot of time sitting in front of the computer screen. After four years of study, I believed God was telling me to write a fiction novel. At this moment, White Rose of Promise is in the final Copy-editing stages, When Promises are Broken is almost ready to release to the beta reader volunteers, and Book 3 is underway (I am still waiting for a title to emerge).

I have two computers available to me: a custom-built PC that is long overdue for a check-up and my portable laptop. I have two options for internet connection, one that is unlimited broadband, but the modem is too far away for me to have maximum benefit; and a portable one that is really handy, but has to be recharged at regular intervals.

Today, I am typing this text on my laptop (the PC had a hissy-fit – a highly technical term where the frustrated user is tempted to throw it out the window). After three failed restarts, I realise it will be off to the computer-doctor later today. I am also using my portable modem because the ‘fast’ broadband is too slow to open anything other than my emails today )i(.

Which brings me to here. I often find my inspiration among the many online subscriptions that send themselves helpfully to my email account. The word ‘disappointment’ jumped off the screen and the creative inspiration had me rushing to start capturing my thoughts. Here is the quote that started it all today:

“If we’re honest with ourselves, disappointments can leave wounds that take time to heal.” Wendy Parker, thebigvoiceonline.com, Blog November 28, “Your Third Day – Dealing with disappointment” Click here for the full text 

As I was setting up both my backup technology options, my husband remarked that it wasn’t a convenient day to have both these problems. Even he now knows that Thursday morning is my dedicated writing time. First I read all my online subscriptions and log into my daily devotions. Then I sit down and write something – usually, it is for my Butterfly Prayer House Facebook blog, but sometimes, I find myself disappointed by technology or my own ability to pay attention.

Disappointment comes crashing in like a wave, trying to knock me off my feet. If I allow disappointment to influence me, then I will either drown in the negative emotions. Or I will leave the water, too frightened to learn how to overcome it.

Today, I discovered that I have greater resilience than I imagined. Despite lots of disappointment-inspiring difficulties, I have accomplished my main goal for the morning.

I even managed to find an alternative image when the one I REALLY wanted was on the PC. I am thankful that I have options, and that if one door of opportunity closes, instead of retreating from the arena, I need to open my eyes and look for another one. Often people question why I have such a positive approach to life – they don’t see what I am revealing to my readers. They don’t realise that God picks me up and turns my attention to the next adventure and that by His appointment, I expect everything to end in victory.

Chasing Inspiration

Today’s inspiration comes from another long-term project. A few years ago, I set myself a task to create images to go with my Butterfly Prayer House daily blog, with the ambitious goal of one day having designed an image for a verse from every chapter in the Bible. As there are many great inspirational texts, it will take me the rest of my life to fulfil this goal.

Today, I went through my collection and selected some images taken at Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. I love going to the beach, but not on my own.

I have added a caption below each image to explain the relevance that these Scriptures brought me today as I prepared for my day of writing )i(

Writing a book takes a long time.
I like to swap out the word ‘temple’ in the final line of this text
and replace it with my current project.
This is a good Scripture to describe what happens when writing the manuscript is done,
and the revision and editing stage begins.
I have discovered that it is easier to write the story than

to reach the end of the process of editing.
But the end result is worth the extra effort.
There comes a time in the writing process
where taking time to rest and recover
is the best way to keep moving forward.
There also comes a time when I sit and call out to God for help.
There are moments when I know where my characters need to get to
but I have trouble writing their journey.
Always God answers my prayer for guidance.
Not always when I expect Him to, and not often within my time frame,
but when I wait patiently, He brings me through the desert
to the place where the words flow from me like water from a spring.
My stories are about justice, with lots of internal conflict and
more than a little bit of trouble for my characters.
I am working on my third manuscript in the River Wild Series,
and so far the stream of inspiration hasn’t failed me.
I remember sending off my first manuscript White Rose of Promise (WRoP) 
for Copy Editing, and my editor told me to get to work on my second manuscript.
The first one (WRoP) is still fully engaged in that process,
and my second manuscript When Promises Are Broken (WPaB)
is away with my alpha readers.
Meanwhile, I am up to chapter 5 of book three… 
I have chosen water themes to join together the books in my River Wild Series.
When I trusted God to give me a clear direction for my writing,
I was expecting to come to a satisfactory conclusion to my first story,
and then wait on Him for inspiration.
I never expected Him to take my characters and build a new story around them,
so that I started writing the next episode with all the hard work already done.

When I take the time, I can find inspiration from wherever God has placed, me, but sometimes it takes me some intentional sitting and waiting before I find the key to what God wants to say.

Do you have a favourite beach or water photo? Or do you get your inspiration from another natural feature?