It has been a while…

That’s an understatement ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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(

Summer days…

Red Ochre Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia
Photo Credit Samuel Whittle

January here in the Southern Hemisphere heralds warmer weather.

It brings the opportunity to rest and reflect on the previous year and to plan for the new one.

It is also the time that I volunteer on the team for Scripture Union Tasmania Family Camp South, and my first beach visit for 2019.

Here I am on a child-friendly beach. The water was still too cold for me to take a swim )i(

There is something very special about living in a small community, away from the ordinary, everyday normal life. It opens up new opportunities to make discoveries.

This year, the theme for camp was Art/Artists, and in my spare time, I took over one section of the balcony and created an installation.
Here is the link to my Facebook album

Christine O'Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Christine O'Malley
Christine O’Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Christine O’Malley

This was the first one where I was the only participant, and also the only time I have had an outdoor artwork remain open to the elements for more than a few hours. I am happy to report, after five days, and a few stormy nights, the delicate strands remained exactly where I left them. My only regret was not having enough wind to make the severed ends fly when it was time to start disassembling the weaving.

Christine O’Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia.
Photo: Christine O’Malley

Meanwhile, my writing projects had a holiday of their own.
Book 1: White Rose of Promise Рthe cover design has been chosen and I am waiting for the designer to send me the latest version. The blurb (that brief introduction that hides on the back of the book) has been drafted. The manuscript is with the Proofreader and been received favourably, with only a few errors Рmainly Capitalisation of keywords to match the rest of the document.
Book 2: When¬†Promises¬†Are¬†Broken¬†– the cover design elements have been selected. The manuscript is with the beta-readers and has been favourably received. Those who have sent me their reports are already asking for the next book…
Book 3: (Still no title). I reached a critical point in Chapter 15 and then left my poor hero in limbo to deal with his troubles on his own (while I was at camp).

Help wanted:

As the first of my potential readers, I am inviting you to tell me what you think of my blurb for Book 1.

Ria Fontana is home from twenty years in exile.

She has changed Рher name, her appearance, her personality. Her family barely recognise her. What happened to their carefree Maria? What secrets is she hiding? Ria’s dream for a new beginning fades.

Why has God asked her to risk everything for a promise?

Wealthy businessman Sebastian Romano has a heated argument with Ria at his favourite restaurant. The unhappy waitress knows nothing of his past, and no-one dares to warn her. Without family ties and few friends, this woman-hater is the last person she should turn to for help.

Her innocent presence draws out his enemies. Now Ria is in a battle for more than her dream – a fight for her life.

Will Romano do anything to save her?

Thanks in advance )i(

Farewell 2018

December 31 2016
Two years ago my vision for the future had diminished to a network of textile fibre threads weaving within my domestic space. My feet moved, my hands wrapped the threads that stretched out behind me around the anchor points I had chosen, and I listened to how my heart was responding.

What had begun as an experiment for a Visual Culture unit on identity was about to transform the final Fine Arts project that would bring me to the end of my double major degree. The experiment involved finding a way to express my presence within my domestic space, a self-portrait without any human representation. Meanwhile, my major project was about finding a way to overcome the emotional blues. As I lost myself to the experiment, my heart recognised the significance of what I was experiencing.

I had worked with textiles for as long as I could remember. I had even used yarn to explain to groups of children the connections that each of us makes when we engage in social activities. But the jump from a craft material to a form of visual expression for contemporary art changed the way I see the world.

My research had taught me that successful recovery from depression required the sufferer to find a way to reconnect to the ordinary everyday world. To learn how to take something mundane and discover the beauty and wonder that would transform their worldview.

December 31st 2017
I was emotionally and creatively exhausted. The months since I had submitted my final university assignment had been filled with indecision and idleness. My Blue Skies: Chasing Away The Blues Exhibition was fading to a memory and I was waiting for God to show me what would follow.

Now my days were spent wondering when my Graduation Certificate and Year Book would arrive in the mail, and daydreaming about possibilities. I made a beginning on archiving all my study assignments, and I put my cameras and the vast collection of assembled materials into hidden corners.

December 31st 2018
This morning I was reading one of my online devotions and a familiar Scripture leapt off the page at me. This same Scripture had a dramatic effect on me before, a few years before God moved me from the rural community where I had established deep roots and thought I would live forever.

At that time, I had been satisfied that I was ministering and working at maximum capacity, and the revelation that God had something bigger in store shook the foundations of my busy world.

Isaiah 54:2 (WEB) Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; don’t spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.

As I look ahead to a new year, I have the threads of my recent endeavours trailing out behind me. Into the idleness of waiting, God had unlocked a hidden door, the dream to be a published author, long abandoned and almost forgotten. Unexpected. Unfamiliar. More than a little bit terrifying.

I have sat and listened as God has given me new story threads to add to my already complex weaving, and I have learned a lot more about who I am and the trace of my presence that I leave behind me in the world.

In 2018, I have engaged in three large textile weavings with children as enthusiastic participants, started this blog, written many words and gained new friends.

In 2019, I hope to self-publish White Rose of Promise and to have the sequel When Promises Are Broken follow the same journey. I have the outlines for another five stories hidden away and am working on the third manuscript now. There are a few obstacles to overcome: my fear and my limited resources (time and money).

In preparation, God is asking me to stretch my understanding of who I am so that I am ready to receive whatever 2019 brings to me )i(

It is my prayer that you, my readers, will have the door of opportunity open for you in the coming days, weeks and months. That you will take hold of the threads that you carry forward from 2018 and continue to weave your own marvellous tapestry.

Thanks for being part of my journey )i(

Transformation

Transformation business
“That is not the end of the story. God is in the transformation business. Judgement flows from God‚Äôs holy character but he delights to show favour and love; these are the things that last…” John Grayston, WordLive 09/12/2018. For the complete devotional please click the following link:¬†
https://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic/2018-12-09/Complete-turnaround

A milestone not to be forgotten )i(

Thirty years ago, I was in a terrible state. As a patient in a private clinic, I had been weaned off one powerful medication only to have an adverse reaction to the new one. Five months earlier I had been admitted to hospital after developing encephalitis, and then sent home when I didn’t die. The prognosis for the next few years was bleak. I wasn’t going to get better anytime soon.

I could no longer stand upright without support, and when I closed my eyes I fell over. I was plagued by visual hallucinations, nausea and a slowness of thought where the¬†neurologist’s¬†tests matched my waking moments to that of a normal person sleeping. I could barely look after myself, and my son had gone to live with my mother. No-one was surprised that I was clinically depressed, a chemical imbalance that robbed me of my joy.

My faith in God was tested.

Then a series of unfortunate events tipped me over the edge. First, I was violently ill in response to the new medication. Then one of my new friends told me she wished she had the hope that I had, and went away to die alone – she changed her mind at the last minute but the person she called for help didn’t arrive in time. But the straw that broke this heart was going out with my husband to a Christmas function and having the waiter accidentally tip a cup of coffee down my back.

My last recollection was wailing on the pavement, as a swirling pit of darkness underneath my feet. I cried out to God that I couldn’t take anymore. The darkness grew and I was falling. Then I felt the hand of God grab me by the back of the neck like a kitten carried by its mother. He pulled me back into the light. My husband watched me go from insanity to a quiet mess. Neither of us has been the same since.

There followed an amazing series of positive experiences that cancelled out all the bleakness of the previous days. I awoke on Sunday 18th of December, sane and alive, and in a defeated state. I lay in bed in the private clinic and told God He had to take over control because I had nothing left.
Within minutes, there came a knock at the door, an unexpected invitation from an acquaintance, and I was dressed and out the door on an unexpected visit to an unfamiliar church. During that morning service, one by one, people stood up and quoted scriptures, each with direct correspondence to some puzzling visions that God had given me in answer to my pleas for help in recent weeks.

Hope reawakened in my heart. But God wasn’t finished with me yet. I was still physically broken but my joy was overflowing and I knew God had heard my desperate cries. That evening, I went back to that same Church, and during the service, God called me to my vocation. I went from a helper for other people’s ministry to a leader of a ministry of my own. Only when I had fully accepted that new calling did God bring about the greatest sign of all.

I went forward for prayer at the end of the service, and witnesses told me it was marvellous to see. My walking stick went flying as I fell – I closed my eyes to pray and the catcher missed me. I had a bump on my head to testify to the hardness of the floor. After making my confession, my body felt as if I had been struck by lightning, and I jumped up. Much laughter and celebration followed, and then other people hurried down to have prayer, not wanting to miss an opportunity for a miracle.

I was delivered back to the private clinic afterwards, and the other patients had me walking and leaping up and down the corridor to prove that I was healed. My transformation was remarkable. God is good. )i( He steps in at just the right time. My faith in God was tested to the very limits of my sanity, and He didn’t let me down )i(

When I started writing White Rose of Promise one of my Church friends asked if this book was going to be autobiographical. I said no. Yet I realise that the transformation that takes place in the life of my central character has the foundations in that event that happened thirty years ago. I had been an active Christian for fourteen years when my faith was tested.

There have been other testing times, including the season that I am in at the moment. My WRoP manuscript went to the proofreader yesterday, and I have hired a designer to take over the cover preparation. I still have a lot to learn about life, about being a writer, about living a faithful life in a troubled world.

But today, God has filled my heart with rejoicing as He reminds me that the journey of discovery is ongoing, and He will be right there with me to pick me up when I fall. I have a couple of miracle memories to make sure I don’t forget )i(

Judging others

Matthew 7:1 (WEB)
[Jesus said,] ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt judge, so that you won‚Äôt 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‚Äôre 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? 

Between

I am between manuscripts at the moment. The first two are away from me, no further work to be done until I receive responses from others. The third story in my series is filling my mind, and I am feeling the pressure to get started…

One of my abstract digital drawings

I was filling in time, waiting for inspiration, and not getting anywhere fast. My restlessness this morning is uncharacteristic. I am in that between place. The land of indecision where fear and uncertainty are pushing back the exciting new possibilities. Into this moment, my mind catches a phrase on the screen in front of me, and everything that I am unable to pin down is brought sharply into focus.
“He is unafraid to ask God to teach him his ways and paths (v 4). He waits on God all day (v 5)”. (Mark Keown, WordLive, Goodness and Mercy, 4/11/2018.¬† To access the full post please follow this link:
https://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic/2018-11-04/Goodness-and-mercy

One of the preliminary digital drawings that brought me to the first one

Now I have a clear direction. I should bring all my hopes and aspirations for today and place them on the prayer altar. I need to remember that I have done this before, with both my first manuscript White Rose of Promise, and the second one When Promises Are Broken.
What is there to fear in starting the third in the series? What am I afraid of? The Bible passage referenced in Mark Keown’s text is Psalm 25, one of those emotionally honest ones by David. Keown writes that David is so secure in his relationship with God that he can speak out all his deepest thoughts without fear. David had found the secret. An ability to be open and honest and to look to God for guidance and correction in confidence. David knew that God’s guidance would bring him everything he needed. He also knew that God’s correction would hurt but afterwards, he would be a better person.

Can you see the beginning idea of the final digital drawing hidden in this preliminary one?

When I sat down to write the first few chapters of¬†White Rose of Promise I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the challenge. I spent long hours in prayer and matched my writing time with hours of reading Scripture and meditating on what I beleived God was teaching me.¬†
Then I sat down to write the second one with a different kind of trepidation. The first heroine had been ‘easy’ to write because she was a woman of faith. The second heroine was much harder to welcome into my life because she was angry and her view of the world was filtered by the relationship mistakes she had made.¬†
But the next heroine, the one who is speaking to me in the moments when my mind is open to daydreaming the possibilities, arrives in my story lost and alone. She has been set adrift by circumstances not of her making. Last night, I sat down and started to work on the timeline so that I know where my characters from the preceding books will be as the new story unfolds…

Another variation of the digital drawing to show the subtleties of colour and placement
that catch my attention and
draw me into a project.

I find myself between. How I manage the next few days will have an impact on how I am feeling about the writing adventure? What strategies do you use to manage the between moments on your journey?

Trouble

This is Ezra, study companion, writing critic, artist assistant
This is Ezra. He has had a VERY big day.
What was supposed to be
a dedicated writing day at home,
turned into an adventure.

I am juggling different writing tasks this week. Book 1 White Rose of Promise is back from the editor, and I have started the conversation about the recommended changes. Half the report was easy to respond to, but the other half will require a bit more effort.
Book 2 When Promises Are Broken is written and is now in the revision stage. Two of my beta readers have been promoted to alpha readers, and are helping to identify any troubling scenes. I know more now about what I want them to look for, and they have both stepped up to give me their honest opinion. My other beta readers are waiting to get their hands on the revised manuscript.

Books 3 and 4 are still clamouring for me to set aside time to write their outlines. I already know that heroine 3 is going to cause lots of trouble for me. Heroine 4 might be easier to write, but the two of them are going to have a face-off confrontation, hinted at in book 3 and explored in depth in book 4. 

Research

Among all the interesting texts I have looked at this week, the following one is especially relevant to the stage I am in.

“Sometimes we authors want to shield our characters just a little. Okay, a whole lot. But we mustn‚Äôt. They have to slam up against obstacles, problems, conflicts, trouble.
They have to hurt.¬†Why?¬†Because our readers hurt.”
(Davalynn Spencer, ACFW Blog, 18 October 2018. Available from  https://www.acfw.com/blog/dont-be-a-troublemaker/)

Thanks for taking the time to read my update. Do you have any interesting blogs or on-line articles that you think I should read?



Another step closer

One of my quick sketches for
White Rose of Promise page decoration idea

My manuscript White Rose of Promise has come home from the copy edit, and I am about to embark on the next stage of the publishing journey. (There are still a few more giant steps to come.)

The first draft of the story was easy to write. I made it all the way to 120,000 words before I realised there was a serious possibility that I would get this finished while juggling all my other responsibilities.

I really liked my characters, both the good ones and the ones who were going to create lots of trouble. I even found a couple of baddies that I was happy to see get what they deserved.

The most important decision I made at this time was to search for an editor who could guide this project from its humble beginnings to the next stage. I prayed and waited for God to show me where to turn. I have found that many people are generous with their time, and have valuable research documents available on their webpage.

Here is the link to the editor that I chose. I can highly recommend Belinda from Small Blue Dog Publishing

Inspiration everywhere

Suddenly I found myself with a project that brought inspiration at every turn. Even the cottage garden at the venue where I supervised an after-school activity provided unexpected opportunities to practise my sketching. I had a title and visual inspiration to keep me moving forward.

During the process of writing WRoP, I rediscovered my love for making up stories and watching them emerge on the page.

The first advice my editor sent me was put into action. I needed to address the high word count, to bring my manuscript back into the range where a new reading audience might be prepared to give this unknown author a chance. Chop, chop, chop. The manuscript came down to 65,000 words as I looked at the best way to bring my story alive.

Now that it has come back, my editor has identified areas where I have left too much unsaid, so I get a second chance to look at key scenes and give them a little more detail. This revision process looks like it will become a conversation.

There is something special about having an animated discussion about a story that is the product of my imagination. When I started talking to my editor I was afraid that I would lose my voice, but instead I have discovered that I am learning how to make better use of it )i(