November 27, 2011

Jonathan

Tragedy took his faith in God. Betrayal stole his identity and made him a slave. Treachery sent him to the gladiator arena where only a terrible vow drives him to survive. All the while, God is calling him back. The greatest battle Jonathan will ever fight will not come in the arena, but deep within himself, when he must choose between revenge and forgiveness, knowing the life of the woman he loves and the fate of an empire hang in the balance.

*FYI - At the bottom is an opportunity to get Jonathan's story now.*

Jonathan, my hero in CHASING THE LION, deserves his own post. I'm guilty of forgetting sometimes how truly compelling a character he is. After all, I've lived with him from the moment he was born as a note in a spiral notebook at a hole in the wall cafe on my lunch hour until now. Last night I finally saw the movie Breaking Dawn Part I, based on the final book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series. As I sat through a ridiculous amount of ads (since when do we have ads now, in addition to trailers anyway?) I thought about Harry Potter, Edward Cullen, Mr. Darcy and the like, including my own favorite heroes: Michael Hosea in Francine Rivers' REDEEMING LOVE, Levi Grant in Karen Witemeyer's TO WIN HER HEART, Marcus Valerian and Atretes from Francine Rivers' MARK OF THE LION series, David from Sandi Rog's THE MASTER'S WALL, Shane from Jack Schaefer's novel of the same name, and Xeo from Steven Pressfield's GATES OF FIRE.

Then somewhere in the middle of the first movie trailer with popcorn halfway to my mouth, a profound revelation hit me. I'll never experience Jonathan, Drusus or Russell (the heroes in my works in process) or any of my own characters the way I do those in other books. And I was sad. Sad because in that moment, I understood what someone meant when they told me after reading Chasing the Lion they felt cheated because they know the author and instead of wondering about something, talking to other readers about it and any speculative discussion, they can just ask me. Questions like what happened to make Caius Pullus so evil, or how did Caelina become a prostitute in the first place?

The only comfort I can take in the aftermath of this comes from the fact that while I'll never have the pleasure of an authentic reader experience with my own characters, I do share an intimacy with them only an author can ever know. Those moments when they tell you you're 'wrong' and they fight you for an outcome, a bit of dialogue, a kiss that never should have happened, hate they won't let go of, or something far more simple like you got their name or their ethnicity wrong (that happened a few times in Chasing the Lion.) Memories of being driven out of bed in the middle of the night to the computer because you're scared you'll forget what they just showed you or said that you couldn't get right four hours ago when the cursor just blinked at you and the keyboard sat silent.

All the critique partners and the initial readers who have already helped to refine Jonathan's story, and the right agent and editor who pick his story up continue to make it the best reader experience possible, I owe you a debt of gratitude. And for those of you who are still waiting patiently to take it from the shelf or click "Buy it now" on Amazon, and maybe less patient now that I've let you "see" Jonathan, hehe (He is a handsome green-eyed warrior, isn't he?) all I ask is you hang in there. As the astounding feedback builds and the contest wins hopefully continue to add up, and I learn how to write a better proposal, I know we're getting closer.
 
Now, here's your chance to get to know Jonathan.

I have the privilege of being part of the fundraising effort for author Sandi Rog's cancer treatment. You may have already noticed the GiveForward widget in the top right with all the info about Sandi's condition or the amazing raffle organized by Alison Strobel Morrow (Link is HERE) and if you haven't yet donated, also known as buying a raffle ticket, this is the last incentive I can give you. 

Step 1. Go to Sandi's GiveForward page (HERE) and click Give Now to donate $5.00 You can use Anonymous, your screen name here, or your real name, just be sure you save your e-mailed donation receipt.
Step 2. Leave at the end of your donor comment, or somewhere in it "Friend of Jonathan"
Step 3. Leave a comment here on the blog you contributed to Sandi's fundraiser and include your e-mail or a link back for me to reach you before Midnight (CST) Dec. 3rd and I'll randomly draw a winner next Sunday the 4th for a copy of the full manuscript to CHASING THE LION. 
Step 4. Go spend your raffle ticket on any of the remaining prize packages (Some of which include tons of books, and some amazing writer packages with critiques, editing, craft books, etc.) and have a chance to win there too!


Take ten minutes to do this. Donate $5 (or more if you want more raffle tickets), get a chance to win an amazing prize package of your choice, the complete manuscript of Chasing the Lion and experience the power of Jonathan's story without having to wait for it any longer, AND feel really good about contributing to a great cause. Yes, it's a little more work than dropping a five spot in the red kettle for the bell ringers, or saying 'yes' at the checkout or drive through when they ask if you want to donate a dollar to charity, but the return will be insanely more rewarding, I promise. So does Jonathan. And to show you how serious I am about this, when I say I'll send the winner Chasing the Lion, I mean a printed, bound copy with that gorgeous picture up there on the cover. ;-)

November 20, 2011

It's In The Blood

Clearly I don't want to talk about my NaNoWriMo progress (or lack thereof, haha). I've wanted to talk about this every since I read about it weeks ago and now seemed like a good time. There is a popular belief in many Asian cultures, including Japan, that blood type either determines or is at least indicative of personality. Furukawa Takeji sparked this in 1927 with his paper "The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type" and the idea resurfaced in the 1970's thanks to Masahiko Nomi, though he was not the scientist that Takeji had been. Obviously as a writer, this intrigued me and I did some exploring. I must admit that some of my characterization charts are pretty detailed, but I've never blood-typed my characters. Although, I bet for those who write medical or police thriller, you'd probably have to. Here's the most concise explanation I found of this theory by type.

Type A
People with blood type A have a deep-rooted strength that helps them stay calm in a crisis when everyone else is panicking. However, they tend to avoid confrontation, and feel very uncomfortable around people. A types are shy and sometimes withdrawn. They seek harmony and are very polite, but all the same feel that they never really fit in with others. A types are very responsible. If there is a job to be done, they prefer to take care of it themselves. These people crave success and are perfectionists. They are also very creative, and the most artistic of all the blood types, most likely because of their sensitivity.
Type B
People with blood type B are the most practical of the blood groups. They are specialists in what they do. When they start a project, they spend extra time understanding and trying to follow directions than others might. When they are doing something, all of their attention is focused on it. They tend to stick to a goal and follow it through to the end, even if it seems impossible. They tend to be less than cooperative, as they like to follow their own rules and their own ideas. They are individualists. B type people pay attention to their thoughts a little more than their feelings, and therefore can sometimes seem cold and serious.
Type O
People with blood type O people are outgoing, energetic and social. They are the most flexible of the blood types. They easily start up projects but often have trouble following through because they give up easily. They are flighty and not too dependable. O types always say what's on their mind. They value the opinion of others and like to be the center of attention. Also, people with O blood are extremely self-confident.
Type AB
People with blood type AB are hard to categorize. They can have characteristics on both ends of the spectrum at the same time. For instance, they are both shy and outgoing. They easily switch from one opposite to another. AB people are trustworthy and responsible, but can't handle it when too much is asked of them. They don't mind doing favors or helping out, as long as its on their own conditions. People with this blood type are interested in art and metaphysics.
I'm an O, and must say it's a reasonable fit. The only other person whose blood type I know is my father's, because it's on his USAF dog tag and his is a fairly good fit too. Which has me wondering if this is some weird mysticism thing I should be wary of or another miracle of creation I'll have to ask God about one day. And if you think for a second God wasn't incredibly intentional with every aspect of our design, just watch THIS VIDEO from youtube.


And if laminin, the cell adhesion molecule weren't insanely awesome enough, you should study the design of the red blood cell. These are the cells in our blood that take the oxygen from our lungs, store it, then travel to our other tissues to release it and give them oxygen. I saw this documentary where they studied how to make them more efficient in an effort to produce them artificially. If they were completely flat, they would absorb oxygen faster, if they were completely round, they would be able to absorb more oxygen, but the rate slows when moving toward the center. So they used this "super computer" to calculate the very best structure to achieve both. And surprise, surprise, LOL, the result was the exact same rounded disk that's already in our body. Score one more for intelligent design!

Earlier this evening I had the opportunity to take the Lord's supper, in remembrance of Christ's blood that atoned for the sin of all mankind forever and so its really been a theme today. I think about the cliches, like 'hot-blooded', 'cold-blooded', and how it's even used with breeds and types of horses with respect to personality. Also interesting is the expression 'its in the blood' when referring to a predisposition for a career, the military, etc. I'd love to encourage you, if you're able, to donate blood regularly. I do several times a year, and even though its often resulted in extreme bruising, a busted skull and ambulance ride once when I passed out, and that they always have a hard time finding the right vein, I remain committed. That makes me feel a little better about allowing Jonathan to bleed so often in CHASING THE LION. So is anyone brave enough to say whether or not the description above fits their type and personality? What do you think about this laminin, cell adhesion molecule? Does anyone else find it as awesome as Louie and me?

November 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Goals, & Giveaway III

I'm 5K words short of where I should be at this point. Hopefully tomorrow I'll make 7K and get back on track. This has been the best and worst week in a long time for this writer, growing pains as a writer and a follower of Christ.

Best: This week alone, God has given me some amazing gifts, including an amazing character that fell right into the middle of my work in process, UNSEEN LOVE, and like Caelina did with CHASING THE LION, has  grabbed the story and run with it. His name is Otho and he's something else. I can't wait for you all to meet him, and the hero and heroine of this story, Drusus and Laelia. Warning: Ladies, Drusus will absolutely steal your heart!

Worst:  Some things are easier said than done, but that doesn't mean we don't have to do them. Somethings that are hard we do because we want to, like write 50K words in a month. Others because God said so.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:14-18 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Face my lions, not fear new beginnings, and make my NaNo goal. So I'm off to write, but I'd like your help with UNSEEN LOVE. And I'll shamelessly bribe you in the process (Because that's so Roman of me, hehe).

When the hero and heroine share that first kiss, whose head (Point of View) do you want to be in? His or hers?

A lucky commenter will be picked for another $10 Amazon or B&N gift card for any Love Inspired book they want.

November 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Goals & Giveaway II

Greetings! Well, the bad news is I'm already behind on word count, but the good news is its because in the middle of "my" plan for November, God had a different one.

A VERY different one.

Like my characters, I learned the hard way what happens when fighting God's will. Sometimes its a heavy handed God smack (can we say Jonah, or Saul/Paul, anyone?) or sometimes its just missing out on what could have been (like the rich young ruler who wouldn't give up his fortune to follow Christ). All I can say is... my goals changed in obedience and it has already been a crazy, crazy, crazy awesome and equally difficult path this past week, with more awesome and more difficulty to come I know, but I also know this.

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:11-13 (NKJV)

Speaking of hunger, some special ladies and I had the opportunity to make 400 lunches and serve them to the homeless in our community this week. Yesterday was the culmination of a lot of God working in hearts, people contributing to the cause, and a beautiful day of facing fears, being love with skin on, praying, growing, a truly awesome day. What amazed me most were the stories of these men and women living on the street. So many stories, so much need but so much hope too. That was a goal that felt really good to accomplish!






I'm not giving up on my NaNoWriMo, (cause ya'll know I'm not a quitter!), I'm just not going to let it stop the higher goals God has called me to this month. This week my smaller goal is to get back on track with my word count. And to give away two books from one of my favorite Seekerville authors, Tina Radcliffe. THE RANCHER'S REUNION and OKLAHOMA REUNION, two Love Inspired titles in honor of my NaNoWriMo project geared for Love Inspired Historical.

So leave me a comment to be entered in the drawing (it's that little link next to the envelope down and to the left a bit.) Tell me what your favorite sandwich is, and give my girls up here a pat on the virtual back for making 400 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And a bonus entry to whoever guesses my favorite kind of sandwich. ;-)


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