Monday, December 12, 2011

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to mean on whom his favor rests."

Have a wonderful, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011

CW Blog chain post: The Gift Given Year Round

(OK, I'm cheating a little bit and re-posting an article that was published last November in 31Ten Magazine. But it fit the theme for the month. Be sure to stop in and see all the other articles these fabulous writer have come up with!)

Christmastime. The mall is packed. You hustle from store to store, searching for that perfect gift for that hard-to-please person on your shopping list. Music blares over the roar of the crowd--some hip artist is torturing "White Christmas" for the umpteenth time since you set foot in the place. It seems the world has gone crazy.

Yet as Christians, we're enjoying the season of Christmas. W know how to laugh, love, and celebrate the birth of our King. We enjoy getting together with friends and family, singing carols, and general having fun. Maybe there's a special tradition we observe, or a special place we go every year. We exchange gifts with our friends and family.

And of course, we know truly what it is to give without expecting to receive. We give to older relatives who may not remember to get us something. We give to new friends who may not have expected something. Caroling is a way of giving with receiving, as is participating in something like an Angel Tree project.

Sometimes, thought, I think we tend to forget that giving without receiving is supposed to be a year-round pastime, not just one we reserve for Christmas. Why should we reserve it? So many of us as our own talents and gifts we can use year-round.

I was reminded of this one day as I sat at my brother's soccer practice. One of my younger friends, a 12-year-old, cam up to me and started chatting. She wants to be an author too. Eventually, as it always happens with authors, we started talking about story ideas. She shared a new story idea of her's with me and said it frustrated her that she didn't have a lo of people to talk with about her story ideas.

"I guess whenever I really want to have an author talk, I need to call you," she said.

"Go for it," I told her. "I'd love to have an author-buddy chat with yo sometime."

After she left, I remembered other times I'd urged friends to cal me if they needed to talk--my best friend called me at 11:30 p.m. once to talk about a hard decision she need to make, and my brother once woke me up to ask me some questions that had been bugging him. There have been other times I've listened to people who just needed to let off steam or ramble to get their thoughts straightened.

I loved helping people and comforting them, listening to their problems and praying with them. God has given me a heart to listen to my friends and my family. That's a gift I can give year 'round.

Even God didn't limit Himself to giving only at Christmastime. We celebrate His Son's birthday in December, yes, but years later in the spring God gave another great gift...His Son's life for our sins. "...But the gift of God is eternal lie in Jesus Christ our Lord." And even now god still extends that same gift of salvation and pureness to us--two thousand year later. There's no gift we can give that lasts that long!

So, I challenge you to not only focus on giving gifts at Christmas this year. Take some time to think about hat God could be calling you to give year 'round. What talents has He blessed you with, that you may bless His people?

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter
4:10, NIV)

12/1: Mike Johnson

12/2:Sheila Hollinghead

12/3: Samuel R. Choy

12/4: Keri Mae Lamar

12/5: Brian Jones
12/6: Chris Vonada
12/7: Cindee Snider Re
12/8: Tracy Krauss
12/10: Terrie Thorpe

12/11: Chris Henderson

12/12: Steve Olar

12/13: Nona King

12/14: Scott Fields
12/15: Tracy Krauss,
12/16: Pauline Creeden,

12/17: Israel Ikhinmwin,

12/18: Traci Bonney,

12/19: Michael Galloway,

12/20: Edward Lewis,

12/21: Carol Peterson,

12/21: Victor Travison,

12/22: Lynn Mosher,

12/24: Jacky Brown,

12/25: Keith Wallis,

12/26: Liberty Speidel,

12/27: David Pardoe,

12/27: Debra Ann Elliott,

12/28: Marilyn,

12/30: Michele Archer,

12/31: Suzette,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo conclusion and An Excerpt from FORGED STEEL

Well, so far today I've read several NaNo success stories and several stories from disappointed writers who have had to drop out. Yay for everyone who won and tried! :)

I thought I was going to make it this year--I really did. The first week was iffy, but the week after that was strong and I felt really good about it.

Then we went on vacation to Missouri for Thanksgiving. I think I wrote about...3 thousand words the ten days we were down there? Maybe? But, I decided it didn't matter too much. I'll just keep plugging away at Forged Steel and A Bargain with an Elf during December. And, I realized that I never even once posted an excerpt! That needs to be remedied, so here's a bit of an excerpt with some thoughts that I wrote in the beginning of November.

Hope you guys all have a great weekend! I'll be returning Monday with a post about Christmas!

Forged Steel is turning out to be one of those stories where I really feel sorry for the protagonist. Not necessarily because what I've gotten him into so far, but because of the people I've populated the story with.

I generally have this bad habit of surrounding my main character with people he mostly gets along with. In my two NaNo novellas, the opposite is true. A Bargain With an Elf puts together a shape-shifter who has a high moral code and an elvish thief--not the best pairing for teamwork.

Josh's situation in Forged Steel takes the cake, though. A moody fae girl who can't get her mind off her missing boyfriend and two fae guys who are fighting over who gets to be "alpha male". Not to mention that one guy, Eliaster, is telling Josh that he can't trust the other two (David and Larae) while David is telling him that Eliaster's motives for protecting him may be suspect.
No wonder the poor guy's lost his sense of humor. ;)

It will definitely need some tweaks, but here's an example of what I'm talking about:

“So, where are we headed?” Larae slid her jacket on and, with a practiced motion, flipped her ponytail behind her shoulder.

“Upside, “Eliaster said. “I want to see if Dagger is at his office.”

“Dude, are you nuts?” David asked.

“I don’t plan to waltz in there and say ‘Hey Dagger, you have Marc, so here’s the rest of us, free of charge!’” Eliaster snapped back.

Wow, Mr. Doom-and-Gloom had an ounce of sarcasm in his body. That was surprising.

David and Eliaster stood glaring at each other. Not good. The last thing we needed was our two strong guys ready to knock each other’s heads off.

But how could I cool them down without getting my head knocked off? So far, the most helpful one had been Eliaster. I didn't want to take sides yet, remembering Eliaster's warning, and I knew that I couldn't risk alienating one of them. Besides, we were all supposed to be on the same side, whether David and Eliaster liked that or not.

Larae looked at me, rolled her eyes, and stepped in. “If I can break through the testosterone for a minute, then what is your plan, Eliaster?”

"I just want to see the place. That's all."

That wasn't all. I didn't know how I knew, but Eliaster was lying through his teeth. The others could see it too. David grunted; Larae's left eyebrow quirked upward.

She shrugged. "Yeah, whatever. Forget trust and teamwork, Eli. Sounds good."


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