Monday, November 28, 2005

REVIEW - Shadow Over Kiriath

I’m a huge fan of Karen Hancock – the author AND the person. Her latest book just released and is as amazing as all her other award-winning novels. SHADOW OVER KIRIATH continues the Legends of the Guardian King with rich use of language and powerful symbolism.

Abramm faces his most glorious victories and his darkest suffering—all with a new level of maturity and wisdom. I especially enjoyed his blossoming relationship with Maddie, and the swashbuckling adventure of the story.

I was also inspired by the example of a man who battles the same temptations I do—fear, doubt, confusion and constant awareness of scars and weaknesses. Hope grew in my own heart as I read about a man who comes to the end of himself and finds he is never alone.

Be warned that as part of a series, the book ends with some intense issues unresolved. But even with more to come, there is enough hope to keep me going until the next book. I can’t wait for the next installment. If you haven’t yet discovered this series, now is a great time to start.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Joys of Writing

Last week, I began composing a list of the good things about being a writer. Since I tend to get cranky and melancholy, I figured I needed a reminder of what I should be grateful for.

1. I can work in my pajamas
2. I can take a notebook and pen for a hike in the woods and work in beautiful settings
3. I sometimes get free books to review or endorse
4. I've met the best, most amazing people
5. I get to practice waiting.

Okay, that last one wasn't on my list. Being a writer involves a tortuous amount of waiting. Nail-biting while waiting for an agent’s opinion on my latest idea. Pacing while hoping for news from my editor on whether my manuscript has potential. Checking emails obsessively to see what my critique partners thought of a recent chapter.

Last week, I read a chapter in Marlene Bagnull’s wonderful book, Write His Answer. She wrote about waiting expectantly, productively, and patiently.

My vivid imagination jumps to worst-case scenarios when I’m waiting. “The publisher will finally catch on that I don’t know what I’m doing and reject my new proposal. The editors are sitting around laughing at my clumsy prose.”

So, in an effort to wait expectantly, I worked on expecting God’s good surprises . . . whatever shape they might take. Once when the phone rang, I even thought, “That could be my agent calling with a contract offer.” Amazing how much more fun my writing became when I shushed the negative assumptions.

Waiting productively isn’t difficult for me. As a recovering workaholic, I comfort my anxiety by working. So I kept writing during my weeks of waiting for news on a new project. And I also asked God to make the time productive in other ways. Strengthening relationships, caring for physical health, studying and improving my skills.

Patiently? Well, that’s another story. I’m the kind of person who is so desperate to see what’s around the next corner I barely notice the street I’m on at the moment. But God was providing me a chance to practice. To remind myself that His timing is spot on. To acknowledge that most of life happens BETWEEN desired events, so I better embrace the between times.

One of the joys of being a writer really IS the experience of waiting. Writing chapter after chapter with uncertainty about whether it will be published. Revising manuscripts that might never be read. Trusting that God has called me to this path. Every day is raw and frightening and blazing with potential. And that propels me straight into God’s arms.

And that’s another one of the joys of writing.

Oh, and yesterday the phone rang, and it was my agent with good news. And I was grateful I'd had to wait for it.