Writing Blog Tour

Today’s post is a part of the “Writing Blog Tour”. I was invited by good friend and one of my very first writer friends Dawn Crandall. She has her first three books coming out over the next year and I couldn’t be more excited for her. You can find about her at www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com and www.apassionforpages.blogspot.com

In the Writing Blog Tour we are asked to answer a set of questions about our writng so let’s get to it.

What am I working on?

I am in the brainstorming process for my second book. My first book is at my agent getting ready to be sent to the publishers.

How does my work differ from other’s in its genre?

I think for everyone, what makes an author unique is their voice. My stories are inspirational romance so they will have happily-ever-afters and hopefully get you thinking at the same time but many authors do that and do it well. But no other author tells a story like I do. Every author has a unique voice that comes out in their writing.

Why do I write what I do?

I write romance because I love it. I love the gripping tale of love and the journey of getting there. But I want my novels to be more than fluff. So I write inspirational romance. I believe the best way to internalize truths is though story. They can get to the heart of the matter better than any lecture. When you see yourself in the character’s struggle and how they make it though, it is a sense of hope like no other.

How does your writing process work?

First I chart, plot, brainstorm, and outline until I know the characters inside and out. Then I sit down and writing a fast draft by just letting this new world fall on the page. Then after the dust settles I reread the book and outline what I have, go back to my charts, plugging all the holes and inconsistencies, while strengthening what is there. Then I revise it one more time before I sent it to a line editor friend and then to my agent.

I can also add that during the whole process I send scenes to my dearest friend and fellow writer Andrea Michelle Wood. Who knows my story as well as I do. She helps me see if I miss something or am getting off track. I couldn’t do this without her.

Hope you have enjoyed this and check out next Monday as my three writers friends continue on with this blog tour.


Lindsay Harrel Profile PictureLindsay Harrel – 
www.lindsayharrel.com or www.lindsayharrel.blogspot.com.

Lindsay Harrel has a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in English. Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency, Lindsay was a 2013 ACFW Genesis Finalist (Contemporary Category). She works in marketing as a copywriter and has worked in the past as a business writer and curriculum editor. Lindsay lives in Arizona with her husband and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Connect with her on her blog or via Facebook or Twitter (@LindsayHarrel).

 

andreaAndrea Michelle Wood – http://andrea-michelle-wood.blogspot.com

Without God I am nothing, just a lowly daydreamer. Then one day God got a hold of my heart. I didn’t think I had anything to offer Him, anything He could use. God said, “I’ll use your daydreams if you’ll let me. Just write your stories down.” And that was the begining of the daydreamer’s journey. I’m a not-yet-published author of inspirational romance novels working to polish my stories. 1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I Am A Mess

MNO-poster-art-memeI am not a failure. I am a mess, a beautiful mess. I am God’s master piece. (Rough Quote from the movie)

I am not sure when I have enjoyed a movie more than I did Mom’s Night Out. The script: excellent (laughed so hard I cried). Acting: top notch (I mean Samwise Gamgee is in it.) But what hit me most was the solid take away.

This year – as in 2014 – has been hard. There is no other way to put it. My daughter has literally turned all that I know upside down. And as I have walked this road with her more often than not I have come to the conclusion: I am a terrible mother. And as I have tried to balance all this with the rest of my life, my house has turned into a dump which means: I am a terrible wife.

Now before you think this blog is about feeling sorry for myself let me remind you that I said it was how I felt. In fact, I didn’t even realized how deep those feelings ran until I was watching the movie last night. As the heroine goes though her journey and fights her feeling of inadequacy and discouragement, I could see myself so clearly it hurt.

But like any good story that draws you in making you see yourself smack in the middle of this struggle, it also brought me out to a healthier view of my own situation. (And that is the very reason I write.)

I am not the perfect mother, I am not the perfect wife, I will never be the perfect neat-freak homemaker. But God HAS equipped me to do His good works. And when I fall short in my own strength, abilities, wisdom… I  CAN rest in his arms and be confident that HE’S GOT THIS.

My job is actually a simple one. Be open to Him and let him work though me. I need to be His hands of love in my family’s life and His voice of truth in my writing. The end result is up to Him. And you know what? I trust Him,

So today I will choose to be His masterpiece. Nothing more, nothing less.

How Photoshop Saved the first day of School

Like many other FB moms of today, I feel the pressure of not just being a great mom, but also presenting it well to. After all if the pictures don’t show up on FB, did it really happen? Okay of course it did, but as we look from post to post, Pintrest board to Pintrest board the pressure builds. This social media has caused us to want to up our game. I mean, I thought first day of school pictures with back packs were great until I saw my friend’s kids with signs. Those were awesome. I thought what signs were cool until I saw the full color ones…and so on.

I want to be that cool mom. I do . I make their halloween costumes. I do an all out party (every-other year) But when does it just become too much? Like yesterday morning as I readied for day one. I want that perfect photo. You know, the one like Sara Luke puts on her blogs.

Oops, forgot to get cute new outfits. Oops, forgot to make signs.  No problem, we’ll just do this…. Here hold this…

We can be adorable too dog-gonit. Now smile and look happy!

Click – Got it! Awesome.

130808_8684Yes – I know. Looking back, What was I thinking? But I was in a hurry, but really? “Here children hold up this photo in front of the house. Don’t worry about the strange looks from neighbors. It will be fine.”

You can tell by their expressions that they are not convinced.

So, after literately running from one thing to the next yesterday until the kids bedtime I sat down to post my great first days shots. Hmm. Not quite what I was going for. This doesn’t say “cool Pintrest mom” this is more along the lines of “Pintrest fail!” I had about decided to trash these and pretend the event never happened when Sara Luke and the ever cool Less Ordinary Designs came though. On their face book page…Downloadable cute signs. Do I make them repose with cuter clothes and happy faces or do my best with Photoshop? Okay I have to draw the line with torturing my children with photos somewhere. So Lets Try Photoshop.

A few hours later…

First Day 2013Okay, So it still won’t make it on the cover of a magazine. But hey this mother is happy – I have something to put on Facebook!! And hey, Perhaps my kids won’t remember standing in front of their house holding a photo collage. They will see this photo and think. See my mom did do it all… Okay maybe not. But that can be our little secret. Now the only one question remains…Is there a way to just Photoshop on the Halloween costumes so I don’t have to make them as well? First Day 2

10 Loads of Laundry – Really?

I have a confession. I just folded ten loads of laundry. How did I get so far behind? I could blame sickness, I could blame balancing the new school schedule, I could blame that life is just too busy. All that is true but what is the real reason. Procrastination.

One of those funny signs of facebook went by the other day. “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

I laughed but the sad thing is that too often I live my life by that philosophy. In fact, when I was a freshman in high school, I had perfected this philosophy. I actually did my homework in the class before.  I must say I am not that bad any more but I still fall into the American mindset of – reward now, work later.

The more I evaluate this life style, the more I think it short changes me from a lot of joy in my life. By procrastinating I always have stuff hanging over my head to do. I want to change – now the challenging part – actually changing.

I know we are a long way from January but this is my new resolution. I want to seek God first and let him lay out my day. Pushing hard all day so I can feel good about what I accomplished at the end. Even if I can’t do it all, if I have done my best then I have a lot to be proud of. I will check in with updates.

What about you? What is one bad habit you could break that would change your life for the good?

Do You Hear With Both Ears?

This past week I got an ear infection and even though I am on medication my ear remains plugged on the one side, leaving it pretty useless. I assume it will return to normal in time but in the mean time it has given me a lot to think about – specifically Matthew 13:13. In this verse, Jesus talks about the Pharisees listening but not hearing.

However, they didn’t have ear infections but rather their ears were full of themselves. They had been so confident they knew what God was up to that they couldn’t hear when God was speaking to them through His Son.

So often in my own life I find myself running ahead of God and yelling over my shoulder, “I know where you are headed God. I’ll meet you there.” And I often end up on my face.

I have discovered this week with my bad ear that to really hear people I have to look at them and focus on them. Otherwise I am bound to miss a key part of the sentence. I think the same is true for God.

I don’t just want to listen to God with one ear.  I want to look at Him and focus on Him. When I do, I trust He will lead me where He wants me to go.

Do you struggle to listen to God with both ears? How do you keep from running ahead?

Save Me Super Cake Girl

My boys were playing super heroes the other day, and my daughter not wanting to be left out (but still as girly as they come) stood up and said, “I want to be a cake super hero.”

She said she would drive around and make cakes for everyone who didn’t have one. She cracks me up.

But this got me thinking about my writing. In My Book Therapy we learn that the heroine needs a superpower. No, she doesn’t have to leap tall buildings and lift cars but some strength or special skill that can help save the day in the end.

In the Hunger Games, Katniss’ super power is to hunt. It is that super power that saves her and ultimately Peeta in the arena. In Twilight, Bella’s super power is her ability to shield her mind. This saves everyone in the end, even Edward. (Man, YA books have really great superpowers)

My current work in progress, my heroine’s superpower is her ability to do genealogy research. Not glamorous as a bow or a mind shield but in the end it is what saves the day for my hero.

Think back to one of your favorite books. Does the heroine have a superpower?

What do you think would make a cool superpower for a book? Baking cakes? It could work and who knows, it may just show up somewhere in one of my books in the future.

Building a Heroine – Literally

So I have heard a lot of lessons on how to build a character for you story. You need to consider motivations, back-story, fears, goals, and so much more. For a great instruction of building a character for a story, check out From the Inside…Out by Susan May Warren.

But this blog isn’t about that.  As I tried to create the vision I had for my heroine, I needed to find a “Hannah”. Really how hard could it be to find a cute, whimsical, full length shot of a red-head with curly hair, preferably in a green sundress. Like this photo. Only I couldn’t find one.

Being an istock contributor myself (my portfolio), I have no problem paying for an image but search after search left me empty. Okay, maybe I was being a little picky and specific but that has always been my down fall in my life.

My vivid imaginations comes up with EXACTLY what I want and nothing less with make me happy. Try dress shopping with me sometime.

My Junior prom I gave my mom a detailed description of what I wanted in my dress: blue, short, off the shoulder, with thick lace around the top. (Hey it was 1993 and this was very cool) My mom actually bought this dress without me because it was exactly what I wanted. She was right it was perfect and I loved it.
My senior year it only got worse as I drew the dress I wanted on the back of a bulletin during church: short, black velvet, 3 spaghetti straps that cross/weave in the back. My mom laughed at me, but we searched and found nothing close. But I did find a dress three sizes too big, velvet , and full length on sale for $15. So I snatched it up and marched off to the tailor and $40 of alterations later this is what I had.
So you can see, I know what I want. But tailors couldn’t help me this time. Fortunately, I’ve learned a little about digital stitching along the way.

So I found these two shots.

And with a little work (changing hair color, skin color, dress color, swapping heads, and making the dress a bit more CBA approved) I made the the Hannah I wanted.
Yes I confess I am a Photoshoper.

In fact, if you have ever seen a photo of my family that we are all smiling – yeah it has been Photoshopped.


Many claim that this is “cheating.” But I have to laugh. I am not after a photo-journalistic approach to portraits. Back when people would sit for paintings, do you think that the people never blinked, the kids never cried, and everyone stood perfect for hours. No, the painter painted what he wanted. It was not journalism but a portrait, art.
So what are your thoughts on Photoshop?

A good thing or is it cheating?

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