Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Friday and...

On Friday mornings before 8:00 I think I think of the strangest things in their own peaceful sort of way.

When I get up the first thing on my mind after that first cup of coffee, and of course that first hurry up to the you know where, and after I've had a chance to say my first hello to my husband, dogs, and cats, and I've run to (well, maybe not run, but perhaps, dragged myself) out to get my chickens out of bed and fed them breakfast, and then come back and sat down and started drinking that cup of coffee that got tepid on me, and of course said my morning prayers with my husband then sent him out the door to work and tossed the big dog, Silas OUTSIDE, then read and studied a little from my Bible, I remembered in my mind that I better go in the other room and make my bed because if I knew in my mind if I didn't, it wouldn't get made (I know me, you see).

I do think I probably think of the strange things. I'm pretty sure anyway. It's still not quite 8:00. What else am I thinking this Friday morning.

My mind immediately is telling me I need to warm up my laptop and do all the things I didn't do with my writing routine yesterday, even though I know in my mind for I will never catch up on those things, because I inevitably get myself so far behind. It's a wonder, or perhaps I am, believe me since I do way too many things at the same time. (I cannot tell you how many projects I have going at the same time!) I tell myself that all the time.

How about you? What does your mind tell you about things like that?

People like you and me...we only have two hands and two feet and one brain and one body and one mouth. And if you knew me real well and knew about my Shirley days (they are not good) and how they effect my brain with headaches, you would be shaking your head knowing mine cannot work this way...doing a bazillion things at the same time. You are right. It can't. But in my mind I tell myself I can.

I do have some really bad days. In my head.

I'll wager it is in part because I want to do way too many things at the same time. My list, if I were to write one up of all the things I want to think about and do at the same time would be quite long, you see.

I still scratch my head reflecting on what exactly it is I think about on Friday mornings before 8:00. I decided to write down just for today what would come out of my head.

It all started when I sat down here in my office seeing that my laptop was all warmed up and ready to go. My mind began to think...
  • go check emails (but I know there will be way too many, so I decide to let them rip away)
  • organize desk (which is way too tiny for all the papers I have to look at every morning making it a never ending cause, which I know in my mind is going to take far too much time.
  • think first that God should be on your mind right now, because if He doesn't guide you in this day, it will end up being a lost cause for you by the time you get to the lunch hour and then the 3:00 hour when you stop, and then the 4:30 hour when you quit for the day. (It doesn't take long for me to recognize fully if I did everything without His guidance even if part of it turned out OK, I would still not be satisfied in my heart of hearts about any of it, because I didn't have Him in the back of my mind throughout the process!)
  • pour yourself another cup of coffee and don't forget the cream.
  • remember to tell Tom to get you more cream, (because I don't like my coffee anymore without the sissy stuff. But who cares .)
  • eventually get yourself showered and dressed, dear. You can't sit at your computer all day in your robe and slippers!
  • but first: Open up some files and do some writing and check those emails that must be finished by now (and don't forget to erase the SPAM that didn't delete)
  • say hello to someone across the email-ways (or whatever one calls it)
  • jump over to Amazon and look at your new book that is out now EVEN though you haven't even SEEN IT or touched it with your own two HANDS
  • wonder if anyone purchased it yet.
  • let the chickens out of their coop pretty soon so they can eat some grass and visit you outside your office window and then return and....

Good Grief! Is that all I'm thinking about on this Friday morning before 8:00? I guess I don't really think of such strange things at all. In fact for others it may seem absolutely boring! It all comes out to the same sort of things I think about the rest of the week the minute I pull myself out of bed. The same old stuff...the same old Shirley.

At least I know I got one item right and that was that I must take God with me throughout my day. For if I don't, regardless of what I do, the day will be worth nothing in the end, boring or not to someone else, successful or not to me.

Will I be more organized in my thinking tomorrow just because I made a list today?
Probably not. The problem is I am still me and my mind still works the same. Regardless of the time, regardless of the day.

What do you think about on Fridays before 8:00? Are they peaceful thoughts? Perhaps you can enlighten me to some new thing that will make my brain work better. Just remember that main point. There's one thing only that will make a difference in our patterns of thinking regardless of how silly or important they come out to someone else.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crossing over to Welcome You

Rachel Hauck is a multi-published author living in central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. Agraduate of Ohio State University with a BA inJournalism, Rachel has been published since 2004. Rachel worked in youth ministry for eighteen years andnow co-leads a prayer and worship ministry, FireDweller, with Tony and three area pastors. She is alsothe worship leader for Church On The Rock, Melbourne.Rachel is member of American Christian fiction Writerswhere she served twice as President and is now on theAdvisory Board.

SKC: What books or project are you working on now?

RH: I’m working on my second lowcountry story, Love Starts With Elle. The first is Sweet Caroline which came out in February.

SKC: What special something inspired you to come up with your very first book?

RH: My very first book was a two plot, WW2 epic. I wrote it in the early ‘90s. I’ve always been fascinated with the WW2 generation and their patriotism and courage. My father-in-law is a war vet and was stationed in the Aleutians during the war.

World War II books were big in Christian fiction in the ‘90s so it seemed like a good subject and setting.

SKC: How long had you been writing before you got your first contract?

RH: I’d written one book and one proposal before I signed with Heartsong in 2002. I’d been writing off and on for eight years, more off than on. I’d finished the WW2 book but was also working fulltime and picking up ministry responsibilities.

SKC: Describe your writing genre and sub-genre, and why you chose what you chose.

RH: I write chickmance which is chick lit and romance combination. I think I ended up in this genre by default, but it is a right fit for me though I’m interested in other types of stories.
I like character driven stories. I like romance, I like the woman’s journey.

SKC: Are you in any Groups that help you in your writing? If so, tell us about them.

RH: I have never maintained a successful crit partner relationship, but I brainstorm with Christine Lynxwiler and Susan May Warren. This works really well for all three of us, and if I get stuck, I call Susie and rehash the story or brainstorm plot points. We know each other’s story well enough it’s a fast, fun call. Susie keeps me on track, too, when I get a wild idea about changing something. One book she forbid me to change anything without clearing it with her. (smile) It worked out well.

SKC: What advice do you have for other new and inspiring authors coming into the field of writing?

RH: “Back side in chair” is the best writing advice I can give. You can’t change, edit or submit a book that doesn’t exist. Hang in there in the hard times. Set aside time to write and keep it. Be teachable. Able to change. Read a lot.

SKC: I enjoy asking this question. Many authors write for both the ABA and the CBA markets nowadays. What market do you write for, and what are your thoughts about inspirational writers writing Crossover Stories?

RH: I write in the CBA market, but I’m thrilled when author’s write for both, or write cross over stories. I think we should consider ourselves Christians who are writers instead of Christian writers. The fragrance of God in and on me perfumes my stories whether they are written with a more obvious or subtle Christian perspective. We should consider all doors open to us. Christian’s who write should not shrink back, but branch out, look for ways to get our stories into the hands of millions.

SKC: Many authors are often asked how they deal with writer's block. How do you overcome it?

RH: Weird, but I never have writer’s block. If the spirit of God dwells in me, why should I not be creative. However, I do get frustrated and stuck, feel like my writing is boring or “all the same.” I just keep writing and rewriting. I read. Listen to music, take a walk. Pray! Prayer is the best source of inspiration.

SKC: What do you believe is the KEY to writing a good book?

RH: GREAT storytelling. Tell. A. Great. Story. Think outside the box, ask a lot of why and what if questions. Yes, lovely writing is helpful, but great characters telling a great story is the key to successful books.

SKC: How do you schedule your time?

RH: I write five, sometimes six, days a week. I schedule my day just like if I had a job. I work about six to eight hours a day until I’m closer to deadline, then maybe twelve hours a day.
Each day is different, but most of the time I sit down to write about noon.

SKC: Why do so many authors have a difficult time coming up with their one-line blurbs?

RH: Good questions. It’s hard to boil down an 80,000 to 100,000 word book into a one liner, but with practice it’s easy. I find by the time I tell every one what the book is about over a course of five or six months, I’ve honed a pretty nice one liner.

SKC: What is your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.

RH: I come up with a character and plot about the same time, thinking of a hook, over all premise. I think and write notes, research a little. I brainstorm then write a synopsis which goes to my editor. She comes back with ideas and input, then I rewrite it and go from there.
I brainstorm with Susie and Chris, then start writing. I write the opening third until I feel it’s how and what I want the story to be, then work toward the middle and end. I rewrite a lot. A. Lot. My characters sound plastic and silly until about the fifth rewrite. I may start rewriting the beginning before I’ve written the final few chapters so I know exactly where the story is going, then create the perfect (hopefully) ending.

SKC: After you finish your present project what plans do you have?

RH: I have another book on my current contract, so I’ll start thinking of the next idea and where I want to go. I may write my first more serious book dealing with a social issue I’m concerned about.

Thank you so much for having me!! This was fun!

Rachel, I can’t thank you enough for coming by to visit! It means a lot to me and to my visitors here it at this site! God bless you!