Starting June 1st (this year) there will be a contest to name my book about Mary, Mother of Jesus. The name, Mary, must be in the title and Whitaker House would prefer a short title. The five finalists will receive an autographed copy of the book and the winner will be noted on Facebook along with a $25 gift certificate. The contest will end August 31st. The book debuts in the fall of 2016 so the finalists and winner need to know their books will be available around September of 2016. As most of you know, publishers work 1 and 1/2 to two years ahead. Publicity will begin the first of the year so the title must be chosen by the fall. Send title suggestions to: email@example.com Looking forward to hearing from my readers!
The summary may give you some suggestions:
The Nativity story has been told many times, from many points of view. This is Mary’s story, told through her eyes. Familiar Scriptural scenes from the Bible, but from a the perspective of her humanity. How did she feel when she began to see changes in her body according to the word of the angel? How did both families react when she returns from visiting her cousin, obviously pregnant? Experience Joseph’s anguish at what he deems her betrayal, the whispering in the village and the humiliation of her parents who believe Joseph and Mary did not wait out her betrothal time. A tender scene after the angel reassures Joseph, his apology to Mary and their quiet marriage. How and when did Joseph die? When were her four sons and her daughter’s born? What was rural life in the small village of Nazareth like? Like the disciples, Mary did not really understand the mission of Jesus. She did not expect the crucifixion. Only after the resurrection did they all fully understand. Mary was so young, perhaps 13 or14, and was given a monumental task. Yet her faith in her God never wavered. Her strength shines through as she walks through the pages of history, forever remembered as the mother of our Savior.Read More
We all have favorite articles of clothing we hate to part with and men are known to hang on to things long past their normal period of use. I’ve been in the process of downsizing, getting rid of unnecessary clothing and keepsakes, and of course eyed a few things of my husband’s that needed to be thrown out. In this case it was a brown plaid cotton shirt, so old and thin that it was shredded in the back. He wore it to tennis because “it keeps me cool”. Any attempts to appeal to his sense of propriety failed. Finally, I asked him one question. “If I came down to the tennis court in pants that had food stains on them, a blouse that was torn, my hair uncombed and no makeup, would you be proud to introduce me to your fellow players as your wife?” He didn’t answer but I could tell the wheels were going around. The next day, I was working in my office when he went by down the hallway with the offending shirt in his hand. I didn’t dare follow him to see where he was taking it, but when he went to walk the dog, I raced to the garage to see if it was in the laundry hamper or the trash. It was in the trash! I breathed a quick Hallelujah, did my snoopy happy dance and went back to my office. The shirt was not mentioned when he came back. The defendant received it’s just desserts (the trash) and the case was closed.Read More
I generally do not write about animals, but we have 30 pigeons and 3 young chickens. We used to have one older hen but she was creating a ruckus every day in the chicken yard. Before my youngest son finished the totally enclosed chicken yard, I had to go and let the chickens out every morning and lock them up at night to protect them from the critters. Rhoda, the remaining chicken of our small flock of two has never been a friendly chicken. More like a big grump. When my husband added 3 young chickens to the yard, she got her beak out of joint and made their lives miserable. Before I could get out there (at the crack of dawn, mind you) to open the chicken house, there was a regular donnybrook going on. Lots of squawking and peeping. How far could they get away in a remodeled doghouse? I kept threatening chicken frickasee, but that didn’t phase Rhoda. I finally gave her to the gardner to add to his small flock. He seemed to think Rhoda needed a rooster. Now that’s a thought. Hopefully, in her new quarters she will be less grumpy and see what it is like to be at the bottom of the pecking order. We women are nurturers. Whether it’s a human baby or baby chickens. I wanted to protect my little chickadees from their wicked stepmother. My husband, being the practical left-brained man he is, murmured, “The chickens are fine!” He has a hearing loss and didn’t have to wake up to the melee in the chickenhouse every morning. The first morning I scattered their seed after Rhoda left, the little chickens attacked the food like starving children. Rhoda always hogged the food. She’d run back and forth between the two piles of food squawking and the little chickens would run away. Feeling pleased with myself for solving the chicken problem, I glanced at the pigeon coop. Now if I could just do something with the pigeons……Read More
For over a year my hands have broken out, ugly sores, breaks of skin, etc. At times I had 4 to 5 bandaids on my fingers. I wanted to hide my hands under my armpits! The dermatologist was puzzled, prescribed creams, twice. Friends tried to help, suggesting creams and ointments that worked great for Aunt Sarah, or Grandfather on his farm, etc. Nothing worked. I prayed, and others prayed, but my fingers got worse. It was difficult to do anything with my hands, cook dinner, button a blouse, hook a necklace. At one time I thought it was the gels that were used on my nails when one day after a manicure, my fingers turned beet red and itched. We had to gradually let the gels grow out so my own nails could grow. Mystery solved! But my fingers broke out again. Then I hurt my back, so that the last few days before we left for our vacation week in Alaska, I didn’t work in the office. Towards the end of the week in Alaska, my fingers amazingly healed! Not a cut or sore in sight. I came home on a Friday, rejoicing that God had healed me. At church we rejoiced, at my Bible study we rejoiced and praised God. Then Thursday of that week, my hands broke out again. I had an appointment with a dermatology specialist the following Tuesday. I’d cancelled the first appointment with him when my hands were healed as there was nothing to show him. The second appointment he was able to see my hands at their worst. I was beside myself with frustration. He studied them, heard my story of healing in Alaska, and then asked a simple question: “What did you NOT do in Alaska that you do at home?” The only thing I could think of was that I didn’t work in my office. The light began to dawn. I am a writer, I do lots of research, I run off reams of paper to review information and chapters to take to my critique group. I handle….. paper! Specifically computer paper. The doctor suggested that I wear thin cotton gloves when handling the paper! In my desperation I was willing to do anything and did that. Voila! My hands cleared up again! As long as I use the gloves to handle the computer paper my hands remain normal. Now my friends thought that was a hoot — a writer allergic to paper! But not just any paper, computer paper. Some chemical that is used in the processing of the paper. I am down to my last ream of one brand and need to buy another box. I may try another brand, but am wary of repeating the problem with my hands. If any of you have had a problem with your hands breaking out, maybe this is your solution too. I’d love to hear from you. I may feel silly, but considering the alternative, I put on my little white cotton gloves! Blessings, DianaRead More
A book is finished, off to the press and there is no more editing to be done. You sit and stare at the computer which gives you a blank screen. What now? What is the project you are to tackle next? One gets so absorbed in writing, research, communicating with your editor, and then suddenly, it is done and there is that letdown, no adrenaline rush that sent you to the computer each day as you watched the story unfold on the screen. Your characters came together and the story wound up and that’s it. Or is it? How do we know what the next subject should be? One can drag out some old story starts and see what can be done with them, flip through the Bible and see if a character jumps out at you, try a new genre, or pray for wisdom and guidance to know His plan. I chose the latter but there was no immediate answer. The halls of heaven were silent, my creative muse was asleep. Then I got one of those e- mails that every writer loves to receive. A reader was delighted to find my books, read all of them and loved every one. They just had to tell me they couldn’t put the books down. What wonderful encouragement for a writer bogged down with the “I haven’t the faintest idea what to write next” doldrums. I couldn’t pass up a little PR so sent the e-mail on to my editor, letting her know that people were reading the books and liked them. No harm, right?
I was writing the e-mail and in the process of typing, found myself saying, “Oh, and the project I’m working on now is Mary, the mother of Jesus.” Pause, hands lift from the keyboard. I am? Didn’t know it until that moment. Does our loving God have a sense of humor or what? I sat back. Hmmm. That is a very controversial subject. There are different beliefs on Mary. She’s been deified, portrayed as an eternal virgin, and her life in the Scriptures has been analyzed to a fine degree. Take on this icon? Whew. Then the Lord began to show me how He wanted her portrayed. It was so simple I became intrigued. The creative muse woke up, the adrenalin began to flow and the story began to take shape in my mind. Whenever I write, I invite the Holy Spirit to bring His inspiration to the pages. He has done that over and over in my other books. God will place the book and I pray my readers will see a different view of Mary, just as I have portrayed other women of the Bible as God sees them, not as man wants to portray them. It is a challenge, but God is up to challenges. Doesn’t He remind us that nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for Him?Read More
For the last six weeks I’ve had the privalege of teaching a writing class to a group of seniors at a Salvation Army complex here in San Diego. We worked on memoirs and it was a delight to hear excerpts from their lives each week. As they heard other’s stories, they felt more free to share their own. My job was to guide as to structure, tips on what to share, how to organize, etc. I read from other biographies to give them some ideas on how dialogue can be interspersed to move the story. There were some tears as some not-so-happy memories emerged and while some shared the poignant ones, others were reluctant and felt there were things from childhood they could not share, with others or with their families. My advice to them was to write it all out, every detail, and then commit it to the fireplace or the trash bin. There is something about acknowledging painful incidents of our past that brings them out of hiding and sets us free from the power they had over our lives. We can just give the account as an offering to God and let go. He knows all about it anyway. If any of you writers out there are interested, contact your Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator if you have a SA complex in your area. It is well worth the time. What a blessing!Read More