Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why it matters.


As I’m sure I have said enough lately…the book is out very soon.  I’ve been anticipating this release for months.  It’s been a surreal experience mostly.  An anxiety-inducing experience.  And an exciting experience, for sure.  And right now, I want to tell you why my book matters.
Absolved is a story about forgiveness. And I want to share thoughts regarding forgiveness.  I’ll start with reminding you of how the word “forgive” is defined:

Forgive
verb
:to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong): to stop blaming (someone)
:to stop feeling anger about (something): to forgive someone for (something wrong)
:to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)

We’ve all had our share of experience with needing to forgive.  Even early in life, after fighting with childhood friends or siblings.  I still remember being forced to hug my sisters after a fight.  It was almost worse than the fight itself, having to show affection when I was angry.  However, we always forgave each other and became friends again, and it was easy then.  We were young and didn’t hold grudges.

Of course it isn’t as easy to forgive when you grow up.  Sometimes hurt turns into anger, and anger doesn’t allow much else to creep in.  We know forgiveness is a good thing, but our pride gets in the way.  The world offers this phrase: “forgive, but never forget.” 

“Forgive, but never forget.”  This is an interesting one.  Is it true forgiveness if you’re holding on the memory of the hurt?  And why exactly are you supposed to remember the wrong, if you’re forgiving it?  If, as the dictionary tells us, to forgive is to stop feeling anger toward someone, or to stop blaming someone….why are we holding on to the memory?  It baffles me that this is a common mentality regarding forgiveness.  And I can’t help but think of what we are commanded, as Christians, to do.
We are to love one another.  Forgive one another.  How many of us recite the Lord’s Prayer?  As a Catholic, I say it during every mass.  I also say it daily while praying the rosary.  “…and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespassed against us…”  Ah.  Yes.  We are to forgive others.  And I’m not sure Jesus intended for us to “forgive, but never forget.”  After all, he paid a pretty big price so that we could be forgiven. 

Psalm 103:12
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

 This verse is reassuring to me.  And after a good confession, I do not feel as though I’m being told “Now, Christy, you’re forgiven this time, but I’m going to remember this!”  No, I don’t feel that way at all.  I feel like the sin was taken away, and forgotten.  I feel free from it.  I feel true forgiveness.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could always forgive each other in that way?  This is what I strive for in my marriage.  We’ve had our struggles in the past, but I think my husband and I are pretty decent at the moving on, and not bringing up old arguments thing.  Lately I’ve been the one in need of his forgiveness.  I’m very pregnant, very hormonal, and NOT always very nice.  But the man has been patient with me…and after I apologize, he accepts.  He doesn’t say “Yeah, okay, you’re sorry and I accept…but blah blah blah, you made me angry, blah blah blah.”  He just accepts.  And we move on.  It’s pretty awesome. 

It’s often a hard concept, forgiving someone…especially when the hurt is really deep.  I’ve only listed a couple of minor examples.  You could be reading them and thinking maybe it doesn’t apply to you, because the hurt you’re experiencing doesn’t compare to a silly marital spat. I understand that.  My main character in Absolved struggled for years because she simply didn’t know how to go about the whole forgiveness thing.

I don’t think it has to be difficult though, when we truly give it to God.  If you believe in Him all things are possible, surely you can believe He can help you to forgive.  Or to ask for forgiveness, if you are on the other side of things.  It is such a beautiful grace that is available to each of us.  And such a freeing grace.

 I hope by reading my book readers feel encouraged to embrace what true forgiveness is.  It can repair broken relationships, it can take away pain, it can bring us closer to God.  It is important, and it matters.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thank you, Disney, for Frozen.


We recently became the owners of the Frozen DVD, thanks to my Mom.  Cute movie for sure, but my girls are a bit obsessed with it.  They want to watch it daily…and I’m just going to go ahead and admit that I’ve been allowing it. 

Frozen is on as I write this blog.  Frozen was on yesterday as I added a little over 1,000 words to my new book.  Also, Frozen allowed a nap the other day while my youngest napped.  The girls get so wrapped up in the movie, they have no requests for me!

They aren’t in a complete state of neglect, so please do not worry about them.  They’ve also still had playground, library and pre-school time this week.  I just had to share my appreciation for the breaks this movie has given me.  They are especially nice as I approach my 32nd week of pregnancy and am more and more tired.

32 weeks already? Yes, on Monday.  This pregnancy has flown by.  I am very ready to meet our new little guy and can’t wait to breathe in that new baby smell again.  It never gets old.

Oh, and something else is approaching, even before the birth of our fifth.  MY BOOK RELEASE.  I’m still a little in disbelief that I’m almost officially a published author.  I recently saw my cover art for the first time and I can’t exactly describe how it felt to see a book cover with my name on it.  I am really excited.  Oh, and the cover art has a few small changes still but I will share it with you all as soon as it is finalized. 

I need to also mention how good it feels to have friends around who want to help me with my book release.  I have a group of amazing women around me, who are all busy mothers themselves, who are here for me, coming up with marketing ideas and sharing my facebook author page.  You ladies know who you are!  One of these days I will figure out how to properly thank you for all that you do. 

Good things are happening, that is for certain.  I’m thanking God several times a day for the many blessings in my life.

Until next time…

 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finally...a blog hop post!


This blog hop continuation was sent to me by fellow author Jim Landwehr.  In this hop, authors answer four questions and then pass the blog on to other author friends.  Here are my answers to the interview questions.  (Thanks Jim for sending this along, and for your patience!)

1.        What am I working on?

 

I am really close to my release date for my first published book, Absolved.  I’ve recently passed cover art ideas along to my publisher, and should have the cover art soon, so I am anxiously awaiting that.  I’m also just counting down the days to the release as time continues to go by very quickly.  I’m also in the middle of writing my second book, a manuscript I’ve titled The Consequence, which is a story of a marriage forever changed by infidelity.  Honestly what I’m really working on is raising four kids with my husband and growing the fifth in my belly until May, his due date.  Motherhood is the constant around here, and I’m grateful for that.

 

2.        How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 

To answer this I will tell you first that two of my rejections from literary agents I queried regarding this manuscript told me that my book has a “tough topic”.  I even had a male literary agent tell me he thought a female agent would be better suited for my book.  Why?  Because my main character has an abortion.  Controversial?  I suppose so.  I realize this is also a topic that divides many people and our country is currently seeing a lot of changes as abortion restrictions are being passed in state senate chambers.  When contacted by eLectio, I was told that they liked that it had a controversial aspect to it.  Honestly, I just believe my book has a story that needs to be told.  Ultimately it is a fiction work about forgiveness, and how the price has already been paid for all of us, regardless of what we’ve done.  My prayer is and has been from the start that God’s will is done with this book.

 

3.        Why do I write what I do?

 

I like to write.  I’ve said before and will say again that I do not believe I have a great talent for the craft, but I love it.  So I write.  I started to write Absolved after a prayer.  I knew I wanted to write a book but did not know what I wanted to write about…I know that may sound crazy. So I prayed that God would tell me what to write, for His will.  And this story came about.  It’s really an answer to a prayer.  Now…the new project is very different.  The Consequence idea came to me after an episode of “The Office” one night two years ago.  Seriously.  And more on that book will come in another blog later on.  But I write about people and circumstances that can be very real because I enjoy it.  I also hope that in some way what I write can help readers with the circumstances in their own lives.

 

4.        How does my writing process work?

If you know me, even just a little, you know I am a wife and mother before I am a writer.  So as far as the process of when I write, I have to squeeze in time when I can.  Absolved was written over the course of almost three years, usually at night while my family slept, sometimes while nursing a baby.  I had no handwritten notes at first, just sat down at the typewriter, wrote the first 5,000 words over the span of a week or so, and then deleted them all and began again.  I wasn’t sure what all would happen with my main character, just knew where I wanted her to end up.  There is a quote about writing by E.L. Doctorow: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog.  You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”  It’s one of my favorite quotes because it is absolute truth for me.  Even with the new project, The Consequence, I’ve written things I hadn’t originally planned for the book.  Things have just happened as I’ve gone along, and it’s part of the fun for me.

 

Now, please support another eLectio author, Jim Landwehr by checking out his blog at www.writerjimlandwehr.com, and also save the date of June 17th, the day his book, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, is set to be released.  I am so excited to read his book and will post a link to my blog and facebook page as soon as it is available so you can read it too.

 

Until next time…

 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stacey.


Stacey’s childhood is innocent and sweet.  She is a simple girl who has good manners and makes good grades in school.  Her mother can be hard on her, but only because she wants Stacey to be her very best. 

Stacey’s heart belongs to her father.  Although he is a very busy man, and gone often, while he is at home he makes her feel like she is the most important girl in the world.  He is always still in his work tie as he plays with her and reads her fairy tales, but she doesn’t mind.  She twirls his tie with her fingers as she uses his chest for a pillow while he tells stories, always animated and making up the funniest voices as he reads.  He is her hero.  Stacey believes her dad is the very best there is, and often prays he can spend less time at work and more time with her.

Fast forward five years.  Stacey is a teenager in her junior year of high school.  She is sad, withdrawn, lonely.  She finds comfort in the attention of the boys that tell her she is pretty.  She gives herself away to them in the hopes that it will make them love her.  She has a hole in her heart that came to be at the age of 12, when her father left.  There had been no warning that he was going.  Stacey had come home from school to find her mother weeping at the kitchen table and her father’s belongings gone.  He left without explanation.  He left without saying goodbye.  And what hurt Stacey the most was that he never came back to visit and never called.  It was if he had never loved her at all.  Now she would seek a different kind of love to make herself feel wanted.

Fast forward ten years.  Stacey’s life has continued on even though at times she felt it wasn’t possible.  She is able to meet and trust a good man.  She may even be able to have the kind of life she always wanted, if she could just get past the guilt.  She is holding something inside…a secret that haunts her and makes her feel unworthy of love.  She also carries the weight of resentment toward her father, the man she blames for her mistakes that led to the ultimate mistake of her life.

Now she knows she cannot be weighed down by this hurt anymore.  The pain is destroying her on the inside while she tries to hide it on the outside.

What are the steps Stacey needs to take to begin healing?  Is it possible to move on?  Find out on April 8th, when Absolved is released and available for purchase.

Until next time…