Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Word of God: Speak Peace to Me

                                             by permission www.freedigitalphotos.come

I wonder how many words I spoke today. I wonder how many words I heard today. I worked a 13 hour day today and in thirty minute drive home tonight, the silence was comforting. It was a place where I sought to throw all my unrest, self doubt, questions, worry, and fatigue at the feet of Jesus. It was a place where I felt poured out and spent after a long day.

I've been staring at a blank page for chapter 17 of Lena's Courage for several days now, wondering if I'll find words for it.

The scripture for our worship meeting tonight was Phillipians 1: 3-6:  "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel form the first day until now. And I am sure of this that he who began a good work in you  will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Sigh. Less of me. More of you God.

As I meditated on the day, I flipped the radio on when Mercy Me came on:

John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

NaNo: zero words today. God: one word--"peace".

                                                          by permission www.freedigitalphotos.com

Good night. Peace.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaNoWriMo and Counting: Part 2

Wow, NaNo is hard but fun.

All my creativity is being sucked into my WIP, and no amount of coffee will make this blog installation very witty because its midnight.

So here are the word totals so far.
(October: 9444--the ramp up to NaNo)
November 1: 1000
                  2: 1744 (1844-total)
                  3: 0
                  4: 0
                  5: 1047 (2891)
                  6: 1249 (4140)
                  7:  372 (4512)
                  8: 0
                  9: 1895(6407)
                 10: 0
                 11: 0
                 12: 0
                 13: 2127 (8534)
                 14: 0
                 15: 0
                 16: 0
                 17: 0--researching though :o)
                 18: 0--more research about the history of women doctor's
                 19: 914 (9448)
                 20: 0
                 21: 0
                 22: 0
                 23: 0
                 24: 0
                 25: 0
                 26: 0
                 27: 0
                 28: 0
                 29: 0
                 30: 1535 (10,983)

October + November = 20,427!!! Yeah!

How are you doing with NaNo? Does knowing everyone else is trying to keep plugging away help keep you writing?

Zero words today, but all this writing drew my husband's attention to the poor state of being my office was in:

So, now it looks like this:

Oh, and I call my light my "John Boy" light. Anyone remember the hanging light that John Boy of the Walton's sat under to write every night? I love it. Can't you just hear that lulling narration?
--night John Boy.

What conditions do your surroundings need to be in before you can relax?
What view do you enjoy while you write?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Researching 19th Century: A Primary Source--Dr. Chase

Where do you look for primary source information to research your historical works of fiction?

A primary source is considered an actual document from someone who lived in the time period you are researching. Most genealogical research centers in your local library will have compiled histories obtained from primary sources for that locale. Other examples include the family Bible, the U.S. Federal Census, personal letters, wills, and probate records, which are court documents for things like guardianships.

used w/ permission: www.freedigitialphotos.net

I love to research family history and have had a lot of practice doing it since I was thirteen years old. But how do you find out about the more tedious details of daily living to help flesh out your understanding of historical time periods? How do you find more accurate details to help make your historical fiction more interesting and reflective of the time?

used w/ permission: www.freedigitalphotos.net

I stumbled upon a fantastic primary resource in an antique mall last spring. I'd read about pioneer homes of the 19th century having a volume of works for the purpose of having access to common medical treatments of the time. Much of frontier and rural America did not have ready access to a local physician, so this volume was heavily used by families and written in an easily understandable manner for common folk. I'd dreamed of finding one of these. I'd combed the internet but didn't know a title or author's name to use for the search. Last March while on a retreat with our Sunday School class in Shipshewana, Indiana, I stumbled on a copy of Dr. Chase's Last Complete Work.  Aha! I'd found it! Tingling with excitement, I purchased my $35 copy copyrighted in 1903. It is a 3rd edition, a Memorial Edition compiling all the former works he'd ever published which date back to pre-Civil War.

This book contains everything! The contents page lists not only medical helps but also food for the sick, cooking recipes, and other information for the "departments" of toilet, dairy, domestic animals, agriculture, mechanical, and bee-keeping. It was basically the internet of the 19th century--it was the place you looked to find an answer to your questions. Eureka!

Now if you think that publishing is changing now, just think, this article states that Dr. Chase's publications were second in sales only to the Bible in 1864. The building pictured above is the publishing house in Ann Arbor, MI, that Dr. Chase built to publish his own works. Here is a link to an interesting article.http://www.aadl.org/gallery/buildings/hhaa084.gif.html

Though his original work was only a 16 page pamphlet, the Memorial edition I purchased is 865 pages long including a wonderful index.  I've posted the link on the right hand side of my blog of an online access to read this book for your works of historical fiction and general interest. Here also, is the link: http://www.archive.org/stream/drchasesthirdlas00chas#page/n9/mode/2up 

Also, while researching a little more about Dr. Chase, I found the transcript for a nice piece from NPR radio about how the 19th century pharmacist influenced the local soda fountain. Here's the link: http://wap.npr.org/news/Science/140093866

Have fun!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo and Counting

Well, nothing fancy tonight. Only a word count tally.

I'm working on my second novel, Lena's Courage, a Christian Historical Romance. It's set in 1894, northern Wisconsin in a fictitious town.

Lena is a doctor sent north to "rest" after spending her fortune to care for the poor to the point of personal illness. Riley is a cowboy who's hung up his star when his best friend is killed. He's drifted for ten years and has come home to settle his final debts--the care of his friend's teenaged fatherless son. When Riley runs into Lena while chasing the boy down after he's stolen candy from the local general store, her hand is severely cut--ruining her future plans to become a surgeon. Lena has lost her courage, Riley is just finding his. What courage will it take to risk sacrificing a future in medicine or love?

Okay, that's my first shot at a back cover hook--very much a first draft since it's now 11pm (really midnight if you count the time change!)

I'm on chapter 14.

NaNoWriMo=National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words from November 1-30.

So here it is:
November 1: 1000
                  2: 1744 (1844 total)
                  3: 0
                  4: 0
                  5: 1047 (2891)
                  6: 1249 (4140)
                  7: 372 (4512)
                  8: 0
                  9: 1895 (6407)
                10: 0
                11: 0
                12: 0
                13: 2127 (8534)

Thanks to the challenge by my critique partner, Jaime Wright, I would have never signed up for this. j
What challenges have you set for yourself? How are you doing?

Also, feel free to critique the feeble attempt on the book cover hook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Poco a Poco: Little by Little--NaNoWriMo

How does a happily married, busy mother of two teens who works full time get anything done?

                                        used with permission: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

I know I'm not the only woman in the world managing this balancing act every waking moment of everyday, 365 days a year, seemingly 24-7!  So, how do you do it?

At my first writer's conference, I was blessed to sit beside a wonderful woman who had the gift of encouragement and I experienced that moment when you are absolutely certain that God just breathed through that person directly to you. She said something so simple, yet it rang so profound to me at that time in my life when I felt very overwhelmed. I mentioned to her that it felt as though only the thing I focused on for a short time seemed well organized and satisfying, but always at the expense of everything else falling to pieces. If I'd gotten all the laundry done and put away, then the bills didn't get sent. Or if I'd stayed late at work and finished a stack of unattended correspondence, then supper didn't get made. Or if I'd managed to walk on the treadmill for thirty minutes, I sacrificed my devotional time. I was vexed with guilt. I felt as if I was constantly going around putting out fires, never in control of the wind that fed them.

She said, bring more balance by doing little by little of each thing.  Ah, "poco a poco"--little by little. Sort of like the little engine that could?

I could have kissed her feet!  Those words seemed so simple, but they felt like a life preserver to me at the time!

Now, I've learned I can do a mile on the treadmill in 12 minutes, which I do five days a week. I keep a Bible at my workstation, and read a Psalm or several New Testament verses before or during the work day. I pray during my 15 minute commute. I do laundry a little each day--it may only be putting a short stack of folded towels away. I try to make the bed daily--even if the rest of the bedroom is strewn with an assortment of clean and dirty clothes. I make breakfast everyday for my family, except on weekends--that way if I'm home late from work, or didn't have time to preplan supper, or have no groceries in the fridge, at least we've started the day well. Plus, breakfast is my time with the kids when evenings are spent shuffling everyone in different directions.

So, how does poco-a-poco apply to writing?

I'm so glad you asked!  Its NaNoWriMo this month.  National Novel Writing Month--when you are challenged to write a novel in a month. The goal is to write 50,000 words between November 1 and 30th. I know, it seems mountainous for sure. But I say to this mountain--MOVE!  So, taking poco-a-poco into account, I'm writing a novel this month, little by little. I'll post my word counts daily and see if how close I can come. Learn more about NaNoWriMo at http://www.nanowrimo.org

I started by forging a path to the desk in my office last night:

BUT, I shall not be overwhelmed. I shall not be riddled with guilt. I shall not let it get me down if I don't meet my goal. And I shall still walk on my treadmill everyday. Ok, the laundry might be the mountain that won't MOVE this month. But that's ok.

So, how do you balance your life, love, work, faith, health, hobbies?  What secrets have you found to cope with 17-18 hour days, and short nights? What sabbath do you take and when? Are you taking care of yourself well--even if its little by little?

Take time to see the blessings each day. This beautiful dawn-scape greeted me yesterday morning as I went out the door, arms full of travel coffee mug, lunch, purse, and keys that I just stopped and stared in awe of God's gift--until I felt the coffee dripping down my pants and onto my shoes!  Thankfully my coffee, pants, and shoes were all brown, so no worries. I hurriedly scrubbed them a little, snapped a pic and hopped in my minivan with a smile. Thanks God.

NaNoWriMo Word Count:
November 1: 1000 words.
              2nd: 1744 words.