Thursday, November 28, 2013

Oh yeah, turkey and dressing, side dishes, deserts and good friends to share the meal, then there is the football game coming up and . . .

and . . .

what am I thinking? Thanksgiving is not about food and football.

The name says it all. Thanksgiving is about stopping to count our blessings and to give thanks to our creator for all He has given us, and I don't know about you but Saundra and I have been blessed far beyond what we have any right to expect.

The greatest blessing, that I'm afraid we Christians too often take for granted, is the gift of our salvation. We didn't earn that and there is nothing we could do to deserve it. It is an unthinkable gift from a loving father, one we don't stop to give thanks for often enough.

Then there is our health, we are indeed blessed there. Sure, at our age we have some small issues, but overall we have been blessed in that department our entire lives.

We're blessed with family, five kids, ten grandkids, one great-grandson and yet another great grandkid on the way. What a huge blessing, and they are all happy and healthy and we are immensely grateful.

We have a nice home that is paid for and fits our needs very well. We don't have a lot of money but our finances are stable and we have what we need. Oh sure, there are things that we want, we wouldn't be human if there weren't things we'd like to have, but I can't think of a thing that we REALLY NEED that we don't have.

We really miss mom, particularly on holidays, but we console ourselves knowing how wonderfully happy she is and who she is with. Today of all days I remember a statement she made to me once, "I've never been hurt, never been mistreated, never been hungry. I've walked with the Lord all my life and it has been a wonderful life." She said something like that just months before she passed on, and thinking back on it that would pretty much go for me as well. I've had some hard times, but overall have been blessed my entire life and like mom have walked with the Lord for all of it.

I'm going to cut me off a big slice of gratitude and completely cover it with praise gravy because that is going to be my main focus today, giving thanks. And maybe having a little dressing on the side.

What have YOU got to be thankful for?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tulsa Fellowship of Christian Writers

It was a fast trip to Tulsa Oklahoma, do a program for them, a quick overnight then a drive back home. But it was a great experience.

My thanks to Lavon Hightower Lewis for acting as my host. She was delightful. I got there in time to go out to eat with her, with President Elece Hollis (who was celebrating her birthday) and with some of the officers of the group. We had a nice visit then made the drive over to the Kirk of the Hills church, which was a magnificent facility, for the meeting.

There was a nice turnout, and those in attendance were very interactive which always made doing a presentation more enjoyable. If anybody lives in the Tulsa area and you are not associated with this group, you really should be. You can find out more about the organization at The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 o'clock pm there at the church.

The Fellowship of Christian Writers started with a handful of writers in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area in 1979. Originally called Tulsa Christian Writers Club, they changed their name to Fellowship of Christian Writers (FCW) in 1999 to reflect their growing influence outside of the geographic region. Thanks to the Internet and their Yahoo chat group, FCW has touched hundreds of writers and probably thousands of readers because of those writers' words.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby!

The kids are giving Saundra a special birthday today Actually it isn't her birthday, that's not for a month yet but they determined it was when everybody could get together the easiest so pretty much everybody will be here.

 Why is it special? I'll just say she is hitting a milestone and let it go at that although I will tell you that we went steady in high school, and people nearly always guess her to be 10-15 years younger than she is. In fact I have a picture of us in high school.

Saundra is my biggest supporter and makes it possible for me to do what I do, both as a writer and as an agent. When mother was alive she was a strong supporter as well and is the conduit that I got my gift for story-telling through. I haven't had to battle the lack of support that plagues many authors. They've been there for me.

That's what is on my mind as I hope you will join me in wishing her an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I love you, sweetheart!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Starting to write fiction

“I do want to start writing,” the author said in the workshop, “but I want to write fiction. I’m a storyteller. I’m having trouble getting started writing my stories.”
Just because somebody can cook a great hamburger doesn’t mean they are ready to open a restaurant. And just because someone can tell a great story doesn’t mean they can write those stories in a way that can be published. There are skills required to take a story into the proper written form, skills that can be mastered but ones that must be mastered to be successful.
I’m one of those writers myself. I don't consider myself a writer, but a storyteller trying to write my stories in such a way as to be entertaining. Virtually every time I tell somebody I'm a writer the people I'm talking to say, “I've always wanted to write a book,” or “I have all these great experiences that people keep telling me I should write down, “ or something of the sort. My response is always the same, “so, why haven't you?”
It is true that some may not be able to do it, but what’s the worst that can happen by trying? We end up with some cute stories we can pass down to our family. And it may well be that there will be Pulitzer Prize caliber stories that are never written because the one person who could have written them never tried.
What does it take to be a writer? You just write. That's it. A writer writes. Now to become a published writer, that takes a lot more, and to sustain yourself at it to the point where you can claim to be an author is still further up the tree. 
Do you have to wait until you get old and beat up like I am before you can start? Absolutely not. There are great markets even now that publish young writers. I published some poetry and some articles while I was still in high school. How do you get published in these markets? The same way all writers get published, you submit to them with a carefully worded letter, and you endure the rejection letters from all the places that don't want your work until you find the one that does like every other writer that ever lived. 
At any given time our work may only fit at one place in the whole publishing industry. But as soon as that opportunity closes, now it only fits at one place but that place is somewhere else. It’s like the skit that used to happen at the end of the old “Laugh In” show. People opening and closing windows while trading lines. That’s a perfect picture of the publishing industry. Or for those who do not remember that old show I’m sure you have seen the whack-a-mole game. It’s the same principle.
You see, it's not always about how good the writing is - even a great piece can be too early or too late. or they just did one like it, or not a good fit for the publisher, etc. It's like assembling a puzzle, and all of the pieces have to be in place for publication to occur.