With all the talk on this blog lately, about asking for God’s help in our writing, My thoughts were directed to the image of a drive up window. A garbled voice comes over the speaker and asks, “May I help you?”
Or sitting at the counter in a dinner, and a tough old man wearing a white T-shirt with rolled up sleeves, wipes the counter with a moist rag and asks, “What’ll it be?”
The truth is, Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us to ask. He metaphorically stands at the door and knocks. He wants us to come to Him. He blesses us every minute, but sometimes we don’t recognize those blessings. Sometimes, we forget to thank Him, and sometimes the answer is no.
I concur with my fellow bloggers. God will, and does help us in our writing. I’ve noticed that if my motives are positive, my writing can be better than my abilities. If my motives are selfish, I’m left to my own wisdom and talent. The writing is not as good and I suffer from discouragement and doubt.
Another thing on my mind today, is my blog punctuality. You might’ve noticed I’ve been late posting for the past few weeks. I’m sorry, but I’m working at a more physical job and I’m too exhausted to write most nights. I’m getting more used to it though, and I promise I’ll be back on Saturday mornings soon.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On a final note, have you ever seen a book recycling operation? I have occasion to work with thousands of books each day, old and new. The books come to us from people who are finished with them. Some of the books are sold at severely discounted prices. Others are loaded into four feet square bins to send to the paper-recycling place.
Everyday, I gaze into the bins and think of the character in the Twilight Zone episode, who finally gets a chance to read every book in the library but he breaks his glasses and cannot read. See it in three parts, here. I also, think of each book as somebody’s baby.
I gaze at 110,592 cubic inches of the printed word, other writer’s children, and I’m sad. Then I pick up one of those children wishing I had the time to read. I think of all the lives that book probably touched, how many paper products it will be part of, and I feel happy to be part of the circle of life.
It still saddens me, however, when I see a book written by a friend of mine, sitting in the pile. Then, I realize it’s an indication of how the book sold. You should see all the copies of Twilight.
When Heather Moore announced the release of her new book. I jumped at the chance to do a review. Alma the Younger from the Book of Mormon is one of my personal heroes and I couldn’t wait to see how Heather painted his picture.
How would you fictionalize the account of this ancient prophet? Let me just say, I was pleased. In the preface, the author made some very good points about the man and what he was doing with the Son’s of King Mosiah. She said, I was struck with the idea that Alma the Younger was no rebellious teenager, playing pranks, or skipping Sabbath meetings to go fishing or hunting . . . we might ask why the Lord saw fit to send an angel to intervene in Alma the Younger’s behalf? Yes, his father and many others had been praying and fasting for him . . . but there are many parents who pray for their errant children . . .
She goes on to speculate that Alma the Younger’s actions must have had the potential to destroy an entire nation.
The scriptural references are Book of Mormon, Mosiah 26-27 and Alma 36. The story leaves the reader with the sense that Christ’s atonement is real and is meant for everyone. The only criticism I would have is in the depiction of the time Alma was racked with torment because of his sins. I felt there was more to be said. Instead, I was left feeling Alma received a slap on the wrist for his sins.
Just as we can’t comprehend the anguish Jesus went through for us, I believe Alma went through so much more than was shown.
Other than that, I felt my hero was represented perfectly. Alma the Younger is a wonderful story, and I recommend it to everyone. You can get your copy at the usual places on the Internet or in stores. Published by Covenant Communications, this book is a good read.
By Keith N Fisher In the early days of aviation, planes didn’t have very much, by way of instruments. Perhaps, an oil pressure gauge. Pilots were left to navigate by their wits. Without a radio, they didn’t even have a compass, unless they carried one in their pocket.
Pilots flew by their own instincts. They had to navigate by looking at the landscape. They had to determine level flight by the feel of the aircraft. Thus, the term, flying by the seat of your pants.
Today is Father’s Day. I hope you have a good one. Also, I hope you remember your father, and thank him for doing his best with you.
It’s true that some fathers don’t do their best, but most of them do. Unless you’re Fred McMurray on My Three Sons, most fathers don’t have a clue. Mothers seem to have a natural gift for nurturing. Fathers are left to their wits.
It would be wonderful if each baby was born with it’s own set of instructions. If daughters had a pressure gauge installed in their forehead. A father could read the emotion level and act accordingly. He could read the artificial horizon to see if a kid was drifting off the strait and narrow path. He could read the fuel gauge to know when to give hugs.
Unfortunately, or maybe it’s a good thing, a father is left to the seat of his pants. He knows his wife has it under control, but he revels in his own sweet moments when things seem to come together. He lands in unfamiliar territory with low fuel grateful he didn’t crash, knowing he will have to take off again. He is flying by the seat of his pants, searching for the airdrome, bringing his children into adulthood.
In all your celebrating today, remember, there is another father. Perhaps we can use the day to give thanks to our loving Father in Heaven. He made it to the airdrome many years ago and he knows the way. His instruments are calibrated and he offers a hand to help.
My laptop decided to take a vacation. Not that it deserves one, it just decided to give me the blue screen of death every time I try to do something. I’m going to send it off to my friend Bill Justesen and have him get out the whip and chains, but for now, I downloaded my writing files (in safe mode) and I’ve resigned myself to sitting in my chair in front of my print server.
They say, change is inevitable, but I wonder if it was first said to equalize the playing field. You know. Someone noticed one guy is a really good cook. “Let’s make him an accountant, then he won’t be better then everyone else.”
Competition with others really is the way of life, but competition for time, when you are juggling activities, can be devastating. I’ve been working a new job lately. After almost a year of unemployment, I’m grateful to have something. Anyway, I worked a stationary job for many years. Sitting in an office with a calculator and a computer. Now, I’m working a more physical job and it’s killing me.
(Do you hear the sad music playing?) The truth is, I’m getting back in shape, but I’ve been neglecting my writing. I come home too tired to check my E-mail. Let alone write a chapter. Now my laptop has taken a powder, so I must sit here to write.
I look out the window with longing to write on my front porch. Last night I took a first draft to critique group and realized how much things have changed in the past month. The irony is, I feel truly fulfilled when I let my characters dictate a story. Or, when I wax poetic in a blog or an article, but unfortunately I haven’t made enough money to justify making it my full time job.
So I sit here in the bedroom I call my office, sharing the space with my daughter. I hear the wailing sound of a weed whacker and remember all the yard work I need to do. I miss my laptop, but I’ve got blogs and chapters to write.
Well, that is my rant. Thanks for listening. Pray for my, no, don’t pray for that worthless laptop. It’s been like a wayward teenager all these years. Time to get out the paddle and force it to work for a living.
With all the changes forced upon us daily, Its nice to know some things don’t change.
We spent the evening, yesterday, on Center Street in Orem, Utah. Each year, as part of Orem’s Summerfest celebration, they hold a parade. In most years it’s a blessing to have it in the evening, during the cool time of day.
This year, someone laid a tarp down on our traditional patch of grass, causing us to shift ten feet to the east. They come earlier every year. Last year, was the first parade I spent without my father since he’d died earlier, and I missed him again.
Over the years, our tradition has changed a little. We started out down by city hall, but after my daughter was born we stayed closer to home. (Not as far to walk.) Some time later, we used the time to rest and either mourned or celebrated after cooking all day in the Dutch oven cookoff.
One thing that has never changed, however, is our picnic. Each year we go early and have dinner while we watch the people converge. Whether it was Sub sandwiches or the fried chicken this year, it has become a tradition in our family.
We were treated, yesterday, to a cold front that blew through, and dropped barrels of rain in the afternoon. As we were eating, a cold wind drove us back to the house for coats and blankets but the tradition continued.
One of my neighbors stopped by to set up chairs for his family and laughed at us shivering over our plates.
He asked, “What are you guys doing? “We’re having a picnic,” I said. “Would you like some watermelon?”
I knew he thought we were crazy, but I realized how inbred our traditions are. Some things never change, and that’s a good thing. In a world where nothing is certain, jobs come and go. Fortunes are won and lost in a minute. It’s our traditions that keep us grounded.
Stop by next year. I’ll save a piece of watermelon for you.
Heather Justesen is carrying on a tradition of great literature. In her second book in the series, we delve further into the lives of the delightful circle of family and friends Heather created. In Rebound we folly Lilly through finding out her husband wasn't what he professed to be.
Meanwhile, her friend Curtis is struggling to find his birth parents and their paths converge. Heather has done a terrific job of depicting the feelings of betrayal and abandonment associated with the revelation that your husband has been living a secret life.
As usual, Heather is holding a contest as part of the blog tour. Go to her Blogsite for more info. Better hurry though, the giveaways happen between the 21st and the 25th. Find her book in Costco, Deseret Book, Barnes & Noble, and other fine bookstores. Also, her book is online at Amazon.
It has been a pleasure to be a stop on the blog tour. If you read The Balls in Her Court, you will want to read Rebound too. Pick up your copy now.
When I was kid, and we visited my Grandparents, As soon as we'd get up to leave, Grandpa would say, "Leaving already? You just got here." It didn't matter if we'd been there all day, it was the same thing. Now that I'm getting older, and I enjoy visitors more than I did before, I've found myself saying the same thing. "Ah you just got here."
Of course in my family the objection if justified. It seems that people keep their coats on when they come to visit. Maybe I should clean better. Would it help if I bought new furniture?
I logged into this blog today, and noticed I lost a follower. I worried that it was something I said. I wanted to send an email and say, "Leaving already? You just got here." I couldn't send an email, however. Not only because its not cool, but because I'm not sure who it was.
I cherish each and every one of you. The followers of my blog are like validation to y wriing career. Comments are like mana from heaven.
So, let me take this moment to say thank you to my followers. If I run off at the mouth, or keyboard, so t speak, please let me know. Stick around though, I tend to ramble on until somethng good comes out.
I feel truly honored and a little intimidated to be a Friendly Friday guest here at Day Dreamer. It’s hard to follow so many talented writers.
So, what should I write about today? Well, let me introduce myself. I’m a fifty something year old kid who still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. I write women’s fiction and three blogs a week. For a time, I was a blogger at Your LDS Neighborhood but still write occasional articles for that newsletter.
When I began to write seriously, I tried to be the next Dean Hughes. Somewhere along the way, I realized most of my stories fit in the women’s fiction genre. Since I’m the only man in a critique group of six women, I stopped fighting the stigma and accepted my plight. Introducing myself reminds me of an Alcoholic’s Anonymous meeting, “Hi, I’m Keith, and I write women’s fiction.”
Recently, I read an article about combining genres. I learned about putting romance in a thriller and how new genres are popping up out of nowhere. The writer of the article suggested a warning and it got me thinking about all the different possibilities.
Those of you who attended the LDStorymakers writer’s conference will remember the video constructed from the story we created during James Dashner’s presentation at the previous conference. Basically, a girl was afraid of pigs but forced to feed them, she learns to love the dear little guys, then things get real strange.
Here’s a genre combination I came up with, Lassie goes looking for Timmy and finds he’s been kidnapped by a zombie cult and she has to rescue him. Meanwhile, Lassie falls in love with Benji, but she discovers he’s the axe murderer the zombies have hired to create more living dead. Heart broken, Lassie enlists the help of Captain Kirk of the Enterprise and Scotty beams Timmy out of the zombie lair, but it’s too late. Timmy starts turning the enterprise crew into zombies.
It’s okay, however, because Spock calculates the variables and they fly around the sun to go forward in time. The zombies take over the Borg and Timmy is the leader. Then, we find out that just before the ship warped around the sun, Lassie climbed into the transporter and ended up in Camelot and King Arthur gives her belly rubs twice a day.
As the book ends, Lassie finds a ring in the castle moat, heats it up, and discovers strange writing. Something is making her feel unusual, like the ring is talking to her. Okay, I’ll stick to women’s fiction, but you can see how far genre combination can go. Can you just see the scene where Lassie tugs at Kirk’s shirtsleeve and takes him to the transporter?
“What’s that, Lassie?” “Bark. Bark.” “You say Timmy has been kidnapped?” “Bark. Bark. Whine?” “You need us to beam him up?”
Many writers are pushing the genre envelope and creating new markets. They are becoming the pioneers of those markets.
If you were to peruse my project file, you’d find stories in many different genres. Some are combinations. I’ve written historical, speculative, suspense, and even fan fiction. Most of them, however, have one thing in common. They’re written about women, dealing with women’s issues. Hence, the reason I’ve focused on that genre.
I’ve learned that focus is what gets published. I’ve seen many writers over the years who claim to write in many genres. It’s true, Some authors have accomplished it, but try to put yourself in the shoes of a publisher. You spend a lot of time, talent, and money, marketing an author in one genre. It’s hard to start over and switch markets. Besides the hard work, readers get disappointed. Would you read a romantic comedy written by Stephen King?
If I had one piece of advice to offer from a non-published writer, it would be, get comfortable in a genre and perfect those skills. If your genre is a combination, make it an art form. You might be the next Stephanie Meyer.
Thank you for the opportunity to rant over here. If you get a minute, come see me on one of my other blogs. As Steve Smith say’s on the PBSRed Green Show, “I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.”
I didn't have time to edit. please forgive my mistakes
A few years ago, while having a particularly stressful day at work, I voiced some of my concerns and did some complaining. It made me feel good to vent, Even better if I could draw people into my frustration. There is not doubt, having someone say, “poor boy” gave credence to my feelings.
During one particular rant, a coworker made a comment that set me back. Something like “I don’t have time to worry about that stuff,” or something. I was disarmed. My friend was right. My complaints were menial compared to the big picture.
I made up my mind to try and build people. Instead of dragging them down, I’d try to raise them up. This was a monumental thing for someone like me. First I had to develop a positive attitude myself. Then, I had to build others and try to help them be all they could be.
I’d like to tell you I’ve been successful in my endeavor, but I have days when I want to strike out and take the rest of humanity with me. Oh, there have been a few successes, but those were times when I could feel a higher power trying to bless other people.
As writers, we tend to look at the success of our peers and wonder why. We often tell ourselves, we are as good a writer as those being published. We grasp at misconceptions and get frustrated by our own efforts. Then there are other times, when writing seems to be a waste of time. We say what ever made me think I could be a writer.
We all have doubts and frustrations, but it amazes me to see the few who build others. A few words, a pat on the back, a way to go, or a little hug, seems to come easy for them. I’m sure they will never know how much they build the rest of us.
Since the time we worked together, I’ve seen my friend have doubts. There have been times when life closed in around them, and frustration set in. I know my writing heroes do too.
I wish I could reach out and convince them how much they mean to me. Light emulates from them, and they’ve helped me get through times of darkness. I hope I can be that for them. I want to be the purveyor of a good day.
I hope you will accept my good intentions, because I believe you are a writer because God intended it that way. Don’t give in to the feelings of doubt. Have a good day.