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Thursday, February 01, 2007

We've Moved

Help spread the word that we've moved to Writer...Interrupted, "Your One Stop for the Busy Writer"


Visit Gina at Defying Gravity, "Encouraging others to take that leap of faith toward their dreams!"

Monday, January 29, 2007

Carnival Of Christian Writers # 4 -- January 2007

This months carnival is full of wonderful posts from Editors, Authors, and readers for your intellectual and recreational reading pleasure. Special thanks to Michelle Pendergrass for putting together the last severeal carnival. We bid her farewell from the fairgrounds as she pursues other writing opportunies. But I've been assured, she'll still be a regular contributor.

Her vacancy means we're looking for a new coordinator. So don't hestiate to step up and join the Carnival of Christian Writers.

Please keep your hands and feet inside at all times and buckle up for your safety. Enjoy the ride...




Literary Agent Terry Whalin discusses Making Your Books Stand Out. I'm thrilled to annouce Terry has just launched his own agency, you can view the details at his site: Whalin Literary Agency.




Jennifer Tiszai at Sonoran Saga offers a wonderful post on Writing From The Senses.




Jennifer at Snapshot tackles The Great American Novel.




Lillie Amman at A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye looks at Writing About Tragedy.




Mark Goodyear at Good Word Editing washes away writer's block with S.O.A.P




Michelle Gregory at Life In The Midst Of Writing is Dancing With God.



Gina Conroy at Portrait Of A Writer...Interrupted tells us What She Learned While Not Writing.




Heather Goodman at L'Chaim tries to figure out the whole pomolit thing.




Michelle Pendergrass at Just A Minute tells a trucking story while exploring how to listen to the story everyone wants to tell in Cursed Or Blessed?

To participate in next month's carnival, send submissions to portraitwriter@gmail.com And if you'd like to host the carnival at your blog next month, let me know!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Prodigal Love

The suddenly there dawns upon us the vast, entire endowment of God's free love and forgiveness...It is this which bowls us over...frees us...transforms us.
Paul Tournier
Saved by Grace.
Christians throw that phrase around to express their faith, but do they really know what Grace is? I've come to a deeper appreciation and revelation about God's Grace. It's so amazing, even my six-year-old is still too young to understand it's power and meaning.
I've come to understand through my own Christian walk the difference between Grace and Mercy in these simple terms:

Grace is getting some reward I don't deserve. Mercy is being forgiven or pardoned from a wrong I did and a punishment I deserve.
The most remarkable thing about the God I serve is that He offers these to us generously, every day. Other religions of the world can't boast this about their gods. They promote religions where man gets exactly what he deserves or that he'll have to pay, or make atonement for their sins in another life or another time. They also promote works, and striving to gain the approval of their God and to enter into their idea of heaven everlasting life.I'm so glad I'm not a slave to their religions, but found the power of Grace through the gift God gave the world in his Son Jesus Christ.
Dwight Edwaerds uses the example of the story of the Prodigal Son to illustrate God's grace and mercy. When I had read the story in the past, my focus was always on the two sons, the wayward one and the one who stayed by the father's side. But let's take a look at the father.
Edwards pointed out that most of us think of prodigal as meaning wayward. I have to confess that's what I thought. But prodigal means "excessive or overflowing" as in the word prodigy, a person who is overflowing or gifted with exceptional abilities. In light of this revelation, let's look at the story a new. The story about the Prodigal Father. You may want to take a moment to read the story for yourself found in Luke 15.
Grace is the theme of the Prodigal Son, and it's demonstrated in the father's response to his son. In the story we read that "while the son was still a great way off, his father saw him." This can imply that though the son had done a terrible thing by taking his inheritance and running away, the father was still looking for him. Amidst his daily chores, the father was watching the road, hoping to see his son.
And when the father finally saw his son returning home, instead of saying "I told you so" or "I knew you'd be back", he had "compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." Edwards points out that in that culture, an older man running toward someone was considered undignified and wouldn't normally happen. Now consider how this culture felt about pigs. They were unclean, defiled animals and his son smelled like a pig, covered in sweat and grime as he traveled in the hot son down dusty roads.
Now imagine the scene again. An old man running toward this filthy, defiled broken vessel of a man. How great the father's joy had to be to do this in front of all his servants and family. What a prodigal love the father had for his son!
Then the father restored his son to his rightful position as a son. What better picture of Grace is that? Being accepted back in the family though he didn't deserve it. Do you think the son was surprised? Of course, the best he had expected was to be a servant in his father's house. And the Grace didn't end there. "Bring out the best robe...a ring...sandals...kill the fatted calf..." The older brother say by and witness his father's grace and didn't get it. That's becasue "Grace is unimaginable in generosity. It gives beyond all reasonable expectation."
It's the same with God and us. He sees our sin, our waywardness, and yet waits, scanning the horizon for us to return, never giving up hope that we will someday be reconciled with Him.
Edwards says "God's Grace is the most unreasonable thing in the world. It's also the most powerful. Nothing is more effective for transforming lives, risky though it is."
I have to agree as I marvel at God's prodigal love for me.


Gina Conroy , is founder of Writer...Interrupted and a homeschooling mom to four. She writes about her experiences trying to balance it all. Her co-authored book , Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms is available now!

We're Making a Switch...

to a new site and it seems blogger is forcing me to switch to New Blogger, but then I won't be able to transfer the content of this blog over to the new site. This may be the last time I get to log on to old blogger.

Hopefully the new site will be up and running by the end of the week, but if it's not check out www.ginaconroy.com for more information and updates, but please excuse the mess, that site isn't finished either!!

Other contributors of this blog may still be able to log on, but I'm not sure. If Writer...Interrupted is down this week, please take the time to browse blogs on the Writer...Interrupted webring. With over 70 members, you're bound to find some new favorites!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Want Character Material?

Get to your closest large city and buy some public transit tickets. Take a notepad with you and ride.

I promise, you won't be disappointed!

My son and I just spent three fabulous days in Chicago and we did quite a bit of public transit riding. My mind is overflowing with the possibilities.

So how many of you actually take time to study people like this? I know that people go on trips to the location of their books for accuracy, so surely other writers must study people?

How do you study people?

~michelle
My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn, igniting a fire of words
Psalm 39:3






Michelle Pendergrass is a coffee-lover who lives in Knox, Indiana where she homeschools her son, Zane. She blogs at Just A Minute. When you visit, please note that her son is most definitely weaned and has been for some time now. Some names just stick.

©2006 Michelle L. Pendergrass - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Simple Science and Snow Ice Cream

Snow ice cream--one of the most fun of winter treats to make and enjoy as a family. My mom used to make it for us, sending me out to collect a big bowl of fresh white snow. And it couldn't be the first snow of the year...subsequent snows were cleaner. It helped that we lived in the country away from big city smog. Or, so we thought...

We'd take that huge bowl of snow and slowly add a premixed blend of three cups heavy whipping cream, a half cup sugar and one teaspoon vanilla. Mmm!

Last year prior to making our own batch, we decided to do a little experiment. I sent the girls outside to fill my biggest kettle with the cleanest snow they could find. They were super picky. We then took the large kettle, and placed it on the stovetop on low heat till it was completely melted. We observed two things...first, a lot of snow amounts to very little water! The second was that the supposedly "clean" snow was filthy! It was brown with little flecks of ? in it! Ugh, disgusting.

Ruined my day, let me tell ya!

So we had to come up with a workable alternative, something the girls could still make on their own with things we had on hand...that could turn into ice cream. Hmm.

I turned to the internet and found this very handy recipe, I hope you let your children give it a shake.

Ice Cream in a Baggie

Into a good quality sandwich size ziplock bag put:

  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

Zip the bag and put it inside a larger heavy-duty freezer bag. Surround the small bag with ice till the larger bag is half full. Now put 6 TB of salt on the ice and close the bag. Have the kids shake their bags for 5-10 minutes and ta-da...they've made their own ice cream. I assure you, it's delicious!

Mary is an old-fashioned thirty-something wife, homeschooler, and aspiring writer. Her blog, Home-steeped Hope, feeds her love/pursuit of the written non-fiction word while her women's fiction "dreams" are being revised...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mid-Week Motivation

Starting Your Day Out Right!
Scripture, Short Devotion
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
~ Psalm 27:14
Have you been guilty (like I have) of pushing to get your way? Making things happen? Forcing that square peg into a round hole? As I wait to join my husband at his current contract location, I found myself growing impatient. Part of me wanted to settle for any rental we could get just so the waiting would end. When I finally resolved to the fact that I would just have to wait, God provided much more than I would have settled for and it appears He’s not going to make me wait as long as I thought.

I laugh as I think on this, recounting in my mind all the times “He’s told me to wait”. I would typically take the news with a mini temper tantrum but I’ve often found that if I’ll give in to the wait, accept it as His will, things go so much smoother. Often times I end up with far better than I would have settled for. On the flipside, when I stay impatient, I typically do something stupid and end up with a mess that is much more painful than merely waiting.

Is God telling you to wait on something? If He is, trust that He has your best interest at heart. Wait for Him.

Is Your House in Order?
Cleaning, parenting, marriage, organization tips, etc.
Alright, our sinks show our reflections and we’re feeling more organized by practicing our Morning and Evening Routines. So, what’s next? Remember, we’re taking this really slow because I don’t want to become overwhelmed any more than you do. FlyLady has what she calls “zones”. Basically, you divide your home into five segments (zones) and then you work in one zone each week of the month. Your task this week is to develop your zone lists. For some examples, you can visit the Flylady link above or I have some lists on my site you are more than welcome to check out. While you’re making out your lists, be sure to keep that sink shined and your routines…routine.

Afternoon Pick Me Up
Writing inspiration
Do you remember that one paragraph summary you wrote two weeks ago? It’s time to pull that out and make it grow. Ingermanson tells us to “take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph.” That’s it – seems rather simple after last week’s character building doesn’t it?

What's For Dinner?
Quick dinners, crock pots, etc.

I’ve decided to change up the steps a bit from what is laid out at the 30DayGourmet site. I do agree there are five steps, I would just classify them a tad differently is all. So, let’s take a peek at step four shall we?

Step Four: We Cook!
You’ve shopped, you’ve chopped and now it’s time to put it all together. This is typically called “assembly day” as you now follow the recipes and assemble your entrees. If you take a look at their recipe for Grilled Chicken Parmesan, you can see that all of the assembly and freezing instructions are included. I’ve prepared this at every session. It comes together very easily (even the kids can help with it) and while these are flash freezing, you move on to your next recipe. By having all of your prep-work done, it should just be a matter of combining ingredients and placing them into your freezer containers.
Some recipes do recommend pre-cooking before you freeze them so you’ll want to pay close attention to the directions. Even with the prep-work completed, you will likely be looking at a full assembly day to put 30 entrees in your freezer. As you get more efficient at it, you’ll be able to complete it faster.
If you use freezer bags – be sure to get as much air out as you can and then freeze them flat. They take up a lot less room this way.
Well, you’ve been on your feet all day cooking but there is one last step and we’ll cover it next week.

A Restful Night's Sleep
Scripture for a restful sleep

“Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation…”~ 2 Peter 3:15a
This morning we pondered waiting on the Lord. Tonight, before we sleep, let us consider the patience of our Lord with us. All those times I’ve pushed ahead with my own plan, He still welcomes me back when I realize my error. His time here on earth, knowing what was to come and then the three days that followed must have felt like an eternity to the Father. And even now, He tarries His coming so that more will have the opportunity to choose Him. Yes, His patience means salvation; and tonight we should praise Him and thank Him because He waited…for us.

J. Blair Lane, founder of the child-loss support site, A Treasure In Heaven, is passionate about faith, family and writing. A resident of Texas, she travels with her husband of eleven years, Erik and homeschools their four living children. You can visit her blog at Scribblings by Blair.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It Works for Me

As I wait for the impending release of Ruby Among Us (Jan 2008), I work furiously on my second novel. One thing I have learned about the second one is that I am pretty much writing it using the same process I used for the first one.

At first, I tried to be very organized. I fought it and thought about trying things like outlines and index cards. After wasting a few months where I didn't write anything that I felt was decent, I tossed the index card idea out with the outline that never really materialized anyway.

I just don't write that way. Here is my way, and to some of you it might sound crazy, but it works for me. I write a few pages, I go back and re-read them and self-edit. I write a few more pages, I go back and read them, then edit them. I do this all the way until the end.

Call me strange if you want to, but it really does works for me. By the time I'm finished, I've read the manuscript from beginning to end repeatedly. And the really funny thing is that my agent says I'm fast!

I have a friend who loves to outline. And I've heard others who say they lay their note cards out in line and rearrange them in the scenes they want before they even write a chapter. Those people must rock. That is exactly how my husband would do it if he were a writer.

But he's not. I am the writer in the house. I'm also the one who doesn't see the point of straightening up my sock drawer or color coding my shirts in the closet. But like my mom says, it takes all kinds. If my husband was a less organized person, I'd really be in trouble. If I was like him, I wouldn't write the types of stories I write.

I'm sorry to draw wisdom from such a loose comparison, but the writing world is sort of the same. It takes all kinds of writers and thank the Lord we don't all work the same.

I think I'll keep writing as I always have. Write it, read it, edit it, and start over. I guess I spent too much time in the south last month because the best way I can say it is, if it isn't broken, don't fix it (that's a variation of If it Ain't broke, don't fix it, but as a writer I can't write it that way!).

The point is to be yourself. If writing is a new adventure for you, then by all means take a look at the rules and get ogranized. Terry Whalen at The Writing Life is a great resource and there are others.

We all have to follow some rules and be organized, but for me I've also learned not to fight my voice. It works best for me to write like me and comparing myself to others simply stifles that voice.

Tina Ann Forkner has recently contracted with Waterbrook Press, a division of Random House, to publish two novels. The title of her first book is Ruby Among Us. To learn more, visit her website at http://www.tinaannforkner.org/ or her blog, She Plants a Vineyard, at http://www.tinaannforkner.blogspot.com/