Every day new opportunities rise to greet us. Every day we choose some and abandon others. We won’t even necessarily understand what causes us to choose one over the other, especially since our reasoning can change from day to day. Sometimes the only reason we have for not following opportunities is fear.
For me, fear and pride have been great obstacles, a daily struggle to overcome. That was one of the subconscious reasons I began writing Searching for Sara. Through Sara, I was able to show my heart what could come from facing my fears and stepping forward regardless. Pride was the driving force behind Broken Angel, the heroine Rachel suffering because she wouldn’t back down or compromise. Now, in Releasing Yesterday, I have no idea what I could learn, or what I can pose as a question to my characters to teach me.
Until I think about my floundering passion and stagnation. I just stand–or sit–here and think about all I need to do without doing any of it. In Releasing Yesterday it has taken Sara’s absentee father more than 20 years to finally step forward in action and seek her out, determined to repair their non-existent relationship even against the wishes of his family.
Once before he allowed his family to dictate his future. Ten years later, he discovered that, not only did his wife die alone, she left a daughter whose only means of support was the kindness of others and the work of her two hands. It has taken him nearly fifteen years to finally track her down, and now he stares into the mirror image of his wife only to see all the years squandered and lost.
And then she looks away.
Because of his lack of action so many years before, she has suffered–then and now–and he faces the daunting task of seeking not only her forgiveness, but her love.
I think I’m in these same shoes. Because I left the sequel unfinished–and even un-outlined–I stare at the maw of my encroaching deadline and wonder how I’m going to craft book 2 into some semblance of order. How will I do this series justice? So I stay in one place and don’t even attempt a beginning. But the sequel calls to me, as do my obligations, as do the characters. “Just write!”
But what about all the “do this” and “don’t do this” that leer at me in the back of my brain. I forget what to look for, what to be mindful of while writing when I write. It can’t be fine to simply write the story as it unfolds in my head, can it? What if I do it wrong? But is it better to not write at all?
So I stare down at the pages I have just printed–the physical often helps me find my footing–and look at all the scenes and pages cut from book 1 that I would love to weave into book 2, and whimper. There is so much to keep in mind! But that isn’t necessarily true. I have book 1, and I have an idea of what I want for book 2. Everything else is a blank page waiting for my pen. The future is bright and unfettered, my characters free to whisper to me their story.
Like Sara’s father, I only need to take that first and then second step forward, and keep going. The future doesn’t come to us–we go.
I found it difficult to begin this month’s blog article for the Christian Writers.com Blog Chain. The topic? Forward. Granted, there were many ideas rambling around in my head, but I couldn’t get one to sit still long enough to actually form a complete thought. So, as is my usual habit, I simply began rambling… er, brainstorming. A sort of free-form attack of the topic.
So, the first question would be, what does the word ‘forward’ mean to me? Yes, it’s a rather blase question, but it’s direct, and to the point. Do I know how to answer it? Certainly not. However, as the title of this post suggests, it did put into my mind the statement of determination uttered in many a Hollywood movie about the caravans venturing westward for a new life.
Everything was left behind… well, mostly everything. They attempted to cram all types of objects and obsessions into those massive wagons, but along the way, one-by-one, these things also were abandoned. All except their hope for a better future and their dogged steps forward. (Unfortunately, ‘Forward’ is also the one-word maxim for our President, but I wasn’t going to allow that to quell my growing idea for this blog post.)
Like those pioneers in days of old, they had a target they were determined to meet. They looked forward, toward the horizon, and took the next step to face that new future. These treks into the unknown took months of hardships and staring death in the face, and still they moved their caravans onward.
What didn’t kill them, made them stronger.
Yes, of course, there were those who were then embittered against the frontier and the people who “forced” them to venture out of their comfort zone. Those aside, where would we be without those brave souls? We certainly wouldn’t be a collection of states.
Now there is a new year upon us and we are faced with new opportunities. A blank slate. An open horizon waiting for our first step. Even should everything crash around us today, we still have tomorrow morning to pick ourselves up and start again. That is what I intend this year and, with the Lord’s blessing, I will see it through to the end.
My target? I have two:
- Publish the expanded edition of my paranormal fantasy, To Save A Soul, in May with new chapters and a new cover
- Publish book 2 of my ‘Heart of the Blessed’ series, Releasing Yesterday
The challenge for me will be the goals and staying on target. Keeping my eyes forward, on the prize, and trudging the uphill course that always is ‘writing.’ My husband is helping me setup realistic goals to meet these targets, and it will be up to me to stick to them. To not allow myself to become overwhelmed and, instead, find joy in the challenge. To shout “Forward, HO!” and set off into the unknown with eyes alight and chin raised.
We never know what the ‘morrow will bring, but with the Lord beside us, we know it will be more great than grave.
Today’s post is part of this month’s topic “heirloom” by the ChristianWriters.com Blog Chain. There have been some wonderful posts so far this month, so I encourage you to read and comment on the other posts on this topic from the link list on the left of the page. My post today is a scene from my soon-to-be-released inspirational romance, Searching for Sara.
About the Book
Searching for Sara is not your run of the mill “romance”, as that is but a small facet of the story.
Sara Little has an intimate knowledge of fear, faith her only constant. Then God calls her to put aside her past to pursue a life beyond servitude for the English aristocracy. A life in America. Christopher Lake exists in a daily void of agony and grief, stripped of his wife, their unborn son, and his passion for art. All that remains to tempt him to live is that of his five-year-old daughter. But after almost two years of wallowing in sorrow and rage, even that is spent.
Searching for Sara is the tale of how these two people discover healing and laughter by following the call of their hearts to help others.
Due to financial struggles, almost two years have passed since Sara was invited to America to rewrite her destiny. But now she has arrived in Richmond, Virginia, the first step to stepping beyond the fear of the unknown. Her challenge now is to open herself up to the possibility of rejection by publicly displaying her art. In the scene that follows, she reminisces back on her life as a girl before her mother’s death.
“I slept well, sir. Thank you.”
“And Gwyn? She did not keep you up too late watching the snow, did she?” Mr. Lake retrieved one of Sara’s new crocheted doilies from the oak side-table. “She will want to play in the snow this morning. I recommend having one of the younger boys indulge her with a snowball fight. She has impressive aim with… a…. This is extraordinary!”
Sara flushed, unable to look from his handsome face as he scrutinized the stitches. “Crocheting, sir?”
“This must have taken months!”
Sara laughed. “Not so long as that, sir. You won’t let me do naught but my crafts.”
“You mean to say this took but a few days?” Mr. Lake set to a more extensive examination. He seemed to study each knot and loop.
Sara stole glimpses as she worked the tatting shuttle. His brow creased, concentration evident while his mind planned the process of creating a doily. Sara hadn’t before met a gentleman interested in her crafts. They spoke only of hunting or cards. While she did her best to seem interested, some still accused her of slow-wit. Sara lifted her shoulders in an absent shrug and counted the knots for the kerchief edging.
“What is that there? Such grace.”
Mr. Lake’s question drew her gaze. “This, sir? Tatting.” She showed him the ivory thread looped around her fingers. “I use a fine thread to create knots in a specific pattern. These knots form loops and rings combined into a type of lace for edgings. Or I can make doilies, baby bonnets, dress collars, and boutonniere.”
“With such simple motions of that tool?”
“Yes, sir. A shuttle.” Sara showed him the shell shuttle pinched between her thumb and index finger. “This was my mother’s.”
“Such an intriguing art. Is it a common pastime for maids in England?”
“No, sir. But my mum served as a lady’s maid for the aristocracy.”
“Ah. A rare opportunity then?”
Sara nodded. Her gaze settled on the shuttle. Memories of laughter and scolding alike hovered in its luminescence. Whenever she took up the shuttle she felt her mother there beside her, offering encouragement, strength, love. Hours spent learning and laughing.
“Carla would have envied this skill.”
Sara met Mr. Lake’s gaze, startled. “Sir?”
His hazel eyes darkened with an unsettling visage of haunting. “You have shown the grace in the creation of something many of us take for granted. The patience such a delicate art requires would attract her respect.”
“Thank you, sir.” Sara never thought of tatting in such a way. As a child it became a way to spend more time with her mother. As a young woman, it served an entrance to memories.
“Your mother taught you?”
“You must have enjoyed that time with her.”
Sara peeked at him. He continued to watch her hands while his fingers tapped a rhythm on the chair arm. “I did, sir.” She treasured those short hours together, remembering them with fond distinction.
Navigate to the link below for:
1) More about this book
2) Links of where to purchase digital or print books
3) Book trailer
If you are interested in purchasing a library cloth hardcover edition complete with dust jacket, send me an email for payment instructions ($21.95 + s/h).
Life is a daily walk in discovery.
A discovery of self. A discovery of others. Another facet to a broken mirror.
Discovery equals a compilation of looking back, forward, and at the place where we are standing. Listening for the whisper of meaning, of God, of something new to seek.
Sometimes discovery is silent. Sometimes loud. Sometimes just there, waiting for us to blink. To hear and understand.
Discovery is hidden in characters and stories, a question asked and answered to our inner muse. Another facet of our faith, our spiritual walk. Our search for ourselves and who our Lord wants us to be: for us, for others.
Discovery hurts. Sets us free. Gives us power. Makes us smile and cry.
Discovery is a daily walk in life.
This post is part of this month’s topic ‘discovery’ by the ChristianWriters.com Blog Chain.
The topic this month on the ChristsianWriters.com Blog Chain is DISCOVERY.
Normally I have my posts written and scheduled before my due date. Not so with this month’s topic, and that mostly because my mind is astoundingly blank. No whisper of inspiration to tease my mind into action. So, here I sit at 11 am CST (9 am PST) wondering what in the world is my approach for this post due TODAY.
Discovery is a multi-faceted word that links to other possibilities. When I look and speak the word I think of challenges and growth. Of hardship. Tears, even. Wonder.
Immediately my mind shifts to the creation of a novel.
The love/hate relationship of the first draft.
There is fear and yet the delight of discovery in that delving into the characters’ lives and minds. Their hates. Their fears and loves. Their passions and motivations. In that chore of writing, we also discover things about ourselves in how we react to the characters we write about. What moves us about them? What is an aversion? What is an attraction?
I don’t know about you, but there are quite a few of my characters I adore. A few couples whose interactions I look forward to re-reading. Before I found my own happy ending, I utilized their relationship as a catalyst to discover what I wanted and what I needed. What didn’t work? What cause and effect reactions could I be cautious of?
In writing, there was self-discovery. Healing. Growth. Revelation. Perhaps even an obsession, but I would like to believe it was healthy. Necessary. A comfort.
Writing has been a necessary part of who I am. A way for me to adapt and evolve into who now types this article. Discovery was key to that, just as it will be for future growth.
What do you learn or take from Discoveries in your own life?