How is Camp Nano Going, You Ask?

Nano… I started out fairly strong – than life happened.

Which means, I’m not as far as I want to be. However, I am progressing. Spencer is currently at the hospital with his father and Troyce is on his way to feed the poor sick man and his grandson. One young woman is trying to find her father and another just stole a plane ticket.

I’m beginning to love working with these characters – even the more dreadful ones. If only I could stay focused. After all…

In the last four to six weeks, I have started nearly as many new books. They all range from opening sentences, a paragraph description, a complete summary, and one has an entire introductory scene written. Every time I think that I’m focused on Spencer or Adelaide, a new idea pops up and won’t go away until I write something about it.

My folder is a smattering of ideas and commencements. I need my brain to slow down, however, or instead of finishing anything, I’m just going to end up with about five hundred partial stories. As well as the end of whatever shred of sanity I have left. Because sanity requires finishing a book, not just beginning it.

Maybe I can finish that scene with Spencer tonight and get Troyce off the streets before dark… Oh, wait. He doesn’t ever leave the streets. I need to find out where he sleeps though. Or tries to sleep. He doesn’t actually sleep very often…

To the KING be all the glory!

My Current Manuscript and Camp NanoWrimo…

“Nothing Left – A Novel of Reaching Rock Bottom and Loving the Unlovable”

When 2018 opened, I hadn’t planned to write this book. I had intended to write about several cold cases and the journalist who investigated them. When, however, I set out to get the book set up, I couldn’t. It didn’t feel right, it didn’t flow, and if there’s one thing I’ve begun to understand, is if my Author’s Instinct says something isn’t right, don’t push it. Even if I can’t explain the reasons. The Instinct is always right. (And yes, I’ve learned the hard way – writing pages and pages that ended up in the shredder.)

After some prayer and fiddling and rambling to one of my dear friends, I decided two of my storylines didn’t fit in. So, I pulled them out, and before I knew it, they became part of a new book. A book that deals with depression, a love for sin, and even suicide. A book that has already begun to show me just how difficult the writing journey is going to be.

A woman had wrecked her life in a mad rush for a sinful lifestyle; a lifestyle that has left her as empty as a dried up well. An author loses everything and doesn’t know where to turn, finding he has nothing left to cling to when his material possessions fall away. A housecleaning assistant is depressed over her oppressive and overly controlled home life. A soldier, had it all, until one action destroyed his ability to appreciate anything, suddenly believing himself worthy of nothing and the worst of humanity.

So many characters nearing rock bottom or heading on their way, but Spencer Matheson, the generally cheerful police detective is probably my sanity saving character at this point. Despite his own issues, he lets in a ray of sunshine in a rather serious, occasionally dark book.

As always, I am striving to write even the more weight and dark topics carefully. I plan to treat sin with a serious tone, but without going into unneeded details. Much like I have handled occurrences of death and even fornication in my previous books.

I’m already beginning to see the LORD teach me through this book. I’m about 53 pages into this manuscript – and April is Camp NanoWrimo. For the first time in my life, I hope to succeed at doing Camp Nano and get a large portion of this manuscript drafted in the next twenty-nine days! However quickly the writing goes, I pray this book glories the LORD greatly. It’s the main reason that I write, after all!

To the KING be all the glory!

~Café Chocolaté – First Installment

– – –

I sat on the edge of the swarming parking lot, my eyes trained on the doors of a small coffee shop. Crimson curtains hung from the arched windows, held back by ribbons the color of sunshine. Round wooden tables were surrounded by wrought iron chairs, both indoors and out, rust precariously clinging to the delicate decorations. A painted sign reading, Café Chocolaté, had long since commenced to peel away from the rectangular window above the cherry wood door.

A steady stream of people ebbed in and through that door. Old men, young men, middle aged women and every age in-between in each gender. Except children. One rarely saw a child enter Café Chocolaté. I waited, fiddling with my scarf, sorting the crowd out in my head. The sun rose higher, cresting the roofs of the nearby businesses and shops. I squinted, then shut my eyes for a brief moment.

When I opened them again, I saw a woman, her hair white and topped by a flower bedecked hat, shuffle through the tide. A coffee in one hand and her purse slung over one shoulder, she took the step with care.

With one foot on the sidewalk and the other still on the step, she had only started to move, when a youngster of seventeen or thereabouts rushed past her, taking her balance with him. Coffee, hat, and hair all met the pavement, while the youngster didn’t even bother to look back.

I bit my lip, waiting to see the outcome, my fists clenched at my sides. The woman struggled to stand, but hadn’t the strength to pull her own body into an upright position. People continued to mill past, paying little or no heed to the afflicted woman.

Then a man, his gray suit pressed to perfection, his dark hair brushed neatly, and his shoes polished to perfection, joined the throng near the door, everything about his appearance shouting his importance. With one glance at the crumpled figure by the step, his briefcase met the pavement and he reached to help the woman to her feet. Assisting her to a rusted chair, even I could hear him ask if she needed medical attention.

She shook her head, smiling her thanks when he rescued her hat, and assured him once more that she was perfectly all right now, while pulling an old-fashioned handkerchief and a small hand-mirror out of her purse, and beginning to clean the dirt off of her face.

The man disappeared inside the café and I waited.

Within five minutes, he returned bearing two coffees. One, he gave to the old woman, once more asking if she were all right. Reassured by her vigorous nod and cheerful smile, the man picked up his briefcase, gave a slight bow, and started off.

I threw my scarf over my shoulder and rose to my feet. I had identified my first mission…

To the KING be all the glory!

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~The Vintage Jane Austen – Presumption and Partiality

Presumption and Partiality

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
 
So, it has been said. So, many women, mothers and daughters, seem to have believed. So, indeed, did Mrs. Wilma Bailey act upon in word and deed.

Thus are the opening lines for my new novel, Presumption and Partiality, a 1930’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Despite not being very far in my manuscript as of yet, I am having so much fun with this book! A group of authors asked me, back in May, if would consider joining them in writing The Vintage Jane Austen. Adaptations of Jane Austen’s classics, set in the United States during the Great Depression. Quite honestly, one of my first thoughts when I accepted had nothing to do with writing. I got excited because it meant I could set up a history class for myself all about the 1930’s – I could study the Great Depression and call it research!

You should have seen the stack of books I brought home from the library right after I joined the project. I think I had fifteen. Then, I went back and added seven more. At last, I got to start reading…

Studying the Thirties turned out to be even more fun than I expected. I expected boring parts. There hasn’t been any. Some of the books I checked out barely got a look through, before I put them into the reject pile. Others, I fairly devoured. I loved the reading, but the pictures fascinated me. I’ve done in-depth studies of other time periods before, but all of them had been too far back in history for photography to do more than barely exist. I had words and paintings – this time, I got to have photographs, as well!

Choosing which years of the 1930’s to actually write in, proved to be a rather difficult task, as well as delayed my writing. I, at last, settled on 1932 – 1933. I might dabble a bit in the beginning of 1934 too, depending on how the book goes.

Choosing which state to set the book in proved much easier. Arizona. It sounded like so much fun! And, I found an entire book featuring photographs of Phoenix – comparing old Phoenix to modern Phoenix. However, most of the older photographs were from the 1920’s or 1930’s. It really is a fascinating book and perfect for my research.

Developing my version of Miss Austen’s characters continues to be an adventure. Eloise Bailey (my Elizabeth Bennet) has dark ginger ringlets and striking blue eyes. Frances Bailey, (my Mr. Bennet) grows cotton fields year after year, like several of his neighbors. Those are just two examples.

I need to do some more research on hymns in the 1930’s, since, I’m pretty sure, Alice and Eloise (Jane and Elizabeth) like to sing together, often choosing hymns to harmonize with.

There is still much to do before this book is done, but I’m looking forward to it. And isn’t my cover pretty? It needs a few tweaks, but Hannah Scheele did a great job with it!

Here are the rest of the books planned for the series. Click on the covers to visit the author’s website. Laura Engelmann is working on Northanger Abbey, as well, but I haven’t seen the cover or title yet.

Suit and Suitibility

Bellevere House

Emmaline

Perception

To the KING be all the glory!

~Mr. Centenarian – Character Interview

Grandmother's Letters - FINALsm

Character Interview I wrote many months ago with the eccentric old man from Grandmother’s Letters. Hope you enjoy!

– Hello, sir. You’re the centenarian in the area, aren’t you?

Not interested.

-Excuse me?

I said that I’m not interested.

-I just need to ask you a few questions…

I don’t answer questions! Especially for reporters!

-I’m not a reporter.

What are you then?

-An author.

Even worse! I don’t need a book written about me!

-Can I ask you a couple of questions?

No.

-Can you tell me your name? Your real name?

No.

-Are those dogs that I can hear barking?

Do you know of something else that barks like that?

-I’ll take that as a yes, Mr. –

*sigh* Centenarian.

-Pardon?

My neighbors call me Mr. Centenarian. That’s the only name you’re going to get. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I said that I’m not-

-Wait, Mr. – Mr. Centenarian! The rumor is that you don’t let anyone into your house. Is this true?

It’s not a rumor, it’s a fact. It’s also the reason that I’m shutting the door now.

-Wait! Mr. Centen- *sigh* Well, that went well now, didn’t it?

 

 

To the KING be all the glory!