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!

Not a Word – A Review

Not a Word by Chautona Havig
Originally Published in 2013

Words have power. Add a solid reputation behind those words, and they have the power to destroy.

It began with a lie.

Mac’s life changed irrevocably with a false accusation. Blissfully unaware of the carnage she left behind when she moved from Brant’s Corners, Savannah Forrester is back and when Mac sees her at church–with a boy–he wants answers.

For eight years he’s lived under the cloud of her accusations–without defending himself. He kept her secret. He endured the shame and the life-altering consequences.

Savannah can set the record straight. Mac says no. The ultimate question remains: what is best for Rory.

And who is Rory really?

The Characters and Story:

This book is one of my favorites. I have read several by Chautona Havig and this one tops them all. (Though the Alexa Hartfield Mysteries do come in as a somewhat close second.)

Mac is a great character. I love watching him grow, as he starts out shielding the woman who he loves, which leads to his friend using his selflessness as an opportunity to witness. His growth from a slightly arrogant kid to mature man is very well done.

Savannah is also well done, though I admit, I got mad at her a few times. She feels rather insecure, but that’s understandable given her circumstances. I don’t dislike her; I just don’t like her as much as I do Mac. She is a good example of a Christian, who has never really been tested on their beliefs, and thinking that she was strong, she fell. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Mrs. Havig did well writing a character that stood out as funny, but adorable. That character is Rory. There are a few times, when he couldn’t seem to stop talking, but that’s forgivable, considering he’s just a kid.

As to the minor characters, they were varied and colorful as I’ve come to expect from Chautona Havig’s books. I loved Aunt Clara, Savannah’s best friend, Gene, and the appearances by Luke, Aggie, and several of the other characters from the Aggie’s Inheritance Series.

A Few More Thoughts:

This book is a good illustration, as I stated earlier, of a Christian being tested on the strength of their convictions, but also the consequences of sin, and how God can take even sin and make something beautiful out of it. Fiction or not, I find this book encouraging in that last aspect – because I know my LORD does, indeed, work in that way.

Cautions:

The only caution I would give, is if you were going to give this book to a younger reader. I would suggest this book only be given to those sixteen and up, simply because of the topic. It was, however, handled with tact and discretion, which I appreciate.

I would highly recommend this book.

 

To the KING be all the glory!

It’s Been Twenty Years…

One of my favorite pictures of Papa and Nana…

Today marks twenty years since the last time that I celebrated my grandmother’s birthday. Twenty years since my childish excitement over another year being added to her age, mixed with an apprehension, immature and somewhat vague as it was, over her future.

There are times that it doesn’t seem possible that it has been so long. I can still remember her face clearly. Remember sitting in her lap. Remember her teasing me. Remember her showing me one of her rings, telling me all about when and why Papa bought it for her. That ring is mine now.

It is times like these that, no matter the struggles it causes on other days, I am thankful for my memory. I am blessed to be one of the few grandchildren who remember Nana. Or Papa and Nana together.

One of my favorite memories is set in Papa and Nana’s living room. Nana had on a green turban, since she had lost her hair to chemo and she didn’t always want to wear a wig. Papa had his guitar on his knee. Together, in harmony, and to the strumming of Papa’s guitar, they sang about how they “ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,” and “I’m not looking for a hole in the ground, I’m looking for a hole in the sky!” I wish I could hear them sing again.

Despite being barely eight when Nana died, I still miss her. I am, however, so thankful for memories. Thankful that I can remember. That I can tell my younger siblings and cousins about her. So thankful.

To the KING be all the glory!