Saturday, April 29, 2006

Double Jeopardy in the publishing world?

While a writing buddy is increasing the notches on his writing ladder through personal rejection letters as noted on his blog, I received my SECOND rejection for a manuscript from the same publisher, effectively decreasng my notches on the writing ladder!

They'd rejected it last fall, so imagine my surprise when I received the second rejection. I'm just thankful that it did not occur on my already depressing birthday two days before. So I have to wonder---is there some sort of double jeopardy clause for the writing community? Of course, rejection is no crime, but I feel strongly that I would like the right to claim that I cannot be rejected twice!!!

Okay. Enough silliness. It was a simple mistake for which I do not blame the editor. I can only hope that I don't receive anymore double rejections, making the writing ladder even more stressful to climb.

Onto more important matters. During the SFF (Science Fiction/Fantasy for those who don't know) blog tour, I plan to include reviews of this year's Christy nominated books, giving away the book, as well, to blog visitors!

So stay tuned.

Blessings!
Beth

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fantasy: Shining light into the darkness with the sword of a ready writer.



Today I received a book in the mail that a writing friend sent me because she'd finished reading it and had too many books anyway, or so she said. Can one ever have too many books? She suggested I read the pages in the back after the end of the novel itself. The words, penned by Bill Bright, stirred me so that I wanted to share them with you. If you're already familiar with them, allow them to stir you, inspire you again.

" . . . I have come to the conclusion that a good novel on biblical themes can reach many more people than most theological works. God Himself, upon coming to earth in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, chose stories as His primary mode of communication. He used fiction. We call them parables, but they are stories either way--the story of the Prodigal Son, the story of the Sower, the story of the Unjust Judge, and many other similar stories.

Fiction works in a unique way, of course. It's more like a megaphone, trumpeting truth in grand terms to bring inspiration, than like expository teaching. Fiction uses major themes in a story to speak boldly, and I believe the truth woven throughout this novel is one for which the church is desperate."

Bill Bright is referring to Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and himself, of course.

Before I admitted that the Lord was indeed calling me to write, He kept bringing this verse to my attention by way of that still small voice, or flipping through my bible, or a quote on the radio.
My heart overflows with a noble theme. I recite my verses for the king. My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1.
When I finally stopped to question if he were trying to tell me something, that day I received in the mail a letter that began with, "Has God given you your verse today, confirming that He wants you to write." Well, of course, I couldn't argue with that.

Neither can I argue with the direction he has taken my writing. Yet there is a large community of Christians that are opposed to Science Fiction or fantasy, believing that it can't tell the story of Christ. In Genesis 1:3 it says that he separated the light from the darkness. Since I was looking for a verse to apply to my fantasy novel, I read this with new understanding.

God divided the light from the darkness--in a spiritual sense. There is a spiritual battle being waged that we cannot see, but it is there all the same, and it can readily be displayed through the pages of a fantasy novel. Beginning in mid-May I will join another group of SFF writers in a blog tour, promoting this genre in the Christian arena.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a prayer by Bill Bright: Lord, may your light shine brightly on this world of
darkness.

Oh by the way, though the picture is not relevant to the topic, I thought it was nice!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Beauty comes in many different styles


This weekend we went to the Redwood forest of Northern California. Since we live in southern Oregon, that's only a couple of hours from us. I remember learning about the magnificent trees as a child and always dreamed of seeing them one day. I never imagined, though, that I would live close enough to drive to the national forest on a whim. There are so many interesting facts about these rare trees. Maybe I'll delve further into that one day on a different post.

The sky was clear so the chances that we would be hit with the normal Pac Northwest rain were slim. Thankfully, we didn't even need jackets--it was perfect. Picture perfect. Too bad the digital camera is putting out blurry photos. . . no really, it is--it's not due to an unsteady hand. The nice thing is that there is so much fodder for scenes--especially in fantasy fiction.

After our tromp in the woods, we drove the ten short minutes to the coast. If you've ever been to the Oregon Coast you know what I'm talking about when I say it is beautiful---there is nothing that can compare. Well. . .except maybe the Redwoods (or Crater Lake). But amazingly it was extremely cold, the fierce wind tormented us, but still we donned our jackets and walked the beach. That's something you wouldn't do unless it was worth it. Of course, we didn't last too long before we climbed back into the car and headed home.

On the curvy mountain road home, between bouts of nausea, I considered how different the ocean and the redwood forest are--yet both are breath-taking. This led me to think of how that compares to writing styles and why not? I'm a writer! I'm involved in three critique groups and as I've already mentioned in the previous post, finaled in a contest--all of these are subjective. The saying goes Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. So I pose a question to you. . .is it so hard to appreciate different styles, still considering them "beautiful" despite the fact that maybe it's not what we ourselves enjoy, or a style that we would choose for ourselves?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

God honors the waiting. . .

So in my previous post, I explained that I decided to listen to my heart, listen to the Lord and get back to writing that fantasy, even though there is controversy surrounding whether or not Science Fiction and Fantasy will make it in the Christian Book Market. I'm thrilled to tell you that the Lord honord my decision and confirmed it to me this week. I received "the call" informing me that my fantasy is indeed a finalist in the Genesis contest.

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction
(there was a 2-way tie, hence six rather than five finalists):

Beth Goddard
Rebecca Grabill
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirta Ana Schultz
Sherry Thompson

So celebrate with me. I'm in awe of God's grace. . .because let me tell you that finalling is really not about whether your writing is superior. Sure, you should have descent abilities---but truly, it comes from getting judges who happen to favor your piece. . .and getting them at the same time! Now, that is the grace of God.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Anointing comes in the peace. . .

. . .even in writing. I’ve struggled over the last week about which direction to take. I’m sure you’ve never done that. Unfortunately I have the “gift” of indecision. Recent news that a publisher is now open to historicals, the genre I’ve spent years writing, thrilled me to the core. I dusted off a manuscript (not literally, of course)—complete mind you—but needed some revisions. But in order to take this project on, I’d have turn my attentions away from my current project—a fantasy. As I’ve trudged through each page of the historical, I’ve become increasingly dry and uninspired. I sooooo don’t want to do this. But hey, there is a new market and they’re not going to buy something that I don’t send them, right? I began to loath the piece and my writing has dwindled to nothing, because my heart is still in my fantasy story. Then it dawned on me, that wasn’t the direction the Lord had sent me. I once again fell into the trap of the world, striving to make things happen. Yes, it was strife I felt at having to hurriedly revamp something to be ready for the new opportunity.

But God had something better in mind.

While cooking dinner this evening I listened to my favorite Christian radio station and danced around as I stirred or reached for more spices. I love to watch my children dance as well and hope that I’m creating memories for them. It occurred to me that it would be wonderful to be a musician, say maybe play the electric guitar and worship the Lord. At any rate I totally got caught up in the worship and I thought, wait a minute—I’m a writer. I can certainly write for the Lord. And I’m the first one to have that idea, aren’t I?

And that is what it’s all about. Yes, I want to be published but nothing can come of my striving to achieve this, especially when God has clearly told us to seek first His kingdom. I’ve gone back to my original plan to finish my fantasy which has left me with peace, excitement and I’m once again inspired. And while I’m writing, it all flows from the heart to Him.

Then I realized that the gift that He’s given me. . .this thing called writing. . .can only fully flow through Him, and it only comes while I rest in His peace.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Waiting

I have a friend who recently returned from India after a two week missions trip of sorts. She'd been invited to paint a mural on the inside of a large prayer temple and felt quite confidant that she along with her friends would be successful. I asked her about the experience to which she replied that she'd returned broken. Though she did not explain further on that count, she told me that India runs on different time than America does. They were there to paint for two full weeks, but the paint was not obtained until a week after they arrived. . .therefore they only had one week left to paint. Of course, they were not successful in the completion of the project--in their eyes. Yet, God had other plans. Other artists will contribute to the mural to create a collage of ideas and images.

That story spoke volumes to me as I wait on a project I've recently submitted. It is difficult living in our culture to wait on anything. Our desires are fulfilled instantly whether it's microwave food or reaching someone on their cell while driving in the car--something in past years that would require you waited until you had access to a phone. The internet provides instant information and in many cases, much more up-to-date than the local library.

I had fully committed to devote myelf to my new writing project and forget about the recently submitted work, yet I find that impossible to do. Every day I open my email wondering if this will be the day I receive an answer. The impatience that lives within me has made itself known to me in hideous ways. . . .not only am I obssessed, I'm depressed.

I wonder how the Father sees me. My reactions are childish if nothing else. I have to wonder what He will create within me as I wait upon His timing.
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