What Keeps Me Up At Night, You Wouldn’t Believe

Night sky, wolfPoint of view keeps me up at night. Questions of which character’s head I’m in plague me. Actually, this is starting to sound like I’m out of my mind, but as any novelist will tell you, that’s a thin line sometimes. LOL

I’m doing NaNoWriteMo. What’s that, you might ask? It’s a writing challenge, whereby you basically set your critical, censoring mind aside and write like mad for the entire month of November to get a first draft of a novel completed (at 50,000 words). Sheer lunacy, if you ask me!!!

I’ve done this, type, type, type away – only to find somewhere in the chapter I’ve switched point-of-view, jumped into another character’s head. I use two points of view: the heroine’s and the hero’s and I like to do an entire chapter in one, or the other. The made cap speed at which I’m writing sometimes has me saying: Which head am I in?

I’ve also been worried if my heroine is strong enough. Is she compelling? She’s a detective in an NYPD special unit, which means she’s got to have been a really good cop to get in there. However, I’m also targeting a Christian publishing company that publishes romance. So, in addition to being a really great cop, a detective with flawless instincts, she has to be involved in a romance as seat-of-the-pants as the suspense part of the novel is. So, you can see what’s keeping me up nights. LOL

As I toss this around in my head, and toss around in my bed, trying not to wake my darling husband, I know to make my goal in NaNoWriteMo, I just have to keep typing my fingers to the bone. Glancing down I see they’re starting to look like stumps. Well, I’ve aired my pet peeve, and must away. I must fly back to my manuscript and keep typing.

NaNoWriteMo has these neet little counter bars, that I was afraid I didn’t know how to use, but I finally figured it out. According to the little bar, as I put my word count in, it tells me I’m 52% of the way to my goal. As I glance toward my calendar, I see, counting today, that counting today, there’s only seven more days of typing left. Seeya!!!

Squanto: A Special Thanksgiving Gift From God

Native American, SquantoI love Thanksgiving because I get to eat, and then to go back and pick and go back and pick again, and again. LOL

Seriouly…The entire holiday is a “feel good” holiday for me. The family is together and there’s a huge feeling of home ‘n hearth. The cooking smells are soooo nice. And the spirit of thanksgiving just permeates the air. PTL!

However, I’m also a researcher and I’ve come to learn that what we call Thanksgiving Day was begun by an American Indian of the Patuxet tribe named Tisquantum, or as he is better known today, “Squanto.” It began when Squanto took a tradition from the heritage of his native people, that of Potlatch, an Indian covenant ceremony that centered around feasting and giving of precious gifts in honor and covenant.

Tisquantum’s tribe the Patuxet lived in what is now known as Plymouth. In 1605 he was captured and brought to England where he learned English.

Several years later Captain John Smith Brought Squanto back to New England. Shortly after that, he was again captured and brought to Spain as a slave with several other Indians. He and the others were kept in cages and shown off as a type of carnival or circus attraction. Local friars rescued them, taught them to read and write, and introduced them to Christianity. Squanto became well versed in Scripture while there, and also became an expert horseman. He eventually traveled back to England and in 1619 returned back to the New World. It occurs to me that to be able to do all this, especially in that day, he obviously had the hand of the Lord on him.

When Squanto reached his native village, he discovered his entire tribe had been wiped out by a plague. Being the only survivor, he went to live with a neighboring tribe, the Wampanoag. Squanto lived among them as a Christian.

In November 1620, after enduring more than two months of difficult conditions on board the Mayflower and also being blown off course (they had planned to settle just north of the Virginia colony), the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod. They hastily constructed rude shelters, but they were not prepared for the harsh New England winters and the scarcity of food. By spring, nearly half of them had died from malnutrition and disease.

William Bradford wrote in his book, Of Plymouth Plantation, about the spring of 1621:

“About the 16th of March, a certain Indian came boldly amongst them and spoke to them in broken English…His name was Samoset. He told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself…About four or five day after, came the aforesaid Squanto.”

Squanto labored with the Pilgrims to plant corn and other crops that fared well in the New England soil and climate. He showed them where were the best places to trap and fish. He helped negotiate a peace treaty between the colony and the surrounding tribes. According to William Bradford, “Squanto…was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”

The harvest brought enough food for the next winter, and Governor Bradford called for a day of thanksgiving. Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag and 90 of his men came and stayed for three days of feasting and entertainment.

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“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November…that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.”

It was not until 1863 that President Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as the annual national day of thanksgiving.

In 1941, Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as a permanent national Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Confessions of a Book Maniac

BookIt’s true. I’m a book maniac. I’m constantly reading.

And I’ve been that way for a long, long time. Books have always been a major part of my life. Many times, way into the wee hours of the night my nose will be stuck deep in a page turner. I’ve always got a book tucked into my purse, and you’d probably find a paperback in the glove compartment of my car. There’s probably even a good chance that one got lost somewhere under the seat.

Whether with a night light on while in bed, or wrapped up in an afghan on the couch, I can most often be found curled up with a good book. The best time for my kids to get a “Yes” out of me is when they see that I’m at the very end of a mystery…about to find out who the murderer is. That’s the best time for them to come up softly beside me and ask, “Mom, can I open the box of chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard?” Transfixed by the momentum of the author’s prose, as I frantically turn pages to learn who dun it, I’m most likely to go something like, “Uhn Hunh,” or “Ahh Uh Huh.” Which they take immediately for a resounding, unqualified “YES!”

My passion is murder mysteries or thrillers, usually something in the Christian suspense fiction genre. I’m also bonkers for cookbooks, especially Christmas cookbooks. I love the ones that have color pictures of the finished dish set beautifully on a holiday table.

Some of the authors in the Christian mystery/suspense genre I just can’t get enough of are: Gayle Roper, Margaret Daley, Lyn Cote, Hannah Alexander, Rene Gutteridge and Terri Blackstock. I comb the Steeple Hill sight and Amazon to see when these authors are coming out with new books.

Two non-mystery books that just gripped me and totally affected me are: “The Holy Spirit, Activating God’s Power in Your Life” by Billy Graham and “Simple Faith” by Charles R. Swindoll. I’d recommend those two to just about anyone.

Nail Polish Therapy

hand, nail polishGenerally the state of my nails is a good indication of my state of mind. And lately, my nails have been a wreck. I’ve been stressed and over stressed. Chipped polish: BIGTIME!!!.

Years ago my dear friend Judy and I used to sit with a cup of coffee and good music in the background, doing what we called Nail Polish Therapy. The various bottles all in different colors would be out before us and the nail file, nail polish remover, etc. Everything needed for a manicure. I remember a beautiful light lilac we both wore. We’d file and polish and talk about our lives, who we were, where we’d been, where we were going. We’d give comfort and support to each other. That was before my marriage and before both Judy and I moved?in different geographical directions.

Still, the principle holds. Today I got out my nail equipment. LOL I put on a Christian CD – Virtue’s Virtuosity, a CD I actually got it for my tweens, but it’s doing the trick. It’s up and positive. And I’m winding up with darned good looking hands to boot!!!

Now I need to create a fictional character who’s seriously into doing nail polish therapy. Or, I could create a small group of women who get together at each other’s houses to do nail polish therapy, while bolstering each other up. I’ll file that away for a future book.

Anne Weale, Romance Grande Lady Dies

Anne Weale, a/k/a Andrea Blake, author of nearly 90 contemporary romance novels and a great lady in the genre has died. She was born in England where she started writing short stories for magazines and then became a reporter.

Her debut novel Winter is Past, written in 1956, tells a story that captures the passion felt by the characters while never slipping into overtly sexual writing. Although she didn’t write specifically for a Christian readership, her books had a quiet dignity.

She wrote over forty books for Harlequin, writing both series and single title romance novels. An enthusiastic traveller, many of her romances had authentic foreign settings.