Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stories that grow on trees

Many times, it's very difficult to come up with new story ideas. Oh but sometimes, sometimes it feels like stories grow on trees. They dangle there, and all you have to do is find the perfect one, reach out, and grab it.

This is literally true at Christmas time. As I look at the bright lights and sparkling ornaments, I see a hundred stories just waiting to be written. Questions pop into my mind that are the glimmers of a story.

What did this bear family do all day before settling down to read a book?

Who are these two reindeer friends? Where do they live and what do they do for fun?


Where is that snowman headed on his sled?

So if you're stumped for a story idea, spend some quiet moments looking at your Christmas tree. Take a walk and look in the store windows. The stories are all around you.

Most of all, I wish you a blessed Christmas. May your days be filled with the peace and joy of Christ's birth.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I love Christmas! Check out this wonderful youtube video to start your season off with joy!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soup and stories need to simmer

Like a good soup, a story needs to simmer. So many times when I'm writing a new story, it just will not come together. I may have all of the ingredients- characters, setting, plot, conflict, resolution. I can even see how the scenes will unfold in my head. But for some reason, I can't get it onto paper, or in my case, computer file. It's frustrating to say the least.

However, if I'm patient, if I step away from the project totally for awhile, when I come back, miraculous things have happened. All of a sudden, the story just flows. The time away has allowed all of the flavors of the story to mingle together. Thoughts and ideas have simmered in the back burner of my imagination without my even realizing it. When I was busy muddling around with other things, the story cooked into a glorious, bubbling soup.

Next time, my goal is not to be anxious when the soup isn't perfect the minute I throw the ingredients into the soup pot. It will take time. I'm going to enjoy the simmer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A day of writing, but not a word on paper

I spent the day writing, but I didn't put a word on paper.

Sometimes writing has nothing to do with words. Sometimes writing is feeling and filling.

So, I spent four hours in wonder. I sat in the sunshine and let it warm my bones. I breathed in the pine-scented, lake-drifted breeze. I watched Coach's silhouette as he looked out over the lake. And I felt my well filling. I didn't try to formulate a plot. I didn't try to develop a character's wants or needs. I just filled up my soul with God's goodness.

I looked over at a lone tree on the bluff, and I thought about Cair Paravel in C.S. Lewis's Narnia series. I walked through a sun-dappled birch path, and I thought about Prince Edward Island and Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. I thought about whales off the island of Nantucket. I watched a dragonfly on a purple clover. I was a child again on a warm summer day with nothing to do but dream.

These days are what fill a writer- and a person. God's creation is glorious!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope

Great news! I just sold a new picture book story called Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope to Random House. It's projected to be released in 2013, and I can't wait!

Happy Trails to all of you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A wondrous walk

I just took the most wondrous walk with our dog, Coach. For the past two days, we've received sleet and frozen rain-although, I was secretly glad because I get to sit by the fire and read and write guilt-free. Today, I knew I had to get Coach out for some exercise, so I put on my boots and took him on a walk through the 100-Acre Wood. This is my favorite path to take, because it's along this beautiful wooded path with a quaint wooden bridge.

As we walked, I studied the trees. They seemed pretty normal, even drab, with their brown bark and stark, leafless branches. I knew the ice had coated the trees, so if I looked closely, they looked a little wet. It was easy to pass them by, hustling along on the cold morning.

But when I reached the end of the path, I turned around and started towards home. What a wondrous sight waited for me. The same, drab, brown trees now sparkled and shone with a million diamond lights. I was now walking into the sun, and it dazzled and reflected off the icy trees, so that I felt I was in a different land. It was like each tree was a sparkler in a firework display. Truly, I was so overwhelmed with the beauty, that I stopped to say a prayer right then and there, thanking God for His amazing creativity.

As I continued the walk, I began to think that the trees were a lot like people. We pass them and don't take much notice. But if we turn around. If we look at them in a different way, we are amazed at how glorious they are. One turn. One new way of looking. What was once a dull brown tree is now a rare thing of beauty. What beautiful God-given gifts lay inside of people that we never even imagine?

Sure the walk home was harder. I was walking directly into the arctic wind, blowing and biting at my face. But, oh, it was so worth it to see the trees sparkling in the sunlight. My goal this Lenten season is to try to walk the harder way and see the different side of people. I think it will be a wondrous walk, indeed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Loving the Chronicles of Narnia

I have loved the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis for years. I gave the entire set to my daughter when she was probably in the 4th grade. I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe outloud to her and my husband, and we all marveled at this incredible story. Then she ventured forth on her own with the rest of the books. But after finishing each and every one, she'd run to my room, flop on the bed, and say, "Mom! You've got to read this book! You've just got to!" Oh, the joy and excitement of sharing a book!

I don't think I can put into words how moving this series has been for me. I saved the books for just the right time- a time when I needed the joy, or the healing, or the wonderful buoyant fantasy of the series. The books were like apples ripening on a tree, and I would pick them to savor and enjoy when I needed them most.

I finished the last of the series, The Last Battle, and I was simply overwhelmed by it. It's a rare and mighty thing when a book affects you so immensely. I felt different, changed. I had an understanding of heaven and God's love that was new, and different, and enlightened. What a gift C. S. Lewis has given to all of us in this series!

If you're looking for a book that will change your world, pick up The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even though it's the second book in the series, it is the touchstone upon which the series is built. Then go back, read the first book, and all the books that follow. And fall in love with them.

Happy reading, everyone!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Murray the mouse is interviewed

Murray the mouse from Perfect Soup was interviewed by Fuzz, the wonderful possum from the Cork and Fuzz series by Dori Chaconas. It was a nose-to-nose interview!

Check it out here: