Tag Archives: writing

A New Day Added to Free Book Week!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Free to Flourish Publishing give-away week! I’ve loved it–it feels like a way to give all my faithful readers a big box of presents!

75% smallerOriginally Friday was to be the last day of the give-away, but a bit of a buzz has built around A Packaged Deal, so Free to Flourish extended the give-away of this title for one more day!

I don’t think of this story as a Christmas book, but there is an important scene that occurs on Christmas, so I thought you might enjoy tucking this one onto your Kindle to read the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The snow’s falling today at my house, and let me tell you, this is the perfect read for a snowy day.

So you can still get A Packaged Deal, the first title in the the Towering Pines series, for free download on Kindle. (If you’re a “real” book, I love to smell the pages person, you can purchase the paperback for  $9.99. I’m also doing a give-away for the paperback this month. I’m collecting names of people who comment here on my blog or sign-up for my newsletter, and one lucky winner (USA only) will get the book sent to them!)

I’m praying the Lord blesses you as you download the free books and read them. All books published by Free to Flourish carry the theme of freedom, inner-healing, and discovering the true essence of life, person, and self. They invite readers to be a part of the grand Love Story with Jesus.

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Merry Christmas and sweet blessings from my house to yours,

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PS I’ll be taking a break until January 1st, the launch day of my newest story, At Home with Daffodils, which is included in Barbour Publishing’s collection, A Bouquet of Brides.

What’s Free to Flourish?

This week the publishing arm of Free to Flourish is giving away a lot of books. (Click here for the give-away schedule.) This video shares the passion behind everything I write and speak about and tells you what you can expect if you download one of our books, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

Next to my computer is my passion statement. Every thing we do at Free to Flourish filters through this lens: “I write and speak to join with the Holy Spirit in setting captives free and healing the brokenhearted. To call forth the true essence of life, person, self. To be a part of the grand Love Story with Jesus.”

Blessings,

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Heart Rambles

There are deep places I don’t know how to process my way out of. Or if I even should.

Longing. Uncovering. Unveiling. Questioning.

The seemingly unrelated intertwine, vines growing in and out of each other, connected inside of me in some kind of whimsical garden where fruit trees grow over tomato plants and pumpkin vines wrap 1athemselves around rose bushes and potatoes sprout underneath the daisies.

Everything blooms and produces at once, whether in season or out.

Longing for much.

To create.

To embrace.

To enter.

Beauty, writing, twinkle lights, family, weighty words, advent flame, laughter, celebration,

Magical and spiritual, a slow dance and a jig.

Joy.

How can depth come from jigging or jigging from plumbing the depths?

How do the seasonal rhythms I  crave relate to thanksgiving, creating, relationship .  . . God?

What are words?

Their place within me and without?

And how is joy both cotton candy and meat and potatoes. Short magical romance and long soul-digging?

Being seventeen in a snap of the fingers, embracing pumpkin pie aroma when life grows hard, seeing the good where others criticize. Rose colored glasses? Impossible?

Judged. And yet desiring more, not less.

Entering into the moment. Creating the moment. Embracing the moment. Believing in the moment.

Vulnerable and child-like. Rolling eyes ridiculed. Lauded and applauded. Strength in soft flannel baby blanket.

Not Pollyanna, but not beyond liking her.

Miracle on 32nd Street silly.

Departures deep.

Both. Not either/or.

Stretching means embracing what others judge fluffy meaningless. And yet stretching also encompasses the deep places where others dare not tread.

Stretching means believing where some can’t.

And in all things, where are the words?

Do I trust them to germinate, to take root, to grow into an oak even as they pop up in crazy Dandelion yellow, determined little things, white daisies and bluets and Virginia Spring Beauties? Both platypus and regal lioness, tiny fish-tank turtle and mighty grey elephant? Dancing kitten and elegant giraffe?

Faith.

All this joy-seeking, word-growing, rhythm-searching returns there.

Of course.

Letting go of confusion, ego, questions. Holding longing loosely, lifting to Hands wiser than my own, while allowing the tears to beg for their place, for understanding and release, for fulfillment.

And yet knowing some ache is only treated in glory.

Letting it stand. Without giving up.

Trust.

Until Next Time,

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PS Found the rambling recently. I wrote it years ago, but it fits again as I re-enter my dreams to create. I let it go for a while, this focused writing thing. It was required, my time away. But now I return.

Interested in the Writer’s Journey?

I was asked to blog about free-lance editing. You can read that post, called Becoming an Editor Clients Trust, on the Writers Alley.

Journeying Back and Forward All at Once

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This old branding was designed many years ago. The words and Scripture were reminders to me of what God wanted me to do with my writing. This is not my present “brand.” But it is still my heart.

It was as if God gave me a little shake, spoke to me, then let me return to my night’s rest.

It happened Saturday night. As you know, I’ve been fighting to rediscover Paula the Writer. Despite the fact I have two published books and over 300 published non-fiction pieces (not to mention blogging), I sort-of lost her.

Determined to return to consistent productivity as a writer, I’ve spent many agonizing hours at the computer in 2015. My friend says I’m like a gymnast who knows how to do flips and all kinds of wonderful things, but is out of practice.

So I sit, stretching my muscles, trying to limber up so I can return to the abilities I once had. I still know how to flip across the mat, but I’m out of shape and stiff.

As I entered 2015 the Lord promised me this would be a year of release. As I journaled and prayed I asked Him to help me find His rhythm as a writer. In response to His prompting I wrote that I was to spend my early writing hours on fiction and then switch gears in the afternoon to spend some time writing non-fiction. (This goes against typical advice of editors, publishers, and agents who tell you to focus on one, build your brand, and get established before thinking about doing the other, but I sensed He wanted me to start writing both–in the same day–something I had not considered.)

But I didn’t do it.

Once I started trying to write, I dug into a novel I’d promised my agent. I felt I wasn’t free to do anything else until I met that commitment. I’ve struggled fiercely with it and spent painful hours staring at the screen. I blew off the whole idea of writing non-fiction for a part of each writing day. I couldn’t even do fiction. Did I really want to add another stress to my over-taxed brain?

But Saturday night I briefly awoke, was told I was supposed to be doing both, and went back to sleep.

So Sunday I tried it. I wrote almost 1400 words on my novel, glanced at the clock, and closed the document. The second half of my allotted writing time would be non-fiction. As I meditated on which project to tackle, I had a sense I was to begin to compile the 205 devotionals I wrote several years ago. The goal is to add a few more and release them as a year-long devotional book.

The journey through what will be the first month of my devotional book has blessed me beyond imagining. As I relieve those hard-earned spiritual discoveries, my heart reaches to God in worship, so grateful for all He’s brought me through, touched even now, by His attention during that time. I’ve chuckled at His humor, teared at precious memories, and quite frankly been blown away by the richness of what I’m reading.

I can’t wait to share my deep spiritual journey of those years with whatever readers come my way. A marketing plan–which includes lots of give-aways and pricing that makes it affordable to many–is playing in my mind. I’m so excited I can hardly wait.

So I’d appreciate your prayers. One of these days–hopefully by late spring–I’ll let you know where you can get the book! My working title is Soul Scents: Longing for the Fragrance of Christ.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the excitement building within me. This book will be one of the deepest offerings of my heart.

Until next time,

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PS Facebook messaged a good friend about this before posting the story here. She called with something that encouraged me greatly. She was praying on Sunday morning, asking God to light a fire underneath me to put together this very project! Talk about confirmation of the journey!

Resuscitation

After my last post Tom said, “Write and God will follow your writing.” breath

I read his comments a few times, letting them sink into my hungry, dry soul.

Then it hit me. “God will follow your writing.” Suddenly I grinned, imagining that one of the “followers” of this blog is God Himself.

Then I realized the truth of that imagining.

God does. He follows my blog! He was first and most important follower to grace it with His notice. Anyone else who reads comes after.

I knew this, but I didn’t. I know now. Differently.

And somehow everything I do here seems more important.

Validated.

I once again find my courage.

Because even if I’m afraid to write for you I’m am not afraid to write for Him.

HE sees.

HE cares.

When there is not one single comment or facebook share or new follower, when I fear I’m just rambling about my life and that my words will not resonate with anyone, He still cares.

He is my first reader.

And do you know what? He likes my rambling, my attempts at humor, my efforts to be artistic. He even likes the posts that are not deep or creative or even particularly interesting.

He likes them because I’m His, and Good Daddys care about the stuff their daughters do.

Are interested in what they create.

Want to know what pours from their hearts.

It doesn’t seem so scary now that I remember Who my Primary Audience is. I can quit trying to figure this blog out, stifled because I’m not sure what it’s all about since the focus is no longer primarily weight loss. I can let the scattered thoughts, all pieces of myself, just sprinkle forth, pouring out in whatever form is revealed.

Because HE wants to see my next post.

Pours His water upon me, lets me drink, and watches what spills over onto this screen.

Droplets.

Rivers maybe.

The prayers I requested in my last post? I think they are already pushing back the clouds. I feel the Son peeking in and illuminating the Way.

Please keep breathing on behalf of my writing life, blowing against that fog that’s been trying to hide the way out. The fog that’s swirled and thickened, heavy upon my heart, weighing it down. The fog full of voices that I shouldn’t listen to, voices that try to cloak their origin, try to convince me they are truth instead of folly.

Please keep that God-breath coming my friends.

I am being resuscitated.

Until Next Time,

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The Quandary

I can’t write.

This is a lie.

This I know.

I have written, and I will write.

But I find myself afraid to start.

Wasting time.

It’s almost as if now that the house has emptied so that I can fully pursue my dreams I have become paralyzed.

I didn’t expect this. Have longed for freedom to pursue the dreams beyond motherhood.

The time is now.

Instead of seizing the day I seize the vacuum cleaner, the telephone, the dirty dishes.

I run errands.

Sometimes I curl up on the couch and cry.

Sometimes I play.

The Christmas break was chaotic and full. Noise rang from these now quiet rooms.

I cooked and cooked and baked and talked and scheduled who got the cars and who didn’t.

Then they went back to college, to apartments and dorm rooms and classrooms.

One at a time they entered their world, leaving me to mine.

I’ve given myself permission to be quiet. To grieve. To regroup.

I think I read 7 books in four days when Stephen left.

The other day I cleaned yard clutter neglected for 25 years.

But I was created to write.

I’ve dreamed of space to write.

To produce more than the four novels completed in the midst of child-rearing.

I’ve worked hard. Served others. Learned my craft.

It’s time.

To write deeper, stronger, more beautiful.

Even here. To be more consistent.

But even here I am afraid. Afraid to start again lest I neglect the pouring forth.

I want to write.

I need to write.

Please pray I can write.

Dedicated to the Creators

You enter into holy ground when you create ~ Allen Arnold

~To all my blogging buddies, author friends, and artistic companions~

I didn’t craft the following prayer. Allen Arnold did. It washed over me, a waterfall of grace. I had to transcribe it onto my computer. Copy it by hand into my journal. Share it with you. 

Creator God,

You knit me together in my mother’s womb. You created me with this unique passion to create. You invited me into this calling, so breathe into me your presence here.

You’ve broken my chains. You’ve rescued me from the desert.

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This is not about me. This is not up to me. Slay my striving. Replace my productivity with your presence. Help me not look to the world for inspiration but to your imagination filled with truth, goodness, nobility, grace, and love.

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Help me not to look to the world for validation for you have given me this calling, and you have given me my identity. I am first your son,

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your daughter.

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I consecrate this identity to you. My creativity to you. My heart to you. And my life to you. Reign over it all.

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I hunger for you God—your mystery, your wildness, your holiness. We get to do this together. To create with words. Stories of freedom, of healing, of adventure, of hope. I want to run with you, ride with you, write with you, sing with you, create with you.

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May our time be blazing with light and life. I cast out the enemy and any spirits of distraction, despair, or disheartenment. The enemy has no place in the process of creation. He is the author of lies. You are the author of life.

Grant me your peace. Grant me your presence. Your peace casts out fear. Your presence means I’m never alone. God, if you’re not in this let’s call the whole process off. I don’t want to do it without you.

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May my face glow from your presence. Let me taste your goodness.

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Give me a glimpse of the eternal stories and images only seen by those in the kingdom of heaven.

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May my creation reflect you as the Creator.

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May my calling reflect you as the caller. May the works of my hands make you smile. And last, may we do this together, Father.

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In the name of Jesus I give you me.

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Prayer by Allen Arnold. Taken from a speaking series by Allen Arnold, writer and speaker, given at the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference

Author Stuff – A Fun Interview

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Ever curious about the other me–the author Paula?

The ACFW Colorado Inkwell honored me by inviting me to interview as their Author Spotlight for May. There were some unique questions and I had a lot of fun.

Here’s a taste:

1. People often say that writing and publishing a book is like birthing a baby. You’ve raised four children. What have you learned from that experience that helped with birthing your books?

What a fun question! Maybe the most important thing is comparing a first draft to a birth experience. We would never think a child is full grown just because he is born, but new writers too often think this way about first drafts. Birthing a first draft is a huge accomplishment and something to celebrate, but it is just the beginning of the book’s growing up. Most accomplished authors say they rewrite 5-15 times!

Another connection that comes to mind is how the birthing process itself differs with each book. My first child took 17 hours of labor. My second sailed through in under 2 hours. It’s the same with the books I’ve completed. Some took years to form, others were written in weeks. Some was excruciatingly painful to produce and others were (comparatively) easy… (Read more on the Inkwell!)

Until Next Time,

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Celebrating the Memories I

author ribbonIt felt good.

This sense of being a veteran. Of belonging.

When we arrived at the ACFW national conference in Indianapolis, I turned to my writing buddy, Kathy Kovach. “I’m so glad I’m not a newbie anymore.”

My name tag boasted ribbons, labels really: author, finalist, (represented by) Books and Such Literary Agency, Colorado Coordinator.

I’ve fought for years to live outside of identity imposed by others, to just be Paula, God’s little one, dependent on Him, but I enjoyed these ribbons as recognition of years of hard work–of titles I’d already embraced, like author. I wore it with joy.

The emotions around my first writing conference were much different. I couldn’t even say the words, “I am a writer” out loud, much less be totally comfortable with a name tag that included the word “author.” I packed pretty teacups and chamomile tea to ensure my survival at that conference 10 years ago. I also carefully prepared colored note cards full of hand-written Bible verses and inspirational sayings. Basically, I was petrified and needed these little comforts from home for survival.

But here I was years later: published, teaching, and even up for an award for my story!

This post and the one tomorrow don’t answer the question I left hanging in my last blog. Honestly, the answer is simple but the journey isn’t. I suppose sharing how important this 2013 ACFW conference was to me is a part of explaining the journey before we talk about the specifics of the recent curve ball pitched my way. So just relax and enjoy the view. Nothing too deep coming your way today.

Kathy and I kicked off the conference by teaching a workshop for area coordinators and zone directors. We enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones as well as meeting with authors, editors, and agents.

A delightful surprise was a gift from my fabulous agent, Rachelle Gardner, who congratulated me on being a finalist in the Carol Awards. She did suggest the treat might not help me meet my acfw giftweight loss goals, but I assured her I’d just eat the truffles one at time instead of the whole box at once so it wouldn’t set me back. The packaging is so pretty I actually kept the empty box and displayed it on my desk at home as a memory of my first book award nomination.

On top of enjoying the truffles, I found most of the meals at the conference boasted a yummy dessert, so I delighted in the moments we slipped away to walk in downtown Indianapolis and get some exercise.

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With Kathy Kovach

The Indiana Capitol Building is beautiful.

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Of course I always have to stop and smell the flowers.

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And I’m a sucker for churches, stained glass windows, and horse drawn carriages!

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A wedding party enjoyed the open carriages as well. Notice the cute little ring bearer!

This gorgeous fountain was part of a memorial to the men who from Indiana who’d fought in various wars.

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The stroll with fun, but indulging in an amazing calzone (full of calories and wonderful, hot, gooey cheese) pushed the need for further exercise, so I swam laps in the hotel pool, which is a first for me at a writer’s conference! I love it that after 10 years of sedentary conventions, I now crave physical activity. Thanks to BENew and saying good-bye to all that weight I have truly changed.

I feel my Creator’s smile in that change. Here’s an example. Right before the conference I told the Lord I’d really like to swim while I was there, but didn’t have a decent swimsuit that fit since the weight loss. (Okay, I could have worn the famous bikini top, but it just wasn’t the venue for it.) Right before I left for the conference I happened to see a one-piece suit hanging on the clearance rack at Target. I quickly slipped it on, surprised that it not only fit well, but would provide the support I needed to actually swim for exercise and not just lie on a beach.

But could I afford it while saving for the spending money at the conference?

I flipped the price tag. Surely not.

$1.47

Oh, yeah!

So thanks to God’s good gifts and a clearance rack at target, Saturday evening of the conference meant unwinding in the pool and hot tub. What a great stress relief! I slipped into bed that night, totally relaxed and able to fall asleep despite the pending excitement Sunday promised.

I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow . . .