Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October Update

Did September really go by without an update on here! What? That's crazy.

Well, although I continue to struggle to find high quality time for writing, rewriting and editing, I am making good progress and am excited about how the book is coming together right now. There are still days of writer's block and days, sadly, when I get no work done on the book. That, obviously has to change if I want to reach my goal of a final draft by the end of December!!

My wife is amazing. She does overtime with the kids when I'm home just to give me some quiet, quality time to work. Thanks Cara!

I have also been in contact with several self-publishing companies. I haven't fully decided which company I'll go with. It's a big decision that can have a big impact on the future of my book, so I don't want to rush into anything.

The book itself is coming along well. The rewriting/editing is a little more challenging than I expected, but some of the characters are getting deeper and more interesting as I go along and I've been adding a lot more vividness and action to the writing. I am very excited to finish it and have a final manuscript ready for publishing. I can't wait!

That being said, I'd better get back to work on actually writing!
Thanks for reading! Keep me in your prayers as I keep working on this.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Love and Hate

I'm beginning to have a love/hate relationship with my manuscript. I'm becoming too familiar with parts of much so that I am sick of those parts and they lose their luster and I start second guessing the quality. I am also noticing a lot of flaws in my writing as I go back and edit another section and re-edit it and then revamp it and reevaluate it and edit it again.... The same words that I wrote on Monday I'm enjoying on Tuesday and by Friday I'm completely redoing them again.  I know its all part of what they call the "writing process." As a first-time novelist I'm learning as I go and feeling my way in the dark.
Overall...I still love it though! Seriously. I enjoy writing and bringing characters and scenes to life with just black words on a white page (or screen, for right now!) It's a fun challenge to overcome my shortcomings as a writer and learn more about myself as I work through them. As I look at my book as a whole I am still very excited and confident that the finished product will be great. It has a long ways to go yet. I am also enjoying how God strips away the arrogance through the daily grind. He gives me enough challenges to keep me humble and enough victories to keep me going. As always keep me and the work in your prayers. That's what I always need the most!

As I promised last's a little fruit of my labor. This is Benaiah, the main character speaking:

A noise from within the house stops me, listening, senses on high alert. The strange noise comes again…a muffled scream, a shuffling sound. I run to the door and stop just inside. My eyes are so used to the light that I’m momentarily blinded by the darkness inside. I look in through the courtyard and squint into the darkness beyond.

Piram is on top of my mother, forcing her down onto a stone bench. He has a fistful of her hair and he’s pulling back, stretching her neck in a gross, unnatural position. His mouth is next to her head and he’s hissing violent, hateful words right into her ear. Something snaps inside me. Hatred explodes in my brain and all my senses burn to life with intense heat. My thoughts go blank. I don’t speak. I must end this once and for all! I rush at Piram. My muscles bunch in readiness and I unleash years of pent up fury. My fist connects hard with the side of his head and he reels backwards, off of my mother, down to the dust where he belongs. Hateful worm! How dare he treat her like this! I’ll kill him with my bare hands!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Update

It's been a while since I wrote an update on here. I've been much more interested in writing creatively than writing on my blog and I've been putting the blog writing off. I do need to get on here more!

I am really enjoying editing and rewriting and improving my rough draft chapter by chapter. Every time I get a chapter done I send it to my wife to look over and offer her thoughts and opinions. She gives great advice from a reader's perspective and helps me refine my writing and make it better. Thanks Honey!

I do need to go back and work on the early chapters soon. I will be breaking chapter 1 up into a few shorter chapters since its just too long the way it is now. I also plan to work on the dialogue and the action's pace at several points.  I've redeveloped some of the opening plot as well.
I am still spending the majority of time working on the rough draft itself, cleaning it, enhancing it and improving it one chapter at a time. continues and it's all a lot of fun to do. I am working hard to meet my next goal and enjoying this next phase of writing.

Next time I'll give you another sample of the work!

Blessings to you all!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Next Phase

Well I am happy to report that I did get my rough draft finished and accomplished my goal by the end of June. My rough draft is a bit "rougher" than I had originally wanted it to be at this stage. I will now need to go through almost the entire document changing past tense verbs to present tense, which will be time consuming. There are also some places that need quite a bit of improvement... you can tell I was writing at 4:30 in the morning! I may want to make some additions or explore certain plot lines a little more as well. Even on the last night working on the draft, several new ideas came to me which may add several chapters to the book. I guess that's what happens. It means I still have a lot of work to do, but I am at an exciting place. The whole novel is roughed in and ready for editing, rewriting, enhancing and improving as needed.

My next goal is to have a complete final, polished draft by the end of December 2013. I will be working on about a chapter a week rewriting, editing, rethinking, analyzing and improving each one to meet my goal. I am also allowing some time to get others to read and edit it before I finalize the whole thing.

Check back here as I continue to scribble...hopefully once a week...about my journey.

Now...back at it!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

An update....and a taste of my rough draft...

Well...I need to apologize. It's been forever since I've written a post on here! One reason is that I've been busily trying to reach my goal of a finished rough draft by the end of this month. I'm on track to meet that goal...however I think the draft is going to be a bit rougher than I had originally hoped. There are still many transitions and chapter endings that need to be rewritten or developed....but I guess that's why they call it a rough draft.

I've had many days of frustration as well as moments of victory and joy along the way. My rough draft still has a little ways to go and so I am still feverishly working on it whenever I get the chance.

I've both loved and hated having this goal. I know I need to set goals and reach those goals in order to accomplish a project like this. However I also have chafed under the time constraints. I feel that sometimes it sucks the fun out of the project when I feel the goal pressing down on me and a "deadline" approaching and I'm just rattling off words as fast as I can to fill space. Hmmmm...that's definitely been a struggle for me lately.

I have also decided to write each character in the first person, present tense...which requires some rewriting as well. (They were first person, but not present tense.) I think the present tense is much better for what I'm trying to do and much more vivid and I'm enjoying the change as I write.

Many people have been asking to get a taste of the novel.'s a little snippet from the rough draft I am working on. This is my character's (Benaiah's) mother, Serah, talking as her son leaves to join King Saul's standing army. Any thoughts, suggestions or comments are welcome!

I lean against the doorway my fingers around the door frame my cheek pressed up against the rough wood. I watch my Benaiah, my dear son, walking away. We had just said goodbye. He had packed his things and I had given him some supplies I had prepared for his journey. This is the moment I have dreaded the most. I can still feel his embrace, his warm arms that had been wrapped around me a moment before. His words of tender love still sit soft in my ear as I watch him walking away. How strong! How manly he looks as he goes off on his new adventure. His heart is set on war and my heart writhes in pain. I can’t hold back the flood of tears that well up in my eyes. It is a relief to be alone in this moment. Crying is not something I allow myself to do, especially not around Beriah or the rest of the family. I hate being vulnerable and weak and Beriah does not approve of such emotional displays.  I try so hard to arrange my life so that I do not need anything from anyone—ever! Yet this is breaking through all my resolve. My heart leaves with my son. Without him I am sure that loneliness will break my heart. He doesn’t know how badly I want to hold him back. I want him to stay. I know if I had begged him, he might have listened. There was a chance. Our bond is strong. Stronger than most mothers had with their sons at his age. I might have doused the fire in his eyes. I might have snuffed out his burning enthusiasm and excitement. Then he might have stayed. I could have stirred the conflict of desire and duty that often raged in his mind, but really I know I couldn’t have done that to him. I understand how he aches for this change. I know he needs to go. I won’t stand in his way or hang on clinging like a child to his robe. But watching him go, my ancient wounds tear open fresh. The old pain floods my mind again. He is the son of my woe. Yet I love him so. Unbidden, the memories tear through my mind like jagged flashes of lightning. Terrible, unsettling weakness blows through me like a cold, violent wind. I step back again inside the house and sink to my knees on the dirt, tears streaking down my face…skittering down into the dusty floor, shattering into tiny balls of mud.  I feel my body trembling. The images come again, so fresh and raw and real, as if they happened yesterday instead of years before.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Fun...

My wife does this Friday Fun thing on her amazing health and wellness blog: Your World Natural every week and it inspired me to do the same. I won't do it every week, but every once in a while I'll include some personal updates on what's going on in my life and things I'm thinking about and doing....just for fun. It's not Friday I guess I could call it "Wednesday Fun" this week...

 Here goes:

In my life this week... (or maybe I should say this month...since it's been so long since I've written!)
Crazy busy at work. I started a new schedule in the beginning of May as I am training under a new guy. I meet him at a parking lot 30 minutes or so from our house, depending on traffic. He has to be at the first jobsite by 7am, which means we meet at 6:15 Am, which means if I want to work on my book in the nice quiet hours of morning I need to get up 4:30 or 5am at the latest. That's been a challenge. Then we've been working past the normal end of shift which is 5 I don't get home until 6, 7, 8pm at night on a normal shift. This has been taking a toll on my writing and my health and our family. Just this week I caught some kind of cold...with a nasty sore throat.
On my day off I tried to dig up our garden and ended up cutting the line to our cable service ...fortunately I was able to patch the line together so we still got internet, phone and TV...the cable guy is coming out today to fix it for us. Always something crazy right?

 I am inspired by...
My wife and my kids. My wife is absolutely amazing. These long shifts have been tough on her and the kids. I hate being away from them for such long stretches of time. It's been affecting her health too as she does an amazing job every day mothering 3 kids, writing on her blog, and teaching fitness classes and personal training at the local fitness center. She's also been dealing with some strange symptoms from stress. Yikes! She's still so amazing and sweet to me despite the crazy schedule.

 My favorite thing this week was...
 Any time I got to spend with my awesome wife and my cute, silly kids.

What's working/not working for me...
Working- switching to the 1st person present tense in my book...its helping revive some of my passion for the project and it is an interesting more vivid way of writing. Previously I was working in the 1st person past tense.

Not working - being away from my family for large chunks of time, only being able to work on my book for an hour or less each morning, getting up early and staying up late is still taking a toll...

Questions/thoughts I have...How do I reach my writing goals with such limited time each day for my writing? When is this schedule going to ease up? How on earth does my wife go through so much stress and still love me like crazy???

Things I'm working on...Still doing a lot of research for my book so that I know the culture, time period and setting thoroughly. Of course...writing every morning and trying to craft interesting, unique and vivid prose. Being a better husband and father...always. Learning as much as I can each day on the job. Trying to deal with this new schedule.

I'm reading...Still plugging away at the second book in the Gods and Kings series, just finished Doctor Dobson's Bringing up Girls on audio book in the car. The Way it Was in Bible Times and several Samuel commentaries for my writing project.

I'm grateful for... A good job that pays the bills, not everyone has one. Amazing projects God has given me to do in my life. A family that is so full of love and support. A house over our heads during all this rain we've been having lately. My amazing, talented, hard-working, positive wife! Looking forward to a long weekend off of work this week and going to my parent's house in Wisconsin.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


It's funny how music helps me write. I've been playing dark edgy music while I write the darker scenes. Sometimes I'll play some classical music during some of the more transitional parts. I try to choose music that fits the kind of scene I'm writing. For some reason it helps me get into the groove and make progress. My writing is more vivid when I do that. I also think it helps me get into an emotion that fits the scene ...after all a large part of this is about transferring emotions. I'm trying to make you feel something, concern, shock, anger, joy, relief, peace as it corresponds to what's happening in the story.

I'm making slow progress and staying positive. I just started writing a scene that comes right out of the pages of the Bible. What an amazing responsibility to stay faithful to God's revealed truth and yet how interesting and enjoyable it is to recreate the scene and imagine what it would have felt like or looked like to be in the middle of it. It has given me a whole new perspective on a short paragraph in the Bible that I'd read many times, but often without thinking much about it or its significance. Many of the scenes I'm writing are simply products of my imagination without a biblical parallel...simply fiction that tries to stay true to the historical situation of ancient Israel, but in several key places I'll be taking my readers right into the middle of biblical stories and that is a very exciting (and sobering!) undertaking.

Well...that's all for this brief update on my progress. I'm inching toward my goal. Please continue to keep me and my project in your prayers!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Fun

My wife does this Friday Fun thing on her amazing health and wellness blog: Your World Natural every week and it inspired me to do the same. I won't do it every week, but every once in a while I'll include some personal updates on what's going on in my life and things I'm thinking about and doing....just for fun.

Here goes:

In my life this week...
Last Friday I had 2 wisdom teeth "extracted" (which is a very misleadingly nice word for what actually occurs) I've been in some pain ever since then. Even this morning there is a dull throb back there and eating isn't as enjoyable as it used to be. I've been struggling with my writing...struggling to find motivation and inspiration and feeling a bit stuck, but I have a plan to get positive and get going. I have a goal to reach in less than 3 months now! Yikes how time flies.

I am inspired by...
Easter. There's nothing more amazing than knowing my Savior experienced all of hell for me and all sinners, experienced my death and then shattered death itself and proved his victory by rising to life again on Easter morning. What a price he paid to set me free. How awesome to have confidence and overwhelming joy knowing that whatever happens this side of the grave I know that my Redeemer lives and I know what my future holds. What grace! How can I not be inspired to thank him by living my life for him 100% all in, all out, all the time!

My favorite thing this week was...
Wrestling with my kiddos in our living room, the happy smiles, giggles of laughter, the goofy joys and the outright love they can't help but show.

What's working/not working for me...
Working- work is going ok. I'm eager to keep learning and growing in my trade and eager to do more and more on my own.

Not working - being away from my family for large chunks of time, only being able to work on my book for an hour or less each morning, getting up early and staying up late is still taking a 10 pm at night I've got very little left in the energy tank. My attitude lately has also not been working the best...maybe its partially the tooth pain, but I've been a bit of a bear lately and there's no reason for it.

Questions/thoughts I have...How do other authors keep going when the going gets tough? What's the best plan to reach my writing goal?

Things I'm working on...Still doing a lot of research for my book so that I know the culture, time period and setting thoroughly. Of course...writing every morning and trying to craft interesting, unique and vivid prose. Being a better husband and father...always. Learning as much as I can each day on the job.

I'm reading...The second book in the Gods and Kings series, just starting a new audio book in the car today, forget the title. The Way it Was in Bible Times and How the people of the bible really lived. Plus other dictionaries and a biblical background encyclopedia as well as several commentaries.

I'm grateful for...A taste of spring weather finally! A good job. Amazing projects God has given me to do in my life. A family that is so full of love and support. Teeth...seriously we take them for granted until they hurt!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share:
A truth we hate to admit:We are all idol worshippers and the chief god in our personal pantheon is SELF. Thank God we are saved, loved, rescued from SELF to serve and worship Him above all else.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Growing up in those days...

There's nothing quite like being a father. I can't fully explain how my heart swells with pride when my 2 year old daughter says her prayer at night or I catch my 4 year old son helping out around the house or my little 6 month old gets up on all fours for the first time. There's nothing like holding them up in your arms and feeling their tender love or helping them out with a project. There's also nothing quite like dealing with their sin and disciplining them and being disappointed when they act out or act up. It's a roller coaster ride. For a few days this week we've enjoyed some time off going to my parent's house in Wisconsin. It's fun to be at the house I grew up in, relive some of those memories as a kid and spend some quality time with my wife and kids and parents too. 
It's making me wonder more and more what it would be like to grow up in ancient Israel. What did the kids play with and do for fun? Did they play much or was it almost all work all the time to help support the family and the self-subsistence lifestyle? What chores did they do? What was the relationship like between parents and children? How did they raise their kids? What kind of education did they give? How did they discipline? I need to find answers to some of these questions or at least have an educated guess. My character is a product of his upbringing. What experiences would he have gone through as a child growing up during that age? How would they shape him into the man he is as the story begins? How do his early experiences affect the path of his life later on? Does he have unresolved issues that he needs to overcome?
I've been having fun digging into these and other questions as I continue to develop Benaiah's character and tell the story of his journey. What a joy to be able to draw on my own experiences as a father or as a child as I try to imagine myself back into that time period and write this story. If anyone has any suggestions or resources that would help in this area, I'd welcome them!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Brief Announcement

Not long ago I started writing for another site called Bread for Beggars  where I plan to write Christian poetry and other creative writings at least once a month. I've always enjoyed creative writing and I hope that this will be another outlet for the gifts God has given me in that area. Recently I posted a poem based on Psalm 22, the Psalm that Jesus quoted from the cross...feel free to read it at Verses for the King on the Bread for Beggars site.

I'm keeping this post brief...since I have a lot of writing to do on my book as I continue to work toward my goal of a completed first draft by the end of June! I really appreciate all the support and prayers!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Fun

My wife does this Friday Fun thing on her amazing health and wellness blog every week and it inspired me to do the same. I won't do it every week, but every once in a while I'll include some personal updates on what's going on in my life and things I'm thinking about and doing....just for fun.

Here goes:

In my life this week...
I've been plugging away at my writing every morning as well as going to work every day and spending a few fleeting quality moments with my amazing family at night. Wednesday I  had off work and went to the dentist for the first time in 5 years...not too bad...but a few cavities that need filling! Not too happy about that! It was fun to take my son, Malachi, he was so brave and did such a good job getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist for the first time and he was really patient waiting for me to get done with my appointment.

I am inspired by...
My wife Cara, who holds down the family fort every day with such patience, hard work, grace and creativity. I know God is using her to bless the lives of our children in countless ways every day. I'm also inspired by every single author who has ever been takes so much creativity, structure and dedication to your goals to keep at it.

My favorite thing this week was...
Every night getting a chance to read books or play with my 3 adoreable kids for a little while before they go to bed.

What's working/not working for me...
Working- work is going well for the most part, my book is coming along and I have been trying to deepen the characters and work on their back story and biography so that each is unique, I can know them inside and out and create believable and interesting lives and actions for them.

Not working - being away from my family for large chunks of time, only being able to work on my book for an hour or less each morning, getting up early and staying up late is taking a bit of a toll.

Questions/thoughts I have...What was ancient Shechem (Near my character's hometown of Pirathon) like at the time I'm writing and how important was it? When is it going to really warm up outside? I can't wait for the snow to melt and the grass to get green!

Things I'm working on...Still doing a lot of research for my book so that I know the culture, timeperiod and setting thoroughly. Of course...writing every morning and trying to craft interesting, unique and vivid prose. Being a better husband and father...always.

I'm reading...Love in the present tense on Audio book as I drive to work. Interesting fiction book from the first person perspective with some good character development and flaws. Several books on Bible background information...I believe one is entitled The Way it Was in Bible Times and the other is How the people of the bible really lived. Plus other dictionaries and a biblical background encyclopedia as well as several commentaries.

I'm grateful for...The amazing support and love from my family,  fulfilling projects and goals that God has been blessing, having a job that I enjoy and that supports my family.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share: Why waste life wishing life were different than it is? Why not enjoy life by living your life today for the One who gave you life to live?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Point of View

The point of view is so important. I want you to feel like you are standing in his sandals. You can feel the leather on the bottom of your feet. Your clothing is rough, uncolored. Your diet is raw and simple. Your life is your family and your daily, almost constant work. You look out on a world that is savage and beautiful...and a society that is changing. You live in a transitional period. A king, the first king, has been ruling for some years and everything is still new. War and bloodshed is not a faraway nightmare that you can wake up and forget about, some distant news that other people is your reality today and will be tomorrow as well. Most people fit well into their family and their society, or at least they seem to. You do not. You are not one of them. You do not like your place in this society. You do not feel like you have a true home. Adventure beckons. Danger is alluring. Change is exciting. Sin is tempting. You choose. You step into your future almost all alone and unaware of where it will lead. You are lost, but you do not want to admit it. You are empty, but you have no idea how to be filled. You are both strong and weak, wise and foolish. Your experiences will make you small, challenge you, force you to grow. You will see things and be a part of moments that will be forever stamped in the record of human history. Your name is Benaiah and you are from the town of Pirathon.

I've been writing this story from the first person point of view. I toyed with writing it from the third person perspective, which is more common for fiction and has many advantages to it. Long ago I decided to go with the first person because I want to draw you in as a reader. I want you to stand where he stands and feel what he feels as if he is giving you a first-hand report, an intimate discussion of his life, his thoughts, his eyewitness account of the experiences he's been through. Several other characters will also give their firsthand accounts so that you can see, feel, experience the story from several different perspectives. I'm very excited to be working on this and eager to make even more progress this week. Can't wait to see where these characters lead me next...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Characters in the making

Believable, authentic characters that people can relate to and empathize with. That's my goal. Lately I've been focusing on getting inside of the characters even more than I have already, wearing their skin, feeling their feelings, experiencing their experiences, developing who they are and how they see the world.

There's some challenge to do you get inside a character that lives in an entirely different world? The setting is ancient Israel, 1000 years before Christ...that's 3,000 years ago! They had a totally different world view, diet, manner of speaking, style of dress, daily life and tasks, and a thousand other cultural and environmental differences compared to what we have in our world today. Yes, some of my research has helped me flesh out the details...but yet so many details are missing. Yes, there will have to be some informed, creative imagination goin on in order to bring this story to life. My characters have to speak in a way that modern readers can appreciate and for the most part they are using dialogue that sounds more modern than archaic. Obviously what they talk about and even some of the idioms they use have to be relevant to their timeperiod.

On the other hand, people are people. What overcomes cultural and time-period differences is going to be real-to-life human emotions, thoughts, reactions, personality differences, conflicts, love interests, ambitions, dreams and the list goes on and on. I want you to get into the characters I create and deeply relate to them on a human level. We may live in a totally different kind of world than they did back then, but many of the flaws, emotions, fears, joys, dreams, struggles that we have today have been experienced by people throughout history. I want you to relate to Benaiah, who is a complex character with a unique personality and a difficult set of circumstances and a journey that will reveal to him the depths of his personality and his need. He has a spiritual hole in his soul that only the true God can fill. He has a deep need for love and forgiveness and spiritual peace that the world cannot give. His journey will take him to the brink of himself and challenge him physically, mentally and spritually. He will experience things that we can only imagine. His friends, his family and his fellow soldiers play a huge role in that journey and each of them are unique and interesting personalities. This is where this story is coming to life and where I am having the most fun writing it. I am enjoying developing these characters, making them come alive on the pages and telling their story. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to write and rewrite and research and create and pray that God can use me and this project for his glory and the good of his mission in the world.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thoughts about the struggle...

Unaccepted, disrespected and alone--three words that you never want to use to describe your life. Yet we have all experienced such things at one time or another, some more, some less. Benaiah, the main character in my book, struggles with all three, at the same time and for much of his life. His journey is full of struggle and turning points. He pushes people away trying to find himself. He seeks adventure to satisfy the gaping holes he feels within and gain the respect and admiration he desperately craves. He sets out to find himself and achieve his goals. He experiences set backs and joys, heartaches and small triumphs. His journey is a godless journey, a selfish journey and yet all along God sets out to find him and win him with his promises. God gives him people who affect him deeply and touch him with the truth. His message works quietly and steadily on a stubborn soul.
My hope is that you can relate to this struggle on some level and that it moves you deeply. God's promises are for us all, for our struggles, for our turning points. They lift our eyes from our selfish, limited, destructive infatuation with the fading things of this life and point us to a divine, sacrificial, eternal love that forgives our evil, heals our broken, and gives us unfathomably priceless gifts that endure forever!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A question for you...

What makes fiction come alive for you? What do you look for when you pick up a book and dive in for a long read? Is it non-stop action? Deep questions and issues? Learning historical information through the eyes and world of a character? A gripping plot-line? These are the kind of questions that I am thinking about as I write this book. Who is my audience? What is going to keep them interested and turning the pages?

So, I'd like to actually ask this question here and whenever you read this post, if you could post a comment or send me an email and let me know, I'd really appreciate it. Here's the questions: From your perspective what characteristics make for good historical fiction?

Thanks in advance for helping me think this through.
Blessings to you all!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Have Fun!

Why is it so easy to get too serious? I mean, I'm writing a book because I love to write and writing is one thing that I really enjoy. Yet it's so easy for me to get too serious about it. Am I writing this so people will enjoy it? Do I have the research right on this or that point? Does that sound dumb? Does this character make sense? Is this plotline any good at all? And my mind does tailspins trying to get each question just right. Yes...those are all good, necessary questions, but lately I've been drowing in seriousness and forgetting that this is a fun project. Maybe other things from life are creeping into my writing process. Maybe I get up in the morning when I'd rather be sleeping and I'm drowsy. Maybe...and this is probably it...I'm just getting caught up in the wrong perspective about this. Have fun! It's that simple. Just write and stop thinking and worrying about the silly details. I think half my writer's block lately is because I've stopped allowing myself to have fun and releasing my creativity to simply go wherever it wants. So this next week my goal is to let loose and have fun and stop overthinking everything.
We all need that reminder from time to time. It is so easy to get too serious about everything. We are the ones who turn the daily jobs into drudgery. We do it to ourselves. With a shift of perspective we can make anything enjoyable. Turn it into a game. Imagine it in a different way. Find the humor in it. Laugh instead of worry. Smile instead of groan. Instead of "I've got to get through this" think "where is the opportunity to enjoy this?" How can we be positive and have fun regardless of circumstances or tough work ahead? We're free. We're forgiven. We're covered by God's grace. Life isn't all about us or about our supposed earlthy "success" anyway. It's about Him. It's about love. It's about a future gauranteed to all who, by God's grace and work, believe in his Son and all he's done to save sinners. How can we not have fun and find fun in our every day work? And when life truly isn't fun and the tough times really grind on us...we have a joy that runs deeper than any earthly circumstance can touch. We have God's love in Christ and that's all we need for this life and the next. So let's let loose, live each day for Him and have fun doing it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Learning as I go...

This week I've learned that it takes a lot of "stick-to-it-ivness" to write. Many things have been tugging at my attention and calling me in different directions. I crave peace. I know that is my best atmosphere for successful creativity...and I've struggled with that this week. I need to clear my mind, refocus and zero in on my goals.

I've also realized some changes that I need to make in my writing and I'm in the process of shifting gears. One of the challenges of writing in the first person is the temptation to write too much internal dialogue. My characters have been doing too much thinking and analyzing...but not enough doing. I am now working to develop their character through their unique actions and reactions. I am trying to "show" their character instead of simply telling their character. I want the story to come to life in the imagination with vivid action-packed images and touch all the senses. Early this week I realized that the most interesting parts of the book so far are the more active parts and descriptive parts then I'd hit parts that started to bore me. I understood...if its boring to me, no one else is going to want to read it. So that is going to be the main focus this next week. Please continue to pray for me as I buckle down and make the changes I need to make and keep on working towards my goal of a finished, well-researched, self-edited manuscript by the end of June, 2013!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Would call yourself courageous? What obstacles, frustrations, trials or setbacks are you currently facing? Do you face them with confidence or fear or try to avoid them altogether? Yes and no...right? At times we face our fears, at times we crumble under pressure or wear down under some unpleasant set of circumstances. We whine and worry and complain and collapse. Then, at other times, we face the fear or problem learn from it, grow from it, stand up and move forward with confidence. Sometimes its easy to think that courage is for the extraordinary situations in life...when really courage is something we can exercise every day. Little problems try to drag us down. Temptations wear at us and caving to them is all too easy to justify. It's easy to do and say the thing that pleases self and displeases God. Every day in this sinful, messed up world we are called on to be courageous, to live fearlessly for the God who entered our sinful world and courageously lived perfectly in our place and sacrificed himself to satisfy our deepest, eternal need--forgiveness. He is the source of the courage we need every day. His promises help us to face every obstacle, every frustration, every problem with an eternal perspective and a sense of true peace.

The main character in my book needs tons of courage. He faces loneliness, rejection, and being misunderstood. He faces physical violence and must deal first hand with the horror of ancient warfare. Most of all he will have to face his own demons, his own issues, his own fears through it all. It will take courage...a courage that he cannot manufacture on his own or fake. It will take courage that only comes from his Savior-God. It will take him time to grow in that truth. May we all grow in that truth and face our problems (no matter how small and annoying or complex and seemingly overwhelming) with that special brand of courage and that eternal perspective that only God can supply.  

Friday, January 11, 2013


After my post last week...there were many wonderful comments on facebook from people I haven't seen in years and people I see often. First of all, thank you! It means so much to me that you care and that you took the time to show your support. I know that a project like this cannot be successful without much support. It's especially important to have the support of those who are close to me. So I want to take the opportunity and say a big thank you to my wife, Cara, who supports me whole-heartedly and gives me wonderful advice and feedback on my writing and my goals. She puts up with me waking up at 5 am every morning before work so that I can hammer out a few more paragraphs or pages in my book. She's always interested in my progress and enjoys reading snippets of my draft. I also want to thank all of you who are reading this and are at all interested in this writing venture of mine. I am eager to finish it and give you all a wonderful, entertaining book, that glorifies God and expresses and emphasizes his saving truth for many people.

The main character in my book does not have much support, from his family or from his community. He is basically an outcast and he will learn to lean on God as the only support he truly needs. Human support is wonderful to have, but it is not perfect. Thank God that we have his support, his care, his presence, his word for true guidance and strength. Thank God most of all that we have what we can never deserve-his forgiveness. That's what broken, sinful, messed up people like us need to realize most each and every day. How that colors our perspective-each day! Life's problems and difficulties tend to tempt us to focus all our energy on ourselves and we can easily dwell on the negatives and complain about our problems. Every day is a gracious gift from our Heavenly Father--a gift of his grace. Talk about support! Every day I can focus on the truth: I am a forgiven child of God. Even though by nature I have no worth...because of what God did for me I am worth the life and death of God's own perfect Son. How small my temporary earthly problems are compared to that! I have eternity to look forward to. God's support for me is infinite and eternal and it fills me with confidence and strength to face whatever future he has in store! He's also placed you all in my life in some way and gives me additional support from so many different sources. Thank you all and most of all thanks be to him!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Well...It's been forever since I've written a post on here. No...I haven't given up my writing dreams and goals. I have been busy with a lot of life changes. After a ton of prayer and thought and wrestling I made the difficult decision to resign as a pastor in Michigan for a number of personal reasons. My family and I have moved to Minnnesota and I am now training to be a plumber. I've always enjoyed working with my hands and helping people and plumbing is an awesome skill to acquire...especially as we now own our house here and will need to do some bathroom remodeling when we have the money. It also pays the bills...which is extremely important.

I still plan to use many of my skills as a pastor, especially my Greek and Hebrew translating and Bible background knowledge etc. as I write Christian historical fiction. I have even more ideas and possibilities to take little known or barely-mentioned people in the Bible and imagine what their life might have been like. I think sometimes its so easy to read right over such names and forget that they were real people with real purpose in God's plan and that they are mentioned for a reason. Yes, even the long lists of strange names. Each one is a face, a life, a story that intersected with Bible history. It reminds us that we all are important in our own way as part of God's work in the world even if our names are not written in the Bible. I now expect to have even more time that I can fully dedicate to writing this book. I've been faithfully getting up early every morning before work to put in some time on writing. My new goal is to have a completed, well-researched, self-edited draft by the end of June of this year. I also plan to write a post on here at least once a week.

God has amazing things in store for each of us and I am already finding his blessings in all these changes. May he bless and keep all of you as you go into this new year confident in God's everlasting promises and with the deep joy of Christ's salvation permeating every circumstance in your life and all you do.