Spring, some updates, and some ranting.

I’m always amazed by how spring rolls around.

Down here in the south, it doesn’t come so gradually. Everyday you can see things getting greener, more flowers opening – even sometimes you can see the difference between the morning and the evening if there’s been a good rain during the day!

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Within a few weeks, everything goes from brown and dead, to lively green and shades of pink and red and purple.

I love the spring – but it also opens up the year’s busiest season on the farm; gardens must be planted, the goats’ pens have to be mucked, pastures re-worked for the coming breeding season, buck pens built, bees tended to, honey harvested, hay cut (two or three times before the summer ends) and stored away, old hay sold or spread on the gardens, then once the veggies and fruits start coming in we have canning and preserving to do, besides all the milk to be processed, cheese and soaps made, and then all the dishes….

Dishes…dishes…dishes…..

Those never seem to have an end!

Besides this, we’re still working away from home.

Its been slowly of late, but we’re due to sign another contract on a large project this coming week (henceforth referred to as “High”), so we’ll be back to the old routine soon, Lordwilling – and then trying to fit in all our farm chores as well.

But still, all considered, I love the spring. 🙂 I love seeing everything come to life and I love working on our farm.

I haven’t been around my blogs lately – I suppose all this (and the fact that a cold’s been going round) gives a good enough reason for that.

757(My sister Carra, working on mucking out the lounging pen and covering our garden.)

During this break from blogging I’ve seriously been giving some thought on why I busted up my interests into two separate blogs.

I write two blogs, one for my life on the farm etc, and one for writing.

I had a very good reason to when I did it – and it sounded logical to me at the time, but the more I’ve struggled to keep both of these up the more I find that my blogging – like my life – is all mixed up together and stashed into one compartment.

When I write I am – confessedly – in another world, and do sometimes feel like another person, but my writing takes up a great part of my life – whether physically or not – and its all mixed up and confused in my farm life, work life, and family life.

I don’t really see where I found the reasoning behind moving it to another site.

Or…yes I do.

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I have a tendency to worry too much about what others think.

I try to tell myself I don’t – and in some situations I couldn’t care less what people think of me – but in others I’m just as vulnerable as the next person to a fear of rejection…or misunderstanding.

That’s why I moved my writing to a new site.

Because, by sharing my work and my love with my readers, I felt I was imposing on them.

I began this blog to document my life as a servant to the Lord Jesus – and everything that entailed; farming, working, music, everyday struggles, sewing, house-wifery…..the list goes on.

I had no intention of sharing my writing, per se, and for a long time I did not.

Here and there, I tried various ways of sharing, short stories, chapters from the stories I was working on, etc. but I always felt this sense of…heaviness? Is that the word?

I felt like people would not understand me, and that my posts on writing were more of an imposition than an asset.

So I moved them.

And now I feel like a person trying to live two lives – when really I am the girl who writes My Life in Him not the girl who struggles to write a literary blog like what Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver has become.

That’s not me. Not me at all. The posts are me, most of them, but I’m not a ‘literary’ type person.

I don’t read a lot, I can’t stand most fiction, I’ve never delved into many classics, and contemporary works simply leave me empty. I don’t write book reviews and I don’t like to teach. I have steadily disliked the way young writers try to teach other writers how to write; writing is something that you are born with, the Lord Jesus puts it there, and He’s the One Who must fashion it and bring it up – with much labor and work on the part of His instrument. I believe in sharing this journey – not teaching.

And of all things, I have ended up writing a couple of these ‘teachy’ sort of posts on Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver simply because I’m at a loss for something to write.

And that is just not me.

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Writing to me is living.

What I write in what I live – in another world, as another person. I believe in the things I write, I believe in the people the Lord gives me to write about, and I struggle through their lives and trials just as much as I struggle through my own in reality – it just all comes out on paper instead of being lived out day to day.

I fear others will not understand me, because I do love writing so much, so I bury it amongst the other things that enliven my world – our dairy, our wonderful goats, our farm, my family. I hide behind the part of me that wants to go and just lay down in the grass and let twenty baby goats jump all over me.

I don’t show people the part of me that wants to hide away in a closet with pen and paper and scribble in another world.

I probably will never show this part of me to people as much as I would like to.

I have never wanted to be an author, since I was just a tiny girl (five or six) the very word author summoned up the picture of an all-knowing, sophisticated, somewhat crazy type person with thin glasses, the perfect physic, and a very stuffy character.

I know this is quite a stero-typing, but this is what I thought, sitting in public school (before my parents took me out and homeschooled me) and listening to my teacher, Mrs. Bradly, tell us all about what author meant.

I guess she made it sound like authors were a special class of people – something worth noticing above everyone else – and that’s what turned me off.

I have never wanted to be an author – I still don’t.

I just write what the Lord gives me to write, and I hope one day that others will read it and be blessed by it in someway.

In the same light I don’t want to have a literary blog.

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I know over the years of keeping a blog I’ve proven quite….what’s the word….wish-washy?

I can’t make my mind up over a format, I keep changing the settings, swapping the name, making new blogs, now I’ve changed platforms, and now I’m merging my blogs together again.

That’s something else you’ll learn about me. 🙂 I am wishy-washy! My sister, Carra, will vouch for me – I change purses like I change my clothes, and I’m always looking for a better diary or notebook than the one I have. 🙂

But this time I think this change will be final. Writing is separate from my farm life – but its not – its separate from my work – but its not – its separate from my family life – but its not.

Would you believe I read my story on my Iphone while I milk in the mornings, or write scenes while we’re at work? And my family will be the first to tell you how ragged I run them talking about my story (I’m glad they can’t hear how much I think of it!)

I feel rejected in my work, I guess because I can’t talk about it like I would like to – because I’m afraid no one will understand, or because I think they’ll think I’m crazy!

But I’m tired of hiding.

do take my writing seriously. I trust the Lord Jesus for my stories and for my characters, but I do worry – all the time – about how scenes will turn out, if characters are consistent – if things are real.

And I’m tired of being something I’m not.

I’m tired of writing about the farm, or cooking, or work, when really all I want to do is scribble about my latest work in Enslaved to Freedom or share a new idea for a story to something that will listen – beyond the pages of my diary.

My writing is just as big a part of my life in Jesus as farming and work is – maybe even bigger! – and that’s why I’m bringing it back to My Life in Him.

Some Changes

Well, as you can see, I’ve made a few changes to my blog – again
I can’t seem to keep things the same…I change like…well, the weather! 🙂 
But seriously, the weather has been changing a lot lately.
Friday it was up in the 60’s, bright blue skies and sunshine, and then Saturday dark clouds hung
over the farm all day, cold rain turned to snow and by nightfall we had two to three inches all over the ground. 
Its been cold again today, but the sun was out so all our snow has melted away. 🙂
Our hay field and the drive down to the barn was covered in snow this morning. 
It was beautiful walking down and enjoying the bright orange sunrise. 
I love it when it snows – but down here, thank the Lord! 🙂 – it doesn’t stay too long.
Hmmm… I never knew I’d say that.

But anyways, on with the main purpose of this post. 
I have not been comfortable with the changes I made to my blog a few months back.
When I made those changes I was feeling a need to start more promotion for my 
story and writing; get the word out there more by blogging about it and linking to it from other sites.
The more I’ve gone on working with it however, trying to make it all fit, the more I 
continue to come up against this brick wall in my mind….
Its just not working. 
I can’t mix the two – my writing and my regular daily life – and expect to get the most out of both of them.
So….
This morning I sat down and opened a second blog.
One that takes the old name of this blog (allowing my previous title to take back its rightful place!)
and will be solely about my journey in writing, about what the Lord Jesus teaches me in,
about my stories themselves, and the characters in them. 
I’ll still be posting about my story here from time to time – writing is still a part of my daily life! –
but my new blog, Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver, will be the online home for 
all my writing ramblings. 
I have deleted a couple of pages from this blog, moving them (with a few changes) to their new home,
and written and introductory post. 
The site is still needing some work – a few more pages, widgets, etc. – but I think its 
safe to introduce to you all! 🙂
So, take a minute to pop over and visit my new writing blog Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver
follow it if you like it enough and want to stay up-to-date with Unlikely Lives and the story of Sullivan, 
and I’d really love it if you’d share the link with your book-loving or writerly friends! 
Thanks so much and the Lord Jesus bless you all 
this Sunday evening!

A Dream

Sullivan, a few years younger than when he begins to tell his story, may have looked a 
great deal like this. 
His life was not an easy one, from the very beginning – before the start of his tale – his days 
were by no means carefree or peaceful.
He began life poor and in the mid 18th century England this was next to death, particularly 
in the streets and shops of London where Sullivan spent his entire adolescence.
Like many a young man his age, he fought hard just to survive – his loyalties to his family 
were strong, his admiration of his Papa was almost idolatry, and the support and protection he was called upon to provide his mother and sister were seen as his life’s joy, not his life’s duties.
But changes happen in life.
They happen in everyone’s lives. 
And they happened in Sullivan’s life.
But instead of allowing these changes to grow and perfect him, he crumbled under them,
and soon found himself on a path that he had never imagined he would take. 
One of crime, theft, murder…and wealth.
A path which could have led to such a portrayal of him as we have above.
“Blast heaven,” I ground out the words, feeling as if my voice was trapped somewhere down inside of me. 

It was light out – too light out. The African sun was pouring into my room from those wide, clear glass windows; each pane was shined to perfection.
I closed my eyes…Abigail had already been in; those drapes were open – wide open.
My head was pounding.
I remembered.
I remembered. Last night.
Groaning aloud I drew my hands from under the thin coverlet that lay over me.
It wasn’t real.
I rubbed my burning eyes.
It wasn’t real. I thought through it all – it was so clouded, so foggy…the whole, awful scene – everything about it. It wasn’t real.
Thank God.
I tossed my bed clothes aside and almost fell out of bed onto the hard plank floor, “Blast,” I caught myself and caught my breath as well. Shaking my head, I looked down – at my waist coat, breeches, stockings….
“To bed with my clothes on,” I murmured, setting myself gingerly on the edge of my mattress and untying my cravat, “Fool.”
I tossed my coat and waistcoat off onto the floor and massaged my aching neck. That light was killing me.
“Willard!” I near choked when I saw him; the older man was seated in the Windsor next my dresser, his arms crossed against his chest, observing me, “Willard, man, what are you doing here?”
“Brought you to bed last night,” he grunted.
I brushed through my disheveled hair with my fingers, “I was wondering,” I shook my head, “What a night.”
My man only grunted again.
I drug myself up and shuffled to the table in the center of my apartment, “You just come in?” I looked over the breakfast tray Abigail had left for me.
“No,” Willard shook his head, “Been here all night.”
I looked at him, rather surprised.
He only shrugged, “Figured I’d better on account of that fever.”
I waved that thought off, “I’m well, Willard – no relapse for me,” I shook my head, “I’m quite well. Thank you for thinking of me, though you didn’t have to sit up all night with me.”
“Yes I did.”
I glanced at him, “Alright,” I nodded, “You did.”
He was silent and I turned back to my breakfast with a slight sigh, “Toast, hard boiled egg, English marmalade,” I replaced the silver cover to my plate, “Nothing more sickening than eggs on a wine-pickled stomach,” I shook my head and poured myself a cup of Abigail’s strong tea, “Or coffee,” I looked at Willard, “Coffee? She knows I like tea in the mornings – what’s wrong with that girl!”
“I told her to bring ya coffee,” Willard responded, “Thought it might do ya better – after what a state you were in last night.”
“Mm…,” I rubbed my throbbing forehead, “Last night,” slumping down in a chair by the table I groaned, “Last night.”
Willard was quiet.
“I think someone drugged it,” I shook my head, “Or either that sherry’s just awful stuff!”
“No one drugged it, Sullivan,” the older man left his chair and joined me at the table, “You’re just fool enough to think you can guzzle a bottle of liqueur and it not effect you.”
“I’m not in a mood for jokes, Willard,” I mumbled, “I only drank two glasses.”
“Ha!” he pushed my coffee towards me, “After Missy left with that Michael lad of yours you got Lassie to bring ya the sherry again and finished the whole thing off in less than a quarter hour.”
“Oh Lord,” I sat back in my seat, my head in my hands, “I don’t even remember that – I don’t remember anything…anything past…her leaving,” I massaged my aching temples, my neck, “Good Lord.”
Willard uncovered my breakfast, “Eat, Sullivan,” he almost ordered me, “Be good for ya.”
I shook my head, but picked up my fork anyways, “How’s Bennet?” I spoke through a regretted mouthful of nearly cold toast.
“Haven’t seen ‘m this mornin’,” my man responded, “Forbes gave up on waking him last night; he and I managed to get him to bed – in the parlor,” he rested his elbow on the smooth table edge, supporting his wide, chiseled chin with his fist, “No way dragging that man up those steps.”
I half laughed, “He’s a beast,” I shook my head…a beast….
“Blast it, Willard,” I shoved my breakfast aside, “I had the most wretched dream last night – nightmare.”
“Hm?” my man sat up a little in his seat.
I was quiet a moment, listening to the pounding in my skull, “I hate drinking,” I ground out the words.
Willard grunted, “That’s an improvement.”
“I mean it, Willard,” I slumped against the table, “It makes men think and do stupid, stupid things.”
“M-hm,” the older man filled my cup almost to the brim with that thick, black mud everyone knew as coffee, “Wanna’ talk about it?” he asked.
I shook my head, “Its too awful to think about – much less talk about,” I took the cup he held up for me.
“That bad, hm?” those dull grey eyes were watching me.
I took a tiny sip of the coffee and almost gagged, “Yeah,” I gasped, and set the cup aside with more feeling that was necessary – the black muck sloshed out all over the table; but I couldn’t care less. Willard was silent and sat up, resting my elbows on my knees, my head clutched in my hands, “That bad,” there was a slight pause, “Heaven blast it, Willard,” I could not bide those cruel, blurry scenes rising in my mind, “It was the type of dream where you wish you couldv’e stayed around long enough to see yourself kill yourself!”
Willard grunted, but didn’t say anything.
A thoughtful silence – too thoughtful for me – seemed to grip the room for several moments.
“Well!” the older man clapped his knee – shattering my thoughts and my skull at the same time, “Drink your coffee, boy, I’ll get your clothes – got ta’ get yourself together to talk ta Bennet; don’t want ‘m seein’ ya like this.”
“No,” I shook my head, “No….”
And I had to talk to Bennet.
My thoughts…my drink…it had all carried me far enough – too far.
I had to get away. I had to escape.
We had to get back to sea.

After reading this scene do you have any ideas (even imaginations) of what Sullivan could have dreamt,
or what it is that Willard obviously seems to know which his young friend has no idea of?

2013 Promotion Efforts for my writing

Well…I think this post’s title sort of tells what this post is about. 🙂
I haven’t been very good about updating here – I feel especially bad about that because I missed the beginning of the New Year!
But I have good news. 🙂
The Lord has richly blessed my writing these first weeks of 2013.

I am praying, praying, praying to have AUL finished by the middle of this year – finished and published.
If all goes well and the Lord blesses, I plan on self-publishing the story through Amazon’s Createspace. I had self-published a smaller version of Part One of AUL last year, through another smaller company, as some of you may already know. But the results were very poor. A friend advised Createspace, as it has clear advantages being a part of Amazon.
I’m prayerfully entering this way this year, with all my energies – as the Lord allows – being bent on getting the story done and published.
A big part of this, I know, will be advertising.
So I am trying to do what I can in that way before the story is actually published.
Could I ask you all for help in this way?
Those of you who are interested, could you share with your friends about these efforts, the story, and its impending publication this year?
I have written out a short pre-publication preview on Createspace this morning.
If as many of you who are interested could take a moment to read it and rate the excerpts I would be so thankful – this will help me so much in the writing, publishing, and advertising in these last stages.

Now…on a less business-like plane. 🙂
2013 has brought other changes to my story, besides the likelihood of completion. 
My mother – who so often listens, very patiently, to my babbling on about my stories 🙂 – suggested some time ago that An Unlikely Love was not a title that really fit the story. 
I’ve thought so as well, but didn’t give much time to it until this morning, when “Slave to Freedom” somehow came to my mind as a very good title. I pray the Lord gave it to me, but thought I would see what everyone thinks of it. 
As you all probably know, the story I am writing is – Lordwilling! – going to be the first of at least 4 or 5 books following this same theme, and involving Sullivan, my main character, and his life at sea. 
I didn’t want to lose the “Unlikely” tone of the series – since everything about Sullivan and his life is unlikely. 🙂
So… for the series title I have prayed about “Unlikely Lives”, as each book in the series will deal with a different character’s life, and the unlikely events built around a piratical career. 
Now…what do you all think about these changes? 
They will be reflected in my pre-publication preview, but aren’t final until the story is published! 🙂
Please remember to visit and rate my preview by following this link! (If it does not work, copy and paste it to your browser’s URL search bar.)

A post with a rather different tone….

Its just like that….
Could I safely say this is how I feel right now?
Isn’t that how I always do? 
Even sub-consciously. 
I haven’t been writing lately because I happened, before Thanksgiving, to come up on this rather difficult 
section in the last scene I was working on. 
Keeping close in the shadows of the more-solid buildings, I made my way slowly towards the stone fortress of Hold…but not for obvious reasons.
Realizing the extent of the danger we were so suddenly in…a precipitate fear…violent and possessing…had gripped me…such as I had never felt before….
Fear….
Or an energy….
I could not label it….
But it was beyond my reason to move without its force…. My mind dominated by only one thing, it pushed me on…slowly…cautiously…but ever forward…towards the dark, morbid walls of that stone prison-house….
And…I was in no wise over-zealous for my goal….
As I reached Hold the screeching, green door was being pulled open before me. 
I jumped over the drunken guard – who still lay, serenely oblivious to every danger, before the narrow doorway – and pulled myself through the opening door not two seconds too soon….
A scream pierced the night-blacked room…glass shattered…and I found a grasp on her wrist….
“You’re not taking one step from here, lass,” I silenced her… my eyes were slowly adjusting to the dim light…I could see her…tense…panting….
“You nearly scared me half to death!” she wrung her arm from my grasp, and tried to step round me to see out the door. 
I stepped before her and blocked her way….
“You’re not taking one step from here, lass,” I repeated…my voice hoarse…

This scene has more to it, but this is all I felt comfortable with sharing…since it is very rough
and further on only gets rougher.
I’ve had no inspiration to dive in and work so hard to iron all this out. 
I’ve been busy about the house, with my family, with Thanksgiving, with the farm….
But now things aren’t looking quite so cheery or nice around here….
With work looming over us, 
and the realization that in a few days or weeks we will be back to that routine….
up at 5, to chores at 6, (if you notice that give you one hour to make up your bed and room, dress, read your Bible and study, write in your diary, and write – or either fb or blog, you have to choose which is more important; story or social – and it also puts you down at the barn in the near-dark….it was dark before day light savings ended; wonderful way to check out the goats, isn’t it?) work at 8 (commute is almost an hour, and you have to give time to pack lunch and grab breakfast), work ’till between 1 or 3 when we stop for lunch (supper), then back to work ’till between 5 and 7 depending on how much we’ve gotten done and how much we have left to do, home at last, chores in the dark, to bed by 9 if we can manage to get the van unpacked, lunch ready for the next day, dishes and laundry in, and our showers done before then, and try to go to sleep before 11 so you can get up again at 5…..
Oh boy….
I’m not mentioning the other problems in between all this.
Family troubles and the neighborhoods we work in….
I’m glad to work with my family. 
I love working together.
And I love the freedom of having our own business. 
If I feel bad one day I just say so….
No one expects you to be a feel-good-every-day-work-machine.
But I am not happy with how hectic this work makes our lives –
nor how, when we are not working everything seems to be about bids, getting up bids,
calling subs, talking to city officials, organizing meetings with home owners….
It just never seems to stop. 
There’s no “I’m not bringing work to home with me.”
Its always here…Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – and even Sunday!
I just want a quiet life at home.
I just want a happy family where we’re all focused on serving the Lord Jesus –
not on making money. 
I know in order to live we have to make money – we can’t pay bills, buy things etc. etc. etc. without money.
The world runs on money.
But we don’t have to run on money!
Can’t making money to pay our bills be part of our lives instead of being our lives?
I’ve been able to survive the past few weeks since we left the job at Gatewood
because I don’t think about it. 
That’s one way I’ve taught myself to handle things….
I ignore problems, and just don’t think about them until I just have to.
Like now. 
We spent the entire day yesterday riding through very bad areas of town
looking at houses to bid on
when we already have low-bid on two houses in the last package and haven’t even
begun work on them yet!
The plan is to spend this morning (i.e. today) looking at the rest of them.
All total; 15 houses.
And to bid on them on Thursday.
And we haven’t even begun the other jobs yet! 
Faced with this sort of frustration I pray and pray and pray….
I know the Lord Jesus will answer me, He will hear me, He will guide our lives according to His will. 
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”

But I know man’s actions, behavior, and decisions can sometimes hinder His will –
and cause those involved a great deal of heartache and pain while the mess must be cleaned up
so His will can take IT’s rightful place. 
He always is my Comfort.
But my flesh is so great an obstacle. 
Sometimes 
– like now, my friends –
I can’t seem to shake my worries and frustration enough….
But still He provides.
He has created me to feel I have two choices.
Three really.
Argue about these problems.
(Which usually will not get anyone anywhere….)
Run away and cry.
(Have I done this before!)
Or…
Write.
Frustrated, burdened, and against a brick wall in my mind,
I’m going to do like often I find myself doing 
– whether I want to or not –
completely submerge myself into another world where I can momentarily escape all 
my troubles. 
Another place where – though dark, difficult, and troublesome it might’ve seemed only a couple weeks ago –
I now find a quiet haven.
Where I can be myself again.
Where I don’t have to cry….
“Did the really, really bad trouble hurt you, Papa?” he asked, in almost a whisper.
I nodded…, “It still does,” my throat ached….
Those memories….
The past….
My entire life….
I closed my eyes for just a moment…just long enough to try to reorder my thoughts…but it was useless…utterly useless….
I was not myself….
Not the man I wanted…or I thought I had…to be….
The guilt….
The pain…..
It hurt….
“How Papa?” he looked up at my face, his head lying on my shoulder, “How does it still hurt you if it happened so long ago?”
“Because it was my fault, Michael,” I swallowed the sharp pain in my throat as best I could…but it would not go away, “Sometimes it takes time for a man to live down the mistakes he makes in his youth, lad,” I tried to explain it as simply as I could, “I just never have lived mine down,” never…would I ever? “The outcome was too awful for me to get over it quickly,” I added quietly, “I still can’t get over it.”
The young boy was silent, his small, thin hand toying with a disengaged, bone button of my shirt, “I love you, Papa.”
An Unlikely Love

I asked myself….

I wonder….

“Memories, however, are not dangerous unless one is a coward and allows them to be. I should have faced my past and been the man I was…or thought I was.” 
Sullivan ~ An Unlikely Love
Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while,
or knows me a little (but not in person)
will probably know that I love to write. 
And will probably know that I love to write historical fiction – 
always with deeply spiritual backgrounds.
Anyone who knows this, will probably know too that I pray much 
as I write…and that my goal in writing is to serve the Lord Jesus, and to bring honor 
and glory to His Name – and perhaps lead others through my writing
into His Salvation, or into a deeper Knowledge of Himself.
These are my reasons for writing.
“Everyone has a chance at life, sir. Some people are given their chance much more easily than others – and some of those people choose to throw their chance away as if life were all the better without it. Everyone has a chance – and he deserves the opportunity to make use of his!”
The nun ~ An Unlikely Love
I thank Jesus for the gift of writing. 
I began writing when I was about 10 or 11 years old. 
I thank Jesus that I’ve always had some sort of story going since then…
and through each story He’s taught me, molding my hand and my mind to follow Him more fully.
After a great battle within myself and my spirit,
I consecrated my writing to Him at 15.
From then until now writing has taken on a new meaning to me…
a new depth…and I have learned many, many things which would have been impossible
to learn if I had not chosen to rely on Him for the words to put on my pages.
“I’m scared….really….I’m scared…I don’t want to do this….”
Alice ~ An Unlikely Love
I love to write.
I love the feeling of putting a picture into words…
and knowing the characters…like I would know someone in real life…or even better
than I would know someone in real life….
To be completely honest, I am closer to the characters in my stories 
than I am to 99.99% of real people in my life.
I love to sit and watch as things come together…events manage to fit together –
where I didn’t expect them to…characters begin to develop…in a way I hadn’t expected….
Scenes begin to come to life…I can feel them, touch them, see them, smell them, taste them….
I don’t know how else to express it other than
that I love it.
I love to write. 
“They saida’ they was still born – but Jelisa, young girl there been ‘elpin’ ‘em labor, tolda Forbes the truth – them girlsa jus wana’ rida’ ’em youngins – an’ theys don’ta’ care how.”
Ravelli ~ An Unlikely Love

I know why I write…
and I love writing….
for the reasons I do it – and because I love writing…
not for itself, but because of what it is to me.
But there are still moments…
days…
weeks…
when I asked myself that awful question.
Why?

Why do I write?
Why do I spend hours…days…weeks…months…even years…
bent over a story…
my mind always occupied – consciously or subconsciously – 
with some form or facet of it?
Why do I labor…why do I write – even when I’d rather just lay down and sleep…
or spend time doing other more enjoyable things –
why do I do this?
Its not all fun.
Most of writing is hard work – truly hard work.
Studying out facts…writing the mundane…editing…filling in parts you’ve read a million times…reading and re-reading…trying to make things work when you know its hopeless…going back and 
re-writing…or completely tossing your whole week’s worth of work because it is not good enough….
Writing is beautiful…the outcome is beautiful…the characters are beautiful…
but more often than not writing is a job; a burden.
So why do I do it?
“I have seen some acts of cruelty in my time, lass, but this surpasses them all.”
Sullivan ~ An Unlikely Love

Sometimes I wonder if ever I will see these long hours of work…worry…fatigue…
ever come to the point where others have read it…
and been truly blessed and encouraged by the experience. 
Years of work have so far proved nothing more than stacks of paper piled in my
closet…characters lying lifeless, morbid…encased in dust and time.
So why do I keep adding to this?
Why do I keep adding to this pile of useless paper?
Why do I keep tormenting myself over something that gives so little return?
Why?
“I bent close to her…my hand cupping her delicate chin…the silken, hazel curls around her neck swept softly by the ocean winds brushed my arm…I could see the glow of the evening sun in those dark eyes…and I claimed her lips with my own….”
Sullivan ~ An Unlikely Love

I never have the answer to these questions…
I never see the end of this long tunnel I am going through…there is never any glimmer of light to
ban the darkness I seem to be surrounded with.
There is only comfort…a degree of comfort…
comfort….but still pain. 
The comfort is in and only in my Jesus.
My trust in Him.
My trust in Him to keep me…keep my soul…and direct my words.
“Give thy heart’s love and labor, and that which grieves thee most,
Into His faithful keeping Who guides the heavenly host;
He Who to cloud and tempest a great highroad doth show
Will find for thee a footpath, a way thy steps may go.

Trust God if thou desirest that it go well with thee, 
And on His doing ponder if firm thy work shall be.
The sorrow thou dost treasure, thy pain close cherished,
Leave Him no room to enter: Oh thou must pray instead!

Through all our ways Thou takes Thy way, all means are Thine;
Thy hand moves but in blessing and all Thy footprints shine.
Thy children’s need Thou knowest, and what doth best befit,
Unhindered and unresting, Thou shalt accomplish it.

Let Him dispose and govern, He is a Ruler wise
And will unfold His wisdom to Thy astonished eyes,
When He, in wonderous manner, with foresight and with care,
That work of thine shall finish of which thou didst despair.”
Paul Gerhardt 
I would not love writing if not for my Jesus Who is my Talent, 
and I would not love writing if not for my Jesus Who is my Life….
I could abide myself…
writing on my merry way without Him…
because writing then would be very empty…
a very empty and desolate world indeed.
It is because of Him that I can not but write…
though my flesh indeed is weak; though my eyes indeed are dim.
I cannot see what He has planned for me…
I cannot discern what His will through all this is…
sometimes I just want to give up…because my flesh sees no profit in all this struggle and pain…
I just want to give up.
Be a normal person….
“Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name. 
But His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
Jeremiah 20:9
This is why I cannot but write…
I cannot contain all the things He gives me to put down on paper.
I cannot bear holding them all inside….
It has to be written.
“Its tiny, blood-stained limbs flailed and beat the air weakly…its tiny hands were still crumpled into distorted fists and its toes and feet were bent and misshapen from the long months it had spent inside its mother’s womb…tiny strands of jet black hair were pasted wetly onto its tiny head…and its little face was wrinkled in unhappy wailing. Completely lost, I held it close to me…felt its cries against my chest….”
Sullivan ~ An Unlikely Love

Of Sickness…and Cards…

It’s been sometime….

since I’ve written anything here about An Unlikely Love.
My illness, back in August, brought my wild writing binge to a sudden halt,
but I thank Jesus, that, by early October, He had blessed me to write
a good deal more – this time on paper, instead of on the computer as I had in June-July.
The busy weeks of working have slowed my writing again, since later mid-October,
but I am praying and feel that a good time of writing may yet come my way
before we start another phase of working again. 
At the same time I fell suddenly ill, I had just completed a near-tragic
scene of Sullivan’s first illness – brought on originally by too much work, and far too much drink.
I was so shocked to find that, without ever having suffered such a severe illness,
the description of Sullivan’s time abed was so, so close to my own.
He was seriously ill for seven days – then followed a time of recovery of about one 
to two weeks…only, his was spent mainly abed, while I at least could
get up and come home! 
His illness, in fact, – complete with nausea, fevers, confusion, and severe headaches – 
was so, so, so close to my own which immediately followed
that after returning home from the hospital I could not write for some time…or
read what I had last written.
Writing now has been slow – given all the things going on in life. 
But I thank Jesus there has been some progress made….
and, unlike me, Sullivan is still recovering from his near-fatal, jungle fever.
There are indications however, that, though he wants to convince himself all is well, 
there will soon come a dark time of his relapse…
far more serious than the first onset of his harrowing ailment. 
But for now, he is going on with life…trying to forget his illness…the idiotic imbibing that, in part,
brought it on…the woman who cared for him…along side the Scottish doctor he now feels he has 
every reason in the world to hate…and go on with his duties and desires as before….
Thomas Cole, his recently arrived – and recently married – European agent, is 
doing much…though unwittingly…to help him achieve his stubborn ends.

“Game of cards?” he [Cole] offered, sitting down at the table and cutting the deck evenly.
“I suppose so,” I drug myself off the sofa – keenly aware of every bone in my body; murmuring oaths, I cursed Forbes’ medicine, “I think his blast pills and syrups and bleedings only made me more ill,” I took a seat at the table across from Cole, “Scottish quack is what he is.”

A Scene

Its been quite sometime since I wrote a scene for my blog.
I like to do that sometimes; especially when I can’t concentrate enough to really write.
I’ll write a short, shaky-type scene that isn’t polished or perfected.
Sometimes it will actually get fixed up and incorporated into the story,
or either the Lord will use it to give me some idea for a later scene.
I only have a few minutes tonight (less than half an hour),
but I’m going to try to write a scene anyways, if the Lord will allow,
and Lordwilling I’ll schedule it for Tuesday (this is Sunday evening).
“What’s troubling you, lad?” I knew something was bothering him…Heimler had not been himself for days – testy and short tempered, he was acting more like a rash sailor than the well-mannered soldier I had always known.
“Nothing, sir,” he wouldn’t look at me. 
The young man rested back in his seat and pulled a small timepiece from his pocket.
“Where’d you get that?” I watched him.
“Bought it before we left London,” his words were short, “Savings from the card table at White Rock.”
“You’re on your way to being a professional gambler, Heimler,” I shook my head, “As professional a gambler as I was a professional criminal.”
“I’m not on my way to being a professional anything,” the young German grumbled and pushing his seat back angrily. Rising, he took a few steps cross the little room.
The dim flame of the candle in the lantern which hung against the dark wall cast a dull light in the tiny compartment I was now permitted to call my cabin, but Heimler was beyond the reach of this weak flame – across the room he looked more like a dark shadow than a man.
“I’ve never known you to act like this, Heimler,” I tossed my feet onto the table top and rocked my chair back on two legs, “What’s happened – loose a game of pharo?”
“Certainly not, sir,” the young German’s gaze was fixed on the aquatic blackness outside my cabin’s tiny window.
“Dice?”
Heimler only grunted.
“Bridge then,” I insisted.
“Can’t you blast think of me in any light except a gambler!” I had expected an explosion – but not quite so violent. The young German was more out of sorts than I had known, “I am human, sir, for heaven’s sake!”
“Then tell me humanly what’s the matter!” I slipped my feet off the table and stood from my seat, “What in the – “
“Abigail.”
The name was spoken so quickly and so low that I hardly caught it.
“Abigail?” I walked over to him, “You’ve quarled with her?”
The young German finally faced me, “Yes we’ve quarreled.”
I watched those German-blue eyes for several moments. Resting my shoulder against the wall I took a breath, “What about?”
Heimler looked back out towards sea, “She’s pregnant.”
“She’s what?” I was shocked – Abigail Reynolds….
“She’s pregnant,” Heimler growled, and his words which followed were not worth repeating. 
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I put a hand on his shoulder, “Heimler wait a minute; if she’s carrying your child then -“
“My child!” the young man snapped, stomping across the room again, “My child! That wench won’t let me see her with a shift on – much less get anywhere near to having a child by her!”
“And how do you know she’s pregnant?” 
Heimler turned round to me, “She told me is blast how – she told me herself! Started off with all these apologies – then she tried a crying jag before she finally confessed the -“
He was interrupted sharply by the sudden entrance of Norman Howe.  
The young German pulled a pistol on him, “Don’t you know how to knock, you fool!” he barked at him, “The master’s cabin is private quarters – not to be barged in on by just any tramp!”
“Any tramp except the Royal Navy,” Howe responded calmly, “Put that gun up, if you would, boy,” he took a seat at the table. 
I watched him. 
Howe was a man of quick sense, good reason, and a decent share of wit, but he was conceited – he was rich, filthy rich, and he had a name for himself in the Navy and the British court; besides being a very active member of Parliment. 
“Sullivan,” he spoke to me as the inferior he felt that I was, “Your Captain is pushing my patience, I advise you to do something about him.”
“Bennet is a man of his own manners,” I responded coolly, “As long as he doesn’t do anyone a harm there is nothing you can accuse him of. I’ve tried to talk to him, but he will hear no reason.”
Howe grunted and helped himself to my tea, “And this young chap,” he nodded towards Heimler, “I’ve seen him about deck picking fights with my men; if I were you I’d have him horsewhipped at once. The worst thing you can have on board a ship is men fighting with each other – demoralizes your force and divides them seriously.”
Heimler gave a short laugh and knocked my china tea cup out of Howe’s hand with the muzzle of his handpiece. It shattered in the captain’s hand, shower him with bits of glass and a good dousing of strong tea.
That’s all I have time for tonight. 
Its not very good…its based on the second book which is yet to be begun. 
Can you get any idea from this scene what the setting for the story is? 
I welcome any and all comments!

Thoughts on AUL – and the Nun

This last day of September sees me spending more time on my computer
this morning than I have for the past two weeks. 
Work, appointments, household tasks, and farmyard chores all
put a tight restriction on my free time at the computer,
and what’s more, I like to spend a good deal of my morning/evening ‘free’ time
in reading my Bible and praying, so my time for 
computer work is very limited – 
especially when I fit in writing to an already tight schedule! 
But I like it that way. 
I’m planning on writing a few posts today and scheduling them for the week.
So…I hope you’ll be able to see more of me here –
even with our tight schedule! 🙂
Of course my mind always bends towards writing when I have a chance to 
share here, but I try to add-in other things as I can stand to so no one will get bored. 
I know not everyone likes fiction – or would understand the background of 
my story – like I do, or some of my close family (sisters 🙂 who read my blog,
so I don’t want to bore y’all. 
I plan on a post soon to update everyone about our farm,
as things haven’t been quiet at the barn, 
but this morning I was looking over my collection of old pictures,
and thought I would share this one – 
since it reminds me so much of the nun in An Unlikely Love.
I’ve noticed that several newcomers have begun following my blog. 🙂
I might be a quiet person, but I have noticed y’all! 🙂
Usually I look over blogs a good deal before I follow them, and I suppose 
most people do to some extent. 
So y’all probably have some idea of what An Unlikely Love (or AUL as I 
refer to it often) is, but just for clarification…
I love to write historical fiction. I write for the Lord Jesus only, 
so the stories He gives me are always themed towards Him and for His Glory.
I pray I may be His pencil for His use; and that the stories I write will be
through His Hand on me, only, and not for or of myself. 
AUL is a story He gave me a year back now set 
sometime in the mid-1700’s in the world of a very successful pirate ‘captain’ 
(referred to in the story as the ‘ship’s master’).
Sullivan is a very troubled man – haunted by memories of the 
faults and errors of his youth he has struggled for years to 
forget and to live above his burden of guilt. 
But the introduction into his wayward life of a young woman and her 
mysterious Spanish company begin to pierce the defenses he has constructed,
and his carefully-guarded world begins to crumble all round him,
as he becomes the man he has fought to destroy.
This nun – as she is known until late in the story – is the woman to whom
I had reference to when I said the picture resembled her.
Currently, where I am working in the story, she is a very active character – 
though not seen as often as she will be later. 
She is a girl of some personal beauty – one man in particular thinks so – 
but the greatest part of her beauty does not lie on the outside.
Her own past, as Sullivan’s, has helped to form her into what she is;
though, unlike Sullivan, she has had the benefit of a Lord and Father higher
and greater than herself to use the events He created in her life to
further her relationship to Him and her usefulness to her fellow beings.
Her courage in the face of this great peril she and her friends 
have lately found themselves intercepted by 
(Sullivan and his force taking down their vessel and holding them captive)
is unlike anything Sullivan has ever seen.
A woman, but a woman of amazing courage – she is not in-human however,
and under the weight of Sullivan’s gun against her chest she does break. 
Yet, the more she sees of him, the more she understands him – even without 
really speaking to him – and the less and less he can fool her with
his fronts…his attempts at intimidation.
If only he could be enlightened as to what sort of life she has had to endure
prior to his ever setting eyes on her….
She is a very constructive, hard-working young lady 
with a great deal of determination. 
Quiet stubbornness and faith has won her many a triumph over her
violent captor and she has become almost as free among the 
pirate company as any active member of the company ever could be.
This will prove to be the greatest trial to Sullivan’s wayward life 
that he has ever faced.
And he will suffer a crushing defeat.

Thinking….

I find it very difficult to see through the eyes of the nun in An Unlikely Love. Most of you will have noticed the story is told solely through Sullivan’s (the main character) view. But the nun is a very great player in this story. She is everywhere…doing everything…not saying much yet, but always there all the same.
I find it very difficult to imagine myself the victim of a pirate attack…and then held prisoner, with no idea of what my fate is, for over half a year (and probably much longer…I’m not sure yet! 🙂 surrounded by the very basest of society…men who don’t give a lick what people think of them, don’t think twice about shooting and killing someone, and certainly would not care…would even relish…the thought of hurting a woman…. To be stuck in that sort of violence and danger, and then finding oneself, through tragic circumstances, raised from the position of merely a prisoner to an active…visitor…if not member of this riotous community once the company anchors at their rendezvous….
I can only just fathom what she is feeling…suffering.
It would make a wonderful story in its own right. Maybe the Lord will bless and I can write it one day….
Maybe.