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text 2014-12-30 02:34
2014: My Writing Year in Review
Rumpled - Lacey Louwagie
Unruly Catholic Women Writers: Creative Responses to Catholicism - Jeana DelRosso,Leigh Eicke,Ana Kothe
Living True: Lesbian Women Share Stories of Faith - Margaret O'Gorman,Anne Peper Perkins
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life - Julia Cameron
Publishing E-Books for Dummies - Ali Luke
I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith
Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, and Emily Bronte - Maureen Adams
A Year in the Life: Journaling for Self-Discovery - Sheila Bender
The Creative Life: True Tales of Inspiration - Julia Cameron

It's easy for me to get discouraged with how long some of my writing projects take. I will be finishing up my second year of revising my Rapunzel retelling in 2015, and I always want to be writing more than I actually am. But when I paused to take stock of what has happened in my writing life this year, I realize that I have been writing all year, and that projects take me longer because I've diversified how I spend my writing time. Here are the highlights.


January - My husband and I took a three-day retreat at Pine Rest Cabins, where I began preparing to self-publish Rumpled.


February - I began the practice of Morning Pages -- writing 3 pages in my journal every morning. I've been doing it about 4 times a week ever since.


March - I published Rumpled, and I traveled to Dayton, Ohio to do a reading of my essay "Where I First Met God," which was published in Unruly Catholic Women Writers. (Later in the year, it also appeared in Living True: Lesbian Women Share Stories of Faith.)


April - I finished my year-long journaling project, A Year in the Life, and I started a Writing as a Spiritual Practice group at my church.


May - I had to practice what I preached and rely on the healing power of writing as I wrote and cried myself through saying goodbye to my beloved cat, Phoebe, who died on May 30.


June - I began writing Phoebe's life story in my Pet Remembrance Journal.


August - The news organization I work for ramped up its news coverage, so I've written a lot more stories for pay than I usually do. My favorite was this story about voting rights on a Sioux reservation.


September - I attended a phenomenal Master Plot Workshop with Cheryl Klein. Putting my middle grade novel through her rigorous editing prescription is one of my goals for 2015. I was also featured in the September/October issue of New Moon Girls, with a bit of advice to girls about self publishing.


October - I gave a presentation at my local library with tips for NaNoWriMo, then gave the same presentation at the beginning of November at a different branch. I also went on a writer's pilgrimage to the East Coast to see the Emily Dickinson Museum.



November - I wrote my 6th NaNoWriMo novel, which is both a sequel to Rumpled and a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen."


December - My Booklikes blog topped 500 readers, and I set up a blog for one of my 2015 writing projects, A Year in Disney Movies.


I also continued to write for Young Adult Catholics, where my post about Natural Family Planning continues to be the most-viewed entry, and I read over 100 books, including the following writing-related ones:


My writing goals for 2015 are to finish revising my Rapunzel story, do another edit on my middle grade novel (which has been "tabled" for a couple of years), and finish writing Phoebe's life story. I'm looking forward to seeing what other writing adventures 2015 has in store for me.


Happy New Year!


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review 2014-07-22 05:23
My Review of "21 Stories of Faith"
21 Stories of Faith: Real People, Real Stories, Real Faith - Shelley Hitz,C.J. Hitz,Janet Perez Eckles,Jorja Davis,Kim Bookmyer,Mark Moyers,Lilly Maytree,Carol Freed,Laura J. Marshall,Cheryl Rogers,Victor Brodt,Mikayla Kayne,Paul B. Heidt,Marilynn Dawson,Mary L. Ball,Nishoni Harvey,Ruth Kyser,Krystal Kuehn,Cliff Ba

Testimony time when I was growing up in Church, was such a way to boost each other's faith for the trials ahead! Here in this book, 21 of us have come together to offer stories of faith from our own lives. I pray this touches those who need that extra boost for tomorrow.

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review 2014-07-18 08:55
Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (Battlefields & Blessings)
Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (Battlefields & Blessings) - Karen H. Whiting,Jocelyn Green Title: Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front Author: Karen Whiting & Jocelyn Green Pages: 626 Year: 2012 Publisher: God & Country Press Before you consider dismissing this nonfictional book due to the length, let me assure you this is one not to dismiss or miss! Both authors are prolific writers in many genres, and when I asked Karen Whiting about the book, even what she shared with me didn’t prepare me for the inspiration in these pages! Let me share some of the chat with you before I tell you more about the book: Lisa: Is this about American war? Karen: Yes, but not the battles as much as what women and children did at home (different when wars took place on our soil and women had to fight off soldiers who invaded). Karen: The focus of the Home Front book was to show the faith and courage of women, children, and families, plus volunteers a t home--those who support the troops behind the scenes, and also to show the struggles of military families through their true stories Believe me when I tell you there is more to the story behind this book than what I shared. I encourage you to connect with Karen Whiting (http://www.karenwhiting.com/) to see what a testimony she has to share with readers. She wrote this with Jocelyn Green in nine months during which time Karen’s husband was battling cancer. Her husband went home to be with the Lord before this project, which he had a heart for, was completed. One aspect of the book is that it is broken down into a yearly devotional, which includes real stories, pictures, a short prayer for the troops and families, and concludes with Scripture. A second aspect is that Karen is not just sharing about others, but also her own family experience that is so humbling when we tend to complain about being unconvinced by minor circumstances. The third aspect is that readers learn about the many concrete and tangible ways we can support those who serve and their loved ones who wait for them to come home. Finally, what a Bibliography! As I read through it, I was glad to recognize some of the books I have read as well as learning about others I didn’t even know existed. While I can say that as I have grown older I have become more patriotic and more involved, these people share their testimony with their heart. As I read them, I kept hearing a verse from Scripture ruminating within my mind, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12: 1-3 NIV) The context of this conclusion is due to the writer pointing out others who had lived out their faith and some not living to see the fulfillment of their promises. However, the stories here are also of a cloud of witnesses that remind us to run our race, and more so I was astounded by the prayers prayed by the loved ones for their soldier. That person was more than a soldier to them, so very much more that words cannot express the deepest parts of our hearts. I ask that readers will consider purchasing a copy for yourself and others who will be touched in ways that cannot be imagined. Make the next year or years a time to pray for the nation, government and the servicemen and women along with those who are at home waiting anxiously for their return. May God not only Bless America, but the authors for sharing the hearts and lives of so many, including their stories plus the troops and families! My rating is 5+ stars. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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text 2014-07-09 17:54
Running the Whale's Back
Running the Whale's Back: Stories of Faith and Doubt from Atlantic Canada - Andrew Atkinson,Mark Harris,Carol Bruneau,Joan Clark,Lynn Coady,Ann Copeland,Deborah Joy Corey,Michael Crummey,Sheldon Currie,Clive Doucet,Jessica Grant,Michelle Butler Hallett,Kenneth J. Harvey,Michael Hennessey,Ann-Marie MacDonald,D.R. MacDonald,Samuel

It's a great title isn't it? It's actually drawn from one of the stories in the collection, Samuel Martin's story, and it's a perfect fit. You'll see why, when you read the introduction to the colection.

Running Whales Back
Goose Lane Editions, 2013

From the opening pages, readers realize that the anthology's editors have done their homework. The stories included in this anthology have been previously published, so it's possible that even random readers who are well acquainted with the fiction of Atlantic Canadian writers might have previously read all of these tales.


But the introduction reveals that the editors possess a broad familiarity with and passion for the literature of Atlantic Canada which extends beyond the pages of this collection.

Not every story in the collection is discussed in detail and, yet, the introduction mentions some works and authors which are not included: the territory is vast.


And readers who enjoy the idea of new terrain opening up on the page will appreciate the sense of having a curated collection to explore with the intimation that there are countless other volumes waiting in the wings.


Readers who are likely less to pick up a collection of stories when there is a novel at hand will be pleased to discover the work of many novelists herein as well.


The collection begins, for instance, with a story by Michael Crummey (whose Galore made my list of favourites for that reading year).


His lyrical prose nestles up with the like of Sheldon Currie's story, which contains a series of haunting images, including a young widow on her bed juxtaposed with a broken man on a hospital gurney.


This is not, however, simply a collection of stories in which characters sing ballads and drink, against a backdrop of mill whistles and ocean waves; masses and denunciations abound. This is a collection rooted in faith and doubt.


Even this, however, is not a theme easily defined. In Joan Clark's story, readers discover that what someone might interpret as a mark of salvation is another's mark of damnation.


Sometimes there is overt religiosity in a story:

"Stones had been changed to potatoes in Saint-Joseph-de-la-Mer! It needed to be published in the Diocesan News. A Subscription should be taken up to build a Cathedral, just like in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré." (Clive Doucet's "Miracle Potatoes")


Sometimes not:

"Longing is nothing but the candle flicker of thought, of an absence, a faith that cannot be sustained, which will erode into the gravel of any relationship. Love is not ignition of gasoline, but the slow turn of bone to oil. He knows this and yet he longs with a desire as large as any conversion." (Michael Winter's "Stay the Way You Are")


Sometimes, something in-between:

"“I’m not a great theologian and in those times you weren’t going to win anybody with reason. But I was a pretty fair scrapper in my day, so I coasted on that and tried to use it to advantage.” (Michael Hennessey's "The Priest and the Pallbearer")



"She lifts him up and the nest sticks to him, then falls into the water and begins to float downriver. The bottom of the nest is missing, which makes it look like a crown of thorns." (Deborah Joy Corey's "Discovery")


This is not a theme which would normally draw me to a work, but GooseLane's reputation overcame my own doubts on that count; in that sense, you might say they have given me reason to reaffirm my own personal belief system, a belief in the power of story.


This review originally appeared on Buried.In.Print.

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review 2013-05-23 00:00
21 Stories of Faith: Real People, Real S... 21 Stories of Faith: Real People, Real Stories, Real Faith - Shelley Hitz, C.J. Hitz, Janet Perez Eckles, Jorja Davis, Kim Bookmyer, Mark Moyers, Lilly Maytree, Carol Freed, Laura J. Marshall, Cheryl Rogers, Victor Brodt, Mikayla Kayne, Paul B. Heidt, Marilynn Dawson, Mary L. Ball, Nishoni Harvey, Ruth Kyser, Kryst Wow, what a great book! It really sucked me in. The stories are short and sweet, making the book easy to read. In the first day I got about a third of the way through before forcing myself to put the book down and go to bed. I found myself highlighting passages in almost every story because there were parts I wanted to remember and/or found very meaningful in regards to Faith. This book helped me re-examine and strengthen my own faith, and I think it takes a very special book to do that. 5 stars!I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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