Category Archives: Writing

Ups and Downs of Summer with a Writer’s Conference in Between

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I can hardly believe that today is the last day of summer vacation. This summer has been our craziest one by far. Yes, even more so than the first summer with the triplets. We spent a great month with my parents in Florida but ever since we’ve been home life has been anything but normal.

Granted our first few weeks were busy though not out of the ordinary for us. Kaitlyn went to art camp for a week and I spent a week working at the consignment sale I volunteer for three times a year. In between I had a few days “off” but had to spend the time preparing for a writer’s conference. My goal had been to have my novel finished and polished before going but that didn’t happen.

Seems God had other plans. On July 28th we had a minor family “emergency” – Kirk’s niece, Amber had broken down on her way from NY to FL and needed a place to stay for three weeks. So, with just hours of preparation we opened up our home to Amber, her two children and her two dogs. We loved having them here but extra people (especially kids and dogs) brings extra chaos.

For me it meant very little preparation time before heading off to my conference in PA.

The conference…

Just three days but feels like I’ve survived a marathon when it’s over. I did have classes on the tecnhinque of writing fiction but for the most part the conference was for meeting with editors and agents to try and “sell” my work. That part is NOT my “cup of tea”. I love meeting new people and don’t feel like I’m shy, but selling myself or my work feels strange and foriegn to me.

Did they like it?

Yep. I got a great response from everyone who read my work and felt like I got the answer I sought after. Should I continue or give up this crazy pursuit of writing fiction novels? Overwhelming repsonse was to continue. I had a request for a full manuscript and people very eager to see it.

The hard part?

The novel isn’t fully completed to my liking. Before I submit I want the whole thing to be as perfect as possible. The problem is our crazy summer has not given me any time to work on it! When I returned home the house was anything but quiet and I haven’t done much writing since.

Last Saturday we drove Amber and her family to Richmond and visited our good friends, the Shepherds for lunch.

Sunday we headed out of town to spend a few days away with our long-time friends, the Clocks. One of which was broken – ha ha! Just his arm 🙂

We shared a house in Luray on a river but mostly the kids enjoyed the hot tub – it certainly kept them all happy and occupied for hours:

It was a great time to play games and hang out:

The kids put on a play and I even got to get a little reading done!

Wednesday it was back to reality as we had just one day to prepare our home for our exchange student from China. Angela arrived Thursday evening and has been fitting in great ever since..

Tonight for dinner she made us homemade chinese dumplings with a traditional Chinese meal – yum! Rachel ate a whole 6 dumplings! If you’re wondering that’s a LOT for her – meant she liked it 🙂 The girls were “helping”

Did you notice something else?

The girls hair is considerably shorter than it used to be! Thanks to JCPenney and their free kids haircuts in August the girls have a whole new look. They all wanted it cut short but Alyssa went the shortest.

Here’s the before (Julianna on the left; Alyssa on the right) – you can see in the photo a good example of all the tangles – they seem to come regardless of how often we brush even though we use conditioner and spray!

And Alyssa’s after – she didn’t want any hair on her neck because she says it makes her hot and sweaty. I think she’s just tired of all the brushing – I know I am tired of all the knots!!

Big girl getting her hair cut!

I’m not sure they loved the whole experience but they certainly love the results. I’m looking forward to easy brushing in the school year though 🙂

Speaking of the school year it starts on Monday and I have so much to do before then! I have sadly waited too long between posts and as the school year starts and Lord willing our lives are less crazy I will post more. I’m also hoping to write more – please pray I can accomplish both tasks.

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How’s Your Writing:Author Interview

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Q: How’s your writing going?

A: Not bad but slow some days.

Q: What’s the problem?

A: The short version: I’m easily distracted.

The long version: I’m having trouble deciding between two different novels. This is the problem with my writing brain. It constantly comes up with plots – complete novels really. I can’t write as fast as my brain can come up with plots, characters and ideas. And while I try and tell myself to focus on one novel and finish it my mind wants to go on to another one. Add to that I’m having trouble with the main character of the novel I’m working on. She’s not connecting in my brain and I’m finding myself unable to really bring her alive on paper and if I can’t do that how will anyone connect with her? At the same time I find myself connecting with a new character in a new story! See my problem?!

Q: Couldn’t you write both?

A: I will but at the same time it’s hard. I have this thing about starting my novel on page 1 and continuing on till the end. Some people like to write in bits and pieces and then put it together but I can’t do it that way. I don’t outline either – I start at the beginning and put “one foot in front of the other” to go from one chapter to the next. So if I start a novel I want to complete it and not “jump ship”.

Q: Any other problems?

A: I have recently realized two things about myself:

1. I write my novels best in complete silence.

2. I hate complete silence. Yeah, it’s a problem. If novel-writing were a group effort I would be long done. Can’t help it, I like to be social. I also like Investigation Discovery but that’s another topic.

Q: What are you writing about anyway?

A: The genre I read and write is Christian Suspense. Not mysteries – there is a difference. I looked it up and found a pretty good answer HERE.

Q: But this particular novel, what’s it about?

A: The one I am currently trying to work on (when I don’t get side-tracked) is called Repay No Evil and I intend for this to be book 1 in a 3 book series. My main character is Ashley Parks, a Forensic Psychologist who works with traumatized and abused children; and sometimes those who witness a crime. Ashley’s job is to advocate for the children usually testifying in court on their behalf.

In this novel, Ashley has been asked to speak to a boy, Garrett who is thought to have witnessed his mother’s murder. What she uncovers is far worse than the death of one woman. With the help of Special Agent, Nate Zimmerman (yes, love interest!) they must track down the killer before any more women are murdered.

Q: And what’s your problem with the main character?

A: I know everything about her. Where she grew up, where she went to school, her friends, her family, her backstory (which is a big deal and plays into the story a lot). I know what she does and where she needs to go but I am having trouble figuring out what she looks like. This may seem trivial but for me this dictates a lot about who she is and missing that part of her is giving me all sorts of grief.

Q: How far have you gotten into your novel?

A: Somewhere around 60,000 – about 215 pages in – which means I have just over 100 pages to go or another 20,000 words. Though I’ll probably get somewhere around 100,000 words though I try and keep it under that.

Q: Shouldn’t you be writing right now instead of answering questions?

A: Yes, yes I should.

Q: Who is asking you these questions anyway?

A: Well, you are! Or me asking myself thinking as you. Did I mention that I don’t do well in complete silence?

Thanks for your interest in my writing! As always I need readers so if you fancy yourself a Suspense reader please let me know and I can send you chapters to read and you can tell me if you like it or not! And maybe you can tell me what a smart but very scarred (emotionally) Forensic Psychologist looks like!

Writing News: An Introduction

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I have been writing fiction for as long as I can remember. In high school I completed a screenplay and a novel. I’m sure it was fiction genius. It’s a shame I can’t find it today!

Not really.

The funny thing about writing (or anything creative) is that it can be natural but it’s also learned. While the plotting of my novels comes almost unbidden – the stories and characters floating through my mind working themsevles out – the craft must be learned. Twists and turns pop in my head without much thought. I often run an idea by my husband that I’m excited about and he probably just thinks I’m crazy 🙂

But ideas aren’t enough. They still have to be written down. And in proper format. With dialogue and beats and description and writing to make the senses real.

And I have to do research. I can’t possibly put an FBI Special Agent in my novel if I have no idea what that is or what he/she does on a regular basis.

So where does that leave me?

Still working on the same novel I’ve been working on for a while.

The title: Repay No Evil

The genre: Christian Fiction Mystery/Suspense

Fortunately for me this isn’t an endeavor I haven’t done before. I have completed 3 other novels but this will be my first real attempt at completing, revising and then submitting a novel. So much work to do.

Would you like to help?

I would LOVE some help! I need readers. If you love mystery/suspense I’d love your feedback and if you love it your push to keep going. I’m not asking you to be grammar specialists but feel free to point out mistakes (unless of course there’s aren’t any – kidding, of course).

Think you can handle it? Please e-mail me: dorinda113@gmail.com

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24