Thursday, February 17, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Author and friend Lisa Jordan celebrated her very first book contract this week. She pulled out her pen and signed her way to a whole new world. Lisa also sat down with me to answer some burning questions I had about her journey over the rainbow:

Me: What compelled you to start writing a decade ago?

Lisa: I've been writing since I was sixteen, but, of course, family came first. When my boys were very young, they needed me more. As they grew older, the voices in my head wouldn't hush. We had gotten a new computer, hooked up to the Internet, and then I searched for writing groups. I found one and liked it, but it didn't quite meet my needs. Writing has been a dream for so many years that I couldn't not write.

Me: You mentioned on your blog that you made many "new writer" mistakes. Can you give us an idea what some of those mistakes were?

Lisa: Oh, goodness. I'm not sure if there's enough space--head hopping, telling, naming the emotion, overuse of adverbs, opening with descriptions of weather.

Me: What has helped you the most to hone your craft?

Lisa: In 2005, I found ACFW online and joined. I attended the conference in September and met Susan May Warren. I had discovered her books a couple of years before meeting her and loved them. I was like a tween at a Justin Beiber concert when I met her. That meeting changed my life. We developed a friendship over the years. A couple of years ago, I became involved in My Book Therapy, Susie's book therapy site. Being mentored by Susie and Rachel Hauck helped me to take my writing to a new level. Their workshops forced me to dig deeper into my characters. In turn, I learned what elements are necessary to write a salable novel.

Me: Writing is a very tough endeavor. How were you able to stick with it for ten years?

Lisa: I wanted it badly enough. I did take off some time to earn my degree in early childhood education. God placed this desire in my heart over twenty-five years ago. I needed to be faithful and obedient to His calling. Having friends and family who believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself, helped me to stay focused when discouragement kept me down.

Me: What advice can you give new authors as they start out?

Lisa: My advice would be not to rush the writing process. Take time to savor those nuggets of wisdom from writing books, workbooks, retreats, etc. Each step has it's own blessing. Cherish those.

Also, believe in yourself and God's plan for your life. Writing is hard. It doesn't get easier with publication. You need to learn to find your balance, but keep your priorities straight.

Me: What writing books would you recommend?

Lisa: My Bible--where else will you find such perfect spiritual truth?? And then ost definitely, Susan May Warren's From the Inside Out and Deep and Wide. James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure, Alice Orr's No More Rejections, GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon, and a baby names book ... yes, seriously!

Love Inspired will debut Lisa's first novel,Lakeside Reunion in November of this year! What her whole story of her journey over the rainbow? Check out her website: . Truly, it is a story of dreams come true!

Congratulations Lisa!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Conspiracy of My Mind

Last night I worked with a friend online getting used to Skype. You know, that program that allows you to instant message and make phone calls using the internet. Skype was invented by two Swedish techno-brainiacs. Knowing this, I told my friend I really didn't like to use the program because it was un-American.

Suddenly, out of absolutely nowhere, my imagination began to conjure up all sorts of evil plans to take over my mind. Cryptic subliminal messages told me to kill my dog and steal the money out of the red kettles at Christmas. A computer cyborg jumped out of my monitor and sent me to the remote planet of Skyperia. I was sentenced to life in techno-prison.

My wise friend calmly typed, "please step away from the Skype." Clearly, my wild, uncontrollable imagination was flexing her muscles! I mean, I created a new planet, a whole new civilization, and a secret conspiracy to completely control the phone communications of the entire world...all in five sentences! Not bad, huh?

Know what I learned? There's a story in EVERYTHING! Even a weird name. There was an entire mystery or thriller there, but don't tell the Skypers. They'll sneak into my work in progress in the middle of the night,kill the hero and write the villain to reign victorious over good. He'll take over the world!

Oops... there I go again. I soooo love being a writer. But I really must be kind to my readers. So, to spare you, the Masters of Skyperia have issued a subliminal command for me to type: The End.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


People ask me how I’m able to be so confident. When they do, I always want to turn around to see who’s standing behind me. Surely, they don’t mean me. Some say I’m bold as a lion. I’ll stand down any foe. That much could be true. I would rather fall for what’s right than to stand for what’s wrong.

But Confident? If they only knew the wrestling matches that go on inside my mind. It reminds me of when I was a kid. Ok… a really young kid, for the record. When I took my bath I’d have wars between my left and right hands. They’d fight each other to the death. My right hand always won. Always.

I wish my confidence always won the battle of my inhibitions today. Sometimes it does. Other times I feel like I’m totally incapable of writing anything of value to anyone. That makes me feel so…. Umm… left-handed.

When I sit down at the computer to write, sometimes poetic words gush out like a waterfall. Other days, the only one who would be proud of what I write is my first grade teacher, Miss Beasley. But I’m a writer nonetheless. I’ve learned to ride those waves of confidence followed immediately by questioning why I ever thought I could string meaningful words together. It’s all required to be a writer. The ups and down. The ins and outs. The confidence and the utter lack of it.

I’ve also learned to capture the emotion of it all. My characters experience the same inner struggles as I do. Why not capitalize on my agony, right? If you are questioning your ability as a writer, do what I do. Have a fist fight in the bathtub. Oh wait. That’s not it.

Ride out the wave. Tell yourself you are a writer. Whether the words come out good or bad doesn’t change that. You breathe. Therefore, you write. Simple isn’t it? And a lot less messy than wars in the bathtub! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

When You Least Expect It!

A week ago I was out riding my bicycle. It was a picture perfect day in Central Florida. Bright sunshine, warm temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. I'd had a frustrating week and needed to clear my head.

When I turned and headed back toward home, I rolled through an intersection. I had the green light and the right of way. Sometimes that doesn't mean anything. This was one of those times. Suddenly, an 83 year old woman ran the red light and came right into my path. I had no time to react and no distance with which to stop.

So, I hit her...sort of. Without even thinking, I turned left and shifted my weight to the right. I leaned into her car and went in the same direction, connected to her until she came to a stop. It was a very frightening experience that could have ended in disaster. I could dwell on that. Just the thought of broken bones, rode rash and hospital visits makes me cringe.

The same week that happened, I received an invitation to write a new book to encourage new writers. Just like the Toyota Camry that suddenly appeared right in front of me, that came out of nowhere as well. Both were completely unexpected. Both were life changing. Each happened in an instant.

I realized there is just as much chance something wonderful will jump right up in front of us and change our lives. When we least expect it, good things happen. Dreams come true. Prayers are answered.

I learned to never, never, never give up. When I least expect it, something great will happen to change my life forever! Like my life being spared. Or a book contract. Know what? It's exactly the same with you.

Don't give up hope. Never! One day, you'll be glad you didn't.