Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome Marilynn Griffith!

I would like to welcome author Marilynn Griffith as she stops by on her whirl-wind blog tour 2005. I first met Marilynn at the Denver ACFW conference in 2004 and again at the Nashville ACFW conference in 2005. Her infectious enthusiasm and sunny disposition is an encouragement to all who meet her. MADE OF HONOR, Marilynn’s urban chick-lit novel, is published by Steeple Hill CafĂ© and will be available in bookstores on December 27th. The buzz is, “This debut novel is fabulous!”

MD: Marilynn, how long do ideas percolate in your head before you start to write?
MG: My ideas usually come to me in series and it’s often about two years between the idea and publication. I have some ideas I’ve been thinking about for about three years that I’m looking forward to writing soon.

MD: What kind of goals do you set when writing? Daily? Chapter? Scene?
MG: When I’m first drafting, I try to write a scene a day. When I’m behind, I’ve been forced to do a whole chapter, but I don’t always like the results. A scene a day (3-7 pages) is a good pace for me.

MD: How do you get past the trap of procrastinating when you are writing?
MG: I don’t know. I’ve never gotten past it! Though often what I think is procrastination is my mind working out something in the story that doesn’t quite work.

MD: How detailed do you chart your character’s personalities?
MG: I don’t chart them exactly. I do a lot of journaling and discovery of their childhood experiences. I usually have to write three chapters to see who they are and then come back and try and figure them out. I’ve used the Myers-Briggs personality assessment to get a better understanding of characters I’ve already written.

MD: Are you a plotter or a seat-of-the-pants writer?
MG: I’m a plantzer, I guess. I do both. When I do a proposal, I have to have the synopsis worked out and the story line detailed, but I try not to be so detailed that there isn’t any room left to play. In just about every book though, something happens that I don’t expect and I end up having to rethink some things.

MD: What’s the best advice for a new writer?
MG: Smell the roses. Publication is such a wonderful goal, but don’t make it the focus of your life. It’s a heartbreaking business. If you depend on it to fulfill you, you’ll be sorely disappointed. As God opens doors, walk through them even if they don’t have your end goal painted on the door. I think any publishing credits or writing experience helps. Think, live and write your passions.

MD: How long did you write before your first book was under contract?
MG: I always wrote. I just never considered trying to get published. I wrote for about three years (for about 3-4 hours a day though) before getting my first contract offer.

MD: What are your dreams for your writing career?
MG: A year ago, I would have had a nice bulleted list for you, but now I’m not so sure. I’d like to make people laugh, cry, pray and come back for more. I want to give grace to women and their families.

MD: How many books have you written? What’s in the pipeline?
MG: I’ve written five books so far. I have the last two books in my Shades of Style series with Revell. After that, there may be some stories about life on the other side of the altar. We’ll see.

MD: Thanks, Marilynn. Good luck as you continue your tour. Keep us posted on your upcoming releases.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Divine Humanity

For as long as I can remember, my mother put a reproduction antique post card on the table next to our nativity set each Christmas season. The nativity set was passed on to me a few years ago. In the box was the post card, with a sentiment written by Phillips Brooks, a man known as the greatest American preacher of the 19th century and writer of the Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Each year when I read the post card, a thrill of joy bubbles up from my heart. At this beautiful time of year, I wish you a similar thrill of joy. . .

“Lift up your eyes to the great meaning of the day, and dare to think of your humanity as something so divinely precious that it is worthy of being made an offering to God.

Count it as a privilege to make that offering as complete as possible, keeping nothing back; and then go out to the pleasures and duties of your life, having been truly born anew into His divinity, as he was born into our humanity on Christmas Day.”

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I love the Christmas season. The thought of my Lord coming to earth as a babe and offering His life a ransom for mankind gives me tingles up my spine and tears in my eyes. I can hardly wrap my brain around that kind of love.

So, it is with great enthusiasm I decorate my home. This year we put up our Christmas tree a little bit earlier than usual. My nineteen-year-old daughter Liz volunteered to help me find the perfect tree. We struck out early Friday morning and were disappointed to find the tree lot we usually go to was empty. Oh, well. There was another north of town we could look. Empty, too. I began to wonder if we were too early when we saw a car in the parking lot of Lowe’s with a tree strapped to the roof. We pulled into the lot and were delighted to find a sign advertising fresh trees.

As we walked into the garden center something magical happened. Both of us were immediately drawn to the same tree. The color was beautiful, the needles soft and pliable, it was full without being too broad at the bottom, and it smelled heavenly. I think it was even spotlighted by sunshine from an overhead skylight.

Oh, I guess I should tell you the last words my husband said when we left the house were, “Don’t get carried away.” With this in mind, we decided I would hold up the tree and Liz would make sure it was right for us. I pulled the tree into the aisle and Liz walked about ten feet away to get a good perspective. She clasped her hands to her chest and with a smile illuminating her face, exclaimed, “It’s perfect!” I asked her if it was too tall. “Oh, no. It’s perfect.” Yeah, I thought so too.

The attendant put the tree in plastic netting and strapped that baby to the roof of the car. When we arrived home the rest of the family came out to help us carry it in. We were so excited we almost didn’t notice their jaws just about hitting the ground.
“What were you thinking?”
“That tree’s huge!”
“Really? I held it up to me, and Liz said it was perfect.”

Out of nowhere it seemed someone came out with a tape measure. 9 ½ feet—yikes. Did I mention I’m 5’4”? Thank God for volume ceilings and nine foot ladders.

My practically perfect daughter and our perfect Christmas tree

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Almost a Criminal

This morning I was stopped before I committed a crime. A crime against fashion.

Just as I was about to walk out the door, my daughter looked at me and asked, “Uh, are you going out in that?”

Hmmm. Well, there I stood—car keys in hand, purse slung over my shoulder. “Yes, and I’m late for work.”

My other daughter stood, looked at me, and raised her eyebrows. “Really?”

Yikes! “Do you think I should change?”

Their laughter led me to believe that a potato sack would be better than what I was wearing. I went back to my closet and came out stylishly understated, the way I usually look.

Thank God for people who love me enough to be brutally honest. Actually, I’m the lady who goes up to a stranger to tell her the “size 12” label is still stuck to the leg of her new jeans.

Wouldn’t the world be a better (or more interesting) place if we all tried to stop people before they continued with their foolish choices?

Here’s to hoping that you have someone in your life who loves you enough to say, “Uh, that nose hair could use a little trimming.”

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pop Culture

Who says you can’t learn anything from pop culture? Tuesday night I went to the Paul McCartney concert and was taught a new word. Peradventure. It means perhaps or possibly. It's actually an archaic word that he's put into one of his new songs. To help define the word, he used it in a sentence as it pertains to an old song of his, "Peradventure I'm Amazed." Somehow that doesn't have the same ring as "Maybe I'm Amazed." Still, it thrills me when people play with words. Okay, call me weird.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Everything's Relative

Yesterday I overheard this conversation:

"I was rear ended in my Dad's SUV last week."

"What happened?"

"An older guy, in his late 30s, didn't stop for the stop sign at the corner..."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Maple tree was never more beautiful than this autumn season. Too bad our first storm almost took it out.

Ah, Colorado weather

We had our first snow of the season on Sunday night, 12 inches! Unfortunately all the trees still have leaves. Do you know what happens when heavy, wet, snow falls on trees with leaves? (Oh, if you don't know, not all snow is heavy and wet.) Anyway, our trees lost branches and branches. One of the aspen trees lost the top 20 feet of the tree. I woke up during the night hearing popping noises, when I looked out the window I gasped so loudly that I woke my husband.