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Watchers

kkbeastcollageWatchers are a type of angel, high in the hierarchy of angelic beings. The most frequently mentioned watchers in the Bible are the ones first mentioned in Genesis chapter 6. They are the fallen angels. They came to earth and began “taking women” impregnating them to produce giant babies, the nephilim. The word nephilim means the “fallen ones”,  further indicating that their fathers were fallen angels.

The particular word for the “watcher”, who gives King the message from God in his dream used in Daniel chapter 4 is used no where else in the entire Bible! There must be something different about this watcher, or type of watcher, since it is a different word. I have spent hours researching and still know little about because surprisingly, to me at least,  no one seems to know much about them? In Daniel 4:23 KJV it says, “the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven”. I can only deduce since the watcher was issuing the decree of God that unlike the others, this watcher at least, did not rebel against God, and was not a fallen angel. The good part about this particular kind of watcher being so mysterious is that is leaves room for imagination 🙂 There are several other cool things about this verse that are a mysterious as well like why does the KJV have ‘and a holy one’ implying that there was a watcher and a holy one?

There are also fascinating connections between the time of Noah in Genesis 6 and the end times according to Matt 24: 37 – 39, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Of all the distinguishing points to make about the end times, Jesus says it will be as it was in the days of Noah. And the only unique thing about the days of Noah compared to many other times in history is the watchers getting women pregnant and the children being part fallen angel and part human. Author, Speaker & Researcher LA Marzuli believes that the increase in alien sightings and human abductions is the watchers coming again to create more nephilim. He has created films and books, and has many you tube videos chock full of proof gathered from all over the world.

Here is a short introduction on the fascinating topic – check it out!

Who do you think the watchers are?

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Pinterestking

One of my favorite things about reading is that I get to use my imagination to see the characters, places, and events that happen in a story. One of the main things to help me decide if I am interested in reading a story is if I can visualize some part of it. Perhaps it is set in a place I’ve always loved, or I am curious to visit? Perhaps the main character has curly hair, like me, so I already feel a connection,… you get the idea.

As a writer, using pinterest helps me to compile pics of different people, places, things, and animals which I then combine to create the characters, scenes, and props in the story. Plus, before I started using Scrivener, it was a very fast way to go back and double-check if the horse is supposed to white, roan, or dapple 75 pages later! Now that I am using Scrivener, I simply pull the best from pinterest into my chapters.

So without further ado – welcome to the pinterest page for King.

I have boards like;

  • Music to inspire – featuring music from that time played with traditional instruments, nice to listen to while writing or reading
  • Characters – a collection of pics used to create each character
  • Connection to Now – there are many connections between ancient Babylon and now (Bagdad, ISIS, current events etc,..)
  • Neighborhood Finds – Scenes from around the palace, Ishtar Gate, Hanging Gardens etc,..
  • My Style – snippets of accessories and fashion for different characters
  • Favorite Places and Spaces – pics combined to create fictional locations in the book
  • Everyday Things – collection of artifacts that would have been used during the story
  • Books to read – other great books that inspire my writing

Explore, enjoy and happy pinning 😉

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Guest Blog – Aaron Gansky – Ten Story Building Techniques

What an honor to have novelist, teacher, and writing mentor Aaron Gansky share his wisdom on the process of story building. He is the author of The Bargain, The Hand of Adonai, (a YA Fantasy series), and two books on the craft of fiction; Firsts in Fiction: First Lines and Write to Be Heard (with Diane Sherlock). To find out more about his books go here.

Aaron is also the co-host of an informative, well-produced and  unique podcast called Firsts in Fiction. In this episode he is joined by Alton Gansky and his co-host Steve McLain. Listen here as they discuss Ten Story Building Techniques. You can also see their notes and subscribe to be reminded when new podcasts are available.

Some highlights for me as I listened;

  1. Recognizing ideas as they come – an awareness of an idea that leads to a “what-is” question, which then leads to more “what-if” questions = you might be on to something.
  2. Outlining vs. Discovery writing
  3. Originality is 3 deep – the first answer that comes to mind when asking why, and even the second answer should usually be discarded in favor of digging deep and finding an original answer.

Simply-Harris-Compressed14Stay tuned for a review of the audio version of Aaron’s latest novel,  The Bargain (available for free) including my perspective as voice-over talent.

Question

How do you recognize ideas as they come? Or are you where I am lately which is having more ideas than time to write?

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10 story building techniques to help find your next story from Firsts in Fiction Tweet this

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Discovery in writing

His HandsThere is a moment in writing – several hopefully – where the reader gets to discover something for themselves. “I love the moment where people realize that there is a twist,” Jennifer Nettles shares about her latest song, His Hands, sung as a duet with Brandy Clark.

Even in songwriting, there are moments for the listener to discover what the song is really about, especially the way Jennifer Nettles writes them. She is a prolific and gifted song writer who knows how to lead the listener through the experience of being touched by a song. It is the kind of thing that separates a good writer from a great one. “Discover” for yourself and listen to His Hands here!

Discovery is vital to any great writing because it invites the reader to participate in the story. One of the challenges as a writer is giving the reader the space to explore and discover for themselves. Discovery also often involves a deeper layer of meaning, there is the surface level that everyone gets, and then there is the deeper layer that only those who work for it understand. Listen to Jennifer explain what it is like to be on stage when the audience “gets it”. When they realize that there is more to the song than what they originally assumed it was about.

I have learned much about writing through listening to good music, especially from Jennifer Nettles who has been one of my favorites since I had the pleasure to work with her as her career began. Not only teaching me about how to invite readers into the story, but also character development, and what it means to have a voice. More to come on those… Thanks Jennifer!

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So now what?

Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of when I completed the story. Many people have been asking now what? When can I read it? (Thank you by the way, I so appreciate it) To answer that requires a bit more than a new date. First of all, I realized that it is LOTR long, and that makes for a harder sell. I also realized that it is a perfect length for a trilogy, how convenient, since trilogies are quite popular. First I edited it into a trilogy, and worked on titles, covers, and the ever important inter weaving of each book into the others. Thus King – the series was born.

Then, I finally had some people read it, with critiques and edits, I submitted a chapter into a contest, and continued to learn, read, go to workshops and edit more. During that process I came face to face with the lovely challenge of not only telling the story but telling it in the best way possible. Particularly I realized how much better it could be if I changed the POV (point of view) of king from first person to third AND changed the POV of his granddaughter Eanna from third to first. It completely shakes up the story, giving the reader a glimpse into what was previously unseen, it allows the reader to be more deeply engaged with the story, and to come to conclusions themselves. Ultimately it goes much deeper in the proverbial “show don’t tell”. I’m also learning that there is a genre called speculative fiction, that seems to much better define the style and vibe, rather than historical fiction.

So now what? Now, I’m in my fourth, yes, fourth re-write of book one at the moment, and have been for some time. Since I’m not yet able to write full-time, food must still be procured as well as heat, water, and a roof 😉 I’ve let go of a time line, even of the idea of time. My goals now revolve entirely on quality. It was a hard pill to swallow at first, but I’d rather take the extra time to do what I’ve already spent years working on ‘right’ rather then just get it ‘done’. I’m seeing, that much like most of life, it truly is more about the journey at least as much if not more than the destination. It’s good though, it’s a labor of love and like babies it’ll be ready when it’s done 😉

Lastly, I just want to say THANK YOU again to all of you for your continued interest and checking in with how things are going. It really is like a ‘baby’ to me, yet unlike a pregnant woman, the rest of the world can’t see that I’m preparing to give birth to something. So it means a LOT when I’m asked how it’s going and when it will be finished.

Sneak Peek

When I write, it is helpful to do a bit of research, google image style, to help me see what specific details look like.

Of all the uses for pinterest I enjoy, my favorite is as a tool to help me collect and organize these details. Rarely, if ever, do I find an image that is exactly what I need, often I find several to create a composite. It’s also fabulous in helping me remember the details, because sometimes 50 pages later you don’t remember if someone has blue or green eyes?

You can check out a sneak peek of the characters, locations, and costumes here,

18-WEIGEL-DREAM-OF-THE-TREE-BB

Big News

Soooo, the big news is that the book is finished!!! Being written that is. And wow did it end in a way I never could have imagined!

I’d been in 21 days of fasting and prayer, with my church, and we were nearing the end, which meant the big and rather intimidating (for me) 3 days of no food at all, Thursday – Saturday. Thursday I was praying and strongly sensed I needed to thank God that the book was finished, but it wasn’t? Then, I remembered how God says a thing before he does it. Oh, I see what is happening here, nice! So, I thanked Him all day long. Later that same day, the feathers that I had put in my hair last May, to ‘get into character’ finally came out? I sorta ‘knew’ when I put them in that the feathers were going to stay until I finished the book, so I took it as a big fat confirmation!

Friday night, I was at church praying with everyone, and I strongly sensed that I was to clear my schedule, drop everything, and write until I finished the book. I even told the woman next to me what I was going to do. She encouraged me, because of course, she had already written and published a book herself! And with 500 some chairs she could have sat in, she sat next to me!?

Saturday morning, I wasn’t even awake 30 minutes before I began writing. At 4 o’clock, 8 some hours later, I was still going! I finally took a break to take my dog to the river for a walk. Amazing, by the way, what you can accomplish when you don’t eat? Nothing to buy, prepare, consume, or clean up – if only we didn’t need food to live, cie la vie :). When we returned, I immediately started writing again and continued another 5 hours or so. 13 hours in all and a truly supernatural 14,000 words in one day??!!  For some perspective here, I usually write 2 hours a day and get around 1000 words. So, 14,000 words in 13 hours is nothing but GOD!

The best part however, is that the ending is so much cooler, beautiful and awesome than I ever could have thought, imagined, or dreamed up myself. God is truly the ultimate creator!!  Even creativity and imagination were created by Him! I laughed, I cried, and I just let it keep pouring out!

So, Monday I began the fascinating work of editing a 159,000 word manuscript, and I love it! It feels like making a house a home, or finishing a painting, decorating a cake,.. anything where you add in the flourishes, and rearrange here and there, so everything fits just so.

I’m lining up some great ‘field trips’ as well, which I’ll be sharing more on soon! Truffle hunting and more falconry are in my near future 🙂

make it happen

I’ve noticed a common thread over the past year, when the majority of people learn that I am writing a book, I hear the same thing, “You know, I’ve got this idea for a …book/TV show/business/app/” and they go on to explain a totally awesome, needs to happen, idea.  To which I reply, “do it – make it happen!”  Then 9 times out of 10 comes the obligatory excuse sentence/paragraph with any number of the same (basic) excuses.  For the sake of brevity I’ll cut to the chase and say they end up in 3 categories; time, money, and ability.  And that the overall impression is that I, don’t also struggle with these same obstacles.  That I am ‘lucky’ that I am ‘able’ to do this, as if there is something different about me.  So I’d like to share a word, or so, in the HOPE of encouraging all of you amidst these obstacles. And to share the reality of what writing this book is like for me.  It sure isn’t luck, well then again, I don’t believe in luck.  (This also, of course, applies to all dreams, businesses, TV shows, iphone apps, etc,,. 🙂

1.  Obstacle – Time: While there is some difference between people with money and ability, we all have 24 hours in a day, no more, no less.  Granted we have different responsibilities and at different times we are more or less busy.  But no one, I repeat NO ONE,  has any more time than you.  It is a matter of how you use your time.

SOLUTION – Sacrifice 🙂  I know that isn’t a common word in the culture we live in now, BUT if you want to have more time, all you need to do, is limit how much you waste and redeem what you have!  That means different things for different people; turn off the TV, get off facecrack, I mean book ;), get off the phone, stop day dreaming, quit playing video games, stop yelling at your kids all day and plan some activities they can work on quietly that will enrich their lives and give you some relative peace for 30 min, pick up your house daily so you don’t have 8 hours of cleaning every weekend etc,.. you get the drift. On the positive side START to redeem the time you have: if you sit in traffic for an hour every day, get a $10 hand-held voice recorder and dictate your book into it (and there is transcribe software you can download for free that will transcribe it for you), prepare food in bulk so you have more time during the week, see if you can coordinate any carpools with other parents of the kids that are also in the 14,000 activities your kids are in, so every parent doesn’t drive every kid, every time,.. you get the idea.  Basically – get creative.  You CAN do it, IF you want it bad enough.  Lastly, remember that we are all tempted to think the grass is greener on the other side, it isn’t!  If you are a single parent, a single, or have 3 kids, 4 pets, and a spouse we all have lots to do!  Make the best of the life you have right now and work with what you’ve got.  Even 15 minutes a day is worth it, it adds up over time and will pay off for you.

2. Obstacle – Money: Some people do you have more money than others.  But even if you don’t have much or any extra you can still do it!

SOLUTION – Sacrifice 🙂 Don’t have money, no problem!  Get out of debt!  You will have lots of money!  Sarcasm aside, it’s true.  When I ‘started’ this book 4 years ago, I was all kinds of paycheck to paycheck livin’ and didn’t see how it was possible to do this, because of the money factor.  So I started preparing to write this book by doing research at the library for FREE, and busting my but to make money and get out of debt.  That also means my TV still has a tube in it, I don’t have a fancy phone, my vacations are in tents, I shop at outlets and Thrift stores (yet I am somehow always complimented on my clothes?), and I LOVE, and I mean LOVE the bottom shelf at the grocery store, I also can now make a mean pot of soup beans 🙂  So it took three years, but I got out of debt.  Then I saved up another 9 months before my contract job ended.  I’ve now been living off that money while I write.  I share this NOT to say look at what I’ve done, but rather, to show that for me at least, it isn’t the glamorous life people think it is.  Now will it be glamorous when I make millions of dollars?  Yes! 🙂 But will it happen overnight without lots of sacrifice, NO!  I also realize that sometimes because of kids/spouse we are NOT able to sacrifice things we would if it was just us. Do what you can, paying off even one debt  will free up some money, etc,.. heck, NOT incurring any more debt will be huge.  Even if you can’t pay off what you have, at least say NO to more!  Do the best you can with what you’ve got.

3. Obstacle – Ability: Again different people have different levels of skill. But as we all know from everything else in the world; music, sports, acting, etc,. you don’t even necessarily need talent to be ‘successful’.  And if you aren’t talented in writing for example, no problem, guess what you do?

SOLUTION – Sacrifice 😉 Take some classes, on-line or at a local college, check out Meetup.com, and see if there is writing group in your area. Read about how to write, read period, you learn quite a bit just soaking it up from reading.  If you have kids in school, ask them how to format quotations in a conversation. If spelling, punctuation, and grammar aren’t your forte (like me:) than find someone who IS good at those things, and ask them to edit your book.  Then, bake them a cake, or something you are good to show them you appreciate them.  Know what your strengths are and use them, know what your weaknesses are, and find ways to work around them.

Bottom line – you CAN do it.  you CAN make it happen.  IF you really want it.  You wouldn’t want to be one of those people who has regrets about their life would you?! 🙂  We are only here once, so make the most of it.

I pray this is an encouragement to every one of you and that it inspires you to MAKE IT HAPPEN! I look forward to your masterpieces and I also want to thank all of those in my life for encouraging me to make it happen.  We need the encouragement of others, I do, at least! 😉

Feel free to share your awesome ideas for redeeming time and money – since many of the ones I’ve shared I’ve learned from y’all!

What a sweet guy,…?

You do research to learn who people were, which is good, you need some foundation to make sure it’s historically accurate, but it can only take you so far.  Take King Nebuchadnezzar, for example, who has been described as a cold-hearted, brutally cruel man who was full of himself.  An exceptional builder and strategist both militarily (is that a word?) and in engineering, creating an empire to rival all others at the time.  His kingdom, Babylon, is widely recognized as the most powerful city and empire in the entire world.  Pretty intense dude, right?  And as if that weren’t enough, he turns into a wild animal?  We’ve all seen National Geographic, it’s not pretty, hunting, eating raw meat, living outside…  I mean if his nails grew like talons, can you imagine how dirty they would be?  I thought when I began writing this book that he would be a monster.  I thought he’d be the ‘bad guy’, the antagonist of the story.  But what I’m finding is that he is much more complex than I first thought, and he’s not all bad after all.

I am becoming increasingly interested in him and intrigued to discover what he will do next.  He surprises me frequently?    I am also finding that my compassion for him is growing.   Take for example, the Hanging Gardens he built, the second wonder of the world.  (I am aware that there is no clear consensus that the Gardens even existed, but if they are asking 10-year-old kids to list it as one of the 7 wonders, I’m going with it!)  As the story goes he built them for his wife Amythis, who was from Media, in the mountains.  She not only missed green but the hills as well.  Now there is also no reason to think anything other than their marriage was arranged purely for the political alliance that it formed, and yet for King to extend the energy, man power, great expense, and creativity to create one of the 7 wonders of the world for her?  Can only mean one thing to me, he loved her and wanted to please her.  But as King, he didn’t ‘need’ to please her.  He could have just as easily told her to deal with her homesickness, or ignored it all together, she was there to serve him and as be the bridge between two nations that could just as easily go to war as be ‘family’.  But he choose to go soooo far out of his way to please her, that he created an 80 foot high terraced ‘mountain’ complete with every plant, flower, fruit, and tree he could get his hands on, and create a ‘yet to be determined’ ingenuitive form of irrigation somehow pulling water from the Euphrates River up to water it all?

I can only come to one conclusion about that,… what a sweet guy! 🙂  He must have loved his wife deeply to go to such great lengths to please her. So he clearly isn’t a completely cruel, evil, tyrant… at least not as far as it relates to her.

I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite stories, Beauty and the Beast as I delve deeper into the story sharing the way he sees the world, from his perspective.  Sure, there are some horrible things he does, but he’s clearly not all ‘bad’.  I love how God makes all of us so simple and yet so complex at the same time.  None on us fit into simple boxes, and none of us are all ‘anything’.  There are elements to all of us that can continue to amaze and astound those around us, especially when we look at each other with open eyes, and don’t try to cram each other into boxes.  I love the freedom I have to love him for who he is, the good, bad, and down right crazy.  And I find that I am really starting to root for him.  Root for the bad guy, what?  Yea, I am? 🙂

Like french braiding

I never knew writing was like french braiding hair!

I write as I’m inspired, not “in order”, since I don’t even know the order! 🙂

So, I write about a part of the story, and sometimes I finish with some ideas about how to finish that section, when I come back to it.  Apparently, I also sometimes leave notes about how to tie it in with the rest of the story, as I just found this morning.  This spring I wrote about the very moment when, That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men,…” Daniel 4:33.  That’s all we have, he was driven from men.  How? By who? What was it like? Who saw it?  See there is much left unsaid in this story.  That’s where the inspiration comes in, where imagination comes in, I *see* it and then I write it down.  But what I hadn’t remembered was the tie-in note I made to myself.  I wish I could share it, but it’ll give too much away, you’ll just have to read it when it’s finished 😉

For now though, it reminds me of the process of french braiding hair, you start at the beginning, not quite sure how it will all work out when it’s finished.  You pick up three pieces of hair and braid them together, then grab a piece from one side and braid it in, then a piece from the other side and braid it in, and you continue on as you go down the head.  When you get about 2/3 of the way down, you should have a thick braid, all entwined with itself, strong and beautiful. There is no going back now, you just have to trust that it will look seamless when it’s all done.

For now, I continue to write section after section, trusting that they will tie (braid) together seamlessly, creating a strong and beautiful story, not even remembering the helpful links I have left for myself, because it’s not ‘me’ leaving them anyway!

What fun this is!

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