The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Friday, March 23, 2012

I am Moving!

We are moving!! I have a new website that will house all of my blogs and posts on different subjects. I hope you will check it out. Please let me know if the new site is easier to use or if you have any suggestions.
Once I've moved all the posts, I will take this blog down.

To receive all my new writings - please click over and join me at The New and improved Mommy Detective site.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Writer's waiting game

Writing is a business.  You can't make money if you don't write quickly and submit even quicker. 

The more I learn about being an author, the more I'm convinced that speed writing can keep us from being "great" writers.  The more we push to finish quickly, the more our brain searches for ways to skip the "inspirational" levels of thought.  Of course this isn't always the case, but I do find that my inspiration is heightened when I take the time to let a written piece "simmer". 

Since we have to produce in order to survive as a writer, it is easy to push articles out the door before they are ready.  I've sent articles to my editor and wished I could call them back.  It is frustrating to re-read an article after it's gone only to realize that there was a better way - maybe even a more enlightened way to present my view. 

I'm facing that very thing now.  I've been doing blogs for around four years.  I've done many blogs that I'm proud of and had others that I felt were just there.  Nothing special....just an attempt to fulfill my obligation.  I have struggled with how to bring different God inspired ideas together under one blog or one topic.  In fact, I'll admit it here....I've struggled so much with this problem that some days it's hard to want to write.  That's just not me.  I love to write.  I love processing the ideas and finding a way to explain them to others.  I needed to change the process but wasn't sure how.

Last October I decided to give God a chance to take over this process.  I began a fasting and prayer program.  It's been tweaked and changed several times.  Over the course of the last four months I've had to face devastating trials.  I've felt overwhelmed and frustrated. I considered quitting - but decided to hang in there no matter what.  Even with all the trials, I knew that God had a plan.  I knew that God was leading me to a renewed purpose. 

Last Saturday, something broke.  Something happened to change my point of view and suddenly everything made sense.  Everything came into a very clear focus.  In a matter of three hours I produced more work and had more insight than I've had in the last year. 

Waiting for that moment of inspiration from God was the best thing I've done in a long time.  I still produced during those four months - but I kept waiting for God to get involved in my work.  I allowed several projects to wait for that inspiration and I'm thrilled that I did. 

What is your writing problem?  Are you afraid to submit pieces?  Are you worried that you aren't expressing your passion?  Do you wish that you had a clear focus for your ideas?  Do you read your pieces and feel as though they lack passion and insight?

I suggest that you take a little time off.  Take the time to pray or focus on seeing your subject from a loftier view.  Play music, read a book, talk to a friend and slowly let the ideas simmer.  Give your bland ideas a chance to blossom into inspirational pieces that will change lives. 

Be encouraged.  The more you learn, the more you concentrate on letting God lead you - the Waiting Game will become shorter and easier.  As you grow you will find that you are producing quality work in a shorter period of time. 

Don't be afraid of the Writer's Waiting Game. Embrace it and let it move you to deeper levels of writing.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Friday, February 10, 2012

Are your creative juices clogged?

What a mess!  I've spent the last hour shredding papers that covered a corner of my office.  I wouldn't say that I'm a totally messy person but I will admit that God has not blessed me with the best organizational skills.  I have to work at organizing and clutter free living.   

This morning I decided to get this done.  I'm tired of stepping over this bag of papers to get to my books and printer.  I've been shredding for over an hour.  My shredder clogged up several times and I'm starting to sneeze from all the dust.  I hate boring work, but it did give me time to ponder a few things.  This mess made me wonder if our brains are clogged with junk.  Can the mess we carry inside rob us of creativity? 

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a mental shredder that we could turn on and let it totally eliminate all the junk that destroys productivity?  All the would haves and could haves and should haves that muck up our creativity could be removed by the touch of a button . When the shredder was done with lost hopes maybe it could go to work on all the resentment, hurt feelings and guilt issues. Of course I wouldn’t be able to stop until it had obliterated my self-esteem issues and that great big ball of fear.

*Sigh* I know that God has offered to do that and we should let Him.  But somehow trapped in this human body of mine, all too often I’m sifting through those shredded pieces looking for the hurt and pain that God has already trashed.

Wouldn't it be great if we could clear out the clutter and get down to pure thought?

I hope you will join me in this prayer.

Dear Jesus,

Please help me today to let go of the junk in my life. Teach me how to prevent it from cluttering up my mind.  Show me how to allow your heavenly shredder to eliminate the thoughts that rob productivity and keep me from fulfilling your will in my life.  Help me to shred bad thoughts and leave them alone...forever. As our minds and hearts are swept clean, fill them with creativity, love, energy and peace. Give your authors a wonderful day of freedom. Freedom from the past, from the hurts, from the fears and from anything that can clog up our work. Give us the power to spread the word and the good news that you will always make a difference in our lives.  Thank you Jesus,  Amen

God loves you and has called you to write,


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why writers are so important...

If you are sitting in your office wondering if your writing will have any influence on this world, watch this video.  This is precisely why we write!

Now get busy and change the world!

God loves you and has called you to write,


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recognizing our true fight

Humans love to find that comfy place of rest.  I've never met a human that strives to be overworked or completely stressed out.  Even the warrior or the instigator will try to find a place of comfort.  I have to admit there are times when I long for quiet days, peaceful thoughts and a totally easy life.

I decided to share a short bio of Bonhoeffer because he faced the problems all writers face.  He had to choose between a life of ease and a life of purpose. 

When he talked about the fact that the church was not speaking boldly against the Nazis and Hitler, he was passionate.  "Cheap Grace is the mortal enemy of our church.  Our struggle today is for costly grace."  I read those words and gulped.  I need to find a voice that isn't seeking comfort or cheap grace - but rather a passionate voice that strives for costly grace.

In other words, get out there and speak about sin and injustice!  I hope his life gives you a renewed determination to voice your opinion. 

The following is brought to you by American Minute

British Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge explained how Hitler's universal health care plan eventually led to the Holocaust:

"We have been accorded, for those that have eyes to see, an object lesson in what the quest for 'quality of life' without reference to 'sanctity of life' can involve...The origins of the Holocaust lay, not in Nazi terrorism...but in pre-Nazi Weimar Germany's acceptance of euthanasia and mercy-killing as humane and estimable."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer rebuked German Christians who stood silent while Hitler intimidated church leaders to accept the socialist, anti-life agenda of the National Socialist Workers Party (NAZI).

The New York Times reported Oct. 10, 1933:

"Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move...The Ministry of Justice...explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code, today announced its intentions to authorize physicians to end the sufferings of the incurable the interest of true humanity.

The Catholic newspaper Germania hastened to observe: 'The Catholic faith binds the conscience of its followers not to accept this method.'...In Lutheran circles, too, life is regarded as something that God alone can take...

Euthanasia...has become a widely discussed word in the Reich...No life still valuable to the State will be wantonly destroyed."

Bonhoeffer warned Germans not to slip into the cult of Führer (leader) worship, as he could turn out to be a Verführer (mis-leader, seducer).

Jimmy Carter, in his book Sources of Strength, 1997, wrote:

"Rev. Niebuhr urged Dietrich Bonhoeffer to remain in America for his own safety. Bonhoeffer refused. He felt he had to be among the other Christians persecuted in Germany.

So he returned home, resistance to Hitler...preached publicly against Nazism, racism, and anti-Semitism...Bonhoeffer was finally arrested and imprisoned.

Born FEBRUARY 4, 1906, he died April 9, 1945, just a few days before the allied armies liberated Germany. He was executed on orders of Heinrich Himmler. He died a disciple and a martyr."

Jimmy Carter concluded:

"The same Holy Spirit...that gave Bonhoeffer the strength to stand up against Nazi tyranny is available to us today."

As a young man, Bonhoeffer was deeply effected by the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, where he taught Sunday School and formed a life-long love for African-American spirituals.

Bonhoeffer challenged believers:

"To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ"

In his most widely read book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer wrote:

"Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace."

On February 16, 2002, Dr. James Dobson told the National Religious Broadcasters:

"Those of you who feel that the church has no responsibility in the cultural area...

What if it were 1943 and you were in Nazi Germany and you knew what Hitler was doing to the Jews...Would you say, 'We're not political-that's somebody else's problem'?"

Dobson concluded:

"I thank God Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not give that answer, and he was arrested by the Nazis and hanged in 1945, naked and alone because he said, 'This is not right.'"

God loves you and has called you to write,

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Misunderstood Box

I am not a sports fan type person.  I don't think there's anything wrong with sports or games, but since it was never a part of our family - I don't enjoy competitive games. 

There's one sports image that has come to mind several times lately.  I know nothing about hockey so correct me if I'm wrong.  It seems that while everyone in the game is encouraged to "fight, fight, fight" over a hockey puck, the players are often penalized and forced to sit out the game in a penalty box that looks a lot like a time out corner for a two year old.

While I think it's a good analogy for a parent to teach their own toddlers that "even adults are put in a penalty box if they do something wrong..."  I often feel for the players.  It seems they have to walk a fine line between what their coaches and the spectators are screaming and what the referee is demanding.  Lately I've wondered if the feel like they are "Alone in the misunderstood box".  Perhaps they are thinking, "I did what they wanted and instead of being rewarded, I'm stuck in here."

I'm sure the fear of being shoved into that box is why so many writers quit before they begin.  I admit I am plagued with that fear.  What if I write something important but others don't understand where I'm coming from and are even less willing to ask for clarification?  What if they attack me? 

We have been trained to think negatively about our work.  Editors want us to be our best so they go over our manuscripts with a microscope.  Publishers want to stir the masses but it can't be too far into the negative or the masses will stop buying - so...they scrutinize every viewpoint.  When your piece actually hits the market, passionate souls are poised to throw rocks at your now glass house.  All that's needed to get the fear juices going is to watch a newscaster present a new book in a negative light or find out that some new author is being sued for his/her opinions.

Writing that touches a reader's heart must be felt by the author as well as the reader.  If you don't share your feelings, the reader will get a sense that your writing is flat or bland. 

The path to writing that touches readers is as frightening as walking a tightrope over the grand canyon.  You must share your story, your viewpoint, your wisdom and hope that you are understood.  You must put your life on the stage and hope it doesn't draw tomatoes. 

I don't know about you but I struggle everyday to be sure I have learned the truth.  Can I be trusted to share nuggets of wisdom with those around me?  I listen to a lot of "stars" on the stage who have no idea of truth and consequently are leading others down a dark path.  I hate that.  I don't want to be like that. 

I work and pray and beg God to help me have a voice on stage.  When the moment arrives, I'm excited.  I step to the front and share my story, my life, my wisdom.  I am sure people will "understand" and like what I have to say.  I'm sure that I've worded it right and my purpose is clear.  My editors are sure that it will strike a cord and will be helpful to others. 

When I'm through, the hall is silent.  10, 15, 40 people give me the thumbs up and then quietly walk out of the room.  I smile.  I'm glad.  I was hoping for thunderous applause (what can I say - I'm human) but a thumbs up is nice too.  I accept the fact that not every article or book is going to be a knock it out of the park winner.  I glance down to the second row and watch as someone wrinkles his nose and shakes his head.  Two more join in the opinion.  I feel small.  I listen to their opinions and suddenly I'm being sent to my room...alone and misunderstood.  The things they said weren't right.  They don't know me.  The accusations were completely off base.  It must be my fault.  I didn't write clearly.  I was over dramatic.  I confused the issue.  The walls of the Misunderstood box begin to form and there's no way to fix the problem.  They didn't get my point and I'm helpless.

Alone in this miserable misunderstood box, I begin to question my calling.  I start to wonder if I'm qualified.  I wonder if I have the right to continue.  Maybe I wasn't called at all. can follow this can't you?  You've probably wondered these same things even before you sent the piece in.  Maybe even before you wrote your piece.  What if no one understands what I'm trying to say.  Our world is poised to attack anything they don't understand.  What if they attack me?

Matthew 10: 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

We have a calling to be strong.  We have a calling to tell the truth.  We have a calling to be real and not so pious that no one can relate to us.  We have a calling to make a difference.  You can't make a difference in this sick and needy world unless you are real, honest and bold.

Last week an atheist blew me away about an article I wrote on my Family Tracks blog.  Girl Scouts have been in the news because they are pushing a leftist, atheistic view.  I commented and the attack was ruthless. This week Kyria posted my article Do you see me?  While 45 people liked it, the star rating and the comment section was brutal.  They questioned my life, my marriage, my faith and said I made them uncomfortable.  What should I do?  If I comment back to them I might seem argumentative.  If I leave it alone others might not read the article because it's rated so low.  If I contact my friends for help, I might seem weak and unable to withstand a little criticism.  Alone and miserable in the misunderstood box.

It's a fine line we all walk.  As authors we must be tough as nails.  Why?  Why do we have to stand on that stage, smile at the flying tomatoes and continue to speak?  Because of the one.  Jesus said that the one lost sheep was worth anything the Shepherd had to do to save it. (Luke 15:4-7) In the middle of all the flurry of negative comments, I received one personal e-mail that thanked me for exposing Girl Scouts.  "I was about to allow my daughter to join.  We are devout Christians and she's too young to be attacked by left leaning forces.  Thank you for helping me avoid a problem."

And on the Kyria site, there was one comment in the middle of all the negative.  "So much that it helps me to continue with the good works even though its not appreciated but that someday, somehow , somewhere there's a reward for our good deeds since our God is not a wicked God who will not forget our labour of love.Thanks Kyria for this initiative...keep up the good just might be what somebody needs to get his life back. God Bless you real good for being real about our struggles and the practical solution therein."

That one person is worth all the pain we have to endure to get the message across.   Most writing courses will tell you to have a clear picture of your readers (plural) in mind when you write.  Let me suggest that it's helpful to remember the one reader....the one individual that will connect with what you have to say.  Love that one struggling lost sheep that needs to see your hand of help or hear your message.  And what is that message?  That Jesus is there and is real for every problem, every situation, every issue and moment in our lives.  When we are good and when we struggle - Jesus is there.

I do have a suggestion.  Every author must sit in a quiet lonely room or office and produce work.  That can become a dangerous place to be.  We often see the world through the articles we write.  Be sure you have author friends that you can share struggles with. I hope you will forward or suggest that your writing friends become a part of this blog.  We need to be just as verbal with our support of other writers as we are about the work we show to the world.  I hope all of you who read this blog will consider how important it is to comment, to share and to pray for each other.  We need the support of our friends.  When I wrote a friend and cried on her shoulder - not only did she understand (which took me out of the box) but she prayed and then she re-read the article, commented on the site and sent me a comforting e-mail.  *Sigh*  Thank you God for a wonderful support system.  Thank you for Laura.  I can write again.

God loves you and has called you to write,


Monday, January 23, 2012

Tools of the Trade

This blog will always be committed to the mental health of writers and authors.  Finding my way in the demanding world of writing has been one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Becoming an actual "paid" author not only takes discipline and new ideas but it's also drains you emotionally, demands a tough skin, requires lots of research that never ends up on the page and you must have scheduling techniques that rival Nasa.

Many of you have written and asked for my personal techniques for handing all the "extras" that go along with writing.  Since that seems to be a personal journey for each writer, I've been hesitant about going there.  There are days when I flounder and wonder why I'm doing this.  There are days when I'm so excited about a topic it's hard for my fingers to keep up with my brain.  There are days when my head aches from research and other days I moan because I can't meet a friend for lunch.

Debbie Macomber spoke at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference.  I was excited to sit by her at lunch.  She is a darling person and one of my favorite fiction writers.  She has sold billions of books and is still going strong.  In her very first talk she explained that no job can be done successfully without purchasing tools of the trade.  Even if you decide to become a dishwasher in a local dive restaurant - you will probably purchase a good set of plastic gloves. 

She went on to insist that many new writers think all they need is a pencil and paper in order to write a best selling novel.  While there is a small amount of truth to the simplistic view - it isn't likely that you'll go on to sell that great novel.  You have to investigate the proper procedure for submitting, who to present to, how to get noticed and ultimately pay postage or invest in technology to get your writing to a likely publisher.

"Never feel guilty about the money you spend to reach for your dreams."  She went on to tell the audience about how hard it was to take $100 a month from her meager family budget in order to purchase supplies, read books, attend conferences and submit her work. was that investment that finally helped her reach her dream. 

After that conference, I began to think of my tools of the trade as "education".  Suppose a "University of Authors" made the claim that enrollment in their school guaranteed publication.  They promised that after two years of study graduates earning a B or higher would publish their novels.  The cost $2,500  Publication of your novel even with a small company would net you $3,000 and the hope to publish other novels.  Sounds like a decent deal.

For those of you that have can visit the websites of your favorite authors and most of them give writing tips.  You can research writing tips on line.  You can purchase tapes and MP3's from many of the best writers conferences.  You can check out writing books for free at the library. 

However, I recommend that while you build your own library of "free" materials, that you also think about building an office of specific tools of the trade.  Good books that you can read over and over - making notes in the margins.  Join writing groups and associations.  Become part of a group of writers that share ideas and an understanding ear.

And....above all....own specific tools that inspire you.  Tools that get your creative juices going.  Perhaps that will include inspirational tapes.  Maybe it's books by genre authors in your field.  Subscriptions to magazines or even technological tools.

Last November I purchased an Apple iPad II.  I received money for my birthday and had a kindle in mind.  My laptop was having issues and I like to write on trips or when I'm stuck waiting for the doctor or a friend.  My son suggested the Apple iPad instead of the Kindle.  The battery runs much longer than most laptops and can be used to write articles.  I can access Facebook and other social groups.  I can read books from Kindle and I can check my e-mail. 

What I've found is that because the Apple is so light and easy to throw in a purse - I'm writing more.  It's a "fun" way for me to complete work even when I can't access my PC.  I'm also reading more (which is a plus).  While Ron listens to music in the car - I pop open the Ipad and read a few pages in a book.  I'm so glad Jamie convinced me to spend a little more and purchase technology that would help my writing as well.

Don't ever feel guilty for purchasing the tools of the Trade.  You need them in order to be considered serious about your writing - and in the long run - it will pay off!

God loves you and wants you to write,


I'm not a fan of selling to my friends and colleagues. However, since the life of a "regular" author isn't filled with paychecks (that's only for best sellers), and since I do a lot of freebie work for hurting families - I have included a link to Amazon on each of my blogs. By using this link your price stays the same but amazon throws a few cents at me for promoting their marketplace.  Check out the following products...they are a must for my writing!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Authors wanted, thin skin need not apply.

Before we become authors, perhaps we should all be required to take a class on rejection.  I thought the more I was published, the more the fear of submitting would go away.  Yet, here I am with several articles and a book under my belt and I still think twice about sending that article. 

I do push the send button more often.  Those fears no longer stop me from trying, but I'm surprised that there's still a little twinge just before the click.  I thought perhaps it was a reflex that would melt away in time until I sat one dinner table away from Jerry Jenkins. 

We were attending an awards banquet and Jerry and his new book Riven was up for Book of the year.  He faced three ladies and a man whose experience and publishing popularity was small compared to him.  The moment before the name was announced I glanced at his face and saw it.  It was a small nervous twitch and an expression that questioned whether or not he had a chance.  His wife took his hand.  When the name was called (and it wasn't his) his head dropped.  He took a deep breath, mustered a little more strength and raised his head and hands to applaud.

If someone whose done so much for our lives and created so many stories can feel that twitch before he knew he was accepted - why wouldn't I feel it?  Why wouldn't you?

To be a good author I think we have to understand that it's enough to be on the stage talking.  It doesn't matter if we are liked or even if we are published.  It does matter that we are doing our best to perfect our craft and that we keep trying.

So I sit....alone in my office...a little nervous....a little intimidated...but ready....yes, I'm ready....push the button.  *Sigh*  It's now out of my hands.

God loves you and has called you to write,