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I am pleased to announce that “Christmas Pilgrimage” is published and ready for your Christmas reading list.
It is a Christian romance and suspense novel set during a trip to the Holy Land.
Liz and her daddy were to go together on the trip, fulfilling a dream. But his death six weeks ago nearly kept her from going. Still, she pressed on, as he would have wanted.
Derek was supposed to travel with his seminary class but was denied without explanation.
They meet on a trans-Atlantic jetliner, but will their pasts push them apart, even get them killed, before they can find forever love?
It has been a wonderful project to work on, and I know you will grow to love Liz and Derek as I have, and maybe there will be more stories in the future. Those of you from Germantown will recognize the couple on the front cover.
Once I receive my Author copies, you can pick up a signed copy or I can mail one to you. Otherwise, you can order through Amazon.
Writing began: January 28, 2023
First draft complete: September 10, 2023
Average words per day: 656
Final edits completed: November 28, 2023
Total words: 148,454 (28 chapters, 360 pages)
Total time writing: 1,087 hours
Well, we knew it was coming. Despite the momentum, it’s time to slow down, and take a different direction.
That is, unless you are a Nascar driver! Keep turning left, dude!
I received a proof manuscript of “Christmas Pilgrimage” from Theresa, one of my editors. That means, it’s time to “turn left” and hammer out the book. It is the longest of my career, and this is the least enjoyable part of the process.
But to have the book available for Christmas, it needs to be done.
So, goodbye Jacob and the Lambs… at least for a while.
Derek and Liz need my attention.
What’s my excuse for not writing any updates lately?
Did I have a hysterectomy? Impossible.
Did Joe Burrow ask me to come in and play for him? In my dreams.
Did I get a ride on the Space X Dragon capsule to the International Space Station? I wish.
No. The reason I have not written an update is because I HAVE BEEN WRITING SO MUCH!
Really! Thus far in October, I have written over 29,000 words for “The Messengers: Decision.” That’s twice my desired average, and equal to 88 pages! I have finished 6 chapters.
So, writing has dominated my free time. I guess that’s a good excuse.
Oh, and why did I post this picture? It struck me as funny… and true.
I’ve been remiss not to share the latest update.
With “Christmas Pilgrimage” in the hands of my editors, I have now begun writing the fourth book in my Christian historical series, entitled, “The Messengers: Decision.” I have already finished the first chapter and have notes and segments written for others. I don’t have a full outline yet, but I knew how the first two chapters would go.
It’s been fun to pick up Jacob Rush’s story.
“Christmas Pilgrimage” Update:
I’m overjoyed to announce that primary writing on my 8th book is complete!
As voted by my readers, “Christmas Pilgrimage” is a Christian romance/suspense novel. It is set on a trip to the Holy Land and involves Liz, a young woman who recently lost her father, and Derek, a seminary student, approaching a decision point in his life. They meet on an airplane, then walk in the footsteps of Jesus, finding love and adventure along the way.
I began writing “Christmas Pilgrimage” on January 29, completing it on September 10. That’s 233 days, of which I wrote a little more than half. I averaged 656 words per day, with the largest one-day total being 5,325 words. It is 147,232 words long, though that will fluctuate slightly during the editing process. The book is 27 chapters long and around 442 pages, give or take a few.
It now goes to my editors, and I’m planning on a Christmas release.
Thank you for your support in my writing. This has been a fun book to write.
After I take a few days off, I will start planning for the next one. Get ready for “The Messengers: Decision.”
How do you deal with interruptions?
When the kids invade a calming soak in the tub (complete with candles)? When your spouse calls about the car breaking down? When the airline cancels your flight… while you are at the airport?
Some people lose their cool. Some people take it out on others. Some people freak out.
We all know interruptions are a way of life. If we could see them coming, we would be God, and we are definitely not Him!
Often, I view interruptions as only temporary stoppages; the work will still be there when you are once again available. Sometimes, they are growing experiences, a pause to gain greater insight. Sometimes, they keep me away from harm. If I mistakenly take a wrong turn, often I wonder if God was keeping me from an unseen car accident down the road.
The other day, I was to fly Myra and two others to Virginia. The day before, the plastic cover for the instrument came off and the plane was put into the shop. I could have gotten mad about it, but I didn’t, for I knew God had the big picture in mind.
Since my 07/14/23 post, I have had two major interruptions in my writing efforts. First, I was the Spiritual Director for a weekend Emmaus Walk, then the Director and Bible Teacher for a weekend Christian Ashram. After each event, I needed a little break to rest, recharge, and catch up on the rest of life and work. The longest break between writing was 8 days!
But I’m finally back at it. It still looks like I will finish the first draft near the end of September. Until then, back at it!
When I lived in Georgia, I remember hearing the phrase, “They’ve been fixing the roads in Atlanta since Sherman came through.” While that is an over exaggeration, I’m sure those who live there would affirm some truth in it.
My guess is that anyone who follows my writing process would feel the same way. “When is he ever going to finish that book?”
Hey, I get it. It wasn’t until I started “blogging” (or whatever this is) about my writing, my posts have either been “Still writing” or “It’s ready; come buy it!” I don’t know if anyone even cares, but I keep creating this updates. In part, because it keeps me accountable, but it is also because I care. I know that you have supported this writing ministry (and that’s how I see it) and you’d like to know how to pray and encourage. I really do appreciate it. And if you have a funny story that you think might be something for one of my books, you can share it . In fact, I got a good one last week. Someone is going to be surprised when they read about a time when they were talking in their sleep!
So, to keep you informed, my nerdy spreadsheet indicates I’m 72% finished with primary writing. 21 of 29 chapters are complete. I’ve written over 115,000 words, or 347 pages, my largest book to date.
I’ll let you know if there are any road closures with this project.
Today, I crossed that 100,000-word mark. That’s 300 pages. I also finished chapter 17. I’m two-thirds done. At this rate, I will finish primary writing October 1.
I began this book on January 29. I’ve written a little over half of the days since, averaging just shy of 600 words per day. That exceeds my daily goal, so I am pleased with that.
So far, our protagonists have each faced their own struggles, as well as some collectively. Liz’s big crisis moment occurred in this last chapter; Derek’s is coming up. And they will have another one together later in the book.
The portions I have ready to Myra have been approved as not only appropriate, but romantic as well.
Who would have thought I could write romance? A preacher? Of course, “The Song of Songs/Solomon” is in the Bible, so God is interested in the love for husband and wife.
In all truth, all this is the Lord. He is the One driving this book. I pray everyday that it will glorify Him.
To all my American friends and followers: Happy Independence Day! To all my British friends and followers: Happy “I’ve Got to Go to Work” Day!
God Almighty has blessed us to live in a country of freedom. Despite the chaos and division that dominates the news cycle, today we celebrate that 247 years ago, 56 men believed in a preferred vision of the future, risked life, limb, and livelihood, and signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
You and I are no longer bound to decisions (or the sins, I might add) of our ancestors. By the grace of God, we can strike out on a new path, even one that had never imagined before in your lifetime.
Did Neil Armstrong imagine stepping onto the moon when he was ten years old? Did Katherine Johnson, a black woman in the 1950’s and 1960’s, imagine the formulas for orbital mechanics that helped Neil get there as she was growing up in West Virginia?
No, they did not. Didn’t have the faintest of ideas. Yet in a country of freedom, they could pursue their dreams and do things no one else had ever done.
I never dreamed I would become an author. Just ask my English teachers growing up! Yet God gave me a vision, a drive, maybe even a calling, to create stories with characters who give Him glory and honor. Because, in this country, you can dream!
What is it that God has put into your heart? Is it as far as the moon? Maybe, but God is that kind of God, and in our kind of country, it can be done.
A book? A painting? A ministry? An outreach? A career? An influence?
What’s holding you back? God? Your country?
Go for it!
Making progress is so satisfying!
This has been a good week for working on Pilgrimage. In seven days, I’ve written 6,000 words, including 2,400 yesterday. That’s 19 pages of what is projected to be a 500+ book.
Why such progress? The chapter I have been working on focuses on one of my favorite sites in the Holy Land. No, I’m not going to share what that is, but to say that the story is heartwarming and inspirational.
Fourteen chapters are now written. Sixteen to go.
Well, I’m back to writing… something!
I finished my initial draft of the Bible sessions I will be teaching. Now, they are simmering like vegetable soup, waiting for me to return to stir, add spices, and allow it to cook.
So, I am ready to get back to “Pilgrimage.” At least, I think.
You see, in the last few weeks, I have helped a couple of ladies who have written children’s books but did not know how, nor had the means, to publish them. It has been nice to help them with layout and uploading, then to say, “Congratulations! You are a published author!”
During my research for their projects, I have been getting ideas about how I can publish the children’s book that has sat on my computer for over a dozen years. In fact, it was the first book I wrote. But it needs an illustrator, and that’s not me! Several attempts to find one have failed.
But I may have an idea how it can get down. So, while I have written for Pilgrimage for the last three days, I have also been working on the other. I wouldn’t be surprised if I pause Pilgrimage for a couple of weeks to complete that project. Besides, the nerdy spreadsheet suggests I might not finish the first draft until the end of the year.
I’ll keep you posted.
Don’t you hate when you see this sign? You’ve got to be somewhere, you’ve got a plan on how to get there, but something is stopping you. Maybe a tree fell over. Maybe the road is being fixed. Maybe they are moving a house (an amazing site to be sure).
That’s what’s going on right now with “Pilgrimage.” A detour. I haven’t written in two weeks.
My “detour” is because I am the Bible Teacher for the Mountaineer Christian Ashram August 3-6. I have three one-hour studies to write. So far, two are written, with a third, plus PowerPoint slides to go. Since they are three times the length of a typical sermon, they do take time to complete.
I’ll let you know when the detour sign comes down.
All writing has been suspended due to unforeseen complications.
I’ve developed tendonitis in my hand, behind the first and second finger. In fact, this post is done with one finger on the right hand.
Best cure is rest and move the TV remote to the other hand.
Until then, all I can do is think about what’s coming next!
I feel like I’ve been a bad boy, not keeping up with my writing news. Over a month and no updates? How dare I! Well, let me rewind a bit.
There was that pretty important Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
Then I took a week off, but much to my chagrin, I only wrote one day. Granted, it was a monster day (5,000 words or 16 pages), but there were so many days afterwards that were big fat zeros! In April, I only wrote 14 days, though the month ended up having more than my goal. I’m glad to report that May has been a little better so far.
But where does that leave “Pilgrimage?” I’ve written eleven chapters of what looks like a thirty chapter book. Sixty-two thousand words and 177 pages so far.
All this means I’m a little more than a third of the way through. My spreadsheet estimates finishing the first draft in November. No question, this may be the biggest book I’ve written to date.
Honestly, the enormity of all that just took my breath away!
Guess that means I need to keep plugging away, stay at it, and stop watching YouTube videos on car repair.
I came home for lunch today and found a box filled with copies of my newest book, “The Last Week of Jesus of Nazareth.”
It began as a five-week Bible Study back in 2014. Since then, I have taught it three times at my church. Now, it is available to all!
This comprehensive and chronological study of Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem—and the world changing events that occurred—is for anyone who loves to study Scripture and understand its meaning. By putting together the four Gospels, the book lays out the series of events that led from the triumphant entry to the cleansing of the Temple, to the extensive teachings of Jesus, then to the Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion, following gloriously by the resurrection and its aftermath.
With image suggestions (and links in the E-book), it allows you to visualize what you read as if you were following along with Jesus and the disciples.
A special thanks to Connie Shaffer, who drew the pictures for the cover. She is so talented, and of course, a vibrant follower of the Lord.
You can get your copy by:
Of course, you could come to church and skip the shipping!
It’s been several good days for writing, and only two “wake up before the crack of dawn” experiences. Not bad!
In the last four days, I’ve written 5,900 words, or 18 pages. I’ve finished Chapter 7… I think. Several segments have moved from 7 to 8, back to 7, to 6, and back to 7. I think I finally have them in the right place, but who knows? I haven’t had a shower today.
Anyway, I have one more chapter to write before Part 1 is complete.
Of course, Holy Week is coming. Wonder if I will get any writing done. Probably not.
I’m very excited to share that my seventh book is now published.
“The Last Week of Jesus of Nazareth” is an in-depth look at Jesus’ final days in Jerusalem. From Palm Sunday, through Good Friday, to Easter Sunday, this book pulls together the Gospel narratives as they describe the most important week of all history.
Learn what happened during those days and discover the love of God demonstrated on “an old rugged cross.”
Are you a fan of jigsaw puzzles? Do you like the challenge of dumping five hundred, a thousand, five thousand unconnected pieces onto a table, then painstakingly arrange them to connect together to create a copy of the picture on the cover of the box? Is that your thing?
It really wasn’t mine. I wasn’t very good at jigsaw puzzles. My brother Greg was, but I didn’t have the patience. That stuff in the middle was simply too overwhelming for me. I did like to find and connect the outside border pieces. Then sometimes, I would find a few—up to a dozen—that went together into a small block. But often, I could not tell where exactly they were meant to go, so the cluster would hang out in the middle until the puzzle was assembled enough to establish their location.
Sometimes, writing is like that. I may (or may not) have the full picture of the story, so I focus on little segments (called chapters). Then, sometimes I realize that a set of paragraphs which I thought should go in one place needs to go to another. That can be a little frustrating. Something you thought you had set in place need to move, and your thrown off a bit. But you know, especially when the Lord is guiding the writing, that it is where He wants it to be.
Since my last post 15 days ago, I’ve written 11 days, over 13,000 words, and 43 pages. At least twice, I’ve moved pieces in the storyline. Still, 6 chapters out of 21 are written.
Hopefully, none of the jigsaw pieces are missing! But hey, it’s fiction. I simply have to recognize the hole and fill it in.
I woke up at 2:30 this morning to answer nature’s call. Unfortunately, my brain turned on, and I began thinking about the next chapters in the new book. An hour and a half later, Chapter 2 has 663 words in it, including a funny exchange between one of the main characters and some of her friends.
Thus far, the Prologue and Chapter 1 have over 8,500 words. I’ve established the two main characters (Liz and Derek) and introduced their story and background, though there is still much to reveal. I’ve also presented some of their traveling companions. I enjoy creating characters I hope people with identify with.
I think writing fictional stories is like building a house. You have to establish the story with the 2 x 4 studs, then define the action with drywall. You add features, then décor, hoping your reader feels at home in your story.
I hope that’s what you experience when you read my books. And, of course, be inspired as you grow closer to the Lord.
My new book “The Messengers: Crisis” arrived in the mail.
If you’d like a signed copy mailed to you, message me.
If you enjoy the story of Jacob and Keela, this one is going to blow your socks off!
Let me know if you want your copy.
- Began writing: 6/22/22
- Finished first draft: 10/11/22 (111 days)
- Published: 1/16/23
- 288 pages
- Christian Historical Fiction
This is a picture of sunrise from the cabin we rented in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, back in October 2022. I loved sitting out on one (there were multiple) decks, waiting for the sun to rise. The colors were spectacular; you will have to trust me on that.
Like the start of a new day, with the excitement of all its possibilities, I am thrilled to announce I have begun writing the next book. Even though I don’t have the outline complete, I couldn’t help myself yesterday afternoon diving into the first chapter. I’m debating the title for the moment, so I can’t reveal that yet. I am very excited about the two main characters and what will happen in their individual and intersecting storylines. And as always, I will bathe the material in prayer, for I desire that the Lord be glorified and the message of Christ be shared in every book.
All the edits for “The Last Week of Jesus of Nazareth” are complete. I’ve started work on the cover. There have been a few conversations with an illustrator. I’ll let you know when something is settled.
As far as the book after that, the outline is coming along quite well. It’s not quite ready yet, but it’s getting there. I came up with some very interesting ideas for the flow of the book. Myra helped me see a bigger picture, which spurred me to triple the story. Thanks honey… I think.
It will be a tale of romance, intrigue, and inspiration. Sound interesting?
Soon, I will work on characters. There are two main characters (you can’t have a romance without two people!) I have some vague ideas for some others, but hardly anyone I can picture yet. It’s all part of the process.
Needless to say, I’m getting excited to start writing!
I am happy to announce the publication of my sixth book.
“The Messengers: Crisis” is the third installment of my Christian historical fiction series.
Jacob Rush, his best friend Keela Flanagan, and their friends face a crisis, something that will threaten their relationships, faith, even their lives.
This story has been almost three years in the making and pays tribute to the real-life story of an ancestor of Myra’s.
I am very excited to share this latest tale with you.
There has been a slight change of plans!
A few days ago, I received the second of my three beta manuscripts for “The Messengers: Crisis” (thank you, Mark!) There is still one out, but it should return some time next week.
Myra and I talked about timelines. We think “The Last Week of Jesus of Nazareth” would do better to be released around Lent (late February). We hope it will gain momentum as we approach Holy Week.
I think I can finish editing “Crisis” in a couple of weeks. So, that’s what I am doing.
“Crisis” is the next book to be published, before the end of January.
So, watch for news!
Wow! What a slacker I’ve been. Not a single update in nearly a month. Well, let’s fix that right now!
Honestly, it has been a busy 30 days: at home, at church, and my writing.
Our son Marty moved back home after getting priced out of his apartment. It’s good to have him back.
Of course, it is Advent and Christmas at the church. And with disaffiliation from the United Methodist denomination, it has taken a great deal of time.
As for writing, if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I have chosen the next book to write: a Christmas romance. I haven’t started it yet but have been jotting down some ideas. And depending how it goes, there might be a sequel.
In the meantime, I have been working on the final edits of my next book, “The Last Week of Jesus of Nazareth.” It has seemed strange to work on Good Friday and Easter material as we are approaching Christmas. But, hey, you think those Hallmark movies were filmed in December? Obviously not! You can’t see anyone’s breath, despite the copious amounts of “snow” on the ground.
So far, I’m about 50% complete, but I know I will need to add some content in the latter half. I hope to publish in January, at the latest February, in order for it to be available for Lent and Easter.
Additionally, “The Messengers: Crisis” is still with a couple of my editors. I’ll work on it once they return the edited manuscripts. I would assume I would publish it before summer.
Then I can work on the Christmas romance. Just ship me some fake snow, not the genuine stuff outside my window!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
On this day, I truly want to focus on being thankful, not on traveling or food or football. Just be thankful for all that the Lord has done.
Today, our boys will gather—just us—possibly for the first time on Thanksgiving. Usually, we go places, but not this year. I’m so grateful for this time. And we will gather in our house WITH NO HEAT. That’s right, our 12-year-old furnace gave up the ghost, and instead of trying to patch old and new together, we went ahead and replaced everything. It set us back $20,000, but even in this, I will bless the Lord. There’s money to pay for it (eventually), and while we wait until it is installed, we have a very tight house with a gas fireplace that warms the place quite well, and the weather has not been too bad in Ohio.
I’m thankful for my church family. They are such a blessing to me, and I hope I am a blessing to them.
I’m thankful for this new ministry of writing. I cannot tell you the joy I experience throughout the process, even the parts that are less than pleasant. I know God is using this ministry to bless others, and I cannot ask for anything else.
Be thankful today in all things.
I am pleased to announce I have begun work on my next project!
Back in 2014, I wrote a Bible Study called “The Last Week of Jesus of Nazareth.” I have taught it several times at the church, and have now decided to publish it.
This is different from writing a new book. I’m not crafting each character, sentence, and plot line. Instead, I am adapting already written material from a setting where I was teaching the material amongst a group, to the individual’s level, with only their paperback or Kindle edition in hand. I also have to be creative with the use of images. In the class, I could use a variety of specifically chosen pictures, but in a for-profit book, I can’t get all the permissions or afford paying royalties on them all. Plus, I can see that I’m struggling not to re-read sections I have already reviewed. The document is whole as is, not segmented into the individual chapters. We’ll see how this goes.
I don’t know when it will be ready. I may have to find a different set of editors, maybe some preachers who have studied these passages for years. I’ll keep you updated.
Look what the Amazon guy brought today: my latest book “Unseen Warfare.”
If you would like a signed copy, send me an email with your mailing address. The cost is $20, which includes shipping.
I’m excited this book is now available, especially in the uncertain times we live in.
I’ll let you know what’s coming next.
Also, if you have read one or more of my books, would you leave a review for each on Amazon? The more reviews and 5 star ratings there are, the greater exposure through Amazon’s algorithm, and thus more people see my books and hopefully are encouraged, blessed, inspired, and come closer to Christ.
It is an easy way to be part of evangelism.
There is a war going on, and most people don’t even know it. It’s not reported on the internet or television, yet it is there. You don’t see bombed out buildings or wrecked military hardware, only the destroyed lives and the cemetery headstones.
It is supernatural, fought between beings as ancient as time. It is all around us… and yet unseen.
Faith Hudson has been visited by angels, who gave her a message: the end is coming. She passes the news to her pastor, Tim Grimes, who struggles to comprehend the meaning. He comes to realize the truth: that an unseen spiritual battle is going on all around everyone, including himself, his family, his friends, and the consequences are eternal.
This is gripping tale of spiritual warfare which threatens our lives and our eternal souls.
You can find it – and all of my books – on Amazon. Click here!
I just finished the first draft of “The Messengers: Crisis.” Here are the stats:
- First words: June 22, 2022.
- Last words: October 10, 2022.
- Wrote 59 of 123 days (48%).
- Averaged 780 per day.
- First edits: took 11 days.
- Current length: 89,195 words, 255 pages.
The manuscript will now go to three editors.
I am extremely pleased with this book. The story originated from the tale of a relative of an ancestor of Myra, but that is all I will reveal at the moment.
Keep watching for upcoming news!
For the last couple of days, I’ve been in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on a much needed family vacation (though Marty could not come because of COVID). We are staying in a house near the top of a mountain overlooking a valley. Each morning, we have experienced incredibly beautiful sunrises, watching the colors gradually change as the sun comes up over a mountain. It is breathtaking as we watch the new day dawn with all its possibilities.
Yesterday was my first “chill” day – a chance to relax, allow the stresses of ministry and life melt away in the beauty of God’s creation. I read a book, played “Uno” with Myra and Kevin, and…
finished the first draft of “The Messengers: Crisis!”
Right now, it is 250 pages and just over 87,000 words. I believe it will grow when I go through the editing process and add what I call “flavor” to the story: additional descriptions, emotions, and reflections amongst the characters.
But I will not start that process yet, for editing is grueling work, and I’m still on vacation!
You might be wondering where I’ve been? Did aliens kidnap me? Did I get lazy? Did I go dark?
None of those are true. Honest! At least, I don’t remember any aliens.
There has been a great deal going on in my life right now:
- Myra and I were to attend the United Christian Ashram’s Directors’ meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, September 14-16. We were to fly the Club’s airplane, but the door mechanism on the passenger side failed the week before. Parts did not come soon enough, and I decided it was best not to simply duct tape her to the seat. While we didn’t fly out, I still attended the event by Zoom.
- There seems to be a church meeting every night lately.
- Our church secretary has been on a two-week vacation.
- Luke and Hannah Rahe came for a visit September 23-27. Myra and I flew to Danville, Virginia to pick them up, then I flew them back (passenger-side door was fixed). While here, they experienced the Pretzel Festival and went to a concert in Indianapolis.
- And of course, there is football!
So, in the last 18 days, I’ve only written 4 times. I averaged 1,365 words each time, added 16 pages, and finished 2 chapters. All I have is 1 chapter of “Crisis” to go! Now, if I can find the time.
The last edits of “Unseen Warfare” are finally finished! Am I glad that is done! It is such a tedious work, involving possibly tens of thousands of changes, additions, , corrections, and deletions. My process is to have the computer read the text to me, so that I can hear anything my eyes miss. It took 12 days, with only 2 days off. The final manuscript is 91,462 words and 263 pages.
But don’t expect to see it published yet. In an attempt to expand my readership, I have submitted it to a publisher. They have until the end of the month to let me know if they are interested. If not, I’ll put it out on Amazon.
What’s next, you may ask. The first draft of “The Messengers: Crisis” is 80% complete. I guess I will start working on that.
The first draft for “Crisis” is approximately 80% complete. I wrote ten pages in four days – a respectable advancement. Fourteen of the nineteen chapters are finished.
But it’s time to change gears. Today, I began the final edits for “Unseen Warfare.” I’m using a new editing tool called ProWritingAid. It helps with grammar, sentence structure, and the occasional suggestion for an alternative word. I really like it so far.
For the next week, I will go through the entire 91,643 word text, then hammer out the formatting, before sending it out for publishing.
I am pretty excited to be nearing the end on a book I have been thinking about for around two years and took nine months to write.
The words for “Crisis” continue to pour out into my laptop. During the last 9 days, I’ve written over 13,000 words, or 38 pages. That’s about 15% of the projected total. My nerdy spreadsheet suggests the first draft will be finished early in October.
Now, I know I am biased (as is Myra), but I think the stories I am writing are good. I have characters that people care about, and I write interesting storylines. I would think you probably agree.
But as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy used to say to Captain Kirk, “I’m a pastor/pilot/author, not a salesperson.” I don’t know how to promote my books.
Therefore, I have started looking for a Christian literary agent who could help expand the exposure, readership, and sales of my books. That way, more people can learn about Jacob and Keela, Faith and Tim, and all the others, all for the glory of God and the spreading of the Gospel.
I can’t believe it’s been 13 days since I last posted. Of course, my schedule has been such that those same 13 days have flown by. Or is it because it is summer? If it was the dead of winter, 13 days would have dragged on forever!
Since the last post, I’ve preached once, taught 2 classes, been in 10 meetings, made 5 hospital calls, flown 1.7 hours to get current, and attended the Mountaineer Christian Ashram, which was inspirational. 42 people from Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia gathered to experience the Kingdom of God in miniature. I look back and realize how much I needed it. As a preacher, Bible teacher, and writer, I’m always pouring out. I need times where I can simply receive, and the Ashram was that.
But you want to know what progress I’ve made on “The Messengers: Crisis.” Well, I’ve gotten some good writing in as well, even if a good deal of it started at 4 AM because I had to go to the bathroom and knew I could not go back to sleep. But since July 30, I written just over 9,000, which translates to about 27 pages. Each day I wrote, 1,800 new words were put down on the page.
I am very pleased with the progress on the book. 10 chapters are complete; 11 to go.
It’s hard to stop doing something that you are enjoying so much.
When I was a boy, I loved baseball. I was blessed to grow up during the time of the Big Red Machine. During the summer, my perfect day would be playing a pickup game in the morning, eating lunch, playing another game in the afternoon, then have a “real” game with a full team that night. In fact, one of the turning points in my life was the night I broke my upper right arm throwing a baseball!
If I were to analyze myself, I would surmise that I have traded writing for baseball. I absolutely love writing. When I have free time, I write. Fridays are a day devoted to writing. And sometimes when I’m chilling out watching TV or playing Solitaire, I feel guilty that I’m not writing. It a little obsessive, isn’t it? But, I think I’ve got a handle on it!
Since my last update, I have finished Theresa’s edits on “Unseen Warfare” and designed the cover. Two more manuscripts are still out there, so I picked “Crisis” back up. I have written 10,762 words, about 31 pages, and have now finished 8 chapters. I have written about 40% of the book, all since starting June 21. Primary writing is estimated to be completed sometime in September.
Until then, I’ll keep my eye on the ball!
I have been on a writing frenzy for the last 10 days. My nerdy spreadsheet indicates I’ve written 17,370 words and 50 pages, which is estimated to be 19% of the total book. I have finished 3 chapters, plus halfway through writing another one. Overall, that’s almost 3.5 times my goal.
Yesterday, I interviewed my consultant on some of the content of “Crisis.” It was a very good experience and will undoubtedly enrich the storyline. I won’t tell you who it is and what we talked about; it would give away the surprise.
But “Crisis” is going on the back burner. One of my editors has returned her “Unseen Warfare” manuscript. It usually takes about a week or more to go through and make all the grammatical and recommended storyline changes. Plus, there is another manuscript out there being edited, as well as Myra’s copy.
Additionally, the Mountaineer Christian Ashram is just over 2 weeks away. I have to prepare for it, as well as finish writing the class I am teaching.
So “Crisis” is being paused until at least the middle of August.
But maybe, just maybe, “Unseen Warfare” will be ready for publishing!
Being a space nerd, I was always a fan of “Futurama.” What was there not to like? Rockets, aliens, and jokes about society.
One of the characters was Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, the 160 year old distant relative of the the main character Philip J. Fry. A scientist, business owner, and overall quack, one of his main lines in the series is “Good news, everyone!” even if it wasn’t.
Well, I have good news that really is good news. I am making excellent progress on “Crisis.” In the last week, I’ve written 9,213 words (or 26 pages) and finished 3 chapters. My nerdy spreadsheet indicates I’ve written 20% of the book. Not bad for 11 total days of writing.
I need to work on a class I have to teach in 3 weeks, but it’s hard to focus on it when I’m having so much fun writing about Jacob, Keela, and the rest of Welcome.
Happy Independence Day, or to my British friends, Happy Ingrateful Colonists Day.
I have not been writing since June 30 due to a recurrence of my back trouble. Are you ready? I hurt it getting ready to get in the shower!
I have had occasional back trouble since I was in the 8th Grade. Once or twice a year, I will do something innocuous, and bam! It will hit me. It’s always in the lower back around L5.
I rank this one as either the second or third worst. It’s been five days now, and I am still struggling, though I have not reaggravated it with spasms since Sunday morning. That was a winner. It took me five minutes to get from the bed to the bathroom.
Thankfully, Myra has been here during the worst. Until yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t get out of the chair by myself. She has been so patient. I’m pretty sure I’m keeping her.
If you deal with back issues, I feel your pain, bro.
Got off by the skin of my teeth!
Yesterday, I was to begin a week of Jury Duty. Several friends gave me suggestions on what to say to get out of it:
- “If I have to waste my time being here, SOMEBODY’S going to jail!”
- “I can see a guilty person a mile away.”
- “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)
- “I have Crohn’s Disease, so I have to poop a lot.”
We were informed it was a criminal trial that would probably last three days. I was the ninth juror called to the box. We waited and waited, and I began to wonder, “Could it be?” And I was right! The defendant took the plea offer, and we were released from duty. Hallelujah! Good thing too, because we learned the defendant stole from an elderly person. Some of my best friends are elderly!
Aside from that little diversion, I have been writing almost every day. Chapter 1 of “Crisis” is finished, and I am about a third of the way through Chapter 2. The book is now projected to be 19 chapters long. Excellent progress so far. It is nice to return to the community of Welcome.
I couldn’t wait, despite what Myra said!
To be fair, of the two projects I needed to accomplish, one is finished a full two weeks ahead of time. Plus, I have started the second one, which isn’t due until July 31.
So, I was thinking last night, “I have time to get started on the next book.”
Therefore, today I am announcing I have begun writing the next book in the Jacob Rush series “The Messengers.” Book 3 will be titled “Crisis,” following the progression in the alphabet (“Advent”, “Bridges”, etc.). And I love the definition I have found for “Crisis”: “a turning point for better or worse.”
I already had the beginnings of the first three chapters, written after finishing “Bridges,” as well as an outline for at least 18 chapters. I have been chomping at the bit to write this story for two years, so you can understand my excitement… and impatience.
So, here we go!
The manuscript for “Unseen Warfare” is now in the hands of my editors. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate their willingness to pour over the proof, looking for those little mistakes amongst the 92,514 words.
I anticipate it will be several months before I get it back. In the meantime, what are my plans? First, I have a 2-hour class to finish writing. With 17 days (which includes a week of jury duty) before I present it for the first time, I will be focusing on it until completion. Second, I have another 2-hour class to start from scratch, which I will teach August 5-6. Third, I need to conduct a research interview for the next book I’m writing.
Myra says I should take a break from writing, at least until “Unseen” goes through its final editing and is published.
That will be months from now, so my updates will pause until then.
See you in a few!
The editing process continues. Ten out of thirty chapters complete, adding 600 words in the process, and only the Lord knows how many typos or word swaps.
Unfortunately, I will be on Zoom class, then meeting from 9 AM – 8:30 PM today, so I doubt I will get any work done of “Unseen.”
It’s a happy day today. I finished the first draft of “Unseen Warfare!”
Let me give you some stats about this book’s journey thus far:
- Started writing October 28, 2021.
- Wrote 73 days (1 out of 3).
- 89,623 words (256 pages) so far, but that will change.
- 30% of the book was written in the last 21 days.
- Averaged writing just shy of 400 words per day, 1,200 for every writing day.
Now comes the process of finding all the typos, editing, rephrasing, and seeing where it needs something. After that, it goes to my three editors. Mark and Theresa will find more typos, and of course Myra will tell me when I need to change something with a character or the way I describe the scene.
Then finally, I will take their suggestions and prepare the final manuscript. My guess is that by September, it will be ready for printing.
Until then, I have a class to write, conduct a background interview for the next book, and start the process all over again.
My dad used to say, “Boy, you got ants in your pants!” I never really knew what that meant and never saw them (yes, I looked!) It was usually followed up with “Sit down and be still!” I guessed that maybe sitting would get rid of them, so I would go sit on my brother.
I recognize the occasional “antsy” feeling in my life today, usually connected with the desire to begin or end something. When it’s to begin something, it’s probably because I’m waiting for Myra to get ready. I do tend to pace.
When it’s to end something, it’s one of two things. First, a sermon series. If I’m preaching a long one, towards the end, I’m ready to talk about something different. The second is when I’m nearing the end of writing the first draft on a book.
Last week, “Unseen Warfare” was giving me “ants in my pants.” I’m getting so close to the end, I can see it. I know what will happen with the characters; it simply has to find its way onto the page. When I get like that, I really push myself, sometimes to the point of feeling brain dead. Last week, I wrote 8,160 words (23 pages), which is 2.3 times my weekly goal. I have 4 chapters left. I want so much to finish, take a little break, then start the process on the next book.
But that reveal is for a later post!
Yesterday was the last day of the month. For me, May always flies by. Myra says it’s because it’s my birth month, but it’s more than that. I love the weather this time of year. The trees have greened up and the flowers are growing. It simply is the best!
Today is June 1st. I can predict a few things going forward:
- It’s going to get hot. Since I don’t go swimming any more, this is not necessarily a good thing.
- The Reds are not going to make it to the World Series. Hey, I’d be happy to be wrong here!
- I’ve got to find an anniversary present… in three days! Pray for me.
I believe I can predict one more thing: I will complete the first draft of “Unseen Warfare.” According to my nerdy spreadsheet, I am 86.67% finished writing (I told you it was nerdy!) I have six chapters to go, and while that sounds like a lot, my writing pace has picked up over the last month. In May, I wrote 645 words per day, more than double from the day I began. It seems as if the story lines are coming together, meeting in one exciting and surprising ending.
I’ll keep you posted. Now, what do I get my wife on our 17th wedding anniversary? Any ideas?
It’s been a good two days. I’ve written 3,700 words or 10 pages. I finished 1 chapter and started 2 more.
I even woke up this morning from a dream and wrote 650 words, thinking it would go in “Unseen Warfare.” But after showing it to Myra, she rightfully judged it did not fit the overall purpose of the book. So, I saved it for some yet unknown future work.
And if you were wondering, I didn’t do any power washing. It was raining, then it got hot, and I was having too much fun writing.
Goodness. It has been awhile since I posted. You would think I dropped off the face of the planet or had surgery or went to Hawaii. No, no, and I wish!
In fact, church and other ministry and volunteer commitments have taken precedence the last week and a half. Even today, I have had to set priorities. I took my car in for maintenance and repairs this morning. I haven’t heard from them yet; don’t know what that means. I wrote 7 pages of notes for my Sunday School class. Sunday’s sermon is nearly finished, but needs more time simmering, like vegetable soup.
So, I got back to writing “Unseen,” and did pretty well. I started a new chapter and wrote 1,200 words (3 pages).
Tomorrow is my standard writing day. I need to power wash the driveway and sidewalk, but that doesn’t sound fun to me.
I’ll let you know what happens!
Wow! What an afternoon!
In about five hours, I wrote 3,300 words (9 pages) and finished 2 chapters! Number 20 is complete.
It’s amazing sometimes the writing process. I will plod away trying to finish a chapter (as I did today). Then blast out another chapter as if it was water coming out of a fire hose. I believe both are workings of the Lord, if slowed by my own weakness.
I’m guessing this book will be 30 chapters long, maybe around 255 pages. That means I am two-thirds through by first draft. Of course, that could all change.
I was able to write four days last week, resulting in 3,414 words (10 pages). That just 86 words below my goal, so I feel good about that. My best line this week, when describing a big downtown bank building, was, “In the days of direct deposit, debt cards, and digital money, Tim realized the building was a dinosaur, a relic of the past, helplessly awaiting the next innovation in banking that would cause its extinction.” After that, it gets suspenseful!
I also visited our local Historical Society’s Open House on Sunday. The cover photo for “The Messengers: Bridges” is of the Germantown Covered Bridge. I learned some interesting history about the bridge that I will incorporate into either Book 5 or 6 of the series.
Finally, I had an incredible dream the other night, one that is still in my memories. If I were to write a book based on it, it would be titled “The Prometheus Stone.” It would be a Sci-fi fiction, but right now, I don’t see a storyline that gives glory to God and proclaims the name of Jesus. Maybe it will end up in a chapter in what might be called “The Warfare” series. I don’t know yet.
Psalm 27:14 reads, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (NKJV)
It has been a busy few days, including my 7th colonoscopy. We learned in 1996 that my mother’s side of the family had 4 generations of terminal colon cancer. I thank the Lord that nothing has shown up in my procedures. And though the prep is the worst of it all, it is well worth knowing if there is something there before it gets worse. Colon cancer is the easiest cancer to diagnose and treat… IF you catch it early. Doctors recommend people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45, so if you have been putting yours off, don’t wait anymore!
Before starting my prep, I was able to write over 3,000 words (almost 10 pages) and finish 2 chapters in “Unseen Warfare.” In some ways, the book’s message is like a colonoscopy, discovering you are in a battle before it’s too late. We need to recognize the tactics the devil uses to cause deception, doubt, destruction, and death in our lives.
In Ephesians 6 and his “Armor of God” section, Paul writes, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12. NLT2)
There is nothing good in Satan, so we must stand against him with the help of the Holy Spirit and the armor of God. Our lives, and the lives of generations that follow us, are at stake.
A new week had begun, but for those who lived in Jesus’ day, there was confusion. News had spread that the itinerate Rabbi from Nazareth, who was crucified on the cusp of the Passover, had been raised from the dead. The religious leaders tried to squelch such wild rumors saying that His followers had stolen the body. But anyone who was curious enough to look could plainly see: there was nothing in that tomb.
Meanwhile there was division amongst Jesus’ disciples. One of them did not believe that the Master has been raised from the dead, no matter what the others say to him.
Even today, there are people who are like the confused residents of Jerusalem or Doubting Thomas, unable to believe despite the evidence. Their worlds are still upside down.
Know anyone like that? Yourself? A sibling? A child? A friend? Someone who’s so hurt, they cannot find a solution?
Consider “Hanging On In An Upside Down World.” Learn the twelve things Jesus does to turn your world right side up.
Ok. I admit it. I haven’t written anything, despite saying I would.
I had to finish Marilyn T. Parker’s “The Struggle for Love: The Story of Leah“. It was so good.
Then I had to write what I am teaching at my Dayton Pilots’ Club meeting tonight. The topic is Mixture Control. Some of you might be old enough to have driven a car with a choke — in essence, a mixture control, — where you adjust the fuel/air mixture in the engine. Modern cars use computers and fuel injection today, but most general aviation airplanes, like the one I fly, still have the old technology. The reason why you need this control is that the air at ground level is much denser than at 5,000 feet. We use the Mixture Control to lean the mixture and save fuel.
So, if that sounds interesting, come to the meeting. Otherwise, it will be another day before I start writing again.
I know it was yesterday, but every day is Easter day when you know Christ and you have the assurance of being resurrected with Him into eternal life in heaven.
Romans 6:4 says, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” (NLT2)
This Easter Monday, I am resting, taking a mental health day. Holy Week is a draining week for pastors, choirs, and program staff.
So, I downloaded a new book to my Kindle: Marilyn T. Parker’s “The Struggle for Love: The Story of Leah.” Read the two page Prologue, and you will be hooked (with a few tears in your eyes).
Tomorrow night, I plan to restart primary writing for “Unseen Warfare.”
I wrote 4,300 words last week (or 12 pages). That exceeds my goal for the week, which makes me feel good. I finished Chapter 15 and am well into Chapter 16. The outline is forming up for the rest of the book, but I am always open to changes along the way.
However, writing for “Unseen” is put on hold. It’s Holy Week, and it is one of the busiest weeks of the year. Three bulletins, three sermons, plus the normal stuff. And I stupidly scheduled my annual eye examine (complete with dilation) on Friday.
Of course, this is nothing compared to what Jesus did for you and for me 2,000 years ago.
I have always loved the hymn written by Elvina M. Hall. Sing it as a prayer with me:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
Amazon allows you to “Look Inside” a book and read the first chapter or two.
For example, click this link for “The Messengers: Advent”, then look above the image of the book. Click the “Look Inside” link. Then, as the top of the next window, click the “Kindle” tab; you will be able to read almost two full chapters.
If you like what you see, consider purchasing the Kindle version or the paperback.
If you want to see all my books, click here.
I began writing again today – around 3 pages – on “Unseen Warfare.” I spent the last week praying and thinking about where the book should go, reminded on multiple occasions how important this book is in addressing the situations we face in our world today.
Even after all we have seen in our lives, we are still astonished by the evil that we see in the news or hear about from family and friends. I have recently become aware of a situation in my community that can only be explained in spiritual terms. It is demonic, pure evil in nature.
John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” The light John speaks of is life and testimony of Christ, guiding us when it seems as if night will never go away, assuring us that evil will not win. He said in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (NLT2)
Despite the darkness you may find yourself in, trust in Christ’s promise. Turn to Him to guide and lead you.
Only 1 day of writing this past week. I had 2 funerals, a day-long meeting, and of course a sermon to write.
I have the sense that I am nearing a transition in “Unseen Warfare.” Up to this point, I have been establishing characters, setting the stage, and laying out a biblical and theological case. I still have pages of ideas as well.
But I don’t have anything the resembles an ending. Nothing that would cause the reader to say, “That was good (or bad).” Nothing to bring closure to the story. I look at my outline and ideas and realize the last chapters, pages, and lines are not there.
Therefore, I have decided to stop writing and spend concerted time in prayer. I believe the book is absolutely relevant to our world today. I have felt that since before I started writing. I believe it has an important message to Christians as we face an ever increasingly evil world. I need this book. We all need this book.
But until the Lord gives me the ending, it must wait. The first half, He’s already given me; I await the second half.
I know that often, we must wait for God’s perfect timing. Just as Abraham, Sarah, and all the others who have waited for the Lord. And when they did, wow, the reward.
I plan to get away for a day or two, spend time communing with God, listening to His Spirit, and wait for His timing.
It has been a good week for writing: 5,000 words, which is about 14 pages. I was able to finish 3 chapters that needed just a few paragraphs, plus I made good progress on Chapter 15. Once this chapter is complete, I am probably halfway.
When I was a kid, our hometown newspaper printed articles about the community baseball games, all the way down to 8-9 year olds. My mom would clip out each time I was mention, either as the pitcher or for hitting. I loved to read those clips.
But better than any newspaper is to be in the Book of Life. The Book of Revelation talks about it 5 different times. In chapter 21, verse 21, it says the residents of the New Jerusalem will only be those “whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Be sure your name is in the right place!
After a week off (and finishing “Downton Abbey”), I finally got back to writing again and made some good headway: 820 words, or between 2-3 pages.
Writing a book is like many other big projects: unfathomable unless you have a plan.
When President Kennedy called on the country to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth,” we had a grand total of 5 minutes experience in weightlessness. We had no idea how to get to the Moon. But plans began to be formulated, and on July 20, 1969, a little over 8 years later, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.
The phrase goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So it is with writing, getting a degree, learning a new skill or any other big project: small baby steps.
Don’t let the bigness of your dream paralyze you from taking the steps to achieve it.
“One small step… one giant leap.”
Ok, confession time.
I haven’t worked much on “Unseen Warfare” lately, only writing 3 days in the last week.
Instead, Myra and I have been rewatching… Downton Abbey!
Myra says I shouldn’t get down on myself and feel guilty. Publishing 4 books, plus a study guide, in the span of just over a year and a half, is a hefty work.
Besides, we love sitting together, holding hands, and watching TV. And most of the time, she doesn’t fall asleep! With her home on medical leave, I should not be writing at night while she’s in her recliner waiting for me.
Time spent strengthening my marriage is always a good thing!
Wow! They’re here!
Copies of my latest book arrived today. “The Messengers: Bridges” came a week early. I take back any bad things I may have said about Amazon.
“Bridges” continues the story of Jacob Rush, his best friend Keela, and all the others in Welcome. There are new characters, new adventures, plus a twist or two. It covers July 1 – October 22, 1822, so it is fast paced and exciting.
Primary writing for “Bridges” took 104 days. I averaged writing 945 per day, which shows you how quickly the Lord poured it into me, and how much fun it was to write.
If you would like a signed copy, click the blue “E-Mail” button above to send me an email. They are $20 a book, which includes the shipping costs.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Are you a patient waiter? Not one in a restaurant, but someone who can tolerate having to sit back and wait until something happens, something is delivered, or your spouse is finally ready!
After being married to Myra since 2005, I know what waiting is!
According to Amazon, my copies of “The Messengers: Bridges” will arrive sometime between March 12-14. Once I receive them, I will be able to sign copies and send them to you.
Until then, I am working on my next book “Unseen Warfare.” So far, thirteen chapters are complete. I don’t have chapter outlines past this point; just three pages of ideas and notes. That’s next on my agenda.
“The Messengers: Bridges” continues the story of Jacob Rush, Keela, and the rest of their families and friends from Welcome. There are new experiences, challenges, friends, and a new perspective on his growing faith.
There are four ways to read “Bridges:”
Kindle: If you have a Kindle or a smart phone/tablet with the free Kindle app, you can read the electronic version of the book. No trying to find room on your already full bookshelf, and you can have the book wherever you are. For anyone with floaters in your eyes, this is the way to go. By setting the background to black, you no longer see them. In Kindle, you have two options:
- Purchase the electronic version for $5.99.
- Kindle Unlimited: Amazon offers a $9.99 per month option that allows you to read over a million books. This is how I have read 174 books in 21 months.
Paperback: Of course, many people want the physical experience of holding a book. If this is your preference, here are your two options:
- Order “Bridges” straight from Amazon for $15. If you have Prime, your shipping is free.
- Order “Bridges” from me. Shipping costs increases the price to $20. But hey, it’s the only way to can get a signed copy!
I am very pleased with this latest story, and I hope you will be too.
I have decided that “Bridges” needs one more review, a look with a “fine toothed comb.”
I tweaked a couple of things in the final chapter, then the end of the previous chapter, and before long, a dozen words or phrases had been changed. None of it was misspelled or grammatically incorrect; it is need a change of a word or two, maybe a revision, even deletion of a phrase, here and there.
Then, I felt as if the Lord was saying, “Go through it one more time. The next book in the ‘Messengers’ series needs to be as good as it came be.”
If you have been reading my posts during the review phase, you know it’s my least favorite part, but it is the right thing to do.
I finished the final edits for “The Messengers: Bridges.”
After that comes formatting the manuscript properly. Setting margins is easy. Checking where chapters and sub-chapters fall – and making adjustments – means looking at each and every page. The hardest thing is eliminating the page counts on the first two blank pages. I still don’t know how I did it originally. What I end up doing is taking a previous book’s file, copying the new manuscript into it, then fixing any formatting errors that occur in the process.
All I need now is the cover finalized, and I can submit it for publishing. I will let you know when it is available.
Thank you to everyone that has been following along and praying for me through the process.
I got an interesting notification yesterday.
Last week, as the ice and snow storm barreled into SW Ohio, our furnace quit. The repair company was not sending their people out into the storm. We made it though the day with our gas fireplace and its circulating fan until the furnace started to miraculously work again. The repairman arrived, identified the problem, and we waited four days for the part to come in. Yesterday, the furnace quit again. Fortunately, the part arrived, was installed, and everything was good again.
Here’s the strange thing: as I shut the door after the repairman, I received a notification from our Nest thermostat stating there might be something wrong with the furnace, that a drop of 4 degrees in temperature had been noted. “Do you have a window or a door open? If not, we can recommend some reputable repair companies.”
Wow. A notice that something is wrong. It was a few days late, but nonetheless, it was “concerned.”
Do you ever wish you got a notification from God saying, “Our relationship has dropped a few degrees? Have you left the door open to Satan or the cares of the world? Here are some ways to fix it.”
Ever wish you had that? Well, you do. God’s Holy Spirit is always nudging us to a warm relationship with the Father. We only need to listen.
Wow. Seven full days since my last entry. You’d think I’ve been slacking!
On the contrary, this COVID hit me hard. I have to keep up with either Tylenol or some cold medicine, or the symptoms make me feel absolutely terrible. I’ve lost some weight simply because I have no appetite. And naps? Plenty!
It’s only been in the last three days or so that I’ve felt halfway normal. Only halfway, mind you, but it is better than before.
This was my last day of quarantine. I was able to finally edit chapters 7-9, but only after a halftime, 2 hour nap. I hope to go back to work some tomorrow.
I’ve not been working (or writing) for the last few days because I got COVID. Myra’s head cold became a positive COVID test result. Then I got sick 9 days following onset of her symptoms. I feel lousy, have head pressure, fatigue, loss of appetite, and, as expected, a bad cough. My pulse ox is typical for me (mid 90s), so I don’t think I’m going to get any worse.
I was able to preach yesterday via video, but I looked like death warmed over! Kind of like the guy on the right; just a smaller nose!
I have three more days of quarantine. My goal this week is to prepare the Sunday bulletin, write a sermon, and if I have any energy left over, get back to editing “The Messengers: Bridges.” I was able to get through Chapter 6 before I got sick. Only 13 more chapters to go.
Meanwhile, I received a lovely note from a friend of mine sharing how much she loved “The Messengers: Advent.” Once I have a few more, I will be creating a new page for “Testimonials.”
O baby, it’s cold!
Yesterday, the HVAC unit for the church office went down. It was 62 in the main portion and 57 in my office. Despite supposedly in quarantine, I went to the office. The repairman arrived around 2 PM, finally leaving at 5 PM, reporting, “The guy who knows your system is going to come tomorrow.”
This morning, I went to the church. The main office was 52 and my office was 46. Brrrrrrr!
I feel guilty complaining. The Methodist Circuit Rider preachers, like Jonathan in “The Messengers,” faced much more difficult and adverse conditions, all because of the calling of God to “go make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
The cause of Christ is worth any inconvenience, no matter what it might be.
I’m in full edit mode for “The Messengers: Bridges!”
It is a painstaking process of slowly rereading the entire manuscript, making certain each word is EXACTLY the one I want to use.
I also ask myself, “Do I need to add some flavor here?” It might mean inserting a few sentences of background or insights into the mind and background of a character. It could be something about the physical world surrounding the passage, like the weather or a description of a room or clothing. These usually do not add to the storyline, but enhance and fire the imagination of the reader as they create a mental picture of what they are reading.
Additionally, I look to ensure I do not repeat words in adjacent sentences. Saying “tree” 3 or 4 times in a paragraph drives me nuts!
With the probability that Myra has given me COVID, I’ve stayed home and gotten everything done on my church to-do list. So, by the end of the day, I should have finished at least Chapter 4. Only 15 more to go.
Will you pray for my sanity? This is my least favorite part of the process. To me, writing is the party; editing is like doing dishes. And let me assure you: my house always has a working automatic dishwasher!
What a day it has been.
First thing this morning, the coffee marker died. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. Myra definitely needs her coffee in the morning.
Then, on her way back from Walmart to get the new one, she called me. “Guess what? The surgeon’s office called. I’ve got COVID!”
Well, needless to say, our schedules changed. Fortunately, she is actually feeling better today after thinking she had a cold for the last week. Being home on medical leave was beneficial. Needless to say, I’m probably positive, but without symptoms.
On the bright side, I finished Theresa’s edits.
I received the final edited manuscript for “The Messengers: Bridges” today!
Over the next several days, I will go through Theresa’s corrections. Then I will work through the entire manuscript, using Word’s “Read Aloud” feature (I prefer the lady’s voice; she’s not so judgmental!). I will read and listen to every single of the 98,555 words to find any typos we all missed, plus words and phrases that need to be fixed or refined. Next, I check all the formatting for the estimated 282 pages. It is a very tedious process.
Then comes the cover. I have sent a picture to our son Matt. He’s my creative digital editor.
I use Amazon’s KDP to submit the final e-Book and paperback product. That takes hours of review and edits. A few days later, and it is available for my readers.
Even once it’s submitted, I do one more thing: I write the first chapter of the next book in the series. I will never be as in-tune with the characters and storyline as I am at that moment. Writing the next chapter helps me accurately reintroduce my characters and their next set of adventures. And I assure you: there is more to come for the people in “The Messengers.”
Today was a productive/unproductive day.
Ever have one of those? You got a lot of little things done, but they really did not advance the day or any projects you are undertaking. They needed to be done, but they didn’t get you very far.
Last night, I started thinking about the timeline in “Unseen.” You see, I tend to write fast moving events. Things happen to my characters in quick succession, and unless I have consciously and deliberately determined a passage of time, everything would happen one right after the previous.
So this morning, I sat down and worked out a host of questions: What time of year does the story begin, and how does that affect the storyline? How old is Faith? Old enough for great grandchildren? What about the fictional days in the chapters? Do they need some space, some passage of time?
You see, figuring all that out can get confusing. It takes pen and paper, Excel spreadsheet and calculator, to make sure you get it all right. Revising a main character’s birthdate changes everything else.
Now that it’s done, I can move forward. I added less than 200 words in the process, but that’s fine for now. The Bengals/Titans playoff game is in a few hours, and I haven’t had my Saturday afternoon nap yet!
Friday is typically reserved for writing. My goal is to add at least 2,000 words to the manuscript, in part to catch up from days I’ve not written, and to spend the day focused on the process. After several hours and a few cups of coffee, I’m usually pleased with the results.
And so it was today. Another 2,686 (8 pages) were added to the draft for “Unseen”, plus I finished Chapter 11. Even Myra helped!
You see, I’m “clothing challenged.” In my mind, all I need is a few pairs of pants, a couple of pairs of shoes, and underwear, socks, and shirts to last 2 weeks! And they must match blue! Hey, it worked for me during college.
Therefore, when I needed to describe a “wardrobe shopping trip,” I asked Myra if she could draw on her “years of experience” and provide the details, and she did a pretty good job of it!
Finally, I appreciated her shopping. But Myra, I still don’t need a green shirt!
It was another early morning today. I awoke around 4 AM, with no chance of going back to sleep, and went to my laptop. Over the next 8 hours, I wrote 4,341 words, or about 12 pages. Chapters 9 & 10 are complete, except for the occasional review and tweaks of some of the words and descriptions.
Once the sun had come up, I could see that outside was a beautiful layer of freshly fallen snow. Not too much; just enough to be pretty.
I love the soft sound of snow falling, especially at night, when the flakes are lit only by the street lights. It seems as if the world has become calm under a blanket of peace. At least, it’s that way in my neighborhood.
The first part of Romans 1:20 says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.” (Romans 1:20, NLT2)
Thank you, God, that in the midst of the chaos of our world and the one I am creating in fiction, You break through with Your peace.
It’s 5:30 in the morning, and I have already paid bills, plus written for the next book, what I’m calling for the time being “Unseen.” Yes, I know I said I was putting it on hold to work on the edits for “Bridges.” But after finishing Mark’s edits yesterday, I still had lots of day left, so I wrote for an additional an hour on the third installment of “The Messengers” plus an additional 1,258 words on “Unseen.” Chapter 9 is moving along quite nicely.
Occasionally, I deal with insomnia. Though I’d rather be sleeping, I instinctively know the Lord has something for me to do. Remember Jesus spent several nights praying. Luke tells us, “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” (Luke 6:12, NLT2)
So, if you too deal with insomnia, see it as an opportunity to spend time with the Lord. And if you fall asleep during your prayer time, what better way to rest in the wonderful arms of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I just finished Mark’s edits for “Bridges.” It wasn’t too bad, but it does remind me how humbling writing can be. “Was” instead of “were,” or the wrong character’s name, or butchered spelling? Thankfully, Mark and Theresa are very gracious, knowing that after writing 94,000+ words, you are bound to goof up every once in a while… even several times on a page!
Any creative expression comes with the risk of humiliation. I remember once singing in church when the zipper on my pants split open. It was hard to cover that one up.
I recently conducted the funeral for Linda Brown, an absolutely wonderful lady, who brought laughter and joy to all those she knew. Her family shared with me a motto she had, and while they always saw it as humorous, I found it profound: “Never be afraid to make a fool of yourself for the good of the group.”
If you are considering sharing something creative, remember Linda’s wisdom. Don’t be afraid to bless others, even if you take the chance of making a fool of yourself.
I made a decision last night. With Mark’s proof returned, and Myra and Theresa’s not far behind, I put the current book I’m writing aside for the time being and will focus on the final editing process of “The Messengers: Bridges.”
For me, this stage is the hardest, for it is so tedious. It is the final stretch. Everything you’ve worked for comes down to this. If I was a woman, I might compare it to the final stages of labor, but clearly, I’ve not earned the right to use that analogy.
So what can I compare it to? Well, maybe breaking out of the clouds 250 feet above the ground and less than a mile from the airport you want to land at. You’ve worked extremely hard to fly to a particular point in space, all the while blind to the outside world. Imagine driving down the interstate for 3-4 miles with your eyes closed, and that’s only half what is required.
It will be an intensive several weeks, but like delivering a baby or landing an airplane, it will all be worth it!
I woke up this morning around 5 AM and got up following hours of dreaming. By 8 AM, 1,451 words had been written.
I am surprised how much of this next book has come from dreams. The initial premise came from a dream; a set of friends in trouble came from a dream, today’s installment, plus a future yet written event all came from dreams.
Over the past decade, my dreams have become more realistic, much longer, more detailed, often strong enough, and at times disturbing enough, to keep me from ever going back to sleep. And if my dreams lately have led to this darker treatise, then you might imagine what some of my nights are like.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted the prophet Joel, “‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.'” (Acts 2:17, NLT2) I can assure you I am no longer a young man, but don’t quite see myself in the old man category. Maybe God has other ideas.
I finished Chapter 7 of the next book today. I can’t tell you how many chapters it will be yet. The outline is still being assembled. But with 5 pages of notes and ideas, there is still much to be organized and arranged.
This book is different from my others in so many ways. It is darker, even a bit frightening. Myra is worried I might be stirring up a hornet’s nest with the devil. But I have felt this strong urge ever since its inception that the ideas and truths behind the book must be shared with people of our times.
It was Bob Dylan who sang, “For the times they are a-changin’.” And what was true in 1964 is even more so in 2022.
But why are they changing so? I have an answer, but you will have to wait to read the book!
This is only my second day off since December 18 and first since Christmas Day.
Instead, I did my devotions, cleared my desk, paid a bill, and attended a short Zoom meeting. I will spend the rest of the day reading Diane Moody’s book “Confessions of a Prayer Slacker.” She is a tremendous Christian author that you should read. Here is her website.
Oh, yes, there might be a nap today as well.
Psalm 62:1 reads, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” (NIV)
That is my plan for today. How about you?
Amongst my writing projects is a Children’s book entitled “Life with Max the Pug.” And yes, it is based on our own Sir Maximilien Pugsley.
It is a book for parents to read and discuss with their children – say at bedtime – that features a pug by the name of Max. Each chapter touches on daily activities – eating, sleeping, playing – and prompts the child to “tell their stories.” It would be a perfect way to cap off each day with a child or grandchild.
“Life with Max the Pug” is the first of a series of books planned.
However, I am in need of an illustrator. Hey, I can write, but I cannot draw even a stick figure!
If you know someone who might be interested, email me.
My editor Mark has returned draft of “The Messengers: Bridges.” Wow, that was fast. He said he couldn’t put it down. That gets me one step closer to publishing.
I still have another editor to finish, plus Myra’s changes.
I guess it is time to start working on the cover. Matt, expect an email from Dad!
Then, depending upon available time, it takes couple of weeks or so to get it ready to submit.
Oh boy! (Does anyone say that any more?)
Happy New Year to you. I pray 2022 will be a blessed year for you and your family.
I was in Sunday School this morning when one of our members pointed out how much Hebrews 1 talks about angels. And it is true; read that chapter, and you would be surprised.
It reminded me to update you on my next book that features a great deal about angels, and unfortunately, demons as well. I have 6 chapters written in it thus far. My main characters are Faith and Tim. Faith is the widow of the former pastor, while Tim is the current pastor of the church. Together, they will discover how the forces of heaven and forces of hell are battling for the souls of humans every single moment of every single day.
I can’t wait to share this book with you.
I have finished the first draft of my next book in “The Messengers” series, entitled “Bridges.” My faithful editors Theresa and Mark are now working on it.
I have begun writing my next book. I have not finalized the title, but it will be a fictional book about the very real, but unseen spiritual battle that is going on all around us.
The theme verse of this book is Ephesians 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV)
12/30/21 New Website
Launched this website today!
Despite managing three others, starting a new one is always taxing, trying to get it working and looking the way you want it. Logins, domain name, site design, and email can really strain the gray matter.
Of course, starting anything new is always challenging: a new job, new relationship, new hobby, etc.
The Lord said Isaiah 43:19, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (NLT2) That new thing was Jesus coming to Earth and providing the way to eternal life.
I pray the words I write will bring people to Jesus: God’s new way!