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Showing posts from September, 2006

Day 2, Part 1: How NOT to wake up your roomies

“Wake up, Shannon. Are you all right? Are you having a bad dream?” The soft, but anxious voice of my crit partner and roommate, Terri, pulled me from my sleep. I realized with a jolt that as I had been yelling in my dream, I was moaning—or something—out loud. It happens occasionally when I have a particularly upsetting nightmare, but do this in a room with three other people who are not family—I was quite embarrassed. “Uh, yeah. I’m okay,” I mumbled back. My throat felt raw. Michelle and Kelly stirred in the other bed, also awake. My mortification deepened. “Can I pray for you?” Terri whispered. I thought for second. What was the dream about? It came back to me quickly—something utterly stupid. What was that about? And then I remembered that essentially a demon was after me. My next thought—why? Why me? I am not important enough … I accepted Terri’s prayer with sheepish gratitude. Lord, why am I here, again? The night before, in reflecting on my weariness and confusion during

Day 1, Part 2: Drifting, but not lost

I said often that day that I was glad I didn't have any appointments or "important" events (like the banquet and awards ceremony coming up the next day!). I felt it was my place that day to lie low and just prepare for the next day, for the two appointments with editors, and whatever else was to come. After the workshop, I dried my tears, met up with Ronie Kendig (who had prayed with me during a really difficult moment earlier in the morning), and the two of us managed to find seats—together!—at Steve Laube’s table. By this time I was reconciled to speaking with him and behaving in an adult manner about his recent rejection of Gift. He remembered me—and Ronie, since his rejection of one of her ms. had come even more recently—and confirmed that he felt I have dialogue weaknesses in the story. Coolness. No begging or pleading necessary to find out just what he thought was wrong. I shared with him my plans for a historical novel, and in the midst of talking about something

Quick apology ...

... for the triple post this morning. Blogspot was being weird last night and when I checked this morning, I thought my post didn't "take" and reposted it. But surprise! There it was ... not only once, but THREE times. Sheesh ....

Day 1, Part 1: I get by with a little help from my friends

For others who have posted about the conference: start at the excellent blog of J. Mark Bertrand (I really need to add this guy to my links). He includes a list of others who have blogged, most of which I've read, but I'm still slowly working my way not only through my own reflections, but others' accounts, and that's a good place to start. Becky Miller and Stuart Stockton have also included their musings on our team blog, Speculative Faith (link in the sidebar), and Becky has a couple of entries on her personal blog as well. So--lest anyone think that the list I offered yesterday of those I met at the conference is anything like comprehensive ... it isn't. I was just hitting the highlights of those who comprise the spec fiction crowd. Two that I deliberately did not mention were my roommates and crit partners, Michelle Griep and Terri Thompson. I should probably mention Terri first because I've known her longer--she and I first critiqued for each other abou

Here there be dragons

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One of the highlights of the ACFW conference was getting to see very good friends and making new ones. Stuart Stockton (AKA S-Man on Brandilyn Collins' Scenes and Beans blog and her new novel, Violet Dawn) was the first one I saw when I walked through the door of the hotel. Soon after I met John Otte, my first conference mentee, who I recognized from his photos but who shocked me with his impressive height. Stuart is tall, but John is TALL. Then came Heather Diane Tipton (yes, I KNEW you this year!!), and the blur of registration, during which time I found that I had these funny ribbons to place at the bottom of my nametag. One says "Area Coordinator" (I am, for ACFWCarolinas, which I attempted to print neatly down the side of the nametag but goofed up on), and Award Nominee (my status as a Genesis finalist). I collected several decorations to indicate affiliation with different groups: the most obvious is the dragon, variations upon which we SF/F writers wore; th

Sunrise, sunset

Where to start?? The morning I left and the evening I came back held the most beautiful sunrise and sunset ... I wrote about both on my way to and from the conference ... Leaving September 21, Thursday AM (6:45-ish?)--After nervously going through check-in and security, I sit down in a seat near the gate, just in front of the window overlooking the tarmac. A BUSY tarmac, at this time of morning--then I look up to a sky just flushing with dawn--a layer of pink fading into salmon and then into deep blue--sprinkled with clouds of slate grey. Awesome. Thank You, Lord. Thank You for being with me every step of the way. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Returning September 24, Sunday PM (7-ish)--The sun is setting as my plane taxis away from the terminal in Dallas. The tears start to fall and I can't seem to stop them. Oh, Lord, I want to be home with my husband. I need to be held and kissed. The plane picks up speed on the runway and my spirit soars as we lift off. Speed--elation--no fear this

Congratulations, Genesis and Book of the Year winners!

What a weekend!! I just got in late last night from Dallas ... my plane pulled in at 10 PM and I wept when I recognized the silhouette of my tall oldest son and my husband holding hands with my youngest in the airport foyer as we neared the gate. It'll probably take me weeks to process through everything that happened at the conference and I'm sure I'll be blogging about it for several days. First order of the week is to post the winners of the Genesis contest, for unpublished writers, and Book of the Year, for published members of ACFW. GENESIS winners: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction (my category!!) 1st Mirta Ann Schultz 2nd Rebecca Grabill 3rd Sherry Thompson Contemporary Romance 1st Glynna Sirpless 2nd Kaye Dacus 3rd Kristian Tolle Historical Romance 1st Audra Harders 2nd Andree Eisenberg 3rd Charlene Glatkowski Mystery/suspense/thriller 1st Cheryl Wyatt 2nd Susan Spencer-Smith 3rd Wayne Scott Romantic Suspense 1st Jill Eileen Smith 2nd

Day 3—Edenstar Books and Games

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Updates on blog participants: Writer's Cafe.org Christian Fiction Bloggers (both of those Kevin Lucia ... he was having trouble with his previous links) Joleen Howell (NEW!) Jim Black Jackie Castle Valerie Comer Bryan Davis Beth Goddard Leathel Grody Karen Hancock Elliot Hanowski Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Sharon Hinck Jason Joyner Tina Kulesa Kevin Lucia Rachel Marks Rebecca LuElla Miller Cheryl Russell Mirtika Schultz Stuart Stockton Steve Trower Speculative Faith ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ And ... and ... one more day!! Eeeeek!!!! Meeghan's fever is still hovering high, but a quick visit to the pediatrician yesterday ruled out strep. *sigh* My very sensible and capable husband assures me he can handle it all ... and I know God takes care of us all. It would be a lack of faith for me to worry, if I truly believe God intends me to go. I'm up tomorrow as usual at Speculative Faith , and I'll try to blog a bit from the conf

CSFF Blog Tour Day Two: Edenstar Books & Games

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Today is day 2 of our fifth monthly Christian SF/F blog tour, and we're highlighting Edenstar, a nifty resource for all things science fiction and fantasy in the Christian realm. (I love the site graphics!) ~*~*~*~*~*~*~ And now for distasteful personal babble, to borrow a turn of phrase from Randy Ingermanson ... Two days. I leave morning after next for the ACFW conference. I would be excited, but I'm being kept well grounded by a sick toddler (she obligingly threw up twice on my pillow just as I was coming to bed last night, and then kept us mostly awake for an hour or two early this morning by repeated requests for water--fever, sore throat, and upper respiratory stuff, it appears) and by my own threatened sore throat (I've been trying to get enough sleep, I swear I have). I think I'll make a pot of homemade chicken soup today, therapy for all of us. I was hoping yesterday that I'd make it to departure time with no major outbursts or crises ... last year, am

Take ... what is this, Five now? Christian Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Tour: Edenstar Books & Games

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Greetings & Salutations! I realized when typing my post title that I mistakenly labeled both July's and August's tours as "Take Three" ... Kathy Tyers should have been "Take Four," which would make this month "Take Five." Oh, well ... chalk it up to my usual state of distraction. So, this month we are highlighting the Edenstar Books & Games , a wonderful little site for finding almost anything Christian SF/F-themed, including all the variations on Lord of the Rings for computer or board play. For my kids, that might be ... bored play. They're fanatics about the computer and Playstation games--and one of their favorite board games is the LOTR edition of Risk--although I'm not sure what would qualify any of them as Christian besides their association with LOTR. (Don't take that necessarily as a criticism--I'm not of the belief that something is necessarily made better or worse by the label "Christian.") Other pe

"Consecrate yourselves"

Ever since the Lord brought Joshua 3:5 to my attention the other day, I've had these two words in my head. Consecrate yourselves. What does that mean--to consecrate ourselves, or set ourselves apart? Obviously, we live in this world. Even the apostle Paul, who spoke so much of Christians being "a peculiar people" (some of us more peculiar than others ), said, "I wrote to you ... not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, because then you would need to go out of the world." It seems obvious to me that we aren't supposed to shrink from being involved with those who, how do I put it? don't exactly share our faith or lifestyle choices. Yet there are times when God calls us to pull back from this or that to prepare for something big down the road--as He told the people of Israel the day before they crossed the Jordan into the

Believing God

“So tell me,” I asked my friend. “Where does one draw the line between Believing God for Great Things, and setting oneself up for disappointment?” I mean, after all … it seems that as soon as you count on something in this life, it’s a sure thing you won’t get it. Right? And yet … and yet. I felt the answer deep in my spirit just before her reply flashed back to me. “I don’t think we’re supposed to draw that line.” Divine risk. Elation winged through me at the thought. Our culture is so driven to make life as safe and sanitized and risk-free as possible. Wear your seatbelt. Helmet and elbow pads. Vaccinations. Antibiotics for the common cold, in case it turns into more. Don’t let kids play dodgeball or Red Rover, and put that stick down because you might put someone’s eye out. The brutal truth is that people do die in car accidents, or get concussions, or contract whooping cough, or get ruptured spleens from playing too roughly. But what do we get in exchange for refusing to take a

Disclaimer, or More Fevered Musings

I've received a very loving and concerned email from a good friend because of this week's posts. :-) I did say from the outset that none of what I wrote would be a good measure of my deepest politics. Let me assure you all that I will not be ditching the whole of my Christian education, just because I've thrown a few seditious musings out here on the internet. This started originally, not as an attempt to disprove a popular view of history, but as a quest to understand individual people of the times, and thus my characters, so that I can write fully in their perspective. And they would not, as my writing mentor so beautifully put it, portray truth with the accuracy that God would. Human history is largely limited by the perceptions of those who record it, and the telling of it shaded accordingly. But in so doing--reading personal accounts of people who were there, and studying everything from living conditions here in the colonies to political statements made by those acr

Thursday at SpecFaith

I'm up on the queue again today ... I take a turn from Becky's theme of a few weeks ago, and discuss the question of Christian vs. secular SF/F. Two weeks until conference ... I'm feeling extremely curmudgeonly about needing to practice my pitch and pull together a proposal ... but very excited at the prospect of seeing old (and new!) friends. Now to make sure I get enough sleep between now and then ...

The Irony of History, Part 2

Keeping in mind what I said yesterday about how I learned American history ... This thing about our country being founded upon Biblical principles. The Declaration of Independence is a beautiful piece of work. “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.” And as I read the entirety of the document for the first time (I’m half ashamed to admit), and that with the research of the past two months behind me, my curiosity is aroused, to explore again from the Americans’ viewpoint what they felt was so terrible as to call for war. The document goes on to detail how they feel Great Britain broke faith with the colonies. But that one sentence gives me pause. How does a Declaration of Independence jive with Romans 13? “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the auth

The Irony of History, Part 1

I normally try to stay away from issue-driven posts. But some recurring themes—political, moral, spiritual—keep surfacing in my research the last few months, and I have so many thoughts swirling in my head, it’s hard to separate them into coherent threads. Warning, then—the next few days will be long and rambly as I sort this out ... and probably not a good representation of my political or doctrinal beliefs, so nobody jump to any conclusions. :-) (It's bad enough that my husband, a member of the military, staunch conservative, and all around very sensible man, teases me about being a liberal and a Tory sympathizer. I'm neither.) Let’s start with the spiritual. I had an interesting little discussion with one of the reenactors yesterday—a woman about my age who was dressed in mostly historically accurate garb—gown and petticoats over a shift, minus the stays (the 18th century version of the corset), because she was going to be doubling as a man during the actual battle and nee

And happy birthday, Meeghan!

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Where have two years gone?? Yes, we made it to the reenactment today. I'd hoped to have some really cool shots to share from that, but I'm still getting the hang of a digital camera we're thinking about buying, and some of my coolest shots didn't "take"! Grr. And if I'm going to do these things, I really must learn to wear a hat. (I need one of those shallow-brimmed ones that women wore during the 17th and 18th century, the kind that accommodated hair in a bun as I usually wear mine.) I was standing out there today thinking about the brilliant Continental general Nathaniel Greene ("the Fighting Quaker"--another story I'd love to explore in detail!) dying of heatstroke just a few years after the war ended ... and no wonder. I have a headache tonight from the intensity of our late-summer sun. Maybe it's just my brain exploding from all this research. The group out there today (it was a small event, but still fun) represent the Jaeger

Happy September!

Yes ... it's September. I've been busy this week with researching (lots of new sources dropped into my lap!), and cuddling a sick toddler, who turns 2 tomorrow. I should have posted this earlier in the week, but today kicks off a return interview of Bryan Davis on Christian Fandom . For information on subbing to the email list, click on the link to mailing list under Resources. His original interview can be found here . I have some miscellaneous thoughts to post in regards to the research I've been doing, but it might take me a while to get them pinned down in words. Also, I just found out this morning about a RevWar reenactment to be held near my home: Battle of Parker's Ferry . Woooohooooo!! More research. I can't wait, even if this does mean spending the day in the South Carolina September heat. (That'll be twice this month, since the annual Charleston Scots Festival is in two weeks! I'm thrilled that it doesn't coincide with the annual ACF