Monthly Archives: November 2006

The Fruit of Thanks may be Giving


I am truly blessed to be associated with the authors represented on this blog. No matter how secretly peculiar I may feel. No matter how different I believe I am from others. No matter how unique my own set of flaws are … I know all writers wrestle with their own minds to sit and write, to create, to organize the flow of ideas, to reconsider the details and the entire approach, and to sit down alone to crunch out a written product.
How strange that others private pursuits makes me feel a little less alone.
The Tsaba House authors, like many authors as expressed by Teresa, take inventory of their motives and investment of time. In reality, all humans are the authors of their lives and destinies. So to the ultra conscious the question becomes “Is my life the story I want it to be? Is it in compliance with God’s call?”
There are so many paths to take and this is particularly underscored by the revelation of the seemingly infinite number of paths of mere self-analysis to question without a choice of action. EeeeGads.
After the curse, God shortened lives from 900 ultimately to about 70 or 80. It is as though we barely have enough time to just decide whether or not we want to do right or pursue self-indulgence. No doubt, the leaning of our character is clear to God. Will we abandon good? Will we deepen our commitment to right? Are we saying good things and not practicing them?
Our walk trancends the grave in consequences. There is no need for anxiety although it seems unescapable.
My son is visiting from Afghanistan for a week or two in early December and then he returns to Afghanistan. 5 Halloweens ago, we took him for traditional trick or treating in Big Creek, CA. This last Halloween he lost 3 army buddies, among them his best friend. I cannot imagine the despair of his friend’s parents. I constantly avoid trying to imagine it.
I see the newspapers with world peace threatened in more corners than I can itemize. Civil war, crime, needless killing, entire regions bent on vengeance … I feel almost guilty for feeling so thankful that I am living safely removed from so much violence bearing down on so many good people who happen to live where they are.
I suppose I can show my thankfulness to God with a life that dissolves the darkness around me. Can I do that?
Ahh, the poetic aspirations of a writer whose character and flaws are as common as the rest of mankind. May our skyward aspirations to please God be launched by sincere integrity and practice.
God bless all and Happyness while you give and give as an expression of deep felt thanks .

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Happy Turkey Day!

Having finished my outline as well as the first 10 pages of Book III in TWLC, I am promptly giving myself the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving.

😉

Blessings and much love to all the other TH authors, staff, and families. And to anyone reading this not affiliated with those I just mentioned, God bless you real good, too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

CH

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Let’s Give Thanks


Yesterday, I finished the last leg of my 2006 touring schedule if you will. Not as impressive as it sounds, but I had a great time hearing how my books have touched hearts and meeting new readers. This makes my third Christmas season as a published author. I take advantage of the gift giving season to stand behind a table and sell books at every bazaar and craft fair I can afford. Each year earns me more attention and more books sold. Yesterday was a hometown event and I did very well. Lots of fun meeting readers who bought books last year and came back for more.

Writing is a lonely, often frustrating career choice, so getting out and meeting readers face to face does a world of good in reaffirming that you’re doing the right thing. Last week in Wilmington, Ohio I met an aspiring young writer. Speaking to young people like Kayla makes me realize how blessed I am to be a part of this business. If you’re like me, you often question your abilities and your decision to ever pursue writing in the first place. I think all writers do. Maybe everyone in any career. But this young lady was full of questions…and full of doubts. When I told her of my own frustrations when characters don’t cooperate and storylines don’t come together, her face lit up. She thought she was the only one. She’d never spoken to someone who actually understood her and the pain of putting one’s thoughts to paper.

Talking to Kayla and others like her make the times of sitting behind my computer fighting my own doubts worthwhile. On a regular basis I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. With so many books out there and so many people trying to break into the publishing world, will it matter if I never write another word? Will anyone miss me?

Even if the answer is no, I would miss writing. Even after all this time and knowing what I do about the business, I can’t make myself not write. I suppose that’s what I’m most thankful for this year. Besides all the family and friends and good health I enjoy and a thousand other things I too often take for granted, I am thankful for young people like Kayla and readers like Donna and all those who took the time yesterday to tell me how much they enjoyed the books and to buy the new ones, and bookstore owners like Patsy Maxwell in Sidney, Ohio who invited me into her lovely store to meet her customers.

I don’t know if it’s in God’s plan that I become as well known as some writers of Christian fiction. I don’t know which of my books will become a break-out bestseller or if any of them will. But I am grateful for the opportunities 2006 has brought. If the Lord tarries, I am looking forward to an exciting and productive 2007.

Blessings to all & best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and loved ones.
Teresa

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Laugh Out Loud!

Ever participate in a web chat? I hadn’t until tonight. The Dancing Word Writers Network invited me to be an author guest for a chat workshop. I was quickly thrown into the world of “lol”, “:P”,”:-)” as well as many other symbols that I never even knew existed! By the way, if you’re chat challenged (like me), “lol” stands for laugh out loud. Honestly, I never knew that.

Anyhow, if you ever get the opportunity to participate in one, I would highly recommend it. There is a moderator who keeps track of who wants to ask a question and in what order they get to ask their questions. It was a friendly group with some thoughtful questions. The entire event lasted for about an hour. At the end, they had a drawing for an autographed copy of THE FOREIGNER. That was especially cool.

You can check out their website at www.dancingword.com. They have also posted the chat transcripts from other authors of interest. Perhaps in a couple weeks they will post my chat transcript so you can see how bad my answers were!

One page at a time,

Aaron

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Seems like everyone at Tsaba House is at different stages in writing. Some are birthing projects, some are still planning and considering and weighing the odds of taking this ‘baby’ from conception through college, some are fine tuning existing projects to make them the best they can possibly be. I am on the second–and most important draft–of my current WIP. I know the CEO of our little publishing family is chomping at the bit since I have not turned in a manuscript for all of 2006. But I am working. I finished one book this year but it is part of a new series so it won’t see daylight after my Jenna’s Creek series is finished. As far as the WIP, I hope it will be ready to send by the end of the year.

This time of year is generally dedicated to marketing for me, while the actual writing process is put on the back burner. I have three book events in the next 13 days, then I can take a breather and get ready for Thanksgiving which I will be hosting this year. I remember the early days of my writing career with fondness. Back then, I only had one book in my mind; one story to bring to the page. I wasn’t worried about marketing or creating elaborate newsletters or websites or book signings or carrying bookmarks with me every time I left the house in case I met someone who didn’t know I wrote a book. When I went to the grocery store, it was only to buy milk and bread. Now it’s a marketing opportunity. Is there something I can post on the bulletin board? Will I run into Sharon who always wants the newest book, and if I haven’t released one in awhile, she’ll give me grief about the wait between books? Do I need to pick up chocolates to put on the table at my next event?

I don’t go anywhere without making a concious effort to turn the trip into a marketing op. No matter what I’m doing or where I’m going, it’s always about the books. I eat and breathe marketing. And it is exhausting. But at the same time, it’s exciting and rewarding. Getting a book published has opened up so many opportunities for me. Even when an author event doesn’t live up to my hopes in terms of book sales, I always benefit for having gone.

First off, I’m doing what I love. I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I am fortunate that I don’t have to get up every morning and go to a job that eats up my precious time when I would rather be sitting in front of my computer. The best part by far is the people I have met in the past two years. It seems like every time I need a boost and my doubts in my abilities have crowded out everything else, God sends someone across my path who gives me an encouraging word or affirmation.

Just last night in church, after a particularly oppressive week, as I was coming off the pulpit after making an announcement, a gentleman said he felt the need to pray for me and my books right then. He and the pastor led the prayer as the congregation raised their hands toward me. God always knows when we need lifted up, and sometimes when we need to be set in our place.

Wishing everyone a prosperous week. Let us keep our eyes and ears open to the Lord’s leading, whether writing or whatever other job He’s given us. 2006 is winding down. Let’s make the most of it.

Teresa Slack

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Giving Birth Or Just Maturing?

I think it’s so funny how often I use the term “giving birth” when speaking of art I’m creating, yet how far I really am from knowing what birthing a real child is actually like.

Feeling “called” to be a mid wife, for example, is beyond me; granted, I know people have to feel a pull to the occupation or else people like me would have to deliver babies for our wives fairly regularly. A horrendous thought. How I made it through my daughter’s birth without passing out is a wonder. I think it was all the adrenaline. That or the shock of watching my wife yank two nurses off their feet during a contraction.

With my fall schedule finally slowing down, I’m now a week away from diving into the 3rd installment of The White Lion Chronicles (something I’ve been “a week away from” for over a month now). But I can’t help but think about the timing of my soon-to-be son arriving the first week of December coinciding with my own “labor” with this work. Granted, I will never ever dare to put writing a book on the scale of passing a grapefruit through…

Sorry.

Bad visual.

Back to writing.

The similarity I notice is the span of time it requires for the baby, physical or artistic, to mature: the wonderful gestation period. I often find that my story sits in me for quite a long time, years most often, before it finally manifests on a page.

I was sitting recently with a friend of mine in our little “writer’s club” we started at our favorite coffee shop down the road. We meet weekly to discuss what we’re working on, our families, and God-stuff. He was mentioning to me how he felt very distraught that, though he’d been outlining, scribbling, hashing, and re-hashing for the last year, he had very little to show for it in the form of written pages.

The key here is that we so often confuse the “gestation period” with the actual “birthing” of our art. Doing so will usually lead to deferred hope, frustration, and the eventual termination of what was to be a glorious end. Yet if we had simply understood the process better, we would have recognized the needed time for maturing the “child.”

This week my wife hit what I call the “Get-This-Thing-Out-Of-Me” stage of her pregnancy. Before everything was tolerable, and in many was enjoyable. She gets to experience something I never will: having a living human being grow in her womb. But now any enjoyment is over, because the season for it is over. If the baby doesn’t come out soon, both the mother and the child will be at risk of loosing their lives.

Likewise, giving birth pre-maturely can be just as detrimental, if not more so. Trying to put something down on paper before it’s had its time to mature can produce an unhealthy child, as we all know.

Here I sit typing this little blog post and in the back of my mind I’m really thinking, “I should be working on my book.”

No matter where you are at as an author, or any matter of creativity, make an effort to identify what season you are in; if you can, I predict you will save yourself much needless heartache and ensure the birth of a wonderful “baby.”

Happy writing!

CH

PS – I love you, Jennifer!

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Activities


by Samuel J Alibrando
Here is a quick “what’s happening” report and no doubt we will get to writing/marketing advice. First, I do want to comment that I have genuinely received some good, useable tips here. Thanks for that.

I was recently invited to an evangelistic event this past weekend and had a booth for me and my books. I was also invited to sing. Good news and bad news though. Bad news, it wasn’t promoted correctly and incredibly small turn out. More bad news, lots of technical difficulties causing cancellations and delays of preachers, singers, presenters. More bad news, shortage of turn out caused financial difficulties for host who cancelled Sunday’s events after spending thousands already. Whew. Ready for good news? I met some terrific Christians and made some good contacts. Invited to Los Angeles cable TV show and radio program. Met a wonderful archaeologist and his family from Virginia. Sold some books. A guy prophesied over me that I would be doing a book tour and that the “Christians in the Arena” was a new move of God. He was pretty excited about that which made me feel good too. And here is the big news … the archaeologist is Jerry Bowen who has been to the site of Noah’s Ark numerous times on the Turkish border adjacent to Iran. The once buried Ark has risen from earthquakes and has been measured, tested, analyzed and determined to be the real deal. They even had a small piece of petrified wood from the Ark and I constantly encouraged folks to go to the booth and touch it so they can tell their grandchildren “I touched Noah’s Ark”. How many can say that?

My excitement was so obvious to Jerry he gave me what looks like a small rock and he explained the coloration of it shows it was probably a rivet in the Ark, but absolutely from the Ark.

Read the Genesis account from chapter 6 on and then consider this “Hey, Sam has a piece of that Ark!”

I am like a kid at the circus on this. I showed a few people and they looked at me like “Sure Sam, if that’s what you want to believe.” I don’t blame them. If someone walked up to me and show me a rock that looks like it might have come from my driveway and said “Look here, this is from Noah’s Ark” I must admit, I might not get too excited and ask him if he spent anything on it over the internet.

The website of these folks that actually give tours to the Ark is www.AnchorStone.com Jerry’s wife picked that name due to the large, flat stones each with a hole at the top they deduced were used as anchors. The Ark had no rudder which makes sense since they certainly didn’t know where they were going. They just wanted to survive the storm. They tied these anchors on both sides (6 or 8, I’m not sure) to prevent the Ark from capsizing from being battered by waves. The anchors helped in another way a little too complicated for me to explain also. Check the website. The man who discovered numerous things died a few years ago and was a great inspiration to Jerry.

“Floody, floody … Arky, Arky … Two-zees, two-zees…” Yeah, I got a piece of that.

Business-wise, I am on the threshold of a Federal bottleneck for every person in America on Medicare. They all have 45 days to switch their drug plan even though all the drug plans are just now getting the information out about their changes in rates and benefits. Also, these new Medicare Advantage Plans are just coming out all over and seniors can try learning about them as well to sign up during the same 45 days from November 15 to December 31. Yep, Thanksgiving and Christmas season. My whole body wants to complain so I’ll stick with Romans 8:28 and be thankful this season while I try to help the nearly 250 clients of mine I need to advise and sign up for the recommended plans during that 45 days. After that, there is a lock-in until next November when everything changes again, etc.

There are restrictions but opportunities for some switching from January thru March in 2007 but not 2008.

I’m still writing though. Really enjoying the unfolding of a story that I am writing – that was Teresa’s tip. And I am reading the book Aaron recommended “How to Grow a Novel” God bless all. I am so enjoying the diversity of gifts and writing styles represented by the Tsaba House authors.

Samuel J Alibrando www.BestChapter.com

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