Category Archives: The Arts

God created us to reflect Him through the arts

Help Me Write My Book!

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Now that you’ve clicked through to my website, you’re clearly ready and willing to help me write my next young adult suspense novel and be a lantern to light my path!

A hint about the plot: Seventeen-year-old Liora has the gift of healing and some really bad guys want to harness her gift for their own nefarious activities.

Here’s what I need:

  1. A name for the cute teenaged guy who helps Liora (my seventeen-year-old main character). I’m looking for a cool guy’s name, but kind of distinctive.
  2. Ways for Liora to escape New York City because she’s trying to get away from the bad guys. Note: She doesn’t have money and doesn’t know who she can trust.
  3. I know NYC area fairly well, having lived on Long Island for five years. But, besides the main highways, what are some smaller routes Liora could use to get out of the city and head west? (Scenic or cultural things one might encounter along the way would be a wonderful bonus.)
  4. Name some small towns in Pennsylvania and Ohio where Liora could hole up for a short time and go unnoticed.

If you come up with some great ideas that I use in my book, your name will be listed on my acknowledgements page …and you’ll be famous!!! And, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of the book when it comes out.

Comment on this post with your suggestions, and be sure to leave your name and email address.

Thanks so much for your help.

Love, Dena

 

 

 

 

What If?

 

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What if you took the train instead of driving to your cousin’s home out of state?

What if you went to another college?

What if you decided not to accept the job offer and, instead, chose to work as an intern at a non-profit?

What if you’d married that other guy?

What if you traveled the world instead of working that summer between your junior and senior year in college?

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Have you ever thought how your life might be different today if a you had made a different decision a year ago, or even twenty years ago?

Six months ago, my publisher, Write integrity Press, released Haven’s Hope, book two in my series, The Hunted. The book had gone through a few months of intense re-writes, and I thought, hey, why not let the reader see the parts that didn’t get included in the final product? These “deleted scenes” include lots of entertaining chapters. It shows my main character, Haven, having a completely different experience, one that leads her to a different set of challenges and dangers.

 

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So, if you’d like to receive this (completely free) Pdf. simply go to the front page of my website, then click on the subscribe button to receive my newsletter. Once you’ve done that,  you’ll be able to download the Pdf. “Haven’s Hope: Deleted Scenes.

And with this novella-length offering, I’ve also included a discussion guide and a letter from me, the author.

And, as always, blessings on your day!

Dena

It’s All Connected

A few months ago I put out a call on social media for anyone interested in reading my newest release, Haven’s Hope. One of those who responded was a lovely gal named Katie. Katie wrote a review for my book and posted it on Amazon. Thank you, Katie.

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Then Katie asked if I happened to know any people who had gone on short term missions or any missionaries who had ever hosted short-term missionaries. She wants to write a book on the subject. It could be any missionary, going anywhere in the world. I said I thought I could do some asking and perhaps gather some names and email addresses.

 

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So, a couple of weeks went by during which I contacted some folks at my church who were able to supply me with email addresses I could give to Katie.

I sent them along, and she thanked me.

Yesterday, Katie sent me a very nice thank you note, letting me know that my one email address plus two additional names netted even more interviews than she’d hope for. Katie posted on Facebook some of her interview with the missionary whose address I had supplied, which then came to the attention of an editor of ChristianWritingToday.com. He was willing to give her photos for her book, and tell her about his thirty plus years as a photographer and journalist for short-term missions. And as a bonus, since he’s also a writer, he wants to stay in touch with Katie.

Maybe they’ll one day collaborate on another project.

It always amazes me how all of our lives connect and touch each other in ways only the Master weaver knows. Like like a single dip of an oar in the sea, you never know where your words or actions will ripple.

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Lessons From a Paraglider

Bruce and I went for a hike last Saturday at the Blanchard. Forest Block. I really enjoy this hike. It’s about seven miles round trip: just right for a morning’s outing. The trail starts out like this.

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I love how the trees stretch and lean toward each other like they’re whispering secrets about the hikers who pass underneath.

Even though this hike is a there and back type—I usually like loops because I don’t like seeing the same thing twice on a hike—this one has a delightful reward: the Sound and the San Juan Islands.

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At the overlook, Bruce and I snacked on trail mix and I snapped a few photos. Right about when we had decided to head on back, a guy and a gal showed up with some colorful cloths bundles and began to unroll it on a gravelly pad just below where we sat.

Aha, they’re going to paraglide. I got my camera ready to grab their images as they floated off.

But, my gosh, they took the longest time preparing for their flight. A couple of other folks showed up, and by their questions to the flying duo, I could tell they knew something about the sport, themselves.

The young man unrolled the kite-like cloth, smoothed it, checked it. Talked. Answered questions. Studied the area, studied the wind conditions. (Barely a breeze.) I wondered how in the world they could get their gliders up in the air with so little wind.

I couldn’t see the woman. She was hidden from view by some bushes. But the guy stood near the precipice, studying, examining, checking his equipment.

Finally, he suited up: harness, helmet. Checking, checking again. And he seemed to enjoy instructing the onlookers about the sport.

I stood there for a full fifteen minutes, holding my camera up, waiting.

The guy was extraordinarily deliberate and methodical. Like a good thriller, his actions made me tingle with anticipation, whetting my appetite, holding me in suspense. Any second, now. Any second.

I’m sure he had no idea I was watching from uphill, practically jumping up and down in my impatience to see him take off.

He raised his arms, like a frigate bird drying its wings. Yes! Get ready…

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And then…and then…

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Lift off!

Immediately afterward, the guy disappeared from view, and I was concerned he’d  plummeted to the sea.

But a couple of seconds later, he re-emerged:

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Beautiful. Almost makes me want to paraglide.

Almost.

Some takeaways from my fifteen minute observation of the paraglider:

  1. The guy was experienced. He didn’t just think he could paraglide. By his conversation and by the way he handled his equipment, he had done this thing many times.
  2. He took his time, which I think is the mark of a seasoned sportsman.
  3. He was gracious to the people who asked him questions. He had a calm, almost humble, attitude, and he was willing to take the time to explain his method.
  4. He patiently waited to take off until his female partner, with her paragliding stuff, was also ready to take off.

Some good questions for me in my writing life or for you and whatever you aspire to:

  • Am I doing all I can to gain experience and continue building my skills, like this paraglider?
  • Am I kind, and am I able to explain my methods to others?
  • Do I take the time to ensure I’m producing a well-thought out, superior product?
  • Can I work well with others, showing consideration and respect for their individual needs and preferences?

I am so glad I stayed to watch this paragliding man. My photos will remind me to imitate a paraglider whenever I work on another writing project.

 

Love to Write

Whenever I talk about writing, I usually speak first about the glory of words.

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There are words like “tumultuous, ” and “desultory,” “magnanimous, ” and “quotidian.” Cool words. The kind of words you learn in high school English class. Don’t you just want to wrap your mouth around those words and squeeze out every delicious syllable?

I’ve always loved words. I love how they make me feel. I love the way words sweep me away into the writer’s alternative world.

I remember in the fourth grade, once a week we got to march down to the school library and pick out a book. Finally, I got the chance to check out a book I wanted to read, not the boring biographies my mom kept trying to get me to read. I loved books about dogs and wildlife and nature. I took out books on birds and reptiles, sharks, and big cats, and wolves. I also loved poetry, especially Carl Sandburg and Emily Dickenson. I checked out books on art and how to sketch.

I loved those hardbound books with the clear plastic covers. Our teacher would reward us for getting our assignments done by reading to us another chapter of some riveting children’s novel. As she shifted the book from one hand to another, the plastic cover made this wonderful little plastick-y, riffle-y sound. Today, when I hear that plastic sound, it brings me back to fourth grade.

I liked writing book reports, and never found it very challenging. My teacher taught me these elements: Who, what, when, where, why—and sometimes—how.

Writing a book is kind of like writing a book report, only bigger, and way more engaging. “Who” is in a situation? “What’s” the problem? “Why” is he/she struggling with this problem? “When” will she learn what she needs to know to overcome her obstacle? “Where” will she go to discover the answer? “How” will she go about dealing with her obstacle or enemy? How has she changed through this process of growing and struggling?

All good books answer these questions even if the ending solution isn’t what I hoped it would be. Right now I’m in the middle of Chevy Steven’s (suspense writer) “Never Let You Go.” It’s about an abusive, control-freak, ex-husband who’s out to regain his wife, or kill her. Totally engrossing book, if you like to be scared—which I do. And yes, it answers all the “W” questions.

Here are the books I’ve read in the past six weeks.

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Oh, and these, too:

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As well as reading a lot this season, I’m writing, too.  Which brings me to my note to my…

E-newsletter subscribers:

I’m editing and preparing to place a small ebook on my website for my newsletter subscribers. This is a short book based on deleted scenes from my latest release, Haven’s Hope. if you sign up for my newsletter, you will be able to get this novella-length book for free.

Have you ever wondered how your life could have gone another direction if you had simply taken an alternative route to work, or had a random conversation with somebody and it changed your life? These deleted scenes from Haven’s Hope will give you, the reader, a chance to see “might have been” with Haven.

I’ll make another announcement when the file is ready for downloading.

Have a great day. Blessings to you from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.