advent · Iran · Memoir · Stories · Travel · Writing Prompt

The Tale of the Advent Blog

My Pastor recently approached me, as a writer, wondering if I could set-up an Advent blog for the church. I struggle with my own blog and the California Writers Club website, so I declined. However, pastors are sterling negotiators and we settled on using the Youth Minister’s blog. I was then tasked to write, or find local talent, for a weeks worth of daily prompts.

Lord have mercy, the word is out! Church spies have infiltrated my blog, my Facebook account and are plotting new ways to reach out to the world. At the Thanksgiving potluck, members of the congregation commented with admiration, “I didn’t know you were a writer!” I had mixed feelings. I’ve been focused on writing for five years, I lead a weekly prompt writing workshop, but I felt caught—hiding my light under a bushel…

It takes a time to develop a voice as a writer, and longer for a writer promote and accept the label “writer.” Writers are a modest bunch, unwilling to shout out that they are scribblers, poets, bloggers, novelists or screenwriters. They write, but are not writers. What kind of equation is that?

The way out of this conundrum is to push forward, keeping writing, and to build a platform, an Internet presence. I tried the platform building formula out on myself. I sent out submissions to contests, submitted articles, maintained my blog, and showed-up at writing workshops and meetings. I stopped all other meetings or volunteer jobs unless they had to do with writing.

Over the past year, I’ve built up confidence and results. People, like my Pastor, introduce me as a writer. I have stuff published; I have a network of writers. I was able to find people, secular and church members, to try their hand at the Church Advent blog. It was not easy because the minute I mentioned “church,” the thrill of being a guest blogger disappeared. Seasoned writers looked sucker-punched, thinking they would not measure up. I was a little shocked that spirituality elicited such negative feelings. However, if they did write, their works were full of rich imagery, a testament to old symbols and ingrained stories.

If you show-up to your life in the guise of a writer, you’ll collect wisdom. You will sort through distractions, balance out challenges and find that unusual opportunities crop-up, creating a cycle of curious lessons, results, opportunities, and a writer’s lifestyle.

historical fiction · Stories

Elizabeth Swann vs Elizabeth Tudor

Funny how people watch the same movie, and walk away impressed about different things. I never much valued the role of Elizabeth Swann in the movie series Pirates of the Caribbean. Ms. Swann had spunk, fabulous costumes, and her sweet young face did not distract from the yarn spinning of a pirate’s tale. To me, the movie series was a Hollywood romp.  I never thought seriously about the role of Elizabeth Swann until I read the blog by D. Hart St. Martin:

A Swann for the Dawn and the Sundown.

Hart recently finished writing the last book in her latest Young Adult trilogy and the protagonist, Lisen, has to rally troops to battle. Hart was quick to note that Elizabeth Swann made an impassioned, heroic speech in the movie because female protagonists in traditional male roles are re-occurring themes in her works. When I think of  speeches from females, I think of Elizabeth, Elizabeth Tudor, delivering her Tilbury speech in 1588. Aware that she was a female leader and unable to lead her troops into battle herself, she urges her troops to defend England against the Spanish Armada. She declares,

 “I know I have the body of but a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of   a king, and a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma, or Spain, or any prince of   Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm: to which rather than any dishonor     shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one oeliz armadaf your virtues in the field.”






Whew, what a long sentence. But I’m not gonna lie, just re-typing the words makes me want to reach for my sword…


nanowrimo · Writing Craft

Getting around to writing a novel

My grandmother owned a wee pub in Surrey, England. On the wall there hung a plate, called “a round tuit.” It was said that owning a tuit, especially the round ones, makes you an efficient worker.

Here is a free, digital version because November is National Novel Writing Month. If you are a writer that needs a shot of adrenaline to get started, join this group.

No excuses, I just gave you a round tuit.

Screenshot 2014-10-28 16.26.36