Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 The Year of Our Lord

Psalm 104:31   "Let the glory of the LORD endure forever; Let the LORD be glad in His works..."


Now that the year is almost's that time again to stop and contemplate what a year it has been.

First of all, I know of many families that went through crises of their own: Family members who walked away from their faith claiming they do not believe, fathers who struggled to find stable employment, children who were diagnosed with serious illnesses, homes lost to the economy.

These are heavy burdens!


Yet one thing I have noticed about these families is that they never lost their faith in 2011. They never let go of God. Instead, they held on tighter than ever before. Oh, I am sure there were times of anger and frustration. But they came away with a stronger knowledge of the God whom they serve and love.  

I have seen how faith goes from strong to stronger as I observed these families in crisis. As a result, it only made my faith grow stronger too, knowing that if the Lord requires of us a certain trial in 2012, He will be faithful to us too. 


It is through faith that these families also have determination to face whatever it is that God brings to their paths. I often asked myself if my determination would be there in such a crisis as a 15 year old child suffering through stage 4 cancer. Yes, 2011 brought me to my knees in prayers of gratitude and requests for healing. And instead I saw the Lord work many wonders through His people because of the illness of this child. 

Through her crisis, the Lord strengthened the faith of many. Will He heal her?  I do not know. But one thing I do know is that He proves His purpose for each trial exists and we must have faith and hope through the storm. 


What will this next year bring us?  For some...a new job, a new home, a new life. For others? More chemotherapy, more sickness, more concern. Will we have a new president? Will the US economy collapse? Will we find ourselves in complete chaos? 

No matter. God is always in control. He is sovereign over all. Because of this, we can live without fear!

I pray for my family that we will be able to participate in mission trips in 2012. I pray for a book to be published. I pray for a doctorate degree to be started. I also will be in prayers of gratitude throughout the year for all that the Lord has given. 

My prayer for you is that your year be full of peace. That you are surrounded with those you love. May 2012 overflow with God's grace and abundance. May your prayers be answered in ways you never thought possible. And may you accomplish all your goals for yourself this year. 

Worship the Lord. 
Seek Him while He may be found.
 Use all your gifts and talents for Him this year. 
...And give back to Him all that He has given you. 

Happy New Year!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Chapter One...

In today's post, I want to share some tips I have read about how to put together a strong Chapter One in order to leave your readers with a good first impression.


To Prologue or not to Prologue??

For my book, The Dragon Forest, I felt a Prologue was necessary. I had created a world of castles, knights, and dragons in a mythical land of Illiath. I felt my readers needed a little background before they started chapter one of the book. But I didn't want to overwhelm the reader with too much detail. Does your story need some background before it can begin?  Perhaps add a prologue. 

However, chapter one should provide the details of your setting, main character, and that feeling of immediacy necessary to move your readers along. 


It's all in the details....I find it most comforting to write what I know. I had to conduct research on castles for The Dragon Forest, however, for The Warfare Club, I wrote about a smaller town that resembled the one I worked in when we lived in North Carolina. Although the town I describe is fictional, I used my memory to fill in the details. I wanted the town to seem interesting to the reader, but not overwhelming. So, I put in some facts about how the town was the scene of a famous Civil war battle, an intimate bookstore on main street will be of importance later on in the story, and the main street itself will have a mysterious purpose to be revealed later. 

You can be economical in your details, but I advise against being vague. This setting is where you place your main character. Therefore, it must be interesting in order to keep your readers wanting more. 


Chapter one is where you will introduce your main character. Don't hold back! Tell me what I need to know about your character here in this chapter. Will I like her or hate her?  Will I read that he is of good moral character, but has a seedy past he is running from? The writer has that power to show me, the reader, who this character is and depth, but without too much detail. 

What will your character know? How will they change? What situation are they in and why? Add some secondary characters here to show the reader even more about your main character in dialogue or actions..or both. 

Add depth to your character here in chapter one, but leave some intrigue for later in the story! Readers want to discover things for themselves. 

Mini Plot

Each chapter should have its own mini-plot, but the plot of chapter one is most important. Here is where you let readers know where you are taking them. You introduce your setting, your character, and the situation he must deal with. 

What's the trouble your character will encounter? What decisive action will she take? Is she organized enough to take action or does she hesitate? Don't bog us down with backstory here in this chapter. You have your character in a situation, I want to know how she will get out of it. Provide backstory as to why she hesitates later in the book.

Cliff hangers are great, but not for chapter one. Don't leave your character hanging so early on. Make sure chapter one provides the situation your character must deal with, but provide some closure in chapter one. You readers will decide on their own if the closure you presented in chapter one is true enough...or just a teaser!

I hope these tips help you form a strong first impression! They have helped me tremendously. Writers should always be willing to learn more about their craft. 

But the most important tip I can give you is this.....above all else, Just Write!

These are some wonderful tips I learned from "8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One" by Elizabeth Sims  and "Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft" by Janet Burroway & Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Your Turn:  How did you come up with your setting? Did you write what you knew or did you create your own world?


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hard Lessons to Learn

I asked the Lord for three sons....and when He stopped laughing, He said, "One son."


In 1994, I was in a low time in my spiritual walk with the Lord. I wasn't in the Word of God as much as I should have been. Therefore, sin crept into my life. I became proud. I went from being a staunch Pro-life Conservative to a Liberal Feminist Pro-choice Democrat. I was a supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton and a defender of Women's rights. 

In other words, I was foolish in my thinking. 

So, when we decided to start our family after being married for six years, I asked the Lord for three sons. We felt we were ready to handle the challenges of parenthood! And maybe we were, but we weren't quite ready for what the Lord was about to do to and through us... 

August 1994- I discovered I was expecting our first child! We were so excited. After work, our routine was to go running at the nearby high school. Except this time, as I ran one lap, I felt a sharp pain in my side. I told Scott we had better head home. That next week, we met with the nurse practitioner who recommended an ultrasound since I was having pain and my uterus was enlarged. "Could you be having twins?" she asked. "Well, I suppose," I told her. "My mom is a twin."  

Well, the ultrasound showed we were not having twins, but that I had several fibroid tumors all over my uterus and one attached by a band of flesh floating around on my right side. The nurse said that's probably what was causing my pain. After she left, an assistant came in to complete my file. "You know," she said. "You could just have them terminate the pregnancy, remove all the tumors, then get pregnant next year."

Terminate the pregnancy. 

I recognized those words. I knew those words as a nice sterilized way of saying Abortion. There it worldview staring me in the face. She's right, I thought. I live in America where women have the right to an abortion. But how could I terminate the life of my unborn child just because of inconvenience? Was she crazy?

High Risk Pregnancy

"You have what we consider a high risk pregnancy," my doctor told me. 

 Those are not the words a woman wants to hear when she is pregnant. But that's what I was told. No more running, no exercising at all, and work only part time. I was disappointed, but willing to obey the rules if it meant having a healthy baby.

November 1994- I still experienced pain on a daily basis, but like most women, I learned to ignore it and continued working part time. After Thanksgiving, the pain was severe. One afternoon while sewing a baby blanket, I noticed the pain would not stop. I laid down on the couch, but the pain worsened. Then, the contractions started. I called Scott who came home immediately. We were rushed to the hospital by ambulance. I was so afraid that I was losing the baby and that thought, along with the pain, was intolerable. 

Later, in the hospital, the doctor saw my agony and admitted me immediately. Medications stopped the pain which stopped the contractions. I was told the news that would forever change my life: I was to be bedridden for the duration of my pregnancy. 20 weeks I was to spend in bed. "The only time I want you out of bed is to go to the bathroom and to make yourself something to eat," the doctor ordered. "But doctor, I'm not working for fun...we need my paycheck!" I told him. But he explained to me that if I wanted this baby, I had to stay in bed.

Fibroid tumors aren't rare. They are quite common. One in five women have them. What made my circumstance unusual was that the one tumor attached and floating in my abdomen was growing rapidly. How rapidly was what alarmed all the doctors. One of my doctors (I had many on my case since it was so unusual...) told me that the tumor would outgrow itself and die. And when that happens, the pain would be excruciating. 

Oh great, I thought. Something to look forward to... 


Ok, so lying in bed all day might sound nice, and it is for a couple of days...but once you get into the second week you start to go nuts!  But I found myself lying in a bed in our family room watching TV or doing cross-stitch all day long. I had to strap on this monitor and monitor the contractions day and night. I had to visit the doctor each week for an ultrasound. My sweet mother-in-law would pick me up and take me to the doctor every week because I couldn't drive. At last, at 5 mos gestation, we found out we were having a I named him Nathaniel. I named him Nathaniel because I have always loved that name, and, also, because it means Gift of God in Hebrew. 

December 1994- Unfortunately, because I hadn't had any contractions and was feeling great, I broke the doctor's rules and drove myself to have lunch with my boss and co-workers one afternoon. It was unfortunate because the tumor decided to degenerate right there in this pricey restaurant where high priced attorneys, Superior Court Judges, and even the Attorney General eat lunch! I knew as soon as I sat down that I was in trouble. Sure enough, when it came time to leave, I told my co-workers that I couldn't move. The pain was horrible! And I had such a nice lunch, too: Linguini with escargot in marinara sauce.

Well, my dear friend drove me to the hospital and as I tried in vain to get out of her car, I knew I was in big trouble. The contractions were coming quickly and I was losing the baby.

They had to put me on the hard drugs to stop the pain. I was on morphine for 13 hours until, finally, the pain stopped and I could go home two days later. In the hospital, one thing I noticed was that when I was on the morphine, my heartbeat was erratic. The baby's heartbeat, however, remained normal. When I was in excruciating pain, the baby's heartbeat remained steady and strong. Interesting, huh? 

The Lord was showing me something....

December 31st 1994- On the last day of 1994, early in the morning, the tumor decided to degenerate again. Another ambulance ride...and with the same paramedics crew too! They recognized me. Poor guys. I was a mess: very pregnant, crying, and in a lot of pain. Once at the hospital, I had to remain in the ER for 8 hours due to lack of beds. They had to put me on Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions. That stuff is awful! Ugh. Once it enters the bloodstream, it gives you the symptoms of the flu and hallucinations. Yuck!

That night, finally settled in a hospital bed, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. When will this end? I thought. How will it end? Alone in the dark, I cried out to the Lord. "What did I do? Why is this happening to me? I mean, my sister had normal pregnancies. My mom had normal pregnancies. Why me? I pray to You, I go to church, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, I exercise all the time...why is this happening?"

No answer.

Back Home

January 1995-I was able to go home seven days later. And this time, it was for the rest of the pregnancy. By February, Scott and I were thrilled. I had reached my seventh month, so our son's lungs were formed and healthy. He was out of danger. Now we just had to get to nine months... 

April 1995- Finally, it was time to go to the hospital for a good reason! I was in labor. We had made it to nine months. After receiving an epidural to help with the pain, our son was born on April 18th. We were told just six days earlier that he would be born very small and weak and sick from all the narcotics I had to ingest hourly. But he defied all their expectations. He was 8lbs 11oz 21 inches long!  We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw him. He was alert and not at all drugged up. He was pink and chubby, not thin and pale. It was a miracle. Our miracle boy was born.

That next morning, he lie sleeping next to me in his bassinet. All the doctors came by to see the Miracle Baby, they called him. They still couldn't believe how perfect he was!

God's Creation

When we brought him home, I was changing Nathan's diaper one morning, and I leaned over and placed my ear onto his little chest. I was so used to hearing the whoosh whoosh sound from the Doppler device the nurses used to listen to his heart, but now it was a normal lub-dub sound of a strong heart. He suffered no damage at all from what he and I endured. Praise God.

But it would take months before I realized why the Lord had me go through all that I went through. 

I had the tumors removed from my uterus nine months later. My doctor was able to save my uterus. We could have more children! But six months later, all the tumors grew back. I sought the advice of four doctors. All of them examined me and noticed the tumors were inside and outside the uterus. It would be hard for me to get pregnant and if I did, it would almost certainly result in a miscarriage. They all advised against my having more children. 

The news hit me hard. I had always assumed I could have many children. I remembered my prayer...

I asked the Lord for three sons. "No," He said. "One son. Be content with what I have given you."

Be Content

That's a hard concept to deal with when you are a determined liberal woman living in America. I wasn't use to accepting things. As I dealt with the news, I finally began to realize the lesson the Lord was teaching me: 

I realized that had I listened to that nurse...had I listened to my own worldview...I would have terminated the life of my only child.

That was the hard lesson I had to learn. We tend to think we have control over our lives. We fool ourselves into thinking we have our future all worked out.

The Lord had to make me completely still in order to reveal to me that the baby inside had nothing to do with me. He was the Lord's creation....not mine. I was just a host, nothing more. Nathan was not "my body". He was his own body. When I was in pain, he was fine. When I was under the influence of powerful drugs, he was fine. When my heartbeat was erratic, his was normal. 

"You had nothing to do with the creation of that child," the Lord said to me. "Now do you understand?"

Yes, I cried. I understand. 

And I laid my son on the altar of the Lord and dedicated him to God. He's yours, Lord, I thought. His father and I are just here to teach him about You and to take care of him. He belongs to you. 

Of course, it took almost two years before I could exercise again and about that long before I could accept the Lord's decision. But accept it I did. We were blessed with one son. We are blessed to have our Nathaniel. Our Gift of God. 

That is my story of how I went from pro-life, to pro-choice, to pro-life again all because of my foolish thinking. I bought into the lies of feminism that teaches the false idea that women have rights to their bodies. 

But now I know the truth. God is in control over all. And when a baby's life is terminated inside the womb, it is the taking of a human life. Period.

That's why it is most important to align our worldview with God's. There are consequences to our choices. There are consequences to our ideas. I know, I have toured Auschwitz and saw the consequences of ideas.

Our ideas, worldviews, and decisions do not affect us alone....but all of life around us. 

I tell my story not to glorify myself or my son. I tell my story to glorify God. And if my story keeps one woman....just one...from ending the life of her child, I would gladly go through it all again.

Update: Nathan is now 19 yrs old and studying computer art. He is very talented and desires to be a concept artist working in film.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

School Visits

To me, the best part of having a book published is meeting my target audience!!  I was privileged to visit Madison #1 elementary school in Phoenix, AZ one sunny December morning. 
  I talked to the students about the writing process, what it's like to have a book published, and how they can see their stories come to be published one day!

I was also able to give away some of my drawings!

What a pleasure it is to visit schools and  donate my book to their libraries. It's the perfect way to get your name and book out there!

Next year I already have 3 more school visits scheduled!!

God is so good!


Struggling to Believe

Ok, so writing about a teenager’s struggle with her faith has brought out some difficult memories for me: I was once a teenager struggling with her faith.

For me, the issue wasn’t about doubt, but about obedience. I grew tired of being obedient all the time. Just writing that sentence makes me wonder, what the heck was I thinking??

But when you are 18, you don’t always think straight. After being the “good girl” all the time...the Richie Cunningham of the family...(ok, I just dated myself) and doing the right thing, pleasing mom and dad, getting good grades, staying away from parties, etc. I was ready to just do what I wanted to do.

So, I put down God’s word and walked away feeling like I already knew everything there was to know about Jesus and the Bible. I was ready to experience college and life and, well,…anything that came my way!

Looking back, I now realize that “struggling with faith” really means “struggling with sin” because all those feelings I had were sinful. I walked away from my Beloved. I walked away from the Person who died for me. I walked away from a promise I made…a commitment. I see now how incredibly foolish I was.

My character will have to go through something similar. Why? Because there is a purpose for every trial we endure.

For me, I had to go through the pain of sexual sin. I fell for the temptation and saw how the “other” half lives. And I saw how miserable they are.

 But the Lord is faithful to His own even when they are unfaithful to Him. He waited for me. He always made His presence known to me either in a chapel message at school, through my 3 Christian college roommates, or in a Bible study message. I knew He was nearby, I just didn’t think He wanted anything to do with me. 

How could He want someone who had been unfaithful to Him?

Had He been just a man, that would have been true. He would have rejected me. 

But He is God, my Father, my Creator.

It would take almost 3 years of living in the darkness of sin for me to realize what I had left behind. I had squandered the inheritance that was bestowed upon me at a great cost. I was a fool trapped in my pride. I had no joy, no hope, no life..only darkness.  Like the prodigal…I returned hoping to have at least the crumbs off the table. Instead, He ran to me and wrapped me in His arms. He forgave me.

I had the Light again! I was HOME again! 

My character will struggle through her faith as well…she will deal with sin and all that comes with it. She has to. Just as I had to. But one who is truly the Lord’s cannot remain in sin.

1 John 3:6  "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him."

For those struggling with faith…step back and really think about what that means. Are you struggling with faith or with sin? Unconfessed sin has only one purpose: to keep you from God. I know, I have been there.

I once told my story to a young woman I was mentoring, and she asked, “But you still sin now. What is the difference between then and now?”

 I told her, “Because then I wanted sin in my life. I had convinced myself I needed it. Now? I hate sin in my life. I want nothing to do with it because I know what it does. It separates me from God…it puts me in the darkness where there is no hope, no joy, no life…and I never want to be in that place again. Now I confess it every day. That’s the difference!”

Your turn: Is it time for you to realize that your struggle with faith is really a symptom of something else? That maybe your real struggle is with sin?

Think about it. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meet And Greet: Author Matt Patterson

I have the great privilege of introducing you to author Matt Patterson!  Matt's book is a tender story of his daughter, Emily's, brief life. I highly encourage all to read the book, but especially parents. You will walk away with a deeper appreciation for your children and for life in general. I first met Matt at the ACFW writer's conference this past October. I look forward to his next project and perhaps working with him in ministry....

Hello Matt! So, tell me a little about yourself....
I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland – the youngest of two children.  I have one sister who is three years older than me. I have been married to my lovely wife, Bonnie, for almost 27 years. We’ve had three daughters – Emily, Lauren and Kimberly.  We have called Arizona “home sweet home” for almost 12 years now.
I’ve been involved in communications for more than 20 years – everything from a television news anchor, newspaper and magazine writer/columnist to marketing communications and media relations director for non-profit hospitals and organizations.  I guess you could say I’ve been around the block.
I’m a huge sports fan. I have to have my morning dose of ESPN SportsCenter. I also love a good movie – inspirational, suspense/mysteries and comedies tend to be my favorites. 
When it comes to books, I love biographies and inspirational stories of individuals overcoming obstacles and hurdles in life.

I read your book, “My Emily”. I must say, it is very moving. A poignant story that reminds all parents to treasure every moment with their children.  Tell me how you decided to write your book about your daughter, Emily?
Thank you so much for your kind words, Ruth. Approximately two years ago I went to a writing class at my church with the specific intention of turning an old newspaper column about the life and death of my daughter Emily into a book.
This column’s publication date was set for her birthday – December 6.  My beat on the newspaper was to follow the courts and crime. I spent most of my time with city, state or county law enforcement officers, as well as prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.  I made it a point that my weekly column would be as far away from that arena as possible. I wanted my readers to know I was a regular guy – a soft-hearted father with cute kids and mildly hilarious sense of humor.
Writing this column turned out to be a very good release for me.  By the time I finished it, I was crying.  I sent it to my editor and she called me into her office.  She was crying.  When the paper came out and copies were delivered around the newsroom – I looked around and people were crying.  I then began to receive calls, notes, cards and letters thanking me for the piece. Others would say, “This story needs to be a book.” I started to think that I could have something here.
Thing was, at that time of my life, I lived my life on my timetable.  This book was important and special to me, but it only came about almost two decades later because of God’s timing. Not mine.
Ok, so you're good at making readers cry!
In your book, you write of your father: “The man whom I thought was indestructible was brought to tears. With his head bowed, he prayed eloquently and produced the tears that I couldn’t. His prayer was beautiful.”
That part of your book was very touching. To me, it was a perfect picture of how God must have felt: a mighty powerful omnipotent God…with a broken heart because a little baby girl had to leave her family.
I mention in the book that my dad is “a man’s man,” and that’s the truth.  I’m almost 6-foot-3 and my dad on a good day, is 5-foot-6.  He’s 79 and I can tell you that I don’t mess with him. A steelworker for 45 years, his upper body strength to this day, is remarkable. His nickname in the steel mill was, “The Mule,” because if they needed something moved, they’d come to him.
When Emily passed away, this “man’s man” was brought to his knees. He, for the first time, showed that he had a vulnerable side.  He opened his heart to God for possibly the very first time. It truly was a beautiful prayer.

How did your story affect your relationship with God?
Writing this book has certainly strengthened my relationship God. I can also say I have a long way to go. Emily’s story has given me a very deep desire to serve and help others.  
Now, the actual journey of Emily’s birth, diagnosis, treatment and passing certainly affected my relationship with God.  There were points where I was mad at God – furious, even. I stopped praying. I cut God off.  I slandered him.  As readers will find out, God, in his own mysterious way touched and taught me in a way that brought me back to Him.

What do you want to accomplish with your book?
I think any author would sit here and tell you they want to sell a boatload of books.  I do as well.  I have no shame in admitting that, but more importantly I want this book to get in the hands of so many different people. 
I want pastors to read it.  Teenagers could benefit from it.  Physicians, nurses and health care professionals might profit from reading it. Of course, parents of special needs children or those who have little ones battling cancer I believe can relate to some portion of our story.  I just want to get it in as many hands as possible.  If someone is reading this and already has it – please share it with someone.
I think this story has something for everyone. I write this book tells the story how the life of one little girl with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. She also taught those who had the chance to meet her that they should value their lives – even with their “imperfections.”

How has God used your story to affect people around you?
A very good, and yet, very difficult question.  From the very beginning, it’s been my hope and prayer that people can walk away from my little book with some sort of lesson learned.
It can be a lesson that’s very emotional – especially if it’s read by a parent who has had a child with special needs, cancer or both.  It can also be a story that inspires one to do ministry and help others. I want people to tell me what it’s done for them.
I truly encourage them to contact and share with me what my book has done for them.  Whether it’s email, facebook, Twitter – I’m pretty accessible and very much welcome the contact.

What are you working on now?
With the release of My Emily, I’m now in the process of forming The My Emily Foundation.  A portion of the proceeds from each sale will go to assist families with special needs children, those with little ones battling cancer or parents grieving the loss of a child.  I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to assist others by sharing Emily’s story.
In regards to upcoming projects, I have started preliminary work for two non-fiction books. The first will share my conversion to Christianity from Mormonism.  The second will detail my time with my mother during her last five weeks of life prior to passing away after a lengthy battle with vascular dementia.

Why did you choose self-publishing?
Everyone – their situation, story and book – is different.
For me, I really didn’t lean toward self-publishing until I met someone from our church that had shown me their newly-published book.  They shared that it was economical to do and the quality truly impressed me.  I can say that for less than $300 I published My Emily.
I have to say I was intimidated by the thought of sending out letters and samples to publishers. Actually, in the writing class at our church, we were told to stay away from self-publishing. I didn’t buy that opinion – not for one moment. 
I think it’s remarkable that we, as self-published authors, have some control over the final product and the book’s rights.  If a publisher somewhere down the line approaches me, I can take the book and move on if I wish.
I do warn those who seek to self-publish not to dole out thousands of dollars to have your book published.  There are several economical and very effective ways to have your book self-published. Please do your homework before taking that step.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to write that first book, whether fiction or non-fiction?
Three simple words - Go for it!
Now for the actual advice:  I realize or believe that everyone’s story – fiction or non-fiction – is different and should be approached as such.
Don’t approach your book as a hobby.  Treat it like it deserves to be treated – like something that is so very important.  You wouldn’t be writing this book if it wasn’t important to you. Treat it as such.
Schedule your writing.  Whether it’s three days a week, four days or even seven days – schedule it and keep that time.  Make that time part of your life.  Set it for the same time for each scheduled day.
Pray over your work.  Many times I’m guilty of missing this nugget of advice.  The Lord has blessed with you with an ability to reach out to others – thank Him and ask Him for clarity and help. Not only will this strengthen your finished work, it will also reinforce your relationship with Him.

Wow! Great advice, Matt!  Well, I hope you have enjoyed our time with author Matt Patterson. What a powerful message of encouragement for all of us writers.  I look forward to reading more of his books in the future. Here is Matt's biography. You can purchase his book off (I did!).

Matt Patterson is the author of My Emily and an award-winning writer, editor and communications professional. His two-plus decades of experience include public and media relations, as well as print and broadcast journalism. He volunteers his time to helping organizations and charities dedicated to assisting families with children who have special needs or those battling pediatric cancers. He resides in Arizona with his wife and two daughters.

Twitter: @myemily_thebook
Facebook: Matt Patterson, Author

Just write!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Making Research Fun??

Ah, writing. I have come to find that writing a book is never boring....sigh.

Writing is never boring for many reasons, of course. And because it is never boring, I decided to start my official "author" blog now that I am a published writer. This blog will be the place to comment on my books, ask me questions, learn about the writing process, and well, learn more about me!

On Mondays, Lord willing, I will post about writing and the process. I hope to provide tips of the trade and links to what others are writing on their blogs!

On Wednesdays, again, Lord willing, I will post about Faith in Christ. I hope to write about personal issues I have dealt with or will deal with. But I also hope to post links to inspiring posts by other bloggers.

Finally, on Fridays, I will post about what is happening in the world today. You will find I am passionate about the political arena from the Christian worldview, since I am a Christian. But I promise my posts will be informative and not just provocative.


Research. Can It Be Fun?

The best part of writing a book, for me, anyways, is RESEARCH!

But it is also the most arduous too. When I wrote "The Dragon Forest", I wanted to make sure my details about the castle, the dialy existence of its citizens, seemed real to the reader.

Now that I am writing my first YA Christian Fiction book series, "The Warfare Club", I am back to researching and loving it. But, as with all things in life, I hit a major snag:  I messed up the setting. I completely got the dates wrong! And I had already written 3 whole chapters on that setting that now need to be rewritten.

Oh how humbling it all is!  I am so grateful that the Lord helped me see the erorrs now...rather than later when a reader sends me a strongly worded letter detailing all the errors!

God is good. And kind.   ...and patient.

Yes, research can be fun for a book project! Research can add those details to your scenes that draw in your readers to your world...whether fictional or historical. But never let research take over the project and bog you down.

Always remember your story is the point! Your readers want to know what happens next. Great writers know how to add those details AND completely enthrall their readers.

Just write!

Your turn: What research have you conducted for your projects? How can research for a book project be fun to you?

Blessings and welcome to my blog!