Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When Rejected, Remember Isaac Newton!

I am astounded. I actually have something in common with Sir Isaac Newton. If you’re a writer, maybe you do, too.

Awhileback, I mentioned that I had finally finished a draft of a novel involving time travel. Partially because of that, I’ve been attempting to learn more about the scientific view of time—including theories as to whether time travel might actually be possible.  After much study, I have come to my own conclusion that it is not possible…for me to comprehend physics.

As to whether time travel is possible, I have no idea. I don’t understand a word the physics writers are saying, no matter how basic they get. In fact, I even resorted to Gary Moring’s The Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Einstein. You guessed it. I can’t understand it.

Occasionally, though, Moring includes a few historical or biographical tidbits, at which point I feel very reassured that I can at least still read.

One of these asides was about Sir Isaac Newton and his book, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, also known as Principia.  Moring said, “Most physicists agree that this work by Isaac Newton is the single most significant book ever written about physics. In Principia, Newton brought together the knowledge about physics that had been discovered so far and expanded it. He combined and synthesized ideas that would remain unchanged for almost 300 years. Even then, the alterations made to his theories would be minimal” (p. 45).

For me, this wasn’t the most amazing part. What surprised and encouraged me was this: “Newton decided to publish his first work in the area of optics. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very well received by his fellow scientists. He became very depressed and was reluctant to publish anything else. If his friend Edmond Halley hadn’t intervened, the Principia would never have been written. Even so, it took Newton 20 years to put all his notes together and get the book published” (p. 45).

If you’re a writer, I’m betting you can identify with some part of this. Becoming dejected after rejection—or you’ve finally gotten published and those Amazon reviewers just aren’t kind. Taking years and years even to manage to write anything. Wondering all the while why you’re bothering, because no one is going to care, anyway.

And the importance of friends! I started to list the friends and family members who have gotten me going again when I've decided to throw in the towel, but the list was growing quite lengthy, and I was afraid I would leave someone out. If you're reading this post, you're probably one of them. I can never thank you enough!

Somehow I find it encouraging that even a genius who had so much to give the world could go through the same discouragement we all do. Our day is coming!

Monday, May 20, 2013

On The Threshold--and a very fun contest!

I love celebrating other writers who persevere--especially nice ones that I met on this blog. And who make even the details of their contest fun to read! After fourteen years of hard work, Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia are thrilled to announce the release of their novel, On the Threshold. Interested in how a mother and daughter can write a book together? Want a chance at winning a Kindle and a business card design from a top-notch company? Keep reading!

Why did you ladies begin writing this book?
Both of us had always talked about writing a book, but fourteen years ago Sherrie said if we were ever going to write, maybe we should work on a book together. It would hold us accountable. We lived on different sides of the state of Oregon at the time, so we did a lot of it via e-mail, and once a month Sherrie would make the 250-mile drive to Christina's house and we'd work on it in person. We wanted to share a real look at depression and trying to be good enough to please God--what that might look like in a family's life.

Fourteen years? Really? Not as long as The Queen, but still impressive.
That's from the first word penned. The very first contest we entered, we actually talked about how we needed to decide how to fight off all the editors who'd be making offers. Instead, we found out we had a lot to learn! Attending writing conferences and reading craft books brought our writing to a higher level.

Tell us about On the Threshold
We loved having the chance to tell this story! In fact, we have a few more stories to tell about these characters  if readers love this one. Here's what the book is about. Suzanne—a mother with a long-held secret. Tony—a police officer with something to prove. Beth—a daughter with a storybook future. When all they love is lost, what's worth living for? Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband’s love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change. Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne’s fa├žade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God’s grace in their lives?  

And a little about you?
Mother/daughter writing team Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia bring a voice of authenticity to this novel as they have experienced some of the same issues faced by these characters. They like to say they were separated at birth but share one brain, which allows them to write in a seamless stream. Both live in NW Oregon and love spending time together. Many years ago, they were both on a winning Family Feud team! Sherrie is the Women's Ministry Director at her church, and loves being the grandma of eight and great-grandma of one. Christina is also the author of The Familiar Stranger, a Christy finalist and Carol Award winner, and runs a thriving editing business. Please sign up for their Infrequent, Humorous Newsletter at Ashberry Lane for a chance to win cool prizes.

What about this contest?
If you help get the word out, you can earn different points for each thing you do, and every point represents an entry in the contest. Say, for example, you name your next child “Threshold” in honor of our book. You would earn 100 points (entries), which would greatly increase your likelihood of winning. Fine print to be read as quickly as those medical side effects are glossed over on TV: A certified copy of the birth certificate must be sent to Ashberry Lane proving the child was born between now and when the contest ends on June 30rd at 10 PM, PDT. Some restrictions apply, such as you must also promise not to change the child’s name to anything else for at least the next fifteen years. You are, however, allowed to use “Thresh” as his or her first name, and “Hold” as the middle. If that seems like we’re asking a little too much, there are other ways for you to enter the contest. ~ Post about On the Threshold on Twitter or LinkedIn, or share the cover on Instagram or Pinterest, and you’ve doubled your points to TWO. ~ Refer someone to sign up for the newsletter. If he or she notes you as referrer, guess what? You just earned THREE points. ~ Blog about it and reap FOUR points. (We’re available for more blog interviews.) ~ And for those who buy the book (e-book or print copy), you will gain FIVE points. ~ Leave a review—positive or negative—on a retailing site after reading the book, and TEN points to you!

All you have to do to enter is drop us an email to Christina [at] ashberrylane [dot] net with a description of what you did. We trust you. Here is a sample email: Dear Sherrie and Christina, Fortunately, my last name is Hold, so when my triplets were born yesterday, all I had to do was name them "On," "The," and "Thresh." (Yes, that makes a double "h," but without it, the name just looks silly and I don't want a kid with a funny name.) I also got the cover of On the Threshold tattooed on my arm, took a picture of it, and posted it on every possible social media site, including Facebook, though I understand I don't get points for anything done on there. Next, I forwarded the Infrequent, Humorous Newsletter to a few of my friends and ALL of my enemies. After reading the book in two hours, I posted an honest review on three different retail sites. Please enter my name 349 times. Love, Your #1 Fan Or something like that. :)

Where else can we find you gals online?  Buy the book on Amazon or B&N or iTunes or in any other version on Smashwords. The print book will be available shortly--sign up for the newsletter and you'll be among the first to know when it appears on all the big retailing sites OR email us about buying a paperback directly from us. (Christina [at] ashberrylane [dot] net) Thanks for hosting us!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Waiting for Peter

I hadn't realized my friend Elizabeth Musser was coming out with another book right now, so Waiting for Peter was a lovely surprise. Even though this one made me cry--but in a sweet way. I was also surprised that this story was so close to something I had toyed with writing for years--a story told at least partly from a stray animal's point of view, in which the pet's relationship to his human mirrored our relationship to God. And now Elizabeth has beaten me to it! Well, that's all right. She probably did a better job than I would have, anyway! And particularly appropriate for this blog, it deals a lot with waiting--waiting to be rescued, waiting for God to show up.

Here's more info from Elizabeth's web page: "Peter is a young teen who is emotionally and physically scarred following a tragic accident. Hoping to find a way to help Peter reconnect with his family, his mother, Lanie, agrees to let him adopt a dog from the Humane Society. So begins the relationship between Peter and his neurotic mutt, Sunny.  Told from the alternating points of view of Sunny and Lanie, Waiting for Peter is the story of the healing power of love between a boy and his dog and an allegory of how we should view our relationship with God, our Master."

This novella is especially poignant for those of us who have known the mutual joy of "rescuing" some down and out stray, only to find them ultimately rescuing us. It's only available as an ebook, but you can grab it for your Kindle at Amazon or see more information about ordering here.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Multi Fandom Quilt Progress

Short and sweet today! (You're relieved, aren't you?) I've had a lot going on, so I thought I'd just take a moment to share my progress on another project that has taken a lot of patience and hanging in there--my multi fandom wall quilt.

I started learning to paper piece a couple of years ago after discovering a site called Fandom in Stitches. Their free quilt patterns are amazing! I pictured making not one but two massive fandom quilts, with blocks from all the different fandoms I'm interested in. One would be for me, one for my niece, Kristi.

After about five blocks, reality set in. The center Aslan/Narnia block and the top lefthand one of the Return of the Jedi poster took weeks and weeks and every bit of patience and perseverance I could scrounge.

Then I discovered the wonder of fusible applique. I did the silver doe and the lily (Harry Potter) out of my head, except for using one of Fandom in Stitches' lily patterns for applique instead of piecing. The top middle one from Pirates of the Carribbean was a lot of fun--just my imagination and appliqueing snips of fabric. All in all, there are blocks from Star Wars, The Chronicls of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games (Mockingjay), and Pirates.

These are just raw blocks pinned to my wall. I'll keep you posted on the progress of the actual quilt. Still a lot of work to go!