Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of the year is very busy for a pastor/writer. There is so much to do to prepare for the holidays. So I simply say, Happy Thanksgiving to you all. God has blessed me by allowing our paths to cross and I don’t take it for granted. That’s just another way of saying I’m thankful for you. Enjoy the holiday!


Picture This

It’s that time again! Time to kick around some writing ideas as the clock continues to tick nonstop. I hope you had a great week, as did I, but with the holidays not far away, things are getting busy. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so tell me, what are you most thankful for this year? It’s been a hard year, a unique year, but dig deep. There is as bunch of good there, too.


Finally, the rough draft of The Marisol Deception is finished. Now, the fun begins – editing, rewriting, formatting, all the stuff that needs to be done before publication. Give me a couple of months. You’ll be the first to know when it’s ready. While I’m finishing up the details of Marisol, I’m also working on my next project, Black. You can read Part One of the rough draft here.

Dwell on the above picture for a moment or two. What kind of emotion does it create for you? Think about the detail. Notice the man, the tree, the light, the weeds, the total darkness of the edges. Then ask yourself some questions. Who could the man be? Who might be hiding in the tree – and why? Where is the light coming from? What deadly creature might be crawling in the weeds? What lies beyond the total darkness?

Now, how do you get the emotion from your brain to keyboard? I think the best way to do that is to envelope yourself in the scene. YOU become the person. How would YOU react to the light in the darkness? What would YOUR reaction be in the black of night, sensing someone was watching you, but you couldn’t see them? Are they in the tree? Are they in the weeds? How would YOU handle the situation? YOU hear a noise in the bushes. What do YOU do?

I’ll leave you with the questions to answer, and I’ll see you next week. Write on!


What’s Holding You Back???

I can hardly believe it! Central Pennsylvania is experiencing a late Indian Summer, as they call it. The middle of November rarely affords us temperatures in the mid-70s. Color is still on the trees that are usually bare by now. But I’ll take it. On another topic, yesterday (November 10, 2020) was the 45th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The fated iron ore carrier sunk 535 feet beneath the waters of Lake Superior near Whitefish Bay. They lost all 29 crew members.

Moving on to happier things, let’s look at some things to avoid when writing, things that may interfere or slow you down.

1. Realize there is no definitive playbook you need to follow. Another way of looking at it is to do what works for you. No two writers are the same. No two methods work the same for different writers. Keep the general rules in mind, but never be bound by them.

2. Don’t get bogged down with “to outline or not to outline”. I’ve written books using detailed outlines, and others I’ve written without. Let your “feel” be your guide. You may or may not need to use an outline. Allow the story to determine how you will handle it.

3. Keep your creativity flowing. When it’s time to market your book, continue to work on ideas for your next project. You may need to work on your pitch, your book cover, or several other post-writing endeavors, but keep the new ideas coming. Rest. Reward yourself with some time off – but not too long. Creativity dies quickly.

4. Be open to criticism – especially if you ask for it. Every agent, publisher, or beta reader will have a different opinion and criticism of your work. Don’t plan on pleasing everybody because it will never -and I mean never- will happen. Take what you can. Improve on the areas you need to improve and let the rest go.

5. Don’t lower your guard with the basics. It doesn’t matter how wonderful the story is. The twist might be the greatest ever, but if the grammar stinks and the punctuation is terrible, it just won’t fly. Spellcheckers aren’t that difficult to use and take very little time. Grammarly or ProWritingAid can be a tremendous help, and there are free versions. There’s no excuse for sloppy writing. (So my question is this – Is spellcheckers” one word, two words, or hyphenated?)

Okay, chew on that awhile and I’ll see you next Wednesday!


Post-election Thoughts

Welcome to another Wednesday! Please forgive me. This post isn’t about writing. It’s about responsibility. Well, maybe that is part of writing. Let me explain.

As a patriotic American, I took my turn at the polls yesterday. They heard my voice. How about yours? It surprises and saddens me at the same time to know thousands of Americans who could vote, simply didn’t. At the time of this writing, I’m waiting for the race to be called. It’s anybody’s guess who will lead this great nation for the next four years.

And it really doesn’t matter. Of course, I have my preference, but that’s not what matters. What matters is that I exercised my right to vote. As a nation, we have given away far too many of our rights. We can’t afford to lose this one.

The thought has crossed my mind: – do we really elect the president or are the results already decided by something much bigger? Can you say Illuminati? Maybe they choose two candidates. They would be content to have either win. We just get to vote on which one, but either way, they win (maybe that’s a story prompt). Honestly, I think that’s a possibility, but it doesn’t release me from the responsibility of voting.

Maybe the results are decided by Someone much bigger (and they are). The God that owns and rules the universe also rules over the election. Ultimately, the one He chooses will win, but that doesn’t free me from my God-give responsibility, and yes, privilege to vote.

So what about responsibility and writing? You have a responsibility to your reader to write quality material. You have a responsibility to give them uplifting material to read. You have a responsibility to entertain them at a high level. You have the responsibility to educate them with facts. You have the responsibility to leave them better off than before they read you. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice who you are as a writer. If you write with the reader in mind, it will improve your writing tenfold. I promise you, give to others first, and it will return the blessings over and over.

Don’t run from your responsibilities. In the end, they will catch you. Until we meet again – see you next week!