Sunday Morning Musings: Why Is God The Last Resort?

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)I’m sitting here writing in my journal asking God for help building my new web site and starting my newsletter.  Can I do it? Yes. Do I want to do it? No. But, like with a lot of other things, I know with God’s help I can. I don’t know why I haven’t specifically asked him before for help with this. My best answer is I didn’t think of it. But why didn’t I think of it?

Why don’t I turn to God for guidance for every single thing in my life? Why do I believe I can do even the smallest things on my own? Because I can. But am I doing the right thing? The thing God wants me to do? Or am I making up my own mind and taking action without consulting Him? Of course I am. Then I wonder why my ideas don’t always work out very well.

God has helped me with tiny things, like finding lost files and with big things like how to handle tragedy. Why can’t I remember that God is always there for me? That he doesn’t change? That he cares and wants what is best for me? Why do I put so much faith in people when years of experience on earth have shown me that people will let me down whether they mean to or not?

I don’t know why I can’t get into the habit of asking for God’s help first instead of screwing it up on my own and then asking Him to help me fix it.

And I don’t know why, probably because God is at work, but I’m going to leave you with this:

YOU ARE CHRIST’S HANDS

God has no body now on earth but yours,

No hands but yours,

No feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which he is to look out

God’s compassion to the world;

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about

Doing good;

Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

                                        –Teresa of Avila

intercessory_prayer

#God #prayer #faith #guidance

I Sold My Baby

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)My father always told me, “Be nice to the people you meet on your way up the ladder because you’ll probably be meeting them again on the way back down.”

I don’t think of myself as having very many enemies, but there are certainly people in this world I haven’t gotten along with all that well. But one of them appeared out of my past and offered me a job. A writing job for which I could potentially get paid a nice chunk of actual money. So whatever our past relationship she’d either decided to ignore it or had forgotten it. And I decided I couldn’t look a writing income gift horse in the mouth.

The job was something I’ve never done. Ghostwriting a Christmas novella for a well-known author. Make that two things I’ve never done. No wait. Three. Not only have I never done any ghostwriting, I’ve never written a novella or a Christmas-themed story either.ghost-1124534_640

There’s a tight deadline but there’s money dangling at the end of it. If I’m a writer I should be able to write an assigned piece. Worst case scenario? I don’t finish the project or it’s rejected by the publisher. And I don’t get any money for my efforts.

I have nothing to lose except the time I spend writing. I start the story before I sign the contract after  lifting an idea from a book I’d been working on and tweaking it. And then tweaking it some more.

I keep my eye on the word count and tell my husband when he asks how it’s coming, “I just keep making shit up.”

adorable-71031_640Meanwhile I grapple with the idea that I’m selling a little piece of my soul by selling my baby. Giving it up for adoption as it were and no would ever know I created it. If I told, I’d be violating the confidentiality clause in the contract. Then I remembered that everyone I ever came into contact with in the writing world said, “Publishing is a business.” I created a product and sold it to a buyer. Nothing more than that.

I’d been told the hardest thing would be copying the author’s voice. I read a few of the author’s (I assume also ghostwritten) previously published novellas. I couldn’t detect any specific voice and (of course) I thought my story was so much better.

I told myself not to get attached to my story no matter how cute it was. Or to the characters no matter how adorable they were together. Because I was going to sell my little baby and no one was ever going to know this baby was mine.hang-tags-234566_1280I’m told I picked up on the style and simplicity but nothing was said about voice. If my baby is rejected, I’ll happily take it back, put my name on it and let you read it.

But that didn’t happen. My baby was a keeper and the check’s in the bank. You might read the Christmas novella I wrote. But some other author adopted it and gave it her name.

#ghostwriting #baby #sale

Romantic…Comedy?

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)How many times have you read a book or seen a movie billed as romantic comedy that simply wasn’t funny? I feel like I’ve read lots of those kinds of books and seen lots of those kinds of movies where the humor fell flat. It should have been funny but it wasn’t.

Do we even know what romantic comedy is? What it’s supposed to encompass?

Too often, I think romantic comedy is built around a situation instead of the characters. And if the humor doesn’t come from the characters, there’s no way it can be funny. You can force them into a comical situation, (think Sandra Bullock and  Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal) but if THEY aren’t funny, you won’t laugh. You probably won’t even be entertained. Sometimes it all seems just kind of dumb. Even a little bit sad. Sometimes writers try to force comedy to get laughs and when they try too hard no one is amused. And maybe, when they aren’t trying to force laughs, but a movie leaves you smiling and with that warm fuzzy feeling, they’ve succeeded (why did While You Were Sleeping work so well?).

My first book from Samhain Publishing (A Month From Miami) image001_editedwas billed as romantic comedy by my editor. I’d never considered it would fall into that genre. But when I read it now, I smile. It’s cute. Light-hearted. Warm. And the characters work well in the babysitting-for-car-repair trade scenario. Nobody’s Fool, a ten-year high school reunion story also got tagged as romantic comedy. It’s cute, but is it funny?

NobodysFool72smMaybe romantic comedy doesn’t have to make you laugh until you cry. Maybe you won’t laugh out loud at all. Maybe humor is so subjective no two people will find the same thing tickling their funny bone. But a successful romantic comedy? I think we all know it when we see it or read it.

With the soon to be released Cleo’s Web, I’m categorizing it as romantic comedy that’s actually funny. Not only is the situation comical (a 30-something disguising herself as a senior citizen) the characters play well off that (when the hero tries to keep her rule breaking secret in return for a favor. Or two.)

I’m still working on the cover. And the blurb. And the formatting. And all the other fun stuff that goes with publishing. But here’s a sneak peek excerpt from Cleo’s Web just for you:

“What do you want?” she asked so softly she wasn’t sure he could even hear her. She’d directed the question at the window instead of him.

“A home-cooked meal is what I was thinking.”

She turned to stare at him. “You want me to cook for you?”

She must have sounded horrified because he said, “Now who would have thought you’d find that more abhorrent than sleeping with me?”

“I didn’t. I don’t. I can’t.”

“Why don’t you pick one of those and go with it?”

“I, uh. I’m not much of a cook.”

“Oh, come on. You must have learned something from Gertie.”

“No. I’m a lousy cook.”

“Oh. Did you want to reconsider the sleeping with me option? I promise not to hog the covers.”

She stared at him not entirely sure he wasn’t serious. “I’ll cook,” she finally managed.

“See? That wasn’t so hard. One other thing. Don’t ever answer the door wearing what you did this morning. That disguise you had on? Wear something like that whenever you go out. I’m willing to look the other way, but the residents won’t, I can guarantee it. If they figure out you’re breaking the rules and I’m allowing it, I’ll lose my job and you’ll lose a place to stay. Got it?”

“Yes.”

“And try to look less, er, that is, try not to be so, um…”

“So?” Cleo raised an eyebrow.

“Hot.”

Cleo couldn’t help it. She started to laugh. And once she got going, she couldn’t stop. The tops of Daniel’s ears turned pink. But he grinned at her. Again.

And here’s my latest attempt at a label after the blurb:

Warning: Contains 30-somethings behaving like senior citizens, failed attempts to impersonate elderly individuals and numerous retirement community violations.

#Cleo’s Web #romantic #comedy