Why do I ride a motorcycle? I started to ride to have something in common with my husband during his free time. Now, I ride for myself. The video below sums up my reasons nicely.
When I chose a dog breed for my work in progress, I researched a lot of breeds from the 1800s and one that turned up over and over again were a mixed breed of dog that were called feists. These little dogs were desirable on ships and boats because they were good ratters. They were very popular in America in the 1920s and 30s on farms and my own grandmother had several of them. I also grew up with a little rat terrier named Brownie, not knowing what a privilege it was to call one my friend.
These little dogs are the best companions. They can be feisty, yes, but they aren't hyper to the point of annoyance like other terriers can be. They have a mellow temperament and make the best lap dogs. My little dog, Brownie, and I, shared many, many deep conversations. His expressive little face took in every word and I felt completely validated by my little friend as a child.
But that's not why I chose this breed for my protagonist in River Moon. In doing research I learned that these little dogs also rode up and down the Mississippi River on steamboats and were a desirable pet. Not only that, there weren't that many of what we now call "lap dogs" in America at the time. In fact, one of the most popular breeds was the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
In fact, Laura Ingalls' childhood dog was a Bull Terrier (otherwise known as a pit bull). And Helen Keller's beloved dog was also a pit bull.
The pit bull was one of the most popular breeds chosen as a family pet in the mid to late 1800s to the early 1900s.
Recognize these guys?
But because of the current social attitude toward pit bulls in this country, I couldn't very easily allow my protagonist to have one for a pet. And Shih Tzus and Maltese dogs hadn't made it to the west yet as far as being a dog you could find from a farm or boatman along the river.
Here's a picture of a steamboat in the early 1900s. If you look carefully you can see dogs in the bottom right corner and I'm pretty sure at least one of them is a rat terrier.
And that is how a little rat terrier dog was chosen as my protagonist's lap dog. I think he's pretty cute, don't you?
Source: Wikimedia Commons
For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a writer.
And for as long as I can remember I've had issues with rejection.
We all have them, really. But my issue is more pronounced since I was abandoned at birth, and for other reasons I'd rather not share, I feel rejection to the core.
Of all the occupations to long for, I managed to pick the one where rejection is more the norm than being accepted. Especially when starting out.
If you want to be a writer, you're going to have to grow a thick hide. You're going to have to want to be a writer more than you hate the feeling of rejection.
I started submitting stories back in the 1970s (you know, when the ice was just beginning to thaw from the ice age). I received more rejection letters than acceptances. In fact, I'm not sure I received any acceptance letters from any magazines of major importance. But I continued to write. I enrolled in writing courses. I kept practicing the craft. The passion was still there. The rejections hurt, but my unction to write was stronger than that hurt.
I truly believe that it's not the most talented that get published but those that are the most persistent. It's the ones who refuse to give up and who are open to criticism and willing to learn to be better.
Get yourself in a critique group that will filet you, and you'll learn to write well. It will do you no good to surround yourself with people who pat you on the back. Iron sharpens iron. Pens sharpen pens. Create an environment for yourself that stretches you and demands more from you.
Recently I was asked by a major magazine to do an article. I had longed to be published in such a magazine during the 1990s but my submissions were consistently rejected.
Now the magazine has come to me, not me to them.
I do not boast in myself. I only share this to say that it has nothing to do with my brilliance, but it does have to do with my work ethic and my willingness to learn all I can and to work like a dog. When I'm not doing something else, I'm writing. I'm not kidding. When I'm not writing, I'm usually researching or learning about writing. (I'm also a full-time college student, pastor's wife, Mama, caregiver of a mother-in-law with Alzheimer's...) But when I'm not doing those other things in my "other life," I'm working on my craft. (Naturally, this must be in balance with keeping God my God and not putting the writing before Him.)
My point is this. Work hard. Learn to take it on the chin. Grow a thick hide.
And never, never quit.
Photo by Karla Akins
Who was Jesus? What was his story? What mark did he leave? What's your story? What will be your mark?
In this beautiful 112-page full-color book, celebrity photographer and social artist Jeremy Cowart presents 16 compelling stories of people who are making their mark today.
It's a beautiful book and would make a great graduation gift. I plan on giving a copy to one of my 8th grade graduates (I'm a Sunday School teacher). I wish every Christian ages 13 and up would read this book because it's so inspiring. It made me feel small in what I've tried to accomplish for the Lord. The people in this book are remarkable.
The book is very, very pretty. The cover is like a mirror (see my reflection of my phone in the cover). The pictures on the retail sites don't show the mirror-like shine, so I wanted to use my own picture to show you. When you pick it up, you see your own face and the title: What's Your Mark?
Inside are gorgeous photographs of people who've made their mark today for Jesus Christ and in between each story is a section of the book of Mark from the Bible.
The sixteen photos and stories of the people in this book inspired me to be better, think bigger, dream larger and do more to make sure I leave a permanent, positive mark on this world. We all leave a mark, of course, but what sort of mark is it? Are we takers or givers? The questions you will ask yourself as you read this will make you want to be a better person, a better Christian.
Whether through your occupation, your talents or your selfless love and giving to others, you will be inspired as I was to leave your mark. Maybe it's teaching children or helping the homeless or feeding the hungry. Whatever it is, God has a plan and will show you. I know I'm asking Him myself after reading this book, just what it is EXACTLY that He wants me to do with the rest of my life. I want to leave a positive, world-changing mark, too.
I give this beautiful book 5 stars. I highly recommend it.
Studying psychology is a great way to develop and understand your characters. Below enjoy the Defense Mechanisms chart I found at http://try-therapy.com/2010/09/08/freud-erikson/ . These types of charts and information always spur an idea for a twist or turn for me. What say you?