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Friday, August 22, 2014

A Writer's Life




A fellow author, Clara Freeman, asked me to guest on her blog awhile ago about a writer's life.  I thought I would share it on my blog as well.





A writer sits at wooden desk pushed up against a large picture window that opens to fields of flowers. The room, located in a secluded area of the house, is quiet except for the chirping of birds and whispering breeze.

Ahh, the life of a writer … maybe in a perfect world!

For this writer, it’s a recliner with a laptop, in the living room with two dogs, a very loud parrot and bell-ringing cockatiel. I’m a caregiver for my 86 year-old father and 82 year-old uncle and they wander in to remind me of days gone by, provide commentary on recent world events or ask for a ride. When my husband comes home from work he joins the party. Such a glamorous life.

What do I do? 

I’ve become a creature of the night. During the day I care-give and delve into the world of domesticity. In my mind I ponder how I want to proceed on a recent project, sit down and do a little editing, work on social media promotions and take a mid-day nap. Once everyone is tucked tightly in their beds, the dogs asleep and the birds covered, my laptop screen comes alive and my fingers fly across the keyboard. My husband rises at 4:30 a.m. and finds me tap, tap, tapping away.

What do I write?

I am a cross-genre writer. I began with Christian devotionals and thanks to my ever-persistent and confident publisher, I’ve expanded to light romance and suspense/thrillers. Switching between genres (sometimes in the same night), keeps me from over-focusing which, for me, is the cause of an author’s worse nightmare – writers block.

Inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere; however, my devotional topics usually filter into my mind during prayer or Mass. Romance inspiration comes from daydreaming or traveling back in time … reliving romantic moments of my own. Suspense/thrillers are roused by nightmares and plunging my mind into my deepest darkest fears.

The Topic of Time

I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me and I have been known to finish one in a week. Yes! A week. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants the word out immediately, and who am I to argue? The light romances and suspense/thrillers are a different story. In stark contrast to devotionals, my short-story fiction usually take three to four weeks. My pace slows as my mind wanders to, “How can I describe something that will result in the reader turning into a hopeless romantic or someone feeling the need to check the closets and under the bed?”

Faith in Genres

Some of my author friends have called me “Dr. Jekyll and Patti J. Smith”, or the “Sybil” of the writing world. Regardless of genre, I strive to bring faith into each one because faith belongs everywhere, and it’s the guiding force of my life. No one knows what word, sentence or paragraph within a genre will reach out and pull a reader towards Him so I plant seeds everywhere.


The Results

Devotionals:

~~A Mended Heart – Rosary Meditations on Forgiveness
~~Journey to Sunset – Rosary Meditations for Caregivers
~~Redeemed – Rosary Meditations for Post-Abortive Women
~~Embrace the Morning – Rosary Meditations to Calm the Storm
~~And God Still Loves Me – A Journey from the Dark Abyss of Sin to God’s Mercy – my personal testimony.
~~Moments with God – The complete collection of the above
~~Behind the Smile – Overcoming Depression through Scripture and Prayer
~~Steps of Faith - Living the Scriptures in Recovery
~~Uplifting Devotionals - Book I - Cooperative effort with four other authors

Light Romance:

The San Francisco Wedding Planner series. The trials and tribulations of a wedding planner – A cooperative effort with four other authors.

Suspense/Thriller:

Grave Obsessions Series
~~Chiseled Heart
~~Savage Sojourner
~~Shackled Souls (Work in Progress)

All available at http://www.amazon.com/author/pattijsmith.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

HE IS MY REFUGE

This last Saturday my husband and I were sitting in the living room, enjoying dinner and watching televison.  The front door opened and in walked a scraggly blonde young man we'd never seen before.  He took off his jacket and hat and dropped them on the floor and said, "Hi."  Startled, the only thing I could mutter was, "Who are you, what are you doing and why did you walk into our home without knocking?"  He said he was sorry but was looking for his friends but couldn't remember where they lived. I advised him his friends were not here and politely asked him to leave.  He looked hurt and hesitated for a moment, so I stood up and escorted him out.  It was the oddest experience I'd ever had and it wasn't until a few hours later that I began to feel the fear.  

I reported the incident to the Sheriff and found out later the young man was arrested later that night for attempting to steal a car, and that he was definitely under the influence of drugs. God was definitely watching over me and my family that afternoon. Had I reacted angrily or with fear, the outcome may have been disastrous.  

2 Samuel 22:3
 My God, my rock of refuge! My shield, my saving horn,
my stronghold, my refuge,my savior, from violence you keep me safe.

I pray God watches over that young man and guides him in a new direction.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Have a Seat: Brenda K. Hendricks!

Author/illustrator, Brenda K. Hendricks uses her BS in Biblical Theology to teach children of all ages. Her blog My Quotes of Encouragement is a combination of stories, anecdotes, and personal experiences. Some of her artwork and book cover designs are featured on Brenda K. Hendricks. She has also written and illustrated a number of picture books including What’s the Buzz, Bumbly Bee?, What’s Better than That, Seren Dippity?, Much More to Christmas, and a tween novel Trouble at Turnabout Creek. Two short stories published by Helping Hands Press were recently added to her published works: Sly’s Christmas Surprise and Darkness Before Dawn. Brenda is a member of the, the Susquehanna Writers’ Critique Group and the John 316 Marketing Network. As part of her ministry, Brenda blends her artistic talent with her "gift to gab" to enhance the learning experience at women’s events and writers’ conferences.


What inspired you to become a writer?

The voices in my head inspire me to write. Okay, that sounds creepy. But I create stories and images in my mind that need to be written so I can figure out how the characters get to the end. I usually know where they start and where they’ll end up. It’s the getting there that has me puzzled. So I write their stories to satisfy my curiosity.
Mostly, my stories are inspired by situations or current issues that I can’t find the means to help other people understand any other way.

Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”. Why?

That’s like trying to select a favorite among your grandchildren, you know that don’t you? My newest release, Trouble at Camp Turnabout Creek, would possibly be my “pride and joy,” at least for now. There were a lot of surprises that happened as I wrote the book. Like a bear showing up at the campgrounds and the theme that wove its way through the story and became very clear at the end. Should I admit I didn’t really plan those things? I don’t know, but I really like when that happens.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

If you consider a ton of prayer a ritual, that would be it. I also procrastinate a little by checking email and Facebook a dozen times before I actually get started.

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

The Life and Times of a Procrastinator.

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

I always wanted to meet Bill Meyers. God granted me the opportunity to have lunch with Mr. Meyers about a year ago. He’s a very personable and down-to-earth man. I think I’d choose him again.

We all have family, work and other obligations...how do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

I’m not very good at balancing family, work, and other obligations with writing. I’m either very focused on writing or very focused on the rest of life. I hope that somehow in the end it all balances out.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

Rewrite! Rewrite! Rewrite! It’s the only way to hone the craft and gain the skills needed to improve.

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

All of my books and short stories can be found at:
Friend me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaKHendricks


Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis....

Man, I sure wish I had a definite answer to this question. I’m working on several projects at the moment. But I’m not sure what or when the next release will be. But there’s a good chance I’ll have another picture book ready in the next few months. The title is You Want to What, Nibs Rabbit? The third book in the Bumbly Bee series is about a rabbit who’d try just about anything to learn to fly so he can join the high flyer’s club.