Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stations of the Cross

Before the Good Friday liturgy, there will be a special program with music and Stations of the Cross. Walking and praying the stations is a beautiful, contemplative spiritual journey.  For me, the stations not only remind me of the great suffering Christ endured for our salvation, but a call to pick up our crosses and follow in His footsteps ...spreading the word of God's love and mercy.  

Precious Jesus, carrying my cross and following You 
is not a burden but a joy - 
because regardless how heavy my cross becomes, 
I know You are there, carrying it with me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Renewal of Sorts

When I was much younger (okay, LOTS younger) my mom and dad bought a piano.  I didn't take lessons at first because I was able to play by ear.  Granted, my repertoire was not extensive, but my parents (of course) loved hearing me tickle those ivories.  I tried taking lessons later on but struggled because I felt inhibited following sheet music (ever the rebel). Eventually, I lost interest in playing.  In the early 70's, mom and dad bought a music store, selling Baldwin pianos and organs.  They traded in our piano for an organ and I was off and running once more. I loved all the bells and whistles and developed a much better repertoire than I had with the piano.  

My folks belonged to a dance group, "The Over The Hill Gang", with music provided by Mr. Casey, an extremely talented, play-by-ear organist.  His Baldwin had even more bells and whistles than ours, and sounded like a full dance band.  Mom and Dad invited me to those dances a couple of times and even though I begrudgingly went (come on, I was 19 or so and had better things to do), I actually had a good time. In fact, a few times when Mr. Casey took a break, I was asked to fill in. I was mortified at first, then totally surprised when I wasn't booed and people actually got up and danced to my Yellow Bird, Lady of Spain, Please Release Me, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, etc.  

To make a long story longer ... years passed, I moved away and my playing stopped.  I purchased a small keyboard a few years ago to tinker with, but it wasn't the same so I sold it.  When my folks moved in with me two years ago they brought their organ.  Even when it arrived I didn't play, I just stared at it wondering if the brain cells that held the songs were still alive or long gone.  It wasn't until recently I garnered up the courage to hit the "on" button and set up the sound effects.  I started slow...Please Release Me...then, praise God, most of them came back (with a few missed notes here and there).  Not only did I enjoy gliding my fingers across those keys, it brought back some very special memories, especially of my mom....she played too.  

I decided I'm going to take breaks during the time set aside for writing (middle of the night) --- exchanging one keyboard for another. Who knows what inspiration awaits, right?  And not to worry, I won't disturb anyone....the organ has earphones!  Life is Good, God is Good!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Have a Seat ... Marcia Laycock!

Marcia Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she lives with her pastor/husband and two incorrigible golden retrievers. She has lived in Canada’s Arctic, (Dawson City Yukon), and two degrees off the equator, (Papua New Guinea), which has given her much fodder for her writing and speaking ministry. Her work has won several awards, been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway, Mark Buchanan and Sigmund Brouwer, and has been broadcast on national radio. Visit Marcia’s website at

What inspired you to become a writer?
My mother used to say I was born with a pencil in my hand. I began very young, writing short stories and poems for my dolls. They didn’t complain so I kept it up. :) Then my aunt gave me a copy of Emily of New Moon for my eleventh birthday. That’s when I discovered you could call yourself a writer and determined that someday that’s what I’d be. It took many years but I published my first short story in 1990 and began writing articles and a faith column for a local newspaper about that same time.
    Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”? Why?
That’s a tough question but I think I would say it’s a toss up between the fantasy series that’s about to be published, because I’ve had so much fun writing it, and my first published novel, One Smooth Stone, because God did so much in my own life as I wrote it.
    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?
Not really, but I do need a quiet place. I’m not one of those people who can write at Starbucks. My husband and I share an office – we are literally back to back at our desks – so it’s sometimes a challenge.
    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?
Journey to A Strong Tower. That’s actually the title for my new release, a YA fantasy that will be out this summer. But it summarizes my life well. I came to Christ late in life – just after I was married and at the time of the birth of my first child. It was a long and winding road, to use a cliché, but eventually I came to believe that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.”

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

Oh boy, that’s a hard one. I can think of a few – Dale Cramer, Stephen Lawhead, Athol Diskson, Gina Holmes, Lisa Samson. Any of the above. Ted Decker might be fun too. :)

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

I’m blessed to be in a position where I don’t work out of my home anymore, though as a pastor’s wife life can be busy. I try to keep to a regular schedule of writing and guard that time but sometimes “life” happens and you just have to go with the flow. I try to keep the perspective that my work and my life belongs to God so if he wants me to write he’ll give me the time to do it.

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

When I first began writing seriously and wanting to publish, I took a short course with Sigmund Brouwer. He taught me a lot but I think the most important skill was the difference between showing and telling. I also remember him saying that everyone needs an editor and that it’s important to have your work edited, even when you’ve published a lot.

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

My books are all available from my website or on Amazon, both as hard copies and ebooks –
Two novels - One Smooth Stone, A Tumbled Stone
A Christmas Novella, An Unexpected Glory
Two devotional books – Spur of the Moment, Abundant Rain (an ebook devotional for writers)
And I have a few things on Smashwords as well.
You can keep up with me on my website – and on these other sites:
Blogs –
Facebook -
Twitter - @MarciaLaycock - profile -
Google + -
Pinterest -
Amazon author page -
Goodreads -
You can also subscribe to my devotional column The Spur.

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?

As I mentioned, I have a fantasy series – The Ambassadors Trilogy - that will release this summer as ebooks. Helping Hands Press will release the first book, Journey to a Strong Tower, in volumes (5, I think) sometime in late May or June. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc.