Thursday, October 29, 2015

Because "easy" STINKS!

First an update on the book.

This past week I got some EXCELLENT feedback from one of my reviewers.  All of the points he made, my response was, "Huh.  I never thought about that.", which is definitely what I needed.

A lot of what he said amounts to doing another reading pass, emphasizing some things, toning down others.  A few things though will require all new (sometimes replacement) material.  It's this that I have been focusing on.

I have an optional epilogue now that ties a loose end from the first book back to the villianess from the second.  It reads well, but could be a little bit of a stretch though.  I'm sleeping on it to see if I like the idea enough to pursue.

Worse still, there is a huge section in the middle where my protagonist changes personalities... and depends on it!  That's going to be a nasty rewrite.  And I have no idea how to play it differently.  We'll see what shakes out, I guess. :)

Meanwhile, I'm working my rear off trying to get the homestead ready for winter -- which appears to be coming early this year.  Wouldn't be surprised to find snow outside tomorrow, in fact!

I've got a deck and some windows that need repairs ASAP, as well as getting some greenhouses built and the rest covered.  Eeek!

Well, I guess if I wanted things easy I should have stayed in suburbia and kept that nice climate-controlled cubicle downtown.

Easy stinks.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Is it possible to lose your salvation?

Uh oh.  Here it comes, right?

For whatever reason this is one of those questions people like to argue about.  I have my opinions, but I think it's one of those questions that has bigger issues underneath it that need to be addressed first.  That is, instead of knee-jerk answering the question, sometimes you need to take a step back and say, "Wait a minute.  Why are you asking?"

A lot of times when people (including myself) ask this question it contains a note of, "Is it possible that I just lost my salvation?"

The short answer, no.   If you were that far from caring about the things of God, you wouldn't even be worried about such things.  It's the people that think they've got it all together and can do no wrong that who are the ones that should be worried (yet aren't).

A Bible passage that I've been obsessed with lately (and sparked the idea for this post) is Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  

The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

  “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. [...]
 Having a right view of yourself, as somebody unworthy of salvation is THE WHOLE POINT!

But there's one more side to this.  Usually people don't just pull this sort of thing out of a hat.  There is usually some reason behind it.  Some sin, present or past, haunting them.

Guilt like that is not necessarily a bad thing.  It's intended as a warning, like a "check engine" light.  If you've got something going on like that, guilt is telling you, "Hey you!  You need to deal with this!"

Remember 1 John 1:9 is key to it all.  Repent, and be forgiven.  It's a promise!

"But I've already done that", you may say.  If so, then it's over.  Let it go. (No I won't sing.)

Any guilt after the point that the sin has been dealt with amounts to nothing but useless clinging to the past.  Your bucket is empty.  "Jesus paid it all.  All to him I owe.  Sin has left a crimson stain.  He washed it white as snow." (Okay.  I lied.  Maybe I will sing.)

(I'll sing that one... a lot!)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sick, but still slinging story.

Just getting over this last cold.  (Which, btw, was NOT a recommended souvenir from the anniversary getaway.)

Being holed up in bed, I did, however, make a lot of great progress on book 2.

I started out with a bit of an 'aha' moment.  There was one scene with the ladies falling into peril, followed by the next chapter with two of the guys in jet-packs searching for them.  (In case you hadn't guessed what general style of books this series is, there you go.)

There, in the middle of the jetpack chapter, like a huge iceberg was floating this big explanation how they had tried calling, but got no answer, flew hundreds of miles, broke into the girls' hotel room, found where they were planning on going, and then borrowed a pair of jet packs.  In case you didn't already catch on, that's a lot of backstory jammed in there, in direct violation of the law of, "show, don't tell".

When that finally got through my thick skull...

I yanked those three paragraphs of lameness out, slapped a chapter in between, added lots of cool elements, (like M cracking a glass countertop with his fist when a snooty hotel concierge won't let him into the girls' room).

Much better!  I love it!  Great stuff in there!

Lesson of the day:
Sometimes the backstory needs to become part of the story.

Then I spent the rest of the day developing my historical timeline.  Unlike the first book where the historical timeline was fictitious, I chose to go with Biblical events this time.

All things being equal, the former is far, far easier to get along with.  When it comes to actual, real events there are historians all over the place fighting eachother tooth and nail.  Choose your sides and break out your holy hand-grenades, folks.

It's all Kobayashi Maru.  There is no way to win.  Whichever interpretation you choose to go with, the other guy is sure to take offense and call you an imbecile.  And that's all if you don't notice some obscure little factoid and include some story element which is absolutely contradicted by history.

In other words, I have an all new respect for the Thoenes and those guys.  I tip my hat respectfully, and say, "your turf is safe from the likes of me!"

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, October 22, 2015

15 Years!

Well, I'm back.

"Back from where?" you may ask.

Well, I'll tell you, then.

(And, no, this is not a setup to a Back to the Future gag.)
(Though that would have been good too.)

What happened was DW and I just returned from our romantical getaway, celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary!  Yay!

This is a testament to the effectiveness of my relationship strategy.
Which is, as follows:
Step 1:  Find somebody amazingly attractive, and yet crazy enough to put up with your stupid.
Step 2:  Keep your darn fool mouth shut and don't mess it up.

Yeah, I joke, but it hasn't always been smooth sailing, that's for sure.
Happy times.  Sad times.  Fights.  Waxing the car by flashlight.  It's all part of the adventure.
(At least I'm assuming the rest of you have also done that last one.)

But God has held us together through the thick and thin of it.  I know we couldn't have made it without His help, and for that I am very grateful.  That's not just Christian platitude either.  We've seen "the perfect couple(s)" get married... and then divorced.  Meanwhile at our wedding there were actually guests placing bets how long we'd last!  Dead serious!  (Thanks guys.  Amiright?)

But here we are, right?  Somehow... Here we are!!!

And an even bigger miracle still, it's not a matter of, "I made a promise and I'm sticking to it" or "we're staying together for the kids".  No!  There's honestly nobody else I'd rather spend time with after all these years!

Adventures are even better with someone you love to share it with.
(Here's to many, many more Z!)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher