The Next Big Thing

 “I am not proud, but I am happy; and happiness blinds, I think, more than pride.” 

 Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo

 

Photo by: Keven Law

The title of this blog is in no means an indication of how I feel about my work-in-progress. I was invited to participate in this event by my author friend, Pauline Conolly. Therefore,  I will use this time to introduce my work: SHINE!  which is scheduled for release next Spring by Faith and Reason Publishing.

 
That being said, here goes:
 
 
 
 
1.) What is the working title of the book?
                     SHINE!
 
2.) Where did the idea come from:
                     A sincere desire to share with others my life’s journey to find spiritual wellness.
 
3.) What genre does it fit into?
                   I think it most closely resembles spirituality and  personal growth works.
 
4.) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition of your work?
                    Well, since this is an autobiographical, spiritual development book with no characters except myself, this  really doesn’t apply. 
 
5.) Can we have a one sentence synopsis of the work?
                     To be a spiritually mature you must SHINE and bring light to the darkness wherever it is found.
 
6.)  Will it be self-published, or represented by an agent?
                    It will be published by Faith and Reason Publishing with no agent involved.
 
7.) How long did it take to write the first draft?
                   Not long, just a  few of weeks, but the editing process has been going on for a long, long time.
 
8.)  What other books would you compare it within your genre?
                    Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer and Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, but I am not saying that  SHINE!  is anywhere as near motivating, profound or as well-written.
 
9.) Who or what inspired you to write the book?
                    All my college studies in spirituality and spiritual formation left me with a desire to better myself, and grow in my faith, to really SHINE.
 
10.) What else about the book might pique the readers’ interest?
                    It is a brutally honest look at the pitfalls we all become trapped in and that lead to darkness in the soul. I hold nothing back in the process of exposing my own shortcomings to the Light with the hope that it might help others avoid the same traps.
 
Authors invited to participate include:
 
Jody A. Kessler – www.jodyakessler.com
 

Vincenzo Bilof –  http://vincenzobilof.blogspot.com/

 
 
 

“If you done it, it ain’t bragging.”
Walt Whitman
 
 
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The Chair Without A Back

“Young people don’t always do what they’re told, but if they can pull it off and do something wonderful, sometimes they escape punishment. ”
―  Rick Riordan

All of us have stories from our childhoods; stories that contributed to the development of our characters or were simply an expression of that character as it developed. One of my most memorable stories involves a chair without a back.  It began with an ordindary dinner at the kitchen table and ended with a permanent memento of my desire to explore life from all angles.

I don’t recall what led me to stick my head through the horizontal rungs of my kitchen chair. I don’t know if I was simply trying to see what was on the other side, or if I was simply bored.  Neither can I remember actually sticking my head through the slats. However, I can clearly remember not being able to remove it.  Unable to free myself, I began to wiggle and scream. It wasn’t long before my dad came to the rescue. I CAN clearly remember the sound of the saw as it ate through the wooden slats just inches away from my neck.  That chair remained my personal “seat of honor” at the family dinner table, a testimony to the follies of childhood.

An assortment adventures which run from a series of  bee stings from constantly running barefoot in the clover, to a wasp sting from spitting at a wasp nest,  to getting bit on the nose by a snapping turtle that I tried to rub noses are topped of with being chased by an entire herd of dairy cows one Christmas season. An experience that left one shoe in the quicksand, and a slamming door flapping behind me while I cowered under my bed.  I am not certain whether these misadventures shaped me or were fashioned by me as a result of my insatiable curiosity, inability to follow rules and sheer stubbornness. Regardless, they are part of who I am today.

I would love to hear from you about the stories that have shaped your life, or which are an expression of who you are. Feel free to add to this discussion and let’s get to know each other.

 

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
―  John Connolly, “The Book of Lost Things”  

 

 

Why In The World Am I Doing This?

My Girls

Many years ago, at the age of 15, I found myself pregnant in a culture where “good girls” didn’t do things like that. I became a social pariah, and which was worse, an outcast from the faith that for so long been my only emotional support. I married the baby’s father on my 16th birthday, an abusive, alcoholic drug addict, and thus began a long slide into several divorces and other abusive relationships. However, it also led me into a lifelong pursuit of truth and knowledge as my emotional and spiritual needs were just not being fulfilled in either my relationships or my current worldviews. As much as I was able, I attempted to address this need by reading everything I could in this area, but the hunger for advanced education persisted. Unfortunately, this desire for learning took a back seat to the responsibilities of raising five daughters, but eventually I was able to start pursuing my dreams; dreams which culminated in two Master’s Degrees and three published books, two novels and one non-fiction book on spiritual direction.

 My journey has not been easy. I have had to overcome the trauma of divorce, the ramifications of being an abused child and spouse, and the inherited tendency toward depressive episodes. In addition, as a pregnant teenager I was, for most of my life, in the lower social-economic strata. Thus I was continually faced with financial challenges while trying to ensure that my children had more than just the basic necessities so that they might grow into fully confident and accomplished adults. I did succeed in this area and am proud of them; proud that they have well-balanced lives, proud that they have not succumbed to the pressures of substance abuse, and proud that all of them have had enough confidence and motivation to pursue and succeed in the areas of advanced education.

 However, I want to do more. I want to reach more people. I want to help others through the type of trials that I went through. I believe that the way to do this is to learn more about religion, education, counseling and writing in order to bring to the faith-based denominations an ecumenical outlook toward the various doctrines which currently only serve to divide and discredit Christian Spirituality.  I want to be able to provide comfort and solace to others that experience the underbelly of life whether it be addictions, poverty, mental disorders, or lack of educational opportunities, and I believe that a united faith, one devoid of doctrinal issues, is the key to reaching those that are in the most need.

 In addition, I have had a lifelong love affair with the written word. It was my passion, my dream and, next to raising my children, my greatest accomplishment. It manifested itself in many ways including the publication of two novels, numerous articles and newspaper stories, children’s literature, poetry as well as adult literary fiction. I pursued advanced education in this field and achieved a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. This love for the written word extends itself into my teaching philosophy as I seek to instill in all my students not only a passion for writing but the ability to write clearly, concisely and effectively. I know that not every student will fall in love with the written word like I did, but I strive to at least give them a taste of what is possible when one communicates successfully in writing.

 It is my goal to combine these three passions, faith, writing and teaching, in such a way that I may help others learn, grow and prosper in their academic, professional, creative and spirituals lives and, I am humbled by the trust my students, my friends and my family have in me and my small attempts to help others. I honestly don’t know if I am worthy to do this, if I have the talent, the skills and/or the brains to even try this, but if I don’t try, I will never know.  So, I thank you all in advance for your patience, love and support.

God’s Peace,  Nancy