How much is too much?

My work-in-progress, Indomitable, has a lot of–well, everything.

Action: wildfire

Reaction: how it impacts the threatened town of Redford, Colorado (from Indivisible and Indelible) and involves the firefighters, police, politicians, and townspeople.

New leads: Incident Commander Nash Crawford, Hotshot Eva Cruz and all their firefighting supporting cast.

Returning characters: Police Chief Jonah Westfall, his wife Tia, the baker Piper, her OCD beau Miles, search-and-rescue Trevor, Jonah’s sidekick Jay and his various officers–all these and more playing roles in the story.

Main plot, subplots, threads from the previous novels, threads that might spur a new novel or novella.

All of this forms a tapestry in which the four main characters interact with the people and events in their lives. It is, I suppose, an ensemble cast with a lot of little side stories that are in one way or another sparked by the threat and then reality of the fire–a little like the TV series LOST where each person brings his story and they interweave with the others.

So that brings me to my question. How much is too much?
Many fine novels have one main character, a single point of view, a love interest or villain and a friend or two. The Reacher novels by Lee Child. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. Compelling, uncomplicated. Very straight-forward.

Mine, too, has a beginning, middle, and end, yet it’s a spiderweb of interconnected filaments. What I really want to know is whether that appeals or overwhelms. What characters would you want included? Do you like the back and side stories? Would you rather it were streamlined. What makes for a rich, pleasurable experience? Here is your chance to help me shape this at long last. Any and all thoughts welcome.

It’s a Smoothie Life

So I made this smoothie: Two little lemons–whole (peel, pith, seeds, you get it)–two palm sized broccoli florets, one whole zucchini, handful of baby carrots, kale and spinach…no, wait, here comes the sweet part: frozen mango, two bananas, and some thick berry juice. Blend it, blend it, blend it and voila! So refreshing. And I got to wondering, why does this work? Sour, bitter, pungent–shouldn’t that ruin the rest? Like a parking ticket ruins your day, or gossip ruins a friendship, or grief makes life hard to bear.

But what if it were only mango, banana, and berry juice? Where’s the tang, the nutrients, the fortification? The first taste of sweetness is a delight, but after a while it either loses its impact or cloys. There’s nothing for the other taste buds that just lie there unstimulated. That seems like a life with no risk, no sacrifice, no effort or even failure. But aren’t these what make us better–or at least try harder?

I read a booklet years ago called Conformity with God’s will. The premise was that we should delight equally in trials and triumphs because the whole of it is God’s purpose for us. The blending of the sorrows and the joys, the bitter and the sweet, the pungent and the pleasant prepares our souls for Christ.

I wonder what would happen if I embraced irritations, popped them in the blender with amusements. Heartache, in you go with ecstasy, because who can sustain either? But isn’t one better because of the other?

In Paul’s words to the Philippians: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Now, as I work my straw over the bottom of the glass, I’m fairly confident I’ll be healthier for it–and thankful that life has the richness and texture of whatever experience the Father knows we need.

To Read or Not To Read by Kristen Heitzmann

The other night between 12:30 and 4:00 when sleep eluded me, I began a quest to winnow the titles on my Kindle. As Camy Tang said in a previous post, collecting a long list of books to read is easier than getting through them. As with music playlists, I want every song that plays to be one I enjoy, so why have books around that I won’t like when I open them to read? In my music collection are a vast spectrum of styles from baroque to praise to Danish death metal–something for every mood. LOL.

I also read in a variety of genres with one criterion–it grabs me, woos me, impresses, amuses, or enlightens me. I love a story that makes me yearn. I love language so well-crafted it makes me sigh. I love characters I want to know. That’s what I want waiting for me when I open a new book. So in my quest for order among the chaos, I went title by title. I looked it up, read the synopsis and went to the reviews. What an enlightening experience.

It was like a huge critique group. Some thought the story the best they’d ever read. Others cringed at having to give one star. Some said the books were too complicated; others liked the complexity. But what really intrigued me was what the readers said they wanted in a story, what appealed or irritated them about the characters. Was the book true to the genre? Was it original or in any way set apart? Poor or no editing was an automatic dis-qualifier for me, though apparently that isn’t universally recognized.

The thing that came clear was that readers want to like a book. So many said, “I really, really wanted to like this, but for these reasons I couldn’t.” And of course there were the glowing reviews that expressed the things that left them wanting more. So, my question is what makes a book a keeper–or not–for you?

Words, Words, Words

Have you ever wondered what there is left to say? The words I write every day are the outgrowth of a yearning to express something lasting, something meaningful, entertaining, special. As God spoke creation into being, his breath stirred creative wonder within us. He gave us the ability to imagine and the desire to share our imaginings.

Rene Descartes said, “Cogito ergo sum.” I think, therefore I am. There’s no denying God has imbued every individual with a unique perspective and experience, and myriads choose to express it through written words. I love to teach aspiring writers, to see the energy and hope, the joy in the journey. I love to impart skills and encourage tenacity. I urge all of us to strive for excellence in expressing the stories we’re given to write.

Stories have power and purpose. They have the power to change lives–for good or ill.

But now it seems the literary world is inundated with words–EVERYONE with something to say and the avenue to say it, with or without the basic tenets of our language, the resonance of words used well–or correctly. And even with things written well, there’s the repetition, the repetition, the repetition. How many times can the tropes be rehashed in mind-numbing redundancy? In the immortal words of the Grinch, when is it all just noise, noise, noise?

Sometimes I think quiet might be very, very nice.

But then, there’s that flicker inside, that spark that ignites imagination, that unfurling of dialogue wanting a page. There are the characters finding substance in a scene and, always, the agony of the untold story.

Keeping it Fresh

For me writing is vocation, avocation, vacation, and variation. I’ve never gone with a publisher who is sold on the concept of branding because I know I have to go where the spirit leads. This is so intrinsic to my nature it comes out in many ways.

Before writing for publication, I expressed my creativity through fine arts of various forms. I had great success with clay sculptures that sold through a wonderful shop in historic Old Colorado City. I had an amazing following of collectors, some of whom would buy things sight-unseen that the proprietor would ship around the country. I loved creating these pieces and seeing what whimsy would come out when I sat down and took up the clay. What was the kiss of death? Orders. Prepaid orders. My husband would say, “It’s money in your hand. You don’t have to wait and see if something will sell. They already want it.” He did not understand that having an expectation hanging over me somehow killed the process. I would grit my teeth and make the thing, which was not at all the same as watching with delight what my fingertips wrought.

I don’t believe I could do a book for hire, or take on a preset project. I could not write, as some authors happily do, the same style story over and over again no matter how popular that formula was. Writing, like sculpture, is something I open up to, something that overtakes and carries me along. And it has to be fresh and variable. That’s why I love weather so much–it changes!

I’ve been working on a historical series, delving into settings and devouring actual news of the time etc. and I am excited about the stories that are coming out of that. I love how deep the characters are becoming and the different ways the stories are going. But…

I happened to open the contemporary wildfire novel I have in process the other day, and, wow, am I loving sinking my teeth back into that. So it seems with several stories in process, I am creatively energized by change and variation. It brings a freshness and joy to the process and keeps me at it and excitedly working scene after scene. Some might call this scatterbrained, but I guess I’d say why not? We use so little of our brains, why not fire up those resting neurons with a change of pace now and then?

Anyone else get this way? How do you keep it fresh?

On Writing

There are few joys like that of writing, to use what we take in, what we experience, what we long for, what we rage against to make something lasting and worthwhile. To draw from our imaginations the filaments that spin a web and snare winged glimpses of something more.

This is beauty. This is joy. An irresistible spring of a creative elixir we cannot help but drink. We are drunk with it, this act of writing that demands our participation. We are immersed and at its mercy.

But this beautiful world is fraught and perilous and not for the weak of spirit or faint of heart. According to Virginia Woolf:

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”

And still we write. We write because there’s a purpose and pleasure in telling tales, true or imaginary—and permit me to say the imaginary are also true, as true or more so than real life. Stories have souls made of words that transform and inform—perhaps the writer most of all.

It’s a journey of discovery, a peeling by Aslan’s claw of all our defenses until we step out and stand before him naked.

Flannery O’Connor says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

The act of writing reveals the writer as creation reveals the Creator. We become known even to ourselves through the words on our pages. And if we’re willing, if we have no fight left in us, we become known to the One who put that spark inside us.

We must be willing to enflesh the seed and let it grow until with great pains it comes forth. And when we look into the face of our beloved, we must be strong enough to accept it might be ugly, weak, barely formed and in drastic need of surgery.

Only then can we claim to be writers.

An Oyster’s Tale

When it comes to writing, I guess I’m an irritated oyster. I’ll be going along and realize there’s something inside that’s a little rough, a little edgy. It doesn’t sit right. It feels wrong. I take a look. Sure enough, there’s an issue or something that simply could be better. (See previous blog on good enough) Having located the irritant, I get to work and something new begins to take form, a pearlescent layer that improves some aspect but leads to another. With a little work another layer forms, then another and another, each one bringing a fuller, richer gleam.

Here’s an example from my work in (endless) progress. Years ago when I wrote my first series, I had a Native American character that I made Comanche. At the time, research materials were sparse. I knew the Comanche were a particularly feared tribe and thought that added contrast for this character who plays a noble role. In rewriting the series, I now have access to the truly horrific practices of this tribe, so for story reasons, I no longer felt it the best choice.


After researching the natives who had at least some presence in the Colorado territory, I settled on Jicarilla Apache—also scary and skilled in warfare but not as given to torture, especially of a sexual nature, as the Comanche. Having made the decision, I then sought out everything I could find. Many sites read like a tourist trading post, but some yielded documents with substance. For days I delved, getting a feel for the Jicarilla as a people. One book written by someone who spent time among them in 1845 yielded anecdotes, customs, and conversations from his personal interactions. I’ll draw from these to enrich later books as well. For now, I needed to establish my character.

As I had called him Grey Wolf, which was also the name of a Comanche chief of some renown, this too had to change. So I began a name search. Slogging through Native American baby names, I found Cherokee, Cheyenne, Lakota etc., but not a single name of Apache derivation. In tribal sites I found vocabulary I could combine like colors and animals but that still didn’t feel right. Digging deeper I found an account that explained that Apache boys/men were mainly unnamed until an attribute or a particular feat set them apart. (The women were rarely named at all)

In spite of this seeming impediment, I got excited. The wheels started turning. What might my character have done to be named? What would the name be and what did that say about him? This minor character wanted flesh, a story within a story.

Then I found a Jicarilla Apache text on Internet Archive that gave the actual Jicarilla language with an English translation beneath the words. Since I’m in love with languages, there will now be a smattering of Jicarilla in the story. And the English was as useful in its oddity. For instance: “There girl pretty. Then these men to her many gathered.” LOL. I am loving this.

Today I had the joy of incorporating my discoveries into the story. It was a few pages of prose and dialogue that brought Many Elk (Ts’ĩ Nes Kĩ Na Da Dzes meaning He Lay Down With Many Elk) and my heroine to life in a scene that was okay but now has a luminescence I wanted to give it.

So, there in excruciating detail is one tiny part of my process. Hopefully when this oyster opens, there will be a pearl some will appreciate for its depth, hues, tones, and the struggle that produced it.

What Drives Us by Kristen Heitzmann

I’ve come to believe there are two basic kinds of people–those who are content with good enough and those who feel a kick inside to always do better. There are benefits to both ways of thinking. The first yields peace of mind, low stress, and satisfaction–or I think it must, though I’ve never experienced it personally.

My husband and I use a brain training program with daily exercises. He will go through his training and grumble things like, “That’s my worst score ever,” then go on to the next challenge. I tell him he can play again and do better, but he says, “No, that’s how I did, now I’m moving on.” It might bother him, but not enough to change the outcome.

Now, I’m not saying I manically repeat every exercise every time, but, if I don’t get in my top five scores that thing kicks in and says, “Are you satisfied with that when you know you can do better?” It’s not a mean thing, more a checking in like, “How are you feeling about that score? Want another go?” It’s tenacity, I guess, or the understanding that there is always something to reach for.

That striving runs through everything I do. If I’m on the mountain trail all alone, puffing up a steep incline, chest aching, I tell myself, “You don’t have to do this. You can stop and no one cares or even knows.” And myself tells me, “Just push for that next ridge.”

It’s strongest of all when I’m creating, especially in writing. Lately, I’ve battled discouragement because it seems mediocrity is perfectly acceptable. I’m pretty sure it’s not even recognized as such. “Good enough” rules.

So it seems I’m constantly before the Lord. Is this pride, God, to want excellence to matter? Is it judgmental to cringe at errors I read and realize nine out of ten won’t know or care? Am I wrong to mourn such apathy? Maybe there’s a peace in accepting acceptable, but I’m not likely to experience it, because when I throw up my hands to the Lord, he says, “Just push for that next ridge.” And so I push.

Twelve Days of Christmas by Kristen Heitzmann

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Legend has it, that the familiar carol has a symbolic spiritual meaning.  There are different stories told about the reason for this coded symbolism and even differences in the possible meanings. Still, I like attributing something special to what could otherwise be a frivolous tune. In this version, the “true love” is God. It is God who gives each day’s gift. We know that all we have is from the Lord and that he delights in giving to us, his bride. In that spirit, delve with me into His delight.

The first day God gives the partridge in a pear tree, representing Christ himself and the cross by which he saved and redeemed us.

Two turtle doves are the human and Divine nature of Jesus (or the old and new testaments). Three French hens are faith, hope, and love. These are the virtues that enable us to live in a Christlike manner. The four calling birds the gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Five gold rings are the old testament books of the Torah.

Six geese a-laying are the days of creation in which God spoke into being all living things, the earth and universe to sustain us, all the beauty of nature to enchant us.

Seven swans a-swimming are the gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2) The maids a-milking are the Eight beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing: fruits of the Holy Spirit–Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness (Kindness), Generosity, Mildness, Faithfulness, Modesty (Chastity). (Galatians 5:22-23)

Ten leaping Lords are the Ten Commandments. Eleven pipers the faithful Apostles. Twelve drummers drumming are the points of faith in the Apostles creed. All of these are gifts from God that help us love and serve him. But what are the days themselves?

The twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and end on January 6th, the feast of Epiphany. This is a day that commemorates the three foreign wise men who went searching for the Christ Child. So great was their desire to see the newborn king that they traveled long and far, following a sign God put in the sky. They were not Jews, not God’s “chosen” people. Yet in seeking the Christ, they found him. They knocked and the door was opened to them. They came bearing gifts to honor the king, yet they would receive the greatest gift of all–salvation.

Through these wise men, God made clear that Jesus came for all, long before he was able to proclaim it himself. And so I invite you to join me in celebrating these twelve days, reflecting on the richness of faith given by God for our redemption, and in the welcome Jesus has for each seeking heart.

Mary, did you know? by Kristen Heitzmann


Advent is a beautiful season of hope and expectation, a time to ponder a young woman who bore within her the Christ, the Savior, yet also an infant who kicked, cried, and suckled like any other. There is a spiritual anticipation juxtaposed with human pain and extreme joy.

I often ponder how it must have been for the mother of our Lord. Like every mother, she surely anticipated her baby’s arrival with hope and trepidation. Sure, God had done a marvelous thing, brought into being the child in her womb. But what did that mean?

The song, “Mary, did you know?” explores what Mary experienced as she carried God’s own son, himself God, in her mortal womb.

Did she grasp the reality? Could you or I? Accepting the call of God through the Angel Gabriel, could she anticipate that those tiny perfect hands and feet would have nails driven through them? Did she imagine that the flesh that formed inside her, that perfect infant’s body would one day be scourged and crucified? I tremble at the thought. Surely God spared her mother’s heart the unfolding of his plan. Yet she had to birth her baby in a stable, to flee Herod’s wrath and live among strangers. In order to fulfill the creative work God began in her, she surrendered, and she suffered–as Simeon said she would–the piercing of her own heart.

While nothing I do compares to the incarnation, we all carry a divine spark that we must nurture. We don’t know what God intends for any creative work we surrender to his will, but we can believe–as Mary did–in a purpose larger than our understanding. In this season of hope and anticipation, even if it involves grief, as each season does for someone, we await with joy the revelation of God’s plan in our lives, in this world, and the next, everlasting. I trust He will accomplish what He began, because He is the great I Am.

Reviews: Pride or Priviledge?

“…for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” John 12:43

Whether shopping, traveling, or looking for a good book, it’s impossible to miss the relatively new phenomenon of publicized personal opinion. From the beginning of time, people have had opinions, but only recently has there been an avenue for complete strangers to express and access those opinions. Yes, I’m talking about reviews.

Want to find a restaurant? Run a search and check the reviews. Let’s not eat anywhere less than three stars. 93% of people like this movie. That’s worth the price of admission. This computer is more highly rated than that one. Wonder why? Read the reviews. I doubt there are many of us who don’t find this a valuable tool, even considering the top product reviews are often bought and paid for. If the one star reviews are personal issues or sour grapes, you may assume the rest are pretty accurate.

As consumers, researching the opinions of others can keep us from wasting money and time on poor quality things and experiences. None of us will agree on everything, but it warrants consideration when a number of people create a consensus. A high percentage of rave reviews can direct us to discover something we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

As authors, we can’t ignore the reality of reader reviews, and my question is, should we? The answers to that are as varied and individual as we are. For some authors, reading their own reviews is anathema. It seems like seeking human praise when the ratings are good or self-flagellation when they’re bad. It is a valid position to avoid reviews as a source of pride or pain, especially if it impacts our ability to do this thing we’re called to. I respect and understand that.

I have a different viewpoint, however. For me, reviews are a way to see God’s hand. I write because I need to. I publish because I’m called to. I give God the best I have, and when people post reviews it’s like a harmony to the melody I sing. Someone out there has added their voice to this work of God through me, and I’m so privileged to have them. I’ve been brought to tears by the recognition of God’s gift and been lifted from discouragement more times than I can say. I’ve been reminded of his purpose and power by the words of readers I’ll never know. This is precious and life-giving to me and to my work.

Are there sour notes in this song? Yes! I love that God gave me a sense of humor and a thick hide. There is nothing a reader can say about my writing that I haven’t thought myself plenty of times while ripping out and writing over. And then there are those who find God distracting or offensive, and what a great opportunity to pray. Lord, find them, touch them, heal them. Open their eyes. If I hadn’t read the review, I wouldn’t know their need.

But for all you readers who take the time to post reviews that encourage others to read and support the work I do to build the kingdom of God, know from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I read the words you take the time to write, and I’m blessed. I pray for others who will read your words and join the chorus, not for human praise, but in joyful recognition of the Source.


Spiritual Impact of Pretend People by Kristen Heitzmann

“If travail has a purpose, let me find it now. If honor needs a taker, O Lord me endow. If wisdom is a garment, let me wear it well: if goodness needs a champion, help me dark dispel.”  ~ Quillan Shepard

The thing I hear almost universally about my writing is, “The characters are so real,” and there’s a reason for that. While I’m writing, the characters are real. They act and speak and impart things that I put down on the page, sometimes in wonder. So it was an exciting thing for me to see my historical character Quillan Shephard’s poetry used as the foundation for a Facebook devotional on Coffee Break Devotions.

The blogger Lin Lowrimore, broke down the poem phrase by phrase and supported it with her own thoughts and with scripture:

“If travail has a purpose” –

Hebrews 12:11 states “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it”.
No matter the difficult situation in which we find ourselves – there is a purpose and there will be a time when we know the purpose. All we have to do is remain focused on our Heavenly Father through it all.

“If honor needs a taker, O Lord me endow”. The definition for honor is “uprightness, integrity, sincerity or high moral standard”. Scripture is filled with commands from God in HIS Word that we are to be upright, sincere and of high moral standard. Anything less is considered sin. In today’s world the idea of sin is simply not known or not discussed. Shame on us for not being honorable and upright, full of sincerity and high moral standard.

“If wisdom is a garment, let me wear it well”. When told he could ask for anything King Solomon asked for one thing – he asked for wisdom and as long as he focused on God and God alone – that wisdom served him well. How often in our modern lives do we fail to recognize the need for godly wisdom that can only come from the one TRUE God. We should pursue this so that it does become a garment that we wear well.

“If goodness needs a champion, help me dark dispel”. The definition of dark is “the absence or deficiency of light”. I don’t know about you but my thoughts of our world today is that there is a serious lack of light – that we are so engulfed in darkness that it is hard to find the light – THE Light – the Light that is Jesus Christ. We as Christian’s must dispel this darkness – God put us here to make the Light known – that is to make sure Jesus Christ is known.

Product Details

The whole devotional is available at the link above, but what I want to say here is how incredible an experience it is to have my character’s poetry pondered. I know people will say I wrote the poem–and that’s true in the purest sense–but it was being in Quillan Shepard’s mind with all his travails in The Tender Vine that brought this poem to light, and to me that’s the power of parable or the creative magic of fiction. The separation between author and character that allows his words to stand on their own merit and shine light into the world simply amazes me.

Christians Read Fall Catalogue Released

(Click below to view the Christians Read Catalogue, 2013 Fall Edition, which includes Chapter Excerpts!

My Quandary

So it’s like this. A few months ago I decided to self-publish my original historical series as eBooks. I began the process by scanning the print books into files. These I knew I would have to “edit.” Scanning isn’t perfect, after all. And I knew I’d want to make some changes–I wrote them fifteen years ago. And that was fine, because I really enjoy revisions.

So I got myself positioned on my treadmill desk and brought the first manuscript up on my laptop and started to work on what was actually a pretty good scan. What wasn’t good was…everything else. Oh, does fifteen years make a difference. I’ve heard from lots of readers who enjoyed these. They all made the bestseller lists in their day. But what I saw could be likened to a garden with a decent stone path and some great plantings completely overgrown and full of weeds.

My little heart sang. Here was a Herculean rewrite waiting to happen. And so it began. Whole pages–delete. Not all of them, of course. Some kept a phrase here and a sentence there. But I’m serious when I say I took that book down to the bone, and oh what fun to flesh it out again.

The characters remained, only way better, and the plot points are mostly intact, but, besides that–it’s a new book. Thus my quandary. Because there are still print versions out there (and I can’t find them all and bury them in the back yard) I’m worried people will confuse the two.

These are going to have spiffy new covers, so that might help. I debated about changing the titles, but aficionados may recognize the characters and events and believe I’m trying to pass off as new a book that’s only mostly new. On the other hand readers who discover the series in the eBook version might then buy the out-of-print paper version, thinking it will be the same.

I’ve created a conundrum and would so appreciate all the help I can get. New titles or no? Reader Note to tell former readers these are vastly different? Or does that put off new readers? How honest should I get?

The good part is that I’m in love with the characters, and having so much fun in the process, I can’t even worry too much about the outcome. It’s been a long time since I wrote historical fiction, so that’s a refreshing change, and variety is invigorating for me. I also know that everything I do with these, the first gifts from the Lord in my writing journey, will give him joy. So, for your glory, Lord–and help me do it right!

Growth Pains by Kristen Heitzmann

Well, friends, I am finally revising my very first historical series that has been out of print for some time. I’ll be bringing them out as e-books, with possibly a print-on-demand option. I’m really excited, but let me tell you, when I say revising I mean seriously revising. I’m hoping in a big way that those who read the original print version will barely recognize this iteration.

I know there are those of you who enjoyed, even loved, that series as it came out. But fifteen novels later, I’m so glad they went out of print and I have a chance at a do-over. I freely admit I’m a perfectionist. It’s possible to be that while recognizing nothing you do will ever be perfect. However that drive toward perfection is what makes me grow as a writer–and what makes it painful to see where I started.

I’m enjoying the process of ripping out the “I wrote THAT?” parts and refilling the scenes with more seasoned, better crafted writing. On the Myers Briggs personality scale, I’m entirely P and void in J, which means I would process and perfect ad infinitum if we didn’t depend on my finished product for food on the table and gas in the car. Because somewhere down the road, I’m going to look at this version and say, “I wrote THAT?”

But there is pleasure in having a better way to word something, in recognizing gaps in the plot and details that add richness. There is satisfaction that at this point of my journey, I’m not groping along (as much). In writing, as in life, I rarely wish I could go back. It’s that thrusting toward perfection that drives and inspires me. The knowing that He who began his work in me is completing it, that God will perfect in me not only my skills and talents, but my faith and my future.

I’m giving the work on this series the attention it deserves, because these tales were a gift to me. I honor that gift, and most of all the Giver, by making them the best they can be now. It seems a good way to approach anything. Learn from the past, find joy in the present, and anticipate what comes. And when a chance comes to polish up the past, grab it with both hands and run.


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