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I thought this important enough to add an additional post today.

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. I’m on up there in age, so that’s not so special, but I got to share my birthday with my niece’s outward representation of being “born again”–her second birthday. My Sara was baptized yesterday!

And afterward, my family met at my sister’s house for lunch and Sara came running to give me a birthday present that she bought with her own money(she’s 7). A book. She knows how much her NeeNee loves books. She did a great job of picking out a book that I’m sure to enjoy.

Isn’t it amazing how creative our dreams are?

Last night I dreamed that a plane crashed into the snow-covered mountain behind my house.

My daddy called to ask if I saw anything (he heard about the crash on TV). I went outside to look for smoke and as I turned toward the mountain, an avalanche was headed toward me. I ducked (I truly don’t know what to do to avoid being stuck under feet of snow). The rumbling stopped just inches away from me.

Thankfully it was a dream, although the mountain behind my house was gorgeous.

I’ve had quite a few plane-crash dreams. I’m not certain why. Sometimes I’ve been on the plane as it hurls toward the ground. Through those awful dreams, I’ve always had a sense of peace–that no matter what the outcome, everything would be okay.

Now if I could harness the creativity found in my dreams and divert it to my novels, then all would be wonderful.

I have used dreams as inspiration for novels. One in particular is about a man, running with a boy beside him, racing to avoid being struck by a plane that is coming toward them. While I haven’t gotten to that scene in the book, and may not ever since I now write historicals, I often wonder why they are running.

And I wonder why I dream so often about planes. I wanted to take flying lessons as a high school student. My daddy wouldn’t pay for the lessons(he’s a very cautious man and afraid of flying–may have something to do with the fact that a plane he was on lost one of its engines in flight).

I interviewed for an air traffic control position, but never followed through with the process. I think I had a good chance at being chosen. I was dating my husband at the time and didn’t want to go to Oklahoma for the training.

Was I supposed to be in the air? Who knows, but my dreams take me there quite often.

I wrote yesterday about the 10,000 hour rule.

My pastor, though he has his Bible open as he preaches, doesn’t have to look at it. It seems he has most of it committed to memory. How would he accomplish this unless he has spent a great number of hours studying the Word. I have always been amazed at his ability.

I’ve always described my pastor as a cross between Billy Graham (a great evangelist) and Charles Stanley (a great preacher)–my pastor is both of those things.

Jerry Jenkins’ advice to writers is to check out the competition. Even the edgy stuff.

So with his permission, I read “Writing Jane Austen” by Elizabeth Aston.  I cringed at the taking of the Lord’s name in vain, but it was otherwise a fairly clean read.

I’m leery of the Jane Austen knock-offs. My husband bought me the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for a birthday present last year. I still haven’t read it. It is not exactly what I choose to read. But I enjoyed “Writing Jane Austen”.

The poor character in the book has writer’s block. I don’t exactly have a problem with writer’s block. Ideas seem to flow easily and I enjoy letting the story come to me as I write–I don’t snowflake or outline (the snowflake method was mentioned in the book–I got the distinct feeling the author knows Randy Ingermanson, the Snowflake guy –the male character in the book is a physicist, too).

I don’t like revision. That’s why you’ll find many blunders on my blog posts.  I was supposed to be working on the revisions of my novel, but I elected to read this book instead–trying to postpone the dreaded task.

Anyway, I got a little perturbed at the character who had never read a novel by Jane Austen and didn’t until half-way through the book. I wanted to shake the girl and say, “READ THE BOOKS!”

And that is my suggestion. Read the books. I love Jane Austen.

I’ve been reading two books this week: Outliers–the Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell and Writing for the Soul by Jerry B Jenkins.

I’m glad I read the two books together, because they complement each other. Seems like an odd combination.

I actually didn’t “read” Outliers–I listened to it on CD to and from work. Otherwise, I would have only gotten through one of the books.

I wanted to read Outliers after hearing others talk about the 10,000 hour rule.  People who have obtained greatness have spent 10,000 plus hours on their passion–whatever it is–music, math, law, technology.

To achieve 10,000 hours in a pursuit, you would need to spend 3 hours a day for ten years on that endeavor.

For Jerry Jenkins, it was writing. I don’t know how many hours he wrote prior to achieving his fame from the Left Behind Series (70 million copies sold), but it was a lot. He made it a rule to not bring home work from the office(which was writing) and not write until the kids went to bed. So he wrote his freelance work between 9 PM and 12 AM —3 hours. He started writing for the local newspaper while in high school and he is in his late fifties now. He has put far more than 10,000 hours in writing. And, I would say, he’s achieved some measure of success (that’s putting it mildly).

Anyway, I’ve not written anywhere close to the required 10,000 hours. I need to start a log of writing related activities–learning the craft, reading, writing, going to writers conferences.

So, it shouldn’t have been any surprise that I would have something to learn from Mr. Jenkins’ critique of the first couple of pages of my book, Eve’s Apple.

There are other factors that contribute to success: your culture, the time frame and opportunity. The only variable we truly have control over is the time–how we use it is up to us.

Interesting post on the almost perfect game:

It is my pleasure to introduce Mickey Glasscock as my guest blogger today.  In this picture he is saying, “You wanna “piece” of this?”  I wouldn’t mess with him.

Here’s his story about a hairy situation:

Hello my name is Mickey, an average guy in a topsy turvy world.

My future sister-in-law asked me to share a story about myself that happened several years ago.

I was 27 years young, enjoying single life and the club scene.

When my buddy and I went clubbing we would always dress to impress from the clothes on our back to the shoes on our feet.

I also made sure my hair piece was freshly washed and smelling good. Oh yeah, I wore a hair piece back then.

You see I began losing my hair when I was a senior in high school and by age 24 it was gone!!!

A baby’s bottom had more hair on it than the top of my head did. This was a very hard thing to live with at such a young age. The only time I didn’t have a hat on was in the shower and the bed. Believe you me it was rough times!!

Then I saw a commercial for hair pieces from a place in Raleigh and the rest was money in their account.

My “piece”, as I liked to call it, was removable. It fit to my existing hair using three clips (one on each side and one in the back) and velcro in the front. I had individual velcro pads which I stuck, two at a time, to my fore head (it made me look like a martian). After clipping the three clips to the sides and back, I’d pressed the front of my piece to the velcro pads and I was red to go!!

This gets me back to my story which was me and my friend going clubbing.

It had been a couple of years since I started wearing my piece so I had confidence in the way I looked when going out.

On this particular Saturday night we were going to a club in Raleigh.

Upon entering the club, my buddy and I went our separate ways and it wasn’t long afterwards I found myself dancing with a fine looking philly. I don’t like to brag but I felt I was a great dancer and on this particular night, I was really grooving.

The philly I was dancing with couldn’t take her eyes off of me; it was as if I was mesmerizing her with my moves.

Not only that but I also noticed people standing off the raised dance floor watching and pointing at me also.

Boy I thought, Michael Jackson and Elvis himself didn’t have anything on me tonight.

We finished that dance and three more before leaving the floor.

People were still looking at me when I saw my buddy motioning for me across the club.

With chest poked out and feeling like John Travolta in Saturday Nite Fever, I made my way over to him.

As I got closer to my friend, I noticed moisture in his eyes; it looked as if he’d been crying.

I asked if he were okay and after collecting himself and telling me he was fine, he grabbed me by the shoulders and pointed me at one of the many mirrors in the club.

You know, black lights used in clubs are amazing things, they make things glow and in this case it was my hair and as I stood there looking at myself, my head glowing in a greenish hue, I realized several things. The first was the tears in my friend’s eyes were tears from laughing at my green glowing head, the second was I probably wasn’t as good of a dancer as I thought because those folks and that philly were gawking at me for a totally different reason than what I thought and third and fore most was that you should never wash your hair piece in well water from your home.

Well-water contains mineral deposits in it, one of which is lime and these deposits aren’t harmful unless you decide to go to a club equipped with black lights!!

Well, even though the laugh was on me that night, it didn’t stop me from having fun; I continued to dance and had a good time pretending it was my dancing the people were looking at and not my glowing green hair!!!

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

So, these lyrics have been going through my head today.
Because that’s what my characters seem to be doing all the time. I counted–over 270 times they “turn” or “return”.
They should be dizzy with all that turning, don’t you think?
This is a neat website: Listen to Dizzy
You can read the scripture by clicking HERE.

Happy people smile.

My characters in Absalom’s Beauty are extremely happy. I have the word “smile” or some variation in my manuscript 116 times in a book of 346 pages.

Ridiculous, huh?

I have to work on fresh writing. The doubting side of me says I’m not smart enough to come up with that many ways to convey the same emotion.

How would you describe this smile?

I just started the 3rd or 4th major revision on my novel, Absalom’s Beauty,  using Margie Lawson’s lecture packet, Empowering Characters’ Emotions.

She suggests searching your document for words like shrug.

I did.

In my 77,757 word manuscript, I used the word shrug, 10 times. I’m hoping to decrease that down to maybe 2 after reading all her lecture.

I’m very excited about using her system, especially since, as a psychologist,  she knows all about body language and emotion.

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