Sunday, December 3, 2023

Fourteen Chapters Down, Seven To Go!

The second edition of FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM is still coming along beautifully, and I can't wait to see how this story continues to develop. I'm still writing my way through expanding and developing the remaining chapters of Christine's journey, but there are exciting things happening behind the scenes in the coming weeks - and I can confidently say the new edition of this novel is already so much more powerful than it ever could have been when I first published it in 2013.

I'm also beginning to plot concepts and thoughts for the sequel! STILL FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM will be a fresh novel that completes Christine's story of rebuilding and reestablishing her life, her heart, and her confidence after domestic abuse.

Together, these novels are The Freedom Series, which will come with a pile of trigger warnings ranging from big things like rape and violence to smaller issues like language; the proudest moment of my time as an author is still the moment when a reader confessed being unable to read FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM, because it was too triggering for her own memories and experiences. For me as an author, that moment felt like a powerful confirmation of my effort to bring people into the reality of abuse survivors. I hope the story finds readers who won't shy away, because it's such a raw and unpretentious exploration of what life is like for survivors of traumatic relationships.

Christine's story is a heart-wrenching read, but it's also a heart-wrenching reality for victims everywhere, and the world is far too full of people who turn their heads and look the other way. For readers with open, compassionate hearts, The Freedom Series is a beautiful way to develop new perspectives on recovery, therapeutic practices, mental and physical wellness, self-defense, personal growth, and yes, finding the faith and courage to love vulnerably again after such a terrible experience.

I would love to think Christine will have the chance to inspire people living in terrible situations, that she will lend them the hope and the courage to begin to change their lives But ultimately, my greatest prayer over every word of this novel is that Christine's story will help people who don't know what it's like, to see another side of how difficult it is to "just walk away." I pray compassion blooms in the heart of every reader this book reaches - because we all know someone who has, or is, living a life like Christine's. And every real-life Christine deserves a chance to bloom.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

We're Getting There ...

This was a super busy week for my family, with lots of things happening all at once. I managed with the grace of God to fit my whole week of scheduled writing tasks into three days (including my Stephen Ministry class and Tuesday and my youngest being out of school on Wednesday!), which was especially beautiful because it allowed me to take Thursday and just enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday on what would usually have been a writing day. My girls and I went to spend the afternoon with some friends from church, and it was an incredible day!

Friday we got our house cleaned and then I whipped out all my favorite Christmas decorations - my house is now properly gnomed for the Christmas season, and I am absolutely in love with our beautiful new tree. The one we were using before was a large tree, but it was a traditional tree with a wide circumference that took up a huge portion of our living room floor, and I loved the look but hated the lack of space. This year we have a gorgeous new tree - it's super tall so it still feels like a large tree, but it's a skinny tree so the footprint is much more workable! I'm still working on decluttering, but so far I love how it turned out!

On the writing front, the second edition of FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM now has 13 out of 21 chapters finished with the initial rewriting and re-editing, and I can't even express how excited I am about the way this powerful story is developing. I was proud of it when I first published it (I would never publish something I feel is subpar) but I'm so much more proud now with the new developments and changes in the story. This is still part of a long-term publishing plan, but each new chapter is another step on the journey, and I'm so looking forward to sharing it here as it unfolds!

Sunday, November 19, 2023

We're Past the Halfway Point!

With the holidays approaching, I expect my writing pace to slow somewhat - although I doubt my enthusiasm will let it slow down much! I've been using a planner to help keep track of my daily writing goals and it has been so helpful, not only in keeping me on track and motivated, but also in pacing myself so that I still keep my kids fed and my house cleaned. This is also the first year in a long time that I've been so excited about the holiday season - I even bought a new Christmas tree for our apartment, and I've been holding myself back from putting it up for weeks now. The girls and I are working toward a snowman-themed tree, but it's a challenge to find ornaments that fit the color scheme we're edging toward, so it's little by little, but it's coming along.

In the meantime, Christine's story is coming along too - my right hand gal is currently in possession of chapters eleven and twelve! So in honor of passing the halfway mark, how about a little teaser?

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Ten Chapters Down, Eleven To Go!

There's so much I can't wait to share about FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM and the way it had grown. It's not just about the added scenes and increased richness of detail and character in the story; a story is so much more than a page number or a word count. It's about what we can take forward as part of ourselves after reading it, and I hope Christine's story gives people an inside look at the struggle behind the question so many people ask. When it comes to domestic abuse of any kind, people always seem to ask, "Well, why doesn't she just leave?" But there's so much more to it, when you look behind the scenes.

It's about the hope a victim has, the way they hold out waiting for something better to develop - or to come back. It's about the way so many people struggling with these kinds of relationships are dealing with feeling trapped in some way, whether that's because they're physically afraid to leave, because they're emotionally afraid to walk away or be alone, or because they're financially trapped and have no avenue of escape or support network to help them. Sometimes, like with Christine's friend Naomi, there are also religious considerations.

For some people, it's a quick decision, and none of those other things matter. But when you're in a situation, especially one you never envisioned catching yourself in, those factors all come into play. It's so much more complicated than just, "Why doesn't she leave?" I hope this story opens a new dialogue, opens new avenues, inspires people to do more, be more aware. I hope it moves us to compassion.

Chapter ten is complete, and as I'm nearing the halfway point of the novel, I'm so very proud of this second edition writing of Christine's story. I can hardly wait to see it go into the world - sticking to my planned publishing schedule for these is going to be so hard!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Chaffles, Anyone?

Wow, you guys. I literally am bursting with excitement, waiting to be able to share the updated version of FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM with you. This book and the growth in the characters is amazing, and I'm so proud of the way it's all developing. It's slow this week because my older daughter was sick and kept my busier than usual with mom duties, but seriously, it's so good.

In other news, I've fallen madly in love with chaffles. I'm actually allergic to wheat, but I wasn't always, and the loss of bread and simple foods like sandwiches has been a major adjustment to my world in the last three years. I've tried lots of wheat-free alternative breads, and most of them just don't cut it...but chaffles? I can't even express how much little joy I have in the idea of being able to just make something simple again.

But back to Christine and her fabulous story of growth and overcoming the battle of a horrible marriage: currently, the second edition of this novel is finished through chapter eight, with chapter nine in process with my favorite beta reader/proofreader/editor. Chapter ten is nearly ready to head her way too, and I'm thrilled to be approaching the halfway point with this novel!

Sunday, October 29, 2023

A Little Bit of Background...

There's so much going on in my life, but none of it is holding back my excitement to be working with Christine and her story! One of the greatest things I've learned about writing professionally during the time I spent taking a break was to keep notes on everything - and that's one of the biggest things I'm doing as I work my way back through FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM. As I work through the rewrites of this book, I'm preparing myself for the time spent writing the sequel (STILL FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM) by taking lots of notes and building meticulous biographies for each character, as well as making diagrams of spaces and scenes so that I can reference them accurately with less hassle.

To be honest though, that's just the back-level stuff that'll give you a better book in the end; what really keeps me going is the thrill of watching Christine's story grow and develop. FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM has always been about Christine's escape from a truly horrific marriage and her growth as a woman; it's an incredible story of one woman's journey from victim to victorious. But so much more, it's a powerful portrayal of the gift of human compassion in the face of struggle, the strength of will it takes to survive, and the power of a phoenix rising from the ashes.

The dialogue in this second edition is richer, the emotion is deeper, and the realism is so much...more...than it was before. I'm already so proud of this second edition writing of FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM, and I can't wait to share it with you! Currently, FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM is finished through the end of chapter seven - I'm waiting for chapter eight to come through beta reading, but I'm also already digging into chapter nine. I love that this chapter-by-chapter style has allowed me to follow and develop the original story and address issues before I get too far away from them in the timeline, keeping details as accurate and realistic as possible.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Six Chapters Down, Fifteen to Go!

FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM is still coming along beautifully, and I am loving the newly finished chapters! The progression of this story is amazing, and I am enjoying every second I spend working through Christine's growth as she progresses from victim to survivor.

It's funny to look back and remember the first writing of this novel and the memories and plans that went into it though, because so much of it before was built on the experiences of others, experiences that I witnessed and internalized as a child. Now, I'm seeing the story of Christine's struggle and her growth in a new way, influenced by memories and experiences of my own in the years since originally writing this story. There's so much growth based on advice I've given and been given, things I've seen and now been through personally, and the influence of the growth of my own faith - both in myself and in God's protection and provision.

This isn't a Christian novel - and it won't be transformed into one - but I'm so proud and excited to be able to refresh it with a new outlook and a new optimism! It's the building block of a dream...not only a novel, but also the foundation of the kind of response I hope the world begins to develop in regard to domestic abuse. I can't wait to share this new second edition of FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM!

But for now, back to writing...