Violets Are Blue is COMPLETE!

26 December 2010

Yes, you read right! My book, Violets Are Blue (previously titled Peril on the Sea), is officially finished! Well, finished being written, that is. The editing is the stage in which I am in now. But I actually am enjoying the editing, because the material is already there--all I have to do is change a sentence so that it flows better; alter a chapter a little so that the message is clearer; check my facts on the sinking of the Titanic, etc. I've immersed myself in SO much research and read so many books involving this infamous ocean liner that I could practically tell you every detail. A friend of mine even had a really neat book called The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters that contained real-life accounts from survivors, photos, etc. Click here for the book on Amazon.

Since I am still editing, I shall not post the word count yet, because that is altered by a small amount in the editing process. When it is completely edited and ready for the next step--publishing!--I will post word count, page count, etc. 

I should tell you, too, that my book has been finished for almost a month--I finished it on November 31st. And I failed to let you know, other than a little P.S. at the bottom of one of my posts. :( I know, I know--I should have let you know sooner. But what with my dance studio's recital (and dress rehearsals) and then the busy-ness of Christmas, I simply haven't had the time to put together a celebratory post until now.

In honor of the completion of my book, I have decided to post a short excerpt. I am normally hesitant to post excerpts on my blog, because I don't want them stolen. But this shall be a rare exception. I hope you enjoy, especially since this is one of my favorite scenes. :) Please keep in mind while reading, though, that all of this writing is mine, and any copying of any kind is absolutely prohibited. Please respect that. And secondly, I would greatly appreciate any advice--compliment or criticsm--that you would like to give me. Thank you!

I was walking home from the factory one evening, when I happened to stop at Mr. O’ Neale’s blacksmith forge.
“Hello, Violet!” Mr. O’ Neale called out to me.
“Hello, Mr. O’ Neale,” I answered in a faint voice.
“Saints preserve us! What is wrong with you, Vi? Yer lookin’ a bit sick.”
“Nothing is wrong with me, although I am tired. It’s the factory,” I said, as if that explained everything. 
He nodded in a knowing fashion. 
“I heard from your little brother that you and yer mam were workin’ there. Are you at the clothing factory?”
I nodded.
“Aye, me old bones get to achin’ just hearin’ about it. That Mr. Woods is quite a gentleman isn’t he?” His voice was sarcastic.
I nodded again, pleased that he knew of Mr. Woods, yet curious at how the two had become acquainted. 
“He’s terrible, Mr. O’ Neale! The way he makes us work, in that heat…” I trailed off.
“Did he slap you?”
I blushed. I had forgotten about the scene earlier in the week, in which Mr. Woods had taken out his anger on my left cheek.
Suddenly, everything started to seem oppressive. I heard Mr. O’ Neale speaking, but I couldn’t make out the words. My stomach twisted, my head felt faint, and the street seemed to spin under me. I felt my knees buckling. 
“Violet!” someone called my name from far away. I heard footsteps.
I was falling, falling, and I couldn’t think why. Memories of the factory today made my head spin, and I began to feel more and more dizzy. 
But I didn’t hit the street, as I had expected. Instead, I seemed to rise above it, as though I was flying, cradled by strange arms I did not recognize. I heard Mr. O’ Neale speaking again:
“Yer quick, lad! There, catch her before she hits her head! Steady now, don’t let her fall. Her apartment’s just up this flight of stairs.
Who was quick? Who was going to hit her head? I heard a door open, and then the creaking of stairs as someone walked up them.
Voices suddenly started calling my name, in varying tones of alarm. I felt someone, Emma perhaps, place a cool rag on my forehead.
“She’s fainted. Get her to bed, quickly.”
I recognized the voice, but I couldn’t think who it could be. 
And then everything went black.

Glory to God in the Highest!

24 December 2010

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12"And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

This record of the birth of Jesus as written by Luke is by far my favorite version. There is more depth in the old time language used in the in the King James version, a depth that doesn't seem as present in the NIV or the NLT. The words seem to leap off of the page--"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the LORD."

Unto US. The Father gave His only Son, to be born as a baby and killed on the cross only thirty-two years later, for US. That's how much He loves us. We are sinners; we steal; we cheat; we lie; we're disrespectful to our parents. And it was for that reason that God knew, without His Son, we could not have eternal life.

We are entirely undeserving of eternal life. We all deserve to be separated from God. But because of Jesus, we can have a close relationship with the LORD, and we can live forever with Him. 

It almost brings tears to my eyes when I think of the sacrifices the LORD made for us. We, who are broken, weary, tired, and weak can find eternal strength in Him, because of what He gave. And yet, when Christmas rolls around every year, all we can think of are what presents we hope to receive, Christmas music, decorations, and all that. We lose sight so often of the true meaning of Christmas. 

I realize that what I'm saying may sound unoriginal and certainly very hard to follow.  "Yes, yes, I get it," you say. "I shouldn't get distracted by all the "extras," and I should focus more on the LORD. But it's so hard! What do I DO?"

I suggest you search your Bible for verses dealing with the birth of Jesus, trying to glean what you can. Read a little each day leading up to December 25th, preparing your heart for the coming of Jesus.

I have found that this year, my outlook on Christmas has changed. I am still excited for Christmas morning, and I'm looking forward to what I might find under the tree. But the real thing that brings me to tears and stirs my heart is thinking about the sacrifice He gave for us. When I read of Jesus' birth straight from His Word, when I listen to songs like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" or "The First Noel" I am amazed, simply amazed at the power of the LORD. It's like I'm learning all of these things for the first time. "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" don't stir me in this way.

This Christmas, try setting Jesus on your heart, and not just saying He is the best part of Christmas--realizing that He really is

10And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12"And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

15 December 2010

Just like the ones I used to know,

Where the treetops glisten, 

And children listen,

To hear sleighbells in the snow.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, 

With every Christmas card I write,

May your days be merry and bright,

And may all your Christmases be white.

(This last one is my entry for Olivia's Words For Snow art contest. I highly suggest you enter--the prizes are stupendous!)


NOTE: We don't normally get much snow in the south, much less in December, so this was truly a surprise! Immediately after there was enough, I ran outside to take these pictures. I said to my sister that snow in December is, in my opinion, prettier than snow in January, because snow in December is paired with delightful strains of Christmas music, Christmas decorations, and delicious scents from baking cookies--all which seem to belong with snow. Snow in January is just winter.
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