Saturday, September 27, 2014

Story…The Great Connector

It seems that everywhere I turn lately people are grasping hold of the idea of telling your story.
Story…it seems to be the catchphrase of the day. Just google the word and you will see what I mean. There is a...
  • magazine in Kentucky
  • store in New York
  • restaurant in Kansas City
  • nightclub in Miami
  • conference for creatives in Chicago
  • seminar and a book by screenwriter Robert McKee
  • band in the UK 
  • scriptwriting software
  • Disney family photo app for storytelling

All of which go by the name Story. And of course, who could forget Paul Harvey's, The Rest of the Story.  So you see there seems to be this almost obsession with the word, or rather the concept ofStory.

We all know that this concept of story is nothing new. Since the beginning of time, stories have existed. Stories have always been fascinating to the human race. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God(John 1:1-4).  Our creator, God, speaks to us through His Word using 'story' as one avenue to tell us many stories that bring understanding to our own stories, our own purpose, as it fits into the bigger Story. His Story.

The methods of telling our stories have changed through the years, but the fact remains that whether it be through the spoken word, the written word, or even on the big screen, we still have an innate desire to either hear or tell a good story. 

History is told through story. More than just a string of facts, it gives us a treasury of lessons learned and points us to a better way of living into the future. History gives us heroes to emulate...teaches us to dream big. It shows us that there is always something to be learned…even through failure. 

In East Of Eden, John Steinbeck puts it this way,
I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one…Humans are caught-in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too-in a net of good and evil…There is no other story.  

I believe that Mr. Steinbeck captured the essence of storytelling.  We are all in this epic adventure…one of the struggle between good and evil. We see ourselves in the stories told. We come to understand life...our own life...through the telling of those stories. We sympathize with the characters within the stories we hear, and especially through those that we ourselves tell. 

In one other quote from Steinbeck's book we read the musing of Adam Trask's servant, Lee: 
And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And I here make a rule-a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting-only the deeply personal and familiar.
While I am not sure that I am in complete agreement to that last quote, I do know that it is human nature to listen more intently when the story being told resonates within us. When there is something being told that we can relate to on a deep and personal level our ears perk up. We lean in and listen just a bit more intently as we connect in some way to the telling of a good tale…whether truth or fiction. 

I think Steinbeck hit the nail on the head when he said, "…a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last."  There is a great and lasting story…in HIS story, God's Word.  And yes…we are all a very important part of that story. 
It is the very promises within that great story that keep us going, that give us hope. 

One of my favorite modern day storytellers is Liz Curtis Higgs. She is especially good at the retelling of the stories of the women of the Bible. In talking about the story of Ruth, she tells us that the Hebrew word that opens the story, wayehi, is translated as, "In the days," or "And it came to pass." She says that this Hebrew word actually embodies so much more to those original Hebrew listeners. When they heard the word, wayehi , they would lean in eagerly so as not to miss a word, because it literally meant, "Trouble is on the horizon but redemption is coming."  

Trouble is on the horizon but redemption is coming! Isn't that just the essence of a really good story?  We want to hear what that trouble will be and we can endure the telling because we know that redemption is coming…things will be set right once again, by something or someone! And because we know there is something good to come of the bad, we eagerly lean in to hear the tale…the story.

STORY…what comes to your mind when you hear the word? Do you love a certain kind of story because it represents your own 'happily ever after'?  


I hope you'll come back to visit next week as I continue to delve into this word…this concept…to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. 

Come back and be ready to lean in! {Story part 2…Redeemables}








..."The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim. ~Romans 10:8

 If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy one I wrote in the topic of Story for a Five Minute Friday post here: Five Minute Friday: Story, or as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story…" 

Or here:   Hope Awaits: A Story Yet To Be Unfold

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gina Holmes: An Interview with the Author of Driftwood Tides

Today I welcome author, Gina Holmes. In addition to being an accomplished novelist, Gina is a practicing Registered Nurse, a wife to the love of her life, mom to two boys and stepmom to three daughters. She and her family make their home among the Blue Ridge Mountains in South-Western Virginia. I hope that you enjoy this interview and that it will inspire you to check out her latest novel, Driftwood Tides!


The Interview:


Please welcome, novelist, Gina Holmes. Gina is the founder of the popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is also a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader's Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.


Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.


Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn't match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she's adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack. 

She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status too had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby's father and themselves.


What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

At heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.


Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?

Oh, how I love that place! I'm not sure there's a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, and the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well except the sand in my bathing suit maybe  J )

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it's not too personal, why do you think that is?

It is too personal, but I don't mind answering(wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father's house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters, brother, house, and life.  It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I've been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

The novel you've written that seems to be a fan-favorite is Crossing Oceans, do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?

I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or offshoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I'm under contract for three different novels, so I'm not sure when I'll have time, but I'd love to explore Craig's story and of course, Bella's. I miss Peg very much! 

You've said that your favorite novel you've written is Wings of Glass. Why is that your favorite? 

Well for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too; despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don't understand. I've received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

You're originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you're from up North?

Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I've lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although I've got to say, NJ food is amazing and you've got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?

Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I've learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

Least would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don't actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there's so much you don't know, that you don't even know you don't know. If you don't you'll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don't walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, 'cause you're sure going to need it!

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?

Well, I wouldn't have told myself how many novels I'd write that would never see the light of day because I would have given up. I wouldn't have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn't have told myself that I'd still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3-bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn't your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this, is out of your hands, and that's okay. It's not going to be at all what you think it is, but it's going to be so much more. You won't get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that's going to be exactly what will fulfill you.


Where can my readers find your books and more about you?

Thanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com

Thanks so much for hosting me!

Gina, it has been such a pleasure and a blessing to have you!

                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you purchase her latest book, Driftwood Tides, be sure to hop over to her website or Facebook author page and enter the contest she is running through September 29, 2014! Fun 'door prizes' and this fabulous book table! I'm hoping to win this beauty myself! Wouldn't it look lovely in my home office?!


Oh…and please leave a comment below. I'm sure Gina would love to hear from you! I would too! 





Be sure to connect with Gina here:

Facebook Author page: Gina Holmes
Website: ginaholmes.com
Twitter: @1GinaHolmes

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Soul Whisperer…Five Minute Friday

It's that time again…Five Minute Friday…I'm linking up with Kate Motaung and the flash mob of brave writers who, as Kate says, "feverishly tap out five minutes of unedited beauty and post it for all the world to see."

It's a one word writing prompt and this week the word is:

Whisper...  

Can you hear?
Press in close or you will miss it


Push beyond the noise 


Open your heart and listen... really listen


Slow down and quit rushing about in every direction




Quiet the clutter in your mind



Turn from the cacophony of voices demanding more of you



Turn off the TV...shut down the computer...turn off the music



Be still….just be

Can you hear it?


That still...small voice?


Lean in, closer still


Come close


He is whispering to you


Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me…watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly.              
                                                                              ~Jesus,  Lover of your soul
                                                                                                               ~Matthew 11:28-30(The Message)
              
Are you listening? Maybe it's time to stop all the activity, settle into the 'unforced rhythms of grace', and just breathe in His presence.
Just.breathe...









I'm joining Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday writers today.

Click over and join the fun!