Switching Focus

My next blog was going to be about compiling a playlist to inspire you as you write your fantasy novel. Instead, I’m letting you, my fellow bloggers, know I’m switching my focus on this site. I’ll let you know how you can still read the playlist post later.

Switching Focus
New Path

#WritingFantasy  Will Carry On

I’ve completed the series of posts I wanted to share with you about Writing Fantasy and the steps I’ve taken on my own journey writing my first fantasy novel. I’m very excited to start the actual writing process this November for my second NaNoWriMo! If you’ve followed my posts over the past few months I hope you’ll join me in November as we fire out 50,000 words together.

My Outline, Setting, Characters, World Building and Premise are all going to be relocated to another blog I write on, White Rose Writers.

So What’s My New Focus? #AmWriting

As most of you know from reading my profile, as well as being a writing coach I’m also a Christian Life Coach and Certified Lay Pastoral Counselor with many years experience coaching and encouraging believers in their walk with God. This will be my main focus on this blog going forward.

I’ll be blogging about Your Sacred Path, Finding Your Life Purpose, Hearing God’s Voice, Choosing Careers and possibly sharing a few gardening tips along the way. I love to network so I’ll be giving you links whenever I can for you to explore further.

My newsletter will be about the books and courses I’ll be writing, plus I’ll let you know when I’m launching something new, and I’ll have giveaways and social media events exclusively for my blog readers. If you choose to continue following me here that would be lovely, if however, you’re interested in continuing to follow my posts on writing, head over to White Rose Writers and follow my posts there, along with branding and marketing tips from my social media partner, Kirstie Shanks.

Thank you for taking time out from your busy life to read and comment.

Till next time here, or at White Rose Writers, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

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Guest Post by Sally Meadows

Today I’m very happy to introduce you all to a fellow author, Sally Meadows. It’s an honour to share some of her story with you.

Sally Meadows Author Headshot

 

Sally Meadows is a two-time national award nominated Christian singer/songwriter, author, and speaker from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Sally is guest blogging today via a question-and-answer session to tell us a little bit about her creative journey as well as her children’s picture book The Two Trees (2015), about a boy on the autism spectrum.

 

Here’s a big question to kick us off: What is your Kingdom purpose?

 

Wow, that is a big question, and one worthy of each of us to consider! First and foremost, this life has certainly been an interesting journey for me! It seems that my Kingdom purpose has shifted as often as my career has changed. (I’ve been a scientific editor, children’s entertainer, teacher, university outreach educator, and engineering technical editor.) But if I can identify one common ministry thread it would have to be that I have a heart for those who are often overlooked or undervalued by society: children (especially gifted and/or differently abled), differently abled young adults, Aboriginal youth, and immigrants. I am a strong believer in helping those in these underserved demographics discover and grow in their gifts to reach their full potential.

Since I left the corporate world in 2013 to work full time on my writing, music, and speaking ministry, my Kingdom purpose has focussed on encouraging people of all ages (with a special interest in women 40 and up) to passionately pursue God’s call on their lives. I would like my own life to be a testimony as to how God can do amazing things—He has a special purpose and plan for each one of us—by giving my life fully over to Him. My blog, “Butterfly’d: Unfurling Glory in An (Extra)Ordinary Life”, is all about inspiring others to unfurl God’s glory in their own lives.

 

What is a typical week like for you?

 

As an author, speaker, and musician (sometimes all at once!) I am involved in widely diverse projects, so I don’t really have a typical week; it really depends on what’s going on at any given time of year and can be seasonally related. April is Autism Awareness Month and is one of the peak times for me to travel to schools around the province doing author readings of my children’s book The Two Trees. At this particular time, I am also working on a new children’s book manuscript as well as a couple of inspirational short stories for adults. Finally, I have a new partnership with a fellow singer/songwriter and we are already in the studio recording our first single! Never a dull moment here!

 

Tell us about your book The Two Trees; what motivated you to write it?

Thetwotreescover

The Two Trees is the story of two brothers: Jaxon, who is the younger brother and narrates the story, and Syd, who is on the autism spectrum. The story shares in narrative form the challenges families that include a child on the autism spectrum face on a daily basis. Its primary purpose is to raise autism awareness while giving a voice to siblings, whose needs may often be overlooked. My initial motivation to write the book was to help parents identify characteristics of being on the autism spectrum that may be masked by giftedness (such as we see in the character Syd). The book’s purpose has grown from there; it is now used across the country in classrooms and clinical practices, and by autism specialists, social workers, counsellors, universities, and more as a resource to open up discussions and educate. As for motivation, I have family members who are on the spectrum, and as a former teacher, have taught children with autism who have widely variable abilities. So I have seen first-hand the challenges—and successes—of families that include a child on the autism spectrum.

One thing I have done lately is to donate books (The Two Trees) to two autism organizations offering for them to receive 100% of the profits. Also, from now until the end of August (at least), $5 from every The Two Trees book sold on my website will go to various autism organizations. (I wanted to give back because they were so supportive during the launch of the book.)

 

What is your The Two Trees presentation like?

 

I start with a reading of the book (about 8 minutes long), have a brief discussion about specific topics including autism, bullying, and the importance of being a good friend (5-10 minutes depending on the audience), then the kids have about 40 minutes to do hands-on activities themed to the book.  These activities are keyed to things that appear in the book including dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, trees, bullying versus being a good friend, and more. The Two Trees was written for ages 5-9 but the presentation is certainly suitable for families and the general public. I have done presentations at schools, libraries, museums, and autism events. I am grateful that I (and the venues) receive funding from the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild (SWG) to do these presentations, although organizations can also book me outright. For details about my presentation, please go to: http://sallymeadows.com/speaking.

 

Can you do a presentation outside of your province?

 

Absolutely! I travel across Canada for various events, so if you are interested in having me come and speak at your school, autism event, or other venue, I would be happy to let you know if/when I will be in your area. Although SWG funding is not available for out-of-province venues, I would be happy to discuss terms for a visit.

 

Your website indicates that your book The Two Trees can be used for fundraising. Can you tell me about that?

 

This is of primary interest to autism organizations, but really any group that has a vested interest in raising autism awareness (i.e. an elementary school) can take part in this. Basically, I will provide The Two Trees to your organization at wholesale cost and you can resell them at a profit. Here is the link for more information: http://sallymeadows.com/fundraising.

 

Where can we learn more about/contact you?

Website: http://sallymeadows.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SallyMeadowsMusic

Facebook Page for The Two Trees: https://www.facebook.com/thetwotrees

Email: sally@sallymeadows.com

Twitter: @SallyMeadows

Phone: 1-306-229-7757

 

Thank you so much, Lynne, for the opportunity to share about my book The Two Trees during this Autism Awareness month!

I’m very happy to have you visit with me and my readers today, Sally. May God bless you in your work as you inspire us to live out our purpose and passions. Sally can also be found on the ChristianAuthors‘ bookstore website, where we both promote our work.    Lynne

Why I Do What I Do – My Manifesto

Why I Do What I Do – My Manifesto

“The point of a manifesto is that it makes you draw a line in the sand, which forces you to clarify your message. But before you do that, you have to know what you’re about.” – Jeff Goins

I was challenged this week to write a manifesto as part of a writing exercise created by Jeff Goins, a writer and best-selling author.  In the exercise we’re called to write a few hundred words about our worldview; the problem, the solution, and what we see as our part in that solution. So here you go…

The problem as I see it is that, like many others, I didn’t know how to do what I felt ‘called’ to do. Just how do you help others? There are so many needs in the world. We can’t possibly remedy all of them as one individual. That realization brought me to find just one way I could make a difference in just one life. I had felt like a tiny boat being tossed around, lost in a sea of helplessness, without a compass to give me a sense of direction in life. I no longer felt that way. I could start there. How did I rise above the relentless waves?  How could what I had been through serve as encouragement to someone else?

The solution for me came while visiting a Christian counselling centre. I had rededicated my life and I was talking with a life coach there. She told me to write down all my attributes, educational and life experiences and see if God had already put a pattern on my life. Yes, He had! I decided to study the way God creates us all with a specific purpose in mind and see if I could realize what His assignment was for me.

The next step was to accept that assignment and put it into practice helping others to do the same. People need to know they have worth and purpose. The solution for me was to help others find their own answer to the question, “What on Earth Am I Doing Here?”

If you’re asking yourself – or God – this question, there is an answer waiting for you.  You just need to pick up your oars and start paddling in the right direction.

 

Lynne

LynneCollier.com

NaNoWriMo – Dec 4

 

Dec 4th Well, here I am with my NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate! I started out on November 1st with a rough idea for a story, but I hadn’t done the outline or decided on character names or anything. When they said, ‘Write an entire novel in a month”, I took it rather too literally and hadn’t prepared anything! Along the way I discovered I needed an outline. All I had was a beginning idea and an ending. I had no middle. The middle is the entire story – what was I thinking?! But I read a very important coaching tip and decided to just keep that front and centre as I plodded on; Just Write. I tried to ignore the editor in me who sounded a lot like my English grammar school teacher, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote… The final day I was so tired, but as I neared the finish line I was super excited to see the prize so close. I watched the word count click 49, 999 – 50,000. I felt like I’d run a marathon, but I stayed awake long enough to print out my certificate. It’s a great feeling, to reach the finish line in whatever you set out to accomplish, whether it’s a novel or a new recipe for chocolate brownies.

When I got to the middle part of the novel I just kept going. I started researching names at first, for my main characters, but the rest of them in the middle got the first name that came to mind – just write! Some of them will need to have a name change as I revise, or I’ll find myself in trouble with the first name of an antagonist being someone I know! It’s funny how that works. As they say, “Don’t tick me off. I’m a writer and you may end up in my next novel – and I may just kill you”. The plot unfolded all on its own and my characters became real. For my first try at fiction, I am actually proud of my attempt. It will have to wait for now, though.

The novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo is one of a series of novels I’ll be publishing starting in Spring 2016. Before this book is published, I hope to have two more short non-fiction works published and a fantasy. So maybe, if God has this in His plan as I see it in mine; I’ll have this novel published just in time for the next NaNoWriMo.

Thank you to all who supported me through this endeavor, especially my family who ate goodness-knows-what some nights, lots of fast ‘food’, had to put up with dirty dishes in the sink all month, and me endlessly talking about NaNo. You’re all the bestests!

Signing off on my NaNoWriMo posts till next year. God Bless,

Lynne

IMG_1248
My first NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate

NaNoWriMo Day 30 – I DID IT!

NaNoWriMo Winner!
NaNoWriMo Winner!

 

I made it! I wrote 50,000 words in thirty days and validated my novel at 5pm. I am officially pooped and I’m going to make a cup of orange tea, and pet my cat – and also watch The Walking Dead again because I don’t remember half of what happened last night I was so exhausted!

I will give you the run-down on my last day tomorrow. Thank you all for the words of encouragement here and on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a great night. Word count to date – 50, 075

Lynne

NaNoWriMo Day 29!!!

NaNoWriMo Day 29!!!
coffee-149719_640
I can do it – I can do it – I can do it!

Day 29 Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days. As I posted in an earlier blog, I had to take Friday off to go out of town for an appointment. Yesterday I just wrote like crazy, trying to get my word count up to at least 45,000 so I wouldn’t have too much still to do tomorrow. Today is my Sabbath day, so I took it off for church and family and didn’t write. (That took a lot of discipline!) I hope to get to bed on time for a change and start tomorrow early. I have a lot of words still to write!!!!!! Thanks to Sandy Hall and others in the NaNoCoach forum, I know it doesn’t have to be pretty – it just has to be. I will take a half hour for breakfast and a half hour for lunch, but I will probably not break for dinner until I’ve verified my novel and won this challenge. I’ll let you know on Tuesday how I did and what time I finished.

So, I promised you more tips on this blog. Here goes;

Writing an Outline for Your Novel

This is the outline I found easiest to follow, taken from several writer’s magazines.

Act 1    The Status Quo. Your hero’s everyday life.

The Catalyst. A call to action.

Denial. Hero rejects the opportunity.

Guru. The hero gets a mentor.

Acceptance & Action. First threshold of change.

Act 2   Trials. Finding friends and foes.

Edge of the Abyss. Decision of second threshold.

The Plunge. Faces the greatest fear.

The Pay-Off. Hero gets a reward of some sort.

Act 3    The Way Through. On the way home. Maybe being chased.

True Test. Hero proves they learned their lesson.

The New Normal. Returns home, transformed.

I hope that helps some of you who are like me and just starting out on the fiction journey. There are a lot of good magazines available for writers. I usually find mine at Chapters. I love flipping through the magazines and deciding which to buy – don’t you?

Well, tomorrow’s the day. I’m at word count 43,950. Just over 6,000 words to write tomorrow before the verification deadline! (Must remember to stop to eat, and pet the cat. Wait – no, she’ll remind me).

Lynne out till Tuesday.

 

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Ben and new friend. using as blog post for HACwC scavenger hunt

Ben with a new friend at the Toronto Zoo

Dancing on the Bus, a short story I wrote about finding love in unexpected places, was accepted to be included in a recently published book called, Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, the third in a series of short stories and poems.

My story is about being accepted and loved as a child, by total strangers. Later, as a mother, I saw that same love and acceptance for my own children. (Side note here; the picture is of my son from the story, showing love and acceptance to another child he met that day for the frist time. Paying love forward never fails).

On Nov 27th, 2015, I will be one of the hosts for the Virtual Book Launch of Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon. If you read this post in time and can join us, the launch is from 12-11pm, Ontario time. I will be ‘live’ from 8.30-9.

Secret Word for the scavenger hunt is: FAILS

Lynne

PS – Although the launch has passed, you can still view it on Facebook using this link.