I am one of those people that like to journal highlights throughout the year (and sometimes lowlights, although that's not nearly as much fun!) and later look back and reflect. Sometimes I am surprised...maybe I've forgotten a really cool thing that happened and it feels good to think about it again, other times I feel a bit sad knowing certain things haven't changed or improved, but most times I am overwhelmed with a sense of God's goodness, recognizing His Hand in specific circumstances that have no other explanation.
Back in January I had just started "Seeds of Salton"...I think I had the first 4 chapters written. As 2008 winds to a close I can say I am nearly finished with the entire book, all 27 chapters.
Here's the new tag line that sums up the story:
A powerful true story of a heart redeemed, a love restored, and the gripping journey to forgiveness between a son and his father.
Two writers retreats at Julie Saffrin's cabin gave me a great boost, followed up with the residency at the Devils Tower. It was incredible to have that much time to write on the heels of seeing Wibaux, Montana and Beach, North Dakota, where much of the book takes place. All in all, it helped me achieve what I set out to do after reading "Secret Life of Bees" back in January, that I needed to go deeper with this book because of the powerful message within.
One of the most critical scenes takes place in a logging camp in the Rocky Mountains through a flashback. I couldn't find anyone who could tell me details I needed in order to write the scene. I contacted a reporter, a resort owner, and a rancher in the Missoula/Potomoc area and couldn't come up with anything useful. I thought, well, at least I tried. A couple nights later the phone rang and it was the rancher's son. Turns out he was the best friend of the man in "Seeds" back in third grade and remembered the event specifically. He lives near the logging camp and knew all the details I was looking for, actually gave me more details and information than I'd even hoped for. Amazing.
Midway through the book I was trying to write a scene about the oil rigs in North Dakota. Me, being technically challenged, could not grasp the workings of an oil rig no matter how many times it was explained or how much I read. My brain can't think in terms of diesel engines, the Kelly, tripping pipe, tripping in, tripping out, a round-trip, the mouse hole, the rat hole, and have it all make sense. One day while flipping channels I saw an advertisement for a brand new show called "Black Gold"...all about oil rigs. There it was, in living color, in HD no less. I recorded the show and watched parts of it over & over until I finally gained a (partial!) grasp of how it all worked. Those are just a couple of the cool things that helped propel this book forward throughout the year.
Next up I will begin a search for an agent or publisher for "Seeds of Salton" and I'm excited to see where my search might lead. I also have a brand new project for 2009...another powerful true story of redemption. The working title is "The Redemption of 3743", a story of one man breaking free from the clutches of addiction and reclaiming his Karuk (northern California Native American tribe) heritage, another amazing life journey with a powerful message.
As 2008 winds to a close I can look back and feel good about all that has transpired, both personally in our home and family, and professionally in my writing. I look ahead to 2009 with the hope that always comes new a new year.
Happy New Year!