Thursday, December 29, 2011

All Things "New"

My good friend and blogger, Pam at 2 Encourage has a great post called Newness. Read it, then come back for a writing exercise.

Writing Exercise: Write about one of the following questions. 
1. What do you like that is "new"?
2. How does the word "new" fit with your faith?
3. What excites you about the upcoming "new" year?
4. Extreme Challenge: Try to tie questions 1-3 into one writing!

Please share in Comments Section. 

I was up for the Extreme Challenge! See mine is below.

Colored Pencils
by Dawn M. Hamsher

New colored pencils would brighten up my day.
Color all the world, on pages they would stay.
With my coloring book open, I'd carefully fill.
Once every nook was done, then I could be still.

For hours I would toil. Soft strokes of love.
Castles, landscapes, Snoopy, even a dove.
The accomplishment and joy it brought.
To color the world through pages, I thought.

And now, those pencils are from memory's haze.
Instead, I color the world in different ways.
I write and I teach and I share God's great love.
For it's his box of pencils I'm now to speak of.

The green is everlasting life and red is for the blood.
The white is for the newness, given from Jesus with love.
The blue is for his depths of care that he will never leave.
And orange is for the fiery passion he gives to those who believe.

He's given me many colors, of which I am to use.
What color is my favorite? Oh, I could never choose.
All I know is, colors can become dull locked inside their case.
So, use them in the new year and be filled with peace and grace.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I don't usually do resolutions, but this year I have three (and I have a plan for keeping them)!

1. Create a budget and work on paying off debt.
My biggest focus will be on our food budget. Food budget will be $100 per week for our family of three (that includes going out to husband is in shock.).

2. Revise my novel.
I signed up for Holly Lisle's course How to Revise Your Novel. I was unable to revise my novel myself (it was overwhelming and I had no idea how to go about it), so with Holly's clear guidance and organizational system, I'm already on the way!

3. Exercise on a regular basis.
I have joined a gym and have been going to water aerobics. I already walk 3x a week, so the added class will really help me to stay fit. My goal is to go 2x a week.

Q: What are your resolutions? How will you ensure you do them?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From the Baby Jesus

and Barlow

(This is the baby doll we use in Walk Through Bethlehem.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, Friends! 
May the joy and love of Jesus fill your hearts and shine to everyone around you.

Q: What is the best Christmas gift you ever received?

A:  For me, top four...
1. Getting an art set and easel from my parents as a teenager.
2. Getting my college ring as a graduation/Christmas gift from a close friend.
3. Giving my newborn daughter her first Christmas gift (a wind-up music stuffed bear dressed in Santa clothes).
4. This year's gift from my hubby is pretty awesome. He bought me a an on-line course called How to Revise Your Novel. I'm so excited! (Yes, I'm a nerd.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I was excited to hear that a debt-free tip I submitted was published in America Saves Newsletter!

It's in recipe form. Check out page 3.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Blog Design

Do you like my new design?

I'm ready for a bold new year! Who knows what's in store?

I'll have a hot cup of tea or coffee by my side and I'll be ready to write.

I'm going to take a writing class from Holly Lisle (a Christmas present from my awesome hubby), so I'm getting pretty excited about writing!

What are you going to do new for 2012?

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm back!

Walk Through Bethlehem is over. We had 1,005 people attend, which is a little more than last year. It was a great! We are still putting WTB stuff away. LOL. It will take me awhile to get back into blogging, so bear with me.  I think I'm also going to change my blog design soon...start the new year off fresh.

I'll leave you with a few photos from WTB.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blog Break

As much as I'd like to keep my blogging going, I'm too busy with Walk Through Bethlehem. So friends, I'll be back Dec. 12.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Walk Through Bethlehem (WTB)

Since I'm cutting back on blogging just a bit in November due to our Christmas play, WTB, I've had a few people ask me about the play. If you're interested, here you go...

The angel scene has really grown over the years. It's beautiful to behold.

Walk Through Bethlehem (click here for webpage)
Join Thomas, a shepherd tour guide, as he searches for the newborn messiah. You'll meet angels, Roman Soldiers, beggars, merchants, gossipy women, a grouchy innkeeper, and more! By the end of the tour, you'll find the true meaning of Christmas...God's greatest gift to us, Jesus.

Merchant Scene - This photo is from a rehearsal. When the scene is fully decorated, it has tents, authentic foods, fabrics, and every kind of bazaar item! Our set designer, Anne Hill, is AMAZING!
How I started WTB at my church:
About 6 years ago I found a website to a mid-western church that put on a Christmas play that took audiences to several stations around their church. They posted the script on-line and it was free to use. Once our building project was complete (4 years ago), it was time to try WTB at our church. I chose locations on the 1st floor of our church:

Roman Soldier Census Scene
Tour Ticket Desk (lobby)
Audience Waiting Area (1/2 Family Life Center)
Angel scene (1/2 Family Life Center)
Roman Soldier Census scene (choir room)
Beggar scene (hallway)
Merchant scene (sanctuary annex)
Women at the Well scene (sanctuary)
Innkeeper scene (hallway/door)
Bread-making home scene (preschool room)
Stable scene (chapel)
Salvation Story (library)

I've modified the script slightly over the years to add characters.

We have 700-1000 people attend in the 6 hours we perform!

Do you have any questions about WTB? If so, ask in the comments and I'll add and update in the post!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Taking the Weekend Off

I need a little R & R, so I'm taking the weekend off. See you next week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

See * Photo * Write

Here is my entry for See Photo Write over at 1st Writes!


Jamal heard the village shouts from his place on his straw mat. His looked over to Mama, but she didn't move. He pushed her arm. She only groaned. 

He got up and walked weakly to the hut's makeshift wall and peeked out. His neighbors were running toward a truck that three white men had just gotten out of.

Visitors were sometimes bad, like when the soldiers took his brother, and sometimes good, like when they passed out food and clothes. He thought these white men looked good. He glanced back at his mother. What would she do? He looked over at the satchel. He knew what to do.

And imitating his Mama, he said, "Mama, you stay here where it is safe. I will see what the white men have for us."

He put the satchel on his naked body and had to hold it up so it didn't drag on the ground. Then he ducked under the doorway's black fabric and slowly walked toward the crowd. He only stumbled once.

Mama would be so proud of him. He was the man of the family now -- now that Rakoor was gone.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!
Today's love goes to: Holly Lisle's Weekly Writing Tips Newsletter

I subscribed to Holly's weekly email on writing tips a year ago. The tips have been fabulous. Holly's style is not for the faint at heart--she tells it like it is, but I highly recommend them for fiction writers. So, if you want to learn some awesome writing tips, sign up. It's like getting free mini-classes!

Here are examples of some of the email topics she's covered in the past:

*Ask how.
*Why write fiction.
*Learn more words.
*Know yourself.
*Read fiction.
*Make your description matter.
*Plot loosely.
*Don't breed characters.
*Be an actor.
*Give your hero the best lines.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Writing Devotions - Part 2

Susan Kane from The Contemplative Cat had some great questions about writing devotions on my post on 1st Writes, so I'm making a Part 2 to Writing Devotions. Thanks Susan!

Read Part 1.

Writing Devotions -- Part 2

How do you write a devotion?
1. Choose a publisher and follow their specific writer's guidelines.
2. Pray for God to help you write.
3. Think of one experience where you felt God's presence or guidance.
4. What is the theme of this experience (what did you learn)?
5. Write about the experience and stay focused on your theme.
6. Find scripture that fits the theme.
7. Write a short prayer that fits the theme. 
8. Have someone critique your devotion.

9. Pray that your devotion can be used by God to help someone else.
10. Double check that you've followed all writer's guidelines and submit to publisher.

Should a devotion have an overall theme?

Yes. Your devotion should not be a testimony or life story. It should focus on only one experience or reflection. Devotions are short, uplifting stories that will help a reader grow closer to God.  Theme examples: grace, love, tough times, depending on God, etc.

Where do you go to submit devotions?

Here are some publishers of devotions that I've looked into:

Upper Room
Weavings (by Upper Room)
Alive Now (by Upper Room)
Pockets (Devotions for Children by Upper Room)
Devozine (Devotions for Teens by Upper Room)
Wesleyan Publishing House (Vista)

Granola Bar Devotions (on-line)

For more on writing devotions, read Help! I Want To Be A Christian Devotion Writer by Donna Shepherd

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bloggie Break

Hi friends, 
I need a short bloggie break, so I'll only be posting 2x a week (Friday and Saturday) for a bit. I'm hitting my busy time of year as I get ready for our church's Christmas Play, Walk Through Bethlehem.

Come mid-December, I'll be back to normal (for what that's worth...LOL).

So, what are your plans or traditions for the Christmas season?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog Dress Up

For today ONLY, check out Brianna's Pocketful of Playdough Blog. She re-designed it for Halloween to dress up as Edgar Allan Poe! It's amazing...the whole blog is like it would belong to Poe! Tomorrow it will be back to normal, so go see it today!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!
Today's love goes to: Granola Bar Devotionals

For a quick spiritual snack, check these out!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Writing Devotions - Part 1

Right now I'm working on a devotion. In case any of you are interested in learning to write a devotion, here are the basic parts.

  • Title
  • Scripture that relates well to your reflection
  • Body of Devotion: Personal reflection on God/scripture/prayer. Share an experience or moment that drew you closer to God.
  • Prayer that relates well to your reflection.
  • Thought for the Day

 Each publisher will have their own specific guidelines (word count, format, etc.), but this gives you a quick look at the basics.

One publisher of devotions is Upper Room. These devotions are just 250 words each. Check out Upper Room Sample (devotions start on page 8-9) and Upper Room Writer Guidelines.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

See * Photo * Write

I'm participating in today's See Photo Write on 1st Writes!
If you'd like to write too, post it on your blog and then head over to 1st Writes and linky to it.  
Happy writing!  


My response is below.

Why are we curious for things we can't have?
For fish in fishbowls that we want to grab.
We should be content with our current toys
And focus on what brings eternal joys

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

Saturday, October 22, 2011

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!
Today's love goes to: Clare B. Dunkle, Author for sharing her insights about agents, about publishers, and about editors.

I just finished reading Clare's MG sci-fi book The Sky Inside. I really enjoyed it, so I looked Clare up on the web and found these three great posts for writers. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I learned from MG Books - #1

I'm reading MG books in the attempt to define what makes a good book. I'll share what I learn.

Book #1: The Sky Inside, a MG sci-fi mystery, by Clare B. Dunkle. 

Here's what I learned from this author/book.
  • Write simple, easy to understand chapters.
  • Don't get too technical even if it is sci-fi.

  • Adult characters, especially parents, should be believable.
Martin's parents were not played as dumb adults. They had believable interactions with each other and with the children. As the story progresses you see their short-falls and fears. They are portrayed as real people. 

  • Child characters and their actions should be believable. 
The main character, Martin, reminded me of a 13 year old boy I know, even down to some of his personality traits! He loves his old sneakers. He worries he is dying when he gets a terrible sunburn. He starts to figure out that something is terribly wrong in the suburb. He has compassion for younger kids.  

  • Insert key aspects that kids love.
Kids would love Alldog, the toy that acts like a real dog. It is a robot that can morph into any type of dog. Chip is his name and he is as loyal as any dog. Other fun kid interests: exploring the underground city, robots, video games, skipping school, and even the oven that is like a lottery, determining what you get to eat for dinner.
  • Have an over-arching theme or moral for the story.
This one was about lies. Every aspect of the suburb is built on lies. Martin sees how the lies have completely degraded society and his family.

If you'd like to know more about this book, here is a synopsis I wrote, as well as the actual back book jacket quote.

Synopsis: Martin, age 13 has a Wonder Baby sister, age 6, who is super smart. They live with their parents in the Sky Dome suburb and are told that outside the dome poisons will kill you. All the suburbs’ supplied come in off the train, called a packet, and are decontamized. Martin gets an Alldog toy for his birthday, but this robotic dog can do things others can’t, like deprogram unauthorized doors. The suburb inhabitants are constantly being watched. People disappear. Then, when a man comes and takes all the Wonder Babies away, Martin sets out to find them.

Back Cover: Quote from book – “The ads had started running on mid-morning television the summer after Martin’s fourth birthday. “Wonder babies are here!” they announced….Never had the arrival of the stork brought such excitement. Overflowing  with charm and intelligence, WonderBabies were like nothing the suburb had seen before. But that didn’t turn out to be a good thing.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pam at 2 Encourage is featuring my blog this week. 
Isn't that sweet? 

Stop over and get to know Pam. She's one special lady!

Thank you, Pam.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dumped on the Beach

Writing Challenge: Write based on the guidelines given for Rachael Harrie's Third Campaign Challenge 
My response is below. It meets all the criteria. :0)

Dumped on the Beach
By Dawn M. Hamsher

Jallia lay on the smooth compact sand, still breathless from her swim. Her body glistened in the morning sun. Rolpier lay flopped beside her.

“Every day is the same. Swim in. Lay out. Swim again,” he said.

“Yes, isn’t it glorious? The next big one will be coming soon, so you better rest.”

“Jallia, your synbatec optimism is driving me crazy.”

Further up the beach, they heard a boy yell.

“Eww gross! What’s that smell? Oh man! Dad, Dad, look it’s a dead jellyfish! It’s all transparent and gushy.”

Then a woman yelled. “Brady, don’t you touch that thing!”

Rolpier sighed. “Lucky devil. He’s out of his misery.”

“I’m really not sure why I hang out with you. You’re such a wastopaneer! You should be up there with him,” Jallia said angrily.

Just then a wave washed up and swept Jallia out to sea. The water also reached Rolpier, but it only carried him a foot before depositing him again.

“Hey Jallia! You don’t mean it. Don’t leave me!”

Jallia ducked under the water, not looking back. Her tentacles tactised gracefully behind her as she purposefully propelled forward. She was deep underwater when the next words broke on the beach.

“Hey Dad! I found another jellyfish and this one’s not dead yet!”

See * Photo * Write

I'm participating in today's See Photo Write on 1st Writes!
If you'd like to write too, post it on your blog and then head over to 1st Writes and linky to it.  
Happy writing!  

My response is below.

Alaylia Gerard was no ordinary girl. She could speak to birds. She learned the language from her great aunt who lived alone in a small cottage in Wharten Woods.

Alaylia was six when she first met Great Aunt Lenore and she snickered, involuntarily, at seeing the lady's great beak-like nose. Her mother, always gracious, smiled at her aunt, and then quietly pulled Alaylia from the room.

"You must never do that again, that was rude. Great Aunt Lenore is very...special." She paused. "She has a special gift. And, she would like to share the gift with you."

They re-enter the room and this time Alaylia did not laugh.

The gift turned out to be lessons in Avish, the language of birds. The gift soon changed Alaylia's whole life. 

Strong Dialog Series - Writing Tips

If you enjoyed the Strong Dialog Series I did inspired by Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Book and want to go back and review, I've placed them all on my "Writing Tips" Page.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!
           Today's love goes to: The Writing Life Too

I'm reading a great book on Character Development right now called Bullies Bastards & Bitches: How to write the bad guys of fiction. I looked up the author, Jessica Page Morrell, and found her blog, which I am sharing today. Ms. Morrell posts several times a week on characters and writing. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

See * Photo * Write

I'm a little late getting this one in.
Check out See*Photo*Write Every Monday on 1st Writes! 
Join the fun. 
Write about it and then linky to it.
My response is below. 

Woman in white
Is sleepless tonight.
She stands in a daze
Under moon's silver haze.

Her gown is just so.
Hair and face once aglow.
Now ashen is she.
No relief from her plea.

The love is all gone.
Was she just a pawn?.
Will things ever be right
From being jilted tonight?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strong Dialog Series #15

This is the last one in the Strong Dialog Series! 
Don't cry!
I've been reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (1993 edition). When I read the chapter on Dialogue Mechanics, I wanted to create visuals to go with the tips. Note: These contain my wording and examples, but the idea was inspired from the book. I'll post one a day. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What is a Writing Ministry? - Interview with Dawn

Take a wild ride over at Christine Tyler's The Writer Coaster:

Interview with Dawn Hamsher

ShoutOutSaturday (S.O.S)

Every Saturday I SHOUT OUT a favorite blog or post!
           Today's love goes to: Ladies Who Critique

Want to find a critique partner or beta reader? Check out this free site!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Strong Dialog Series #14

I've been reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (1993 edition). When I read the chapter on Dialogue Mechanics, I wanted to create visuals to go with the tips. Note: These contain my wording and examples, but the idea was inspired from the book. I'll post one a day. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Writing Fears - Part 2

Do you ever have writing fears and anxiety? I found this exercise in Page after Page by Heather Sellers and wanted to try it.

Writing Exercise Part 2: Yesterday you wrote down your writing fears. Today, you are going to fight them. In a court of law. Choose one of the fears and write your defense. My defense is below.

I've chosen this fear:
11. I'll give up on my book b/c revision is too hard.

My defense:

I will not give up on my book because revision is too hard. I spent 1.5 years of my life writing this book. It is my first book and therefore it is precious. It was blessed by God. He gave me the idea for it. He guided me through the entire book by leading me to scripture that inspired characters and plot. This book is bigger than me. It will happen. I will not stop it from being the best it can be. I will revise it. I just have to figure out how. And I will. 

My defense rests.

So, what about you? What's your defense?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writing Fears - Part 1

Do you ever have writing fears and anxiety? I found this exercise in Page after Page by Heather Sellers and wanted to try it. 

Writing Exercise Part 1: Number your paper 1-15. In only three minutes (write fast), list 15 of your fears about writing. Share some of them in Comment Section. My response is below.

My Writing Fears:
1. Won't be good.
2. I'll make grammatical mistakes.
3. I won't be able to revise.
4. It will never get published.
5. I'm wasting time and not writing.
6. Afraid I don't know enough.
7. Taking time away from family.
8. Afraid I'll lose my electronic writing (crashed system, lost thumb drive, etc.).
9. Writer's block.
10. No ideas will come.
11. I'll give up on my book b/c revision is too hard.
12. A new book project is too hard.
13. Blogging and internet will capture my time instead of novel writing.
14. My characters are too flat and boring.
15. My story is not interesting enough.

As I was doing this exercise I was sinking lower and lower in a pit. Evil was creeping in. I was wondering why in the world I would do an exercise like this. It is not in my nature. I am a happy, Christ-seeking woman who stays positive. So, I opened Page after Page back up to see the reason behind the exercise.

Heather Sellers has students do this so they can recognize their fears, get used to them, and then send them packing. See tomorrow's post (Part 2) for an exercise on how to get rid of the fears.

It's true, the fears do come. How do you deal with writing fears and anxiety?

Side note: I am not promoting Heather Seller's book, but I did buy it and I want to see what I can learn from it. 
I have had to skip over much colorful language and topics that are offensive to me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

See * Photo * Write

Check out See*Photo*Write Every Monday on 1st Writes! 
Join the fun. 
Write about it and then linky to it.

My response is below. 

Russell leaned over and examined the tiny fluffball that was staring up at him.

“Nope, Cat, you ain’t comin’ home with me,” he said.

“Meow, meow,” the kitten said.

“I don’t need no stinkin’, poopin’ cat that coughs up hairballs on my favorite chair.”

The kitten rubbed up against Russell’s low hanging hand. Russell nudged it away. It came back and licked between his fingers.

Russell grumbled, but picked up the kitten. He stowed him inside his heavy coat and made for home.