My Writing Journey

While not a true spec-fic post, this is very pertinent to writing. In the next thousand words or so, I chronicle my writing life, bared for all who care to see.


Some people are born knowing they will be writers. I am not one of those people. However, I’m definitely a born reader—been perusing newspapers since I was four, or so I’m told. Soon after, I graduated to Nancy Drew and Narnia.

Fast-forward to 2002. Engrossed as I had been in fiction, I discovered my all-time hero, Ted Dekker. My emergence into writing can’t be told without mentioning him. His stories made me realize my love for suspense, biblical allegory and the supernatural.

Two years later, I put away the childlike poetry I’d been creating and started on devotionals and short stories. I found the Faithwriters.com website, and while not the best writing site I’ve been a part of, it helped me get my start in the Christian writing world. Fellow writers there were very helpful and encouraging to me, and I even placed in the Weekly Writing Challenge’s Editor’s Choice twice.

Meanwhile, the urge inside me to write a novel (to be like Ted!) grew like an insatiable puppy. I wrote some very short stories and articles, joined another writing group, started reviewing fiction, and eventually got some ideas together for a novel.

Last year, my idea well went dry. I never got past character sketches and a skeleton outline for my first novel-in-progress. Reading books on writing helped me gain invaluable knowledge as did reading posts from other authors on writing loops. There was so much information in my head, but I couldn’t get it out on paper or computer screen. I kept reviewing, enjoying that aspect of writing immensely. But I wasn’t progressing toward my elusive goal of finishing a novel.

As an aside, I don’t even care if the novel gets published. Truly, I just want to be able to say I did it. To be able to create exciting plots, eternal themes and memorable characters as so many others do. To be a part of something good, something I believe God gave me a natural bent toward.

Yes, I’ve been published with reviews, a few devotionals and poetry—but not for pay, nothing to say I’m a professional, save one book review. So I’ve had some successes, especially with the resources I’ve found and friends I’ve made in the writing world.

But for me, writer’s block may not be something I can just get over. People talk about their “call” to writing like pastors talk about their “call” to ministry. I can’t say I have that call. I have other talents I use for God. Very recently, I decided it was time I figure out if writing (specifically, working on a novel) is something God really wants me to pour my life into. Because, as you writers know, it takes hours and hours of hard work. It’s not something you can just pick up and put down on a whim. It is life-absorbing.

In my quest for the meaning of my writing life, I seek answers in prayer. I compare this period of my life and the seeking of my dream to the stages Ordinary experiences in Bruce Wilkinson’s haunting and inspiring allegory The Dream Giver. My husband made a huge, life-changing decision last year partially based on this book. He hasn’t regretted it for a minute. I have already read the book, but I’m now going back through it, using its applications for my own life.

Wilkinson tells the story of a Nobody named Ordinary who leaves the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream, given by the Dream Giver. Once Ordinary leaves his Comfort Zone, he must overcome Border Bullies who threaten him not to leave, who are overly concerned for his safety and return to normalness. Then he navigates the Wasteland, a dry place where he is starving and lost, certain that the Dream Giver has forgotten him. But he perseveres and reaches Sanctuary, a time of refreshment and rest where Ordinary can actually see the Land of Promise. It’s close at hand. Yet, the Dream Giver asks Ordinary to give back his dream—to lay it down, proving that he wants the Dream Giver more than the dream. When Ordinary finally succumbed, he received peace and got his dream back as well. But that’s not the end. Ordinary must win victory over the Giants in the Land and only the Dream Giver’s power can help him. Eventually he beats the giants of Moneyless, Corruption, Rejection and Darkness, finally able to enter the Land of Promise and find his dream.

That’s not the whole story, but it’s enough. I am Ordinary. I have a dream, one I can’t accomplish on my own. God gave it to me and He can take it away. But I know that if God has truly given me writing as my dream, I will encounter obstacles and tests of faith. I will have to lay down my dream and trust that He will either give it back or give me something bigger and better.

See, I’ve laid it down. For all intents and purposes, I’ve quit writing, given up the struggle of wordsmithing. But I know that God has a purpose for me, and whether or not it be writing, I trust Him to tell me what it is and lead me into the land of plenty where I can joyfully serve Him doing my dream.

So that’s where I am. But that’s not all.

For months I’ve been asking God to rearrange my priorities, to help me figure out the writing dilemma. I’ve heard nothing. I’m still confused. However, it has been less than a week since I gave up my dream. And what did I get in my Inbox yesterday? A publication that had previously rejected a devotional I submitted reconsidered and accepted it. (Whoa!) I teared up and nearly fell out of my swivel chair.

What does this mean? Is God giving me back my dream? After all, it’s not like I poured out 5,000 words of a blockbuster novel. Just a very small acceptance. But it’s an acceptance. A paid acceptance. Is this confirmation? Or something to add more confusion to my life?

The jury is still out on this, in my estimation. But I’m open to whatever God wants to do. I’m still not actively writing anything but reviews, but if a great idea for a novel comes to mind or a scene is played out in my head, you better believe I’ll write it down.
The above is cross-posted at my blog, Fiction Fanatics Only!


ML Tyndall's The Reliance on Blog Tour

Originally posted at A Frank Review

This week's Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is featuring MaryLu Tyndall and her 3rd "Christian pirate" novel THE RELIANCE.


Frank Creed's review of The Reliance, sequel to The Redemption, by M.L. Tyndall: Christian piracy sails on.

Tyndall's second installment to her LEGACY OF THE KING'S PIRATES trilogy, The Reliance, is another swashbuckling page turner. Chapter one of this "historical romance" opens with our hero and heroine lounging on a beach in Porto Bello, Panama—where we'd all love to lounge.

Three paragraphs later, still on page one, musket and cannon fire shatter all romance. Our sunbathing lovers are interrupted by pirates sacking the town. That's how fast Tyndall moves.

Not fast enough? Captain Morgan sacks San Lorenzo. Merrick and Charlisse fight their way out of town on Don Deigo's stallion, pistol and musket fire snap close behind. On the road out of town, they find a church full of abandoned orphans. How to save them from advancing pirates? Merrick leaves Charlisse to hide the children in the church, and goes in search of a wagon. As Merrick rides away from the church, the building, where he's just left his wife, explodes. As does his soul. That's page twenty-three, the end of chapter two.

Not fast enough? By page twenty-six we discover that Charlisse is alive, but kidnapped by Captain Kent Carlton, leftover bad-guy from book one, The Redemption. Merrick searches the rubble, then sinks into despair's depths.

If you're wanting a romance novel about dating and what to wear, this ain't it. Well, Charlisse does cross-dress a couple of times, in order to visit a pirate port, and captain her husband's vessel. Yes, chick-lit readers, Charlisse captains the Redemption. She even gives the order to fire a broadside at her rum-swilling soon-to-be-ex-husband's new flagship, the Satisfaction.

In the course of middle chapter soul-wringing, we're tortured by main characters' ships that pass in the night, their honest motivations and terrible pain.

The Reliance has many plot subtleties, but peel these onion layers for yourself, and enjoy. This Tyndall woman can write. If you're able, start with The Redemption, in order to meet living characters in living color.


A YOUNG BRIDE separated from her husband just as a child has been conceived . . .
A GRIEVING HUSBAND tempted to take his anger out through the vices of his past . . .
A MARRIAGE AND A SHIP threatened to be split apart by villainous Caribbean pirates . . .

In THE RELIANCE, Edmund Merrick tormented by the apparent demise of his pregnant wife Charlisse, sails away to drown his sorrows. He turns his back on God and reverts to a life of villainy, joining forces with the demented French pirate Collier. When his mind clears from its rum-induced haze, will Edmund find the will to escape?

Seemingly abandoned by her new husband, Charlisse battles her own insecurities as she is thrown into the clutches of the vengeful pirate Kent, who holds her and Lady Isabel captive.
Will she be swept away by the undertow of treachery and despair? Can Edmund and Charlisse battle the tempests that threaten to tear them apart and steer their way to the faith-filled haven they so desperately seek? Or will they ultimately lose their love and lives to the whirlpool of treachery and deceit?


Check out what other reviewers have to say about The Reliance.
KC Reviews
The Law, Books and Life
Edgy Inspirational Author
StraightJacket Chillers
and the original post: A Frank Review


Review: The Didymus Contingency by Jeremy Robinson

This is another book that is listed on wherethemapends under science fiction. The title was perhaps just a little off-putting at first, but after beginning to read, it began to make a LOT of sense!

The story is a true masterpiece of Christian time-travel. Two scientists from the present day – one an atheist, the other a Messianic Jew – get into a fight over whether Jesus really rose from the dead. In rage Tom activates a newly-discovered time travel system, determined to go back and prove it didn’t happen. David goes after him, fearing a rip in time could destroy history as we know it. Both end up meeting Jesus and tagging along with his disciples – but Tom remains obstinately disbelieving. What will it take to make a faithful follower out of the doubter – who always finds a way to discredit the miracles he sees, even when Lazarus staggers out of the tomb?

It’s a beautifully crafted plot, and according to the introduction, it began its life as a screenplay. Full of sound effects and delightful visual details, it surprised me again and again. Living in the past has its benefits, as both scientists experience an enormous boost in health from a diet of completely untreated food. But Tom and David can’t resist taking a break to zip back to present-day America for a meal of spare ribs – however, they forget to change out of their ancient garb and end up causing a ruckus in the restaurant. Another time, they enlist muscleman Lazarus to return to the future with them to help deal with the people who want them dead. A cliffhanger climax has Jesus catching bullets with his bare hands, and David discovering the love of his life.

I got it partly to see what a real Lulu book looks like, and on that account I’m perfectly satisfied. The print quality and binding is on a par with any traditionally published book. The only minus is that the manuscript has a little more than its fair share of spelling mistakes – which only proves once again that a self-publisher must be very, very careful about editing and proofing his work.

I really, truly loved the atmosphere created by this rollicking tale. The action barely ever stops, and – if you’ll believe me – I felt as if I knew Jesus better afterwards. Of course He can deal with time travellers, speak perfect English when necessary, be a friend to a persistent atheist, and enjoy the company of a Christian who always knows what’s about to happen because he’s read it all before…

Well done, Jeremy! When’s the movie coming out? I’m off to look for more of this author’s work!