Category Archives: guest blogger

Guest Blogger Gail M. Baugniet

Guest Blogger Gail M. Baugniet

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Gail M. Baugniet as guest blogger today. Gail’s first self-published novel, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences, released in 2011, introduces Hawaiian-born Pepper Bibeau as an insurance investigator whose routine assignments lead her through a maze of suspense. (Note to my blog readers: If you love a good mystery, you’ll love this book.) Gail, who resides in Honolulu, Hawaii, is currently at work completing her second novel in the series for release in 2012. Today she discusses her new interview series with independent authors.
 
In several reviews of FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences my protagonist Pepper Bibeau has been described as a “strong female character.” This portrayal refers not to her muscular prowess, but to her emotional mettle. In Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, the synonyms for mettle that best describe Pepper are: strength of character; energy; fire; heart; moxie . . . and resolve, which in turn is related to determination, earnestness, and fixed purpose.

Words cut both ways and Pepper’s resolve, or fixed purpose, in her professional life tends to waver when applied to personal situations. Uncertainty does not weaken her character, though. By acknowledging indecision as provisional, a safe interim condition, Pepper is able to maintain a comfortable level of confidence and emotional stability.

On Mondays, beginning January 9, 2012, I will present interviews with Independent Authors who have written and published a mystery/suspense novel featuring a strong female protagonist. The interviews will focus on fellow indie-authors, spotlighting their first published novel and the strengths of their main character.

Indie authors interested in a personalized guest interview, please contact me via email: gbaugniet (at) aol (dot) com with the word INTERVIEW in the subject line. Include a link to your novel in the body of the email. If you have an upcoming promotional event that you want to coordinate with the interview, please include that date with your request. Thank you.

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Guest Blogger Amy Maddox

Guest Blogger Amy Maddox

I’m happy to welcome my friend Amy Maddox as guest blogger today. Amy is a talented writer who is working on her first novel while raising a husband and three children. You can read more of Amy’s thoughts—and see photos of her artwork—on her own blog, Something Deep and Witty. Without further ado, here’s Amy.
For the record, writing is art.
 
Of course, a lot of other things are also art: music, photography, painting, movies, sewing, gardening, cooking, crafts. The list goes on and on. And when I’m in the middle of making a lampshade (more on this later), it’s easy for me to understand that I am creating art. After all, I have glue and scissors. Aren’t glue and scissors prerequisite tools for art?

But writing? When I’m in the middle of it, I forget that it’s art. I read other people’s writing and can see the connection clearly. But when I’m doing it, I doubt. I struggle to find the words. I type, I delete, I stare into space. But just so we’re all clear, writing—even your writing, even mine—is art.

But back to the lampshade. I recently made one for my office. It was a long, sometimes tedious project, but I am very proud of the results. I’m proud of how nice the shade looks, for the money I saved, for the incredible blessing of having an office to decorate after months of unemployment. But I’m also proud of the expression of myself that is in the shade. In the process of reflecting on the project, I found myself wondering if I love the lampshade.

I don’t actually love the lampshade. It is, after all, an inanimate object with no soul. But there is also something of the eternal in this lampshade because I made it. There is something of the eternal God in me, both because I am created in his image and because he has redeemed my brokenness, and so because of the great care and time I put in making the lampshade, and because it is an expression of the art that is in me—art that is ultimately from God—there is something good and eternal in this shade, this art I have created. And so I guess it’s more accurate to say that I love God, but part of my love for God is reflected in the lampshade. He and I created it together. His expression of beauty and art, and more, his patience and care and grace, are all built into this silly little shade. So if I say I love the lampshade, really what I’m saying is that I love the art that God has created in my life.

I feel much the same way about writing—the writing that is, after all, art. In the same ways I used fabric and glue and thread to create art for my office, I use pen and paper (or, more likely, keyboard and screen) to create art. The lampshade is so much more than the sum of its parts, and so writing is so much more than just the words on the page. It is passion, aspiration, faith, doubt—the sum of the human experience can be expressed and understood in writing just as it is expressed in other types of art.

And ultimately, art is good and speaks to our souls because it expresses something of the eternal. This is the power of writing, of singing, of things we create that words cannot express. We are made in his image, all of us, and something of Elohim, the Creator God, lingers in us. But we who are redeemed—and whose art is redeemed—have a special privilege, a special responsibility. As God created, so we create. As he penetrates the soul with the word, so can our words be used by him. Writing is an act of faith-ing, of speaking, of yielding, of wielding. Our art can show life and light to the world.

And so, God—whether we actually use his name or not—uses art as a revolutionary force. A friend of mine recently said on her blog, “The heart can be a wall. But if you put hinges on a wall, it becomes a door. And culture [or art] is the hinge. What a revelation to me, the culture-lover! No wonder I am so in love with culture–it has opened up my heart to God.”

When I was young, I enjoyed the hymn “How Great Thou Art.” The words stirred my young soul, and my mind gave image to the timeless words:

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art . . .
The problem was, I didn’t understand archaic English at that age. When I sang “How great Thou art,” I thought we were telling God how great his art was. Look at the worlds he’d made! Look at the stars! Hear the thunder! That’s some impressive artwork! It wasn’t until later that the truth hit me like the aforementioned thunder. “How great Thou art” really meant “How great you are!” I felt so silly and childish.
 
But, oh, isn’t it the deepest truths that sometimes come from little children? In the intervening years, I’ve returned to that original understanding and come to appreciate it, and God, and my own creativity, in new ways. And so when I sing, however infrequently, that old hymn, I choose to think, How great your art is, God.

And how great our art can be, too.

For more on creating art with our words and our lives, see Emily Freeman’s blog, Chatting at the Sky. She has been writing about art all this year.

 

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