Welcome to my Author Blog

Welcome to my author blog, Friend. I am so pleased you found me.

I’ve been hanging out here for several years with an amazing group of followers. It is because of them that my blog is going strong, and I want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank You!”

The overall purpose of my blog is to familiarize you with my writing. I enjoy creating novels as well as interesting and informative blog posts. In between all the writing, I am currently seeking representation for my manuscript.

Following me is quite easy. Just click the +Follow button hovering in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen or take advantage of the sign-up directly on the Home page. In addition to my blog, there are various ways for us to become better acquainted. I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

I sincerely hope you’ll join us. I look forward to getting to know you better.

HL Gibson, Author

Walk on the Water

I have said before that I come late to the party where TV shows and movies were concerned. The second season of The Chosen has been out for some time, but I just recently binge-watched all eight episodes. I did not write a review of the first season because I thought Dallas Jenkins, et al., did a decent job of setting the stage. A few creative liberties were taken, but all in all, I gave those involved high marks for producing a series without political and/or social agendas that the entire family could watch.

Season Two of The Chosen followed this line of acceptable family viewing but added lots of emotion to the scenes. I don’t believe a single episode occurred without tears spilling over or at least glistening eyes. To counterbalance all the heartfelt sentiment taking place, the disciples bickered much more in Season Two, which I found a little unsettling.

I enjoyed the backstory created for the character Simon the Zealot the most, especially when his story crossed over to the man at the pool of Bethesda. Nathaniel’s storyline was also well done, and the ruined architectural project that led him to be sitting under the tree where Jesus saw him was a nice touch.

The issue of backsliding was handled appropriately within Mary’s story, but several other concerns, the type that often come up among believers, took place in conversations among multiple characters. While these types of conversations could take place, on the written page they would be criticized as info dumps. I thought they could have been presented more realistically in the show so they would not feel so contrived.

I did not care for the Torah bashing that I picked up on throughout Season Two. The Sabbath and dietary rules were the targets in this season, but then they always are when presented from a mainstream Christian perspective. I’m going to proceed with caution here because if one knows the truth, then one would have seen that everything Jesus said was in keeping with that truth. But if one falls on the “Torah is done away with” side, that viewer could easily, and quite mistakenly, have linked it to the disciples’ comments about how hard it is to keep all the rules and to be Jewish and come away more firmly entrenched in wrong thinking.

The scene that caused me the most concern was when Jesus was away, and the disciples were sitting around a campfire admitting that they broke certain rules. Again, the Sabbath and the dietary rules were on the chopping block. The first mistake the writers made was in presenting Torah and oral traditions as of the same importance, or maybe the show’s creators are ignorant of the difference. This is painfully evident in the “I ate meat and cheese” portion of the disciples’ conversation, and the error was that no distinction between Torah and oral traditions was made. I would think the disciples would have been cognizant of this, and if not, what a great opportunity to clear this up.

The second mistake I believe this portion of the episode made was the breaking of an actual Torah command to not eat pork. It was presented as if the event took place in the disciple’s childhood, but as an adult, he and the others acted immature and giggled about it. The commandment-breaking disciple went on to say how delicious the pork was, and the others were in awe of what he had done.

The last embarrassing portion of the campfire scene involved cleaning up a mess on the Sabbath. It was so ridiculously in error due to what can only be an overwhelming lack of understanding about Torah that I hesitate to mention what the mess was, which was actually quite juvenile in the writer’s choice of messes.

The worst thing about this whole scene was that I did not see an ounce of repentance displayed by the characters portraying the disciples. There was no mention of keeping Adonai’s commands out of obedience and love for Him, no mention of His love for us in His commands, and certainly no depiction of the freedom they bring to one’s life.

If I have the opportunity to watch The Chosen for free, I probably will, but it will be with my eyes wide open in case the anti-Torah message becomes blatant. And if I never view another episode, well that’s fine, too, because I know where I can enjoy all the stories in their entirety presented in truth. I will miss decent entertainment, but I cannot surrender truth for pleasure.

With Gratitude

As we use every moment between today and Thursday preparing for celebration, the Gibson Household would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for this year in the way of friends and family. Please know how greatly we treasure you.

Our goodwill wishes are in no way diminished toward those we don’t know personally. Thank you, faithful followers of my blog, for your presence here. It’s because of you, too, that I write at the higher standard I do.

May God bless each of you and may all your creative dreams find fulfillment.

~The Gibsons

Tuesday Tea – London Fog

This month’s Tuesday Tea features London Fog. “But that’s ice cream in the picture,” you say. Why, yes, Observant Reader, it is, and it is no less delicious just because it comes in a cone instead of a cup.

Shout out to Therapy Ice Cream & Coffee Bar in Akron, Ohio, for featuring some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. They purchase their flavors from Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, an award-winning company out of Madison, Wisconsin. If you’ve never enjoyed Chocolate Shoppe’s works of art, you’re in for a real treat. Their single flavors and flavor combinations are a huge cut above what I’ve previously encountered at ice cream shops, and you’ll find yourself wanting to indulge in all of them again and again.

I recommend starting with London Fog. This is the first time I’ve seen a tea other than green tea featured as a flavor. Of course, Earl Grey’s signature bergamot appears in the ice cream, but while it’s present, the pungent citrus is mellowed by the addition of vanilla and lavender much the same as in the hot beverage, London Fog.

If you’re skeptical of lavender, because it is a highly aromatic and almost camphorous herb, you’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t too flavor-forward. And the vanilla, which is unfortunately often thought of as plain, isn’t lost in the combination. Rather, all three are well blended, so each cool, creamy lick of London Fog ice cream is equally satisfying.

There was something incredibly fun and slightly scandalous in getting to eat my tea from a cone instead of delicately sipping it from a cup. I imagine London Fog is the sort of flavor a young Queen Elizabeth II would have enjoyed. I’ve already been for several servings of London Fog, but I think I need some more Therapy and soon!

Why You Write is as Important as What You Write

Have you ever asked yourself why you’re writing? I’ve been seriously pursuing writing since about 2014, and there are days when this question niggles the back of my mind. I have ridden a roller coaster of emotions where my writing is concerned, changed my goals many times, sought and rejected help, entertained quitting altogether, searched my heart to determine why I tortured myself so, and kept writing all along.

Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Show me the money

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to earn money for my writing, and there was a time when I struggled with this even though I was able to approach my writing leisurely because my husband’s salary was more than sufficient. I didn’t have to panic that I needed to produce a living wage and therefore churn out garbage just to make some cash.

I examined the root of my overwhelming desire to make lots of money from writing, and I realized that an unrealistic dream was being sold to writers. It’s the one in which I fantasized being the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, dreamt about large advances and/or Hollywood knocking on my door with movie deals, and imagined that I’d be the next newly discovered writing sensation.

These types of dreams are nice, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and you need a stronger reason for writing. This isn’t compromising or settling. It’s being mature enough to understand that money alone is poor motivation for writing. I urge caution with your writing dreams and stress learning the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

Keep in mind that if you want writing to be your only career, you’re most likely going to need another source of income until you reach your writing-for-money goal. I highly recommend starting while you’re young if you want writing to be your only career. However, don’t be discouraged if you waited until you were older. There are many circumstances that may necessitate waiting, but there are also some advantages such as wisdom, experience, and more time.

If, one day, you find yourself abundantly blessed by earning money for your writing, exercise prudence on where you allow that money to take you. I suggest investing it back into your writing and/or assisting others with their writing.

Fame is a vapor

Fame is money’s wily cousin who can lead to dangers because fame plays into one’s ego. I re-examined my objective of simply writing for the thrill of adoring fans or seeing my name on the cover of my book. This doesn’t mean that I’m against a solid fan base for a well-written book, but should I attain this level of success for my writing, I will maintain professional boundaries to ensure that my writing doesn’t succumb to my need for celebrity.

I strongly urge you to not waste your writing potential on fame. Rather, live your writing potential to its fullest. Find a method whereby you can maintain humility and focus on your craft. Again, investing in others, especially fellow writers, with your time and expertise is a great way to achieve this.

Just for the joy of it

As hard as writing is sometimes, there is a joy that comes from it. You know that moment I’m talking about, when the words are pouring out of you, and you can’t get them down fast enough? This is why I write.

I won’t pretend that I haven’t had to work for these moments, but they’re worth it because writing is a deeply satisfying way to express myself. Every word can be carefully placed and edited to perfection.

There are times I write with the intention of no one ever reading it. It’s quite liberating, and the privacy it affords removes all anxieties and invigorates my soul. It is perfectly acceptable to save my writing for me alone.

But the best lesson I learned was to write without the expectation of making any money. The willingness to share my writing without compensation as the goal produces some of my best stuff, and the joy I experience in doing so let’s me know how far I’ve come on my writing journey.

Answer the question, please

While there is more I could say on the topic of why I write, my reasons would start to overlap. What I’ve presented here are the highlights of my writing journey. Now it’s your turn to share.

So, tell me. Why are you writing?

When You Write is as Important as What You Write

When you write is as important as what you write, but as many writers know, time is often an elusive commodity in the writing life.

I’ve read a couple of writing books that address the issue of time, and the one thing that always annoys me is that the author is writing from a place of success, i.e., he/she is financially stable enough to do nothing but write. And that’s great for him/her.

The rest of us, however, still have regular jobs as spouses and parents, not to mention careers that take us outside our homes. Of writers who comprise this group, I extend much grace to the parents, especially if their children are still young. But hear me, O Potential Writer parenting babes: those little ones won’t be little for long, so enjoy them now.

In the meantime, jot your fabulous story ideas into a notebook to be revisited upon your child’s/children’s growing independence. Right now, the best thing you can do is raise them with love and devotion. This also applies to the writer caring for elderly parents or children who will always be with you due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Grace and peace to you as you set aside your dream for just a little while. I promise it will be waiting for you when the time is right.

Probably everyone who reads this post is old enough to remember his/her childhood when the days seemed endless, and sometimes, they even became boring because we exhausted all the great, fun things we wanted to do. Of course, we also know that the days aren’t any shorter now. We’re just busier with all the activities vying for our time and attention.

Gaining time at this stage of the game is a matter of prioritizing activities. I find that a calendar helps. Start by blocking off chunks of time when you’re required to complete non-writing activities (outside-the-home job, shopping, mowing, laundry, bills, cooking, etc.) and see what’s left. Analyze how well you’re doing some of these tasks and strive to do them better. Example: instead of running to the grocery store every time you need something, make a list and shop all at once. It really is that easy, and the minutes you’ll gain add up.

You’re going to have to sacrifice to make time for yourself, too. The first place you can do this is by cutting the amount of time you spend on social media. It’s crazy how much time we give to scrolling through nonsense that adds nothing of any value to our lives. Yes, it’s fun but pay attention to how long you’re actually on social media. It follows us everywhere, and like slaves, we attend every beep on our cell phones as if we absolutely must respond to that cute kitten picture or comment on the recipe for a triple-stack burger with peanut butter and jelly.

In fact, because writing is such hard work that requires a large amount of focus, you may need to separate yourself from technology for awhile until you have established good writing habits.

Giving up television is another way you can gain large amounts of time. TV has become as invasive as social media in that it’s possible to watch your favorite shows everywhere. I include the endless quantity of videos watched on YouTube in this category. Now that we live in the age of on-demand viewing, TV/YouTube/any streaming service needs to be monitored lest it continue to consume our lives.

Another time saving/time gaining measure is the ability to say, “No, thank you.” By this I mean choose what invitations you allow to take you away from your writing. This one requires some tactful maneuvering on your part, especially when the invitation is to a family function. Grandma’s 99th birthday party? Yes, you must go. Uncle Jimmy opening the pool for the season? You can miss that.

You may need to be strong with friends who don’t understand your commitment to writing. Multiple coffee dates, long phone chats, and just hanging out can chew through your writing time faster than hungry teenage boys through a pizza. Instead, schedule a dinner date with a group of friends to maintain your relationships.

So, you’ve bought back some time for yourself, but guess what? There’s still more to be had!

I find travelling with a single-subject, college-ruled, spiral-bound notebook and pen to be a lifesaver. This is especially true when I must leave the house in the middle of a fabulous writing session and I don’t want to lose the flow of the story. My husband drives and I write.

I also keep pens or pencils and notebooks around the house for the same purpose. While working in the basement, I’ve maintained the flow of my story by jotting down details in between folding t-shirts.

Enlist the help of others toward building your writing time. Politely explain your need and work out times when you can create uninterrupted. Even fifteen minutes a day can go a long way to building your writing confidence. To minimize the amount of time it takes to get back into the groove for your next session, quickly note the next idea in your chain of thought. You can use it as a launching point rather than scrambling to remember what you intended to write next.

There’s always getting up half an hour earlier or going to bed half an hour later, but I urge caution here because sleep is so essential in our 24/7 world. Then again, if you’re at the age where you’re awake for long periods of time through the night, grab that notebook beside your bed and jot something down. Remember to be considerate of the person who may be sleeping next you to.

Make good use of the recording feature on your cell phone while walking the dog or rocking the baby to sleep. Your speaking voice will soothe both.

Ask someone to take dictation when you’re elbow deep in a sink full of dishes or while your grease-stained hands are working under the hood of your vehicle. This is a great way to get words on the page as well as draw loved ones into your writing process. Not only will they come to understand your vision, but they’ll also get to spend time with you in a way that is productive rather than interruptive.

So, you see, there are many ways to accumulate time for your writing passion. Again, writing is hard work, and one way in which you may feel as if you’re wasting your own time is when you find yourself staring at the blank page or computer screen without having produced a single word. In this instance, you’re going to have to extend yourself some grace. It happens to every writer.

I will caution you against believing that it’s writer’s block. In truth, you haven’t found your groove yet, the muse isn’t speaking, or you’re a little unfocused. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t stop writing. Try again the next time you’ve scheduled yourself to write or the moment presents itself.

How You Write is as Important as What You Write

This post was going to appear a little later in my writing series, but thanks to Arthur Miller, who was in the same vein of thought as me, we’re jumping into the how of writing. You can enjoy Art’s story, and once you do, you’ll probably see why he thought how one writes is as important as where one writes.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the how of writing has to do with the writing instrument you’ve chosen to use. You probably didn’t think it was any big deal, right? Just jot some scribbles on the page and call it a day. Sometimes, that really is how it must be. I’ll admit that many short stories were written on McDonald’s napkins with a goopy ink pen rummaged from the bottom of my mom’s purse while we drank coffee.

But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m going to assume you’ve done yourself the enormous favor of creating your writing environment in an effort to nurture your writing muse as she whispers to you. This is a calmer scenario where you can decide what you want to hold in your hand as you create writing gold. There are a couple approaches to this.

Go Elegant or Go Home

This is where my friend, Art, comes in. Art creates gorgeous fountain pens, rollerball pens, and refillable ink pens. There is something about holding one of these affordable treasures in your hand that inspires writing in ways that a Bic pen just doesn’t. I promise you’ll feel more connected to your craft because you’ll want to write something worthy of the pen! Even if you’re crossing out a portion you don’t care for, you’ll enjoy doing so with ink in your personal color preference. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself fantasizing about using your classy pen to autograph your published book.

Keep It Simple

Let’s not forget the humble pencil, however. Whether you enjoy a refillable mechanical or a good ole wooden No. 2, pencils lend that forgiving quality to your writing known as the eraser. Just make that purple prose disappear for good with a couple abrasive scrubs across your paper. What’s more, use your pencil on paper that has a good tooth, i.e., a little grain to the page. The sound of a pencil scratching across gritty paper is the sound of progress being made. You’ll come to love it.

Not This Time, ThinkPad

Did you notice I haven’t mentioned creating straight to a laptop? Technology has its place in the writing process but allow me to share a bit of advice. Using a pen or pencil to write will slow you down, and that’s a good thing, especially in the initial stages of your work in progress. We’re so afraid we’re going to forget a great piece of writing when, in fact, what we’ve failed to do is get our thoughts in order. Bullet point your ideas, organize them, and write in longhand or, if you truly want to sharpen your focus, print in all capital letters. This technique will help you find your groove.

Let me know in the comments which you prefer for capturing that next great piece of writing—pens or pencils.

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