Monthly Archives: May 2009

The People in Your Life

Nothing God creates is a waste.

That includes the people who enter your life, for good or ill. Even the ill we endure is never wasted, because it gives us an opportunity to learn and grow.

So says someone who’s not endured many ill relationships in her life. Sure, there have been a few with almost deadly consequences, but those are mere hiccups compared to what others have gone through.

I met a gal a few months ago at my church. I was thrilled to meet her — another writer! Finally, someone else who’s also writing from a Christian perspective.

Julianna is writing her life story — and reading only three sections up to the 4th grade, it’s a doozy. How she survived, and even thrived is nothing short of a miracle.

When I first met her, I saw a quiet, unassuming confidence and contagious joy. I never would have guessed she hated herself growing up, and was abused in ways I can’t describe even with an 18+ rating.

"I’m not a writer," she said once. "God’s merely telling me to write my story."

Not a writer. Ha!

Anyone who can tell a story simultaneously passionate yet with clinical precision, and at the same time describe what a young girl experienced without interjecting adult understanding, that’s a gift only God can give. It must take a tremendous amount of strength to revisit all those memories as well. I don’t know if I could do it, but then again, God never asks us to do something without giving us the means to accomplish it.

Why did God place her in my path? No idea, but I’m not going to question it. I have an opportunity to learn about a life foreign to mine, yet be able to understand and even empathize with it.

I get to see God’s handiwork in a damaged soul.

Now it’s your turn. Either as a comment here, or in your blog, describe to me a person who entered your life that left an indelible mark — for good or ill.

Now on Sale!

This last Saturday I uploaded the thirteenth and final chapter of "A Reason to Hope." Sunday I drew the winner of the contest.

As I packaged up the book to send off, I pondered the other copies sitting in the box they came in and thought, "It’s time for another sale."

Whether you participated in the project or not, no matter.

From now until May 31st I’m offering "A Reason to Hope" at a 25% discount.

You can find out more at www.almarquardt.com/sale.

Forgive my lax in writing entries and visiting you. I’ve been concentrating on my reading and writing. After going through the comments Andrea from www.povbootcamp.com gave me, and reading Donald Maass’s book, "Writing the Breakout Novel," I’m not just editing my novel, but rewriting it. Much of the story won’t change except the beginning, but sometimes writing it from scratch instead of cutting and pasting gives me a fresher perspective.

Plus my husband’s uncle passed away on Tuesday (he’d been sick for a while, so it’s more a relief than anything. I like to believe he’s fishing with Jesus right now), and we have to prepare for family before the funeral on the 23rd. Considering I’m a total slob, it’ll take a lot of work to whip this house into shape.  I’m glad the funeral is so far away, because I have time to clean, and so family and friends spread all throughout the United States have time to make the trip.

Anyway, I’ll try to stop by when I can steal a moment (or procrastinate further in cleaning), and if you buy a book, I promise to toss it in the mail the next day.

Thanks muchly, and I’ll see you when I see you!

I don’t want . . .

. . . a free webcam to view naked women, or men.

. . . learn about hot Russian women.

. . . to know where I can buy cheap Viagra, Cialis or Xanax. 

. . . that you like my blog, was searching the internet of this very subject, and will come back without addressing the actual subject of the entry.

. . . to know that you’re a bad speller.

. . . and have an email address of akjahsdfoqwer@akljdflah.ca

I gotta admit robot spammers are getting more sophisticated with their comments, but they are still a huge waste of my time.

Even if they are kind of funny sometimes.

What’s the most irritating, unique or funny spam comment you’ve ever received? 

NOTE: My Serialization Project officially ended yesterday, but if you haven’t left a comment to be added into the drawing for an autographed copy, you have until 8am tomorrow (Central time). I’ll announce the winner then.

Either way, check out tomorrow’s entry, because I’ll be offering . . .

Nope, you will have to read it to find out.

Word of Advice

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to install a new hard drive a Macintosh iBook G4 laptop all by yourself.

I consider myself technically savvy (as most of you know). The laptop my mom gave me worked for a few days then every time I booted up, I received nothing but a gray screen. When I tried to reload the operating system, it showed no hard drive was installed.

Solution: buy a new hard drive.

I searched on eBay and found a new one for a mere $45. Cool.

After I ordered it, I internet-searched for installation instructions. That was also easy to find, but after scrolling through 17 pages of instructions, I began to wonder if I made a mistake.

I thought about taking it to Geek Squad to install it, but decided against it. I wanted to resell the laptop on eBay, and considering what the computer is worth, I wouldn’t make any money going that route.

By the time the hard drive arrived, I had studied the instructions enough I felt confident I could do it.

Two hours and 30+ screws removed (no exaggeration there), I had the old hard drive removed. Yippee.

I noticed then I didn’t have the proper tool to remove the four screws on the old drive. Now what?

I carefully packed up the disassembled computer and frightening assortment of screws, and internet searched again for the appropriate screwdriver, with the intent of driving to Lowe’s the next day.

Tonight, with all the right tools, I spent five minutes installing the new drive, and the next two hours reassembling the laptop.

I got all the way done, but the mouse button was stuck. I tried to fix it by again taking the darned thing apart, and ended up breaking a piece of the case off.

I further destroyed the computer to remove the new drive with the intent of returning it. There’s a 30 day money-back guarantee on the thing, so I’ll only be out the shipping.

I happily threw all the screws and broken machine in the garbage.

Five minutes later, I took it back out, and salvaged the screen, keyboard, battery and power cord.

I figured if I sold those and the program CDs on eBay, I’ll make about $40. Basically I’ll break even money-wise.

As for the rest, I learned to never – ever – take apart an old Macintosh laptop unless I want to destroy it.

So, anyone need used iBook G4 laptop parts?

Bragging Rights

A quicky today.

I’ve spent most of my free time editing a novel for another Christian science fiction author, and a friend who’s writing nonfiction.

I forgot not only how much fun editing can be, but how much I learn in the process. I get to study a person’s voice, how their mind works, and what drives them and their writing.

By critiquing other writers – regardless of chosen genre – I simultaneously edit my own work. I keep a notebook beside me as I edit, so I can write down my ideas and changes before I forget them.

I know how to fix the first three chapters. My main character changes too quickly, while at the same time the story doesn’t move fast enough. I’ve known about the problems for a long time now, but the solutions eluded me until now. Yea!

This entry is also a bragging moment.

Fellow friend and writer wrote a review on "A Reason to Hope." Before you think the review isn’t honest or fair because she’s a friend, I assure you she would not have written the review if she didn’t think my book was worth it. For one, I didn’t even ask for it.

Don’t take my word for it, though. You can read her thoughts HERE.

Thanks bunches, Kara.