Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger

Where do you get your ideas?

We writers know, love, and sometimes hate this age-old question.

My Jo Oliver thriller series started with a desire to write compelling stories of triumph, choice, and the power of emergent faith and community. Each story was fueled by a strong character, a plot idea, or an idea of what justice might look like via a twisty series of events. And while I am playing around with my next installment, I find myself distracted by new dreams.

For the past year or so, I’ve been toying with a new story that I finally had to start writing. This idea came to me in my sleep. Literally. I dreamt of my protagonist and how she meets her man— a paunchy insurance salesman with a deep alternative history steeped in international espionage. I loved the scene that first appeared to me in that memorable dream and ignored it soundly for about a year.

Yet the dreams returned. At night. While napping on planes. And once, while driving, an idea presented itself so strongly, I had to pull off the road into a highway oasis and furiously stab it all down on fast-food restaurant napkins. That chapter involved a kitchen island sex scene, with my 60-something arthritic protagonist secretly desiring to be ravished by her man on her granite counter—while fearing the possibility of breaking a hip with equal ferocity.

I’m thoroughly enjoying creating a life of unexpected purpose and adventure for two recently retired individuals who find themselves at the same banquet table at a hotel facing the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stuff happens—and it is stirring my writer’s heart to share their story, giving me that excited I can’t wait to get to my keyboard to see what happens next kind of feeling.

Rest assured, as the story reveals itself, I’ll share more with you!

Enjoy today,

Catherine

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Jeanne Dennis

Jeanne Dennis, host of Heritage of Truth TV

A Creative Challenge: Try Something New

By Jeanne Dennis

Life for me has been changing rapidly. After 11 years of part-time caregiving and the deaths of several family members and friends, I’m finally coming up for air. I’m able to enjoy writing, art, cooking, and music again.

One writing project especially challenges and excites me. My dad used to journal often and made me promise to do something with his musings. He died three years ago, but his journals and notes had been missing for five years, ever since my sister died. We thought they had been discarded accidentally with some of her papers.

What joy it gave us to find them in an old file cabinet a few months ago! Now I plan to sort through his writings and “do something” with them, probably in the form of a memoir about Dad’s and Mom’s lives. When Mom told others their story, people always said, “You should write a book.” So perhaps I’ll do it in her stead.

In the past month, I’ve also tried my hand at urban sketching. Drawing buildings and bustling street life has never appealed to me before, but I’ve found it enjoyable. Scribbles done the right way can look amazingly similar to people, cars, and architecture.

Though I’ve always enjoyed cooking, I’ve recently faced new challenges in the kitchen. Last fall I discovered I have gluten and other food sensitivities. Tragically, my favorite homemade whole-wheat sourdough bread had to go. Now I’m learning to cook with vegetables, fruits, and proteins with little to no grains. It has stretched my creativity and our food budget, but we’re feeling healthier and I was able to lose weight for the first time in many years. I also make my own dark chocolate–yum!

Finally, I’m writing music again and working on a Christmas album, which will be my third album.

Can I challenge you to make the most of your summer and try something new, fun, and creative? Don’t get frustrated if you don’t succeed at first. Half the joy in accomplishment comes from the journey it takes to get there. So enjoy the creative journey!

Jeanne Gowen Dennis hosts Heritage of Truth TV http://heritageoftruth.com, is a commissioned Colson Fellow and Centurion, and is a multi-award winning author of a dozen books. For over twenty years, she has been helping families understand, live out, and pass on biblical heritage through her writing, speaking, teaching, original music, and online ministries. She and her husband of over 40 years serve actively in their local church and enjoy spending time with their family, including three amazing grandchildren.

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