I have a confession to make: I may have a slight tech addiction. And I’m not just talking about killing zombies or expanding my online Township empire. I’m talking about the rabbit holes I jump down on a regular basis that more often than not find their way into my writing. My current novel features a sixty-year-old protagonist living in the year 2060 with a limited vision for life after retirement.
In an effort to illustrate what addiction looks and feels like, I have her growing overly dependent on her A.I. companion, Carver. As the story opens, she prefers his company and their private world to “real” people. What will it take to lure her out of her head and into the real world?
Meaningful relationships, the beauty of nature as represented in my awesome mare Clara, my fabulous canine companion Christie, and the beauty of the Wisconsin world around me—all lure me into living robustly on a daily basis. Weaving these basic concepts into a future fictional world are forming the basic structure of my newest story world.
A tech addiction in the year 2061 may not look all that different from a tech addiction in the year 2021—sure, the toys will be cooler, but the basic human drives remain the same. Our need for connection, intimacy, safety and knowing and being known by others can help us build more satisfying relationships and communities in real life—or online.
What if the relationships we build in the future are with artificial intelligence (A.I.) entities? Will they still count? More to the point, will our minds, hearts and souls make distinctions between humans and A.I. entities in our online relationships? And if you build relationships online—what unique factors exist to differentiate between an A.I. friend and a human friend?
Integrating these concepts into my writing has led to a story world that keeps me coming back to the keyboard.
Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Her newest novel, Capsized by Death, is the fourth book in her award-winning Jo Oliver thriller series. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends. Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com
What is your greatest fear? What would it take to face that fear, and make the shift from from fear to love?
Halloween, El Dia de Los Meurtos, All Hallows Eve—these traditions offer a great opportunity to reflect on our faith walk and the extent to which we are allowing the Holy Spirit to move us away from fear into His perfect love. The journey itself could spark a great story.
Anytime I notice myself living a little smaller, a little less joyfully, a little less confidently—I know it is time for me to stop, pray, and reflect. I ask God to show me His truth and to lead me back into His light—and to allow His perfect love to cast out all fear. And then I take the time to backtrack and acknowledge the crooked thinking, or soul woundedness that made me vulnerable to breathing in fear or lies, instead of basking in His love and peace.
This process of uncovering distortions and moving away from fear toward love is embedded in the lives of the characters in the novel I’m currently working on. Asking myself how fear shows up and holds my protagonist back strengthens my writing and creates space for growth and personal renewal as a result of my characters’ struggles. Tonight, as I set up individually bagged candy offerings for my neighborhood goblins, I’ll be thinking about how the Word of God can lift off the mask of our distortions and bring us into the clarifying light of His love.
And tomorrow morning, I’ll be back at my computer, weaving suspenseful tales as my characters move away from fear and back onto the path of His glorious love.
Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to write books, ride horses, and serve others through her emerging coaching practice. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.
We welcome Linda Rooks and thank her for today’s wonderful fascinating fact!
Did you know there is a rabbit in the shadows of the moon? In the United States we often talk about a man in the moon, but in other parts of the world—especially Asia—people talk about the rabbit they see in the moon. In fact, centuries ago, storytellers in the East not only observed a rabbit on the left side of the moon but made up legends about him. In countries like India, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and others, legends abound about the brave rabbit whose sacrificial courage was honored by having his image placed on the moon.
Since the moon determines the date for Easter each year, these legends about a rabbit that was willing to give his life for another and can now be seen on the moon, kindled my imagination as a writer. The coincidences were intriguing. Could this rabbit on the moon be connected to the Easter bunny that has always seemed a misplaced icon amidst the profound message of the true Easter story? The tantalizing coincidences about this iconic rabbit resulted in my writing a children’s Easter picture book called The Bunny Side of Easter that uses an adventure about the heroism of a little bunny to point children to Jesus, the true hero of Easter.
The Bunny Side of Easter
Children delight in discovering the rabbit in the moon and love hearing stories of how he got there. In the shadows on the left side of every full moon, they might see a large bunny facing to the left with his ears back and an Easter egg at his feet. Or they might make out a bunny facing to the right with his ears flopped over and his head bowed in prayer. Or they might spot a smaller bunny at the top. He can be seen in three different ways.
It’s a fun addition to the Easter tradition, and you can see it from your own front door when the next full moon appears on April 7 to herald the advent of spring and the coming of Easter.
Award winning author Linda W. Rooks takes her life-long love of children’s books and uses it to tell a winsome, but exciting adventure that points children to the real meaning of Easter in her picture book, The Bunny Side of Easter. Linda is best known for her ministry to those in troubled marriages and for her books, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated and Broken Heart on Hold. Her writing has appeared in Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Home Life, and Chicken Soup. She has appeared as guest on TV and radio talk shows across the North American continent. Visit Linda at bunnysideofeaster.com.
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My recent retirement prompted a personal move from Illinois to my home state of Wisconsin—which meant my awesome nine-year-old quarter horse mare and I also moved to a new barn and horse trainer. All of these changes resulted in prepping, practicing, and praying for success on a brand-new horse show circuit this year. We agreed to an aggressive schedule of shows that would take us from Wisconsin to Oklahoma City for our first event; onto Las Vegas for our second show—The Silver Dollar Circuit—and then to Scottsdale, AZ for our final event, the Sun Circuit. This was my first series of horse shows with my new trainer and new barn mates.
In preparation for our training and showing debut, my friends and family lit candles for the poor guy and wished him all the best from afar. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mare, and everything about the showing process, and I appreciate and respect my trainer—but he hadn’t yet experienced me at a horse show. And by that, I mean he hadn’t seen me after too many late nights and early mornings in a row, jacked up on extra strength Excedrin and French Roast coffee, limping around the show pen (me, not my horse) waiting for my next event.
Willie Nelson lyrics rang through my mind as I packed up Cosmo, my 2016 RV built by Pleasure Way—a Canadian company making great use of the Mercedes Sprinter to create a small but mighty road warrior. With nearly 4,000 miles and six weeks to cover together, every aspect of packing was carefully considered. Mostly. Until that critical 24-hour window where a few things may have slipped past me. And definitely around that 10 hours to go mark when I may have accidently thrown in two coffee makers but not one pair of spurs. Oops.
The interesting antics and chance encounters with strangers falling into and out of my life on this journey are already making their way into my latest novel. As I write tonight, melancholy tunes from a country western band staged across the parking lot seep into my little camper, spurring me to write on.
Clara entering Trail Show Pen
Catherine & Clara Silver Dollar Circuit 2020
Cosmo & Christie in Vegas
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!
Trio of Books by Catherine Finger