Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chapter One Page Two

The coolness awakened my senses and allowed me to think coherently.  Yes, I remember now.  I am visiting my sister in France.  This is the first trip I’ve ventured out on in years.  Stacie had gently prodded me for years to stop hiding in my job and my home.  She says, now it is time to live again.  Is this what living feels like?

I reached for a paper towel to dry my face.  Burying my fear and insecurities in the towel, I dried away all the moisture.  Both the water drops and the teardrops.  As I hid behind my shield I confessed to God my desperate feelings.  ‘Lord, I need you more today than yesterday.  Or the day before.  Or the day before that.  This is more than I feel ready for.  I know You have a purpose for this trip and a purpose for me.  Will you please help me to see it?  Then Lord, help me to do it.  Use me somehow.’

“Are you alright Dear?”

Her rich English words startled me slightly.  I pulled the paper towel away from my face to see the older woman leaning near to me.  Her eyes were soft pools of grey caressed by her long eyelashes. 

“Sont vous d'accord?”  She spoke again.  This time she tried it in French.

I nodded.  “Yes.  Oui”

A twinkle set into her eyes that made all my anxieties fade.  “I thought you might speak English.  So I tried it first.”

“Yes, I speak English mostly.”  I tossed my towel into the receptacle under the counter.  “But I know French too.”  I wasn’t about to confess to her how it pained me to speak it these last few years.

She nudged my arm.  “Your magazine gave it away.” 

For a moment I did not know what she meant but then I remembered the Reader’s Digest tucked into the vinyl pocket of my travel bag.  I looked at the culprit wondering what else this woman could read about me at a glance.

“Don’t worry Dear.  It is alright to prefer one language over the other. As long as you don’t let your heart forget it. ” She winked a sweet Grandmotherly wink and I felt her reach into my soul.  It felt like she knew me – only I was sure she didn’t.

She reached into her purse and pulled out a long black comb.  She offered it to me.  “I am certain a young available woman like you can’t possibly be travelling alone.”  Her glance down at my hand tore through my chest like a scalpel.

'See God', I sneeredto myself.  'My bare finger is like a neon beacon for all to see.'  I kindly gestured ‘no thank you’ to her offer of a comb and then turned my face to the mirror.

I was a wreck.  Not that I had any reason to be anything else considering my last twenty-four hours.  My hand rushed to my hair and tried to organize the messy mass at the back of my head.

My new-found friend chuckled and offered a new item to save me from myself.  It was a tube of ruby red lipstick.  I tried to envision this proper English woman well into her seventies wearing that particular shade.

“You can’t catch a man looking like that my Dear."  She said with her delightful smile.  "Try this one.  It always worked for me.”  She exaggerated her wink.  "It is a fun, party colour."

How could I explain to her I wasn’t looking for a man?  Would she understand that my life was still trying to recover from the last one?  However, as I gazed at myself in the mirror I heard a gentle breeze of a whisper.  It spoke in a voice that resonated with familiarity to my heart.  I have a plan for you. 

As the words coated my tired and aching heart I felt renewed.  A surge of purpose covered me as I watched my tattered reflection.  Without another thought I released the elastic holding my unruly curls captive and let them tumble down my shoulders.

The woman to my right radiated with a smile of accomplishment.  “Now that is the way you do it Dear.”
I became immune to her penetrating eyes as I primped my hair bringing it back to life.

She nudged the lipstick back in my direction.  “Put this on for the handsome man you must have waiting for you outside.”

“Oh, no thank you.  I do appreciate your offer but it is not my colour.  Besides, I am only meeting my sister.”

For a moment her facial expression dropped as though she were devastated by the news.  Then she perked back up and began searching in her purse again.  “Well, you need something on those ghastly white lips.”  She responded with gusto.

I wasn’t about to shatter her perceptions of the world by confessing that I, personally have never owned a tube of lipstick. Not to mention the fact that other than my wedding day, I have never worn lipstick.  So I lied.  Sort of.

“My sister will have some I could borrow.”

She nodded her head in satisfaction and then we said our brief good-byes.  As I turned to go I felt her hand on my shoulder.  “Be ready for whatever the Good Lord sees fit to put in your path Dear.  You never know who He plans on you meeting.”

She winked a final goodbye and I felt certain she was still fixated on me having a man to drape off of.  However as I walked out of the restroom and turned down the corridor I wrestled with the nagging feeling that there was more to her words of wisdom.  It felt like she knew something that I didn’t.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

3 Day novel winners announced!

I know I posted today already but this just came in.
The 3 Day Novel contest winners have been announced!  Check it out here if you are interested.
And no, my name is not on there. ;)

Check this site out!

I know you are expecting page two of the story, however I found a little treasure I want to share with you.

It is a website called I Am Second.  You can go right to this link or you can go to YouTube and type in 'I Am Second' in the search window and then select whatever videos interest you.

It is an organization of famous people - athletes, musicians, writers, etc - and everyday normal people - just like you and me - who live their life as second.  Instead of living for themselves, they put Jesus Christ in the first place.  It is cool.

Take a moment today or tomorrow and maybe everyday after that to check these video clips out.  I hope it catches like wildfire.

I have posted below the video by Anne Rice.  If you are unfamiliar with her, she is an author - a New York Times Bestselling author. She wrote a whole series of books starting with An Interview with a Vampire.  This was long before it was trendy to write about Vampires.

She was an outspoken atheist most of her life.  A few years back God got a hold of her heart and she returned to her childhood faith.  It caused quite a ripple to her readership because she decided not to write the same kind of books she was known for. That is a huge stand to take.  I commend her for it!  If we can all take that stand ... what a different world this would be.

My name is Jodi and I am second!

I will post the second page tonight.  For those of you are unable to comment on this site, you may follow this link to my email.  If you leave a post there, I will copy and paste it to here so it can be seen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Through the Eyes of God - Chapter One Page One

“Excuse me Ma’am?”  A soft voice broke through my tired state.

My eyelids resisted the movement but eventually her pretty round face came within my fuzzy view.

“Sorry to waken you Ma’am but we have arrived at our destination.”

“Destination?”  It took a few seconds to perfectly blend the reality of the moment with my sleepy thoughts.

Her navy tailored suit coat contrasted nicely with her red hair and sharp green eyes. Amidst my haze, her thick, sweet accent pushed again.  “Are you well enough to disembark Dear, or do you require assistance?”

That did it.  I stood quickly to my feet.  “I’m fine.  Thank you.”

As I shifted left to manoeuvre my way through the airline seats, I noticed the other two flight attendants watching my every move with concern.  I must look really bad, I thought as I tried to blink away the sleepy-droop to my eyes.

As I arrived in the aisle, the sweet attendant handed me the last carry-on left in the overhead compartment.  For a moment I remember the decision to purchase the bright ruby red travelling set.  There would be no confusing it with everyone else’s on the luggage carousel. 

Her eyes asked the question that her lips never formed.

“Yes, thank you”, I said, reaching out my free hand.  “That's mine.”

“Thank you for choosing Canadian Continental Air.  Have a fabulous day.”  Her smile widened almost past her facial edges. 

My fuzzy thoughts pondered how much her cheeks must hurt at the end of a shift working here.  Here?  I had to work hard processing the answer to that question.  Where was here exactly?

I remember getting on an airplane in Montreal, but that felt like days ago.  Working my double shifts at the senior’s home usually throws my whole life balance off normally.  Now I’ve added a Transatlantic flight on the end of it which has forced my brain to vacate altogether.

No wonder I have refused my sister’s invitation to visit her in France for three years now.  This is not something I normally do.  As I swagger my way through the airport tunnel, I remember how far out of the norm this really is.

My eyes scanned the glass walled Quonset-style terminal.  People moved in every direction around me as if I wasn’t even there.  My mind was still striving to find answers to my uncertainty.  I slid into a ladies washroom to freshen up and gather all my senses together.

The bathroom was large and well lit, bringing a new shock to my exhaustion.  There was an older woman resting against the countertop.  Her back was to the mirror.  She appeared travel-weary but her smile led me to believe she was alright.  I watched her while I made my way to a sink.  With a motion of my hand, water ran, cool and refreshing into my cupped hands.  Before any other thoughts took over, I splashed the cool water to my face washing away the bewilderment.


Friday, January 21, 2011

I finally decided!

I knew when I started this blog that I wanted to write a story on it for you.  That plan hasn't changed, but there were some kinks to work out.  For instance, the biggest concern for me was which story to put on.  I had originally thought I would put the story that I wrote for a contest (3-Day Novel) in September.  The story was sent in very short and missing the entire subplot of the Christian message and the song.  So I knew that once it was released from the contest I would begin the rewrite.  However the contest results that were expected near the beginning of January won't be released until February.  So I had to change my mind about that.

The second hurdle is that I need to spend some concentrated time reworking the story that my sister and cousin helped me edit. That is the one that I want to send for publication, so I need to work on it.  Trying to work on two stories at once is a little more difficult.

The final concern that has plagued me slightly is the issue of copyrighting and protecting my work that I place on line.  I am new to this and perhaps a little naive.  However I knew there would be the possibility of someone taking my stories.  There are ways to protect it, but most of the places I looked into needed a complete work to be protected.  So therefore protecting the little pieces I placed on line at a time didn't seem feasible.

So after much thought and consideration  I have decided to place on my blog a story I began last August.  I only have a few chapters written but I have the rest of the story mapped out in my head.  So it gives me a chance to feed you a little bit at a time while pouring most of my energy into editing my other work.

Also, it is the only story so far that doesn't have a song attached to it.  Hopefully, that will protect my song idea for my novels until I have a chance to publish one of them.

Finally I found another blog of a very brave fellow who is writing his stories on line as well.  That helped me feel better about putting my stories on line.  (This guy is striving to write 24 novels live on line in one year.  Check it out if you dare!)

So, (drum roll please...)  I will be posting the story I have preliminarily titled Through the Eyes of God.  It is a suspenseful story about a couple lonely people whose paths cross in an unusual way.  I will be posting a page at a time - about every three days or so.  I will label the posts chapter one page one, then chapter one page two ... and so on.  That way if you miss a post you can read the one before without getting too lost.

Just remember that it is a first draft.  Be prepared for writing that is raw.  However I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Please feel free to leave comments about the story, the characters, and also the format I am posting it in.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Baby!

I am an auntie!  Again!  Congratulations to my brother Cale and Kristi and little Tessa on the birth of little boy, Chase Sneddon Larson!
I can't wait to meet the little tyke!

Speaking of new arrivals.  Today I purchased a book from my local Christian bookstore.  It is titled 2011 Christian Writers' Market Guide.  It couldn't have arrived in my lap at a more opportune time.  I had been nursing a slight depression over the uphill battle of publications before I even embarked on the actual path.  The task was beginning to feel like a tiny teardrop in an ocean of salt water.

However this book, which is basically a list of every publisher who is involved in the Christian market and more, opened a massive amount of doors I didn't even know were options.  The Internet is an amazing thing but it can be misleading, massive and misguided. It had lead to believe my future rested in the hands of about ten possibilities - all of which seem mostly exhausted.

Now I am holding a book of 550 pages of options.  I am feeling optimistic.  Now if I could just finish my other work so I can write!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Titles and Triumphs

For starters I am embarrassed to see how long it has been since I last posted.  So as part of my apology I will share with you one of the interesting things I have been up to.

I spent last weekend 'snowed in' at my sister's acreage south east of Medicine Hat.  We were perfectly happy there - we had heat and power, a little food and a lot of movies.  (No kids, no husbands and no interruptions.)  It was wonderful.  The intention for the weekend together was to edit one of my books.  My sister Kathy read the book, That's Enough!, and agreed to help me get it ready to go on its long journey towards publishing.

On the way to Medicine Hat I made a short stop-over in Chestermere to visit my cousin Jenny.  She was excited about the book writing too and asked to read a copy.  I gave her my printed copy in my bag and left on my way.

Kathy amazed me with her insight and understanding of my novel. She did some amazing work on my book - giving me the one thing I can't do for myself - a fresh perspective. As an author it is sometimes hard to see a character as fresh as a reader.  For instance, in my head I know the beginning and the end of that character often before I even start typing the words to the story. So when I introduce him to the reader I may give too much away or not enough - leaving the reader confused.  Thanks Kathy!

She helped me rework the first few chapters to make them better as well.  (When you send away a manuscript for someone to look it over with the intentions of publishing, you can only send the first three chapters.  So you need to grab them and hook them in that short section. In some cases that is all that person will read of your work if it isn't totally impressive.)

When I finally made the trek home - three days later than originally planned, I stopped in at my cousin Jenny's.  She had finished the novel the day I dropped it off and was excited to share her thoughts with me.  It was encouraging for me to hear her constructive criticism as well.  The neat part was she pointed out items in the plot that my sister hadn't.  Now at first you might think that would be disconcerting.  But it wasn't.  It was encouraging.  Every reader takes away different things from books they read - that is why we don't all read the same things or like the same things.  I figure the more 'different' perspectives I get, the better my novel will be in the end.  Thanks Jenny!

So, anyone else want in on the action?

For now, my mission is to spend some time making the changes and revisions on this manuscript to hopefully send it away by the end of February.  Then the finale - the piece de resistance.  Kathy helped me with one last loose end - the title.  I knew it was a lame title, but I just couldn't think of what else to use.  So we brainstormed for an entire evening and came up with a new title for this work and many more of mine - even some that aren't fully written yet.

So, I would like to introduce you to my third novel (previously known as That's Enough!) .... (that's an imaginary drum roll) .... Truth Held Captive by Jodi Janz.

**Just imagine you could read the first chapter here!  That would be cool except I have to do the revisions first, so stay tuned.  It will be along soon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Have you ever tried to compare two similar but different things? I don't mean like a red BMW or a blue BMW. I am thinking more like a four story home to a double-wide trailer.  They are both places to live. They both have a kitchen, a closet and a toilet. However in many ways they can be so very different. The other snag I find is that there may be decisions affecting your choice that run deeper than which one has the nicest carpet.

All of that to say ... who can I compare myself to?

When you travel down the crowded path to finding an agent and eventually a publisher you have to tell them who you compare to. Am I a writer more like Karen Kingsbury or Janette Oke?


I write like . . . me. Maybe to a more discerning (or less emotionally involved) eye there are characteristics about my writing that resembles another author. To me it seems more a matter of likes. Do I want a home with a wall of solid oak cabinets or a wall of laminated fibreboard?

So in my attempt to find similar authors I have found out a lot about me.

1.  I don't write what I prefer to read.  Isn't that strange? I like to read western/historical books, however I write in present day. Opps? Does that mean I wouldn't buy my own books?

2.  I have chosen a style that is not the most popular. The majority of books are written by what we, in 'the biz' (lol), call third person omniscient. That means the author can act like God in knowing what is happening inside the heads of whatever characters he/she wants to.  

For example, the narrative voice can tell you what the rodeo princess thinks when she sees the gorgeous (and famous) cowboy walks by her. Then a page over while the cowboy is psyching himself to crawl onto the bull in the pen, the narrative voice will tell you what he thinks of the cute little red-head he just past by a moment ago. The author can let you into any characters thoughts.

Me? I prefer first person point of view. I like to read it and I definitely like to write it. That feels real to me.

If I was the red-head (which I am not) and you were the hot rodeo cowboy ( maybe?) all I could know is what I am thinking. As far as how you feel I have to rely on your facial and body cues. Or if you happen to whistle at me or give me the 'not-in-your-wildest-dreams' look, I could take a pretty good guess about what you might be thinking.

3.  I have included many different 'genres' in my writing, which makes it hard to answer the question "where would you find my book in a bookstore?" Let's take the example of my third manuscript, That's Enough!  It is about a soldier who is rescuing a hostage. (Not really typical women's fiction.) Then he discovers the woman he is rescuing is the woman he loves and has been searching for for seven years. (Love story?)  Only then he discovers that someone has been lying to him and misleading him for seven years to keep her away from him. But who? (Mystery?  Intrigue?) Finally, he is forced to fight the terrorists who held her captive in the beginning only to discover how much he can handle losing. (Espionage? Terrorism?)

Have I lost you?  I hope not because that story is good!  

Here's what I came up with. None of that matters. What counts is that I write stories that are ultimately about a powerful, awesome God that loves us and that He will do anything to help us see that. So where can you find my book? (Nowhere yet.  It isn't published. Tee hee hee!)

Anyway ... although I do not know who I write like I can tell you which books out there are 'similar' to mine. The few I have researched are these:
Susan May Warren
Linda Windsor
Jenny B Jones (not her YA novels) 

Who do you like to read?  Why?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

I love new beginnings.  A New Year entices my imagination.  The endless possibilities, the exciting twists and turns that lie before me.  That each day dawns with a chance for something new.

Well ... maybe it would if I was a character in a novel.  Instead, in my reality I am lost somewhere within the "same old - same old" syndrome.

Not that I am complaining.  My life is full.  I have an amazing family that I thank God for everyday.  I love my husband and I know he loves me.  My kids grow everyday in size and independence and of course in challenges, too.  I have a good home, a wonderful church family and a growing business.  So, my same old is not really old - just tried, tested and true I guess.

Therefore my stumbling block is not boredom but actually it is feeling like I dropped the ball.  Which is probably why I have never gotten on the resolutions bandwagon.  I never want to make them.  I avoid them if I can.  Why should I make a list of the things I didn't get right in 2010?  Or even a list of the ways I wish 2011 would be better.  Whether it is to exercise more, eat smarter, call my family and friends more or just to keep a spotless, clean house - I try as hard as I can to avoid walking that path.  These are all things I wish I had a better handle of but I know I may struggle with them forever.

So instead on focusing on my failures I want to pour my energy into the positives of my life.  I want to enjoy what is right before me.  I want to celebrate.

Now, don't misread me.  I have goals.  They just are not dependent on changing from a nature calendar to a kitten calendar on my wall.  My goals are always there, whether it is January or August.  They are fluid, flexible and ever adapting to my day to day.

But just to prove I can play along with you all I have chosen a January 2011 goal.  It is to be better at being me.

Now some of you are wincing at the fact that my goal is vague and unmeasurable, however let me show you how I plan on doing it.  (For that is surely measurable!)

First, I am guilty of being whatever I am needed to be at a given time.  A chameleon, of sorts.  I am sure many women out there are nodding.  We, as a gender, tend to wear too many hats.
Therefore the first part of my goal is make sure that somewhere in my trunk of hats is one that is only Jodi.  Not a hat for a wife, parent, friend or business owner.  Instead, it's colours are purely chosen because they are my favorites.  That the size is not too big or too tight, but is made perfectly for my head.  My Jodi hat should also be so comfortable that I can barely tell when it is on.  I lost that hat somewhere along the way in all my moves and housecleaning.  So goal number one is to find it.

Secondly, after I find my hat than I need to wear it - flaunt it - parade it around for all to see.  That is the point of this blog.  To disclose or expose what is really going on in my life.  To show off my Jodi hat.

The last measurable part of my new goal is you.  The reader, the friend along the way, the one who gets to truly see me.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Not because I want you to like what you read but because I hope you to like what you see.

So look closely - you never know which hat I will have on each day.

What goals do you have?  Let me see more of who you are.