Friday, March 18, 2016

Writing With Heart, No Matter How Cliché by Amy Leigh Simpson

Amy Leigh Simpson

Amy Leigh Simpson and I met at an American Christian Fiction Writers conference some years ago when we both sang on the conference worship team. Her warm personality and sense of humor draw people in. Amy’s journey to publication reminds me of Proverbs 19:21. “Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails” (NIV).  Enjoy! ~ Dawn

Writing With Heart, No Matter How Cliché

“Follow your dreams.” “Live your passion.” “Never give up.” As trite as they seem, we’ve all clung to some variation of these types of affirmations. Even on the other side of the coin we have, “You’re better off.” “When one door closes, another opens.” “It wasn’t meant to be.” etc. Well-meaning contradictions, these clichés, but knowing which side you’re on is not always “cut and dried.”

First off I want to say whether they come to fruition or plummet from our starry-eyed sky like a dismantling airplane, your dreams have a purpose. You need only to look back on the memory of a dashed dream or broken heart to see the hand of God plotting an even greater adventure, honing us in the gifts we were meant to develop, and building up perseverance and character for the race we are meant to win. If you’re a writer like me, it might be the story he has already written in your heart that is awaiting its debut. But the fact is, not all who dream get the happily ever after they are longing for. So how do you know when to tackle your next plot problem or when to let that chapter simply end?

For me, I watched one big beautiful dream I’d cultivated for most of my life gradually lose its luster. Oh, I clung to it like a toddler in tantrum for a while, but I eventually started to see the cracks that I’d so naively turned a blind eye to for years. My heart was restless for a time, but the good old cliché proved tried and true, “another door opened.” A new dream. An author. Ha! Tell that to Amy ten years ago and she’d laugh you straight out the door. That Amy dreamed in music, she would never in a million years consider writing a book. For most of my life I didn’t even like to read. But then, my heart changed, and another old standby came back to taunt me. “Never say never.”

So I wrote. My heart on the page. I wasn’t writing to sell, (though I secretly hoped my stories would reach farther than my mom’s laptop) I was writing what I loved to read.
But even though I’d gained notice for the quality of my writing craft, my story—my heart—didn’t quite “fit the mold.” Rejection. Wave after wave of “close, but no cigar.” Having already lost a dream I held a certain talent for I had to step back and ask myself, “Am I setting myself up for another fall? Is this a bigger part of my story or just a footnote?”

The bottom line… no dream is wasted. Whether yours ends up as a book on a shelf or simply a handful of beautiful chapters dreaming in story until another adventure begins, enjoy the ride.

We’ve clung to the verse about the “desires of our hearts” in times of fledging courage and redundant failures, and we can often rally enough faith to pull ourselves up by our “bootstraps” to go another round. But ultimately you have to trust the author of your story. He knows your heart and he delights in your joy.

Keeping dreaming big! When your time comes, it’ll be worth the wait!


One dying secret. One missing truth. And a whole lot of trouble…

Sadie Carson is an expert on unfinished business. Five years after the derailment of her dreams she’s just barely existing, using her job as a hospice nurse to give others the one thing she can’t seem to find—closure. So when her elderly neighbor Charlie, a brilliant conspiracy nut known for harassing the FBI, is murdered, Sadie suspects Charlie might’ve been onto something and intends to make sure someone solves the mystery of her friend’s death, even if it’s her.

The feisty little blonde may have found the victim’s body, but FBI Special Agent Archer Hayes has no intention of letting some nosy civilian interfere with his investigation. The guilt he feels is bad enough. The last thing Archer needs is another distraction to haunt him. Especially one as beautiful and beguiling as the girl next door.

But throw in a mountain of hoarded evidence and suspiciously coded journals and the case takes a puzzling turn toward a decades old conspiracy cover-up from World War II—one only the victim’s closest confidant can help untangle. Sadie and Archer reluctantly join forces to decode the riddle—one that lands Sadie in the crosshairs of a desperate killer. And when the dangers of the past and present collide, Archer must fight to save the life of the woman he’s falling for . . . only to discover he might be the one in need of saving.

Amy Leigh Simpson writes romantic mysteries with honesty and humor, sweetness and spice, and gritty reality covered by grace. When she’s not stealing moments at naptime to squeeze out a few more adventures in storyland, she’s chasing around two tow-headed miscreants (Ahem)—boys, playing dress up with one sweet princess baby, and being the very blessed wife to the coolest, most swoon-worthy man alive. Amy is a Midwestern-girl, a singer, blogger, runner, coffee-addict, and foodie. Her Sports Medicine degree is wasted patching up daily boo boo’s, but whatever is left usually finds its way onto the page with fluttering hearts, blood and guts, and scars that lead to happily ever after.

I’d be delighted to connect with you on Facebook and completely tickled if you checked out my DEBUT novel When Fall Fades! And stay tuned… Book two is due out at the end of May!