Wednesday, July 10, 2019

When Grumpiness Strikes by Janet W. Ferguson

Back when I was in my thirties and forties, I could read books—long books (fiction or nonfiction) — really quickly. I felt sure I amazed friends with my speedreading prowess, ha!

I was a high school librarian in my late forties when I started writing fiction. Four novels spilled out easily those first years. Now in my mid-fifties with grown kids, I thought I’d really churn out some words every day. But life is still busy, just in different ways.

And I’m slower. Maybe it’s my thyroid condition (I blame everything on that now, LOL), but I don’t read as fast, and I don’t write as fast. I don’t multitask as well, plus now I have to think of new ways to describe a visceral reaction or internal voice in my characters that I haven’t used in a prior novel. I have to be even more creative and dig deeper to find something fresh, because I’ve already used a certain plot device or medical condition or social issue.

Wow, that’s hard work! Not to mention all the marketing authors have to do! I thought writing was going to be sort-of fun work.

But I started getting grumpy.

I realized, at some point, I was becoming annoyed with people who interrupted me with a phone call or a question or an invitation to lunch—like family, friends, maybe even… God?

It was time to readjust my attitude. I had to remember why I was writing in the first place. I’d started this whole writing gig to honor the Lord and to encourage readers and to share the gospel. I had to stop acting as if God was stressing because I hadn’t gotten enough done. Because the truth, of course, is I need Him, and I need to be with Him to let Him teach me, not just plow through without Him so I can keep up with the other authors I know.

My latest novel, The Art of Rivers, took me two years to finish, but I believe it’s some of my best work. I had to learn a lot about the different sides of addiction through interviews and prayers and research and life. This story stretched me spiritually, and I feel good about the results.
Whether you’re like a Speedy Gonzales or Pokey Little Puppy, just be sure you’re still writing with the Lord. So you won’t be a grumpy Christian author like I was.


Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancĂ© during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancĂ©. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

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