Saturday, May 18, 2013
It was November 2012 and I signed up for NaNoWriMo again. (National Novel Writing Month) Book #8 was supposed to be the next in the Rescued...a Series of Hope saga. I started the book, Walk Slowly Through the Dark, but just couldn't get the story to advance in an interesting way. One day, while I painted the steps from the laundry room up to our bedroom, a new book idea came to mind.
I had been watching the new television show "Nashville" and found it to be interesting. It seemed that a lot of people were watching and I saw a lot of advertisement for the show. It occurred to me that setting the next book in the Nashville area might be a good move. Perhaps people would find it while they looked for information on the television show. I had never written a contemporary book, but decided that it would be a good fit for this year's writing challenge.
When I told our sons that I was writing a modern day book set in 1974 they laughed. They told me it was hardly a current story since it was almost forty years ago. I told them it was set 100 years later than the last book I wrote so it was modern!
I wanted to write a little about how the young people in the heartland of our country felt in the 1970s while the Vietnam War was going on. I was a teen in those years and remember it well. We loved our soldiers and prayed for them all the time. We wore MIA/POW bracelets and rejoiced when one was returned home.
It was also important to me to show things about the farmers of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle area. Some of my best friends worked the wheat harvest every summer and I was glad to get to experience it once with them. The farmers here are dedicated to their land and families. Even when other dreams of careers danced in the minds of the farmer's young, the land called them back home.
The characters of Six Miles from Nashville became very real to me. Sweetie, the owner of the diner was based on a very sweet woman I worked for after school. Betty could have been any girl from our high school. The song writing was a very different experience for me. Because I am not really confident in those skills, I always referred to the lyrics as the rough copy that Bill would have to work over to make into a good song.
Next week will be about Walk Slowly Through the Dark. In a lot of ways, it took me down a dark path.
Elaine Littau, author
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
If my dad were alive today, he would be 104. When he was a small boy (There is a dispute in the family as to exactly how small he was.) he was asleep in the back of a wagon. His family did not own an automobile at this time so they were using horses and wagons to move from Kansas to Oklahoma. As he slept, he rolled off the tailgate of the wagon and landed in the tall grasses or the prairie. He hit his head and was knocked out for some time. When he came to himself, the wagon was just disappearing down a dip in the flat land. He followed the trail the wagon wheels made from denting the grass until he reached the camp of his family. They had not missed him because they were occupied with the livestock and gathering cowchips for fuel for the cooking fire.
This story always scared me when my mother recited it at family gatherings. The grass was as tall as my dad was. She said that many children were lost forever in the old days because of situations similar to this. Because of the danger and family connection, I had to use this story in my sixth book, Some Happy Day, Book I of the series, Rescued...a Series of Hope.
I changed the story to me a baby girl who was around fourteen months old. A cowboy who was running from the law found her in the tall grass. She was not old enough to even tell him her name. The story grew from this.
As I worked on this book, I found myself even more engrossed in marketing all the books I had written. I am so thankful for the authors who have written great marketing books as well as for those who have befriended me an helped me hammer out a good marketing plan. I have discovered many kind and generous friends within the 'author community'. It is a pleasure to network with people who do not feel that we are in competition.
Rescued...a Series of Hope is a series that is still in progress. It intersects the books in the Nan's Heritage Series. There were nine girls who were rescued from a bad situation. This series details each girl's life before, during, and after their kidnapping. It as been interesting how ideas in these story lines have developed. I think a lot of the situations and challenges the characters face come from the old timey stories my mother and daddy told us. They also had friends who loved to tell about their lives. I am thankful for the time my parents invested in me.
I had tackled one of the rescued girls in this book. The next book had to follow two of the others. The setting was close to home, so I had to get it right. I will attempt to tackle the job of telling you about those challenges next week.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Thursday, March 7, 2013
While all days have not been moonlight and roses, there has been a certain underlying joy in the years we have spent together. We struggled through the first few years while we were getting used to thinking of someone other than ourselves. We were 19 & 18 years old and, as you know, teenagers are notorious for being self-centered.
I wish I could say that at our 50+ years, the self-centered stuff had ceased, but that would not be the truth. What I can say is that after all these years together, my sweet husband has taught me to not take everything so seriously.
People who know me now would have a difficult time believing how deadly serious I was when Terry married me. I thought I had to be so that people would think I was a grown up. I didn't give myself or anyone else very much slack. Terry taught me how to laugh at circumstances our of my control. He taught me to see the humor behind almost everything that happens. His favorite saying is: "We are going to have so much fun growing up together." He still says that to the grands.
Our grandson, Zach, used to call him "Grandhappy" instead of Grandpappy. The happy part is a good fit for him. Of course, we have had some very sad days when some of our loved ones passed away, but the overlying atmosphere of our life together has been a deepening joy.
We still have our conflicts. In fact, we might call this month 'March madness' for a reason. The truth is that I am still madly in love with that man.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Go to http://decembertreats.blogspot.com to look at the titles offered.
The Kindle version of Some Happy Day will be free on Dec 6 & 7, 2012 at
Go to my website to get information on how to win the Christmas Kindle I am giving away. There is a tab at the bottom left that gives instructions. It is like a scavenger hunt. You will have a good chance of winning, so join in. http://elainelittau.com . That is the link. Go and see how your name can be in the drawing.
and the book:
Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)
JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you’ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better day—a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, you’re not alone.
Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.
I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing won’t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?
I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn’t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn’t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.
In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?
I discovered it wasn’t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasn’t the problem—I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.
Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. I’d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didn’t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers weren’t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.
Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasn’t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadn’t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.
I could not figure out why I wasn’t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.
Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!
Jesus offers us a “new way of living,” and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you’ve allowed to take over? Let’s get started.
Do One Thing at a Time
The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything elseówe are the busiest people in the world.
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].
When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. It’s like removing an egg yolk from the egg white—both can be used separately but the result isn’t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.
Practice living one day at a time; give yourself—your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of you—to the day at hand.
100 Ways to Simplify Your Life
1. Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.
Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? It’s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.
The Blog Tour for "Nan's Journey" Begins July 23
It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and his/her book:
Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
Littau is a life-long resident of Perryton, TX. She met husband, Terry at the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1974. They married March 1, 1975 and reside on a small acreage near Perryton where they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They raised three sons and now have three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren added to their family. They also enjoy visiting with their extended family located in Perryton, Clear Lake, Laverne, and Amarillo.
Author Elaine Littau is a busy woman who by profession is the church secretary for Harvest Time First Assembly of God Church in Perryton. Among other things she has led women’s groups and taught preschool, and was a mentor for the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. She has been active in Toastmasters and enjoys painting, crafts, and playing piano and organ. She was recently appointed to the Campus Education Improvement Committee for Wright Elementary in Perryton. She belongs to Christian Storytellers and Faith Writers writing groups.
“Nan’s Journey” was written over the course of several years. “A salvation message is at the core of the book.” Littau says. “If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I truly enjoy meeting new people.”
Littau is currently working on two other books that are continuations of “Nan’s Journey.” Book signings and speaking engagements are currently set up for venues in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Why had she dared to speak to the woman that she was obliged to call mother in that way? She knew that talking was not allowed from children before chores were finished. The accusations being made by “Ma” were totally false and she could not let Elmer take the blame for something she herself had forgotten to do. She shut her eyes tight against the memory, but it intruded anyway.
She had just gotten up to take the water off the stove to make up dishwater for the supper dishes. Ma had stepped outside the room to turn down her bed and prepare for sleep. When she reappeared in the kitchen, she realized that the wood supply next to the stove was low. Elmer was standing next to the table gathering the plates for washing. “Elmer, where is the wood you were supposed to bring up to the house?” Before he could answer, a hand had slapped him across his face. Getting back onto his feet and standing as tall as a five year old can stand, he looked her in the eye and said, “Ma, I was sick today, ‘member?”
“So, Elmer, you’re going to play up that headache trick again. Nan, didn’t your good for nothing Mama teach you people how to work, or are you just lazy?”
“Our Mama was good! Don’t you say mean things about her!” Nan yelled as her heart raced at the assault against her real Mama’s character.
“What about it, Elmer, are you like your weakling Mama or what?” Elmer’s eyes became very large and filled with tears. He could barely remember his real Mama, but when he did, he remembered soft kisses and sweet singing and a beautiful face. “I’m sorry; I’ll get the wood now.”
“No, Elmer, don’t. I promised you I’d do it today when your head was hurting, but I forgot. I’ll get it after I do these dishes.”
“Listen here, Nan, I’m the boss around here and Elmer will do what I say, when I say, and you will respect me.”
Nan’s eyes widened.
“Don’t look at me like that, little girl.”
Nan held her breath.
“Well, I guess you will be making a trip to the wood shed…with me!” Ma had grabbed her by the arm and jerked her along behind the shed. The strap was hanging there, waiting. Whippings were becoming more and more frequent. After Ma’s husband left, they had taken on a more cruel form. The last whipping was more like a beating. It took days for the marks to scab over and heal. Little Elmer had come in that night and brought some horse medicine from the barn and applied it to the oozing marks.
The next afternoon when the schoolteacher came over, Ma had already formulated a story. “Mrs. Dewey, we missed Nan and Elmer today at school. Are they sick?” Ma lied the first time in her life and said, “Well Miss Sergeant, since Mr. Dewey is going to be gone for another four weeks, I need more help around here to get things done. I’m holding the kids out until he gets back.” Week after week went by, and Mr. Dewey still hadn’t come home. Everyday Ma grew more and more angry. It became more and more impossible to please her. When she began hitting Elmer, it was too much. Nan had to do something— right or wrong; things couldn’t stay the way they were.
The coolness of the earth had settled into Nan’s bones. She stood silently for a minute and carefully crept up to the farmhouse. As she opened the door, she saw that Elmer was in the pallet at the foot of the stove next to her bedroll. Ma was asleep in her room. The door held open with a rock. Slowly she began peeling off the dress and the dried blood stuck to it. She reached for the old shirt she normally wore over her wounds and under her dress. She had washed it today. It had bloodstains on it, but it would keep her from ruining another dress. She retrieved the old work dress that she wore when chores were messier than usual; it was the only one left. She put it on swiftly and shook Elmer awake with her hand over his mouth. “Baby, we must leave. Do you understand? Stay quiet and I will get some stuff to take with us.”
She found large old handkerchief and began looking for food supplies. There was one sourdough biscuit and about a cup of cold brown beans. She located her tin cup and another rag. She would probably need that. Three matches were in the cup on the stove. She would just take two. Suddenly she heard a sound from Ma’s room. A scampering sound… just a rat. Ma turned over. Her breathing became deep and regular. For once Nan wished that Ma snored. She tied the handkerchief in a knot over the meager food supplies, grabbed their bedrolls, and slowly opened the door.
“Come on, Elmer. Can you carry this food? I’ll get your bedding. That’s a good boy. We must hurry!”
The cold air bit at their faces, but they walked bravely on.
“Elmer, we must go tonight so we can get as far away as we can before Ma wakes up and sees that we are gone.”
For the next half hour the pair walked in silence through the familiar woods past the graves on the hill. In one, a mother dearly loved, in another, an infant who had died the same day as his mother, and the third, a father that only Nan had memory of. Elmer was only two years old when Pa died in the logging accident. Nan snapped out of her reverie and urged Elmer on. Molasses, Pa’s good old workhorse, stood in the pasture. He skidded the logs Pa cut with his axe. His legs hadn’t healed quite right, but Mama hadn’t let Mr. Dewey kill him because he was all she had left of the husband of her youth. Molasses was a faithful friend to Nan and Elmer. He stood there and waited for them to mount him.
“Molasses, take us to…” Nan realized then that they had nowhere to go. Mrs. Dewey had said that they were ungrateful little imps who didn’t realize she and Mr. Dewey were taking care of them out of kindness, and they could easily be put into an orphanage. Nan didn’t know anything about orphanages except what Mrs. Dewey…uh, Ma had told her. “Molasses, just take us out of here.”