Author Profile: Loretta Bouillon

In the next few weeks, I’ll be introducing you to some of my author friends who also contributed to 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers, published by InScribe Press. Today’s guest is Loretta Bouillon (https://lorettabouillon.wordpress.com/) who says:

I am a homeschooling mother of 3 amazing kids and also a writer, hoping to publish a book in the near future. I am married to an awesome man who has supported my vision to homeschool and raise our kids against the grain of the world. I am an advocate of excellent coffee (freshly ground beans daily!) and a sweet homemade treat daily. I am a city girl living a country life that just sort of happened. We live in a small town in Northern, British Columbia, Canada. Some day I hope to retire in a condo in downtown, Vancouver! For now, I am truly blessed to live on 4 acres, with a horse, 2 dogs, a bunny, a cat and a huge garden. My kids have space to create, roam around on dirtbikes, ATV’s, and horses. They have the freedom to explore, build, and grow. They know they are how good they have it! I am truly thankful to God as without Him, my life would not be this life.

Welcome, Loretta! Tell us about your upbringing and early memories.

I was raised in Kitchener, Ontario by two loving parents. I was brought up Roman Catholic and went to an all-girl Catholic high school. Being the oldest of 4 children, I have one sister and two brothers, all who still reside in Ontario. My siblings and I remain close despite the distance (as I now live in British Columbia).
Some of my earliest memories include happy times of going to my Grandparent’s home on Sundays and sitting at their kitchen table, drawing and writing stories while the adults played cards. We would entertain ourselves for hours with only a pencil and scrap paper!

Describe what led you to accept God’s gift of salvation. How old were you?

Growing up Roman Catholic, I had a basic understanding of God and Jesus. I went to mass weekly and had to take religion class in school from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Even though I would pray to God, I never understood that the necessary step to knowing God was having a personal relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. I realized my need for a savior when I was 32 years old. After trying most things the world had to offer and struggling with addiction for many years, I met a young man in my Alcoholics Anonymous meeting who was a Christian. He was blonde and looked angelic, but he was actually an ex-santanist (and also a pastor’s son!). I was drawn to the light of Jesus in him and asked him all sorts of questions about Christianity. He told me to just read the book of John, and he gave me his bible.I accepted the Lord on my own reading the bible. I met another friend in AA, a young woman who was also a Christian. She had many tattoos and was an ex-prostitute, not practicing however still living on Hastings street in Vancouver. These two people were influential in the beginning of my journey with Jesus. Although I have completely lost touch with them, I will always be grateful to how willing they were to share their faith with me.

When did you first become interested in writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing stories as a child and would enter all sorts of writing contests. Creative writing and English were always my favourite subjects in school. I have kept a diary for as long as I can remember. My adult version of my diary is now a prayer journal.

How would you define a successful writer?

My definition of a successful writer is not by the world’s standards. I would define a successful writer as one who communes with God through their pen and writes to become closer to God. I believe that all of our talents are from God and ultimately we are to use them for Him. For example, I also dance, however, I have never danced for the world. God has given me the gift of dance and when I dance for the Lord I feel closer to him and have been told my dance draws others deeper into worship. This would be the same for me as a writer. If my words impact others to ultimately glorify God then I am a successful writer.

What advice would you give a beginning writer?

I like to start my day by asking God for direction and writing in my prayer journal. It is a way I talk to God, and it unloads my heart so I can focus on other things; writing included. Set yourself a doable amount of time to write every day. That varies for me with the season of the year as well as the season of my life. I find it best to do this before I check my emails or social media as that way I avoid time-sucking rabbit trails.

Tell us about your current work in progress.

At the moment I am looking to publish my children’s picture book called, “Mommy, Why Don’t You Drink Beer?” It is a light-hearted conversation between a six year old boy and his mother about addiction and sobriety. I am also writing a novel about a woman’s journey with addiction and relationships, searching to fill that hole in her heart that only Jesus can fill. I also have a parenting book peculating in my mind but at the moment that is a testimony in the making.

How has being a Christian impacted your life path?

Being a Christian gives purpose to everything I do. Being a wife and mother, a daughter, a sister, a writer, an employee…..I can’t imagine doing any of these things without God at the center. It is hard for me to believe that I lived 32 years without the strength of Jesus by my side!

What epitaph would you like on your tombstone?

You know, I honestly never think about that. I guess I think about what would be said at my celebration of life and I would like the words spoken to say that I was a loving mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.

7 Essential Habits Cover

If you’d like your own copy of 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers, you can purchase it at http://mybook.to/ChristianWriters1. Many of the contributing authors are currently participating in a blog hop. I invite you to follow along:

Ruth L. Snyder  http://ruthlsnyder.com/blog/ Monday, September 14th
Brenda Wood http://heartfeltdevotionals.com   Wednesday, September 16th
Janet Sketchley http://janetsketchley.ca/tenacity-blog/  Friday, September 18th
Jack Popjes http://www.jackpopjes.com/category/blog/ Monday, September 21st
Kimberley Payne http://kimpayne.wordpress.com Wednesday, September 23rd
Marcia Laycock http://www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca/ Friday, September 24th
Steph Nickel https://stephseclecticinterests.wordpress.com Monday, September 28th
Sally Meadows http://sallymeadows.com/blog Wednesday, September 30th
Tracy Krauss http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com Friday, October 2nd
Glynis Belec http://www.glynisbelec.com/blog.html Monday, October 5th

 


Announcing: 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers Blog Hop

In July I told you about the launch of a new e-book called 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers. I appreciated the opportunity to not only have my article, “Fit Writing Into a Busy Schedule” included, but to also help put the book together and see it through to publication. On Friday evening, September 25, 2015, InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship will be launching the paperback edition of the book. You can still join in the celebration by purchasing a ticket for the banquet (http://inscribe.org/product/fall-conference-banquet/). Better yet, come join us for the whole conference! (http://inscribe.org/events/fall-conference/) You can also purchase your own copy of the book in either e-book or paperback format at http://mybook.to/ChristianWriters1.

I love the variety this book contains:

-Written by 28 Canadian authors

-Poetry, articles, devotionals, and short stories

-7 themes: time with God, healthy living, time management, honing writing skills, crafting a masterpiece, submitting your work, and marketing

Here’s a sample poem for your enjoyment:

Why Do I Love Shakespeare?

(With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

By Alvin Ens

 

Why do I love Shakespeare?

Let me count the ways.

I love his characters

To the fidelity of kindred souls.

I love his vocabulary

To the deepest well of coining.

I love his humour

To the soul of comic relief.

I love his poetics

To the great expanse of the iambic.

I love his wisdom

To the heart of a philosopher’s wit.

I love his plots

To the height of the double cross.

I love him to the far reaches

Of heroes like Hamlet, Olivia, and Romeo,

To the villainies of Shylock, Cassius, and Lady Macbeth,

To the purities of Cordelia and Brutus,

To the entertainment of Falstaff and Sir Toby.

And if God choose, I shall but love him better

When I meet him after death.

You are invited to follow along as many of the contributing authors of 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers  participate in a blog hop. I encourage you to click on the links below to see what each author shares. Comments would be appreciated, and if you like what you read remember to share the post on your favourite social media sites 🙂

Ruth L. Snyder  http://ruthlsnyder.com/blog/ Monday, September 14th
Brenda Wood http://heartfeltdevotionals.com   Wednesday, September 16th
Janet Sketchley http://janetsketchley.ca/tenacity-blog/  Friday, September 18th
Jack Popjes http://www.jackpopjes.com/category/blog/ Monday, September 21st
Kimberley Payne http://kimpayne.wordpress.com Wednesday, September 23rd
Marcia Laycock http://www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca/ Friday, September 24th
Steph Nickel https://stephseclecticinterests.wordpress.com Monday, September 28th
Sally Meadows http://sallymeadows.com/blog Wednesday, September 30th
Tracy Krauss http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com Friday, October 2nd
Glynis Belec http://www.glynisbelec.com/blog.html Monday, October 5th

Fleeting Glimpses of Beauty

The other day I received a photography tip that suggested carrying a spray bottle around to enhance pictures of flowers etc. This morning as I walked my children to the bus, I was delighted to see that God decorated my yard with his own spritz bottle – a heavy dew, combined with brilliant sunshine. After my children were on their way to school, I enjoyed fleeting glimpses of beauty in my yard. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

Dewdrop
Dewdrop
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Clover
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Sparkling early morning dew
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Fleeting beauty
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Enjoy it while it lasts!
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Beauty in small things

Writing as Community Workshop at When Words Collide

Richard Harrison, a professor who teaches writing at Mount Royal, shared the concept of writing as community during the 2015 When Words Collide conference. (This is a process he’s participated in for over 20 years.)

Instead of the usual chairs in a row, participants form a circle. “This is a great first step in building community.”

“We are always writing for the community. Only some writing makes it to the proper audience – the work someone deems to be good enough. If we want someone to buy our book, we have to convince him it is good enough – that’s why we call it ‘goods.’ There is a large creative area where ‘good’ is premature.” Richard Harrison

Richard shared that Margaret Lawrence took him “under her wing.” She shared how many people encouraged her to write for Harlequin, but for her that would be writing ‘down.’ She encouraged him to always write the best he could.

Although everyone writes the best they can, they know their writing can be better. That’s where writing as community is helpful. It allows you to ask other people, “What’s this like?”

“Writing is getting someone to remember what you said.” Richard Harrison

Writing as Community Process

-Gather a group of people who want to learn to write better.

-Sit in a circle.

-Have each person open a blank piece of paper and write. Do not go back, do not cross out. This breaks down the barriers.

-Write for five minutes.

-At the end of five minutes, allow participants to read what they wrote. The only comment/feedback is, “Thank you!” This helps everyone feel accepted and starts building community.

-The next step is to allow participants to read and ask people to give feedback based on the six questions listed below. The questions are optional. Each reader gets to pick which questions he or she wants answered. The listeners only tell the writer what he or she wants to know. Remember that people grow in steps. In Writing as Community we want to help people move to the next step.

-Leave each member of the community to make his or her own choices about the piece(s) he or she writes. The workshop is NOT about editing; it is allowing the work to progress.

Six Questions for Writing as Community

1)What did you notice? (What you noticed is what you remember and can recite – what’s memorable. Your memory is your best editor. A story is shaped by the memory the way the water smoothes a river.)

2)What connections do you have with the elements you noticed in the story? (Some connections draw you away; other connections draw you further into the story.)

3)Do you have any questions?

4)Did you notice anything in terms of tone? What do you learn from that?

5)Do you agree or disagree? Why?

6)Where did you stop reading? (For this question you may want to hand copies out to each person and have them draw a solid blue line where they stop reading. If they have to stop and go back to re-read, have them draw a dotted blue line. This gives you clues on which areas of the writing need to be reworked.)

For more information:


Put your armour on!

In the physical realm, gravity is at work, whether we acknowledge it or not. In the spiritual realm, we are in a battle, whether we realize it or not. As a child I witnessed the power of witch doctors and their spells, the evil power that allows people to walk on coals with bare feet and not get burned, and the fear people have of angering a spirit or god. These are sample evidences of the reality of the great cosmic battle which is described in Scripture. Lucifer is described as the most beautiful of angels, and the most powerful. We are told he was not content with the role he was created for. He wanted to be God. So he rebelled, and God banished him and his followers from Heaven.

Throughout Scripture we see further evidence of the battle:

  • Satan telling Eve that God didn’t really mean what He said. Adam and Eve choosing to disobey. Sin entering the world (Genesis 3)
  • The story of Job which gives us a glimpse into discussions between God and Satan. God gives Satan permission to prove Job’s character. (Job 1)
  • Daniel, who prayed and fasted for three weeks and didn’t see results. He is informed that his prayers were heard on the first day, but the answer was delayed because, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days.” (Daniel 10)
  • Paul’s instruction to the Ephesians to put on “the whole armour of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-15)

In North America, I find that most people do not take spiritual warfare seriously. We are in a battle. It’s time to put our armour on and stand against Satan and his angels. Our weapons are truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.

Are you armed and ready?


When our schedules are full and we are pushed from one thing to another, we can still choose peace. Philippains 4:6,7 explains how.

Peace in a troubled world – Philippians 4:6,7

Yesterday I talked about learning to be still and listen. But what happens when our schedules are full and we are pushed from one thing to another? (Sometimes this is an indication our schedules are over full and we need to plan some “white space” on our calendars. Other times life just happens, and we are not able to change our schedules.) We can still choose peace!

Here are some thoughts that encouraged me this morning:

  • Nothing is ever a surprise to God
  • When I’m weak, it gives God a chance to really shine. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
  • Others are going through much tougher times than I am. Especially my brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith. Instead of complaining or getting discouraged, I can choose to pray for them. This does two things: it gets my focus off myself and it gets me praying.

Philippians 4:6,7 is a passage I’m choosing to put into action today. I’m talking to God about the things that are heavy on my mind and thanking Him for taking care of them. That frees me up to use my energy for the day ahead.

Will you join me in praying with thanksgiving and allowing God’s peace to rule?


Psalm 46:10 – Be still

Every night we have a story time and prayer with our children before bed. For the past few years, we’ve been reading missionary biographies together, mostly from the Christian Heroes Then & Now series. Currently we are reading Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent by Janet & Geoff Benge. A description of a particular prayer meeting Brother Andrew attended caught my attention. Instead of sharing prayer requests and praying out loud together, this group was silent. Each person spent time “listening” instead. No one prayed out loud until they felt God impressing them to pray specifically about something or for someone.

Too often I find myself rushing through a list of requests. Instead, I want to learn to listen. This takes discipline in our noisy, fast-paced world. I need to be still. I think it’s going to take time for me to learn to be still and listen, but I’m excited about what God is going to show me.

What has God been teaching you lately?


Lessons Learned at When Words Collide – Overview

 

Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to attend When Words Collide with other members of the executive from InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. The conference took place in Calgary with over 600 people attending. My purpose for attending was two-fold:

  1. To see how a conference is run by a different organization and see if I could pick up ideas to apply to the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference.
  2. To learn skills to apply to my own writing.

When Words Collide is run very differently from the InScribe Conference in some ways:

  • Registration is only $50. No meals or coffee breaks are included, accommodation is more costly, people who want to attend the banquet pay $50 more.
  • Grants and sponsorship are very important to running this conference.
  • Sessions start at 10 am and run until 9 or 10 at night, with no breaks for meals. Sessions start on the hour and run for 50 minutes. Attendees are free to come and go as they please.
  • Speakers and workshop leaders introduce themselves. There is no audio-visual equipment and no microphones.

What I learned about conference organization:

  • Some costs are absolutely necessary. It’s very frustrating to attend a session and not be able to hear much. I will choose to pay for audio-visual equipment and microphones.
  • Marketing makes a difference. Although up front I only paid $50 to attend the conference, I paid just as much, if not more, than I will pay to attend the InScribe conference where the registration fee is $225.
  • Networking is important to me. The variety of workshops offered at When Words Collide is amazing. However, people are so busy rushing from one workshop to another that little networking took place. Now that I’m aware, I would probably plan my own schedule differently if I attend again. As it was, I skipped many sessions to make time to spend with people.

Sessions I attended:

  • Audio, Audibles, and Voice Over
  • Back Cover Blurbs
  • Building Your Readership
  • Does Editing Make You a Better Writer?
  • Fiction Writing with Nina Munteanu
  • Publisher’s Panel for Novels
  • Write for Hire
  • Writing as Community

In future posts I will share some of the lessons I learned from the sessions. For now I’m off to put a few more details together for the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference, which is taking place in Edmonton from September 24-26, 2015. Register before September 21st and I’ll see you there!