Monday, March 24, 2008

Interview with author Camy Tang

Welcome to my first-ever interview! I'm delighted to be able to spend a few
minutes with my friend, Camy Tang. I first met this woman at the Oregon Christian
Writers Conference last summer. She refers to herself as "that loud Asian chick"
and while that is true, I found her to be a warm, gracious lady.

Her second book,Only Uni, was recently released. I had the pleasure of reading it
last week. You have to realize that I'm a generation removed from Camy's target
audience, and yet I was still drawn into the story. The issues her main chaaracter
deals with are very real and gritty. And like any good book, the tension builds
as the story unfolds, leading to a satisfying ending.

If your name couldn't be Camy, what would you want it to be and why?

Confession time: when I was young, fanciful, and reading lots of
Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels, I wanted my name to be Silver. I really don't
know why except for the fact I liked have a V in my name and I like
the color silver, although I hated how it tarnishes.

How do you see your characters when you write? Do you find pictures
in magazines of what you want them to look like or do you see them
walking around in your head?

I don't actually visualize them, I usually see them as a certain
personality or even as a certain song. For example, for my character
Trish, I don't think of her as a visual picture--instead I see her
dancing around to the song, "Brave" by Nichole Nordeman.

I love the way you can write a humorous, chik-lit book and yet address
deep issues. Do you know what issue(s) you're dealing with before you
start writing, or do they just develop on their own?

The issues come out of the characters themselves, and I developed all
the characters before the first book in the series was even written.
The only issues that are more personal are probably Trish's issues
with liking herself and reclaiming who she is. Lex and Venus's issues
aren't really from my personal experience--they're more from what each
character is like and what their fears and weaknesses are.

Where's your favorite place to go or thing to do to relax?
My bed. When I got married, we got this nice futon bed with cherrywood
frame and a luscious down comforter. We also have an electric blanket
with dual control, and my side usually gets turned on more often than
my husband's. LOL. I love sitting in bed to read or write on my

If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want with
you--me or Christina? (Captain Caffeine is not an option!)

Hmmm, tough choice! I'd probably live longer if you were with me, but
Christina and I would giggle a lot together. No, but Christina's prone
to ACL injuries like I am, so if we both tore our ACLs, we'd
definitely die--so I'll choose Sherrie!

Good answer! Good answer! You should be on Family Feud. Thanks for
stopping by, Camy. It's always good to talk to you.

Readers, go out and buy a copy of Only Uni then settle in for a
good read.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Lonely Walk

"No matter how many good friends I had, there were aspects of my life I needed to deal with alone - heart issues and attitudes that could not be wrestled with in a Bible study...They had to be confronted by the Holy Spirit in the privacy of my own soul."

~ "A Glimpse of Grace" by Mary Forsythe (with Beth Clark)~

I appreciated this quote I read the other morning on ShoutLife friend Bonnie Winter's site. It instantly brought to remembrance the months of soul darkness I experienced about ten years ago.

I had it all--a loving husband, grown children who were happily married, a job, an active role in the church where my husband pastored, a beautiful home. But something was missing. Something gnawed at me from the inside out, and the dark pit of depression swallowed me up.

I began to doubt the existence of God (and remember, I was a pastor's wife) and His work in my life. I lost joy in my family, job, church, and life in general. Desolation overwhelmed me. My husband gave up his pastorate, telling me I was his main ministry. But even that was not enough. I quit my job, thinking the stress of managing an Alzheimer's unit was the cause of my despair. If anything, things just got worse.

My turnaround came when I spent time by myself. We were empty-nester's by then, so I made one bedroom into my sanctuary. Only I was allowed in there. I wasn't interested in reading the Bible at the beginning of my journey, but spent hours reading through a book my Christian counselor recommended, journaling, and crying. Lots of crying. It was during those weeks of finding out who I really was on the inside, rather than what I portrayed to others, that the hard work of the soul was accomplished. I began to see that my Christian life was tied up with trying to earn approval from God and other people, rather than just resting in the mercy and grace of Christ.

Once I got that figured out the depression lifted. I now try to not accept responsibilities simply to please others, but to do ministry if I believe that is what the Lord is asking me to do. I'm living in freedom.

But as the opening paragraph stated, there was work that had to be done in private in order to have an authentic life to be lived in public. How thankful I am that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus provides all I need to live in security rather than scrambling to earn God's favor.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stick It To Me!

Those of you who were readers of my blogspot postings before I joined ShoutLife know that in October I started acupuncture treatments. I won't post the picture again of a foot being invaded by needles, as it made some people a wee bit queasy!

I sought out this alternative medicine due to decades of insomnia and Restless Leg Syndrome, as well as developing peripheral neuropathy in my feet a few years ago. Medication helped with the first two conditions, but was very expensive as our insurance doesn't cover them.

Acupuncture treatments became part of my schedule once a week for the first couple of months, but then I was able to lengthen it to two weeks between sessions. I'm here to say I've had fantastic results with the insomnia and restless legs and rarely have to use any medication. The neuropathy has been more resistent, but at least it hasn't got any worse.

I was very sad when my acupuncturist left her practice in January. But her replacement, Dr. Lise Harrington, has been awesome. Not only does she load me up with needles, but also does chiropractic adjustments and massage! It's like a one-stop, full-service office visit. When she's through working on me I feel like I'm just a melted mass of relaxation and can hardly slip off the treatment table and drive home!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who me? Housebroken?

This past weekend I had the privilege of being the retreat speaker for the women of my church. We journeyed over to a beautiful beach house on the Oregon coast. The view was spectacular, with nothing but a little sand between us and the ocean. Thirty of us gathered together as we learned more about how to tame our emotions. Have you ever wondered if that's even possible?

As women, we have a myriad of emotions to deal with, including those brought on by PMS or peri-menopause. The dictionary defines tame as "reduced from a state of native wildness especially so as to be useful to man." And don't our emotions sometimes make us feel like we're in a state of native wildness? Where we have this primal urge to go running through the jungle (or down your block) screaming at the top of your lungs?

The thesaurus gives other word possibilities such as subdued, submissive, harmless, civilized, and housebroken. Housebroken? That's really not such a bad idea. When you have a puppy or kitten that's not housebroken, what do you end up with? Yep, and we can do the same thing when we're not housebreaking our emotions. We can leave stinky, messy piles of anger or discontent or worry in the corners of our house. Other people may not even be aware of them, but if they spend much time with us, the stench will show up.

We spent time looking at the topics of fear, worry, depression, disappointment, and anger. These all interact and often one leads to the other and we end up in a vicious cycle. It was exciting to remind these women that we always have a choice to make--either going by our feelings or by the truth of God's word.