Website of Daniel Boyd – Author and Blogger

Welcome!  

There is only one thing of potential interest here... my blog.  Formerly I was preparing a teaser page for my then upcoming sci-fi novel, but I have suspended all work on that project and currently have no solid plans for what project to pursue next.  For now, please take a look at my blog posts and comment if you wish.

Recent Blog Posts

Critical Mass Achieved!

I have achieved critical mass in my novel draft. With 110,000 words invested, I now need to clean it up and create a landing page here for it. I hope to do this in the next few days.

My apologies

I want to offer a sincere apology to anyone who has been trying to get to my site for the past couple of days. I had a configuration issue last night and tonight, it has been less than snappy. I will be discussing this issue with my hosting provider and hope to have a resolution quickly.

Mission Accomplished!

I have now completed my transition to the WordPress platform from Blogger.  I hope to beautify these pages soon, but I wanted to get the content I have written, my blog posts, moved over and the domain transferred.  That is now finished and one more checkbox filled on my ToDo list.

More to come…

Big changes coming!

This was originally posted at QPB Confidential so it will not make much sense, but I wanted to preserve it as I move between platforms.

There are big changes coming to this web address.  In the next few days I will be changing platforms to a more flexible system as I prepare to finish my novel.  I will still blog occasionally, and on the same topics, but the focus of the new site will be to build an audience and prepare for the release of my book.  There will be sample chapters available eventually that will hopefully create some excitement for this book, tentatively name “The Question”.

Visitors will be able to sign up to receive these chapters as well as potentially meet, at least figuratively, some of the characters, so if you are interested, do come back and sign up to receive those.  You’ll see the links on the main page to a synopsis of the book and the contact form.

Realistically, I won’t complete my first draft until the end of February, then the hard part will start – editing.  I expect several weeks will be required to finish that phase, so I am shooting for a mid-year release.  I will most likely self-publish, but depending upon the buzz level when the book is completed, I may shop it to a publisher or two.  If so, that will definitely delay the release, so I’ll keep you in the loop if you register for updates.

That’s all I have right now, so I hope everyone is adjusting well to 2015 and please, check back in a few days (probably Monday or Tuesday of next week – January 26th or 27th) to see the new site.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I will be temporarily moving the posts from this site over to my other Blogger site at http://quietlypassingby.info so they will be available during the transition.

What Do You Do When Both Sides Are Wrong?

The current controversy over the state of Connecticut’s decision to force a seventeen-year-old to undergo chemotherapy for her Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of those situations where both sides are wrong, so what is the right answer?

Cassandra C. is certainly of an age to be able to make a reasoned decision and the support of her mother should count more than double in her favor, however, the state Supreme Court has upheld the decision of a lower court to force her to undergo treatment.  According to the last report I read, she had refused to comply with the order, which is, I feel, her right.  I now wonder what is next – men in white coats strap her down and pump chemicals into her body while she screams bloody murder?

The most egregious violation of rights has been made by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) in removing her from her mother.  I am aware that the staff of DCF offices around the country are generally looking out for the best interest of the children they encounter and there are real situations, and more than plenty of them, where they can make a difference, but in this case and in a small portion of other cases I have read about, they cause more harm than good.  This teenager has a life-threatening diagnosis and the last thing she needs is for her support structure to be ripped from her as she ponders the implications of her decision.

Her doctors claim she has an 80-85% chance of beating this with a six-month-long regimen of chemotherapy.  Pretty good odds.  Many cancer patients would gladly trade their odds for hers.  But it remains, or should remain, her choice to pursue this treatment versus choosing her own in the form of alternative treatments.  As odd as the choice to refuse the normal treatment may seem to some people, it really should be hers and her family’s choice, not the choice of the apparatus of the state.  DCF was wrong to get involved, her doctors were wrong to betray her trust in them by testifying against her in court, the judge is wrong by not applying the mature minor doctrine, and based on current evidence, this situation should scare the pants off of people who believe in true freedom.

Unless DCF or the court can prove that either she or her mother are not mentally sound and are unable to make this decision in a reasonable manner, this is a gross overreach of government into private lives.  Conservatives and liberty-loving people everywhere should be protesting this frightening encroachment on personal freedom.

With that said, I believe that Cassandra C is making a terrible choice.  As stated before, her estimated chances at beating this is 80-85%, if she follows the chemotherapy regimen.  While I am a fan of alternative medicine and treatments, I tend to defer to aggressive treatment of things like cancer. Chemotherapy, with all of its many and severe downsides, is in my opinion her best choice.  Trying a first regimen and seeing if it can make a difference would at least bring her closer on the calendar to the point where she can tell the state where to put their gross intrusion into her personal life.  Her 18th birthday is in September.

As a father of two, and as a person with a life-long, chronic condition, I thank God for each and every day that I and my family are alive and together, in sickness and in health.  I would want the treatment for me, and especially for my child, that had the best odds for success and then deal with the consequences of that treatment if and when I survived.  I watched my father battle cancer twice and saw the horrible things that the treatment did to him, how he lost so many things from his life that gave him joy, however, if it would have saved him, I would ask him to go through it all again.  Contrary to the state of Connecticut, however, I would realize and I would accept in the end, that it was his choice.

Wherein I Blow My Own Horn…

Can’t believe I waited until the 8th to blow my own horn!  I won NaNoWriMo (along with thousands of others who wrote 50,000 words in November)!  Just over 50,000 words was my total although I did not write the last two days of the month.  I got as tied up as I feared I would at the end of the thirty days, so I am glad I got so far ahead early on.  Here is my winner’s banner:

So now the hard part begins…  I need another 50,000 or so words before I can really start to edit and revise and turn this pile of words into a book.  I hope to accomplish that by the end of February and start editing in March.  After editing and revising comes the decision of whether to submit to a publisher or self-publish.  I am debating that and maybe, just maybe, by the time I finish editing and revising I will decide.

I will publish an excerpt before the end of the year (I know, that is not that far off now…), so keep an eye out.  Before I sign off, I want to give a shout out to the thousands of NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaisons in cities all over the country and world who gave their time and energy to motivating others to write, write, write like there were no editors!  Thank you so much!

I also want to thank my family, even though they aren’t regular readers of my blog, for giving me the space and time to write like crazy during November.

That’s all for now… I feel a need to vent coming up, with all the craziness going on in our country now, so that’s on its way also, probably this week.

Until next time…

Eight days in and at 20,000+ words!

A couple of reasons to write a short note to my two readers tonight – NaNoWriMo progress and the mid-term elections.

To say that NaNoWriMo is going well this year is a slight understatement.  It is only day eight and I have surpassed the 20,000 word mark.  That is averaging over 2500 words a day!  This way, I won’t stress out at Thanksgiving when can’t write for three or four days.  At this pace, I will win before Thanksgiving.  Of course, that is not the end of my novel, nor is it all that I will write this month.  I’d like to hit 70,000 words, but would be happy with 60,000.

The other big thing I want to comment on is the mid-term election results.  While I concede that Democrats helped in their own defeat, I also think people realized that Democrats were not improving their lot in life and decided it was time to insert some sanity into politics in general.  While the jobless rate is down, there is a smaller percentage of people in the workforce now than in previous years.  The economy is still anemic and needs a good jolt in the arm and I don’t believe Democrats could provide that.

Of course, the funniest part of the election was not the fact that not only did Republicans win, but they won bigger than polls had suggested, it was the total meltdown reaction of Democrats in general.  Never have I heard or read more whining, crying, outright hysteria, and twisted realities than the headlines of liberal leaning publications and commentators the days after the election.  Salon.com had to be my favorite pack of whiners and deniers.  Such comedy in their tragedy!

So, 22 days left in NaNoWriMo… who knows how far I can get?  The math says 75,000, but that is just math, and NaNoWriMo is all about writing!

It Begins Tomorrow!

I didn’t think I would post here again before NaNoWriMo began, but here I am, almost unable to sit down and be still, waiting for November 1st to pop up on my calendar so I can begin to write my newest unfinished draft/potential bestseller.  Many things are different this year.  My preparation this year has been radically different from previous years.  My genre is different.  My novel style is different.  This will be the hardest book to “get right” that I have attempted.  Let me explain… no, let me sum up </end Princess Bride reference>.

1. I have done no research this year because I am writing a story that will depend not on facts and speculation, but on characters and a compelling story.

2. This book can be classified as a drama/romance.

3. I am attempting to invert the time line and tell the story backwards – whether or not I am successful without causing the reader to want to throw the book/e-reader across the room is yet to be determined.

4. Because of items 1, 2, and 3, this will be the most difficult book I have attempted, but I am ready to get started.

I have enough scenes planned right now to provide about 31,000 words, so I will have to come up with more scenes to get to 50,000 words, but I have no doubt the scenes will come once I start writing.  Did I mention I was ready to start?

If by some miracle you are reading this and you live in or near the Rome/Floyd County area, come by the Barnes and Noble bookstore near the Kroger on Turner-McCall Boulevard on Saturday, November 1st at 4PM to celebrate the start of NaNoWriMo with fellow WriMos.  I’ll be there as will other local writers.

Signing off until December (most likely)!

It’s That Time of Year For Two Reasons

November is upon us again and that makes it “that” time of year for two reasons.  November is National Novel Writing Month and the NaNoWriMo challenge put on by the former Office of Letters and Light (now just National Novel Writing Month).  It is also when we as voters go to the polls to decide how the next few years of government, both locally and nationally, will work.

Those of you who have read my blogs in the past know that I have participated in NaNoWriMo for three years now (two wins!), with this year being my fourth year.  While my previous efforts are all still partial drafts (as will this year’s effort be also, at least for a while), I have enjoyed the challenge immensely every year.  I will probably not post much during November (not that I post much now) because of the effort involved in producing 1667 words a day for thirty days straight.

I ask those that waste their time coming here to be patient and I promise I will post an excerpt of my newest noveling effort, right around December 1st.

On the other reason…

Mid-term elections are here and if you read any of my previous blogs you know where I stand on the issues and where I will be voting.  I am not here (in this post) to proselytize either way – the way you vote is up to you, but I encourage all of you that are eligible to go and exercise your right to vote.  It is this fundamental right to determine how and by whom we are governed that is so important and so influential to our country’s well-being that we should all do it, every time that we can.

How will these mid-terms turn out?  Will the country continue to support the current administration or will there be a referendum indicating that things are not headed in the right direction?  Either way, we will all end up in the bed we make for ourselves.  Let us hope we are not our own worst enemies.

So, in November write a book (if you feel like it), or support someone who is, and go vote!  Aside from the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of the month, I feel these two things are the most important events you can participate in during the upcoming month.

If you are interested in writing a novel during November check out this site.

If you are interesting in voting (and you definitely should be) go here to find your candidates.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back sometime (definitely in December)!

Remember – Perspective Instantiates Reality

Grace and My Growing Understanding Of It

After three failed drafts on random subjects and a VERY long time, I am back to briefly discuss my growing understanding of grace (as in, God’s grace).  During my entire life as a Christian, I don’t think I really understood grace and what it really means for me.  I saw grace through a distorted lens that didn’t show me the full picture.  I only saw grace as applying to everyone, regardless of who they were and what they had done as sinners.  I didn’t see grace as a completeness, a finished work, or a done deal.

My understanding of grace was stuck at the end of Jesus’s parable in Matthew 20:1-16, where the landowner hires on workers at various times of the day and at the end of the day, those who had worked a mere hour received the same wage as those who had worked all day, much to the dismay of those who had toiled all day.  In my childhood I always thought that this parable was strange, as it seemed to contradict my primitive idea of “fairness”.  Why would those who had worked for so long be paid the same as those who worked only an hour?  If my Sunday School teachers explained it to me, it went in one ear and out the other.

My second iteration of understanding still missed the mark as I still applied “fairness” to the situation, as the workers who labored all day had agreed to be paid “a day’s wage”, so what right did they have to complain?

It was much later (I’m kind of oblivious and thick at times about certain things, just ask my wife) that I arrived at a true understanding of the parable and realized that fairness (thankfully) had nothing to do with the situation.  God offers grace to all, regardless of when they accept his gift.  The honest deathbed convert is as saved (and is given the same gift – eternal life) as the lifelong, devout Christian who fervently uttered the prayer of acceptance at the age of five.

But even more than this, we not only are saved when we are only deserving of death, we are completely saved when we accept Christ.  There is no need to work to “complete” our salvation.  We are as ineffective at completing our salvation as we are at starting it.  We cannot save ourselves, nor can we do anything that will make us “more saved”.  So the work of salvation is complete as soon as we accept Him.

Everything we do after we are saved comes from the overflow of Christ in us, acts of gratitude and gratefulness that should be spontaneous and joyful, but none of it can complete our salvation or make it better.  Our work for the Lord is an expression of worship and praise that is a direct result of the completion of the work of salvation in us the instant we accepted Him.

With that said, our motives for doing the work of the Lord are simple.  We should want to share our salvation with others, much like we would want to share good and exciting news with others – because we are excited about it and we are certain that if others knew what we did, they would be grateful we told them.

Will our salvation always be exciting?  I proffer that it should be, as God’s mercies, as many have observed through the years, are new everyday.  The reality is that there will be days where we abjectly fail to acknowledge what God has done for us, missing opportunities to share his gift with others and even at times to the point weaken our ability to witness at a later date to those who may encounter us during our time of failure.  The question then is – Are we any less saved?  NO, of course not.  We are still saved just as completely as we are on days when we positively touch the lives of others and show them Jesus.

With the commencement of a new sermon series based on MercyMe’s album “Welcome to the New”, I have heard the words of the songs and more importantly the words of my pastor as he has passed along God’s message for me over the past three Sundays.  Grace has taken on this whole new meaning for me, and I feel as if I am seeing a brighter glimpse of who God is and what he has done for me.

I have only one other completely unrelated thought to throw out here and I may expand my thoughts on this at a later date, but briefly, I want to put a potentially somber truth out there, because I have heard a number of people lately hint around this truth, but no one has laid the entire thought bare for others to consider.  That thought is this – God has a purpose for every one of us and he knows all things, can control all things and is everywhere.  That is exciting, right?

Here’s the somber side – these purposes are his own and may not necessarily line up with the desires of our hearts.  The child with cancer or the seemingly random car accident are terrible things.  We know as Christians that he has the power to cure the cancer and the power to prevent the accident, but if these things are not in his purpose, then they will not happen.  The child will die, people will be hurt or die and the ripple effects of those events may very well be the only thing that will show another person the error of their ways and lead them to Christ.  It could also simply be that these tragedies shape the life of someone in a way that they are able to help others with similar experiences.

The point is, we don’t know God’s purpose and while he tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that he knows the plans he has for us (plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future), that particular future for each of us is unknown and again, may not line up with what we consider prospering.  But we always have hope, whether we live for another day or we die tonight, and that hope is eternal life with Christ.  That is the ultimate hope and once we understand and embrace that fully (I admit I do not yet), we can live fearlessly.

Grace and peace to you.

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