Beyond My Comfort Zone: A Guest Post from Barbara Hosbach

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s meet today’s guest, Barbara Hosbach.

BarbHHeadshotI’m working on my first novel and wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. I’ve been blogging twice a week for several years. I’ve had two scripture-based books and a number of magazine articles published. But this is different. This is fiction.

Fiction seems harder to write than non-fiction—at least to me. For one thing, non-fiction writers have a head start—reality’s already been created. Fiction writers have to start from scratch. It’s been said they’re like sculptors who have to make their own clay. More than that, the world fiction writers create has to be—or at least seem—more credible than the real world. Reality, no matter how implausible, has automatic validity. It really happened. Not so with invented stories. But most of all, when you’re making things up, the sky’s the limit. That can be intimidating.

It can also be exhilarating. I’ve already finished my first draft. That feels good, but it’s just the raw material. Now I get to shape that clay, to build up some parts and pare down—or even eliminate—others until the story’s just the way I want it. To guard against intimidation, I’ve given myself permission to take all the time I need with this process.

There’s a lot to consider in revising fiction. What’s working best for me is focusing on one thing at a time. The story I want to tell begged for a certain point of view and voice. So far, so good. I’m happy with the characters who presented themselves, but I’ve learned that characters acting at random doesn’t make a story. Their actions need consequences that lead somewhere. Shaping the overall plot and making sure the chapters and scenes lead from one thing to the next is taking some time. I’m letting that be okay. Fine-tuning and proof-reading will come later. As I said, this is my first work of fiction, so I’m no expert. Other writers may work differently, but if I tried to do it all simultaneously, I’d get overwhelmed. Then, instead of wondering what I’ve gotten into, I might be looking to escape. And there is no way I want out of this adventure—even if it is beyond my comfort zone.

Barbara Hosbach, writer, speaker, and retreat facilitator, blogs about scripture at . Her articles have appeared in a number of Catholic periodicals. Your Faith Has Made You Well: Jesus Heals in the New Testament, her latest book, explores what happened when Jesus healed and what it means for us today. Both this and Hosbach’s first book, Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes, received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.

Layout 1

Layout 1


7QT: It’s Never Too Late for a Hastily Written Post

7 Quick Takes Friday.  Write ’em. Post ’em.  Link ’em up and read ’em at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

… who is actually taking Friday in the Octave of Christmas off, but I’m here in spite of that.


Merry Christmas!  Santa came!  Only to get torn limb from limb.

Poor Santa.


My husband and I were reflecting on how smoothly Thanksgiving-to-Christmas seems to have gone, for the first time in years. Inwardly, I’d been congratulating myself for keeping my pledge (also inward) not to go crazy with getting junk for the kids to unwrap, with cookies to bake, with dishes to concoct, etc.  Then hubby pointed out that this was the first fall-to-winter in yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaars when I wasn’t down for 2-3 months with a viral-triggered asthma episode.  I’ve had cold after cold, but thankfully they’ve not required heavy doses of Prednisone, nebulized albuterol, and/or antibiotics that may or may not make things worse.  Was it the olive leaf extract, the kinder/gentler viruses that made the rounds this season, or just the way God is working things so completely out of my control?  I don’t know.  I am, however, grateful.


Speaking of Christmas, I have a post up on Catholic Mom today, “Christmas is Not Supposed to Be Like This.”

Weihnachtskrippe in der Sanoker Minoritenkirche courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I originally wrote it for this blog last year for Christmas Eve.  It all started because, as hinted at before, Christmas came and I hadn’t been able to mop the floor or bake a single cookie. This is perhaps one of my favorite things I’ve ever blogged, and the feedback I’ve gotten on how it’s helped people put things in perspective… anyway, I hope you like it and that God is pleased by the whole mess.  I’m grateful He came down into our mess and still does.  I’ll see you at the manger.


Could you please pray for a special intention?  It was an intention I prayed for during this year’s St. Andrew Christmas Novena.  For last year’s, too, but last year’s answer was a BFN.  I’ll have God’s answer to this year’s in a few days.


While we’re at it, could you also pray for the other intention I included in this year’s novena: for the success of the launch of “Working Mother,” my short fiction ebook piece about the Holy Family.

Working Mother Final-1

“What if Mary had to get a job outside the home?”  Read to imagine one possibility.  It’s available for preorder now, if you’d like.  It should show up on your Kindle on Holy Family Sunday.


Sigh.  Both intentions are related to doing everything possible to contribute to a desired outcome.  Over and over again.  And then getting disappointed.  Over and over again.  And it’s not like the desired outcomes are things that couldn’t possibly be within the realm of God’s will. That I could help support my family financially by writing stories that get people to consider our Heavenly Father in a more positive light then they may have done previously? To my feeble human brain, it doesn’t really seem like such a bad combo.  And the other thing… well, not sure if I feel comfortable going into all that again, not in public anyway.

image (2)


Either way, I know that God can do all things, and that no purpose of His can be hindered.  I know, too, he hears the cry of the woman who believed that just a touch of His garment can make a difference.

In hindsight, it looks like the 2004 Tsunami may have ended 30 years of armed conflict.  Analysis of the Columbine Massacre says of one of the shooters, “If he had lived to adulthood and developed his murderous skills for many more years, there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse.”

“God, why am I failing at doing good for you on earth?” is about as useful a question to ask as if Mary had said, “Why would You choose to be born in a stable?” God’s sight includes hindsight.  As much as we might want to know the “why” behind God’s “No,” it’s.  Just.  Not.  Our. Business.  Not right now, anyway.  Hindsight, I now see, does not have to be a painful curse.  It’s a gift–a gift of seeing, as God sees, outside of the nownownownowNOW!

Through whatever inscrutable pain the now might bring, it will pass away.  His Word, however, does not.  Cling to it.  I know I will need to in the coming days.