For all writers

For all writers

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Time for me to say a word here. I've been very distracted lately, minding two of my grandsons for the summer. They are both good boys and pretty well-behaved (and that's not the "grammy" in me, it's true. They're good boys) and that's why I have to say something here today and get it off my chest!

I realize that not every child is outgoing and "never meets a stranger" but my oldest is. His younger brother is somewhat shy but will make friends easily enough. Today, I took them to swim at the community pool in our neighborhood. When we first got there, they had the pool to themselves and all was well. They played with their pool toys and everything was fine.

Soon, three boys came riding up on their bikes and came in to swim. My heart lept a little as I realized these fellas looked to be about "J"s age or maybe a little older. Great! He could make some new friends (as he always does) and they could all swim together. Not even close. While I held my book up to appear as if I were reading, I observed the three form a tightly closed group, obviously excluding my two boys. J would swim over to them and try to engage a couple of them in conversation, only to be completely ignored and, at one point, laughed at. 

I tell you, it was all I could do to hold my tongue and not ask them if they would include my boys in their play but I kept out of it; still observing and listening.  Finally, I had to call J over and tell him that the boys wouldn't talk to him or acknowledge him because they wanted to play by themselves. The look on his face nearly stopped my heart and I was close to tears as he looked at me and said, "I get it. They don't like me."

I immediately put that idea to rest, assuring him that they were just already friends and probably didn't want to make a new friend today (or some other equally lame excuse). He went back into the water for a while, keeping to himself as the other boys swam around him, laughing and playing and splashing. Finally, J climbed out of the pool. I knew what was coming. "Let's go, Grammy. I'm done swimming." he said. His younger brother, oblivious to what was going on, obediently climbed out, wrapped himself up in a towel as did his older brother and they both sat on pool chairs, watching the group, while I gathered my things. 

We left the pool area and began the walk home. You would have thought it was a scene out of "Dead Man Walking", the way he shuffled his feet, eyes on the ground. I know his little heart was hurting and there was nothing I could say to make it better. Believe me, I had plenty I could've said about those three boys, but I didn't. I chose to try and use that as a lesson to J that, in the future, when he was somewhere and someone looked like they felt left out or excluded, he would remember what that felt like and try to make friends with them and invite them to join him. 

He nodded and said he would remember. I have no doubt he will. 

 I know "kids can be cruel", this goes on every single day and most kids get over it.I was young once (yes I was, stop laughing!) and I remember what that felt like. I raised three kids and I recall much the same words and looks when one of them was excluded from a group. It broke my heart then and it still does to this day. 

My point? How hard would it be to teach your children and grandchildren to be a friend to all?

Just my two cents...
'til next time,

Friday, May 17, 2013


It's 11:30 on a Friday night and I'm exhausted! (Isn't that sad!)

Maybe I'd better explain.

I have spent the better part of this whole week, sitting in front of the computer screen but I haven't been writing. No, I've been READING. I'm trying to learn everything I can about self-publishing and the ins-and-outs of ebooks.

Can I just tell you? My head hurts. My eyes are dry and my printer's out of ink. Writer's platforms, marketing, formatting, templates...the list just goes on and on. I fear I will be overtaken by all these pieces of paper.

The one thing I have learned (though I long suspected it anyway) is something that my writing partner told me a long time ago. "Nobody's gonna do it for us. The ultimate responsibility lies with us." Yeah, okay. I kinda knew that but this is ridiculous! That is also the part that I most remember when someone sees me behind a book table at a signing event and quips, "You know, I think I'll write a book someday." Good luck, Huck.

Writing a really good book is VERY hard work. I mean, I'm passionate about the story line and the characters but, honestly? That's just the tip of the iceberg (cliche, I know. Sorry.) Then I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful editor/publisher that took me under his wing to publish "Contessa" and "Trust In the Yord: Hunter's Story" but the burden to sell still lies with me. And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to my other dilemma: I loathe self-promotion - always have.

That is a problem, you see, when the whole idea of getting your book published is to get other people to become interested enough to want to buy it so they can read it and see what all the buzz is about.

Okay. I've whined enough. I'm convinced there is no end in sight - at least not for the time being. So, I shall soldier on and learn all I can. I guess it's that way about anything new we try, isn't it? It's all about being flexible and keeping an open mind. Yeah. Okay. I'm as flexible as a 50+ (watch it!) year old woman can be and my mind is open (pretty much). I feel better already.

Back to the keyboard. I have a story to write for Peekaboo Magazine and a presser for an upcoming event. EEK! There's that self-promotion again! But there is also the time I can find to sit down and re-visit/revise "City Girl" and make it as wonderful as it can possibly be before I release it to you. Yes, I'm making strides - or should I say, I'm taking baby steps? Regardless, I'm moving forward and for that, I'm extremely grateful to everyone that has bought one of my books, actually read it and gave me honest feedback or review. (One more thing I've learned: always ask for a review!)

Thank you, sweet friends. (Notice, I didn't say "fans"? I won't be using that anytime soon!) I appreciate your encouragement and support more than you'll ever know and, someday soon, if you keep checking back - I just might have an e-book for you to read! Wish me luck!

Until we meet again~

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Can you weigh in?

Hey Gang! 
I think Spring has sprung (at least I hope so!). The grass is lush and green and Mrs. Robin has already raised one bunch of kids and may be preparing for another brood soon.

Spring isn't the only thing that has me excited right now. I've just finished a new romance called, "City Girl". It's about a (you guessed it) gal from the city named Dani, running away from her past in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This girl has some big problems and they only seem to get bigger as she makes an unscheduled stop in Starlight, Texas and runs headlong into a country boy named Beau Blackwell. It's not pretty at first and a battle ensues.

I'm not gonna tell you anymore because...I want you to read it! 

At present, I need an idea for the book cover before it goes to publication. Here's the dilemma - I think I know what I want on the cover: a picture of a bunch of cowboy or dirty work boots with a high heel stuck somewhere in between them, all sitting on an old porch step. Problem is, I can't find anything like that and believe me, I've been searching. My writing partner says I should just compose a picture like it and use that but I was going to try one more thing first. 

If anyone out there in "blogger land" has a picture similar to what I've described or knows where I might find it, please give me a shout. I'm also in process of offering it as an e-book as well so I want the cover completed before I make any more commitments. I would really like to have it all completed BEFORE I hand it over and not let someone else decide on a picture for the cover so...if you have any great pics like I mentioned OR you know where I might procure one, I would be grateful indeed.

Okay, okay. Stop whining and I'll give you a little taste. ;-)

“What in the world was that all about?”
            He closed his eyes in disgust as he took a deep breath in. “I’m sorry. I forgot she’d be workin’ tonight.” He fidgeted with his hat for a minute. “Jody and I…we used to…uh…”
            Dani held up her hand to stop him. “I’m sorry. You don’t owe me an explanation.”
            “No, it just caught me a little off guard, that’s all. We go back a long way but all that’s over with now. She’s on to greener pastures.”
“You talk like she’s a cow or something.” She grinned. “Forget I even asked. Tell me something. What’s up with the black cowboy hat?”
            Puzzled, he looked at the hat he held in his hand. “What do you mean?”
            “I thought the good guys always wore white hats.”
            “What makes you think I’m a good guy?” His eyes twinkled.
                                                                      ~     ~     ~

Interested? Oh good. Well, let's find this picture and maybe you can find out what happens next.
'Till next time...

Thursday, April 18, 2013


As most of you know by now, we had some pretty fierce wind, rain, lightening and thunder last night. There were some very strong storms in and around our area and the water rushing down the streets and drainage ditches attest to that fact.

I rushed to the front door and looked out to see if Mrs. Robin is still there. You know what? Well...let me back up for a minute.

The first year in our new house, I noticed a robin flying up and down around our back patio. I soon discovered that she had built a doozy of a nest on top of one of the columns; out of the wind and elements, she sat there like the Queen of Sheba. Well, I'm not overly fond of birds but I wouldn't ever tear down a robin's nest with babies or even eggs in it so Mrs. Robin enjoyed her reprieve and raised two nests of babies! After everyone flew off for the last time, I tore the nest down.

Last spring and this, I watched for Mrs. Robin (or maybe one of her kids) and, sure enough, she and her beau tried to construct a new house where the old one had been. Plastic owls, water hoses, aluminum foil strips and other home remedies finally convinced them that they should build elsewhere and they did. Victory.

Last Friday, as we cleaned out flowerbeds and pruned bushes out front, I noticed a robin fluttering frantically above my head. I looked up into the tree in front of me and watched as Mrs. Robin flew over and landed onto a nest in one of the branches. I'm sure if my neighbors had heard me they would've thought I'd lost my mind but I leaned over on my rake and proceeded to commend Mrs. Robin on her choice of lodgings. I've watched her out my office window every day since, sitting on that nest of hers. She sits patiently, protecting what is precious to her and waits for Mr. Robin to come and relieve her so she can go eat something. Soon, she's right back on the nest again in protection mode.

Back to where I started...after the fierce wind and torrents of rain last night and this morning, I couldn't help but think of Mrs. Robin and her nest. I hurried to the front window and looked out, truly expecting the worst. The nest is a little worse for wear but there she sits, on top of her precious eggs, still hunkered down like nobody's business! I know she's soaked and now, with the thermometer hovering around forty-six degrees, she's wet and cold. Probably hungry too. I haven't seen Mr. Robin all morning. Sigh.

I can't help but compare this to some things in my own life lately. Problems, complications, and trouble abounds. I know the scripture. I've read it a million times. "In the world you will have tribulation..." (John 16:33). I know these things happen, troubles come and disappointments happen just like storms but it doesn't make it any easier to welcome them sometimes. 

What I had forgotten was the last part of the verse, "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." I may be wet and cold sometimes, fiercely guarding what I know to be good and true but my Savior is always there beside me - reminding me to keep my chin up. The rain will stop pelting me and the wind will die down. He has overcome the world and everything in it and promises that we can be overcomers too.

So, I'm gonna "sit on my nest" and hunker down. The clouds will part and the sun will come out and 'this, too shall pass'. Praise God!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ta-Da! It's finally here!

I am so proud to announce that "TRUST IN THE YORD: Hunter's Story" is finished and ready for purchase!

"Contessa" was a labor of love...this book was a hard thing. Hard to go back and remember, hard to write it all down, hard to allow myself to feel it all again but I can truly say I also see how much I've healed and been blessed.

For those of you that know me well, you know I have a very hard time with self-promotion - especially when it comes to writing and my books - but this is different. Very different. I was just telling E tonight that I have already heard many people telling me how much they appreciated what I had to say and the way I said it. I've had people tell me that I wrote what they were thinking or feeling. All I can say to that is, it's what the Lord gave me and if it ministers to someone else then praise HIS name and share the good news that there is an end to grief at some point.

That doesn't mean that I don't think of Hunter often and miss him terribly. It's just different. Almost like an ache that never really goes away. I was playing with his brothers tonight and couldn't help but think, "I wish Hunter was here to get in on this!"

These guys keep my head and my heart in the right place, for sure. Samuel Ryker and Jordan Nathaniel, you make me proud to be your Grammy.

So...if you haven't heard Hunter's story yet or, if you know someone that has lost a loved one and has just begun their grief journey, could I persuade you to order a copy through Barnes & Noble, Amazon or call me and buy one from me???

I would love to see this little book do great things for the Kingdom of Christ.

'til next time ~

Monday, March 4, 2013

Yay! Yipeee! WooHoo! (Just picture me doing the "happy dance")

Contessa is done, finished, completed, edited, proofed, printed, bound and READY to read!

This has truly been a labor of love but now, I need to get it into your hands. I know I need to plan a book signing or two and maybe even a reading but the opportunity just hasn't presented itself yet. You know, you're right...I need to make that opportunity, don't I? Sounds easy but, trust me, it's not.

My heart hurts for those of us that love to write for others but just can't seem to get those 'others' to read what we've written. My writing partner and I both agree and believe that God has given us this little gift for probably many reasons; to bless others, to uplift or encourage, to entertain in a wholesome and healthy way and the list goes on and on. 

If you have already read "Contessa", then you know that Tessa is just a small part of the bigger picture - that being the salvation of a young man named Connor. I would imagine that most all authors desire their readers to be able to sit down, pick up their book and "get" the message they are trying to convey but, sadly, it doesn't always happen like that. I'm okay with that, I really am. You may just like the book cover because it reminds you of the trip you want to take to Africa one day. You may have read the story and identified with another character or situation. I'm okay with that too. In fact, when I put on Toto's "Four" album, the last song entitled, "Africa" just sweeps me away to the place that Connor and Contessa both end up - even though I never listened to that song until the book was already finished. Kinda crazy but that's the way those things work sometimes. 

I'll try to keep you posted on future book signings and so forth but for now, just know that I love you out there...the people that keep reading what I write and keep encouraging me to write more. I think most all of us like to read about people that are like us; human, flawed, and searching. It's that searching that works in our lives to make us stronger and maybe even more determined to get closer to God. Afterall, what or where would we be, really, without Him to guide us? To grant mercy and forgiveness when no one else will? And to allow us to grow into better human beings by learning from our mistakes?

I just wanted to take a minute to say "thank you" for believing in me and my stories and for the kind and encouraging words you say. I have only just begun this journey but I can NOT wait to see where He's gonna take me!
Love and blessings to you all,

Thursday, January 24, 2013


It's been a while, huh? Man, what a ride! You've been on one, I know you have. Okay, if you haven't actually sat in the seat, I know you've stood on the ground and watched the cars of people riding up and down, back and forth, around and around. Excuse me. I'm getting a little queasy! :-)

My point is, roller coasters are frantic, nerve-wracking and thrilling - all at the same time. That's the way my life has been these past two years. Yours too? Bless your heart. If you're anything like me, right now you're probably feeling like you just want the ride to stop so you can get off and get your feet back on solid ground, right? Yeah, I thought so.

Trouble is, this ride IS our life. We are headed where that track is takin' us and there's not much we can do about it. Most of you know my grandson, Hunter's story and the account of how we lost our homes, business location and land to the state's "progress" after 32 years in the same location so I won't beat that dead horse anymore. You also probably know that I'm married to the mayor of our fair city (can't tell you how proud I am of him!) and that has presented some challenges as well. All this while dealing with some health issues and trying to find my niche in the intimidating world of writing, publishing, editors and book sales - not to mention learning about Facebook pages, Twitter posts and blogging! To say it has been overwhelming is an understatement!

I've got to tell you (I know I can be honest with you, right?) I was feeling a little beat up. Tired of trying. "what's the use?!?" and all that jazz. Why? Because I had begun to listen to the enemy's lies as he whispered defeat in my ear. I bought in to the deception and began to believe the things he was telling me. But I want to live for my Savior and be an authentic woman of God! I'm such a loser!

Why do we let this happen? We know better. Isn't God the blessed Controller of all things and doesn't he work everything out for my good and His glory? Well, yeah but...Ah, there it is! The "yeah, but..."! That's the very thing I said too then I began to remember. A couple of years ago, our ladies "Apples of Gold" group did a study called "The New Eve" by Robert Lewis. Great study and we all loved it. I recently grabbed the book from my shelf and began reading it again, instantly reminded of the comparisons between Eve and Mary that we had studied. It was a simple case of three things: what they embraced (accept or reject God's Word), what they did (action flows from belief - think about it), and what they expected - they both expected good to come from their actions. If you get the book, you can dig further into those. 

The thing that stood out to me was the little saying that he quoted over and over in the book. It was a pretty good definition of authentic womanhood. It went like this: 

                        "A real woman embraces God's core callings, chooses wisely,
                         lives courageously, and expects God's greater reward."

At one time, I had written that out and pasted it in my closet so I could see it every day but, as time went by and I moved on to other things, the little slip of paper disappeared and I forgot the words.

Girls, I think it's time we re-wrote that slip of paper and taped it back up so we can read it every day and remember! No more defeat - not to say that we won't feel like giving up from time to time. No more pity parties - Godly wisdom helps us make better choices; even though they are sometimes difficult. No more fear - sure, the challenges will come; we're fooling ourselves if we don't know that by now but God will give us all the courage we need if we'll only ask for it. Then what? Why, we'll expect (and receive) God's great reward, that's what! Allow me to read an excerpt from "The New Eve"...

"The New Eve knows a better way. She has entrusted her life to God and to a biblical vision of womanhood that she believes will prove itself as the years roll by (emphasis mine). Mary said it best: 'May it be done to me according to Your word' (Luke 1:38)."

So, what am I thinking? I'm gonna put on my "full armor", grab my ticket and hop aboard that ride. Are you comin'?