Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lovely Lull

lull (noun) : a temporary pause or decline in activity

...just for a few days.

I'll return soon.

Be well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bestsellers... of All Time!

It seems like we're forever looking for something great to read, right?

This morning, when I flipped through my desk calendar, a notebook-sized spiral angled at writers with trivia and notes of encouragement (published by QPB), I stumbled across a list of The Bestselling Books of All Time! And I thought, why not share the titles? It would appear these are the somethings great.

*The following information is copied word-for-word from the calendar.*

The Bible holds the number-one spot, with somewhere between five and six billion copies sold. In fact, religious titles--the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Common Prayer--all have boffo sales figures. But they would skew the list. For that matter, so do Harry Potter novels. So regard this as a partial, yet utterly fascinating roster of the kind of sales figures authors dream of.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, 1605 - 500 million copies
Clear away the sacred texts and this is the first secular book - and novel to boot! - with seriously impressive sales figures.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 1814 - 200 million copies
Who knew swashbuckling, a quest for vengeance and suddenly becoming really, really rich could have such broad appeal?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, 1939 - 115 million copies
You may also know this classic mystery novel by its alternate title, Ten Little Indians.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951 - 65 million copies
We debated whether to include this one, since it does apear so often on high school and college reading lists, but, a sale is a sale.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, 2003 - 64 million copies
One can only sigh heavily.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 1880 - 52 million copies
This one took us by surprise, too.

The following are all tied at 50 million copies

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, 1880

King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard, 1885

The Curse of Capistrano (aka The Mask of Zorro) by Johnston McCulley, 1920

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, 1936

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1943

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1946

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, 1988


So what do you think? Were you in the know? How many/which ones have you already read?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thanks Are Due

Overdue, actually.

Barbara deserves recognition for the beautiful scarf she sent me weeks ago. Isn't it a great color? And it's pashmina - so soft! She holds drawings for these often, so visit her through the link for your chance to win... but also to enjoy her special and serene corner of blogland. Thank you, Barbara!
I've been remiss in acknowledging some bloggy bling I've been given of late, too. Lynnette from Chatterbox Chit Chat gave me The Lemonade Stand award. (I know you've all seen it floating around, so I won't paste it here.) I so appreciate it! And I did see another award from someone recently - I thought it Lori? Argh, if I can't remember for sure (please correct me if I'm mistaken... ETA: Ack! It wasn't Lori. Was it someone else, or did I truly dream it?). Thank you! I was touched by your generous comments about SSW.
I can't get by without also thanking both Jody* and KS, who recently shared links to my post It's My Path. I'm so thrilled you thought its content worthy of sharing - and I appreciate the faces who popped in for a peep because of it, too.
I also want to say thanks to my constant supporters and welcome to my new followers! You all make my day, every day.
Have a great weekend, and a safe and blessed Memorial Day!
*(Jody recently signed with an agent! Send her some congrats, wouldja?)

Friday, May 22, 2009

[F]oto Friday

This is Lucy. She is our pet, our security system, our furry entertainment.
Few things excite her more than taking off across the yard, running low and fast behind a bounding squirrel. Her dream? To catch one. And we snicker, roll our eyes. Because will it happen? Likely not. The chances are slim to none, really.
A couple weeks ago, off she took, jumping the ditch and trying, trying. I snorted and said aloud, "Yeah, Luce. Keep at it," in that tone of voice that means, you're silly to keep trying.
It was like a slap to the face, the realization that I'd just belittled her dream. What right did I have? She didn't care what the odds were. She was happy, chasing that squirrel.
How would I feel if someone belittled my dream, my writing dream? Rolled their eyes and snickered behind my back, because the chances of success are slim to none, given the odds?
So I straightened right up, added some conviction to my voice.
"Keep at it, Luce. Chase those squirrels."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's My Path

It's happening.

Friends and fellow writers are doing it. They're accepting offers of representation, working with agents, selling their books and seeing their titles in print, held in hand. It's an awesome thing to see, to be an infinitesimal part of.

With each friend's success, I feel that much closer to my own. And yet I also feel further and further away.

Do I have what it takes, I ask? Maybe I don't write well enough, maybe my words aren't going to grab the attention of who matters most, maybe I don't represent myself in the best way possible, maybe...

If only...

Often times I see a writer who's a step - or several - ahead and I think, why isn't that me? What am I doing wrong? I think, they're doing something I'm not. And I may fall into a pity pit for a bit, feeling morose and doubtful and envious.

But then I'm reminded: I'm me. I am on my own path. Not wrong, different.


I have to step back, look at what's best for me without comparing my steps to others', and let my path unfold before me.

As I keep this in mind, I will step sure-footed, with confidence and faith.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Friday, May 15, 2009

[F]oto Friday

This small wooden sign, phrase etched in pretty cursive, is the newest addition to my writing space. I like its emphasis on the home, for that's true to my own life. But the story part I find relevant, too, and I think it's easy to figure why.

Is there a phrase you've placed somewhere in your house or office, tucked into your purse or wallet, because it spoke to you on some level?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Writing, As Compared To Volleyball

So I'd had a great post planned for today, about how last Saturday was warm and sunny with a breeze, perfect for the company picnic we hosted for my husband's work. And I was going to tell you about how, along with grilling and other fun, we played sand volleyball, barefoot with wide grins.

And then I was going to get all fancy-schmancy and compare volleyball to writing, making grandiose analogies, especially about how I took a hit to the face and spent near five minutes flat in the sand, and about how sometimes we get "knocked out" over our writing, when we're rejected or receive harsh criticism or self-doubt creeps in, but how if we get back up - like I did - we can go on to win the game - like my team did - or get published. And yada yada.

But it just wasn't coming together. Not in a smart, I've-really-thought-this-out sort of way.

So instead, tell me how you would compare an aspect of volleyball (or any sport, for that matter) to writing.

Your thoughts?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Ring

Tonight I’m going on my first date in over two years. It’s also the first date I’ve had since my husband’s death.

The man is due to pick me up in twenty minutes, and I stand in front of the full-length mirror, assessing my reflection. One thing keeps catching my eye.

It’s a gaudy-looking thing, and I know it. Perched on my little finger, Barbie-pink and hard plastic, the ring doesn’t coordinate with my sleek, black dress. Others will see me at the fine restaurant and think me showy and presumptuous, wearing such a frou-frou piece of costume jewelry.

Still, I’ll be wearing it all evening, because it says so much more than the dress ever would on its own.

Ah, the dress. It’s black by no coincidence; I chose the color of mourning. This is a big step for me, the dress will say to this new someone. Let it be known I still grieve. And that John will always be with me.

And, what with its length just at my knee, sweet capped sleeves, modest v-neck, it says I’m to be taken seriously. I’m a respectable woman, with clear-cut expectations, responsible ideas.

But yet the ring says so much more.

Its hue pops out from the dark background the dress provides, speaking of brighter days, of the happiness I’ve managed since John was taken from me. It whispers that I have a sense of humor, and I know how to have fun. But, more than anything, it tells a man that Sosie is most important to me.

It was Sosie, my beautiful three-year-old with the jet-black hair just like her daddy’s, who put the ring—her princess ring—on my finger.

“Mommy, wear my wing tonight,” she’d said, sliding it over my pinkie knuckles. “You wook bootie-ful.”

And so how can I not wear it?

It will be a subtle reminder, throughout the whole evening, that my heart belongs to a little girl. She’s been my one and only for two years, and it’s not easy to let someone new in. Any man will have to accept it. He’ll have to accept Sosie and me, a package deal.

That’s what the ring says.


This is a piece of flash fiction (364 words) I wrote a few months ago. The spark of idea came to me and snowballed as I played Pretty Pretty Princess with my girls, when I caught glimpse of a similar plastic ring on my own finger.

The Ring made the first-round cuts at two online pubs, but eventually met rejection from both places. When I got notification from the second publication yesterday, I decided I'd post it here. Why not share it with all of you, and whomever happens by? That's, in essence, a large reason I have this blog, and I think it's important to continually share examples of my works and style.

Anyway, an editor from the first pub said it read more like a vignette (which is what, now?) while another thought it more a character sketch. The second online magazine didn't give any reasons as to why they were "unable to use it." (Both places suggested I submit other pieces in the future.)

Do you have any constructive criticism to offer? What would you tell me if you were an editor?

Friday, May 8, 2009

[F]oto Friday

Good fiction is hard to find lately. At least, it has been for me, as I've torn apart my shelves for that next book to sink my teeth into.
First, I tried this novel. Certain content did not sit well with me.

I'd had high hopes for the next one; the author is one I've enjoyed before, and the premise sounded exciting! Yeah...
How's this for excitement? (Watch out, I drool.)

And then this one! This one seemed so original, with a main character I could potentially relate to.
*sigh* At least I got some good daydreaming done.

But wait! What's this? Why, I believe it's Kathryn Magendie's new release, Tender Graces, in my mailbox, of all places!

Color me giddy!

So, good fiction? I found it, in Kathryn's story of Virginia Kate. The back cover blurb is this:
The death of her troubled mother and memories of her abused grandmother lure a woman back to the Appalachian hollow where she was born. Virginia Kate Carey, the daughter of a beautiful mountain wild-child and a slick, Shakespeare-quoting salesman, relives her turbulent childhood and the pain of her mother's betrayals. Haunted by ghosts and buried family secrets, Virginia Kate struggles to reconcile three generations of her family's lost innocence.
Virginia Kate's story, so heartrending, snatched my attention up immediately (and still holds it hostage). And Kathryn's writing? Powerful. Each sentence, so fresh and full, lifts from the page to swirl around me, so I feel it.
Are you looking for good fiction?
I recommend this book. Get you a copy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Join Me

I sit, favorite coffee beside me, pondering the day ahead. Time to myself is stretched before me, and I anticipate the moments I'll steal, the stuff I'll do just for Janna.

Birds chatter in play, lifting my spirit in preparation, and a breeze blows the newly-dressed tree outside my window, giving me glimpse at the freedom I'll own.

But I won't scatter just yet, because I like this still and calm, this expectation. Will you join me? Feel it for yourself?

My desk calendar tells me today is Beverage Day. What beverage will you have, just because? What thoughts would you share if you could pull your chair to mine?

Monday, May 4, 2009

These Hands Do So Much

The other day, when I laid with my youngest for a nap, I placed my hand atop her small one. As I thought about the difference in size, and in experiences, I realized how much could be attributed to these hands of mine.

With them, in just thirty years, I have held small treasures and caressed larger ones. They have curled around tools and implements, followed the pattern of a mother's hands and done the duties of a student, employee, volunteer. My hands have folded together in prayer, wiped tears--mine and others'--and held on for dear life. They've clapped in joy and in rhythm, waved as many goodbyes as hellos, and led me down the path toward my writing dream.

They are already a trophy, of sorts.

What have you done with your hands?

Friday, May 1, 2009

[F]oto (er... video, that is) Friday

I'm sorry this is so dark! And please forgive me where I talked in circles; it was unscripted.

Kim Michele Richardson is a dear heart with a special spirit, all of which becomes clear as you read The Unbreakable Child.

To find out more about Kimmi or the book, visit her author's website or her blog.