Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I decided just now, as I stretched out on my bed, soaking up an unusual quiet of evening, that I'll be taking a short break. I'm due again, though it's not been long since my last hiatus, and my soul needs it.

I'll return next Monday for something called Spreading the Awesome.

Until then, take care.


H Have you had moments in life when

A all the things you do, all you are

R responsible for, seems to grow beyond your

R realm of control?

I It's as if what you touch becomes

E entirely overwhelmed. Exaggerated. Too much.

D Dangitthat'showIfeel.

Monday, April 26, 2010

For a While

I'm going to be someone different.

I'm going to...

find strength and grit, use them to my advantage

mind every moment, big and small

be one who does it now, instead of taking care of it later

care less what people think; embrace what I think

let go the guilt, any guilt, give it up

allow the Spirit in, more

love with little restraint

live in my creativity, own it

take care of this body

understand that patience is not free

accept my sensitivies, for they bring humility

I'm going to be me. But better.

Who do you want to be?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two People

The image is seared into my mind, where I will hold it forever.

He was weak. But his footing became more sure when his wife took his hand, twisting her fingers with his.

This, after 38 years of marriage. After kids, houses, jobs and retirement, grandkids. After twenty years with his multiple sclerosis; her surprise double-bypass.

After a recent, incurable cancer diagnosis for him.
As I dropped them off for his treatment, when they entered the building before me, they locked hands.
In one second, I saw what marriage is.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you so much.
And Happy Birthday, too, Mom. You're an inspiration.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Genre: Defining My Women's Fiction

I write truth and I write fiction. I like weaving them together, in my women's fiction.

Women's fiction is that which is written with female readers in mind. It's about the protagonist's journey through a story, about her growth, her progress.

I have a theme. I think most writers do.

I've found each of my main characters is on the path of self-discovery. Whether it's someone leaving her job and relocating to start anew, someone realizing it's never too late to change, or finally getting to the root cause of her messy life, it's a common direction. Self-discovery, in simplest of terms.

My current work-in-progress (WIP) is in rewrites. My main character is a woman who's lived her whole life one way and now, as life is fragile, assesses what different would mean. She's on a journey.

Aren't all women on a journey? I think it never ends. We have so much to feel and learn. There's so much to relate.

That's what women's fiction is to me, and it's what I most love to write. It's what I hope my eventual readers will most love to read.

Friday, April 16, 2010


There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.
Erma Bombeck
My second post, A Mother's Panic (kerSMACK!), is up at An Army of Ermas today. I hope you enjoy it!
Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Marriage Project by Kathi Lipp

10.5 years in, my husband and I are still figuring marriage out.

A full decade.

So, when given the chance to obtain a copy of The Marriage Project, I thought 21 days to more love and laughter might be something I could get along with.

And you know what? Despite the very second my daughter opened it to the title page of a sex chapter, what with that random precision kids have, I did.

This book is cute. Its cover is trendy and appealing; its size comfy and easy to handle. The cartoon hubby? Bow chicka wow wow. For, you know, a drawn man.

But that's just icing, so let's talk about what's inside the covers.

What's presented in a smooth format is like The Love Dare (which challenges a spouse through solitary exercises), but for couples. Together you agree to complete three weeks' worth of daily projects, like offering one another breaks from responsibility and leaving thoughtful presents, to romantic dates out and, ahem, bow chicka wow wow.

Some of author Kathi Lipp's intents for you and your husband or wife are:
  • seeing your spouse through new eyes

  • finding new levels of warmth and tenderness in your relationship

  • implementing ideas to bring fun and flirting back to your marriage

  • learning to let God use you in your union as He intended
The book and each of its project sections is a quick read, presented in a friendly, casual voice. Kathi Lipp, both a writer and public speaker, offers real insight, comments from past participants, and personal anecdotes that make the tasks-at-hand easier to wrap around.

This book would be perfect for a husband and wife looking for redirection, or a little lift in their marriage, and it's ideal for church or women's groups. My suggestion? Gift The Marriage Project to newlyweds.

(This title alone shouldn't, however, be used as council for those with serious marital issues. In those heavy-weighted circumstances, licensed professionals and/or clergy should be consulted.)

As for my husband and me? On to the next decade. (And the book's going with us.)

*Please note: My review of The Marriage Project is in exchange for the copy I received from Harvest House Publishers.
**Best wishes to Kathi Lipp with this and all her endeavors! Visit her website,
***PS. It was the daughter who can't read yet, but I still froze in terror...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fiction: It Just Isn't Real?

Someone I know, upon hearing I write fiction, said, "Oh, I don't read fiction. Only non-fiction. I won't read anything that's not real."

It stung a little.

And I shrunk back, shortcoming on the floor at my feet.

But I've thought about her comment a lot, and, for me, turns out her assessment doesn't hold much worth.

For me, fiction is the truth, embellished.

Don't writers of fiction (save maybe sci-fi or fantasy) start with a nugget, a shining, promising hunk of truth? A personal experience? A moment of life? Don't they build upon that using their own histories? Using factual knowledge, true emotion? Fiction comes from scenario, shaped by life circumstances and potential.

That's real in my book. pun intended

Take my post from Monday. I made you wonder, is it truth or fiction? The answer? I took a grain of truth and polished it into something representative of circumstance.

Did I sit in a similar place recently? Yes. Did I worry over the news? Yes.* And, as many of you commented, you've been there, too. What had been real to you in the past became real again as you read my words. Relatability is huge in fiction.

No, I didn't think about the chemistry of the chair beneath me, or pretend to float off on air. But couldn't that have been true?

Fiction isn't real?

To my mind, there's really no question.

*I myself am healthy and fine. :)

**The shortlist of finalists in the 2010 Author Blog Awards is up at Completely Novel. Though I'm not on it, you have my sincere thanks for your support and nominations.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Truth or Fiction

She waits.

It is a waiting room, after all.

There's a book in her purse; she doesn't take it out, open it, read. There are people down the corridor, but she doesn't mind them. Not like she normally would, curious by nature as she is.

She studies the linoleum floor, wondering how many steps cover the space between where she is and where she'll be. Somewhere back behind that closed door, to where a nurse must invite you.

News waits.

The hard plastic chair grows, well, harder, though its chemistry hasn't changed since she sat down. It's just... maybe somehow, because all her nerves are alerted, she feels it like she didn't before, leaden and solid. Like that heft of unease in her stomach, leaden and solid.

She hears the rattling of the knob, sees it turn. She imagines a significant woosh of air, one she might saddle, mount and escape on, as the door swings open.

She hears her name called. Pries herself from the weighted chair. Wants to smile at the warm nurse, who offers a grasping and guiding arm, but she can't get the right muscles to cooperate. Not in this moment.

Instead, she draws a deep breath. Again.

Reality waits.

Friday, April 2, 2010


My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6th, 1973.
These first sentences from Alice Sebold's bestselling novel, The Lovely Bones, knocked me to the floor. Dynamite, don't you think? Immediately we know who we're reading about, in what perspective, and why. And the why, wow. That past tense is chilling.
All of that is Sebold's hook. A hook is a device especially in music or writing that catches the attention.* In this case, just two sentences had it.
Sebold's hook didn't allow me room for pause. I was off, into the novel at breakneck pace, into Susie's narrative. And I'm not done reading it yet, but still, I feel that hook. Hers is one I'll refer to as I work with my own.
Think about the hooks that have most grabbed you. What made them work? Were they tight and concise, like Sebold's? Did they build over paragraphs or pages?
Have you written an effective one?
Share with us.
*as defined by Merriam-Webster Online