Blog Archives

A Bittersweet Ending

They say all good things must come to an end, and that is true of most things in life. This blog was home to a variety of women who, at one point or another, came together to share their views on life, love, and a myriad of other topics that struck their fancy.

Every woman who posted articles here–Dianne Venetta, Tracy Solheim, Shelia Seabrook, Andrea Wenger, Janna Donn, Kimberly S. Belle, Patricia Yager Delagrange, Sharla Lovelace, Kim Boykin, and yours truly–left a mark on the blog and in the hearts and minds of readers.

Dianne instructed on the finer points of gardening. Tracy catalogued her journey to publication. Sheila brought Canada’s frozen countryside to life. Andrea dove deep into complex issues. Janna shared her emotions with breathtaking honesty. Kimberly gave insight into the wonders of living abroad. Patty showed what it was like to live with a menagerie of animals. Sharla rolled out the welcome mat to the great state of Texas. And Kim brought her roses to life.

Although we part ways and forge new paths, the bond that was created here cannot be broken. It’s been a true blessing to work beside the ladies of Women Unplugged. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of you. I’ll be cheering from my little corner of the south.

As for me, I’m around in the usual haunts. Facebook, Twitter, my website, and my shiny new personal blog. I’d be honored if some of you who’ve spent time with WU these past few years visit me on any of the venues above. Until then…

And the New Year Means…?

2016 is a big year for my family. My oldest graduates from high school and heads to college. My youngest just got her driver’s license and is off to parts unknown. My husband and I spend our time planning our “empty nester” stage in ways that both excite and frighten me to no end.fireworks

And the writing? Well, I’ve hit a snag. Last year, after finishing The Power of Faith When Tragedy Strikes by Chris and Terry Norton, my head was a mess–my creative head. Toward the end of the project, I couldn’t wait to get back to fiction where I could just make stuff up. I thought I was ready to dive head first back into my abandoned series, but after reading the first two books and a novella, I couldn’t find my mojo.

So I did what I always did whenever I got stuck. I read craft books–the ones that inspired me and guided me through every book I wrote.

Nada.

I reread my favorite authors.

Nope.

I decided to take the holidays off and not think about it for awhile. Enjoy the family, eat lots of food, and worry about it in 2016.

Now 2016 is here, and I’m starting to feel the fire again. I read some fantastic stuff out of my genre and signed up for an online class that begins today. When my laptop recently died, and along with it my floundering work in progress, I could have taken it as a sign to quit or take a little longer time off. Instead, I took it as a sign to email my files to my home computer and get back to finding the joy.

I’ll let you know how how it turns out, but things are looking up. What does the New Year mean to you?

photo credit: Happy New Year !!! via photopin (license)

When You Feel Like A Salmon

Keep swimming.

That’s how I feel these days, like I’m swimming against the current. How do I expand my reach, boost my discoverability factor? There’s a sea of books on the market, a torrent of good stories to choose from. It’s overwhelming. For me as a reader, finding that next great book to enjoy can be a challenge. Do I want romance or mystery? Espionage or intrigue? Do I want an established author or do I want to try someone new?

An indangered Chum Salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, (aka. Dog Salmon) attempts to jump a small dam on the Deschutes River in Tumwater Washington. The concrete in the foreground is the opening to a fish ladder.

As an author, it’s proves a different challenge. How do I reach readers looking for stories like mine? Book fairs, expos, online, social media–potential readers are everywhere, but I can’t be. How do we connect? Word of mouth, freebie giveaways or glittery ad banners?

Maybe I should join Kimberly in her yoga endeavor. Might calm my energy, streamline my thought process. Would probably improve my sleep, too! But seriously, as I find myself counseling my high school daughter on her education going forward, I find myself drawing on the tried and true words of wisdom. “Love what you do.” You’ll be doing a lot of it. “Don’t give up.” The time will pass anyway.

“Stay true to your dreams, and your dreams will stay true to you.” Persistence pays. Perseverance makes you stronger. **breathe** Life is a journey to be enjoyed, right?

The Keeper Shelf

rarmRomance reviewer and blogger Bobbi Dumas asked me to participate in her third annual Read a Romance Month which runs throughout the month of August.  This year’s theme is “The Joy of Romance”.  Ninety-three romance authors will share their thoughts on what brings them joy. Did I mention that there will also be lots of prizes?  You should definitely stop by the site daily.

In preparing my blog, I was going through my extensive “keeper shelf”.  You’d think that with the advent of ereaders, I wouldn’t need an actual keeper shelf.  You’d be wrong.  Part of my “joy of romance” is knowing some of my favorite books are within arms reach.  I was, however, a little surprised at the, ahem, age of some of these books.

summer rainfallOne of the books that started it all for me was this one, published by Harlequin in 1976.  It takes place in the Australian Outback and for years I dreamed of traveling to that remote part of the world and meeting my happily ever after guy.  A wealthy rancher who also happens to be a veterinarian.  Be still my teenage heart.  The pages are yellow, but that hasn’t stopped me reading it this century.  Hard to believe the book is going to be forty years old and it still resonates.

posessionsAlso among my stash is this gripping read by husband and wife novelists Judith Michael.  There’s a story behind this book.  It was my senior year in college and I lived in an on-campus apartment with three other women.  I don’t recall who bought the book (if it wasn’t me, possession is nine-tenth of the law, ladies!) but you can see who ended up with it.  I don’t remember when I read it last, but I do remember the first time.  In fact, three of us were reading it at the same time.  We’d hand it off to one another between classes, comparing notes and trying not to spoil it for the next person.  I went on to read several of the couples’ other books later on, but none of them stuck around on my keeper shelf.  I’m fairly certain that this one holds a place of honor for sentimental reasons.  I think it might be time for a reunion and re-read of the book!

Tell me about your keeper shelf?  Do any of the books have special significance?

On letting go

1155x510-amsterdam-6About a month ago, I did something I swore I would never do. With only 15,000 words to go until The End, I walked away from a manuscript. Just…closed the file and let it go. I guess you could say I gave up on it.

It’s not that that story wasn’t good, because it was. But with two published books under my belt, I now know a book is not just about the words on the page. It’s about a solid hook and unique characters and market trends and a pretty cover and all those millions of things big and small that all add up into a publisher’s ability to sell that sucker. And as much as I loved this story when I set out to write it, somewhere in the process it lost a little of its sparkle. Somewhere along the way, I’d lost the thrill in writing it. Even so, I was determined. Finish or bust, because the alternative seemed so much worse. All those words and time wasted.

And yet?

And yet.

Around the same time, a new idea began brewing in my head. The characters were real, and boy were they vocal. They began talking in my head, and they wouldn’t shut up. The stories they tell me are heartbreaking and shocking and so much better than the story I was struggling to finish. Any writer will attest: when characters like that come along–when a story grabs you by the guts and refuses to let you go–you better believe you sit down and write it. I opened up my laptop, and the words started flowing. This new story is killing me a little to write, but then again, those are the best stories.

Maybe I’ll pick up that old story again, and maybe I won’t. But first I’m going to finish this one, because it’s awesome.

ps. What does that picture of Amsterdam have to do with my new story? Absolutely nothing. But it was pretty, and I thought you might like it. 😉

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