Wednesday, April 29, 2009


They say, "violets are for remembrance." Today, I want to remember. After a month of sad anniversaries, I need to reflect back on God's blessings.

On Saturday, my mother and I took a ride to a farmer's market about an hour away. It's a trek my husband and I often made. We enjoyed traveling through the countryside, observing flowers and trees, and savoring each other's companionship. My heart swelled at the sweet memory. I'm grateful my Mom is nearby and has eased the pain of my husband's passing.

I remember: A husband who brought me flowers for no reason other than I loved them.

A husband whose face lit up when I entered the room.

A husband who loved the Lord with all his heart.

A husband who worked hard to provide for us.

A husband who encouraged me to stretch my wings and write.

I miss him, but I'm so thankful for the precious years we shared.

I will never forget.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Come on in and Set A Spell, Y'hear?

That line comes from the old Beverly Hillbillies theme song. I may not be able to meet all of you in person, but we can share a few moments at our respective blogs.

Ah, friends! There's nothing like getting together with our cyber buddies. The rapid comments, the quick emails, the thrill of an acceptance, and agony of rejection make our hearts race.

So, today I celebrate all of my blogging friends. I thank God for you. Your prayers, humor, encouragement, support, commiseration, and advice bless me on a daily basis. Whether you're here for the first or one hundredth time, you're welcome to, "come on in and set a spell, y'hear?"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #47

As azaleas get ready to take center stage, cherry blossoms are making their final bows. I marvel at how the Lord timed the appearance of each flower, giving us a continual parade of stunning blooms.

In my Internet travels, I came across an article on self-editing at the Edit Cafe. Are you too close to your work? I'm reminded of old movies where an artist would step back from his canvas and frame the picture with his hands. The writer benefits from putting aside a manuscript and then coming back with fresh eyes.

Over at C. J. Darlington's blog, Publicist Deonne Beron gives authors advice on promoting their books.

A friend of mine recently asked what were my favorite writing tools. This post reminded me of her query. Author Kaye Dacus shares some of her essentials with pictures.

Have a happy, spring weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On My Nightstand - A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

The story is set in Boston during World War I. Julie Lessman uses her pen like a paintbrush to show the rocky love life of Faith O'Connor. Both Faith and her sister are consumed with the handsome, but mercurial, Collin McGuire.

The characters grabbed my heart, and I found myself rooting for this family. There wasn't a trace of artifice in the book. Every person acted true to their personality and with an ease that drew me into the story.

Even as a migraine blazed through my brain, I couldn't put this book down. Historical romance lovers will find all the necessary elements present in, "A Passion Most Pure."

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Stitch in Time

There's an old saying, "A stitch in time saves nine." Take care of that one stitch before the whole garment unravels. This week, I lost nine stitches.

Thanks to scheduling posts, blogging stress levels diminished. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball last week. When writing my blog, I didn't have all the information needed for the Friday Round-Up. I reasoned, "I can do it throughout the week." As it often does, life happened. Good things, not so good things, unexpected things all crowded in, and the post went right out of my head. When I tried to pick up the stitch on Friday at 11:00 A.M., the one link I had refused to work.

As a writer, I'm learning the importance of consistency. Blogging three times a week for the last 11 months provided discipline and a sense of satisfaction. So, has my blog been ruined because I missed a post? Of course not, but I do have to get back on track and re-establish my normal patterns.

Have you ever missed a post? How did you handle it?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #46

Oops, would you believe I thought this post was written and all set to go? Sorry guys. It's been a crazy week.

Since I was sick all night (headache, nausea), I got a late start this morning. So, consider this missing post a short hiatus. See y'all Monday. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On My Nightstand - Havah, The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

Wow! I can't count the number of times I've wondered how Adam and Eve felt after they ate of the forbidden tree. Tosca Lee takes on the challenge of what life might have been like in those post-Eden days and the awful turmoil in their hearts.

Her attention to detail shines as she covers every facet of daily life. In a perfect marriage of story and craft, Tosca expresses Havah's bitter regret laced with a thread of hope for the future. The downward progression of the human race is set in juxtaposition to the former life in the Garden.

With the exception of the Bible, I almost never re-read a book. Sections of this book draw me back even as I write this review. If you love romance, drama, and tension, Havah provides them all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Input, Input!

Do you remember the movie, "Short Circuit?" A robot escapes into the real world with his makers hot on his heels. In one scene, he goes into a bookstore (now you knew there had to be a bookstore in this post) and reads every book at lightning speed. He's hungry for knowledge, and retains it all.

Sometimes I feel like that robot. Reading blogs, craft books, websites, going to conferences, writers groups, and bookstores. Input, input! Whew, I'm exhausted. I begin to question. Am I retaining all this material? Is it making a difference in my writing?

In the midst of rejections and critiques, a letter stands out like a diamond among chunks of acceptance. Someone seeks me out and requests that I critique THEM! I look at my earlier work and see the growth. I guess all the input is paying off.

We don't always see our own progress. Maybe we can't absorb details as fast as the movie robot, but we learn line upon line, precept upon precept. It's in there, and one day we realize how far we've come.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #45

My office de-cluttering project is chugging along. I lugged 4 cartons of tax records upstairs for storage and banished a milk crate filled with car care items to my car. With Friday off, I may be finished by the weekend. :)

With all the frenzied activity around here, I've taken much pleasure in my time online. Visiting your blogs relaxes and refreshes me after a tough day. Jeanette Levellie wrote a tender piece called, "You Love Me."

Jennifer Hudson Taylor gives some great tips on writing a compelling synopsis. This is one place where the "show, don't tell rule" doesn't apply. Is it me or does that phrase get on your nerves too?

What are your plans for Resurrection Day? The Sign Language Ministry presents Sandi Patti's awesome song, "They Could Not," in the 9:30 A.M. service. After church, Mom and I will spend the afternoon with friends.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On My Nightstand - Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins

Bestselling Author, Brandilyn Collins, is known for her, "Seatbelt Suspense." In Violet Dawn, she delivers on that promise from page 1.

Paige Williams finds herself in a no-win situation when she encounters death in her hot tub. With no support and running from her past, Paige doesn't like any of her options.

Brandilynn gave me another, "carry-this-book-everywhere story." Just when I thought Paige's circumstances couldn't get any worse, the author sent me rocketing into another desperate scene.

Fasten your seatbelt. You won't be able to put it down.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tales From Self-Editing

My Dad was fond of saying, "There are erasers on pencils because we all make mistakes." Okay. I'm telling on myself today. My first drafts make a fifth grader's composition look like a Pulitzer Prize winner. Strangely enough, when I'm writing those thoughts cloaked in gossamer prose, they are beautiful.

Fast forward to the next day. I re-read my soon-to-be-published tome. Ack! How did "find" become "fine?" On the second read through, my eye picks up the phrase, "paint ships." Now if the piece concerned painting ships, this would be appropriate, but it's about selecting paint colors. Let's take out that "s" and replace it with a "c." Ah, that's better: paint chips. By the 6th print preview, despair grips me. Will I ever be ready to hit the "Publish" button???

Lesson learned: Read through the entire preview before releasing your words into the blogosphere. An editor may be lurking around the next corner.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #43

On my way to work Monday, my heart leaped to see my favorite trees bursting with pink blossoms. Forsythia bushes are ready to pop at any moment. Touches of yellow can be seen on the branches. Any day now, they'll be ablaze. Spring is my favorite season.

If your reading taste leans towards suspense, Susan Sleeman's website, "The Suspense Zone," is the place to visit. She interviews authors such as Mike Dellosso and gives the low-down on books by well-known writers in the genre. Check it out.

Have you ever wondered how to make your descriptions come alive even if you're not a globe-trotting reporter? Jeanette Windle's blog give great advice for those of us, who lack the time or money to go around the world in 80 days.

Jeanette Windle has another post about weaving illusion into reality. I'm thrilled I discovered this blog through my new Facebook friend. Way to go, Jeanette!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reading As Fast As I Can

Wednesday is usually my book review/author interview day. The "to be reviewed list" has dwindled to zero. Maybe I should take one of those speed-reading classes, but that probably wouldn't work too well for me. Nope. I need to savor that unexpected twist, commiserate with the character's dilemma, and cheer when the bad guy is brought to justice. So, I'm stuck reading at my normal pace.

I'm reading, "Making Eye Contact With God," by my friend, Terri Gillespie. Also, on my nightstand is, "Havah," by Tosca Lee, and I'm half way through Brandilyn Collins', "Violet Dawn." For some unknown reason, I'm not getting as much "sit down and read time" as before. I've got a bunch of books waiting in line for my attention. (Can you hear them jumping up and down and saying, "pick me, pick me next?")

What's on your nightstand (or desk, or floor, or bookshelf)? Have you read any outstanding, eye-popping, heart-wrenching, or chilling novels lately?