Archive for September, 2012

Highly Recommended


Kristin Hannah’s book, The Things We Do For Love, is an inspirational look at the issues of love, faith, and teenage pregnancy.

Seventeen year old Lauren Ribido had her future all mapped out. She’d carefully crafted a life to help her reach the lofty goals of a good job, love, marriage and children. In that order. When life steps in with other plans, Lauren has to make decisions that could have repercussions for the rest of her life.

Angie Malone is struggling to find her way back to love, family and peace of heart after a series of life’s difficulty. Returning home to her widowed mother and sisters may save her, or break her.

These two women need each other in ways they’d never imagined. Healing old hurts and finding answers to a future neither wants is what makes this story a good, solid read. I’d highly recommend What We do for Love to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction with a reality bite.


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A Balancing Act

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, or a rocket scientist, or a stay at home mom, we all struggle with finding the right balance in our lives. We want to “find our passion”, but it often seems to elude us. We rob Peter to pay Paul, and then rob Paul to pay Peter back (Peter has a big stick and might come after you).

So, is there really any balance? I believe there is. My circle may look a little lop-sided from time to time, and just like you, I struggle with keeping it all going in a forward motion. To do that, I sometimes have to stand still, while at others, I have to look back. Sound strange? Well, I’ve always believed that you have to be able to have 360 degree vision to really stay on track. My thinking is that this way I’ll at least see some of the blindsides before they get to me so I can duck.

Doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does. Besides, when you stop and look around when you’re stuck, or unsure, of the next move, it gives your brain a chance to rest and consider the options. When you look to the sides, you are able to see if there’s a way around an obstacle, and when you look behind you, you might see something you’ve missed along the way, so you can go back and retrieve it.

Because I’m still working on the final edits for In The Spirit Of Love – yep, thought I’d have them done by last weekend, but here I still am, I keep relating my life to my edits. This whole writing and publishing thing is so new to me, I keep discovering new ways of doing things, and not doing them. When I finished the edits last week, I thought ‘I’m done!” I was sooo relieved. Then after my second congratulatory drink, my husband said, “Are you going to read it through one more time to make sure you haven’t missed anything?” I immediately answered, “NO!”. I was done. I was finished with this manuscript. I wasn’t looking back. I was going to email it to my publisher, Echelon Press, first thing in the morning and be done with it.

Then I started thinking, I’ve been so anxious to get this editing thing over with, and it’s taken me far longer than I imagined, that I was right to move forward, right? But what if I’ve missed something? So I stopped. I realized I’d put so much effort into this “baby”, that I owed it to myself, my publisher and the manuscript, to do all I could to help it stand on it’s own. Heaving a sigh, the next morning I sat down at the computer and began re-reading the story from the beginning – aloud. I’d once read that if you read printed words out loud, you’ll discover errors in syntax, punctuation, or just plain errors.

Well whadya know? I’m finding quite a few more than I’d thought I would. In reading aloud, I’m realizing some of the lines just don’t sound right. Because I’m having to slow down (I read very fast) and really focus on what’s actually written in front of me, I’m discovering errors I hadn’t picked up on before.

So what does this have to do with life and finding balance? It occurs to me that, just like in book editing, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself, is this the best I can do? Am I missing something? Have I taken on too much, or not enough, to really maximize my potential in my job, my role as a person, as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, etc. Am I doing what matters to me, or am I just doing?

Like 98% of writers, I have to work at another job, because my writing hasn’t given me the life of excitement, money and ease I dream of. It doesn’t pay my bills – yet. Things are pretty tough for us financially right now, but I have my eye to the future and I’m not giving up. I’ve taken on a new job that’s very demanding, but exciting in it’s own right. Because I’m new at it, the learning curve is huge. Just like the learning curve I’m experiencing as a writer. I’m up at 6am to start my day, because I can’t sleep past that ungodly hour (to me it’s ungodly). My brain starts stirring and won’t let me rest. I have things to do, I have things to write, I have a life to live. I definitely feel overwhelmed sometimes – and I haven’t even gotten to the real marketing of the book part yet! I still have a husband, family (even grown children and grandchildren deserve my time – and are part of how I want to spend my time), household chores, etc..

So, like you, I struggle. Every day. But I’m doing what matters to me. I’m working hard at getting it right and loving the process of living. I guess I’m constantly editing my life. I lean too much in one direction, then have to re-adjust so I don’t topple over. My circle of balance isn’t perfect, it’s a little wobbly, but I’m working with it.

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Book Reivew – A Kiss At Midnight.

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A Kiss At Midnight

A new twist on an beloved fairy tale







Eloisa James’s take on the tried and true Cinderella story kept me interested, engaged and turning pages. I wasn’t sure what to expect, having read numerous versions of Cinderella, but I really enjoyed her romp through the past and into the lives of Kate and her prince, Gabriel. A Kiss at Midnight is a humorous take on the famous fairy tale is rife with great characters, a lovely plot and results in a truly enjoyable read. Thank you to Eloisa for taking me away from life’s cares for a little while and making me smile. I’ll definitely be reading more of this wonderful author again soon.

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Characters – Making the Connections.

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People connections

Making the Connections

When writing a book, one of the first things we have to do is decide on the characters who will people our books, and the roles they will play. The interactions between them, their idiosyncrasies, dialogue and the amount of time we give them, all factor in.

 I don’t know about other writers, but I start with the two lead protagonists, then add people in around them as I go. Some I can identify right away, others kind of sneak in and take over larger parts than I thought. Then there are the characters I thought I’d use more of, but for one reason or another, end up taking more of a back seat than I’d first thought.

 For each character, I have to see them in my own head – details of what they look like, their personalities, and for major characters, I also need to have an idea of their history (who, what, when, where). I learned early on to keep a separate profile page to refer and add to as I go, otherwise I’ll forget small details. I’ve discovered this is even more important with serial books. You wouldn’t believe what I can forget between Book 1 and Book 2!

Because I’m currently hot and heavy into the final edits of In The Spirit Of Love, I can’t help but address this issue. As per usual, while editing, (or writing), I think about what’s currently happening in my own life, or my life experiences to draw inspiration from. Well, as my husband and I waved goodbye to my English cousins at the airport the other day, I couldn’t help but reflect on how these wonderful people just walked into my life and took up a place in my heart. Two weeks before, I’d only ever met their mother (whom I’ve loved and respected for years), now I knew my cousin, his wife and their two young boys. With only two weeks, I don’t know them well, but I have a much clearer idea of who they are. I can hear their Lancashire accents clearly in my head, and I know a bit about each of them – yes the boys too – to understand who they are and some of their likes, dislikes and small quirks. I found out my cousin reminds me of his father, whom I really liked, he is a lawyer and circuit Judge in his native country, has a quiet manner, a quick wit, and ready smile. He also feels deeply for his family, and took to my father immediately. He’s also co-written a play that was produced and won an award, and is in the process of co-writing a second one. His wife is a lovely woman who works in the auto industry, has a wonderful laugh, is smart and witty, and works hard to keep her family looked after and all the minutiae of life in order.

Having met them, they are now real to me in ways they weren’t before. They now have a role to play in my life they didn’t before. I want to keep up the relationships we’ve started to form, and this means working at it. Emailing, Skyping, and hopefully, visiting my father’s homeland of England sometime in the next year or two. I’ve learned a lot in my years on this earth so far, and one of them is that people enter your life for a reason. It’s up to us to decide what role they will play and what interaction we allow them. Had I not liked my cousin and his family, I guarantee I wouldn’t attempt to keep in contact. I’d happily wave them goodbye and leave it at that. We do that with everyone in our lives, to some degree or other. Relationships take work, they take an investment of the heart, and they require effort of time. We add new people to our lives all the time. Whether family members we’ve never met before, or work colleagues, or the new cashier at the grocery store we frequent.

My point is, as in life, we need to be flexible enough in our writing to allow characters to enter the plot, show us who they are and what role they’ll play in our story. Sometimes the most amazing characters of all come out of left field. This writing gig is an evolving thing; we don’t always have a clear picture of who our characters and sub-characters are, or how they’ll interact with our protagonists (our alter egos). But if we allow enough ebb and flow, it’ll become clear and the story much stronger for their addition.

Then we edit, edit, edit, till we have crafted the best story, dialogue and characters we can. We can do some of this in life as well. We can choose to surround ourselves with people who are positive, and supportive of us, and “edit” the people who aren’t. This doesn’t mean we can eliminate the negative people in our lives completely, but we can definitely choose what role they play in our lives and how we allow ourselves to interact with them. In doing so, we craft a better story for our lives and enrich the experiences we share. By the same token, we can choose what part we play in other’s lives as well.

We can either be positive or negative influences. I prefer to try to be a positive one to those people whose lives touch mine.

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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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