Need Coffee…

Hey, friends! If you visit here often, you may have noticed a few changes in the look of my site. Simpler layout, easier navigation, and more fun– those are my goals. I’m looking for some feedback from you all on ways to improve and offer you a better experience when you drop in.

I’ve also revamped my email subscribers’ list, so I’m offering you all a chance to win a prize just for subscribing. When my subscriber list reaches 150 fans, I will give one lucky friend (drawn at random from the list, US residents only) a $25 Starbucks gift card. The winner agrees to share with me their snail-mail address, so that I may send the card directly to them.

Click here to jump to the Subscribe Page!

Click here to jump to the Subscribe Page!

 

In return for signing up, I promise never to overload your inbox with boring emails or endless marketing. I will, however, keep you posted when I have a new book release, or have another fun give-away! (SPOILER ALERT: I already have a fun Star Wars T-Shirt picked out for this December’s give-away!)

So… let me know if you find any buttons, tabs, links, or widgets that aren’t working. And don’t forget to subscribe to my email list by clicking the menu tab above!

You all are the BEST!

 

I Am a (Control Freak) Writer

I admit it. I like to be in control. My house, my family, my job… this list goes on. I like to pilot and navigate. That doesn’t always pan out for me in real life. Mostly because in real life, stuff happens. Family and friends get sick. Vacation plans get thwarted. The recipe doesn’t work. The gift isn’t as great a hit as we expect. Transmissions go out. That’s real life. I mope.

Even reading books or watching movies and television, I talk back to the page or screen or characters. “No! He can’t die! He still has to tell her how much he loves her!” And then he’s dead. And I mope.

Perhaps that is what I love most about being a writer. I get to be the creator and designer of a world where things go as I plan. That is not to say that life is perfect where I write, either. My characters often get their plans thwarted. (I really like that word.) There are storms, crashes, fires, disease.  People still die. But the difference is that I know it’s going to happen. I’ve planned for it.

I will confess that occasionally, one of my characters might say something that is completely unexpected, sending the whole story into a hard right turn. Sometimes I’m left with a terrible decision whether to cut or keep. I may agonize for days. I may even mope about my choice. I may have to make a sacrifice to work it all out. But even then I am in control. It’s my world—my creation.

Writing is not only a way for me to feel in control, though it’s a big part of it. It’s also a way for me to remind myself that even though bad stuff happens—a lot—all the time—that is the very meat of what makes a story wonderful.

Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a castle and had everything she ever wanted. Everything was beautiful and she lived happily ever after. The end.

It’s what we say we want, but of course that’s not what we want at all. Without dragons knights aren’t necessary. There are no warriors without battles. Without conflict there comes no strength.

Yes, I am a control freak. And yes, I am a writer. And being the latter helps me to deal with being the former. So in the midst of my moping, I write on.

Writers of the Storm

We write because we must. No matter how we may procrastinate, we somehow manage to write. We don’t find time to do it. We don’t make time to do it. We often have no time at all, yet somehow manage to scribble a phrase or an idea onto a scrap of paper, or type a quick sentence on our laptop, hoping it will somehow blossom into a novel on its own.

And sometimes it does. I believe at least half of the creative process of writing has nothing to do with a keyboard or pencil and paper. Half of the job – maybe more – is about allowing a dream, a nightmare, a whim or daydream to grow and mature. It’s about giving your mind permission to explore what would happen if…

Some of the best stories I’ve ever read have been generated from the deepest fears of their authors. Brave story-tellers who allow their worst nightmares to come true in their imagination often capture readers who share the same apprehensions, but never acknowledge them.

Some authors write through their real-life experiences, and others give life to their struggles through fiction. An illness becomes a dragon, and the hero must struggle through a series of trials on his quest to slay the beast. An addiction takes the form of a seductress, ever calling out for her lover’s attention. A woman scorned finds herself making a new life in a galaxy far away. The tales may be fiction, but the story is true, nonetheless. There is healing in the telling. There is relief in revelation. There really is power in the pen.2015-03-31 17.48.16

Allowing a reader to glimpse into the shadows can evoke emotion and create a connection that is not easily broken. Authors can not only heal themselves through expression, but their readers as well. How many times have you been touched by a book? Even just one scene or phrase.

Perhaps that was what once began as a few scribbled words on the back of an envelope. Maybe it tugged at its writer’s subconscience until it took on life and unfolded into a voice, a character, a war or a world. That little idea reached out from a page and touched you. As a writer you can do the same for someone else. What are your fears? What demons have you conquered? What storms have your battled? There is a story in your struggle, if you’re courageous enough to write it.

A Woman Like Lydia

The Biblical account of Lydia’s story (Acts 16) is very lean on details, but what is there has always raised several questions in my mind, not only about her, but about Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke, as well. As I studied deeper, I was moved to research the Philippian culture, the types of dyes a trader of purple might sell, as well as what a fortune-telling slave-girl might be like.

     What I found in my research was that Lydia’s situation was very similar to what many women today face. She was independent, a business woman, and a leader in her community. She had to “keep the faith” while facing a culture that seemed to oppose her beliefs at every turn.
 Lydia Cover
     I felt my heart nudged to write about this amazing woman, in hopes of encouraging all the amazing women I know around me, who face opposition on a daily basis and still manage to stay strong and inspire others.
     Click below for a link to both the paperback and e-book.
God bless!

I Meant to Do That

One of my favorite things in the world is when you get to the end of a chapter, a TV episode, or a movie installment of a serial and your mind screams, “This can’t be the end!”

Watching he screen turn black as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia barely escape the grips of Darth Vader and regroup, knowing Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and on his way to Jabba, my heart breaks. I ache. It will be three years before the Jedi returns to save the rebels. I vow that I will be first in line on that day.

…Or it will be next fall before I see if Ducky survives his heart attack. Or it will be next week before I know if Monroe is executed.

That’s what I love about books. There is always “one more chapter” as I tell myself at 2:30 in the morning. After all, how can I sleep soundly when the heroine of the story is about to walk into the coliseum to face the lions? No matter how much faith you may have in the author, you have to see the poor girl through.

“Just because they’re fictional characters doesn’t mean they’re not real,” I told a reader friend the other day. We laughed. But we understand each other. Readers are invested.

My friend asked me about my writing, too. “So when you’re writing, do you plan out the chapter breaks, or do you go back and divide the story into chapters later?”

I told him that I love to write episodically. I work very hard to leave every chapter at the apex of the roller-coaster. That’s the tingly sensation I crave, and I’m not alone.

Yes, I meant to write it like that. I want you to get to the end of the scene and whisper, “Just one more chapter,” a dozen times a night.

 “This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.” -Oscar Wilde