Monday, December 31, 2012

A Writer's Tale by Jan... for me... Thank you, Jan...

There came a morning
when

she woke
and knew

she
should be
a writer.

It was a morning no different
than any other.

It was all in the manner
of her seeing:

It was in the brass key 
whose teeth gleamed

fierce as any lion's
before plunging into the slim

neck of the lock.

It was in the web'd lace
of a blue sweater,

the tender  weave of it 
fragile and vast 
as the fresh spring sky.

It was in the scent of mint,
of rosemary.....

of t(y)ime,

the sharp breath 
of them

jogging upon a foot-loose wind,
casual and intimate

as two old friends upon the Road.

It was in music,

notes laid innocently
bare,

chords 
twined like 
snow-lace upon a winter's
window. 

It was in sunlight,
starlight,

double-be-nighted
night.

It was in  love and silence,
solitary letters 

and
the set-jewels of words.

It was in.....

all.

And that all, she knew,

would ever be
enough. 

With love, on this Yule, 2012,

Jan


True friends inspire me to be more, reach deeper, try harder, see clearer, love richer, dare higher, embrace wider, brave the truth, and reveal vulnerabilities. 


Sunday, December 30, 2012

The true story of Christmas...

...and yes, I always hear it in Linus' voice:

Luke 2

King James Version (KJV)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Posts...

Amber Norris shares a bit of tech info on limb salvation:
http://thewriterlimitsauthors.blogspot.com/2012/12/fixing-what-you-lost.html

Barri Bryan had several lovely posts:
http://barribryan.com/blog/

Steph Burkhart has been exploring Christmas traditions over at her blog:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com

Linda Swift shares a heartwarming memory:
http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/2012/12/stuff-your-stocking-blogfest-linda-swift.html

Celia Yeary posted Celtic Woman's rendition of O Holy Night:
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com/2012/12/celtic-woman-o-holy-night.html

A lovely end to this year, offering hope into the new year...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hope...

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Today, I'm taking some time to reflect on the past year, and consider what the new year means to me...

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Soldier's Silent Night...

SEAL of Honor shared the following video on FB ~ A Soldier's Silent Night:

http://youtu.be/eWExFTFAQzA

God bless those who serve.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Editing, so a link...

I'm editing, so life is busy. The Roses of Prose is having a month of free reads, i.e., they're posting short stories on their blog. I started reading one, yesterday, and I want to read the rest. I don't know if they're good or bad, but I'm adventurous. I wanted an easy way to reach the site, so I'm posting the link here. Clever of me. :-D (I loved the one I read, and want to try other books by the author.)
http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com/2012/12/our-holiday-gift-to-you-month-of.html

Barri Bryan shares a Christmas memory:
 http://barribryan.com/blog/?p=68

I have a must read list. I also have a must try recipe list. Pinterest is great for keeping track of these.

Jamie Cooks It Up shares an "Easy Overnight Cinnamon Sticky Buns" recipe:
http://jamiecooksitup.net/2012/12/easy-overnight-cinnamon-sticky-buns/

With editing, I have a pile of links I haven't had a chance to peruse. Next week, I'll play a bit of catch up.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Les Miserable...

In 1986, I was in London. My friends asked if I was interested in seeing a musical or two. How could I not see a theatre event while in London? Cats was popular. I wanted to see it, and they arranged for tickets. They wanted to choose one other. They debated and tossed around various options. There was a new musical everyone was raving about. It hadn't made it across the pond. I knew of the story only because I knew of Victor Hugo. Les Miserable. Why not? They arranged for us to see a matinee. Most of the original cast performed the day I saw it. To this day, it is difficult for me to think of it without tearing. Powerful. Heart wrenching. Inspiring.

I returned to America, and no one knew what I was talking about. Then the Kennedy Center featured Broadway's anticipated new upcoming musical of the year: Les Miserable. Colm Wilkinson sang "Bring Him Home." Just thinking about it, I start to cry. I had heard him sing it live, in London, and he was finally on my television in America.

I saw the following trailer on Yahoo, yesterday. To my wonder and joy, Colm Wilkinson is playing the Bishop of Digne in the movie.

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/les-miserables-2/trailers/les-miserables-jean-valjean-165247192.html

I think Hugh Jackman is a brilliant choice for the role of Jean Valjean.

When I see the movie, I won't be wearing any makeup. What's the point? I'll cry it all off within minutes of it starting. :-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas angel story...


This is one of my favorite stories. No source has been found; I checked Truth or Fiction. Whether or not this specific is true doesn't really matter. I know true stories that are similar in nature. 
 
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.

Their father was gone..

The boys ranged from three months to seven years ; their sister was two.
Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.

Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.
If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job..

The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.

No luck.

The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.

Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop.

It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids.

She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.

She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.

She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep

This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job... And so I started at the Big Wheel..

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money -- fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.

The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home..

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!

There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.

Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered.

I made a deal with the local service station.

In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.

I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids .

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.

Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe.

A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.

The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat..

Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.

Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!

I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.

There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.

And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.

And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.

Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.
 
THE POWER OF PRAYER. I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer:

1. 'Yes!'

2. 'Not yet.'

3. 'I have something better in mind.'

God still sits on the throne, and the devil is a liar.

You may be going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that you cannot imagine.

This prayer is powerful, and prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards

Let's continue to pray for one another. Here is the prayer:

Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power.

Amen

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This week's picks...

This is a new blog to me. I was interested in her post on One Gift. While I was reading, it registered I was also listening to "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserable. I heard it in London, in 1986, with the original cast. It still captivates and memorizes me.
http://theserendipitycafe.blogspot.com/#

Over at Sweethearts of the West, Celia Yeary shared a post on Louis L'Amour. I love Louis L'Amour. He was my introduction to western tales. I devoured everything. Though I gave many of my books away (an organization was looking for something besides romances ;-D ), I still own my Sackett series. Celia writes sweet western romances I enjoy.
http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/2012/12/louis-lamours-short-christmas-story.html

Writer's in the Storm talks about book trailers. (Side note: Kris Tualla teaches a class.) I enjoy book trailers. I think of them as fun little extras.
http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/are-book-trailers-dead/

 A fun short story by B.J. Robinson:
http://woman2womanmagazine.com/readers-coner/internet-romance/

Sue Perkins is featured over at the Desert Breeze Publishing blogspot. She's there all week. This is the first post. I love cooking related stuff. Guess what's being added to my TBR list:
http://desertbreezepublishing.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/author-spotlight-q-with-sue-perkins.html

Sue is also featuring a Christmas story round robin on her site. A group of authors write a single story together, each writing one part and handing it on to the next author. I'm posting the link to Part 1. The rest are posted in order:
http://sueperkinsauthor.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/christmas-story-part-1.html


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tina Pinson shared a link...

"Writing With C.S. Lewis" over at crosswalk.com:
http://www.crosswalk.com/family/homeschool/resources/writing-with-c-s-lewis.html?ps=0

I decided to explore it. I'm in the midst of edits. This is my opportunity to make sure what I mean is what I've actually written.

1. Sentences: I've found quite a few I've re-read now, and they don't make sense. Some I've cut, and some I've re-written.

2. Words: I agonize over my word choices. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain: The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

3. Concrete nouns: I need to work on this one.

4. No adjectives: What a challenge. They're great for outlining the ideas. Sometimes I do this well; sometimes I'm lazy. It's a skill I think will improve with practice.

5. Small words: This one is interesting. I write both Regency and Vintage. In Regency, I endeavor to use older language, which often means larger words. It gives the story a flavor different from my Vintage, where I use modern language. I don't use anything I haven't read elsewhere. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post picks from the last two weeks...

The purpose of my Saturday morning picks: I don't have time to read everything. I wish I could, but I can't. Being dyslexic, I'm an incredibly slow reader but determined. I've learned some tricks to make reading easier for me, but I still take longer than "average," and a whole lot longer than I want. There are so many wonderful things to read. My list is not intended as a must read every single one but a sampling to pick and choose what might interest anyone popping in, if you're interested in the same things I am. I try to choose sites that are "friendly" (not explicit or needing to agree to the warning, many of which are simply not small child friendly).

Tina Pinson visited Patty Froese and shared a bit of Christmas:
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=4098

Kris Tualla welcomes her guest writer David Pilling:
http://kristualla.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/welcome-my-guest-historical-fiction-author-david-pilling/

and David reciprocates:
http://pillingswritingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-discreet-gentleman.html

Book trailer for Jillian Chantal's free read Christmas at St. Charles Ave.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alAHp4sMjdM&feature=youtu.be

Patty Froese's guest poster, Robin Patchen, shared a fudge recipe I want to try. I've also added her book to my wish list.
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=4140

Trailer for Steph Burkhart's book The Faberge Secret:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

Naomi Musch and Elaine Marie Cooper are both interviewed at Grace Awards blog:
http://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/two-authors-with-a-love-of-wilderness-settings-talk-about-christmas/


Debra Parmley talks Mistletoe and First Kisses on her blog:
http://debraparmley.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=106:mistletoe-and-first-kisses&Itemid=1

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Natural stuff...

I have extremely sensitive skin. I've spent years trying to find anything to help my skin.

As a teenager, I suffered severe acne. Though I was put on antibiotics for years, it didn't actually help. I lied to myself it did. The cost was permanently stained teeth. Antibiotics do that.

The scars left behind aren't painful, but people often give me a pained look. Children, who tend to be more open about their curiosity, have asked if it still hurts. No, except in how people view me. I wouldn't know if they didn't tell me.

I've tried a variety of soaps and moisturizers. Some were worse than others. I was trying to reconcile myself to irritated skin.

This week, Yahoo posted a series of beauty tips. One of them caught my attention, and I decided to try it. It's been two days, and so far I love it.

It suggested a hot compress. Rubbing honey on your face. Another hot compress. Scrubbing your face with a combination of honey, baking soda, and oatmeal powder. I'm allergic to oatmeal, so I omitted it. Add a little water so the concoction isn't sticky.

Rinse and pat dry.

Use coconut oil as a moisturizer.

Repeat twice a day.

Do not use soap.

So far, I'm already having less trouble with dryness.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One of my favorite stories...

This is a parable by an unknown author. (I searched.)

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell.  He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."
 

"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."
 

The boy dropped his head for moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
 

"I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?"
 

"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. "Here, Dolly!" he called.
 

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
 

The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
 

Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid.
 

Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up...
 

"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy's side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would."
 

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
 

In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
 

Looking back up at the farmer, he said,  "You see sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands."

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
 

"How much?"   asked the little boy...
 

"No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love."
 

The world is full of people who need someone who understands.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Writing Blocks Idea Dice...

What a cool idea. Author and friend Diane Gaston shared a post about her friend's idea. I like it, so I'm sharing it here.

http://dianegaston.com/blog/2012/11/writing-blocks-idea-dice/

Finally, someone has figured out how to brainstorm alone.

For those who want to know more about Kickstarter:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kickstarter.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Welcome, Patty Froese...



Patty Froese writes inspirational romance novels. I loved her book Perfect on Paper. She has a lovely blog I enjoy visiting pretty much every day. Most of the posts are her own creation, but she also invites guest bloggers. http://pattyfroese.com/ I'm happy to welcome her to my blog.

1. What inspired Legally Wed?

I asked some fans on my Facebook page what sort of story they would like to read from me, and they told me that they wanted a story that started after the "I do." So started thinking... how could I do that? How could I write a romance that started after the actual wedding? That was the beginning of Legally Wed.

2. Did any of the characters in Legally Wed come from your life? 

Yes! Lisa's father, Frank, is a lot like my own dad. Cantankerous and grumpy, but under that shell is a teddy bear. I enjoyed developing their relationship on paper a lot. I based it on my father's reaction after I broke up with my fiance. My dad asked me, after I was single for quite some time, if he should have encouraged that relationship more? Had he stood in the way of my  happiness? In my life, no, the man had simply not been the right guy for me. But for my character, I decided to answer that question differently!

3. What was the most difficult part about writing Legally Wed?

It was a breeze to write. I know that doesn't sound real, but besides the effort it takes to sit down and write a novel, this one just flowed out of me. It was amazing!

4. What was your favorite part to write?

I loved writing Mildred, the hero's mother whose husband has just left her for the secretary. At first, I had intended her to be a rather unsympathetic character, but the more I wrote her, the more she developed and grew. I ended up giving Mildred and her husband equal time in the book with my hero and heroine. She's plump, late fifties, rigid and angry. She's rejected, insulted and publicly humiliated, and she'll be darned if she'll take it lying down. I think you'll like her!

5. What's coming next?

This Christmas, I have a free read coming out called Wait for Me. I'd love for you to pick it up--my gift to you. In February, I have a novel coming out entitled Eye of the Beholder, and in June, I have another novel releasing called In the Morning. So hopefully you'll be seeing a lot of me in the next few months!

 Available through Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc, and wherever ebooks are sold.
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-371/Legally-Wed-Patty-Froese/Detail.bok

It's a delightful, sweet read.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The heroes farewell another of their own...

Posted first on FB.
Jack: I've not seen Luck for a few days, now. I do hope nothing is amiss or befell the poor fellow. He's been in quite the state.
Mark: You don't know?
Jack: Know what?
Mark: He's gone.
Jack: Gone? What do you mean gone? He's so young!
Matthew: Jack! You widgeon, Mark didn't mean gone into the West.
Jack: Oh. Rush my fence, did I?
James: A mite.
Mark: He and Sara are published.
Jack: Oh. What…or should I say, who is next?
Matthew: Laurel is awaiting edits for me.
Jack: No need to be so smug.
James: Don't worry, Jack. He isn't. It's all false bravado. In truth, he's terrified.
Mark: Yes, I'm going through a re-write while she waits.
Jack: Pray tell, why should improving your story be unnerving?
Mark: You think you're safe, and then she uncovers another secret.
Jack: Oh.
James: Are you quite all right, Jack?
Mark: Yes, Jack, you look quite pale?
Matthew: Most intriguing. Care to share with the rest of us, Jack?
Jack: I have so many secrets.
James: Not for long.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This week's post picks...

Paisley Kirkpatrick interviews J. Morgan:
http://voicesftheart.blogspot.com/

Tina Pinson shares a wonderful post on gratitude and trust and an excerpt from her book Shadowed Dreams:
http://gailpallotta.blogspot.com/2012/11/looking-out-window-tina-pinson-talks.html

Joanne Bourne wrote an interesting post on adoption over at Word Wenches.
http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2012/11/adoption.html

Patty Froese talks about writing dedications in a book. Not as easy as you'd think it is.
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=4050

She's also interviewed over at Maria Sadowski's blog for her newest release. (I'm interviewing her next week.)
www.scifiromance.info

And an interview over at Shaunna Gonzales' with an awesome perspective on marriage:
http://www.shaunnagonzales.blogspot.ca/2012/11/giving-thanks-for-perfect-package.html

On Sidney Bristol's blog, Romance from Naught to Nice, Tina Noel interviews her character Jenny Hamilton. This book is definitely on my wish list.
http://sidneybristol.com/2012/11/20/guest-blog-toni-noel-interviews-jenny-hamilton/

Linda McMaken shares a lovely post on thanking those who often go unthanked:
http://makenwords.blogspot.com/2012/11/to-thankless.html

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm visiting Patty Froese...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Patty has invited me to be a guest blogger, today. Please stop in for a visit. I kept it short. I promise.

http://pattyfroese.com/

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Luck In Love and DBP release Day...

New titles available at Desert Breeze Publishing...

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-372/The-Silver-Locket-Sisterhood/Detail.bok



In 1983, Yellowstone National Park beckons to Sara Budge. With no plans for the future, except her determination to escape the abusive habits of her past, housekeeping at Lake Hotel for the summer offers the possibility of a safe haven while she decides what to do with the rest of her life. All she wants or needs is a fresh start, but the past always catches up...

Luck Williams doesn't believe peace will ever be his again, but he can't resist the opportunity handed to him to photograph his favorite place on earth. Even caught up in the pristine beauty he is unable to escape the haunting nightmares of one horrific day. His hard won lesson regarding the fragility and capriciousness of life leaves no room for romance...but God has other plans.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coming tomorrow...

The Silver Locket Sisterhood series book one: Luck in Love


Sara Budge is determined to break the chain of abuse. Luck Williams is desperate to leave nightmares in the past. Neither plans on finding romance when they each choose Yellowstone National Park as their escape plan.


In 1983, Yellowstone National Park beckons to Sara Budge. With no plans for the future, except her determination to escape the abusive habits of her past, housekeeping at Lake Hotel for the summer offers the possibility of a safe haven while she decides what to do with the rest of her life. All she wants or needs is a fresh start, but the past always catches up...

Luck Williams doesn't believe peace will ever be his again, but he can't resist the opportunity handed to him to photograph his favorite place on earth. Even caught up in the pristine beauty he is unable to escape the haunting nightmares of one horrific day. His hard won lesson regarding the fragility and capriciousness of life leaves no room for romance...but God has other plans.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

My post picks this week....

Kris Tualla's post... Kris believes in herself and her characters. We joined Desert Rose at the same time. Her enthusiasm and tenacious pursuit of her passion inspires me. (I also enjoy her books :-) )
http://kristualla.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/oh-the-irony-the-delicious-wonderful-irony/

Jami Gold writes paranormal, and she shared some amazing pictures of her "Epic Road Trip."
http://jamigold.com/2012/11/life-lessons-from-the-epic-road-trip/

Stephanie Burkhart has a new release out and it's steampunk. I'm new to the genre myself, but I'm curious and have added her book A Gentleman and a Rogue (the title alone caught my attention) to my wish list.
http://desertbreezepublishing.blogspot.com

I loved Tina Pinson's do-it-herself attitude. She also has a great recipe for Timeless Tuna Casserole.
http://tinapinson.blogspot.com/2012/11/gentlemen-we-can-rebuild-it.html

Susan Jaymes posted an adorable short video.
http://susanjaymes.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/baby-and-puppy-meet/

Patty Froese shared a cute story of her son and her wonderful church family.
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=3980

The Cuffe Sisters share a bit about wreathes.
www.cuffesisters.com/off-the-cuffe/

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christian or not?

There's been a discussion about what qualifies as Christian romance and what does not.

The characters having faith does not qualify a book as Christian. Having redemption in a book does not qualify it as Christian. Having the characters do nothing more than hold hands and share a peck on the cheek seems to be a must for Christian.

This is why I land in trouble. I'm Christian, so I write Christian, but not Christian. The typical Christian romance usually doesn't resonate with me because I find them unbelievable. I wonder if there's something wrong with me that I can't wrap my mind around such innocence. There isn't.

I'm a survivor. I write from a survivor's perspective. My heroines are all survivors. I don't know how to write women any other way. It's what I know. My heroes, so far, are also survivors though not always in the same way as my heroines.

My heart is in what I write, which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. I'm looking for a reviewer for Luck In Love. The reviewers I know like a steamy read. I don't write steamy. The Christian reviewers I've investigated aren't fond of my type of book. They prefer the traditional formula. In fact, I don't know anyone who writes what I do... except some of the other Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc, authors. I'm grateful I found a home.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Link to article... writer's block...

A very dear friend sent this link to me:

http://www.flavorwire.com/343207/13-famous-writers-on-overcoming-writers-block?all=1

There is something about reading the experiences of other writers. It helps.

It was exactly what I needed. I'm in the middle of my usual re-write of the current manuscript, the one due at the end of the year. The basic story is there, but now I'm working to make the best possible story before sending it into the editor.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

DBP Release Day...

New titles available at Desert Breeze Publishing...

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok

Veteran's Day ~ Thank you for your service.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My post picks...

For my friends who are gluten sensitive, a recipe from Beth Trissel:
http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/gluten-free-butternut-squash-bread-beth-trissel/

A Kris Tualla post (I always enjoy those):
http://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/2012/11/unexpected-women-of-influence.html

Dog story and People Chow over at Between the Pages, featuring Linda Swift:
http://betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/2012/11/some-things-you-cant-explain.html

Great post on the many uses of vinegar:
http://tinapinson.blogspot.com/2012/11/vinegar-is-so-sweet.html
Side note: If you have trouble with infections, bladder and the like, don't drink vinegar or use it in a bath. It impedes your body's pH balance. It was information I needed since I've had trouble with my kidneys all my life.

Stephanie H. McGee gives a sneak peek into her new book, Ironwood:
http://www.stepheniamcgee.com/Current-Projects.html

So much to read and explore...so little time...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Copyrighted image legalities...

I've been going through deleting things on Pinterest and my blogs, trying to clean everything up. My integrity is worth more than any photo.

InD'tale's contributing writer, Jimmy Thomas, shared his expertise on the legalities of sharing images.

It's worth the read.

http://www.indtale.com/misconceptions-rights-using-images

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote and The Hobbit...

Reward yourself for voting. I'm going to Denny's and their new Hobbit menu.

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/10/24/63852-dennys-middle-earths-diner-hoom-dont-be-hasty/

No, I'm not paid to promote them. This simply sounds like a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

For those who missed it on my author FB page...

Luck: Have you seen it?
Jack: Seen what?
James: Do stop preening.
Matthew: I believe his preening is both understandable and acceptable.
Jack: Preening about what?
Matthew: His cover was released.
Jack: But he isn't on it.
Luck: Of course not. The purpose is to reveal key elements in the story.
Jack: Are not the hero and heroine key?
Luck: Yes, but there's a code to covers.
Jack: Codes I understand.
Matthew: I'm not surprised.
Jack: No need to roll your eyes. Tell me more about this code.
Luck: It's changed with all the independent authors, but it used to be you could tell the heat level of a story by what was revealed on the cover.
Jack: Heat level?
James: Please, Jack, you may not be a well-rounded character, yet, but you are a man.
Jack: Oh.
Luck: Yes. Anyway, Laurel Hawkes writes stories with a rating of sweet or warm.
Jack: But does she not touch on sensitive subjects?
Matthew: She does, indeed, but she's quite skilled at saying enough but not too much.
Jack: I do wish she would reveal a great deal more about my story.
Luck: Don't worry, Jack. She will.
Matthew: After she finishes with my story.
Jack: You promise?
Mark: Not another word.
James: She's settling into her writing routines.
Jack: I'm not going to see her for a while, am I?
Mark: Sorry, Jack.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book due...

Book 2 of the Endless Possibilities series, Hidden Possibilities, is due soon. I'm finishing up my rewrite/edits. I'm one of those who edits until a book goes to print. I'm always able to see something that could be better, clearer, more in keeping with the setting, trade three words for one. I spend most of my time editing. I edit as I write (I can't help myself), and then I edit and edit and edit until the book is due, and then it's sent with the knowledge I've made it the best possible book, knowing the editor will find things to change. I'll also find things I didn't see before. A never-ending process. I pray the final product is as good as it can be. Yes, God is part of my process.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My post picks...

Writers in the Storm blog shared some great spooky words...
http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/spooky-frightful-and-eee-yew-word-list/

Patty Froese invites Clare Ravell, who shares a recipe for Welsh Cakes and a bit of her newest book, which I've added to my Wish List:
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=3808

Patty also previews her upcoming release:
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=3853

I try to be careful. Linda McMaken posted a great article on Copyright usage:
http://makenwords.blogspot.com/2012/10/copyright-anyone.html

June Foster hosts David Bond, yep a male romance writer, on her blog:
http://junefoster-2.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wish list...

We all have them, whether you admit to it or not.

Here are a few things on my wish list:

http://www.dailypuppy.com/puppies/karma-the-border-collie-mix_2012-06-29

http://www.fhana.com/

http://pinterest.com/lhawkes/home-sweet-home/

I'm trying to make my Pinterest account more copyright compliant, so I've deleted some pictures and boards. I may eventually delete the whole thing, but not yet...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This weeks post picks...

There are always so many blogs to explore. These are a few of my favorite posts this week:

Happy Birthday, Patty Froese!
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=3813

Writers in the Storm on Immediacy:
http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/immediacy-writing-in-real-time/

I love A.R. Norris' Telomere speculative fiction. She shares the history of one of her favorite recipes. It's very sweet. :-)
http://authorsharonkleve.blogspot.com/2012/10/welcome-passionate-cook-and-author-r.html

Stephanie Burkhart shares pictures of the Shuttle Endeavor traveling through L.A.
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com/2012/10/space-shuttle-endeavour-takes-its-last.html

For the writers, Celia Yeary posted an interesting article:
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com/2012/10/clean-writing-and-i-dont-mean-sweet.html

So many blogs... so little time...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do trailers matter?

You be the judge.

I love Lynette Endicott's trailer for her upcoming release The Return of Joy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrTCrfJRaIg&feature=g-upl

I've added this book to my wish list. It's out on the 21st.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Perspective...

God will never put you through anything you can't handle.

Note to self: If you break, God will fix you, so He isn't worried about it like you are.

God offers me the opportunity to develop the trust. I decide whether or not I accept the opportunity.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sharing interesting posts...


I always enjoys post by Kris Tualla. Of course, I love her books, too.
http://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-mystery-is-when-did-i-start-writing.html

Writers in the Storm shared a great post on physical therapy for writers:
http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/physical-therapy-for-your-writing/

Vijaya Schartz gives a bit of a history and geography lesson:
http://medievalnovels.blogspot.com/2012/10/where-heck-is-luxembourg-by-vijaya.html

Patty Froese always has interesting posts. This one is on writing love scenes. (It's safe.)
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=3665

Stephanie Burkhart went to the avocado festival. Yes, I'm green with envy. :-)
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com/2012/10/hanging-with-avocados-boys.html

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sneak peek at my next cover...

Luck in Love by Laurel Hawkes Posted at Facebook...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151052733632027&set=a.10150354896047027.340762.148151277026&type=1&theater

Here it is at Desert Breeze Publishing...

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-372/The-Silver-Locket-Sisterhood/Detail.bok
 
In 1983, Yellowstone National Park beckons to Sara Budge. With no plans for the future, except her determination to escape the abusive habits of her past, housekeeping at Lake Hotel for the summer offers the possibility of a safe haven while she decides what to do with the rest of her life. All she wants or needs is a fresh start, but the past always catches up...

Luck Williams doesn't believe peace will ever be his again, but he can't resist the opportunity handed to him to photograph his favorite place on earth. Even caught up in the pristine beauty he is unable to escape the haunting nightmares of one horrific day. His hard won lesson regarding the fragility and capriciousness of life leaves no room for romance... but God has other plans.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blogs worth reading this week...

I enjoyed them anyway. :-)

A.R. Norris, the Telomere Trilogy (book 3 is available this month WHOOHOO!), anyway, she had a post about marketing. I could definitely relate. I found the comments helpful.
http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-daunting-abyss-of-marketing-and.html

AR also had an earlier blog on space travel. I thought it was cool.
http://sci-fiadventures.blogspot.com/2012/09/space-travel-gazing-shore-beyond-horizon.html

Danielle Thorne talks about apples. Yummy!
http://thebalancedwriter.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-about-them-apples.html

June Foster shares a bit of her writing journey and a contest. I love June's books. Very sweet, Christian romance.
http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/2012/10/guest-blog-june-foster-author-of-as-we.html

Patty Froese, another of my favorite writers, shared several good posts this week.
http://pattyfroese.com/

Tina Pinson shared an interesting post on the importance of voting. Worth the read.
http://tinapinson.blogspot.com/2012/10/elections-are-coming.html

Linda McMaken talks about Wyoming mud. Caught my attention. I'm also interested in reading her Baer books.
http://desertbreezepublishing.blogspot.com/2012/10/author-spotlight-linda-mcmaken-mud.html

I love book trailers:

Nurtured in Purple by Jude Urbanski:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrSMr9ACaW0

The Return of Joy by Lynette Endicott
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrTCrfJRaIg&feature=g-upl

Baer Necessities by Linda McMaken
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BuDECZsZrg

and Baer Truth by Linda McMaken
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaA8p65oOeo

Do those look fun or what? I really need more time for reading.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Cookie Jar...

Abuse running in families is considered common knowledge. There are always exceptions to the rule. Perhaps to put it more diplomatically: It is not uncommon for abuse to be passed down from one generation to the next. Such an argument is frequently employed in court cases. I remember a PSA (Public Service Announcement) showing a little boy who is aged from small child to adulthood. The sound in the background is his father scream and threatening at his mother. The frames show the boy first horrified, then cringing, then embarrassed, mocking, and then screaming and threatening his own wife. The cycle continues until someone decides to break the chain of abuse. A chain breaker.

A chain breaker understands they need help out of the cookie jar and actively seek it.

Years ago, my sister and I discovered a card at DaySpring. Unfortunately, it was an ecard and, as far as I know, no longer exists, except in our memories. We refer to it often, to this day.

Frame One: A lovely, sunny kitchen, with a cookie jar on the counter.

Frame Two: Two gingerbread girls are in the cookie jar gazing up at the opening they can't reach on their own.

Frame Three: One gingerbread girl pushes the other gingerbread girl out of the jar.

Frame Four: The gingerbread girl who is out of the jar reaches down and pulls out the other gingerbread girl.

Frame Five: The two gingerbread girls toddle off into the sunset with big smiles on their faces.

Since I first saw the card, I've come to realize I haven't escaped the jar, yet. I still slide back. I may not escape in this life, but I keep trying. The old habits still pop up too easily, but I am doing better.

God blesses me with other survivors who aid me in my efforts to escape. I also do my best to help as many as possible, no matter how many times someone falls.

Thank you to all the amazing people who share the struggle, without recriminations. I would not be where I am, peeking over the edge of the jar, without your encouragement, understanding, patience, and love. I thank God every day for you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Something to cheer me...

This is a link to one of the movie trailers to The Hobbit movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGsB9dORBg&feature=fvwp

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey/trailers/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-theatrical-trailer-30640778-30640778.html

Tolkien is an amazing storyteller. When I first started writing again, I aspired to be like Tolkien. If I could write even a fraction as well, I thought it would be quite an accomplishment.

So if you wonder about my style, now you know from whence came my first inspiration.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Helpful computer...or not...

Blogger is "improving" which means making it easier for some and more difficult for others.

My blog roll is weirding out on me.

However, other parts seem to be okay, for now.

I'll settle back into a routine, soon. Promise. :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Editing note to self...

Lord of the Rings soundtrack : Editing music

Always

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Great writing tool blog...

Over at Writers in the Storm, Sharla Rae shares an great post

http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/words-for-your-writing-toolbox-get-rid-of-get/

Posting here, so it's easier for me to find again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kris Tualla post...

I've been meaning to share this for two weeks. Not waiting another day.

Kris Tualla shares her deaf hero over at Romancing the Genres. I finished the book this past weekend and loved it.
http://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-unique-strength-of-damaged-heroes.html

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Revealing a writer's secret...

Patty Froese, writer of Perfect on Paper, blogged about Dangerous Friends.
http://pattyfroese.com/?p=3629

People worry about knowing a writer because they may find themselves in the book. I don't know about all writers but the writers I know composite their characters. A person may inspire, but the writer takes the spark of inspiration and evolves it into their own creation.This is true of everything in a writer's life. Anything is subject to ending up in a story.

For example, in my upcoming release, Luck in Love, the hero is a photographer. He creates a triptych, so I had to create a triptych. I'm not a photographer. My sister is. I envisioned the three pictures and asked my sister if it was possible. Sure! Photochop! Ummm...this is 1973 and 1983. Oh. Okay, this is what you can and can't do. And so I created the triptych around those parameters.

Now, for the secret.

For those who worry about knowing a writer and having your secrets revealed know this: A writer reveals far more about themselves than they will ever reveal about you.

I leave you to mull over that bit of information. ;-D


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

11 years later...

Eleven years ago, yesterday, the world changed...

I promised myself I would change.

I did.

I discovered my emotions and made friends with them.

I discovered the community of Lord of the Rings fans.

I discovered amazing new friends.

I discovered writing.

I discovered how difficult it was to stop lying, especially to myself.

What have I accomplished in 11 years?

God blessed me with guidance and gentle chastisement so I could recognize the lies in my life and stop lying.

God blessed me with amazing friends and a huge support system.

God blessed me with courage to pursue writing.

Peace with myself.

Abundant love.

Dreams realized.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remember 9/11

Never forget.

Almost 3,000 souls were lost, between the World Trade Center, First Responders, Four Commercial Flights, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.

I woke early, as I always did, so I could go out and take care of my horse, before picking up my work. Living on the opposite side of the country, it had already started, and I didn’t know. I groomed and grained my horse, like I did every single morning, for the previous four years. I was usually out there alone. Most of the other boarders came out in the evenings or on weekends. I enjoyed having the place to myself.

This morning, one of the other boarders arrived and asked if I’d heard about the plane flying into the World Trade Center. I thought she was joking, and in very poor taste. I didn’t believe her. It was absurd. Ridiculous. Impossible. Then the owner of the property came out, and told us that the Pentagon had also been hit. I stared first at one and then the other and back again, finally asking, “You mean it’s real?”

I started a prayer of pleading, in my heart, and didn’t stop.

After I finished taking care of my horse, I slid into my car, still trying to wrap my mind around what I’d been told, and not entirely believing. Not yet. I rolled down the window. It was still warm in the mornings, promising more heat later in the day. I turned on the radio. The station played the same thing, over and over. Two planes had flown into the Twin Towers, and one into the Pentagon, and possibly yet another. As I drove to pick up my work, other cars passing me, going both ways, also had their windows rolled down, an unheard of occurrence since A/C was the preference. It was almost as if we were trying to connect to each other through the air. We all had our radios on, listening to the same thing. Total strangers, sharing the road in separate cars, all listening to the same thing, and we all knew it.

As I picked up my work, at two different locations, I kept hoping which airlines were involved would be mentioned. But they weren’t releasing any details of any kind. By the time I was on the last stretch home, I found myself screaming at the radio for the names of the airlines.

One of my friends is a pilot. The last time we’d talked, the month before, he’d told me that his route was in the northeast. How could I be sure he wasn’t involved? If he was safe? I was desperate to know which airlines were involved, and felt guilty for hoping my friend was safe.

When I arrived home I turned on the television. Still, no specifics of any kind were offered. The same thing repeated every five to ten minutes. I didn’t own a cellphone, yet. I called from the landline, expecting to reach his cellphone. He answered. I remained absolutely calm. We were really more acquaintances than friends, but I needed to know he was safe. I felt guilty for being relieved and grateful he was okay. His route had changed, that month. (I did finally learn his company wasn’t one of the ill-fated airlines.) He had been grounded, along with every other airplane, as he was preparing for departure. He didn’t feel like he could complain, since the city he was in was lovely. I’m still glad he was safe. A part of me still feels a little guilty.

Then it was reported that a plane had crashed into a field. While the media debated its significance, I knew. I didn’t need confirmation. I knew the passengers had done something. I knew, without doubt, that the passengers had made a decision and followed through on their choice. I wondered what I would have done in their place, and hoped I’d be as courageous.

Months later, our family learned that a cousin was scheduled to be at a meeting in the WTC that morning. He didn’t make it because he was taking his parents to the airport. So many lives were spared that day because of being late, taking a child to school, or some other small, seemingly inconsequential event.

So many lives were lost. They were on time, doing their jobs, being where they were supposed to be. Then the responders were there, doing their jobs. Many of them had been going off duty, but recognized an emergency and the need for more help. They were being who they are.

Fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, wives, husbands, coworkers, friends.

I changed. In a day.

All my life I had been punished for interrupting the news. I hated the news. I never watched it. On that day, I had the television on, all day. I only turned it off long enough to go to sleep, and then I was up watching it again. Even when I was working, it was on. My parents wouldn’t turn on the television. They didn’t want to hear anymore. I needed to know what was happening. I needed to feel connected to the rest of the world. I felt alone in the house, and a part of the whole world.

I changed.

I wanted to do something. Donate blood. I discovered I was no longer eligible. The day before, on September 10, a new ruling had passed. Because I had lived in England, for three months, I could never donate blood again. Then again, it wasn’t needed anyway.

That first day, I remember thinking that the hospitals would be inundated. But they weren’t. It was eerie. Waiting. Then the realization that either you made it relatively unscathed, or you didn’t. I didn’t know anyone, but I had friends who mourned the loss of many friends, friends who had called NYC home.

I would never be the same.

I hadn’t recognized the shock for what it was, until much later. I hadn’t realized how much the event changed me, yet.

A few months later, I saw Fellowship of the Ring. I discovered that 9/11 had entirely stripped away the protective wall I’d built around my feelings. I felt everything. The flood of emotions was overwhelming, confusing, frightening. I had moved from a world of muted grays to one of vibrant, flashing colors of every tint and hue.

I would never be the same.

I never suspected that my need to connect, on that day, would open a world I never imagined. I did connect. I connected with people through the internet, where I found an amazing and remarkable and vast circle of friends who shared my need to connect and share who we are. And we’ve been sharing the journey ever since. The circle has shifted, a little, expanding to include new friends, while others moved in their own direction, but always the rule has been the importance of discovering the connectedness we share through our experiences, regardless of where we live.

I still cry for those cruelly and needlessly lost. I still marvel at the miracles that occurred, and find myself in awe of all those strangers who helped strangers for the simple reason that they were good people, so it was the right thing to do. The heroics of those who died and those who lived to help others fills me with wonder at the strength and courage of the human spirit to rise above evil. Evil tried to strike a blow, but goodness and love and courage and strength and compassion shine brighter and clearer, burning away the darkness.

I will never forget.