Category Archives: writing

Deep in the Heart of Giving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, iCoverFinalMD-ADaughter's Heartsn’t it? It’s a time to get off the roller coaster of life and enjoy family and friends. It’s a time to give thanks. It’s a time to be grateful for all we have been given. And it’s also a time to give. I love giving to food banks around the area. But this year, I wanted to make you aware of another way I am giving and I hope you will join in too! With each purchase of A Daughter’s Heart, I give ALL proceeds to charities that promote life and help mothers and children in need. A Daughter’s Heart was born from my heart and passion for the sanctity of life and the desire to help mothers and children. I prayed about this book for a long time before writing it, and one day I felt the Lord press on my heart that this book should be a gift to Him. It’s not just my first new book to write for indie publishing but it’s completely for God in every way. I hope that you will find encouragement in the pages of this book and be inspired. I also hope that it will raise awareness and money for the tiniest among us to struggling mothers to children in need. In my e-newsletter, I’ll profile a few charities that I give donations to.  A Daughter’s Heart is available as a Kindle ebook and also in paperback. I hope you will enjoy it and also let others know about it!


Coffee or Tea?

Some days, serious questions demand answers. Now, I’m a gal who loves her coffee. Ever since I went to college, I have my coffee. Every day. Seriously, each morning I start with a gigantic cup. I’m talking one of those cups that looks like half a pot. And that’s just the start. I love to sit in a coffee shop and write on my laptop. I frankly don’t care if my coffee is hot or cold. Often, I’ll sit down with a big cup of coffee and start writing, then I forget about the coffee and the next time I take a sip it’s cold. But that’s okay. I don’t mind at all.

Now, most of my friends are either coffee people or tea folk. I’m not talking the sweet iced tea most southerners drink with their barbecue. Most folks don’t usually fall on both sides of that proverbial fence. They like one or the other. Coffee or tea.

But the other day, I realized I am both. Is that weird?

When did my coffee devotion wane? I think maybe the first time, I started to stray was when I went to London and had high tea. When my kids were little, we started having tea parties in the afternoon, just little snacks and lemonade, even though we called it ‘tea.’ In the afternoons now, I prefer a spot of tea to coffee. Is that sacrilegious? Truly, there is not much better than tea with scones, muffins, and little finger sandwiches.

Then I realized the reason for my two loves. It makes perfect sense. Coffee accompanies my writer self. Together, the two go hand in hand. I need that jolt of caffeine in the morning to greet my manuscript and get to work. However, tea seems to be paired with reading. I love to sip tea and read. When my kids were little and we had tea together, we’d read poetry or a short story. Oh how I miss those days! Anyway, tea and books. Perfection.

So, what do you prefer? Coffee or tea? French roast or Earl Grey?

Dreams do come true!

A few weeks ago, I heard that a golfer won the British open after trying for 20 years. Since I am not really into golf, I have not real details there and i apologize to all you golfers out there, but I definitely celebrated for that golfer. It takes tenacity to go for your dreams. They don’t materialize over night.

A couple of friends of mine have a critique partner who just sold her first book after seven years of writing and submitting. That’s a long time to hang in there! Here’s her story on her blog:

CONGRATS, Anita! And congrats to all of you out there pursuing your dreams as you wait for those dreams to come true.

Dream Big

When I was just starting out writing, I knew other beginning writers who would say, “Just writing a book is an accomplishment.” I agreed but then again…I didn’t agree. My dream wasn’t just to write a book (that was step one of many to get to my dream), but my dream was to be published by a real print publisher, preferably by a New York publishing house. That was my dream. By the way, those who said that statement about just completing a book only did that. They never went on to publish. So be careful how you phrase your dream.

When you are deciding, committing and disciplining yourself about your dream, be specific what that dream is. Yes, it is an accomplishment to complete a book. And if you are pursuing publication, then once you reach ‘The End’ of that very first book, you definitely deserve a celebration! But don’t pat yourself too hard on the back and for too long. The hard work is just beginning. Writing, someone famous once said, is rewriting.

Whenever you are pursuing a BIG goal, there are many smaller goals along the way that must be achieved. It’s all a building block and foundation for the bigger dream. Write those down, think about them, pursue each one passionately. Each step forward will put you that much closer to your goal. I’ve even known very visual folks who drew a map and marked off sections they completed so they could see how they were closing in on their dream.

So are you ready to share your dream? What do you want to do? If you still don’t know? What are you doing to figure that out?

What it takes to go for your Dreams

Do you dream of doing something spectacular, something important, something beyond the normal nine-to-five job? Maybe, like me, you dream of writing a book. Maybe you dream of dancing, or painting, or sailing around the world. Maybe you dream of making an impact by helping the homeless or orphans. Or maybe you dream of learning a foreign language, like French. Or maybe you simply dream of losing weight. Everybody dreams of something, even if it only seems like a pie-in-the-sky kind of dream. Whatever your dream is, I believe you can and should reach for your dreams.
Twenty years ago, I decided to quit teaching and become a writer. Twenty years! I can’t believe this is the anniversary year of that pinnacle decision. It changed my life in so many ways. So after pursuing my dream for 20 years, and publishing many books, I hope I have a little bit of knowledge from the hard knocks I’ve suffered and the mountains I’ve managed to climb to offer you hope and encouragement on your journey, whether that’s writing or climbing Mt. Everest.
One thing I’ve learned: sitting around and dreaming will not put you on the path to making that dream a reality. You have to get up, you have to take tiny steps forward in chasing down that dream.
The first year I taught school, there was a teacher two doors down from my classroom. She’d been teaching thirty years. The same grade. The same classroom. Now, don’t get me wrong. Teaching is a noble profession. I admire teachers. I was one. But teaching was not my dream. For some, that is their dream and I honor that. The fact was: I didn’t know then what my dream was. And maybe you don’t either. But maybe you simply feel like: what if there’s more…what if I’m missing out on something. That’s how I felt when I thought of myself in the same classroom for thirty years. One person’s dream can also be another person’s nightmare. So teaching the same grade for thirty years scared me more than the risk of trying to find what my dream might be. So during my five years of teaching, I tried to figure out what my dream might be.
So if you don’t know what your dream is, fine. Simply commit to finding out what your dream is so you can pursue it. If you do know what your dream is, then decide today that you’re going to go for it. Because that’s the first step in pursuing your dream: making a decision.
Over the next few days, I’m going to tell you the five things it takes to pursue your dream. So today, the number one thing you need to do is: make a decision. No one can decide for you. No one can push you into it. That’s why you see kids rebelling when their parent decides they should be a football player (or cheerleader or sorority member) like the parent was. Sometimes parents push their kids into their own professions, like being a doctor or dentist or even a writer. But that desire has to come from within you. It can’t be external any more than a doctor saying, “you need to stop smoking or eating fried foods.” So the patient might attempt to stop smoking or to eat healthy but until that desire throbs within their own heart it won’t work. You simply have to decide you’re going to pursue your dream.
Twenty years ago, I made a decision to become a writer. I didn’t know anything about writing. I didn’t know anything about the business. I didn’t know anyone IN the business. I simply had a dream. And I made a decision. Are you ready to make that decision?
If you don’t know, it’s okay you can just say you don’t know but you’re going to find out. Resolve to find out. Maybe we’ll discover it together. Or if you know your dream, then decide today before it’s too late to pursue that dream. So what’s your dream?

Contest: I’m going to be giving away a book at the end of the week. To enter, just post a comment on my blog here. You can enter as many times as you would like.

The Tower!

Cue the music! Can you hear the bugles heralding your arrival? Welcome to the Tower of London.

This was our first stop in London on our first full day, because you simply have to visit this castle. So much history here! So much intrigue! It was at first a cloudy day but then the sun came out. We had a wonderful beefeater, who explained what a sought after position he held. Apparently, beefeaters must have served honorably in the armed forces, and this beefeater served in Afghanistan. He had quite a sense of humor and really enjoyed relating the procedure of drawing and quartering. So pleasant.

We visited the chapel where pictures aren’t allowed to be taken, and hats must be removed. In this location, they discovered 1500 bodies buried beneath the floor. Only nine were identified through journals and writings. One was Anne Boleyn, because her head was placed beneath her left arm and she was wearing a green dress. Lovely.

You can see here a picture of The Tower Green where many a maiden (and Lord) lost their heads. Do you think Anne Boleyn regretted marrying Henry? The building at the back was built in her honor but it wasn’t finished until after her death, so it was renamed and given to the caretaker of the Tower.

And here’s a picture of King Henry VIII’s armor. Go ahead and giggle. We did.

My mind was racing the whole time we were here. So many stories to tell about this place. It really feeds the imagination. If you get a chance to go to London, you simply have to go to the Tower. The views are amazing, but the history within these walls is the main draw.

I’m back!

We had a fabulous time in London, where we not only saw so many things in and around London, like the Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tower of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s where we took part in the Eucharist on St. Patrick’s Day, Les Miserables and Billy Elliot, National History Museum, British Museum where we saw the rosetta stone, and British Library where we saw the Magna Carta, but also we traveled to Oxford and Stonehenge and Edinburgh. It was a fabulous trip. My favorite things were: seeing Les Mis again, this time with one of my favorite performers: Simon Bowman, who was fabulous as Jean Valjean, going to Stonehenge where we missed all the crowds, and seeing the British Library and Jane Austen’s writing desk. We came back last Monday and I was sick. I had gotten sick with a cold or virus or some such and it turned into pneumonia. So I’ve spent the last week trying to recover, taking care of my son who also got the crud, and also working on line edits for Forsaken. Today, I get back to work on Forbidden, book #2 of the Plain Fear Series. I’m very excited about this book and getting really excited about the launch of book #1, Forsaken, which comes out in August.

Here’s a picture of hubby and me in London. We could hear Big Ben chiming 6 o’clock.


Do you believe in the power of prayer? I certainly do. Prayers can really carry you through difficult times, especially when you can’t seem to pray for yourself and others are lifting you up. God does answer prayers, not always the way we want, but He listens, He hears, and He is moved. Sometimes we think there are certain things we shouldn’t say to God, but honestly God already knows. He simply wants us to share with him how we’re feeling. It’s okay if you’re angry. He gets angry too. The amazing thing about prayer is that laying our burdens at His feet can really give us a peace that cannot be explained any other way.

A few years ago, my husband and I had been praying about his job. He was very unhappy at work. It was a toxic environment. We’d also been praying for our little dog Muffet, because she was getting very old. She was blind and deaf. We knew her time was short. Frankly, I was worried that I’d have to make a decision about her life, and I really didn’t want to do that. But even more than that, my kids were fairly young and I didn’t know how I would explain that to them. Death is hard enough but telling your five year old you had to put your beloved pet to sleep permanently just seemed like a huge mountain. At the same time, I was praying for my book Elvis Takes a Back Seat because it was at a publisher’s being reviewed for possible publication. Well, two weeks before Christmas, we received an avalanche of answered prayer. My husband was laid off work, and he came home early and found that our sweet dog had died in her sleep, and sitting in the mailbox was a rejection of my book. WHAM! All in one day. Talk about painful. It really was. But every one of those was answered prayer. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t scary when my husband was out of work, but his eventual consulting led to new opportunities that have been such a blessing. I don’t think he ever would have pursued that if he hadn’t been forced to. My sweet Muffet passed away peacefully, and even though we missed her so much it helped knowing I didn’t have to make that awful decision or attempt to explain it to my kids. Also, that rejection helped God lead me to the inspirational market. It was a journey I never would have anticipated.

Prayer, I’ve learned, is also more listening than us blathering on about our problems. Over the past few years, I’ve lost a few people in my life and it has been a painful parting. It’s been amazing to me how God has whispered in my spirit words of comfort and peace, and I have clung to those words and His hand during those times.

It’s also a great privilege to be able to pray for others and lift them up in prayer when they are burdened. So I would encourage you if you haven’t prayed lately, go ahead and give it a go. If you need prayer, don’t hesitate to ask someone to pray for you. You will bless them with that opportunity and you also will be blessed. If you are a prayer warrior, I ask that you lift fellow writer, Diann Hunt up as she is again battling cancer.

Dorothy Love

Way back in 1991, I went to my very first writing class. A woman sat next to me, and we introduced ourselves. She had been a principal and teacher; I had been a teacher. We’d both ‘retired’ and decided to write books. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We took two classes together and not long after that my friend moved far, far away. Back in those days, long before the internet or email or even Facebook, we wrote each other letters and once in a while we’d treat ourselves to a long phone call. We cheered for each other when we’d get our word count written for the day or a manuscript requested from an editor or we’d commiserate if something didn’t go well and we received a rejection. I still remember when Dorothy called to tell me her first book had sold! Back then, she wrote children’s chapter books. When I sold my first book, she was the first person I called. And so it’s been down through the years as we’ve celebrated books and babies and puppies, and cried together over the loss of our fathers and dogs and experienced painful trials. Friends. Twenty years of friendship. It is a sweet and precious gift.

For many years, Dorothy has been an award-winning author of children’s chapter books and young adult novels. But finally last year, she decided to write a historical novel for the adult market and Thomas Nelson bought the trilogy. The first book is coming out soon and the buzz is building. I cannot wait to read it! She’s already garnered some amazing endorsements. So today I’m delighted to introduce you to my dear friend, Dorothy Love, who is launching her new website this week. I hope you will go take a look and also participate in her contest. You will definitely want to check that out!

By the way, the pictures above are of Dorothy’s beautiful cover, Dorothy and me at ACFW this past September (the first time in 20 years that we were actually at the same writer’s conference!), and Dorothy getting a big, slobbery kiss from the Hilo Monster! I just have to say that Dorothy knows how to handle a big dog as she has 2 beautiful Golden Retrievers. When she came to my house this past September, she taught Hilo (and me and the kids) a few tricks on how to train a dog. I’m thinking Hilo should go visit Dorothy for a few more training sessions.