Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Memorable Christmas

I recently chatted with a friend about Christmases past. In particular, we were talking about when and where we experienced our most memorable Christmas.

Mine was in 1981 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. My husband and I had in previous years lived too far from family to visit during Christmas. In the spring of 1981 we moved to within a four-hour drive from relatives, and we expected to spend the holidays with family for the first time in a few years. That didn't happen.

Instead we spent Christmas eve and the following day in North Penn Hospital awaiting the birth of our first child. Our son was born at 5 am on Christmas day. I remember feeling the same sense of excitement and anticipation waiting for the baby to be born because we didn't know if it would be a boy or a girl. That anticipation was reminiscent of the childhood years when I would look forward to Christmas day.

So to date, 1981 is my most memorable Christmas. Of course every Christmas since has been better and better, sharing it with two more children, my darling daughters. This year our family grew again with the addition of a son-in-law. We're richly blessed.

What's your most memorable Christmas?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Sweet Sound

Today was our annual Words For The Journey Christmas brunch. Everyone was snapping photos. I took a short video of a sound that I love. It's the sound of women talking among themselves. Can you hear the friendship? The love?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm a NaNoWriMo Winner!

This is the first year I took the NaNo challenge - to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

There were moments when I wasn't sure I could do it, but I did.

It was a blast. To celebrate, I'm going out to lunch this week with some local NaNo participants.

Now I've just got to finish writing the book . . .

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Tweet Cloud

There's an application that creates a word cloud from words you tweet most often. Below is mine. I think they're nice words.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Seasons of Parenting

Thursday evening's Seasons of Parenting event was a blast. I'm so honored to have been invited to participate in the inaugural event.

I spoke about keeping your relationships spicy. . .


Selah the Scribe of Sensory Bible Experiences, the energy behind Seasons of Parenting, plans on producing a Seasons' event quarterly.

We were hosted by Kunjani Coffee, a wonderful cafe in Parker. You can see from the photos that it's a lovely establishment. BTW, they also have free wifi.

The Seasons series of talks is designed to offer the community informative, encouraging and fun events focused on a theme and to give local authors, speakers, and artists and opportunity to share their expertise and craft.

Writer/speaker Michele Cushatt talked about viewing all types of families through the prism of love and acceptance.

And Selah the Scribe read an original story about the Father's love.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Denver-area event

I'm going to be participating in this new event, speaking and signing my books. It will be held in Parker next month. It's going to be a fun event, and if you're in the area I hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Evolution of my Writing Space

I've been talking about my new office, and lest you think I'm putting on airs let me tell you that I've paid my dues as far as writing spaces go.

When I decided to commit myself to really making a run at publication my darling husband set up a desk in the basement. Old desk, old PC, but it was under one of the few heat vents in our unfinished basement. The desk is piled with junk now, but you can see the calendar pages I taped to the concrete wall to make it more cheerful. When I was working there I kept a jacket and scarf nearby because it got pretty chilly down there in the cool months.
My daughter Liz says the random images on the wall looks like the scene in the movie when the cops finally track down the address of the mass murderer. Once a writer friend asked to see my writing space. When I took her down to the basement her comment was, "Wow. You must really want to write to do it down here." So true.

Then I got a laptop, and I no longer was relegated to the dim, cold basement. I would write in my living room sitting on a chair or this loveseat with a lap desk.

Most of my writing was done on the loveseat with a dog sitting beside me -- and sometimes inching her way on to my lap.

One year during the holidays I mixed things up and sat in a rocking chair to write.

See my laptop on the footstool in front of the chair? It was pleasant to sit next to the Christmas tree and enjoy the holiday fragrance.

On occasion I throw an old piece of particle board and an old suitcase over the bars of my treadmill to create my treadmill desk. Yes, writing in the basement. Again. At times.
When the weather permits, I work outside. This is a photo of an autumn day. I guess I'm stubborn about working outside -- even when it gets cool. I had two throws and a jack to keep me warm.
This year my outdoor office expanded when I got this Adirondack chair for Mother's Day. It is very comfortable.

Drum roll, please . . .

And now I've got a whole room to myself!

It's still a work in progress. I have more decorating to do, and I need to haul some of my books into the bookshelf. And look, it's a room without purple. (I've been on a purple kick for a few years now.) The walls are blue, it's the only blue in the house, but I want to feel like I'm riding a cloud in the sky. To compensate for the lack of royal purple, I selected gold, another shade of royalty. :)

I finally decided on a quote to use over the couch. It says, "You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club." ~Jack London.

I trust God will bless me lots and lots of words while I work in this office. It's wonderful to finally have a place for all my stuff.

And now, back to writing!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You gotta love this . . .

. . . especially if you're a writer or book lover. It's a library parking garage in Kansas City.

And check out this one, it's the Cardiff (UK) Central Library temporary building.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'm excited about the project I'm working on now. No -- it's not a book (although I am writing a book).

As my DH (darling husband) says, "You haven't lost a daughter, you've gained a study." Ahhh, yes. That wise man knows how to ease my mama's heartache from the loss of my sweet girl going off and getting married. I'm getting a fresh, new, only-Megan's study.

This past weekend we bought furniture and scheduled new carpet installation. Yesterday I bought paint, a pretty pale blue. I'm also going to paint the ceiling blue. I want to feel like I'm riding on a cloud while I write.

I decided that instead of putting a picture over the couch I would put a quote or saying on the wall. I had planned on stenciling it, but I saw this product.

It's called Once upon a Wall, and it's vinyl letters you can put on the wall that looks like a stencil.

I've done some research, and have chosen a few writers' quotes to rotate, depending on my mood.

Which do you like best?

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekhov

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
~W. Somerset Maugham

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.
~Stephen King

You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.
~Jack London

Friday, October 16, 2009

I've been busy

Sorry to be so neglectful of my blog. I've been gloriously busy. For the past several months we were planning my daughter's wedding. So much effort went into a day that passed much too quickly. The happy day was October 4th.
Please enjoy the photos and share our joy.

We were thrilled that friends and relatives traveled from NY to spend this time with us. They arrived on Friday morning, and we had al fresco lunch in my backyard.
We rented a 15-passenger van and packed it. My daughter Liz looks so happy to be joining the family onboard, doesn't she?

Here's the rehearsal. Kathleen and Scott were practicing their first kiss.

The rehearsal dinner was so much fun. Here's the happy couple with their grandparents.

I love this photo. Kathleen's bridesmaids were fussing with her gown, but she was intent on getting to her groom.

It had been windy in the afternoon, and my husband Carl and Pastor Jack prayed for the wind to calm. When Kathleen appeared, a gust of wind lifted her vail. She was quick to grab it and continue on to Scott.

As soon as her feet hit the grass, the winds died and were quiet for the ceremony.

It was a wonderful, sweet time. Here's a photo of the bride and her sister and cousin Jen.

AG (Aunt Grace) with Scott.

All the pretty girls.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 ACFW Conference

Wow. I've gone to the ACFW Conference every year since 2004, this was my 6th -- and best one yet! (The photo below is of the dessert at the banquet.)

I can't urge writers and wanna be writers enough to attend conferences. The education, the friendships, the opportunity to meet agents and editors, the fire it lights in your heart to write, write, write are compelling reasons to push yourself to go to a conference. Start a separate account and put a bit of money in it monthly. In a year you should have enough for a conference.

Each year there are more wonderful memories made.

The Donald Maass early bird workshop was worth the price of the entire conference. So much info and so much advice!

I attended a continuing session on screenwriting. It was taught by Rene Gutteridge. She was wonderful about sharing her knowledge and encouragement. Guess what I'm going to try to do now?

The workshops and chats were wonderful, too. It's fun to sit with friends and learn new things about the craft and the industry.

On Saturday I participated in a book signing with over 100 other authors. Thrilling!

On the right is a photo of me with the delightful and talented author Nicole Young.

I was thrilled to join other WordServe writers for a wonderful dinner at McCormick & Schmicks on Friday night. Fun!

I was so happy that my friend Donita K. Paul won the Mentor of the Year award. Here she is with her lovely daughter Evangeline. Donita was very surprised, it was so much fun to see her get this well-deserved honor.

My friend Danica Favorite-McDonald was a finalist in the Genesis Contest (for unpublished authors), she won runner up. I'm so proud of her. Her Husband joined her at the banquet.

Here's my friend Michele Cushatt (she writes beautifully and is a gifted speaker) and the 2009 conference photographer Pauline Fortuna of Fat Tuna Photography.

This is a photo of me with Angie Breidenbach (Mrs. Montana!). And yes, that's her crown I'm wearing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Buying Books & Peaches

I bought some peaches the other day. Not headline-making news, but consider this, I knew that I had peaches at home in my fridge.

The reason for my impulse purchase was because the clerk at the store stopped me to tell me how delicious the peaches were. She said that she really looks forward to eating one when they’re this fresh and ripe. She made those peaches sound like the most delicious fruit on earth. I bought them because she hand sold them to me.

Having someone talk up a product adds perceived value to that product. Keep reading . . .

Friday, August 21, 2009

ACFW Conference Photographer

If you're one of the lucky authors who will be attending the ACFW Conference next month, consider updating your headshot at the conference. Pauline Fortuna of Fat Tuna Photography is offering ACFW authors a screaming deal.

Pauline's my photographer, and I can't say enough nice things about her and her high level of skill in capturing amazing images. She's a consummate pro, a delightful person, and a skilled imaging artist. A professional photographer can help you to put your "best face" forward. And let's face it, if you're over 30, you really need professional digital artwork for the portrait to look its best. For a long time I've preached the importance of presenting yourself in the most professional way with your marketing. Curious? Go here to read my blog posts on marketing. If you scroll down, you'll find tips on preparing for a portrait session and what to wear.

Don't think about it any longer -- schedule an appointment now. You don't want to miss this opportunity.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How do you get to know your characters?

Writers, how do you get to know your characters? Readers, can you tell how well an author knows their characters?

Having a thorough knowledge of your book’s characters is imperative in writing fiction. You have to be true to the character you’ve created for their world to be believable. Keep reading. . .

Friday, August 14, 2009

What authors and writers can learn on Twitter

Every writer knows that social networking is good for your career. I’ve had the pleasure of making new friends and acquaintances online who have been a great encouragement and have given me advice and insight.

There are some agents, editors, and writers who are active on Twitter who occasionally . . . Keep reading...

Friday, August 07, 2009

A delightful surprise

One of our local magazines, Search Parker, came in the mail yesterday. I was delighted and surprised to see a blurb for Out of Her Hands and a photo of the book's cover on the "book" page.

I love living in our community. It's a beautiful, caring place where individuals reach out to one another, and our local merchants truly care about their home area. Thanks, Pam Waid. You made my day.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book Spines

The other day we discussed book covers and how they’re designed to intrigue readers enough to pick up the book and give it a chance.I read several industry blogs, one of them Michael Hyatt’s. If you don’t know, he’s the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. His recent post about the importance of listening to consumers, talks about market research and how to best use the spine of a book cover as a marketing tool.

Continue reading . . .

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Covers

If you’re like most folks, you do judge a book by its cover. A book cover is designed to sell books, the goal is to intrigue you enough with the cover that you pick up the book and investigate what it’s about.

When a book cover entices me to pick it up off the shelf, I usually flip it over and read the back copy, and then open the book and read the first few sentences. For me the book has to have more than just an attractive cover to win me over.

The book covers shown have something in common. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Write Away Field Trip

Today I joined my Words For The Journey writing friends on our 3rd annual Write Away Field Trip to the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

It's a beautiful resort, and they are very welcoming to the dozen or so writers who take up residence on the patio and in the mezzanine to write for the day.

We all -- well, most of us -- spent the time there productively writing our novels, article, and non-fiction books. The sound of our keyboards clacking away was music to a writer's ears.

Above is Lucille, Kay, and Diane. This is the cool table. You can tell by the serious, writerly look on Robbie's face. From left to right: Michele, Heather, yours truly, and Robbie. And here's the social table with Denise and Jan. They were the chatty girls.
This is our 2009 group photo, but unfortunately it didn't occur to us to take the photo until after some of the ladies had gone home. Sorry, girls.