09 January 2015

starting over

Only a few days into the new year, and I have already made a difficult decision with my writing. Late last year, my work focused on a book tentatively titled The Country Wife. This project had originally been drafted early in 2010 and after revisiting it last summer, I became wildly determined to re-write, re-work, and re-do the script with the intent to publish. As the year wore on, however, I realized a terrible thing: I was not invested in it. The overwhelming pull I typically feel to finish a book was nothing but a slight nudge. I loved the story and characters but apparently something was missing. I have no idea what that "something" is, but I do understand this: if I am not thrilled to complete the book, you will not be thrilled to read it. So, after some deep thought over the holidays, I decided to make a clean break. Leave the draft as is and possibly go back to it again. Or not.
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do as a writer is walk away from a project. But when I do, something magical happens. A weight is lifted. Thoughts are clear. Time becomes my own again. I admit to feeling frustration. There is no joy or satisfaction to be found in an unfinished task. However, I am an ardent believer in the power of instinct and follow mine whenever possible. My heart and mind told me to move on. When it is time, it is time. This is right. I can feel it.
Letting go with a clean conscience allows me to embrace another year focused and free for other, long overdue work. Marketing. Online maintenance. And yes, more writing. For while I was releasing one unfinished book, I was plotting a new one. Nothing concrete, but I have begun the process of plot outlines and character development and hope to have something to share soon! And although I have no idea might be in the year to follow, I cannot wait to find out...

09 December 2014

what has been and what might be

Another holiday season is upon us. Days are filled with glad tidings and good cheer, everything appears merry and bright. In many respects, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
I confess. I become overly thoughtful during December. It is the month of my birth which means there is even more cause to celebrate. And of course, Christmas and the New Year take center stage, calling forth cherished memories of my youth and a simpler life on the farm. The brisk air, the elaborate decorations, the scent of cookies and tradition. They pull me back to a place of magic and time of believing. 
The wonder. The anticipation. The sheer and complete joy. What a gift to experience all of these things and more through the eyes of my son. He is the reason I do not work on major writing projects during the holiday. I happily procrastinate, ignore, and pretend there is nothing to be done.
The season is a beautiful reminder to pause. Be present in every moment, big or small. Reflect on what has been and what might be. In doing so, I often discover a hidden purpose. Solve problems. Answer questions. Taking a step back provides an opportunity to gain a different perspective, learn what truly matters, and decide what direction to follow.
As a writer, I am at a defining crossroads. For while I am amazed and proud to have published a new book this past spring, my efforts to edit another have fallen short of my desire and expectations. It has been an odd but wonderful year. After a harrowing November of various levels of medical testing, I was once again granted the all-clear from cancer. I had prepared to do battle, trading my survivor mindset for one of a warrior. Yet, simply the fear alone that my cancer had returned led to a halt in all writing. I could not move forward until I finished taking care of Me. Now that is done (for six months at least), I remain rattled and unsure. My current book project is at a complete and total standstill while new stories clog my mind.
Do I continue with one? Begin another? Stop writing altogether? I have not uncovered the answers. Yet. But that is why I love this time of year. I do not need to know. I simply need to dote on my husband, son, and self. It is the season of family. There are greetings to be sent, gifts to be given, cookies to be baked, trees to be trimmed. Memories to be made.
And when the new year finally arrives, I will stand ready to begin again.
Wishing you the merriest of everything and...

14 November 2014

just for you: limited time, low book prices

The season of all things awesome will soon be upon us. Moments filled with family, food, laughter, and love. Memories made, shared, and cherished.
It is also the perfect time to fall - often and deep - into books.
As my gift to you, I have reduced pricing on my titles. These are the lowest prices possible and just in time for snuggling by the fire and holiday giving.
But be sure to act soon, these deals are for a limited time!
Shop Amazon Kindle or Paperback
the paperback prices are low but read further to see how to get 50% off!*
Shop Barnes and Noble Nook or Paperback
Shop Smashwords multi-format eBook
via eStore only: receive 50% off all paperbacks! 
  • to order: click on a book cover.
  • to order multiple titles: click on each book cover. All orders will then be combined into one shopping cart.
  • to receive discount: in shopping cart, use code 5TBFEMTT to apply discount for all books and follow additional instructions for purchase.
  • NOTE: this site is not Amazon. You will need to create an account and pay shipping. But even still, these prices are a steal!
Still Life paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

The Choice Not Taken paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

Muse paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

Spirit paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

The Oak Tree paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

Revelations paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page
 * * * * * Happy Reading! * * * * *

15 October 2014

life after cancer: 12 lessons learned

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but for a survivor like me, it is every day of the year. If you or someone you love has been touched by a major illness, you understand its hold is far-reaching, influencing anything and everything most take for granted. Of course, in the past two years of remission I have had highs and lows. Some days are simply better than others and sadly, there is no warning as to which days those might be. But throughout it all, my experience has kept me grounded in reality. Humbled in the miracles of survival. Grateful for second chances.
When I entered the fight against this disease, I had a strong idea of how I must think (positive!), act (proactive!), and feel (optimistic!). However, I had no idea just how much I would learn. And change. In many ways, the lessons learned make me feel an odd sense of debt to my cancer. It taught me to live again. Become an informed participant rather than a spectator. It served as a heady reminder to love harder. It helped me believe in miracles. Never underestimate the strength of the human spirit. I placed my faith in the hands of others, and they did not let me down. Cancer did not simply change who I was ... it created a better version of me.
Lesson 1:
The fear of its return never truly leaves.
Lesson 2:
It is not only important but necessary to laugh at ridiculous things.
Lesson 3:
Nothing (no matter how painful or joyful) lasts forever.
Lesson 4:
Second chances are granted for a reason. Find the reason.
Lesson 5:
I continue to take myself too seriously and that is okay.
Lesson 6:
Doing what I love (writing) has become harder than ever.
Lesson 7:
Nothing is more important than my family and close friends. Nothing.
Lesson 8:
I have not miraculously transformed into Pollyanna. Translation: things still royally piss me off.
Lesson 9:
No one is immune to pain, heartache, or loss so be patient and kind.
Lesson 10:
Things are never perfect, but I am always blessed.
Lesson 11:
Even when life seems to stop, it goes on everywhere around us. Pull strength from the normalcy, its continuity.
Lesson 12:
Anything is possible.
I am not special because I survived cancer, but my story is unique and imperative to how I live my life. The experience demands my respect. And while some may wish to erase the devastation cancer can bring, I view it as worthy of remembrance. I never want to forget.
Every woman is at risk
One in eight will get it in their lifetime
Every thirteen minutes a woman dies from breast cancer
It is the leading cancer death ages 15 to 54
96 percent survive with early detection
It is 100 times more common in women than men
Be involved: Stand Up To Cancer
Be the cure: Susan G. Komen

23 September 2014

free eBook: SPIRIT

I adore the books I have written and view each as one of my literary children. From a love of writing, they were born. I tried my best to breathe life into the characters in my head. Make their stories known. Craft something from nothing. They are products of my imagination and experience and as such, each book possesses a unique personality. Has its own needs. During their creation, they asked different things from me, and I did my best to oblige.
But now, when I think about it, I realize one of my books has been woefully neglected.  Much like a guilty mother, I believe SPIRIT fell through the cracks, particularly in terms of marketing. You see, Spirit had the terrible luck to be published mere days before my diagnosis with breast cancer. Needless to say, I became preoccupied during that time and the year after. And with the subsequent publishing of two more books, one of my children went without.
So my current dilemma is how to show Spirit that I really and truly care about its happiness. To prove it is equally as important as the others. [To be honest, it is one of my favorites but do not tell my other books I said that. I will totally deny it.] I need to find a way to share its message with more readers, and the only way I can think to do that is to price it as FREE in digital format. And so here it is ... simply click on a link to download your free eBook and begin reading Spirit in minutes.
{Don't have a NOOK? Download free reading apps for tablet, pc, phone HERE!}
{Available for download in Kindle, EPUB, online, and PDF format!}
--Wish you could download from AMAZON?
For now, it stands at its regular price. The free version may or may not appear on their site since it depends on if/when they price-match to other online sites. As of now, this has not happened.
Once you are finished with Spirit,
check out its follow-up Revelations (caution: link contains SPOILERS)!


25 August 2014

writer at work

My son has returned for another school year, which means back to writing for me. I typically begin from complete scratch, crafting a fresh story that brewed in my mind during the spontaneous, sun-baked days of summer. This time is different, however. I face (and embrace!) an entirely new challenge. You see, my latest work-in-progress (WIP) is not really new at all. In fact, it is a finished draft of a story I wrote years ago!
It is interesting to "re-see" a piece I have previously written. Over time, the plot shifts to new levels. Characters grow, merge, and sadly fall apart. Ideas and images abound in a refreshing way. It is as if I am reading it for the first time yet reuniting with a cherished friend. The tricky part of re-visiting an old project is this: the timing must be exactly right. This story patiently waited in my files for four years. Four years. Whenever I cleaned out files, I ignored it. I kept it, however, because my writerly-mind did not believe it worthy of destruction. It was not great, but it was very good. And although it did not shine (no first draft ever does), it held promise.
And so it came to be that I was once again spring cleaning my files when I came across this story. Unlike every other time, I could not ignore it. The pages called to me, and I answered by transferring them to my active folder. Over these summer months, we re-connected. I have jotted pages of notes-what to add, delete, revise. Anxious would not be a strong enough word to describe how I feel. Excited? Yes. Curious? Definitely. A new approach is just what this writer needs. Change is good. Having a rough draft already written is even better. The people and places I stored away years ago now have a path to follow, a purpose. As do I...
Want to know more about my latest project? Sneak peek is coming soon!
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