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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17 July 2014

paradise found

You know it was an epic getaway when coming home (even to a house you adore) is depressing. It has been more than a week since our little family experienced a brief escape from the trappings of daily life, and a day has not passed where I long for those moments of...
And who could forget the energy, joy, exploration and of course, love.
As I recall the glorious memories we created (many by accident, which are the absolute best), my heart becomes full all over again. It swells, then overflows with immense gratitude. The simple opportunity to disconnect from reality and reconnect with the people I hold dear is the truest form of paradise. And though I miss the warm sand between my toes and the calming music of salty waves, I pause and gaze around my busy home with a smile. Paradise was never really lost, I realize...it can be found every day of the year.
Hope you have found yours...

26 June 2014

the hardest time for me as a writer

The heat of summer is the hardest time for me as a writer.

I have three single-spaced pages of notes to work into a complete (yes, complete!) draft of a new book. The story stands ready to be edited and polished. I stand ready to immerse myself within it. And yet, a war rages inside my head. Thoughts of sunshine and fun do battle with the book upon my laptop. However, I know better than to begin a major writing project in the midst of summer. My son is home. All the time. And like the good mother that I am, I enrolled him for sports camps, swimming lessons, nature classes, and more. Week upon week, we will be occupied (except for a long beach vacation which cannot come soon enough). We are still relatively new to this city, and I got a little scared when I realized he would be home. All the time. Without the comfort of our old neighborhood, friends, and routine distractions. I did not want him to be bored. I did not want to be lonely. But now, he is nowhere close to bored nor am I lonely. Our summer has already been full and spontaneous and glorious. And now here I sit, jotting ideas about characters, dialogue, and plot. I really, really want to work on this project. Really.

But I can't.

I know there are parent/writers who rise before dawn and stay up until the wee hours of night just to make time to work and write. I used to be one of those parent/writers. In fact, I wrote whenever I fancied. And I am not afraid to admit that I sometimes did it selfishly. But I do not do that anymore. I cannot do that anymore. If I learned one thing from my bout with cancer (aside from the obvious reminder that life is precious), it was that my time here and now matters. More than ever before, my moments count. And it is because of this unbelievable gift that I no longer work on a major writing project when my son is home for the summer. He is young. School-aged but young enough to still cuddle while watching a movie, young enough to crave the attention of his parents, young enough to enjoy my company. I cannot fritter those moments away. They can never be recovered. Besides, there will come a time (soon, too soon) when he becomes even more independent and drifts to other people and things. I want him to do that - I want to see him thrive and grow into the amazing young man I witness beneath the surface of his goofy grin. But I also want to be here, in this moment, to enjoy the gift of him. If I write during the summer months when he is here with me (all the time), I fear I might miss something. Or possibly nothing.  Regardless, I will not miss it. No regrets, I promised once I rose above the cloud of chemotherapy, surgery, and recovery. No regrets.

So as much as I may want to work, I need my moment in the summer sun - with my son - even more...


22 May 2014

there are times when I think I might stop writing

TRUE CONFESSION: There are times when I think I might stop writing. 

This will be my last book, I tell myself. I imagine a life without the creation, editing, publishing, marketing, and headaches which pop up along the way. I disengage from my laptop, dreaming of all the things I could finally do again. Cook elaborate meals which require more time than it does to hit "start". Bake delicious homemade treats rather than run to the bakery. Enjoy long walks. Remodel my home. Tackle the projects I have happily ignored. Perhaps get a real job. Yes, no longer writing books would equal unlimited free time to pursue other activities.
Whenever I complete a book and share it with the world, a strange feeling overcomes me. The first few months are nice. Peaceful, even. I utilize my new found free time to accomplish the big tasks put off in favor of work. Doctor appointments are made and more importantly, kept. Long overdue housework is done. I read books for pure pleasure (oh joy!). I get our little family organized again. I submerge myself in the process of being a wife and mother again. I pamper myself again. I breathe again. 

And then...I become lost. Much like an addict, I fidget and become restless. I need to write a blog post, poem, thank you note, grocery list...something! Anything! Of course, I fight the urge as this is usually during the height of summer when my son is home from school. This is our time, and I allow myself spontaneity to not only enjoy his company but the beauty of the season. 

But when the temperatures cool and another school year begins, I cannot help but wonder. Perhaps this will be the year that everything stops? Maybe there is not another story in me, I worry. Or even worse, maybe I will no longer feel the comforting pull to write. This might be it, I think, and in that moment a small amount of relief washes over me. I could be free of it! Yet just as I begin to rejoice, my heart fills with dread because I cannot imagine what my life would be if I was to stop writing. 

TRUE CONFESSION: I don't ever want to find out.

03 April 2014

my book REVELATIONS is available!

 With a happy heart, I introduce the latest addition to the LaPalm Books family!
REVELATIONS: a continuation of Spirit is now available for sale:
In this follow-up to SPIRIT...

Ten years may have passed, but her innate ability to interact with the spiritual world continues to haunt Ellie Duncan Noble. Determined to overcome the pervasive hold it has over her life, she makes the difficult decision to suppress any and all contact, even if doing so keeps her from someone she loves.

Yet when her daughter begins to exhibit disturbing mystical powers of her own, Ellie is forced to face her private fears and acknowledge the truth about herself and her family. Her path toward personal acceptance quickly turns into one of investigation, however, as she unwittingly delves into the baffling history of her Native American heritage along the way.

With the help of her husband, his dead mother, and an unwelcome visitor from her past, Ellie learns to confront the reality that some things are not only beyond her control but full of hidden, undeniable purpose.
Writing the draft of Revelations came easily. The editing and eventual publishing have been hard. At one time, I even considered hanging it up altogether. Not only with this project but with the whole writing gig. Sometimes there are just too many other things to do. But…when it comes to something we love, we somehow find time. Enjoy.

22 March 2014

sneak a peek at my new book

My latest book, Revelations, is in the final phases of editing. Like every book that has come before, I experience a supreme sense of satisfaction from reaching this stage. Time simultaneously slows down and speeds up as I work to put finishing touches on the draft and prepare it for publishing. I love it. At times, I become giddy with the realization that I have reached another goal. I am *so* close. Just a few steps more, I tell myself. Of course, those steps are giant-size. Big hurdles must be overcome before I can actually share this story. Still, no worries. I am almost there. Even better, I have added an extended excerpt for you to enjoy.