So I’m heading to Anaheim next week for the annual RWA convention. Romance Writers of America to the unaware. Really, really looking forward to this, and mostly because it will be the first time in a year that I’ve had a chance to take a break. Being the sole caregiver for my 92 year old mother, who suffers from dementia and no short term memory is both a blessing and a burden, but not one I resent. HOWEVER… really really really excited about the trip.
I’m told the hotel is very close to Disney. I should go say hello to Mickey I guess, but I’m not making promises. I don’t do rides. I have motion sickness, and walking isn’t as easy as it once was. So I might just wave at old Mickey from a taxi. I’m pretty sure he won’t miss me a bit.
The annual meeting is so much more than the workshops and parties. After 20 years in the biz, I have a lot of really good friends, and the annual conference is the only time we get a chance to see each other. As a writer, being around other people who ‘get’ my world is refreshing. It’s like refilling the well of my creativity. I always come home full of inspiration and ideas… and hope that somewhere down the line things will get better.
My mom is already anxious though. Once she heard someone mention trip, she gave me the bug-eyed look and started worrying… when am I going? when am I coming back? I know I am the anchor to her insular little world. I know I help keep her crazy thoughts at bay and steer her somewhere left of rational. But I have the most amazing daughter who steps right into my shoes without a hitch. Were it not for her and her sweet family, I couldn’t do this. She just packs up her entire family and moves across town into my house for the entire time I’m gone. She’s my angel in training for sure.
So ya’ll be good while I’m gone. See what you can do about generating a few good downpours here in Oklahoma. We’re in dire need, for sure. I’ll see you when I see you and I’ll be bringing good surprises.
Once upon a time there was a woman who walked through the world with her eyes only half open because she was afraid of what she might see. She was afraid to be the first to say she liked something, for fear she would be laughed at. She never tasted new food for fear she wouldn’t like it. She was afraid to love for fear she might get hurt. She took the first job she was offered at the first place that would hire her for fear she would never get another offer. And because she was so afraid of the world in which she lived, when her life was coming to an end, she realized – alas, too late – that she’d missed what it meant to be alive.
I have made countless mistakes in my life, but every time I got hurt, either by fate or someone else’s actions, there was a lesson for me to be learned.
Just when you think you know what’s going on and that you’ve got a handle on your life, it smacks you down just to prove you’re not the one in charge.
A very wise man once told me that every time he tried to take control of his own life that it was when he began to make mistakes. Often big ones that caused problems for years down the road. He said that it was only when he finally let go and let God that everything in his life became clear.
I have been afraid many times in my life – sometimes for myself – more often for others whom I love. But I have never been afraid to step out beyond the safety zone because it was there that I also found my greatest joys.
I’ve never devoted an entire post to one book before, but this book is different. It demands attention beyond entertainment, although by the reviews I’ve been getting, it will become a book hard to forget. If I had one wish for this book, it would be that it takes wing and spreads across the country like wildfire. It’s a story no one ever wants to acknowledge. A story known about in families but hidden because of shame. A story told and retold so often on the news that we hear but no longer listen.
It’s a story about child abuse, yet the ugly, graphic parts of that story are never shown. It’s a story about a little girl named Ellie, who is seen but never heard while the world goes on around her. And when no one comes to save her, you will weep, but you will cheer as she finally saves herself.
But it’s HOW she makes that happen, that lifts this story to another level. Just when you think you understand who she’s all about, there’s a twist in her tale that you’ll never see coming.
Read this book. Tell your friends. Take this act of outrage against children out of the closet. Take away their shame forever by being a champion for those who can not speak for themselves.
Ellie Wayne is not real, but the thousands upon thousands of children who endure abuse are.
I am but one person, but through this book, my voice is LOUD. Read this book and hear me roar.
It’s almost the first of May, which was a great big deal when I was a little girl. It was called May Day and we made little baskets out of cardboard oatmeal boxes, made handles out of colored, braided pipe cleaners, covered them with crepe paper or construction paper, and filled them with either wild flowers or whatever was blooming in the flower garden and gave them to people as special gifts. Besides grandmothers and mothers, some of the elderly widows in my church were often the recipients of the baskets my sister, Diane, and I made. We’d fix the little baskets, fill them with bunches of climbing roses, or flowers cut from the bar ditches on the way to town. We’d hang the basket on the doorknob of the lady’s house, ring the bell, and then run back to the car and drive away just as they were coming out to discover their ‘special gift’. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. It was fun for kids and a lesson in giving back that we didn’t forget. Seeing the smiles of delight and the happy lift of a hand as we’re driving off was “the best!”. Diane and I would giggle all the way to the next house. Looking back, I realize that it was our mother who needed the pat on the back. She was showing us the way, even at that young age, how special it was to do something for others. At school, we had a tall flag pole that they used for a May Pole. Dozens and dozens of long long strips of colored crepe paper were hung at the top of the pole and two circles of kids stood at the bottom of the pole, each with a streamer of the paper in their hand. When the music started, the inner circle of kids went one way and the outer circle the other, and as we passed each other, we went over and under, over and under each other still holding the paper and proceeded to ‘weave’ the paper around the pole. When we were finished, we thought it the most beautiful thing ever! It stood on the playground, a testament to the day of fun (and being out of class) until wind and rain began to undo it’s beauty, and then it came down. Such simple things in a world from times past. Change is inevitable…but in the metamorphosis of time, some of the more special moments are lost. This year on May Day, I will spend a few moments remembering my grandmother, Mabel Shero, and her little lady friends from church. Mrs. Sutherland. Mrs. Patton. Mrs. Case and Mrs. Nosalek. You’ve been gone too long, but still not forgotten.
So my grandson, Little Man, is on spring break this week, which means a sleep-over at Grammy’s house. That means me. I’ve held him in my arms and rocked him to sleep. I’ve read multitudes of books over the years to put him to bed. We’ve play UNO and Bingo and Monopoly and every game you can imagine putting off bedtime, and I don’t care because I’m Grammy, and you’re supposed to get to do stuff you want to at Grammy’s house. But tonight, He informs me, on his own, that he guesses he better take his bath and get ready for bed. Without being told. Without bargains. And there he stands looking me nearly eye to eye and he’s only ten years old, and I see the beginnings of the man he’s going to be. I think I’m gonna like the Big Man as much as I like my Little Man. He’s sitting beside me playing Mario Cart on his DSI 3D and I think he’s so deep into the game that he doesn’t even notice I’ve changed the channel from SpongeBob Square Pants to Project Runway AllStars when he suddenly looks over at me and says… “Hey Grammy.” I think uh-oh. Busted. But when I look at him and say ‘what’, he gives me the same little grin I used to get just before he would fall asleep in my arms, and he says in a little boy voice – “I love you.” Heart melted. In a puddle. At my feet. Just like the first time I saw him in his mother’s arms. I loved him then. He loves me now. It’s a mutual admiration society thing. FYI… being a grandmother rocks.
So, March arrived without any help from me. I was still trying to finish a manuscript that I wanted done before February was over, but it didn’t happen. However, it WILL be done by the end of this week so it’s not all bad. I have to say how grateful I am for the continuing support of A FIELD OF POPPIES, my first self-pubbed book.
This little note is a heads-up on what’s coming for the rest of the year. Unless release dates change, I have another women’s fiction book from Belle Bridge books due out in May. It’s called THE BOARDING HOUSE.
Then the third book in my YA Lunatic series will be out in August, I believe. It’s called LUNATIC REVENGE. Teenage psychic Tara Luna is always in the middle of something and this book is no exception.
DON’T CRY FOR ME is book 2 of my Rebel Ridge trilogy, and I believe that book has a release date of October 1st, so three new books yet to be released this year.
Also, I will upload the other two books in my Whippoorwill trilogy to Kindle and Nook within a month. WHIPPOORWILL, which is book one, came out at the first of February. I’ll have THE AMEN TRAIL and THE HEN HOUSE up in digital format soon. They’ve been out in print for several years, but never as ebooks.
I’m also planning to release a new Dinah McCall book before the end of the year. At this point, all I will tell you is that it will be paranormal and that I will pub it myself, like I did Field of Poppies. The freedom to write what I want to and get it up for sale without waiting a year to 16 months for a publisher to do it is too enticing to ignore.
I hope you’re all ready for stories, because I have thousands to tell.
I gave myself a gift this year and took a great big leap of faith by self-pubbing a book I believed in that no one else wanted. It wasn’t that they didn’t like it. It’s just not what they were all used to me writing. In other words, I wasn’t supposed to want out of the box I was in. However, we all know what happens to stuff we never use, it goes out of style. And me, being a country girl from Oklahoma raised by a daddy who taught me to change a flat before he taught me to drive, wasn’t all that keen on boxes and going out of style. So, after doors slammed in my face repeatedly, I by God cut my own door in the walls surrounding me and did it my way. I will always be the independent thinker who wants to know WHY it won’t work, and then will go about my business and find a way to prove everyone wrong. It’s how I was put together. It may never make the NYT bestseller list, but you know what, I’ve been on that list multiple times and it didn’t change one facet of my daily existence. In fact, it rarely changed the ensuing royalty statement either. I don’t know how the world judges people who are winners, but I have already succeeded what I set out to do. It was liberating to find out that the loyalty of readers I’d been building for the past 20 years weren’t the least bit daunted by a new genre. Loyalty is a rare commodity in this life and the loyalty of my fans is not unappreciated. I feel blessed in every aspect of my life, even when it’s hard and sad and even when I feel like I’m standing in a deep hole without a ladder. So, when Valentine’s Day rolls around next week, I won’t need chocolates or flowers or fancy cards to be reminded that I am loved. The support of my readers has already proven to me that they love what I write and for me, that is enough.
My self-pub book A FIELD OF POPPIES is doing great. Who knew? I could only hope for this much positive response. It’s in the top paid 100 on Kindle at Amazon.com in 3 different categories. Thanks to all my loyal readers!!