Tyranny, Time and Trust

Sand flowing through an hourglass on black background concept for time running out

So it’s 9:53 pm and I’m writing tomorrow’s blog post.

I procrastinate. A lot.

Or maybe I just have four children. Everything that is not bleeding, hungry, crying, yelling, or broken gets pushed to the bottom of the list, and a blog post tends to be very quiet. Invisible, even.

Until I realize it’s Thursday night and something needs to be up in a couple hours.

“Schedule your time,” they say. Writers need to block out large chunks of time to write, rewrite, research, market, publicize … it would take all my time to do it right, and I only have a few hours a day. Once the kids come home from school, quiet time is over, and I am no longer in control.

Striking a balance is nearly impossible. I never get it right. One week I spend too much time writing, and the next I can’t manage to …

Five Things I (Re)Learned This Week

all-progress-takes-place-outside-the-comfort-zoneOur six-novella box set released this week, and it’s reminded me of a number of things that I know well, but that always seem to come to light during book launches, especially when it comes to reviews.

You can’t please everyone. Some readers liked one novella over another, which is of course to be expected. Some of the authors in our group have written numerous books, and yet in a review or two they were the least favorite of the six.

Some people are too picky. One reviewer took off a star because we put commas in the wrong place. Another wrote a loooong piece, using a 5-point rubric for each of the six books.

Some readers forget that authors are human, too. They can say really mean things. They can forget how long it take to write even a 25,000 word novella. You may read in a day, but …

Peace I Give Unto You

vector-n-alphabet-with-flower_7JOSOz_LN is for naps. They’re delightful, and I don’t know why little kids, who have more energy than sense and no need for naps, get to take them and we don’t.

Well, actually I do. It’s precisely because they have more energy than sense, and we need a break.

When we first brought Mira home, at three months old, they told us she had a three-hour schedule during the day; she ate for half an hour, played for half an hour, and then slept for two.

That was a big, fat lie.Sleeping

She quickly figured out that the babies no longer outnumbered the caretakers, and she could garner immediate attention by crying, and made quick use of that fact. Those two-hour naps disappeared.

But I love them, and I indulge on weekends sometimes. I love the sense of setting everything on the shelf, checking out for just a …

When Losing is Winning

Just Until Christmas coverI must now declare myself a Nano “loser.” They call it “winning” when you write 50,000 words, though you actually get only bragging rights and a “Purple Bar of Glory” for your website.

I did not write 50,ooo words in November. I only wrote a little under 31,500.

But I’m OK with that. It was taking too big a toll on my family. When my middle daughter rather forcefully said, “All you do is write!” that’s when I put down my laptop.

Not only did I start PT for a shoulder injury, which claimed an appointment of two hours twice a week, plus daily exercises, I also had too many other things going on in my writing world. I wanted to get my Christmas novella, Just Until Christmas, finished, so I wrote over 5,000 words for that. (So technically I wrote almost 36K, but not all of them were on …

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Carnations. photo by Pagemoral

Carnations. photo by Pagemoral

RomanF-01F is for flowers. I like flowers. I don’t know much about them, can’t identify too many of them. Roses. Carnations. Sunflowers. That’s about it. But they make me happy. Sometimes I add the $4 bouquet of carnations to my cart the grocery store when I’m buying food. They last forever and they make my kitchen a brighter place.

I think John started it. He used to bring them home. Sometimes for me, on the expected days, sometimes for no reason at all. Maybe that’s why they make me happy.

Composite image of the Moon as taken by the Galileo spacecraft on 7 December 1992.

Composite image of the Moon taken by the Galileo spacecraft on 7 December 1992.

F is also for a full moon. Just because they’re beautiful.

I put …

Daniel’s Design: Horse Capital of the World

Horse track in Lexington" Jason Phillips -

Keeneland Race Course in Lexington (photo: Jason Phillips)

Daniel Knight, Mercy’s last hero, lives in Boulder but is currently working in Lexington, Kentucky as an architectural designer.

In 1775, William McConnell and a group of frontier explorers were camped at a natural spring when word came that the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts. In honor of the battle, the group named their site “Lexington.”

Known as the “Horse Capital of the World”, it is located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. Lexington has produced more legendary horses that any other region in the world. So legendary, they can sell for millions of dollars. The city has been known as a major center for Thoroughbred breeding since the late 18th century due to the high calcium content in the soils, which leads to stronger bones and greater durability …

Steve’s Home: Great Barrington

Greylock in December (photo: Ericshawwhite)

Greylock in December (photo: Ericshawwhite)

Mercy Lacewell’s latest contact is Steve LeClerc. His brother’s trucking business is headquartered in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, ranked #1 in Smithsonian magazine‘s 2012 list of “The 20 Best Small Towns in America”.

Railroad Street GB (photo: Anc516)

Railroad Street GB (photo: Anc516)

Great Barrington is part of The BerkshiresThe Berkshires actually run through Massachusetts and Connecticutt, but the term is used by locals in reference only to the portion of the mountain range that lies within Massachusetts. The Conecticutt portion is referred to as the Northwest Hills. The Berkshires were named among the 200 Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy.

Numerous trails, including part of the Appalachian Trail run through the the Berkshires. The tallest waterfall in Massachusetts is located in the nearby Taconic mountain range. A number of summer camps date back to the early 1900s.

Tanglewood OzawaHall July 2009 (photo: Titus.jon)

Tanglewood Seiji Ozawa Hall July

Giveaway: Stephanie Landsem’s The Tomb

The TombMy friend Stephanie Landsem’s The Tomb released Tuesday. It is a masterful telling of the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. I’m so very delighted to have her visit us today.

Tell me about the story of The Tomb, A Novel of Martha.

The Tomb is a surprising story of Martha and her siblings, Mary and Lazarus. As I say in a letter to readers at the beginning of the book, this story is not an attempt to recount the historical events that took place in Bethany two thousand years ago. Instead, it is a re-imagining of how Martha, a woman who was “anxious and worried about many things,” might have been transformed into the faith-filled woman of John 11:22, who said to Jesus—as her brother lay in his tomb—“Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Give us the backcover blurb of …

D. M. Webb’s 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir

D. M. Webb, a friend of mine, has released 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir. Written after too many deaths and other losses, it is a very personal journey which she has shared to help others.

30 Days

30 Days

30 Days is a collection of devotions designed to reach out and uplift especially those who have dealt with death, divorce, and single parenting. But since it is garnered from the lessons learned from Daphne’s own spiritual journey, there is plenty of wisdom inside its pages for all of us.

The 30 “chapters” are two-three pages each. They begin with a personal story and a reflection, and lead to a Biblical application that can benefit anyone, regardless of circumstances. They are designed to be read one per day, but I must admit it’s hard to stop at one.

Back Cover: Do you desire to no longer be alone? Do you yearn for …

Beware of “Normals”

640px-St_Louis_night_expblend_croppedThe annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference was held last week in St Louis. I was blessed to be able to go, and finally meet my amazing agent Karen Ball in person for the first time. I also met with Kim Moore of Harvest House Publishers. We’ll wait and see if anything comes of that.

ACFW is always a treasure trove of stories—more like caveats—against plotting stories, especially suspense or mystery novels, out loud in public. Our MC Brandilyn Collins regularly warns us about doing that in front of “normals” lest they get the wrong idea and call the police.

I had one encounter with “normals.” I was coming home from dinner with Karen and some of her other clients Friday night. I got on the elevator and three fairly big, late-twenty-something guys got on behind me. One lit up a cigarette. In the elevator. Another said, “You know that’s …