Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Your Thoughts Matter

Reviews are starting to come in for
I’m honored, delighted, and blown away by your thoughts.
Because they matter.
Here's a sampling of early reactions to my latest book...

Thanks to everyone who has 
taken the time to post a review!

Check back for details regarding my
Delicate Giveaway NEXT WEEK.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Six Qualities that Entice Me to Read More

By this point you probably know that I’m a writer. But did you know I’m also an avid reader? I try to keep track of everything I read on Goodreads but each month I miss a few.

I’m not afraid to start a book and 10, 20, even 50 pages later, put it down.
I thought I’d share with you today the qualities I find in the books that keep me reading all the way until the end.

{Warning…I’m about to do a ton of name dropping—or make that title dropping in this post.}
Fascinating Characters
Immediately Mudbound and The Poisonwood Bible come to mind. Such expert delineation of multiple voices in these works.
I also got quickly attached to the characters in Belong to Me. Introduce me to a curious, engaging, or witty character, likeable or maybe not so likeable, to start and I’m hooked.

Plot That’s Going Somewhere
Stories like Defending Jacob and Sister had me turning pages faster than my fingers could move. A strong plot has an exceptional pull that’s nearly impossible to resist.

Rich Concept
Uh…The Giver, anyone? I have no idea what took me so long to read this wonder of a book, but the moment I finished the last page I felt like I stumbled upon a majestic treasure. I felt thrilled the rest of the world had the opportunity to be in on it and in a strange way sad. The Gollum in me wanted to stroke the book and say, “Mine, all mine.”
I also enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. The conceit for this book was right up my alley. A sheer delight of a book (liked it so much I recommended it as my choice for one of my book clubs).
Make Me Feel
Give me at least one character I can empathize with, someone I want to root for and I’m all yours. Front cover to the last words of the acknowledgements.

I adored Swede in Peace Like a River and felt a strong sense of empathy for Victoria in The Language of Flowers. The authors of these books succeeded and then some in making their stories come alive.

Emotional Depth
Go deep or go home. I’m not much of a fluff reader. I just don’t have the patience for it. When I’m reading a book, I also want to experience it. I crave for it to instigate reflection. Marley & Me and The Art of Racing the Rain tugged and tugged hard. Not just because the main characters were hooked to leashes throughout the pages, but because these stories tapped into the great feelings of being a pet owner, a mom, and a human being.

Seamless Flow + Word Choice
Jamming two in one. I know, guilty as charged. But there’s something to be said for a novel when you forget you’re reading—when you’re so swept up in the story world you’ve metaphorically crawled inside the book to nest for as long as it takes to finish it. An almost musical, carefully worded flow can accomplish this. Word choice matters. This is why The Book Thief won my heart and Night by Elie Wiesel. And I still remember powerful lines from Water for Elephants.
A magnificent novel finds a way to take each of the above and knead it into a miraculous ball of dough that balloons into the unforgettable.

*Fun announcement ~ Enter my Goodreads Giveaway for THEDELICATE NATURE OF LOVE for a chance to win a signed copy. Enter by March 1st!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mystery Writer

The mystery behind who really wrote

It's available to buy!
Purchase your copy today & spread the word!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Delicate Giveaway

Stay tuned for more details about this -->
(Release date Monday, Feb. 9th.)
Also, a hearty thanks for those of you who showed up at the Women's Fiction Writers Association Women's Fiction Online Book Launch Party on Facebook (say that 10 times fast). ;-)
It was a memorable event. If you missed it, you might be able to still check it out here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

To The Mean Girl Who . . .

I wanted to unleash my inner kraken when I heard what a girl said to my middle schooler on her birthday recently. I seriously slipped into pummel mode. Eventually, I eased off to evaluate the scenario from an outsider perspective. Because any mom knows the bear claws come out quickly when it comes to our own kids.

My kid was excited it was her birthday. She’s sensitive and not one given to bragging, but she mumbled something during gym about being pumped to open her gifts when she got home. Rude girl asked why. My daughter told her it’s her birthday to which the girl replied, “Who cares?”
Later this same girl found a convenient time to tell my daughter that she’s stupid. She knew it was her birthday. Nice, huh?
It might help for you to know my daughter struggles to say a mean word about anyone. But I’m also teaching her not to let people walk on her.
Words go deep. When are we all going to get this?
As I wrestled with this situation an image of a Nazi kept popping in my head. I’m not comparing the mean girl to a Nazi (not exactly, anyway). However, I think there’s a slippery slope when you begin to allow yourself to be that desensitized, that heartless—careless toward others.
Of course I felt sorry for this girl. I played the potentials in my mind. Maybe she feels like no one cares about her. Maybe she’s jealous. And all that jazz. But herein lies the issue. A sign of maturity and growth is when you feel rotten about your own circumstances and can still conjure joy for others. It’s amazing how the ability to do that changes you inside. I’m not expecting this middle schooler to be mature. But I do think she should be held accountable for her words.
It’s worth it to choose our words wisely. They have the ability to leave such an impression.
To build up or tear down.
I know I’ll let this go, chalk it up for childish rude girl behavior. And most likely my daughter will, too. But some words sink. And I’ll never know for sure whether these particular words have anchored somewhere in my kid’s conscience.
That makes me sad. And frustrated that we live in a world of such flippant sarcasm and thoughtlessness. And it reminds me of all the ways I don’t want to act toward others.
To the mean girl who unleashed your self-rot on my kid, you’re forgiven. But I also hope you change. I hope you grapple with the things you spew with little thought. Because the world has its fill of insensitivity and cruelty. We need something different.
Huh, guess my own version of the kraken snuck out after all.


*picture = free stock photo
**daughter gave me permission to post this

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Epigraph for The Delicate Nature of Love

We are only weeks away from the release date for THE DELICATE NATURE OF LOVE.  
I’m excited to reveal the epigraph I chose for the novel.
The characters in this book have such a special place in my heart.
Now, get out there and start spreading the word. ;-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Choosing to Take Care of Myself

This time of year blending in with my blankets until spring really appeals to me. My bones are cold and I get all slumpy. So I have to be intentional about getting out of bed and maintaining a healthy perspective. It’s also birthday month. Everyone in my family was born this month but me. Which means I switch into a turbo caretaker role. And for some reason, I thought it would be a wise idea to launch a new novel next month on top of all that.  

All of this means I must become more cognizant about how I’m choosing to take care of myself during the winter. I know my head is susceptible of slipping into hibernation mode at any given moment. 

Today I wanted to share a few things that I pay attention to more to help me skate through the winter months relatively unscathed. 

*Exercise (treadmill, yoga, dancing with my girls…anything just to keep the body moving)

*Time outside (nature has always been a salve to my soul)

*Staying connected (making time for friends and loved ones ensures I won’t turn all agoraphobic when the icicles start growing)

*Vitamin D (my sister reminded me of this one the other day and I forgot how much it helps when I’m lacking sun and my sleep is wonky)

*Water (I’m a major slack with this but I feel so much better when I’m downing H20)

*Time immersed in quiet (for prayer, reflection, planning, brainstorming…or pure quiet—it’s absolutely essential for all around health)

Do you find you have to get more intentional about taking care of yourself during the cold bone months?