Doing Something I Loathe Doing

As many of you know, just before Christmas, my first book was published by Lucky Bat Books. It is available through links on my website and here on my blog. There are two reasons I have not done much, if anything, to get it out there. The first was just the busy-ness of my life these past few weeks, but the second is more ingrained in my personality. I do not like to or know how to self-promote. Many of you know that I was a nun for many years and self-effacement was (supposed to be) the name of the game.

And so I’m turning to you for help.

Winter is Past is the story of a woman who has dealt with a subtle fear throughout her life. She’s unaware of the reason behind her anxiety but when she’s faced with her best friend and kidney donor’s health crisis–cancer in her remaining kidney–she must uncover and deal with her fear of loss.

The book will appeal, for the most part, to women and to those who read authors such as Jodi Picoult or Nicolas Sparks, to health care providers and those dealing with issues related to organ transplantation. It is written with an eye to stimulating discussion in book clubs and similar formats  (there are questions for that purpose at the end of the narrative). While it is not Christian fiction, it will speak to those who read that genre (my first agent wanted to market it as such). It has a message of hope and survival. Perhaps, even if this is not the type of work you would enjoy, you know someone (wife, girlfriend?) who might like to read it.

Here is a heart-warming comment from a friend who began reading it yesterday:

Last evening I began your novel, at chapter 12 I made myself stop reading. I wanted to save what was coming next, like you put away a last piece of chocolate to savor later on…

You have a WONDERFUL way with words my friend. Having visited Reno many times to see John’s parents I could visualize the Truckee rushing its banks, and see the pictures you pointed so clearly with your dialogue. I LOVE your book!!!. Your characters are real and believable, I already have a dislike of Lauren!! And Helene needs to stop being so cranky!!

Yesterday… we went full tilt for the whole day!! Settling down with your book was my reward. I’m looking forward to what will come next.


If you do buy it and can write a review on or on Kindle, I’d be most grateful. And I hope it will be a satisfying read for you. Thank you so much.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–100 Best Novels of the 20th Century


Image via Wikipedia

Sitting here in front of a bookcase, I’m musing about what can inspire for this week’s writing prompt when I catch a glimpse of a title or two that tickle my creative fancy. What if, for today’s writing exercise we turn to an existing title and make it our own, using it as the springboard into a poem or short story?

Here’s a link from Wikipedia with the Modern Library’s list of 100 best novels in English of the 20th Century. Pick a title, if you like, from this list, or one of your own choosing and see what you can do with it.

Here’s mine:


Silence after birth.
Then a cry,
a smile, a tear.
They hand her to
a nurse,
bundled in a soft blanket,
so she’ll be warm
and no one will drop her.
Length, weight,
silver nitrate.
Document the time,
the Apgar.
Clinically correct.

Down the hall
an old man waits to die.

Life’s so slippery.

Looking forward to seeing your work posted in the comments section of this post.

On Reading: A Poem for Poetry Potluck AND Monday Morning Writing Prompt

Woman reading

Image by National Media Museum via Flickr

 Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  This week’s theme is Hobbies and Pastimes, Passions and Entertainment. Stop by  the Potluck to read some poems offered by both seasoned and upcoming poets. Also posting to One Shot Wednesday:

On Reading

These days I spend my evenings in Ethiopia.
Torrential rains flood the shores of the Blue Nile.

I cut for stone in Operating Theater 3,
outside I hear the blaze of failed coup d’etat.

Dear Africa, I’ve trod the single file paths of
leafy jungles, ‘neath trees of Poisonwood,

through forests that devour, that feed on lives
of those misled in service of God’s holy name.

With Little Bee I, too, would flee to distant shores,
escape atrocities (only to be hurled once again upon your mercy.)

From Haiti also I’ve sought refuge. The slave of Valmorain set free but lost
to love forever and to my land, the island far beneath the sea.

As well would I take leave from Oklahoma’s dust
only to be lost to greater desperation in the land of wrathful vines.

In silent (though not passive) observation, I stand by, witness
the demise of hope, the emptiness of Gatsby and Buchanan

or see a tree spring forth from wretched poverty in Brooklyn’s
tenements where branches spread if roots grow strong and deep.

For those who read, there is no place forbidden,
no mountain that cannot be scaled, no culture

left forgotten, no life condemned to end in an obscure whimper.
No era will I leave untouched if I but open up a book and read.

This poem is based on a few of my travels in the land of fiction. If I were to exhaust the list of my favorite books in this poem I’m afraid I’d crash the site and definitely weary the reader. For today’s MONDAY MORNING WRITING PROMPT  I invite you to write a short poem or essay based on one (or more) of your favorite novels and post a link in the comment section of this post. Thank you!

Wordsmith Wednesday–Moving the Plot Forward

During the early stages of writing “Winter is Past,” my first novel, I often got this critique from my writing buddies: “Your writing is beautiful but it doesn’t move your story forward.” You see, I’m in love with words and descriptions–a poet at heart, I guess–sprouting from a space of intuition rather than analysis (the old right brain versus left brain analogy). I came up with a simple solution to this problem.

For that novel, I didn’t work from an outline, rather, the story evolved from the characters. When I finally accepted the fact that it was important to go somewhere in each scene, I began to outline using italics to identify the “purpose” of each chapter/scene. When it came time to rewrite the entire manuscript, that simple device made it easier for me to eliminate scenes that did nothing to advance the plot.

As an aside, for “The Sin of His Father,”  I began with an outline that included detailed character and scene development. That’s not to say I followed it to a tee, but it’s not a bad thing to work on developing the opposite side of the brain, is it?