Jack fights back

Writers, you know that moment when you’re writing so fast and furious that it seems like the story has taken over and you’re just dictating it? Those times when you’re typing and the words surprise even you? I can’t believe this is happening? Whoa, I didn’t see that coming. Ouch, why did you say that? Yeah, like that, and you think, hey, who’s running this show?

I had that happen early on in The Lemonade Year when one of my characters called me out on the way I was portraying him.

“Don’t do that,” he says, angrily. “Don’t you dare make me out to be a monster. I didn’t say the miscarriage was for the best. I said not getting pregnant again after that was.”

This was Jack, Nina’s husband, talking. But he’s wasn’t talking to her–well, not at first. When I first typed those words, Jack and Nina were in the middle of a heated argument and he wasn’t coming off so well, truth be told. I was painting him as a pretty stereotypical bad husband back in those early drafts–back before I got to know him very well. So, when my fingers were trying to do their best just to keep up with the argument my characters were having in my head, those words stopped me in my tracks.

Jack as talking to me. “Don’t you dare make me out to be a monster.”

It was an angry plea when he said it. It was a call to get to know this character better. Man, am I glad I did. I had Jack figured all wrong. In those early drafts, Jack was a bystander in a story that was very much about him too. He was water cooler gossip and that was about it. Now, I can’t imagine this book without Jack.

He isn’t the perfect husband, but neither is Nina the perfect wife. He doesn’t always say the right thing, and his pain causes him to act like a jerk more than once or twice, but monster… no, far from it. Force to be reckoned with…if it means he might have a shot at getting his family back…you bet.

Jack might have been benched at the start of this novel, but he’s still in the game. Win or lose, he’s not going down without at fight.

I love Jack.  I hope you love him to. Thanks for hanging out for a while!

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Writer challenge: Spend some time with one of the characters you don’t know very well.  Ask your character these questions and see what he or she has to say.

Write about the thing you character doesn’t want anyone to know:

What’s the kindest thing your character ever did?

What’s your character’s biggest fear?  What is your characters greatest hope?

What is the one thing that haunts your character that he or she wishes she could get over?

What is the funniest thing your character has ever seen?

When was the last time he or she cried?

What is in your character’s pocket right now?

What was the last lie your character told?

 

 

Nina

Hi every one! Today I’m excited to introduce you to Nina, the main character in my new novel, The Lemonade Year, which releases in April 2018 from Shadow Mountain Publishing!

 Life just keeps tossing lemons at Nina left and right. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, her daughter wants nothing to do with her, and now her father has died. Nina’s world is spinning out of control. She had a plan and life is not cooperating with her. 

(Sound familiar, yeah, me too sometimes.)

In the novel, I don’t really describe Nina physically all that much. I give the color of her hair, but that’s only in relation to her sister. (In the book, her hair is dark.) I wanted this character to feel like “every woman,” like she could be you. I love to identify deeply with a character, to struggle with her and  to triumph with her.

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Actress, Jessica Robin Riley did a fantastic job bringing Nina to life for the upcoming book trailer, which will premier early 2018. Jessica lends a beautiful face to Nina while at the same time, retaining her every woman appeal. I couldn’t be happier to have her as the face of this fantastic character. (Stay tuned for more info about the trailer!)

Join Nina on her year-long journey to reclaim her life, her family, and her happiness.

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Fun writer game: Cast your novel! I love doing this. I’m a movie junkie and love to imagine who would play the characters in the movie version of the book. Who would your leading characters be? Post in the comments!

Thanks for joining me!

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~So, let’s just get right into the confessions.~

  1. Not everything I made turned out well.

I forgot to buy eggs early (as in I got them Monday and not two weeks ago) and when I peeled them, there was hardly enough egg left to devil. They looked terrible, but they tasted delicious.)

My apple pie filling tasted wonderful, but the crust was dense. One of the little dinos insisted that we add more water to the dough. I knew this would wreck the crust as I’d have to add more flour just to be able to work with it. I let him do it anyway–and yep, the crust was a bust.

My pumpkin pie must have been good, one of them is already gone, but they sure didn’t look very pretty. So, yeah, you didn’t see that shot on Facebook.

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2. Not everything I made was from scratch.

My green bean casserole (which I love, guilty pleasure) comes right of the can. I doctored it up adding some garlic and curry, but it’s the same old beans and cream of mushroom soup that you see on the grocery store shelves. Top with some fried onion and cheese, bake, and eat. Not from scratch, but it’s the first things I get seconds of.

~Secrets~

I’ll let you in on a secret–if you’re looking at all the food pics on Instagram and are thinking, sure, I’d cook like that if I had all the fancy kitchen equipment and could afford the organic spices and such… yeah… I don’t have the fancy equipment either. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like it–just that I don’t have it. As for the organic food–Aldi. Don’t get me wrong, I love Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods just like any other home cook, (and I go there to daydream and buy something on sale from time to time,) but I don’t have that kind of dough for my dough. Don’t let that stop you. A broke Foodie finds a way.

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Here are the tools that I used in my kitchen today. Nothing fancy, but I enjoy the process of it. The table is the destination, but the best stuff happens in the kitchen. As for the ingredients, I shop the sales and hit the discount grocery store for about 90% of the things I buy. It all cooks up just the same!

~Truths~

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Truth: Despite the pictures, cooking with my real little dinosaurs is not always a commercial moment of blissful baking. I love that they want to help. I really do. I just don’t always want them to help, because I know how that show plays out. Back me up here parents, you know how this one goes. It starts out well, and you’re thinking what a lovely time we’re having here, just the kids and me and the whatever this is we’re cooking -(it all seems so perfect, you probably even think it in a British accent.) But then brother or sister comes in and it’s “my turn” and “he already got to pour something in” and before you know it, it’s Kitchen Cage Match and you’re the loser.  Again.

My littlest dino has been in rare form the last couple of days and he and brother have been in a constant throw-down. (I would have gotten a more accurate picture of the fighting, but I couldn’t hold my camera and break up the fights at the same time.)

So, no, our whole day wasn’t a lovely Hallmark movie moment. Along with the sweet came the sour.

So why only post the good stuff? Because the rest of it doesn’t matter. Not really. It’s all about how you choose to see your life. Do you see the rays of sunshine or just the rain? So when you see me posting the best of my day, know that the worst of it was there too. I just choose to be happy if given the choice.

 

Well, there you have it!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and I hope you have so much to be thankful for that your food got cold while you were praying. (Ok, I don’t really hope your food got cold, but you know what I mean.)

All my love to you!

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thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from my fictional family to yours:

Holiday scenes are the best! In my upcoming novel, The Lemonade Year, one of the final scenes takes place on Thanksgiving Day.  There’s a little grave digging, an unexpected dinner guest, and plenty of family awkwardness.

Pickles, pizza, and a little cemetery dirt make for a funny catharsis for our main character, Nina. Ex-husbands, mashed potatoes, and new beginnings are all on the menu.

(Saved From Pinterest)

I love to write holiday and other family gathering scenes, but I can’t help myself, I just have to make them go hilariously wrong. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving scene? Here’s one of mine. Friends and family and forgiveness…. and cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Malaprop's

I’m really excited to start a new posting series about my writing world. I hope you’ll join me every Wednesday (because that fits with the alliteration) for this fun look inside my head and heart.

I’ll be posting about the writing and publishing journey with tips and information for you as well. I’ll also be posting about faces and places that represent my books and characters. It may be serious or silly, but it’s all aimed at letting you inside my world with the hope that you and I will get to know each other better as we chat in the comments and connect online.

This week I’m featuring my home away from home: Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville.

The weekends are my prime writing time and more often than not, you’ll see me sitting in the window seat at my favorite indie bookstore. I’m a mom of four fantastic kids, but right now, writing at home is a challenge. So even though this mountain favorite is sometimes packed with people and the chatter sounds like I’m at a lovely literary party, I can open my laptop, get a cup of coffee, and disappear in the quiet of my mind to write.

I hope you all are supporting your own local book stores ( no offense “Big Guys” we all love you too) so that we can keep these amazing indie shops open! I’d love to learn more about your local store. Post links and pics in the comments and let’s share our favorite book spots!

Writer tip: Make friends with your local bookseller. Go to readings and support other authors who come to your town. Connect and network in a personal way. Relationships aren’t just about one person. Be involved and be genuine. This isn’t that hard to do as your local booksellers are super cool and you’ll want to be their friend!

What’s your favorite indie bookstore? Post in the comments!

 

NaNoWriMO

I’m really excited to start a new posting series about my writing world. I hope you’ll join me every Wednesday (because that fits with the alliteration) for this fun look inside my head and heart.

I’ll be posting about the writing and publishing journey with tips and information for you as well. I’ll also be posting about faces and places that represent my books and characters. It may be serious or silly, but it’s all aimed at letting you inside my world with the hope that you and I will get to know each other better as we chat in the comments and connect online.

Here we go!

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This month I’m banging on the keys for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I thought this would be a great start to the new blog series. This super-challenge comes around every year in November, and this year the timing couldn’t be better for me. I’m working on a new novel and although I know I won’t have it finished by the end of the month, this 50,000 word writing goal would get me a good ways into the first draft.

I’m working on a sequel to my upcoming novel, The Lemonade Year. I love these characters so much, I just couldn’t stop writing them.

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While I wait for The Lemonade Year to release in April of 2018, this is a really fun way to not have to say goodbye to these characters.

NaNoWriMo is a great way to get into the habit of writing at least a little every day. We all think we don’t really have time, but I bet if you took a good hard look at your day, you could probably find an hour where you could shut off Facebook (No offense Zuckerberg, we all know Count Facebook is Dracula’s second cousin twice removed) and pull up your novel and write. (I know I could.)

Writer challenge: It’s not too late to sign up! So you missed a few day, no worries. Better late than never. Join me and let’s get some words on the page! Find me and let’s connect as NaNoWriMo buddies!

Thanks for joining me!

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A few moments ago, I was sitting in my room at Wildacres Writer’s Workshop saying a little prayer in regards to my writing–praying that I would take this time to work well and create something that would be of service and enjoyment to someone who read it.

Then I got myself a cup of coffee and went back to my computer to continue working on a new book. I got to a stopping point and took a little break to check email. This is what I found.

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A Liturgy for Writers.

As a writer, I especially liked this part: (read the whole prayer by clicking the link above.)

“Lord, let me love this world into being,
and let me love each of the characters I create, even those who choose to harm, who choose their own pride, their own strength, their own glory above what is right and good and true; let me love even those who turn from righteousness, who eschew grace. May I allow them the dignity to become themselves within the world I have created, and may I not impose my own will upon these creations, but leave room for them to make real choices of consequence to themselves and others. May they have something like a breath of life in them, and not be the shriveled fruit of my own moralizing.”

I am a character driven writer and it’s always my aim to create real characters who make real decisions (even really bad ones) and to illuminate the humanity within, no matter the face without.

OK, back to work!