A Writer’s Life–Part 6

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THE DAVID YEARS

 

With the release of The David Years, I thought I’d share about how the book came to be. The David Years is the second in my Puzzle House series so before I can tell you about The David Years, I have to tell about Puzzle House first.

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The stories I usually write are mystery and suspense novels. Puzzle House and The David Years are anything but mystery or suspense, so how did that happen? When a writer’s life changes dramatically, their writing life usually changes in some way as well. In 2012, my life changed dramatically! I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors and a rare genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). The tumors are almost always non-cancerous, but that didn’t stop them from affecting my health in so many different ways.

I’ll share a writer’s secret with you. Writers often use their writing as therapy–at least I do. In 2016, I felt the need to write something different–a story where the main character has the same type of brain tumors I have as well as NF2. And Puzzle House was born! The story is definitely NOT autobiographical–it’s not about me. The only similarity is that the main character and I have the same type of brain tumors because of NF2.

After that–it’s pure fiction!

Puzzle House is a much more spiritual book than my mystery and suspense books. Because of that, I wrote a devotional book to go along with Puzzle House and called it DEVOTIONS FROM PUZZLE HOUSE. My publisher classifies it as Women’s Fiction, but I simply call it a Christian Fiction novel. By the way, men like it as well!

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OOOPS! I’m out of time for now so I’ll finish this story in the next edition of A Writer’s Life.

 

AMAZON LINK

 

To celebrate the release of The David Years, I’m having a giveaway–actually TWO different giveaways! The grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift card and your choice of one of my ebooks. To enter that giveaway, CLICK HERE and follow the directions!

I’ll also pick FIVE lucky winners to receive their choice of one my ebooks (except The Sisters of Choice trilogy) here.  To be entered in that giveaway, simply leave a comment here. EASY-PEASY! And if you want to get an extra entry, post something about me or THE DAVID YEARS on your Facebook account or any other social media. When you leave a comment tell me where you shared the information and you’ll have an extra entry.

Don’t forget to leave a comment here or on any of the other DAVID YEARS posts so you can be entered to win a book! Thanks!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Coming soon… THE DAVID YEARS

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Giveaway News!

I’m excited to announce my latest novel–THE DAVID YEARS–will be released soon! In fact, it will be available in a few days.  THE DAVID YEARS is the sequel to Puzzle House. In case you don’t remember, Puzzle House was a finalist for the 2017 Carol Award–an award for excellence in Christian Fiction by the American Christian Fiction Writers.

AMAZON LINK

 

 

To celebrate the release of The David Years, I’m having a giveaway–actually TWO different giveaways! The grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift card and your choice of one of my ebooks. To enter that giveaway, CLICK HERE and follow the directions!

I’ll also pick FIVE lucky winners to receive their choice of one my ebooks (except The Sisters of Choice trilogy) here.  To be entered in that giveaway, simply leave a comment here. EASY-PEASY! And if you want to get an extra entry, post something about me or THE DAVID YEARS on your Facebook account or any other social media. When you leave a comment tell me where you shared the information and you’ll have an extra entry.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be sharing more about THE DAVID YEARS in the next few days so stay tuned!

Don’t forget to leave a comment here or on any of the other DAVID YEARS posts so you can be entered to win a book! Thanks!

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

A Writer’s Life–Part 1

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I know I’ve been remiss with my blogging. Not just that I don’t blog that often but that I don’t really share much about what it’s like to be a writer. At least my life as a writer. I’m going to change that by adding this new segment to my blog, A Writer’s Life. I’m not saying I’ll blog a whole lot more, but I’m saying I’ll share more about my life as a writer. So without further ado, here’s part 1!

Sometimes writing is easy; other times not so easy; and then there are the times it’s downright difficult. I started working on the third book in my Puzzle House series, probably more than a year ago. And it just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t “see” the story. I’d write some then get stuck, go write something else, then come back and get stuck again. This happened again and again.

Since I started writing this third book, I actually finished three other books and submitted them and got contracts. Yea! I did final revisions on two other books, and started yet another book. Each time I finished a project, I’d go back to the Puzzle House book–currently titled–SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN. Believe me, I was suffering with this book. Anyway, I’d go back to it and start rewriting and then…I’d get stuck once again.

I began to doubt that it would ever get finished, but it was more than half done so I didn’t want to just forget about it. PUZZLE HOUSE tells the story of Rachel and how Puzzle House came to be as Rachel shares about her life and struggles with a young girl named Nia.

THE DAVID YEARS which will release in August of this year and continues the story of Nia.

My idea for SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN would bring the story full circle and back to Puzzle House. But sometimes things don’t go as planned. So I just gave the whole mess to God and asked him to help me figure it out or I was going to forget about it.

Finally about two weeks ago, I realized the story didn’t have a theme. Most of my stories’ themes sort of present themselves to me as I write them. Looking back, this story did as well, I just didn’t recognize it. Once I did, I was finally able to “see” the ending of the story. And so…I’m pleased to say I wrote THE END on the first draft of Suffer The Little Children earlier today!

So when you’re living A WRITER’S LIFE, some days are good and some days are even better!

God Bless & Good Reading!

PS. Prayer works! Praising God for all his blessings, but especially for the blessing of being able to write stories to share with others!

Today’s The Day!

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Today’s the day!

Today’s the day for the big American Christian Fiction Writer’s Gala where the winners of the Carol Award will be announced. My book, Puzzle House, is a finalist in the novella category sooo…. what’s my thoughts as I wait to hear the announcement tonight?

I’m sure the other two finalists in my category are just as deserving. I’m sure their books are just as good. I’m sure they’ve worked just as hard to get to this point. Of course, I’d love to win but… winning isn’t everything.

Win or lose, God has blessed me by giving me the dream of being a writer and then the dream becoming a reality.

Win or lose, when Monday comes around I’ll be back at my computer working on my next story.

Win or lose, God will still love me as will my husband, family and friends.

Win or lose, I’m blessed in more ways than I have time or space to talk about.

In 2012, I heard the words, “you have bilateral brain tumors.” Those are not words you want to hear! Those words were quickly followed up by explaining that these type of tumors are rarely cancerous. Good news but that doesn’t mean they haven’t wreaked havoc on my life and my health.

As I went ( and still go) through my struggles, Romans 8: 28 has become one of my go-to Bible verses to give me peace and strength. God promises to work out ALL things for good for those who love him. That’s me! But the truth is I couldn’t see how God could work out BRAIN TUMORS for my good.

And yet He did!

Here it is 6 years later and I still struggle with the effects of the brain tumors but… I have peace and joy. I can still write the stories God gives me. And one of the stories He gave me is PUZZLE HOUSE. Puzzle House would never have been written if I hadn’t developed the brain tumors because the main character has what I have. Yes, the same Puzzle House that’s up for the Carol Award.

So as you can see, God really does work all things out for the good of those who love him.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

God & His Goodness

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Romans 8: 28

And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

 

This verse is one of my two go-to verses during the past six years while struggling with brain tumors and side effects from the tumors as well as from the treatments. At my lowest points (physically) I would repeat this verse as often as I needed to remind me that God hadn’t forsaken me or forgotten me. That he was with me and watching over me and that he indeed would work this out for my good–even though I couldn’t imagine how.

One of the truly miraculous things during this time has been that I could still write my stories. At times, I had to crawl up the steps to my office because I was so weak and my balance was so bad. Then I would sit down at my computer and…the fog would lift and I would write. Sometimes it would only be for five or ten minutes before the fog rolled back. But those ten minutes became a published novel and then another and another.

As I grew closer to God during this time, my writing changed. I still love and write action-packed suspense and romantic suspense but I had other stories to tell as well. I call PUZZLE HOUSE the story I never wanted to write because it came about as a direct result of my brain tumors and a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). The main character, Rachel has the same brain tumors as a result of NF2 as I have.

AMAZON LINK

I would never have written PUZZLE HOUSE if I hadn’t developed the brain tumors and NF2 and that means Puzzle House would never be a finalist for The Carol Award! The Carol Award is the American Christian Fiction Writer’s award for excellence in Christian Fiction. Puzzle House is a finalist in the novella category. The winners won’t be announced until September, but as far as I’m concerned, being a finalist makes me a winner!

So you see God really does work all things out for the good of those who love Him!

PS.  Don’t forget, I also have a devotional that goes with the novel–DEVOTIONS FROM PUZZLE HOUSE.

AMAZON LINK

 

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

Feeling Overwhelmed?

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I love Christmas but I also know that the Christmas season can be overwhelming. Too many things to do. Too many places to go. And too many good things to eat.  At the moment, Christmas is quickly approaching and that means COOKIES! I love all things sweet but Christmas Cookies are a weakness of mine. And my husband makes wonderful cookies so….

I’m so close to my weight goal–only a few more pounds to go. And it seems as if I’m surrounded by Christmas Cookies everywhere I go–except my WW meeting. I’ve been taking the all or nothing approach when it comes to Christmas Cookies this year, meaning nothing. An all or nothing approach isn’t really helpful in most areas of our life and that’s very true when it comes to weight loss. And I know that most of the time.

But this year is different. The last thing I want to do is sabotage myself but it’s a bit overwhelming to think about NO COOKIES during the holiday season. That made me think about other times when I was overwhelmed.

One of those was when I worked as a speech pathologist for schools. Any job in the education field is a bit overwhelming but being a speech pathologist is certainly one of those because there’s two parts to our job, first is to provide therapy for the students. But the other part of the job is to evaluate students who might need therapy as well as to provide ongoing evaluations to my current students while still providing service for my current students. Each year the evaluation process became more complicated and time-consuming, thus more and more overwhelming.

One of the things I learned to do was not to focus on all the evaluations that needed to be done during the year and making myself even more overwhelmed. Instead each month I would make a list of the students who needed evaluated that month–which made the process more than manageable. All the evaluations would get done on time!

That’s when it came to me. I’ve been worrying about how to get through the whole Christmas season without Christmas Cookies. But I don’t have to worry about saying no to cookies for the next 2-3 weeks, I only have to say no at the next event. It’s about keeping the focus on the present and not worrying about the future. That’s manageable–I can do that.

About now, you might be saying, “so what.” Hold on, I’m getting there.

It’s good to plan and have long-range goals but that’s not always true for every situation. Sometimes, it’s better to take the one day at a time approach. Losing weight is a good example, but I can think of others as well. Cleaning house is one. I don’t like cleaning but if I focus on only cleaning a few things each day, it makes it manageable. And what about writing a book?

When I start to write a new book, I look at the completely blank screen and it’s overwhelming. So I block that out and write the first word, then the first sentence, the first page, and before I know it I have the first chapter finished.

The holiday season can be overwhelming and before we know it, we’ve lost our Christmas spirit and that’s no fun at all. So I suggest you make a list, check it twice, and then do the next thing that needs done. Focus on one thing at a time and enjoy the season!

MERRY CHRISTMAS & GOOD READING!

PUZZLE PUZZLE HOUSE Giveaway Winners!

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I want to thank everyone who entered the contest for the Amazon Gift Card and the other goodies. So here’s the winners…

 

$25 Amazon Gift Card and choice of one my books plus Devotions from Puzzle House.–Congratulations Tammy Doherty!

These 5 lucky winners win their choice of one of my books as well as Devotions from Puzzle House:

Linda Moffit

Lelandandbecky

Beth Nagy

Joan Arming

Pamela

These 5 lucky winners receive a copy of Devotions from Puzzle House

MimiOnLife

FishingJan

Danielle H.

DK Stevens

sbmcmh

 

So…I have a bit of surprise for all my winners! Devotions from Puzzle House has been free on Amazon these past few days so you might have already “bought” it. It doesn’t seem like much of a prize since it was free but…my publisher put one of my books, GAME ON, on sale these past few days and it’s still on sale for 99 cents! Not only that but it’s the #1 Christian suspense/mystery on Amazon at the moment. So instead of giving you Devotions from Puzzle House, I’m going to give all 11 winners a Kindle copy of Game On. If you still want an ecopy of Devotions from Puzzle House, I’ll be glad to send you that as well.

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For those who won a book from me, the gift of Game On doesn’t affect your other choice so use the contact form to let me know what other book you’d like. You can choose any book except the Sisters by Choice trilogy even Puzzle House. Thanks everyone for entering! If you didn’t win, you can still purchase Game On right now for 99 cents!

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!