It’s a Wonderment

I was watching the news tonight and with all this talk about gay marriage, an announcement was made that if one’s religious convictions were against gay marriage, then a marriage certificate did not have to be issued. Well, now. I looked at my husband and said, “how does that work?”

Whether we like it or not, gay marriage has been declared legal and, I don’t know, but it used to be when a law was passed, that was pretty much it. So, it should be. So, if one is a clerk in a place that doles out marriage licenses, it should not be up to the clerk as to who gets the marriage license.

Used to be, the people revolted against the government. Now, it seems, the government is revolting against itself and the people they are to serve. Some may say these are the last days. I wonder…..

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Who Was Your Inspiration?

We are always inspired to do something , by someone. Once, when I was little, I was inspired to cut my doll’s hair because my mother was a hairdresser. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was only my first cut. It wasn’t my last. All through my life I was inspired to one thing and then another by other people- good and bad.

But, I want to pay tribute to the woman who taught me to love writing enough to become an author. Jean Howard, my eleventh grade English teacher was my inspiration. We all thought she was weirdly magical somehow. The way she dressed, the way she talked, really just everything about her. She was somehow mysterious in a way.

We would all find our seats at the beginning of class and open our journals and begin to write for a good twenty minutes or so. We were required to write a journal and we could write about whatever we wanted to. It might be a story, something that happened at home, our pets, whatever came to mind, really. She read each and every one and she always commented in mine. You see, I have never liked to capitalize the letter I. I could not make a decent looking I in cursive and so I opted to make small I ‘s when I wrote about myself. Once , she asked me why I didn’t capitalize my I.

She asked me ,”Don’t you know you are worth capitalizing?”

I saw the capitalization in a whole new way. I wrote her back and told her I didn’t like to because the ones I made were not very good and I didn’t like making a capital I. I did not begin capitalizing that I for a long time. I understood and took her comment to heart and I knew I was worth capitaalizing, but I still couldn’t make a good capital I. Even now, I don’t capitalize a cursive I unless I have to. Now typing, that’s a different thing. I do capitalize them now. When I do, I remember her words.

She told me once I was a good writer. I loved writing and I kept journals for years after I got out of her class. Sadly, in a manic mood swing, I began cleaning the house and I threw them all out. I could say , “what a waste,” but it wasn’t. It prepared me to write professionally and I am so thankful for her guidance , patience and understanding.

I wish I had a photo of her. I’m not sure where I packed my yearbooks away. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out …and a bit of an odd duck to boot. But then, so am i!

Cemetery Tours 3: Official Release Date and Title Reveal

If you have not yet read Cemetery Tours, start the series now and you’ll be caught up by October when the third of the trilogy comes out! She is a marvelous author and you’ll love the series!

A Platform of Sorts

Hi, friends!  This is going to be a short post because it’s late and I still have a lot to do tonight, but I wanted to OFFICIALLY announce that the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series, AFTER DEATH, will be available on Kindle and in paperback on OCTOBER 6!

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Novel or Novellas?

I have been working on my book, “The Conservative Congregant” here lately . As it stands just now, it is quite the novella. My dilemna is just this- do I want to leave it as is, a novella? Or should I flesh it out a bit more so that it is a full fledged novel?

What in the world should I do?
What in the world should I do?

Now, I’m just thinking out loud on paper , but these are some of my ideas. If I leave it as a novella, there is the distinct possibility that more will follow as a series. There are many pros to this idea, for example, I already have a sequel in my head. I could conceivably write a prequel to the whole series and then add more stories to it.

Or…. I could flesh out the novella out a bit, add more here, there and yon so that it can grow up to be a 50,000 word novel.  The pro- there will still be a sequel. The con-I’m afraid if I add more to what it is now, the flavor, theme, meaning will be lost.

If you have a thought , an idea or even an opinion, please reply. I’d love to know what others think.

Thanks for letting me air my thoughts and for reading it! I may have worked it out.

The Inevitable Death of the Dash

As many of you know, I enjoy using dashes in my writing. To me, it’s like my own personal signature. Doesn’t every writer have one? After all, e.e.cummings did not capitalize letters in an effort to keep the text the most important in his poetry. Other authors had odd quirks as well. Mine was, well, the dash. It helped me break my thoughts into two parts or helped clarify what I meant.

Today, however, I had a lunch with my good friend and author Jackie Smith, who just happens to be my beta reader as well. Suffice it to say my dashes drove her nuts and I’ve been told (nicely, mind you) to get over the dashes already!  Since Jackie has my best interests at heart, I’m willing to comply. Therefore, you will not see many, if any,dashes in my posts again. I will miss them, but I’m over it already. I’m going to think positively. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

Thank you Jackie, for your wonderful guidance and thank you, too, for reading my novella, adding suggestions and generally cheering me on! I appreciate all you do for me!

If you have not read Jackie’s blog or her books, Cemetery Tours, Between Worlds and Boy Band, there is still time!  You can find all of the above just here

And an unabashed advertisement for my children’s  book, “Jack Learns to Grill” can be found here. If you have not read it to your kids yet, please get a copy and do so now. The price has been lowered and is now available for $10.00. Thanks!

look for this book, "Jack Learns to Grill
look for this book, “Jack Learns to Grill

#BecomeACharacter

How much fun would this be? Enter to win!

A Platform of Sorts

Yesterday as I was driving home from the grocery store, I found myself, as I often do, thinking about my next books.  The next Boy Band is going to be a LOT of fun and I can’t wait to really get started on it.  There are going to be new characters, new songs, and a whole lot of new drama.  That being said, I want this book to be special to my readers.  I want ALL my books to be special to my readers, but the first Boy Band has done so well that I really wanted to find a way to make this one as much my readers’ as it is mine.  Thus the #BecomeACharacter Raffle was born.

Here’s the deal.  I want YOU to become a character in the sequel to Boy Band.  There are three names available.

1) A friend of the band from high school.

2) A…

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A Novel is Born

I am happy and excited to say that in between the Jack Learns Series of Books, I have completed my first novel!  The Jack Learns Series of Books is one book out and has two more yet to be published. I am pushing to get them out before school as one of the books is entitled “Jack Learns about Bullies” and the other is “Jack Learns about Learning.” The latter is a book in which Jack learns that everyone learns in different ways- that we don’t all learn by reading instructions or hearing instructions, but that different people have different ways of learning. I feel it’s important to teach that early as it is sometimes a misunderstood concept. Misunderstood concepts lead to bullying and so it is best taught in the early years.  “Jack Learns to Grill”, the first in the series is just a playful ditty to introduce Jack as the curious dingo who loves learning new things-grilling being one of those things.

But, my novel, “The Conservative Congregant,” talks of the blessings received when we go out of our comfort zone and do something for others that we would not normally do. It is a story about a fifty-something woman who does just that and the blessings she receives are numerous, life changing and bittersweet. I have fallen in love with it and hope you will too. For now, it’s off to the editor to get ready for the final draft and publishing. I hope you will walk this journey with me and read “The Conservative Congregant” in search of your own blessing.

My Husband, I Think I’ll Keep Him

I want to take this opportunity to brag on my husband a little bit… or maybe a lot. For the most part, he is the kindest, most gentle man I know. You  might think that most women would say that about their husbands, but mine has a proven track record.

As most of you know, I have had my struggles with bipolar disorder. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s part of me, but it definately does not define me. However, there was a time when I was really a pretty sick little chick. I heard voices, I was mean, I was afraid, I was another person. My husband did his best to help others understand I was not myself, that something had happened down the way and I was not the girl he married. Even when I divorced him, he stood by me. I moved to Granger, Texas to live my life separate from him. I had a boyfriend (who no one but me liked), but I went home each and every  weekend I could. Stephen let me stay at the house, took me places, fed me, helped me. I ended up divorcing him anyway. It wasn’t I was a mean and ugly person, I was sick and lost.

When I moved back to Dallas, my husband let me move into our house. I gave him checks for rent, which he didn’t always cash, and I was grateful for being there. He had worked in the mental health industry when he lived in England long years ago. He knew how to help me, how to comfort me when I was afraid.

Many people told him he should just let me go, he should divorce me, move on and find someone else, but he was adamant that the person I was , was not the person he married. He prayed, and prayed some more, he hung in there with me and he loved me despite myself. Then, on Valentines Day, 2000, he asked our children for their permission to remarry me. We remarried on April 22, 2000. I was still not 100% whole, but I was getting there. And he stayed with me during times when my own mother didn’t know who I was. Not too many husbands would stand by their wives when they are not mentally there. My husband did and I’m so grateful he did.

So, this blog post is for him as is all my love. If you have a relative who has a mental illness, hang in there with them, pray for them and love them. They will appreciate you more than you will know.

Thank you , Stephen for hanging with me. It’s been quite the ride and I know it will continue to be for lots of years to come! I love you!11060902_10205518916603978_4508978859742893733_o

Okay Rain, Come on Back Now!

The rain came and stayed and stayed and overstayed it’s welcome. Now, at 92 degrees, I’m ready for the rain to come back. Maybe not in droves as it did in May. Maybe just a bit at a time in order to bring the temperature down a  bit.

See, when it gets hot outside, I tend to cut my hair.  Alot. It’s pretty short now and I like it okay, but I’m not in love with it. I liked my long hair-I really did. It’s just something about  hot weather and the sweating that takes place during said heat. Well, it’s just hair, it’ll grow back, I guess.

I have a few goals for this week. The first  one is to stay as cool as I can as often as I can. The other is finish my new book The Conservative Congregant. I am this close to finishing it. I know where I want it to go and how I want it to end. The second goal is to get with my niece, Shannon Beaty, who is my new illustrator for the rest of the Jack books. Shannon is very talented and we are hoping to get two books out by September-the actual goal is August, since school will be starting at the end of August. So, I want to see where she is with the illustrations. She has sent me some via text message and they are so so cute! I can’t wait for you all to see them.

So, if you don’t hear from me much this week, I’m just trying to achieve goals!

me with longish hair
me with longish hair

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Above All, He was Human

I have really been struggling this past week after learning of the death of my former pastor and friend, Phil Lineberger. I think all of us who knew him have. Phil was, for the most part, a happy, go-lucky kind of guy when I knew him, when he was at our church in the 80’s. He baptized my husband and married us in the church after Sunday evening church because we’d only been married at city hall. After my husband was baptized, we wanted a church wedding, but it was not practical to have a regular church wedding. Phil was more than happy to do it for us. It meant everything to us. He meant so much to our family.He meant so much to so many families.

This particular death was difficult for many because, you see, Phil struggled with depression and took his own life. I don’t know how long he struggled with it, but I have been in the throes of depression myself and I know how devastating it can be. Phil stated depression had it’s own language in a eulogy for one of his pastor friends who also died at his own hand. It does have it’s own language and it is the language of “you are worthless, hopeless, helpless.” Those messages along with others we hear when we are depressed are devastating to the soul and our self esteem, our pleasure in doing things, in living is diminished to the point of exhaustion.

At first, I couldn’t imagine a pastor, a man of God, with God-light in his face, his eyes taking his own life. My question was “if a pastor has no hope, is there hope?” The answer is yes. There is still hope. Pastors, priests, rabbis, all of them are human above all. They are not immune from mental illness, depression. Mental illness doesn’t pick and choose who it touches. It doesn’t pass over one because they do this or that for a living. I am sad that Phil is gone from this earth, but he is  not and will not be forgotten by those who love him, respect him . I am sad that he was caught in the evil arms of depression and that he could not wriggle free.

I am so sorry for Brenda, Becky, Amy and Kathy-the Linebergers and their families. No one should have to go through this. But instead of the blame game, we should say , “Above all, He was Human.

We love you Phil.

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