What Do You Do When Your Character Disagrees With Your Story Line?


I’ve come to an impasse. After writing several chapters, I have come to know my main characters well. So well that when I sit down to write, I often simply record the story as they play it out. But now I’ve come to a point when my protagonist is about to reveal a key item from her past – a major motivator in the current situation – but the person she has turned out to be simply would not have been involved in that situation.

So my question: Do I change my story line to accommodate the character that has evolved, or do I scrap the character and rewrite someone to fit the story?

For now, I will move on to another project, but I would welcome suggestions.

Fall Reading List….Suggestions?


One of my four favorite times of year, Fall is on it’s way! Time for seasons to change, time for new books!!

I will be going on a shopping spree in a couple weeks to purchase books to read this fall. Anyone would laugh at my excitement, rivaling any child finding a stack of gift-wrapped presents with her name on the tags. I’ve never understood the power books have over me, the uncontrollable, involuntary draw to them. When I imagine heaven, I see Barnes and Noble. Ok that may be an exaggeration, but I guarantee when I get to heaven, there will be well stocked bookshelves.

I tried to get into the e-book craze. I completely understand the many benefits, and do admit to having a couple e-books stashed on my smart phone for those unexpected waiting room delays, but just can’t let go of the magic of physical books.

There is just something about the weight of the book in my hand, the smooth feel of the cover, the sound of the pages. Before I jump in to the story I take time to appreciate the colors on the cover and the print of the blurbs on the back and sleeve. Then turning the first page, reading the first words…. I’m completely enchanted by books!

But back to the subject at hand – it will soon be time for my fall book shopping event, and… HELP!

I would love suggestions of what to read next. I currently have a list of  76 books that have struck my interest. I need to knock that down to 10-15.

Help me make a short list. What good books have you read lately or are planning to read? What authors are you currently into?

A comment below with a blurb about your current reading suggestions would be helpful and appreciated!

Thanks, and Happy Reading!

Cancer Made My Dreams Come True


First posted December 2013…..

I woke up a couple mornings ago, hours before sunrise. In past years I loved to wake early to enjoy the quite peace of the house before the kids and dogs and TVs came to life for the day. I do it now out of necessity. A recent fight with cancer has left me with chronic pain, becoming stiff and sore if I remain in one position very long. It now takes time and patience to get moving after sleep. While I go through the physical paces of the morning, getting arms and legs and body to all move in the same direction without too much ache, my mind goes through its daily process – thinking of new topics to write about.

Early morning routine complete, I stopped to enjoy a cup of coffee before launching into whatever I had been writing that day. Sitting there, it occurred to me I was happy. This was an unfamiliar feeling for me. I am truly grateful for simply being alive, but admit to frequent sadness over all I have lost. My career was everything to me. Not just means to support my family, but my success or failure at work was directly linked to my self-worth. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling sad and empty since cancer brought my career to an end.

So I was really surprised to feel happy. Taking a minute to examine the change, memory flew back several years to a job interview I once had. This was a final interview with senior management, already being approved by the hiring manager and staff. The interviewer only had one question, “If you woke up tomorrow and a magic genie could grant you one wish – if he could remove all obstacles, guarantee money and success, what would be your dream job?” Without hesitation I responded, “To write. If I had time and money and no responsibility, I would love to spend my time writing.”

I thought about this for a minute. Lasting damage from cancer and treatment has rendered me unable to work. I have downsized my life and outside responsibilities to allow me to have a quiet but sufficient existence on disability pay. Thankfully my mind is still intact (as it’s ever been), so I fill my empty days doing the thing I’ve always loved best, writing. What an unexpected turn of events, cancer made my dream come true.

#AmReading Summer 2014


I love to read. Always have, as long as they make glasses strong enough to correct my vision, I expect I always will. At the beginning of each summer I go on a book spree. I pick a book store, or book section of a store I frequent (Target is a favorite), and buy every single book I find interesting. Or at least the top 10 or so. I try to stay away from books I’ve heard much about, tend to allow the titles, cover graphics, and back blurbs draw me in.

Once I get my purchase home, I’m like a kid at Christmas – sorting the books by size, re-reading the jacket cover blurbs, prioritizing the order in which I will read the new stack. This is how I discovered Shelter Me, by Juliette Fay. The story was refreshing. Janie became a real person within the first few pages. A widow, a mother, and eventually a woman finding her next chapter – this was someone I could identify with. I was impressed with the way Juliette incorporated the children into the story. They were not simply there to fill space. They were part of Janie, infiltrated into every aspect of her life. Real. I enjoyed the story and was sorry when it ended.

Jump to a month ago, BookQuest 2014. My intention was slightly different this year.  In the midst of writing my own first novel, I am hungry to read more of what has inspired me thus far. Looking back at my favorites from last year, I searched for anything new from Amy Sue Nathan (The Glass Wives), Kimberley Freeman (Wildflower Hill), Juliette Fay (Shelter Me), Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers), or Meg Waite Clayton (The Wednesday Sisters).

I was thrilled to find Deep Down True and The Shortest Way Home, both by Juliette Fay. So they are not brand new, better I find these late than never. Partially through Deep Down True, I have not been disappointed. I’m again impressed with the use of the children to bring the story to life. ‘Dana’ just wouldn’t be a real person if not fully developed as a mother. Another trend I notice in Juliette’s writing style is her use of plot twists. There are many instances I find myself holding my breath, expecting to have the rug pulled out from under the latest revealed truth. But the twist ends up being that there is no twist, face value is true. When so many novels these days appear to be written simply to incorporate as many plot twists as the author can squeeze in, whether they advance the story or not, I appreciate this straight forward style.  I look forward to diving into The Shortest Way Home as well, although I’m sure I’ll need a few extra days to let go of Dana and her crew once I reach the end of her story.

I have this crazy habit of extrapolating a particularly good book – allowing the characters to live on for a while after I finish the last page. Imagining what happened after the last word was written, was it really happily ever after, etc. Do you ever do this?

I have a question thought, for anyone else who may have read Deep Down True. There is one sentence in chapter 23 that is bugging me. Completely no big deal, but it keeps coming back to me. Dana and Tina are wrapping up a very uncomfortable phone conversation when Tina says, “The nurse is waiting. Bye.” …and the call ended. What nurse?? What did I miss? Any insight? Please clue me in!

What are you reading this summer? Do your reading tastes change with the season? Leave comments, let me know!

 

 

That Last Day


I have thought about that day a lot lately. I don’t remember much. I got up, went to work at a job I loved, in a new city I had worked long and hard to get to. Did my work, drove home. I probably had dinner and went to sleep. I wish I could remember more about it, but I don’t think there is much more to know.

The memorable thing happened the next day. The morning I woke up doubled over in pain, could not stand up straight, hemorrhaging, was diagnosed with cancer. There are details of that day I cannot stomach to recall. And many of the days to follow were worse. I am still standing four years later, but my body, and life, has been irreparably damaged. I will never return to that, or any job. I had to leave the city I loved so much, with its warm climate and white beaches. I will forever more have to search for a new, altered, sense of normal.

But I do not want to think about that day. I want to think about the day before. I the last day I had…. the last day I had. I want to think about the drive into work that morning. Was the sun rising over the cityscape as it often did? Were there dolphins in the bay? What did I have for lunch? Who did I chat with? Did I make any significant decisions on the job that day? Was there traffic on the way home? Did I leave my coffee cup on my desk? Did I rinse it? What did I have for dinner? Watch on TV? Read?

Why didn’t I pay attention to any of these things?

What would I have done differently if I had known what was coming the next day? Stayed an hour later at work? Called in sick and sat in my house memorizing everything as it was? Spent the evening sitting on the beach, watch the sun set one last time? What would I have done to soak up that last second of regular out of my life? Could I have appreciated the minutes ticking by?

If you knew this was the last day of your life as you know it, that everything in your world would change tomorrow, how would you spend today?

Fair Trade Friday…Please Check This Out!


Fair Trade Friday Club

Fair Trade Friday Club

We live in an age of information overload. No denying that. The world wide web has placed the global neighborhood at our fingertips, 24/7. With so much information coming at us in such a rapid-fire manor, and so much of it negative, it is easy to become completely jaded and cynical. This happens as a type of defense mechanism, protecting us from emotional overload.

I make this statement assuming it happens to all of us. I certainly have noticed this unsavory trend in myself.

So when something does reach off the page and grab my attention, and my heart, I pay attention. That’s how I came upon Fair Trade Friday. An email notification of a new post to another blog I follow (WeAreThatFamily) led me to a link to a story about empowering women around the world to earn an income for their family by providing a platform to sell their unique hand crafted items. I love this concept! I followed the link and read the story, and became more excited the more I learned. Additional sources of information on this wonderful idea can be found at FairTradeFridayClub, and via Twitter @FTFClub.

So what is it all about? Once you subscribe, you will receive a box in the mail each month, containing three to four hand crafted products. Imagine jewelry, scarves, purses and totes – just to name a few. You can purchase one box, just to give it a try, there is an option to prepay several months in advance, or you can join the monthly club and be billed each month… for as long as you care to continue to receive these wonderful handcrafted items.

Each time you use or wear one of these items, you will know you have allowed a mother to take care of her family. Isn’t that all we all really want to do? To take care of our families?

Many folks have strong feelings about assisting our global neighbors when there is so much need here at home. I will save that conversation for another post, but ask you to just check this out. From there, follow your heart!

Writing My First Novel, Characters Come To Life


I am writing my first novel. Everything I read says your first novel is your throw away. That it will be no good but must be written to clear the way for future quality books.

If nine out of ten published authors say this is true, it likely is true. I am sure every new author thinks he or she will be the exception to that rule. But gosh, I hope I’m the exception to that rule!

I really like my story. I’ve had this story in my head for some time. I hope others will have the opportunity to read it and enjoy it, but most importantly, I need to write it. It simply won’t leave me alone until I do.

I’m early in the process of getting the first draft on paper, just recently hitting the milestone of the first 10,000 words, but have noticed a phenomenon that is just so much fun! When I sit down to write each day I usually have a particular scene in mind, some part of scenario or dialog already in my head. I begin writing with the purpose of bringing the story from the current point A to the next point B.

But as I am beginning to know my characters very well, they seem to be taking control, directing the story on their own. At times I feel as though I am simply following them around, transcribing their every action and word onto the paper. This is creating more work for me since I sometimes have to go back and adjust previous scenes and back stories to make the current events work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My characters seem to have come to life, and have grown into folks I really like, or really like to dislike! This is making this process so enjoyable, many days I just can’t wait to sit down to the keyboard to find out what happens next. Hopefully one day readers will feel the same way!