Saturday, December 27, 2014

People Matter. Stories Matter.

This morning, I volunteered at Helping Hands, a local food pantry and clothes closet. You may remember me sharing a bit about a previous Helping Hands experience over on Middle Places (click here to read that post).

Some days, it's a quick in and out... ask the questions, write the answers, turn in the form, move onto the next person. Other days, everyone has a story to tell, and I love those days. I love those days, because stories matter. People matter, and when you listen to what they are going through, you offer them more than food. You offer them dignity, and that isn't something you can find on a form or in a grocery bag.

Today was a story day. I had a woman with heart problems, doctor-assured that she will be dying any day now. And I had an elderly man who could barely hear and didn't see super well either. He reminded me a bit of my papaw, whom I adored and still miss dearly 22 years after losing him. As this man stood to leave, he pulled three bracelets from his pocket and told me he wanted me to take one. He wanted to give me a Christmas present.

If you know me, you know I don't wear jewelry often, and bracelets are a hindrance to my constant typing and scribbling in notebooks. They are too much sensory input for me when I am writing, basically. But I picked one of the beaded bracelets and put it on. It is made of fake pink pearls. It is not a bracelet I would ever pick even if I were to wear bracelets.

And I love it.

It is the prettiest thing I've ever seen.

I got a lot of lovely Christmas presents. My husband spoiled me with four Out of Print tees, a new Kindle cover, two new books, and a leather journaling Bible... not to mention gifts from church members and money sent by parents, etc...

But this little bracelet... It's like the widow's mite, and I will treasure it forever.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Merry Christmas - This Holy Story

This Holy Story

I love this holy story,
this broken image of a woman
shattered reputation scattered,
saved from stoning by a man
willing to see God's hand
in a hopeless moment, a faithless wife.
He didn't let her go, this man,
and another holy story falls,
words written in loose sand.

I love this woman's story,
her cloth robe worn thin by
so many eyes, so many hearts,
so many generations born and held
in her arms, her God
alive and suckling at her breast.
The man who reconciled
and the baby sent to reconcile
a world.

I love this mother's story.
She is heart and womb and blood,
milk, and flesh, and mud,
human birthed and breathing,
humility of the humblest kind
covering a royal throne.
Mary, here, advent of Christ
His home.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Currently: December is Here Before it's June

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Current Books: I started A Farewell to Mars with my coffee in the mornings. I am almost finished reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. WOW! For a while, I have read books like my son plays with toys... secretly taking them apart in my brain and trying to figure out how they work. It's been a while since I have totally relaxed so far into a book, I forget it is a book and I write books and I need to know how this book works. We Were Liars is a "just one more chapter" kind of book.

Current Playlist: I've been listening to "Less Like Scars" by Sara Groves on repeat.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Yesterday, I bought donuts. For myself. I didn't share.

Current Colors: I've liked mustard yellow lately, and that's not a color I normally like. It's also not a color I wear. It doesn't look good on my skin tone. But I like it lately, nonetheless.

Current Food: Corey and I tried a new place called Amsterdam's. Though the name doesn't show it, they serve a few middle eastern dishes, and I got a gyro. They also have shawarma and a hummus plate. It was delicious and I will definitely go back. A lot.

Current Drink: I had a yummy sparkling berry lemonade at Amsterdam's. I don't recall the brand. It was a French import.

Current Favorite Favorite: Not stressing about gifts this Advent. I made a list and I have stuck to that list.

Current Wishlist: A bunch of books, some Out of Print Clothing shirts, a journaling Bible, a new bag for my Macbook...

Current Needs: Nothing huge. I'm feeling very content and grateful.

Current Triumphs: I just bought my husband's Christmas gift. It was expensive. I paid for it with Jamberry money I earned. :) We've never been a "your money" and "my money" kind of couple, but usually he is the only one earning any money. This year, it was fun to shop for him without him even knowing.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Hormones. Mine and those belonging to the tweens living in my house.

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Current Indulgence: I watch New Girl on Netflix while working on Christmas gifts.

Current Mood: Content.

Current Outfit: Jeans, spike-toed boots, blue shirt, purple Under Armor jacket

Current #1 Blessing: My husband

Current Quote: “Because I hadn’t known that I knew these things. Just having a notebook to write them in, and having someone to write them to, made them all rise to the surface.” ― Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Current Photo:

Title taken from: “How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Poem: Christmas Came too Fast

I struggle to write poetry and fiction at the same time. The last few months have been saturated with fiction and some creative non-fiction, but no poems. This morning, I tried to pen a verse during the sermon, something I used to do every week without fail. I'm not sure I love the result, and there will be a more clearly expressed blog post for Middle Places next week. But I am trying...

In Bethlehem, we waited.
We waited inside stone walls,
surrounded by columns and ancient
art. We waited, and we
were hungry and tired and nothing
was as we expected it to be.

That day, in Bethlehem,
my feet hurt, and I
was distracted by
the grey wall, so high,
the wall that would keep Mary
and Joseph from entering
the very place God intended
them to be, if they were 
to come today.

Inside that overwhelming wall,
my heart was broken and my legs
were aching and my focus
was shattered
long before the star appeared.

Christmas flashed
before my eyes,
my fingers barely grasping
the hope that I was

I knelt, confused,
by the marble manger,
and I left with my soul
cracked in frustrating pieces.

I didn't understand
the things I thought
I understood.

The prison wall and the mosque,
the gun towers and the
olive wood cross
in my pocket...
The chanting in a tongue
Jesus used to whisper,
"Mama, can I?"
"Mama, will you?"
"Mama, why?"

"Mama, why?"

I didn't feel
what I expected to feel.
I felt empty, and I wonder
if Mary felt that too.

Did Mary hold a king in her arms
and feel the home inside of her,
hollow without Him?
Her child, her son, her Savior,
already leaving her behind
even as the angels sang
and the shepherds came
and the greatest story ever told
hovered in her hands,
nursing at her breast,
knowing no other love than the love
His mother taught Him.

Christmas came too fast
that day in Bethlehem.


Saturday, November 29, 2014


I won NaNoWriMo 2014.

That's my second NaNo win. The first was in 2011, when I dove in with the true "no plot, no problem" spirit and wrote a complete first draft of a young YA/upper MG novel called Truth or Dair: A Liar's Tale. I really should revise that book. I know some ways to fix it now, things I have learned in the last three years.

This time, I plotted first. I'd had my premise for a while, but I was scared to write it. I was scared because...

  • It's from a boy's point of view, and I have never written as a boy before.
  • It deals with Tourette's, and I didn't want to mess that up.
  • The premise calls for a lot of kissing. A. Lot. Of. Kissing. And, yeah, romance is a weakness for me, as a writer.

My friend and fellow Middle Sister, Sasha, was doing NaNo, and I was so excited for her. I've heard about her book for a couple of years. It sounds so good in my head, like The Book Thief meets Inkheart maybe. I'm just going on her talking about it, because I haven't read the draft yet. The point? I really wanted to support Sasha doing this. I remember how it felt to finish my first rough draft. I know how it feels every time I finish a first draft. It is glorious.

It isn't glorious because of the draft itself. Let's be honest; there is a dang good reason no one publishes first drafts. But once I have a draft, I can turn it into a novel. I can play with it. It's like I have created Legos from scratch and it feels as if no one ever in the history of the world ever thought of Legos before. But now I have them, and I am going to build.

I am going to build... a BOOK!

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So, yeah... I wanted that for my friend. And I needed a kick in the tail to start my new story. I have learned to find accountability, because I NEED accountability.

Making a public declaration that I was doing NaNo was my accountability this month. I have a lot of pride sometimes. Too much in certain areas, I'm sure. So I wasn't about to admit defeat. Between the specter of public failure and the need to encourage Sasha, I was kept on track, and I have 50,000 words now. It isn't a complete draft, but it covers the first two plot points and is in way better shape than my first NaNo novel from 2011. So I'm calling it a win.

To celebrate, I have watched a bazillion episodes of New Girl and prettified my fingernails.

Happy NaNoWriMo friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Happy Gif-alicious Post

I started my week with a Monday morning disappointment.

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But it has only gotten better and better from there, so I am not complaining.

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Tomorrow, I hit the road for a girls' weekend, and I am so ready to see my friends and share some happy and definitely go to Target (because my town still doesn't have one of those, and I am still not done complaining about it, even if it does lump me in with the stereotypical white suburban housewife clique).

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Today I hit 23,000 words in my NaNo novel. Most of those words were written with a cat draped across my right arm while I typed. He is currently trying to also take over my left arm. Yup. There he goes. He wins. I am now typing with a cat pinning my arms to the keyboard.

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I know this post is entirely too gif-heavy. It will probably make me motion-sick just to proofread it, but it is a gif-filled kind of day.

Y'all have a lovely weekend.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Currently: When Leaves Turned and Fruit Ripened

Current Books: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is my fun read. With my coffee in the mornings, I am reading Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, and before bed I have a volume of poems by Mary Oliver. Also, my 7th grader has to read Night for his English project this semester, so I am re-reading that. It is heavy stuff and I want to be able to talk over what he read. Though, mostly, when I ask, he just says, "It's sad."

Current Playlist: For my current book, I need to think like a 16-year-old boy, so I made iTunes radio channels based on Eminem and Blink 182.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: soda

Current Colors: Hot pink on my fingernails right now. I needed something bright.

Current Food: Chili Cheese Fritos dipped in sour cream.  Don't judge me.

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Current Drink: Peach Nehi

Current Favorite Favorite: Girlfriend time. I got to spend some time at the lake with friends recently and next week I get to spend another three days with another set of friends. Heavenly.

Current Wishlist:  This Kentucky shirt, this dress in a medium, this blanket

Current Needs: Two dental crowns

Current Triumphs: Pitch Wars has ended and I got 8 requests in the agent round. *grins*

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Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Housework

Current Indulgence: Peach soda and Twizzlers while I write

Current Mood: Really good. I am writing everyday, and that always betters my mental state.

Current Outfit: Jeans, baseball sweatshirt and my black boots

Current #1 Blessing: My husband. He was just honored in a really awesome way, and he deserves it. He rocks.

Current Quote: “What I really do is take real plums and put them in an imaginary cake.” ― Mary McCarthy

Current Photo:

Title taken from:  “She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.” ― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I Wrote my Pitch Wars Book

My friend Carlee asked all of us Pitch Wars mentees to blog the answer to this question:

Why did you write your Pitch Wars book?

I've thought over that all day. There are multiple answers.

I suppose it began with the shooting in CT. Something about that particular shooting shook me in a way I still can't account for. I wrote a poem about it. I fought panic attacks. I went from not being fond of guns to being terrified of guns.

Everyone was talking about school shootings in a way I hadn't heard since Columbine... when I was in high school myself. Everyone had theories and solutions and laments and fear and anger...

Somewhere along the way, I landed in a conversation about how the majority of school shooters are white middle-class males. And I asked myself what would make a girl pull off a school shooting.

I started writing a story then, but not this story. Instead, I wrote a story about a girl who is afraid she could somehow become a monster... in the background of Haven's story, there was a female school shooter on the news. Her name was Chris.

I danced around her.

I was afraid of her.

Haven's story couldn't hold me. I knew it was Chris's story I needed to tell, but I didn't know enough about her.

And being inside her head scared me.

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So I had to write her. Because writing what scares me is what I do.

Still, I was missing a piece. I didn't KNOW her story, so how could I tell it?

Eventually, a teacher made the news. And the news he made gutted me. I felt a violent sort of anger, and then I knew Chris's story. I knew what could make a girl pull off a school shooting.

There is a girl out there who never got to tell her story. She didn't kill a teacher or take a gun to school. She didn't live long enough to do any of that.

I wrote Renascence for two reasons... for justice and for truth.

The girl who didn't kill her teacher never got justice. I wanted to give her some in my tiny little way. But also, truth... the truth that violence isn't the answer. That no school shooter walks away in tact... even if they don't take their own life.

Like Harry learned about horcruxes... when we hurt someone else, we slice away parts of ourselves.

I wanted to get inside Chrissy's head AFTER the shooting, not before. We're all so familiar with the stories of before... the bullying and the depression and the video games and whatever other reasons or theories people come up with. The before isn't new any longer, and it's sad we live in a world where I can say that. The before is no longer surprising.

But the after... how would doing such a terrible thing affect the person who did it? How could she live after committing that crime? How would she feel?

Could the world ever see her as human instead of a monster?

Should they?

I don't have the answers to these questions.

All I have is a story. A story about a girl who makes a decision she may never be able to live with. I'll tell my story. You can draw your own conclusions.

Take a moment to visit some of my fellow Pitch Wars mentees and alternates at the following links:


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


To celebrate the release of Jessica Bell’s latest novel, WHITE LADY, she is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

The fastest Jessica Bell has ever completed the first draft of a book is ...
a. 3 days
b. 3 weeks
c. 3 months

What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only from the time of posting.

If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.

*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Priscilla Watson, Fictional and Fabulous

I love a good writerly blog Meme. I was tagged by the fab E. G. Moore, and you can read her entry HERE.

My Pitch Wars book is dual POV, so I'm going with the MC that tends to get less attention.

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Priscilla Watson. She's entirely fictional. I gave her the name Priscilla as a nod to Elvis. She has a brother named Aaron. Her sister's name is Marlena Presley Watson, but she goes by Marly and I never actually tell the reader her full name. My best friend gave her the name Watson. And I later laughed, because she spends the whole story trying to solve a mystery.

2. When is the story set?

It opens at the start of May 2014 and finishes about 2 weeks later, with an epilogue set in 2015.

3. What should we know about him/her?

She's just returned home from a school-year in England. She is a theater junkie. Most of her relationships center around her taking care of other people, and when those people no longer want to be mothered, she doesn't know how to deal. At the same time, she is so dang tired of taking care of everyone. That's why she followed her dream to the British theater scene. No way she was playing mama to anyone from across an ocean.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Her best friend commits a school shooting. That alone is a game-changer, but she returns home to attack the problem in person and finds a sister she no longer recognizes and her boy best friend acting like a girl with PMS and her old friend, Twila shows up to mother her, forcing Priscilla into the opposite role from what she's used to.

5. What is the personal goal of this character?

She feels responsible for what happened with her BFF, and she's determined to fix it. Her obvious goal is to keep her BFF from getting the death penalty, but what Priscilla is really after is a chance to control her own life.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Renascence, from the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. There's a book of Millay's poems that features heavily in my story, and Chrissy (the shooter) was doing an independent Millay study the semester before she takes the gun to school.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

That's hard to say. The publishing world is all about patience. I'd love to tell you to plan it as Christmas gifts for 2016, but there's just no way to know.

And I tag Carlee and Tracie.

(Carlee, you can write yours up and I will post it on my blog)

Monday, September 29, 2014

In the Meantime, Send Brownies

I am neck deep in revisions for Pitch Wars.  I may look like this...

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But I feel like this...

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I have a weekly blog post at Middle Places, and that's about all of the blogging energy I can muster at this point. I apologize my pretties. Soon, this will be complete, and I will have more to share here.

In the meantime, send brownies.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nun Too Soon (A Review)

I was excited when this book showed up on Net Galley. I immediately requested it. I know the author from the writing community, and I couldn't wait to read. I read two chapters before telling her I had a review copy. That way, if I didn't like it, I never had to say. It's nerve-wracking to review a book by someone you know and like.

Luckily, I loved it.

I'm not a big mystery reader, but when I picked up Tana French's books, I was reminded why I used to love mysteries. This one by Alice Loweecey is the perfect balance of mystery and humor. Plus, I'm a sucker for all things monastic, and the detective in this book is an ex-nun.

I went back and forth on who I thought did it right up until the end. I laughed out loud many times. I finished it fast. Three of the best compliments I can give a mystery.

If you like cozy mysteries, go buy this one. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Order Here & find more info Here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Currently: 30 Days Has September

Current Books: With my coffee, I'm alternating between the Rule of Saint Benedict and Learning to Walk in the Dark. My fun read is Nun Too Soon by Alice Loweecy. With my small group, I am re-reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and there's still a volume of Mary Oliver by my bed.

Current Playlist: Lately, I leave my iTunes on shuffle and then hit skip until it offers something that suits me.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: I had cookies for breakfast. Not just any cookies though. These were teacakes Sapada and Clete made for church on Sunday. They are Sapada's grandmother's recipe, and they are amazing. They taste like big soft vanilla wafers.

Current Colors: Aqua. I wore my aqua sweater Sunday. I bought it over the summer, on sale at Banana Republic's outlet. It has finally gotten cool enough to wear it. Of course this is the south, so tomorrow temps will probably soar over 100.

Current Food: Remember those salads at Wendy's? You poured chili over them and they came with Fritos? Gah. I am craving one. They changed it to something else now and it isn't nearly as good.

Current Drink: I'm having my coffee with creme brûlée creamer.

Current Favorite Favorite: My friend, Amy. I had a rough patch over the weekend, and Sunday night when I told her about it, she made me laugh so hard. God has put good people in my life.

Current Wishlist: A bunch of new wraps from Jamberry. I want Bright Noise, Mixed SignalsShake Your Tail Feather, and pretty much all the rest from the new catalogue.

Current Needs: I need to regain some peace of spirit.

Current Triumph: I made it into Pitch Wars! I have an awesome mentor and should be starting some revisions this week.

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The Mindy Project returns tonight. YAY!

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Divisive words, meanness. For some reason, lately, the way people treat others has weighed very heavy on my shoulders.

Current Indulgence: I rented a DVD just for myself yesterday. Of course, it was badly scratched and wouldn't play the second half of the movie, so I guess my indulging failed.

Current Mood: I'm feeling pretty good today. Like I said earlier, I am struggling with some things in my spirit. They are heavy things. I am not in a good place confidence-wise. I need to slow my spirit and take some deep breaths, physically and metaphorically.

Current Outfit: dark Gap jeans, a comfort colors tee from this year's D-Now, my black glitter TOMs and I have Spotted on my nails.

Current #1 Blessing: There are amazing people in my life. In my town, in my state, in my country, around the world... I am surrounded by people who love deeply and work hard. They hold me up when I threaten to fall.

Current Quote: “The only real difference between Anxiety and Excitement was my willingness to let go of Fear.”  -Barbara Brown Taylor

Current Photo:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Picking Up Food is Good for My Muse

You can find Part One by clicking HERE.

4. Who taught you how to perform your art or craft?

It would be unfair to attribute this to one person. My brother taught me my alphabet, so he gave me my first tools. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Degnan, built up my confidence when she gave me harder work and alerted my parents to my advanced reading skills. Mrs. Holmes gave me my first writing assignments and my first experiences with critiques and rewrites. My 8th grade English teacher, Ms. Robertson, actually read my sequel to Rebecca and praised my writing. The list goes on and on. Most people on the list are teachers.

But I would be remiss if I didn't tell you who most encouraged my reading and writing, growing up. That would be my father. I can't picture my dad without a book in his hands. Now it's a Kindle. We have always talked about books and shared writing. We were once members of a poets' group together, back in the early days of Internet forums, before blogging was a thing. He pushed my reading boundaries and was never too busy for a trip to the library.

5. What are common responses you get from people about your work?

I'm often told my work is lyrical. Even my fiction is most often called poetic.

6. What life experiences shaped you as an artist?

All of them.

Okay, a few that stand out:

My first love/relationship and all of the surrounding drama in high school. I never wrote so much poetry (most of it bad). That boy brought out parts of my soul I never knew existed. He made me question who I was. He hurt me, yes, but he also filled me up and made me feel beautiful and alive.

Marriage and motherhood. Both are the most amazing things I've ever done. They also require the most from me. Every day I learn what I am capable of and also where my limits lie.

Natalie's death. Also, Patrick and Lynn and my Uncle Greg and so many others. Death brings me face to face with fears and dreams.

7. When do you feel most inspired?

When I am driving. Especially if I am on a long car trip and can't possible stop to write. I have been known to pull over and scribble down a poem. I often tell Siri, "Email Heather Truett," and she opens an email and I tell her my idea and have it sent to myself. I have all sorts of notes saved that way. My last novel was just loose bits until I drove to pick up pizza and had an epiphany. And my new novel found its main character when I was driving to Firehouse Subs to pick up dinner. Apparently, picking up food is good for my muse.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Of #PitchWars and Tiaras

Today, I have a post up at Middle Places. It is about the hard heavy things that make me feel like this...

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You can click HERE to read it.

It's been a busy whirlwind of a week. If you follow me on Twitter or read my earlier Mentee Bio, you know I entered #PitchWars this year.  There were over 1200 submissions. 75 mentors each chose 1 mentee and 1 alternate. As the announcement approached, my friends and I looked something like this...

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We stayed up until midnight Tuesday to find out who made it and watch a crazy fun countdown show. Corey sat beside me, shooting me looks and mocking me. Mocking is our love language.

When midnight came, my name was on the list.

And then I looked something like this...

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My mentor is Dannie Morin, who is awesome sauce, and you can read about her selection process HERE.

Now, the work will begin.

But the rest of life continues as well. So I am putting together church media, juggling school stuff for the boys, back to leading small group (my girls are JUNIORS this year), getting ready for book group with some of my fave ladies, brainstorming my next book, trying to keep up with housework (a little halfheartedly) and running Jamberry Facebook parties (let me know if you want to host one and earn some freebies).

I will continue my artist's statement series as soon as my brain returns to full function. ;)

Until then, I leave you with my happy-crown-wearing satisfaction

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ha! Take that.

I've been blogging more than a decade, and sometimes I still sit here wondering what to write about. My friend posted a great link with questions to help with About Me pages. I thought it might be fun to answer the questions as a blog series. I've done similar before, and I always enjoy it.

Artist Statement - Part 1

1. Why do you do what you do?

I suppose this isn't about why I started writing, but about why I continue to write. It's the one area of my life where I feel at peace. It's not that I never struggle as a writer. I do. Lately I am on a veritable rollercoaster everyday. But I never question that this is what I am made to do. It feels right. I feel right when I am creating with words, whether it's a novel, a poem, or a post for this blog... Heck, sometimes, I revel in a finely crafted email reply. I still write people letters, longhand, for fun. I have been known to read the dictionary. I get excited over etymology. This is who I am.

2. How would you describe your own work?

Metaphor heavy. I love a good metaphor. I think I write poetry even when I'm writing prose. I also feel like my work is a reflection of my entire life experience, pieces of everything in a blender, spit out on paper in new form. My work is also searching. I am always using my writing to dig for answers.

3. Why did you choose the kind of materials you're currently working with?

For my purposes, this means fiction. For a long time, I thought I couldn't write fiction. I scribbled scenes but not stories. Instead, I wrote (and published) poems and essays. When I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, I blamed that for my inability to finish a novel. Then I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I read it, but I didn't act on it. It sat inside me.

Funny story: We were at a psyche office with my oldest son, back when we were trying to figure out some issues. I ended up really disliking that doctor, but something he said stuck with me. He saw my occupation on a form and asked, "How can you be a writer? You have ADHD." He was genuinely baffled. At the time, I explained that I wrote poems and essays. They didn't require a lengthy attention span. But the assumption that I couldn't do it ticked me off. Sometimes, I want to stop by his office and show him my stack of completed novel manuscripts. Ha! Take that.

Anywho, I decided to write a story for my stepdaughter for her 12th birthday. I used the Bird by Bird method, writing a scene at a time. Since I had a deadline and a purpose, I actually finished it. That was it. I was hooked. I have written quite a number of novels since then, though they are in various states of readiness. I feel good in this kind of writing. I no longer feel restless career-wise. This is it. This is my thing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

In Which I Recover (or try to)

School started 3 weeks ago. I've enjoyed a quiet house and gotten quite a bit done. However, I fully expected to be doing more. I could call and get on the sub list for the high school, but when I think about doing that, I feel like this...

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Wednesday night, while the youth were singing "Oceans," and I was thinking about my friends and the big struggles they are facing, I had an epiphany.

I'm not facing those big struggles right now.

Four years ago, I went into crisis mode. Stuff was going on with my kid and I didn't know what it was. Every time I thought I had a handle on it, something changed. Halfway through the year, I started homeschooling him. I spent the following three and a half years treading water 90% of the time. We survived it. I made the best decision for my son. He benefitted greatly and is doing well now.

But me?

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My body and brain are recovering from years of stress.

No, I am not doing as much as I could be doing. I still haven't reorganized the bookshelves in the kitchen. The hall closet hasn't been cleaned out. Yada yada yada.

Now, as if to reinforce that point for me, I'm sick. The kids brought home a cold. They coughed for about 48 hours and now they're fine. Me? I'm a mess.

So, today includes Project Runway, coffee, a good book, and my couch.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Secret Place: A Review

I am a big fraidy cat. I have to pretty much drug myself to get any sleep while my husband is out of town. I've been this way for as long as I can remember, and my mama is the same. In high school, for some ungodly reason, I got addicted to Fear Street novels, and I don't think that helped. I have had nightmares about demons for decades, and I have night terrors also.

All that to say, when Dana suggested I read In the Woods by Tana French, I was not running right out to buy it. However, Dana insisted I would love it, and 9 times out of 10, that girl is right about me and books. I read it. I was hooked. I read every novel Tana had out and then started stalking Net Galley in hopes of snagging her next one.

And I did!

I started reading The Secret Place last weekend, but Corey was out of town so I stopped until he got home. Her books don't scare me the way I thought they would, but reading about an unsolved murder while all alone in the dark didn't seem wise.

I finished yesterday.

It was every bit as good as her other books. But also different, which is another thing I appreciate about Tana's stories. Each one is very much it's own. You do not need to have read the others, but if you have read the others, you will pick up some extra atmosphere and detail. Each new story has some sliver of connection to the last. Usually, a side character from the last book becomes a main character in the next book. In this case, you get two side characters from the last book, Detective Moran and Holly Mackey.

The setting in The Secret Place is ripe for drama - hello, all girls school. It touched on the kind of friendship I dreamed about as a teen girl and also the intricate and often dangerous relationship dynamics of teen girls in cliques.

Every time I was certain I knew who did it, one tiny detail would be revealed and I'd have to question myself. By the end, I somewhat figured it out, but not entirely. That's a good mystery to me. I don't want to be totally blindsided with, "Oh, actually, that guy from chapter 1 did it, even though the story gave you NO INDICATION that was possible." A good writer leads the reader. Sometimes she leads you in the wrong direction and then draws you back, but when you get the answer, you should be able to see the trail of clues left behind you.

As usual, Tana is amazing.

And the best part?

The book starts with the popular girls being dubbed The Daleks. I laughed out loud and tweeted about it immediately. Whovians rule the world, y'all.

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Oh, and, after reading one of Tana's books, I go around saying "arse" and "bollix." You've been warned.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Currently: August Hangs

Current Books: I'm reading The Secret Place by Tana French. It comes out next month. Pre-order it. Everything she writes is golden. And that's saying something from me. I don't read her genre, but I am so glad my friend Dana convinced me to pick up Into the Woods

Current Playlist: I hit shuffle a lot lately. 

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Too much time on Twitter

Current Colors: Springy colors

Current Food: We've been grilling a lot lately. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken…

Current Drink: Coffee with caramel vanilla creamer or peach soda, when I'm not drinking water

Current Favorite Favorite: gifs - I know I came late to the party. They are fun though. I am a bit addicted to them. I apologize if they show up a lot on the blog for a while.

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Current Wishlist: This bag, this sticker, this shirt

Current Needs: To start writing a new story… I function better when I am writing.

Current Triumph: I got my house cleaned last week. It looks pretty good. Minus those corners I can't stay on top of.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Housework. I am tired of corners. I want a round house. Every corner or angle collects dirt and cat hair. Just let me live in a giant ball, please.

Current Indulgence: I bought a new purse. I love my purple Hobo, but it is small, and since hubby bought me an iPad mini and I am now carrying Jamberry catalogues everywhere, I needed more space.

Current Mood: I'm in a good place.

Current Outfit: dark jeans, green fitted tee, black & silver sandals

Current #1 Blessing: my husband's support

Current Quote:  “sometimes something makes perfect sense, and then it's a complete mystery when you look at it the next day,” ― Dana ReinhardtHarmless

Current Photo:  ((the 11th day of this manicure with Jamberry wraps))

Title taken from:  Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

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