Monday, March 29, 2010


Writing a book is like giving birth. The next book is the next child to an author. A living entity that begins with just a smidgen of hope, a whisper of thought and then slowly grows into something even the creator doesn't know all about until it's completed.

First it's an embryo and then a growing, living, breathing thing that develops slowly, broadening it's scope, fleshing out the character until it becomes something who is at once promising and yet incomplete until the last sentence is typed. The main character takes a special place in the writer's life as if she is actually part of my family now and not just an idea that blossomed.

That's how I think of my books, anyhow. It's really more than just the main character who becomes the new child; the accompanying prose and color help finish the project. I know this new person, probably better than I know my own children because I created her and God created my children. The other characters are like cousins or friends maybe; known but not as embedded in my heart as the gossamer thread that began with a simple thought and became another family member.

Most of my novels were born because of something I call my 'what if' syndrome. What if this or that happened to me or someone I know? What would follow: and then the manuscript is launched.

So now, novel number ten hovers just on the horizon…completed, ready to be born. I don't say finished because I'm not sure a novel is ever really entirely over and done with in the writer's mind, just as a real life child changes over the years.

My latest novel, Forgiven, is with a publisher as I write this. Any writer reading this knows the anxiety contained in that statement. Will the publisher accept it? Will this new child be introduced this way? It's a waiting game but whatever happens, it is certain that Forgiven will become my next child.

To give you just a hint as to the makeup of this next offspring, let me tell you a little about it. Not too much, mind you, but enough perhaps to capture your attention and bring you to my side to help wait out this finale with me.

FORGIVEN - Trouble is about to descend on the sleepy little town of Gadara, Florida. A.J. Handley, the last of Gadara's founding family, now realizes his days are numbered. Believing he is without heirs, he prepares to leave his estate to the town's Historical Society. On the other side of town, Karen Waterson is dealing with very different problems. Not only is she struggling with financial matters, now she's got an ex-husband who's useless and an unmarried daughter who's pregnant. Alice, Karen's daughter, would like to be sympathetic but she's got her own problems now that Morgan, the baby's father, has disappeared. With no real explanation, Morgan just up and left, saying he wasn't equipped for the task of being a father. Now that trouble is boiling up like a teakettle about to whistle, Karen prays for guidance.

Meanwhile, Samuel looks down from his Heavenly perch, listens to Karen's plea and shakes his head. He knows it's up to him to do something, but first Samuel has a job to do. He's got to tell Jack Coursky he's dead. After an accident Jack climbed out of the car, left his body behind, and began wandering around like a lost soul, which in fact is precisely what he is. Once Samuel has convinced Jack he is now an angel, Jack gets his first assignment…an assignment that takes him to Gadara where he meets Karen, Alice and A. J. Handley."

The waiting game is the labor in this creative endeavor and to ease the pangs I've begun another babe, in such early stages even I am not sure where it's going. Alas, that's the writer's lot but one I've dreamed of for most of my life. There are no complaints, just awesome anticipation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Unrest and the Results

A couple of months ago I wrote a letter to the editor lamenting the loss of civility in our culture and included it on my blog. Today I continued on that same subject as follows:

Over the past months the lack of civility, respect and common courtesy has deteriorated beyond belief. There are more and more instances of a total disregard for respect in every facet of our lives. It's okay to shout down the President of this country? It's okay to shout out racial slurs and to spit on our Congressmen as they enter the Capitol Building. This terrible situation is actually encouraged by a few of our leaders. It is okay to twist and turn the truth into scare tactics? No, none of this is okay!

People who were once reasonable and respectful have slipped away only to be replaced by unruly mobs carrying placards with terrible statements, using words no decent citizen would utter. There appears to be no shame as to what language is used and where it is used.

These can be troubling times but shouting matches and outright lies will solve nothing. Every American has a right to his or her opinion and a right to voice that opinion but with decorum, respect and responsibility to not only speak, but to listen.

Some of the falsehoods are nothing more than scare tactics. Some of them are very damaging. Just yesterday an announcement was made that the recently signed Bill concerning health care and regulations for the insurance industry was challenged as being unconstitutional. I don't think it is but it certainly is not unreasonable to wait until the parliamentarian and officials research the subject completely. Are there no open minds left? One cause for this premise of challenge is the belief that "it is unconstitutional for the government to force citizens into programs they do not support." Did you know that Medicare would fall into that category? Medicare is essentially compulsory. People who refuse to join Medicare Part A are not allowed to receive their earned Social Security benefits. I haven't heard of many people refusing these benefits mandated by the Acts establishing Social Security or Medicare. (this information was taken from 5 Things that will make your Smarter - Highlands Today, March 24, 2010) I believe this reasoning can be applied to the current Bill and has also been applied to such Acts as the Civil Rights Bill and probably more of the 'government plans' we all enjoy. Do those who make this challenge really want to refuse restrictions on the insurance industry? Do they not see a need for some of the provisions as to pre-existing conditions? There are government procedures that may change some of the provisions but to just toss out the entire Bill doesn't make sense. Kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Since the actions of our government affect many facets of the lives of all American citizens, wouldn't it be wiser to calm down, remember the manners and freedoms that we have enjoyed over the past two hundred years? Our willingness to work together, to respect each other and to continue to enhance and build our greatness as a people who can and do work together is one of the many things that makes the Unites States of America the wonderful democracy/republic it is. A little cooperation, a smidgen of respect and patience and a dash of courtesy goes a long way. Let's work together before the violence like brick throwing and civil violence gets out of hand.