Sunday, August 26, 2012

Momentary grace

We all have that sense--satisfaction--when we have done a good thing.  I always hope I can accumulate grace--that I might bank points, if you will--to counter all of the missteps that I make.  Most of the time, I just pray that I can break even.

Yesterday morning, I took the dog for a run.  Upon returning, I grabbed her water dish to rinse it out.  As I looked down to turn the faucet on, I saw a wasp clinging to my running shirt.  I screamed (I tend to conform to those girl stereotypes only when it comes to bugs) and shook my shirt to knock him to the ground.  By the time I had my foot poised to squash him however, I realized that he had just been hitching a ride and hadn't taken the opportunity to panic and sting me.  So I backed up, grabbed a cup and scooped him up.  I opened the sliding glass door and shook him out onto the deck where he promptly flew away.

I felt satisfied.  Proud.  Benevolent.  I washed my hands before grabbing the flyswatter to go kill the giant fly that had been pestering my daughter in the basement.  My brain didn't catch up with the irony until after the fly had fallen to the ground.

Last night, I pondered whether one "save" might cancel out the other "thwack" as I fished a fruit fly out of my wine.  At least that guy went numb first.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I like how simple it can be to connect with someone you have never met.   There are so many ways to find others with similar interests with just a few keystrokes, these days!

But I love it when you meet someone--actually meet them--and hit it off!  It's tougher, it's scary but a small little miracle when it happens.

I write alone and am usually terrified to show my writing to many people.  (After all these years of hearing about it, people will find out my writing is crap.)  So I make myself go to writer's conferences occasionally to "face my fear."

The effort is completely rewarding, even when the fears prove true occasionally--like when your writing is magnified on a wall using an overhead projector and the response is so delayed you can actually hear the crickets chirping outside the large conference center.  It is still a learning experience.  (Even though it may seem like a wise move to revise, chop and completely change your pages at midnight the night before you present them to a large room of people, resist the temptation.)  Others in that room have been in your shoes.  They are in your shoes--their transparency is up next!  Their writing is better but they will come sit with you at lunch, share another story with you during the coffee break and join you for a longer discussion over a glass of wine that night.  By the time you go home, you have a new friend (and their website/email/twitter address, as well)!

Two years ago, I met Jen at the SCWW conference.  We've kept in touch, traded pages and now I am so excited for her as she begins her newest journey!  You can view the cover for her new novel here and pick up the book soon!

I met Barbara last year at SCWW and cheered her on from Indiana as her contribution was published in an anthology!  I am ashamed to admit that I did not purchase the book right away but am thrilled to not only have it now but to have won it!  "Child of My Child" is a touching collection of stories and poems by grandparents and Barbara's piece helped inspire the title!  Please do not delay as I did.  Go out (or go click) and pick up a copy of this lovely book!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cover reveal: "The Burning of Isobel Key," by Jen McConnel

 How was your summer?   I didn't mean to take such a vacation from blogging but am happy to be back!  The kids are back in school, we are falling into routines and I have time to get back to writing, editing and blogging!  Of course, just when I think we are settled into our schedules, I realize that it is Tuesday.  Tuesdays are always our crazy days but today we added one more activity to the calendar and I became an Aunt again!

The good news keeps coming!  The cover for Jen McConnel's novel, "The Burning of Isobel Key" was released today!  Finish all of your "beach reads" now so you'll be ready to dive into this one!

When Lou travels to Scotland, she’s a mess.  She’s twenty-six, unemployed, and unsure of herself.  It doesn’t help that she’s traveling with Tammy, her best friend, who is everything Lou is not.

At first, the trip pushes Lou towards the brink of depression, but then she meets Brian, a handsome local tour guide.  When Brian tells the tourists about the countless witches burned in Scotland, Lou starts to listen.  And when she discovers information about Isobel Key, one of the victims of the seventeenth century, Lou finds renewed purpose.

She sets out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but she isn’t prepared for the knowledge that waits for her.  Lou must face her demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

More about the author:
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child.  Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia,and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also an active reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

The Burning of Isobel Key
 is her first novel.  She also writes YA fantasy.