Saturday, June 30, 2007

If I Could Escape!

Well ... uh ... must I say what a week this has been?
Sorry for the long blog pause ... but godamighty with a new baby in the family, last week started off with a bang. And with his maternal family and paternal New Jersey family visiting, there was plenty of commotion at the "new baby house." Mike and I decided it would be great to give them all space. Let them spend lots of quality time with their new grandson. After all, the fact is, they'll all go back to Arizona and New Jersey ... and we'll have that little bugger all to ourselves.

So, for me, this week was time to ESCAPE! My best friend from Ohio, Tina, flew in. We left our husbands to fend for themselves and we escaped to Carolina Beach. To go clothes shopping, eat at our favorite restaurants, search for favorite authors at every bookstore in twelve counties, girl-talk from dusk to dawn, raid ice cream stands, eat pizza at midnight, drink wine in our bathrobes. We rolled the windows all the way down and drove to the beach with Gwen Stefani blaring ... yeah ... we escaped. A needed girlfriend week.

For five hours we basked on the beach. Covered with sea spray, our salty bodies soaked up Carolina Beach like two marinating chicken breasts. Smart enough to guard our middle-aged faces with plenty of sun block and the shade of a beach umbrella, we dug our feet into the sand and allowed our minds to drift. The sound of the ocean held us in captivity until the moment checked out of the hotel. A long needed visit ... we caught up.

The entire week will go down in history as that great girlfriend week Doesn't every woman need a week like that every now and then? Maroon Five, Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood and a whole plethora of music blared in our car as we rocked and rolled from one end of North Carolina to the other.

I needed a week off. From everything. Writing, phone calls, fifteen hour days at my computer, and time off from thinking about anything I didn't want to think about. We laughed until our sides ached. We cried. About things that shall forever remain private between two best friends. Tina and I have not only known each other since our late teens, we sat in the same church pew for many years. Both of us broke out of the same cult-church. We each have a horror story. And in many ways, Tina was my inspiration for the character of Shelby in my upcoming novel.

We share ... priceless memories.

I close my eyes and look into the distant future. I see us in our late 80s ... cool-looking, planting magnificent rows of vegetables and growing roses, herbs, and clematis in mass quanity. We'll wear straw hats to garden, blue jeans and flannel shirts. Our hair will fall in smart-looking braids or be cut in some chic style for the autumn of our lives. No perms or helmet hairdos, no way. We'll cook gut-busting great meals for our visiting families, drive our old Ford pickups into town for supplies, keep a farm together, tend the goats, dogs, and chase rabbits out of the pepper patch. Ride our horses over the property. Oh yeah. We'll still listen to classic rock, great country, and Gwen Stafani. At 85 and 90 we'll simply rock. Oh yeah. We'll drink fine wine and dance on our front porch ... in the sunset of our lives ... oh yeah.

We'll remember this past week fondly. "Hey, remember that time we drove to Carolina Beach and sang to the top of our lungs?"


"Wanna go again?"

"Give me a minute to pack."

"I'm so done!"


................... all the way to the beach.

Blessings to you and yours!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Andrew Christopher Cable

I can't stop crying. Go to and click on slide shows!

I wish for one moment you could have experienced what I did in the wee hours of the morning. It ranks as one of the most precious moments of my life. Besides the now distant memories of holding my own babies for the first time, I experienced the complete joy of becoming a grandmother for the first time at about 1 a.m.

Andrew Christopher Cable has come into our lives in a mighty big way. He has left his mark upon our hearts and our minds, forever to be chronicled by his host of grandparents, especially his picture-taking Grampy Cable. Michael and I arrived at the hospital yesterday morning, hoping to have this whole procedure wrapped up by dinnertime. He sure showed us who's boss.

My daughter-in-law, jovial and elated to be finally in the hospital, prepared for childbirth. At first, Nicole was her old self, smiling and laughing ... like any other normal day. But soon, the drip into her hand found the walls of her uterus and began to squeeze. I watched closely as she grew quiet and felt the first pains of true labor. They had also broken her water and the laughing suddenly stopped. In the beginning she was opposed to the epidural, not wanting to have that needle shoved into her spine. But contractions, being what they are, were no kinder to her than they have been to the millions of other women who have given birth.

It wasn't long and we were calling for drugs. Lots of calming, soothing drugs. Ahhhh.

Nicole quickly became her old self for the duration of moving her cervix through the stages of dilation. Long about six p.m., her doctor decided she was ready to push. She pushed, pushed, pushed, and pushed some more. Of course, the only folks in the room with her was her mother and Christopher, while Michael and I wandered the halls of Women's Hospital searching for the most comfortable waiting room with the least amount of people.

At about 9:30 p.m., the wonderful staff at Women's wheeled her into surgery for a C section. Little Nicole couldn't pop that Cable-baby head out of her tiny body no matter how hard and long she pushed. Everybody now exhausted, it broke my heart to see her mother who had been such a trooper, standing by her daughter for the past three weeks, join us in the waiting room. A moment of well-deserved tears for Betsy.

Time passed on the lips of prayers and more waiting in the bowels of the hospital. The summer solstice was kind as the sun held out on its longest day, shining through the windows of the Carolina hospital way into the evening. A special day in which to be born.

Michael began pacing. Up and down the halls with his cameras in hand and slung onto his back. Soon Betsy and I heard a tap on the windows ... "Come see! He's here!" There stood Christopher with his son in his arms. A smile from ear to ear, all his Christmas's rolled into one, his eyes lit up like nothing I've ever seen. Nothing. It has burned a spot into my memory.

I have to say at that moment so much went through my head. Unfortunately, Michael and I marrying later in life, did not have children together. We have a blended family, but when we meet people and there's no reason to go into the fact that we're a blended family, we just say (when asked) we have three children. Two sons and a daughter. We have NEVER said, 'Michael has a son and I have a son and daughter.' We lump our kids together, because to us a family is a family is a family. Our love for our children knows no boundaries. Michael and I don't get all hung up in whose blood runs through their veins.

My point is, though I know there's not a drop of my blood in that little boy's veins, he is still my grandson. I assure you. I've never experienced the true joy of watching a man become a father until last night. It was a brand new experience for me! I have a whole new respect for my step-son. He was precious toward his wife from the moment she conceived, like so many men are when their wives become pregnant. But yesterday ... Christopher's attention toward Nicole blew my socks off. We're a touchy-feely family anyway, but watching this man's love for his wife, as far as I'm concerned, was like winning the Pulitzer Prize.

I can't stop crying. I'm at a loss for words ... how do you write about that kind of love?

We waited until 1 in the morning to see Nicole. Finally, they wheeled her into her room and within minutes her baby was in her arms for the first time. I was there. I saw it. I was blessed to see that moment in one woman's life. It was a privilege not to be taken lightly. Chris walked over to his son's bed, and lifted him, ever so carefully, then walked over to Nicole's bed. I held back. I didn't want to touch the baby. Not yet. It hit me strong, the next person to touch him should be his mommy. Then his maternal grammy, then his grandpy, and then ... if I got lucky ... me.

I got lucky. For a minute I held that beautiful bundle of boy in my arms thinking ... I'll be in my 70s when he graduates from high school! What a thought! But then, I looked at Nicole who had managed to find some level of comfort in her bed. Her eyes told me she needed to hold her son. I laid him in her arms. Her voice to her son was the breath of God ... the tender way in which my step-son bent over his new son and kissed him was the touch of God.

Think what you want. I may be a gushy mess this morning ... but until you experience moments like that in the wee hours of the morning ... you can't judge me. I'm looking forward to the next grandchild, from any of our three children. Makes me no difference. In fact, I'd like a dozen grandchildren, thank you very much. Each will be a an experience unlike the one before it. And no less beautiful and special. Intense with what Michael and I have created together ... a family. We love you baby Drew.

I can't stop crying.

Life goes on.

Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Job Hazards

Forgive me if I've blogged about this before, but I think it's worth talking about again, especially if you have plans to become a novelist. There are job hazards related to writing. Like ... I've been in my nightgown for three days straight. Now there's something you don't see many women announce on the Internet! I shower and just slip that big ole' solf t-shirt back on. I run a brush through my wet hair, lather on some wrinkle cream, deodorant, brush my teeth then get back to work! Makeup? What the hell is that?

Time is my most valuable commodity these days. I know so much of it in the very near future will be taken up with personal and family obligations, so I don't want to waste a minute of it. After a quick morning affair with my treadmill (which I've decided I have to do if I intend to live to a ripe old age) I'm showered and back to my desk in record time. But personal hygiene maintenance has slowed to a grinding halt. Of course, there are those writers who forgo showers to make their deadlines. Their families must pry their hands from the keyboard. They've learned to live with swamp-ass and crotch-rot. Maybe that's in my future. Who's to say?

I also know time is of the essense in my world. Nothing much matters as I put the final touches on my major blockbuster novel that rocks! Now that's something you never want to put in a query letter! Jeez-oh-man, but here in my blog ... I'll say it. It's going to split the sky open for some evangelicals, I assure you. Good for some, and well, not so good for others. Can one be that bold? Can a writer make such lofty statements like that, God forbid? As I sit here in my natural woman mode, you bet I can. I also know there's nothing, and I mean nothing, out there like it. Not like this. But I hear the call, I feel the tug on my soul ... every day ... finish the story ...

And so ... I ignore my grumbling stomach, my unpolished fingernails, my rough heels, my flat hair, and the fact that I no longer wear pretty clothes and shoes to work ... I've moved beyond all that. Way beyond. I've changed my world.

I've given up TV, talking on the phone, and quick trips to CVS for Tylenol and shampoo. I send Michael on errands to the post office, dry cleaners, and Walmart for Alka Selzer and Ben Gay Pads. My office chair is permanently shaped to my behind. I slip on my headphones, turn on my Itunes, and read my novel's edits from the day before.

I got got got got no time ... listening to the old Guess Who song, No Time, I laugh and eat a quick bowl of cereal. No time to cook, change the sheets, or wash more than one load of laundry. I've got too much to do! I even keep a pile of books by the toilet. Hey reading time is reading time!

15 hour days are the norm for me. I've never worked this hard in my life. But it's different now. I don't have to pick up kids, get stuck in traffic, plan meals every night, grocery shop, worry about the car, garden, or worry whether the electric bill has been paid on time. No, I'm a lucky woman in so many ways ... those daily grinding burdens have been, thank you Jesus, lifted from my shoulders. My family is wonderful and (you're probably sick of hearing this) but I have the most wonderful husband in the world.

So, though I'm working harder than I've ever worked, developed carpel-tunnel, eye-strain out the wazoo, and live in a room not much bigger than a walk-in closet ... I'm a blessed woman.

A blessed woman with job hazards.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, June 18, 2007


There's not enough time in the day. I'm in the midst of meeting several deadlines, researching agents, working on query letters, reading up on everything regarding submitting my novel, and still ... I'm in the deep end with it. Polishing it, pouring over every word, and making those horrific decisions of what really doesn't need to be there. My fiction muscle is getting exercised to the max while my butt muscles are spreading. Ugghh.

I've got to find time to exercise.

There are speaking engagements to book for fall and winter and I'm still trying to research "radio." I want my own radio show ... there's not enough time in the day.

My best friend is coming to stay with me in a week. How much work do you think will get done that week? Not much. Although I might have her reading the novel at night. Tina is one of my main readers. I need to see what she thinks of the changes. If there was such a classification of "professional reader," she'd be it. But still, we want to spend a day at the beach, go shopping, eat lunch at all my favorite "cool" places, and just jam months of female-soul mate time into one week.

And Michael and I still have no grandchild yet. The doctors say if nothing happens by Thursday, they'll induce. I'm so looking forward to that baby. But I also know I'm not going to want to work on Thursday or Friday this week while my step-son and daughter-in-law (who I love with all my heart) are giving birth and spending their first day with their new son. I'm going to want to be there.

Please, God. Find me some extra daylight somewhere.

Do you ever have one of those days when you wake up and it all comes crashing down? All the things that need done ... yesterday. Some days I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don't want to disappoint anybody, especially those I love. And yet, I feel I'm neglecting myself. I need to spend time exercising and relaxing. How does one find balance? When do we say to hell with it and get rid of the stress?

Somehow, it'll all get done. I have to believe that. And if it doesn't, well ... we just keep on trying. What else can we do?

I'm frustrated. Time slips through our fingers and there's no way of holding it. Not even a second of it.

"My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light!" ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Men In My Life

It's almost Father's day. I think about my own dad. His skilled hands, his love of working with wood. So much like a carpenter from thousands of years ago. I think about today's new crop of fathers. If they only knew how important their role was. If they only knew they carry with them the example of God to their children. It's the way many of us truly learned about God.

As writers write what they know, you will hear my thoughts about my dad come out in the following excerpt:

This is from my novel, Televenge. ... Andie’s daddy rewired his entire house, remodeled every room, and poured a ton of concrete around the old two-story colonial. Bud laid his own carpet, replaced plumbing, and if the TV, lawnmower, or carburetor broke, he fixed it. He could do anything. Andie wanted a husband just like him. She often thought if the Heavenly Father was anything like her earthly father, then the world was in luck.

Fathers, you are daddy-God to your children. It's an awesome responsibility. And a privileged one.

Today is Michael's birthday. (Happy Birthday, sweetie. You're No. 1!) It's actually ... a very special weekend. As well as Father's Day on Sunday, at any moment now, we're expecting the birth of our first grandson. Andrew Christopher ... maybe not today, maybe tomorrow, we just know the little bugger is overdue. So, we've been sitting on pins and needles all week, trying to get ready for labor, birthday, and Dad's day.

Our son, Christopher is going to make a wonderful father. He doesn't even know how wonderful, but I was privileged to watch the twinkle in his eye develop over the last nine months. Okay, I'm not sure every child should be exposed to Hooter's Restaurant as an infant, but hey, he bought him a bib that reads, "chick magnet." It's all in fun. If there's one thing Christopher can pass down, it's his sense of humor and his soft heart. I love that in him. He'll also teach little Andrew the virtues of rooting for the Carolina Panthers over the New England Patriots. You can be sure.

Our son, Aaron, is getting married next year. It's been one of his utmost desires to raise a family. I've seen it in him many times, heard him speak it, even. He looks so much like my grandpa, a strong man who raised a large family through the depression on a coal-miner's budget. Though Aaron will be able to give more to his children in material possessions than his great-grandpa could, the love will be much the same, I am sure. What I love about Aaron is not only his humor, but his loyalty. Aaron will teach his children integrity, honesty, and how to track deer. Oh well ... two out of three ain't bad.

There are other men in my life, men of great integrity. Friends I respect, friends I can count on ... Tim, Blair, Frank, Gordon, Ed, and Dave. Every woman needs to surround herself with not only the love and nurturing qualities of other women, but also ... the care and compassion of good men. They're out there. Believe me. To one degree or another. And some women have to search for them. Even Flannery O'Connor said, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," right? But once you find one, you treasure him. I'm lucky. God has blessed me with a whole treasure chest full.

My hope is that you treasure the men in your life. That they are deserving of your love and that they all leave a legacy to your families ... as I have no doubt, mine will.

Blessings to you and the men in your life.

Monday, June 11, 2007

West Virginia Writers' Conference

Michael and I returned yesterday from the West Virginia Writers' Conference. Celebrating 30 years of nurturing writers in the Appalachian Mountains, the conference drew poets, screenwriters, fiction and non-fiction writers from all walks of life. From beginners to the accomplished, well into their third and fourth books. An eclectic mix of men and women with a passion to put it down on paper.

I taught classes on Public Speaking and Voice. Each class was full to near over-flowing. Only having an hour and fifteen minutes, the session flew. By the time Q&A arrived, I felt as though we needed another hour. The writers were fabulous in their participation and interest. Michael's class, Marketing Your Book Before And After It's Written, simply blew me away. He'd not let me hear it beforehand. Michael is a natural teacher, showman, and a ham all rolled into one. He should be doing this full-time, in my opinion. He's GREAT at getting his points across and he has so much information on the subject of book marketing to share! Things we learned the hard way, believe me.

Accommodations were comfortable, but the food--Lord have mercy! West Virginians are some mighty fine cooks! I didn't anticipate the "cafeteria" food to taste this great. The salad bar drew vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Breakfast was killer. No disappointment in the chow line, I assure you.

Actually, the entire facility had a camp-like atmosphere. Relaxed and in the middle of God's half-acre, the Cedar Lakes facility in Ripley is clean and accommodating. The WV Writers held a silent auction. I lucked out by walking away with a critique package from a Charleston-based Literary Agency. Very cool. Also a few books on writing, and an oil painting.

Unfortunately, Michael and I didn't get to participate in any "front-porch" activities. We like our sleep too much, I suppose. But, hoo-boy, these mountaineers know how to party. Bon fires and good ole' mountain music into the night, sharing stories, and tipping a few ... well, let's just say they showed their dedication by making it to class the next morning. A talented bunch in every way, the entire weekend rocked!

New York Literary Agent, Scott Hoffman, arrived on Saturday and wowed us with his Q&A Session. I'm not quite sure of his connection to West Virginia, but Mike and I liked his approach and it was yet, another connection for me. I love those moments in networking.

I received so many warm comments of appreciation for my classes. Hopefully, every writer walked away with a new sense of how important it is to at least think about marketing their work through public speaking. And writers in West Virginia will now be more aware of their own voice in their stories, working to make them stronger.

I feel an unquestionable calling to give back to the state of my birth. So in some small way, I feel I did that this past weekend.

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Words To Live By

I got a real kick out of the following wit from Will Rogers. He died in 1935, but every line applies today. Enjoy!

1. Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.

2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

3. There are 2 theories to arguing with a woman...neither works.

4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

5. Always drink upstream from the herd.

6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.

8. There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10. If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.

11. Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier'n puttin' it back.

12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.

ABOUT GROWING OLDER... First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.

Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Sixth ~ I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.

Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.

Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.

Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf.

And finally ~ If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.

Blessings to you and yours ~ (That’s from me.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Finding Charm

There's an old farm house across the street.

It's been a rental since I've lived here, and probably a few years before that. A small two-story house, its front porch doesn't quite stretch the full length of its, well, front. Looks like somebody ran out of material and couldn't make the wrap-around fit. Recently, the farmer who owns the property added white siding to cover the peeling-painted wood exterior. There are no curtains on the windows. Nobody stays that long, I suppose. The old front door has seen better days.

A dirt driveway ends at a dilapidated detached garage that sits catty-wampus from the back corner. And usually, whoever is renting the place, chains their barking dog in the garage. Sometimes a torn couch rests on the porch. When the renters move out, it does too. We see it sitting by the road hitching a ride with the trash man.

The property is adjacent to a cow pasture. The tenants seldom mow. But when they do, they ignore the ditch. This creates a three-foot barrier of switchgrass edging the property. The most recent renter keeps a white duck in the front yard. I can't tell if it's a pet or not. Mike's mom thinks they're raising it for dinner. Who knows? We're sure its bound to be road-kill before it ends up in their oven.

I've sat on my front porch and gazed across the road many times to the old farm house, wondering who built it and how long it's graced the neighborhood. I've tried to count the number of families who have moved in and out the six years I've lived in my house. Often, we've watched police cars roll into the driveway. Usually a twice-a-year occurence. On one occasion, they evicted an abusive, drunk boyfriend. Nothing like watching a live episode of COPS in your own front yard.

Boy, if walls could talk oh the stories they could tell, huh?

And yet, for all its red-neck exterior, there's a certain charm to the place. Two mammoth rose bushes sit near the road. They're old with dark red roses. Rich-looking and very Victorian, the bushes have probably adorned the property as long as the house has been sitting there. A brooch on a tattered cotton dress.

Every once in a while a renter will place a pot of flowers on the porch. And from a distance ... it could be my grandma's house.

It's hard to find the silk purse in the sow's ear ... find charm in the midst of chaos. But it's like that with anything in life. Although many times I don't understand why I can't change my circumstances, I have to look at the positive to survive. We were never promised rose gardens, but it's a sweet thing when we find them growing in the middle of our weedy, dilapidated lives.

Isn't it?

Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Which Way Is Best?

I think the best way to learn the craft of writing is by doing it. I'm convinced. Even after the mountain of edits from several people on Televenge, I'm learning my own fine art of editing. I'm finding places to cut, words to change, and scenes to tighten that nobody caught. Not that my editors aren't great, because they are ... but think about this. Who cares the MOST about your work? You do. So become your best editor.

It's an amazing process as you dig deep into the gazillionth edit. You know your story backwards and forwards but things begin to pop out at you. I know they say to step back, take a few days off from the editing process, and come back to it with a fresh start. The trees will step aside and you'll see the forest. That's true, and I've done that. But something is happening to me as I polish this piece. I'm finding my own editing skills are sharpening.

I'm also aware you can edit a story to death. Eventually kill it. But that's not the case here. Oh, no. I'm getting a clearer picture of the finished product. I suppose I would liken it to a painter making broad strokes with his brush. At first you can't see the picture, and he often begins again and again. But soon it begins to take shape and the end result is a true result of his talent.

I looked hard at this story two weeks ago, and then had an interesting conversation with Kevin Watson from Press 53. We agree stories have to be written as intended. We can study scene, pacing, structure, conflict and resolution until we're purple. And everybody has an opinion. But the story must be written in the author's voice. What is sometimes criticized as being a weak part in your story, is actually conflict that has moved the reader/editor. And true, depending on what it is, you may need to clarify, strengthen, or make changes. But quite possibly, you leave it as is.

Are you getting what I'm saying?

We can go to every high-priced writing conference out there. I've been to quite a few myself. And by attending these day-long or week-long events, we do learn and grow as writers. But there comes a time when we have to "get off the pot" and start writing. Or as one of my beloved colleagues said to me once, "Stop traveling all over the countryside, stay home, and write your ass off!" She meant well. But in truth, I'm sure she wanted to make a point. If you want to be a writer, you have to write and quit talking about it.

In the end, we must see conferences for what they are. They are a business. Writing conference people make money by drawing attendees every year. They're not cheap. And sometimes the same folks go year after year. You have to wonder why.

I know there are the friendships, networking, and the opportunity to eat/sleep/discuss writing all week. It's a cool thing, being immersed in the world you love. I've been caught up in it and loved every minute of it. Talking to agents/editors/writers all week. I agree, it's a high that's hard to come down from. And everyone should hone their craft from time to time. One never stops learning ... BUT ... I'm realizing the best way to learn the craft of writing is by doing it. I don't want to take away from any one's experience, or even my own as I treasure my memories of the conferences I've attended. Again, they are an important part of learning the craft. But they cannot replace the results of sitting your butt down every day and writing, editing, submitting, and writing again.

I guess I'm a rebel. Looking back, I may have learned the hard way, but I learned. I don't agree that one conference or one "expert" is always right. Telling isn't always a bad thing. Backstory, if well-written and doesn't go on forever, is part of story, too. And I don't know everything. I am, truly, my own worst critic. But the rules of the craft can be bent and shaped. Not all at once, and not always in your first book. Walk softly here. The true test, I suppose, will be when the book is presented to the public.

In the meantime, I've got to get it past the big dogs. They have to like it first if I want to go by way of NYC. I'm going to see if I'm right ...

Time will tell which way is best.

. . . and the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom . . . Anais Nin

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Looking Back

Today is a special day. An anniversary. One year ago today, I launched Southern Fried Women. I can only say that it's been a big, fat, whale of a ride! I've no intention to get off this roller coaster. Not yet.

The book has sold well. And of course, most books have been sold at the back of board rooms, conference rooms, lunch rooms, and ball rooms. In restaurants, book fairs, banquet halls, country clubs, beauty shops, gift stores, town halls, cultural centers, festivals, and one library and book store after another. I believe I'm well into my second printing, having sold nearly 3,000 copies to date. That's a right smart many for a first book with no backing from a major publisher.

I'm thankful for my readers, my friends, and my family who have spread the word and supported my efforts every step of the way. It's a wonderful thing when you see book clubs, women's groups, and church circles reading and discussing the book. When people sit and read you their favorite lines aloud. When you overhear folks talk about your book, not aware you're there, and tell how it touched them. I was moved to tears when one of the stories was used at a funeral last year as a way to lift the spirits of the mourners.

The reviews, the award nominations, the many First Ladies of the South who have written to me and loved the book, I've been truly blown away by the response.

And yet, for all the hard work, the hundred and sixty-some appearances, the weeks of traveling, I still feel I'm at the threshold. Just at the beginning. A constant nag to get the next book in print bites at my heels every day. So for all the success I experienced in the past year, there's another door waiting to be opened.

Radio is on the horizon, and more touring. Workshops in churches, more corporate speaking events, and opportunities to speak are just around the corner. We're working on a blitz and hope to see it come to fruition in the near future.

After the novel ... who knows? More touring ... and ... start on the next book. What else.

Looking back, there isn't anything I'd do different. So I take what I've learned and run my race. No more time for looking back.

Only forward.

Blessings to you and yours.