August 30, 2011

More on Love...

After chewing on Beth's comment left on my last BLOG POST, I decided to bring the discussion up top. Beth Vogt said, "I've always loved a good romance--one with depth. One where the characters change, where love doesn't come too easily because, hey, I don't think it does. Not real, lasting love anyway."

YES!! I couldn't agree more!

I like stories with depth---romance or otherwise. That's what I hope to achieve with my stories. Beth makes a very good point about love that lasts not coming so easily. Love at first sight is a great idea, but love you have to fight for, love that touches deep places in us despite our fears, love that challenges the lies we believe, love that coaxes us out from behind our facade, love that waits beyond hope, love that meets hidden heart needs, love that feels more like home than any place on earth ever did.....THAT's the stuff of a good love story. In my opinion, of course. :-)

What I believe makes this kind of love possible is the unfailing nature of God's love. Ecclesiastes says a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken. Without Christ and his boundless, gracious love as the center strand, I actually find it hard to believe in happily ever after. I also believe that without Christ, humans are destined to fall short no matter how nobly or selflessly we strive. (Because I know we ALL strive to be noble and selfless.)

Do you tire of stories in which people fall too easily in love? The kind of story where two people are getting acquainted over a flat tire or mixup at the dry cleaners and suddenly they can't live without each other? Or on the other end of the romote control, do you gag at overblown melodramas too mushy for even the most hardcore soap fan? Does this turn you off to all love stories? If not, it should!

I aim to write stories that touch places we sometimes forget we have, remind us we still struggle with emptiness or protective shells or fears of loss or whatever it is we've conveniently buried. And while we visit those sealed off places between the pages with a like-minded hero or heroine, we can discover or be reminded that in Christ, there is a Love that Never Fails.

What do you think makes a truly moving, resonating love story? What are some of your favorites and why? (I have a list and I'm not afraid to use it!)

August 19, 2011

The Power of An Intelligent Love Story . . .

I've been writing all my life but began pursuing fiction publication few years ago, about the time my kids discovered duct tape can control a fair amount of bleeding, and frozen lasagne is actually not from the devil. I believe in the power of story - after all, Jesus used parables to teach timeless, life-changing, eternally significant truths.

And since God is Love, I find love-stories can be just as timeless and life changing. An intelligent, faith-inspiring romance can offer hope, gently touch a hurting soul, uplift a heavy heart. What an honor and a privilege to be able to use words in such a way!

Though I love the deep-throated grumble of a Harley, muscle cars, and old school rock, I am also a hopeless romantic. If only Jane Austen were around to endorse my books! As a fan of all things Jane, I have a deep appreciation for a romance that goes beyond boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy sweeps girl off her feet to live happily ever after. And those stories are wonderful! But what I love about Jane Austen, in addition to many fine contemporary authors, is the ability to tell a story that highlights things like character, honor, self-sacrifice. The beauty of one noble soul finding another. A meeting that goes beyond attraction to the spirit and the heart.

I suppose Anne Elliot will always be one of my favorite literary characters. (If you aren't into reading classics, I want you to drop whatever you're doing and immediately watch the Hinds/Root version of Persuasion) She was totally dissed by her snobby, shallow family, and yet her quiet character and inner strength were what Captain Wentworth fell in love with all those years ago - and still loved years later, long after hope of winning her was gone.

Oh. Just so you know, I write contemporary faith-inspiring love stories. Historical stories are cool too. I just happen to find plenty to dream up in today's world.

And why not? In our high-tech, uber-enlightened society, don't we still quietly crave honor and nobility? Just because those qualities don't (usually) come galloping up on a horse and whisk away their objects in a flourish of lace and petticoats doesn't mean we don't want them now. We may live in a world full of stessors and pressures, but we can still dream of happily-ever-afters, stories of faithful devotion in a world of heartbreaking insecurities and shallow relationships, stories of love touching souls amidst the complexites of twenty-first century life.

Okay, I confess. Though my stories are contemporary, I did set them in the quiet, slower-paced setting of Central Oregon and added a touch of rolling green Scottish hills, so maybe I cheated just a little. My point is that we can "escape" reality either in the past or the present. But are we really escaping? Or are we simply giving ourselves a break from life's routines and sparking our imaginations, allowing our hearts a few moments to nestle between the pages and feel the pains and joys and fears and victories of someone who could easily be you or me?

Your turn: What value do you place on fiction, and on uplifting, faith-inspiring love stories?

(note: this post's content borrowed from the homepage of my new website)

August 10, 2011

Peace In The Process

The Water Cooler is a community for writers to connect and find support, tips and encouragement on the writing & publishing journey.

Today's post (from moi): Peace in the Process. If you are a perfectionist who finds dissatisfaction with your abilities debilitating at times, come on over and take a load off. Really. Give yourself permission.

August 4, 2011

My New Book Cover!

I got to peek at my new book cover today. Isn't it cozy & lovely? Does it make you feel all Christmasy?

I know, too many people are sweltering right now in 112 heat, sorry! Imagine with me the whiteness of a blizzard, the icy wind swirling around a rustic yet elegantly adorned mountain ski lodge, a full view of a pristine white mountain beyond the lodge's deck, snow-laden evergreens surrounding the romantic getaway, Celtic carols weaving in and out of sparkling conversations around a crackling fire, the smell of fir and cinnamon and spices, the glow of thousands of twinkly lights, the magic of Christmas and the whisper of love in the air...

Feeling it yet?

Okay, give it time. By the time the temps come down and the cooler days of fall arrive, you'll be dreaming of a romantic holiday getaway.

When Savanna gets a second chance at the love of her life, will her dream that once divided them get in the way?

Just before Christmas, Savanna Holt returns to the ski lodge where she once worked hoping to deliver her goddaughter to the child’s grandparents and flee the mountain resort before memories of one special Christmas there reminds her how ambition led her to make the worst mistake of her life. But Savanna is stunned to discover Luke, the man whose heart she broke three years ago, now manages the resort. Seeing him reminds her of what she lost, but Luke wants no reminders of his hurt. He’s changed, but so has she. When a blizzard traps her at the lodge over Christmas, she sees the forced proximity as a gift from God and is determined to win Luke back. Can she convince Luke she has changed and her interest isn't because of his position? And when her dream job beckons, will she sacrifice her dream for a second chance at love?

Savanna's Gift is a Romantic Christmas novella (e-book) from White Rose Publishers. It will be affordably priced and available for your romantic holiday reading in time for Christmas 2011.

August 1, 2011

Hot New Blog For Writers Launches TOMORROW

Okay, before I forget - I signed my first real writing gig contract last week with White Rose Publishing for a Christmas novella (e-book) called "Savanna's Gift" coming out Christmas 2011. Yay! Can't wait to see the cover. I'll be sure to post the date that book is available.

Also . . .
If you're a writer, chances are you've read Rachelle Gardner's popular blog and gleaned valuable writing and publishing industry advice. Now, the clients of WordServe Literary (Rachelle Gardner and Greg Johnson) team up to bring you the "WordServe Water Cooler" and invite you to join us as we discuss everything writing.

The "WordServe Water Cooler" launches AUGUST 2 with our first post: Tips for Landing an Agent featuring a advice from agented authors on how writers might increase their chances for representation.

We post every weekday on relevant topics such as marketing, publishing, the craft of writing, social media, and anything else that might help fellow writers move forward in their careers.

Consider this your official invitation to hang out with us at the Water Cooler where community is built and where tips and tricks of the trade are shared. Please come and join in the conversation. We’d love to get to know you.



I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.