Thursday, February 27, 2014


It's been two weeks since I last blogged.  I keep promising to do better, then life gets in the way.  Someone once said life is what happens while we're on our way to somewhere else.  That seems to be the way my life has been for the past couple of years.  I'll be dealing with diabetes and the unexpected ups and downs that go with it for the rest of my life, but overall I think I'm getting back to some kind of normal--at least I'm thinking about another book.

The question is, since I write in several genres, should I start a romantic suspense or begin a historical?  Maybe a western?  One of my sons-in-law wants me  to do another historical and has practically plotted it out for me.  A couple of friends are anxious for a book similar to If I should Die or Shudder.  I've even had differing suggestions for using my recent experiences with hospitals, cancer, diabetes, celiac, etc. to write a medical thriller or a women's fiction novel.  Clearly I have more thinking to do and I'm open to suggestions.

Even through my four surgeries and the medical problems of several people close to me, I haven't moved away from the publishing field, I just haven't been working on a new novel.  I've kept up my review column on Meridian, I've blogged, had a couple of short stories published, and my most recent novel Where the River Once Flowed is a Whitney finalist.  And though I had no part in writing them, I'm proud to say two of my daughters have books coming out this year.  Janice Sperry has a middle grade chapter book, Rebel Princess, coming out in June and Lezlie Anderson has a Christmas booklet, Snow Angels, due for release in October.

I catch myself thinking about perspective, looking at people, scenery, viewpoints from different angles.  I meet someone and notice a trait or personality quirk that might be fun to give a character.  I'm a literary critic so I always question motives and twists in the books I read, but lately I've become more critical.  I find myself shredding apart plots, rewriting in my head, questioning realism.  I'm a writer.  It's what I do.  It's a part of me.  Yes, I think it's time to start another book.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Every few days I think I really should write a blog, then I usually don't do it.  Every two weeks the group blog I'm part of, V-Formation, reminds me it's my turn and I usually come up with something. A lot has been happening lately, but I don't seem to be able to latch onto one thing and turn it into a blog.  That means this will be one of those "little of everything" kind of blogs. 

February is a birthday month in my family, two grandsons, a granddaughter, and a brother.  Toys R Us here I come! Shopping for gifts for the little ones is fun, but the older ones are more of a problem.  On Sunday we'll get together for ice cream and cake and a lot of visiting and catching up.  That's one of the fun things about having our children close enough for casual get-togethers. 

I made it to finalist status for the Whitney Awards- Historical novel category- with Where the River Once Flowed.  Thanks to everyone who nominated my book and thanks to the judges for including it in the five finalists.  The winner will be announced in April.  I feel greatly honored to be a finalist and to have my book included in such prestigious company.  All four of the other finalists are fantastic books; Belonging to Heaven by Gale Sears, Esther the Queen by H.B. Moore, Safe Passage by Carla Kelly, and The Mounds Anomally by Phyllis Gunderson.  

I'm becoming more comfortable wearing an insulin pump.  Becoming a diabetic at this stage of my life is a challenge, but at least I no longer have to worry about pancreatic cancer.  

Speaking of cancer, we learned this past week that one of our sons-in-law has two forms of cancer.  The thyroid cancer was easily taken care of with surgery, but the lymphoma will be a harder fix.  He's physically and spiritually strong, so he has every chance of making it through this challenge, and he has strong support from family and friends. 

Lately I've been reading the Whitney finalists I somehow missed during the past year along with new books for possible reviews.  In the process I've met a number of both plausible and implausible characters. They've got me thinking about what works and what doesn't in characters and plots a writer creates.  Like my mixed bag of occurrences in my personal life, I find characters with multiple responsibilities and interests more believable than single focus characters.  But just as in our real lives we can't be spread too thin dealing with multiple problems and be effective in dealing with any of them, characters lose their appeal when they're experts in everything. Writers who go off in too many directions, spend too much time describing scenery, or educating their readers concerning a pet interest that doesn't move the story forward lose readers' interest.  Just because we spend a lot of time researching doesn't mean we have to use every bit of that research in our story.  Fiction is best when it maintains its focus. 

Readers don't buy into characters that are too perfect either.  Most writers know that like real people, realistic characters have flaws.  Sometimes it's some sort of physical handicap, but more often it's an unhealed emotional issue.  This is an area where a writer needs to be careful.  The flaw should make the reader sympathize with the character, but not pity him or her, nor consider the character a whiner, cry baby, or bully.  And the flaw should not be so annoying it takes over the story or interrupts the flow of the story. 

In other words, a novel shouldn't ramble like this blog has done!