He’s a nice guy – one of my co-worker for several years. I
really like him. In fact he’d tell people, “She’s my mama,” which caused some
mouths to drop open because I’m a pale whitey, and his skin is definitely the
opposite. He’s the first one who took me to eat at Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles
– he and another co-worker.
As is often the case, we lose track of people over the
years. He quit, I stayed, but we reconnected on Facebook a couple of years ago.
I noticed he’d married again – for the third or fourth time. He had children
with his first two marriages. I’m not sure of any others. I do know, by his own
admission, that his marriages failed because of his infidelity and drug abuse.
It was ironic, since we worked together at a Christian drug and alcohol rehab.
He found me on Facebook. Then about a year ago, he asked me
about my writing career, and how I went about getting a book published. “I’m
writing a book. Well, my wife and I are writing the book.” Through his posts, I
found out the book is about having a successful marriage – “ Do the opposite of
what I did,” is part of the cover blurb.
I scratched my head. Well, okay, I think, but because of
what I personally know, I wouldn’t buy his book. BUT….then he begins to ask me
to help promote his book, which came out a week or so ago. I frequently share
other writers/authors books and blogs on Facebook, people whose work I trust
and admire. “I need you to Share Share Share on Facebook and help me get the
word out,” he posted on my wall on Facebook.
Ugh! I resent this kind of presumptive pressure. In good
conscience, I can’t promote his book. Okay, I vented. I feel better. To all my
fellow writers and authors, it’s okay, and a necessary part of the process, to
ask friends and acquaintances to help with your promotion, but don’t pressure
I love to watch movies, either on television, on DVD, or at
the theater. I especially like anything based on actual events. But, more than
watching a movie, I love to read. Some books and their characters linger on in
m y heart and mind after I’ve read the last page.
I’ve read two books recently that had that emotional tug on
me. One I’ve finished, “Beneath a Southern Sky,” by Deborah Raney. This book
addressed an issue I haven’t seen before – a young woman and her husband are
missionaries and she gets word that her husband has been killed in a remote
village upriver. She returns to her family in America, after discovering she’s
pregnant. She eventually meets a widower, falls in love and they marry, only to
find out 3 years later her first husband is alive. Now what does a young woman
do who’s married to two men, has a daughter by the first husband, and is
pregnant by the second?
I cried at the end of that book and highly recommend it -- reading it, that is, and you'll probably cry also.
I’m currently reading “One Tuesday Morning” by Karen
Kingsbury, a story of two men, Jake and Eric, and their families. Both men are inside
one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 when it collapses.
I’m not even halfway through this book and have already
cried. In fact, I was so moved I had trouble falling asleep last night. It’s
the scene where Jake, a NYC firefighter, is with his crew on the 61st
floor, and they realize they’re not going to make it out. Over the chaotic
noise and devastation, he leads everyone in the sinner’s prayer. Then he’s
falling, falling, falling as the building collapses.
I know from the back cover blurb that only one of the two
men, Jake or Eric, make it out alive. Of course, Jake is the more likable
character so I’m hoping it’s him, although both have unfinished business with their families.
I want to write novels that stirs people and causes them to
reflect on life and themselves. Mostly I want to show God’s love for a humanity
who’s lost and hurting, that in our crazy, mixed up world, He still reigns!
I am not a big fan of western/cowboy novels, although I am a
fan of the Old West. I’ve lived in Arizona for my entire life – I better love
it, or find another place to live. I enjoy visiting some of the old west towns
in Arizona, and there are some unusual names for towns in Arizona: Tombstone
(one of my favorites), Carefree (although I’m sure it has as much stress as any
town), Skull Valley, Show Low, Littletown are just a few.
I love doing research in some of these places, although I’m positive
I’ll never write the kind of novel where it’s needed. My friend, Jan
Christiansen, and I visited the cowboy museum in Wickenburg, AZ, and I loved
it. I took so many pictures.
But, by far, my favorite is Tombstone. It claims to be the
most famous town in the old west. It’s where Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Billy
Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and others had the famous fight at the OK
Boot Hill, the cemetery where many of these legendary
cowboys are buried, is an awesome place to tour in Tombstone. Some of the
epitaphs on tombstones are so bizarre, you can’t make this stuff up. So if you’re
ever in Arizona and love westerns or write about the old west, Tombstone,
Wickenburg, and Jerome (a ghost town) are rich with cowboy history. Tombstone even reenacts an actual gunfight in the street.
From actual tombstones:
Chas. Helm. Shot 1882. Shot by Wm.
McCauley. Two hot-tempered ranchers who disagreed over the best way to drive
cattle, fast or slow. James Hickey. 1881, shot by Wm
Clayborne. He was shot in the left temple by Clayborne for his over-insistence
that they drink together. Margarita. Stabbed by Gold Dollar.
Two dance hall girls quarreling over a man, and Gold Dollar won. J.D. McDermott. Killed, 1882. His
spinal column was fractured when his horse fell with him while crossing the San
Pedro River. John Martin. Killed, 1882. He was
killed while working on the Huachuca water line. A tested pipe was unplugged
and a blast of water hurled a jack against his chest. He was a native of
England. Freddie Fuss. 1882. A small boy who
died from drinking stagnant or poison mine water. John Gibson. 1881. Gibson, a driver
for Nadeau’s ore teams, fell from a wagon and his skull was crushed when a
wheel of the heavy wagon ran over his head. M.E. Kellogg. 1882. Died a natural
death. Geo. Johnson. Hanged by mistake.
Johnson innocently bought a stolen horse and suffered the consequences. “Here
lies George Johnson, Hanged by mistake, 1882. He was right, we was wrong, but
we strung him up and now he’s gone.” Alfred Packrel. 1882. English. He
was a young miner, aged 24, who died from inflammation of the bowels.
Kid. A cowboy killed in a stampede. Thos. Fitzhugh. 1882. He was found
dead one morning in the water closet back of Mrs. King’s lodging house on
Toughnut Street, where he roomed. 3-Fingered Jack Dunlap. Shot by Jeff
Milton. Dunlap, one of a band of train robbers, attempted to rob an express car
which Milton guarded. He was critically wounded and his friends left him to
die. He was found and brought to Tombstone, where he lived long enough to
inform on his friends. Killeen. Shot by Frank Leslie, 1880.
Results of a disagreement over Killeen’s wife. Leslie married the widow. John Wickstrum. 1882. A Swede who
was killed when a well he was digging caved in. Johnnie Blair. Died of smallpox and
a cowboy threw a rope over his feet and dragged him to his grave. Hancock. Shot, 1879. Shot by John
Ringo when he made a disparaging remark about some women. Johnnie Wilson. Shot by King. Two
gunmen’s discussion of the fastest way to draw ended here. Two Chinese. Died of leprosy.
I recently read Ginny Yttrup’s book Words, her debut novel. I’ve been anxious to read it since I heard
literary agent, Steve Laube, share the first page at a mini writers’ conference
in January of this year. His description of that first page was, “Brilliant.”
I love her writing style, but that wasn’t what I loved the
most about her book. I had no idea until I finished it that it was the author’s
story. Real life stories that happened to real live people are my favorites. If you're not squeamish about the harsh realities of life, at the cruel and unjust suffering of others, then I definitely recommend Ginny Yttrup's book.
When I think of favorite authors, I don’t have any one
author that stands out above the rest. I read different genres, but I try to
mostly read Christian or wholesome fiction. The world is polluted enough without
choosing to pollute my mind more with my reading material.
Every Tuesday a group of four meet for a couple of hours at
Crossroads Books & Coffee. It’s like a Christian coffee shop connected to a
bookstore. The bookstore has a used book section, and I always search for books
by Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, Karen Kingsbury, and a few others.
Someday I hope and pray I am someone’s favorite author. Or
at least on someone’s list of favorite authors.
If patience is a virtue, call me a scarlet woman. We live in
an instant society. We murmur if we get in the express lane at the store and
see – because we count – that the person ahead of us has 16 items in their cart
when the sign clearly states 15 items or less. We tap our foot impatiently when
the sweet little grandma ahead of us has trouble counting out the exact change
for a purchase. We complain if our waiter or waitress doesn’t have our food on
the table fast enough. We drum our fingers on the counter waiting for the
microwave to heat up our coffee or food.
Encyclopedias and resource books have been replaced because
with a tap of our finger, the internet instantly provides all the information
we may need. Reading a book or resource material, or going to the library takes
I’ve often heard preachers say that the quickest way to have
your patience tested is to pray for patience. Being just a tad impatient (well,
more than a tad, but that’s all I’m confessing), I heeded that advice. Yet,
somehow my patience gets tested on a regular basis. It didn’t take me long to
realize that pursuing a dream to become a writer requires lots of patience.
Writing doesn’t necessarily require patience. Getting published,
waiting to hear back from agents, publishers, editors, writing contests, and
the like, all require patience. If you’re not a patient person, be prepared.
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up
dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (NIV)
James 1:3-5 (NIV)3 because you know that the
testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance
finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If
any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all
without finding fault, and it will be given to you.