Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where am I headed?

Joy in the Journey is a blog dedicated to chronicling my journey from author in virtual obscurity to well-known novelist. But more than that, it's my daily journey through life in this particular point in time and space that the Good Lord saw fit to put me in.

Unfortunately I'm not being a good steward of the gifts He's given me lately. I want to blog more often, but I find I am frittering away my day just wasting time. I spent yesterday outlining my new book with the help of my sister Robin. She's great at these things, she just says she has no interests in putting it all together herself. So she's willing to use her talent to make me rich & famous. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Don't know, I'll get back to you on that.

Between outlining and getting my husband off to work and reading a few mysteries to set the mood for my own book and walking the dogs and talking on the phone and making crafts for upcoming craft fairs where I promote my books, I'm not getting a lot of writing done.

Next door to the post office where we writers always have errands to run, lives a woman who spends what looks to me like most of her day sitting on her front porch smoking cigarettes. When I passed her house yesterday on my way to the library--another place where writers spend lots of time--there she sat in her chair watching traffic go by. When I came back about 30 minutes later, she was still there. I couldn't help wondering if she ever considers doing something other than sitting on that porch.

I'm not judging this woman. Part of me almost envies her. I can't see her disillusionment with her life. I don't feel her regrets or frustration over the dreams that never came true. Did she ever have dreams? Surely she was a young woman once who imagined more to life than sitting on her porch next to the post office and watching people come and go.

But can you imagine the ease of a life spent doing just that? No stress. No deadlines. No concerns over if today was productive or if she did anything to benefit mankind while the earth spun on its axis.

Maybe I think too much. Maybe I wake up every morning, determined to make good use of the next 17 hours I'll spend awake. Maybe I put too many demands on myself to be a productive member of society when all I need to do is sit on my porch and watch traffic. Maybe her days are less stressful than mine, but when it's my time to go, I want to have a life worth looking back on.

I still don't know where I'm headed. Scripture says, God's word is a lamp unto my feet. My lamp doesn't provide enough illumination to see what's waiting up ahead, just enough to take the next step. I'll take that next step in confidence, knowing that God is there with me and He knows what's around the bend, even when I don't.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Darcy is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday evening I got an email from my publisher telling me she had received her copies of my latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Darcy Carter. She was surprised that I hadn't mentioned receiving my own copies. She suggested that getting books in the mail isn't as exciting now as it was in 2004 when my first book, Streams of Mercy was published.

I wrote back, assuring her getting a delivery of books is still exciting beyond my wildest dreams. It's just that the truck arrived as I was preparing to leave to speak at a business meeting so I didn't have time to do much more than answer the delivery driver's questions and give him a bookmark. For the rest of the week, other projects took up my time and I forgot to tell her or anyone else about Darcy's arrival.

Now that everything has settled down and I have time to catch my breath, I can tell you there's nothing more thrilling than seeing a semi pull over in front of my house with a shipment for little old me. To me it's like looking forward to a new baby. It never gets old. The anticipation is still as strong as with the first one.

This book is my first romance, so I am doubly excited about its release. It isn't technically in the stores yet so I'm keeping my excitement in check. I already have several tour dates planned for Fall/Winter with more in the works. Check my website to see when I'll be in your area.

Until next time have a blessed and prosperous week.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Branding--Where is my writing going?

Let me explain branding in case you are not familiar with the term.

You go into a bookstore and see the latest Mary Higgins Clark. Without even looking at the back of the book, you scoop it up and run to the cash register. Or the latest Sue Grafton. Or Tom Clancy. Or Karen Kingsbury.

You know these authors. You're familiar with their work and you know what types of books they write. And you like what you read. That's branding. You don't just like a book written by Tom Clancy. You like Tom Clancy and can't wait for his next release.

That's where I am at this point in my career. I can't decide how I want to brand myself. Should I focus on mysteries, which I love? I aspire to someday be compared to Mary Higgins Clark. My latest books have been contemporary women's fiction. I also love historicals. I have two books in mind that would even be categorized as westerns. How's that for a stretch? I've even written the first mystery in a series for middle-grade readers.

I suppose it's good that I'm diversified in my career. But alas, branded writers traditionally sell better than those who write all over the map. So what to write while I'm looking for the niche in which I feel most comfortable. I love experimenting and combining genres, ie; romantic suspense or western/romance. I've noticed romance goes well with anything. But we already knew that.

At this point, I'm open to anything. When I'm ready to start a new project, I try to be quiet before the Lord and listen for what He wants. If I begin a project with His blessing, I figure it won't be a blind alley that won't lead someplace fascinating. That's the most fun about this writing journey. I never know where I'll end up.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Feels like 114

What a week! I started a new novel last week, but haven't made much progress. Four days out of five last week were dedicated to giving my website a long overdue overhaul. I think I did an okay job considering only a few years ago, the only way I knew to turn off a computer was to kick the surge protector under my desk. Check it out at

Then Saturday morning an alleged cop killer escaped from our local jail. A massive manhunt has been under way in the surrounding wooded areas. They think they have him pinned down in a relatively small area. If that's true, why haven't they got him yet. The command center they showed from the air today on Columbus's NewsCenter, looks like a small city. What's the holdup? Or are they telling us that to make us think the authorities have the situation under control?

I am praying the Lord gives them wisdom to flush him out. Safely with no life lost. This man, John Parsons, allegedly robbed a gas station in April '05. While making his getaway, he encountered an off-duty police officer, Larry Cox, and shot and killed him. Now, the same man has escaped from the same city where he allegedly(I keep forgetting to add that word) killed one of their brothers in blue. He's not a popular guy on all counts.

Just like the sweating, frustrated, overworked officials who've been hunting for him for five days, Mr. Parsons has to be feeling the heat. It's hot here in Ohio, just like the rest of the country. For 4 consecutive days, the heat index is making it feel like 114. Unlike his pursuers, Mr. Parsons doesn't have an airconditioned motor home in which to take refuge. Nor does he have bottled water or frozen Snickers bars. (I'm speculating on the Snickers bars.)

So Mr. Parsons needs to come to his senses and turn himself in before he dies from heat exposure or takes 27 warning shots in his quest to remain a free man. I believe we must all pay for our crimes, but the Christian in me hates to think he will be gunned down in a field somewhere in Ross County. Meanwhile my carnal side is annoyed at all the tax money and manpower expended to search for this (alleged) cop killer, who was someone's husband, father, brother, and son. You realize don't you, that after he's taken alive, the state will spend thousands to restore him to health before convicting him.

Where's the justice in that? I can't even afford Lasic Eye Surgery.

I said all that to say this...

Not only have I had all these distraction keeping me from working on the new book, my editor sent rewrites for my last book, Evidence of Grace, which will be out June, 2007. Rewrites always take precedence over first drafts so I'll put the new book aside for another few days. Hopefully by the time I finish the rewrites, a cold front from Canada will have pushed the heatwave into the Atlantic, John Parsons will be back in jail and I can go outside without scanning the woods behind my house first, and my author copies of my new release The Ultimate Guide to Darcy Carter will be here. But that's a post for another day.

Stay cool.