Monday, December 31, 2012

Old and New

Out with the old, in with the new.

I’m in a reflective mood today. I always get reflective on New Year’s Eve. When I was single, I would spend New Year’s Eve night reflecting on the past year, writing a poem or two about the year to come, finding a Bible verse to take with me into the New Year, and heralding the New Year in with a prayer. It was a sweet time of communion and reflection.

But now that I’m married with a kid, I’m lucky to make it to midnight. But I still like to remember the year past and anticipate the coming one. I strive to be aware of my life and the things God is doing with it. I long to have a healthy perspective on time and how I am spending it. I want to live my life on purpose with purpose.

I find I can do all this best through writing.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Apologies! My writing has been put on the back burner as of late, due to all the holiday festivities. Even my blog has suffered. Needless to say, I had a wonderful Christmas, was blown away by the new musical movie Les Miserables, took a day to recover from all the fun, and got in some writing this afternoon.

I’ll get back on track Monday, I promise. Right now, honestly, I want to take advantage of the peace and quiet of bedtime and…

…browse Pinterest!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Recoving from Christmas Blitz...
....Please stop by on Friday!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Happy Christmas Eve!

I’m going to impart a Christmas wish upon you all, stolen from Michael W. Smith:

The happiest wishes are just old fashion wishes

May your days be merry

May your sorrows be few

May the ones you love be near you

That’s the happiest Christmas of all!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Does This Title Ring?

The Almost-True Adventures of Toby Turnkettle

This title has been rattling around in my head for the past couple weeks. I have a germ of an idea planting in my imagination. This is exciting, since I was afraid after finishing Sherlock Academy I wouldn’t have anything new to write.

But I have this idea for a new story. I’m thinking it’s going to be a quirky comedy about a kid who has been living alone while his poor parents sleep in comas in the hospital (a result of some absurd accident. I’ll need to make it ridiculous enough so it’s not too tragic). Toby has been living alone, but keeping up a false pretense that his parents are well and with him (think Home Alone when little Kevin tricked the thieves into thinking a huge party of people were hanging out at his house, etc.) Some strange adventure will find Toby, etc. I don’t really have much beyond that, but it’s a start.

I can breathe a little easier now knowing I won’t be at a complete loss after Book 5 is wrapped next year.

Let’s hope little West continues to take good naps next year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Two Chances

Sometimes it’s hard coming to grips with the cruelty of this world.

I don’t even need to mention the latest incident of human devastation, as I’m sure you know exactly which recent tragedy is weighing on my heart as I write this. I can’t think too much about it without feeling a part of my heart crack, and the recess behind my eyes well up. This act of mass violence has sparked fresh debates over school safety and gun control.

But I’m not here to debate those things.

I’ve realized that while laws and procedures may help to prevent future tragedies, there is only one thing that can ultimately end sin: Jesus Christ.

God has given me two tools to use in spreading His love, grace, and truth. First, my writing. He has given me the gift of writing, and I can use that by writing characters who stand up for truth and make sacrifices for others. I can write stories that feature good overcoming evil. If there is any truth in the old saying ‘You Are What You Read’, then hopefully I can influence a young readership to make moral decisions and become heroes by loving others.

Second, I have my son. God has entrusted me with Westly, to raise him to fear the Lord, walk uprightly, live justly, and love truth. Hopefully I can instill in Westly a love for God and others, and a passion to live by God’s Word, so he in turn can make a difference in this world.

Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. Don’t we all?

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm One of Those

I love Christmastime. I really do. And I think I love it even more now that I’m a mom. I use to watch parents spoil their kids with presents, relish their kids opening each one, and be genuinely more excited about giving than receiving. And I didn’t get it.

Now I do. Michael and I agreed that Westly doesn’t need a lot of presents, he’s still young, and wouldn’t care whether he got gifts or not. But we couldn’t help getting excited about getting him presents and watching him enjoy the holiday season. I’m totally one of those now.

So the next thing we need to do is go to Disneyland. I can’t wait to take Westly and enjoy the Magical Kingdom by watching him enjoy it. I remember telling Michael one time while he and I walked through Fantasyland, “I’ll know we’re ready for kids when all I want to do is enjoy Disneyland with them.”

That’s where we are now with our little Doodle. It’s true “How wonderful life is now that you’re in the world!”

Friday, December 14, 2012

Breaking Down That Wall

Guess what!

I started to have a breakthrough with my writer’s block. Remember last week (I think it was?) I complained about being stuck in writing Book 5. I have six chapters written. That’s it. But over the last few days, the creative juices started flowing and dissolving that block.

I have some ideas!

Now I just need to sit down and start writing again. Maybe right now—

Is that a cry I hear? Is that coming from the baby monitor?

Sigh…never mind. Tomorrow is another day, and another naptime.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mary Had It Right

The other day while driving around doing errands, I was listening to the Mix radio station in the car—they play continuous Christmas music till December 26. That song ‘Mary Did You Know?’ came on. I have to be honest, it’s not my favorite Christmas song, mainly because I feel like female vocalists use it as an excuse to sing like a diva. Anyways, it has some powerful lyrics. And it got me thinking.

It seems these days parenting and the politics that go along with parenting have become so complicated. There are so many theories, approaches, and decisions to make. Everything from whether to vaccinate or not, to the debate over spanking. Then there’s the added confusion of which products to use: which car seat is safest, which pacifier is better for your baby’s mouth, disposable or cloth diapers?

It’s complicated.

When I feel overwhelmed by so many opinions and so much materialism in regards to raising a kid, I think of Mary.

Yes, Mary the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ. She married a poor carpenter, lived in a small town, was a young mom, and didn’t even have a crib for her baby when He was born. Yet she successfully raised her baby to be healthy and happy.

She did a pretty good job raising the Son of God, no less! And she didn’t have a Babies R Us or a go-to parenting blog.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Next Lois Lane

Last month I did an interview with the Sun newspaper (see Friday’s post). I answered a reporter’s questions, and read his article in newsprint.

Interesting twist:

Now I may be living on the other side. I may join the writing staff of another local newspaper, the Orcutt Pioneer.  Michael knows the owner of the newspaper because her kid goes to Michael’s charter school and had my Mr. Shaw as an English teacher. She was telling my husband how she is short on writers, and if he knew anyone who would be interested.

Michael jumped right in with “We’ll do it!”

We’ll become a little husband-wife newspaper writing team! I don’t have all the details yet, but I know the newspaper comes out once a month, and features local news in the small community of Orcutt. (I’ve been featured in it several times before my book release events) And we get paid per article we write, which will be some wonderful extra income.

I have to admit, this is a little writing dream come true!

(And a great excuse for my writer’s block on Book 5)

Friday, December 7, 2012

To Quote FC Shaw...

Last week my interview with the local Santa Maria Sun newspaper came out! A week before my book release, I did a phone interview with them. It was a good 45 minute interview with some great questions. Then the reporter came to the book event and took some pictures. The article turned out great, a nice page spread! There’s a picture of me signing a book, and a shot of my books for sale. It’s always surreal to not only see your picture in the paper, but to read the things you said, and the reporter’s summary of you and your craft. (I had a similar article in the Sun a few years ago, and an article in another local paper last year).

I haven’t done a ton of interviews, but I have done enough to know what reporters find interesting, and what they tend to quote in their articles. I usually get a lot of the same questions both from reporters and from kids at author visits, so I’ve had practice with my answers. And let me just say, I have a lot more respect for celebrities who get interviewed all the time. It really takes practice to answer concisely, to be specific, interesting, and original.

It’s a lot like writing a story. Every word counts.

And sometimes you don’t realize how stupid you are till you see your words in print.

Thank goodness I have a chance to revise/edit my writing before everyone reads it. Sometimes I wish I could do the same with an interview. For now, I’ll keep practicing. Overall, I was happy with this interview.

Check out the article at

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Way to Spend Four Hours

West and I just got back from visiting my family down south—a Thanksgiving make-up. West bonded with his Pops, played with his cousin Mina, opened early Christmas gifts from his Auntie Lis (my good friend), and got re-acquainted with his great-grandma Mimi.

In the past I relished the four hour car drive to and from my parents. It was a time for me to worship the Lord to some Chris Tomlin and David Crowder. It was a time for me to stretch my vocal chords to Taylor Swift and Adele. And most importantly, it was a time for me to get lost in my imagination as I brainstormed ideas for my writing, and Sherlock Academy.

That was all before my little doodle came along.

Now I spend the four hour car ride passing the Elmo toy and the tractor book back to Westly. I point out the big semi trucks and wave like an idiot at them as we pass by. I try to explain to this 19 month old boy that we’re going to Pops and Grammy’s house, and we’ll be there soon. I brainstorm ideas of how to keep Westly entertained, and try to ward off a complete meltdown.

There are stretches of the journey when Westly quietly zones out with his paci—ten or fifteen minutes here and there. During those few miles I try to switch from Mommy-mode to Writer-mode, and plot out a few moments for my Book 5. But it’s really hard.

I barely start a dialogue in my head between Rollie and his friend Cecily, when another voice cuts in…

“Mama! Wa-wa!”

I pass the sippy cup to the back seat.