You heard me. Grocery shopping is a necessary evil and I do it because we love to eat. Shopping for clothes is something I put off until there are holes in my socks and my jeans are frayed.
But give me a bookstore – online, on the street corner, or in the mall – and I’ll gladly spend hours browsing the shelves, checking out covers, and reading back cover blurbs.
When I return home from my shopping spree, I’ll spread the books around me, then study the covers and reread the back story blurb. Or if I’ve purchased the books online and downloaded them to my Kindle, I’ll open each one up so I can view the cover and read the opening pages – copyright, acknowledgments, and story blurb or excerpt.
Then comes the moment when I have to pick which book to read first. If I have a favourite author in the mix, I’ll usually start with her book. Sometimes a story blurb will so intrigue me, my curiosity gets the best of me and I’ll dive into that book instead.
I dream about moving my household into the local library, where I can be surrounded by books 24/7 and browse at will. I’d be the happiest woman in town … except for when it came time to dust each and every book on the shelves.
Hello, my precious books. You are better than gold.
How about you? When buying books or bringing them home, what is your reading MO?
Have you heard the tale about the curious little girl who, after breakfast one morning, left the house and headed down the block to grandma’s house for supper? (Don’t worry … this isn’t one of those tales where the girl gets eaten by the big bad wolf.)
Well, the story goes something like this.
The little girl spotted her neighbour’s prize roses, stopped to enjoy their irresistible scent, and ended up staying for milk and cookies. By the time she left, it was almost noon.
A little further down the street, she stopped at another neighbour’s yard to check out the goldfish in the new pond, and decided to stay for lunch.
By early afternoon, she was back on the road, determined to make it all the way this time. Except in the next yard, she spied a flock of hummingbirds feasting on some impatiens and before she could control the impulse, she’d joined the neighbour for tea.
When the little girl finally arrived at grandma’s house, it was dark, supper was over, and grandma had gone to bed.
This week, I’m that little girl. Everything around me is shiny and new and so very distracting. And I know exactly why.
I’ve resumed rewrites on my women’s fiction story.
After reading through the opening chapters, I’ve discovered I’ve barely left the house, that there’s a really long journey ahead, for both my characters and for me. I’m sure I’ll occasionally be witty and brilliant, but at this stage of the rewrites, the work still sucks and all I want to do is shove the story back under the bed and find something better to work on.
So how do you keep yourself focused on your job, whatever it might be? Are there moments when your focus splinters and you find yourself ready to tackle the most dangerous stunt, if it will only save you from the dreariness ahead? Or do you put on blinders, refuse to get distracted, and stay the course until the end?
I met LINDA STYLE because of a snafu in a contest and we’ve been friends ever since. So when her latest release hit the shelf, and she announced she was donating a portion of the proceeds to the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT, I knew I wanted to help her get the word out.
In A SOLDIER’S SECRET, Natalia Sokoloff is a veteran of the Iraq war, has completed two tours of duty as a helicopter rescue pilot and has returned home with scars no one can see. David MacAllister, who saved Natalia’s life in Iraq, now works with her as a medic on the Mountain Air Search and Rescue team. This is their love story, but it’s also about a very serious problem facing many veterans every day.
A SOLDIER’S SECRET, in stores now, is also available for your Kindle or Nook.
Special Note: Anyone who leaves a comment will be eligible for a draw to win a signed copy of Linda’s A SOLDIER’S SECRET! So where do you find your inspiration? It can be writing related or just about life in general!
I asked Linda this question: Your Dear Reader letter said this was the most difficult book of the series to write. Can you tell us about the book and where you got your inspiration to write a story about PTSD?
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Thank you so much for inviting me today, Sheila.
Indeed, A SOLDIER’S SECRET was a difficult book to write. I knew it was the 3rd and final book in my Spirit Creek connected stories about three women who are friends, so I’m a bit sad to see my characters go off on their own. Plus, it was about a subject that has seriously affected so many people and their families. I wanted to do it justice…without going overboard. I had to keep reminding myself that, first and foremost, this is a romance novel, not a treatise on PTSD.
My inspiration, however, came from knowing someone who had returned from the Viet Nam War and experienced the disorder. He was severely affected and could never fully retrieve his former life. It’s heartbreaking, not only for our returning soldiers, but also for their families. And knowing so many of our soldiers would eventually be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and may experience similar problems, I felt compelled to write about it.
I also discovered that the issues women veterans face when coming home are unique and have been largely ignored, so it was important for my heroine to be the one affected by the disorder. Studies show that among women vets who’d served in Iraq and Afghanistan, almost 20% have been diagnosed with PTSD. And now, with the pullout in Iraq, we can expect the numbers for PTSD in both sexes to rise.
The more I talked to people while doing my research, the more I realized I wanted to do more. That’s why I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from A SOLDIER’S SECRET to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began when several veterans and friends – moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq – took action to help others in need. What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members grew into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist veterans as they recover and transition back to civilian life. The WWP offers a variety of programs and services to help veterans with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer, but I do have the ability to help draw attention to the problem through my books and by donating to the program. It’s a small gesture compared with what our military heroes have given to us.
I hope readers enjoy A SOLDIER’S SECRET and maybe find a little inspiration to take a look at what they can do to get involved in helping our soldiers after they come home. Readers can find out more about the Wounded Warrior Project here.
Thank you again, Sheila, my good friend, for the opportunity to talk about both my book and the WWP.
Another year has come and gone. 2011 was fun and productive. I learned a lot about indie publishing and in the process, even managed to get some writing done. 🙂
A huge thank you goes out to D.D. Scott and Tonya Kappes from the WG2EP blog. They have been a huge source of information, sharing the details of their indie publishing journey with everyone who stops to read their blog.
Another thank you goes out to my CaRWA chapter mates. This group of women — plus one terrific guy — are warm, caring, and welcoming. Although I live four hours away from the group and am unable to attend the monthly chapter meetings, not a day goes by without chatter on our chapter email loop.
I’d also like to thank the Bandit Creek group, whose special comradery has resulted in a 33 book series by 32 authors. My book comes out on July 15, 2012. I will be forever grateful to Vivi Anna aka Tawny Stokes for being the driving force behind this endeavor.
Also, a special thanks to Kristen Lamb and the WANA1011 team. It’s true. We Are Not Alone! Through The WANA class, I’ve met so many awesomely supportive people.
And last but not least, a very very special thanks to my long time friends Ann Voss Peterson, Susan Vaughan, Linda Style, and Virginia Kelly. I met these terrific women during the Outreach International contest way back in 1989 and we have been friends ever since. They have read and critiqued and encouraged me while I tried to understand plot and structure … and they finally succeeded in getting this important knowledge past my thick skull, into my brain, out my fingertips, and onto my computer screen. I love you girls so much. You are the best writer friends a girl could ever hope for!
So from my house to all of yours, I wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year. See you in 2012.
A few years ago, my husband decided it was time to decorate the house, you know, like regular folks do at Christmas, with more than just a Christmas tree. Since I’m not much of a decorator, he went out himself and bought a whole whack of Santa ornaments. When our youngest son came home from work that night and saw the house littered with Santa figures, he said, “Our house puked Santa.”
Since then, it’s been a running household joke. This year, when the boy removed Santa from his bathroom counter and stuck the figure on a shelf where we would be sure to find it, we decided to have a little fun. Every day, the boy would come home and find Santa in a different location.
The first day we tucked Santa into the boy’s bed. When the boy arrived home and found him, not a word was said.
The next day, we went looking for Santa. The boy had hidden him so well, we had to search the whole house. Finally, we found him on the top shelf of a book cabinet. This time, Santa got a note hung from his beard and we put him on the counter next to the fridge, where the boy usually leaves his lunch kit. The note said, “My darling boy, I missed you so much today, I cried while you were away. Your parents won’t play with me. Please take me to work with you tomorrow.”
Again, Santa was not mentioned but it was obvious the boy’s after-work mood was getting a much needed lift.
The next morning, we located Santa in our bathtub. Because this Santa was of Scottish heritage, we left the boy a note that said, “I’m Scottish and I like to go commando. I dare you to look under my skirt.”
And so the countdown to Christmas continued, with the boy hiding Santa every night and us finding fun ways to entertain him… or perhaps we were simply entertaining ourselves.
Do you have a holiday Grinch in your family and if so, what kind of tricks do you use to beat humor the grinchiness out of him/her?