Archive for the ‘guest post’ Category



“My world came to an end the day I jumped off Versailles.”



            * as written for http://readingismysuperpower.org/2018/06/16/guest-post-and-a-giveaway-robin-e-mason-the-seasons-series/


 “The comforting words of dearest friends are a soothing balm to a jagged soul.”



Have you ever wondered what authors do when they finish a new book? Well, I’m here to tell ya. For this author, at least.


Mentally, I crash. Well, physically, too. ‘Specially this last series—I mean, come ON! Four books in one year?!?!?!? What was I thinking?

Okay, okay, let me ‘splain. Writing is an intense journey, hard work and hard deadlines, even for Indies such as myself. Research and hyper attention to detail, especially for the OCD-er ones. (like moi) And when it’s over, it’s not unlike the release after a rigorous work-out. Or a hike up Mount Everest… Or childbirth. And there is post-authorum letdown, if not depression.

Truly, I feel rather at odds, staring at ALL.THE.THINGS I have neglected these past months. And in my case, this time at least, the ten days remaining (at the time this post goes live) before major surgery. Which, by the way, was deferred till after the writing got did.

So now that this story is finished, and wrapped up in a pretty cover, what does the author’s brain do? Why, we noodle around with notes and ideas for our next story, of course! Or stories, as the case may be.

In my case, I’ve two new series’ swarming around, both of which took root some years ago. Kid stories, something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and a mid-grade series for my granddaughters.


The notes from Seasons will soon be tucked away and replaced with notes for the next series, files on the laptop will be set up—truly, I’ve already started that endeavor.

But the non-writing stuff, that’s what’s begging my attention. Basic housekeeping #hangsheadinshame, neglected and languishing projects #Imanartisttoo, and the rearranging of furniture to accommodate post-surgery recovery.


Perhaps the hardest and yet sweetest won “task” is nothing. And by nothing I mean doing nothing. Truly, I adore sitting on my front porch, watching the trees be trees. Watching the birds flit about, and squabble. Watching the kids on my block ride their bikes as the race and carry on great adventures.


It feels strange, this sitting, half-idly, thinking about all the stuff to do and not having the stress and pressure to get it done. Methinks it’s part of the creative cycle, not so unlike a rigorous exercise routine. Warm up, bust it for a while, cool down; warm up, bust it for a while, cool down; warm up…


Not so unlike life in general. Our days fluctuate between work and family, obligation and pleasure, high pressure and down time.

That down time is rather like recovery after surgery. I failed to allow for that two years ago after my first knee replacement, and had to adjust my book deadline. This time, I’ve blocked out the rest of the summer for recovery. And reading. You didn’t think I’d be totally idle all those weeks, did you?

Even Father God takes a day of rest. And He’s God. He doesn’t get tired, He never slumbers or sleeps. But He is our example and He says to take a day of rest. Or two. Or ten. “Be still and know,” He says. Basically, rest. Chill out. You’ve done well, now it’s time to kick back and enjoy.

So, the aftermath of writing for this author? I be chillin’. I be kicked back. And I sure be enjoying.



““Mercedes?” I could barely breathe. I didn’t remember this woman. The name only tumbled in my mind, tugging at memories I couldn’t see. I don’t know how but I knew I could trust her. Still…”



““NO!” My throat raw already, my scream was jagged and panicked and desperate. “No!” I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to remember… Not this. I didn’t want to remember this.”



#Blogwords, The Aftermath, A Writer’s Life, Special Edition, Guest Post, Reading is My Superpower, Carrie Schmidt, The Whispering Winds of Spring, Seasons Book 4


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“My world came to an end the day I jumped off Versailles.”


 “The comforting words of dearest friends are a soothing balm to a jagged soul.”






People say that good fiction should reflect real life, so when I create the characters for a novel I draw from the characteristics of real people I know, often blending the traits of several friends and acquaintances into one fictional person I hope will take on a life of their own on the pages.

I take special care, also, in the development of characters who will become friends, especially if they are to be close friends, and most especially if their relationship is one that must grow and develop over a series of stories spanning several years. To create the characters of Eliza Gentry and Millie Morrell, who appear in my novel More Precious Than Gold and again in its sequel Stronger Than Mountains, I analyzed several long-lasting friendships I’ve experienced.

The result was surprising, even to me.

Eliza and Millie could hardly be more different. Eliza is a spinster of 28 who’s headed west to escape her grief over losing a fiancé in the Civil War when she’s trapped in a stagecoach with Millie, a giddy, talkative girl of 16 who is going to meet her future husband in New Mexico. Millie is petite, perky, and pampered. Eliza is tall, sober, and capable because life has left her no other choice. Other than this short journey she’s forced to endure, Eliza is sure they have nothing in common…until Millie extends unexpected kindness and demonstrates strength during a crisis that bonds them for life.

            Friendships often begin by surprise, don’t they?

When I think of how I met my own deepest friends, the encounters were almost always unintentional. Sometimes the meetings were a mistake I tried desperately to avoid!

I met some of my dearest friends when I was new in town and invited to attend a Bible study. Shy, I didn’t really want to go, but when I realized there were only two weeks left in the study before the summer break, I thought, “How bad could it be? If I feel awkward, I can go twice and have no obligation to continue.” The ladies in that group range in age from ten years younger than myself to almost twenty years older, yet they have become quite dear to me.

I met my husband when my roommate made me late to a concert. We whisked in just as the lights dimmed and the music began to play. Though she was the cause of our late arrival, she took the last seat in the row of girls we’d come to join, leaving me to grab the only available empty seat I could find. The young man I ended up sharing an armrest with was very kind, introducing me to his friends and chatting at intermission. By the end of the concert he’d asked if he might call me. Forty years and two children later, he’s my dearest friend in all the world.

            Friendships begin with unexpected acts of kindness.

I met my lifelong friends when another friendship broke up due to betrayal. Heartsick, I needed to avoid old drama and develop new habits, so I asked if I might share their table at lunch. This required uncharacteristic bravery on my part! I tried not to rehash the trouble I was in, but I suspect they knew. More importantly, they understood and embraced me with kindness. When my friends were afraid to speak up for me, these strangers welcomed me as their special guest.  “In the presence of my enemies,” they prepared a table before me.

All creatures respond to kindness, and I responded to theirs. Decades later, we’ve been there for each other as we’ve delivered children and watched them grow up and marry, having children of their own. We’ve stood with each other at funerals, sat with each other in hospitals, wept and laughed together, supporting each other through the twists and turns of life. I don’t know where I’d be or who I’d be without them!

            Friends often supply strength we need or lack.

As in the case of my fictional friends Eliza and Millie, my own friends are often very different from me. They have strengths, skills, perspectives, and insight that I lack. They complete areas where I am weak, and they say that I do the same for them.

The things we share are our core principles and open hearts.

There is a Proverb which tells us “One who has unfaithful friends soon comes to ruin, but here is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” That’s a hope-builder, isn’t it?

Oh, and aren’t you glad, friend? Aren’t you glad!


Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.






Both books in Lynn’s Sangre de Cristo series, More Precious than Gold and Stronger than Mountains, are on sale this week, 22th – 27th

Link for More Precious Than Gold www.amazon.com/dp/B005EOTC10/

Link for Stronger Than Mountains www.amazon.com/dp/B071RFY3SN/



““Mercedes?” I could barely breathe. I didn’t remember this woman. The name only tumbled in my mind, tugging at memories I couldn’t see. I don’t know how but I knew I could trust her. Still…”



““NO!” My throat raw already, my scream was jagged and panicked and desperate. “No!” I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to remember… Not this. I didn’t want to remember this.”



#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Lynn Dean, Friendship, Special Edition, The Whispering Winds of Spring, Seasons Book 4

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“My world came to an end the day I jumped off Versailles.”

 “The comforting words of dearest friends are a soothing balm to a jagged soul.”



Simone, my main character in The Whispering Winds of Spring, has suffered more than one traumatic event in her life. The results—and her recovery—are her story.

My guest this week, Becca Puglisi, offers explanation of psychological trauma.



Growing up, do you remember something happening that you didn’t expect, something that surprised you—and not in a good way? Maybe you came home with a third-place Science Fair ribbon, and rather than wrap you up in a breath-stealing hug and fawn over the yellow slip, your mother barely gave it a glance, declaring that you should have tried harder. Now, fast-forward to junior year. You auditioned for the lead in the school musical, but the part went to someone else. How did that feel, especially when you had to deliver the news to dear old mom? What about when you missed the cut for a university program that, as she likes to remind you, your brother got into with no problem, or the time you were passed over for a promotion and had to sit through an agonizing family dinner where your sibling was lauded for his accomplishments?


Chances are, this wounded past doesn’t match your own. But if it did, at what point would resentment set in over your mother’s love being withdrawn each time you failed to meet her unrealistic expectations? How long until you stopped talking about your goals or—even worse— refused to try at all because you believed you would only fail?


Unfortunately, life is painful, and not all the lessons we learn are positive ones. As with you and me, the characters in our stories have suffered emotional trauma that cannot easily be dispelled or forgotten. We call this type of trauma an emotional wound: a negative experience (or set of experiences) that causes pain on a deep psychological level. It is a lasting hurt that often involves someone close: a family member, lover, mentor, friend, or other trusted individual. Wounds may be tied to a specific event, arise upon learning a difficult truth about the world, or result from a physical limitation, condition, or challenge.


Whatever form they take, most wounding experiences happen unexpectedly, meaning, characters have little or no time to raise their emotional defenses. The resulting pain is brutal and immediate, and the fallout of this trauma has lasting repercussions that will change the character in significant (often negative) ways. As with us, characters experience many different painful events over a lifetime, including ones in their formative years. These wounds are not only the most difficult to move past, they often create a domino effect for other hurts that follow.


Now, you might ask why we should care about what happens to our characters before page one. After all, isn’t it what they do during the story that matters? Yes, and no. People are products of their pasts, and if we want our characters to come across as authentic and believable to readers, we need to understand their backstories too. How a character was raised, the people in her life, and the events and world conditions she was exposed to months or years ago will have direct bearing on her behavior and motives within the story. Backstory wounds are especially powerful and can alter who our characters are, what they believe, and what they fear most. Understanding the pain they’ve experienced is necessary to creating fully formed and compelling characters.


When we think of emotional trauma, we often imagine it as a specific moment that forever alters the character’s reality, but wounds can present in a variety of ways. It’s true that one may develop from a single traumatic event, such as witnessing a murder, getting caught in an avalanche, or experiencing the death of one’s child. But it can also come about from repeated episodes of trauma, like a series of humiliations at the hand of a workplace bully or a string of toxic relationships. Wounds may also result from a detrimental ongoing situation, such as living in poverty, childhood neglect caused by addicted parents, or growing up in a violent cult.


However they form, these moments leave a mark, albeit a psychological one, just as a physical injury does. Wounds damage our characters’ self-worth, change how they view the world, cause trust issues, and dictate how they will interact with other people. All of this can make it harder for them to achieve certain goals, which is why we should dig deep into their backstories and unearth the traumas they may have been exposed to.


* excerpted from The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psycholoical Trauma, https://writershelpingwriters.net/2015/05/announcing-the-emotional-wounds-thesaurus/


I hope this clarifies what a wound is and what kind of aftershocks it can have. It’s SO important for us to know this important event from each character’s past, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma is now available (in print and digital). To see a sample entry, visit the link above or browse the online version hosted at One Stop for Writers.


Becca Puglisi is a YA fantasy and historical fiction writer who enjoys slurping copious amounts of Mountain Dew and snarfing snacks that have no nutritional value. She has always enjoyed contemplating the What if? scenario, which served her well in south Florida during hurricane season and will come in handy now that she’s moved to New York and must somehow survive winter.

Becca Puglisi is a speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers website and via her newest endeavor: One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library like no other, filled with description and brain-storming tools to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.




““Mercedes?” I could barely breathe. I didn’t remember this woman. The name only tumbled in my mind, tugging at memories I couldn’t see. I don’t know how but I knew I could trust her. Still…”



““NO!” My throat raw already, my scream was jagged and panicked and desperate. “No!” I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to remember… Not this. I didn’t want to remember this.”


#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Becca Puglisi, Emotional Wound, Special Edition, The Whispering Winds of Spring, Seasons Book 4

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“My world came to an end the day I jumped off Versailles.”


“The comforting words of dearest friends are a soothing balm to a jagged soul.”





My friend, Catherine (name changed), had decided to end her life.


After many physical problems that included diabetes, a brain bleed, broken bones, and amputation of her legs below her knees, she decided to stop her dialysis knowing it would lead to death.


What do you say in that circumstance? What do you feel? My heart dropped to my feet and my body stilled. My thinking stopped. “You’re going to do what? But…” And silence followed on both ends of the telephone. I knew her situation. I knew why she would choose this, but my heart still fought it. “But Catherine—”


“Nothing will change my mind, and I didn’t call you for an argument. I called because…”


Silence again. We both knew why she’d called. We were friends, deep friends. We’d shared our hurts and sorrows for so long, all the things we couldn’t share with others. And we’d shared the joys, too.


It was not in my plans for Catherine to end her life, but God is bigger than our plans and our hardships; and He was big enough that day to get both Catherine and I through the hard process of saying goodbye. With her decision, she could live possibly a week or two, and she didn’t want to call again, didn’t want the heartache of saying goodbye again. It would be my last time to talk to her.


Catherine and I did not see eye-to-eye on lots of things and through the years we’d fought about some of those, but then we always took tentative steps back towards each other, forgiving each other and learning to be at peace with the things we did agree on.


Why are friendships so important?


Proverbs 18:24 NIV says that “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And Proverbs 27:17 NIV says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV states that “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

And Proverbs 22:24-25 NIV warns “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.”


The Bible also tells us that if you want friends, you must show yourself friendly—even if you have to come out of your comfort zone. You need to be willing to sacrifice for the other person, as that person hopefully will do for you; and you’ll need to overlook and forgive hard words and hard times, so that you can have someone special in your life, someone who will be there when you need them as you will be for them. Someone you can laugh with and cry with, someone who can point you to God in the worst times of your life. And then again, someone whom you will point to God, too, when they need it. Friendships are reciprocal relationships.


Ultimately, of course, God is our greatest friend. John 15:13 NIV states “Greater Love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” And Jesus did just that for us.

Linda K. Rodante is an author of Christian Romantic suspense novels and a lover of sweet tea. After growing up and raising a family in Florida, she now lives in the foothills of Tennessee. Her books wrap sweet romance in real-life issues women face today then adds an edge of mystery, suspense, and faith.


In my latest book, Pursued, I take a friendship that started when the girl was eleven and the boy seventeen and develop into a love story fifteen years later. However, a lot happens during those fifteen years—as it does in all relationships. Forgiveness plays a large part. Here’s a short blurb: Dr. Chase Richards has fled his Christian roots, but he’s returning to his home town in Tennessee to make amends. Only the girl he once loved is now a woman—and she wants nothing to do with him. In addition, the opioid study he started and left in Virginia has followed him across state lines. Because of it, his life’s in danger—and now, so is Cristina’s. Can he win her back and discover who’s trying to kill them before she becomes collateral damage?


**Extra Bonus** Pursued is FREE today on Amazon.  Find it here: http://amzn.to/2CjiXsH

Linda’s other books can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-K.-Rodante/e/B012OITZ2Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1525224809&sr=1-2-ent

She also has an author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindakrodante/ and is on twitter at https://twitter.com/lrodante


Cover reveal Saturday 12 May.

““Mercedes?” I could barely breathe. I didn’t remember this woman. The name only tumbled in my mind, tugging at memories I couldn’t see. I don’t know how but I knew I could trust her. Still…”




““NO!” My throat raw already, my scream was jagged and panicked and desperate. “No!” I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to remember… Not this. I didn’t want to remember this.”

#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Linda Rodante, Friendship, Special Edition, The Whispering Winds of Spring, Seasons Book 4, Cover Reveal Day Two

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“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.” —Madeline L’Engle


Saw that quote the other day—and it says so much, and rather defines my writing—my life. I think most of us, as authors, draw from personal experience; I know I do. And the biggest part of my writing, truly my life, is my faith. But I don’t write Christian Fiction. I cannot market as such, because of “those” words. They’re rare, few and far between, maybe 5 in 100K manuscript. But they’re there.


But so is my faith.


Borrowed the words of my sweet friend, Carrie Schmidt, when she reviewed The Silent Song of Winter recently:


“In her novels, Mason wrestles with some of the darkest parts of human nature. But she also wraps each story in the loving arms of Grace… A realization that the words of Scripture are God’s heart written just for her. A new awareness that she is a child of the King who is dearly loved. As this transformation takes place in Pearl’s heart, it touches every area of her life – with some very moving results.”




I remember a phrase a pastor friend used to use, “Friendship Evangelism.” And it resonated with me to my core. I feel slack sometimes, that I don’t “do” more to spread the Gospel. But Holy Spirit reminds me, so gently as He is wont to do, I am spreading His Word. With my daily living, even and perhaps most especially, when I fail. Because that’s when I pick myself up—rather, He picks me up—and like Twila Paris says in her song, I look up for a smile. And Father’s arms are always always open to me. His heart is always always FOR me.


My writing manifesto says much the same as Ms. L’Engle,


“Stories for Christians to see or remember the ugly effects of the lies of the enemy, and for unbelievers to see the beauty of the Truth and transforming power of the Word of God.”


It’s how I live my life. It’s what I pray shows in my writing. It’s how I believe all Christians are called to do.


Jesus didn’t hide from sin or from sinners. He went to them, He reached out, met them at their point of need and desperation. Loved them in their ugliness. So, too, should we.


Is my writing Christian Fiction? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But it is Faith Fiction.


When all the noise has gone silent, all that is left is her song.


The southern town of Saisons lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers. Downton Abbey meets Gone With the Wind.


It’s 1912, in a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, and four young women who once shared a bond—and experienced a tragedy—question their own truths.


Pearl had lived under the impossible taskmaster of perfection. Nothing she does or ever did pleased her mother. And nothing she ever did could disappoint her father.


Caught up in the mystery of her friend’s curious—and secretive—return, Pearl wrestles with her own decisions, and flees lest her own secrets are exposed.



I am offering an e-copy of The Silent Song of Spring.






#Blogwords, Guest Post, Ginger Solomon, Faith Fiction, Why I Write What I Write, Friendship Evangelism

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Some of us love our families without abandon. Other families work better on opposite sides of the room. But no matter the kind of family, you are there for one another. It is engrained into our DNA to lift up and support one another and put aside our differences. We come together on holidays and special occasions and celebrate each achievement. And sometimes, when one is in desperate need, we, link our arms together  and hold that one up through the trial.

This is my matriarchal side of the family. When one of us needs a little extra boost, someone is right there to help. Need a couple more bags of groceries to fill your pantry, you will find them on your door step. If the kids will be home from school before a parent can get there, someone is available and willing to be there to get them off the bus. We are a tight family, no matter our difference in faith, politics, and life choices. There is still a constant bond that remains. A fine thread that binds us all together.  Grandma.

My Grandma A is the last of my grandparents. At one point, she was sassy, bold, opinionated, vivacious, tenacious, stubborn, and will never complain. You would rarely find her home on a Sunday evening because she was out with her girls (ladies she played cards with and I am guessing and adult beverage or two). She was the local VFW’s Queen of Poppies because she sold the most poppies every year to raise money for the Ladies Auxiliary. Having been a widow since 1987, she filled her time with volunteer work and helping her kids. We could always count on grandma to be at school plays, choir and band concerts, dance recitals – well, you name it and she was there.

A little over a decade ago, we began to notice a change in this energetic thread. She began asking the same questions repeatedly in a short amount of time. Then, she forgot where she parked her car in the parking lot. That led to no longer recalling what street signs meant. And the ball began to roll. About eight years ago, that hated D word was mentioned – Dementia. A couple of years later – Alzheimers.

When grandma received these diagnoses, we banded together around her and formed a plan. Well, it was more like my mom, aunt, and uncle. My aunt made arrangements to live with grandma and the siblings would help with care as needed. Since grandma could no longer drive, it was mostly transportation related. Then, she digressed, and it became “check in on her once a day” just to make sure she didn’t feel alone.  A couple years ago, it became, “We need someone at the house twice a day.” She was forgetting how to make simple meals. That awful demon that was robbing my grandmother’s mind continued its journey.

I happen to live a block away from my aunt and grandma. Since I am a stay at home mom, I was the only one who could be there more than even my own mother. Everyone had to work to continue supporting their households. Even my aunt. Someone had to keep the heat on. So, I willingly go over to the house there times a week now. I enjoy our times together as we have shared many tender moments and some great laughs. But the light are flickering behind those amazing blue eyes. The person inside is bumping around in the corners of that 96 year old mind and she is getting pretty banged up.

“God, I really hate this disease!” Is something I remark often in my quiet times. I hate watching this pillar in our family wither away a little more each day. The woman who was once there for her children and grandchildren, never really relying on anyone, now needs all of those she helped to pitch in for her. Though she won’t ask for your help. Each visit is different now. The only routine we have is help her dress, comb her hair, make her breakfast, give her her medications, take her blood pressure, and if she isn’t too tired, play a round of Skip-Bo.

This winter, my husband had another opportunity to move us all south. We struggled with the choice this year. Grandma was slipping even more and I cannot bring myself to leave her. I am so glad my husband understands that I can’t leave her no matter how bad we want to get out of Michigan. In fact, he told me he knew this would be the case.


When we moved into our house five years ago, my journey as a caregiver for grandma began. I knew that God had placed me here to be easily accessible if something happened and when it was time, this door would close, a new door would open and we would move from this home to another. I must admit, moving to a bigger home is something exciting for my family, but my heart is a little scared. It means things are coming to an end. I am not sure I am ready. Then again, is anyone every ready to say goodbye to one they love so much?


Melissa resides in the small mid-Michigan farm community of Corunna with her husband, three children, one cat, and three dogs.

She began writing in 2014. She has 4 titles to her resume and is currently working on her next novel.  In her spare time, she reads a verity of books throughout the year and shares her thoughts on Goodreads or her blog Back Porch Reads.

You can connect with her at www.melissawardwell.com as well as all major social media outlets and Amazon














#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Melissa Wardwell, Family, Grandma A

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Balancing Writing and Family

When my house was full of young children, I attempted to draft my first novel. After only one chapter, I realized I couldn’t write fiction and homeschool a houseful of children simultaneously. Keep a journal, yes, but concentrate on effective fiction plotting, no.


Maybe you can. If so, it might seem silly that I didn’t press on, that I put my fiction writing aside for another season. But my brain didn’t work that way, and I had watched my working mother. Learning from her experience, I knew something had to give. Fiction could wait. The children would grow up and, one day, be gone.


Two decades later, only one child remained, and I started writing fiction again. Words and backlogged stories came bursting forth. Scenes woke me in the night. Inspiration struck while singing hymns at church. Walks were disrupted as I paused to jot phrases. Words streamed like water from a fire hydrant.


Inspiration didn’t turn off or on when it was most convenient. Looking back at those years of balancing my daughter’s high school education with learning to write fiction, I remember the haze induced by pounding out a scene on my laptop in a loud ballet studio. Pausing to watch each piece she danced solo or with the group, to help with pointe shoe dilemmas, and regularly to watch, astonished by her gracefulness, I drafted five novels.


I can still feel the urgency of working fast and sloppy to draft a section before we rushed to the next event. I dragged that laptop to play practices, huddled in halls and libraries during my daughter’s science tutoring, and carried snippets of dialogue in my head as I raced her across town from one event to another.


But I cherish the memories of quiet mornings, each of us working at home, and the time spent in the coffee shop while we awaited the French tutor. Often the two of us enjoyed the pleasure of simply sitting and conversing. I was glad I’d waited.


The stories I drafted then are bound together in my memory with the events of those days. The murder scene in Refuge, my story about Cain and Abel, was written when my writer friend Susan lent us her daughter, who was the best friend of my girl. My husband was out of town, and I needed to write, so the two girls had an entire weekend sleepover. As Susan left, she asked when I needed her to return.


“When I’ve killed Abel,” I said. “I’m not quite sure how to do it yet.”


Only writers can have these kinds of conversations. Two days later Susan returned. I had finished the scene. Wild haired and disheveled, I greeted her at the door. Tears streaming down my face, emotionally distraught and yet triumphant, I still wore the same clothes.


“Abel’s dead,” I wailed. “I’ve done it. I’ve killed him.”


My friends learned to endure these quirks. But my husband and my daughter had to actually live with a writer. When I was still figuring out how to hit the pause button on inspiration, rather than write for fourteen hours a day, they held a family meeting to discuss strategies. When I had a deadline, they vacated. After I had finished a manuscript to send off to the publisher, they took me to the mall for a massage while they went shopping, rewarding us all.


We did it. It was a group effort. If you’re a writer with a family, it has to be. Everyone must be heard, and everyone must work together. This is something you can’t accomplish without their cooperation and your willingness to compromise. Even then, it will require communication and sharing of strategies.


Ironically, now that all my children are grown, I find that I can’t accomplish nearly as much writing as when I had that pressing schedule. Writing was more urgent then, because I had to squeeze it in here and there. Now I find myself waiting for the perfect moment to start. There is no perfect moment. And so, often I don’t start.


Only you and the Lord together can determine whether and when you can write. If the Lord gives you stories, he’ll give you a way. It may not look at all like you expected, for it will impact your family. A writer must always be mindful of that. Listen.


Melinda Viergever Inman, a prodigal now returned, writes with passion, illustrating God’s love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Her writing also encompasses chronic illness and autoimmune disease, as she was stricken when her first novel was in production. Melinda’s fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Melinda also pens inspirational material and weekly blog posts at http://melindainman.com/blog/. With her family she is involved with Mission India/RIMI, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students.










#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Melinda Inman, Balancing Writing and Family

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