Posts Tagged ‘#NWNF’




My Fiction Fantasy Vacation

Earlier this year, Carrie shared her Bookish Places Bucket List over at Reading Is My Superpower, and it got me to thinking of all the book-related places I’ve dreamed of visiting. So I asked myself, “If money grew on trees and I could spend one year visiting any and as many of those places as I like, where would I go?” The result was my fiction fantasy vacation:

First stop would have to be Prince Edward Island since I’ve been dreaming of visiting L.M. Montgomery’s Green Gables since I was a little girl.

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice raved so beautifully of the countryside in Derbyshire it would seem almost sinful not to include it in my fiction fantasy vacation. From Chatsworth to Stanage Edge, there is much to see and do in this beautiful part of England.

Photo from PeriodDramas.com


It may be cliche, but some of my favorite historical romances have taken place along the Oregon Trail. Therefore, I would love the opportunity to retrace or reenact the experience of those brave pioneers (not forgetting the tragedies that went along with this westward expansion). In a perfect world, I could travel back in time and actually join a wagon train for the entire length of the journey – bringing with me my modern medicines and a magical helicopter that could instantly transport me to a very modern hospital in the case of emergency, of course. Barring that, I’d love to do something like the tour outlined here and then take part in a reenactment such as this one.

After my last pick, it will hardly come as a surprise that I also enjoy a well-written cowboy romance. So of course, my fantasy vacation needs to include the closest thing this city girl can get to actual ranching experience:  a dude ranch! Only I’m just crazy enough not to want to simply hang out at a ranch and maybe ride a horse or two. I actually want to muck stalls, drive cattle, groom horses and maybe even learn to lasso. That’s easy, right? Well, whatever the case, I figure one of the top 50 working ranch vacation places listed HERE ought to suit my fancy.

Those horns are soft, right?


I’ll probably be all tuckered out after my stay at the ranch. What better way to recharge than a nice long train ride? Yep. I like a good train romance, too. Although I don’t think it is possible to get the full ash-in-your-face, week-long-travel-on-a-hard-wooden-bench experience, these days, I would like to experience traveling from New York to San Francisco by rail. And perhaps while I’m riding, I’ll travel back in time by reading the “first-person” contemporary accounts available HERE.

Then, to round off my vacation, I’ll test my seafaring skills by learning to crew a gold-rush era replica schooner off the coast of my hometown, San Diego.

What do you think? Would you enjoy coming along on my fantasy fiction vacation? What would your fantasy fiction vacation include?



What would your fantasy fiction vacation include? – Click to Tweet!





This post and all images originally appeared on Kathleen’s blog in August last year:




Kathleen Denly writes stories to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. She enjoys finding the lesser known pockets of history and bringing them to life through the joys and struggles of her characters.

Sunny southern California, a favorite setting in her stories, is also her home. She lives there with her loving husband, four young children, two cats, and too many fish to count. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories.





#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Kathleen Denly, My Fiction Fantasy Vacation


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Faith. It’s a little word, but holds powerful meaning. People have faith in different things, but often find that they cannot count on the things they have faith in. It could be a family member, best friend, boss, even a church member. These are just people though. They are bound to make mistakes, break promises, and let you down at one point or another, sometimes through no fault of their own. Our Heavenly Father, however, will never let us down. We may not always like what He has to say, but we can have faith that He knows what is best, and will never let us down.

I recently went through a test of faith with the Lord – and boy, did He test me. I have a fifteen year old daughter who is interested in missions. Has been for a few years actually, but I always assumed her interest would go away. Don’t get me wrong – I love and support missionaries. But MY daughter? My one and only child going to who knows what country, for who knows how long? Yeah, I’m not sure my heart can take that.


Have faith.


These words have been whispered in my ears for a few years now. I ignored it at first. I wasn’t ready to let her go. Then came the good news – our minister and his wife made arrangements to take Caitlin to stay with a missions family our church supports in Mexico. Mexico. The place that seems to be the crime capital of the world.


Have faith.


Boy did I put on a good front. I pretended to be so excited and happy for Caitlin, and honestly part of me really was happy for her. I mean, what young woman in today’s world decides at such an early age that they are interested in serving the Lord in this way? But Mexico? I mean why couldn’t she be going to somewhere in the US?


Have faith.


There were those pesky words again. I heard them over and over during the planning stages. I prayed for the Lord to give me wisdom and comfort. I prayed that if this was truly what He wanted, to make things so smooth in the planning stages that it was obvious this was His will. Guess what? Everything came together so easy and so quickly that God was sending a clear message to me. Know what that message was? Yep – I needed to have faith.

You see, as a mother you are very protective of your children. You want them to grow and succeed, as long as it’s right there beside you where you can catch them when they fall. I am probably overprotective – anyone who knows me tends to point that out. So to allow my daughter to go to Mexico without me was going to be a HUGE step. But I needed faith. I trust the Lord with so many things in my life, why was I struggling to trust Him with my daughter?


Have faith.


The bible tells us in in Matthew 17:20 that we need only faith the grain of mustard seed. When you put it in perspective, it’s not all that much. So….I decided to give it my best. I was going to be a woman/mother of faith, and was going to walk around knowing that my daughter was safe in the arms of my Heavenly Father. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen over time. Let me say this – the Lord is great at bringing us closer to Him. As much as this trip was for Caitlin, it was for me. I needed to learn to let her go. I needed to learn that she will still be okay even if she’s not in the same county as me, or the same country for that matter. I needed to learn that I’ll be okay too. Most of all, I needed to learn to have faith.

The day she left I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my entire life. Talk about getting closer to the Lord – I was with Him all day long. Amazingly (but not shocking to the Lord) they arrived safely and had absolutely no problems at any of the airports or going through customs. Caitlin kept in contact with me throughout the week, and I continued my contact with the Lord through prayer. When she was back home, safe in my arms, I kind of blew a sigh of relief. But it was only a little one. For you see, I wasn’t as worried the day she came home as I was the day she left. My faith in the Lord had grown and multiplied, and I knew without the shadow of a doubt that He would keep her safe.

You’ll never guess what the message at church was on the Sunday after they returned…….

Yep, faith. Having faith that the Lord will provide. Having faith that the Lord will take care of us. Having faith enough to give your daughter to the Lord, and trusting Him for her life. Okay, our minister didn’t say those words, but God did. Straight to my heart.


Have faith.


I challenge you today – if there is something in your life that you are stressing over, give it to the Lord. Have faith that He will take care of it for you, whatever it is. Trust me, when you do finally let go, you will feel a HUGE weight lift off your shoulders. Won’t you allow the Lord to ease your burdens?






Jessica Baker lives Central NY with her husband, teenage daughter, beagle and cat. She loves Jesus, her family and her church. She is a wife, mother, church youth group leader, and avid reader.  She loves cooking and baking for family and friends in her spare time.

Jessica’s love for reading began as a young child when her grandmother read her the book Teeny Tiny Woman. In fact, most of the books she read as a child were given to Jessica by her grandmother, to whom she is eternally grateful for encouraging her to read. Today Jessica has a diverse taste in Christian books, ranging from Amish to dystopian, historic to contemporary, and everywhere in between.

Jessica loves sharing her passion for reading with others, and connecting readers with authors. In addition to her blog, she provides support in managing street teams, proofreading, beta reading, copy edits, and assisting authors in any way that she can.











#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Jessica Baker

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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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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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