Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a time to reflect and celebrate the sacrifices made for our freedoms as Americans. Originally called Decoration Day, it started after the Civil War.

Many people only see Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, but we need to keep in mind what the cost of freedom really is. It’s not free. In fact, the price is steeper than many of us realize. People who fight to protect the U.S.A. are willing to give their lives so we can go on living in this beautiful country filled with more opportunity than citizens of most other countries will ever have the privilege of seeing.

So before you head out to the beach or on the road for your family vacation, take a moment to reflect with gratitude. And don’t forget to pray for those who are willing to serve our country in these tumultuous times.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunscreen Protection Day - Protect Your Skin!

Tomorrow is Sunscreen Protection Day, so I thought this would be a good topic for now. Although summer isn’t the only time sunscreen is important, if you haven’t started wearing it, now is an excellent time to start.

With melanoma and other types of skin cancer on the rise, not protecting the skin is risky. Choose one with the highest SPF (sun protection factor) your skin can handle and reapply it frequently. If you wear makeup, choose one with SPF built in, but don’t expect it to last all day. Bring along some extra sunscreen to slather on periodically.

Cancer isn’t the only concern for most people. Too much sun exposure will dry out your skin and leave you with leathery hide that is anything but healthy looking. Choose one from your favorite pharmacy or try the organic Green Screen.

What if you want to have a tan? Then go for a fake tan! You can find a wide variety of tanning methods that don’t require the sun. Whether you choose tanning towels, lotions, or sprays, you can have a sun-kissed look without damaging your skin.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Journey and Process of Writing

I’ve been behind in posting lately, but I have an excuse. I needed to finish the first draft of a book that gripped me more than ever. Although I always enjoy the writing process, this one took me to a different level. I felt as though I was right there with my characters—in their lives and participating in everything they did. When they felt pain, so did I. When they were happy, I walked around all day smiling.

Most writers will understand all this and agree that our fiction becomes our reality as we write our books. It is our job to take readers on a journey of joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure, revelation, and whatever else it takes to immerse them in the story and give them a reason to keep reading. I pray that people who read this book will get something out of it and want more when they’re finished because I’m contracted to write two more in this series.

So here I was, writing scenes that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. When Priscilla had to make tough decisions, I worried right along with her. Balancing a hair salon chain can be quite difficult with creative types clashing with the office workers. As Tim worked hard to win her over, I brainstormed with him, hoping to give him that extra little oomph that might make a difference. I found more of a challenge with Laura, who had everyday life crashing around her as she planned the ten-year class reunion. Everyone was counting on her, so the pressure was immense. Then there was former beauty queen Trudy who can’t seem to get her mojo back, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

This book will be out in Spring 2013, which seems like a long way off. But in the publishing world, it’s not because after I turn it in, it will go through several rounds of editing, then the printing process, and finally distribution. The marketing people will do their magic to make sure it’s available to as many people as possible. I’m excited to have such a wonderful team to work with.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day Thoughts

As Mother's Day approaches, I have a wide range of thoughts and feelings - from the joy of having had a loving mom and two daughters who have made motherhood wonderful, to the sadness of not having my mother with me anymore. I lost my mom about seventeen years ago, and I still get teary-eyed when I think about her. I've heard that this feeling never completely goes away, but the pain does fade a bit over time. I just wish she could be here to see how delightful her granddaughters are and to hold her great-granddaughter who has brought even more sunshine into my life.

Here's a picture of my daughters:

And my granddaughter:

My mother-in-law passed away last October, so this year my husband joins those of us who have lost our mothers during a time to celebrate the women who brought us into this world. Bobbie Mayne was not only a wonderful mother-in-law, she became one of my best friends.

Over the past several days, I've been getting all kinds of emails related to Mother's Day. Some are thoughtful poems and letters from friends, and others are gift ideas for Mom. I miss being able to send my mother a card and a small gift to show my appreciation, even though I know she never expected anything.

This morning, I got a different kind of email that is loads of fun, and I'd like to share it with y'all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Honor All Teachers!

Teachers are some of the hardest workers out there, so show your gratitude by recognizing them during Teacher Appreciation Week. A gift card to his/her favorite restaurant and a book to enjoy later are ideal for these wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to education.

Some books I would recommend include Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days or Sweet Baklava if the teacher is a woman. Men might enjoy reading the medical thriller Code Blue by Dr. Richard Mabry.