When I was a teenager, my dad decided that it would be a good idea for the family to take up downhill skiing. The fact that we lived on the flat Saskatchewan prairie hundreds of miles from even a hill did not deter him.
We were duly outfitted with skis, boots, snowsuits, goggles, and special ski gloves, and off we went to the nearest ski hill. It was just a hill, situated in the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, several hours drive from home. The Saskatchewan side had one slope with a rope tow for getting back to the top of the hill—a good place to start for a bunch of novices.
Once we felt we’d mastered the single slope, which took mere minutes to descend, for our next excursion we moved on to the Alberta side where a ski resort of perhaps three runs stood in a park at Elkwater Lake.
By our second or third season as skiers, we branched out to the big time and drove over six hours to the Rocky Mountains at Banff to ski. Eye-popping, mogul-bashing slopes covered half a mountainside. And there were real chairlifts and a ski lodge complete with overpriced cafeteria food.
Somewhere along the line, it dawned on me that these ski excursions were a lot of work. Getting up in the cold, dark, wee hours of the morning, piling on loads of bulky gear, and dragging skis and heavy boots to the bottom of the hill wasn’t my idea of a really great time. (I'm the indoorsy type.)
Sure, the skiing had its fun moments, and for some members of the family, those moments far outweighed the exertion of getting there, and reversing the procedures, tired and hungry, when the winter sun sank below the nearest peaks.
After I left home as a young adult, I skied only a few more times. Usually, it was with friends from university, or when my family came to town for another skiing expedition. I even skied in the Swiss Alps, on the Matterhorn once. It was spectacular and I am forever grateful for having the experience.
We do things, sometimes for the sole reason that we do those things. It’s what our crowd does, or the family does, and we continue without questioning the value it conveys to our lives.
After I skied at the Matterhorn, quitting halfway through the afternoon to sit in the sun at the lodge, I realized that the cost of skiing, in terms of energy, effort, discomfort, and money, was simply too high compared to the pleasure and joy that I derived from the activity. I made the decision not to be a person who skis. I’ve never skied since that day more than thirty years ago.
Am I saying you shouldn’t ski? Of course not. If you love it and it’s worth it for you, by all means, have at it and enjoy yourself.
My point is whether the cost versus the return on your investment in terms of emotional commitment, time, energy, and money—if that even applies—is worth what you receive in return.
We are fortunate to have choices about how we want to spend our lives. In order simplify life, and therefore have more ease, we all need to look at what is costing more than it’s providing.
Wishing for more time, energy, or money for what you truly value is a great place to start, but without paring away those pursuits where the expenditure is greater than the payback, we’re destined to remain in that place I call hopeless hoping. We want things to be different, we wish they were, but we don’t know where to begin to change them.
(If you’re not clear on what you truly value, my program, The Wish Plan, can help you find that out.)
Instead of carrying on doing the same stuff you’ve always done, just because you’ve always done it, why not measure the out-go against the in-come? It might surprise you to discover that a lot of your daily joy is draining out of you because your simplicity balance sheet is out of whack.
By stepping back and viewing habits and activities in light of the impact they have on our lives, positive and negative, we can ascertain whether on not to continue to pursue them, or would dropping them make your life more meaningful.
I work with a lot of writers and I have taught art classes, led writing workshops, and tutored both artists and writers.
Sometimes people ask me if they should take a class or a course, either online or locally, in person. Here is my answer:
It depends what your goal is.
Yes, you should take a class, or some kind of instruction if you want to improve your work. This can be done in a myriad of ways. When I began exploring watercolours my first step was to borrow books from my local library and study what different artists recommended.
I learned early on that there are many different approaches even in this one medium. Since my goal was to increase my skill level, i.e. become more professional, I enrolled in a studio class that I continued to attend for a couple of years. In that class I learned many techniques how to use the medium to produce work that reflected my own style.
(Coincidentally, in the studio next door, another class leader taught all the students to copy the style of the instructor.)
During that same period I also decided I wanted to develop my writing skills. I followed the same pattern. First, library books, and then writing classes. Both were beneficial.
All this took place before the advent of the Internet and online courses. Now, I’m a big fan of classes online. They are easy and quick to access and you can start almost immediately after you’ve made the decision. You can generally work at your own pace without leaving home.
Among the disadvantages of courses online is that you will likely be working alone and unless you’re self-motivated, you may find that life gets in the way of finishing what you started. However, a well-done course or leaders will usually also offer follow up, a forum, or Facebook group so you stay engaged and motivated until the end.
A local class or course offers the benefit of social contact but requires you to show up at a specific time. It is fun to get together with others who share your interest and to learn as a group. The downside can be heading out on a dark and stormy night may put you off getting to the class.
So, here is my question:
If you wanted to pursue either a writing course, or an art course, which would you prefer: online or in person?
Please leave your answer as a comment below as your choice will help me to develop some programs that I have in mind. Thanks.
“I might forgive but I’ll never forget.”
Forgiving someone who has wronged or hurt you is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make. This might surprise you, but you don’t have to forget. What you want to do is take the pain out of that memory. However, if you don’t forgive, you will be the one who keeps on suffering.
Someone has wronged you.
The important thing to remember is that forgiving doesn’t mean that you have not been wronged. On the contrary, if you believe that you have been wronged you are going to feel it. You will know if you feel hurt, insulted, or rejected. What that person did may have been entirely unintentional. Or it may not have.
Acknowledge to yourself that you believe you have been wronged. What that means is that you believe that someone owed you something and did not deliver. It can be that you are owed respect, but were treated disrespectfully. You may feel that you were owed kindness or understanding, and received cruelty or meanness instead.
The reasons for being wronged vary from the simple, such as a snippy comeback, to the horrific, such as physical or emotional abuse. It might surprise you to realize that it doesn’t matter the intensity or character of the wrong. What matters is your response to it.
Bitterness takes root.
Unforgiveness begins like a tiny seed that sprouts into anger, resentment, and offense. If allowed to grow it puts down roots and those roots are bitterness. When bitterness takes over your soul, it grows its friends, hostility, cynicism, scorn, contempt, and all manner of negative visitors. This is where the danger lies.
Science is only just beginning to admit what your grandma probably told you years ago—that negative emotions have a direct impact on your health and happiness. You see, not forgiving someone who has hurt you prolongs the pain for you long after the perpetrator has forgotten all about it. For the sake of your own health and peace you must forgive.
How do you let it go?
Try this method of forgiving:
(You understand that if someone has also broken the law, the appropriate action must be taken.)
The Bible says that vengeance belongs to God, not to us. By forgiving others, we free ourselves from the sentence of suffering for someone else’s wrongdoing.
Our western society is a culture of striving. The prevailing attitude is that if you’re not knocking yourself out striving toward a goal, you’re wasting time and taking up space.
While I agree that it’s important to know where you want to go and what you want to do to make your life feel worthwhile, too many of us are striving at breakneck speed toward the unknown. Believe it our not, there is a word for this: coddiwomple. It means to travel purposefully toward a vague destination.
When I first read that word, I had to stop and ask myself if that’s what I’m doing. And surprisingly, the answer is, at least in some areas, yes. I’m busy working, striving, and reaching for a destination that’s kind of blurry.
How does this happen?
I believe that we’re products of our environment to such an extent that we simply flow in the direction of everyone else. (There is a reason Jesus compared us to sheep.)
But what would happen if you stopped? If we each took time to look carefully at all the “things” we are chasing, would we still want them?
To find that out, two things are necessary.
1) We must know what we truly value.
2) We must seek peace in our lives and live in that place where peace resides.
Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?
In my program, The Wish Plan, which I wrote and teach, the very first exercise assists you in determining what you truly value. I can’t put enough emphasis on the importance of knowing this.
It’s easy to spend precious hours, days, and years of our lives striving for something that we don’t really, in our hearts, even want. That’s not a good way to spend a life.
So, if you decide for even a day to stop striving for whatever you’re reaching for, and simply pay attention to what is right in front of you, how would that feel?
Sometimes when we stop, take a rest, and listen to our hearts, the answers come. So does the peace.
This is a question that people have asked me about writing fiction. Where do my ideas come from? The answer to that is simple: They are everywhere.
If you look at situations and people as subjects for a romance novel or novella, it’s not hard to imagine stories around them, once you get in the habit of doing so. Keep your notebook handy.
Here is an example: Recently a distant relative of mine got married in Hawaii. I saw the photos on Facebook, looked at the beautiful bride, and enjoyed the romantic, tropical setting. I don’t know these people personally so I don’t know their actual story. What I can do is use their photos as a jumping off point for creating a romantic plot.
The first step to coming up with a romance plot is to ask, what if?
If you have ever spent time in an airport waiting for your flight to be called, you’ve had lots of time to watch people and make up stories about them. The tired-looking woman in the business suit—see her over there, texting—perhaps she has spent so much time on the road that her boyfriend is losing interest. What does she have to do to keep her relationship alive? Or, perhaps she is never in on place long enough to have a relationship but she longs for a romance and a family.
A man wearing climbing gear sits next to the window reading a newspaper. Where has he come from and where is he going? Is there a woman in the city wishing he loved her more than he loves the mountains? You have enough conflict there to create a dynamic plot.
The young adults playing volleyball on the beach all look so happy and carefree. But what if that girl with the brown ponytail looks longingly at the tall, blonde guy who never seems to notice her? What is their story?
The choice, of course, is yours. You can make up any tale you like about anyone you like. Put them in a setting that appeals to you, and in a situation that is difficult. Give them an attraction for each other, but lots of obstacles that they have to overcome before getting together.
When you figure out those basics, voilà! You have a romantic plot.
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I once read a story about a woman who had survived several tragedies in a fairly short time. With no warning her husband left her, someone close to her died, her house burned, and she had lost her job. I’m not going to say that she didn’t suffer, because she did, and greatly, but she managed to pull herself together and move on.
She moved to a different city and started over. In the process she made the decision that she would say ‘yes’ to whatever opportunities came her way. As she made friends in her new location, she became known as the one who would always say yes to requests for new adventures. Taking this attitude completely changed the woman’s life.
I believe it will change your life, too, when you decide to say yes to life, to your dreams, or simply to a new experience.
It is time to say ‘yes’ to:
You will never have the time is you don’t say yes now. None of us really knows how much time we have, and the tomorrow that we are putting things off until may never come. We only have so many days here on this earth and when it’s over, well dear, it’s going to be too late to take your kids to see the ocean, or go on that romantic weekend with your sweetheart, or study French.
This was brought up close and personally to me when I nearly died one night from internal hemorrhaging. Coming face to face with my own mortality made me sit up and take notice of where I wanted my life to go. I realized that the ‘some day’ I had been putting things off for, had to happen now, not later.
We women are often guilty of saying yes to everyone else’s wants and needs instead of our own. Doesn’t that imply that the needs of others are more important than your own? If you think about that for a moment, you must agree that it just isn’t so.
Everyone’s needs are of equal value, it is just more important to the owner of those needs that you drop everything and attend to them rather than to your own. Get some perspective. Just because someone demands that you submit to his or her wishes, doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Think about what you need to say yes to. Your life is numbered by days, and they go by with shocking regularity and speed. Now is the time to start saying yes to what makes your life really worthwhile. Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Say yes now.
Not sure what you want to say yes to? My program, The Wish Plan, can help you discover what you value, and make a plan to get it.
Celebrate often and laugh lots
Most of what we think is a big deal is really no big deal. Holidays and family events are obvious reasons to celebrate, but can sometimes also be exhausting if you are trying to live up to traditional standards or other people’s ideas about how a celebration should happen. Instead, why not pick your own reasons and ways to celebrate?
Celebrate a perfect hair day by taking yourself out for iced coffee. The fact that your bathroom got cleaned is cause for celebration, especially if someone else did it. How about celebrating a good night’s sleep? What about the first daffodil bloom in your garden or the first hummingbird at your feeder? Life is full of special and ordinary moments so why not just pick some and make them a celebration?
While you are at it, choose fun people with whom to celebrate. Choose to spend as much time as possible with people who make you laugh. It has been known for ages that laughter is good for you. The Bible says that a happy heart is as good as medicine. Plus it’s also a lot cheaper and far more fun than drugs and surgery!
Here are some ideas of how to celebrate and laugh:
Simply adding more laughter and fun to your life can not only improve your life, but prolong it as well. Laughter is a spirit lifter and the best antidote for depression. It is also known to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, elevate mood, boost immune system, improve brain functioning, protect the heart, connect you to others, foster instant relaxation, make you feel good. There are so many reasons to laugh, it is really important to find more laughter in your life.
I know that it is not always easy to avoid people who get you down, but you can do things to offset their effect on you. By finding more reasons to laugh, you counteract the dampening affect of the negative influences with which you come into contact. Your light-hearted approach to life may even turn those grumpy folks into happier people, too.
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I have a friend who claims she hates change. She balks at the possibility of change and even at new opportunities, because they may require change in her life. When confronted by a new idea, her first reaction is usually, ‘Hold on a minute. What if…?”
It took me a while to recognize, but I believe the reason for this reluctance to change is that the first things my friend sees are all the possible negative consequences. These terrible outcomes loom so large, that she can see little else. Then she makes her decision based on what she fears. In essence, she says, “What if these things I fear turn out to be true? If they do, then I don’t want to go there. I’m afraid.” Even though she denies that her reasons are based in fear, in fact, fear is her strongest motivator.
Amazingly, many of the difficulties we experience in life stem from our fears. Think about it. If I’m resisting something that I know I should do, or want to do, or I even believe will be good for me, I can be sure that there is probably some kind of fear hiding behind that resistance.
Take a closer look at such habits as self-sabotage and procrastination. Neither of these serve us, so why do we continue to indulge in them? Probably because we are afraid something bad will happen. Without analyzing why we hesitate, we worry, we fret, and we put off taking action.
Do you have areas in your life where you feel stuck? Is there something you need to change? If you feel that you come up against a wall every time you try to make a move, or even think about a proposed change, then take a look and see if there is a fear behind it. And don’t be fooled. Fear masquerades in many disguises, such as these:
Take a moment to follow the trail to the fears that may lurk behind these and other common excuses and you will find that they are nothing more than lies. Identify and confront the lies that are stopping you in your tracks and look past those fears that pop up automatically when you face something new. Once you’ve identified those fear-lies, then turn them over and look at the other side. You may find the truth was there all the time, just waiting to be recognized.
Rather than listening to the fears and concluding the worst, why not try asking yourself instead, “What if it turned out differently? What if these good things happen?” Then list them. This view changes everything. By seeing the positive side, we can clearly make a balanced decision or take action.
For example, “What if I mess this up?” when flipped over becomes, “What if I do really well?”.
“What if everyone laughs at me?” becomes, “What if everyone cheers for me?”
“What if my work is no good?” becomes, “What if my work is great?” or even,
“What if only a few like it, but I derive great enjoyment out of creating it?”
Find an appropriate positive thought, statement or truth to counter the negative one and next time that little fear comes up, confront it with its opposite. Keep on doing this until the fear gives up and slinks away in defeat. It will, you know, and you’ll be the winner for your efforts.
It is considered common knowledge that people fear and resist change. Not true. What people really fear is that change will bring negative consequences. If what you plan will make you happy, you don’t fear change at all, do you?
Change is not scary when you plan for positive outcomes. I encourage you to switch from listening to your fears to expecting the best. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much easier it becomes to make decisions and how much more fun your life will be.
Being fearless is a wonderful way to live.
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Now that summer is here, it's a great time to get outside and have some fun. It might have been years since you've done "kid" things like flying a kite, but there is no rule that says you can't do it now, no matter what your age.
You may want to go kite flying with children, but if you don't have any handy, just go get your own kite and find a field or beach where there is a breeze and get going.
Here is a short video I found to get you started.
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A perfect day for a ride on the ferry to Vancouver Island.
The scenery in the passage is incomparable.
The doors were open so we ventured into this beautiful church near downtown Victoria.
What would a trip to Victoria be without a stop at Munroe's Books? Incomplete, of course.
British Columbia's provincial legislature building at Victoria harbour.
The historic and beautiful Empress Hotel where they serve high tea. (We didn't stop for it this time.)
A flower-decked downtown Swan's Hotel. Everything is within easy walking distance in downtown Victoria.
We discovered this little mossy pocket garden with a waterfall off a narrow alley.
One of the city's beaches. Surprisingly empty for such a beautiful day but then, it was Tuesday afternoon.
This little watercolour is one that I painted from a photograph I took when I lived in the South of France several years ago.
As you know, I am a writer and an artist. I also love to travel and am interested in people, how they live, what they love, and what makes them choose what they do in life. One day soon, I will share how I came to live at a beautiful estate in Provence.
Creative people are everywhere, sometimes disguised as something else, like news reporters, builders, drivers, teachers, office workers, or doctors. Many have relegated their dreams and heart's desires to "someday" while "never finding the time" now to do the things they really want to.
My friend, Harry, was like that. He decided that he would wait until he retired to do some travelling, yet soon after he stopped working at his job, he fell ill. The disease cleared up temporarily but then he was no longer eligible for travel health insurance and didn't want to risk getting sick again in a foreign country. Before long, the disease returned and within a year he passed away, never having fulfilled his travel dreams. From his sick bed, he admitted that he had made a mistake by postponing living until later. It turned out to be too late.
I am in the process of launching a new program to help you make sure than nothing like what happened to Harry happens to you. It's called The Wish Plan. If you would like to hear more about it, please subscribe to my newsletter on the home page and I will let you know. Don't worry, you can unsubscribe any time, no questions asked.
Isn't it time you started going places? Yes, me too.
The new addition to our family has arrived! Zoë Piper was born July 8th, 2014 to my daughter and son-in-law. She weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. We are all thrilled and I have entered a new phase in life—grandparenthood.
I joined the Canada Day festivities today, including answering a quiz about Canada, and I won! Here I am being presented with my prize, a Canada beach towel. It seems like everyone knows I love the beach.
Celebrating the day with the Canada Day cake. I didn't have any and I don't think it would qualify as health food but plenty of people lined up for their piece.
Lots of kids, sunshine, and fun. The firefighters had their water cannons out and the children had a blast running through the spray.
At almost any Canadian celebration, the kilts and the bagpipes appear. Here a local group has just finished their parade, which I missed, and is seeking some shade. Those wool socks have to be hot in 35°C temperatures.
A tiny market had set up with handmade quilts, baby hats and sweater, jams and cookies, pickles and chicken and more. I bought a sweet bonnet for the new baby who is about to appear in our family.
Another installment in the West Coast adventure. The Point Wilson lighthouse at Port Townsend.
Boats and more boats in a tiny bay near Port Hadlock. I love being places with names that include words like port, bay, beach, cove, and harbour. They all mean that there is an ocean or sea nearby.
I turned around and there were these seaside cottages for students at the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building at Port Hadlock. Peering through the window of the school, I saw some beautiful boats taking shape. And no, I'm not going to build my own boat any time soon. I wrote about a couple of boats in my novel, Picking up the Pieces.
I had to run to capture this shot of the sailboat passing by the ferry dock in Port Townsend. Unfortunately, it had clouded over by late afternoon. Soon the ferry from Whidbey Island sailed up, we drove on, and off we went to Oak Harbor.
It's no secret that I love the ocean and get close to it, either on a boat or ship, or with my toes in the sand at a beach, at every opportunity.
Last week I went on a little trip with my husband and we took the ferry from Coupeville, WA, to Port Townsend. The sky cleared and the sea breezes were fresh.
Since I'm usually the family photographer, I've begun to realize that there are very few photos of me in the family archives. When I think of it, I am now trying to get someone to snap a few shots of me for posterity. In this one, I'm on the top deck of the ferry crossing Admiralty Inlet in Washington state. And no, I'm not the admiral.
I took a little trip to the seaside last week, stopping in Coupeville, WA, where I snapped the photo of these sail boats bobbing at anchor in the afternoon sun.
After a little shopping, I even had time to make a small watercolour sketch to add to my collection for an upcoming book project I'm working on.
My next novel in Jill Moss Adventures series is called Indigo Beach. I came across this photo while searching the internet and thought this is perfect for what I have in mind for the setting for scenes from the book. The location of Indigo Beach is still a mystery (to me, too) so we'll all have to wait to find out where it is. Meanwhile, I'm still in the process of working out the plot, and am hoping to have the book out before the end of summer.
If you would like to leave a comment, I'd love to know what you liked best about Picking up the Pieces, or The Glass Dolphin, or both.
Our lives are full of choices and opportunities. Every day we must make choices, some small and fairly insignificant, some monumental and life-changing.
Too often we make choices without thought or preparation. After all, we are busy. Our minds are occupied elsewhere so we choose without stopping to think where this path might take us.
It doesn't have to be that way. We can live our lives with a greater sense of purpose.
One simple guide that I have used over and over with success when faced with a decision on how I will spend my time is to ask myself, "Will this go toward or away from the direction I want my life to take?"
Will volunteering for the parent council at your child's school lead you closer to your goal of being on the town council, for example? Will saying "yes" to a home product party take up time that is best used working on your novel?
If I am asked to take part in a fund-raiser that I deem worthwhile but for which I have no great passion, and it cuts into the time I could spend reading or furthering my business, which are important goals for me, is this the right thing to do?
Keep your destination in mind and make choices that move you continually in the direction of that destination.
In my novels, I write about daring adventures, people doing daring things, and daring to go where others might fear.
In my own life I sometimes live the same way. Not always, of course, since there is nothing particularly daring about going to the grocery store or doing laundry. However, sometimes the choices I make seem quite daring, even to me (and I'm pretty nervy).
In the spirit of encouraging daring you can...
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Picking up the Pieces as won in its category of Suspense/Thriller in the Reward of Novel Excellence Awards. Winners will be announced and awarded at the gala event, 2012 RONE awards ceremony and celebration, August 9th at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada - in conjunction with the RomanceNovelConvention (http://romancenovelconvention.com/ )
Picking up the Pieces, Wendy Dewar Hughes Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Jill Moss is surprised when she receives her Uncle Neil Bryant’s Bible and discovers that it has certain, odd passages marked. Then she learns that her uncle has discovered an artifact in Mexico that consists of sixteen separate pieces that have been sent to people he knows and trusts. He needs her to travel all over the world to collect all sixteen pieces. Jill prays about it and listens when God tells her to help her uncle out. Thus begins a high speed adventure as Jill meets Marco Jimenez, a handsome Spaniard who helps her out as she is chased and stalked while traveling to collect the pieces of the artifact. The pieces are written in three different and distinct languages: Olmec, Mayan and Hebrew. How is this possible when these three cultures did not exist together and what is the significance of it all?
The adventures Wendy Hughes puts her heroine through are both thrilling and exhilarating, as are her captivating descriptions of the terrain and beauty of the countries that are visited. It is amazing how beautifully she marries such diverse points of view, taking passages from the bible and scientific knowledge and creating a story that makes a believer out of the reader. The fast paced adventures and love interest keeps the reader eager and unable to put this story down!
Rose Mary Espinoza, InDTale Magazine
My novel, Picking up the Pieces, is in a contest and I need your votes to move to the next level up. The voting is a little complicated but it won't take more than a couple of minutes.
1. Go to this link: http://www.indtale.com/2012-rone-awards
2. Click on where is says "register" and fill in your details.
3. You will receive a confirmation email. Click on the link in the email.
4. If it is not readily apparent where to vote, click on Fun Stuff, then Week 5, Suspense and Thrillers. My book is the last one on the list.
5. Click on the button on the left of the title and hit the "Vote" button
You're done! Thank-you for your support.
To see more about the book, go HERE.
A few days ago I found some old 3.5" floppy disks that I thought had been lost forever. They contained, among other files, the only digital copy of the first novel I wrote as well as, to my surprise and delight, several other pieces of writing that I had forgotten all about. Thankfully, my husband is still using an older computer so I was able to get my files onto a memory stick. The following short story, called The Library, was an early attempt at writing suspense.
Deep in the bowels of the library, in the second basement where the books on the obscure sciences were shelved, she stood, absorbed in a paragraph about the discovery of the mu-meson. Unaware of time, her finger traced the words. A stringy voice crackled over the sound system announcing that the library would be closing in five minutes. She didn't hear it.
The book in her hand snapped closed and, looking up, she selected three others from the shelf and headed for the elevator. The library seemed dim, she realized, looking around. There was no one in sight. She pressed the up arrow of the elevator and glanced at her watch. 5:37. The library is supposed to close at five o'clock. Why didn't they announced it?
She heard a sound behind her, like footsteps. She swallowed. Perhaps she wasn't the only one here. The doors of the elevator slid open and she scurried inside, turning around so she could look out. She jabbed the CLOSE DOOR button and then MAIN.
Stepping out of the elevator on the main floor, she was startled by a sound off to her left. She froze and listened.
Cautiously, she started toward the exit doors, keeping her heels up and rolling on the balls of her feet so as to make no sound.
There it was again. It sounded like footfalls on the old hardwood floor. She veered right and tiptoed between the soaring shelves then crouched to peer between the levels of books in the direction of the sound.
Creeping forward, she edged between the rows toward the door. Another snap sounded, behind her, off to her left. Her heart pounded in her throat now. Her breath came in shallow gasps. She opened her mouth so that her breathing would be silent. Every sound counted. She started down another row of books.
She could see the door.
Rustling. A ski jacket sleeve brushing against the side of a body? She could feel the dampness in her armpits. Sprinting for the door, she rammed her body against the handle bar. Her head struck the glass but the door held. She whimpered and struck the bar frantically with both hands.
The door was locked. Spinning around, she flattened herself against it, her eyes flicking around the huge room, darting between the towering rows of books.
Again the floor creaked, this time farther to her right. She lunged behind the librarians' station and searched for a telephone. Snatching up the receiver she saw the number for Campus Security on a sticker and stabbed the buttons with a numb finger.
"I'm locked in the library," she whispered to the voice that answered. Peering around the corner of the counter she pleaded, "Get me out of here."
She sank to the floor and leaned her head against a filing cabinet. The dark fluorescent tubes pinged overhead. Bookshelves groaned and cracked. The library was cooling off in the dusk. She sat and listened. Slowly, she realized that the creaking and snapping came from all over the room. Of course, the library was settling in for the night.
Outside, she could hear scuffling and then a key turned in the lock. The door swung open and a uniformed security guard strode in. She jumped to her feet.
"You all right?" the guard asked.
"I'm fine," she said, straightening. "Let's go."
Picking up the Pieces opens with a short prologue so well done that we are anchored in its stellar writing and professional style. Immediately, readers pass through a portal, created with written words, transported into the living world of the story. Feeling a part of Jill Moss, we long to discover “how, who, what, where, when and why” as we begin chapter one, bracing for an emotional ride filled with suspense.
Jill Moss loves and respects her eccentric Uncle Neil, an expert and fearless archaeologist. He has discovered ancient artifacts in Mexico. Recognizing the danger if the artifacts fall into the wrong hands, he hides away. He deflects attention and involves his beloved niece, Jill—protecting her by telling her nothing, but trusting her to do as he asks. She suspects he is once again in danger and believes she has no choice. Uprooting her life, she embarks on Uncle Neil’s quest, one clue at a time.
Readers walk in the foreign streets, sit in the cafés, sleep in the dwellings, sweat in the heat, smell the food, and drop exhausted with Jill, when she is overcome. Our hearts thump as we run with her to keep up. We can’t wait to get to the next page, but the words are so compelling, we cannot skip. Pulling for her, we try to solve the mystery and decide what she should do to stay safe.
We are comforted when Jill’s trust in God along with her spiritual connection, guides her, allowing narrow escapes in a few of the many precarious situations. Biblical quotes augment the story, giving clues, as the reader slowly grasps the reason behind the intense desire of others who hunt the artifacts—at any cost. The plot keeps the story flowing, but jars us with surprises. Do we believe this story could happen? Absolutely.
The main characters are well drawn and feel like family or people we know or have met. We don’t want to say goodbye when finished with the last page. In many scenes, we wonder whether the players are friend or foe. Even the sweet romantic element keeps us guessing until near the end.
This reviewer looks forward to being captivated again by this author and will watch for a sequel to Picking up the Pieces, or to the next entertaining page-turner by Wendy Dewar Hughes.
I am thrilled to announce that my newly-published book, Turning on the Light - Finding your Sweet Place in the Spirit, is now available in e-book format.The print version came out in late 2012 but the e-book version has just been formatted for all e-readers.
This book is for the person who is seeking a deeper relationship with a real God.
Have you ever been in trouble and had nowhere to turn? Do you have problems in your relationships that won’t go away? Are you trying everything you know to succeed but it's not working? We all want to experience true meaning and purpose in our lives. And we need help in our times of trouble; help we can truly count on. What we need is to learn to connect with God where we can go for answers whenever we need them.
When you can go directly to the source of all knowledge, wisdom, joy, peace and everything else worth having, you have a direct line to the top. But how do you do that? In Turning on the Light - Finding your Sweet Place in the Spirit, I share …
Where I share creative ideas, uplifting thoughts, and spread sweetness to help us all make life pretty.