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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Remember those summer days when you played outside until long after the sun went down and came in smiling and worn out? After you mom made you wash and get into your summer pyjamas you flopped into bed and instantly fell asleep between crisp cotton sheets. You woke when the sun came in your window and hit the ground ready for another fun day.
That was then, you say, and this is now.
Stay with me for a moment. What happened along the way that robbed us of the delicious experience of a good night’s sleep? Our date books are crammed with commitments; we’re on call for everyone and the dog, and after another exhausting day, we fall into bed only to be wakened by snoring mates, full bladders, or the thought of tomorrow’s schedules.
We really need to re-learn the art of the wonderful sleep. For sleeps to be luscious and satisfying, we need to put aside the cares of the day early in the evening. If the cares of the day are so numerous that it is not possible to retire them early, then perhaps it is time to re-think how much we are trying to cram into our days.
Not long ago, I felt caught in the constant swirling cycle of too many things to do and not enough time to do them all. I stayed up too late, woke in the night and lay awake thinking about important every detail I must remember to circumvent some crisis. Eventually falling asleep just before dawn, I then spent my days like a flag at half-mast. I was neither awake nor asleep but dragged through my days too foggy to accomplish much at all. Anxiety and fluctuating hormones were ruining my life. Finally, I went to see my doctor. He prescribed a rather benign drug whose side-effect is that it makes you sleepy. I re-entered the world of the childlike sleep.
Once I began sleeping well again, I had the clarity required to see what needed to change to make my life simpler and less stressful. I realized that there are some things that I will not be able to do, that I must choose one main course in life and focus on it. My evenings have become quieter and calmer. I spend more time with my husband. And I look forward to going to bed, sliding between my pale yellow sheets and reading, or snuggling into my puffy pillow and drifting off.
Sleeping luxuriously means giving your whole self to the process.
It may not seem easy to go back to those delicious sleeps of childhood, but it is possible to improve your sleep life. By endeavouring to make the experience a luscious one, you improve your chances of being well-slept.
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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A few years ago I was working a trade show and while taking a break I walked past a booth advertising a new resort project. When I made eye contact with the man behind the table, we both had a jolt of recognition and said at the same time, “I know you.” It took a few minutes to trace our past connection, but we remembered that he had been the realtor who sold our house several years before. We had also attended the same church for a while.
We agreed to have lunch together to talk about old times, and during our conversation over burgers and fries, he made a comment that I have never forgotten. “A hundred years from now there will be all new people on the earth.” I realized, that with only a few exceptions, the statement was true.
Since then I’ve given that concept a lot of thought. If I am one of the people here now, then there must be a reason for me to be here.
What if we are all here at this time because we are the exact complement to the people with whom we will come into contact?
What if we are each here to be the one to help someone or several others get through this journey we call life?
If that is the case, then what do I bring to the table to offer others as a means to aid them on their journey? What talents and abilities do I possess that will make someone else’s journey easier?
If I have a responsibility to the other people who are inhabiting this earth in my time, then I need to look at what my abilities are that I can offer you. If I am to offer you my very best, then I need to use the talents that God gave me to the best of my ability.
There is no point in me spending a lot of time and effort trying to be something I’m not, since my purpose will be thwarted. Assuming that we are given talents and natural abilities which we might develop for the purpose of using them to make the world a better place, then it doesn’t make any sense at all for me to not maximize those talents and abilities.
If I spent an inordinate amount of time on meaningless tasks, am I not wasting the time I have been given to develop my talents for the benefit of those around me? Am I not squandering my abilities, to not develop them?
Why am I here now?
Who am I here with and why them?
What do I have to offer ?
Am I maximizing my talents for the good of myself and the rest of the world?
It's not unusual to hear writers talk about how hard it is to write, to get published, to find an agent. Some writers talk about writing as though they have to slit their wrists and bleed on the page. For years I believed these people who complained about how hard the writing life was and allowed all this discouragement within the industry to keep me from writing.
But even if it is hard, so what? What isn't?
Going to work at a job you hate year after year is hard. Having children and going without sleep night after night as you nurse a sick baby is hard. Making a marriage work through difficult times is hard. Losing a job and wondering where the next meal is coming from is hard. Living with illness, family problems, financial difficulty is hard. Losing a parent, or a child, is hard.
Writing? It's a piece of cake. It’s not hard to sit at a computer and make up a story. Putting words together into cohesive sentences is not difficult at all. It's more fun than a lot of other things that make up ordinary life. The act or writing is simple. Sit, type, read, correct, write some more.
I’m not saying that writing isn’t work though some people seem to think it’s not. Like going to school, or learning a new skill, it will take time and attention. You have to educate yourself to become a good writer. You need to develop your skills, and you need to read a lot. You can shorten that process by working with a good writing coach.
Writing a book can take many hours, or even months to complete. After that come the re-writes and the edits to polish a manuscript. Time-consuming? Definitely, but not really that hard.
In fact, compared to a lot of other things, writing is easy!
What about publishing? These days, getting your work in print or digital format has never been easier with print on demand and e-books. Book distribution has also changed in favour of the author. Thank-you Amazon.
If you want to publish the traditional way, through a publishing company, it can be a longer and tougher process. Either way, what if it does take a while to see your work in print? Try harder. Do the work.
Can't find an agent on the first try? Try again. Don’t give up. Keep on until it works. Rejection won’t harm you, but it you let it, it can stop you. Improve the book. Try again. Do whatever it takes.
But let's all stop complaining about how hard it all is. Try doing something really difficult then come back to writing. I predict that writing will seem a whole lot easier and more fun. Perspective is everything.
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For some time I have been a member of a social group that meets periodically. While I have enjoyed the group and the people in it I was finding myself frustrated by the lack of depth in the relationships and the lack of support when I was going through a difficult time.
After one meeting in particular, I seriously considered leaving the group. I went home feeling like it was over for me. Yet, many months later, I am still a member of the group and I enjoy the interaction more than ever.
What happened to change that?
In another instance, I was considering a certain program in my business and something just didn't sit right. Part of me wanted to move forward, yet I kept feeling like I was dragging my feet and wasn't sure why. I loved the concept and the planning but something in me didn't want to do it.
What was going on?
Once I gave both of these scenarios some thought, I realized that the problem was not with the group, or with the business plans. The problem was that my expectations of what I would get did not match what the situation had to offer. In the first instance, I was expecting a deeper relationship with the group members than anyone else expected or gave. Once I realized that I would never get the kind of support I had expected from these people, I knew I had to change my expectations of the group.
In the second case, I recognized that I had been looking at the business project as having to do it for the rest of my career, which I didn't want to do. When I saw that it was simply a means to an end that would support what I most want to do in my business, I changed my expectations and that foot-dragging feeling disappeared.
It's a bit like trying to get grape juice from a cow. No matter how much you want it or how hard you milk it, you're never going to get any grape juice from that cow. It's time to change your expectations and enjoy the milk for what it is then go to the vine for those grapes.
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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My novel, Picking up the Pieces, recently won 1st Place in the Inspirational Romantic Suspense Category at Chanticleer Media and Publishing book awards. Here I am showing off my Blue Ribbon on awards night.
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
The sciatica that has plagued me for two whole weeks is beginning to wane and giving me more pain-free moments everyday. I am so grateful for the medical help from the hospital and Dr. Phimester and my chiropractor, Dr. Darren Paul. These people and their skills gave me so much relief (not to mention the morphine). I am also thankful for the healing power of Jesus.
Now on a light note, spring is bursting out all over so I thought I would share a little Spring in musical form. Spring Song by Felix Mendelssohn. A lovely piece to calm the mind for writing.
This illustration gives a pretty good indication of what I've been dealing with this week. The sciatic nerve pain got so bad that I called an ambulance to take me to emergency just so I could get some morphine in my system and dull the seering pain.
Fortunately, they had some and after an hour or so, I had relief, an x-ray, a prescription for some heavy-duty pain meds and a requisition for a CT scan. On top of the sciatica, it seems I have an infection that is causing my lymph nodes to become inflamed from overwork fighting it and a twisted muscle in . I'm feeling a little better today but the term "a world of hurt" wouldn't be amiss. The medication makes me dizzy and dopey so I'm not getting much writing done and my clients' work is progressing slowly - not surprising.
However, onward we go. Tomorrow, the CT scan, a visit to the chiropractor and then I'm the guest for a Facebook chat about self-publishing like a pro. I hope you can join Suzanne Lieurance and me at 11:00 Pacific time.
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."
In February, the Greater Vancouver Chapter of the Romance Writers of America held a Valentine's Lunch in Steveston, B.C. It was a lovely time, the sun shone, awards were handed out for writing and publishing achievements and many door-prizes were given away.
I received two awards. One was for "Pitching and submitting to an agent in Emerald City (Writers' Conference) and entering two writing contests in 2012". The second was "in recognition of independently publishing two books, Picking up the Pieces and Turning on the Light - Finding Your Sweet Place in the Spirit."
I met new people who do not regularly attend the meetings and got to know others better over a delicious lunch. The whole affair was grace and elegance. Many, many thanks to the organizers.
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 have spent most of my adult life trying not to be a writer. It is not that I don't like to write. I do. In fact, I love writing. Nor is it a matter of finding writing difficult. I don't. In fact, I can think of numerous pursuits that are far more difficult (or grueling, or insufferable) than writing.
No, the main reason that I have never, until recently, pursued writing is because of bad PR. Pick up any publication on writing and you will find lots of moaning about how hard it is to do, how difficult it is to get your work published, or how you will never make any money. That last one can certainly be a major deterrent to choosing a writing life - if you believe it.
The problem is that if you only think one way, then these naysayers might be right. If you believe them, like I did, then you will give up before you even start. Consequently, you might never string a sentence together for years. After all, what's the use? Publishers are just waiting to reject your work (and ultimately, you); pompous editors hang about like fifth-grade English teachers, red pens in hand, waiting to get their inky hands on someone's work just so they can slash it to ribbons.
At least, that's the way it seems.
However, if you choose not to believe those negative reports, your life might turn out to be entirely different. You can write with enthusiasm, knowing that your book, if it is good, will find its audience. You may have to take a different path than the traditional one, or you may find that what you write is exactly what a publisher is looking for at the exact moment you type "The End". You can write for the love of writing, improve your craft and skills, produce highly readable novels on subjects that you know and love, and let the chips fall where they may.
What do you think?
Picking Up the Pieces by Wendy Dewar Hughes awarded an INDIE 1st Place Blue Ribbon – Inspirational Romantic/Suspense Category By chanti On January 13, 2013.
In News Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media is pleased to announce that Wendy Dewar Hughes has won 1st place in the INDIE Awards, Inspirational Romantic/Suspense Category (a division of Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Writing Contests).
Picking Up the Pieces by Wendy Dewar Hughes
[Editor's Note: This gripping novel is well-crafted, well-plotted and suspenseful. It is not your typical "inspirational" novel. Hughes successfully blurs genres with her well-honed storytelling abilities. ] Chanticleer Book Review Blue Ribbon Awards Writing Contests recognize outstanding books and manuscripts. We are honored to announce the INDIE Awards First Place Blue Ribbon winning novels and their authors. Each winning INDIE novel was judged for the following qualities:
Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
Your house can burn up as it burns down, you fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm goes off by going on.
When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick?"
Why do we say something is out of whack? What's a whack?
Why do we drive on a PARKWAY, and park in a DRIVEWAY?
No matter what's going on in life on any given day, whether big or inconsequential, there is always something for which to be thankful.
When we switch our focus from the negative to the positive for even a few moments good things happen. The Bible says that a merry heart does good like a medicine so happiness, even in small doses, is good for our health.
Today I'm thankful that when I got up this morning the sky was filled with a beautiful apricot glow streaked with lavender. A show just for me. I got a couple of projects finished and sent off to their respective next steps this morning so I'm gratified that those are complete. My house is warm when it's cold outside and if I get chilly I just have to nudge that thermostat up and the whole place warms up a few more degrees.
I didn't have to cook supper tonight because my sister invited my husband and me over to her house. Did I mention that she's a gourmet cook (I'm talking Five Star)? A lovely time was had by all.
I'm nearly finished my new Book Cover Magic website and I'm thrilled with how it's turning out. There is so much satisfaction in doing a job well and creating beauty.
I'm thankful for the beautiful daughters that God gave me to raise and who have turned into wonderful, caring, successful women.
Once you get started it's hard to stop. A positive outlook and a heart of thanksgiving change everything.
Meet my friend, Raye, who read my novel, Picking up the Pieces, and loved it so much that he wanted to meet me.
So in July, when I was in Saskatchewan visiting family, Raye arranged to come by to say "hello" and have our photo taken together.
Thank-you, Raye, for your kind words and support. The sequel, called, The Glass Dolphin, is currently in the creation stage.
Sometimes a new book starts in a situation like this and sometimes not. In a couple of days, I will have a big announcement about the launch of my new book, Turning on the Light - Finding Your Sweet Place in the Spirit.
I wrote Turning on the Light a few years ago but have recently re-written, updated and re-formatted it into a brand new book. If you want a deeper relationship with God, with easy how-to exercises and no complicated language, you'll love this book. It includes a journal too. But I'm giving too much away...
In my novel, Picking up the Pieces, heroine Jill Moss travels to numerous exotic locations in search of pieces of a peculiar Mayan artifact.
Many of these locations are based on places that I have either lived or visited. The house in this photo is one of them. An estate in the South of France, Bidaine was owned by an American couple when my husband and I and our two children went there to live in the late 80s. Originally an 18th century "hunting lodge" for the French aristocracy, this estate features water gardens, orchards, a swimming pool with a fountain in the centre, rose gardens, guest houses and a long "allee" of plane trees. The owners were collectors of 18th century antiques and costumes and the interior of the house had been converted back to the decor of the times.
In my novel, I patterned the home of Jill's mother's friend, Geneva, after this estate and describe some of its charms in the scenes that take place there. For more locations that appear in the book, take a look at my Pinterest board.
Where I share creative ideas, uplifting thoughts, and spread sweetness to help us all make life better.