Where do you and your children spend your time?

time-management

I know public schools in and around New Orleans are already beginning their second week of school today. Some areas, though, might be just starting or perhaps, lucky you (depending on which side of the desk you happen to be on!), won’t labor until after Labor Day.

Anyway…Choose NOW Ministries, founded by Nicole O’Dell, has posted my hints on Time Management for students. I taught high school English to primarily 11th graders, and I used this system for years. And years and years. It proved enlightening for all of us–students, teacher, and parents.

I hope you click over and read my post today. While you’re there, check out this amazing ministry, a non-profit organization, that Nicole has dedicated herself to for teens and their parents. She’s the mother of six, including a set of triplets, so she’s working from a knowledgeable base!

 

Where I’ll be Saturday, and I hope you are too!

This Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), I’ll be presenting at the Berries, Books, and Bridges Writers Conference in at the Woodland Park Baptist Church in Hammond.

Hosted by the Creative Minds Writing Group, this conference attracts pre and post published writers  from across the South. In fact, it’s a great conference for new writers to attend because it offers them the opportunity to talk to published authors in a setting that’s comfortable and engaging. I’ve been invited to attend this conference for the past three years, and I’m always delighted when I’m included again.

about-erica1New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler, who lives on the Northshore, will be this year’s keynote speaker. Erica has had written over 20 books and has been published in 25 countries. Her new release is Justice for Sara.

I’ll not only be following Erica, which alone is enough to cause me a wee bit of anxiety, I’ll be giving a general session for the first time. I’m going to be talking about Social Media, which seems to be changing overnight, not only in itself, but in the way it impacts writers and books. Other speakers include Lynn Shurr who will discuss e-books and Kathryn Martin whose topic is “I want to Write, but Where do I Begin?”

Breakout sessions include:

Young Adult-     Chad and Logan Thompson                           Romance-        Deborah Lynne

Mysteries-         Steve Patrick                                                 Non-Fiction-        Dave Berwick

By the way, this conference is worth attending just for the lunch! Always a great meal.

Go to the conference site to register (or you can do so at the door that morning) and for directions.

Hope to see you there!

 

Leap-Frogging into Monday

Stone and Spark Thanks to Sibella Giorello, I’m joining the Monday writers and reacquainting myself with my new website of which I have been quite negligent. But, it doesn’t get dusty or need meals or make telephone calls; it’s self-sufficiency is its own enemy. But, that’s another post for another day…If you’ve not read any of Sibella’s books, please click over to find The Raleigh Harmon mysteries and meet one of the most fascinating protagonists I’ve encountered.

And now to the questions…

1. What am I working on now?

I’m wiggly excited to be working on my first ebook, which will also be my first venture into the land of self-publishing.  Since I’m not on a hard deadline with a publishing house, I’ve motivated (tortured?) myself into a deadline by writing a Christmas-themed book.  For now, it’s entitled An Unexpected Christmas, and I plan for it to be the first book in the series featuring Callie Fitzgerald. My slightly neurotic, over-committed, and fashion-disabled heroine.

2.  How does my work differ from other works in its genre?

My previous novels are all women’s fiction with the exception of one historical romance, and most of them did not tread lightly regarding issues like alcoholism, emotional abuse, inter-racial marriage, and being gay.  I did attempt to balance the weight of the content by using humor so my readers wouldn’t need therapy after they finished my books! I’m also from and live in New Orleans and, while I wouldn’t necessarily label myself a Southern writer, growing up in the Big Easy has flavored my writing.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I’m lousy at everything else? I tried writing a mystery and gave up when I couldn’t figure out the identity of the killer. Erotica is definitely a no because figuring how to write about two people kissing is about as complicated a maneuver as I can handle. I’d have body parts flying all over the place, and it would probably read like some slasher novel instead. As a recently retired high school English teacher, I’ve given some thought to writing Young Adult. But after spending 25 years with them, I needed a wee bit of a break.

To be honest, though, I find women’s fiction as challenging as it is fulfilling…both as a writer and a reader. Life doesn’t always take us to happily ever after. Sometimes it’s happily never after. Sometimes it forces us to redefine happiness, to ultimately decide what it is we value in life and what we’re willing to sacrifice or pursue for it to happen. The women in my novels grow into themselves in ways they never expected.

4. How does my writing process work?

Oh, my. It’s surprising it does work! My Christmas novel is the first novel that I’ve actually organized from beginning to end, and that is largely due to the efforts of Lisa Miller and her Story Structure Safari Class. She meshes information from a variety of writing experts and authors to create a process that’s do-able for even wing nuts like myself who get tangled up in their own plots. Seriously. Ask Jenny Jones, one of the wittiest writers I know (check out her YA here!), how many phone calls and frantic texts screeching, “OMG. Three chapters in and no novel. Help!” she’s received over my last few novels! I’m not married to the story structure I’ve created, but at least I know now if I don’t end up where I thought I would be…and that, my friends, is why the process is organic!

I’ll close with a shameless self-promotion of my latest release, Test of Faith. One of the covers I adore!

Test of Faith

Elle Butler has managed to hold on to her politically-driven husband and her secrets until the unexpected happens. When one phone call rips her world apart, Elle will have to decide if the truth is worth the consequences. Especially when it threatens to destroy the world she’s so carefully built around her life and her marriage.