The Heart of the Matter

groundhogThis February is full of special days–Groundhog day, Super Bowl Sunday, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day (can’t you see the line of husbands at Publix holding bouquets and a heart-shaped box of not-so-great candy), and next week Mardi Gras and beginning of Lent.

So it’s a pretty cool month. (No pun intended).

Thinking specifically about love and all of that mushy stuff, hundreds of books labeled “Romance” sit front and center on display tables at Barnes & Noble ripe for the picking. I am a fan of romance novels and usually have one on my bedside table, but I don’t write in the “romance genre,” but that’s not to say I won’t someday. Oh, wait a minute, I did write a 500-word flash fiction piece that I’d consider romantic, and tooting my tiny horn, I did win an Honorable Mention at the 2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop. But generally, I write as they say “Women’s Fiction,” which by the way is an incredibly broad term. It’s like that old eye of the beholder thing—how an agent, a publisher, or the marketing gurus perceive the book.

In my first novel, Weather Permitting, the protagonist, Sara, loses the man whom she thinks is the love of her life, her husband of twenty-five years. Her goal is not to find another man to complete her but to find happiness within herself. At first, she feels displaced. She’s lost her identify, her label. Not a wife, not Mrs. Palmer, but she’s become someone she doesn’t recognize. If only life wouldn’t get in her way, she could figure it all out.

A little romance sneaks in the story every so often, but because the book is “Women’s Fiction,” the solution to Sara’s conflict is not necessarily another man (sorry, not going to tell you what happens).

So Valentine’s Day? What are you doing that night? Staying warm, cuddling by the fire, out to dinner at Ruth Chris? All of those sound good to me. “Hey, Mike. . . .”

th (6)During my lifetime, I’ve both hated and loved February 14, for obvious reasons. But, don’t most people like it? After all, it’s a lovely holiday created to show the person you love that you care. However, shouldn’t we do that all of the time? I mean, life is too short to pass up a chance to say, “I love you” followed by “please change the channel or scratch my back.”

Enjoy your week!



deadlineI am now in the midst of my third round of queries. Looking for the one agent who wants to represent little ole me and my manuscript. It’s hard to put yourself out there in queryland with your work, your heart, and soul on paper, and have it rejected. However, according to a heck of lot of good writers, it’s no big deal. “All it takes is just one agent.” I will be patient and wait for him or her to break the cycle. (And a little prayer now and then couldn’t hurt.)

In the meantime, I’m writing and writing and writing. Working on Book 2, emailing a new query letter out to another agent every time a rejection dribbles in, and working on a short story. I’m planning to enter the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop submissions again this year and at least two other contests. All this puts me under the gun—my very own handmade, crafted from self-doubt and old insecurities, but very pretty gun. I create deadlines.

So DEADLINES or Dead Lines. We’ve all stood in the “dead” line waiting at the DMV or something to that effect. And we’ve all seen “dead” lines of dialogue. Dialogue that just lies there, doesn’t breathe, never goes anywhere. Some authors write brilliant dialogue that’s so alive it jumps off the page. I certainly aim for that target.

Now back to other deadlines, zero hours, countdowns, moments of truth, or timewoman-businesswoman-under-stress-missing-her-deadlines-46982593 frames. What are they good for? Increasing stress levels? Time management? Binge eating? (I digress).

It’s funny how I always work well with deadlines. For some reason, it’s good for me to have a time limit. I need that invisible person holding the stopwatch or the checkered flag at the end of the race. Do deadlines stress you out?

According to the dictionary, the definitions for the word DEADLINE are as follows:

  1. The latest time by which something should be completed.
  2. A line drawn around a prison. If prison guards catch prisoners crossing the line, the prisoners will be shot.
  3. A deadline is a line not to be crossed.

Being able to set my own deadlines right now is one of the nice things about being a writer. The lines not to be crossed are squiggly and sometimes as flexible as a rubber band. On the other hand, if I am lucky enough to find an agent, and subsequently a publisher, I’m sure I will no longer have that luxury. Hey, I think I’d like that kind of deadline even more.




Being Resolute

red-shoes-200x300A new year means hope that I can “be resolute,” which means to be determined, to be purposeful, and to be adamant. That I can do. It’s the beginning-of-the-year do-or-die resolution that bothers me. That I can’t do.

The resolute part is easy; the other is hard. You know, like giving up chocolate, wine, or binge watching British detective shows.

Being a strong southern woman (and proud of it), I can resolve to be anything I want, anytime, any day of the year and it’s up to me to pick and choose. The older I get, the more determined, purposeful and adamant I become about what’s important to me and sometimes to the detriment of the people around me. I can get a little mouthy. My bad.

I don’t think I can help it. My mama brought up to speak my mind and be a lady at the same time. I have to admit that sometimes the latter doesn’t always shine through. Maybe I can be “resolute” and work on it.

Sara Palmer, the protagonist in Weather Permitting was married to the love of her life for twenty-five years when her life unravels. After her divorce, she begins a quest for change but life gets in her way. However, her determination to figure out where she fits into her new life keeps her moving forward and leads her to discover inner strength she never knew she had. She chooses to reinvent herself. She becomes resolute.

positive life quotesI wrote that first novel with empathy for women in midlife who find themselves facing a future of uncertainty after a divorce from a husband they’ve lived with for a long time. Their identity is questionable. Daily they are challenged to find out who they are when they are no longer attached to a spouse. Women are strong and when they figure it out, and they do, well, as Mama used to say, “Katy, bar the door.”

Happy New Year!!



IMG_0853 (2)I know, I know, it’s December and I should be talking about Christmas, snow, presents, tinsel, ribbon, etc., etc. Maybe later.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I was fortunate enough to take a four-day trip down to south Florida with my husband. It was beautiful. No other word can come close. Weather was perfect. Not crowded. Perfect. We stayed on Sanibel Island.

I spent the last day of our vacation in Bonita Springs. As a child, I lived there for a few years when my father owned a small restaurant. The historic part of the town is still in tact and I was lucky enough to find a few people who had never left. One who actually remembered playing with a little girl named Jody who had short straight black hair and bangs. The town as it was in the 1950’s will become an integral part of my second book.

As I sat on the airplane heading back to Atlanta, I IMG_0873 (2)contemplated every detail of our time on the beach, enjoying seafood, visiting a dear sick friend, and taking a trip back in time. Though we all see TIME as our enemy, always trying to beat it or kill it, maybe we are selling it short. Each second, minute, hour in our lives should be cherished, revered, honored. We’ve been given so little time, let’s remember the past, enjoy our present, and not worry about the future.

IMG_0842 (2)A tiny bit of my past was conjured up in Bonita Springs, Florida. I remember more now than I did before, but I wish I remembered every precious moment.

Oh, and the little guy in the cage says, “Merry Christmas!!”















Gratitude Ya’ll

th (5)November is GRATITUDE month, but shouldn’t every month, day, minute be about gratitude. I think so. But I’m human and forget to thank the people I love and the God who made me for the little things as well as maybe a huge thing like breathing in and out. I forget that I should even be grateful. So I will try harder.

The main character in my first book, Weather Permitting (yet to be published), definitely needs more gratitude in her life. After the trauma of a divorce, Sara dwells inside of her pain and isolates herself. When we pull away from others, we don’t think about gratitude we think poor me. Unfortunately, her depression is selfish. Sara has a lot of work to do.

piglet_gratitudeThis month, just in case I want to attend any pity parties (a natural occurrence for writers), I will take a minute every day to be grateful for at least one thing.  In fact, I’ll write it down. What a concept! It’s a start. Want to join me?

About the status of my writing – I have done something terrible. I dove back into the first book again to “make it better.” That means that Book 2 is on the shelf, so to speak. I hope to be finished with final edits and am able to send (yuk) query letters back out to agents again soon. Then I will take Book 2 off the shelf and get back at it – 3,000 words a day. Writing is hard, ya’ll.

So to those who read this little blog,

Thank you . . . Thank you very much.


A Previous Connection

fall-sportsDon’t you just love this time of year? Football, cool nights, warm days! Knowing that the holidays are right around the corner? So you plan. I’ve scheduled a few things—a day trip to the mountains, a long weekend on Sanibel Island in late fall, and the date for my large family’s Christmas gathering which will take place in my home. I’ve signed up for Art Class again, which begins October 1, so autumn will be busy. I am writing the first draft of my second novel, surviving more rejection letters, and revving up my query letter.

I’ve also taken on the task of helping to coordinate a joint three-class high school reunion. Let’s just say I went to high school a long time ago and leave it at that. I am gathering and confirming contact info for my particular class. So far, it’s been relatively easy due to technology for which I am truly thankful.

IMG_0824 (2)The obvious memories and the faces of people I knew way back when are now rummaging around in my mind like me down the third aisle of the Cobb Antique Mall.

When you think of a reunion, what does it mean to you? I checked the on-line Webster and found an interesting root. The French origin word réunion means “meeting of persons of previous connection.” Cool, huh? What about the moment you see your ex at a family function, or when you run into an old acquaintance on the street or at the mall. Or the person who once worked in the cubicle next to you, a past partner, an old love? A friend of a friend? A classmate from the sixth grade? Each one touched your life in some way.

The connections I’ve made in life have all been meaningful in different ways. Whether good or bad, they have all left an imprint on me. What a gift to have the chance to meet again, talk and laugh or cry again, the opportunity to rekindle an old memory, to see someone through what I hope are my wiser, kinder eyes. To be given another chance to connect.

Each person you meet becomes a previous connection. Think about it while sipping wine on your back porch on a warm fall weekend.



I write, therefore I am…what? Impatient.

Hope your summer has been great!!  We are actually having beautiful weather right now in the South. Cooler nights and mornings. I’ll take it.

85Please tell me that rejection becomes easier. I’m finding out something about myself, and I’m not liking this part of being an author. The waiting and the rejection. Please tell me I will get used to it. PLEASE.  I’ve put out another batch of queries to literary agents last week. So far from the first batch, I either was completely ignored or I received the dreaded rejection letters (most of which are form letters).

Yes, I’ve heard about Stephen King’s gobs of rejections before he ever landed an agent, but I’m no Stephen King. I cannot clean his boots, for heaven’s sake. So how can I compare myself and my journey to his? No way. I’m just little old me who thinks she wrote an interesting novel with hopes to someday be published.

I could try the self-publishing route, but honestly, I don’t want to. I might change my mind though. Never say never. For now, I wait impatiently, but I wait.

Sara, the protagonist in my novel, WEATHER PERMITTING, also suffers from impatience but hers relates to finding happiness, love, and self esteem. My latest bout with this affliction began at the first step of this new phase of my life. I’ve definitely bitten off something new and maybe way to big for me to chew on. Becoming an author is my reinvention and I’m impatient for someone in the “business” to like my work and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with the second steps, then the third, and so on. But I am also a realist. I know there are a million of us, the new authors, the new writers who feel as I do. We are all impatient for the same things.

Sara is impatient to figure out where she fits into the big picture–her place in life. We all do this in one way or another. Don’t you think? So today, I’m going to take a deep breath. Close my eyes and be grateful for today, this hour and this minute. I do believe that no matter what I’m impatient for, something tangible or intangible, I must be thankful for the right now. I’m only promised that. The future (including the accomplishments or non-accomplishments I long for) will take care of itself.

Have a fantastic month!! Hey football season is almost here!!


Welcome My First Guest Blogger – Award Winning Author, Linda Joyce

Happy Mid-August!

Today, let me introduce Linda Joyce as my first guest blogger! Linda is an award-winning published author and a dear friend. I’m so excited to share that August 18 is the release date for her new book.

     Her Heart’s Desire, Book one of the Sunflower Series
by Linda Joyce

Joie de vivre is a French phrase expressing a feeling of happiness or excitement about life. It is way more than butterflies-in-the-stomach happy. It’s waking up with gratitude, smiling, and looking forward to the day. For me, it’s an expectation—something good will happen around the corner—no matter how gloomy the day might appear.

This instilled outlook came to me from daddy’s side of the family—Cajun and Irish. Everything needed to be celebrated with a party. (Oh, the stories I can tell). Meanwhile, my mother—Japanese, speaking excellent English with a touch of a southern accent—insisted on education and politeness.

Through the melding of cultures, I learned I needed to possess Scarlett O’Hara’s tenacity and Melanie Hamilton Wilkes kind graciousness.

I believe manners make the woman.

And as my husband will tell you, a southern man holds a door for a woman not because she might be a lady, but because he’s a gentleman.

In Her Heart’s Desire, you only get glimpses of Mrs. Britton through the other characters since the story begin after her passing, however, she brought her Louisiana joie de vivre to Kansas when she married a farmer, then instilled that perspective in her children.

I hope you will enjoy meeting Amelia Britton and Lucas Dwyer. They truly represent the tenacity, generosity, and dedication to family and friends that I grew up with.

An artist and a farmer fight family, the bank, and Mother Nature…to grow love.
An artist and a farmer fight family, the bank, and Mother Nature…to grow love.

Artist Amelia Britton battles her older brother for the right to remain on the family farm—their inheritance after their parents’ tragic deaths—she faces a looming mortgage, weather threatens to destroy her crops, and the man she secretly loves only sees her as Craig’s little sister.

After serving his country in Afghanistan, Lucas Dwyer expected to return home to his family’s farm, but the bank foreclosed. Undeterred, he begins combining-for-hire to support his younger sister in college. His best friend convinces him to discourage local guys from dating Amelia. Craig wants her back in the city, farming is too hard for a woman alone. Only one problem—Lucas has fallen in love with Amelia.

With family, the bank, and the weather conspiring against them, can Amelia and Lucas ever hope to grow the love blooming between them? 

Linda Joyce is an award-winning author of women’s fiction and romance. She writes about assertive females and the men who can’t resist them. Linda’s a big fan of jazz and blues. She attributes her love of those musical genres to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. If you walk-through several New Orleans cemeteries you’ll find many of her family buried there. She penned her first manuscript while living in Japan, the country where her mother was born and raised. Now she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and four-legged boys. She’s also a foodie and loves to go RVing.

 Pre-Order Links for Her Heart’s Desire:

Places to connect with Linda:
Twitter: @LJWriter
Goodreads:  Amazon author page:

 Linda also has a newsletter, LETTERS with Linda. It posts the first Tuesday of every month with book news, inspiration, a contest giveaway, and a recipe. If you’d like a copy, please send Linda an email:

C is for…

IMG033 (2)Meet Buzz, named him after the Georgia Tech Mascot. He’s my Russian Blue, but he was born in Atlanta so he’s a very southern feline. He’s my constant.  Do you have one of those? A constant (not necessarily a cat)?

I’ve had pets throughout my crazy life. They have always been a part of me. Sara, the protagonist in my novel, Weather Permitting, has a cat. I gave her this constant in her life because she needed it. She needed to come home from work every day and find a creature there who needed only her, who wanted to be with her, whom she could count on to be loyal and true blue. Don’t we all need that constant in our lives?

“Change is the only constant in life.”th (4)
——- Heraclitus

Change is constant. It’s also a contradiction isn’t it? We all know this to be true. We either look forward to it or dread it. Love it or hate it. As we get older, I think we have no choice but to embrace change. It sure did embrace me. I just know that no matter what changes come, I have several constants to hang onto. Right now. That’s what we need constants for — RIGHT NOW. Right now, a wonderful husband, a pup named Bella, and Buzz. He will always be my main man.

So Sara has Mick Jagger, her cat, because she must go through change, because its part of her growth, she is required to grab onto stability, a constant, a small helpless cat. Mick is her constant.

Next time, we’ll get back to Strong Southern Women!!
A quick note about the book. I’ve started the query process in search of an agent. I’m told to send them out in batches. Then wait. So far, I’ve received four rejections, which is normal. So think good thoughts for me!!

Stay cool during this long hot summer!


Strength in Numbers

Strong Woman

“I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”
—- Louisa May Alcott

June has been an exciting month. Lots of blessing flowing all around. My daughter accepted a new position teaching high school English in the area, and she and her husband are settling only fifteen minutes away from me. My son has accepted a new position as Athletic Director at a local high school and I am so grateful that I won First Place for my novel, “Weather Permitting,” at the Southeastern Writers Association Conference in St. Simons Island Georgia.

Friends have asked where they can find it, when they can read it. It’s lovely that people are interested. Unfortunately, I’m still at the beginning of the process and I’m looking for an agent to help me publish. “They” say that the easy part is writing the book (not sure about that), so I am querying agents to see if there is any interest. Everything takes time. Makes me wish I were about twenty years younger.

Today, I’m thinking about strong women, great women who refuse to quit when the going gets tough, and I know bunches of them, some of them good friends. The protagonist in my story has quite a bit in common with women who have gone through the after effects and trauma of a mid-life divorce. She searches for a way to fit in to her new life and finds out a lot about herself in the process. We have all been there in some form or fashion. I don’t know the statistics but I’m betting they are high for women who have gone through turmoil, whether via divorce or relationship upheaval, and survived only to grow and blossom in the end. 

Most women are strong and it’s their strength of character, strength of values, strength of duty, and other internal forces that carry them through life. I used to say, “Men can’t change, which makes women have to adapt.” Now, I think that adaptation simply put means that we can handle just about anything life throw at us. It’s not adaptation. It’s strength.

 My good friend says, “I know many great women but I know very few great men.” I know both but I’d have to say the women do outnumber the men in the category of inner strength.

I would love your feedback on this topic. See you next month! 


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