Friday, April 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Gayle Roper, Welcome to Seekerville!

Ruthy here! Writing is about the weirdest business known to the planet, a roller coaster of ups and downs, fade-ins, fade-outs and circumstances beyond our control. As writers, we blend, shape, mold, tuck and tarry, determined to make things work.

I saw Gayle's post about her new blog on my Books & Such Literary blog late winter. I went to her blog site and realized that she was making lemonade out of lemons. I love when folks do that. So she's here today now only as a gifted award-winning author, but a person who blends real life with fiction to pen compelling stories of hope and new tomorrows. 

Write what you know. That’s the advice given at every writers conference. Write what you know.

Since I write mysteries and romantic suspense, I’ve spent my whole career writing what I don’t know. I’ve never been involved in anything more illegal that a speeding ticket, yet I have murderers and dead bodies in all my novels. The closest I’ve ever come to a criminal is a friend who insists on being a flasher and has spent lots of time in the slammer as a result. Murderers? I’m happy to say I know none. Dead bodies? Funerals.

Until recently, and that’s led me to finally write what I know.

I am a widow.

For more than a year I didn’t write anything about Chuck’s illness and death. I didn’t want to. I know many writers find solace in journaling about the things that affect their lives. Not me. I have always hated journaling. Makes me shudder to think about it. I know. Writers conferences tell you to journal too.

Finally the urge to write my thoughts about losing Chuck struck. But what form? I didn’t want to write a standard devotional. Too restrictive. Too ordinary. I just started writing and ended up with short thought pieces about what it’s really like being a widow. The lost feeling. The empty side of the bed. Eating out alone. The lack of concentration. The emptiness. And the hope in and sustaining power of our great God.

Perfect blog material. 

To this point I had resisted writing a blog. I know. They tell you at writers conferences to blog, but I couldn’t think of anything I cared enough about to do so. Now I have something to write about, something to share.  And now exists.

I know from the responses I get that though our situations and circumstances may differ, we widows feel many of the same emotions when two becomes one. I count it a high responsibility to speak for the more than 800,000 new widows this year, for the more than 30% of all women over 55 who have been widowed, for the young widows with their grieving children.

Sometimes we don’t want to write what we know, but we’re writers. We can’t help it.

 “I have been in love with story all my life,” says Gayle Roper, the award winning author of more than forty-five books. “Give me a story with strong characters and a captivating plot, and I’m one happy reader. Or writer.”

Among Gayle’s awards are the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, the Carol Award from American Christian Fiction Writers, and three HOLT Medallions. She has been a Christy finalist three times and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times Book Report.

For her work in training Christian writers Gayle has won special recognition from Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, St. Davids CWC, Florida CWC, and Greater Philadelphia CWC.  She lives in southeastern Pennsylvania. She enjoys reading, spending time at the family’s Canadian cottage, gardening, and eating out every time she can manage it.

Ruthy again! Hey, coffee's on.... We've got strawberry and whipped cream stuffed croissants on the back table and a frittata to die for, rich in sausage, onion, cheese and egg! Grab a cup of joe and feel free to share your life experiences and how they've affected your writing. I've got two copies of my newest release "A Family to Cherish" in the prize box, a warm, evocative story of a widower... and the second chance he doesn't think he deserves...


  1. Gayle, thanks so much for coming to Seekerville!

    I have a friend who is newly widowed as of last November. I didn't learn to know her until about a month after her husband's death, but we've hit it off. I think maybe I'm easier for her to talk to because I'm not part of her past - - Maybe. I'm just glad she feels like she can talk to me.

    Thank you for sharing how you're turning your lemons into lemonade, as Ruthy says. Life is too short to let it be sour all the time, isn't it?

    Ruthy, put me in the drawing for your new book. I'm an addict!

  2. Hi Gayle. A Canadian Cottage, eh? Well, stop in on your way up north. Do you go when the black flies aren't biting? (short season...)

    Thank you for sharing the true meaning of 'what you know' --it's the emotions we draw on after all, or a lot of us would be writing from jail... (the body count really adds up)

  3. I'd love to be in the drawing Ruthy :).

    I thank God that my dear hubby is here. Neither of us ill. etc.

    My oldest daughter is just older than I was when my dad became a widower. I thank God daily she doesn't have to deal with all that I did. I'm still a few years younger than my mom was, but I'm sure it'll hit me again as I near 40 [she was just past her 40th birthday].

    I'm not even sure how many widow/ers I know... but it's not many...

    I'm so glad, Gayle, that you're able to make some lemonade. I can only imagine how many women - and men - you're touching.

    If y'all wouldn't mind saying a little prayer today...

    You guys know how much I love my Panera. In fact, one of the shift managers insisted I name a character after him. "Travis with the faux-hawk" is my hero in my Speedbo WIP.

    I stopped in today for a minute and ran into another one of my favorite employees. Travis was killed as the result of a car accident last weekend. His funeral is Friday. He wasn't married [which would relate to today's post...] but I know he left behind family and friends who are hurting deeply.


  4. [I'd meant to do it earlier but forgot - just looked up the accident - he wasn't married, but he did have two kids... Since he was 22, they can't be very old... I'm going to miss him, but I can't imagine what those kids are going through right now...]

  5. Got orange juice and sodas to go with Ruthy's cups of joe. Help yourselves.

    Gayle, your strong spirit comes through in your post. Thank you for sharing.

    I especially enjoyed finding someone who shares my dislike of journaling--and my reasons for not blogging. I don't want to start something I can't keep fresh(like Seekerville does).


  6. Glad to have you here, Gayle, and what a ministry. I'm sure there will be many widows touched by your blog.

    My tough life experiences are infertility/multiple miscarriages at all different stages of pregnancy. I know that each and every time I went through that, I wrote poetry (The only time I've ever written poetry except for an assignment). And I sought out poetry or essays or blog posts of people going through/have gone through it. Something about knowing that someone understands and can express it so I know they understand did a lot for me. The tears I spilled when I hit a piece that expressed the feelings I went through were so helpful in some way I can't explain. I've posted my poems in hopes that maybe someone will get the same kind of help one day.

    I know that when I was dealing with infertility and "everyone" was so glib about it, when I read "When the Cradle is Empty" I cried through the entire thing--my hubby thought I was torturing myself, but I finally felt like someone understood, someone validated what I was feeling. Those that can write about it should, so thank you for going through the bearing of your soul in public, may God bless others with it.

  7. Now, this may not fit the tone of the comments that will be posted today, but I have to say:

    THE END!!!!

    I just finished my speedbo book - This book just semi-finaled in the Genesis. I wrote chapter one just to throw it in since it was "what the hey, it's the last year I can put in a non-finished manuscript," and all I wanted was feedback on my setup. So, it's no longer a "non-finished manuscript" it has moved up to a "non-polished manuscript." And I feel better now since I've NEVER put a non-finished manuscript in a contest before.

    97213 is my total, my biggest rough draft ever. That does not bode well for the final draft since I write lean rough drafts--perhaps I was channeling Julie. :)

  8. Welcome Gayle.
    Mum became a widow when I was 11. I remember one year at a CWCI meeting here mum spoke about becoming a widow and some of the challanges being alone with school aged children. Turned out there was a lady there who was a recent widow and it was a big help to her. There were lots of support for older widows but not as much for younger widows.
    I am sure your blog will do the same for other widows.

  9. Oh, Carol....

    God bless Travis and his family, and may God just welcome him with open arms into the kingdom, with singing and dancing! You've been back-slapped by life repeatedly lately... If we look for messages in that, I keep it simple:

    Be still and know that I am God.

    And every time someone quirks a brow at a young widow/widower story, I shake my head because I personally know way too many. God's timing is not ours.

    Jan, dear heart, you're in!

    Deb, you and me can head up and BOTHER Gayle... we'll learn from the best and make the trip tax deductible!!! ;)

  10. Melissa, I hear you, loud and clear. That's so stinkin' tough, honey... And the years it takes (often) to go through it can be grueling.

    God wants us to persevere. He wants us strong. But it's hard when you're the only kid in town not pushing a stroller or shopping at Babies R Us...

    Hugs to you from upstate and congrats on your finish line Speedbo book!!! YAY!

  11. Gayle, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I'll keep you in my prayers.

    Your piece reminded me of something that came up in Bible Study last night. We were supposed to think of someone who inspired us spiritually. I immediately thought of my grandmother who was widowed with 7 children ranging in age from 2 to 20. No one ever heard her complain. She just prayed and kept on trucking.

  12. Forgot to say, I'd love to be in the running for a Ruthy book (Yankee fan and all). I promise not to let Fenway eat it. ;)

  13. Gayle, God bless you in this new season in your life.

    Your blog is bound to touch lives of hurting people. What a blessing!

  14. Oh Carol, I'm so sorry to hear about Travis! how terrible.

    Gayle, did you find that some people try not to talk about Chuck because they think it will upset you? Was that particularly true early on and has it changed now?

  15. WOW, GAYLE, what an important blog today, so THANK YOU for coming to Seekerville!!

    My deepest condolences on the loss of your husband, but how I admire you for turning the hurt around to help others!! My hubby and I are getting to (getting to??? I guess we're there!!) that age where the prospect of losing the other becomes more real every day. I think about it a lot lately and thank God every day ... for yet another day together. The thought would honestly paralyze me if I didn't have God ... and wonderful women like you to lend support. God bless you in your writing, both on the blog and in your books!


  16. RUTHY ... thanks for inviting Gayle to Seekerville today -- we all need to learn how to make lemonade out of lemons, that's for darn sure.

    CAROL M ... oh my, I'm praying for Travis and his family ...

    Oh, MELISSA, I soooo relate!! As a infertility patient, I cried buckets of tears over the inability to have children, and YES, it so helps to connect with women who have experienced it as well.

    You said: "That does not bode well for the final draft since I write lean rough drafts--perhaps I was channeling Julie. :)"

    SUPER CONGRATS on the finish, my friend, but "channeling" me is never a good idea ... you may be asked to cut 50,000 words from your ms. like I was ... ;)


  17. Thanks all. I think I may have found a way to attend the service today [seems weird a bit doesn't it? I barely knew the guy but...] I finally found his obituary. It doesn't say if he was married and I don't remember him wearing a ring, but it mentions 'the love of his life' who is the mother of his two kids. So even if she's technically not a widow, it's gotta be pretty close, you know?

    Thanks all. Have I mentioned how much I love this group of people?

  18. Gayle,
    We have Grief Share at my church. Two sessions. One in the evening, one on Friday mornings. They're meeting now. Such a wonderful ministry.

    Which your new blog is as well. I'll pass on the URL. So many of my friends have lost their husbands.

    My own mama died way too young. Her unexpected death--when she came to visit for Christmas--plays into my writings. So often the death of a parent or loved one is part of the hero or heroines' internal journey.

    Thank goodness for the gift of faith that allows us to know those who have gone before us are with the Lord.

    My favorite book to give those who are grieving is Healing After Loss, Daily Meditation for Working Through Grief, by Martha Whitmore Hickman.

  19. Melissa, feeling your pain. Such a huge hole in a woman's heart when she longs for a baby...

    I think the world's disregard for the sanctity of human life adds to the hurt.

  20. Covering those Travis left behind with prayer...

  21. We lost my MIL this past December. It's been heartbreaking watching my FIL try to cope. He slept in the recliner for the first month.

    Oh, Carol. So sorry to hear about your friend. But naming a character after him is a great way to memorialize your friendship.

    Hey Melissa. Way to go. I've haven't worked on my speedbo project in days. I think I'm having DTs. *g* Planning to spend the morning at 1K1HR. See you there.

    Ruthy. If I confess to never have read one of your books, will you stone me? Please enter me in the drawing.

  22. Gayle, thanks so much for sharing an intimate part of your life story. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I am certain your blog is a great encouragement to other women sharing this path you're on.

    I have a friend in her mid-forties, whose husband died a couple of years ago from cancer. She and her children are still figuring out her new normal. I've had the privilege of coming alongside her in prayer and with a listening ear, just trying to be available to her. I'm going to tell her about your blog.

    Thank you, Gayle.

  23. MELISSA--you and I have walked a similar path. We dealt with infertility for many years. It breaks the heart right in two. The questions of, "Why," and "Why not." My journey drove me to a greater dependence on God and to a place of being able to see His love in His sovereignty in my life. He gave us the privilege of adopting two children. I thank God for them every day.

  24. Oh, I don't know if I have to say this, but I'd love to be put in the drawing for a Ruthy book. :)

  25. Wonderful post, Gayle
    I met Gayle at the Sandy Cove Writers Conference in 2001 - during my very first tiptoe into a wrters conference, and she was unforgettable.
    Encouraging. Supportive. So approachable.
    I think the post is a great reflection of the person she is.

    Thanks for sharing, Ruthy!
    And I'll take any of that food you have sitting out. It's been a week in need of lots of sweets :-)

  26. Btw, the Merry Widows ministry at our church (started by two recent widows) has grown to over a hundred in our community. There is DEFINITELY a need for that particular group of ladies to find a haven of support.
    Love what you're doing, Gayle!

  27. What a treat to see Gayle Roper here! I think the very first Christian novel I ever read was by Gayle Roper. I picked it up at the library. It was fabulous! I think it was Caught in the Middle, or something like that. I thought, This lady can write!

    Gayle, my mom is a widow, and I've often wondered how a person prepares themselves for that. It's weird, because you know, as a woman, and especially if you're several years younger than your husband, that you'll probably be a widow some day. But it always seems to come as a huge shock. But how would you ever prepare yourself? I finally came to the conclusion that you can't. You just have to make the most of your marriage and your relationship so you have no regrets in the event you become a widow. But it makes me sad for my mom. She really has no friends. My dad and her job were her whole life, and she was forced into retirement last summer. Now she reads Christian fiction all the time and gardens. There are just different seasons in a person's life, I guess.

    I think it is very therapeutic to write about things that are troubling you, or things from the past that you haven't quite worked through. I write down my prayers on days when I'm just really struggling with my emotions, and that helps. And I include things in my novels, but in a much broader sense, that have happened to me or that I've struggled to overcome or have learned in my life. But I don't like it when people ask me how closely my novels mirror my real life. In a way, they're absolutely nothing like my life. And in the ways they are like my life, I'd really rather not say. LOL! Maybe that's why I don't like to blog!

    Thanks, Gayle, for sharing your experiences!

  28. Bridgett, you need to read Ruthy's books. They're wonderful. I just finished Yuletide Hearts. Delightful story! Very warm and moving.

  29. Jeanne T,
    Thanking God for the gift of your two precious children!

  30. I think I forgot to say that my mom became a widow eight years ago. I think if I'd said that, my first comment would have made more sense!

    And I told Carol this on facebook, but I'm so sorry about Travis. I am saying a prayer for his family and those who will be greatly affected by his death. Death just seems so final, but Jesus overcame it for us. Thank you, Jesus.

  31. Deb flies?

    Do tell more. The suspense author in me is a very ghoulish way. :)

    I was also totally tuned into the Delta flight that was detained on the runway yesterday. Everything turned out okay, but CDC was worried about Monkeypox. Which makes me pause to consider a new storyline...

  32. I don't know what it's like to long for a baby and not be able to have one, but I know it must be awful. When I am going through pain, I try to tell myself that I can let this make me draw closer to God, or I can let it push me away.

    I needed a reminder of that today! :-)

  33. Deb Marvin, you are so sweet, the very thought of you writing from jail is funny!!!

  34. NEWS FLASH: Just got info about an opportunity to pitch to Emily Rodmell.

    Check it out:

  35. Melissa and Jeanne T. - I know your pain of miscarriage/infertility. Last Sunday was the 25th anniversary of our first miscarriage - - grief is such a strange thing. It can lay dormant for years, and then an anniversary, or a story, or a poem can bring it up fresh again. But each time we work through it a little further and heal a little more.

    Melanie - My MIL prepared herself for widowhood as well as anyone can, but it's still hard for her. I know she and my FIL enjoyed every moment they had together, right up until the last. I think you hit it on the head - live so you have no regrets. We don't get a do-over.

  36. Morning Seekerville!

    Hi Gayle,
    Powerful post, and your website is so thoughtful and beautiful. Thanks for taking time to share here. Your note abt the speeding ticket made me giggle. Ahem...Been there, done that, too...

    The breakie sounds delish. ;) What a cook!

    Good luck on the pitch! Go for it gal and keep us posted!

  37. Lyndee, I'm not's for everyone in Seekerville. A great opportunity for anyone hoping to catch Emily's eye.

  38. I applaud you for your courage. My husband died nearly 3 yrs ago and I am just now starting to write again. The book....My Heart Weeps - one woman's journey through grief into new life.

    Not sure yet if it'll be a WF or Romance or despite her faith if it'll even get near the CBA market - but hey, it'll be honest in her journey.

    Good luck and God's blessings.

  39. Debby...

    I read the pitch ariticle. What does episodic mean??? I'm assuming it comes from episode? Emily says she hates it.

    Thanks for the tip.

  40. Hi Gayle, Its good to have you here in Seekerville with such an inspiring message. We all have circumstances or lemons so thanks for reminding us to make lemonade.

    Have a blessed day.

  41. Connie, I could be wrong, but I think episodic means you tell every single day of the characters' lives. For instance, you write, "Mary woke up. It was a gorgeous sunny day in Metropolis and Mary celebrated it with coffee and toast ..." and you follow the character around the entire day until they fall into bed at ten o'clock that night, then have her wake up again the next morning.

    I'm probably not explaining it well. Anybody else?

  42. That make sense Melanie.
    Yes, that would be annoying.

  43. Write what you know........that is just such a tricky concept to me.

    It's true and yet it's not true.
    I mean what does Write What You Know mean? I write cowboys and I'm married to a cattleman, and yet the cowboys I write aren't like what my husband does today much.

    Everyone knows a longing for romantic love, so romance novels make sense. But are we writing what we are actually living or are we writing what we 'know' from reading books and watching movies?

    I like what you said, Gayle about not being able to help writing what you know. That makes sense. Our voice is unique because we are unique and that comes through.

    I think I'm writing John Wayne and Louis L'Amour though. I guess I know them, right?

    The more I think about it, the more I don't know what it really means.

    I think chocolate chip cookies would help me figure it out.

  44. And.................

  45. Mary Curry I am so inspired by that story....

    I had a neighbor named Rose... Rose was widowed during WWII and she raised her two kids on her own.

    She never re-married. Never dated. She said to me once, "What do I do if I fall in love with someone who ends up being mean to my kids or not loving them as I would?"

    Her kids grew up to be wonderful parents and their kids followed suit. Amazing family inspired by one woman's grit and faith. Rose went to daily Mass, she worked tirelessly for the poor and those down on their luck, and prayed daily for peace. I just dearly loved that woman and miss her still.

  46. Carol, we'll think of him as Prairie-Married... A couple who are bound in love until the itinerant preacher comes around to do the officiating.

    Mary's got VERY CONVENIENT preachers in her stories! ;)

    Julie, laughing.... Making lemonade, oh yum... strawberry lemonade, even better!!! And Carol, I hope you can go. Oh my stars, the people who touch our lives in those little ways, those are the ones that see Christ in us. Shining in our eyes. Our smiles.

    I love those contacts.

  47. Bridgett, I gave up stoning folks last year, LOL!!!


    You're in. And I hope you win because then I have one more person's opinion on Ruthy-books. (I'm always happier with approving opinions, of course, but I'm tough!)

    Jeanne T, you're a blessing. And I'm so glad you and Melissa shared your loss over here.

    Those losses are bittersweet... bitter in their finality and then sweet when a new path opens for us. Bless you and those children! Losing children, miscarriage, infertility... Parenthood isn't for wimps, is it?

    Bless you both. You ladies rock! And I brought chocolate peanut butter brownies to share. They can't possibly hurt, right?

  48. Pepper, what a great ministry! And what's up with these men, dying first????

    A new job for us as women: prepare us the way.

    Think ahead. Ponder the "What-if's?"

    God bless you and your church and those wonderful women!

  49. Hugs to Debby for her kind words on my books!!! ;) Grinning in upstate!

    And Melanie, I'm laughing here! Only on The Cosby Show are the NORMAL family insanities so funny! Not so much in our own homes, right???

    I think this is our pledge to ourselves today: to prepare. Heart and soul. Not for the loss of a loved one, but for the strength to move on, to be strong, to be salt and light.

    Eleanor Roosevelt talked about hiding her tears. I think we can do both. Hide some. Shed some openly.

    And be strong. But I think a lot of that is dictated by our inborn personalities. Whaddya think? Can we help ourselves overcome before the fact?

    I think we can. I believe.

  50. I don't think I could ever blog/write about bad moments in my life. Well, at least for now.

    There are certain ways I would handle sensitive issues though in my writing because of my experiences.

    1. Never tell a lady who just had a miscarriage she can always have another baby. I've miscarried a few times too.

    2. Never tell a foster mom, "Oh, I could never foster. I would just love them too much to give them back." This is a pet peeve among foster moms because it makes it sounds like YOU could give kids back because you don't love them as much. This didn't bother me because I understood the people were not trying to say that at all.

    3. We learned when training to be a foster parent never tell a foster/orphan child their parent was "sick" unless they were. Drugs, neglect, physical or sexual abuse, and alcohol are poor choices. Not a sickness or disease. One of these days that child will have their own CHOICES to make and we'll be glad it not a sickness they can't control.

    When I read a book, the words jump off the page if the characters say these things.


  51. Gayle, thanks for being with us today! I'm sure your blog is a big help to women who come and read and share.

  52. Ruthy, I think the best way to prepare ourselves is probably just to have a good attitude, an attitude of thankfulness no matter what, and to get happy by helping others. To be like you, Ruthy! :-)

  53. You know it is HARD sometimes to find a preacher for these books. Honestly.

    They say, like back in the days of the Puritans (and who's more conservative than them, huh?) with itinerant preachers only visiting some more remote settlements every few years, that is wasn't uncommon for a couple to simply declare themselves married and move in together.

    A preacher would finally arrive, perform the ceremony and baptize any children.

    I think that's pretty realistic for those days. Of course, unlike now, those commitments were real and permanent.

  54. Old men are just ridiculously fragile. :(

  55. Deb, I just saw that pitch too! I posted it on Facebook and it's a great opportunity... To pitch to an editor and avoid the SLUSH PILE!!!!

    Mel, you're so stinkin' cute. I agree. We can either allow pain to beat us down... Or use the pain to build a better platform, a stronger cornerstone.

    And let us never forget the immortal words of Farm Boy Westley: "Life IS pain, Highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something."

    Of course that's BEFORE he got the girl!

  56. Pam T, I'm so glad you stopped by. I remember that happening, and it stops you in your tracks.

    I never minimize that. That complete loss...

    But I look at women like you and Gayle and the local ladies I know, and they're so strong. And still faith-filled.

    I believe that the thought of heaven, of glory, of the healed body in Christ will be so stinkin' much fun!!!! And if we all LOOK GOOD in heaven????

    Better yet!!! (Yes, I said that out loud. I need help. Psychological help.)

  57. Lyndee, this is a pitch possibility for you, chickie!!!! And for all o' youse who are so close!!!!


    We love hosting first sale and agent-signing parties in Seekerville!

    Won't we all have so much fun working together? ;)

  58. Connealy, you're brilliant.

    You just re-phrased what I said and pretended to say it.

    Oh mylanta.

    You know when you read history (like the slave history of jumping the broom) and realize that the commitment of marriage was very strong... We are too distracted by 'what if's' of what we COULD have if we dumped the current for the next available flavor...

    And while my neighbor's grass may be greener than mine, I'll keep my husband.

    Most days. ;)

  59. Carol
    my heart goes out to Travis' family. did he know that you DID write a story with the hero having his name? if he didn't, that would be even more tragic.
    do you think the mother of his children would like your SPEEDBO story? perhaps you could give it to her even if the story never gets published?
    stray thoughts...

    my mom's second husband died not even one year into their marriage. we kids thought it was so unfair that after being abandoned by our dad 25 plus years before, mom finally finding a man who adored her and she him - that she would suffer such a loss.

    about a year after that, the Lord brought my mom's current husband into her life. my mom thinks that Frank (her second) was brought into her life to help prep her to be a good wife to Tom (husband now - who happened to be a widower).

  60. Gayle, you are a strong, beautiful woman. I'm glad that I came over to seekerville to read your post today.

    I use experiences from my life in bits and pieces in my writing. Whether they are positive or negative.

    Some things that have influenced my writing have been the joy I experience with my children and the unconditional love of my husband, lack of being loved in my childhood, to drug and alcohol abuse my brother has endured.

    I believe its the real life experiences that can really bring our characters to life. The good and the bad.

  61. Gayle, what an intersting take on "write what you know." I have always questioned the validity of that advice. Thank you for giving me this new understanding.

    And how great that you are sharing what you have been through -- I'm sure others have been helped by your words.

    Carol, I am so sorry about Travis. Lovely that his memory will live on in your character ... and wonderful that his life touched yours.

    Nancy C

  62. Melissa! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the good news!

    Nancy C

  63. Gayle, thank you for the post. Journaling and writing out those thoughts can be very cathartic.

    Doesn't seem like it would be important, but it is and it touches many lives. In writing, I don't always write what I know either. And that's fine by me. Cause to have to dig deep into myself and share those parts of what I know can be scary. This week I blogged about my first romance and first kiss and if people don't get it then I can take it personally.

    Fiction is easier. Still...

    Sometimes we have to write out what we know just so people can understand what they don't know.



  64. Thanks, everyone. I'm hope they feel the little extra support and maybe a bit more peace today.

    Deb- I'm going to ask some of my Panera friends if they can get me her email and drop her a note. I have no idea what kind of thing she might like to read, but even if it never sells [and honestly, it's the best thing I've ever written to this point], I'd like to get her a copy of it. Whether she reads it or not, just to let her know you know?

    Travis did know and he thought it was great - though he didn't think Travis-the-character would still have a faux-hawk at 35 until I told him he was a drama teacher. He loved that.

    Ruthy - a friend sent me that link earlier today. I've already started a new WIP geared toward LI to pitch there. You can see the first little snippet at the end of this post. Travis is in there, too.

    And now I have to clean my house because tomorrow is a workshop by Tracey Bateman that I get to go to. But it's over an hour away so I'm headed to stay with a friend tonight.

  65. A person can never go wrong paraphrasing Ruthy and claiming her words for their own.

    This goes for passing off her cooking as my own, too.

  66. I just had a minute and can't read all the comments. But Connie, yours really jumped out at me (the things not to say). Thanks for sharing such wisdom.

  67. And Melissa typed The End!! Woo hoo!!

  68. About 7 years after my dad died, I allowed a character's father to die in a similar way. (A case of write what you know...) After so long, I hadn't expected to affect it so deeply while writing and revising, but I shed many a tear. The novel doesn't hold together and won't ever be published, but I'm so thankful I wrote it, allowing it to purge many emotions I hadn't known I was holding onto.

  69. Forgot to say, please add me to the Ruthy draw.

  70. Oh Debby, if you've never had to deal with black flies, you are lucky. Small little things that like to bite around her head and leave an itchy welt. They just hang around your face when you are out in the spring up here.

    Ruthy, I figured if Gayle is going north from PA she has two options, the Niagara River or the St. Lawrence and we can intercept her either way!

    Melanie, do they let you just write from jail, or do they make you get up and exercise in 'the yard'. Either way, I don't think I'd like the food.

  71. Oh, and I meant to say earlier today that I love Gayle's picture on today's blog post.


  72. Enjoyed the post, Gayle. A long time friend of mine became a widow last week.
    Please count me in for the Ruthy her books!

  73. Someone asked what episodic writing is ... Hope it's not too late to share a link ;-)

    Nancy C

  74. Super late stopping in today (been on the go) but wanted to say THANK YOU Gayle for sharing with us. I feel certain you are reaching/touching so many hearts with your widow's blog---what a wonderful ministry. ~ Carol, praying for you and also Travis's sad... ~ Hope everyone has a nice weekend, Patti Jo

  75. Thank you to everyone for sharing!!

    I would love to read A FAMILY TO CHERISH thank you.


  76. Just put the blog in my favorites at work. Why work, you ask. Because I work for a counseling office and meet many wonderful ladies who need to know they are not alone in how they feel about their loss. Thanks for using this experience to help others!!!