Monday, December 17, 2012

Guest Blogger Virginia Carmichael

Keeping Perspective in a Tunnel Vision World

Ah, writers. The image of the woman huddled in the garret, hunched over her typewriter, fingers numb with cold, wicked stitch between the shoulder blades, and bleeding thoughts onto a page for our amusement is really quite attractive. Images of the Brontes, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and George Eliot all spring to mind.
So romantic!
So exotic!
So, so passé.

In the modern world we’ve left the typewriter and the cold garret behind (and thankfully the male pseudonym and the tuberculosis). And with it goes a certain amount of the romantic image.
It’s so tempting to encourage the mystery that surrounds publication and claim that we don’t have to adhere to the rules. (“Market my book? Why, it will sell itself! I’m not allowed to leave my writer’s hut. “- my wishful thinking)

It’s a well-known fact that you have to fight for writing time, but every now and then it can be used as an excuse to avoid the unpleasantness of life. How do we keep our vision wide open, our hearts full, and our spirit generous when all we want to do is hide in our writer’s cave and press the back of our hand to our forehead?
Well, there are moments of GRACE, like the day I received ‘the call’  and five minutes later changed not one, but two poopy diapers.
The rest is up to us. Hard work in a profession that encourages obsessively narrow vision can make us great writers, or terrible human beings.

Social Media  (or How Not to be Unfriended)

I’ve lost my fair share of face book friends in the past few years. (The election is over… can I come out now?) But what used to be the pitfalls of e-mail, has now turned into the morass of social media interaction.
A year or so ago, I wrote a comment I thought was funny on a Seekers wall. Julie Lessman responded with something like, “Virginia, dear, can you explain?” Of course it was misunderstanding cleared up in a millisecond, but I was struck by her grace, her charity.
She could have brought out the verbal flame thrower and toasted me to a crisp.

It was a humbling moment for me. How many times had I jumped to my own defense (or on the offensive)?  I resolved to remember to pause, clarify, and then- if necessary- bring out the caps lock key.
There’s also the point of not trying to be too funny on facebook because there is NO ROOM FOR SUBTEXT. But we all knew that, right? Well, all of us except slow learners like myself.

Keep your friends close and your enemies… in the next county.

I know when I get a good dose of the writerly blahs, I need some friendly perspective. I’ve met wonderful people through Seekerville and facebook, and bless their hearts, they never fail to give me a good kick. Once I posted about hating myself because I lost my camera and could never find ANYTHING and my brain was going and I should just give up.

Lots of friends posted how they understood and I should take a break and treat myself or take a nap or… And Julie Hilton Steele asked whether I was “having a breakdown” and did she “need to come down there and staple the camera to my hand”.
Good friends know when to give a cyber hug and when to give you a good kick. Julie and Mary Curry are my critique partners and they’re ALL ABOUT the ‘ spoon full of sugar’ making the crit go down… but sometimes you just need someone to roll their eyes and tell you to stop whining.
As for these guys….

Someone giving you grief? Love your enemies, always.
But don’t engage the crazies. Your time is valuable. Bad reviews, judging comments that are from the planet Mars, and picky readers who find your only mistake in 25 years? Thank them graciously and move on.
Don’t be precious  (Or everyone hates a ‘know it all’.)

Writers are encouraged to research everything. Have a character driving a car in 1908? Well, better make sure women could have a license, you get the color and model right, and you’re not shifting more gears than were available. Because SOMEONE WILL KNOW.

(And yes, I know the hipster meme above is misspelled. Not sure if that’s a double irony or just… stupidity. Never mock anyone. But if you must, make sure everything is spelled correctly.)
That said, don’t be precious. I have a terrible habit of becoming completely submerged (not immersed, that’s for dabblers) in my current project. When I was writing ‘Season of Joy’ (Love Inspired Nov 2012)  I researched homeless shelters all over the US. My friend Stacey got to hear endless  statistics of homeless and vulnerable populations- while we ate cookies and watched our kids play. How depressing. It was enough to make you give up all hope.
She handled it like a champ. And when she got tired of it all, she just waved a latte under my nose and I forgot for a moment how people were GOING TO BED HUNGRY.


There is research, and there is insanity. Knowledge is a powerful thing, but adding hope into the balance is what friends are for. That and vanilla lattes.
Be sure to take a break every now and then from your research, especially if it’s a tough subject like World War II or the Holocaust or even a dysfunctional family. The best writers FEEL DEEPLY for their characters, but that can be a double-edged sword. We want the spark of hope to shine through the toughest scenarios in our writing. And confidence in an eternal HEA is not something you can fake.

Don’t let your well run dry. Refresh your spirit with prayer, worship and good friends. Your story needs to be told, but tunnel vision is a quick way to get writer burn-out.

It’s All About Balance (or learning to juggle)

A few years ago my kids and I went to a book signing in Walla Walla, WA, hoping to meet one of our favorite authors. New York Times bestseller Patrick Carman has written the Land of Elyon series, Dark Eden, Floors, Trackers, Skeleton Creek, 39 Clues, 13 Days To Midnight, on and on.
Here’s an actual picture of him speaking at a school. The numbers are usually in the hundreds, if not thousands.

                  Anyway, we came early, expecting a huge crush since it was the debut of a new YA and also Hallowe’en night.
                   Guess what? It was just me and my kids. Dressed up in weird costumes. They brought home made drawings of their favorite characters and all their books to sign. Yup, we already HAD his books, so I don’t remember if we even bought any.
                  So, NYT bestselling author (who I hear is down in LA working on a movie of Dark Eden) could have been like this…

 He could have blown off the little kids with a simple signature and a wave.
But he didn’t. He stayed, talked to each one, asked about their drawings, what they liked about his books. He even let us take pictures of him wearing the Star Wars storm trooper mask my son had. He signed books, scraps of paper, and one well-loved stuffed Lion named Leo. (Leo is still star struck. It was a highlight, meeting his favorite author!)

As for balance, a few weeks ago, Tina posted a link in the WE that quoted writing tips in Publisher’s Weekly from one of my favorite authors.

Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh. This is not wishy-washy, polite, drinking-tea-with-your-pinkie-sticking-out stuff. It’s who you want to be, your most powerful self. Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you.”-- Laini Taylor

Preserve that miraculous spark eager to burst onto the page. Nurture the desire to tell a good story. Protect at all costs your dream to become an author.
But don’t get a big head.
Don’t mail your book to every member of your high school graduating class, with an inscription reminding them how they were the popular ones and you ate your lunch hiding in the bathroom. (Not that I would ever do that...)
It’s all about balance. Spiritual, physical, emotional.
As we start the Advent season and look toward Christmas, it’s a great time to take that internal temperature. Where is our treasure? Our joy?

So, what do you do to keep from getting tunnel vision? (We can’t all spend our days like Ruthy does, surrounded by toddlers who think you’re perfect no matter how many books you sell.)
Do you have favorite Bible promises that emphasize the eternal and not this fleeting present world? Do you dive in for a short time, and then emerge blinking into the sunlight? Do you have friends keeping you humble and on track?
Share with us your tricks to keeping the spark alive and that tunnel vision away!

Virginia will be giving away one copy of her Love Inspired release, Season of Joy, to one luck commenter! Please let us know you'd like to be entered. And check the Weekend Edition to see if you're the winner.



  1. Great post, Virginia!

    I admit, I'm guilty of submerging myself in my poor, long-suffering husband knows more about weather patterns in northern Indiana in 1936 than he ever thought possible :)

    You gave me some tidbits to think about - thanks!

    I'm leaving hot chocolate with peppermint stick stirrers for the late nighters. We all need a bit of comfort on a cold night, don't we?

  2. So, I think I was first and then Blogger ate my comment. Jan must have done something to kick me out so she could be first. *g*

    I get obsessive with research. I can't help it. I think it's that need for approval and fear of failure chaining me to research.

  3. Don't enter me in the contest, bought it and read it this week, YEAH! First book I've read in FOREVER . . . or like a month, but that is totally forever! Grant was such a great hero.

    So, the crazies, I obsess over the crazy people who don't like me. I need to stop. doing. that. And I'm so going to get in trouble for my humor on the internet one of these days! And then there'll be someone else who doesn't like me that I can obsess over....

    And poopy diapers are a great way to keep your head. I most likely had a poopy diaper after "the call" because they are quite inevitable, but more memorable? I had a two year old trying to force feed my beef jerky during "the call." yep, glamorous writer life right there.

  4. Haha, JAN!

    Weather patterns of 1936? Sounds thrilling.
    *cough cough*

    Mmmmm.... I just tried to make grasshopper cake for the second time. FAIL!

    I'll go for the hot chocolate!


    Competition for first comment!!

    You are too funny.

    And since you write historicals, like Jan, research is important. Your knitting will keep you grounded, eh?

  6. Ah yes, the cover I voted for. Yes please, would love to win...

    Super post, Virginia - I'm with you, Jan!

    Still chortling over the flamethrower! HA! Gosh, I resemble that remark. Must. Do. Better.

    I completely submerge as well. Sigh... But family, including 2 horses and 5 dogs (one of whom is a spy) keeps me quasi-grounded. Lately, I'm having to remind myself to MOVE. I get settled in with the laptop and don't get up for hours at a time. Not good.

    Thanks for the hot chocolate and peppermint! MMM MMM MMMM!!! Here's some warm oatmeal/chocolate chip crispy cookies to go with... YUMMO!

  7. Uh, Virginia, you've got me in a chokehold here. I'm guilty. I confess. I want to live in my writing cave, and I'm short on tips for getting out of it.

    Like Drexler, I can quote all kind of things about the 1930's. :)

    Every time I stiffen my back and determine to get "out in the world" more, I do for a bit. Then it's back into the cave. It's safer there--quiet and populated with imaginary people.

    Coffee's on.


  8. HAHAHAHAHA! Melissa!!

    I'll never look at beef jerky the same again!!

    They probably thought you had some sort of speech impediment.

    (And there I go, being insensitive...)

  9. I was happy to be 2nd, and look what happened!

    Howdy everyone... Have a good night! Loving the comments...

  10. And of course I want in the drawing.

  11. P.S.


    I wanted to put this up top, and hope everyone sees it...

    I know we're all reeling from the recent tragedy and I wanted to say it's fine to share your feelings here. Hearing other people voice the same thoughts of sadness and confusion is comforting.

    I'm praying for the comfort and peace of all the families, and especially our teacher friends at this time.

  12. HELEN--

    I hear you!!!!!

    I would love to be in my warm, comfy writing cave. We should post pics of our caves! I have a corner desk with a vintage typewriter and a wire bird cage filled with twinkle lights. Ahhhhhh....

  13. KC!

    I haven't read May's new book yet! I'm such a sucker for international mysteries. :)

  14. *Peeking head around the tallest palm on the island to see if it's safe to come out*

    Waves big friendly approving smile at Virginia.

    I have to brave the waters to shout that I LOVE THIS BOOK!

    Seriously, Calista is such a great heroine. I want to be her when I grow up. And Grant. Yeah, Grant. :)

    Seriously, critiquing with Virginia is tough because she makes it look so darn easy. grumble grumble

  15. I've turned a small bedroom into an office, but I spend WAY too much time in the recliner with my laptop. I even have an extra light over the back of it!

  16. I don't know about the knitting. Those needles can be quite dangerous at times. *g*

    Hubs keeps me grounded. "Back here in the real world....." ;)

  17. Ooooh, Mary, I SEE YOU!!!

    Our sweet Mary has been carrying a heavy burden the past few days, like all the teachers I know.

    Hugs to you and thank you for all you do in the classroom.

    As for making it look easy? You know better than anybody except Julie how much I write cut and re-write, only to cut and re-write and cut and... Yeah. Being my crit partner is no fun.

    And Calista... I love her, too. :) Smart, strong, and just a wee bit nutso.

  18. Jan, I have to be comfy. I want your chair!!

  19. Hey Virginia, I fully understand the comment being meant one way but coming out another. I have this issue being Aussie the way we say things can sometimes confuse or come across as uncaring etc and visa versa. The problem with comments here and facebook etc you cant see the commenters face.
    Its like if someone asks how are you coping (which I am beginning to hate) I will say fine if they are watching me they can often see if I really am not not online you have to take it at face value unless you can read between lines. a very short fine with no other comment often will mean the person is far from fine but possibly doesn't want to talk about it.

    Oh I dont need to be entered either cos I have a book coming my way.

    I like to joke with others but sometimes Americans dont get Aussie humor and think they have upset me when infact I think its really funny or they think I am serious when I am being funny.

    Virginia did you use fresh grasshoppers or preserved ones?

    We are also feeling for all the victims in America and also for the children in China that were attacked by a knife wielding assailant thankfully none were killed.

    Would really go for an Iced Chocolate with whipped cream about now.

  20. My teenage daughter had a Christmas recital. There were some wet eyes when the tiny ones danced. They were so precious, their smiles and joyful energy magical. My mom told me that one of the little girls who perished was supposed to be an angel in a Christmas pageant. I hurt for the Newton community.

    Then tonight in our small corner of the world two police officers were killed. Our eyes and ears glued to the news waiting on word, relief because you don't know the victims, guilt because you don't know the victims. I had to call my mom and ask her how she did it all the years my dad was an officer.

    Onto a more positive, I've read V's book. Fabulouso. Loved it! I've said it before and will say it again, it is an excellent book for any aspiring writer to study on getting characters off the page. There isn't a single cardboard character in Season of Joy. And for readers, well this book challenged me to be a better me. (Are you still humble, V? *g*)

  21. Ohhhh, Christina. Julie posted a picture of her grandson singing in a children's choir and it reminded me of HOW MANY parents are watching those Christmas concerts right now.

    So heartbreaking. Someone told me I was probably happy I home school

    I'm not happy about anything. It's a tragedy and schools should be sacred ground.

    And thank you for the kind words on my book! You never know if your characters 'jump off the page' or are obviously just a sign of total insanity.

    I was thinking it was insanity, but I like your take better.

  22. JENNY-

    I'm going to assume the grasshopper comment was one of thsoe Aussie humor moments.


    No, grasshopper is a term for chocolate cake with mint green frosting. I'm not a mint fan, but I do love the combination. And it tasted wonderful and looked.... sad.

    And lifting you up in prayer this Christmas season. Last year was our first Christmas without our dear 'Grandma yum yum' who lived across the street. Lots of wonderful memories, but she was so missed.

  23. KC,

    I find myself sitting far longer than I should, too!! I keep thinking I'll try one of those excercise balls but I'm afraid I'd break my laptop or my neck or both.

  24. Thank you for the reminder to pull back, look at the big picture, and love the people in our lives. No matter what our profession, too many of us drown ourselves in work rather than life. I thank God for family, friends, worldly and spiritual blessings, and articles like this that remind me where to direct my energy! Love you Sisty Ugler :)

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.


    Ooooh, now my true name has been outed!

    Sisty Ugler is a secret alter ego... but not ny more.

    And thank you for your generous heart, Susie. I've never seen anyone give so much, unconditionally, to so many.

    (She's a hospice nurse and I'm telling you, THIS is the person you want at your bedside in your last moments. Put in your requests now, but I'm warning you I have dibs.)

  27. I know what you mean. Homeschooling doesn't mean safety. Just look at Aurora.

  28. Virginia, I figured the grasshopper cake was something different but couldn't resist. I honestly had no idea what it was.

    Thanks about the season. its been both good and sad. I cry at a drop of the hat for no reason (think pain has a little to do with my emotions being even more fragile than normal) but I have good memories too.

    We had the town carols last night now thought I would share a couple of laughs. They had a play by the little ones 2ish up to 10. Well Joseph and Mary are to come Joseph about 5 was so excited he runs up onto the stage to the manger only to remember he was to bring Mary on the donkey it was so cute. Mary comes up very pregnant and they get to the manger she lifts the top shes wearing for the costume and pulls out the cushion and drops it on the stage and suddenly is holding the baby. But the way she did it was so priceless the whole park burst out laughing. They had a couple of kids dressed up as sheep (and one was dressed as a cow) it was so sweet.
    At one stage Newtown was mentioned after we sang Away in a Manger saying the last verse is very poignant with what had happened.

    Be near me Lord Jesus
    I ask thee to stay,
    close by me forever and love me I pray,
    Bless all the dear children in your tender care
    and fit us for heaven to be with thee there.

    After he said this it really is very fitting as I am sure those children are now being cared for in heaven.

  29. VINCE--

    So true, the 360 views are the best, but what is a sphere, dear geometrical one? Heavens above in cluded?

    And I'm so glad you liked Season of Joy.

    The way I keep my head is remember how much my editor asked me to change. I have a huge respect for Melissa Endlich, because she does so much to make the book as good as it can be, and then I get all the credit!

  30. Hi Virginia:

    There is one Bible quote that signs this message to the whole world:

    “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

    Tunnel vision, for those with a genuine vision, is still 360 degrees in all directions. For it’s not what we see that is in front of our eyes that makes for success but rather it’s the vision we experience that’s behind our eyes that illuminates our dreams.

    Philosophizing everything keeps me sane.


    P.S. I’ve read your book, this time on my Kindle as it should be read, and from start to finish, it was a joy to experience. To stay grounded while still maintaing a lofty view of the heavens: think of how good your book is and also how hard it was to make it that good.

  31. Oh, Jenny---

    That was so funny!

    And then the last part gave me chills. Wow. So very fitting.

    I read a comment in a news article and the woman was wondering if it was just her town that was grieving, did anyone else know and care?

    The WORLD cares and grieves. And you've given us a glimpse of the heartache in Australia.

  32. Virginia many tears have been spilt in Australia for this tragedy. Not just from parents but from all walks of life. I know I have shed many tears for them. I pretty sure out Prime minister sent her condolences on our behalf. There is a lot of reports we are keeping up with it. I hope the lady knows how much the rest of the world cares. I just have to look at my FB page and so many aussies have shared the tribute posts.

  33. Exactly!

    I saw a picture of children in Bangladesh (I think it was)holding a sign, sitting near candles, in memorium of little children just their age.

    I know it's being politicized, but I prefer to focus on how deeply people around the world are touched by a tragedy and show their respect for total strangers. We are all human, we all grieve.

  34. There are tears here in Canada, too. I can't fathom how anyone can choose to gun down six-year-olds, let alone any other human being. My heart aches for all the families.

    I've consumed a lot of coffee lately... sitting, sipping and watching too much television. I'll try some of that hot chocolate, thanks.

    When it comes to my writing I'd be happy to stay in my proverbial cave. I'm like Helen: I have a separate office, but when it's quiet in the house I'm more often on the recliner in the family room with my laptop.

    Jenny, I made 'Grasshopper Pie' yesterday... the dessert of choice for Christmas dinner. It's a frozen whipped dessert flavoured with creme de menthe on a chocolate crumb base. My two grown-up (or maybe not-so-grown-up) daughters thought it was hysterical one year when they coloured a section red and hid it under the green topping. They called it 'Grasshopper Guts Pie'. Ewwwww!

    I'd love to win your book, Virginia, but will buy it if I don't. I'm determined to read it one way or the other.

  35. Y'all been busy chatting so late! I've been helping my daughter with homework and just thought I'd check in briefly before bed. Wow!

    Great post, Virginia. Lots of good reminders. I've decided to take the holidays off to focus on family. To be truly present for a change. I'm looking forward to that.

    Goodnight! I'll catch y'all again in the morning. May have to sleep in a little since it's 2 am and daughter is just now printing her last assignment. (Yes, she procrastinated!)

  36. In church yesterday the reading was the "I am the vine, abide in me" paragraphs from John, and it resonated with me hugely on personal levels but later thinking about those grieving families - it's all you can do. Abide in him, because the pain won't go away.
    Virginia, I loved your story about the author and the kids at the book signing. What a neat guy. I remember meeting Debbie Macomber years ago when she was the speaker at a conference I was helping organise - a book signing had been arranged for her, and I don't think a single person showed up! Embarrassing all round, but she said its happened before, and not to worry, which is a good lesson in humility.

  37. Hi Carol!!

    It's so neat to see friends from Seekerville on facebook and vice versa. I feel like we're running into each other at the grocery store.

    Ewww, grasshopper guts pie. Ick. And I might try the pie version because I just can't get the cake to look nice enought to serve.

    Eat, yes. Serve, no.

    And I know there are so many people wondering why and how right now. I'm praying people can comfort each other, feel the peace of sharing our doubts.

  38. MISSY-

    I love that you're up helping your daughter with her assignments. I think I'd be tempted to tell her to wake me in the AM.

    I was going to take December off from editing/writing old things and dabble in something new (which is always fun and much less work) but hubby is off work again for a few weeks. When he's home, I get more writing time because we're not all on his crazy early schedule.

    So, back to the cave for December!

  39. JOANNE-

    Isn't that a beautiful verse??

    And Patrick Carman is an all-around nice guy. It's easy to be a nice guy when you're a regular joe. But when you get a little recognition (and he's got mroe than a little) it's tempting to get a big fat, head.

    I guess what touched me was how he talked to each of them, asking questions about their drawings and certain parts of the books.

    Leo the stuffed Lion was wearing a white cape and it's hanging in my son's room, proudly displayng PC's autograph.

  40. Can't sleep (grumble, grumble), so I stopped in to see what's happening in the 'Ville and grab another cup of hot chocolate. Don't any of you sleep at night?

    At least Jenny has an excuse. It's the middle of the day for her!

    And Jenny - that's the funniest Christmas pageant story I've heard in a long time! I love the way Mary gave birth!

    And Christina - we've been glued to your local news station on-line for updates on the shooting there.

    For those who don't know - until I moved a year or so ago, I lived in the same city as Christina. We shopped at the store where the shooting took place, my husband worked at the hospital where the victims would have been taken, our neighbor was a K-9 cop who was part of so many of these situations where a suspect has to be tracked down. Yes, it hits close to home.

  41. Jan it was so funny what they used was like a huge walnut shell. the way she threw it and it landed was so funny. It would be good to see if someone got video of it. its now 7pm and I am finally awake been wanting to fall asleep all afternoon. I found out yesterday its great to have someone to go to these events with.

  42. Such a stinkin' perfect post.

    Now I'm jealous because you're THAT GOOD, and my psyche is easily prickled with self-doubt....

    But chocolate helps, (thank you Jan!!!) and I'm on my second cup of coffee, so that's all good stuff for my wounded how can Virginia be so smart, beautiful and young" scenario...

    You touched on so many things I've done/do that I can just put my hands together, clap and say "Brava!"

    Or hook a thumb your way, nod and say, "What she said."

    Either way, SALUTE!!!! :)

    Good job, kid.

    And yes, it's better to bite your tongue and deal with the acrid taste of metal than open your mouth and regret for decades....

    SIGH. ;)

  43. Reading comments.....

    We sang "Patience People" in church yesterday.

    I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. The words and music, so quiet, so thoughtful, tip-toeing into hearts like a child slipping downstairs to see if Santa's come.

    Seekerville has such a warm faith... we'll pray. We'll vigil... and pray some more. My prayers join all of yours. Jenny and all, thank you for sharing what you've seen. The reactions.


  44. Wow you had a busy night on the west coast and I slept until 5 WOO HOOO for me.

    Well, Ginny Mary Virginia, that was wonderful. I don't seem to be able to keep a balance, myself. I am all in until I get the burnout and then I have to come out of the cave and get a taste of what normal people do. I'm not sure this is all 'writer' stuff and not some personality quirks... but you have reminded me that not everyone is obsessed with the same things I'm obsessed with.

    Okay let's talk about guilt.

    Finding the balance has been tough this weekend. Sometimes it's been hard to function and then I pull myself out of the reality of what happened in CT and go back into my own little world. It's a bit of self-preservation, don't you think? We can walk away from the grief. we have to. But I felt a bit of guilt at times for running to the familiar and frivolous.

    I would like to be in the drawing btw! And now I must go write and then get ready for work. Though I'd really like to hang out here today...

  45. Morning Virginia, enjoyed your post -I think balance says it all-we have to balance everything...
    I liked AusJennys verse and so fitting for those little ones now gone in CT.
    I like seeing another Christmas story here-I have been reading many authors lately with these. we went this weekend to deliver Christmas to the little ones in the family and such an enjoyable time...
    all the little ones usually warm up to me but newest member now 6 months just did not like me and cried when I tried to hold him and coo to him,not sure what happened but guess I will have to be super sensitive and loving around this one. I thought of Ruth and her kiddo's -no one would turn away from her huh?
    hard to believe that Christmas only little over week away, hope all are ready.

    Paula O

  46. Virginia, this is a fabulous post, full of insight and grace. Just like your RT award nominated book. There, someone had to say it. Virginia has been nominated for RT 2012 First Series Romance for Seasons of Joy!

    It is a privilege for us all to have those partners in writing who keep things real, who pray away the darkness, and make us laugh.

    Critters make it harder to stay in the cave!

    Praying hard today for teachers, staff, and especially parents sending her children off to school.

    Peace, comfort and joy, Julie

  47. Oh, and I only offer to staple people's hands that I really, really like!

    Peace, Julie

  48. Dear Virginia,

    Yes, there is a Santa Clause. Sorry. I have always wanted to say that.

  49. Virginia, you cannot believe what a total treat this post was. AND...yes, AND, to see the next wave of Seekers--Seekervillians launch off unpubbed island.

    Congratulations to you and the others in the boat. We are cheering!!!

  50. Morning Virginia, Welcome to Seekerville. Missed all the action last night - smile You night owls are amazing.

    Great suggestions and helpful hints. I love the research. Its my favorite part.

    Congrats on your first book out there. I had to finally order it because it was always sold out in the stores. That is a good thing. But I am wanting to read this.

  51. Sorry I hit the send button twice.

    Jan the Peppermint stick stirs are yummy in the hot chocolate. Thanks

    And Carol-grasshopper guts. I'm still laughing.

    Vince- So that's your excuse???

  52. Is there an e on the end of Santa Claus? Clause? Hmmm.

  53. Virginia, I love this post, it brought Ecclesiastes 9:10 to mind...

    Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

    Please enter me in the contest. I'd love to win Season of Joy!

    nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com

  54. Good morning! I ended up getting up at the regular time to make sure my daughter got off okay. She was sure dragging this morning.

    She texted to let me know the school is on soft lockdown today--meaning extra precautions. She was a little frustrated, but I'm feeling good about the extra security.

    I've been watching the news while drinking coffee this morning. Debra, I know what you mean about us being able to shut it out, yet feeling guilty for doing so. I said the exact thing at church yesterday. Those parents and that community can't just turn off the TV.

  55. BTW! I'm nearing the end of Season of Joy and enjoying every minute! Part of the reason for taking time off this holiday season is to take spend time reading, to refresh my well. Virginia, your book is the perfect does of refreshment!

  56. Good morning, Virginia! You're so right -- this time of year, even with all the hub bub, is a wonderful time to pause and reflect--to look back over the past year and forward to the next to gain a fresh perspective.

    I can hardly wait to read your book! Just finished Ruthy's Christmas one, found Mia's, now I'm searching for yours. For some reason neither of our Walmarts have put out November or December LI contemporaries nor any December LIS or LIH. So I have my elf friends checking out the grocery stores. :)

  57. Wow..great post and great comments. Now i'm ready for the day...well, after another cup of coffee. Writers, i vote you all stay in your little caves and write! Okay, i know you have to come up for breath, but churn out those novels so i can read! And yes, i'd love Virginia's novel.


  58. Deb, I think you're so delightfully normal.

    We feel guilty because we have the option to walk away from the tragedy and do normal things.

    And the people in the line of fire have lost that option.

    I remember during a family death I was hurrying to the hospital and walking the "green line" to where I needed to go.... I couldn't see for the tears and a kindly older woman stopped me as I went by and just softly whispered, "I'm so sorry for your pain."

    She didn't know me. She didn't know that we just lost a grandchild. She didn't know the mix of guilt and loss that grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go...

    But she knew pain and recognized it. I will always be grateful for her courage, to recognize my sadness and let me know she understood.

    The gentle remembrances of perfect strangers....

    God's work at hand.

  59. love the post. learning how to get out of the tunnel. having a toddler yank on my hand and say "PLAY with me momma..." helps *heh* please put my name in the running for a book (not that i don't have enough on my TBR pile...)

    Jenny: i laughed with your "grasshopper" comment. great follow up to how people don't always understand your humor. thanks for sharing the Christmas play event as well. both the humorous "birth" and the poignant verse.

    i always look forward to reading comments and seeing you here at Seekerville. may you really feel the Lord's arms about you this Christmas as you will be missing your mother.

  60. I only like to do research when I don't think it's research. (LOL) I agree, it's very important because there's always that one reader out there that is scouring to find just one mistake...
    I also tend to get submerged so I make a rule to only work for a few hours. I listen to a sermon and go back to it, unless of course I'm at a really exciting part, then I have to force myself to stop and participate in the real world. Would love the book!

  61. Misty, those times when we're so excited and really into a story sure are nice, aren't they? :)

  62. Loved this post! Lots of humor with plenty of good advice!

    Merry Christmas!

  63. JAN- I hope you got some sleep!

    I am queen of the Land of No Sleep, but when I do lay down, I pass out immediately.

    No so these last few days, but I think we all have been struggling with that.

  64. Oh, RUTHY--

    What was that 'smart, beautiful, and young' part?

    Huh. You know that old adage of the more you know, the more you realize you don't know (I'm sure that was totally mangled).

    The smarter I've gotten over the years (strangely all since I left formal education), the more I've realized I'm definitely playing in the shallow end of the pool. Yikes.

    And it goes for the rest of it, too.

    The loss of beauty I can handle. And I don't mind growing old.

    But I did so love that idea of being smart. Sigh.

    Oh for the days when I thought I was brilliant!

  65. DEBRA--

    No guilt. We leave that for the real issues like Grinchy Christmas present stealing.

    And there have been times over the last few days where I just have to pretend that didn't happen. My mind can't handle the reality of it any longer.

    WE can only handle the horror for so long.

    Mercy on those poor people that don't have the luxury of escape.

  66. PAULA O---

    Your story of the little guy made me laugh!!

    All of my kids have done that. It's so embarassing. One minutes, they're loving eveeryone in sight. The next, they're screaming at strangers because they've touched their bare foot.

    Stranger anxiety. It's a very healthy stage and shows attachment to the parents. Some kids do it more than others.

    For some reason, ALL my kids felt it necessary to torture grandparents and other types that should have gotten hugs and cuddles when they visited.

    It's not personal and soon, probably in about 6 months, you'll go back to being magical again.

    Silly babies.

  67. JULIE--

    OOOPS! I forgot to put that in there!

    I'm a self-marketing FAIL.

    And I'm glad you're not denying that stapling line. Because you were an insta-hit with my real life friends.

    One actually called me and said, 'who is that Julie person?? She's awesome!'


  68. TINA--

    I've heard that line a thousand times but it doesn't surprise me.

    What's more shocking is how many people have WANTED TO SAY THAT THEIR WHOLE LIVES.

    They say it, then giggle behind their hands and mumble, 'I've always wanted to say it'.


    Is there anyone else? Get it out now! Free corny line day!

    (Maybe I can get everyone on board at one time...)

  69. TINA-- there are so many people launching from the island there should be a regularly scheduled ferry.


  70. Thank you, SANDRA!

    And I still am enjoying the new profile pic. I know you've had it awhile. But I still look at it and nod my head at the prettiness.

  71. C.E. HART---

    WOW!!! I have a new motto!!

    Love that!!

  72. MISSY--

    Thank you!

    And I kow some writers who don't read while they write. They say it leaves no time for writing.

    But I've found I just can't not read something. My brain needs that down time. So, I usually have a huge pile of books at my bedside, which I make my way through slowly.

    I'm reading Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. He wrote the 'Uglies' YA series and people kept reccommending his steampunk series. I was wondering if it would be suitable for my kids but I was surprised at how wonderful it is for middle grade and YA! Hooray!!

    I'm glad your daughter is being kept safe. Praying for your peace of mind!

  73. GLYNNA-

    I haven't read Mia's yet but I've heard such good things!

    And of course I read Ruthy's within hours of it arriving at my door thanks to Julie. :D I'm such a sucker for May-December romances. *sigh*

  74. MARIANNE--

    haha! I know what you mean!

    Before I knew that writers were real people I wondered why on earth their books only came out once a year. I mean, really!! Just buckle down and keep writing because I can read a good book in a day!

  75. Oh, Ruthy.

    I'm so sorry.

    I can't imagine that pain. And bless that woman who reached out. It's hard for me to reach out to people I see are hurting if I don't know them. I'm afraid they'll be offended or shrug me off. Bless her.

  76. DebH--

    (I love you profile, it makes me smile everytime I see it.)

    And yes, being told to 'play' is always a good reminder to take a break. Right now, my 2 year old is content to zoom cars over my legs while I make VROOM sounds. Thank goodness this doesn't come with video.

  77. MISTY--

    I always admire the people that can work for hours and hours.

    I have a terrible attention span and work in short bursts.

    My cave involves lots of 'research' like romantic movies. Which I'm sure doesn't really count. But it would in a perfect world!!

  78. Virginia,

    What a welcoming-looking town on the cover of your book. I want to live there.

    Do people tell you what a beautiful smile you have?

    Enjoyed the post. I need more tunnel vision. I want to borrow Helen's cave for awhile.

    Connie Queen

  79. Hi CONNIE!

    Thanks for the compliment. I had professional photos taken and they were an ego-killer.

    800 photos (that was her theory, if you just take enough, there will be something good in there) and most of them were HILARIOUSLY BAD.

    My family had such a good time over those.
    But I still neded to choose one.

    So, I chose the only one where I didn't have my eyes closed, mouth gaping open, tongue out, eyes rolling around, etc.

  80. I admit it.

    I have a severe case of tunnel vision.

    Even a list a mile long doesn't pull me out of it.



  81. Wonderful post, Virginia, you have wisdom beyond Edna's ken. :-)

    I've been basking in the conversation off and on all morning, alternating between laughing and crying over the comments. Ruthy's latest gave me goosebumps.

    Whether it is in our writer's/reader's life or our 'real' one, we just need to slow down and live in the moment more. Take notice and not be afraid to act like that elderly lady who reached out to Ruthy.

  82. Oh, Pam, just enlist Julie to smack you out of it once in a while.

    Her and her stapler.

  83. Virginia

    Thanks. Hope you will enjoy May's new book when it hits your TBR stack! :)

    Just saw this, speaking of PAWSOME-ness!,0,7533873.story

    Alrighty, time to make a little tea and crawl back into the tunnel - ha! Need to get with the Snowflake outlining! (Anyone else a Snowflaker? It helps me a LOT, when I use it... Hoping to utilize more of the system this time. We shall see!)

  84. KAV--

    Edna says hello! And that she made a wonderful whipped topping, light green and with just a squick of peppermind flavor... which I promptly tried to put on a hot cake.

    Real heavy cream whipped topping over hot coake... Um, no.

    But she had her beaters in the suds and I couldn't hear her over the sound of my own need for HOT CAKE.

  85. KC- I keep seeing the snowflake idea and cringing.

    I don't think anything in my life is that organizing, but I'm very tempted to try.

    I know when I READ a book written that way, it's brilliant. So many details all linking together.

    LOVE the idea of the dogs providing comfort. Poor, poor kids.

  86. Virginia, I have so many memories of my kids driving Hot Wheels all over my legs, up my arms and even over my head! I guess mom legs make perfect roads. :)

  87. MISSY- maybe I have a lot of surface to cover??


  88. Timely words, Virginia!

    And--oh my--you struck a chord with me when you said, "Don’t mail your book to every member of your high school graduating class, with an inscription reminding them how they were the popular ones and you ate your lunch hiding in the bathroom."

    Not that I did that or ever would, but I can't say I was never tempted. There are a few teachers I always wanted to do the same with--some, to let them know their faith in me was rewarded; others, to prove how wrong they were!

  89. MYRA--

    Haha! I know. Tempting, isn't it??

    And the people who never had faith in us wouldn't care about a book anyway. People like that will always find a way to downplay the successes of others.

    But the teachers who did?? Oh my!! I've had some great 'jumping up and down' moments with old friends/ mentors from my past.

    I love the people who celebrate success!

    Like Romans 12:15- Rejoice with thoe who rejoice and weep with thoe who weep.

  90. Hi Virginia:

    I don’t know how you did it but you posted your answer to my comment before I posted my comment. People will think this is fixed. It’s like getting caught lip syncing at a live concert or releasing a sequel first. I think we need Madam Zelda to check into this. : )

    Wow! Over 90 comments before noon (CST). Like a London bus, this session is headed for double-decker status! (That’s over 200 comments, btw.)

    What is a sphere? It was thought to be the most perfect form in all reality. The universe was a sphere, the planets spheres, the orbits were perfect circles. The stars were attached to the inside of the heavily spherical filament. It troubled the ancients that π pie was an irrational number. Even Galileo insisted that the orbits were perfect circles. Kepler did not want to believe his own math when it proved that the orbits were ellipses. Of course all this will not take the place of a vision statement. With a grand vision that puts all things in context, tunnel vision can provide the highly focused light needed at the time without blinding the viewer to her true goals.

    Quotes of the day from “Season of Joy” that are apropos to today’s topic.

    “She was done investing time and effort into projects that didn’t make her happy. The mission made her feel useful, and she’d made friends there.”

    She wanted to have a purpose in her life beyond making money and losing friends. She wanted to wake up in the morning with more to look forward to than fighting with her board of directors and coming home to a cat* who hated her guts."

    “You’re not a terrible human being*. You’re just not very approachable. Or sympathetic. Or caring about anybody’s personal life. Or..”

    But then there is conflict within the Joy:

    “But nothing would be able to get past the fact that she believed in the power of the almighty buck and he didn’t.”

    That would be a problem."Season of Joy" Read it.


    P.S. I’ve read every Seeker
    Christmas book and the best one is….(I’m not that brave, Tina.)

    P.P.S. FYI -- After reading your book twice I found that missing half star! “The buttery biscuit turned to ashes in her mouth.” Not to worry, even I had to read the book twice to find it. : )

    P.P.P.S. Your talk about working with an editor makes me think of when I was flying. I used to think of God as my co-pilot but then God thought that was pretty arrogant. So you can’t always win.

    P.P.P.P.S. Winston Churchill once said that the greatest feeling of elation you can experience is being shot at and missed. I have always believed that survivor’s guilt was the result of feeling elated at the realization that you were not one of the victims. This is a totally normal human reaction.

    * Mary Connealy said that the way to get readers to like your heroine is have other people and pets like her.

  91. Vince, didn't you just love that quote about the cat hating her guts!! I laughed out loud at that one. Such a great way to describe herself! :)

  92. P.S. Vince :) ... I went crazy looking for your comment after reading Virginia's response to the non-existent comment!! Strange that they came through like that!

  93. VINCE--

    I was trying to make a heroine so unloveable you just had to love her.

    So bad she was good.

    So annoying she was entertaining.

    And that buttery biscuit. I've never been known for my cooking so I'm glad that half star was in line with the rest of my life. :D

    AS for best books... reading is so subjective. It involves all the areas of ours lives: our curent mood, our pasts, our family history, our jobs, our financial situations, our romantic lives (or lack of any).

    I would hate to be a professional book reviewer. The many starred reviews would be so fun! And the books I hated... it would be hard to say so because I'd know that apart from bad writing, most of what I didn't love was down to how I FELT about it.

    I've also read books at one stage in my life and shrugged. read them years later and LOVED them. And vice versa.

  94. OH, and the comment!

    I saw that! Maybe it was because I had two windows open?

    I hate to scroll up and down so I read yours and then posted on another. Weird. That's all I can think of.

    And if it was rigged, it would have read :


    Love, Vince XXXOOO

    (See? Did I do a good impression? No? Darn it.)

  95. Please don't include me in the drawing, as I already have this wonderful book. (For those of you that haven't read it, it definitely has an unexpected twist at the climax with a simple, believable solution. Wonderfully done.)

    How do I keep the spark? Chocolate is always good, as well as coffee.

    My wife thinks I over research things, but I really enjoy that portion of it.

    As for having comments that I've said being misintepreted, I've had that happen before. (My wife likes to say that my sense of humor "has a small audience.")

    Julie Lessman's graciousness is a quality we should all strive for.

  96. Wonderful post, Virginia!!!! And timely. We all need to find that balance but it's a tough task at Christmas time. I'm getting in time with God. Now if I'd just get in the exercise my creaky body so badly needs.

    Want your book! Will have to order it online. Just love the frosty cover!


  97. Hi Virginia:

    It’s almost meta-fiction or like reading Alice Munroe*, to actually see in print that the heroine is called unsympathetic in an attempt by the author to gain sympathy for a character in a book. Some critics think Alice Munroe is the best living writer in North America. (She’s Canadian.) Maybe she’s not.


    * Read Munroe’s 'Fiction'. In this short story the heroine picks up a book that is in part about her own life and she is bitterly disappointed when she discovers the book is made up of only short stories and she voices the same criticism about this book as critics are always saying about her books. They want her to get serious and write a novel. (I just love meta-fiction.)

  98. Hi Missy:

    I did the same thing. I did a ‘Vince’ search this morning and I didn’t come up with my comment. I got the answer to my comment. I guess Virginia’s second computer operates faster than the speed of light. If she wrote historical fiction, that would be a great advantage. : )


  99. WALT--

    I bet your books have amazing research! And I'm telling you, if I don't get to read at least one of them in the next year, I'm going to be seriously put out.

    I know, Julie is a treasure. And I always think I'm improving on my kindness habit... and then I realize how far I have to come.

  100. JANET---

    Ooooh, I hear you. I woke up with a stiff neck and wondered if a little more excercise would have prevented it. Now my jaw is aching because I've been holding my head at a weird angle. Pretty soon it will spread down to my toes.

  101. VIRGINIA!!! LOVE this blog today and LOVE you, sweetie!!

    YOU SAID: "There’s also the point of not trying to be too funny on facebook because there is NO ROOM FOR SUBTEXT."

    No, but there are always smiley faces and winks and exclamation points galore to make sure people understand your humor, but I have found that self-deprecation works the best ... uh, especially if you mean it ... ;)

    YOU ALSO SAID: "Julie and Mary Curry are my critique partners and they’re ALL ABOUT the ‘ spoon full of sugar’ making the crit go down…"

    Oh, AMEN TO THAT -- SUGAR ROCKS!!! Critiques and constructive criticism are hard enough without sugar to make it more palatable, so Mary Poppins was definitely on to something there. In fact, I tend to soften most things I say SO much, that my daughter accused me of "sugar-coating" something once. "You bet," I said, "and proud of it, babe," because let's face it -- the truth is all about helping people, not hurting them, and if a soft approach encrusted with a little sugar softens the blow, then sign me up for C&H stock!!

    YOUR COMMENT REGARDING ME: "She could have brought out the verbal flame thrower and toasted me to a crisp."

    NEVER, EVER, my friend ... unless somebody triggers my temper with something really mean, then look out!! I singed the eyebrows off of a job-share partner once who NEVER expected it because I was SO darn nice to her day in and day out till she made me mad. The memory of the look of utter shock on her face still makes me smile. :) Trust me, she never crossed me again ...


  102. VINCE--

    Heehee! I love that kind of thing.

    But then some writers are so clever I can't even guess what they're striving to say..

    But the point of the unsympathetic heroine was to appeal to that part of us that knows how awfully ridiculous we are, and wishes that someone would love us anyway.

    If we make an effort to change, that should be good enough, right?? In a perfect world, yes it is.

    Sometimes a miracle happens and someone loves you despite the fact not even a cat can stand living with you.

  103. Aw, Walt, you're going to make cry, big boy, and heaven knows as a weepy CDQ, I do enough of that as it is!! But thank you for incredibly kind words -- they mean the world to me because I aspire to sprinkle EVERYTHING I say with sugar, yes, but mostly with His love. We'd all be lost without His kindness to each of us, so may as well spread it around, right?


  104. JULIE---

    HAHAHAHA! Singed eyebrows!!! Love it!!!

    And here's to C&H stock, baby. I was all abou the tough love, the hard truth, the honest viewpoint... until I realized how much time I spent feeling bad when someonw was too harsh with me.

    It really doesn't take much to soften the blow with some sugar.

    But it takes effort and good habits and taking a moment to pause... Which I'm really, really BAD about.

    But I'm learning to do better.

    I hope.

  105. wow a busy night. (and im up early as is now becoming normal!)

    When someone mentioned about even the cat hating her guts. I remember the very first time I heard mum use that word and was so shocked. Growing up that was a no no. it was slang and a word I would get in trouble for saying and she was saying this lady who having a lot of court issues due to her husband dying and the will not being finalized before the son died and the sons family taking it to court. Mum said this lady had a lot of guts or something similar. Its funny its not bad at all now but this would have been 25 years at the most ago.
    (great now I will look old of course I was only 1 at the time ;) )

  106. GREAT post, Virginia!! Another for my Keeper files *smile*. ~ Bible verses are my favorite way to refresh and keep going...AND of course my wonderful family and friends (including my author friends), who bless me soooo much with their encouragement and positive reminders. In fact, my oldest sister recently bought a lovely home on the GA coast, and there are built-in bookshelves along one wall in the house. She smiled as she told me one of those shelves was reserved for my very first book---I have the BEST sisters. ~ Please enter me in your drawing, and CONGRATS on your debut book---YAY!! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo

  107. Sometimes I wish I had the luxury of a tunnel! But kids and friends keep me grounded, and force me to focus on other things. But I do sometimes get the feeling that I'm living too much in my head, and I forget how to interact with other people! That's when I just want to stay home and hibernate instead of mingling with real people.

  108. No wonder people think I'm weird! Well, I don't know if they really think I'm weird, but I would understand if they did. :-)

  109. Hello, Virginia! I'm in the middle of Season of Joy on my Kindle right now. (So don't enter me in the contest.) Really enjoying Grant and Calista...and there is a twist? Looking forward to finding out!

    I have Mia's "A Gift of Family" and Ruthy's "His Mistletoe Family" in my next TBR pile. This Christmas is a quiet one for us since timing didn't work out for our family to be together, but these Christmas season books are helping me feel the spirit of Christmas. Thanks for your post and your Christmas book!

    And thanks to Jenny for mentioning the service in Australia where the song Away in a Manger was a poignant message that those precious children "live with thee there." Praying for comfort for all.....

  110. JENNY--

    When I wrote that line, I was sort of wondering if it would pass the editing. It is really slang-y and I probably wouldn't even say it.

    I would say 'someone has guts'. Maybe.

    But not 'hates her guts'. It's so rude.


  111. CATMOM--

    Aren't sisters the very best????

    Mine doesn't really read romance or any kind of series books, but she's read every word I've written... all the way back to the junky weird science fiction stuff I started with because I had this idea of writing a huge book about an alternate universe. I got tired of that really quick.

  112. MELANIE-

    I'm glad my kids make me get out. I'm such a homebody. I'm afraid if I didn't have to emerge from the comfy cave, I would never get out.

    I have to give myself a peptalk just to go the grocery store.

  113. SHERIDA--

    Well, there's not a huge twist, but as much as one can get away with in such a little book.

    I know what it's like to have those quiet Christmases. We always try to visit my sister, but she lives over the mountain from us and 90% of the time, the weather decides we don't need to see each other.

    Praying along with you for all the victims and families.

  114. Virginia, thanks for coming to Seekerville today! I love to do research. Sometimes it's easier and more fun than writing. Hmm.

  115. Seriously, Virginia, I'm the same way. I could easily become agoraphobic.

  116. Hi Tina:

    You made me think of a new cliché: “She’s as jittery as an agoraphobic with cabin fever.”

    Seriously, the dinner crowd needs to pick up or we are going to miss the bus.


  117. Vince your

    “She’s as jittery as an agoraphobic with cabin fever.”

    made me laugh I am not agoraphobic far from but I know the jittery feeling of cabin fever. Wondering how I would survive if we did get snow and I was stuck inside. I go nuts on days when its to hot outside to do anything or it rains and I get stuck inside. Im very much like a caged lion, pacing the rooms trying to find something to do when all I want is to go outside.

  118. Melanie and Virginia, when my kids want me out of my cave, they've learned it's best to grab my face and turn me toward them until they see my eyes focus on them! LOL

  119. Virginia,

    Sorry I'm so late. Busy, busy day and night!

    But I wanted to drop in and say: wonderful post and I LOVED your book!! (No need to put me in the draw). I have it on my shelf and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great job!

    Oh, and Ruthy's book (which I read right after) was just as good!


  120. Missy-

    Eye contact... that doesn't really work for me. I can still be miles away and thinking of something else and answer them without engaging my brain.

    Disneyland? Sure. Yes. Start packing.

    Later: WHAT? I never agreed to that!

  121. VINCE---

    Those double decker days are for FIRST SALES!!!

    We need some first sale stories!

    Come on, publishers! You know you want some Seeker villager books!!

  122. Oh, Susan Anne--


    That really means a lot to me!

  123. I would love to be entered in the contest please & thank you,

  124. Well, I'm signing off for the night. I have a house full of laughing, high school girls who are celebrating being done with the semester! Gotta go clean up the snack mess. :)

    Virginia, thank you for hanging out with us today and for your great post!

  125. Missy, thanks for having me!

    It's really a highlight to get to guest here!!

    Have fun with the gigglers. :)

  126. Hi Jenny:

    I keep seeing romance books by Jennifer Blake and I think of you each time. Have you read and reviewed any of her books?

    I have “The Risky Way Home” by Paula Vince on my Kindle to read based on your recommendation. I just need to get to it.

    Myra Johnson has a book with an agoraphobic heroine and an ex-con hero, who was actually guilty, and he helps her with her problems. It’s a very interesting book, “Autumn Rains”.


  127. Hi Virginia:

    Over 100 is Big Leguage! You make a wonderful guest blogger. Thanks for all the fun we had today.


  128. Hi Virginia:

    I voted for your cover. Did you ever find out who won that?


  129. A fascinating post. I would love to read SEASON OF JOY thank you.

  130. MISSY - i laughed when i read how your kids turn your head to break you out of your cave.

    my little guy places his hands on each of my cheeks and moves my head to face him as well. all the while saying "momma, listen you me."

    he does know how to make sure he has mommy's full attention. *heh*

  131. Would love to win your book Virginia!!

  132. DebH, that's exactly what my kids do! Although the older they get (they're 16 and 18 now), the more they just yell at me until they get my full attention. :)

  133. Loved your post, Virginia! Am so anxious to read your book....please enter me!
    Thanks & Merry Christmas!
    Jackie S.


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