Monday, March 13, 2017

A Foot in Two Worlds: Writing in Two Different Genres

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with guest Dana Mentink.

Full disclosure. I've got a problem. I'm a 'have your cake and eat every darn slice too" kinda person. It's both a blessing and a curse, to be honest. Take my career path, for instance. I'm an elementary school teacher currently teaching third grade here in Northern, California. (I just want to jump on in right now and tell you that yes, we teach math facts, yes, we salute the flag daily and practice cursive and no, we have not thrown out all good sense in the face of common core.) Whew! Glad to get that off my chest. 

But back to the subject of teaching...it's my first love and I've been doing it since before I turned twenty-one. Fast forward a couple of decades to include one hubby, and two children and this writing thing comes along. Whammo! I fall in love again. The trouble is, I've never been able to give up anything. In school terms, I'm great at addition, but not so good at the subtraction thing. Now I'm a part-time teacher (two days a week) and a part-time writer (six days a week) which doesn't add up, even with Common Core math!

I was thrilled to start my career as a professional writer in the genre of cozy Christian fiction with Barbour Publishers and that morphed into suspense writing for Love Inspired Suspense. I adore that type of edge of your seat, twist ending, danger around every turn type of writing. However, here comes full disclosure number two: I am a cornball at heart. I have an irrepressible sense of humor and I adore making people laugh. It thrills me like nothing else. As you can imagine, this does not translate well to suspense writing. 

Fortunately, I had the amazing opportunity to write a lighthearted dog themed series for Harvest House. I. Loved. It. Tippy the senior citizen dog? Sweetness, a one hundred pound mutt? Jellybean, a naughty terrier owned by an equally naughty cinema star? Heaven!

It's all well and good to paddle around in two genres, but the smart thing to do, as anyone in the industry will tell you, is to PICK A GENRE and STICK TO IT ALREADY! It's the way to grow a platform, to develop a proper business plan, to make a career out of this ultra-competitive writing gig. Best-selling authors do not muck around in multiple genres generally speaking.The trouble is, of course, the problem I disclosed earlier. I cannot give up on something I love, I want both the cake and the pleasure of eating it. Oh, the angst!

So where does that leave me? Teaching part time? Check! (Though teaching two days a week means twice that amount when you consider lesson planning, correcting, attending conferences trainings and study team meetings.) Writing my thirty-something suspense novel for Love Inspired Suspense? Check! (I just started a four book cowboy series for LIS, so giddyap!) Wrapping up a three book series of lighthearted books for Harvest House? Check! (And enjoying writing an ebook that will launch as a freebie to promote the series.) People ask me all the time how I can manage all of these things. Sometimes, I can't, but with the support of friends and family, I pray that I can give my best to my students, my suspense readers and those folks who enjoy a lighthearted book.

If I was a smart kind of writer, I would specialize, brand myself, put out only the books that readers expect of me. If I was that savvy kind of teacher, I'd give up the unreliable world of writing where publishers go in and out of the fiction business at a moment's notice. I guess I'm neither smart nor savvy because I just cannot allow myself to let go of one or the other. It's a constant tension, born of my own choosing. 


Someday in the not so distant future, I may have to make a choice to let go of one of these areas I love so dearly, but I leave those hard decisions for another moment. Today, I clack away on my keyboard at that hilarious chapter in Paws for Love, and that death-defying hospital shooting scene in Dangerous Testimony. Tomorrow, I will put on my teaching duds and go off to third-grade land, trying to instill a love of writing in my eight-year-old students. I'm having my cake and eating it too, for today anyway.

Did you ever have trouble letting go of something? Maybe a job or a location that you loved? A relationship? Did you have regrets about it afterward or was it an amazing, freeing experience? I would be honored to hear your thoughts. 


Thank you for spending time with me today.



 One commenter today will have their cake and eat it too! Leave a comment and you can win both,  Dangerous Testimony and Sit, Stay, Love (first in the Harvest House dog series). Print copies to US winners and Kindle copies if our winner is international. Winner announced in the Weekend edition.

 
Dangerous Testimony

LAST WITNESS STANDING 

Four weeks before she's set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband's memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer.




Paws for Love.
The newest release in the Love Unleased series!

The Only Thing Sweet About Jellybean Is His Name

Jellybean the terrier is about to unleash some serious mayhem on the unsuspecting town of Albatross. It's actors, animals, and antics galore when Jellybean gives his own heartwarming performanc
e.

Check out this Youtube video for more on the Love Unleashed series!



Dana Mentink is a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the author of over thirty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

 
Day 13. Write and win prizes! Why not?

163 comments :

  1. Daylight Savings Time has hit most of you! Here it's still the same time..Arizona.

    So my time with my East Coast pals has been reduced again as we go from 2 hour time difference to 3. I hate that.

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    1. I did not know this. Yikes! That means part of the year there will be a 2 hour time difference between me and my kids. Oh well, Brittni was just saying the other day how Daylight Savings time is making Logan cranky, guess the plus side is his sleep pattern won't get messed up.

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    2. I was saying last night, if Arizona gets away with it, then why do the rest of us have to suffer. It always takes me a week to adjust. And the kids! Oy.

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    3. Tina, I feel your pain. I have friends who think it is great that in Arizona we don't change time, but when everyone else does, it is so hard. I remember when my husband and I were dating, I was in California and he was in AZ. He totally blew American Idol for me.

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    4. I'm possibly in the minority because I love Daylight Savings Time. Where I live on the more western end of Central Time Zone, it is light until almost 10:00 in the early summer. I really enjoy that.

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  2. Welcome, Dana. So delighted to have you here. We have the regular fare today. Coffee, tea and donuts and in honor of you-know-who...we have bowls of jellybeans all over the Village.

    As someone who has read both of your series books (suspense and humor), I am amazed at how you do that. But there is humor in your Love Inspired Suspense Seek and Find. So you really do have your cake and eat it too.

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    1. Thank you! Trying to stay away from candy, mostly because I never met a dessert I didn't like and my scale is telling me, "Come back when you're alone!"

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  3. Hi Dana:

    James Patterson, who sells more fiction than anyone, writes all kinds of genres because he can and because his brand is writing fast paced books that keep readers turning pages.

    Your brand does not have to be your genre. In fact, symbiosis may well prove that by producing two genres you are making each better than you could alone. Think crop rotation and teaching time as being in the clove.

    Please place me in the drawing. I trained K9 dogs in the military. How's this for two retired K9s: Chow Hound and Dog Face. Do you have any vets in your three books?

    Great to have you here today. I miss Santa Barbara. Plenty of movie stars there. :o

    Vince

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    1. Vince! How great to hear from you, especially because the next LIS continuity I'm writing is all about military K-9s! Can we be facebook friends or something so I can pester you relentlessly with questions? Er, I mean, touch base with you from time to time?

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    2. That is so cool! Did you train a particular breed of dog?

      Also - it's K9 Veterans Day today! Perfect timing for the subject.

      I met a K9 police group one time (they focused on drugs etc) and they were so nice. One of the guys introduced me to his dog. But it wasn't a German Shepard. If I remember correctly, he elected for a different breed because sometimes German Shepards developed hip problems. And of course his dog was bilingual. ;)

      Here is an interesting article I was reading today: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2013/02/speaking_their_language_police.html

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    3. Was busy with family yesterday so just catching up.

      Once again, Mr Vince makes a really great point. When people find you and look for other things you write, they'll likely notice some similar elements, expanding their vision too and earning you more readers. Love it!

      MM ~ could be Belgian Malinois? They've made a cameo in a May book or two. And that's funny about being bilingual. :) May understands any human language, but dolphin... That's another story. ;)

      How did I miss K9 Veterans Day? ACK! Day late, dollar short again...

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    4. Hi KC & May! It could have been a Belgian Malinois. I've spent quite a bit of time exploring image searches and related breeds on the Internet since reading your suggestion. Thinking back, I remember that his fur was short and also darker in color. I also think he was fairly young. I saw several pics of that breed that could have been the same as I remember. (Here's one: https://www.google.com/search?q=Belgian+Malinois&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiYztjnjd7SAhUFSSYKHahxDmUQ_AUICCgB&biw=975&bih=1174#imgrc=iNVNytJ2QDFWWM:)

      I also found the Dutch Shepherd Dog, which is a pretty dog with a deep fur color. Here's a pic of one https://www.google.com/search?q=Dutch+Shepherd+Dog&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSkoShld7SAhVBYyYKHYk6BTMQ_AUIBigB&biw=975&bih=1174#imgrc=7RH4opX1cMvxjM:

      Happy St. Patrick's Day you two. Remind May to wear green! (Tell her I was on Amazon the other day and saw one of her stories that caught my eye - it's now loaded on my kindle in my 'read soon' stack. The images are stellar.)

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  4. Hi Dana,

    Yes, I'm having a difficult time letting go of my Mom who just passed away on 02/01/17. But I now have the task of going through her things and getting rid of what I can before putting her house up for sale. To have room at our house for what we are keeping, I am having to be brutal in getting rid of stuff at my house and your are right, it is a freeing feeling.

    I would love to be entered into your drawing. I love your books.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. It's numbing to go through all the things. I'm praying for you today.

      Blessings,

      Renee

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    2. I understand.Two months ago today was the memorial service for my Mom. Hugs and prayers.

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    3. That is so very difficult, Cindy. I am very sorry.

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    4. Prayers for you all.
      SO very sorry...

      Thankfully we serve the God of all comfort. He is merciful. Great is His faithfulness.

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  5. Welcome Dana! I absolutely love the cover of PAWS FOR LOVE. I think it's great that you're doing what you love. Who says we need to follow a certain formula? Life certainly doesn't. Thanks for visiting today.

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  6. Welcome, Dana. Dog themed stories? I love it. I also enjoy your LIS stories, so I'd love to be in the drawing.

    Thanks for sharing today! (I also really like your haircut.)

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  7. Welcome, Dana! Thanks for sharing. One day, I hope to be able to balance multiple projects in multiple genres. You give me hope that I can make it happen.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Well if I can do it, so can you! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Hello Dana! I'm a dog lover! Your stories sound fun.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  9. Dana, I'm not sure why you HAVE to choose. I could see it if you were just starting out, but after thirty books you've obviously got this. I like the idea of teaching part-time, you keep your hand in and your professional skills sharp. Do you even have to choose? Probably not yet. If you have a health problem or a loved one gets sick you may need to pare down, but until then do what you're good at as long as you can do it.
    I would love to work in two genres, but want to get established in one first. I usually do historical romance, but for my Speedbo project I'm doing a contemporary romance, which is a nice change for me. Less stuff to explain.
    I would love to do mystery or suspense as my second genre (I don't count the contemporary because really it's all romance). Seems like I always end up with a mystery or suspense element in my stories, but not enough to push it into that genre. I need to work on my plotting skills before I make the leap. Probably not sci-fi or fantasy, I'm not wired that way, but I have at least one YA novel in me.
    A busy day even for a Monday, hope to be back later.
    Speedbo project going okay.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. It's difficult for your sales team to "market you" when your readership knows you as a suspense author and you gallop off down another trail which may not take your audience with you. The writing biz can be a "numbers game" sometimes, so the sales end of it can be tricky with two genres. How cool about your Speebo project! Good for you!

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  10. Hi Dana, I'm happy to read you are doing life your way, as well you should, and the cake's a bonus :)

    Regarding letting go...yes, I've had to learn to let go of what my young idealistic self thought life would be like and accept what it actually is, the old perception vs. reality thing. BUT, I'm still a dreamer, God planted some things in my heart I'll never let go of!

    I've really been enjoying the Pacific Coast Private Eyes series. Whew, that last one about did me in, lol, but I'm ready to see what's in store for Candace and Marco. I've been wondering when Marco would get his own story so yay for that!
    I'd love to be in the Dangerous Testimony drawing along with Sit Stay Love. Thank you and happy Monday everyone!

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    1. Hey, Tracey. Here's to the dreamers! Thanks for the kind words about my LIS series. I loved that Marco fella too!

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  11. Hi, Dana! I could not imagine doing all those things. Something would be forgotten lol. All your different writings sound like fun. Can't wait to check out some of your books! Love the suspense ones. My speedbo project is something different than what I usually write, however.

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    1. Oh believe me, Sally. Plenty of things get forgotten in my world! Good luck with Speedbo!

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  12. Dana, I am a lot like you, except not published yet. I am still getting my feet wet. I love reading a variety of genre and I love writing a variety of genre.

    I to was a teacher. There are things I miss about teaching in a school setting. I still teach at church and have been teaching children for 49 years. I have always thought out of my box as a teacher to find ways to make learning fun and to help the kids learn what they need.

    My problem is I have a hard thing saying no to myself but it might come soon. I have just created three separate newsletters for the kids at church. They love them and include a story I have written. In addition I am currently reading over 50 books because I get a new book and I have to start reading right away it can't go onto a to be read pile. Then to my writing I have over 10 projects in various stages of the writing process and different genre.

    Would you guess that I have ADHD and I love the creativeness of being this way.

    Oh and I am also creating creative lesson plans for the 4 year old class I teach and now for the five year old class at church because the other teacher was struggling. My days are never boring just not enough hours.

    Actually with my chronic health issues these projects all help me have something to live for and enjoy in life. The Lord is good.

    By the way my speedbo count so far is 16,227 spread out over the various writing projects.

    Dana, I have some of your LI books and love them. Your new series with the dogs sounds great to,

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    1. Fantastic Speedbo count, Walani! I'm envious.

      ~ Renee

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    2. Wow, Wilani! You make me look like a slacker! God bless!

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    3. WTG on your word count, Wilani! And thank you for teaching. It's such a blessing!

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  13. Thanks Dana - I once had a job I couldn't seem to leave. When I finally did - oh wow! Wonderful! And now I have a way better job! I'm doing ok in Speedbo but this past weekend my word count went on an entirely new project instead of my WIP. I loved it. Wonder if I should leave that WIP behind, at least for now.

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    1. It's so hard when you get that new inspiration while writing on another idea, isn't it? Good luck with Speedbo, Cindy!

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  14. I just saw on Emily Rodmell's facebook page that she is holding a Q&A on her facebook post. "If you have any questions about writing for Love Inspired or Harlequin. Or want to run a blurb by me to see if it catches my eye, feel free to do so in the comments. I'll answer anything that's posted today or tomorrow (March 13-14)"

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  15. Good morning, Dana! Writing two genres seems to be going around. I haven't submitted my historicals yet--only to contests. But I plan on it, after I get established with my contemporaries.

    Thanks for sharing today. I'd love to be included in the drawing.

    ~ Renee

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    1. Good for you, Renee! Thanks for the comment!

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  16. Good morning, Dana! Writing two genres seems to be going around. I haven't submitted my historicals yet--only to contests. But I plan on it, after I get established with my contemporaries.

    Thanks for sharing today. I'd love to be included in the drawing.

    ~ Renee

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  17. Morning Dana,

    I admire those writers who work 2 jobs like you AND have children. That takes some serious commitment and time management. You definitely do like to add things to your life. Way back when (before I decided to try my hand at writing), I decided to leave my job as a manufacturing engineer. My boys were just little guys and I wanted to be home with them. Fortunately, I worked for a huge company that allowed me to take a 2 year leave of absence. By the time the 2 years were up, I was expecting baby #3 and my husband and I realized we could manage just fine on his income. So, yes, I had to give up something, but the company allowed me to give it a test run first, so the leap wasn't scary at all. (But now that 2 of the kids are in college, I'm second guessing giving up that engineering salary! :)) Anyway...

    Eventually, I transition to writing. Speaking of which, I've stayed on track with Speedbo. My goal is 3 hours per day, 6 days a week. A few times I almost petered out, but kept going because I committed to Speedbo. So, yay for motivation.

    Congrats on your many books, Dana. I say, "do it all." I love humor in books, too.

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    1. Hi Alison! Creating a goal set in # of hours is a good idea.

      It's awesome to hear stories like your. You enjoyed that time you invested into your kids, and no matter how zany things may get with multiple kids in college at the same time, God will provide...God will bless you and your husband's sacrifices. :) <3 This is coming from a gal who had parents who did the same. :)

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    2. I've got two starting college and we feel the impact of my decision to teach part time and stay home with them. My hubby always says the time spent with the bear cubs was worth more than any salary. Good luck with Speedbo!

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    3. Thanks, Megs and Dana. My husband and I are both in agreement, too. We have been happy with our decision even if it means less money in the bank. :)

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  18. Great to have you with us today, Dana! You've reminded me of some things I won't let go of, not even for a writing career:

    1. sleep
    2. evenings chilling out with Project Guy and our favorite TV shows
    3. weekends
    4. family events

    I'm also (sort of) a 2-genre writer. In the past few years I've alternated between longer historicals and shorter contemporary romances. Well, if you include a couple of women's fiction books, I guess that adds up to 3 genres. And I love them all, for various reasons.

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    1. That's a lot of writing, Myra! Good for you!

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  19. Wow! Dana, you ARE a busy woman. I admire your work ethic and your ability to multitask so well (and still maintain a sense of humor about it all). :-)

    The main thing I've let go of during my writing journey is the guilt I used to have when I stepped away from my computer to relax. R&R is so important if we're to be productive. (Of course, there are still busy seasons, but I do a much better job of self-care these days.)

    Thanks for being here today!

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    1. That's very wise to let go of that guilt, Cynthia. Thanks for the comment!

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  20. Dana, what a fun post! Third grade as my absolute favorite grade to teach in the years that I taught. They're fun, aren't they?

    As for what I've had to let go....lots of things. But I've found God has a way of replacing those things I let go of with something even better. The hardest thing on this writing journey to let go of has been my timeline of when I would meet certain mile markers. God is teaching me that His timing is always, always best. I'm learning to trust Him more quickly when His timing turns out to be different from mine.

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    1. Wise words, Jeanne. Nice to hear from a fellow teacher!

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  21. Thank you for a fun post, Dana! You're an inspiration!

    Like Jeanne, I've had to let go of lots of things. But right now I'm into voluntarily letting go of lots of things for my "Great Clutter Purge of 2017" ... sounds good... but it has slowed for March's Speedbo :)

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Oooh! I need to do a Great Clutter Purge too, Phyllis! Hugs!

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  22. DANA, welcome to Seekerville! I'm awed by your 8-day workload and impressed by all you're accomplishing with your stories and with teaching third graders and with taking care of your family!

    Your dog stories sound precious and hilarious. Congratulations on all the LIS books you've written. I'd say your "have and eat your cake" motto is working great!

    Like you, I don't subtract well. Adding is so much more fun. But I've got to remember to get my priorities straight.

    Janet

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    1. I hear you on the priorities thing. My bear cubs are teens now but it's amazing how many times they need their mom in the course of a given day. That always goes to the top of the priority list. Thanks for the comment!

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  23. Dana, congrats on your wins and your accomplishments. Maybe due to caring for siblings beginning at age ten, classroom teaching didn't appeal to me as an adult. Letting go, yes. I succumbed to those siblings and agreed to let our small farm go. Any time I see a native Nebraska pasture, my stomach twinges with loss. The Lord immediately brings heaven to mind and I dream of the green pastures I'll see there.

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    1. I have a penpal in Nebraska and he just sent me a photo of a gorgeous sunrise there. That must have been difficult to let go of your farm. Hugs, sister!

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  24. I can identify with your point so much. I’ve always had so many interests in my life, that I’ve become accustom to juggling different things. The idea of giving up one of my interests just because having so many is not the done thing has never floated well.

    So, now, for me, spending time with the Lord and seeking His direction keeps me on track, not spinning my wheels on distractions, and helps me place the goals and desires He’s planted in my heart in a successful order. Taking those goals and using thought-out time management is making for a fun 2017!

    I would like to be entered into the book drawing! My TBR list is kinda long, but I’m slowly reading through it. :) They had a sale this weekend too and I finished up my Christmas gift card money! I have an extremely happy kindle right now! ;)

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    1. Good for you, Megs. Glad you are God grounded in your goals and that your Kindle is full! Hugs!

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  25. I have a jam-packed day today, but it’s going to be good! The snow we got yesterday has already melted away and the birds are singing. All my flowers look happy. :)

    Speedbo Update: Last week I wrote about 7,000 words on my non-fiction project. I also spent some time researching and thinking about my fiction project. And I reassessed my website and my writing process for my site reviews…I’ve had a few creative ideas I’m going to investigate over the next few weeks. :)

    This week, I’m staying the Speedbo-goal course of a 1k words min. a day. I want to decide on a fiction plot and go with it. And I want to continue working on some ideas for my site.

    Happy sailing!

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    1. Yea for spring! Good luck on the Speedbo!

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  26. I love this. So good to see someone who can juggle all of those interests and do it well. If your heart is telling you to write a certain kind of book, shouldn't just write it anyway? Maybe that is what God has placed on your heart. As for letting go of things, I am so bad about pouring myself into everyone else and neglecting the things I most want for me. Working on that. As a dog lover who is currently dogless, the books look like a lot of fun.

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    1. Hi, Linda. I understand what you mean about pouring yourself out for others. You've blessed so many, I'm sure. It's okay to explore the gifts God gave you for yourself too. Dogless? Interested in a naughty terrier? Just kidding. We love our Junie!

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  27. I'm all for eating cake. :) And being true to oneself and their interests.

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  28. WHOA, DANA ... I'm trying to figure out how you can eat all that cake and not show it!!!

    Seriously, your schedule sounds a bit like Ruthy's, so I would say both of you possess a gift that most people don't. At least not this author!

    You said: "Now I'm a part-time teacher (two days a week) and a part-time writer (six days a week) which doesn't add up, even with Common Core math!"

    LOL ... your sense of humor is ADORABLE, and so are the covers for your pup series!

    YOU ASKED: "Did you ever have trouble letting go of something? Did you have regrets about it afterward or was it an amazing, freeing experience?"

    I did have a wee bit of trouble letting go of the O'Connor family in my Irish family-saga door-stopper historical novels for The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series, so on the sixth and final book, I wrote a mom/dad prequel love story that brought the series full circle for me, which was fun.

    I let the O'Connors go to start a new family saga per my husband's request -- The Heart of San Fran Series -- which he convinced me should be shorter, less complicated, not as many subplots, not as spiritual, and funnier. I did enjoy it, but to be honest I missed my original style of writing (my heart style of deep spirituality).

    So I switched hats again to the contemporary genre, but returned to my roots of deep and dramatic for a new family saga, which has been a total blessing.

    So, yes, I had trouble "letting go" of my heart style of writing, but it was good to see that I could deviate if necessary and it pleased my husband too. :) And it convinced me that I am what I am when it comes to writing, and I have to be true to myself and God first, which is where I am now and happily so. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Those are wise words, Julie! I will have to look up that Heart of San Fran series because we're so close, being here in the Bay Area.

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  29. Hi, Dana. I was excited when I read the weekend edition and found you'd be here today! Thanks for sharing some of your delightful journey with us.

    Letting Go by choice is often an adventure, but Letting Go when something/someone is unexpectedly torn from you is a terrible loss--much more difficult to reconcile! I've experienced both...

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing...LOVE your suspense books! Those puppies look adorable...would love to read about their escapades!

    Happy Monday to all!!

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    1. Hey, Kathryn! Glad to "see" you here! You know, I've had to let go of some dreams and expectations regarding my children. It sure has hurt, and still does, but I know God made them to find their own dreams to follow. God continues to teach me (and reteach me) on a daily basis! I am not one of those "accelerated" learners! Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Love your post, Dana! I write fiction (several genres) including short stories and poetry, as well as nonfiction. I also coach, do BSF Bible study, genealogy and craft--not necessarily in that order and not all on the same day. I figure what I don't truly love will fall by the wayside -- like those Mod Podged ceramic coasters that have been on my dining room table for five months. They need one more coat! :) Creative people have multiple interests so multiple genres only makes sense. Let's eat cake!
    I'd love to win your books.

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    1. You sound like my kind of gal, Jessica! I would love to see those ceramic roosters!!!! Thanks for stopping in!

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  31. Welcome, Dana! Loved your post and am in awe of how much you accomplish! (except now I'm really, really hungry for a nice slice of cake...)
    Had to chuckle at your Common Core comments. And SO happy to know you all are still teaching cursive - Yay! Teaching was my love too, and I taught for 21 years (first grade and kindergarten). Even though I've always loved writing, I'd figured it was on hold until I retired. Well...due to major back pain/severe spinal issues (resulting in 4 surgeries back-to-back, no pun intended) my teaching career had to end abruptly. A BIG void in my life - - but I realized the Lord had opened the door for me to write full-time! Although I do miss the little kiddos (try to visit friends' classrooms now and then to read and get my "kid fix") I am LOVING having time to write a lot. :)
    Congratulations on your writing success and also on being a teacher - - I admire you a lot! :)
    I know you like cake, but hope you'll enjoy a peach cobbler I just baked--warm from the oven. ;)
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

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    1. Hey, Patti Jo! Hugs for another teacher! Ironically, I started in the writing gig when I left my teaching job to have the bear cubs, and landed in a heap of post partum depression. Writing was kind of a ladder back to my life, if you will. I hope you have found healing with your back. Papa Bear suffers with his back and that's no picnic, for sure. PEACH COBBLER? I'll be RIGHT over!!!!! :)

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  32. Look at this, we're still having breakfast in Arizona and you guys are on to lunch. Wowza. So I brought dog biscuits (for the dogs) and fruit for the peoples for the afternoon.

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    1. Hooray! My Junie will happily eat the fruit and the dog snacks!

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  33. Tell us more about the K9 series. Is this a continuity series with how many authors??

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    1. Yep, it's a continuity with six other authors and I believe this time there's a related novella attached to the deal, too. My character is Ethan Webb, an MP and his canine is Keeper who is much better behaved than my own pooch!

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  34. Hi Dana, I absolutely loved your PI series and am in awe of how you can bounce between two genres like that - in fact, I'm in awe of anyone who can do it. I couldn't write humour to save my life - and I don't even want to know what that says about me! Lol, we lost an hour sleep Sunday and I know we won't recover for a week at least. I hate changing times and enjoyed our time in Saskatchewan where they just stay put. It's a good thing this month is Speedbo! I'd love to go in your drawing for either book and *if* my number comes up I'm happy to take an ebook to save you shipping to the Great White North. And who doesn't love cake? :)

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    1. Hi, Laurie. Thanks for the kind words. You know, I adore writing humor but it's harder than the serious stuff because humor is SO very subjective. Mostly I write what I find hilarious and hope others do as well. :)

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  35. P.S. I also want to know about the K-9 series because I'm really enjoying the "Classified K-9's" FBI series right now. Military K-9's have a special place in my heart!

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    1. Awww, thanks for saying that. Our K-9 continuity will focus on military dogs and their trainers as they hunt for a serial killer!

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  36. Dana, you know already I love your books (and not just the ones with the irresistible pups on the cover!), but I also love this fun post! I believe by all means you should have your cake and eat every single bite, too.

    I'm looking forward to your upcoming releases.
    (Please don't enter me for the giveaway.)

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    1. Hi Kate, thanks for being with us in Seekerville today. We agree...Dana's stories are wonderful!

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  37. Dana, I am one of your fans who is glad that you are able to juggle the things that you love. I think a being teacher is one of the most noble professions and authors are right there with them. When I considered retiring from my work as a public librarian I was all over the place. I was still reasonably young, I still had the motivation to keep up with the ever changing technology and I still had my over powering love of books and reading. And yet, I thought it might be time. I filed my retirement papers in early October with plans to make Dec
    31 as my last day. In mid November I was stunned that I was about to become a first time grandmother. All of a sudden it was apparent that Yes, this was the path I should take. Now, I enjoy my three year old granddaughter and I still read and review books. I even get to be an Influencer for a few authors!
    Thanks for your excellent post and giveaway!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Well congrats on your sweet grandaughter, Connie! I have a special place in my heart for librarians because my sister is a children's librarian here in California.

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  38. Dana, I admire your energy! Anyone who deals with third graders must have an abundance. :) I know you must also be very organized to accomplish all you do.

    I think it's wonderful that you can do all the things you love. This writing gig offers a lot of variety!

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    1. This is why I don't write on Thursday or Friday, because those are my teaching days and there's NO ENERGY LEFT in the tank on those days!

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  39. I suppose something I have had to give up are certain dreams for my future. I want to live a life full of adventure like the books I write, but I know that if I'm doing that I won't actually be able to write.

    So I've given up my dreams of being an actress (it was a dumb dream anyway) an investigative journalist, a police detective, a private investigator (proof that I have read too many suspense novels).

    Who knows? Maybe I'll end up like Richard Castle and be a writer AND someone who helps solve murder mysteries.

    By the way the dog on your cover Paws for Love (Jellybean is it?) is just TOO CUTE.

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    1. You have exciting dreams, my friend. Maybe some of them will come true in ways you didn't expect!

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  40. I gave up on a career, which wasn't hard in itself but it left me feeling like a failure for a long time. That was around the time I started writing, and now I'm happy I'm not stuck in the rat race of working every waking minute to feel like I was doing a good job. Sounds like that's one difference between us. I do better focusing deeply on one thing rather than dividing my time. I admire people who can do that kind of thing, but I also recognize God made me this way and it has some benefits. Like you, I also dabble in different genres. The common thread would be that there has to be some element of romance. The first story I wrote was a fantasy. I've started a Sci-fi and I have a dystopian I'm hoping to get to after I finish revisions on my current WIP, which is sort of a romantic suspense. I'd love be entered in the drawing. Thanks for the post :-)

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    1. I think it's a gift to think deeply about one thing at a time. I don't have that special gift because I have attention deficit problems. Sci-fi and dystopians are two fascinating genres!

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    2. I can see the benefits of both personalities. My mom is a great multi-tasker. But just give me a quiet room and a computer and I could probably spend the entire day working on a single project :-)

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  41. I'm big on the whole genre hopping thing. The thing about the YA genre is that you can basically write anything whether it is time travel, dystopian, fantasy and it's still YA. But I don't stick with just one thing in those categories like other YA authors (though I know some who try all sorts different sub-genres in the main YA genre)

    I don't think I could stick with just one thing in the YA genre. I'm far too imaginative to limit myself in such a way. I've got books I want to write which are super hero stories, high fantasies, urban fantasies, stories about multiple worlds, dystopians...

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    1. The world needs more excellent YA novels!

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  42. Hi Dana and welcome to Seekerville with such a fun post. Wow you are one blessed woman to be able to do all of those things. You and Ruthy must be related. ha ha Anyway I love the premise of your puppy series. Love dogs, so those would be fun.
    I can relate to writing in different genres. But honestly, I was a full time teacher and just couldn't do both at the same time I could when I was younger. But God worked it all out. I was glad I finished my teaching because it gave me a terrific retirement plan. And now I can write.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us here in Seekerville. Have a fun day.

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    1. If you're speaking about the fabulous Ruth Logan Herne, she was my first editor WAY back in the day when I published with White Rose. Remember that, Ruth?

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  43. Dear Dana, how do you get some much done? I'm in awe!

    Congrats on your many books and awards. Loved your blog post. You had me smiling and wishing I could be a student in your class. I know they love you to pieces!!!

    I don't give things up well...

    Not even in Lent! :)

    Hus!

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    1. Hey, Debby! I hear you about Lent. This year I decided to start something instead of give something up, so I am going on a walk every night after dinner. I have to say, "I'm going for donuts!" when I let the family know so my dog doesn't hear the word "walk." Crazy, no? Trust me, she gets plenty of walks during the day!

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    2. Too funny about the donuts! I hope you put that in one of your doggie stories! :)

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  44. Dana, I love this post and your sweet book covers! I have struggled when I left a particular ministry or when I left my job as a high school librarian to write. It is hard to give things up even when you feel God is leading you elsewhere. Not sure I'll write in a different genre, but who knows what's next :)
    Blessings

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    1. For sure, Janet. God bless you for being a high school librarian! That's no easy job!

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    2. I enjoyed it. I may not have made it in the classroom, ha!

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  45. Great post, Dana!

    I'm finding making the decision to give up my reading time to devote to my writing time tough. I've proofread a couple of books for my author friends, and sometimes think that's where I ought to be instead of trying to bust my brain pounding out a story of my own.

    I love LIS and would like to be entered in your giveaway. Just received my winner's copy of Keli Gwyn's book, Her Motherhood Wish, and after drooling over the cover, put it on the top of my TBR pile! Thanks, Keli!

    I'm sad to say my weekend writing didn't happen. Hopefully, this week I can play catch-up.

    Amazed at your ability to multi-task...I'm retired and still can't find time to write without putting the Do Not Disturb sign on my "writing room" door. Bowing to you in admiration.

    Marcia

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    1. That's the great thing about writing, Marcia...it's always there waiting for you when you return! I don't actually have a door. I'm kinda like Les Nessman from WKRP. I have a folding screen that I try to convince everyone is a door to my office. So far, no one is fooled!

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  46. DANA, grinning at your code words for a walk. I'd really want to get the donuts. :-) We writers need to exercise. I'm trying to lift light handheld weights three times a week and take a walk five times a week. I've got a Fitbit, which makes me very aware of how little I move around unless I plan for it.

    You sound like a very organized person with a lot of willpower. Care to share any tips?

    Janet

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    1. Oh for sure. Writing is a sedentary business, unfortunately. I don't have. Fit bit because it would give me a guilt complex. I do have a dog, who also gives me a guilt complex so I guess it evens out!

      Tips? Set yourself a word goal and if you want writing to be your business, treat it like one. If you ran a shoe store, you wouldn't show up only when you felt like it, right? That's my two cents anyway. That and surround yourself with super awesome people who forgive you when you are lost in la la land as I am most of the time!

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  47. Dana I absolute loved reading your post. You had me giggling when I wasn't just simply in awe of you.

    I have recently made a career decision that I hope and pray will impact my writing time in a positive way. I am still at my job, I am just doing a few new things and not doing other things. Long story short, I think it is God's will and look forward to what comes.

    I would love a chance to win as well please. I'm also going to have to look for your cozies from Barbour (I used to love that line). Titles please.

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    1. Okay I had to run back. It has been quite a while since I have read them, but I just realized I had read your Finny's Nose books. AWESOMENESS!

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    2. I wish you well with your decision, Kelly! Oh wow. My cozies with Barbour were my very first pubbed books! A blast from the past! Trouble Up Finny's Nose was the first of that series.

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  48. You are my kindred spirit. Giving up responsibilities? What's that?

    Personally, I think it's kind of sad to have to force yourself into one genre if you really want to write beyond. While I mainly do action adventure, I have at times done historical/paranormal and science fiction... My imagination knows no bounds, so why should my writing?

    Both your genres look really interesting!

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    1. Thanks, Boo. My problem is keeping my imagination from intruding when I'm supposed to be acting like a grown up. We just finished writing a leprechaun story with my third graders when I should surely have been doing essays with them. But how can one resist the urge to write about naughty leprechauns and shamrocks, I ask you?

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  49. And have you ever heard of novels of multiple genres? They're called smash novels or something. My books seem to keep becoming those. It's like having your cake and eating it, and eating cupcakes too.

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  50. Hi Dana.
    I get a monthly (is it that often?) advertisement from Love Inspired and I always check it to see the featured books (looking for my Seeker buddies) You are there this month. A nice big full color flyer with your cover and three others.
    Nice promo!

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    1. Well how nice! Thanks for mentioning it, Mary. BTW, I love hearing about your bovine adventures on Twitter!

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    2. Me and cows. Who'd've thought we'd make such a great match. :)

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  51. Hello DANA.
    I love that you aren't willing to put things you love aside. I welcome humor in suspense. Sometimes I just need a break from the tension right before the next big scene.

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    1. I really feel like the gift of laughter can get us through a lot of trials, don't you think so? Thanks for the comment, Connie!

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  52. Dana!!!!

    I have loved this woman's writing from our "Pi" days together.... and her talent just continues to grow.

    I love seeing you here, I'm in catch up mode after 5 days of no Internet or cable and 3 days without power... and I don't want to tell you (17 one day) how many children were here because their parents had to work and school was closed and folks didn't have power... and we have a woodburning stove and a gas stove, so there was food.... story telling.... stovetop cooking and lanterns!

    I have to read the dog books, I keep meaning to get them, so now I will because I love dogs. Libby and Jeter are my best buds!!! A poodle and a doodle and so funny.... #mustlovedogs!!!!

    And I love writing in multiple genres, dipping my toes into historicals and westerns and category and there might be a fun kids' series in a year or so...

    I LOVE CHANGING THINGS UP!!!! :)

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  53. Your life is an adventure, Ruth! So good to "cyber" talk to you again. Hugs!

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    1. I love adventures... and I've loved your work for years, so this is a wonderful day... Dana in Seekerville!!!! :)

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  54. Thanks for this fun post, Dana. I'm in awe of all you accomplish. I think it's great you write both kinds of books.

    I am a substitute teacher and I would love it if I could give that up for full time work on writing. Just writing my first book now. Anyway, I would love to be entered in the drawing for your books.

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  55. I for one am happy that you like to have your cake and eat it too. :-) Love both the suspense and the puppy comedies. I love reading multiple genres so when I find an author who writes in different styles I get so excited. However you manage to juggle it all, it seems to be working for you and those you serve both in the classroom and your reading fans.

    I had to give up working in a school library a couple of years ago due to health problems. And that was really hard. I just couldn't let go so I kept in the email loops and fed on the library gossip and made myself utterly miserable. So my advice about letting go is when you reach that point make sure you actual do let go. LOL I'm on permanent disability now and as hard as that was to face up to, it was a relief too.

    No need to enter me in the draw because I have both books. Dangerous Testimony is on the top of my TBR pile right now. Woot.

    P.S. How can you tell if a turtle is chubby?

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    1. Hi, Kav. That is good advice. Someday I would like to write full time, but I just dread giving up my teaching job. Please see my later reply regarding mean veterinary remarks about the aforementioned chubby box turtle. :)

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  56. P.S. How can you tell if a turtle is chubby?

    LOLOLOL. Yeah, I want to know too.

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    1. I googled your set up line to find the punch line Tina. All I got was some very serious discussion of turtle health.

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    2. That wasn't a set up. I was copying someone else's comment. LOLOLOL.

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    3. From Dana's bio: Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

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    4. Well I will tell you Tina, that I was highly offended when the vet told me Boydie was chubby and I should put her on a diet with less blueberries and snails and more weeds. Have you ever tried to get a turtle to eat weeds? I mean to say!

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    5. Yes, it was. Boydie's still tries to suck it in every time we have to see the vet. She really needs a little reptilian girdle!

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    6. Bwahahahaha!!!!!!! What does that vet know. I mean, really, who decided what the ideal weight for turtles is? Sheeesh. And what about your garden? All snail-infested because Boydie's been put on a dubious diet. Bah!

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  57. Dana, in the words of my cat "You've been a pawsome guest." Some of our Villagers are heading to dinner and with the time change some are heading for a nap. I don't want to miss a chance to say thank you. I will be back with "weeds" for our evening crew. God forbid I bring blueberries and snails. hahahaha

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    1. I have had a lovely time. Thank you kindly for having me.

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  58. And Speedboers! This is the place to check in on your daily count if you like. DAY 13 and still going strong. WOOOT!!!!

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    1. No word count for me today. I had to work on a speaking engagement for tomorrow! I guess I can't count the 3 page speech. ;)

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  59. What a fun person you must be! I enjoyed reading your inspirational article today. I can relate to your busy life. I just wish I had your productivity. I'm turtling my way through Speedbo...but that's what works for me so that's ok. I just got through a day of teaching, an after school meeting, and watching a live stream of our school board meeting (with major school changes looming. ) Now it's time to write so I can keep making my Speedbo goal. Refocus brain, it's time to change gears, and yes, please throw my name in for your books. They sound great!

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    1. I can relate, Bettie. There's always some meeting or change afoot in this teaching biz! Thanks for taking the time to comment. God bless!

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  60. Hi Dana,
    You hooked me at Return to Pelican Inn. I took that book to an outdoor concert and people stared at me because I laughed out loud. I thrive on too many projects going at once. And I have been targeting three genres with the intention of sticking with one when one of them sticks. Thanks for the post!

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    1. How nice! I am glad you liked Pelican Inn. Good luck with your multiple projects!

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  61. Hi Dana! I'm late but here! Sit, Stay, Love was a great story and so was Abducted! When I felt the call to write growing more intense, I had to give up leading a very large women's Bible Study. It was so hard but I knew it needed to happen.

    Sorry for the late reply.

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Sharee. Best of luck with your writing.

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  62. Oh Dana, the Love Unleashed series sounds right up my alley. I will definitely put it on my 'to buy' list. Such a fun premise!

    I almost think you wrote this post just for me, as I'm facing a decision about whether to return to something I absolutely love in addition to continuing to write (which I also love).

    It occurs to me, though, that our participation in one thing broadens our outlook, interests, experiences, etc. that may well impact the other thing.

    Hmm. Must think on this :-)

    Thanks for the post!

    Nancy C

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    1. It's so hard to choose between two things you love, isn't it? Thanks for the post and best of luck with your decision.

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  63. Always late to read the post.

    Given that your genres are so different, did you consider using a different name for one series?

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    1. Yes, I did consider a penname Walt, but my second publisher wanted to bring over some of my readership, so we decided to use my real name. Thanks for asking!

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  64. Dana, I'm in your same boat, except I teach 4th grade and do it 5 days a week. Then I have tutoring after school for children with learning disabilities. Then, sometime before I fall asleep over the keyboard is LIS time.

    The happy writer part of me would love to do that full time, but my teaching is a vocation. So for the time being, the bulk of writing is done on vacations and during the summer.

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    1. Well God bless you, Cate! I understand the teaching as a vocation thing. I just cannot seem to leave it, no matter how much I want to write full time! Thanks for the post.

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  65. Oh Dana! You are singing my song sister! I am a first grade teacher and I can't imagine ever leaving the classroom. But I do find it hard to juggle my real life with my imaginary writing life. I often will put the writing aside to devote more time to my classroom and the demand it has on my time and energy and thoughts. I am trying to tie my life as a teacher into my writing by having my first series being based on teachers. But I am struggling to get even the first one done.

    I have had many things that have been hard to let go of, especially relationships. There have been times when God has had to get me out of them because I didn't have the strength to do it on my own and I am grateful for His intervention. Although at the time it was painful, hindsight has shown me it was His infinite love that brought me out of what could have been a disaster.

    Thank you for your words! I will "press on".

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    1. I know first hand how emotionally/physically draining teaching can be. Even just a wee small time spent on writing (a paragraph a day/a page a week) can get you to that finished novel stage. Press on, sister, in your writing and with your precious kiddos!

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  66. Well, Dana, I have trouble with lots of stuff. Tonight I am tidying my kitchen, deciding which cookbooks to keep. It's easier to let go as we progress. So far, 23 cookbooks will be leaving for new homes.

    I found a gem: Bride's Cookbook from 1954. That is on the maybe shelf.

    Back to writing tomorrow.
    Laura

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    1. Wondering if I started my sort/purge in the kitchen today because of your cake-themed post!

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    2. I have a thing for cookbooks too, but nothing so cool as your Bride's Cookbook!

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  67. I can so relate. Although I hope to give up my part-time job in the future. I relate to writing in more than one genre. The rules say you can't but rule-breakers do it all the time. I'd love to have my cake and eat it to. Put my name in the hat.

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    1. As they say, the bee is aerodynamically unsuited to flying, but he only does it because he doesn't know he can't! Let's eat cake, I say!

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  68. I really enjoyed this post. I'm a want all the frosting type of person. I'm not published yet, but I figure I will be writing in more than one genre since my interests are varied enough.

    I would love to be in the draw for your books. I like being introduced to new authors here.

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    1. Super, Deb! We shall eat frosting together!

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  69. Dana!

    Be still my beating heart!
    Why have we not met? NC isn't THAT far away!

    Love love love the Love Unleashed series idea. Looking forward to reading, whether a book comes my way in the drawing or not. ;)

    Thank you for making a point to teach the 3rd graders what you do. It's so important to train up a child in the way he should go... What a blessing!

    Sounds like May and Jellybean would surely get into mischief, doesn't it? Dogs. /sigh/ The best! (And box turtles, though must say, I don't know one personally.)

    Thank you for sharing today. The thought has crossed my mind to try a different genre now that we have 4 May books but I don't know. We'll see where God leads.

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  70. I hope we can meet sometime, May! Glad you enjoyed the series. Thanks for popping in and best of luck with your May books and others!

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  71. Dana, you may not realize this, but you have many kindred spirits in this world! And I am one of them. Completely love, love, love all things related to dogs. And love lighthearted romances. And, of course, inspirational genres. You gave me a flicker of hope and your book covers made me grin! I will be placing a book order pronto! I just passed 80% in my WIP, thanks to Speedbo's energetic venue. Blessings and hugs to you. And many thanks, too.

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  72. I write in two genres or is it three - mysteries, SF, alternative history. But maybe the SF and alternative are both speculative fiction and both have mysteries at their heart, although in different time frames.

    I hate letting go of anything, but I find that declining health makes that inevitable sometimes.

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  73. I enjoyed your post. I had to give up coaching a FLL team this year. There was not enough time with home education, a SN son, and a working. It was so hard, but I knew it was time. God made it clear. I still miss it, but know it was right to do.
    Becky B

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  74. What a fun - and encouraging - post, Dana. I, too, write in two genres and teach, but at the local college. Kudos to you. Love your LIS books!

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