The Inheritance – Prologue

The Inheritance

I want to share the prologue to my novel, The Inheritance. If interested, it can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Old Firehouse Books.

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The stars shone brilliantly above, sparkling through the moon roof of the Mercedes, the countryside speeding by as the car hugged the road’s twists and curves neatly and tightly. The benefit event Victor and Vivian had attended, and hosted, had been a huge success, and they were both reflecting upon the amount of money they had raised for the cause of feeding the poor.  A cause they both cherished and held near to their hearts.  The outpouring of kindness from the hearts of so many strangers wanting to give to something other than their own bank account had astonished them.

Victor’s mind traveled to his beloved wife of 36 years.  The way she gracefully made her way through the crowd of those eager to get their chance to speak with her.  The way she so eloquently spoke at the podium, moving the hearts of everyone in the room as she spoke from her heart, creating a visual for them of her trips to third world countries to work with so many children living in such devastating poverty.

He had never seen her look more beautiful than she had that night in her simple black dress that fit her curves so perfectly, her shining black hair cut to a length just below her chin, shining radiantly in a halo of soft hues beneath the overhead lights that had been dimmed to create the perfect ambiance.

Vivian had been the love of his life since high school, and when she finally agreed to go to a movie with him in their junior year, it was based on the condition that her best friend and beau could go with them.  He had agreed, happy to have any opportunity to spend time with her.  He recalled how nervous he had been on his way to pick her up, the movie and dinner he had been saving for in anticipation of this event a distant thought.

His thoughts traveled to how far they had come from that day.  The journey their love had taken.  The private practice that had netted him more money than was even fair for one person to earn, Vivian’s love for art and her pieces she was able to sell for a handsome amount, their travels to other countries, visiting those so much less fortunate than they, placing into perspective what life is really about.  An experience that changed the entire way they lived their own lives.  They had managed to put away a considerable amount of money for each of their three children, but it was there that his thoughts became more clouded.  Stormy clouds after the brilliant sunshine.

Vivian studied the lines of her husband’s handsome face, noticed his furrowed brow, the seriousness, almost sadness that seemed to settle there.  She suspected he was thinking of their children and her heart ached for him.  She knew Victor assumed it as his personal failure that their children had become so estranged from them, from each other, and from God, each so lost in life, on a road that would surely carry them through so much heartache.

She placed a warm hand on his leg, simple, yet solid, assurance they were in this thing called life together.  Though it looked more like a deep valley than a mountaintop at times, especially lately, they were still in it together.  Good times and in bad.  Sickness and in health.  They had weathered a lot of storms throughout the years, and this is one they would survive as well.  As long as they had each other.

It was at that moment that Vivian and Victor looked at each other.  And it was at that moment Victor saw Vivian smile warmly at him and look forward, the headlights from an oncoming car illuminating her face.  He didn’t see the car itself that came careening around the corner, taking that corner entirely too fast.  Too fast to be able to stop.  What he did see was the look of surprise on Vivian’s face as she looked ahead, saw her reach for the dashboard in front of her, and as if in slow motion, turned his head to see the oncoming car right before it crashed into his.  The sound was deafening, metal on metal, screeching, sliding, Vivian’s screams and the feel of her hand grabbing his arm in panic, then a pain beyond anything he had ever known as his life broke into a million pieces realizing what was happening.  And just like that, there was nothing.  Nothing but silence in the dead of night.  The ink black that covered the night sky was now overtaking his mind and body, as he drifted away toward the most penetrating, whitest light he had ever imagined.  Something so beautiful it couldn’t possibly be real.  And he couldn’t possibly resist it.  Especially when he saw his beloved Vivian standing there, holding out her hand, beckoning gently, for him to join her.

 

 

My Workspace Blog Hop

Or as my friend Rachel Carrera calls it “The Monkey Wrench in the Works.” 🙂 Rachel is also the one who tagged me for this blog hop, the purpose of it being to showcase our workspace, that special place we create and find the joy in writing, and to touch on our process a bit. If you haven’t visited Rachel’s blog you’re missing out on a whole lot. She’s one of the most fun, energetic, real people I know in the blogoverse. Hop on over to visit her. I promise you won’t regret it! 🙂

On with the tour of my “sanctuary” that doubles as my office…

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My humble little desk surrounded by my necessities–laptop (yup, I’m a laptop girl because I take it everywhere) and my things that motivate my creative spark and life in general–paintings of scenes from a lake as well as a tiny canoe made from birch bark, my lamp shade reminding me to “live, laugh, and love,” a cross reminding me of the utmost important aspect of life, and pictures of my kids when they were younger. There’s even a little of my stained glass obsession there. My printed manuscript is to the left of my computer, a current work in progress.

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All my files are right by my side within reach, my planner–which I use loosely, as life is always changing the plans I have written down, but that’s okay with me. Life is for living and going with the flow. Without flexibility we’re bound to miss out on a lot of opportunities.

The notebook with the typewriter on it contains anything and everything about the cozy mystery series I’m working on. It goes everywhere I do because new ideas for the series, new character ideas, plot ideas, etc., seem to pop up at the strangest times.

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And here is my comfy chair I retreat to when studying the craft of writing and when I do my ten-minute writing practice with good old-fashioned pen and paper. I’m reading two different books at the moment, A Writer’s Book of Days which has the best practical advice and awesome writing practice prompts and is the book sitting on my chair, and Revision and Self Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell. His books have quickly become some of my favorites for instruction on the writing process. On the table in the bluish can is my staple–Simply Balanced cucumber mint sparkling water. Can’t live without it.

Moving on to tag some of my writer friends. If you’re not following them already you may want to consider doing so. They’re awesome ladies! 🙂

Michelle @ http://wolffdenpress.com/

Teresa @ https://homeandspirit.wordpress.com/

Marie @ http://writingwingsforyou.com/

Angela @ https://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com/

So, curious…do you have anything you keep at your desk that gets your creativity flowing? What are you working on at the present moment? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you ever write with good old-fashioned pen and paper?

Carpe Diem

 

 

 

Light in the Midst of Darkness

The Soul

We have had some amazing weather in Colorado the past couple of days, and today was the best. I was running this morning in the warmth, even the breeze was gentle and warm, the sun’s rays reaching the depths of my soul. The renewed energy and lightness of spirit carried me for most of my run. And I realized how uplifting it is to have this break–or timeout, if you will–in the typically cold dark middle of winter. It gives me encouragement and a glimpse of  spring that awaits just around the corner. It has the same effect as when something good happens in the midst of a whole string of bad. It offers hope. I was even able to hammer out the run-through reading of the first draft of Shear Madness, making notes of changes that need to be made–characters that need to be further developed, the plot that needs to be deepened, paragraphs that may need to be cut, catching inconsistencies in timeline and settings, etc., most of that reading done while sitting on the patio in the sun. What a blessing.

And speaking of blessings, it’s exactly those blessings among the trials in this journey of life that offer us hope for something better yet to come. Those peaks that give us renewed strength and room to breathe after walking through a valley.

One of my peaks came this weekend when I was able to re-connect with a childhood friend over dinner.  We hadn’t seen each other for over thirty years, and yet we were able to recognize each other immediately and it was like we were able to pick up right where we left off.

Coincidence? Nah. I believe it was, and is, purely a blessing.

Kathy and Me 2

Carpe Diem

 

The Act of Writing vs. Being a Writer

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A lot of people write and a whole lot more have the desire to write. If you’re writing, you are, indeed, a writer. If you have the desire to write but haven’t actually put pen to paper–or fingertips to keyboard–you haven’t crossed the line yet from dreamer to writer. That being said it’s never too late to start. Here’s proof.

I wrote a post a while ago about finally calling myself a writer. And while that was a huge step for me, this past month it has come to mean even more. Sometime in this past month I began to realize that I’m not a writer just because I like to write. That would be akin to calling one an alcoholic just because s/he likes to drink. But rather, I couldn’t imagine my life without writing. Writing is so much a part of my desires and my life, that without it, I wouldn’t feel complete.

Pen

Examples that drove that point home to me are:

  • If I don’t write–and lately that means every day, at least something–I feel empty of the positive and consumed by an intense need to release that creative energy.
  • When I’m at work or play and when I’m not writing, I find myself studying people and their mannerisms, behaviors, word choices, etc., creating characters in my head.
  • When I’m on a road trip, whether it’s five miles or five hundred, I take in the scenery as if constructing the setting of my next novel.
  • The world is my creative playground.
  • I cherish my writer’s notebook like it’s another limb and it goes everywhere I do.
  • What others say about my love of writing doesn’t matter; it’s important to me.

In Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, he recommends getting motivated by writing a statement of purpose. I chose to do that and it is readily visible on the first page of my writer’s notebook. Mine begins as his does and then branches off a bit. My statement of purpose reads:

Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep writing no matter what, to learn everything I can on the craft, and to strive for my words to make a positive difference to even just one person. I am a writer.

What are your writing aspirations and dreams?

Carpe Diem

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Anaïs Nin

 

My One Word for 2015…and a Goal

Several years ago I abandoned the New Year’s resolution attempts for New Year’s goals. And three years ago I abandoned New Year’s goals for My One Word. I’m not going say one is better than the others, only that My One Word appealed to me. In fact, I think New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. Sure most people break their New Year’s resolutions because, let’s face it, if habits were so easy to change, would we need resolutions? The point is what we do with that perceived failure–give up or get back on the horse, so to speak, and try again.

Never give up

And there’s a better chance of change if there’s an awareness–preferably written on paper so it’s concrete and can be referred to easily–of what one wants to change to better his/her life than if there’s nothing at all. If you resolve to work out more or eat better in the upcoming year and it only lasts a month or two, that’s a month or two of more working out or better eating than would have happened without the resolution. Not to mention that when you realized you broke it, it’s an opportunity to try and try again.

Thomas Edison

This year after thought and consideration, I’ve chosen to do a combination of two methods. In fact the rebel in me has taken life and created a variation of My One Word. I’ve decided to focus on two words rather than one, for no other reason than I want to see significant growth in my life in both areas.

My two words are:  (drumroll…)

LOVE & RISK

We are called to love one another as God loves us and that love covers a multitude of sins.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

To act–and re-act–in love will further my spiritual journey.

And risk? I tend to get so comfortable in my rut of day-to-day living, making sure everything is within my control. That comfort zone prohibits me from experiencing life fully and using the gifts given to me to make the world a better place. How can I grow if I don’t experience growing pains? How can I positively affect others and the world if I’m complacent in my quiet, afraid-to-take-risks world? That being said, that doesn’t mean I will be jumping out of an airplane or hang-gliding anytime soon. 🙂

So those are my two words for 2015. And it will likely take me a full year to get somewhat of a handle on them.

This year I’ve decided to add a resolution as well. A somewhat vague resolution, but a resolution nonetheless. I’m resolving to study the craft of writing. Writing in and of itself is something I have to do. For me. If I don’t, I feel like I’m missing a limb and truly find myself in a mental funk. But I don’t only want to write, I want to write the very best that I can. And what a better way to do that than to study the craft from those who have mastered it. I’m part of an online book club, Book Club for Writers, and right now we’re reading the book Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. What an amazing book! I’ve learned so much already. I would highly recommend it.

And with that, it’s time to go live this life I’ve been blessed with and begin to live My One Two Words and learn how to write. 🙂

How about you? Do you make New Year’s resolutions or goals? Have you tried the My One Word concept? What resolutions/goals have you made for 2015?

Carpe Diem