Posts Tagged ‘Emily Dickinson’

A Top Pick Sunday. Color me grateful…

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Tomorrow, look for three blog posts (and a newsletter, if you’ve signed up for that list):

  • A second much asked for reader’s guide discussion
  • Contest winners announced for both October and November’s blog giveaways
  • A fabulous NEW December contest!

Today is for reveling.

It’s been a glorious release month, and a not-so-bad last week of November, thank you very much, with a 5 Blue Ribbon review of Christmas and Mimosa Lane  (now priced at $1.99 as part of Amazon’s 100 Books December Promo) on Romance Junkies and a 5 Star Top Pick rave for Her Forgotten Betrayal on The Romance Reviews… Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, everyone ;o)


From Billie Jo at  Romance Junkies for Christmas on Mimosa Lane ($1.99):


Christmas on Mimosa Lane is one of the most emotionally powerful tales I have read in a long time… I adored all the characters set in this charming tale.  Their stories are heart wrenching and you cannot help but to hope that they will find their happily ever after…  I highly recommend the magical tale of Christmas on Mimosa Lane to all readers who love an emotional read set in the holiday of Christmas.”

COML Front 240x360

From CozyReader at The Romance Reviews for Her Forgotten Betrayal ($2.99):

TRR Top Pick

Her Forgotten Betrayal is a  “…page-turner that left you wondering who was playing with the heroine’s mind. Even though the book was about 300 pages, it went by too quickly. The mystery of who was trying to make Shaw crazy was captivating. I could see it truly happening as I was reading. I highly recommend picking up Her Forgotten Betrayal if you are looking for a story that will touch your heart.”


Holiday Hangover…And it’s not even December yet!

Friday, November 30th, 2012

We can drive ourselves crazy, chasing the “perfect” holiday, until all we feel is the chase and the need for a big ol’ nap to rest up for the next surge of family and friends and celebrating. I know I am. But I’m also getting all kinds of reader mail about the subtext of my Christmas novel–what it really means to be “happy” at the holidays and how hard that can be for some of us, unless we work for it. Overwhelmingly (with a few notable exceptions on Amazon, readers who find my premise depressing), the response has been hopeful and excited and folks walking away with a life-affirming new take on what this time of year can mean to them and others. We might have to work hard to find the “happy” sometimes, and holidays are rarely perfect the way we see them in movies and ads and so forth. But the mere fact that we have something to fight for and families or friends to share the struggles of the season with makes this…wait for it…A Wonderful Life.

its a wonderful life

For me, watching with gratitude how wonderfully Christmas on Mimosa Lane is being received, I’m seeing the hard work of the last six months (and the effort I’m pouring into writing the sequel that will be out next Summer, OVER the holiday season) pay off in a way that’s better than any tangible present I will get this year.

Readers are reading, and they’re responding, and they’re loving COML enough to want to talk about what it’s meant to them. That’s this authors idea of a dream come true. Which reminds me of a favorite quote…


Notice the “action” in Walt’s words of wisdom. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Forever is composed of nows…

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

I’m hearing from readers each day who’ve enjoyed the Emily Dickinson poetry quoted in my Christmas novel. Now that we’re officially moving into the holiday season, I’ll be chatting weekly about the words of hers that I chose to be this project’s emotional touchstones. So, join in in the comments if you like. Sit back and just listen. Throw your hand in the air because I’m going on and on and on. It’s all good to me. I love the sensations and images that flow from ED’s words so much, I’m equally as excited to talk to myself as I am an entire room of readers. So, this Tuesday thread’s for me…and you, if you’re as obsessed as I am ;o)

 forever is composed of nows

The beauty of Emily Dickinson, is that while an entire poem might not resonate with you, there are kernels of amazingness in practically everything she wrote–most of it never published in her lifetime, because she couldn’t bear to be around people, to know their thoughts about her work, or even to look herself too closely at what she saw as prose that were full of prose. She wrote and rewrote and hid away everything she penned, drilling deeper and deeper into an idea until she discovered a “now” that said exactly what she wanted it to.

Forever is composed of Nows
‘Tis not a different time

If forever (all the tomorrows there would ever be) were the same as now, and time lost its power over what we chose to do and what we put off or avoid forever, what would we be today? If yesterday and all the things we’re running from, or remembering fondly as if  the past were better than what we have now, were today, then what would our decision be about how to live this now.

I’m playing with time in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. We travel back and forth to the past and present and back again with each of the story’s central characters. What they’re learning, I hope, is what ED is saying in this poem. That we are what we are now, and we are the compilation of all that we were and will be–and how that affects who we choose to be now. There is no difference in time. There is no before or “to be.” There is now and what all the moments of our lives combine to be in us in the place we currently are.

dali melting clock

We chose our future. That’s what I discover in her words. (more…)

Happy Ever After Holidays…

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Are the holidays a happy ever after time for you, or is there something making it difficult to feel what everyone around you seems to? In between Thanksgiving and Christmas is some of my favorite time of the year. But there’s frequently a feeling that something’s a bit off, when I look closely at these special moments that mean so much. There’s the past. And there have been moments I haven’t felt as blessed as I do today. There are challenging memories to deal with over the holidays that make my Christmas ever after not quite as automatically happy.

happy holidays

Yes, my family had a great Thanksgiving this year. We’re thankful, if a bit too overfed. We’re back to work and maybe not minding it as much as before. We’ve shared special time with loved ones and friends. We’re optimistic about December being just as lovely or better. But…

Is there sometimes a but in your celebration sometimes over the holiday? If there is, you’re not alone. While commercials and songs and endless parties and celebrations remind us of everything we should cherish, there are some of us feeling a loss of something others take for granted. There are some of us still remembering a not-so-enchanted time that happened recently or maybe long ago. But…

Even if this isn’t the picture that always comes to mind when we think of a happy family holiday– (more…)

Holiday Memories: What makes yours last?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

December 1st, my son opens his first Christmas present. Is he spoiled??? You bet. Am I? Ditto. While our family doesn’t make the entire holiday about gifts and “stuff,” we also don’t make it about a single day. It’s a season, including Thanksgiving, about family and being thankful and seeing the world for what it is–a place we share and celebrate together, no matter what else is going on. It’s about home. And December 1st is a great day to kick off that kind of awareness in our world.

happy holidays

What do happy holidays mean to you? How do you make sure those true meanings of things stay first in your mind, as the stress and craziness of what is always a crazy month try to take over?For us, it’s sticking closer to home than going away and working on things as a family and having those few special mementoes around that we’ve shared in the past, like anchors in our memories to what’s been most important and will be again. A lot of these turn out to be my son’s December 1st gifts. I pick each one with that in mind and hope they make a lifelong impression.

Anchoring memories like this don’t have to cost much. In my Christmas on Mimosa Lane, little Polly remembers her mother by playing with her mother’s favorite vintage pins, many of which were purchased at tag sales and flea markets. They were special to Polly’s mother, because they were special to her grandmother before her. They were about time spent collecting and enjoying them, not what each pin was worth.

I have a similar tie to my grandmother, and now to my son, who’s kept each of his December 1st gifts in special places, and even as a teenager keeps most of them out year around even though they’re Christmas themed. (more…)

Even rough holidays can mean love…

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Yep, I wrote a drama as my first holiday novel. NOT inside the box, but then again, neither am I. Why all the angst when readers want bright and shiny over their break? Well, for starters, not all readers insist that everything be perfect at the beginning of a story, even if they are reading romance. Next, this is more women’s fiction than classic romance, and that’s what I want to write, so that’s what I’m writing. And finally (and this is what reader reviews are responding to most strongly so far),a lot of people have rough holidays, and I’ve been there, and when I was I was searching for realistic stories similar to my troubles that ALSO had happing, uplifting, promising endings that helped me believe I would, too.

christmas ornament

I do love stories that take me to an escaping place where all is bright and shiny. I love visiting those worlds. But my world wants more of what feels real, than it does of what feels like Disneyland. So I often gravitate to deeper themes in my writing and reading time, I think because I want to explore how to find love in those places, and hope and faith and trust.

Dark passages are just a journey to more light, I keep reminding myself (and hopefully my readers). So we go down some tough roads. They’re only seques to better places than we’re leaving behind. Even if those tough places are holidays, as they are for many of us.


Because there’s always love. There’s always that place inside that longs to connect and believe you belong. Holidays make us want that more, I think, and maybe they help us try harder if we’re paying attention. What will your holiday spirit be this year: change and growth and meaning more to others and yourself; or longing for what you don’t have or what’s now lost to holiday’s past? (more…)

Holiday Traditions and Symbols and Memories…

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

What makes your holiday come alive? Cooking? Celebrating? Gift-giving and receiving? Sports? Shopping? Or is it the memories of doing and experiencing and enjoying all of these things with loved ones and friends in the past…

Remembering anchors so much of who we were to who we are and want to be. Often, we want for things to have been better than they were or for them to become better than they are. But the best memories, the ones that define a time and place or person we’ve loved, can become the symbol of everything we want to achieve again. These kinds of traditions in place and time and relationships tend to come to us most strongly around the holidays.

Christmas gift and baubles on defocused lights background

I believe this so strongly, I naturally wrote a book about it. The book itself was alive long before I wrapped a holiday theme around it. But it was the holiday symbolism I added, complete with past images merging with the present and promising a better future, that made the characters and their story come to life in a way I’d never dreamed.

There’s promise in the past, even if before came with its share of heartache. Searching for the perfect symbols of a bright future (despite disappointments) was my challenge. And yours. All of us could let ourselves become mired in the darker nature memories can hold. Or we can find inspiration there, to want what we once had, or maybe what we’ve never had but still desire. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: “To comprehend a nector requires sorest need…”

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Sometimes we need a kick in the pants to wake us up to everything we’re taking for granted. Too often, it’s what we “need” that we see most clearly, or what we think is being denied us or what we don’t think we’ll ever have. It’s the comprehending that we’re missing with the rest of our lives. The seeing most clearly what is ours or could be or wants to be, only we neglect the beauty of what is, in preference for the potential of what might be.

beauty flowers

It doesn’t have to be fancy, to catch our eye. What matters simply has to be our obsession, and once it becomes that we can’t look away. It’s true for what we covet, and it can be true for what we have as well.

I often times (read: always) write about characters that can’t see their “nows” because they’re too fixated on what’s missing from their past and what they think the need in their futures.My first novel’s working title was Forever Ago, and it was the very first time I put down on paper my personal philosophy that a person must reach back to before and deal with what’s been most avoided their entire lives, before what she’s meant to be can flourish as she lives forward. I think I’ve been writing about that same dynamic my entire career, in one way or another.

But with recent projects, particularly with Christmas on Mimosa Lane, it’s the impact of our inability to appreciate what we’ve made for ourselves in the now that fascinates me. We’re on a path now. We’re living now. We have so much NOW. Why is it so difficult most days to live here, in the present? Why is that path hardly ever something that we appreciate–until it’s threatened and becomes our obsessions only when we might lose it?

beauty stream path

I selected the above quote from Emily Dickinson to head one of my chapters, (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: “It is good we are dreaming…”

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I love Emily Dickinson’s succinct word choices. Because of them her poetry can mean exactly what it says, or a world of other things can bloom from her writing depending on the reader’s state of mind. It inspires me that she reportedly spent days, weeks, months, even years choosing and re-selecting just the right words to convey emotion and sentiment and life into her poetry.

There are those who don’t connect as much to the darker themes that flowed from her creativity. Some find her approach jerky and caustic and truncated before full understanding can evolve from the images she conjures. Particularly in a poem like this “dream” one I selected a phrase or two to set off a particularly turbulent moment in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. But for me, it’s forever magical each time I dive in:

We dream—it is good we are dreaming—
It would hurt us—were we awake—
But since it is playing—kill us,
And we are playing—shriek—

Granted she loves herself some punctuation, and I’m a writer who would avoid all em dashes and colons and semi-colons in my work if I could. But I don’t think it’s as simple as her trying to enforce the rhythm she wants the reader to follow. I see a broader brilliance in what she’s doing. An encapsulation of theme and purpose, allowing us to take away small bursts of understanding, even if we don’t continue to read the rest of what she offers.

ED understanding

It IS good we are dreaming.

Dreams can protect us from reality. We all dream and wish we didn’t have to wake. And shouldn’t the goal be to play and shriek and face what we fear might kill us, in those places we go to in our dreaming minds?

Where else would it safe (good) enough to deal with all that we need to, in the hopes of understanding ourselves enough once we return to avoid the very things we feel threatened by?

I’ll share just one more stanza from this poem to give you a better idea of why I selected a few snippets from it for COML:

What harm? Men die—externally—
It is a truth—of Blood—
But we—are dying in Drama—
And Drama—is never dead—

This is a kind of reversal for me, where she takes the very safety of the dreams that protect us, turns them on their ears, and begins to show us the harm of ONLY living in dreams. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Not knowing when the dawn will come…

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” ~~Emily Dickinson

This poem opens so many windows in my mind, which is why I selected it to lead the first chapter of Mallory Phillips’ story. She’s lost and running and yet searching so hard for a home to call her own, just like Polly, the little girl who barges into her life one chilly fall morning.


The world (and Polly) barrels into Mallory’s life, whether she’s ready or not. Her chance has arrived to open her heart and truly believe in the power of change and redemption and transforming herself by letting others in so they, too, can be all they were meant to be. And all they’re meant to be to her.

Like many of us, Mallory’s tried and failed in the past. She’s feeling like the emptiness inside her is all she’ll ever really know. She’s living in the midst of a beautiful world she’s fought so hard to make a home in, and like Emily Dickinson Mallory’s feeling just as alone as she ever did, unable to connect with the people and places and holiday beauty around her.

Except she can’t NOT identify with Polly’s longing for her mother. (more…)