Wednesday, March 26, 2014

God's Sense of Humor

I'm not typing much these days. A broken wrist has slowed me down. But here's something from the past I can copy and paste:

This week has been a bottom-in-the-chair-fingers-on-the-keyboard kind of week. While it has been said that you should write the first draft of your novel straight through to the end without looking back and editing, I find that the editor in me keeps wanting to fix what I've just written. I go back and find the -ing words and make them stronger action verbs, eliminate the unnecessary -ly words, and see if there isn't a better way to say something without a "was" or "were" in the sentence. It all takes time and slows the process but it's a tough habit to break.

While I was praying one day this week during devotion time, I found myself editing my words. I wanted to make them just right. Habits tend to invade other areas of life. When I realized what I was doing, I stopped. For just an instant, I thought I heard a chuckle. God must have enjoyed my discovery. After all He is Father, and as children of His, I'm sure we contribute much to his laughter.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Careful Or You'll End Up In My Novel

That's what my T-shirt reads that was given me by my nieces who also came up with a pair of sweatshirts for my husband and I that are Christmas themed. One says "Nice", the other "Naughty." While my T-shirt warns those around me to be wary of my observing them, I usually don't wear it when I am truly people watching. And people watching helps develop my characters.

Sitting in a restaurant the other night, I noticed two women sharing a plated dinner (the servings were huge so I could understand why). They didn't appear to be a couple, maybe just girlfriends out for dinner. Then I heard one say something about Dad being worried and I guessed sisters. The one who looked just a bit younger was listening to the other and in her body language, I could tell she was nervous or uptight about something. I wondered why I perceived that.

I studied them a bit more and decided that the young blonde was sitting a bit stiffly with her hands stuck between her knees under the table as if her hands might give away her nerves. She was also slightly hunched at the shoulder. Perhaps it was the posture of one who's been lectured by an older sibling before. I could not detect any animosity in her expression. Either she was good at hiding it or there was none--just nerves about what was being revealed.

How would I put this into words if I needed to? I began to run the words in my head that fit my observations. Looking for more things that would convey to a reader what I was observing. After that exercise,  I could begin to project all sorts of ideas of what they could be talking about. Plotting a step mother's demise? Working for two different government agencies and suddenly discovering a cover up in one? Or maybe one was planning a wedding for the other?

Please don't tell my husband that I'm working while we're out to dinner. He thinks I'm just enjoying a night out--and I am. Just not in the same way he might think I am.

Do you people watch to gain insights into characters? There is lots to be gleaned.

Monday, February 17, 2014

KATHRYN, Quarry Hall Book 3, by Michelle Levigne

The third book in the women's fiction series, Quarry Hall has just been released: KATHRYN.

Published by Desert Breeze Publishing.
A parallel series with Tabor Heights.

Kathryn's retreat for relaxation and contemplation is interrupted to take a fugitive to safety, beyond the reach of authorities who may be compromised. The injured woman knows her name is Regina, but not why people were shooting at her. The journey to reach a friend in the FBI is complicated when Kathryn's illness requires frequent stops, permitting Regina's pursuers to nip at their heels.
When the mountains interfere with cell reception, and she can't stop long enough to make a call for help and advice, Kathryn has only her companion dog, her own wits, and prayer to depend on. Deception waits around every corner and Regina's attitude tests Kathryn's sympathy and her faith.
Learn more about Michelle's books at the Tabor Heights Today blog -- -- and the Living Proof blog --

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tabor Heights, Year One at

A new book trailer, giving thumbnail sketches of all the titles in Year One of the Tabor Heights, Ohio, Inspirational romance series, written by Michelle Levigne and published by Desert Breeze Publishing. and

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh, Those Writers of Classics!

On our drive to South Florida to escape the cold North, we listened to a couple of audio books. It was a good example of how you can ruin a good story with a poor reader. Both books were read by women which was appropriate since the protagonists in both stories were women. The second book we listened to had a reader who read very slowly and dramatically--melodramatically almost as it came to the scenes that were suspenseful. When the tension built, she seemed to read even slower. I wanted to yell, "Get on with it already!"

The first book we listened to was very interesting. The Paris Wife by Paula McClain was fiction based on the relationship of Ernest Hemingway with his first wife, Hadley Richardson. They moved to Paris after they were married because it was the place where all the authors and artists were congregating. Stein, Fitzgerald, and a slew of others who were the breakout authors of the day gathered together and partied and wrote and argued over the right way to write. It reminded me of the film out a couple of years ago called Midnight in Paris and the visit we made to a place in Paris called the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. The bookstore was originally run by a lady who allowed the now famous writers to use the upstairs rooms for their writing.

During those years, there was a lot of absinthe consumed. (Absinthe was the alcoholic drink of the times and was about 140 proof.) After about the tenth time the story mentioned drinking absinthe my husband chuckled. "Maybe you need to drink some."

Uh, I don't think so. One drink and I would be out cold. And I'm definitely no party animal. I do however enjoy gathering with my ACFW fellow writers. That's enough partying for me. And ice tea works just fine.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

IN A PICKLE by Karen Robbins -- Featured on Spotlight Saturday

Today's SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY is on fellow ACFW Ohio member Karen Robbins with her funny new novel, IN A PICKLE.

I've been hearing about this book for a few years now, as Karen has struggled to find a publisher brave enough to risk a sensitive topic handled in a humorous manner. Success!

Annie Pickels, a 65-year-old widowed pickle entrepreneur, is in real trouble. One of her city farmers is growing marijuana on his rented plot of land. Annie, thinking it is marjoram, uses it as a secret ingredient in her pickles.

Check out the Living Proof blog for more information:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Twas the Thursday Before Christmas

Twas the Thursday before Christmas, my pen I lay down.
I'd been shopping for presents all over the town.
The stockings were hung but not with much care
And tinsel still glittered as it stuck to my hair.
Characters and plots weren't all nestled in my head
As visions of a best seller danced there instead.
The stories would wait as I settled my cap
And wished I could take a long winter's nap.
Out on my lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
My nose to the window, I knew in a flash,
My husband had tumbled while making his dash
To set up the reindeer and shovel the snow
And put up the lights that we'd see from below.
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a small white truck parking by our reindeer.
The little old driver so nimble and quick
I knew in a moment it was Mailman Nick.
Quick as a bunny up the sidewalk he came
Passing the deer and calling them by name:
Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen
To the top of the porch and just past the wall
He hefted the big box and then let it fall.
As winds blow and snowflakes fly
I leapt as an obstacle that takes to the sky.
So out to the porch was the course that I flew
To grab the big box and wave to Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard hubby say,
"I need help. Can you put that away?"
As I drew in my head and was turning around
In the door came my husband with a leap and a bound.
He was dressed all in flannel from his head to his foot
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A string of lights was tossed over his back
And he looked like the character I'd named Jack.
His eyes didn't twinkle, his dimples weren't merry
His cold cheeks like roses, his nose like a cherry,
His blue little mouth puckered like a bow,
And a beard on his chin was just made out of snow.
The clips for the lights he held tight in his teeth.
His hands circled the air as if drawing a wreath.
A grin broadened my face, my hand held my belly
As it shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
He looked in distress not like a jolly old elf.
I was sorry I'd laughed, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a nod of his head
And soon we both laughed with nothing to dread.
I spoke not a word and set my box down
Then turned to my husband and mimicked a frown.
And tapping a finger on top of his nose,
And giving a nod on my tiptoes I rose.
I quick gave a kiss, his ego I soothed
My "best seller" would wait until later I mused.
But I heard him exclaim, "I'm okay, no bother.
Merry Christmas to you, my little author!"

Merry Christmas to All!