Hawaii Beach Walk

I just returned from an awesome “mini-Guam” reunion in Hawaii. One week on Oahu and one week on the Big Island. Our group ranged from six to nine, so we rented homes on each island to enjoy the ocean views, have cook outs, and enjoy each others company. We caught up on the last sixteen years and are planning more reunions in the future!

Of course, I took my laptop and was able to spend a few days writing with the aqua-blue water crashing in front of me. I let my mind brew new scenes while we took in the sights, and I’m raring to get back to work full-time.

I’ve set a few deadlines for myself. Finish Margie Lawson’s awesome lecture packets by April 8th. Finish Passion’s Promise MS by June 1st. I’m attending OWFI in Oklahoma City on May 4th and though I will be networking and attending some workshops, a dear friend and I will spend most of our time working on our individual WIP.

Life is crazy, but life is good. I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to a release date.
Until then… Hugs!!!

Today’s Walk on the Beach…

As I walk today, I try fiercely to focus on my characters and their scenes, but my eyes are drawn to the devastation that remains three months after Hurricane Matthew. Many are working to protect what’s left of their property, but quite a few lost everything and have done nothing to clear away the debris, the fragments of their lives.

My heart is heavy for those who had to abandon their homes and now have nothing to come back to. How do they pick up the pieces and move forward? Do they clear the land and rebuild? Or does the fear of further desolation keep them running?

Mother Nature can be brutal, ravaging homes large and small, and the only ray of sunshine is no lives in our area were lost. Our entire area was evacuated, saving the people and pets, but where do they go from here?

It’s tough to write about an athletic journey or love and friendship when I gaze at the destruction and worry about the ones who lost everything. I did realize that I have a few scenes, already written, that need to be moved to a different location in the story. I’ll tackle those today. In the meantime, I’m going to sit and reflect and thank the stars for protecting the lives of so many in our community and hope that tomorrow is a brighter day. Until next time, HUGS.

So much lost

Our old beach crossover!

Our new beach crossover

Gorgeous beach

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Who stole the first four months of 2014? I can’t believe it is May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – a day many will celebrate! I’m celebrating too. Just returned home from a wonderful, informative weekend at OWFI – Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc – writers conference. Met many talented writers and authors, sold signed copies of all three books, attended some awesome workshops, met Eloisa James, and caught up with a dear friend over a couple of glasses of wine.

Andrew E. Kaufman did an evening talk on Thursday which I enjoyed tremendously. I bought one of his three books, which I started while waiting in the airport to fly home. By the time I landed in St. Louis, I was well over half-way through. Man, is he good!! Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy of The Lion, The Lamb, The Hunted and judge for yourself.

The first page sucked me in and I kept turning the pages to find out what was coming next. If I wasn’t ‘catching up’ after being gone for four days, I’d be turning those pages to find out how it ends. Trust me, I’ll get back to it soon!

Eloisa James did the Keynote Speech and as usual she was funny and charming as she took us on her journey to becoming a NY Times Bestselling author (21 times … wow). She also did a boxed lunch workshop and showed us how she manages her writing and the business side of her writer’s life. Social media, engaging with her readers, running contests, and giving away swag. She’s dynamic, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable. An inspiration to many.

Most of the workshops I attended were great, but I have to shout out to Heather Davis for┬áthe two fabulous ones I sat through: The Best Little Blog in the Blogoshere and Being Everywhere — getting your name out there. And to Nathan Brown for renewing my passion with poetry!! Awesome, awesome, awesome!

I came home tired yet energized with new knowledge to hone my craft and edit until my current ms is shining like a newly polished diamond. Having said that … I better post this and get back to work!

Thanks OWFI for hosting another outstanding conference. See you next year.

Heavy Heart

I was writing the acknowledgments for Mystical Connections this morning. Among others, I thanked my two favorite English teachers, both of whom encouraged me to write. Nancy Brooks, my sixth grade teacher was the one to spark my interest in writing novels. And John Ruppel, my high school English teacher, made my need to write even stronger. They were both incredible teachers!

Ms. Brooks left teaching to go into retail – HR for Burdines, Dadeland, and ended up being the one who hired me for my first position at Burdines, where I climbed the corporate ladder for over 15 years of my retail career! We worked together for years, and I’d love to re-connect with her. So, I decided to Google both of them and see if I could find them. I found a connection to Ms. Brooks through LinkedIn.

Then I Googled John Ruppel, and my heart plunged. The year after he retired from teaching, he passed away. He had left South Miami High to teach at MAST Academy, and retired in 2008. He and his wife moved to St. Augustine – to think he lived only miles from our Ponte Vedra home. He fell ill in June 2009, and was diagnosed with a rare, fast-moving adrenal cancer. Two weeks later he was gone. He was only 61.

I’m sure I’m not the only student who remembers him with fondness. He was a tough, but caring educator, and his students respected him. He had a great sense of humor and made us laugh often, even as he assigned more difficult studies. I’m sad to learn he’s no longer with us, sad that he won’t see his name in my novel’s acknowledgments. He was one of the few who truly touched lives. RIP Mr. Ruppel and know you were one of the best!! Hugs – Christine