Blog

That Voice Inside You, Telling You to Go for It? Listen and Just…Do…It!

 

Go for it

It’s not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, this chasing dreams stuff, this taking risks, this putting yourself out there? It’s hard. Really hard. If you’re like me, you’re going to have terrifying moments of self-doubt. You’ll be fired up and all gung-ho only to be rejected. Again. And again. There will be incredible highs and devastating lows. You’ll really find out the true meaning of patience. It’s going to be a challenge. Every step of the way.

It’s going to change you.

If that voice in your head won’t leave you alone, if that something in your gut keeps poking at you telling you to do this thing, you’re going to have to make it happen. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Believe me. I know that you’ll want to and you’ll feel really down sometimes, but pick yourself up and keep at it…even when it’s two steps forward and three steps back. Catch 22.

It’s one heck of a ride. It will take you to amazing places. You’ll meet other people who have something in common with a passion like yours. And in the end…

You’ll be someone new, someone you are proud of, and you won’t want to go back to who or where you used to be.

It will change you.

Get started.

Now.

Sometimes…all you need to do is be still…

The Lord Will Fight

Writing is a passion. A labor of love. Something that has wrapped itself around my soul and won’t let go. It’s something I have to do. No matter what. Whenever I can. Whether anyone else gets it or likes it. No matter where it takes me. There are times when I get discouraged. I love this journey I’m on, every story, every character, every word. I want to share it with the world…but it’s tough going, an uphill climb. Sometimes I wonder if I am on the right path.

Today, I was pointed to this passage from the Bible. Exodus 14:14:

“The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.”

That’s a tough order to fill for me because I always feel like I have to do something! But it really helped me right now, at this point in my life, to remember there is a higher power. That Someone is watching over me. Fighting for me. To have faith and trust in the journey. To know that I can be still.

I hope this message reaches you today, that it helps you in whatever battle you are fighting. Someone else is fighting for you too.

Wrapped up in History…and it Won’t Let Go!

Liberty graphic TW[2276]

I have walked that lonely field, stood where my father fell. I have felt his presence, and his valiant heart beats in me.

My father, Benjamin Willson the First, was liberty’s son. Because of his love for my mother and his extraordinary sacrifice, I came to be.

Because of Jacob Cooper, the man who raised me, I became the man I am supposed to be. The son Benjamin Willson would be proud to call his own.

Jacob taught me that someone must shine a light in the darkness. Even if I am only one candle amongst thousands, I will do my part to live up to the expectations of the men who went before me, born up by the love of a mother who was willing to fight the British and defy the bottomless pit of her grief to bring me into this world.

The drums of Madison’s war are beating again, and I must answer the call.

Like my father before me. Like the man who raised me as his own.

I am liberty’s legacy.

The Liberty series has been a big part of my life for the past three years, a story that wrapped around my heart and my head…and it still won’t let go. It all started with a mini-series, The Sons of Liberty, bringing to life the birth of the nation and the brink of the war. It was a thrill ride that pulled the whole family in for three nights in a row. And then my story came to me. About a young woman in Johnstown who loved history, falling into her personal history, and the arms of a Patriot from Boston who would need saving. It took her on an incredible journey. I went with her.

Standing outside the Colonial Cemetery on a bitter cold morning, watching my breath form clouds in the air, taking pictures of the marker, the graves. Stepping over the fence around Sir William’s grave, brushing off the snow, kneeling down to learn more about the founder of our town. People probably thought I was crazy…and I was. About the characters and story playing out in my head like a movie.  I started paying attention to all the signs and historical sites in Johnstown, a town so rich in history, and the threads wove their way into my novel, tying it together. I wrapped it up, dressed the part, thought I was all done. Until a reader walked up to me in Mysteries on Main Street, our local bookstore, told me she loved my story, read it in a night, and, “When’s the next one?”

I hadn’t planned a next story, but the thoughts started perking–couldn’t let my readers down, right?–and Liberty’s Promise came to be.  I realized I wasn’t finished yet. Those characters wouldn’t leave me alone. The conclusion is coming, due out July 4th…I think it’s my favorite. I’m in love with Liberty’s Legacy and these characters. It’s really hard to let them go…but they live on. In my heart and in my soul. Every time I walk the grounds at Sir William Johnson’s estate, pass the marker for the Battle of Johnstown, or wander amongst the stones in the Colonial Cemetery where patriots have been sleeping over 230 years ago, my characters are with me. Benjamin, Charlotte, and Jacob live on and my imagination runs, wondering what they would do next…

I hope they fire up your imagination as well.

When a story just won’t let you go…

Deserted Cover Preview

When I wrote Adirondack Sundown, it took over my life. In three months, I wrote 100,000 words. I pulled over the car, flipped over my napkin in restaurants, and stopped in the middle of grocery aisles to jot down the next note in my story. The whole thing played out in my head, like a movie, as conservation officer Graham Scott was consumed with the search for Sarah Waters, a young teacher from Johnstown…more than a teacher. She was his girlfriend. His true love. Little did I know that Sarah’s abductor and these characters would wrap themselves around my heart, bringing me back for The Edge of Forgiveness on Blue Mountain and Sunrise Over Indian Lake.

Here we are at book 4, Deserted on Lake Desolation. I don’t know if this will be the last. It will be up to Graham, Jim…and all the rest. Looking back and at this story, I realized that hope is a flame burning bright in every story…although this one is definitely the darkest, and perhaps the most realistic. I hope you’ll enjoy coming along for the journey…and don’t forget. Even in the darkest night, hope shines its light.

Remember Those Who Serve and Sacrifice for Us

Freedom

Memorial Day. A day off. Parades. Picnics. Firing up the grill. Drinking a cold one. That’s not what this holiday weekend is about. It’s about the flag. Servicemen in uniforms. Poppies. A field of markers lined up in a row. An empty place at the table. An aching heart. For us. For our freedom. For this great country that we call home.

This place may not be perfect. We have our problems, like everyone else. We can change. We can grow. We can make it better, but while we do, we can never forget the price that has been paid. Continues to be paid to give us so many gifts. So much we take for granted.

As you head into your Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to say thank you. To say a prayer. To shed a tear…and remember those who serve, those who sacrifice, those who have given their lives so that you can enjoy yours.

Mothers…More Precious with Every Passing Year

My mother has always meant the world to me. When I was little, she was my caretaker. My lighthouse in the storm. As I grew up, I thought of her as my best friend and my compass. That in adopting me, she chose me, meant all the more. She gave me a love that knew no bounds and in so doing, taught me how to love deeply.

The older I get, my love for my mother–and all the mothers in my life–continues to grow. Being a mother, I now understand–there is no higher calling. No job that matters more. It’s what I was born to do. Every day of my life, I value the gift of my son and being allowed the most precious blessing, to be his mother. No matter how old he gets, no matter where he goes in life, he will be my baby. His happiness is my highest priority. I will think about him, worry about him, and love him beyond measure until the day I die…and even beyond, I’m sure I will be watching over him. Waiting until he comes home to me…far, far in the future.

I know that every mother shares this responsibility, one that holds no regrets and only the greatest gratitude. To be a mother. There is nothing better in life. Thank you to all mothers for sharing this title with me today. For the gift of your love. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

When a story wraps itself around your heart and carries you away…

Rosie 3D

Rosie and her Ragamuffin Sam was inspired last summer from a writing prompt about finding a pair of shoes in a thrift shop, putting them on, and getting carried away.  Ideas started perking for me and I filed them away. As November approached, I heard about NanoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge in the month of November, to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in that time. I decided to go for it, using the story that started with a pair of brilliant red, vintage shoes in a thrift shop in New York City. Little did I know that it would take over my life. Fifteen days in, over 51,000 words were down and I had my story.

As I wrote, my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s stories about growing up in Brooklyn made the words race from my fingertips. My grandfather’s favorite music from the Glenn Miller Band, “In the Mood,” and “Moonlight Serenade,” played in the background and hummed in my mind. I scoped out pictures online and immediately fell in love with Michele Dyson’s photo above…the only thing I needed to change were the shoes. They had to be red. Like Dorothy’s shoes in The Wizard of the Oz, shoes that had a magic about them.

This novel is truly a labor of love. A love story. One that takes us back to a simpler, yet much harder time. To Brooklyn, the 1940’s, and tenement life at the end of the Great Depression, on the brink of World War II. At it’s heart? What matters most. Family. Faith. Hope. And an incredible, unforgettable love story between Rosie and her Ragamuffin Sam. I hope you’ll come along on the journey.