Book Quest

Book Quest

What to write next? I’ve never before had “writer’s block”—that infamous cork-up of creative flow. And perhaps even my current experience can’t technically be labeled that, either. I just have so many ideas that instead of pouring out of my pen, it’s like they’re flooding from a fire hydrant. So today, while I’m on a…

Follow Your Heart…Or Not

Follow Your Heart…Or Not

What strange clichés we so often feed each other: Believe, have faith, everything will work out fine. Live, love, laugh. And how we like to hear: Follow your heart. Follow your dreams, your arrow, your passion. Pursue your own path to happiness. Follow the yellow brick road. And by all means, follow the money, honey….

Book Reports

Book Reports

Didn’t you just dread writing book reports as a school kid? I did, at least. Though I loved reading from an early age, I had no idea how to identify the important elements that make up an appealing story. But I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. Because a book that touches your…

Time in a Bottle

Time in a Bottle

We’re heading back to the Chiloé Islands today, where the more things change, the more they stay the same. “Everything changes…” echoes a folksong I referenced in Destiny at Dolphin Bay. And I realize it’s true: You just can’t keep time in a bottle. My husband and I have spent the day in Rilán, a…

What’s Worth Pursuing?

What’s Worth Pursuing?

People are hungry. They long for, line up for, and live for a wide variety of things. So before I share my list and theirs, I’ll just ask to get you thinking: What are you pursuing? Notice I didn’t say, What’s worth pursuing? Not yet. In no particular order and with no special attempt to…

Desperate for… Love

Desperate for… Love

During a recent exercise in finding writing topics, I was challenged to type “Desperate for…” into my Google browser. You want to know what I discovered? People are desperate for attention, approval, and affluence (usually they call that last one “money” or “a loan.”) Women are desperate for a miracle, a man, a baby, or…

The Longing for Love

The Longing for Love

Part of the dynamics of a good story focuses on a desire. Sometimes it’s a physical plot goal, sometimes it’s more of an emotional yearning. The romance shelf, of course, features the longing for love. But the not-so-odd paradox remains that 99% of the books you read—whatever their genre: mystery, fantasy, thriller—have a love thread…

The Pursuit of Purpose

The Pursuit of Purpose

Whatever Thomas Jefferson meant by “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, I equate the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of purpose, the pursuit of a place of usefulness and meaning in the world. You might say I’m searching for my happy place. I know. For some of us,…

The Search for Substance

The Search for Substance

I am a realist. Though my mother might disagree (I suspect she equated my head in a book with my head in the clouds), on the bottom line I’m the ultimate pragmatist. I believe—and write—about life in all its humble glory, yet that’s a spiritual reality. I search for SUBSTANCE, the core value inside the…

Launching into the Deep

Launching into the Deep

In a Door-of-No-Return moment, the Lord of the Rings character Samwise Gamgee halts in the middle of a field. “If I take one more step,” he announces hesitantly, “it’ll be the farthest from home I’ve ever been.” But at his companion Frodo’s encouragement, he takes that next step. And basically launches into the deep. He…

Back to the Beginning

Back to the Beginning

My writing ministry file, labeled 20:24:28, holds almost 400 digital pages right now. The other day, as I finished my blog series on story motifs, I scrolled back to the beginning of the document and discovered some interesting points that I should review more often. In a lot more areas of life, it’s a good…

Behind My Mask

Behind My Mask

Can I share a secret? Hiding behind my mask, I’ve saved a bundle this year on face cream, lipstick, and even (gasp!) toothpaste. What I’ll look like when I finally emerge from the cocoon may alarm the neighbors.   We so often leave unattended what nobody else can see, where no outsider will notice. You…