The number uno-selling genre in the entire universe, no lie, is ROMANCE. Well, and a rather new one often referred to as ‘Mom Porn’. That would mainly be the hugely popular Fifty Shades of—S & M. I have to admit, I have yet to read it, or them as there are three and now a movie. Good for the author and she certainly put a face on the self-publishing world.


Then we have this month of February and the 14th in particular and all the Hallmark cards and candy and roses and dinners out.


Why? Why do we go bonkers for the 14th? Is it romance or the love part or what?


Let’s delve a little deeper and simply do some wondering and along the way I think we’ll find our answer.




So, you’ve read author Nicholas Spark’s ‘The Notebook’, seen the movie (more than once, maybe) and who in the world hasn’t daydreamed of being ‘rescued’ from this thing called life? Strife, more like. For some it seems logging onto Zoosk (weird name people) or eHarmony or Rural-Singles-Look-Here is the answer to love. Or not.


Sure, folks want to read about love, but the actual doing love part? Not so much. So let’s give ‘em more romance. Write on!


More than half of us are now living alone. Tons and tons of people watching Netflix solo. And guess what, they’re loving it! What does it all mean? Maybe the reason romance is this huge genre is that it’s so much easier (less mess, let’s be honest here) living alone.


So—if you are single and as the 14th rolls around, give yourself a Valentine. Take yourself out for a really nice dinner, buy you some roses and a big box of chocolates and leave a lipstick smack on your own mirror!


Think of all the money/time/heartache you’ll save yourself (and your family) from.


Because, after all, YOU are never alone…sorry Mister Sparks.


Flanagan Third Floor

Ever wonder where authors get their mojo? The magic powder that they sprinkle over their keyboards filled with secret codes only they can decipher? Well, you may be in for a surprise. That muse you see them welcome every morning along with picking out their lucky cap is all rolled into one truth.


It’s all fiction folks!


There is no magic to what we do. Only hard work with a hefty dose of inspiration and that can come from any number of sources. For me, it seems, to mostly come from a physical place. Setting is so important to my writing life. Once I have my setting figured out, I can usually roll out the story.


Recently we were with friends in Ripon, Wisconsin and they showed us an old building they are considering buying. The top floor had been boarded up since the forties. It felt haunted to me. Lonely and forlorn, creepy. Filled with possibility. It was once a grand space. There was a small stage in one area, another room had a huge covered-over rectangle that could have been a skylight and the possibilities started stacking up.


My imagination bounced off those peeling walls and I could see and hear and imagine. I was filled with story.


And yes, the characters that bring life to a novel, for me, are based on real people. Any author who says otherwise is making it up. Honestly.


When I teach writing, or even offer up my two-cents of how to get your novel going, I use baking as an analogy to creating story. You need a bowl (setting) and the ingredients (characters) to add in just the right measure. Then it has to rise and become something else (conflicts) and be punched down (more conflicts) and then baked and sliced and enjoyed (resolution).


With a whole, hell-ova lot of cool shit to keep things interesting!


There. Now you know how it’s done. Any questions?

Bring Back The Sun—Please!

Office Picture

This time of year always throws me, not only do I fight the notion of what’s coming (the white stuff) but also am grateful for the break. I will be. Maybe.


Picking flowers dipped in frost, V’s of geese squawking orders above, the sun taking its dear old time climbing over our hill, slipping into ice-cold garden gloves and planting garlic cloves full of hope. It’s all wrapped together into this fall crunchy leaves time thing. And the colors. Amazing colors are popping into the picture. Crazy reds and yellows and oranges that dazzle. I bring selected maple leaves in and arrange them on tables and countertops.


I have a love-hate relationship with fall. I do. The crispy air is great, it really is. I love the amount of energy I have and how the humidity has left town. But the light, it’s different and telling and it always gets me. Especially late afternoon, how the day up and leaves the area in one big sun-drop. BAM!


“We’re out of time people!” I hear the group that tosses the sun up there in the morning, yelling as they zip up their coats and cart away the orb.

I’m standing in the driveway, wanting a few more hours of light. Just a couple of rays to pull a few more weeds, wrestle that Morning Glory vine down now that it’s kaput and maybe I should unscrew the hose from the house. Again.


You’d think I would get used to this, right? That I’d be all amped and ready with cords of cut firewood stacked and eager to warm the house. But I’m so not there, so not ready for this. Give me some days (in a row please) of summer sun, you know the one, windows open warm breezes and all that noise of life around me. C’mon, who is in charge here? I head in to where it’s warm.




A Tree Grows Tall

A Tree Grows Tall

We discovered this old oak tree years ago when we first moved here to Prairie Farm, Wisconsin and it has intrigued me ever since.


Hidden away back behind a hill, next to where one of our many springs begins its journey to the Hay River, it too begins. I imagine all this tree has witnessed, the storms that have tugged and pulled at the grand branches that reach for the sky.


What quiet power it exudes as it soaks up the sun and holds singing birds and drops acorn-goodies that are scurried away into secret squirrel pantry’s for safe keeping.


Who holds you up when life wants to slam you to the ground?


Maybe you have a place or a person or a phrase that gives you strength to march on, to take that next breath, to live. Life can be so hard sometimes, it can, we all need a tree to lean on, to marvel at, and to imagine.


Better still, be that tree…

2015 July Blog



Alien Man in White


Okay, so that is me and I had just been into (literally) my two bee hives to see how the queens are taking care of business. Not so good. Like writing a novel, if the main character doesn’t step forward and get things cracking, the supporting characters don’t stand a chance.

Stay tuned! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

July In the News