On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

How a writer gets even | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 10, 2019:

Seeing myself in a bookKnowing a writer can be dangerous. You never know when you’ll see yourself in print. I learned that when my son Christian wrote his first novel at 16 years old. I recognized myself in the over-protective mother who woke her son each morning with a cheerful Good morning, sunshine. Over the years I’ve seen my politics and religion displayed to the world. I’ve cringed as my failed marriage was discussed, and I’ve cried when he thanked me in one of his first published books for showing him what it means to be a person of faith. There’s always payback though. He showed up a lot in my memoir and even more often in my blog. Maybe that’s why I started to write. As the saying goes, don’t get mad, get even.

When I began to write my first book, I worried about what people would think if I wrote about them. That’s part of being a co-dependent, always wanting everybody to be happy. My memoirs aren’t of the Mommy, Dearest type, but the people in my life aren’t perfect. When writing about real people, I never write in anger, and I write gently but truthfully, following the Apostle Paul’s admonition to speak the truth in love.

That kind of writing can be difficult when the subject is caregiving. Dad would have beenToo many socks mortified to know that I wrote about his hygiene issues, and Mom would have been embarrassed for people to know that she sometimes put four socks on one foot and two on the other. But that was part of the truth about caregiving, and I told my stories in hopes that other caregivers would be encouraged to know they’re not alone, inspired to continue living in spite of hardships, and maybe even be amused by some of the ridiculous situations that dementia causes. Based on the responses I’ve received, those hopes have been realized.

So far I’ve not had any complaints from people who have become part of any of my books. Hopefully, that means I haven’t offended anyone and not that they are quietly plotting revenge. As I’ve expanded my writing platform to include frequent blogs and a weekly newspaper column, I’ve received much more feedback from people who recognize themselves in print. Responses range from an excited I made the paper to an increased discretion in my presence. One particularly long conversation at the Senior Center about what kind of screws one of the guys was going to purchase at Hooten’s after lunch ended up as a City Girl column. For a while after that, any time someone started to say something interesting, the speaker would look at me with caution and say, “Don’t write about this.” One of the most direct confrontations I’ve had, though, came one evening several years ago.

“It’s for you,” David said as he held his cell phone out to me.

I knew who it had to be. It was our RV friend who always calls just as we’re sitting down to dinner. But why did he want to talk to me instead of to David?

“Hi,” I said. “What up?”

“Shame on you for quoting me in your blog,” he said.

“But I didn’t use your name,” I said.

“Right, but I know what I said.”

I heard a smile in his voice and laughed with him.

“I was just reading your blog and had to call you. Go enjoy your dinner, and I’ll talk to you later.”

killing characterI’ve continued to write about what I know and who I know. And to my dear RV friend, here you are once again – and no, I’m not ashamed. I’ll make you a promise. If you decide to become a writer, feel free to write about me as long as you speak the truth in love. I promise not to get mad – but I might get even. And one more word of warning – since I’ve expanded my repertoire to include fiction, I have other weapons in my arsenal. If you make me mad, I’ll write you into one of my books as the main villain, and I’ll kill you off!

 

Blessings,

Linda

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Author Interview: Alice Patron

Today I have a visitor – Alice Patron, author of Rachel’s Valley. She stopped by to tell me and my readers a little bit about herself and about her book, released by Anaiah Press under their Romance imprint on February 26. Here’s a picture of the beautiful cover, a link where you can find the book, and a little bit about the story.

Cover Rachels Valley

BOOK LINK

About the book:

Not long after saying “I do,” Rachel Wood finds herself abandoned by her husband in a mining town in the West. After a year and a half of waiting for his return, she needs to move on. She responds to an ad in the newspaper and becomes the caretaker for two girls in the small town of Breckenridge, Colorado.

The moment he sees the beautiful young woman climbing into his wagon, widower Clint Harvey second-guesses his decision to hire someone to teach his daughters. But Rachel Wood is just what his girls need. And it doesn’t take long to realize that she is exactly what he needs, too—if only she didn’t keep holding him at arm’s length.

Clint is the only man who has ever shown Rachel true love and friendship, and it becomes almost unbearable to not let herself fall for him. But she doesn’t want to cause a scandal in such a small town, so she keeps her marital status under wraps. But when she finally receives a threatening letter from her “husband,” she begins to question whether her marriage was even legally binding in the first place. Now, she must unravel the status of her supposed marriage before her chance of happiness with Clint has passed—and follow God’s law no matter that outcome, which just might be the most difficult thing of all.

Welcome, Alice. Your cover is beautiful, and your story sounds intriguing. Now let’s talk about you. When did you first begin to write?

My sister published a regency romance novel about four years ago, which got me thinking about how much I’d love to write. A few of us in the family started meeting weekly to write together. Rachel’s Valley came about because of the support and encouragement of family and friends, but especially from those I’ve been meeting with.

That’s an interesting way to begin a writing career. Is Rachel’s Valley your first book? And do you have other books in progress or in your head?

I wrote a YA fantasy novel before starting on Rachel’s Valley. It was a fun learning experience. I’m not sure if I’ll get back to that book someday, but I also have a couple other stories floating around in Google docs. One of those is a novella that’s a modern retelling of the Daddy Long Legs story. One story I’ve started is another historical romance set in the west. I’m also collaborating on a WWII romance. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy!

It certainly sounds like it! What inspired you to write Rachel’s Valley?

I love hiking in the west, and I love the history and geography of the west. In my opinion, it’s a very romantic setting! I can look up and see the Rocky Mountains every day, so my inspiration was all around me.

Having traveled in the mountains quite a bit, I can understand how you feel about them. Who has been your favorite character, and who was the most difficult to write?

Rachel’s sister Edith was probably my favorite character to write. The most difficult was probably Clint – I wanted his voice to be his own, but it was hard to put myself in the shoes of a widower.

Yes, I imagine that would be difficult. Did you have to do any research for Rachel’s Valley?

I did have to do a little research for Rachel’s Valley. From geography, to history, to railroads, ranching, and mining, I had to consult Mr. Google several times while writing. I actually didn’t mind the research aspect too much though – I learned some interesting things!

I’ve had similar experiences – and I wonder how authors managed to complete a project without the Internet! In spite of research and planning, scenes sometimes don’t go where you expect them to go, and characters don’t act the way you intend them to act. Have you experienced anything like that in writing Rachel’s Valley?

This is a frustrating aspect of writing for me. I’d love to make a very detailed outline then flesh it out. I still make outlines, but they inevitably change. The picnic scene, for example, didn’t end how I originally planned.

Now I can’t wait to read the picnic scene! When is your favorite time to write and where is your favorite writing place?

I don’t get to write when and where I would like. I’m usually writing on my phone when I have a spare minute or two. Apparently, kids need lots of attention! If I could have my way, I’d love to write in the mornings while snuggled up in bed with a laptop and yummy snacks.

Writing would be easier if we lived in a bubble, wouldn’t it? What do you hope your readers will take away from Rachel’s Valley?

Life is hard and messy, but the hard things we face can build our faith and strength. I wanted to write strong characters with faith that overcome hard things and in the end find love and happiness. I want readers to feel like they can get through hard things and hope for the good things to come.

From what I know about Rachel’s Valley, it seems like you have achieved your goal. What is your next project?

I’m hoping to finish a rough draft by the end of the year on a WWII romance.

Best of luck with that project and with Rachel’s Valley, and thank you so much for stopping by for a visit.

About the author:

Alice Patron Head Shot

Alice Patron grew up in a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. During college she served for her church in Chile, studied abroad, and did an internship for the forest service. She worked as a pharmacy technician until becoming a stay-at-home mom, her favorite job of all!

 

You can find Alice on Facebook.

 

 

Blessings,

Linda

 

 

First week of retirement | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 29, 2019:

you mean it's wednesdayThis past week was pretty busy for a retired lady. The one thing I did notice is that the days more or less ran together. Several people had told me to expect that phenomenon, but I didn’t expect it so soon. If it hadn’t been for several appointments and a couple of regular events, I might have lost track of time altogether.

Monday was a holiday, so the Senior Center wasn’t open. David and I spent the day inmessy closet house pants and sweat shirts and watched a lot of TV. I did clean out one kitchen cabinet where an avalanche of koozies and “go” cups threatened to fall on my head every time I opened the door. I filled a box with the extras and took them to the Good Samaritan Thrift Store later in the week, and we still have plenty to choose from. In the process, I found several measuring cups and a funnel that I didn’t know I had. Later in the week I cleaned out my side of the closet. I’ll spare you the details, but I can now stand in the closet without kicking empty hangers out of the way, and I have to make another trip to the Thrift Store. (more…)

Retired! | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 21, 2019:

retired t-shirtThursday was my last day of work at Believers’ Baptist. Actually I hadn’t been doing much work since the week before when I began training my replacement Lissa Grady. On her first day it was obvious that she was highly qualified, and all I had to do was point her in the right direction and get out of the way. By last week, I was going into the office for only an hour or two each day to answer questions. After spending about thirty minutes with her on Thursday, I knew she didn’t need me anymore.

“My work here is done,” I announced dramatically. “I’ve taught you everything I know.” (more…)

Facebook or Face to Face | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 18, 2018:

FacebookI opened my Facebook account ten years ago when one of my friends sent me an invitation. I didn’t really know much about social networking, but my friend lured me in with the promise of pictures of her grandchildren. After looking at those sweet faces, I was hooked.

I was working on my first book at the time, and when I was told by those who know that it is imperative for the modern author to be active on social media, my future was set. A decade later, I am not only active on Facebook, but I also have a blog and accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and several other sites. (more…)

It’s the little things | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 4, 2018:

Physical therapy 2I tried to think of a topic other than my health for my column this week, but there’s little else going on in my life right now. I’m almost three weeks post-surgery, and the worst of the initial trauma has past. Over-the-counter pain meds and a gel cold pack take care of most of the pain, and physical therapy has settled into a manageable routine. It’s still painful and hard work, but I’m making progress, and I’ve cancelled the contract on my therapist. Still, I have almost four weeks until my next appointment with my doctor when he will hopefully release me from my sling, and the little inconveniences of having my dominant hand bound up are driving me crazy. (more…)

A Tale of Kitty’s Tail (and Video)| by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 31, 2018:

Kitty plays favorites – she’s definitely partial to David and spends much more time with him than she does with me. That’s not really news, but it continues to be a source of disappointment to me – most of the time.

In the last several months, she has begun to warm up to me more. She sometimes rubs against my legs and then stands with her left rear foot on top of my left foot. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but she does it to David frequently, and it seems to imply some sort of ownership. She’s also allowing me to pet her more, and she sometimes asks me for attention, especially when we first get home in the afternoon. If she’s awake when we arrive, she greets us from the chair by the front door, pushing her head against any part of us she can reach, especially if it’s a hand. She used to save this kind of affection for David, but now I’m included as well.

Another new bid for attention involves my rolling computer stand and the TV table that has become one of her favorite napping places. Because of spatial limitations, the tables are close to each other, and the “mouse ledge” of the computer stand overlaps the edge of the TV table by several inches. When Kitty is lying on her TV table, she rests her head on the computer stand. This is no problem at all except when I’m using my mouse, and Kitty decides she needs my attention. Sometimes she tries to take the mouse out of my hand, and since she doesn’t always remember to sheath her claws, this can be painful for me. Other times she will put her paw on my hand and give that I-know-you-want-to-pet-me look. My typical response is to rub just above her eyes with one finger. She likes that until she doesn’t, and then she bites me.

For quite some time, one of Kitty’s favorite places to lie has been the back of the sofa where David usually sits. It’s high enough to allow her to look down on her loyal subjects, and it’s close to David. It’s also fun to dig between the cushions and the back of the couch unless, of course, David has the spray bottle close at hand to give her a squirt for scratching the furniture. Lately, she has been spending some time on the back of the love seat where I sit. Her favorite place is right behind me. That puts her in the perfect spot to swish her tail and whop me upside my head. Who knew a fluffy tail could pack such a wallop.

Occasionally, instead of lying lengthwise along the back, she lies across it so she can look out the window better. She scoots her backside down until she’s sitting on my shoulder. It’s nice and cozy, and she allows me to lay my head against her like a pillow from time to time. Thankfully, she chooses the left shoulder instead of the sore one, and I enjoy the closeness – until, that is, she swishes her tail. Then, instead of hitting me in the ear, she gets me in the face. Oh well. I guess since I’m number two in her affections, I have to take what I can get, even if it seems like I’m getting the bad end of the deal.

Blessings,

Linda

Final_Tatia's Tattoo Cover trim size

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