On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘fiction’

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!




Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Book Review: The Purpose of Me by Molly Shaffer


About the book:

After finding a misplaced diary at her local thrift store, Rigby Thomas pays twenty-five cents for another girl’s secrets. Reading the diary is wrong, but there is something about “ME’s” life that lures Rigby into the pages. Pages holding anguish, bitter regrets, and life-altering consequences for anyone brave enough to read the truth. “Sometimes, in order to have a future, a girl must walk through fire… and sometimes, if that girl is lucky, she rises again.” –ME

My thoughts:

The Purpose of Me, a young adult novel by Molly Shaffer, is a powerful and compelling story of abuse and its effects on the human spirit. She skillfully weaves together the stories of the mysterious ME and Rigby Thomas in a way that sometimes makes the reader forget whose story is whose – and for good reason. I am definitely not a young adult, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to more offerings from Mrs. Shaffer.

About the author:


Head ShotMolly Shaffer adores the strange and unusual and obsesses over authentic stories where reality and rawness converge. She writes true-to-voice young adult novels, humorous sci-fi middle grade fiction, and whimsical picture books. Molly blogs at http://www.mollyshaffer.com and is represented by the fabulous Jessica Schmeidler at Golden Wheat Literary Agency.

You can follow her on Facebook: @authormollyshaffer or on Twitter: @mollyshafferWIP

Buy at Amazon 



Writing fiction is a novel experience | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader On August 9, 2016:

nano_featureI mentioned last November that I was participating in National Novel Writing Month, an annual event during which writers around the world commit to write 50,000 words in thirty days. At the time, I had been working on a project for a while but had only managed to write a little over 6,000 words. I am a voracious reader of mystery novels, but with the exception of three short stories, one of which was written when I was sixteen years old, I had never written anything but non-fiction. I was intimidated by the process, but I decided to use the motivation and peer pressure of what writers call NaNoWriMo to focus my keyboard time on my first novel. (more…)

All About Writing – Fiction versus Non-Fiction | by Linda Brendle



I’ve mentioned that I’m branching out beyond my non-fiction comfort zone and working on a fiction piece. The thought process of creating settings, characters, and plots is completely different than finding creative ways to describe people and places that really exist and tell stories that really happened. It has been a mind-expanding experience in a lot of ways–but what I find most fascinating is sitting down at the keyboard and thinking, I wonder what is going to happen next.”

Think. Create. Write.



All About Writing – The Attic of Your Mind | by Linda Brendle

The Attic of Your Mind

Writing memoir requires lots of rummaging around in the attic of your mind. Digging up old memories can be entertaining as you find the picture of yourself in cat’s eye glasses and teased hair and wonder, “What was I thinking!” It can be painful when you come across reminders of times in your life you would rather forget. It can also be very frustrating when you’re reaching for that pivotal moment you want to include in your narrative, but the memory is so faded and covered with dust that you just can’t quite make out the details.

Even though I write creative non-fiction, I’ve never considered myself to be a very creative person. I usually want a recipe, pattern, or diagram before I begin something new, and although I’ve become much more daring in my later years, I still fear failure and rejection enough to make me cautious. Recently, however, I stepped out of my comfort zone and signed up for a spec fiction short story workshop.

Until now, I never thought I had enough imagination (or courage) to be a fiction writer, especially one who writes about a future time that I can’t research on Google. However, as workshop coaches have moved through the step-by-step process of creating characters, setting, tension, and crisis, I’ve discovered a corner of my mind that has remained mostly unexplored until now, that the section where my imagination lives. So far I’ve made lots of notes and written bits and pieces to complete homework assignments, but if I keep rummaging, maybe I’ll pull something out of myself that I didn’t know existed.



winding road Cover 25 percentA LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available Now At:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

Is My Face Red! | by Linda Brendle

I have all sorts of excuses for not posting a blog on Monday and for not posting one earlier today. Some are interesting and some are not, but the real reason is a little embarrassing. One of my fellow AKA Literary authors mentioned a writing contest, and I decided to give it a shot. It was fiction only, so I took a deep breath and wrote my first work of fiction since I was a sophomore in high school. After tweaking it to my satisfaction, I went to the contest site to check out the submission procedures. The first thing I saw was “OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF PENNSYLVANIA WHO ARE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OLD AS OF THE DATE OF ENTRY.” Well, duh! The name of the contest is “The 2013 Central PA Magazine Writing Contest.” So, I have a story that’s all dressed up with no place to go.  I know it’s not my usual genre, but give it a read and let me know what you think.

New Beginnings | by Linda Brendle

I was sitting in the waiting room of the dentist’s office the day it began – a typical waiting room with nondescript furniture, bland wall prints, the faint smell of lemon-scented cleaning products and antiseptic, the distant sound of a drill. I was looking at a magazine article titled “New Year, New Beginnings” – looking but not reading. I was in the season of endings. My marriage ended after twenty years, and a couple of ill-advised relationships ended much more quickly. My career ended in a corporate downsizing, and my stint as a caregiver ended with the death of my mother, taking half my retirement savings with it. The rest of my plans for a semi-luxurious retirement ended when the stock market and the housing market crashed at about the same time. All my new beginnings had faded, and I’d resolved to make do with what was left. (more…)

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