Before my first novel, Tatia’s Tattoo, became a file in my computer, I knew sex trafficking existed. But in my narrow perspective, this unspeakable crime was limited to the back alleys of foreign countries or a few mega-cities in the U.S. Orphans were snatched from a hopeless existence and forced into something even worse.
Then, one Sunday evening, a couple visited our church from a town about fifty miles away from my home. They had founded an organization whose mission statement reads, in part: to bring hope to teens silenced by sex trafficking and exploitation in the United States. Talk about a wake-up call! Not only was sex trafficking not limited to faraway places, it was not limited to nameless, faceless children who lived in another reality. It was happening to girls – and sometimes boys – just like the children and grandchildren of my friends and neighbors, the children I saw every week at church or in the grocery store – or at camp. (more…)
I am excited to announce that I have contracted with Crowdscribed to publish my first novel. Tatia’s Tattoo, a work of literary Christian fiction, is the story of a young girl trapped in the sex trafficking trade.
The mark of shame on Tatia’s forearm represented the evil in her life – the war and grief that took her parents, the lust and greed that took her childhood innocence – but courage, love, and grace helped her rise above it all. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 28, 2017:
Writing is a difficult, lonely undertaking, but it must have been almost impossible before the advent of computers. I have watched movie scenes in which a devoted author sits down at a small, candlelit desk in a remote corner of the house, dips her quill in an ink well and pens a classic best seller that haunts English students for centuries to come. I probably should be inspired by such ambition and determination, but instead, I’m left wondering how in the world she managed without a word processor and an on-line Thesaurus. Before my first book hit the inbox of a publisher, it had been edited at least fourteen times. Can you imagine how many inkwells I would have drained? (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 20, 2016:
The Rains County Leader always closes for the last week of the year, so this will be the last issue of the paper until 2017. Following the example of many of news programs and talk shows, I did a quick review of my columns from the last year. Here is a brief overview of what I shared with your during 2016. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 23, 2016:
This has been an interesting week – not because of any one thing, but because of several small events. I decided to make this a potpourri column – a mixture of all these different things.
In my column two weeks ago, I wrote about what I’ve learned through the experience of writing fiction. One of the first interesting things this week was that I completed the first draft of my first novel. It was thrilling for a few minutes, at least until the reality of endless editing struck, and until I remembered that no one but me may think it’s worth the year I’ve spent on it. Still, if I’ve learned anything about this pursuit, it’s that a writer continues to put words on a page even if no one ever reads them. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader On August 9, 2016:
I 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…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 26, 2016:
I can’t decide if this week was so uneventful that nothing unusual has happened or if so much has happened that I haven’t had time to contemplate the deeper meanings of any one event. Either way, when I sat down to write, the only thought that crossed my mind was I got nothin’.
I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions, but I guess they were all busy watching play-off games. Nobody responded, and I ended up with what I started with – nothin’. (more…)