I’m always asked where I get my story ideas. The simple answer is my life. As writers, we call on our memories to plot stories and fuel characters’ emotions. Sometimes obviously. Sometimes subtly.
There’s personal memory embedded somewhere in a plot or a character or a scene in every book I’ve written. None more than When Love Endures, book three of the Fitzpatrick Family series. It’s based on one of my favorite holiday memories.
Another thing we did was attend holiday programs either as an audience or participants. School programs, church programs, choir performances, band, and orchestra performances. Listening to the holiday songs always fueled our holiday spirit.
One memory—playing a Christmas duet with my daughter at her piano recital—provided the springboard for When Love Endures, my new holiday novella.
In the story, heroine Sarah’s high school sweetheart moves back to their small town and enrolls his daughter in her school music class. Old feelings return, but Sarah must win the daughter over. There are obstacles, but, like all Hallmark Christmas love stories, there is a happy ending that may or may not involve playing a Christmas duet.
When Love Endures
Sarah Fitzpatrick, pianist extraordinaire, gave up on true love when her high school boyfriend, Nick Stephens, ran off to marry his pregnant ex-girlfriend. When his daughter shows up in her music class eleven years later, Sarah must find a way to keep the little girl and her widowed father out of her heart. She can’t risk losing everything again.
Nicks Stephens has other plans. Sarah is and always has been the love of his life and he’s back in Burton, TX to prove it. But there are secrets Nick must keep, from Sarah and his daughter, that could destroy everything he hopes to build.
Use these links to get your copy.
I hope a fond holiday memory comes to your mind when you read When Love Endures.
It’s time to focus on thankfulness.
As a writer, I’m thankful for so many things.
- A supportive spouse who is my walking research resource and also happens to be the best critique partner, plotting budding, and editor ever.
- Writing friends who support, cheer, and listen to my rants.
- Non-writing friends who ask how’s my writing is going and accept that deadlines can interfere with get-togethers.
- Family members who let me talk about my characters as if they are real and always answer my wild questions.
- The imaginary friends and their voices in my head. Without them, I couldn’t do what I do.
Then there are the uniquely writerly things
- I get to work in pajamas.
- I always have a blank page to start fresh.
- Life is filled with funny stories, daily struggles, and multitudes of blessings, so there’s always be something to write about.
- My first-try draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Think about it. Professionals like doctors and dentists can’t say that.
- Edits and revisions do, in fact, eventually end.
- My Google searches haven’t gotten me arrested…yet. (I’m probably on watchlists, but so far no one’s come after me.)
- I can escape into other worlds – ones I create, and the ones other authors have created for us to read.
- Reviews! Even one or two-star reviews mean a reader’s read the book.
So many blessings in my writer world. What’s in your world that makes you feel thankful this Thanksgiving?
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Our neighbor called a couple of weeks ago to tell me there were bees in their driveway and wondered if they could be ours.
Beekeeper Brian was out of town, so he started explaining to me what to do. He sent me the following picture with the message – “there is the queen.”
I had no idea what he meant so Rachel stepped in.
Eventually we – that is Rachel – got the bees into a nuc (nucleus hive) and let them settle in.
I am very glad our neighbors do not mind having such interesting people living next door.
In fact, they were fascinated by the whole process and even covered the hive that night to keep the bees warm.
Rachel has earned her Beekeeper title. I’ll stick to documenting the excitement.
Hubby-dear is a Pickleball addict. He wears his hat all the time which leads to questions. Because he loves the game, he’s always eager to share. He’s been responsible for growing the sport every place we’ve lived.
Hubby-dear also carries paddles, nets, and balls in his car for a quick demonstration. If someone wants to learn, he offers one of the extra paddles.
During our great Texas Ice Apocalypse remodel last February, Hubby-dear invited one of the workers to join him on our local city park Pickleball courts. The young man didn’t have a paddle, so Hubby-dear lent him my Ol’ Yellow paddle from his stash.
The young man played a couple of times. He loved the game so Hubby-dear let him keep the paddle until he could get his own. He even wrote his phone number on the paddle so the man could call with questions.
Fast forward to two days ago, Hubby-dear received a text from a car dealer in Mississippi. He’d found a yellow Pickleball paddle in a car he bought at a car auction in Texas. Was it Hubby-dear’s?
The paddle arrived the next day via next-day delivery!
I think I was happier than Hubby-dear. I’d played many a game using Ol’ Yellow until health issues forced me to retire. These days I watch Hubby-dear win local championships with his partner.
I may not play, but Ol’ Yellow is back in Hubby-dear’s supply basket awaiting the next new Pickleball convert. Who knows where the paddle will end up next?
If you haven’t played Pickleball, stop by your neighborhood courts and watch. And, yes there will be a court somewhere close by.
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in American.
A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
I grew up memorizing large numbers of Bible verses. This serves me well in troubled times.
One passage I still remember is out of the book of Ephesians chapter 6. There, Paul describes spiritual armor including an instruction to gird your loins with the belt of truth. I memorized most scripture in the King James translation and didn’t really understand what it meant to “gird your loins” until recently.
I like to wear long, full skirts. They are especially useful in teaching as they allow me to move around and sit on the floor without revealing any body parts best left covered.
This poses a problem in the chicken yard. The skirts drag on the dirt and gets caught in the chicken wire.
Then I discovered how to “gird my loins.”
I take the back of my skirt and bring it through my legs and tuck it into my waistband.
It may look silly, but it keeps my skirts clean!
Shopping, especially online like so many of us are doing these days, means phishing time for hackers.
Email scams called phishing are an easy form of cyberattack that supplies everything a hacker needs to steal information to ransack personal and work accounts.
The earliest hackers were known as ‘phreaks’ or ‘phreakers’ from those names came phishing, a modified version of fishing…to steal your private information.
Early attempts to scam came with tell-tale signs like strange spelling, weird formatting, low-res images, and messages that often didn’t make sense. Some remain easy to spot today like a long-lost relative who wants to leave you his fortune.
Most of today‘s scammers are more talented when it comes to creating fake logos making scams extremely difficult to spot. A skilled hacker can disguise emails to look like it’s coming from your friends, family, colleagues, and even your boss.
Emails arrive with subject lines about prizes to entice and catch the eye. Remember, if that email ‘prize’ seems too good to be true, it usually is and it’s likely a hacker phishing for your personal data.
Fake emails from your bank or health care provider are trickier to spot. These come with ‘URGENT’ message subjects designed to panic victims into making an error. Some look convincingly legit…until you check the sender source. Always check the sender’s email address. See how below:
If the email address is not visible, you can hover your mouse over it and see who it’s really from. But, if the email is suspect, you shouldn’t click. Instead, go to your web browser, log into your account, and address the financial or health issue there or call directly.
Sadly, phishing isn’t limited to email. There’s vishing (suspicious phone calls) and smishing (messaging services). Even apps trick a target into what the scammer wants. Phishing is also a popular method for installing trojan malware or ransomware.
As Adrian Monk says in his Monk series, “It’s a jungle out there.” Protect yourself this holiday buying season. Don’t be some hacker’s phish. Watch for scams.
For more advice on how to protect yourself from phishing. This blog post from Microsoft has more great tips. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/protect-yourself-from-phishing-0c7ea947-ba98-3bd9-7184-430e1f860a44