Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best Books of 2008!

I am so pleased to announce that my second novel, Trouble the Water, was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by Library Journal.

Per LJ's web site: "In its 132nd year of publication, Library Journal is the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field. Considered to be the “bible” of the library world, LJ is read by over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries. LJ is the single-most comprehensive publication for librarians, with groundbreaking features and analytical news reports covering technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. Its hefty review sections evaluate nearly 7000 books annually, along with hundreds of audiobooks, videos, databases, web sites, and systems that libraries buy."

This is quite an honor and reinforces my belief that writing should come from the heart. The book was definitely a labor of love for me as I wrote it in honor of a beloved aunt. Thank you, Library Journal. You have made my year!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Foggy Blog

I know it's been a while, but I posted today on the Southern Authors Blog about these foggy images I draw for my kids in the mornings and how they relate to great book endings. Hop on over and have a look here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Seeing as October is almost over, I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the fact that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I first became aware of the disease in 1996 when my aunt succumbed to it. Years later, I dealt with this blow by writing my novel, Trouble the Water, a story about healing. It's a novel about surviving and learning to live again. Granted, my book is not about breast cancer, but it does deal with it as one of my characters is loosely inspired by my aunt. In the back of the book I share resources on the subject and the symptoms of a particularly difficult form of the disease called IBC or Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

My aunt, God rest her soul, did not seek traditional treatment for her cancer and didn't tell her family she was sick until right before she passed. I think, in a way, I wanted to write a book that celebrated life and informed my readers so that none of them would ever have to go through what my family went through. I wanted to share some comments I've received about my book, and I hope that all my readers will not ignore symptoms and get checked regularly. If just one person decides to go for a mammogram because of Trouble the Water, then this will all have been worth it.

"I just finished reading your book Trouble the Water. I wanted you to know that I thought it was one of the very best books I have ever read. I am a breast cancer survivor and I also have very close sisters. Thank you for such sweet words."

"I started (and finished) Trouble the Water this weekend. What a fabulous book! My mother is a breast cancer survivor and I pray your book will lead others to early detection and treatment."

"Oh my gosh, just finished reading Trouble the Water! So intense, loved the pattern of the characters writing their own chapters. Stirred up a lot of feelings in me regarding my own mom's death from cancer 4-1/2 years ago, especially Alice's reference at the end to "magical thinking"... Heart-wrenching. Thank you for this wonderful book."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wonderfully-Creepy Picture Book

I'm an author and illustrator, so I've seen a lot of books. But when I picked up Inside the Slidy Diner written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Jaime Zollars, I was entranced from the cover all the way to the end.

First, the prose is unique, lovely, quirky...a perfect match for the brilliant illustrations. My three-(almost four) and five-year-old kids and I have been reading this one nightly. Each time we see different things in the illustrations we hadn't seen before...a mouse on a cat's back, an eye peeking through a hole in the wall... It's so much fun! It's the story of a young girl who gets stuck in the greasy Slidy Diner after nabbing a lemon drop--and what an imaginative tale!

If you love quirky, dark things that are just creepy enough to be fun but not so much that it turns scary, this is for you. I haven't seen my kids quite so enamored with a book in a while.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Have a Little Faith

My latest blog entry is on the Southern Authors blog (A Good Blog is Hard to Find). Hop on over and read about Joe the Plumber, faith, and silver linings.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Missing Norman Rockwell

I like to consider myself an artist--whether I am or not, isn't the issue, I guess. I paint the covers for my novels, and I write the pages beneath them. Both the writing and the painting is art to me. Like most artists, I do want to be a great at it someday. I know it's something that's subjective and something I'll always strive for, not achieve--but I can relate to artists. I admire them, no matter if they depict life or earth or heaven or cats--whatever the subject, artists are fascinating because they see things and want to express them to other people. They feel compelled to share what they see.
Last weekend I was in a cute little town called Fairhope, Alabama. I was walking down the streets, window-shopping, when I passed a barber shop with a great big window. In that window sat the reddest-haired boy I'd ever seen with the barber poised, scissors in hand, over him. The look on this boy's face--the whole scene--stopped me in my tracks. I wasn't looking at a boy in a barber shop window, I'd suddenly been transported back to a Norman Rockwell painting, back to simpler times, some would say more innocent times. It was an inspiring moment for me. You see, Norman Rockwell was an artist of his times (1894-1978). His days weren't all roses and glory, they were tough times--wars, the Great Depression, civil rights issues. But what did Norman Rockwell paint? He painted the absolute best of humanity. The quiet, sweet moments that everyone could relate to. The bits of us that were innocent and pure. He reminded us all that those parts of us still existed.

“I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be and so painted only the ideal aspects of it—pictures in which there are no drunken slatterns or self-centered mothers … only foxy grandpas who played baseball with the kids and boys who fished from logs and got up circuses in the backyard.” -- Norman Rockwell (from his official site,

Not all of my works--paintings or books--are twinkling and show the best of humanity. Many times they show the struggles we face and the triumphs of overcoming those challenges. I like to give people hope with my work because I have hope. I imagine that Norman Rockwell really did see the best in us, and for that, I thank him. For in that moment last weekend in Fairhope, Alabama, I saw in a red-headed boy's eyes all that I needed to see in this world of politicking and warfare. I saw pure hope for our future and a window into our humanity. And that's something everyone needs to be reminded of now and again.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Back from SIBA - Another Great Show

Last week I flew out to Mobile, AL for the annual Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) Trade Show. It was four days of panels, authors, booksellers, BOOKS, and a little extra sightseeing. It's always wonderful to meet the folks who are selling (hopefully) your books in their stores, and I love meeting writers, some new, some established--all whom I admire.

I met tons of wonderful authors but here are some you might want to look out for...all with new books coming soon if not out already. Steven Forman, Inman Majors, Cathy Pickens, Karen White, Susan McBride, Maryann McFarland, William Conescu, Haywood Smith, Sarah Addison Allen, TA Barron, Tony Vigorito, Melissa Delbridge...just to name a few!

The bookstores represented at the show? There were too many list, but here are a few I noticed: Two Sisters Bookery (Wilmington, NC), Milestone Books (Vestavia Hills, AL), Fiction Addiction (Greenville, SC), FoxTale Book Shoppe (Woodstock, GA), Author Squad (Huntersville, NC), Eagle Eye Book Shop (Decatur, GA), Carpe Librum Booksellers (Knoxville, TN), Sherlock's Book Emporium and Curiosities (Lebanon, TN), The Paper Chase Book Store (Batesville, AR), Bohannons' Books (Georgetown, KY), The Book & Cranny (Statesboro, GA), Chapters Bookshop (Galax, VA), and Bay Street Trading Co (Beaufort, SC).

Thanks to Wanda Jewell and all the wonderful folks of SIBA (yes, you, Nicki Leone) who put on another successful show. Oh, and on a side note, I hopped over the bay to Fairhope, AL and signed books at the Page and Palette. One of the highlights of that little town was Pete's Paninis. I had the best sandwich in my life! (The seared tuna).

Why do authors travel to conferences and trade shows and the like? With two children, it's always hard for me to leave home, so I think about this often. My answer is this: It's necessary. Necessary to meet booksellers. Necessary to meet fellow authors, folks who are in the same boat as you. And crucial to pull your head out of your own book for a while and see what other authors are turning out. Yes, the best part is what you bring home with you. Aaaaahhhh, the BOOKS!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sweetgrass Basket Maker Wins Fellowship

There's an amazing article in the September 23, 2008 Post & Courier about a local sweetgrass basket maker, Mary Jackson, who won the MacArthur Fellowship. She "got the call" from a man saying she'd won $500,000, no strings attached for being a "genius". For all my readers who love Essie Mae from The Spirit of Sweetgrass, you'll love reading this!



Friday, September 05, 2008

The Unhappy Bookseller

I am terribly saddened today to see the news about The Happy Bookseller in Columbia, SC closing. And I must say, watching independent bookstores closing more and more these days, I'm sickened by it. What can be done?

Growing up on Hilton Head Island, my mother would listen to Radio Reader. We listened to many books that way, thirty minutes at a time. We'd arrive to wherever we were going and sit in the car until Dick Estelle had finished his last sentence. That show was sponsored in part by The Happy Bookseller. That was twenty-five years ago.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of signing books at the Happy Bookseller for the first time and meeting the Graves who own the store now. We talked about how tough things had gotten in the book business this year with the economy as challenging as it has been. I had no idea the store was actually going to close. Until today.

Last month, Wordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA held an emergency fund-raiser in order to try and stay afloat. It worked...for the short term. Please, won't somebody help protect these mom and pop stores where people actually know your name and know what you like to read? Something's got to happen. I don't have the answers.

I'll admit, my local Barnes and Noble has that small town feel where they do know my name. Many of us go to bookstore chains for price or convenience. But what will happen when the local independent bookstores go away...the ones that support local literacy efforts and local authors, and the people who know your name and what you love to read have left to find more "stable" jobs?

I want your comments on this. Do you have a favorite independent bookstore? If so, which one is it? Why do you love the store? What can independent bookstores do to stay afloat in this world of chains and mass markets books in grocery stores???

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Post on Another Blog

I have a post about "Looking for God in All the Strange Places" today on the Southern Authors Blog, A Good Blog is Hard to Find. Hope you'll hop on over there and give it a read.

Then write me or comment and let me know the strangest place you've ever seen God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Heart-Pounding Fiction

For a long while I haven't been able to read anything, hoping to hit my stride in writing my next book. I have stacks and stacks of partially-read books on my nightstand and bookshelf. They call to me, asking for me to pick them up, but I've had to say no. At least for a while.

Well, I picked BACK up A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaleid Hosseini, and I'm glad I did. At least, I think I am at this point. I'm not done yet, but last night my heart was actually pounding. I've never had that happen while heart rate going up, my flipping through faster and faster. I said to my husband, "How does he do this? It's whopper after whopper after whopper!"

I loved The Kite Runner. It was a masterpiece. But this book has me caring so much for Mariam, Laila, and Aziza, I find myself wondering what's happening to them as I wash my face. Is it that Hosseini has created such a realistic world? Is it that he created one of the most despicable characters I've ever read? Or is it that he's not afraid to take his readers on journeys they would never willingly go on. For instance, last night I read about the c-section. I've experienced this with anesthesia. It had never occurred to me that in some parts of the world in certain circumstances there would be NO anesthesia.

Thanks for that, Hosseini.

At this point, I'm not just a reader, but a writer, studying the masterful craft of another. Don't tell me how it ends, please, because this ride is too suspenseful.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


There are rumors surfacing that my book, Trouble the Water, has been spotted in Sam's Clubs. Yes, I know, Sam's Clubs--great big wholesale stores. My mother called last night and said my aunt's sister's friend near Garner, NC saw it in a Sam's there. We were skeptical and thought it could be a hoax. Sort of like a UFO sighting. Until I spoke with my mother-in-law this morning who says her friend in Cincinnati, OH saw it and bought Trouble the Water in a Sam's Club there. Ah, proof. She actually bought it there.

This is a bit like finding Waldo. The Sam's Club website has no mention of my book. Readers, would you do me a favor? If you are in a Sam's Club and happen to spot my book, Trouble the Water, please comment and let me know!

The search goes on...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Hermit Crab

My daughter went through a phase a while back--actually, it continues to this day--in which she finds some creature in the wild of our yard and begs to keep it in captivity. Somehow I always end up taking care of the critter and eventually caring about it. We've gone through worms (both the inch- and earth- varieties), beetles, fish, and as of this morning we had two garden snails coexisting in the deceased fish's bowl, and the last one of two hermit crabs. I've grown quite fond of each of them and actually coo over the snails when they stick their little eyes straight up. Adorable!

Anyhoo, today we lost our remaining hermit crab. I mean, physically LOST him. He was supposed to be safely exercising in the kiddie pool, but alas, is now off wandering in the garage or possibly the great wide yard. He probably saw his chance and ran for the hills. The thought of him being out there, somewhere, alone (he is a hermit, after all) has made me come utterly unglued. And the mere concept of me being so upset over a lost hermit crab has got me to thinking. Why?

Then I remembered the other crab.

When I was a kid, we would visit my grandparents' house at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina in the summertime. My cousin Russell and I--and usually another cousin or two for good measure--would stay for a while, working puzzles, goofing off. It was the most fun. Russell and I spent our endless days down on the boat dock, nets in hand, scooping up minnows. Occasionally we'd find some hermit crabs. We found one one time, and my grandmother was gracious enough to bring it in her house. She put it in a little terrarium and cared for it for days.

It's not like I really cared about that hermit crab, I don't think I did. I had a hard time relating to crustaceans (still do as a matter of fact, though I love to eat them). But I'll never forget the morning I woke up to find the hermit crab had died. I'll never forget it because of of the horrible way I treated my grandmother. I blamed her for letting my hermit crab die, as if she had any control over it. As if she held the powers to life and death. I cried and I hollered. The memory to this day mortifies me. To my knowledge, it was the first and last time I ever acted that way with her.

Today, my grandmother is 90. She no longer lives in the house with the dock where so many of my childhood memories remain, instead, she lives in a nursing home. I saw her a few months ago and she didn't remember me. Maybe it's because I'd been away so long. Or maybe it was my hair being short. I'm sure that was it. I pray she also doesn't remember the way I treated her the day that hermit crab died.

What is it that's disturbing me so much about my children's lost crab--this nameless, tiny creature of God? My kids don't seem too upset about him wandering off in the world on his own. So why then do I feel as if I've lost something precious that I can never get back again?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Game of Memory

I just triumphed at a game of Memory with my five-year-old. Actually, two out of three games. Remember the one where you lay down cards, then turn them over one by one, trying to find a pair? The one with the most cards wins. Now, bragging about a win in a game with my five-year-old might sound like I'm desperate for a win. And I am, except the competitor is my husband and the game is Scrabble. But that's a whole different story.

In today's game of Memory, of course I could have let my daughter win. I could have. In fact, I'm guilty of doing that in the past when she was younger. But here's the thing. When we first sat down, she had the cards all laid out for us. As in, she put them precisely where she knew they were. This was not acceptable, so I reshuffled. When the game was underway, my daughter saw that I had two pairs already, specifically, the Blue Morpho Butterfly (this being a Diego game). This did not sit well with her at all. She wanted to find the blue morpho butterfly. She began to tear up, then erupted in an all-out fit. I told her (sweetly but sternly) to pull herself together, and she did somewhat. We ended the game in a tie, five to five. No winners, no losers.

Next game, we started out okay, but when it looked like I was getting more pairs than she had, she got consumed with it. Again. I told her that if she could just keep it together and not focus on how many I had, she could beat me. She lost her cool again. So I won, seven to three.

Game three. The heat is on. I'm wanting her to win. I am. Really I am. I get a pair, she gets a pair, then me, then me again. She's keeping her cool. She's doing great. Then wouldn't you know it, her little brother walks in after coming home from the barber shop and says, "Mommy's going to win" as he's looking at my hidden stash of pairs. Now, mind you, my daughter has just found a pair and she gets to go again. She has another turn. I know she knows where the blue morpho butterfly is because I just turned it over in the last move, but suddenly, she loses her focus. She gets concerned with how many pairs I have. Boom. Just like that. I win again.

Here's the good news. My daughter didn't cry in the third game. We did a post-mortem and discussed what went wrong. She realized she lost her focus when she became concerned with my cards. She knew it. She smiled. She understood. So I told her about an old high school English teacher of mine who used to say to me, "Focus, Nee-kol, Focus!" I told her that when I began writing years later, I could hear that English teacher's voice in my head, "Focus, Nee-kol," as I trudged on through to the finish line of my novels. I did it in that deep voice of his too. "So I say to you, Olivia, remember these words, Focus, Olivia, Focus! And when you keep your focus, you can do anything you set your mind to." That was a little something extra from Mommy.

All in all, looking back, I think my daughter might have been the big winner today. Because she learned the most important lesson of all. And I really think she got it. At five years old.

I tell you this today because we all lose our focus. Often we lose it by looking to see how many pairs the other guy has. Big mistake. Just do your best. Focus on playing your best game, and you might just find out that not only did you reach the finish line, but you won the whole kit and caboodle.

Gee, next time I better watch out, or my daughter might just cream me at Memory. Having young children, mine's not anything close to what it used to be.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Post is a Post

Whoo hoo! I've posted something! Well, not actually here on this blog...but on another blog, and that counts, too. Right? Anyway, if you'd like to hear about the sweet angel I met this morning, hop on over to A GOOD BLOG IS HARD TO FIND and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh, What a Lovely Name!

Well, it's been a while, but I've finally found a title for my blog, Occasional Murmurings. It took me this long because, frankly, I didn't know what kind of blogger I was going to be. It's like having a pet--sometimes you need a little time to see what name fits the pet's personality.

I have learned a lot about myself since beginning this blog. The first is, I would never describe myself as a "blogger." I have the utmost respect and admiration for people who blog daily, or weekly, for that matter. For me, it's fairly sporadic. I will list some news about my books or artwork and often some rantings about something or another--when the mood hits me and I have time. But mostly, I am an "occasional" poster. I know this about myself now.

And I'm okay with it.

Now, much to my agent's-publisher's-publicist's chagrin, I've learned that this is about the most I can do with my blog...if I am to meet deadlines-promote my books-and write more.

A happy medium, I'd say.

So, if you'd like to occasionally stop by to see what's going on in the Charleston literary scene or with my writing life, do stop by. No pressure. No need to check me daily lest I disappoint. If you're the casual blog-reader (as I would also describe myself), you might find my occasional murmurings just your style.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Interview on

If you enjoy reading behind the scenes, you might like to read this interview about my new book, Trouble the Water.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Good Southern Interview

I enjoyed my interview on the "My Friend Amy" blog. Take a look at my thoughts on creativity, healing and macaroni and cheese! Thanks, Amy.

CFBA Blog Tour

For the next couple of days, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is graciously posting reviews of my new book, Trouble the Water. There will also be some interviews. Thank you, CFBA, for helping get the word out about authors who write with the heart and soul.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Best Review Yet

Not all are great. Some aren't even good. Next to Library Journal's, I have to say this is the best review, by far, of my new novel, Trouble the Water. It seems this reader really "got it." Thanks, Deena.

Enjoy the review on "A Peek at my Bookshelf."

Think you can't make a difference?

Do you ever think a single person can't make a difference? Think again. Our friend, Melissa Ruge, does behavioral therapy with autistic kids, specifically a boy named Ryan. Ryan's Bill was just passed so that insurance companies have to cover kids with autism. Before the bill? No coverage whatsoever.

Check out this segment on CNN airing today.

Melissa is the lovely pregnant lady teaching Ryan. I dare you to watch this and not be inspired by the power of one.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Seven-Pound Book

If you'd like to read about the new seven-pound book I'm getting ready to write, hop on over to A Good Blog is Hard to Find.

Gulp. I'm always up for a challenge.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

New Book Launch!

It's finally here! I'm pleased to announce the launch of my next novel, TROUBLE THE WATER. The official launch date is Tuesday, March 11, but sources tell me the book has been spotted just about everywhere. In fact, Barnes and Noble in Mount Pleasant Towne Center has a front window display!

It took a couple years to bring this book to life. The first nine to twelve months were spent writing the manuscript, and the next year was for editing, packaging and getting it ready to be published. As an author (or my mother) when you finally see your book on the bookshelf, you're reminded of the love, sweat and tears that went into it. Seeing your heart in trade paperback is a full-circle, wonderful moment. In other words, it's about time!

Like The Spirit of Sweetgrass, my second novel, TROUBLE THE WATER, was a labor of love. Though fiction, it was inspired (very loosely) by a beloved aunt of mine. Be sure to look for mention of the book in an upcoming issue of Southern Living Magazine!

From Southern Living Magazine
Literary Lowcountry
Hilton Head native Nicole Seitz sets her new novel in a Gullah community of the Sea Islands, where a wise elder helps two sisters come to terms with their troubled past. Inspired by the life and death of her aunt, Trouble the Water (Thomas Nelson, $14.99) is Nicole's second book, following The Spirit of Sweetgrass.

Trouble the Water Book Tour
(Events still being added):* Multiple events in this city
Beaufort, SC
Charleston, SC *
Charlotte, NC
Columbia, SC
Conway, SC *
Decatur, GA
Greenwood, SC *
Hilton Head, SC *
Marietta, GA
Mount Pleasant, SC *
Pawleys Island, SC
Savannah, GA

I hope to see my readers at these events! Check my website for specific dates, times and locations. As always, please let me know what you thik about Trouble the Water. I thank you, reader, for helping me to keep writing my heart.

God bless,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Good News and Reviews

Well, my next book is barely out of the warehouse and things are getting ready to kick into gear. I'm excited to be heading to Columbia tomorrow for the SC Book Festival and speaking on a "Faith in Fiction" panel with authors Beth Webb Hart and Ann Gabhart. Then, off to Hilton Head Island (my hometown) to speak to the National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls (NAPSG). I guess I need to start eating my Wheeties.

The book has been garnering positive reviews! calls Trouble the Water "a well-written, emotionally-involved novel that all women will want to read."

Library Journal gave it a *starred review* and says Trouble the Water "...joins the ranks of strong fiction that highlights the complicated relationships between women. Highly recommended."

Fresh Fiction calls Trouble the Water "A touching, inspirational and realistic look at dealing with death. The true value of love between siblings and the importance of the belief in God is strongly portrayed. This story is well-written and keeps the interest of the reader."

And Publisher's Weekly calls Trouble the Water "compelling."

I am looking forward to sharing my heart with my readers, old and new, with this book. My motto, as always: If just one person reads it and is moved by it, well, my job will be done. I suspect though that God has even bigger plans for the book and for all of us who follow our hearts to honor Him.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Trouble the Water ... The Movie!

My second novel, TROUBLE THE WATER, will be released next month. That's really good news. The even better news is that it's already been made into a movie! No, not really. I wish. Apparently, I do have a way with picking titles though. A documentary about a woman in New Orleans who videotapes Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath becomes the unlikely heroine in Trouble the Water - the Movie. Her story sounds familiar--a troubled woman (in her case, once a drug dealer) who finds that she is able to help others and discovers who she truly is in the process. This documentary just won the grand-jury prize for best U.S. drama at the Sundance Film Festival last month. It sounds terrific, and I hope I get a chance to view it. However, it's not based on my book. Oh, well.

Trouble the Water - the Movie, has something in common with my upcoming novel, TROUBLE THE WATER - the Book, aside from sharing the same great title. Both are about healing and God's grace and unlikely angels in the most dire circumstances. There's a whole lot packed into that name, Trouble the Water, taken from the lyrics of an African-American spiritual, "Wade in the Water."

My book, TROUBLE THE WATER, was a labor of love. It was inspired by my aunt. Though she passed away years ago, we co-authored this book in a way. Seeing it in print will be a dream come true for me, and I hope, to her as well...chapter 10 was adapted from her very own writings. Here's the * starred review * from Library Journal for TROUBLE THE WATER - The Book!

"The South Carolina Low Country is the lush setting for this poignant novel about two middle-aged sisters' journey to self-discovery. Strong female protagonists are forced to deal with suicide, wife abuse, cancer, and grief in a realistic way that will ring true for anyone who has ever suffered great loss. Seitz's writing style recalls that of Southern authors like Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Sue Monk Kidd, and this new novel, which the publisher compares to Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, surely joins the ranks of strong fiction that highlights the complicated relationships between women. Highly recommended."

-- Library Journal

Through the writing of TROUBLE THE WATER, I experienced much healing in my own life. I pray this effect is shared by my readers. And who knows? Maybe there will be another movie called "Trouble the Water" someday, only this time based on my book. It could happen. It could.

Gee, I just can picture it now :) Wonder who will play that cute Officer Simmons...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Friend, Red

My friend, Red Evans, author of On Ice, passed away last Sunday morning on January 13, 2008.

This bio was approved by his family:

"Thank you to everyone who wrote kind words to Red and his family during his illness.The crowning of his long and productive life in radio, television, and public relations was becoming a published author. With a shout of "Ah Scooby Do," his lead in as the DJ “Rockin’ Redhead,” he entered the Pearly Gates conjuring up thoughts for his first heavenly novel."

I honestly don't know what I can say to sum up a man who did so much in his life and meant so much to so many people. I met Red in my writers' group three and a half years ago when I'd just started writing The Spirit of Sweetgrass. I was writing my debut while he was writing his debut into the publishing world. My book came out in March 2007, and Red was at my book launch. His book came out in September 2007, and I was at his book launch. We cheered eachother on and shared in the joy of accomplishment.

Words can't describe what Red had grown to mean to me. He was honest in his critiques, he was always encouraging. He made you feel you might be on to just keep going...the best was yet to come. He taught me to never give up.

I visited Red regularly in the hospital in December when his long and hard-fought battle with cancer was beginning to get the upper hand. I learned so much about him, about myself, about faith and life and death in those last weeks. One day in hospice, I asked Red if there was anything he'd ever wanted to do and had not done in his life.

He told me that at age sixteen he'd felt the call to ministry. He said he'd prayed and cried and prayed some more about it. Then a few years later, Red began his career in broadcasting as a radio DJ. He later became a TV news director and anchor man. He worked in Washington. He owned an antique business. He became an author. He had no regrets, but he thought he hadn't answered that call. I disagree.

I attended Red's funeral on Wednesday. Everyone there loved him. Everyone had been touched in a profound way by him. His son called him "the best dad in the world". His bride of fifty years had spent every day by his side, loving him. There were friends of Red's there from decades ago and friends who'd just come to know him. Last year, he found that the Internet could put him in touch with people he might ever meet in person. Those people now call him a friend.

If Red were here today, I would tell him he did have a ministry...a ministry of friendship. The call he felt from God so many years ago...he was faithful to it after all. He may never have stood behind a pulpit and preached the gospel, but Red Evans had a ministry alright...of encouragement, of truth-telling, of touching people's souls.

Red will always be special to me. I will always see those blue eyes cutting right to the core of me. I will always hear his jokes. He found humor in this world...even in it's bleakest moments. I am better for having known Red Evans. Today, Heaven is a better place. Much funnier, I imagine.

Here's to you, my friend. Save me a good spot, won't you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Shortest interview ever!

Dee, over at Christian Fiction Blog, asked me an interesting question the other day:

What did you do for your spiritual life in '07 that also improved your writing?

Stop by her blog and see my answer!

By the way, for you writers out there, what did you do?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Calling All Book Clubs!

Win your copy of The Spirit of Sweetgrass!

If you are a member of a book club, you're in luck. Hop on over to Book Movement ( and enter to win free books for your club. You can win copies of The Spirit of Sweetgrass and other books if you enter before January 15! Also, you can enter reviews and help support terrific novelists.

Thanks for your support, now go win some books!