The Post Where I Discuss Covid-19

I know this is going around all over the Internet, but it is impacting my normal writing routine. All of my kids are home, and I have to make sure they are submitting their online assignments to their teachers every day. I haven’t written anything since mid-January when I finished The Duke’s Secluded Bride and The Rancher’s Bride. My goal was to start writing new books this week.

Then, when I went to the grocery store last Thursday morning and saw that people were starting to panic-buy and my kids told me the teachers were telling them schools might close, I turned my attention to researching Covid-19. I’d been keeping up with it in the Current Events class with my homeschooled kid. He loves Current Events. I had seen what happened in China and what was happening in Italy. I did prepare because one guy on You Tube mentioned that it’s good to have an emergency stash for things like earthquakes and hurricanes, and I figured that the best case scenario would be that I had extra food on hand and wouldn’t need to grocery shop for a while. But I wasn’t in a panic over it. I just grabbed one more thing of whatever I was picking up each week.

And after this experience, I think having a three-month supply of food/water/other necessities is as important as paying off debt and having an emergency fund. I go by “three months” because I read that the CDC was telling their workers to plan that far ahead. I figured if the CDC was saying it, it was a good rule of thumb to go by. I did have to dip into my small emergency fund to be able to get the supplies, but you can’t eat money that is sitting in a bank. I don’t think people need to go out and buy three months of supplies all at once. It sounds like we’ll still have trucks delivering food and everything to our stores.

Just slowly build things up. Pick up double of what you usually do each time you go out. That will help to not overwhelm the system so others will have something as well. After this experience, I’m not ever going to let anything go low again. I was doing that all through last year as I was paying off debt. I would only allow us to get enough food to last one week. This has taught me that is not a good strategy because for one week, everything could be fine in your town, and when the next week comes, you don’t know if you’ll have what you’re looking for. It’s crazy.

Over the past week, I’ve gotten very little sleep because I’ve been doing a deeper study of Covid-19 and everything that is going on in the country and around the world. There are so many conflicting messages going on. I honestly don’t know if this is serious or if it’s being hyped up for some reason. I have heard quite a few theories, and it seems like no one is sure what will happen.

But I have come to a couple of conclusions. One, I do think it’s best to stay away from large crowds during this time so the medical system doesn’t get overwhelmed. I am concerned about the doctors and nurses. I am concerned there won’t be enough beds for the people who need them. That seems to be what is causing Italy so much grief right now. I don’t want to see the same thing happen in the United States where I live. My plan isn’t to be a complete hermit, but I am limiting my trips out so that we only go out to get things we need. My hope is that we’ll use this time to get more beds in the hospitals around the country and give the doctors and nurses what they need so that if something like this happens in the future, we won’t have to shut a lot of things down around the country.

My husband is still working at the moment, but I won’t be surprised if that stops for a while. He’s a car detailer, so he can’t work from home. He’s also “non-essential”. I’m not sure what this will mean for his job going forward. Will he still have a job waiting for him when this is over? I guess we’ll find out. So my heart does go out to those who can’t work at home. I also feel bad for the small business owners who are operating their businesses in a place that can’t be done from home, either. I’m lucky. Writing is online. Even if I’m not making what I once did, I’m able to keep things going around this house for the time being.

Thankfully, we got out of debt when we did. I know it seems like I keep saying this, but having no debt is probably the smartest move anyone can make. If we had debt, we’d be in a real panic right now. And while I’m on the topic of money, there are some “financial experts” out there who tell people to get a 30-year mortgage and never pay it off sooner so that you can invest the money instead. While I do expect the stock market to come back up, I’m glad I put my money into paying off my house instead of putting it in the stock market. I know banks are holding off on mortgage payments right now, but I like knowing I don’t have to worry about one when this is all over. So I heartily disagree with those financial experts. When everything is going fine, that method is okay, but what if you just lost all of your money in the stock market over this past month and still had that mortgage hanging over your head? I’m not opposed to investing money into the market, but I do think the priority should be the roof over your head.

Okay. I’m off that soapbox.

Now, I’m going to switch to a more religious tone, so if that’s not your thing, you should stop reading here.

I’m currently studying the Book of James in the Bible, and I like to listen to Thru the Bible Radio. I will read a book in the Bible first and then go back to listen to the Thru the Bible radio podcast on You Tube for the commentary on it. Over the past week, while all of this other stuff was going on (and it is scary stuff), it has been helpful to listen to J. Vernon McGee talk about trusting God and that He’ll get us through things. I don’t think the timing of this is a coincidence. I’ve been steadily going through the Epistles in the New Testament since the fall of last year. Then on the radio while I was in the car, the sermon was on what to do when you’re scared. The preacher mentioned that even in the Psalms, those men were scared. I remember passages where they mentioned crying and being afraid of what the day was going to bring. There was something along the lines of, “When it’s morning, I wish it was night. When it’s night, I wish it was morning. My bed is drenched in my tears.” I think being scared if a natural human emotion. It’s what we do with that fear that is important. Do we take that fear and tell God about it? Or do we take that fear, say, “God must not care,” and harden our hearts against him? The same is true with any emotion.

Emotions, in and of themselves, are okay. It’s what you do with those emotions that matter. You can use any emotion and chose to either let it draw you closer to God or let it separate yourself from Him. We have freewill. I believe He is always there, ready and willing to pull us up into His arms, but it’s up to us to take that offer. It doesn’t mean your fear will go away. I’ve found it makes the fear more bearable, and after time, things do “feel” better. There’s a certain peace that begins to take hold, but it is not immediate. It’s a process. I think the closer we get to God, the more that peace settles in. In our instant gratification world, we’re used to having everything right away. This isn’t like that. This takes time. I think this is what patience is about, and it is what ultimately builds character in our lives. The best to do this, in my opinion, is to make Bible study a habit in our lives. The Bible is the main go-to book, especially at times like this. If it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t know what I’d do. He is my anchor in the storm.

I’m not sure if anyone else needed to hear that, but I know I did. I feel much better already.

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Bid for a Bride Trivia

Sorry it took so long to get to this post. I was busy editing The Duke’s Secluded Bride and making some boxed sets for the series I’ve done in the past. I’ll go more into those in a future blog post. Today, I want to get to Bid for a Bride. 🙂

bid for a bride

  • The heroine’s situation at the very beginning of this book was based on a situation involving my own great-grandmother. My great-grandfather was a traveling salesman, and he would spend weeks away from his family at a time. After he died, my great-grandmother found out he had another wife (and kids) in another town. The other wife didn’t know about her, either. My family has had their share of scandals, but this one made it into the book.
  • When I was in high school, I read a teen romance where the main character was blind, and since then, I wanted to write a book from a blind person’s perspective. I chose Brian for this role since John (his adopted father) was mute. I wasn’t sure how to work on how they would communicate but then thought about touch. So I spent some time with my eyes closed while my deaf son signed into my hand. After a few attempts, I began to understand what he was telling me.
  • During the writing of the book, I would go around the house with my eyes closed to better write in Brian’s point of view. It was a great learning experience to get an idea of how a blind person “sees” the world, and, from a writer’s perspective, it was good practice to write scenes where I was unable to do anything with the sense of sight.
  • Brian’s backstory was one of the hardest scenes I ever had to write because it was so awful. Even now, the scene where his mother died is hard to go back and reread, and I end up crying. But I also believe just because something is painful, it’s not something that should be omitted. I pressed the boundaries of my comfort zone with this book, and I feel it made the story one of my best ones because of it.
  • I named Lucy after Lucille Ball because my favorite TV show of all time is I Love Lucy. In my opinion, no one did comedy better than Lucille Ball did. (And that show has inspired elements in a couple of my romantic comedies, such as A Husband for Margaret when Joseph caught Margaret working with the kids to get rid of that irritating woman who wouldn’t leave him alone.)
  • I had no idea what Lucy’s backstory was for about half of the book. I just trusted that the right scenario would come as the story unfolded, so I didn’t know the details about Meredith or any of that stuff until I was about one or two scenes away from writing it.
  • Meredith had Schizophrenia. I actually felt sorry for her because she was plagued with voices telling her she was inferior to Lucy and that she needed to be just like Lucy. Over time, these voices got the best of her and end up making her do things she otherwise wouldn’t have done. Back then, there was no way to help someone like her. If she had gotten the proper medicine, she wouldn’t have done the stuff she did. So I don’t see her as an evil character. I see her as someone who desperately needed help but never got it. My dad had Schizophrenia and went through two nervous breakdowns for a short period of time which put him in a hospital. Thankfully, he had a good psychiatrist and the right medication that enabled him to overcome his mental illness so he was able to live a normal life. It was partly because of this that I got a degree in Psychology, but I never went for my Masters or PhD because I really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and write. But the degree did help me understand him and give me a better understanding of psychological issues people face in general. Regarding this story, though, I was never able to explain WHY Meredith did what she did because it wasn’t anything any of the other characters realized. I can only disclose information in a story IF another character knows it. That’s the downside of writing fiction. I, the author, can’t jump into the story and explain what is going on. I have to work within every character’s point of view, and there is no single character that knows everything.
  • My favorite scene in this book is the morning Brian wakes up and thinks Lucy left him, so he does a frantic search for her. When he realizes she didn’t leave, that made the very difficult scene of his mother’s death bearable. I felt that the story had balanced itself out with that scene. I love romance because it gives the happy endings. No matter how horrible a situation is for a character, I want to know they will be happy in the end. I’m not a fan of the sad endings, and I’ve been known to flip to the end of a book in different genres to see if things end up with a happy ending. If they end up sad, I don’t read the book. This was easier in the age of paperbacks. With ebooks, I rely on reviews to give me this information. This is something I love most about romance readers’ reviews.
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Writing for Passion Ebook is Now Available!

The cover is temporary.  My cover artist and friend, Stephannie Beman, is super busy with other projects, so I came up with a quick cover that I could use for the short term. I didn’t want this book to be hanging over my head. Once I finish with a book, I like to get it uploaded. This way I can focus on my romances. I have a terrible time focusing on writing new books when a finished one is sitting on my computer.

Writing for Passion temp cover

Temporary Cover

It’s currently on Smashwords (but I did set it to distribute to other retailers. Amazon has it at $0.99 so don’t get it there until it price matches to free.)

I made it available in mobi, epub, and pdf on Smashwords. Here’s the link.

This book is specifically for writers who write for passion. The author community is surrounded by people who keep shouting about “writing to market” and making a “six-figure income”. I’m sick of it. I have looked for a book that promoted the writing for passion side, and while a couple of them exist, none go into depth on “WHY” passion is so important. None delve into “WHY” writing to market can be harmful.

I wrote this book because it was the book I needed to read to reinforce the importance of passion in writing. I’m making it free because my goal is to help other authors who might be struggling with the issues I went through. The book’s aim is to give hope, support, and encouragement. I hope it will uplift those of us who want to embrace passion as our primary motive for writing. I don’t care  how much money an author makes. Money can’t replace the joy and satisfaction that writing for passion can bring to the table. Writing for passion sustains an author. Writing to market can lead to burn out. The two are so different, and after going through both perspectives over the past decade, I have come to the conclusion that writing for passion is the better option. This book pretty much lays out how I came to that conclusion while offering additional lessons I’ve learned since I published my first book on Amazon and Smashwords back in 2009.

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