Thursday, January 30, 2014

What took you so long?

I was at a get together recently and was asked a question that I think should NEVER be asked...ever. It stands on the same wobbly pedistal as the Marriage question which is often blasted to a single woman or man - Why haven't you gotten married yet? You are ___years old, what's taking so long! This is THE QUESTION of all questions that seems to be on the tip of many women's tongues. Now I know you all are wondering what THE QUESTION is...well it is a question that seems to be pervasive in the female christian community, it's a question that really shouldn't be dwelled on but unfortunately it is. It is the Fertility question. The fertility question often comes discreetly inserted into a barrage of other questions - which at best are nosey. I have never understood why others think that the amount of children I choose to have somehow is connected to my faith or to my status as a mother. I don't recall God ever saying that women should have a cerain Number of children! He said be fruitful and multiply...but maybe my fruitful is different than someone else's fruitful. God gives me what I can handle and when I can handle it. My path is not anothers path - Praise GOD! I also think that many people who ask this question think that all bodies are made the same, that becoming pregnant is simple or that childbirth is easy for all women. The fertility question fails to take into account that some women would love to conceive, but have yet to be able to. It is a callous, insensitive, and thoughtless question.

At this party there were many people there with large families. Many of the mothers in attendance were expecting their third, fourth, or fifth child. To say that I already felt out of place would be a gross understatement. I was sitting watching my son play, when a lady, who I had never met before, decided to come over and ask me THE QUESTION. This older woman looked at me and said "Is he your only child?" My reply was, "yes." Then she asked me how long I had been married, to which I replied 6 years. I could already sense where she was about to head, and was praying that I wouldn't have to answer this time. Alas, it blurted out..."You have been married 6 years and you only have ONE child? What took you so long? My daughter has been married for 5 years and she is about to have her 3rd baby!"As the question stabbed to my core, my husband thankfully overheard and came to my rescue. He politely responded that for 4 of those 6 years we were struggling financially, that he was finishing his degree, and that I had been working. He also added, "we wanted to make sure that my wife could stay at home with our son. That's what is important to her, and that's what was important to me. He is our blessing, he wasn't easy to come by, and we are proud to call him our son." The lady got the message and walked away, but the rudeness of her question still rang in my ears.

As I drove home that night I pondered her question and why I have heard it so many times.The sheer nosiness made me irritated. I wondered why she felt the need to shout about her own daughter's fertility to make another feel less than? Why do many women feel the need to hold a number over other women's heads?  Her question didn't take into account God's plan, all she seemed concerned about was man's finite plan. Many of these "ladies" who ask this question forget that the road paved to being a mother is not always smooth. I began to wonder how many other women she has asked this question, who have experienced great grief in trying to have a child - maybe they have problems with infertility, maybe they have had miscarriages along the way - and yet this woman railroads them with a question that is none of her business. I am in no way saying that women shouldn't talk about childbirth, how many kids they wish to have, the struggles of being a mom, or the joys of parenthood; what I am saying is don't push God's plan for YOU onto another believer. Never make a sister in Christ feel ashamed of following God's whispers and leadings. To do so is selfish, arrogant, and un-edifying to a brethren. His plan is NOT our plans!

In God's eyes I am right where he wants me to be. I have peace in knowing that the wait for a child was worth it. I know that my son is a gift, as all children are. I waited patiently for my gift and I am enjoying it - every minute. I want us all to remember that children are not a way to elevate our spiritual status, personally nothing can elevate spiritual status - we have all fallen short and it is only God's grace that elevates us to be called His Children. Your worth is not wrapped up in a number. I believe that my worth is wrapped up in pursuing the dream that God gave my heart years ago - the desire to be a mom. God answers prayers...sometimes not in our time frame or exactly how we "wanted" it...but He does answer. So if you ever feel inclined to ask this question, step back a minute, ponder what God's plans and pathways may be for your sister in Christ...and remember not all paths are paved.

"For I know the plans I have for you...plans not to hurt or to harm you, but to give you hope and a future...." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday Writer's Window - Ross Homer

Writer's Window Thursday - Ross Homer


I would like to welcome Ross Homer to this week's "Writer's Window". Mr. Homer writes fantasy/sci-fi for a more mature audience. Here is a little background information on this interesting author. Ross has been a story teller since childhood. Since his family moved quite a lot, he collected a myriad of experiences, thoughts, people, places and things to write about. He went to college for awhile and majored in History and Anthropology. These two subjects help immensely in his writing. Ross, now lives in Alaska where the beauty and absolute weirdness of the people provide fodder for his imagination. Let's take a peek into Ross' imagination and learn how he crafts his stories!

Tiffany - Will you please tell us what is the title of your book ?
Ross -The title of my first book is “The Witches of Aba Nam, Book 1: The Orb"

Tiffany -Give a short synopsis of your book.
Ross - Defeated in war by Teus, Lord of Moraduhnim Castle, the beautiful young queen of Aba Nam is captured and tortured for two years. Teus stripped Viktoria Ceridwyn Coer Kilarra of her health, realm and magical abilities in the war that saw black, white and gray magics used by both. Almost dead from her continuing defiance, she manages to escape. Escaping, though, has its own set of problems. Like falling in front of an oncoming automobile. This one is driven by Taagen Davis, novelist and avid bicyclist. He barely stops in time. Recovering from the injuries incurred in the war, the young queen tells Taagen a tale of a legendary object that must be protected at all costs. When she’s strong enough, she shows him a small sample of her once powerful magic. Taagen takes time to think about what she’s told him and decides her story is reasonable. Of course, his falling in love with her didn’t enter the decision at all. He decides to join this beautiful young woman on her quest. Their destination is the secret location of the Orb of the Worlds. Arriving on Aba Nam through a portal called a Gateway, Taagen discovers it to be nothing like Earth. For starters they have to fight a band of Teus’ mercenaries within minutes of arriving. With swords, no less! Driven to conquest by forces unknown to him, Lord Teus has not been resting on his victory. He too is striving to find the Orb. Nothing will stand in his way; neither stronger magic, nor the young queen.
Tiffany - Many authors have a specific reason for writing a story. Why did you write this particular story?
Ross -I grew up on classic science fiction and fantasy. I’ve always wanted to create this kind of story and, after a number of years of kicking it around, I finally completed this one.
Tiffany- Tell me Ross, are there any characters in your books that are modeled from people in your daily life?
Ross -Not really. Some are amalgams of friends and neighbors, most are my creations.
Tiffany - Fantasy writers have always fascinated me. The imagination it takes to write that genre is astounding. How do you come up with your story lines?
Ross -‘What if’ is one way. Another is talking to people. Sometimes something they say will key a scene in my brain. For instance: my wife and I were discussing divergent time lines this morning or making a decision one way or another. What would happen if…?
Tiffany -What was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?
Ross - When I put the first book in this series on Kindle AND someone actually bought it, not a friend or family member. I may not be able to gas my truck yet, but it is fun.
Tiffany - What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Ross - I’m going to steal a line from “Galaxy Quest.” Never give up, never surrender. I have no less than 62 rejections for The Witches of Aba Nam. I know it’s a very good story, with strong characters. But getting past the slush pile in this day and age is extremely difficult for new writers. I completely believe it’s all luck.
Tiffany - What warning(s) would you give them?
Ross - Be very careful should you become one of the chosen few. The woods are full bandits, wolves and other creatures out to steal you blind. There’s a great website called: It helps the writer see who the bad guys are.
Tiffany - What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?
Ross - The actual creation and seeing the scene or conversation in my head. Seeing it on my screen. Telling my wife, “Wow! This character really kicks butt.” Editing, not so much but by doing it, I polish and add sensuality. I like to get the thoughts down first and then add in the five senses.
Tiffany - Now for some "non" writing related questions. If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?
Ross - Wipe my hard drives. I think I’d sit and write thoughts about what I’m feeling at the time.
Tiffany - There are so many authors I would love to meet ( past and present). If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?
Ross -Nora Roberts/JD Robb. I have read all the JD Robb novels and not a few of her 'romance’ novels. I would like to see what goes on inside her head and how she manages to publish literally hundreds of books. See if I can catch an idea or two from her.
Tiffany - Who inspires you?
Ross - Seeing my words come to life in a form that tells a story. I grew up in the days of Uncle Remus and the incredible story-telling of Joel Chandler Harris, O Henry, Saki and as I mentioned before, classic science fiction writers like Asimov, Fred Clark, Arthur Clarke, Heinlein (a personal favorite and a person I try to emulate to some extent in my writing,) Murray Leinster and Norton.
Tiffany - Everyone has an embarrassing moment in life. I have had many. Please tell us your most embarrassing childhood or adult moment?
Ross -Really? You want to go there? I am a recovering alcoholic and lord knows I have far too many of those tales. Since sobriety (seven years and counting) none that I can think of. Well, there’s one. Two years after I married my first wife, we were at a party when I turned to introduce her to my commanding officer. “Sir, this is my wife…” Her name was gone! Completely, as if it had never been. Suffice it to say, I was embarrassed and she was very angry. We joked about it from time to time until she died a few years ago.
Tiffany - If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?
Ross - Listen to your muse! If she says write, then do it! I screwed around for decades before I finally knuckled down and got after it. I loved writing stuff when I was a kid, still have some of my notebooks, but basically dropped it as an adult. It’s only been in the last five years or so that I’ve really made an effort.
Tiffany - What’s next for you?
Ross - I’m continuing with The Witches of Aba Nam series. Book 2: Arena is done and being edited. Book 3: Working title, The Return is kicking around inside my head and I’ve a lot of ideas for it. This series is basically unending. I’m also working on my Scepter of the Nile series. Book one of that one is done and being edited, I’m working on book 2 and planning a third and final book 3. And I have a private eye series that’s simmering on the back burner, about two thirds written. I don’t know if I’ll actually make a series out of it or not. I have numerous short stories, some of which are on my blog:
Thank you Ross! It was fun to learn about your creative process and your current work. Best of luck as you pursue your dream!

You can Find Ross' book at the following links:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Writer's Window - Kyra Dune

Welcome to Writer's Window!
As a writer, I am always fascinated by other writer's work and how they craft a particular story. Today, I will be spotlighting Kyra Dune and her book "Shadow of the Dragon". Kyra Dune was born in Oklahoma, but spent most of her life travelling with her family. She is the author of more than a dozen fantasy novels, including: Shadow of the Dragon, Elfblood, and Firebrand. As a child, her favorite stories were those that told of ordinary children being whisked away to magical lands. She has yet to find her own secret wardrobe or rabbit hole, but she hasn’t given up the search. You never know what might be waiting over the next rainbow. 
Recently Kyra consented to an interview about her book and her life as a writer. Please, join me now as I take a peek into this author's imagination window and get to know her a bit more!
Tiffany: Your current work is "Shadow of the Dragon", what message does this particular book convey to your readers?

Kyra: The title of the book is Shadow Of The Dragon and the core message of the story is how unhealthy it is to let one moment in time define who you are and how you relate to other people.
Tiffany: Will you give a short synopsis of your book?

Kyra: After a dragon attacks their village, two siblings must strike out across the frozen countryside to find safety. But what they find is much more than they bargained for.

 Tiffany: Why did you write this particular story?
Kyra: That's kind of a hard question to answer. I guess I wrote because it was in my head and it kind of demanded to be written. I really like Micayta's character. She's complicated and has a tendency to come off as a lot more cold hearted than she actually is.

 Tiffany: I often model characters or situations after true events. Are there any characters in your books that are modeled from people in your daily life?
Kyra: I think all my characters have bits and pieces of people I've known, and bits and pieces of myself as well, but I wouldn't say any of them are really modeled after certain people.

 Tiffany: Tell me Kyra, how do you come up with your story lines?
Kyra: I don't know. The stories come to me and I write them. I don't consciously think about it.

Tiffany: When was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?

Kyra: When my first novel, Flight Of Dragons, was accepted for publication. I was so excited, I laughed, I cried, I jumped around. There's no feeling like having your dream come true. It was a powerful moment.

 Tiffany: Writing is such a personal experience and advice is sometimes lacking for a young writer. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Kyra: Don't give up. Even if it seems like it's never going to happen for you. It's better to try and fail then to stop trying and have to spend the rest of your life wondering what if.

Tiffany: What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?

Kyra: I love everything about writing. Well, okay, almost everything. Editing can get a little tedious. But for the most it's an awesome job. What could be more fun than getting to spend all day talking to your imaginary friends and getting paid for it?

Tiffany: I have found that the Publishing world is often a scary and confusing place for a new author. What warning(s) would you give young writers/authors?

Kyra: Do your research. If you're going to submit to a traditional publisher, make sure you talk to other writers who've worked with them. Also, always have somebody else read your book whether you're submitting it to a publisher or self-publishing. Every book needs a fresh set of eyes.

 Tiffany: Like I said before, the publishing world can be very confusing, and there are so many new ways to be published now. How did you go about getting your book published?
Kyra: I did a little research and found a small press publisher who didn't require an agent for submissions. I sent Shadow Of The Dragon in and they picked it right up. That was pretty cool. I actually work with three separate small press publications and I have great relationships with all of them. But recently I've decided to branch out into self-publishing, so we'll see how that goes.

 Tiffany: Ok, enough with the "work" questions! Let's get creative and personal! If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?
Kyra: I would spend it on the beach in Alabama. It's so pretty there. Especially when it's a cool, gray day and a storm is moving in over the water. I'd have the beach all to myself, no company but the seagulls. I would just stand there and listen to the waves and let the wind blow through my hair. It's the kind of place that makes you really think about how big everything is and how small you are.

Tiffany: If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?
Kyra: Stephen King. I love his work. His characters are so real and his writing so honest. He's fearless when it comes to storytelling. Meeting him would be amazing.

 Tiffany: So many authors have muses or people that inspire them. Who inspires you?
Kyra: My dad. He always taught me to chase my dreams and never give up. I wouldn't be where I am now if not for his encouragement. He made me feel like I could do anything. Whenever I get discouraged, I think of him and it keeps me going.

Tiffany: Kyra, if you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?

Kyra: Don't spend so much time stressing out about whether or not you'll ever be a 'real writer'. If you write you're a writer, period. Someday you'll get exactly where you want to go. Try to enjoy the journey a little more instead of obsessing about the destination.

 Tiffany: Writer's always have lots of irons in the fire. Can you tell us, what’s next for you?

 Kyra: Lots of writing. I'm working on five projects right now, so I'm very busy. I have several books coming out this year, some traditionally published and some self published. I've recently gotten a small bookstore to take some of my paperbacks and that's really cool. It's amazing to see your books on the shelf of an actual bookstore. And I'm hoping to get a table at my very first convention this year. I have my fingers crossed on that one. It's going to be a good year.

Best of Luck Kyra!  Thank you for letting your imaginative process be showcased today.

To learn more about Kyra Dune you can -
Connect with her at: Facebook     twitter    Blog Website Goodreads Pinterest

Watch Her Book Trailers:   YouTube

Buy Her Books: Amazon   Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Who let the Grumps out?

Is it just me or have people become grumpier? Are people that unhappy with their lives that they have to shoot missiles of contempt at all who cross their path? Are we that emotionally constipated? Grumpy people ( i.e. RUDE people) seem to enjoy spreading their mood around. The sprinkle it around like pixie dust. It seems that there is no safe place for a person to go that is immune to these grumpy barnacles of humanity. The grocery store seems to be the one place where battle lines are drawn continually between the ex-lax personality and all the rest of us.

Wish these grumpy Gus' looked this cute when squalling.
Now, you run into all sorts at the grocery store. Most are SAHM (stay at home moms) who are trying to smuggle some form of food into the cart and pay for it before the kiddies revolt. You have your singles who can enjoy a leisurely stroll up and down the aisles, pain-staking perusing every label. You have your sweet elderly ladies, who do nothing but smile and engage the SAHM into short conversations. Then you have the GRUMPS. The grumps are a SAHM's nightmare because we seem to incite their rude behavior. Our kids are too loud, we are blocking the apples, we are taking to long in the deli section, we stop mid aisle to correct our kids; whatever we do seems to make them want to make our day at the store even more pleasant with their unpleasantness.

 First, let me say that whoever lays out grocery stores should be hung by their toenails. The aisles are too narrow, food scales hang in the worst places, stockers blindly re-route traffic every 5 minutes, and at any given time a food avalanche can block your way.Grocery store traffic jams are the worst, and cause the scenario I was involved in today. Today I was apart of what I would like to call cart jousting. Let me lay the scene out for you. I am scanning the produce aisle for pears, walking slowly to avoid banging my head on the scales i mentioned prior. I see ahead of me another SAHM with one of those huge carts that looks like a car. We nod at each other because the aisle isn't big enough for the both of us. I kindly stop, pull as close as I can to the apples, noticing that a dagum scale is now in my way, and let her pass. She stops a few feet to my left and begins bagging some grapes.  Now, as this little maneuver is happening, a very large, scowling man turns into our lane of traffic. I can see from the look on his face that he is a barnacle. I knew I needed to move quickly in order to clear a hole for him to go through, but this man apparently decided that patience was not a virtue at that moment. Before I could do anything, he rared his cart back, and slammed it into the other SAHM's cart, launching it into a bin of corn ( thankfully no children were sitting in it at the time). I heard her mumble quickly..."Oh I am sorry" as he growled past her in the opening that he rudely created. After the dragon flew away, I caught the eye of the other SAHM; both of us sighed loudly and shook our heads. Deep down I know one of us wished we could have beaned him with a cantaloupe.

I know that one day I will witness a SAHM (hopefully it won't be me) losing it on a gremlin like the one above. I actually look forward to it, because it is high time that rude people be made aware of the code! You know that old saying "do unto others..." But for now, I am left wondering who let all these grumps out...WHO..WHO?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Writer's Window - Debut this Thursday

Coming Soon!!
 Writer's Window Thursday!

Ever wonder what goes on inside a writer's head? Wonder how they come up with all the stuff that is contained in their books? Have you thought about becoming a published author? These are all questions that at some point we book lovers and writers have asked ourselves. The creative process has always fascinated me and I have recently asked a few authors if they would share some insight on their own personal process. These interviews will be posted as "Writer's Window" each Thursday; and will host authors from many different genres. The first one will be this Thursday! I can hardly wait!
Happy Writing!

Monday, January 13, 2014

You'll Grow Out of it...

"Don't worry, someday those pimples will go away, you will grow out of it."

Does this statement sound familiar? I am sure that all of us heard this soothing statement during our teen years. Pimples are a teen's nemesis. There was nothing that could ruin my day faster than discovering a new Mt. Kilimanjaro on my face. I already felt awkward and unattractive, a pimple was just another awesome reminder of how much my skin hated me. But everywhere I went, friends would remind me that pimples didn't last a lifetime. I remember looking forward to the day when I would wake up and my skin would be crystal clear, milky perfection. I anxiously awaited this moment...over a decade later, I am still waiting. Oh the LIES people tell you..I know somewhere all those people are pant less and smelling a little toasty!

 I am no longer a teen, and yet I am still visited by the pimple fairy. Oh sure, they aren't as bad as they were in high school, but they still faithfully remind me that they have no intention of going away. I hate to be the harbinger of doom to all of teendom, but here is the cold hard truth - pimples will always be apart of your life. Yup, they will. They may not be as angry in adult life, cause well things have mellowed out a bit; but they still love to make appearances at the worst of times. Job interviews, dates, weddings, etc. The plus side is most adults aren't really paying attention to
the Pike's Peak that has set up temporary residence on your chin. WE have bigger fish to fry -WRINKLES!
 I have discovered that wrinkles, on the scale of OMG I am old & what the heck is going on with my face, far outweigh the gravity of a pimple. A pimple is just renting the space on your face, but a wrinkle becomes a permanent buyer. The combination of the two, which occurs more often than one would think, can make one feel like they are in a never ending tug of war between youth and older age. This phenomena can make one want to put a bag on their head and never be seen in society again. Yet, I wonder if these skin flaws are here to teach us something bigger about life.  

Beauty has nothing to do with perfection, it is how we handle those imperfections that make us beautiful. Life is far from perfect, heck let's be honest sometimes life is full of pimples and wrinkles, they pop up when we least desire to see them. I have to remember that life's imperfections are not something to shake my fists at, they aren't here to punish me, they are here to help me grow. Imperfections helped me become who I am today.
So I guess those friends weren't lying after all. There are some things you do "Grow" out of.

Tuck this thought into your heart when life's imperfections seem to be assaulting you and you feel far from beautiful, remember that someday you'll grow out of it.