Ship Ahoy!

21 06 2011

Hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, but a five-book contract with deadlines a month apart has been grueling.

But I just received word that Pirates 
Through the Ages  is on the way. Yay!! Can’t wait to see how it looks. The editor said it turned out terrific, so I’m excited about holding it in my own two hands. Here’s a mock up of the cover.

Looking back, I wondered while I was immersed in it if I’d manage to get it done by the deadline, but I did. Now I’m wondering the same about my latest assignment. What is it about writers that they’ll put themselves under this much pressure and agree to practically impossible deadlines, then slog through long hours day after day to produce a book? What is it about this profession that’s so compelling? It’s obviously not the money. As most writers discover, this isn’t a lucrative profession. So what do we get besides the pleasure and excitement of holding a book in our hands?

The Forgiveness Dilemma

10 05 2011

Talk about conflicting messages. After writing two posts about the benefits of not forgiving people, my Google alerts again misdirected me (or was that a nudge from a higher source?) to a self-help site where the presenter was detailing all the benefits of forgiveness. The speaker used the familiar description of holding a grudge as feeding yourself poison, hoping someone else would die.

So I guess my options seem to be–poison myself or poison them? Hmmm…

Think Spring and Goalsetting

7 03 2011

daffodilsThe crocuses (or are they croci?) have popped their colorful heads above ground, the Bradford pears are budding, and the rhododendron are adding a splash of yellow to the side yard. Next will be daffodils. Then I’ll know for sure spring is here.

And with that, I’m looking back over my New Year’s resolutions. Two months have flown by already. I’m still on track for all of my goals, but I’m not progressing as quickly as I’d envisioned. I discovered something along the way, though. I started putting realistic time estimates beside the items on my to-do list each day.

The first time I tried it, the items on my list for that day added up to 46 hours. No wonder I never got through the list. I was exhausted, discouraged, and mentally berating myself for falling short of my goals. So I’ve eased up on myself a bit. Now I only try to squeeze 32 hours of work into a day. Obviously, this is an ongoing project…

Stimulating Creativity

1 07 2010

Picture by Clare Bloomfield

Whew! Back from ALA and glad to be surrounded by trees and green again. Guess I’m not a city person. I found the heat, humidity, and press of the crowds draining. I suppose many people find the city exhilarating, but if I lived there for any length of time, I’d miss the black sky spangled with stars, the treetops swaying in the breeze, and the laundry-fresh air after a rain.

Quite a contrast to the city, where neon lights pulsed all night, concrete towers hemmed me in and obscured the sky, and rain swirled oily puddles into the gutters and made the air stink of old urine. I admire those who can live amid the clanking, banging, and exhaust fumes and still remain creative. I wonder if the city sparks a different kind of creativity–a pulsating, in-your-face kind of story. Perhaps my writing needs a jolt of that high energy.

What setting stimulates your creativity?

I Survived… I Think

21 04 2010

So, one day after the event, I can look back with equanamity. If you read my public speaking post, you might have gotten the impression I don’t like to speak in front of groups.

That’s partially true. And I’m a procrastinator who avoids thinking about the presentation until the last minute, then…gulp!…realizes that it’s time to go out the door, and I have no time left to prepare. Why do I do that? It means I panic as I rush to pull some thoughts together as I drive to my destination and pray that I’ll come up with an interesting and inspirational topic. Yes, I was asked to talk about myself, but every talk should be structured like a story, with a beginning (inciting incident), middle (rising action), and ending (dramatic conclusion).

Luckily for me, my muse works well under pressure. I came up with several exciting (at least I hoped they were) events in my life and made them steppingstones, using an underlying theme of how I jump into careers, then learn on the job, often after I being forced to change directions by a tragedy or a roadblock. That helped me choose my anecdotes.

But I also like to give each audience a takeaway, something meaningful that they can apply to their own lives. My muse, my creative mind, my subconscious didn’t fail me. It dredged up a wonderful idea–one I’d heard years ago in someone else’s speech that had a powerful effect on my life…

Stay tuned for: Seeing the Other Side

Public Speaking: Worse than Death?

18 04 2010

More people say they fear public speaking more than death. Is that true? And why is it authors get asked to speak in public when their forte is the written word? My post on the subject has been moved to the Susquehanna Writers blog.

Why Do I Fear Rejection?

28 09 2009

Lauren Barnholdt just posted a great link to a blog about rejections. It got me thinking. If I hung my rejection letters side by side, I wonder how much footage they’d take up. But that led me to a different thought. How long would my string of acceptances be?

I’ve written more than 850 articles for magazines, educational publishers, and websites, plus I’ve sold several books. So I’ve had quite a few acceptance letters. Obviously, some letters (or emails) asked me to write more than one article, but still, let’s say I had 400 acceptances. If I multiply that by 8.5″, I have at least 3400″ of acceptances–or about 283′. Hmmm… And I’m guessing I have about 100-150 rejections, which gives me 1275″ of rejections or about 106′.

So why am I scared to send things out? Odds are, I’m much more likely to get an acceptance. But I still dread it.

I spent this past weekend at the SCBWI Carolinas conference, where several people urged me to send out my picture book dummy. I hate to say how long I’ve had that dummy worked up. I’d been dreaming of doing it for years. Back in the early 2000s an editor at a large publishing house expressed an interest in the text. She said she had the perfect illustrator in mind for it. I was thrilled. But before it was contracted, she left publishing. And there went my dream.

I turned back to magazine and educational writing, which blossomed into my career. But that picture book kept nagging at me. I took a picture book illustration class with Robert Quackenbush, and he liked that text and urged me to illustrate it. I was too scared and sure I couldn’t do it justice, so I illustrated a humorous easy reader with cartoons.

Several years later I took another illustration class with Matt Novak. Once again, I was encouraged to illustrate this text. I took the plunge. I spent hours on detailed pastels that my classmates praised. I even received an “A” in the class for my work. So why almost 5 years later is that picture book dummy still sitting in my art cupboard?

I dusted it off this summer and took it to an SCBWI critique group organized by Lauren Patton. Again, I was encouraged to send it off. But this fall it was still sitting in my cupboard. It went with me to the SCBWI Carolinas conference, where once again I heard I needed to send it off. So now I’m trying hard to talk myself into it.

OK, I followed the suggestion in the blog and hung up all my rejection letters. Then I hung up all the acceptances. So now I have to ask myself: if people who have only received rejection letters so far can keep on submitting, why can’t I??

Ooh, better go send it out quickly, before my internal critic can think of any negative replies. Anyone else have this problem?? Or these fears of rejection??

Want to Channel Past Lives?

3 09 2009

Book Three_The Scorpions StrkieCool cover, huh? Makes you eager to pick up Book 3, doesn’t it? Wonder what it’s about?

Well, if you want to find out, go to:

Written by C.L. Talmadge, this is the third in the series Green Stone of Healing®, a speculative epic that features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.

And check out the other terrific covers below.

I was lucky enough to snag C.L. Talmadge

for an interview. So you can learn more about her vision, her writing, and the therapy that has allowed her to capture these stories on paper.

Book Two_Fallout So here’s some intimate information on C.L.:

When did you first dream of being a writer and what steps did you take to follow your dream?

I had dreamed of being a writer since about 1966-67, when the mother of my best friend put a Taylor Caldwell novel in my hand and told me, “You can write a book like this.”

After college I decided to become a journalist, just like a lot of other graduates in the mid-1970s, immediately following the Watergate scandal. But I eventually found work on newspapers, magazines, and even a newswire. I honed my skills at writing on deadline. That has been very useful in writing fiction because I know how to write the most possible in between working a “day” job. It helped cure me of “writer’s block,” a luxury you don’t have when your editor is glaring at you just minutes before deadline.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer? What do you love most?

The biggest challenge in writing fiction is to convey the depth of my characters’ feelings. Words are so inadequate when describing the intensity and range of human emotions. That is always my greatest struggle.

The biggest challenge in writing nonfiction is to be as clear, concise, and lucid as possible in laying out my case or making my arguments. Book One_The Vision

What do I love about writing? To me, writing is sort of like breathing. Got to keep on doing it to live. I don’t know if that qualifies as what I love most about writing. It’s much more like an obsession.

In addition to writing, what are your other passions and why?

Healing and politics are my other passions. I regard them as closely connected. Being emotionally and spiritually wounded for so much of my early life, I always had an interest in healing. Western medicine has nothing for anything but physical wounds, and I wanted answers for the non-physical, or metaphysical. So I looked for them for myself, found ones that made sense to me, and they are very much a part of my fiction and nonfiction alike. For politics, I write columns syndicated by North Star Writers Group ( and I blog as StoneScribe (

Candace-large What characters in your books are most like you and why?

Certain characters in my books are me. I mean that most literally. I believe in reincarnation, and I believe I once lived a life as Helen Andros, the first-generation heroine of my series, and another subsequent life as Helen’s granddaughter. As the friend of Helen’s mother says about her in the second book, “She can keep her legs shut, but not her lips.” Ditto for me. Just like Helen, I always have an opinion. Unlike Helen, I have learned to deliver my opinions with a bit more tact these days. Just a bit, however. Don’t want to take this tact thing too far.

What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

My major stumbling block to become a fiction writer was my own emotional and spiritual wounds. I spent my early adult years looking for healing and found it in a powerful method called Sunan therapy. I co-authored nonfiction about this approach to healing emotional and spiritual wounds called Hope is in the Garden: Healing Resolution Through Unconditional Love. After 12 years of Sunan therapy on an as-needed basis, the past-life memories that form this series came roaring back to my conscious mind, and I started writing.

What comes first in your writing process? A scene, characters, title? Are you a plotter?

Character comes first, last, and always for me. The first rule for all writers of any kind of fiction: Know thy character(s)! If a writer does not know her characters intimately, she will not know how they will react to meeting the hero or in any other circumstances. Not knowing the characters is the problem behind so many poor movies/novels that are all “high concept” and no substance.

I knew the ending of this story when I first set out to write the series back in 1998. So what plotting I do involves determining what events I am going to include in the books and how to order these events into chapters. I have far too much material in my head ever to use completely.

Where do you get your ideas? And what do you do if your muse decides to take a vacation?

My ideas come from my experiences, both in this lifetime and others. Past lives are a rich source of ideas for novels. I believe that writers like Taylor Caldwell tapped their own past lives for some if not all of their novels, too.

My muse does not dare take a vacation. It has too much deadline training to do that. If I stop writing, it’s because I am having emotional difficulties with the events I am about to put down on paper. I have run into this a number of times because the lives I lived as Helen and her granddaughter were very painful and powerful. Their power has affected me to this day. The pain I resolve through an alternative approach called Sunan therapy (mentioned above). It’s an ongoing process that shapes my life and my writing every day.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?

I am finalizing the series’ fourth book, Outcast, for publication on Oct. 1. I am two-thirds of the way through the first draft of the fifth book in my series. Its working title is Treachery.  And I am always churning out weekly political columns and occasional blogs.

Here’s  some exciting news and a special offer from C.L.:

The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, through Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at C.L.’s blog:

Thanks so much for joining us today, C.L. The series sounds wonderful. And I’d love to learn more about Sunan therapy. Maybe you could pop back again sometime to enlighten us. I also forgot to ask one important question. Who is the artist of your fab covers?

Readers, you also have an opportunity to win the books. One lucky commenter on C.L.’s blog tour will be getting a set of books. Interested? Why don’t you tell us: do you ever feel as if you are channeling a past life as you write?

Wow! Another Great Review!

13 08 2009

Just got a fab review for my story,  “Summer Storms,” in the Wild Rose Press anthology, Summer Lovin’. The reviewer discussed each story individually–how cool is that? Here are a few excerpts from the LASR review:


Summer Storms by Laurie J. Edwards

I’ve never read anything by Ms. Edwards, but I have to say after reading this story that I plan to read some more from this talented author. Summer Storms was my favorite of the anthology…

A heart touching story…I could feel the urgency and emotions of these characters caught in a possibly deadly situation. Outstanding.

Check out the review for more about the stories by the other authors:

Dara Edmondson, Mona Ingram, Kimberlee R. Mendoza, Sydney Shay, and June Sproat