Welcome to the Sunday Dish!
I’ve always said (well, as long as I’ve been writing books) that aside from being a good wife and mother and human, writing a book is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned some things, and I think my writing as gotten better, but it still feels like fighting upstream most of the time. There are good writing days and there are bad ones, and on those bad writing days, I doubt a whole lot of things—my skills, the way words sound together, who came up with this ridiculous language anyway?! But what I can never get away from is the knowledge that God has given me a platform, a voice, and a bit of talent to create stories that readers seem to enjoy. A little over ten years ago, I started writing fiction with the goal of publication. Seven years ago, I was writing query letters, hoping I could entice an agent to read a few pages of a story about an old house in Sweet Bay. I’m now working on my sixth novel (seventh if you count my “practice book”) and while the process of writing a book hasn’t gotten any easier, I don’t fall into the pit of despair* as quickly or as often as I did when writing earlier novels! (Way back in 2015, soon after I signed my first contract, I detailed the whole timeline from when I started writing The Hideaway to signing those contracts. It was quite a journey! You can find it here.)
(*Three points if you know where pit of despair comes from!)
A couple weeks ago, I tiptoed my way into the middle of the story, and as usual, I felt the pangs of “what in the world am I trying to do here?? (The middle is the hardest part.) So this week I had a brainstorming session with my agent and I came out the other end more sure of the story I’m trying to tell with this one. I’m excited about it, and if I could make my fingers type faster and the words to solidify in my brain quicker, I would, but I know enough to know I can’t rush it and the story will come as it comes. And I’ll pray my way through it, as I always do! (And on the hardest of writing days, a glass of wine at night doesn’t hurt a thing!)
Like I said in last week’s Dish, this was our spring break week, and we had such a great week, despite a round of scary tornados on Thursday. We went to a little house by a lake for the first weekend, and we spent the rest of the week doing things around town. We went to the zoo, did an art project on the back porch, visited Vulcan Park and the Civil Rights Institute, had a patio lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and had some time with friends. Lots of reading, lots of Family Matters (my kids have discovered this gem from the late 80s/early 90s, and we’ve all been enjoying it), lots of relaxing. (Oh, and we’re painting our basement. That was a last-minute decision a few days ago.) And now the countdown is on to the end of the school year. Time truly flies.
Visiting the lorikeet aviary at the zoo.
We have photos of Kate standing by this orangutan model dating back to
when she was about three years old. Now she’s 11.
We made use of a warm, sunny afternoon to hang paper for the girls to draw/paint a mural.
Bet you didn’t know Birmingham has a huge statue of Vulcan, the god of iron, standing over the city!
We took the elevator up to the observation desk down below his feet.
We had a long, tense afternoon of painting during a tornado scare.
What I fell asleep reading last night…
I love magical realism in books, and this one has been a fun find. Plus, that cover…
A link or two…
Did y’all hear this crazy story about the possible shrimp tails in a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?!
This was a sweet tale of an 85-year-old woman who lost her wallet 70 years ago at school. The school district recently found it and returned it to her.
Want to live rent-free for a year in California’s wine country? This may be the perfect job for you…
In the early days of my blog, I did occasional interviews with authors. They’re still here in the archives, so if you go to the search box in the archives and type in Bookish People, you’ll find them all. Here’s the link to one I did with M.O. Walsh.
If you look over in the right-hand column on this page, you’ll see a “subscribe” box. (If you’re reading this on your phone, it may be down below.) You can now subscribe to get the Sunday Dish in your inbox! I’ll keep heaping up a healthy dish each week, along with my quarterly-ish newsletters, which will give you a deeper peek into my reading and writing life. I’d love to have you at the table!
This is where you can find links to preorder my novel The One You’re With, which comes out July 6.
I’m in the process of planning some events—both virtual and in-person—surrounding The One You’re With‘s release. Stay tuned!
Hope you have a calm holy week (and no tornados),