Beautiful Badasses


2020 was a bad year for many people. But lots of us can name some silver linings that came from the isolation, depression, and all that bad stuff. One for me was joining the Zoom write-ins started by the writing association I belong to, WFWA or the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. We gather on Zoom to write, talk about writing and publishing, and make friends.

Some of the WFWA Write-Inmates including our baddest badasses.

Kelly, one of our members who I happened to be friends with before on Facebook, has a genetic kidney disease. She’s a beautiful badass for lots of reasons, a few being she survived a suicide bombing at a hotel in Kenya, is an award-winning journalist who started her own online news site when the entity she was working for had to fold, and she knows her way around the American healthcare system better than most of us. Pretty awesome since she’s from Israel.

Kelly lives in the Los Angeles area. Wait time there for a donated kidney is ten years. Kelly doesn’t have that long. So we in the Zoom meetings do whatever we can do to offer support to Kelly. But one woman is going way beyond prayers and good thoughts and donating to fundraisers.

Pamela is donating a kidney. Pamela is a badass in her own right, not least for having adopted three children from overseas and handling everything that goes with international adoptions. Pamela was moved to help Kelly by donating a kidney and has the full support of her family. A whole family of badasses.

Today, Tuesday, March 29, 2022, a team of doctors will remove one of Pamela’s kidneys. It will be flown on a commercial flight from New Jersey to Los Angeles and be installed into Kelly. We at WFWA are calling it the Sisterhood of the Traveling Kidney. We are worried and excited at the same while expecting the best possible outcomes for both women.

WFWA, led by the Write-Inmates, have been doing things for weeks to get ready. Pages have been set up at Give InKind (see links at the end for more of their stories and to donate if you are so moved) to provide meals and other things of their choosing to get through the recovery process. Many of us are wearing bracelets spelling out Beautiful Badass or Brave and Beautiful with beads in Morse code. And we’ve been sending every prayer and thought we have time for into the heavens for the health of our dear friends.

Today, Tuesday, March 29, WFWA is hosting an event on Zoom to support Kelly and Pamela as they undergo their respective surgeries. Below is the link to WFWA’s Facebook event page. Click on the Join Event button and stop by to write, chat, and/or burn a candle which is a tradition at our writing meetings.

If you’re interested in learning about kidney disease and/or the donation process check out The American Kidney Foundation.

If donating an organ is more of a badass thing than you’re prepared for, consider registering for bone marrow/stem cell donation at Be The Match to possibly provide what people with blood cancers and other blood diseases need to survive.

Kelly Give InKind

Pamela Give InKind

Now, go forth and be your own kind of beautiful badass. The world needs us.

Reading and Writing Notes

The first annual Women’s Fiction Day is this Saturday, June 8th! Women’s fiction is about the emotional journey of the protagonist, how she grows and changes throughout the story. It can include elements or romance, suspense, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and more as long as the emotional journey is the reason for the story.

Today I finished We Hope for Better Things by Rachel Bartels, a fellow member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. It’s about three women from separate generations of one family and the racial issues of their times that influenced their lives. Four stars. I was lucky and snagged an Advance Reader’s Copy (pre-pub) copy at work.

Next, I’m on to giving Nora Roberts another try. I picked up Whiskey Beach from the Library the other day. I’ve tried her once or twice before and could never finish a book. Same with Daniel Steele and Nicholas Sparks. I’ve never been one to fall for what’s extremely popular.

I’m also reading The Recovering by Leslie Jamison. It’s another advance copy I picked up from the library I used to work at. Ms. Jamison is a recovering alcoholic. I’m still at the beginning and she’s talking her drinking experience when she was a student at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Evidently, she was in good company, past and present.

I’ve lost that urgency to write that I had for about the first 10 years of my writing career, if you can call it that. I still write almost every day, but am easily distracted and fairly unproductive when I sit down at the computer. I’m back to Lilyland 3, tentative title Frame by Frame, Shot by Shot. I lost focus on Lily and Charlie’s relationship and my muse pointed that out to me by means of something related to editing. I’m currently rewriting part one and hoping to greatly reduce the word count.

Onward and upward!

Zook’s Corner

ZC cover ebook 72I made a new book, now vunst. That’s how my family messed around with Pennsylvania Dutch. My siblings and I were always told we were part PA Dutch, although I don’t remember being told about a distinct relation. And we never knew any of the language. But some of the food made it onto our table. Chow chow (pickled veggies). Scrapple (what the devil eats). Red beet eggs. Yum. My nana used to say, “You’re Dutch.” A playful term of endearment.

But I’m not sure how much that influenced my book. One morning I woke up with the picture of the first house my husband and I lived in when we moved to Lancaster County from Maine. We had the first-floor apartment. It was located in an area known locally as Zook’s Corner. It’s not a real town or anything. The Amish and Old Order Mennonites have names for places that never make on Englischer maps.

So I had to write a story set there. And in November 2014, I sat down and started to do just that. And that’s how Angie and Ty and Scotty and Anna and Samuel and others came to be in my head and now on pages. It’s a story about strength, facing the past and making a way into the future. Also about redemption, forgiveness, and love, including the romantic kind.

Like my other main characters in my published and unpublished books, Angie is an artist and introvert. Much like me. I’ll save all that for another blog post on another day.

I had help from my faithful critique partners brought to me by the Women’s Fiction Writers Association who read through the entire story 10 to 12 pages at a time and showed me what didn’t make sense, what belonged, what didn’t. Also, my brilliant sister Lori edited it for me finding bunches of stubborn commas and spelling errors. Then it was back to me to format for Kindle, paperback, and Smashwords. Lots and lots of work. Definitely, a labor of love because so far, money hasn’t resulted from my writing career.

I shopped this book around to real literary agents and had a couple of requests to read the full manuscript which is a big deal. But I had many more flat out “no thanks.” I did receive some encouraging comments so at least I came away believing my writing does not suck entirely.

I guess what’s left of this journey is just to finish revising the paperback format, the never-ending promotion, and praying for reviews to hopefully fuel sales. I hope you’ll give it a look. You might like it.

Here’s a review from book blogger Jinger Ertle at Book Nerd Problems. She has a range of reviews on her new site.

Jinger Ertle’s review of Zook’s Corner

And finally, where you can buy Zook’s Corner. It’s on sale for 0.99 for a limited time.

Barnes and Noble





Coming Here: Fairy Tale Blog Hop


Starting Tuesday Feb. 10, I’ll be participating in The Fairy Tale Blog Hop with other authors of women’s fiction and chick lit from the ChickLitHQ FaceBook group. A bunch of us will be comparing one of our characters to a princess–fairy tale or otherwise.

At each stop, you can post a comment for a chance to win a brownie assortment from Fairy Tale Brownies.

Sprite 24

Curious to see what fairy tale princess Lily reminds me of? Watch my social media for a link or just hop back here!