This week’s #UpbeatAuthors topic is generosity.

One of the many things I love about being an #UpbeatAuthor is that when I find the topic particularly difficult or elusive, I research it and can frequently come to a new understanding and fresh insights. That’s what happened with this topic.

I learned my faith has a tradition that “it is better to give many small sums rather than one large one. The reason is that by so doing one habituates oneself to giving. The ideal of giving is that it is not sufficient to perform kindnesses; one must strive to become a person whose essence is kindness.”

I love that.


Clean Out Your In Box Week

This is National Clean Out Your In Box Week.

I try to clean mine out daily. The longest I go is weekly. I dislike clutter; leaving old emails hanging around in my inbox is a form of clutter.

What I really need is a “Clean Out Your Email Server” week. Once a month. It’s usually one of my goals, but I’m not very good at staying current. Because my website server doesn’t not have the option to delete incoming mail after a certain amount of time, I need to do it manually. When the server gets too full, my email isn’t forwarded to the program I use to manage my email.  And that is a bad thing. Truly.


Favorite Childhood Books

#UpbeatAuthors are remembering their favorite childhood books this week.

I’m a reader. I have always preferred to read over watching television.  But given my status as a bookworm, I did not have a difficult time picking a favorite book or two. Both had a lasting impact on me. One is frequently mentioned by other authors. There was even a movie made when my children were younger.

However, I never hear–or read–about the second one:

Alvin’s Secret Code taught me a lot about the English language: frequency tables, doubled letters, common letter combinations, and so on. Apparently it is one of a series of books, but I never read any other installment. As you can see from the photo, my copy is well-loved, a sure sign of being a favorite.






Getting to Know You

Today is National Get to Know Your Customers Day. You get to see slices of my life. What about your life?

  • What’s your favorite color?
  • If you had to eat only one food for a month, what would it be?
  • Favorite snack food?
  • Favorite winter activity?
  • Coffee or tea?

You can answer any or all of the above questions.

Balancing Act

When I first joined RWA, there was a column at the end of every issue of the Romance Writers’ Report called “The Last Word.” The one I remember most vividly is the transcript of the speech  Anne Stuart delivered at the RWA National Conference Awards Luncheon on Saturday, August 1, 1998. While the industry has changed in ways we could not imagine back then, her advice is still relevant today:

…spotless houses take too much time out of life. Love your children, feed them, and teach them to do their own laundry. And then get back to work on your book.

Comedienne Phyllis Diller once quipped: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Choreographer Twyla Tharp said: “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

In order make the time to write, compose, paint, dance, or in other ways create, something else has to go. One person can’t do everything. I recommend losing the housework. If the people who share your living space disagree, they are free to clean. ( And yes, you must make the time as opposed to finding it.)

Teaching your children how to do laundry, cook, and clean isn’t a bad thing. They will have life skills when they are launched into the world, and you will have the time and space to do your thing.

That’s balance.