• Shaped by the Waves,  writing

    Season of Caregiving: Life’s Influence on Fiction

    One of my favorite picture with my dad

    For most of us, there will be a season of caregiving in which we put aside our typical days, weeks, months, or even years to attend to the needs of a loved one. Years ago, when my oldest four children were small, my grandmother moved onto our farm. She was in her nineties and experiencing failing health. That time with her is something I treasure, an honor to have been able to give a little something back to the woman who gave her all for me. But the aging process is not always so beautiful. My father passed away a few years ago after a battle with Parkinson’s, especially struggling with Lewy Body Dementia. The time I was able to spend with him was sometimes sweet and other times, devastating.

    When I put a story together, I often think about the struggles you may be facing in your life. I want my words to speak to you in your hard times, to encourage you in your joy, and to help you better understand the trials faced by those around you. It’s because of this, I felt it was important to share a story that evolves around a season of caregiving.

    In writing Shaped by the Waves, I drew from my experiences with both my father and my grandmother, then added a mystery for fun. I wanted to share some of the deep blessings that are possible during end-of-life care, while never shying away from the heartbreak and need for support. I chose Parkinson’s Disease because there are so many aspects of this terrible illness I hadn’t expected, the top of those being Lewy Body Dementia.

    For my dad, this sometimes meant he was back in the horrifying experience of Vietnam. On other occasions, he suffered from paranoia and hallucinations. It was heartbreaking and I felt like there was nothing I could do to ease the pain. There are so many ways our loved ones can slip away, but when the mind goes before the body, it can feel like you are losing them not once, but twice.

    It’s too much to do alone. In Shaped by the Waves, Cassie must learn how to share her burden. For some of us, this is a powerful challenge. And yet, we are not meant to live life alone. We are blessed with community through our friends, churches, and support groups.

    Sitting on the other side of my losses, I see the beauty brought into my life by my grandmother and my father, as well as those who stepped up with support during those seasons. And though I still miss them both, I am grateful for the blessings they left with me. We can get stuck worrying about the end, but let’s not forget to celebrate the now with love and laughter.

  • Giveaways,  If We Make It Home,  More Than We Remember,  Swimming in the Deep End,  writing

    Seeking Street Team Members!

    If you’re here on my website, I assume you have at least a tiny interest in my books. Maybe you’ve read one or two. Hopefully you’re excited about my next release.

    I’d like to invite you to join my street team. There’s no obligation, but it’s on this page that I share promotions you can get out to your friends and family. This is also where the launch team for More Than We Remember will be taken from. Those readers will receive a free book and other bookish swag. So, what are you waiting for. Come join us! 🙂

  • conferences,  Swimming in the Deep End,  writing

    Swimming Came In First!

    Unlike Izzy at the beginning of the story, Swimming in the Deep End won the race, bringing home the OCW Cascade Award for contemporary fiction!


    To say this shocked me is just not enough. While the award itself is a huge honor, being a finalist with Carrie Stuart Parks and Jane Rubietta was a thrill.

    One of my favorite things about the Cascade Awards are the way they are announced. Instead of just reading the name of the winner, one of the hosts (Jim Rubart), reads the first line, then the title and author.

    Of all my books, I know the beginning of Swimming the best, but even as I was walking toward the stage I found myself wondering if Carrie Stuart Parks had a similar first line. That’s silly for so many reasons, only one of which is that I’ve read all of her books an obviously would have noticed if one of them started out like one of mine. UGH!

    The air in the spectator area of Brownsburg High’s swimming pool is nothing short of heavy, but there’s a safety in the thickness. An illusion in the midst of the humidity lulls me into a belief that my daughter is safe, protected from the evil of the world. Maybe that’s why I push her to compete. Maybe that’s why I can breathe in the moisture-rich environment other mothers dread.  ~Swimming in the Deep End


    Anyway, thank you OCW. This organization has supported and encouraged me for years. They’ve honored me and allowed me to serve on staff. They teach me and challenge me. I’m forever grateful.


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