The Writing of Lily — An Unedited Journal


August 2011

After the publication of Lily I attended a writer’s conference and was told by two literary agents that my writing wasn’t good enough to be published. Their words plunged me into a pit of despair and I stayed there for many months. This was not the first time I’d experienced devastation and I knew it wouldn’t be the last either in this wonderful crazy life of being a writer.


I was an average high school student that didn’t excel in writing, yet after my brother’s death in 1969, in Vietnam, I became interested in writing. I read somewhere that when you lose someone close to you, you take on one of their characteristics. Is that what happened to me?

It’s been a long struggle. No doubt I took on the project to write a novel (Lily) way too early in my writing career; there was so much I needed to learn before tackling that large of a project. Yet, I did it! Even though I had to hold down other jobs, I stuck with it, even during long droughts.

 Most of the books sales for Lily have been from friends, family and the result of speaking events. I’m discovering that promoting a book, especially a self-published one, is as difficult as writing one. I have plenty more opportunities to promote Lily—I shall persevere.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lily Journal


While waiting for copies of A Touch of Grace to arrive from the publisher, I went to work on polishing Lily. The work was daunting. Since I had used different software over the years, the manuscript needed major editing, especially the quote marks. Some of the dialogue (and there is a lot of dialogue in the novel) had straight up and down quote marks and other sections had open and shut quote marks. All of these needed to be changed. The manuscript was returned to me as galley proofs, and I experienced another overwhelming time of proof reading it. Ugh! I hate this part of being a writer.

February 2011

Next I needed to approve the book cover for Lily. At the time I was in Solvang, California, and went to the library to check my e-mail. I opened the attachment of the book cover. Yikes! I hated it! I had an image of my character, Lily, in my mind all these years and had even cut a picture out of a magazine of what she looked like. I’d mailed the photo to the publisher, yet what I saw now wasn’t my character at all.

Melanie, my ever optimistic cheer leader, sat beside me in the library. “I like it, Mom,” she said.

“I don’t!”

Melanie gave all the reasons why she liked it. “People will want to pick up the book because the character looks contemporary and I like the background. It looks Victorian.”

“Why is she holding violets? Violets have nothing to do with the story. Roses do. And why did they use that lower case L instead of a capital L for the title? It’s smaller than the rest of the title. It needs to be a capital L.”

Over the years I had heard stories from authors who didn’t like the covers of their books. Now I understood their frustration.

I did not approve the cover. I asked for some changes—roses instead of violets and a different font for the title. The publisher made the changes and I approved the revised cover. Readers have commented favorably on it. And family and friends who know my daughter Melanie ask if she posed for it. I didn’t realize it at first, but now I see the resemblance. Over time I’ve come to like the cover.


What a wonderful, wonderful year!

I posted a tribute to my brother, Danny Boy, on my website.

I hate galley proofs. Galley proofs are daunting on Lily.

My step-mother, Marion Schwartz, died on January 2nd. Kathy and I spent time in Orange County, California in February seeing bankers, and an attorney, and signing documents with my step-sister, Pam. Now the Schwartz Family Trust will be distributed and hopefully, my financial worries will be a thing of the past.

Copies of A Touch of Grace arrived. Yahoo!

I planned a book launching reception for A Touch of Grace and Lily. The reception was a huge success with 30 to 40 people attending. Sales for Lily consisted of selling one hard cover, 23 paperbacks, and 21 copies of A Touch of Grace. Dawn, Kathy and Melanie came. What a celebration in our home. What a high I was on.

I spoke at the Umpqua Community College Community Education Reception with 100 in attendance at the event.

I was accepted as a Stonecroft Ministries speaker. And spoke at the Hydesville Community Church Women’s Retreat. I spoke on “Rejected to Accepted.” I was blessed to be with old and new friends and sold a lot of copies of Lily and A Touch of Grace.

I created a flyer to promote Lily to libraries and mailed it to over 80 libraries in Ohio.

Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lily Journal

May 2010

A good year.

My neighbor, Ruth Fowler, hired me to write a book for her. At first I didn’t’ want to do it, because I had so many of my own writing projects that I was passionate about. In the end I said yes. I needed the money. Social Security is like living at the poverty level. I put the projects I was working on hold—marketing Lily, polishing Gillian’s Heart, and writing Sweet Charity and Fort Stevens.     

I told Ruth it would be hard to find a publisher. Her book, A Touch of Grace—The Story of Grace Ministries, is about a Douglas County, Oregon, free women’s conference. Ruth and some other women prayed and planned for an annual Christian women’s conference to be held in different churches. The conference has been in existence for over 25 years. Ruth agreed, so we researched self-publishers and decided to have Xulon publish the book.

 Xulon was wonderful to work with—keeping me on schedule with galleys, book cover approval, etc. Ruth wanted a silhouette of a woman praying. We didn’t like the result, so we deleted it and went with the title only. A Touch of Grace is not only Ruth’s story, but stories of women who experienced life changes as a result of a Grace Ministries conference.

Ruth is in her 80’s and a pleasure to work with. She paid me well and the result was she had a book she was pleased with and saw it published during her lifetime.

On April 6, 2009, I survived a horrific car accident. It began like any other day. I drove the familiar country road to the nearby town for my exercise routine at Curves. After exercising I returned home on the highway.

All of a sudden a car was in front of me. In that instant I knew it was impossible to prevent hitting the driver and possibly killing him. I slammed on my brakes and swerved into the fast lane in hopes of avoiding the inevitable. And, for a second, I thought I might have escaped what was about to happen, but I was wrong. His car hit my passenger side hard. This is bad I thought. But it was only the beginning.

Witnesses told me later that it looked like a NASCAR accident. My car propelled up in the air, flipped, and rolled three times. It happened so fast there wasn’t time to pray, but I felt God’s presence. Inside my car I felt a peace and I was ready to meet my Maker. I felt arms holding me. I thought it had to be God—or one of His angels.

Later I received a settlement from the other drivers insurance for pain and suffering. It was while working on A Touch of Grace that I shared with my husband my desire to self-publish Lily, using the money from the settlement. He agreed.

Years earlier my daughter Melanie told me that if Lily wasn’t published before I died, she’d see to it that Lily was published. She believed in my novel as much as I did, and her words brought tear of joy to my eyes. Yet, like Ruth, I wanted to see my book in print during my lifetime.

November 5, 2010

Lily uploaded to iUniverse.

November 2010

A Touch of Grace is with proofreader.

December 15, 2010

A Touch of Grace submitted to Xulon Press.

December 28, 2010

I’m working on A Touch of Grace galleys.

Published in: on July 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lily Journal

February 2007

            My mother died alone, in a nursing home, without her family at her bedside. What happened to the beautiful, strong and fun loving mother of my early childhood? When did I become her parent? I know Mama never wanted to be a burden, yet I always felt she needed more from me than I was able to give. My prayer is that she will find the peace in heaven that eluded her on earth. I plan to dedicate Lily in memory of my parents.

May 22, 2007

            I’m on writing high! I taught my “Find Your Writing Voice” workshop to 30 people at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in Eugene. I sold three copies of My Time with God and another three copies today to SMART Coordinators. I’ll probably do one or two book signings in Roseburg in December. And I have an assignment to write seven devotionals for the Quiet Hour. Yahoo!

            After holding my article, “Influence a Child for Christ—Become an Unforgettable Teacher,” for a year and a half, the magazine, Kids’ Ministry Ideas bought it. (I feel like I’m back in business.)

September 2007

            I’m so excited! I received a contract from OTTN Publishing to write Queen Esther’s (from the Bible) biography. (I paid Ron Bolt, a retired teacher, to edit the manuscript.) I worked hard on this project and in the end it was rejected (January 17, 2008). The fine print in the contract read, if we don’t like it, we don’t have to buy it. The publisher felt it needed major revision and I could not see how I could improve it. I’d written it to the best of my ability, at that time, and had someone else edit it to the best of his ability as well. This was one of my most devastating rejections. Someday I will pull it out of its box and revise it and submit it elsewhere, but I’m not ready to do it yet.

August 26, 2008

            I’m feeling low today, discouraged. I’m not good enough.

November 18, 2008

            I’m on somewhat of a high. I finished teaching a nine week writing series. I stretched myself, now I’m prepared to do it in the future.

January 2010

            I did it! I did it! I created my website: Yahoo!

January 28, 2010

            I’m discouraged. My critique group said I needed to go back again and again revising Gillian’s Heart. I’d hoped the current rewrite would be the last. Ugh! Are their comments negative or realistic?

            I wrote the contest rules, judged and presented awards to the winners of the writing section of INSPIRE at the River Lodge in Fortuna, California. What a lovely event and a real highlight for me.

Published in: on July 9, 2013 at 3:14 am  Leave a Comment  

BlogAugust 5, 2005It’s been hard getting into a


August 5, 2005

It’s been hard getting into a regular writing routine since moving into our new home in Roseburg.  I’ve felt like I’ve really had to push myself to go into my office and do something with my writing.

Mostly I’ve been submitting Lily to agents.  I also felt like I’d lost my ability to write fiction, so I put what I had written on Gillian’s Heart (3 chapters of a contemporary romance) into the computer.  Now I need to work on it to try and make it better. 

I’m also preparing for the Maui Writers Conference in September; the conference was a parting gift from Hydesville Community Church.

I really like being retired, reading, decorating and keeping the house looking nice.  Too bad I’m paranoid about social security not being enough to live on.  I’ll probably look for a part-time job after we get back from Maui. 

October 4, 2005

Lily has been on the back burner, other than submitting it to Steeple Hill and agents. 

Since the Maui Conference, I’ve concentrated on querying regional publications for a piece on Royal Family Kids’ Camp.

Nothing much is happening.  Still making arrangements with Umpqua Community College about teaching my course, How to be a Published Writer, scheduled for October 29th.

I’m not spending as many hours as I think I should on my writing career.  I really like being retired.  I am researching kid’s mystery writing by reading a couple of them.  I have an idea for one.

 Because of my paranoia about social security not providing enough money to live on, I began a part-time job as a SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) Coordinator. It’s an Oregon reading program for elementary children (K-3rd grade). It’s a great program with one-on-one relationships between a child and an adult volunteer. The children receive two books a month to keep for their personal home library. The teacher chooses which children to be in the program; sometimes the reason is that the children will benefit from spending a half an hour with a caring adult. My job is to recruit, train and schedule volunteers and that’s right up my alley with my experience in Children’s Ministry.  

(I did it for three years, until they stopped paying the SMART coordinators and expected them to do it on a volunteer basis. It was too big of a job and wore me out. I still volunteer and read to the children, but I’m no longer a coordinator.)

After moving to Oregon I experienced a huge dip in my writing career. I wasn’t being published nor selling anything.

2005 – 2006

I experienced a dry spell. When I left Humboldt County I was writing and publishing regularly for the Times-Standard and I enjoyed it. After moving to Oregon it was like my publishing hit a downward spiral. I joined a local writing group, An Association of Writers (AAW) because they planned to publish an anthology and I thought that was the only way I was going to get published. An excerpt from Lily and one from a new novel, Sweet Charity, which I’d started after moving to Oregon made it into print in Inkstorm, published in 2007.

I also taught classes at Umpqua Community College.

During the summer of 2006, I concentrated on writing Gilliam’s Heart, a contemporary romance. I used the book, No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. It took me two months to write 41,000 words. (I’m not prolific.) I enjoyed the experience and hope to someday see it publish.

Published in: on July 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment