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Showing posts from February, 2017

True Love

"Do what you love," they say, "and the rest will follow." It is simple, almost obvious advice, but so easy to forget. I love to teach, I love to hike, do yoga, cuddle my dogs, hang out with my kids, and listen to great music. All those things and many more fulfill me and give my life meaning, but there is another, less worldly endeavor that strengthens, fills and enriches me, and that is the relationship I have with my writing. This passionate relationship may not look like much from the outside, but as we who work in the trade know, it's as vital to survival as air, food and water. I don't know how other writers feel; all I know is that writing completes me. Maybe it’s because I grew up an only child, spent so much time alone, daydreaming the hours away. Or maybe it’s because I have found in writing a way to connect with other souls, to squash the loneliness and sort through the bouts of existential angst. Like most loves, the source of my devotion to m

Ghost Lessons

Photo by Dead Cat , via Flickr I have lived many lives in addition to my own. I have heard the best stories, been influenced by the best wisdom, learned life-giving lessons, laughed at the best jokes, had the most fascinating experiences. This is because I have been a ghost for nearly twenty years, and have ghostwritten, rewritten, or developmentally edited over seventy books. (This doesn’t count the books I’ve written for me.) I tell my clients their life stories and the lessons they’ve learned are vitally important, that what they feel, think, say, and do matters. To them, their families, their communities, to history itself. I am now taking my own advice by writing a new book, tentatively titled My Life As a Ghost, which shares what I’ve learned from all these lives that are not my own. I can’t share the actual stories because they don’t belong to me, but what I’ve learned does. A ghost has to learn to think like someone else, even others radically different than her. Like

Love Month and More

February is Love Month on The Blood Red Pencil. Of course, it’s Valentine’s Day month. I have to admit I’m not the mushy type. I don’t leave little hearts or xoxo on my notes, never did. I don’t do squiggly hugs either, though I do write the word when I want to hug someone in person but can't. Hugs. I love my family and love my friends. I have friends I’ve known for almost my whole life. We stay in contact and still care what happens to each other, maybe more than ever now that we’re older. We’ve been through marriages, divorces, births, serious illnesses, and death, but our bonds are still strong. They’re family and in some ways closer because we knew each other through grade school, teen years, through schoolgirl crushes, loves, college, travels, and beyond. We were silly and stupid and crazy together and did things I’d never admit to my own children. One made me promise I wouldn’t tell her son that she drove 100 miles an hour down the beach road with me riding shotgun. Of c

#Friday Reads - One Perfect Love

To me there is something rejuvenating that happens in February. January is cold and dreary and dismal here in East Texas, and I always feel a letdown after the the Holidays that were filled with so much celebrating and excitement. Then there is February, and my spirits are lifted. Maybe it's because I can feel Spring hovering just around the corner. Often, we have an early warm- up the first weeks of  February, and if I look closely enough, I can see the first bits of green in my front pasture, and tiny white flower sprinkled across it. But my spirits are also lifted because of Valentine's Day . I love all the bright displays of candy and trinkets in the stores, and the lovely bouquets of flowers. For so many people it is a time for celebrating love, and who doesn't enjoy a bit of romance? That is one reason that sales of romance novels continues to dominate the publishing marketplace. With that in mind, I thought this was a great time to tell you about my latest

To My Valentine, the Deadline

My dearest darling Deadline, you keep my focus clear by pestering my conscience as submission time draws near. I never have to wonder what I’m gonna do today, for each idea that sounds like fun must needs be thrust away. “Oh, no you don’t!” you counsel, “You cannot run around. You’ve got to get that blog post done; it’s time to buckle down.” I took a call this morning; my friend was free for lunch. You stopped that plan before its start, “No time! We’re in a crunch!” I thrill to hear your nagging, it leaves me overjoyed. Although it sucks to be stuck home, at least I’m still employed. You’re shrill and you’re annoying; you fill my mind with shame. But since you keep me on my toes, I love you just the same. And so, beloved Deadline, to you I’ve penned this ode. I could be having fun right now, but you’re my constant goad. When she's not dealing with deadlines, Audrey Lintner loves to bake, especially if

For Love or Money?

The past three years were challenging to say the least. From a pileup of rare autoimmune diseases, to a cancer scare, then nearly dying from an emergency operation, my body was under siege. Then my husband retired and we moved from one state to another. The demands on my time were endless. I barely had time to breathe much less write. My vacillation on whether to continue writing didn't start there, but it certainly escalated. With the move, my writing peeps were now a two-hour plane ride away and I didn't have high hopes of finding a tribe in my new location. The hubs and I had always dreamed about how we would travel Europe once we had the free time. Due to pharmaceutical tethers and an uncooperative carcass, that is unlikely to happen now. However, living in the land of eternal summer, there are so many things to do and a new social whirl that eats up the time between doctor visits. Not to mention our new 24/7 togetherness. Gone are the twelve to fourteen hour days

Lowcountry Crime - #FridayReads

I was pleased when Jim Jackson asked me to contribute to an anthology titled Lowcountry Crime . Each story involves a crime north of cozy, south of noir, and take place in the lowcountry. For those of you who don’t know what the lowcountry is, the area can best be described as that portion of the Southeastern United States characterized by low country, generally flat—whether barrier island, tidal marsh, tidal river valleys, swamps, piney forests, or great cities like Charleston and Savannah. Lowcountry Crime is published by Wolf Echo Press and is available here . Individual novellas are available on every ebook platform. I’ve read and enjoyed all three of the other stories. Here’s a rundown: Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming, by Tina Whittle is a prequel to her Tai Randolph Mysteries. Tai is accustomed to murder and mayhem…of the fictional variety. As a tour guide in Savannah, Georgia, she’s learned the tips are better when she seasons her stories with a little blood here

No One Loves Writer's Block

Photo by Abi Skipp , via Flickr Each of us knows the pain. We sit at our desk/dining table/log in the woods, inhale, and poise our fingers to tap-dance across our keyboards. Nothing comes. We exhale, crinkle our noses, and reposition our hands. Still nothing. Here are methods which have worked for me. Love them…use them…throw them aside. Have a bath. Words flow. However, if you haven’t brought a pen/paper with you and have it resting on the tub’s edge/handy table, those words will disappears as quickly as the water down the drain. Go for a drive. I learned this technique from a writer-friend. It does work. I talk to myself and talk my way out of the problem. However, use a recording app or something similar. Writing notes and driving is not recommended. I also keep a pad of paper and pen in the car to record sporadic inspirations….once I’ve reached my destination of course! Safety first. Walk. Not an amble or a stroll... a walk. Swing those arms. Turn on that recordin

Love 'Em or Love to Hate 'Em — How Do You Feel About Your Characters?

When writing my first book,  A Brother Betrayed , I included several lovable characters. They were imperfect as we all are but good of heart and motive—like friends and family. Then I came face to face with the antagonist, a truly despicable man who failed to display a single redeeming quality. A beta reader reminded me that no one is all bad. Really? An image of Adolph Hitler came immediately to mind—and memories of the millions in concentration camps who'd died at his command. I've never read or heard a single good thing about that man. Still, my reader had a point, and I tried to find something positive about my antagonist. It didn't happen. Now, twenty years later, I have revisited the story and rethought my antagonist. He's still despicable. I still love to hate him. But in the updated version, the reader will get a few glimpses into what happened to the little boy that created the abusive man he grew up to be. Are they enough to make him lovable? Not in my book

The Foundation that Holds Us Together

Looking outside my window I see a lovely field, sundappled and windblown. The goats are browsing along its edge, wishing, I bet, for the fresh leaves they remember from summer. The children are working on a playhouse outside, the dogs running and barking, hoping to entice them to play. The gardens are mulched now, and I know that come Spring we will be harvesting rocks for days before we can plant a single seed. The Ozarks are beautiful, with a surface abundance that belies their rock and clay skeleton. A wild, beautiful place that reminds me of another land that I loved and called home for almost ten years. I once saw an optical illusion, where if you looked at a drawing a certain way it looked like a young woman, but from another angle it appeared to be an elderly one. Yemen is like that, the old and the new juxtaposed, shifting, always giving a glimpse of one when you are looking at the other. I found this especially to be true in the villages, where life goes on in the same