It’s not JUST a lilac!!

It’s not. Lilacs represent a million things to me. Of course they are beautiful and have a wonderful scent. And sure, it means winter is finally gone and spring has arrived. But they represent more than that. I’ll tell you my story and maybe you have one, too.

I grew up in Wisconsin and Canada, and lilacs were a welcome sign every spring. My mother would arrange a  bouquet of lavender lilacs for as long as they bloomed. We moved around quite a bit and Mom always made sure we had a lilac bush wherever we lived. (And Dad always planted peonies under our windows!) Anyway, as those of you who know me or have read anything I write, you know that I’ve lived in Florida for over 47 years (don’t ask why–I’m still working on figuring it out) and in my writing I always talk about lilacs.

Lilacs don’t grow in Florida–unfortunately. I remember ordering a small bush when we moved and of course it didn’t grow. So today when I walked into my favorite store and saw lilacs from Wisconsin, I couldn’t have been happier. That’s the truth! And here is a picture of them in a vase that belonged to my mother.

If this tropical storm that we are getting rain from passes by tomorrow, I’ll go back and buy a bunch to take to my parents at the cemetery. And I know that they will be as pleased with them as I am.

Now do you know why they aren’t just lilacs?


Bouquets of Words


img_1794 I love flowers–all kinds of flowers. But my favorites are lilacs, peonies, irises, daffodils–and wildflowers. And roses. Okay–the bottom line is, I love flowers. I feel good just looking at a pretty bouquet, or even a single flower. Just think–they start as a little seed and bloom into something that brings a lot of happiness to us. Flowers are used for both happy occasions and sad times. Flowers mirror our moods and they have different meanings.  Roses signify love; lily of the valley is popular in bridal bouquets; carnations are symbolic of pride; daisies are symbolic of innocence; and on and on.

Words are bouquets to writers. We carefully choose the word that we want to use to express what we are thinking, and trying to describe. We HAVE to choose the perfect word to convey our meaning to the reader or our story will be lost. In my novel, “When Shadows Linger,” I carefully selected the descriptive words that I wanted to use to describe a New England town. My goal was for my readers to be able to envision themselves walking down Main Street in a small town; in this case it was Middlebury, Vermont. Having been there and fallen in love with Middlebury, I was able to do that. And I am very proud of that accomplishment.

In “My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette,” I improved the descriptions of the characters in the story. Not their physical characteristics, but who they were and how they “felt.” What was it like for a family to leave their home country in the early 1900s and come to a strange place? What were their fears? And what were their dreams?

My Bouquet of Words is plentiful. There is no shortage and the bouquet is with me all of the time. I can reach in and grab the one that will convey the meaning that I am trying to get across to my readers. And like a bouquet of mixed flowers, the possibilities of arranging them are endless. Like flowers, our stories grow from single words to sentences, to paragraphs, to pages, and finally to the place where we want our readers to be. So, when you sit down to work on your book, make sure that your bouquet of words is right there with you. I promise you–it will work for you just as it does for me.


Why Do I Write?


In one of the on-line writing courses I took, there was an assignment about why we write. I don’t remember what my reasons were at the time (after all, it has been about three years!) but I can tell you why I continue to write.

Obviously my writing is not motivated by money. And that’s because I haven’t made any. It’s not for lack of trying, that’s for sure. But if my reason was to make money, I would have quit by now. (It has actually cost me a great deal, just with the promoting, etc.). I write because I truly love it. Just like reading takes a person on adventures, so my writing does that for me. For example, when I wrote, “When Shadows Linger,” I placed myself in Middlebury, Vermont. I have fallen in love with New England and so through my writing I am there.

“My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette” takes place in the early 1900s. When I was writing the book, I was able to visualize the various experiences that the immigrants had–life in their home country, traveling to America, the Lower East Side of New York, and Racine in the early 1900s and beyond. I was also able to put down family stories that I heard while growing up and share with readers. And when I included my parents’ names in the book, it took on a special meaning for me. I think you know what I mean. Also–the book has been accepted for the archives in The Racine Heritage Museum and for the archives at the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee. I consider that to be more meaningful than a sale. Why? Because my maternal family can trace itself to Racine for over 100 years, something that other generations of immigrants have not been able to do.

I can’t forget the two stories that were printed in Edify Fiction. “My Joe: A Reflection” will always be special because it was my first piece of fiction published in a magazine and not self-published. (Also because it’s a very nice story about a love that lasts over decades.) And recently, “Willow Falls” was also published in Edify–a story about a love  that is meant to be.

So, that’s why I write. I put all of my feelings into my writing and all of my dreams. I hope they are conveyed to my readers so that they can share my journey.






My Journey As An Author


I don’t think that my “writing journey” is much different from yours’. I didn’t have a life-long dream of writing a novel. It’s really just something that happened–like deciding to go to school on a whim when I was 40 and six years later I had a Master’s Degree in Social Work. But anyway, after taking online classes through the University of Wisconsin, I wrote a few things. I’ve had two short stories accepted by Edify Fiction, and I’ve self-published two novelettes and a novel. I’m also a regular contributor to Extra Innings, a newsletter for the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and I am the “Social Media Specialist” for Edify Fiction. I’m going to write a series on this blog to tell you about the various steps of my journey. So, follow me on here for tips and the challenges I’ve encountered with my writing, self-publishing, copyrighting and promoting. I’d love to hear about your writing journey, too.

One Of Those Days. . .

Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to hide and not let anyone see you? And where you feel like you’re spinning your wheels? That’s how my day was today. Running around, doing things that had to be done; and here it is almost 10:30 PM and I feel as though nothing was accomplished. But, there’s always tomorrow!  By the way, meet Lars. He had one of those days, too.