Sample of New Manuscript (First Scene of Chapter One)

FYI: The Hollywood sign originally started out reading HOLLYWOODLAND as depicted in the picture below. ;)

Spring 1938

Sweetly Estate

Beverly Hills, California

A clap of thunder shook the bed frame, shaking Isabella awake. With a gasp, she sat upright in her bed, gripping the silk sheets in her trembling hands. The inky blackness of the night cast dancing shadows on the walls. Streams of rain ran down the window panes. She glanced around, her heart pounding as a shiver ran down her spine. Isabella hated storms. Always had. Here in Southern California, thunder and lightening were rare. She’d never gotten used to it. My poor heart is much to old for this, she thought, breathing deep to calm herself.

But had it been only the thunder that had awoken her, she wondered, or had it been something else?

She was about to sink back into her pillows when her husband’s form—passing by her open doorway, caught her eye. “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence,” he was calling out in the darkness. Isabella jumped out of bed, pulling her silk wrapper over her shoulders.

“Oliver?” she called, her long dark-graying curls cascading down her back. She spotted him slipping out the french doors that led to the balcony. He left the doors open; rain washed in. Isabella closed her eyes against a bright flash of lightening. The thunder that followed shook the walls and rattled the mirrors. Oliver turned to look back, his eyes blind to the sight of her. Yet, the look that she found etched across his old face rooted her where she stood. Her eyes were wild; the dementia taking full possession of him. Panic gripped her and she ran after him. “Oliver! Oliver, get back here!”

As soon as her bare feet hit the wet floor of the balcony, they went out from beneath her—sending her sliding into the marble banister. Her head hit the stone with a solid thump. She cried out in pain, bringing her hand to her temple. When she looked up, she was stunned to find Oliver climbing up a ladder to the clay, tiled roof. Where had the ladder come from? Her heart jumped in her chest. “Oliver! No!”

“So God said to Noah,” he was crying out over the storm, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth!”

She leaned out over the banister, looking down at the wet ground so many feet below. “Help!” she screamed, helplessly. “Somebody help me!” But she knew it was in vain. Who was going to help her? Hadn’t Doctor Whitely tried to tell her that she could not handle Oliver by herself? Hadn’t he tried to convince her that she needed to hire someone to stay at the home and care for Oliver? For both of them? And hadn’t she refused?

Looking back to the roof, Isabella grimaced against the rain and found her husband down on hands and knees, pulling himself to the steep gable of the roof. She held her breath, unsure of what to do. He was going to fall to his death! What kind of maniac climbed up to the roof at seventy years of age? In the middle of a storm, no less!

She shook her head. What kind of maniac, indeed!

“Make yourself an ark,” he was shouting, “make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out!”

“Oliver!” Isabella screamed, voice fierce. “If you don’t fall off the roof and kill yourself, I will!” She clenched her jaw, and started up the ladder, her arthritic knees protesting. More than once her toes snagged in the wet chiffon of her night dress and she feared she would loose her grip—plummeting to the balcony below. She groaned through chattering teeth. The tabloid headlines would read: Hollywood’s famous Oliver Sweetly, trailblazer of ‘talkies’ falls to his death! His wife tumbling after. It would be Tinseltown’s twisted version of the Jack and Jill nursery rhythm.

“I am going to bring flood waters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish!”

She reached the top of the ladder and stared up at her husband perched on the gable. With trembling arms, she pulled herself onto the slick clay tiles. Her heart pounded and her breath came in short gasp. “Oliver!” she managed, ignoring the thunder of her heart. Lightening flashed. “Don’t you dare move!”

“The Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.’”

Carefully, Isabella crawled on all fours to where Oliver was perched. His wild white hair was plastered to his withered face. His pinstriped pajamas clung to his skeletal body. “Oliver, darling!” she breathed, breathless from fear. She brought herself up to sit on the thin gable. She glanced at the stormy sky, certain they had made themselves lightening rods. “Oliver, look at me!”

Her husband blinked three times before turning to look at her. Then, slowly, a smile curved his shivering lips and he reached out to take his wife’s hand. “Oh, hello there, Love,” he said, kindly.
Anger seized her. Suddenly, she pictured herself throwing her husband off the roof. “Hello, Love? Is that all you have to say for yourself? Oliver, just what on God’s green earth do you think you’re doing?”


“Waiting? For what?”

“The ark, of course.” He squeezed her hand. “Don’t you worry about a thing, my dear lady. We will be saved, you and I.” He smiled at her and Isabella suddenly forgot that they were soaking wet, sitting on the roof. She loved that smile! When has she last seen it? “I can tell just by looking at you,” he was saying, “that you are righteous in God’s sight. He will not let you drown.”
“We’re not going to drown, Ollie,” she said, softly.

He nodded. “Oh, yes! Look out at this place!” With his free hand, Oliver motioned to the sprawling landscape lit for heartbeats of a second by flashes of white lightening. Isabelle looked out, startled by the sight before her. She’d never noticed what a view they had of Hollywood. But then again, when had she ever been on their roof?

“This land is corrupt,” he declared. “God will destroy it!” Then he looked at his wife, compassion once again in his eyes. “But you and I, dear one, we will be saved.”

She studied her husband for a moment, noticing all too well the haunting glow of madness hiding in the dark pools of his eyes like a sly thief. “Darling,” she whispered. “Do you know who I am?”

Again, he blinked three times, his kind smile faltering. When had he last known her? She could not recall. More than three months now, she was sure. Tears gathered in her eyes and she looked away. She could not bare the idea that he would once again think she was the housemaid, as he usually did.


Isabella turned back, her eyes wide—her breath caught on her lips. Oliver was looking at her. His smile gone and replaced by a frown. He glanced down at her, taking in her wet nightdress and silk wrap with a newly tattered hem. He reached out a trembling hand to touch her wet curls, limp and hanging in her chocolate colored eyes. “Isa?” he said again, confusion sending a quiver through his voice. “What are you doing up here on the roof? In the rain, no less?”

Laughter bubbled from deep within her and she threw her arms around him. “Oh, Ollie!” she declared. “It has been too long!”

He gripped her shoulders and gently pulled her away. Understanding flickered in his eyes. “When was the last time?”

“Three months, maybe.”

“And what does Doctor Whitely say?”

She hesitated. “There is nothing he can do.” It would be better if he didn’t know, but the look in his eyes implored her to continue. Voice barely more than a whisper, she said, “He says that you’ll slip away for longer periods of time, until—”

He brought a finger to her lips to stop her words. He nodded—understanding. Wrapping an arm around her trembling shoulders, he pulled his wife close to him and stared out at the darkness. Thousands of twinkling street lamps winked at them from the valley below. The first rays of dawn’s light filtered through the storm clouds and cast a pink haze on the HOLLYWOODLAND sign perched on the side of the distant mountains. The silhouette of palm trees stood against the salmon sky.

“Isa, Darling?” Oliver asked. “What are we doing up here?”

She chuckled. “Waiting for the ark.”

“The ark?” He raised a brow and peered down at her. She savored this tender, sacred moment. “Dare I ask more?”

“No, darling, just kiss me.”

He pressed a kiss to her cold lips. Isabella melted in her husband’s embrace, suddenly unaware of the drizzle of rain that remained and the chill in the salty air. She heard the distant caw of seagulls and a few car horns down in the valley, but mostly, she was aware of nothing more than the warmth of her husband so close to her.

Oliver pulled away and let his wife relax against him. “You could have been killed climbing up here after me,” he said, sternly.

“Could have? I still could be!” She laughed. “I have no idea how we will get down from here.”

“Isa, I am serious. I’m putting you in danger.”

“Of course not, Ollie. Don’t speak such things.”

“Isa, listen to me.” His voice strong, serious. “I must go away somewhere—to a home for people like me.”

“I won’t hear of such a thing!” She pushed away and crossed her arms in defiance. She didn’t care if she looked like a spoiled two year-old. She would not listen to such foolishness!

“These episodes will only get worse,” he pressed, “and one day I’m not going to come back, Isabella. You have to prepare yourself for the reality.”

She shook her head. “I won’t hear another word, Oliver! You are not going anywhere!”

“Isa, please—”

“No, Oliver! This is our home! This place means the world to you!” She reached out and took his hands in her own, clutching them to her chest as tears welled up in her eyes. “Ollie…I cannot bare this world without you. Do you hear me? You are staying with me. I won’t hear another word against it.”

His eyes softened and a small smile played on his lips. “I am a lucky man to have you. Always have been.”

Isabella let her head rest against her husband’s chest. She listened to the steady beat of his old heart, content with the knowledge that it was still beating. Oliver’s cheek rest against the top of her head, the smell of his cologne tickling her nose. Fifty years they had called one another husband and wife. Fifty years they’d slept in the same bed, sat at the same breakfast table, cried tears with one another, shouted and grew angry, started and ended fights that matched that of any war— and found a new and deeper love with each passing day.

With the hills of Hollywood looming against the Pacific sky, Isabella and Oliver Sweetly held one another. The rain departed and the sun broke free of the dark clouds. Birds sang in the eucalyptus trees. A neighborhood dog happily greeted the new day with a song of his own. And with the last of the chill of the storm, a breeze swept over the lovers…and the moment faded away. Isabella smiled up at her husband, but her smile quickly faded. Oliver was staring with uncertain eyes out at the valley below. “God has spared us,” he said, his voice high and shaky. “But I must keep watch for the flood waters, dear lady. They will come very soon.”

A tear ran down her cheek.

copyright 2010

Christianity and Homosexuality: When Will We Stop Pointing Fingers?

Life is a struggle in and of itself. Yet, we as human beings complicate matters even more by pouring out our own drama and morphing our struggles and pains so that they overwhelm and destroy. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the church being trashed by various political parities. I'm tired of the church giving everyone a reason to trash and mock it. We've forfeited love, grace, and compassion for self-righteous piousness that stinks to high heaven…

The Bible say that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 (NIV)

I will be the first to admit that I am a royal screw up. I've done things that I knew were wrong and I've done things that I didn't realize were wrong. I've wounded people that I love. I've let my tongue speak evil to and about others. I've let seeds of bitterness turn me into a sour lemon and grudges dig their filthy claws deep into my heart. I am imperfect. I sin on a regular basis (thought I sincerely try not to). I've spoken to my husband out of turn, gotten irritable with my children, and stuffed my foot so far deep into my mouth that I'm surprised I didn't shove it out the other end (nasty, I know…but you get the point). And these are just the things that I am willing to share. Imagine the horror if I shared my deepest, darkest moments that try desperately to cloak me in shame?

But having grown up in a rigid church background, I've had to deal with how in the world to shrug of that annoying cloak of shame. When I was little, I witnessed one too many good men and women of God have a sword of condemnation plunged into their hearts--turning them away from church and God all together. It is a shame, for I know good and well that our Savior in Jesus Christ would never treat us in that manner! In fact, he came and died on the cross, taking our sins and shame upon himself to deliver us, by grace, from our dark shame...

My heart aches to see the knew trend of trash talk rippling across our nation and through our church pews. Homosexuality has come front and center, boldly facing Christians and waiting for a fight. And what do Christians give them in return? What else but a fight. What happened to the love of Jesus Christ? What happened to grace and compassion? Instead we spit vile words of contempt and hatred. We ignore our own personal sins and point out others'. We pretend that gossip and jealousy are measured less by God. We convince ourselves that the wickedness shoved in the dark places of our hearts will never rear it's ugly head.

Recently, I have received several forwarded emails trumpeting two of Christian music's stars as "coming out of the closet." People speak of how sad it is and how we need to be praying for their deliverance. Maybe they're right. Then again, maybe we're focusing no the wrong part of the story. I took a closer look at the articles and found some gems that broke my heart. I believe that as a church…we are missing the point and hence, failing God.

In an interview with Christianity Today/ liveblog, Ray Boltz says this about admitting that he is gay:

Boltz also told The Blade that he doesn't want to get into debates about Scripture and has no plans to "go into First Baptist or an Assembly of God church and run in there and say, 'I'm gay and you need to love me anyway.' "

Earlier, Boltz had alluded to the issue on his official website, saying that if people "knew who I really was, I would never be accepted."

And he is oh, so very right. If he walked into my church and said that he was gay (this having happened before he openly declared it), something would plummet inside of me. I am sure that judgment would rise up within me. I wouldn't want to listen to his music anymore and I would shake my head (when I got home, of course, because I'm too good to shake my head in front of him) and pity his disillusionment. I'd feel sorry for him for the fact that he'd succumbed to his sins.

I'm serious folks. I'm not joking here or making up some sort of sarcastic parody of what I believe other Christians would do. I would do that. I did do that when I first learned. But then I turned around and indulged in idle gossip…forgetting that my words break God's heart just as much as any other person's sin. There are no scales in heaven in which my wrong doings will be weighed that will cost me less than Mr. Boltz's sins. And Jesus did not suffer a less punishment on my behalf for my petty gossip than he did on the cross for murder, rape and homosexuality. He hung on the cross for all of it.

And then there is the interview that Christianity Today had with Jennifer Knapp upon announcing her separation from the Christian music scene and her relationship with another woman. When asked if she'd "struggled" with homosexuality while writing her previous albums, her response was as follows:

The struggle I've had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I've been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I've always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it's difficult for me to say that I've struggled within myself, because I haven't. I've struggled with other people. I've struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself. Later she states: I'm not capable of getting into the theological argument as to whether or not we should or shouldn't allow homosexuals within our church. There's a spirit that overrides that for me, and what I've been gravitating to in Christ and why I became a Christian in the first place.

I can only imagine how it would feel if we targeted gossips and Christian's who told little "white lies" instead of placing homosexuals under the magnifying glass as we play God and measure their sins, marking them destined for hell.

Miss Knapp later says: At a certain point I find myself so handcuffed in my own faith by trying to get it right—to try and look like a Christian, to try to do the things that Christians should do, to be all of these things externally—to fake it until I get myself all handcuffed and tied up in knots as to what I was supposed to be doing there in the first place.

And how right she is. I believe that our nation is covered with well-meaning Christians that walk every day of their lives handcuffed -- unable to love others and bestow grace because our hands are tied behind our backs. We are held captive by legalism and laws that we don't even truly understand. We are imprisoned by self-righteousness, our view of what a "good" christian is, the need to appear perfect in other people's eyes, our desire to "have it together", our never-ending struggle to live up to the picture implanted in our minds as children in Sunday School, and held captive by our own inability to understand God's love nor accept his grace and compassion for ourselves.

If we would only let go (which happens to be the title of Miss Knapp's latest album), then maybe, just maybe we would learn to live at peace with one another, happy enough just to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But the key is: we must first learn to love ourselves. I believe that what Ray Boltz and Jennifer Knapp have that the rest of us lack, is that they have learned the hard way how to love themselves…and how to accept God's grace and compassion.

I am in no way condoning homosexuality, nor am I condemning it. I'm not God. I have to answer for my own sins, both great and small. What I am condoning is love and grace…and condemning Christians walking blindly in handcuffs. I may not be able to throw scripture at people to justify why I believe they are wrong or right, but nor do I feel the need that I must do that in order to be taken seriously. The favorite line in Jennifer Knapp's interview was this: If God expects me, in order to be a Christian, to be able to theologically justify every move that I make, I'm sorry. I'm going to be a miserable failure.

Gay or not, I know for a fact that God loves her and Ray Boltz, and every other homosexual person in the world. If he didn't love them (or us), why on earth would he allow his SON to die for them?

For info on a very cool man's perspective of how to seek healing and restoration as a gay man or woman (he was a homosexual) check out this link.

From what he had to say, this stuck with me the most:

During my own journey out of homosexuality I made a significant discovery—Jesus Christ is not a means to an end. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. I did not go to Christ to get something else, namely heterosexuality. I went to Christ to get HIM!

Listen To Jennifer Knapp's Song "Letting Go" here.

National Day of Prayer, a Family Affair

Roger had the great opportunity to lead a special prayer for our nation's military as part of the National Day of Prayer. Together, our city met on the court house steps on a beautiful warm day. Unashamed and with passion in our hearts, we fervently lifted our petitions to our Heavenly Father. How wonderful and blessed we are to still live in a country where we can peacefully assemble and cry out to our God without fear of persecution.

But I must say, to hear Roger stand on the steps and boldly recite Psalm 144 before leading us in his stirring prayer, I was stunned by the anointing visible in his presence. This man was made for the podium and it will be an exciting adventure to see where God leads him.

Below is my journalistic pictorial of our prayer meeting in Hamilton County, Indiana.

Praise be to the LORD my Rock,

who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.

He is my loving God and my fortress, 

my stronghold and my deliverer, 

my shield, in whom I take refuge, 

who subdues peoples [a] under me.

O LORD, what is man that you care for him, 

the son of man that you think of him?

Man is like a breath; 

his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down; 

touch the mountains, so that they smoke.

Send forth lightning and scatter {the enemies}; 

shoot your arrows and rout them.

Reach down your hand from on high; 

deliver me and rescue me 

from the mighty waters, 

from the hands of foreigners

whose mouths are full of lies, 

whose right hands are deceitful.

I will sing a new song to you, O God; 

on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,

to the One who gives victory to kings, 

who delivers his servant David from the deadly sword.

Deliver me and rescue me 

from the hands of foreigners 

whose mouths are full of lies, 

whose right hands are deceitful.

Then our sons in their youth 

will be like well-nurtured plants, 

and our daughters will be like pillars 

carved to adorn a palace.

Our barns will be filled 

with every kind of provision. 

Our sheep will increase by thousands, 

by tens of thousands in our fields;

our oxen will draw heavy loads. [b] 

There will be no breaching of walls, 

no going into captivity, 

no cry of distress in our streets.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true; 

blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.

May God shed his mercy over thee...


My Review (take it or leave it) of Michelle Moran's "Nefertiti"

I recently finished reading "Nefertiti" by Michelle Moran, and I have to say, I think this book is a keeper. Good thing for me, I also purchased the sequel "The Heretic Queen".

Honestly, I had never heard of Michelle Moran, as my reading usually consists of little more than non-fiction and Christian Historic Fiction. So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized I'd just selected a book by an author on the New York Time's Best Sellers List. Ms. Moran's style is fluid with imagery that took me straight into the markets of Ancient Egypt, caused me to smell Nefertiti's palace, the flowering gardens, the roasted cumin in the markets, and even the downy softness of a palace kitten. With each page, I felt like I could lose myself in the desert heat, the drama of the court, the battle for the crowns of Egypt, and literally taste, feel, and see all that the book had to offer me. It was an adventure. And as all good books should do, it completely captivated and swept me away.

Before reading "Nefertiti" I had learned quite a bit about the famous Queen of Egypt who quite possibly also sat on the Horus throne as Pharaoh (sharing the role with her disillusioned husband, King Akhenaten). I knew there was a great deal of mystery that surrounded her story and even more uncertainties of how her life ended. This intrigue was enough to make me smile when I spotted Ms. Moran's book with the stunning image of Nefertiti's famous bust on the cover. I was eager to see where the author would take me, how she would portray Nefertiti's life. At first, I was wary that the story was told in first person through the voice of Nefertiti's half, and beloved sister, Mutnodjmet. Yet, within the first sentences, I found myself in a tomb, an innocent bystander (or intruder, really) at a private funeral for a prince of Egypt. The scene was laid out so perfectly that I could smell the dank, mildew stone walls. I felt as if I should be looking for the darkest corner and crouching down so that no one in the royal family spotted me (laugh if you will, but it was great!). It has always been a crucial selling point for me that the first sentences, paragraphs and pages be enough to keep the reader spellbound, eagerly turning to the next page…and then the next…until it is a battle to put the book down (click here to read this excerpt).

Michelle Moran, as I said, is heralded as a best selling author. I don't know how great she is, as I've only read "Nefertiti", but I certainly do believe that if the rest of her work lives up to this novel, then she is certainly worthy of such a title. I can tell that a great deal of research and passion was poured out into each page of her work. I believe, with certainty, that she wrote as if she knew the Egyptian Queen in a very real way. Each character, from Nefertiti to her nemesis: her husband's first wife, Kiya, were written so that the reader felt as if she could understand their pain, fear, hopes, and struggles. I believe there were even times when my heartbeat picked up pace a beat or two in several critical scenes.

But what I will take with me from this novel, is the unbelievable sadness that I had for Nefertiti and her loved ones. I cannot fathom a life where everything depended on achieving a near impossibility: to become a queen, and eventually Pharaoh, of a very powerful and rich land. Nefertiti had to fight for her crown, and fight even harder to keep it for the sake of her family. It was an obsession. The crown was all that mattered in her life. She would do anything for it: lie, cheat steal…and even murder. And her poor sister, our story teller in this novel, was caught in the cross-hairs of destiny and her personal desire to live a simple, quiet life far from the palace gossip.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking piece that has haunted me, was the prologue to the sequel of "Nefertiti" that was at the end of the novel. It is in this that a young Ramesses is ridiculed by an old priestess who claims cruelly, "The gods do not listen to children! What great things have you accomplished that Amun should hear you speak? What wars have you won? What monuments have you erected? Where will Amun have heard your name," she demands, "to recognize it among so many thousands begging for aid?"

"Nowhere," he whispers.

"If the gods cannot recognize your names," she warns, "they will never hear your prayers."

How hard this life must have been for children like Ramesses, for Mutnodjmet and little Nefertiti to be raised in. I cannot imagine the great weight of the burden that rested on their young shoulders. It is no wonder that they would feel they had no choice but to lie, steal, cheat and kill to have their names forever etched in sandstone for the gods to see...

The Egyptian Proverb says, "To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again." If there was ever any truth to this idea, Michelle Moran certainly made the queen live again.

For more on "Nefertiti" check out these links:

Visit Michelle Moran's Website here

Q&A with Michelle Moran

Purchase "Nefertiti" on Amazon here

Writing and Motherhood

I started writing in high school. Back then, I would wildly spin tales without having the slightest idea where the story was going or what the character's purposes were. After finishing up a chapter, I'd happily print it out and pass it around to the other girls in school who read it as if it was the latest installment in some teen soap opera. I still remember some of the settings and characters. For heaven's sake! What was I thinking? It was terrible writing. Truly despicable!

Serious writing came later when I was married. Roger was deployed and I was left alone in Southern California with a whole lot of time on my hands. My new life in the world of the military and a budding war in the Middle East gave me a taste of fiction coming to life in my own world. This was not the type of life I had ever dreamed I would be part of. I was lost in a world of saluting Military Police at the base gate, breathtaking CH-46 helicopters racing over the tops of towering palms tree, and the sight of hovering Cobra helicopters slipping down to the earth between power lines and dirt roads. Throw in the fact that my husband's unit was on the other side of the world being covered on international news by a once very famous political and military icon, and you can understand why everything was surreal. I literally felt as if I had joined the ranks of women from our history…the same women that took up work riveting airplane fuselages in factories or even flying the airplanes themselves in the WASPS.

I wrote three full length novels while I was in California. Were they good? Heavens no! They were terrible! But I certainly thought they were good at the time. I even worked very hard seeking publication. It was my first taste of what a stack of rejections looked like. And it didn't look good!

Then, my time as a military wife ended and my husband and I left California behind to head back to our hometowns. It was time to enter the "real" world. And boy was it an adjustment! But I didn't leave writing behind. I was still recklessly stubborn and determined that I was going to see one of my novels published. I kept writing as if my life depended on it. I finished another novel. This one was much better than the last, but it was still dreadful. I shopped it around to literary agents…and again received a fresh stack of rejections. It was getting to the point where rejections didn't sting as much. As much, is key. It still hurt. It still does.

Then, babies started coming along. When I was pregnant with my daughter, there was nothing I could do to get myself to write. I believe that my brain must have simply been overwhelmed by the amount of hormones that were assaulting it. Try as I may, words eluded me. I didn't write again until the summer I was pregnant with my son, nearly two years later. Unlike with my daughter, I was able to write. In fact, I wrote an entire novel those nine months--the novel that I just received representation for.

These days, I don't get to stay up through the night pounding away at the keyboard, madly hashing out the story that is running rampant in my mind. I don't have that luxury because at eight o'clock in the morning, the kids are going to be jumping into my bed armed with empty cereal bowls, demanding that I feed them. Then, of course, there are those terrible midnight screams and sounds of retching that propel me running into their room.

When I edit, the children get stacks of old manuscripts and highlighters so that they can "work" along side mommy. They love it and it keeps them busy. I write scenes between snack breaks and dirty diaper changes. I don't get to write to film scores anymore, but instead to the backdrop of PBS cartoons. But no matter how, where, or when I write, it always pays off. Not only do I get to lose myself in a world of fiction where anything can happen, but I get the reward of my daughter cuddling up to me with a book as she says, "One day, mommy, I'm going to write books like you."

And we will be. Both of us.