Sunday, October 20, 2013

Enough Said

My husband and I enjoy watching romantic comedies. After a long week at work, we want to laugh and enjoy our movie watching experience.  We chose Enough Said because it starred James Gandolfini, who passed away last June. This was most likely the last movie he made. I have also enjoyed Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her former comedies and hoped she would offer a fine performance. 

We expected an enjoyable experience, but nothing profound. I was wrong. The movie offered much more than a few laughs. In my opinion, a movie is worth every penny spent going to the theater if it touches your life or makes you reflect on your own.

In Enough Said, Julia's character discovers her new friend is the ex-wife of her new boyfriend. Instead of breaking off one of the relationships, she continues to listen to the ex bash her new boyfriend. She believes she can avoid another bad marriage if she knows what she is getting into ahead of time. Of course, her view of the man she likes is skewed by this other woman. We aren't surprised when James's character says he feels like he just spent the evening with his ex. When she is caught, which we knew would happen, she tells the boyfriend she was trying to protect herself. He accuses her, and rightly so, of not protecting their relationship.

James's character set off a chain of thoughts in my own mind. I remember when I was young, I sometimes complained about boyfriends to my friends and they would agree with everything I said. Did that help any relationship? I'm sure it didn't. Did I need my friends to help me gather the strength to break up? Perhaps. What about friends who complain about their husbands? Is it the job of the friend to give advice to help save the marriage, or should they agree the husband is a jerk, or should they keep quiet? Should friends recommend marriage counseling or remind this person of their husband's finer qualities? Should people keep their marital problems to themselves? If your friend is being abused you want to get them assistance. 

My cousin told me that her father, my uncle, once told her not to do anything that would weaken her marriage. That was good advice to those who want to keep their marriage strong. I personally don't plan on giving advice on this subject. I am no expert and I'm not sure there are any perfect answers. I am simply going to reflect on the matter and continue to appreciate a thought-provoking movie.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Introducing Brenda Whiteside

I feel privileged to introduce to you today another author from Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Brenda Whiteside and her book Amanda in the Summer.

Three generations of women…and the secret that strengthens their love.

A line of women, all named Amanda, stretches back for generations. Each with her hopes, her joys, her pain—each pouring out her heart in correspondence with a dear family friend who shares their lives, understands their loves, and joins in their sorrows.

But within the correspondence lies a secret. And as the youngest of the Amanda’s retraces the journey through the years—beginning in post-war America and following through to modern day—the letters reveal, layer by layer, the Amandas who came before her. Soon, the truths and lies hidden in the letters lead her down a path of self-discovery that forges a bond between her past and future.


August 24, 1968

Dear Tilly,

A few days of bliss with no one to talk to but the
seagulls. I have you to thank for this. I’m so glad you
popped back after Amanda, Robert, and Mother left. The
strain I put on all of us while you were here would’ve
dragged on for who knows how long if you hadn’t
returned. Once again, Tilly, you read the tea leaves and
righted things.

My moods have been so ragged of late. Jealousy of
all things. Jealous that you could talk to my daughter,
get along so lovely with her, which I’ve had difficulty
doing these last few months. Jealous of your longer
running friendship with Robert than with me. I’m not
sure if I was jealous of him or you. You’re both mine.
And angry that the two of you are uncomfortable around
each other after so many years and not making sense of
that. When Robert left, I tried to give him the blue
swimsuit you had left behind and asked him to drop in
on you to return it. He said no, I could do it when I got
back. This was so unlike him and did more to unsettle

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about prairie life and writing at

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Desert Dreams Writer's Conference

April 4-6, 2014
Tempe Mission Palms Resort
Tempe, Arizona

Speakers Include:

  • NY Times Best Selling Author Christie Craig: Keynote
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvia Day
  • Award-winning Author and speaker Mary Buckham
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Allison Brennan
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Karin Tabke
  • And many more
This national bi-annual conference gives writers a chance to ready their manuscriptsand pitch to sell them to big-name editors and agents. New York Times bestselling authors Christie Craig, Sylvia Day and Mary Buckham are just a few of the speakers who will keep the 200+ attendees’ creative juices flowing.
Powerhouse agents and editors—including editors and senior editors from Grand Central Publishing, Random House, Decadent Publishing and Boroughs Publishing, as well as agents from The Kristin Nelson Literary Agency, The Nancy Yost Literary Agency and The Bradford Literary Agency—will be on hand to give advice and present workshops. Agents and editors visiting the conference actively seek the high caliber of talent found among those who come to Desert Dreams.

In addition to workshops and opportunities to mingle and meet authors, Desert Dreams attendees are given a one on-one appointment with an agent or editor of their choice free of charge. Unlike larger writers’ conferences, every attendee is offered this option, not just those who are published or willing to pay extra. There’s one catch: attendees must sign up early for their choice since agents and editors are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Desert Dreams also offers a book signing open to the public on Saturday, April 5th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Mission Palms Ballroom. To sign up early and pay the reduced price, just click on the Online Registration tab at the left side of the page. Member price is currently only $180, so sign up now, before the rates go up. Desert Dreams Writers’ Conference provides authors of all skill levels – from beginner to multi-published – with the tools necessary to take their writing to the next level. Session included general writing, career development, genre-specific, agent/publisher spotlights, as well as an agent/editor panel. Check out our roster of acquired editors and agents along with our keynote speakers and workshops. Did you miss the 2012, 2010, or 2008 conferences? Order workshop conference CDs and MP3s.

Check back often for more details on the 2014 Desert Dreams Conference.
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You can register for the conference at

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tell The Story That Excites You

Last night, we watched the movie Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. It was suspenseful from beginning to end and the cinematography was superb. I enjoyed every moment, the critics are raving about it, so why didn't husband appreciate the movie? As authors, we cringe whenever someone criticizes our books, but the truth is, we don't all have the same taste in movies or books. My husband enjoys comedies and old movies. I enjoy comedies, but I love a good mystery. I once heard someone say, "No matter what you do, someone won't like you." It's the same with the story you tell. Tell the story that you get excited about writing. If you get excited, it will come through the pages and others will enjoy it as well. Not everyone, but that's okay, too.