Life is like…

Life is like…an ice cream cone
Snow is flying here in central Indiana, which, strangely enough, makes me think of ice cream. Well, maybe it isn’t so strange, since ice cream is one of my favorite things. I especially love soft serve twist cones, the ones that are half chocolate and half vanilla.
I love the way the creamy sweetness melts on your tongue, coating it in cool yumminess.  Sometimes I like to lick around and around the outside, catching the little drips just before they spill over the cone. Sometimes I can’t be that patient and I take a big bite out of the top (which invariably gives me a hammerhead).
I think life is like that cone. Sometimes we want to lick it slowly and make it last, and sometimes we want to jump in and take a big bite.
I want to savor every moment of my daughters’ lives, to enjoy every choir concert and college break and movie snuggled under a blanket. I want to slow down those moments when we sit by the fire and don’t say anything because we just enjoy each other’s company, and the noisy dinners where everyone is talking about their day. At those times, I want to just lick the cone of life a little at a time and make it last forever.
But when it comes to my mother, I can’t be satisfied with a lick. I adore my mom and I think she likes me a little bit, too (!). But I know that she’s getting older every year and, like an ice cream cone in summer, I can’t keep her forever no matter how I wish it were otherwise. So I want to take big selfish bites of the time I have with her so I can savor them long after the she’s gone. I hope that someday my girls will look at time with me in the same way.
So, are you a licker or a biter? Or, like me, are you a little bit of both?

Scrivener – Ya Gotta Love It

It may surprise those of you who know me personally, but I’ve written four novels. None of them are published yet, but that’s coming. I just know it.
And recently, I have a new secret weapon for writing the next breakout novel (!), and I want to share it with you. For anyone who writes regularly—anything from blog posts to novels–let me recommend an awesome little software program known as Scrivener (@ScrivenerApp).
Unlike word processors which essentially exist to record your words, Scrivener is designed to help you record your thoughts AND your words. It works the way my mind does, gathering bits of information here and there as my stories evolve. But unlike my brain, it keeps all of the information in a place where I can actually find it when I want it later. It’s like the big three-ring binders I used to use, but a whole lot faster and more convenient.  
Scrivener has changed the way I write. The visual elements alone were, for me, revolutionary. There is a corkboard for little note cards, an outliner, templates for character sketches, and folders for recording information about scenes. I can clip and save photos, text, maps and more from the internet, or just record the link. There’s even a name generator that lets you choose information about the origin of the character.
The folder that contains my actual manuscript records chapter headings, chapter descriptions, scene and POV information and…wait for it…Scrivener can take all of the information and put it together into the correct manuscript format for a number of publishing goals. It will even produce a synopsis using meta-data you’ve entered for each chapter.
As of writing this post, the cost to purchase the full version of Scrivener for either Windows or Mac was only $40! If you aren’t certain Scrivener is for you, then you can get the free trial and take it for a test drive. I bet you’ll decide to stick with it. With National Novel Writing Month in full swing, can you afford NOT to have Scrivener?
A special thanks to KM Weiland (@kmweiland) for featuring Scrivener on her blog (, and to Joseph Michael (@ScrivenerCoach) for his free Scrivener webinar ( It was a fantastic introduction to Scrivener for a newbie like me. You can learn more about Joseph Michael here (


I just returned from the First Annual Indiana Faith and Writing Conference (#IFWC2014) and it was, in a word, AWESOME. If you are anywhere in the midwestern US (or even if you aren’t), you’ll want to put this one on your schedule for next year.

Held on the campus of Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, IFWC gave attendees the opportunity to sit under the tutelage of some of Christian publishing’s best known authors, agents and publishers. We also had an opportunity to learn from bloggers and social media experts, tax experts and pastors.

How’s this for an impressive list?

Dennis E. (Doc) Hensley
Linda Taylor
Amanda Luedeke
Linda Glaz
Michelle Medlock Adams
Nate Pyle
Terry Whalin
Ken Abraham
Jim Watkins
Lin Johnson
Les Stobbe
Cara Miller
Deborah Fox
Katie Ganshert
Sarah Wells
Phillip Gulley
Keith Williams
Elizabeth Imafuji
Stephen Lewis
Craig Bubeck
Carol Topp
Lawrence Wilson 
(Let me know if I left anyone out!)

While conference attendance was smaller than some I have attended, Anderson University faculty and staff put on a very nice event and I expect it will continue to grow for several years to come.

Now if I can just figure out what the whole ### thing means…