Write What You Know

18362492_1238027982976551_1361060936_o“Write what you know,” the weathered writing instructor with grey-streaked red hair and periwinkle glasses told us, holding up two lackluster books that had probably not sold more than 30 copies each. Still, her two-day class was cheap, and at 20-something with a gathering stack of rejection slips, I figured some knowledge was better than no knowledge.

Wrong! I was quick to realize that at 20-something, I basically knew nothing. I should have given up writing then. Because by the time I knew enough to write books—reaping that knowledge had imprinted bloodstains on my heart. Some people like pain. I don’t.

When I attended those writing classes, I didn’t know God. When I started to realize God might be real, I prayed for Him to remove every doubt. He did. Accomplishing that meant sending me into the desert at night with a young child to support, no money, no job, no place to stay, and no vehicle. When you’re crying your heart out in the desert at night matching coyote wails, and the next day you receive everything you prayed for—it kind of removes the doubt element. Except, it’s mighty scary and uncomfortable at the time. Oh…almost everything. The vehicle arrived a few weeks later after we had started attending church and my four-year-old son said, “Mom, why don’t you pray for a truck?” I didn’t have enough faith to pray for that, but he did—and the next day—we had our truck.

A failed first marriage, fleeing and hiding from an abusive husband, supporting a child by myself, and working two to three jobs—knowledge is costly.

I must confess that my newest book, “Bridge to Texas,” is a comical mystery-romance-suspense not based on personal knowledge…exactly. I’ve never done a nude calendar shoot and at my age and weight—no one would buy the calendars. However, I covered a story when I was working for a Bandera, Texas newspaper that gave me the idea. Older women raising money for charity took off their clothes and made history, so to speak, plus a lot of money!

I must thank my husband Alan T McKean, talented author in his own right, for “Bridge to Texas.” The entire story grew out of a comment he made: “You should write another Texas Miz Mike. You could have Evan get kidnapped.” Does he get kidnapped? Read the book. Oh, and here’s a link to Alan’s books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alan-T.-McKean/e/B00BR1PM5Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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The differences between Scotland and Texas spin comedy effortlessly in “Bridge to Texas,” and the characters are a bossy bunch who grab a’holt of a story plot and corral it for their own rodeo. So you can say the book wrote itself. I say God wrote and I typed it. But whatever your personal outlook, you will probably enjoy this romping mystery-romance-suspense that can make you laugh…yes…out loud!

Even the cover and cover blurb are the result of knowledge: photographer Don Davis’ genius with a camera; Paul Garrison III’s mule training advice, and friend Shawn Petersen’s riding skill.

So that jaded teacher was right. Write what you know. And if you’re too young yet to know a lot…be thankful and wait. Don’t rush the knowledge—unless you’re one of those peculiar folks who enjoy pain.

I Didn’t Want to Run Today

I didn’t want to run today. I never do. It’s hard.

Weight control and general physical wellness benefit from running – so I run. Today was no exception; I didn’t want to run. Blessings followed obedience.

First, I met an 88-year-old neighbor who had suffered a stroke. Immediately following the stroke, he wobbled when he walked. Post-stroke challenges were hard. Determined to recover, he set up his own physical therapy regimen – golf. Now he strides along with confidence. Using partly speech and partly sign language, he informed me today that he and his 87-year-old friend play 18 holes four days a week. It was cold and blustery today – but he looked as brightly happy as a spring daffodil.

Then I met a stranger pushing her dad along in his wheelchair and taking their dog on a walk. We stopped and exchanged greetings. As I ran on down the road I reflected on how good and kind people can be. The news is full of bad-sad stories including the threat of war in the Ukraine, child and homeless abuse; alcohol and drug addiction; crooked politics, and violent crimes. Yet, because God’s Spirit is stronger on behalf of good than satan’s is on evil, people reflect God’s mercy and grace.

My most inspirational running discovery was The Trees. Surely had The Trees been given a choice of where they wanted to be planted, they would not have chosen the rocky soil on the side of Moray Firth that is buffeted nonstop by wind and gales. Because the wind has rocked them over the years, The Trees have sent their roots down into the soil so deeply that they can absorb water and nutrients. Needles on The Trees are glossy green with vibrant health. The trunks are solid, twisted into artistic compositions that shout victory over hardship. The Trees have endured hardships.

Hardships are often God’s blessings in disguise. Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

Some people think I’ve had a had a hard life: sexually abused as a child; nearly dying from two forced non-medically supervised abortions as a teen; running away from home and living under a bridge to escape abuse; being a single-parent and working two to three jobs at the same time; losing a husband to cancer; having my home and property stolen; and most heartbreaking – losing my awesome son, 37, in a plane crash. Yet God has used those trials to shake my roots – like The Trees – and grow me into His pattern, able to face the gales unafraid because I know God is in Control.

Childhood fears and memories inspired my newest Christian mystery-romance-suspense, Fear of Shadows. Sexual abuse and forced abortions inspired pro-life adventure-romance Love’s Beating Heart, which readers have called “inspirational” and “life-changing.”

Between now and March 8, Smashwords is offering both Fear of Shadows and Love’s Beating Heart – FREE.

No one owns a monopoly on hardship. Life is challenging. When hardship knocks, remember that trials are often God’s blessings in disguise – and open the door.

Love’s Beating Heart: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307104

Fear of Shadows: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/387341

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