Thursday, November 05, 2009

Leaving Carolina & What Matters Most

Sometimes it feels like when I make plans, the world goes out of its way to disaccomodate them. I decided over a month ago to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I prayed regularly asking for God's blessing over my writing, and I asked Jesse to pray for me as well. The day before it started, Mia fractured her elbow. She hasn't been back to school since, although I'm hoping to send her tomorrow. She's bored and constantly looking for stimulation, but in the night she keeps waking up and crying from the pain. Her pain, of course, keeps me up, so my own pain has been acting up too. The day after the month started, Molly adopted a puppy. It's her puppy, but while she's in school, Cooper is my responsibility; one I'm not enjoying. I'm constantly taking things out of his mouth, defending Mia and our other dog from him or trying to get him outside before he has an accident.

So now I'm trying to figure out what the best plan is: work on the new project If You Only Knew of which I've written less than 1000 words, or finally edit my existing novel The Definition of Family and then finish the last 150 pages or so. I really thought that God wanted me to work on the IYOK in hopes that it would break my block on TDOF, but now I'm not so sure. I am not giving up! I'm still praying and hoping that sometime in the next week life will return to semi-normal state where I have time to write instead of constantly attending to my hurt girl's needs and a spoiled puppy's demands. Say a prayer for me, if you would be so kind. I could use some direction and more than a little peace!

Leaving Carolina
by Tamara Leigh is funny novel about returning to your roots and paying the piper. Piper Wick abandoned her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina and the first syllable of her last name at the same time twelve years ago, shaking the dust of the town from her feet. Working as an image consultant with the rich and famous of Hollywood, she's almost engaged to a conservative politician when she receives a phone call from home about her Uncle Obadiah's will. Uncle Obe wants to make restitution for the many wrongs the Pickwick family has done to the residents of their namesake town, but if he does, the many sins of their past will be exposed, including one of Piper's own that could jeopardize her job and her almost-engagement. I didn't feel as though this romance was as strong as Leigh's others books, of which I am a huge fan, but that still makes this a thoroughly enjoyable read. As Piper struggles to make things right with her family, she also tries to make peace with her own past and ignore her growing feelings for Uncle Obe's gardener/godson, Axel. There's an important message about not hiding your sins as well as offering forgiveness. Leigh is one of those authors who I look forward to every new release.

What Matters Most by Melody Carlson is the third book in the Maya line and the final book in the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Maya Stark is finally starting to have a normal life. She's started high school and is making friends, but her mother's release from jail threatens her peace of mind. And the possibility of touring with Christian girl rock group, Redemption makes normal life seem not so appealing. She'll have to make some major decisions for a sixteen-year old girl, as well as deal with the repercussions of previous books in the series. As someone unfamiliar with the DOATG series, I did feel a little lost when it came to juggling characters and backstories. But when focusing on Maya the story was appealing. This is a young woman who has been through an enormous amount in just a few short years and has a good head on her shoulders along with a strong faith. Her "green" tips seemed a bit unnecessary, and while her appearances on TV were referenced regarding them, she never actually seemed to actually do them. Carlson completely nails how teenage girls think and speak, and I am truly impressed by her ability to write believably in so many different voices!

Thank you to Random House for generously providing me with both of these books.