Tag Archives: writing

Latest News for June 2022

The photo was taken in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It’s pronounced Nac.a.desh. The old legend is that there were twin boys born to a native American chief. He wanted to grant each child land. So, Natchitoches was granted land on the east side of the red river and Nacogdoches was granted the land on the west side of the river. Nacogdoches is a town in Texas. Might be more legend than true, but it’s what we were always told, and two weeks ago, my husband and I visited Natchitoches for the first time. The two towns are really quaint and both use the same color brick for the cobbled streets.

I have a new grand boy, and now have three grand boys and two grand girls. They are all so sweet and fun to be around. Their ages start at ten, then six, five, almost two, and almost one. What a sweet pack of good kids. I do not post their names or their pictures on the internet, not on Twitter, Insta-gram, or FB. I know all my friends would rave over them, but I don’t want them to ever end up on inter-webs of any kind. It’s called protection.

I haven’t quit reading. I read between one and two books a week. There has only been one book I quit reading because the violence in the book was directed towards women and their little ones. Not something I want to read about – it’s too much like non-fiction. My tastes are still all about the mystery. If you want to see my book reviews, please become a “friend” on Goodreads. Here is a link to copy and paste: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8320107.R_L_Nolen

I am still cooking my mother’s recipes. My next installment from my mother’s cookbook will be her recipe for dinner rolls. I’ve already made them, took the photos then had to get a new computer. Sometimes everything will not transfer over to a new computer. I believe the photos did transfer and were put somewhere I can’t seem to locate. So my plan is just to start over and redo the photos. Of course this will never be what you would call a hardship. The dinner rolls are good, too, so not a problem to re-create.

Instead, I’m going to make my mother’s favorite holiday delight, a Christmas Plum pudding. And I’ve finally figured out how to transfer photos to my desktop.

The above photo is me and my older brother Bobby. He passed away unexpectedly September 2021.

Since we spoke last, I’ve had some health issues, not Covid. I did get the jab and a year later, my arm still hurts. Weird, but true. I’ll be honest the thing that happened is a congenital knee problem. I called it my Knee-monia. At the end, my knees were bone on bone, but my right one developed bone spurs and yowzers, I could barely walk. Knee replacement time last November. They don’t ever tell you how very painful bone surgery of any kind is. I hope I never develop bone spurs on the left side because I’d rather not ever go through that again. Alls well now.

I’m in the process of copying all my old transcripts to my computer to get rid of paper files. Much of it is painful prose, but I’m working to make it better. Perhaps my next project will be to put some of it here, after it’s cleaned up. Not all of it. Sometimes there’s only so much that can be done! Stay tuned, beautiful reader.


SAM_1226_edited-1If I were in college my blog title today would imply I might be trying to get into a sorority. If only such a simplicity of purpose was part of the make-up of my world, our world. RUSH. The word means 1. move fast. 2. attack suddenly. 3. act or move at high-speed. 4. urge to an unnatural speed. 5 cause to move fast or race. 6. advance the ball by running into the line.

Most days begin for me at 5:30, which isn’t a bad time, I’ve had worse. I help out with my grand girl so her mom can go to work. I love that I get up with the sweetest little face in the world next to mine. We sing a song from Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood that goes like this: Get up. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth, and go to school.

And that’s what we do. Only it’s not my school, it’s hers. She’s in preschool.

Some mornings the YMCA is next. I participate in a stretching and balance class. Then home to spend time on social media, sometimes too much time because it is my favorite procrastinating tool. Usually there is something pressing that needs to get done. This week I made a website for my husband. http://www.Nolendental.com. Monday my mother-in-law had a pacemaker put in but then she lost some ability and had to go to rehab. I’m hoping she gets better soon. My husband is very concerned about his mom and concerned with the dental practice he just opened. Spending time away from it isn’t good.

I’m interjecting a dog picture here.SAM_1222_edited-1 I hope it makes you smile. He makes me smile.

Life intervenes doesn’t it? I had this wonderful conversation with another writer yesterday at my book signing. I love book signings, I meet the most fabulous people. She and I were discussing the fact that between children, spouses, illness, aging parents, broken things that need to be fixed, fixed things that break again, emergencies, exhaustion, driving, sleep, non-sleep, a need to spend time with friends, eating, and life in general, there isn’t much time to do the creative thing that sets us free and lifts our spirits. The thing that keeps the bad thoughts, the put-down thoughts at bay. Because most people have negative feelings about themselves. And writers and artists are loaded with negative feelings and thoughts about themselves and their work. It’s what keeps us on edge, or angry, or sleepless. It’s what drives us to do the thing we need to do, that creative thing, writing, art, music.

Life is messy, inconsistent, and consequential. You must work around it. Stay up late, get up early, exercise. Drink water. Sit up straight. Sing the Daniel Tiger song.

Hey, You!

Yes, You, the one who wants to accomplish a thing of beauty. The one who has dreamed of one day writing a novel, or painting an amazing painting, or playing a minuet, or singing in the opera. You are not alone. Here comes life, with the important things, the immediate things, the urgent things. May it always be. Don’t ever say to yourself – “one day I’ll do…”. Do it now, because “one day” isn’t ever going to get here. You won’t reach that day because on that day something else will call your attention away. So guess what? That day is here.

I’m hoping you have friends who will understand, a spouse who will cook you supper, a mother who will keep the kids. Or if you don’t, I hope you investigate and discover all those moments that you could dedicate to your art, are moments hidden within the viewing of television (how about that Sherlock series?) or in reading, or in busily doing social media of some kind. So give up the television (you can record it), the novels (for a time), or the social media, or whatever you do that you think is helping you relax because it isn’t. If you are an artist of any kind, you need to practice your art to relax.

Don’t take my word for it.

Begin again.


P.S.S. I told Eliza that I would share her wasp joke.

Where does a bee go when its sick?

To the waspital.

Here’s something new on my Pinterest


from Silphidae
from Silphidae

I was challenged at the beginning of opening a Pinterest page to come up with an idea about how to make Pinterest interesting for authors to think of as a marketing tool.

The main goal of Pinterest appears to be sharing photos, recipes, how-to’s, and interests in one place so that friends can view them. I’ve found it fascinating to see what other people know how to do! People create boards about odd things also. I’ve been creating a Pinterest board for my husband, because he is opening up a dental practice in a few months on lower Westheimer, and he needed a board about Dental Health. Let me say here, there is some disgusting things on Pinterest having to do with Dental health. Ach! Ach! I wasn’t wanting to gag …couldn’t help it. You won’t gag if you view Nolen Dental’s Pinterest board http://www.pinterest.com/pbndds/

It hit me one day that both of my novels are visual. There are specific places on earth to pinpoint the location of each in a visual way. The Dry is also full of nature, especially insects. Deadly Thyme is set in one of the most visually amazing places on earth, Cornwall, England. How to evoke interest in my novels while serving the general public’s desire to be interested? If I post pictures of the places in my novels on my Pinterest, I may have discovered the one way to do that.

p.s. the photo above is of mole crickets. I used to hold them like that, too. Awesome, weird, creatures.

Here is my Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/rlnolen/

I’m passing this on to you

SAM_1023I’m posting another blog below this short note.

This is a heartfelt expression from another mom. But I know the feelings she expresses as she watches her daughter perform on stage.

There are times I watch my daughter from across the room and my breath catches in my throat. It seems she caught all the good genes. She has my husband’s narrow face and my family’s golden skin.

As a child I prayed for blue eyes. Brown was boring. Needless to say I have brown eyes. But as answer, he gave me a child with the clearest blue eyes on the planet. At the time it seemed miraculous given that my husband has dark jade green eyes. But now I see more clearly. Because I can look across the room and catch my daughter’s blue eyes and that’s a better answer to prayer than I could have imagined.

Why I ever thought to write?

Read Tina Basinger’s

5 Reasons Why Moms Should Be Writers.

Bitterness, Rememberance, and Writing

a dead pigeon
a dead pigeon

The thing that is essential to writing is being able to remember things from life’s experiences, allowing those experiences to work their way through mature filters to become something that might be beneficial to others. People relate to shared experience. Empathy becomes a pathway to finding others who have gone through life’s hard places and come away better for it.

It doesn’t matter what genre, if the story carries messages that help the reader reach a better understanding of their world, that story provides satisfaction. This is a writer’s goal in life. Provide good story. Help others.

Some experiences in life for a writer might be horrific. Horrifying experiences can provide good story. They can also lead to deep-seated bitterness. Deep-seated bitterness can stunt growth, lead to physical illness, and taint everyone else around.

The only way to get rid of bitterness is to forgive and forget. But for a writer to forget is not good. But for a human to hold to terrible memories is the way to illness and worse. So what to do, what to do?

Forgiveness is imperative. I think I’ve reached a good balance here.

I struggle to protect the memories I have of what happened to me in the early seventies to write the historical fiction I need to write. I think I have come to forgive. I have certainly learned and grown for my experiences. But this is something that I deal with daily…no forgiveness is horrible, forgetting is not good for the writing.

I would love to hear what other writers have to say on the subject.

Writing Time

Random hairy arm

Bottom line. Nothing thrills the writer’s soul like writing – marking up a blank sheet with anything resembling words, or better – sentences, or best of all – whole thoughts that might, just, make sense. That act of committing feels priceless.

Elizabeth George in her book Write Away says that she tells her students on the first day of her creative writing courses:

“You will be published if you possess three qualities – talent, passion, and discipline. You will probably be published if you possess two of the three qualities in either combination – either talent and discipline, or passion and discipline. You will likely be published if you possess neither talent nor passion but still have discipline … but if all you possess is talent or passion, you will not be published. And if by some miracle you are published it will probably never happen again.”

A bold statement. And I believe it. No matter what is happening in my life I try to set time apart to write. And at present those are at ODD times. The jury is out on whether a writer commits those little dashes and dots to paper every day, twice a week, every possible moment, whatever. Part of the “art” of writing is the “art” part. Art, unlike craft, is not a disciplined endeavor. It is the inspiration, the beating heart, the passion part. Because I must write. That’s what writers do. And when I’m not writing I think about what I’m going to write next.

But a writer will get no where thinking about writing. I know a lot of people who have a wonderful novel they have thought about. Until the words are committed to the page, I’m sorry, it isn’t a novel. That is the reason writers must MUST write. Butt on chair. Do it.

Some writers claim to spill out countless words all the time – be it on tissue, the napkin, or ink on the arm – when no paper is available. Others say they write a certain number of hours every day. This is a nice business-like attitude. I believe most of those who write in this way are men. (sexist) In fact, one of my favorite suspense writers, Dean Koontz, said in a recent interview that he got up every morning and shut himself away in his study to write. I think he mentioned the word business in the interview.

Some writers claim the morning is best for writing. I do. Although with my crazy life it happens that I use what moments I can grab. But mornings seem to be the most popular by a non-scientific three-to-one count on my part. Non-scientific because I haven’t kept score on paper and am at present trusting memory.

Again, to say with any conviction that this time or that time is best denies the artistic part of writing.

Jane Yolen author of Take Joy and one of the most beloved and prolific writers of children’s novels, picture books, and essays said, “Before I got a house in Scotland I thought I was a morning writer. Then we started spending summers in Scotland where the day lasts until 11 o’clock at night. That’s when I realized I was a Light writer.”

I love that. She’s so witty. It isn’t the time or day, it is the writing.

Writing with results must be a dichotomy, a disciplined art. Remember what Elizabeth George said – for publication the discipline is more important than the passion or the talent.

So put down the phone, put down the TV remote, and take the time to write, no matter what.

About Writing

English: Stephen King's House in Bangor, Maine
English: Stephen King’s House in Bangor, Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually, I should post something about what my blog is all about.

I write. Today my blog is about success with writing. Did I say success? What exactly is that? What success have I had? I’ve had a short story published. I’ve had poetry published. I’ve had newsletter articles, a small story published in a children’s magazine, my artwork published in small and large-scale venues.

However, I measure my success with whether or not my novels have been published or not and they have not been. So I do not consider myself a true success. And even if I have one published, will I be a success if the others are not? Every day I fight the voices real and imagined that harp at me. Why don’t you give up? Don’t worry about it, just stop writing. Give up. Give up. Give up.

No, it isn’t for me to give up. True writers must never give up. Look to those who have gone before, the success stories of writers. Were they successful when trying to publish their manuscripts at first? No. Sometimes it took many years and reams of rejections.

Jack London’s first story was rejected over 500 times.

Stephen King’s novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times, so he threw it in the trash.

27 publishers turned down Dr. Seuss’s first book.

Charles Schultz was turned down for a job by Walt Disney. Schultz later created Peanuts which is still syndicated and in most major newspapers in the USA are using repeats. Because he doesn’t draw them anymore. He’s dead.

So this I say to you who write. True writers must repeat daily that it isn’t the most talented of writers who have novels published. It is the most persistent.