Daring to Bloom

My website’s name, Dare To Bloom, is no accident. Blooming requires tenacity and courage. This summer, I kept a close eye on a certain plant in one of our planters. As the season moved toward its end, I marveled that the flowers took such a long time blossoming.

What could be wrong? I made sure to water it through dry times, leaned into its leaves and whispered, “Bloom!” Finally, as mid-September rolled around, I moved this baby to a spot with more sunshine. The risk seemed worth it–striving a whole season without showing your colors is a sad thing.

Mid-October brought some tight green buds.



I watered more, and whispered, like a mom with a child slow to take that first step. A fewIMG_0472 IMG_0473 buds started to show red.


Then one day, a single petal strayed from its bud. And as the sunshine cooperated, a few more emerged.





Over the next fees days, individual petals straggled out to create a feeble show.






But this past week, glory time came! Take a look.

Plants are meant to bloom. And so are we. The old adage, “Bloom where you’re planted,” sounds simple, but blooming can be downright difficult. You have to develop confidence that your colors matter to the world, for one thing, that what you have to offer will make a difference.

A couple of days ago, someone called to say my memoir was exactly what she needed to read right now. It doesn’t get better than that, since I’ve always wanted to contribute, to help.

This weekend, my husband spoke over in Eastern Iowa for a Veterans’ Day service, noting that soldiers, policemen, and firemen put their lives on the line for others.

We honor our veterans this week, and I’ll be taking even more photos of this amazing daisy that’s been blooming for about two weeks now. I imagine it’ll continue until Jack Frost says it’s time to stop.

On November 18, my first women’s fiction will release, too. Five full boxes adorn the corner of my little office right now, and I hope this story’s colors–its characters and the growth they experience–will brighten the lives of many readers. That’s what it’s all about.

WAIT FOR ME, Jo Huddleston

Our guest, Jo Huddleston, is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren. Visit Jo at www.johuddleston.com.

WAIT FOR ME finalFollowing is an Jo’s interview with a character from her novel. Wait for Me 

I’m in Coaltown, West Virginia meeting with  Claude Capshaw.

Hello. Are you the owner of Capshaw coal mine #7?

Hey, there. Yes, I’ve owned this mine for about a year.

Mr. Capshaw, do you own other coal mines as well?

Please call me Claude. And, yes,  I’ve bought coal mines in Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. This mine here in Coaltown is my latest purchase.

Do you always live in the community where your coal mine is located?

That’s right. I need to be close to the miners when I buy a new coal mine. They need see me around and come to know me as the fair, honest man that I am. My wife, Lillian, doesn’t much like it when we move to a new coal community. In fact, she doesn’t like living anywhere near a coal mine and is a little standoffish, she doesn’t mix well with the miners and their families.

Claude, do you have children? How do they like living here?

We have a beautiful daughter, Julia. I think Julia likes it okay here. Her mother gives her a hard time about spending time with the miners’ kids and forbids her to socialize, especially the boys.

Why do you think that is?

Well, my wife isn’t much like my little girl and me. Julia and I can mix with the people here. But I know it’s hard on Julia when her mother wants her to stay apart from the other kids. Julia’s a normal high school senior, she wants to have friends, and she’s torn between what she wants and what her mother demands. I try to encourage Julia all I can.

How do you do that?

There’s a boy in her class she likes—Roberto. He works after school every day in my company store. He’s a good kid. I don’t criticize Julia or tell her mother when I see them talking. Like I said, Julia needs to have her friends. She’ll be leaving in September to enroll at West Virginia University. I’m in agreement with her mother about that—it’s important that Julia get a good education.

But I think my wife’s only purpose in sending her to the university is so she will be in better social circles up there. Her mother thinks Julia needs to meet more suitable and acceptable young men than those here in the mining community. I just hope her strict rules and plans for Julia don’t backfire and cause Julia to become disobedient. My little girl is a sweet child, but she has spunk. I just hope her mother doesn’t push her too hard or too far.

JO PK full  Jo is offering a free eBook for Kindle copy of her book to one commenter on this  post.

Here is the purchase link for Wait For Me: http://tiny.cc/bhigxx




Website www.johuddleston.com

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Purchase eBook for Kindle and print copies of Wait for Me at: http://tiny.cc/xndfwx

Here’s the back cover from Wait For Me.

Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and Robby, a coal miner’s son, escape their socioeconomic backgrounds? In a  1950’s West Virginia coal mining community, can their love survive their cultural boundaries?

This is a tragically beautiful story of a simple, yet deep love between two soul mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother demand that Julie marry an ambitious young man from a prominent family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception in order to keep Robby in her life. Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept Robby?

Good-bye, April

April is known as a trickster around these parts, and she lived up to her reputation this weekend. During our town garage sales, she sent treasure-seekers racing between vehicles and garages.

But today, the sun’s spectacular, and the sky as blue as my grandkids’ eyes. So I’ve been out checking on the growth in our yard.

My tulips, surrounded by blue bells, are peeking at the world. By the time you see this picture, it’ll have turned around, because I’m going to ask my husband for help. Every time I try to edit it, I lose everything, even my words, so I’m going to publish this post, then ask for help. If you see it’s still catty-wampus, you’ll know that didn’t work out.




But you get the idea- pretty lavender tulips and lovely bluebells.




The potatoes have decided it’s safe to show themselves, too.


And through another manuscript rejection, I’ve been challenged to slough off old, out-used attitudes. Ya think?

One of my characters motivated me in this area . . . who said we write for publication?


Sometimes I think writing is really all about the journey.

So, as May arrives in a few days, I hope I’ll maintain my late-April resolution and stay in a positive frame of mind. One thing for sure, every day brings a bit more green to our Northern Iowa world, and that’s a very good thing.