Serious Subjects in Women’s Fiction

Welcome, Lee Carver. I’m glad you’ve tackled a common theme in our society. Rare is the family without a divorce somewhere among the generations. Your heroine and hero drew me in precisely because one was a widower, and one almost divorced.

Like your recent release, Gail, I tackled the issue of a troubled marriage in “Retreat to Shelter Creek.” Using humor in every way possible to lighten the serious subject, I employed the family guard-pig Beulah, a skunk in the garage, and lots of down-home Texas dialogue.

I’ve felt the need to write about divorce between Christians since our daughter put the kids in the car and drove away from her fifteen-year marriage. She’d said her vows with the highest expectations and did everything possible to make the marriage work.

Two of our nieces, both darling and beautiful Christians, married men who cast them aside. Both tried marriage again quite a few years later, and both were in danger of being murdered by their second husbands. Christian young women may have been reared in such safe environments that they are unaware of how faulted their chosen ones are. They expect a happy marriage like those of their parents—safe, loving, and supportive both emotionally and financially.

My female main character, Ashley, sees an opportunity for an honorable separation from her husband and his pregnant lover by going to her grandmother’s house in Texas. Mama Lou is receiving chemo for breast cancer, and Ashley will help her for the summer. I had already written the first chapters when our daughter, living in a distant state, was given the same diagnosis. I left Texas for six weeks to help with her care, and returned with a realistic understanding of what that requires.

More on the light side, Ashley is a high school teacher of biology. When she extends her stay with Mama Lou, she agrees under duress to teach first grade at the local school. Teachers everywhere will laugh at her experiences with the little ones.

This story will leave you smiling. There’s even an elder romance subplot, and readers will find spiritual inspiration woven throughout.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

Ashley went into the shed and got a handful of feed just for the fun of giving it to her. Caught off guard by a rustle in the dark, she froze. Was a person hiding in there? A rattlesnake? Her pulse pounded in her neck. As her eyes adjusted, she spied something bright white moving a few feet away. A bright white stripe. Bordered by blackest black.

A skunk!

Don’t run. Be calm.

The plump, shiny animal waddled toward the back of the shed, giving her courage to slip silently out the door and push it closed.

Leaning against the door, weak-legged and sweating, she thanked God the skunk hadn’t sprayed her.

She had no idea what to do next. In her normal world, there had always been a man she could ask for help. The image of the strong, manly Texas roofer came to mind. His phone number printed on the receipt left in the kitchen beckoned to her. He knew about local animals.

Maybe she would call Austin.

Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement, a hybrid author in every sense: fiction and nonfiction, traditionally and independently published. She also does freelance editing, formatting, and uploads. Married forty-eight years to a very tolerant man, they have two children and five grandchildren who live entirely too far away.

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Spring’s Surprises

I was about to upload some pictures of buds leafing out, but then this weather map appeared in an e-mail.  

Snow Image

Fortuitous that our county lies right under the P in POSSIBLE, don’t you think? Since I’ve been forging into new areas in my writing, this thought fits: who knows what’s possible unless we give an idea the old one-two?

So I’m co-writing a cozy mystery with an author friend. We’re having great fun. And in the past two weeks, a WWII novella has taken shape right in the hometown of one of my other heroines. It’s a sweet romance–the kind that blossomed so profusely in the wild, crazy days of that era, and will release this summer.

So, storm or no storm, I’m plunging ahead. Hope this finds you doing the same with your passions and dreams. As they say, SEIZE THE DAY!

December 7


Seventy-four years ago, Americans woke to the horrible news of the Pearl Harbor attacks. I can’t let December seventh go by without calling attention to this significant event in our nation’s history.

Many young men went to war during the next months. My grandparents sent their two older sons to the fight, one still in his senior year of high school. The army drafted my dad, too, and my father-in-law. They all came home, but so many others didn’t.

Fifteen years ago, our family visited Normandy and stood in an actual Nazi bunker from which soldiers rained fire on the D-Day invaders. And we spent some time in Dachau, recalling what motivated the Allies.

Much of my writing research involves besieged London, southern France, where the Resistance risked everything to thwart the Nazis, and stateside. Everywhere, people sacrificed for the cause of freedom.

Today, I’d like to honor my father, my father-in-law, my uncles, and so many who waited at home (like my grandparents and my mother.) In This Together, my debut novel, honors them through the heroine’s loss of her son during the war, and her neighbor Al’s continuing challenges from his World War I service.


The story of the long-range effects of the war on a regular, down-to-earth rural Iowa Gold Star mother takes us back in time. Hopefully, readers will resonate to Dottie’s sacrifice.




In this Together-Cover

Past the Middle of July …

You can tell by the flowers, especially the petunias– and this summer, by one petunia in particular. It’s a pink one, gigantic, beautiful.

But summer’s at its height, leaning toward the waning side. I pick off probably fifteen faded blossoms a day, but because of the intense afternoon heat, the plant shows signs of wear. It’s getting just plain tired.


So I water it more, knowing it can’t last forever. GATHER YE ROSEBUDS WHILE YE MAY, eh?

Last week, I finished the final edits on one of my World War II novels. Yes, it seemed ready, but the stories never stop. Thankfully, I’m now hard at work on its sequel.

How was it for women of that era when they watered their plants at night, with a loved one in Europe or the Pacific? My uncle was a Ranger in Japan. When my Grandma went out to tend her flowers, did she see him in every blossom? Actually, she had another son in the infantry, too. I can’t imagine.

My debut novel will soon have its release date – can’t wait! The heroine lost a son in WWII, making her a Gold Star mother. And she loves gardening.

IMG_3719For us, this year’s spectacular lily medley was all about glory – wouldn’t you say? Now, they’ve gone by summer’s wayside.

But while they were here, they help with our questions … they cheer us through the wallows of life. And they last, in pictures, through winter’s storms.

I’d like to take each of you for a walk through our courtyard, a simple square behind the house, bordered by a garage and a fence. But this will have to do.

May the rest of your summer be filled with beauty and great photos!


Things Hidden in our roots


Last week I enjoyed a different perspective on  the Arizona Pine Trailhead trail.

Although a kazillion views of trees surrounded me, this one warranted a picture, an uprooted specimen with large rocks imbedded in its roots.

Wow, the parallels we could draw! But one simple fact intrigues us–the roots still cling to these rocks. Even though the tree’s been pulled from its moorings, its moorings stuck to it.

Ain’t that the truth about us? We may try to outrun our history, but no matter what, there it is. For example, we’ve known a man for over thirty years, and his choices have baffled, disappointed, and sometimes infuriated us. But just today, I heard about his mistreatment at the hands of a severe father. Life-threatening abuse.

This doesn’t excuse our friend’s decisions, of course, but realizing the rocks imbedded in his roots reminds us there are reasons for his behavior. Those physical, emotional, and verbal beatings he suffered as a kid still resonate in his inner being, though his father died long ago and he’s now a grandfather himself.

Later on the day of my hike, I was wandering in our yard and came upon this sprightly bit of cheer. Nothing as yellow and encouraging as a daffodil.


There it was, blooming its little heart out, right in the treacherous path of elk and deer and javelina.

But somehow, it survived and testifies to the other side of things–one can grow up in nasty danger and yet thrive.

Patricia Evans, a pioneer in the field of verbal abuse, has something to say about this.

“Although people subjected to verbal abuse can recover, the confusion, pain and loss are beyond counting. Childhood anguish can, however, count for something: It can be transformed into the passion and determination needed to take a stand against verbal abuse and for awareness and life. This stance can be put to good use, to bring awareness, to save countless others from the relentless erosion of their self-perception, their personal reality, their minds.”

Patricia says, “This is an excerpt from my next book, readers will discover how to protect their children from verbal abuse. It will be announced this year, on”

Our characters may have a backstory of abuse that figures into their present behavior. A couple of my women’s fiction novels feature heroines facing such after-effects. Whether it’s in 1870 Arizona Territory or at the eve of World War II, healing takes time–sometimes a great deal of time. But these women conquer and I can’t wait until you all can meet them.

And if you have questions for Patricia, please feel free to ask and/or visit her site, which has many helpful resources. Thanks for stopping by.