Monday, February 29, 2016

Need Something to Read?

It’s been awhile since I’ve highlighted my books here. 
Here are four you can order on Amazon 
(plus the anthology I was featured in). 
Hope you’ll check them out.

Gabrielle Bivane never expected parenting a teenager would be this hard, but she never expected stillborn Oriana to live to see fourteen, either. The night of Oriana's birth, Gabrielle and her husband Roy fused their genetic and engineering geniuses to bring back all that was lost to them—at a cost. 

The secret must be kept. 

Oriana Bivane senses she’s not like the other girls her age, but the time has come for her to change all that. She’s tired of secrets, but does she confide in the wrong person? 

The life-giving key, suddenly missing, must be found. 

Reviews for The Disappearing Key
Wendy Paine Miller's novella The Disappearing Key is a mesmerizing, plot-twisting page-turner from the first sentence to the last. Part mystery, part drama, the story's suspenseful plot and intriguing characters will keep you on your toes and turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next. The Disappearing Key will have you reading late into the night and leave you pondering the mysteries of miracles, faith, medicine and science long after you read the last word. 
 - Michelle DeRusha, author of Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith 

I read this in one sitting. That's rare for me. But I needed to know what happened. The story was compelling and very intriguing. I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Miller! 
–Susie Finkbeiner, author of Paint Chips

Imagine staring into the face of a loved one with no recollection of who they are. Every person a stranger. Daisy O’Reilly's inability to recognize faces, a cognitive disorder resulting from a childhood accident, causes her to rely heavily upon her twin sister, Poppy. Perhaps too much so. Overwhelmed by Daisy’s needs, Poppy anticipates the freedom her upcoming wedding will bring—a chance to relinquish her obsessive worries about Daisy and escape the clutches of guilt from one hazy day when the girls were seven. When they were still invincible. With a thriving floral photography career but a floundering love life, Daisy questions how strong she will be on her own. And who she might become without Poppy living down the hall or offering a deluge of reminders during each social interaction. But for the O’Reilly sisters to properly let go, they must first understand what they’re holding on to.

 Reviews for The Flower Girls

Alternating between identical twin narrators with tragic secrets between them, Wendy Paine Miller's THE FLOWER GIRLS examines what is means to recognize -- or not recognize ourselves in others. It's a moving contemporary tale of blame, jealousy, longing, and how old scares can finally mend. 
Susan Schoenberger, award-winning author of A Watershed Year

“Wendy Paine Miller writes with gentle wisdom about the complexities
of family relationships burdened with blame, secrets and loss. A poignant, emotional story about guilt, love, family, and the indestructible ties of sisterhood.
Fans of Kristin Hannah will love THE FLOWER GIRLS!”
–Lisa Verge Higgins, bestselling author of Random Acts of Kindness

Forty-four-year-old Emma Gates hasn't cared about much in life since becoming a widow two years ago. But then she meets the inquisitive and mercurial Zoey Chambers, her next door neighbor.

Who happens to be eleven.

Soon after, Emma is introduced to Colby Havelock, a psychology professor who reaches Emma in ways she didn't think were possible again after Max died. Emma considers the possibility of a new life with Colby. But Colby knows something about Zoey he cannot share. Could the eleven-year-old spark who helped Emma heal also be the fire that drives Colby and Emma apart?

Reviews for The Delicate Nature of Love
Through the irresistible charm of her flawed and fragile characters, Wendy Paine Miller gives us the chance we all need to renew our faith in the healing power of love.
—Kathryn Craft, author of The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy

The Delicate Nature of Love is a beautiful novel that feels so true to life, readers will no doubt feel touched by the expertly woven story and lyrical writing. I know I do. Lovely story.
—Tina Ann Forkner, author of Waking Up Joy

The Short & Sincere Life of Ellory James
Seventeen-year-old Ellory James has six months to live. To appease her mother, Ellory reluctantly agrees to create a bucket list. She recruits her neighbor, Pete, to help her make it appear as though she’s carrying out ten life-dreams. Ellory is a bucket list faker—until she surprises herself by completing one item on her list and perhaps it’s the most important one of all.

What if life, however long we have left, isn’t so much about the things we do as why we do them--and who we do them with? 

Reviews for The Short & Sincere Life of Ellory James
This heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting tale will burrow its way into your heart...If you loved The Fault in Our Stars, this book is for you.
–Colleen Oakley, Before I Go
This is The Bucket List meets The Fault in Our Stars. Wonderful premise, lovable (and gutsy) characters...This is the first book I've read by this author but it absolutely won't be the last. –Julie Lawson Timmer, Five Days Left

I love my readers!!!

*My story Disappear is in Tales of Tinfoil

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Case of the Come Around Fox

I was having a day when I really felt like the mom of teenagers yesterday. Which led me to wake up with a strong desire for some inspiration—a refreshed start.

After getting my two older daughters off to school, and in the process of preparing my youngest for the bus, I thought to myself—well, actually it was more like I prayer…I prayed that today I’d spy the fox. You see, there’s this mystical, playful red fox that likes to visit our backyard about three or four times a year. And whenever I see it I’m awed. I’d call that fox my muse, but I almost feel it goes beyond writing. Whenever that fox comes around, my entire creative being is put at peace while simultaneously lit with a rejuvenated fire. I’d seen the fox recently so I sort of laughed off my request, feeling silly. And needy. For something that wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to anyone else. But that’s just it. That fox conjures some sort of mysterious wonder in me.

People ask me sometimes why I believe in God. I’ve experienced countless instances in my life when God has revealed his authenticity to me. Add this morning to that list. I ask, in a tired whisper, for one fox.

And I get two.

I joyfully watched these two frolic and scout the yard with my youngest for fifteen minutes. And like that, my day was infused with a brightened hope.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Shift in Perspective

A few days ago, my daughter approached me in the dining room, asking, “Do you see it?”

“See what?”

Forget Old Man and the Sea, my kid was asking if I saw the old man in the curtains.

I shook my head in disbelief as I leaned in to have a closer look. We’ve had these curtains for years. All it took was the imagination of my nine-year-old to introduce a whole new feature to the toile scene.

Remember the drawing of an old lady and a young, “pretty” one? Now my mind plays this trick whenever I walk into our dining room. My child instilled a shift of perspective.

Are you allowing things in your life to open your mind to unique possibilities? You never know what you could find.

Do you see it?

Monday, February 1, 2016

I 8 Monday—What to Say When There Are No Words

Last week I read online about a family tragedy someone I know has been dealing with, a hardship that would make anyone who’s ever stressed over a dinner menu embarrassed beyond belief. My
heart leapt toward this woman and what she’s been going through. I began to imagine what she might possibly be feeling, with no real success. Only a strong attempt to understand. I spent time reading the reactions to her beautifully written, vulnerably raw post. Mostly, I felt incredibly thankful for the lack of judgment I encountered in the comments.

Which sadly, led me to several times of struggle in my own life where people shot off some incredibly stupid things. Specific incidences come to mind. In the aftermath of my miscarriages. When my family received news my sister’s tumor was malignant. But one of the worst “warnings” came when I visited a drug rehab as a sixth grader, in effort to help my older sister on her road toward recovery. One of the counselors looked right at me and said I’d end up just like my sister. (P.S. Hey Clueless Counselor from the late 80s, I am like my sister in creative and risk-taking ways. I did not turn out just like her in the heartbreaking addictions she’s suffered. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Did wonders for my sixth grade psyche.)

All this to say, I’ve come to learn there are ways to handle situations where few or no words suffice better than impulsive ramblings. Words will never cure a tragedy. But timely, discerning words, spoken with wisdom, can provide unexpected encouragement and a balm to the soul.

What To Say When There Are No Words

  1. Love. Express your love for the person. So much is communicated in that one word. Often, you don’t need to bookend that word with anything. It’s strong on its own.
  2. “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” Saying this evokes empathy and indicates that you care. It’s simple, but it can speak volumes.
  3. “How can I be there for you?” People feel loved during times of hardship in different ways. A meal might be perfect for one person and repulsive to another. Some people need time to cry by themselves, while others need to know they can wipe their snotty nose on your sleeve and you won’t judge them.
  4. Don’t feed them an answer for the unexplainable why. This one is more what not to say. Bite your tongue before you spill off a list of reasons why this tragedy might be happening. I got my share of these after the miscarriages. Not a single one comforted, encouraged, or made me feel at peace with my situation. Mostly, when people spouted off their guesses as to why I lost my babies I felt like they had some insider information I didn’t. I’ve grown more comfortable with leaving questions unanswered, at letting that be part of my journey.
  5. Validate the hurt. There are unique ways to do this. Avoid saying things like “I know exactly how you feel...” Instead, focus on them and how the circumstances might be impacting their life.
  6. “You are not alone.” Again, not the time to share a long story about how your Aunt Betty also got cancer and is now in complete remission. But…I do think there’s value in letting someone know they’re not alone. Certain situations can feel extremely lonely. This reminder, at a thoughtful time, can provide wonderful comfort.
  7. Something. There’s the temptation to keep quiet, to not say anything out of fear you’ll say the wrong thing. I get it. I’ve said plenty of screwball things in my life, meaning well. But avoidance communicates the message that this great sad thing they’re going through isn’t important to you—that you have too much going on in your own life to bother to reach out.
  8. Nothing. Wait, what? I know, I know. I just suggested to say something. But there’s a difference between saying any old thing and saying something well-timed and thought out. Just as there are seasons for everything, I truly believe there are times to just close your mouth and reach out your arms for a hug. Or times to pass on a letter. Or, as one child did so memorably for me following a long season of darkness, to extend out a handful of yellow daffodils. 

Hmm. I was only planning on whipping up a quick little post. Guess I had a lot to say on the subject. ;-)

*A huge shout-out thanks to Carrie, for you know what. 

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...