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K Nickerson 1Yesterday I reviewed Kathy’s new book, Thirty Days to Glory. Thanks to technology, I got to ask Kathy Nickerson, author of Thirty Days to Glory, some questions about life and writing.

Do you remember the first story you wrote? If so, what was it about? 

Yes! I was in high school and already planning my career as a happy wife and mother of ten children. That summer I went to an auction and tried to buy a set of china for my hope chest. An antique dealer squashed my babysitting-money-bid first thing. So, my first attempt at a novel was based around that event – with a completely different outcome! (I got the china, the boy, and a home in the Rocky Mountains.)

Every writer has their own personal timeline in which they develop their skills. What was your journey from writing as an educational exercise to writing as a passion? 

My journey was long, but wonderful. I basically spent twenty years enjoying writing as a hobby. I studied, practiced, and puttered. I even had several articles published. Then, one day I woke up and thought: You better do this before you get too old to remember the stories. So, I took an online course in writing fiction, and I got busy.

We’ve known each other for about a quarter of a century. I’ve watched you go through highs and lows in your writing journey. Tell us how you have learned to deal with the rejection every writer faces. 

At my first writer’s conference in the 1980’s, an editor from Tyndale House told me, “The words on the page are not your flesh and blood. They are just ink.” I’ve tried to remember that when someone says, “No thanks” or “Revise” or “What the heck are you trying to say here?”

What are your 3 favorite books and why? 

Hmmm. That is a tough one, but here are three of my favorite novels: A Tale of Two Cities. I love unraveling the language in those long, complicated sentences. It is almost like a puzzle. And the ending is just so beautiful and heart-rending. I think you have to really believe in redemption and in Heaven to enjoy it, though.

Heidi – I know this is a children’s book, but the story of family and relationships crosses all ages. Once again, redemption plays a major role.

The Help – A modern favorite. The first time I read this, I felt I was literally sitting in the kitchen with Abilene, Skeeter, and Minnie during the scene where violence breaks out. I caught myself holding my breath. This one wins for good writing, good story, and a topic that made me think. And pray.

Who are your 3 favorite writers and why? 

Serenity Bohon, Felicity White, and Charity Long. Is that cheating since they happen to be my daughters? I also enjoy a little Charles Dickens and some Jane Austen. I am a big fan of Jan Karon’s Mitford series.

Are there new books in the works? Are you still submitting articles to periodicals? 

Yes, to the books and the articles. Characters from the next book have been talking to me. They seem eager to get on with their story. And some other novels are waiting their turn. I also plan to submit more articles this year while Thirty Days to Glory is floating around in the world.

Is there a message you would like your readers to take away after reading Thirty Days to Glory? 

Prayer works. Relationships matter. We are never too old or too lost to make a change or make a difference.

Thanks, Kathy, for answering all our questions.

With Christmas just around the corner, Thirty Days to Glory is the perfect present filled with hope and joy. You can purchase it at Amazon and CrossRiver Media.

Review: Thirty Days to Glory

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Thirty Days Cover sm

I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Thirty Days to Glory, Kathy Nickerson’s first published novel. As a long-time friend of hers, I had been hearing bits and pieces of this story for years. To actually get to hold this novel in my hands was a great feeling. With all this said, the question to ask is: was this novel worth the wait? I can only respond with the most enthusiastic of yes’s. I was so wrapped up in the book I read it in one sitting, finishing it at 1:27a.m. It is truly that engrossing!

Thirty Days to Glory is a novel that immediately draws you into the worlds of Catherine, an elderly widow, and Elmer, the most broken of men. The paths of these two strangers cross in a way that only Heaven can arrange. The setting for the story is Christmas time in a very small town in the Midwest. Kathy, having lived in such a town for her whole life, captures the rhythm and relationships flawlessly.

Catherine misses her husband, Edward, more each day. The holidays only make his absence harder to bear. She wonders if there are any more adventures for her or if life is over. Faced with pressure from her children to move to senior housing, far from her friends, Catherine must face the awful realities that growing old bring. I felt so sorry for this vibrant woman who represents an increasing segment of our society. Her choices will soon be mine.

Elmer is a man so tormented by PTSD that he has spent years insulating himself by crawling to into a bottle of booze. Much to his surprise and consternation, he begins to lose his taste for alcohol. Real life starts to surface, as Elmer struggles with facing the truth of the shattered life he has lived. I found myself rooting him on, hoping that he made the right choices every step of his journey.

Serving as the best type of Greek chorus are the Glory Circle Sisters, friends who have been together for decades. These lovely and hilarious ladies not only take care of each other, but also serve as prayer warriors who bring the power of heaven to earth for each other. The Sisters know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, yet love with a commitment that is all too rare these days. My favorite sister is Madge, the loud, blunt, redhead who dares to say what others won’t, or shouldn’t. She provides comic relief in the midst of this serious drama.

The characters in this book are so realistic that I mourned the loss of them when I reached the final page. Kathy has an amazing talent for making you feel like what is happening to Catherine’s life is happening to you. Elmer’s story is one that is all too common in real life. The struggles he faces seem insurmountable but God has not forsaken him. I found myself wishing I could jump into the book and help him find his way.

Thirty Days to Glory will stay with you long after the story is over. It highlights the lives of our most marginalized citizens and asks us to become more compassionate and understanding. This story also reminds us that God loves us and is actively involved in our lives, even when we can’t see it. I encourage you to read this book. It will change the way you view the world. Also, be sure to pick up a few copies for Christmas presents to give to those who are facing their own life-altering decisions.

Thirty Days to Glory is available through Amazon or CrossRiver Media.

Tomorrow I will be posting a great Q & A Kathy and I did.

*I received a copy of this book from CrossRiver Media for review, but was not financially compensated in any way. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are solely based upon my experience while reading this book.

Old Lang’s Eye

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That’s what I thought the famous New Year’s Eve song was about when I was a kid. I used to puzzle over it, trying to make some sense of it, and somewhere down the line I learned the proper name. “Auld Lang Syne” is loosely translated as “long, long ago” or “days gone by”. Usually only the first verse and chorus is sung now but it has several verses, two in particular that sum up the last few months since my last post.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

Above is the third verse. I definitely feel like I’ve my share of carefree daisy picking. Let’s face it. I haven’t had a job since last June. It’s been great to move to a new city and have the freedom to not only settle in, but spend lots of time getting to make new friends. It has been very important but also very appreciated. 

Mixed in with the daisy picking has been times of weary travel emotions-wise. I have sincerely missed my Life Church family and the automatic ease that comes with spending your days surrounded by friends who have seen you at your best and your worst.

The most tiring thing was the decline in my mother-in-laws health over the last 4 months. In October she was so ill we didn’t think she’d make it to November. We were wrong. She lasted until January 4th to be exact. In the last weeks she was sometimes aware of who her sons were but more frequently not. We had a blessed time a week before she passed when she was completely with us, had great conversations with all of us, for which we can never thank the Lord enough. We buried her on the 8th with songs and prayers and joy that we will all see her again.

This next verse is the most poignant for me:

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

We now have a sea between us and Mom, although in the spiritual it is but a stream. Life here is in a rhythm which means we are wearing our regular glasses most of the time, rather than our rose colored ones. But that’s okay and life needs to be met head on. And the longer you are away from your old friends, the phone calls, texts, and emails come less frequently because, well, we are all meeting life head on. :)

Did I mention I am looking for a job? I had two different job interviews this week, and I have a 2nd interview Friday for the job I really want. Fortunately it only needs to be part-time. I’m still doing that writing mentoring class which keeps me ever busy. We are also just now starting to look for a house to buy, so I guess this whole Fresno thing is permanent. When I told Evan that we were going to look for a house to buy he asked.”Do we get to look inside now?” We hadn’t realized what a drag it had been for him as we drove up and down streets, checking out neighborhoods to see if they would be to our liking. It’s like that sometimes when we are waiting for God to give the green light on the next adventure. The praying, the wondering’s, the imagining-what-it-will-look-like’s gets old. We want to burst through the door. 

Here’s to all of you. May you burst through the door of this year’s God adventure and unpack the dreams he has given you.

Homework

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I have 1,000 words to write before Friday. Normally I could crank that out in a jiffy but this is different. It’s an assignment, with set topics. The topics are not of my choosing which makes the assignment more, shall we say, challenging.

Wait a minute! I forgot that I actually like challenges. Yeah, I remember now. Get creative, stir up the ol’ brain juices, put on the coffee and gooooooooooo!

The Blog of Shame

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I was checking out my friend Serenity’s blog this evening and was pleased to see she links to my blog in her sidebar. The only problem was it was one of those links that tells how many days it has been since the persons last post. My number was 27. Which I cannot even believe. Oh wait. I can totally believe it has been that long. So just to insure that number doesn’t roll over to 28 at midnight tonight, here is my random catch-up post.

I have so gotten out of any remote semblance of routine since we’ve moved here that the days of the week have become amazingly fluid. Also, my husband has been working Saturday’s and having Sunday and Monday or Wednesday off. My weekends don’t really seem like weekends because of that. A couple of weeks ago I sat myself down for a stern talking to. “Lori, you must get into some sort of schedule otherwise when you do go back to work it will be near impossible to adjust.” I nodded my head somberly and promised that the next day I would get up at a reasonable time, and set aside hour long blocks to do things that need to be done. 

And then we had a family member go into the hospital unexpectedly, which threw me off. Next we realized Harold would have 4 days in a row off so we zoomed off to see my parents, whom we hadn’t visited since we got here. That trip threw all of us out of sync. So here I am making promises to myself for tomorrow’s activities. Sigh.

Random Thoughts:

I wonder if there are any more openings for actress/model jobs? I think I’d like to explore this option for my next career move. I can guarantee I’d be scandal free although how I’d look on camera is anyone’s guess.

I follow @omgfacts on Twitter. They have the most bizarre bits of info and I’m always amazed at what they come up with. Today’s fact is that there’s a lightning storm in Venezuela that has been going on since at least the 16th century, every single day! You can’t make this stuff up people! 

In church today it dawned on me that for the first time in about 15 years I can sit in a service and not be concerned if the announcements all got made or the ushers counted the offering correctly or if someone was going to come up to me after church and want to know how much money they owe the daycare. I can just be.in.the.service. It was very liberating and I’m not taking it for granted because pretty soon I’ll be back in the thick of things church-wise.

The doves outside our bedroom window have raised their babies and moved out. Talk about empty nest syndrome! I loved watching them and really miss them.

Okay, enough. Hopefully I will become somewhat disciplined and not let so much time elapse between posts. Thanks for reading!