Friday, April 26, 2013

The Book I'm Carrying Around: Life in Spades by Frances Frost

Yes, we are still in the Mom-Me Celebration. The assignment for today, Day 15 is to Take steps toward your destination.

Ever since I was a kid, walking across the field and then the big 4-lane road to the library, I've wanted to be a writer. I dabbled with poems (what teen-age girl didn't?) and the Christmas play. And in the back of my mind, behind the finance degree, my hands still ached to crank out a novel. And so I have.

My debut novel, Life in Spades.
Life in Spades is my debut novel. It is about four women who depend on each other as partners to win at the game of spades and lean on each other as friends as they face their insecurities, negotiate love, define happiness.  Gina, Sherry, Cookie and Laura deal with inter-racial dating, the desire for motherhood, overcoming loss and starting again, and in all that, determining what they really want.  I'm sure that you will find them to be the girlfriends you'd like to hang out with - or maybe the ones you already do.  (The number 1 question from my friends so far is "you didn't write anything about me, did you?"  Ha ha - no comment!)

At 370 pages, I can assure you that this novel did not come together last month. It's been months, yes, years, in the making. Between shuffling kids, after cooking dinner, while waiting in the car, after everybody has gone to bed, I've been writing. While driving around, swimming laps, and folding clothes, I've been thinking.  Like a mad woman, I've seen people out in public and thought, "hey, there goes Laura and Michael. I like his suit. I like what she's done with her hair."

It's been a long journey and it's almost surreal now that there are 100 copies sitting in my dining room, some ready for shipping, most for my first book event tomorrow. But it didn't just happen. I finally made the decision that I did not want to keep these pages on my laptop forever. And as my husband kept nagging telling me: you aren't really an author until someone reads your stuff. Good point. I determined that I really did want to be an author with readers who read my stuff.
  • I made a plan of writing each day.
  • I challenged myself with NaNoWriMo; if you are a wanna-be novelist - try it out: write 50,000 words in the month of November. But realize that this is less than half your first, rough draft.
  • I thought about my characters and what was natural for them.
  • I took writing classes and formed a writing critique group with other like-minded women. The support of the writing group is incredible because you know what you meant when you wrote something and you think it's a great idea. In our writing group, we've developed enough rapport and trust among each other to say "this works, tweak it to make it better", "this doesn't work, throw it out or fix it a lot." Even, "I don't think she would say/do/think that."
  • I've determined my strengths and weaknesses in this process, and worked towards my strengths, hired folks for my weaknesses.
  • And I am now, with anticipation, excitement, nervousness seeing it all come together.
I challenge you to do the same. What are you wanting to do? What is your big dream? What can you do today, this week, this month towards that dream?

A few months ago, I ran into a friend who was carrying around a "How to Fly Helicopters" book. I thought she had it for some kind of school project for one of her friends. I was wrong. She was reading it because she wanted to fly helicopters! She said she always wanted to, realized she'd be too old when her kids grew up, and was pursuing it now. I've never been in a helicopter, but I want to go with her once she's got it all figured out.  Because I want to fly, too.

Read more about Life in Spades and my debut as an author at  The book is available in paperback and e-book; currently through the website and

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Follow along here on my blog or on Facebook - JustPiddlin with Frances for our 30-Day Mom-Me Celebration all the way until Mother's Day.

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