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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Here's My Latest Post from the Catholic Writers Guild Blog

Advent is upon us – a season of waiting. I hate to admit it, but I’m a bad “waiter.” I’m not too deficient with the day-to-day waiting of standing in line at the grocery store, or cooling my heels at the post office, or idling in traffic, or even pressing “1 for English,” pressing “2 for customer service,” and then pressing “7 to leave a message.”

No, it’s waiting on a larger scale that exasperates me. The last few years have been unusually stressful for my husband, three grown children, and me. Cumulatively, we’ve suffered illnesses, job losses, and heartache. Others have suffered through far worse than we, and thankfully through God’s grace, we’ve persevered and in most ways are much better today.

Looking back on those three years and what we experienced, there was one thing that all our difficulties had in common: each involved a period of waiting. Throughout our travails, a Greek chorus of questions sang in my head: When will the medicine kick in? When will they figure out what’s wrong? When will he get better? When will he get a job? When will they ever have a baby? When will this be over? When will life ever go back to normal?

Greater minds than mine have explored why God makes us wait. Some say it may be because we need a period of this sort to develop character, or that we need to learn to depend on God, or that we need to wait because the timing is off and God is working behind the scenes. The idea that there was a greater purpose to our waiting brought some comfort, but there were several other things that I learned that helped me, and I hope may help you if you find yourself living in limbo.

When I’m troubled, distressed, or need help, I often turn to the Bible. While exploring the scriptures, I realized that waiting is part of the human condition. Whether it is waiting to grow up, graduate, get married, have children, find the right job, be successful, be healed, etc., all humans experience periods of prolonged waiting.

The Bible is full of people who have had to wait. Joseph waited to be released from prison. David waited to take the throne of Israel. Sarah and Hannah waited to become mothers. Job waited for the black cloud to be lifted from his life. Mary waited for the birth of Jesus. Jesus waited three decades before beginning His ministry. The apostles waited to receive the Holy Spirit. We continue to wait for the return of Jesus.

However, the most astonishing thing I learned about waiting gave me the greatest reassurance of all. It is said that misery loves company. Surely then, the greatest company of all is the company of God, and I was heartened to learn that we are not alone in our waiting, not alone in our misery. I learned that God also waits.

In numerous passage throughout the Bible, we hear His people, annoyed with waiting, pose this question of God, “How long, O Lord?” But we tend to overlook that there are numerous passages where God often posed (and still poses) that same “How long?” question to His people. For what is God waiting? Since God is perfect and nothing can be added to Him, out of the abundance of His love, He tells us in the scriptures that He is waiting for us–for us to repent of sin, to keep his commandments, to seek His face, to trust Him, to love Him, to make him Lord of our lives.

As we embark on this season of waiting, this season of Advent, may we look forward to the time when all our “How Longs?” will be answered with “Now, my beloved,” when the waiting will be over for both God and us, when we will be united with Him for all eternity in glory. Now that’s something worth waiting for!
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Most Highly Favored Daughter Launches!

Happy Launch Day!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and celebrating the release of my newest book, Most Highly Favored Daughter. The book is getting great reviews, which makes me very happy!

While you are here, be sure to check out the raffle to the right where you can register to win some prizes. Tonight, I'm also kicking off the festivities on my Facebook page where you can also win some fun prizes. All you need to do is comment on my posts, and you will be entered in the drawings. The more you post, the greater your chance to win. I will be randomly awarding prizes at the end of the Facebook party.

Below is a sample of the prizes I'm awarding at the Facebook party.

PopularPittsburgh.com, where I'm employed as a writer, was founded by Tom Pollard. In addition to the website, he also owns Tom Pollard Designs, a premiere ornament design company, and he graciously donated some of his beautiful ornaments as prizes. Thanks, Tom!

Tomorrow evening (Nov. 3), I'm also participating in a book event, 2Friends Book-a-thon on Facebook. The hostesses of the site live in the U.K. so I will be featured at 5 p.m. EST. There are numerous authors participating too. Join in the fun tomorrow night and meet some new authors. The event runs through November 6.

Now, back to the novel. Most Highly Favored Daughter is available in paperback through Amazon and Barnes& Noble. If you prefer eBooks, you can purchase it from the Kindle or Nook stores and from Smashwords.

Since Most Highly Favored Daughter concerns a pair of sisters--Cara and Sophia Hawthorne--and their sibling rivalry, I'm soliciting your sibling rivalry stories. Now is the time to reveal those tales of how you read your sister's diary, or how she gave you a disastrous home permanent, or how you tagged along after her everywhere she went. Post those stories here, and the one I find the funniest, I'll be sending a prize. This won't be selected randomly, but on the basis of what I find funny or outrageous. Remember, keep it clean.

Courtesy of Clickypix.com

Also, if you're a Goodreads member, I'm hosting a Giveaway of Most Highly Favored Daughter on that site too. So there are many ways to win. Have fun and thanks for supporting my stories.

For those who live in the area, I will be appearing again at St. Teresa of Avila's craft show on November 5, and I've added a few new venues too. I will be at St. Louise de Marillac in Upper St. Clair on November 19, 9-3:30, signing and selling books at their craft show. I will also be at LaRoche College's Annual Light Up Night Friday, December 2, from 3-9 p.m., and at St. Margaret of Scotland on December 3 from 9-2 p.m.

Also, if you'd like a signed copy, I usually have a supply at my house. Remember they make great Christmas gifts. Just email me.

Finally, if you like Most Highly Favored Daughter (or any of my other books), please spread the word and review it on the site where you purchased it.

Please post your sister story in the comment section below.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Keeping Up Appearances

The promo for my newest novel Most Highly Favored Daughter says "Appearances can be deceiving . . . and deadly." 

The protagonist, Cara Cavanaugh Hawthorne Wells, appears to have it all--a sterling reputation; the love and respect of her family, friends, and the public; beauty; and wealth, but as you learn from reading the novel, appearances are often not what they seem.

While Cara learns that appearances can be deceiving and often deadly, I recently learned that maintaining appearances can also be disastrous.

Does She or Doesn't She? Maybe She Shouldn't!

I'm pretty fortunate that I don't have many gray hairs, especially when considering that many of my Irish relatives on my dad's side had white "Phil Donahue" hair by the time they were thirty. Nevertheless, as I'm always plotting ahead, I thought I'd be smart and find a hair dye that matched my naturally dark brown hair before I would actually need to start coloring it for real. 

Early this spring, I dyed my entire mane to cover the few grays, and when no one asked me if I was going Goth or joining a Heavy Metal band, I considered my plan a success. Some even told me that I had the shiniest hair they'd ever seen. The only drawback was that I found dying my hair to be a messy affair. There were splashes on the bathroom wall that could only be touched up with paint. So I resolved that if and when I dyed the hair again, I'd do it in my basement.

Don't Try This at Home

Well, we have a wedding coming up this fall and a few of the grays have started to announce their silvery presence, so I thought I'd give the dye a whirl again. So last Saturday, I donned my special hair-dying robe--a bulky, teal blue terry affair with big white polka dots and a few holes--and headed to the laundry area of the basement. Feeling like a very smart do-it-yourselfer, I put Vaseline around my eyebrows (my brows are going gray faster than my hair--what's that all about?) around my hairline just as I'd seen hair stylists do to clients in the hair salon. I pulled on the plastic gloves, mixed the brown hair dye concoction, and put it all over my head. Then I swiped some dye across my brows before checking the clock in the game room and taking a seat on the basement steps where I was to wait 20 minutes while the dye worked its magic.

I'm a Marxed Woman!

After a few minutes of marinating in dye, I noticed a spot on my wrist where it had splashed, and when I rubbed it with my special hair dyeing towel (a spotted, ratty old towel), it wouldn't come off. My wrist was stained a bluish black. I rubbed at it like Lady Macbeth and her damned spot. Still no luck.
Courtesy of Pinterest Robert Cuccioli

Then a thought hit me: If my wrist could be blue-black, what if my Vaseline hadn't covered all of my skin? I needed a mirror. I don't have one in the basement, so I dashed up the steps and opened the door where my 24-year-old son stood in the kitchen. By his expression, I knew something was wrong. When I looked in the powder room mirror, I had eyebrows like Grouch Marx and a hairline like Eddie Munster.


After only giving the hair dye 10 minutes to work, I dashed back down to the laundry room and stuck my head under the laundry tub faucet and began to frantically rinse my hair and rub my eyebrows. When the water ran clear, I sprinted upstairs to my bathroom, glanced in the mirror, and discovered that I still had a shadowy hairline and overly large black eyebrows. I quickly jumped into the shower and used every face product I owned from the Apricot scrub to the citrus facial cleaner to finally the pineapple enzyme peel-off-mask. I smelled like a fruit salad.

It Wasn't So Nice and Easy

We were headed for Saturday night Mass, and as I blew my hair dry, I could still see the faintest staining along my hair line. As I curled my hair, I admired my work. My hair did look really lustrous and dark so it wasn't a total disaster. But I learned there's a fine line between looking good and looking like Groucho!

The extent my characters go to in Most Highly Favored Daughter to maintain appearances and conceal their secrets goes much deeper and darker than Nice & Easy Natural Darkest Brown.

Pick up your copy now at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel or Smashwords

Feel free to tell your friends and family about this sweet deal because when we enjoy reading, we're all friends.

Finally, if you liked the novel, please review it on the site where you purchased it.

Thanks a bunch and if you see me anywhere don't look too deeply at my hairline!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Writing Lane by Writer Janice Lane Palko: Sister Wars

The Writing Lane by Writer Janice Lane Palko: Sister Wars: I realize I haven’t blogged much lately but that was because I’ve been busy writing my next novel, Most Highly Favored Daughter ! So I ...

Sister Wars

I realize I haven’t blogged much lately but that was because I’ve been busy writing my next novel, Most Highly Favored Daughter! So I wasn’t being a complete slacker! Most Highly Favored Daughter is my new romantic suspense, and it examines the sibling rivalry between sisters, Cara and Sophia Hawthorne.

I’m taking a different approach to publication this time, which I think will be beneficial for both of us. Amazon has launched a new program called Kindle Scout. If a book is selected for the program, (which mine was) people can log on to Kindle Scout and nominate it, and then if the book is selected by Kindle for publication, everyone who nominated the book will receive a FREE copy! There may be no free lunch, but there are free Kindle copies!

If you haven’t nominated Most Highly Favored Daughter yet, I’d really appreciate it if you would do so now by clicking HERE. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to come back.

Thanks. So let’s talk about sisters. When I was pursuing my writing degree, I did a study on the sister relationship, and this was one of the things that inspired me to write this book. Both sisters in the novel compete for the affection of their father. Sisters get worked up over many things—some small and some large.

Recently, I was at tea party hosted by a good friend and tea aficionado. Her younger sister was also at the party. After all the delicious treats were consumed and we were sipping the last from our tea cups, the conversation turned to how the sisters used to fight when they were younger. We all got a good laugh over their story of battling over the last Pop-Tart and how the older sister smashed it into the younger one's face in a fit of rage.

It seemed that everyone there who had a sister had some story from the “sister wars.” Fortunately, everyone there also shared that in their adult years, they enjoyed close relationships with their sisters. That is good because during my studies of sisters, I learned that the relationship between sisters will most likely be the longest relationship you will ever have.

In Most Highly Favored Daughter, the Hawthorne sisters face problems and battles that are much worse than waging war over a Pop-Tart. They face deadly circumstances. Fortunately, most of us don’t face such dire situations.

Do you have any stories from the sister wars?