Is this when the miracle happens?

Happy Thursday! I’m guest blogging over with Peggy Jaegar today about miracles and my newest book, ALL OR NOTHING. Join us! For the complete blog post including excerpt, a book blurb, and gift basket giveaway details be sure to pop over to Peggy’s here!


There are two facts about me you should know: I have successfully crammed a loveseat into the back of a Chevette, and my final grade in high school geometry was 103%.

I share these two little factoids not to brag (okay, maybe a little. I even got the extra credit questions right!), but because it was with this inflated sense of mastery over spatial thinking and physics that I approached a particularly difficult application of ice and water shield several years ago. (Think rubbery sheets of contact cement.) Dearest Hubby and I were weatherproofing our newly framed dormer before the summer T-storms hit again. I was leaning through the narrow rafter cavity with a piece of ice and water shield (sticky side out) attempting to reach in a direction that would require: a.) one of my elbows to bend backwards, b.) my arms to stretch another 6-8 inches, and c.) me to develop x-ray vision that would allow me to see through a 2 x 12 rafter. I had struggled for probably ten minutes or so at this task when DH leaned close to my ear and whispered, “Is this when the miracle happens?”

I dissolved into convulsions of laughter and ended up sticking the ice and water shield to my forearm (which, BTW, I don’t recommend) because it was perfectly clear that as much as I stretched and pushed and struggled, the physics of the situation where not going to change.

In ALL OR NOTHING, self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has just returned from filming a reality dating show. Unfortunately, he did not find a match. This is an ice and water shield moment for the show’s producer who spends the rest of the book trying to bend her elbows backwards getting Ian to fall in love and choose a fiancée so the show’s ratings don’t go down the toilet.

It turns out that the kind of woman Ian asked to be matched with isn’t the woman he needs (big surprise!) And it takes a loveable puppy, some persistent paparazzi and one spunky heroine to get him to see he needs to approach things differently. Cue the triumphant music and happy ending as the hero and heroine run through a sunny field toward one another…

You see, sometimes the miracle happens (don’t ask me how I got that loveseat in that car) and sometimes it doesn’t, but as writers we have a tendency to continue to shove and twist during those difficult times waiting for the fairy dust to sprinkle down from the heavens so our elbows will bend backwards and the scene will work. Chances are good, though, that we won’t suddenly realize we’re double-jointed, and it will take a whisper from outside ourselves to see that we need to take a new tack.

This is where I admit the third fact: If it weren’t for my lovely, talented and painfully honest editor, you would probably throw my book at the wall. In ALL OR NOTHING, I had a plot line that was not working. I knew this, and yet a part of me still hoped that, somehow, I’d pull it off. (Shh! Don’t say anything! I just need to stretch a little more!) Enter my editor who said (and I quote): “WHAT?!” If she’d had a red Sharpie, my manuscript would have been glowing. She hated this plot line and told me the two (Or twelve. Really, I lost count.) reasons why readers would go on to hate me and my heroine if I left it in.

She was right, of course. I was struggling so hard to make it fit, I wasn’t able to step back and see that it would never work. Once I pulled that plotline, all sorts of things fell neatly into place… like a loveseat into a Chevette.

This whole experience has reinforced for me the VITAL importance of having a critique partner, a plotting group, a good content editor or simply an honest friend to point out when persistence has morphed into stubbornness. Anyone that knows me knows I’m an optimist. I believe in happy endings and true love and that, somehow, the sticky pieces of life will magically fall into place. (Ta-da!) The reason I believe so strongly in these things, though, is because I surround myself with those who have the courage to whisper the truth in my ear when it needs to be said so I can reach my goals another way.

Now, I’m excited to share ALL OR NOTHING with the world, because I know it delivers the magic of a happy ending (with only fictional joint pain.) And I hope, if you do throw the book at the wall, you do so out of convulsions of laughter.

It does make me wonder, though… If I had left that ugly, unsympathetic plotline in, would you have thrown your book at the wall? How far does an author/character have to go to make you lose all respect for them to the point they become unredeemable? Depending on your answer, I may have to send my editor an extra large bouquet of flowers to thank her…

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