I Blame the Turkey

I'm going to make this short because, well, it's late, I'm tired, and it's been a long holiday!

First, I hope you all enjoyed tons of yummy food and indulged appropriately, without so much as a glance at the scale in the bathroom...

Second, I had a fabulous time decorating two Christmas trees, laughing with family and friends, praising Jesus with my church in Buckhead (and cracking up to Andy Stanley's wonderfully relevant message in this season), and catching up on some much-needed time away from work. The one thing I missed out on, however, was sleep...so I fully intend on passing out once I've logged off my computer.

Third, be on the lookout for some great posts this week. I've got a few ideas cooked up that I hope you'll enjoy.

And finally, I will soon start working with The Examiner writing on my own page called Christian Perspectives. Be on the lookout!

Good night, sleep tight..and all that...

Wendi

My wish to write gothic (and, no, I don't mean while wearing black fingernail polish)

It's surprising to me how many people, when I mention some of my favorite authors (i.e. Joshilyn Jackson, Kate Morton, etc.) and their work, either have no idea who they are or, when in response to the inevitable "What do they write?" I say "Gothic stuff", say "Oh, I don't like horror". REALLY? What are high schools teaching these days? I mean, it's only been seven years since I attended, but we learned a bit about genres and gothic was certainly one of them (thanks Mrs. Sleek!) Granted, I was probably one of three actually paying attention in English class because I adored reading, but still...gothic literature does not mean wearing all black, trudging around with a scowl on your face and a chip on your shoulder. Gothic is long-buried secrets waiting to be discovered, family drama, ghosts (literal and metaphorical) and so much more. In recent years, it has become my absolute favorite and, with my long love for books, that is saying something.

Joshilyn Jackson is a Southern writer and her works include gods in Alabama, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming and Between, Georgia. Love love LOVE her! As a native Georgian, I have to admit that I have a bit of a greater fascination for Mrs. Jackson since she resides in Atlanta (me too!) and I met her at a signing at the Margaret Mitchell House in April. She is spirited, and sassy...a true Georgia peach. On top of all of that, her writing is humorous and dark and beautiful. I connect with it so much because of its references to kudzu, and "y'all", and sweet tea but, more importantly, because I see so much of myself in what she writes. She is the kind of writer who is deeply eloquent in a way that the average reader can find something in her words and hold on to it, no matter the subject, and I hope to do that as well.

Kate Morton is also a gothic writer, but she is from Australia and, all of her work stems from her knowledge of the Land Down Under and her time in England. All three of her novels, The House at Riverton (or The Shifting Fog for U.K. and Australia, I believe), The Forgotten Garden, and, her newest, The Distant Hours, involve an English estate with forbidden secrets, the love and trials between sisters, memories, letters and books...I could go on and on. She has mastered the art of history and intrigue with deep emotional connections to each character and their journeys. I am currently engrossed in The Distant Hours and I have a hard time moving slowly through the story because I want so badly to find out what happens in the end...I have to remember that it's all the stuff in the middle that makes the finish that much more enjoyable!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Wendi

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Christmas

Even though I always complain about the commercial aspects of Christmas and the inevitable pattern that stores follow of placing decorations out next to the leftover Halloween candy in November, I secretly LOVE that my favorite holiday is just around the corner. I hardly need an excuse to start listening to "O Holy Night" or slipping "Elf" in the DVD player, but it's nice to have one all the same (there's one of those contradictions I mentioned).

My only real issue regarding Christmas is the slow, almost deliberate, removal of Christ and his birth. I love the snow, the lights, the songs, the cookies, and the evergreen candles (oh, is that just me? I like my house to smell like a forest) just as much, if not more, than anybody. But the very name is a result of a son being born in a manger to a faithful virgin named Mary, a night that moved us beyond all recognition, a night that fortified our very existence by making us pure and whole in the eyes of God. We were given grace because of that night, because of that child who grew to be our Savior, and we are free from all restrictions because of such grace. What beauty there is in this life because of Jesus, the son of the King. Why would we want to remove His presence? I love the joy of the season, but what joy can there be without the Prince of Peace?

On a more superficial topic, I am thankful this season for my job and for my husband, for friends and family, and for being a published author come December. The Mayfield Family Story will be available to the public next month (hopefully in time for Christmas) and I intend on giving a few copies to those close to me, in hopes that it might find its way to their coffee tables and serve as a conversation piece when guests arrive and ask "What is this here, this lovely leather bound piece of art?" (oh, to dream). Either way, it wil surely find itself wrapped and laden with bows beneath quite a few trees this year, thanks to my self-promoting efforts. With any luck, my novel will be on the shelves of your local Borders this time next year and then I can ask you all to go buy a copy (The Mayfield Family Story is not for retail, except in Mayfield gift shops and, possibly, Amazon or eBay).

I hope you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Be sure to stuff yourselves with turkey and dressing, no thoughts of saturated fat or caloric value allowed...promise?

With love,
Wendi