Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Rock Star Past...

Here's what transpired over lunch this week with two long-time friends. First, Melissa pointed to my succinct bio and asked, "Is this a joke?" At the end of our two-hour visit, Jan mentioned that she'd been asked to speak at a small church. "I don't guess you've ever heard of it," she said to me. "I have--I've sung there," I answered. "I used to sing in a Christian rock band." Melissa sputtered, "And it never occurred to you to mention that in your bio for a book about a rock star?!" So there you go, qualification for writing about a rock star--I used to be one! (not!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm not much of a chit-chatter. I'm a get-to-the-point kind of gal. In fact--and this is an embarrassing confession--if you don't get to your point pretty quickly, my brain has left the building.

I tell you this so you'll understand the conversation I had yesterday with a friend who has known me since second grade. She pointed to her copy of my novel, A Higher Voice, and asked, "How did you (of all people, she implied) write a novel this long?"

I just shrugged and answered, "I can't explain it."

Which brings me to my definition of talent.

Years ago, my husband hand-carved a couple of carousel horses, and we had one for sale in my gift shop. Customers would come in and rub their hands over the fine contours of the sculpture, exclaim over the beauty of the horse, and invariably ask, "How long did it take him to carve it?"

I never gave anyone a straight answer to that question. In all likelihood, if I had answered truthfully, then they would have complained that the price was way too high.

Because the truth was, it was shocking how little time it took him to carve it. And you can't put a price on talent, right?

Now that I have a novel in print, people, naturally curious, ask how long it took me to write it. I side-step the question. My friend, Gay, knows exactly how long it took me to write that first very rough draft, and that shall remain our little secret. The better question, I tell readers, is--How long did it take me to re-write it? So far, folks just stare at me. I can see the wheels turning in their heads.

Just last week at our church's monthly free meal for our community, Carolyn said the secret to the delicious chicken salad was that she used four quarts of her homemade pickles. I just stared at her and finally said, "I've never even made four quarts of pickles, let alone given them away!" To which her sister quipped, "And I've never written a novel." So there you go.

My definition of talent is this:  If there's something that you do, that you can't explain how you do it, and possibly it would shock people to know how quickly you can do it, then that may be your talent.

My talent is not making pickles. Nor is it hand-carving a wooden carousel horse. Nor is it chit-chatting, for that matter.

I know people with immense talent for encouraging others. For hand-writing notes. For humor. For listening. For gardening. For fixing things. For fixing people. For teaching. For carrying on the face of adversity.

And every single one of those talents is every bit as important as writing a novel. Probably even more so.

So what is your talent? I guarantee you have at least one. Celebrate that today. Better yet, use your talent!

Have a lovely, productive week, whatever your endeavors, friends!


Monday, July 22, 2013


Aaahh...I'm finding that the work has its rewards.

I'm talking about the many sweet people who took time from their very busy schedules to come to my booksignings this past weekend.

Several had finished reading A Higher Voice and came in to get their copies signed and purchase more for friends. This makes me happy.

Melanie, who had read the manuscript before it was published and steered me toward the perfect title, purchased an extra copy just to have one to loan out. She didn't want to risk losing her signed copy. I like that!

Here are just a few of the folks who stopped by:

I am hugely grateful to these readers plus so many more who have taken the time to tell me how much they enjoyed A Higher Voice. Your encouragement means the world to me!

Your scribbling friend,
Sheri Wren Haymore

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


     Sunday afternoon we were off on an adventure with our good friends, all six adults crammed into one SUV. The men in the group have this knack for grabbing onto the most innocuous thing I say and teasing me unmercifully. Exasperated, I fumed, “I don’t know how I manage to talk myself into these predicaments every time!” From the seat behind me came my husband’s voice, “Maybe it’s because you can’t write both sides of this conversation.”

     How correct he is! That is the privilege of being a storyteller. I get to write and re-write both sides of the conversation until I get it right. My character might have a clever comeback or she might interject a word of wisdom. Or he might just keep his mouth shut. Whatever the response, it will be appropriate for the occasion, and it will advance the story toward its satisfying conclusion.

     Not so in real life, huh? We don’t get to re-write our conversations.

     Here are a few examples of times when re-writing might have come in handy:

          The blunt comeback.  In my role as chief communicator for my husband’s woodworking business, I had been in an email conversation with a woman concerning a complicated custom coffee table she was considering. This had been going on for over three month. Yesterday I received a succinct email from the woman’s husband stating that he couldn’t tell any difference between the last two designs I had sent her. I didn’t like his tone. In fact, I concluded that if he was that displeased, after all the hours I had put into this potential project, then by golly, he could make a decision today or forget the whole thing. I didn’t quite answer his email that bluntly, but I was pretty blunt.

                In a few minutes, here came another email from the man—an humble apology. He had intended that email for his wife. He was not displeased, apparently, with our designs; he was aggravated with his wife’s indecision.

                Ho, boy. Yeap, that’s one conversation I would like to re-write. Can you relate?

                Closed mouth.  Not only was yesterday a hectic day, but I’d been on antibiotics for a week and was generally draggy and achy. Not in the mood for my yoga class last night. I entered the room closed off, in my own little world, not really interested in interacting with anyone else. While sitting on my mat in that non-yogic frame of mind, a sweet fellow student approached. In her hand she held a copy of A Higher Voice, asking for my autograph. I was able to make grateful words come out of my mouth, but honestly, would it have killed me to enter the room in a grateful frame of mind? Just having a body that is capable of breathing and moving is enough to make me weep with gratitude. 

                If I could re-write most of my conversations, I wouldn’t keep my mouth shut as much. I would open it more, and pour out words of hope and gratitude and encouragement. Wouldn’t you?

                And finally, there’s the late word. I learned just this morning that a friend’s mother had passed away last month. In my defense, it happened while we were on vacation with no internet. I’ll have to find a way to express an appropriate late word of comfort. 

                In A Higher Voice, communication, or the lack thereof, is a major issue between Britt and Dena. They both keep important information to themselves until their late word is almost too late. Have you ever put off a conversation until it’s almost too late?

                In our conversations this week, let’s write our stories well as we go along. Let’s tell our stories with the best, most timely, words possible!