Guest Post

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

AFDOC 44-52: I Did It My Way

December 27, 2010 saw The End typed into AFDOC's final page.  The last few chapters were hard under any circumstances since they are the climax of the story and very emotional, but I had to wait a while before I could face them.  They are richer and more poi gnant due to the last month.  I also discovered it's very hard to type and cry at the same time, so I had to lock myself away to get it done.  I had the misfortune to lose three people who were precious to me this year.  My friend, Mac {a girl} who was in my wedding about a hundred years ago, my adorable and ever so kind Uncle Newman, and my dear friend, Tracy.  I thank God for all of them and the joys they brought to my life.  May you be lucky enough to have such people in your life.  cj and I see each other all the time and we know we're lucky to have each other as writing partners and good friends.  The same goes for Linda Busby-Parker, my writing mentor and good friend, who celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with Don at their recent Christmas party.  I'm grateful for critique partners, Nolan and Wanda who keep me on track.

As I move forward into 2011, my resolution list is made and taped to all the places I frequent to keep me on target, at least that's what I hope they will do.  AFDOC will soon be going to my critique group, I have three new jobs on tap, and a new book is stewing, so what more could I ask for?  A job for my daughter, who has been on lay off for 16 months, my roof to last until I sell a book, and above all weight loss without trying! 

A peaceful year to you all.           Mahala

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

As 2010 ends . . .

Though the year 2010 was a difficult one for my family and circle of friends--the last quarter especially so . . .

I hold to the wonderful promise of Christmas and pray for God's blessings on you and yours in 2011.


I do love the warmth of Christmas decorations in my family room.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Season of Giving

My family will miss sharing Christmas cookies and other goodies with Tracy along with her crazy Christmas hats and sweaters.  Secure in the knowledge that she is blessed to share her Christmas with the angels this year, we try to move forward to celebrate with our family and other friends.  A special Merry Christmas to Tracy's family.

I have one week left to finish off the last three chapters of AFDOC and I will have met my deadline for the first major revision.  I hope you and your writing have a blessed holiday and your families and your friends will share a cuppa and rejoice in the amazing blessings we as Americans enjoy.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my house to yours.          Mahala

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

work in progress

Seemed an appropriate time to let our followers know that the blogspot decor is now a work in progress. Please stay patiently with us . . . we hope to get a final view as soon as we can figure out the software. Sigh.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Dear Tracy:

This little eulogy will take a long time to write for the tears that fall cannot wash away the sorrow I feel today.

You were such a rare find: a caring and genuine friend, and I sorely miss your dimpled smile. Quick to lend a helping hand and share your wealth of knowledge about writing genres and the quirks of publishing, I know I will not be able to write a single line without wondering what would Tracy think? Where would your marvelous critiques have sent me? You had an awesome grasp of the art of story. Who will tell me all I’ve written is a good character sketch when I thought I had created a crisp, short story?

Time and space will mute the loss and dim the pain, Tracy, but the golden threads of friendship you graciously shared with me are immutable and will always brighten my memories. I miss you, lady, but am comforted by the knowledge that you are now safe from harm.


A Tribute

Tracy had a profound influence on my life. She was a loyal friend and an excellent writer and editor. I once told her I would never submit anything for publication without her critique. A Few Degrees Off Center started as a series of unnamed short stories, but as she read and critiqued them, then encouraged me to consider writing a novel. Without her inspiration and encouragement, the stories would probably still be under construction.

Founding Mobile Writers Guild was an adventure that often brought us to laughter and frustration—it was always a joint effort without rancor, unusual in today’s world. I will always be amazed and grateful for that wonderful working relationship.
Raising children almost the same age, we made the rounds of museums, movies, plays, McDonald’s, and oh so many others. My life has been greatly enriched for having known and worked and played together.

My strongest wish is that the young adult book she almost finished, her new mystery novel, and so many short stories that she had crafted and never submitted had made it to print. Tracy had a deep desire to touch the lives of young people in a positive way and that is another way she will be remembered.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf, Tracy carried almost one hundred packages from SCBWI to the children—flashlights, stuffed animals, and, of course, books. She donated over a hundred books to the Mobile Public Library in the few years she lived here.

Tracy, you are a part of my life forever. Save me a seat in the Great Library. Mahala

Sadly, it was too soon . . . much too soon

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 1, 2010, our dear friend and Lyrical Pens partner, Tracy Ann Hurley, passed away at the age of 53. There was no lengthy forewarning; the discovery of her illness was unexpected; and her death devastatingly sudden.

A lifetime learner and lover of literature, reading, and writing, Tracy was also an inspired and gifted teacher. Her talents for writing and editing led her to co-found the Mobile Writers Guild and to the publication of short stories. Tracy will be especially remembered for her kind and loving heart that she shared with all she met.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society at or to a school or public library of choice.