#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

General Musings

I had a long, lovely and very restful Thanksgiving weekend, and I sincerely hope you did, as well.  I did a lot of thinking, praying, reading, painting and resting–and, of course, some eating of turkey and trimmings, graciously served by Wendy and Jeremy at their place. 

It seems to me, upon much reflection, that good romance novels (and other kinds, too) are mainly about personal transformation.  I may have bitten off more than I can chew here, at least at one sitting, because transformation is a BIG subject, and I’m sure the previous statement seems painfully obvious (as in, ‘well, duh’), to many of you.  It’s not as if this is new knowledge, after all.  I’ve known it for as long as I can remember, and I’m sure you have, too.  But I know lots of things that don’t really have any bearing on my day to day thought processes, and this insight seems to be one of them.  I plan to delve into it until I begin to understand.

The Bible, for instance, is all about transformation–of the heart.  And just look at our favorite secular stories: Beauty and the Beast=Transformation.  Cinderella, ditto.  “The Matirix” and “Star Wars” and “The Fellowship of the Ring”–the list goes on and on, of course.  Why do we love stories about change–people who are afraid to love, and then learn to open their hearts, for example?  Or characters who must face some daunting challenge–or many daunting challenges–and surmount them? (Harry Potter comes to mind.) I believe it’s because there is a deep human yearning to experience profound transformation hidden away in every heart, and well-told stories resonate with that yearning.  Like most writers, I’m all about figuring out what works in a story and what doesn’t–rodeo mistakes included :)–and the whole subject fascinates me.  More than anything I set out to do, I want to touch your heart.  I want to encourage you, reassure you, and make you laugh, if only for the span of some three hundred pages in a book.  To paraphrase my dear friend Debbie Macomber, I’m not here to change your life–just your afternoon.

I’ll be seeing Debbie soon, along with numerous other writing friends, at the annual Christmas party over in Seattle.  Looking forward to that!

I’ve loved your ghost stories–every one of you deserved a prize but alas. 

This week’s question(s)–winners will be chosen THIS Wednesday–In five years, looking back on this time in your life, what will you wish you’d done?  Why don’t you do it?

My answer: I will wish I’d exercised and taken better care of myself in general.  And I plan to do it.

What about you?




22 comments to “General Musings”

  1. Gloria
      · November 26th, 2012 at 12:10 pm · Link

    In five years, if God lets me live, I’d wish I’d been able to move into my old house and open my old store and sell things I’ve collected, for that purpose, and made.

    The reason I don’t is…lack of the means to do it. I think that is the reason most people don’t follow their dreams.

  2. Hilda
      · November 26th, 2012 at 12:27 pm · Link

    Hi, Linda. I’m so glad you had a restful Thanksgiving weekend. I was thinking as I said our prayer before dinner on Thursday (actually I think God put the idea into my head, I’m not this smart), that it’s not WHAT I’m thankful for that is important; it’s TO WHOM I’m thankful. That turned out to be a real blessing, to get the emphasis off of possessions and people and UP THERE where it rightly belongs.

    Anyway, in five years I’d like to still have my op-year old Dad and be able to live in a place where I can take care of him. It’s not easily possible right now (he’s in Bellingham and I’m in Federal Way and I have 2 other houseguests who don’t have any better place to live right now), and thankfully he doesn’t need care yet, other than a housekeeper and someone to take him on a trip once a year. :o)

    Can you give me a hint where you, Debbie, et al., are meeting? I’d love to just come and take a quick peek at you, since I work in Seattle. I won’t talk to you or embarass you, I promise! Maybe I’ll just take a quick picture with my Zoom Lens……

    • Hilda
        · November 26th, 2012 at 12:28 pm · Link

      Oh bugger, I didn’t see that typo! My Dad is 90, not “op”.

  3. Kathleen O'Donnell
      · November 26th, 2012 at 1:01 pm · Link

    My answer is the same, diet and excerise more. Then I would not have to take so many pills to combat things that have come up..

  4. ShariG
      · November 26th, 2012 at 1:13 pm · Link

    I always enjoy your musings and your words of wisdom. Although I am relatively new here, I have been a long time fan of your books. It is interesting that you speak about transformation because, while many of the characters do transform in one way or another and often that is opening up to love after a bad experience, the thing that I love most about your books and other romance novels as well is the constancy of character. I love the men, the cowboys and newer versions of the cowboys, who at their heart and in spite of challenges have this general sense of decency and honesty that I think can be missing in today’s “all about me” atmosphere. I love that they are true to the women in their lives, that love might be stressed but never dies. I love that they strive to do the right thing even when another course might be easier. I love the women who have spirit and pride and in spite of hard lives or disappointments manage to stay strong. It is that strength of character that doesn’t transform that makes me love reading about them and keeps me rooting for them.

    In terms of my own personal transformation, I retired from my job a year ago after 25 years as a college professor. My goal is to travel more and to be a loving presence in the lives of my six children and grandchildren, 2 boys and 4 girls at present. Retirement has reduced much of the stress in my life, but somehow there is still not nearly enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to accomplish. I want to get better at time management and save a little time for myself each day without guilt whether it is time to read, watch an old movie, sort through the massive piles of photographs I have accumulated over the years, or simply to sit and reflect. That reflection time is necessary for transformation to happen, I think, and sometimes it is at those times we see the need and the path to transformation.

  5. Jennifer
      · November 26th, 2012 at 1:30 pm · Link

    I wish I would have exercised more. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day. I have made up my mind that I am going to start taking more time for myself. Just give myself a little gift of one hour a day were I think of me and take the time to take care of me. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in helping everyone around me that I loose myself.

  6. Kristie Wilson
      · November 26th, 2012 at 1:30 pm · Link

    In five years, I’m sure I’ll look back and wish I had spent more time with my girls. Then, my oldest will be 19 and in her first year of college, and my youngest will be 15 and in the throes of teenage angst (ick!). My husband and I really try our best to spend as much quality time as possible with them now, and we do a pretty good job. We just returned from a weekend of camping following our Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing says “quality time” like playing cards and Yahtzee in a popup camper in the woods! But, no matter how much time we make now, I know I’ll miss these years as they grow older and become more and more independent!

  7. sam
      · November 26th, 2012 at 2:12 pm · Link

    Well Linda, you definitely have made me laugh, reassured, encouraged and touched my heart in all your books, and for that I do thank-you:)

  8. Anne Little
      · November 26th, 2012 at 2:14 pm · Link

    If I could go back I would have taken better care of me, on the other hand maybe not because without the mistakes I would not have grown as a person. I am very slow at learning. I hate admitting that about myself sometimes, but its true. I think I have grown more in the last few years then I have in the whole fifty years of my life I think.

    I have MS, depression, high blood pressure and have had a series of mini strokes. This is what God has given me to work with and while some people would look on these horrible dx as the worst possible luck and give up, I choose to look at it as a gift from God. I have more insight now, more of a willingness to make the transformation into the person I am truly supposed to be.

    I am seeing life through a whole new window. Parts of it very very few people out there ever want to come close to. I probably should have some regrets or want to change things but if I did I would not be anywhere near the person I am today.

    So, No. I think I would change nothing. I am who I am because of what I have seen and learned. It would mean regretting meeting all of the wonderful people I have met over the last few years and inpacted my life in one way or another or taught/ given me wisdom, strength or happiness. I can’t do it. Okay, so it took the perverbial brick to the head to make me open my eyes to a few truths. But you don’t throw back a gift from God, no matter what it is.

  9. Jeannie
      · November 26th, 2012 at 3:53 pm · Link

    spend more time with family, they are what keeps you going no matter how much you might fight & argue family is always with us alive or gone on to greener pastures. they other is to travel through Scotland & see the past with loosing my vision I want to see as much of this world as I can. Ann sorry that you are going through all that, I know a little of what you are going through not with the ms but the others. Keep being positive & enjoy your life

  10. Betsy
      · November 26th, 2012 at 4:37 pm · Link

    Glad you had a good Thanksgiving-I did as well. family, food, football–all a good way to spend time together.

    I hope in five years I won’t have any regrets such as not enough time spent with family. I am sure that I will regret not making decisions quicker, and acting on them in a more positive way.

  11. Carol Conrad
      · November 26th, 2012 at 5:55 pm · Link

    I have been reading and rereading about the Creed Brothers. It is just nice to see people transforming their lives, as you said. Right now I feel stuck in my road of life.
    Five years ago-I should have split up from my husband instead of waiting two more years for things to change. I was anchored to this man by time-35 years together, history-35 years worth, a negative sense of myself (reinforced by him). What finally prompted me to get going? He “told” me what a horrible person I was. I was shocked. I am none of those things. It came to me as clear as those bells that rang in my head the first time we kissed–he did not love me! How could he love me if he believed such horrible things about me! I didn’t want to be around someone who thought that way about me.
    So, here I am three years after the break up. I am still married. He is god knows where.
    I am rewiring my brain to get rid of 35 years of conditioning. I am attending college but I don’t know exactly what I want to do.
    Lately I have been thinking of doing something to help the environment. Hmmm.
    Thanks for letting me go on. I have just given up the plot of my first novel! :-P But I have more irons in the fire!
    Thanksgiving was good-my boys and family together. For that I am thankful. 8)

  12. Lois Rotella
      · November 26th, 2012 at 7:20 pm · Link

    Nice to hear you had a nice thanksgiving. I wished that I could have stuck with exercise and diet. I have no will power. I also wished that I could have traveled more but the lack of funds prevented that. :( :lol:

  13. Rita
      · November 26th, 2012 at 9:05 pm · Link

    I have recently experienced some losses in life of friends and acquaintances, which make me re-evaluate what I am doing. As I read somewhere, Life is not a dress rehearsal, it is the real deal. So, I am going to treat it as such and stop wasting time. There are two things: 1) I want to write stories, but my mind says I’m not ready, don’t have time, etc. 2) Like you, I need to exercise and I have been looking at ways to start and/or improve my commitment to these activities.

    Always love to read your comments and your books. I have been a huge fan of yours for years!

  14. Emily
      · November 26th, 2012 at 9:25 pm · Link

    I plan on still being alive in 5 years. I am a 2 1/2 year breast cancer survivor. I know that I will beat this, so I am not worried about that at all! I do pray that they will have come up with a cure or better medicine for my daughter who has MS.

    I plan to be a better wife and friend. God has given my family so much strength and love, and I plan on being as helpful and understanding as I can possibly be with everyone. God has blessed me, and I want people to know how much I love him and I pray for all people, especially our military fighting for our freedom and country.

    Finally, I want to lose weight! (Who doesn’t?)

    Can’t wait for your books to come out. Hope you have a great time with your friends, and also at the NRF in Vegas.

  15. april
      · November 27th, 2012 at 9:54 am · Link

    My little people are 5 and 7 and I am pretty sure in 5 years when I look back I’ll wish I would of slowed down and enjoyed it all more. Were a pretty busy family, if asked with what we can never say for sure. all we know is that were never sitting and always on the go. My husband and I are both trying to slow down and love the little moments chaos and all!! I’m still sure that in 5 years it will be my biggest ” I wish”

  16. Brenda Mitchell.
      · November 27th, 2012 at 10:15 am · Link

    From 5 years ago to today. I wished I had not gone with the job offer I had. Because of the hardship it put on me, my family, and my health, I moved away from it all. Quit the job, walked out on a loveless 8 year relationship, and moved to where I always dreamed of. In the past 5 years I learned that money does not make a person happy, you cannot make someone love you, your health is precious: take care of it and learn to live for myself. (I lived for my children).


  17. Patricia M Hann
      · November 27th, 2012 at 3:46 pm · Link

    5 years from now I wish to be confident and go for the grand prize even if I fail to get the prize the journey would be worth it. And ask for help when help is needed. The reason the goal will not be complete is because I am afraid to take that 1st step and not be able to complete the course.

  18. Sherry Wallace
      · November 28th, 2012 at 1:21 am · Link

    What a good question this week to make us think about what’s REALLY important in our lives, & right after Thanksgiving, too! Since we never know how long we or those we love will be around, I hope in five years, to be able to say I spend as much time as possible with my two grandchildren before they morf into those ever puzzling beings – teenagers! A necessary process, never-the-less they will have less time for me in years to come. I also want to cherish the days with my aging pets, giving them all the love & devotion they have show me throughout the years & in difficult times. I don’t want to regret time that I may have wasted on anger or bitterness. I hope to bring hope & happiness to all those I know. I want to look back in five years without remorse :-)
    Love & blessings to all,

  19. april
      · November 28th, 2012 at 5:09 pm · Link

    Ok Miss Linda I have a question! I read An Outlaw Christmas over the weekend and got to thinking how old would Angus have been in that book? I just love that tough old cowboy!!

    • linda
        · November 28th, 2012 at 9:36 pm · Link

      Goodness, probably at least 80

  20. Shirley Stieb
      · December 5th, 2012 at 11:26 am · Link

    In the last five years, I wish…
    I would have had more time with my nieces and nephews. I have enough contact with them, but everyone is busy. I know I was when I was their ages. Each of them, have one child (and some have stepchildren, also). I am thankful, though, that I have many friends, hobbies, and my cat Sabrina the Ballerina.

    And, I am very close to my 8 year old great niece. I really value that! I retired when she was 7 months old, and we were together at least one day a week, until she started school. We still are together one day a week during her school vacations & other times.

    I love your stories, Linda.

    One of my friends, Linda Markowiak, used to write romance novels. She is now a special education teacher at a local public school. While she loves what she does, she remembers being an author and the many authors she met during her time with all of you.

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