Friday, October 8, 2010


“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

My guest is women's fiction author, Leanna Ellis. Her forte is handling subjects and emotion with humor.

We all hit different forms of writer's block. I think it comes with the territory. How we deal with it is also individualist. I'm a firm believer that God never allows us to face an obstacle alone. He always makes the way out for us. The secret is to see the path provided and then have enough trust to follow it, especially given the fact that humans tend to have *eye* problems. You know what I mean;  I think, I feel, I want?

I love Leanna's article of running out of words, dealing with grief and grayness of spirit. It resonated with me as I have faced similar issues this year. Leanna was provided an unlikely hero, Hilo. But I'll let her tell you all about that.

What happens when you run out of words? Recently I came back from a writer’s conference, and I was frankly all talked out. Usually I sit in the quiet (or near quiet, except for my barking dogs, meowing cat and children coming and going, okay not-so-quiet) of my house and write my books. But what happens when an author runs out of words?

This happened to me not too long ago. Right when I was supposed to begin writing my book, FACELIFT. No words. They just wouldn’t come. You see, my father had just passed away. To make matters worse, I write books with a big dose of humor and I frankly didn’t feel very humorous. Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” Those words are so true, and actually describe my writing pretty well. I write about deep subjects, difficult subjects, deep in the heart subjects, and package it all up in humor. But after my father died, humor was hard to come by. And the well of words I’d been drawing from for almost twenty years was dry.

What’s an author to do? First of all, I tried to be patient with myself. When I could only write ‘Chapter Five’ one day, not the chapter, just those two words: chapter five, I breathed deeply, tried not to panic, and said, “Maybe tomorrow.” Cue in the music from Annie here, right?

The words still didn’t come. Day after day I had no words to put on the page. But I was busy helping my children through their grief and as they finished up the school year. There were lots of activities to keep us busy and kept me moving even when there were days that I didn’t want to get out of bed.

But the one thing that really got me moving was my crazy labradoodle, Hilo, named after our favorite vacation spot on the big island of Hawaii. She was a puppy, not quite one year old, and she had more energy than all of my other animals and children combined. I’d raised several animals in my time but never had I experienced a dog like this. Think Marley and Me…but worse! She could jump in one bound onto my dining room table. And she did regularly. She also ate everything in sight, including ten pairs of eyeglasses. She ate half a turkey, a pound of butter, a bunch of grapes, nine spicy chicken wings (bones included), numerous boxes of tissues, rolls of toilet paper, shoes and who knows what else. So to start each day, in my pathetic effort to wear her out (at least for a while) I would take her for a walk. But I soon realized that the blue sky, sun, and soft breeze blew away the gloom I often woke with in the mornings. Now, walking wasn’t an easy task, Hilo liked to bark and lunge at anyone and any dog or cat she saw. She reminded me a bit of Tramp in Lady and the Tramp, the way Tramp could stir up those chickens was the way Hilo liked to stir up the neighborhood. She also loved to go after cars and school buses. But those exhausting walks (more so for me than her) took my mind off my sorrow for a few minutes at least.

I began writing about Hilo’s antics on my Facebook page (still do!). Then one day, I thought maybe I would write her into a scene in my novel, Facelift, just for the fun of it. Of course, I had to change her name to protect the not-so-innocent. So she became Cousin It. And soon words were flowing more easily. Suddenly scenes were coming together for me.

Through the humor of Hilo, I was able to face the heartache in my own heart but also in my characters’. I don’t think it was a coincidence that FACELIFT was about finding hope and joy in spite of painful circumstances and situations.


A ‘can do’ kind of woman runs her own business, raises her teenage daughter, and takes care of her ex-mother-in-law after a botched facelift. But Kaye learns a facelift is more than skin deep. Joy is more than tacking on a happy face. It's relying on her sovereign God who has a plan for her life. Download first chapter excerpt. Trailer
BUY:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, Borders, IndieBound 

  • In Facelift, Kaye feels like her life is out of control. Have you ever felt that way?

I’ll be happy to provide a book for a giveaway. Please limit to the U.S. Thanks!

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Winner of the National Readers Choice Award, Leanna Ellis writes women’s fiction and is known for her quirky characters and wacky plots as in her current novel, FACELIFT. But don’t let the quirkiness fool you, Ellis probes the heart and plucks at the heart strings. Next year will debut FORSAKEN, the first of an Amish/vampire series. Now that is wacky!

You can find Leanna: Website, Blog, Facebook