Pay No Attention to that Humbug Behind the Keyboard! by guest blogger Marcia Gruver

Marcia Gruver’s Southern-comfortable roots lend touches of humor and threads of unshakable faith to her writing. Look for both in her three-book series, Texas Fortunes, and in her Backwoods Brides collection: Raider’s Heart (Feb 2011), Bandit’s Hope (Oct 2011), and Hunter’s Prize (Spring, 2012). Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband Lee have five children. Collectively, this motley crew has graced them with a dozen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter—so far.

Pay No Attention to that Humbug Behind the Keyboard!

One of my favorite scenes from the Wizard of Oz shows Dorothy and her troupe approaching the Wizard, trembling in awe, their little knees rattling. Dorothy summons the courage to make the charge, “If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises.”

Smarter than the rest, Toto draws back the curtain of “the Great and Powerful Oz” to reveal a little charlatan frantically grinding gears and banging gongs in a desperate attempt to maintain his false persona.

Busted for a fake, he cries, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
He admits to being the wizard and Dorothy gasps, “You are? I don’t believe you.”
“I’m afraid it’s true,” he says. “There’s no other wizard except me.”
Indignant, the Scarecrow shouts, “You humbug!”
To which the man is forced to admit, “Yes, exactly so.”

We’re supposed to feel sorry for Dorothy and her band of needy friends, but my sympathies lie with the fraud. Bent over my keyboard in fuzzy robe and slippers, adjusting my intravenous caffeine drip so my eyes will focus, I glance at my puttied and plastered cover shot (every hair in place) and think, You humbug! To which the bedraggled mess that I am can only sigh and confess, “Exactly so.”

I quiver in anticipation of the charge, “If you were really great and powerful, you’d be witty, charming, perfect, and pretty. You’d find a balance between home and family, church and community, conference and critique group, first draft and final edit—all within the confines of your latest looming deadline. Not to mention getting Dorothy safely home to Kansas.

Writers tend to be high achievers, and that’s okay. It gets the job done. But we must give ourselves permission to be human. I have a wonderful support system in place, but I had to learn to prioritize. Sometimes that means saying no. Moreover, when the load gets too heavy, I’ve learned to ask for help.

Most importantly, when I get the chance to have a robe and slippers day, I go for it with full abandon and without apology. . .plenty of chocolate within reach. On occasion, it’s good for the soul.

Besides, if the reader desires a true glimpse of their favorite writer, they need look no farther than the parts of the book that stir the heart. Those cherished lines may have been penned by a frightening distortion of who you perceive the author to be, but chances are they came from a beautiful place.

A bit of a humbug? I’m afraid it’s true. There’s no other wizard writer except me.

Raider’s Heart

A Silly Little Lamp has turned Dawsey Wilkes’s life upside down.

Hooper and Duncan McRae grew up hearing their father’s tales of the little golden lamp that eluded his possession. Hooper, always the daring brother, seizes a once-in-a-lifetime chance when passing the Wilkes house to get a peek at the legendary lamp. But simple curiosity could open a Pandora’s box of trouble for the McRaes.

Whisked from her opulent home in the middle of the night, Dawsey Wilkes wakes up deep in the Carolina swamps, the prisoner of a rowdy family who support the infamous Henry Berry Lowry, a vigilante intent on bringing justice to the poor.

Wooed by the competitive McRae brothers and shunned by their sister Ellie, Dawsey remains intent on getting back home to her ailing father. But has it been God’s plan all along to unite these two very different families?