Touch a heart

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 14, 2006

Albert Lea resident has second book published

By Geri McShane, assistant editor

Thirty years ago, Linda Portz wrote a lot.

She wrote a book.

She wrote poetry.

She wrote short stories.

But when she divorced, she put it all aside to raise her three children.

Six years ago, the Albert Lea woman picked it up again. And in recent weeks, she’s had a second book &045; under her pen name of Jill Holmes &045;&160;published.

&8220;To Touch a Heart&8221; is a collection of poems and short stories.

&8220;Poetry is really important to me,&8221; said Portz. &8220;You can read it and give it as a gift. It’s my gift to you.&8221;

Included in the book are several award-winning poems such as &8220;Waiting for You to Come Home,&8221; a tribute to American service people who are stationed on foreign lands. It was the winner of the Editors Choice Award from the International Library of Poetry, where Portz is an official poetry ambassador.

Also included is &8220;I Never Knew Lonely,&8221; winner of the President’s Award for Literary Excellence from the National Authors Registry.

Short stories included in the collection are &8220;The Minnesota Winter Ballet,&8221;

&8220;The Last Goodbye&8221; and &8220;Old Friend.&8221;

Some of her stories are based on personal experiences, like &8220;Mother of the Groom,&8221; which addresses her son’s drug addiction, and others are fiction.

Portz said she’s sold one poem to &8220;True Romance&8221; magazine. &8220;I’ve had other stories published,&8221; she said. &8220;But it takes a long time to get established.&8221;

This is the second book Portz has had published. &8220;An Ax in the Sandbox&8221; was released in November of 2002. It is the story of a late-term abortion, and Portz actually wrote it about 30 years ago.

&8220;I had the book published with flaws and imperfections,&8221; she said. &8220;I did that on purpose to give people the message that a child with flaws and imperfections still has value.&8221;

People who have read the book have told Portz they couldn’t put it down, she said.

&8220;Others have told me they don’t read about that sort of thing,&8221; she said. &8220;But I’m really emotional when it comes to kids.&8221;

Portz said she writes under a pen name because many well-known authors do that. A friend of hers suggested &8220;Jill Holmes&8221; as her pen name.

She doesn’t look too far for inspiration. &8220;Living in Albert Lea is an experience that most people take for granted,&8221; Portz said. &8220;But if you look around it can be inspirational. The beauty of

the lakes, the quiet and cleanliness says a lot for the people who live here. I am very proud to say I am from Albert Lea.&8221;

The author has a son, two daughters and four grandchildren.

&8220;To Touch a Heart&8221; is published in Bloomington, Ind., by AuthorHouse Publishing. People can also ask for it at Book World in Northbridge Mall. Copies can also be purchased online at borders.com, barnesandnoble.com or directly from Authorhouse.com in the bookstore.

Portz doesn’t know where things will lead for her. &8220;If nothing else, if I’m not famous, I’m having the time of my life.&8221;

Portz shares the poem at the end

(Contact Geri McShane at lifestyles@albertleatribune.com or 379-3436.)