Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Life, Interrupted

I can't believe it's been one year since I've posted. Well, yes I can. What does surprise me is that my "followers" haven't abandoned my blog! I thought I owed it to you guys to explain my absence. Hope you don't mind my transparency.

One year ago, right after Spring Break, I filed for divorce. In the months that followed, I moved out of my house and in with my mom for the summer, and spent three months job hunting. In August, I started working, sold the house we'd lived in for the past 10 years, and bought a condo. Moved into the condo with my daughter over Labor Day weekend and immediately dealt with everything associated with a new school year (and grueling marching band season). In October, my 25-year marriage officially ended.

So began my life as a single, working mom. The physical outcome has been exhausting, of course, but the emotional struggles have been the most draining. For me, my daughter, and my son (who lives with my ex). We all experienced more than a few meltdowns as we muddled through a difficult time of adjustment.

Right now I work part-time as an administrative assistant, and part-time as a freelance writer, currently looking for full time employment. So, while I have continued to write and keep myself immersed to a certain degree in the world of publishing, I have had to put my fiction on the shelf, so to speak. At least for a time. Fiction is my passion, and perhaps my calling, so I truly believe I will get back to it one day. But it is what it is. Right now, I honestly don't have the time or energy to devote to it. My creativity has been pressed to a distant corner of my brain, being crushed by the stresses of everyday life. I withdrew the contract for the third Madi book from Oak Tara, and I also released my agent, as I didn't - and wouldn't any time soon - have anything for him to pitch for me.

I am not looking for sympathy. But I do know many of you can relate. Maybe not about the divorce, specifically, but about the curve-balls life can throw at you. We all have "stuff." Difficult stuff. Stuff that knocks the wind out of us. Stuff that send us rocking in the corner or gorging on gallons of ice cream. Stuff that makes us question our faith. Stuff that requires putting our dreams on hold for a season.

That is where I am. I have made many mistakes in the past year. Made too many bad choices to count. I will continue to screw up, but I am learning, adapting, and hopefully growing.

If there's one thing (besides the grace of God) that I'm most thankful for, it's my friends. I have a wonderful, supportive group of friends who listen to me ramble and cry, provide fun nights out, make me laugh, encourage me, and give me a kick in the butt when I need it. Which, FYI, is more often than I'd like.

Anyway, I just wanted to give this update and say thanks for not "unfollowing" me during this crazy past year. Not sure if or when I'll get back to blogging regularly, but I've missed it, so hopefully it will happen.

And for all of my friends going through "stuff" right now, I leave you with this:




Monday, April 1, 2013

In Honor of National Humor Month...

I'm back! And I do plan on doing a little "let's get real" blogging very soon about why I took some time off, but right now I'm in Orlando with the fam for a much needed vacation (it's been 9 years since we've taken a real family vacation!) So once we return, I hope to find more regular time to blog, and will come clean about a few things. 

But for now...I'm posting in honor of National Humor Month. Recently, I had to come up with a Top 10 Funny Fiction Finds list for a client, so I posted to the ACFW loop, asking for recommendations.  Although I'm unable to post my final Top 10 list, I've compiled, for your reading pleasure, an extensive list of all the funny fiction suggestions I received.

If you're looking for a lighthearted read that will tickle your funny bone, check out these great options:





Squeaky Clean Mystery series by Christy Barritt


Emma Rae Creation series by Sandra D. Bricker

The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren

 
Harriet BeamerTakes the Bus by Joyce Magnin

Anythingby Gail Sattler

Doug and Carlie by Lisa Smartt

The Ruby Taylor Mysteryseries by Sharon Dunn

Weddings by Bella series by Janice Thompson (anything by Janice, really)

Playing by Heart by Deborah Raney

The Guy I’m Not Datingby Trish Perry

The Sushi Series and Protection for Hire series by Camy Tang

Norah’s Ark and The Whitney Chronicles by Judy Baer

Anythingby Kristin Billerbeck

Anythingby Ray Blackston

Tribulation House by Chris Well

SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken

 
And I have to add my own…Mind over Madi and Madily in Love by me :-)

Have you read any of the above titles? Have any others to add to the list?



Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Blog Hop: The Next Best Thing



Over the past several weeks, many authors have been participating in a Blog Hop, titled The Next Big Thing. Basically, we answer 10 questions about our up-and-coming book. Mine happens to be book #3 in The Madi Series, which will actually be published as a 20,000-or-so-word novella, rather than a full length novel like the first two. Thanks for allowing me to share. And if you're looking for great reading material, be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more authors participating on this blog hop. 


What is the working title of your book? SYLVIE AND GOLD

Where did the idea come from for the book?  The idea came while writing Madi’s story. I love the character of Sylvie (Madi’s best friend) and while I adore writing from Madi’s POV, I realized I’d love the chance to write from Sylvie’s perspective, too. And there is a specific storyline I knew I could pursue (set up in the first two books), so it was perfect. Although, I have to add that Sylvie and Gold will be a novella – not a full-length novel – to wrap up the series.

What genre does your book fall under?  My Madi Series is women’s fiction with elements of humor. It’s told in the first person and includes lots of sarcasm, fun, and real-life stuff women will relate to. Addiction to chocolate, for one. Although Sylvie is a health-nut in the first two books, even she finds herself battling the chocolate war in this book.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Oh, boy. I'm off to do some googling... OK, I'm back. That was fun! I've decided that Tina Fey could easily pull off the part of Madi. Patrick Dempsey as her husband, Rich. As for Sylvie, I'd cast Eva Longoria, and although not a comedy actor, I picture Zach looking a bit like Ian Somerhalder. As for the cantankerous role of Madi's mother, Maxine Sanders, I'd definitely say Doris Roberts would fit the bill.


Madi

Rich
Sylvie
Zach

Maxine Sanders

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Nobody ever told Sylvie Williams that pursuing her happily-ever-after would be this stressful.”

Well, that’s actually a tag-line, not a synopsis. I’ll go ahead and post the entire blurb:
A widow and single mother for eight years, Sylvie Williams has fallen in love and is getting married again—to Zach Sanders, her best friend’s brother. But planning her dream wedding has turning into a nightmare. Dealing with her son’s sexting issues, maintaining the peace with her meddling and feisty future mother-in-law, and planning her own mom’s sixtieth birthday party—a week before her own wedding—adds up to a little too much to handle. And if that’s not enough, Zach’s ex-wife has come back to town after a seven-year absence. The normally cool and collected Sylvie is stressed to the max. Will she completely lose her cool—or finally find the happily-ever-after she longs for?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Like the first two novels in this series, Sylvie & Gold will be published by Oak Tara Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Still working on this one. It won’t take as long as my first two books, as the word-count will only be a fourth of what each of those were.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’ve been compared to Kristin Billerbeck, Tamara Leigh, and Janet Evanovich. I’m honored to be compared to all three of these wonderfully talented authors!  

Me and my crazy friends!
Who or What inspired you to write this book?  My own life and the lives of my friends. Seriously. Laughing at myself is one of the best ways to pass the time, and I thank God for the friends He’s brought into my life who can do the same. Not to mention give me great fodder for my characters.  

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? My publisher has dubbed this series as “Delightful. Witty. Entertaining. Real. Poignant. Light-hearted Women’s Fiction at its best.” While I certainly hope my stories are delightful, witty, entertaining, and poignant, the word in that description which I feel is most fitting of this series is, “real.” Women can relate to Madi and Sylvie because they battle the same things we all do. No, not just chocolate, although that’s one of them! Madi and Sylvie have insecurities that affect their relationships – as we all do.

If there’s one thing I know is that we all have “stuff.” Maybe not exactly the same stuff as everyone else, but “stuff,” nonetheless. What I hope to convey is that God’s grace is enough to cover our insecurities, our faults, and weaknesses, even when we mess up and our lives feel insanely out-of-control.

Thanks for allowing me to share about my book. I encourage you to check out the following authors next week as they share information about their up-and-coming books:

JAN CLINE

DEBORAH HARPER


Check out these authors who have already participated in this blog hop to get some more great reading material! 

PAMELA S. MEYERS

MIRALEE FERRELL

KIMBERLY ROSE JOHNSON


Don't forget...This is the last day you can grab your FREE Kindle copy of Heart Bouquets! Click on the book cover to get it now!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Top 5 romantic movies...and a FREEBIE for YOU!


Ah, Valentine's Day...

Love in the air... chocolate on display in every grocery store...romantic movies rented out by the thousands... romance novels lining bookstore shelves.

Well, you'll have to find your own love and buy your own chocolate (sorry!) but I have put together a list of my favorite 5 classic romantic movies, which you can check out below. 

AND I have a wonderful romance book for you. The best part? It's FREE!

Last week, I shared that my short story, Blind Date, was selected as one of 6 short romances to be published in the Heart Bouquets anthology by Write Integrity Press. Today through Friday (February 13-15), HEART BOUQUETS will be offered FREE on Kindle. Is that cool, or what? Be sure to snag your copy while it's FREE! 

Did I mention that it's FREE?


Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon page to grab your FREE copy!

 

Sharing FREE stuff is one of my favorite things to do. Especially books! Especially books that contain my writing! And I certainly am in good company. The other authors included in this collection are fantabulous! Don't forget to tell your friends! Tweet it, Facebook it, blog about it. And most importantly, enjoy it!


As promised above, just for fun, here is my list of 5 favorite romance flicks. Let me know if you agree, and feel free to add your own picks in the comments.


1. GREASE

Released in 1978, this musical film is an all-time classic. I wore out my Grease soundrack album as a teenager (I so wanted to be Sandy and belted out those songs with my hairbrush mike a gazillion times). Since then, I still periodically watch this movie and it never gets old. So pop in that DVD, grab your hair brush, and relive Danny and Sandy’s feel-good love story one more time.




2. DIRTY DANCING

Patrick Swayze. Tank top. Need I say more? Swoon….

Of course, there’s a great love story in there somewhere, too. You just have to take your eyes off Paddy long enough to find it.




3. LOVE STORY

Grab the tissues. You’ll need them for this tear-jerking story of how love triumphs over economic-class differences. The award-winning Love Story is sentimental, tragic, and oh-so-good.


4. TITANIC

Keep those tissues handy. Here’s another one that will tug at the tear-ducts. No matter how many times I watch this timeless and moving film, it never loses it’s magic. It’s got it all – suspense, excitement, tragedy, humor, sensuality and, of course, romance. Hint for you ladies: the action in this film will appeal to guys. If he only commits to watching one romantic movie with you, this one is definitely it!




5. AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

There’s something about a military romance that’s, I don’t know, sexy and intriquing. An Officer and a Gentleman is one of those films that sticks with you, long after the credits roll. It’s been quoted by movie critics as, “the best movie about love I’ve seen in a long time.” The ending is fantastic – a guaranteed spine chiller (in a good way!) Watch Richard Gere in this break-out role that prompted him to win  the title of, “Sexiest man alive.”


So this gives you a start at the video store. Don’t see your favorite Oldy-but-Goody on my Top 5 List? Post yours in the comments. I’d love to hear them!


Hey...check out these fun Valentine's posts by my fellow HEART BOUQUETS authors, to be posted over the next couple of days:





5 MORE ROMANTIC MOVIES

BONUS: from my Princess Mentality Blog:
 10 FAVORITE LOVE SONGS FROM PRINCESS MOVIE



Don't forget to snatch your FREE copy of HEART BOUQUETS!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Monday, February 11, 2013

This Little Writer Went to Market...and you can, too!


A couple of years ago, I taught a workshop at the FaithWriters conference, which I titled, THIS LITTLE WRITER WENT TO MARKET. I figured since THIS little writer (that would be me) went to market, maybe what I've learned along the way could help other little writers who want to go to market, too.

In the many years I've been a freelance writer, I've gotten lots of questions from people wanting to dip their toes into the world of freelancing. Most specifically, people are interested in where and how to submit their work to paying markets. They would love to make money with their writing, but have no idea how to go about it.

Ever since that FaithWriters conference, I've wanted to create an ebook with the information I taught in the workshop. It took me over two years, but I finally did it! And now that ebook is available for you. It's a brief guide (15-23 pages, depending on the format you select), but it includes sections on writing for greeting cards, magazines, and anthologies. There is also a section on writing contests and online opportunities. You'll find lots of links and resources to check out (and click on), and also samples of cover letters, and a brief explanation of "rights."


Here is the official description:


This short and practical guide is written specifically for Christian writers who are ready to make money with their writing and step into the world of freelancing. If you're wondering how to get started and where to submit your work, this guide will help. Also a section on writing contests. Includes sample cover letters, as well as many links and resources to Christian markets and helpful freelancing sites. Although geared towards Christian writers, this guide contains practical tips that can be applied to the general market, as well.

If you're interested, I encourage you to upload your copy. THIS LITTLE WRITER WENT TO MARKET is available on the following sites for only $1.99:

FaithWriters.com - The PDF version is available on FaithWriters. Personally, this is my favorite version because of the readability. The FaithWriters version includes an extra sample of how to submit to opportunities posted on the FaithWriters site.

Amazon.com - Kindle version

Smashwords - Various formats


Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentine winner and a sneak peek...

Thanks to everyone who entered my Valentine's Day giveaway. I used an electronic random name selector today.

And the winner is...

VONNIE!

(who also happens to be my mom! First time her name's been selected in one of my giveaways, so I'm thrilled for her!)



Hope you all have a great weekend!

P.S...
 Exciting news! Remember the romance contest by Write Integrity Press that I posted about a while back? Well, I learned this week that my entry, Blind Date, was chosen to be included in the Heart Bouquets anthology! Watch for a post on the 13th with a link to the book. It will be offered FREE for the first 3 days, so you'll want to snatch it up quickly! But even if you miss the freebie, it will be parked at .99 cents after that. But hey...free is FREE, right? Here's a sneak peek at the cover
(just looking at it makes me smile).