Thursday, December 29, 2011

Favorite Books For 2011

I enjoyed a lot of books this year, so it was really hard to narrow them down to my top ten.  I decided to go with the ones that I talked about the most and stayed in my head the longest.  To me that’s what make a good book, you’re thinking about the characters later.   Most of these aren’t Christian fiction just in case you’re wondering.  I read all over. They are also are not in any type of order.

Something Old, Something New by Beverly Jenkins

Wading Home by Rosalyn Story

Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins

Zen Cooper Woman – Child Ghetto Genius by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Delilah by Shelia Goss

A Good Excuse To Be Bad by Miranda Parker

Heart Revealed, A: A Novel (Winds of Change) by Julie Lessman

The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part 1: The Witnesses: A Novel by Sharon Ewell Foster

Never Dead by Jumata Emill Jones

Friday, December 23, 2011

Revisiting Goals For 2011

At this time of the year I try to revisit my goals for the year. I had high hopes for this year. I had a book I was working on and two books I wanted to complete. I thought I would be attending the ACFW writer conference for the first time, and presenting at conference.

It’s good to have goals because you have some sort of road map to move you forward.

Life was wild this year, but I did a lot more writing than I expected. I did two challenges this year. One was the Bible in 90 days and A Novel in 30 days. Both pushed me to my highest limits. I finished one and didn't finish the other.

I'm glad I did both challenges. I always wanted to read the whole bible but I would get half way through and stop. This challenge let me read small chunks of the bible until I finished it. I will admit it was a hard challenge because it made me realize that I needed to make time for my bible reading, something I had a hard time doing. I'm still working on it, but I'm getting better at it.

The Novel in 30 days was an amazing challenge because I honestly didn't think I could write 50,000 words in 30 days. I'd never committed myself to writing that much or on a daily basis. I usually write when the muse hits. I have that luxury because I don't have a deadline hanging over my head.

I finished the challenge with 35,000 words to add to my WIP which was fantastic because I was on my way to completing one of my goals for the year.

Before I started this post I went in search of my goals post and realized I didn’t write one for this year. I did write my goals in my journal I keep.

2011 GOALS

Complete Purple Kids
Final edit Trust/Wait
Blog (2 times a Week)
Column (2 times a month)
Attend the ACFW Conference
Attend the Write The Plan Conference

I believe I completed Purple Kids when I finished the Novel in 30 days challenge. I’m still working on the edits for Wait and Trust but I believe they will be done by the end of the year.

I didn’t write in my blog the way I wanted but I’m getting better at it. I learned that I need to pick a day and write my posts instead of just writing when I feel like it. I found Sunday evening works for me, so I’ll use that day in the future.

I completed my column goal which helped me create what I hope will turn into an eBook, How to create an online marketing plan.

I didn’t attend either conferences, one due to my budget and the other one was cancelled. However I did attend two amazing conferences. The Fall Into Literacy conference held here in St. Louis in September. I learned so much and look forward to next year’s conference. I might even present a workshop. Need to come up with an idea.

I also attended the Show Me The Blog –Social Media and Blogging conference in October. It also was held in St. Louis. I learned a lot about blogging and I will be attending this conference again next year. I definitely will be getting my ideas together for this to be one of its presenters.

I do believe this year my writing started on a new path. Now that I’m able to see the vision for my writing, I’m no longer stumbling on my path. I have a course I’ve set for myself and I look forward to seeing what’s down this new path.

Did you complete your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lessons Learned This Year – 2011

You Don’t Have To Be Alone

I started the critique group last year and we continued this year.  I looked forward to our monthly meetings.  Sharing our writing, writing successes and failures helped me a lot.  I also found a community online when I attended an online writing course.  We posted daily our writing goals and encouraged one another.

I also have a new writing mentor, Dr. Linda Beed, who has been a blessing to me spiritually and mentally on this writing journey.  Her weekly encouragements have helped me to complete my editing.

Writing On Schedule

The Novel in 30 days taught me about writing on a schedule and knowing how much I can write if I have to.  When I set a scheduled time, I write and don’t let anything interrupt me.  I found that I can write for an hour and write about 1500 words.  That’s not bad for an hour.

Know Your Budget

I was excited to know the ACFW conference was coming to St. Louis and I really wanted to attend.  However when the date started to get closer and I had to make a decision.  I had to sit down and look at my budget and think about if attending the conference was a good idea.  I hated to admit it, but at the time it wasn’t.  My budget had taken a major hit with my mother’s death and other family emergencies, I had to let that goal go.

I learned that when I’m planning my schedule for next year to look at the costs of each event. What will I get out each event and to also look locally.  I was able to attend two conferences this year and the prices were very reasonable. I was able to do a lot of networking, which was worth the admission.

I also attended an online writing course on plotting and character building.  I learned so much in that course, it helped me be prepared to accept the challenge of the Novel in a Month.  This was a free course and I hope next year to find a few more courses to attend.

You’re Never Prepared For Death

I started the year out with a mother and I’m finding it very hard to know I will end this year without my mother.  I don’t care how sick someone is, you’re never ready for them to die.  It is probably the hardest thing you have to handle in your life time.  I can honestly say after my mother died, I think I went into a cocoon.  I was living on the outside but inside I was growing in ways I never knew I could.  Her death taught me not to take life for granted and to stop talking about what you want to do and do it.  My mother use to tell me that all the time, but I wasn’t willing to come out of my comfort zone.  My biggest regret is that she’ll never see my published books.  I know it will happen mainly because of her loyal support.  She saw my books before I did.  So in her honor I will make sure I get to see them too.

I also lost a writer friend this year, Leslie Esdaile or L.A. Banks.  I was still grieving over my mother when I learned of her death.  It hit me hard too.  She was an amazing writer who supported SORMAG since day one.  She is the reason we were mentioned in Essence Magazine.  It hurts my heart to know she will no longer grace the earth.  However her legacy to me is to follow your dream and write your butt off.  Leslie wrote in different genres and she made it work.  She inspired me to branch off into something new.  I’m so glad I did.  I am truly blessed to have known Leslie.

These are a few of my lessons I’ve learned over the year.  If you’ve been reading my blog you’ve seen a few more.  If this is your first visit, take a moment to read some older posts. I shared a few other lessons.

What lessons have you learned this year?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seeing the Vision

I wrote my first book at the age of 16.  I wanted to be the Black Jackie Collins.  I didn’t have a clue.  I dreamed of being a best selling author, but asking me how many people read my book?  My mother and her bestfriend, who took my hand written story and typed it up.  She couldn’t believe a 16 year old could write a hot romance.  What did I know about love.
I worked on that book for years.  Then I joined the Navy and created another story that I worked on for years.  I began to learn the craft and I submitted my story but at the time they weren’t taking African-American stories, so I continued to work on it.
As I look back over the years of my writing, I realized that I never had the real vision of a published book.  It was cool to say I was writing, but I wasn’t submitting, so there was no hope of seeing it published.

I think I’ve talked about fear a lot here and how I’ve let it take over me.  In October I attended a blogging conference and I will say it opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I had a discussion with someone and we discussed seeing the vision.
For the first time I could see my vision with my writing.  I know where I want to go with my writing and I know what genres I want to write.  I can see the books with my name on them and I can see the readers taking them off the shelves to purchase.
I like knowing where I’m going.  Believe me being out there not having a vision is hard path to go.  I don’t recommend it for anyone.  Take time in 2012 to see what your vision is for your writing.
Do you have a vision for your writing?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

How To Have A Successful NANOWRIMO


Do you plan on participating in the NANOWRIMO for 2012? I’d like to offer a few tips to help you have a successful NANOWRIMO.


SET REALISTIC DAILY WORD COUNT - If you write 1500 words a day don’t set a 3000 word goal and stress yourself out trying to reach it. All you’ll end up doing is shutting down and not completing your goal.

PLOT OUT YOUR BOOK – I recommend you do this before you start the NANOWRIMO, maybe a month before. It’s nice to know where your story is going and you won't get stuck trying to figure out your plot as you write.

LISTEN TO YOUR CHARACTERS – I plotted out the story, but my characters decided to go a different way. Instead of trying to stay true to the plot, I let the words flow and was surprised by how the story developed. Sometimes the characters know best.

LIFE HAPPENS – Life still goes on as you write, so be prepared for emergencies or happy events. If you have the time, write extra words, because there will be some days you might not feel like writing or something happens that prevents you from writing. You’ll have those extra words to help move you forward and you won’t be so behind on your writing goal.

HAVE FUN – If you’re not enjoying the writing, you won’t meet your goals. It will feel like you’re forcing yourself to write. This won’t help your story and you’ll probably end up dropping out. Have fun with it; let your imagination go free.

REWARD YOURSELF - One of the things I looked forward to was my reward for my commitment.  I had two rewards for myself. One if I completed the 50,000 and one if I finished the 30 days.  I saved a copy of Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins as my reward for staying the course of the NANO.  The 50,000 reward will be saved for another goal.

These are just a few tips I learned in my journey last month.   Hopefully they will help you on your journey.

Please share what you learned or share a recommendation to help others make their 2012 goals.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I DID NOT WIN - NANOWRIMO 2011


I signed up for the NANOWRIMO in hope of adding more words to my young adult WIP. If I made the 50,000 goal that would be fantastic, but I wanted to commit myself to writing everyday.

No I didn’t win this year, I finished with 35,000 words. I’m excited about those words, because it moved my story from 26,000 to 61,000 words. I think that’s great.

I want to share a few things I learned last month.

LIFE DOESN”T STOP - If you expect this, do not sign up for NANOWRIMO. Life doesn’t stop. Sometimes it throws you a few curve balls. Mine were a few tough ones. My God son was shot and was in intensive care (he is still in intensive care) my grandmother died. Yes some serious stuff.  I honestly had a few days that I didn’t want to look at the computer screen or think about my story. I felt bad about this but I realized you can’t force the muse.

WRITE EVERYDAY – Even if you write a 100 words, you’ve added to your goal. I tried to write something everyday even on the bad days I found myself writing something. I might not have met my daily goal, but I wrote something.

DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP – The goal of NANOWRIMO is to write. If you don’t write everyday this might seem foreign to you, but you have to get out of your comfort zone and write. Don’t worry about if the words are perfect or make sense, write. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make your goal move forward to the next day and write. You might surprise yourself and exceed your goal.

WEEKENDS ARE HARD – I found the weekends were my hardest time to write because I normally wrote on my lunch break and at night. On the weekends, life takes over and it was so hard to get time to myself to write. Sometimes I could get up early and write, but with a teenager in the house, that was rare.

MOTIVATION – I highly recommend joining a group or do NANOWRIMO with a friend you can check in with daily.  This so helped me to stay motivated and not give up. I loved reading how well they were doing in reaching their goals. It helped motivate me to continue writing.

I want to say that I’m glad I did NANOWRIMO this year.  It helped motivate me to finish the story I was working on.  It introduced me to some amazing writers who I look forward to reading their books one day.  It showed me that I can commit to this writing and reach my goals. 

Stop by Thursday and I will share my recommendations for a successful NANOWRIMO.

Did you WIN this year? Share your experiences in NANOWRIMO.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NANOWRIMO - Week 3


This is week 3 and I'm moving right along with my writing. Last week was a little rough, because I didn’t know where to go with the story. One of my writing buddies, suggested I needed to resolve the story. She was right.  I’m at the last arc of the story and it’s time to find out what happens with the characters. Do they meet their goals?  Do they learn from their journey?

I can say that these last couple of days have been rough. I’m not use to writing everyday, but I’m making myself do something even if its just 200 words its better than nothing at all.

One of my goals for 2012 is to write 100 words a day.

How is your NANO going?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Natural Hair Journey - First Hair Meet Up

I experienced my first hair meet up.  It was hosted at a shop called Twist in the Cherokee shopping area.

There were four ladies who showed up to learn about natural hair.  I host, Kelly was warm and welcoming.  She asked for a volunteer to show us how to do flat twists.  One of the ladies voluteered and she started the process by washing her hair.  She used a conditioner and oil to wash her hair with.

She blow dried her hair and began the flat twists.  While doing all this she explained different techniques and answered our questions about natural hair.

It was a fun time hanging with other women who shared their experiences of going natural.  We all had different reasons and difference grades of hair.  One young lady had locs and shared her experiences with them.

I'm looking forward to our next meet up.

Have you been to a natural hair meet up? 

P.S. Have you ever heard of a site called Meet Up?  This is a great place to learn about local groups in your area.  This is where I found my natural meet up.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Natural Hair Journey - Straight Hair

I haven't talked about my hair journey lately, so I thought I'd catch you up on what's been going on.

The gray has been driving me crazy and I was coloring my hair too much, that I ended up damage it.  I decided to let my hair heal before I try the color again.

I went to my daughter's stylist to let her do the color instead of myself.  She put the color in and trimmed my ends which were in dire need.  She suggested I blow dry it out and let her trim the ends.  I wanted to see what my hair looked like straight, so I let her blow dry it and press it out.

I loved the look, reminded me of my perm days.  I didn't think about taking pictures or I would have some to share.  I know for next time.

I've decided that for the winter I would wear my hair straight for two weeks and curly for two weeks.

I found out that I've grown lazy when it comes to my hair.  When your hair is straight you have to curl it each morning.  I wasn't use to that type of work.  I loved how pretty it looked, but hated getting up early to do it.

This natural hair is a learning process. 

What have you tried new with your hair?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

I served in the Navy (1985-1991) Active Duty and (1991-1997) Reserves.  These were some of the best years of my life.  At the time I thought of it as a job.  I didn't realize how serious it was until right after bootcamp and we had a few issues overseas.  Most of the men who'd just completed bootcamp were sent to fight.  I was in the military.

I'm thankful for those years I served.  I learned about good work ethics, made some life long friends and I saw some of our country.

I want to say thank you to all our veterans. Thank you for serving your country.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Thirty Days Of Writing

Call me crazy but I signed up to write a book in a month. 

Don’t I have enough on my plate?  Yes but I want to end 2011 with two completed books.  One revised and one ready to be revised for 2012.

My goal is to write 1600 words a day.  I will write during my lunch time and at home after work.

Here are few tips for NANOWRIMO

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/30-nanowrimo-writing-tips_b41295

Are you participating in the NaNoWriMo?

Monday, October 31, 2011

How To Plot Your Novel And Bring Your Characters To Life


Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a writing workshop and blogging conference. Thank God one was online or I would have missed a wealth of information.

For the next few days I will be sharing what I learned from both.

I want to start off by saying if you have local events, attend them. This is an excellent way to network. If you can’t attend a local or travel to an event, check online to see what is being offered. You might be missing out on some wonderful information.

Both events kicked off on Thursday, but I’ll start with the writing workshop because it began in the morning.

I will be honest and say I didn’t have a clue what to expect when I signed up for this workshop. How To Plot Your Novel And Bring Your Characters To Life. I knew the hostess (Miranda Parker and Shelia Goss) so I knew I was in for some good stuff. I didn’t realized it would be a hands on workshop. I’m glad I didn’t because I would be attending the blogging conference and I would have talked myself out of attending, because I knew it would be too much. I say again don’t miss out on opportunities because you think it will be too much.

This was a private workshop so we had to register and didn’t have to worry about sharing our info. Both instructors posted their lecture and assigned homework. Homework WHAT? This is what I meant about not being prepared. Instead of backing out, I jumped right in. I informed my critquie partner of my booked weekend, but promised to do my part. So after each day at the conference, I came home to homework.

I decided to work on Miranda’s homework first because that would be my hardest. She was teaching on Plotting, my weakness. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this process.

For the first time I understood what plotting meant. I’m so thankful for Miranda sharing her knowledge with us. She took us step by step, and then broke us down until we got it right.

I learned that my story was finished, I just needed to put it in order. Miranda showed me what I needed to do. I even learned that this book would be a series of at least three book. How exciting is that.

This book is my first effort in writing a young adult book, so I really needed to know I had more than one book inside me.

Sheila’s workshop was about characters. She gave us a character sheet and we had to learn about our character. I liked her character sheet. I’ve worked with different ones, but I like that she had hers on a spread sheet and you can add others as you go.

She worked on dialogue, another weakness and offered a lot of feedback on how to improve it.

I will say that I’m slowly getting over my FEAR. I posted my plotting assignment and looked forward to the feedback. I wanted to know how to improve my story more than I worried about them not liking it. I welcomed their opinions and was pleasantly surprised that they all wanted to hear more about the story.

After the workshop Miranda and Shelia created a group so we all could continue to work together on our stories. I think this group will be very helpful each other. One of the first things we all agreed on was signing up for the NABO. To write 50,000 in a month. I know it’s a big challenge for us all, but don’t you love a challenge. I want to see if I can complete this book before the end of the year.

I highly recommend taking this workshop if they offer again.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bed Sharing



I know the title made you think some things, but remember I’m a good Christian lady.  LOL

I honestly did not attend to share my bed with my children when I decided to have kids.  It sort of just happened.  I was nursing and it was a lot easier in the middle of the night to have the baby with me in bed than get my lazy butt up and get them out of their crib.

All three of my children have shared our bed.  For the most part it’s a wonderful way to bond with your children.  Who doesn’t like to snuggle with their babies?  However getting them out of your bed is the pain.

With the oldest, we painted her room blue, she was a Blue’s Clues kid and she and her brother loved the bunk beds.  They went nicely.  Every now and then, they’d creep back, but for the most part they stayed in their bed.

Now this final kid, he refuses to go and it driving me and the hubby mad.  He is a clinger which means he’s wrapped around you while he sleeps.  Did I mention that the parents aren’t sleeping because of this little one?

We tried to bribe him with his own room, with matching comforters. NOT

He even has his own t.v.  NOT

He's fallen asleep in his room and in the morning he's in our bed.

He won’t leave, claims the room is his room, we need to move.

Can I tell you I’m so tempted to take his room and turn it into mine?  Yes I would miss the hubby but he can come for visits.  J

How many out there share their beds with a little one?  Tell the truth.  I’m finding more and more families are, they just don’t want to admit it.

I will admit, I share my bed, do you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Going to Show Me The Blog Social Media and Blogging Conference

I will be attending this conference today.  I’m so ready to meet some local bloggers and network with them.  I’m hoping to learn more about taking my blogs to the next level.

I’ll let you know more about the conference.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Plotting Workshop

Today I’m attending a plotting workshop online hosted by Miranda Parker and Shelia Goss.

It’s a hands-on workshop and I’m looking forward to learning more on plotting.

I will keep you posted on what happens.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Commitment To Write

Randy Ingermanson says to be classified as a Junior writer you need to be writing 10 hours or more a week. At the most I write five hours a week.  I’m working on stepping that up.

I’m currently working with a freelance editor and my goal is to have the editing of my manuscript completed by December 16th, which means I need to work on my writing time in order to do that.

I have 368 pages to edit.  I decided to break the editing up by a daily count.

I have 50 days to edit which will break the pages down to 8 pages a day.   I write five days a week which will be 40 pages a week.

That’s not too bad.  I started on Monday and I edited 38 pages.  Not bad.

It takes a commitment to write.  I’ve made a commitment to my editor and posting this blog today, I’m making a commitment to myself.

I’ll keep you posted on how the goal is going.

What are your writing goals for the rest of the year?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

In Memory Of Steve Jobs

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
Steve Jobs – All Things D Conference in 2010

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dealing With Grief - Part 3

I look forward to the last stages because I know I will have come through my storms.  I will admit that I haven’t been going to church, not because I’m angry at God but because what church reminds me.

My relationship with God has grown as I walk through these stages.  Being able to talk with him has truly help tremendously.  He rocked me as I cried in the car or at my desk.  He listened when I asked why, Lord, why?  He let me know that I’m not alone in this craziness.

So I highly recommend a relationship with God, turn to him when you have no other way to turn.  He will pick you up and carry you along the way.  I’m so grateful for him holding me because there were many day, my legs refused to carry me.

I will tell you that there is no pain like losing a love one and there is no timeframe when you get over it.  I don’t think you ever get over it.  You just learn to live with it.  I’m on the journey of living with it. 

My mother’s mother died when she was 9.  She always wondered how she could be a good mother when she didn’t have one to learn from.  How wrong she was, I believe her mother gave her all the knowledge she needed in those nine year and the stuff she didn’t know she winged it well.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and I hope they were helpful for you.

I’m thankful for the relationship I had with my mother.  She was a good mother but I believe she was an excellent friend.  She taught me the meaning of a good friend and I’m grateful for having her in my life for 44 years. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dealing With Grief - Part 2

MY STAGES:

I wish I could say you go through the stages in order, but you don’t.  They hit you in different ways.

My first stage was SHOCK & DENIAL.  Yes mama was sick; no I didn’t think she would die.  We had been through this a couple of times, she goes in a coma and she comes out.  This time she wasn’t coming out and they didn’t know why.

I honestly wanted her to wake up so we could stop all this pain and tears.  My little soul couldn’t take another day at the hospital wonder what was going on with my mother.

The last time I saw her, she was being her feisty self trying to pull the mask off of her face.  I thought she’s in there fighting as usual, she’ll come out.  When my sister called to tell me she died, I already knew.  Mama spoke to me in my dreams, saying her brother would be OK. When I woke up, I thought what was that all about?  Then my daughter stepped in my room and said my sister was on the phone.  My heart dropped because I knew it was the call I’d been dreading.

I moved to the second stage PAIN & GUILT and I think I’m still in there because it still hurts to think about her or Mae.  I’ve never experienced this type of pain.  I wanted it to go away, but its still lingering in my heart.  My younger sister said it perfect, "I feel like some one punched a hole in my heart." 

I’m telling you every time I got in the car, I cried.  I couldn’t figure out why I cried in the car.  Was it because I was alone and I could cried with no one looking at me?  No it was because I usually talked to my mother during my drives home.  We’d catch up on the day and share family news.  Who would I do that with now?  My pain was hard.

I'm slolwy moving to DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS stage.  I think this will be the hardest for me, because I’ve never experienced depression and at first I didn’t know how to handle it, which is why I started googling.  I didn’t like feeling like this and wanted to know how to snap out of it.

Wrong words for someone who is grieving, they can’t snap out of it.  They have to flow through the stages at their own pace.  However they have to recognize or have a love one recognize, when they have slipped too deep and maybe need help from someone.

Know that it is OK to seek therapy because sometimes you need to let it all out.  I decided to let it all out by writing about it.  My hope is that it helps me and it helps you or someone you love who is experiencing this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dealing With Grief

I decided to write a series on dealing with grief.  Hopefully it will help others dealing with grief or help someone understand what we’re going through.

My mother died June 16th and my life turn upside down.  Yes mother had been sick, but I honestly didn’t think she would die for a very long time.  Yes I was in denial a stage of grief I was to find out in my research.  Research you ask, why would I research grief, because when I don’t understand something or need help in something, I google it. 

WOW I was surprised by how much you can find out about grief.

My first lesson was actually something I learned many years ago, but since I hadn’t experience grief, I put it in my might need later part of my brain. I'd learned about the stages of death, which are similar to the stages of grief. It popped back up when I realized I was grieving.  No I didn’t realize I was grieving.  Nobody talks about grieving so you don’t know what to expect. 

To my surprise in my research I found I’d been grieving for the past three years.  Three years you’re wondering, didn’t you say your mother died in June?  Yes, but three years ago a dear person in my life also died, Willie Mae Johnson.  Mae as we called her died in September of 2008.  She was my mother’s best friend since they were 14, so she was my God Aunt.  I loved that lady and was devastated when she died.  I didn’t realize how devastated, until I started doing my research.

For the past three years I’ve been in a funk, just living.   I think I wrote about it here a few times.  I didn’t understand it, thought I was just tired.  NOPE, that’s grief.  I was missing Mae.  I kind of went into a LaShaunda shell; I didn’t want to go to church any more, I didn’t want to do things that reminded me of my pain. 

You see Mae sat behind me in church and I always looked back to see her every Sunday morning.  I didn’t realize this until a few weeks ago when I tried to figure out why I didn’t like going to church anymore.  My mother and I went to church together.  I picked her up from my sister's, every Sunday and we usually spent a few hours together after church.  Sunday was the day with my mother.  Now that she was gone, Sunday became my sad day.  I couldn’t face church because I knew my mother and Mae weren’t there and I didn’t want to be sad, so I just avoided it.

As I write these words I see I was going through the stages of grief, so before I move forward.  I will share with you the stages of grief, just in case you don’t know them.

7 Stages of Grief

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

7 stages of grief...

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.


Reading over those words, I see I’m still going through a few of the stages.  I’m telling you this grief is something else. 

Please feel free to share your experiences with grief, sometimes just writing about it helps get the feelings out. If you’re experiencing grief right now, here’s a big hug to you.  I know it’s hard, but we will get through it.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

AUGUST GOALS


I decided to get back to my writing this month.  I’ve been kind in a fog lately, and I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m working on two manuscripts.  One is complete and is in the editing stage.  One I have 24,000 words and would like to add more words.

Editing Goal – 4 chapters

Writing Goal – 150 pages

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

P.S. Feel free to send me a reminder a two, this writer, needs a little encouragement every now and then.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My First Interview




I had the pleasure of having my first live interview with H.D. Campbell.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WORKING THROUGH THE PAIN

The month of June was a rollercoaster ride.  I started it with my mother being admitted into the hospital and hosting an online book fair.  I did not know it would be one of the hardest months of my life.

My mother was having problems breathing and the doctors put her on a ventilator.  Instead of coming out of the sedation they put her under, she went deeper under.  Since we had been here before, my sisters and I waited patiently for our mother to come back to her normal self.

While this was going on, life continued.  I was government worker, turned mother and wife and on the weekends I was hosting the online book fair.  Now why didn’t I cancel you wonder?  My sanity.  I needed to appear normal or I would have fallen apart.

It was hard seeing my mother all hooked up to these many tubes and her eyes closed in the ICU room.  I felt like a helpless child.  All I could do was call out to the Lord, which I did many times during this time.

Working kept me going and motivated to know each day was a new one and something good could happen.  I knew God had this, so I had to continue with my life and let him stay in control.  If I took control I would fall apart and I couldn’t do that.

My mother died on June 16th.  I know it might sound strange, but I believe she came to me in my dreams and told me we would be ok. 

The really hard part started then, but we made it through.  I know for sure my relationship with God blossomed during this time.  He was my father, my friend, my shoulder to lend on and my rock when I couldn’t go any farther.  He helped me through the pain.

How do you get through the pain?



Monday, June 20, 2011

CFBA: Pompeii


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pompeii
B&H Books (June 1, 2011)
by
T.L. Higley




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



A fiction aficionado since grade school, T.L. Higley, author of Pompeii: City on Fire (B&H Publishing House, June 2011) started her first novel at the age of eight.



Now the author of nine historical fiction novels, including the popular Seven Wonders series, Higley isn’t just transporting readers: She’s transporting herself, too.



“My Iifelong interest in history and mythology has taken me to Italy, Greece, Egypt, Rome, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, where I’ve gotten to study those ancient cultures in rich detail,” says Higley. “It’s my desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past, and I figure what better way to do that than to visit the cultures themselves?”



In addition to her accomplished novelist career, Higley is a business entrepreneur and a mother. In fact, for Pompeii, she brought her daughter along with her to Italy for the research trip.



“We gave it to her as a graduation present, not only because Italy is terrific, but because I believe in exposing children to global cultures,” says Higley, who became a student herself again this year. She’s now a graduate student at American Public University, earning her master’s degree in Ancient and Classical Studies.



When Higley isn’t traveling on research trips, writing her novels, or studying for class, she operates four online retail companies, including KoolStuff4Kids.com – a family-run business that began as a way for her oldest daughter to make some extra money for camp. Today, it is a go-to site for parents, children and teachers all over the country, looking for beads and other kid-friendly craft supplies.



Higley lives with her husband and her three other children (aforementioned daughter now in college) just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.



For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.



But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.



Watch the book trailer:



If you would like to read the Prologue of Pompeii, go HERE.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Summer Reading List

If I haven’t told you, I’m loving my Kindle, best thing since the laptop. I have tons of books on it, and I’m forever adding cash to my amazon account so I can be ready when something new comes out. I’m looking forward to reading this summer. Below is my partial reading list. I'm sure I’ll be adding more, when I do I’ll let you know.


Something Old, Something New: A Blessings Novel
By Beverly Jenkins

The citizens of Henry Adams are starting to take bets—will Lily Fontaine and Trent July finally tie the knot?

All they want is a nice, simple wedding, but their well-meaning neighbors are turning the no-fuss affair into the event of the decade. Bernadine, the town's fairy godmother, wants Lily to have a storybook wedding fit for a princess, and Lily's nine-year-old foster son is campaigning to be town preacher so he can officiate at the ceremony. Trouble multiplies when Trent is called on to help a new family move to town, not to mention Lily and Trent's task of blending their families together.

With the bustle of the tight-knit, and often tightly wound, friends and family pushing them to the breaking point, the couple begins to wish they'd eloped. But, as they'll soon be reminded, happiness in Henry Adams is meant to be shared.

The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil
by Victoria Christopher Murray

What would you do for five million dollars? Adam and Evia Langston have lived in their own little garden of Eden since the two married at the age of seventeen. Working their way up from the humblest of beginnings, the Langstons have thrived beyond anything they could have ever imagined. Now they live in the finest home, drive the best cars, and indulge in all the trimmings that signify their massive success.
But then the recession hits and rips apart the family’s financial stability. Unable to support their three children and other relatives, Adam and Evia find themselves drowning in financial trouble and teetering on the brink of complete disaster. With nowhere to turn, the Langstons have no idea what to do.

Until Shay-Shaunté, Evia’s multimillionaire boss, comes to the Langstons with a five-million-dollar offer that seems so hard to refuse. Will the Langstons make this deal? Or will they recognize that the glitter of five million dollars may be far from gold?


A Good Excuse To Be Bad
by Miranda Parker

Smart, gorgeous, and too tough for her own good, bail recovery agent and single mom Evangeline Crawford moved to the burbs for a quiet life. Fortunately, it's not turning out that way. . .

Angel has to admit she's feeling restless. The only excitement in her new life is her schoolgirl crush on the town's new pastor, Justus-too-Hot-to-be-Holy Morgan. But a fateful encounter and a job gone wrong at Club Night Candy in underground Atlanta is about to change all that. . .Soon, Angel's trying to save her divazilla twin sister from her big mouth and a scandalous murder charge, and probing a church cover-up—with none other than Justus by her side. But Angel has one more pressing concern: will Bella be ready for kindergarten? Only time will tell for this bad girl gone good whose days are once again far from boring—and hopefully far from numbered. . .


The Power of Six (I Am Number Four)
By Pittacus Lore

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.


How to Get Out of Your Own Way
By Tyrese Gibson

HOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY is organized into a series of fundamental questions that helped Tyrese redefine who he was as a human being, and evolve into a new man. Tyrese stresses that life becomes infinitely richer when one takes the time to know him or herself and understand the true meaning of peace and fulfillment. This book is a guide to helping yourself, using his experiences as a learning tool. "It's not about talking down to people, it's about elevating them," Tyrese says.

Some of Tyrese's chapter-based questions include: How much do you love yourself? How much do you want for yourself? Why do men cheat? What is your bottom line? Are you ready for the next level?


Go the F*** to Sleep
by Adam Mansbach , Ricardo Cortes (Illustrator)

Go the F*** to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach's verses perfectly capture the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations, and laugh at their absurdity.

With illustrations by Ricardo Cortes, Go the F*** to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny—a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.

Delilah
By Shelia M. Goss

Behind every successful man is a good woman. The downfall of a good man is a woman up to no good.

Thirty-year-old Samson Judges is a prominent pastor of the Peaceful Rest Missionary Baptist Church. His church owns land that real estate mogul William Trusts wants. When Samson refuses to sell, William hires Delilah Baker to find out Samson's Achilles heel.

Money isn't Delilah's only motivation for taking the assignment. After watching Samson every Sunday morning on a local television station, Delilah has fallen in love with him. In her mind, there is only one person standing in her way of getting Samson--his fiancée, Julia Rivers.

Samson is far from innocent. He feels his longstanding relationship with God puts him above reproach. His weakness for one woman, Delilah, threatens to ruin his relationship with Julia, his parents, and his church. When he realizes the length Delilah will go through to get her man, Samson vows to protect his ministry by any means necessary.


Pompeii: City of Fire: A Novel
By T. L. Higley

Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.

But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.

A Writer's Guide to Publishing & Marketing
by Barbara Joe Williams

This is an easy to follow guide that will lead you from the first page of your draft to the last page of your published manuscript. In addition, you will learn successful strategies for increasing your book sales.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day - Thank You

When I joined the Navy at eighteen, I was so naïve I believed I would see the world on a cruise ship. A few months later I found out what I really was in the Navy for when we started having issues overseas. I was in seaman training and most of the men were called up to serve overseas. It hit us all that this was serious business.

Today when you join the military you know that there is a chance that you will have to fight for your country. I have the most respect for our military force today.

For those who serve - You didn’t have to sign up to join the military, but you did. You risk your life each and everyday so we can be comfortable in our homes.

THANK YOU

I pray the Lord continues to keep you safe and bring you home safely.

Have a safe Memorial Day

P.S. To my family members who serve -Khalilah Limbrick and Devora Bevly-Jones. You ladies rock - Love ya.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CFBA: Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Over the Edge
B&H Books (May 1, 2011)
by
Brandilyn Collins


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Brandilyn Collins is an award-winning and best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e..."® Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). She is now working on her 20th book.

In addition, Brandilyn’s other latest release is Final Touch, third in The Rayne Tour series—young adult suspense co-written with her daughter, Amberly. The Rayne Tour series features Shaley O’Connor, daughter of a rock star, who just may have it all—until murder crashes her world.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Torn from the front lines of medical debate and the author's own experience with Lyme Disease, Over the Edge is riveting fiction, full of twists and turns—and powerful truths about today's medical field.

Janessa McNeil’s husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, a researcher and professor at Stanford University's Department of Medicine, specializes in tick-borne diseases—especially Lyme. For years he has insisted that Chronic Lyme Disease doesn't exist. Even as patients across the country are getting sicker, the committee Brock chairs is about to announce its latest findings—which will further seal the door shut for Lyme treatment.

One embittered man sets out to prove Dr. McNeil wrong by giving him a close-up view of the very disease he denies. The man infects Janessa with Lyme, then states his demand: convince her husband to publicly reverse his stand on Lyme—or their young daughter will be next.

But Janessa's marriage is already rocky. She's so sick she can hardly move or think. And her husband denies she has Lyme at all.

Welcome to the Lyme wars, Janessa.

“A taut, heartbreaking thriller. Collins is a fine writer who knows how to both horrify readers and keep them turning pages.”
--Publishers Weekly

“Tense and dramatic. Holds its tension while following the protagonist in a withering battle.” –NY Journal of Books

“A frightening and all-too-real scenario. Very timely and meaningful book.” –RT Reviews

“If you know someone who suffers from Lyme, you need to read this compelling novel.” –Lydia Niederwerfer, founder of Lyme-Aware
If you would like to read the Prologue of Over the Edge, go HERE


Watch the book video:


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CFBA: Undaunted Faith by Andrea Boeshaar

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Undaunted Faith
Realms (May 3, 2011)
by
Andrea Boeshaar




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar has been married for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three adult sons, daughters-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. Andrea's educational background includes the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied in English, and Alverno College where she studied in Professional Communications and Business Management.



Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn't until 1984 that she started submitting her work for publication. Eight years after that, she was convicted about writing for the Christian market. She read books in her genre (Inspirational Romance & Women's Fiction), studied the market, and worked hard to hone her craft.



Finally her first novel was published in 1994. Since then she's written numerous articles and devotionals. Andrea has also published inspiration romance novels, women's fiction, and novellas.



In 2003, Andrea joined the Hartline Literary Agency and worked for Joyce Hart as a literary agent. She saw much success. But then in 2007, Andrea realized she was more of a teacher/encourager than a sales person. She left the agency and became a certified Christian life coach. Now, in addition to her writing, Andrea enjoys encouraging others to use their God-given talents and gifts to their fullest.



Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach and speaks at writers’ conferences and for women’s groups. She has taught workshops at such conferences as Write-To-Publish, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Oregon Christian Writers Conference, Mount Hermon Writers Conference, and many local writers conferences. Another of Andrea’s accomplishments is cofounder of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization. For many years she served on both its Advisory Board and as its CEO.



ABOUT THE BOOK



When Pastor Luke McCabe begins paying extra attention to her, Bethany takes his fine-sounding words with a grain of salt. She's heard sweet talk before. This time she is going to keep her mind on the Lord and on her new teaching job in the Arizona Territory.



But when her reputation is accidentally soiled by the rakish town sheriff, Luke steps in with a marriage proposal to save Bethany's good name. Luke is certain their marriage is God's will...but Bethany is just as certain God must have someone else in mind to be Luke's wife.



Someone sweet and spiritual, who knows the Scriptures better than Bethany does. Someone like Luke's old friend from home.



If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.





Watch the video trailer:



Monday, May 16, 2011

Lessons Learned While doing the Bible in 90 Days

For some reason this post to didn't post, however I wanted to share my experiences with the Bible In 90 days.


It is finished - I completed my reading in 89 days.  I honestly did not think I would make it.  I was about a week behind, but I continued to read.  One night I read for six hours.  I learned that it takes a commitment to read the Bible.  You have to be serious about it and you have to schedule the time.  Pray before you read and read.

Here are few lessons I learned on the way.

  1.  Make time to read -  In order to stay on track for 90 days, you need to schedule time to read.  I decided to use my lunch break as my reading time, but I didn’t think about the weekends.  I thought I’d get up early and read, but it never happen.  Most times my weekend were so busy, I didn’t have time to read, which made me two days behind each week.

  1. Use your free time for catching up - You’ll be surprised where you can catch up on your reading.  Waiting in the doctor’s office, sometimes I’d get 15 minutes of waiting.  Waiting in the drive thru for lunch.  Sitting in the park while the kids swing.  If you need to catch up.  Use your free time to catch up so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

  1. Read Ahead – If you can, read few days ahead, this will help if you fall behind on your reading, you’ll still be on track and won’t have so much to read to catch up.

  1. Participate in the check-ins.  – I liked that they had a checks every week.  It made me more accountable and it was also encouraging to read others posts.  I could see those who were moving along and I could understand those who were having a few challenges. 

  1.  Participate in the chats – If you have the time participate in the weekly chats.  I was able to attend one chat and it was very encouraging.  It was nice to chat with others who were on fire for reading the Bible.

  1. Don’t get discouraged – Reading the Bible in 90 days seems like an easy task when you sign up, but if you fall behind, you will want to throw in the towel.  I encourage you to continue reading.  Read the posts for your check-ins.  Ask for prayers.  Say your own prayer.  Try to continue on.

  1. Mentors – I was blessed with a great Mentor, Christy.  She was very encouraging and she didn’t try to force you to read.  She sent her gentle reminders and she always had something positive to say to us all.  Thank you Christy for being a wonderful mentor.

  1. Mom’s Toolbox -   This is the place that I heard about the Bible in 90 days.  Amy posted information everyday for 90 days.  She was our biggest encourager and I learned a lot from her.  I will continue visiting her blog.

  1.  Retaining Information – I have always tried to read the Bible in a year, but I never past the half way mark.  I wondered about how much I retain from reading so fast this time.  Then I realized my goal was to read the Bible.  Studying the Bible comes next.  So don’t feel bad if there are a few books, you wonder what were you reading?  You have plenty of time later to reread them and get the knowledge you need from them.

  1. What if I don’t make the 90 days?  - The goal is to complete the Bible.  If you go over the days allotted, that’s OK because you read the Bible.


Now that I’ve read the Bible, I’m looking forward to going back to certain books and rereading.  That’s the good thing about the Bible; you learn something new every time you open it.