Tag Archive | self-doubt

Breaking the Rules

I love sharing the work of my talented friends, and today I want to tell you all about the newest release from Emma Leigh Reed, “Breaking the Rules.”

This is contemporary women’s fiction at its finest!

Isabelle’s home-life is troubled, to say the least, and she has definitely hit rock-bottom. But this inspiring story will have you cheering her on as she comes to grips with the truths about her life and allows herself happiness–something she believed she never deserved.

Here’s a little more about the book:

Isabelle LaFayette tries to end her own life. Her failed attempt haunts her, along with her other past regrets and the inability to forgive herself, for what her mother calls a selfish act.

Jack Riley comes into Isabelle’s life and makes her feel alive, but believing she doesn’t deserve to be happy, she pushes him away. She must find the inner strength to confront the true source of her pain, or she’ll never be released from the bondage she’s encased herself in.

Isabelle needs to give herself permission to heal and break the rules that have been imprisoning her. It is the only way for her to find ultimate freedom from the past and piece her heart back together again.

 

 

More Cute Puppies?

Next month will mark the second anniversary of my first published novel, “Marked.” Since that time, I’ve released nine other novels. Yes, I’ve been typing like a manic fool!

I’m forever grateful to my editors, Cindy Brannam and Alicia Dean. They keep me on my toes and make certain my finished product is the best it can be. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my cover artist, Rae Monet, flat designer, Karen Duvall, and my amazing formatter, Jesse Gordon.

Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am today without readers! You all have blessed me with encouragement, kind words, and the ability to keep doing what I love. THANK YOU!

But what does this have to do with cute puppies? No, it wasn’t a teaser just to get you dog lovers reading my post!

Sometime ago, I wrote a blog called, “Who Wouldn’t Like a Cute Puppy?” Actually, the post was written in November of 2013 if you’d like to read it!

After all this time, and some reviews that could easily get me down, I felt it was time to revisit those thoughts.

Creative people have a terrible tendency of focusing on the negative. A singer might look at a room full of smiling faces during a performance as a bad experience. Why? Because the guy in the corner constantly frowned. The singer singles him out and tries as best she can to make him smile, but the more she sings, the deeper his scowl becomes. She takes it as a personal affront and ignores the rest of the crowd. They cheer and clap at the end of the song, but her heart is in her shoes, because she couldn’t make the stranger smile.

She doesn’t consider that perhaps his girlfriend just broke up with him and the song reminds him of her. Or maybe, someone close to him has passed away and nothing anyone could do would make him smile. There is also the possibility that he truly doesn’t like the way she sings. Hmm…

Bottom line. People have different tastes.

Whenever I stroll along in public and see someone carrying a puppy or walking a dog, I think of one of my dear friends. She views dogs, like I see snakes. If someone came toward me with a snake coiled around them, I’d run the opposite direction. I sometimes even squeal when I’m digging in my garden and a larger-than-normal worm flips up in the soil. Puppies and dogs, however, draw me in. I want to pet them, love on them, and take them home! My poor friend becomes physically ill around them, and she can’t understand why they’re allowed out in public places.

We all have different likes and dislikes. As a writer, it’s important that I write what moves me. But I have to be realistic and know that not everyone will be moved by it. Someone will think it’s the worst book they’ve ever read, while another person will deem it the best. And hopefully not just my mom! She’s a little biased.

Criticism is tough to take, but no matter what we do in life, it’s going to be there. It starts when we’re little–children can be awfully cruel to each other–and continues as we grow. What matters is how we deal with it.

I’m writing this to remind myself and hopefully help all of you! I was told more than once not to read my reviews, but it’s hard not to. So when I do, I decipher the validity of what’s been said. If something critical is pointed out consistently, then I know I need to dig deeper and see if it’s something that should be ‘fixed.’ As of yet, I’m glad to say that the negative comments have been few and far between. As for the validity, I believe the comments were valid for that individual. My books weren’t their taste. And that’s okay, because many other people loved them.

Exposing ourselves to the bare bone isn’t always easy. Putting creative work in front of the masses is scary to say the least! But, I get incredible joy sharing my stories with the world. I love bringing characters to life and making them feel real. When my readers discuss them with me as though they’re someone we both know personally, I want to do a happy dance. And I do. Internally. I don’t want them to think I’m nuttier than they already believe me to be!

Thank you for reading my post! If you’re a writer, WRITE ON, and always keep your chin up.

If you’re a reader, thank you from all of us authors! Without you, we’d shrivel.

Cute little puppy, or horrid beast?

Cute little puppy, or horrid beast?

 

Attitude is Everything

How easy is it for you to put a smile on your face? Supposedly it takes less muscles to smile than frown. Would that mean that frowning causes a person to wrinkle faster? Maybe my logic is lacking…

Even so, I’m sure you’ll agree that a person is 100% more attractive with a warm genuine smile turning up the corners of their lips. I’m more likely to engage someone in conversation who appears happy. I’m rarely comfortable talking for an extended period of time with someone who scowls or looks like they had sour milk on their breakfast cereal.

I recently moved to a new city. It’s small and has that southern hospitality I’ve grown to love. But what I love the most is that the people here are welcoming. Everywhere I go I’ve been met with a smile. Maybe it’s because I’ve been flashing one of my own. I think that if I leered at everyone–or hid my head and didn’t make eye contact at all–I’d have a much different impression of my new home.

Attitude is everything.

I hope I don’t butcher this little tidbit I either read somewhere or heard on the radio some time ago.

A man was approached by someone new in town. They asked him if the town was friendly. In turn, he asked them if the place they moved from had friendly people. They answered ‘yes’ so he said, “Our town is just like the one you came from.” They went on their merry way, ready to meet the friendly folks in the new town.

Another man asked him the same question, but when asked about his town said that the people he’d left behind were rude and hateful. The man told him, “The people in our town are just like the ones you left.” Man number two went on his way, grumbling.

It’s inevitable that no matter where we go we’ll encounter hateful people from time-to-time. But when we do, we should distance ourselves from them. Negativity is poison. It’ll bring you down no matter how good your day was prior to meeting them.

Most importantly–Don’t allow yourself to be that negative person. Surround yourself with positive people and good friends who will lift  you up when you happen to run into that grumbler.

A new town, job, vacation, etc. is what you make it. Put a smile on your face and tackle the world! I think you’ll find it’ll smile back.

A smile--our greatest asset!

A smile–our greatest asset!

Thank You, Teachers

I have great admiration for people who dedicate their lives to educating children. It takes a special heart to have that passion that burns deep within, creating the desire to pass on knowledge.

Sometimes I think that teachers don’t realize the impact they make on lives. Or, maybe they do. But whatever the case might be, I want to share a few stories about how my life has been impacted by a number of teachers, but especially one in particular.

First I want to say that sometimes their influence can be negative. But luckily, that’s rare! My example is an experience from grade school. I had a PE teacher tell me that I was uncoordinated. Of course I believed him. Prior to that revelation, I loved to run. (I have very long legs!) After he said what he did, I essentially gave up on athletics. Even in high school when I grew to a height of six feet, I refused to go out for basketball. The basketball coach urged me to try, but I gracefully declined. Instead, I focused my energy on music and drama. And honestly, I was happy. I didn’t feel my life was cheated by not being in athletics. But I often wonder if I would have had a different attitude if that PE teacher had told me that I just needed to try a little harder and I would succeed.

So, enough about the negative.

My young mind begged to be filled with new ideas. I thank God for Mrs. Banks. She was my fourth grade teacher at Sherwood Elementary in Edmonds, Washington. Maybe someone else out there reading this was lucky enough to have her for a teacher. She encouraged me to push myself a little harder in every subject. From math to writing, and everything in between.

I moved away from Washington after fifth grade, but never lost touch with her. Every year we’ve exchanged Christmas cards and letters. When I wrote my first children’s story, I sent her a copy and she encouraged me to publish. I should have listened to her, but at that time I didn’t pursue it. Maybe I was a little scared. Still, she never gave up on me. Yesterday I received a wonderful note from her telling me that she can’t wait to read my novels. I wonder if she knows how much her encouragement pushed me to keep writing?

Thank you, Mrs. Banks, for being that incredible gem who genuinely cared about her students. Your heart is golden.

I want to also mention my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. McPeak. I was the new girl in town and she welcomed me with open arms, and warm hugs. She introduced me to my friend, Diane, who is still one of my best friends. Mrs. McPeak wasn’t afraid to tell us that God loves us. I know that’s frowned upon nowadays, but back then it was part of who she was, and something she felt compelled to share. She looked after us and even opened her home to us for a pool party during our summer break. Thank you, Mrs. McPeak, for being a bright light in my young life.

My love of history was impacted in high school thanks to Mr. Batchelder. He wasn’t the kind of teacher who stood in front of us and told us to read such-and-such a chapter. He brought history to life by telling us the stories. He put so much enthusiasm in his teaching that it made me want to learn more. It was obvious, he loved history. He passed that on to me. So, thank you, Mr. Batchelder, for inspiring me to write about what I love.

And to all those other teachers out there, know this. You’re impacting lives. Maybe you don’t know it now, but one little individualized comment could be the thing that pushes your student to do something incredible with their life. And if you happen to have one that trips over her own feet, just tell her to try a little harder and she’ll succeed.

100_0714

The Roller Coaster of Life

I LOVE roller coasters! When I was younger I thought I wanted to be one of those people who travels from state to state looking for the longest, highest, and fastest roller coasters around. The perfect vacation would have been roller coaster hopping from one amusement park to another.

I can remember my heart thumping when we’d go on family road trips and I’d see a coaster from the road, rising up into the sky. But sadly, that wasn’t our destination and we’d press on. Lucky for me, many of the family vacations ended up at theme parks.

I’d even dream about coasters. The only thing I feared were the loop-de-loops that turned everyone upside down. But I overcame that fear when I rode the Corkscrew at Knott’s Berry Farm. That particular coaster now resides in Idaho, close to where I grew up. Pretty awesome!

So now that I’m older, I still love them, but I’m a bit more particular. I got bounced around and bruised on a wooden coaster about eight years ago, which led me to lean toward the smoother, steel rides. Maybe it’s these aging bones that can’t take the jostling anymore. But that’s okay. There are plenty of options out there for me. Even the virtual rides are enjoyable!

There’s another kind of roller coaster ride that recently has had my head spinning. LIFE. Just when I thought my life was settling into a routine, it went into a large uphill climb and then sped me down the other side so fast that I’m still reeling! Life is never dull and that’s what makes it exciting. And thank goodness I have friends and family around me sharing the ride. They’re there to hold my hand when things get rough, celebrate the thrills with me, and sometimes give me the encouragement to get back on again when the track gets a little bumpy.

I wake up every morning, have a cup of coffee, say a little prayer, and jump on the ride. And though I may plan my course of action, I can guarantee that there will be an unexpected twist or a small bump that will take me down a different path. So I go with the flow and enjoy the ride because I’ve found that the unexpected can oftentimes be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

That being said, I’ll change my usual post ending and say…
RIDE ON!!!

Yes, there was a coaster inside that mountain!

Yes, there was a coaster inside that mountain!

Need a Tissue?

Yesterday was a two tissue day.

Some days I’ve gone through an entire box.

No, I don’t have a cold, or allergies, I’m an emotional writer. Is it good to cry over your own manuscript? And I’m not saying that I’m crying because it’s so bad that I want to burn it…I’m crying because I’m so caught up in the emotions of my characters that I’m feeling their pain.

So, I want to know, do any of you cry while you write?

How many of you remember the great scene from “Romancing the Stone” where Joan Wilder is hunting through her house for a tissue? She has just finished her manuscript, and is sobbing over the typewriter. I’ve always loved that movie, and now that I’m a writer, I appreciate it even more.

I’ve often been asked how it is that I can feel for fictitious characters. I think it’s because they become very real to me. They become a part of my days as I plan out their lives. It’s like molding clay into a new piece of art, or brushing color onto a canvas. We breathe life into our characters, so in many ways, they’re very real.

The good thing is that the more real they are to me, the more they’ll come to life on the page for my readers.

So, to all of you emotional readers and writers, keep a box of tissues handy, and go on and cry. It’s good for the soul.

WRITE ON!!

 

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.

 

 

Who Wouldn’t Like a Cute Puppy?

So, you’ve written a book or short story, and took the plunge to send it out for review…

Whether you entered a contest, submitted to an agent or publisher, or just gave copies to a few friends, you’re looking for feedback, right? Be prepared. As much as I hate to say this, not everyone is going to like what you write. And, being human, you will probably be like me and dwell on the negative feedback wondering why that particular person didn’t like you. But this is something that you don’t want to take personally. Most likely, they didn’t care for that particular story. But, strangely enough, someone else will probably love it.

I know I’ve written other blogs about this subject, but I had to vent again because in many ways I’m reminding myself. After recently entering several contests and getting mixed reviews, I can’t get the negative ones out of my head. But, I learned so much from the professional feedback that it was worth the pain.

We had a speaker at one of our meetings who talked about this subject, and brought up the fact that even if you write a book about cute puppies, there will probably be someone who doesn’t like the book, because they don’t like puppies. Cute or not. I honestly have a friend who is scared to death of dogs. Big or small. She feels about dogs the way I feel about snakes. I don’t want them near me in any way, shape, or form. I get nauseated if I go into the snake house at the zoo. I have seen her hide behind her husband when we’re out somewhere and someone walks by with a “cute little puppy” tucked under their arm. My reaction is “oh, how cute” and I want to pet the dog. Her reaction is: “Why are people allowed to bring those beasts out in public?” She would never buy a book about a cute little puppy.

I think you understand where I’m going with this!  🙂

Write what you know and love, and polish it until it shines brighter than any star. Then put it out into the universe and see what happens. And when you receive a one-star review on what you believe is your five-star book, let it go. Don’t try to defend your masterpiece, just remind yourself that that person probably doesn’t like puppies either. And…smile.

WRITE ON!!!

Cute little puppy, or horrid beast?

Cute little puppy, or horrid beast?