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Blessings!

I can’t even begin to express how much of a blessing the last few days have been. Although they were extremely hectic days, there was a constant and surreal excitement that remain with me the entire time. I couldn’t wipe the firmly planted smile from my face. On the day of my book launch, all my family and friends gathered to wish me the best and purchase my book.

You’ve got understand that this has been a dream of mine since I was 11! When I didn’t own a typewriter, I would write my poetry and stories out by hand to the point I had a permanent dent along my middle finger from pressing my ink pen or pencil too hard. There were so many excuses that deferred my dream: college, the military, marriage, children, life in general. But if I’m to be honest, I would say the biggest reason was fear. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough and I feared judgement and possibly ridicule of some sort.

Around my late thirties, I decided I wanted to go back to school to earn my graduate degree and discovered a wonderful program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA where I could learn the vital mechanics of writing and finish a work in progress. I submitted my ten sample pages and was accepted. In Seton Hill’s program, I began to shed off the weight of fear. Through their writing workshops, I began to look at criticism as a means to become a better writer. I spent hours hacking and revising my manuscript until it became a thesis that would pass industry-standard muster. I’m so thankful for the professors, my mentors, critique partners and the host of ¬†friends (all phenomenal writers in their own rite). I made it through that program. The experience gave me the confidence I needed in my middle age to go after a dream I’ve had for more than three decades.

Unfortunately, afterwards, life threw well-placed punches and tribulations, and I placed my cap and gown, stole, diploma and completed manuscript away, and forgot about my dream once again. It wasn’t until life hit me below the belt, I shook off the fog of depression and regained hold of my dream and queried my novel to publishers. I was determined not to allow anything keep me from going after what the Lord had clearly gifted me. Two months later, I received not one, but two offers for my manuscript! They weren’t from the big publishers we’re all familiar with, but they both were willing to give me an opportunity to publish my book.

And now here I am, a year later, with my debut novel published through The Wild Rose Press. To God be ALL the glory for making this possible, and to you all for your support. I may need plastic surgery to take this smile off of my face. ūüėÄ

Need You Now Book Release: June 28

I’ve been silent over the last few months, but for a good reason.Writing! My debut novel Need You Now finally made it through the editing phase, received a beautiful cover and a release date of June 28, 2017. This whole experience has been surreal to me, as if I have been walking around in a dream, watching my life play out before my very eyes. Since I was eleven years old, I had always wanted to be a writer. I remember getting calluses on the middle finger of my right hand, because I would press down extremely hard on my ink pen or pencil in a desperate attempt to get the words in my head on paper. I would spend hours writing short stories and poetry. In a way, I’m a little upset with myself for waiting so long to achieve my dream and yet I’m so proud of myself for not giving up. My heart is filled with so much joy right now, it could burst. Just a few moments ago, my mom called to tell me that a box with copies of her book arrived on her doorstep. This is happening people! And I’m so thankful to God for giving me this gift, and the spirit to continue to press toward my goal.

Faith in Action

I really enjoyed the message today. It totally confirmed what I’ve been doing. One of the things mentioned was that you have to have faith and believe in what you’re doing. Now faith without action or works is worthless. Faith and action go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other and expect to see those things not seen come to fruition. For instance, if you believe that you’re going to get a job, but you make no move to get out and look for a job or put in applications, you’re spinning your wheels and will more than likely remain jobless.

Once you believe, you have to put that belief…that faith in action. I believe that one day I’m going to be¬†published. Now if I spent my days not writing or querying agents or publishers, then I’m essentially all talk and no action. But these last few weeks, I’ve been putting my faith in action. I’ve been writing more, plotting and editing, creating my author platform and attempting to be more strategic in how I go about my writing career because its something that I truly do want and believe in.

So I would encourage you to have faith and believe in whatever it is that you desire to do. And once you’ve done that, start working to put that faith in action. Take the next step into making your dreams come true.

No Rest for the Weary

As I sit and reflect on the load that I currently have on my plate, I’m amazed at how my desire to attain my goals fuel me. Working on my second master’s, this one in communication, I’m inundated with readings, research papers, and exams, and I still manage to find time to write romance fiction.

At the beginning of the year, I was determined to take my thesis novel, a multicultural romantic suspsense, from my first master’s, which was completed at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, and query it to a variety of publishers both large and small, traditional and digital. I toggled between the idea of self-publishing and traditional publishing for months, even going so far as to have a cover created for my book through Fiverr in the event I decided to take a leap of faith into the self-pub arena.

2015 was a difficult year and I wanted 2016 to be better. So, I worked diligently on my query letter and my synopsis, writing and rewriting them both until I felt they were good enough to go to a publisher. I then created an excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the queries I sent out and made little remarks as to my feelings toward the submission.

For some reason this time around, the rejection letters didn’t upset me. The first time around, right after I graduated with an MFA in Popular Fiction Writing, I was disappointed and took it personally, but this time, I was more determined. When I received a rejection letter, I annotated it in my excel spreadsheet then returned to writing the second book of my series. I have some promising prospects and hope I get to share some exciting news. But if not, I’ll keep on writing because its in my blood and it has been ever since I was a little girl in the 5th grade.

So, I’ll continue with grad school and will continue being the worn and weary mother of four energetic boys, a wife and above all a writer because dreams don’t come true by sitting on the sidelines, they come by working hard and never forgetting that all things are possible.