09 March 2015

preview of my upcoming book!

 
Preview my upcoming book! There are still countless things to iron out, namely editing. However, I have worked tirelessly these past months and am confident (or perhaps delusional) enough to set a tentative publication date of May 15th, 2015.
 
Never Letting Go
a tale of romance, suspense,
and one woman's wish for the ultimate do-over
 
Following a painful separation and divorce, Meredith Bryant seeks a new beginning with her eight-year-old daughter Tara. But the desire to break free and become independent seem impossible when a complicated ex-husband, shared custody, and suffocating in-laws remain deeply embedded in the family picture.
 
Slowly and methodically, Meredith works to rebuild and restart, first by moving back to her college hometown in Tennessee. In a city both strange and familiar, she and her daughter settle into a rental on the edge of town and after a series of disappointments, Meredith finds employment and friendships to sustain them both. Feeling more confident and empowered by the day, she opens her mind and life to trying new things and embracing opportunities.
 
But when long-ago love Jacob Wilde walks back into her life, Meredith is forced to confront the memory and current reality of the heart she once broke. Despite her attempts to avoid him, their paths continue to cross and when her safety is threatened more than once, Jacob not only becomes her protector against a hidden danger but a harsh reminder of what she has lost over the years.
 
Alone and afraid, Meredith begins to question everything-her ability to parent, the decisions of her past, any plans for the future, and the people closest to her-until one terrifying night she collides head-on with her darkest fears and almost loses it all.
 

Kindle Cover (draft)
Paperback Cover (draft)

 

17 February 2015

things I lost along the way

 
I have never been one to keep score in life. It is too tricky, trying to gauge whether I am coming out ahead or not. And seriously, Life is too fickle and far more powerful so I think it best to take things as they come. However, I was thinking the other day about how much I sacrificed to reach this point in my fledgling career as a writer. What had I given up? And to be honest, I began to make a list. One. Two. Three. Four. It went on. But then I stopped. This is ridiculous, I decided. For though I gave up some things to write full-time, there had to be even more that I gained.

What I believed was lost: time with family and friends. Writing is a solitary sport. There is no one sitting by my side and sharing in the experience. To be in a creative state, I must separate myself from the people who matter and focus on the task at hand. I often say no in order to clear time for a project (or catch up on whatever I ignored while working). In the end, it is me and only me.
What I actually gained: self-awareness. There is a rare happening which comes from spending countless hours alone. I become more in-tune with who I am. I better understand my goals, my dreams. The things I truly want in life rise to the surface because I am limited in how much time and attention I can give them. Writing makes me a better wife and mother. Sharing my work connects me to family, friends, and even strangers on an entirely new level. It is who I am and when people read my work, they immediately know me.

What I believed was lost: confidence in my ability. Whenever I share a new project, my fear of failure increases a thousand-fold. I have that glorious blip of a moment where I shout "it is done, it is here!" and what often follows is pure and humbling silence. There are no ticker-tape parades, no tag-lines on the evening news. I have just invested the whole of myself into a book and no one seems to notice.
What I actually gained: pride in my accomplishment. Regardless of whether someone reads my work or not, I have created a legacy. There is an indescribable pride which comes from knowing I leave my writing behind for my son, his future family, my friends, my relatives. Some day when I am no longer here, they will carry an incredibly unique and personal part of me with them here on earth. I do not write for accolades. I write for others like me who need to know life can be stupid and hard to understand, but it can also be lovely and rewarding.
 
What I believed was lost: the opportunity to do other things. In order to effectively create, I spend a lot of time drafting, editing, formatting, publishing, marketing, social networking, on legalities, etc. It is not technically a full-time job, but many days it feels like one. There is a delicate balance to the tasks and in the past five years, I have adapted a schedule suitable for our family. But to follow this schedule, I must put off or miss out on other activities. House projects are often the first to suffer, then socializing, and lastly fun.
What I actually gainedan understanding of what truly matters. I no longer worry about saying no to something or someone, particularly if it does not fit the life we envision as a family. I keep distractions to a minimum while I am working, knowing there will come a day when I can focus on them again. I have learned to prioritize and gift what little free time I have to the people and activities which are most needful at the time. My family is what truly matters, not a busy life.
 
Choosing to share my writing over the years has not always been the easiest decision, but it certainly qualifies as one of the best.  Yes, there have been things I have lost along the way, but I would gladly sacrifice portions of my life in order to get something so much greater...

09 January 2015

starting over


Only a few days into the new year, and I have already made a difficult decision with my writing. Late last year, my work focused on a book tentatively titled The Country Wife. This project had originally been drafted early in 2010 and after revisiting it last summer, I became wildly determined to re-write, re-work, and re-do the script with the intent to publish. As the year wore on, however, I realized a terrible thing: I was not invested in it. The overwhelming pull I typically feel to finish a book was nothing but a slight nudge. I loved the story and characters but apparently something was missing. I have no idea what that "something" is, but I do understand this: if I am not thrilled to complete the book, you will not be thrilled to read it. So, after some deep thought over the holidays, I decided to make a clean break. Leave the draft as is and possibly go back to it again. Or not.
 
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do as a writer is walk away from a project. But when I do, something magical happens. A weight is lifted. Thoughts are clear. Time becomes my own again. I admit to feeling frustration. There is no joy or satisfaction to be found in an unfinished task. However, I am an ardent believer in the power of instinct and follow mine whenever possible. My heart and mind told me to move on. When it is time, it is time. This is right. I can feel it.
 
Letting go with a clean conscience allows me to embrace another year focused and free for other, long overdue work. Marketing. Online maintenance. And yes, more writing. For while I was releasing one unfinished book, I was plotting a new one. Nothing concrete, but I have begun the process of plot outlines and character development and hope to have something to share soon! And although I have no idea might be in the year to follow, I cannot wait to find out...

09 December 2014

what has been and what might be

 
Another holiday season is upon us. Days are filled with glad tidings and good cheer, everything appears merry and bright. In many respects, it is the most wonderful time of the year.
 
I confess. I become overly thoughtful during December. It is the month of my birth which means there is even more cause to celebrate. And of course, Christmas and the New Year take center stage, calling forth cherished memories of my youth and a simpler life on the farm. The brisk air, the elaborate decorations, the scent of cookies and tradition. They pull me back to a place of magic and time of believing. 
 
The wonder. The anticipation. The sheer and complete joy. What a gift to experience all of these things and more through the eyes of my son. He is the reason I do not work on major writing projects during the holiday. I happily procrastinate, ignore, and pretend there is nothing to be done.
 
The season is a beautiful reminder to pause. Be present in every moment, big or small. Reflect on what has been and what might be. In doing so, I often discover a hidden purpose. Solve problems. Answer questions. Taking a step back provides an opportunity to gain a different perspective, learn what truly matters, and decide what direction to follow.
 
As a writer, I am at a defining crossroads. For while I am amazed and proud to have published a new book this past spring, my efforts to edit another have fallen short of my desire and expectations. It has been an odd but wonderful year. After a harrowing November of various levels of medical testing, I was once again granted the all-clear from cancer. I had prepared to do battle, trading my survivor mindset for one of a warrior. Yet, simply the fear alone that my cancer had returned led to a halt in all writing. I could not move forward until I finished taking care of Me. Now that is done (for six months at least), I remain rattled and unsure. My current book project is at a complete and total standstill while new stories clog my mind.
 
Do I continue with one? Begin another? Stop writing altogether? I have not uncovered the answers. Yet. But that is why I love this time of year. I do not need to know. I simply need to dote on my husband, son, and self. It is the season of family. There are greetings to be sent, gifts to be given, cookies to be baked, trees to be trimmed. Memories to be made.
 
And when the new year finally arrives, I will stand ready to begin again.
 
Wishing you the merriest of everything and...
 

14 November 2014

just for you: limited time, low book prices


The season of all things awesome will soon be upon us. Moments filled with family, food, laughter, and love. Memories made, shared, and cherished.
 
It is also the perfect time to fall - often and deep - into books.
 
As my gift to you, I have reduced pricing on my titles. These are the lowest prices possible and just in time for snuggling by the fire and holiday giving.
 
But be sure to act soon, these deals are for a limited time!
 
Shop Amazon Kindle or Paperback
the paperback prices are low but read further to see how to get 50% off!*
 
Shop Barnes and Noble Nook or Paperback
 
Shop Smashwords multi-format eBook
 
*HOLIDAY PAPERBACK PROMO
via eStore only: receive 50% off all paperbacks! 
  • to order: click on a book cover.
  • to order multiple titles: click on each book cover. All orders will then be combined into one shopping cart.
  • to receive discount: in shopping cart, use code 5TBFEMTT to apply discount for all books and follow additional instructions for purchase.
  • NOTE: this site is not Amazon. You will need to create an account and pay shipping. But even still, these prices are a steal!
Still Life paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

The Choice Not Taken paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

Muse paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

Spirit paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

The Oak Tree paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page

Revelations paperback
Click on COVER
to go to ORDER page
 
 * * * * * Happy Reading! * * * * *

15 October 2014

life after cancer: 12 lessons learned

 
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but for a survivor like me, it is every day of the year. If you or someone you love has been touched by a major illness, you understand its hold is far-reaching, influencing anything and everything most take for granted. Of course, in the past two years of remission I have had highs and lows. Some days are simply better than others and sadly, there is no warning as to which days those might be. But throughout it all, my experience has kept me grounded in reality. Humbled in the miracles of survival. Grateful for second chances.
 
When I entered the fight against this disease, I had a strong idea of how I must think (positive!), act (proactive!), and feel (optimistic!). However, I had no idea just how much I would learn. And change. In many ways, the lessons learned make me feel an odd sense of debt to my cancer. It taught me to live again. Become an informed participant rather than a spectator. It served as a heady reminder to love harder. It helped me believe in miracles. Never underestimate the strength of the human spirit. I placed my faith in the hands of others, and they did not let me down. Cancer did not simply change who I was ... it created a better version of me.
 
Lesson 1:
The fear of its return never truly leaves.
 
Lesson 2:
It is not only important but necessary to laugh at ridiculous things.
 
Lesson 3:
Nothing (no matter how painful or joyful) lasts forever.
 
Lesson 4:
Second chances are granted for a reason. Find the reason.
 
Lesson 5:
I continue to take myself too seriously and that is okay.
 
Lesson 6:
Doing what I love (writing) has become harder than ever.
 
Lesson 7:
Nothing is more important than my family and close friends. Nothing.
 
Lesson 8:
I have not miraculously transformed into Pollyanna. Translation: things still royally piss me off.
 
Lesson 9:
No one is immune to pain, heartache, or loss so be patient and kind.
 
Lesson 10:
Things are never perfect, but I am always blessed.
 
Lesson 11:
Even when life seems to stop, it goes on everywhere around us. Pull strength from the normalcy, its continuity.
 
Lesson 12:
Anything is possible.
 
I am not special because I survived cancer, but my story is unique and imperative to how I live my life. The experience demands my respect. And while some may wish to erase the devastation cancer can bring, I view it as worthy of remembrance. I never want to forget.
 
Every woman is at risk
One in eight will get it in their lifetime
Every thirteen minutes a woman dies from breast cancer
It is the leading cancer death ages 15 to 54
96 percent survive with early detection
It is 100 times more common in women than men
 
Be involved: Stand Up To Cancer
Be the cure: Susan G. Komen