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Reason to Celebrate!!

My sixth book releases today! Who knew? I actually had six of them stored up in this head of mine. Actually a few more, but six spilled out to an editor, where she worked her magic, then it got translated into a picture by another professional, formatted, bound, and viola…there you have book 6, “Searching For Sarah”. I’m quite excited. And a bit nervous…as usual. Good thing I’ve got a tough skin. No telling what the kind people of the world is going to think of it…and then there’s the not-so-kind. And I suppose they have a say, too. (I’ll just discreetly, and with all my might, try to put their opinions out of mind) 🙂

So, what about Sarah? She’s a pretty girl, right? Then why is she a dud magnet for men? I mean really…the last guy she dated stole her U-Haul filled with all her stuff. Right there on the street in Charleston. While she went into that cute coffee shop after driving 8 hours straight, to go to the bathroom. That’s the first push into the path that takes her to this guy:

Sam. So what about Sam? He’s cute, right? He just works a little too much. Therefore, unable to do the all the things a single dad has to do–pick up daughter from preschool, cook a well-balanced meal, (not spaghetti o’, scrambled eggs, and a cup of milk, because that’s all he knows how to cook), and attend an occasional tea party with a few stuffed friends…Mind you, he does get home to read the goodnight book and tuck a sleepy-eyed girl in, but as for the rest, he needs some help. And since Sarah is seeking some temporary housing until an apartment comes through, why not get her to do some of the nanny stuff? Win-win for both of them!

Then the story begins to unfold.So, maybe not that intriguing! But I had one reviewer to say she stayed up till after midnight to finish it. That’s good, huh? Well, I sort of smiled when I read it. 🙂

Either way…it’s my genuine hope…wish…desire…beg (LOL) that readers take a chance to get to know Sarah and Sam. Reminder: this is a 3 part book. At the end, there will be sort of the thing that happens on Friday soap operas…Monday will be the second book–where Friday’s shock gets settled after a weekend wait. Don’t throw tomatoes when you get there. But I promise, Monday is coming very quickly. I’m saving that hype until the release of Friday’s book installment–Searching For Sarah, part 1! Please spread the word, my dearest followers. Cake for everyone!!!! Celebrate. 🙂

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Full Circle

Well I did it! I made it through my son’s first year at college. 🙂 I feel like I was just here…plucking away at this computer, moaning and groaning about what I was going to do without him. And next week he’ll be back. Never more to be a freshman. I pointed this fact out to him this weekend, and he’s sort of bummed about it. Yes, he’s quite a sensitive chap. Things like never being a single digit again (turning 10 was big for him), or his last year home as a “kid”, were milestones. But I think he’s ready to return. I’m ready for him to return. It’s not terrible when he’s away for a long time. I get used to it. But when he comes back for say a week, it’s hard to get used to him being gone again.

Anyway, onto other things. I have a book releasing this week! Woo-hoo. Can’t wait. Jumping up and down on the inside. You just can’t see it. 🙂 It’s amazing to think I’m beginning another series, but I am. As usual, I’m a bit nervous how everyone will perceive Sarah. I’m resolved to know there will be some who don’t get her, some who think I’m writing their own story, and a few that stop reading after page 10. I get it. I’m that person, too. Everyone is. Reading is so subjective. For instance, I’m judging a writing competition this month, and there was one submission that I couldn’t read. I had to turn it back in and request someone else judge it. It wouldn’t be fair for me to do it. It’s just not my cup of tea. Heck, it wasn’t even tea, in my world. It’s not that it was poorly written, it just wasn’t something I could endure any longer. Past page four. But it amazes me how someone can read something I’ve written, not reach page 10 and plaster it with a one star on Amazon and Goodreads. I was raised that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Oh well, not all were raised with the same theory, I suppose.

Onto depressing. Because doesn’t everyone need a bit of gloom in their day? Not really, but I had to mention it. Erin Moran died. Joanie Cunningham, as I’ll always remember her. What a sad life she turned out to have. I mean you have Ritchie, the now-director of blockbuster films, then you have his kid sister. Living without money, in a very depressed fashion of a life. What happened, Joanie? It in no way resembled her character on Happy Days. I think some people, no matter what cards they’re dealt, will have to struggle. And it’s sad. 56 years old. Rest in peace.

I hope everyone has a great week. I’ve got 3 birthdays to celebrate this week. My daughter’s is one of them. All of my kids get to choose their dinner and their dessert on their day. She has chosen spaghetti (in which I like the least…okay, I hate spaghetti), and white cake and white icing. Is she even my kid? No chocolate? I’m going to have to serve chocolate ice cream on the side or something. I hope I can make it without wincing. White on white?

Until next time!

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Where Has All the Happiness Gone?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday. Mine was great. I cooked for everyone–as is the new tradition. I give my mother a much needed break from the muss and fuss. My turkey turned out like crap. And I even woke at the bloody crack of daylight to put it on–sautéing carrots, celery, and onion…gently thrusting some garlic and broth in for good measure. Thrusting? Really? All for it to taste like the rear end of something killed on the side of the road, after cooking for almost 7 hours. (not that I would know literally what that would taste like.) But there was a ham to fall back on. Thanks for bringing it, Barbie!

And then there was the panic of the dessert. The pound cake, upon reading the recipe the morning of, was discovered not to be the one I envisioned. Not really sure what the original vision was… So off to the store I went. And bought items for chocolate cream pies. Nope, never made one in my life. I’m just not a pie person. Luckily they turned out well. Made everyone forget about the lousy turkey!

Then there was the egg hunt. Ah, the traditional go-and-find-the-golden-egg hunt. Has anyone met my youngest son? The one who is certain the entire world is against him? Well needless to say, he wasn’t the one who found the golden egg. Instead it was the 13 year old cousin. In which he desperately hates now. And hates the inventor of said traditional egg hunt. And eggs…and easter baskets, and for all I know the air in which we breathe. My mother, of course, told him to come over to her, and she tucked a golden egg inside his hand. Just to inform anyone who isn’t at my home during the annual egg hunt–the golden egg has a $20 bill inside. And now my youngest is happy. Still not liking the cousin, because well, she cheated finding that egg, but he can go on and never spend that money now. That’s right…he finds a million things to want, but letting go of the dough is a whole other story.

So on to the title of my post. I was just visiting Facebook. Don’t do it, it’s a trap. You can get sucked in quite quickly. The next thing you know, it’s past your bedtime and now you know what everyone’s doing, done, or going to save as a recipe and never make in their life. But you know, they’re sharing it so it saves on their feed. Ok. Anyway, tonight I got so much more than that. I got a play-by-play of an elderly man getting gunned down on Easter day, a video of one of the innocent children dying from the chemical bomb Syria suffered a few weeks ago, and a baby girl left in a locked van while police knocked out a window to get to her. Ahhhhh……. where is all the happy? I’ll gladly take pictures of what Aunt Noreen’s dinner plate looked like tonight. No matter how disgusting that cabbage looked. And cousin Rita’s feet as she takes a crooked picture of her pool water. Enough with the reality. It’s too depressing. I had to scroll faster than ever tonight, just to get the images out of my mind.

Find your happy place, people! Stop polluting the airways with the horrors of reality. Show a shimmer of kindness. Show some little furry animal getting rescued, a baby trying peas for the first time, a flower growing from an abandoned old pot. Whatever. Just please stop posting the bad and ugly signs of our times. That was a bit unlike me, wasn’t it? So demanding. Maybe I’m just tired. Or my wrist is absolutely killing me. I think I have a pinched nerve. Yeah, blame my plea for happiness on the pinched nerve. What’s come over me with all my ranting?

Well, happy thoughts for now. I’m going to ice a wrist. Have a great week!

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Hurtful, Nasty Reminders

reminderReminders are usually for our benefit, right? Like when your gas light comes on it means, get gas. For me, it signals I’ve got 100 more miles to go. I am famous for pushing it to the last fume to get me to the pumps. One day I will regret passing the ten stations to find the one with five cents cheaper per gallon. (I know, it isn’t that much, but still). Or the reminder that your car insurance is getting taken out automatically from your account tomorrow. Which signals me to go by the bank and put it in! But there are a few reminders that one does not need. i.e….

Yesterday I received a card in the mail from the veterinarian. It had a heartfelt note in it of condolences for my dog that passed away a couple weeks ago. Yes, I was finally getting to the point where I didn’t break down once a day. Like when I go and look for his bed, or check outside to see if he’s lying in the sun. It’s finally becoming bearable. Not forgettable, by any stretch, but doable. And then the card. Which I opened while driving the kids up the driveway. And there it was…they sent Walter’s paw print along with the written sentiment. OMG. Why? Why now? I shoved it back in the envelope and took a deep breath. I’m still thinking about it.

Here’s another example of a hurtful reminder: When the lovely people behind Facebook send you a memory of your cheating husband as he kisses you on the cheek. Ah yes, that was just six months ago…before my friend’s rat turd husband cheated on her. And there she gets a reminder of better times. Or when you get a snap shot of your family member who passed away, and you’re not quite over that one, either.

Reminders….not always a good thing. 😦

On a happy note, because I need to always leave on one…I’m back to writing my new book. I’m feeling pretty good about it, too. Who wouldn’t like to imagine Kevin Costner all day? And be able to have him say the sweetest things to your heroine…which you imagine is yourself? LOL!! I’m down with it! 🙂

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New Release Set to Roll Out!

julieanndove_thesecrethekeeps_450x675I will admit…this is my favorite book. Well, of mine. I love them all for different reasons, but this one was the beginning of my journey as a writer. I can’t tell you how many drafts this thing has seen. It looks NOTHING like the first one. Or the second one, and certainly not the fifth and sixth one. This thing has morphed into…well, this!

“The Secret He Keeps” has had all kinds of different titles, as well. I entered it into a contest four years ago under the name “Gravity”. It was a finalist, but no cigar, by the way. And then I had “Side Effects of Widowhood”. That stuck for awhile. That was actually my favorite rendition. “The Heart Remembers” has  also been saved with some changes on my computer. Alas, this is the winner of all my indecisiveness. 🙂

I’ve loved writing this in so many ways, too. It began with way more people involved in the plot, too. Then it came down to just two! I so hope you’re going to like them. Rachel is another complicated, messy woman I’ve dreamed up. She’s lost her husband to a car accident. One that she survived. One that provided her with a selective memory of the past. And she has no idea that it’s the very fragile thread that keeps her sane. Not recalling the self-destruction her husband went through is protecting his perfect image she carries in her mind. It’s also protecting the image she has of herself. But someone knows all about it. And you’re not going to believe who it is!

Warning–I’ve written my first clue-type book. I wouldn’t really categorize it as a mystery, but it certainly has a tiny bit of suspense. And just 9 weeks until it releases…

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As Fate Would Have It

KEVINLast week I had it all planned out–new book, new characters, and new city. That was last week. And although I rolled that plot around in my head for days, perfecting it, finding the holes, and sewing up others…it got thrown to the back burner! As in, slammed to the back burner. I woke up Friday to an entirely different story. A meatier one. I think I’m going to be two authors. One who writes romantic, light-hearted pieces and another one who writes deeper ones. A little less on the funny side, heavy on the introspect.

So, this one rolling around in my daydreams stars none other than Kevin Costner. Don’t you just love this guy? I think I fell in love with him in “The Bodyguard”, or was it “For Love of the Game”? Take your pick. He’s a total classic.

And then we have Jennifer Garner. She’s such a good girl–wholesome, nurturing, wants to see the best in people. This will be my heroine. Isn’t she pretty? Another classic. Well not really that old to be a classic yet, but give her another ten years.

Jennifer Garner wallpaper (66)I’ve got so much to do on this story, furthermore, so much to do in my real life. Although I am tickled pink to have such a rich story awaiting the pages of my processor, I only have a week to prepare for all the back to school madness. Everyone has received their schedules, most of the supplies have been purchased, and I’m preparing myself for the departure of college boy. Perhaps this sidetrack of a new story came at the perfect time, after all!

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Pressure Over Tom

tom-selleck-69606I’ve never had writer’s block before. Never. Until now. Thanks to my readers loving Tom, I feel a little pressure to bring him to the forefront with Amy. I’m getting a lot of grief from a few of my biggest readers. Little hints here and there, threatening not to finish the series unless Tom is the victor. You know, that sort of thing. But is this what I envisioned when I starting writing it? Will everyone be angry with me if I don’t do as they wish?

“The Best of Me”, by Nicholas Sparks, had two different endings. Thank goodness. The bad one had me extremely cross with the writer. Are you kidding? Kill off the main squeeze? I was so angry, I didn’t turn off the television until I viewed the alternate ending. Why even have the stupid ending as an option? To irritate people, I suppose. Who would raise their hand in a test group and say “kill the guy we’ve all come to love and hope to end up with the heroine?” Who, I ask? And if I remember correctly, it was like one o’clock in the morning when I finished the stupid ending. My eyes were half-shut when I flipped it to the right ending. My mate even rolled over, cursing it before going to sleep. I couldn’t do that. I HAD to see the right ending. Afterwards, I was at ease. All was right in the world then.

So what to do about Tom? I love the guy, too. Who wouldn’t? He loves Amy, he knows her very well, he’s got class, and he’s very handsome. To crush the poor guy for the sake of moving on seems harsh. And that’s all I’m saying. I’ve had heartburn over the whole thing. I get chastised weekly about putting Tom where he needs to be…but what about the story? Amy needs to grow. Can she with Tom?

No, really…can she? My writer’s block needs to know. If I’m going to make my deadline for book 3, someone needs to rest my mind that it’ll be all right either way. 🙂 No alternate ending necessary!

P.S. If you haven’t read “Waking Amy” and “Leaving Amy”, I apologize. You have no clue what I’m rambling about. Please get the books, read them, and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. 🙂

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I’ve Done it Again!!!

AgnesThat’s right, I’ve done it again! I’ve released another Amy book. I just love that girl. And I love writing! And I love publishing! And I love readers! It’s a dream come true.

For those who’ve been misplaced out of my reach for the past month, this is the day that “Leaving Amy” reveals herself to the world. You remember “Waking Amy” right? The book where the girl gets left by her husband…she goes in search to find herself and finds…

Well, if you haven’t met Amy, then you won’t understand what, who, or why she’s “Leaving Amy”. So please, walk, run, click, or read over someone’s shoulder, the beginning of the whole ordeal. Then after that…walk, run, or click to find out the second half. I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear some reaction to all of it. Will they want to shake her, squeeze her, jump in the car and give her a quick talking to? I don’t know. And it’s driving me crazy!!

But most of all, I’m just so happy to be here on the other side of the computer, looking at this accomplishment. For someone who didn’t have a clue what they would be doing now, I’ve come a long  way in a short time. I’m beyond measurable thrilled. I’m over the sun, the moon, and the stars- happy. I can’t believe Amy has a second book and it’s for sale. Thank you to all the people who’ve begun her journey with me and who’s sticking around to see what happens next. And just for the record, so am I! I haven’t quite finished her story, so I’m looking for some suggestions. Got any?

Leaving Amy digital

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Life Imitating Fiction

narciso_zWhen I first began writing “Waking Amy”, it was a long time ago. Things were different…life was different. More importantly, different for my best friend. She is also one of my beta readers. She tells me like it is. Tells me when to flush the manuscript, bury it out back, and when she stayed up till past 2 in the morning just to see who ended up with who.

She enjoyed Amy…she had a few bouts of “why is she so weak”, but overall, found her to be a likeable girl. Flash forward a year later…to “Leaving Amy.” My friend began reading it as usual, and then something happened. Her marriage began to take some tumbles. She stopped reading my book, saying she just couldn’t do it. It reflected her life too much. All that happened in “Waking Amy” was starting to take form in her own life. She was becoming Amy!

This past month has taken a turn for the worst. Her husband left her like Wesley left Amy…and for the same reasons. Out of left field. How does that happen? I’m not naïve to the fact that there are two sides to every situation, and there must’ve been some writing on the walls, but to leave? When there are children? And not to go back? Not to try? To just throw your arms up, say “it’s been real for the last 15 years, but I think I’m going to go and do something different now.” ?

Needless to say, it’s been extremely painful to watch her go through this. To wake up one morning and know she’s a single mom, and clueless to what the next year will bring with custody and support. I dedicated “Leaving Amy” to her. I had no idea I was writing her story in bits and pieces. On a side note, she put my book away and has yet to finish it.

My third Amy book is about resolution. Without spoiling the second book, which releases on May 1st, Amy seeks to find herself in the final edition. As I sit and watch all the struggles my friend is facing, it helps me write. I will find her voice and I will give her courage. Even if it takes until whenever that she is able to read it.

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Writer’s Block Denial

writers-blockSo for about a month, I haven’t really written. Okay…maybe a few pages. But even those felt forced. And don’t they, whoever ‘they’ are, say that you should write every day, whether you want to or not?

Perhaps the reason I couldn’t write was because of all my release things going on. Perhaps it was because my chair felt uncomfortable, I had too many clothes to wash, the moon wasn’t out…I don’t know. Whatever it was, it wasn’t happening when I lit up the ‘Word’ function of my keyboard.

Let’s face it, you can’t force inspiration. It’s either there or it isn’t. Specifically, I’m writing the third and final installment of my Amy series. I marvel that I finished the second one. It’s such a relief to know it’s finished. It even passed the beta reader tests. Two thumbs up, they said.

I know what it is! It’s the pressure to get it right again. Look at “Fifty Shades of Grey.” That girl has got to feel the pressure. Incidentally, I’ve heard not so rave things about the second book. I mean, once you did it amazingly right the first time…    And “Harry Potter”? Didn’t she write the next book unaffiliated with it, under a different pen name? Did she feel the pressure, too?

Not saying that “Waking Amy” is all that. But, I felt strained to do the second one. Albeit, it’s over with and I like it more than the first…but then I have a third one to contrive. I need this one to be the best of all three. End with a bang. Shrimps on the Barbie!, if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s a series thing. I don’t feel this pressure for writing standalones.

Whatever the reason, I identify myself with being a supreme procrastinator. (see previous blog post on this problem) I have to have someone breathing down my neck, a gun pointed to my piggy toe…just to get it moving.

But good news! I wrote an outstanding 7,000 words today. And it wasn’t that difficult. Once I get all the imaginary people in one room, they tend to start talking. Then the buzzer rings, and I have to put the dinner on the table! Oh well, I’ll start again tomorrow. Hopefully, Amy will remember where we left off, and the lines she’s supposed to be saying. 🙂