I'm reading a whonderful book by Shana Abe, "The Second Mrs. Astor: A Heartbreaking Historial Novel of the Titanic." And when I say this one can tug at your heart strings, I am not kidding.
I won't post the full synopsis here as you can find it on the book's Amazon detail page. But I have to share this absolutely gorgeous cover.
Beautiful, right? And if you're a member of Amazon Prime, you can read this wonderful novel for free! It's full of glorious descriptions of faraway places and clothing, the joys and fears of a newlywed, and the Titantic. It tells a tale of love, hope, and loss in such a majestic way that I don't think any other book about John Astor and his second bride could ever compare to it. Read it for yourself because you won't be disappointed, especially if you love historical fiction/romance. And you can use the link above to buy your own copy or check it out if you have Prime.
When I started this year, I had intended to self-publish at least three of my books. That all changed when I realized needed things done in my house, and I had some other unexpected expenditures crop up as well. That caused me to shift my direction to writing more articles, short stories, and essays.
Getting payment from those avenues is generally quicker than payment from book royalties. There's no guarantee of book sales, but if you write iand sell an article, you should, unless something changes drastically, get paid with a decent amount of time. Of course, sometimes, you have to wait to hear back from the magazine so it can be a bit of a wait. That's why I submit a minimum of four articles, short stories, or essays a month. So I always have something in the pipeline.
If you're an author and you're feeling a little discouraged about your book sales at present, perhaps it's time to change course. Getting paid from any writing, even if it's $50, can be a boost to your self-confidence. So if you're struggling as an author write now, consider using the skills and talent you have elsewhere. Put it to good use writing articles, entering free writing contests, and writing short stories and flash fiction, and essays. Trust me. One sale can change your perspective.
Sharing my love of the orville
I love, love, love the sci-fi series, The Orville. Last year, when the third season was released, it was renamed as The Orville-New Horizons, and you can find it and the first two seasons on Hulu and Disney+.
Recently, hip-hop artist Sean Mic wrote a song "Living on the Orville" as a tribute to this wonderful series, and I wanted to share it with you so you will hopefully share it with your friends as we continue to try to get this show renewed for season four.
Looking forward to 2023
No matter what the previous year looked like, it's always important to have things to look forward to. That's why I always make a list of things I'm excited about for the new year. They're items that are planned and on my calendar as well as goals and dreams. This is a tentative look at what's coming up this year, and I'll update as the year goes on!
Release of Letters to Laura
Port Canaveral, FL to watch rocket launch as part of the press (tentative date)
Cover reveal for Romancing the 1920s (1920s anthology)
ARCs ready for Romancing the 1920s
My 55th birthday!
Pet-sitting my friends' adorable Shih Tzu, Lily, for a week again!
Release of Romancing the 19020s
4th of July trip (plans in flux at present)
Visit to Helen, Georgia
Thanksgiving with my family!
Christmas with my family
An excerpt from letters to laura
I'll be releasing my 1950s novella, Letters to Laura, in January (unless anything changes), and I recently shared the cover. Now, i want to share a brief excerpt, and I welcome your feedback!
Laura squeezed his hands. “Don’t make me come after you.”
He smiled crookedly. “I don’t think you could get across enemy lines.”
She shook her head almost violently. “I would do whatever it took to find you.”
His eyes glistened. “You know, I really do believe that, but for now,” he leaned in and kissed her once, twice, “all you have to do is think of me. That’ll be enough to make sure that bus brings me back in one piece.”
Laura sucked in a sharp breath. “Don’t talk like that, Mark.” She clung to him, desperation making her knees weak. “I’ve loved you for so long, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you. I don’t want to imagine it.” She wrapped her arms around his neck just as a whistle sounded behind them.
“That’s my call,” he whispered in her ear.
She didn’t release him. “Remember that I love you.”
He caressed her back through the thin material of her white blouse. “That’s not something I could forget.” He pulled back, loosening her arms from around his neck. “Take care of yourself, sweetheart.”
He looked deeply into her eyes, and Laura knew he was memorizing her face. Hopefully, the memory would carry him through the dark days ahead. She doubted the mere recall of his touch would suffice for her.
Their lips met again, this time more intensely, and heart beat against heart.
With trembling fingers, she tucked a folded piece of paper into the front pocket of his shirt. He looked down as she patted the material. “What’s this?”
“Just something to read later.”
“Hey, buddy. You need to get on board, or this bus is leaving without you,” the driver shouted.
With a reluctance Laura parroted, Mark stepped back away from her, his hand still holding hers. “I’ll write.”
She didn’t trust her voice to speak so she nodded again, holding onto the last piece of him as he backed toward the bus. He stopped when only their fingertips touched.
“I love you, Laura Madison. Never doubt that.”
When his hand fell away, tears filled her eyes, clouding her vision. She didn’t see him climb onto the bus or make his way to his seat. But he lowered the window quickly and called her name again.
She raced toward the window and held up her hand. He touched her fingers again as the engine revved, and the bus began to chug forward. She stood in the same spot, hand raised, watching the dingy white bus roll away from the curb, kicking up dirt before it rumbled out of sight. And the sun had set low in the sky before she finally turned and walked home.
Did you see my new cover?
After the first of the year, I'm releasing a 1950s novella, Letters to Laura. This was originally entitled Promises to Laura, and I released it under a pen name back in 2014. By the time I'm finished with it, it will have been completely rewritten and expanded so I changed the title. If you read Promises to Laura, this is altogether a different book with only the same premise.
I decided Promises to Laura was too short and ended too abruptly. Plus, my writing has changed since 2014 so I wanted to improve upon this novella which I still love. I'll choose a release date soon, but the cover is all ready. Please let me know what you think!
giveaways for all readers
Are you following me on Instagram? On Twitter? If not, now is the time to do it as I'm starting some giveaways just in time for the holidays! What kind of giveaways? Glad you asked!
Yes, I could give away books, and that may be included, but I know the holidays can be a rough time for people financially. So I'm going to be giving away gift cards for online shopping, gas cards, and even straight up cash through Venmo.
You must be following me on at least one of the platforms above as that is where I'll be holding the giveaways! So what are you waiting for? Go follow me!!
Sneak Peek: New YA Fantasy
This is the first scene in my new YA Fantasy novel, Holding Forgotten Stars. Thanks for reading!
I’m not cut out to live a life of mediocrity, but that’s what people live here in Northrock, South Carolina. Population 692. And like most things, it rarely changes. It seems as soon as a baby is born, someone dies. No one ever leaves, either. Everyone has just settled here because they’re stuck. The fifty-foot fence surrounding our town keeps us all caged inside. And, to my knowledge, no one has ever tried to find a way out.
But I will. In less than two years, I’ll graduate from high school, and that’s when my life will really start. I know it’ll break my parents’ heart, but I want to see the world. Maybe I’ll drive to Yellowstone and take hundreds of pictures, take a bus to San Francisco and hop on one of those trolleys, and go hiking in the Yosemite and see the Giant Sequoias.
Right now, these are just places I’d read about in our history books and in our one school’s encyclopedia. But they looked magical, and the day I get my high school diploma, I’m taking off. Provided, of course, I can make enough money at my job to buy a car. I don’t earn a lot at Icy Dream, but Dad promised he’d match whatever I made at the ice cream shop so that I could buy a car before my senior year. He doesn’t know I’ll be using it to leave, though.
That’s the plan anyway, but not one person in Northrock has ever seen the fence open. Supposedly, it’s meant to protect us. From what, I don’t know, but I can’t imagine anything beyond it that’s worse than being trapped like an animal.
Before I make my big getaway, I’m going to test the waters, see if anyone is willing to help me find a way out of Northrock. It’s not a plan my parents are going to go for. I know that already, but at least it’ll get us talking about the fence and how someone can leave if they want to. We’ve never talked about that. I don’t think anyone has. It’s just assumed that we’ll all stay here and live happily ever after.
“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” Sammie has been my best friend since the first grade. We never go a day without seeing one another even if we’ve had a fight.
She tugs one of my brown curls and plops next to me on the edge of the creek, dangling her long, pale legs deep into the water. She kicks them back and forth while waiting for my reply.
But I really don’t need to answer her. She already knows. Sammie’s the only one who knows how badly I want to leave Northrock. And while she tries to understand, she just doesn’t. She’s happy here with her boyfriend, Evan, and her parents and sister. All she wants to do is get married and have kids of her own. And she can do that living right here.
She sighs. “You gotta get your nose out of those encyclopedias.”
“I can’t, Sammie. The pictures are so beautiful I can almost reach out and touch those places. You know,” I scoot around so I can face her, drawing one leg up onto the grass, “in those national parks, they have pictures of the sky, and the stars look like diamonds on a black sheet. They’re so big, and I wonder if you could actually touch them.”
Sammie snorts. “Touch a star. You’re dancing outside reality as grandma says.”
I grin. Sammie’s grandmother always brings a smile to my face even if she isn’t present. She just has a way about her that makes everything seem okay. “Yeah, well, even Grammie Maggie probably wouldn’t mind catching a look at those stars. She spends a lot of time in her backyard looking up at the sky.”
“She misses Grampa.” Sammie pulls her feet up and shakes the water off them.
“What are you doing for your history project?”
“Mrs. Fielders just assigned it today.”
“I’m going to do mine on Theodore Roosevelt.”
My nose wrinkles. “Like that’s never been done before. I want to do something different. Maybe I’ll write about the history of one of the parks.”
“You and those parks.” She jumps to her feet and swipes the leaves off the back of her Jordache jeans. “We’d better get back. The festival starts in a couple of hours.”
Regretfully, I stand, but I don’t immediately turn around. The sun glints off the cool waters of the creek, and I wish I could stay put a little while longer.
Sammie hooks her arm through mine. “Let’s go. You’ve got ice cream to dip.”
I nudge her in the side with my elbow. “Not for two hours yet, and I can’t believe I have to work during the festival.”
“Only for the first hour, though, right? I want to ride the Ferris Wheel, and Evan’s too chicken.”
“Yeah, only for the first hour.”
Our tennis shoes scuffle against the dried leaves as we make our way through the woods and back onto the main road that leads into town. Not that there’s much to it, though.
We don’t have shopping malls or theaters here. It’s just a grocery store, some drive-thru restaurants, one steakhouse, a couple of diners, and a big discount store where everyone shops for school clothes. Nothing like what I’ve read about in other towns and cities across the world.
As we reach the asphalt, I look back over my shoulder at the trees now obscuring the creek. One day, I’m going to leave all of this behind for good. That’s a promise I make to myself every day.
It's not easy admitting when you've made a mistake, especially when it's one that has cost someone either money, time, or something equally important. While some mistakes can be fixed, others cause damage that cannot. I've made those kinds of mistakes and still spent an inordinant amount of time trying to fix them to no avail. What I should have done was owned up to my mistakes and tried to be better and do better from that point forward. You would think I would have learned from, well, my own mistakes.
I recently made a horrible mistake that could not be corrected. I tried to figure out what had gone wrong, how I could have made such a blunder. In the end, I did have to own up to it, admit that I'd made the mistake, apologize, and offer some potential resolutions, none of which eradicated my wrongdoing. This mistake could have been averted if I had simply paid more attention to what I was doing. But I was distracted and in a hurry, and the end result was that someone was greatly affected by my mistake.
My apology doesn't change anything. My admitting that I had done wrong didn't take away the sting of what I had done. But it did tell that person that I wasn't trying to hide from my mistakes. As an adult, I owned it.
I don't know if the person my mistake hurt will forgive me yet. I don't know how this will affect our working relationship, but I do know that I've done what I am supposed to do in instances like this. What I should do every time I find myself in a situation like this. But noone likes to admit when they're wrong. I'm definitely one of those people!
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!