Source: A Special AUDIO GIVEAWAY!!
A multitude of lessons fell into my lap when I decided to challenge myself to try something new. But nothing says I can’t go back to the literary fiction where I began my journey twenty years ago. It’s never too late to realize the biggest limitation to my writing career had been sitting at my very own desk—me.
I recently heard from an author friend with whom I’d lost contact over the past few years. I was happy to receive her email asking me to help format her newest endeavor. I didn’t know much about the project, except it was nonfiction–self-help–unlike her two previous books, both novels, I had read and reviewed.
When she sent me the manuscript, I felt as if I’d entered into Gladys Knight’s world when I saw the title and began reading, Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s book, It’s Just Your Imagination – Growing Up With a Narcissistic Mother. Revital was “Killing Me Softly” with her words.
Not literally, of course. But I was struck that despite our different backgrounds, cultures, and details of our lives, we both experienced the same emotional responses to being raised by women who were unable to love us unconditionally because of their own mental condition.
With precise dissection and brutal honesty, Revital paints the picture of her childhood where she was never good enough and could never please her mother. It’s a childhood where love could be withdrawn as easily as it was given. It left the young girl always feeling as if she didn’t deserve love. The girl turns into a woman feeling the same way and always questioning any expressions of love or affection. It’s difficult to trust anyone when the one person a child looks to for love that never wavers, wavers in that love.
It’s a tough road to travel, and only a person who has done it can really understand, and I understood every single word Revital wrote in this book.
But it’s more than just a recounting of a childhood fraught with drama and rejection and judgement. The book offers insight into how and why the grown woman struggles to toss out the dismissive words, “It’s just your imagination” carelessly stated by a mother who never owns up to her role in the child’s emotional well-being.
Revital also shares expert advice and offers steps to overcome the damage inflicted by a narcissistic mother. It’s a primer for me who lived a similar childhood, but it’s also a map for my loved ones who now live with the debris left over in my psyche. I plan on giving a copy of the book to my husband, my daughter and good friends who often don’t understand my feelings of failure, rejection, and invisibility when nothing in their reality of me supports those feelings.
I’m inspired by Revital’s honesty and bravery in coming out with her story and with her advice for healing. It’s Just Your Imagination is a book of hope, and I thank her writing it.
About Revital Shiri-Horowitz: (See Author Wednesday post) Revital Shiri-Horowitz is an experienced teacher and presenter to Jewish communities and audiences. Using her own life story and excerpts of her novels, Revital Shiri-Horowitz generates a warm and uplifting experience for the listener. Her overall mission is to connect her audiences to their roots so that they can be closer to themselves.
Revital Shiri-Horowitz was born and raised in Israel. As a kid, she wrote poetry and short stories. She’s been writing in her journal almost every day since she was nine years old, and up to the time she met her husband, but never imagined that one day she would become a published author in more than one language, and in so many countries, and even continents.
Revital went on to earn a BA in Hebrew Literature and Geography from Tel Aviv University, an MA in Geography from Haifa University, and an MA in Hebrew Literature from Tel Aviv University.
She was an assistant professor of Geography in Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities, and has been an editor for Hebrew-language books.
Hello all – I’m pleased to announce some wonderful opportunities for loading up your Kindles for the holidays. If you’re a reader, nothing beats the stress of the season than getting lost in a great novel. Here’s your opportunity with some freebies, some great deals, and the chance to win some great prizes!
I wish all of my followers in the United States a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends, family and good food. This year, no matter where we live, giving thanks and
gratitude will help us move forward into a healing and healthy 2018.
To show my gratitude, I have some great books–some discounted and some
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I send you my best wishes for a happy end of the year,
Behind the Altar
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It’s an exciting day! The box set, Shades of Love, with ten different authors and ten different novels, releases today. Many of the books have never been released before and you can download the whole set for only 99 cents on Amazon or read for free in Kindle Unlimited. Enjoy!
“Good morning, Arlene. Vince kindly invited me to tag along. It’ll only take a minute,” Josie says as she gets off the couch and scampers into the bedroom.
I sit on the couch and cross my legs, folding my hands over my knee. “How are you, Vince?”
“Good, now that I see you again.” He moves over to the couch and takes my hand in his. “Last night was not long enough for me to get to know you.”
His deep, piercing stare is doing weird things to my stomach. It’s so dark, almost as dark as his hair. The man is a walking poster of fineness. I snap back to reality. “I enjoyed myself. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for me today.”
“After we eat, the whole day is open to do whatever you want. If you like beaches, I would love to take you to the stunning coast of Playas del Este. There are beautiful beaches that I think you’ll love.”
I feel that same smile from last night returning to curl my lips. “I’d love to go exploring with you.”
I’m happy to announce the release of a new box set in collaboration with nine other authors. The box set may be pre-ordered now for $0.99. Release date is November 7. It is also in Kindle Unlimited so KU members can read for free!
Shades of Love
Love knows no boundaries and bridges the gap between creed and culture.
Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe.
Shades of Love is brought to you by a select group of ten award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.
CLAIMING LANA, Reana Malori. Sworn enemies or passionate lovers? When forced to work together, Jake and Lana find just what they need.
CALIENTE NIGHTS, Suzette Riddick. One Cuban. One African American. Will attraction win out?
THE BLIND SHOT, J.L. Campbell. Strangers in a strange land can’t help what happens naturally despite opposition to their love.
WHEN EAST MEETS WEST, Annamaria Bazzi. Italian and Lebanese cultures clash into love.
WOULD SMELL AS SWEET, Janae Keyes. A passionate thriller – can one stalker end the perfect romance?
POSTCARDS FROM HAVANA, Toye-Lawson Brown. A trip to Cuba and a return to home bring a couple to their destiny.
THIRD BASE, P.C. Zick. Puerto Rican and Italian cultures collide but can’t stop the passion.
THE BEST GAME, Hebby Roman. A return home starts the chase to make romantic dreams come true.
SMALL TOWN BOY, Caroline Bell-Foster. First loves reunite despite conflicting careers.
SOMETIMES MONEY AIN’T ENOUGH, Stacy-Deanne. A powerful woman finds out money can’t buy love.
Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She weaves stories that pull the reader into her world and to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hang out with and men who love them with everything they have.
Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013, she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After.
J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women’s fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.
Annamaria Bazzi – Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happy ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories.
Janae Keyes – Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others.
Toye-Lawson Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.
P.C. Zick – Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels.
Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories.
Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England.
Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy’s books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can’t get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work.
I’m excited to be a part of the Indie BookFest 2017 in Orlando, Florida, September 28-30. To attend as a reader or fan, tickets are still available!
Over eighty fabulous authors, panels and workshops for both authors and readers . . . two
amazing parties and a huge signing . . . where in the world can you find all of this awesomeness
in one event?
Indie BookFest, of course!
This premier author-reader event, in its fifth year in central Florida, takes place September 28 th
through October 1 st at the Westin Lake Mary.
Indie BookFest is the only non-organization- affiliated author event to offer a dedicated Industry
Day, with representatives from a variety of service companies presenting workshops,
participating in panels and meeting with authors. This year, industry reps include those from
Written Word Media, Draft2Digital, Robin Reads, Bublish and more.
But IBF isn’t simply an author education conference. We also offer an entire evening and day of
Reader Appreciation panels and presentations—PLUS FanFare, an evening where the authors
entertain the readers.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a three-hour signing that is free and open to the public, on
Saturday from three to six.
Tickets to Indie BookFest 2017 are available now. There are several options for readers and for
–INDUSTRY DAY Ticket: This option provides admittance to and participation in all the
panels and workshops offered on Friday, September 29 th . Topics will apply to both new and
established authors, as well as to others in the publishing field. This ticket allows attending
authors and those interested in exploring the possibility of authorhood to participate in the entire
weekend; it also includes FanFare, Reader Appreciation Day participation, the signing and
Saturday night party. Thursday night’s Dinner with the Authors is not included.
–VIP TICKET: This option provides admittance to and participation in all aspects of Indie
BookFest, including access to the entire weekend EXCEPT the Thursday night dinner (available
at an additional charge), including the Green Room, all panels, workshops, parties and signings.
VIP ticket holders also receive a special VIP swag bag.
–GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET: This option includes access to FanFare on Friday night,
reader workshops and panels on Saturday, the three-hour signing on Saturday, and the Saturday
night party, as well as access to the Swag Tables.
–YOUNG AUTHOR EVENT: The Young Author session will take place Saturday, September
30, from 9:30-11 AM. Attendees must be under 18 to attend. A panel of authors will lead the
workshop, which will explore all nuances of writing and publishing a book. Very Important:
This is an add-on ticket to the main event. You must purchase either a general admission/VIP
or Industry Day ticket to add this event.
— THURSDAY NIGHT DINNER WITH THE AUTHORS: Join authors from Indie BookFest
2017 as we kick off the event with a lovely buffet meal in a beautiful setting.
Today marks the 36th anniversary of my father’s death.
He passed away around noon on August 29, 1981. I find it difficult to comprehend–how could it be so long ago when it seems as if we last spoke only yesterday? But it has been that long. Recently, I wrote about the months leading up to his death because of the serendipity of life. I’m honored to have been a part of the circle of life as my family struggled to accept the passing of our leader. Here’s the story of that time.
I love you, Dad, and always will.
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
Written in 2017
One week in May in 1981, my family went from the depths of sorrow to the heights of joy.
It all began on Mother’s Day. But, in actuality, serendipitous events swirled behind the scenes unbeknownst to us gathered at my parents’ house to celebrate my mother. I had been married for a year, and our carefully plotted life did not include children …not yet. We had other things to accomplish first.
We posed for various photos, and in all of them, my father is pale, and his shoulders droop. He had been suffering from a nasty cold for weeks and he’d been unable to shake it.
“We’ll call the doctor tomorrow,” my mother assured me. “Don’t worry. He probably just needs some vitamins.”
The next day my mother called after his appointment.
“The doctor wants to run some tests.” No. I didn’t want this news, and I certainly didn’t need to hear the rest. “The doctor wants them done in the hospital.”
We had a diagnosis within days of his hospitalization.
Liver cancer. Three months to live at the most so far had the cancer advanced. They could only give him small doses of chemotherapy, which would allow us the summer with him. It wasn’t a cure, the doctor warned. It was simply a prolonging of the inevitable. The cancer had progressed speedily without detection, and within days, my father faced the end of his life.
I cried with my mother and my brothers. I threw up. Then I cried some more. We all hugged and wept. And when I wasn’t doing all those things, I longed to crawl in bed and sleep. Grief gripped me, but I fought to remain strong. My mother found me in the waiting room of the hospital nearly asleep one afternoon.
“Could you be pregnant?” my mother asked exactly one week after Mother’s Day.
“No way.” I huffed at the question. Pregnancy wasn’t in the plans. “Why would you ask me that?”
“Every time someone hugs you, you cringe as if your breasts are tender. Same thing always happened to me during the first months of my pregnancies with you five kids.”
I looked at my mother. Could she be losing her mind over the grief of losing her husband of forty-five years? I certainly questioned her grip on reality. How could she be thinking of my tender breasts at a time like this?
Tender breasts. That gave me pause. My breasts had been terribly sensitive during all the hugs and embraces during the past few days—meaningful hugs from my aunts to convey their sympathy.
My mother smiled at me—the first smile I’d seen in a week of tears.
All my symptoms, suddenly took on a new significance. I couldn’t keep food down. I felt nauseous all day. And then I remembered the most important one of all. My period was two weeks late.
The next day I went to the clinic to be tested. In those days, we didn’t have the pee sticks purchased at the corner drugstore. I had to pee in a cup and wait hours for the results. I filled out a form when I arrived. The final question asked on the little piece of paper, “What will you do if you’re pregnant?”
Suddenly, the last thing I wanted before that moment became the thing I wanted more than anything else. I knew exactly what to write on the form.
“I’ll scream for joy.” Loudly.
Not only were there no quick tests in 1981, there were no cell phones, either. I called the clinic later in the day from a pay phone.
When the nurse came on the line, I impatiently went through all the details of my life to assure them of my identity. Finally, I finished.
“Well, Patricia, you can start screaming,” the nurse said.
We raced to the hospital where my father lay waiting for his first treatment. We wanted him to hear the news before anyone else.
“You’re going to be a grandfather once again.” I stood at the head of my father’s bed. His eyes filled with tears, and I heard my mother gasp.
The door opened, and my father’s cousin walked in the door.
“How are you, Harmon?” she asked.
“I’m going to have a granddaughter,” he announced. Loud and clear. We all laughed that he’d decided the sex of the child only six weeks into its gestation.
We brought my father home soon afterward. Between my brothers and mother, we rotated shifts of caring for my father. As my father’s cancer ate at his liver and the chemo prolonged his life for a few weeks, he lost his hair and his body mass. I would sit by his bed and read his favorite Bible verses to him. He reminded me of a newborn. Perhaps it was my pregnancy that made me think this way. But the skin on his face grew softer and shinier. When the pain killers worked, he lay in repose with a slight smile and blue-veined lids that reminded me of the fetus pictures I studied as my pregnancy progressed.
He did not want to talk about my pregnancy. At first, it hurt me. But then one afternoon, sitting by his side, I realized he didn’t want to talk about it because he knew he would never meet the child growing inside of me.
I sat by his bedside in those final days, watching his face change from a man dying of cancer to the face of innocence. I put my hand on his and the other hand on my belly. The life cycle beat through me to my father and to my child.
One cloudy morning in August, my father’s breathing became labored. Then, the breathing suddenly stopped. My champion and my hero was gone.
Sobbing, I walked outside. As I stepped onto the back stoop, the sun came out from the clouds and a swoosh of movement somersaulted in my womb. My baby moved inside of me for the first time.
My family assured me it had happened because of my grief.
But I knew better. And five months later, I knew for sure.
From the moment, my father made his pronouncement that I carried a girl, I always believed the same thing. I wouldn’t even consider a boy’s name.
On January 26, 1982, I pushed a baby out of my womb. When the crying bundle was placed on my chest, I discovered that my father had known what others had not.
“Welcome, Anna Christina,” I said to the granddaughter of my father. I had named her after his mother.
The birth of Anna was a serendipitous event, and one that brought much joy for my mother. Her grieving was lessened as she held the new life within hours of Anna’s birth.
Now thirty-five years later, I still feel my father’s presence. Anna, an artist, often does self-portraits, and every one of them resembles the face of my father. That’s not her intention, but she tells me it always ends up that way.
Recently, I showed a friend a photo of my father as a young man.
“It’s Anna!” my friend exclaimed.
Yes, it is. And the circle of life continues.
This essay is one of dozens in my collection of writings, which I’ve spent the summer putting together in one slender volume.
On September 5, 2017, Eclectic Leanings – Musing from a Writer’s Soul will be released. The book is a collection of my columns, essays, articles, and short stories and represents the breadth of my writing career over the past twenty years. The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon.
Since I started writing and editing fulltime in 2012, I’ve always had looming deadlines, either set by my clients, other authors or even by myself. While preparing to do a series of presentations on my great grandfather’s Civil War journal that I published several years ago, the most pressing deadline of the summer fell away when a group of us decided to disband a box set of paranormal romances. About the same time, I completed a large project for a client when his book was published successfully. The opening months of 2017 found me diligently working on the revisioning of the first three books in the Behind the Love series and writing the fourth book, Behind the Door. I finished all the revisions, editing, and promoting by the end of May.
I finished the presentations by mid-June. I came home with all work pressures lifted. And now I scan my desktop, book shelves, and notebooks filled with notes for partially started novels. While working with the Civil War book, I decided to re-do it and add additional material that I discovered while preparing and then meeting Civil War buffs in Michigan. I probably will do a whole new book after I finish the research.
But which of these projects shout out to me? Which one is the over-eager student in the classroom, bouncing up and down and raising her hand to be noticed?
The truth? None of them. I have glimmers of interest in one or the other, but the glimmer fades before I have time to turn on the lamp above my computer. I wrote some in my novel notebooks while traveling as ideas came to me, but nothing leaped off the page and grabbed me by the fingers and pressed my hands to the keyboard.
I’m not panicked, and it’s not writer’s block. I’ve been writing steadily since I returned home. This post marks my fourth blog piece in three days.
I’m not even marketing this summer. People don’t buy books during good weather and vacations with family and friends. I’ve wasted more marketing dollars in June, July, and August than I’m willing to admit. This year, I decided to gear up for the fall with the publication of the second book in Rivals in Love series. I released the first book, Love on Trial, in May but didn’t do any marketing for the book since I wanted to release it when the second book was nearly done in September. Two chapters and lots of notes are all I have for Love on Board.
My first paranormal romance awaits creation. I have copious notes and had begun reading paranormal romances exclusively. I’m reading a book on writing the paranormal novel. Several chapters are written. This was going to be my summer project so I could meet an early September deadline for a multi-author box set. When we canceled that project, my enthusiasm for the project deflated. I can’t say why because the research and elements of the plot were coming together for me. And I love the setting in North Florida. The working title is Suwannee River Dreams. Maybe if I go back to my notes and the opening chapters, I’ll be inspired once again.
Another novel rests in the back of my mind and in a journal notebook set aside specifically for this contemporary work of fiction. It’s a saga and will explore the lives of five people from college in the 1970s to the present day as they face empty nests, retirement, illness, and deaths. The working title is Four Women and a Man. All their lives are intertwined, but until one of them dies, they have no idea how much. Only two of them know everything, and one ends up dead, and the other is the man in the title. I’ve been taking notes on this one for a few years. I’ve developed character backgrounds and worked on how I might handle POV. It’s time to work on this one, but I find myself unable to sit down and devote the time necessary to develop what I believe will be a lengthy work covering four or five decades.
Perhaps I should start by writing a short story. I have made a commitment to other authors to write a time travel short for inclusion in a time travel anthology. This topic intrigues me. I’ve decided my heroine will travel back to the 1920s Chicago to the place where her grandmother found her first true love, but she had to leave him without explanation. A locket she inherits with her grandmother’s picture inside from that time sends her back to that place to help the man left behind find resolution.
I’m ready to explore other genres in my writing, and I believe I’ve come to the crossroads of where I want to venture next. It’s not a bad place to be, but it certainly is a departure from my usual modus operandi.
If you made it this far in my ramblings around the corners of this junction, thank you. I’m writing this post in hopes it might make things clearer for me and give me focus. Perhaps it has done just that because what I’ve accomplished in the first half of this year might indicate I need a vacation. A real vacation where I don’t feel the pressure to constantly push and push to write and sell books. If you’re an Indie Author, you know the challenges to continue to sell. When I’m away from my desk, my sales trickle down to almost nothing. It’s the nature of this path I’ve chosen, but I’m burned out with it all.
It’s time to give myself permission to stop, look around me, and feel the spark of creativity once again. If I don’t sell books, I don’t sell books. And I will survive, and those notebooks and partially written chapters will be waiting for me when it’s time.
Perhaps it’s that invisible muse telling me it’s all right to rest and recharge. If that is the case, I’ve been given a great gift. Time to sit on the porch and gaze at the mountains and hold hands with my husband who sometimes feels neglected when I push myself so hard.
What are your thoughts? Does any of this sound familiar to you? And how do you handle it? I would love to know.