Happy*New*Year’s*Eve*Treat!!!

Ten hours until 2015 and counting!! And I have 2 things to celebrate.

#1: My publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, is hosting a side-wide sale from January 1-3, with a whopping EIGHTY-SEVEN! titles discounted to just 99 cents! 18 Things is included in this sale, the first book in My So-Called Afterlife Trilogy. And with the last book, 18 Thoughts, releasing on January 27th, NOW is the perfect time to purchase and read if you haven’t already done so (I know some of you stubborn readers wait until a trilogy is completed before reading).

CQ sale

Which leads me to #2 . . . the trailer for 18 Thoughts is here! Check it out and let me know what you think. I made it myself, and I mainly use it for my school visits.

 

See you next Wednesday for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post! Until then, I’ll be wearing my party hat because 2015 is going to be the B*E*S*T year yet!

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Merry Christmas

Silent Night! Holy Night!

All is calm, all is bright.

Round yon virgin mother and child!

Holy Infant so tender and mild.

Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace!

–Joseph Mohr, 1818

Can you believe it’s Christmas Eve 2014 already? I can’t. I know I haven’t been very active on social media lately (I’m trying, I swear), but from what I have seen, I know many of you won’t be sorry to see this year pass. For whatever reason, it seems life has chosen to knock a lot of us down this year. For my family, we’ve had a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit after the loss of my husband’s grandmother. She was 84 and lived a good life, but it wasn’t something we were expecting. Nonetheless, we attended her memorial on Saturday and although it doesn’t seem right, life goes on.

Between losing our house, family members, and getting sick a lot in the past two months, I’ve found myself whining to God that life isn’t fair. Useless, I know. I tell my two kids all the time I don’t want to hear the “F” word (which in my home is ‘fair’). This year didn’t go the way I planned in too many ways to count. I found myself thinking, “I don’t deserve this crap!”

But then I was reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas as I baked goodies with my 10yo daughter today. I bet, “This wasn’t what I had planned” is exactly what Mary thought as she gave birth to the son of God in a stable. Talk about humbling.

With 2015 right around the corner, I’m excited! I’m especially excited because the final installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts, comes out January 27th! A million thoughts went into telling Olga’s story. Of course, when  I wrote the beginning, I knew there’d have to be an end. A final chapter. I thought I knew it before I wrote it, but I didn’t. In the end, I let my characters take over.

And isn’t it amazing how God does the same thing for us? Yes, he begins our stories, sets each one of us apart for a specific time and place. He’s a plotter, not a pantser! But he, the God of the whole universe, gives each of us our own pen. He allows us to write the stories of our own lives. How much easier would it be for him to script each scene for us? But he loves us too much for that.

So as I take up my figurative pen for the new year and you take up yours, I hope that we remember, yesss, this isn’t what we ‘deserved’ … it’s so much better! God had the perfect ending in mind when he sent his son to earth for us.

In the darkness of the night, the Wise Men saw light. Maybe just like 2,000+ years ago, God will use the darkness of this year to reveal his light if we look for it.

Because that light that shone in the darkness? Best. Christmas. Present. Ever. His ending was our new beginning.

Merry Christmas to all!! Oh, and one more thing to celebrate tonight . . .

Elf

Handling Criticism

Have you ever had one of those days where you couldn’t get anything done because a hurtful situation was on instant replay in your mind? Maybe it was a bad review of your book or an emotional conversation with a friend or being treated unfairly at work or your kids not listening to you for the thousandth time.

That was me today. And with the release of 18 Thoughts, the final book in my 18 Things trilogy, coming in January, I thought today was good training. Because while I know plenty of people will LOVE the ending of my book, just as many could hate it. Knowing how to handle criticism is essential in life and especially if you want to last in the publishing business.

My initial reaction to criticism is usually the need to tell my side of the story, to prove I’m right and they’re wrong. But this holiday season, as I listen to my favorite Christmas carol, Silent Night, it’s been a reminder to find a quiet place before I respond instead . . . whether it’s eating lunch in my classroom while listening to my iTunes, taking the dog around the block, reading a book in my bedroom, enjoying a relaxing bubble bath, playing around on Pinterest, or sitting quietly on my back porch. Why? Because in the quiet, things make more sense. Having some quiet time brings me to a more rational place where I can respond to the situation with truth. Because in the quiet, I’m able to put myself in the other person’s shoes and understand why they said what they did, even if I don’t agree with it.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is even though multiple people are involved in the same situation, nobody sees things from the same perspective. So when we’re dealing with high emotions, whether it’s in a real relationship or with our book boyfriends, keep that in mind. Give your friend, coworker, family member, fellow author, or book reviewer the benefit of the doubt before you criticize them or respond to their criticism (and by the way, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t ever respond to a mean book review).

With my next book release, I hope to stay ahead of the game by scheduling in some relaxation during the six week media blitz. Maybe if I pencil in some down time to relax and breathe, I’ll be able to respond with integrity when someone criticizes me because I’m not already pulling myself in a million different directions.

IWSGHEADER

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We meet around the blogosphere the first Wednesday of every month. Feel free to join us anytime and thanks to this month’s wonderful co-hosts:

Heather Gardner

Tonja Drecker

Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace

Patsy Collins

And before I go, I wanted to give a shout out to my Curiosity Quills publishing sister, Sharon Bayliss. She has a shiny new cover out, take a look:

Watch Me Burn EBook

And to celebrate the cover reveal for The December People Book Two, from December 1-21, Sharon’s Book One, Destruction, is on sale for 99 cents! If you’re a fan of dark wizards and Urban-Fantasy, this is a MUST READ!

About Destruction

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children. Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK