NaNoWriMo (huh?)

NaNoWriMo

Yesterday began the month known as “NaNoWriMo.”  Anyone who has delved into the world of novel writing knows that this means “National Novel Writing Month”.

The idea is to, however sloppily, write an entire novel in the month of November.

“Say Whaaaaaa?”

Yes, you heard me…an entire novel in one month.

And the funny thing is, people actually do it.

Yes, they are aware that Thanksgiving is this month. And Christmas is next month.

Yes, they have jobs. And families. And doctors’ appointments. And houses to clean. And meals to cook. And friendships to nurture.

But they also have writing goals. These are things that are important to them. And they are willing to go full force, pedal to the metal in order to meet this goal this month.

For the past three years, I have wanted to take part in this event. But there is always something stopping me.

I usually blame the time constraints of having a big family, a husband whose job requires a lot of time and volunteering on my part, and any other detail of life on which I can hang my convenient little excuses.

But it’s really that I am afraid.

What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I’m no good? What if I spend all this time writing a novel and it is junk (or I think it is good, but everyone else thinks it is junk?)

Well, then, if I let that stop me, then I am going to be no better off next year than I am now…in fact I will be worse.

I have missed the first day of NaNoWriMo, 2014. But there are 29 days left. And so, I am going to quit blogging (for today) and open up a Word document and go for it.

Wish me luck!

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The post in which I simply write what came to mind for my daughter

Yesterday morning I was sitting at my kitchen table and my 17-year-old daughter came up behind me and asked “Mom, have you blogged in a while?”

“Um, no”

“Well, you should. I really like reading your posts.”

Now, for those of you who don’t have teenagers, when a teen says something like that, you listen.  When a teen is reaching out and wants to communicate, you respond.

So here I am, trying to think of a brilliant, insightful, meaningful post. Something that will impart some kind of profound life lesson on my daughter and the three other people who read this blog.

And you know what…I got nothin’.

I think the harder I try to be wise or influential, the more fake I sound. And there is nothing I hate worse than sounding fake. I want my family and friends to know that I genuinely care about them, even if I don’t always express it well. My compliments often sound empty, and I am a lousy gift-giver (I’m lookin’ at you, beer-making kit that I bought my husband 3 Christmases ago and has moved to 3 different houses without being opened.)

There are some people who have a way with words that make the rest of us drop our jaws and exclaim “That is exactly how I feel.  I just never knew how to say it!” The late Maya Angelou, who passed away earlier this week, was one of these people.

And there are other people who simply seem born with talent or at least discover their talents early enough in life to develop them into lifelong careers or passions. We all secretly want to be one of these people: someone who knows his or her purpose, discovers his or her talent, and develops it to the level of a divine art.

And yet, we rarely see the struggle, pain, and hard work that leads up to these accomplishments. We see the shiny, polished surface that these people present to the world: the perfectly edited and published book, the magnificently sculpted muscle tone on a fitness model, the perfectly lit and positioned photograph, the amazingly straight and tight spiral on a football . But underneath all these things are years of bruises, headaches, fatigue, arguments with family members, bills that need to be paid, demands from employers, children, neighbors, extended family, etc. Namely, there is life to be lived.

What we often fail to realize is that no one does it all. The folks who excel in one or two areas often failed in many others, or at least they struggled in other areas. I have never seen a painting by Pavarotti. I have never seen Michael Jordan host his own cooking show on the Food Network. I have never read a book written by Mozart or heard of any great military feats that Shakespeare accomplished.

Nobody is talented at everything. But we often compare our own weaknesses with the gifts of others. And we downplay our own gifts as if they were common and that everyone has them.

Please don’t do that. Where would our world of art be if Pablo Picasso lamented that he wasn’t good at chemistry or algebra?  And so what if Einstein couldn’t sing or sew?

Find what you enjoy doing and do that as well as you can. If you know your calling or your talents, develop them, and don’t flounder, wishing you had someone else’s talents. If you don’t know, that’s okay too, even if you are 40, 60, or 80 years old. If you are still alive, you have a purpose and something to give to the world.

But whatever you do, do NOT fall prey to the traps of envy, jealousy, and despair.  YOU are where you are supposed to be. But you have a choice…you can  squander the gifts and talents you were given, or you can develop them into a gift for the world.

(And I’ll tell you a little secret: even if you squander them, you still have a chance to live an important, meaningful, fulfilling life. Have you ever heard of the “prodigal son”?)

So, dear daughter, I blogged for you this morning. This is just an unedited outpouring of what came to mind as I started writing. Hopefully there is a nugget of value here for you.

And if not, that’s okay…there’s always next time.

 

“Back to December” Book Cover Reveal

I LOVE supporting people who are doing great work.

In fact, I sometimes think I am a walking ad agency. Nothing gives me a greater rush than helping someone to realize goals that he or she has worked hard to achieve.

Today I have the honor of doing just that for a friend I met in a writing workshop. Her name is Heather McCoubrey. Like me, she is passionate about her family and her writing (and she’s a huge supporter of military families). Unlike me, she has actually completed and published her first novel and is set to have two more come out THIS YEAR!

Today marks the “cover reveal” for her next book, Back to December. Now, they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I say that that is partially hogwash. If that were true, why would authors and publishers agonize over cover design and color? Many times, the only reason I have given a book a chance is because I found its cover intriguing. And more often than not, I have ended up finding a treasure just by following my instincts.

Back to December-KindleFinal2

Now, I have yet to read Back to December, but if my instincts prove true from the cover, it will be a novel full of emotion and suspense. I am looking forward to reading it, and I hope you will give it a read when it comes out on 20 June, 2014.

Until then, to whet your appetite, please check out the following description obtained from the media package (Oh, and don’t worry…I’ll remind you as it gets closer to the release date so you can have your Kindle charged up and ready to order!):

About the Book Back to December:

Thanks to an abusive mother and an absent father, Anna Blackhurst has only known the love of two people: her Gram and her best friend, Niki.

When Anna meets Cooper Reed in a smoky club, she’s immediately drawn to his good looks but isn’t prepared to open herself up to a relationship. As time passes, Anna finds herself falling in love with Cooper and she begins to rethink her future. Maybe, despite her childhood, she can have a happy-ever-after.

But when her mother is in a terrible accident, she again sinks her claws into Anna and Anna’s world is thrown upside down. Despite Cooper’s unwavering support, Anna walks away only to regret it immediately. In order to heal, not only herself, but her broken relationship, Anna must stand up for herself and accept that the only way she’s going to be happy is if she grabs ahold of it herself.

About the Author:

HM-Cropped

Heather McCoubrey is a native of Maine but having moved all over the U.S. as a child, she doesn’t sound like one. She’s been writing since middle school when a teacher taught her she could create her own stories instead of just reading them. That year she had some of her first poems published in the school magazine and from there she graduated to writing a full-length novel in high school (which has been collecting dust on her shelf ever since!).

She is the self-published author of To Love Twice, her debut novel. Her second novel, Back to December, is scheduled to be released in June 2014 and the novel that’s been collecting dust on the shelf, Emily’s Choice, is scheduled to be released in October 2014. Heather resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, Rex the chihuahua and Fatty the goldfish. When she’s not being super-mom and wife, she ekes out time to write, watch football, practice her British accent and dream of living on an island where it’s eighty degrees year-round.

Find the Author:

You can find Heather McCoubrey on:

Her blog, Romantic Escapes: http://heathermccoubrey.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHeatherMcCoubrey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/h_mccoubrey

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/heathermccoubrey

Google+: google.com/+HeatherMcCoubrey

Find the Book: To Love Twice:

Amazon (eBook & print): http://www.amazon.com/Love-Twice-Heather-McCoubrey-
ebook/dp/B00BWYEHH0/

Barnes & Noble (print): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-love-twice-heather-
mccoubrey/1116093917?ean=9781492175995

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17668673-to-love-twice

Blurb for To Love Twice:

During an intense and terrifying experience, Kate meets Brad Walker, the man of her dreams. After a blissful ten years, Brad suddenly becomes cold and distant. A few months after giving birth to their daughter, Kate leaves and files for divorce. When he dies a few days later and his secrets are revealed, Kate is devastated.

Five years later, Kate has made a successful new life for herself and her daughter, despite the fact that she clings to his memory and grieves for her husband. While in London on a business trip, she meets London’s most eligible bachelor, Edward Kent. She is enchanted with his manners and dazzled by his attention. He’s everything she could wish for, and everything she’s afraid of. Edward finds her refreshing and lovely and quickly realizes that he’s finally found the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

Can Kate set Brad’s memory and her fears aside long enough to find happiness with Edward and finally see that she is able To Love Twice?

Reviews of To Love Twice:

“First book I’ve ever read completely through! It was awesome. I laughed, I cried, I found some really good points. I loved the romance. Just might read it again!” –Jillian Hucks

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Readers who just want a steamy romance will be disappointed… No smut here…but plenty of romance and great character development. I laughed, I cried, I was genuinely surprised a few times and skipped sleep to finish reading and get to the happy ending. I wish it were longer! I am not ready to say goodbye to Kate and Edward.” –Kindle Customer “CharmedGirl”

“I’d recommend this book to anyone. I’m not one for romances but this book had me hooked. And the crazy twist at the end, I couldn’t put it down.” –Tiffany Clark

“I’m not normally a fan of romances but this was good and kept my interest… the ending was Awesome. Great snowy day read!!” –Bonnie G

“This story was very unexpected. The plot was great, the characters were real, and the ending was surprising. I never saw it coming. Kate is so strong to have gone through all she did to find love again. Heather, I look forward to your next novel. You have a new fan!” –Ann

My First “Rock Star”

As promised, I am starting my new “Rock Star” segment.  These are friends I know who are doing great stuff in their lives in one area or another.  They might not be rich or famous (yet), but they will all be fabulous examples of people who are out there making their dreams become a reality.

My first “Rock Star” is a gal I met through an online writing workshop that I took back in the Fall.  It was geared towards moms who want to make writing a bigger part of their lives.  Well, Heather McCoubrey was  ahead of the game, having already published her first novel, To Love Twice.  She has recently completed her second manuscript and is deep in the trenches of the editing process.Couple at Big Ben after sunset

Heather has become a friend of mine on Facebook and on Goodreads.  I love that, in the midst of mothering, she is finding time to write and knock out completed novels (this, being a goal of my own!)

She also happens to be a New England Patriots Fan, so I knew she and I would get along splendidly!  (We consoled each other heartily after Denver handed them, as my husband put it, a good old-fashioned “butt-whooping” in the playoffs.)

I digress.  I hope you will take a minute to check out Heather’s work by clicking on the link.