Archives for November 2014

Weeknight Dinner

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As a busy momma, it’s imperative that I have nights out with my friends from time to time. Last week, I got the awesome privilege of meeting my editor, Janet. Janet is the one who offered me a contract on Cupid’s Angels with Soul Mate Publishing. A few months ago, she called me, actually called me to offer me a contract over the phone. Talk about an exciting day! During the phone conversation (that lasted for almost an hour) we learned we had a million things in common, despite our thirty plus year age difference and to top it off, we each lived in the Houston area.

After much begging on my part to meet her, last week, we finally got the chance. She drove two long hours to meet me in my neck of the woods at the local Chili’s. The evening provided a much needed break for the both of us.

She gave me the inside scoop of what life was like as an editor. I was flabbergasted at the amount of reading she has to do in any given day. I honestly don’t see how her eyes don’t cross on her. Maybe they do from time to time.

The entire evening we shared our past experiences, how they relate to our writing, and we talked about the writing world in general. If you aren’t interested in writing, then I’m sure your eyes would have crossed or at least glazed over as your face fell into your plate, but not for Janet or me. The drinks kept coming and the conversation kept flowing. It was like we were apart of our own secret club and only select few could join. Almost like when a group of mom’s get together and share mommy stories that only mom’s understand, or when men get together and talk sports lingo that completely causes my eyes to glaze over. It was our own secret Chili’s Dinner Club. Maybe that can be a new book title!

We each had a wonderful time, and I’m not just saying that. She actually emailed me the next day and told me so! By meeting Janet, I’m realizing more and more how addictive writing is and there absolutely are others out there like me, I just have to find them.

Not only did Janet provide me with a much needed break and night out, she filled me with her wisdom and confidence. I can do this. I can be a great writer. Will I ever be famous, probably not, but that’s okay. At least I’m doing what I love and it’s being well received by others.

Thanks, Janet!

 

Erin Bevan

How to be a Mother and a Writer

Today, I have guest blogger Camille Faye. She’s going to give us some advice on how to carve out writing time while being a stay at home mom, and of course, she’s going to give us some scoop on her latest release, Voodoo Butterfly. Isn’t the cover great?

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How to Raise Kids, Write, and Not Go Crazy!

I used to be a college writing instructor, juggling teaching classes at night while trying to be a mom during the day. That routine made me exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. In 2009, I left my teaching job in order to be a full-time mom. Part of me felt like I was “giving up” by quitting teaching because I was losing a part of my identity. So I decided that while I was raising my growing family, I’d fulfill a long-time dream. I decided to write a novel.

Mainly, I needed a project to keep the adult part of my brain happy. I’ve always been someone who loves learning and thinking about life’s “big ideas,” so I threw that part of my brain into the creation of my novel, Voodoo Butterfly.

A year before I had begun writing, the idea for Voodoo Butterfly came to me in a dream when I was actually visiting New Orleans with my family. I dreamt of this woman who had the power to change evil people good. The next flash of my dream showed Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans absolutely covered in monarch butterflies. I tried to fall back asleep, but couldn’t, so I wrote the dream in my journal. When I started writing the novel, I decided my main character should unexpectedly inherit a voodoo shop in New Orleans. The catch? She knows nothing about voodoo or her secret power when the book starts.

Getting this book published has not been an overnight success story. It took me five years from the start of writing to publication. Over the course of writing and publishing Voodoo Butterfly, I’ve learned some really important lessons about balancing my roles as a mom, wife, and writer. So now I’m passing on my secret Jedi knowledge to you.

Carve out time for yourself
My husband and my kids know that if I don’t get writing time, then I turn into Mean Mommy. While writing the first draft of Voodoo Butterfly, I committed to 15 minutes a day of writing. Normally it would turn into an hour, but if I could only do the 15 minutes, that’s all that I would do. This practice enabled me to finish a version of the book that was good enough to get a request from an NYC agent.

Savor the creative process as a whole
My novel was rejected dozens of times by agents and editors. Finally my book did really well in a Romance Writers of America chapter contest. One of the judges of my submission owned Soul Mate Publishing and she offered me a contract. Many writers give up, I think, because they don’t savor the act of actually writing. They hold onto the hope of landing that superstar publishing contract or becoming the next self-publishing phenom. Successful writers do it because they love it, so be sure you’re savoring the creative process as a whole.

Find support
My friends and family are incredibly supportive of my writing. They help out with my kids, they have been beta readers for my novel, and have spread the word about the book’s release. Surround yourself with people that uplift you. Also find writing groups and critique partners to help you grow as a writer. My critique group, The Lit Ladies, have provided me with the constructive criticism I need but also, more importantly, the hand-holding and cheerleading that is necessary to face the many rejections that are NORMAL in the publishing world.

Take care of yourself
Stay hydrated, exercise, get fresh air, eat well, get a good night’s sleep, be in your happy place. You can click the links below for more tips about how writers and moms can be healthy in mind, body, and spirit:

Stress Busters for Moms and Writers: Mind

Stress Busters for Moms and Writers: Body

Stress Busters for Moms and Writers: Spirit 

Love your family
Some of the great writers died alone. Yes, those like Hemingway and Poe were geniuses but look at the trade-off they accepted for committing so fully to their art. I’m not willing to lose all the people I love in order to write. I want to balance things out. As a mom, I deal with whining, crying (sometimes it’s me crying…LOL), sleepless nights, and all manner of bodily fluids. But I also get to immerse myself in love. Our family has gotten to explore the world, laugh and play, create beautiful art, watch baseball games, dance around the living room, and share an endless supply of hugs and kisses.

There is no singular way to raise a family alongside a writing career; my way is a work in progress. Even though I may not have much time or energy to craft the next great American novel, I know that I’ve dedicated this time in my life to my three best creations, my son and daughter and my marriage. Along the way, I’ll also dedicate a bit of time to myself as a writer. That’s my bigger picture.

Hope the above tips help you feel more centered as a writer-mama. Feel free to comment below with your own ideas. You can also get in touch with me at my website.

Camille Faye | Author of Voodoo Butterfly

Experience love, purpose, and the paranormal in New Orleans.

www.camillefaye.com

Facebook | Twitter

Voodoo Butterfly MEDIUM

When twenty-five-year old Sophie Nouveau inherits her grandmother’s voodoo shop she knows nothing about voodoo. Or her family’s history of Mind Changers who have the power to change evil people good. To complicate matters, someone doesn’t want Sophie in New Orleans and sends a series of death threats to scare her away from her new enchanted life.

Tipped off by her grandmother’s ghost, Sophie realizes her mind changing spell’s been missing one magic ingredient: true love. If Sophie cannot experience transformative love, she cannot make her spell work, and she will be powerless to fight back when confronted by the one who wants her dead.

About the Author:

Camille FayeCamille Faye lives in Missouri, loves on her family, and writes during the baby’s nap time. She grew up in a haunted house, which sparked her fascination with the paranormal. Before becoming a writer, she reported for an NBC affiliate and taught writing at universities in Missouri and Illinois. She found the muse for her debut novel, Voodoo Butterfly, during a family trip to New Orleans where she dreamt of a woman who had the power to change evil people good. The Northwest Houston RWA named her novel, Voodoo Butterfly, a 2013 Lone Star Contest finalist. Camille’s stories are inspired by her travels to 27 countries and counting! Follow her journey at www.camillefaye.com.

Erin Bevan

Let’s Get Real

I have all sorts of cute pictures to show you for Mommy Diaries, but not today. Today, I’m getting real with you.

This past weekend I attended The Nutcracker Market with my sister-in-law. If you’re not familiar with The Nutcracker Market, I’ll fill you in. Vendors come from far and wide all over the US to rent booth space. In their booths, they sale what they are famous for. It can be anything from furniture, pajama’s, Christmas decor, kids clothes, food, etc. If you can imagine it, then it’s at The Nutcracker Market. The money raised from the vendor’s rental fees goes toward the Houston Ballet. It’s four days of drinking, eating, and shopping until you drop. People come from all over the area to attend The Nutcracker Market, and it has become a tradition every year in my husbands family that the ladies meet up and go.

Naturally, we attend on the very last day because that’s when all the vendors-or most- knock down their prices. They don’t want to pack it all up and send it back home and I don’t want to pay full price, so Sunday works for me. Not only does Sunday work for me, but it works for thousands of other people as well. That being said, the rules of the market are unless you are disabled there are no strollers, carts, suitcases, or wheels of any kind allowed inside the market. Whatever you bring or buy you carry. You bring kids who can’t walk, guess what! You carry them. That’s the rules! No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

My sister-in-law and I knew this well before going into the market, so we planned accordingly. I brought my four month old, Charlie, along. One person backpacked the baby, while the other backpacked the diaper bag. Naturally, we switched throughout the  market to give the other a break from whatever was heaviest. Well, after about four hours of shopping, Charlie, poor boy, was dropping. He was tired, hungry, needed to be changed, and was ready to be out of his baby carrier. I understood. I was ready for him to be out of it, too. My back was killing me, my shoes were rubbing blisters, and I hadn’t even made it through half of the market yet.

As I’m standing in a long line to order a baked potato, I’m bouncing Charlie back and forth trying to console him. My plan was to feed mommy and baby at the same time. I’m shhing, I’m bouncing, I’m reasoning with my child trying to please him long enough to get my food and find a seat. While, next to me, a grandmotherly figure decides to peek her head in the baby carrier and tell me how pretty my baby was. Well, that sure was sweet.

Then, she proceeds to tell me that I don’t get to do things on my time, mommy! She actually put the “mommy” in there, and that I have to do things on his time.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold the phone, lady. You should have stopped while you were ahead. All I could sit there and think was how bad my feet and back hurt. How shopping without a child every once in a while would be the greatest luxury in life and I got grandma telling me I don’t get to do things on my time anymore. All I wanted to say was,  Lady, I have three kids. There is no more me time. Ninety percent of my time goes to my three children, and the other ten percent goes to sleeping or pooping, which my kids still find a way to steal ninety percent of that ten by banging on the bathroom door or just coming right on in to have a conversation with me. So don’t preach to me about doing things on their time. When the heck do I get my time? My time is now and I’m still spending it with one of my children. Older and wiser, my ass! 

But, naturally, I didn’t say any of those things because that would have been rude. I just smiled, nodded my head, and said, “You’re right.”

Erin Bevan

Tell Me About It Thursday- Bethany Averie

The holiday season is right around the corner. The holidays are usually a  time for a little chaos, a little fun, and family traditions. Each holiday is a chance to start your own family tradition or traditions if you don’t have any. Author Bethany Averie has stopped by to tell us a little bit about traditions in her family. Take it away Bethany!

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Thank you, Erin, for having me.

In my family we have a ton of traditions. One of them is passing down stories of what happened as children to those who were either born later, or wouldn’t remember. One of the best story-tellers in my family was my maternal grandfather. He’d spin a tale that would keep you riveted to the very end. Some of the stories he told were true, some were made up, and some you couldn’t always tell for sure.

Grandpa would get a twinkle in his eye and ask you if you thought it was true or not. Sometimes he’d tell you outright if something was a true tale. But whether true or false, my siblings, cousins, and I loved his stories and made him repeat many of them over and over again. However, no story was as popular as The Weasel Story. This one was famous in my family and among my relatives. And from what I understand, is actually true…which makes it even better (in my opinion).

I thinks sometimes Grandpa wondered if we’d heard it enough times, but we always insisted on hearing it again. So, he’d tell us.

My grandfather grew up in Michigan, back in the days of farms, trapping for food and furs, some years before the Great Depression. One day, a weasel got into his family’s house. They chased the animal everywhere. The weasel ran around the house, but they couldn’t get rid of it. Finally, Great Grandpa Jake (my Grandfather’s dad) was bent over a bed, where the weasel had gone. He’d sent my grandfather’s brother for the broom. My great-uncle came out with the broom and just couldn’t resist swatting Great-Grandpa across his behind with it and shouting “Weasel!”

Nobody told that story quite as well as my grandfather. It doesn’t matter how many poems, short stories, lyrics, or novels I write, I’ll never be able to tell that story quite the way grandpa did. Which is why my mother has it on a cassette tape—although, it might be hard to find a way to play the tape. It’s not a great recording, but at least the Weasel Story is preserved the way it’s meant to be told—by my grandfather. I only wish my kids had been able to hear it. Unfortunately, Grandpa died in 2004, just a few months after I got married—years before I had any kids. But maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll find that tape and a player and everybody will be able to hear the Weasel Story again. I hope so because nobody told stories like Grandpa.

About Bethany Averie:

BetBethany Averie photohany Averie is the second-to-the-youngest of eight children. As a kid, she loved fairy tales, especially Cinderella and Beauty & The Beast. Bethany still loves fairy tales, Greek & Roman Mythology, and romance. She resides in the Lone Star State with her real life hero, and a shadow who calls her ‘Mom’. When not writing, Bethany enjoys time with family and friends and dreaming up new worlds.

 

 

Where to find Bethany Averie:

Website: http://bethanyaverie.wix.com/authorbethanyaverie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriteByBethany

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyAverie.Author

Blog: http://writebybethany.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7169678.Bethany_Averie?from_search=true

Erin Bevan

Mommy Diaries

If these boys don’t stop screaming, I’ll… Well, I don’t know what I’ll do.

It’s almost 9:00 am here. Is that too early for a drink? If I was still living in South Korea, I would say “No way. Go for it!”. But, I’ve noticed people in the US tend to frown on early morning drinking, so for now I’ll stick to an extra strong coffee and maybe a good set of ear plugs.

I’ve been contemplating these past few weeks posting every once in a while in what I would like to call the “Mommy Diaries.” I’m a stay at home mom, that’s no surprise. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I post about my children often. They have become such a huge part of who I am, almost like extra appendages. That’s what they feel like somedays,. Without them I’d be lost.

That’s not to say that they don’t drive me crazy or raving mad sometimes. They do, but they also make me laugh and entertain me for hours on end just watching them play or hearing them giggle.

So, with all that being said, I am going to make a conscious effort to post weekly for “Mommy Diaries.” It will be something child related, whether it’s a craft, a photo, or a confession. If you’d like to join in on the fun, please do! I would love to hear your stories.

Erin Bevan

A Tale of Two Trailers

Today, on Tell Me About It Thursday, I have Joanne Guidoccio. I won’t tell her story for her, I’ll let her tell it to you, but FYI-you might want to grab a tissue!

 

A TALE OF TWO TRAILERS

After signing the contract for Between Land and Sea with Soul Mate Publishing, I started brainstorming about different marketing tools. One idea that popped in my head was a trailer. In my research, I had discovered mixed messages regarding the effectiveness of trailers. Some authors and publicists were wildly enthusiastic while others suggested that trailers did not necessarily lead to more sales.

Weighing both sets of opinions, I reached the conclusion that it wasn’t just about sales. I wanted to celebrate the launch of my debut novel with a trailer. And to make the prospect of a trailer even more exciting, I could call upon the expertise of my musically-talented brothers.

Both brothers quickly agreed and when my mother found out about this joint venture, she was delighted. From mid-March to late September, the book and the songs were the main topics of our telephone conversations. Whenever I asked about her deteriorating health (advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease), my mother would answer quickly and then steer the conversation back to the launch of Between Land and Sea.

I had envisioned my brothers collaborating and composing one theme song, but that’s not how their muses worked. Each brother had his own unique interpretation of the middle-aged mermaid who was aged beyond recognition and then dumped on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England.

Ernie came up with the Yin version. Aptly titled, “It’s Your Time,” the soft, contemplative music gently skims over the heartbreak, encouraging Isabella to imagine a happier future.

Augy delivered the Yang version in “Father Time Blinked.” Very different music with several pointed questions and comments sprinkled throughout the lyrics.

Unable to choose between the two songs, I decided to use both versions and hired Erin Kelly (http://erinkelly.webs.com/) to produce the trailers.

The timeline was a very tight one, but everyone came through, and both trailers were launched on the same day as the novel.

My mother received the DVDs of the songs several days before the actual launch. That week, whenever I called the retirement home in Sudbury, I could hear one of the songs in the background. Her PSWs informed me that she played the DVDs constantly, sharing them with visitors and other residents.

In the early hours of Saturday, September 28, 2013, my mother passed away. While she never had the opportunity to read Between Land and Sea, she spent the last ten days of her life listening to my brothers’ musical interpretations of Isabella’s story.

 

BetweenLandAndSea_highRes_850

BETWEEN LAND AND SEA
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged beyond recognition. The horrified banker abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, leaving her to face a difficult human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, Isabella evolves into the persona of Barbara Davies. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers.

 

Guidoccio 001MEET JOANNE GUIDOCCIO
In high school, I dabbled in poetry, but decided to wait until I had more life experiences before writing a novel. The original plan was to get a general arts degree and take a few years off to travel and write. Instead, I gave in to my practical Italian side and obtained degrees in mathematics and education.

While I experienced many satisfying moments during my teaching career, I never found the time and energy to write. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement. Slowly, a writing practice emerged and my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines and online.

My debut novel, Between Land and Sea, a paranormal romance about a middle-aged mermaid, was released by Soul Mate Publishing in September 2013.
In 2015, The Wild Rose Press will release A Season for Killing Blondes, the first book in the Gilda Greco Murder Mystery Series, and Soul Mate Publishing will release The Coming of Arabella, the sequel to Between Land and Sea.

Where to find Joanne…

Website:   http://joanneguidoccio.com/

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio

Pinterest:   http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Between-Land-Sea-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B00F9U5Q50

Erin Bevan