Monday, November 24, 2014

Soulful Friendships and The Release of Medeia Sharif's The Attic of Sand and Secrets

Life certainly has a way of placing people from the past back into our present and future days.  I believe when one’s existence is close to another’s for a long period of time, the souls imprint on one another, creating kindred memories that will last a lifetime.  The souls become protectors, mentors, guides, and most importantly, the best of friends or lovers for each other.
Besides feeling overwhelmed from juggling two brands of writing as well as working overtime at the day job, I have also been searching for several voids to be filled in my heart.  It has been aching for the finesse of friendships I was bestowed upon and blessed by from my past.  This is all part of the “taking more time out for my life” and worrying less about the woes of social media. 

Many of my followers know about the downs of my history… the murder of my father when I was 17 years old, the nonexistent relationship I have with a biological father who discovered me when I was 14 years old and then abandoned me for the second time in my life, the loss of one of my best friends to a brain aneurism five years ago, and the battles I watched my mom suffer through as she succumbed to her alcoholism every single day for over 20 years of her life.  She might have won the war when she underwent a life-saving liver transplant due to cirrhosis but many battles are still ahead.
As sad as this all once was, there have also been many blessings wrapped and given to me in the form of friendships.  And two of them walked back into my life over the weekend. 

On Friday, I had dinner with my roommate and best friend from college who I haven’t seen in almost a decade.  At one point, we had grown so close that we learned how to communicate just by reading each other's faces.  If she was about to do something funny, come up with some crazy idea for us to venture off to or pull a prank, I could already tell she was up to no good by the expression on her face. 
After college, she got married and had children and we kind of just lost touch afterwards.  We had been messaging each other on Facebook, expressing how much we missed one another so  we decided to make an evening out of catching up.  Her husband and the dear got along quite well as the four of us ate delicious Thai food, reminisced about the good old days while attending Rutgers, and laughed so much, I almost peed myself.   
Then, on Saturday, I traveled back home where I grew up for my sister’s college graduation party.  It’s only two hours away from where I live now.  I had been in contact with one of my most beloved friends from high school for the last year now on Facebook.  Back in high school, she and my sister saved me from being the subject of some of the most dreadful instances of being bullied. 

Recently, we had been messaging each other, checking in every couple of months or so.  She lost her father last month who I was very fond of.  He was the chief of police in the town I grew up.  When she confided in me about some of her feelings, I was able to relate to her because I, too, lost two fathers… one who was killed and the other who bounced right out of my little world.

I invited her to my sister’s party and was pleasantly surprised she came, alone.  I haven’t seen her in 15 years!  And when she walked through the front door, it was like a river of fresh air had just entered the room.  As sad as her life may be right now, the connection we had back in high school had lit up our surroundings and shone throughout the house through laughter, long conversations and our love for cheese and food. 

It’s almost as if I stepped back in time this weekend.  Even though the years have gone by, the connections were still there and felt as though we had all picked up right from where we left off.  I remembered how much laughter and joy these two ladies had given to me for the duration of our timeless friendships and this feeling is something I simply can’t explain.  But it felt really good.

I have made future plans with both of these young women because we have vowed to embrace the vitality and soulfulness of our friendships.

Now for Medeia Sharif's book blast for her intriguing new novel, The Attic of Sand and Secrets. 
I have really been enjoying reading some of my fellow authors' new books and this one is officially added to my TBR list.  The book blast for The Attic of Sand and Secrets will end this week so make sure you enter!!  And if you don't win, grab your copy on Amazon and get lost in Medeia's wonderful writing!
by Medeia Sharif

Vendor links will be updated on Medeia’s site.

Middle Grade Historical and Fantasy, Featherweight Press, November 2014

Lily, a learning disabled girl, attempts to unravel the mystery of her abducted mother using supernatural clues from an ancient stranger, even when it means posing a danger to herself.

Learning-disabled Lily desires to prove herself, although her mind freezes when presented with big problems - such as her mother's abduction. With a French father and Egyptian mother, Lily worries that her mother hid her ethnicity from her French in-laws. However, there's something deeper going on. Lily finds a way into an attic that's normally locked and encounters a mysterious, moonlit Egyptian night world. There she finds Khadijah, an ancient stranger who guides her to finding clues about her mother's whereabouts. Lily becomes a sleuth in both the real world and magical desert, endangering herself as she gets closer to the kidnapper.

The book takes place in 1976. Every host for this book blast is going to post one fun fact for that year. For some of you, this will bring back memories. For younger blog readers, you'll learn something new.

[insert fun fact here]

Find Medeia – Multi-published YA and MG Author

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Have you ever lost touch with a friend and then reconnected through Facebook or any other kind of social media?  Are there people from your past you wish you could see again?  Will you be reading Medeia's new book?  I know I will be!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Catching Up With Ketchup

I recently had a meltdown. 

In the two years I have been working in the children's book business and adult blogging, I never felt so overwhelmed as I did last week.  Not to mention, I am currently working overtime while my boss is away.  The pressure came caving down on me and had no where else to diffuse itself... and then came the ketchup.

As I was running an errand, there she was... that beautiful, big smiling, freckled face, red-headed girl staring ME DOWN like IT WAS ABOUT TO GO DOWN.

My knee had been finally feeling better as I submerged myself back into my early morning workouts.  Yes, people, instead of writing, I was cheating on my passion by making love to my other passion, exercise.  I defeated every machine in the gym last week as the sweat dripped from my determined arms, legs and abs to the cold, rubber gym floor.  I am steadfast on losing the 15-20 pounds I gained ever since I hurt my knee in August.
So after a week's worth of countless calorie counting, I was entering a new war zone; the Wendy's quarter pounder with cheese, ketchup, pickles, lettuce and tomato battling my bottomless hunger for not only carbs but an end to the exhaustion and stress I had been feeling.  From working at the day job to networking and juggling two brands while setting up school visits, and most importantly, trying to find time to WRITE... this gal was defeated.
Now when I say defeated, by no means do I mean I gave up on my goals of losing weight or continuing to extend my marking in the world of writing and storytelling. But what I do mean is that I had been defeated in the moment.  I threw my hands up and said, "Bring it, Wendy."  And by this, I meant pulling up to the drive thru, ordering my burger and fries, and then pulling off to the side to stuff my face with fast food and ketchup.
So what's the point, you say?  The point is we all need a break sometime.  I was so consumed last week, I had almost forgot the most important part of this journey is getting to spend time with children and inspire them as well as to make amazing new friends and connections through our blogs and adventures.  Yes, social media can be a real pain in the ass, however, it can also be a blessing because of the friendships we create with one another.  And the support we provide for each other is quite rewarding.
Someone once asked me if I would retire if I ever became a bestselling author or rich from my books.  I didn't even have to think twice about this answer.  Writing makes me feel alive every single day.  And when I am not writing, I am thinking about it, morning, noon and night. 
As authors, we are given this incredible gift.  It's a gift which we have no other choice but to share with the rest of the world since it lives and breathes inside of us.  We have the gift to help other escape into worlds where they live through our characters... where they can see through their eyes and sense everything from the words around them. 
I had an author visit last Thursday.  It was my first visit of this year and a day after I went on my Wendy's binge.  Being in front of those kids made the stress and my overwhelming feeling of the workload disappear.  I was quickly reminded how much my presence and books means to the world just from observing their smiles, questions, and enthusiasm for storytelling and writing.  My heart was filled with joy knowing I could help change one of their little lives by telling them anything is possible.  And on the drive to work that same day after my visit, I felt the stress had lifted even more.  My visit had lit up my entire week and took the pain of wanting to be able to do it all away. 
And then I had an even bigger surprise!  My children's book made it to Amazon's bestseller list for Fiction and Imagination last week.  Now, I know some people might not think this is a big deal but to me, it means someone out there is hearing about my book and wanting to have it in their homes to share with their children.  Seeing my book at number 65 sent me over the moon.  Ahh, the littlest things in life... they truly do bring you up when you are feeling down.  And God always has a way to remind us about our mission here.  Mine is to spend time with kids and encourage them to celebrate their uniqueness and imagination.
And to also finish the edits for my suspense/thriller novel!  I have a story which will give you chills about this project and how it came to me.  But that will be saved for a different blog post.
When your mind and body need a break, give it to them.  It might be a day, a week or a month... whatever it takes to help you discover who you are a little bit more.  Our souls yearn for self-reflection and it is up to our hearts and minds to provide them with this.
How often do you take breaks from social media and writing?  Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you didn't know what to do with yourself? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Soulless Blog Tour and Author Visits

Today, I am super excited to help fellow author, Crystal Collier, spread word about her new release, Soulless.  I can't tell you how much I adore Crystal's writing.  Her first book in this series, Moonless, enchanted my imagination for the entire time I was reading it.  If you haven't already had a chance to read Moonless, I HIGHLY suggest you grab both books and make a weekend out of them.  Crystal is also offering Moonless for FREE this Friday, November 7th!  How awesome is she?!

I'm also celebrating the beginning of my school visits for the 2014/2015 school year.  My first visit will be this Thursday at an elementary school I have presented to twice already!  The teachers there love my book and author visits so much they have invited me back for a third time. 

If you are a children's picture book, chapter book, or YA author, I recommend you reach out to schools, libraries and bookstores to represent not only your books, but you as a person.  I firmly believe in word of mouth which is why my children's book work has been such a success.  You might get nervous at first but eventually, it will be like riding a bike! 


Series: Maiden of Time
Author: Crystal Collier
Pages: 263
Pub Date: October 13, 2014
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
ISBN: 9781629830032

The Soulless are coming.

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.


What reviewers are saying:

"5 Stars." - Invincible Love of Reading Book Blog

"I LOVED it! So good. Seriously...exceeded my expectations." -Kristin Smith, advanced reviewer

"Entirely unique and chilling." Gabby @ What’s Beyond Forks

"Unputdownable." T.C. Mckee, BookFish Books


A shadow stepped from the trees, a woman with long, auburn hair and ghostly-pale skin. She smirked wickedly at Alexia before turning her attention to Kiren. She rubbed her temples.

Kiren shuddered. The woman glared at him. He grabbed his head with one hand, toppling onto an elbow.

Alexia stepped forward. The woman’s face slackened, hands dropping.

Bellezza leapt between them, her hideous snarl turned to the attacker. “Only a coward fights from the shadows. I hate cowards.” Her chin lifted toward Alexia. “Cover your ears!” 

Alexia obeyed but the girl’s shriek pierced through her fingers. Her heart clenched and ceased beating. Red lines zipped across her vision. She landed on her hip, begging for Bellezza to stop. The sting of pollen haunted her nose, like the sick perfume of soon-to-be decay.


Her heart thudded again. Alexia’s head snapped up.

The deadly child crouched, muscles tight, head turned—as if listening to something behind her. Their attacker was gone.
Alexia twisted.

The estate sat on the shoulders of thick blackness. At least a hundred red eyes pierced through the darkness, a blanket of ragged pitch writhing across the yard.

The Soulless.


Get your free copy of book 1, MOONLESS, October 13, 20, 27, 31 or Nov 7.

Author Bio:

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find her on her Blog, Facebook, Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Have you read Moonless or Soulless?  How awesome does this series sound?  Wish me luck for my author visit and don't forget to grab your copies of Moonless and Soulless!!!