Have you read my first book, The Hard Way, yet? It is a young adult novel about my main character, Paul Jones, and how he learns the importance of choosing the right friends and how difficult it can be to navigate peer pressure. If not, I have a deal that just might get you interested.
In celebration of The Hard Way celebrating its third birthday (publication anniversary) on April 12th, I’m an doing a Facebook Live reading of chapter two next Thursday, April 16th. I’ll announce the time of the reading in my weekly blog post on Monday.
You may ask, why not chapter one? Well, when you visit my website, a special offer pops up. If you are willing to sign up for my e-mail list, you can receive a free copy of the first chapter of The Hard Way. Be sure to read the chapter before April 16th, because then you’ll receive the next part of the story from my online reading. So, you get to preview two chapters of The Hard Way free before you buy it.
To pick up an ebook or paperback copy of the entire story, follow the link on the books tab of my website or check it out on Amazon.
And, for the next bit of exciting news, if you pick up your copy of The Hard Way now, you’ll have time to read it over the summer and be ready for book two of The Way Series called Shawn’s Way, due to publish September of 2020. Check back to my website for more details.
Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog! With the additional downtime the stay at home orders and my furlough have given me, I was able to read both of the books in Gayle Forman’s young adult If I Stay series. I don’t know if I have ever read an entire series of books back to back, but I am glad I read these books that way. Her characters were very engaging so I had to find out what happened in their story. Since I was in marching and concert band in middle school and high school, I enjoyed the focus on music and what it meant to the story.
Selma’s Book Review
Book Titles If I Stay and Where She Went
Author Gayle Forman
Type of Books Young Adult Fiction
Background Gayle Forman began her writing career writing articles for Seventeen magazine about young people and social concerns. If I stay and Where She Went are the two books in If I Stay series written by Forman. If I Stay was published in 2009 and Where She Went was published in 2010. She was inspired by an actual accident that killed an entire family. She asked herself what would happen if one survived, and that is the basis of the story. One of the main characters, Mia Hall, is a cellist. As she wrote her novel, she was inspired by the life and work of world-renowned cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, and makes him Mia’s musical idol.
Summary of the books If I Stay is the first book in the series. In the story, Mia and Adam Wilde meet at school and start dating. They are both involved in music programs, which becomes their common bond. One day when Mia’s family decides to go for a family drive on an unplanned snow day from school, her family is involved in an automobile accident which kills her mom, dad and eight-year-old brother. It leaves her in grave condition and battling for her life. Throughout the rest of the story, we are in Mia’s head as she decides whether she will stay (live) or go (die). We find out at the end, which way she decides.
The second book in the series is Where She Went. The story starts up three years later and is told from Adam Wilde’s point of view. We find out what both characters have been up to since the end of If I Stay and what happens to make them cross paths in New York City.
Reaction to the books I really enjoyed reading both books. I had a hard time putting either one of them down. I am glad I was able to read both books in one sitting (which wound up being about a week). It gave me a really neat experience to read their whole story. Forman presents characters who are easy to relate to and engage with. I also like how she had a different character tell the story from their point of view in each of the two books. I would definitely recommend the books for a young adult reader or one who enjoys young adult novels.
Link to Yo-Yo Ma As I was writing this review, I was interested in the fact that Gayle Forman was inspired by Yo-Yo Ma and used his persona as Mia’s idol. As I was sitting down to start writing this review, I came across Yo-Yo Ma‘s Facebook page and am now following it. I did a search on You Tube and came across a PBS News Hour interview that Yo-Yo Ma recently did about a program he started called Songs of Comfort. Here’s a link to that interview Songs of Comfort PBS News Hour (3/18/20)
He says music is for everyone. Finding the needs in others and representing them has become his voice amid our current global crisis. Follow his hash tag #SongsofComfort
Link to the author If you want to learn more about Gayle Forman, here is a link to her website Gayle Forman
Links to the books If you want to purchase either one of these books, here is a link to Amazon. If I Stay and Where She Went
How did the week go for you? For me, being on furlough meant I could watch a couple of webinars, read a few more books and work on the writing side of my life. It also allowed me to be able to pause and let some of the stress roll off of me from the crazy stressful lifestyle I was leading before. You don’t realize how crazy things are until you take a break from it, either voluntarily or through something like a furlough. Yo-Yo Ma was able to find a new voice for his music through this pause. Are you finding something changing for you? Or, has this pause helped you find a new habit? Please let me know in the comments below.
Things have been a little crazy in the world lately, huh? Lots of people either being laid off or losing their jobs, teaching their kids at home, and trying to figure out how to cook (since going out to eat isn’t an option at this point). It hits me every time I go to the grocery store to see those empty shelves. I know some people hoarding certain items, but some of it is due to people picking up that one extra, so they can shelter in place a day or two longer before having to come back for something else.
Some news from my personal front, I was furloughed from my “day job” last Friday. So, I’m entering a new place for me to be. Filing for unemployment, figuring out what our family budget is going to look like in hopefully the short term, and deciding whether my dreams for my own company will have to go on hold, again, due to a possible financial strain. I’ve been doing a lot of journaling about my goals and dreams; looking for some definite direction.
Faith things will get better is a hard thing to hold onto sometimes. I will say, I’ve gotten better at it over the years, mainly through experience showing itself and accepting the idea things always work themselves out. Maybe not the way we want them to; sometimes worse than we expect, but sometimes better.
When working in aircraft scheduling, sometimes you have mechanicals, sometimes it’s weather, and sometimes it’s an unexpected air traffic control hold. We don’t have any control over any of these events, but are forced to work through all possible solutions to accommodate our client’s travel plans. In these stressful situations, I’ve learned, it’s about providing options to choose from and not saying there is nothing we can do. Again, sometimes these options are worse than what they want, but sometimes better. But in the end, they are options and when presented the client gets to choose what is best for them.
Thinking about making things better for me, I scrolled through my Facebook feed, which I’m sure many of you are doing right now, and found a free online course I thought would help me get my business and book selling back on my main drive. I’m currently working through the Limitless Entrepreneur – The Digital Retreat.
Melyssa Griffin is a great presenter and motivator who I enjoyed working with throughout this course. The content is helping me get excited about selling my books and creating new ideas for my own business. One of the first things she talks about is a Scarcity versus an Abundance mindset. Scarcity mindset says there is never enough. You must hold onto what you have otherwise you are going to lose it. In an Abundance mindset there will always be more. I’ll get more than I bargained for and seeing a more positive outcome. I see the scarcity mindset as a realistic mindset (basing the belief on what is happening in the here and now and scared of what may happen in the future). Where the abundance mindset is more faith driven, believing that things will get better in the future.
When I look at my things will work out theory I talked about above, it works well with the abundance mindset. But I seem to have myself tangled up in more of a scarcity mindset, especially now with my furlough. But as I work to recognize my scarcity mindset fears, my view of the abundance mindset options is helping me see the ideas I am generating for my business are good ideas. I may be able to act on some of them now and others may be implemented into my current business plan so I am ready when things get better. By having more faith in myself and life will help me to take some risks with my ideas, and have faith that things will work out in the end. Be sure to stay tuned in to see what could happen.
What I ask you to do is take a good look at your Facebook feed or email and see if there’s a course that could help improve your mindset right now. Maybe it is learning how to knit, or organize things in your house, or printing pages to color. These activities will not only distract you from what seems to be going wrong right now, it may also help you make some forward progress on projects which have been just sitting stale on your plate. I’ll be excited to hear about what you decided to do. Please let me know in the comments below.
Good Morning! Here are my Tuesday Morning Thoughts!
How have you been doing with the changes in our day to day activities due to the Coronavirus? I have been primarily working from home for my day job. Jim has been going back and forth to work, since his job is more hands on, and the boys are “laid off” from their part time jobs for now. I will say, there are positive things to be found in our current situation. It has been nice to have family dinners again and we were able to do a movie night together Sunday night.
On the writing side of things, I’ve been actively working with my editor to get book #2 of The Way Series, Shawn’s Way, ready for a couple of final reads before its summer pre-launch and eventual publishing in September. Getting excited for my readers to find out how the story line of the series continues.
If you have read the first book, The Hard Way, and left a review, I thank you. For those of you who have received free copies on my promotional download days, if you would leave a review on Goodreads, that would be great. If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can always select to read it for free as part of the subscription, and you would be able to leave a review on Amazon. If you purchased a copy on Amazon and want to leave a review on Amazon, that would be appreciated as well. Any of these reviews will help me out for the pre-launch of Shawn’s Way this summer. Leaving a review for a book you read is a great way to help a writer get people to read their books. The reviews show that people have read the book and it helps potential readers to get an idea of what other people thought of it.
A little bit about William Shakespeare
You may have seen the recent post on Facebook talking about Shakespeare and the writing of his sonnets. Did you know he wrote 154 sonnets when all of the theaters were shut down because of the Bubonic plague? I found it very interesting. With the Coronavirus shutting some things down now, maybe it will give us writers and authors some down time get some of our best writing done, just like Shakespeare did.
My interest in Shakespeare was also piqued by another blog post I saw about the unique spelling of the word playwright. You would think it would be spelled playwrite, right? Well wright is a word for a crafts person or someone who builds things. So, in that sense of the word, Shakespeare was one who built plays and sonnets.
According to Wikipedia.com and Biography.com, William Shakespeare was known as one of the greatest writers in the English language and one of the world’s greatest dramatists. He was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, a bustling market town along River Avon. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and was the father of three children. After the birth of the twins (the second and third children) in 1585 it is believed that is when he started writing. Many Shakespeare biographers refer to the years between when the twins were born and 1592 (when he came onto the acting scene) as the lost years. During this time frame, he doesn’t leave any historical traces, but it is generally believed that he may have found work as a horse attendant at some of London’s finer theaters, which may have been how he got involved in theater. Records show Shakespeare had works published and sold as popular literature, which was seen as reaching above his social rank and posing a bit of a threat to playwrights who came from a more scholarly background.
Shakespeare was part of a very popular acting group called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, (which became the King’s Men in 1603 when King James I became king). The members of that group along with Shakespeare put money into the coffers to build their own theater called the Globe Theater. For the time, this was an unique commercial operation for actors. They not only had a shared in the profits from the show, but also had a share in the profits from the playhouse. According to britannica.com, all of Shakespeare’s plays were performed there after it was constructed in 1599. His plays were said to be written from a career actor point of view rather than a scholarly one, which was probably another point of contention with the scholarly playwrights. An interesting fact, the plays were always staged in the afternoons to make the most of the light provided by the sun; since the theater didn’t have lights.
According to civil records, in 1597, Shakespeare purchased the second largest house in Stratford, called New House, for his family. But he spent most of his time in London away from his family acting and writing since Stratford was a four-day ride from London. When he retired from the theater in 1613, he moved back to Stratford where he died three years later.
Here in Minneapolis we have a place called the Playwrights’ Center. Founded in 1971 by five writers seeking artistic and professional support. The center serves more playwrights in more ways than any other organization in the country. What a great way to keep the theaters alive for the communities to enjoy.
I love the name they chose for the Playwrights’ Center, especially knowing what the term really means now. Do you ever think about why people pick the names they do for things? Book titles, for example, usually have a connection with what the author wrote about. However, not all title meanings are understood until after you have read the book. What book titles have connected with you? What are some of your favorites? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Good Morning and Happy New Year! Sorry I’ve been away for so long, many big life events took place last year which really consumed my time and energy and altered my life journey. But I’m making my way back.
Edits are moving ahead for Shawn’s Way. Looking at publishing early this summer. I’m in the process of revamping the website. I made contact with someone in my neighborhood who is going to help me with it. Look for updates and announcements coming soon.
One of my life events last year was helping my dad through his dementia journey. He’s living in an assisted living/memory care facility. The challenge I encountered is the amount of time and energy it takes to help our aging parents through their lives when and illness stops them from leading lives on their own. I friend of mine wrote a story about her journey. It is a writing prompt from the Facebook writing group called Writers Unite! Reading her story has made me think about what affects dementia has had on my own life journey.
I love looking out windows. Not only to see what is happening outside, but also to let my brain relax and reflect. After running a free ebook promotion of The Hard Way this weekend, I took some time to think about where I am in my writing journey.
It took many years to achieve the dream I had since I was a teenager, the dream of publishing a book. Two years ago, I published my first, The Hard Way. Now, book two, Shawn’s Way is due to publish this summer.
I built a writer’s platform and I am active on multiple social media sites. It has become the main way I engage with my readers. I have also connected with other authors, who have supported and helped me achieve my dreams to reach the point I am at in my writing journey.
I have a website where my readers can come and find me, my books and news about what is happening with me Selma’s Website.
With my busy lifestyle, I am still finding time to work on things to promote my passion. Whether it is a discount book sale or a free promotion. Thank you for your downloads and purchases of my book. It makes me happy to see it getting into the hands of readers.
My message for the week is to never stop dreaming. Working towards a dream can be a lot of work with challenges to overcome. It is frustrating, it is hard and it is a journey, but it can be achieveable. Sometimes I can’t believe I have published one book and will soon publish a second.
I have had my share of challenges and have had to make time in my life to make my dream come true. The journey hasn’t been easy, but it is so worth it when I see another copy of my book bought or downloaded.
As an author who writes young adult fiction, I am always up for reading a young adult novel from a fellow author. When this book was suggested to me, the title, Honeysuckle Holiday was definitely intriguing. I turned the book over to the back cover, like most people do, to find out what it was about. As I was reading it, I was drawn into the fact that the story was being told by a teenage girl from the south during a time of great racial tension.
Selma’s Book Review
Kathleen M. Jacobs
Type of Book
Young Adult Fiction
This is Kathleen M. Jacobs first young adult novel. After reading through her author bio on her website, it became clear where the inspiration for this story came from. With her favorite book being To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and making a move to rural West Virginia as a teenager, Jacobs writes this young adult novel flavored with two things which are personally important to her.
Summary of the story
Lucy is a spirited teenager growing up in the late 1960s. She is the middle child in a middle class family in Memphis, TN. With the racial tensions of the time, her father gets involved in an incident which leads to the unravelling of his marriage and family. Their mother, not wanting to worry her daughters, doesn’t tell them what their father had done. As the story progresses, Lucy and her sister Caroline, find clues to the story of what happened to their dad. And they learn a more about how they feel about themselves and others who may be different from them.
Reactions to the book
It was a good read. I liked the coming of age theme and engaging characters. I loved how the girls worked together to try to figure out why their dad went away. Reminded me of playing Nancy Drew when I was their age. Jacobs even mentions that Caroline liked to read those books. The author does a great job with setting by bringing historical themes from the 1960s and 1970s into the story. Made it easy to imagine what was going on in the story relative to the time period.
I think it would be a great read for any young adult reader. With February being African-American History Month, this would be a good read with the topic of racial relations in the south being addressed.
If you interested in learning more about the author, you can find out information about her at Kathleen M. Jacobs
If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.com Honeysuckle Holiday