Gratitude Ya’ll

th (5)November is GRATITUDE month, but shouldn’t every month, day, minute be about gratitude. I think so. But I’m human and forget to thank the people I love and the God who made me for the little things as well as maybe a huge thing like breathing in and out. I forget that I should even be grateful. So I will try harder.

The main character in my first book, Weather Permitting (yet to be published), definitely needs more gratitude in her life. After the trauma of a divorce, Sara dwells inside of her pain and isolates herself. When we pull away from others, we don’t think about gratitude we think poor me. Unfortunately, her depression is selfish. Sara has a lot of work to do.

piglet_gratitudeThis month, just in case I want to attend any pity parties (a natural occurrence for writers), I will take a minute every day to be grateful for at least one thing.  In fact, I’ll write it down. What a concept! It’s a start. Want to join me?

About the status of my writing – I have done something terrible. I dove back into the first book again to “make it better.” That means that Book 2 is on the shelf, so to speak. I hope to be finished with final edits and am able to send (yuk) query letters back out to agents again soon. Then I will take Book 2 off the shelf and get back at it – 3,000 words a day. Writing is hard, ya’ll.

So to those who read this little blog,

Thank you . . . Thank you very much.

Jody

A Previous Connection

fall-sportsDon’t you just love this time of year? Football, cool nights, warm days! Knowing that the holidays are right around the corner? So you plan. I’ve scheduled a few things—a day trip to the mountains, a long weekend on Sanibel Island in late fall, and the date for my large family’s Christmas gathering which will take place in my home. I’ve signed up for Art Class again, which begins October 1, so autumn will be busy. I am writing the first draft of my second novel, surviving more rejection letters, and revving up my query letter.

I’ve also taken on the task of helping to coordinate a joint three-class high school reunion. Let’s just say I went to high school a long time ago and leave it at that. I am gathering and confirming contact info for my particular class. So far, it’s been relatively easy due to technology for which I am truly thankful.

IMG_0824 (2)The obvious memories and the faces of people I knew way back when are now rummaging around in my mind like me down the third aisle of the Cobb Antique Mall.

When you think of a reunion, what does it mean to you? I checked the on-line Webster and found an interesting root. The French origin word réunion means “meeting of persons of previous connection.” Cool, huh? What about the moment you see your ex at a family function, or when you run into an old acquaintance on the street or at the mall. Or the person who once worked in the cubicle next to you, a past partner, an old love? A friend of a friend? A classmate from the sixth grade? Each one touched your life in some way.

The connections I’ve made in life have all been meaningful in different ways. Whether good or bad, they have all left an imprint on me. What a gift to have the chance to meet again, talk and laugh or cry again, the opportunity to rekindle an old memory, to see someone through what I hope are my wiser, kinder eyes. To be given another chance to connect.

Each person you meet becomes a previous connection. Think about it while sipping wine on your back porch on a warm fall weekend.

Enjoy,

Jody

I write, therefore I am…what? Impatient.

Hope your summer has been great!!  We are actually having beautiful weather right now in the South. Cooler nights and mornings. I’ll take it.

85Please tell me that rejection becomes easier. I’m finding out something about myself, and I’m not liking this part of being an author. The waiting and the rejection. Please tell me I will get used to it. PLEASE.  I’ve put out another batch of queries to literary agents last week. So far from the first batch, I either was completely ignored or I received the dreaded rejection letters (most of which are form letters).

Yes, I’ve heard about Stephen King’s gobs of rejections before he ever landed an agent, but I’m no Stephen King. I cannot clean his boots, for heaven’s sake. So how can I compare myself and my journey to his? No way. I’m just little old me who thinks she wrote an interesting novel with hopes to someday be published.

I could try the self-publishing route, but honestly, I don’t want to. I might change my mind though. Never say never. For now, I wait impatiently, but I wait.

Sara, the protagonist in my novel, WEATHER PERMITTING, also suffers from impatience but hers relates to finding happiness, love, and self esteem. My latest bout with this affliction began at the first step of this new phase of my life. I’ve definitely bitten off something new and maybe way to big for me to chew on. Becoming an author is my reinvention and I’m impatient for someone in the “business” to like my work and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with the second steps, then the third, and so on. But I am also a realist. I know there are a million of us, the new authors, the new writers who feel as I do. We are all impatient for the same things.

Sara is impatient to figure out where she fits into the big picture–her place in life. We all do this in one way or another. Don’t you think? So today, I’m going to take a deep breath. Close my eyes and be grateful for today, this hour and this minute. I do believe that no matter what I’m impatient for, something tangible or intangible, I must be thankful for the right now. I’m only promised that. The future (including the accomplishments or non-accomplishments I long for) will take care of itself.

Have a fantastic month!! Hey football season is almost here!!

Jody

Welcome My First Guest Blogger – Award Winning Author, Linda Joyce

Happy Mid-August!

Today, let me introduce Linda Joyce as my first guest blogger! Linda is an award-winning published author and a dear friend. I’m so excited to share that August 18 is the release date for her new book.

     Her Heart’s Desire, Book one of the Sunflower Series
by Linda Joyce

Joie de vivre is a French phrase expressing a feeling of happiness or excitement about life. It is way more than butterflies-in-the-stomach happy. It’s waking up with gratitude, smiling, and looking forward to the day. For me, it’s an expectation—something good will happen around the corner—no matter how gloomy the day might appear.

This instilled outlook came to me from daddy’s side of the family—Cajun and Irish. Everything needed to be celebrated with a party. (Oh, the stories I can tell). Meanwhile, my mother—Japanese, speaking excellent English with a touch of a southern accent—insisted on education and politeness.

Through the melding of cultures, I learned I needed to possess Scarlett O’Hara’s tenacity and Melanie Hamilton Wilkes kind graciousness.

I believe manners make the woman.

And as my husband will tell you, a southern man holds a door for a woman not because she might be a lady, but because he’s a gentleman.

In Her Heart’s Desire, you only get glimpses of Mrs. Britton through the other characters since the story begin after her passing, however, she brought her Louisiana joie de vivre to Kansas when she married a farmer, then instilled that perspective in her children.

I hope you will enjoy meeting Amelia Britton and Lucas Dwyer. They truly represent the tenacity, generosity, and dedication to family and friends that I grew up with.

An artist and a farmer fight family, the bank, and Mother Nature…to grow love.
An artist and a farmer fight family, the bank, and Mother Nature…to grow love.

Artist Amelia Britton battles her older brother for the right to remain on the family farm—their inheritance after their parents’ tragic deaths—she faces a looming mortgage, weather threatens to destroy her crops, and the man she secretly loves only sees her as Craig’s little sister.

After serving his country in Afghanistan, Lucas Dwyer expected to return home to his family’s farm, but the bank foreclosed. Undeterred, he begins combining-for-hire to support his younger sister in college. His best friend convinces him to discourage local guys from dating Amelia. Craig wants her back in the city, farming is too hard for a woman alone. Only one problem—Lucas has fallen in love with Amelia.

With family, the bank, and the weather conspiring against them, can Amelia and Lucas ever hope to grow the love blooming between them? 

linda***********
Linda Joyce is an award-winning author of women’s fiction and romance. She writes about assertive females and the men who can’t resist them. Linda’s a big fan of jazz and blues. She attributes her love of those musical genres to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. If you walk-through several New Orleans cemeteries you’ll find many of her family buried there. She penned her first manuscript while living in Japan, the country where her mother was born and raised. Now she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and four-legged boys. She’s also a foodie and loves to go RVing.

 Pre-Order Links for Her Heart’s Desire:
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/559925
Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B011LLKFXS

Places to connect with Linda:
Website: http://www.linda-joyce.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaJoyceAuthor
Twitter: @LJWriter https://twitter.com/LJWriter
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6950241.Linda_Joyce  Amazon author page:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Joyce/e/B00BODDROS/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/LindaJoyceWorld/boards/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lindajoycewrites

 Linda also has a newsletter, LETTERS with Linda. It posts the first Tuesday of every month with book news, inspiration, a contest giveaway, and a recipe. If you’d like a copy, please send Linda an email: linda@linda-joyce.com

C is for…

IMG033 (2)Meet Buzz, named him after the Georgia Tech Mascot. He’s my Russian Blue, but he was born in Atlanta so he’s a very southern feline. He’s my constant.  Do you have one of those? A constant (not necessarily a cat)?

I’ve had pets throughout my crazy life. They have always been a part of me. Sara, the protagonist in my novel, Weather Permitting, has a cat. I gave her this constant in her life because she needed it. She needed to come home from work every day and find a creature there who needed only her, who wanted to be with her, whom she could count on to be loyal and true blue. Don’t we all need that constant in our lives?

“Change is the only constant in life.”th (4)
——- Heraclitus

Change is constant. It’s also a contradiction isn’t it? We all know this to be true. We either look forward to it or dread it. Love it or hate it. As we get older, I think we have no choice but to embrace change. It sure did embrace me. I just know that no matter what changes come, I have several constants to hang onto. Right now. That’s what we need constants for — RIGHT NOW. Right now, a wonderful husband, a pup named Bella, and Buzz. He will always be my main man.

So Sara has Mick Jagger, her cat, because she must go through change, because its part of her growth, she is required to grab onto stability, a constant, a small helpless cat. Mick is her constant.

Next time, we’ll get back to Strong Southern Women!!
*********
A quick note about the book. I’ve started the query process in search of an agent. I’m told to send them out in batches. Then wait. So far, I’ve received four rejections, which is normal. So think good thoughts for me!!

Stay cool during this long hot summer!

Jody

Strength in Numbers

Strong Woman

“I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”
—- Louisa May Alcott

June has been an exciting month. Lots of blessing flowing all around. My daughter accepted a new position teaching high school English in the area, and she and her husband are settling only fifteen minutes away from me. My son has accepted a new position as Athletic Director at a local high school and I am so grateful that I won First Place for my novel, “Weather Permitting,” at the Southeastern Writers Association Conference in St. Simons Island Georgia.

Friends have asked where they can find it, when they can read it. It’s lovely that people are interested. Unfortunately, I’m still at the beginning of the process and I’m looking for an agent to help me publish. “They” say that the easy part is writing the book (not sure about that), so I am querying agents to see if there is any interest. Everything takes time. Makes me wish I were about twenty years younger.

Today, I’m thinking about strong women, great women who refuse to quit when the going gets tough, and I know bunches of them, some of them good friends. The protagonist in my story has quite a bit in common with women who have gone through the after effects and trauma of a mid-life divorce. She searches for a way to fit in to her new life and finds out a lot about herself in the process. We have all been there in some form or fashion. I don’t know the statistics but I’m betting they are high for women who have gone through turmoil, whether via divorce or relationship upheaval, and survived only to grow and blossom in the end. 

Most women are strong and it’s their strength of character, strength of values, strength of duty, and other internal forces that carry them through life. I used to say, “Men can’t change, which makes women have to adapt.” Now, I think that adaptation simply put means that we can handle just about anything life throw at us. It’s not adaptation. It’s strength.

 My good friend says, “I know many great women but I know very few great men.” I know both but I’d have to say the women do outnumber the men in the category of inner strength.

I would love your feedback on this topic. See you next month! 

Jody

May Days

Whew! I’m back from the crazy for awhile. Deadlines have taken up my life for the past month and now I can breathe.

All right, who turned on summer in the South already? 90 degrees. I think somehow, I missed spring and it’s only May. Oh well. It’s really okay because so much can be done in the summer. It’s a time for being outside, walking the dog, planting things that didn’t get planted earlier, going on beach trips, etc., etc. I’m ready.

What do you do in the summer?

I’m usually not a loving-the-heat kind of girl. Nah, I love my air conditioning. I actually read a lot during the summer. Since I have fallen way behind on reading, I plan to finish Gone Girl finally (I know, isn’t it ridiculous that I haven’t read it yet) and at least three books (maybe more) that are calling out to me. I’ll review them, if you’d like, in an end of the summer blog. Most of all, this summer, I’ll take time to be with my husband, since I’ve neglected him for all the writing and deadlines.

Last weekend, I attended the Atlanta Writers Conference and really enjoyed it. My second overall writing conference, this one had several workshops but the majority of time was spent waiting one’s turn to receive critiques for queries and manuscripts submitted before the conference. I believe there were nine agents and four editors who gave feedback to aspiring and seasoned writers. I, being a novice, didn’t know what to expect.

My queries didn’t fair too well, but my manuscript submission was noticed by an agent and, at her request, I have submitted more pages to her. Unexpected and appreciated.

Next month, it’s on to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia for the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop. Can’t wait.

Jody

Fear of Commitment

Last night, I began working on a pitch for my first book, “Weather Permitting.” I signed up (paid money and everything) to be able to submit to agents and publishers at the Atlanta Writers Conference in May. The screams you hear in the background are from me fearing for my life.

Another first for me. On the internet are scads of articles telling me how to write the pitch but that really doesn’t matter. It is difficult and the fact that I have to say it out loud is worse.

Then, there is the synopsis and a query letter which are harder to write but at least I don’t have to read them out loud. As you can see, my stress level is extremely high, like in the clouds. All of these scary items are due by April 8th.  Yikes!!

So, back to work…

I’ll see you next week. Please think kind thoughts for me…

Jody

Short Story Struggling

Happy Tuesday!

Happy World Book Day!!  How cool.  Didn’t know there was such a thing!

Now, I wonder if there is a Southern Book Day. That would also be cool. I’m just a little prone to southern things. One can’t help it when you’re brought up in Alabama, Georgia and parts of Florida.

So, having some “issues.”  I took a break from doing research and decided to work on a short story for an upcoming writers workshop. Whoa!  I have writers block!!!  And yes, it is real. I had to dig up some old stories that I don’t particularly like and try to fix one or two. Not working. So what do I do? Punt.

Yes, I punt. I will get out all of the “craft” info – stuff that tells me how to write, how to find a plot, how to make characters’ effective, etc. So back to the basics for this writer.  I’ve got umpteen books on the subject and some I should have memorized by now. So, here goes…

Maybe, just maybe…I’ll read a favorite author’s book. See how to do it again.  Yeah, that’ll do it.

Have a great week!

Jody

Southern Snow

We love the snow here in the South, but we respect it even more. Maybe it’s because those of us, who are born and bred Southerners, didn’t grow up with much white stuff on the ground, so we revere it and cower to its authority.

When we hear the weatherman on Channel 2 say the words, “Winter Storm Warning,” we rush to the nearest Kroger and load up our pick-ups and SUVs. Next, we make a stop at Ace Hardware and buy pellets to melt the ice, a new scraper for the car windshields, and possibly another huge plastic disk or a sled for the kids, just in case. In our area, knowing the snow is coming means there is no school. All schools in all counties will not take the risk of having a school bus slide across a slick blacktop.

So we accept our fate and bow down to Mother Nature. Let the snow come. Bring on the sleet and ice. Once we all make it home from work, we don’t move. We will not leave our homes once the first flakes appear. We will hunker down, make ready the emergency kits for when the power goes out, and figure out what to do with antsy children after the initial fun of sliding down the street wears off.

Yes, we will. We southerners are a strong lot.

Stay warm. Bye ya’ll,

Jody

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