Friday, January 28, 2011

When You Pray for Soldiers...

A reader posted a sweet message on my Facebook page a couple days ago (read it here) that brought tears to my eyes. It also reminded me of where I had to put myself emotionally while writing the beginning of Purpose and it was a tough place to be. WARNING: If you haven't read Promise and Purpose, this post might be a little spoilery...but it's worth it.

Like that reader, most of us don't have to deal with the kind of unknown Alexis does. She hasn't had to survive a break-up or divorce...or even had to bury her husband. Those events at least have closure. At least one reviewer has complained that she should have moved on by the time Purpose picks up. But she has been functional - up until Purpose starts. She's written a series of books that broke all-time sales records. She's raising a son. She's bought a house of her own. She has the help of her mother, but overall, she's accomplished a lot, with all things considering. It's at the beginning of Purpose that she really starts to lose it, which is caused by the events unfolding in this story, not just what happened in the past. She's had her bad moments before, but who wouldn't in the same position?

See, she's the wife who's been left behind by her soldier. And to understand what she'd been going through between the end of Promise and the beginning of Purpose, I had to imagine what it would be like to be the wife of a soldier who's gone Missing in Action or become a Prisoner of War. I had to delve into those heart-rending emotions.

I can only imagine what these wives go through - believing their husbands are still alive, having to believe it just to be able to go on with life, but never knowing for sure. The intense ache of waking up every morning wondering if this is the day you'll find out and then going to bed - alone - with still no word. The heartbreak of telling your kids over and over that you don't know when Daddy will be home...and avoiding the words "if he'll be home." Because you have to believe that he will be. Your daily life continues, but in your heart, in your soul, you feel the emptiness - the missing piece that you need to make life whole again.

As we were putting the final touches on Purpose to prepare it for print, my business partner, Chrissi, and I witnessed this exact heartache. Her niece's husband had been in Afghanistan for four or five months, his second deployment. Michelle could go weeks without hearing a single word from Corey. Sometimes their only communication was through Facebook, where she could post pictures and leave comments for him to see whenever he had Internet access, which of course, wasn't often. Phone calls were few and far between.

A few words Michelle posted one day last August while Corey was away:
"You think you know my pain, but I hope you never have to.You don't know the way my heart breaks every time you kiss your significant other, taking for granted the time you have together.You don't have the lonely days spent wanting someone to kiss, or a hand to hold.You don't know about my sleepless nights listening to "our song" attempting to fight back my tears but losing miserably.You don't feel my heart shutter whenever I hear his name or about the Marine Corps... You don't know how it feels to cry yourself to sleep, and wake up reaching for him.Only to be rushed back to reality and have you eyes well up with tears once again."

A few days after posting that, Michelle learned Corey's platoon had been hit. But there was no other news for hours...days. Then she finally heard from him and he was okay. A couple weeks later, the phone rings once more. They've been hit again. This time it's bad. And that's the only news she gets.

She waits hours...days. She hears that he's seriously injured but has no idea just how critically...if he'll even make it. She waits again... Through long days and even longer and lonelier nights. Nobody can tell her anything. She can only imagine the worse. Finally, Corey returns. Home. For good. But not well.

The bomb that killed his friends and Marine brothers also took half of his hand and forearm and left him with other injuries. But at least he's home. At least Michelle has him by her side now. She's no longer left wondering and worrying and never knowing.

Some wives, however, never get this. Some have to bury their soldiers. Some have to wait and wonder if they'll ever come home at all.

While our military men and women are fighting in a far off land, their wives and husbands are fighting right here in our own backyards. They sacrifice, too. Let's not forget them. Alexis and Tristan are fictional characters and their battles can't possibly be real, but there are people suffering their pain, a very real pain we can help shoulder if only we reach out. When you pray for our soldiers, please, don't forget to pray for their spouses and families, as well. They need us, too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Great strides were made in the fabulously titled Book 3 over the weekend. I finally broke through a barrier that had really been slowing my progress. Now that the dam is removed, the story is flowing like the Mississippi River. I'm back in the zone and loving it.

Here's a bit to tease you with - meet Owen's mother (remember - first draft, no judging):
“You can’t go in there!” Owen’s bark came from the other side of the door.

“Owen, I am your mother. You let me in right now,” commanded a stern female voice. Then the door burst open. “Sophia!”

“Sorry,” Owen muttered, following the woman in.

Mom grinned widely. “It’s okay, Owen. I doubt your mother is trying anything sneaky with us.”

The woman slid out of her leather jacket and tossed it to Owen as she strode over to Mom and embraced her. She wore black leather from head to toe—a bustier, pants and combat boots—and though her build was slight, she was quite intimidating. She appeared to be in her mid- to late-thirties, but she had to be nearly three times older: Owen looked about twenty-four, but was actually sixty-eight and this, apparently, was his mother. The resemblance was obvious—her shoulder-length, straight hair was the same shade of blond as his and her eyes the same sapphire blue.
“I know I’m breaking protocol, but I just couldn’t wait a minute longer to see you or to meet Alexis,” she said, already advancing on me. She didn’t wait for introductions. “Ah, yes, you are as beautiful as I’ve heard. Hello, Alexis, I am Charlotte Allbright.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

On a Book Budget?

In case you're on a book budget and haven't caught the free promotions for Promise...and in case you didn't know already...

Promise eBook is now only $2.99!!!

That's less than $3! Less than a cup of 'Bucks! Less than a gallon of gas! Hours of entertainment for less than...the majority of things in this world.

I know, I sound like an infomercial. But I really believe readers get so much bang for their buck when they buy a book, regardless of how much it is (unless it's like, you know, too outrageous). Books really do provide hours of entertainment, especially compared to, say, a 2-hour movie - that costs $10 + popcorn + candy (or however you pay your date...). So reading is always a bargain.

I don't know how long Promise will stay at $2.99. It might be permanent or it might not. Promise started at $5.99 and dropped to $4.99 when Purpose came out. We're experimenting, testing price points to find the best price for readers.

What do you think is a fair price for an ebook? Is it less if you've never heard of the author? Does a low price mean you're more likely to check it out or does it mean lower quality to you?

To buy:

Smashwords (for any ereader or your computer)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

I don't know if this really counts as a teaser, but, hey, just go with it. Mostly because I have nothing else. I did do a lot of writing over the weekend, but nothing I'm sure I can tease you with yet...or would even be a tease anyway. Might just be a bore at this rough-draft stage.

While writing, I realized I needed to know more about Solomon, a secondary character. If you've read the books, you know who he is. So here's a very, very old picture of him.

Okay, it's not really him. This is Jean Jacques Dessalines, leader of the Haitian Revolution and first ruler of what we now know as Haiti. And Solomon doesn't quite look like this. He has cornrows, after all. And pale, pale skin with a dark undertone.

So how did I come up with this particular picture? Well, because I was researching Solomon's past. And that's all I'm going to say about it...because this is Teaser Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

First, today is 1/11/11!!!! I think we need to make a wish! I know what mine is!

Onto the blog post...

I've finally been able to sit down and write! Yay! I started Soul Savers Book 3 (currently untitled) December 5, 2009. Until this weekend, the last time I'd worked on it was January 11, 2010. Yes, it'd been nearly a year. I could barely remember what I had written and was surprised when I opened the file that I had 45,000 words!

Unfortunately, some of those words will have to go because they don't fit anymore. And what remain will likely be rewritten, revised, polished to a shine by the time I'm done. But at least I don't have to start over, which I had seriously considered and even started doing Saturday. Does that mean Book 3 will be out sooner than a year from now? Meh. I doubt it. After all, I want it to be perfect for you, lovelies!

For Teaser Tuesday, though, here is the first line, as it currently exists: 
I stood in the sitting room of the ancient Amadis mansion, staring at the giant tapestry spanning the entire stone wall and wondering how I could change the future it told for my son.
It will probably change a hundred times between now and release day, but there you go. Does it pique your interest? Too wordy?

Friday, January 7, 2011

So Much for That!

A New Year re-energizes me to focus on priorities, create new habits and try new things. After the chaos of the holidays and the wind-down of the "in-between week" (12/26-1/1), I'm ready to jump back on my horse and take off, either at a gallop on my current path or trotting down a new one...or both.

As I do in the in-between week, I evaluated 2010 and made new plans for 2011. So far,'s been a pretty big bust. Already. It's too soon to call it a fail but, lovelies, it's nowhere near success. Take my blogs, for example. It's the end of the first week of the year and I'm just now making my first posts! Sheesh.

I thought I had a new schedule/routine all worked out that would allocate my time well between my other business, the publishing business, promoting my books and writing. One week in and I've barely accomplished a thing in any of those places. I did find some great articles on social media and I took care of my day-job clients, but I haven't actually used those awesome social media ideas, do any book promoting or write a single word.

And, I realized, I didn't make time for blogging. At all. Whoops!!! Big, major screw-up on my part.

So, it's back to the drawing board to re-figure my schedule. Hopefully I get it figured out. I guess we'll know this time next week, because if I get more than one post up, it's a win!

Anyway, a long-about way to say I miss you, lovelies!! I hope you've had a good week and have an awesome weekend!