Why I'm Leaving Christian Fiction

I will no longer pursue publication in the Christian world.

So what does this mean? And why the sudden switch?

God will still be in my manuscripts. Maybe not all of them, but religion is a part of my life so it's only natural for it to pour into my work.

Why the shift? It's something I've been considering for awhile. It's no surprise I consider myself a progressive Christian. This means I have a very different view of Christianity than the masses. And I think that's okay. I think there's room for all types of ideas and conversations, but when it comes to Christian fiction, the market place prefers a certain type of manuscript. Again, that's okay. I enjoy tons of Christian stories and authors who write about traditional Christian values and morals. Even though I don't agree with how the authors presents some of their characters, I still enjoy the plots.

But I had to ask myself, is this the place for me and my work?

I wanted it to be. I love the Christian fiction world. I have amazing critique partners, I've been to the ACFW conference and met talented authors, spoke with kind and encouraging agents, learned so much about the Christian publishing world. It's been my life for years. I've soaked up ever bit of knowledge, bought "how to" workbooks, listened to seminars online...I wanted to be a Christian writer.

But I can't. I don't belong. And it's time to admit it.

My religious beliefs simply don't belong in this genre, at least not at this time in our history. 

So I sadly have to step away.

You can expect some changes on the website over the next few months as I redefine myself as a writer. And like I said, God will still be in my books, but it'll be more authentic to my views.

To all those who supported me, thank you. I hope you'll continue on this crazy awesome journey as I work to find my voice. :)

Dear Republicans, You're not racist, now let's get to work.

Dear Republican,

You've won. In a few weeks, Donald Trump will get sworn in and take his place in history as President of the United States. The Republicans have won the majority in the House and Senate.

Our country is in your hands.

So I have this plea...

Put down your pitch forks aimed at Hilary and focus on your candidate. Demand more from Trump.

I know it hasn't been easy. Trump supporters are smeared in the media, misrepresented, hated...The actions of racists, bigots, xenophobes have marked all Trump supporters, even those who are loving, open hearted and desperately trying to do what's right for themselves and their families. So I want you to know that we, Democrats and third party voters, understand not all Trump supporters are bigots, racists, homophobic, and/or xenophobic. This election sucked. Two candidates with incredible flaws stood in front of the nation and asked for our trust and vote. Many on both sides of the party line felt backed into a corner. Which evil do we pick? Should we vote third party? Is this the year to skip voting all together? Many Americans went to the voting booth feeling unsure, sick, nervous, disgusted. But we did what we thought was best.

I know many voted for Trump in secret, afraid to be labeled something hateful if they told their friends or family that they voted for Trump. I understand that many voted for the Republic party because of the Supreme Court nomination, pro-life stance, smaller government. I get it. I really do, because a lot of Democrats thought the same way, voting for the party in spite of the candidate.

We all tried to do the right thing.

And in the end, Trump won.

For some, it's a great victory, a time of hope and opportunity. And for others, it's a scary reality. But we have to dig deeper into ourselves, get beyond the hurt from this election and look at what we've going in front of us.

Trump.

You see the issue, right? You understand why so many are scared, rather than hopeful, don't you? It's his words. It's always been his words.

They go beyond political correctness, beyond a man simply stating what's on his mind. Please, tell me your defensiveness haven't blinded you to the truth. If Trump had remained a private citizen, his tweets would hold little weight. But we're talking about the President of the United States. This single man holds the fate of millions of Americans, half of which don't particularly like him. His job is to protect, unite, defend, lead, heal, help, and what has he been doing?

Dividing.

Antagonizing.

Making twitter statements without thinking of the consequences.

This is your candidate. This is the man you picked to lead you, your family, your children.

Demand more.

Demand that he act like the man you saw in him when you stood in that voting booth and selected his name.

Demand that Trump stop his antagonist tweets, his divisive and destructive rhetoric, his quick to act temperament. I know you see it, and I know you feel like you have to defend it. Stop it. Please.

Demand that he rise to your expectations as a leader and stop childish antics.

He won't listen to me. He won't listen to those he feel are his enemies, to those who speak out against him. But he'll listen to you, his supporter, the one who helped get him elected.

Demand that he act like a President.

Please.

It's up to you.

Farewell 2016! I'm not gonna miss you.

I think it's fair to say 2016 didn't exactly turn out as awesome as anyone wanted. The world seems to be on fire, politics shattered relationships and we look to 2017 with anxiety.

But not all was lost. Here's six few beautiful things you may have forgotten from the past year:

Thanks to the ice bucket challenge the gene responsible for ALS has been found! This is huge in developing an effective treatment for a horrible and scary disease. 

Giant pandas aren't endangered anymore.

Juno visited the orbit of Jupiter giving us amazing photos and data.

An eleven year old girl launches #1000blackgirlbooks in order to showcase black girls in literature

The US Women's Gymnastics team won gold.

Deadpool, Hamilton, Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War - Okay, these things aren't necessarily beautiful, but they provided much needed relief and entertainment.

There's a ton more. What was one positive from 2016 you remember?

 

Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Kids

I was going to have four kids, none of them would watch television. Their days would be filled with educational games and activities. They'd all spend an hour a day reading, after their nap and healthy snack. Oh, and I wouldn't put up with all the crap my parents did. I'd be tough, but not too tough, but also kind and patient in a fine balance my parents never mastered.

I'd be as close to the perfect parent as possible. Or so I planned.

And then I had a kid.

And my plan vanished along with sleep and sanity.

I think back to the naive youngster I was and I want to throat punch her and her pretentious attitude. But parenthood has a way of humiliating....I mean humbling...all of us. 

So here are six things I wish I knew ahead of time: (Don't worry. I also share helpful ways to manage parenthood. Just stick with me....)

1. Parenting is HARD. Like "what the freakin' freak did I get myself into??!!" HARD! I don't know if any parent really comprehends the responsibility of raising another human being until that being is laying in her arms, screaming like a cat getting run over by a vacuum cleaner. That's when sh*t gets real, y'all. But really, it's just the beginning because with each new developmental milestone comes new obstacles. So just when you think you've figured out your Poop Monster's habits, BAAM! Developmental milestone! And you're back to the beginning.

2. Most days you'll have to decide between sleep, eating or showering because you simply don't have the physical or mental alertness to do all three. I put showering on the list, but all parents know that's the first thing to go. Do you value personal hygiene? Tough, because you're about to wear the same spit-up soaked t-shirt for six days straight.

3. Everything is your fault. EVERYTHING! Oh, your kid doesn't eat organic orange slices after scoring twelve soccer goals in the championship game? Your fault! Obviously, you suck as a parent because you didn't find time between crying in the bathroom and chasing your half naked child through the aisles of Target to fix a healthy snack and train a pro-athlete. What a disappointment you are Mother.

4. Repetition is next to Godliness. "Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere. Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere, good night stars, goodnight air, good night noises everywhere, good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere, good night....GET THE F**CK TO SLEEP....good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere..."

5. Who likes an audience while they go to the bathroom? Oh! Oh! I know!! MOM DOES!!

6. Poop. Oh. My Good. Gracious. The mountainous about of poop will blow your mind. Not only will you literally be wrist deep in it, you'll talk about it. ALL. THE. TIME. Color, Consistency, Frequency, or CCF, will become your new ice breaker. "So Sue, how's little Johnny doing?" "I'm SO glad you asked! Yesterday, his explosive human excrement erupted from the back of his diaper! It was a healthy shade of cinnamon, unlike yesterday which looked more like a burnt chestnut. But the water to solid ratio is clearly worrisome. Anyways, we had to clean his entire crib while wearing Hazmat body suits, but it's all worth it to see little Johnny smile."

Oh, how naive I was.

But there are lots of ways to help get through these six common experiences.

1. Sing Jingle Bells in your head but replace all the lyrics with the F word.

2. When someone gives you a dirty look in a store because your child has decided that's the perfect time to renounce Jesus (true story), take a deep breath and imagine pulling that person's hair out. One strand at a time. While she's begging for mercy.

3. Play hide-and-seek, but instead of finding your child, take a Pintrest break to catch up on the latest trend in male hair buns.

4. And remember, parenthood is hard, but it's all worth it just to see little Johnny smile. :)

 

Let's Get Ready to NaNoWriMo!!!

My favorite month for writing!!

NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month. Write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Sound overwhelming? Okay, a bit. BUT it's totally doable! So let's get prepping:

1. Sign up at nanowrim.org This connects you to other writers, offers tips and support, and keeps track of your word count.

2. Do the math. Okay, you have 30 days to write 50,000 words. Are you writing everyday? You can, but as someone who has NaNoWriMo-ed before, I suggest taking at least a day off per week. How many words per day? And don't forget about Thanksgiving. Will you be taking the week off? So here's my math:

3. Brainstorm. Yup, now you've actually got to come up with an idea. If you don't have an idea, start with what you know and see if you can develop that into something interesting. What topics do you feel confident in? Are you a baker? A lawyer? A doctor? Maybe start with a character who works in the same field you work. What are you passionate about? Faith? Politics? Professional Wrestling? Maybe try to develop a plot based on something you're interested in learning more about. Make a list of ten topics and then pick one to develop.

4. To plot or not to plot. You don't need to come up with a complete outline to write a novel, but it's a pretty good idea. When you're on a time crunch, it's helpful to know where you're going with your characters and how you're going to get there. You probably won't stick to it the entire way through, but that's okay. At least you have a plan if you get stuck. Start with Act One, which will be when you introduce us to your characters, get the plot rolling and set your characters on their journey. Move to Act Two, which will be when your characters try and fail, try and fail, try and.....yup, fail. Keep the plot moving toward the climax, which will be right before the "Ah ha" moment. This will be when your character learns the message of your story. Then move into Act Three, which will be when they apply what they've learned to save the day.

5. Don't edit. I repeat. Do. Not. Edit. If you get to chapter 5 and realize you want to add a character, don't go back to the beginning. Just make a note and keep going with your new idea. If you keep fixing as you go, you risk not getting to the finish line. Plus, this is a first draft. First drafts are always a mess. Embrace it :)

Feel free to contact me with any questions! Good luck!

 

 

Don't Let Postpartum Depression Take Your Life

I wanted a new life.

As a first time mother, I did everything I knew I should, everything I’d read in parenting books and magazines, everything my family and friends recommended, but it wasn’t enough.

On the inside, I was empty. I prayed for those times on television when a mom holds her baby and has a joyful moment complete with tears of happiness, but all my smiles were fake.

Could my baby feel my discontent? Could my husband?

On the inside, darkness consumed my mind. I cried in private and smiled in public, hoping no one would see past my carefully constructed mask. For eight months, I lived this way, exhausted, empty, alone. I’d heard of “baby blues”, but I knew this was something different. Still, I hoped I’d snap out of it. I worried a doctor wouldn’t believe me, or think I was being dramatic. I tried to talk to other mom’s, but I often felt judged or as though the women were being condescending towards me. After all, they presented themselves as perfect mothers, and I couldn’t even get my baby to breast feed. I couldn’t figure out how to open and close the baby stroller. I tried to use my baby wrap, but no matter how many times I looked at the instructions, I couldn’t figure out how to wrap that thing around me. I was a stay-at-home mom, so I felt judged by working moms. I bottle fed, so I felt judged by breast feeding moms. No, I couldn’t find support amongst other moms, so I closed myself off to other women, resolved to suffer in silence.

Except, it was too much. The overwhelming sense of failure, loneliness, fatigue, darkness. And a time came when I was 100% certain my husband and child were better off without me in their lives. I only made things worse. I dreamed of leaving and starting a new life someplace obscure where no one would ever think to look for me. I thought of out-of-state friends who would let me stay with them until I found a job and earned enough money to move someplace remote. For me, none of this was silly or fanciful. It was a plan. And once that plan was concrete, something changed in me. Something clicked, and I realized just how serious of a situation I was in.

I needed help.

I went to my husband and told him I planned to see a doctor. With his support, I called and set up an appointment. The doctor offered support, guidance, and a medical plan. After eight months in the dark, I finally found a path toward the light. I got a way out of postpartum depression (PPD).

But not all moms have the same experience.

In August, 2016, Allison Goldstein, a 32 year old new mom to a baby girl, took her own life after struggling with PPD. She kept her disease hidden. Only after her death, through an email Allison sent, did they discover the truth. Allison wrote:  

"I'm so sorry that I didn't know how to describe this pain and seek help."

Between eleven and twenty percent of new moms experience PPD each year, and during the first year postpartum, suicide is the leading cause of death.

Here’s a testimony of another mother. Laura Cincotta, who suffered with PPD. She was able to seek treatment:

After two months of suffering from severe anxiety attacks, feeling very, very sad but not really being able to cry and not being able to talk to anyone, I thought I must be losing my mind. I wanted to end it all. I thought my husband, new baby and four kids would be better off without me. I didn't really want to die. I didn't want to live either if I was going to be like this," said Laura Cincotta, who suffered from postpartum depression. "I was crying out for help and no one could tell me what I had or how to treat it. I asked to be put in the hospital. I can absolutely understand how women can tragically lose their lives to this horrible but treatable illness. I feel fortunate that I found help."

For women with PPD, dark thoughts become reality. The PPD manipulates the brain like a ventriloquist manipulates his puppets. Here’s another testimony from Anne Therialut, a mom who also was about to seek help.

It would be pills, I decided: the percocets I had left over after my c-section, and some sleeping pills that'd been sitting around since before my pregnancy. I would have to do it while Matt was at work, but close enough to the end of the day that Theo wouldn't have to be alone with his dead mother for too long. I would get some formula, I decided, and sterilize some bottles -- that way Matt could feed him immediately, because Theo would likely be hungry by the time I was found. I would write a note, a good one.

So what can we do to help?

Take away the stigma of mental illnesses: In general, we need to take away the labels and stigmas associated with mental illness so those suffering feel safe enough to get treatment. So many suffer, but don’t want the world to know. They don’t want to be labeled “crazy” or “incompetent” or all the other names associated with mental illness. If we create a safe environment, we make it easier for mental illness patience to seek help.

Women need to stop judging women: Seriously. Enough already. Why do we need to fight amongst ourselves? Why do stay at home moms need to make working moms feel bad? Why do working moms need to belittle stay at home moms? Why do the moms who breastfeed need to throw it in the face of women who don’t or vice versa? Come on, ladies. Let’s get it together. One of the reasons it took so long for me to get help was because of how other women judged my parenting. The constant “oh, you shouldn’t do that…” or the judgmental stares and smirks and condescending tones. Seriously, enough. Instead, let’s work on supporting one another. Encouraging sisterhood. Reaching out to those who are suffering. Try to see someone else’s point-of-view. And stop pretending we have it all together, because I know for a fact I’m not the only mom out there struggles.

Talk about our experiences – the good and the bad: There are no perfect mothers. We try, goodness knows, but we all make mistakes on a daily basis. What if we embraced those mistakes? What if we saw the beauty of motherhood in the messy moments? What if we flooded our Facebook and Instagram with pictures of dirty houses and piles of laundry because we’ve been way to busy parenting to bother with the house chores? What if we were just real with one another? I think it would help those suffering. I didn’t know a single mother who was going through the same thing I went through because no one spoke up. Instead, every story of parenthood was a happy one, a blessed moment, a cute tale. But talking about postpartum depression, or even just the rougher moments of momhood, can go a long way in helping someone who feels like they’re failing. It makes a connection, and it says, “you’re not alone.” And in the mind of a post-partum woman, she is completely alone.

PPD is a serious disease, and women suffering need to understand that they are not terrible people. The disease has a way of taking over, lying to us, telling us we’re worthless and awful and incompetent. But we’re not.

If you feel sadness, seek help. Be brave and confide in your doctor, get treatment. There’s no shame in having PPD. Please, get as much help as you need. You’re worth it.

Back and Busy!

I'm back to writing and it feels so good!

After taking the summer off, I've jumped back into the world of literature as I prepare a contest submission and start a YouTube channel! More fun things to come!

My Self Imposed Exile from Writing : Why and What Comes Next

I should have stopped in January. After I finished my latest manuscript, Untarnished, I had a strong feeling I was meant to break. Call me crazy, but I think God was telling me to stop writing. I didn't listen. Afterall, writing is my childhood dream, and if I stop, I'll lose momentum and with the big writer's conference only a few months away, I need to stay sharp.

Or so I thought.

I should know by now that if God wants me to do something, I should do it. When I ignore His word, I get cranky, unsettled, stuck in a funk, and this time was no different. Even though I managed to push out 15 chapters of a new book, I just felt like something was off. And it wasn't just with my writing, which began to feel dry, but with my personal life. Writing takes time. A lot of time. And not only had I been cranking out chapters, but I'd been working on my social media presence, marketing strategy, tag line, business cards, image...My mind constantly spun new ideas for my "business", which is really just me and my stories. It became an obsession, and I didn't like how much time and energy I focused on becoming a writer. Basically, I lost sight of the reason I write, and I lost the balance between writing and my family.

So I quit. A self imposed exile, the one I knew God wanted me to take months earlier.

Instead of writing, I put all my energy into, well, anything else. I played at least a hundred foosball games with my kiddo, came up with some new dinner recipes, watched tons of recorded @midnight with my hubby, read for the enjoyment rather than picking apart plots and characters, and really focused on living in the moment. Oh, and I made an outdoor scrabble board game. (Truth : If you go to Home Depot and have them cut out a massive amount of squares, you'll be asked, "Hey, what project are you using these for?" When you reply, "I'm making a giant scrabble board for outside," you'll get dead silence in response, followed by, "Hey ma'am, whatever works for you.")

I started around the end of April, and my daily prayer became, "Be still." I needed to chill out. I needed to stop the chaos in my brain, stop obsessing about the end game of writing and enjoy the process, get back to the love of writing, and putting that love in it's place.

I don't know how long I'll stay on the outskirts of Writersville, but I know it's okay to take this break. And when the time comes for me to give attention back to the characters sleeping in my head, I hope I'll have learned something from my self imposed exile.

Kristin Hannah, Susan May Warren, and My Other Author Crushes

In a totally not creepy stalker way, I have some author crushes. These are individuals I would most likely freak out if I ever met in person. And I'm not talking about a little squeal of excitement. I mean full blown fan girl, jumping up and down, "Oh my goodness, there's N'Sync!" type of fanatical response.

We all have them, right?

Right?

Kristian Hannah is my newest. I stumbled upon her books when googling "Authors similar to Jodi Picoult". She writes commercial fiction/drama/romance/intense relationship and thought provoking plots. Firefly Lane, Home Front and Fly Away are amazing, and they're the only three I've read. Yet. There will be more.

Susan May Warren has influenced me for years. Her book Happily Ever After was the first Christian fiction I read. It also got me to consider the Christian genre. Now, I have to say...I've met her. I went to one of her amazing writer workshops and I have to give myself some credit. I didn't hyperventilate with excitement. At least, not in front of her. I may, or may not, but definitely did have a minor panic attack in the bathroom before our first introductions. But who wouldn't? The woman is an awesome wordsmith.

Janie Winsell is an indie author of the book, A Mother's Love. So. Good. It's a military themed romance about a young widow whose husband died in Iraq. She's pregnant and her mother-in-law sues for custody of the baby. It's book one of a series (Yay!) so I'm eager for the next one to be published. She writes contemporary christian romance and women's fiction.

Chuck Palahniuk. Okay, I know. It's kinda cliche, but honestly, I'm not even sure I could look him in the eye, so deep is my admiration. His writing is so beautifully gross and twisted, it gives me courage to tap into my own dark side and write from a more authentic place. Because with his books, there are meaning and questions and insight that can lead you to the light woven throughout the strange and bizarre.

Jessica Everingham. Ever hear of her? You will. Her unpublished novel Hating Jeremy Walters was a finalist in the 2015 Frasier Contest, run by My Book Therapy, and runner-up in the 2015 Australasian Christian Writers Contemporary Romance Contest. She writes romantic comedies, but with a bit of a dramatic twist. I can't wait for her to become published.

Above all, I just love reading. I love discovering new writers and tapping into their mind's stories. How about you? Any writer crushes?

 

Want a Pen Name? Here's your chance!

Have you considered a pen name?

A part of me really wanted one. Not just because I thought making up a pseudonym would be fun, but because it would give me anonymity. In the age of facebook, twitter, blogs, intsagram...well, you get the point....being the man or woman behind the curtain is challenging. It seems everyone knows everything about everyone. After much thought, I decided not to go the pen name route. Still, it's entertaining to think what I'd have used. I tried to think of some on my own based on family names:

Elle Scott

N. R. Scott

C. C. Scott ....can you tell I liked the name Scott?

Then, I found a bunch of pseudonym generators online. So let's have some fun! Here are just a few of the websites I explored.

http://www.plot-generator.org.uk/pen-name/

http://www.namegenerator.biz/pseudonym-generator.php

Check them out and let me know what they came up with. Here are mine ....  :)

Ogdon Frei

Sarita Gentleman

Fluffy Golden

Nicolas Elrose

Dr. Natasha Jarrson....oh, I could be a doctor! Cool :)

Mendel Flannagan

Carolyn Capponi

Okay, your turn!

 

The Truth Behind Gifted Children

I'm not bragging.

My kid is gifted. We came to this conclusion after speaking to a child psychologist who gave him several tests, but what led us to the psychologist in the first place had nothing to do with academics.

Since my child was about two, we knew his mind was different than his peers. Not better, not worse, just different, and because we homeschool, we were able to watch and help his brain develop in a fashion suitable to his individual needs. But as he got older, we noticed him holding himself to impossible standards, and melting down when he couldn't achieve them.

I thought it was me. I thought I was doing something, maybe even subconsciously, to push him too hard, but I couldn't pinpoint anything specific. I started talking to more mothers whose children function differently, and I realized a few commonalities:

1. Our kids are subject driven. Or rather, subject obsessed. When they like something, they jump into it 110%, whether it's cooking, or bugs, or art. While other kids have interests, our kids have obsessions which last anywhere from a few months to a few years.

2. Socially, they're on the fringe of peers. They have friends, probably even a best friend, but when put into a group of twenty (like a classroom), they'll eventually find themselves drifting toward the outer circle of the group.

3. Generally, they don't seem to mind that they're on the fringe. They have a rather beautiful inherent self confidence.

4. They talk to adults, sometimes with more excitement than they talk to their peers.

5. At one point, some adult or peer has called them "odd", "abnormal", "weird", "not typical", and has suggested they need counseling or medication.

When I sought a psychologist, she suggested some testing. When she got the results, she explained there is nothing wrong with my child, he's just gifted.

By this time, my child was having meltdowns on a regular basis, typically when he couldn't do something he thought he could. Also, when he couldn't understand an emotion, whether it was one he was experiencing or one he witnessed, he'd have a melt down. Lots of kids do this, but for my gifted kid, it was worse. Way worse. And while I was glad to have some sort of name for his behavior, I wanted a solution, a way to help him.

Here's what I was told : Gifted children have minds that are more advanced then their bodies and emotions. They're brain may be on overdrive and they have trouble sorting through everything. They'll see adults acting in a certain way and want to emulate it. When they can't, because they're too young, they truly won't be able to understand why they failed.

Well, that explained the melt downs. But how do we help? What do I do to calm my child and help him when his emotions become too big? Between the psychologist and my friends with gifted children, I came up with a list:

yoga, a sensory friendly corner of the house, journaling or drawing, art therapy, playing outside, bubble baths, making a "family sandwich" (you and your spouse are the bread, you're child is the meat. This is a sensory activity), pray, keep a worry box (whenever you're worried, write it down, put it in the box, meditate.

There's more suggestions, but I learned to figure what my own kid likes to do to relax (video games) and encourage that when he gets overwhelmed.

I've also learned that gifted isn't what most people think. For some kids, it means reading at two years old or doing long division in second grade, but it's more than academics. It's the way a mind works, and it can be frustrating and difficult for a child and their parents.

When I became more aware, and started reading more about gifted children, I began to see similarities between gifted and medical conditions like OCD, ADHD, anxiety disorders...I began to wonder how many "problem" children were actually gifted, but couldn't express their advanced thoughts due to their young age. I wondered how many other moms were struggling to communicate with their gifted children, or teachers struggling to keep a gifted student engaged while their mind wonders off.

Yes, being gifted often means high scholastic advancement, but there's more. If we only focus on academic success, are we doing a gifted child justice?

I'm not bragging. I'm just trying to help my gifted child navigate his emotions, the stimulates electrifying his young mind, and make him feel safe and secure while doing it. And to help him realize that a different mind, while sometimes perceived as "odd" from those who don't fully understand it, is a beautiful thing.

 

 

 

 

30 Day Blog Challenge: #13 Share a Place You've Visited Before and Would Like to Visit Again

Key West!

My family went back when I was a teenager. It was one of my favorite vacations, and I think I'd appreciate it even more as an adult. The beaches were nice, and I got to stand at the southern most point in the U.S. and look across the ocean towards Cuba. There were street vendors and performers, which created an overall laid back vibe. Lots of water activities to keep anyone entertained. My sister and I went parasailing, and we got to go out on a snorkeling excursion.

I think what set it apart from other beaches I've experienced was the atmosphere. I'd describe it as slightly more mature content, meaning there were more adults, alcoholic beverages being served, a little more of a party vibe, but in a way that didn't seem threatening or too wild. Just a lot of people relaxing, enjoying themselves in the sun and having fun.

I also remember how nice everyone was to us. From the people who worked on the boats that took us snorkeling and parasailing, to the waiters at the resturants, I remember tons of hospitality.

One day, it'd be fun to goo back and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a fun beach vacation.

30 Day Blog Challenge : #20 Share your education level and why you chose that path

I graduated college with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Even though I wanted to be a writer, I thought science and math would be a safer route. Plus, the human body has always fascinated me so biomed seemed like a good path. 

After college, I needed a break. My brain was fried from all things technology, and I craved something more service oriented. I applied for various fellowships, but ended up with an AmeriCorp program that works with low-income and at-risk high school students graduate college, apply for higher education and seek financial aid.

I loved it.

My days were spent working one-on-one with amazing students, tutoring, mentoring, encouraging, and assisting them and their families to realize that higher education was possible. By the end of my fellowship year, I felt energized and accomplished.

I still wrote, and I still wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to continue working with students, helping and guiding them toward their own dreams.

I applied to graduate school, to a teacher certification program, and got accepted. I only finished 2/3 of the program, opting to become a stay-at-home mother rather than complete the work load. But I enjoyed the classes, met some interesting people, and the information I learned, I now use to homeschool my kiddo.

All this time, I wanted to be an author, but I stopped writing. It wouldn't be until years after my kiddo was born that I'd pick it up again. I never stopped loving it, and I never stopped wanting it, but life became difficult and I needed to shift my focus. Luckily, I found a way to start writing again. Now, I do it most days, and it fills me up. I continue to learn the craft on my own, through other author's books and blogs, through my peers and by attending conferences. I'm focused and grateful to have the chance to do what I love.

Day One : 30 Day Blog Challenge, Prompt #9

List five things you'd love to experience in the future:

In no specific order, here's my list:

1. Wrestlemania. In a dream world, I'd have front row seats, back stage passes, and I'd be able to experience all the fun events the week before, including the meet and greets.

2. Bora Bora. Again, a dream world would allow me to have a hut over the water with a glass bottom floor.

3. Best Selling Author. I'd love my books to be published and reach people all over the world.

4. Owner of a food establishment. Preferably a bakery, but maybe a donut shop, or cute sandwich shop.

I'm not sure I have a #5. Now it's your turn. Leave a comment and let me know what your 5 things are.


The 30 Day Blog Challenge

I stumbled upon this post while scrolling through Pintrest:

 http://katywidrick.com/30dc-my-playlist-revealed/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+KatyWidrick+%28Katy+Widrick%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

It's a 30 day blog challenge, complete with these daily prompts.


It sounds like fun, right? So who wants to do it with me? You don't need to do it everyday or do the prompts in order, but commit to working through the 30 questions. If some are too personal, explain why and then pass on to the next. Share and comment. Let's get to know one another!

Call for Indie / Self Published Authors!

I want to read your book! If you are an indie or self published author, let me know. I'm craving some new stories to read.

I won't read any stories with extreme violence, especially toward women or children. But if you have a wholesome romance, a fun fantasy, a mystifying mystery, then I'd love to hear about it!