Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Books I Didn't Write Feature: Regan Black and Tracking Shadows

Regan Black is one of my Twitter Peeps (tweeps for people in the know) and when I did the Blog Tour de Force Menage a Blog (seriously, it was a hot as it sounds), I had the pleasure of touring with her.

Regan is not only a great author, but she is super supportive of other authors as well.  I can't wait for the day I meet her in person.  She will get all the hugs!

Remember, the point of this feature is to gush over my fave books and Tracking Shadows is AWESOME!  I don't read a lot of sci-fi or futuristic books. But since I was in a Blog Tour with this incredible lady, I had to see what my competition was bringing to the table.

Tracking Shadows made me a little nervous.

The first line sucked me in and I couldn't put my Kindle down. Murder, smugglers, a little dry humor. This book had it all. I don't think I'd make it in Chicago 2096 at all. No coffee; you know I'd be Slick Micky's top customer :)

There were a few times I had to go back and re-read a few things (was he invisible?) but other than that I really enjoyed the book.  I didn't even know it was the 4th book in the series so of course I went back and bought the other 5 books.

If you love urban fantasy, please check out Regan Black (click here for her website).  She's also taking part in the Women's Literary Cafe Year of the Indies Celebration

Check out Regan's books on Amazon or her website.  Have a Kindle?  I'm also gifting a copy of all 5 books in the Shadows of Justice series to one lucky winner.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm not really a Grinch...I promise

It's here.  That time of the year where I swear off retail stores and regular scheduled programming (unless it's the 24 hours of A Christmas Story or Elf) and retreat to my Internet Hideway and Amazon for all my Christmas gifts.

I promise...I don't really hate Christmas.  I hate what Christmas has become.

No, I'm not talking about Giftmas or losing the meaning of Christmas.  That is a topic I refuse to entertain on my blog.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are especially hard for me because I remember what they used to be for my family.

From Thanksgiving until January 2, my once close knit family used to spend so much time together.  We put the meaning in EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY.  Winter was the best time of the year for me, my sisters and our host of cousins.

Fast forward ten years and what once was a large, happy, slightly dysfunctional family is completely broken.  We're spread apart all over the world, we barely talk to each other, and cousins don't even know each other. I've never even met any of my cousins born in the last 7 years.

Tragic, I know.  Some families come together and grow stronger when tragedy strikes.  Mine didn't.  Maybe it was too much too fast and we just couldn't handle it or maybe my grandmother really was the glue that held the family together as she always used to say.

I don't know.  But I miss my family.  I wish I knew a way to bring us all together, at least once, to have Christmas dinner at least.

But until then...there's going to be at least 10 NBA games coming on Christmas day and Pizza Hut delivers.

Music Monday

I recently heard this song...

Yeah, I know...I should have been had the new Coldplay album.

But it's perfect for Music Monday, don't cha think?

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to defeat Monday

It's Monday...again.

*Deep sigh*

Am I the only one who wakes up on Monday morning wishing we could skip Monday and go straight to Wednesday?  I'm talking "do not pass go; do not collect $200" type of skip it.

Leave no traces of Monday behind.

I don't think I'm the only one.

Good news.  Monday is not invincible.  As much as she tries to be a badass, she can be brought to her knees with a swift kick in the groin (this works on males & females, btw)

Here's how.

Always look for the positive.

I bet you were hoping for something profound and insightful.  Or maybe you were hoping I'd reveal some kickass ninja secrets to beat down this day.  #sorry

Besides, I don't reveal my ninja secrets.  Are you kidding me?

Actually, it is profound.  We often get so caught up in how much Monday is going to suck that we don't notice the good things.

Monday morning traffic in Atlanta usually sets the tone for the rest of the day for me.  I mean seriously, who wrecks their car at 6:30 in the morning and backs up traffic for 20 miles?  But it happens every Monday.

Today was no exception.  As I sat in my car, staring at the bright red brake lights in front of me and tow trucks removing totaled cars from the shoulder, a strange voice I'd never heard before whispered in my head.

"At least that wasn't you."

There it was.  That seemingly unprofound statement that changed the way I look at Mondays.  Sure traffic sucks.  But I didn't wreck my car.  I made it to work on time.  The extra thirty minutes I had to give myself in order to get to work allowed me to see the sunrise over the city of Atlanta.

Look for the positives.

It's Monday.  I have a ton of work to do.  I have edits to make in my book.  There aren't enough hours in this week and my hair is doing this weird frizzy curly thing that it's never done before.  And it took me 20 minutes to decide what black top matched up perfectly with my black pants.

But guess what.

Starbucks didn't mess up my coffee.  I found a missing pair of heels in my trunk. And this tops makes my boobs look awesome.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Small Victories

Small victories.

I like them.  They keep pushing me to move forward, to not get discouraged.  I think I have a problem.  I tend to over share my small victories.

For instance, I co-authored an anthology call Our Indie Experience.  Check it out, it's absolutely a wonderful read.  And so much fun to share my story with my fellow Indie Book Collective members.

I digress.  Back to the issue at hand.

The e-book hit Amazon yesterday afternoon.  I got an email saying that we were already in the Top 100 in Authorship.


I called my mother and a couple of my good friends to share this amazing news.  I mean, my name is on a book that had hit a bestseller list.  Why would I not be excited?

I didn't get the response I was expecting.  I didn't even get 5 minutes to bask in my excitement.  Because apparently if my name isn't the only one listed as author, it doesn't count.


Calm down.  It's ridiculous, I know.  But that's the response I got and my balloon of excitement quickly deflated.  Honestly, for the rest of the day, I felt a little down and my feelings were genuinely hurt...until I realized that what they think doesn't matter.

That's right.  What family and friends believe about what we do as authors just doesn't matter.  To them, a great review or significant tweet doesn't mean anything because they don't see the big picture as we do.  Writing is our passion.  It's our dream to have people excited to read our books.  It's not theirs.  Until they see something tangible, i.e a royalty check, making it onto the NYT Bestseller list, being mentioned on their favorite day time talk show (I have no interest in being in Oprah's bookclub) then the small victories don't matter.  You're still the same old person wasting time pursuing a dream.

I'm learning the hard way not to care what people who are close to me and NOT part of my critique group think about my small victories.  It's difficult not to call up a friend or 3 when I finish a chapter that I've spent a week struggling with.  I know they're "great, on to the next one" reply will only make me feel bad about celebrating.

The important thing is to take time to recognize and celebrate small victories but only do it with people who understand the importance of baby steps...other authors.  We're a unique bunch but we just get it.

It's nice to have someone who does.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Remembering Jimi - Nov 27, 1942

"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

On this day sixty-nine years ago, the greatest electric guitarist to ever live, Jimi Hendrix, was born. Jimi Hendrix expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll. Hendrix helped usher in the age of psychedelia with his 1967 debut, Are You Experienced?, and the impact of his brief but meteoric career on popular music continues to be felt.

I started listening to Jimi when I was 15 back in 1994.  I knew of Jimi's music and had listened to Voodoo Child, Purple Haze, etc before but I wasn't as into Jimi as I was into Prince.  No one around me was into the kind of music I liked so I had to "borrow" music from my uncles and aunts.  My Godfather is a DJ and I used to sit and go through his albums (vinyl, cassette, and CD) and make lists of what I wanted.  Then I came across this...

So I borrowed it.

When I took that album home and played it, I sat down in the middle of my bedroom floor in a trance.  It was like my ears had never heard music before and I needed to hear more.  I returned Are You Experienced to my Godfather in hopes that once he saw that I was departing with such a glorious musical find, he'd take sympathy on me and let me have it.


He also made copies of everything Hendrix related that he had.  All the albums, old recordings with him playing with the Isley Brothers and Little Richard...I was in music heaven.

Jimi's music was effortless.  His music told a story...through lyrics, chords, runs, and the best use of feedback I've ever heard.  He had something to prove but he wanted to make you think that he didn't.

The fact that Jimi died so young is completely tragic.  The hows and whys he's not here anymore aren't important to me.  I've been able to witness (in person) guitar legends like Clapton, B.B King, Keith Richards, and Buddy Guy and it saddens me that Jimi Hendrix is not on that list.  He was a bright star, no matter what anyone thinks, writes, or says.

His music is timeless but he said it himself:

"It's funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life."

I thank Jimi for changing the way I hear music...and introducing me to Bob Dylan...but that's another post right there.

Happy Birthday Jimi!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Title Frustration...UGH

So we all know that a good title along with perfect cover art are key essentials to having a successful book.  I'm satisfied with my 2 titles although having a book with the same title as Jodi Picoult is nerve racking. #seriouslyitis

I'm 38,000 words into my novel for #NaNoWriMo and I hate the "working" title.  Mind you, this book is coming out in December.


It's urban fiction with a romantic know I'm not going to abandon my #realliferomance...just can't do it.

But seriously, Promise Ring and then I Promise (which I keep switching back and forth with) are not sitting well with me.  In fact, they are giving me a serious writing complex.  I can't write without out looking at the document and thinking

"This is crap!"

So, I'm posting a short blurb and excerpt in hopes that reading it without looking at the Word document will spark a great title...or at least one that doesn't have my stomach churning or makes me question my creative ability as a writer.

When they were teenagers, Rayshawn made a promise to his girlfriend that they'd never forget. Beginning that day, the pair take on the streets as the new age Bonnie and Clyde, earning money the old fashion way...guns & drugs. As Rayshawn rises through the ranks of Washington Height's most notorious drug crew, Jaicyn is right there beside him, making a name for herself on the streets. When tragedy strikes, Rayshawn is committed to one thing, keeping the promise they made years ago. This is the story of two young hustlers committed to each other, family, and to their dream.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blog Tour de Troops: A simple thank you goes a long way

Welcome to Blog Tour de Troops. Yesterday was Day 1 of this incredible blog hop and I'm so glad to have you here on Day 2.

You should have joined me from Lacey Weatherford's Blog. I hope you enjoyed that stop and left a comment.  I'm sure you'll enjoy The Dark Rising.  I surely did.  After here, the next stop on the tour will be at Augusto Pinaud's blog.

If you're new here, WELCOME!  If this isn't your first time on my blog...check it out, I re-decorated.  Had to after the last party.

Today isn't about a party.  Well, in a way it is.  It's certainly a celebration.

Twice a year Americans are given the oppurtunity to say thank you to our Troops; Veteran's Day and Memorial.  Actually, for what they do for us, I think every day should be Veteran's Day and Memorial Day,

I  don't have an extraordinary story about what made me appreciate our men and women in the Armed Forces.  No one had to teach me to be thankful and appreciative of our troops.  I always say "our" because they are protecting our country and our freedoms.  And if we are truly "one nation under God" then they are ours collectively.

There was a scene in "Catch Me If You Can" where a little girl saw Leo DiCaprio in his pilot uniform and was awestruck.  "Are you a real live pilot?" she asked him with reverance and admiration in her voice.

Whenever I saw and now see a uniformed man or woman, I feel just like that little girl.

MSGT Jason Wynn, USAF

Staff Sergeant Aundria Lawson, USAF

I'm so proud of my sister and my cousin.  They have spent a large part of their lives putting their life on the line for me and everyone that I know.  A simple thank you is the least that any of us do.

Recently, I was picking a friend up from the airport and I had the priviledge of standing right next to the USO stand.   As each returning troop would come up the elevator, they were greeted by a round of applause and one of the volunteers would personally greet and thank them for their service and help them to their next destination, whether it was a connecting flight or meeting family at baggage claim.

From the genuine look of surprise which quickly turned into a small smile, each troop could feel the love and appreciation radiating from the small crowd.  It was a touching moment and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.  I didn't know any of the troops that were making their way through the Atlanta Airport but that did not matter.  They had made a choice to serve their country and protect our rights and freedoms.  Any and everything that we can do to for them is very much needed.

That's why I love HeroBox!

HeroBox is a non-profit organization that supports deployed American service members by providing the physical items and moral support our heroes need while they are away from home. I've been participating HeroBox for three years.  Check it out.

I'm honored to be able to participate in Blog Tour de Troops as an author this time.  Many may find it hard to believe that a deployed solider's most requested item is a book, but from participating in Hero Box, I've learned that soldiers want the very same things we want.  Just a few months ago, I filled my HeroBox with Skittles, Starburst, an iPod, and Madlibs.  My soldier was pretty happy.  He drew lots of smiling faces on his thank you letter.

That's why I'm thrilled to give a free copy of Untitled  to any solider that wants one.  Leave a comment and for each comment that this post gets, I'll be giving away copies of my books to the commenter and to a solider.  All you have to do is answer this question...

If you saw a solider walking down the street, what's the first thing you'd say to them?

Please don't forget to leave your email address in your comment so I can send you the book.  Also, feel FREE to check out what some of my review sponsors have said about Untitled.  I really appreicate them for taking the time to post such AWESOME reviews!

Reading is My Cheap Addiction

My Quarter Life Crisis

Taylor Lee Writes

All Things Book Blog

Paper Mustang

To show our appreciation, the Indie Book Collective is also giving away Kindles to some very lucky troops.  If you know of a particular active duty or veteran service member who'd like a free e-book, simply leave their name in your comment and we'll make sure they get it.

If you'd like to donate money toward those Kindles for our soldiers, simply use Paypal and as the address to send money to. Please note on your payment that it's a Troops donation.

Finally, when you see a Veteran or active duty service member walking along, just say thanks.  A simple thank you goes a really long way.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Don't just stand there...DANCE

Let's talk about this writing thing, shall we.  I usually don't post more than once a week, but this couldn't wait until next Monday.

In May, I joined the IBC, also known as the Indie Book Collective.  I joined because I thought if I had something like that behind my name, I'd be more credible as an Indie Author PLUS they are F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!  If you're following our Twitter and Facebook, you know what I'm talking about.

I've taken every webinar that they offer.  Social Media (I've done it three times) Amazon Optimization (2x) and the Facebook/Goodreads/Blog webinar when they had it.

I've learned so much.  Before I joined, I had 3 finished books sitting on my hard drive and no idea what to do with them.  I knew I wanted to self publish but I had no idea (and I mean NO IDEA) what the hell I was doing.  I kind of felt like I was standing against the wall at a party, just watching everyone else succeed and have fun being Indie.

I feel like the IBC grabbed my hand and pushed me into the middle of the party.  I was the Facebook Coordinator for awhile and now I'm the Blog Tour de Force Coordinator.  Untitled is a bestseller! And I've found a group of writers that I never want to live without.

Now I'm dancing!

Relationship Advice from a Romance Author??

Hand holding, sweet whispers, gentle kisses...walks in the rain.  I confess.  I'm a romantic.


I love the feeling of being in love and having the perfect man whisper sweet nothings in my ear.  He's perfect.  He's always on time, is okay with watching romantic comedies, and loves my cookies.

#yeah I couldn't even type that with straight face.

Even my characters in my books aren't perfect.  Seriously, I've written books with at least four men in them and none of them are the perfect man.

Okay, yes, I do write about relationships, romance and falling in love. But I also write about falling out of love and none of my characters are in perfect relationships.

So why do people come to me for relationship advice based on what I write in my books? Honestly, do you really want relationship advice from a fiction author?

I'm not knocking my ability to state my opinion on anything you ask me, including love and relationships.  However, what makes you believe that anything that I say should be taken seriously?

My title is Jackie Chanel, romance author. #notalicensedtherapist  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

When Autumn comes, it doesn't ask...

I heard (or probably read on Facebook...can't remember) someone say that since summer is over, people are beginning to get "boo'd up".

Boo'd Up - The initial hook up stage when the couple doesn't leave the house or go to the clubs.  Kissing in public also occurs at this time. (from Urban Dictionary)

At first I laughed.  Then I thought about it.

It does seem like as soon as the first frost hits, there are many more couples around than in the summer.  I've heard comedians joke about this before.

What is that all about?

Is it the change in the weather that makes guys and girls want to spend more time inside with their significant other?

Or all the scantily clad girls of summer changed into jeans and sweaters which makes it easier for guys to stop gawking and acknowledge that "hey, I have a girlfriend!"

Is summer a test on relationships?  Sort of like, if you can survive three months of hot weather, beaches, girls in bikinis, etc, you're set.

Has any relationship survivied this test?

I may need to spend some more time looking into this.

Tell me, what do you think about this?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My mind is in a creative space right now.

Guess McKenzie's back from her shopping excursion. She didn't buy me anything either. *insert sarcasm here*

My head is full of ideas about new stories.  I can't write them down fast enough.  I have this idea that this video triggered.  I'm anxious to get started on the outline because I think I can turn it into a great romance novel.

Question is...should I finish the follow up book to Untitled which is tentatively called Rain On Me or should I run with the ideas in my head?  I'd like to know your thoughts?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What am I doing wrong? A self evaluation

Time and time again, I've heard "you are your own worst critic".  But I have to disagree.  Some people really are their own worst critic BUT (take notice of the big but there) most people are not that critical of themselves.  Scratch that...most people aren't honest with themselves.  We can be overly critical over things that don't matter like weight, physical imperfections, & things people really don't notice

I actually have gotten half a dozen more freckles in the last 2 years.  I'm almost positive people can actually tell.

See what I mean?

For a couple of months now, I've been looking at my career as an author with a critical eye.  Why haven't I sold more books?  Why don't I have more reviews?  Why are people not supporting me.  It took a lot of wine to come to the conclusion that maybe it's not them, it's me. *ding dong*

I like to think that I'm pretty good at self assessments but really, I'm not.  So I decided to break myself down and see what the real deal is.  I mean seriously look at me as an author and evaluate myself truthfully.

I think this may hurt a little.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paitence is a Virtue...whatever

Hate is a really strong word so I won't say that I hate this quote and anyone who says it to me...

BUT (notice the big but there) I do extremely dislike this quote and everyone who says it to me.

Because I am patient...for the most part.

Seriously, I am.  Stop laughing.

Sometimes it's not about being patient and waiting for things to happen in the order they are supposed to happen.  What often comes across as a lack of patience is usually me being fed up with lack of support or asking people to do something in a timely manner and it not getting done.

*light bulb*

Ah's not patience I have a problem with.  It's people!

I should work on that.

I'll put at the bottom of my To-Do List.  It'll get done...eventually

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Ridiculous Writing Process

Every writer is different.  We may write the same genres but each one of us has a different writing style and most importantly, our own unique writing process.

It's important for me to talk about my writing process so my friends on Facebook and Twitter understand when I freak out sometimes.

Well, all the time.

There are 3 things I must have in order to successfully write and quite a few optional things that are just fun to have.

1 - McKenzie and I must be on good speaking terms.
If you follow me on Twitter, then you know all about McKenzie.  She is my muse.  She has the tendency to depart on long vacays often.  Shoe shopping, coffee breaks, and Sex and the City marathons are her thing.  We have a love/hate relationship.

2- iTunes must be fully functioning
I cannot write without music.  I've tried. It doesn't work.

3- Sharpies
Ultra fine and multi-colored. Can't write with a plain Bic.  I used to be able to but then I discovered Ultra Fine Sharpies and my writing process was forever changed.

Yes, I know. #nerdalert

Those are the 3 things that I must have to even start writing.  And because I'm #easilydistracted, my dog has to be in another room and my cell phone must be in another part of the house as well.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baby Don't Cry

Baby Don’t Cry - 2Pac & the Outlawz

I needed to hear this more than anything today.  When I’m going through something serious, as I am now, music helps keep me sane.

I know I talk a lot about Jimi Hendrix and John Mayer, but Tupac Shakur was the very first artist whose music I felt could change a thought or feeling that I had.  Jimi and John came later but 2Pac…

well, there are no words.

He was the first to tell me not to give up.

Baby please don’t cry, you got to keep your head up
Even when the road is hard, never give up
Baby don’t cry, you got to keep your head up
Even when the road is hard, never give up
Baby don’t cry, I hope you got your head up
Even when the road is hard, never give up {never give up}
Baby don’t cry, I hope you got your head up {never give up}
Even when the road is hard, never give up
Baby don’t cry

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Feeling Unsexy...Try this

Not only do I write, but I may have said in a post or two that music is my life.  Music has the power of cleansing my soul.

So this morning I woke up feeling unsexy and a little disgusted.  Maybe it was because I spent all day Saturday in bed not doing anything except reading vampire books and watching Investigation Discovery #thatwilldoit

However, in all of my unsexiness and feeling quite unattractive inside and out, I decided to put on some music #soulcleansing.

Then I took a shower.  I stepped out of that shower feeling like I could be a Playboy centerfold #confidencelevelatanalltimehigh  .

So, my advice, if you wake up in the morning, afternoon, or nighttime and you just aren't feelin' it...try this.  I guarantee you, you'll feel different.

Step 1: Don't look in the mirror.
Go to your computer and download the following songs to your iPod.

** Sweetest Berry - David Ryan Harris (@drh3) ft John Mayer & Bob Reynolds (@bob_reynolds)

** Ain't No Sunshine - John Mayer (Bill Withers Cover)

Step 2: Do Not Look in the Mirror!

Plug in your iPod to whatever sound system you have that allows you to hear it in the bathroom.  Hit play and make a mad dash to the bathroom.

Step 3: Get in shower
Not bath...shower.  Even if you don't normally take showers, do it just this once.

Don't be afraid...let loose.  No one is watching.  Gyrate your hips, rub your hands over your body.  You can do that, it's yours.  Remember, no one sees you.  It's okay.  Sing along if you want.  Have fun! Be Sexy

See, don't you feel a lot better now?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

There's a John Mayer song for that

Nothing hit home harder for me than that.

Let's just say, I've lost focus.  Up until 1 hour ago, I was ready to just throw in the towel and say "Fuck it".  The words of unsupportive people kept echoing in my head.  With so much riding on a dream AND so much work to do, I just didn't think I could do it anymore.  Too overwhelmed for words.

Near tears, head in hand, I sat staring at my computer screen, praying that something...just one thing would come to mind. Something to write, tweet...say that would make me feel like all is not lost.

Frustrated beyond belief at the silence in my head, I got up to take a shower.  I turned up "the Black one" and showered, letting JM play all throughout the house.

Then I remembered this song.  This is my "get it together" anthem.  It brought me back to where I need to be.  I'm not going to give up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Regarding Fathers Day

Yeah, it's Fathers Day.

To me, it's just Sunday.

Yup, I'm a girl with "Daddy Issues".

This isn't meant to bash Fathers Day or all the fathers out there who deserve to have a special day, but for me, I woke up feeling like I had to write this...

♫♫ say what you need to say♫♫

I don't think about the man who provided the DNA to make me who I am often.  But when I do, I get irritated, like today.

My other DNA supplier has a lot of kids (I only know 2 of them).  From what my mother tells me, after his first born son, my brother Twan, was born, he desperately wanted a girl.  Boy, was he happy when she got pregnant with me.  He promised to love me and to be there.  He even picked my name.  My mom wanted to name me Chanel...he chose April.  #wishmymomhadstucktoherguns.

On November 9, 1979, his first daughter, April Jacqueline Chanel Harris, was born...2 months early. #impatientbaby #hadthingstodo.  He signed my birth certificate and that was about all.

I got cheated.  I should have been "Daddy's Little Girl".

As a kid, growing up in low income housing with other kids whose fathers weren't around, I didn't feel left out, except on Fathers Day.  Teachers weren't too understanding when I said I couldn't participate in making a beautiful macaroni, Popsicle sticks, and glitter gift for my dad because I wouldn't be able to give it to him.  That just sucks for a kid, ya know.

I would have liked to experience celebrating Fathers Day.  I love my mother dearly and she did the work of 2 parents and she did it with a smile.  But for me and my sisters, saying Happy Fathers Day to her just isn't the same.  She doesn't like to be reminded of the job she was forced to do.

At 31 years old, I'd like to think that my "daddy issues" are null and void.  I mean, who wants to admit that not having a father around truly screwed them up?  #notme  While I may not have spent years trying to find a man to "replace" the one who didn't love me, I've been affected by this in other ways.

Today is Fathers Day...the 31st Fathers Day that I've been forced to spend without my father. If I had a dad who loved me, who was there for me when I needed him to be, I would be paying the check on a fabulous breakfast, followed up by an AWESOME BBQ at my house with plenty of food, fun, laughter, beer, and music, and top it all off with the best gift I could afford.

I would have been a great daughter to my Dad...if only I had one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Who's Your Biggest Fan?

Please don't say "my mother".

I'm my own biggest fan.  It's true.  I laugh at my own jokes.  I think I'm pretty freakin' fabulous!  I'm not being self-centered or narcissistic.  I'm being honest.

You have to ignore the people who want to drown you with cynicism and who harshly criticize your dream because it's your dream.  My dream is to be a successful Indie author. It's going to be a long tough road.  I know that.  I welcome it.  You know why...

Because as I travel down this road, I get to meet a bunch of cool people who are traveling right along with me.  People who may or may not laugh at my coffee and John Mayer obsession....people who may or may not understand my morning traffic commute rants.  But still, it's all good! (yup, I went there)

What I'm trying to say is basically, live in the NOW.  Be your own biggest fan.  It's never too late and you're never to old.

My motto is:  Live...Dream...Write.

That's about all I can do.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Follow the Sound of Your Calling

“Everybody’s life has lines in it…chapter marks. Everybody’s life has chapter marks. Some people’s chapter marks in their life…some of them are really good.  Some of them remind you of a time when everything went really well or some of them remind you of a time when it didn’t go well or maybe it didn’t go well at first and then changed you and things went even better than they were before.  And there was a line in my life when I was 19 years old when I said to my guitar, almost literally “you know better than me. And therefore, I’m going to follow you wherever you take me” and I’m going to trust this guitar.  And I’m gonna trust this guitar.  I’m gonna trust this guitar.
And if that takes me to sleeping on a pool table, or if that takes me into a bout of loneliness I never saw coming…well, I’m gonna still do that because I think I have a calling.  And I know…and I know… and I know …that I traded certain things as a human being, I know that I did.  there are certain parts of my brain that will never be the same, certain parts of my brain that are now converted to being able to do things on this level, that are at the expense of being able to do things on a somewhat of a more docile human level.
But I know…but I know…that is the very making of a calling! Callings are not perfect.  When you have a calling, you have to give a lot up to follow the calling.  That’s why it’s called a calling…BECAUSE THE SOUND COMES FROM FAR AWAY!
And you have to follow the sound of your calling. And it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do.  It’s the reason the world is full of really talented people who didn’t go try it, and that’s okay. But to the people who hear the ringing of the bell of the calling…that sound that they have to follow, you will have to give up certain parts of your life.  And yes, I have given up certain parts of my life to follow this sound and I have found a beautiful thing in it.
On a night like tonight, I need to thank you, for making this journey feel so unbelievable and so unbelievably worth the trip and the getting lost and the found and the lost and the found on the way to figuring out what my true calling is.  I would never ever ever ever trade this back again for the rest of my life.  I love this all, thanks to you.
Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you” - John Mayer, 3/12/10 - Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Back in March 2010, when I heard this, I drove to work with tears streaming down my face.  I had an idea for a book which I thought could be my best work…if I decided to write it.  Then I heard this.  I know I can write and I know I have a calling to change lives through words.  I’ve just been to scared to act on it, to make the sacrifices that following it would require to follow that calling.
I credit John Mayer for alot of things that have happened in my life.  His music takes my mind to where it needs to be.  But this wasn’t music…this was a message.  I wasn’t there that night, but I felt like he was talking to me.
A month later, I started writing Untitled* and yesterday I finished it.  While this may not be the book that changes people’s lives, it is the first step.  Writing this book was difficult because for the first time, I made the sacrifices that needed to be made, I gave up the things I needed to in order to follow the “ringing of the bell of the calling”.
Was it worth it?  No matter what happens, yes.  It was.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Love Affair with Music

I'll start this post off by reiterating that I am not a musician.  I am an author.  The only musical experience I have is the six years I spent playing the trombone in Jr. High School and High School.

However, that doesn't change the fact that music is more important to me than almost anything.  It's the source of inspiration behind every word that I put on paper.  My love affair with music is the reason that I decided to become an author.

Like writing, music is my lifeline.  I'd die without it.

One of my favorite movies is Brown Sugar.  Whenever I hear the opening line "When did you fall in love with hip-hop?" I grin.

My love affair with music began at a very young age.  I was born in 1979...I'm definitely a proud card carrying member of the MTV generation.  I remember when the M stood for music. 

In my house, music was always playing, especially on Saturday mornings.  My mother filled our little apartment with the sounds of Levert, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Zapp & Roger, Marvin, Freddie...all the great R & B singers.

As I got older, not only did my mother's taste in music influence me, but I began to develop my own like and dislikes.  I went through phases...R&B, hip-hop, pop, rock, blues, jazz.  At 15, I discovered Jimi Hendrix and life as I knew it changed forever.

It was if someone had turned down the volume of everything around me.  Prince was the first guitarist that I loved.  He made me fall in love with the melodic and beautiful sounds of the electric guitar.  I was so entranced by the sounds that came from that instrument, I had to hear more.  Who else did that?  I needed to know.  That is how I discovered Jimi.  Once his music became a staple in my life, it opened the door to a whole new world of music for me.

Untitled* is the product of my love affair with music.  I thought it would be an incredible experience to write a book about a musician and the struggles he would encounter as he made the music that I love.  I was right.  It definitely was an incredible experience.  I've learned so much about the "behind the scenes" effort it takes to become a successful musician. 

Which of course, makes me appreciate it even more.  Writing this book only deepened my already immense love for music.  In honor of the artist was my main inspiration behind this story, here are my 2 favorite songs.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Master of Your Own Destiny

Sometimes I have to write things to motivate myself and keep me focused.  Like everyone else, I get discouraged when things don’t go my way.  Here’s what I had to write(rewrite) today to get focused on the task at hand…

When it comes to living life and living your dreams, you are in charge.  You determine where you stand in this world.  Often it may not seem that way.  There are bosses, husbands, wives, and children who might make you feel that they determine what your life is going to be like.  This is not the case.  Truthfully, you are the master of your own destiny, no one else.  You create your reality.  You are the only one who can determine what is best for you.

It is all about you taking charge of your own life instead of letting others do it for you.  This will require changing your mindset and refocusing on what is important to you.  The keyword is you.  You have to reclaim the power and control that you have mistakenly relinquished onto someone else.

People limit themselves all of the time.  They succumb to the pressure of society’s expectations.  They also start to believe that their lifelong passions and dreams are unattainable.  This leads to having a stressful and unfulfilled life.  The only person who stops you from being who and what you want to be is you.  You have to overcome your own objections.  You have to get out of your own way and focus.  You have the power to change things and live the life that you want to live.

It is not necessary to live a life filled with low expectations and unfulfilled dreams.  The sooner you accept that you can change the situation, the sooner you will be happy.  You have to stop believing that you cannot accomplish everything that you set out to do.  The reality is that you may not achieve your dream but you will never know if you do not try.

The sooner you realize this, the better.  It is never too late to be happy.  It is never too late change your situation and live a happier fulfilled life.  Do no let anyone other than yourself have power over you.  Create your reality and live in the now.  Only you can do this.  It may be a daunting task but the reward is worth the challenge.