Monday, December 8, 2014

In which I tell the honest, raw truth

Hello beautiful guys and dolls! This post could get a little sloppy as I bare my soul and tell my heart. But I've needed to this for a long, LONG time. So, here goes...

Like all new writers, I started my journey with high hopes and big dreams. I wrote my first book, started a new blog, got a facebook, and eventually hopped on Twitter. I wrote helpful blog posts and shared amazing links, asked agents to join and help, hosted pitch parties, and even wrote my own workshops (times 2 or 3)

I visited blog after blog after blog and joined blog hop after blog hop. I admit, I was addicted to blog hops there for a LONG time. I wanted to make as many writing friends as I could because I needed advice and craved their knowledge.

I commented and encouraged and praised and hugged and sent virtual hugs and chocolate to as many blog/twitter friends as I possibly could. I knew I would probably need the favor returned when times got hard for me. If you're all honest, you'd probably admit the same thing.

I joined contests and signed up for workshops and conferences. I begged for critiques from anyone who would listen and returned the favor as much as possible.

I got a job as an editor, a ghostwriter, a blog post writer, a magazine article writer, and landed some amazing literary agent intern positions. (just to name a few writing jobs I hoped would add to my writing experiences and portfolio) I even had a couple PB books published on the Android platform, but the app didn't fair well and it was discontinued.

I was a writer and I wanted the world to know it.
I was going to become a best selling author.
My books were going to be made into movies.

I watched as friend after friend, writer after writer, critique person after critique person announced their success, their agent contracts, their published book.

Slowly, I watched as they all left me behind and joined the ranks of published writers. not just writers, but bona fide PUBLISHED authors.

I got embarrassed they were good enough and I was still learning.
I got discouraged with rejection after rejection.
I decided to give up my dream.


I couldn't.
I couldn't give up my writing.
My dream is still alive and waiting for me to reach it!

With all that said, I've made a very big decision.
I've hired a cuple of editors and...

I plan to SELF-PUBLISH 3 of my books!
Look for more information about my books as the details surface for me!!

PS. Okay. Maybe 3 is a little over zealous. Maybe I'll wait and see what my editors have to say before I decide on all 3. But ONE for sure. Now, I feel much more confident I can do this...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Grandson!

Yes! I have a new, beautiful and perfect grandson. Wait. I can't believe I'm saying that!. No, I'm not old!!
He was  born yesterday weighing in at 6lbs and 9ozs and 20 inches long.
They named him Theo.
Theo's my first grandson and my 2nd grandbaby.
My 3rd grandbaby, a girl (!!) is due in March!

Yes, I know.
I'm blessed!!

PS. I have the workshop scheduled, but it looks like I will need to put it off until after the new year. This gives me plenty of time to schedule some guest posts and hope to have a pitch party following the workshop.

In the mean time, I'll be posting how I progressed through my latest plot development using Dannie Morin's Plan4Wrimo workshop. (Thanks, Dannie!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Group Post

Yikes! It's already time again?? Wowzers time sure flies fast.

Not just fast. SUPER fast!

So it's not going down like usual. I've decided to put together a writer's workshop. It may be more for me to get back on my feet and defeat the disappointments and struggles I've encountered as a writer. But that's okay. I need the boost. I need encouragement.

There's a verse in the Bible that says something along the lines, "David encouraged himself in the Lord..." so I've adopted this plan.

I'm going to encourage myself!!

I'm putting the workshop details together and will post them soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Workshop Ideas

I'm thinking about running another workshop here on the blog.
Does anyone have suggestions as to what might be helpful to you, as a writer?

Character Workshop?

Setting Workshop?




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I love historical fiction, so I've got a treat for you today. Here's a brand new book for you. It's book two in a series, but you should have no problem reading this one first.

Sorry, I couldn't save or uplaod the image file onto the blog:(

Reliance (Hollow Hearts Book 2)

Two strangers. One clandestine wedding. Many hidden stories.

Discouraged by his limited prospects and tired of trying to find a bride in a traditional manner, Elias Wheeler places an advertisement requesting a mail-order bride and mother for his young daughter. Rebecca Malone, eager to escape an abusive past, travels to Montana to become Elias’s wife despite only exchanging a few letters. Learning to care for one another proves easy; learning to trust proves much more difficult. Elias and Rebecca must navigate the waters of blending families while learning to depend on one another with confidence, loving support, and faith. Together they must learn to rely on each other and what they hope to build while accepting that perfection isn’t the goal; love is.
Coming October 7, 2014

By  Christina Yother  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

When life gives you lemons...

Do you make lemonade?

Summer is over and it's time to bring out hot chocolate and light up the bon fires!

Why, then, am I talking about lemonade???

Change is all around me. Not just changing of the seasons, which, by the way, I love. But change on every side. Sometimes change can cause disappointment or discouragement, and that's okay, as long as you grab yourself by the boot straps and get back in the race.

I had to take a break from my writing. Rejection is hard to deal with, and although it's [art of every writer's life, it can be discouraging. The best way for me to deal with that was simply taking a break. I had to, no needed to, get away from everything. I was at the point I didn't want to write, didn't want to blog, didn't want to visit my friend's blogs, didn't want to deal with anything associated with writing. I even ran and hid from my Twitter feed.

I tried to give up on my dream of becoming a published author.
No more rejection.
No more disappointments.
No more writing.

But, my dear, sweet, wonderful friends, I love lemonade! So I found all those lemons I had stuffed away in the closet, pulled them out, and made some sweet, homemade, fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Too bad it's hot chocolate season...

But I have a plan *smiles deviously*

No, it's not lemon flavored hot chocolate!

I froze the lemonade to save for a rainy day in spring:)

Even though life shook me up and scattered me on the ground, I've found all the crazy pieces and I'm back in the groove. Yes, I feel like I'm starting all over, from the very beginning, just like a "newbie" but I really don't care.

Because I feel rejuvenated and excited.

Just like in kindergarten.
Just like writing should feel.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I'm still here, short and sweet:)

Hello Beautiful Guys and Dolls!
I'm still here, and I'll be back soon. We've been moving and hopefully will have Internet again soon. I can't wait to show you pictures of my beautiful new house!

Hope to visit very soon:)

The blog, that is!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Author Interview Linda Brendle

Sometimes reality really bites. Alzheimer’s has wrapped Mom’s brain into knots, vascular dementia has attacked Dad, and, instead of carefree retirees, we have become caregivers. Regardless, dreams die hard, and we somehow stumbled into the purchase of a forty-foot motor home. That’s when all four of us set out on this seven-week trek across sixteen U.S. states. Now, Dad stopped-up the toilet again, Mom wet her last pair of clean jeans, and David just announced that he was hungry. My head is beginning to pound, and I know this isn’t going to be the easygoing retirement we’d imagined for ourselves.

Linda Brendle takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotional and spiritual challenges that many families are facing right now. Co-dependency, mental breakdowns, and finding love after divorce are just a few of the issues weaved into this journey of caregiving. Whether you’re looking for an inspirational story to help teach you how to “let go and let God,” considering becoming the caregiver for one of your own parents, or are just looking for an entertaining travel book, this story is sure to strike a tender nerve.

Release Date: July 1st, 2014

1. What made you decide to write the story of your life?

When I became a real hands-on caregiver, especially after Mom and Dad moved in with us, I often went to my aunt for advice. She cared for both her mother and her husband for many years, so she had experience to back up her advice. One thing she told me was to keep a journal, because one day my experiences might be of help to someone else. I didn’t write every day, but after a particularly trying episode, I’d write about it and post it as a “note” on Facebook. People responded in various ways: This is hilarious. Wow, I didn’t know anybody else ever felt this way. Thanks, I needed to hear this today. It encouraged me to continue.
When we planned the trip I tell about in the book, I decided to keep a daily journal. A couple of weeks into the trip, I mentioned the journal to Christian Piatt, my son and a fellow writer. He suggested I expand it into a story, not only of the trip but also of our lives. It took several years and lots of growing pains, but after fourteen edits, it became a book.
2. How difficult was it to relive some of those memories?

Some memories were more difficult than others. The memory about the letter I wrote my mother as a teenager was particularly hard. For several days, I would walk away from the computer, refusing to deal with the hurt that was apparently festering somewhere in my heart. However, the need to tell the story eventually overcame the reluctance.

In a recent article about writing a memoir without upsetting your loved ones, I talked about speaking the truth in love. I finally took my own advice and revisited the letter incident. By looking at it from Mom’s standpoint as well as my own, and I was able to write and move on.

Other memories were painful but not as psychologically wrenching. In those cases, I simply kept a box of tissues close by and wrote through the tears.

3. Tell us about the editing process. Was it easier or harder than you expected?

Producing a manuscript I felt was ready for submission took longer than I ever imagined. As I mentioned in the first question, I revised it fourteen times before my first serious queries were emailed. I finally stopped for fear of editing the life out of it.

When I signed with Anaiah Press and met my amazing editor, Jessica Schmeidler, I didn’t know what to expect. The thing I didn’t expect was to lose most of the first chapter in the developmental edits and the rest of that chapter and half the second chapter in the next round. I don’t like change, and I don’t take criticism very well, and to say I had trouble adjusting would be a great understatement. However, Jessica was unruffled, and after she talked me down from a proverbial ledge several times, I learned to trust her experience. Throughout the weeks of editing, I realized that Jessica loved and respected my story as much as I did. She also respected my position as the author, and sometimes allowed me to use phrases like is he the squinch-eyed one or the bug-eyed one, even though they weren’t grammatically correct.

Yes, editing was harder than I expected, but it was also more educational and a lot more fun. Jessica and I have become great friends, and we are the first two charter members of #TeamPersnickety. I’m still not sure which of us is the persnickety one.

4. What hurdles did you have to overcome while writing your memoir?

The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was my own fear and lack of confidence. I have always wanted to write, but my fear of criticism and rejection prevented me from following through. Finally, when the need to put thoughts into words became greater than the fear, the ideas bubbled up from that writer place inside, and all those ideas became a book.

Once I wrote the book, there were naysayers who said memoir wouldn’t sell unless the author was a celebrity. I was also told that the Christian tone of the book would greatly limit my target audience. However, by that time I was committed to the process, and I kept at it until I found Anaiah Press who liked both my story and the tone of the book. It has been a long road since I scribbled my first draft in a spiral notebook, but thanks to persistence and the wonderful staff at Anaiah, I have become a published author.

Buy Links:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Long And Winding Road Blog Tour Review

If you want to read a great book, one that is heart felt, sincere, bittersweet, and yet inspiring and uplifting, A Long and Winding Road is the perfect choice.

The author is such a sweet lady, you can't help but fall in love with her and her story. You'll be crying as she cries, laughing at loud while you know she must have felt as she wrote. Not to mention, you'll feel her pain as she discovers a whole new life and way of living.

I give it 4 of 5 stars!!

In a couple of weeks, I'll be hosting an interview and a "get to know you better, Linda" blog post! Look for it on July 14th.

You can enter a giveaway here if you'd like a chance to read the book,

or purchase it sooner, if you can't wait!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Insecure Writers SupportGroup

I am punching this blog post out on my phone, so please excuse any typos. ( Who am I kidding. I'm the typo queen and I don't need my phone to make them!)

Also, please forgive me for the lack of links and graphics, as my phone makes this much to difficult.

I signed up for camp nano and yesterday was the first day. How many words did I write?


Today was epic fail in he writing world. I had two unexpected appointments and was gone all day. By the time I dragged my weary bones home at 10 tonight, I was so tired, my mind couldn't concentrate on writing. I hope to make it up tomorrow.

I hope.

After 20 years of hone schooling, I made the very difficult decision to send my children that are still school age, to a private school.

We are trying to find a house so we can get out of the camper and settled down before school starts.

These are the two biggest things that will nake my writing  insecure this month.

How about you?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Awesome Surprise from Authors Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver

With the release date of CREED rapidly approaching, Lindsay and I have been fielding questions about what our co-authored voice sounds like,  how psychologically twisted our collective mind is, and do I need to read all of your co-authored pieces with the lights on?

Rather than simply answer those questions, we thought we’d take it one step further and actually show you! We toyed with writing a prequel-type novella to set the stage for CREED, but you know us…why write a novella to CREED when you can give them  entirely different book to enjoy!

After much discussion with our agents and an enthusiastic ‘go for it’ from our publisher, we have decided to utilize Wattpad to give the world a sneak peek at what they can expect from our co-authored voice. So here it is, a new, psychologically twisted, co-authored YA Thriller.

“The darkness would’ve scared me years ago, but not anymore—if you couldn’t see it, then you didn’t know it was there to be afraid of.”
~Jake Holloway, SILO

Starting today, we will be sharing a chapter a week of our co-authored book, SILO, on Wattpad for the world to enjoy, hate, question our sanity, run screaming from… The last chapter of the book will drop the week of November 8th, the same week CREED releases!

So, go forth and be appropriately frightened as you realize just what our twisted minds of capable of.  Spread the word, leave a comment on Wattpad or simply enjoy the book in the dark confines of your own home.

Link to SILO on Wattpad:

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent dog.  Her co-authored, YA Psychological Horror drops November 8, 2014 from FLUX.  Her solo YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, releases April, 28th 2015 from FSG/ Macmillan

Lindsay lives in Chicago, Illinois with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and one adorable, but irreverent Bullmastiff named Sam. She graduated from Knox College in the heart of the Midwest and has been writing for as long as she can remember.

Today, Lindsay is an author, as well as a freelance editor for young adult, new adult and middle grade fiction.  She is a proud member of SCBWI, The YA Scream Queens and OneFourKidLit 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things *smiley face*

Yes! So happy it's Friday, and so happy to celebrate! In a world where it can be so dark and depressing, we all need little things that keep us a float and puts a smile on our face.

Today, I celebrate:

1.  Air conditioning when it's hot.
2. Swimming pools in the summer.
3. A washing machine that works:)
4. Family night.


5. YOU! If it wasn't for your faithful visits to my blog, I would have given up so long ago. I can count of certain ones who I know, without a doubt, will stop by my blog, offer a hug and smile, along with words of encouragement. And really, I don't even know you, never met you. But I do appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness and I want to say...

Thank you.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG June 2014: One Day Soon

I don't remember how long it's been since I've been a part of this group. I guess I could go back through my archives and look up the first month I posted. But, it may be depressing to see how long I've been putting on a brave smile and pretending I've got my feelings in subjection.

Let's face it. It's super hard, month after month, to post on IWSG, talking about how I know "one day soon" will come. I've watched countless friends post their book deals and agent news. Some I met AFTER I started my publishing journey.

And here I am. Still behind the starting line, wishing and hoping my dream will come day "one day soon."

I'll admit. I'm not sure sure how long I can keep holding on to one day soon.
It's getting embarrassing.
I'm losing my grip.
I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.

Please visit a few of the others in our group. I'm sure they can all use some smiles and hugs.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Just Sing Book Blog Party!!!

Interview with author of Just Sing 
René Gilley

1.     Tell me about your writing process. 
Just Sing was my first book and I did a rough outline and then starting writing. About a third of the way through I realized I needed some structure. Around that same time, I went to the San Diego State Writer’s Conference and in the workshops there, I got a few good plot tools. After I finished my first draft, I took an intense editing course and that’s when I discovered the wonderment of a beat sheet. A beat sheet and a pre-writing checklist are now my go to items for writing. It can be a bit of work up front, but it’s worth it since it’s like a road map for my books. With that said, I do have some punster tendencies when I write so I give myself the artistic license to go back and revise my beat sheet as things come to me while I’m writing.

2.     How do you get involved or immersed in your story world?
This may make me sound like a loon, but I seriously think of my story and my characters so much they’re like imaginary friends. I think my character development is one of my strengths and I would consider my stories very character driven. I actually write back-story for my characters and if someone asks, I can give them my character’s full history. When I wrote Just Sing, I had these characters in mind and I build a world for them, so I’d say I start with strong likable characters and build from there.

3.     What inspired you to write "Just Sing?" 
I had these characters and built a world for them. Just Sing is a combination of several facets of my life. It’s set in California, which I lived in my whole life--half the time in Northern California and half the time in Southern California. I currently live in LA and have known some people who have had the dream to be a singer and I actually used to do finances for a Hollywood studio. Lastly, I grew up in a small town and pulled that small town/ranch feel into my story. You mix all of that up and poof, my characters, Lily and Aiden, had a playground.

4.     Would you share with me about your publication journey?
I know every aspiring author hears it every day, but I cannot stress it enough. Never give up. If your current story doesn’t get you a book deal or an agent or you feel isn’t good enough to self-publishing, then shelve it and move on. I shelved Just Sing once and now it’s getting published. Also, I think that everyone has a different path, and everyone has to figure out if their path is right for them. Just make sure you’re okay with that decision. If you want an agent and that’s your goal, keep trying, if not with your current book then write another one. You can always come back to that book. If you want to self-pub, that’s great, but make sure you don’t regret your decision. One of my critique partners always tells me that you only get one debut, make sure it’s the one you want as your first impression with your readers.

5.     And lastly, are you working on any new ideas? What are your future plans?

I am one of those people that has more ideas than time. But next on my plate is a new adult contemporary. I think it’s an original storyline and I’m hoping to share it with the world soon. Also, I’m working on the next book after Just Sing, it’s called Going Home.

Connect With René Gilley

Just Sing
Book One
of the
Seven Oaks Series
René Gilley
“Follow you dreams, follow your heart, love your family and Just Sing."

Release Date: 5th June 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Performing Arts/Music
Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop
Available from: AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a top notch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.
When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.
He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.
But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.

Author Bio: 

By day, René Gilley works as a portfolio manager for a Fortune 50 company, but her nights and weekends are spent writing young adult and new adult romance books. Her brain never shuts off—always dreaming up new situations her characters can get into. 
Her California home is often the backdrop for her books. Her debut novel, Just Sing of the SEVEN OAKS SERIES, was years in the making. Like her character, René seeing Just Sing being published is a dream come true.
She’s a wife, mother to two beautiful daughters, and four dogs. She’s proud to be a triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) survivor and believes in giving back through book profits to charities that support breast cancer. 

Connect with René Gilley on: 
Facebook, TwitterWebsite and Goodreads
Video Trailer:



Just Sing evolves mostly around Lily’s struggle with her family, the reality of her dreams, and her first relationship issues with the neighbors’ son Aiden. Honestly Lily is a truly amazing... She is strong-willed and her loyalty and love for her family is admirable. -Between Dreams and Reality Blog

With the popularity of shows like American Idol and The Voice, Gilley's Just Sing promises to bring high engagement to any YA reader who dreams of the stage, lives the stage, or enjoys the stage as a spectator... -Fictionally Yours Blog

Just Sing was a complete and pleasant surprise. There's not many YA novels out there that can capture my heart and soul wholly. And this book is definitely one of them. -Goodreads Review

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Insecure Writer's Support Group

I've rejoined the IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group, and I'm super excited to be back. I missed the post for July, but will...