Category Archives: Author Blogs

THE GOLDEN HANDCUFFS

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A couple of friends and I recently had an actual girls’ night out—a throwback to the old college days. We had dinner, drinks, shook it on the dance floor, and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning talking and laughing—reminiscent of my childhood sleepovers. It was incredibly fun and totally worth the next day’s exhaustion, sore hips (I’m getting older and I haven’t shaken it like that for a long time!), and extra attention my kids needed to make up for mommy being gone.

Typically, I would have just placed the night’s memories up on a shelf in my subconscious and brought them back out once in a while to reminisce. But there was something that has stuck with me from that night that I can’t seem to stop thinking about. During a heartfelt conversation, my friend was outlining her plans to take three months off of work to dedicate time to reconnecting with her husband, puppy, nature, health and soul. Keep in mind this friend is a brilliant, talented and successful medical provider who has worked extremely hard to get to the point where she is finally making a good salary. However, despite her apparent success she is less happy than ever before. She has bills and obligations but she’s ready to try and live on less.

She introduced me to the term “Golden Handcuffs.” I hadn’t heard the term before so I had to look it up. The literal definition refers to the high salaries and benefits used by employers to encourage highly desired employees to remain with them instead of moving from company to company. My friend had taken the term one step further. To her Golden Handcuffs didn’t just apply to being handcuffed to a company, she also meant you become handcuffed to a lifestyle. With stars in your eye after accepting that first big job offer it’s so easy to believe you can afford a bigger home, a fancier car (or two), a better cell phone plan, the weekend cabin up north, and a couple of kids. And on paper you can. It all seems good and well—living the American Dream. That is until one day you realize you are miserable in your chosen path—stressed, unhealthy, working more and more, and your kids barely know you. You start to wonder why you wanted all this stuff to begin with and begin to dream of a life that is simpler yet more satisfying. But you feel forced to stay on because your lifestyle costs too much to leave your career—the Golden Handcuffs are firmly in place.

I don’t have the answers as to how to live your life in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling. I’m not trying to tell anyone that having lots of nice things can’t be satisfying. I just know for me personally that I wish I understood the power of the Golden Handcuffs when I was younger. Now that I’m aware I’m going to work as hard as I can to figure out how to free my family. Then I can get back to what is most important in my life—my husband, kids, friends, community, health and writing.

Oh and if anyone knows where the keys for these darn handcuffs are hidden please let me know!

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Finding Inspiration in Success & Disappointment

In recent weeks I’ve had some successes and some disappointments. Although any new author knows the reality that making it big (think JK Rowling or Stephen King) is one in a million chance (or less), it doesn’t stop you from dreaming about the day you can quit your day job and do something you really, really love full-time. Well, obviously I’m not there now and who knows if I ever will be but I’m going to keep trying.

In regards to some successes I had a really great time at my hometown Holiday Bazaar. I didn’t know if people would want to talk about books while out shopping for their holiday crafts but to my delight many did. It was great to see people I knew and feel their support as well as meet new friends. Being that my novel is set during WWII there were heartwarming and sad stories from visitors about family and friends they knew that had been involved in various conflicts. One lady even brought me to tears when she spoke of her friend who had been a nurse in the South Pacific and passed away about a year ago.

Another success came when my publisher sent me an email midway through a Kindle special they were running on Frontline Angel. He informed me that Frontline Angel had already been downloaded over 11,000 times. Keep in mind it was a free special so there was no financial gain (so, yes, still headed to my day job tomorrow) but no matter what it is pretty cool that so many people even think they might want to read it.

Now on to the disappointments…I had a recent blow to my spirits when a very close friend of mine learned that a dream of his that he had put years of sweat, blood, tears and savings into was suddenly being ripped away from him and torn apart. Unfortunately, I have to be a little vague on the details but needless to say it broke my heart and put me into a bit of a funk. In speaking with him since the event I have gained a new perspective on my life. What is here one day may not be here the next and that is so true. It inspired me to give more focus and expend more energy into what makes me happy-reading and writing.

So, I set out on a new journey to try and somehow find more time for those activities. While not an easy task to change around the schedule I felt it had to be done. However, in my funk, I found myself suffering from a bit of writer’s block while trying to work on my next novel so instead decided to dive into reading. I also joined several amazing author groups and have begun to form relationships that I hope will turn into mentorships and eventual friendships. What better way to work on these relationships and learn to be better at my craft than to read these authors’ works and interview them? With that thought my next journey began and now I’m completely in love with reviewing books and interviewing authors. And the best part is that my newfound excitement has started to loosen my writer’s block and I have now added 3 more scenes to my next novel. I might actually finish this thing one day!

I wish you all the time and energy to focus on what you love. Happy holidays to all!

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And So The Adventure Begins

The print release of Frontline Angel is only a week away and I have to admit I’m full of emotion right now.  It might seem silly to say but I can almost compare it to the way I felt when I was at the end of 40 weeks of pregnancy and about to meet my new little boy.

That nine months of growing a human life were nine of the most emotional, amazing, scary, exciting, anxiety provoking and at times downright uncomfortable months.

Now I’m faced with the fact that it has to come to an end.

All the hopes and dreams I’ve had about being a mother are about to dramatically (and painfully) enter this world.

The perfect little being that I’ve imagined can no longer be protected and sheltered inside the warm, little cave I’ve been providing.

I know there will be many trials and tribulations to face in his life and there’s really little I can do to stop it.

Even though my love is so intense for this little man that it brings me to tear, I have to be realistic and admit that everyone will not love him as much as I do—even worse, some may not like him at all.

My heart breaks at that thought but I know I have to learn to deal with it somehow.

Researching, writing and dreaming about Eliza, Reese and all the other characters of Frontline Angel has been a part of me for so long—warm, safe and protected.  I’m very excited to show them off to the world but also terrified of the difficult journey I know we all have ahead of us.

In the words of Elizabeth Stone, “Making a decision to have a child–it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  And apparently it’s not so different when you release your first novel out into the world

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My ‘Hearts’ out in this big world

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover…Except When You Have To.

Last time I announced that Frontline Angel had found a new home with publisher, Black Rose Writing.  Life has been a whirlwind of activity since.  The original print date was planned for December 1st so imagine my surprise when I was contacted and asked to move the release date up to October 20th.  Great news!  However, the new deadline ended any hope of relaxing evenings snuggling on the couch with my honey after finally getting three little boys to bed. Instead, I was tasked to barrel through another two rounds of edits, finished up my author bio (not too lengthy yet), and a whole bunch of other tasks.  Happily, I checked task after task off my list.

Now I’ve come to the cover design.  This was the part that I was probably most excited about in the process.  Finally, a chance to work with a real artsy-type designer.  Other than writing I don’t consider myself to have a creative bone in my body.

First I’ll give a little background on the original Frontline Angel cover. I needed one before the e-book could be published.  I went to work on collecting items I thought would be meaningful and look good.  I was able to get my husband’s grandfather’s actual combat boots from WWII.  My high school Spanish and drama teacher was kind enough to loan me a nurse’s costume from when they performed South Pacific (a musical that took place on a South Pacific island during WWII).  In the end the cover didn’t showcase any human forms and was pretty plain, but it did have special meaning to me and my family.

frontlineangeloriginalcover (original cover)

Naturally I had really high expectations of falling madly in love with my new cover.  So, when I received the first proposal I was surprised to feel so disappointed…and judgmental.  The woman on the cover wasn’t at all what I envisioned.  I felt she didn’t portray the strength of the Army nurses and to be perfectly honest (I feel really guilty saying this) she was quite homely.  Why did I picture the heroine of my story as attractive?  Human nature I suppose.  I guess I’m not quite brave enough to trust in the old adage of  ‘Not judging a book by its cover.’  I try to keep in mind that this was only the first proposal but with a timeline fast approaching I’m hoping we get it right soon.  So if you’ll allow me another clique in this blog, it’s back to the drawing board for Frontline Angel!

(new cover to be determined)

The Journey of Frontline Angel

Exciting news!  Frontline Angel is going to press with my new publisher, Black Rose Writing.  It’s been a long journey that started 10 years ago when I was encouraged by a professor in college to read a story about an incredible group of nurses that served in the frontline of battle and were imprisoned during WWII. Trust me, that was not the norm of the times for women.  After reading that true story I was hooked. I started reading as many pieces of nonfiction that I could get my hands on about those amazing nurses and other military members that served in the Pacific Theater.  A heroine and her story began to grow in my mind over time and I finally had to answer her call to come to life.  What had taken nearly 7 years to research took about 3 months to write a first draft.  From there the story of Frontline Angel certainly doesn’t end but I think that’s enough for today.

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