Friday, June 14, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-June 14, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'm celebrating good health this week. Jude is still doing well after his mysterious illness, and Daisy is also healthy. Fingers crossed that we don't have any more sickness for a good long while.

Daisy is going to be one month old tomorrow. I can hardly believe it's already been that long. She's eating well and growing fast. She's also been sleeping pretty well at night, so I'm grateful for that.

Finally, I'd like to celebrate the fact that my children have such a great father. It is Father's Day this weekend, after all, so it seems like an appropriate time. I'd also like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the other dads out there.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, June 7, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-June 7, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'm going to start out by celebrating good health. As many of you who visit my blog regularly may know, my newborn baby Daisy fell ill with pneumonia shortly after birth. Then, just last week, my oldest son Jude fell ill with a mysterious rash. That, along with other symptoms, landed him in the hospital. Fortunately, both of them are now healthy again. Daisy has been thriving at home for the last two weeks, and my son seems to be back to his normal self. He even got to return to school for the last two days of the school year. He was thrilled that he could finish the school year with his friends.

My husband and I celebrated our twelve year wedding anniversary earlier this week. In fact, my son got out of the hospital on our anniversary. That was by far the best gift we could have received. We happily spent a quiet evening at home with our family to celebrate.

Finally, I'm celebrating a beautiful weekend weather forecast. Hopefully we can make the most of it.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group-June 2019

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has gathered another wonderful cohort of co-hosts: Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for great writerly resources!

This has been a crazy few weeks for me. Since the last IWSG posting, I had a baby. That alone would be enough to make life feel chaotic. Unfortunately, we also had a few health-related problems in our family. First of all, my newborn daughter had to spend a week in the NICU due to her catching pneumonia. Then, after we'd all been home for a few days, my oldest son started to get sick with a mysterious illness. He broke out in a full body rash and couldn't keep any food down. It got so bad he had to be hospitalized for it. The good news is that he's home now, but all of that has left me feeling emotionally drained.

With all of that going on, I don't feel like a writer right now. Every time I try to sit down to write something, I feel tired. My brain doesn't want to cooperate. The thought of composing a story is overwhelming, and an irrational part of me fears that I will always feel this way. I keep trying to tell myself that this is temporary. A lot has happened in a short amount of time, and I need to give myself time to work through it all. I understand that, but I still can't banish that insecurity.

Hopefully I'll work through it all soon.

Now, let's move on to the optional question for this month: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Science fiction is my favorite to write. I love looking into the future and wondering where humanity will end up. I like thinking about what it means to be human and how that concept might change over time. There are limitless possibilities in science fiction, and I love that. Your story can be set anywhere and at any time. You can write science fiction to think about the tough questions life throws at you. You can also write it as an escape from real life. That versatility makes it exciting and rewarding.

What's your favorite genre to write?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

WEP/IWSG June Challenge-Caged Bird

Hello everyone! It's time for another WEP/IWSG Challenge. This month's prompt is Caged Bird.

I'll admit I initially didn't know what I was going to write for this one. I was focused on the impending birth of my newest child, so I figured I would come up with something after that. And I suppose I did. The birth of my daughter inspired my piece, but not for the reason I first thought it might. I didn't anticipate that she might get sick and have to spend several additional days in the hospital.

And now, as I post this, she is home. My oldest son, however, has fallen ill with something else completely different. He's now the one in the hospital, so I suppose I will dedicate this piece to both of them. I can only say this has been a difficult month.

Spread Your Wings

You took me by surprise, little one. Our house already felt full with three children. Then we learned we would be adding a fourth to our brood. The revelation caught us off guard for a moment, but then we quickly adjusted to the news. It wasn’t long at all before we were eagerly awaiting your arrival.
The surprises in life can complete you in a way you never dreamed possible.
As your birth crept closer, I felt like I knew what to expect. After all, I’d been through the experience three times before. While each time was different, I was confident I could handle anything that came my way.
I should have known better. Life likes to throw curve balls when you least expect them. You were born on a Wednesday evening, and by all appearances, everything was going well. You were absolutely perfect. Maybe I’m biased, but your daddy agreed with my assessment.
Then, not long before we were due to take you home, a nurse discovered a potential problem. A doctor ordered some tests, and before long, we heard the awful news. You were developing pneumonia and needed to stay in the NICU.
For seven additional days, I had to watch as you remained tethered to the IV they put in your head. I sat with you by a hospital window and looked forward to the day I could take you out into the world. Lingering fears echoed inside my brain.
What if that day of freedom never comes? Will you be caged inside these walls your entire life? Will we ever be able to bring you home?
Fortunately, you proved to be stronger than anyone knew. You were far too fierce to remain a caged bird for long. After those seven days, you were well enough to fly free.
Now you’re home, and I wish I could say that was the end of my worries. That isn’t how life works, though, is it? Though all seems to be going well, I find myself second-guessing everything. It’s like I’ve just become a mother for the first time all over again. My confidence is shaken. All I want is for you to be happy, healthy, and safe. If only I were powerful enough to guarantee such a thing.
I can only do my best and enjoy the moments I get to watch you spread your wings.

Word Count: 397

Friday, May 24, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 24, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

Sorry I'm posting this a bit late today. Life has been pretty busy. 

For those of you who may not know, our new baby Daisy had some health issues and had to stay in the hospital for the past several days. You can read more about the details in this post. She finally got to come home yesterday, so we're celebrating that. Needless to say, we've been preoccupied with adjusting to home life with a new baby. We've also been feeling a bit on edge, hoping that Daisy stays healthy. It'll probably take a little while before we feel like we can relax on that front.

I'm also celebrating the fact that the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh presented me with the You Rock Award. When I received the news on Monday, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with Daisy being sick and all the life complications that came along with that. This news definitely helped brighten my mood, so thanks for that Alex!

What would you like to celebrate?

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Stressful Time

This isn't an easy post for me to write. The last one I wrote was upbeat and ecstatic. It's hard to believe so much has happened since I wrote and scheduled it.

As many of you may know, my daughter Daisy was born last Wednesday. I may be biased, but I think she's absolutely adorable.

Anyway, when I last posted on Friday morning, I was in good spirits because we were scheduled to take Daisy home. I never thought anything would happen to change that. Unfortunately, life likes to throw you the occasional curve ball. Just before we were about to be discharged, the doctor noticed that Daisy was breathing a little fast. Not alarmingly fast, but enough that she wanted to get an x-ray to make sure things looked good. Unfortunately, they didn't look good. The x-ray and follow up blood tests revealed she was starting to develop pneumonia.

Now, I have no idea how she got sick, and I've been driving myself crazy second guessing myself. I'll likely never know how it happened. In the end, it probably doesn't matter. I'm just grateful the doctor caught it before it got worse. Treatment started early enough that she should recover easily. She doesn't even look sick apart from the giant IV she has attached to her head. If she were a little older, she'd be able to take medicine at home without a problem. However, since she's a newborn, she needs to stay in the hospital until she's done with antibiotics.

Needless to say, it's been a stressful time. I've been splitting myself between the hospital and home. When I'm at the hospital with Daisy, I feel guilty for neglecting the rest of my kids. When I'm home taking care of my other kids, I feel guilty for not being there with Daisy. No matter what I do, I feel like I'm doing something wrong. I'm trying not to beat myself up over it, but I can't seem to stop myself.

I'm trying to focus on the positive things. She's eating well. She's been improving every day. The nurses keep commenting on how strong she is. She is going to be okay, and she should finally be home by the end of the week. Sure, it'll be a week later than planned, but better late than never.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 17, 2019

It's Friday! That means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

I'm going to keep today's post brief as I've been extremely busy the last couple of days. My daughter Daisy was born on Wednesday, May 15th at 6:57 P.M. She weighs 8 lbs 6 oz. and is 21 inches long. She's healthy and happy, and I'm also doing well.

Here are some pictures of each of her siblings holding her for the first time! They're all super excited!

If all continues to go well, Daisy and I will be heading home from the hospital today. I can't wait to get settled in at home and get into a new routine.

What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Damien Larkin, Author of Big Red, Talks About Reframing

From an early age, right into my teenage years, I used to go to Tae Kwon Do class twice a week. My best friend had been training for far longer than me, had been to numerous competitions and was a skilled fighter. We fought probably an estimated three hundred times against each other and of those three hundred bouts, my friend’s skill, speed and strength prevailed two hundred and ninety-seven times.

That’s right, I won a grand total of three bouts against him.

Years later, my friend still gets rankled when I bring that up in conversation. The fact that he beat me two hundred and ninety-seven times goes out the window; he just begrudgingly remembers my three victories.

‘Reframing’ is a technique I picked up on years ago and one that has not only changed my perception of life but has been of massive assistance with understanding characters’ points of view in writing. It essentially means changing your point of view of an event, to a different outlook. The above example is a tongue-in-cheek jab at one of my best friends, but the premise is the same. At looking at the stats, it’s clear he’s a far better fighter than I am, yet by that same logic (and to my friend’s chagrin) he still has to live with the fact that I beat him three times.

This can be helpful when exploring a character whose values or goals may not align to your own. To try and get a better understanding of a character’s point of view, I try to see and hear things entirely from their perspective. I essentially build a frame around it and based on that character’s beliefs, try to understand how and why they react the way they do.

Likewise, reframing can come in handy in everyday life and day-to-day situations. When my first self-published novel crashed and burned after a very promising start, my initial response was to see it as an absolute failure. Afterwards, I reframed it as a learning experience. I took a cold, surgical look at everything I had done for this project, from the cover design, to the marketing, even to the pacing and flow of the story. Within a week, I had identified a dozen amateur mistakes I had made and vowed to learn from the experience, rather than look back on it as something traumatic.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with negative experiences but changing how we view them can be a powerful aid to improving our outlook. Without reframing, there are countless things I probably never would have achieved. I certainly wouldn’t be celebrating my debut novel Big Red being released worldwide!

Big Red
By Damien Larkin

We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...

Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 10, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

First of all, I'm celebrating the fact that I'm 39 weeks pregnant. That means our newest little girl will be making an appearance sometime soon. I honestly cannot wait. I don't really walk anymore. I waddle like a penguin. That's made keeping up with an active toddler much more interesting.

My boys had their spring concert for school last night. They always love performing on stage, and they did such a great job!

My son Lyle is turning 8 tomorrow! He's been counting down the days for the last month. I jokingly told him that his birthday gift will be his new baby sister. He replied that while he's excited about a baby sister, what he really wants is a hoverboard.

Finally, the live Author Q & A event for Masquerade: Oddly Suited is also tomorrow! Here's the link for you to follow if you're interested in taking part.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, May 3, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-May 3 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain. I am her co-host.

One super exciting thing happened this week, but most of you will already know about this. For anyone who may not, I'll say it again! The fourth IWSG anthology Masquerade: Oddly Suited came out on Tuesday. It's great seeing my story "Oddly Suited" in print. What author doesn't love that feeling?

My fellow authors and I have set up a Rafflecopter giveaway to help promote the book, and there's still a little time to join in for a chance to win. What's the prize? A $50 Amazon gift card! Who wouldn't want a chance at that?

We had a chance of snow a few days ago, but it didn't really happen. At least, not where I live. People living north of my neck of the woods weren't quite so fortunate. I'm glad we avoided the worst of the weather, although it was still quite chilly and rainy here. I'll still take that over a snowstorm at this point.

The process of editing my WIP has been slow over the last couple weeks, but I've gotten back into it again. I don't know how much work I'll actually get done in the near future since I'm having a baby soon, but I'll embrace whatever progress I can make.

What would you like to celebrate?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: May 2019

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! Let's convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has rounded up another great bunch of co-hosts: Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for lots of great resources!

One piece of big news is that the latest IWSG anthology came out yesterday!

Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/ContemporaryPrint ISBN 9781939844644  $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844651  $4.99

Find love at the ball…

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.


Now let's move on to the optional question for this month.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Language is indeed powerful. I think I knew this from an early age when I listened to stories of adventure and imagined myself taking part in those adventures. Language can inspire. It can motivate. It can educate. These are all wonderful things, and even though I was too young to put that into words, I knew I wanted to be a writer so I could harness that ability for myself.

That power goes both ways, though. I learned a lot about how destructive words could be after I started Kindergarten. I've always been socially awkward, and that caused me a lot of problems as a kid. I had a hard time making friends, and a lot of other kids made fun of me. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" sounds great in principle, but it really isn't true. Words can inflict a tremendous amount of hurt.

Fortunately, writing has always been a source of strength for me. When times get tough, I write. I use my writing to fashion new realities. It's a way of escaping reality. It's also a way of coming to terms with difficult things and trying to make the world a better place.

How did you learn about the power of language?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Masquerade Ball Bloghop: The Unmasking and Book Release Celebration!

Lights! Camera! Action!

The day has come! Masquerade: Oddly Suited is now available! It is also time for the Masquerade Ball Bloghop to come to an end, and that can only mean one thing. Yes, it is time for each of the authors to unmask their characters.

I'd like you to meet Ramona. You may have already met her masked version on Anstice Brown's blog.

Oddly Suited


Ramona enjoys making entertaining videos with her friends and posting them online. She also co-writes the scripts with her crush Adam. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep her feelings hidden, but when Adam’s antics inspire a zany Valentine’s Day video, her task becomes nearly impossible.

Not only does she have to write a fun, romance-themed script with him, she must also play his love interest on camera.

Can she play her role while also masking her true feelings?


L.G. Keltner has been attempting to write novels since she was six.  None of those early attempts were any good, but her passion for writing remained strong.  She graduated from Drake University in 2008, and she lives in Iowa with her husband and children. L.G. writes mostly science fiction, though she also enjoys writing humorous young adult stories.

                                                   Twitter | Facebook

Masquerade: Oddly Suited 
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Find love at the ball...

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual companion or a date to the ball? 

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard. 

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

“READ IT! There is something for everyone! Do you want Love? Got it! Do you want vampires? Got it! Do you want time travel? Go it!” - Jessica Renfro, book reviewer 

“A diverse collection of m/f YA clean-reads romances to transport readers between the past, present, and future, from the sea bottom to the virtual clouds.” - J. Lenni Dorner, author 

"Stories that will chill your heart, bring smiles to your lips, and keep you turning pages." - Beverly Stowe McClure, author

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter. 

Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble

Add it on Goodreads

The ball is still underway! Follow the links to continue with the unmasking!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-April 26, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

We had a far more interesting Easter than I originally anticipated. I knew my husband had to work all weekend. What I didn't expect was to get a call from him just after 6 AM Sunday morning asking if I could come pick him up from the side of the road. He was apparently driving home from his overnight shift when a deer darted out in front of him. Here's a picture of the damage to our car.

The car wasn't worth fixing, so we sold it to a junkyard. It cost more to have it towed on a holiday than we got back for it after the sale, but it could have been worse. My husband wasn't hurt in the accident, so I'll celebrate that fact.

I'm also celebrating the fact that Masquerade: Oddly Suited is coming out on Tuesday! I'm so excited about this. I'm almost done reading the book, and I'm impressed with the variety of quality stories. It's awesome to be part of a collection like this.

If you have any questions for the authors in this anthology, we've arranged a live Q & A on Discord. It's scheduled for Saturday, May 11th from 1-2PM EST. If you'd like to take part in this event, follow this link.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things-April 19, 2019

It's Friday! Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! I am her co-host.

The first thing I would like to celebrate is a little something that came in the mail yesterday. Look at it!

Isn't it lovely? The release day for Masquerade: Oddly Suited is April 30th. That's less than 2 weeks away! If you would like to pre-order a copy, you can do that here.

The Masquerade Ball Bloghop is also underway! A mystery guest appeared on my blog yesterday. If you would like to read that post, you can do so here. If you'd like to follow the entire event, here is the schedule for the rest of the hop.


Thur. April 18th: L.G. Keltner

Fri. April 19th: Jennifer Lane

Sat. April 20th: Deborah Solice

Mon. April 22nd: CD Gallant-King

Tues. April 23rd: Elizabeth Mueller

Wed. April 24th: Chelsea Marie Ballard

Thurs. April 25th: Carrie-Ann Brownian

Fri. April 26th: Myles Christensen

Sat. April 27th: Anstice Brown

Mon. April 29th: Angela Brown

Tues. Apr 30th: Book Release and The Unmasking (Just follow links above)!

Also, if you would like to ask the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited any questions, you'll get your chance. We're having an author Q & A on May 11th from 1-2 pm EST.

Finally, I would like to wish a happy Easter to anyone who celebrates! My kids are looking forward to dying Easter eggs over the weekend. It's a messy but fun process, and I usually enjoy it as much as the kids do. Until it's time to clean up afterwards, that is.

What would you like to celebrate?