September / Fall / Love / Giveaways

Finally, September…septemberMy favorite of all months.
I love September for it ushers in Fall.
I love September for offering a three-day respite from labor.
I love September for serving as a pre-cursor to the holidays -soon to come.
I love September for its religious significance; a reminder to fast and pray.
I love that it teases us with thoughts of egg nog ice cream and pumpkin muffins.
I love that within its dates fall the state fair and the PV/Grambling football game.
I love that it’s the ninth month (an indication of completion).
I love that it’s my birth month!
September is so sweet and so is Fall…
My favorite of all seasons.
I love the cooler temperatures.
I love the cooler fashions.
I love having the option of writing indoors or out.
I love the vibrant colors—the reds, oranges, browns, yellows, blacks and whites.
I love replacing manufactured air with God’s air.
I love the magnolia cones that litter my yard
And the pecan shells that stain my driveway.
I love the sound of the high school marching band; practice session ended but echoing notes still fill my street.
Finally, Fall…

To celebrate the arrival finally of two of my loves, September and Fall, I am giving stuff away!
Well, not stuff; rather, books. Lyrical Darkness to be exact. Three copies.

If you’d like a chance to win one of my love gifts, simply email me at afields121@yahoo.com by September 30th. Use the subject line “Happy Birthday.” (Don’t worry. If you forget to use that subject line, I’ll still scour my Inbox for entries.) At midnight on the 30th, I will toss all email addresses in a basket, draw out three and send the winners an ebook version of Lyrical Darkness. It’s just that simple!

NOTE: If you’d like to improve your chances of winning or would prefer a hard copy (instead of ebook), visit Goodreads where I am running a parallel giveaway that begins on September 6th.

Enjoy September!

Enjoy Fall!

Enjoy Reading!

Full Moon Report #1

What the heck is going on? For the last two weeks, I have been pummeled by technology/electronics failures, miscommunication, operational blips, the inability to speak or write clearly, and physical discomfort. Some days were so bad, I felt like crawling into bed and taking a long nap from life.

But, not possible. I have far too many obligations; too many responsibilities; too many deadlines and way too many upcoming projects/events to escape. So instead of pulling the covers over my head, curling into the fetal position and sticking my thumb in my mouth, I began a search for the cause of these challenging days.fm15_fullmoon[1]

I started with prayer, had trouble concentrating and wasn’t sure my prayers were getting through. I moved on to silence and journaling, both with lackluster results. Then while performing internet research, I happened upon an article related to Blue Moon.

Apparently in July, we had two full moons, an event that happens rarely, like every two to three years. When this phenom happens, the second full moon of that month is called a blue moon. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Once in a blue moon.” It is this occurrence that birthed that phrase.

While a blue moon is a grand event, celebrated and tracked worldwide, its true significance isn’t the color (oddly enough the moon isn’t even blue during that period) or its frequency or the month in which it appears. The important fact is that the moon is full and a full moon (whether blue or not) has an effect on humans.

Well of course it does. If the moon (full or otherwise) has enough power to control the tides then it makes sense it would have some type of effect on us. I turned to other links and articles on the subject and learned that a full moon tends to usher in heightened actions; more vivid, creative thoughts; and more pursuits and opportunities.

Okay, I could testify to all of those effects. Days before the blue moon and until recently, I rose from sleep with great ideas for our upcoming Halloween and retreat programs. I was driven to lock in speakers and events for 2016, and I was clear about marketing actions I needed to take. Finally, I was very focused on my daily to-do agenda, and new opportunities kept popping up like Whack-A-Moles.

However, the occasion of the full moon or Blue Moon didn’t explain the temporary but recurring headaches I had had; my intense impatience with people and situations; the energy drains and mental fugues that had dogged me; and the irritating mechanical breakdowns I’d experienced. I suppose it’s possible the full moon was responsible for those conditions as well. After all, there is a shadow side to light, right? …a negative to position. But because I’m not quite ready to blame these downers on the full moon, I put a plan in place to see if there’s linkage. So here’s my plan:

Starting on Thursday, August 27th, I am going to record any weird things that happen like headaches (which I rarely get); printer issues, phone screen blackouts, or computer lags; missteps in communication or planning; etc. I will continue recording until two days after the next full moon, which happens on Saturday, August 29th. Why two days after? Experts claim the effects of a full moon begin two days prior to (which I can testify to) and end two days after its appearance (which I cannot testify to. I didn’t start experiencing relief until a week after the blue moon, and then not even full relief but a lessening of symptoms which made it easier to get out of bed and smile). After the 31st, I am going to compare the two periods and see what the comparison shows me. Luckily for me, I journal most of the time so I can also review my journal entries between full moon periods and glean awareness from it as well. I know my study will not win first place at the Science Fair. I know it isn’t an apples to apples study with all conditions being the same. But it will give me some idea of what to expect during future full moon periods, what’s happening between full moons and maybe even offer insight into other possible causes of those terrible, horrible, no-good days I had. Fingers crossed.

And lucky you (ha! ha!)…if you so choose, you’ll get to read my summary, which I plan to share in my next blog titled…yep, you guessed it, Full Moon Report #2. In the meantime, I am going to pour another glass of wine and toast to the pleasantness of today.

Happy Full Moon to You!

Inspiration Continued

On Thursday, July 16, writers around the world were inspired by NaNoInspiredDay. On that day, writers encouraged each other by posting words, quotes and actions meant to inspire:  to inspire words, to inspire the completion of works, to inspire turning on the computer or picking up the pen, to inspire the prioritization of writing, etc. I found the inspired postings on Twitter and Facebook did just what they were intended to do–inspire. I was inspired to honor a truth concerning a short story I had been struggling with. I was inspired to write more words. I personally did not post anything on Thursday, but I am today. A friend sent me the link below and I am sharing it with you in an effort to keep the inspiration going. Click on the link and after you’ve read the 25 quotes, let me know the ones that move you. The ones that moved me? #2, #3, #9, #13, #16 and #25. Be inspired! Happy writing!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliapugachevsky/quotes-that-will-make-you-want-to-take-more-risks-with-your?utm_term=4k9bccy&sub=3100213_2642780#.ss6zqWWVqV

Marvelously Mature – Evelyn Palfrey

Back in the ‘90s, author Evelyn Palfrey started a new thing. She wrote romance stories with lead characters who were “marvelously mature;” a term she crafted to describe her sheros and heros–adults in their fifties and sixties; some retired, some not; some with children who were “grown and gone,” some who were raising grandchildren, but all confronting love in their latter years, which made for plots that were unfathomable in the more traditional romance stories.

I read every one of Evelyn’s books and enjoyed them thoroughly. This spring when I learned she had a new release, I jumped online and downloaded my copy of Going Home. Like her other books, I devoured each page and when I reached the end, I was not happy about saying good-bye to the characters. I don’t write and post book reviews on every book I read but this one – yes. Because I want readers to learn about and read Evelyn’s works (if they haven’t already). And as we all know, in this cyber literary world, book reviews are important.

My brief comments about Going Home follow and if you want more information about Evelyn or her other works, click here.

2011BookCover[1]Going Home is a contemporary romance story set in Austin, Texas. The heroine, retired office worker, Thalia Allen specializes in taking in orphans—her granddaughter Mishay and a father/son combo, Joe Lambert and Kyobe, who ended up in Austin after Hurricane Katrina ran them out of New Orleans.

The story opens with a snapshot of Thalia and Mishay in their routine home/school/church/life activities; a routine that quickly alters when Thalia allows Joe and Kyobe to move into her home. Thus starts a slow, respectful buildup to romance and love between the adults while the two teenagers struggle with their own teenage issues:  school work, peer pressure, cliques, dating, violence, college, etc. Encapsulating all four story lines is the natural evolution into a family unit; an outcome that makes them all emotionally stronger, secure and happy. Just as the family is strengthening and everyone is settling into their natural place, Joe blows the family apart with an announcement:  he is returning to New Orleans to resume his life there. It’s a heartbreaker for Kyobe and Mishay, but especially for Thalia who has given Joe her heart and has come to rely on him. Joe moves back home and is in New Orleans for several months before he comes to the realization that his life, his happiness, his heart is not in New Orleans, but in Austin. Acknowledging this, he returns to Austin to immediate acceptance by everyone except Thalia. She maintains a hard line with him until he proves he’s there for good by asking her to be his wife. They reunite, the family reunites, and they all live forever in love.

Like most romance stories, this is not action-driven but character-driven. We see a satisfying arch of the major characters, including the teenagers. By the end of the story they are more expansive, changed and for the better. The storyline follows a logical line of progression with plot twists in appropriate places, valid emotional ups and downs, and realistic behavior. The settings and descriptions enhance the story and the pacing is appropriate for a romance story. Of course the ending worked. It is after all a romance and the boy always gets the girl.

A plus I think readers will enjoy is the cast of characters. There was enough diversity—from thievin’ thug to sassy, low self-esteem teen to independent contractor to retiree—to make me wonder how Thalia was going to make a family of this rag-tag bunch. I should have known love conquers all.

The one hole in the story was the missing conversation between grandmother and granddaughter regarding her sexual status after being on the road with a hormone-driven young male. I also did not care for so many church scenes but that’s just me and my personal reading preference.

I believe readers will enjoy this story. It is an intelligent read that can easily jump off fiction pages to represent real life.

June 21st Came and Went

June 21st came and went and me with no summer reading list. Summer Reading

I took a breather from handling my mom’s medical appointments, traveling, marketing the new book and making a major technology transition and realized the summer solstice had come.

And me with no summer reading list.

I looked up from painting my house, writing book reviews, crying about human losses, bemoaning all the rain, and making beautiful memories with my four-year-old nephew and realized summer had arrived.

And me with no summer reading list.

I paused from texting friends, making friends, losing friends and hanging with friends to say “good-bye June; hello July.”

And me with no summer reading list.

So dear readers, I have no choice but to lean on you. Would you kindly suggest a book or two? Good summer reads that will keep me company until the fall. Books I can read on the coast, on a plane, at coffee or lunch, in the office or at the park. Stories I can fall into and linger at the end. Tales I can, in turn, pay it forward and share with friends.

For your very generous reply, I promise to pray a fun, relaxing, book-filled summer for you and yours.

And now me, with a summer reading list!

It Chose Me

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase, “I didn’t choose it, it chose me.” That phrase applies to me and paranormal writing. I grew up reading romance novels—the old school romances with covers that depicted revealing bodices for heroines and exposed chests for heroes. Fast forward to adulthood and my love for reading romance novels continued. So it was quite natural that when I decided to become a novelist, I turned to the romance genre. I wrote three romances and then something unexpected happened…my next love story went dark. Yikes! What happened? I’m trucking along writing about love and eternal bliss and then a stalker, death and violence inserts itself into one of my stories. That story introduced a change.

Oh, I still believed in love, happiness, and all that sugar and spice stuff, but those dark elements forced me to acknowledge the influence that murder mysteries, thrillers, horror and science fiction had had on me as well. I had read just as many Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books as I had romance novels, and that horror/thriller/mystery genre had risen up, demanding to be represented.

So in 1999, I shelved the romance stories I had been developing and turned to paranormal writing. Well not completely. I decided I would write a paranormal then write a romance; write a paranormal, then write a romance. A rotation, you see, but my intuitive creative self said, “no, no, no,” and to prove it meant what it said I started having personal encounters (yes, plural) with spirits. I had my first run-in in 2000 with a spirit. Then in 2011, I had my second spiritual visit and since then I have seen an angel and have been visited by a deceased relative. Needless to say, many of my writings are now devoted to the paranormal genre. Such as my most recent book titled, Lyrical Darkness. I am honored to be one of ten paranormal writers featured in this collection of short stories that are based on dark song lyrics.

lryical_SMALL

I’m curious about you though. What has chosen you? Have you been chosen to take your writing more seriously and work toward publication? Have you received the call to join a book club? Have you felt the urge to sculpt, draw, paint? Maybe thoughts about pursuing a voiceover, design or music career? If so, have you answered the call or turned your back to it? If it chose you and you’re being stubborn, let me reiterate that there’s no escape. Make it easy on yourself and go with it. And always remember, it chose you; hence, all the support you’ll ever need is yours just by asking.

Honor the choosing!

It’s Official…Lyrical Darkness

I am so excited!!!

Today, Lyrical Darkness, an anthology of short stories based on songs which have dark lyrics, is available for pre-order. I’ve had other book releases (2014 – Voices from the Block & 2013 – Fuller’s Curse) so why am I even more excited about this book? Because Lyrical Darkness is my first attempt to create a story from a song.

When Donnie Light, the publisher of Lyrical Darkness contacted me about participating in this anthology, I of course said yes, yes, yes, but I was very nervous. I had never created a story from a song before. My previous stories were all culled from life experiences, inspiration and imagination; they were never so intentional.

To make it easier for us, Donnie allowed us to select our own song and he put a 10,000 word limit on the stories. The ten  contributing authors, all paranormal writers, scurried to find the right dark song that would generate 10,000 words, a plot and characters. And our work continued at a feverish pace through the holidays to meet the February 2015 deadline.

Below is the cover for Lyrical Darkness. Beyond this inviting cover are eleven dark short stories based on disturbing song lyrics; samples of which include “Angie Baby,” “Hotel California,” “Smooth Criminal,” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (this is the song I chose, click here to listen). I am proud to be a part of this collection and I hope you will read our take on these songs. May I suggest a visit to YouTube before or after reading so you can compare the story to the song?

You can order the ebook today and the print/paperback version will be available June 15th.lryical_SMALL

Thanks for being part of this journey with me and oh, by the way, happy Black Music Month (June)!