Tag Archive | encouragement

Hear Lovenia Roar!

LoveniaLLovenia Leapart, Writer, Author, World Citizen

Meet one of the most courageous writers I know…Lovenia Leapart. Some years ago, Lovenia and I belonged to the same writers group. We clicked on so many levels that even though time has marched on and many miles separate us, we have remained connected. I am so proud of her and all she is accomplishing, so much so that when I considered women writers to profile this month along with the woman history-maker that they admire or were influenced by, I thought of her. Below is Lovenia’s article and I’m sure you’ll be as impressed and inspired as I am.

Wrapped in Rainbows

Most people know Zora Neale Hurston almost exclusively in terms of her writing, but not many know her as an adventurer. At a time when most women lived lives of quiet domesticity and it was extremely rare for blacks to travel internationally, Zora Neale Hurston, driven by her deep and enduring curiosity about people and culture, traveled alone throughout the deep South (reportedly carrying a chrome-plated pistol for protection), and spent time living in Jamaica, Haiti and Honduras. It was through reading Valerie Boyd’s exceptional work (aka masterpiece), Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, that I was able to really gain a true understanding of the fearless kind of way in which Ms. Hurston lived. And ironically, soon after reading this work, I found myself entertaining opportunities to go abroad to live and work. Needless to say, I had to deal with a myriad of fears that threatened to keep me from doing what my spirit was calling me to do. But having read about Ms. Hurston’s travels, it was clear that there were times when Ms. Hurston found herself quite outside of her comfort zone in these foreign lands, and at a time before cell phones and internet access could have cushioned the fallout from any number of misadventures. Reading that, I thought, if Ms. Hurston could follow her heart’s urgings and live so boldly in her day, in this time of modern technology surely I can find the internal wherewithal to do the same.

I did. So off I went to China, not knowing a drop of Chinese and not having the slightest idea about what to expect from myself or the culture. And the trip blew my mind so wide open that I have been irrevocably changed by the experience. So, beyond sharing a love of the craft of writing, I also feel a “kindred connection” with Ms. Hurston that now includes a passion for adventure, exploration, and discovery that comes from traveling and living internationally and off the beaten path.

It often takes tremendous courage and internal fortitude to break away from the herd and go after one’s dreams and live life on one’s own terms. To honor that, Evelyn Bourne and I have created a podcast called Working Your Mission, which is an interview series that highlights people who are making a living doing work they love. Through this project, we hope to provide inspiration and useful advice to others who would do the same. I think all artists have within them an innate level of fearlessness (otherwise, we simply could not do the work that we do) and I’ve come to believe that allowing that fearlessness to unfold in areas of our lives beyond our work not only makes us better artists, but ultimately, more fulfilled and self-actualized human beings as well. Zora Neale Hurston certainly did that, and the bold and courageous way in which she lived her life continues to give me inspiration to do the same.

Lovenia is the author of the paranormal romance novella, Marked by Temptation. She is currently at work on the sequel, as yet untitled, and is planning to release her novel, Consolation Prize next spring. She partners with Evelyn Bourne on the Working Your Mission podcast series.

Working Your Mission

Some people call it purpose, others term it a calling. Lovenia and Evelyn call it a mission. These two ladies are the founders of Working Your Mission, an inspirational/motivational company that encourages people to identify their passion, purpose, calling, mission or whatever term you use to label it, and then work it until it becomes their livelihood.

This is a topic that is cradled in my heart. I feel very strongly about people stepping out of their comfort zone to embrace that for which they live and breathe. I talk about this in depth with Lovenia and Evelyn, and you can listen to our conversation by clicking on the Working Your Mission link.

If you have a mission that you’ve been thinking of shaping into a business, or if you need to be sustained as you work your mission, or if you just want to pick up some really wise words of instruction, then you’ll want to subscribe to Working Your Mission. Regardless, Lovenia, Evelyn and I are rooting for you. You can do it!

A big THANK YOU to Lovenia and Evelyn for the great conversation and for working their own mission. God bless you ladies!

Unchartered Territory

Uncharted Territory 2

You may be wondering why this picture. I snapped this shot one morning as I was travelling a road that I rarely travel. It’s not the clearest photo (the camera on my cell phone is not the best) so let me explain what you’re seeing. It’s a stop sign, obviously, with a vine growing up the pole. Vines are not supposed to grow up a stop sign pole. The vine is not supposed to be there. The vine is in unchartered territory.

Which is where I am. Which is why this sight caused me to stop my car in the middle of a residential street and capture the sight permanently. I need a permanent, visual reminder that if a vine can flourish in unchartered territory, I can too.

See, I knew way back in 1990 when I joined my first writer’s group and decided I wanted to be a published author that I did not EVER want to self-publish. I wanted the traditional route of finding an agent and landing a publishing deal with one of the major publishers in New York City. And guess what? I achieved all that (minus the agent; turns out I didn’t need one for romance). However, when phase two of my writing career kicked off in 2000 (I switched genres; hence, phase two), the industry was in such a state of change that I wondered if I could hang on to that want. But, I plowed ahead, and set my efforts on finding an agent and signing a contract with one of the big boys.

But ten years and hundreds of rejections later, I revised my wish and said, “Okay, I still want to be traditionally published but I’ll be happy with a small, independent press.” Lo, and behold, in 2012, I got my wish. I signed a contract with a small publisher to be traditionally published.

But, two months before the release of my book, Fuller’s Curse, I found myself having to do the very thing I said I never wanted to do—self publish. The small publisher I’d signed with closed shop and I found myself in unchartered territory. Like the vine.

And like the vine, since I had already started up the pole by publicizing my release date and scheduling signings and appearances, I dug in and kept creeping ever upward, picking up and completing tasks I said I’d never do—coming up with a name for my publishing company, filing all the right DBA (doing business as) papers, revising the cover art, finding vendors for formatting and printing, securing ISBNs, and establishing accounts. The work of self publishing my ebook and print book continues and there are many days when I am overwhelmed (read: stressed) by all the production tasks that have to be accomplished as well as the tasks involved in marketing and selling.

But it’s all good because had I not followed this unchartered path, I would have missed interacting with the supportive online writer/author/publisher forums that have provided me with resources. I would have skipped over friendly, talented writers who publish amazing and encouraging blog posts. I would have snubbed the whole world of social media (who would have ever thought me…a non-techie…would grow to love Twitter?). I would have forfeited everyday miracles and a feeling of accomplishment with each completed task. I would have stunted my growth in faith and truncated my skills. So many good, no, great things I would have missed had I not mimicked the vine and crept into unchartered territory.

I haven’t been back down that residential street in a while but I like to think that if/when I do that the vine will have covered the word STOP. That makes me smile because what’s the opposite of STOP?

>Uncharted Territory