Thursday, May 26, 2011

Story in progress

I've been working on another short story to add to "Leaving a Legacy of Love," but I have to finish it. There's so much to think about when it comes to writing about the experience.


This update, sadly, has very little to do with my work in progress. Some of my friends and family know why. One of my friends passed away last Friday, unexpectedly, at 31-years-old at a mutual friend's apartment. Needless to say, it made me start thinking my whole world could be gone in the blink of an eye. My friend who died turned 31 at the beginning of this year, and I'll be turning 31 in October, which struck me pretty hard. She wasn't much older than me.

Her family lived farther away from where she ended up living, so her friends became a second family to her. One of the memories I keep replaying in my head was from one of the last times I helped her out at my old workplace. Before she left for the day, she told me I was like a sister to her. I also think about how happy she was to find the love of her life, and to start saving up the money to plan her wedding. Now, that special event will never happen. Instead of the wedding we were all expecting, a funeral has been put in its place.

I called my mom, and woke her up as soon as I found out the news about my friend. I didn't care that it was one in the morning. My mom immediately asked me, "What's wrong?" when she answered the phone because she knew I'd never call her that late unless it was an emergency. I immediately start bawling my eyes out, and tell her what happened. I was still in shock when I called her, but she was more worried about me because I was so distraught over the phone. I spent most of the weekend afterwards either in a zombiefied state, forcing myself to get things done like going grocery shopping, or crying myself to sleep. The weekend went by like a blur, and I was in an emotional haze the whole time. Even now, the water works are trying to come.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Book Published!

Here's the cover of my newest book:

Well after having problems at Write2Life with adding a manuscript for publication, I decided to go back to Lulu to publish my poetry book Second Thoughts: A Collection of Poetry. I researched other self-publishing outfits, but they were more expensive than Lulu.

Getting back to Write2Life, after days of trying I was finally able to add an upload of my manuscript, but whenever I tried to revise or edit I would get an error page which I've been trying to work on for almost a year now.

I have yet to order a test copy needed to approve my book, but it is already listed on my Lulu Storefront: because it already has general access. Just know, it might not let you order a copy without my approval of the book first. I'll let you know when that's done, so you can order away.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Leaving a Legacy of Love: One Woman's Journey Through Life"

When I first planned on doing some writing this weekend, I wasn't sure if it would really happen. Most of the time I plan to write, but end up not being able to think of anything to write about. Last night before going to bed, I thought I'd give writing a shot. This entry is the result of that.

For years, I've been working piece by piece on my autobiography. I've entitled it "Leaving a Legacy of Love: One Woman's Journey Through Life." I figured it would be a lifelong project, but I wanted to get some stories down while I was young enough to remember them. Below is the newest addition about my visit to Alaska in 2007:

Part One: Alaska, or Bust!

My church goes on Work and Witness trips every summer to “exotic” places to build churches, and have fun getting to know each other better. In May 2007, the church got a group together to go to Big Lake, Alaska. The church congregation we were sent to help is actually located a few miles from Big Lake in Wasilla/Palmer, Alaska. I’ve wanted to go on such a trip since I started attending the Newport Church of the Nazarene. It’s partly because I’ve always wanted to travel, and partly because I’d be serving God through serving others. When the opportunity presented itself and the timing was right, I jumped at the chance to go.

What was so great about going on this trip was getting to turn a donated strip club into a church and soup kitchen. There is a man in the congregation that owned twelve strip clubs throughout Alaska, and got rid of half of them when he and his wife got saved. The one that got “donated” was actually leased to the church pastor at a very reasonable rate on a rent-to-own basis. The remaining clubs he owned he is slowly selling to the staff, so they could still have a job, and make a profit by owning their own businesses.

It was enjoyable and hard work the entire two weeks my group was there. Everybody on the team, which was thirteen of us, worked their hands at a little bit of everything from carpentry to electrical to installing insulation. I was given jobs that nobody else really wanted, but I did them joyfully because I was serving my Lord. Even the pain and exhaustion at the end of the day left me with a sense of satisfaction for a job well done.

Our group would start each day by getting up at 6 AM, gather for breakfast at 7 AM, and be to the work site by 8 AM where we’d work until lunch, during the lunch we’d have a devotion time and someone would share their testimony, we’d be back to work at 1 PM and stay until 5 PM or so, then back to the campground for dinner.

We weren’t all work and no play. One Saturday, some women got a group together to go shopping in Anchorage for the day. Since I’ve never been big into spending hours shopping, I went along with the other group that had formed to check out the Matanuska Glacier, but that’s another story I’ll be telling later.

One day, I got to go with a husband and wife in the group to check out Happy Trails Kennels, home to Iditarod racer Martin Buser, who kept 75 sled dogs. The place was located just down the road from our campground, so we left work early one day to check it out. That’s another experience to go into more detail about later.

In the end, I didn’t want to leave. I liked Alaska so much I wanted to make it my home. What got me back on the plane was the thought of my family and friends waiting for me back home who were missing me. At the time, I also had a boyfriend I’ve been missing, and a job to return to.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness"

Since Blogger has been down for maintenance, I feel like I'm finally getting a chance to share new developments with my readers finally. I actually ended up sending in my new story for "Chicken Soup for the Soul" on May 9th, three days before the deadline. Here is the story I submitted to share with you:

Truly “Chicken Soup for the Soul”

This year, I started submitting stories to “Chicken Soup for the Soul” because I’ve always enjoyed the books as a reader, and felt a bit of jealousy because I wanted to be included very badly as an author. At first, I didn’t think I had anything worth sharing, but then I came across a “Chicken Soup” book that made me relive some of my own life experiences through other people’s stories. That got the wheels turning to start thinking if I’d be any good at it. Then, a friend of mine submitted one of her own stories, was accepted and asked to submit more in future books, and that gave me the push I needed to find out how to do it, too. I already have a couple books under my belt that have been self-published, one which I co-wrote with a friend, and have had mixed reviews about but mostly good.

When I came across a book topic on the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” website called “Devotional Stories for Tough Times” I knew I just had to try, and submitted one of many stories I had to choose from. I had recently lost my father after a battle with prostate cancer, and have come to rely on my Heavenly Father to fill the void. My only problem that I had was to cut the story down to the required word length. That started me on a road I am now revisiting: finding my happiness.

There was an unexplainable joy that filled me when I was typing and submitting that story, which I titled “An Answer to Prayer.” It brought back a special memory I’ll always cherish, and one I’ll be grateful to God for giving me. I am my happiest whenever I am writing, especially when I’m writing about my faith. I thank everyone behind “Chicken Soup for the Soul” for giving me the opportunity to share my stories, love on my God more, and find my happiness.

Matthew Nolan Book Reviews

I thought I'd use this entry to share my friend, Matthew Nolan's poetry books and my review of them on Amazon. com.

"Crumpled Paper Dolls: A New Orleans Poet"

Matthew Nolan's attention to detail in "Crumpled Paper Dolls: A New Orleans Poet" left me wanting more, and also yearning for a love that was lost. A love I know I can have again if I took the risk. The book was very hard to put down, and made me reminisce back to the days when I read Sylvia Plath's "A Bell Jar," "Ariel," and some of her other works. I identified with a lot of the poems because I had similar experiences, and I really didn't pity Matthew Nolan but it left me wanting to know him more as a person. I've also never wanted to visit New Orleans more in my life. To see it through his eyes, now I want a chance to see what he sees. I know I don't have the means to travel now, but I hope to make a trip in the next year or so.

I too am a "Crumpled Paper Doll," and I just hope my own poetry has the same effect on readers as Matthew Nolan has had on me, and my life.

"Exhuming Juliet: A New Orleans Poet"

I had the privilege of reading "Exhuming Juliet: A New Orleans Poet" back to back with "Crumpled Paper Dolls." I think I enjoyed this masterpiece of Matthew Nolan's a bit more than "Crumpled Paper Dolls" because I'm a romantic at heart. Again, the pain felt by Nolan in this post-Hurricane Katrina world left me wanting more, and I closed the book hoping someday Matthew Nolan would find a Juliet to stick by his side forever.

What really opened my eyes was the poems about Hurricane Katrina. Living on the opposite coast of the United States, and away from the wreckage of altered lives, I never took into account the feelings of those left homeless by the natural disaster. I believe Matthew Nolan is a phoenix rising from the ashes, and his uses of words made me long for New Orleans like I've never felt before. I'm so glad he was able to return to the town he loved, and was actually left hoping I could have that kind of feeling for my hometown. I even fantasized about visiting New Orleans, bumping into Matthew on the Street of Dreams, and possibly sharing my own poetry with him. He would make an excellent tour guide!

Even if you're not a poetry lover, Matthew Nolan can make a believer out of you! Please give him a chance.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Backing Away...

I've finished my second poetry book, Second Thoughts, with this newest addition:

The Confession (2)

What if a life lesson
was learned through a false confession?
One character found out the hard way
what could all change in one day.

One guilty man is dying free
while an innocent man is waiting to see
if his final hours are truly his last,
or will death row be a thing of the past?

John Grisham pulled me in once more,
and eventually settled the score.
What was he thinking
when he was bringing
the characters to life?
Why did an innocent man suffer such a cruel end to his life?

Now, it's happening in real life,
but will the outcome truly suffice?
Will a life be spared,
or will a similar fate be shared?

With that, I'm backing away from writing poetry for a bit. I have other writing projects that have been on the back burner I'm wanting to work on some more. The next story submission for "Chicken Soup for the Soul's" newest book is May 15th, so I'll be working on that for the next couple weeks. After that, who knows?

I'm not sure when I'll publish "Second Thoughts," but I'll keep you posted on when and through which publisher.