March Mayhem

Hey y’all and good afternoon.  I hate that I haven’t posted, but I have honestly been trying and wanting to post all month, but the month turned into an emotional rollercoaster of anxiety for me, beginning with the unexpected passing of a friend of mine and my husband’s.  He was the sweetest guy, and like the rest of us, he couldn’t wait for my author copies to come.  I’m not sure which one of us was more excited for my book to be in print. 

The last really good day we all got to spend together, was just before he fell sick.  My husband and I spent the day over at their place, his husband was trimming my hair to prepare for my personal, quarantined photoshoot, for the cover of my book.  I changed outfits three times that day, and he complimented every outfit.  Between photo sessions, waiting for the outdoor lighting to change, we played a card game of ‘hand and foot’.  Him and his husband both taught me and my husband how to play when my husband and I moved into the neighborhood.

In Loving Memory

His passing wasn’t from Covid, although he had been sick with difficulty breathing, but he had COPD.  He had been repeatedly tested for Covid, several times, but all tests came back negative; for both him and his husband.  Unfortunately, because he didn’t have Covid, his hospital treatment left a lot of questions unanswered.  It was like his health wasn’t important enough to treat because he didn’t have Covid. 

It saddens me the most that he never got to see my book as a real book.  We were all patiently waiting to receive my author copies.  He was always insistent, “I want to buy a copy of your book, so you have that sale, but I want you to sign it for me.”  I always responded, “You will definitely get a signed copy of my book, but you’re not paying for it.”  Looks like I got my way after all; nine days after he left our world for heaven, my author copies were delivered to my front porch, and on St. Patrick’s Day, I opened them. 

The front cover of my book.
The back cover of my book.

While I want to upload and share my book reveal video, I’m still trying to figure out how to do so. Yeah y’all, I’m learning as I go. As soon as I am able to figure it out, I will surely post and share. Until then, thanks y’all for reading and I’ll be writing again soon.

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!