Category Archives: Family Life

My Dog Is A Mess…

So this weekend was a little bit unusual for me. Well, it was just outside of the usual routine. I actually got out on Saturday night and went to dinner and listened to a local band while having drinks. If you know me at all, you know how rare that is. Yes, it was good for me to do something different. It allowed me to people watch for a bit and I’d forgotten how amusing that can truly be.

That was all fine and dandy. We made a trip to Walmart afterwards and picked up new collars for the pups while we were there. Now, mind you, Pip had a new collar a couple weeks ago. I bought him a heavy duty one like his bubba Odie. And he was all pomp and strut after I put it on him. Now, with everyone else getting new collars put on by me. He was all butt hurt waiting for his turn. Except, I didn’t get him a new one.

Now, I didn’t want to see him all disappointed. So, I picked him up and took off the collar I bought him a couple of weeks ago. Acted like I made a switch and simply put it back on him. Once again he was all pomp and strut and just as excited as the others were.

This pup is more than I could have hoped for in a companion. He chose me. I really had no intention of getting a pet of any sort when he came into the picture. He was persistent as a little guy and kept coming to me until I took him home. And I am so glad that I did.

He has been a source of constant love and companionship. Unconditional love is so rare and I get plenty of it from him. I’m a firm believer that every girl needs a dog. They are good judges of character. They are loyal and protective. A dog is probably the only thing on earth that would give its life for you if you were in danger. There are plenty of stories out there about dogs doing just that.

So yes, my dog is my baby. And I feel guilty leaving him on his own. Granted he is usually with my mom or dad but, vacations are always tough if I am off traveling. But he is always happy to see me when I come home. It doesn’t matter if I have been gone for days, weeks, or even just to work for the day. There is always a wagging curly tail and lots of puppy kisses for me when I get here.

On my days off he wants to cuddle up on the couch or when we take a nap. And he is always happy to just be near me. He makes me laugh with the way he chases that red dot or tries to trash his squeaky toys. And there is nothing cuter than his ears all perked up and his being curious about something.

I am not the first writer to have a dog for a companion. I know I am in good company to be a dog lover. His antics are a hoot. Maybe I will be able to film some of his funnier reactions for you. At least take more photos to share of my little snuggle buddy and Valentine for the forseeable future.

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Monday & Thoughts On Living

Hello my readers! I hope that you’re all fairing well in this wintery weather. Here in Texas it was a crazy day. As I was leaving the office the temperature was 52° F and as I got home 30-45 minutes later it was 38° F. I took my umbrella and my coat and gloves this morning when it was about 64° F. It is no wonder that everyone I come in contact with is sick. GermX is my friend lately.

I have a couple of things I wanted to put out there tonight. It is no secret that I have a YouTube channel that I’ve been preparing for. I’m happy to tell you that my first video will be posted on Monday January 15th, 2018. In fact, there will be two! One is a static invitation and about the channel type of post and the other will be actual content post. So, I’m going to backtrack on Monday to post links to those videos for you to easily access them. Why? Because I’m a total Newb at this and have no idea how this is all going to work out until I actually finish editing and uploading. So, please, be patient with me in this process.

I have been blogging off and on for years. I am a writer. It is what I do well. So, you may be asking “why have I decided to jump into the video realm? It’s a fair question. So I’m going to address it here, for now.

This is me. I’m a heavy woman who has always had a big heart. There’s no need to go into the details of why or how I ended up the size I am now. It is just a fact.

Every year, I make a list of resolutions. Like many others out there they include losing weight, eating healthy, drinking more water, and the usual things. But 2017 was a hard year in many ways. The latter half of the year left me doing a great deal of soul searching and dealing with the reality of my own mortality. I started to question myself on a much deeper level. I prayed for clarity and direction. To my surprise, I actually got what I asked for.

I’ve spent most of my life being concerned with what others thought about me. I hid from view in group photos and avoided full body shots. It is something a lot of bigger women (and I assume men) do. We want to look, act, and feel just like everyone else. But, we stand out no matter how much we try to hide away. Then we become painfully aware of any situation that even hints at embarassment for those we love. Subconsciously we read far more into things that are said, many times, than is really there. The result is even further seclusion from the world. For me, something has finally clicked. And I realize that there is something much bigger at play here than just me.

Getting in front of this camera is terrifying. I know that there are going to be people out there who will attack me solely because of the way I look. I deal with that every day. And I’ve often used writing as a way to cope with the emotions that go along with that. This has to get beyond the fear. It will get easier for me. There are going to be posts about writing, creative living, plus size living, and I want to allow all of you a bit of a window into my world. I think it is going to be an exciting thing once I move through the initial jitters. I hope that you will too.

Why now? Because I am tired of living my life on the sidelines waiting to be the perfect size, have the perfect smile, hair, or make up. Life is imperfect. We are all flawed. And I think it is so important for other bigger people to see someone being real, honest, living life, and reaching for a big dream. I’ve been inspired by other writer and youtubers out there who have shared their own journeys. And I feel like I have a unique perspective to offer that could help others find their voice and encourage them to start living their fullest lives as well.

So much in my life is changing. I’ve realized that writing a book isn’t enough. I want this to be a career for me. I want to entertain people with great stories and characters. I want to travel and meet readers, give readings, help and inspire others to reach for their own creative dreams. To do that, I have to get out of my shell. I have to undo years of conditioning. I have to be healthier than I have ever been before and strong enough to say, “You know what world, HERE I AM!” And I am finally there.

Conquering the fear isn’t easy but, I’m just going to go on blind faith that the right people will connect through these means. Blogging, Vlogging, and other social media are tools that will allow me to reach far and wide. This year, is about learning about them and then using them to live my dreams.

So, will you join me?

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d be delighted if you would join me in subscribing to my new channel as well. Info will be live on Monday as soon as there is a video to share over there.

See ya soon!

 

Happy Everything To Everyone!

As a child I grew up with big family Christmases. The kind that includes cousins and other extended family all being under the same roof. There was a ton of southern food on two tables where we ate in shifts. In the living room of my grandparents’ home was a modest Christmas tree but, the gifts would be piled near the ceiling and out into the living room floor. The kids, myself included, would be in a flurry of excitement on Christmas Eve asking when we would open gifts until one of us got into big trouble for getting on one of the adults’ nerves. And when it came to opening them, it was a veritable blizzard of paper and bows that would look like colorful snowdrifts against the sofa’s and chairs until we started cleaning it all up.

I’m thankful for those experiences. And Christmas is very different for me now as an adult. This year, the biggest gift was the best. My mom was here with me. If you know me at all, you know that my mother and I are close. For me, Christmas has always been about things we did together. Decorating the house was a big deal. But, so is the making of the many batches of candies, cookies, pies, and cakes that become gifts to our friends and family. Those things make Christmas for me. And while, we were both battling some sort of cold or flu bug, it remains just as special an experience because she is here this year. Though I do wish that we could have worked out going North to be with my brother, my grandparents, and our family there. I’m just happy to have family to spend the holidays with. I know that won’t always be the case. Having already experienced holidays alone, I’ll treasure it when I can.

I suppose I’m a bit reflective now. Starting my 39th trip around the sun today and I have to give some thought to what the last year has given me so that I can prepare for a prosperous New Year. This year has been a lot of personal growth. The health issues alone that I have faced have brought me to a place of understanding my own mortality. We don’t get younger after all. And changes are already being made for the positive in that respect. There has also been a desire to get my life together at last.

It feels like much of my existence has been a sort of floundering about without real direction or purpose. This past year, I’ve done a considerable amount of soul searching trying to find meaning in life.

You see, like many young women, I expected that I would eventually marry and have a family of my own. That I would have the opportunity to create my own family traditions for holidays. To pass on my own wisdom and creative perspective to my own children. I expected that, like my mother before me, I would be a mom and have a home that I could fill with laughter and memories. I didn’t expect it to be perfect or without the need to make do with limitations. I simply expected it to be mine. But, nothing in my life has ever turned out the way I expected. It seems that is just something I need to accept and move on from.

I married… the wrong man. I tried to make it work but, in the end divorce was the only answer to a bad situation. I tried to date for a while, of course. That didn’t turn out so well either. My realization about the type of men I attract has led me to a place of not even wanted to jump into the dating game to attempt it again. I really am much better off on my own than in a relationship with these types of men. But accepting singledom at 39 means that I have to give up the dream of children and a family in the traditional sense. So, I have to find a way to fill that void in my life because if I don’t, I know that it will consume me and leave me a shell of the vibrant woman I once was. In fact, it already has done that in some ways.

For me, the logical choice is a focus on career. No, I do not mean my current day job. My writing has always been my comfort and my escape when things get dark and foreboding in my life. I have talked many times about my desire to be a full time fiction writer. Somehow, I’ve always managed to put it off in favor of other things. I think it all comes down to fear for me really. But, it is time to be brave and find my courage again. To get out there and do something with my life. I certainly can’t keep sitting around waiting for something that isn’t ever going to happen.

No, my 39th trip around the sun is one that I want to make sure I make the most out of. I want to push myself to write more, connect more with people who share my interests, publish, and really give myself a fighting chance of having a life that I want. The next week will be about reflecting and planning for a prosperous 2018. Bringing this year to a close and preparing to start anew.

There is still Christmas to celebrate this coming weekend as well as a new year to ring in. But, I am also going to be making some announcements here on the blog as well. So I do hope you’ll stay tuned and subscribe to be sure you don’t miss those.

For everyone reading, I hope that this finds you happy and surrounded by loved ones. Share your hopes for the new year with me. And I’m certain we’ll be seeing more in the weeks to come.

Merry Christmas to you all! And a Happy New Year!

~Anne Belle

And Then Life Happens…

What’s the John Lennon Quote?

Yep, that would be the one.

Living creatively is as much about stopping and experiencing life as it is about creating things that will enhance it for yourself and possibly others. It is impossible to create constantly. If we do we deplete the well of experience and inspiration that we draw from. Once in a while, it is necessary to stop and smell the roses. Whether that is literal or proverbial is entirely dependent on the artist.

NanoWrimo is a huge undertaking even for published authors. 50,000 words in a 30 day span is a huge commitement. It takes planning and foresight. Not to mention everyone in your life being on the same page as you and willing to pick up the slack if you are working full time. Planning is a must if you expect your story to have any sort of flow or cohesion at the end of November. And sometimes, life happens and you know you aren’t going to make that goal.

For me, when it happens, as in previous years, I don’t just stop. Whether I finish a self-imposed ludicrous deadline, or not, isn’t the end of the world. We can’t plan for all the interruptions that can happen in a month.

For example: You get sick. Your attention is pulled away on a project at the office, requiring you to work late most nights. A dog that is persistent in his need for extra snuggles or play time. (Don’t laugh. Have you ever tried to write something with a chiweenie yapping at you from the end of the bed? Impossible! I really need some noise cancelling headphones.) Kids needing attention or homework help. Not to mention extra acitivities with them being off from school or prepping for plays etc. Spouses that want attention or need something from you when you’re in the middle of a huge plot twist. (Suddenly I’m very thankful for my single status.) Toss in a major family holiday to the mix.

The point is. Life happens. No matter how much you plan your schedule or think you have all the distractions in check, life will eventually find a way to pull you away from the projects in your head. And that’s okay.

When you find yourself completely flustered with all these things; sometimes all you can do is embrace them. Enjoy the moment. Be present with the people you care about and who care about you. Whether they be big, small, or furry. They won’t be there forever. They will eventually leave you to your thoughts and projects. And you may find something in those moments that adds just what you needed to your projects.

For me, it is all about embracing this journey we call Life.

Explanations…

*taps microphone* Hello? Anyone still here?

An explanation is in order for such a lengthy absence. And I’m happy to give it considering all that has happened for me.

Like many of you I have many talents and interests. Some call it a blessing and others a curse. My own truth is that it is somewhere in the middle. It seems that I am fighting with time, more often than not, to make a way to pursue all of them with any sort of proficiency and take care of myself. I admit that in the past 10 years, I’ve not taken very good care of myself physically. It caught up with me and I landed in surgery. The whole experience has given me reason to take stock of life and what I want from it. Prioritizing certain efforts in life will reap better results than stretching myself thin and getting nowhere on any of my projects or interests.

This year was a bit of an experiment with my mother to see if we could build a baking business from home. What we realized is that most people here in our neck of the piney woods don’t want to pay what our creations are worth. That leaves us with very little clientele. We did a charity event on the 14th of October and the response to what we offered and our pricing made it clear that opening a bakery in town is not a good risk financially. So, that was a bit of a reality check. Though, I don’t regret giving it a try. I enjoyed it and the time spent with my mom. We’re still going to keep decorating and taking custom orders. We just altered the plan and expectations a bit.

For me, it brought my initial dreams to the forefront again. You could say that I took a break from writing with any sort of regularity. Certainly there have been a number of stalled months in 2017. But I want to finish the year strong and with something to show for all the efforts I’ve made. So, I did some brainstorming and have a whole list of topics to write about here on the blog. I even have a grand idea to bring some workshops and a workbook for you all. So, there is definitely some time in the studio that is happening to get all of that together.

Let’s not forget that I have another Slauson Cove book in the works to finish up this year and hopefully be releasing in Spring or Summer of 2018. ( More on that later.) So I have a lot on my plate as we come to another turning point in my life. Time to get with the program and try to reach more of the world.

Too Many Irons

Part of starting this blog was to give you a window into my creative world. And let me tell you something. Lately, that world has been a bit chaotic. The chaos is my own making though and I wouldn’t change it. In fact, there is also a lot of excitement in the middle of it all.

A few years ago I took it upon myself to learn how to decorate cakes. I’m not sure why, except to say that I like pretty things and cake of course. Bottom line is that it started with me learning to make gumpaste roses and it has sort of developed from there. In fact, it all started with this cake for our Thanksgiving celebration. Then we branched out with some for friends including this Octonauts cake. 

Well, in the last year or so my mother and I have been creating some really tasty and cool things. We gave ourselves a name and  started giving out samples we made. We’ve donated cupcakes, cookies, and even a massive gingerbread house to various things locally. Mainly because we were having fun but we didn’t need to eat all that cake. People really liked our twist on vintage recipes.

With time, we find that we have people coming back to us to make birthday cakes, cookies, and other goodies. Now, it is really starting to take off since we have a customer who is involved in a major organization that does celebrations regularly. This is a first and we’re still feeling things out as a business opportunity but, I’m pretty excited about it.

We have orders on the books at this point. They take time to process and crate these lovely confections. Yet it is so rewarding to see a finished project and the looks on people’s faces when they get something for a special day that is just as unique as they are.

Believe me when I say I feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ll be happy to see this turn into a venture with some financial gain to it though. Maybe I’ll be able to shift from working at a day job for someone else to working for myself in the not so distant future. That will also mean more time for writing as well. A life of creativity. Who could ask for more?

This could be the start of living the dream. As slow as it may seem, it is a start.

Overcoming Discouragement & Rejection

Being a writer isn’t an easy path. It takes years to perfect your style and voice. You spend most of your time sending out material to be rejected over and over again. So it is a necessity to develop a thick skin early on if you hope to survive the process of being successfully published. This is something that every writer struggles with to some degree. We wouldn’t write stories if we didn’t want people to read them and actually like them. But readers are often fickle and you can’t please everyone.

Some of us are blessed with people who believe in us. Family members encourage us to pursue a passion. They want to see us happy and fulfilled. When we finally show them what we’ve been working on for months or years, they tell us how wonderful it is. They know how much time we’ve put into it. They don’t want to burst our bubble or discourage us, so instead of being completely honest, they sugar coat and tell us to keep going. This isn’t a bad thing. We need those people in our lives. We need that cheering squad. But if that’s all we surround ourselves with dealing with rejections and discouragement can be a death sentence to the dream.

When I was a kid, I was most often surrounded by the side of my family that was full of people who constantly made me feel like nothing I did was good enough. They didn’t see my artistic side as an asset or something to be celebrated. In fact, it landed me in a good heap of trouble with them on more than one occasion. I’ve been a black sheep in the family for years because of it. Believe me, I wear that badge proudly now. Their influence helped me to develop that thick skin and temperment needed to continue despite the rejection and criticism.

I was listening to some vlogs and podcasts about social media and how to gain following etc. And something clicked about what Lisa with Lachri Fine Art said about target audience. Now, granted she is talking about art as opposed to writing. However, the concept is the same. You can choose to go to a general art festival because your work is “for everyone”. But, you draw dogs and do dog portraits. So maybe setting up at a dog show is a better idea. You really can’t expect everyone out there to like your work. And, the internet is full of trolls and people waiting to pounce and kill the dream over technicalities. So try to silence the critics.

You see, for me, I tend to keep things pretty close to the vest. I don’t talk about the rejection often because I process the hurt with my journal and morning pages. I put it on the page and I try to just let it go. I remind myself after the venting process of why I write. I sum it up with a list of reasons to keep going.

  • There are people who like my work.
  • I am always growing as a writer.
  • Each piece I produce is better than the last and that usually brings a new reader along with it.
  • The positive feedback is always a boost and it does happen even when it isn’t family or friends giving it out. The first time I had an Amazon review that wasn’t a family member or friend, I was on cloud nine for weeks and wrote more than I had in months.
  • This is who I am and what I do. It is the one thing that I cannot imagine my life without.
  • And somewhere out there is someone who needs to read the story I produce. I don’t know the reasons. I don’t know how they will come to find it. My job is to be brave enough to put it out there so that they can find it.

Part of that bravery is knowing that the critics are a dime a dozen. And it will often seem like their sole purpose is to pull you down and make you quit. Well, for me, I dealt with enough of that growing up. I was fiesty enough to do it anyway then, and I’m still just as fiesty today. So I keep following my dream, writing my stories, and being brave.

So should you if you’re pursuing an artistic career. Whether you sing, write, create art, or something else entirely; don’t let the world take your passion away. If it brings you joy then it is worth it. Even when it isn’t easy.

I am still finding my feet in the marketing department. But I’m confident that, with time, things will continue to grow and I’ll meet more readers and writers. I know I won’t be everyone’s favorite. That’s okay. At least I’ll find that some people out there do like what I do and they are the ones I want to write for anyway.

If you’re curious about what I write you can hop on over to my Amazon Author Page for a list of my current releases.  And you can always join me over on social media. The buttons at the top will direct you how to connect.

Also if you enjoy learning different art techniques I highly reccommend Lisa over at Lachri Fine Art on YouTube. She’s extremely talented and teaches her techniques through videos there. She’s been awesome for my own art skill progression. So please go check her out.

Homecomings

It isn’t a secret that for the last year or so I have been trying to find the right mix of things to make my marketing life easier.  For authors, it is never just about writing the book (unfortunately). That’s a big part of it, of course. There are just so many other things that go into it if you want to make it a full time living. Which, I do obviously.

I’ve tried out other blogging platforms. I was a long time user of another for more obscure rantings and ravings about daily life. That platform has been through a lot of changes and I’ve been through them all. This last change however, made me decide to try something else. I had the bright idea that I would simply combine and consolidate using a new platform. Surely that would make my life easier. Right? No. So, here I am back on wordpress. And yes, I will consolidate here finally. I finally figured out that this is by far the best platform for what I need and want to do.

So what have I been up to, aside from writing?

I took a vacation and spent some much needed time with my neices in Kentucky. Going back to the old homestead is always interesting. This time was no different. Those three girls are just a joy to be around. I was able to spend a bit of time with my baby brother. It sounds like he may be making a move closer to us soon. So we’ll see what that brings.

I also had a chance to spend a day with my best friend since high school. Deedra is always keeping me laughing and motivated to keep going on the worst days. It was good to be able to go out to lunch and spend some time like we used to. It felt like we were back on “field studies” again and I really need to do that more often.

I joined a virtual women’s writers group a while back. I’ve gotten so much out of it. Really wanted to partake in a big workshop the leader was doing. With the trip and some additional expenses, I couldn’t afford it though. She’ll have another and maybe I can do it then. The support and encouragement happening in that group is amazing though.

WordPress is acting funny for me today so, I’m going to keep this little update brief. I’ll figure out what is going on and make more regular posts going forward. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have questions related to writing or the creative lifestyle. I’ll be happy to use them for a future blog or even possibly a video series. I’ve been saying I want to start a Youtube channel for a while. Maybe it is time. I just need to come up with ideas for what to talk about. That’s where all of you lovely readers can help me.

What A Difference A Year Makes

It is hard for me to believe that a year has gone by like it has. So much has happened for me and yet, so much hasn’t yet and I’m still waiting on so much of it. And then there is so much that is going to be happening that I don’t even know where to begin to put all of this down.

Fair warning folks, this is going to be one of those “bear your soul” sort of posts. Likely to get someone personal, spiritual, and maybe even a little TMI. But I am going to write it anyway.

A year ago, I was unaware of the things happening in my own home. It seemed that things were just starting to come together for my ex and I in many ways. But there were issues. At the time I didn’t think that it was something we wouldn’t work through but, when he revealed that he was having an affair on the night before our fifth wedding anniversary, I knew it was over between us. He walked out the door to be with her and I got stuck trying to pick up the pieces.

October 6th would have made 6 years for us. Now, I’m in a sort of limbo having to come up with the extra money to pay costs that he agreed to pay in court if I want our divorce to be final so I can go on with my life. I also have to find a way to pay for the truck I was awarded in that divorce (that he was supposed to pay for) and the money to pay off a major debt incurred by his spending spree with his mistress (oh excuse me, his fiancee since the September before he left me). Just so glad I’m getting stuck with the bill for him to go and play sugar daddy. It isn’t like I ever got anything out of our marriage. Not sure why I should care, I’m actually quite accustomed to being used and dumped when I no longer serve a purpose. Don’t know why I expected that relationship to be any different. But, I digress.

I met Charles later in November as I was trying to get myself out and about to have some sort of social life again. I’d been a virtual hermit for most of the 6 years that my ex and I were together. I wanted that to change. So I started trying to make that happen. In December we started to date and in May we got engaged with the intention of being married in November. That won’t happen unless there is a miracle financially and we come into about $800.00. So, we’ll likely be sometime next summer getting married like we want. It will happen eventually though.

Here we are coming up on October 6th again. No doubt, that day will forever be etched in my mind. Now, however there will be a different reason for that.

When I was married to my ex, despite my own personal struggle with spirituality, I felt like I was forced into things I didn’t really agree with anymore. He was not Christian and my belief in something bigger than myself was a big source of issues in our relationship.

A couple weeks ago, I attended church services at a church that Charles and I started to attend while we were dating. I wanted to start going more regularly. And I have been going for a few weeks now, since we got the truck fixed. I realized that it was time for me to hand over this life and start fresh. I walked to the front and knelt at the altar and poured out everything weighing on me. I handed it over, asked to be forgiven of whatever I did in the past and for fighting against what I knew for so long. And I was saved that Sunday.

This Sunday, I take another step in my faith. I’m going to be baptized and then join the church. It is definitely a new chapter in my life. I’m closing the book on so many chapters that have been full of stress and unhappiness.

When I called the pastor to set the date for this, I didn’t even realize what Sunday was. It wasn’t until I called my mother with the news that she pointed out that Sunday will be the 6th of October. So, it will now stand out in my mind for another reason entirely and that, in my opinion, is a very good thing.

I have been contemplating this journey in my life for more than two years. I’ve spent years rebelling against what I knew to be right. Too many of those years have been in dark and shadowy places where I couldn’t begin to understand what I was doing most of the time. Going through this won’t make me perfect or any sort of judge of anyone else. I still believe that a person’s spiritual walk is between them and God (however they may view him). It isn’t about what I think of them or their life. But, it is about what I believe about my own life and how I choose to relate to God. Still, I know this decision is likely to cost me several relationships with people that I considered friends. While I will be sad to see them go, I understand that I have to do what is best for me and if they have to go on their own path without me, so be it. I’ll pray for them and wish them the best.

What a difference a year makes though. God has healed so many areas of my life already. He’s given me a peace about so many things. At the same time, he’s given me new challenges and ways to grow. I’m no longer unnerved at what my future holds. But, I do think I need to learn to listen to my gut more.

I know that this holiday season will be different for me. That’s a good thing. Somehow, everything has a little deeper meaning for me now. So, here’s to another year of growth, change, and life being incredible.

More On Indiegogo Perks

Family Secrets JournalI launched the Indiegogo campaign last week for the sequel to my novel The Secret of the Storm.

I’ll be honest with you readers, it has never been more important for me to have something work the way it is intended. I am on the verge of releasing a new series – more on that in another post – but, I don’t want the writing to stop there. I also want to be sure that I’m giving my reader base something it wants to read. So, the fact that there has been such positive feedback from it has made me take a second look.

I think that all art is, to some extent, crowdfunded. I mean, we create things, people will either like them and buy them or they won’t. This is true for all forms of artistic expression. But why crowdfund this particular project? It is simple really. I need funds up front.

Why do I need funds up front? Aside from living costs that I incur every month for myself and my family there are also the costs of hiring out some services to speed the process along. I need to hire a fresh pair of eyes to edit the book if I am going to produce it in a short amount of time. There is also the cost of a cover artist to design a catchy cover for these editions coming out. And then the costs of continuing to market it to a larger audience through advertising and a book tour to meet readers and sign books.

There are many ways that you can help me. Not every way requires a monetary contribution. The main way that you can help me is by spreading the word to others. It is only by directing people to the project that they will know about it.

Don’t want to tell them about it directly? Just direct them to my facebook fan page or my blog. There is more information there and I’ll be posting about it enough, making it visible, so that you don’t have to ask them to contribute.

BookCoverPreview1Every person who buys my book, tweets about it, shares it with their facebook followers, or even shares my work with a friend is contributing to the success of my life-long dream. Without people to read my work, what use is it to write? (Granted there is some personal satisfaction to seeing a story finished but, it is always better if someone reads it and lets you know that they enjoyed it.)

I don’t like asking people for help. I especially don’t like to ask people to shell out hard earned money and get nothing in return for it. With Indiegogo I was able to set up a number of perks. Some of these are as simple as pre-ordering your copy of the book in various states. There are ebook, paperback, and collectible hardback editions. Some will be signed, others won’t. But there are some other things that are limited and those are things I would like to make you aware of.

First of all, I am commissioning a jewelry artist to create only five necklaces from the first story. Each one will be numbered and a collector item. They will feature the keys to the chest that Ansen Walsingham left Elora. These will be available in the limited number of perks in the upper level ranges and will likely be part of a contest that I’ll be hosting here on the blog. The biggest perk of them all is at the highest level in which I’ll give up an afternoon of creation time to talk shop or whatever the person who claims that perk would like. Pick my brain about my process, publishing, writing, or life in general. If you’re in East Texas, I’ll make it a lunch on me. If you’re away it can be redeemed through Skype or other Video Chat service. It is a chance for the person making the most investment to get a behind the scenes look at everything that happened in the creation of, not only the sequel, but the whole series to that point.

The perks build upon one another. All those who contribute will be listed on the blog in a new page called “Made Possible By”. There will also be a special dedication and a list of sponsors in the book when it comes out as well. There will be emails sent to all the sponsors to let them know what stage I am in production. This will likely happen only once a month until it is released. But, the idea is to keep all those who invest in the project in the loop on how it is coming along and when they can expect to receive their books and other items. Sponsors will receive books before they are ever available to the public. I anticipate sometime in May 2014 will be a release day for the sequel. But, I also know that it could be sooner.

old file case Family Secrets#2Be a part of making a writer’s dream happen. Take a click over to the project, look at the perks and, if you can, consider donating. You’re not helping a publishing company pay a corporate executive here. You’re helping one woman put her life back together and tie up loose ends. You’re helping a family put food on the table and a mother at home with her daughter to focus on education and developing her character. You’ll be helping that child to go to dance classes and have what she needs to do well in her activities. You’ll be helping me to, in turn, help another struggling freelance editor and artist to provide for their families as well.