So Much Going On!

Tags

, , , ,

Oh my gosh. I was all set to post a really cute video update with all the news, but then I realized I look like a character from The Walking Dead right now, so that’s not going to happen. Your eyes will thank me.ūüôā Here’s a picture of our lake instead.

IMG_2145 IMG_2193

We’ve returned from our annual pilgrimage to Canada, which was fantastic as usual, although far too short. I was working on edits for The Memory of You for part of the time, so I spent a lot of time sitting out here, with my new laptop.ūüôā

IMG_2207

And now those edits are done and off, and I’m getting ready to leave for the ACFW Conference in Nashville next week!! Can’t wait!! Maybe I’ll see you there. Meantime, there are some things going on with The Things We Knew that I’d love to share!

logo

The LITFUSE Blog Tour is underway! I love the gang at Litfuse, they are always so enthusiastic and do such a great job promoting their authors! I’m thankful for all the readers as well who get on board and help spread the word about good books! So check it out, the links will take you to my landing page, where you can read Buzz and Reviews for The Things We Knew as they come in! Feel free to help spread the word.

Also going on THIS WEEK is a fun PINTEREST contest!! If you don’t already know about it, here’s the scoop –

Contest!!

All you have to do is create a smashingly good Pinterest Board for The Things We Knew, (you’ve read it, right?!) and send me the link via DM or post on my Facebook Author Page! Contest will close at midnight¬†Monday August 22nd, and we’ll announce the winners on Tuesday, probably in the evening, as I’m flying to Nashville that day! First prize winner will receive this amazing beach tumbler, bookmark, and a signed copy of The Things We Knew, and there will be first and second runner up prizes too, so you’ll want to get in on the fun! (You can view MY BOARD here!) And I don’t mind telling you I have yet to find anyone that looks remotely like the way I picture Evy MacIntrye, (Evy like the Chevy!), so if anyone can find her, extra points!!

And a HUGE THANKS to all of you who have read and reviewed the book already! I really appreciate you taking the time to put up a review, and it really goes a long way in helping get the word out to new readers.

Okay so¬†these tumblers are pretty amazing! I’ve been using mine all week! I might be a little obsessed with it.ūüėģ

IMG_2228

Well, I can’t believe the end of summer is here. I’m praying for all you Moms & Dads as kids go back to school or off to college. Time goes too quickly! I hope you’ve all had a good summer and have had amazing family times together. I’d love to hear about it!

Until Next time!

Peace to you and yours.ūüôā

IMG_2205

 

Owning It – A Few Thoughts From The Front Lines

Tags

, , , , ,

It’s been a crazy few weeks. But this is my current location. And I’m trying to relax.

13934868_10153609906075899_5093038199398117099_n

Trying being the operative word.

All the excitement and anticipation leading up to the release of The Things We Knew, has simmered down. Now it’s out there, and I’m busy with promoting and working on other projects and doing life, all the while trying to stay sane. Because¬†although it isn’t my first book release, it kind of feels that way.

I think maybe, to me at least, this one matters more. Maybe it’s because it took so many years to get published. Maybe it’s because we worked on it for such a long time. Maybe it’s because I’m so grateful for the¬†people who were willing to invest their time, effort and a bit of their heart to push this baby toward publication. And dang if we didn’t do it.

Funny thing is, I thought that was the hard part. Getting to this.

IMG_2141

But what do I know? Not much, apparently. Because the hard part? That’s only just beginning. The hard part is letting your baby go out into the world and being completely unprepared for the reception it will get. Completely unprepared for the critics. Okay, not completely unprepared. But perhaps a little blindsided.

I haven’t been here before in quite this way. More people have access to this book than any of my previous ones. It’s in actual bookstores – freaking Barnes & Noble for crying out loud¬†– and if that doesn’t make this whole whacked and wild dream real, I don’t know what does. It’s different this time because there’s advertising and reviews that kind of matter and my book is probably popping up more places than I know about. It’s different this time because now?

Now I really need to know who I am as an author and what that means for the books I write. 

Now I need to own this.

As people are discovering¬†who I am and what I write, I’m learning to live with the fact that not everyone will like me.

Ouch. 

Okay, so there it is. Yes, I’ve been reading the reviews. No, it’s probably not a smart thing to do. But I was always the kid who crept a little closer to the flame when nobody was looking and stuck my finger out anyway, just to see if it really would burn. Not much has changed. Flames still burn.

But here’s the thing. This is my book. My story. My heart. And I’ve offered it not for the glory, not for the fun of seeing my name on the cover, not for any fame or fortune (cue raucous laughter), I’ve offered it because I feel like I have something to say. Like maybe I can offer a hurting world a little hope.

It sounds so simple. But that’s the truth. That’s why I write. That’s why I long to share my stories. And yes, that makes me vulnerable. Because it’s not easy putting yourself out there. Sharing your heart. Actually, it’s probably one of the hardest things in the world.

And honestly? This journey cost me.¬†Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically even, because it’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed and not take time to treat yourself well. But was all that worth it? Absolutely. This is my victory. My reward.

I need to own that. 

I need to stop cringing when I read words that try to tear down and belittle. People are not kind, but I knew that. It shouldn’t surprise me. I need to stop apologizing in my head and feeling bad when I hear that what I’ve offered wasn’t what a particular reader expected or wanted. I need to realize that I’m never ever going to please everybody.

I need to own who I am and what I write and not worry about how it is received.

This is my lesson, and maybe it’s been slow in coming, but I better get it down now or I’m not going to survive this game.

Yes, I am a Christian. I write for a Christian publisher. But I’m not your pastor. Not your Bible or your Sunday School.

I am a broken person put together by grace and mercy and forgiveness and I write about broken people in need of grace and mercy and forgiveness.

If you want to chew on¬†Scripture and platitudes and everybody gets saved at the end stories, then I’m probably not the author for you. And that’s fine.

God is big enough for all of us in all our brokenness.

Grace come quiet, simply, unobtrusively. It comes when we need it most. When we least expect it. When we don’t deserve it. And sometimes when we don’t even know we need it. But there it is.

If you want to find a little¬†faith – that quiet steadfast heartbeat of the only one thing in this crazy world that will carry you through – I believe it is there¬†in the pages of the books I write. Because that’s how they were written. By faith. Through struggles and doubts, carried on the wind of grace. God is very much present in every word I write. How could He not be?

Maybe that message of hope and healing might look a little different to you and yeah, you might not like it that way.

That’s okay.

I’m not going to please everybody.¬†

I don’t need to.

Today, I make my peace with this.

My words are written for a higher purpose. And I will continue to write them in the way I feel led, without worrying about rejection or craving acceptance or seeking any glory that really doesn’t belong to me anyway.

I will write for the sheer joy of knowing that I can. Knowing that this is my gift and it pleases Him. And that truth? That’s all that matters in the end.

And today,  I will own that. 

 

And So You Celebrate . . .

Tags

, , ,

13512181_10153541310545899_3366025558224396399_n

(My sister and I celebrating the arrival of the first copies of my new book!)

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind. Both in my personal life and in the events happening around the world, and to be honest, right now I just want to step back from the bad and celebrate the good. Is that okay? I hope so.

On July 12th, after a very long journey¬†, my latest novel,¬†The Things We Knew,¬†( my first with Harper Collins Christian Publishing), was set free into the world! And where was I? Thanks to the very intrepid work of my amazing husband, I was on Nantucket, where the book is set. He planned the whole trip, even arranging¬†a book signing on the island, at Mitchell’s Book Corner, on the very day of the book’s release!! The whole family joined us. And it was a dream come true.

I’m not sure I have the words or brain power at the moment to adequately describe the beauty of Nantucket or the crazy amazing experience to walk the streets I already felt I knew so well. Instead, I thought I’d share a few of my photos with you, and let them do the talking. But before I go, I need to thank my husband for this truly incredible experience. I will definitely never forget it!!

13606645_10153560857955899_4530598731231619591_n ThingsWeKnew 2-03b (1)13606645_10153560857995899_1485592515977882563_n Oh, hey, this looks familiar!

Beautiful Nantucket!

13626352_10153564633320899_8983413482703915213_n

My first ever US book signing event!! If I look a little happy, it’s because I was. I was also terribly nervous. But everyone was lovely, and I had a great time!

And when it was all over . . .

13669766_10153566320520899_7662088615634080933_n

Time to relax! And celebrate!

13754208_10153570614850899_1438802544368142791_nGoodbye, Nantucket! Until we meet again . . .

13680541_10153570614030899_370449201340477138_n

How Do We Simply Carry On?

*** I’m not posting pictures with this piece because I think we’ve all seen and heard enough. Instead, I hope my words will speak just as loudly.***

I am burdened.

Today, four days out from the release of my very highly anticipated novel (mostly by me), I should be elated. Over the moon excited and giddy at the prospect of getting on a plane tomorrow, spending the evening in Boston with the family, and then catching the ferry over to Nantucket on Sunday, where we will spend most of the week, and I’ll have my first ever US book signing. I should be posting about my book, urging you all to run out and grab a copy, yet in this moment, I find it to be of little consequence.

I am burdened. 

In the wake of incomprehensible tragedy, a barrage of evil in the past several months, does one simply carry on? Do we switch off the news, shrug our shoulders and convince ourselves, yet again, that this is not our problem?

God help us if we do. 

People – sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and cousins, uncles and aunts and grandparents – people are dying. Being picked off at will, simply because somebody decided they weren’t good enough to live. Weren’t important enough. Relevant enough. Instead, they were hated, hated enough to be killed. Murdered. Victims of a twisted mindset that’s hard to get my head around.

Jesus, have mercy.

It’s almost too much, isn’t it?

The burden is great, the grief almost intangible, and our responsibility beyond what we ever expected to have to bear. Humanity has turned in on itself. We are imploding. And if we do nothing?

If we do nothing? 

Doing nothing is not an option.  

No, we cannot simply carry on. We cannot continue to ignore racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, adultery, spousal abuse, child abuse, and the myriad of other offenses we are committing against each other on a daily basis. It has to stop now. Because I fear for the future of this world. And I fear we will not be long in it if we don’t take a stand.

If we don’t CHANGE.¬†

And honestly? ¬†I don’t know how to do that. But I think it starts with love. I think it starts with a hand reaching out, a hug, a kind word, a smile that says “I see you and you are good.” You are important. Necessary. Needed. Loved.

We have gifts. Use them for good. My words will most likely change as I grow into this new normal. My stories may hold more challenge, more warning, but they will always point toward hope. If we have no hope, we are truly lost. And yes, it’s hard to see the good amidst the evil. But it is there.

Good will always overcome evil eventually.

Love will always win. 

But we cannot simply carry on. 

We must be part of the movement for change. Use our voices. Make art. Sing and dance and act and tell our stories. Do not accept anything less than wholehearted respect for another human being. This is our calling. This is our charge.

But I also believe we are also called to live our best life. To enjoy all these gifts we have been given. To be ever mindful of the chaos around us, yet find joy in the celebration of our own personal journey. I believe if we are true to that, seeking truth and proclaiming it to the world, we can change this cycle of evil. We can stop the apocalypse.

Let it begin now. Today. With me. With you. 

Let healing begin. 

il_fullxfull.469727258_6spx

Life Is Good!!

Tags

, , , ,

Well, I’ve just spent a fun week with my sister! It was great to just hang out and talk and laugh. Best of all, she was able to celebrate a very special delivery that arrived yesterday!

IMG_1745

My author copies of The Things We Knew!!! A few tears may have been shed by yours truly. My first stop after picking up this lovely box of books was to my dad. He always gets the first copy, and he was pleased as punch!

unnamed-1

And then it was home to celebrate with the rest of the family, with champagne and dinner out!

13528832_10153541746080899_8630606204469104197_n

The next few weeks will be very busy as we prepare for the official release on July 12th. I’d love for you to sign up for the launch party on Facebook – that’ll be July 14th and will be lots of fun, with special guests and giveaways and lots of book chatter! We’re also having a GOODREADS GIVEAWAY, (going on now!) so you can enter to win a copy of The Things We Knew there!

The Things We Knew Launch Party!-save the date

Meanwhile, here’s one more thing to keep you busy until the book comes out!

Things We Knew Pre-Order

Feel free to share all these great promotions, and I hope when you read The Things We Knew, you’ll let me know how you liked it!

Happy Holiday Weekend!

So My Mom Wrote A Book…

Tags

, ,

IMG_1641

Hey, everybody! This is Noah. (I’m the adorably handsome dog in the picture).

I’m hijacking my mom’s blog today, because, quite frankly, enough is enough. ¬†I’m used to getting all the attention around here, seriously, and lately? Well, my mom wrote this book. And it’s getting AAAAALLLLLL the attention.

12804822_1062369927134409_2876535736675064029_n

That’s my Mom. That’s her book. Look how happy she is. What is that about? It’s not like a bone. Or leftover meatloaf (I’m not really allowed that). It’s not even close to peeing on a tree. Wait . . . I’ll be right back . . .

I mean, what’s the deal with this dumb¬†book?

12801393_1062806053757463_8985437277830009308_n-1

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

Set on the island of Nantucket, The Things We Knew paints a picture of a family that is far from perfect. The Carlisle siblings have long abandoned the home they grew up in, their lives now a paradox to their idyllic childhood memories. As their father’s health declines and the family debt rises, they each return to the island to assist their youngest sister, Lynette, and must all come to terms with the history that connects them, confront the memories that haunt them, and question all the things they thought they knew.

Yawn.

Mom thinks this is an adorable picture of me. She thinks it looks like I’m checking out her book with great interest. Actually, I’m wondering what paper tastes like. (Don’t tell). Because I don’t really get it. She’s been talking to me about this story for a looooong time. (Yes, she talks to me. I find it best to wag my tail and nod) A lot of the time she just doesn’t make sense. Supper Time, Walk, Swim . . . those words make sense. But when she starts yammering¬†about plot holes and deadlines and wanting to jump from tall buildings,¬†well, there’s an itch I gotta scratch.

“Are you even listening to me?” I hear that a lot.

And whatever these deadline things are? I hate them. I will devour them ferociously in one bite if I ever find out what they are. Because they glue Mom to her computer, (like she’s not already always on it), and she basically doesn’t move. For days. Then the mumbling starts. And sometimes she cries. And . . . a couple times she says some words I don’t think she’s supposed to say. But who am I to judge? I pee on trees and chase pigeons. I would probably pee on this book if I had the chance.

View More: http://sarahe.pass.us/photographs-for-print

See this picture? Oh, you will. She’s posting it pretty much all over the internet. I even have my own hashtag. #noahbestdogever

Well, what can I say? It fits.

Let’s be honest, I’m freaking adorable, so I can’t blame her. (It’s actually a much better picture than the one of her by herself, if I do say so). But a dog’s gotta have some limits, right? And this??

12540977_1042452165792852_6910289131535291676_n

WHAT. IS. THIS. MOM??!!

I feel so used.

Do all you writer people act the same way or is my mom just weird? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know she loves me. And that’s probably understating it. She has some human children who pretend to love me when she’s around, but I’ve heard them talking when they think I’m not listening, and word on the street is that if we were all on a sinking ship and there was only room for Mom and one more person on the lifeboat, she¬†would choose me over them. Did I mention my stinking adorability factor? Probs has something to do with it. The humans are cute, but let’s face it . . . I win.

So here’s the thing, really. I love my Mom. Not as much as she loves me, but I do love her and I would bark a few times in her defense. She lets me up on the bed when Dad gets up in the morning. And she feeds me. And . . . sigh . . . she used to play with me and go for walks with me a lot more, but why beat a dead horse? But this book thing is stressing her out. It oozes from her and makes me sad. I don’t like stress. Something about release day being right around the corner and this and that and blah, blah, blah. So, I thought I’d get you all to help my mom calm the flip down about all this, tell her to take some deep breaths, and maybe take me for a walk or a swim, because that’d be good for both of us.

Tell my mom it’s all gonna be okay, she doesn’t need to stress, everybody will love her book, even though I don’t, but to each his own, right? And if they don’t, well so what? It’s not the end of the world. She still has me.

You can even promise to buy her book on July 12th, if you want. Hey, whatever it takes.

So thanks for listening. I’ll be back with an update and hopefully a saner, less stressed Mom to tell you about.

I hear her next book has Border Collies in it. I’m all over that one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, Unplugged

Tags

I talk a lot about facing my fears. Um, yeah. I know. That’s our least favorite thing, right? For me, one of my biggest battles is self-image. Because I’m introverted, I tend to keep to myself. I’m not great at talking on the phone (I hate it), and I don’t like to put myself out there in video. Vlogging? No. Never. Like, Never Ever. At All.

However.

Since I’m going to be celebrating my new book’s release pretty soon, and I really want to connect with my readers in tangible ways, my fear of getting behind the camera is going to have to take a back seat. So here we go.

And ¬†. . . hopefully I’ll get better at this with more practice.ūüôā

It’s pretty awkward and maybe a little silly, but there’s a nice view of the ocean.

Did I have fun?
Kind of.

(AND YEAH – Dumb blond moment – in the video I say Lynette is 26!! She’s not. She’s 24. So there’s that. Oy. Anyhooo … carry on).

Why I Love Me Before You

Tags

, , ,

I’m not going to bother with the SPOILER ALERT or DISCLAIMER tags because, face it, if you don’t want to read this, why’d you click the link?

I don’t generally jump into these arguments, but yesterday I read something that made me cringe. And I’d had enough.

I’m an author. I have been writing fiction for over 20 years. I know what it’s like to agonize over a story. To worry whether your words will have the impact you meant them to. Or whether anyone will read them at all. It’s not an easy task, this writing thing. Most of the time it’s a slog, but every once in a while we hit it, and it all makes sense. And so we carry on.

I cannot speak for Jojo Moyes, but I can say that most of the writers I know do not set out to present their readers with some hidden agenda carefully woven through the pages of the novels we write. No. We leave that to the non-fiction writers.

I read Me Before You not really knowing what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find myself in floods of tears. At best, I hoped for an entertaining read. Well, that’s what I got. As well as an addiction to every Jojo Moyes novel ever written. Simply put, she’s a brilliant author. No, not like Hemingway or Austen, but there’s something about the way she weaves her words, the wit, the sarcasm (probably what hooked me to be honest), and the down to earth characters she creates, all leave me wanting to read her next novel. Immediately. I don’t know Ms. Moyes and she doesn’t know me. She did leave a comment on my FB page once, and I squealed.

So what’s all the fuss with this book that’s now been made into a movie? That’s what I’d like to try to understand. Because from where I’m sitting, it would appear that once again a certain faction of our faith community have built a bandwagon, grabbed their pitchforks and flaming torches and are setting out to storm the castle. And this time the Beast is called Assisted Suicide. Which happens to be the topic of Me Before You.

Honestly? I didn’t even know assisted suicide was a thing before I read this book. I was actually rather shocked and surprised to learn that there are places one can go to quietly end one’s own life. By choice. And I wrestled with that. To some extent I still do.

If we can gather around the Honesty Circle a moment, I’ll tell you why.

I watched my mother die. She was in the end stages of her life. Everything had shut down. There was no magic pill. Nothing that would make her jump out of that bed and be herself again. I believe her spirit was gone long before her body. Her body took about a week to give up. And we were there every day. Just waiting. Watching. And it was horrendous.

Do I wish we’d been given an easy option? Sometimes. Do I think she would have wanted that option? Sometimes. For me, it’s a gray area. Like many hot-button topics that we’re told as Christians, we must throw down the gauntlet over. There are issues that, frankly, for many believers, are simply black and white. They’ve been taught that there is right and there is wrong, and if you’re trying to find a middle ground, well, you’ll be hard pressed. I’m not one of those black and white only believers. Sometimes I prefer gray. Perhaps I think too much.

In any event, my point, is that we have taken a work of fiction and turned it into something with fangs and claws, something to be avoided at all costs. Something to be boycotted. I was rather stunned yesterday when I saw a post on Facebook urging people to boycott the movie. I read the article a couple of times. And I get it. Honest, I do.

But people . .¬†. must we suck the life out of every little thing meant to bring a bit of pleasure, just because we don’t like what it had to say?

This is a work of fiction.

I can’t see the character of WIll making any other choice. Had he suddenly had a come to Jesus moment and realized the error of his ways, married Louisa and lived happily ever after, well, we’d have a nice little feel good¬†novel on our hands. (Many bookstores carry these. You’ll have no trouble finding one). And dang it, yes, I love me a happy ending too. But that isn’t what happened.

The author ended the book the way she felt it should end. That’s her right. It’s her story. Like it or not, the fact that we’re even talking about it proves she has done her job. But do I think she had some hidden agenda to get us all up in arms for one side or the other on this issue? No. I think she just wanted to write a good story.

Don’t we all.

Sometimes life just sucks. Sometimes there are no happy endings. People live in nightmare situations. Every. Day. And a lot of those people don’t have faith. They have never experienced grace. Mercy. Unconditional love. And so they make choices. Selfishly, perhaps, but who are we to judge?

While we rage in our pulpits, point fingers and shake our heads in disgust, someone is slipping out the door. Someone who might have needed just a little compassion. Someone who might have been in desperate need of hope.

While we’re boycotting, signing petitions and protesting in the name of Jesus, real life is sucking people under. We’re watching them drown. We’ve forgotten what we’re supposed to be about. And everything from politics to a work of fiction must be made into a debate.

Life is too short for this.

Disagree if you must, but do it in love. Take a stand if you feel the need, but leave the hate at home. Embrace. Don’t push. And for the love . . . have the grace to understand that not everyone will accept your message. That’s their right.

Rather than taking something controversial and slapping the sticker of evil all over it, why not use it as a conversation starter? We can still have honest, heartfelt discussions around a table, can’t we? We can at least admit that what we’ve read has made us feel. It has made us think and wrestle with the hard things we may not have otherwise given a second thought to. And that is every author’s hope, I think. To make an impact. To make your readers think and feel and contemplate.

Read the book. See the movie. Or don’t.

But before you go on a rant about this, do measure your words and thoughts carefully, with love.

And then you will have made the bigger point.

Grace Awards 2015 Winners ~ in Faith Based Fiction

So honored to be a recipient of this year’s Grace Awards! And since I’m knee deep in edits this week, it gives me something to celebrate! And blog about.ūüėõ

Grace Awards

GraceAwards Badge 2015pxThe Grace Awards, a reader driven awards and the most democratic awards in Christian fiction, now in its sixth year, is very proud to announce its 2015 WINNERS. This year we had an array of widely diverse judges (multi-published authors, traditionally published ones, indie authors, and avid readers). Our judges commented on how pleased they were with the high quality of the finalists chosen by readers this year. Several judging teams ‚Äėcomplained‚Äô they had trouble picking a winner because all three stories nominated were so good. This only serves to justify the faith we have in our Christian readers who nominate the finalists. That‚Äôs what the Grace Awards is all about.

We’ve tried to use, if you will, a separation of powers in choosing our winners. Readers nominated (via email) the finalists in six categories. After the nominations were counted, finaling titles were given to our judging teams. From that point on there was no…

View original post 935 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,401 other followers