Letting Go… Again

There are so many ways to say it and it all boils down to choice.

Us or Them.  Ultimate Joy or Ultimate Misery.  Yin or Yang.

I’ve recently had to let things go in a few areas of my life, because the energy coming in didn’t come close to what was going out.  I had sped through Burnout City and crashed into the Major Deficit Dump.  And that was just physically.  Mentally I’d gone into autopilot mode, not fully experiencing anything on any level.

Last summer, I’d first written about taking it all on, making myself miserable in the process, and how it affected me.  I’m very skilled at filling up my minutes with activities or people or obligations, but not so skilled at releasing them once it no longer serves me or weighs me down.

And making the decision to walk away hurt.  A lot.  There were things that had been a part of me for months that had become embedded under my skin.  I hadn’t even recognized it as being separate from me.

But as much as it hurt to close the door on some relationships, to permanently or temporarily cross events off my social calendars, and to readjust my goals, the result for me was absolute relief.  I’m not up there in the frenzy of the mosh pit anymore, and because of that, my priorities have taken on new life.

As certain as I am that this was the best choice for me, I’m equally certain I’ll find myself back in the same predicament in a few months from now.  Letting go of the old stuff allows the new to flow back in, which will more than likely create backlog.  Then the shedding process will start all over again.  That’s just one of the laws of nature – the law of my nature.

How about you?  Do you find yourself taking on more than you should?  At what point do you draw the line?  Is there a line at all?

Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

With so much information out there on the internet, with so many websites to sift through, anyone wishing to get information to a targeted market is up against a lot of competition.

As writers, we look to our friends and family to spread the word and, of course, they always come through.  And within our online community, we are fortunate enough to have other writers and readers who open their blogs freely to lend a hand as well.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those bloggers who helped me reveal my new cover of Souled this past week.  Please support them by visiting their blogs.  They really are awesome peeps!

Angela Peart, Author  

From Sarah with Joy

Crazy Four Books

A Dream Within a Dream

I Like These Books

Lizzy’s Dark Fiction

What’s on the Bookshelf

Tracy James Jones 

The Readiacs 

Cherie Reich, Author

An Avid Reader’s Musings 

Reading in Paradise 

Fangirlish 

Book Lover’s Hideaway

And a huge thank you to everyone who shared on Facebook and Twitter!

Cover Reveal – Souled Gets a Makeover

Change is good.  Change is positive.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to let something go…

As much as I adored the original cover of Souled, I felt a change was needed to encompass more of the essence of the novel, which, in addition to ancient sorcery, was a story of love so absolute, so pure, it could transcend ordinary reason.

And because the location of the story took place in North Idaho, I wanted to include the community of Sandpoint in the Souled experience.

I was fortunate that Scott and Elaina, “regular” teens in Sandpoint, agreed to be the models for this cover.  Although neither of them are professional models, they handled themselves like pros and gave the photographer, Victoria McCune, 100% effort.  And in my opinion, it shows.

Also helping to put a professional touch to the make-up part of the session, I was thrilled to have Kimberlee Langford, make-up specialist, on board.

The tattoo design from the original cover, designed by Crystalyn Abercrombie, was definitely kept as part of this cover as that is a constant symbol in the story (as well as tattooed firmly onto my own body).   Steve McCune pulled together all of the pieces to create the final cover.

It’s been incredible working with the people in the community on something such as this project, because after all, it’s their town, their turf, and their support of the novel is very important.

I’ve had a lot of fun so far and I hope you enjoy this cover as much as I do.

Souled is available on Amazon in ebook and print format.

Slenderman Sighting in North Idaho?

This weekend past was a busy and incredibly productive one.  Not only did I have the chance to hang out with my cousin and her husband, but they helped me do a total and complete makeover of the cover to my Young Adult Paranormal novel, Souled, which will be revealed on Friday.  It’s totally unique in the fact that I was able to use local teens for the photo shoot.  They stepped up and did such an incredible job!  I can’t wait to show you all!  So stay tuned for Friday’s post when I give you the low down on the new cover.

This post is going to deviate a little from my norm as I fulfill a promise I made to my #slenderman Twitter peeps for pictures.

This weekend, I took my cousin and her husband to a house I own in North Idaho (which I no longer live in) to show them around.  It’s the home I referred to in a previous post.  The home sits on a beautiful and heavily-wooded 5 acres with lots of places to roam and hide.  There are places that are really magical alongside of  some creepy pockets of slash created by previous loggers.  We walked around the property and got some really interesting pictures.  With all of the interest in Slenderman, and my son’s insistence that I don’t even think about it (which of course I did after that), I’m wondering.  Did I draw him to me?  And where the heck does he really live?

You’ll have to click on the pictures to see what I’m talking about…

My cousin’s husband and I checking out the neglected garden. Look closely on the right of the photo…

I was showing them the faery glen but – fortunately I was looking the other way – we had a close encounter of another kind…

So what do you think?  More than one Slenderman?  Fact?  Fiction? Our overactive imagination?  You tell me.  Should we start a new hashtag of #slenderheads?

Come back Friday to check out the new cover for Souled.  It’s got a whole new feel to it.  I think you’ll agree.

CRAZY S**T MY BOYS OBSESS ABOUT – THE SLENDERMAN

Truth – for the most part we use our internal radar to weed out falsehoods from fact.  We could have hard-core facts (pro or con) shoved in our face about something, but whether a particular subject resonates with us or not determines if it becomes a belief.  If a belief somehow serves us, we’ll fight to hold onto it.

Two years ago my oldest called me over to his computer, totally freaking out.

The second of the original Slender Man images, by Victor Surge – alastairstephens.com – Do you see him under the trees?

J:  “Mom!  Look at this!  The Slenderman!”

Me:  What is that?

J:  The Slenderman!  Oh, my God, Mom.  You have to see this picture of him!  He’s real!

Me:  Seriously?

J:  Yeah!  If you look at him, you’ll die!

Me:  So they guy who took this picture is now dead?

J:  Probably!  But not everyone can see him so those are the ones who are  safe.

*eye roll*

For those of you who don’t know about the Slenderman, here is an explanation from ufosearchonline.com:

“Slender Man (or Slenderman, depending on how you spell it’s name) is described as wearing a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. Once his arms are outstretched, Slender Man’s victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them. Slender Man is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk. Whether Slender Man absorbs, kills, or merely takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any body’s or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.  Slender Man is most often seen as a tall, extremely thin man with long, strange arms, and a face that no two people see the same way (if they see any face at all). Where he comes from is as much a mystery as what he wants.” 

*Big sigh*  How could it be that my son had so readily accepted, albeit with a fit of tears, that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real when I broke the news to him? (Yeah, yeah, yeah.  In my defense I thought he already knew and was just going along to make me happy.)  My son had eventually figured out that I was Santa Claus and took that with relative grace when I confirmed his suspicions.   The bottom line – he trusted me enough to accept my truth.

But in the case of Slenderman… no dice.  Nothing I said would convince him.  The fact that this mythical creature existed obviously resonated with him.  I can’t possibly begin to understand that one, but until we moved out of our house on five forested acres, he refused to go outside after dark, swearing to me that one night he saw the Slenderman peek around the corner at him while he waited for the dog to come back inside.  And now that we’ve moved into town?  My son is always out after dark.  Apparently the Slenderman doesn’t like to hang around the lake or Starbuck’s after dark.   But in the heavily treed areas…

Look… over my shoulder… Um.  Yeah.

There’s only so much we can do to protect our children from beliefs that freeze them up or make their imaginations go wild.  At this point, this is one of those things I have to file in the “Let It Go” folder.  He’ll figure it out… I hope.

If you really like stories that make you wonder… what if,  check out Souled, a novel about what happens when a high school wrestler invites another soul to inhabit his body.  You can purchase it for $2.99 on Amazon.  Just click and download.  Easy.

If You Let Them Go, They’ll Stick Around

I had no idea that the gap that launched me into single status could possibly get any wider. I can see now, though, how inevitable it would be, for as I kept taking steps backward, slowly turning away from the disaster my life had become, and finally running like hell, my scenery changed, my viewpoint cleared, and my vision sharpened.  I found myself standing in a place my ex would never understand.  The rules regarding school work, curfew, healthy eating – the rules that united, albeit loosely, the ex and I together – soon became the mother of all disagreements.

Seventeen years ago, as part of my efforts to be the “perfect” mom, I adopted other women’s examples of what raising children “should be,” even if it didn’t resonate with me.  Man, was that exhausting.  I had rules up the wazoo and fought to keep them in place.  And the boys fought back.

But eight months ago the blinders dropped to my feet and I found that I had forgotten to preach what I practiced.  The solution was so simple.

Let them be.

Which is exactly how I prefer to be treated.  I don’t want anyone telling me what to do or telling me what path to choose, so why should I do that to my boys?  Sure, my body may be older, but my children’s souls are just as experienced as mine.   These boys aren’t mine in the possession sense.  From a spiritual point of view, I don’t have the right to put borders around their spirits and make them the exact image that society or even I believe to be true.   I’m here to guide them, not mold them.  They know who they need to be.  Besides, what a waste of time when quite possibly after 18 years, they’re going to do and be what they want anyway.  I know I did.

It is my belief that we come into this existence knowing what our life path is.  The road map has already been printed up, although our free will sometimes overrides that map and takes us on some wild side trips.   When we truly deviate off that path,though, it doesn’t go unnoticed.  Don’t we feel the discord when we want to go one direction and someone tries to convince us otherwise? Especially if the only source of righteousness is in their own mind?  Or what about compromising on something we truly believe in?

My mother pushed me to go to college because it was what I “should” do, yet all I did was spin my wheels, lost a lot of brain cells, and ran up a student loan that never should have been.  Besides, halfway through the first year I realized I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  This is one area I won’t push my boys on.  No amount of lecturing is going to make this the right choice for them.  True motivation must come from them.  Otherwise it becomes my job to keep them going, a burden that will have us both resentful.

In the months past, I’ve gotten a clearer view of who my boys really are.  Without the shoulds masking their true source, I’ve been able to appreciate their way of thinking.  I’m beginning to understand what makes them tick and why they don’t fit into the boxes I’ve been trying to put them in.

Sex, drinking, drugs, school, safety, curfew – those are issues I will never compromise on.  Honestly, though, I have no control over their ultimate decisions on those topics, but I’ve made damn sure they know what the consequences are if they deviate from my “recommendations.”  So, armed with that information, it’s their decision as to what outcome they desire.

Some may think this is the wrong approach or the lazy way to parent, but it is actually very difficult at times.  To stand back and watch their actions put in motion a set of reactions (whether they be mine or someone else’s) makes me want to peek out from behind splayed fingers.  It’s nothing short of a challenge to stay back and let them do damage control.  On the flip side, when they are really thinking it out and the outcome is in their favor?  It’s awesome.

It felt good to finally release the ties, because forcing the boys to do what they clearly do not want to do didn’t resonate with what I was all about – freedom of choice and independence. I’ve let my boys make choices of when to go to sleep (though the connection between late nights and being tired the next day still hasn’t sunk in), meals, what school classes to take, and friends.  As long as safety isn’t an issue and they’re not hurting others, I’m good.

Which might explain why they gravitate to me and not to the “other.”  That “coolness” factor I seem to have with the boys and their friends is, I believe, actually the elation they experience when they connect with who they are.

Think about the people we tend to gravitate toward – those who speak to and understand our souls.  Not those who contradict or repress our fires, but those who stoke it, feed it, and encourage it to rise.

My boys’ path is their own.  I’ll be there to dust off their knees, put a band-aid on a broken heart, give them advice on hangover cures, and I’ll give them room to fly, because they’ll need it to get over the Grand Canyon-size crevasse of thought that yawns between “the other half” and me.

Would You Buy a Soul for $2000?

I was going to blog about something totally different today.  In fact, I have my thoughts scribbled out and ready to be organized into something legible.

Then I got side-tracked by a link sent to me by my friend in Arizona, an interesting and timely story of a woman in New Mexico who listed her soul for sale on eBay.  Click here to see one of the stories circulating he internet.

Want to see who would actually do this and why?

According to one story, eBay has a strict policy about selling human body parts and remains on their site, but they may need to redefine their policy to include souls.  One newscaster actually brought up the point of the logistics of this auction – How is it to be delivered?   How do you know if what you bought has been delivered?

If one were to actually purchase a soul, I would imagine there would be either total elation or total conflicting vibrations that would swirl around inside  our body, leading us to know if it had been “delivered.”  Typically, as like attracts like, an outside entity is attracted to a host body that has the same vibration that it has, such as a happy person, a sad person, an adrenaline junkie – which in turn would heighten whatever is our prominent vibration.  On the flip side, I could see a soul latching onto a host for the sole purpose of draining the host’s energy, while the host soul fights the intruder for control.  That would be where the Jekyll and Hyde thing would play out.

In the case of this New Mexico woman, though, it’s neither of these.  As proof of delivery, the woman offers of a piece of paper – a $2000 piece of paper.  A bill of sale of sorts.  Huh.  Kind of a let-down if you ask me.

But, for Seth Thompson, the high school student who bought a soul on eSouled.com (a site still under contruction – but check it out just for kicks), what he received was quite different than a piece of paper and was a hell of a lot cheaper.  Here is an excerpt from Souled:

My palm began throbbing—not like thorns or needle pricks—more like claws had sunken in and raked down the skin. But my palm was the least of my worries. Because, though I didn’t want to believe it, I felt it. Something was inside me. Something… other. Very other.

A second pulse inside me beat steady, strong, and disturbingly close to mine.

And then the truth hit me. Hard. I knew.

The soul had been delivered.

So, yeah, there’s a lot of crazy stuff out there for sale as people try and unload and make a quick buck.  What about you?  What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen for sale?  Were you  tempted to buy it?

Speaking of crazy things for sale, check out Natalie Hartford’s blog where she posts the best of the craziest and unusual items on the internet.

Going Once, Going Twice…SOULED!!!

So, hey!  Amazing that a week has gone by since I released Souled.  Seems like just yesterday I clicked on the publish button.  The days are flying by for me.  I really wanted to take a few weeks off, but already the opening chapter for the sequel is pounding against my door, demanding to be let in.  I’ll see how long I can hold off.

What I would like to do, though, is give you another peek at a section of Souled.  The first passage was revealed when I got tagged in the Lucky 7 game.  So here’s another part of the story:

“Hey.” I pulled Dani against me again and rested my forehead against hers. “Thanks for going with me tonight.”

“I don’t know why you thought I wouldn’t.” Dani leaned back and searched my face. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, definitely.” This night was going to be great. “I love you,” I said.

“Me, too.”

I cupped her face, pulling her close enough to brush my lips against hers, closing my eyes to shut out everything that could possibly distract me from this moment. The dark behind my eyes became darker before it flared, and stopped me mid-kiss. Something didn’t feel right.

“What’s wrong?” Dani frowned.

“Your mom’s coming.” Perfect timing, because I couldn’t explain what was wrong, just that something felt off, as if something bad was about to happen.

Janice appeared in the doorway. “Sorry I took so long. I had to replace the batteries. This darn thing uses them up so quickly. Okay. Get closer,” she said, sweeping her hand through the air, motioning us to get closer.

I draped my arm around Dani and pressed my cheek against her hair, smiling at the lens.

In the split second after the flash went off, I blinked and in that split second of darkness, I saw it.

What the HELL?! Maksim?!

I focused on Dani, squeezing her shoulder and pulling her closer still. I wasn’t feeling so good anymore. “Thanks, Mrs. Parsons,” I managed to say. “I think we’d better go, Dani. Justin is probably waiting for us.” But there was nowhere I could run to hide from what I had seen. And it was more than seeing; it was suddenly knowing the truth. Knowing I had been duped.

I took a deep breath, causing a tremor in my chest.

The voice had a face. Freakin’ A. He had a face.

And that face told me that Maksim was no angel.

~ ~ ~

Slightly curious about what that was all about?  You can download Souled on your Kindle via Amazon, or pick up the print version, which is available through Createspace or Amazon.

As for the winner of the giveaway, I had my youngest draw a name out of the hat, and the winner is Debra Kristi!  Debra, you need to let me know if you’d like the eBook or print version.

As for the rest of you awesome peeps, I appreciate all of you stopping by and leaving me a comment and supporting the book’s release.  I’d like to show my gratitude by offering you an e-version of Souled.    Thank you so much!!

Time To Soul-e-brate!

Soul attachment, as common as a cold, and just as easy to be rid of… sometimes.  Would you know if another entity had hijacked your body?  If you did, what would you do?

Lose yourself in the story of Maksim and Seth, old versus young, good versus badass.  Available on Amazon in ebook format now, with the print version  available within a few weeks.

What 17-year-old boy wouldn’t be tempted by the promise of power and control – no matter what form that promise came in?

Seth knew exactly what he would do with power and control. He’d be well on his way to a wrestling scholarship, his dad could stop working so hard to make ends meet, and he’d forever have the heart of his girlfriend, Sandpoint High’s most beautiful girl.

For Seth, the temptation was much too strong to resist. And why should he? The way he saw it, he had everything to gain.

But when he unknowingly invites another soul to share his body, Seth discovers that not all power is good – especially when it was never his to wield. And when the soul reveals its true intentions, will Seth have the strength to fight it or would death be less painful?

And just for kicks… Check out location pictures and the story behind the making of the cover.

In honor of Souled’s release, I’m giving away a copy, either ebook format or print.  Just leave a comment and I’ll put your name in hat and draw the winner’s name next Tuesday!

Until then… be careful what you buy online!

 

Three Minutes Inside A Book Blogger’s Head

I’d gone through an apple, two yogurts, and a handful of pretzels (I think better when I snack) and still I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon Bookish Temptations.  It could have been from any number of avenues.  You know how it is, we’re hanging around Twitter, watching the tweets, something catches our eye, we follow it, which leads us down another vein then to another.  But I do remember the blog post that originally caught my attention, and that was Sexy Sentence Saturday.  I started following Bookish Temptations and looked forward to the day of the week when Bookish posted Book Blogger Confessions, which gave great insight into the workings of this particular book blogger’s mind.

This led me to some reverse thinking.  As authors, we’re constantly looking for avenues through which we can pitch our novels and ways to get noticed.  The book bloggers and reviewers are tremendously helpful in that regard.  We all look to them to help us get the word out.  They rock at what they do:  Reading, reviewing, blogging their thoughts, interviewing us to get inside our head.

But… Have you ever wondered what goes on inside theirs?

This week I decided to turn the tables.  Tamie, from Bookish Temptations, has graciously allowed me to put her in the hot seat and to answer a few of my own questions.  So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy.

Thanks for being here, Tamie.  To start off, what inspired you to start blogging in the first place?

An opportunity presented itself and it sounded both interesting and fun. I’ve been a bookaholic as long as I can remember, and I liked the idea of having a forum to share my passion with others.

Do you remember what your very first blog was about?

I reviewed the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I was so nervous the day it published I thought I might throw up or pass out…Seriously.

That’s a huge series to review the first time out, Tamie.  I loved that series.  I’d like to see that review of yours!  Perhaps you can send me a link?  Okay, sorry for the diversion… So, now you have a “team.”  Who are they and what are their special areas of interest?

Debb is the first person I asked to join Bookish. I’d left the blog I started with to begin my own, and after about a month I realized that Bookish needed something. I knew that Debb was an expert where FanFic is concerned, and that a lot of peeps read a lot of it.  So I asked her and happily she said yes.  She then added Annie and together they became a super team on Fridays.

Next I asked Morgan to do a guest post, and I loved it so much I asked him to join us permanently.  He agreed to a once a month deal.  He’s an author and gives great tips during his Wordslinger posts.  He has a fabulous sense of humor too, which is what drew me to his writing in the 1st place.

Gina and Elena came next and at about the same time.  I knew both of them were avid readers, and I was looking for 2 very specific things…more reviews on BT, and quite frankly…I needed a break from posting every day. They’re both excellent reviewers and sounding boards.

Our newest team member is Katiebird.  Debb needed to take some time off, and Katiebird has guest hosted FanFic Friday in the past, so I was thrilled when she said yes.  We’ve also discovered that we’re very alike in a lot of ways…kindred spirits if you will.

Having a team is a great approach!  It definitely keeps the posts diverse.  Do you get a lot of review requests?  If so, which camp makes up the greatest percentage – indies or trads?

It seems to come in waves… a few a week and them BAM! A whole bunch at once. Right now there’s a fairly long waiting list, so I’m really limiting the yeses.  Most of it is indie at the moment.

This next question will help me as well as other authors, I’m sure.  Is there a “protocol” on your site that requesting authors should follow but sometimes don’t?

Yes… anytime an author or publisher/publicist requests a review from a book blog they need to be prepared to furnish a copy of the book. Most know this and offer to do so, but every once in a while a request comes in without mention of a book being provided. In my reply I always let them know what formats we accept and I remind them of our ratings policy. If the book doesn’t rate a 3 or above it won’t be reviewed.

Of all of the books you read, what genres do you prefer?

My personal favorites are Romance, Erotica, Paranormal, and Historical. I also enjoy Mystery/Suspense…just not as much as I used to.

There’s always something going on at Bookish Temptations. Do you find it difficult to find a balance between your extensive blogging and your personal life?

Hmmm… While I do spend a huge amount of time every day doing something in conjunction with the blog I really enjoy it, and let’s face it… I’m not being forced to do it… it’s a choice. I went on a 10 day vacation to Canada in April and I kept in touch every day, but I didn’t spend hours on it, and it didn’t interfere with the fabulous time I had. So for now at least I’m ok with the balance…or lack thereof.

Your blogging is so diverse.  What is your favorite topic to blog about?

O…that’s a tough one. I really love trying to find unique ways to spotlight my favorite authors and their book(s) for example: when I asked several authors to contribute a character Valentine during V-day week, or when I did the Gabriel’s Inferno tour.  I’m doing a fun one again this Wednesday with Gabriel’s Rapture which will be published before this is, and the Sexy Sentence Saturday.  Also, I love writing the Observations posts…they’re usually based on something personal, but I try to bring in something literary based as well.  My favorite meme is the Book Blogger Confessions every other week.  Yeah…that was way more than one 🙂

On the topic of author availability, how important is that to a blogger?

I think to have a really great book blog you need to have some good relationships with the authors you feature.  So far I’ve been incredibly lucky in that respect.  (Crosses fingers and toes having said that).

What is your take on the move from trad published to indie published and the overall quality of novels that are put out?

Since most of what I read comes from indie authors/publishers I would say it’s terrific.  Just because an author doesn’t have a “powerhouse’ publishing company behind them doesn’t mean they aren’t amazingly gifted writers.  I’ve seen some peeps complain about horrible editing and lots of errors in indie books, but I just haven’t found that to be true for the most part.  Are there some?  Of course, but I’ve seen books put out by the “big boys” that had them as well.  I have seen that more with self-published authors, but most of the time it isn’t so bad that I just want to throw the book away.  Yes, it can be distracting, but maybe I have a higher tolerance for it than others do.

Do you have a reading preference between trad and indie?

For me… I’m really liking all the indie books I’ve read in the past year. I like trying to bring attention to authors that others might overlook, and in all honesty they’ve been some of the best written and have become personal favorites…so I’m quite happy to be an indie girl.

~ ~ ~

I’m thrilled to hear you say that, Tamie, but then again, I’m a bit biased on the indie movement.

Thanks again, Tamie for stopping by and putting on a different hat for awhile. It’s good to know what goes on inside a book blogger’s mind.

Bookish Temptations is one of the many great book bloggers out there and they have so much to say, and then some!  So swing by Tamie’s blog or hook up with her and her crew on Twitter.  You’ll be glad you did.