Monday, July 24, 2017

Full Life



I saw this while walking around one of my favorite local shopping centers. 



  
It embodies so much of how I aim to live.

Know that I realize I’ve been somewhat quieter lately. It’s funny in a way because as I’m getting ready to release a new novel this fall I’m finding I have to gear up, I have to ready myself to reenter the noise.

It’s not like I haven’t been busy this summer. In the past week alone I’ve given feedback on two novels for critique partners, as well as a non-fiction health book my friend is publishing soon. I’ve signed kids up for dance and soccer and am still in shock I’m preparing them for school in one week (big change from going back the first week in September). I said goodbye after my mom visited, met up with a family from Connecticut, attended a dynamic dinner party, gone on six mile walks with my husband, painted more drywall (because I really can’t stay away), and worked with the cover designer on my new novel. I wrote 5,000-words of one novel, while editing major sections of another. Oh, and I signed up for a writer’s conference in November. So, yes, I’m keeping active. Behind the scenes for now.

Much like an athlete, I’m feeling myself stretch and prepare to get back out there. It’s been years since I’ve released a book. Even with all of the preparation, it’s easy to forget how daunting it is.

So, when the world rattles or my confidence wavers, I try to remember one thing.


I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. And my life is full.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Can Travel Spark Creativity?


I’m going with a resounding yes. We’ve bounced around our share this summer and every time I find myself in a new city I’m met with surges of fresh ideas. Some of these thoughts involve characters, some plot twists, some career moves, and some promotion, but I’m not sure any would have come to me had I not physically moved to a different location.

I could write a year’s worth of blog post reactions about the book I’m reading. IMAGINE by Jonah Lehrer is my kind of book. It stretches the way I think about how I learn, and how I interpret the world.

I was particularly amused by the section about travel and how it influences our ability to create. Why so fascinated by this? Because in addition to our big move, we’ve also done a load of traveling over the past few months. And I’ve found every time I leave our house I open the door to new material. It’s wild. It’s wonderful.

Lehrer writes, “We need to leave behind everything. One of the most surprising (and pleasurable) ways of
cultivating an outside perspective is through travel, getting away from the places we spend most of our time.” He goes on to say that when we travel ideas that were previously suppressed have an opportunity to surface. New surroundings inspire new thoughts. Travel also encourages us to become more open-minded, or as Lehrer suggests “alive to ambiguity, more willing to realize there are different ways of interpreting the world.” Yes. Yes. And yes.

I still think part of the reason I write stems from my time growing up in Germany. My mom loves to share how as a young kid I’d look at people in an elevator and excitedly speak my own interpretation of German (I was a special child). As an adult, I love learning about other cultures and other ways of living. I no longer go up to people who speak a different language and spout Gibberish, trying to engage in conversation with them. My husband stops me before I try.

I buy into this concept entirely. And I’m not convinced we have to fly to Paris or Rome to thrum the creative juices. Simply stepping out can do wonders. This is why walks can be so instrumental when I’m brain-blocked.

Every time we leave our comfortable nests we’re forced to view the world through a fresh lens.


Traveled anywhere lately? Have you experienced a heightened sense of creativity when you’ve stepped out?

Monday, July 3, 2017

New Digs + A Marvelous & Stirring Summer Read

I moseyed over here the other day to check on a few things only to experience instant shock. The place had been ransacked. Well, not exactly. Spammed is more like it. The second I saw what was going on I knew I needed to swing into action. Which is exactly what I did. And this—what you see around you—is the result of a little rearranging. Now it feels like home. Much like me, it’s a work in progress. Hope you’ll grow comfortable will the new surroundings soon enough.

Now it’s time to tell you about a book I met. Met? Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. Years ago I had the honor of befriending a like-minded author who shares my passion for the craft. I cheered on Emily Bain Murphy from the moment I heard about her story. I encouraged her, and she encouraged me in turn, as we both navigated this grueling industry. I read chapters. We brainstormed plot twists and character motivations. I celebrated when she signed with her agent, then a publishing house. And then came the cover . . . what a stunning work of art! It perfectly suits this marvelously stirring tale. 


Excuse me as I feel a bit like a proud aunt, watching my niece step out for her first dance. She’s going to wow the crowd, this much I know. And here’s the real kicker—it’s because I’m aware of exactly what’s inside. I’ve been incredibly moved to see just how much her mom has poured into her so she’ll turn out this way. With such integrity, finesse, and grace.

If you’ve visited here long enough, you know two things. 1. The place has an entirely new look today. 2. I don’t gush about a book unless I really mean it.

This book will change you. THE DISAPPEARANCES accomplished a magical and rare thing so few books are able to. I entered a world I didn’t want to leave.

Here’s my Goodreads review ~

Seldom do I encounter such a remarkable and stirring book. I can’t decide which aspect of THE DISAPPEARANCES I’m most in love with—the gifted storytelling, the lovable characters, the unique concept, or the way I felt moved along as I read, as though carried upon water.

I can imagine so many things regarding the future of this book…required reading in schools, a movie, babies being named Aila all over the world, or even simply the smiles on people’s faces as they delight in a truly magical and transcending read.

Emily Bain Murphy has created a masterful work of fiction. This mesmeric novel will engage you in a way that will stay with you forever.

Emily, you did it!!!



*see you back here July 17th. Go buy THE DISAPPEARANCES.


Monday, June 26, 2017

The Art of Entertaining Distractions


I’ve gone through seasons of life when I’ve remained laser-focused. I’ve written a novel in a month and turned moving into a job, filling journals with To-Do Lists. In time I’ve discovered I have tenacity of steel.

However, I think it’s also important to share that I’ve wallowed in seasons of distraction (excuse me as I just took the dog out). Whether it’s getting hooked on Breaking Bad on Netflix (a few years late . . . never been one to follow trends) or intimately swept up in all of the details it takes to make a house a home, I’m most vulnerable to get sidetracked when I stop asking myself what matters most.

When it comes to health and family I’ve made a commitment to allot for distractions. Within reason. Someone begging me to inside-out (10 year old code for turn inside out) their socks for soccer doesn’t always constitute an immediate response from me. I’m learning the art of filtering legitimate right here, right now needs from I kinda want it so would you do it for me wants. If I didn’t do this I’m afraid an essential part of me would slowly slip away.

The best way for me to filter—for me to decide if something actually needs my focus is to always come back to that one question—what matters most?

Often cleaning will get pushed off a day. Some conversations will be delayed. Tasks on my To-Do List will not get crossed off.

All of this is okay.

Because I’m intentionally pouring into what matters most.


Some days that’ll be inside outing socks. Some days it’ll be crying during another episode of Breaking Bad because the characters feel strangely familiar and the show provides a great outlet for me to release decade-old hurt nesting inside. Some days it’ll be to listen to my daughter’s latest struggles. And other days it’ll be to write up a storm. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

When It All Comes Together


A getaway, an exceptional meal, and an inspiring book do wonders when it comes to providing clarity. I’ve been seeking a specific decision on something for years. It wasn’t until my family hopped in a car and drove eleven hours away that I received the insight I’ve long awaited.

We first headed to my mom’s, then pushed on to Miami Beach. 



I don’t know if it was all the time I had in the car to think, the change of scenery (not having to do laundry and other mundane tasks that so readily distract), or if being freed up from the pressure of trying to make our recent move make sense and translate as the best thing ever for my kids allotted me the kind of clearheaded thinking I’ve been craving.
  
I could attribute my recent revelations to this five-star meal my family gorged on in Miami Beach. We were treated to some of the best soul food I’ve ever tasted at Yardbird. I’ve dined all over the country and this restaurant is one of my favorites. It wasn’t just a meal, it was an experience. From ambience, to daring and delicious favors . . . I swear this food had something to do with the clouds clearing. (It could have had something to do with that tasty Watermelon Sling drink I ordered. Maybe moonshine really does it for me.)




I also think it had a lot to do with the messages I kept reading in this book. It blessed me with a special dose of inspiration.
  
And now I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking what the heck did she get clarity on and why did it take so much to get her there? I sort of wonder the same about the latter, but I’m here now and that’s what matters.

Where’s here?

I’m ready to say with confidence I will be releasing another book before the end of this year. And I couldn’t be more thrilled. Because I love publishing books. I love when you read them. I love knowing my stories and characters are connecting.

Thank you for reading. I can’t wait to share more!

Until next time . . .

Monday, June 5, 2017

This Place is Buzzing


I love that I moved to a creative hotspot. Last week I had the privilege of spending time with two talented authors. Both imparted wisdom and encouragement. Both are going to take the publishing industry by storm (so excited to be able to witness when that happens).

Today I’m looking forward to getting together with a local writer’s group.

Tomorrow I’m heading to a book launch I’m really exciting about. The book looks fantastic. I’m also eager to meet up with one of the rock star authors who endorsed my latest book.

And last night I spent time with a new neighbor friend who is interested in starting a blog about parenting and gardening. Sold. I want to live in her garden and I related with every single profound thing she said about parenting. I passed on tips, motivators, and inspiration that have helped me over the past eight years I’ve been blogging.

(these beauties are in her yard)


I moved here thinking I was going to be low-key about the whole writing gig. That was my plan. I guess writers just gravitate to one another somehow or I realized that I’m in this for good and these creative souls, well, they’re my people. I need them. And I’m home with them.

Meet you back here again June 19th.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Found My Funny


I was invited to a book launch a few weeks ago that left me in awe. Prosecco poured liberally, prizes and giveaways, talented guest speakers, the fattest blueberries you’ll ever see, but my favorite part was hearing the author read snippets from her book, The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-LyleBook of Failures.

I knew instantly I had to buy the book. Then I reached out to the author.

Between reading the book and connecting with the author I’ve been absolutely spoiled by funny in the past few weeks. Which is exactly what I needed. It’s what the world needs more of. When tragedy dominates the news I tend to slip into a mild funk. Humor is one of the only things that has the ability, the chutzpa, to lift me out of it. And man, oh man, did Amy Lyle’s book bring the funny!

It’s my favorite kind of funny too. Honest, vulnerable, life story humor—candidly shared moments that leave you feeling thankful you’re not alone, as soda (or Prosecco) spurts out your nose after laughing too hard and fast. I read several scenes aloud to my husband. I reread other scenes, certain the author hadn’t just written what she did. I was wrong. Lyle holds nothing back. And I have to say it’s refreshing.

Do yourself (and the world) a favor and buy this book. Read it (and don’t skip over the footnotes…you’ll thank me later).

Go find your funny!


*Happy Memorial Day!

Full Life

I saw this while walking around one of my favorite local shopping centers.      It embodies so much of how I aim to live. K...