Grief and Living:

My dad’s birthday is tomorrow. He would have been 63. My dad, Errol Brown passed away in 2013. I don’t like to think about the day he died as an anniversary. Don’t get me wrong. I know the date, I know the time. I just don’t like to dwell on it. I do however, like to celebrate his birthday. I’m not talking bells and whistles. I just mean that I like to sit and think about him, really try to remember those things about him that I loved and cherished.

I decided to put up this post because I think that grief is a terribly tricky thing. In the beginning there is a numbness that overtakes you. I think, for me, it was a way of protecting myself from the overwhelming sadness of my dad’s passing. I just kind of sat there, staring off, thinking about the fact that my dad wasn’t in this world anymore. I thought about how the sun was still shining and the Earth was still turning even though this monumental shift had occurred. And then, there were tears. Days and days of tears. I cried when I was driving, eating, even in the few fitful nights of sleep I got, there were tears.

When we got around to planning a funeral I witnessed something that changed me forever. I saw that grief had affected me in a very different way then it had other members of my family. I saw people who hadn’t seen my father in years show up out of the blue and take off with some of his belongings. I saw people yell and demand that they had a right to his things but then didn’t show up at the funeral. I wondered how anyone could be worried about who would get what when all I wanted was my dad. All I wanted was to see him one more time.

The loss of my father was stinging and his absence was glaring. I knew that he would have put everyone in their place if he had been there. He was the peacekeeper. He would give you the shirt off of his back. He would give you everything even if it meant he had nothing. That anyone felt they had to steal from him was a disgrace to his memory.

The ebb and flow of the emotions I was feeling consumed me. Very shortly after my dad’s passing I went to work (at a job I absolutely detested). I tried to just move forward. What I realized is that I couldn’t just move on. I couldn’t just walk through life numb and sad and angry. I realized that I had to process what was happening and how I was feeling.

I went home and I had an honest conversation with myself. I said aloud what I knew to be true. I can’t control the actions of others. I can’t turn back time. I can’t have my dad back. I also, in a moment of clarity, realized a few other things. I realized that I CAN control my reaction to these events. The world is still spinning. My kids and husband still need me. And most importantly, my dad would want me to be happy.

I decided to commit myself to doing the things that made me happy. I spent more time with my kids. I quit my shitty soul crushing job and sat down to write the novel that went on to become Six Points of Light (which is dedicated to him). I sang and danced and rejoiced because I could. Because I wanted to. I wanted to be happy and I could hear my dad’s voice say “Well, do it then.”

Death is a part of life. Loss is a process. Forgiveness is something that cannot be underestimated in its ability to heal. I went forward with hope and determination to do something meaningful. to be more than what I thought I could be.

If you are grieving the loss of loved one I would say. Sit in that pain and allow it to wash over you. Allow yourself to feel it. Cry, scream, get angry. Do all of those things, but then, do something else. Understand that you are still here and you are a soul with a light that is still burning. Feed that flame in memory of your loved one. It was so hard for me to see that the world around me hadn’t appeared to change at all after my father’s death. I felt as if the ground had opened up and swallowed me whole, but now I understand why. It’s to show you that life is still out there waiting for you to live it. The sun rises and sets because it can. And that is a beautiful sight to behold, made even more brilliant by the understanding that the time we have here is precious.

Thanks for reading.

The Importance of Reading to Children

The Importance of Reading to Children

I have loved books since I was a child. I remember reading The Hidden Staircase, a Nancy Drew mystery when I was about seven and not being able to put it down.

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I knew that I had discovered something that I would cherish my entire life.

The world within a book can be so many things. It can serve as an escape, an adventure, a learning experience. I get lost in those worlds and from the time my children were babies, I have read to them. 

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see my 8 year old curled up in the corner with a book. My kids love to read and I have seen how it benefits them. Their scores in reading are through the roof and their expressive language is always improving. The love I have for literature and music has been passed on to them and I think it’s one of the most important things I will ever do for them.
So,why read to your kids? Other than the fact that it’s thoroughly enjoyable, reading aloud to your children has a wide range of benefits.

Academic Aptitude
Studies have shown that children who are exposed to reading prior to kindergarten are more likely to excel in all areas of formal education.You’re literally giving your child a head start when you read to them. The ability to listen and interpret information is invaluable in a classroom setting.

Quality Time
Reading to your child can help foster strong family bonds. Of course there are many ways to build strong relationships with our children but sitting down to read a book before bed with my kiddos is something we always look forward to. I think I enjoy it as much as they do! We could all use a little quality quiet time with our kiddos. Try reading one chapter of a kid friendly novel each night. It will give your kids something to look forward to at bed time.

Expanding Basic Language and Self Expression Skills
As your child listens to you read, they will be exposed to words and expressions they may not hear on an every day basis. Expanding your child’s expressive language allows for better communication. Children often struggle with expressing themselves and when you read to them you are giving them the tools they need to do so more effectively.

Reading Can Be Fun!
Your child’s school days will be filled with reading and while not all of it will be fun or exciting, reading to your child can show them that reading can be enjoyable. Reading can be an opportunity to lose yourself in a whole new world. A child who is a strong reader will be less likely to dread reading at school.

If you yourself have a love of reading, share it with your kids! It’s a gift that will last a lifetime.

The Zero Antigen Theorem Cover Art

The Zero Antigen Theorem Cover Art

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The Zero Antigen Theorem

My series The Zero Antigen Theorem has  new cover art! Yay! I loved the original cover but because it’s a series I wanted some continuity between the covers. Book 1 is available on Amazon & Smashwords, Book 2 will be out in mid August! I’m excited!

When I wrote Book 1 it was an experiment. I’m a vampire fan (don’t judge me) and I have always wanted to write a vampire series. So I wrote the short and put it up and the response has been wonderful! I didn’t think I would sell a single copy but I have, many times over and I’m thrilled. So, thinking that I may be in this series for the long haul I revamped the covers and interior files and have outlines for the series up to Book 4. The process is what I enjoy most. Learning what works and what doesn’t can be frustrating, but it’s worth it in the end.

Cheers to all my fellow indie authors, keep up the amazing work!

Taking Advantage of Fiverr

Taking Advantage of Fiverr

As an indie author I’m long on creativity and short on dolla dolla bills ya’ll. I’m a mom of four and I can’t justify spending exorbitant amounts of money on certain things at this point in my budding writing career. I hold a certification in Graphic Design which has helped tremendously when it comes to cover design but there are some things I just cannot do all by my lonesome. (Que sappy violin music)

For my novel Six Points of Light:Hook’s Origin, I designed the cover (eBook and print versions), but I wanted a coll 3D image to put on my website and on other promotional materials. My 3D rendering skills were lacking, so I hopped on Fiverr and got these wonderful covers for 5 bucks.

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I think sometimes in our attempt to remain truly independent as writers, we shun things that that could help us. A helping hand is welcome as long as that hand isn’t trying to assert some kind of creative control over our work. Fiverr has a mountain of services available from cover design to illustrations for books in every genre.

Shout out to all of the talented people of Fiverr!

My foray into short fiction continues…

My foray into short fiction continues…

My first attempt a serial fiction was The Zero Antigen Theorem. It’s about 10,000 words and I wrote it in an attempt to write short “weekend read” that one would enjoy like a TV series, with each short book in the series representing an “episode”. I was really happy with the response to The Zero Antigen Theorem. As experimental as it was, I enjoyed writing it and I’m working on book two in the series.

My latest title is another work that will run in a series. I wrote it a while ago but only recently dusted it off and cleaned it up a bit. I really enjoy this style of writing and I don’t understand why people are so against short fiction. Granted, at 10,000 to 11,000 words I don’t think it technically qualifies as “short fiction” it’s probably more “novelette” length.

Any-who, I’m loving this way of writing right now and I think I’ll finish up these two series before I dive back into the world of Captain James Hook for part two of my “real” novel, Six Points of Light.

Drasal Lands

Princess Erelia Starsinger is heir to the throne and her father, King Aasulf Starsinger, is fading fast. Erelia is a warrior, she is strong willed and confident, but her father’s advisors would see her married off and control of her kingdom handed over to someone with more experience.
While riding her midnight black mare, Zepher, in he woods surrounding Castle Drasal, she happens upon a withered and stooped old man who seems to have lost his way. She accompanies him home only to find out that he is the soothsayer, Ozemis, and he has a secret to share with her. Erelia’s life and kingdom are both in grave danger and she must decide who she can trust and who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
With the help of her childhood friend, Sharian Waterarrow, Princess Erelia must deal with the impending death of her beloved father while keeping watch for the mysterious sorceress from Ozemis’ vision.
Can Princess Erelia change the future that seems so bleak? Can she reconcile her feelings for Sharian while staying true to who she is? Will the mysterious Sorceress get to Erelia before she has a chance to stop her?
In the fantasy land of Drasal, there is magic, there are beasts, and there are secrets. Join Princess Erelia on her quest for the truth in Drasal Lands:The Ozemis Prophecy, Book 1.
(Approx 11,400 words)