Happy Autumn

Yes, it’s that magical time of the year when the weather cools and spirits invigorate from the break of summer heat! Though months have passed since I last posted, I’ve been productive in other avenues, like writing a new manuscript and working on edits on the multi-book Gothic Horror.

Now that I’m in between projects, I’m taking a week or two to catch up on long over-due things like blogging, cleaning, and organizing. This year has been one of creativity and my living spaces showcase that artistic chaos. The next few posts will feature some highlights from this past year, like new tidbits about Fortitude and Corroded. To start things off, here’s the newest item: a photo from my recent book signing at Christmas Jubilee market hosted by Mobile’s Junior League at the Mobile Convention Center.

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Guest Post: Jaded Love Tour

Today I’m pleased to host fellow Anaiah Press authors, Kara Leigh Miller and Jody Holdford. Last year I enjoyed the first book in The Mending Hearts series, Dangerous Love, and now they are celebrating the release of book two: Jaded Love.
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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

by

Kara Leigh Miller & Jody Holford

 

“A Picture is worth a thousand words” is a phrase originally credited to Frederick R. Barnard in reference to the effectiveness of graphics in advertising. Later, he then attributed it to a Chinese proverb. Regardless of who first said it, this is really a very powerful sentiment, even for writers.

 

As authors, words are our currency. We spend our days, nights, weekends, (every spare moment) make our living by playing with words. We string them together to create new worlds and people, to create situations and invoke emotions that will (hopefully) resonate with readers. We agonize over each word choice, each sentence, each paragraph until we feel it’s the absolute best it can be. But what people might not realize is that readers are also very visual people. We have the ability to visualize our characters, our settings, our books! They often play out like movies in our minds.

 

Sometimes, seeing an image can spark an idea for a new scene or some new dialogue. So, to help keep us motivated, to stave off writer’s block, and to assist in our promotional efforts, we utilized a lot of visual aids — namely, stock photos of our characters and our settings. It helped us solidify them in our minds and they worked wonders in keeping us both on the same page as far as writing descriptions. Jody even created a Pinterest board for Jaded Love, which you can visit here: https://www.pinterest.com/jholford/jl/

 

Today, we’re sharing some of these pictures with all of you so that you can see how we’ve always envisioned Jackson, Kristy, and the world that is Jaded Love. Hopefully they’ll resonate with you as they did with us.

 

Meet Jackson Reed… We always imagined him as this tall, somewhat imposing, closed off tough guy detective. He’s generally sporting some days’ old stubble because he’s a workaholic, but deep down, he’s got a heart of gold. The snippet is Kristy’s first impression of him.

 

Jackson darker

This is Jackson and Kristy’s first kiss, which takes place during a singles dance hosted by Pastor Ethan and his church. When the evening started, neither of them expected a kiss, so it certainly took them by surprise, but as soon as it happened, they knew there was no going back.

 

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An important part of Jaded Love is the group therapy sessions that Jackson and Kristy attend in the basement of the church. Even though it’s an emotionally intense thing that they go through, we’d always envisioned it as a small, close-knit, supportive group.

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Even though we deal in words, pictures are often just as important, and to us, they really do speak a thousand words.

Jody Holford_ Author Pic

Jody Holford

 

Kara Leigh Miller

Kara Leigh Miller

Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I loved visuals, too. As a bonus, this tour is hosting a giveaway. ENTER TO WIN A $25 Amazon Gift Card: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/527093932/

Find Jaded Love on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jaded-Love-Mending-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B018HS72VG/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453766083&sr=1-2&keywords=jaded+love

And on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28378045-jaded-love?from_search=true&search_version=service

To see more posts about Jaded Love check out the full tour: https://anaiahpress.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/follow-the-jaded-love-blog-tour/

Weathered

Years can be kind, weeks can be rough. Days may vary from hour to hour, minute to minute. The one constant is that time marches on. Sometimes it feels like we’re under its boots and other moments like we’re riding a wave.

Yesterday I was sorting through coins and noticed two 2015 pennies that looked like they came out of different decades: one is bright and the other has long since lost his sparkle.

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What did that dull one ever do to deserve the disgrace of non-shininess? Did one of these pennies get put through the wash or dropped on the ground more than normal? Or maybe the luster was rubbed off because it was someone’s lucky penny—constantly handled and cherished. There’s no way to tell one story from the other just by looking at them and they are both worth the same, no matter what.

P.S. This is my 200th post. Many thanks for following my journey.
A contest is coming soon, so be on the lookout.

Summer Whimsy

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned Fernando, so here’s a mini health check:

My wild fern is doing well. Continued growth–both on the trunk and on the ground. There are hot, rain-free days ahead, so I’ll need to keep a close eye on Fernando, to make sure it stays hydrated.

Fernando

Fernando


As you can see from the photo, my daughter is adding a fairy garden to the area. I think Fernando approves.

How is your creative inspiration holding up in the summer heat?

Expand Your Horizons

Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month is past the halfway mark. Have you seen an increase of understanding around you? My blue hair has provided more opportunities to discuss autism with others, so I’m glad I was brave enough to try it this time.

Me, on World Autism Day.

Me, on World Autism Day.

I scrolled through some old posts and came across this one from two years ago—the then nameless Fernando has been making an appearance on the blog for that long. This is a timely find, because it talks about my two manuscripts that are now under contract for publishing in 2016, and it explains where I got my line, “Don’t let your fortitude get corroded.” It doesn’t seem like Fernando has grown much, but it’s more than doubled in size.

Fernando, before it was Fernando, April 2013.

Fernando, before it was Fernando, April 2013.

Fernando today, April 2015.

Fernando today, April 2015.


Seeing these photos today reminded me of my teen on the spectrum. Just like my son, Fernando is always responding to his environment. Outside stresses, like weather, can cause disturbances to growth and adaptability, while appropriate nutrients and habitat can promote expansion. Sometimes, the rate of my son’s maturing seems laboriously slow, but if I think back to how he was two (or more) years ago, I can see how far he’s come.

Fernando can be used as a personification of my writing, as well as a symbol of human needs and growth. What can your fern do?

If you don’t have a Fernando of your own, go find one and nurture your creativity.

What Grows in Family Trees?

We are being watched and someone will want to model us—especially if there are children in our home.
Fortunately, the most recent habit of mine that has been chosen by one of my kids is harmless. At least, I like to think it is. Returning readers will recognize the following image:

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For those unfamiliar, that is Fernando, my literary muse of sorts. While growing wild on the water oak in my backyard, it still needs regular watering during dry spells to stay fresh. Living in the south, I see hundreds of live oaks with branches blanketed by ferns and moss, but this little guy I’ve watched from birth, so to speak. With each passing month, even during the ice storm this winter, he’s managed to thrive and grow.

Yes, the correlations between Fernando and my literary endeavors are endless, but I didn’t know my watering and regular picture taking have been noticed, but then my youngest drew this:

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She proudly pointed out the fern growing near the base of the tree, just like “Mommy’s fern.” I was touched, and humbled by the reminder that whatever I do, my kids will take it to heart. Here’s to the hope of inspiring nature and creativity!

What’s the oddest thing a child has copied from you?

Feeding the Muse

I’ve gotten notes back from two more beta readers—as well as one literary agent who turned down FORTITUDE. Now, I’m back to writing and editing to strengthen a few things before the next round of submissions/queries.

To help this creative groove keep its momentum, I’m listening to a lot of music. (Something I talk about a lot here.) In the car, my iPod played Europe on shuffle for about a week straight. My eight-year-old knows who Joey Tempest and John Norum are. They have so many great songs spanning thirty years and the music got into my head. The other night I dreamt about turning Europe songs into books—with the band member’s permission (in person, of course, because it was a dream.)
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Today, I switched over to Boston. I’m sure space-themed dreams will follow. It’s happened before—and spawned a manuscript.

What do you do to feed your creativity?

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