Help me spread a story of Joy.

I should be editing this morning. BUT, I’m finding it hard to concentrate, so I figured it’d be helpful to share what I’m feeling. You guys seem to like it when I’m vulnerable.

I’m finding it increasingly hard to remain positive about the world and current events.

There is so much division, frustration, anger, fear, and harsh words, and it’s insanely easy to get caught up in it. Every status or comment I read, I feel the respective emotion boiling up in me.

I’m already tired of it. So, here’s the deal. I’m asking all of you to help me spread the Joy. A couple of years ago, I went through a program that helped me determine my life’s mission. If you dumbed down my life to one sentence…what is the point of me and my life? To bring Joy. That’s it, pure and simple. Writing has been an amazing way for me to attempt to do that.

In my opinion, I have written the best kind of story. The Door Keeper is a story where joy, peace, and hope prevail and *spoiler alert* FEAR is the villain. One thing I want us all to remember is that fear can not withstand joy, hope and peace. It crumbles under the weight of it.

So let’s crumble the fear, frustration, anger, and division for just a moment. Help me share a story of joy, hope, family, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Because, even if it only lasts the time it takes you to read the story, at least fear falls to the wayside for a moment. And in my opinion, every single moment joy winning over fear is a victory.

choosejoy

The Awkwardness of Self Promotion.

self-promo

If I’m being completely honest, this part of the job is the weirdest. I’m not even going to say hardest, because it’s not especially hard, it’s just…weird.

I wrote a story and I think you might enjoy it. Unfortunately the only way for you to find out about it, is for me to tell you. So here comes the dilemma. I have to go around saying:

Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!

I’ll try to say it a bunch of different ways so you don’t get annoyed…but chances are, you will still get annoyed. And just so you know, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to.

But I need you to know, it’s not about the “buy.” If you find someone to lend you my book, that would be awesome, and sounds great to me.

It’s not about the “my” either. I would like this story if it were someone else’s. I think it’s a fun, entertaining story that people my age who is wrestling with being a mom and making her mark on the world, will love and relate to.

It’s simply about the “book.” It’s about The Door Keeper and Eden and Gabby. For me, it’s all about the characters and their journeys. So maybe I should change my chant to:

Read Eden’s story! Read Eden’s story! Read Eden’s story!

Important question, how can I promote this story with out you feeling like I’m self promoting? I would love to know how to better connect to you as a reader. How do you pick the stories you read? What is my best chance to get this story into your hands?

Pre-order The Door Keeper today!

img_2540

Today is the day friends! 

Starting today, you can order The Door Keeper to arrive on your Kindle (or any device connected to your Amazon account) on February 20th. *Cue dance party break*

Here is the Link: Amazon

BUT, before you click and go buy it, (and share this post with your friends so they can buy it too), make sure you take a screen shot of your purchase, because starting today I’ve opened my first giveaway!

If you email me a picture of your receipt, or a copy of it, I’ll enter you to win an amazing Launch Party gift bag. I am hosting a party for all my beta-readers after my book officially releases and will be giving them a bag of goodies themed “Eden’s favorite things.” (Almost $40 worth of stuff ranging from bookmarks, key necklaces, Caelum bath bombs, etc.) But I want to extend this fun prize to ALL my readers, hence the contest! I will pulling the winner’s name on January 24th, so you have one week to enter.

Now, don’t worry, if you are more of a hard copy reader, I’ll be doing many more giveaways including you after the official launch when you will be able to purchase a print copy. I’ll also be doing promotional giveaways on social media and other really fun stuff over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

So, click HERE, go pre-order The Door Keeper, then make sure you forward a copy of your purchase to me at steen@thedoorkeepertrilogy.com.

Good luck and thank you so much for all of your support! Don’t forget to share with your friends so they have a chance to enter the contest.

Author interview w/ The Salonniere’s Apartments

Thank you so much to Marilyn for featuring an interview with me in her “Writing Room” part of her online apartment. She has curated an interesting, and quite frankly, awesome new online environment. (At least new to me!) She has created a space for you to browse, learn, and simply enjoy reading about everything from writing, art, health, food, and her favorite subject; books.

I encourage you to check out other parts of her blog after reading our interview! The link to the interview is here!

Interview pic with Salonniere

 

“It’s Not Fair” Book Review

IMG_1046

Because I am a friend of Melanie’s, I got a pre-released copy of her new book It’s Not Fair, Learning to love the life you didn’t choose. And yes, she sent me a hand drawn poo emoji card. With in 50 pages of the book, I texted her: I adore you more than I already did, if that is even possible.

As I am sitting here, I am finding it difficult to find the words to put together for a traditional review for this book; because reviewing this book is more like reviewing her life! All I guess I can do is try to tell you how the book made me feel…so here goes.

Melanie warns you in the beginning that at times you might want to hug the book, or you might want to through it across the room. I never once wanted it to leave my hands. As a person who is indeed living a life I didn’t choose, Melanie says all of the things that I have thought at various times over the past decade. She says them with humor, pain, humility, and complete and utter honesty. It is 100% refreshing. This book gives any person dealing with pain and suffering in their life; not only the permission to question God while still seeking him, but the only thing any of us ever really need or want…the confirmation that we are not alone.

This book walks you through everything from stages of grief, to coping mechanisms, to important relationships, and finally, how to recover with your sanity intact and love your unexpected life. While giving practical advice on how to “How to fall apart like a boss,” or sayings to avoid in “Things you should say if you want a Good Face Punch,” Melanie makes you laugh, cry, hurt and heal all within the same chapter.

I will absolutely be buying copies and giving them away to my friends with fuzzy blankets and a good, firm, full-frontal hug. Thank you Melanie, for such a courageous book.

Follow Melanie’s blog or podcast at http://unexpected.org/. Or follow her on Twitter @UnexpectedMel

Writing: Always be reading.

Of all of the books and articles I’ve read on writing, from many different types of authors/bloggers, the ONE piece of advice that has come from all of them are: If you want to be a great writer; you must read, read, and then read some more.

This is so freeing! Having loved to read to my whole life, it has always been a hobby or a extracurricular activity. Now, I actually consider it a way to improve my writing and as an investment. Now, a book just isn’t an escape or pastime, but a lesson. A lesson in grammar, character developement, prose, dialogue, world building, and plot. Reading is now a part of my work and nothing makes me happier!

In an attempt to really take this task seriously and learn as much as possible, I joined a Goodreads group “50 books to read before you die.” You can check out the group here. This list ranges from Tolkien, to Jane Austen, to J.K. Rowling, to Shakespeare to everything in between. I’m super excited to take on this list, although it will definitely take years to accomplish.

I just bought Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Alice in Wonderland to start. I also picked up Little Women (not on the list but it was Rachael’s favorite book in Friends, so why not? Don’t worry, it won’t end up in the freezer.)

I’d love to know what books you would put on that Goodreads list! What book have you loved that is missing???

FullSizeRender (4).jpg

The danger of fear, and it’s path to suffering.

Fear quote

I genuinely think this is it, plain and simple.

Fear is something that we all understand. We are all scared of a lot of things; the dark, spiders, being exposed, death…people who look or act different from us. There has been SO much suffering in our nation and nations abroad over the past few months. So much to grieve, to mourn, to pray for. We get upset, shake our fists, and take to social media to cry out to the world, “How can this happen?!” But the truth is, the path to hate is an easy road to travel. And it starts with fear; especially if you leave it unchecked.

Different races, ethnicities, and sexual orientation scares people. And when people get afraid, they quickly become angry. No one likes to feel afraid, because when you are you begin to feel vulnerable and exposed. That quickly leads to becoming angry, angry at whatever makes you feel afraid, or whoever. Then you grow to hate it…or them.

And we all know what hate leads to, we’ve seen all over the news.

I have some wonderful teachers in my life who have reiterated time and time again the importance of naming my emotions. If I’m feeling angry or frustrated; what am I feeling more specifically? Am I feeling taken advantage of? Ignored? Deceived? Inadequate? That helps me determine the true origin of my feelings. This helps with fear too. Why do you feel afraid? Where does the root of your fear come from?

 

Honestly, I feel we are living in a big circle of fear. Fear of people not like us, fear for our own safety, fearing the things you don’t believe in, fearing the worst will happen. If we can just have more hope. More optimism. And listen, I get it… I feel myself becoming more cynical by the day. But we have to fight it. We have to attempt to see the best in people. We need to walk on the side-walk, crossing by an African-American man, and not clutch our purse. We need to see the police officer and assume he is there to help us. We need to see a gay couple holding hands and not assume the worst about their lifestyle. We need to smile more and judge less.

Because skin color, what you own or don’t own, or your sexual orientation doesn’t define who you are.

In The Door Keeper, I was purposeful in making my protagonist’s race ambiguous. She could be African-American, Latino, Indian, or Caucasian with a dark tan. I did it for many reasons, the main one was so any woman could relate. (Unless you happen to be an Irish redhead. 🙂 Another reason was simply because it doesn’t really matter. What this particular world perceives about Eden, or her skin color, doesn’t factor into what she believes about herself. Nor should it any of us. That is one of my favorite things about her; I wish I were more like her.

I wish we all were.