Category Archives: Life

Spooksville

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No music today, just well wishes for a very scary Halloween.  Halloween is a big deal in my family.  It falls three days after my husband’s birthday and everyone in my family loves to get dressed up, carve pumpkins and decorate my parent’s house (pics later, gang).  One year, the fright was bad enough that neighborhood kids ran screaming down the street.  That year was a little over the top but still fun.  I’m leaving in a few here to go get the house decor  started.  Again, pics later.

What are your Halloween traditions?  Do you enjoy a good scare?  A good horror flick?   Now,  I leave you with the following quote…I need to go hide some glow in the dark spiders in my teenager’s dresser.

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By the by, fellow bloggers…who’s doing nanowrimo this year?  Have a great day everyone! Stay safe!

Disappointment and other things

Inspired by: Ludovico Einaudi -Elements

Current reading:  (Uh, nil at the moment. #amwriting and behind #reading)

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

Oy with the thought provoking questions, hostess.  This week’s prompt is “What is something that has disappointed you?”  Happy Writing, she says.  So I looked at it Thursday and thought to myself “where the hell do I begin with that?”   I had nothin’, she stumped me again.  Until today.  I was scrolling through Twitter doing my usual author checkup and check in and came across this quote:

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Now let me preface this by saying that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite classics.  I love this book but I have not read it in a number of years.  The quote got me thinking about that and disappointment.  Now I could go down this big dark depressing rabbit hole of disappointment but hell, we’ve all been down that particular rabbit hole.  I think if you’ve never been disappointed by something in your adult life then you have not really lived beyond your comfort zone. Disappointment is a natural part of life.  We have a choice to learn from it or let it devour us. I choose to learn from disappointment and failure.  I keep going.   A friend said I was “resilient like that.”   I think it’s what you do when life leaves you no other option. I did not like the other option so I chose to learn and grow.  Was it an easy path? Uh. No.  I am not the kind of person that takes the easy way though.  When I was young I learned the hard way that easy was not always better.  Easy might be comfortable for a minute but for long term happiness, the challenge is usually better.  You learn more. Just my thought though.  So yes, I have had my disappointments in my professional life, my writer’s life, and my relationships.  Did I learn from them? Why yes, yes I did.  The biggest disappointment that comes to mind immediately was when a well-meaning friend looked at my books and said to me “There is nothing here that would make me want to buy this if I did not know you.”

Talk about a blow!  My first reaction was immediate defense in response to that but; said friend was coming from a place of love even though she will just tell you she’s a bitch.  That stopped my defensive reaction and disappointment and gave me the opportunity to learn and look hard at the product I had produced.  I had to look at my work as more than the person who created the story.  I had to look at the way people view the product and that too took a lot of thinking.   So, when faced with that, I challenged myself to be better.  This was how the new cover designs were born, by the way.  I had to put me out there.  Yes. Me.  That itself is difficult because I struggle with that kind of exposure.  I like my privacy. Some folks can do it without hesitation.  I have to work for it.

So don’t be afraid to work for it.  Challenge yourself to be better.  Challenge your friends to be better.  The people closest to me have always been that lightning rod for change.  Sometimes the strike is subtle.  Other times, the strike knocks me on my ass but either way they get me thinking and get my attention.  To those people, thank you.

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On to news!  Maeseloria: Light’s Guide is now released.  It is available through Amazon and, just recently, all of my books are available through Barnes and Noble.  However, my friends, if you are a Toledo or surrounding area native?  I encourage you to purchase my books at Gathering Volumes.  They are the only independent book store in the area and they actually have signed copies in house.   If you wait until November 20, however, you will get to meet me and have your book signed in person I’ll be there from 2pm-5pm.  Stop out and see me would you?

 

 

I see you..

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Inspired by:  I See You – Idina Menzel

Current Reading:  The Borgias – G. J. Meyer

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

So this week’s “a piece of cake”.   Right.  The image above is not meant to taunt those watching what they eat. Cake is good once in a while, after all.

So I’m going to follow this lovely image with a quote that makes me think.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
— Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings)

Most people cut this quote off at the first sentence but I think the entirety is more powerful that just that first sentence.  Particularly in light of the number of people that want progress without the struggle.  I think anyone that has not had to struggle in life—be those struggles internal or otherwise—has not really lived.  They tend to be going through the motions or hiding.  I hid for a longer time than I care to think about.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”  How do you interpret this?  I think that he means you have to fight to move forward.  If you want something, you have to go fight for it and that if you are willing to brave the thunder and lightning, brave that awful roar and are willing to disturb the natural order, you will succeed.  You have to go after what you want without hesitation.  In simpler terms and in terms a dear friend said to me just this afternoon.  “Fuck you, I’m doing this.”   In that same breath she told me that she was proud of me for putting me out there and going after my passion.  I had to boot my hesitation in the ass but I got there. Her words really touched me because if she sees it,  my daughter sees it as an example.

If I had not, I never would have been happy or satisfied.  That restlessness that sat within me for years would never have settled.  So there is bravery in that story, I think.   I participated in a project sponsored by my friends at Holl & Lane on Instagram.  They asked that you post a picture and tell part of your story.  The project got me thinking.  By nature, I tell stories, I use them to teach and I have a lot of different tacks to take with this project.

This time I decided to share my experience, or evolution into the author I am now.  In a word? Terrifying.  When I was a girl I wrote little stories, did the high school newspaper gig and then, for a while I put it away. No particular reason, just life got in the way.  I did not pick it up again seriously writing until maybe 2001-2002.  I did not recognize that creating was a need until after my divorce in 2007.  For me, to not create, to not write is a death of the spirit.  I do not say this to exaggerate.  If I do not have my writing time, or even just an hour or so to visit with ye olde blog, I get exceptionally cranky and unfocused. I -have- to write.  My husband will attest to this,  I get hard to live with if I do not.

It was 2012 when I decided to go for it.  Imagine that, ten years of writing before I made a decision. I just did not consider all it could be.  I never took the time to dream of something bigger than just storytelling.  In a way,  I still don’t.  In the marketing crazy,  the layouts, the cover design,  I do not think about what it could grow to be. I just enjoy the ride.  That too is important.   Part of me wishes I had seen it sooner and another, perhaps wiser part, realizes that things happened exactly as it should.

At any rate, if you’re interested in sharing your story, go to Instagram, post a picture and share your story—what makes you you?  Tag #mystoryispowerful and @hollandlane in your story.  Ladies, we have a lot of beautiful things to say if we’re brave enough to put ourselves out there and be honest.  If you’re interested in the magazine, go here.

In book related news,  I got my first stock order of my books yesterday. Check out these beauties:  20160926_194454.jpg

This was the first time I was able to hold book 2 in my hands since the cover redesign.  Can I just say that this never stops being awesome?   Three weeks until Light’s Guide release! How exciting is that?

In closing,  enjoy your cake.  Especially if you’ve worked your ass to get it.

As always, stay out of trouble, guys.  Take care.

 

 

New stuff!

So it’s been a busy week here.   Between getting stuff ordered for a local author fair I’m attending and getting a little miss ready for Homecoming next week.  We’ve been up to our eyeballs.   On that note, a couple of really awesome things are happening.  Things are starting to come together.  First,  these beauties arrived yesterday:

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Promotional items for the fair. Woo!  New bookmarks, business cards,  stuff to hand out. I have book stock coming Monday.  This is doubly exciting because the only book I’ve held in my hands since the cover redesign is Birth of Light.   So lots of Maes-related exciting things are happening.

On another note,  as some of you know, some don’t, I have issues with my weight.  I joined Weight Watchers in April and have had moderate success.  Almost 25 pounds down!   They were doing a promotion where if you lost 10 lbs in 3 months you got a $50.00 gift card.  Well,  I had kind of a revelation in that 3 months when it came to portions, eating habits and the like.  Long story short I lost 20 pounds.  Yesterday, I got a $100.00 gift card in the mail because I lost 20.  Talk about motivation to get going!   I have a long journey ahead of me but this excites me that I could DO that and do so much more.

So that’s the update gang.  Sound off in the comments if you would please.  Favorite bookmark design? What journeys are you struggling with?

Have an amazing Saturday!  AND if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, October’s edition is due out in ONE WEEK!  Click subscribe on the top sidebar.  I have a great offer coming out and some Facebook live events planned for October.

Until then, take care.  Stay out of trouble.

 

 

Peace of Mind

Inspired by :  Peace of Mind – The Jezabels ,   Undone – FFH

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

So another shout out to the hostess because the song title got me thinking and the second one got me creating.  These lyrics stick with me:

We all want love
We all want honour
But nobody wants to pay the asking price

I’ve written the last three-four pages of The Guardian’s Fall to this song.  So I’m trying to find some peace here where my favorite tortured soul isn’t harassing me.  So far no luck.  This makes me think about how everyone wants love and to be honored by those who care for us but no one really wants to put  the work in.  Real love is hard.  Real love is still there even when you’re hard to love. Not everyone wants to pay that price or be that brave. Friends. Lovers. Spouses. Even family.  So maybe that’s why not only this song but Nicholas and Alex’s love story appeals to me. So does the conflict between Marcus and Tanya.  Some of my favorite relationships have conflict.  Outside of my own writing,  I love the relationship between the ka-tet in the Dark Tower series.  (PS if you have not read this series DO IT)

If you have read through to the fourth book, you understand their struggle.  The asking price, at first, was more than Nicholas was willing to pay.  None of the other characters I have written together have struggled as much as Alexandra and Nicholas.  Their story is special not only to me but to my readers.  I have gotten more feedback about the two of them than I have for any other couple within the realm.  I am proud of the two of them.  She started the whole story and he came along to challenge her.  I don’t know that either one of them would be the characters they are without the other’s creation.  I think they challenge each other to be better people.

In a  way,  I think all good relationships are like that.  There is a price you have to pay to truly love someone.  That price, to me, is your vulnerability.  Being completely honest with both yourself and someone else is truly frightening.  On the other hand, it’s also the most fulfilling and completing act.  Good relationships challenge each other to be better.  They grow together instead of apart. Even if time gets in the way and distance interferes.   That is a lesson I learned the hard way and, thus Alex and Nicholas  had to learn through hardship and loss.   I figure you can only create from what you know and, frankly,  what I know makes rather interesting fiction.  At least, that’s how I feel.

So I leave you guys this question….what characters do you love/hate as readers?  What kind of elements make the way two characters relate interesting to you?  Do you like conflict and growth? Easy companionship?  Let me know.  If you are familiar with the Maes universe,  who are your favorites and why?

 

 

Let them in, Peter

Inspired by:  Prayer to St. Peter – Edwin McCain

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I sat here and looked at this picture and the blank screen for awhile before figuring out what I wanted to say.  Has it really been fifteen years?  A lot of people will write about what they were doing that day and the helplessness they felt so I am not going to beat you to death with similar sentiments. I know what I was doing and felt.  I listened to the song above on repeat while glued to CNN.   I feel sadness today but for very different reasons.

In that mass hysteria in 2001,  the bravery of the American spirit shined. People stood up for their neighbors, their friends and people did the right thing.  It is sad that people have forgotten that beauty fifteen years later.  In the middle of racial and religious tensions,  did we somehow lose that beauty? Because, yes,  9/11 was horrific and awful but even then,  there was beauty.  Beauty in the bravery of people; in their willingness to do what was necessary, what was right.   And, for the love of Light, don’t get me started on politics. Politics are a no-fly zone on the blog.  You have your views. I have mine.  I prefer not to be beaten bloody with yours because you perceive your rightness of the situation.

I digress.  In a way it makes me sad to see what it took for the people of this country to band together and how quickly that unity fell back into chaos.  I’ve seen posts littering Facebook about how “we hope this doesn’t have to happen again to fix our country.”  Can I just say that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read?  If you were old enough to have memory of this event and the terror it invited,  you should never…I repeat NEVER say something like that. That is an insult to the survivors and the families of those who died. To me, it discounts the sacrifices so many made.

My best friend is a firefighter.  To imagine him having to respond to such a call hurts my heart and starts up so many worries.  I cannot fathom how the families of those first responders felt 15 years ago.  I cannot begin to put myself in their shoes. So today, thank a first responder for what they do.  Reflect on the magnitude of the event. Do not forget those that sacrificed so much to save another.

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Holl & Lane

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Holl & Lane, Issue 9

So. About a year or so ago,  a coworker came to me and said “My daughter is starting a magazine.”  Now,  I’m not going to front, I’m not a magazine reader by any stretch of the imagination.  Though I am a bookworm,  I’ve just never really got into magazines.  So I took her request to check it out with a grain of salt. I figured I’d lose interest.   Most magazines do not provide anything I can relate to.

I like to be wrong every now and then.

Their website states this:

“We are more than a magazine.  We are starting a movement for more honest media.

Life isn’t always perfect, and we’re okay with that.  We’re focused on providing stories from real women about real life – the triumphs and the hardships.  We want to show you that you have a voice and a story.  We’re starting the conversations that need to be had.  The mission behind our magazine is simple: each time you open up and share your story, you help someone else feel less alone.”

I find many things in the magazine–new reads, new music.  The staff at Holl & Lane are nearly as eclectic as I am and I love it.  They’ve written articles about abuse survivors,  cancer survivors, battling addiction.  On the flip side they also write about easy, budget friendly ways to decorate your home.  They have a section for recipes that more healthy than decedent and I love that.  Their DIY section is AMAZING.  I am always finding one new thing or another to play around with or dog-ear for when we have a house.  I cannot go on enough about this. I read every issue cover to cover.

So, a year later I am a happy subscriber and supporter.  They do support their mission statement. The honest integrity I find there keeps me coming back. If you want to see what they’re about,  check out their blog here. Everyone has a story and their willingness to share those everyday stories makes the world, I think, a little less lonely. Check out the links to their site, Facebook page and Twitter.

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VCRs and other things

Inspired by:  Awake and Alive – Skillet

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Yes. That really is a VCR. If you don’t know what one is/have never used it, I don’t know if we can be friends.  And yes, that really is our writing prompt for the week.  To the Figgies, who looked at this and said “really, Mia?”   I will admit,  I was among them and said as much to our hostess with the mostest.

But then I got to thinking…

And that thinking generated a discussion. There is a magazine that I am a fan of called Holl & Lane.  They right honest, kick you in the face stories about life, travel-I’ll get more into it and how you can get involved next post.  (You guys get a two-fer today.)  At any rate, they wrote an article about a charity called The Mend Project.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

The article was about the charity’s founder. She was a survivor of not only childhood sexual abuse but a long-term emotionally abusive marriage.  Oddly enough she was married exactly  as long as I was and suffered through many of the same issues I did. I am an abuse survivor.  Like the founder of The Mend Project, when I divorced I alienated friends and family because people did not believe me. There were no physical signs.  The blog is not a place to get into details.  They’re not stories I share openly  but I will tell you this. If a survivor comes to you and is brave enough to tell you what they went through?

Believe them.

With time the days got better and I became a little more sure of myself. I grew and learned but I would not wish that sense of loneliness on anyone. The Mend Project was created to help survivors by a survivor.

Do me a favor, guys,  click the links above, go look into that charity.  Donate if you can.

Next post…happy news. Promise.

 

 

Unsaid

Inspired by:  Lost Stars – Adam Levine  Something Wild – Lindsey Stirling

Brought to you by: The Figment Writers

“When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.” ~Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

The things we don’t say. Wow.  I’m at a loss where to start this but here we go but a break from Alexandra’s story is in order.

Confession time.   I’m not the greatest communicator.  In fact, I suck at it sometimes.  I’m more demonstrative than verbal.  I believe this is likely because I spent a long time with someone who was big on saying the right things and big on appearances rather than reality.  Believe me when I say this is the absolute nicest thing I can say about that situation.  In many ways, that situation impacted me in ways that still anger me.

Lost Stars has a lyric that gets me thinking about the above quote…

Searching for meaning, but are we all lost stars
Trying to light up the dark?

I am not sure what the author’s intent was with these lyrics but I know what it feels like to be that lost start trying to find her way in the dark.  The road was not easy. In fact, that road was absolute shit. I had to do a lot of work on myself to get from where I was to where I am.  I had to find that light and push through the heartache and pain.  I had to push through the girl I was and into the woman I am—scars and all.  I had to find my footing in this whole writing gig because this called to me. This was my passion. That passion turned into a dream and then reality about my first book publication in 2012. Funny part, that manuscript was done for the better part of eight years before my husband nudged me and said “Go do the thing you want.”   So I try to be better about not leaving things unsaid or without a measure of resolution.

I’m not a great talker.  I swear. I get flustered.  I drop f-bombs at in appropriate times but I don’t know that I would have me any other way.  I observe more than participate when situations make me uncomfortable or I am trying to get a feel for the room so to speak. If I don’t like the feel or I am intimidated I tend to withdraw into a shell of sarcasm, cool politeness and trivial conversation.  Anyone that knows me well has seen me do it a thousand and one times.  How do you deal with those situations?  What impacts you to respond that way in social situations? Do you leave things unsaid in your silence? I do. In some cases its better that unsaid thing remain in my head bouncing off a filter.  In others, I miss opportunities. After meetings, I have a series of things that occur to me.  “Shit, why didn’t I ask that?”

So my advice to you, don’t leave it unsaid.   Try not to miss the opportunities—especially the ones staring you in the face. Take a chance.  Be brave.  Manage the fallout as best you can.  In the end, you will be more satisfied with the outcome than if you’d played the “what if” game with yourself after the fact.  Get a good support system that will help you sort out the facts from your insecurities.

The Maeseloria Monthly launches in THREE days.  If you have not signed up, click subscribe on the right and make sure you confirm your subscription or you won’t show up on the mailing list.  I really am proud of what I’ve put together even though it makes me nervous as hell.  This newsletter is step out of the proverbial box for me. So I guess it’s my turn to be brave right?

Be good, guys…or at the very least, don’t get caught.

 

 

 

Raindrops on Roses…

Inspired by:  Distant Worlds – Music from the Final Fantasy Series.

Brought to you by:  The Figment’s Weekly Writing Prompt

Though there was no stumping this week, our hostess with the mostest got me thinking again.  This week’s prompt:  “Three things.”   So, she got the gears going about what three things I could choose to elaborate on.  I opted to take a tack that may interest some and may bore others.  Here goes, three things about your friendly neighborhood fantasy author.

One

I love games.  I do.  I am picky as hell about them.  The first video game I ever fell in love with was Final Fantasy 6. (That would be Final Fantasy III here in the states,   on the SNES).  My pickiness tends to lean towards games with great story and not overly complicated mechanics.  I’m not going to front, I cannot manage overly complicated game mechanics because I get pissed and turn it off. Give me a great storyline and easy mechanics and I’m your girl.   My games of choice are Final Fantasy 6, 7 and 10 among the favorites. Outside of that series, give me Tales of Symphonia; Abyss; Vesperia or Xillia.  I love strong characterizations and a plot that leaves you wondering.   Aeris’ death in Final Fantasy 7 is still hands down the biggest game kick in the ass I’ve ever experienced.  I was so pissed I turned the game off for a week before completing it. I have a goal to beat every Final Fantasy title released in the US.  So far I am two or three titles from that goal and I am currently stuck on Final Fantasy V.  (DAMN you Ex-Death!)

Also, my scope of gaming interest I find is not limited to the controller.  I also enjoy board gaming.  Our visit to GenCon was more entertaining than I could possibly put into words and will become a Hults family tradition.  I enjoy games like Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo,   Coup and many more than I can put into a single blog post.  I have also found my footing in Dungeons and Dragons.  I played my first campaign with my husband and daughter this past weekend at GenCon and just…wow.  It is definitely a game that gets the imagination going. In a more traditional card game sense—I kick ass at Euchre and Gin Rummy.  Just sayin.  If you’re a gamer, what do you love? What do you hate?  Please share!

Two

My first venture into Fantasy fiction was C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  I was eleven when I first read it. I thought it was an okay book at the time but grew to love it and the series later.  The first book I read cover to cover until it fell apart was Stephen King’s It.  I got my first copy of that book when I was fifteen and read it so many times the pages fell out.   I still pull it out from time to time for a good read.   As a reader I love strong characterizations; as an author I try to create relatable characters.  When you read It, your heart hurts for Beverly Marsh, Bill Denbrough and the rest of the Losers Club.   Since those days, my reading horizons have broadened.  I read horror, fantasy, romance, historical fiction just to list a few genres.   Again, I am never picky about the genre but I need a strong character base and driving story line.   (If you like Stephen King and you’ve never read It or The Stand,  I am not sure you can call yourself a fan of his work given the amount of blood, sweat and tears that I’m certain went into creating those stories.)

Right now, I picked up some new reads and GenCon that I’m itching to start.  Anyone familiar with Robin Hobb? I picked up one of her books at the convention and I am eager to get underway.  Reading for me is always a new adventure.  In many aspects writing is the same way.  Readers often ask how many books or what is going to happen next with the Maeseloria series.  The truth is that I couldn’t tell you because I don’t know!  My characters talk to me when they talk to me and tell me their stories.  At times, my heart hurts for them and at others I look at them like “Really? I don’t think this is going to end well for you but here goes.”      Another book I am excited to get my mitts on is Philippa Gregory’s Three Sisters, Three Queens.  I absolutely love her historical fiction.   If you love Tudor England and the Cousins’ War, start with The Lady of Rivers and read through the above title. You will not be sorry!  The Constant Princess is one of my all-time favorite books.   I have read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.  Gryffindor FTW and, honestly, Annabeth Chase is another strong, smart character I can relate to.   What are your favorite reads?  Books you can read until the covers fall off?

Three

Music is an obsession for me.  In fact, I get really bored with no new musical influence and my creativity will, on occasion, come to a grinding, irritating halt.  I will give anything a spin once…maybe twice.  Leading my creative playlists though are artists such as Lindsey Stirling;   Nobuo Umetsu (Sound off in the comments if you know him guys.  Favorite track?) ;  Brunuhville but on the other hand I also rock out to Linkin Park or My Chemical Romance.  Just depends on the song and my mood.   Right now, Nobuo Umetsu is flat out doing it for me.   I am extremely excited for Lindsey Stirling’s new album net week.  If you are familiar with her work and haven’t had time, check out Something Wild and The Arena from her new album.  It drops on the 19th.  Picture me running around like a crazy fangirl and you have the picture.  Certain albums speak to my spirit; I was a musician in high school.  I sang, I played a little piano and still do—all self-taught.

Musicals are another passion for me and yes,  I am currently on the Hamilton fangirl train but I also love shows like Phantom of the Opera,  Finding Neverland, Aida,  Wicked and Rent to name a few.  Again, driving storylines and great characters make the musical for me.

What was the first album that just touched your soul?  You love it so much you listen to every track and know every nuance.  Me?  Two albums off the top of my head still speak to me and both are from my youth.  Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing and Hootie and the Blowfish‘s   Cracked Rear View.  I can listen to them end to end and be touched by those lyrics.  The albums were released in a time when I was in desperate need of something to relate to.   I found my footing in Black and White and Not Even the Trees.  If you don’t know these albums and love strong lyrics, check them out.   What music resonates with you?  If you write, what pushes your creativity?  Email me leave a comment with questions, I’ll feature them in my first newsletter.   Three weeks until drop date!  Don’t miss out on the short story The Guardian’s Fall. 

Hope to hear from you soon guys! Thanks for visiting!