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.

 

 

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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?

 

 

Getting to know you..

Inspired by:  Come Undone  – Duran Duran

Current Reading (Been awhile since I put this one up):  The Lady in the Tower – Alison Weir

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So a blogger I follow,  The Shameful Sheep,  got nominated for  four questions by a fellow blogger.  I found  her post entertaining—as I always do—and felt the need to pay it forward to fellow bloggers or followers of this page.  If you get a chance,  check out her blog.  She is hysterical and has an honest, brutal wit about her that just adds to the charm. Her questions were entertaining,  so  here are my answers.  (While I figure out what I’d like to ask all of you in return)

  1. Think of the person you dislike the most in this world. If you had the ability to force them to eat a full plate of anything you wanted, what would it be?

Anything?  That’s a tough decision  considering the person I dislike the most.  I’d have to say a plate full of driver ants would do nicely.  (Look them up, they’re nasty little buggers.)

  1. What do you have an irrational fear of? Spiders? Heights? People who pick their nose and flick it at the wall?

Irrational fear for me?  Bugs.  They are my kryptonite.  I don’t do well around them.  Can’t stand them. Can’t go into the bugs IN CAPTIVITY at my local zoo.  Ask my husband. Spiders and me are not pretty scenarios. It usually ends with me in another room while he takes care of the problem.

  1. You’re going out to dinner tonight – what type of restaurant are you going to? Mexican? Chinese? American? Italian?

Mexican.  I love the heat of Mexican food.  Tacos and fajitas are staple dinners in our households and everything I research for that type of cuisine appears to be something I would try to make or enjoy.

  1. If you’re a blogger – do you have aspirations of writing a book at some point? (Really curious about how many bloggers have the end goal of becoming a published author or if you’re just doing it for fun.)

No end goal here per se.  I started blogging after I published my 3rd book in an effort to get some exposure and to let my readers get to know me. The experience is fantastic.  It keeps my brain working creatively rather than running into constant stumbling blocks.   My fourth book is due out 10/17.

 

Now I get to ask the questions.

  1. Name a book that has most influenced you.  This book can be any genre, non fiction, fiction, whatever  floats your boat  (For me, this book was Stephen King’s It.  Weird huh?   The  storytelling and the battle between The Losers and It was so epic and so beautifully done.  That story pushed me towards writing and got me to start wondering “what if?”  I read that book for the first time when I was 15.)
  2. What is your pursuit of happiness? What dream are you trying to chase down?  (For me the answer is simple. This.  This writing gig.  I have no illusions of fame or any of the monetary satisfaction that comes with this.  I just want to keep telling my stories and hope that people want to keep reading them.)
  3. What’s the number one thing on your bucket list? (See London.  I have an avid fascination for Tudor England.  It has developed into a bit of a hobby out side of writing.  The whole investigation started with a book titled The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory and has led me to a couple of really fascinating non-fiction authors)
  4. What is your favorite season and why? (Autumn.  The air is crisp and clear. I love the way the leave crunch under your feet when you’re walking.  I love the baking smells associated with autumn—apple,  cinnamon,  pumpkin, the sharp tang of cider.  I love the moderate temperatures where I live.  Hoodie weather. )

Okay guys, your turn.  Play along if you dare.     Have a great night.

 

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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Phobias

Inspired by:  Lost Girls – Lindsey Stirling

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

So, at the request of our hostess, I will answer this week’s writing prompt in two ways—both fact and fiction.  This week’s prompt:

Write about a phobia that you have.

Right. So, very few of you know me in person. (Those of you that do; this is not an invitation to put the author in a box.)  But my biggest phobia:

I am very claustrophobic.  Enclosed, crowded spaces cause panic attacks. So there you go. A quick announcement: The Facebook Live event on Wednesday has been moved to 8 pm.  I apologize!  A work conflict with my 9-5 arose.   On to the fiction.

 

His beloved was frightened of the gift that ran through her blood.  That blood mingled with the realm’s lifeblood for generations.  Nicholas knew where she was and who accompanied her.  He sent Dominic himself after he explained Alexandra’s situation.  Dominic assured him he could help.  Could he teach her to be comfortable in her own skin again?  Nicholas feared he would lose her to this. Fate had come between them too many times before.

He sat in their chambers and eavesdropped on her conversation with Dominic.  His Alexandra would have expected him to be a silent specter in her head.  His presence was allowed, he understood that.  Her trust in him radiated from that single action.  Marcus was the only other presence she allowed in her head on a regular basis.

His frustration was clear as he felt her struggle.  Dominic could be more brutal than he in terms of teaching.  Dominic did not have a lifetime of teachers at his disposal as Nicholas did.   The Deveraux were never called to educate, to guide.  He almost interceded until her laughter touched his ears.  When was the last time he heard her laugh?  Nicholas’ lips thinned to a thoughtful line.

His gaze drifted to the little form huddled beneath a pile of blankets in their bed.  She came in not long after her mother left. A ghost of a smile that echoed his beloved’s crossed his features.  Kira was one of the few beautiful legacies he would leave.  Their child was bright, apt and he swore before Fate he would do what he must to give her a more peaceful world than the one she was born into. Though they never told her, he suspected she knew her father.  Both he and Alexandra agreed to keep his identity quiet until Kira was old enough to understand both his sins and his redemption.  The child never questioned his presence in her mother’s chambers.

Nicholas straightened when he felt Alexandra pull on her element.  His gaze was locked on the hearth as he felt her emotions swell. He felt her heart and mind panic. Nicholas feared for her as he did each morning she attempted this exercise.  Light damn it! He felt so helpless. Shock rippled across his features as he felt her terror subside and the draw continued.  Hope blossomed in his heart as he felt that draw strengthen and Dominic’s words drifted through his head. When Fate presents you with a challenge, you survive and overcome.  That is your nature, Alexandra Jade. That is your gift.”

Nicholas smiled and murmured. “Thank you, my friend.”   A soft chuckle crossed his lips his best friend’s response.  It’s nice to be the teacher for a change.  Nicholas felt the tone change in Dominic’s next thoughts. Without her there would be no Light. You brought her home. I can teach her to survive what Fate chose for her.  With that, Dominic silenced and focused on his charge.   Another glance at the bed told Nicholas Kira was as much a bed hog as her mother.

Nicholas mentally pulled the blankets up over his daughter and settled in for a long night by the fire.  She would come home, indeed.

 

Happenings

Too many irons on the fire make Sandra something-something grumpy…This grumpiness can be solved by coffee and chocolate. Ha!

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With that being said, things have been extremely crazy as of late so I thought I send you all an open letter with an update! Let’s see if we can get through all that is going on. Recap!

  • Final edits are progressing for The Light’s Guide.  I hope to post the Prologue here the week before the book releases October 17.  A huge shout out to fellow Figgy Mia and The Figment Writers for steering me towards the Hemingway App for help with the editing process.  Also, if you guys are looking for help with writer’s block,  check out an app called Trello.  It takes my post it idea to the next level. Or, head over to the Figment Writers and join our Facebook group.
  • Also, if you have not had the opportunity to pick up Hope’s Child,  stay tuned for a special deal with the October issue of the Maeseloria Monthly.  If you missed the inaugural edition,  you can check it out here   If you didn’t get a chance to subscribe, you can click the button on the left hand corner of the newsletter to do so.
  • Let’s see…what else. OH,  if you have not hit up my Facebook page,  you will miss a special event on September 14 at 7 pm EST. I will be on Facebook live answering questions about the books, writing process.  It will be fun and interactive and I would love the chance to meet the folks that follow this blog. Come check it out!
  • There has been an update to the contact information on my site. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience. My contact email, going forward,  will be sjhults@bex.net. Please submit any questions, concerns, feedback about my work to this address or, if you really like what you’ve read, leave me a review on Amazon.
  • The deadline for questions for Sandra’s Corner and the October newsletter is right around the corner! I need your questions by September 15 for them to be in the newsletter. Sorry for the typo!
  • Lastly,  for those of you in my local area, I will be participating in my first author fair on November 13.  If you want the information as far as dates/time/place, inbox me, hit me up on Facebook.

I sincerely hope my excitement translates.  I’ve got so much going on that I can’t seem to wrap my head around it all.  Promotions and book 5 is knocking on the back of my head.

In the meantime,  stay out of trouble guys.  🙂

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.

Holl & Lane

Facebook

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VCRs and other things

Inspired by:  Awake and Alive – Skillet

VCR

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.

 

 

 

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