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Book Announcement: Are You Ready to Break Right?

If you’ve followed my other blog (2blu2btru.wordpress.com) or followed me on social media, you may have seen that I’ve been working on a new book. I’ve kept many of the details close to my chest. This is one of my most personal projects, and I wanted to make sure I wrote this well before sharing it with the world.

 

In 2016, it seemed like everything I touched broke–I lost my job, ended my relationship, and faced a move with no savings or income. I ended up leaving the city I’d come to think of as home, my church family, and many of my friends behind. It was truly a breaking season for me. Yet God kept me in perfect peace as these things occurred.

I learned many things in this season, and many books could have come from it, but in the end, God placed Break Right on my heart. As I worked through the ramifications and realizations breaking up brought to the forefront in my life, I wrote the things I was learning and experimenting with in my journal. This season looked different than I expected, in ways that both humbled and encouraged me. I began to wonder if others might be interested in what I was learning, so I reached out to a few women and pitched the idea. Once I put the heart of this book into words, I knew it had to be written, and I had to be the one to write it.

In the process of writing this book, I experienced the full force of what heartbreak can do. I found myself struggling to repair things I didn’t know were broken or damaged. I confronted truths I ran from before battling with the blank page. The writing of this book further healed me, and I know the wisdom God shared with me will help others discovering the healing He wants to give them as well.

If you’ve read my other books, you know I’m not the “woo, woo, woo” or “there, there, there” girl. I’m the “dig deep”, “let’s look at the lady in the mirror and be honest about what we see” girl. I’m the hard truth teller, the “what does the bible say” redirector, the spiritual fruit inspector. I’m a southern gal who’ll bless your heart and tell you about yourself in a ladylike, well-mannered way, clutching my pearls the entire time. I wasn’t sure I could write a book bound in sensitivity AND filled with hard truths for hurting women in search of healing.

But God met me on the pages of this book. He walked me through this season the way I needed Him to, while helping me hone the message of it in a way that’s sensitive and respect of where a woman walking through a breakup is in her healing process while presenting truths wrapped in a ton of love. I didn’t hurl hand grenades at injured soldiers; I’m helping in the healing. Like many medical procedures, there is some pain and discomfort involved, but it’s necessary.

I’m so excited to share the final product with you! As I finish getting the final details wrapped up, I wanted to let you know about this book of my heart and what to expect when it comes out next month. The book is entitled Break Right: Finding Wholeness in Heartbreak, and a Good God in a Bad Breakup. Part memoir, part practical advice and encouragement, and all from the heart, this raw, real and relatable work will comfort, correct and challenge the Christian woman in the midst of a breakup to reexamine heartbreak and healing from a biblical perspective. Filled with biblical examples and personal experiences from myself and other women, Break Right seeks to provide the perspective shift many of us need so we can shine our lights for the Lord in the midst of a dark season.

This book is not a blow by blow of the breakups I’ve experienced or a way to bash an ex. In fact, you won’t find much about my ex, and I hope you won’t focus too much on your ex as you read it. This book is about how you can emerge better and help the next woman do the same. I share many personal stories, but they probably aren’t the ones you’d expect. 😉

This book feels different, and it’s inspired me to do something different with its release. I am opening pre-orders for Break Right tomorrow, February 14, 2018. From Valentine’s Day until Wednesday, March 7, you can order Break Right for the introductory price of $9.99 in paperback (it increases to $14.99 after the pre-order period). Why should you pre-order? Those who pre-order will receive some cool perks: breakup greeting cards, bookmarks, and prints, as well as a free eBook of funny and introspective tales from my romantic life, Misses before Mrs. You will also received the first section of the book to start reading and access to a special Facebook Group. I saved the best for last: all those who pre-order the book or a book bundle will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. All pre-order books will arrive by the release date, March 13th.

If Break Right sounds like something you need in your life, come back tomorrow and see the front cover, read the book description, and reserve your copy. I’ll be sharing more about this book in the coming weeks before release, so watch this space.

For all my eBook readers, don’t fret. The eBook is coming! I will open eBook pre-orders two weeks before release, with digital perks.

I love you all and can’t wait for you find your wholeness and experience how good our God can be, even in a bad breakup.

XOXO,

Erica

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#SeasonSerious2016: Sophomore Hi-jinx

Since I didn’t do all the milestone posts as things were happening–book title reveal, book cover reveal, etc.–I thought it would be fun to do a series of blog posts on special topics relating to The Season for Getting Serious release to help readers get acquainted with it. 

The Season for Getting Serious Front Cover

Do you ever find yourself getting so far ahead of the process in your mind you begin to resent the process?

Everyone has heard of the sophomore jinx. If your first book or album is successful, the pressure to release something even better can cause sophomore jitters, which inevitably become sophomore slumps. The second project fails to live up to the high bar set by the first. Whether nerves, going in a new creative direction, the genre fading in popularity, or the fact you aren’t the new kid on the block anymore, sometimes second efforts tank.

Some artists are disappointed with their second efforts because they know better. When I released Altered before the Altar, I didn’t have any expectations. I wasn’t expecting people to buy it or love it. But they did.

I was told topping Altered would be difficult because it was so good. People had expectations of my work now. I had to deliver.

The weight of these expectations made me jump ahead of the process. This did nothing but slow me down. I was so concerned about the perception of my second book, it crippled me. I knew if I ever wanted to write, let alone publish, a second book, I had to do something different.

What did I do to get over the jitters and write my second book?

  • I interviewed people.  Talking with people about the book’s topics helped me organize my thoughts, see the topic from another’s perspective, and gave me gems of wisdom to sprinkle throughout my work.
  • I used my digital recorder. I wanted to keep the conversational tone of my first book. Instead of building the tone in later, I started with it by recording myself talking through each chapter. I got the tone I wanted and the passion and urgency of the message came through. I used the recorder while on my commute to and from work and was able to use time I usually “lost” each day.
  • I had a focus question. I shared my focus question in yesterday’s post. The focus of The Season for Getting Serious was built around my answer to this question. Having a focus brought everything together. I cut anything which didn’t serve this purpose.
  • I kept a cutting room floor document. Knowing my beautiful prose could be retrieved if I changed my mind helped me cut unnecessary passages.
  • I approached the book like a student first.  I studied each topic as if it were new to me. I used different methods and reread the material  until I saw things I never saw before. I developed a deeper understanding of each subject. I had to change huge chunks of my first draft, but it made the book stronger.
  • I lost it–literally. Confession time: I lost my book while writing it. Twice. This taught me to back up everything in triplicate. More importantly, it taught me the true value of what I was writing and where it came from. I could recreate much of what I’d written, but the passages I love the most were in the moment revelations and nudges from the Holy Spirit. I felt like the Spirit spoke through me and to me in those moments. I trusted God would give me the words he wanted me to say if I had to rewrite it, but I was so appreciative when I found it. I know these are the words God wanted women to hear.
  • I wrote the book I needed to read. I didn’t listen to those clamoring for a follow up to Altered. I ignored my own desire to write a book that could be used in ladies’ classes, book clubs, and life groups. I studied the topics God pressed on my heart to help me in my walk with Him. By seeking Him first, I wrote a book the woman who came away from Altered wanting a deeper relationship with Christ could dive into. I wrote a book that can be used for individual or group study by women at all different stages of life. I need  every word of this book, and I know other women do, too.

It’s too soon to say if I beat the sophomore jinx, but I surpassed all my expectations for my sophomore release. I took my writing to the next level with this book. I have the confidence in the abilities God gave me to do it again. I feel like I’ve finally fully embraced my calling as a writer and speaker, and I can’t wait to see how God uses my gifts for His glory in this new season.

XOXO,

Erica

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It’s Time to Get Serious!

The Season for Getting Serious Front Cover
My New Book is Here!!!

Have you ever had a season stretch you for all you were worth and hold you so close to the fire you felt singed? Have you ever had a season you thought would never be over? Has a season of life driven you to your knees like never before? That’s what 2016 has been for me.

I was “trying” to release my second book for most of this year. It was supposed to be released by New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, my birthday (February 24), and the National Ladies Lectureship (mid-April) at various points in the year. But each time the new self-imposed deadline came around, the book wasn’t ready. There was always something more to be done.

Some might say it was nerves keeping me from releasing this book. Indeed, there were a lot of nerves involved. I knew it would be hard to follow up Altered before the Altar. Everyone wanted a follow up to Altered, but I was working on something completely different. But I was willing to trust God. I got a little ahead of Him in my eagerness to get the book out, but ultimately God knit this work together and it was released right on time.

The Season for Getting Serious is finally here!! All the late nights, early mornings, and earnest prayers were so worth it. I can’t tell you how often I prayed over every word of this book and for every woman who would read it. I am overwhelmed by how well it all came together, and I can’t wait to hear how it is transforming Christian women’s relationships with the Lord.

In an interview for online magazine The Christian Girl, I was asked the question “If you had the entirety of Christian women in front of you, what would you say to them?” Sisters, this book is it. It’s my heart for us as women of God on paper. The Season for Getting Serious is for all Christian women: single, married, new convert, mature Christian, young, old, strong, or prodigal. Any woman who wants to grow a more intimate, personal relationship with Christ should get their hands on this book. I feel this book until is exactly what God wanted me to share with His daughters to encourage them to grow right where they are.

A word of caution: if you aren’t ready to be honest about where you are and where you want to go, you might have problems getting through this book. To be honest, I felt dragged by much of what’s in these pages. I felt exposed by it. I don’t sugarcoat  anything. They aren’t any cute sayings or affirmations in here–just the promises of God to His daughters. I’m not speaking to you from the mountain; I’m right here in the valley with you reminding you of God’s faithfulness.

The follow is the best description of The Season for Getting Serious:

 

“You were running well; who hindered you?”

Many Christian women want a deeper relationship with God, but they can’t seem to grow intimacy with Him. They start out with intention, but they are distracted and knocked off course by their life’s circumstances and responsibilities.

The Season for Getting Serious: Growing Intimacy with Christ in any Season, encourages and equips the woman of God to grow closer to Christ in whatever season she finds herself in. This is not another checklist or New Year’s resolution; it’s a clarion call to the woman of God to stop waiting for a new year, better circumstances, or less distractions and start growing in this season of their lives–right now.

The Season for Getting Serious speaks to the woman in the middle, on the run, grieving, or suffering from spiritual disease. It speaks to the woman wrestling with doubt, success, or burying the old man. This book whispers to the heart of every woman seeking Christ in the middle of the muck and mess of life and calls her out of the darkness into His marvelous light.

 

Ladies, you want to read this one. You’ll want to share it with every woman you know. You’ll going want your ladies bible classes and book clubs to read it so you can talk to someone about what you read. Most importantly, I pray you’ll want to live it.

What are the book’s vital statistics?

The Season for Getting Serious is 227 pages of encouragement from the word of God to Christian women at all stages of life. It’s portable size makes it easy to slip into your purse, tote or backpack to read on the go. The cost is $20 per copy with discounts available on bulk purchases of three or more.

How can you get your copy?

  • Get your copy or copies of The Season for Getting Serious from my online store here. Purchasing through my online store allows you to get signed copies and a gift with purchase. I also offer bulk discounts. If you would like to take advantage of bulk discounts, please email me at inquiries[at]aseriousseason.com.
  • You can also order copies from Amazon , CreateSpace, Barnes and Noble and Books a Million. Please note, these copies are unsigned and I cannot offer bulk discounts through any of these sites.
  • Pick up signed copies at events where I’m vending. This Saturday, August 20, 2016, I will be vending at the WINGS (Women in God’s Service) ladies day, A Wise Woman Builds, in Cocoa, FL. I will also be vending at the National Singles Seminar here in Orlando, FL on Labor Day weekend, September 1-5, 2016.

For my new on upcoming events, subscribe to my newsletter.  

Are you excited about The Season for Getting Serious? What do you need to get serious about? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Wind Up Wednesday: Bringing Books Back

Note: I missed yesterday. It was my intention to have a post every day this week, at least, to kick start my blogging. Let’s all just move on to a fun post, shall we?

As an avid reader and writer, I always have a ton of books I want to read. My TBR pile is ridiculous. I love reading all the books my writer friends are putting out into the world (I’m reading one, Interrupted Lullaby by Dana R. Lynn, one of my critique buddies!) that I can’t put down (though I’ve read it at different stages two or three times). I’m so proud of all my romance, women’s fiction, inspirational fiction and self-help writing friends. But this year I want to dive deep into some books that focus more on developing myself as a Christian and a writer. I know I’ll get to all the fiction my friends put out, but I want to make sure I read at least 12 books that I hope will revolutionize or completely change an area of my life.

Here’s what’s on my list to read so far, in no particular order:

  1. Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. Simply TuesdayI’ve heard wonderful things about this book, and have heard a couple interviews with Emily P. Freeman that have piqued my interest. I caught this book on sale yesterday and move it from books I want to buy to bought. Yay!
  2. A Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster. Celebration of DisciplieI’ve read this book and loved it, but it’s been years (other than a few peeks back in for my submission goal in 2013 and that palms up/ palms down meditation from Monday’s post). Not only do I want to read it again, I want to give a copy to a friend and read it with her to encourage her in the Lord. It’s be our Girl Talk thing. So excited for this!
  3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big MagicI bought a copy as soon as it came out. I was a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s style in Eat Pray Love, but the podcast for Big Magic, Magic Lessons, sold me on this book. It’s a book about tapping into your creativity and how we are all creators. Can’t wait to let my imagination out.
  4. On Writing by Stephen King. On WritingI bought this book last year after checking it out of the library and not having time to finish it. I’ve heard many wonderful things about this book, and really enjoyed the parts I’ve read. Time to focus and read this start to finish.
  5. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. Having a Mary HeartThis one has sat on my shelf for years. Is it ironic to say I don’t have time to read a book about making time? I’ve started it and nodded along with the opening points. This is another I need to buckle down and get read.
  6. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. The best yesConfession Time: I’ve never read a Lysa Terkeurst book. I’ve had friends who’ve raved about Made to Crave and Unglued, but I haven’t gotten around to reading one of her books. I knew I had to read her work when I watched her at the creative summit The Influence Network put on.
  7. Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Rising StrongConfession Time #2: I’ve never read a Rene Brown book. But I did hear her speak on Magic Lessons, and the moment I did, I had to have this book. This is a book about how to rebound from failure. This is something I struggle with. I hate failing. I can’t tell you how many things I didn’t do because I was afraid to fail. So I’m hoping this one has some insights I can use to conquer that fear a little more.
  8. A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer. A Curious MindI heard Brian Glazer on the radio talking about his curiosity talks and was fascinated. As someone who loves to  interview people, I’m interested in reading about how he made the most of opportunities to talk to some of the worlds most fascinating people, and how I can use a few tips to make my interviewing better.
  9. Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. Not a FanThe back cover copy sold me on this book. I’d heard all the hype about it and largely ignored it. But going through the Religion aisle at the bookstore studying covers, I picked this up and read the back and instantly knew I needed to add this one to the list.
  10. Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank. Muscle and a ShovelSo many of my friends have told me how this book completely changed their views on God and Christianity that I’ve just got to read it. It’s a true story about a newlywed couple who befriend a man that challenges their religious views. It’s supposed to be a challenging read that incites some strong feelings. I’m not one to shy away from things that may challenge my views, so I’m eager to see how this strengthens my faith and causes me to dig deeper into what I believe. We are to be prepared to give an answer for the faith that is in us, so it will be interesting to see the interaction between my faith and this book. I would love to get a small group together to read this one with me.
  11. Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo. Talk Like TedI REALLY want to be a better speaker. I know that I have messages to deliver to women. But I can’t expect people to want to hear me speak if I’m not going to put in the effort to be the best speaker I can be. I’ve long admired TED talks and find them to be wonderful. I really want to see a Christian version of this speaking series come to be. I’m anticipating learning a lot about speaking that will help me improve my presentation reading this one.
  12. Still Writing by Dani Shapiro. Still writingI checked this out of the library with On Writing and didn’t get a chance to finish it, though I loved Dani Shapiro’s writing. I bought it last year when I bought On Writing. I’ve gotten almost to Middles and I love it. I can’t wait to see how Dani relates more of the writing process.
  13. Bonus Book #1: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. Women of the WordI heard Jen Wilkin on a podcast and was really intrigued by this book. Since then I’ve seen many women talking about this book online, how it changed the way they study the Bible. I love anything that gets women reading the Word for themselves, or anyone else for that matter. I’m always looking for ways to improve my Bible study time. This should be a good book for that.
  14. Bonus Book #2: The Art of Fiction by John Gardner.  The Art of FictionI read this book some time ago and loved it. The exercises led to some great writing for me. I can’t wait to dive into it as a more mature writer.

I have a ton of fiction that I plan to read as well. I write more about fiction and my writing process on my writing blog, Copywrite1985.com.

What are you reading? I’m always looking for book suggestions, so feel free to leave your favorite reads or what you’re looking forward to in the comments section.

XOXO,

Erica

Join me tomorrow for my 10 January goals!

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Submitted and Free: My Review of My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife by Sara Horn

“I can think of at least two types of people who do not need to read this book. These include women who already feel like they have a strong grasp on what it means to be submissive to their husbands and women who are looking for a clear, concise guide or handbook with steps, charts and footnotes on what it means to be submissive to their husbands.”

This is how Sara Horn begins introducing My So-Called Life as a Submissive Housewife to her readers. She lets the reader know immediately that she is sharing her personal experiences in much the same way as she did with her first book, My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 wife. These two books chronicle year-long experiments undertaken by Ms. Horn in an effort to live up to the qualifications of a wife as written in the Bible. They read like getting a glimpse into a woman’s personal diary as she struggles to make sense of her role as a wife as defined by God’s word.

When I read the introduction to this book, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The introduction sets the tone of Sara’s writing (humorous and serious in turns), sets the expectations (not a step by step instructional but an honest account of one woman’s year long quest to learn to be a submissive wife), addresses the sociocultural climate in which she is writing, and tells us why this subject is important to us spiritually. I knew that this book, if nothing else, would at least be well written and edited.

At the beginning of this experiment, Sara Horn is a hardworking Type A wife and mother riding high off of the insights her Proverbs 31 experiment have afforded her in recognizing her role in her family. She sees herself as the thermometer for the family, setting the emotional temperature. She sees tackling this project as a way to grow closer to the kind of wife the Bible says she’s supposed to be. She is also living with her husband’s family as he has recently returned from a deployment.

Most of the people she tells that she is going to be a submissive wife to are either skeptical or disagree with it entirely, including her husband. “Why would you want to do that? We work together as a team…That’s not us,” he says. His problem is what he pictures when he thinks of submission. Sara anticipates a major problem for her will be waiting for her Type B husband to make a decision on something she wanted to do. *Spoiler Alert*: this WAS a problem for her.

Sara struggles to put her husband first in a climate where women are encouraged to seek to be comparable to men in the workplace and relationships, to see submission as a bad thing.  She struggles with trying to balance her work schedule and role as a mother with her role as a wife. “I Think most of us assume we are putting our husbands first, or at least somewhat near the front, simply because of what we do…No, I think most of us who are wives and moms wake up thinking not about or husbands, but about The List. What we have to do…Who really wants to worry about one more thing to check off the list, like submission?” she writes. Her thoughts cross some of the same ground over and over again in her struggle to understand what God wants from her in this area of her life.

What I usually do when reading a book is try to find the popcorns, or the passages that reveal something that may be useful to note down the line, as well as some ways to show how I am relating to the material. I highlight frequently in non-fiction, so while the number of highlights is important, it isn’t a good gauge of how I actually feel about what I am reading. So I have to introduce other elements into the grading rubric. In my Kindle, I used “twinzies” to mark passages where Sara Horn responded as I would or had the same struggle I would; ITYSS (“ I think you said something”) to highlight passages that contained truths that sparked realizations in me or a strong chorus of “amens”, and; when I couldn’t articulate the right emotion to express much a passage really struck me, I used “!!!” When I really agree with something, I “throw my shoe.” Throwing my shoe is equivalent to Patti Labelle kicking her shoes off in concert: it is just that good to me, and I am about to really get deep into it. Throwing my shoe, then, is the highest honor I can bestow. SMH (shaking my head) needs no explanation.

In My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife, I did the following:

Favorite quote: This word submission is in the Bible. Not once but several times. So as much as we sometimes want to ignore it, I don’t think we can. I don’t believe we should. Not if we’re following Christ.

Highlighted passages: 186 (not including commented on passages)

ITYSS: 16

!!!: 22

SMH: 9 (mostly in her early attempts at submission)

Twinzies: 8

Popcorn: 2

Throw My Shoe Quotes: 3

I am not married yet, but like many young women today, I struggle with figuring out what Biblical submission should look like. As the possibility of marriage becomes more and more real for me, I, like Sara, wish there was a list of do’s and don’ts spelled out in plain English in my Bible. Even though Sara doesn’t provide a how-to guide, she provided me with hope that when you submit as God desires, the pieces will begin to fall into place as they should.

The things I didn’t like in this book are minimal. In the beginning we seemed to be covering the same ground a few times, which bogged me down in a section or two. There were a couple of soapbox areas whose preachy tones didn’t fit with the general tone of the book to me. There wasn’t as much focus on submission to God or how we are called to submit to one another as I thought there would be. But none of these makes this book any less worth reading.

I loved this book! It was real and relatable. I felt like Sara was really trying to figure out what being submissive meant and follow God’s leading in this area of her life. I felt like I was going through life with her for the space of this year, as if she didn’t hide any of the struggles and triumphs from me. There were times when I wanted to shake her and ask her what she was doing, as well as times I wanted to hug her and say thank you for expressing how I have understood it. Going into the book, I wasn’t sure that a book written in this diary style would be a good book to use in women’s classes or for discussions, but now I’m frustrated that no one else in my circle has read this book yet because I want to discuss it. It’s a discussion that is needed, especially for young women like me who need to know these things about being married. I would recommend this book to any woman, single or married, who wants to get a better understanding of how submission can work if you make the effort to follow God’s command to do so.

XOXO

Erica

cover28130-medium I was not compensated for this review, but I did receive a reviewer’s copy of the book. This book will be published by Harvest House Publishers August 1st, 2013.

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Wrapping Up Month 3

It’s hard to believe that yesterday was the first of the fourth month of the year. This year is a quarter over already; how did this happen? The recap for the month of March is a rollercoaster one. There have been many ups and downs this month. Things have definitely been moving right along in my world. Coming up with a word for the month has been really difficult, but Mr. Perfect gave me the best word yesterday.

The word of the month for March is: TRANSITION.

March was a month of transition in several different ways. It was the first month that I’ve seen some of my ideas for the website transition into reality. It was the month that things transitioned from the planning phase to the execution phase. I am wrapping up the writing of the book and preparing to transition to the editing phase. I transitioned from not knowing what was expected of me at work from a meeting with higher ups to my manager being really please with my progress–all without figuring out what the issue was in the first place. Lastly, but by no means least, Mr. Perfect’s grandmother transitioned from this time side of life to the hereafter and his family came together to say goodbye to her. There have been a lot of transitions in the past month.

Early in the month, I contacted a graphic designer to begin working on the logo and header for my website. I was made aware of his work through a fortuitous tweet from a blogger I follow whose header I really like. She posted a blog highlighting the graphic designer who had designed the header as well as the logo for her personal brand. I immediately checked out his twitter and Facebook page before contacting him on twitter. After some online research, I sent him an email with my mission statement, vision, and website information, along with a general idea of what I wanted for the logo/header. He emailed me back that he had been to the site and loved the concept and goal behind it. He sent me his price list and clarifications, and we had a phone conference that sealed the deal. A few days later, he sent me his first drafts and I sent him the deposit. I engaged a graphic designer! *With help from Tech Support, of course.*

I also signed up for a service to review advanced copies of a book and began reading the first title. I love it so far and have taken extensive notes for a review. The books will be reviewed on the site. I am going from reading books in my bubble and spouting opinions every now and then here and there to reading and writing formal reviews. It’s like writing book reports in elementary school, but so much better. I can’t wait to share the first review.

One thing I haven’t shared yet is that I have decided on a host for my website after some careful searching and lessons in web speak from Tech Support. The host will offer me the features I want to use on the site and I can lock in hosting and other features for three years at a good price. I don’t know how this transition will effect the site’s availability yet, but I will appreciate your patience as we begin transitioning things this upcoming week, hopefully.

One goal for the month I wasn’t able to meet was getting the book ready for my selected editors to read. I haven’t been able to finish the writing of the book, as we were dealing with the passing of Tech Support’s grandmother and I was dealing with some changes at work. The graphic designer I engaged was dealing with a sudden death in the family as well. It has been a month of people departing this life for many that we know and love, and after a very productive two weeks in the middle of the month, I wasn’t able to finish everything I wanted to. I think that I can have the first chapter done and hand it over tomorrow or Sunday. That way, he can tell me what his initial thoughts and findings are and see if he wants to finish it. This person teaches English at one of the local colleges and will be great for editing for grammar, punctuation, and general proofreading. I will get some instruction on the content and concepts from my minister. I may have to do it one chapter at a time, but it will get done. I want the book to be ready by the seminar in May.

That was the other thing I did in March, agree to be a part of my aunt’s Authentic Self seminar, speaking on the subject “Getting Serious About Who You Are in Christ: Go Godly Early.” I spoke with the leadership at church and the ladies’ bible class instructor and I was able to secure presentation of a trial run at my church on the second Sunday of April as well. I am excited to be able to present this lesson and have been busily preparing material to present on both occasions. I still have some work to do on the presentation and what I will need, but I have a topic outline and have pulled several scriptures and illustrations. I will be transitioning some ideas from the page to the stage, so to speak. I’m praying that this will be an endeavor that brings glory to God and encouragement to all the women who hear it.

I will present the graphic designer and name the web hosting service I am using when both are completed. I will also be releasing the new and improved title of the book. April promises to be a month filled with new experiences, hard work, and further development personally, spiritually, and as a writer and speaker.

How was your March? Did you reach your goals? Did things go as planned, or were your plans derailed?

XOXO,

Erica aka 2blu2btru

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Now Entering Phase One…

First of all, the happiest of birthdays to the most awesome mom ever. Happy birthday, mommy!

Now back to the lecture at hand…

I am now entering phase one of all of the things I can’t tell you about. However, I can tell you a few things I’ve accomplished. The first thing I’ve accomplished is finally getting a laptop to aid in to publishing and blogging domination. Yes, for the past four years of blogging, I’ve been writing from a desktop, tied down to one location. Now I am able to sit cross-legged on my futon watching The Mentalist Season 1 on DVD while updating the blog or working on the book. Yay for a new laptop!

I have also opened up an account of Net Galley and am going to be reviewing new and advance copies of books going forward. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. I hope to launch a book club in the future, so having the chance to see what books are coming out and know what books may suit my book club will be a great addition to my blogging. Besides, we all know how much I love to give my opinion.

The biggest thing that I can share is that I have booked my first speaking engagement that is in line with my website/book. I will be speaking to a small group of women at a seminar called Authentic Self on May 18th on the topic “Getting Serious About Who You Are in Christ: Go Godly Early.” I am supposed to speak for an hour to an hour and a half. I have been kicking around some ideas to address areas that Christian women in their 20s and 30s struggle with in their walk with Christ. If anyone has any ideas of areas I should address, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

There are a couple of other things in process that I can’t talk about yet, but they are really close to completion. I’m working really hard on the website and book to bring you all a more dynamic, community oriented experience. I’m trying to come up with things for the site that I thinks readers will appreciate, and I would love your feedback on what you would like to see as a reader of one of my blogs.

I’m feeling a little sick and very tired today, so I’m doing the meds and bed thing (one time for being able to type this in bed!). If anyone wants to come take care of me, I am accepting applications.

XOXO

Erica

 

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Savory Moments: Blog & Books Boss Breakthrough!

There have been a number of savory moments since I last wrote. My last post, while a hard one, really allowed me to think about those that I’ve lost and remember all of those sweet moments in which they impacted my life. I can savor those memories anytime I want.

Another savory moment happened a while ago and I was so in the moment I never wrote about it! After my car accident, I was feeling a little down (or a lot down for me). I just couldn’t shake that funk (until this post). At that time, Mr. Perfect had asked me why I wasn’t my usual happy self. I didn’t really have an answer; I just felt maudlin. So one day he hugs me, puts his chin on top of my head, and says “I’ll be happy for you.” Aww! Doesn’t that make your heart melt? No? Well, it made mine melt, especially as Mr. Perfect is Captain Pessimist Realist. What’s more is he proceeded to make me laugh like nobody’s business with his antics and observations on TV shows. I love that moment. <3

I made a new dish, something that I LOVE getting at restaurants but never attempted to make myself. I googled recipes for almond crusted tilapia and lemon butter sauce. I got to cook with a few new things (like Olive Oil–look at me going healthy; hello cooking wine–the only alcohol in my kitchen) and discovered I needed to step my kitchen utensil game up (how do I call myself a cook with no whisk?!). The fish turned out delicious even with a few healthy substitutions. I enjoyed learning something new. Go me!

The past few days, Mr. Perfect and I have kicked around some names for my book. I know what I said it was going to be called (It Takes One to Know One: Preparation, Patience & Purity for the Godly wife (Want) To Be–Longest title ever), but I couldn’t find a domain name around that title that wasn’t taken. I have been trying for a long time to come up with a website to combine all of my blogs, showcase my books, and house all of my creative pursuits under one banner, and It Takes One to Know One just wasn’t it. It would have worked for what I was doing in this book, but it didn’t summarize all that I was doing. After coming up with name after name that didn’t fit, I think I may have finally came up with one that fits both the blogs and the book. The funny thing is, it’s not a new idea to me at all. When I reread it, I thought “Look at God! This has been under my nose for a LONG time. Why didn’t I think of it before?–Well, I did think of it before, but I know what I mean!” After some domain name searching, I found out it is available. It lends itself to further book opportunities as well. I can’t wait to share it with you all! As soon as I buy the domain name and get Mr. Perfect started on the site, I will let you know what I’ve decided on. Stay tuned!

I have another wedding to go to this weekend. I’m so excited for this girl! We have been friends since fall of 2007 when I came to Orlando. I’ve seen her give her all in relationships and end up hurt. I’ve seen how hard she works. I’ve seen the growth in her as an individual. Now I get to see her get married! My second wedding in 4 weeks, and I’m so excited. Hopefully my inner paparazzi amateur professional photographer doesn’t come out too much this time. I can’t believe I’ll be buying my 3rd wedding card at the Hallmark store in the mall in a space of a few months. I should get like a frequent buyer discount!

I’m still praying for a speedy resolution to this car accident fallout. I know that once the claim portions are done, I’ll have to find a decent car and get back on my feet, but at least it will be well on the way to being resolved. I’ve been overwhelmed with everyone’s care and concern, but I’m trusting God that this will turn out to be in my favor. Even though it has changed my plans, this time in my life has revealed a few things I was overlooking in the rush from point A to point B that I really didn’t want to miss. I’m going to let patience have her perfect work in me. Maybe someone will see that and want to know about the God I serve. That will be such a sweet moment to share.

What savory moments have you had recently?

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Savory Moment: Weddings and Writing

Mr. Perfect & I outside The Abbey
Mr. Perfect & I outside The Abbey

This weekend, I went to the wedding of a good friend from church. I have been talking to her about her wedding since she got engaged, sharing my vast knowledge of all things wedding (acquired from hours of wedding shows, wedding blogs, books, and investigative inquiries to venue, photographer, and other vendor sites) while she tried to make the hard decisions. I even got to be the (unofficial) fourth wedding photographer at her wedding (sorry, my camera gives me delusions of grandeur in that area; but I got some great shots! I’m just saying). Being at the wedding, enjoying all of her hard work and planning was really special. I’ve only been to one other wedding and two other receptions, so it was nice to see a wedding from start to finish that wasn’t on TV. I more than enjoyed myself. The bride was beautiful, the groom was emotional, the food was good, and a good time was had by all. At this moment, they bride and groom are on their way to soak up the sun and relax in the Maldives. Happy honeymoon!

What I really love about this point in my life is that I can be happy for other people. I say that as if it wasn’t true before only because there have been moments where I’ve had to remind myself to keep my eyes on my own paper, metaphorically speaking, and try to pass the tests in my own life instead of pining for someone else’s blessings. This usually involves some arrogance on my part, that I should have had something long before this other unqualified person.

But lately, I haven’t been feeling that. Lately, I’ve been able to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I don’t know if it’s because I feel like I’m fulfilling my own purpose or because it’s more in line with my personality, but I’ve been over the moon for all of my friends’ successes the last year or so–and there have been a lot of successes in that time!

I have been hard at work on my book for a few months now. I’ve been writing the book longer than that, but the past few months is when it really took off. I wrote the beginnings of two pivotal chapters in November of 2011. I “finished” an entire chapter at the end of July 2012. But the real opening of the floodgates has been since about October. The interviews I conducted for the original idea for this book began in August of 2010, so we are talking about 2 1/2 years of work from inception to now. It’s snowballed from a small smattering here and there to a veritable flood of things I want to address and say. I thank God it has grown so well.

At this point, I have the major areas of the book outlined and started. I wanted to whet your appetitie and give you an idea of what’s to come in the book. The book is for Christian singles who want to prepare themselves to marry. The major divisions are:

  • Preparation–laying the groundwork for us to come to this subject with our hearts and mind in the right place. Have you done the preparation to be ready to consider a mate?
  • Meet Mates— a meet mate is a suitable one. How do you develop your criteria for a suitable mate? What principles does the Bible give us concerning mate selection?
  • Making Yourself Meet— Are you a suitable candidate for marriage? What work do you still have to do to be suitable for marriage?
  • In the Meantime–What should you be doing while you are single? How can you be happy for others? What does it mean to wait on the Lord? How do you wait (hint: this is an action verb!)? What are you waiting for?

The three main topics we will explore are preparation, purity, and patience. Each of these topics is composed of several other subtopics, of course, but these are the main takeaways.

So what am I actually working on right now? I am writing the practical application half of Meet Mates, pulling interview quotes for various sections, and researching. I still have scriptural examples and references being brought to my rememberance that will fit in somewhere, and I am still searching the scriptures for more. I have revised the first chapter multiple times to send out a piece to possible editors or agents. I sent this section to my dad, who really likes it. That’s a big plus for the book.

I’ve read certain passages of scriptures until my eyes feel like they are crossed, and the wonderful thing about it is I STILL find something new each time I read and meditate on them. I’ve enjoyed digging deeper into the Word of God. If this little book never sees the light of day in my lifetime, it has done a great work in my life. It has revolutionized my Bible study.

Things I still don’t have:

  • About the Author page–I HATE these. I never know what to say. Since it’s a book for singles, should I highlight that aspect of my experience? Since I haven’t published anything, should I try to get something published in Christian Woman magazine or somewhere to plump up my credentials?
  • Acknowledgements–there are SO many people to acknowledge! What if I forget someone? How can I convey my gratitude to them? I don’t even know how many more hands will be involved in this book to write one yet.
  • A foreward–once the book is finished, someone is going to have to read it and pen a foreward for me. I feel like women writers in colonial America, like I have to have someone vouch for me. “She’s a really good writer, and she really wrote this book. It’s awesome; you should read it.” Seriously, I think the foreward sets the tone for the book, and I want something that strikes the right chord and gets the reader’s hearts and minds ready for the book.

I welcome any suggestions. Of course, I know you all are not my writing blog audience, but as the blogs and discussions here started the idea for the book, I wanted to share this with you all first.

What savory moments have you all been experiencing? I love to read about your triumphs!

Working hard,

2blu2btru

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Book Report: Please Stop Laughing at Me, by Jodee Blanco

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...
Image via Wikipedia

Last week, Writer’s Digest kept tweeting me about nine free books to download in celebration of school starting back. I finally decided to check it out and download a few things. One that stood out was a memoir on school bullying by Jodee Blanco called Please Stop Laughing at Me. In the memoir, Jodee Blanco describes her adolescent years from fourth grade through high school, which were plagued with teasing, taunting, pranks, physical abuse, and the struggle to fit in somewhere. Now a successful woman in the PR and publishing industries who has interviewed celebrities, organized celebrity appearances, and launched successful books and movies, she writes about attending her twenty-year high school reunion to book-end the tale. Sitting in her rental outside of the reunion, she relives these memories again.

If I hadn’t read the preface and learned of her speaking engagements and all day bullying awareness/prevention seminars, it would be hard to tell that the message of the book was how to prevent or overcome school bullying. Most of the book is spent on the things that are done to her, the lack of help her parents and teachers were, and the fact that even those that weren’t cruel to her were afraid to help her or speak up for fear of the same treatment. In short, she outlined a lot of the problems faced by those being bullied, but this book didn’t offer many solutions (maybe the sequel does). The unnerving thing seemed to be that instead of anything actually helping her, she…just grew up and moved on with life, which is what adults were telling her would happen.

To be fair, there were people in her life and things that she did that provided momentary relief from the torment while she was going through it, and she glazes over good periods in time to relate more bullying, but the effect is that this all seems unrelenting. Add to this Blanco’s theater background, and it’s easy to see how after a while, I became a little numb to much of the teasing and abuse myself (I feel ashamed to admit it, but it’s true). Blanco constantly had to up the horror factor to pull me back in after long passages of how depressed it all made her, which I don’t doubt happened.

Overall, I think it’s a must read for anyone who has children, works with children, was/is a victim of bullying, or who bullies people. I think it’s important to understand the psychological impact these things have on a child’s psyche that reach far into adulthood, whether you’re the abused or the abuser. It’s important to note not everyone grows out of bullying behavior, nor does everyone “get over” being teased.