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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. ūüėČ

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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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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Candy Apples & Other Delicacies

Without getting into all the details of where I have been and what I have been up to, I will highlight the major writing developments. I had an awesome Intro to Creative Writing Class that actually taught me some things about being a better writer and how to make my writing tighter, leaner. I learned how to stop leaning so much on adjectives (one of my major weaknesses) and to utilize better verbs, making the verbs describe the action. Some really good pieces came from the exercises that the teacher for that class gave us. I only wish that I’d had more time to take more Creative Writing courses, because more than the teaching aspect, the exercises were such great starting points for stories.

I came away with one really strong story, “Candy Apples.” The story does actually have something to do with candy apples, but it’s mostly about abuse and sexual/love addiction that results from abuse. Two other characters besides the main character seem worthy of their own short stories, and I have begun to pursue that as well. There were also four good poems, “Riding Lessons” “Once” “Grief” and “Twenty-Three.” One of the better exercises was this three page piece on plot. The choice of plot I chose was a young child whose father is in jail. We had to make a whole plot from that: from start, to rising action to climax to resolution, to falling action. Mine came out very well, from the point of view of the little boy with a third person narrator. It isn’t titled yet.

I gave all of these, along with an excerpt of “Or Every Man be Blind” to my boyfriend for him to read and let me know what he thinks about them. I won’t hear back from him until tonight at the earliest, and maybe even later than that. I hope he likes them, or can at least lead me in a good direction with them.

I am looking into publishing again. I will let you know how it goes.

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Art for Art’s Sake

I deserve a handclap for finishing my short story on vandalism! Okay, so it’s not technically finished because I’m still revising, but it’s about the small victories.

So I have an idea about the art story. I finally think I know where I am going with it, theme wise. The vandalism piece was about rights, ownership, what you can and cannot own, what you can choose, be it memories, etc. There was a sense of empowerment in choice. The art story is not any of that, except choice. It’s mostly about choice to begin with, about the freedom of being able to choose, but more deeply, it’s about if the choices that matter are really the ones we get to make. And self-acceptance plays a big part in it. The art that she is creating, this piece of these men she is trying to keep is an effort to give herself a consolation prize for not being chosen. She choses men that don’t choose her in return, but she goes into the relationships knowing this already, so what’s her real motivation for choosing things she can’t keep? You’ll have to wait and see, along with me. My manuscript for the piece is going at it from a million different angles, and I am still sorting through the mess. But I’m just happy I’ve accomplished some more on the writing front.

I think that the jazzy piece is going to be something really special, if I ever get a chance to really delve into it like I want to. I’ve really been focusing on the shorter pieces that would be finished and ready to publish sooner. I keep finding things that I want to say, ideas that I want to get across, not just interesting characters, or fun plots; there’s a new demension of meaning. I just want to make sure that the ideas don’t overwhelm the material, or vice versa.

I’ll write more later.

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Trivial Pursuit?

I am not in school at the moment. I had financial difficulties. But, in typical me fashion, I decided not to let any of this get me down. I decided that I would take the semester off and pursue my dream of being published. I have started four new projects–which will be referred to as the vandalism story, the art story, the grandma story, and the boots story–and have been working on gettting them ready to submit to writing contests.

On to the stories: the boots story was the first new story that I began. It is about, not boots, but a guy, whose name is never uttered in the work, who is attacked in an alley, and is helped by a woman. The story started off from reality, then grew. I was trying to think of something to write when my father called, wanting to chat. He told me about a call he had from my uncle. My uncle, a pastor, stopped a group of guys from kicking¬†a guy to death. I immediately began to wonder about this from the guy’s point of view, what it must be like to be on the ground with this Timberland boot coming towards you again and again. But the attack in the alley, and all of the events thereafter, are completely from my imagination.

The next story I started was the Grandma story. Remember how I told you that Grandma and Great Grandpa were propped up against my computer? Well, I was looking at Grandma and I started thinking what kind of grandma she would have been, what type of things she would have told me. Then I started to think about my family, and other characters began to take shape. So far there is Grandma Ruby, the narrator, which at this point is me, an Aunt Carolyn (pronounced by the characters more like curl in), an Uncle Charlie, and Grandma’s daughter (and my mother) Cassie. The only person like anyone I know is Uncle Charlie, the rest are made up completely, even “me.” My narrator, Beverly, does something I would never do (I won’t reveal details) that starts the action of the story.

The art story is actually about a young woman who sleeps around. She happens to be a scupltor. So far, I haven’t gotten to the meat of the story yet, I’m just establishing her character. It’s still very much a work in progress.

Lastly, the vandalism story is the one I’m most excited about, and the one I want to reveal the least about. There’s a girl named Victoria who is the first person narrator. She has a problem, and the whole story started out about me and took a left. You see, I have this unique problem. I can remember things in startling detail, when I remember them. But there are some episodes of my life that are gone as soon as they have been lived. I can recall I had an experience, but I can’t remember it all, just pieces. It’s why I keep so many diaries, to help recollect certain things I know I may forget. I started with an observation of this problem of mine, but then I thought, what if what she can’t remember are remembrances more sinister, things that she is actively not remembering, subconsciously? There is vandalism in this story, but you’ll have to wait until it’s published to find out how it fits in.

I was reading an Emily Dickinson poem and it struck so many of the themes in my recent works that I decided that I may use some lines or phrases for the titles. I haven’t decided on what to call which story yet.

Well, that’s it for the writing life, aside from reviving some old favorites. I added two characters to my Aria story, Jazz and Mr. Magic himself, Magic Kilburn. I didn’t know Magic was going to be a first name until I wrote it. His mother was a fan of Magic Johnson, I guess. I love this character, as well as Jazz. This story is a good one with the names. Even Aria’s guitar is nicely named.

I will try to write more often. Wish me luck!

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Better People

Time has been flying by and I haven’t done much of anything. This whole experience has been so stressful. I am no longer attending Purdue University. I am now attending a different university. All of the static in my life has caused nothing but problems for my writing life. I can’t get a channel to play for anything on the Creativity Channel. But I’m trying to write my way through the fog, seeing only an inch or two in front of me.

I’m being a master of nothing at the moment. I’m listening to XM Satellite Radio, The City. I’m sitting at my desk with Grandma and Great-Granddad propped up next to my computer for inspiration. I think I’m going to sit here and free write for a while. If anything comes out that’s really good, I’ll let you know.

Hopefully, I’ll have good news to report the next time I write, which will be soon, because I am at home with the internet and two days a week out of school (Tues. and Thurs.). India.Arie’s Better People is playing. I love this album. It is so inspiring and beautiful. Much love to Miss India.Arie on her third success.

Off to write the American Novel

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A Work-in-Progress

I wrote some more of that novel-in progress I submitted to Literary Awards. It seems to be a pretty good piece of writing for a first draft. I felt really good about the writing that I’d done, and had been writing down a lot of impressions and reflections from this trip to Florida for some future writings, but everything came to a halt a few days ago. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Remember that story I told you about the girl changing her life because of her upcoming class reunion? I’ve decided to add a character. I have a few aunts down here that I can exaggerate into the mother from hell. As I was reading about this woman’s boyfriend, his father sounded almost just like my aunts. It shows that even in high school, they were the same old aunts. I’ve also toyed around with changing the catalyst slightly. I mean, the reunion will still be the target date to have all of this “life revision” completed, but I thought about using a different catalyst, like something I remember from high school that I think is really unique. It will give me great material for a flashback sequence, where I can make more use of this class secretary. I’ve added a few elements to the original, so it should work out fabulously.

On to why all the writing stopped. My financial aid is in crisis right now. I’ve been working so hard to get my gpa up and qualify for more grants and scholarships, but the money isn’t coming. I can’t take out¬†a loan I¬†need to return to Purdue because I don’t have a viable co-signer (no co-signer at all really). That leaves me here with not enough money to go back, so I will have to either transfer or take a year off to work and save enough to go back. Ugh! Nothing like a school crisis to kill a good creative buzz. And the negativity down here kicked what little was left, except to inspire a new character.

So if you are praying Christians out there, pray for me. This is going to be a tough month coming up. I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me, but I know it will lead to blessings (and good writing!).

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Old Things Become New

The new update for you, as far as my writing goes. I’ve had quite a summer, one that I’m sure will yield a lot of new material, but for the moment, I’ve been focusing on some of the things that I’d already started. I wanted to get some work done on the piece I submitted to literary awards this past semester. I don’t think I will resubmit it, but I do believe in it, and I would like to see it published one day. That, of course, would be the best way to close that whole chapter, to be able to see it in print and feel validated. But besides that, it’s a great story, and it’s going to be even better.

The piece that I’m thinking about submitting for this year as the novel-in-progress needs a lot of work. I started it when I came to Florida last year. I got the idea after reading a magazine article about Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston’s trip to the Holy Land. Don’t laugh, it’s not a crazy book about the two of them. It’s a serious story that actually has nothing to do with Whitney, Bobby, or the Holy Land, but more with why someone would have thought that it would have been a good idea to take them there. In other words, kind of what I thought they could possibly be looking for, and whether or not people really do find that.

On to another oldie but goodie. I started a story my senior year of high school about a woman who decides to make some major changes in her life when she gets a reminder notice about her high school reunion. She hasn’t done what she had always planned to do, and she decides that she is going to do all of the things she said she would as an eighteen year old. I’ve always thought it was a good idea, kind of like a Last Holiday with Queen Latifah, but better and one that more people can relate to. I mean, believe it or not, by the time you graduate college, four years have passed already and the reunion is only six years away, thirty is only seven or eight away.

So anyway, those are the things I’m working on. I thought that maybe I would have something to post on a secure site for people to read soon, but it’ll be a minute or two before I do that, simply because of the time I have to spend working in order to pay for school and whatnot. I will write more often though.

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A Little Research

The writing life, recently, has been more research than writing. I have a character that I am working on who does nothing with anyone. She goes to work and comes home, and that is the extent of her interaction with people, save an older woman, possibly a neighbor, until the entrance of someone else that’s the crux of the story. So, I’ve been developing a routine for her through my own repetition of the same things everyday. It’s boring me out of my mind. It’s not hard, though, as I don’t have much time or opportunity for social interaction with anyone my age. I lead exactly the type of life this woman will lead.

Now I have to build the woman up, make her a real woman who has a distinctive way of talking, walking, thinking–a way that is very different from mine. I like people, but this character does not. I am bored and want something else to do while living her life, but it’s the only way that she can function at the start of the story.

At least I have things to think about…That’s more than I had before.

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A Writer and a Christian

The type of writing I want to do: That’s a big question mark. I haven’t tried everything yet, not short story writing for one. I have tried novel writing and even poetry, but I don’t think I’ve found my niche yet. I’ve thought for a long time about turning my attentions towards Christian Fiction, and I’ve been tossing a few diefferent ideas around in my head, but so far I haven’t come up with anything concrete. It’s still a great possibility.

My Christianity is a big part of my writing life, whether I’ve always realized it or not. There isn’t much that I’ve written that hasn’t at least alluded to the big themes of the Bible, and some of my better received pieces are those that directly address spiritual truths. Maybe that’s where my calling truly lies, in writing Christian literature. I don’t know. I don’t mean to be wishy-washy. I think it’s the writer’s block that makes me so.

I’ve never felt so empty of ideas and theories. I’m empty of names, places, time periods, themes, plotlines, motifs–everything. I don’t see anything like I normally do. But maybe my eyes aren’t even open. Maybe my creativity is asleep, continuously hitting the snooze button, only dreaming she is up and getting ready to start out.

I’m going to go on anway, and sit around watching the cursor blink until something worth punching the keys comes along.