Posted on

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

Posted on

#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

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Publication for Dummies

St. Augustine
St. Augustine

The last few weeks have been a crash course in business for me. Before I began working on this book for self-publication, I had no desire to be an entrepreneur. In all honest, I still don’t. I am just trying to get my book into as many hands as possible, legally, with no surprises at tax time or anyone using the sweat of my brow inappropriately.

I’ve spoken to other self-publishers, accountants, attorneys, bankers, and small business owners on different aspects of publishing that I should be aware of, as well as started to set up some marketing opportunities for myself like speaking engagements and etc. I’ve always known that writing the book is only half the battle, but now it’s more real to me than ever. In fact, I would argue that when it comes to self-publication, writing is less than a quarter of the battle.

Today, I want to share and get opinions on some of my plans in the coming weeks for the rest of my book’s journey to publication and the first couple weeks afterward.

I revealed the title of the book on this site on Friday. The response has been very positive. I think that I nailed the first marketing aspect of the book with a good title. I also think I nailed the second part of good marketing–the cover, which I will reveal tomorrow, if all goes well. So what are the next steps for me?

The next steps I have to complete in this process are BIG steps. As I was reading over the book, I noticed some sections would work better in other places, some thoughts could be condensed, and some personal stories or asides were unnecessary. I also didn’t fully introduce each new couple that I quoted. In other words, I need to get the final draft of the book like I want it. I also need to get beta readers in the target audience for feedback. I have to secure the person I want to do the Foreward and finalize all the front and back matter–acknowledgements, dedication, definitions, appendices, etc. These things are easy for me to do, just large tasks. They are in my comfort zone.

The next group of things venture into INEBIGTDIA territory. I have to format the book or pay someone to format the book. I have to upload everything to CreateSpace, set up my Amazon author page and product description, metadata, etc. I have to establish my sole proprietorship over my press by running an add in the paper and registering the name with the state as well as getting an EIN. I have to decide on a banking set up for it. I have to order the first batch of books I plan to sell myself physically, which ¬†means I have to determine how many to buy and ship them on time to have them for planned festivities. I need to revamp this site and set up the book’s site with all the fun goodies I have planned for it.

In addition to all of the scary things in that paragraph, I have to plan some fun book release things. I’ve already started planning an event with my aunt for a local chapter of a women’s group she is a part of to do a presentation on a topic from the book. I need to kick planning for a release event locally into high gear. Separate from the book release event, I want to put on a singles conference or one day workshop/seminar for single women to attend. I am pulling together a list of people and organizations to give free books to for review or possible group sales. My goal is to put this book in the hands of as many Christian women as I possibly can to help them realize the importance of godly guiding principles in their relationships, so I’m open to speaking at events, hosting dinners or ladies’ days, etc. to get the book into the right hands.

I am not excited about the business things I have to do, but I am not intimidated by it either. I know that if this is of God, He will bless it. I can’t hide behind my computer if I want to help young women. The whole point of this book, this site, is to influence women to get serious about their lives in Christ. I can’t afford to be timid or complacent. I want people other than my friends and acquaintances to be exposed to the scriptures, stories, and lessons in the book, and it’s up to me as my own publisher to make that happen.

Any other self-publishers out there with any advice? Anyone else chasing a God-given purpose and refusing to be overwhelmed?

XOXO,

Erica

Posted on

Getting Serious About Publishing a Book: Title Reveal

Exchanging of the rings. My good friend and her husband. Photo by me.
Exchanging of the rings. My good friend and her husband. Photo by me.

I’ve kept all of the details of this book tight to my chest, an odd thing for me. I usually tell the world everything, but I wanted to make sure that the things I chose were the things God wanted associated with the book. I wanted to have enough space to hear from Him on the topics I covered and not cloud my mind with too many other opinions. I wanted to make sure the ideas were fully developed before they were out in the world. Lastly, I didn’t want to make the book my blog in published form but something that was new and useful to my audience (of two or three).

Now that the title is definite, the content is (mostly) written, and I am inching towards a release date, I am ready to reveal my title.

For the longest time, the book that I’m writing was known as the Marriage Kit book. When I started writing it, it was a series of interviews I conducted (think “What’s in your wallet?” for marriage). I began scribbling down some of my own observations and things that I studied about marriage and related topics. At some point, the present book began to take shape: a book on marriage preparation geared to single Christian women. But what to call it?

An early contender was¬†It Takes One to Know One.¬†I developed a whole marketing scheme in my head that suited this concept, including tote bags, journals, key rings, and compact mirrors emblazoned with my logo. It was going to be legen– wait for it–dary. Until I realized that the domain name was taken, the logo was silly, and I didn’t want to use an ambiguous phrase that I would have to explain all the time. It didn’t let the reader know what this book was about or if it was something they should read. When I asked Mr. Perfect about it, he was similarly unenthusiastic.

So how did I come up with the final title for this book? I thought and prayed about it for days, running options through my head. I searched Google and Amazon for each title I came up with to see how many items were returned. I didn’t want this book to get lost in a sea of similar titles. Nothing seemed to be unique enough to stand out and clearly convey the concept of the book at the same time.

As I walked to the bathroom on autopilot one morning, turning phrases around in my head, I thought about the recent shift in direction the book had taken. It was still for Christian women who desired to be married, but the focus was more on the woman herself than marriage. It wasn’t about getting married so much as allowing God to mature and develop you for the next step in your life.¬†It’s like God is…¬†and whoop, there it is! Right as I sat down on the toilet, the title popped into my head.¬†

I rolled it around in my head. Was it clear? Yes. Was it catchy? I think so. Did it pertain to the content of the book? Definitely. Could I see it on the cover of a book with interesting images? Yep. If I were walking through a bookstore, would that title make me pick up the book and turn it around? Absolutely. The only thing left was to check Amazon and Google to see if that title was also the title of a thousand other books. Lo and behold, it wasn’t! There was one blog site that had one entry from years ago, a TV show from a while back that wasn’t a similar in scope, and no books with that title on Amazon.

I told Mr. Perfect about my new title idea and he liked it. Then I told my dad, who’s also a writer, and he liked it. Over the past year and a half since I named my book, I’ve only shared it with my critique buddies, cover designer, cover model, minister, and Mom. Until now.

Ready?

Are you sure?

Okay, here it goes:

The title of my debut book is…*drum roll*

Altered before the Altar: Allowing God to Make you “Meet” to be Met.¬†*fireworks* *confetti*

(Now don’t whip up a book and steal this great title, you hear?)

God willing, Altered will be the first book in a series developed for young women on various topics. Once I get the legal side of things attended to, I will make sure to release further details on the series. What I will divulge now is that I already have plans for the next book. It is much more personal and on a subject I’m just as passionate about as marriage preparation. But that’s off in the future. ūüėČ

I’m sure you’re interested in the cover now, right? Stay tuned next Friday for a cover reveal!

 

 

Posted on

Getting Serious About: Publishing a Book

DSCF0270When I was in the fifth grade we had to write an essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up. One of my best friends at the time, Tiffani, and I decided that we wanted to be therapists. But I also wanted to write. I ended up writing in that essay that I wanted to be a relationship therapist and write books about relationships. Not long after sixth grade started, I moved away and didn’t reconnect with Tiffani again until we found one another through Facebook somehow nearly two decades later. Now Tiffani is a nurse and I work as an administrative assistant in the legal department of a company. Yet the desire to talk about relationships, the desire to write, has never gone away.

Many of you know all about how I started doing interviews with married couples and posting them on my blog. You may also know that I spoke to the single women at my church during the Marriage and Family workshop about dating and purity. You may even know that I decided to write a book and have been working on it off and on for about four years. What you may not know is that the book I dabbled in for so long now has a title, a cover, beta readers, and a tentative release date.

One of the main reasons I started The Season for Getting Serious was so that I could encourage other women to get serious about their walk with the Lord. I’ve had a couple opportunities to do “Getting Serious” talks to help do just that. I’ve hosted college prep workshops, spoke at an empowerment workshop and an authentic self workshop, and taught ladies’ bible classes about topics that very much relate to helping women get serious about who they are in Christ and what He has called them to do. Yet I hadn’t stepped up and done the one thing I knew that God had called me, Erica D. Hearns, to do: write.

Oh, I wrote blogs, but no books had been written by my hand. I was dissatisfied with the books I read geared toward single women and began writing what I felt God wanted me to say to them in drips and drabs, but I wasn’t really committed to publishing it. ¬†I wasn’t sure it was God that was leading me to want to publish a book. Maybe it was my own selfish desire.

In 2012, the guest speaker at the ladies day, Sister Felicia Carruthers, did an activity where she had us think back to when we were kids and the things we liked to do. Somewhere in the things we always did as a kid we might find our purpose. That was a simple exercise for me. I’d always written. I’d written Spiritual Adventure articles for the local congregation when I was in college. I wrote a poem for a coffee shop the Christian Student Center hosted. I didn’t minister to people by singing or going to medical school to save lives; I used my writing to promote the things of God. That ladies’ day was the day that I realized I needed to get serious about seeking publication.

Through many false starts, distractions, frustrations and tests, I kept limping forward. I gave my book to a couple of beta readers about two weeks ago. I commissioned a cover and received the finalized version yesterday. I’m amazed at how God has brought me to this point, just a couple steps away from publishing my first book. Somewhere along the way, I started to take this journey seriously. I wrote the difficult passages. I’ve put myself out there for feedback. I was able to critique my cover and propose the changes I wanted without compromising what I wanted or insulting the designer (I hope). I am making sure that my genuine concern and compassion are evident to the reader as much as the urgency and call to obedience and repentance. I’ve committed myself to publishing the book that God gave me to publish.

Sometimes, in the “busyness” of everyday life, the still quiet voice that nudges us towards doing what God would have us to do is drowned out. The godly goals and desires we have can get washed away in a sea of stress and worry. But what I try to remind myself is that someone is looking for the thing that I am procrastinating about doing. Someone needs to read this book. Someone needs to read the next one. ¬†As Mordecai tells Esther, if I don’t do it, God will raise up someone else to do it; but what if I was placed here and given this talent for such a time as this?

So, anyway. I have a book coming out soon. I’ll release the title, cover, and so forth as the release date approaches. I’m still working out some of the kinks and getting things in order. But it’s more real than ever now.

XOXO,

Erica

Posted on

Just Dropping in

I haven’t been here in a while because I’ve been writing like a crazy person on the book. I have finally found a rhythm and a writing space that works for me where I’m guaranteed to get some words¬† on the page, and having that routine is helping the book to flow. It also helps that I have an outline of what I want to say in each section before I sit down to write it. Two of the things I have fought the hardest not to do turn out to help me the most, at least in non-fiction writing; who would have thought (besides everyone)?

I usually wake up¬†in the mornings, pray, study the word, maybe pray again, then get to the writing. I tried to spend at least one hour in the morning just writing. I like to do my editing of the morning’s writings at lunchtime or after work when I can’t fit the writing in until lunch. Some days I write in the morning and at lunch and edit at night or the next morning. I don’t have a word count¬†goal, just a time goal. At least one hour a day spent writing. It’s working for me.

The biggest thing that has happened with the book is I have decided upon a few deadlines. I have a deadline to finish writing, a deadline to finish my editing, and a deadline to turn it over to an editor I trust. I have a target date for publication if I go the self-published route. The deadlines are hard deadlines that I plan to stick to, totally doable, and scary. I was told that the deadline should make you a little uncomfortable and be a little challenging, so it is. I will share deadlines a little later.

The moment I told someone what my deadline was, I felt peace. Yes, this is the right time to get it done. Then I felt panic. Oh crap, I’m going to have to get this done! I haven’t been worrying about what will happen when I’m done writing, but once I set a deadline, those thoughts began to creep in. I began to think about the market and who will buy this book. The market is flooded with this type of book from all types of people. Most of my friends have no need for this book, so who is going to buy it? Why couldn’t I publish another book first? But this is the book that I feel needs to be out first. It’s the book I’ve gotten the furthest on and sacrificed the most to get done. I mean, I got a laptop and bought ink for my printer for this book!

I hope that you all are doing what you feel you should be doing and working hard to achieve your goals as well. I have to get ready for work.

XOXO

Erica

Posted on

There Just Might Be an Ebook in my Future Soon…

For the past few years, I’ve felt like my first book should make a statement about who I am as a person, what I believe. Even though I write fiction primarily, I wanted my first offering to be non-fiction, about a subject close to my heart that I could share with those in need of some instruction in that area. As I’ve been working diligently on a couple of projects that could fit that description at different points in the past three years, I keep going back in forth with which book I should publish first, and how.

For my non-fiction works, I have leaned towards self-publication. I don’t want to have to deal with editors or publishers who would water down or change some of the passages I write to try and make them more appealing to a broader audience, especially those focused on doing things in a godly way. I know that there are Christian publishers out there who would be able to support such work, but I don’t know if I want to be slated for release eighteen months after a deal is struck. I want to have more control over how and when these books are released. It’s not about acclaim and distribution with them, but with reaching people.

There are a great number of people who have been waiting for years for me to release a book. I have been told I should write a book since before I was in high school. Family, friends, classmates, teachers, and people I’ve done presentations for have expressed their intention to buy my first book. The first book is the one that everyone is anticipating and will get for reasons other than they like your writing. If you can’t capture them with the first book, your second one is dead in the water. I’ve seen people struggle to sell that second book, from established authors to self-publishing novices. So I want the first book, the one most likely to end up¬† in the most hands, to SAY SOMETHING. But what?

I’ve been working for a few years now on what started as the Marriage Kit Project. Even though I’ve done many interviews, researched tons of scripture, teased out most of the aspects of mate selection and dating I wanted to explore, it’s still not ready yet. I want to do a couple more interviews, pull a few more quotes, find a few more scriptures, and revise for my book’s life. I really wanted this to be the first book, but it won’t be ready for a while, even longer if I decide not to self publish it. So that leaves another possible project: Some College.

Some college is a memoir about my gap year. A gap year is a period of time of a year of more that a student is out of school, particularly higher education. For example, some people take a gap year between high school and college to travel. Some people take a gap year to work, pursue a dream, or to retest and qualify for a license. One of my relatives is sitting out now waiting to retake a licensing exam because you can only attempt it so many times a year. Many who are forced to take a gap year don’t return to finish their education.

My gap year occurred between my junior and senior year. It was not a voluntary one where I traveled or pursued a dream or sought to find myself in some way. I knew from the moment I realized I would have to sit out that I wanted to write about the experience. As a result, I have several journals filled with observations, stories, revelations, plans, and whatever else I thought might be interesting for the story. I even spent a long time getting some chapters written out on paper, figuring out what kind of structure I might want to use, and deciding whether or not to use whole journal entries. I even had an idea how I wanted to introduce the book and to whom it would be dedicated. But once I was taken by the marriage kit project, Some College fell to the wayside.

I recently uncovered yet another journal about this time and became taken with finishing it. There isn’t a lot of research that needs to be done since it is my story; I can just write and revise. I have a good start on it, and it’s an important story for me to tell. But should it be my first book? Should I self publish it?

I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out if there are some lessons I want to teach or if this is just me sharing my story. I’ve spent time deciding if I just want to write this for myself or release it. I’ve tried to decide if it fits The Season for Getting Serious model. Most of all, I’ve made the decision that if I’m going to do it, I might as well be honest and tell the truth of what happened. While I’m still working on The Marriage Kit book (still unnamed, officially), something in my soul says that Some College is the book that I need to put out first, the one I can put out soon. That same something is saying it needs to be out before college classes start this fall…

What are you feeling like you need to finish? How are you going to do it?

XOXO,

Erica

 

Posted on

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

Posted on

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?