Monday, September 29, 2014

My Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and after this past week, I’d definitely agree.

My village usually consists of my parents, who live nearby and are able to pitch in whenever and wherever I need them. When my kids were little, I had built-in babysitters twelve minutes away. They were available to meet the bus if I was running late, to carpool if I had to be in different places with different kids, and for the occasional date night.

Although my kids are older now, they still can’t drive themselves anywhere and it’s not uncommon for the two girls to need to be in two different places at the same time. For a while, my mom and I had a “Sunday calendar check,” where we coordinated schedules for the week.

There are other family I can call when I know I need something in advance, or when I have big needs that can't be handled by just one person. Their presence, though further away, is also reassuring.

But it’s not just my parents who are my village. It’s my friends, too, something I often forget. I was reminded of it, however, this past week.

We had a town tragedy this past week, and as is often the case, everyone pulled together to support each other. It was a lovely burst of light in an otherwise very dark week. What was so nice for me to see was the number of people who called to check on my child, who said they’d look out for my child and provided support for my child. Teachers and guidance counselors and clergy and friends all pulled together to let all of us know that we were not alone.

This weekend, my daughter and I had the chance to help out a friend and her mom with something fairly trivial, but it was nice to be part of someone else’s village for a change. We were able to help turn a chore into an adventure, to provide gentle guidance without forcing ourselves on anyone and to have a bit of fun in the process. It was a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, more like a social activity, but one with a purpose.

This week, my parents are away. There are no daily phone calls, no “Sunday calendar checks” and no one to pitch in spur-of-the-moment when I realize I double booked something (like that dental appointment I had to reschedule because of a physical booked too close together). Except I have my village. I may not call on them for the trivial stuff, but I know that they’re there if I need them.

And that’s awesome.   

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Next Chapter

This little one started looking at colleges this weekend. I’m having a hard time grasping that fact. I’m not usually one to lament, “Where did the time go?” Truthfully, if time didn’t pass, I’d be stuck in certain childhood phases that only by knowing it would pass, allowed me to survive it—terrible ones, twos and threes, first month of kindergarten, hormones, anyone? And I really like the stages we get to and I enjoy thinking about what comes next.

But college, that’s like an entirely new life. I have to say, it’s really exciting and scary and inspiring, all at the same time.

She started by checking out a couple of colleges who visited her high school during lunch. She even picked up a brochure from my husband’s and my alma mater (Washington University). Her biggest question with that school was if we really wanted her to go there to continue our family tradition. A) I didn’t know we had a family tradition. B) I strongly believe in each child’s independence, both their own, from each other and from us. C) She needs to find a school that’s right for her, not for me or my husband.

So she’s checking things out as she goes along and making her list of what she wants in a college. She’s only 15 though, so I’m not convinced her desires now won’t change in a year or two. Of course, if I even think about mentioning it, she rolls her eyes and tells me how much I don’t know. For now, I’m accepting that she wants to be a psychology major with a concentration in childhood studies, a minor in Hebrew and live and work in Israel. Who knows! I’m also not telling her that I wanted to be a marine biologist.

Yesterday, we went to a college fair at our local community college. The school had told us about it and I mentioned it to her. She said she wanted to go. When I realized how busy our weekend was, I suggested perhaps we skip it, since I wasn’t sure how many schools would be there that would be of interest to her. Turns out, there were 210 schools, 17 of which interested her. She assured me she really wanted to go and it would be fun. That should have been my clue right there.

Once we finally found the college fair—the signage was awful and there was no one to direct us—she turned to me and asked, “Why are we doing this when I’m only a sophomore?” When we ran into a friend of hers who is a junior and who asked why she was there, she responded, “I have no idea, my mom made me come.”


But after a few schools, she rallied. I kept myself calm and in the background, only speaking when spoken to and carrying all the literature she collected (basically, acting like a well-mannered servant). She’s reaching the goal I set for her, which was to just start compiling a list of schools she thinks she likes, so that next year, we’re not starting from scratch. She narrowed the 17 down to about 10 so far.

And I’m staring a the sweet little girl in the picture and shaking my head.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What To Write?

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks preparing blog posts for a virtual book tour to promote my new book, Miriam’s Surrender. Some are blog posts about the book, some are interview questions, and some are open-ended posts, where I write about any writing subject that strikes my fancy.

Because my time has been severely limited by personal commitments, I’ve had to pound out these posts quickly, without a lot of time to think about them. It’s been good for me to do that—the faster I can write, the more productive I can be.

However, when it comes to my own blog, I’m finding it difficult to figure out what to say. This is an eclectic blog, with topics ranging from writing to family life to funny things that happen and to my take on things going on around me. I don’t like too many posts in one vein; I like to mix things up.

But I’m at a loss today for a topic.

I suppose I could write about my book, except with all the publicizing I’ve been doing, I’m a little tired of talking about it, and definitely tired of talking about myself!

I could write about my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah that took place over the weekend, except my life has been so consumed with it, that I’d like a little break (that’s not to say it wasn’t wonderful, because it was!).

I suppose I could look for something to be snarky about, but most of what I’ve been joking about isn’t really enough for a blog post, so I’ve posted a line or two on Facebook, which is plenty.

Perhaps I need to readjust to a less frenetic pace. My brain did a great job keeping up with almost everything; it needs a break.

So I’ll take one for now. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something worthwhile to read, I’d recommend Peter King’s take on the worstweek in football history. He makes some interesting points about football, violence and hero worship (even if he never talks about the Giants).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pre-release Sale!

Just a quick note:

Leading up to the release of Miriam's Surrender on Wednesday, Sept. 10, my publisher has put the first book in the series, The Seduction of Esther, on sale at $0.99. Although both books can be read as standalones, now is a great chance to catch up.


Samara Goldberg has a problem even the most beautiful singing voice can’t fix. She’s a walking disaster, especially when she’s around handsome men. To make matters worse, she’s in desperate need of someone to play the character of Mordecai for the Purim spiel she’s producing and the new congregant, Nathaniel Abramson, is a perfect fit. Nathaniel is a divorced dad who’s recovering from the biggest public scandal of his life. The last thing he needs is a relationship with the choir director at his new synagogue, who also happens to be playing the lead female role of Esther in the very play he’s been coerced into joining.

Woven around the Jewish holiday of Purim, The Seduction of Esther is a story of two people whose lives mirror the plot of the Purim story. Like Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity from the King of Persia, Samara and Nathaniel are hiding key pieces of themselves. Evil Haman wanted to destroy the Jews, and the nasty Josh will do anything to keep Samara and Nathaniel apart. Will their love survive, like the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, or will their fear keep them apart?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Interview with Jackson D'Lynne

I’d like to welcome fellow NJRW romance writer Jackson D’Lynne to my blog today. She self published her first book, The Diva & The Duke and she let me interview her.

What are your goals as a writer? Have you met them/How do you plan to meet them?

Goals? I have lots of those. My first goal was to write a full length novel, which I completed this year. My debut time travel romance novel, The Diva and the Duke, released on July 10th. My next goal is to finish the series, and then my goal is to keep writing until I die. Simple goals, right?

I plan to meet my goals by writing whenever I can. I have four kids, so I don’t get to write as often as I’d like, but when I do, brilliance comes out, lol.

What inspires you to write?

Writing has always been my passion. There are times when a song inspires me to write a certain scene. Also, there are dark, strange flashes of ideas in my macabre mind that end up as a story idea in my OneNote notebook.

How do you develop your characters?

They develop as a flicker in my brain. They don’t really start fleshing themselves out until I start writing the book. Sometimes, I don’t even know how they’ll react to a scene until I am sitting there writing it. With The Diva and the Duke, the Twins (if you want to know who they are, you’ll have to get the book) didn’t begin their lives as deeply disturbing as they ended up being, lol.

Do you use critique partners? Why or why not?

I do. I have two critique partners – well, one is more like an opinionated reader, but she’s done a lot for me over the development of my series. She reads through the chapters, tells me what works, what she hates, what she likes, and what is inaccurate. My official colleague critiquer is pretty new to the writing game, but she’s highly educated and well-read so her ideas and opinions are much appreciated.

(Shout out to Helen and Carol!)

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since elementary school. I wrote a short story that won a district wide writing contest. Since then, I’ve written a book of poetry and short stories that I published under my real name through Tate Publishing. By vocation (which means until I start making enough writing romance to STOP having another job) I am a freelance marketing copywriter, but I don’t like it because I don’t get to write what I want, I have to write what other people tell me to write. Boring. Like I said before, I’ve been writing forever, and I wake up every morning eager to appease my Muse.

Do you outline ahead of time or do you write from your head (are you a plotter or a pantser)?

Both. There are times when the plot to an entire scene comes to mind when I’m sitting in the car. I’ll make a note and then go home and fill in the points. When I finally sit down to write the scene, the meaty bits come together.

What is your writing routine?

I have four kids and a part time job, I have no writing routine. When I do find I have an hour or so to write, I turn on Anti-Social (awesome software), and I write. When the kids start to scream I step away from the computer and whimper a bit.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Mediating sibling disputes, cleaning up German Shepherd hair (a never-ending task), trying to lose weight, writing marketing copy for my list of clients, listening to my Amazon Music collection (for inspiration, of course), snuggling with my 2 yo son and wishing he’d stay little forever, reading something from my TBR pile, playing Diablo III or World of Warcraft, or watching something off the DVR.

Sounds exciting, right?

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. I played high school football. I’ve won several singing and writing competitions. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Counseling (Counseling Psychology), and an Associate’s Degree in Biblical Studies. My favorite color is purple. I named all of my children after men/women from the Bible. I’m a social/political conservative. My favorite TV show of all time is Avatar: The Last Airbender.

What are you currently working on (feel free to include a synopsis or excerpt, but please keep it PG)?

I am currently working the second book in my Three Goddesses Series, The Rancher and the Renegade. This book focuses on Haven’s (heroine in The Diva and the Duke) friend Rhiannon, who we discover is an undercover DEA agent investigating the club where Haven works. Here is the blurb:

When a heart breaking tragedy effectively ends undercover DEA agent Marisol Sanchez’s career, she has nothing and no one left. With the cold steel of a Glock 21 in her mouth, she’s resigned to taking her own life. Before she can pull the trigger, a golden pocket watch she bought at an adult’s only carnival a year before begins to glow. Compelled by a strange power, Mari winds the watch, and is propelled through time to 1850 Texas.

Harvard lawyer turned cattle rancher Tyrence Barrett is in a battle he can’t win as desperadoes raid the settlements along the creek, and burn and murder their way through the land. On a routine inspection of his property, Ty stumbles upon a beautiful migrant woman who seems out of place, completely irresistible, and strangely familiar…

He offers Mari a place to stay and a job, but he can’t possibly understand how important she is to him, or how important he will be to her.

When evil threatens to invade the ranch, Mari must use her considerable skills to help beat back the raiders who seek to clear the land and claim the silver in the creek for themselves. With Ty by her side, Mari must learn to forgive herself, rely on the strength of others, and to love despite the overwhelming fear of loss.

Can a displaced renegade really help a Lone Star rancher defend his home against an encroaching evil? Will the time lost Mari give in to the desperate sorrow devouring her heart? Or will Ty show her that a rancher and a renegade can find love and a happily ever after?

(Release set for Spring 2015)

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Hot tea, a good, sexy book, and a quiet house.

What is your favorite book you’ve written? Read?

Favorite book written would have to be The Diva and the Duke – it’s my first and will always be my greatest achievement. The best book I’ve ever read? Whoa, I’ve read so many! Can I just cheat and say, The Bible, which is by far the most beautiful book ever written.

Jackson can be found in the following places:

and on Twitter: @JacksonDLynne

Jackson D’Lynne is an avid reader, and a passionate writer. From love scenes in moon-swept forests, to edge-of-your-seat scenes in dark alleys, she loves to write scenes that pull in her readers, and leave them begging for more.
Her very first full-length novel is due for release July 8th 2014, and she couldnt be more excited about it.
When she isnt writing time-travel, paranormal romance, and
young adult thrillers, she is writing website content for her long and varying list of international clients. Also, she is a harried mother of four, wife of one very
patient husband, and White German Shepherd Wrangler. For more information about Jackson, visit her website at, and find her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Diva and the Duke Book #1 of The Three Goddesses Series ~ July 8, 2014
Amazon Digital Publishing~ ISBN: 978-1499694338
Haven Edwards is a sensual, intelligent, 21st century diva with an “exotic” career. Wanting nothing more than to move past her ugly divorce, she attends an adults only Carnal-val where she’s compelled to steal a strangely glowing pocket watch. Overcome with its power, she winds it. A portal opens beneath her feet, hurtling her back through time to 1817 where she crashes into the life of the very proper, very sexy, Logan Dunham. A duke with a deep distrust of beautiful women, Logan can’t understand his staggering desire for

the woman with the quick wit, and jade green eyesthe woman who haunted his dreams long before they met.

Haven is determined to find a way home, but she can’t shake her hunger for the dark, brooding duke. He’s a duke, he’s out of her league, right? So why does her heart beat a little faster whenever he is near? Why does her mind conjure images of happily ever after?

One touch, and they are consumed by their desire. But before they can untangle their feelings for one another, a sociopath with a god complex and a knife fetish sets his evil intents on Haven. In order to save her life, Logan must destroy the demons of his past, and learn to trust a power he doesn’t understand. What happens when he arrives too late? Will the time-swept diva be lost forever, or will the diva get her duke?