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#BookLoversDay Giveaway

#BookLoversDay Giveaway

When I learned that today was #BookLoversDay, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to hold a giveaway for my favorite book, WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS by H.A. Callum. Just as a reminder as to how much I love this book, I’ve reposted my review below.

Here’s is the link to enter for a chance to win this incredible book! If you win, be sure to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads to show this author some well-deserved book love.

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WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS by H.A. Callum – This book is special! It embodies the triumphant magic of unwavering friendship and love. After reading, I clutched it tightly to my chest for a while to sit with all the emotions coursing through my heart before gently placing it on my shelf reserved for favorite books. The characters Callum created   -especially Tommy- nestled their way into my heart where they will always stay.  The friendship between Tommy and Aubrey floated off the pages and enveloped me. The writing is so lovely, I had to stop and read the words over and over like the replaying of a favorite song. I wish I could rush off into the Alders and find the love and tenderness that Aubrey and Tommy found there with each other. I can’t wait until Callum’s next novel.

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New Favorite Book Alert!

New Favorite Book Alert!

Normally, I add my book reviews to my book review page, but this one deserved a blog post all its own. As I said before, I’m a bit of a reluctant reader. I know a lot of authors are ravenous readers, but it is an activity that can be a bit laborious for me. I read, usually, as a process of learning and study and not a process of enjoyment. Therefore,  books that grab hold of me and keep me turning pages enter the rare “favorite” zone. They make me want to jump up and down and squeal and shout to the world!!!

This book is one of them!

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WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS by H.A. Callum – This book is special! It embodies the triumphant magic of unwavering friendship and love. After reading, I clutched it tightly to my chest for a while to sit with all the emotions coursing through my heart before gently placing it on my shelf reserved for favorite books. The characters Callum created   -especially Tommy- nestled their way into my heart where they will always stay.  The friendship between Tommy and Aubrey floated off the pages and enveloped me. The writing is so lovely, I had to stop and read the words over and over like the replaying of a favorite song. I wish I could rush off into the Alders and find the love and tenderness that Aubrey and Tommy found there with each other. I can’t wait until Callum’s next novel. I highly recommend this book! Buy it here!

When you’re done reading it, let me know what you think. I’d love to discuss this one.

Posted in Blog posts

Music is my soul’s favorite poetry

Music is my soul’s favorite poetry

No one’s lyrics and melodies move me more than those of the great Tom Petty. So, I’ll leave this beautiful piece here as my post for today.

 

 

“Walls (Circus)”

Some days are diamonds
Some days are rocks
Some doors are open
Some roads are blocked

Sundowns are golden
Then fade away
But if I never do nothing
I’ll get you back some day, ’cause

You got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can’t hold out forever
Even walls fall down

All around your island
There’s a barricade
That keeps out the danger
That holds in the pain

Sometimes you’re happy
Sometimes you cry
Half of me is ocean
Half of me is sky, but

You got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can’t hold out forever
Even walls fall down

Some things are over
Some things go on
Part of me you carry
Part of me is gone, but

You got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can’t hold out forever
Even walls fall down

You got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can’t hold out forever
Even walls fall down

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INFP me.

INFP me.

I’ll never forget the first time I took the Myers-Briggs Personality test and learned I was an INFP. It was a little creepy how well the test knew me, but it was also a relief to read that there are others out there like me. Even though I tend to be a loner, I felt so much less alone.

To be honest, I’ve always been embarrassed by the way I am. I remember always crying at movies when others didn’t, desperately trying to stop the tears from forming then falling, and when they did, quickly trying to wipe them away before others saw. One time, when I was little, I vividly remember watching an episode of Highway to Heaven. In the episode, a homeless boy wishes that someone would love him, Jonathan comes to him to make his wish come true. It had a happy ending. I cried and cried. My sister laughed. Her laughter stung.

I learned to be embarrassed by who I am. “Too idealistic, too altruistic, impractical, taking things personally, and hard to get to know” these are the weaknesses of the INFP.  These are my weaknesses.

Yes, I am hard to get to know, and it takes a long time before I show people the real me. There are only a handful of people who truly know me. So when I finally let someone in, and they disappoint idealistic me, it hurts immensely.

I’m so thankful to be a writer. I could let the pain and shame about how I react consume me. But now, I take to the page and turn all the negative feelings I have for myself into works that I’m proud of.

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Do you know your personality type?

Are you an INFP, like me? How do you work through your “weaknesses?”

You can find out more about the INFP personality type here

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Dear Universe, Message Received.

Dear Universe, Message Received.

Last night, I was folding laundry in the basement while my husband was cleaning homebrew equipment. We had a conversation that went something like this…

Me: “I don’t know what my problem is. I can’t finish a book. I can’t bring myself to write. When I wrote A Game of Truths and Aster, they flowed out of me. I couldn’t NOT write them. It’s like I felt open to whatever it is that gives me the stories and now I’m all clenched and closed off.”

Hubs: “Well, it seems like you’ve been only been concerned with marketing lately.”

Me: “Yeah. And I hate it. I wish I was a  more businessy person.”

Hubs: “But then you probably wouldn’t be as much of a creative person.”

Me: “Sigh.”

Earlier in the day, I had watched a show about Nikola Tesla and there was a section relating to this quote, “My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

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I know it exists too. I know this is where my stories come from. I’ve never felt like I knew where my stories were going when I wrote them but I was being led there by something.

C.S. Lewis -“I never exactly made a book. It’s rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say. ”

This quote describes how I used to feel when I wrote. I always told my husband that I felt like I was just a transcriptionist to whatever it was that was passing the story on to me.

Those two books flowed out of me with such ease. It was wonderful. A gift. Pure joy.

But then I started to let things I was hearing and reading press down on me. I got wrapped up in a thick layer of “shoulds” and opinions that I took for facts.

  • A writer should write every day.
  • A real author is one who is published by one of the Big Five
  • There is a formula to writing a good story
  • One must plot out their story or it’s likely to end in disaster

I let all these things sink in deep. I started to try to change the way I wrote and change what my goals should be. I started to query agents. I let myself read articles that bash indie authors. I concentrated on marketing. I attempted to plot out my stories. When I did all these things, there was only one thing that happened.

Disaster.

I no longer felt connected to that thing that guided me and I was no longer able to finish a book. It has been a year since I’ve finished writing anything that I felt superbly proud of.

Writing has lost its joy. It no longer feels like a gift but a chore.

All these things might be true for others. I’m sure there is no right way to do things. Because we’re all different. But these weren’t right for me.

 

Robert Frost said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

What about if there is no joy in the writing? I must imagine that it will bring about no joy in the reading.

The marketing has made me feel miserable. Finding readers. Feigning confidence about my work. Shelling out dollars that I worry will never come back. Feeling like I’m only taking resources away from my family on a career that will never take off. It makes me feel squeezed and scrunched and miserable. And I imagine a clenched body and mind is easily cut off from the energy swirling around me that I was once so easily able to tap into.

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After talking with my husband, I decided that I was no longer going to go ahead with my plan to pressure myself to write more that night. Instead, I plopped down on the couch and decided to watch something from my always-growing, never-shrinking list of things I wanted to watch on Netflix.

I chose WALT BEFORE MICKEY.

The failure. The struggle. The hope. The creativity. The joy. The despair. They all resonated with me.

I oftentimes let myself feel like a failure. But what’s so wrong with failure anyway? “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” -Walt Disney.

I doubt there are many people who have big dreams and passions that don’t get their teeth kicked in and their guts ripped out along the way. But they push through the pain because it’s what matters to the soul. You only get this one life so you should push through obstacles and always be reaching for your dreams. Shouldn’t you? Otherwise, wasn’t it all a waste of precious time?

Walt Disney started out in a barn and still believed in himself. Yet I, starting out with a Small Press, still let “others” bully my belief that I’m a “real” author. We all have to start somewhere. Who cares where that is? Why do people bash indie authors so? No one says, “Really? That local band is playing and they’re really good? Well, they don’t have a record deal so I’m not going to the show.”  Or, “Wow, that painting is beautiful, but it was done by a local artist. It all of a sudden looks less beautiful to me. I don’t want it.” Am I really going to let people tell me what I am because of how I start? Am I going to forget about the people that do believe in me? I need to trust in and appreciate those who do and not concern myself with those who don’t.

And during the movie, the thing that jolted me up off the couch most was when Walt said to his brother Roy, “I spent so much time doing the business that it cut some of the creative part out of me.”

Amen! Yes! That spoke to my heart.

Maybe someday, I’ll find someone like Roy who can help me out with the business side. I still have to do it for now but I’m not going to push myself so hard.

In the shower (one of the places I do all my best thinking. I think it has something to do with the water) I had an image come to me of a flower. Tightly closed – there are no bees. But open, the bees find the flower. I need to open up again. To the energy. And maybe if I do that, the bees will represent the readers. I may not be business minded but I know this much – if I keep closed off and I try to work in a way that doesn’t suit me, all I will be able to produce will be bad stories. And then no matter how much I market, I’ll never find readers.

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So, for now, I’m going to make my focus on relaxing and trusting that I can reset my dial to tap back into that frequency that broadcasts the stories I love to transcribe. I’m going to live in my joy.  I’m going to believe in myself. I’m going to keep moving toward my dreams. And I’m certainly going to stop kicking myself in the teeth.

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Posted in Blog posts

Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads Giveaway!

Hey friends,

I’m giving away two print copies of A GAME OF TRUTHS on Goodreads. The giveaway runs until July 18th. Enter now to grab your copy! No purchase required.

Click here to be taken to Goodreads to enter.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33907966?utm_medium=api&utm_source=giveaway_widget

For those of you who may not have read the description for A GAME OF TRUTHS yet, here you go…

There are no monsters under the bed, and things that go “bump” in the night are just the product of an overactive imagination—or are they?

Little sisters aren’t always made of sugar, spice, and all things nice—but annoying little pests. Just ask Owen and Hugh, Imogen’s bigger twin brothers who are tired of their four-year-old sibling constantly getting them into trouble and lying about it.

The two teenagers are woken up by a loud crash one night—and discover that Imogen has gone missing and their parents are in a deep sleep from which they cannot be woken. Frantically searching the house and garden, they soon find themselves in the forest—a dark, foreboding place at night filled with dangerous secrets.

As the boys venture deeper into the forest, they find themselves dragged into a world filled with mysterious creatures—some out to help them, others dark creatures who seek to harm them.

One thing is for sure: they have only a few short hours to find Imogen and get back home before it’s too late.

As Owen and Hugh race against the relentless ticking-down of the clock, they find themselves battling monsters in a magical dimension. Breakfast is coming—and if they don’t find Imogen before sunrise, they may never see her again. Can Owen and Hugh triumph against the darkness and rescue their sister?

Karen Ann Wirtz’s new novel, A Game of Truths is a thrilling adventure story packed with imaginative storytelling, a unique cast of personalities that children will identify with while taking parents back to their own childhoods. This is Wirtz’s first novel, a refreshing indie read that readers age 11 and up will enjoy along with their parents.

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Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal

So, here it is! The cover of my latest book, ASTER FINLAY AND THE GREAT ELAN, from Blue Deco Publishing.

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Isn’t it beautiful!

ASTER FINLAY AND THE GREAT ELAN is a middle-grade fantasy adventure.

It’s available for pre-order in ebook on Amazon now and available in paperback on July 7th, 2017.

Click here if you’d like to pre-order an ebook copy.

Posted in Blog posts

Cover Reveal!

Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to announce that the cover reveal for my next book ASTER FINLAY AND THE GREAT ELAN will be on Saturday, June 3rd.

You can swing by my Facebook page here

or find me on Twitter here if you want to check it out!  You can also check out Blue Deco Publishing’s website here

I’m so excited. I’ll just be over here dancing!

 

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Woo Woooo!