M. Leighton New Adult Contemporary

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My blogger friends and some exciting news

In some ways, I'm a raging over sharer, as you've no doubt seen if you follow me on social media.  There are times when I just sit back and shake my head over what I say or admit, thinking, "Dude..."  But at other times, I err in the other direction and neglect to share things.  This is especially true if I have any question that my sharing XY and Z information could be misconstrued in any way.  I probably WAAAAY overthink things, but that's just the way I'm made, so I've kinda gotten used to feeling crazy and torn most of the time. LOL

Anyway, I have several things to share here today, along with a call to ALL MY WONDERFUL BLOGGER FRIENDS who might be interested in helping  share some cool stuff in the coming months.

First of all, I'll just say that I'm planning for this year to be a Cash and Nash kind of Christmas.  Eeeeeeep I'm not going to give away too much right now, but I did want to let you know that it's in the works.  So, so many of you have asked about them and...well...I miss them, so there you have it.  I'm doing something super cool with them and I'd love to have some blogs participate in sharing/posting exclusive stuff, so if you're interested, please fill out the very short form below.

Secondly, I'll be revealing the cover and blurb for book one in my new Berkley trilogy very soon.  I'm SO FREAKIN' EXCITED by this series, I just can't even... yeah.  it's like that.  OMG!

Thirdly, I mentioned to y'all a few months ago about a special favor my husband asked of me.  Well, that's now officially in the works, too.

As you can see, I've got a lot coming up in December and then throughout 2015. I'd love to have your help for one or two or all of them. Whatever you can do, I'm always grateful for.  I know your time is donated and very, very precious, so I will just notify you of the event as far in advance as possible and then you can sign up if you're interested.   Easy peasy.

Here's the sign-up form and I so, so, SO look forward to sharing yumminess and fun with you:)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Self-publishing: How it worked for me and how I did it practically for free

Self-publishing.  I think this is as hot a topic now as it was when I first started looking into it in December of 2010.  I also think it has just as much merit now as it did in 2010, possibly even more.

Let me go back.  Allllll the way back to where I was before I read Twilight (which is what prompted me to write my first book.  No, I'm not kidding. LOL)  I was a registered nurse before I started writing. I had never so much as kept a journal before then, never once considered that I might one day be a writer.  It just never entered my mind.  Not only that, but I was the type of reader who got my books from bookstores, had never been on a blog of any kind and hadn't heard of a digital reader. I had a Facebook account that had been closed for years, and had only a vague idea what Twitter was. So as you can see, your beginnings, no matter how humble or clueless, need not effect your future. Yes, things might've moved faster had I been familiar with...all this, but they still moved. So consider yourself to be ahead of the game as of right this minute. LOL

Because I wasn't a part of this digital literary world, when I wrote my first book in June of 2009, I queried it the traditional way. It's the only way I knew of, the only way I thought it could be done.  So I went to the library and borrowed a book (actually, it was two HUGE books) called the Literary Marketplace.  I'm sure there are websites that you can reference now, but again, I did it all the hard way. I'm goofy like that.  LOL  Anyway, once I began to see that many of them had websites, I started visiting them.  I emailed an obscene amount of literary agents and publishers.  Basically anyone who was open to submissions, I submitted. It's easier to do that these days, of course, with the advent of email and the popularity of paperless processes.  It was as simple as looking up that agent/publisher, reading through their preferences and then tailoring my electronic letter and attachments to their specific wants and needs.  None of that helped with rejection, of course. LOL  There was no book or website for that.  And like most people who write a book, I was absolutely certain that NONE OF THEM could go another day in their life without snatching up my work.

About six weeks after that is when I got my very first check. It wasn't the kind you can cash, though. It was the reality kind. Bahahahahaha  Lemme tell ya, the competition is stiff and your work truly has to stand out among the rest to get noticed.  Consider yourself warned that not everyone will fall as much in love with your project as you have. But that's okay.  I think as authors we have to love our work and our characters long before anyone else does and long after.  They're very personal to us and there's no amount of coaching that can prepare you for what it feels like when others who you look up to essentially tell you that the love of your literary life isn't good enough.

Here's where the first (well,  maybe second) realllllly tough spot occurs.  Do you give up and admit defeat? Or do you continue?  Throw in the towel or write more, learn more, keep at it until you get better?  I hope that, like me, you will continue on. I can't even imagine my life right now had I given up.  I mean, I just can't...I can't even... Nope. Not gonna go there.

Okay, so back to self-publishing.

It was after those rejections that I found Amanda Hocking. Well, actually my husband did. She was the breakout star of independent publishing and hubby had been trying to convince me to follow in her footsteps since June of 2010, one year after I'd written my first (and second, by that point) novel.  I refused to listen at first, thinking that self-publishing was tantamount to giving up.

Now before you get offended, let me tell you that I no longer feel that way AT ALL.  That was simply ignorance on my part.  Y'all, self-publishing changed my life. Since the moment I first hit PUBLISH on Amazon KDP January 30, 2011, I have gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of books, appear on the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and a few other best seller lists multiple times, and secure not only an incredible agent, but three traditional book deals with my amazing publisher, Berkley as well.  I'm not boasting; I'm just saying that NONE of that would've happened had I not taken that first scary step!  I wanted people to read my book and I was willing to publish it myself in order to accomplish that.  And what a crazy-awesome, wonderful decision that was!  Self-publishing took me from quitting my day job with nothing more than faith and the support of my husband, through a couple of months of getting gas money from rolling quarters and grocery money from selling some of my gold jewelry, to being able to write full-time and make a living doing something that I love.  Finally!  Believe me, I'd be the first person in the world to sing the praises of self-publishing. In fact, I often am. LOL

Anyway, I wanted to share with you how I went about it not because it's a big secret, but because I did almost everything for free or for very little financial investment.  It's not that you can't figure all this out on your own, but maybe it can be one or two less things that you have to think about or google the crap out of.  I would've loved, loved, loved to have information like this when I started out, so I hope that you find it helpful.  I'm going to put it in a step-by-step format, just for ease of reading and to keep myself on track.  <----we all  know how susceptible I am to tangents. hehe

#1- Your Product-  Make sure before you do anything else that your book is as polished and shiny as it can be.  If you need help with the writing process itself, do an internet search for writing groups or ask around on Facebook.  Very often you'll find some invaluable information in those places and you'll likely make some friends.

      #1A-  I'll also mention here that it's good to have a critique partner, another author who can give you honest feedback about your work.  At first, I had never even heard of one, much less known to go find one, so I used my husband and my sister.  Granted, those probably aren't people who were likely to be BRUTALLY HONEST, but they did a wonderful job for me!  They both even caught some mistakes along the way, which made editing a lot easier.

      #1B-  You can also find beta readers or other authors who might agree to help you fine-tune and even edit your book.  Many of them will automatically point out any errors that they come across.  And while at first, you don't know who to trust, find a few reputable people to take a look at your book.  It's always better to have more than one set of eyes on your work before you put it out in the world.  Hiring an expensive editor isn't always the ONLY way either. To this very day, I still edit my own books.  Most would advise against that, and yes, there might still be a few mistakes, but I find mistakes in traditionally published books, too.  Nothing is perfect and expectations like that will only end in disappointment.  The fact of the matter is, when you're just starting out, money is often a sticking point, so I'm just telling you how you can get all this done with as little spent as possible.  Not being able to pay for a professional editor isn't the kiss of death for your book. Just go over it as many times as you can, run spell and grammar check on it every time you make changes and always, always, always look at places that others point out to you as questionable.


#2-  Formatting-  Formatting is different for each site, so be sure to reference the guidelines for the etailer you're uploading to.  This is also a good time to set up your account with each site.  That's how you get paid!  Whoop!  But back to formatting.  Here's what I have found (accurate as of 10/2014):





  • Barnes & Noble will accept a Word document.  As far as I can tell, Nook Press does a great job of converting it to epub, although you can convert to epub using Calibre and upload straight to site if you choose.  Here is where you get started with Nook Press.  









  • Smashwords has very, very, very specific guidelines. If you intend to publish through them (which could actually cut out many steps, as they will publish to Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo and several other sites), I would highly suggest that you read their Style Guide BEFORE you even type the first word so that you can set up your document that way and not have to go back and fix things.  But, I assume that you have at least a portion of a book already completed or you wouldn't be so interested in this. In that case, read it now so that you can clean up your book and get fewer errors upon publication.    **Hint:  Here's the way my blank Word document is set up.  I use Times New Roman, 12 pt font.  I don't use any fancy fonts or page headers.  I never use the tab button.  I never hit enter more than twice. I always use hard page breaks (or section breaks) to separate pages.  It might seem overwhelming at first, but stick with it.  And they also have a great support team!  Mark Coker is just wonderful! Here is where you get started with Smashwords.


      #2A-  I also want to mention here that you should have a different copy of your book for each site, one that includes which site you're publishing to as well as links SPECIFIC to that site.  That way, when you have more than one book, people can click the link and be taken directly to all your work on that site.  It's a bit of a pain when you're publishing, but when you have to go back and update something or have 10 books under your belt, you'll thank me:)

#3-  Your Cover-  There are dozens of sites that have pictures you can download for free, but just because they don't cost you anything does NOT mean that they are ROYALTY FREE.  That's what you need to worry about.  For me, I found that the best thing was to buy a picture package from  a stock photo site. I use Shutterstock.  At the time, I bought 25 pictures for $49.  I think it's a bit more than that now, but it's still a great deal!  You can also use some of your downloads for graphics and teasers if you want.  Just be sure to give credit for the photo as specified by the site.

       #3A-  As for making it pretty, I downloaded Paint.net for free to my PC and learned how to manipulate pictures and text until I had a cover that I was pleased with.  That's something else that I do to this very day.  With the exception of books through Berkley, I still do all my own covers.  For those who want to try it this way and have a Mac, I use the Pixelmator app.


#4- Marketing-  This is a loaded topic!  What works today will be obsolete tomorrow, so I'll just be brief and say that if you haven't already set up a blog, a Facebook Author Page and Twitter and Instagram accounts, get right on that!  LOL  And if you've never met a blogger, go browse around the blogs that host some of your favorite authors.  What you'll find there are some of the world's most amazing women who share your passion for the written word. They're as much a part of this community as the books themselves.  Many of them have been doing this for years and are wise beyond words!  Most of them are very helpful if you'll but ask.  As for submitting your book to them, always adhere to any guidelines that they have posted about review submissions or genre preference.  It's the very least you can do since probably 90% of them blog and review for the love of reading rather than to make money.  Be sure to be respectful of their time.  As far as paying for any kind of marketing services, I would just suggest asking around the author community for a good recommendation and then putting in some time doing research. In fact, I would suggest researching pretty much all of this stuff before you strike out to publish your book. That's what I did and I learned a lot of valuable stuff along the way.

Well, that's pretty much it in a nutshell.  I'll add to this as I think of other things you might find useful.  Remember that things change almost daily in this industry, so all this might shift to some degree. I do believe, however, that there will always be options for doing things in a cost-effective manner.

Don't let all this dissuade you. It might seem daunting at first, but just take it a step at a time.  The biggest hurdle is finishing your book.  Once that's done, just look at the rest as tiny bumps in the road to getting your baby in the hands of those who might really enjoy it. And when that time comes, revel in those readers!  They're investing in you.  They're taking a chance on you.  They're spending their hard-earned money on the blind faith that you'll deliver what you've promised. I never take that lightly, which is why I'm always gushing about how much I love my readers. Because I do.  They took a chance on me...ME!  And they change my life for the better every single day.

I wish you the best of luck with your journey.  Try to enjoy every step of it.  Rejoice in the good, learn from the challenges.  You just never know what's around the corner and how different your life will look in the space of twenty-four short hours:)



Wake up!

For those of you who don't know, I have a small dog that is very much like my child.  She belonged to my mother-in-law, Karen, and when she passed away, Karen willed us her dog.  She knew that we would take good care of her, which we do.  The dog's name is Callie.  She's an 8-pound Malti-poo that's smarter than most toddlers.  I'm not kidding.  We thought her intellect was unusual until we started researching poodle breeds.  They're freakin' smart!  Seriously.  She knows so many words that we have to spell things around her.  She can literally complete some of the tests that are designed to measure a 2-3 year old's  thought processes. It's insane!  Annnnnyway, it drives her nuts when Mr. Leighton lies in the floor and snores, pretending to sleep.  She can't stand it!  She whines until I tell her to wake him up, at which point she will scratch his head until he moves or I praise her.  It's adorable, and I secretly (okay, maybe not so secretly) snicker over her taking off a few layers of Mr. Leighton's scalp. hehe  <------Is that mean?  Probably.  But it's just so cute!  And listening to him yelp-laugh (which is what he does when she digs in) makes ME  laugh for some reason.

Here's a video of the little devil doing it. So. Cute.  As I taped it, sitting in the living room with my family when I should've been working, I was reminded of the important things in life.  Family, friends, love, laughter.  In that moment, I realized that I had it all, right there three feet away. That makes me blessed beyond measure, doesn't it?  Yep, it sure does. #Perspective

If any of you have cute pet tricks and stories, share away! I'm a huge animal lover, so...that never gets old to me:)  LOL

Happy Monday, y'all! I hope that you get to spend time with your family and friends this week, and that it's filled with loads and loads of love and laughter:)

video

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oops!

Well, here we are on Thursday.  Two days post release of All Things Pretty part two.  It was supposed to go out to all newsletter subscribers automatically and seamlessly.  <------that's where things got hairy.

Rather than using negative terms like "epic fail" or "disaster" I'll just say that the day was not without it's challenges.  *snort*  Neither was yesterday, which I compare to the writer's life version of cleaning up after a hurricane.  But I survived.  Just a few cuts and scrapes.  Nothing life threatening.  And I learned some really valuable lessons along the way, which I'm going to share with you. You knew I would, right?  That's my M.O.---->  Overshare.

#1:  Don't let an epic fail rob you of your desire to try again or to do nice things.  For about 30+ hours, I was telling myself that I will never...NEVER, NEVER, NEVER try to do something like this again.  I probably won't, actually. Not exactly like this anyway, but I WILL still do what I think is right and kind and fair.  When life kicks you in the teeth, despite your good intentions, you can't stay down on the ground and roll around.  As much as we'd sometimes like to, we can't wallow (or waller, as we say here in the south).  It's far too easy to get comfortable in the defeated position.  We have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and take a step forward.  We just have to tread more carefully and USE the wisdom that we learned when we were face down on the ground. LOL

#2:  For all the rotten apples in the world, there are a hundred beautiful, shiny, sweet ones.  I'm not sure how accurate my ratio is.  1:100 is probably very low. Maybe I should say 1:10,000.  That's probably closer.  Regardless of the real statistics, I'm learning to appreciate the bad apples.  Sounds crazy, right?  But seriously, that the one bad, nasty bitter apple can make you so, so, SO much better appreciate the good ones, know what I mean?  How would we know light if we didn't see darkness?  How would we know the sweetness of honey if we never tasted vinegar?  Sometimes it takes a trial to remind us of what's important, to make us SEE what's important. They make us grateful.

#3:  Focus.  Focus, focus, focus.  For me, this one is super important!  I can be trucking along beautifully one minute and then BAM!  One little thing will throw a kink in my whole day.  You know what that is?  INSANE!  That's what that is!  I can waste a ridiculous amount of time beating myself up over a mistake or crying over something small when there is still so much good and right and positive everywhere around me.  Just because All Things Pretty had every problem imaginable from release day of part one on 9-30 all the way through release part of part two on 10-14 doesn't mean that I need to dwell on it.  I can't change it. I can only go forward smarter. Smarter yet still happy.  I can't let this snafu sour my job or my life or my outlook.  I have to focus on the POSITIVE, take the bad for what it's worth and then move on. Learn my lesson and go.  So that's what I'm doing.

Today, I'm back in the saddle.  Focusing on the good.  I've apologized a million times for the problems that occurred with the free copy of All Things Pretty, part two.  I can't go back and undo it, and letting it ruin even one more hour would be an irresponsible tragedy on my part.  I have more books to write (my next three for my publisher, in fact), something that I'm sooooo looking forward to.  I love my job and I won't let a bad day or two steal my thunder.  Life is about balance and appreciation, taking the bad with the good.  We suffer through the icky and revel in the WOW.

So today I'm diving into my next story, which I already love because it's kind of dark and totally delicious.  I'll be gushing about it as soon as I can.  And I'll have a cover to share soon, hopefully. I've seen it already and O. M. G.  I adore it!  The art folks at Berkley really outdid themselves.  It speaks so perfectly to the book that I can't...I can't even... Yeah, you know how that goes.

Annnnnnywho, go on with your day.  Enjoy the good.  Every day deserves that.  More importantly, YOU deserve that.  Be happy.  Live smart.

Love, peace and bacon <-------my new ending thanks to the wonderful Michelle Lee.  Girl!  That is just perfect for me!

p.s.  For those who were waiting for live links to purchase All Things Pretty, part two for $0.99 (even though it is still available for free for those who want it), here are the sites that are up and running:

Amazon

iTunes:  (pending)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

All Things Pretty. Part two

****  UPDATE FROM 11:00 AM EST--  Hi, y'all!  So, when I wrote this book, I wanted to give you the best story that I could, but that meant going over my word count.  The only thing I could come up with was to break All Things Pretty into two parts. I didn't want to charge you for both parts, though, so I thought to offer the second part for free.  The problem with doing that via normal etailers is that Amazon won't let you put something for free initially. It has to be free everywhere else for a certain amount of time FIRST and then they price match it.  So if I did it that way, I knew I'd get lots of emails from people upset because they have to pay for the book on Amazon when it's free everywhere else.  So what was I to do? 

Well, I have a Mailchimp account for my newsletter subscribers. It has an automated feature that would allow for the file to be sent automatically based on your response to the questions that you were asked in the form that I requested you fill out.  Unfortunately, some of the instructions were overlooked by quite a few subscribers, which resulted in some confusion. Below, I'm pasting the instructions from the form you filled out to help you remedy this if you haven't already.




I have spent the entire morning responding to you as quickly as I can, only now I'm locked out of my google account because I've sent too many messages.  



I know you're frustrated, as am I.  This was intended to be a good thing, and I apologize for the inconvenience.  I'm doing everything I can, which isn't much since my email is frozen, but this is what I CAN do.  I'm going to get through today and get the file to as many of you as I can, with as little effort on your part as possible, and then I'm going to upload the file to all etailer sites for $0.99.  Hopefully at least Amazon (since the problem is primarily with kindles) will be live today.  The first part is novel length and the second part is novella length, so a buck is a fair price.  I'm still going to offer it to newsletter subscribers for free, but it will have to be downloaded a different way.  But still, there will be the option to purchase it online if downloading it for free is too cumbersome.

To those of you who have been so extraordinarily patient and understanding, you have my deepest gratitude.  If it weren't for you, I might've just run away today.  LOL  From the moment Amazon didn't publish the book until 4pm on release day until today, this book has had everything working against it.  Luckily, I love it so very much and I'm not giving up. It's one of my favorite stories, period.  So I'm going to do what I can to salvage this release and make it available to those who truly want to read and appreciate Sig.  I love y'all more than you know.  ****



Oh.  Em.  Geeeeeeeee!  It's finally here! I know it's only been 2 weeks since part one came out, but I've never had to cut up a book before and it has been almost excruciating to wait on the ending like this.  UGH!  But, I wanted to write the story the way that it needed to be written, which was longer than what I can publish, contractually, so... here we are.  Finally getting the ending. A little later, but so worth it, in my opinion.  Eeeeeeeeeep  I hope you love it as much as I do!

When I started out on this journey with Sig and Tommi, I never expected to encounter some of the things that I did.  Sig was even more amazing than I ever thought he could be.  He's funny and charming and strong and delicious.  But, as you'll see in this part, he's also fiercely protective.  I couldn't love him one bit more.

And Tommi...I knew she was tough. I knew she was determined.  But I never expected her to be so fragile.  She's like a delicate glass sculpture that's been bathed in steel. Life kicked and dented her, but never managed to break her.  I admire her so, so much.

I hope that y'all find as much love and happiness and satisfaction as I did in this ending.  And, as always, you know I'd love to hear from you after you read it:)

So, without further ado...

If you haven't read part one, you can find it everywhere!

Amazon 
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords

If you HAVE read part one and you want to read the conclusion, you can sign up to receive it FREE OF CHARGE automatically through my newsletter here if you haven't already done so.

Happy reading and thank y'all so, so much for loving this story as much as I have!




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dracula and a winner

Just in case you're stopping by to check out the winner announcement from my "Therapy" post, I'll get to that first and then babble about my Dracula...errrr, I mean about Dracula next:)  hehe

Let me first thank y'all for your wonderful comments! I read every single one of them and they all made me so, so happy!  Happy that I shared with you and happy that many of YOU shared with ME, which was just more awesome than words.  So thank you.  Truly.

The winner via Random.org is Lauren Rosa.  Lauren, please contact me with your mailing address at m.leighton.books@gmail.com to receive your signed paperback:)



Now, Dracula...

*sigh*

Y'all this movie... OMG it was fabulous!

  • It had great character development-- I loved Vlad from the beginning.  Almost his whole story is tragic, but that's what makes the sweet parts sweeter.  And he's sexy.  Very, VERY sexy.  That always helps:D hehe


  • It had great action-- lots of epic battles and cool special effects.  


  • It had a fantastic story-- hard-luck underdog willing to fight to the death for those he loves, even if it means becoming a monster to save them.  *swoon*

  • It had vampires-- enough said.  

  • And, the best part, it had tons of romance-- undying love, loyalty, and, of course, sacrifice.  *sniff sniff*  There was even one part where I was blinking away a few stray tears. In a vampire movie no less!  Y'all, it was  little embarrassing, which was why I was blinking them away. hehe  But I'm a sucker for that kind of...well, you'll know the part I mean when you get to it.

Yes, it was a "scary" action movie with a paranormal theme, but at it's heart (although most men will probably argue), it's a romance.  A wonderful romance!   I hope they make the sequel!

I know, I know. It's just a movie, but for me, it was also an incredible (and visual) reminder of what I adore about my job.  It reminded me that if I lovingly develop my characters, that if I let you see into all their parts (good and bad, strong and weak, broken and working), that if I carefully and meticulously tell you their story, there's a great chance that you'll love them as much as I do.  That you'll see them as I do, know them as I do.  And, to me, that's the most amazing thing in the world.  It's a large part of why I do what I do.  But it's also a privilege.  And I won't ever forget that it is.

So, in short, Dracula Untold is:  a fabulous Dracula origin story, a wonderful romance, a tragedy that somehow ends in hope and it has a sexy leading guy.  And it's a great date movie.  What's not to love?  If you've seen it, let me know your thoughts. If not, what the heck are you waiting for?  LOL

Happy Saturday, y'all!  Be safe and enjoy:)


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Therapy

I feel like I should preface this (and every post forEVER after this) with the warning that rambling, divulging of inconsequential information, sharing of too much personal crap and the general telling of things that I probably ought-notta shall commence in 3--2--1...

So, you notice that the title of this post is THERAPY.  Because that's what I need.  I once heard a therapist say that even therapists need therapy, that everyone needs a safe place to talk about their problems, air out their feelings.  Is this a safe place?  I hope so.  It's certainly public enough. LOL  For that reason alone, I'll try to keep more...sensitive stuff to a minimum. hehe  I'd hate to get flagged or something.  If I'm not already.  *looks over shoulder*

For about the last year, I've struggled quite a bit, career-wise.  Add to that some health issues involving my family and it makes for some significant stress.  My knee-jerk reaction when I'm stressed or overwhelmed is to withdraw.  That's just the way I am.  That's probably not always the best course of action, though, so today I'm gonna use y'all (bless your hearts) as my therapists.  The cool thing is, you don't really have to do anything. Just listen.  Maybe make an encouraging comment here or there as you feel the need to.  If you do, that's fine. If you don't, that's fine, too.

See, what I'm learning is that you can't always rely on your friends to see when you're hurting and offer you some encouragement.  Sometimes NO ONE can fix what hurts, if it even CAN be fixed.  But hurt doesn't last forever. Thank God. You just have to figure out how best to weather the tough times.  Whether it's yoga or actual therapy or mediation or, like for me, seeking spiritual guidance, do what you have to do get through to the next day. Or the one after that.  Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.  And it always does.  Eventually.  But in the meantime, look around.   What I've noticed recently is that God always gives me somebody, whether my wonderful husband who lets me know I'm loved a million times every day or an email from a reader telling me that, while she doesn't interact much on social media, she follows me and loves my work.  We always have what we need in our lives.  We are surrounded by people who keep us humble, keep us encouraged, keep us laughing, keep us wise.  It just might not be the same people all the time.  But they're there, nonetheless.  They pick you up, or sometimes HOLD you up, until you can stand on your own again.  And then, when it's all said and done, you blog about it. Or at least that's what I'm doing. hehehe

The moral of this story is that life isn't perfect for anyone.  Everybody has rough days or weeks or months or sometimes years.  We all help each other through it, whether on the giving or the receiving end.  We take turns. And that's what's so cool about the human race.  When we aren't buried in our own misery, we're helping someone else out of theirs.  And that's a good thing, because it might be THEIR hand that reaches into the quicksand for us next time.  #Truth

Just an FYI, because I'm feeling so, so good today, I'm going to choose someone who comments on this post to receive a signed paperback of ALL THINGS PRETTY.  I'll post the winner on Saturday:)

Have a  marvelous week!