An Amazon First Reads Pick!

Exciting news! The Secrets of Lost Stones has been selected to be a part of the First Reads program for the month of August. And that means the e-book is available to read now for $1.99 or you can purchase the hardcover for only $9.99. (And the hardcover is beautiful!) But, if you are an Amazon Prime member then the e-book can be downloaded for FREE for all Prime members in the US, the UK and Australia.

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Be the first to read The Secrets of Lost Stones before its official publication date of September 1st by downloading your free copy here. Or, click here to enter the Goodreads giveaway to win a chance at a free ebook copy of The Secrets of Lost Stones. This promotion is open to residents of the United States and ends August 31, 2019.

It’s such an honor to have been selected for this program and I’m thrilled that so many people can discover Pine Lake and meet Jess, Star, and Lucy of course.

Getting it right...or not

Funny thing about writing a book. When you're done, you write it again. And then when that's done, you edit it and revise it, until you decide it should be narrated from only one perspective. So you write that version until you have an amazing breakthrough that the book shouldn't be from the perspective of your homeless fifteen year old girl, no! It should be told through the eyes of a dog using only small dog words, like sit, stay and good boy. What a writing feat that will be! Award winning for sure! So you write that version and then you realize, oh no, that idea sucks.

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So you write the book again.

Writing requires persistence, stubbornness and a willingness to do it over and over again until it's just right. Or right enough. Or right to the point where you hope someone will read it and like it and recommend it to a friend.

Now parenting on the other hand also requires persistence and stubbornness and a willingness, not to do it over and over again because three children are quite enough for me, thank you, but a willingness to be bad at it, try again, watch your kids fail and try again, and then do it all over again the next day.

So over the past five years I have been co-parenting growing teenagers who are lovely well-adjusted young adults one day and then roller coaster hormonal beings the next, all while trying and failing to get published until, after many years, I finally succeeded. Why do I share this? Do I deserve pity or an award? No, not at all. There are parents all over the globe doing this or something like this or more and nobody gets a medal.

I share this because when you realize how imperfect even our best efforts can be, when you're faced with the magnitude of preparing adults for the world beyond home and you can't see the path ahead because it's actually several paths preparing to diverge, then failure isn't terrifying. It's life changing.

Failure doesn't have to be scary or humiliating. Instead, it can be how we learn and listen and grow and try again until we eventually kick ass. Success is so much sweeter after we've struggled in the mud of not-so-greatness. Hard work is learned when we pull ourselves up, put on a new pair of shoes, and do it all over again.

It's what I have learned and continue to learn from writing and this long road to publishing. It's what I hope my kids are developing as they travel into adulthood. To become strong people with the capacity to fail, learn, fail, learn, and try again until they get it right.

At The Moth

So I did this thing.

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A little something called The Moth. If you know what it is, then you get it. If you have never heard of The Moth, then stop reading this, go to The Moth podcast and listen to any episode. It's the ultimate in story telling. Live events are held all over the country and people go, put their name in a hat or bag or whatever is most convenient, and then ten names are drawn for that evening's event. There is a theme, a five minute time limit and a requirement that the story be true, personal and told without notes.

This has been a bucket list item for me since I first started listening to the podcast. But while I told people of my dream, waxed poetic on the idea of getting up on a stage and speaking into the brightly lit void to an audience of strangers, I never, ever, thought it was something I'd actually do.

Until I told a friend of mine in passing about my lofty idea, how I love this podcast for the breadth of stories, the courage of the everyday people who get up to tell them, the depth of emotion some stories bring out in me, the laughter, the tears, the awe.

And she agreed. Wholeheartedly. Before I knew it, I was looking up Moth events in my area and much to my surprise, one was coming up in the next month and the theme was Mama Rules.

How perfect, I thought, and tried to ignore that first twinge of fear and doubt gnawing on my insides. I sent a text to my friend. Hey, there's a Moth Story Slam here. We should do it. And when I didn't hear back from her immediately, I breathed out, relieved. Well, at least I tried.

A few days later over coffee, I mentioned it to a few friends in broad brush strokes of enthusiasm, not expecting any kind of response other than, wow, that sounds interesting and how cool of you to want to do it. Instead I got, let's do it.

Sometimes it sucks to have awesome friends.

Last Friday it happened. My friends and I went to a Story Slam. I'm a writer and I write emotions and reactions for fictional characters for a living. So to feel my heart literally pound against my chest as I waited with excitement and trepidation for my name to be called, felt both professionally validating and surreal. Because our hearts actually do beat and pound and thump and our blood really does pulse in our ears. It was exhilarating and I was nervous as hell.

And then my name was called.

The telling is a blur. I remember the faces in the audience, softened and obscured by the blue stage lights so that I was speaking into a muddied void. An image that was comforting and vexing at the same time because I longed to see the encouraging smiles of my friends just beyond the glare. I remember the laughter and applause, which was especially comforting since I was telling my Christmas Fingers story, a not particularly flattering mom moment. And I remember when I took my seat afterwards and for the first time that evening, my heart beat slow and normal.

But this was the whole point. I wanted to be scared and nervous and unsure of myself. I wanted to push myself out of my everyday comfort zone and feel raw and vulnerable. And I'm glad I did because in a few months my first book, my debut baby, will be released to the world and while I can't predict how well it will do, I can tell you that I'm nervous as hell. Soon, it will be my book, my characters, my story that takes the stage.

But now that I know what it feels like, I'm ready to face the void.