Sharon Ledwith’s #authorlife Experiment: Making the Unfamiliar, Familiar

Last month I followed Sharon’s #authorlife experiment on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Her challenge was to post a new photo and tell us how it illustrated her life as an author.

Post after post revealed parts of her life that I recognized in my own and inspired me with new ideas. By the end of the month I was really glad she took the challenge because I felt a new, deeper connection with her.

Now you get to read how the challenge effected her and what might be in it for you if you tried to do the same. She’s already warmed up the hashtag for you.

Last Photo Of Sharon With Her Buddy

I’m sure you’ve heard that getting out of your comfort zone can be a painful, often scary experience, but the end results usually end in transformation and growth. Right? Well, I recently watched a YouTube video done by Canadian entrepreneur Evan Carmichael about trying to share an image of yourself on your social media accounts for 30 days straight, and then seeing what happens after the month has ended. The thought of doing that made me squirm inside. You see, I’m an introvert at heart, and like to keep my personal life…well, personal. Sharing an image of myself—with all my winkles and flaws—a day for an entire month seemed downright weird and just a little egostical. Besides, what kind of image would I post, and what would I talk about? Then, I approached my publisher, Justine with this idea, and she suggested that I share an image of a day in the life of an author, and call it #authorlife. My eyes widened, and I resonated with her suggestion immediately.


So, choosing the month of September 2019 for my #authorlife experiment, I decided to take a shot and put myself out there for 30 days sharing what it’s like to live in my ‘author’ shoes. And yes, it was scary, and yes it was painful, but I managed to complete this task, not missing a day, but one—September 10th, the day after we put our 12-year-old Labrador down. I dedicated that #authorlife spot to my yellow fellow, who went peacefully in my arms the day before. I was a mess and grieving for weeks after that, but plodded on, taking selfies and sharing what I was up to each day. It was awkward and hard, but I managed to make the unfamiliar, familiar, and I found it got easier to find things to share and talk about.

I’ll Miss You, Lorri Carpenter

Using my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, I shared book marketing ideas, books I’m reading, a dedication to my dear author friend, Lorri Carpenter who passed away the same week as my dog, my morning exercise regime, took you grocery shopping, for a walk, paying bills, researching for my work-in-progress, flashed shameless plugs, and the list went on. After all, life if full of mundane routines too. And a writer’s life is no exception. I’m sure Stephen King still takes out the trash or puts away the dishes. Makes us human, and more relatable.


One of the most cherished #authorlife images was taken on Labor Day with my dog just before I took him for his walk. It was the last photo I have of him before he passed on a week later. You can’t get moments like that back. Ever. So I would like to think that this little experiment was a success. Personally and professionally. I managed to get way out of my comfort zone, build up my social media platforms, engaged with people who seemed quite interested in my journey, had fun, got creative, and shared a piece of myself that I would have never shared before. Did this result in more book sales? Not sure, but I really don’t care. This was about growing as a person, getting more self-confident, and seeing how much I changed throughout the month. Especially when I wasn’t wearing any makeup! LOL! How brave was that? Wink.

One Of The Most Commented On Posts!

Would I do it again? Not for 30 days straight, but I’ve decided to keep posting my #authorlife images at least once or twice a week. It’s an investment in my self-worth, and hopefully will help other writers by giving them ideas or letting them know that they’re not alone in this crazy publishing business. Plus, you put yourself out there, and connect with people on a different level where you’re not pandering to them, but giving them a smile or helping hand instead. And that’s what I call success in any vocation. I want to thank all those who traveled this #authorlife journey with me, and commented on, liked, or shared what I’d been doing that day. Your kindness and support are so appreciated.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwithThe Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372

Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/?iid=am-82952056813386643146889016&nid=23+following_user&uid=525750371&utm_content=profile#!/sharonledwithGoodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

What’s your favorite part of this post? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

Gina

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Tami Cowden Presents Fallen Heroes Workshop In Richardson, Texas October 12th, 2019

October 12, 2019: Tami Cowden presents Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villian Archetypes

This workshop has a fee & attendees must be a member of RWA.

A workshop based on Ms. Cowden’s latest book. Sixteen literary villain archetypes are identified and their motivations examined. Reveals and shows what happens when heroes and heroines turn to the dark side.

Tami Cowden lives and writes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her first novel, Cruising for Love, won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America, and was published initially by Avalon. It is now available from Montlake Romance.

Tami is also the coauthor of The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes, a guide to characterization for writers. Tami has presented writing programs on characterization, plotting and scene building at more than 100 writing conferences and retreats, as well as online. Due to popular demand, she also authored a follow up book, Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Villain Archetypes.

A lawyer by day, she is now working on a mystery series about a divorce lawyer who inherits a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Tami lives in Las Vegas with her husband, two basset hounds, and four cats. Visit her website by clicking here.

Click here for details and registration.

Do you use The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines:Sixteen Master Archetypes when you’re building a character?

If you’re coming to the workshop, be sure to tell me so we can say hi!

Thanks for reading!

Gina


Recommended Book Review: Invitation To Scandal (Lady Quin’s Houseparty Book 1) By Legne Hardt

I have a new (book) boyfriend. It’s shameful, really, because he’s married. I don’t think I want his wife to find out about my crush, either, because she’s unpredictable and not afraid of a scandal. She’ll cause one if it’s what needs to happen. He’s pretty dishy, though, so I might have to risk it.

The couple I’m referring to are Allan and Rosamund in Invitation To Scandal.

This book stands out for a few reasons that I think are admirable.

  1. It’s a debut novel! This author has done the work of learning how to tell a story, how to build characters, and how to delight a reader.
  2. I was grabbed from the beginning and was never let go or let down. There aren’t many books I can say that about. This book seduced me and I loved every moment of it. This is exactly the experience I’m looking for when I read.
  3. Historical is a genre I grew up with, but have been pulled away from by fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal. The last historical I gave five stars to was My Highland Lord by Tarah Scott in 2014.
  4. My favorite moment in this book is when Rosamund realizes she’s in love with my crush, er, her husband.
  5. The character of Allan. Yummy, yum, yum, yum. He’s intelligent, handsome, sexy, manly, and a good man.
  6. Learning about the Georgian era has been an unexpected bonus. As you see from number three, I’m typically drawn to highland lairds.
  7. There are a lot of other interesting character’s stories told in the book, which means I can continue reading the series to see what happens with the characters I connected to most.
  8. It is naughty!

Blurb

Revenge. Scandal. And falling in love…

Rosamund was only waiting on her childhood sweetheart to make his proposal, for her future to begin. When instead he announces his betrothal to another, she turns to a man quite beneath her for comfort, and is surprised to find herself content with Mr. Allan Barre. Some hurts cannot be healed however, and when the new Lady Quin includes Mr. and Mrs. Barre in her first houseparty, Rosamund is determined to have her revenge.

She’ll make sure the prim Lady Quin’s houseparty is wracked by scandal. And enjoy herself doing it, for Allan has introduced her to the pleasures of passion. But will those pleasures be made greater by love, or will Rosamund’s temper destroy her happiness?

Invitation to Scandal is the first book in Lady Quin’s Houseparty. A naughty little romp, it follows Rosamund and Allan through the first challenge of their married life and introduces the setting of the most exciting houseparty Wiltshire has ever seen. Set in the Georgian era and filled with amorous adventures, it will whet your appetite for this collection of tantalizing tales.

Invitation to Scandal is a complete story on its own, but it does mention characters found in the rest of the series.

Find Invitation To Scandal on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

Are you familiar with this series? I’d love to chat about it.

Thanks for reading,

Gina

My Accidental Low Buy Year – Guest Post By Chris Pavesic

I’ve been reading Chris’ posts about skincare and conscious purchasing for a while now and I am thrilled to bring the topic to my blog today to share with you. There’s a lot to be learned here. Thank you for sharing this with us, Chris!

This is a difficult blog post to start writing. I’ve actually begun several times and scrapped the ideas because it didn’t seem right. I couldn’t get the correct words down on the screen. But here it goes. I hope it makes sense.

I’m a makeup and skin care enthusiast. I enjoy using products and comparing them. I enjoy researching ingredients and formulas. I enjoy reading about new products, watching YouTube videos about new releases, and talking about them with my friends. What I didn’t do last year was write about them very much.

It is true that I cut down the amount of posts I created in 2018. (I wrote a lot more in 2017). But that wasn’t the only reason. I didn’t write about makeup or skincare in 2018 because I simply didn’t buy much starting in March, 2018. (My birthday month.)

I was on a low-buy year without actually planning to be on one.

There were three reasons for this accidental low-buy year: One: I purchased quite a few products in 2017 that I was excited to use. I had multiple products that filled the same purpose in my skincare and beauty regimen. So many that I started to feel uncomfortable with the number of items I owned.

It’s been a full year and, yeah, I still have items to get through. I had more than a year’s worth of “backups” for some products.

*Takes a deep breath.*

I had to let that sink in for a minute. A full year. I had too many.

I’m not a minimalist, but I am striving to consume less. I did go through the KonMarie method for decluttering clothing, household items, and so forth. (If you followed her method: I still need to do sentimental items.) I even (gasp) got rid of some books. (Textbooks from my college days. They needed to go.) And I feel better having a more minimal wardrobe and less boxes of stuff stored in my spare bedroom and basement. I kept the items that “sparked joy” in those categories and haven’t looked back.

Two: Products don’t last forever. They expire. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. I decided that I would use the products I had—ones that I was excited to use—before I purchased any more in that category. I did purchase a few items that I had panned (used up completely.)  Lip balm made it into my cart because I have dry skin and live in the Midwest. (The struggle to have well-hydrated skin, especially on my lips, is real!) I also bought skin cleanser and shampoo because I developed an allergy to sodium lauryl sulfate and had switch to sulfate free versions.

Three: I didn’t purchase a lot of makeup products (eyeshadow, blush, highlighter) because I have ones that I enjoy. I have one face and can only use so many products in a day. If I bought something new in a category—an eyeshadow palette for instance—I would need to use it in place of something I already owned. And I enjoy the ones I own. The shadows are my favorite colors and formulas. Until I hit pan, or until the products go bad and I need to replace them, why buy something I might not like to replace an item that, in Marie Kondo’s terminology, “sparks joy” when I use it?

In case you are wondering: I currently have 8 eyeshadow palettes. I have tried more, but if something does not work well for me I pass it along to relatives. And in 2018 I didn’t buy any for myself. (I bought gifts for people. I don’t count those as purchases for me–although I keep the free samples that come with the orders.) Last year I completely panned one–the Too Faced Peppermint Mocha (pink) palette from the 2016 Christmas trio collection. It’s the one I used the most and it took me more than 2 years to get through it. Companies give you a lot of product in those palettes!

What did I really over-buy on in 2017? Face and body moisturizing creams, face products, and lipsticks. And I am using them up along with any samples I still have.

For 2019 I will be continuing my “low buy” project. I thought I would write about products that I have panned. Provide thorough reviews about products that are not new but may be undiscovered gems for my readers. Go through the large number of samples I have on hand and try items that way. Discuss new purchases when I eventually do make them and the reason why I switched from a tried-and-true product to something new. And discuss what the low buy year taught me along the way–and what I am (hopefully) still discovering.

I want to complete a second low buy year and write about products mindfully.

I will be interested to see if this type of topic is sustainable. If people will follow me on this journey. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or thoughts on minimalism, low buys, or conscious consumerism. Let me know if you enjoy posts of this kind. Please help to continue the conversation.

Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate your time and attention.

Have you minimized collections the way Chris has? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Gina

A Halloween Party by Tina Nykulak Ruiz – New Release & Book Review

My Review

I love Halloween, parties, and reading to my granddaughter, so it was a good bet that I would like this story. The character names gave the adults a chuckle as I read the story aloud to my granddaughter. We all loved the illustrations. The story premise was easy to relate to and what happens at the Halloween party was a lot of fun to read about.

Highly recommended. Nykulak-Ruiz is one of our favorite children’s book authors.

New Release Info

Illustrations by Ishika Sharma.

Every character has a name with a double meaning. Such as: Mr. Noah Lott, Mrs. Faye Ding, Mrs. Frieda Livery, Upton O’Goode, Adam Zapel, and Ella Vader, to name but a few.

Here’s a hint to help you solve the puzzle, Ed Zortails is his name really heads or is it tails? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

Solving the double meaning of the words will be delightful for children and adults alike. On the off chance someone can’t unravel a name, Tina supplied a cheat sheet at the back of the book.

As with all of her children’s stories, there’s a moral at the end.

BUY LINK

Tina Nykulak Ruiz was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school. She began writing children’s stories when her own were little. Through the years Ruiz wrote twenty-seven books. Most of those stories went into readers for the Canada Board of Education. Two did not. Mayor Shadoe Markley is a story about a ten-year-old girl who becomes Mayor for a Day through a contest at school.

Little did Ruiz know that story would “change the world.” The book came out at early January 1988. By the end of that same month, everyone was calling the mayor’s office at City Hall, trying to get the forms to fill out so their children could participate in the contest. Thirty years later that same contest is still runs at full speed. And not only in Calgary, but all across Canada. The Mayor’s Youth Council is now in charge of the celebrated contest and invites Ruiz to attend and meet the lucky winner. It’s usually followed by a hand-written thank you card from the mayor himself. Recently Ruiz was invited to be part of the Grand Opening of Calgary’s New Library where the mayor shook her hand and introduced her to the attendees.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Do you have a favorite Halloween story?

Thanks for reading!

Gina

Grandparent’s Day 2019

Today I took a few hours away from my careers to spend time with one of my inspirations, my preschool-age granddaughter. The occasion? Grandparent’s Day at school.

When her mom and uncle were in school I went to as many events as I could. It always felt like I didn’t make it to as many as I wanted to despite the fact that I was working and studying for the credentials that follow my name today.

Now it’s my granddaughter’s turn and there isn’t much that would keep me away from fun in the classroom and crafts with her. We both felt special when we walked down the hall to the conference room.

This is the what she made for me in honor of Grandparents Day. It’s on the refrigerator until it gets replaced there and goes into my scrapbook journal where it will stay forever as one of our best memories.

Her little voice, her cute face, her sense of wonder, the knowledge that we are part of one another, is so sacred to me. She’s one reason why this life is precious.

I spend a lot of my time writing books she won’t be able to read for a long time yet, and may never want to read because they are fantasy romances written by her grandmother, but that doesn’t stop her from being my inspiration. One of the reasons I work hard is to leave a legacy for her.

We’ll see how that works out!

Spending time with my granddaughter refuels my spirit. What do you do to refill yours?

Thanks for reading!

Gina