Ten Years Ago

This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but due to holiday festivities, I’ve definitely been slacking as far as reading, writing, and blogging go. Now that Christmas has once again come and gone, I finally have time to sit down with my computer and catch up on all the work that I’ve so blissfully and willingly ignored. Okay, maybe not blissfully. I actually really, really enjoy what I do. But it has been wonderful catching up and spending time with my friends and family.

A couple of weeks back, I had a girls night with two of my closest friends from high school. We haven’t seen each other nearly as much as I’d like in the past ten years, but I’m hoping that we can change that.

As we sat around in one of their brand new, super fancy, super spacious houses, we started talking about our senior year of high school and where we thought that we would be when we reached 28 (or in our cases, almost 29…).

Friend A thought that she would be married with kids, a house, and a great career. Today, she has a good job and spends most of her free time horseback riding.

Friend B thought that she would be living like a gypsy, traveling the world. Today, she’s married with a great house and a career that makes her good money, but that she’s not all that passionate about. She would rather be an artist.

As for me? I thought I’d be living at the beach and taking care of marine mammals. That’s all I wanted. Part of me still desperately wants for it to happen and dares to dream that one day, it might. I never dreamed that I’d end up writing books. Of course, now that I’m almost 29, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my twenties, it’s that life doesn’t always play out the way you imagine it will, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I know that I’ve written similar sentiments on this blog before, but honestly, it comforts me. I like knowing that things happen for a reason and having some assurance that maybe I am where I’m meant to be in life.

Advertisements

Contentment

When I woke up this morning, I found myself thinking about all the things that I want to happen in 2017. Most importantly, perhaps, is finishing the four books I have in the works and getting them published and out into the world. I only published one book this year (though I’ve had short stories in other publications) and somehow, that feels weird, like I’ve been slacking off. Granted, I’ve been traveling more and trying to learn about marketing, but I’m definitely not a one-book-a-year kind of girl.

Then I began to wonder if there’s anyone out there who can actually say, “Yeah, I did everything I wanted to do in 2016. I am accomplished. I am content.” If they exist, I must admit, a part of me envies them. The other part of me, however, can’t help but wonder, “If they’re perfectly content, then what do they hope for? What drives them?”

By the way, yes, this is pretty much exactly what you get out of the book, Who Moved My Cheese?

Still, I think it’s worth noting that it’s okay to feel like you have more to accomplish. It’s okay to feel like you could have done more this year. Heck, I think that’s pretty human. Do any of us ever truly live up to our full potential? It would be wonderful if we did and I do believe we should always try our best to do so, but we shouldn’t dwell on what hasn’t happened yet either.

I love having goals, having hopes, having dreams. I love having something to work for. I’ve been this way since I was little. True, my hopes and dreams have evolved and expanded a bit since I was seven, but for the most part, I still find myself enthralled by the possibilities of the future.

There is always room for improvement. I hope that I am still striving to improve myself and the world around me in fifty years. I hope I find joy, love, peace, excitement, adventure. But in a strange way, I hope I never find contentment.

15400447_1216502985104859_104661337336932705_n

 

Ever in the After Cover Reveal!

cover-reveal

In Ever in the After, 13 authors come together to explore fantastical realms full of supernatural creatures, dark intrigue, and spells that may–or may not–be curses.

ever-in-the-after_cover_bn

This anthology features work by:

  • Melle Amade
  • Miracle Austin
  • J. A. Culican
  • Madeline Dyer
  • Jessica Hawke
  • Alaina Hebert
  • Elizabetta Holcomb
  • Stephanie Keyes
  • Christopher D. Morgan
  • Mandy Peterson
  • Alice Rachel
  • Cadence Rae
  • Jacqueline E. Smith

A must-have fantasy collection full of surprises, secrets, and strong teenagers who know what they need to do to succeed in these mystical realities.

Please add Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on Goodreads now!

Buy your copy of Ever in the After: 13 Fantasy Tales on April 1st, 2017!

15202509_10209836372119630_666195267308732586_n

Stacking the Shelves

Celebrity Readers

stacking-the-shelves

(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

325993653098202930337432.jpg

  • Falling Softly by Maria Duffy from Hachette Books Ireland — released October 13th, 2016.
  • The Fifth Petal (The Lace Reader #2) by Brunonia Barry from Crown Publishing — releases January 24th, 2017.
  • Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James from Del Rey (Random House Publishing Group — Ballantine) — releases February 14th, 2017.

Amazon Freebies That I Got From My eReaderIQ Email:

18916059316257421303732151nz-obahl16118018258278211892659851wjif70hal41-wugvuy9l2975319732186753

View original post 1,165 more words

Character ABC Survey

My friend and fellow author James William Peercy tagged me in a fun character survey. He answered all of these questions as Bob the Pixie from his fantasy series, The Xun Ove Series.

Bob The Pixie

A- Age: My age? I’ll have you know I’m barely over the age where a young adult pixie is allowed to fly outside the queen’s forest! 501 years.
B- Biggest fear: Fly swatters. Definitely, fly swatters. They come up at the most annoying times when I try to sneak a taste of cherry pie.
C- Current time: The Elf’s queen’s time of the second solstice moon as the first crosses the horizon.
D- Drink you last had: He grins sheepishly. Hot chocolate, of course!
E- Every day starts with: Faries playing magical notes using honeysuckle horns.
F- Favorite song: “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead…” I learned that from Jonna when I “stepped across the barrier.”
G- Ghosts, are they real?: Of course, they are real! Just ask Jonna!
H- Hometown: The forest of Eolande in Faerydale. We are part of the Kingdom of the Elves by royal decree!
I – In love with: Crystilic, without a doubt!
J- Jealous of: Well, maybe not jealousy, but there was this pixie I met in Jonna’s world. He was named Jamal, but that’s another story.
K- Killed someone? Kill? Heavens no! However, I made a troll really sick when he tried to eat me!
L- Last time you cried? Shh! Bob leans closer and whispers. The first time Jonna said he was my friend, I might, MIGHT, have shed a tear.
M- Middle name: Yeah, if you can’t pronounce my first name, how do you expect to say my middle name?
N- Number of siblings: Are you kidding? Let me count the eggs. Wait! Oh, you mean MY siblings, not the hen house where I was, er. What was that question again?
O- One wish: Why do I need wishes? He reaches into his pixie dust bag and holds out sparkles. I grant those! Bob grins.
P- Person you last called: Does shouting for Snovipa the tree sprite count? The forest echoes quite nicely!
Q- Question you’re always asked: What is my real first name?
R- Reason to smile: Why wouldn’t you? Life is magical after all!
S- Song last sang: Why just this morning it was “I never promised you a pixie garden.”
T- Time you woke up: Crack of dawn. How else do we lighten the forest with our laughter?
U- Underwear color: The queen’s royal green of course! And that’s enough about that. Next question!
V- Vacation destination: Pixie’s have those? What have I been missing?
W- Worst habit: Bob’s face turns red. Are you crazy? Only nuns have those!
X- X-Rays you’ve had: No X-rays. He looks up at the sun streaming through the tree. Maybe a couple of A or B-rays.
Y- Your favorite food: Hot Chocolate! What are you saying? It is too a food!
Z- Zodiac sign: Ophiuchus, The Serpent Bearer. He holds his hands out in front of him. I know what you’re thinking, but there are 13 signs, not 12, in my world.

James then challenged me to fill out the survey, first as Michael Sinclair from Cemetery Tours, then as Mel Parker from Boy Band. So, here goes nothing!

14720507_1889625327934335_3693839034911292689_n

Michael Sinclair

A- Age: 28.
B- Biggest fear: Endangering the ones that I love. And weird people in masks.
C- Current time: 7:00
D- Drink you last had: I had a glass of wine with Kate at dinner.
E- Every day starts with: Brink complaining about being bored until I get out of bed.
F- Favorite song: “She is the Sunlight” by Trading Yesterdays.
G- Ghosts, are they real? Unfortunately. (Brink is reading over my shoulder and just shouted “RUDE!” He knows I’m joking. Sort of).
H- Hometown: Dallas, Texas
I – In love with: Kate Avery.
J- Jealous of: People who can’t see ghosts. (Brink just yelled at me again).
K- Killed someone? If I did, they’d just come back to haunt me. So no.
L- Last time you cried? I really don’t cry all that much. Brink thinks I might be a high-functioning sociopath. But honestly, I think the last time I cried was last October when I thought I might lose Kate…
M- Middle name: James
N- Number of siblings: One.
O- One wish: Honestly? I just want my loved ones to be safe and happy.
P- Person you last called: My mom.
Q- Question you’re always asked: It’s a three-way tie between “So… Can you really see ghosts?” “Do I have a ghost with me?” and “What do you want for dinner?” That last one is Kate.
R- Reason to smile: Kate. Brink. My Mom. And okay, fine, Luke too.
S- Song last sang: Kate and Luke are always trying to get me to sing the “Ghostbusters” song. Especially since the new movie came out and they decided that it’s the best movie ever. Even though Luke claims that he still likes the original best, he is constantly texting me quotes from the new one.  He also thinks that he looks like Chris Hemsworth.
T- Time you woke up: Uhhh… ten? Since I work for myself now, I don’t really bother setting an alarm anymore.
U- Underwear color: This is an uncomfortable question… I think I’m wearing blue plaid boxers but I’m not invested enough to check…
V- Vacation destination: A secluded cabin in the woods with Kate. Preferably in an area that isn’t haunted.
W- Worst habit: Brink thinks I have an attitude problem. I think I’m too old for an 18-year-old roommate.
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Most recently, last summer when I broke my shoulder.
Y- Your favorite food: I’ll eat just about anything. I really love my mom’s red velvet cake though.
Z- Zodiac sign: Taurus

14971284_10209596770649743_713512821_n

Melissa Parker

A- Age: 21. I’ll be 22 in December though. And no, despite what Sam may tell you, I am NOT a cougar.
B- Biggest fear: Flying.
C- Current time: 8:05 Eastern Time.
D- Drink you last had: Gingerbread latte from Starbucks.
E- Every day starts with: Thankfulness that I’m waking up in a nice bed in a hotel room and not in a tour bus across the aisle from Josh who doesn’t change his socks nearly as much as he claims he does.
F- Favorite song: “Snowlight” by The Kind of September ❤
G- Ghosts, are they real? Um, I’ve never seen one but in high school, Joni and I asked a Ouija board if Sam would ask me to Prom. It said yes. He didn’t.
H- Hometown: San Francisco, California.
I – In love with: Samuel Spencer Morneau. ❤
J- Jealous of: I’m actually not jealous of anyone right now. My life is pretty awesome.
K- Killed someone? Nope.
L- Last time you cried? Sam took me to see The Phantom of the Opera the other day. We both cried, though I don’t think he’d appreciate me actually telling people that…
M- Middle name: Kearney, my dad’s mother’s maiden name.
N- Number of siblings: Two.
O- One wish: Okay, this one I definitely can’t write down on the Internet.
P- Person you last called: Chloe.
Q- Question you’re always asked: Is Sam a good kisser? For the record, the answer is yes.
R- Reason to smile: Music, friends, family, the opportunity to travel, photography… And Sam. ❤
S- Song last sang: “The Phantom of the Opera.” Turns out I am not destined for Broadway. Believe it or not, Sam isn’t either. Or if he is, he’s not destined to play the Phantom. He’s too perky.
T- Time you woke up: 8:00 AM.
U- Underwear color: White… I know, I’m boring.
V- Vacation destination: Alaska.
W- Worst habit: I’m a dweller. I dwell on everything. And it’s so stressful.
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Dental x-rays…
Y- Your favorite food: Chocolate covered strawberries.
Z- Zodiac sign: Capricorn.

 

Election Day

I don’t like to get political online. In fact, I don’t like politics, period. I am of the mindset that politics brings out the worst in people, and this election season, I think we’ve seen some of the very worst that humanity has to offer.

I’ve done my research. I have my opinions and beliefs. I’ve voted. Did I make the right choice? God, I hope so. I have so many friends and family members who are so certain. I kind of envy them. Because this decision was not easy for me.

But you know what? That’s behind me. And my personal beliefs are not the things weighing heavily on my heart right now. It’s what will happen after the election, specifically how we will exist, together, as the United States of America.

No matter who wins tomorrow night, there is a gory, bloody rift in our country that desperately needs mending. I don’t know what happened or who is to blame (if anyone is to blame), but I pray with all that I have in me that it ends. The animosity that exists between those who disagree is sickening. Grown adults don’t listen to one another. They resort to name-calling and throwing accusations and all kinds of other words and actions that only breed resentment. I understand that many people are standing up for what they believe and think that they are defending and honoring their principles and I do believe that those are good things. But you’re not going to change anyone’s mind at all by fighting. Nor will they feel you have any respect for them if you don’t listen.

That’s what we’re lacking this election season: respect for those who may believe differently than we do, who’ve had different experiences, who are facing different battles. Somehow, it’s become all about us, and unfortunately, I see that selfishness reflected in our candidates.

No matter who wins tomorrow, we as a people and as a nation need to do better. We’ve got to stop with the divisive rhetoric, the absolute refusal to listen or respect anyone’s opinion but our own, the name-calling, the accusations… all of it. We are better than this, or at least, we’re supposed to be. We throw our hands up in frustration when our representatives in Washington can’t compromise and work together. Is it really all that surprising when we’ve existed with the “us vs. them” mentality for as long as we have?

There is no us and there is no them. There is the citizens of the United States of America. And it’s high time we remembered that. Because we will tear ourselves apart if we don’t learn to listen, to respect, and to love. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House. It is OUR job to fix our broken country. That’s not the President’s responsibility. It is OURS. We’ve come to rely far too heavily on Washington DC. Do not put your faith in power. Put your faith in your fellow citizens. Because together, we form one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen.

God bless America.  And God bless all of you.  No matter what.

14938224_10209586858961957_6041040296480857393_n

Jack’s Fight, an Update

paulawalkerbaker

Thursday, I took Jack to the vet for the surgery to rid his body of a cancerous skin tumor. The vet, Dr. Brittain, thought it would be approximately a forty-five minute surgery. As it turned out, it was a little more complicated than that. But, he came through the surgery with flying colors . The incision was quite long , due to the size of the tumor and it looks as if he’s had a tummy tuck.

But, the news is good. No cancer in his lymph nodes and she doesn’t suspect any on the inside. The tumor could grow back, but in the event it does, we’ll catch it when it is small and it will be easier to remove.

Two days after his surgery, he is happy as a lark and last night resumed howling with the coyotes promptly at 11:15 p.m. as is his nightly ritual. He is…

View original post 63 more words

Ghosts of Galveston

Hello, everyone! Happy Friday! I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween and have a relaxing weekend ahead of you.

This past weekend, a few very dear friends and I took a Halloween getaway to Galveston. It was a wonderful trip.  I actually hadn’t been to Galveston in eight years.  Back then, I hadn’t thought much of it.  In fact, I had been very quick to say that Galveston was disappointing, that it was ugly, that it wasn’t a “real beach.”  That was probably more due to the fact, however, that I wasn’t happy with my life or with myself at that particular point in time.  It’s amazing what your own personal outlook can effect the way you experience life.

Well, eight years and a 110% attitude improvement later, I am here to say that Galveston is GORGEOUS.  Not only that, it is filled with history, small-town charm… And ghosts.  In fact, those ghosts are what drew us there in the first place.

My mentor and fellow author, James William Peercy, first came up with the idea for a ghost-hunting excursion to Galveston back when he decided to write a new paranormal book.  Soon, we had a small group investigating local haunted hotspots.  Down in Galveston, James, along with his lovely wife, Claudette, our friend and poet Susie Clevenger, and her artist husband, Charlie, and I met up and toured several locations where ghosts have been reported.  I will be writing up a separate piece to be featured on our new website.  I don’t have access to the URL just yet, but we call ourselves the Signal-Man’s Keepers.  And we have our reasons.

I can’t say for certain that I encountered any spirits on our trip, but I can tell you that I learned so much about Galveston itself.  From Pelican Island to Fort Travis to the Storm of 1900, the entire island is crawling with history.  I truly never knew just how much it had to offer.

Pelican Island was, perhaps, one of the greatest highlights of our time in Galveston.  Once an immigration holding point for those in quarantine, the island now serves as home to the USS Cavalla, a submarine, and the USS Stewart, a destroyer escort.  These vessels served in World War II and are truly a wonder to behold and explore.  It’s hard to imagine that sailors once lived and fought and even died on these ships and ships like them.  It’s a very moving experience and I highly recommend a visit.

Our history tour continued with an exploration of Fort Travis, a fort first established in 1836 to protect the Galveston Harbor.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit I was never much of a history buff in school.  That would be my dad and my sister.  But actually seeing these places really makes me appreciate everything that history has to offer.  I guess I’m more of an interactive history nerd, because I could explore places like Fort Travis all day.  They’re fascinating.

James, Claudette, and I were also fortunate enough to participate in a real paranormal investigation, first of a local church that survived the 1900 Storm, and then the Ashton Villa House.  It wasn’t a tour.  It was a real life wander through the house and try to communicate with the spirits that still exist there.  It was an eerie and exhilarating experience.  The Ashton Villa House is renowned as one of the most haunted buildings on the island, and I will admit to feeling like I was being watched.  We also had several spikes on James’ EMF detector.  But there was something about the church.  Now, days later, I still can’t quite put my finger on it.  Perhaps it’s because I was raised in a church that my grandparents helped establish, so I feel a bit of a connection to old and beautiful places of worship.  I don’t know.  I do know it was a wonderful experience and one that I will not soon forget.

Jack’s Fight

Please keep Paula and Jack in your thoughts and prayers!

paulawalkerbaker

It has been an emotional time here at Baker’s Acres. Our Jack, an American Dingo, who stars in his own book- Jack Learns to Grill , was diagnosed with a fast growing cancer. He has a tumor on his side and it has gotten quite large very quickly. The vet told me surgery was needed, but I didn’t know how that would play out since we  live, like some Americans, paycheck to paycheck. How we were going to pay for his surgery, we didn’t know.

15569239_1477436800_3556

Enter my friend, and fellow author Jackie Smith. Jackie is such a great friend and would do anything for her friends. Upon hearing my sad tale of Jack’s cancer and having helped me publish Jack Learns to Grill, she offered to create a Go Fund Me campaign. Maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel! Maybe there was some hope for…

View original post 125 more words

Rules For Writing

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one know what they are.” – W. Somerset Maugham

A friend of mine share this quote the other day and it got me thinking. What are the rules for writing a novel? You know, aside from the obvious grammar rules (that I’m still attempting to master) and the no stealing other authors’ work rule. But you know, the beautiful thing about any form of art is that no one artist creates in the same way. We all have our own different styles, our own different ideas, and our own different rules when it comes to our crafts.

This particular quote got me thinking about what my rules for writing a novel are.

  1. Write the book you want to read. It’s been said a million times over, but it’s so true. If you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, chances are your readers won’t either. How you feel about your book is reflected in your work.
  2. Characters, characters, characters. For me, characters are what make a story. Setting is great and plot is a must, but if you can’t relate to the characters, if they don’t seem real, if you’re not rooting for them… It’s just not going to work. If I don’t like my characters or the characters of a book I’m reading, I simply won’t continue writing or reading. I once read a book with a beautiful cover, a great story, and it was exceptionally well-written. But I couldn’t finish it because I hated the characters.
  3. Trust your work, trust your story, and trust yourself. It’s true what they say about stories writing themselves. Sometimes I feel like the story already exists, it just needs my fingers to type it all out. I’m still surprised by how many unexpected twists and turns my books often take. I’ve written full paragraphs of dialogue that I had no idea existed inside my mind.
  4. Don’t be afraid to start over. I once wrote over half a novel, realized that the story wasn’t going anywhere, that it wasn’t even really a story, and I started over from scratch. I didn’t delete what I had written. I never do that. But when you write a book, you’ve got to accept that you’re not always going to get it right the first time.
  5. Be patient. Yeah, some geniuses can churn out a bestseller in two weeks, but for most of us, it takes months, even years, to write a book. And there’s no shame in that. We care about our craft and want our books to be the best they can be. Like anything worth doing, writing a book takes a lot of time, a lot of dedication, and a lot of hard work.
  6. Don’t write because you think it’s going to make you rich or famous. I mean, yeah, we all dream of seeing our names at the top of that NYT Bestseller list, but I would still write my stories even if I was the wealthiest person in the world, and it’s because I love it. I love to write. I love to tell stories. If you write for the wrong reasons, you’re not going to enjoy it. And you’re more than likely going to wind up disappointed. Because guess what? Most of us are not rich. And that’s okay. I’d rather live paycheck to paycheck doing what I love than make a fortune working a job that makes me miserable.
  7. Don’t forget to be thankful. You’ve found something that you love, that you want to do for the rest of your life. Believe it or not, that’s actually pretty rare. I’ve met so many people who have no idea what they want out of life or what they want to do. I’ve always had big dreams. I was lucky enough to figure out that I wanted to be an author when I was a junior in college. I knew what I wanted to work for and once I figured that out, I didn’t look back. I figure that if I’m fortunate enough to know, I’d regret it if I didn’t take every chance and every opportunity to make it work.
  8. Be proud of yourself and your work. You wrote a book. That’s pretty badass.
  9. Writer’s block happens. It happens to the best of us. Don’t let it discourage you. If you need to set one project aside and go concentrate on another, that’s exactly what you should do. Chances are when you come back to your original project, you’ll be able to pick up again and keep writing.

What are your rules for writing?