Everyone Needs a Helping Hand at Times…
There are three friends of mine – well, one is a close friend I’ve had for over twenty years, one is a professional colleague who has become a close friend, and the third is a lovely young woman who has become a new friend. Anyway, as I was saying…
Three friends. Three different needs. The one missing ingredient for all three? Money. Now, the way I see it is, if everyone just donated the price of a cup of their fancy coffee, these folks will be on their way to getting done what needs to get done.
So, let me tell you a few stories…and read all the way to the end. Because I have a deal for you.
Christina and Justin
Meet Christina Munson and her husband, Justin. I met Christina recently through FaceBook, and our common love of the written word. Here’s what Christina has to say.
“When I first met my husband Justin he weighed a healthy 200lbs. Now his teeth are in very bad condition and need to be removed and replaced with dentures. He fights to maintain a a healthy weight. His health has also declined because he cant eat like he should. He is in constant pain, and I fear that if we don’t take care of this soon he won’t live long enough to watch our son grow up.”
They are close to their goal, but they’ve been doing this GoFundMe campaign for six months. Won’t you please consider donating? Even the price of a cup of coffee would help.
Justin and his son…Justin needs dental surgery and full dentures.
Click HERE for Justin and Christina’s GOFUNDME Campaign.
A professional colleague (we are both in Lucky Stars Paranormal Box Set) who has become a close friend, Sascha Illyvich is known as the Bad Boy of Romance. He’s had over 50 short stories, novellas and novels published in the last fifteen years. Here’s what he has to say…
“I’m a published romance author in transition and currently crashing with friends in
Sascha just wants a place to call home.
Tennessee. I have managed to save most of what I need to move back to Atlanta, but the next few months will be difficult.
“I’m legally blind, have a bad heart and because I’ve been floating around the country, access to my medicine and regular health care has been sketchy. Once I move back to Atlanta, I’ll remedy that.
“Work is steady but with money going out to sustain healthy eating and acquire my heart medicine, it’s going to be harder to save that last bit which would give me one full year’s rent in a safe, MARTA friendly neighborhood in the Atlanta area. Your help now will allow me to make that move, not only into a new space, but also a new stage in my career.”
Click HERE for Sascha’s GoFundMe campaign.
Next up is my dear friend of close to 30 years (!!), and an amazing costumer, Jeffrey Schoenberg and AJS Costumes. Here is what he has to say.
AJS Costume Shop – Jeffrey’s company is at risk.
“After more than 20 years as a free-lance costume designer, I established AJS Costumes in 2002. In 2006, I purchased Renaissance Dancewear and moved both businesses into our present location in Burbank. AJS Costumes has been proud to be a part of the Los Angeles theater community, offering creative resources, extensive stock, and diversity in design.
Today I find myself, my livelihood, and the future of my company impacted and at serious risk. That is why I am reaching out to friends, supporters, and clients of AJS Costumes for help with this GoFundMe campaign.”
Click HERE for Jeffrey’s GoFundMe campaign.
So, Here’s the Deal…
There are people all over the world who need help. Financial help, physical help, emotional help. These are three people who are dear to me, and who I have given to. If you can give, that would be fantastic, I’m not going to lie. If you can’t give, however, and not everyone can, would you please pass this message on? You just never know…you might allow a father to see his son grow up. Allow a writer to finally have a place to call home. And allow a business to thrive.
If you do donate, come back and let me know which one you donated to, and you will be put into a drawing to win a $25 gift card to Amazon. And yeah, I’m going on the honor system here. I’ll do the drawing on September 30th, 2015 so be sure to check back. Oh, and leave your email address, too, so I can notify you if you win.
UPDATE: Okay – some of you haven’t been able to leave a comment, and I’m not sure why. If you leave a message on this post on my Facebook Page, you will also be counted in for the drawing. Or maybe I’ll do two separate drawings. Not sure yet. But thank you – and keep sharing.
Testing from Support
I usually do this post on New Year’s Eve, but life sort of got away from me, as it does now and then. However, here’s a look back at 2014.
Well, I did finish the Guitar Book, and came up with a series idea based on the talent agency…had a great time pitching that at Desert Dreams, finaled in their contest with that book, and…let’s see…oh YEAH. Boroughs Publishing Group wanted the series, and I signed a contract with them in August for a short story and the three novels. Woo! (StarTide series!) Isn’t the StarTide logo cool???
I pitched the Ballet Book, finally finished it, and sent it off to Lovely Agent who wants to see it after I make some revisions because she really liked it but it didn’t quite have enough oomph in the non-ballet sections. So there’s that.
Went to San Antonio for RWA’s National Conference, where I was a lucky girl and got to spend time with the Boroughs peeps. Went to their open house, and was invited to their author dinner even though I wasn’t technically one of theirs yet. Spent some lovely time talking to Chris Keeslar, which is where I got the idea for the Christmas short story. I also drunk-pitched said Ballet Book to a Lovely Editor at St. Martin’s, who said she loved the idea and (being friends with Lovely Agent), when the book is complete she’d like to see it.
Once home, I commenced writing like a fiend. Wrote, finished, and turned in the short story. Christmas Star (only .99!) published in October, 2014! Yay…after almost two years of not publishing, it was nice getting back into the water. In December, I finished book 2 of the StarTide series, and turned that one in. Began Book 3.
Also in December, rewrote another short story I had, after being asked to submit one for a paranormal/sci fi box set for Irksome Rebel Press. As soon as my readers get that back to me, I’ll be turning it in.
So the count for 2014: finished 3 novels; wrote 2 short stories; had one short story published, went to two conferences. Oh, and I wrapped up my second year as President of Los Angeles Romance Authors, chapter of RWA. Whew!
(2015 can be your year, too! There’s room for everyone!)
Here’s what my 2015 is going to look like, that I am aware of currently:
Writing wise: Finish Book 3, Rising Star. Write Caine Brothers Book 3, Demon’s Rage (Justin and Maggie). Rewrite the Ballet Book; send to Lovely Agent (and hopefully Lovely Editor). Brainstorm 2 – 3 novels/novellas for the StarTide series; discuss with Boroughs and write at least the first one.
Guarded Star, to publish in February. Star-Crossed, to publish in April. And Rising Star, publishing in June.
Hopefully my short story will be accepted, and in the Lucky Stars Box Set that will come out on March 17th.
End of March, I will be speaking at the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference, where I’ll get to see lots of old friends and make new ones.
End of May, I’ll be at the Pay It Forward Writer’s Retreat, put on by the incomparable duo of Kendall Grey and Danielle Allen.
End of July, I’ll be in New York City for the RWA National Conference!!!
Demon Soul, Demon Hunt and Demon’s Rage will hopefully all be out in August or maybe September, with nifty new covers and finally an end to the story!
A StarTide holiday novella out in October/November, hopefully.
So, that’s my year. Of course, life happens and things change. My fondest hope is that whatever changes happen are for the better, and that more gets out than less…
Whatever your dreams are, go for them. Be bold, in whatever manner fits you. And don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are too big. They are YOUR dreams, and so they are the perfect size.
Sending love and hugs out to you, and may 2015 be the continuation of All the Good Things!
All pictures (except Christmas Star and the StarTide logo) borrowed from Leonie Dawson.
Dad at the San Diego Book Awards, June 21, 2014 Photo by Greg Cunningham
Today is an important day. It is my father, Chet Cunningham’s birthday. He’s 86 today.
A couple of weeks ago at Thanksgiving dinner, held at my niece & nephew’s house, his face lit up when he saw me and we hugged. He said he can never get enough hugs, and I believe him. As the kids – well, adults and young adults now – gathered in one room, their elders (oh my goodness, I’m an elder…) gathered in another. Dad and I cozied down on a comfy couch and talked about writing. I was having the devil of a time with the book I was currently writing, and he felt he wasn’t writing enough, either.
I need to get to 347 on the wall, he says. When I give him a confused smile, he nods. I’ve got 346 books published, need to get to number 347. Taking a long time. Glad I’m with Wolfpack Publishing, he says.
He says he only gets maybe an hour in the morning, but after lunch he’ll get in a good three hours of writing. After dinner, he will watch football, then head to his office for another hour before watching the ten o’clock news.
Five hours, he says, shaking his head. Not what I used to be able to do.* But I enjoy my naps.
That’s more than I get done, I tell him. His hands are in mine, and they feel so very
The hands that wrote the books. Summer, 2013
precious. The skin is thin, his veins bulge across the back, and his fingers are oddly shaped by arthritis. He catches me looking at them.
This one hurts, he says, rubbing his ring finger on his right hand. These other two, they don’t hurt anymore, but this one does. Except when I’m writing, then I don’t feel them at all. And he shakes his head.
That’s because the story catches you, and you forget about your aches and pains, I say. Me, too, Daddy.
My own fingers have been aching, when I’ve had a long day at work and then go home to write. I kiss his gnarled fingers and wonder if mine will look that way when I’m 85. I can’t even fathom that much time passing from right now.
He puts his forehead against mine. I’m gonna be 86 in a couple of weeks, he says.
I know. I’m so sorry we can’t come down to see you on your birthday, I tell him.
He shakes his head a bit. Both my parents died at 86. Then he gets a twinkle in his eye. I’m gonna beat them, he says.
My heart clutches just a little bit. I know you are, Daddy, I say. You’ve got to make it to at least 350 novels published.
Yeah. That’s the ticket, he says, and we laugh.
Happy birthday, Daddy. Here’s to book number 347, and may they all continue to sell.
A selfie with Dad – May, 2014
*Chet’s schedule, when I was in school, went something like this: write from 9:30am to noon, have lunch. Write from 1:00pm to 4:30pm, then come out and be with the family until after dinner. Write from 6:30pm to 11:00pm, then watch the news and wrap up with Johnny Carson.
He’s my hero.
Find his books…Pony Soldiers
Other books with Wolfpack Publishing
I love authors who touch my heart and soul, who make me think and grow with their words. One day I was hunting around the Boroughs Publishing Group’s website, checking out their products and looking for something to read, and I stumbled onto in the place where she fell by Mary Beth Bass. It being a Lunchbox® romance, it was bound to be short and at only .99, affordable.
But having bought it, I forgot about it until a few weeks later when I was perusing my Kindle, and the cover caught at me. And so I read this story on my lunch hour, and found myself so moved, so changed, that I had to write a review of it. And then I had to talk about it on my blog.
That’s when Mary Beth and I got to talking and becoming friends through Facebook, and through both of us being published by Boroughs. So I want to share my beautiful, talented, soulful friend and the magical world she inhabits.
CA: On your website, you talk about walking through the woods and memorizing poetry on an almost daily basis. How does poetry influence your writing?
MBB: When I first started hiking I used to think, this is great, but wouldn’t it be awesome if some beautiful-voiced, English-accented man was following me and reciting poetry. Kind of like a lyric lady’s maid with a voice like Benedict Cumberbatch. Needless to say I couldn’t quite make that happen. So I became my own Benedict Cumberbatch (without the butter-and-whisky voice). The cool thing about hiking and reciting is that concentrating on steep terrain and not tripping over rocks means I don’t worry that I’m doing the poem wrong. I found that I understood the poems much better than I would have from a place of stillness on the couch. Hmm, I didn’t really answer your question. Probably because I’m not sure how to answer it. I think poetry influences my writing the way everything influences writing. Something grabs a corner of your brain and makes a home there until it pops up in a book. Maude, the sister of the heroine in my young adult fantasy, everything you know, loves poetry. She was born in part from one of my favorite Keats’ poems The Eve of St. Agnes. Maude’s story doesn’t exactly follow the story of that poem but it echoes elements of it. The Eve of St. Agnes is gorgeous and sexy and deceptively dark. You should go read it right now, and imagine your voice-of-choice is reciting it. Over red wine in an old inn. In a snowstorm.
CA: I love Keats, but haven’t read him in a long time. I’ll get right on The Eve of St. Agnes, though… So, I’ve noticed on Facebook that you’re often championing local theater productions. I used to be an actress/dancer/director, and my husband is still vital in the business. How did you become so involved?
MBB: I wanted to be an actress and studied in some fancy-pants theatre schools but I realized soon after I graduated that I didn’t want that life. I love theatre. And I really love supporting other artists. Theatre is my favorite art form. It still feels like actual magic to me. I started occasionally acting again a few years ago. Last summer I was in an amazing production of The Tempest in the woods in a huge nature preserve. The show ended as night fell. Almost every actor I went to school with is a writer now. Or a lawyer.
CA: Oh, don’t I know it – acting, show biz, is a tough business and crumbles a lot of young people’s dreams, especially if they come out to Hollywood. Very few of the people I acted with 30 years ago are still doing it…okay, moving on or we’ll be here all night talking about theater! Tell me how being a parent has influenced your writing.
MBB: When I first started writing my kids were very young. On the way to the bus stop one morning my youngest son told me he couldn’t wait to see my name on a book someday. I decided then to write under my own name. People still assume if you’re writing romance you must be writing under a different name. My first book came out when my youngest was in kindergarten. He gave the book to all his teachers and his bus driver!
My daughter edited my first book when she was still in high school. (Don’t judge. If you’d seen her insightful peer-editing of her classmates’ work, you probably would have made her stay home from the Halloween party until she finished editing the manuscript you were submitting.) She interned at Soft Skull Press in college and is a freelance editor now. She also manages a restaurant in New York City and is awesome.
CA: Wow, how wonderful to get such support from your kids! Now, tell me. You call yourself a writer of “dreamy, lyrical, science fiction and fantasy romance novels for adults and teens.” The words dreamy, lyrical, and science fiction don’t usually go together. How did you come to realize that was a strength of yours?
MBB: Well, I’m pretty dreamy and lyrical by nature. I didn’t realize I was writing science fiction-ish stories until readers started pointing that out. That being said, I have a huge crush on science. My fantasy jobs are hacker or virus hunter. The hero of my work in progress, The Language of the Thread, is an eighteenth century astronomer who is working towards the discovery of Neptune, using mathematics. (Neptune was the first planet to be discovered that way.) The heroine of my first book, Follow Me, is a medical researcher and works covertly as a doctor in the early nineteenth century. I read medical journals from that time period and made up a disease. It was kind of awesome.
CAA: Okay, now I just want to sit you down with a margarita in your hand and talk science, lol! With all that going on, what is your next book about, and when will it be out?
MBB: My next book is All That We See. It’s the sequel to everything you know and picks up right where that story ends. Emma and Joe’s story continues in this book but the heroine of All That We See is Thalia Salic. I’m super excited about this book. It comes out this December.
CAA: Very cool! I have everything you know but, in my typical fashion, haven’t read it yet. I’ll be looking for All That We See. Thank you, so very much, for letting me pry into your life.
MBB: It was my pleasure. Thanks for the great questions!
Okay folks, so here’s where you can find Mary Beth Bass around the Internet. And do yourself a favor – do pick up in the place where she fell. You won’t regret it!
My first publisher, Crescent Moon Press, is having a Huge Black Friday .99 Kindle SALE! Check out some of these great authors below and don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win lots of fun stuff!
The sale runs from Black Friday to New Years, so there’s lots of time to buy LOTS AND LOTS OF FABULOUS BOOKS published by Crescent Moon Press!
Caden’s Fate, by Kate McKeever
Fairyproof, by Constance Phillips
Resurrecting Harry, by Constance Phillips
Speak of the Devil, by Shawna Romkey
The Devil Made Me Do It, by Shawna Romkey
What Gifts She Carried, by Lindsey Loucks
The Grave Winner, by Lindsey Loucks
Violet Midnight, by Lynn Rush
Violet Dawn, by Lynn Rush
Violet Storm, by Lynn Rush
Wasteland, by Lynn Rush
Awaited, by Lynn Rush
Tainted, by Lynn Rush
Prelude to Darkness, by Lynn Rush
Son of a Mermaid, by Katie O’Sullivan
Blood of a Mermaid, by Katie O’Sullivan
Wanted: One Ghost, by Loni Lynne
Ruined, by Kinley Baker
Denied, by Kinley Baker
Endured, by Kinley Baker
Gemini Rising, by Louann Carroll
A Shadow of Time, by Louann Carroll
Dakota Capitve, by Alythia Brown
Sorrow’s Point, by Danielle DeVor
Sorrow’s Edge, by Danielle DeVor
Red, by Reese Reed
The Memory Witch, by Heather Topham Wood
Not Your Average Fairy Tale, by Chantele Sedgwick
Not Your Average Happy Ending, Chantele Sedgwick
A Stiff Kiss, by Avery Olive
Won’t Let Go, by Avery Olive
Idyllic Avenue, by Chad Ganske
Rift Healer, by Diane M Haynes
Still Hunt, by Diane M Haynes
First Contact, by Kat Green
Citizens of Logan Pond: Life, by Rebecca Belliston
Irons in the Fire, by Penelope Marzec
The Company You Keep, by Penelope Marzec
Kiss of Blarney, by Penelope Marzec
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Happy Black Friday, a day late!