Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ~May Crandall (in Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ya’ll!  I am writing this book review on February’s book chosen by The Books & Broads Book Club: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  I was hesitant about this book based on the story line.  It sounded very depressing and I do not like depressing…LOL

Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateThe story line is about five siblings who were kidnapped from their river home while their Mom and Dad were at the hospital for their Mom to give birth to their twin siblings.  The story follows Rill Foss and her determination to protect her sisters and brother when they are taken to Georgia Tann’s Memphis, Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  The story toggles from 1939 to Present day while the different stories are played out throughout the book.  Present day finds an up-and-coming politico, Avery Stafford, who moves back to Aiken, South Carolina to help care for her father who is fighting Cancer and to get her name out there to take his place in the Senate if he passes from the Cancer.  During her time in Aikin, Avery, meets an older lady named May Crandall who sets her in motion to find the long-hidden secret of her family’s history to find out how May Crandall is associate with her grandmother, Judy Safford.

Onto the review, Dear Bloggites.  This story is an emotionally draining story in my opinion.  It is written in first person (which I hate) and toggles between 1939 Tennessee and present-day South Carolina.  Even though I do not like first person, it worked well in this book because of the different players you are following throughout.  Lisa Wingate created well developed characters in this book and even though the topic was deep and depressing, you did find moments of humor and lightness to help comfort the reader and give them a break from the heaviness of the subject.

The story became very predictable as I read the book and by the middle, I had already figured out who each person was and how it was going to end.  This was sad for me because, while I am reading a depressing topic, I was hoping the author would put a twist in there so the reader was surprised by the ending instead of underwhelmed and left with a feeling of, “Meh, okay.”  The book is a work of fiction but is based on real life events that happened in Memphis, Tennessee with Georgia Tann and her kidnapping of children from poor homes to place them (at an expensive cost) in the homes of financially well, established members of society.

I give Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you don’t mind depressing topics, go out and give this book a whirl.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

The Struggle Is Real, People!

Hey, All!  It’s me again.  I know, SHOCKING, two blogs back-to-back, and even more shocking, they are not on book reviews!  I am still doing my reviews as I read, but as you can see, with the lack of review posts, that I have not been reading (Bad, P, Goofy JugglingBad!!!).

We all start the new year with grand goals and plans for our life and most of us see those grand goals and plans fizzle as the months go on, well guess what, mine fizzled as soon as it was out of the proverbial gate at the beginning of the year.  I love to write, I love to read, I love books, as you know, Dear Bloggites, and I make plans to do this, and this, and this, and then life says, “Deal with THIS!” and all my plans get scattered to the wind.

Last year, 2017, I promised myself that I would get back to writing my novel I started before my Dad’s Cancer spread and was put on hold for me to take care of him and his needs.  I was blessed to have those last months with my Dad, but I promised myself after he passed that I was going to focus on my writing.  So, Dad passed in August of 2016, and I miss him every freaking day, he was my best friend and my sound board, and I flounder now when I am struggling with things.

I promised myself 2017 would be the year my writing career took off, and I was doing well for the first month and the second month: I was taking writing classes, signing up for writing retreats, writing daily on my novel, etc. and in the third month, my business got busy, so writing was put off due to long days of working my business.  That busyness carried into the fourth month with writing classes going by the wayside along with the writing because my brain was fried from the demands of work.

The fifth month rolls around and I found myself in the hospital with my sister who almost died.  We spent two months in the hospital, her fighting for life, and me fighting for her rights while she could not.  Praise God, the fight won and Four of Seven (my name for her in the Familial Roll Call) came back to us.  She struggled for many months, but she was alive and had all her faculties.

By the time all this took place, I found myself facing the last few months of the 2017 with minimal progress on my writing and all my plans and goals shot to hell and resting where all writing projects go to die.  So, I rallied.  I promised myself that 2018 was going to be the year my writing career took off (sounds like a bad case of ground hog’s day, the movie) and I was going to change my work hours to accommodate my time to allow focus on writing.  I was going to blog regularly, book reviews and writing progress and whatever I want to share, and I was going to start on the classes again and try and give the writing retreat another shot.

Then January 1, 2018 was here, and I was laid up with a severe case of the Flu.  For the first two weeks, I was in bed, barely working, and wishing I was dead just to make the terrible feeling go away.  I recovered from that only to find that my body has decided it wants to start causing me issues with more intense pain aside from my chronic pain I live with from the car accident I had in 2005.  It hurt to move a finger, and I am still struggling with this factor as of today.  But, once again, my plans and goals for my writing career were blown out of the water.

But guess what?  I came prepared with a rope to pull it back in.  Well, sort of.  I am doing writing classes and I am getting so stoked and encouraged that I am feeling the tingle in my fingers and the yearning in my brain to put pen to paper (or finger to keystroke).  Something I honestly have not felt since before my Dad got sick.

See, I can make all these plans and set all these goals, but if the desire and passion are not there, the plans and goals are easy to disregard.  Without passion, any activity or goal becomes work, or for me, just another job after hectic days with my business.

I did not get it until I started listening to all the different authors who were interviewed in the Women In Publishing Summit offered by Alexa Bigwarfe and sponsored by Vivante.  This is not a plug for anyone, however, I do want to thank Alexa for bringing the passion back for the writing mojo I love.  Alexa’s book, Ditch The Fear-Just Write It!, had the greatest statement that spoke to me.  The statement was, “Warning.  This is no ordinary plan.  It is the ass-kicker you need when you want to give up.”

This statement may not mean anything to you, but OH MY GOODNESS, it was like I was slammed in the head with a resounding, “DUH!!!!”  That passionate writing mojo said, “Oh, yeah!  Now we got it!”  I literally heard these two thoughts (heard thoughts…whaaat?) in my head as soon as I read that statement in Alexa’s book.

There will never been the perfect time to have my “writing career take off” – Life Happens.  Life will ALWAYS happen.  I will always have road blocks being thrown up at me when it comes to writing.  Why, you ask?  Because in order to achieve something worthwhile, you will always have challenges testing you and your determination to obtain that achievement.

With this new thought process, I am now embracing my passionate writing mojo and I am just going to do it, no matter what.  Even if I am waking up at 4:30am wide awake after falling asleep only 30-minutes to an hour before, I will write.  I have thrown out the plans and goals and I am just going to write.  It doesn’t matter what I write or even how well I write, as long as I write, I will be organically working those plans and reaching those goals.

Goofy SurprisedIt is so refreshing and freeing to think this way.  I love it!  So, you and I will be having almost daily chats, Dear Bloggite, because I want to share my Journey with you and maybe you will decide to share your journey, no matter what it is, with me, I would love to be there for you and support you in this Journey we call Life.

My challenge to you today: Think about your life.  Is there something you always have an intent to do but somehow never get around to doing it?  What can you do, to make that intent happen?  Are you going to need to throw out the plans and goals, like I had to do or are you going to have to tweak your life a little bit to make it happen?  Let me know down below in the comments. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in #BloggiteBits Campaign

#BloggiteBits-Persistent A.R.D.O.R.

Persistent A.R.D.O.R.: Adamant pursuit, Rigorous search, Determined success, Observe results, Reflective thoughts

#BloggiteBits-Persistent Ardor
Persistent A.R.D.O.R.

Persistent or annoying?  I believe that if you desire to achieve something, having strong persistence is only a plus factor in achieving that goal that is desired.  In this installment of the ABCs of encouragement with the #BloggiteBits Campaign, I am going to give you some pointers on living life with Persistent A.R.D.O.R. and achieving those goals you set in all aspects of your life: Adamant pursuit, Rigorous search, Determined success, Observe results, & Reflective thoughts.

Adamant pursuit: Achieving goals in life is something you have to commit to on a regular basis.  Having an adamant pursuit of your goals in life will help you stay focused and keep your dreams alive until the goal is reached.  Living life with persistent ardor keeps the goal in front of you as you go through life.

Rigorous search: Goals require a determined person who will rigorously search for the next step along the way when achieving something.  Rigorous searching does not mean you have to chase things erratically, it just means that you will always look for the next minor step in the ultimate big picture of the desired goal.

Determined success: Determination is the one item that separates the people who achieve their goals and those who do not.  Have a determined success mentality will get you that much closer to reaching your goal.  This pointer goes along the lines of that saying we all know so well, “Well begun is half done.”  Having a determination that you will be successful in achieving your goal puts you way ahead of the game.

Observe results: Observing results as you reach each minor step along your journey to the ultimate goal will help you adjust to how to pursue the next minor step.  Observation is key in all situations, especially ones that deal with reaching your goals.

Reflective thoughts: On your journey to the ultimate big picture goal, be sure to have reflective thoughts on each little success as you complete one minor step toward your goal.  Reflection is good for the mind and soul.  Reflective thoughts help you appreciate what you have accomplished as well as what you will accomplish.  Envisioning the success of reaching your goal goes a long way toward truly achieve it.

~4-Ever, P