Happy October!

This month’s name came from the Latin octo (meaning eight) because this was the eighth month of the early Roman calendar. When the Romans converted to a twelve-month calendar, they didn’t change the name, even though it’s now the tenth month of the year.

In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of the month while Hallowe’en is celebrated on October 31st.

Here are 10 interesting facts about October:

1. On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas.

2. October babies are more likely see their 100th birthday than those born in other months. One theory: These babies were less exposed to seasonal illnesses since they avoided the extreme high and low temperatures of summer and winter.

3. People born between October 1st and October 22nd were born under the star sign of Libra while those born later in the month are under Scorpio. Compassionate and empathetic, Libras dislike conflict and avoid confrontations. Scorpios can be intimidating, but they are also the most loyal friends.

4. More American presidents were born in October than any other month.

5. A busy month for food lovers, October has been designated the national month for pizza, cookies, sausages, popcorn, and dessert.

6. October has also been designated as Italian American Heritage Month, Polish American Heritage Month, Breast Cancer Month, Healthy Lungs Month, Country Music Month, National Book Fair Month, and National Roller Skating Month.

7. Tourmaline and opal are the official birthstones of October.

8. October’s birth flowers are the cosmos and the calendula.

9. October is a big mating season for elk, white-tailed deer, moose, and porcupines.

10. A poem for October:

October glows on every cheek,
October shines in every eye,
While up the hill and down the dale,
Her crimson banners fly.
Elaine Goodale Eastman

Writer on Fire

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Here’s a timely essay from author Hope Clark’s Friday newsletter:

Writers love to write. Some want to tell stories. Some want to tell THEIR stories. Some want to reach out and spread their stories around the world. Some want either to make money or not write. Some write whether the stories sell or not. There are so many types of writers, with so many nuances of those types, that one can almost say no two writers are alike.

Find out who you are. And do it on purpose.” Dolly Parton

There’s writing. Then there’s writing with direction. Neither is wrong. However, there is something exciting about pointing your writing in a direction with a goal to reach whatever is on the horizon. In other words, a writer does have the option of taking charge of their writing instead of letting the writing do the driving. Having a map for your writing can be quite exciting.

There is nothing so empowering as to be in charge.

There is also nothing so scary as to be in charge.

Decision-making is scary, and it takes research, drive, and willpower to direct that energy. That decision-making can mean defining who you are as a writer, what you write, and where you want to be after a certain period of time.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” Dolly Parton

Yes, the quotes are from Dolly Parton, because after all, she is a creative spirit who wisely chose how to direct her energies . . . and did well doing it. Not a bad role model.

Own yourself, own your writing, and decide how you can be happy with the results. It’s in your hands.

Source: Hope Clark

Spotlight on Unexpected by Jana Richards

I’m happy to welcome back Wild Rose Press author Jana Richards. Today, Jana shares her new release, Unexpected.

Tagline

A marriage of convenience. An unexpected love.

Blurb

Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife’s parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.

Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She’s intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They’re determined to show the world, and the girls’ grandparents, two loving parents.

Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie’s efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.

Excerpt

Jamie didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The logical part of her brain told her if Ben lost custody it wasn’t her fault. Circumstances beyond her control, and Ben’s, had conspired against them. But guilt and worry wouldn’t let her rest.

The crazy thing was she could see the four of them together as a family. And she could see herself with Ben. She’d been fighting her feelings for him since the day they met. Learning he was a recovering alcoholic was a shock, but she knew he was much more than that. He was kind and funny, and a loving father.

But he didn’t love her.

She remembered what it was like to watch, day by day, as Carson fell a little more out of love with her. Every day another piece of her soul withered. To the outside world they probably still looked like a happy couple. But she could feel Carson pull away bit by bit, like water trickling out of a broken vase. It was in the awkward silences between them, the unexplained absences, the times he didn’t reach for her in the night.

Eventually the slow trickle turned into a torrent and he was gone. It had nearly destroyed her.

Could she live with a man who didn’t love her for a second time? Could she willingly step into a relationship, knowing it would likely end the same way her relationship to Carson ended?

Thoughts and emotions whirled in her brain, making her dizzy.

At four a.m. she gave up all pretence of sleep. She went to the kitchen for a drink of water and as she ran the tap, she saw the lights were on in Ben’s house. He probably couldn’t sleep either.

What must he be going through? She couldn’t imagine losing a child.
The old longing ache she’d worked so hard to dispel pressed on her heart. This is your chance, her heart whispered. Maybe your only chance to have children.

Jamie groaned out load. She couldn’t say no. Ben and the girls needed her.
Yet how could she say yes and expose herself to almost certain heartbreak?

Maybe some things were more important. Maybe it was enough to be a mother to the girls and create a family with them. She couldn’t expect Ben to love her as well. It was asking too much.

She couldn’t let him lose the girls. And she couldn’t let her one chance to be a mother slip away.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Goodreads | BookBub

Author Bio

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.janarichards.com

Social Media Links

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Amazon UK Author Page | Newsletter Signup | Goodreads | Bookbub

Virtual Book Tour: Something Lost

I’m happy to welcome bestselling author Bernadette Marie. Today, Bernadette shares life lessons learned from her martial arts training and her new release, Something Lost.

10 Life Lessons I Have Learned from My Martial Arts Training

10. Lifelong friendships are forged through shared experiences.

9. Your body can accomplish amazing things when you push a little harder, especially through doubt.

8. Discipline is a key factor in your success.

7. Failure is a teaching tool.

6. Respect should be earned not demanded.

5. Muscle memory is an amazing thing.

4. Hitting someone is powerful.

3. Getting hit is powerful.

2. You can do anything at any age (even if it has to be modified.)

1. You can overcome anything.

Blurb

Saying goodbye is sometimes the beginning.

Craig Turner was Coach Diaz’s star player, back in the day. He was held in high regard, until he broke the rules and dated the coach’s daughter. Young and stupid, his affection for her lasted until graduation, and then it was time to face the real world–but his love for her would never leave him.

Rachel Diaz became who her father wanted her to be, a well educated, well traveled, successful woman, but she holds a well full of secrets from the outside world. As a high school therapist, she uses her past traumas to help others overcome their own.

When the Fabulous Five arrive at Coach Diaz’s funeral, to pay their respects, a rekindling happens between them all—and between Craig and Rachel.

Is Rachel woman enough to face her demons and is Craig man enough to accept them? Or will their encounter be as brief as the affair they had a decade ago, behind her father’s back?

Excerpt

“Dr. Olivia Chasen,” Santa’s jolly baritone popped her mental fuzzy bubble.

She stopped as she struggled to whirl around. “Me?” She touched her chest with a dramatic flourish she didn’t know she possessed.

A powerful spotlight illuminated her; its heat burned her already flushed face.

She pressed a clammy palm to her chest. “How do you know my name?” The haze in her mind was paralyzing all cognitive function.

“My dear girl,” Santa chuckled, “you should know by now that Santa knows everything and everyone,” he tapped an index finger to his temple.

Santa Claus turned to address the waiting line. “Girls, Boys, Moms, Dads, everyone, if you don’t mind waiting for a brief moment, I’d like for Olivia,” he pointed a white gloved finger at her, “to please come up here on stage, and tell me what she wants for Christmas.”

She stood dumbfounded as the audience and the people in line clapped and chanted her name, “Olivia! Olivia! Olivia!”

Oh no! What was she going to do? She couldn’t possibly go up onto that stage. She was far too shy to address a theater full of people.

But if she didn’t go that would be so unexciting and so like the old Olivia.

But she wasn’t unexciting! She was the new Olivia, and she was exciting! And she wanted to have fun! Correction: She was determined to have fun. Besides, she’d never see these people—her fellow passengers—ever again.

Author Bio and Links

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011. Since then, she has authored and published over thirty-five books. The married mother of five sons promises romances with a Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it because she lives it.

Obsessed with the art of writing and the business of publishing, chronic entrepreneur Bernadette Marie established her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, in 2011 to bring her own work to market as well as offer an opportunity for fresh voices in fiction to find a home as well.

When not immersed in the writing/publishing world, Bernadette Marie and her husband are shuffling their five hockey playing boys around town to practices and games as well as running their family business. She is a lover of a good stout craft beer and might have an unhealthy addiction to chocolate.

Amazon | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Email

Giveaway

Bernadette Marie will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Bernadette on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

A Lie That Holds Us Back

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s a recent message that will resonate with all age groups:

“Starting over is not an option!”

That’s a lie many of us hold on to until the bitter end.

The idea of starting over being a bad thing is baked right into the fabric of our society’s education system. We send our children to a university when they’re 17 or 18, and basically tell them to choose a career path they’ll be happy with for the next 40 years. “But what if I choose wrong?” I remember thinking to myself. And that’s exactly what I did, in more ways than one.

Over the years, however, through bouts of failure and hardship, I’ve learned the truth through experience: you can change paths quite often in life. Yes, starting over is almost always feasible, and it’s oftentimes a pretty darn good choice too. Of course, it won’t be easy, but neither is being stuck with a lifelong career you naively chose when you were a teenager. And neither is holding on to something that’s not meant to be, or something that’s already gone.

The truth is, almost no one wins a game of chess by only moving forward; sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win. And this is a perfect metaphor for life. Sometimes when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path. Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly fine…

Let go of what’s been done and grow from it!

Of course, that’s much easier said that done. One of the absolute hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go. But letting go is generally the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts and choices from the past and paves the way to make the most positive use of the present. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from some of the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you. Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus yourself, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster!

Truth be told, inner peace begins the moment you take a new breath and choose not to allow uncontrollable past events or decisions to dominate you in the present. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, breathe, and begin…

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Light Through the Pouring Rain

I’m happy to welcome author James Ruvalcaba. Today, James shares his new release, The Light Through the Pouring Rain.

Hello, I’m James Ruvalcaba the Author of The Light Through the Pouring Rain and I’m here today to tell you 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Light Through the Pouring Rain. My story is an emotional story that details the trials and tribulations of a couple battling a cancer diagnosis. So, now I want to give you a “behind the scenes” look of the top 10 things you didn’t know about my book.

1. I wrote this book in one month.

During the Covid lockdown, I found myself stuffing my face with Oreos and washing them down with pop-tarts. I noticed some weight gain and needed a change, so I began to establish a routine. I would walk and then write. With a clear mind, the ideas flooded the pages as I wrote. Next thing you know the book was complete in a month.

2. There is a longer version of the book.

I originally wrote a 400-page version of The Light Through the Pouring Rain, but after sampling the book to the younger generation, they informed me that “400-pages is too long.” I decided to trim the book to what it is now – 150-pages.

3. Tik Tok & SportsCenter inspired the new length of the book.

After sampling it, I thought I shouldn’t worry about others’ thoughts of the book, but then I thought of the length of Tiktok and highlights on SportsCenter. The shorter the better, so I made sure to cover the highlights of our story and made sure it stayed true to the message.

4. Kobe Bryant inspired the book cover.

When it was time to come up with a direction for my book cover I had communicated that I was looking for something that was artistically similar to the animation that was used for Kobe Bryant’s live poem “Dear Basketball”. After one simple conversation, my illustrator got it right on the first try.

5. All included in the story declined to be named.

Out of respect to all involved in my story, I asked if they would like to be named, but all unselfishly thought it would be best for my name and my fiancée Anabel’s name to be the only ones included so readers would walk away only remembering our two names.

6. The story told is very true but was originally going to be taken in a different direction.

Throughout our process, my fiancée Anabel and I attempted to document as much as possible with hopes to use our story to inspire others to continue to push forward in their battles and appreciate their loved ones. Unfortunately, that story didn’t get told but was planned throughout the cancer process.

7. The story is out because of a friend.

After completing my story I had no direction where to go or what was next, so on one particular day I was followed on social media by an Author (that will remain nameless) or I should say my friend and one direct message later on social media the rest was history. It’s due to her that my book is out and available. Without her, my book may still be sitting on my computer waiting to be released. I will be forever grateful to her.

8. My book was fully completed within a week.

I was very blessed to be connected to a very amazing group of individuals that had a quick turnaround on my book. From the editor to the book cover illustrated they had my book up and ready for release within a week.

9. I released my book with no marketing.

Due to excitement on just being able to come through on my promise I made to my fiancée in our last moments, I released the book as soon as I could. I only made one Instagram post about it and released it immediately afterward.

10. My book came out on December 21st in honor of my mom.

My mom was the MVP of the entire story and without her, I wouldn’t be here today. So as an honor to show my mom my token of appreciation I wanted to tell our story on her birthday. Mom, if you are reading this, Thank you for everything!

About the Book

A remarkable love story that pulls on your heartstrings and leaves you inspired. A page turner that gives a first-hand look into the lives of a young couple madly in love and eager to start their lives together, only to have it all halted by a cancer diagnosis. With no clear road map on how to navigate their new normal, James and Anabel proceed into uncharted territory, hand-in-hand, with the love of their families and their faith in God to guide them.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Before he started writing romance stories, James worked with the Special Needs population for 10 years. He devoted his life giving back to the population. From schools to agencies and everything in between, James has worked almost every job within the community. After that, during the pandemic James decided to start writing to pass the time, but to come through on his promise he made years earlier. He devoted his life to giving back, now he devotes his life to telling his stories.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway

One randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon gift card. Find out more here.

Advice from Elizabeth Gilbert

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Inspirational advice for all writers and wannabe writers from best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert:

Happy National Live Creative Day!

Today is National Live Creative Day, a day set aside to dream, discover, and invent. Consider resurrecting an old hobby, participating in a favorite pastime, or exploring a new passion.

If you’re feeling stuck, here are ten quotes to spark your imagination:

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”
Maya Angelou

“What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul.”
Deepak Chopra

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Erich Fromm

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” Steve Jobs

“The creative adult is the child who survived.” Ursula Leguin

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Sophia Loren

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” Pablo Picasso

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath

When a Sequel Burns to be Written

I’m happy to welcome author Brenda Marie Smith. Today, Brenda shares an interesting post about sequels and her new release, If the Light Escapes.

After I’d written If Darkness Takes Us and was querying it to agents and publishers, it was time for me to start a new novel. I considered several story ideas, but the only one that captured me was a sequel to If Darkness.

“Don’t do it!” more experienced writers told me. “Never write a sequel to a book that hasn’t been sold yet. Publishers don’t like it.”

But I had this compelling world I’d created, and a cast of characters I had carefully crafted until, to me, they had lives of their own. I couldn’t just abandon them. They’d be hanging there in stasis waiting for me to return and breathe more life into them.

I know this isn’t actually the case, but that’s how it felt to me. They and their world exist in my head, and my mind refused to ignore them. Besides, I had more plans for them. Not to mention that it’s easier to start with characters you’ve already drawn than it is to start from scratch. It was almost as though I couldn’t stop myself from writing a sequel. So, I gave up trying to refrain and started writing.

If Darkness centers on a grandmother named Bea who is keeping her four grandkids when a solar pulse destroys modern life, then their parents don’t return home. She has to teach the kids how to survive without power, cars, phones, or running water. In that story, Bea’s grandson Keno stands out as a complex older teen who is suffering but heroic in the face of it all.

Keno was the character I wanted to focus the sequel on, but because he was so young, I was worried he wouldn’t be able to carry the weight as the protagonist of an adult novel. I needn’t have worried. Keno’s eighteen-year-old voice poured out of me so fast that I literally couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with him. I wrote a 120,000-word first draft in 27 days. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, and I wouldn’t expect it to happen again.

Of course, 120K words is much too long for a novel in the apocalyptic genre, so I spent months and months refining the story and trimming it down. Meanwhile, I won the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest for If Darkness Takes Us, and the prize was a publishing contract. My first ever, from SFK Press.

I had to set If the Light Escapes aside while I focused on publisher edits for the first book and then on marketing it. Then, we had a pandemic. Still, I managed to get a contract from SFK for If the Light in the summer of 2020, and have spent much of 2021 working with an incredibly good team of editors to make it shine. The ARCs are going into production now in early June, and I’m getting more excited by the day.

It’s important to me to write what compels me. I’m not sure I could write a decent novel any other way. In this particular case, it’s working out well that I ignored the advice I was given. But even if I’d never found a publisher for either book, I would still be satisfied for writing what was burning in my heart.

Blurb

A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

Excerpt

FROM CHAPTER 3

A huge sliver of moon rises to the east, lighting up the park and Alma’s face with an orange-yellow glow. We pull ourselves up and sit wrapped together on top of the monkey bars like we rule the planet, gazing into our dark subdivision, on the southern edge of our emptied-out city, in the middle of the scary*** world.

“Keno? Alma?” Bobby Carlisle calls from the street. “Y’all come home. Now!”

The crickets and tree frogs have gone silent. I hear Bobby cock his rifle thirty yards away. …Alma and I gape at each other, and then we run.

When we reach Bobby in the street… I scan the trees behind the swings and monkey bars, half a football field away.

Before the sun zapped us, those trees would’ve seemed pretty. Tonight, they’re creepy. I’ve been too worked up about Tasha and Mom to even think about watching the tree line. As bad as things sometimes get around here, I’m still not totally used to life post-apocalypse and the never-ending vigilance.

“I don’t see—”

“Shh!” Bobby aims his rifle…

I shudder and run my eyes back and forth among the trees. With all the different-sized trunks in the deep shadows, people could be hiding in there and blending in.

“There!” Bobby hisses, pointing to the north edge of the trees. And I see—what?… Two pairs of feet… Then …metal flashes in the moonlight. Behind me, Alma gasps. I pull my Glock, flick off the safety, and aim.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio and Social Media Links

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Goodreads

Giveaway

One randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card. Find out more here

Follow Brenda on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.