Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Short Story Winner!

The Elders’ Touch

No one knows what we did. After today, no one ever will. I lay awake for hours, waiting for the perfect pitch of black before following Zamir’s path. We were leaving; traveling far away from home. Away from the misery. Away from the rules. Away from the pain.

Yesterday, Zamir spent the entire afternoon looking for stones. White ones only, so they’d reflect the moon’s glow. The timing had to be precise or else we’d be caught.

So much has changed since the war. Babies are now considered a commodity, like salt or corn, bought and sold at market. I didn’t know until month five. My thin frame had become round. If the elders found out, he or she would never be mine. I couldn’t live with that. Neither could Zamir.

After the war, all of the adult women in our village were round up like cattle, placed inside stables. They moaned inside for days. Once released, they fled to their homes, no longer willing or able to create life. Any hope of a new generation rested upon us. Our years were too young at the time, 16 being the age of consent. Still, the elders preyed upon us like wolves, the venom strong in their eyes. They were determined. I was determined too.

Zamir and I grew up together, years before the war. Our mothers carried fruit and water together from the market and well. By 13, we were more than friends.

The next three years zigzagged into a blur. What we had done was wrong. What we had created, love. We both knew our punishment was death. Still, we continued, never knowing it would lead to this.

The air was silent. I crept from my pallet to the entryway of our hut. Into the night I waddled, Zamir’s white stones guiding my feet. The path to the scarp that took ten minutes in daylight took three times as long against the moon. Where would we go? How would we eat? We did not know. That uncertainty led us to this dusk-filled night. No one would take our unborn child. He or she would never be ours if we stayed. Almost 100 feet to the edge of the scarp, I could feel the tension rising. Inch by inch, I made my way down the rocky slide, only to discover, I was alone. Had I followed the wrong stones?

Think, Mena think. He told me the white ones would lead me to him. Why is he not here?

Just as I began to retrace my steps, I heard a voice.

“Mena, come, down here.”

My fears quickly washed away. I saw Zamir’s hand reach for mine. Then, instantly, our touch was intercepted by another…an elders’. Just when I believed the three of us were free, bondage ensued. It was then that I knew, things would never be the same, again.


Chills.  Seriously love this.  

Your story could appear here next month, our prompt will go live Monday.  Haven't joined our goodreads group  yet?  Why not?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ranee` Reviews: MY SECRET WAR: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck by Mary Pope Osborne

So maybe you've noticed some changes going on here at Mommy Authors. Like reviews. This is a first for one of my posts, and I'm excited. In fact, I picked MY SECRET WAR especially for this, because one, I don't read middle grade often, and two, we're Mom's and Authors. We all need book recommendations for our kids, because of course, we'd like to make them readers too!

Title: My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck
Age: Middle Grade
Length:  179 pgs. w/ additional facts

From Amazon: Thirteen-year-old Madeline's diaries for 1941 and 1942 reveal her experiences living on Long Island during World War II while her father is away in the Navy.

The Rating: ****

The Good
I love World War II stuff. I do. I'm still a history geek at heart and get some of my greatest ideas from listening to a fun podcast called "Stuff You Missed In History Class." (You may already know I based my last NANO novel on the French Revolution, but that's a story for another day.) I don't read middle grade books often, though that's a fact I expect will change as my genius 6yo (no seriously...) continues to progress in his love of books, but I'm glad I ran my finger over this one. I was always a big American Girls fan (remember those??) so this is right up my alley. It is a cute, fun glimpse into the life of an average girl during World War II. It includes some fantastic insight as well as some heart-pumping action. (About half-way through I couldn't put it down.) I loved the "family" that is central to the story, and all the small things that make their lives tick and sometimes stop ticking. 

The Bad
It was a little hard for me to get into at first. As I mentioned above, once I got about half-way through I couldn't put it down, but it did take that long to work into the real meat of the plot.

The Recomendation
If you've read "The Magic Treehouse" series with your kids and swore you'd never read anything of Mary Pope Osborne's again (okay, I'll admit right here, I have a prejudice. I can only take so much "Jack said, this" and "Annie said, that.") don't let it keep you from reading this book, especially if you have an itch for things historical and entertaining.

Content: Can I say, "Mild theatrical elements" and will you know what I mean? (Maddie faces some scary guys one night on a beach. Again, it's middle grade and told from the POV of a 13 yo., so not really scary, only mildly so.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ten Writing Prompts for Better Writing

Valerie Steimle

Relaxing at Barnes and Noble Bookstore on a Friday night always results in “writing” research for my brain.  Sometimes I’m like a sponge and can’t get enough information about how to be a better writer.  Then other times I just vegetate.  A couple of weeks ago, I was in sponge mode and found an issue of The Writer Magazine and started taking notes on whatever I could find.  I always need more ideas for my weekly editorial articles so I read about more prompts to help me get ideas. Accumulating writing prompts tucked away for a rainy day is very helpful and this is what I found:

Ten Prompts for More Writing Ideas:

  1. Turn on the TV or radio for a few seconds and write down the first phrase you hear. Then write for a half hour about that phrase.
  2. You discover a loose floorboard in a corner of your attic.  Write about what is underneath.
  3. Imagine the best or worst possible thing you could receive as a gift from someone and write about opening the package and how you would feel about receiving that gift.
  4. Think of a favorite accessory or piece of clothing from your past: hat, scarf, glove, belt, or buckle. Write on the images you see. Or choose a picture (like some I have posted) and write about how it makes you feel.
  5. Recall a place from your childhood that intrigued or frightened you.  Describe.
  6. Your phone rings in the middle of the night.  What happens in the next ten minutes?
  7. Pick up a minor character from a favorite movie or TV show and explore the main plot from that character’s point of view.
  8. Plan the perfect crime… have ten minutes.
  9. Describe the first time you drove a car.
  10. You find a bomb in an unlikely place.  Timer says 10 minutes. Now what?
Take a few minutes to write every day. This will improve your writing skills.

So there you have it.  

Ten ideas for a story or just practice. 
Happy writing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 28: Understanding Antagonists

31/5/10 Baca / Campo tornado
Photo Credit:  Willoughby Owen
When you think of an antagonist what do you picture?  A mustache-twirling villain may be the first thing that comes to mind, but is it the only thing?  It shouldn't be.  Because there is a big difference between a villain and an antagonist.

According to a villain is a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime, whereas an antagonist only need be the adversary of the hero and can take on many forms.

There are 6 standard types of antagonists that we see in literature:
1) Man Against Man:  family, friends, enemies, lovers.  (This is the category in which the villain falls).  
The list of family, friends, etc, doesn't mean these people have to be bad; all that is required to be an antagonist is that a character's goals are in conflict with the hero's goals.  For example, in the Twilight Saga there are many antagonists, but the one that is the most difficult for Bella to fight is the one she loves, Edward.  Her goal is to become immortal so she can remain with him.  His goal is to keep her human.  Despite loving each other, Edward is Bella's antagonist through the first three books.

2) Man Against Nature:  any kinds of natural disasters, natural laws, physical disabilities (blindness, mental illness).  
These antagonists are pretty easy to spot.  Stories like Hatchet, or Dante's Peak, in which a character must fight to physically stay alive (and it's not a person that's trying to kill them), are obviously the pinnacle of man against nature.

3) Man Against Society:  governments, social customs, mob mentality, religious institutions.  
I can think of a few examples of this - novels as diverse as Pride and Prejudice and The Hunger Games - but my favorite example of this is To Kill A Mockingbird.  Atticus Finch may not be physically fighting anyone, but his determination to give Tom Robinson, a black man, a good defense in an Alabama court is obviously going to be difficult.  We see in the end that, despite the undeniable innocence of the man, Tom is found guilty because a jury is more comfortable convicting an innocent black man than a (clearly guilty) white man.  

4) Man Against Machine:  motorized vehicles, robots, computers.  
The Matrix series is all about man against machine with Neo trying to free humanity from the control of "the machines" (yeah, they are literally called the machines).  Another one I love is the movie I, Robot where we watch Will Smith try to prove that the robots humans use as servants are actually dangerous and cannot be controlled.

5) Man Against God:  spiritual beliefs.
This one isn't one I've come across much in my readings or movie viewings.  It's important to note that any examples of an antagonist can ultimately fit within the man against God category if the book is inherently about a man's spiritual journey.  If physical illness or broken relationships lead the hero to question why God has allowed bad things to happen to him, then the overall theme will be the hero's journey to finding his faith. 

6) Man Against Himself:  past mistakes, fears, flaws, doubts, moral choices.  (Some of the most powerful antagonists).
Every story is going to have at least a small element of man against himself because no character is perfect (at least they shouldn't be or they'd be really boring).  To make it the main antagonist however, a character needs to be placed in a situation in which their own behaviors are bringing about their failures.  If a woman goes through a string of men trying to find the right guy, no guy in particular is the antagonist.  Rather, something within her is sabotaging these relationships and she must find it and overcome it in order to triumph. 

Uses of Antagonists
The antagonist serves the obvious purpose of creating conflict, but the strategic use of antagonists throughout your scenes can enhance your protagonist.  After all, a hero is only as good as his antagonist is bad.  

Though we see the antagonist in the first Act and we see all of the power the antagonist has in the third Act, think about going back to Act II (when you've finished the 30 day challenge) and amping up the conflict by adding more antagonists.  That's right, there can be more than one antagonist.  I was watching Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol the other night and was thrilled to see this principle in action.  There's a scene in which Tom Cruise must scale a sheer glass hotel in order to reach a floor above and disable the hotel's firewall.  First, his super-special, impossibly-high-building-scaling-gloves have some battery issues and Tom almost falls to his death  (Man Vs. Machine).  Next, the bad guys arrive ahead of schedule and Tom has to speed his little operation up (Man Vs. Man).  As if that's not enough, a massive sandstorm is headed his way (Man Vs. Nature).  So yeah, a little bit of anxiety and suspense going on in just that one scene.

If you're struggling with a dull middle, throw in a storm, a broken down car, a fight with a boyfriend, or any other antagonist you can possibly thing of.
"The character can have all of the skills that they need ... in order to achieve what they want at the climax, however they don't know they have those skills...  The [skills] are going to be uncovered through the interaction with the antagonists...." (Martha Alderson, YouTube Series: How to Plot a Novel, Memoir, or Screenplay, Step 13).

If you just need yourself a good villain
If your main antagonist is going to be a bad guy, there are a few things you need to remember in order to make him more authentic and relatable to your readers (taken from Victoria Lynn Schmidt's Book in a Month, page 179).

1) The villain cannot be pure evil.  Every villain needs to have at least one redeeming quality; something that shows the reader that the villain might have been a good guy had he not had X, Y, or Z happen to him.  I think the strongest villain is one who is acting out of misguided ideals.  Take the crazy albino in The Da Vinci Code, for example.

2) Your villain needs a skill that equals or surpasses the hero's skill.  There isn't much of a battle brewing if your villain is only sort of good at what he does.  A comical example of this is at the beginning of the movie Megamind when the giant-headed villain fails to elicit fear in any of his victims because his villainy skills are less than sub-par.  (Or is it more than sub-par?  I never understand these sports metaphors).  At the end of the movie we see the true villain is a "super hero" with far more power and abilities than Megamind, but Megamind uses his brains to overcome.

3) The villain needs a weakness that can be exploited so the hero can conquer in the end.  Your hero's weakness will be found out by the villain, but the villain will be unable to triumph because the hero has learned to overcome that weakness.  The overcoming of weaknesses is exactly what makes the hero heroic.

What are the antagonists in your life that keep you from your writing?

MY DAY 28:  I lost a lot of enthusiasm because it was pretty obvious I wasn't going to be finishing the book in 30 days.  Nevertheless, I kept chipping away at it, writing one scene at a time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Incredible Book Eating Boy!


   Don't you just love a title that makes you want to "dig" right into the book?
   I have a slight confession.  
   More like a slight obsession.  
   I am addicted to children's books. They overflow from bookshelves in my house, and I simply can't stop.  My husband and I both love to travel, and I can't travel without stopping in a local bookstore.  And I can't stop in a local bookstore without buying a *few* books.
   "The Incredible Book Eating Boy" by Oliver Jeffers, remains one of my most favorite children's book finds from when my husband and I were motoring about Ireland.  The first copy was literally chewed to pieces, because my daughters simply couldn't help themselves. Henry, the main character, finds he has a talent for eating books.  And the more books he eats, the smarter he gets.  It's funny, and brilliant, and magical in a reminiscent of Roald Dahl sort of way.  Don't let the eating of books dissuade you from picking this one up though, your children are I'm sure, much smarter than mine. We are on copy two, which makes frequent trips to school to be read to giggly kindergarten students who can't get enough of Oliver Jeffers. The last page alone has them all squealing with delight. 
  Another perk to buying books from other countries?  Explaining the different phrases to your children.  Biscuits as cookies, and petrol as gasoline.  You might even find yourself inserting a little Irish lilt into your speech. There is an accompanying read aloud cd, which has sound effects (!) and is sometimes (almost always) preferred to Mom's "embarrassing" recitations(see "Irish lilt" above).  
  I highly recommend this one, and after Jeffers has charmed the socks off you- pick up any one of his numerous books.  They're all quirky, sweet, and irresistible.


Friday, June 15, 2012

The Grand Re-Opening Extravaganza Continues!

Don't worry. You still have approximately 8 hours to enter the first giveaway for a free book. But you guys are going to love this. This week's prize comes courtesy of the fabulous Jennifer Griffith. The BIG IN JAPAN author (being released by Jolly Fish Press July 28th) is giving away a 50 page critique.

How awesome is that?? Pretty darn awesome, if you ask me. This is a GREAT opportunity to get amazing advice from a multi-published author who knows her stuff. And all you have to do is one (or all) of the easy little things below:

* Leave A Comment about your experiences as a Mom and Author
* Follow the blog either via GFC or email subscription.
* Follow Twitter (@Mommy_Authors)
* Join our Goodreads group
* Like our Facebook page
* Tweet about the giveaway

This is NOT something you should miss out on, I'm telling you. So scroll down and get in on all the fabulous Mommy Author Grand Re-Opening Extravaganza action.

Jennifer Griffith is the author of four published novels including the upcoming BIG IN JAPAN (July 28, Jolly Fish Press) in which an obese Texan nobody goes to Japan and accidentally becomes a sumo wrestler. Mom of five kids, she lives in the Arizona desert, loves art, watching demolition derbies, and BOOKS! She blogs at, tweets at @GriffithJen and posts on Facebook at

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Author Interview: Jennifer Shaw Wolf

I can't tell you all how excited I am to have debut author Jennifer Shaw Wolf here on Mommy Authors today! About a year ago I was perusing the client list of my dream agency (Nelson Literary Agency, for those of you who are curious) and there I found Jennifer.  She's from Idaho - like me - attended both BYU-I and BYU - like me - and is now living in the rainy northwest - like me. When I found out she is also a Young Adult writer I just had to contact her.

Since then we've emailed a few times and I've come to think of her as a mentor. I try not to be too needy as a protege, but she has always been super nice about encouraging me and answering any questions I have. Basically, not only is she a fantastic writer, but she's nice to boot!

*Be sure to stop by my site,, to read my review of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL, and leave a comment there for a chance to win an electronic copy of the book!* 


Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship. When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? 

RL:  Was BREAKING BEAUTIFUL the first manuscript you ever wrote?  Was it the first manuscript you ever queried?

JSW:  BREAKING BEAUTIFUL was my third completed manuscript, but only the second manuscript I had queried. (The first two were part of a series.)

RL:  If you're willing to share this, how many rejections did you get before you found your agent?

JSW:  I didn’t keep track with my first manuscript because I queried, revised, queried for about six months. With BREAKING BEAUTIFUL I kept a log. I queried 15 agents. I received 11 rejections and was fortunate enough to receive for offers of representation. I know how unusual this is and how blessed I was.

RL:  Can you pinpoint the creation of your story idea to one particular moment/event, or was it such a gradual process that there is no real point of origin? 

JSW:  The story idea came from a writing prompt for an on-line class I was taking. I had to describe an object using all of the senses, except for sight. I wrote about a girl clutching a bloody T-shirt in a dark room. That was the start of the idea. I found myself thinking about where the shirt came from and what it meant to her. The idea evolved into a story. However, I ended up dropping that scene from the manuscript in an early draft.

RL:  How long did it take you to write the book?  (From conception to the manuscript you began shopping around to agents) 

JSW:  My first three manuscripts (including BREAKING BEAUTIFUL) took between 8 and 12 weeks to finish. Successive manuscripts have taken longer, months instead of weeks.

RL:  Knowing how busy your life is (not only is she a mother who is actively involved in her community, but she recently helped organize and host a group of exchange students), how did you find time to write?  Do you have any secrets or strategies you're willing to share?

JSW:  Late nights, early mornings. Lack of sleep. I’m not a good example of how to balance writing and life. I write whenever I have down time. My laptop has gone with me to many sports practices and music lessons. I wrote a lot of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL on the way up to the ski hill.

RL:  On the contrary, I think that makes a lot of us feel better.  For my part I'm glad to know I'm not the only one suffering sleep deprivation.  

I know you originally wanted your story to be named Tigereye, for reasons made obvious throughout the book, but how did it come to be named BREAKING BEAUTIFUL and what is the meaning/significance of the title?

JSW:  I got the news that my publisher wanted the title changed in my first edit letter. After that my editor and I passed title names back and forth. She came up with BREAKING BEAUTIFUL and I loved it. The title is significant because a lot of Allie’s identity and the way she sees herself comes from how she looks. Not only was she mentally “broken” by Trip, but she was physically scarred from the accident. She lost her long hair and her beautiful face was marred. She has to break through her own idea of what is beautiful if she is ever to become what she can be.

RL:  Assuming you've never had to live through any relationship like Allie's, how were you able to give such a clear, believable picture of the emotions associated with being abused? 

JSW:  It was hard. I wanted to make it authentic, but not too brutal. I think everyone has felt powerless or hopeless at some point in their life. I drew on that kind of experience and added to it. I [also] read a lot about emotional and physical abuse, and grieving, especially as it pertained to teens.

RL:  Now being a published author, has your writing process changed at all?

JSW:  I tried to make writing more of a job and found it drove me crazy. I outlined the heck out of the manuscript I sold on proposal and found it blocked me. I have returned to the outline-as-I-go, seat-of-my-pants, writing-because-I-love-it method. It works much better for me. I do take it more seriously, but I am grateful every day for the opportunity I have been given to share my writing.

RL:  What do you know about writing and/or publishing now that you wish you had known when you first started the journey to becoming a writer?

JSW:  Nothing. I was blissfully oblivious and I’m glad I was. I wrote my first manuscript because I wanted to see if I could do it. Yes, having a published novel has always been a dream of mine, but I wrote my first story just for fun. I didn’t know anything about looking for an agent, finding a publisher, or anything else about the publishing process. I’m glad I did it that way. I was able to enjoy and celebrate that first finished draft without any pressure. It was just for me. I wouldn’t change that now, but I also wouldn’t change the experience I’ve gained throughout the process. I think too many people start writing in order to be published. The pressure can block you like nothing else. Give yourself a “starter novel” that is just for you. ENJOY IT.

RL:  When can we expect your next book?  :)

My second book is tentatively called SHARDS OF GLASS and it is tentatively scheduled to come out in September of 2013. I say tentatively because these things can and do change.

Thank you so much for interviewing with us today Jennifer!   For more information about Jennifer visit her official site or her blog  Click here to purchase your own copy of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL.

Readers, don't forget to check out my review of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL on my website:  and leave a comment there for a chance to win an electronic copy of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How I Feel About Twilight

Let me start right off. This is a weird post. It's been a long time coming for me. It's not a defense of TWILIGHT . . . well, not exactly. Overall, it's a defense of writers. And books. TWILIGHT is just a good example.

So, over the last few years or so I've seen a lot of facebook stuff like this:
*I'm sorry to pick on the dear person I love so much who posted this photo and sent me over the edge. It was just that straw, you know. 

Unlike this photo, a lot of the statuses are funny and I even snicker a little. And sometimes, when I see the ones where they compare TWILIGHT characters with say HARRY POTTER characters or Tangled characters, I even agree a little bit inside. But I never repost.

Again, before I go further, let me clear up my personal feelings about TWILIGHT as a book. I liked it. Ms. Meyers ensnared me like she did so many others with good storytelling. I go and see the movies because for the most part, I've liked them too. I'm not obsessive. I'm not planning a vacation to the real Forks anytime soon, but I won't judge you if you are. 

Like I said, I'm defending this as a writer. A few questions for you. When is the last time you poured your heart into a manuscript? Or had to endure letting a beta reader and then, if you're lucky, an editor at a publishing house or an agent rip it apart--and did it with your chin held high? Have you ever winced when you opened your inbox and saw an email with the subject line RE: QUERY for KISSING A SUPERHERO by Ranee` S. Clark (uh, did this just get personal . . . sorry), and then cringed some more when you read the opening lines, "Dear Author, thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your work but it's not for me ..." And for the kicker--when was the last time you wrote a book that sold millions and millions of copies? That impacted publishing so hard that your book blew open a genre and it's still going strong? That was made into movies that shattered box office records? Unless your name is J.K. Rowling, you're going to have to put your hand down.

There's a point to my rant. It wasn't to defend TWILIGHT. In all honestly, if Stephanie Meyers sees those statuses, she's drying her eyes on a hundred dollar bill and then laughing at it. She doesn't need reassurance about the value of what she wrote. Millions of readers have already given her that. So what is the point? I'm a writer. When I see this, I wonder, will someone be posting this about my book? Probably. When I get published (when . . . when . . . when . . .) people will hate it. (There's a fantastic post by Beth Revis on this.) It's inevitable. But I will never repost because Stephanie Meyer is one of us. We're like cops. We protect our own (well, we should). And as writers, just consider, when you're reviewing, critiquing, reading for a friend, remember what you put into your writing and be considerate and honest. 

Thank you. Rant over. You may all go about your business. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

 Since our blog has the theme of Mommies.....I thought this book review would fit right in.  Hot off the presses, this tribute to mothers is a great pick-me-up when you finally fall into bed and want to relax. Just a hoot and if you are having a crummy day it will be a much better one after reading a few pages. 

Musings on Motherhood is written by Susan Law Corpany who is a great writer friend and has a series of interesting novels about a widow---which I can relate to. This book has antidotes and funny stories which are very memorable and you can read this in either paper back or kindle version. 

Susan Law Corpany has been through many trials and tribulations yet sees a lot of experiences through a funny sense of humor.  A cross between Erma Bombeck and Erma Bombeck. She has a way of describing situations like no other. Whether funny or heart warming this is a great read in 216 pages.

From Amazon---
This humorous book about mothers in all their varieties is one woman's journey from devoted daughter to loving mother to non-wicked stepmother to well-intentioned mother-in-law to doting grandmother. Humorous and heartwarming, like a warm fuzzy pair of slippers with a lollipop stuck to them.
From the back cover:

"Served alongside her breakfast in bed, this "momoir" will make any mother less inclined to notice the burnt toast, runny eggs and limp bacon. Warm and fuzzy like a pair of comfy slippers, but with a lollipop stuck to them. There is something here for anyone who has ever been a mother or had a mother."

If we could all see life through Susan's eyes---we would be very blessed.

Valerie Steimle

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Mommy Authors' Grand RE-Opening

THIS is going to be fantastic. Changes are coming. Have we mentioned that recently? So really fun stuff is going to be happening. You may already know that we have a Goodreads Group. (You don't? Well, check it out!) We have book reviews on the schedule and even writing contests

And to kick it all off, we're hosting a month long, giveaway extravaganza!

Yes, you heard right. A month of prizes. I've only just begun to gather them all up, and I already have some really amazing things coming your way. (Like a 50 page critique from Jennifer Griffith, author of BIG IN JAPAN!) 

To start things off a book giveaway. And I'll admit right here, this happens to be a bit of self-promotion. Well, because I can. (This moderator power is going to my head . . .) If you've ever dropped by my blog, you may have heard that a certain summer love anthology entitled IT'S A LOVE THING was released June 1st. Since my speculative fiction romance HAVEN is included in the anthology, I happen to have hook-ups. Like free book hook-ups. 

SO--with just a few clicks, you will be entered to win a copy (via Smashwords, where you can download in any format) of IT'S A LOVE THING. 

 Which features (attention, here's the self-promotion part . . .) my story HAVEN.

You can enter by doing one or all of the following things:
* Leave A Comment about your experiences as a Mom and Author
* Be a follower
* Follow Twitter (@Mommy_Authors)
* Join our Goodreads group
* Like our Facebook page
* Tweet about the giveaway

The contest will run through midnight on Tuesday, June 15, 2012. And keep checking back for more!

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

They might be giants

   I have a child with Dyslexia.
   Her disability has other complications tempered by medication, but the Dyslexia is something that can not be medically "fixed." There is nothing in my own life more frustrating than seeing my child struggle with something (as a writer parent), I've taken for granted my entire life.  My words have always, since I was very young, flowed smoothly across the paper.  My mom likes to tell stories of how I would be sitting at the dining room table, ruler in hand, perfecting my script.  How I would search the dictionary for new words to copy.  How I won the fifth grade Spelling Bee.
   My daughter's accomplishments are so much less than these, but in my parental eyes so much more important.  At the end of every school year my husband and I start to have the "discussions."  We start to worry about her moving forward. Will she matriculate with the rest of her class?  Have the hours of homework every night been enough? Is there more we could have done to help her?  My prayers become more urgent as she moves through every day of testing.  
   She may never be able to spell "their" correctly without checking her word wall.  Even then it might still not transfer to paper correctly.  Writing is an agonizingly slow process for her, and one I fear she'll never initialize on her own. Every paragraph assignment takes at least an hour to finish, with much coaxing, eye rolling, and threatening.  Her writing is still years below her grade level, but her teacher informed us her standardized test results are back.
   She tested above average.
   Reaching my own goals makes me happy.  Editing a chapter, finishing a blog post, recognition from someone I admire.   Those are things I can smile and say I've done good for today. 
   But those small goals for my children.  The ones I am on my knees at night for.  Those goals that seem impossible to reach because they are out of my control.
   She will be moving forward another year with her class. 

   This image popped up in my motivational Monday this last week. My daughter may not reach every goal I have for her, however attainable they might seem.
   I'm still learning it's okay to fall down.
   I'm still learning it's not failure if she's tried her best.  
   Those goals she does accomplish though, the ones she really worked hard for.
   Those things seemingly so easy for others.
   Those things are great.