15 February 2018

WOW! Blog Tour Announcement: I'm Not Okay by Renee Antonia #BloggersRequired

Looking for a new book to read? Well I'm putting together another book blog tour with WOW! Women on Writing tours and I would love for you to read this book. Or if you simply want to feature the author on your blog via an interview or guest post, that would be amazing too.

Here's a bit about the book:

About the Book
When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing that goes through Alejandra's head is whether or not she will be forced into another anxiety inducing situation. The struggles of being a young adult living with an anxiety- ridden brain becomes too much for Alejandra to deal with. So, with the help of her friends, she forces herself out of the bubble her anxiety has placed her in.  She learns to conquer the fears she once thought would destroy her and learns to rely on herself more than she ever has. 
About the Author
Renee Antonia grew up in the Los Angeles area with four siblings and two wonderful parents. Having such a strong support system enabled her to decide who and what she wanted to be. However, this question haunted her for years, because she couldn't quite pinpoint what exactly she saw herself doing for the rest of her life. She began to read a lot, hoping to find inspiration between the pages of a book. It was at this time that she realized one thing. She loved sharing, reading, and writing. Renee decided that she wanted to be a writer, and since that day, she has taken any steps necessary to achieve that goal. 
You can find Renee Antonia at:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16771475.Renee_Antonia

Book tour starts on April 23rd and lasts through May 21st. Let me know in the comments your email and blog link or send me an email to npyles86@gmail.com if you are interested in taking part!

One more thing you may be interested in: WOW will send an e-mail blast to 40,000+ e-mail subscribers on the tour's launch day with a link to your blog and information about your blog stop. We will also link to your blog on our blog, and promote the stop on our social media accounts. An extra bonus for blog tour hosts.

11 February 2018

My Thoughts on Real Characters in a Story

photo credit: suzyhazelwood Love vintage books! via photopin (license)

I decided to continue writing a story that needed an ending last week. While I'm largely against the idea of going back to a story I lost interest in, there comes a point where I can't resist. This wasn't a bad idea either. Turns out, I had more story in me. And the character brought me back. She's complicated, I'm finding. I like complicated.

This was a sharp contrast to a story I had already finished writing and had typed. I liked the idea of it, but the character was so flat. She was a foggy, shallow reflection of myself. This usually happens when I attempt writing in first person, to be honest. So my mission is to go back and change this to third person and explore the true character in the story.

All of this made me think of characters. It's the reason I go back to a story I've written. More than the plot line or the setting in my story would ever inspire me.

How do we achieve that real feeling of a character? I mean I have done worksheets before that led me to fill out a characters history, personality, tastes, favorite childhood toy, but if I'm not seeing it, it's all made up. The person isn't real until they form a reality that makes them unique.

So, as I think about the characters I write - the ones that take form as well as the ones that don't - I must remember what makes a character unique and beautifully complicated are found in the very things that make us unique and complicated.

It's found in our sadness and woes...

Our desires....

Our successes and struggles...

Our relationships...

And our imperfections.

What brings you back to a story you've written (or read)? What do you do that gives your character life?

08 February 2018

A Book To Read If You Have a Hard Time Remembering Names

Do you have trouble remembering people's names? I confess whenever I'm introduced to someone at work within seconds their name is out of my head. I would like to be better about this, but in the back of my mind I always figure that I'll pick it up later on. Except I tend to feel bad when they remember mine and I'm like, wow I'm drawing a blank on what yours is.

So I had the opportunity to read a book that I'm so glad that I read. It's called 7 Simple Tricks to Remembering Names.

If you are like me and you have a hard time remembering names, you need to read this book. And actually I already used one of the tips in the book recently and it IMMEDIATELY helped me. Here's what happened, so someone at work accidentally dropped an apple under my desk. And I had been trying to remember their name and I heard someone call this person (the apple person) by their name (it was Ashley) and I'm like, "AHA! Apple Ashley." And that's one of the tips this book suggests. They tell you in the book how to use alliteration to remember names.

And there are so many more tips that will be suitable for any kind person. It's an easy read too and very well written. It also has occasional cute drawings in the book as well, which is always fun to me. The author knows what they are talking about and when you use the tips in the book, I know you will see immediate success.

Ready to check it out? Purchase it now on Amazon (only $.99!) 

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. This post includes an affiliate link for which I will receive small compensation if you purchase through my link.

03 February 2018

Never Too Late by B. Lynn Goodwin [My Book Review]

Valentine's Day is almost upon us! Anyone single or maybe in a relationship that is leaving you unhappy? Well gather around because do I have a book for you or what? It's called Never Too Late by B. Lynn Goodwin. I am so honored to read this book as well as launch the tour for this book over at WOW! Women on Writing. First of all, before you read my review, make sure you go to the blog page where I chat with Lynn about her book.

Now, here's a bit about the book:

Book Summary

How does a 62-year-old woman who's never been married find happiness with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . .Craigslist!?

Does she throw caution to the wind and relinquish her freedom, or should she take a crash course in compromises?

Author B. Lynn Goodwin tells all and more in Never Too Late. How she was attracted to Richard's clear expectations, his honesty, and his incredible openness. She'd never met anyone like him. Would she recognize love if it knocked on her heart? And could an educated woman be happy moving into a blue-collar world?

Whether you've been single forever, are trapped in an unhappy marriage, or you're simply curious, you'll find secrets to a happy marriage in Never Too Late.

Paperback: 222 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Koehler Books (December 20, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1633936082
ISBN-13: 978-1633936089

What I thought

This was a good book for me to read right now. I'm single and just reading this gave me peace about my own journey in the romantic department. First of all, it's excellent writing. And it's told in a way that reads like a story. And this is incredible for me because if I was being honest, I almost never read non-fiction. This captured me though. I couldn't wait to see how Lynn and Richard worked out their relationship and how they would learn to compromise and blend each other's lives. It was raw honesty and it was so inspiring to me. 

Second, it's also a really fast read. It's just filled with knowledge and awareness of what will make a relationship work and what it means to make a life together - no matter what your age. So the question remains...is it ever too late for love? I think this book proves the answer is no! It's never too late. 

Pick up your copy of Never Too Late by B. Lynn Goodwin. Make sure you purchase it for a friend on Valentine's Day or purchase it for yourself. It's a must read for this year. It really is. 

Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 is available for print and eBook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.


"A vivid, engaging, and heart-warming tribute to that rare and wonderful thing: a late-in-life
love."  - Susan Wittig Albert, Ph.D, author of Loving Eleanor and The General's Women

"A book filled with grace and charm." - Aline Soules, author of Meditation on Woman and Evening Sun

"Very different from any love story you have ever read." - Richard J. Smith, Ph.D., author of Life After Eighty, Once Upon A Christmas, and Musings of an Old Man

"For those who think life has passed them by, take heart, and read B. Lynn Goodwin's book, Never Too Late, an unflinchingly honest, personal tale of love found after 60." - Kate Farrell, Author and co-editor of award-winning anthologies: Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the '60s & '70s and Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence

About the Author

B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com. She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing) and Talent (Eternal Press). Talent was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award and won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.

Her manuscript, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 was published by Koehler Press on December 20, 2017. Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com and elsewhere. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is a manuscript coach at Writer Advice. She always has time to write guest blog posts and answer questions. She loves working one on one, trouble-shooting, and helping writers find what works.

She can be found online at:

Be sure to stop by other stops on the blog tour! There are guest posts and book reviews, so stop by each one and make sure you purchase your own copy of the book. 

----- Blog Tour Dates:
January 29th (Today) @ The Muffin
Interview and giveaway

January 30th @ Mari's #WriteON! Journaling Blog
B. Lynn Goodwin will be a guest blogger over at Mari's #WriteOn Journaling Blog talking about, "The Power of Honesty."

January 30th @ Polkadots and Plaid
Sara over at the blog Polkadots and Plaid will be sharing her insights and feedback about B. Lynn Goodwin's book.

February 1st @ Miss Harley Rose Blog
Stephanie Cummings over at her blog Miss Harley Rose will be reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never Too Late.

February 2nd @ Bring on Lemons
Crystal J. Casavant-Otto will be sharing her thoughts about B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never Too Late.

February 3rd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles will be reviewing and sharing her insights about Never Too Late over at her blog.

February 4th @ blog Margo L. Dill
B. Lynn Goodwin will be a guest blogger at Margo L. Dill's blog on the subject of nevergiving up! Make sure you read "You Don't Lose Until You Quit Trying." 

February 5th @ Bookworm
B. Lynn Goodwin will be a guest blogger over at the Bookworm blog talking about "The Importance of Telling Your Story."

February 6th @ Happily Ever Adventures
Lena over at Happily Ever Adventures will be sharing her thoughts about B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never Too Late in her monthly book round up. 

February 7th @ Making LOL
If you have love on your mind this February, make sure you catch B. Lynn Goodwin's guest post over at blogger Making LOL called, "Finding Love." 

February 8th @ Mommy Daze: Say What???
B. Lynn Goodwin will be talking about, "How to Start a Story You are Afraid to Tell" over at Mommy Daze: Say What??? to inspire us all to write our own story. 

February 9th @ Words from the Heart
Make sure you check out B. Lynn Goodwin's guest post about, "Compromise and Acceptance." An important lesson for us all! 

February 10th @ Bookworm Blog
Anjanette over her blog Bookworm will be reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin's book Never TooLate as well as interviewing the author.

February 12th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
B. Lynn Goodwin will be visiting Madeline Sharples blog and discussing one of my favorite activities in her post, "Need a Venting Partner? Try a Journal." 

February 14th @ Beverly A. Baird's Blog
Blogger Beverly A. Baird will be reading and reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin's book NeverToo Late and sharing her thoughts with us.

February 14th @ Bookends Review
Come by and check out the review of Never Too Late at Bookends Review.

February 15th @ Mommy Daze: Say What???
Ashley Bass over at Mommy Daze: Say What??? will be sharing her thoughts about Never Too Late

February 16th @ Words From the Heart
Rev. Linda Neas will be reading and reviewing Never Too Late and be sure to check out her insights on this amazing book.

February 17th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Make sure to come by the blog Memoir Writer's Journey and read about Lynn's insight in her post, "The Authentic Writer." Also, blogger Kathleen Pooler will be reviewing Never Too Late as well.

February 19th @ Strength4Spouses
Visit the blog Strength4Spouses to catch Lynn's post called, "Craigslist Dating." 

February 20th @ Bring on Lemons
Nancy Cramer, yoga lover and retired schoolteacher, will be sharing her thoughts about Never Too Late on the blog, Bring on Lemons. 

February 22nd @ Food Diary of a City Girl
Make sure to catch Cecilia over at Food Diary of a City Girl and her thoughts about the book Never Too Late

February 23rd @ Strength4Spouses
Make sure you come by the Strength4Spouses blog to catch their insights into Lynn's book Never Too Late

February 24th @ Becoming Zen Again
Shell LeBlanc will be telling us about what she thought about the book Never Too Late.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

30 January 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Last Day of January Edition

I stumbled across this weekly challenge by the blog From This Side of the Pond. What better what to join back into the blogging world than joining a weekly writing challenge? I love it! Feels like the blogging days of yore.

Anyways, you basically answer questions posted to the host's website (go here!) and come back to the post and share your thoughts.

1. Speaking of endings....at your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.  

Ugh, at my wit's end. That's my theme lately. I'd rather not get into why but I'm praying constantly that I am able to get beyond this stage in my life.

2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

One thing I remember was those pencil boxes that were SO popular with Hello Kitty! Anyone else remember those? I had a pink one in 5th grade and I loved it.

3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

For me, right now writing this, yesterday means Monday. So this actually made me smile yesterday! Anyone 90s kids in the room? Remember those old Nickelodeon commercials that had songs? Well here they are if you have forgotten -

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

Croissants! Ah, well. Hm. So I loved them back in the day, pre-gluten interolance/wheat allergy era. But sadly I can't enjoy them anymore. If I was having chicken salad for lunch, I'd have it in a gluten-free tortilla wrap!

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

My January has been part of my ongoing process to grow spiritaully and creatively.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

My random thought? I'll end with two songs. One faith song that speaks to me with it's first line, "Truth is I'm tired..."

And then this one from the movie Better off Dead. Wow this guy's laugh in this scene is so funny and I'd love to have this kind of reaction to someone making fun of me! 

28 January 2018

Can You - Should You - Attempt to Bring Back a Time?

photo credit: Lise1011 Passing time via photopin (license)
Have you ever seen the movie, Splendor in the Grass? It's with Natalie Wood and her character is in love with Warren Beatty's character. Yet, the relationship doesn't work out due to their parents viewpoint of the relationship and Natalie's character ends up dealing with a mental breakdown amidst her heartbreak.

Well, it's a movie I watched several years ago and one poem quoted by Natalie Wood in the movie has stayed with me then and does now. The poem is called "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by William Wordsworth. And the part Natalie Wood reads in the movie (at the beginning and at the end) goes, "Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind." Anytime I am met with this idea of recreating a previous good experience and it doesn't work out, I remember this quote. It's one of my favorites, actually. (Check out the rest of the poem here).

Not to mention, there's scripture from the Bible I've read that jumped out at me (God's nudge to me, I'm just know it) that is in Ecclesiastes 7:10, "Do not say,“Why were the former days better than these? For you do not inquire wisely concerning this."

So, this all came to me tonight as I was looking back over my blog, attempting to read and comment on blogs I used to be more faithful visiting and getting familiar in this blogging community again. It used to be so much easier for me and my removal from it was due to a variety of circumstances. Personal life stress, a general feeling of losing interest, my writing changing, me changing, writing communities changing, you name it. Sometimes...things just change.

But coming back to it has felt foreign to me. It feels a little bit like I've grown beyond it, yet I've never been able to let this blog go. I was looking back over some old posts tonight and am proud of the work I did when I first started. I was energetic, hopeful, and creative in my approach to writing about writing. I started this almost 7 years ago, can you believe that? I talked about my inner child, inspired others, talked about fear,and weaknesses. I even did a writing prompt weekly that inspired others.

I am trying to bring this blog back as well as bring myself to a better place with my own writing. Can I recreate the energy that I had for this blog seven years ago? No, likely not. First of all a lot has changed in my life since seven years ago. I've changed, gotten older, matured. I've also rediscovered and renewed my Christian faith and my relationship with God is closer than ever before. Things change. And change isn't necessarily bad. I don't want to go back.

So, while I may not be able bring back that hour of splendor in the digital grass, I'll have to find strength in what remains behind. I can't look back at the early days of this blog and wonder why it was so much better. It was just different for me then as it is for me now.

Today begins something new. I'm not sure what it is and maybe next week I'll be talking about this same subject again. But I'm here now and I'll try. I'm feeling called to, so we'll see where this goes. 

14 January 2018

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor - A Book Review

I'm a sucker for a good whodunit. Especially one that spans time. What was an unsolvable mystery in childhood becomes a must-solve mystery as an adult.

That's what happens in The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor. Five friends who stumble upon a mystery that consumes the whole town. We follow along with Eddie and his friends in that weird pre-adolescent stage that can't quite let go of childhood yet isn't ready for adulthood yet. Using their own secret code to talk with each other in chalk, this ends up leading them to the body of a young girl found in the park who's body was dismembered. Nothing was ever really the same after that. It isn't just about a mystery and a murder. It's about morals. What's right and wrong. Faith and hypocrisy. And secrets they all are hiding.

So what did I think? Well, this was a mixed bag for me if I was being completely honest. First, the crux of the mystery - the dead body - didn't really hold me as much as Eddie's desire to discover what happened did. I think it was that, actually. Eddie held me in the story. This main character who eventually became a lonely 40 year old man, who was not quite ready to share the burdens of his own issues with another woman, was a likable character who couldn't leave the past alone. Especially when it lands on his doorstep. I like those kinds of characters. Who just can't let something go.

The thing that I didn't enjoy as much as I probably should have was the way it spanned across time. It jumped back and forth between 1986 and 2018. It was well told in some ways but in other ways breaking it up the way they did left me pulled out of one problem and having to jump in another too much. I almost would have appreciated the section of 1986 as one whole and 2018 as another whole.

As for the ending, both satisfying and unsatisfying in some ways. Loose ends are tied, which is always nice. At the same time, there's a bit of mystery left hanging with the main character that didn't do too much for me.

If this book sounds like it's right for you, make sure you purchase it on Amazon. Check out Goodreads for this book as well and add it to your must read list. Be sure to follow the author C J Tudor on Twitter as well.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. This post also includes an Amazon affiliate link. If you purchase this book via my link, I'll receive small compensation. 

05 January 2018

My Writing Past and My Writing Future

dit: markus spiske neourban hipster office workstation via photopin (license)
It's funny as a writer how much we change without realizing. As the New Year moves along, I tend to look back over old notebooks and half way finished stories, plot lines and ideas and think about how I've changed as a writer. While I haven't found "the one" book that I would finish that would lead to me getting published, I've always been writing. Like my favorite doll "Baby," who would go with me everywhere as a child, that is the life of my notebooks these days. They are with me everywhere, whether it's the tiny notebook for ideas or the tattered 8 1/2 by 11 spiral bound notebook for longer stories. However, so far, none of them have experienced the same troubles as my favorite doll Baby often ran into (such as being left in the library overnight, forgotten at restaurants, etc).

 And as I go through these notebooks, along the way I have learned things about myself and my writing. I've uncovered the stories that are now too weird for me to return to, others that are partially done but show so much potential, and a few ideas that are shelved to the back of my mind so I can return to them later. My stories also reflect where I'm at in my life. I have been Christian all my life, but over the past two years I have really gotten more serious about my faith. In fact, my faith and relationship with God is so much closer for me now that I can't believe I've never blogged about this before.

And to be honest, I also haven't really introduced my faith in my fiction writing either. It's like wearing new shoes as I weave my writing side with my faith. These two areas are no longer separate for me and it's been an interesting journey to uncover what that means for my writing. Lately I have been keeping my eye out for examples of fiction writers who have used their faith in their creative writing. As I find them, I take these scraps and morsels with me on my journey to reflect on while I also let go and let God guide me through this journey.

 As the New Year brings in change and promises of better habits, I'm realizing how important it is for me to be open to change and letting my writing change. Many stories I've written in the past no longer fit me just like attending my old high school doesn't fit me now either. We grow, we change, and our stories do too. For me now, it's also about giving my creative side to God, which isn't something I expected to do nor is it entirely that easy all the time. Even blogging about it feels weird (I can't help but think to myself, "Am I really writing this for people to read??"). With every brave step forward, though, it will get more and more comfortable for me to write about, talk about and introduce into my creativity. And I know God is with me, every step of the way. 
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