Always Look On the Bright Side of Life

Are you sitting there today worrying about your problems? Are you wishing things in life were better? Do you wish you had some dough to buy some food and gas to go?

Well, I hear you and I get you and I wish I had some answers. All I’ve got is this motto to get me through this life.

The car may not run.
The baby may be sick.
The spouse may be driving you insane.
The washing machine might be broke.
There’s no money in your coat.
But thanks to Monty Python you can sing…

Happy Sunday everyone!

Rejection spawns reflection, spawns inspiration

Rejection hurts.

For the umpteenth time in the past 4 years, I was rejected for yet another job.  The reason: I’m over-qualified.  I don’t understand what that means but there it is.  I don’t know what we’re going to do as a family.  There is no money to pay the bills, just what little my hubby brings in on disability. There is no doubt my faith is being tested, my sanity is frayed, and my heart and soul are in pain.

This may be true, dear Wesley, but we all need something to make us feel worthwhile, to feel needed and special. And like it or not, we all need money to pay the bills so we don’t end up living on the streets, which is where my family is heading if I don’t land a job soon.

To keep myself from feeling like a complete and utter failure, I did a little reflecting and thought about things that would make me happy instead of sad.  When I left the hospital the other day from seeing my mother-in-law (who I love dearly and is suffering from dementia and C-Diff), hubby and I drove around looking for things to inspire me and my writing.  There just happens to be this awesome affluent neighborhood near the hospital so we took an hour tour.

Here are some places and things that lifted my spirits and set my dreams in motion.

Hulk Hogan's house

If I’m not mistaken, the above house was once owned (or is still owned) by Hulk Hogan.

Gargoyle overlooking Willadel Drive Gargoyle overlooking Willadel Drive2

Willadel Drive is a big horse shoe drive.  There are two of these gargoyles poised at both entrances to the drive.  So cool.

an expansive home that took my breath away

Down the road a ways was this sprawling mansion that looks directly out onto the bay. I’m standing in the narrow (not for sale) lot across the street and still couldn’t get the whole picture.

pretty little Victorian homeAnd check out this sweet Victorian home.  Love, love, love.

Staircase - love the reflection of the clouds in the window

A mile or so down the road, I stumbled upon this beauty.  Look at that amazing staircase to the front door.  I think it was the reflection of the sky and the clouds in that amazing front door that inspired me the most when I took this shot.

A royal view

We then took a ride out to the beachside.  I wanted to see how baseball’s Ryan Howard’s house was coming along.  We turned down a short cul-de-sac where we spotted this beauty.  It’s for sale.  I fell in love with the upstairs balcony.  I can imagine sitting there and looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico, watching the sunset.  *sigh*

Happy Dolphins
Not too far away were these happy dolphins smiling and leaping away in a front yard.  They made my heart happy.

And then, there was Ryan Howard’s monstrous creation:

Ryan Howard's home Ryan Howard's home 2I posted about this home a year ago.  You can read it here.  I would LOVE to take a tour of this place when it’s completed. Breathtaking, huh?  And the Gulf of Mexico is just behind that house.

I am in awe. I’m inspired. I have faith that someday I will have a home as big and wonderful for all my friends and family to come stay.  I have faith someday I will have enough money that I will never have to worry about losing my home, or deciding between food or medicine.  I have faith that someday I will have enough money to take a family with nothing and put them in a home, help mom/dad or both find a job and give them and their family peace of mind.

Someday, I will be able to care for and provide for those I love. Until then, I will do my best to brush off the rejections and take time to reflect on those things that are important while striving to reach my goal.  I will continue to seek inspiration and lend it when I can.  Life is too short to be sad.

What is your inspiration?  What do you do to keep constant rejection from getting to you?




Love, Honor, and Hope

I am thrilled to pass this on to all of you. If you can, please order a copy. All proceeds – yes, 100% of funds raised – will be donated to the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation. Awesome!

Jamie Ayres

Hi, guys! Sorry I missed my weekly post last Wednesday, but the fam and I took a road trip on our way to UtopYA Con in Nashville. I have so much exciting news to share with you about the 18 Thingstrilogy, but more on that later . . . today I want to share about the Love, Honor, and Hope blog blitz. Please read below for the dets and help support our veterans as July 4th approaches next week.


Love, Honor, & Hope – A Benefit for the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation

Eight authors are joining forces to support one fantastic cause. Beginning June 24, 2014, Love, Honor, & Hope, an anthology of eight full-length novels, will be available for 30 days at the low price of $0.99. That’s right, just 99 pennies. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the…

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The Song Caster ~ a sweet fantasy novella to warm your heart

Let me start by saying I really enjoyed The Song Caster. I loved the narrative, the characters and the writing. The fairytale is familiar in the sense that our hero, Lute, must help a lesser protagonist (Benedeck) find what his heart desires and secure his fate at the risk of Lute’s own neck and future. The fact that Lute agrees to set out on this adventure speaks volumes of his character. I also love the way Shipley develops Benedeck’s character into this wonderful individual who truly deserves his share of happiness.

I really enjoyed the storyline stuffed with overbearing parents, magical instruments and yes…a dragon. There is humor and plot twists all mixed with a wonderful touch of romance. I found myself rooting for the characters and I was completely satisfied with the ending. It’s a sweet story, clean and fun, and suitable for all members of the family.

My only complaint about this story was a lack of development of Viralei’s character. I wished she had shown up sooner in the story and would have loved to have seen her as a more adventurous and daring type. I do like than none of Shipley’s characters are useless. There are no “walk-ons”, and everyone has a purpose and place.

The Song Caster is well-crafted and an excellent addition to the Wilderhark Tales. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a fun, adventurous fantasy read with a happy ever after fairytale ending. A solid 4 stars.

*I received an ARC of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. *

Hurry up and wait

So, I submitted a query to a “dream” publisher on May 30.  I received a request for my full manuscript on June 8.  I had one week to submit.

So, I got 5 sets of eyes on the manuscript.  I edited…read again…edited…read again…rinse and repeat until I couldn’t do anymore.  Around 2 PM on June 14, I held my breath, closed my eyes and hit the ‘send’ button.

Of course, after I submitted, I found mistakes.  It was driving me  nuts.  Several of my lovely writer buddies told me to put it away. It was gone. Nothing I could do about it. Still, I wanted it polished. I wanted perfection.  One side of my brain said there is no such thing. The other side of my brain said yes there is.  I’m conflicted, can you tell?

It’s been 4 days.  I haven’t received a confirmation e-mail that the publisher received the MS, and the website says don’t ask.

So now after all the hurry, I sit and wait.  My nerves are frayed. I may eat a finger or two, maybe a hand, before I hear anything. Pray for me.   My fingernails are already disappearing.

Copyright: robodread / 123RF Stock Photo

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up

I am super stoked about a new YA book coming out by Ella Martin.  Check out this awesome cover!

Coming July 1, 2014


Looks great, doesn’t it!

Here’s the blurb:

If only fairy tales warned “happily ever after” only happens with the right guy…

15-year-old Bianca learns the hard way when she falls for Dante, the hottest guy in her class, who turns out to be anything but charming. And it doesn’t help that Tim, a long-time crush and her brother’s best friend, still makes her head fuzzy. Bianca has to ask: WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP?

The Back of the Book:

Happily Ever After only happens with the right guy. It’s a tiny but important detail most fairy tales choose to leave out. But what happens when the princess rides off into the sunset with Prince Charming, only to discover he’s not so charming, after all?

Bianca Sullivan thinks she’s a pretty average girl. Sure, her brother may be the super-stud captain of the football team, but that’s her only claim to fame –- until her friends’ social experiment turns her into the new It girl of the Sophomore class, and she captures the attention of the most popular guy in her grade. Ecstatic to introduce the world to her first boyfriend, she’s trying to enjoy being wooed by the ultimate heartthrob. But no one’s ever told her what to do when her friends hate her boyfriend and Prince Charming starts acting like a control-freaky misogynist. And as if deciding whether to trust Prince Charming, her friends, or her own instincts wasn’t hard enough, being around her brother’s best friend is making her head all fuzzy, too. Oh, if only love was as simple as fairy tales make it out to be…

Here’s a little bit about the author and where you can find her.  I’ll share more as info becomes available.

EMC Author PhotoBiography:

Ella Martin is a prep school survivor and a Southern California native. She writes books about spunky teenagers who are way cooler than she ever was, and she totally believes in love and happy endings. She likes sunny places and is terrified of snowy winters, so she now lives in Florida with her husband and son.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @westgateprep
Facebook: www.



The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl

Folks, I stumbled upon this beauty while perusing Month9Book’s blog and OMG!!!  I had to share it with you.  Who else other than me thinks this cover is AMAZING!  Wow!  The author must be over the top happy with this artwork.  I’m stunned.

What is this story about?  Well, if you can get past staring at the cover, here is the blurb as posted on Goodreads:

Lady Marguerite lives a life most 17th century French girls can only dream of: money, designer dresses, suitors and a secure future. Except she suspects she may be falling for her best friend Claude, a common smithie in the family’s steam forge. When Claude leaves for New France in search of a better life, Marguerite decides to follow him and test her suspicions of love. But the trip proves more harrowing than she had anticipated, revealing secrets and testing her strength as well as her heart. Love, adventure and restitution await her in Canada, but only if she can survive the voyage.


Publication date: 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Leigh Statham

Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho, but found her heart in New York City. She worked as a waitress, maid, artist, math teacher, nurse, web designer, art director, thirty-foot inflatable pig and mule wrangler before she settled down in the semi-quiet role of wife, mother and writer. She resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, five chickens and two suspected serial killer cats. If the air is cool and the sun is just coming up over the horizon, you can find her running the streets of her small town, plotting her next novel with the sort of intensity that will one day get her hit by a car.

Connect with the Author: Website |Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

And there’s a GIVEAWAY to boot!

Here’s the info for prizes:

· One (1) ebook copy of The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

· Open Internationally

· Winner will be drawn June 20, 2014

· Winners will receive their book on release day

Rafflecopter Link (Winner will be drawn June 20, 2014):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:

Kill the Tree Frog! Savor the Lemon Trees!

I am super excited!  My Meyer lemon trees are doing fabulous!

On May 14, 2014 I told you about my attempt at growing three Meyer lemon trees.  You can read all about it here.

After three weeks of my little sweeties in the dirt, I am super stoked to share this little lovely with you:

meyer lemon trees 6-7-2014

They’re so happy!  Look at all those pretty leaves.  Once they get a little stronger, I’ll put them in terra-cotta pots.  The great thing is they don’t need a lot of room for roots. In fact, their roots freak out if they have too big of a space to spread out, so I’ll keep them in pots about 2 inches bigger than their root base.  I’ll keep you posted on their progress but so far, I’m thrilled.

I’m not too thrilled about this little guy.

cuban tree frog 6-2-2014


Normally, I don’t mind frogs but this is a Cuban Tree Frog and he is an invasive species to Florida.  They actually kill cute little Florida tree frogs like this one:

green frog - florida
“Creative Commons Green Frog” by inajeep is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Recommendation from the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation on how to deal with Cuban Tree Frogs:

“Cuban Tree Frogs should be captured and humanely euthanized by applying 20% benzocaine gel to their skin and then freezing the frog.”

Yeah, right.  Me.  Deliberately kill an animal that is not a cockroach, mosquito or palmetto bug (because those, of course, must die), especially when they look like this:

cuban tree frog 2 - 6-2-2014


I guess if I come across one again, I’ll have to freeze it.  They are a nuisance to our local habitat and are killing the natives.

Anyone else ever had to euthanize wildlife?  Could you do it if you had to?

The long road to publication

On August 23, 2013, I submitted a short story, The Passing of Millie Hudson, to a publisher suggested to me by a dear friend and author.

The story appeared once before in an anthology put out by a writers group I was in, but the antho didn’t do well.  In fact, I don’t even mention it in my publishing credits because it was one of those ‘vanity publishing’ things. Instead of me paying for inclusion, I was allowed to include it because I was the ‘editor’ of the anthology. (I use the term very loosely because I really wasn’t an editor; more like a gatherer of blurbs and excerpts of unfinished novels).  It was one of those morale booster things the writer’s group did so writers could see their name in print and hopefully give them incentive to keep writing.  I have positive and negative thoughts on the experience, but that’s neither here nor there.  The thing is, I always thought Millie Hudson needed a home.  A real home where she would fit in and her story could be told the way it should have been all along.

When I found out about this particular publishing arm of the South Jersey Writer’s Group, Hypothetical Press, I sent Millie Hudson in with a hope and a prayer.  Yes, it’s another Writer’s Group, but SJWG is well-known, has a huge following, and some authors you might recognize are members.  It has a great reputation, and its previous anthology did very well in sales.  Plus they are huge in getting the word out there about its authors.  All of these were great pluses for me: reputation, word-of-mouth, awesome exposure.  All things important to an author.

On December 16, 2013, four months after submission, I received my congratulations letter from Hypothetical Press.  They LOVED my story.  I cried.  My lovely Millie Hudson found a forever home.  I later found out there were close to 80 submissions for the anthology and only 13 were chosen.  1 in 7 odds.  I’m happy.

There will be more info about the authors included, the titles of their stories, blog tours, etc., but for now, after a year of waiting, I’m happy to reveal:

Coming August 19, 2014

from Hypothetical Press


I can’t wait to share my story, The Passing of Millie Hudson with you.  I am thrilled beyond words to see this story in its final, wonderful resting spot.  Thank you Hypothetical Press (Amy and Jessica) for your passion and dedication to producing a fabulous anthology, and for your love and belief in my story.

More to come on this folks, so stay tuned!!


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