‘Thanks for Writing’ Award

I love blog awards.  It’s not so much the award itself but why they even exist.

Think about it.  The person handing out the award recognizes the blogger who gave it to them, usually with a link back to the blogger. The receiver of the award recognizes and passes on the award to one or more bloggers with links to their blogs.  What a great way to spread the word about other bloggers!  Word of mouth.  The oldest and most successful marketing tool.  I can’t tell you how many fantastic people I’ve met because I hopped around to other bloggers’ sites who won these awards.  What an awesome way to drive traffic to other blogs and to get other people to connect from all over the world.

When I get an award, I don’t post it to say “Hey, look at me and how great I am.”  It’s actually to say, “Hey, check out the blog of the person who gave this to me AND check out the blog(s) of those I’m giving it to.  Sit back with them and strike up a conversation. They’d love to hear from you.”

I feel bad about singling out bloggers because all of the ones I follow are fantastic.  I decided for most awards when I get them, I’ll forward them all onto those who stop by my blog and want them.  Hopefully they’ll comment and say thanks and build more connections that way.

Today’s blog award is a little different because it is specific:  it’s the ‘Thanks for Writing’ award.

The lovely Charissa Stastny, author of Eyes of Light, gave me this very tasty delight on July 9 and I have been very lazy in thanking her publicly for the award.  Charissa…thank you so much.  It means a lot to me that you thought of me for this award.  I am humbled and grateful.  It was also one of the most original and yummy blog award giveaway posts I’ve ever read.

I’m going to pass this award to two ladies who have impacted not only my writing but my life so much that I can’t thank them enough:  Jennifer M. Eaton and Julie Reece.  I met both of them online through writer’s forums, Jennifer through Nathan Bransford’s website and Julie through Scribophile.com.  These two women, every day, keep me grounded, keep me laughing, keep me motivated, keep me reaching for the stars and have become my writing soul mates.  They are both amazing authors with hearts the size of the universe.  They are not just fellow bloggers, writers, beta readers and critiquers.  They are my friends and I would be lost without them in my life.

Jennifer, Julie…thank you for everything you bring to my life every day.  Because of you (and my family), I push on to complete my novel and get it published.  Because of you, I am reminded every day that there is nothing I can’t accomplish.  Because of you, I don’t feel so alone in this writing and publishing world.  Thank you for standing behind me to push, beside me to hold my hand, and before me so I may follow your lead.  You are both amazing women and I’m honored to know you and have you in my life.

There is nothing you need to do to accept this award.  Take it and know that what you do and who you are does affect someone in a positive way. Thank you for being you.  Thanks for Writing.

Happy Beta Reader Day and Happy Mother’s Day

I hereby declare today as Beta Reader Day.  Why? Well, because I’m a mom and it makes it easier for me to remember to celebrate Beta Readers on Mother’s Day.  Weird, I know, but I’m weird.

Beta Readers are like moms in a lot of ways.  They hold your hand and guide you. They wipe your tears away when you’re hurt.  They are always encouraging you to step out and try something new.  They comfort you when life lets you down.  They help you see life through different eyes.  They let you know when you’re way off base and when you’re right on the money.  They are gentle in their approach, except when a firm hand is needed to push you in the right direction.  They see situations objectively and are willing to offer suggestions to see your way out of sticky spots.  A real beta reader is there 24/7.  His/her job is never done.  Through the ups and downs, the bruises and scrapes, the tears of sadness and the tears of joy, the beta reader is always with you.  As a writer, I would be lost without my beta readers.

To Jennifer M. Eaton, I can’t say enough.  Thank you for all the emails, the phone calls, the late nights, the back and forths with the same story over and over again.  Thank you for the prods (some not so gentle), and thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself.  There are no words to express what I feel for you, my dear friend. Thank you, Nathan Bransford, for bringing us together.  🙂

For Terri Rochenski, lady, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You were not afraid to tell me at exactly what place my writing fell apart or how bad it sucked.  You gave me amazing advice and helped me see my way past my own roadblocks.  You are amazing.

For Julie Reece, there are no words to thank you enough.  You dropped everything to help me in my hour of need and your help came in a flash.  You were a light in my darkest hour.  You worked through my confusion and helped me to find my voice and direction.  Can I say how happy I am you are in my life?

To Mark Wentmoor, man, you are a rock.  You gave me wonderful male perspective and got me into the opening scene of the Amulet of Ormisez.  I wish there was a way I could capture your Irish accent and throw it on Elton Fletcher.  Elton is ‘you’ in many ways.  Thank you for breathing life into him in a way no one else could do.

To Mike Dalton, thank you for being my grammar king.  You found the most subtle things- misspelled words, misplaced commas, incomplete sentences. You’re amazing.  You also taught me to stick to my guns and remain true to my voice.  Thanks, Pops!

I also want to give a big shout out to Mark and Mike.  They are so much more than beta readers.  They are both single parents who have had to take on the roles of both mom and dad to their children.  They both need to be applauded for their tenacity, love and courage to take on what life has thrown at them and be the incredible people they are.  I am blessed to ‘know’ both of you and your children are blessed to have you as parents.

To all you moms out there, have a blessed Mother’s Day.  To my closest friends and fellow moms of more than 20 years (Amy G and Diane E), I don’t know what I would do without you in my life.  I thank God every day for your presence.

To my mom, I know you’re looking down on me and I can feel your smile.  I wish I could feel your loving arms and hear your voice.  I miss you more than you know.

To my daughter, Clarissa…you’re a great mommy.  I loved spending time with you and Kizzie this weekend.  There are no words to tell you how proud I am of you.  Oh, the places you will go.  Thank you so much for my grand-daughter.  You’re an amazing mom and my own personal cheering section.  I love you so much.

For my daughter, Heather…even when you have been busy with your own school stuff and working hard toward your Master’s, you always took a moment to read my stories and give me your honest opinions.  You are an angel in so many ways.  You hold my hand and make me smile.  I love your hugs and your good nature.  You are an inspiration to me.  I love you more than I can say.

To all my mommy writer friends and blogger buddies (too many to name but you know who you are), thank you for being you and being in my life, even in its smallest measure.  We were all brought together for a reason.  You guys rock.

Big hugs to all and don’t forget to tell your moms and beta readers how much you love them and appreciate them.