Thursday, March 28, 2019

Truly inspired

I love going to book signings and author readings. Always have, long before I even embarked on this path to try and get published. I've waited for hours for celebrities, and been one of just a few listening to a combat veteran share his story. And each is special in its own way.

But the other night, I had the experience of a lifetime at a book signing/reading of my oldest friend. Not many people can say they still keep in touch with someone from kindergarten. Even fewer can say they are inspired daily by this person. But Christophe is beacon of light in this often dark world and we're all better for knowing him.

I brought my whole family, little ones included, into the packed library to hear him share his story. Heart transplants {yes, that is plural} kidney transplant, diabetes, myofibrillar myopathy, and more emotional struggles than a person should have to deal with, Christophe has confronted it all. He doesn't sugar coat the hard days and never discounts the struggles others go through every day. But he fights, every single day, for the life he wants, never letting anything limit the dreams and fun he wants to have. He reminds us all that the most important thing you can do in this life is love hard, and always tell the people you care about how much they mean to you.

So go check out his book, {1 Man, 3 Hearts, 9 Lives} be inspired, tell someone you love them today. Purchase it here on Amazon . And don't just take my word for it. The book has all 5 star reviews!!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Giving myself a win

A year ago today, I ran the West Point Fallen Comrades half-marathon. It was the first I'd ever done, and the experience was truly unforgettable. Despite the freezing temperatures, I knew it was something I'd want to do every year if I could, never wanting to forget our fallen soldiers from the Long Grey Line.

But I swear 2019 is trying to knock down everyone I know, throwing problems at us all left and right. As the date inched closer to this year's race, my husband and I agreed it was too much to fit in. We hadn't trained, and time was against our side with different events and obligations we had before and after.

But while in the middle of the query trenches, very little feels in your control. You revise and tweak your query, research the best agents, and follow every submission requirement.  But then you send out your query, and it's all out of your hands. There's nothing to do but wait. Something I'm not always that good at, haha.  And with so many other things in life feeling out of my control, I needed to take charge of one thing and give myself a win, and run this one all by myself.

That's why I love running so much. Because it's all up to me. It's hard, challenging me physically and mentally. But every success and failure is in my control.  So asking help from my husband and girls, I decided a week out to move heaven and earth and signed up to run this year's half-marathon.

With little training, a pinched nerve in my back, and some hopes and prayers, we headed up to West Point yesterday. It's one of my favorite spots in the country, so filled with history, incredible views, and some precious memories I hold dear.  While we woke up to 24 degree weather, the sun came out and warmed up to a perfect running temperature.

This isn't an easy race by any means. If you've ever spent time up there, you know how hilly it can be. And that is an understatement. From sea level to inclines of 1200 feet, even the most seasoned runners struggle up and down those hills. Especially since the most brutal one comes right at mile 12 when all you want to do is quit.

But one foot after another, the miles flew by. I pushed harder than I thought I could, ignoring pain and exhaustion, and crossed the finish line five minutes faster than last year. But honestly, the PR doesn't matter as much to me as the simple fact that I finished. I wanted something, worked hard at it, and succeeded.  That's not always the case in life. You can check all the boxes, work harder than you ever thought possible, and for reasons out of your control, you still might not achieve your goal.  But this one I did. One step at a time, over and over again, I left it all on the course and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.

So as life continues to fight against me in other areas of life, I'll look at my medal and remember the win I sorely needed.

What are things you do when you need to take back control and give yourself a win.

Friday, March 22, 2019

My Writing Mission

I don't know what it's like for other writers, but when I started this whole thing, I wanted to do more than just tell an entertaining story. I want to share real stories, ones that will make you think, change the way you see certain groups of people. And while only two of the books I've written so far deal with military, those are the stories I want to tell the most.

More than just a rugged hero who falls in love with the pretty girl. I want to tell the dark side, the demons, the shadows. I want to talk about the grief, the survivors guilt, the way no one comes back from combat unscathed.

I also want to show the silly side to America's heroes. The insight they gain from having to grow up fast than their peers. They way they love with abandon, knowing every day is a gift.

I want to show the women behind the men {or the men behind the women} and that not only the military can suffer from PTSD. And holding down the homefront with a yellow ribbon around the tree doesn't always feel as honorable as it looks.

And in my non-military stories, I want to continue that realness. Showing the true aspects of life. Love, death, every day struggles. Not every story has a happy ending, but they all don't shy away from how it truly is.

I've been inspired by shows like This Is Us and A Million Little Things. The ones that make you cry and cheer every week, knowing you've experienced things just like they show in real life.

So that is my writing mission. One I hope to continue throughout my career, and hopefully one I'll be able to share with all of you once I'm published.

What is your writing mission?