The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What is Self-Soothing?

A few days ago, someone told me that dealing with loss is a good time to practice self-soothing. I nodded, but I'm not entirely sure what that means. Lie in bed all day? Stuff my face with pizza? Cry until my tears run out? These are things I *want* to do, but I *need* to walk the line between grieving for someone who's gone and living for those who are still here.


Deek tells me to be patient with myself, to take the time I need to grieve, and I love him so hard for his love, patience, and kindness. Sometimes I do lie in bed. Sometimes I do cry until my tears run out. And yes, I *have* stuffed my face with pizza. Twice.


I honestly don't know how to grieve. I've been fortune to have friends and family with long lifespans, so this is my first real, adult experience with this sort of pain. And he was my PaPa. The first man I ever loved. He used to take me everywhere with him, and I was happy as a clam to go. He was my PaPa, and I was his BabyDoll.

The first man I ever loved walks me down the aisle to the last man I'll ever love. 
Poetic.

In college, I took a really great class called Relational Communication. In one lesson, we talked about grief and how to respond to people in the midst of it. Our professor said people don't want to hear platitudes. They don't want to hear you're sorry. They want you to be able to sit with them in their grief. Cry with them. Love them through their pain. 

At the time, I didn't truly understand. Now I do. 

I guess this is where experience teaches more than academia. Where life is learned by living, not studying. But I say with my whole heart, this is a lesson I'd rather not learn. 


Yesterday, I spent the day with my Mema. We cried, we talked about PaPa, and we read some of the lovely cards friends and family had sent. But PaPa's absence filled the room.

If you are the praying sort, please pray for my Mema. If you're the good vibes sort, please send them her way. This woman lost her partner, her best friend, and the love of her life. They were together over 60 years--married almost 63. 


My heart aches, my throat closes, and a fresh wave of tears form when I think of her sleeping in her bed alone, eating alone, *being* alone. It breaks my heart because I know, I witnessed firsthand, just how very much they loved each other.

If you see me or talk to me and I'm not myself, know that I'm muddling through this tsunami of grief. I'm trying to figure out how to self-soothe, whatever that means. I'm trying to make sense of a world that doesn't have PaPa in it. And know that even when I reach the other side of this sea of sadness, I'll never quite be the same. Because like I said before...this BabyDoll is sorely lacking without her PaPa.


Monday, July 10, 2017

A Tribute to PaPa and Family

On Friday (7/7/17), I received the call I'd always known would come one day but always hoped, however unrealistic, never would. My PaPa, my grandfather, left this earth peacefully in his sleep. I'm shattered. Devastated. Heartbroken. My PaPa is more special to me than there are words to express it. I've always been "PaPa's Babydoll." And though I know I'll continue to be, this BabyDoll is sorely lacking without her PaPa.


There is a hollowness inside my chest that aches. I know heartache isn't actually in the heart, but it sure feels that way. A few days ago, I read an article that said "Grief isn't linear." And that's true. Sometimes I can muster a smile, but other times, I can't hold back my tears. Grief is like this terrible up and down rollercoaster that you can't get off of. 

People keep asking me if I need anything. Yeah, I do. I need to have my PaPa back. 


I've always felt lucky to be part of my family, but I don't think I realized *just* how lucky I was (and how unique my family is) until I grew up. Not everyone gets together with their entire family--and by that, I mean well over a hundred people--several times a year. Not everyone knows the name and life story of their fifth cousin twice removed. Not everyone has a big group of people who cheer you on in the good times and cry with you in the bad times. Not everyone was taught the value of family and shown unconditional love.

But I was, and I'm forever grateful. And the reason I know all these things and was taught these wonderful values is because of this group right here: PaPa and his siblings.

Top, right to left: Stacy, Ed, Harold
Bottom, right to left: PaPa, Wendell, Bunkie, Eldred.

At first glance, to people who don't know them, they may just look like a bunch of old folks. But they're the liveliest bunch you'll ever meet. They had such depth of personality that it's impossible to catalog, but I'll try in as few words as possible. 

Stacy--The oldest, the leader, always ready with a hug. 

Ed--The storyteller who could leave you with a stomachache from laughing so hard. 

Harold--The jokester, who was always ready with a goofy grin and a riddle. 

Wendell--A hard worker with an infectious laugh. 

Bunkie--The quiet observer with an artistic soul. 

Eldred--Poised and regal despite growing up with six brothers. 

And PaPa--the baby--was a mix of them all. 

Though they're gone now, I can still hear the sound of their voices and the symphony of their combined laughter.

These people, along with Mema and her outstanding "kinfolk," created my family. And they didn't just limit our gathering to their family, they opened it up to our extended-extended family, to friends, and to the community. With their warm, generous spirits, they never wanted anyone to feel alone, especially during the holidays.


This is my heritage. This is my legacy. I am luckier than I have any right to be to have had these wonderful, amazing people in my life. And I'm forever changed by it.


Even as my heart breaks, I can hear PaPa saying, "Don't cry, BabyDoll. I'm juuust right, and I'll see you again directly." Until then, I'll endeavor to carry the torch and to model the behavior PaPa and his siblings displayed for me. I'll do my very best to apply their lessons to my own life--love deeply and passionately, give wholeheartedly, cherish your family, welcome everyone, be present in everything you do, laugh hard and often, tell jokes, be silly, explore your artistic side, honor your family name, set an example, and live your life to the fullest each and every moment.


This one image keeps coming into my mind, and it brings me a little comfort as I move through this non-linear grief. Backstory: PaPa and his brothers created a card game when they were little, and they played it all their lives. I can still see them sitting around a table playing it. They all had asthma. And they would laugh so hard during their card game that they'd all need their inhalers. Like synchronized swimmers, they'd whip out their inhalers, take a puff, and continue laughing and playing.

So, in my mind, I see his brothers and sister sitting around a table playing that card game, and they've had an empty seat waiting for years. This Friday, PaPa took that empty seat, and they dealt him a hand of cards. I can almost hear Stacy saying, "Lawd, Darwin, we've been waiting for you for a while now." And when I imagine this scene, my heart hurts a little less, just for a minute.


Goodbye, PaPa. I'll always love you and cherish the time I got to spend with you. I loved every minute of being your BabyDoll, and I'll do my best to make you proud.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Guardian's Touch by LA Dragoni

For a ghost there are only two choices. Heaven or Hell.


Coming August 1, 2017
Guardian's Touch, Touched by Afterlife, Book 2

Life has returned to normal for Tamara and Dex after helping a horde of ghosts cross over. Their brush with the afterlife affirmed one thing: happily ever after is real.

When odd pranks around the farm escalate to destruction, Tamara fears mischievous teenagers are vandalizing the neighborhood. Then Dex starts to act out of character. Meanness slips into his usually playful disposition. One day he even ridicules a co-worker publicly. Tamara watches helplessly as he seems to lose the ability to control his own actions. When Dex’s abnormal anger turns violent—toward Tamara—their happily ever after is threatened. Desperate to help Dex and herself, she sends out a silent prayer for help.

She didn’t expect Cal to come to her aid.

***



Pre-order now!
Mark as to read on Goodreads:
Follow LA Dragoni on Amazon
or BookBub.

Ghost Touch, Touched by Afterlife Book 1 ebook is marked down to just $0.99 for a limited time.

For fifteen minutes each night a portal opens in Tamara’s barn and a horde of ghosts spills into her yard. Their leader, Cal, a quiet, unassuming cowboy, fulfills an aching loneliness the death of Tamara’s mother left behind. Tamara can help the ghosts cross, but can she let Cal go?

Available in ebook, audiobook, and print from Amazon.
Also available on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and other e-tailers.
But hurry before the price returns to $2.99.

About the author:

LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA simply considers it her job to divine their story and share it with you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries throughout the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Learn more about LA and her work at ladragoni.com




Thursday, June 29, 2017

Deceived by Heena Rathore Pardeshi

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting blogger-turned-author, Heena Rathore Pardeshi! I first met Heena way back when The Prophecy first came out, and she was gracious enough to host me. Now it's my turn to reciprocate the favor!

Please welcome Heena and Deceived!



How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, unwittingly to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.

About Heena



Heena Rathore Pardeshi is a novelist, novel critic, as well as a book reviewer. She is also the Editor In Chief at a publishing house and an acclaimed YouTube Podcaster. An award-winning writer, she has won several NaNoWriMos and JuNoWriMos since 2014.

A fan of crime-thrillers, apocalyptic fiction and slasher movies and series, she draws inspiration from the works of legendary writers such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Sidney Sheldon. She’s also a fan of Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan.

An introvert and freethinker, Heena prefers neatness to chaos - in her fictional themes as well as in her real life. She has a special place for German Shepherds and books in her heart. 

Heena also manages her own book club, RMFAO on Goodreads.com.

Heena is twenty-six years old and lives in Pune, India with her beloved husband, Vishal – a successful entrepreneur, in a house full of books, music, and love. Heena passionately creates vivid fictional worlds; some to read and cherish, and some to live in.

Links:



Monday, June 26, 2017

Where Is Erin?

Did you ever read Where's Waldo or play Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? I feel a little like it's been "where's Erin" in the social media world lately. Well, I have an answer. Deek and I moved!

Again? Yep. And this time, we're staying in one place for a while. Putting down roots.

You may remember that Deek and I had no interest in ever owning a home again. We love the footloose and fancy-free renter's life...BUT we have dreams of a vagabond lifestyle in the future. While we would love for our writing and my editing business to foot the bill for that future life, we are realistic and understand we need to plan for it. Enter homeownership (ie: our savings plan for the future).


Since we were reluctant to dip our toe into the homeownership world, we decided to go halfsies and get a town home. It's part renter life, part home owner life. And it provides us both financial and time freedom. We are active and like to do and explore, and the low cost (less than rent--woot!) and low maintenance of a town home allows us to really live like we want to.


So, where has Erin been? Moving! Is she still surrounded by boxes? Nope. Deek and I worked hard and got everything set up. We've been here approximately a week and have already had an overnight houseguest and thrown a luncheon for Deek's work friends. So, we've already started living in this home we've purchased together. 

You'll likely see Deek and me back on social media very soon. We have some exciting adventures lined up in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Until next time, live out loud!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I Did A Thing

So, I did a thing. I cut off most of my hair. Why? Because I wanted to. I'd been talking it over with Deek for a little while, and when I went in for my trim, I asked my hairdresser to just hack it off.


I'm pretty excited about it for a variety of reasons, but one of them is COLOR!! I had purple hair back when we lived in the PNW, and I dyed it blonde before coming back to the South. Well, for the past year, I've been trying to get my hair healthy from all those dye jobs. And it's been boring brown. Ho-hum. With short hair, I can dye my hair a variety of colors, and we'll just cut away the damaged parts. Voila! So, I'm headed back in June to get this whole thing turned white-blonde. And then, I'll have purple added to my bangs (and possibly other areas--the temple pieces or top of the spikes) in prep for the Raleigh SuperCon, where I am a feature guest. All my promo pics show purple hair, so I gotta give the people what they expect! ;) 

I'll be honest, I was a little wary of chopping off all my hair. Our culture, and a lot of men I know, place value on long hair as a sign of femaleness or femininity. So, in this sense, I'm so thankful I went to live in the Pacific Northwest for a while. I grew up in the Bible Belt South, and I never felt comfortable expressing my artistic funky side. But when I went to the PNW, that sort of thing is embraced and celebrated. I learned just how big and diverse this country really is. And I learned it's okay to be me. It's okay not to fit the status quo.

I'm an artist. I'm expressive. I like to try new things. That's who I am. And that's more than okay. 

I'm also incredibly thankful to have a husband who not only accepts this part of my personality but embraces it. When I asked him what he thought about cutting my hair, he said, "Do it. One of the things I love about you is that you're bold and try new things. And changing your hair is one of the ways you do that. So, if you want to cut it, cut it."


When I texted him this picture yesterday, he replied back, "This is about as cute as humanly possible." He loves me just like I am, in all my variety of shapes, colors, and hairstyles. And I appreciate that about him so very much. I'm completely free to be me.

In other news, I recently found out that the cover artist for both BookFish Books and Tenacious Books Publishing is taking a summer vacation sabbatical. Why is that a big deal you ask? Well, she designs the final print covers for the books, and we have TWO releasing while she's away. That means all edits must be completed and all formatting done BEFORE she leaves! We had a schedule in place to complete said edits and formatting in June, but that deadline had to be seriously pushed up. So, I've been working with our authors and editors to get these books ready. Once they come to the formatter, they have to be done-done. No more major changes once a book enters formatting. We can make minor changes (a comma here, a word swap there), but the meat and bones have to be mostly done.









Releases July 25, 2017

So, big props to the editors and authors for getting everything done and to me for formatting. I'm happy to report that the formatting for ALL summer release books (except The Beacon, which releases after our cover artist's vacation) is DONE! <high fives to my editing team and authors>

And Chrissy Lessey is even offering a sneak peek of her prologue for The Coven, which not only highlights her amazing writing but my formatting as well!


Despite all the work and hectic deadlines, Deek and I managed to have some fun hiking and attending a local festival! 

The journey to who-knows-where

Hubba hubba

Gorgeous bridges

A treat for our hard work! ;) 

Representing BookFish!



Enjoying a local festival

This little presh guy turned one!
When we adopted him, the shelter thought he was about six months old, and that was six months ago!
Happy Birthday, Gussie!
We adore you!

Until next time--BE YOU!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cray-zee Up In Here

Y'all, it's cray-zee up in here. I'm doing projects for BookFish Books, Tenacious Books, and Erin Rhew Editing and Design. All the books release between May and August, so I'm racing around like a mad woman. Several of the deadline bump right up against one another, and some have been pushed up due to scheduling conflicts with the cover artist or author's work/summer plans. GAH! <breaths in a bag>



Today is the ONLY day I'm in between projects, so I thought I'd drop in and say hello to my amazing blog readers and friends. Ok, to catch you up on other goings-on.

In Super News: I was asked to be a guest author at the Raleigh SuperCon! I'm so excited to be signing books and hosting panels on fantasy and sci-fi topics. Deek will also be there, and he's hosting a panel on virtual reality, which ties into the theme of his latest book!




RESTORE TO ME: My historical fiction novel is under full manuscript review by several agents. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of them picks it up because this book is extra special to me. I started writing this story a long time ago (we won't say how long), and my friend Joe Willson was my "go to" person for information on the time period. Two years ago, Joe passed away from cancer. It's our last project together, and I'd really like to see it go somewhere. I want people to read the dedication and understand that the world lost an amazing light when Joe left. 


In fact, if you're so inclined, I encourage you to donate to the Melanoma Research Foundation (if you want to make your donation in Joe's honor, I'd be so grateful).

Tenacious Books: I am in the final stages of designing the print version of The Coven by Chrissy Lessey for Tenacious Books Publishing! I'm so stoked with how it turned out! Here's a sneak peek...

By the way, if you've already read the old version of The Coven, it's totally different now. Not only does it have a rockin' new cover but it's been through major edits. You'll enjoy a whole new story the second time around, so don't forget to pick up the new copy! You already know Chrissy is an amazing author, so now you can see her at her finest! 

BookFish Books: We have two new adult releases coming up--one in May and one in July! I love both of these authors and their writing styles, so I'm super stoked!

She Wants It All by Jessica Calla (my FAVORITE book boyfriend of Jess' yet!!)


and 

(one word...Nate)


Deek: Let me just start out by saying I am the luckiest woman in the whole world. Deek is THE BEST man I've ever met. He's just tops. I can't say enough good things about him because there aren't enough words that exist in the world. He's THAT awesome! 

I'm SO proud of him for completing his rough draft for his sci-fi novel, eXtractors! You can read all about how he wrote himself an editorial letter (before he lets me and Anya get our hands on it)! 

Pictures: You know I always have to include some pictures from our life, so here they are! ;) 

At least the working environment isn't too shabby...

And I'm not lonely.

Goofing off at Rocket Fizz. 
The first one I ever went to was in Portland, so it's a little piece of the Pacific Northwest in the South.


May the 4th Be With You!

Date Night!
This man, y'all, this MAN! I epically adore him and love every minute we spend together!