Saturday, July 30, 2016

Change of Plans

I have to tell you, I had a totally different post written and ready to up this morning, but some wild things have been happening in my writing life this week. I took over the Taking Life by the Books Facebook group on Wednesday. Made a new friend. Reconnected with an old friend. Sent a spontaneous teaser passage to one of my favorite readers, who has faithfully waited all this time for Selkie II, steadfastly encouraging me to "hurry up!" because "you're killin' me, Smalls!" Scheduled new posts for my street team in our secret Facebook group, and learned a Lutheran version of the rosary that has revolutionized my prayer life.

Like I said, it's been a busy week. I've added a few new things to my writing calendar, including a mini-nano (writing marathon) with my local writer's group, the East Tennessee Creative Writer's Alliance. My mom is out of the hospital again, at least for now, and while my grandmother is out of the hospital, she's not quite out of the water yet. Her alzheimer's seems to be worsening, but she still has lots of good moments, which our family is learning to treasure greatly.

But the biggest thing that changed for me this week was in my event schedule. In a previous post, I talked about how much I love signing events, but how much I wanted to do my own -- for two reasons. One, I wanted to travel. And two, I wanted a smaller setting, something intimate. I wanted to be able to get to know you when we meet, to talk to you without either of us feeling rushed. I wanted to do a reading, a signing, maybe a Q/A session. But most importantly, I wanted to have a little mingling session. I wanted you not to be afraid to talk to me, and I wanted not to be too harried to talk to you. So I thought I'd plan an event of my own, just me, and just you guys. We'd maybe have an afternoon together, a cookie bar and some drinks, and we'd get to know each other.

I put up the interest form, where you guys could choose between December (my publishing anniversary month) and July (halfway through the year and less likely for flight plans to get snowed out -- also the month of my first book wedding). You could also choose one of several cities, or even add your own. Lots of you voted, and for a while I thought I was going to Bar Harbor, Maine. I got excited, thinking of how perfect it would be to round out five years of writing, right in the place where my first book was set. But then, Myrtle Beach hit a voting spike, and took the lead. I got excited about that, too, thinking of scheduling an extra day on my trip -- time to spend on the beach, soaking up the sun and listening to the ocean in a way that I haven't been able to for a long time.

During all of that, I had been very sure that my event would be the only one I attended in 2017. I pre-checked with different venues in each of the leading cities, I thought about menu options, what I'd wear, travel time, and who might come. I thought about publicizing the event, and what I wanted the mood to be. And I steadfastly ignored all mention of a local event that I really wanted to go to. Even when they announced that there'd be an ice-breaker party the night before. And even when they announced that there'd be a MASQUERADE BALL the night after. Even though this event is right here so I don't need to worry about travel, the event is all planned so I don't need to worry about venue, and it's a second annual event, so I know everything will go smoothly.

Even though it's exactly the kind of small, intimate event that I wanted to host myself.

But then I got an email, an invitation to attend an event in Texas. An event that'll send me on a road trip. An event that'll take me to a new place. Also a somewhat small, intimate type of event.

And I had one of those lightbulb moments, you know? Those *facepalm* "duh" moments? The ones that look like this:


So I changed course, and let that one very small event go -- for now. Instead, I'm going to travel next year. I'm going to do not one, not two, but THREE events next year. And I'm going to love meeting you guys if you come.

AND ... in the interest of giving you time to arrange to come see me, here's my appearance schedule for 2017. For future reference, this schedule will also be listed in the right sidebar of all of my newsletters, as well as in the appearances tab on my website (just hover over "About Me" and you'll see "Appearances" in the drop down).

Saturday, July 16, 2016

What's In My Bag?

Each week, I post a discussion question in the secret Facebook group for my street team. The topics vary greatly, and aren't generally book based -- but they're a fun way for my team to get to know me, for me to get to know them, and for them to get to know each other. So far, it's a small community, but as it grows, I want very much for this group to be a close one. I never intend for the group to grow beyond fifty members in its lifetime, so it's important to me that the team be a happy place where we all get along and respect each other. (Interested? Apply here.)

Anyway, a few weeks ago our question was about time-wasters. We talked about various games, apps, and TV shows that we waste time on, which are our favorites, and which ones are more of the "guilty pleasure" variety.

One of mine is YouTube. I love vlogs, and I love the comic rant-style videos. I also like several different challenge styles, and I always love the videos where someone is trying to eat something gross or foreign for the first time. I shared some of my favorite YouTubers with my team members and why I love them, but one of the things I forgot to mention was how very addicted I am to the videos that are called "What's In My Bag?"

I don't know what it is, I don't know why I love them so much. But it's like chips, right? I can't just have one. It's usually one of the channels I subscribe to that starts it ... they post a "What's In My Bag?" video, and then there's another one in the space where YouTube suggests other similar videos. So I'll watch one, and then I'll see another that looks interesting, so I'll watch that too. And the next thing I know, an hour of my life is gone forever, and all I have to show for it is the knowledge of what's in a bunch of women's purses.

That's not creepy, right? It's not even a little bit creepy? I'm choosing to think it's not creepy.

Anyway.

I thought, since I love that so much, and since you guys mostly like me (at least, I think that's why you're here ...), I thought it might be fun to give you a list of what's in my bag.

So here goes. First off, here's my bag, which my cousin likes to not-so-jokingly refer to as a suitcase, mostly because it might be big enough to qualify as a carry-on. It's a good size. Fits a lot of stuff. That's probably why I laugh back and tell her she only thinks my purse is big because she can somehow manage to fit everything she needs into a cell phone wallet. I don't know how she does it, but I suspect it has something to do with this.

Whatever it is that makes her have the ability to do that, I do not have the same ability, or maybe I just lack the ability or the level of chill required to actually "travel light" instead of just wishing to. Still, there's a certain level of magic in my little handbag, magic that comes in quite handy for me. The bag itself is a bit triangular in profile, and once you open the zippers, it has fabric bits on each side that allow the bag to open WAY. UP. Like for real, this bag is pretty tidy looking on the outside, but it is ROOMY on the inside. You probably wouldn't believe everything I can fit in there. So anyway, let's open it up, shall we?

What's In My Bag?

  • My tablet. I never go anywhere without it. It holds my Google Calendar app and all of my appointments, my OneNote app and all of my writing ideas, the Google Keep app and all of my shopping/personal lists. Sure, I have those things on my phone too, but what I really appreciate about the tablet (besides the bigger screen and perfect note-book imitation size) is the built-in stylus. My favorite writing mode is to use the Microsoft Word app on my tablet, paired with a handwriting keyboard. So I get the handfeel of handwriting, and my tablet auto tranfers everything to text easily. It also allows me to write on the go, even in the midst of a tendonitis flare-up (because the tendonitis is in the right wrist, but I'm left-handed).
  • Next, I have my Kindle paperwhite, which is self explanatory. These two items are the chief reason I "need" such a large purse/handbag. I hardly ever go anywhere without them, thus the purse.
Still, my purse really is pretty roomy, and I regularly have any other number of other things stuffed in there. So let's keep looking.
  • My Card wallet. As a mom, I have lots of cards to carry, from my driver's license to my insurance cards. I have insurance cards for my kids too, plus bank cards, gifts cards, library cards, etc. There's no wallet I've been able to find (that isn't huge) that'll hold that many cards, so I keep this with me at all times, and I love how handy it is on the go.
  • In addition to that, I have a change purse that I generally use as a cash wallet (I don't carry a lot of cash usually). It hold what little I need, a few medical necessities in the side pockets, and any change I received after whatever my last cash transaction was. It also has a driver's license pocket on the back side, and I keep a few business cards in there.
  • A Keychain from my mechanic, which I don't keep on my keys but I do keep with my because it has the number on there.
  • A little blue fabric glasses case that I keep a cloth screen cleaner in.
  • A wide-toothed comb.
  • A spare stylus, still in the package just in case I need it because I lost or broke mine -- which hasn't happened yet but as you can see I like to be prepared. Besides, it doesn't take up that much room.
  • A cheap L.A. Colors compact and concealer that I bought on the fly one day when I suddenly felt the need to wear makeup but didn't really have any with me. Same goes for the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream.
  • A spare, fully charged battery for my phone, along with a spare, also fully charged power bank for my tablet or Kindle. The power bank and battery are both from Anker, whose products I highly recommend.
  • A couple of Zeiss lens cleaning wipes, which are handy because they're individually wrapped, but stink pretty bad so I only use them when I'm desperate and my shirt won't clean my glasses. Still, if I'm forced to open one, I also use it on my tablet, phone, and Kindle screens.
  • Movie tickets from when my daughters and I went to go see Finding Dory on June 26th. That shows you how often I clean my purse out.
  • Lady products ... because I'm a lady. No, you don't need to know more.
  • Two elastic hair ties, which I can never find when I'm hunting for one.
  • A charging brick for the wall, which handily fits the cord that stays folded in the little bag my Anker power bank came in.
  • A couple of folded up clean paper towels, just in case -- because I have kids who always seem to need one.
There's a little zipper compartment in the side of the bag that has these things in it:
  • Two more elastic hair ties. So why can't I ever find one??
  • A couple of stickers my daughter asked me to hold on to and then apparently forgot to ask for.
  • A travel bottle of Advil, the kind that are coated so they're easy to swallow.
  • A bottle of Systane Balance, because I have problems with chronic dry eyes, and that's why I always have eye fatigue so bad. If you have eye fatigue too, use these for a few days and see if it helps.
  • A fold up mirror that I already had before I bought the compact, but is only a double mirror with no makeup. But one side magnifies, just in case I'm feeling a little too confident about my skin that day.
  • Two pots of DIY lip gloss that I got from Felita at Lilac Reviews. They're really cute, work amazingly, are super smooth, and I love them. They're made of coconut oil.
  • Three pens, pink, purple, and black.
  • A magenta Sharpie, which I use for autographing books and such. The pink matches all of my branding pretty perfectly.
  • A pen stylus, which I don't like the shape of, but had forgotten it was in there. It's one of the ones with the huge fat bubble at the end, and I like the slimmer ones better.
As if that weren't enough, I keep a small makeup bag in my purse. It's actually a fabric pencil case that I picked up at Walmart a while back for a dollar, but it fits everything I "need," has lasted for a long time, and serves its purpose nicely. Inside, I have:
  • A bottle of Cherry Blossom perfume that I've had for so long I'm not sure where it originally came from, but still smells great and I love wearing it as a treat sometimes instead of my usual body spray.
  • Two squeeze tubes of Carmex, because I love the glossy way it looks and the smooth way it feels on my lips. And when you first put it on and get that little tingle? Yeah, I dig it.
  • Two eyeliners, one blue and one brown. I don't really wear either of them often, but keeping them in my purse means I know where they are when I want them. Or at least, that's the theory. I actually had forgotten they were in there.
  • An L.A. Colors Bold Lash mascara in black, which I bought the same day I bought all the other L.A. Colors stuff listed above. It worked in the moment but was NOT my favorite mascara. It went on a little goopy and was harder to work with, and then flaked later that afternoon which was annoying.
  • A concealer stick from L.A. Colors in, "Oh my goodness do they really even make people that white?" Because yes, they do. And I'm one of them.
And then, to finish off, I also have thirteen lipsticks and glosses in varying brands and colors:
  • Wet n Wild matte lipsticks in the shades 903c (Just Peachy), 905d (Smokin' Hot Pink), and ... well ... 905d. Yeah. I'm that person.
  • Wet n Wild megaslick crayons in the shades 126 (Rico Mauve), and 160a (Red-Ioactive). I keep that second one for when I'm feeling bold and ballsy.
  • A CoverGirl WetSlick gloss in 330 (Pink Sequin). It's ancient though ... I should probably throw it away.
  • A Jordana BalmStain in 04 (Candied Coral). I really like this one, the stain lasts FOREVER.
  • An ELF Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in 22144 (Pink Umbrellas), which is a perfect nude for me. It gives me just the right color on days when I'm extra pale, but not in the mood for "real" lipstick.
  • A NARS Satin Lip Pencil in a nude-ish color that isn't on the packaging but is perfect for my skin and face. But my goodness, the cost! I wear this one only when I'm feeling posh. I've got a red one too, but I don't carry that one with me.
  • A CoverGirl lipstick in 415, but I can't tell what the actual name of the color is. I hate it though, because it's sparkly like 1985. I only have it because my mom gave it to me and I couldn't bring myself to turn her down.
  • Another lipstick in Matte Magenta, but I don't know what brand this is or where my older daughter got it from. She came home from school with it on one day and it was confiscated because while I'm pretty cool about my kid wearing makeup, I don't think my twelve year old needs to be wearing magenta lipstick.
  • A really fat Strawberry Lip Smacker. Seriously, this dang things looks like a pretty glue stick, but I love it. I've loved Lip Smackers since sixth grade, and I am never without one. Usually I carry a normal sized one in my pocket.
  • A Baby Lips tinted gloss in a reddish shade. I don't think it has an official color, but it's the red one that's in the orange tube. I love this almost as much as Lip Smackers because it has color, but not quite as much as Lip Smackers because it isn't as smooth and glossy on the lips.
Oh, and some Tootsie Roll pops, because I'm addicted.

Wow, it's no wonder my purse is heavy, huh? I thought about doing this as a YouTube video, but then I knew I'd get off on a tangent and the video would be three years long. I guess I could do a snapchat story though (I'm BrandiKennedy84 there) ... If you think I should, then add me on snapchat and snap me a photo or video to show me ... what's in your bag?

Until next week,
Happy Reading,
B.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Responsibility May Be Heavy ... But At Least It's The Good Kind.

I saw a post recently on Instagram; it was about responsibility and the various things in life that we not only take responsibility for, but that we take pride in being connected to. The account was LilacCalligraphy, and the post listed a few things Isabel (the account holder) felt proud to be responsible for/to. The post inspired me to think in more concrete terms about my own responsibilities and what they mean to me - not because I don't already think of those things in a subconscious sort of way, but because I think it truly never hurts to be more conscious in our daily lives.

This has been a long few weeks for me, with my mother in the hospital from Wednesday of last week until Saturday. The day she went home, my grandmother was admitted, and she's still there. But I keep thinking on that post I saw, and how it plays into certain things happening in my personal life lately, so I thought it might be nice to begin our Saturday with a short list of some of my responsibilities - and why I'm glad to have them.

  1. First up is the easiest one, and that's God. I make a point here (usually) to not be "preachy" but lots of you are aware from talking to me that I am a Christian. What non-Christians (especially ones that might be angry or resentful for whatever reasons) may not know is that for real everyday Christians, the relationship we share with God (because of the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ) is no mere crutch. God is not our personal genie, He is the protective wall around our hearts, the friend that never lets us down, and a responsibility we feel the weight of everyday of our lives. Not out of fear, no, but out of a desire to do well. It isn't unlike the way you know that your mother will still love you if you get a B in English … but you want to show her that A. It's the same thing that makes you try harder at work, dress up for a date, smile when you see your kindergartener's 87th "art" project of the week. The desire to please those that we love and receive their approval (or please them by giving ours) is in itself a responsibility that we take on willingly (in most cases), whether that's God or anyone. For me, the one desire of my heart is to have achieved the purpose I believe He gave me, and to have served Him well. Sadly, I fail more often than not sometimes … but my burden of responsibility comes with a promise: As long as my heart stays in it, He will ALWAYS let me have one more chance to try again.
  2. Myself. As deeply as I feel the burden to please and serve a God that I believe loves me and wants the best for me, I also feel a burden of responsibility in my own self-care. l can't serve anyone well if I'm not healthy, well-rested, and at least happy enough to function. Just as my Christian faith is no secret, neither is my struggle with depression, and while my faith is a constant source of strength and encouragement, my depression is a slow steady leak, like a bucket with a hole in it. Taking good regular care of myself is vital, from getting enough rest to staying hydrated, to following my passion and allowing myself the grace to be human. I practice mindful meditation, self compassion, and positive affirmation. I read (a lot), I sing (terribly), and I try to surround myself with people who encourage me to be a better and more peaceful me. This burden of responsibility comes with a blessing too, though: I get to live inside this body, with arms and legs and organs that work. I get to feel generally alright most days, if not spectacular, and I get the confident satisfaction of knowing that I love me enough to take care of me.
  3. My Kids. In the everyday sense, my kids are really my biggest and heaviest responsibility. They're 12 and 7 right now, old enough in many ways to have found some semblance of independence, and yet still young enough in many ways to still be demanding of my time, my effort, and my energy. They are good kids, and they are good kid because I struggle daily to provide them with a good mother. I screw up a lot in this too; sometimes I'm too tired and I'm irritable. Or I'm emotionally worn down, and I'm angry at the world. On these days, I'm not the best mom, and I know I'm not … but I also know that my children live secure in the knowledge that it's not them, it's me. It's my own response to daily stress and life as a responsible adult. They know that with some quiet rest, I'll be Mommy again in the way that I want to be, that I'll be encouraging again, gentle and kind in my attempts to share with them what guidance and wisdom I have gleaned from my years in this life. I don't always get it right, but even at just 12 and 7, they know that they are treasured, valued, and wanted. They know that they mean something to someone, that they matter, and their existence is a blessing.
  4. My Family. I list "Kids" and "Family" separately because these are different burdens; if you're a mother, you'll understand how strong the distinction can be. Most of my family doesn't need my guidance in quite the same way as my kids. They don't (usually) look to me for their every need, and they don't call on me often because we're all fairly independent of each other. This may even be an overly nice way of describing it, particularly in regards to my particular family, but the description stays nonetheless. Still, there are the few that I am close to, that I care deeply for, and that my heart still craves relationship with. And this is as it should be … sometimes I wish I didn't feel the aching sense of loss that comes with being part of a family that is not a close one, but mostly, I dread the day when my few close familial connections are no longer there, and those fragile ties that once held so many people together will simply be no more. In the meantime, I make a point to call, to visit when I can, and to stay up to date. It doesn't always pay off in the way I want, but I can rest easy knowing that I did my part.
  5. My friends. My friends are the people that keep my life smooth. They're there on the other end of the phone when I need to cry into it, when I'm so spitting mad about life that my language degrades all the way back to the level of a high school boy's locker room, when I'm so hurt I don't even have words to express myself. They're there to pat me on the back when I succeed, to defend me when I need it, to celebrate with me in the happiest moments of my life. We speak through phone calls, send each other silly photos, video messages, texts. These people are spread all over the country, but they are never more than a thought away, and they mean everything. These people are the backbone that holds me up, the strength that allows me to carry the burdens of my responsibilities. In turn, they provide responsibility of their own for me to live up to. They call when they're in need. They reach out from the depths of depression, hoping I can walk them out of the darkness. They call me with questions and needs of their own, knowing that I will respond to them as they have always responded to me. These are the bonds of life - at least, they're the bonds of mine.
  6. My Writing. Writing is my passion. It's in my blood, it's part of my soul. It's my craft, my art, my release, the thing I hope to build a legacy on that will last as surely as my bloodline in my children. I want my love of words and my chasing of this dream to show my daughters exactly what "You can be whatever you want to be, if you try," really means. But books don't write themselves, and that's where even this great love becomes another responsibility on my list. Desired, beloved, and yet it's there, a certain burden to be carried each day. Which leads me to …
  7. You. My readers. The people who buy my books, who open my emails, who visit my website. Who follow me on my social media pages. The people who care enough about me to want to know me, who care enough about my characters to wait faithfully for the next book. I carry you with me each and every day, through your emails, your messages, and your occasional comments on my social pages. I wish I could keep the occasional surprise Snapchat for all eternity … and some of you have even become friends. This is a blessing beyond compare, the way my life has grown through this journey. And it is a responsibility that I hold dear, with the sheerest and most utter determination to never let y'all down. Selkie II is now past the halfway mark, Still Fighting For Freedom is telling bits and parts of itself to me now and then, and Winning Wit (Kingsley Series #5) is all but plotted already. Your patience with me will be rewarded with beautiful stories just like the rest, stories that are meaningful, inspiring, romantic. Real characters, and honest love, just as it has been from the beginning.

Speaking of which, I'd better go work on those. But while I'm doing that, tell me … what are your favorite responsibilities?

Until next week,
Happy Reading,
B.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Selkie: An Excerpt ... And A Surprise.

It's been a while since I shared a book excerpt here, and since I'm currently most focused on writing Selkie II, I thought I'd share a little bit of Selkie with all of you this week. It's a peek into the very beginning of Annie Jacob's growth as a character; she's a newly divorced young woman recovering from the pain of her husband's infidelity, and she's run away to build a new life in a place where everyone isn't looking on her with pity. All she wants is to put her heart back together and move on with her life ... what she doesn't know is that her life is about to take a drastic turn away from everything she once thought was real. She's heading into uncharted waters, unknowingly walking a path that will bring the most secret mythology to life, right before her very eyes.

Here's a look at one of her last "normal" moments:
Annie had been reading one of her new books and it had her emotions in a complete tailspin. Sitting at the table with a plate of leftovers for breakfast, she'd been so engrossed in her reading that she had actually had to reheat her meal twice. Finally, she just scraped the leftover cabbage dish into the garbage and took her book with her out the back door. 
There was a soft breeze and as Annie settled into one of the patio chairs, she brushed an errant strand of dark hair back, tucking it behind her ear. She crossed her ankles on the edge of the table in front of her and settled back into the pillows to re-read and soak in what she'd just learned. 
It was a book about how sexy self-confidence was, about self-esteem being the most valuable trait that a woman could possess. The problem, Annie realized, was that she honestly hadn't known that she didn't already have that kind of confidence. She had always thought herself to be a confident and independent woman, one who could stand alone and who lived her own way, a woman who was always true to herself. Now, though, she could see parts of her life that had not been as she had believed them to be, and she was determined to do something about it. Annie had decided that she needed to figure out who she really was, and how to become more authentically herself. She held within her heart the hope that someday, she would meet a new man; that someday she would stumble upon a man who believed her to be as wonderful and beautiful as she herself was trying to believe that she was. 
In the pages of the book, Annie had discovered several ways that she’d allowed her marriage to limit her, and that the entire situation was partially her own fault. The way she had allowed herself to stagnate in an effort to always be what Chase had once wanted, had probably been part of what had driven him to an affair in the first place. She only wished he hadn't taken up with the vivacious and fiery neighbor woman that Annie had so admired. It might have been nice to still have her best friend to talk to about her husband’s betrayal, but since Chase had chosen Annie’s best friend, she felt as if she’d lost them both. Still she could understand his choice in that too, if she was honest with herself. 
Somewhere along the line, she had stopped being "Annie," and eventually she had drowned in being "Chase's Wife." In so many ways, she had allowed herself to belong to him, to behave as a possession and not as a partner; she’d stopped being her own woman. She wore what he approved of, not because he made her do it, but because she wanted his approval. She did and said and behaved as he wished, not because he said so or because he exerted his will over her, but because she wanted him to always choose her. 
In the end, it had backfired. She had resented him for the things she had or hadn't done, telling herself that her dissatisfaction was his fault, and that all her perceived sacrifices had been for his sake. He had felt her silent anger and had returned it with his own; he’d filled himself up with his disappointment in her lack of growth as the years wore on, seeing her as being more and more stagnant as a woman while he grew beyond her as a man. 
It had been hard to realize and admit those things; it had been harder still to admit that she had to release some of the anger she held toward her ex-husband. Annie couldn't honestly fault him for wanting more than an obedient servant. He'd wanted a partner, someone to match with, to spar with, to fight with, and to feel passionate emotion with. He’d wanted someone who would be her own authentic self, who would never belong to anyone else. She didn’t deny the fact that he had his own faults in their marriage, but she’d never before been willing to sit down and look at herself so honestly. 
Still, she fought daily with the pain that he'd chosen to betray her with a beloved friend. More than that, the ache of her best friend's betrayal was like an apple stuck in her throat, one she couldn't seem to stop choking on. 
"Argh! Enough of this," Annie suddenly said out loud, slamming the book shut. "I've had just enough of this for now. It’s time to shut it down, let it sink in and go do something else." Still, as Annie carried the book inside and placed it on the kitchen table, she couldn't help taking another look at the back cover, and the short little quote listed there among so many others that had reached out to her right from the first moment. 
"Happiness is not a goal," she read aloud to herself, trying to memorize the quote. "It is a by-product." She smiled, muttering, "Eleanor Roosevelt, what I wouldn't give to take you to lunch."

Annie was, and still is, one of my most favorite heroines. She's on the same powerful journey that every woman alive is on, the journey to self-acceptance, self-love, and comfort in her own skin. But the best part of that journey is the way it often takes us on unexpected turns, leaving us changed forever into something entirely different from what we might have imagined. Still, we press on, and we persevere. We accept the change, sometimes with grace and sometimes without, and we learn to keep putting one foot in front of the other ... even when we feel trapped, bound, helpless. Even when we're drowning in the waves of life that sometimes wash over us, we "keep swimming." We find a way. And we become, in our own ways, the very magic most of us no longer believe in.

If you'd like to get to know Annie before her story continues in Selkie II, you can find the official blurb and download links for the first book in the Selkie Trilogy here. You can also check out my Pinterest board of celebrity inspiration here.

Until next week,
Happy Reading!
B.