Angels On My Shoulders

 

This past week my mentor Demi Steven’s http://yotbpress.com/ wrote,  “My hope this week for you is that you can identify someone in your universe who shines in that way, and reach out to them and let them know how much you value having them around.”  These words pierced my heart. After a tough year of losing two very special guiding lights (my beloved mother and her sister -my dear aunt), followed by some other earth-shattering changes, my universe of wing-men (in this case women) seems to have diminished. A life without valued individuals who have had your back no matter your age is scary.

I found a book on my Aunt’s nightstand after she died, God and the Afterlife, by Jeffery Long M.D. with Paul Perry.  Fortunately, I felt compelled to open the pages.  The book is an extensive study on people who have died and returned. I encourage everyone who questions life after death to read this book. Although I have always believed, sometimes I do wonder if life after death is really possible.  This book retained a sense of relief that I will indeed see them again and will experience an overwhelming sense of love like never before.

So my stars are illuminating in a different way. I truly believe the two are winged-women on my shoulders, flashlights in hand, directing my journey. One that is getting closer to them everyday! Yes, reach out and find your stars!

 

A Beautiful Snowstorm

A few years back, I hated snow days. I loathed that crack in the sidewalk. The one I hit every time I shoveled. The shovel would come to a sudden stop and the metal handle would slam into my belly with such force I coughed up a few choice swear words. The day was all about extra work and a loss of income; shoveling, plowing, and most of all rescheduling my clients. But my priorities have changed since I published my first novel. A snow day is a perfect day to write. No more excuses after a year of hard knocks.

My second novel is ready. A novel about an over-the-hill hairdresser.  But, I hit a snowstorm. A crack in the sidewalk. The majority of agents I researched today are young and wrinkle free, not to mention calling for teen fiction. Really? What about us second-time-around writers and readers. Dried up?

I don’t think so. Today, I completed two short stories and a novel. As life moves along,  so must I. Never give up. It’s only a crack in the walk. It’s a beautiful day!

The Write Village

 

The African proverb, “It Takes a Village,” speaks to many aspects of our lives—the writing life included.  I discovered building alone was not easy. We need neighbors. Before I erected my own village, my journals were locked behind doors—suffering from rejection and fear.

I began to see constructive patterns of those who boldly paved roads around me. They had a similar foundation. So, I began the literary journey to build a village I call Write.

My mother laid the first stone. In Write, my mother lives on Main Street, adjacent to the church. Her door is always open to fill me with homemade pie… and red wine to energize my body. But when I must rekindle my soul, she points to the steeple and advises, “Every village needs a church. It’s neighbors and faith that will send you angels to guide you.”

My village of Write has a school with teachers, from the very first professor who red lined my every word to doctors and nurses who rebuild my creations today. The library houses lots of books with advice including, 101 Ways to Get Published, Writer’s Market, and Writing with Soft Hands. The shelves are lined in classics by Atwood and Twain to awaken the soul… and Harlequin romances to stir the bones.

At the village conference center, the best authors and mentors come to speak. I have autographed copies of their books, signed with encouragement like “Never give up,” or “Persist at all cost.” I visit the Write Salon after days of edits. My stylist conditions, massaging my creative brains. At the Writing Gym on Mondays I exercise with my aspiring peeps and ponder all the ways to pen “his chiseled jaw,” or “her beating heart.”The village newspaper employs agents and publishers who read my queries… and if I get lucky send one-word critiques.

My church is growing, with new angels every day, like Demi Stevens; her Year of the Book process was a road map to success that introduced me to an inspirational woman, Debbie Herbert, best-selling author, and 2017 RITA finalist, who shrouded me in incentive.

“It takes a village.” We share a path, and our community builds me up when I am adverb-tired, genre-lost, or POV perplexed. Together we survive.

This is a partial version of my story, The Write Village. I hope it inspires you.

Alicia Stephens Martin author of Spurred to Justice to be released summer, 2018.

Celebrate Writing Mentors

On Sunday mornings, I look forward to reading Demi Stevens’ blog, Year of the Book. It seems lately, they have been secret messages directed at me. Demi is quite a woman and I feel my meeting her has been magical. I have watched her grow her indie publishing company in the last five years with a persistent vigor. Her formula has become a roadmap for anyone on the journey to be a successful writer.

As I struggle on my own writing mission, sometimes my goal seems impossible. My daily grind as a solo mom, sixty-hour weeks as a busy salon owner/stylist, a substitute Cosmetology teacher on Mondays, and just plain paying bills is a struggle. My dream of publishing seems too hard, and too much work. But as I watch Demi and find her words inspiring each week, I have been able to forge ahead. Sometimes out of sheer guilt because I told her a project would be in her email-lap by a certain date…

So today, my writing day, when I am tired and it would be easy not to pick up the pen, Demi once again sent me a secret message. It was about celebrating your accomplishments. I cynically thought, What do I have to celebrate? But on the look back, in the last three years, when I became a serious writer at the age of fifty, I have published numerous articles in magazines, finished one novel, Spurred to Justice, which should be in print and on shelves by June 2018, just emailed Demi my second novel, Friday Blues, for another round of her tooth-picking edits, and today working on the first draft of my third novel.

While I might not be in the money (in fact there is no money yet) from my writing, I am indeed closer and might have reason to celebrate as I pick away to build a platform. Maybe in another year, well who knows.

I realize I could not do it without Demi from Year of the Book. I am no editor… just a source of creative dreams with a carousel of stories in my mind. But I do indeed have something to celebrate! I suggest anyone in search of a writing dream, should reach out to Demi Stevens of Year of the Book.

Thanks to women willing to defy the odds!

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In 1907, Annette Kellerman pushed for the right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit, only to be arrested for indecency.

Go Girl!

The Inspirational Hairdresser

imageI live in the east and the winter has been rough.  So salute to all the inspirational stylists who ignite our confidence when we need it! I suggest if you are depressed, down or in the dumps call your salon for an appointment!  A touch of beauty goes a long way!