Someone recently asked me if I could go back and give my younger self one piece of advice what it would be. I thought really hard about this and decided that it would be that I didn’t have to be perfect. I didn’t have to get everything right, succeed at everything I tried to do, go through life without making any mistakes. That it didn’t matter if I messed up sometimes.
Those who know me will tell you how dippy I am. I’m always getting lost, I forget people’s names and on one memorable occasion I was teaching a class at university for ten minutes before I realised I was in the wrong room! If any of you have read my blog posts such as the one about The Giraffe-Cow you’ll know all about my D’oh Moments (I took the baby giraffe on a school visit with me, thinking it was a cow).
I used to fret a lot about stuff like this, I’d like to be cool and sophisticated not scatty, I wish I could dance in step and sing in tune but I can’t and that’s it. I’m sure most people feel like this, that they’d like to be smarter, more confident, whatever. But you know what, it doesn’t really matter. No one is perfect.
It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, mess up or say things wrong. We’re all human and we’re all different. What matters is that you try. And keep trying. Never be scared of trying something new in case you fail, never be scared to sing because you can’t sing in tune, to laugh because you think you laugh too loud, to dance in the rain in case anyone thinks you are stupid. Just live your life, be yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. That’s what I wish someone had told me when I was young.
You don’t have to be perfect you just have to do your best. To remind me of this I’ve made a You Don’t Have To Be Perfect pinboard, click on the link to see it.
A warm welcome to Nicole Zoltak, Guest Author on my blog today, who is going to tell us all about her new release, Starving For Love.
Sirena never thought a trip to the surface would change her life forever until she meets Kristian. The sea might hold her body, but Kristian now holds her heart. Their love can never be, however, for she is a mermaid and he a human.
Rushing to steal some time with him, Sirena swims as if sharks are after her only to find Kristian's lifeless body in the sea. Heartbroken, she turns to a sea dragon witch. With the promise to bring Kristian back to life at the mere cost of Sirena's memories of him, the sea witch works her magic. Only, Sirena isn't specific enough with her request, and her love returns as a zombie who threatens the mortal world.
Longing to fill the emptiness inside, Sirena swims to the surface and discovers a distraught child crying about a monster eating his family. Appalled at the notion, she promises to slay the monster, not knowing she is seeking to destroy the man she loves.
My mom used to sit my sister and I down with paper and pencils and tell us to write. *gasp*. We both grew up wanting to be writers! :) I wrote on and off for years but didn't get truly serious until college. Once I quit my job when I was 8 months pregnant with my first son, I've been working at home as a mom and writer ever since!
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I love to exercise, especially lift weights. Might be silly to look at me at 4' 11" ¾ doing squats with 45 lb dumbbells, but I love it!
What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
Read, read, read, write, write, write, repeat.
A brief Author bio.
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead.
I'm delighted to welcome fellow Astraea author, Deborah Kreiser, to my blog today. Deborah's latest book, Three Wishes, is out now.
Fab title, Deborah, can you tell us a bit about the book?
Tall and lanky, Genie Lowry is only noticed at academic awards assemblies—until the day she turns 17 1/2, when her body changes from Kate-Hudson-flat to Katy-Perry-curvy—and she finds out she’s a real, live genie. Suddenly, every guy at school is paying attention to her, including Pete Dillon, her never-in-a-million-years crush.
But to gain her full powers and keep her new body, Genie has to find a master, and she’s not sure if Pete’s Master (or Mr.) Right. With help from her dead mother’s interactive diary and an imposing mentor with questionable motives, Genie uncovers the family history and genie rules she never knew. She grapples with her new powers and searches for the perfect master as she tries to make her own wishes come true.
Like every writer, I got “started” as a kid, but it didn’t really occur to me that I could write a book until a few years ago. I had just finished reading a bunch of books that I LOVED, and was really sad when I was done with them. In fact, I got kind of mad—tired of saying goodbye to characters I was so invested in. So I decided to write a book so I could finish with the characters when *I* was ready.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I just this week started working as an elementary librarian! For years I’ve been obsessed with books, and have worked as an educator. This job is the perfect combination of both for me.
What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
My top tip is to follow other writers, agents, editors, and publishers on Twitter. Probably 99% of what I learned about the industry came either directly or indirectly from Twitter.
Today I'd like to tell you about, Bogota Blessings, a new book out by E.A.West.
When Kayla Shaw travels to Bogotá to help renovate a house for a mission to street children, nothing can prepare her for the ever-present mission employee Mateo Luis. He looks like he could be one of the rebels who have caused so much fear throughout Colombia. Then she begins to see him with her heart instead of only her eyes.
Mateo Luis Gómez Días has dedicated his life to the mission, and he's determined to help as many street children as he can. Unfortunately, he can't keep his thoughts off the beautiful American helping renovate the new children's home. Although he would love to have a relationship with Kayla, his past and the bad neighborhood God has called him to serve in prevent him from pursuing her.
Has God truly led Kayla and Mateo to each other, or does He have something else in mind for their lives?
Kayla’s gaze drifted to the door as an older woman hurried in with a piece of cardboard in her hand. The woman looked over and held up the sign with a questioning look—Shaw Restoration.
Relief washed over Kayla as she returned the woman’s smile and nodded. “Our ride’s here.”
She led the way over to the woman. “Hi, I’m Kayla Shaw, and this is Angie Martin and Paul Reed. We’re the group from Shaw Restoration.”
“I am Maria Santiago Uribe de Ramírez, wife of Pastor Carlos Ramírez Ochoa. Please forgive me for being late,” the woman said in heavily accented English. “The bus did not want to start, and Mateo Luis had to fix it before we could come.”
“I understand,” Kayla assured her.
“My husband sends his apologies for not being here, but he was called away by an emergency.” Maria lifted a hand toward the exit. “Come. Mateo is waiting to take us to the mission.”
As soon as Kayla saw the rusty, ancient bus with the mission name scrawled in faded blue paint across the side, she completely understood why Maria had been late. The vehicle looked as if it would take a miracle to get it to run, and Kayla made a mental note to contact the missions committee of the church she attended with her father. Perhaps they could raise enough to fix up the bus or possibly buy a newer one. The mission needed reliable transportation, and their current bus appeared to be far from it.
A swarthy-skinned man stepped out of the open door of the vehicle, and Kayla’s heart leapt into her throat. His dark, brooding eyes scanned the group, his stance wary as he took them in. A scar down the left side of his face made him look even more menacing than the heavy, dark stubble shadowing his face.
Maria stepped up beside him with a warm smile. “This is Mateo Luis. He works for the mission, so you will likely see him often. Mateo, this is Kayla, Angie, and Paul.”
Kayla struggled to find her voice, certain it was her responsibility as team leader to respond. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
He nodded, his gaze drifting over her. “If you will move to the back of the bus, we can load your luggage.”
As they followed him, Kayla noticed a slight limp in his walk. She felt a small twinge of guilt for judging him by his appearance alone. Since he worked for the mission, he was probably a very nice guy, even if he did look as scary as the rebels she’d seen in news reports. Perhaps his limp had been caused by the violence that had gripped Colombia for several decades. That could explain his wariness and the scar on his face as well.
Still, a little wariness of her own until she knew him better wouldn’t be amiss.
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
I can hardly believe that it's been a year since my romance novel, The Millionaire Plan, was published by Astraea Press.
Love or money, what would you marry for?
That's the decision Amber Wynter has to make when her parents are forced to sell the lovely Tudor house that has been the family home for generations. And it’s all thanks to Amber’s ex-fiancé Rod persuading them to invest in his dodgy shares. So armed with a ‘How to Hook a Millionaire’ Book and a ten point plan, she sets off to hook herself a rich husband. Then she meets the drop-dead gorgeous Jed Curtess. The attraction between them is sizzling but Jed is only a hired hand on one of the millionaire’s yachts. Can Amber ignore her heart and follow her plan?
Available in paperback or ebook.
Whoa! What was she thinking of, kissing Jed like that? She pulled away, fighting down the fire that was threatening to engulf her entire body, and looked over at the dog standing in the doorway.
“I think she’s trying to tell us to stop congratulating ourselves. She did all the hard work,” she said, hoping her voice sounded steadier than she felt. She didn’t dare catch Jed’s eye, dreading what she’d see there. He’d just given her a light kiss on the lips and she’d practically thrown herself at him! He already had a low enough opinion of her because she was planning on hooking a millionaire, now what must he think?
“So she did.” Jed’s voice was light, as if nothing had happened between them. Well it hadn’t, had it? It had only been a quick kiss, for goodness sake.
You call that a quick kiss?
She heard him get up but still didn’t trust herself to turn and face him.
“I’ll just go and write up my notes and check through the photos I’ve taken,” he told her. “I’ll be in Mike’s study if you need me.”
“Okay.” She nodded.
The next minute he was gone, leaving her to her thoughts.
Oh, nice one, Amber. Great timing to snog the guy like that when you’ve got to spend the whole evening together, not to mention tomorrow morning and the boat trip home.
Hang on, he kissed me.
Yes, but you didn’t have to kiss him back quite so enthusiastically, did you? She cringed as she remembered the way she’d ran her fingers through his hair, pulling his head closer to her. What had come over her?