Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Contest Time!

For those of you who do not know I've been talking about a contest off and on  for about a month now on the Age of Valor fanpage. (For those of you who really don't know, AoV is my fantasy series.) Well today is the day we finally get to the nitty gritty of it all. I've been wanting to do one for some time but couldn't think of a good prize until just two days ago. I think it's a fantastic prize in my very humble opinion. Hopefully everyone else does as well. So what is it, you ask? It's a painting. By me. Signed for you and shipped anywhere worldwide.

14x17 acrylic painting on stretched canvas, signed

I doubt I will paint this again simply because I never do the same thing twice when I create things so this is a one-of-a-kind piece that you could have, ready to hang without even a frame.

Here is how you can gain entries into the raffle for this painting:

1 entry for liking the fanpage on Facebook
1 entry for sharing the page
1 entry for liking and sharing this contest post on Facebook
1 entry if you've already bought/downloaded the book
1 entry for sharing this contest on other social media networks
5 entries if you've left a review on the Amazon page or leave a new one
10 entries for each new book purchase or download

Working on the honor system here, please leave a comment either here or on the Facebook page telling me which of these you have fulfilled so that I can give you proper entry numbers. 

The winner - to be chosen by a random generator - will be chosen three weeks from today. That gives you plenty of time to tick these things off and get the maximum number of 20 entries. Already bought the book? Buy it for someone else you know who likes fantasy! Once the winner is chosen I'll send you a private message via Facebook or we can exchange emails, and your lovely new painting will sent to you right away.

Good luck everyone!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Well That Didn't Work

It's funny to think about how different my life was just ten years ago, how different I was in general. I can count on one hand the number of people who knew the girl who sat in her apartment having a panic attack at the very idea of leaving that safety and security to even check the mail. And if I absolutely had to go somewhere I needed to be with a "safe" person and not out for too long or I would lose it.

...who was that girl?

When I tell people about how I used to be, even after sharing my story at Celebrate Recovery, I've had people express how hard it is to believe I was ever like that. My usual response is to kind of laugh it off because it was really another life ago, but the person I was then and the person I am now has been thrown into such contrast in the past two weeks that I really can't ignore it.

Anyone who has known me for more than a few months knows the part of my story where I sing the praises of One Voice. (Get it? Sing the praises? They sing praises? Well I never said I was funny.) God used them to save my life in a very literal sense. He used people within One Voice to shake me out of whatever stupor I was in. I was suddenly on stage singing, dancing, acting...and I loved it! I found confidence in myself on stage, and off stage I had people speaking into my life, coming alongside me in a way no one really had before. Fast forward a few years and I was led to CenterPoint where God place certain women in my life who would really kick the growing and stretching into high gear.

The girl who was literally afraid of her own shadow had become a woman who was actively pursuing a writing career, being her own publicity agent, eager to join classes at church and leading groups. What? Who is this strange woman?! I like her a lot better than that scared little girl I used to be.

An innocent comment made on something I posted on Facebook yesterday only deepend my self-reflection and took my thoughts a bit farther. Someone said "I'm so glad you're opening up and are able to visit all of these wonderful places!" and my initial thought as, "Well why wouldn't I?" Then I remembered she was one of those few friends who knew me during my dark days.

The truth of the matter is traveling used to be a secret dream of mine, something I always wanted to do but never actually saw myself doing. Of course there was Scotland, that was the ultimate dream. To be able to go and meet family I've never met, to explore, see the family castle and all cool would that be? But only figuratively because to go to Scotland would require leaving my apartment. But as I grew and came more out of my heavy and somehow still very fragile shell, that desire only grew with me.

I've begun saving for that trip to Scotland. Most days it feels like I am never going to get there because, right now, everything I've saved is going into publicity and things for the book. I'm hoping it produces good returns and I'll end up with more that what I started with. That desire to go is so strong some days that it feels like I'm missing a part of myself. How weird is that? I thought it might just be waderlust and a need to be elsewhere but I'm kind of thinking it's not.

Three weekends ago I went to North Carolina for a Celebrate Recovery one-day conference and I was so excited to be someplace new! Conference aside (which was amazing by the way) I was thrilled to be in a place I knew nothing about and knew no one besides the two women with me. But we didn't really have much time to explore. Then I just came back from a week in Florida which was also super exciting. Again, I knew no one except the people I was with. And it was on this trip that I realized something:

I want to go alone.

Both times I traveled I was with people I loved and people I love spending time with. All of them made my trips so enjoyable on so many different levels. But there is something to be said for going it alone. One of my very best friends suggested when I go to Scotland I should go alone and I agreed because she made good points, but it really clicked into place for me these past couple of weeks.

I want to be on my own time table with no one else to consider. If I want to go, I'll go. If I want to stay where I am and write, I'll write. If I want to go to bed early I will, and if I want to stay up all night doing nothing but looking at the sky, I will. I have several friends who have expressed interest in going with me and have all but said they'd be happy doing whatever I wanted to do because it would be my trip, but the thing is, no one could be happy doing everything I'm doing exactly when I want to do it except me. Because everyone is different. And because of who I am I will pick up on hesitance or desire to do something or be elsewhere and likely either give into it or feel guilty for not giving into it.

I want to go alone.

Not because I am anti-social, secluding, or being an extreme introvert. Because I want this adventure for myself. I want to be away from everything and everyone safe and familiar and see what happens. 

I'm going to make it happen somehow. Soon. Mostly because I want to but also because I know a lot of people doubt it will happen. And I like to prove people wrong. Pride issues. Maybe I should bring that up at my next CR meeting...

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