Picture Perfect Panel

 

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Myself with fellow women’s fiction authors, Christine Nolfi and Pamela Poole at Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina.

May 12th was the day I consider to be the first anniversary of my first book as published. May 13th, I added another first to my list in this author journey. I was part of a panel of women’s fiction panel at a wonderful bookstore, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina.

I have done book signings and book clubs, but this was the first opportunity I had to collaborate on an event with fellow authors. writing is a solitary pursuit and while I am very comfortable with that, it was refreshing to spend time with others who are traveling a similar path.

I particularly enjoyed the car ride up and back with my mentor and publisher and fellow author Christine Nolfi. Christine is well ahead of me on this path and she was kind enough to share her wealth of experience with me and encouraging words for my journey.

Every time I have done an event I realize that interacting with readers is one of my favorite things in an author’s life. I am sometimes surprised by that because before I got serious about my writing life I fantasized that I could hide out in a cabin by the sea and just send my books out into the world without me. I get a little nervous before an event but after, I am exhilarated and energized. I think I may be an extroverted introvert.

I love that all of us on the panel had a Charleston connection, two of us live here, one was born here and would love to live here again. I was also fascinated by how different each of our writing processes were. We had great questions from the host and the audience. The flow was natural and we shared laughter and a love of storytelling. Like our stories in women’s fiction, we embodied what makes the tribe of women strong. Women supporting women makes for a better journey for all.

Appropriate to ponder on this Mother’s Day. Enjoy the day y’all! Celebrate the women in your life, not just your mother. Most women, regardless of whether they have given birth nurture and uplift others, that I believe is the silent oath we take to be part of this tribe of women. I find southern women in particular, view this as a mandate and execute it with finesse, elevating it to an art.

Woman alone is strong and capable, women together are a force beyond reckoning. I love my fellow man, but I am thankful every day to be a woman.

 

 

 

Author is to Book as Mother is to Child

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The Eyes Have It:I had to see what my book looked like on my book shelf of keepers

I had the thrill this weekend of holding the print proof of my first novel The Eyes Have It in my hands for the first time. It was very timely with Mother’s Day weekend. I even had the audacity to place it on the bookcase shelf I reserve for my “keeper” books. Those are books that I loved so much I want to read again or that I have an emotional connection to. There are just some books you don’t want to pass on.

So I was thinking about how I am like the mother of this book. I conceived the characters and the plot. I incubated it and nurtured it to grow into a full-fledged story.  I struggled through it’s growing pains of editing and formatting. Now I am the proud mama watching as it leaves the nest and faces the big wide world, wanting so much for it to succeed and be loved.

Much like parents of human children, I did not do this alone. Instead of pediatricians, other parents, educators and the community. I had mentors, family, friends and a group of professionals to guide me and collaborate with. Much like a first time parent, I have high hopes I will be even better with the second one.

So on this Mother’s Day weekend 2016, I want to take a moment to just bask in the sunshine of this achievement. I am also thrilled my mother Mary has been with me every step of the way on this journey, her love has shaped me. I love you mama!

Mama Love

Mama and me 1968

Mama and me 1968

Mothers are a common denominator among all humankind.  After all, we all required one to come into existence.  However after birth the experiences we have with that person called Mother are widely varied and extremely personal.  I was blessed beyond measure, born to a mother who not only wanted me, she has continued to love me unconditionally just a few years shy of a half century.  I must admit, I probably have not always made that easy.  We certainly have had many topics on which we have not seen eye to eye, but we respect each other enough to accept our differences.  Another blessing is the fact she is here with me, three quarters of a century old and if our family history is any indication I fully expect at least a quarter of a century more. I know many have had quite different experiences, losing a mother too young, struggling with a complicated relationship, and some don’t even have the opportunity to know their mother.  I find writing mother characters fascinating.  The character of a mother is complex.  She has the role of mother and those relationships to explore, but she also is a person separate from the role of mother.  She has a past prior to motherhood, complete with aspirations that she may have put aside to take on the role of mother.  She may struggle with the balance of wife, friend, career woman, mother etc.  This makes for a character with ample opportunity for conflict, growth and complex interactions with a variety of other characters.  She can be the antagonist or protagonist. My mama, after reviewing my book Pearls of Wisdom, asked me if she was the mother, Miss Eleanor. I assured her that was not the case.  They may be both considered prim and proper ladies, but beyond that Miss Eleanor is a figment of fiction.  Miss Eleanor does not love unconditionally, at least not on the surface. She is not content to accept Addie for who she is. She constantly trying to mold her as she sees fit.  My mama has never tried to change me. She has always accepted me for who I am and for that I am forever grateful.  Thank you mama for giving me a life full of love.  Thank you for always cheering me on and always being a safe haven for me in life’s storms.  Happy Mother’s Day!