Updated: Oct 11
Welcome to our virtual café, where we'll chat about what I've been reading, writing, and doing over the past month. I invite you to have a seat, grab your inspirational beverage of choice, and join me in sharing a leisurely cup of caffeine for the soul.
What I'm Reading
It’s always a most pleasant surprise when you’re wandering through a bookstore. I could stop right there, because bookstores are my little slice of heaven, but I have more to offer. When you’re wandering through a bookstore and stumble across a book that seems to jump off the shelf at you. C’mon, you know it’s happened to you on at least one occasion.
It wasn’t this book that did that, but it was the first one I read by the same co-author duo. Upon completing Love and Other Words, I knew there would be other novels by this gifted pair of writers on my to-read list.
And this second foray into the world of Christina Lauren was as compelling and moving as my first experience. The mix of contemporary romantic elements alongside societal issues from the past and how they still impact our world today is brilliantly executed in a way that already makes me look forward to my next book by these two authors.
While there are most certainly elements of explicit language and physical intimacy that I usually don’t seek out in a book, the way they’re presented in this story feels organic and perfectly placed. If you’re looking for an emotional read with a healthy dose of reality, this is a great book to curl up with on a moonlit evening.
Read my complete review for Twice in a Blue Moon on Goodreads.
What I'm Writing
It seems to be a resounding pattern. Chaos reigns supreme. My superstitious self might have some ideas to offer for the title of my next novel. Perhaps Peaceful Serenity or something of the like, instead of Splendid Chaos. Alas, I digress.
Responsibilities have popped up in all facets of my life over the past month. And finding that elusive sliver of writing time has been challenging, to say the least. But there’s another word besides chaos that has worked itself into my equation: persistence.
Early morning writing sessions to begin the day. Late night word sprints from what’s becoming my favorite Starbucks in Titusville. Each available pocket of time has been used as efficiently as possible, as much for the progression of Maria & Drew’s story as it is for my own form of emotional therapy. Writing allows me to explore thoughts and opinions in a safe environment. And the way each of these characters continues to speak with me makes Pigeon Grove a place where I’d like to buy some property and build a small cottage.
The image above is a rough idea for what my mind’s vision is of Caldwell’s Coffee, Maria’s small shop in town where a lot of the story has been taking place.
Tipping just beyond the halfway point in the manuscript, I’ve recently passed the 60,000 word mark and can’t wait for the opportunity to share this next volume of the Pigeon Grove series with you.
Are there things you’d like to learn more about in this story? Character, dialogue, or scene snippets? Maybe more images of settings in the story? I’m more than happy to share some of my raw manuscript with you, my community members. Just drop me a line and let me know if and what you’d like to see more of, and I’ll work to include it as a part of our gathering next month.
What I'm Doing
It feels odd to have a post about posting, but that’s where my heart leads me in this edition. Since last fall, I’ve become both more and less active on Instagram.
Less so because I used to visit it daily. And if I’m being completely honest, while social media can be a wonderful experience, it can also be a stealer of time.
More so because I’ve emphasized quality over quantity. While I now only post twice a week, one of those posts provides a peek behind the curtain of yours truly. I explore moments that occur as a part of my daily life. They’re things where I discover something extraordinary in an otherwise ordinary experience.
It’s what I love to do. Write to connect with others. Whether it’s through a short story, novella, full-length novel, or a 2200 character Instagram post, finding that common ground with other people out there in the world is what makes writing such an endearing form of self-expression for me.
My most recent post dives into thoughts on authenticity and vulnerability. And here’s where I divulge my own authentic and vulnerable self. I write those posts for anyone out there who might enjoy reading them. But I also write them for my future self. We all need encouragement and support, and it can originate from an infinite number of places. I humbly hope this is one of those sources of inspiration when you receive your edition of Caffeine for the Soul each month.
I always welcome and invite a short (or long) email to share your thoughts about anything I’ve written as a part of our monthly gatherings. So, feel free to drop me a line and let me know what’s on your mind. I love to connect with others, no matter where and how our paths might cross.
Are we innately private as human beings, or do we long to openly share and connect with others? Does trust play a factor into how we feel about these two choices?
Whether we choose to share the details of our hidden world with others or not, just knowing each of us has other things that exist beneath the surface can be a powerful motivator for how we interact with one another.
Being aware that everything is not always as it seems—and treating each other with compassion— helps to melt that mass of ice, both for ourselves and the person we’re interacting with in the moment.
Until next month, stay inspired! And, as always, I welcome a short (or long) email to say hi or share your thoughts on this month's final sip...
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
~ Khalil Gibran ~