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
I mentioned in our last monthly visit that it wouldn’t be three months before I picked up another book by Lauren Denton. In reality, it wasn’t even three weeks. Lauren’s covers jump off the page at me. They pull me into the stories she crafts with exquisite charm.
But it’s the words, emotions, and immersive characters she creates that make me feel as if I’m coming home while reading them. She has quickly become a favorite author, and I will purchase each new book she writes, sight unseen, without a moment’s hesitation.
Read my complete review for Glory Road on Goodreads.
What I'm Writing
To be honest, what I’m writing this month are a bunch of emails. Of course, you probably already know that based upon the uptick in messages arriving inside your inbox. With the publication of Splendid Chaos just over a month away, I’m feverishly dotting every i and crossing every t, so as not to forget each of the tiniest details that go into self-publishing a book: uploading manuscripts, updating social media banners, revamping my author website, and preparing/distributing the finalized digital copies of Drew & Maria’s story for my ARC Team.
There’s nothing more I enjoy about the author process than connecting with readers through the emotional layers of a new story. Like the petals on the purple flower in the above image, there are so many layers and emotions tucked inside Drew & Maria’s story, and I can’t wait to share them all with you!
What I'm Doing
It’s been a crazy year. Yeah, I know, like I even needed to write that down, right? The uncertainty and departure from normalcy has been jarring at best, and more realistically, it’s been closer to downright uprooting. As a lifelong baseball fan (I played third base from when I was a seven-year-old until I graduated from high school), the game has always felt like a complementary blend of individual performance and team cooperation, sort of like life.
And even with the chaos of the past ten months, Major League Baseball has done their best to create some semblance of a season, in the safest way possible, even if it has been abbreviated. I couldn’t be happier, both because it provides a healthy distraction from all the other confusion happening around us, but also because my team, the Tampa Bay Rays, is in the World Series.
Even though they finished with the top record in the American League, they are underdogs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And even though they ended up losing to their National League counterpart in six games, it’s moments like those that occurred in Game 4 that make me love this team, and this game.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Rays were down by one with runners on first and second base. Down to their final strike, they called upon an improbable hometown native to achieve the impossible against a revered closing pitcher. And he did. His base hit to right field scored the runner on second base, tying the game.
But what happened next inside the same play, although falling into the cliché category, was truly unbelievable. To watch the potential winning run round third base as the throw from right field headed toward the catcher at home plate, it was sure to be a close play. Until…the baserunner tumbled, falling halfway between third base and home. But then the next unbelievable part occurred, as the catcher dropped the ball, giving the Rays runner a chance to right himself, slide toward home plate, and win the game.
It reminds me that anything is possible, regardless of the circumstances. And more importantly, no matter what the eventual result or destination might be, we can find unbridled joy and delight in each individual moment. That’s a baseball diamond in the rough.
This thought, offered by Mason Shaw in Between the Lines, encapsulates everything about this month’s virtual visit. Lauren Denton’s book, my writing and publication process, the unbridled joy of watching grown men rejoice like little kids on a baseball field.
How often do we keep things bottled up inside? Whether it’s because we hide it from others or ourselves, that pent-up emotion (no matter the type) begs for release, and when we allow our true selves to emerge? Magical, earth-shattering, and revolutionary things begin to occur.
I’ll share again what I did with this original post, because it embodies what Mason conveyed at this particular moment in Between the Lines: Whatever you pursue, do it with every ounce of courage and passion in your heart.
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...
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
~ e. e. cummings ~