September 2020

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

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 surfed through so much potential reading material before settling on my next book. I downloaded samples and read the first few pages of at least a half-dozen novels. None of them grabbed me. Each of them fell flat. I don’t blame the author or the stories themselves. Perhaps it’s just that each story is meant to reach you at a particular time.

Enter The Authenticity Project. That middle word is a cornerstone in my life, as both an author and human being. And the deep dive it provided me, through the eyes and emotions of fictional characters, was so very real.

Read my complete review for The Authenticity Project on Goodreads.

What I'm Writing

Midway through my third (and hopefully final) draft, I’m eager to pass Splendid Chaos to my professional editor and take one pivotal step closer to publication and the ability to share Drew & Maria’s story with you.

There are pros and cons to being a self-published author. One of those pros is that you have the ability to control everything: the story, the cover, the marketing, the blurb. And one of the cons? Well, it’s the exact same thing. There’s a lot to do. And one of those things, arguably one of the most important from a marketing standpoint, is crafting a compelling back cover blurb. It, along with the cover, are the two things a reader first sees when deciding whether they’d like to read a book.

So, to that end, here is what I’ve been writing over the past month. And so you have a bit of visual inspiration, I’ve included images for the actor and actress I envision as the leading characters in a screenplay version. Is this a story you'd like to read?

There’s a secret to success. Be ready for your opportunity when it arrives.

Drew Stratton has spent his adult life pursuing one thing: acceptance from his father. As an attorney at the family firm in Texas, every move Drew makes must pass the critical judgment of Lyle Stratton. When finally presented with a high-profile case to prove himself, fate intervenes.

A hurricane approaches the east coast. An unexpected phone call arrives from the mother who abandoned him as a child. It sends Drew’s well-planned life spiraling out of control.

He faces an impossible choice: Seize the opportunity to impress a tough-love father who has always been there for him? Or rescue a mother shrouded in secrets who disappeared when he needed her most? 

The secrets we keep often hide the most important part of ourselves.

Maria Caldwell runs Pigeon Grove’s coffee shop in north Georgia since her parents retired to Florida. Longing to explore her passion for flowers, Maria is drowning in espresso and self-doubt that has influenced every decision she’s made since high school.

When an out-of-town, hotshot attorney arrives at the most inopportune time, Maria sees him as another city dweller invading her hometown. Everything changes when she develops an unexpected connection with him, spoken through their mutual appreciation for the language of flowers.

Through her budding relationship with Drew, Maria discovers something she thought was lost long ago: trust in herself. All her wildest dreams could come true, if only she embraces vulnerability and the splendid chaos life has thrown her way.

We all have secrets. Who we trust with them might just set us free.

What I'm Doing

To say the last several months have been challenging would be an understatement. And every person around the world, no matter where you call home, could probably relate to the sentiments I share through that message.

Technology has often come up short in bridging that in-person gap that has widened during this difficult time. But it came through in a big way last week. My sister and I have been scheming for the better part of the past year: how could we make our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary something they’d never forget?

Well, as you might expect, our options were rather limited. Enter Zoom. Through an interconnected virtual party that spanned every corner of the country, we were able to celebrate and share stories that brought us closer together as a family.

In a twist of irony, we embraced the most modern advances of technology to travel back in time and reminisce about the wonderful 50 years leading up to the present day.

Time does indeed zoom by, and circumstances might not be ideal, but there’s always a way to connect with those most important to us. And even if it’s through the image on a laptop screen, the emotions and feelings shared are as real as ever.

Monthly Caffeine

My chosen reading material this month along with the Splendid Chaos blurb I shared has me thinking more about what it means to be real.

We’re each like a book. We have a cover, and we each have so many pages inside that make up the beautiful evolution of our story. It’s an overly used cliché, that beauty is found on the inside, but it feels like the analogy and parallel shared in this image rings true, in both the literary and personal world.

How many good stories are missed because we choose not to look beyond that which we see on the outside? We all have things we keep hidden. That’s human nature. But is it possible that those secrets we keep could hide the most important part of ourselves?

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...

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.

~ Mother Theresa ~

Best Wishes

Heartwarming Romance for the Soul By Dave

Pigeon Grove Series Fly Away Home Between the Lines

Splendid Chaos

Standalone Second Chance

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