Monday, December 31, 2012

My Big Time Author Crush: Jillian Dodd




Jillian...How do I even begin? Well, let me start in the Summer of 2012, when I picked up a little book called That Boy. I had just begun to outline the chapters for my own book and was in need of a mental hiatus. In walked Danny and Phillip, out walked the next eight hours of my life. I devoured the book, fell in love with the characters and promptly started to Facebook stalk their almighty creator, Jillian Dodd. Lucky for me, That Boy was followed up with That Wedding and the obsessive haze of my new book boyfriends could follow me on vacation in the Outer Banks. I vaguely remember being there with my family, but vividly recall howling with laughter on the beach and the many odd stares I got from my fellow beachgoers.

To say that I love these books would be like saying that chocolate covered pretzels were just "alright," and that a fine glass of cabernet sauvignon was just "meh." If you haven't read them, I woud suggest hot footing it over to my facebook page  where I am giving away five ecopies of any Jillian Dodd book you choose. Run! Scoot! Then come back here and let me finish pontificating the wonderment that is Jillian "Most High Goddess" Dodd.


I loved the books so much, I entered a contest to win some swag & won my very favorite t-shirt in the whole wide world! I don't even mind the sideways glances the girls get, because this 3D Ad means that someone else will experience the awesomeness that is Jillian's brilliant writing. That's right, boys and girls, have a closer look because this book is aces...as is the rack that is advertising it *smooch*


Fast forward to November of 2012 when a scared little girl pressed the "publish" button on Amazon and irrevocably changed the course of her life *cue the violins* We all know how this goes, because you have all read The Final Piece, right? Mmm hmm...the link's right there for you. Anyway, Jillian came along and invited me to be a part of a holiday promotion she was putting together: 99 Authors, 99 Books for 99 Cents. Of course I jumped at the chance and was grateful to just ride the coat tails of the amazing authors she put together. I never expected to be picked up by Amazon as a Kindle Daily Deal, I never expected to make the Top 100 overall in the Kindle Store and I certainly NEVER expected to make the Top 50 overall. I couldn't have done it without Jillian. She changed my life. 

So, all of the wonderful authors that participated in the 99 promotion decided that there should be an official Thank You Jillian Dodd day. You'll see her name a lot today, you'll read about how she has meant the world to more than just me and you'll see for yourself why she is revered by her peers and loved by her readers. If ever there was someone deserving of such praise, it is most definitely the lovely, talented, and generous Jillian Dodd.

Cheers to you, Jillian! Thank you for being an inspiration to us all and for believing in me. 





Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Final Piece Giveaway

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday surrounded by the love of family and friends. I have been mulling over the best way to say thank you to all of the people who've supported me and written to me about The Final Piece. I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway, so with out further adieu. Ta da! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Pieces of the Puzzle

I have had the pleasure of receiving quite a few emails from readers with wonderful questions for Beth and Ryan. After much deliberation, they graciously agreed to go over them with me! Without further adieu, here are the answers.





**SPOILER ALERT**

Me: Ryan, what was it like to see Beth again after 10 years?

Ryan: It blew my mind. When I called Melissa to tell her that I wanted to meet Beth's flight, I was in a fog. I don't remember getting to the airport, I just remember standing there, watching her move through the crowd exiting the concourse. She took my breath away. I froze, and before I could move, she blew by me and ran down the escalator to baggage claim. By the time, I got my ass in gear, she was already walking outside. She looked beautiful and broken. I will never forget it. It's a heartbreaking memory, but it's also one of the best days of my life.

Beth: One of the best? You're a hard sell, Cantwell.

Ryan: Best day of my life is when you said you'd marry me. *takes Beth's hand and brushes his lips across her knuckles*

Me: Beth, a reader sent in a question about Drew, is it okay if I ask about him?

Beth: *Ryan's back straightens as he places a protective arm around Beth* Can I hear the question first?

Me: Of course *Beth leans into Ryan and eyes me warily* The reader would like to know how you did it. How do you come out of something like that not hating the world?

Beth: *Beth lets out a heavy sigh before answering* You just have to. Life is too precious to waste and when Drew moved away, I never wanted him to have another second from my life; he'd already taken enough. My methods weren't always the best, but I was determined not to allow him to take anything else from me. Time or otherwise. It took a lot of hard work and many years of therapy, it's not something I that changed in a day. It was painful and terrifying and very necessary.

Ryan: Beth is the most determined person I have ever met, not because of Drew, but because that is her character. She amazes me, truly. *Ryan laces his hand through Beth's, giving it a reassuring squeeze*

Me: *I reach over and place a hand on Beth's knee* Beth, I know that can't be easy for you and I appreciate your willingness to be open about it.

Beth: You're welcome, Maggi. I get the feeling you understand pretty well.

Me: Okay, next reader wants to know what Beth's voice sounds like, Ryan? Does she sing for you?

Ryan: I love it when Beth sings *the corner of his mouth lifts in his lopsided smile* She's got a set of pipes on her that are pure sex. *Beth blushes and swats Ryan*

Beth: Ryan!

Ryan: It's true! Its smooth, a little breathy here, a little raspy there. When she sings These Foolish Things when she thinks I'm not listening...WOW. It's so sexy.

Beth: I can't believe you spy on me.

Ryan: I love it when you get flustered.

Beth: I'll show you flustered.

Me: Well, guys, thank you for sitting down with me. I know the readers will appreciate the insight, I know I did. Be good to each other.

Beth: Thank you, Maggi. Always a pleasure to chat with you. We will.

Ryan: Thanks, Mags. You can count on it.




Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Alive! It's Alive!!





I know that I have been woefully remiss in keeping up with the blog. My saving grace is that it was a casualty of finishing The Final Piece. That's right, The Final Piece was released on November 13, 2013 to rave reviews. I'm so excited! If you haven't had the chance to read it, here is the link.

I am currently working on interview questions for Beth and Ryan, so please feel free to post any you may want answered! The only stipulation is that you please leave a short review on Amazon. The number of reviews I get helps give The Final Piece credibility, and also affects the way Amazon markets my book. It really is the best thing you can do to help any author!

I'm looking forward to clearing out the cobwebs and adding some fun stuff, so stay tuned for contests and chances to win a signed copy.

Love,
Magnolia




Friday, September 7, 2012

The Blurb!

copyright Google Images
The blurb, the little synapsis that hooks a reader and gets them interested in reading your book. There should be a horror film called "The Blurb" where the writer screams maniacally at a computer screen with a blinking cursor, while ripping their hair out in chunks. I am really not trying to be over dramatic but the blurb was harder to write than most of the book!

It is really difficult for a verbose gal, like myself, to be succinct about a few hundred pages of blood, sweat and tears. I am guessing here but I imagine it took me as long to write the blurb as it did the last 2 chapters I wrote.

*Raises fist in triumph* It is done!! I have completed a draft that I think will suffice.

Here is where I need you. Take a moment, read it and leave me a comment letting me know what you thought. Did it hook you? Did it bomb? Here is your chance to give me a piece of your mind!


Elizabeth Bradshaw has spent her life picking up the the pieces of her delicate past and hiding them; never to be seen or heard. Her secrecy has worked until the day Beth receives word that her only confidant, Tommy, has been killed. Devastated, she leaves her new life behind to embark on a pilgrimage home for Tommy’s funeral.

When faced, yet again, with more pieces to pick up and pack away, Beth begins to question the choice to keep everyone in life at arm’s length. 

As Beth reconnects with Ryan, Tommy’s nephew, she begins a journey that will unearth her secrecy and teach her grace, love and forgiveness.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homesick



This Labor Day Weekend, I am celebrating the hard labor I've put into my book. It is surreal and exciting to announce that I am 2/3 completed, I have 55k words typed. Excuse me while I celebrate myself for a moment *~*Happy Dance*~* I didn't think I would make it past a single page; a chapter written was my first goal. Coming soon to an e-reader near you: The Final Piece by Maggi Myers.

This weekend I have been writing about Beth's journey home. It's got me thinking about what home has come to mean to me over the years. My home, my roots, my heart will forever be on the porch swing on sixth street. That is where my grandparents live and it where my pilgrimage leads me when I yearn for "home."I am blessed to have a big obnoxious family who love me more than I deserve at times. I am completely and madly in love with them and all their craziness, in turn. No matter where I am, no matter what I am going through, I know that my room waits for me on the second floor. The alley looks exactly the same framed by the windows I have daydreamed out of since I was a little girl.

If I were to draw a parallel between Beth and myself, "home" is where we are most alike. Sharing that piece of myself has been an intimate and tender trip down memory lane. Beth gets my passion and allows me to write it into her life. When you read about her journey, you will understand how much that means to me. It makes me miss sixth street.

Now that I am a grown woman, my home consists of my husband and my sons. We have navigated our way through 5 states in 10 years. We were never in one place long so wherever we were together was "home."My favorite place in the world.

My husband of 14 years is leaving to spend a year working in Germany. Tomorrow evening he will leave our home behind to embark on a new chapter of his career. I have never been separated from him longer than 6 months since I was 19 years old. For the first time, home will feel empty.

I hope he gets homesick; we will be homesick for him everyday. He knows that wherever he goes, no matter where we are "home" will be waiting.






Tuesday, August 14, 2012

To Query or Not to Query

I am a writer. I am an author. I have to pinch myself daily because I still can't believe that I am at a place where I am living my life long dream. Well, one of my life long dreams. My other lifelong dream of being a famous rock star will have to wait until after the book is published. HA! It's a good thing I have a vivid imagination, because they rock star daydreams are as close as I'm going to get.

Speaking of getting published, this brings me to my question of the day. To query or not to query? I want to know! Should I pursue the publishing houses or let them come knocking on my door after I publish on my own? I am inspired by some really great writers who self-published and were later picked up by agents. Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover, Tracey Garvis-Graves and Jessica Park have all made the NYT Bestsellers list without a publishing house. Do I subject myself to a firing squad of agents who may or may not like my manuscript or do I take a chance and let the actual readers decide whether or not it is worth the read?

Writing is like cutting open the deepest parts of yourself and letting it bleed all over the pages. My heart and soul are exposed on each page of my manuscript. The thought of having it hacked to pieces while being queried is terrifying but the thought of no one ever getting to read it is unacceptable.

If you had the choice what would you do?


Monday, August 6, 2012

Optimism?

copyright Google Images
Sometimes that word just pisses me off. Yes, I meant it as a question and not a statement or fact. Lately, I have had the persistent urge to shoot life the proverbial middle finger. Screw me? Screw you.

Life keeps piling up in these huge overwhelming heaps of dung and every time I get close to falling over the edge, some one pulls me back. I can't stay bitter. Dammit.

Writing was almost impossible this last week. My son spent much of the week in the hospital for a seizure study so my time was dedicated to him, alone. When he was released, I finally sat down to spend time with Beth, Tommy and Ryan. I felt disconnected, rusty and very frustrated so I logged onto Facebook to pick the brains of some awesomely gifted writers I know. I was seriously considering throwing in the towel, that is how close to the edge I was. They didn't coddle me or sugar coat any of their opinions. They pretty much told me to get over myself and get back to work. Then they provided me with the most remarkable feedback and I was able to rework my chapter into something I could never have done without them. Thank you, my darling BAAC friends, for saving Beth from the waste bin.

Today I found out that my husband will be working on a project in Germany for the next year. I found this out about an hour after I formally declared my intent to homeschool our son this school year. At this point cliff diving was sounding pretty darn good. There they were again! These people, crazy people I might add, who let me know that I was loved, supported and appreciated. Damn. Damn. Damn!

Can't a girl just wallow for a bit? Nope. Whenever I felt myself settle in for a good ole fashioned pity party, my phone would ring or my computer would chime with notifications, all from people who just wanted me to know that they were there. How blessed am I ? Beyond measure.

Randall, MP, M3, Fred, Jennifer, MKP, Fear, Brownie, Happy, Nina, Ivory Tower, Cyn, Pauly, Jules and my crazy family: Thanks for keeping a girl from falling apart. I love you, dearly.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Miami, Twenty Years Later.

We are Panthers proud and true. Senior Class of '92. 


I am having a really hard time reconciling the fact that it has been twenty years since I left Miami. This past weekend I went back to my old neighborhood for the first time since I left in 1992. The ghosts are still there, lurking around every remodeled corner. Sometimes the wounds are so deep and vast, nothing can erase them. Not time, not patience, not grace.

My classmates also made the pilgrimage back to the 'hood, all of us from different parts of the country to wax nostalgic about Palmetto High School. I have to say, I am so impressed with them! They are the most charming and genuine people I had the pleasure of spending time with. Far removed from the drama that befalls all high schools, these folks epitomized class and kindness (save a sad few who just never grew up).

The one thing I keep perseverating on is the blanket statement most people make in these situations "You haven't changed at all!" While I understand it is typically directed from a physical standpoint, it still makes me wonder. I had several gracious classmates tell me I haven't changed since high school. I am not above vanity, thank you for the compliments! To my own credit, they know far more about me by reading this blog than they might have known about me in high school. I say that's growth, the willingness to open up and be candid about life. Good and bad. I am different and so are they.

In honor of who I was and who I am now, here is my inspiration for the 1500 words I wrote today (a personal best). I'm Not Who I Was by Brandon Heath.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A First Look



The last time I posted I told you the story of my friend and how the character Tommy is based loosely on him. I have been tweaking a scene that has been heavy on my mind since that last post and thought it would be the perfect sneak peek to debut. Here is the scene from Ryan's POV:

copyright Google Images



A breeze kicks up and blows gently against the hem of her sundress, kissing her ivory thighs. Pervert. Irritated, I shake my head and I force my feet to move when those lovely legs of hers buckle beneath her weight. She lifts her face towards the sky and I can see that she’s crying, no, mourning. Her feral moan carries over the breeze and my heart breaks into a million pieces. Her grief is palpable; mixed with my own, it is suffocating. I am desperate to go to her, to wrap her in my arms and comfort her but there is no comfort in this loss and I am not who she wants. She runs her hand over the cold marble stone, tracing his name over and over. “Tommy” is the only thing she says between the sobs that tear my heart open wider with each shudder of her body. Watching her pain damn near kills me, still, I turn leaving her to grieve in private. If there is one thing I know with certainty about Beth it is that she is private to a fault and would not welcome anyone’s tea and sympathy, least of all mine. No matter how much I wish I could walk away, I cannot bear to leave her alone so I sit on the bench beneath the willow tree and wait. Maybe there will be a moment that she turns around or that I can reveal myself without her shutting down on me. Stubborn woman! Pinching the bridge of my nose and clenching my eyes closed I am assaulted by memories of the time spent on the lake with Tommy and Beth. All I ever wanted was for her to smile at me like she did Tommy that summer. The smile she gave him was a brilliant star shining against a dark sky. For the rest of us, her smile was fake and practiced. Never touching her eyes or giving anything away; it never brightened her face like Tommy’s smile did.  She is so beautiful when she really smiles... Knock it off Cantwell! My frustration is interrupted as she reaches into her purse and pulls out an envelope. Captivated, I watch as she lays her bag flat against the ground, shifts onto her back and lays prone across the spans of Tommy’s grave. Resting her head on her purse she pulls a letter from the envelope. I silently curse myself for moving because I am too far away from her now to hear her reading to my dead uncle. She is there for a long time, having to take long pauses in her reading to quiet her sobbing and continue. When she reaches the end, she folds it up, places it back into the envelope and leans it up against Tommy’s headstone. Instead of standing, she turns onto her side and curls up in the fetal position, her shoulders still shuddering with her heartbreak. After a while her body stills and for a moment I think she may have fallen asleep. I stand to go check on her at the same time she sits up and starts brushing grass off of her dress. I slink back down onto my bench still unwilling to give myself away. I am a voyeur, nothing more than a peeping tom watching her struggle commune with the man we both loved and adored. She stands, brushing the remaining dirt and grass from her dress and I am struck at just how beautiful she is. She is hesitant to leave; taking her time caressing the rough edges of the head stone.  With one final gesture, she brings her hand to her mouth, kissing her long delicate fingers and then places them back on the top of the stone. She doesn’t look my way as she walks back to where the rental car is parked and I stay seated on my bench until her taillights are no longer visible. Every cell in my body is screaming at me to turn and go but I find myself walking toward Tommy’s spot on the top of the hill and to the letter she left for him. 
                                ....until next time! Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reverie





Today was one of those days that everything I wrote ended up in the trash. I wouldn't call it a "block" but I definitely felt stuck on something. In this case, it was a character named Tommy who precariously teeters on the edge of fiction and reality. Tommy wanted my undivided attention today, reminding me of his importance in the book and in my own life.


Tommy's character is based on a friend of mine who I lost 8 years ago. He was present in my life at a time when I was very lost and very angry. Without hesitation, he looked at me and said "I believe in you" when no one else in my life would. That moment changed me indefinitely and forever bonded me to a wonderful man and mentor. In the winter of 2004, shortly after my second son was born, my friend died in a terrible accident. The birth of my second child was complicated and my recovery was long and difficult. I wasn't able to make the trip home for his funeral and it haunts me to this day. 


When Spring arrived, I left my boys with my husband and made the pilgrimage back home. Having that time away allowed me to grieve for my loss and to spend some much needed time visiting his grave. I spent a lot of time there writing to him and eventually I left what I wrote for him at the foot of his grave. The process of saying goodbye to my friend began a stream of daydreams about what it would be like if someone picked up my letters and read them. Would it be a stranger? Would it be someone I know? Would they try to find me? That is where the idea for my book took shape.


I know my friend is smiling down at me, ever encouraging to stick my neck out there. Sometimes I wonder if those daydreamy questions weren't his suggestions floating down from heaven. I am certain I wouldn't be where I am if my friend hadn't taken the time to listen to an angry kid. For whatever reason, it mattered to him to know who I was outside of my attitude. When days like today are full of the persistent write-delete, I think of my friend and his faith in me. I think I know I can make him proud. 


Never a day, B. Not one. Ever.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Curtesy

                                                                                           copyright Google images


Invitation 


If you are a dreamer come in

If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar

A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer

If you're a pretender com sit by my fire

For we have some flax golden tales to spin

Come in! Come in!

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein





*courtesy*

I can't help but feel a little giddy at the moment. It's surreal to think that when I am through typing this first post, I will be one step closer to the goal. I am excited your here! Thanks for following and I look forward to your comments.

Yours,
Magnolia