UNCLAIMED Blog Tour

Jane EyerFinal-FJM_Low_Res_500x750Thank you, everyone, who participated in any way with yesterday’s launch.  From the reviews that kept popping up, to seeing Unclaimed‘s cover all over the Open Book linkup, to the Unclaimed Release Party on Facebook, to having my husband check in during the party to say that Unclaimed had broken the top 100 in the same category as The Hunger Games, to waking up towards the comfortable middle of that same category today… it was a really, really nice launch day.

Oh, all that while also visiting our favorite librarian, getting some summer phonics in for Second Shift, oven canning dried blueberries, and in spite of it all, NOT EATING TAKEOUT OF ANY KIND!

Hold on.  I think this is turning into a Small Success Thursday post…

Small-Success-dark-blue-outline-800x8001-400x400@2x

That’s where you link up with CatholicMom.com and share about all the little things that went right this week (or, in my case, month or day or whatever).

Anyway, over the next week-ish, a number of kind bloggers will be talking about Unclaimed on their blogs while I get to prepping Nameless (Book 2) for your reading angst pleasure.

Later today, July 7, Tanya Weitzel will be posting a review on CatholicMom.com

Tomorrow, July 8, I’ll be over at Theresa Linden‘s.

July 9: Ellen Gable

July 10: Marianne Sciucco

July 11: Barb S. aka Franciscan Mom

July 12: Sarah Reinhard, aka Snoring Scholar

July 13: Sherrie’s Scriptorium

July 14: Carolyn Astfalk

July 15: Amy M. Bennett

July 16: Laura at Suburban Sainthood

Please visit those bloggers and give them some love, aka comments & shares!

Also, there still are party favors available until midnight (EDT) July 9 over at the Unclaimed Release Party on Facebook. Comment on the party favor threads that interest you, or just join in the discussion!

UNCLAIMED FB Party Cover

By the way, so much to love about a virtual book release party:

  • can last beyond the official end time without draining the introvert’s energy
  • great discussion
  • budget-friendly for the author who doesn’t have a ton of cash to drop on venue fees and actual snacks
  • higher likelihood of international guests attending
  • can be attended in underpants
  • or not–nobody has to know either way

Would a blog post on how I put together this particular launch party be helpful to anyone? I hesitate to ask, because I’m afraid it’s fishing for attention.  On reflection, though, if I know nobody’s interested beyond myself, I’ll just keep my notes in a file and not have to spend time tidying them up, giving them pretty pictures, actually remembering to write the bloody auto-Tweet, and so and so.

Small Success Thursday: The Befores and Afters Edition

Small-Success-dark-blue-outline-800x8001-400x400@2xIt’s Small Success Thursday over at CatholicMom.com, where we celebrate the things that went right this week.

Like I said earlier, we’re in house moving mode, so this will be quick and picture-laden.  I had (and still have) a ton of deep-cleaning to do before we list (probably, hopefully on Saturday).  The beautiful ceramic and glass tile backslpash my husband put in our kitchen was covered in missed grout, not to mention accumulated grime.

Utility blade + Kaboom + polar fleece scraps + elbow grease =

IMG_5417

Our fiberglass tub gets cleaned regularly, but not even washing soda and a cloth could eradicate the stains on the bottom of the tub: dull their edges, yes, but not eliminate them.  BEHOLD!

Low-odor oven cleaner + Magic Eraser + elbow grease = IMG_5415

20140801-070421.jpgLast but not least, I lost my beloved Ray Bans a few weeks ago.  My old frames were so pretty and comfortable and edgy and quirky and conservative all at once.  I loved them.

The only spare pair I have featured in the picture you see on this blog post.  Those are the glasses I wore when I was pregnant.  THE FIRST TIME.  IN 2003.  The pair before pregnancy shifted my astigmatism.  The pair before this nearsighted beauty needed to start taking her glasses off to read.  Can you say, “Welcome to migraine territory?”  They were enough to keep me street legal, though, so I adjusted and endured the tiny turn-of-the-millennium frames on my giant Celtic head for several weeks.

So, first I finally made it to the eye doctor, which was a success in and of itself.  I’m not afraid of the eye doctor, per se.  It’s more like an annoyance with the process that is so deep it runs to anger.  First, I get migraines from the dilation drops (the overabundance of light and eye strain that follow, rather).  Second, I have very sensitive eyes with a blink reflex so fierce that, the one and only time I tried to be fitted for contact lenses, the optician’s assistant endured my attempts for an hour and a half before she finally said, “If you give up and leave now, I won’t charge you.” All this means that I’ve never been able to have a complete adult eye exam.  That ring of blue light they have to put right on your eye?  No eye doctor actually got the thing close enough before my eye would snap shut on it.

I knew I was due for dilation, and I didn’t want to deal with the Blue Ring of Failure.   And then, THIS GUY!  I don’t know how he did it, but he said my pupils were naturally big enough that he’d try getting away without the dilation–AND HE DID!  And then he was able to get both eyes with the blue ring!  I don’t know how.  I did offer to be hooked up to one of those Clockwork Orange things:

Not my image.  Duh.

Not my image. Duh.

Alas, he was fresh out, but it didn’t matter!  He succeeded where countless others have failed.  And then, to ice the optical cake, they had my exact same pair of Ray Bans but in a more lightweight material that, I think, works better with my skin tones.  IMG_5420

Maybe next week’s Small Success will be finding time to wax my eybrows and do roots and makeup.

God is good.  All the time.  Sometimes He even makes it obvious.  What went right for you this week?  Link it up or comment it over at CatholicMom.com!  

Small Success Thursday: The Lent’s Not So Bad Edition

 

Small-Success-Thursday-550x330

Celebrate the good things in life with CatholicMom.com!

-1-

Oldest Dumpling and I decluttered and reorganized the junk drawer.

JunkDrawer

-2-

We’re going camping!  With the brutal weather we’ve been having, and with how far along we are in schooling as a result, we skipped formal lessons yesterday and started planning our spring camping trip. This will be our third year doing a girls-only road trip, and each year we get a little more ambitious.  The first year, we did a little study of the Appalachian Trail and stayed one night at the Harper’s Ferry Youth Hostel.  Last year we did two nights at a rustic cabin with our rat terrier, whom we discovered is so territory-attached that he makes a very poor camp dog indeed.

20130809-072314.jpg

This year we are working up an itinerary to do a tour of the first Catholic settlement areas in our state.  We are using The Catholic Community of Pennsylvania: Past and Present as our guide.  Having this trip to look forward to seems to have brightened our spirits around here.   I aim to include at least one girls-only roughing-it (as much as we can) trip each year to help our daughters build the kind of resilience and resourcefulness Mary and Elizabeth, the First Disciples, had.

-3-

I’ve not been an utter failure at Lent, because temptation is stupid.  

SUBTITLE

Apple image courtesy of WikiCommons/Abhijit Tembhekar.

The first good choice I made was to set tough but not ridiculous goals that gradually increase in difficulty throughout the weeks.  But the biggest help I’ve gotten from the Holy Spirit was the realization that I actually do have willpower and the desire to do God’s will.  See, I’d convinced myself that I never resist temptation, so no wonder I’m such a failure at growing in virtue–especially in outgrowing certain vices.  Then, one day in the checkout lane at the grocery store, I had the temptation to slip a candy bar into my purse.

Are you kidding me? I thought.  That’s a stupid idea.  A grown woman with kids, shoplifting?  That’s ridiculous.

I turned my back on the candy display, paid my bill, and went home, not giving that temptation a second thought.  On the way home, however, I gave my post-temptation thoughts some of my time.  I realized it was no trouble at all to resist the temptation to shoplift, because, come on, That’s a stupid idea.  The temptation fled because my next thought was an exact reason why that particular temptation was so stupid.

What if I told all my temptations that they’re stupid ideas?  The more I thought about it, the more I noticed that agreeing with temptation is the very path away from virtue and towards sin.  After all, take a look at Eve in Eden.  In Genesis 3: 6, we see, “The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom.”  Sounds great, right?  By golly, that temptation sure has some good ideas!

Once I think a sin is a really good idea, I’m likely to do it.  This might be why I have no trouble, say, resisting the urge to scream at strangers who annoy me, but keeping my temper with my kids who do need my correction (“Yelling like this is a good idea, because correcting them is my job, and yelling will make me feel better, and feeling better makes me a better parent, right? Right? Right?“) is so much harder than leaving the Hershey bar behind at the checkout.

So this Lent I’ve been aiming to tell my temptations that they’re stupid.  It’s a little bit of Method Acting, really, using emotional memory to recall times when my character did the right thing and applying that memory to the present challenge.  It’s helping, I think.  Don’t get me wrong:  I still fail a great deal, especially at my favorite sins.  The biggest hurdle is the first one: to realize that my brain is saying stupid things.  However, since I’ve started this Method Resisting, let’s call it, instead of seeing my path to virtue as this long, grueling, Ignatian marathon that I could never possibly finish, each battle just looks like just that–a battle, and one with the grace of God I might actually win.

I hesitated there.  I didn’t want to type anything about me winning anything.  On the one hand, yeah, I really want to be humble.  When you wear your addiction on your body like I do, it’s a bit easier to keep the pride down.  But on the other hand, whenever one of us chooses Christ over ourselves, we become more integrated into His Body.  That’s win-win. There’s gotta be something good about claiming that.

-4-

I almost forgot!  I’ll be giving a talk this Saturday to the he Central Jersey Chapter of The Catholic Writer’s Guild.  This talk will be held on Saturday, March 7th at 10 am at the parish center of St. Aloysius parish, on Bennett’s Mill Rd. in Jackson NJ. I’ll be speaking about -“A Fiction Ministry:  Using Stories in the New Evangelization”

you-are-what-you-read

No registration is required and all are welcome. For information contact Karen Kelly Boyce at 732-928-7981.  Thanks for hosting me, Karen!

Small Success Thursday

Small Success Thursday

Join up with a whole bunch of (surprise!) Catholic Moms as we celebrate the little things on Small Success Thursday.

Did you see my 7 Quick Takes from last week? It was about the seven things I wanted to get done now that the bulk of the writing for the Don’t You Forget About Me blog tour is done.

1.  Here’s the success of the decluttering efforts.

20131121-064301.jpg

See what’s on my coffee table?  Nothing but a decorative pumpkin waiting to be roasted for pies & soups.  And what’s on my kitchen table?

20131121-064309.jpg

That’s right.  N O T H I N G.

20131121-064315.jpg

And only the barest of essentials on the bathroom counter.  The sink isn’t even encrusted with anything.  Impressed?  You should be.

2.  I’m coming to terms with the boot.  My foot still hurts the rare times I’m not wearing the boot, but it’s no longer the kind of hurt that makes me say, “Funny, I don’t remember sticking a hot curling iron under my sock this morning.”

3.  The Don’t You Forget About Me Kindle freebie days have been successful beyond my wildest dreams so far.  Today is the last day, so please, help yourself–but quickly!

20130713-095421.jpg

For those of you who’ve read DYFAM and were wondering “how much of it was autobiographical,” Laura at Green4God can relate!  She has been kind enough to interview me on her blog, and that’s one of the Qs.  To see my A (that would be A for “answer,” not some other A), check out Laura’s blog.