Monthly archives "February 2017"

GUEST POST: JENNA VICTORIA

Greetings!  It’s been a while since I’ve had a guest on the blog.  To be honest, this is one I promised a long time ago – sorry Jenna, life has been a little hectic!  However, now that things have settled down a little (yeah right, we just started the process of buildings a house), I thought I would make good on my word and get it out there.  Besides, it’s never too late for a little Christmas cheer!

So, on to the good stuff.  You may remember Jenna stopping by back in November to debut her Christmas novella, War of the Heart.  If you are like me, you enjoy Christmas themed stories all year long, especially when they mix in some of that good ol’ white stuff.  Unfortunately, Kentucky lacked in that white stuff this year.  In fact, it’s a nice seventy one degree’s here today.  Oddly, that makes me sad, so I thought I would dream of all things white while getting to know Jenna a little better.

Hello Jenna!!!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live on the eastern seaboard of the USA and enjoy watching Hallmark movies and listening to  Christmas music year-round. My first camping trip occurred when I was nine months old, so tent camping is one of my guilty pleasures, and sitting next to a roaring campfire is addictive.  I write Happily-Ever-After romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. I write what I enjoy reading…about a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she solves the case (with a little help)… and books that feature the sweetest of small-town, fairy-tale-ending love stories.

How long have you been writing or when did you know you wanted to write?

I devoured books at the rate of five a week from early childhood, and I decided back then I wanted to create similar magical worlds of wonder and happiness for readers to escape into.

Tell us about your latest book and the characters.

War of the Heart is both a stand-alone book and part of a six-novella Snow Globe Christmas Collection on Kindle.  When a vintage snow globe sends Boston dress designer Louise Martin & British B&B owner George Walker back in time to London, December 1940, they race against the clock to reconcile a feud between their families and solve a 75-year-old mystery. As Louise relies on God; and on George for guidance, friendship then love, will the future George envisions strangle her own dreams? Will their love survive generations of mistrust, the Blitz and being stranded in wartime 1940, possibly never to return to their former lives?

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book? 

I am enthralled with the social festivities and importance of the true meaning of Christmas, so being asked to write a Christmas-themed time-travel novella with a snow globe being the vehicle for going back in time was very fulfilling and fun for me.  I was able to select the time period and the method of how the snow globe was used in War of the Heart, and I colored a little bit outside the lines – both my heroine and hero go back in time together rather than one finding the other in the time jump.

Do you have a favorite place to write? 

My husband kindly bought me a 27-inch computer monitor once chemo-related vision issues surfaced, so I am happiest at home in my ergonomic chair, footstool and unlimited cups of Keurig coffee. Second favorite place is meeting some fellow Christian writer friends at a coffee house and brainstorming our plots.

Are you working on anything new?

I recently signed contracts for five novellas with Forget Me Not Romances for 2017. Titles are LOVE AMONG THE LILACS (June), GEMSTONE MOUNTAIN ROMANCE (June), WILDERNESS WEDDING, (July),  HER HIDDEN HEARTBREAK and THE HOUSEKEEPER’S HEART (both September). All contain elements of mystery, suspense and romance.

Give us one piece of advice or editing tip for aspiring writers.

Six simple words: Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard.

Give us a run-down of a day in the life of Author Jenna Victoria. 

As I am on disability and continuing to receive chemotherapy for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) I have many doctor office appointments, lab workups, diagnostic tests and physical therapy visits to work my life around. That keeps me pretty busy and on my toes! I do a few chores as able, rest when appropriate, and fit in social networking as time permits after brief stints of writing.

Favorites because I’m nosey 🙂 

Color: Deep blue

Book: The Bible

Food:  Pizza – plain cheese

eReader or print-  print

Hobby:  watching or re-watching any Marvel comics blockbuster movie (Thor, Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange etc.) or TV show (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)

Time of Day:  middle of night (peaceful, quiet, contemplative)

Hallmark movies, Keurig, middle of the night writing,  Jenna sounds like a woman after my own heart.  She’s also a busy and courageous woman to boot! Congratulations on the upcoming novellas.  Hopefully I can take some of that writerly advice and plant my butt in a chair soon. 

Now if your interest has been piqued like mine, you can follow Jenna along at all the places listed below and don’t forget to check out War of the Heart and keep an eye out for those upcoming novellas.

• Twitter @JennaVictori • Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/jennavictoriaauthor/ • Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/jennavwriter/ • Instagram  http://www.instagram.com/jenna_victoria_writer • Email  jenna@jennavictoria.com • Website http:// jennavictoria.com • Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jennavictoria

 

 Amazon

FINALLY LETTING GO

Whew…

I’m not sure where to even start.   Do I back up and tell you about the 20 years of friendship or begin where it fell apart?  I guess to understand where I’m coming from, you have to know the story.  I’m sorry, I’ll warn you now: THIS WILL ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, CERTAINLY be long.  As in really long with a lot of rambling, so if you’re not interested in settling down with a cup of tea or coffee for the long haul, I suggest you pop on over to another blog.

When I was in seventh grade, all the cool kids played sports and like most kids, I wanted to be cool, so I tried out for the volleyball team.  Somehow, although, I had never picked up a volleyball before then, I made not only the team, I made the highly distinguished, “A” team.   It was in volleyball that I met a girl named Casie.  I can’t say Casie and I hit it off immediately.  We weren’t all that much alike.  She was shy and kind of backwards.  She played sports, but always made the B-team.  That never seemed to matter to Casie, though,  because sports weren’t really her thing.  Casie’s real passion was band.  I’ll be honest, I never understood her obsession with it, I don’t play any instruments and I can’t carry a tune to save my life. Nonetheless, our differences didn’t stop us from striking up a friendship.  By eighth grade we were inseparable.  I mean, you never saw one without the other.  We took turns staying at each other’s house on weekends and every day after school she would come to my house to hang out. We told each other everything and our parents quickly became adopted parents to the other.  Highschool didn’t change things.  Neither did the fact that I continued playing sports while Casie continued with band.  Nothing kept us apart and while other friends came and went, she and I stood strong.  She was the glue to my paper.  The zing to my zap.  My person.  My best friend.

I know you’re thinking, I see where this is going.  We grew up, graduated and drifted apart like so many others do, but that’s not true.  In fact, we remained tight through college and became even closer when it came time to start having real adult relationships.  We met her future husband a few months after highschool graduation.  Coincidently, he introduced me to my husband, whom he had gone to basic training in the army with.  It seemed like a perfect match, two best friends, dating and eventually marrying two guys, both of whom were from Kentucky and in the army together.  Life was indeed good.  Even after I moved to Kentucky, Casie and I talked every day.  And, when we weren’t talking, we were texting or emailing or planning on when or how we could see each other.  It was one of those friendships we never questioned and one I thought would always last.

So what happened?  I’d love to say there was a definitive moment, in reality, I guess there kind of was, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  Honestly, it ended up being just what happens to some friendships.  After sharing everything, after being there for every important event in each other’s lives from marriage to children, we slowly began drifting apart.  It started with little things mostly.  I found it offensive that she thought I should sanitize my hands to hold her baby and she thought it was repulsive that I allowed my children to play with toy guns.  We won’t even get into how she felt about my husbands hunting or how I was happy to live next door to my in-laws while she would rather hers went away and never come back.  She was a stay at home mom, while I juggled forty hours at an office.  The truth is, our lives changed, our circumstances changed and with that, so did our friendship.

Fast forward to 2011.  At this point, Casie and I have been friends for twenty-two years.  I’ll say it again, twenty-two years.  Damn, that’s a long time. Do you know how many friendships last that long?  Not many.  Unfortunately, 2011 would not be good for me.  I’ve talked briefly about it in an earlier post, but 2011 year was one of the hardest years I’ve ever had to endure.  Within a six month span, I learned my sister had ALS, I lost two Aunts and both my grandparents died within two weeks of each other.  It seemed like every time I turned around someone I loved was sick or dying.  To say I wasn’t at my best is an understatement.  I was pretty low.  Lower than low if you want to get real.  I couldn’t sleep and I cried all the time.  It didn’t help that we had to downsize at work, which caused me a great deal of concern or that my husband also had some health issues going on.  I was about as stressed as one person can get.  Trying to figure out how to handle my sister’s illness on my own was tough enough, but I also had to put on a brave face for my mom and my kids and help them, too.  So, I leaned on Casie.  A lot.  Too much apparently because I woke up one day to find she had blocked me and my family from Facebook.  Yep.  Poof.  One day she was there, the next I went to look more closely at some pictures of her kids she’d posted the day before and she was gone.  No warning, no explanation, just gone.  You can imagine how that made me feel.  I’m not sure that a knife through the heart is a proper description for the pain because it felt more like someone had ripped out my insides and shattered my soul.

To be fair, I should say I wasn’t that great of a friend.  Casie was having marital issues that I didn’t pay enough attention to, and instead of trying to focus on the good things in life, I cried incessantly and became moody every time she and I talked.  Yeah, I know, I had reason’s to be that way.  And trust me, I’m not excusing what she did by any means, I just know being my friend during that time couldn’t have been easy.  On the same token, being her friend during that time wasn’t easy, either.   Like I said, we had both changed.  We saw faults and judgments within the other we didn’t like, which made us unsympathetic.

I guess you’re wondering what happened or what I did.  Well, of course, I shot off an ugly email telling her exactly what I thought.  Then I called and left an ugly message because you know that’s what you do when you just got pissed on.  I never did get the courtesy of a return call, but I did get an email that wasn’t any nicer than mine.  Her exact words were “You’re life sucks and I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”  Harsh a little?  Yeah, maybe just a tad.  But it hurt even more when she said she didn’t want to be friends mostly because she didn’t want to be around when my sister died because she doesn’t handle other people’s emotions well.  Trust me, any vulgarities floating through your mind have already come out of my mouth so feel free to say them.  Like I said, at this point, we’d grown apart, apparently more than we thought.

Friendships that last that long are much like a marriage.  Our lives were so tightly intertwined and woven together that every aspect crossed over.  And like many marriages that go south, our parting didn’t go well.  How did I handle it?  Well, I did what every mature adult would do.  I wiped her free from my life.  Her email was blocked, her phone number, all of her relatives, I even went so far as to defriend every friend or acqaintance we had from highschool because I wanted to ensure our paths never crossed in any way.  I removed my maiden name and highschool info from my profile so no one could find me, and then removed all her pictures and unfollowed her on every social media account I had at the time.  When I got home, I gathered everything she had given to me, piled it up in a bonfire and then lit that baby and watched it burn.  Childish?  Yes. Very.  I’ll happily admit it.  All I can say is I’m an all in or all out kind of girl and I did what I felt I had to do to get by.

That’s my ugly little secret.   Once upon a time I had a best friend and then I didn’t and I didn’t handle it so well.

So why is this on my mind today?  Well, two reason’s really, one, a few months ago, a close friend of my sisters growing up, friended me on Facebook. She posted today that it was the anniversary of her sister’s death.  Her sister, Amanda, was a year younger than me.  She died in a car accident when I was in 8th grade.  So my middle school years have bore heavily on my mind today.  And then out of the blue, I got a friend request from a guy I went to highschool with.  It surprised me, because like I said, I have sort of hidden myself away. But do you know what surprised me even more?  I didn’t hesitate to accept his request.  In fact, I got a little excited to see a little piece of that time of my life again.  So I I’m officially back on the grid and it feels pretty darn good.

I guess this means I have finally let go and made peace.  All I got to say, it’s about damn time!

As for Casie, although, they haven’t talked in years, my husband is still friends with her (ex)husband on Facebook.  Yes, apparently they got divorced. I supposed she’s doing okay, maybe?  I don’t know.  I  could ask her mother, who I occasionally have contact with, but I would rather not open that door.  Do I want to make amends with her?  No.  She hurt me.  Badly.  Our friendship might have been on the downward spiral, but the ending could have been handled differently.  For now, it is what it is  … and I’m finally okay with that.

So, to Casie … hope life is treating you well.

ps. I know you follow me on Twitter and that’s okay, too 🙂

 

Okay, so I kept a few pictures.