Posted in A Day in the Life, Counting Blessings, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Family, Friends of Mine, Lane is Writing, Marketing the BOok

YOU Light Up My Life


Thank you for making my dream come true.  Without you, I wouldn't have needed to sign any books!
Thank you for making my dream come true. Without you, I wouldn’t have needed to sign any books!

Today was a dream come true, and I owe that entirely to the kindness and love of friends and family.  I walked in to Barnes & Noble and set up my table with 25 books, and I left with no books.  22 had sold, and 3 were going on an end-cap to sell later.  My wonderful, wonderful People had come in and made me look like I was a New York Times Best Selling Author.  By the time I was packing up to leave, my table was gloriously bare.

YOU, friends and family, made this event a success, and I don’t know how to thank you all other than to just keep telling everyone how amazing you are.

The tiaras were a big hit, and I was pretty excited when the book sellers wanted to wear them, too.  I think everyone could use a little sparkle.  B even wore one for a split second, but refused to be photographed.

I think the biggest hit for me was the official B&N poster with my big face on it.  As soon as the event was over, I walked right next door to the Michael’s there and headed back to the framing section.  In two weeks, I’ll have an official B&N poster with my big face on it to hang somewhere in my house.  Where, I have no idea.  I can’t very well hang it over the fireplace.  I have to at least pretend to have some modesty and humility about me.

Next week is the Boston Book Festival, then the book signing at my alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, and then I’ll be going on blog tours.  I’ve been prepping interviews and guest posts for those, and I hope you’re going to enjoy reading what I’ve had to say.  I’m trying to make sure there is something new for you to read at every stop, and making sure you haven’t read it here first.  That’s not easy!  I always want to share it with you first.

Once all that is done, it’s nose to the grindstone to finish MISS MAYHEM, and then I need to get to work on Destinee’s final book in the series.  I’ve already decided she’s going to have some competition from Texas in book 3.  I’ll keep you posted.  Meanwhile…

Official B&N sign with my big face on it. Thank you, Linda, for taking these photos.
Official B&N sign with my big face on it.
Thank you, Linda, for taking these photos.

 

 

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Posted in A Day in the Life, Counting Blessings, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Friends of Mine, Lancient History, The Book, Tiara Trouble

Glenwood, Glue, and Eating Beads


You know that Gavin Degraw song, Chariot?  I always thought he was singing Carrion, not Chariot.  Changes the whole song when you know that.  I am the Queen of Misheard Lyrics.  You get one little word wrong…

Along with the marketing I’ve done, I dropped notes to a few of my former alma maters (there are nine or eleven, depending upon whether, or not you count colleges) to share news of the release.  The one I least expected to hear back from was my original elementary school, Glenwood School, in Phenix City, Alabama.  TIARA TROUBLE is set in Phenix City, and one of the tiny characters is very, very, very loosely based around my experience representing the school at the Little Miss PC pageant.  I got the happiest surprise today to find that not only did they respond to my email, but the respondent was a classmate!  She said she remembered me vividly, which is worrisome, but it is nice to be remembered at all, non?

It made me think about what my most vivid memories of Kinder and First Grade are.  Funnily enough, my classmate mentioned a boy who plays a role in one of those memories.  As I told her, I remember that boy walking into my classroom and thinking, “Oh yeah!”  I was going to make him my boyfriend.  I thought he was adorable, and I was so glad he was in my class.  I wasn’t even six years old, people.  Turned out, he was in the wrong class, so I only got to see him on the playground.  He did not share my feelings of kinderlove, and did not enjoy being chased.

Another vivid memory is of being dropped off at the school early one morning, and going out on the playground (by myself) to find that someone had torn out the pages of what must have been a Hustler magazine and strewn photos of naked women all over the place.  I went around collecting, considering, and discarding my finds, very, very confused by the amount of hair I was seeing, but more concerned that all these women seemed to think it was fine to wear shoes, socks, and sun visors (or terry cloth sweatbands) but nothing else.  I mean, if you’re going to be naked, take off your shoes.  I spent the next few weeks doodling naked ladies in my spiral notebook, drawing them with massive afros in their crotchal regions.  My mother found my drawings and we had to have A Very Serious Talk.  I promised to stop drawing naked ladies, but was so fascinated by her horror that I kept at it until I got A Very Serious Spanking.  After that, I only drew ladies with dresses on them.

There was the glue fight, which is my greatest memory of injustice done to me, and an excellent example of just what a stubborn little thing I was.  I had to wear orthopedic shoes for several years.  All I wanted in the world was a pair of red shoes.  Orthopedic shoes do not come in red, so when I was finally able to have a pair of normal shoes–normal red shoes–I was prouder of those than I was my own teeth.  For some reason, Mrs. Barnes left the classroom while we were working with Elmer’s Glue.  The little girl who sat behind me purposefully, and with great aim squirted glue on my New Red Shoes.  I was as livid as a 5-year-old can be.  I aimed my glue at the middle of her chest and got her good.  She did the same.  I aimed for her long, red hair.  Take that, Shoe Ruiner!  She tried and failed to get glue in my hair.  Mrs. Barnes returned, and while the other girl was telling on me, I squirted glue in her desk chair.  I think things might have been fine, but when she sat down in the glue, it was all over for me.  I spent a very long time sitting out in the hall, after talking to the principal.  My little friend?  No punishment other than glue in her pants.  I also refused to apologize.  p.s., My shoes were fine.  (To be fair, I probably started it by saying something smart.  I just don’t remember that part.)

I did spend a lot of time sitting out in the hall for talking in class.  I remember thinking that if I could just get a dog costume, I could put it on and crawl out of the school, and no one would ever know.  Maybe the principal would even pat my head and try to give me a treat?  So I spent most of my hall time, trying to conceive of where to find myself that dog costume, and how to conceal it on my person for such occasions.

My last memory of First Grade happened the last day of school.  I was standing with a friend, talking about how we were leaving Alabama, and moving to Virginia.  I was sad and scared, and she was sympathetic.  She also had tiny beads on her shirt that looked like candy sprinkles.  She suggested we pick them off and eat them to make ourselves feel better.  So, we did.  That is my very last memory of Glenwood: My granny driving up to get me, finding me eating beads off another child’s shirt.

Somehow, I managed to grow up to become a productive adult.

 

 

Posted in books, Counting Blessings, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery

The Boston Book Festival and Me. Mostly Me.


Meet me at the Boston Book Festival on October 19, 2013.  Look for her and TIARA TROUBLE at the Cozy Cat Press booth.
Meet me at the Boston Book Festival on October 19, 2013. Look for her and TIARA TROUBLE at the Cozy Cat Press booth.

 

I am very excited to announce that TIARA TROUBLE and I will be at the Boston Book Festival at Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts on October 19, 2013.

I’ve never been to Boston, so I am doubly excited to visit.  And triple-y excited to get to see Boston in October!  Trees!  Colors!  Harbors that taste like tea!

Most, I am excited to start promoting TIARA TROUBLE.  I can’t wait for you to get your hands on a copy, and let me know what you think of Destinee and her Dolls, Tishelle and her Divas, and the mystery murderer and his/her motives.

For information on attending the festival, visit the website at www.bostonbookfest.org.

Posted in Advice, Counting Blessings, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Friends of Mine, Howling Sea Lane, Inside Lane, Lancient History, Religion, Women

What I Would Tell a Daughter About Selfies


Since I’m getting emails and PMs about the girl side of things, I’ll address the girl side of things here.

So, I used to teach Sunday School for 6th Grade girls.  When I took on the responsibility, I thought I was going to be–I don’t know what I thought I was going to be teaching, but it was NOT sex.  I started reading through the lesson book, and halfway through BLAMMO sex/pregnancy/abortion.  Uh…

I worried about a few things:

  1. I would accidentally warp these children.
  2. I would say something that would make concerned parents take up pitchforks against me.
  3. That the church hadn’t thoroughly vetted my thoughts on sex/pregnancy/abortion before handing their 12 year old girls over to me.
  4. What if one of the girls had been bad-touched, or was already sexually active and I said something that made her feel like a monster?

I worried most about the pitchforks.

At the time, I was single, had never been married, had no children of my own, and  hadn’t been all the way around the block, so-to-speak.  I had been bad-touched and was sensitive to that, and I had ducked down some of the block’s back alleys.  I knew enough to be dangerous.

I knew enough to know that anything I said, could and would affect these girls for a long time, and I didn’t want to hurt any of them, and I didn’t want my words haunting them in regard to choices they might make in the future.  We all do stupid things sooner or later.  I wanted my words to be building blocks for them, not stumbling blocks.

So…I didn’t talk specifically about sex/pregnancy/abortion.  I talked about choices, redemption and the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Because here’s how I feel:  My job as an adult guiding children (or now, as a parent) is to help them learn to navigate rough waters by teaching them to reason, think, and adjust course.  My job isn’t to give them marching orders (as a parent, my job is definitely giving marching orders along with instruction on the how and why.)

So, first I wanted those girls to know that they had autonomy, and they got to choose their futures.  I wanted them to understand that good choices led to better futures, and good choices were things like eating well (I tried to touch on eating disorders because you never know), getting good exercise (because healthy bodies help promote healthy minds), doing your homework and reading for pleasure (because intelligent, educated women have a better chance to make good choices), working toward a goals in small increments (a good test, a good report card, honor roll, head of the class, etc.), and having a hobby or something fun to do, just for the love of it (because well-rounded women have their own interests.)  And, I told them to make good friends because good friends are the best things in life, and good friends will keep you out of trouble.  I have excellent friends, by the way.

Next, I wanted those girls to know that if they slipped up somewhere, it wasn’t the end of the world.  Get a bad grade?  Study harder/ask for help/do better next time.  Hurt someone’s feelings?  Apologize/learn from your mistake/don’t do it again.  Eat a whole cake by yourself?  Oof/see above.

And I told them that when they were focused on proper nutrition, their health, their studies, their hobbies, their goals, and their friendships, everything else would fall into place.  When they were well-rounded people, they would attract the right kinds of attention.  Predators are afraid of self-confident girls.  Losers don’t try to smack around Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton.  No one crosses Wonder Woman–and no one ever tries to butt grab her, no matter how hot her pants are.

Then, I told them that wanting to have sex, or having sex didn’t make you a bad person.  (Pitchforks!)  I told them that purposefully hurting other people was what made a bad person.  I read them the definition of the Proverbs 31 Woman, and asked them, first, if she seemed pretty awesome.  She’s got her own house, runs a staff, dabbles in real estate, has a garden, has a fabulous wardrobe, people respect and like her… Sounds pretty good to me.  I asked them if that was a woman who seemed focused on her looks, her hair, her boyfriend, or her popularity, and I asked them to consider what it would take to have your own home/business/amazing closet.

We talked about the choices you need to make to be a spectacular, independent woman, and we talked about what might set you off course.  I told them that is why they should wait to have sex.  Because they had dreams, and plans, and goals, and wanted houses, and cars, and jobs, and careers, and having a baby before you were ready would mean putting all that on hold, or putting it aside all together.  And, I told them that an STI can really slow you down, or kill you, too.

I wanted them to understand I wasn’t trying to protect their chastity.  I was trying to teach them how to protect their ability to make choices.  Having sex too soon can rob you of your autonomy, and rob you of choices. (Then I quit teaching Sunday School because I was mentally exhausted.  I went and taught Adult Singles, thinking that because I was one, it would be easier.  Ha!)

That’s what I would tell my own daughter, repeatedly.  And when the hormones kicked in and she couldn’t hear me through the throbbing in her loins, there would be that little voice in the back of her head saying, “Guh!  I know Harry Styles is so hot!  But I don’t want to be just his back-up singer.  I want my own band!  And he can fall in love with me because I am so awesome and independent, not just because I’m fawning all over him.”

I know that because that’s what kept me off the tour buses I got invited onto.

I didn’t need AIDs or a baby.

So, when it came down to selfies, I would ask my daughter why she wanted to take them, and if they helped her further her goals/dreams/aspirations.  If they didn’t, I’d ask her what she thought they did do.  We’d talk about it, and if she didn’t come the right conclusions, I’d take away her access to cameras and stuff some cotton in my ears to muffle the wailing.  Because I’d still be the parent and you don’t let a kid drive on the wrong side of the street just because it seems like a good idea to them.

 

 

Posted in Beauty, Counting Blessings, Friends of Mine, Uncategorized

Confident, or Arrogant?


I keep trying and trying to write this post.  It shouldn’t be that hard!  See, a coworker/friend of mine complimented my confidence the other day, and while I was flattered and appreciative, it made me start to think about what confidence is and isn’t.  Or maybe what confidence should be?  Or why it is so difficult to appear confident?

Society makes it difficult because we live in a world where we raise people up, just to tear them down.  Take a woman like Giselle.  Stunning.  Great legs.  Gorgeous hair.  Perfect skin.  We can look and appreciate how stunning she is.  We can tell her she is stunning all day long, and so long as she says thank you, we’re good.  But the moment she says, “I know,” we are in trouble.  The moment she says, “I have great legs, gorgeous hair, and perfect skin,” we will be out for blood.  How dare she acknowledge her own gorgeousity?!  How dare she enjoy her good looks?!

Why is it like that?

Because confidence in others shows us our insecurities.  Nothing shines a spotlight on how I feel about my belly fat like someone saying, “My abs are looking good!”  And if I feel bad about myself, it hurts to hear someone else feeling good about themselves.  I have choices there.  I can choose to celebrate my friend’s abs, acknowledging that my belly looks like it does because of my lack of interest in doing crunches and my affection for donuts.  Then, I can take myself out of the equation and appreciate my friend’s hard work, or I can choose to wallow in my jiggle and be offended that my friend has made me aware of my jiggle by pointing out her rock solidness, and lash out at her, calling her an arrogant so-and-so for daring to bring up the fact of her fitness.

Arrogance only comes in to play when we start believing that what makes us sensational, also makes us superior.  I am confident that I have good skin.  My good skin doesn’t make me superior in any way.  It’s just a fact, like the grass being green.  You can be Mother Theresa and someone will find a reason to call you arrogant.  You can’t pay attention to that.  Haters gonna hate is another grass-is-green fact.

But all that is beside the point.  The thing I really want to say is that I have great friends.  I have friends in my life who are secure and confident in themselves, so it doesn’t bother them that I am secure and confident in myself.  My friends celebrate my victories far more than they enjoy my failures–and honeys, let me tell you, you will know who your true friends are when you achieve something.  It’s easy to be the hero and swoop in to help someone when they are down.  You get to feel good about yourself for doing something.  But when someone is standing in the limelight, and all you can do is stand in their shadow and applaud their success?  It takes a strong, confident person to be that friend.

My friends don’t feel like they’ve lost anything when I gain something.  My friends cheer me on when I’m feeling good about myself, and remind me of my wins when I am down.  My friends want me at my best because it makes them better by proximity–and I feel that way, too.  I want my friends to be at their best, and I am delighted for every gain they make.  My friends make confidence easy.

That’s where a lot of confidence comes from, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank my friends for being those people.  I’m not afraid of what’s said behind my back because I know what is said to my front.  I love and appreciate you.