Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fresh Fiction Contests

(Logo from Fresh Fiction website)

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Thunderstorms, high 65 degrees. Guess we knew yesterday's lovely weather wouldn't last. Here come the storms.

Tomorrow I'm heading north to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. You're probably wondering how foolish is she to go to Wisconsin in the dead of winter? Me, too. But my granddaughter Cari is competing in a Feis (an Irish dancing competition) on Saturday, so it should be a fun trip. The mom of one of Cari's friends is helping me with the driving, so it shouldn't be too bad; I'm praying we won't run into any nasty weather. Cari and her friend Abbie are excited they get to take off school tomorrow because we have such a long drive.

The reason I'm mentioning this is because I won't be posting a Friday Freebie tomorrow, so I thought I would post a link to Fresh Fiction today. Their motto is "for today's reader."

Fresh Fiction has several contests to win books each month. I subscribe to their newsletter and have entered several contests, but I've never won. Maybe one of you will have better luck. I noticed they also have several jobs available. I've never applied for one of their jobs, but maybe I'll do that one of these days. Here's a link for information about the positions they have available if anyone is interested.

Hope you all have a great weekend! I'll be back on Monday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad Hair Cuts and Good Friends

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: A glorious day, high 71 degrees, but a chance for thunderstorms this evening.

This past Monday morning my sister Kathleen drove to my house and picked me up to get hair cuts before her twin grandsons got out of day care. We didn't have a lot of time. We were desperate. We had coupons.

After we got to the closest "chop shop" we were told by a hairdresser I'll call Sherry (because that's what I think she spiked her coffee with) that we didn't need coupons because we got the Senior Citizen discount--this from a woman at least five years older than either of us.

Kathleen, who is 16 months older than I am, went first. Or, as she put it, she was the "sacrificial lamb." She told Sherry to take off just two inches, but I think the hairdresser is hard of hearing and thought she said a few inches from all the clumps of hair on the floor around "The Chair."

As I waited my turn, I looked at Kathleen and prayed I would get the other hair dresser, who was finishing up another cut. I also thumbed through a book and found a style I liked--a modest bob with featherd bangs.

As luck would have it (bad luck), Sherry quickly finished with Kathleen and said, "Next!"

I showed Kathleen and Sherry the book and pointed to a page with the style I wanted. The cut on the right, the modest bob, was the one I liked. The cut on the left was a platinum blond spikey-punk rocker cut with a pink slash near the bangs. Definitely not suitable for this Senior Citizen.

As Sherry led me to The Chair I said, "Shouldn't I bring the book for you to look at while you're cutting my hair?"

"Nope,"she said, pointing to her head, "I got it."

After shampooing my hair--which I had to ask her to do--she adjusted The Chair and turned me away from the mirror. For several minutes, while she snipped away, she ignored me and talked to her co-worker about the woman whose hair cut she had just finished. Apparently the woman who had just left liked to pull out clumps of her hair and needed the bald spots camouflaged.

After Sherry's co-worker dashed outside for a smoke (or maybe to escape) Sherry began telling me about how little she makes on Social Security, how much it's going to cost to get the brakes fixed on her car, and how she doesn't make a lot of money cutting hair. I mentioned that Kathleen had just told me about the $250 economic stimulus checks Social Security recipients were going to receive in May.

Big mistake.

Right after that, the scissors flew as she asked for details. The more she spoke, the faster she cut. I knew I was in trouble when I heard the buzz of clippers.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Just trimming up the edges," she answered, as she shaved the back of my neck.

When she spun me around in the chair, my mouth dropped open.

"Cute, isn't it?"

"But it's so short," I said.

"Yeah," she answered--and I swear I am not exaggerating here--"now you won't have to worry about the ends flipping up."

No kidding--the ends are above my ears.

Sherry brushed me off, whisked me out of The Chair, and led me to the cash register. After I gave her a twenty, she gave me back seven ones then--again I'm not exaggerating--held out her hand. I counted out two one dollar bills--not a bad tip for a $13 haircut, especially not for one I didn't expect or want--and she kept her hand there waiting for more.

After Kathleen paid--also with a twenty and receiving seven ones for another $3 tip, Sherry asked Kathleen if she knew the number of the Social Security office, which my ever-so-efficient sister happened to have committed to memory.

Before we left, Sherry called the office and listened to a recording. After hanging up, she rubbed her hands and said, "Looks like I'll be able to get my brakes fixed after all."

Then shouted, "Next!" to another unsuspecting Senior Citizen.

On our way home Kathleen and I both had a good laugh--which was bettery than crying. I asked Kathleen if my hair cut looked anything like the photo I showed Sherry. Kathleen said, "No. It looked more like the other one with the pink stripe."

Later that day--God love my family--they all commented how nice my hair cut looked. My husband Walt told me, "It makes you look younger."

Granddaughter Cari said, "It makes you look thinner."

Grandson Michael said, "I like your haircut, Oma. It looks nice."

The following evening at critique group, several of my writing friends complimented me on my haircut. They are either good liars--or good friends. I like to think it's the latter, but when I think about of it, most of them do write fiction.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Editing Advice from Cheryl Klein

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Mostly cloudy, high 50 degrees. It was gorgeous out this morning when I drove Michael and some classmates to the library for a field trip. (They're doing reports on famous women for women's history week. His pick--Amelia Earhart.)

In 2006, at the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference in Kansas City, I attended a presentation by editor Cheryl Klein . Cheryl is a Missouri gal working in New York at Arthur A. Levine Books, a division of Scholastic, Inc. Cheryl is continuity editor for the U.S. editions of Harry Poter books. Yes, that Harry Potter!

Her talk in Kansas City about the essentials of plot was inspired--and inspiring. As I listened to her talk, I scribbled notes, even though she told us her notes would be available on line, and I sat in awe at her wisdom and generosity. Since the conference, I have visited her website frequently and am never disappointed with the information she has posted there. I highly recommend writers of any genre to visit her website--often. The website is a gold mine of writing, editing and publishing information. Especially helpful are the verbatim texts of conference presentations she has made around the country.

Because I'm writing a young adult novel, I'm particularly interested in what Cheryl has to say about editing. Here's a link to her post on “The Art of Detection: One Editor’s Tips for Analyzing and Revising Your Novel.”

I was excited to learn Cheryl will be in Missouri next month at the SCWBI novelists' retreat. Although my schedule won't permit me to attend the retreat, I hope to find out what she spoke about by visiting her website after the event. If you get a chance, check out her website. I promise--you will be glad you did.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Night at the Oscars - Host Hugh Jackman Was a Delightful Surprise

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Mostly sunny, high 35 degrees.

Maybe it’s because last year’s Oscars were cancelled due to the Writers’ Strike, or maybe it’s because there was nothing better to watch on TV, but last night, for the first time in several years, I watched the Oscars. And I’m glad I did.

Host Hugh Jackman was a delightful surprise. Who knew he could sing and dance? Another plus; there seemed to be an emphasis on the efforts that go into the beginning of the creative process—the vision and hard work of writers and others whose stories and imaginations give life to motion pictures. Bravo for that!

Anyway, here are some random impressions of the event:

Hugh Jackman – charming, entertaining
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) – joyous, caring, grateful
Slumdog Millionaire Cast - stunned, proud
Penelope Cruz – glamorous, graceful
Tina Fey and Steve Martin – humorous, clever, well-matched
Sophia Lauren – indescribable
Shirley McClain – sincere, encouraging
Will Smith – plastic, scripted (My granddaughter, who used to be a big fan of his, commented, “He’s not funny any more. He’s way too serious.”)
Jerry Stiller – hairy, lost
Sean Pen – preachy, predictable
Bill Maher – whiney, jealous, a wolf in a sharkskin suit
Kate Winslet – pompous
Mickey Rourke – brave, humble
Heath Ledger’s Family – classy, courageous

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Woman's Day Giveaway - Secrets of the Tudor Court by Kate Emerson

(Cover from Woman's Day magazine contest website)

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Partly cloudy, high 45 degrees, chance of flurries tonight.

I enjoy studying book covers. Don't you just love this one? The colors of the dress are so rich and elegant, and only the bottom half is shown. Notice the word Secrets is in script and the words Pleasure Palace are printed in large, bold letters? Lots of thought went in to creating this cover. Definitely makes me want to read the book.

If you're on a limited budget, you might get lucky and win a copy. Woman's Day magazine has teamed up with publisher Simon and Schuster to give away 30 copies of Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson.

Here's a description from the Woman's Day contest website: "Rich with romance, intrigue and 15th-century historical detail, the novel features characters straight out of history—including Jane herself—set against an authentic background. "

No purchase necessary to enter the contest. Entry period: Tuesday February 03 2009 - Friday April 03 2009. Click on this link or the link above to enter. Good luck!

If you're a lucky winner, please let me know how you liked the book.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest - "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"

(Image from the Bulwer-Lytton Website)
Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Chance for flurries, high 30 degrees. It doesn't look like it will be a "dark and stormy night" tonight, but if you're curious where that phrase came from, here's a hint.
The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest is known world-wide. Beneath their logo on the website, appears the statement: "where www means wretched writers welcome." This is a fun, and humbling, contest. I entered in 1997, and my entry was shown as a sample submission. (Ouch!)

The award is named after Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who wrote: "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness." --Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)--
So, if you have some spare time on a "dark and stormy night" or any other type of day or night before the April 15 deadline, send them a sentence (no more than 50-60 words recommended). For more information, visit their website; scroll down past lots of text for complete guidelines.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Guest Blogger Ruth Hartman on Publisher Pipers' Ash, A Good Place to Start

(Cover image of "My Life in Mental Chains" courtesy of Ruth Hartman)


Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Rain and snow mix today, high 51 degrees (go figure).
As a proud partner in the WOW! Author's Blog Tour, I pleased today to welcome Ruth Hartman as guest blogger on Donna's Book Pub. Ruth is the author of "My Life in Mental Chains," which chronicles her struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Today Ruth shares with us her experiences with her publisher, Pipers' Ash Publishing, of England.

***

Pipers’ Ash - A Good Place to Start

by Ruth Hartman

My first experience with a book publisher turned out to be a positive one. But it took a side trip before my book was accepted. I sent my original query to Pipers' Ash Limited in July 2008. It was for a fictional children’s story about a girl with OCD. They declined, saying issues such as OCD, adoption, abuse, etc. were better served by their “True Life Series.” I initially took this as a straight “no” to my query. I marked it off as a rejection and began to search for other publishers.

But then I came across the Pipers’ Ash guidelines. As I read them, thinking I’d file them away probably never to be seen again, I came across the line: “Serious issues such as mental illness, adoption, abuse, etc are better served by our ‘True Life Series.’”

So basically, that was their standard response for subjects such as this. Why hadn’t I latched onto that before? Why couldn’t I re-query for their “True Life Series”? So I did.

What followed was a whirlwind submission process of synopsis (I’d never written one), first chapters (I wasn’t sure how many to send) and complete manuscript. Since the subject matter (me) did not need to be researched, I wrote it fairly quickly. The manuscript was accepted and the book was published in November 2008.

I know this sounds incredibly fast, but keep in mind that Pipers’ Ash is a very small, non-profit publisher out of England. They only work with a few authors at a time, so you get a lot of individualized attention. My experience with them has been very positive. I never felt pressured or pushed in any way. And for a first-time author, I was treated with the utmost respect and patience.

The easiest way to get a foot in the door with them would definitely be their “True Life Series.” They cover a broad range of topics, from illnesses and abuse, to disabilities and varied life experiences. But they also publish children’s stories, books about sports, local histories, poetry and science fiction, to name a few.

The initial contact to them was through a 25-word query. Very short, I know, but it challenges you to get your point across while keeping it brief. It’s not an easy task, but it can be done!

But then the hard part began. Not only had I not written that long of a story before (mine turned out to be 25,000 words), I had to go back and remember my painful past, and all that I’d endured with my severe OCD. At first, it bothered me that other people would know some intimate details of my life. But positive comments I’ve received made my doubts disappear.

If you’re in the market for writing a shorter book (they call them chapbooks), and you value individualized attention, then I would heartily recommend Pipers’ Ash. Their website is: http://www.supamasu.com/. A 25-word query can be e-mailed to: pipersash@supamasu.com
***

Thanks, Ruth, for your helpful and insightful information about your publisher. If you have any questions or comments for Ruth, please feel free to post them here and Ruth will answer.

To learn more about Ruth, here's a link to her web site: http://www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com/ and an easy way to order her book "My Life in Mental Chains": http://www.supamasu.co.uk/glos.html (scroll down to the third book).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Missouri Writers' Guild Conference Offers Affordable Options


Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: High 49 degrees, chance for showers this evening.

If you haven't signed up for the MWG Conference in Cape Girardeau, MO, from Apr 3-5 because you cannot afford the entire event or can't commit to a full weekend, here are a couple less-time consuming and more affordable options:

Member/Attendee Book Signing - Saturday, April 4, from 5:15 to 7:00. The book signing is free and open to the public (but, of course you pay for any books you buy). Come support the speakers, attendees, and members by attending the book signing, chatting with the writers, and buying copies of their books. I'll be there signing copies of anthologies with my stories in them, including "Welcome Home" in A Cup of Comfort for Military Families, and "November Rose" in the 2009 Voices Anthology. Attending the book signing is free--you can't get a better bargain than that.

If you're driving to Cape to attend the book signing on Saturday, why not stay for the:

Annual Awards Banquet--Saturday night, April 4 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The banquet only costs $25. For $25 you get a delicious meal, as well as a presentation by the keynote speaker, TV writer and producer, Lee Goldberg, and presentation of the Missouri Writers' Guild writing awards. The banquet is a great opportunity to listen to a fantastic speaker while networking and meeting with other writers.
If you want to spend one night, you can book a room and spend the night at the Drury Lodge for only $85 and on Sunday, you can attend one of four:

Masters Classes, Sunday, April 5 from 9 to noon. For $65 you can attend your choice of one Master Class. These are smaller sized classes where you have intense instruction from a writing professional. Many of these are taught in workshop format where you will be doing some writing and learning both!

Here is a listing of the classes you can chose from:

Lee Goldberg's "Breaking Into TV Writing -- The Crash Course" - TV writer and producer Lee Goldberg ("SeaQuest," "Monk," "Diagnosis Murder" ) will teach you how to watch TV the way professional television writers do -- how to recognize the "franchise" of a show, the four-act structure, and the unique conflicts that drive the weekly storytelling. These are essential skills that are not only important in understanding TV, but also in writing the all important spec script that will be your calling card (but many of the lessons he teaches can also be applied to novel-writing). This three-hour seminar combines a free-wheeling lecture and discussion with clips from television shows that highlight the key points. You'll never watch TV the same way again after this seminar.

Harvey Stanbrough's "Writing Realistic Dialogue Workshop" Harvey's classes are often STANDING ROOM ONLY. He's that good! This is a discussion of the necessity and excessive use of tag lines and brief descriptive narrative passages; the physical and abstract nuances of Implication; the use of sentences vs. sentence fragments; the use of dialect, including truncated and/or phonetic spellings; mechanics; and conveying emotion through dialogue.

Barri Bumgarner's "Let's Write! Workshop" - Barri is enthusiastic, fun, and encouraging. Anytime you have a chance to take a class with Barri--seize the opportunity. This class is a session designed to inspire and get ideas formulated, design characters, plots, and even do a bit of writing!

Annette Fix's "Memoir Workshop" - Annette is one of the co-founders of WOW! Women on Writing. She also has written a memoir, The Break-Up Diet. She brings her story to life through humor and also includes universal themes. If you are writing a memoir or ever thought about writing one, you don't want to miss this workshop.

To register for any of these events, visit the MWG conference website: http://www.mwgconference.org/

If you have any trouble using the website for registration, or you don't feel comfortable paying with PayPal, call Margo Dill at 217-714-8582 or e-mail Emily at esh@mwgconference.org.

Remember, you can sign up for the entire conference too--which begins Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and goes until Saturday at 7:00 p.m. I'll be there--I hope you will, too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Presidents' Day - Which One Would You Invite to Dinner?

(Image of President George Washington from the White House website slide show)


Today's weather in St. Peters: It's 50 degrees outside. Not bad for mid-February.

Banks and government agencies are closed, the kids are off of school, stores and car dealers are having special sales, and in St. Peters trash pick-up has been delayed until tomorrow. Today is Presidents' Day--the day we remember our nation's presidents.

On Donna's Book Pub, rather than giving my visitors a day off or having a sale of any sort, I'm conducting a survey. In celebration of Presidents' Day all week, I'm asking this question: If you could have dinner with any president--living or deceased--who would it be?

In case you don't know the names of all of our presidents, here's a cool link and a slide show of the presidents from the White House website

Please leave a comment on my blog this week and let us know which president would be your choice for a dinner partner.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Freebie - Woman's Day Magazine's 2009 Swarovski Go Red for Women Necklace

(Image from Woman's Day magazine)


Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Mostly cloudy, high 51 degrees, chance for rain or snow this evening.

In honor of February being healthy heart month, Woman's Day magazine has teamed up with the folks at Swarovski crystal to join the fight against heart disease. Beginning on Feb. 10 at NOON, you can enter for a chance to win this necklace from Swarovski's 2009 Go Red for Women collection. One necklace will be awarded to each of 25 lucky winners. This year, Swarovski is donating $150,000 of the proceeds from the collection to the American Heart Association. Winners should wear this necklace as a reminder to all women of how important it is for them to be aware of their heart disease risk factors. To see the rest of the collection, go to http://www.swarovski.com/

Hope everyone has a Happy St. Valentine's Day tomorrow.

See you on Monday!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday, President Lincoln

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: Mostly sunny, high 51 degrees, but it's chilly outside this morning.

Happy Birthday, President Abraham Lincoln!
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, our nation's 16th, and probably most revered president. Lincoln wasn't only a courageous wartime president, he also was a gifted orator and writer. Two of his most eloquent and frequenly quoted speeches are his Second Inaugural Address in 1865 and his speech at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863.

I am moved whenever I read these two historical documents, especially the last paragraph of his second inaugural speech and the entire Gettysburg Address. The writing is clear and crisp, and the cadence and word choices are brilliant.

In honor of his 200th birthday I'm posting the last paragraph of President Lincoln's second inaugural speech:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

And the entire text of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
For more information about Licnoln's bicentennial celebration, visit http://www.lincolnbicentennial.gov/ but be patient. Because of the interest, it takes quite some time to access.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Submission Opportunity - Irish Anthology

(My granddaughter Cari is an Irish dancer; this is one of the logos on our van)


Today's forecast for St. Peters: Yesterday was lovely, but today there's a 100 percent chance of Thunderstorms, high 55 degrees.

If you're Irish, Irish-American (like me), or just someone who wants to write something for an Irish Anthology, here's your chance.

IRISH ANTHOLOGY

E-mail to http://us.mc821.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=write4us@sps.com---International publishing company is looking for inspirational stories and wisdom that relate to Ireland or the Irish culture to be published in an anthology. They are interested in non-fiction essays, stories, or poems that in some way capture the Irish (or Irish-American) heritage, region, or lifestyle. Stories and essays should be between 100 and 600 words long. If possible, include a pithy saying at the end, which sums up the inspirational message of your story. For example: "You'll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind" or "Laughter is brightest where food is best." The saying can be a traditional Irish saying or something you come up with yourself. No minimum word count for poems. Prefer to receive non-rhyming poems. Payment $50 for anthology rights upon publication. Deadline March 1, 2009. Put "Irish" in the subject line and include the essay/poem in the body of the e-mail.

Thanks to my writing friend Dianna G. for sending this to me.

Go n-eiri an t-adh leat. (That's good luck in Gaelic, according to
Irish Spike-Jamie. ) To read other Irish toasts and sayings, click on the link above, where you'll also be treated to some Irish music.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guest Blogger - Janice Lynne Lundy

(Photo courtesy of Janice Lynne Lundy)

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly cloudy, high 71, chance of thunderstorms this evening.

I'm pleased to have Janice Lynne Lundy LIVE as my guest blogger today. She is an inspirational speaker, interfaith spiritual director, syndicated magazine columnist, and the author of four self-help/spiritual growth books for women. Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, has just been released by Sorin Books.

Jan is the author of three previously published personal and spiritual growth books: Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman’s Journey to Wholeness; Awakening the Spirit Within; and Perfect Love: How to Find Yours and Make It Last Forever (co-authored with her husband, Brad Lundy). The mother of three, stepmother of four, and grandmother of three more, Jan resides on the peaceful shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan with her husband, Brad, her creative partner and soul’s companion.

Today at Donna's Book Pub, Jan shares with us her thoughts on Living with a Wide-Open Heart. She is also available for questions or comments.

If you have any questions or comments for Jan, please leave a note here and she will answer it.

Living with a Wide-Open Heart
Janice Lynne Lundy

How do we keep our heart open to someone, especially when everything inside of us says to run, shut down, or close ourselves off to them? How do we stay—remaining openhearted, loving, and kind?

Living this Transformational Truth, “I Open My Heart to Others and Celebrate Our Oneness,” can be difficult. So much so, that I placed it at as the twelfth and final truth in Your Truest Self. It is also the most important Truth if we are to live as the glorious women we are meant to be.

Living an in openhearted manner depends upon spaciousness—our ability to be open—open to yourself, to life as it presents itself in the moment, and to those around you. Spaciousness is about living with a wide-open heart, welcoming and loving yourself as you are, even when you make mistakes. Welcoming and loving others as they are, warts and all. Spaciousness is the placeholder for love.

Our journey to be more loving toward others begins with being more loving toward ourselves. Other-love must begin with self-love. How is it possible to demonstrate kindness, compassion, to another when we continue to be unkind to ourselves? It’s not.

There are many ways that we are unkind to ourselves every single day. We push ourselves beyond all reasonable limits. We have very high expectations, often holding ourselves to impossible standards of perfection. We overwork and do not get enough rest. We believe we must meet everyone else’s needs first before tending to our own. We feel responsible for the happiness of others. Do these scenarios play out in your life?

If so, it may be time to befriend yourself.

Befriending requires an attitude of lovingkindness toward one’s self, personified by acts of lovingkindness. We begin to live more gently, letting go of pressure to do and be more. Lovingkindness invites us let go of anything that causes stress, frustration, or anger. Anything that keeps us disconnected from our spirit and its core qualities of inner peace, love, and joy. Anything that prevents us from living as our truest self—a woman who is naturally peaceful and compassionate.

And as we do, our heart flutters open. It softens, becomes more pliable. We start to feel better about who we, about our life. Magically, we begin to see those around us in a new way, too—through the eyes of compassion. We become aware that they are struggling, as are we. With a slight shift in perception, we can see how all of us are struggling to cope with life as it is.

We begin to open our hearts to one another through greater awareness of this universal struggle to be human. Voila! Compassion is born. Spaciousness reigns, and there is room in our hearts for everyone.

In this similar cause, we are kindred spirits. We are One.

©2009, Janice Lynne Lundy

You can also learn more about Jan at her website: http://www.awakenedliving.com/ While you're there, register for her newsletter and she'll send you her new, inspirational 90-page e-book, The Awakened Woman's Guide to Life. You can also visit her blog: http://www.awakeisgood.blogspot.com/ She enjoys hearing from her readers and responds personally. Email: jan@awakenedliving.com.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Notes - Your Truest Self by Janice Lynne Lundy

(Your Truest Self cover image, courtesy of Janice Lynne Lundy)

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Showers likely, high 65 degrees, but I'll take the rain over sleet or snow any day.


I'm honored and excited that Donna's Book Pub has been selected to be part of WOW!'s Guest Blogger tour. If you're wondering what a blog tour is, it's like a book tour, but instead of authors visiting book stores, they stop by blogs to chat with blog visitors.

Tomorrow I will host my first guest blogger, interfaith spiritual guide and author, Janice Lynne Lundy, who will talk about "Living with a Wide Open Heart." Lundy writes a nationally syndicated magazine column in Women's LifeStyle magazine and is an adjunct staff member at the Institute of Spirituality at the Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In preparation for tomorrow's visit, I will share some observations about Lundy's latest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, released by Sorin Books, of Ave Maria Press.

From an early age, Lundy has been fascinated with "holy women," beginning in her childhood when she lived down the street from a Dominican convent, into her college days as an anthropology student, and into recent years when her imagination has been captured by mystics, saints, and other holy women.

The Introduction to Your Truest Self begins with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, "You are that which you are seeking." This quote sets the stage for our journey.

Lundy's book is laid out as a guide for readers seeking a path of self-discovery to help them live Spirit-filled lives. The book is divided in twelve chapters called "Transformational Truths"--one from each of her spiritual mentors whose "light-filled presence" can help guide women "to live more peaceful, confident, and open-hearted lives."

Among the mentors are: Joyce Rupp, author and retreat leader and member of the Servants of Mary; Jan Phillips, a photographer, writer and modern-day mystic; Naomi Judd, country music singer, author and talk show host; Dr. Doreen Virtue, author and workshop facilitator, called "The Angel Lady;" Michelle Tsosie Sisneros, award-winning Native American artist and illustrator, and other wise women from a variety of backgrounds.

I found Lundy's book engaging, enriching, and thought-provoking. In addition to reading the words of wisdom from the twelve spiritual mentors, I enjoyed the Reflection Questions and Peaceful Pause sections at the end of each chapter, which gave me the opportunity to think about and absorb what I had read.
The poem in the Epilogue written by American poet Galway Kinnell is a lovely way to end the book, and an inspiring way to continue the journey of opening my heart to others.

Please stop by tomorrow to read Lundy's article, "Living with a Wide Open Heart," written specially for visitors of my blog. Also please feel free to leave questions tomorrow on the blog for Jan to answer.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Freebie and Special Announcement

(Book cover image of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET from Amazon.com)


Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 60 degrees. It's a beautiful day today. As soon as I finish printing off my entries for the Missouri Writers' Guild contests, I'm going to head outside and enjoy the sun!

Costco is offering their members a chance to win a signed copy of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford. I've heard great things about Ford's novel, which is described by Pennie Clark Ianniceiello, the book buyer for Costco, as a powerful love story that "transports readers effortlessly to 1940s Seattle, where the city's jazz scene is blossoming and the once compatible Japanese and Chinese communities are now at odds."

Here are the details to enter. Print your name, membership number, address, and daytime phone number on a postcard or letter and mail to: Jamie Ford, The Costco Connection, P.O. Box 34088, Seattle, WA 98124-1088 or e-mail to giveaway@costco.com with "Jamie Ford" in the subject line.

I'm so excited about the following special announcement:

Next week Donna's Book Pub is one of the blogs selected to participate in the WOW! Book Blog Tour. On Tuesday, Feb 10, the featured author on my blog will be Janice Lynne Lundy, who serves as an interfaith spiritual guide to tens of thousands of women throughout the United States through her nationally syndicated magazine column in Women's LifeStyle. She will visit us here at DBP to chat about living as your truest self and living with a wide open heart. I will also discuss my reaction to Lundy's latest book, "Your Truest Self, Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be," published by Ave Maria Press.

So please stop back on Tuesday to visit with Janice!

Take care, and take time to write!

Donna

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Woman's Day - Most Romantic Husband Contest

(Image from Woman's Day Most Romantic Husband Contest website)

Mostly sunny, high 25 degrees, but it's 10 degrees outside now. Yesterday the heater went out on the van, so driving was coooooold. The heater has been fixed, and in this case it's thank goodness for extended warranties.

Here's a contest to heat things up. Woman's Day magazine is sponsoring a "Most Romantic Husband Contest." What's the sweetest thing he's done for you? Tell them in 100 words or fewer.

The contest began at noon on January 27, 2009, and ends at noon on February 24, 2009. They want all submissions—whether in the form of a poem, a love note or a story from memory—sent to featureme@hfmus.com. (Photos optional!) The winning entry will be featured on their website by Tuesday March 3, 2009.

For more details, check out their link above.
Bonne chance!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Notes - What's Age Got to Do With It?

(Book cover from the Thomas Nelson Publisher site)

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Windy, high 19 degrees. Baby, it's cold outside!

If you're a regular viewer of Dr. Phil or Oprah, you probably recognize the woman on the cover of this book. She is Robin McGraw, wife of television's Dr. Phil. Robin looks fabulous for her age (55), which she displays proudly on the cover of her latest book, "What's Age Got to Do With It?" The subtitle is: "Living Your Happiest and Healthiest Life."

This easy-to-read book, published by Thomas Nelson Publishing, is filled with advice in the areas of: health, fitness, nutrition, skin care, menopause, hair, makeup and fashion. Much of the book's advice comes from experts, but it is also includes Robin's personal experiences and suggestions.

I recommend this book to women who want to learn more about how to remain robust and happy--no matter what the age on their birth certificate reads.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday's Market - St. Anthony's Messenger

(Cover from St. Anthony's Messenger magazine webiste)

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Partly cloudy, high 41 degrees, light snow this evening.

One way to overcome the winter blahs is by writing--a story, an essay, a poem--or even a book.

St. Anthony's Messenger is a market recommended to me by one of my writing friends who has had two short fiction pieces published by them. She was pleased with the way she was treated by the editors and with the compensation she received. Even more gratifying, both of her stories were nominated for awards (one received an award from the Catholic Press Association for best fiction story of the year).

Here's a message for writers from their website: "St. Anthony Messenger is a monthly, general-interest, family-oriented Catholic magazine. It is written and edited largely for people living in families or the family-like situations of Church and community. We want to help our 300,000+ subscribers better understand the teachings of the gospel and Catholic Church, and how these apply to the life and the full range of problems confronting us as members of families, the Church and society."

For fiction, they are: "interested in stories about family relationships, people struggling and coping with the same problems of life our readers face. Stories should show people triumphing in adversity, persevering in faith, overcoming doubt or coming to spiritual insights, without being preachy. Stories don’t always need a 'happily-ever-after' ending, but they need to offer hope with real and believable characters and resolutions. Sudden realizations, instant conversions and miracle solutions won’t do. " Visit their Information for Fiction Authors guidelines on their website for more details.

If you don't write fiction, don't despair. According to their website, they also accept articles, poetry and books.

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