For the life and a smile of a child

With the holiday season among us, I thought I would reflect on another aspect of giving that spoke to me this year.

One day while at lunch, I saw a leaflet for the annual St. Jude’s Walk (Seattle), and was moved to get involved. I raised some money and got a couple of friends to walk with me, and it was a wonderful (if not soggy) experience.

I knew from then that I would rally and support this amazing cause. I stand behind the concept of stomping out childhood cancer. The idea that no family ever gets a bill, so they can focus on what’s important-being there for the child they so desperately want to live.

Then a celebrity favorite of mine hosts an event every year during Comic-con in San Diego. It’s free to the public to check out games, tech, charge phones and grab some food/drink. In addition, there’s the opportunity to have an informal/non-moderated panel discussions with various convention favorites (mostly actors, writers, producers, etc.) for a nominal fee. 100% of this fee goes to the incredible international charity – Operation Smile. Even fees from celebrity photo ops/signings go to this organization.

I decided to look more into Operation Smile. I watched videos, testimonials/stories from not only those who support this charity, but those who have benefitted from others generosity as well. It is mind-blowing that just $240 and about an hour can change the life of a child born with a cleft lip/palette FOREVER. Giving a child the gift of a smile! Many of these children are ostracized from their families. Not to mention the fact that infections and malnutrition are prevalent issues resulting in sad, unnecessary deaths.

Once again, I was brought to tears. I am proud to support these two worthwhile organizations. There are so many out there, so many meaningful and wonderful  causes to support. I found two that spoke to me.

Operation Smile Children operation smile to raise funds for 500 ...

I hope to contribute more in the years to come to both St. Jude’s and Operation Smile. I firmly, with all my heart believe that

Every child deserves to live, and every child that lives deserves to smile.

May you create fond memories while living a life well lived. May you always laugh at yourself and love ’til your heart overflows.

If you find ANY organization that speaks to you, whether it’s for kids, animals, veterans, underprivileged neighborhoods or developing countries, whatever it is; let some of that overflow lead you to get involved.

Happy Holiday Season!

Live Laugh Love

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Find a book & meet the authors

I’m proud to announce another book event I’m honored to be a part of.

My publisher, Solstice Publishing will have six authors (including yours truly), selling and signing books at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Federal Way.

These events are all about finding new readers and inviting them to fall into an unforgettable adventure; be it Western, Sci-Fi, Paranormal romance, Urban fantasy, or even Paranormal short stories. (Yes, all these genres will be represented!)

Barnes & Noble – 31325 Pacific Hwy S., Federal Way –

Sunday, October 22nd

11am-5pm

I’m also happy to share that Cypress Groves, Book Two of the Eternal Journey is getting close to being ready for release.

Now is the time to meet the characters of the first story that have an incredible journey of their own. There’s imaginative Greye Fields, hunky Connor Donovan, even that snotty Desirae!

Lavender Fields has a different hold on each reader. Some are shocked, others are tickled. There is steamy heat, as well as raw language and real circumstances. I’ve been told it’s more than a paranormal romance.

Cover Art Lavender Fields

“Lavender Fields is a romance with a racial twist that makes it a departure from the conventional works of the genre……Perry brings us two lovers who are clearly drawn, sympathetic, and who keep us rooting for them and their relationship even when all seems lost. If you’re a romance fan and have any kind of social conscience, you’ll enjoy Lavender fields.”

If you’re looking for a gift idea, a new read, or just want to hang out with some local authors and talk books, I’ll be the one with a big smile on my face.

Thanks for stopping by.

(here! …..and there too if you can make it!)

The Editing Process

Any writer who has had their work published professionally can speak for days about the editing process. The editor and author work together to hopefully put the best story together that they can. I will admit when I was assigned my first editor with Lavender Fields, I thought it was all about fixing a few typos here and there.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

My editor Cheryl, was very serious about what she did. As the author, I could choose (for the most part), to accept or decline her suggestions. She truly knew her stuff. Of course, looking back I wish I’d listened more.

This business of writing is a learning experience at every turn. I’m constantly finding new ways to improve my craft. I’m in edits now for book two, Cypress Groves. I have a new editor, Jack, who like Cheryl is very capable and great to work with. I’m reminded of things I’ve learned but forgotten, and given feedback of things I wouldn’t have thought to know.

One thing I’ve heard over and over again is, remember to enjoy the journey from idea to publication. It is never an easy journey, but always worth it in the end.

I’m excited that though it’s taken me longer than anticipated to get here, I do now truly appreciate the process, and look forward to sharing this new story with the world.

Well, back to work I go! I’ll share when things get close to wrapping up.

 

A Miner Story

This is a story of a life well-lived, and one taken far too soon. I’d like to start at the beginning though.

Five Points Elementary school in Fairborn, Ohio. I’m in 6th grade. I’ve lined up with my classmates against the lockers to enter single-file into the lunchroom. Loud laughter catches my attention. As I turn to the sound, a blur of a running body whips past me. A big white-toothed grin is all I see. A few days later, this blur went by again, but slowed in compliance by the nearby adult monitoring the hall. This time however, that smile was aimed right at me. This boy was older, but I knew even then he was special.

Over the next couple of weeks, I found myself sprinting after him down the halls. I mean, if he liked to run, why not chase him?

Eventually, in high school, I caught him. He was mine and I was his. He taught me how to drive in an old Chevy Nova, and we also learned many other things in that car too.

Very soon after graduating, we learned we were expecting. At 6 months pregnant, the Mayor of Fairborn (whom I’d interviewed the previous year for the school newspaper), married us. Her small, but neat living room was the backdrop for our exchange of vows. My father even lent us his wedding band to use for the ceremony.

Yeah, we were young.

The next stop for him was boot camp. Not just any boot camp mind you, but the United States Marine Corps. He was enjoying his 21st birthday, on a payday no less when he’s called into the commander’s office. He received the news his son had just been born.

Happy birthday and Surprise-it’s a boy!

We were young, married with a baby and with us joining him later in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, a long way from home.

We had some good times, some bad times, and some truly great times. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to last. We divorced, but always remained friends.

Our lives went in the directions they did, seeing us both remarried to other people. Jared, our son, was to be the only child I would have.

He went on to father 4 more incredibly handsome, smart, and loving boys. His family remained in Ohio, while my son and I ended up in Washington State. When Jared completed basic training in the Army, his father and grandmother drove to Georgia to stand next to me to watch him graduate.

Over the years since, life happened. We lived our life and he lived his. Could there have been more communication during those times, yes. But like I said, this was life.

Forward to 2015. I’ll never forget the call. When the wife of your ex-husband calls, not a problem. When she gives the phone to him so he can tell you himself he has cancer-that’s a problem.

Needless to say, I got on the phone to my son, and broke the news to him. During the weeks and months to follow, I found myself re-connected to my ex-husband and his wife through Facebook, texts and phone calls.

When I could, I got on a plane and flew back to Ohio to see him, and NOT say goodbye. He and his wife picked me up from the airport. My heart sank at his aged appearance.

His mom, Elaine, who basically claimed me from the day we met, ended up staying with me at my hotel. She needed the distraction. I welcomed her wisdom, her company and her tears.

I had met his wife and boys years before. It was amazing to see how they had all grown. I also found a sister in spirit connection with Melissa. We laughed at how we hadn’t been best friends before this. My birthday was coming up, and they presented me with a cake, and I played in the yard with their grandkids.

Those few days I was there were special, poignant, tearful and meaningful. I purposely didn’t say goodbye to him when I left.

For the next 2 years, we stayed in touch. Phone calls and texts allowed me to be in the loop of his progress. Things were looking positive. I remember thinking, if anyone could beat cancer, it was him. Everyone knows; Marines are badass, and they never walk away from the fight.

I stood fast in never ending our phone calls with goodbye. I’m not badass, just stubborn. My heart rejoiced when he and our son finally got to talk. I wish it had happened sooner, but happy it happened nonetheless.

It turned out, this was to be a fight he could not win. His heart had broken at the tragic, unexpected loss of one of his sons with another woman (not me or Melissa).

After all he went through being sick, being brave, having multiple surgeries and experimental procedures, his body had simply had enough.

This past Tuesday morning, I got the call. He was gone.

The boy, who only went by ‘Miner’; who had run past me, then from me in the halls; who was popular and athletic; who participated in break-dance competitions, and was super smart with electronics and engines. The man who held our newborn son on his bare chest as they napped, and even babysat my best friend’s sick daughter in the hospital. The man who showed up to comfort me when my mom died. The man who was my first true love was gone.

I haven’t had the heart wrenching, soul-crushing wailing cry yet. A part of me thinks it’s because after witnessing my mother fight cancer, and what I know he went through, there’s a sense of relief that he is no longer in any pain, and is no longer suffering.

His spirit was always strong. Now it always will be, wherever he is.

I will cherish those beautiful memories of my long-time friend. This isn’t goodbye, it’s until we meet again. I know he is now running again somewhere with a big bright smile on his face.

WILLIAM MINER JR.

April 30, 1966 ~ July 18, 2017

Rest in Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Authors- A Snapshot

Since my debut novel, Lavender Fields was published, I’ve had the opportunity to sit on a couple of different panels to talk about the book and my journey to being published.

I recall one writing conference I attended when I first started seriously writing had local writers I admired and truly enjoyed reading. It was amazing seeing the real people who had written these books, and then shared their experiences behind the stories inspirations and concepts.

So, since I’ve been asked, I’m sharing here the idea of; If I could create the ultimate conference panel of some of my favorite authors ever, what would that be like.

Well, unbelievably amazing of course!

It took me awhile to post this, as a part of me thought the idea of thinking through this list would be overwhelming and more than a bit daunting.

What I didn’t realize was how much a chance like this could influence not just myself as a writer, but writers and of course readers all over. We all have those authors, some, at least for me. stemming back to my childhood. Their imagination, personal stories and success keep me humbled, inspired and always allowing the next story to work its way in my brain. To have the chance for a one on one session with some of these people would be a dream come true. There’s even now several I have met since becoming published who shine as wonderful examples of the type of author I’d like to be someday.

Please know, this list is by no means complete, but serves at least as a snapshot compilation of some of the authors that have in their own way shaped me as a person, as a woman, and as a writer.

I won’t bore you with my childhood, but Dr. Seuss, AA Milne, and J.M. Barrie, introduced me to strange, interesting, and unconventional characters and stories that sparked that desire to fantasize, pretend and play.

Of course Judy Blume was there at that coming of age when everything is changing and your mind and body changes are as equally awkward and at times just as lonely.

Edgar Allan Poe, and Oscar Wilde gave me goosebumps, both with the macabre style and penchant for darkness in storytelling. (Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson!) I found it fun to be scared. (Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, Night Stalker, Tales from the Crypt, sorry I digress!) This would then turn me onto the works of one of the biggest horror masters, Stephen King, and then Anne Rice (who I was ecstatic to actually meet, and her erotica is pretty steamy!)

Jules Verne – Come on, talk about creating stories of fantastic adventure!

Then came the romance! Danielle Steele was phenomenal, but Nora Roberts was by far my go to author! Not be left out, Nicholas Sparks had me ugly crying every time. I’ve been a longtime fan of Gerri Russell, who is incredibly generous and wonderful in person.

Loving a good mystery that kept me tuned in, guessing and page turning is still Dan Brown, James Patterson, and local celeb Robert Dugoni is now also included in my library.

I would love to have this dream panel of esteemed (and let’s face it, eclectic) guests in a beautiful old underground secret library, in a large room with rows upon rows of wall to wall books. Among the stately wood shelving and incredible architecture would be comfortable armchairs arranged in a circle. The lighting would be just the right balance of visibility and atmosphere. There’d be some sort of a tea service and delectable things to nibble on. (Perhaps a cocktail meet and greet at the beginning)

Set in this magical space where time doesn’t apply- like “A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff” (Thanks Dr. Who for that!) , I’d spend time with each author, learning more about how their stories came to be, in their own words.

Like I said, this invite list is but a very small smattering of some of my favorite authors from the past and present. The past that shaped me then, and the current who shape me still. Without the life experiences of those times and those stories that saw me through them, I wouldn’t be blogging before you today.

Speaking of authors to know and love, Solstice Publishing/Summer Solstice helped make my dream come true and is made up of an amazing group of authors. I recommend checking their website, as you could find your next favorite author.

Also visit book conferences, festivals and events that feature local authors. Who knows who will be your next favorite! Use this tool to find and create your own event, maybe a book club, fairy tale festival or author convention.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey Continues

I am very excited to share that Cypress Groves, book two in the Eternal Journey Series, has been accepted for a publishing contract! Thanks once again to Solstice Publishing!

And yes, I am already prepping book three.

I am awaiting an editor to be assigned. From there,  I will still have the cool finishes to complete that a book needs before it hits the shelves. Editing can be time consuming, and a lot of work, but it’s the hard work that brings it that much closer to being done.

The Eternal Journey series has been such a part of my life for such a long time now. I love where this story has taken me, with all the interesting, complex and unforgettable characters. All the scenes, conversations and locations have been a wonderful part of the writing process as well.

I will post here as Cypress Groves progresses from an accepted manuscript to finished and published novel.

In this next leg of the journey, old and new characters meet in a small town that up until now has been safe and idyllic. Mysterious strangers bring more with them than just a mysterious past, and of course, there’s romance!

Also, if you haven’t checked out the first in the series, Lavender Fields, I highly suggest you check it out.

Cypress Groves is easily a stand alone story on its own, but Lavender Fields offers some  background on a pivotal character in the series.

Stay tuned, as the journey continues.

 

Into the Groves

So far, 2017 has been an interesting year. I bought a new car, and found myself seeking new employment. I’ve also spent time with my amazing son as well as many wonderful friends I’m blessed to have in my life.

With having a little more time on my hands, I’ve had the time to put the finishing touches on book two of the Eternal Journey Series, Cypress Groves.

I’m hoping to submit to my publisher by month’s end. It is a long time coming, for sure! Now that spring is upon us, it feels right that life is offering new changes and challenges.

I am looking forward to what lies around the corner for me. I am optimistic about the positive, hopeful things, while being realistic about possible ‘challenges’.

With the new friends I’ve gained over the last year, I’m excited about the opportunity to spotlight their new endeavors and happenings in their world.

Stay tuned for more coming news about Cypress Groves. It is a different story altogether from Lavender Fields, but stands on its own as a romance with a paranormal twist. You’ll see some special visitors and cameos from Lavender Fields, as well as great new characters, settings, and of course a new romance!

My mantra lately is You get what you choose to focus upon.

Right now, the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

Time to soak up some good rays and focus on good energy and changes.