Monday, June 25, 2012
Looking Out the Window: Ann Lee Miller Talks about Her Childhood and How It Gave Her a Distinctive Voice for Her Writing / Free E-book Copies of Kicking Eternity
Ann says,"Anyone who leaves a comment will receive a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity. If you don't want to leave your e-mail address, you may request your free book at AnnLeeMiller.com."
Ann Tells about Her Childhood and Her Writing in E-mail From God
An e-mail from God showed up in my in-box last November, during a year I strained to wring out the deeper novel my literary agent was convinced I had in me. I needed to scrape out my emotions and smear them on the page. But I only knew how to shove them inside.
My Chatty Cathy doll tumbled over the stucco banister worn shiny from my family’s hands and those who had lived in the Miami apartment before us. Salty tears tickled my face. I scooped her up in chubby, six-year-old arms and pulled her string. But she who won me countless friends on a year-long Volkswagen van trip across Mexico would never talk again. “Quit your crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” my daddy said.
When I was thirteen, Mama drove me and my six-year-old brother away from Biscayne Bay and Daddy. We left the sailboat Daddy built in the back yard—where we and our belongings had been crammed into thirty-six feet that smelled of mildew and last night’s fish. Our blue Rambler braked at a house, peering owlishly through black-framed windows. Inside, cold terrazzo floors echoed our footsteps. Mama looked back at us, Jack-in-the-Box smile stitched in place. “Isn’t this a wonderful adventure?”
At nineteen I hurled myself at Jesus, Someone who didn’t think my emotions were too loud and bothersome, Someone who listened to my heart.
For three decades I locked my childhood and my emotions behind Get Smart steel grates. If I wasn’t such an Eeyore, if I had an ounce of gratitude, I would have said my childhood was okay. A lot of people suffered worse.
A flash of blond hair out a firehouse window unearthed a firefighter’s memory of a fifth-grade girl walking home from St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami. He was a sixth-grader who could never understand why his carpool whisked past me day after day as I plodded through a ramshackle, black neighborhood in the sticky heat headed for the marina.
Though we never spoke, the man googled me and e-mailed, “I always thought how sad and lonely you looked.”
I felt as though Jesus pressed three fingers into my right shoulder and said, “Yes, your childhood was sad.” The doors to my past and emotions burst open.
As a child I shut off my voice because it wouldn’t be heard or believed. Now I’m starting to come all-out with my husband, children, and friends. They listen and believe me. They embrace me. I am showing them the core of who I am. Color and intensity of feeling are shooting through my deadness. I am learning to pen pain and joy.
Ironically, in my writing people have told me for years that my unique voice is my strength. Could there be people desperate for my message, could my words be valuable?
God went out of His way to love a girl nobody listened to, to restore her voice and emotions. How can I not speak?
About Kicking Eternity
Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.
Check out Ann's links below
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022.
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Kicking-Eternity-ebook/dp/B0082GF8CE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336859346&sr=8-1
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Tyora talks about her new book, When Rain Falls. She'll be giving away a copy. To enter to win leave a comment with your email address.
Mentors and Girlfriends
Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.
– Proverbs 18:24 The Message
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
– Proverbs 18:24 New King James Version
In When Rain Falls, Candace lost two best friends. Two years ago it was her husband and now she has lost a friend she has known since junior high school. Both of these people died tragically. Could you blame her for asking the question. “Why does God keep taking away the people I love?” Have you ever asked a similar question to what Candace has asked? The scene below is an excerpt from what I call the “funeral” chapter.
"Like books suddenly without bookends, Candace felt as though she would topple over at any moment. The questions were killing her. Was there something she could have done? Should she have been more vigilant and nosed her way into Pamela’s business? Now she would never know.”
While Candace was struggling with bitterness and trying to cling to her faith, she wasn’t alone. First and foremost, God was right there with her. When Candace was really low, I felt compelled to write God’s word into the scene. His still quiet small voice penetrated her grief and lifted her spirits.
Secondly, God provided Candace with two mother figures. Interestingly enough, not until many edits later, did I realize how much these two women mirrored the older women who were mentors in my life. Beulah Samuels was a high-energetic character who played mother, matchmaker, prayer partner and comic relief. When a scene became really emotional, Beulah’s warmth made me, the writer, smile.
Seventy-six year old Fredricka Roberts brought a bit of humor herself. What she really brought to the story was her wisdom and a faith that had seen it all. Two of the most powerful scenes in When Rain Falls occur in Candace’s salon with Ms. Fredricka in her the salon chair. As a child growing up, I witnessed the extraordinary bond between a cosmetologist and her customer when I hung out in my mother’s beauty salon. It felt so appropriate to bring that bond to the pages of this novel.
When you are feeling down and experience adversity, I hope you turn first and foremost to God. He is the only one that can provide that sweet “peace that surpasses all understanding.” I also hope you have mentors or sistergirlfriends (brothers) that can lend a listening ear. Not so much offering you puffed-up empty advice, but a shoulder to lean on “when rain falls “in your life.
About When Rain Falls
Why does God keep taking away the people I love?”
This is the lamentation of widow CANDACE JOHNSON when her best friend is brutally murdered. Ensnared by a deep-rooted bitterness, seeping her faith day by day, Candace is determined to seek justice.
Detective Darnell Jackson is in need of clues fast. The police captain is coming down hard on him and his partner to find out who murdered Pamela Coleman, the daughter of a high profile judge. Darnell confers with Candace to get the inside track on events leading up to the murder. As the investigation heats up, his growing attraction for Candace plays havoc on Darnell’s judgment.
Little does she know, Candace’s quest to find the truth has led her straight to the killer. She’s already lost loved ones. Now Candace must choose to completely trust God with her own life.
Tyora Moody is an author and entrepreneur. Her debut novel, When Rain Falls, was released March 1, 2012 (Urban Christian). She is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. She owns and operates TywebbinCreations.com and DIYwithTy.com. The second book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Memories Fade, will be released in March 2013 (Urban Christian). Visit the author online at http://www.TyoraMoody.com.