Posted in Entertainment, Inspiration, writing

Writing Wednesday: The Makings of a Story

Where do the ideas for your books? This is a common question asked of authors by readers and aspiring writers. The answers vary. For myself, the subjects that I’ve addressed in my novels have been retrieved for the pages of my life. The stories aren’t biographical by any means, but they’ve been sparked by things I experienced.

For example, Unfinished Business my first novel, is about a woman addicted to a past love for what she realizes are the wrong reasons. She learns the hard way that this man is no good for her while risking the possibility of a new and true love. My personal experience was I was madly in love with man from my past. I believed that we were soulmates, meant to be together. Even through other relationships (marriages, too), I thought we’d find our way back to each other and live happily ever after. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m accepting that he’s not the man God has for me. Nevertheless, the idea of being addicted to a man and the havoc that can wreak on a woman life is the story I created.

My second novel, Reconciliation to Hell, is about a married couple who are trying to rebuild their marriage after the husband had habitually cheated on the wife. She endured it because she valued the lifestyle he afforded her and didn’t want to give it up. But as soon as signs from his previous behaviors arise, she realize she doesn’t trust him and she’s done being made a fool of. For this novel, it was the title that was torn from the pages of my life. I’d divorced my first husband after 3 years of marriage, not because he’d done anything wrong, but because my heart was somewhere else (see Unfinished Business). He spent five years telling me he still loved me and that I was at fault for making our family a statistic of the black community–another fatherless home, single mom raising the children. So, after another failed relationship, I caved and reconciled with him. DISASTER! The man had clearly forgotten to tell all of his lady friends that we had remarried. They were calling and all times of the night and he was obviously still dealing with them, which led to our second and FINAL divorce. I shaped the story of Reconciliation to Hell around the married couple introduced in my first books.

I swear my life is so interesting that the ideas just keep coming. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from being open to a new idea, from an unexpected place and time. I was helping a new gentlemen friend clean out his aunt’s apartment who hasn’t lived in the apartment in nearly a year. The family is finally ending the lease and since he’s the only one laid off from work during CVOID–everyone is working from home–he’s stuck with the bulk of the work. Anyway, for the story…

We’re going through the stacks of paperwork and throughout them, there are these letters and cards from this man named Tod (not a typo, Todd spelled with one “d”). They were sent 2016-2018. Some were the holidays and others were just because. One letter included the verbiage, “This is for April”, perhaps rent money or a loan repayment. My guy friend and I laughed and kidded around every time we came across a correspondence from Tod.

“This better not be another letter from Tod,” he’d say. I probed for more of the story about his aunt and Tod. He was obviously someone special to her, and her to him. Dude, I’ll call him, tells me about his aunt having lived in New York for a time before the family moved to Detroit for factory jobs, though she’s a nurse. She met and had a relationship with Tod, during her early 20’s. When she moved to Detroit with her siblings, she and Tod maintained and on again, off again love affair that lasted throughout her adult life.

She and Tod are both in the 80’s now. And he just married sometime in 2018, the last year of any of his correspondence. Questions swirling around my head:

Was the only man who’d captured her heart in 60 years of her life?

Who did the man end up marrying?

Was their love out of convenience or love?

Is she didn’t become afflicted with Alheizmers, would she have responded to him and maybe they would have gotten married?

It’s so many ways this story can go for his aunt and Tod… Only time will tell.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Inspiration, Lifestyle

It IS National Reading Month

Let me tell you ..I am getting my “read” ON! And I’m loving it!

Books, books, and more books!

In recent years, I’d begun to feel like a fraud. Whenever I’d fill out some profile about myself, the first things I’d list about what I like to do are reading and writing.

Sure you do…when was the last time you read a book??? My inner critic would whisper in my ear.

As much I hated to admit it, I haven’t been the avid reader over recent years that I’ve continued to claim to be. But who would put that in a profile: former avid reader. So I decided to change that. Stop making excuses–working out, sorority meetings, graduate program, men, social events, etc– for not doing something that I vividly remember adding joy to my life. We make time for the things that are important to us. While I haven’t behaved like it, reading is very important to me, both as a form of entertainment and as a study of the craft of writing.

I began with the grandiose decision to fast television for the lent season. I’ve known for quite some time that this activity wastes a lot of precious, valuable time that could be spent much more productively. And then March 1st rolled around, kicking off National Reading Month.

With a little help from Audible.com and the endless time I spend alone in my bedroom during evening and weekends, I’ve been making great strides with reading for pleasure.

I picked this book up at Sam’s Club during the holiday season. I read a couple of chapters and then placed in on my book case. It was the first book I reached for to kick off this season of reading. I love how the themes in this books I select mature and grow as I do. This one is a books about two friends navigating dating as they adjust to empty-nesting.

Jasmine Guillory has become a new favorite author of mine after my girlfriend suggested one of her books, The Wedding Date, to me back in the summer. This month I listened to the other two books in the series.

A few days ago, I ordered another book that arrived yesterday. This book is multi-purposed to give me a similarly aged black woman’s experience with learning to live again after the death of her spouse and a learning tool for writing a memoir (yes, I’ve got my own story to tell).

I’m really enjoying getting back to my old self. It’s so important to make time for what you like. Spending so much time engaging meaningless activities is just so…meaningless. I’m so done with that!

With a little over two weeks left in the month and March, there’s still time to get some reading in. With so much going on with this Coronavirus, a good book might be just the thing to take your mind off of it for a few hours out of the day.

Excuse me as shamelessly plug my two books, Unfinished Business & Reconciliation to Hell as recommendations just in case you need somewhere to start. šŸ™‚

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Inspiration

Spiritually Speaking–No Title Necessary

I almost didn’t make it to church today. It was my plan to attend service and assist the Trustees, the ministry I serve on, with our first dinner sale of the year. I was up early enough to bake the last pan of chicken that I was making for the dinners. Then I decided to do some Yoga. Before I started the video on demand I decided to take an anti-anxiety medication recently prescribed by my doctor. I’d noticed the last couple of days my mind was all over the place preventing me from going to sleep. However, before I made it to the second Yoga position in the video, I could hardly hold myself while on my hands and knees. I didn’t get it. One minute I was fine, the next I felt like I was going to throw up or fall out. When I went back into my bedroom, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. I’d taken a strong sleep-aid medication!

Barely able to sit up straight on my Yoga mat, there was no way I could drive to church or stay awake long enough watch the chicken in the oven. I called my daughter, explained everything and she, of course, agreed to step in and take the chicken to the church. I was disappointed but safety first. After setting the timer on the stove and my phone for extra coverage, I laid down on the couch, falling in and out of sleep until the both the timers sounded.

By the time my daughter arrived home, I was up and drinking a cup of coffee. She was more than relieved when I told her that I was good to go. She didn’t need to make the church run for me. Win-win.

I made it to church in time to assist my ministry team with setting everything up and participate in communion, our first Sunday of the month tradition. On the way to the sanctuary, a young man walked through the doors of the fellowship hall. He was grumbling, clearly upset. With earphones around his ears I figured he was talking on the phone but his conversation was disturbing.

“I can’t stand these church people. They’re so fake. They always have something to say.” Ā He was fighting back tears. The other trustee and myself couldn’t help but stop and try to determine if he was talking to us or someone else, or if he needed help. When the other trustee probed, the young man pretty much repeated himself. She told him to come on back in the church. As the three of us got closer to the door he said something like every time he tries to get closer to God thatĀ theseĀ people always talking stuff to him, being hypocrites.

Considering this church has been my church home since I was a teenager. I wanted to know who had said something to offend this young man, and what, but this was not a time for nosey inquiries. Ā Instead of asking questions, I found my voice to speak the truth that was swirling around in my head as he was complaining.

“Honey,” I said like he was my son. “Every time you move closer to God, trying to live the way God wants you to, this is exactly what satan does. He uses, most times those closest to you or those who you’d least expect, to push all of your buttons and run you in the opposite direction of God. When that happens, just ask God to help and bless the offending person and go on about your day.” The young man appeared to feel some relief. He thanked me, then opened the door for myself and the other trustee–like a perfect gentleman–and the three of us made our way into the sanctuary.

Over the years there have been plenty of situations when I’ve been in the company of people expressing challenging life situations. But unlike today I remained silent not feeling it was my place to say anything. However, as a Christian, speaking up, is exactly what we are called to do. Notice I didn’t say as a Minister, Evangelist, or Deacon. Titles have nothing to do with spreading the word of God.

Believe me, I understand the fear and apprehension of speaking up in those situations. You’re likely to think that you don’t know enough, that your understanding is not deep enough, you don’t know the book, chapter, or verse of scripture of any verse to reference what you want to say. That’s how I was and still am more often that I care to admit.

What’s changed, though, is my desire for God to use me in the way He desires to. In recent years, I’ve been praying for understanding of His word and asking Him to use me to be a blessing to others as He sees fit. That’s a good place to start.

I didn’t wake up this morning planning to encourage anyone in the Lord. In hindsight, though, I have to wonder if my mistakenly taking that sleeping-aid medication was a plan of satan to keep me home, thus preventing me from encountering that young man today. Well…not today devil.

Let the church say Amen!

Naturally Your,

L.A.

Posted in Family, Inspiration, People

LA’s Summer Recap

Wow! Where has the summer gone? Mine, at least. Most of you have a few weeks left. Since my son started school a few days ago, I consider mine as good as over. What was supposed to be an easy, relatively stress free summer has been anything but. Ā I decided against a summer-long day program for my son. Not only is he 13 years old but the summer would have felt the same as the school year with dropping him off and arranging for someone else to pick him up thanks to the working -parent unfriendly hours. Ā The only one lucky enough to go on a vacation for a week–Boy Scout camp–was my son. I was so jealous.

My summer was supposed to be a break from writing–as if?–and taking a 10 week Project Management certification prep course, study on the days I didn’t have class, and enjoy some days on our local beach with my husband. I bought a new swimsuit and everything!

As it happened, I was busy with so much more than class and didn’t make it to a beach–not one time. Ā Searching for a house, doctor appointments with my husband, and unexpectedly, yet gladly, making some necessary moves for my writing business. Namely, doing a photoshoot (preview on my FB page) investing in having my website professionally designed, and a couple of girls’ night out events.

Before I knew it the whole month of July had passed and it was time to get my son ready for school. If I didn’t make a move quick, I was going to lose the short window I had left to enjoy some summer sun. So I combined a few vacation days with the weekend for the most consecutive days I’ve had off all summer. It was only then that I finally got to wear my new swimsuit and sit under the sun. Not at the beach but at the waterpark that I promised my Ā son to take him to before he went back to school. I made it with a few days to spare! Don’t want to be that parent that breaks promises. Kids remember those things.

Vacation or no vacation. Stress or stress-less. This has turned into a great summer. Not only did I successfully complete the PMP prep course, find a house (closing at the end of the month), I’m all set to officially release my new novel on schedule! Can’t ask for much more than that.

How was your summer? Did you do all you set out to do or more? Tell me all about.

Posted in Lifestyle, Women

Uhh…Happy New Year

Did I wish you all a happy new year? I don’t think so. Well, I’m sure I’m still within the New Years grace period to do so…Happy New Year!

I’m excited about so many things for 2015.

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For starters, I’ll finally be publishing my second novel in the spring! Check out my literary site http://lajefferson.com for more info. That’s been so long in the making (2010) I could stop there–but I won’t. As a multifaceted woman, my to-do list doesn’t stop there.

This week I’m attending a Christian education class at my church. It’s actually my second one but the first one was cut short. I’ve been chasing after the Lord in a way that I never have in recent months. I love God’s word and I really want to know it intricately–for myself and others. Increased prayer and study time more and eventually fasting ( not for weight loss purposes). Continuing on the education segment, I’ll also be enrolling in an advanced English course at a university.

You see, I have this little saying, you can say it’s my personal theme: As long as I have breath in my body, I have time… Time to do whatever I set my heart to do. Although I’m gainfully employed at a technology company and have been for close to 20 years, it’s wise to have a backup plan. Since I love reading and writing and I desire more time for writing a career in education is the way to go. College English or creative writing is my preference. However, my educational background is business. So after 5 years of turning this idea over and over in my head I finally took a step in that direction. That’s on my schedule for the summer.

Lastly but far from least… I’m turning 40 this year!!! And I’m in the works of planning a 5 or 7 day cruise for family to celebrate with me.

There’s more but I won’t make this post all about me šŸ˜€. What do you have planned for your 2015?

Naturally Yours,

L.A.