About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Widow's World: The Dating Game #women #grief #asmsg

Why is it that the word widow scares so many people? As I date, I find that is happening a lot. Men shy away from the word--and me--as if I'm a sacred person and they're afraid they'll be competing with the memory of my late husband.

You know what? Maybe some of that is accurate. My late husband set the bar high in terms of expectations. He never said an unkind word about anyone for as long as I knew him, he worked hard, he told me every day that he loved me (even if we were fighting about something), and took my breath away with his smile until the day he died. I expect to be treated with respect. Who knew that would be too much to ask?

Since I've been dating, which has only been for the past few years and nothing I've thrown myself 100% into, I've heard it all. I've been told that I shouldn't admit being a widow or that I should at least hold off telling a man that until several dates down the road. (Wouldn't that be like lying?) I've heard that being a widow is less attractive than being a divorcee because men feel they will never measure up in comparison to the late husband. One man also told me that, when he hears the word 'widow,' he automatically assumes the woman has too much emotional baggage.

I laugh at all of the above statements because they are so stereotyped that I can't even scratch the surface of how lame they are.

Dating is much harder now that I'm in my 40s, but here's my attitude about it: It's just a date, not a marriage proposal. When I go on a date, I'm not looking for husband number two. If it leads to that, awesome, but I'm mainly looking to make a connection. If that doesn't happen, oh well. The world still spins.

One man I went out with wanted a guarantee that we would be together forever. Well, guess what? I thought I would be together forever with my late husband, but it didn't happen. He died. Being a widow has taught me that there are no guarantees, that life is too precious to take it too seriously all of the time, and that I'm a strong woman who's seen the face of tragedy and survived--so, yes, I expect respect not pity or lectures about what or what not to say.

Widows--and widowers--may seem intimidating to some, but I believe that's because we've known love in all of its intensity. We won't settle. We're fierce combatants on life's battlefield who are still standing and laughing because we know the value of this beautiful life we're living.

I'll keep dating, without making guarantees or compromising myself, because one thing is true: I know love is worth having.

Wishing you all green lights ahead--
Amazon (Universal link): getBook.at/FreeFall
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/H0QBCr
OmniLit (all ebook formats): http://goo.gl/QFZa7G

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Widow's World: Recreating Yourself #women #inspiration #asmsg

During the grief process, people often use words and phrases like..."let go"..."move on"...or "start over." While it's hard enough as a widow to adjust to the empty side of the bed, solo parenting, and the loss of your best friend, the idea of our identity as wife no longer being valid often gets brushed aside.

Over time, people who used to be your friends no longer know what to do with you. You aren't part of the couple they had always known so couples' parties become a thing of the past. Your emotions are up and down all over hell and back so it's difficult to know what to say or when to say it. You've lost the love of your life and that has forever splintered you into who you once were and who you are becoming.

What's worse? When you try to become someone different--to let go, move on and start over--the people who used to know you may balk because you're so different and may try to actually keep you in that picture they hold of you.

All of the above is normal. It's part of the process and it's okay for you to break free of that old identity. Just like it's necessary to throw out clothes that no longer fit, it's also necessary to reject a definition of self that no longer works for you.

Recreate yourself by trusting new ideas you may have about trying a class or buying clothes your husband would have hated. Finding the 'new you' is an experiment so explore options. Did you always want to go to Paris? Go, even if you go solo. Did you once have a career that stimulated you? It's not too late to get back into it. Have you always wanted to move to the beach? Small houses are a lot cheaper than big ones! Don't hold back--and don't let anyone else hold you back. Give it all you've got because you're worth the effort!

The truth of the matter is that life is about constantly evolving. Even if this tragedy hadn't happened in your life, you may have found yourself at a crossroads where the old patterns or routines no longer felt right.

Letting go of that 'old you' may feel like another loss. Friends you knew as a couple become distant. People who you met while in the throes of grief may think of you as "that crazy widow." Family may want to keep viewing you as the person they've always known so your changes may scare them. Be okay with all of that because, like a Phoenix who rises from the ashes, it's time for you to be happy and embrace every moment of your life.

Wishing you all green lights ahead, 

Next week on 'A Widow's World': The Dating Game 

Amazon (Universal link): getBook.at/FreeFall
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/H0QBCr
OmniLit (all ebook formats): http://goo.gl/QFZa7G

Monday, June 16, 2014

From the editor's desk: What to look for in an editor #amwriting #amediting #asmsg

Professionalism is key.
All too often I hear about 'bad' editors who either attempt to rewrite an author's manuscript or who simply aren't qualified to do the job. Editing is more than proofreading. It's also not a skill that can be faked.

Here are the things an editor should offer:
  • Professional credentials. Yes, everyone, this is a profession and needs to be respected as such. How long has the person been in the business? What sort of experience do they have? Are they educated? 
  • Comprehensive editing. This includes story development suggestions/critique, knowledge of show vs tell, grammar, continuity issues, and basic proofreading. 
  • Editorial notes. It is standard for an editor to provide you a summary of both the good and 'in need of improvement' aspects of your manuscript. 
  • A contract. A written agreement protects both the author and the editor. It should cover all that is expected from both parties, including deadlines and payment methods. 
  • At least two rounds of edits. A complete edit cannot happen in one sitting. There needs to be at least two rounds of back and forth with the author. The first round usually consists of a thorough, comprehensive edit complete with suggestions and editorial notes. The second is a read through of the author's revisions to clean up any resulting fall-out in structure and proofreading. The cost should include this and should also be stated in the contract. 
Frequently Asked Questions:
  • Should a legitimate editor edit a few chapters for free to get a 'feel' for each other? My answer is: do you write for free? The answer is no. There is no guarantee in this scenario that you will hire the editor and, for all the editor knows, you may simply want to polish the first three chapters to submit to an agent. Do not base your choice of editor on whether or not he/she will give you a free sample edit. Editing takes time and, as the saying goes, time is money,
  • What if I don't like the suggestions my editor makes? Well, that is your perrogative. Ultimately, it is your story. The editor can only make suggestions based on their knowledge and experience. Editors also know that you need to stay true to your vision. However, before outright rejecting what your editor says, think on it carefully and decide what would be best for your story.
  • How do I know if an editor is reasonably priced? That's a good question. You can go to the Editorial Freelancers Association for a list of national averages (US) here: http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php Also, look at a few different editors, see if they have references or a workload you can see. As with most things in life, cheapest isn't always the best option.
  • Why is a professional editor preferable over my Aunt Sue who is an avid reader? Unless Aunt Sue is an educated editor or published author, I would suggest avoiding that scenario. Professional editors come with an education and experience. Aunt Sue may also try to protect your feelings. An editor--a good one--will be honest in a constructive way. 
  • What is the difference between a beta reader and an editor? A beta reader will let you know if the story is any good, or if there are story 'holes' and things of that nature. An editor goes deeper to the structure of the book that a novice simply can't see--unless it's a faulty structure, in which case a reader will simply say "there's something not right here." An editor will pinpoint what's not right so you can fix it.
  • What if I only want something proofread? Well, I would ask you 'why.' Traditionally published authors have their manuscripts scrutinized in a comprehensive edit. Why do you feel you don't need that same scrutiny?
I've covered most of the bases here, but will gladly answer any other questions you have in the comments below. Write on!

A.L. Easton
Professional editor
Mountain Moxie Publishing Services 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Inspiration Born from Ruins #Romance #BlogChat

Today we're fortunate to have Author J.C. Conway visit and share his inspiration behind his novel, Hearts in Ruin. Fascinating stuff! Thank you for stopping by, John. 
About Creating Hearts in Ruin
JC Conway
Hearts in Ruin circled my head for over a year before I put pen to paper in a serious way. Two ideas formed its basis: (1) the notion of an ancient comet striking Earth and obliterating most traces of an early civilization; and (2) the thought of a smart, confident grad student preparing for her final dig only to have it usurped by a guy chasing archaeological clues of those forgotten people. While the two would ordinarily make a perfect pair—both brilliant, while she is diligent and he is inspired—their circumstances put them at odds.

With those thoughts in mind I drafted character sketches, researched archaeological methods and principles, and discovered the second conflict that could drive the plot—the inherent struggle between preservation and development. By then the characters were coming to life in my mind and their predicament had enough tension to support a story about a genuine dig without turning the tale into a cliché archaeological treasure hunt.

The story was a pleasure to write, including the glimpses into the lives of two Paleolithic lovers, and I'm very happy to see from customer reviews that readers, male and female alike, enjoy the story and get caught up in the resolution of Andrea's and Daniel's dilemmas.

The following scene is a first kiss. Daniel and Andrea have been at odds a great deal, despite an undeniable attraction. The two are at a formal dinner at Daniel's former university—strictly business and Daniel has been uneasy in the company of his former colleagues all evening, being forced to navigate academic politics instead of being in the field…

Let's take a peek inside...

Later in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa. He inhaled. Even here, amid streets, buildings, miles of surrounding commercial and residential neighborhoods, the scent of the uncivilized desert predominated. Its stillness soothed him.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela’s dress. He’d seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn’t think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let’s just say I’ve already been to enough meetings, dinners, and functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It’s a pretty school.”
He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy-League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don’t really know why you left. Just because they didn’t support the dig? It seems you could’ve worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel’s throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn’t have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn’t work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You’re about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slide to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they’d both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren’t alone.

Eyes widened, they released their holds and turned.

“I don’t mean to disturb you.”

Daniel regained his bearing. William Lassiter and Morgan Hamilton stood near the patio door holding cocktail tumblers.

More about the book…

Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she's one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.

As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers' bulldozers are poised to level the site.

Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense. Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!

Available now!
·       Liquid Silver Books http://www.lsbooks.com/hearts-in-ruin-p904.php

More about the author

J. C. Conway is a romance, science fiction and fantasy author, writing novels and short stories for adults, young adults and teens. He is also a complex litigation attorney, teacher, active supporter of community groups and projects, and an advocate for mental health. 
Hearts in Ruin is J. C. Conway's debut novel, inspired by a combination of his interest in Paleolithic archaeology and his understanding of deep-seated conflict in academic and post-academic settings. His short stories have appeared in many magazines and online publications. Two of his short stories will be published this summer by The Colored Lens and Comets & Criminals. Links to other stories in romance, science fiction and fantasy can be found at his website.
J. C. Conway has been an avid storyteller for as long as he remembers. His writing passion began with a grade-school assignment to write anything he liked, which, at the time, included dinosaurs, robots, army heroes and alien invaders. Since then he's added simmering passion, tense internal conflict and emotional dilemmas. To learn more, visit his website at http://jcconway.com, his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/J.C.Conway.Writer, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jcconwaywriter. Also feel free to visit http://HeartsInRuin.com, the website dedicated to his debut novel.