Minette Lauren

Published: 107 articles

To be Remembered…

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Today is someone’s birthday. Today someone will marry and start a new life. Today has a new beginning for so many other’s hopes and dreams. It is on this day that life is also doling out loss, hardship and weighing others down. A loss so great that if it doesn’t kill you with grief, it somehow defines you with a certain darkness that will never let the sun shine quite so bright. We are the sum total of our experiences. The choices we make direct us. We cannot control all the events of our days, but we can define ourselves by what we do with the light and dark moments we are given.

My mother once said that I was a sunny child and my sister, Rebecca, was night. Cinderella and Snow White she called us in one photograph. It wasn’t that I never saw sadness or that Rebecca never saw happiness, it’s how we chose to wield the light and dark moments in our lives. My sister took her experiences and used them to inspire her to write. Her intellect, dramatic flair and wit is what defined her. Even through her periods of sickness, she could still find a reason to laugh… or to be a little surly and make us laugh. A stronger will to survive is not known to me. I, myself, do not possess that strength or half of her intellect. I am not an actress. My emotions are quite transparent, and I am not a charismatic bull-shit artist. My sister described me as a cold-pretty in our youth. Apparently I’m only sunny to those who know me. I think this is part of my sit back and see what cards everyone is playing. My sister often had a Royal Flush. Someone you didn’t want to find on the other side of a heated debate. We often disagreed, and for years of our adult lives, I do not think we really knew each other. She was reading Shakespeare by the time she was nine and I wanted a Barbie Dream House.

When she had her stroke two years ago, they told us that would be the end. I suffered greatly thinking we would not have time to say goodbye. I think she heard the doctors and decided to prove them wrong. That night she did a complete turnaround, and started repairing her heart. The speech therapist said she had never seen a language center so peppered with damage and that Rebecca would never speak again. For an English Professor, this is a death sentence in itself. We never gave up on her speaking, and more importantly, she never gave up. She came a long way in her two years, and she struggled with multiple health issues that complicated reading further, but she had read three novels in her last four weeks.

She was the one person I depended on to point me to a good book, and I often told her I needed her expertise again. There is a lot of junk to wade through before finding something to savor. I think this inspired her. I talked often of books I have read or something I was writing myself. Rebecca was much loved by our small family, and though she would have rather lived in New Jersey and taught right up until her last breath, I know she was happy to be loved and at home when she made her grand exit. My contemplation for the blog today is about taking the time to appreciate the strength in others and celebrate their accomplishments. Direct your life into the light and celebrate your own feats in a way that will impact others to speak well of you when you are gone.

Back to Work!

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I found lots of inspiration in Greece. Yesterday I spent the day reading then fleshing out the first scene of the sequel to DDCB, our first book. I have been itching to write, but have been trying to practice finishing what I start. I have a book that is 20,000 words into a story that needs attention, and we are editing a second book that is complete for future submission. I promised not to start anything else until the editing is complete, but I was inspired and needed to work! The manuscript that has been accepted is with an editor now, so I would be wasting my time to edit what’s currently being edited. We are a third of the way through editing book two, but we put it aside to focus on book one. This leaves me hanging in the breeze, so I decided to do what I love. We always knew the second book would be about our bad-boy, Lenny. He is Brad Pitt hot with  lots of issues. We created him in our first novel as the antagonist. He was supposed to play a very small part, but he is the character you love to hate, and are routing for redemption in the end. Lenny will be redeemed in book two and have a chance to score love. I’m so excited to write a happy ending for someone, who in real life would have fallen through the cracks. Swim Suits drying, so I think I’ll work a little more.

Edge of Tomorrow….

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My time in Greece is coming to an end. I will spend a few more days in the city of Athens, but alas I am checking out of the Arion Hotel. I highly recommend the oceanside bungalows. The infinity pool at our room was amazing, but the view of the Agean and the sound of the waves lapping the shore has truly unknotted my core. Matsuisha has the best sushi and outdoor dining in Athens, though hotel Grande Bretagne had a wonderful night time view of the Parthanon. The Spa was nice and the massage therapist skilled, but swimming in the ocean was my favorite part of the whole trip. I have renewed my creative energy and have many paths I will explore in my research. Scotland is a mere three weeks away and I am hoping to get a few things done before then. Holidays are good for the soul. Treating yourself to time spent relaxing is essential for good health and inner speculation. Appreciation of life’s gifts are what gets us through the rough. I have enough Agean moments now to sail me through a few choppy seas.

Do it yourself?

 

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I know the clock is ticking and it’s time to choose what to do with the manuscript. I googled publishers and publishing, and apparently the world of publishing is changing. Anyone can post their book to Amazon for free and receive 70% commission! There are web sites that will create a digital book cover for you at a whopping $5, and if you can market your book well enough, you will earn higher placement in Amazon’s suggested reads. As I mentioned in my last blog, I read 99% from my Kindle or Kindle app. I haven’t entered a Barnes and Noble in a very long time, except when I went to see what books were in print. The problem is editing. It’s is a major issue with these fly by night publishers, and though there is a good story being told, the reader loses interest when there are too many errors. I’m not the best at editing, and my love of story telling makes me blind to misplaced commas, too many exclamation points and dialogue tags with action tags. This concerns me. If I want to read a story that has minimal grammatical flaws, so do other readers. If an E publisher isn’t perfecting the book before its out there for everyone to read, people might avoid future downloads from that publisher… Hence put my titles aside and opt for easier reads. I can see where someone who understands kindle publishing could make a mint at uploading other people’s books with minimal cost and score half the profit. So who do I trust to publish?

Waking to a Dream

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If a picture is worth a thousand words,  I have written two-thousand today.

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My view from breakfast and then my view from the beach. Everything is beautiful and I am enjoying every moment. Reading Protecting LuLu on my Kindle Paper White. I have to admit, my first Kindle was a gift I wasn’t too excited about, because I am a turtle when it comes to technology and I thought I would miss the weight of the book in my hand, miss turning the pages, and making dog ears on their corners….I do not miss paper books for fast reading. I do enjoy old books, and hunting for first editions at estate sales or vintage shops, but I love being able to carry a hundred titles in my purse at any given time. Kindle is even on my cell phone and tablet for other conveniences. I try to remind myself that change is good, because in the midst of all the things we are bombarded with on a daily basis, some advances will free up our time or at least a little space in our purse.

Glorious Grecian Research!

imageI am half of Zari Reede and now part of a Greek family. This is fun for me since I am a true southern mutt raised mostly in Louisiana. I have always been interested in people from abroad. My friends are made up of South Americans, Central Americans, Greeks, Irish, Spaniards,  Eastern Europeans, and American born Asians. When I hear an accent, I am drawn to it. I want to know more. My mind runs with a story just by looking at a picture, but new people in my life are also new characters😀 This is a family vacation to celebrate my recent marriage, to an amazing Greek born, American man. I will take in all the beauty of Greece and it will inspire many future stories.

Food for thought…

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           I mentioned our addiction to writing is like eating double stuffed Oreos with fine champagne, but I think champagne with cake is my all-time favorite. Someone once asked, if I were trapped on a desert island and could only have one meal a day – the same meal everyday, what would it be? I figured this would include an entree and one side dish. If you think lobster right away, think about this… it’s everyday for as long as you live! I said grilled chicken breast with a baked potato. It’s healthy and I never get tired of eating it. If I was given a desert – only one desert for the rest of my life – it would be CAKE. My favorite is vanilla, with Bavarian creme and butter-cream icing. I love champagne but I like to indulge in an ice cold Pepsi for cake occasions as well.

          I once went to Alaska on a float trip, where they fly you out and drop you off in the middle of nowhere. You float for two weeks down a river and they pick you up in a float plane. Hardest vacation of my life, but beautiful. I could only take one food item besides the food on the list for everyone’s consumption. While others were packing Jack Daniels or cookies, I brought my 24 pack of Pepsi. I knew I could have several a day to get my sugar fix. They all made fun of me until sometime into the trip everyone wanted a sugary soda…I had gold!

          I have tried to give up soda on several occasions, but it’s hard. Stress makes soda wonderful, and when you are sad, the bubbles tickle your nose and make you smile. I like the way the carbonation hits your tongue and rockets down your throat to flood your inner core with a caffeine explosion. It splashes in my empty stomach on a hot afternoon, and whizzes me around to stop in the midst of what I am doing and say, Ahhh, that’s what life is about, enjoying a moment.

Minette Lauren 08-06-15