In my debut novel Reckless Beginnings, the main character, Tammy Mellows is devastated when her older sister, Donna runs away and couldn’t be found. With no leads and nothing to go on, three years later, she’s still missing. I don’t want to give too much away, so you’ll have to read the book to see what happened to Donna. But I do want to bring awareness to National Missing Children’s Day which is on May 25th and organized by OJJDP – Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
When did National Missing Children’s Day Begin?
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day on the anniversary of Etan Patz’sdisappearance. Etan was six years old when he was abducted and was the first child to be profiled with a photo on a milk carton.
Each year the U.S Department of Justice, through OJJDP recognizes individuals, organizations, and agencies that have recovered missing and abducted children and protecting children from exploitation. The department recognizes the awareness each May at the annual Missing Children’s Ceremony in Washington D.C.
The flower, Forget-me-not is the recognized emblem for this day.
Facts about missing children
In my book, Tammy Mellow’s sister Donna was a juvenile when she ran away. According to the FBI National crime Infomation Center, (NCIC) – as of December 31st, 2017 there are 88,089 active missing person’s records. 32,121 of those are juveniles under the age of eighteen.
Statistics show many of these are runaways or abducted by family members, due to family disputes and custody battles.
Common law jurisdiction – A missing person can be declared dead in absentia or legally dead after seven years. The time frame can be reduced in major battles or massive disasters. Such as the attacks on 9/11.
In 1982 Jonny Gosh was reported missing to the West Des Moines Police Department by his parents, while he was delivering newspapers. At the time there was a customary three-day waiting period before police responded to a missing persons’ report. Gosh was never found, but his case prompted new laws, resulting in missing person’s reports involving minors are given immediate attention.
Kristen Smart – A student at California Polytechnic State University, disappeared after leaving a late night party on May 25th, 1996 during Memorial Day Weekend. Campus police were unsure if she left on vacation and did not treat her disappearance as a potential crime. She was never found. The delayed response resulted in the passing of the Kristen Smart Campus Act two years later.
Amber Alert – America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response. A child abduction alert system that originated in 1996. It was named after Amber Hagemania, a nine-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas. The system has saved over eight hundred children in America.
Using today’s technology to find missing juveniles
In my book, Donna ran away during the late seventies. A time when there were no cell phones or internet. If she’d had a cell phone, it could have been traced. A photo of her could have been splashed all over social media. Connections could have been made. More people would have been involved and the response would have been quicker.
Technology has aided in bringing many abducted and runaway children home to their families.
The Flip-side of Technology
Unforchantly, with the rise and popularity of social media, a world of risks and danger exists for young teens. A high number of runaways and abduction cases are because of social media interactions. Everyday juveniles are lured into meeting strangers they’ve met online.
If your child is active online, strict rules need to be enforced. Most importantly, talk to your child. Discuss the dangers and the signs to look for. Be involved with your child’s accounts. Check their friend’s lists. If they experience anything that seems suspicious, let them know its okay to talk to you about it and as a parent, make sure you follow up and report it.
Remember those still lost
On May 25th – National Missing Children’s Day I will be lighting a candle next to a bouquet of Forget-Me-Nots, for all the children that are still missing and hope they will be returned to the families safe from harm. I hope you will do the same.
What comes next after the editing of a book is complete?
I never thought I’d see the day where I could finally say – I’ve finished editing my book. Oh, what a joyous feeling it is. Halleluja! I began editing my debut novel “Reckless Beginnings” in August 2017. It’s been a grueling eight months. Hours have been spent checking every word, sentences, and paragraphs. Rewrites have been done, paragraphs have been shifted or removed completely. Once I had done everything I could possibly do, I handed it over to my editor to complete the task and return it to me polished and squeaky clean. She didn’t fail me.
The Final Read
After ten days with my editor, the manuscript was now back in my hands. I needed to do one more final read before returning it to my publisher.
After weeks of rain, snow, and winds where I’ve been cooped up indoors, we finally had a weekend of glorious weather with temperatures in the seventies. I took advantage of the perfect conditions by setting up the office outside on the grass to do my final reading.
With laptop in hand, plenty of bottled water, a fresh pot of hot tea, I dug my bare toes into the cool soft grass and began the process while admiring the wonderful view of Frazier Mountain. (I love my office:) )
Six hours later, I read the last line and smiled. With very little changes, I’m thrilled how the book has turned out and hope my readers will feel the same. What started out as an idea in my head over twenty years ago is now a novel, that I created. At that moment, I was feeling pretty damn proud of myself, if I must say.
With the editing stage behind me. (Oh, how I love to say that.) It’s time to move onto the next stage, which is page formatting. Satisfied with the manuscript, I emailed it back to the publisher to begin the process.
What is page formatting? This is where my publisher will transfer the manuscript into the format of a book. Margins will be added, font size and style will be decided. Pages will be numbered and the style of the chapter headings will be chosen.
For me this is exciting! The next time I see my book, it will look much different. The publisher told me that the process will take about five weeks. At that time I will need to go through it, making sure nothing got deleted or switched around. I’m estimating the task will take a few weeks.
This has been such a learning experience. My father was an author but I never saw this side of the process. There were many times I wanted to quit and just walk away. Unable to find the right words, burned out with editing, having no motivation and fearing criticism. Tears have been shed, many late nights have been spent with explosions of frustrations. I have put my heart and soul into this book and I’m so happy I didn’t give up. Even though we still have quite a ways to go before I actually get to hold my book in my hands, I’m beginning to feel the rewards. I’m not expecting to be the next Nora Roberts. I had a story to tell and I actually sat down and wrote it and to see someone reading my book, well that feeling will be priceless.
Never give up on your dreams, keep pushing through the obstacles that may come your way and tell yourself you can do this. What have you done that you’re proud of? Was there a time where you almost gave up? I would love to hear about it.
Other Authors that have achieved their goals and I’ve interviewed
Tammy Mellows is the main character in my debut novel “Reckless Beginnings.” Due to be launched this summer. At the young age of seventeen, she leaves her own country, England to move to the United States. Leaving the securities of her home, job, family, friends, and neighbors behind. Are you like Tammy Mellows? Did you move to another country?
While writing the story, I asked myself, why does someone move to another country? What’s so important to them, that they’re willing to leave so much behind? If you’re wondering why Tammy did? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 🙂
The book is fiction based on actual events. Tammy Mellow’s character is based on me and yes I left England to move to America. But again you will have to read the book to find out why. 🙂
What motivates a person to make such a big move
Moving to a new country is a life-changing event. You have to be one hundred percent sure you’re making the right decision. Some of the most common reason for someone wanting to move are:
Joining a family/loved one
Cost of living
Sparked by a vacation
For those moving abroad because of a new job or attending a school, college or university, it’s probably safe to say, they’d never visited the new country before. But With the offer of a good education or a better paying job, many will sacrifice and take the plunge. Hoping they will like the country they are about to call home.
In many cases, some may have visited their new destination prior and for some reason or another fell in love with it and a desire to move was ignited. Did Tammy Mellows Visit the States before she left England? Was she trying to better her life? Again, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 🙂
Moving to another country is no easy task
Once the decision has been made, that you’re going to take the giant leap and immigrate to a new country, it’s time to start planning for the move. You’ll want to organize the transition so everything goes smoothly. Start planning early and make an extensive list so nothing is forgotten and there are no loose ends. Sometimes a move as large as this can take up to a year to plan in advance. My character Tammy Mellows had just one week. Why only one week? You know the answer – read the book 🙂
What might be on your list will depend on your current living situations and the reason for the move but here are some things you should be considering:
Secure all important documents – Passports, birth certificate, insurance policies, tickets and visa/work permit if needed
Will you have health insurance in the new country?
Your home – If you own, will you be selling. renting or leaving vacant? What about the utilities?
Bank accounts – Will they need to be closed?
Vehicles – Are you going to sell them or have them shipped to your new destination. Consider the cost of shipping a car and buying a new/used one.
Pets – What are the laws for bringing animals into the country?
Furniture – Keep or sell?
If you have children – what are your plans for their education?
Income – How will you earn a living? Retirement? A secured job? What is the job market like in your field?
Once you arrive, where will you be living?
Make time to say goodbye to families and friends.
Was Tammy able to accomplish everything on her list? in just one week. Aah, you’ll just have to read the book. 🙂
Dealing with the emotions of moving
No matter how much you prepare for the transition to a foreign country, you can expect to experience a turmoil of emotions throughout the whole ordeal. From the stress of having everything in order to anxieties and doubts as the departing date becomes closer. You’ll probably be wondering if you’re making the right decision and at times fearful of leaving your home and loved ones behind. You’ll be flooded with memories you want to cherish and take with you as you share your last night with those close to you. How did Tammy spend her last night in England? Was she surrounded by loved ones? You know what I’m going to say – Read the book 🙂
It’s never easy to say goodbye, especially when moving so far away, not knowing when you’ll see friends and family again. Thanks to today’s technology and social media, we’re able to shorten the distance through video chat and texting. Unforchantly the internet wasn’t around when Tammy left 🙁 How did she handle it? If you want to know, I suggest you read the book. 🙂
What about you?
I would love to know if any of my readers made the brave move to another country. Why did you move and are you happy you did?
Reality Wedding is the third book in a reality series by Laura Heffernan. I have not read book one – America’s Next Reality Star or book two Sweet Reality. However, after reading the last book in the series I plan on reading the others so I have a full scope of the story.
After reading the novel I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Heffernan and write an honest review of her book. All her answers are in her own words.
About the Author
(Copied from author’s page) Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys board games, travel, board games, baking, and board games. She lives in the Northeast with her husband and two furry beasts.
Laura loves connecting with readers. Find her on her website mentioned at the end of the interview. You can also find her on twitter (Also mentioned at the end of the interview) where she spends far too much time tweeting about reality TV and Canadian chocolate.
The Synopsis of Reality Wedding
When Jen Reid escaped a reality TV cruise with her relationship intact—if not her hair—she swore she was done with the cameras for good. Sure, she and Justin met, had their first kiss, and got engaged with tape rolling, but manufactured drama and ruthless producers have shaken them up more times than she can count. With Jen’s reality-themed bakery just getting started and her brand-new lawyer fiancé in a pile of debt, they’re a long way from glitz and glamour, and that’s fine by Jen. Until the Network calls and tells her that unless she says “I do” to a wedding special, Justin will be out of a job.
Now Jen has two weeks to plan an all-expenses-paid “dream wedding”—and dodge the tricks and traps of a showrunner happy to mess up her future in the name of ratings. Luckily for Jen, she’s got plenty of experience with cake and popcorn. But when real-life drama and reality TV twists collide, the cliffhangers may just follow her right down the aisle . . .
When Laura contacted me about reviewing her book I was currently reading the last of four murder/thriller novels that were up for reviews. I took a look at her book and instantly said yes. Reading the blurb I could tell it was going to be a light-hearted fun read with the bling of Hollywood entwined. What a glorious change to the dark stories I had been reading.
All three of the books focus on reality TV – the last being about Jen and Justin’s wedding. In typical Hollywood style, the couple is forced to do the show or suffer the consequences of Justin losing his job at the law firm.
I Immediately picked up on the strong connection Jen and Justin had and how they had each other’s back. Once they were on the set to prepare for the biggest TV wedding of the year, the reader is thrown into the corrupt, world of the networks that go to any lengths to achieve ratings. Jen soon discovered; this wasn’t her wedding but the shows.
Throughout the story I found myself rooting for Jen, hoping she gets justice and beats the networks at their own game. Jen has her own support team that aids her in her quest and then there are the villains of the network that do everything they can to destroy her with their only motive is to better the show and the ratings.
Laura Heffernan did a great job grasping the feel of Hollywood and updating the readers throughout the story on events in the previous two books when necessary. However, I did feel there was more reflection on book one – America’s Next Reality Star than book two – Sweet Reality and felt I was missing something in some areas.
Overall this was a fun quick read that I really enjoyed and would recommend to women of all ages.
COVER DESIGN 5 STARS – For the content of the book, the cover was perfect showing the bright colors, the sparkle and the glam of Hollywood.
CHARACTERIZATION 4 STARS – The main character Jen was written really well, showing weaknesses in the beginning but gaining strength as the story progressed. Some of the other characters like Logan I felt like I needed to read the other two books to really get to know them and see how their characters unfolded. There was a lot of references to previous incidents that I would like to know more about.
STORY & PLOT 5 STARS This was a fun story to read, easy to follow and at times made me laugh out loud. Throughout the story, I was horrified by Hollywoods evil ways to gain ratings and rooted for Jen and Justin the whole time. Laura Heffernan threw in many surprises and twists to keep the reader guessing and an ending that had never crossed my mind. I just love an unexpected ending.
OVERALL RATING 4 STARS
Interview with Laura Heffernan – Author of REALITY WEDDING
1 – How long have you been writing and why do you enjoy it?
I’ve been writing my whole life. Short stories starting when I was five, a play performed for the entire school when I was twelve. For a while, I ghostwrote blog posts as a job, just to add a bit more creativity to my life. I’ve created multiple blogs of my own, and my hard drive is full of snippets of books I started over the years and never finished. There’s just something about being creative that feeds my soul, and writing is the best way for me to do it. I love meeting new characters, creating difficult situations, then figuring out how to get them out of it.
2 – Other than writing, what else do you like to do?
I love reading, playing board games, escape rooms, hanging out with my friends, and baking. Typically, I’m happiest when my mind is engaged. Then again, I’m sometimes quite happy to just veg on the couch and watch TV all afternoon to recharge.
3 – What inspired you to write “Reality Wedding?”
This is the third book in the Reality Star series. The original inspiration came when a friend of mine went on a reality show a few years ago. For this particular book, I’d put the characters through a lot of ups and downs, and it was time to give them a wedding.
4 – Who as an author, inspires you and why?
My primary inspiration is Sophie Kinsella. She’s been writing books in this genre since I was in college, and to me, she’s still the best. Although I love many of the other authors who pioneered the chick lit genre, I feel like Sophie’s voice has remained the most consistent. And I love all of her books. She really showed me that it’s OK to write fun books that make people smile.
5 – Name three of your favorite books and authors. Explain why these are your favorites.
This is always the hardest question for me to answer because I read so much and I love so many books. Three recent favorites include:
My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella: As noted above, Kinsella is one of my all-time favorite authors and greatest inspirations. I love all her books, but this one really spoke to me. I found myself connecting more with the main character than some of her other works, and I liked that the main character’s dilemmas weren’t all of her own makings.
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik: A Muslim Bridget Jones, Sofia Khan is the perfect modern heroine. She’s smart, she’s funny, and I loved getting a peek into a culture other than my own.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Not in the same genre, obviously, but there’s just something magical about these books. They opened a whole new world for me. I made new friends, bonded with old. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve read the series or watched the movies. It’s my go-to when I don’t know what to read or I’m not sure what to watch. It’s what my husband and I turn on during snowy afternoons. I love this series.
6 – What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Just keep writing. Read widely. And make friends with other writers. This business can be frustrating, and there are often long periods of silence. Having a support group of people going through the same thing is priceless.
7 – Are you currently working on anything now? If so, tell us a little about it and when it can be expected to be available.
Right now, I’m writing SHE’S GOT GAME, the first book in the Gamer Girl series, which is slated for publication in November 2019. The book follows Gwen as she competes in the American Board Game Competition – and falls for her #1 competitor.
8- What genre do you normally write in?
Romantic comedies/chick lit. I love fun, happy books, and I want other people to be happy when they read my work.
9- Other than Amazon is there anywhere else, readers can purchase your book?
All three books are available at BN.com., Kobo, Google Play, and Apple iTunes. Paperbacks can be purchased through Bookdepository.com (free shipping worldwide). And readers can pick up or order signed copies from Northshire Books in Saratoga Springs, NY.
10- Do you have a website, Facebook page or any other social media page where readers can follow you? If yes, please provide links.
Quoted from the Merriam-webster Dictionary “Habit – an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary .” Another way of saying this is: We do things from the force of habit.
Come Back is the debut novel of Sally Crosiar which I’ve had the pleasure of reading over the last couple of weeks and what a joy it has been. After reading the book I was able to interview Sally and write an honest review of her book which you will find at the end of this post. All answers are in her own words.
About the Author
( Copied from About Author page) Sally Crosiar lives in the Finger Lakes of New York State where she reads incessantly, enjoys time in and on the water, savors dark chocolate with red wine at every opportunity, and teaches about health and play for Empire State College. She is the author of Find the Love of Your Life, based on her own true story, My Uncle Dave, a children’s book with an adult message, and co-author with Dr. Sidney B. Simon of Love Builders Tools to Build Every Relationship. Come Back is her debut novel. Continue reading “Book Review and Interview with Sally Crosiar – Author of Come Back”→
An Open Invitation to Join my Pinterest Group Board for authors, readers and everything books
Recently I started a Pinterest Group Board – a community board for authors, writers, readers, books for children and adults and basically anything related to books. I’m dedicating this week’s blog to an open invitation for my readers to join my Pinterest Group Board. Follow the instructions at the end of this page on how to receive a personal invite from me to become a collaborator.
What is a Group Board?
If you are familiar with Pinterest you already know it’s a place where you can browse thousands of pins on an endless list of topics and save them to your categorized boards that you have created. Only you can pin to your own boards. Click on a pin and it takes you to the site where you can read about the topic of the pin.
I just finished reading the novel The Mystery of the Weeping Friar, written by DJ Parks-a husband and wife team also know as Doug Parker and Jan Parker. I had the pleasure of interviewing the pleasant couple and write an honest review. All answers are in their own words.
About the Authors
Copied from the back of the book – Doug and Jan Parker (Writing under the pen name DJ Park) enjoy outdoor activities, cooking, and music. They live in southwest Colorado.
The Synopsis of The Mystery of the Weeping Friar
All is not as it appears in the art world of New Mexico – mystery surrounds the art dealers, the buyers and even the pieces of art themselves, especially the legendary religious figurine known as the Weeping Friar. In this sequel to GoneAwary Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent David Harroswen and his wife Althia “Tee” get swept up in the mysteries while visiting Tee’s sister. As more and more deadly chaos erupts Continue reading “Interview and Review DJ Park Author – The Mystery of the Weeping Friar”→
For the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed reading Hug Everyone You Know by Antoinette Truglio Martin and write an honest review. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Martin and talk about her works. Nothing has been altered in her answers, everything is in her own words.
About the Author
(Copied from Martin’s author’s page) Antoinette Truglio Martin is a speech therapist and special education teacher by training but really wants to be a writer when she grows up. She has been collecting writing and fashioning stories forever. Over the years, Antoinette had been a regular columnist in local periodicals and had several essays featured in newsletters and literary reviews. Her children’s picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup was published in 1993 (Albert Whitman Co.) She proudly holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University (2016) Continue reading “Interview – Antoinette Truglio Martin – Author of Hug Everyone You Know”→
As mentioned in last weeks post, there are thirty books on the New York Times Adult Fiction Best Seller List. This week I have posted the remaining fifteen that held the number one spot for one week or more.