Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Crazy Thing I'm Doing in November

Some of you may have heard of this crazy, insane thing called by an equally crazy, insane acronym:
That would be National Novel Writing Month in which for the month of November, a writer completes an entire novel.  Yep, an entire, full length novel written in 30 days (as opposed to an average of nine months). It's the fast food of writing, a marathon of the brain.

So, I'm thinking of actually, really trying ... no wait, not trying ... doing it. There I said it. I have written it here on my blog, so now I am committed to this goal. Yikes, but what if i give up after day 3? Then, what? What if I can't find the time because I refuse to neglect my children, my husband, the housework and everything else? What if what I write is terrible and I decide to delete the whole thing after the month is over? Maybe there's a more productive way I should spend my time ...

First the dream: I write the first draft of the novel I've been pushing around for over six months.
Bigger dream: I set it aside until after the holidays, read it again in January, revise it, ask a few friends and family to read it, revise it again and send it off to agents.
Biggest dream: There's a go-getter of an agent out there who loves it, finds a credible publisher who also loves it, and this time next year, I'm writing a completely different blog post about success entitled, "She Lived Happily Ever After. The End."

Now the fear: I waste my time coming up with excuses to keep busy rather than write. Then, I start to write, but hit a major writer's block. Suddenly, the whole month is over and now it's the busy holiday season and I've lost my window. I live with regret that I never wrote that third novel that finally could have opened doors to a rewarding writing career. Yikes!

Finally, reality: Bring it on, NaNoWriMo! There will be multiple typos. I may lose sleep. I may fall short of a full length novel in a mere 30 days because Thanksgiving happened. But, I will climb that mountain of doubt and cross the finish line with my head held high. My head will not be propped on a pillow as I am imagining right now, but held high with my arms outstretched in victory... I hope. No, wait, I know. Sigh!

For more information on this month of marathon-like writing,
check out:

And for the fun of it, 
Check out my website!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Welcome Nina Guilbeau with a Guest Post, "The Real Birth Order Theory"

I'm happy to host Nina Guilbeau, author of God Doesn't Love Us All the Same. 


Today, Nina shares with us her ideas about birth order theory. As the oldest sibling of three, I can identify with some of this theory. Although, it certainly doesn't tell the entire picture of who I am or my younger brothers. So, where are you in the birth order of your family? Do you identify with this theory or not?

The Real Birth Order Theory

by Nina Guilbeau

Alfred Adler’s birth order theory is absolutely fascinating. So fascinating that while this theory wasn’t the biggest focus for Adler in his work, it is the one part of his work for which he is generally recognized.  Unfortunately, this widespread popular theory is also a very misunderstood.

Usually, when the birth order theory is discussed the spotlight is on the type of personalities created because of the order of birth (although there are many exceptions).  It’s easy to focus on this part of the theory when first, second, middle, only and last born children in different families often have the same characteristics. However, what are usually left out of the birth number to personality trait ratio are the importance of the child’s environmental influences and their innate interpretation of their birth order. Adler’s belief is that a child’s personality due to his or her birth order depends largely on the child’s internal processing (acceptance/rebellion of expectations) and the external family social environment (household), not simply the sequence of their birth.

For instance, personality traits of responsible, authoritarian (bossy) and over achiever generally describe firstborns in theory and are often proven to be the reality. Why? Because the environmental factors that Adler refers to are the same across households. When an only child is dethroned as the baby, they are subsequently crowned oldest sibling who has duties. Parents celebrate the importance of their firstborn’s new role as big brother or sister by praising how well they help take care of the new baby. This tactic is usually meant to combat feelings of jealousy or displacements from the arrival of the new baby, yet the responsibility of the role never goes away. In fact, it usually increases over time and even follows them into adulthood. Oldest siblings become surrogate parents, as well as babysitters, cooks, protectors, role models and teachers.  It’s easy to understand how the predictable behavior of parents with firstborns produces predictable personality traits in children in different households.

So the question for those with sibling experience is this: Are parents parenting to the birth order, molding general personalities, as much or more than they parent the individual child? In other word, would the youngest siblings, who are often accused of being spoiled and “getting off easy,” be the responsible, overachiever if they were treated as firstborns?

When writing God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same, I thought about the personality type of my main characters. Vera, the old homeless woman, was an only child, but circumstances made her one Adler’s birth order exceptions. Janine, the other main character, was one of three children exhibiting characteristics from one of these classic birth order categories:

Only child – This child is always the center of attention and since they are never "dethroned," they can be self-centered. They miss out on the social skills learned by sibling interaction, so they may find it difficult to share or compromise. A great positive trait is that they can be very mature intellectually.
First Born – They are often given responsibility for younger siblings and may take on the role of a surrogate parent. Firstborns may become overachievers in order to set the example for younger siblings and meet the expectations of parents. They are also known to be authoritarian (or bossy). A great positive trait is that they can be very responsible and possess leadership qualities.
Second Born – Independent and competitive, especially with the oldest sibling. Sibling rivalry may be initiated by second born children as they struggle to identify their role in the family. They can be seen as rebels at times. A great positive trait is that they can be very expressive and creative.
Middle Child – Independent, but unlike second born children, they can be more congenial. They do not have the spotlight, but often do not seek it (what’s the use?). The middle child syndrome can develop, especially in larger families. A great positive trait is that they can adapt and acquire very good social skills.

Last Born – Frequently spoiled by the entire family. Never “dethroned” and may be accustomed to always getting their way. They may be seen as irresponsible and a rule breaker. A great positive trait is that they can be very charming and adventurous.

God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same is the touching story about Janine Harris who never really thought about homeless people. She barely even notices them as she passes them by on her way to work in downtown Washington D.C. All Janine can focus on is the shambles of her own young life, afraid that she will never be able to get past the painful mistakes she has made. However, all of that changes on a snowy evening in December when Janine unexpectedly finds herself alone with Vera, an old, homeless woman who seems to need her help. Now Janie wants to know what could have possibly happened to Vera to leave her so broken and alone.

As Vera shares her life story with Janine, the two women form an unusual bond and begin a journey that changes both of their lives forever. Reluctantly, they each confront their own past and, in the process, discover the true meaning of sacrifice, family and love. Although to truly move forward in their lives, they must fast the most difficult challenge of all – forgiving themselves. 

Paperback: 254Pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Juania Books LLC (May 5, 2014)


Twitter hashtag: #GDLoveGuilbeau

God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.

About the Author: Nina Guilbeau is the Siblings Editor for BellaOnline The Voice of Women and writes weekly family articles for online magazines. Her e-book, Birth Order and Parenting, is a popular pick with students studying the Alfred Adler birth order theory.
She is a member of the Florida Writer's Association and the author of women's fiction novels Too Many Sisters and Too Many Secrets. A winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award for her God Doesn't Love Us All the Same manuscript, Nina's work has been published in the short story anthologies From Our Family to Yours and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters. An excerpt from upcoming novel Being Non-Famous was published in the Orlando Sentinel as a Father's Day tribute.


Blog hostess, Audry Fryer is the author of women's fiction novels:

Hungry for a page-turner?

Available for Kindle and Nook.

A must-read for October

for a sweet price $4.99!

"A novel of delicious deceptions!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Welcome Martha Conway with a guest post, "What is a Quest Novel, Anyway?"

I'm happy to have Martha Conway here as a guest! She is the author of the quest novel, Thieving Forest. Which brings us to the topic of today's guest post: 

What’s a Quest Novel, Anyway?

By Martha Conway

I once had a teacher in a writing workshop who used to say over and over again, “What does your character want?”

Characters who want something go out looking for it. That’s a quest novel. You might claim that all novels are quest novels, and you won’t find much argument from me.

However, there are some common elements associated with a traditional quest novel, or as Joseph Campbell calls this kind of tale, “the hero’s journey.” The hero, or in my case heroine, receives a call to action that she is usually reluctant to take. A gatekeeper shows her the way out of her old world and into the next. As she goes on her journey she meets various personalities — the trickster, the shaman, the wise woman. And in the final battle she must sacrifice something of value.

When I set out to write Thieving Forest, I wanted to write a quest novel with a heroine instead of a hero, and I began by looking for some good models. But strangely, outside of the fantasy and science fiction genres, I found very few examples. Why shouldn’t a woman be the one to go out on adventures? Women are brave and curious, we can be misguided and make foolish choices—all excellent, story-worthy traits for a character on a journey.

My protagonist, Susanna Quiner, is looking for something very specific: her sisters. They were abducted by a band of Potawatomi while she, being hidden, was left behind. Her journey is a search for family. And yet she also goes on an emotional journey as well. Susanna wants to find her sisters, yes, but she also wants to understand her role in the family. On a very basic level, she wants to find out who she is.

I think that in all good quests, maybe in all good stories period, the protagonist must also find something that is intangible, like enlightenment or self-knowledge. Susanna, is no exception. She must find whatever will heal the wound that drove her out of her home in the first place.

And that almost always comes from the inside; it’s not something that a character picks up on the forest floor. And yet the act of walking, of journeying, of going someplace new and meeting new people and facing obstacles and overcoming them—that’s what brings about inner change. Only when a character has changed in this way can she find the more tangible item she’s looking for.

Susanna finds her last sister only after she is able to face her biggest fear: being alone. And yet in one sense she was alone from the very beginning (remember, her family was taken from her). So in some ways my quest novel is not only about search, but about acceptance.

And I think that acceptance can sometimes be the hardest thing to find.

Thank you to WOW! Women On Writing for providing this stop on Martha Conway's blog tour!

Thieving Forest
On a humid day in June 1806, on the edge of Ohio's Great Black Swamp, seventeen-year-old Susanna Quiner watches from behind a maple tree as a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead from Swamp Fever and all the other settlers out in their fields, Susanna makes the rash decision to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman's quest to find her sisters, and the parallel story of her sisters' new lives.

The frontier wilderness that Susanna must cross in order to find her sisters is filled with dangers, but Susanna, armed with superstition and belief in her own good luck, sets out with a naive optimism. Over the next five months, Susanna tans hides in a Moravian missionary village; escapes down a river with a young native girl; discovers an eccentric white woman raising chickens in the middle of the Great Black Swamp; suffers from snakebite and near starvation; steals elk meat from wolves; and becomes a servant in a Native American village. The vast Great Black Swamp near Toledo, Ohio, which was once nearly the size of Connecticut, proves a formidable enemy. But help comes from unlikely characters, both Native American and white. 
Both a quest tale and a tale of personal transformations, Thieving Forest follows five pioneer women and one man as they contend with starvation, slavery, betrayal, and love. It paints a startling new picture of life in frontier Ohio with its mix of European and Native American communities, along with compelling descriptions of their daily lives. Fast-paced, richly detailed, with a panoramic view of cultures and people, this is a story of a bygone era sure to enthrall and delight.

About the Author:
Martha Conway’s first novel 12 Bliss Street (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was nominated for an Edgar Award, and her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi Review, The Quarterly, Folio, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, and other publications. She graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Review of Books, and The Iowa Review. The recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension and Stanford University’s Online Writers’ Studio.ethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Martha Conway’s website:


Today, October 15th, is Blog Hostess  Audry Fryer's birthday!!!

Wish her a happy birthday on her Facebook page!

 Or, check out her women's fiction novels at:

Celebrate Audry Fryer's birthday
 by treating yourself to a slice of:

Available for Kindle and Nook.

A must-read for October

for a sweet price $4.99!

"A novel of delicious deceptions!"

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fill in the blank: "What I like most about me is ..."

Over the weekend I helped my son, Evan, complete his second grade homework assignment for an "All About Me" project. It's his week to be the "star" of the class. While he's a superstar in my heart, he hasn't been a star in the world of academics. Recently, the school psychologist confirmed what I had suspected all along, a learning disability that was most likely dyslexia combined with ADHD. Spelling, reading, and even math are a struggle for Evan. Homework is like climbing Mt. Everest. No wonder when he came to this sentence on his All About Me page, "My favorite school subject is ...," he answered, "recess"!

We filled in the blanks for the rest of the "All About Me" page together. I helped him spell out the names of family members and his favorite food, "meatballs".  Then came the last sentence to be completed:

"What I like most about me is ..." 

Evan thought for a long while. I knew what I liked most about him, his smile, his deep laugh, his warm hugs, his supercool, retro-looking glasses, his love of nature, the way he cares about other's feelings especially his twin sister's. I thought about telling him all these things and more. For some reason, I kept quiet. I'm so glad I did.

When Evan finally answered, it was perfect. "My brain."

So, on the line that followed, "What I like most about me is ...", he wrote, "my brain." And, you know what? I agree with him. I like his brain, too. I like his sense of curiosity, the way he wonders about things I never give a second thought and his wild imagination. Certainly, there are times I could do without being the pet owner of tree frogs. And, I might tire from asking Google crazy questions like where's the deepest part of the ocean. Plus, it can get a bit precarious trying to determine which of his stories actually happened and which ones he completely made up. But I wouldn't have it any other way with Evan. That curious, imaginative brain of his keeps life interesting - that's for sure!

Evan may have a label that states disability, but to me (and I'm happy to say to him), it's more like a special ability. Heck, I read that the brain of a person with dyslexia is larger. Not to mention, the list of famous and successful people that are or were believed to be dyslexic. Evan's favorite is Albert Einstein. Of course, despite these facts, I'm not naive. I know traditional in-the-box academics will be a challenge. But it's my hope that Evan becomes stronger because of it. His brain is unique. And, best of all, Evan knows it and he feels good about it.

October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month.
 For more information, please visit:  The International Dyslexia Association

Now, it's your turn to fill in the blank.

"What I like most about me is ..."

Comment here or on my Facebook Page!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Welcome Kathleen Pooler with a Guest Post on How a Nurse Learns to Care for Herself

Welcome Kathleen Pooler, author of memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead : My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse.  Kathleen's guest post speaks to the often difficult task of caring for yourself first before you are able and strong enough to care for others. Her experience in nursing has taught her this lesson and it is one from which we can all benefit!

 A Nurse Learns to Care for Herself 

by Kathleen Pooler

“One cannot extend compassion to others unless you have compassion for yourself.” ~ Brene Brown, TEDx talk on herresearch on vulnerability.

I’ve known I wanted to be a nurse since reading Anne Snow, Mountain Nurse while sitting in my eighth grade study hall in 1959. My heart pounded in my chest as I envisioned myself being like Anne Snow and riding a horse through the Virginia mountains to minister to people in their cabins.

I also had inklings before that when as an eight year old, I watched Grandma Lydia feeding an injured bird with a water-soaked cotton ball. I don’t remember what happened to the bird, but I do remember the Grandma’s compassion in trying to nurse it back to health.

As the oldest child in my family, I enjoyed taking care of my younger siblings.

The idea of caregiving—helping others in need—seemed to take root early in my childhood.

Once I started nursing school in 1964, I knew I had chosen the right profession. How blessed I have been to feel the call to become a nurse and never waver in that desire.

As caregivers, nurses help clients achieve maximum wellness and regain health through the healing process. The cornerstone of the profession is the concept that the client’s welfare comes first. Caregiving and nurturing have been associated with the nursing profession.

But what happens when the nurse needs caregiving?

Like me, when the man I married drank too much and left me exhausted and confused; when I was forced to live my life as a single parent and became the sole supporter of my two young children.  I still had to go to work and care for others.

Nurses are terrific at caring for others but often lax in recognizing their own needs. Equipped with the mantra that “clients come first”, a Catholic Faith which encouraged selflessness and service to others and a time in our society—the 60s ad 70s-- when the woman was expected to do it all, I fell into the trap of living my life as others expected.

I suffered, what is now called “compassion fatigue”  (—focusing on alleviating the suffering of others at the expense of my own needs. I lived with a constant anxiety, suffered bouts of depression, loneliness, poor self-esteem and made unhealthy choices about relationships. I ended up falling into an abyss of self-defeating detours and heartache.

But, I still had to go to work.

How did I learn to care for myself?

When the pain of my decisions became acute enough—what I kept doing was not getting me where I wanted to go—I began accepting my responsibility in making necessary changes. I stopped denying. I stopped the magical thinking. I took action to take care of myself.

I had an “attitude adjustment”: It was not selfish, It was lifesaving.

I began to feel compassion for myself; to offer the same kindness and understanding I offered others to myself. I was able to break out of the perceived expectations I had about who I was and what I needed.

It was a process that took time but the more I focused on my own needs, the easier it became. And the better I became at offering care to others.

Like the airline attendant advises: Put your oxygen mask on first so you can care for others.

What specific actions did I take?

1.      A change in attitude about myself helped me be more compassionate toward myself. This required breaking through the denial and magical thinking to see things as they were, not as I wanted them to be.

2.      I learned to say no to activities that did not feel right and yes to activities that enhanced my life. This required listening to and honoring my inner voice.

3.      I committed myself to a healthy lifestyle of proper exercise and a healthy diet.

4.      I continued to journal and express my feelings on the page. This helped me to gain clarity and focus about my personal needs.

5.      I developed a support system of friends whom I trusted.  I learned to avoid people who did not have my best interest at heart.  In my opinion, discernment is a skill that requires practice. Many lessons were learned through trial and error.

6.      I become more open to my faith. Prayer became a natural part of my day.

7.      I learned to “put my oxygen mask on first.”

Putting myself first is the best way I can take care of myself so that I can be available to extend that compassion to others who care for me and whom I care for.

How about you? Have your caretaking needs interfered with your ability to take care of yourself? How have you learned to take care of yourself?

I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below~

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for providing this stop on Kathleen Pooler's blog tour. 

Ever Faithful To His Lead : My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse is a memoir, a true life tears to triumph story of self-defeating detours and dreams lost and found.

A young woman who loses sight of the faith she has been brought up with attempts to find her way in the world, rejecting her stable roots in lieu of finding adventure and romance. Despite periods of spiritual renewal in which she receives a prophecy, she slides back, taking several self-defeating detours that take her through a series of heartbreaking events. 
 When Kathy's second husband, Dan's verbal abuse escalates, Kathy finally realizes she must move on before she and her children become a statistic.

How does a young woman who came from a stable, loving family make so many wise choices when it came to career, but so many wrong choices when it came to love, so that she ended up sacrificing career and having to flee in broad daylight with her children from an abusive marriage? What is getting in her way and why does she keep taking so many self-defeating detours?

The story opens up the day Kathy feels physically threatened for the first time in her three-year marriage to her second husband. This sends her on a journey to make sense of her life and discern what part she has played in the vulnerable circumstance she finds herself in.

She must make a decision--face her self-defeating patterns that have led to this situation and move on or repeat her mistakes. Her life and the lives of her two children are dependent upon the choices she makes and the chances she takes from this point forward.

Paperback: 242Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Open Books Press (July 22, 2014)


Twitter hashtag: #EFaithPooler

Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey to Memoir is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of 
Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey to Memoir, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, October 10th  at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author: Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28.2014 and work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments:  domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.

She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.

She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog:

Twitter @kathypooler
Personal page,
Author page:
Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey:
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the  “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.


Blog hostess, Audry Fryer is the author of women's fiction novels:

Hungry for a page-turner?

Available for Kindle and Nook.

A must-read for October

for a sweet price $4.99!

"A novel of delicious deceptions!"