Italian American Author, book, relatable, Culture, Heritage

Celebrate Your Heritage

celebrate-your-heritage-c-dangelo-behind-the-scenes-blog

Happy Italian Heritage Month! Since my novels are relatable stories of my Italian American culture, I want to bring attention to my culture this month as well as yours. The relatable aspect in my writing brings me joy because there are so many universal values and behaviors of humans and it bonds us. We all need (not just want) to feel heard, so finding validation and even inspiration in my quirky yet serious stories is extremely meaningful to me (that’s part of why I love those reviews you leave! Readers commented so much on the relatability that I took notice and now pride myself on it.). So put on your party hat and let’s get down to celebrating.

First things first. Here’s a clarification on culture and heritage:

“Culture is based on what the people create whereas the heritage is what the people inherit by nature, by history, by culture.” – PEDIAA.com

Now, when I think of what it means to be Italian by heritage, so many images come to mind, with food (obviously first!), music, and family time at the top. These elements are part of me, thanks to my family members and not just to genetics of course (it’s culture, as we’ve learned above). They were the ones who cooked the delicious Italian cuisine and blasted the classic Italian musicians’ tunes while we spent time together. Spaghetti and meatballs wouldn’t be nearly as tasty without Frank Sinatra serenading us. I mean, come on!

But seriously, the stories of their immigrant journeys and instilling their tough work ethic and value of education in me as a young child formed me and set me on a path of appreciating my roots as well as wanting to bring a good name to the family. Part of the reason for writing my novels is to honor them—as you may know each book so far as been dedicated to my grandparents (The Difference to my grandpa and The Visitor to my grandma). Recognizing my heritage as part of me has made my life richer, my identity clearer, and has allowed me to carry on traditions from long ago. My books will live beyond my lifetime, meaning the D’Angelo legacy can be eternal! (I know that’s a little exaggerated, but hey, you never know.)

Alright, let’s talk about you. What does your culture mean to you? Have you thought about it? Some people may not be as influenced by their past, so you may not be and that’s A-OK. But if you want to think about it more, I’m here to help. I have some starter questions for you to ponder, as well as examples/suggestions to start the journey into yourself.

Brainstorming:

  • What does culture or heritage mean to you in general?
  • (Again) What does your culture mean to you?
  • Think of your childhood. What were some family traditions, experiences (holidays, weekly rituals etc…). For example, Sunday dinner is huge in my Italian culture.
  • Did your family talk about their upbringing? What do you remember from their stories?
  • What values and/or beliefs define you?
  • How do you integrate your culture into your life? Would you like to expand on it?
  • Look in your closet and bathroom. Does your fashion sense or hair style originate from your culture?
  • When you are sick, what action do you take? Do you go to a traditional Western medical doctor, a holistic expert, or maybe handle it yourself, if possible?

Exploration ideas:

  • No idea where to start with the brainstormed info?
    • Make an identity graph, manually or digitally. See the example below, though your name may go in the middle where “identity” is placed.
    • Another way to become more familiar with your cultural identity is to make a Pinterest board. You may know I have one for my bookish life and of course there are oodles of Italian culture in there.  
  • Talk to family members, including extended family. They are a wealth of knowledge for history and may be engaging in activities you didn’t know about until now.
  • Google your culture and heritage for ideas. This may spark a memory.
identity-c-dangelo-behind-the-scenes-blog

Further action steps:

  • What’s one tangible step you can take today to celebrate your culture, therefore you? Examples could include listening to traditional music, cooking a special food from a country of origin, or signing up for a dance or language class.
  • If you don’t have traditions or rituals from childhood, make your own! There’s no time like the present to start celebrating you. Maybe it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen since a family value rooted in your culture is to give back.

Well, thanks for going with me on this meaningful ride today. You can tell how much importance I place on my culture so maybe you are inspired to do some of the above steps and even share stories with me. I’d love your thoughts on what this post may have inspired within you. Now, I’m off to continue working on my third novel. See you next month…a post you won’t want to miss.

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

author interview, support, Writer

Interview with Author JL Rothstein

author-interview-jl-rothstein

JL Rothstein is being highlighted this month in my author interview. She has the most realistic and helpful words of wisdom in this blog, so make sure to take it in, sit on it, and use it for your future endeavors. New writers will especially benefit from her answers.

What would you tell yourself 5 years ago about facing the challenge of publishing?

I thought I was prepared for self-publishing. I have a business background and manage an accounting department for a privately held company. I went into the project with the understanding that publishing is a business, that your book is a product.

You have two jobs as an author; finish the manuscript and get it into the best polished form you are capable of. The second is to pitch its worthiness, either to agents/publishers or directly to clients if you are self-publishing. The latter is so much harder than it sounds. I think there is a misnomer out there that since Amazon has knocked down all the barriers to publication, that you can just reach this mass of readers and sell, sell, sell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Understanding who you are writing for, who that audience is, and what they are willing to pay for it, is so important. I wish I had understood that more and that I had spent more time researching it.

I believe more than 1.5M manuscripts are self-published each year in the U.S.A alone. If you add in the other markets, it climbs to over 2M. That makes every unknown, previously unpublished author, a very tiny fish in a giant ocean of authors. Not to mention that the reader market is still in flux. They say not as many people are reading anymore, but you do have a growing audio book audience, so you need to acclimate to an ever changing publishing environment. Understanding this ahead of time helps to set realistic expectations.  

I don’t write this to discourage young writers from entering the market, please enter the market. The more the merrier, truly. It is important however to understand what you are getting yourself into and to know the chances of getting some big publishing contract or replacing your current salary with the income from writing may not happen.

Those in the industry often say, “you don’t write books to make money.” Those who have written books roll their eyes and smirk. It’s true, you should write for the love of it, but we’d all like to make enough money to earn a living and there’s nothing wrong with that desire. Don’t give up, reach for those goals, but do it with the understanding that it’s an uphill battle and there will be a lot of mistakes and frustrations along the way. Knowledge is power. Do your research, be patient, and keep writing. That is the best advice I could have given my younger self.

What gives you energy and joy?

I think if you are not getting joy from writing, then you shouldn’t do it. It’s simple, but it holds true no matter what you are doing. If you turn your love for baking into a business and then you lose your passion for baking, then it wasn’t meant to be a business.

When I want to reconnect to my inner creative self, I like to walk in a beautiful garden or visit the ocean. One of my favorite places near our home is a small art museum I like visiting a couple of times a year. When COVID happened, most of us lost all of that, our creative wells dried up.

Being around family and connecting with friends gives me energy. Being in nature sparks creativity and writing brings me joy. I think everyone should answer those questions. Understanding what brings you joy is necessary to living your best life.

Talk about a life lesson you have learned while on the path to publishing your book(s).

You need a support structure. No matter how confident you are, no matter how much experience you have, you will need support. If you don’t have a partner or a big family, then create a different kind of support system, one that works for you. Join a writing group or volunteer to help others. Support comes in so many forms.

I am so grateful that I have my husband, Alan, who has been an amazing partner on this journey. I have a large family and a group of friends who have been very encouraging. I am blessed to have that in my life. I do what I can to help others who do not have what I have. Being grateful is something I focus on and I find that staying in that state of mind is in itself its own reward.  

Thank you, JL, for taking the time to help our writing community, as well as all who want to reach for the stars and dream big.

jl-rothstein-vengeance
Click on picture to purchase

JL’s biography and how to connect:

I am a published author, my debut novel Atonement: Heaven Sent Book One launched June 2020. I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts USA. I come from a large Irish Catholic family and spent twelve years in Catholic School where the concept of Heaven and Hell were deeply ingrained. I write in the Fantasy genre with an affinity for the supernatural.

I have a BS from Suffolk University and I’m currently pursuing an MBA in Creative Writing. I live in the central part of the state with my husband Alan, & two cats, Brady, and Mr. Thumbs. Book Three in the Heaven Sent series, Vengeance released in July 2022.

You can visit me at my website for more information about my upcoming projects http://www.JLRothstein.com or on social media; Instagram & Twitter @jlrothstein1 or via Facebook @authorjlrothstein.

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Behind the scenes, new release, Women's Fiction Author

Interview with Author Anne Marie Bennett

C_DAngelo_Behind_the_Scenes_Blog_Author_Interview_Anne_Marie_Bennett

I recently read this author’s new release, Feathers in the Sand, and loved every minute. Anne Marie Bennett has such a beautiful talent for storytelling, as well as including one of my favorite shows of all time, Gilmore girls, in her story! I may have dressed up for Halloween as one of the characters a few years ago, just saying. Anyway, her writing routine and how she handles things like her inner critic was so wonderful that I know you will take something out of it to apply in your own lives.

What gives you energy and joy?

I receive SO much energy and joy from the simple act of sitting down at my laptop and letting the stories spin out of my imagination! In fact, when the drafts are finally done and the novel is heading into the production aspect of the process, I find myself longing to be back in the creative mode of letting a story unfold on the page.

Also, joy and energy come to me when I am in nature (especially by the ocean), laughing with my husband, relaxing with a good book and a beloved feline friend on my lap, and when I am in community with my SoulCollage® friends.

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing.

There are so many more than one! In Feathers in the Sand (Seahaven Sunrise Book 1), it’s definitely my love of the TV show Gilmore Girls!  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched the entire series. When I realized I was writing a book about a mother who longs for a Lorelai-Rory relationship with her daughter, it felt natural to give them the names of Tess and Eva Gilmore. There are references to characters and scenes from Gilmore Girls woven throughout the story, because Tess wants Eva to watch the show with her, but Eva is pushing her mother away. And speaking of Gilmore Girls, the setting for most of the book is fictional Seahaven, Maine which in many ways is reminiscent of Stars Hollow—a picturesque small New England town with quirky, interesting characters and shops.

What works best for you with time management?

I learned from both Jennifer Louden and Jessica Brody that big things can be accomplished in tiny steps. When I am ready to start a first draft, I set a goal that is reasonable and attainable, considering the other demands on my time (my online business, KaleidoSoul, plus family time . . .etc.). For Feathers in the Sand, I gave myself from March 1 – June 1, 2021. My commitment to myself was to write for 1-2 hours, 3-4 times a week. I was able to stick to that (and some weeks even more hours!) because it was do-able and because I knew I had a deadline in mind. This might not be a realistic goal for someone else. It’s important to look at your other responsibilities and give yourself a reasonable amount of time.

Another thing I learned from Jessica Brody about time management, especially during the writing of the first draft, is to KEEP GOING.  For example, if I’m writing Chapter 4 and suddenly realize that a character’s last name has to change, I don’t go back through the first three chapters and make those changes. I just make a note of it (on paper or online) and Keep Going. Also, I use brackets [ ] a lot during the first draft. For instance, if I get to a place where a song is playing in the background but it has to be a song from the 70’s, I don’t stop to research that song (which could take me down a very long rabbit hole!) . . . I just use [ ] to hold the place. This was SO helpful to me when writing the first draft of Feathers in the Sand.  There were a lot of brackets for me to go back and fill in in future drafts, but it was okay, being able to use the brackets like this truly enabled me to Keep Going, which helped me manage my time more effectively, which helped me to meet my goal of finishing the first draft in three months!

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

The best way I can quiet her down is first to become aware that she’s nattering on in the background. It’s been helpful to give her a name and to imagine in my mind what she looks like. I call my inner critic Ethel. When my thoughts turn to “You’re never gonna get this,” “Why bother?”, “Just give up!”, “This is really bad . . .” etc. I know that this inner part of me is trying to get my attention.

Once I become aware of her tugging at my sleeve, I have an inner conversation with her. “I hear you. I see you. What do you need? How can I help you?” She usually calms down as soon as I acknowledge her and try to meet her needs. Sometimes she needs a walk outside, or a nap, or to set the writing aside for a few days. She might need a healthy meal or a piece of chocolate or a glass of water. The bottom line is that when I really pay attention to Ethel and her incriminating comments, it turns out that she’s almost always afraid of something (failure, success, loss of some kind, being laughed at…etc.) If I take the time to listen to her, and to find out what she needs (aka what I need) I can usually reassure her that I’ve got her back and that she is safe.

It’s also helpful to remember that Ethel is really, really good at the editing and revising parts of the writing process!  When she starts criticizing the actual story and characters, I can gently ask her to take a few steps back, and remind her that I’ll really need her help when I have to start cutting out words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters…

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

I have already started writing the second book in the Seahaven Sunrise Series!  This one is tentatively called Sea Glass Memories and will include several characters from Feathers in the Sand, but will also work as a stand-alone story. It is also Women’s Fiction with a small-town romance woven in.

A major theme will be how we choose to carry different kinds of grief and loss. One of the main characters is a young widow, Elena Jeffries, who is the new high school English teacher at Seahaven High School. She gets drafted into directing the Drama Club’s senior class play, “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, and parallel stories and emotions will be woven through Elena’s story as well as the lives of some of the other characters. Fingers crossed, Sea Glass Memories will be found on bookshelves sometime in the autumn of 2023.

I know you want to read this cozy summer story asap, so here’s the info below. Thanks so much, Anne!

Feather_in_the_Sand_Anne_Marie_Bennett

Links to purchase:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Feathers-Sand-Seahaven-Sunrise-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZJBD9G1
Googleplay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anne_Marie_Bennett_Feathers_in_the_Sand?id=ECNuEAAAQBAJ
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feathers-in-the-sand-anne-marie-bennett/1141427543
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/feathers-in-the-sand
Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1622515326
Bookshop.org:  https://bookshop.org/books/feathers-in-the-sand/9798986050317
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61107714-feathers-in-the-sand

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Author, inspirational, Writer

Interview with Author Debbie Cromack

interview-author-debbie-cromack-c-dangelo-behind-the-scenes-blog

This month’s blog features Romance author Debbie Cromack, who will have THREE books out by the end of this month. Kiss Away Your Pain is the second book in the Wounded Hearts Series. Let me tell you how much I adore her books…and her as a person! I fell in love with her first book, Untouchable Zane, and read each book thereafter immediately upon release. I know you’ll love her slow-burn, realistic stories as well (especially if you like a lot of steam- whoa!). Read her inspiring words about continuing on when times get tough.

What would you tell yourself 5 years ago about facing the challenge of publishing?

Keep going. As with most things in life, there are ups and downs, challenges and victories. The best thing you can do for yourself is to surround yourself with those you admire, those who support you, and those who want to help you. Anyone who isn’t supporting you isn’t helpful in your journey. Focus on being around people who lift you up and want to help you make your dreams your reality. My philosophy is that when we all work together and help each other, we all get to where we want to be a lot faster.

How do you cope with disappointment or setbacks?

Disappointments and setbacks are part of life and definitely part of building a career. The hits will come and they’ll sting. It’s okay to feel knocked down for a bit. Just don’t unpack and stay there. When you work on your mindset and believe in your worth, you’ll know that you can pretty much accomplish anything you want in life. Look to others for guidance and help. Above all, LEARN from the experience and make adjustments. Fail often and fail fast for it’s through failure that we usually learn the most. Then keep going.

Talk about a life lesson you have learned while on the path to publishing your book(s).

We’ll never have it all figured out. Things change so quickly. Spending time, effort, and energy trying to figure out the magical recipe for success will likely only lead to disappointment because there is no one recipe. The best you can do for yourself in your business and your life is to be true to who you are, even if it doesn’t match anyone else. Your soul-joy comes from your self-worth and that comes from showing up as your authentic self. Do things your way because that’s how you’ll succeed. Sure, you may want to try something that seemingly worked for someone else, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll work for you. And, you may not enjoy the process of what they did. Pushing yourself to do something the way someone else did and not liking it at all…I can assure you, that is NOT a recipe for success. Do it your way, make tweaks along the way, and keep going.

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

The inner critic is telling me untrue stories. It’s only highlighting my doubts and fears of, basically, the unknown. So, in truth, it doesn’t offer me any helpful value. Sure, it still pops up from time to time. I give it a moment. Then I toss it. If it’s not helping me get to where I want to go, I have no space for it in my life. I’m only available for thoughts and feelings that serve my purpose and where I’m heading. So, I hear it out, realize it’s not true…and move on. Just keep going (you’re sensing my theme by now).

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing. This can be personality, physical attributes, or anything else.

Oh, these are hidden little nuggets for those who take the time to get to know me. There’s always a piece of me in the heroine somewhere. Some characters more than others. It’s my way of sharing a piece of myself with my readers in hopes of connecting with them a little more deeply. When those who know me take the time to send me a message that something about the heroine reminded them of me and they enjoyed it, that makes me feel truly connected to them.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

Kiss Away Your Pain releases July 22nd and I’m so excited!!! This book was born because my readers loved the character of Candi from Someone Exactly Like Me so much that they asked me to writer her story.

You want to read everything she writes now, right? I knew it! Well, lucky for you, the preorder link is in the picture below, along with all the ways to connect with her. Happy reading.

Click on picture to preorder

How to connect with Debbie: Social media, website, Etsy shop (SO MANY CUTE ITEMS), other books- https://linktr.ee/Debbie_Cromack_Author

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

book, new release, Publishing

Second Time Around

second-time-around-c-dangelo-blog

Do you remember the TGIF TV shows in the 90s? For some reason, the theme song for Step by Step repeated in my head when I thought of this month’s title. If you watched that show, maybe I just gave you an earworm (sorry, not sorry because it’s a great song!). Well, even though only some of the lyrics make sense for my forthcoming content (see them at the end), my newly released novel is my second time around for publishing a book. June 1 brought The Visitor into reality, and I can’t be happier about how it all turned out, a #1 Amazon bestseller and all! So, I have some lessons to share for any of you readers facing a second time around in your life.

I encountered some hurdles in publishing The Difference last year and guess what…there were some for The Visitor as well. I’m sure there will always be at least a tiny obstacle with each book. These challenges were different than the first time, but I knew—mostly—how to attack them due to experience. I guess you can say I’m a second-year student in the high school of writers. You know how in freshman year you may feel out of sorts, trying to gain footing on solid ground while absorbing new processes and the environment? Then, by sophomore year, you feel more secure, but not quite settled into your stint that requires much more growth. That’s where I’m at with everything in the author world. Instead of learning the basics as I go, I know more of what to expect and know that not everything is an urgent matter. Really, not everything even matters at all. I need to spend my precious energy where it’s necessary while trying to continue to strive for excellence (I try to avoid using the term perfectionist because it’s unachievable, so come with me on my striving for excellence journey.)

Here’s my round 2 lessons:

  • It will be figured out. Whatever the problem of the moment is, do not worry too much. Someone will have a solution or you will find it yourself.
  • It doesn’t need to happen today (sometimes). For the most part, issues can wait. Do we want it solved now? Yup. Does it need to be? Usually not. Hint: Ask yourself about need vs want.
  • It may not be worth my energy and time. I value both of these qualities in my life so if something is too consuming where it isn’t bringing joy or a benefit later on, I need to ask myself if it’s worthwhile. Sometimes that answer is no.
  • Will this topic/issue matter in a month or even a week? I’m the type of person who wants to be perf- um, strive for excellence, so I have to ask myself this question. I must admit that sometimes I only want something done a certain way because I want it that way. It may be ideal to me, but may not truly matter in the large picture. Which leads me to…
  • View the whole painting, not the strokes. I love the artist Claude Monet, who was an impressionist who used small dabs of paint to make one picture. When you stare at his work, you can get caught up in every brush stroke, but you won’t enjoy the idea he wanted to convey unless you back up and take in the large view. Ah, the beauty of it.

Well, it’s time for the lyrics from the song that spoke to me so much.

secon-time-around-step-by-step-lyrics-c-dangelo-blog

Let’s take things day by day and be stronger and better this second time around.

***

The Visitor is available everywhere now (including Kindle Unlimited)!

the-visitor-c-dangelo-publication-day
Pub Day Pride!

Fiercely independent Mary, a New Age store owner in New Orleans, will lose her business and home to her high school ex-boyfriend and nemesis developer unless she forces herself to accept help from others and to learn trust—including an Italian mystical new customer and her fellow renters.

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

author interview, Behind the scenes, new release, Publishing

Interview with Author Maggie Friedenberg

c-dangelo-author-interview

This month I’m featuring another outstanding author friend, Maggie Friedenberg, who has her first novel coming out on June 3, Holding Pattern! Yes, June is huge for both her and I, as The Visitor is coming out June 1! She’s been such a support in the writing community online and I’m thrilled to read her words, both here and in her book. Anyone facing challenges will benefit from her answers below. I know they made me feel as if I’m not alone in my thinking at times.

What would you tell yourself 5 years ago about facing the challenge of publishing?

I would tell myself: expect everything to take at least twice as long as you think it will. Setbacks, frustrations, rejections, self-doubt, and wanting to give up are all part of the process. But keep believing in your story. And remember little 5-year-old you, sitting in front of the stacks in the library, falling in love with books. She would be so proud of you now.

How do you cope with disappointment or setbacks?

I give myself time and space to be upset, but I try not to let myself wallow in it alone. I have a fantastic group of writing friends who have supported me along my publishing journey, listened to me cry, held space for me, and helped me when I needed it. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

What gives you energy and joy?

My biggest creative energy boost happens when I’m able to really get into the zone with my writing, where it feels like the story is telling itself through me (instead of me making it up as I go). Also, having some time alone. Reading a good book, or watching a good series or movie. And, of course, coffee. I get joy from spending time with my family, being near the water – especially the ocean, traveling, delicious food, and all my favorite nerdy things, like Star Wars.

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

It’s definitely not easy. I’m a recovering perfectionist, and my inner critic can be very loud. I have to remind myself that nobody’s perfect and that almost everyone struggles with feeling not good enough. I wrote a book! Many people say they want to write a book someday, or have one they never finish. I thought I’d be working on mine forever. But I finished it, and that’s a huge accomplishment. So I remind myself of that, and of all the things in my life I’ve worked hard on and am proud of.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

Right now I’m working on a new book. I just started writing it a few weeks ago, so the idea is very fresh, but I’m writing about two of the minor characters from my first novel and what happens to them several years after the events of that book. I’d always thought of Holding Pattern as a standalone, but it turns out these characters have a story that needs to be told, too. I’m hoping to publish it in 2023. Additionally, two of my short fiction works are being published in an anthology called The Courageous Creative, published by Indie It Press, due out later this year.

Don’t you also feel heard? I especially love the term “recovering perfectionist.” No wonder we are friends! Now, see below for preordering Holding Pattern. You will want it immediately on June 3!

Click on picture to preorder on Amazon

More ways to preorder:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holding-pattern-maggie-friedenberg/1141377386?ean=9798985754506

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/holding-pattern-9798985754506/9798985754506

How to connect with Maggie:

Website: http://www.maggiefriedenberg.com

Instagram: @maggiefriedenberg

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

author interview, community, Publishing

Interview with Author Leah Dobrinska

c-dangelo-behind-the-scenes-blog-author-interview-with-leah-dobrinska

This month’s blog features author Leah Dobrinska, a Small Town Romance and Cozy Mystery writer. She’s releasing her second book in her Mapleton series on Tuesday, April 5, named Good To Be Home. I loved the first book, Love at On Deck Café, so I’m first in line to read her next one.

The answers to my questions about her writing world are ones I need to keep reading for a reminder of keeping perspective at times. She shares such spot-on advice that she’s learned from publishing and shows her ability to remain centered and true to herself. We can all admire that in a person.

What gives you energy and joy?

My kids! Well, I guess they both give and take away my energy. Ha! But seriously, I’m so inspired by them and their resiliency and willingness to forgive and laugh and have fun. They are the reason I write. I want them to know that their words—their stories—are important, and the world needs who they are. We have a blast together, and not only are they my “why” but they’ve also given me some great one-liners for my books.

Let’s see…other things that bring me joy and revitalize me are reading and running. Going to my book club is the highlight of my month. I love reading in community, and discussing books is good for my soul. I firmly believe that to be a decent writer I need to also be an active reader. Many times, when I’m feeling drained with my own creative projects, I’ll slip into the pages of someone else’s work and find inspiration there.

And I’ve always been a runner, but I got back into the regular habit last summer. I don’t go fast and I don’t run far, but it’s one of the best ways I know to clear my head and lift my spirits.

Talk about a life lesson you have learned while on the path to publishing your book(s).

Whoa boy. So many lessons. It has been a trip! I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is to focus on the things I can control. So much of publishing a book is out of my control. Will my book land? Will it be overshadowed by another book releasing on the same day? Am I targeting the right group of readers? Will people leave reviews? Will they share my stuff on social? Who knows! I can’t force any of that. But what I can do is go back to the words. I can control what I’m putting on the page. That’s where I find deep joy and purpose, so I think the whole publishing process was a good lesson in remembering why I write. It’s not for accolades or popularity. I do it because I feel more like me when I’m creating. No publishing mishaps can take that away.

The publishing journey has also been a great reminder that comparison is a thief of joy. I’d much rather be celebrating fellow writers (and people in general, really) than pitting myself against them. In a similar vein, I’ve also learned that while writing and publishing is a solitary endeavor, it’s way more fun (and so necessary!) to do it as part of a greater community. I’ve met some amazing people who are fellow writers, and their encouragement and support has meant the world. We’re not meant to go through any aspect of life alone, and the publishing journey is no exception.

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

I pray. I remember that my worth is not tied up in what I do, but in who I am as a human being whom God created. I also take a step back. Usually my inner critic is being stoked by external things I’m consuming—social media, blogs, reviews. So, I’ve found it’s healthy and good for me to turn those things off every once in a while.

I’m also blessed with an amazing husband, family, and group of friends who serve as an incredible support system. They help me remember that life is bigger than books, that failure is okay, and that I’m loved. To be honest, I love that most of my real life people don’t know what an ISBN number is or what it means to get a Kirkus review. They keep me grounded and remind me that no matter what happens or how down and critical I’m feeling about my work, there’s more to life than that.

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing. This can be personality, physical attributes, or anything else.

I write love stories, but in many ways, my books are also love letters to the communities I’ve been blessed to be a part of. I started writing novels while my husband was in the Marine Corps and we were living many states away from home. But I chose to set my stories in a place very reminiscent of where I grew up. They always say to write what you know, and I know small town living!

I think I was craving that feeling of belonging—of home—and I knew I wanted that to be an important theme for my characters. Everyone can relate to longing for home or longing for a soft place to land. We find that in many ways—through our actual families, or friends who become like families, or our romantic partners. In all of my books, you’ll see my characters undergoing that search for home and their place in the world.

In a really neat way, all the goodness and beauty of small town living that I tried to write out in my stories has been exemplified in real life in the way people from my community have supported me and my book. I’m so humbled and very grateful. I hope that anyone who picks up one of my stories will feel at home within the pages and will be encouraged to love on the people in their real lives, too.

Oh, and on a slightly less meaningful note, I’m a Taylor Swift lyric junkie, so I think I’ve managed to sneak in a TS lyric-inspired sentence somewhere in each of my books.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

I’ve got a lot of projects up in the air at the moment. Launching Good To Be Home this month has me itching to get back to Mapleton. I’m currently in the process of editing book three in that small town romance series. It’s set to be published this fall. It’s a holiday romance that will feature two minor characters from Good To Be Home. If you read that one, you should be able to figure out who I’m referring to!

I’m also drafting book four in the Mapleton series. It’s giving me a run for my money, mostly because I want to do these characters justice. Their love story is so gorgeous in my head. Now, I just have to make sure it translates to the page!

I also got a book deal! My debut cozy mystery will release on December 6, 2022 from Level Best Books! I’m putting the finishing touches on it now before I’ll turn it over to my editor. Then it’ll be all hands on deck to get that book out into the world. I can’t wait to share more about this project, but right now, my lips are sealed…

Okay, well maybe a *little* teaser wouldn’t hurt, right?! The setting for the cozy mystery was inspired by the northern Wisconsin resort town my family used to visit each year, and it features a protagonist whose job has a lot to do with books. Oh, and it’s tentatively titled Death Checked Out. More to come… 🙂

And I, for one, can’t wait, Leah! Thank you for imparting your sage views on the blog. I know my readers will be able to take your thoughts and apply them to their own lives in multiple ways.

Click on picture to preorder
Click on picture to purchase

More ways to connect with Leah:

Website: https://leahdobrinska.com/

Newsletter: https://leahdobrinska.com/newsletter

Instagram: https://instagram.com/whatleahwrote

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whatleahwrote

Twitter: https://twitter.com/leahdobrinska

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/whatleahwrote/

Blog: https://leahdobrinska.com/blog

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/leahdobrinska

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/leah-dobrinska

***

NEWS: My next novel, The Visitor, is coming out in less than 2 months! You can preorder now for your Amazon Kindle. If you would like the paperback, June 1 is right around the corner.

Click on picture to preorder now!

Back cover info:

Fiercely independent Mary Pontrelli is blindsided when the New Orleans building housing her New Age store and upstairs apartment is listed for sale. Worse yet, a developer wants to destroy it and her high school ex-boyfriend—ahem, nemesis—is leading their charge. But this budding sweet spot for that weasel from the past can’t happen since traitors never change.

The best chance Mary has to save her cherished French Quarter building is to join forces with the other business owners whose livelihoods are also at risk. Too bad she avoids teamwork at all costs. Thankfully, a mystical new customer who shares Mary’s lost Italian heritage may be able to help alter her stubborn patterns. And, learning about the city’s history and her own Sicilian roots from the shopper may prove beyond merely engaging.

Even so, acquiring trust in strangers and accepting assistance requires more bravery than any societal expectation she’s challenged in her life. But if she doesn’t depend on her community and learn forgiveness, she may lose her career, home, and deeper relationships. No eccentric spirituality or heritage lessons can fix this…right?

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

recharge, rest, self-care

Rest for the Tired

rest-the-the-tired-c-dangelo-blog

I’m tired. Are you with me? I hope not, but odds are you may also feel this way a lot of the time. Aren’t we living in a society that makes us run, run, run to the point of exhaustion? Well, I think we are, but we don’t need to abide by that norm. I hereby protest the hustle life for the good life. Ah, la bella vita. Yet, tasks still need to get done. Herein lies the dilemma.

Now, the reason I feel predominantly tired is because I have two full time jobs, my day job and my author job. I love both of them, though hope to only have one someday. Guess which one! But anyway, the amount of time management and energy that’s necessary to keep both successful eventually wears on me. I’m a large proponent of taking time for rest, relaxation, and self-care, but sometimes I don’t have nearly the amount of time I could ideally use. Hey, I steal moments, but it would be glorious to have the true time needed for full mind and body refreshment.

So here I am with weighing the must-dos of the week with the can-wait responsibilities…a constant struggle. I don’t have a magical solution for the perfect balance, but will always keep trying. I know what doesn’t work at this point—pushing myself to a point of needing multiple days of rest. But sometimes deadlines don’t allow for any time away. Sigh.

Here’s what I’m learning works for me (and I hope you can use some ideas):

  • Taking time away from socializing. This means not looking at my phone, if able, therefore not responding to texts until the next day. It also can include either not posting something on my author social media that day or posting but not spending too much time online. Being an introvert means I need my battery recharged by myself. The noise of others, though only through technology, drains me too much sometimes, so I retreat. Saying “No” to obligations not fitting in my schedule also sits into this category. I dislike turning down any opportunity, but have to do just that sometimes.
  • Sitting in dim lighting at night. As I’ve gotten older, I can’t believe I like some darkness. Only a few years ago I preferred to light my house like Vegas at all times. But now, I find the lack of bright light more relaxing. It increases the likelihood that I’ll stay offline and just relax, signaling my mind that it’s time to settle down for the day.
  • Weaving in afternoons or days of no author related work, housework, or any other non-relaxing activities. These chunks of time are needed, not only wanted—a must in the self-care realm.
  • Going to bed earlier than usual. Sometimes I want to stay up to have more hours of “free time” at night, but I’ve found it isn’t worthwhile for me if I need rest more than that pleasure of one more TV show or chapter in a book.
  • Shifting my activities from creative to routine. The stability of predictable and easy to perform tasks sometimes sets me at ease. I love when I can clean, organize, or feel productive in my house. This allows for my mind to rest from overthinking, analyzing, and trying to figure out a mental puzzle. Then, I’ll be refreshed when needing to come back to the creative element involved in my book world.

Most of the above strategies can be used for any amount of time you want. Some days you need more time devoted to rest than others, so amp it up. You may not need any of these ideas on other days. Do what feels good.

Also, you may notice there are different areas of rest; social, physical/sensory, creative, and mental are my typical ones. Yours may include additional categories or, if you’re like me, they switch at different points in life according to needs. One TEDx Ideas article featured additional areas from Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s rest categories, spiritual and emotional, making seven total. Those last two are just as important so let’s not forget them. Who knew rest had categories?

My recent goal is to be more mindful of my needed areas to recharge. Writing this blog not only helps me to help you, but brings awareness to my own life. I know better, so I’ll do better, and will try to avoid pushing myself too hard. Lets aim for stopping and smelling the roses so we don’t face plant into them. Sounds like a good plan to me.

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

author interview, Italian American Author, writing

Interview with Author Mario Dell’Olio

c-dangelo-Author-blog-with-mario-dellolio

I’m beyond excited to feature author Mario Dell’Olio this month on my Behind the Scenes blog. Not only is he an outstanding author, but he’s one of the most thoughtful and giving people I’ve met in the writing community. For years, he has supported writers almost daily with cheering them on and promoting their work. He truly cares about everyone’s success and drew me in with his sweet spirit and never ending work ethic from the start of our connection.

This month, he’s releasing a book I CANNOT WAIT to read, Letters from Italy. I’ve been a fan since his first book, Coming About, so I know this one will be another fabulous read, especially for this Italian loving woman. Read about his books in his interview below, along with words of wisdom for how passion can transport you into a new world.

How do you cope with disappointment or setbacks?

I have published four books and am querying my fifth. Each of my projects brought the excitement of publication along with disappointment and rejection. I sent scores of query letters. Some garnered a form letter rejecting the project. Some received no response at all. The form letters taught me not to take rejection personally. Each agent or publisher is looking for different things. Eventually, a publisher loved my book, and it found a home. I can’t let the industry determine my self-worth, nor should I alter my style hoping to attain best seller status. Ultimately, I must follow my muse and write what I enjoy. For me, that approach yields the most satisfying result. I can’t depend on outside validation for my creative process.

What motivated you to keep going on the major project of writing your book(s)?

After a harrowing sailing adventure during which I nearly lost my life, I felt compelled to tell the story and the lessons I learned from my struggle. After writing Coming About, I realized I enjoyed the process of writing. I also discovered that I had many more stories to tell. Each of my books is an extension of my teaching career. Through the exposition of the plot, the characters learn about themselves and become whole. Sharing their stories keeps me motivated.

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing. This can be personality, physical attributes, or anything else.

All of my stories feature characters searching for deeper meaning in their life experiences. My life’s journey has been imbued with the lessons I’ve learned through the challenges I’ve overcome. Each significant person in my life has taught me more about myself and my ability to love and be loved. This theme is present in all my books, whether they be fiction or nonfiction. Reflecting on one’s life and experiences yields a profound understanding of self and can help guide the individual as they continue their journey. Ultimately, each of my main characters follow a path of self-discovery.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

Letters from Italy is a passion project. Over three years in the making, the book tells of my immigrant parents’ love story. Spanning nearly a century, the characters come alive in a tiny fishing village in southern Italy. The Second World War transforms their lives and they dream of a better future in a distant land. A new life sparkles before them and they risk everything for the American dream. Published by Black Rose Writing, Letters from Italy hits the stores on February 24, 2022.

Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts with my blog readers, Mario. It’s a special double apostrophe author month for them! lol

c-dangelo-author-blog-with-mario-delloilio-letters-from-italy
Click on picture to pre-order

Other ways to find Mario:

Amazon Author page: https://amzn.to/3CWtOFa

Linktree Social Media links: https://linktr.ee/mdellolio

Website: https://mariodellolio.com

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Mental Health, novel, Women's Fiction Author

Release to Revive

release-to-revive

Sometimes tradition makes me sick and sometimes I adore it. I like to think creatively and new, but also like to have routine and stability. Am I confusing you? What can I say, I’m a complex woman! But I have a dislike of not wanting to go along with trends of the moment. If you say, “Everyone is doing [insert behavior],” I’ll say, “Cool for them” and do something else to be innovative for myself. I just don’t like to follow the crowd most times because it’s boring to me. So, when new year’s resolutions are spoken of, I support you all the way if making one is your interest, but they aren’t for me. I switch up what I do each year—if I do anything at all (oh yes, it’s not a given)—and this year I am choosing to release some of the mind clutter I accidentally gathered last year. Want to come along for my freedom ride? I’ll help you get rid of your yuck too. Here we go with releasing to revive in 2022.

As a newly published author, I didn’t expect some pieces of a foreign puzzle to jam their way in between the right-fitting pieces of the puzzle I’m working on right now. I don’t know how those remnants got in there, but it’s time to say arrivederci. For example, when I became friends with so many wonderful authors, I was lucky enough that they wanted to help me, and I wanted to return the favor of course. Part of the help entailed them reading The Difference and reviewing it so that my reviews online can start building (this matters, people, so if you give me the honor of reading my novel, please write even a few words on your favorite website (Amazon, Barnes and Noble…)—thank you!). I also want to read all of their works of love, but there simply isn’t time due to having two careers. I’m making my way through my never-ending TBR list, but it’s a thousand times slower than I’d like. Now, I know (hope) that nobody is keeping track of whether I return the favor of reviewing their book if they reviewed mine, but I’m really trying, friends! I’ll get there, but the guilt of not having read some of my favorite people’s novels this past year has been hurting my heart and I need to stop carrying it around.

Another writer’s woe is not reading enough in general, since we become better writers through reading. And, I also want to read some books that aren’t my friend’s books. Gasp! It’s been a while since that happened and I intend to be freer in my reading this year. I have to do that for my soul, you know?

One more aspect to release that I’ll share is pretty obvious…I need to write more. Ah, the eternal writer’s dilemma. I took a much longer than expected break from actual writing since my debut novel published in July and I’ve been on the marketing wagon, then I needed to edit my next book, The Visitor, to get it on track for publication this year. Before I knew it, January arrived! So, as soon as the current edits for it are complete and I send it to the next editor, I’ll finally be starting my third book, The Decision.

Now, how can I truly release these guilts, yucks, and wrong puzzle pieces? I’ll turn to my therapy background and use imagery, maybe some action, and a dash of self-talk. Effective and simple, yet challenging to continuously put into practice.

What I mean by using imagery is that we all have the power to imagine releasing/relieving scenes. Think of such visions as writing your thought of release on a piece of paper, then sticking it in a balloon and watching the balloon float away high into the sky, along with your worry. Or, maybe you prefer screaming the thought into a passing train. As the train zooms by, the thought that bothered you is also moving further away from you. I also like the image of “writing” the distress on a leaf, then imagining it floating down a peaceful river. All of these methods are freeing, as well as able to be practiced by anyone anytime.

Guess what. You can also physically carry out these actions. Maybe you want to actually write on pieces of paper and rip them up, then throw them out. Send your trash out the door by placing it in the dumpster or at the curb. There, the distress is symbolically gone from your special place/home, and therefore your body. See what I mean?

Now let’s add the self-talk. You can say anything to yourself, and this is strong stuff, my friends. What we tell ourselves, we believe. So, I can say for example, “I release the guilt I carry for not yet reading my friends’ books.” I also can remind myself, “I embrace my individual timeline and life commitments.” Letting that ending positive thought wash over soothes me. I can physically feel my shoulders loosen. Now you try.

Fill in your own needed words with these statements:

I release…

I let go of…

I get rid of…

*

I attract to me…

I embrace…

I welcome…

I will…

You can also pair certain tactics from above, such as envisioning scenes (imagery) then saying these powerful statements (self-talk). Or, you can say a statement as you do an action. Anything is possible and you have a whole year to get in this groove. Isn’t that exhilarating?

I know I can do most anything I set my mind to and I believe you can also. The future is yours to revive. Take hold of it and make it how you want. Choose these new choices and feel the freedom that is 2022.

*

Bonus: Did you know I’m part of a premier group of authors called the Author Talk Network? Creativity, collaboration, and an urge to communicate has resulted in a unique alliance of nineteen authors, most of whom have never met.  We’ve created a network where readers and authors come together to discuss books and so much more.  The authors are available individually, or as a panel, for library programs, book clubs, school groups, or clubs and as guests on your show or blog. Just click on the picture below for more information. Contact us because we can’t wait to meet you!

author-talk-network

***

Feel free to follow and share my blog. Also, join my VIP Newsletter for announcements, giveaways, and more!    

Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.