Sheena was an undeniably beautiful girl. She was an art major and had true a skill in painting. She’d even turned her face into a work of art. Sheena’s eyeliner was done like a pin-up girl’s from the forties and it made her baby blues really pop.
They weren’t really blue anymore though. They were more of a cloudy white as they stared back up at Evie. They were still pretty. Pretty and unblinking.
Evie knew she should try calling the police, but wasn’t sure how she would explain what had happened, even if she could reach the authorities. She ran through the events of the morning and the night before. Every action, every word the two girls had spoken replayed in her mind. Somehow she would make sense of it all. Evie needed to reconcile all that had taken place and understand how she had managed to kill her own best friend.
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Today's post comes to you from an inspired song that I have been listening to as of late, an oldie but a goodie. Courtesy of Sarah McLachlan, take a relisten to "Possession," especially if you don't know the story behind this "romantic" little gem.
Passionate, swoonworthy, isn't it?
"I will be the one to hold you down,
Kiss you so hard.
I'll take your breath away…"
Now, take the song in context unlike so many couples who have declared this their song and who have had this played at their weddings. Sarah wrote this song about her STALKER. She even used excerpts from some of his letters, so he claimed in a lawsuit he filed against her after its release. Isn't so sexy now, is it?
Being that I am a romance author, well, I like to refer to my writing as it's own genre of twisted romance, I can appreciate the artistry in the song. You know she has to roll her eyes a bit every time she hears how some lovestruck person relates to this song so well.
I, myself, had a stalker in college back in my prime. Just like any person who is unstable, I assume they come in all shapes and sizes, but my own experience was nothing like the movies. Mark Wahlberg from the movie Fear, this guy was not. Then again, had Marky Mark been after me back then it wouldn't have been stalking, we would've called it dating, even love. Who am I kidding? I'd probably have twelve little Wahlbergs running around and still ignoring the crazy staring at those abs. I remember those Calvin Klein ads all too well.
My point is, no matter how crappy your Valentine's Day is because you don't get some box of candy or roses, it could be worse. You could be getting your dog's head shoved through a doggy door or some other super crazy profession of love from a psycho.
I like to see the bright side in everything. You're welcome.
I'm writing this post because there seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately revolving around the self-esteem of myself as well as so many others around me. I truly believe one of the most important factors in life is recognizing your worth. To accomplish anything you must first believe in yourself enough to try it, then you must know that you as a person are capable of accomplishing it. Not everything you try will work the first time, even the tenth time, but believing that you deserve what you work so hard to get is what puts you in the position to attain it.
I know my own limitations. My body isn't what it was twenty years ago, my youth is fading and I recognize the fact that I am not now, nor was I probably ever the most beautiful woman to walk into a room. In school I was a bit of a dork. Well, let's call it nerd. I made good grades and I thought I was brilliant, yet as I age, I also realize that the wisdom that I once thought I had is actually now with me, because I understand how truly stupid I can be at times. I see my own ignorance on so many topics and I strive to learn as much as I possibly can. Was I ever the smartest person in a classroom? Well, there was that one remedial math class I took in college because I bombed the math portion of the ACT and had to take it, so in that particular case, I actually think I may have been… but any other day, absolutely not. I have met people who possess the most inspiring minds, people who can grasp concepts that I'm not sure I've ever understood, people who can solve problems and have talents that I could never rival. I am not jealous of these folks, I try to learn from them.
By recognizing my limitations, by the self realizations that I just mentioned, it may sound a little self-effacing, but it's not. What it does is it gives me a drive to be so much more, and in doing so I realize there is something so special about me. I am stubborn, and although I may not be blessed with the looks of a supermodel or the brain of an MIT graduate, I am someone who stands out when I walk into a room. No, not for beauty or intelligence, but I feel confident that I am most likely one of the hardest working people there. I am special. I am unique. I am me, and no one else can be that.
What this post is primarily about is this… Know your value. You don't have to be the most popular, the beauty queen or the smartest. It's okay to be different. However, when people make you feel less than what you know yourself to be, whether they belittle you, try to stand in your way, or if they simply just don't love you back, love yourself enough to know that those people weren't meant to be a part of your life. Sometimes it is painful to let go, but giving up on people who hurt you isn't really giving up at all. It's being brave and starting over. And besides, if someone is stupid enough to not see how special you are, not only are they the ones missing out on knowing you, but you'd probably figure out at some point that they weren't all you though they were anyway.
Anyone that knows me well knows that one of my favorite movies (and books) is GONE WITH THE WIND. Lots of women say that, I'm sure, but have they really thought about why they love it so much? Maybe. I know I have.
Scarlett O'Hara is a seriously flawed woman. She's impulsive, temperamental and sometimes downright unlikeable. I can relate. However, the beautifully written and developed characters aren't the only thing that makes this story great. It is chocked full of life lessons.
#1 - A woman can do anything she sets her mind to, even in a man's world.
Scarlett ran a business while the other ladies were baking. She did what needed to be done, and she did it like a boss.
#2 - When bad things happen, put on your big girl panties and deal.
Scarlett took care of her family, got the plantation running again and built everything back from ashes with only a few tears and outbursts.
#3 - Everybody needs a friend like Melanie.
Mellie stuck by Scarlett through thick and thin, even though everybody in town whispered how Scarlett was after her husband. Everybody needs a ride or die kind of friend like that.
#4 - You may not be the most beautiful girl in the room, but confidence will make you appear that way.
In the novel, Scarlett had the smallest waist in the county, but she wasn't the most beautiful. Scarlett knew how to get what she wanted and used what she had. She wasn't just a pretty face. The movie, of course, cast Vivien Leigh, who I can't imagine playing anything less than the most beautiful woman anywhere, and also did a fantastic job of her role, however, from just the standpoint of the way she looks, it was somewhat inaccurate.
#5 - Don't settle for the wrong man.
Scarlett impulsively marries a young fool, later sets her sights on an old, ugly one for money, and consistently stays in love with a blithering weakling. I dare say women could all somehow categorize men into GONE WITH THE WIND archetypes - Ashley Wilkes, Charles Hamilton, Frank Kennedy and Rhett Butler. Which brings me to the last point...
#6 - Once you find your perfect man, don't screw it up!
Rhett wasn't weak like Ashley, stupid like Charles or boring like Frank. He was confident, charming and smart, not to mention he adored Scarlett for her good qualities as well as the bad.
He was exciting, a blockade runner, a professional gambler and held little regard for what anyone thought of him, yet had a huge heart when it came to the people he loved. I'm not sure how many Rhetts are out there, but if you find one, count yourself lucky. I'm betting you had to wade through a lot of Charles, Franks and Ashleys to find him!
Pen name, pseudonym or nom de plume if you're super fancy like that - is the fake name an author uses. Often people ask me why writers use them. I suppose there is actually a number of reasons.
The author could be writing in a different genre and doesn't want to confuse their work with previous novels that might be wildly different. The author could be trying out a more marketable name because their earlier works didn't do as well as they had hoped, or maybe they simply don't like their name and relish the idea of changing it.
None of those were true for me personally. I began publishing under
T. MIchelle Nelson from the beginning. My pen name is a name similar to my real name and a family name, which is why I chose it instead of something cool like Trixie LaReaux, which will be my witness protection name should I ever find myself in that situation and get to choose (although I probably just blew that by posting it online!). To answer why I chose T. Michelle Nelson, well, I suppose I just wanted to keep my anonymity, which in hindsight I'm very glad I did.
Being very realistic and honest, let's face it, I'll never have the recognition of a Stephen King. That's not to say in this day and age where any online presence can result in weird stalkers, I had no intention of putting myself or my family out there. Since 2012 when my first book was published I have received dozens of very strange emails, facebook messages and tweets to say the least. I try to make myself available to answer emails, follow readers back on facebook and twitter and answer any real questions. However, I highly recommend any new author who wants to have a large online presence and market their books as I have consider if they want their real name available to anyone who might read their work or even see them online. I love getting to know my readers, but I do not care for tens of thousands of people who follow me on twitter to have my home address.
Bringing up Stephen King again, think back to MISERY. I behave like I'm dying when I stump my toe. I couldn't handle being hobbled. One interesting thing I've learned over this whole experience the last few years is, you don't have to be super famous to have over-aggressive fans. I would like to reiterate that I do LOVE getting emails from readers, just not the ones who would like to see what my insides look like.
That being said, if you are so inclined and not homicidal, please feel free to drop me a note on the contact page of my website anytime!
Writing is enjoyable for me. I was asked in my last radio interview if I'd always be a writer. I suppose the expected answer to this question is "Of course, a true writer cannot help but do what they love." Unfortunately, that isn't my answer. I will continue to pen novels as long as it is fun. There will be more books as long as I enjoy what I'm doing and I'm proud of my work. When it's no longer fun or something that I feel good about doing, it will cease to happen.
Does this make me a fair-weather author? Maybe. This is the reason THE LAST ONES has been delayed. I'm unhappy with the ending. There was a lull in the action towards the end, and I felt as though some of the characters needed further development. I refuse to put out a book that I would be disappointed in as a reader, and I refuse to continue writing on it if I feel uninspired.
The last few days, my imagination has been working overtime. I'm back at it. When I'm on, I'm on and right now the words are flowing. Expect to see THE LAST ONES out soon, and check back here for information, release dates and lots of other sneak peeks.
Thanks for being patient, and for those readers who have messaged, emailed and have been wondering, know that I appreciate your enthusiasm more than you can ever imagine.