2014 was a surreal year with many challenges, successes, and a few bumps along the way. If you’re new to LaurieWriting, or have some catching up to do, here are a few highlights from 2014. But first, let me express to you how grateful I am to have you all coming along for this journey by saying “HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope your lives are filled with great success, fulfillment, and PEACE.”
[Image credit: Photo.elsoar.com]
Now for the highlights–and overview of 2014 on LaurieWriting:
>>> A funny post on a grocery run with my husband when a journalist wanted a picture of us after we’d just rolled out of bed. <<<
>>> A no-holds barred and inspirational post on cultivating a “can do” attitude and letting go of comparisons. <<<
>>> A post and analogy of how children often motivate adults to let go of what doesn’t matter in life. This funny post was written on a day when I was quite discouraged, but came back fueled to face my writing after finding inspiration from observing my young daughter and her friend as they played. <<<
>>> A post announcing mine and my daughter’s new and progressing adventure in the world of producing and publishing a children’s book.<<<
>> Cover reveal of my second contemporary romance, Serendipity Summer. <<
>>> A heartfelt post on insecurities and conquering self-image fears. <<<
“Interview with Author Laurie Kozlowski” (by Kyrian Lyndon)
>>> My first interview on blogtalk radio. Kyrian Lyndon and I discuss writing, social media, my newest book release, childhood memories, and much more on Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian. <<<
>>> An overview of how my first book signing went and an appreciation for writing and readers who are supportive during this journey. <<<
Don’t forget you’re able to Follow This Blog By Email and get updates on new posts! Click on the “Follow” button to the right of this page on the sidebar and follow the prompts, then you’re all set! Thank you, and happy new year!
Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world. It seems like everyone is Irish or wants to be.
As Saint Patrick’s day approaches, I love to see the smiling faces. Everyone is in a better mood because the sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming. The formally frozen castles of the Irish and want-to-be kinship are bustling with hearty food. (bless the people who haven’t given up the resolution to eat salads for a lifetime.) Uplifting music boasts across borders and nations in celebration as parades unite us all. And uninhibited exhibitions of love and happiness that could get us all arrested are (mostly) acceptable on St. Patrick’s Day.
Though the original phrase “Luck of the Irish” was an old mining expression that carried a distinct tone of derision, the Irish holiday proves to be a way the world disagrees.
I remember my father giving me a crystal tea set, made in Ireland. Since we’d reunited only a few months before, he couldn’t have known I loved Irish made collectables such as those. I now use the tea set when my daughter and I have tea parties. I like to think that although he didn’t know my gift preferences, luck had played a part in the special birthday gift. It was certainly a blessing to see my entire family around the table for the first time.
My father and I are not close, but I am happy this year to be spending St. Pattie’s Day with my husband and daughter. Like so many around the world, I will have a smile on my face. Life has given me an opportunity to build on the unconditional love of my little family and great friendships. I believe in love and luck and blessings.
I also believe that great things come to those who work hard and wait. For two years, I’ve been blogging and writing fiction. Here is my most recent stroke of luck/blessings/serendipity, posted to my Facebook Author page:
I’m pleased to announce the first book of the Riverbend Way series–Serendipity Summer–will now be represented by a new publisher. I’ve signed with Booktrope, a growing publishing company based out of Seattle, Washington.
“Serendipity Summer,” contemporary romance/womens fiction novella was originally independently published, released in November of 2014. It has now opened the door to work with an exclusive creative team through Booktrope while I focus on writing and developing the series.
No woman/man is an island when it comes to writing, producing, and publishing a book. It takes a small village to do all of it and spread the word. Those who have extended to me their expertise throughout this journey, I am eternally grateful. My sincerest thanks for jumping aboard on this journey.
I’m happy to share this moment with my daughter and husband. They have both seen me through the hills and valleys these first two years of a writing career. I’m thrilled “Serendipity Summer” has opened a door to work with Booktrope and a creative team to take this series to the next level.
Thank you all for believing in “Serendipity Summer” as much as I have. Your readership, shares, reviews, and various avenues of support have lighted the path to wonderful possibilities and opportunities!
To show my appreciation for your support, I'm giving away an e-book copy of Serendipity Summer to a random commenter. To be eligible to win, answer this question: what would be your idea of an extreme stroke of luck? (eg.,"winning a lottery ticket", "paying off my kid's tuition," "being able to meet my favorite celebrity.") Don't forget to leave your name and email in the comments section so I can send you the book if you win. The winner will be announced on upcoming blog post, 3.23.2015. Good luck!
“Did you encounter a man in the Women’s department who looked suspicious?” An attractive blonde woman, about early thirties and who rang up my items at the cash register asked me.
I was there for yarn. For colorful, soft yarn and possibly chocolate, because of being emotional. I had no idea about a suspicious man in the Women’s department though I’d also added to the items a couple pair of sweatpants to accommodate the chocolate coma I expected to ensue later that evening.
“I uhm…suspicious man?”
The kind lady continued to talk to me in a low whisper.
“Yes. Apparently a strange man was going around the Women’s department saying he was doing research for a communications project, but he was looking for women’s animal print panties in the Women’s department!” She shook her head as if the man had committed a carnal sin for wanting animal print women’s panties.
I had an image of Duce Bigelow, male Gigilo in my head and tried not to snort as strip music thumped in the brain. The cashier’s deadpan expression only made me want to laugh harder…but I held it in. Probably like the guy “researching” was doing now, depending on his Monday panties or Friday panties. Everyone knows the weekend was made for thongs. But I digress…
“Ohhh nooo…” I really tried to sound disturbed. Not too hard to do, these days!
She nodded. “Yep. So if you’ve seen a guy wandering around, the manager has warned him off. Hopefully, it’s no big deal.”
She sounded doubtful. I was on the verge of coughing so I wouldn’t laugh and discount her claim of the wild panty thief under the guise of a mere communications research project.
What is love…baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more. Whoooaaa oh oh whoahhhoaaa…
I squeezed my eyelids to tune “The Night at The Roxbury” by Haddaway music out of my head and focused on the cashier.
“But I didn’t see…”
“$39.95, please!” She stated my total.
When had I spent that much? YARN and CHOCOLATE. What the hell.
[Photo credit Ann Burton]
I dutifully paid up and gave her a smile.
“Oh, I’m sure it will be okay. Though, I’m sure there were better ways for him to go about researching for…whatever,” I said.
The cashier widened her eyes and nodded. “I know! The Women’s department! How weird.”
“There are weird people everywhere. Seriously.” I smiled again.
“That’s the truth.” The friendly cashier shook her head but smiled back.
©LaurieKozlowski 2015, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction permitted unless given by the author.
There has been a ton of articles on mental health issues lately.
I started A Motherhood Memoir about a year and a half ago. It was a piece touching on post-partum depression, and I didn’t think it would have gotten welcome reception then. But now…I still hesitate.
Some thoughts are better left unsaid or unpublished. In my private journal is one thing–but to put it out here for the world to see is also putting my daughter at risk for certain privacy issues. There is no way to write about it without it also reflecting on her in some way. Since I love her more than life, certain thoughts will remain dead in concerns to publishing them online.
It is also quite a leap to go from writing romance fiction to press into the non-fiction world of memoir writing.
I am not an expert on mental health or parenting, but do know there are a few insights I can offer to those who may have been or are going through many of the same things.
However, there is still a desire to express this story. If you’ve tuned into Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian Lyndon on her worldwide blog talk radio show, you have heard her interview me about issues I’ve held back on discussing until recently.
A couple of things we talk about is mental health and the effects of childhood abuse. I share a beautiful memory of me and my mom sitting by a heater during a thunderstorm as the oil lamp burns.
And so though I will go through and write more about my challenges and overcoming depression as a (then) new mother, it will be from a better place of gratefulness (now.)
I’m able to see the positive aspects during those challenges, so as to note that point in life as a time for better understanding and learning to nurture myself and my daughter without apprehension.
Every parent worries, but coming from a place where childhood abuse shaped my way of life–I was beyond worried about my daughter on every occasion.
The anxiety sucked the life from me knowing any and every trip to the grocery store, to church, or even to a day at the playground was a full-fledged emergency waiting to happen. Especially when she was around the ages of three and four.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Many parents (especially new parents) continue to feel isolated and alone, even when they take actions to un-isolate themselves.
Everyone has an image ingrained on what makes a good parent. There may be a few who do not hesitate to shove their wisdom down the throats of struggling or discouraged parents in the middle of a poop-smearing or snot-rocket storm right before that comfortable and big event for childless parents, grandparents, friends, and/or family.
Of course, they mean well, but it isn’t always the perfect timing when these issues do arise. In fact, you can count on it not being the perfect time–ever.
[Image credit: quoteswave.com]
I think what pulls so many away from well-intentioned advice is when it is shaming or meant to cause guilt. At times, those people have no clue that they have rubbed a parent the wrong way by saying things like “Santa is still in the store, but he’s leaving in ten minutes.” (When it would take the parent over ten minutes to even get to the line for Santa.) <<<< This happened to Zoko and I just before Christmas. I wanted to ask the lady if she had a clue as to what her words were causing…but it would be a waste of breath.
You learn that as you go. What battles to fight and which ones to leave alone. It’s often best to Let it go.
There are occasionally people who want to stir the pot on your parenting abilities. Keep in mind that their snarky or sometimes very harsh comparisons or advice are only reflections of their insecurities. Even when it is in humor!
It is important to your eye on what works instead of what isn’t working. Remember, people speak from their own experiences, NOT YOURS. (I have to remind myself this all the time because I’m one of those people who will hug you, buy you dinner, and rub your back if you cry, but I will also sock your lights out if I witness you saying meany-butt things to hurt my kid’s feelings.)
I encourage any parent who feels condemned or shunned by their efforts to remember this list of reminders. I’ve seen my daughter flourish in the past six years because I stay aware of these things:
* By choosing not to adopt others’ perceptions of your parenting, you are freeing yourself to give your child what he/she needs the most–love and security in a way only you can give it.
* When your children see how you are not affected by other parents or critics comments, they learn true confidence takes restraint and discipline. They learn how to focus inward on what they do right and how to improve, instead of what they do wrong, causing low self-esteem and doubt.
* Your children will be a reflection of yourself and behaviors. Imitation is not a bad thing when you parent on *your* terms, keeping in mind the love, safety, and wellbeing of your child is in your capable hands. It also does no good to go around paranoid about your every action and how it affects them because though a child imitates many of your actions, you both are human and will make mistakes. If they learn no one makes mistakes, it could cause the opposite affect…a lack of compassion and love toward others and/or themselves.
* It teaches your children how to be actively aware of conflicts and resolve them amicably, without physical, emotional, or verbal violence.
[Image credit: smartmom.co]
2015 is a new year and new start! First and foremost, it is easy to continue doing the same old thing. Continue to pile on the guilt for not spending that extra few minutes with the little one before bedtime because you’re tired and preparing for the next day. Or you may over-commit yourself to focusing on your child’s worries instead of taking time to slow down and find a reasonable or new solution that could make you both happy.
Let’s leave those things in the past. The doubt. The worry. The guilt over the small stuff. The outside opinions that rile us up and cause discouragement either unintentionally or intentionally. Take away from those moments what is constructive, learn from them, and say “bye, bye, bye” to the rest. Even the New Kids on The Block agree. See!
[Image credit: scottradecenter.com]
(Those random rock-star poses say “YES, these random audience members and our higher stage lighting power agrees, too!”)
Trust that the love, safety, support, and attention you give your little one(s) is sufficient because you have what it takes.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
This year has been a roller coaster. Not just for me–for many of my friends and family, for just about everyone I know. Then there is the gratitude that comes with knowing we are all not alone. We can laugh together. We can still hug our loved ones through the doubts. And those who have lost loved ones understand another’s loss–they send encouraging thoughts, offer their help, and when there are no words…simply pray healing for that person’s heart. This type of community derives from a sense of caring, compassion and being motivated to help one another knowing we are all, in some way, broken, but not defeated.
The morning after my first book signing, I awoke at 2 am to journal. Journalism is nothing new. The insomnia has to be fed in positive and constructive ways, and sitting down with pen and paper to write down things running through my head is a natural occurrence.
What was different that morning, however, was waking up in the middle of the night feeling an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.
I curled up in my robe with tea and wrote in my journal, teary-eyed and smiling. I knew this type of ‘knowing everything is going to be okay’ was beyond anything I could describe here on the blog. My heart beat with meaning, with a satisfying love, and with contentment… is how to describe it.
An author from whom I had bought several of her books had endured the death of her husband only the night before my book signing. I didn’t want to type my condolences in some thread on Facebook (though I am grateful for those who did), but I wanted to hug her.
I wrote about my first book signing, too, and what a wonderful experience it was. Not bragging, but seeing those in the community come out to buy my book. To talk with me about my book and to see, in action, what beautiful people surround me on this journey. I was overwhelmed with love and happiness at what I thought would be a room of empty chairs.
~ Morning of book signing photo, as I wrote out an outline on flashcards for the event. ~
My sister helped to take a few pictures of friends, family, and new acquaintances approached the signing table. I had a great time speaking with individuals one-on-one. I’m not one for sitting around when socializing, especially as the guest-of-honor at an event.
Look! No sweater to cover up those arms! Insecurities, be damned.
People showed up. More people than I ever thought possible. It wasn’t the mosh pit of a concert (thank goodness), but it was a gathering of smiling faces, a pleasant reunion with some I haven’t seen in quite a while. Even the local Italian bakery my family and I frequent made a delicious cake for the event as soon as they found out about it. My husband and daughter had surprised me with the cake only moments before I spoke to the small crowd.
I hugged my husband and daughter when I saw the gift they had bought for me, and later laughed when my husband told me the pastry chef and bakery owner asked him what message to put on the cake…this was his reply: “You’re asking the wrong person. My wife is the writer and would know what words to put on there.”
As you can see, the message is simple, but still, looking at it now, it makes me smile.
The stack of books of my new novel, Serendipity Summer, soon dwindled down to small stack as people offered warm smiles, questions, book chat, and I got to catch up with a couple of good friends. My family gave hugs and congratulations as their kids were hanging out with my young daughter in the childrens part of the library. Though not everyone was blood related, I felt at home as I handed each person who showed their support by buying my book a copy of Serendipity Summer with a bookmark and the pen I signed it with. The potpourri mason jars, once filled with pens, emptied by the end of the event.
The front book on top of the table, beside the business cards, is my original proof copy. I read the excerpt from it, and the big jar in the back, was for the giveaway of the self-spa gift set raffle.
It was a wonderful time of celebration and beautiful memories. The morning after the event my husband asked when I had woken up. He always seems to know when something is off or if I’m going through an emotional time.
My daughter was shuffling around in her pj’s, petting the dog and yawning while my husband was turning omelets on the stove, with a spatula, for breakfast. I had a cup of coffee this time and looked at him with watery eyes as I wrapped my hands around the warm cup.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
He stood holding the spatula, eyebrows crinkled, while my daughter and dog began to fill my lap, offering kidlet hugs and puppy kisses.
I chocked up but finally got out what I wanted to say.
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
He turned the heat down on the stove eye and started towards us.
I nodded as he embraced all of us in a big hug.
My first author podcast interview! I was interviewed by lovely author and writing friend, Kyrian Lyndon on Heart to Heart with Kyrian. Please stop by to hear our fun chat and to read her review of my newest romance book release, Serendipity Summer. #bookworm #fictionbooks
Originally posted on Kyrian Lyndon:
I had the opportunity to interview the author, Laurie Kozlowski, on my radio show, Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian. Here is a podcast of that interview.
About the Author:
Laurie Kozlowski resides in Northeast Georgia with her daughter and husband. Having small town roots, she’s intrigued with the charm, drama, and humor of the south, often weaving those themes into the fiction she writes.
Her first contemporary romance book, Serendipity Summer, is the first of four books in the Riverbend Way Series. The Riverbend Way Series is contemporary small-town romance fiction. The series touches on serious modern day issues, a twist of earthy and sometimes bawdy humor, and a heavy dose of love.
Laurie enjoys incorporating family-centered themes and stories including friendship, hope, and healing.
She also writes under the pen names of Roxie Nash and Lulu Zoko.
When not writing, she loves to make music and jewelry, picnic near the river…
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The past couple of months has been a huge challenge in self-acceptance for me and our family. Like so many others, we try to stay optimistic though there is uncertainty about bills and unexpected crises arising that could make or break being able to ‘get by’ comfortably.
I am tired of the doubt. I am sick of the stress. It will always be there, but one thing I know for sure-I’m the person who has to account for my thoughts and actions throughout and at the end of the day. The best thing I can do for myself and my family is to be myself and accept it no matter where the cards may land.
I’m lucky to have a husband who loves me for who I am. But it isn’t what he thinks–or what anyone else thinks, for that matter–that keeps me going.
My fuel comes from knowing what I am capable of regardless of what I think people think of me. It’s about caring less about what others think of me and caring more about myself. I’ve lost and have kept off ten pounds for a month. I’m getting to where I want to be.
I see people’s selfies all the time on social media. I love seeing others be confident and happy…and even silly. But I cannot stand to see a full body photo of myself. Yesterday I took a full body picture despite my insecurities. The photo was originally shot without my short-sleeve sweater on…but then I saw my arms and covered up more. My husband sighed. He loves it all. Even the wiggly bits.
I’m a big woman with a big heart and an even larger dream of succeeding as an author in a society where the skinny ladies get all the compliments and admiration. But you know what? I’ve decided self-image is what I make it. But I’m no longer going to hide. Good for the “skinny” girls. They are more than a number on the scale, too.
And good for me for taking this Halloween full body photo with my sweet pumpkin husband.
Me after our Halloween night out with family. Happy to be ME:
© Laurie Kozlowski 2014-Present All Rights Reserved.
Check out my review of A Dark Rose Blooms on Book Escape Reviews. Kyrian Lyndon, the author, wrote this short poetry book and included an excerpt from her upcoming novel series, Deadly Veils. I’m hooked on her writing, and hope you’ll stop by to find out more about Kyrian and her work. A Dark Rose Blooms will be published soon. You don’t want to miss it!
Thanks for reading ~
Originally posted on Book Escape Reviews:
Please welcome Kyrian Lyndon–writer, author, and poet, in celebration of her new poetry book, A Dark RoseBlooms. I’ve had the honor of reading the ARC, and am also posting a review of the soon-to-be-released book of poems, as well as sharing some things readers may not know about this debut author. It’s your time to shine, Kyrian, so congrats on your new book release!
Review of A Dark Rose Blooms
Five Stars * * * * *
A Short and Potent Book of Heartfelt Poems
I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful collection of poems featured in A Dark Rose Blooms. I have always greatly admired those who pour their hearts out in poetry, because in gives an insiders view of important moments and emotions within a person’s life. This book captures the lighthearted and fun moments as well as a few deep, solitary, and sometimes quite dark moments…
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