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Sunday, December 22, 2013

All the World's A Light-Bright


Did you ever have a Light-Bright as a kid? You know that little black screen with a million holes backlit by one bright light bulb.

Everything looked much cooler on a Light-Bright. You could be the worst artist in the world, crafting nothing more than a straight line and still when the lights went off, you were mesmerized by your colorful creation.

I think Christmas makes the entire world look like a Light-Bright creation and I love it! Lights on the houses and on the Christmas Trees.  Tiny lights woven in banisters and garland. It’s breathtaking!

 I’ve been thinking about what all this light represents and how it drowns out the darkness and unites us in common cause, if only for a season.

These little strands of lights that we pull from boxes and hang on rain gutters and wrap around trees remind us that even though we all live different lives, we’re not so different after all.

Light breaks through the darkness. It represents transparency and lets us see things as they are.  Crime hides in the darkest of corners, light deters the darker side of humanity.  For many people Christmas lights reminds us that on Christmas morning, we will all sit down with people we love and give. This is the day that we move as one, loving and being loved and basking in the light of the season.

For people who have religious ties to the holiday, the light represents so much more.

I love the holidays for all these reasons.

Soon the lights will disappear and our neighborhoods will feel uncomfortably dim for a while. We’ll go back to our lives, carving our different paths, facing our different problems.  I’m always a little sad when that happens.  Luckily, next year, just after Thanksgiving, the lights will return.

I hope your holiday is filled with good things, light and love and sense of belonging to a human family that is still fundamentally good.   I love being an author and I love being if nothing else a small part of your holiday season.

Merry Christmas friends!

 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WORST BREAKUP EVER!

No one tells you that when you become a parent, you get the joy and the pain of experiencing your younger years all over again!
A few weeks ago, my son went through the experience of his first real break up. As I watched his heart break, I felt my own twist and contort with a heartache that was new and yet so familiar.  His break up reminded me that we all face rejection, especially in High School. I wanted to tell him then that I understood because when  I was a brand new High School graduate I went through the worst break up ever!
My boyfriend and I were inseparable for two eternal years. Then, only a few weeks after graduation, it happened.
He’d gone on vacation with his family to San Diego, California. I’d stayed behind to work. Three days went by with no communication.  We’d never gone three days without talking. We rarely went three hours.  I couldn’t help but worry. Early the next morning jumped in my car and drove to San Diego.  When my sweetheart came out to meet me, he stunk of alcohol and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  In the salty morning air, he broke up with me.
I drove home, my heart shattered in a thousand pieces. What teenage tragedy! What gut-wrenching drama…but it gets worse.
After a terrible night of trying to make sense of my boyfriend’s sudden change of heart, I got back in the car and drove back to San Diego to try and fix things. In my na├»ve heart, I reasoned that our love was so strong that we could work it out. Yep, I was a teenagerJ
I was shocked again when he wouldn’t even come out to talk to me. OUCH!  I later learned that he’d met another girl on vacation and been unfaithful.  MEN!
Like all heartbroken teens, I did  heal and go onto love again and my sons and my daughter will too. He even wanted to get back together several months later. Like that was going to happen.
How about you?  What was your first break up like? I hope it was better than mine!
Thanks for stopping by.
 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Funnies


Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. This uniquely American holiday gives us a chance to pause and think about the good in our lives. Today I'm thankful for friends and family, writing and those who have written! 

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. I love you all!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here's to two years of insanity!

It’s time to celebrate.  Two years ago this week, my first book, Unbreakable Love was published and sent out into the world of readers.

This sweet little love story of a guardian angel that must protect the one he loves but cannot touch, came to fruition just because I wanted to show my son that it was okay to do “hard things.”

 
 

 
Since then Unbreakable Love has gone through a cover change.
 
The new cover
  Two more books (Shackled and Becoming Bryn)  were published.
 
Shackled was optioned for and written into a screenplay and was nominated for a national award!  It has been an amazing two years and I’ve enjoyed every crazy minute of it.  I’ve met amazing authors and  bloggers and have been so grateful for their support as I’ve jumped into the competitive world of publishing. Best of all, I get these crazy characters and stories on paper so that they finally get out of my headJ  For so many reasons, I feel lucky every day to be a published author.  

To mark this occasion Unbreakable Love will be on sale for 99cents all week in both Kindle and Nook!

Thanks for taking a second to stop by and celebrate with me. I’m so glad to share a little bit of my crazy life with you. Most of all…HAPPY READING!
 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Very Personal Ovation to Our Veterans!


I can’t let this weekend pass without dedicating a blog to the AMAZING Veterans that make our freedom possible here in the United States.

Like many of us, I have Grandfathers that are World War 11 Vets. Maury Trask and Keith Ainsworth. They’ve both passed on now but their legacy of honor and strength continues to touch my life.

Both of these men come from a generation often dubbed “The Greatest Generation”. This name is more than fitting for the veterans I’ve known from the World War 11 era. 

They are a generation born of adversity and made great by overcoming hardship.   They faced trying economic times and years of war leaving them separated from the ones that they loved the most. 

Many in this generation showed us what commitment really is. Before and after the wars, they stayed married for fifty plus years to their sweethearts, choosing to accept that relationships take work and with that work, love grows even stronger. 
My own grandparents were an example of this dedication and hard work not just in their relationships but also in their careers after the war.  Steady, hardworking, and generous are all words I could use to describe my Veteran grandfathers and so many other veterans that I've come across in my life.

In the end, there are insufficient words to describe the gratitude that I feel for all Veterans in all eras that protect my freedom and yours.  Still, I want to try to express my gratitude.   

To my grandfathers and the men and women that serve and protect my beautiful country of the United States, I say thank you…a million times thank you. You are remembered today and everyday that I continue to breath!  In my family, you will never be forgotten and always, always, you are in our prayers.

Thanks for stopping by. Who are the Veterans in your life and how does their example affect you?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Confessions of a Candy Holiday Victim

It’s that time of year again, the season that makes CEO’s of candy manufacturing companies titter with delight. Yep, it’s the beginning of the candy holidays.
Halloween to Christmas, they’ve got us.  Candy corn to Cadbury Eggs, they commandeer our attention, and money.
Not that I’m complaining. Like most people,  at Halloween I dress my kid up and spend hours watching her siphon candy from the neighbors only to snag my favorites from her cheap plastic pumpkin holder once she’s in bed. 
And I’m know I’m not alone.
With childlike glee, we’ll rifle through their goods setting aside the Snickers or Kit Kats just hoping our kid hasn’t taken careful inventory of their haul.  With guilty pleasure, we’ll savor each sweet bite thinking all the while that maybe Halloween is our favorite holiday, at least until the red and green M&M’s hit the shelves in late November.
And isn’t the stolen candy a paltry payment for a forty dollar costume he or she will only wear once and then we’ll store for years because we feel guilty throwing away memories or money or both?
The ironic part is that we (us silly adults) could just go to the store and buy ourselves a bag of our favorite candy any time of the year. Heck, isn’t that’s why we went to all the trouble of growing up, so we could do whatever we wanted, and yet we rarely do.
Instead, we wait for the candy holidays to roll around so that we can fill our bellies with sugary goodness whether in our stockings or our children’s long since forgotten chocolate Easter stash. 
Yep, I’m a victim of the candy holidays and then when summer rolls around I always end up saying something stupid like, “How did I gain weight this winter?”
 So what about you? What is your favorite candy holiday and most of all, are you a candy holdiay victimJ

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DARN THAT HOME DEPOT!!




The color orange is indisputably the color of fall and you would think it would remind me of pumpkins and changing leaves on the trees…but it doesn’t. Instead, it reminds me of Home Depot, that dastardly place where I and I'm guessing a lot of you spend all your money. 


You homeowners out there know what I’m talking about.

It starts with an innocent desire to repaint something. You want to lighten a color or add drama so you spend hours looking at minute differences on tiny paint chip cards while your husband roams around looking at more manly things.   Then, in ignorant bliss, you paint a room and wow, it looks amazing and, you realize you are the master of change! You, with the stroke a brush can alter life as you know it, at least in that one room.


Don’t be fooled, painting is a gateway project and just like a gateway drug, it can and will lead you deeper into the remodeling abyss where all your time and money disappears never to be recovered, unless hopefully you improve the value of your home and actually sell it. At least that is what we tell ourselves at night as we mentally disassemble and remodel the kitchen in muted beige tones with striking granite counter tops.


After a few projects, you find yourself watching HGTV. Maybe just House Hunters at first when there is nothing better to watch. Before you know what’s happening, you’re in over your head,  hanging on every word that comes out of the mouth of the Property Brothers or cheering on David when they decide to “list it.” That’s when you know they’ve got you.


Me, I’m not hooked. I’ve just painted a few things, and planted in the yard, and well there was that amazing master bathroom that we put in, but I can walk away anytime I want. Maybe I will, as soon as I finish repainting my stairwellJ  Guess I’ll see you at the Home Improvement store!


 







 









 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lessons From a Small Town

 
This week, during an author visit, I had the privilege of spending time with the kids of Mogollon High. That’s in the thriving Metropolis of Heber Arizona.... population thirty five hundred or so.
This little gem of a town is nestled in the forested high country of Arizona and immediately, I loved it.
When I pulled up to the school, I noticed that there were fences defining the baseball fields and dugouts but High School itself, had no fences around it….not even little chain link fences.  Kids walked from the parking lot to the buildings laughing and chatting like they didn’t have a care in the world.

Recently, they built a new Jr. High in my neighborhood.  One day, I stopped by to meet the librarian. Before they would let me in, I had to show a drivers license and then they had to buzz me through a visitor going into prison. Once through that door, I saw a tightly built campus with high metal fences and concrete walls that did resemble a penitentiary more than a school.  So when I went to Heber High I found myself staring at their wide open vulnerability, even envying it.
Then I went inside.  I spoke to their classes. I was in awe of their lack of unpretentiousness. I sat with them at lunch, along with their teachers and coaches.  They all fit inside one small cafeteria.  I learned that they had elected a boy as homecoming king that wasn’t your average homecoming king candidate.
He was funny and kind, but wore glasses thicker than the window glass on the empire state building. His hair was sticking up everywhere in an uneven cut and he was unique in personality and look. 
He proudly and unabashedly pronounced to everyone who would listen, “I’m the homecoming king!”
Like the school itself, everyone was so unguarded that it was easy to get to know them.
When I left Mogollon High, I felt as if I were leaving my new friends.
Was it just this small town, or are people in most small towns less guarded, less harried by the world and the frenzied pace we keep?  I’ll never know, but I have to wonder, what if we took down our fences. What if we opened up a little and valued things that really mattered like what was inside a person instead their outward appearance.  These were the lessons I learned in a small mountain town in Arizona.
 
 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chanting like the Romans of Old

Earlier today on the radio I heard reporters talking about the public Feud between Miley Cyrus and Sinead o’conner. 

She said this and miley fired back with that. Who cares!

The most interesting thing I took away from the report was a comment, an aside that was completely glossed over or ignored by the others. 

One reported asked the obvious question, why didn’t Sinead just send a private email instead of addressing Miley in public. Then came the comment that I thought was actually far more important than all the Blah, blah, blah before.  Another reporter responded, “Isn’t that just the way we do things now,” or in other words aren’t all of our struggles and trageties, victories and vices played out in a public arena…aka on social websites.

I realize that's a broad, sweeping statement, but not without some truth. 

What we see on the internet reminds me of something that destroyed my neighborhood. A few years ago, a wife of one neighbor had an affair with the husband of the neighbor directly across the street.  When the story broke, that was all the neighbors would talk about. You would see them standing on street corners whispering to each other the latest juicy details.  Suddenly, My beloved neighbors that were once best friends, turned into drama hungry patrons. They reminded me of the citizens of ancient Rome that would stand on their feet and cry for blood when a innocent christian was thrown into the arena with ravenous lions.

In the end, the public drama Divided and destroyed my neighborhood and I believe watching people publicly sling mud  does the same thing to us a society… and clearly, we don’t need anything else to divide us!

i love social media and all the ways it helps us connect but I also think it can make us a more cynical, segmented and separated people  when everyone airs out their dirty laundry on it.

We are not the citizens of rome. I’d like to think that we’re better and we have the ability to build not just watch as others self destruct or are destroyed.

What do you think? I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for stopping byJ


Monday, September 23, 2013

Why We Love our Book Boyfriends


Have you ever read a book where just as the leading man was about to the kiss the girl, he caught sight of even prettier girl and his gazed jumped to her and followed her into the building? Or, have you ever read of a romantic scene where a couple is having a candlelit dinner carefully prepared by our lead heroine and just after her handsome suitor takes his first bite, he lets out a huge belch and then doesn’t say excuse me.

Of course not, that would totally rude, completely realistic and our book boyfriends would never do such a thing!

Not only that but our book boyfriends always look two-hours-in-the-gym-a-day-good but without taking away time from our needs. You know what I’m talking about, time they spend shopping for gifts for us, time they spend staring dreamily into our eyes or complimenting our new shoes.
You see the truth of the matter is, we need our book boyfriends. They give us refuge from the real world of completely normal men out there…. But don’t worry average guy. We don’t expect you to be like our book boyfriends, we just need to be able to slip away for a rendezvous with our book boyfriend once in awhile. We may not even keep em around very long, that is if we find a book boyfriend we like even better. 


Me, I feel extra lucky. I don’t just get to read to discover my book boyfriends, I get to create them. Whahaha, like Dr. Frankenstein, I make them kind and funny, sensitive and deliciously handsome.  In Becoming Bryn Ethan is my latest creation. He is a sublime book boyfriend! He’s Jesse’s best friend and an amazing guy. Jesse throws up on his favorite shoes and he just laughs and takes her home and takes care of her until she feels better all while looking ridiculously handsome.

So which book boyfriend do escape with when you need a little break from reality? Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy Ethan and the rest of the cast of Becoming Bryn!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Final Leg of the Becoming Bryn blog tour!

Hi Friends! It’s time for the final leg of the BECOMING BRYN BLOG TOUR hosted by IRRESITIBLE READS! They’ve put together an international tour filled with  GIVEAWAYS, excerpts, reviews, interviews and a book boyfriend post that just might leave you drooling. Keep a Kleenex close and join me as we bounce around the internet and have lots of fun doing it!
Tuesday September 10, 2013 http://rosebeps.blogspot.com/
Wednesday September 11, 2013 http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/
Thursday September 12, 2013 http://moringoreviews.blogspot.com/
Friday September 13, 2013 http://iabookreviews.com/
Monday September 16, 2013 http://theclosetlibrary.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, September 17:
 
Wednesday, September 18
Friday, September 20th http://lebooksquirrel.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I-am-the-only-one-in-the-world-itis


Someone should create a support group for people raising a teenager. How do I know this?  I’m in the throes of raising TWO, count them two teenage boys.

Oddly, I love teenagers. I teach them in church. I purposely write books geared to their age. I do school visits and now I’m starting a teen writing group in my home.  I think teenagers are smart and wonderful and full of possibility. However, due to teen
disease I-am-the-only-one-in-the-world-itis they can really drive you crazy, especially when they live in your house. 

For example, my son had four friends over to hang out the other day. After they raided my freezer, left me a mountain of dishes and yelled at the top of their lungs for several hours while playing video games my son, while in the throes of a self-pitiful tantrum declared, “You don’t care about me. You never do anything to help me!” 

So what are the symptoms of  I-am-the-only-one-in-the-world-itis?  Here’s some I’ve observed: excessive whining, a complete inability to pick up after themselves, a bedroom that looks like a tornado just went through. They are sure everyone has a problem but them and most of, if asked to do anything that doesn’t further their own cause, they are likely to writhe and regress back to their toddler state.

The only solace I have and can pass on those of you who are now, or will be someday raising teenagers is that this terrible disease will eventually clear up on its own and the “what-should-I-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life illness will come on in Young Adulthood.  Until then, I guess we’ll all just have to hang on for the ride and hope the I-am-the-only-one-in-the-world-itis isn’t contagious. I’d hate to see my ten year old come down with it early!

 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Of Mergers and Maniacs!!


I was driving in a particularly hairy construction zone last week and found myself noticing that there are two kinds of mergers, creepers and gunners.

Let me explain.  Creepers have the considerate or conflict averse personality.  They know the merge is coming so about a half a mile away they carefully switch into the lane that will go through and creep along towards the dreaded merge.  The large majority of us are creepers(I know! Doesn’t that sound like we’re zombies or something:) That’s why traffic in the designated creeper line always backs up.

Within the creepers, there are two different types, the patient creepers and the incredibly indignant creepers. 

The patient creeper is far more rare a species. They give everyone the benefit of the doubt. When Gunners try to push their way in just before the merger they have thoughts like “The other driver must not have known about the merge or surely they have a sick grandmother in their car and they are trying to get her to the hospital.”
Usually, this type of creeper will let three or four people go in front of them, making  the indignant creepers behind them grumble in their cars. 

My last sentence pretty much sums up the indignant creepers.
They do the right thing, get over and wait, but criticize everyone else who doesn’t. If complaining were fuel, they could run their cars on it!
Now onto the gunners! Again, there are two types. I call them the DUH gunners and the I’m-the-only-one-in-the-world- and-the-roads-were-made-just-for-me-gunners.  Yeah, the last one is a mouthful. 

The duh-gunners. What can I say, their distracted, disjointed, and dumb.  The other ones (I’m not writing out that name again) really believe that they should not be forced to wait, that they are exempt from general courtesy, and that Darwin was describing them when he talked about survival of the fittest…them being the fittest of course.

So there they are, the two kinds of mergers. The question is ARE YOU A CREEPER OR A GUNNER? I’m not telling you which one I am:) Thanks for stopping by!

 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Deleted scenes for your gawking pleasure+eye candy

I recently finished my kickoff blog tour for Becoming Bryn. It was lots of fun and we stopped at some of my favorite bloggers, plus some new blogs that were amazing. Today I thought I'd share one of the unique posts put together just for the tour. It's a written but never used scene from Ethan's perspective at one of the most critical turning points in the story. Also, as you read the scene, don't worry. What might look like a tragic ending is really just a beginning:) Enjoy!

Here's Ethan's scene....

“Hey Ethan,” I heard someone say as they pushed by us in the crowd. By the time, I figured out who it was, all I could see was the back of their head. There had to be two hundred kids from our school waiting out in front of the haunted corn maize, but there was only one person I cared about seeing and that was my best friend Jesse.  I knew it was terrible that I had actually convinced my date, Kylee, to go to the corn maize instead of the movies but I was just hoping to get another glimpse of Jesse in her medieval Halloween costume. Jesse would’ve called Kylee “my girl of the week.”  The way this date was going, we wouldn’t even make it through the night together.
Still, that wasn’t Kylee’s fault. It was mine. I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesse and how it felt to hold her as we danced the night before at the school dance. I’d known Jesse forever, but lately things were changing between us. Lately, a meaningless date with a girl of the week wasn’t enough. All I wanted, all I thought about when I was with someone else was Jesse and how it would feel to finally kiss her.
I turned my eyes toward the packed dirt driveway that served as the entrance to the little farmer’s market and the corn maize behind it.  Cars were turning in one after another and as they moved up in line, I spotted Jesse.  It was hard to miss her. She was standing on the passenger’s seat with half her body below the sunroof of their little four-door Honda and the other half sticking out above. Scanning the crowd, she smiled and waved while her twin sister Bryn waited her turn the car into the parking lot in front of me.  I could feel the warmth of my date’s hand lightly clasped in mine, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of Jesse. It was completely out of character for her to be out of her seatbelt, let alone hanging out the sunroof acting like a drunken college student.  Still, I knew it was Jesse. She was wearing the medieval costume we’d bought together only a few days earlier and I knew she would never let her twin sister Bryn wear the costume that had meant so much to her. It was odd enough that they were even spending time together, considering how strained things had been between them in the last six months. 
I focused intently on Jesse’s Honda letting all the noise around me fade. That’s when I first noticed another car barreling in their direction from behind. That’s when time became heavy and slow and everything began to feel disjointed. In seconds, the reckless driver plowed into them without any sign of slowing or recognition that they were even there. Without even realizing it, I shook off Kylee’s hand and with both arms out like a shield in front of me, I began pushing through the crowd towards the road. The adrenaline surging through my veins made me feel superhuman somehow, leaving me believing I had some shot at saving Jesse. 
                For one second, I saw her body flung forward like a ragdoll, limp and helpless, slammed against the car, yet held to it by nothing but her legs still stuck inside the car.  With deafening clarity, my blood pounded in my ears. One heartbeat, two heartbeats and then I watched as Jesse’s car was shot out into oncoming traffic, directly into the path of a massive cement truck coming at them, head on. Instinctively, desperately, I tried again to move the people that stood between me and Jesse but in the wake of the accident, chaos had broken out and I was pushed around as we all struggled to see what was happening on the road. It was at that moment, the very second before Jesse’s little car was struck by the cement truck that proudly bore the phrase “Rock Solid” on the side of its cab, that I realized I couldn’t save her. Jesse was going to die and I had to watch knowing that Jesse would never know how I felt about her. 
 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blog Tour Awesomeness!

Whew,we made it through the first week of the kick-off blog tour for BECOMING BRYN!  Is it over? Are we done? NO WAY!!! WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED.

Starting next week, July 28th we get another awesome week of international stops to celebrate Jesse and Bryn, their lives, loves, and disasters.  Of course, there will be lots of giveaways, reviews & fun posts to check out so come along a play as we launch the second week of the BECOMING BRYN blog tour. 


Sunday July 28th bookmystress  http://thebookmystress.blogspot.com/

Tuesday July 30th wrathsqueen http://wrathsqueensbooks.blogspot.com/

Wednesday July 31st abookvacation http://bookvacations.wordpress.com/

Thursday August 1st alifeboundbybooks http://alifeboundbybooks.blogspot.com/


Friday August 2nd thereadingdiaries http://www.thereadingdiaries.com/

Saturday August 3rd  Simona http://simella23.wordpress.com/

 
 See you soon!!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Announcing the kick off blog tour for BECOMING BRYN!



YIPEE! It's time to start the official kick off blog tour for BECOMING BRYN. Here's what people are already saying about Becoming Bryn.

“...Carling is able to do what most can’t. Create growth through death. Allowing Bryn the opportunity to see the aftermath of her untimely departure adds depth ... She is no longer focused on herself, therefore she gets to see the WHOLE picture. What people thought about her. How they react when she’s not looking. She also gets to see her sister clearly, for the first time. Separately these qualities fall flat, but throw them in a pot and stir it up, and you get a genuinely absorbing plot...
In the end I can honestly say I was shocked. A story I had almost given up on morphed into a butterfly, leading me along a beautiful path of self-discovering and appreciation. It took envy and flipped it on it’s head, illustrating the dirty business “trading places” in a truly unique way.”
KindleObsessed
 
As YA fiction, I think that Angela Carling does a wonderful job of showing teens that just because you think someone has a better life than you it doesn't mean that in reality they do. We all face struggles and wishing for a different life doesn't mean it will be a BETTER life. This was a good read with an important message and I absolutely enjoyed it and recommend it. ”.
- Why Girls Are Weird


The tour will run a full two weeks (with a week break in between)  with lots bloggers, reviews, an outtake, an interview with a mom of twins and most fun of all...lots of chances to win a copy of Becoming Bryn!!!

Here's the schedule. Hope you can stop by and celebrate the launch of this pink-o-licious, sisters, family and true love!

Monday July 15th- kindleobsessed http://www.kindleobsessed.com/

Tuesday July 16th Imabookshark http://www.imabookshark.com/

Wednesday July 17th memyshelfandI http://www.memyshelfandi.com/

Thursday July 18th myguiltyobsession http://myguiltyobsession.blogspot.com/

Friday July 19th imareadernotawriter http://www.iamareader.com/

Saturday July 20th Avery Olive http://averyolive.blogspot.com/