Inspired by my recent trip to Washington DC, I wrote a piece on the evolution of a political figure. This 500 word essay explores the journey of well-intentioned politicians and the compromises that must be made in order to be successful in corrupt systems.
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I am so happy to see another week of the 2021-2022 school year come to a close. Two more stand between me and summer vacation. It’s Friday and I’m excited to join in on the Five Minute Friday writerly fun. This week our prompt is Vision.
Five months into the year and I want to take some time to reflect. So far in 2022 the days have been long, but the weeks have been short. At the beginning of the year I cast a vision for myself in my bullet journal and set an intention for the year to live with “passion and drive”.
The vision I started the year with has expanded in five months.
I’ve worked with clients on novels, short stories, blogs, letters, academic papers, social media profiles, and more. With each client I am building confidence and expertise in the field.
Each month I send out a newsletter to update those who want to know how this vision and business is growing. The newsletter starts with a letter to my readers and provides updates on my business as well as my blog. If you want to join the FREE subscription and receive those monthly newsletters, subsribe here:
Another way the vision is expanding is through Patreon, a website dedicated to helping creative small businesses interact with customers and clients by providing exclusive content. You can join my Patreon page to receive free monthly edits, a monthly short story, creative content, and more.
This vision for The Ameri Brit Mom continues to grow and I am so happy to have readers and fans like you to support my dream. Thank you so much for stopping by and I would be delighted if you would consider a way to partner with me and my vision during the second half of 2022.
Jude is a young girl living in Syria. Her love for family and home are challenged by the political turmoil in her town and the violence erupting in the streets. When her mother finds out that she is expecting another child, Jude’s father sends his girls to live with family in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ohio might as well be another planet because at first Jude and her mother are treated like aliens. They try to assimilate into American culture all while clinging to the most important parts of their Syrian life. Friendships are hard for Jude at first, but as she develops her English skills in an ESL classroom she meets other students who have left their homelands behind for the promise of safety.
A story of coming-of-age during immigration to America is what sets this lyrical book apart from others in the genre.
A couple of things to note if considering this book for a young audience:
-Jude starts her period and begins wearing a hijab. The language here is not very graphic, but may not be suitable for elementary school readers.
-Violence is not depicted explicitly, but Jude’s brother, Issa, is involved with a Syrian rebellion and she worries for his safety often.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book from the Newbery List. As a high school teacher, middle grade fiction is not a genre I gravitate toward and so this was something different to break up my ensemble of YA and Literary fiction. Because this book was written for a younger audience it was a quick read. Additionally, it is a book written in verse which limits the word count on each page. This is a good option for reluctant readers because the plot is easy to follow and the words-per-page are manageable and help propel the reader quickly through the story.
I gave this book a 4-star rating on Goodreads. If you like my reviews and want to read some more, follow me on Goodreads. Also, if you follow me you can see which reviews are soon to come. If you are looking for a recommendation on what to read next, I’d love to connect on the app!
Last week I explored the purpose of The Enneagram using The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron. You can read up on my Introduction to the Enneagram, but essentially, “It’s full of wisdom for people who want to get out of their own way and become who they were created to be.” (14)
Over the next several weeks, I will be summarizing what I have learned from this text about each personality type. I am a ONE, but it is hard to finally land on your correct number so I recommend reading the book (and not just my notes) before declaring your Enneagram type.
Enneagram Two: The Helper
Triad– The Feeling or Heart Triad (2,3,4)
Security Number– When Twos are feeling healthy and balanced they lean into the positive attributes of a Four (The Romantic)
Stress Number- When Twos are stressed and living in an unhealthy mind space, they take on the undesirable attributes of an Eight (The Challenger)
This is a very special Valentine’s Day edition of The Ameri Brit Mom. I am excited to introduce you to my author friend, Kristy Boyce. I first met Kristy at my local chapter of SCBWI. I had no idea that she had been writing a novel about England and once she announced her book deal I was both excited for her and anticipating the release of Hot British Boyfriend.
The Q&A below is based on Kristy’s road to publication. Below she offers great advice for those who aspire to be a published author.
10 Questions with Kristy Boyce
1. Where did you get the ideas or inspiration for your book?
My original inspiration came from teaching a psychology class on “the Self.” We talk a lot about gaining self-knowledge and self-esteem in the class and that led me to write an application multiple-choice question about times when we feel comfortable sharing our “true” selves with others.
I started thinking about how someone would act if they were in a totally new situation for a few months with people they didn’t know. It might be tempting to try acting like someone else because who would know? And you wouldn’t have to keep up the charade forever. Then I decided to set it in England because I love it there! 😉
2. What is your favorite genre to read? How many books do you read monthly/annually?
Well, unsurprisingly, I love reading both young adult and adult romance novels! I also love sinking into a wonderful fantasy series.
I’m not a particularly fast reader so (if I’m lucky) I can finish about one book per week. Oftentimes it’s less than that though.
3. Describe your process of landing an agent.
Hot British Boyfriend was the fourth novel I wrote and the third that I queried. The first time I queried HBB I got full requests followed by rejections. I didn’t know how to improve the book and was about to give up on it, but then I decided to enter PitchWars (a writing mentorship program). My wonderful mentors, Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi, chose me and I’m forever grateful to them. They helped me to rework the novel and then Tara Gonzales with Erin Murphy Literary Agency requested it during the 2019 PitchWars agent showcase and signed me after.
4. What was the process like as you queried publishers?
I did some revisions for my agent and then she sent out the manuscript in early fall of 2019. We were very lucky to hear back from my editor, Catherine Wallace, after about five weeks. I was expecting for the book to be out on submission for a long time, so I was completely shocked when the offer came in!
5. How long did the editing process take? What all did it entail?
Editing with a traditional publisher is an extensive process, even if the manuscript has already been revised many times. My editor and I did two rounds of general revisions, a round of copy edits, then first pass pages and final pass pages.
During the first rounds, I was still changing elements of the plot and working on the emotional arcs for the characters. During copy edits, HarperCollins hired two copy editors to review the manuscript for repetitive words, awkward sentence structure, typos, inconsistencies, and other mistakes. After that, the manuscript was formatted as a PDF and I had two chances to review it for additional mistakes before it went to the printer.
I got my initial offer in October 2019 and I believe we finished all the edits around August of 2020!
6. What tools do you use to strengthen your craft?
I think one of the best things a writer can do is to read both inside and outside their genre so that’s one thing I do. I also beta read for a few friends and that’s always helpful. We can learn so much about writing that way.
7. How did the traditional publishing process enhance your writing?
Traditional publishing isn’t for everyone, but I love that there are so many people invested in making your book the absolute best it can be. Working with my editors has been a blessing and has pushed me to improve my writing immensely. For instance, I think I have a better understanding of pacing, particularly in the first half of the book, and that was something I used to really struggle with when writing.
8. What was it like to open that first box of your books? Describe the feelings and thoughts involved.
It was an incredibly emotional experience. My husband was videotaping the “unboxing” and my son was sitting next to me (and very anxious to see the books himself, lol) so it was definitely a family affair. I was on the verge of tears the entire time, but what tipped me over the edge was opening the book to a random page and seeing my words there. Which is silly because of course my words are printed on the pages—that’s the whole point of publishing!—but holding a “real” book with my dialogue in it was one of the best experiences of my life.
9. What are you looking forward to in your future as an author?
I would love to get to meet some readers in person and talk about the book. Because it came out during the pandemic, I haven’t had any in-person events yet. I’m also looking forward to launching my next book, Hot Dutch Daydream, in 2023!
10. What does your writing practice look like?
Pre-Covid I would often write in libraries or coffee shops, but nowadays I write at my desk at home. I always light a candle and often have a cup of tea by my side. Sometimes I like to write while listening to music—my current favorite is Vitamin String Quartet.
*Bonus Question: What advice do you have for writers who dream of a published book?
There’s lots of advice I could give, but I think my biggest piece of advice is to befriend other writers and hold them close. The entire publishing business can be brutal, and you really need others who understand and can help you through the hard times and celebrate your successes. Some of my closest friends are writers and I’m so thankful for them. I wouldn’t be here without them!
Today, I wanted to give a you a tour of my creative space. This is a work-in-progress, but a space in my home that I have claimed as my own and that I try to keep clean and functional at all times.
In this space, I write personal projects, craft blog posts, design photographs, update social media, edit client work, and focus on my own goals and dreams. Before graduate school I would work in all corners of the house, but as I began to work on longer assignments and doing more and more online work at home I decided to invest in a space for myself.
There are still a few touches that I would like to add, but overall, the simplicity of the space draws me in and allows the mind space for my most creative work to take place.
My desk is a simple, 4-drawer desk with an opening for book storage. This is a great addition for a writer because it is so easy to clutter spaces with books when you are doing a significant amount of reading for your creative practice.
As a writer, I spend a lot of time with “butt in chair”. For those of you in the writing community, you know the importance of sitting down each day to write something and the amount of time spent in a chair warrants a splurge for a nice one. My chair has a high back, sleek design and allows for some reclining and adjustments.
Filling a creative space with photos that inspire your best work is important. For a personal project, I created a photo book of images that speak to me as a creative and I display that on my desk. This book was a compilation of images from social media and Pinterest. Whenever I feel like my writing well is dry, I flip through the images that inspire me and find my mind reignited.
Okay, so this idea is a little unconventional. A few years ago I felt inspired to paint something inspirational over the spot where I create. Much like my own physical tattoos, I didn’t put a lot of planning into the project, but on a whim I inked what felt right at the time onto the wall. For me, this painted message is a reminder to Create Everyday. Now my wall has a permanent reminder in my own penmanship that spells out a life goal.
No creative space is complete without the fuel that drives the artist. For me, that is coffee. I would guess that 95% of the time I spend in this space is accompanied by a warm mug. Most artists have a specific food or drink that helps to usher them into the sought after “creative zone”. I chase my muse with plain, black coffee.
My work is done on an HP Chromebook. Because we use Google at my school, I am most familiar with the functionality of Chromebook and prefer it to the more expensive competitors.
I could write an entire post about my pen collection. To say that I am obsessed is an understatement. One of my creative outlets is calligraphy and hand lettering which makes my pen collection very important. If you are wondering, my absolute favorite pen is anything from Paper Mate. Right now, I am pretty obsessed with the Paper Mate Flair Ultra Thin pens. For regular writing, I have been using Paper Mate Write Bros 1.0.
The addition of 2-3 sensory objects can also help to ignite the creative genius in any space. I try to keep those accents to a minimum because I am also inspired by clean, orderly environments. Right now, I am loving my succulent plants (which are fake) and a candle. Whenever I need inspiration I can look to my senses for help and these accents help to bring me into that creative space where all the magic happens.
Over the past couple of years my husband and I have focused on our relationship through the Enneagram, an ancient tool that helps to describe the nine major personality types. When you are able to understand the facets of your own Enneagram type you are able to work on your own mental health, growth, and relationships in a way that is productive and tailored to your motivations and thinking.
For many months, I was convinced that I was an Enneagram Six, however the more I read, the more I am convinced that Enneagram One is more aligned to my fears, securities, and motivations. I have struggled with anxiety for my entire adult life and I think because I have anxious tendencies when I am unhealthy, I saw myself as a Six. But when I am in a place of self-actualization and indulging healthy thoughts I am far less motivated by fear and more focused on being the best version of myself and helping others to do the same.
It can be difficult to type yourself because the Enneagram is based on the why behind your actions and decisions. To look at someone else and know their Ennegram type is to diminish the power of each person to identify their own locale on the Enneagram. We cannot possibly know the driving force behind another person’s decision making and so I caution you against trying to “type” another person. Instead, I encourage you to share all nine types with them and ask them which resonated most with them. You will know that you have found the correct Enneagram number when reading the chapters or infographics about that type feel like reading a diary entry that you could’ve written.
During the next nine weeks, I plan to share what I am learning about each Enneagram type. I will do so using the book, The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron. I really enjoy the format and language used in this book and highly recommend that if you have not yet studied the Enneagram that you start there.
Here is a look at the Enneagram One: The Improver.
Triad– The Anger or Gut Triad (8,9,1)
Security Number– When Ones are feeling healthy and balanced they lean into the positive attributes of a Seven (Enthusiast)
Stress Number- When Ones are stressed and living in an unhealthy mind space, they take on the undesirable attributes of a Four (Romantic)
As part of my brand launch, I have been hard at work designing products and merchandise to help spread the word about my writing and editing services. For the month of February, I want to get some products into the hands of my followers. I will be giving away a mug, two pencils, and some yummy teas to help you get in the mood for writing. I’ll be announcing the winner on February 18th so be sure to enter the giveaway before that closes at 5pm on February 18th.
I’m one of the lucky residents of the Mid-West that still has electricity during this Icepocalypse. We are trapped indoors on this Friday morning, but the ice and snow outside are wrapping us in a tranquil blanket. Below, I am joining all of my fellow writers from Five Minute Friday to discuss this week’s prompt: Achieve.
On January 1st, I launched a new brand and business. I’ve been blogging since 2015 and after wrapping up my studies to earn a Master’s degree in English, I decided to follow my dream of offering writing and editing services to the public. My goal is to help others become more confident writers at an affordable price.
At the turn of the new year my blog became a brand and I began offering services for clients. Since January 1st I have edited two personal essays, a picture book, and a full manuscript for clients. I began building a stronger social media presence and added to my list of subscribers by 300%. This process has been inspired by courses, discussions with authors, and my own research. Things are still in the beginning stages, but I am so proud of what The Ameri Brit Mom was able to achieve in January 2022.
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Check out my Services page if you are interested in using The Ameri Brit Mom for projects. I can work with you on anything from a one-page letter to a full manuscript/book.
Also, I am so proud of the work I have done with clients this month. I wanted to share some of their own words about their experience working with The Ameri Brit Mom:
If you want to support the launch of this business you can also join my Patreon. For $5, $10, or $20 a month you can receive exclusive content and free critiques/edits. I am still working on building a solid client list and would love to work with you on projects in whatever stage of development.