Encounters with big time celebrities don’t happen in the small, British town of Belford, so when V finds herself making tea at the local cafe for an A-lister she is caught off guard. She was used to the painstaking customers from the pensioners court down the road-not gorgeous men from London.
In this short story, you can experience the essence of a quaint British bakery based on my own experiences this summer.
“The Closing Shift” is the latest installment in my short story collection. For access to exclusive content including this 8 page story, you can join my Patreon page.
Each month, members of my Patreon receive critiques, calendar pages, newsletters, and a short story. You can become a patron for only $5/month. When you join, you not only receive exclusive content, but you help me to grow and launch this brand and business into the world.
To be honest, there is a lot I cannot talk about, but the details are not important. What I want to do today is share with you one way I cope with anxiety.
In 2018 I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder following a traumatic life experience. I’ve been on low doses of medication ever since. Most of the time I am able to regulate my own emotions and fears, but when big, unexpected things happen (like what I experienced this week) I have a difficult time resetting and getting back to normal.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. When I don’t have the words to verbalize my feelings I turn to the page and let the words run from my heart to my hand. This morning I am going to take a deep breath and re-center myself in a practice that always seems to work: Self-Regulation Sensory Exercise.
Below is a graphic that I created to illustrate how I use my senses to self-regulate. I am not a mental health specialist and I recommend that if you struggle to come down following difficult experiences that you check in with someone trained to provide you strategies or medication.
Save this image for future moments when you are looking for ways to calm yourself. If you like this template and are interested in other creative writing templates, consider joining my Patreon site. Each month my patrons receive videos, free edits, and beautiful graphics to inspire and encourage. I would love to have you on The Ameri Brit Mom Patreon team.
The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services launched in January 2022 and I have already built a great client list. As I continue to grow my business, I would appreciate any type of support that you are able to offer.
Since the business launch I have worked with clients on manuscript edits, doctoral thesis formatting, scholarship revisions, business letters, and blog audits. I am open to just about any project and would love to come alongside you to produce any type of project that effectively communicates your message.
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On March 8, Stephanie Mund is releasing her debut children’s book, The Love Light. I am so inspired by her journey toward publication and growth as a writer. Stephanie and I both work for the same school district and at one point were neighbors as well.
The Love Light was inspired by the uncertainty of the pandemic and offers a story of hope and encouragement for young readers.
To purchase a copy of The Love Light check out Stephanie’s website.
Stephanie’s love light shines bright in her first grade classroom and I am so looking forward to seeing how her debut book will brighten the lives of her readers as well.
10 Questions with Stephanie Mund
Where did you get the ideas or inspiration for your book?
During the summer of 2020 the world felt so heavy and uneasy. I could feel the shift, like a boat capsizing. Everything was turning upside down and people weren’t sure how to move on. On a morning jog the book began to unfold. If I could paint a visual picture the words seemed to tumble out of Heaven, falling from the sky and right into my heart. God reminded me of the very words I speak to my first graders and my own girls every single day, “Shine your light!”
What is your favorite genre to read? How many books do you read monthly/annually?
I read everything my first graders are reading! I love both fiction and non-fiction. When reading for my own pleasure outside of my classroom, I enjoy non-fiction books. I love learning new things! I try to read at least one book a month, but when writing and publishing a book as well as being a teacher, mom and wife full time, it’s a miracle if that happens! 🙂
Describe your process of landing an agent.
I am published through a hybrid publishing company, so I don’t technically have an agent. All of my communication is with my publisher and CEO as well as my marketing manager.
What was the process like as you queried publishers?
I went back and forth on whether to self-publish or traditionally publish. I know a few friends that self-published and they shared with me how difficult it was, however, researching traditional publishing I found it could take years to get your book published in the current market. Then I came across BiblioKid Publishing, a hybrid publishing company. They do so much of the legwork, but you still have a say in everything. It was a perfect fit!
How long did the editing process take? What all did it entail?
The editing process took around two months to complete. My book went through 5 edits. My book started with 847 words and ended up with 305! I also had to change my story from 1st POV to 2ndPOV. I had a lot to learn about writing a children’s book!
What tools do you use to strengthen your craft?
The biggest tool that helped me during my experience with The Love Light was my publisher, Brooke. I attended her KidLit Launch School during my publishing process and learned so much about the marketing side of publishing a book. This has truly made all the difference in getting my book out to the world.
What was it like to open that first box of your books? Describe the feelings and thoughts involved.
I actually did two unboxings. I wanted to share the first moment with my husband and my girls. They’ve walked every inch of this journey with me and have been an intricate part of this book. Opening the first box was very surreal. It was like all of my hard work was coming to fruition at that very moment. I was truly watching my dreams come true! Right away my girls started screaming and jumping up and down! Tenley began to read it out loud and I just stood there crying. It was pretty amazing. My second unboxing was with my first graders. That was so fun! They too have walked this journey with me and I felt like they needed to be a part of this as well. After all, they’re the ones I wrote The Love Light for!
What are you looking forward to in your future as an author?
Through this journey of my first book I have discovered such a love for writing! I believe having the courage to step out and be vulnerable was the push I needed. I actually have a second book started and the title for a third.
What does your writing practice look like?
I’m definitely not the traditional writer! So far, all of my books have started with the title. From there the message appears and then the story unfolds.
What advice do you have for writers who dream of a published book?
Go for it! Be brave and courageous. Be willing to accept constructive criticism and grow not only as a writer, but as a person. In life there are so many opportunities to grow if we’re willing! Anything is possible with God!
The three weeks I have invested in studying the Enneagram have already been such a blessing in my relationships. Diving into the thinking behind each of these personality types has helped me empathize and understand the people around me. Reading each chapter of Ian Morgan Cron’s book The Road Back to You has helped me to not only add language to my own emotions, but helped me to better communicate with the people in my life.
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!
As I prepare to cross another week off of the 2022 calendar, I am excited to join fellow writers for yet another Five Minute Friday post. This is a weekly link-up where a community of writers agree to spend five minutes crafting pieces all inspired by the same prompt. This week our prompt is: Commit.
A few weeks ago, when 2022 was in the future and we had not yet faced the trials of the past six weeks, I set out to write some goals for the new year. It’s become an annual tradition for me focus on what I want to reflect on throughout the year ahead and I commit to a word or phrase that becomes my mantra for the next 365 days.
In 2022, I am committed to Passion and Drive.
While pursuing my graduate degree over the past several years, I neglected my own passions and desires. I knew that when I started that program it would cost me time that I had previously set aside for my passions. Knowing that the sacrifice of my passions was temporary, I allowed myself to push through with little regard for the things that cause me to alight with passion.
Things like developing my craft, reading, pursuing publication for my manuscripts, working out, and building my community of writers became less of a priority while I focused on the pursuit of my studies.
I am six weeks into my new adventure.
My commitment to chase my passions is fueled by a drive of someone who cares deeply for their personal growth and for helping others to do the same. I am committed to my passions by setting goals, rebranding this blog, pursuing publication for my manuscripts, creating a community of supporters, and offering Writing and Editing Services.
If you want to join this journey into passion and growth please consider signing up for the FREE subscription to The Ameri Brit Mom. I’ll send you a monthly email with updates and ideas for chasing your own passions with drive.