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The Talk

Wife. Mother. Author. Seeker of the Extraordinary.

I adore being a mom.

I was never even sure that I wanted that honor but when those boys came into my life, so much finally made sense. The missing pieces came together and I was complete.

They gave me purpose.

They also taught me the value of laughter and forgiveness. I’ve learned to laugh at myself which I’ve always struggled to do and I’ve learned to forgive myself too.

With boys, nothing is sacred and the fact that they find humor in anything, has been good for my soul. They also forgive fast and love hard and they’ve given me far more than they can imagine.

Before them, my serious nature prevented me from seeing opportunities for joy but because of them, I seek it out every day. I’ve learned to laugh at the ridiculous and inappropriate and I’m so thankful for everything they’ve taught and continue to teach me.

How could you not smile at the cuteness? Throwback 2011

But, being a mom has always carried so much responsibility and as they grow older, I’ll admit that I’m freaking out. I see the window of our daily time together quickly closing and I don’t know if I’ve taught or given them enough. There are still years left but it’s going fast.

Recently, I told my youngest that we were going to have The Talk which unexpectedly weirded him out. Inquisitive by nature, I didn’t anticipate how icked out he would be about our conversation. He insisted his older brother be there for “support”, so we had it where we have many of our important talks.

In the car.

Driving home from sports.

When I had the talk with the oldest son a couple of years ago, we were in the grocery store. I vividly remember walking through the freezer section and telling him that STDs can make it burn when you pee and a few other gross details.

He responded with the appropriate amount of disgust, then I had him hand me a box of Uncrustables and asked him if he wanted any frozen waffles.

It was an easy, albeit awkward, conversation and afterwards I realized it wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be. Nothing exploded and a veil of knowledge wasn’t lifted, instantly changing him from a boy to a man. He was still my kid, with a little more knowledge and hopefully enough fear to keep him safe.

But with the youngest son, I expected questions.

So many questions.

He usually has questions for his questions and then even more after that!

We’ve always indulged his curious nature expecting that it will be serve him well in the future. We’ve covered too many topics to count but this one made him squirrelly and he didn’t attempt to disguise it.

His older brother’s presence did give him comfort which made my heart so happy. When I dove into the talk I asked what he already knew, which were the basics. Then we had an open conversation about sex, STDs, babies, condoms, the sacredness of sex, and the peer pressure that they’ll face. I used clinical words which he didn’t like and I talked to him like sex is the most natural thing in the world, because it is.

Even though neither son wanted to talk about it with me, I told them it was better than talking to their dumb friends who wouldn’t know any more than they do. I don’t know if they believed me but since I had a captive audience, I just went with it.

I’d always imagined that the conversation might result in one of us rocking back and forth in a corner but I was relieved when it was over, because it was truly very unspectacular. Just like when I had the talk with his brother.

It took about ten minutes to cover the important points and then I reminded them both that I’m always there, for everything and anything. Good, bad, ugly, and uncomfortable; that’s what a mom is for.

At least, that’s what I plan to be there for.

Even though they didn’t want to have these conversations they were necessary and important and I think they understood that.

While they may think they know enough, they’ve never considered the shame of an STD, or a broken condom, or raising a baby as a teen parent, They don’t know that when their friends start having sex it’s okay for them not to, or that kissing doesn’t have to end in intimacy, or that “no” means no. We didn’t dwell long on the actual act because experience is the best teacher and they understand enough. But we did talk about everything else that they don’t teach you in sex education.

The things you only learn from screwing up life or from someone older who will tell you all the ways you don’t want to mess up. I hope that at least some of what we talked about will sink in.

Especially, how crucial it is to choose wisely, even when hormones are telling you otherwise. Even more importantly, sex isn’t random, it’s meaningful.

It’s important.

And it can be life-changing.

In a culture where hooking up is the norm and girls move just as fast as boys, I don’t know how else they’ll learn these things if they don’t learn them from us.

The parents.

There will be more in-depth conversations about when girls say No, and the importance of respecting women and yourself. There will be follow-up conversations about falling in love and heartbreak, but I think these conversations are ongoing and not necessarily wrapped up in one event.

While being a mom has given me so much, it’s also taught me the importance of preparing them to live in a world where choosing well is the most important thing, and relationships between men and women are complicated at best.

I’ll admit I was nervous about having The Talk with both of them. While my husband certainly could’ve done it, I chose to because I wanted them to feel comfortable talking to a woman about something so personal, even if it was their gross mom.

There will be many important conversations in our future and I feel fortunate to get to have them. Being a mom of boys has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I can’t imagine having these talks with anyone else.

No matter how uncomfortable it can be, it’s always worth it.

Always.

Seven Weeks

It’s been seven weeks since I last saw you.

Seven weeks since they told me there was no hope and you would be gone and I didn’t believe it.

It just didn’t seem possible.

It couldn’t be real.

But it was.

And before I was ready, you were gone.

It’s been seven weeks since I held your hand and listened to your last breaths. You couldn’t even open your eyes and see me. You couldn’t talk, you could barely breathe, and I don’t even know if you knew I was there.

But I was.

We were all there. The ones you loved the most who loved you in return.

Waiting.

Holding our breath.

Crying.

Hoping.

Wishing there could be a miracle … but there wasn’t. Not this time. The miracles had already been spent and you were living on borrowed time until suddenly you weren’t.

You were supposed to live until you were one hundred. You were stubborn and resilient and you’d been through so much worse.

This wasn’t the time. Not this time.

But then it was.

The last time I talked to you, you apologized for being a pain in the butt and I told you that you weren’t. I told you I loved you and you did the same and I thought the next time I would see you again, I would be driving you home.

But you’d never go home again. You’d never see your house, or pet your dog, or sit in your chair, or put your puzzles together.

It was over without warning.

I never got to say goodbye. I didn’t get to look at you and tell you how much you meant to me. I hadn’t done that in so long. Our relationship had gotten messy over the years as mothers and daughters often do. But I still loved you because you were the only mother I ever knew, and you saved me.

I remembered the time years before when I cried because I didn’t know what I would do without you. Then I hardened my heart because I thought I would have to.

Then you asked for so much more than I could give and I grew tired, and angry and finally, sad. But there was always love.

It’s been seven weeks and it hasn’t been the same without you and I know that it never will be again.

But you’ll always live in that space in my heart where only a mother belongs, because that’s where there is always love.

The Good One-New Release

So … I did a thing.

I released my seventh book and my first one of 2018! Shortly after The Missing Piece Anthology was released, I published The Good One.

There wasn’t a lot of fanfare or even a great big plan, because that’s just how I roll sometimes. I was on a mission to get this book published by April 10th and I made it by the skin of my teeth.

I have a confession to make… This was a tough one to write for a number of reasons.

As a working mother who is also an author, it can be difficult to juggle the writing life with my everyday life. Writing is something I do because I need to, for my soul. I do it for me alone and I’ve been fortunate to find a few beautiful people who love to read the words I put on the page.

Like many Mom-needs, the need to write often gets put on the back burner because homework, packing lunches, doctor appointments, and that other thing I love called my full-time gig, takes precedent. Believe me, I’m not complaining. All of those things mean that I have people who love me and a place that I get to go to that pays me for a job that I love to do. (I’m a pretty lucky girl

Still, finding time to write can be a struggle. With this book came a deadline because it was part of a series that joins me with other writers, and other books, in a place called the Happy Endings Resort. Being included in this has been such a privilege and a challenge because I don’t often write to a deadline. The challenge was awesome and stressful, but I loved it and would do it again in a second.

In an effort to streamline my productivity, I wrote much of the first draft using dictation. Ugh! While I was able to get more words on the page, the page was probably wondering what in the hell I was doing most of the time. Words were garbled, sentences were butchered, and my main character’s name was wrong (Livvie) about seventy-five percent of the time. In addition, the story went in about fifteen different directions because I was speaking it instead of seeing it. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, let alone what color my main character’s eyes (brown) were half the time because I can’t remember anything.

Often I felt as though dictation was an experiment gone wrong so I was waiting for my laptop to explode because of how horrible the story was. Thank goodness, after moving chapters around, deleting so many words (soooo many words), and then reworking the story multiple times, it finally came together.

Finally.

Or at least hopefully. The only person who’s read it so far has been my editor and she said not to worry because it was good. I didn’t even have time to give it to my trusted beta readers. So, I worry because all writers worry when others are reading our stories. We are crippled with self-doubt every time a new book come out, a new story is created, and new characters are borne. It’s in our nature and whether I have seven books or fifty, I’ll always worry.

This is me, writing the synopsis. Omg!

Here’s the synopsis and if you’d like to join my review team, I’d love to have you! Just sign up here!

The Good One

Olivia and her sister Molly grew up in a trailer park in a small resort town called Happy Endings, but their life together was far from happy.

When the unthinkable happens, Olivia must learn how to live without the person she loves the most and she is forced to keep secrets that she buries deep within.

Thirteen years later, an accidental collision gives Olivia the chance to finally experience love with Danny, who promises to always protect her. As Olivia and Danny build a life together she is suddenly forced to face a past she has struggled to forget.

Can Olivia find the strength within to save herself or will she lose everything, in Part One of The Good One?

Goodreads link-Check out The Good One: Part One by Jennifer Sivec

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39794604

Jen’s Loves-JC Wing

In my last post, I featured the beautiful and amazing CD Bradley, and in this one I want to introduce to you to JC Wing.  JC is a wife, mother, author, and editor, and an overall incredible person. She’s my editor and has become a good friend and someone I consider a soul sister!  She has an amazing work ethic, is incredibly positive, is a talented storyteller, and I absolutely adore her.

I’m sure you’ll love her as much as I do!!

  1. Dog or cat person? I’m both. I have a seventeen-pound cat named Mouse. He acts as the logo for my imprint, Black Cat Press. I also have two chocolate lab puppies named Phoebe and Ursula. They make sure I step away from the computer and get a little bit of exercise throughout the day.

 

  1. What are three interesting/unique/fun truths about you? Many (oh so many) years ago, I was a competitive ice skater. I got to live in Germany for two years – and absolutely loved it. I also collect baseball caps. It’s more fun to wear caps from places I’ve visited, but some of my favorites have come from places I’ve never been.

 

  1. What is the single most guiding principle in your life, and how does that impact your role in the publishing world? I try to show my family and my friends that I’m honest, and that if I say I’ll do something, I will follow through. I work hard to be dependable. I believe in showing respect for people, to try to find out who they are, what’s important to them and to act accordingly. I think these things impact my role in the publishing world a lot. I’m an author myself, so when I edit for someone, I’m only interested in making changes that will make their work grammatically sound. Every writer has their own style, their own voice, and keeping that intact is very important to me.

 

  1. What is one big thing about yourself that you would change and what have you done about it? I think I probably try to take on too much. Sometimes I think I should change this, but ultimately, I don’t think I ever will. I love being asked to do things. I’m a pro at multi-tasking, and I usually have ten different projects going on at once. I’ve heard many times that I should try to do less, but I’m very happy being busy, so I doubt I’ll try very hard to be different.

 

  1. What do you do in the publishing world? I’m an author. I’ve written and self-published four novels: The Color of Thunder, Alabama Skye, A Skye Full of Stars and Dead Beat Dates & Deities. I also own an editing company called Wing Family Editing. I work primarily with indie authors, but I’ve had the opportunity to edit content for some websites as well. I’m a blogger, and I run a writing group on Facebook called Writing Challenge Warriors.

 

  1. What is one thing you want people to know about you? I’m probably the biggest dork you’ll ever meet. I’m annoyingly optimistic and I smile and laugh a lot, but I’m serious about the things that matter.

 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.-C.-Wing/e/B00AZXVS1W

Wing Family Editing website: http://jcwing.wixsite.com/wingfamilyediting

Author Blog: http://jcwingandthegoddess.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jcwing.novelist

Writing Challenge Warriors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1638083136502522/

If you haven’t already, read one of JC’s books. You’ll be so happy that you did.

 

Jen’s Loves

As an author, I’m so fortunate to get to met so many unbelievably amazing people: artists, designers, editors, readers, and of course, other authors! I want to share some of these people with you because it truly feels selfish to keep them to myself!!

The first person I want to  introduce you to is Author C.D. Bradley. I had the pleasure of being her table-mate that the wonderful Rebels & Readers Author Event hosted by Amy McGlone and Tonya Nagle. I LOVED this event and meeting C.D. She was fun, kind, and during in between meeting fantastic readers, we had fun getting to know one another. She is the author of the Stark Trilogy, which features Author BT Urruela on the covers.

I asked C.D. six questions and I absolutely loved her answers. I’m sure you will too.

Q.  Dog or cat person?
A. All animal person. I live on a farm with 2 dogs ( one Australian Shepherd named Jack and an Old English Sheep Dog named Lollie. We have a rescue cat named Little John, 42 chickens, and 2 ducks. A very large bear named Samson a host of turkeys and deer and one very annoying bobcat.

Q. What are three interesting/unique/fun truths about you?
A. Eeep um well I am a terrible farmer but I am learning. Every day is an adventure here and I just laugh at my self and go on. We have recently learned that I am unable to kill anything. This does not go well if you raise livestock. We had to “cull” roosters the other day and I literally cried.
I am very ADD and usually have three or four projects going at once.. Currently I work, homeschool, write books, bake wedding cakes and love my animals ( farm creatures)

Q. What is the single most guiding principle in your, life and how does that impact your role in the publishing world?
A. Guiding principle has always been pursue your dreams as if limits to your abilities do not exist…. just go for it with out trepidation. Don’t hold back in anyway. If you think of a long jumper or a pole vaulter if they hold back in any way they will fail before they even leave the ground. Put your whole self in to what you want to achieve.

Q. What is one big thing about yourself that you would change and what have you done about it?
A. Biggest thing that I would change is that I need to be more organized. I am working now to declutter and get rid of excess so that life with five kiddos is more manageable.

Q. What do you do in the publishing world?
A. I am a writer. So far I have written two books in the Stark Trilogy and I am working on the third and final which will release New Years Eve at midnight. This series is about a military doctor who is fresh out of school and a special forces sergeant. Their journey will entrance you, and then take you places you never imagined. I have really enjoyed writing this series. This final book is bitter sweet because I have spent so much time with Stark and Kira, writing that final The End may kill me.

Q. What is one thing you want people to know about you?
A.  Something to know about me …Hmmm I really enjoy meeting all the fans at each author event.  Though I am shy so its hard for me to engage people I don’t know, I love hearing about you and your lives and what you are excited about or frustrated by.

 

 

You can click on C.D.’s picture to follow her on Facebook! You’re not going to want to miss out on this wonderful author. Click on her book images to catch her books on Amazon!

Riptides in Reality

As a writer, there’s nothing more satisfying and humbling than getting to be a part of an anthology with others who love their craft as much as you do.

We recently published an amazing anthology of sci-fi and fantasy novels, aptly named Riptides in Reality. The awesome thing about it is that you get NINE books for only 99 cents. It’s really such an amazing deal!

Thrilling, witty and heartrending sci-fi and fantasy anthology for only 99 cents! #3 Best Seller!

Once Humans by multiple award-winning Massimo Marino

A Shadow in the Flames by award-winning writer Michael G. Munz

Guild of Immortal Women by IndieFAB Book Awards-finalist David Alan Morrison

A Werewolf for God by Linda Wallace-Kurtz

Suspended Between by Travis Norwood

Last Impressions by A.J. Aalto

The Forgotten by Jennifer Sivec

Burning Down by K. Williams

Magnus Opum by Jonathan Gould

Harmony’s Shade by multiple award-winning author Sarka-Jonae Miller (bonus short story)

Hurry and grab yours before it’s too late! It’s only available for two months and then it’s gone forever!

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

My Bookshelf 

I’ve read so many books in my lifetime that I’ve forgotten many of them.Being a voracious and fast reader, there was a time in my life when I read three or four books in a week. As I’ve grown older and my free time has dwindled with working, having babies, doing laundry, and writing, it’s become far more difficult to maintain such a pace.

My reading has shifted from novels, to articles, and from series to blogs. I’m still a constant reader but I plan my reading time around the rest of my life, knowing it won’t always be this way. One day the babies will be in college and the laundry will be less and my pace will have picked up. When I’m really lucky, I get to binge read, like I did when I first got my Kindle. I wish I could read at the pace that I did when I was younger. I read anything that was written by Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary and my fondest first memories of reading were “See Spot Run” and the adventures of Dick and Jane that my parents must’ve had tucked away from their own childhood.

As a teenager I graduated to reading VC Andrews, Sweet Valley High, and anything that intrigued me at the local library. I remember reading some of Jackie Collins’  famous stories about sex and Hollywood, which was the furthest I dared to venture into the adult section at that time. I became addicted to anything by Mary Higgins Clark; murder, mystery, and strong heroines always drew me in.

As an adult I curtailed my reading as I grew my career and social life, and eventfully got married and had babies. But being a reader and a writer has always been a part of who I am. The desire to do both had never left me, surfacing during the difficult times in my life, and comforting me like a warm blanket and an old friend.

Most recently, I read Letters in White by Kathryn Perez, which told the beautiful and sad story of a woman struggling with depression, ultimately taking her own life. Books that make you think always get to me and this one did. I still think about it even weeks later, and I love that about this book. My most recent read was Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, which I loved with every fiber of my being. I sank into the story as though it were my own, because in a lot of ways it was. I became lost in every page, relating to each character as though Ms. Ng had seen into my soul and created them from within me. It’s one that I’ll probably read again and again because as an Asian-American, a woman, and at times, a lost soul, this book speaks to me.

I still have many books waiting for me on my Kindle, though I fight the urge to #oneclick daily. While I adore my Kindle, I still love paperbacks and always will. There is nothing like having a book in my hand and turning the pages. The act of turning the page, anticipating the end of the book, is both disheartening and exhilarating and nothing will ever replace that feeling for me. Unfortunately my book collection has grown anemic over the years, lost during a time when I lived out of my car or lost boxes while moving from one place to the next, until I decided to and find a home.

As life has settled down I do try and collect the older  books as I find them, C.S. Lewis’ books about love and faith, Anne Rice’s books about witches and vampires, the classics that I love so much and try and reread once every few years. I also try and collect new books a long the way telling myself that they’ll be happy on my bookshelf. Many are stored on my Kindle but I do dream about a house with many bookshelves, and books to fill them,  in the near future.




Some of my favorite books are Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and the Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I love anything my C.S.Lewis, John Steinbeck, and Shel Silverstein. My reading tastes are as eclectic as my preference in music, dependent upon my mood and my situation in life. When I read a book that I’ve read before, often it reads differently to me depending on where I am in my life and I love that about books.

I love reading and getting lost in a story or in the characters and I can’t wait to dive into my next set of books, the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer.  I know that I’m about a decade later than most when it comes to reading these books, but I do tend to run behind at times. I’ve read all of the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins but I’ve never seen the movies. I still haven’t read every Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling, but the ones I have read, I’ve enjoyed immensely. I have yet to see the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’ve read the books by E.L. James. While I’ve seen a few of the Twilight movies, I have yet to see them all, and I’m looking forward to the books, which I’ve been told are far better than the movies are.

I’m looking forward to growing my bookshelf and if you look really closely at the pictures, you’ll see the original Leaving Eva sitting on the shelf as well.  I’m beyond excited that I can put my books on a shelf with so many other amazing works and fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a writer.

Books are made of dreams and dreams are a beautiful thing to never give up on, which this author and reader never intends to.