Monday, February 25, 2013

Welcome to my New (Old) Blog!!!

I've been blogging off and on since 2009, but I always struggled with a comfortable direction (hence, the off and on). I tried posting recipes, pictures of hunks (which always netted the most views!), inspirational quotes, and the list goes on. I finally decided to abandon my blog and focus on FB... I never seem to have a problem finding something to say on FB!

Over the past several months, I'd been thinking about knocking the dust off and firing the old blog up again when I came across Kristen Lamb's blog. After reading her blog and book, I decided it was time to expend a few extra brain cells, figure out a platform, and get my butt in gear. As is so often the case, the universe supplied me with an answer.

An Italian friend was reading an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of CROSSING LINES, double-checking my Italian spelling and usage. Part-way through the book, she sent me the following message:

I don't normally read contemporary romance but I think you may have converted me. Your storytelling is REAL-meaning that you don't hold anything back. Like is messy, life is complicated, people make bad choices, life goes on, hope springs eternal, and that's exactly what I see in this story. And then there is an occasional misunderstanding that makes life hilarious-lol! Good on ya girl!

Her words really touched me and reminded me of similar comments I’ve had from other friends and readers. It also made me think about a song I used to hate, but have recently adopted as the theme song for my life.

In the fall of 2007, I heard Gary Allen's "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" for the first time. I knew the song had been recorded after his wife’s death, and the pain coming through was too close to home for me. It struck a nerve and I instantly hated the song. See, in 2007, my life sort of fell apart.

In June, my youngest had to have 6 baby teeth surgically removed because they weren't coming out on their own. Two weeks later, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor (a deeply embedded mass in the brain that could only be partially removed). Two weeks later, he had surgery at Duke to remove what they could. While he was in surgery (literally, the same time), my oldest was back in our hometown, having an ultrasound of his kidneys, trying to figure out why they weren't functioning properly. Turns out, he had an undiagnosed strep infection (it went undetected for six months and to this day, he has lingering effects from that infection.) Seven weeks after my husband's surgery, my oldest had a tonsillectomy, and two weeks after that, my youngest had an emergency appendectomy.

Two weeks later, I was at my breaking point, so I rode with my husband to Beaufort, SC for a mini-vacation. He was on a family fishing trip, I was holed up in a hotel trying to piece together my sanity. That’s the first time I heard these lyrics: “Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.”



At that point in my life, I was having a really hard time finding the beauty. I could find things to be thankful for; all of my guys were alive and recovering, but I still couldn’t find the beauty. All I saw was darkness and fear about the future.

Five and a half years later, aside from a recent wisdom tooth surgery, my youngest is a healthy high school senior. My oldest is still dealing with the fallout of being prescribed pain meds for six months, but he’s currently winning the battle and doing well. And my husband is doing GREAT! Over the years, he’s endured chemotherapy, radiation, and on-going Avastin infusions. The good news is they’re all doing their job, and each MRI (every two months), shows the tumor is continuing to shrink.

I’m also in a different place emotionally than I was back then. I can appreciate that song now, and while life isn’t always beautiful, it IS a beautiful ride!

Our highway is filled with potholes, speed bumps, landslides, and the occasional detour. But we make the most of it, deal with the challenges as best we can, and keep on rolling. I hope you’ll join me each week (I’ll post new updates every Monday), and ride life’s highway with me!! Don’t worry, there won’t be tears, at least not many, but there will be lots of laughter and good times!

There will also be on-going giveaways each month with lots of chances to enter to win digital and signed print books! You can only get points for commenting, following on Twitter, and "Liking" my author page once. But you can come back to Tweet and share on Facebook each day for extra entries! :-)

Please share a little bit about your beautiful life with me, and have a wonderful week!!

Oh!! I also wanted to let you know I'm hanging out at Plotmonkeys today, and on Wednesday evening (9:00 PM EST), I'll be at Mo's Book Buzz for a live chat!! Please drop by and visit with me at both of those places if you can!

Peace and love,
Alannah

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24 comments:

LM said...

Life is never easy-- we just keep going. My youngest was born w/ lots of problems and just friday my 10 yr old crushed his hand (4 fractures)
modularmates(at)comcast(dot)net

Lisa

Becki Wyer said...

I've battled depression and panic disorder most of my life. Every day is a new challenge for me, but I've survived in spite of myself.

Hang in there Alannah. We love you.

rmwyer at shaw dot ca

Angie Ellis said...

Well u know a lot of my battles but I will say I would not trade them for nothing bad ones and all they made me who I am today.

Angie.Ellis@hotmail.com

Alannah Lynne said...

Hi Lisa!

No, it doesn't seem to be easy. Sometimes it gives us a chance to catch our breaths and then takes off with us again. I remember listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer once and he said, "Isn't it true, if you're at the top of the hill, you know what's coming. You're going to end up at the bottom again in some kind of caca."

But, I guess the upside is, when you're at the bottom, you also know you're going to get to go back to the top again.

I hope your youngest is doing better now. And prayers going out to your oldest! Is that the Xray you had posted on FB? Poor guy!

Alannah Lynne said...

And I'm grateful for that, Becki!! I just got a text from my oldest. He saw the doctor today because his heart has been racing real bad this weekend. The doc thinks he's having panic attacks. :-(

Those are so uncomfortable, and I'm sorry you have to deal with those. I totally get the depression, so I can sympathize with you there, too.

Thanks for sharing and tweeting!!

Alannah Lynne said...

Angie - that's a GREAT attitude!!! And you're right, everything we go through is a part of who we are. You're an amazing person to be so strong after what you've been through!!

Eva's Flowers said...

I'm over 40 and have yet to find my hero, sometimes it gets me a bit depressed but then I think about all that I do have, my very large family who would do anything for me, great friends, my health and a job I somewhat enjoy. Recently my baby sister had her baby who was diagnosed with spina bifida, this is where family support comes in...we struggle along with her in those off days with a special needs child, but she is an angel in every sense of the word, she has the biggest smile for everyone...we will deal with consequences as they may come!

Eva
evitap67(at)gmail(dot)com

Shayna Snyder said...

I am turning 30 this year and I still have so much to do before then, it is really stressing me out. I live a pretty boring and quiet life but I do want that to change really soon. I have yet to find my hero too Eva, but that is not from lack of trying :) thank you for sharing Alannah! Hang in there, we all got your back! :)

lorimeehan said...

I think everything that happens to you in your life makes you what you are today. So I wouldn't change anything.

Alannah Lynne said...

Eva - my mom was around 30ish when she and my dad divorced and around 44 when she remarried. I remember her saying, "It seems like the whole world is 2 X 2, but me."

I got married at 20, divorced at 21. After several years of being single, I understood how my mom had felt all those years.

I used to wonder, "If they're so great, why aren't they taken?" Sometimes, it's just a matter of timing. Hubs and his girlfriend had broken up the month before I moved to town, 2 months later, we met. The timing worked out just right.

I understand how you feel, I really do. Hopefully, the timing will work out for you.

As for that beautiful baby girl... doesn't she have a birthday coming up? Or did she just have it?

Angela Love said...

what to say about myself and my life.... I'm a mother of 3...2 Brittny 22yr Cheyenne 15yr girls and 1 boy Ryder 11 yr....I have a Beautiful baby Granddaughter Addison 4yr and I just found out my oldest is expecting in about 6 mos... I'm married to my Best Friend Dale for 19yr in june... I love reading and I love following authors who care about their readers!!!! Thank you for your awesome books that take us readers out of our boring lives if only for a little while!!!

angelalove@uwmail.com

Alannah Lynne said...

Shayna - 30 was a really difficult age for me for personal reasons (another story, another blog post :D), but I had a newborn to keep me busy, and that helped tremendously.

what do you want to do, or feel like you need to do, before you turn 30? Do you have a list to help keep you focused on those goals?

If not, why don't you make one. And put everything on it, even the tiny things. That way, you can see progress as you mark them off, one by one. Putting tiny goals on there might seem like you're cheating, but it's not. It helps you see that you're moving forward. (When I make my list each day, I put everything on there - even eating meals. I can promise you, I won't skip those!! And I can feel good about marking things off my list!)

Alannah Lynne said...

Lori - I agree completely. I used to think that Hubs and I couldn't be anything, but once he was diagnosed with his tumor, I found out I was wrong!! A massive rift had formed between my boys too, and that was instantly healed.

Sometimes, though, in the midst of a really low point, it's hard to hold on to that belief. At least it is for me. I often think, "Okay, God, really... I'm good the way I am. I don't need anymore character building!" :D

Alannah Lynne said...

Angela - congratulations on the new grandbaby!!! And congrats on being married to your best friend. My husband always says to people, "She's not just my wife, she's my best friend." It's nice when it works out that way! :-)

And now I feel like I'm gloating in front of Eva and Shayna. :-/

Wackyheadcase said...

My wonderful life...I battle bipolar, depression, and anxiety issues. My 14 yr old daughter struggles with headaches and dizziness daily with no answers as to what the cause is. I am always told what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger but I often wonder how strong one has to be before we have become super woman! I spend all my time reading and trucking my daughter around ;) I am so thankful to all the awesome authors (yourself included) that write books that take my mind off reality and give me hope of a HEA ;)

Eva's Flowers said...

Totally ok Alannah, I'm sure Shayna probably may feel the same way, but I am awesomely happy for either family or friends who are happily married. Love hearing your hubs stories as well as my friends...whether they are being romantic or silly, love hearing about them. And yes our little angel will have a birthday this coming weekend actually, I'll share a picture when I can, on the group page. Eva

joye said...

First time visitor to this site. Glad i discovered it. i am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds really good and the kind I enjoy reading.
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

Alannah Lynne said...

Wacky - I have experience with bipolar, depression, and anxiety myself (not all of them personally, but those close to me). It's no fun and I'm sorry you have to deal with that.

And the same for your daughter! Gah... I suffer from migraines, but they didn't start until I was a little older. Bless her heart. No young person should have to deal with those - although my boys did have them around that age. As they got older, and through puberty, they got better. Hopefully the same will be the case for you daughter.

I'm glad I can help provide a little escape to your hectic life!! Thanks for being a part of mine!! Hugs!

Alannah Lynne said...

Eva - I'd love to see pictures of her birthday!! She is one of the most beautiful baby girls I've ever seen. She has such an amazing face and aura that comes through, even in the pictures!

Alannah Lynne said...

Hi Joye!!

Thanks so much for visiting with us! I'm glad you found me, and I look forward to seeing more of you!

Sue G. said...

I just read your blog and want to give you a hug. I'm a 47 yr old, well 48 in 15 days) wife and mother of three teenage daughters. Growing up I was a huge reader and then once the kids came it stopped. In 1998, my father was diagnosed with colon cancer, which he ended up passing away in 2000. During this time, my 30 year old brother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He passed away in 2004. At that point I know exactly how you felt. I started reading romance again because I needed a happy ending. Every once in a while I read a book that doesn't have a happy ending and it pisses me off! I like may happy endings!

I have also learned not to take life so seriously and enjoy it. So what if the house isn't always clean. It was more fun to go out to lunch with my mom and bum around for the day! Or even spend an entire day reading! (Not that I'd EVER do that! ;) )

So good luck with your blog!

suegaluska (at) yahoo (dot) com

krg said...

Hi Alannah,
I don't have much to tell other than I am married and my kids are off to college. My husband and I are re aquainting ourselves with being a couple. It is fun I must say. haha
I have enjoyed discovering your books and your new blog!
kgagnon@donofrio.cc

Alannah Lynne said...

Sue - thanks so much for stopping by and commenting and for the hug. Gosh, you've had a rough go of it yourself, so I'm returning the hug with one of my own!

As far as happy endings go, boy do I hear ya on that one!! I read a book once, before I really understood the difference between "literary fiction" and romance. I thought ALL books had happy endings. HA!

I read this entire book, was totally connected to the characters, and on the last page, the hero's crazy ex girlfriend drove him off a cliff while he screamed the heroine's name (who was pregnant with his child). I was SCARRED! :-D Seriously, it took me as long to get over that book as it did to recover from the movie, "Titanic." And yes, I know a 1000+ people died, but I thought the couple survived!

Now, I'm an end-reader. Every book I get, even if it's a romance and I know it has a guaranteed happy ending, I read the end. Because... I read a supposed romance once and the heroine died at the end too. I was furious! Now, even if I know it's a romance, and even if I know they live happyily-ever-after, I still read the end. Just to be sure. No surprises for this girl ever again!!

Please drop back by and visit with me again sometime soon. Next week, I'm going to be talking about the best worst date, ever! :-D

Have a great weekend!!

Alannah Lynne said...

KRG - Thanks so much for following along on the blog stops!! Wow... both kids off to college.... *said dreamy and wistfully as I stare into space and imagine how awesome that must be*

I have a friend whose baby left for college this past fall, and she's not handling the transition well. It always makes me feel like such a rotten mom because I'm sure I'll handle it just fine. :D

Have you seen "The Backup Plan" with Alex O'Loughlin and Jennifer Lopez? There's a guy he meets in the park (who has kids) and he's talking about missing Butt-naked Fridays. When the kids are gone, Butt-nake Fridays can make a reappearance! :-D