Google+
Uncategorized Archives - Page 4 of 27 - Tianna Holley | Tianna Holley

The Value of Words–Life Changing at Times

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s easy to get discouraged in life, especially during those chaotic times when the people you greatly love hurt you, and last spring was one of those moments for me. Multiple problems arose, and I found myself pulled in too many directions. I actually put my life on hold for other people, and after enduring high levels of stress over a few months, everything blew up in my face last June–in more than one area and more than one situation. Things just seemed to fall in on me all at once.

Within a period of three days, I received emails, phone calls, and letters in the mail with bad news. Then a close relative went into the hospital, while another close relative I had distanced myself from wanted back into my life. During this time, another close relative pretty much threw a machete in my back–again. (It’s what she’s always done, and I blame myself for thinking she would do otherwise.)

A ripple of bombs exploded in almost every area of my life, and I found myself on the couch with a stress fever. (Those are real things.) Mentally exhausted and physically down, I made the decision to walk away from all the negativity. My exact words were, “I’m out! I’m done! Not my circus and not my barrel of monkeys.”

Although things slowed down and I went back to writing and focusing on my own life, I still got occasional negativity months later in the form of lies on my behalf and attacks on my character. I continuously shrugged it off, shaking my head in disbelief at humanity.

I needed a break from people, and although I’m half extroverted, my introverted side desperately wanted a year on a deserted island (make that a lifetime). Discouraged in myself and all of humanity, I told the ESL people I work with that they needed to find a replacement teacher, as I believed it was time for me to step away. With all the travel last spring and my mind elsewhere, I felt my students and teacher I tag team with deserved better.

As I walked to the first day of class after summer break, telling myself I’d soon have to say goodbye to the students, an older man stopped me in the hall and pulled me aside. I had not seen this student in nearly a year and grinned as I asked where he had been. After he told me he had been visiting his home country, he suddenly became serious and said, “I want to tell you something.” I leaned closer, not knowing what to expect, and then he completely blew me away.

This much older student proceeded to tell me that I had given him great words of wisdom nearly two years ago, and my words changed his life. He continued on with how profound my words were. Life changing. Wise. Profound. Amazing. He said all these things while I tried to remember what I had told him. In the end, I believe it was a conversation where he had come to class after his girlfriend had left him. He was discouraged and sad (a very sweet man), and I told him my take on dating and relationships.

I told him (and if you read my books, you’ll see this with my main characters), that he should take the time he has without a girlfriend to get to know himself. Do things that make him happy and learn to be happy with himself. Another person does not define who you are. You need to know that and love spending time with yourself before looking for someone else to make you happy. I also advised him that as a Christian, he should do the same with God–spend time and grow closer to Him. Those two relationships need to be healthy before focusing on dating. (Pretty much a paraphrase of some profound words from two years ago.) Anyways, he walked away saying he had to be somewhere and would miss that day’s class but would soon be back. I haven’t seen him since.

Then I walked into the first day of class, and my students grinned and were so very happy to see me. Although they’ve told me many times before, they expressed how much they learn in class and were greatly appreciative. Some of them had started the class not knowing any English, yet they now speak it with ease.

I left class that day feeling encouraged, and the harsh, hateful words from my blood family weakened their hold on me. I decided not to leave the class, and for the first time in months, I was reminded that I’m getting some things right in life. (Negativity and hateful words have a way of making a person forget that.)

I guess this post has a lesson with it. When life knocks you down, it’s easy to forget the good in yourself–especially if you’ve continuously been told otherwise by the people you grew up with. The advice I often give is something I easily forgot last summer. Don’t let others define who you are, and never let anyone’s bitterness tear you down. And as a Christian, I’ll also add that God can easily change your plans. I thought I wasn’t needed or of much use to my students, and my mind was completely blown away at hearing I actually said “profound and life-changing words.”

Just as I encouraged that man years ago when he was down, he did the same for me. It’s a bit ironic that we both didn’t know how life-changing our words were in the moments they were spoken. He probably walked away from me completely clueless that I had needed to hear them, just as I never knew my words meant anything special. In the end, just be the best person you can be. You don’t always know what value you bring to others. Sometimes our words just plant seeds that bloom over time. Never doubt what you can do for others, even if it’s just encouraging words.

Oh, and as for quitting ESL, it’s been a few years since I hosted an  ESL Thanksgiving. With my best friend and our daughters preparing large quantities of food, I believe it’s going to be a wonderful day. I love learning about other cultures, and my class is such a blessing. Why would I ever want to give it up?

Read More

The Fall of Lord Drayson Prerelease & $50 Giveaway

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in For Adults, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Fall of Lord Drayson

The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson

Who is he really? A high and mighty lord or a lowly servant?

When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother need to vacate the house they’ve called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied. They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience?

Fate plays her hand when Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. When he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach the earl a much-needed lesson in humility and tells him that he is nothing more than a mere servant. Her servant, in fact.

And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

 

Publication Date: Monday, August 29th

pre order on amazon

Excerpt

He stared at her incredulously, as though she had escaped Bedlam. “Are you in your right mind, woman?”

Lucy leaned forward and planted her palms on his bed so that her eyes were level with his. “My name is Lucy Beresford. I have lived in Askern all my life. I’m the sole daughter of a vicar and a seamstress who lived most happily despite their differences in station. When my father passed away, I came here, to this dower house. So yes, I am in my right mind. It is you who are not.”

The earl’s jaw clenched, and Lucy took some pleasure at the sight. Perhaps he would come down off his high horse and show at least a small amount of kindness or respect.

“I may not know who I am or where I came from,” he finally said, “but at least I do not feel the need to tell tales.”

“Tell tales?” Lucy gaped at him. Was he accusing her of telling untruths? Her, of all people? What untruths? How dare he!

Lord Drayson glanced down at his fingers, frowning when he spotted grime under his nails. He began to scrape it out as he spoke. “Claiming to be the daughter of a vicar and seamstress is all very romantic, but it cannot possibly be the truth.”

“And why not?” she asked.

His gaze returned to hers. “In my experience, the daughter of a vicar would behave with more decorum, would know how to make a palatable broth, and would never allow herself to be alone in a room with a man who is not her relative. If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it is that you are no relation of mine.”

Lucy’s jaw clenched as she fought to control the rage building inside her. Ever so slowly, she pushed herself up to standing and glared down at the earl. “You are correct in thinking I am no ordinary vicar’s daughter. I do not love unconditionally. I show decorum only when I wish to. And I despise those who care for no one but themselves. But I do not tell tales.”

He actually chuckled, but it was more of a scoff than a show of humor. “Did you learn those traits from your father?”

“Do not speak of my father.”

“I would prefer to speak of myself, but you do not seem to share that preference, so perhaps we should speak of your father instead. Where is he, by the by? I would very much like to meet him.”

Lucy’s fingers became fists while her conscience became a battleground between all that was good and evil inside her. It was a short battle, with evil making a quick triumph.

Ever so slowly, her body still trembling with anger, she lifted her chin. If he was going to accuse her of telling tales, then tell them she would. “Very well, Collins. If you must know, I am your employer. And though you may not remember me, or this house, or your position in it, or the fact that you are perfectly susceptible to coming off a horse, just like any other human, I still expect some kindness and respect from you.”

“What on earth are you talking about? What position?”

There was not a hint of hesitation in her voice when she answered. “You are a servant in this house.”

add to goodreads new

 

RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website

 

amazon or paypal

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 9/18/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read More

How to Get Money Back When Shopping Online – My July Check $152.36

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’ve been a member of Ebates since 2013, and although I didn’t do much online shopping in the beginning, that’s changed over the past year. Shopping online gives me the opportunity to read reviews and find the best deals. It also saves me a lot of time, as I don’t have to drive to a store, get overwhelmed with choices, throw other things in the buggy (cart if you’re from the North) that catch my eye, and I don’t have to wait in lines. Instead, I just do a quick online search and read reviews before looking for the best deal. I often get the purchases within a few days and usually don’t even pay shipping fees. Returns are easy–especially if the store is nearby.

Here’s a screenshot of a recent email I received from Ebates:

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.03.11 AM

 

And the check is on its way! I bought things I specifically wanted, mostly on sale and with coupons, and I got a rebate back for my purchases.

Ebates is awesome when it comes to pricey items. I decided to get another paddle board on Memorial Day while the stores were having sales, so I went to Ebates and found Backcountry (which usually has great prices). I found a board with a big discount, and then I typed the name of the board into Google and read the reviews and watched a few videos to make sure it was a good one. After adding it to the cart, I searched RetailMeNot and a few other sites to see if I could find a promotional code (for a greater discount). In the end, I got a couple hundred dollars off, and because I went to Ebates first, I got an additional $60 in rebates via a check in the mail. I also got a $100 credit for my next purchase at Backcountry. The board arrived in the mail, and I love it.

Since I do a lot of clothes shopping online at Macys (I can barely find a size 5 shoe in an actual store), I subscribed to their email list to know about their sales. Again, I use Ebates and add a promotional code (always search for promotional codes when shopping–online and in stores). I get the packages within a few days, and if something doesn’t fit, I’ll toss it in the back of my SUV and return it the next time I’m near the mall. Oh, and I’ve linked my Plenti account to Macys, so I get some money back with them, as well.

Do you use Groupon? I get rebates and special discounts through them, just for using Ebates. You’ll see that many stores are listed on Ebates. However, their rebate percentages vary, and the percentages sometimes go up during promotions. Although I get a lot of money back with Macys and Groupon purchases, I don’t receive as much back when I order from Old Navy or Amazon. Each store has their own set percentage.

I highly recommend signing up for Ebates. They even have an app for your phone or iPad to make things even easier. Know of other ways to save online? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

 

Read More

Back to Full-Time Writing!

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

School started yesterday, and that means I’m back at my desk. I love this time of the year, as it’s when I get most of my writing done. I usually began a new novel around this time and have the first draft completed by winter. Then I can slack a little from Thanksgiving to Christmas before I began proofing and editing in January. Reading, rereading, having an editor look at it, rereading and making the suggested changes, and then having beta readers go through the final version takes a few months before its release in the spring. Then I can slack off again over the summer. (Well, it looks like I’m slacking and sleeping by the pool. However, I’m actually plotting and visualizing scenes during those moments.)

You’re probably wondering what happened to that timeline this year, as Unexpected Beginning hasn’t been released yet. That’s because I decided to reread my debut novel, Unexpected Metamorphosis, around this time last year to update it to my current writing style. Although I didn’t expect it to take too long, I ended up making major changes (not to the story, just to the writing), and it turned into a complete rewrite. I quickly learned that my writing style drastically changed throughout the past few years, and I wasn’t happy with it.

That set me back quite a bit, but I still thought I could make the spring deadline if I worked longer hours. However, we all know life can sometimes get in the way of our plans, and that’s exactly what happened. Some family emergencies had me on the phone and traveling quite a bit. I got slammed in more than one direction, with more than one problem. The chaos not only pulled me away from my laptop, but it left me exhausted–physically and emotionally.

The good news is I’m out of the chaos and have recovered from the negativity thrown my way. Unless someone is hospitalized, I don’t plan on packing my bags for the rest of the year. I foresee lots of hot tea, dark chocolate, and writing in complete solitude–the best therapy.

Dark times are golden to writers, as that’s where we get most of our ideas. Alissia’s story came to me during a very dark season in my life, and although I had never written a book, I could not focus on anything else. Unexpected Metamorphosis was never planned. It was forced on me! Within a week of Alissia coming to mind, her story consumed my thoughts, and for my own sanity, I had to start typing it.

With all the chaos this past year, a new story came to mind, and it’s dying to come out. I’m eager to finish Alissia’s adventure so that I can get the new book out of my head. Inspiration is both a curse and a gift. Artists will usually tell you we are slaves to our creativity. I don’t struggle with story ideas. I struggle with the amount of ideas and scenes constantly consuming my thoughts, and I wish I could write faster.

As for Unexpected Beginning, I only have about 15,000 more words before it’s finished. Then I’ll start the dreaded proofing and editing. With this being my most productive time of the year, it shouldn’t take but a few months for a release. I’ll need more beta readers, and if you’re interested in joining the list, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I haven’t sent anything out in a while, but I always deliver important information through the newsletter.

 

 

Read More

Theme Song for Unexpected Beginning

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Alissia and her love both have guarded hearts, and I’ve been listening to this song for the past few years with the two of them in mind. Finally, in Unexpected Beginning, I get to share the scenes I’ve carried in my head for so long. Close your eyes and listen to the words carefully while imagining the walls crashing down from their hearts. This song says it all.

I’m almost finished writing Unexpected Beginning and will soon be in the proofing and editing phases. Hope you’re ready for it!

Read More

Check out my Latest Adventure. No Wi-fi Where I’m going!

Posted by on Jul 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I love to take my readers to a variety of environs in the worlds I create. Images of mountains, a castle, underground caverns, a ship, a tropical island, and even a horrifying bog go through their minds–just in the first three books of my Alissia Roswell Series! The fourth one, Unexpected Beginning, will add a wild forest, underground world, and a valley to the list.

I put a lot of effort in describing each setting, hoping to immerse my readers in Alissia’s reality, and I’ve received a lot of praise on that aspect. Nature plays an important role in my writing, and people often tell me they would love to live in a world with glowing flowers and stones instead of electricity.

With that said, I won’t be around wi-fi next week, as I’ll be taking my yearly break from reality and immersing myself in nature. This year’s outdoor adventure takes place on a boat, as we plan to spend a week sailing along the coast. I’ll post some pictures on Facebook and Instagram during the trip and will add a blog post when I return.

If interested, you can check out last year’s backpacking adventure on Cumberland Island, where I planned most of Unexpected Beginning during the many hours of hiking. I asked my children to help come up with some new creatures, and my oldest daughter gave me some great ideas.

I use all my senses to take in everything around me when I’m outdoors, and you can see that in my writing. For instance, there’s a certain clean smell that comes with waterfalls, along with the ferns and rocky terrain, where small vipers love to hide. Birds (or howler monkeys in the jungle) add to the waterfall sounds.

In my youth, I often camped along the banks of rivers and in swamps, where I would fall asleep staring up at the stars. A cool breeze, the sound of alligators croaking and their yellow, glowing eyes still come to mind (along with killer mosquitoes). I also spent many nights beneath a full moon on the beach, waiting for seine nets to be pulled in with their loads.

Sailing, backpacking, paddle boarding, biking, canoeing, kayaking, hunting, dune buggying (where my hubby screamed in terror the whole time I drove) or just sleeping in a hammock–they all get used in my writing. And now that I’m older and live in the suburbs of Atlanta, it’s even  more important to my sanity that I occasionally get away from modern comforts.

Perfection equals a starry sky, cup of hot tea, cool breeze, and the sound of waves against the boat. That’s where you’ll find me, typing away on my laptop–giving life to Alissia’s story.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know I have two new dogs (one from abuse). Don’t worry, though. I have family staying with them, so they’ll still be in their new home environment and on the same schedule. I plan to write a post in the future about them, highlighting the effects of trauma on dogs.

Be back soon! Live life to the fullest–get outdoors!

 

Read More