Me Before You 

Have you ever had a book that you’ve owned since it’s release but have never cracked open the cover? A book that you’ve always had every intention of reading but, life happened? Well, that’s happening to me right now.

Me Before You is a beautifully heartbreaking story. And I’m intimidated by it. Maybe that’s not entirely true. I’m not so much intimidated by it as I am scared to open the pages of my hardcover or bring the eBook up on my kindle. I’ve let my fear of this book rule me for years now. Not months. Not days. Years.

Before I get too far ahead of myself let me state why it scares the bejeezus out of me.

I had a friend spoil the storyline. 

She didn’t mean to spoil it, the words just flung from her laptop keys and she hit send. She had no idea that I’d yet to open my copy.

So for the last couple of years, I’ve rebelled against reading what awaits me behind that beautiful red cover.

Until the movie.

And the soundtrack.

One day I was home alone nursing a migraine and bored. So I thought what the heck, and put the DVD in.  Biggest. Mistake. Ever. Trust me friends, you don’t want to watch a movie that makes you cry, while you’re trying to rid yourself of a migraine. I cried so hard that I gave myself the hiccups AND a worse migraine. But honestly, I didn’t regret it. Not for one single second. Why? Because the movie is  fucking beautiful.

Over the last few weeks, I find myself wanting to watch the movie again. It’s happened. I’ve cried another river each time. I’ve used many Kleenex loving this story and becoming immersed in the actors playing Lou & Will.

Last week while I was working on Finding Tenley, I couldn’t stop listening to this soundtrack. This is one of the those soundtracks. One of the ones that make the movie. The music is perfect. And I adore every single song on the soundtrack.

Tonight after I finished beta reading for a friend, I had to fight the urge to put in the DVD again. I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t get any sleep because I’d have to watch the whole thing. Instead I grabbed my kindle, hit the search and finally opened the book. Eek! I opened the book. And I’ve went one step further, I’m actually reading it.

I know after two chapters that this is going to be one of those books.

The books that stay with you for life.

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Dawn L. Chiletz – Indie Author Spotlight & Giveaway

Welcome to my 2nd Indie Author Spotlight.

This week I’m featuring my friend, Dawn L. Chiletz. Her newest release The Fabulist, is unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Enjoy.

1. Who/What inspires you to write?

That’s a tough one. Sometimes I’m inspired from my dreams – literal dreams, when I’m sleeping. “The Contest” came from a dream. Sometimes I’ll have a random thought in the shower that turns into a story and sometimes it’s something I hear in passing. I thought of Can’t You See while discussing insurance adjusters with a friend. I’m pretty random. But my boys are my biggest inspiration. I want to show them that no matter how old you are it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

2.The Fabulist is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s literally reality television in a book, only better. For someone like me, (a reality television addict) this idea should have been something that was in the forefront of my mind but it wasn’t… what made you think of it?

I was actually trying to help a fellow author come up with a title for her book that had something to do with liars. When I’m brainstorming, I usually end up at an online thesaurus to search words. Every once in a while, I’ll draw a creative thought from a synonym or antonym. In this case, the word Fabulist came up as a synonym for liar. I’d never seen the word before so I searched the meaning of it. I loved the idea of a book called “The Fabulist” because it sounded so original. She didn’t like it and went a different direction and I couldn’t get the word out of my head. That’s what got me started. I wrote Can’t You See while I was still toying with the idea. The reality TV probably came to mind from the definition – a storyteller. I was trying to think of something people could relate to and that’s where the reality TV came from. It’s everywhere these days. The idea of trying to put reality TV into book form excited me. I write best when I’m excited. That’s usually why I write my books so fast – before the inspiration is gone.

3.In The Fabulist we follow Sam along on her journey to potentially win a reality television competition to work for The Fabulist. She has no idea who that is, or what the job entails, only that a fabulist is in essence a liar. How did you come up with what the competition would be for?

I wanted to do a different spin on lying. I loved the storyteller aspect of it. I thought of all the reality TV I’d seen and I knew right away I didn’t want it to be about looking for love. Sam’s character traits were clear to me before I started writing and I knew who she was. I could see her. I could hear her in my head. She was strong willed and fearless. There was no way she’d ever apply for a show to find a man. She didn’t need a man to make her whole. A job was the only way she might try out so I decided to make her jobless. The story fell into place from there. The challenges were another story altogether. I rarely plan in advance for a book. I mostly just let the story flow. When it came time for the first challenge, I realized it would be more difficult than I thought to come up with multiple increasingly difficult challenges for lying. I spent a lot of time doing research and staring blankly at my screen. LOL

4.So, um… heard any good lies lately?

Is there such a thing as a good lie? The book was dedicated to people who lie for the right reasons. I suppose everyone lies for one reason or another. Not all lies are meant to do harm. I think it’s why people can relate. Everyone has lied about something. Have I heard a good lie? Let’s just say I have teenage boys. I hear, “Yes, my homework is done,” daily. Rarely do I believe it. They need to work on their delivery. I’ll never share my notes!

5.For me music plays a big role in my life (and my books). Do you have a favorite band/artist that you listen to while writing? Or do you require complete silence?

Music plays a huge role in my writing, but not how you might think. I draw inspiration from the way certain music makes me feel. But to answer your question, I actually write in complete silence, unless there is music playing in my scene. If there’s music in the story then I’ll listen to a song over and over to make sure I get the mood and flow correct. When I write, it’s like I’m watching a movie in my head. If my characters are listening to music then so am I. If they aren’t then I’m not either. I don’t have a particular band I listen to. For me it’s about emotion. I listen to a little bit of everything.

6.What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? Best compliment?

I think some of the toughest criticism has come in the form of reviews. At first, it was hard to see anything positive in them, but I’ve learned to take them as opportunities to improve myself. There have been so many best compliments I don’t know how to narrow it down to just one. I can say that one of the best was hearing that my story helped someone and made a difference in their life. To me that is the greatest gift you can get as an author.

7. Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m my favorite book character, (don’t judge). If you could be any character for one day, who would you be? Why?

Me, judge? Never! Who hasn’t wanted to be a character from a book? I think it’s one of the reasons I write. It’s therapy. I can live a thousand lives. Hmm… Who would I want to be? Bella from Twilight because – Edward! I also wouldn’t mind being Lake from Slammed, Ana from Fifty Shades, Ellie from Defining Moments, or even Everly from Enough. Why? Because they were all so strong. I love strong female characters that overcome obstacles and odds. They’re who I want to be when I grow up. If I grow up!

Buy The Fabulist

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Buy Can’t You See

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Buy Enough

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Buy Waiting to Lose

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Buy The Contest

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Click here to follow Dawn on Facebook.

Click here to follow Dawn on Twitter.

Stay up to date on all her latest news, check out her website. Click here to check it out.

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For a chance to win the books above, follow this link. —> GIVEAWAY!

 

Fire Away – Chris Stapleton

I know, I know, another music post. But bear with me. It comes with an important message.

If you recall my previous post, you’ll remember that I’m a sucker for good lyrics. This song was kind of like that but also kind of not. If that makes any sense. The lyrics didn’t connect with me until after Chris released it as a single and filmed the video. The lyrics are simple and when Chris sings them, they’re absolutely beautiful.

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Lyrics

Honey load up your questions
And pick up your sticks and your stones
And pretend I’m a shelter for heartaches
That don’t have a home
Choose the words that cut like a razor
And all that I’ll say

Is fire away
Take your best shot
Show me what you got
Honey, I’m not afraid
Rear back and take aim
And fire away

Well, I wish I could say
That I’ve never been here before
But you know and I know
That I’ll always come back for more
Your love might be my damnation
But I’ll cry to my grave

Fire away
Take your best shot
Show me what you got
Honey, I’m not afraid
Rear back and take aim
And fire away

Fire Away – Chris Stapleton (video)

Amazing right? But admittedly not something that originally stuck with me. It took his vision for the video to do that for me. Here’s why… I’m a depressant. It’s just a part of who I am, it started in high school and has never truly gone away. Sure some days it’s harder than others but mostly, I’m just me. I’ve never been extremely bad, but it’s there, a hidden part of me. This video highlights mental illness and especially depression. It originally came with a PSA attached but after so many views, they took the PSA off from the beginning, I’m not exactly sure why. Personally, I feel like it’s still needed.

Now every single time I hear this song, I think about how strong I am. And about how much, I want other’s voices to be heard. No one is ever truly alone. And yet, not everyone knows your story if you’re suffering. Because we’ve been taught to not speak of these things by society and that’s not okay. 

The lyrics accompanied by it’s video made me see how silent we really are when it comes to mental illness. I guess what I’m trying to say is this.

You. Are. Not. Alone. 

Don’t ever feel like you can’t talk to someone, anyone. Even a stranger. Someone is always willing to listen. Message me, I’ll talk to you. I like to talk, just ask my friends. Or call this number. It’s for the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255 and people answer those phones 24/7.

Another amazing organization is Project Semicolon. If you’d like more info on them, click here.

Remember, you are loved. And tomorrow will always be a brighter day.

I know this was a deep post, I promise for the rest of the week, they’ll be more upbeat. ❤

Let’s talk about music… 

Besides reading, writing, binge-watching Supernatural, and wasting time on Facebook, (who doesn’t?) you can find me listening to music.

I’m in love with music. Pretty much all music too. Depending on the day, I can listen to anything from say The Beatles, Marilyn Manson to Eric Church.

But what I really am… Is a lyric junkie. I always have been. The lyrics to a song can make or break it for me. If I don’t like the lyric, I don’t connect.

And here’s why.

The lyrics have a way of making that song, stamp my life. I’ve had many ups and so many downs in my life. Every single one of them can be attached to a song. Because music plays that big of a part in my life. It’s always on. There’s rarely a day that I don’t listen to it. If I do, it feels funny. My day feels off. 

So I’m going to share with you a few songs that have weaved their way together with my soul.

1. An Irish Blessing -Traditional

The lyrics are simple. And beautiful. They take me back to high school and my special select honors chorus. It was small, they’re were normally 18-22 of us. And all ladies. Because we were a select choir we met officially for class before school started. We had to report to school at the bright and early time of 645 am. But you know what? None of us complained. Because it was our choice to audition and be selected. We knew the cost beforehand. I miss those mornings. Those friendships that we made in the am, are still some of my most treasured ones till this day. We may not talk often but when we do, we pick up where we left off. This song was how we closed every single performance. Whether it was a concert or one of our community bookings, Blessing was always our ending. The last time we sang it together my senior year, was one of the saddest most beautiful days, ever. And you better believe I can still sing this song from beginning to end.

2. Foolish Games – Jewel

Ah, this song brings back memories of my first love. I was 19 and thought that I was in love with this man. He’s was 24, and I thought he was so grown-up. Y’all he played me for a fool! The fucker was married. Yup. Married. He was a co-worker of mine and we’d been dating for about a month, when one day we’re sitting at lunch and he says something about his daughter doing the cutest thing. Aca-cuse me? Your daughter? Say what? Shocked doesn’t begin to cover what I was feeling in that moment. Anyway, Jewel was playing on the radio and I was about to find out how true her lyrics were to my life. The next words out of his mouth (after I asked about the daughter I knew nothing about) were… “oh, I thought I told you I was married with a little girl.” Back the fuck up buddy. Back the fuck up. Nope. You sure as fuck didn’t. But you know thanks for sparing me from making a bad decision. Peace out.

3. Why Not Me? – The Judds

This one goes back to when I was 14. Wynonna Judd was/is an inspiration to me. Naomi is too but, Wynonna is where the real talent is. Her voice. Wow. Talk about some pipes. I’ve seen Wy countless times but the first time was my freshman year in high school. Actually it was the summer before. My parents had gotten me a front row ticket. On the way to the concert, I asked if we could stop so that I could get some flowers for Wy. Of course they said yes. Quickly picking out some yellow roses, we were back on the road. It’s over halfway through her show and I still haven’t worked up the nerve to give her the roses. My mom kept urging me too but I was nervous. What if she said something? What if I couldn’t say anything back? Then one of the guys that went to the concert with us run up to the stage and asked for a hug. That was my cue to go. If Rick could run up and ask for a hug, surely I could hand her some flowers. Well… She called me up on stage instead of taking them from me. She wanted to talk to me more. (Did I mention, I was crying? ‘Cause I was.) She asked my name and I may have blurted out my love for her and how much I looked up to her. But I’ll never forget her words to me. She told me to never stop believing in my dreams and always keep reaching for them. She then sang “Why Not Me?”  That was my first time meeting her. I’ve meet her several times now over the last twenty years and she always remembers me. I’ve even moved up from crying, to actually singing a song with her and her band. Best. Day. Ever.

4. Imagine – John Lennon

There are a whole bundle of different memories connected to this song. Most of them are sad. 9/11 for instance. The mass shooting in the LGBT club in Orlando. The war in Syria. Basically any act of violence that happens brings these lyrics front and center in my mind. I can’t help but think about what the world could be like if we all took these simple lyrics to heart. We’re built for love. Not hate.

5. Riser – Dierks Bentley

This song is me. Every strum of Bryan’s lead guitar. Every beat of Steve’s drums. Every strum of Cass’ bass. Every slide of Tim’s steel guitar. Every strum of Dan’s guitar. Every raspy word sung by Dierks. These lyrics sing to my soul. On my last trip to Nashville in May, I had the “Riser” phoenix and song title permanently inked on my body. The last lyric is very fitting for me. “Survivor.” 

6. I Want it That Way – The Backstreet Boys

Laugh all you want. I love me some bsb. I’ll listen to them forever. This song brings back some AMAZING memories. Back when traditional radio stations were big (before Sirius) they gave away some huge prizes. I mean these contests were insane. My bestie and I worked together at the time; my shift had just ended and she had to stay until close. Anyway, you had to hear 3 bsb songs in a row and be the 1005th caller to win a trip to LA to see them. In my car on the way home, guess what I heard? THREE BSB SONGS! So I’m calling and trying. Busy signal after busy signal. I hurried up and called my friend at work, told her which songs they were and to call. In the meantime I kept calling. Once I got home, I locked myself in my bedroom to keep calling. Finally I got through but I was caller 999! Fuuuuuuck. Oh well, I figured I’d wait to listen to see who won. Before they played who won, my friend called me and asked if they played who won yet. I told her no but thanks for trying. She screamed at me that she won. I screamed back and called her a liar. As soon as the words left my mouth I heard her voice coming through the radio. The bitch had really won. Holy shitballs. Of course she took me. And we flew to LA to see them on their sold-out tour. We explored all over Anaheim and went to Disneyland all before going to the concert. It was so much fun. And you bet your ass, I still go see bsb in concert. And we both got in trouble at work for her using the company phones to call and win a radio contest. It was totally worth it.

I could keep listing songs and how they’ve imprinted on my life but I’ve probably shared enough for today. I’d like to know some of yours. Do you have a particular favorite at the moment? A wedding song? First date? Please share. ❤️