Wishes vs. Reality

for adSince it’s the start of the new year, I wanted to talk about vision. I believe that sometimes people have unrealistic expectations based on how they view their future. A big trend right now is making a vision board to represent what you want to accomplish. I think recording your vision is important to achieving it. But sometimes the vision we have in our head (or on paper) doesn’t always line up with the reality we are presented with initially. This can lead to frustration, disappointment, and even giving up on your vision. But just because it doesn’t look the way you imagined doesn’t mean your initial vision was wrong or that you have to settle for the reality you see.

Very early on in writing Altered before the Altar, I had a vision in my head of a woman kneeling in prayer at an altar and the same woman standing at the altar with her groom getting married. After meditating on this vision for weeks, maybe months, I received the title of my book, Altered before the Altar. This fit both parts of my vision and felt right for the title, but I wanted a visual representation of this. I emailed my vision to a graphic designer and waited impatiently for her to send me my cover. The cover I received was exactly what I had asked for–and nothing like what I wanted. It didn’t match what I saw in my head even though it was a physical representation of what I said I wanted. I felt like I should just accept that this was the best representation of my vision and go forward.

I think many of us feel this way with our expectations of relationships. We spend a great deal of time thinking about what we want in a mate–someone with a sense of humor who’s also intelligent, caring, involved in church, and has a corporate job. When we see all of those characteristics, we may feel we have to accept the man who has them, even if we don’t feel a connection with him or find him attractive. We may beat ourselves up for wanting more because we received exactly what we asked for. Many women don’t find a “good” man like this. You’ve spent your entire life preparing yourself to fall in love and marry this man, and that’s what you’re going to do. Feelings can grow. You’ll learn to love the man as much as his attributes.

Or you think your initial vision is all wrong. Maybe you need to add in a few more qualifiers. Maybe I should have also focused my mental energy on attracting a man with all those good qualities who’s also tall, dark and handsome with an athletic build. Someone without facial hair who doesn’t have chest hair that looks like taco meat or wears leisure suits. It’s obvious you have to give God a bit more help with this vision.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to settle for something or someone that’s “almost” what you want, nor does your reluctance to accept it mean your initial vision was wrong. Sometimes we just don’t know in what form our vision is going to present itself, and we forget that the Devil is proficient at making counterfeit manifestations of God-given visions. If we aren’t careful, we will accept the counterfeit, or even reject the original because we’ve added unnecessary limitations to our vision.

So what happened in my case? I prayed about it and went to bed. The next day, I showed the cover to someone I trusted and explained my feelings. “You are paying for it. You should get what you want. If this isn’t it, tell her and give examples of what you do want.” In the end, by forcing myself to search for representations of what I wanted, I came to find out that the vision I had wasn’t for the cover of my book at all. Altered before the Altar, my book’s title, incorporated those two images. My book’s tagline, “From kneeling in prayer to standing at the altar, and all the steps in between…,” incorporated that vision. I explained my vision for the book in the Author’s Note, and from the response to the book, I believe that message was conveyed in every aspect of the book, not just the cover.

So what does this mean for relationships? Just because a guy ticks all your boxes doesn’t mean you have to marry him. You should feel attraction and connection with the man you marry. It should work for you. You aren’t marrying a checklist; you’re marrying a person. Moreover, you don’t have to change your vision to include all the things you don’t want. Rest. Let this person pass you by and remain focused on the Lord and His will. Keep aligning yourself to His will and stay in prayer. God will bring your vision to pass if you are abiding in Him and following His lead, not when you are trying to create your own way.

Be blessed!

Erica

007

007

A Season of Engagement

I mentioned in ‘Tis the Season that Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of what retailers have labeled the engagement season. Many theories have been posited as to why Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day is considered to be engagement season. Despite the reasons, many singles struggle throughout the holiday season.

One reason many struggle is because the holidays are geared towards families. This season highlights things many may feel they are missing out on if they don’t have those close family connections. This is the time of year we really need to pray for and remember those who have suffered the loss of close family members, specifically widows and orphans. It is also a time where we as singles really need to guard our hearts against depression and bitterness.

Now that all the leftover turkey has eaten and everyone has returned to their own homes for a couple weeks, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks for surviving the remainder of the holiday season. Here’s #1

Guard your heart. We hear this so often that we begin to roll our eyes when someone says it, but it’s really important to guard your heart. Our hearts determine the course of our lives (Prov. 4:23). We are what we think (Prov. 23:7). We know that death and life is in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21), but did you also know that we speak from the abundance of our hearts (Luke 6:45 Matt 12:34)? We are taught to guard our hearts by casting down wicked thoughts (II Cor 10:5), but how exactly do we do that?

Throughout the next month, you will be bombarded with images that can cause you to be discontent or unhappy with where you are in life. There will be songs on the radio about spending Christmas with the one you love; movies promoting Christmas magic and falling in love with a big dose of happily ever after; commercials galore that showcase people getting engaged or getting gifts from that special someone; and plenty of social media images and statuses showcasing people getting fabulous gifts, getting engaged, visiting family, and otherwise happy in this season. It can be really tough not to want a little bit of that Christmas magic to rub off on your life.

Maybe your mom passed away and seeing your Facebook friends’ posts about cooking with their mom depresses you. Maybe you can’t endure another sentimental commercial about someone making it home in time for Christmas because you can’t afford to go home this year. Maybe exposing yourself to all of these things brings out your inner Scrooge.

It’s time to guard your heart against these things. Exercise more control over what you allow to take up valuable space in your brain. Whether you need to fast from certain social media or entertainment media, or set aside more time to study scripture or volunteer to help the less fortunate, give yourself something to think about other than what you perceive as lack in your life.

Trust me, I know it’s hard. I know it’s impossible to block every avenue through which feelings of disappointment, depression, frustration, and longing can infiltrate your heart, but being intentional about what you spend your time focused on works wonders.

Beyond being intentional about what you see, hear and do, develop a strategy for dealing with negative thoughts and emotions before you are confronted with them. When a family member starts pressing you about why you’re STILL single, what are you going to say? When someone mentions that you must really miss your dad this time of the year, how will you respond? When you think to yourself “this holiday season is never going to end. Everyone is going around happy and healthy and I’m never going to get to a point where I can feel that way,” how are you going to capture that thought?

Have scripture ready to combat these situations. The word of God is likened to a sword; let it be something you fight back with instead of the sharp edge of your tongue. When someone is quick to remind you of what you don’t have, combat the accompanying longing with a recitation of everything you do have that you can express gratitude for. Take your requests to God in prayer. He’s the only one that can give you the desires of your heart, anyway.

But if you’re going to ask Him for something, know that:

a)if it’s not according to His will, it won’t happen, and

b) you should be seeking His will for your life. Don’t expect His blessings if you can’t accept His correction.

Even if you don’t feel like social media, TV/Movies, commercials and etc. have an immediate effect on how you feel, know that the things that we see and experience often shape our perception. It may not seem like it affected you when you saw it, but watch how much shorter your temper gets with people, how you start to get impatient with the holidays and want them to be over, and how you question people’s sincerity. You can see the footprints of what we allow into our hearts in more ways than one. So step one to surviving and thriving this engagement season is to guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life.

 

Be blessed,

007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erica

My First Giveaway!!

ABTA CoverThe day of my book release party, one of the elders at my home congregation very generously bought several books and told me to give them to those who could benefit from the book but couldn’t afford one, etc. I was so touched by his generosity and wanted to make sure I honored his request to the best of my ability.

Most of the people that I know in the area have bought copies of the book already. Some have even bought copies of the book for people they know couldn’t afford it. I had to be creative to think of the best way to get these gifts into the right hands.

I’d always intended to do a few giveaways, but I hadn’t yet decided how to do it. Being gifted with these books reminded me of an idea I’d had for a giveaway early on, before I’d even approved the book for publication. Now that I’ve got a few books to give away and a good way to decide who gets a free copy of Altered before the Altar, it’s time to introduce the Alter Me Contest!

To enter, simply post why you feel like you should receive a copy of Altered before the Altar. You can talk about changes you want to make to your relationships or spiritual life or anything else you feel reflects how winning a copy of Altered before the Altar will alter you for the better. You can enter on behalf of someone you know who would benefit from the book as well, but be sure to have their first and last name as well as their mailing address should you win a copy for them.

Here are the rules:

To win a physical copy of the book, you must live in the United States. I can send a kindle copy as a gift to readers in Canada, England, etc.

Each winner must be at least 13 years of age.

Each entry must be shared on social media with the hashtag #AlterMe2014 or #Alteredbeforethealtar. Please tag me as well so I can see your entry. Note: whatever social media you choose should be able to be viewed others–I cannot see or accept entries from protected or locked accounts.

You can

post to my Author Facebook page

tweet me @2blu2btru

tag me on Instagram @mz_zeyzey2

Post on my Goodreads author page

or comment on this post.

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow me on the above social media.

Contest will run from 12/5/14 to 12/12/14 at 5:00pm EST.

XOXO,

Erica

Book Release Party!!!

Book Release tableAfter months of slaving away, I finally had my book release party for Altered before the Altar on Saturday, November 15, 2014! Even though I had to push it back and every detail didn’t always go according to plan, I have to say that the party came together and received a great deal of support from the ladies who were able to help with it. Warning, this post has lots of pictures and highlights.

The picture to the left is of my signing table. That lace tablecloth over the table belonged to my great aunt, who wasn’t able to come due to recovering from a full knee replacement. Also on the table are copes of Altered before the Altar and the study guide, my business cards, and a wonderful book centerpiece that Sister Peggy Macon came up with. Speaking of centerpieces…

Book Release CenterpiecesThese are the centerpieces that ran the length of the table. Each main centerpiece was flanked by two smaller ones. The center columns each had a white dove, blue and gold ribbon and a blue bow. The smaller pieces are small mirrors, votive candles in jars with ribbon, and pearl and diamond pieces scattered around the center jar. Sister Macon did an awesome job on these as well. Everything looked wonderful.

Sister Yvetta Ammons did a ton of decorating as well. She provided the chair covers, table cloths, and gold runner that went down the center of the table. She also used gold ribbon to decorate the chairs. Both sisters manned the kitchen, plating all of the food cooked and donated by other sisters to make sure the guests were able to gnosh on fruit, veggie, and cheese trays, along with deviled eggs, bbq meatballs, pinwheel sandwiches, chips, dip, pretzels, and desserts like almond pound cake, lemon pound cake, and banana nut bread.

I arrived at the church early to finish getting the items ready for the guest bags, the door prizes, and the giveaways.

Book Release Guest bookEach guest signed my homemade guest book and received a name badge as they entered. Once they had signed in, the door greeters gave them they gift bag…

 

 

 

 

Book Release Swag bagGift bags were color-coded for the icebreaker game. There were red, yellow, green, blue, and orange bags. Each bag had a sticker with the book cover on it and contained the following: A lip balm with a custome label (label included book cover, website, and a bible verse), a business card, a personalized book mark (designed by my lovely critique buddy, Christina Yother!), a notebook customized with a sticker with the book cover on it, a pin, bubbles, and a pack of m&ms.

I made seven door prizes to give away during the event.

Book Release Door PrizeSix of the Door Prizes contained a 2015 calendar (generously provided by my aunt, Louise Taplin), a small shower gel, shampoo, and lotion, a manicure set, a candle, a compact mirror, and a gold pencil. The seventh went to the oldest woman attending, and contained a premium manicure/pedicure set, bubble bath, bath salts, a compact, a pencil and a calendar.

 

Finally, I had two big giveaways. These included the following:

Book Release Giveaway

A large two toned tote bag with the book cover on it, a small personalized tote with either “A good thing in the making. ABTA” or “Throw Rice, Not Shade. -ABTA” on it, A personalized journal with the book cover and tagline, a copy of Altered before the Altar, and a copy of the Altered before the Altar Devotional Study Guide.

 

 

Nearly thirty people attended the book release party. I’m so thankful to each and every one of them for coming out. Co-workers as well as church members came out to celebrate with me.

Book Release First Guests
The first group of guests to arrive

I was able to sell quite a few books and mingle with some great friends. I could not have pulled this event off without the help of several people: Sister Macon and Sister Ammons, who helped decorate and serve food; Sister Brenda Calloway and Sister Juanita Saintelian, who helped put the guest bags together (Sister Calloway also did a wonderful job at the welcome table), my co-worker, Marcia Potts, who loaned me the display stands for the part and picked out/bought my party dress, Sister Tonya Drummer, who has been helping to spread the word about the book and “drum” up sales (pun intended), to all the Sisters who pitched in with the food–Sister Pearl McFarland, Sister Zelda Jones, Sister Brenda Calloway, Sister Princess Ortiz, Sister Linda McSwain, Sister Yvetta Ammons, Sister Peggy Macon, my aunt, Louise Taplin, Sister Marilyn Adams, and others I may be forgetting–Sister Jenny Bullard, who helped me to plan the entire thing but was unable to attend, Sister Andreana Jules, who helped spread the word on UCF’s campus and came straight from work to be at the party, and every single lady that attended or prayed for the event. A special thank you to Desmond Alvies for being a Jack of all trades, at times manning the welcome table and stepping behind the camera as needed. And a special thank you to my co-worker’s son, Kenny, who braved an event with only one other male attendee without breaking a sweat!

If anyone is interested in how I pulled off the book release party, I can write a post about the planning. I have been asked to consider a few more upcoming events, and as soon as those are finalized, I will add them to the engagements tab. I’m so thankful for all the support the book has gotten thus far, and I pray that it is touching lives.

Most of the guests!
Most of the guests!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to have an Altered before the Altar party in your neck of the woods, want to place a bulk order of books or study guides, or want to let me know how you felt about the book, please send an email to inquiries[at]aseriousseason[dot]com or email me directly at mz[dot]zeyzey2[at]gmail[dot]com.

Be blessed!

XOXO,

2blu2btru

 

lonely christmas

‘Tis the Season…

lonely christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This image is from an article on the Daily Mail site from 2010. You can read the article here.

November marked the beginning of one of the busiest seasons of the year–the holiday season. It seems like every week until New Year’s there’s something to celebrate and somewhere to go. There are many things I love about this season: seeing family and friends, giving gifts, everyone concentrating on what they have to be thankful for and all those who celebrate the savior’s birth. It’s a great time to be social and connect with others.

But it’s also the start of another season, one that can be less fun for women like myself. Sometime around Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day is “engagement season.” Unlike hunting season, you can’t just go out, wait in a tree, shoot a man, put him on the roof of your car and take him home; they arrest women for those sorts of activities here. It’s also not about the weather changing and isn’t marked by things growing or dying–unless it’s patience or relationships. As much as I may want to be social during this time of year, a part of me hates the spectre of “the question” hanging around on the fringes of everything. As happy as I am for friends and relatives getting engaged or tying the knot, I know I will be made to feel uncomfortable when well meaning loved ones seek to offer me comfort and encouragement on my single status.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had some less than stellar Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays the last several years because I let myself get all bent out of shape by nosy relatives poking and prodding into my romantic life. At some points I’ve even gotten bitter about not being engaged or married myself. But this post is supposed to be encouraging (and not that “cheer up; it’ll be your turn soon” kind of encouragement that can really grind your gears), so let’s hop on over to the point.

Being single is not a sentence to be served out with as much dignity as possible. Singleness is not a sickness to be survived or a second place settlement. Singleness is a sacred time in your life where you can give God your undivided attention. I’ve experienced so much growth and peace in my single years! Getting engaged and married is exciting, and when you experience those things you should enjoy them. But don’t minimize the wonderful gift that singleness is, and don’t let anyone else minimize it, either.

Being content single doesn’t mean that you’ve given up on having a spouse. It doesn’t mean that you are putting a brave face on the fact you couldn’t buy a man with all Solomon’s fortune. It doesn’t need sympathy. It should be praised! Praise God that you aren’t so lonely that you get involved with people that pull you off the path God has placed your feet on! Isn’t it wonderful that you have learned how to want what God wants for your life? Isn’t it a real blessing not to be tossed about like waves, chasing after people’s approval of your life and relationships? What a fabulous opportunity to become the type of woman you are proud to be without the added stress of being the wife your husband wants.

It may be difficult to say all of this in a respectful manner to all those well-meaning folks who populate your life, but pray that God gives you the words to do so. Don’t waste “the most wonderful time of the year” dreading what others will say or feeling bitter about where you are. Give those thoughts over to God and realize He cares for you. Keep your cheer, sister.

XOXO,

Erica

Getting the Tea on the Southern Tea

*sips tea*
*sips tea*

This image of Kermit the frog sipping Lipton brand tea has become the graphic of many memes where Kermit is saying something “messy” and follows it by “but that’s none of my business.” This weekend I came across an episode of the sketch comedy show “In Living Color” where the Kim Wayans plays Benita Butrell, a woman who tells everyone’s business then says “But I ain’t one to gossip, so you didn’t hear that from me.” It seemed that all weekend long I kept running into representations of gossip. It got me thinking about the event I am speaking at in January that my aunt is throwing. She gave me the opportunity to choose the theme of the event, and I think I have a good idea what would best suit.

The event is going to be a Southern Tea, and two distinct images came to mind when I thought about this: kermit and his messy memes, and an episode of Preachers of L.A. where the ladies had a “Sip and See.” Disclaimer: I don’t watch Preachers of L.A. because I have all types of problems with the people on the show and the “christianity” they claim to portray, but that’s a subject for another day. I was clicking through the channels and saw an episode where one of the women had a tea party to show off her new baby. Needless to say, a lot of drama unfolded. I started thinking about how such a feminine, elegant thing like tea has been made synonymous with gossip and drama, and my subject for the event was born.

I love New Year’s Day. People get all bent out of shape about New Year’s resolutions and how excited everyone is to begin working on goals they’ll forget about in a few months (if not weeks), but to me there’s just something about taking stock in your life and deciding on a course of action moving forward that is powerful. I do much more often than once a year, but I like the thought of everyone else doing it with me. So the fact that I’m speaking at an event in January to women is very humbling. I may be setting the tone for the entire year for some of these women. So what things do I want to leave on their minds? I want to get them out of this mindset that what they say isn’t as important as what they do. I want to admonish and encourage women to take charge of their tongues and harnass the power of their words. I want them to take responsibility for the things that they say and the effects their words have on those around them. And I want to give Kermit and tea parties a little of their dignity back.

I address the tongue in Altered before the Altar, but I wanted to go deeper with it. There were so many scriptures on the tongue that I couldn’t possibly address them all. Not to mention God is still dealing with me about my tongue. It’s a proven fact that women talk more than men. It is imperative for us to learn what God has to say about the tongue and apply it to our lives as Christian women. Our salvation may hang in the balance.

If you can come out to Avon Park, FL in January, I would love to see you. I will release more details as things are finalized. I will also try to make sure that my speech is recorded so that those who weren’t able to attend can see it. I’m intensely studying all of my notes from my studies on the tongue and finding so many principles and gems to share. What interesting things have you learned about the tongue?

Reminder:

Altered before the Altar: Allowing God to Make You Meet to be Met is available on Amazon, Createspace, and at the events I attend in paperback and kindle formats. The Altered before the Altar Devotional Study Guide is also available through Amazon, Createspace and at events. Both deal with digging deeply into the issues that affect Christian women regardless of marital status, including reputation, the tongue, submission, contentment, manipulation, appearance, attitudes towards others in the body of Christ, dealing with temptation, repentence, confession, forgiveness, and more. It makes a great gift for any teenage or young adult women, especially those who desire to be married or are engaged.

XOXO,

Erica

 

Altered before the Altar Devotional Study Guide

It's here!
It’s here!

Yesterday morning, I approved the Altered before the Altar Devotional Study Guide for sale! It is now available for purchase on Amazon.

This Devotional Study Guide provides readers of Altered before the Altar with discussion questions, activities, and devotions designed to help further explore the topics introduced in the original text, making it a must have for small group and class study of Altered before the Altar. I’ve been asked by several people to do a class on the book, and while I may not be able to teach classes everywhere, you can facilitate classes of your own using this guide. As with Altered before the Altar, if you would like to make purchases of the devotional study guide, please email me at inquiries [at]aseriousseason[dot]com.

Here’s the back cover copy for the study guide:

From wanting to change to making changes, and the journey in between…

The Altered before the Altar Devotional Study Guide picks up where Altered before the Altar left off, demonstrating how you can apply the principles and standards gleaned from the original. Pointed discussion questions create dialogue that leads to a deeper understanding of key concepts. Detailed exercises guide you through the application of principles like assembling your council and making your “list.” Thought provoking devotionals and journal prompts encourage you to connect the concepts to your life in a personal way that impacts your relationships.

For knowledge to be useful, you must apply it. Now that you’ve read about being altered, it’s time to get altered!

Copies are available in paperback from Createspace ($7.50) and Amazon ($7.13). It’s available for Amazon Prime’s free 2-day shipping.

I would love it if you could leave reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, or blogs. Thank you all for your continued support of this work!

XOXO,

Erica

The Greatest Part

It’s been a long month! Between the day job, working on my newest project, entering So You Think You Can Write, and coordinating everything for the book release this Saturday, I have been exhausted. There have been a few bumps in the road with the party–my cover model can’t come to the release, and neither can my co-planner :-(–and it’s been difficult for an introvert like me to get into the marketing side of book production.

There have been some days since I published that have been more full of doubt than when I pressed published. There have been days where I have thought, “OK, God, I did what You asked; now what do I do?”  There have been days I haven’t felt the book has gotten anywhere or reached anyone. There have been more than a few days I wondered how I’m going to pull off this book launch, let alone sell books in other ways.

Writing can be such a solitary endeavor that you don’t realize all of the people your hours in your writing closet can effect. If you’re a Christian author like me, you can wonder sometimes if you heard God right when you stepped out and published. Maybe I wanted to do this for myself. Maybe it’s not doing so well because it wasn’t something I was meant to do.

But the greatest thing about God is that God doesn’t leave us to wonder if He is a part of what we are doing. I’ve received the most wonderful confirmations that this is the right thing at the right time, from Bible study discussions and sermons to the overwhelming support from my local congregation.

The part that I’ve enjoyed the most is the reader response. People are really getting something out of the book! They are telling me how they are better understanding concepts or looking at them in a new way. They are expressing how it’s helping them to study God’s word and draw closer to Him. God is getting glory out of this thing! That’s the best part of my day to hear that. I especially love when someone tells me that they needed to hear something in Altered before the Altar. When I was writing, that’s one of the thoughts that kept nudging me on, that someone needed the knowledge I was struggling to share. So it means a lot when people read the book and share that with me.

On Sunday, we had a fellowship with other area churches where I was able to sell my largest one day total of books thus far, many to people I didn’t know previously. I was able to explain what the book was about and snag their interest. I received some interest in having me participate in Ladies’ Days and youth events. People have expressed an interest in me teaching the book as a class. I’m super excited about these opportunities, not just as a means to sell copies, but an opportunity to change the way young women are thinking about love, marriage, God and themselves.

If you are someone who is trying to do what you feel God is leading you to do, and you are acting according to His holy and divine word, stay encouraged. You may not impact the people you set out to impact or be as successful as you thought you would be (especially initially), but God will use what you are doing to draw the right people at the right time to Him. I really wanted to reach young, single, Christian women. I’ve sold the most books to their parents and other married people. I’ve even sold quite a few books to young men who are telling me that they are really learning things they can apply to their lives. There’s no telling who God will reach through you. I’ve learned to go along for the ride and let God do the driving.

Stay encouraged,

Erica

Getting Naked…and Party Details!

Usually when you don’t see a post from me in a while, it means I am working on something special. In this case, that’s a true assumption. I can’t share what I’m working on yet, but I will say that the particular section I spent this morning on has to do with being naked. I’ve been looking at different ways to express the idea of nakedness as well as looking at phrases and terms that utilize the concept of nakedness, and let me tell you, it is eye opening.

One of the phrases I’ve come across is naked power. Naked power is power over someone or something that is unrelated to an interest in the well-being or continuation of that person or thing. For example, a neutral third party who has no interest in the outcome but has the power to determine that outcome. I find myself extremely glad that God doesn’t exert naked power over us. God is interested in my well-being and concerned with how things turn out for me! That’s something to be thankful for, isn’t it?

Aside from this top secret project, I’m finalizing details for my book release party. I can finally share that my book release party will be on October 25, 2014 at the Westmoreland Drive Church of Christ in Orlando, FL from 3-5 pm. There will be a discussion forum, a panel, food, games and giveaways as well as a book signing. I hope to be able to reveal my super secret project at this time and have a surprise or two for attendees. I’m so excited to celebrate this release with those who are just as excited about the work this book is going to do in young lives. If you want to attend, please let me know. I will be sure to capture it on film so that I can upload it to the Altered before the Altar YouTube channel (more details on the channel to come) so that even my friends far away can join in the celebration.

I am still working on a few more events going into 2015 that I’m really excited about. As soon as the details are finalized, I will be adding them to a Speaking Engagements section of the site so that you all can see where I’ll be and support if you can.

It is my goal going forward to have a new blog post up at least once a week. If there are any questions you have or topics you want me to address, feel free to email me at inquiries [at] aseriousseason [dot] com.

Be blessed!

XOXO,

Erica

An Altered Book Release!!! And Updates

booksHello, everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone on everything that’s been happening with Altered before the Altar. I’ve been hard at work to line up speaking engagements and other promotional opportunities as well as prepare for my book release party. Before I get into details of the release party, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

  • I decided on a plan of action that includes doing five things towards the success of Altered each day. I don’t always accomplish five things, but I always accomplish something, which is better than before.
  • I’ve reached out to a few groups for promotional opportunites which include speaking to book clubs, being on panels, doing radio interviews, and participating in other events to further my reach with the book. As soon as any of those opportunities are in stone, I will share them on the new Speaking/Events page.
  • I learned how to create a .mobi file to send Kindle review copies to reviewers. If you would like to review Altered on your site, please send an email to inquiries@aseriousseason.com with a link to your site and I’ll get back to you.
  • I have two giveaways planned, and now that I have books I can roll them out! I’m going to be hosting both a Goodreads and a FB/Twitter/Instagram giveaway to win free copies of my book and other goodies. Look out for details soon!
  • Speaking of getting my books: I HAVE MY BOOKS! I ordered some books to have on hand for sale and for the upcoming book release party. I can take credit cards and send receipts/invoices in addition to cash sales. I’m going to have a link to buy on the site at some point as well. Of course, you can always go through CreateSpace or Amazon for your paperback, or get the Kindle version as well.

Now for the book release party details!!!

My book release party will be held the afternoon of Saturday, October 25th. At this point, the location is still tentative. I will be going to view the facility tomorrow and pay for the rental, so everyone pray that goes smoothly. I will reveal the venue once I hand over that check!

The event will consist of a forum format where we will discuss topics related to the book, a brief talk and reading, and signing. Refreshments will be served. Attendees will be given goodies and have the opportunity to purchase the book (and a few items not available until the event–more on that in the future).

I really want to give you the theme of the evening, discussion topics, what I’ll have available to purchase and such, but I still need to cement the details with my planning partner. I will tell you that I’ve received a couple generous donations towards the food and other things for the event already and will be sending out invites soon this weekend (!!!).

This past weekend while I was in Miami trying to make connections and figure out how to do this promotion thing, I was reminded to be in the moment. As Mr. Perfect said, I’m always a few steps ahead in my head, always moving forward without ever being where I am. My sister in Christ told me to just breathe and enjoy the accomplishment of having published a book. I’m trying to sit with the magnitude of that each day and not worry about marketing, sales, social media, and all the rest, but it’s difficult because I like to see results. I’m working on it, though.

What are you working on this week?

XOXO,

Erica