Tagged Altered before the Altar

dad and I

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 30…

A friend of mine "accidentally" tagged me to this on FB.
A friend of mine “accidentally” tagged me to this on FB.

I spent most of my life pre-30 dreaming and drifting. I knew what I wanted to be and do, the type of impact I wanted to make on those around me, the kind of life I wanted to live, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get there. I was writing when I felt inspired, which wasn’t very consistently. I would get into cycles of reading my Bible and really getting into the word and then looking up Sundays and realizing I hadn’t picked up my Bible since Wednesday night Bible class. I went through cycles where I was really productive and times I was overwhelmed. I had a few days where I felt like I looked “fierce and fabulous,” but many more where I just felt fat and flabby. My mood swung like a pendulum between hopeful and depressed. I was in a relationship that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, at a job that wasn’t going anywhere, living a life that wasn’t going anywhere. There was so much on the inside of me that I wanted to get out, but I just couldn’t figure out how to start “walking in my purpose,” as people say. And not living out my calling was making me a less desirable person, even to myself.

When I turned 28, I was really struggling to get it together. Going into 28, I suffered some big disappointments and setbacks.

One of my setbacks in 2013
One of my setbacks in 2013

The first quarter of 2013 nearly wiped out all the progress I’d made up to that point, and it felt like my heart had been ripped wide open. When I tell you 28 tried it, I kid you not. But losing so much in so short a timespan allowed me to have so much clarity. It was like I’d removed a line of trees that was blocking my view of the horizon, and now I could see a path to it. So I stepped onto that path in faith.

 

 

 

 

In the next two years, I completed my first novel, found critique buddies, and did the million and one things it took to get Altered before the Altar and the Devotional study guide out into the world. I planned and executed my first book launch party:

 

Book Release table
The book table at my book release party

There were times I felt out of my depth and in over my head with all of this, but there’s always been help where I’ve needed it, even if that help was me covering everything in prayer as I tried to do it myself. I’m still far from truly living the life I know God has for me. I still have a long way to go before I can give up the day job, pay off my student loans, or write/speak full time. But I’m finding my way, learning a little more, doing a little better each time.

I’ve had a few events since I last wrote. I’ve been somewhere selling Altered every month of this year so far. I’ve sold books at teas, women’s conferences, a march for marriage event, my dad’s appreciation banquet, and ladies’ days here in Florida. The women that I’ve encountered have been gracious and supportive of my efforts to get my book in the hands of as many young women as possible. There are still more conferences and events I hope to get to this year, and hopefully I’ll be invited to speak more as I prepare to release my next book.

march for marriage table
My vendor table at the March for Marriage event, March 2015

This week, from Thursday June 11th to Sunday June 14th, I’ll be a vendor at the Southside Church of Christ’s Message, Mingle and Masquerade Singles’ Conference. This weekend promises to be a weekend of firsts for me. It will be my first singles conference, my first singles’ conference as a vendor, and my first solo vending gig. Usually Mr. Perfect (my boyfriend) or ladies from my home congregation are around to help me, but this time, it’s just me.

I’m doing things differently this time around, adding signage, offering a giveaway, and doing a few other things that will (hopefully) take my presentation to the next level and get the word out about Altered before the Altar.

Brunswick Table
My table at the Facing Your Giant Women’s Conference in Brunswick, GA February 2015

 

It’s been my plan to add new voices and content to this site for a while now. So far, those new voices haven’t worked out. But I’m ever faithful that God will provide the right people to help me revamp this site and make it a place where single Christian women can come together in fellowship & share the trials and triumphs in their lives, as well as fashion tips and pop culture and everything else being a single Christian in today’s society entails. If you’re interested in working with me to create quality content for single Christian women, comment below or send me an email at: mz.zeyzey2@gmail.com (mz[dot]zeyzey2[at]gmail[dot]com). Stay tuned to see how it all unfolds.

Hope to meet many of you at the conference!

~Erica

dad and I
My Dad and I at his Appreciation, April 2015

 

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

 

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

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

ABTA Cover

Little Known Facts About Altered before the Altar

ABTA CoverIn celebration of the Kindle release of Altered before the Altar, I wanted to share with you some little known facts about Altered before the Altar.

  1. The dedication was second to last thing I wrote (aside from the About the Author page at the end of the book). It took me a long time to decide who I wanted to dedicate this book to because there were so many people intimately involved in both the creation of the book and my life. In the end, I decided to dedicate it to the memory of two women who had a large hand in shaping who I am and always supported me no matter what. I also mention others who have passed that were integral to the book in the acknowledgements section.
  2. Altered before the Altar was originally 233 pages and was pared down to 203. Many of the things I took out were personal stories or activities/questions to ask sections that will be available on this site soon.
  3. I conducted the first interview for what became Altered before the Altar in August of 2010. I conducted ten formal interviews and several informal interviews for the book.
  4. The image on the cover is a picture I took at the wedding of my friend Laporsher Williams to her husband Jason in February of 2013. I went to three weddings in the first half of 2013 and had over five hundred images from those weddings.
  5. The hardest chapter for me to write was “Making Yourself ‘Meet'” because I fall short on quite a bit of the things in it.
  6. The first chapter I finished was “Preparation.”
  7. The last chapter I finished was “Digging Deeper.”
  8. I originally had several song lyrics for chapter titles and examples that I changed to avoid copyright infringement, etc I changed three chapter titles and an entire section in one chapter to avoid using song lyrics.
  9. I also removed quotes from two books and one podcasted sermon because I didn’t obtain the permissions in time.
  10. Except for material from a session I led on purity and three blog posts, the material in this book hasn’t been published or taught anywhere else.

And there  you have it, ten little known facts about Altered before the Altar. I’ll be sharing book outtakes, interview excerpts that didn’t make the book, and information on upcoming book release events soon.

XOXO,

Erica