I am Grateful

I haven’t written a blog post like this one in awhile. A recent Facebook status update on my book page reminded me of just how grateful I am to be able to write, to have books contracted with a publisher, to have people buying those books and leaving reviews. I’m still at the start of my writing journey, by no means an expert or long in the publishing world, but I can’t help but be thankful for the strides I’ve been allowed to make.

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Because it is tough. Like anything worthwhile doing and having is. It doesn’t come easy. And I’m so grateful to be able to have this outlet and write the stories I like to write. To form part of the romance community. To feel liberated enough to say I am a romance author and even if people judge that, to still not care *laugh* because romance writers are AWESOME! *smiles*

I’m grateful for the people who’ve encouraged me and shaped me on this journey. I’m grateful for the countless writing advice gurus who give their advice for free on the inter-webs through articles and video tutorials, for all the authors who write on their blogs about what they’ve learned and who share that knowledge, and also for writing groups on social media…groups who are accessible, open and do not discriminate for whatever reason…you are amazing. And you help people like me who live in a small town, in a third world country, who don’t have a clue on how to approach her dream of becoming a published romance author. It’s really amazing how many willing people are out there, sharing what they know without expecting anything in return. I’m awed. I’m grateful. I’m thankful and am working on paying it forward.

And to my readers (all three of you…Hey Mom! *laughs*), you inspire me, push me and always make me want to give more than a 100% with every story I write. Your support humbles me. My latest book have placed me in front of readers who didn’t know who I was until they picked up my book as part of the Black Hills Wolves series and I’m grateful for you because you gave an unknown to you author a chance. Thank you.

It’s humbling when you think that there are so many people all over the world who do not get to live out their passion. Who do not have the freedom to venture into any career path. For many years South Africa was that type of country. Recently my mother again reminded me on just how tough it was when she was in high school. The then Apartheid government would literally come to Coloured and Black schools and tell students that they couldn’t study certain subjects at grade 11 level. Usually those subjects would be Mathematics, Accountancy, Physical Science and Biology…they didn’t want doctors, lawyers, accountants to come from Coloured and Black groups. In fact there was a quota placed on how many could be allowed into those types of university courses each year. Imagine you’ve spent years doing Mathematics only to be told you couldn’t take it again in grade 12 because you, according to a rigged system, didn’t qualify? And guess what, having a B in those subjects disqualified you. *snorts* Yeah, I also didn’t get straight A’s.

According to the Apartheid government I would be as dumb as a doornail.

I am grateful that I get to do what I do. That I live in a time in the world’s history where as a person of color I can write the stories I like and have people from every ethnicity enjoy them *smile*

And as strange as this sounds, I want to say thank you for all the ‘likes’, the reviews, ‘shares’, ‘follows’, ‘subscribing to my blog’, buying my books, ‘liking my book page’, having me on your blogs, tweeting, and generally coming along with me on my writing journey.

I still have a way to go, but I’m truly grateful for what the journey so far has taught me and how much support I’ve received.

#HappyWriting I know I am because of you.*smile*

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Buy Links:

Amazon: Kindle Store https://t.co/gipdx4OYiZ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/the-wolf-s-choice

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711816

 

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Divorce isn’t the End

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That title just made some people who know me extremely nervous *smile*

“When did Inge get married?”

“And when did she divorce?”

“How did I not know this?!”

Uhm…I didn’t. I haven’t. And we are probably not as close as you think if the third question went through your head.

But how can I know this then? I’ve never been married.  How I can speak for divorcees?

I’m not.

I’m not speaking for them. There’s so many things said about people who go through divorce on the internet, either by themselves or professionals. Not so much the ‘bystanders’.

And no I’m not going to comment on divorce in general. What I am going to shine a light on are the children, the grownup ones, who have to either pick up the pieces and/or deal with the emotional aftermath. The ones who have to resign themselves to a life of, “What can I say in front of my mother/father about the other, that in no way harms my relationship with both?”

It is funny how even the most amicable separations can turn sour, because even if both parties are okay with leaving, if the other one seems to have a way “better” time at moving on. Some bitterness sweeps in. And that bitterness, no matter the amount, has an effect on the children.

You can be the most well adjusted, emotionally intelligent adult there is, but when your parents go through a divorce…it wrecks your world. The experience tears something inside of you. You won’t realize until you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe because it feels like the air had been sucked out of your lungs. And as an adult, someone who’s thirty-three years old, people expect you to have it together.

You’re not a child that you lean on your parents support for everything. The bulk of sympathy goes to kids who still haven’t finished school. And trust me, I feel for them. They have absolutely no control over their lives; adults are making decisions for them. At least when you’re a grownup you can tell your parents, “Look I don’t want to deal with your drama anymore.” You can cause them to be shamefaced for the way they are acting, for the way they are having you be the grownup, when they raised you. Not the other way around.

So definitely an up and down side to being an adult with recently divorced parents.

Nevertheless here’s why I believe divorce isn’t the end for adult children with divorced parents, especially if those parents chose to get a divorce, rather than the one cheating on the other or being emotionally and physically abusive, etc. But rather them realizing that they’ve grown apart and want different things from life.

You can still be a family. Two years ago I didn’t think that would be possible. (And I know everyone’s circumstances/families aren’t the same.)

But there is hope of peace. Hope of everyone getting on well together. You don’t have to choose sides adult child of divorced parents *smile*

As we all know, a couple breaking up, most of the time, doesn’t have a direct correlation to the children. It’s their issues with each other. So don’t think that at any point in the future you won’t be able to pick up the strands of the relationship again. Yes, it’s going to be different. There’s going to have to be forgiveness and healing. You’re going to have to openly talk about your issues (if you have any) with each other. Because your mother is still your mother and your father is still your father. That bond isn’t going to go away just because your dad is married to someone new, or your mom chooses to live in a commune with people who dress in white and murmur affirmations under their breath. Just saying.  Through your connection, they are still your family. And that makes something like divorce not final.

Death is final. And I have to say, people who compare the two with each other, might not have any plans of ever moving on from divorce. I still carry the death of my biological father with me, but I don’t carry my parents’ divorce with me. To me, the two can never be lumped under the same heading. I can make peace with a living breathing person, but I can’t with someone who’s no longer there.

So divorce is not the end. It’s the beginning of another different kind of life. But still life.

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Public and Private Position: A Commentary Piece

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The US elections are on everyone’s newsfeeds whether you’re interested or not. All of us (the rest of the world) are a bit stunned at what’s happening. To be honest, (don’t throw virtual tomatoes at me) I expected Donald Trump to have fallen out of the race early on. The fact that he has come so far (and yes so close) is astonishing to me. The man is a walking billboard for every type of ‘ism’ out there, except feminism of course *drum roll*

Yeah don’t sue me. That was my attempt at a joke. I’m not a comedian, I’m a romance author *cheeky grin*

What keeps coming back to me this week, and has me on this US election train of thought, was something Hillary Clinton said, something to the effect of having a public and private position. Many were up in arms at this statement. And at first I was like “What are they going on about?” Everyone has a public and private position. But if you think about it, that’s not what she meant. She didn’t mean what Ludacris rapped in that funky tune of Usher’s, “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed to say…” *bobs head*

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You know the sentiment that underlines the lyric, that there are facets about yourself that you keep private, personal. It’s no one’s business but yours…sometimes those closest to you too.

Though that’s not what I believe those who don’t agree with Hillary’s sentiment appose. Because if you really study the statement and I mean, really study it, not just from your frame of reference or world view, than it becomes problematic.

Because, according to her, you can have a different level of integrity in private than you have in public?

The answer to that is no. You need to be the same person when no one sees you, when you are not scrutinized. Your yes needs to be yes and your no, no. You can’t flip in public.

Here’s a definition of integrity, so that you know what I mean when I use the word. This is what I understand by it. It is “the quality of being honest and morally upright.” That’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition.

To me, no one’s perfect. I believe we all need to be a bit more gracious towards each other. Exercise understanding and consideration. You can work towards perfection, though let’s be honest, that’s not something you will achieve in your lifetime. We are all works in progress. Every day is a practical exercise in learning what it means to be human. And let me just say, this is not a pro-Hilary or pro-Donald or in any way a political post as much as it is a social one. I’m not interested in their political agendas, frankly, because I’m not from the US. I’m from South Africa. This election doesn’t impact me the same way it does an American. I’m not emotionally, mentally or physically tied it.

What inspired this post was a recent correspondence I had with someone who will remain nameless *smile*

You see, when you are in a position of leadership you are always under scrutiny. Whether you lead five or millions, you will get scrutiny. That’s why parents shouldn’t be shocked when their grownup kids give them a review of how they were raised, because from the child’s perspective that might not always have been a positive experience. But who wants negative critique? No one. We don’t like it, I certainly don’t. But we get it anyway.

So back to Hilary and her statement. After I got this correspondence I realized that there are people who live by that statement’s level of integrity every single day. They shape it according to who’s in front of them. If you are powerful enough to cause trouble for me, I won’t be honest with you. If your level of significance is the same as an ant’s in my life, I’ll be brutally honest and then some. Their level of honesty and morality adapts to their audience. And that’s what some people have a problem with. That’s what I learned, I don’t like.

It’s false, fake, phony…all those lovely words we use on a daily basis to describe someone we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw them.

I don’t object so much to the fake and phoniness if you’re both that privately and publicly. Because then you’d be honest. I mean there I have to give it to Trump. The man is disgusting in private and in public. What you see is what you get.

Where the problem lies for me is when you profess to be ‘nice’ in the eyes of those whom you can benefit from, because they have a certain level of power over you, and then ‘rude’ to the people you think, doesn’t have the power to touch you.

Because, that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Accountability and responsibility? If I have no one to answer to, if I’m a dictator, if I can’t be held responsible for my behavior, if there’s no checks and balances. Then what’s to stop me from flipping the integrity switch in how I deal with people, in my work life, in the societies I join and organizations I belong to. To one person I’m one thing, yet to another I’m something else. No one knows what they’re getting. And that’s problematic.

And when you are someone that’s under scrutiny that won’t just be problematic for you, but dangerous.

I’m thinking of Elorra’s Cave the e-publishing company that had this huge lawsuit going on with its authors. Before the paw-paw hit the fan, the company had a public position that turned out to be horse manure (yeah I don’t swear, get over it). Authors weren’t being paid, unprofessional behavior within the company, etc. (Just do a Google search on the publisher with the word lawsuit and everything will spill out.)

The integrity they professed to have to us (everyone on the outside) was not what they exercised in private. That, my dear people, in the blogosphere, is what I call corruption. See how far having a private and public position stretches when viewed in light of integrity. This isn’t on the side of that funky lyric of Ludacris. This is something else, much sinister. And when someone exercises this form of ‘integrity’ and they have no level of accountability, you have to start asking yourself whether you still want to deal with them and what your responsibility are here.

Because believe it or not, you do have a responsibility (this is where your integrity comes into play).

If you’re dealing with someone in leadership where there are checks and balances, it is simple; report to those checks and balances, especially where their behavior can lead to a lawsuit. If there are none, then you have to wake up and smell the horse manure. You are part of a dictatorship. And if history has taught us anything about dictatorships, they don’t get overthrown without a level of bloodshed *cringe*

Of course if you choose the pacifist route, than sit back, sip that glass of red you poured for yourself, because you and everyone else around you, are royally…you know what *laughs*

 

#HappyWriting

#haveanawesomeweekend

#seeyouontheblogosphere

 

 

 

 

“Pearl Harbor”

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This weekend I watched the movie again.

This epic movie that had my roommate at varsity sobbing in the TV-room as the whole ress watched it. It was the first time any of us saw it, this crowd of guys and girls all sitting at the edge of their seats. The guys most likely because they heard there`d be bombs going off and some shooting and the girls because Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett was going to make more than an appearance.

With our hot chocolate in hand, we watched this retelling of history in typical Hollywood style. And we weren`t disappointed.

As I watched this movie again this weekend, I still wasn`t disappointed. And yes I`m a self-confessed romantic, but when it comes to movies I always opt for the grandiose science fiction slash supernatural movies with a nice twist in the plot ala Alien and Predator.

Don`t get me wrong, I am a *cough* girl, I do have my romcom moments or rather seasons because when it comes on, we girls know it never stays with just one romcom a month. We want a heavy dose plus a bag of chips until we`re sick of it, then we want Bruce Willis-like characters shooting things with witty one-liners. Or that could just be me *sheepish grin*

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As a writer a movie like Pearl Harbor is a great learning opportunity. The complex dynamics between the main characters, the background of one of America`s greatest events in history…how do you tell a story that showcase this and the complexity of human relationships, without diminishing either? I really take my hat off to writers, producers and directors who can.

I was moved again by how the director got me to fall in love with the first ‘love-story’ of the two friends who were closer than brothers. Of course having seen the movie before I knew what lay ahead and it only made me more sensitive to all the little nuances that go over your head when you first see a movie (now I`m not talking about the really obvious ones that everyone gets as you`re watching it-even though there would always be that one person who keeps on asking questions *rolling eyes). In a movie, unlike a book, there isn`t a lot of time to write about all the bonding sessions the two might have had that brought them to that place of ‘intimacy’.

But the directors managed it at the start of the movie as these two little boys cheekily flies a plane, then when they land-still impressed with themselves- the ones father turns up looking a bit dodgy, grabs him by the cuff giving him a couple of slaps along the way. To the audience this doesn`t translate as a once off thing, you get the impression it`s something that usually happens especially from the dialogue as the father yells at the kid with a ‘how many times have I told yah…!’ (I`m paraphrasing here). His friend helps him by attacking the father. In that scene we learn the father was a former soldier that came back damaged from the war and took it out on his family. That the two boys spend a lot of time together, that they are very close to the point of defending each other. And finally as the little boy runs after his father-who`s defeated physically, verbally and mentally- we understand that as complicated as family relationships are, it`s hard to distance yourself from them.

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In my view, that`s the first ‘love-story’ being established and one of the most important especially if you know the ending to the movie.

And it is this ‘love-story’ that had me Google-ing Faith Hill`s “There You`ll Be”.  Like most, my thoughts are with the character ‘Danny’ when this song plays-his and Rafe`s relationship. It must also be the view point the song`s written from, especially if you listen to the words. It`s a tribute to a lost loved one. Then it has you thinking on all the lost loved ones in the movie, in a war…and with war being something that is still going on today-people still surrounded by it on a daily basis- you cannot help but have a knot in your throat. This was history and yet it`s still so relevant today.

Tomorrow`s Pearl Harbors being lived today.

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Who will write this story? Who will produce it? What director will be able to shape it into something that depicts all facets of human life, depravity, sacrifice?

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The dream for me is to be able to write something that evokes the kind of thought process, feeling and relevance that a movie like Pearl Harbor do. Of course I`m not looking for human tragedy to write about. But as a human being I know it will find me.

The beauty of being an author is to be able to work all of them out on paper. Give homage when needed. A thank you when it`s felt. And hope locked inside the pages of a book.

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“In my dreams I`ll always see you soar above the sky…”

Be careful what you wish for…

 

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Because you might just get it and then some! You might be offered your dream on a silver plate only to find out, the plate wasn’t silver and not what you`ve dreamt. It`s counterfeit.

There`s a truth in patience, a lesson in waiting. It`s funny how you don`t understand that until you`ve fallen on your face and done the complete opposite.

And I`m one of those people, I learn through trial and error. For some reason the lesson`s more profound, and never to be repeated for sure.

Be careful what you wish for, be careful who you trust, be careful…be careful…mind the steps, the doors and even the hardwood floors. Make certain, take care…don`t run in heedlessly and even then, tread lightly. There`s truth in it, there`s wisdom found in caution. It keeps you from gliding on a wet floor, taking a nose dive …signing away your soul.

As someone who`s entered the writing world fairly recently, to have learned the lesson of caution so early on with all the dramatics of a Broadway play, I`m now more inclined to say, “Look right and left before you cross the street.”  Don`t settle for counterfeit.  Don`t pawn your hard work. When something feels wrong, don`t go there. Trust caution, it`s your friend in this line of business.

If you want your work to mean something to someone, if you want your dream to inspire long after you`ve left the living, then be careful.

“Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it`s inspiring.” (Unknown)

If it`s not in line with how you saw it…how you planned it…how it was created…if it`s counterfeit…you`ll end up getting burnt.

#lesssonlearned

Shake it off (shake it out)!

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“It`s hard to dance with a devil on your back..” when that devil seems to think it`s amusing to trip you up, to make a fool out of you. And whatever your devil may be, it`s a truly vicious thing. Recently I`ve experienced such a devil, to the point where I actually had to push the delete button on some of my social networks, just to ‘shake him off’.

Yes my devil was a person. A very annoying person.  One of those people that for the life of you, you just don`t know what it was you`ve done to them. And no, this person`s not the first to have disliked me without me knowing how I`ve caused offense. Though he is the first male to have ever done so *grin*

Now this is the part where I sketch out our ‘sketchy’ relationship, bemoan his existence and basically pose him in such a bad light that by the end of this blog, you`ll agree with my title! But no, I`m not going to do that. That`s not part of this exorcism. This devil won`t get more paragraphs than he`s worth.

I`ve always prided myself on being someone people can relate to. I don`t think I intimidate people (if you knew how short I was you`ll nod your head). I`m opinionated, but know that my opinions aren`t always the beginning and end all of all things. So I`ve learned to shut it, listen, evaluate and then respond. I`m passionate. I can`t really add more to it than that. I`m passionate about the things I care about, people I care about *shrug* It`s just who I am. If I don`t support something a hundred percent, than I just wouldn`t go there. I can be serious, I can be fun, I can be weird, I can be sarcastic, I can be an optimist (though that takes effort), I can be creative, I can be smart, I can be beautiful and sometimes downright mean, but I always apologize.  I`m not perfect. I`m complex. You can`t presume to know me after a month, you can`t even know me in a year, impossible to know me after a couple of seasons. People who`ve known me my whole life, can`t even remember the color of my natural hair *laugh*

So how than devil, how than can the little that you`ve seen of me, cause you to start rumors, talk behind my back, make small of things that means so much to me, when you obviously don`t know me…

“And every demon wants his pound of flesh…”

But there`s a valuable lesson here, something I realized when I sat back and thought about this devil on my back, that I don`t want to be like him…I don`t want to be the devil on someone else`s back, cause them grief, make life difficult for them, just because I viewed them as a threat (which in itself would be difficult for me)… I`ll work on being kind and true, I`ll work on compassion and not comparing myself with others, I`ll work on getting to know my authentic –self so that I won`t feel out of place when someone more self-assured comes my way…I`ll work on me, because there`s no reason in this life…this world, to be a devil to someone else.

“I`m done with my graceless heart…So tonight I`m gonna cut it out and then restart…”