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It’s Almost Christmas!

Christmas Day is just around the corner. I hope the busyness of the season isn’t stopping you from enjoying this special time. I’ve grown accustomed to running around and trying to keep a million projects going, but that kind of behavior has caused me to miss enjoying the season in the past. I decided I was not having it this year! Nope! Not doing it!

For me, Christmas is a time for spiritual reflection and celebrating love. I know people tend to associate Valentine’s Day with love, but Christmas ranks much higher in my book. Plus we get an entire season to celebrate Christmas.

If you’ve been following my blogposts this year, you know that I’ve been more intentional about having fun. So why wouldn’t I apply this to my favorite time of the year? Otherwise, I was afraid I’d look up on Christmas Day and wonder how I missed the entire season (I bet some of you can relate). I think I’ve done pretty well, considering I’m still working hard to promote my Beautiful, Complicated Family series and writing a novel. Make sure you’re following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what I’ve been up to, and let me know if I’ve done a good job enjoying Christmastime.

As we enjoy the rest of the season, I want to offer my sincere thanks to you for supporting my writing. One of the biggest reasons I write is to celebrate love. Thank you for joining my celebration. Sharing my writing with the world has been one of the greatest gifts that 2019 has brought me. I really can’t ask for much more. But if you decide to review my books on Amazon or other ebook vendor sites, review my books on Goodreads, or include my books in your Goodreads Listopia lists, that would be okay too. 🙂

Have a merry Christmas!

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Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Merry Christmas! This is my absolute favorite time of year. It’s a special time because of my faith, and I also love that it’s a season to celebrate with family and friends. I’m excited to be part of the Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round-Robin. At each author’s blog post, you’ll find a question that can be answered by looking at their book’s free Amazon preview. You’ll need to provide the answers at this Google FormNote: You must answer the questions for every author in the round-robin to be considered to win a $300, $150, or $75 Amazon gift card. There is a link at the end of my post that will take you to the next blog, which will provide a link to the next blog, etc., to the very end.

I hope you have fun discovering some new authors and inspirational stories on the scavenger hunt. My flash fiction collection is called Beautiful, Complicated Family. It celebrates relationships between family members and friends—the ups, the downs, and everything in between. So I think it’s a great choice for Christmas reading. The stories in the collection capture struggles that are common in today’s families—secrets, mother-daughter conflicts, coping with aging family members, and a more subtle question of what makes a family. Unfortunately, we know that those issues don’t go away just because it’s Christmastime. In fact, they’re usually more active during this season. Most of us are dealing with heavy things in real life, so that’s why my author’s tagline is Uplifting stories with a little bit of hope, faith, and love. Like most families, the relationships in my collection consist of intricate elements. Sometimes things get messy, but it’s always beautiful.

 

I know it’s a busy time of the year, and it can be challenging to carve out time for reading. The good news is Beautiful, Complicated Family is perfect for when you only have a little spare time. The collection comes in two volumes. Each volume has five flash fiction stories (very short stories of 1000 words or less each), and each volume has a story with a Christmas theme. You can read each story in about 5 minutes. Volume 1 is FREE via most ebook vendors in the US, and you can Volume 2 for FREE by subscribing to my website (you can instead buy it from ebook vendors, if you prefer).

So, are you ready for my scavenger hunt question? What is the title of the Christmas-themed story in Beautiful, Complicated Family: Volume 2? Use this link to see my book’s preview on Amazon and find the answer. When you have the answer, fill out the Google form and head to the next blog!

But before you go to the next scavenger hunt stop, use this link to download my two free books. Consider it my gift to you! 🙂 And since it’s Christmas, I’ve included a bonus giveaway below for a $50 Amazon gift card (or $50 in books from Book Depository if the winner lives outside the U.S.). My bonus giveaway will end on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST. 

Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

The next author on the tour is Carey Jane Clark, who is telling us all about her Christmas book After the Snow Falls. You can find it at this link – https://wp.me/p1IEWt-1wz. Remember that the scavenger hunt round-robin will end on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST!

Enjoy!!!

 

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Thankful

I try to have an attitude of thanks all of time. But sometimes I fall short, especially when life gets hectic. So I’ve decided to be especially diligent about expressing thanks for the rest of the year. That includes expressing my gratitude to others and also to myself (hello self-care, but that’s another blog post…).

The Beautiful, Complicated Family blog tour wrapped up on Tuesday. As a new writer, I’m thankful for the bloggers and book reviewers who took a chance on me and joined my tour. I am also thankful for the readers who were introduced to my work. I was surprised at the feedback I received about my stories reminding readers of personal joys and also helping them to find peace as they worked through challenging memories they’d tucked away. I don’t take this lightly. I am still blown away by it, and I am thankful for the opportunity to help.

I’m also thankful for the opportunity I had to share with readers through my blog tour giveaway. I’d like to announce that there were two winners – Melissa L. and Luna S. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@roseyleebooks on all platforms) to hear about future giveaways. You can also stay tuned through blog updates.

I also want to thank you for your support. I know that every second of life is precious, so I appreciate your investing your time in reading my stories and blog posts. Please know that you are appreciated. I hope you will tell your friends and family about my stories and encourage them to download Volume 1 (FREE from ebook venders in the US) and Volume 2 (FREE from my website). You can think of it as a nice way to express your gratitude to your family and friends. Low-hanging fruit, right?

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Book launch!

The day is finally here! My new flash fiction collection is out in the world! As you may know, the series is called Beautiful, Complicated Family. There are two books – Volume 1 and Volume 2.

And you can get both books in the collection for FREE!

Volume 1 is available for free from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and Tolino.

Volume 2 is available for free download from my website.

Please help me spread the word about Beautiful, Complicated Family. Tell your friends and family to download Volume 1 and use the link inside to get Volume 2 for free. Isn’t that simple?

The Beautiful, Complicated Family blog tour is taking place today through November 26. See below for all of the tour stops. At each stop, you’ll be able to read a review of Beautiful, Complicated Family, an interview with me, or a guest post that I authored.

To celebrate the book launch, I’m also having a special reader giveaway via Rafflecopter. One winner will receive an Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet. If the person lives outside the US and anywhere Book Depository ships, they will choose $50 in books. The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm ET on November 26. I hope you will enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Oops!

I almost let the entire month of October go by without a blogpost. Where did the time go?

via GIPHY

I guess I was a little tied up preparing for the release of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of my Beautiful, Complicated Family series. I think you’ll like the things I’ve been prepping, but I’m sorry I was away from the blog for so long. So, let me catch you up!

The books are ready for release day–November 5!

via GIPHY

I’m so excited that I’ve planned a 3 week celebration. The Beautiful, Complicated Family blog tour will take place November 5 through 26. Each day, a book reviewer, book blogger, or lifestyle blogger will post their review of the books, an interview with me, or a guest posts that I’ve authored. I hope you’ll follow the tour. I’ll share the blog tour calendar on release day as well as information about a special blog tour giveaway. You don’t want to miss this! Make sure you’re also following me on social media (@roseyleebooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). I’ll have some additional giveaways there, and I’ll also share the blog tour posts. See you there!

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Beautiful, Complicated Family

I have a big announcement! On November 5, 2019 you can download my first collection of very short stories (also known as flash fiction).

It’s called Beautiful, Complicated Family. It’s a 2-volume set, and you can get both volumes FREE!

That’s right. TWO new releases, and you can get them both at no cost.

You’ll be able to download the first volume for free wherever ebooks are sold. The first volume will contain a link to access the second volume for free. Readers who prefer not to use the free link can buy it from their preferred ebook vendor instead.

If you’ve already subscribed to my website, you know that my writing style for these stories is pretty similar to what you might expect from a contemporary fiction novel. And that’s intentional. My plan has always been to write women’s fiction novels, but I started writing flash fiction because I know that women often have busy schedules that may only allow them short periods of time for reading. On average, each story in the collection takes about 6 minutes to read. So whether you’re a busy woman who can only read one story at a time or a voracious reader who can devour both volumes in a single sitting, this collection is filled with uplifting stories that will give your day a boost.

I hope that reading these books will bring you as much enjoyment as I experienced writing them. Make sure to follow me on social media and subscribe to my website for updates about the new releases, launch giveaways, and more. I’m @roseyleebooks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Rosey

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A Bunch of Firsts in New York City


New York City is one of my favorite places to visit. I usually look forward to seeing a Broadway show and splurging on cronuts. But a recent trip was different. It was filled with new experiences that have a special meaning. I planned the trip as a professional development retreat to strengthen my writing. I feel like my writing is going well overall, but I’m always searching for inspiration. And the trip delivered more than I could’ve imagined!

I hope you’ve been enjoying my flash fiction stories. I love writing short fiction, but I’m also working on a women’s fiction novel. My flash fiction stories give you a good idea of what my novel will be like, and I promise to share more about the novel when the time is right. In the meantime, let me tell you the first reason the New York trip was special—I took my first in-person writing class! I’ve done several online classes, including Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash© workshop (It’s fantastic!). But it was a treat to be in a room with other writers to talk about our novels and give each other feedback. The class was at Catapult, which made the experience even more exciting because Catapult also publishes bestselling fiction and nonfiction books. The class gave me a new perspective on how to structure my novel and how the story will unfold.

The trip was also special because it marked my first time attending a concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis serves as managing and artistic director. It’s always a joy seeing Marsalis perform. His artistry and storytelling never disappoint. Instead of the usual orchestra, The Future of Jazz Orchestra played during my visit. The concert was called Ellington Through the Ages, and the orchestra featured Marsalis, bassist Rodney Whitaker, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and saxophonist Dan Block leading a group of young rising jazz stars. I was elated to see two incredibly talented women artists in the group—bassist Endea Owens and alto saxophonist Zoe Obadia. The concert took place in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. I’ve never seen a performance space quite like it. It feels so intimate because it was designed with the audience in mind. Its three tiers are designed so that the furthest seat is no more than 90 feet from the stage. And the acoustics are amazing. It was a delightful evening!

My mind is still blown by the final highlight—my first time at a Tribeca Film Festival screening. I’ve wanted to attend the festival for a long time. And I didn’t realize that it would be going on during my trip until I arrived at my hotel and noticed that a neighboring movie theater was a part of the festival. On my last day in town, I was able to fit in the award screening of “Burning Cane”, which won three awards at the festival—best U.S. narrative feature, best cinematography, and best actor for Wendell Pierce. At 19, the movie’s writer and director, Phillip Youmans, is the youngest filmmaker ever accepted to compete in the Tribeca Film Festival. But he was just 17 and finishing high school in New Orleans when he completed the film. I was surprised when a festival staffer announced that Youmans was at the screening and would briefly introduce the film. He also returned after the film for a Q&A session along with actor/producer Karen Kaia Livers and producer Ojo Akinlana. They shared background on the film as well as stories about casting decisions and how the film was financed. It was exhilarating! There’s nothing quite like Louisiana storytelling, whether on screen or in person. My soul was blessed!

The trip really boosted my writing. It helped me put some finishing touches on a project that I’ll be telling you about very soon. I’ll post it here first, but make sure to also follow me on social media so you don’t miss any updates. I’m @roseyleebooks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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The Traveling Storyteller

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I’m back! It’s been a while since my last blog post. I hope you weren’t worried. I’ve been busy writing, but I’ve also done some traveling. And I’ve been looking forward to sharing some bookish highlights with you.

My friend, Valerie Berry, is one of her travel agency’s most successful agents, and she invited me to join her at the agency’s Top Producer’s Retreat – over a weeklong river cruise on Europe’s Danube River. The retreat took place aboard the AmaViola, AmaWaterways’ luxury ship as well as on tours in six cities along the Danube River. We visited Germany (Passua), Austria (Linz, Weissenkirchen, and Vienna), Slovakia (Bratislava), and Hungary (Budapest). So while Valerie worked, I was able to see Europe and get some writerly inspiration. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how much I love to save money, so tagging along with Valerie was a great way to see Europe at a substantial bargain. She’s a fantastic travel agent, so be sure to check out her website and reach out to her to plan a dream vacation for you.

Okay, so here are a few highlights:

But before I reached Germany, I stumbled across a surprise in the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam – a library! I’d never seen anything like it before. It features 500 translated books from Dutch authors, in 41 languages.

From Linz, Austria, we took a tour of nearby Salzburg, a filming location for The Sound of Music and onetime home of the real von Trapp family. Outside of the Salzburg Cathedral, I noticed another surprise, a familiar looking advertisement for “sext in the city”. But instead of a screening of the TV series or Candace Bushnell’s book on which the series was based, it was an attention-getting sign for lunchtime prayer in the Salzburg Cathedral. I learned that noon was called “Sext” or “Sixth hour” in the Bible, referring to the sixth hour of the day after dawn.

In Salzburg, Austria, I was moved by a monument called “Book Skeleton”, which was built to commemorate the burning of about 1200 books by the Nazi regime on Residenzplatz Square in 1938. According to the city of Salzburg’s website, “The black book sculpture made of metal is set against a white backdrop, just as pictures and texts would be found on paper. The actual framework of the book is intended to symbolize the burning, while the fact that it stands there as an “empty” book symbolizes all those works that had been burned. The book skeleton is illuminated around the clock, meaning that it is also clearly visible at night.”

In Bratislava, Slovakia, I had a little fun with a huge statue of Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote thousands of stories including “The Princess and the Pea”, “Thumbelina”, “The Little Mermaid” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I like to say that he is declaring me a writer in the photo below.

I am grateful for this inspiring trip, and I promise you that I will have a big announcement in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss it.

Rosey Lee

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5 Things You Didn’t Know about Me

You’re probably already getting to know me pretty well through my blog posts and Twitter, but I thought it would be fun to share 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Me. So, here we go…

1. I love to travel. Visiting a new place is an adventure. But you won’t find me zip lining in a rain forest or hiking ancient rock fortresses. For me, the adventure is in experiencing a different culture or getting to know a community that is new to me.

2. I’m somewhat of a logophile (a person who love words). Someone used the word onomatopoeia the other day, and it made me a little giddy. I remember learning it in an English class in elementary school, and it’s been one of my favorite words since then. It’s not a word that commonly comes up in conversation, so it’s a special treat when I hear it used. When I was a kid, my parents used to make me look up the meaning of words I didn’t know, and it’s something I still do regularly. It helps with my writing, even though editors usually prefer that writers use the simplest word possible.

3. Judy Blume was my favorite writer when I was a kid. Her books offered an escape, but she writes about real issues that made me feel like the things I was going through mattered.

4. I wish I could sing. I’ve always admired singers, especially those who make it look effortless. I have to really focus on singing, and it still usually doesn’t come out too well. Even when I was a kid, I knew singing wasn’t my strength. So I joined the junior usher board at my church instead of the youth choir, which was the more popular of the two service options for kids at my church. But it worked out. I liked being a junior usher because it gave me an opportunity to develop my leadership skills (in other words, I secretly liked being able to tell adults in our congregation where the could or could not sit).

5. Public health is important to me. National Public Health Week is first full week of April in the US, so now is the perfect time to share about public health. Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life in a safe environment. To make that possible, we need to address the causes of poor health and disease risk among individuals and within our communities. Where we live, learn, work, worship and play affects each of us and can determine our health and life expectancy. We need to partner across public and private sectors to make sure decisions are made with the public’s health in mind. Within our communities, we need to start new conversations with our neighbors and become advocates for positive change. Working together, we can build healthier communities. (Adapted from the American Public Health Association)

Did any of these things surprise you? Did you already have some idea? I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to share your thoughts with me on Twitter.

Rosey Lee

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

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My Secret Super Power

My secret is out! My super power is bargain shopping. Well, I guess it wasn’t actually a secret since I mention on my “Meet Rosey Lee” page that I enjoy “occasional bursts of fanatical bargain shopping.” But just how successful am I?

My guest blog post at Kate on Thin Ice (available here) lists the basic strategies I use to find amazing deals. Check out the blog post for a discussion of my strategies, because this post will show some examples from my conquests.

Okay, let’s get right to it. I recently found myself in a popular discount department store. As I walked past the kids’ section, I remembered to scan it for clearance signs. I quickly noticed that one rack was marked “$1” and another was marked “$3”. I selected the following items:

  • 9 toddler Sherpa pullovers ($3 each; regular price $11 each)
  • 6 sets of Disney toddler pajamas (featuring Minnie Mouse, Doc McStuffins, and Dumbo; $3 each; regular price $7.50 each)
  • 2 baby onesies ($1 each; regular price $3 each)
  • 2 pairs of toddler winter mittens ($1 each; regular price $5 each)

Great deals, right? I bet you’re wondering what I plan to do with all of this. Keep reading to find out.

I also love saving money by taking advantage of rebates offered through my credit cards. Some credit cards partner with merchants, who provide a rebate when you spend a certain amount at their stores. I choose merchants for everyday needs based on these offers. I scan the rebates offered through my credit card and load them to my account. This must be done prior to purchase, as the rebates are triggered with the purchase. I have received discounts on mobile phone services, printing services, travel accommodations, spirits, office supplies, shipping services, restaurants, and wedding gifts.

When possible, I use multiple offers and promotions at the same time. For example, I once needed a hotel for a 2-night stay. My credit card company had an offer for a $70 rebate after spending $350 or more at a particular hotel (which happened to be a 5-star hotel). I booked a promotion on the hotel’s website for a queen room at $186/night, which included a $50 hotel credit for each night ($100 total). After taxes and fees, the hotel cost $433. I used the $100 hotel credit to purchase a gift card from the hotel spa, which can be used in the future at all properties in the hotel’s portfolio (and not just at the hotel spa). To summarize, I paid the hotel $433, and I received a $70 rebate on my credit card statement and a $100 gift card, so the 2-night luxury hotel stay essentially cost $263 ($433 – $70 – $100). Because of my status with the hotel’s rewards program, I also received a $30 food and beverage credit for each night of my stay ($60 total). I used it to purchase a light dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and breakfast and lunch in its café.

As much as I enjoy shopping, I never want to give into excessive consumerism. I balance this by collecting discounted items over the course of the year and donating them to a local church that adopts low-income families for Christmas. Last year, I donated 5 Madden Girl toddler coats ($8 each/ regular price $90 each), 21 thermal underwear sets ($1/ regular price $15 each), 8 pajama sets (featuring DreamWorks Trolls characters and Dora the Explorer; ($3 each/ regular price $12 each), costume jewelry for teen girls, books, and toys. I plan to do the same things with the Sherpa pullovers, pajamas, and mittens discussed earlier in this article. I also purchased Peppa Pig tooth care sets for this purpose during an after-Christmas sale ($1.50 each; regular price $5 each).

Are you a bargain shopper? I’d love to hear about your success stories. If you want to share, reach out to me on Twitter (@roseyleebooks) about your buys!

Rosey Lee