Friday, November 20, 2020

SCI-FI SUSPENSE NOVEL COMING SPRING 2021: EXPEDITION 99 (COVER REVEAL + BOOK INFORMATION)

 

COMING SPRING 2021:

EXPEDITION 

99 

 

Only the best cadets become Legion Pilots…

And as far as pilots go, Erin Colt is one of the best in the world.

The year is 2100.

The place is Earth.

The mission?

Be the best, and stay alive.

Plucked from the squalor of the Orphan Quadrant at the age of 7, Erin Colt is a skilled fighter pilot for the post-apocalyptic territory of the United States, and one of a crew of twelve carefully selected individuals from around the world who have been designated with the task of manning the International Space Station, an attempt at international cooperation as a global war rages on the surface of the planet below.

Yet diplomacy is not as easy as it seems. After a century of war, differences can be difficult to overcome.

As the ISS orbits Earth, Erin and her crew watch in horror as the world disintegrates beneath their feet, ravaging their home countries. Stranded in orbit, with no way to return home to a destroyed planet, it becomes their mission to not only survive, but to find a way to return to Earth.

With limited supplies and no surviving nations to communicate with, Erin and the crew must work quickly against the unforgiving void of space and their own fierce differences to survive.

They may very well be the last humans from Earth.

They may even be humanity’s last hope.

Packed with action, romance, and suspense, this gritty and pulse-pounding thriller from #1 bestselling author Summer Lane will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. 

* * *

HERE IT IS! At last! The idea for this novel sprang from a conversation I had with my husband a couple of years ago now while we were driving back from a camping trip. I have been working on it ever since, and it's been quite a monumental project! This novel is part military thriller, part dystopian mystery, part post-apocalyptic survival, and part heavy romantic suspense. I love writing adventure stories, and I can't resist romance, so I have combined every element that I wanted for this book and included it. The novel will be told in 3 main parts, beginning with Erin Colt's cadet training and culminating in the intense, gritty mission to the ISS with her crew. I wanted readers to really go on an exciting, all-encompassing adventure with Erin in this futuristic world, and I believe the end product will delight everyone (I hope! Lol!). 

The book will be available in the Spring, but I don't have an EXACT date yet. I am transferring to a B.S. program in December and the next 2 years are going to be CRAZY busy, but I will do everything I can to get this book out in a timely matter. I am not sure yet about pre-orders, but I will keep you updated here and on my social media platforms/my newsletter. 

I hope you are as excited as I am about this novel. It's going to be a rock and roll thrill ride! 

 THANK YOU for supporting me, as always, and I can't wait until this spring! 

 Here's a peek at the full wrap. The paperback will be a special, fully-formatted edition available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I will also be allowing orders for special, autographed copies, too!


  Have a great rest of your week!

 

 



 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Veteran's Day: The Value and Honor of the American Sacrifice in our Republic


When Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of country the United States of America would be directly after the Constitution was signed (the year was 1787, and the question was asked by a woman), he replied, "A republic. If you can keep it." In our examination of the word republic, we must be careful to understand that a republic is much different than a democracy, and I for one have been frustrated by the media presentation of what our country actually is for the last few months. We are not a democracy. A pure democracy, at its core, is a government in which the majority rules. A republic, by contrast, is a society in which even the minority is able to seize upon equal and just representation. This is seen most importantly in the electoral college, which allows even the smallest states to have equal representation in national elections.

The legend himself, B. Franklin

Let's explain it this way, for those of you who have been unfortunate enough to stumble upon the fallacious and propagated information dumps that come out of social media:

You're sitting in a room. A man stands at the front of the room with a picnic basket. He withdraws two containers from the basket: a jar of jam and a jar of peanut butter.

Unfortunately, you just happen to be deathly allergic to peanuts. As in, if you eat one, you will go into anaphylactic shock. To make matters much worse, the door is locked, and you have no medication or access to emergency services. 

The man at the front of the room says, loudly, "Let us take a vote. Do you want peanut butter or jam for lunch?" 

The majority of the room votes for peanut butter. 

"We have established the law," the man replies gravely. "Peanut butter for lunch, no exceptions." 

"But I'll die if I eat that," you reply. 

"The majority has spoken," the man says. 

Your situation is not looking so good. Your voice, although in the minority and extremely important, has been trampled on by majority rule. The results will be devastating, and could even result in death. 

This is why majority rule is dangerous, and why a pure democracy is doomed to failure. Just because someone has a majority does not make them right, and it certainly does not give them the moral high ground. In many cases throughout history, "majorities" have caused massive destruction and death. Yeah, Hitler had the bigger army, but that didn't make him the better guy, did it? 

Our republic as it exists, and as it was meant to exist by the Founding Fathers, is indelibly important to the function and preservation of a free society. It ensures that even the smallest group has a voice and a shot at liberty and representation. 

It is this monumentally inspired idea that so many men and women have died to protect, and on this Veteran's Day, I hope you take a moment to thank a Veteran who has served in our great military to do their part to safeguard this incredible nation from enemies both domestic and abroad. 

Veteran's Day was officially declared a holiday in 1938. Originally it began as something called 'Armistice Day' in 1919, to celebrate the end of World War I. In 1926, Congress decided to run with the observance, and it became the holiday we know it to be today in 1938. Since then, Veteran's Day is among the most important days of the year in America, as it reminds us of the real flesh-and-blood people who have fought and are fighting right now to protect our homes from tyrannical powers, the wickedness of terrorism, and the evil machinations of dynastic power players like North Korea and China. 

Truly, my friends, we have no idea how blessed we are to be in America. We live in an era of unprecedented luxury and protection. Even so, Benjamin Franklin's words carry a tone of sullen foreboding. "A republic," he said, "if you can keep it." A republic requires much protection. Our soldiers protect us from enemies who prowl at our gates, and we as American citizens are tasked with our own responsibility, too: to uphold and protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our veterans, in their honor, dignity, and integrity, allow for us the physical cover to fight for liberty every day here on our home turf. Let us not forget the blood that has been shed for this privilege of civil discourse involvement. 

From churches to mothers to farmers to secretaries; we as American citizens have been ordained to live in this country, at this time, to safeguard and protect the glorious flames of eternal hope and freedom, to stand tall and point proudly to our shining city on a hill, and to ensure the longevity and honor of all civil and religious liberties in the United States. We must do it for the sake of our children, for the future generations, for the millions who turn their faces to America and dream of escaping the despotic countries in which they suffer. For those who flee squalor and desolation for a shot at a better life, for a shot at worshiping God freely and without fear of persecution, and for a shot at individual success and enjoyment of life. It is our duty: as Americans, and especially for those of us who are Christians. No country on Earth so boldly and deeply embraces the idea of brotherly love like America. Emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty, the lovely lady declares with resonating enthusiasm:
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

For our freedoms, thank our veterans. 

For our incredible quality of life, thank our veterans. 

For our rich and diverse history, with all of the bad and the good that comes with it, thank our veterans. 

For our very right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, thank our veterans. 

And for all of this, lest we forget in our arrogance that we are but small men on a terrestrial ball, let us thank God for giving us our veterans and giving us numerous victories over evil. 

Happy Veteran's Day. 

Get out there and fight for liberty. 


  

All images are royalty free and free for commercial use, no attribution required.

 



Friday, October 30, 2020

How Feminist Mysticism Almost Sank My Life: And How the Bible SAVED Me!


Looking at the world through a Biblical lens is not really something I used to do. For the majority of my young adult life (and now parenthood), I considered myself to be a happy feminist with economically conservative values but liberal social leanings. I was perfectly content with this, and I espoused quite cheerily the teachings of feminist mysticism from books like Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Books and belief systems like this gave me something to believe in, which was this: as a woman, I had every right to obtain access to the same things that men did, and beyond that, women had an almost mystical spiritual ability to tap into the inspiration of the universe (I mean, I think it was the universe, but I'm still not sure what exactly I believed), and that God loved me because I was worthy, enough, and a perfect creation in His sight. Some of what I believed was valid. Some of it, as I will explain, was not. 

I, like many young women in my generation, fell prey to a blend of new age humanism and self-indulgence, which is really little more than the worship of self. My first mistake was in believing that I was enough, that I was worthy of God's love. The hallmark truth of Christianity itself explicitly renounces this in multiple places throughout the Bible. In John 15:5, Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I am in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." Clearly, we are not enough without Jesus. Here's another one, in John 14:6: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Again, we can't get to heaven by ourselves. Why is that? Because we are NOT worthy or enough or perfect. We are the very opposite of those things. I see a lot of female preachers especially reiterate phrases like this: "Friend, you are enough." OR, "Friend, you are worthy of God's love." 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a lie from Satan. We are NOT enough. If we were enough, if we were worthy, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross for our sins. If you base your entire theological foundation on this one single lie, it will misdirect your entire life of faith. Self-love is a topic of popularity in the media, and especially in circles of Christian authors and speakers these days. As you probably know, Allie Beth Stuckey, podcast host of Relatable, recently published a book specifically on this topic called, You're Not Enough (And That's Okay), and it is a very excellent explanation that goes into great detail to further explain the theological pitfalls of self-love culture. I highly recommend it (and her podcast). You can get it HERE.

Self-love is not Biblical. Self-love can become a big sin. Here's why: There is a difference between recognizing that man has been made in the image of God, and that we have been made wonderfully, but the next step is to ask ourselves why. Why was man created? Quite simply, man was created by God to bring Him glory. Our purpose in life is not to practice a selfish love of self-obsession, but rather to show love toward one another, and in doing so, we glorify the one who made us. Look at this verse from Philippians 2:3: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." Interesting, isn't it? The Bible doesn't say, "Love yourself first unconditionally, then get out there and love other people." No, quite the opposite, in fact. We are supposed to love others more than ourselves. 

This can be a difficult concept for a secular world to grasp. As for me, I experienced many years of disappointment and frustration as a fledgling Christian. First off, I didn't understand what man's purpose was. I thought my purpose was to try and figure out how to be happy and live a good life. The idea of "bringing glory to God" was not something I had even remotely understood or grasped. Many Christian pastors and authors were telling me that I was this wonderful, amazing, beautiful, worthy human being whom God was going to bless immensely, and I kept waiting for it to happen. I didn't understand why, if I was so wonderful, I felt so miserable? In fact, the more I was told to love myself, the less I did. The unhappier I became with myself, and the angrier I became with God. Why am I so unhappy? I lamented. Why doesn't God love me as much as he loves other people? If I'm so worthy and wonderful, why does my life SUCK? Come on, don't lie. We've all had these thoughts. I struggled with them for years! Yet this type of preaching from Christian authors and speakers that promote the essential worship of one's self before being able to love others is fallacious at best and heretical at worst.   

Our hearts cannot be trusted to love correctly. We are sinful, fallen creatures (Psalm 51:5, Eccl. 7:20, 1 John 1:8, etc), and if we are left to our own devices, we will try to love in all the wrong ways. Jeremiah 17:9 says that, "The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick, who can understand it?" Why would we trust our human concept of love, when clearly, human love has a bad track record? Humankind, in their blind blood lust and hatred, crucified Jesus Himself, spitting upon Him and mocking Him as he died (John 19:18). Obviously, human hearts cannot be trusted. 

Feminist mysticism is what I call the pit of despair that I fell into. It was a deep, confusing pit full of problems but no solutions. Are you unhappy? Love yourself more. Are you frustrated with life? Go out and do things for YOU. It's all about you, baby. You only live life once, right? The issue with this logic is that all of the problems of life have literally one posed answer: just do whatever you want, and most importantly, love yourself. Now, most Christian pastors or authors whom I read at that time would have agreed that the former part of that statement is wrong, but they might be okay with the latter. After all, aren't we supposed to love ourselves? The answer is that we were created to glorify God above all, to love Christ, and to love others. Interestingly enough, loving Christ and loving others fulfills the first purpose of life, which is bringing glory to God.

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do." In fact, if you just do a simple Google search to find "Bible Verses about Self-Love," what you will see are Bible verses that talk about Christ's love for us, our love for Christ, and our commandment to love each other. Funny, isn't it? No Bible verses about "Girl, love yourself, you're a gem." This is NOT to say that we are not beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Psalm 139:14), or that we should wallow in self-deprecating thoughts. Rather, it is clear in Scripture that our purpose in life is to point others to Christ, and how do we do that? By bringing glory to God and showing love to all. 

That being said, it is important to note that in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, self-love is listed as one of the things that will signal the last days: "But realize this, in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power..." Okay, so that's a pretty big list of the bad things that will be going on in the last days - and I have often made the argument that every single one of these sins have been going on in every culture in the world for centuries - but there is a case to be made that we live in a quintessentially American culture that propagates the elevation of one's self to an almost godlike level. When the self becomes the sole focus of your life, you then find yourself in a situation where truth becomes subjective. Your truth is what you want it to be, rather than what God says it is. This is a dangerous place to reside, casting to the dogs objective definitions of truth and justice and everything else that comprises what we might call the "human moral compass." 

This is the situation where I found myself when I was in the pit of feminist mysticism. I found myself instinctively flinching at some of the things going on in the world, but without the Bible as my foundation, I couldn't explain why I felt certain things were wrong. I was very confused, and I realized that if I wanted to be strong or credible in my beliefs, I had to not only know what they were, but I needed to understand them indefinitely. I have always been a hard working, goal-oriented girl who has enjoyed going toe to toe with my male counterparts in the military thriller publishing genre, and I've been proud of that. The issue is that I allowed myself to become swept up in a secular, godless religion of feminism that elevated women and what we want in this temporal, human world over what God's will was - and as a Christian, God's will is the ONLY thing that matters! Am I saying that women shouldn't work or have equal rights? Absolutely not! I'm saying that the feminist viewpoints that I was holding onto so tightly were not compatible with the Word of God, which focuses on putting OTHERS first, rather than MYSELF. Unfortunately, a lot of feminism today elevates ourselves as women so highly that we forget who made us in the first place. 

In the Bible, women are repeatedly given a place of honor as diligent workers for Christ as well as helpers for our counterparts (men). 1 Timothy 3:11 says, "In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything." I often see people denigrating the Bible, claiming that it treats women as subhuman. I ascribed to this belief for many years, bitter and angry about a woman's place in the Biblical world...but such claims are simply not true. The verse above is just ONE example of how highly valued women are in the eyes of God (by his Grace, remember, not ours alone). And if you want to talk about equality, check this verse out: "For as a woman came from man, so also a man is born of woman. But everything comes from God" (1 Corinthians 11:12). Jesus Christ is the great equalizer, to put it mildly.

Oh, you're wondering about the verses in the Bible that speak to women submitting to their husbands? Does that raise your hackles up? Because let me tell you, it raised mine for a long time - so much so that I avoided reading the Bible because I was irritated by the idea of having to "submit" to anyone, much less any male human! In the Bible, wives are told to submit to their husbands, but wait. THERE'S MORE. "Submit to one another out of a reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21). Scripture often and boldly attests to an equal and loving relationship between a husband and a wife. Paul tells husbands to "love" their wives and he tells wives to "respect" their husbands (Ephesians 5:33). This is a relationship built on mutual love, respect, and submission - and submission does not mean that you bow down and kiss the floor when your husband enters the house. It means that you respect your partner enough to hear him/her out and have a discussion where you can come to a loving agreement on an issue. Sounds like a normal, healthy relationship to me. (There are a lot more details to this, too, but I'll try condense for the sake of my speed-readers)

My personal misunderstanding of basic Biblical foundational principles was the weak point in my life that drove me to fall for broad, brush-stroke phrases like, "You're worthy of God's love," because I didn't understand that I wasn't worthy. In trying to hard to MAKE myself worthy, my constant human failures became even more glaring, and in turn, I became even more upset with myself and my life. Furthermore, I turned to feminist ideology to fill the void in my life to make myself feel empowered and uplifted, when the reality is...all I needed was Christ. 

Once I understood that I wasn't enough to earn a place of respect and honor in the eyes of the Lord, I was able to free myself from the burden of constantly trying to figure out how to be perfect. Instead, I was able to accept Christ's free gift of eternal salvation and experience the grace and peace that His love showered down on me. In HIM, I am made worthy. In HIM, I am whole and enough. This chronological order is very important. Before Christ, I was nothing. After Him? I am saved! In addition, I suddenly understood that a lot of things I believed about the Bible were false. For example, the Bible is not sexist. Not even close. The Bible is a beautiful demonstration of the equality and stunning creation of man and woman, made in the likeness and image of God, and His incredible love for us, demonstrated on the cross. God highly values the role of women in society. We were literally created to work, and our work is so important. In Genesis chapter 2, the Bible says, "The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." And my favorite: "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28).  Notice here that both man and woman are commanded to work together, side by side, to be fruitful, to fill the earth, and to have dominion over it. How beautiful and cool is that? If anything, the Bible is a testament to how much he equally loves both men and women, so much that he died for us ALL on the cross. It's not like he just died for the men, okay? He died for us women, too. And we all, men and women alike, desperately need his grace. 

So, you might be wondering how I came to this conclusion that I was buying into a secular mindset. Truth be told, I didn't even realize I was until I started doing one simple thing: reading the Bible for myself, rather than relying on snippets and taglines from books or social media posts. I had a lot of doubts in my head, doubting the legitimacy of televised sermons or questioning the published books by female Christian authors who were quick to elevate the feminine mystique above the actual text of the Scripture itself. I realized, grimly, that I was elevating myself and my humanistic and selfish desires over everything else, and that suddenly alarmed me. 

I was also looking at my daughter several times a week and thinking, "What kind of a mother do I want to be? What do I want to model for her, in terms of what being a woman in today's world means?" That really hit hard for me. I didn't want to set an example for her that could cause her damage or harm later in life. So I started reading and digging and researching and deliberately trying to find reasons to support the literal religion of female empowerment that was driving my entire life. And here's the thing: I couldn't find any reasons. In fact, the more I read the Bible, the more I discovered that I was the one who was wrong. Pro tip: if you set out on a mission to try to discover why God is wrong, He will set you straight so quick, it will make your mind spin. So, let me save you the trouble. Just take His word for it, and that word can be found in the Bible. 

In conclusion, I want to say a few things. First, I still believe in good old-fashioned girl power. I'm proud to be a woman and I love being a mom, and I'm thrilled beyond measure to have a little girl to raise (Girl Club is the best club, no boys allowed! **just kidding, calm down**). I believe that women can work just as hard, accomplish just as much, and are just as important as men. This is intrinsically backed up by the Bible in countless places (way more than I listed in this article). That being said, my faith was previously in the superficiality of feminism rather than Christ, and that was a sin. There were also elements of feminism that I realized directly contradicted the Bible and the word of God, and I couldn't come up with a way to excuse those issues. And I still won't. Why? Because truth isn't subjective. Truth is objective, and it is defined (for me, as a Christian), by God, and so is every other moral issue on this planet. God wrote the rule book. He created us. He gets to decide. I don't. 

I'm not writing this as a slam against women who get up and excited about feminism and everything it stands for. I'm just saying: if you are a Christian woman, you should examine closely what you are clinging to, and make sure it aligns with the Bible. It is absolutely possible to advocate for basic human rights for females without also ascribing to non-biblical viewpoints. We take our marching orders from Jesus, not from politicians or celebrities or corporations who deluge our social media feeds with colorful anthems and slogans. As a woman who owns her own business and is highly independent in pretty much every aspect of my life, I have absolutely no problem with submitting myself to the will of the creator of the universe because, hey, HE MADE ME. 

I encourage you to research, to pray, to read the Bible, and to listen to that still, small voice that may be nudging you toward digging deeper and discovering more about what Jesus Christ is all about. 

I'll close with these verses:
 
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. - James 1:5 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. - James 3:17

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become "fools" so that you may become wise. 
- 1 Corinthians 3:18

The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. - Proverbs 10:8

A Few More Resources For You: 

The Keys to Spiritual Growth by John Macarthur 
This is an excellent book that explains the key tenants of what it means to be a Christian, and what our purpose is as humans. 

Eve in Exile by Rebekah Merkle
In this book, the roots of the feminist movement are examined, and it is absolutely fascinating! The author also discusses what a woman's role should be, and how Christian women can relate to feminism today. 

You're Not Enough (And That's Okay) by Allie Beth Stuckey 
I mentioned this book above and have previously reviewed it on Writing Belle. This is a good place to start understanding the toxicity of self-love culture if you are interested in that! 













Friday, October 23, 2020

Interview with Michelle Kampmeier: Host of Podcast Show 'Deep Soul Care' and Author of 40+ Novels!

 


I love discovering new authors and lately, I've been diving headlong into the world of podcasts (as you all know if you've been reading my blog lately). I was really excited when I came across Michelle Kampmeier on social media, because it's actually pretty rare for me to find a podcast host to interview! Podcasts are an awesome platform that have really exploded in popularity, providing an alternative to watching television or even listening to the radio (and I love radio!). I think podcasts are especially helpful for busy folks. For myself, I turn on a podcast and listen to it while I'm cooking, cleaning the house, or driving to the "big city" (which is an hour away, and by big city I mean Fresno, California, which is not big at all, but still). Podcast-listening (does that constitute a new verb?) also allows me to engage in something without having to use my eyes, which are so overworked that I often just need to LISTEN without straining them anymore! 

Michelle is the host of a podcast called Deep Soul Care (check it out hereand she is also the prolific author of more than 40 books (I thought I was going for gold with 27, but Michelle has me beat by several miles!). I really enjoyed getting to know her through this interview, and I hope you do, too! 


Thank you so much for visiting with Writing Belle! Let's get started! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from? 

Thanks so much for having me! I'm excited to be here. :) I'm Michelle, a podcaster and author, and I'm from Northern Illinois but I've lived in the Phoenix area with my husband and animals for over 12 years.

Let's talk about your podcast, Deep Soul Care. How did you come up with the idea for it? 
It actually started out as "Discover Yourself" because that's the journey I was on. I started working with a really amazing coach back in early 2019 and we embarked on a journey to discover who I was at the time - and how to be the most authentic version of myself all the time. That was really difficult for me as a people pleaser and perfectionist, but we did a lot of really tough digging, had a ton of uncomfortable sessions to search for the truth, and finally discovered a lot about me. Once I felt like I'd done quite a bit of that, I started my podcast to help others on their own journeys.

How does one go about starting a podcast? It has always seemed to cool to me, but it appears that it might be complicated! Is it hard to start a podcast? What was the process of creating yours like? 
It probably ranges from super easy (which is the route I took) to really complicated. The complicated route was never going to stick for me, so I went with Anchor and just bought a nice mic and a pop filter. Anchor makes it SO easy (this isn't sponsored or anything LOL). They have everything you need in one place (recording, editing, distributing) and it's free. They even help you find sponsorships as you grow your audience, so I've really liked working with them. All I did was create an account and start recording! Though I did listen to a LOT of podcasts before starting mine, so I had a really good idea of what I wanted to do as far as formatting and editing went. But I'm here to help if you or anyone else is looking to start their own. :)

How do you come up with new topics for your podcast every week - what is your inspiration and how do you keep things fresh? 
That's been tough lately. My inspiration is generally just what I'm going through in my own life - that's the basis of the show after all, discovering myself and working on taking care of that version of me. So keeping things fresh has felt a little difficult lately because I feel like I've covered a lot of the main topics about the subject already. However, I've gone through an entire worldview shift this year, so I feel like I've been back at square one in a sense, and working through that has been a way to keep things semi-fresh on the show. I get to reevaluate some of the things I've already gone through. Luckily for me, I set the show up so I just get to riff about whatever lessons I'm learning from my daily life, so there's usually always something to talk about. :)

What about writing? I know you mentioned that you also did some writing prior to this interview. What kind of writing do you enjoy? 
I do write! I've written over 40 novels and several shorter works, plus over 30 journals. I write sweet romance (think Hallmark-style) under the pen name Eliza Boyd, steamy romance under Kyle Autumn, and nonfiction about positivity, kindness, and productivity (plus the journals) under Mickey Reed. I also have a food blog under that name as well called Fruit So Hard (all vegan/gluten-free recipes). I'm a busy bee!

Tell me about the overall philosophy/mindset of 'Deep Soul Care.' 
Great question! The overall philosophy and mindset of Deep Soul Care is to truly take care of your needs in order to be your healthiest, most authentic self. We've all heard of self-care, which has unfortunately gotten popularly reduced to bubble baths and chocolate cake as a treat. Deep soul care can certainly include those things, but it goes deeper into what truly encompasses self-care to me: being honest, living your values, knowing exactly who you are and being comfortable enough to be that person no matter who you're with. It's hard. Very hard. I'm certainly not perfect at it. And this year I've found that it's going to be constant work as we evolve and grow. But the foundation for deep soul care can help you live authentically so you're happier, less stressed, and more fulfilled. 

If you could give anyone a single piece of advice about discovering their authentic self, what would it be? 
It's going to be uncomfortable, so lean into that, and have a good support system! This work isn't for the faint of heart, and the easily swayed will have the hardest time, but don't give up. There's always hope.

How can people listen to your podcast - where can they listen to it, and how often do you post new episodes? Also, where can they follow you on social media? 
The podcast is available where most people listen to their podcasts (Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, etc.) - for a full list with links, check out Deep Soul Care on Anchorhttp://anchor.fm/deepsoulcare. A new episode drops (almost) every Thursday! And you can follow me on Instagram: @michellekampmeier. Don't be shy! I appreciate messages, especially topic suggestions, but I'm in general available for support and virtual hugs. :)

Thank you so much for visiting with us today. It's been so much fun! 
Thank you so much for having me! This has been wonderful. Hugs to everyone!

***


About Michelle 
Michelle Kampmeier is an author, blogger, and podcaster. Her show, Deep Soul Care, is dedicated to helping you discover the real you and actually be that person in the real world. But she loves fictional worlds too. Her sweet romance novels are under the pen name Eliza Boyd. She writes steamy romance novels as Kyle Autumn, and her nonfiction about positivity, kindness, and productivity can be found under Mickey Reed. And if you're in the mood for a sweet recipe, check out her food blog Fruit So Hard.





Friday, October 16, 2020

WHAT'S UP WITH ME: AN OCTOBER 2020 UPDATE!

 

Cassidy and the "Child of Darkness"

Have you ever had one of those days where the hits just kept coming, one after another, until you felt like a certified punching bag? Today was one of those days for me. It's 10:30 at night, and I'm exhausted. My brain hurts (thank you, homework). My eyes hurt (thank you, life). My feet hurt (thank you, cheap shoes). And worst of all, there's no wine in the fridge. An egregious crime indeed. Often, I enjoy curling up in bed with a glass of wine while I watch a cooking show or read a good book to unwind, but today I am, alas, in possession of nothing more than water (boo). Tonight, instead, I am attempting to finish a mountain of homework, all while getting an article ready for Friday (today), prepping a lesson plan for my writing class tomorrow, and fine-tuning the details of my current manuscript (of which there are actually TWO). Whilst the details of my chaotic life are really uninteresting to the vast majority, it does at least bring up an interesting question: what's new on the creative home front for Summer Lane? 

To answer this question, I'll lay out the rough outline of 2020 and 2021 for you here on Writing Belle. I know a lot of my readers are wanting the next Cassidy Hart novel sooner rather than later, so let's talk about it! 

The Cassidy Hart finale novel?? When is it releasing? 

I'm getting a lot of feedback from people saying that they want me to release the novel in January of 2021, and although I would LOVE to, the book is just NOT ready yet. It's a time-consuming monstrosity of a novel, and I need more time to work out the kinks. For that reason, I am projecting a June 2021 release for the next and final Resurrection Series installment. It will be worth the wait, as the book will be about twice the length of a normal Cassidy Hart novel. It's better to take a little more time and get the story right. I know how I want to end it, but the journey to that finale is fraught with much fictional peril! I must proceed with the utmost caution. *wink* 

What about Expedition 99?

I am gunning for a Spring 2021 release. I don't want to put an exact date on it yet, because it's still a WIP, but most likely it will be in the window between January and March. I'm developing the cover and promotional artwork for it now, and it's going to be such a fun, new adventure novel. It's also pretty complex in terms of story and technical details, so I'm doing a lot of research. It's been fun to write something different and fresh amidst all of the Cassidy Hart stories. 99 is slightly more adult, slightly more intense. Nothing too crazy, don't worry! But still - this one will be different. Although never let it be said that Cassidy Hart hasn't been through the wringer with her trials and tribulations. She will always be my first and favorite hero! 

2021 Author Program 

I previously have hosted an annual program where I featured new content creators - from authors to artists and editors - every week on Writing Belle. It was actually something I did for several years, and it was such a blast! I had to pause it for a while because of how crammed my schedule was, but I am hoping to launch an entirely fresh, new program in 2021 to focus on some rising new talent in the publishing world! Typically these author programs are incredibly popular, and spots fill up fast. I do it for free, and I've had the privilege of meeting so many amazing writers and creative talent through the program. 

What happens after Cassidy's finale novel releases?

Interestingly enough, I'm one of those authors that loves to hide Easter eggs and tidbits in all of my novels. I always like to tell people that no matter how distant my different series are from each other, they all interconnect in some small way. You may be surprised as to how, and you'll see what surprises I have in store very soon! 

Can I buy paperback collectible sets this year for Christmas? 

Every year, I ship out quite a few autographed books for customers wishing to gift them to family members and friends. This has always been so much fun, but with the shipping situation in America being what it is (slow and inefficient), I'm not certain that I can say I will be offering sets on sale this year, as there is no way I can guarantee shipping times. It took me 1-2 months just to RECEIVE my own publisher-ordained copies and then another 4-8 weeks to get them to the locations they were supposed to go. I'm still experiencing shipping delays into and out of California, so I will most likely be offering digital deals and shipping options through Amazon instead (I will make sure I have some kind of holiday deal). 

What about ARCs for Expedition 99? Will you still have reviewers? 

Yes! I have answered this question on social media, but I'll cover it here. I will be assembling a team of beta readers and ARC readers for this novel prior to its release, and there will be plenty of notice beforehand so that people can sign up. I always appreciate the support of my fan base, and having the opportunity to share the pre-release copies with them is always so much fun. 

Any questions you want to ask me that I didn't cover here? Shoot me an email at: summerlane101@gmail.com or find me online! Twitter: @SummerEllenLane and Instagram: @writingbelle