The Writing Tales

I have always had a passion for telling stories. Growing up in a passionate italian family my days were always spent listening to someone telling some sort of story. Every weekend, I spent at least one day with my Grandpa, and man, was he a story teller. My days with him were always spent learning, expanding my knowledge, thinking outside of the box, and listening to him tell me stories from his yesteryear.

Throughout high school, I documented every day with a passion and vigor that I still cannot replicate.  I still have all of those journals, and while some of those pages are cringe worthy, it’s amazing to read your own thoughts, ten years later. There’s this connection to the words, and yet, a separation from that person. My initial major in college was for writing and English. Sure, I misplace commas – but, there was no denying my knack for telling a tale. Writing was always, and still is, the only way I know how to express myself.

While my life took me into a completely different direction from that idyllic English major, when I moved home a few years ago, I re-visited my love for writing. To this day, I still try to write as much as I can. It’s definitely a challenge (and, it’s currently a big one because my carpal tunnel is the worst its ever been) but I like living in my own world. And, I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed creating worlds even better.

While there are a lot of stories I have yet to share- some require more time, some require more experience, and some are just meant for me – there is one story that I published a few months ago that has gained momentum.

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Today, I stumbled upon the outline of my most recent children’s book, “The Story of Peas and Carrots”.  The morning of what I now know was my bridal shower, Mark was at the gym and I was watching Forrest Gump, while texting with a friend, who was also watching the movie on TBS. Forrest had said the phrase “Me and Jenny go together like peas and carrots”, and my friend texted me saying “where does that quote even come from?!” Me, being me, replied with this tale of a pea farmer who almost lost everything because another farmer came around with carrots. Eventually, the two farmers join forces and sell the two vegetables together, creating the phrase. Jokingly, their response was “that should be your next children’s book.” Well, I take challenges seriously, so I outlined the story in my journal (the amount of outlines in that journal is terrifying) and went on with my day. That night, I was so filled with love and emotion from my surprise bridal shower that I couldn’t sleep. In the silence of the night, and the comfort of Emmett and Marks gentle snores from the other room, I wrote that children’s book. Seven hours later, Mark woke up to a draft, and his response was “publish this, now.” A simple post on Upwork helped me find an illustrator, and by September 1st, “The Story of Peas and Carrots” was available on Amazon.

I gave the book very little attention, very little love, and had very little belief in it. Any writer will tell you, there are characters that you love, that maybe don’t translate to an audience, and there are characters that have no emotional depth, and yet, are the most loved. Despite my lack of love for Pete and Carrie, I knew there was something special about the book. Over the last few months, my wonderful Public Relations Manager, aka my teacher husband who peddles my book in all of his classes, started to receive ridiculously positive feedback for the book.

Looking at my latest sales, I knew the book needed more love. There was something there.  Over the last two weeks, I spoke to someone I used to work for and was given three key things to do to make this book a success. And, then I was given the name of someone who will get this in bookstores. Simply put, the book is an easy sell.

So, now, as I sit here typing with one hand- I wait. I wait for the e-mail that says my book has been moved to IngramSpark. Which means my book will finally be hardcover (seriously, thats one frustrating aspect of Createspace), which means I can contact that woman who will get my book into bookstores.

A year ago, my dream was to “publish a book”. I did that. (Actually, I did that twice and have more on the way.)

Today, my dream is to see my book in bookstores. Let’s see if I can make that a reality too. Won’t it be amazing to see where I am ten years from now, re-reading these words.

 

(you can buy a soft cover copy of “The Story of Peas and Carrots” on amazon right here. Seriously, if it becomes famous the soft cover version could be worth something…)

Wedding Moments I Don’t Want to Forget

It’s been less than two months since our wedding, and yet it feels like a lifetime ago.

Oh, time. You fickle, beast, you. You move so slow when we’re waiting for nothing, but so quickly during the important times.

Admittedly, I took a solid month to myself to just sort of re-adjust. I felt like I was in hyper-active mode for months leading up to the wedding, and after our busted Honeymoon (more to come on that, I promise), I just needed time to myself.

I spent a month just relishing in the memories of the day. Remembering all the love, excitement, and fun moments during the day. I knew I would never be able to encapsulate everything in words, so instead, I attempted to bank everything for years from now.

Today, I went into my e-mail to find the name of a photographer for a client, when I was reminded of the woman who joined us the morning of the wedding. My cousin, Suzanne, who did our incredible make up, had invited her friend to come early to get some shots for both Suzanne’s website, and for Jen’s portfolio. Me being me, I was completely down for something like this, and while browsing my e-mail today, I stumbled upon her photos from before the ceremony. Let’s just say… I cried.

There were so many small details of the day that meant the world to me, and since I don’t want to create a facebook album until I have all my photos, and I definitely don’t want to be one of those people that uses instagram to share EVERY photo, I figured I share some moments here on this old blog of mine. (woooofff, what a sentence that was!) They’re in no particular order cuz, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Enjoy.

(ps- if you want more photos, here’s another wedding post) 

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Each bridesmaid received a custom wine glass with their name on, these bags, a robe and earrings to match their dress.

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I really was just the happiest bride.

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Oh, this dress. Weighing in at a whopping 33 pounds, this dress was just my everything.

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I used that sign for every event that weekend and have no shame about it. This was before hair and make up so I’m sure I’ll get some sort of text when they see this, but I don’t care. I love this photo.

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One of my favorite memories from the day was early in the morning when Mark arrived. To calm his nerves, he played Adele “Make You Feel My Love” on the piano. Little did he know, I stood outside the bridal suite listening to him the entire time. This picture in particular means more than I could ever express because it’s my Grandpa who I miss everyday.

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The Groomsmen in their little pub.

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I was very lucky during the entire day to have a lot of people take the stress off of me. During this moment, I was receiving a “Weather Update” in an attempt to sway my decision to have the ceremony indoors. It didn’t work, but, you can tell I’m definitely judging the situation

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I look horrendous in this picture but I really don’t care. Kelly flew all the way from New Orleans to be there. Since High School, this girl has always had my back.

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Oh, Dan. He went up and down the stairs at least a hundred times that day as a messenger between me and the boys. I love him, dearly.

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Our invites were a perfect merge of both Mark and I, but my favorite part of this picture is the blue ring. I took a stone my grandpa had given me when I was born and converted it into a ring for my something blue. It was like I had him there with me the whole time.

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True life: I’ve worn these shoes since my wedding.

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Look, I know most brides do “robes” and “silk”, but I’m not that girl. This two piece sweatsuit was EVERYTHING the morning of the wedding.

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My mom and my brother.Oh, my brother. I didn’t need to stress the day of my wedding because I had him there, making sure EVERYTHING was perfect. Oh, and did I mention his card made me cry about 30 times? Because it did.

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A Very Special Anniversary

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“Life with dogs is better. They say dogs can give and receive love through their eyes. The unspoken ability to lock in and actually feel love between human and animal is an extraordinary thing”

-Drew Barrymore, “Flossy”- Wildflower

This weekend, we are celebrating a very special anniversary. On November 5th, 2012, I met Emmett James for the first time. There he was; forty pounds under weight, but with the biggest smile on his face. He was found tied to a poll in New York City by a rescue group. At the time, they estimated that he was about a year old, making tomorrow his 5th(-ish) birthday.

Regardless of his rough puppyhood, Emmett never carried a grudge. He was just happy to be home. He appreciated the simple things, like tennis balls and silly toys. He didn’t suffer from separation anxiety ( I, unfortunately, can’t say the same for myself with him), he just loved his life. His happy go lucky attitude changed my depressed attitude that I was suffering through four years ago. I learned how to embrace life again, by watching him do the same. Together, we celebrated every day because we both knew they were worth celebrating. After all, we had both seen the dark side to life.

Over the last four years, Emmett has been there directly by my side through it all. Breakups, traveling, writing, engagements and even on our Wedding Day- Emmett was there. He warmed our rings for us, just like he warms our hearts. He has this keen ability to make you laugh when you’re about to cry. He greets us at the door like we’re the most important people in the world, even if we were only gone for a few minutes. When we’re sick, he sits with us patiently, knowing that he might not get his long walk. 

It’s not a normal “dog-human” relationship. Not in the slightest. We don’t have a “pack leader”, and discipline in our home is me attempting to be stern, but really just stifling laughter because I think it’s hilarious that Emmett stole our pillow, again. It’s not a normal relationship at all. And, sure you can judge us for that. But, if you are, then you’ve never experienced the unconditional love a dog can give you.

I know “he’s just a dog” to some people, but when you’re a girl in your twenties, “just a dog”, can be exactly what you need. Because, when you’re just beginning to start your life, having a dog makes your world a little less lonely and terrifying.

Happy fourth anniversary, Emmett. I’m so glad you chose me to be your human.