Friday, October 9, 2009

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Welcomes Multi-Award Winning Author Jennifer LaBrecque!

Despite a journalism scholarship award, Jennifer LaBrecque graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in business and marketing. However, she has now come full circle and writes short contemporary romance with a unique blend of humor and sensuality.

To date, Jennifer has penned 20+ novels and novellas. She has taught several workshops at National and Regional conferences. A Georgia native, she lives in metro Atlanta with her husband, daughter, two rescue greyhounds, one cat, and a Chihuahua who runs the whole show.

Jennifer's 2009 Releases include
Triple Threat, Harlequin Blaze digital download, March 2009
Hot-Wired, Harlequin Blaze, May 2009
Ripped, Harlequin Blaze, October 2009
Better Naughty than Nice, Harlequin Blaze, December 2009


IF ONLY YOU BELIEVED IN MIRACLES….

First of all, I want to say thanks for having me here today. It’s cool to be in the “kitchen.”

I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve had the most amazing things come into my life just at the time I needed them – or maybe I’ve just started to notice. About a year ago my brother and sister-in-law were talking and I mentioned Julia Cameron (THE ARTIST’S WAY). They had, and gave to me, Julia’s book, FINDING WATER, THE ART OF PERSEVERANCE, the third in her creative process trilogy. It had a lovely cover and I took it home and promptly parked it on a shelf.

A month, perhaps a month and a half, ago I was stalling out on a book that HAD to be finished. I didn’t have time to stall out. Frustrated with myself, I got up from the couch where I was working on my laptop and wandered over to one of my three bookcases. I use the word “wander” intentionally because there was no particular purpose to my going to the bookcase other than I was frustrated and needed to walk away from the work for a minute…or two. I didn’t study the books on the shelf, I simply randomly reached out and picked up a book. You know it, it was FINDING WATER. Hmm. I didn’t open it to page one or read the back jacket, I just opened it with a feeling that what I needed was what I would find. It was precisely what I needed to read. I got back to my work and am happy to say I finished the book in the time frame required.

But, better yet, I started reading FINDING WATER from page one. It has had a tremendously positive influence on me and my work. It languished on my shelf for over a year and I’m convinced it was because I wasn’t ready for it yet. What it had to teach me, what it had to deliver, I wasn’t ready to receive – until I picked it up a month and a half ago.

It doesn’t have a secret formula nor is it a magic elixir, but it has resonated with me. It’s inspired me and brought a renewed vigor to my writing process and thus, the work itself. Was it coincidence that I picked up that book that day? I’m firmly convinced it was a miracle.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

I don’t believe miracles necessarily come packaged as “big events” such as winning a lottery or selling a huge book deal – although I’d take both in a heartbeat. ;) Sometimes, in fact, it’s darn hard to see the miracle as just that. I was looking to move and had found a lovely little townhouse that was perfect for me. I was convinced God had a hand in leading me to this townhouse. I could see myself living and working there. It was just what I wanted, but I couldn’t move yet. When the time came for me to move, that perfect townhouse was no longer available. Part of me was devastated and then I stepped back and said, “Okay, this simply means this is not really where I belong although I thought it was.” Within a week I had found what was absolutely where I belonged – a place that feeds my artist soul.

“When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” -- Alexander Graham Bell

Incidentally, I stumbled upon this quote one day during what seemed one of the darkest periods of my life, yet another miracle of what I needed at the time being delivered to me.)

So, call me Pollyanna, but I believe in miracles. Every day I start my day by saying, “Something good is going to happen today.” And you know what? No matter how bleak things seem, something good does happen. Some miracle, regardless of how small, happens in my life every day. Perhaps my writing didn’t go as well as I wanted, but when I walk down to get my mail, the sun is shining and a neighbor tells me my hair looks nice.

And because I firmly believe in sharing good energy, I’d love for you share one of your miracles today. The world simply can’t have too many miracles.

17 comments:

Tami Brothers said...

Oh man! I got chill bumps. Great post, Jen!

I can definitely relate to everything you said. I am one of those people who if you see them in a grocery store line, RUN to another one. Inevitably, something WILL go wrong with that register or someone will plop their baby down on the conveyor belt and change the kid’s diapers (don’t laugh, this really happened!).

But I’ve learned to accept this part of my life. I now add in extra minutes to ALL my grocery store trips because I know this WILL happen.

Most recently I found a really cool job via a blog I was reading. Of course, it was a day late and 2 hours after I read it, they shut it down because they had been swamped with e-mails. The reason I missed it was because my son had been sick that day and I ended up staying home with him and doing the mommy thing (which did not include checking the blogs). I’m not sure where the silver lining is in this yet, but I KNOW its there. I just have to be patient and wait for it.

Thanks for this little nudge, Jen. I LOVE your writing and appreciate EVERYTHING you do for us!

Have a great day!!!

Tami

Marilyn Baron said...

I loved your post and I share your philosophy about miracles. It's all about attitude and how you look at the world. I especially liked the Albert Einstein quote. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the Petit Fours. It was a real inspiration.

Marilyn Baron

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Thanks for stopping by toda--you have a message we all need to hear, and I'm a big believer in miracles, serendipity, whatever you'd like to call it. Sometimes I can't see the pattern, but I know God always has a plan. The most recent example would be this fall when I was fretting over not getting a GRA position with the College of Education only to have the MSW program call and offer me a more interesting job with fewer hours. I really love the position, and it's so much better than the one I thought I wanted.

One of the first GRW book signings I ever went to was the one were you were signing a Duet, and I still smile when I think of "Where's Jo's panties?" (your title, not Harlequin's)

Thanks,
Sally

Debbie Kaufman said...

I guess it says something about my life that I have a lot of miracles to choose from for answering this question! One of my favorites took place in China. I was on a mission to establish an adoption program. God woke me at 5 a.m. and told me to go to a particular city that was not on my itinerary. Turns out it was the only flight I could get out of Beijing that day, literally. Upon arrival, I found the hotel I planned to stay in no longer existed. A nice man at the luggage claim said, "Stay here," and handed me a card. Long story short, I did stay there. The hotel was a supporter of the local orphanage and invited me to attend festivities planned for that night. I ended up being interviewed on Chinese TV with several million viewers. It was the beginning of what is still today a very successful adoption program!

Jen said...

LOL, Tami, you and I could close the whole grocery store if we went together because I have your same line karma. ;) And yes, sometimes we really have to wait on the silver lining...but it will be there for you.

I'm posting it on my fridge, Marilyn!

Sally, I LOVE that you wound up with the better job! And ya know, I hated the title of that book -- KIDS+COPS=CHAOS. Truly hated it. It has sold better than my other two Duets (one of which I won a Maggie for and had a RITA nomination for) combined.

What a wonderful, wonderful story Debbie. We just have to step out of our own way sometimes.

Tammy Schubert said...

Thanks for blogging with us today. The name of your book ""Where's Jo's panties?" made me laugh. I really enjoy your books and have just picked up another one. Keep up the great work.

Your post was exactly what I needed to read today. I too believe in miracles and angels that come in the form of real people. I was reminded of one of my own experiences that I would like to share. I apologize up front for the long post.

When I was just getting out of the army, with no desire to continue, I was flat broke with very few skills that translated into a civilian job. I needed some vocational training fast, but I couldn't afford it. My friends urged me to apply to paralegal school (9 month program) just to see if I could get in. I could always get financial aid.

Well, I applied and got accepted. A couple of days later, I got a call from the financial aid office. As a Vet, I qualified for some new program created by some unknown veteran's group. If I applied and won, I would get a FULL scholarship.

I applied to the program and won. There were two conditions: 1) I had to go to the organization, meet with the people and pick up the check. 2) I had to write a thank you note after I completed school to let me know what happened and where I was in life.

As it turned out, the place I had to go was in a scary part of town. I took my girlfriend, so I have a witness to what I'm telling you.

We went to this old factory type building that had old offices in it. My friend and I were ready to run out the door at first. We were scared out of our minds. There were five men in there. They were the pretty well built, don't mess with me sort of people.

We met as a group. They were all wonderful and kind. I got the check and we left. I kept the original phone number and the address where to mail the thank you note.

About a year later, a friend of mine was in the same predicament. I looked into the program for him. When I called the number, I was told that nobody was there by that person's name and they never heard of the organization I was referring to. He went on to say that he's been with this same company for many years and that they have always been in this building. They did not allow any groups to use their facilities.

My thank you note was never returned to sender. My letter of inquiry never came back returned to send. I never heard anything else.

I'm convinced that these angels stepped in and created a miracle for me so that I didn't get stuck on a path I just couldn't face. I was not well suited for army life, and I found a new life because of them.

Once again, thanks for posting about miracles today. It was really nice to remember one of the biggest ones I have experienced.

Sandy Elzie said...

Yes, I too believe in miracles. How else can we explain the things in life that happen when there is no logical explanation...such as the story that Tammy just told?

A friend of mine told me about a trip to Africa to visit his ailing grandmother and he reached the river too late to catch the ferry and the river was unsafe to swim. It was also unsafe to stay there overnight because of murders in the area. Then suddenly a huge man in a Hummer drove up & told him to get in. He's not sure why, but he did and got a ride across.

Once on the other side, he got out, thanked the man, turned to walk away but immediately turned back to wave and the Hummer was gone. In two seconds it had disappeared.

Thanks for sharing with us today.

Sandy

Jen said...

Tammy and Sandy, what cool stories! This is just what I needed to come back to me today. Thanks.

Susan May said...

Jennifer,
I love your books and you are one of my favorite GRW members. I think any time I put a sentence together that sounds great that is a miracle. Being a poor speller and grammer person just something that simple is big to me. You're right thinking positive each day is important.

Linsey Lanier said...

Jennifer,
What an inspiring post. And equally uplifting comments. I love the Einstein quote.

Miracles? Hate to sound like a commercial, but I'd say being a GRW member and being a member of PF&HT. The encouragement and support of other writers has done wonders for me over the years. You are the first one I heard speak about freewriting in a Q&A session years ago. I also remember that you said "I can't fix a blank page." I've heard others say that since, but I've remembered that advice and it's kept me writing.

Thanks. And thanks for being with us today.

Linsey

Darcy Crowder said...

Jennifer -

Sorry to be so late in the game, but I had to thank you for your wonderful post. It's truly inspiring, as are all the amazing stories in the comments. Maybe the PF&HT should write another book about miracles....(g)

God bless you for being such a giving and sincere member of GRW.

Carol Burnside said...

Jennifer,
I echo Darcy's sentiments.

Perhaps a mini(?) or minor miracle happened to me today. I've been really down--okay more like depressed--about my writing lately. Today my hubby asked me to go through stored boxes from my office to see if there were papers in them we could shred. Well, it was the last thing I wanted to add to my day and I nearly forgot about it, yet when I did tackle the task, I found the most inspiring workshop notes on facing your fears, putting aside the doubt demons and just letting the creative flow have free reign.

Serendipitious, much?

Nicki Salcedo said...

Jennifer, I wish I could say more, but this blog is exactly why we love seeing you at GRW. Miss you and hope all is well. Thank you, thank you for this today.

Cinthia Hamer said...

Hello, everyone and Welcome Jennifer! Had a very looong day, so just hopping online.

Loved the post! All the responses have been very inspiring.

I try very hard to live my life by the "another door opens" philosophy. Sometimes, it ain't easy, but I'm still here, still writing and firmly believe that good things will continue to happen in my life.

J Perry Stone said...

What you've just said is my miracle. I'm Buddhist and we believe that one's entire world changes with a change of mind--choosing to see everything as a miracle, as you put it, is exactly this concept. Recognizing the gifts given to you is another.

I am going out and getting Finding Water and I am sending you back the good energy you've sent me today.

Thank you so very much.

See? And now I know your name and will pick you off the bookshelves.

EC Spurlock said...

Thanks for the inspiring post today, Jennifer! You are always such a fun yet practical speaker, full of great tips coated in laughs. I miss seeing you at GRW.

Spooky that you should be talking about miracles, and how we might not recognize them, because I just had such an experience. I had been unemployed for two years and things were getting desperate. A job came up that I really wanted: just on the other side of town, good money, editorial work that I loved. I wanted it desperately, and went through two interviews and a proficiency test before being turned down. I was crushed. But in the process I had made a friend of one of the other girls who worked there, and she would always say hi and ask me how it was going when I ran into her at the grocery store.

About two months later I finally landed another job, one which I was not terribly enthused about at first because it was a field I wasn't comfortable in. But the money was good, and the company was not only stable but growing, so I had job security. It's less than two miles from my house (I could walk if I had to), relatively flexible, with fun people, and a casual office so I didn't even need a new wardrobe. The learning curve was 90 degrees straight up, but I learned a lot of marketable skills. In short, it wasn't what I wanted, but it was everything I needed.

The job I wanted so badly? I ran into that employee in the grocery store the other day, and she said "I was so glad you didn't get that job." Turns out the job I had applied for was cut less than three months after they had hired someone; the company was in trouble and there were more layoffs coming. She was glad they had hired someone else because that someone was a young bachelor with nothing to lose. She said the thought of me trying to support my family and ending up jobless again would have broken her heart. I was even luckier than I knew.

God does know what we need, better than we do. And we often only recognize the miracles in hindsight.

Ana Aragón said...

Jennifer,

Was sick yesterday and just got in to read the post everyone was saying was awesome...and so true!

I guess for me, everyday is a miracle. I work with children with disabilities, many autistic. Learning for them is incremental, but it's such a hoot when they finally get it!

Yesterday, I was working with one of my favorites on adding with regrouping (carrying). He was really struggling all week to understand the concept. All of a sudden, he pushed my hand away and did four problems in a row correctly. We both started laughing and then he put his arm around my head and said, "I love you."

Wow.

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories!

Ana