First off, a big thank-you to Delilah for hosting me here on her blog!
So here we are in January of a brand new year. Can you believe it’s 2018? I don’t make formal resolutions for myself anymore (ugh! too much pressure!), but I do like to look at the new year for a chance to reboot my daily routines and take a look at how I can become a better writer.
One of my goals this year? To interact more with YOU, my readers. I read an article in the New York Times last fall that really stuck with me. It talked about how people need social interaction, and social support networks, to be both physically and mentally healthy. Among the statistics they cited? People who’d suffered a heart attack had only a quarter the risk of death in the next 3 years if they had a strong support network, as opposed to those without one. In general, people who are socially isolated have a higher risk for stress and inflammation, which in turn can lead to mortality risk factors like high blood pressure, a weaker immune system, and coronary heart disease.
Scary stuff, right?
And yet so many of us walk around attached to our phones, or sit in our living rooms focused on our tablets, and we forget to look up, to have a conversation with those around us, to talk and listen and engage in a very human, one-to-one way.
So my goal this year is to be more present and more engaged with the people in my life. I can’t always do that in-person with my readers, but I can chat with them online and in social media groups and I can develop relationships with them both because of, and outside of, the books I write.
All this is a very long way of inviting you to be part of my journey this year in building better relationships with my readers! Two ways I have already started:
I am resurrecting my blog, and each week I’ll put up a post that will feature a giveaway. I hope you’ll stop by, visit, leave a comment, and throw in your chance to win whatever prize I’m giving away that week.
I am also writing 4 short stories exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. These stories will be free, and they’re my way of thanking my loyal readers and followers for supporting me on my writing journey. The first story, “Look Up, Angel,” released last week, so if you’re interested in reading it, you can subscribe to my newsletter for all the details: http://eepurl.com/9TO79
Enjoy this excerpt, and then if you’d like, drop by my blog to check out this week’s giveaway. I hope you’ll become a regular there, or on my Facebook page, or simply drop in every now and then to see what I’ve been up to. In the meantime, Happy New Year! Have a wonderful 2018!
Look Up, Angel
Sometimes love is waiting for us in the places we least expect it. All we have to do is look up…
“You’re kidding.” Angela skirted a mom pushing a double baby stroller and darted across 42nd Street before the light turned red. A cab missed her by a quarter inch, hit a puddle, and splashed dirty water all over her ankles. Fabulous. She pressed her cell phone to her cheek. “Is this guy even qualified to be your cameraman?”
“He’s got some experience,” her best friend Sophie said. “At a local cable station, but at least it’s something.”
Angela glanced over her shoulder and crossed 9th Avenue. “Soph, this is one of the biggest shows of your career. And you’re letting a hometown boy who’s got — what? Two or three hours behind the camera? You’re letting him shoot it? I can’t believe Lon isn’t freaking out about it.” The producer of Sophie’s travel show freaked out about everything.
“Not like I have much choice. I’m in the middle of nowhere. This town doesn’t even have a decent coffee shop.”
Horns blared around Angela. People rushed by in an effort to get home. The marquees, the storefronts, the traffic itself, lit up Times Square. She passed three coffee shops in the time it took Sophie to complain about the lack of one in Lindsey Point. She’d never lived anywhere but Brooklyn, as a child, and now Manhattan, as a journalist fresh out of grad school. She couldn’t imagine a place without espresso and parking garages and twenty-four hour take-out.
“Well, you’re not there for too long, right?” she said.
“I’m not sure. It’s a heck of a good story, I’ll tell you that much. I might be here a couple of weeks.”
Angela turned a corner, then another, and stopped in front of her favorite Italian restaurant. She rarely cooked, and at almost nine o’clock, her empty stomach reminded her that it had no patience for her attempts to. “Listen, I’ll call you later. I’m picking up dinner.”
Angela frowned at her phone. “It’s not even nine.”
Sophie laughed. “Sorry. It’s just that this town closes up after seven on a weeknight. I’ve been eating dinner at six.”
“Nope.” Sophie paused for a minute. “Call me later, yeah. I want to tell you more about my new cameraman.”
Forty minutes later, Angela arrived at her apartment house in the neighborhood of Chelsea. The building was tiny, but it had a doorman and an exquisite view, if she craned her neck and peered out one window at just the right angle. Plus she could afford it on her salary, without a roommate.
“Angel,” Mario greeted her. He pushed open the door, tipped his cap, and waited until she was safely inside before securing the door behind her.
She smiled. Her doorman was the only person who’d ever called her Angel, instead of her given name, Angela. She thought maybe it was a nickname in the place he came from, not like she knew where that was, but she guessed maybe the Dominican Republic, from his accent. He had light brown skin and a near-perfect smile.
“Coffee tonight?” He held out a paper cup from the shop around the corner.
“You’re so sweet. Thank you.” He’d started the tradition sometime last year, soon after taking the job. She didn’t know if he gave free coffee to everyone in the building, because she kept crazy hours and didn’t see most of her neighbors, but she imagined it was a perk that came with living in a nice place like this one…