Beauty exists in the midst of turmoil

In times like these, focusing on the vivid colors around us can be challenging, the last thing on our minds. However, we must, I think, or the creativity in us will shrivel up, and we’d lack the stamina to continue taking care of ourselves and the ones we love. When I walk my dog, I focus on the scattering of squirrels claws on the tree bark and the fluttering of butterflies’ wings. I smile up at the squirrel lounging on a tree limb and the white, fluffy clouds floating across the sky-blue canopy. Look at these flowers and imagine the scent wafting off them. Inhale the sweetness and exhale the toxicity of stress holding us hostage. Create (write, sing, draw, perform) and share with others. We need that right now.

Cover Reveal for “If It Kills Me”

Yeah, I’m lying here on the sidewalk spilling my guts all over. I risked my life to defend the woman I love. Funny thing, I never told her I loved her. I never even kissed her…not even once. Now, I’ll never get my chance because I’m bleeding out. Darn it. I hear her voice…so far away now. Everything’s going dark. Jess…I… Gammy?

Jaeson Rhodes works at the local coffee shop where he meets Jessica Stewart. His strong attraction for her beckons him to take the leap, but it’s too soon after his recent heartache. His roommate, Rick, informs him that his new girlfriend requires them to have a chaperone to watch a movie at his apartment. Jaeson breaks out his little black book for a date, no luck. He opens the door on the night of the date to find the woman of his dreams standing right in front of him. She was Rick’s new woman. Jae’s shocked to find Rick keeps coming up with excuses to cancel dates with Jessica and asks him to help out. How hard can it be to just be friends with the woman who has his heart? He has to…even if it kills him.

Jessica Stewart is a woman who knows what she wants out of life. A career sewing her own clothing line and real honest to God love. She doesn’t believe in sleeping around. She wants to wait until she’s married before going all the way. She meets Jaeson Rhodes at the coffee shop she goes to almost every day. Deep down she wishes he would give her a sign to show he’s interested. His hands tremble when she’s close often spilling her drink all over his clothing and she wonders why. Is he that much of a klutz or is there more to it than that? She meets bad boy Rick at a gallery, and they get together instead. Her rules for her first date with Rick: Not being alone with him in his apartment.

Will she stay with roguish Rick or will she see how much Jaeson really loves her before he loses her forever?

A New Adult Romantic Comedy novel by Cassandra Ulrich COMING SOON on Amazon

Also, visit http://cassandraulrich.blogspot.com/

Dealing with Rejection

Any writer who has submitted work to a publisher or contest undoubtedly deals with rejection at some point. It may come via a form letter or an email. The ones where there’s a message of encouragement softens the blow just a bit. Other times, the realization hits you when the announcement date has passed and there’s nothing in the inbox.

I received such an email on July 28, 2020. My response? A sigh. I’d hoped this one would make it.

The key is to not wallow in self-pity for too long. I gave that emotion all of five seconds, huffed out a breath, then kept working. Rejection doesn’t necessarily mean my work wasn’t any good. It could mean it wasn’t a good match or the individual liked something better. In the meantime, I’ll take more writing classes and ask others to critique my stories. That’s how I’ll grow as a writer.

Will I submit to other contests? Absolutely! There’s a certain thrill in trying. It means I finished yet another piece of work that has a chance of being accepted.

Don’t stop writing. Don’t give up.

Print Release for Love’s Intensity – July 11, 2020

I am pleased to announce that the long-awaited print version for Love’s Intensity will be available for purchase on July 11th via Amazon. What a long haul this has been! There have been many requests for this format, and I look forward to autographing lots of copies for my readers. I appreciate everyone who will be leaving reviews for that story.

Upon its release, I will be turning my attention to the prequel and sequel of this YA paranormal romance. I hope to introduce to you the early days when Nina first met Bradford and continue the drama involving their children, Kressa and Brad.

Thanks again for your patience.

Print copy proof. Photo credit: Cassandra Ulrich.

Harnessing emotions from trauma in your writing

We are all currently living through a worldwide pandemic, the cause of all sorts of emotions. Sadness. Loneliness. Devastation. Grief. Contentment. Happiness. It’s often said that writers write what they know. Following this period in our lives, we writers will have much fodder to scribble about. But, how do we snatch the intensity of those feelings and express them in all their rawness?

Some folks journal. I don’t. Instead, I write scenes that relate to what I’m experiencing at the time, though not necessarily the exact same event. Many of my readers have said that the characters’ emotions spill off the page and affect them at a deep level. I think it’s because I’m at the height of those emotions when I write about them.

I wonder what my writing will be like in the near future.

Getting there

Under normal circumstances, working toward a goal can be challenging. But the current time is anything but normal anywhere on planet Earth. So, pushing ahead despite the daily news on how to help myself and others remain healthy is like pulling bricks through mud sometimes.

I take a deep breath, away from others, and keep typing and working on the many stories floating around in my mind. There are three that have a good chance of making it to your devices or doorsteps later this year.

With the proofreading of Love’s Intensity done, I’ve begun copy editing on both digital and print versions. I recently received second edits of If It Kills Me from an editor, so I’m working through those. Second edits on Danny R.O.S.S. are complete, so I reached out to a graphic artist to work on the cover. I am extremely grateful this person agreed to work with me in the midst of everything crazy. As for the story I finished in December, it’s still with the Beta Reader. No worries since my hands are full with the other three stories in addition to adjusting to the changes over the past couple months.

Continuing to stay busy is helping to center me in the midst of turmoil. I take breaks to hang out with my family too. Sticking to a schedule is working for me right now. I pray you’re doing well too.

A “C” word

It’s probably not what you’re thinking. Everyday, we face “challenges” which sometimes turn our world upside down. Take “characters” for example. How do I bring them to life so that the reader will remember them long after the last sentence is read? Will the dialogue bring out their quirky personalities? Working through scenes take a certain type of “courage” to build up heart-pumping action. “Challenges” keep coming, but we press on, doing our best to use what we know to make the future stories better.

We’re two months in, so how’s it going?

Most of us start out the New Year with goals. The first month usually gets off to a great start. However, by month two, the momentum may begin to dwindle.

I’ve been diligently editing three manuscripts in the hopes of reprinting one or releasing the other two this year. So far, I’m on track, but keeping the pace has been met with a few challenges: pop up tasks, other responsibilities, and tough scenes.

I’m also determined to post something on both my sites each month in addition to social media. That’s quite an undertaking when writing isn’t my full-time job. Excitement is building, though, as each hour of work brings me closer to a finished product.

So, even if your goals have taken a downward turn, don’t give up. Perseverance is the key to achieving what we set out to accomplish. We got this!

Interview with Brad Natali of Love’s Intensity

Interview question from J.J.: Brad, why are you so arrogant? I want to smack you sometimes.

Brad’s response: Wow! <Brad chuckles> You really know how to hurt a guy and knock him down a few notches. Very direct, but I like direct. Hate secrets. So…wow! <Brad sighs>

If I’m going to be honest with myself, the short answer is I’m a mess. I didn’t start out that way. I remember being polite, waiting my turn, caring about others more than myself. However, when my mom got sick and died of cancer, I grew bitter. I spiraled when my dad remarried a woman I could never accept as my mom. She was mean and out for her own interests. So, I guess I figured I should look out for my own interests too. <Brad sighs again>

I surrounded myself with friends who thought like I did. I ignored my dad most of the time. I only listened sometimes because I loved my mom so much and that’s what she’d have wanted me to do. I want to change, though. Be more humble, but I need help.

Boy, that got deep real fast. Good question. Thanks for asking.

Happy New Year! It’s 2020.

The New Year means new goals and the hope that many things will be accomplished. I remember thinking the same at the beginning of 2019. Although I accomplished a bunch of things, my efforts were not without many challenges. See 2019 in Review for more details.

What are some of my goals? Finishing the editing of and releasing three stories in print. There may even be a fourth, but that depends on how things go with the first three. I also plan on entering a few contests like I did in 2019. Wish me good fortune.

Thanks so much for following my posts and reading my books. Don’t forget to leave book reviews online.