Friday Free-For-All! #MusicFestival #BookReview #Happy Easter @gmplano #BookAward

Happy Friday!

It’s Easter weekend, and I want to wish each of you a fantastic holiday, however you choose to celebrate. It always marks the true beginning of spring to me, and it’s a great time with family and refocusing on the spiritual aspect of life.

My grandkids love to do the glow-in-the-dark easter egg hunt and will do that again this year.

Yes. All those little lights are easter eggs.

I am sad to say I came home from the Outlaws and Legends music festival this year with hardly any pictures to share. I was manning my gate for fourteen hours straight on Friday, so I got to hear no music. Then on Saturday, I was at the gate for twelve hours but got to hear two performers, then Willie. I will say Willie is looking a might frail and was a little unsteady on his feet, but he has people to help him with every step. He turns 90 on April 30th.

Willie Nelson April 1, 2023

Either the festival has outgrown me, or I have outgrown it because it was exhausting, and I didn’t leave filled with joy like I usually do. I am too old to work so many hours straight with no breaks. So I will have to think long and hard about returning next year. It may be time to let that one go.

I wanted to post my March book reviews, but when I looked back at the month, all but one had already been posted in separate blogs. So, I’m going to share the one that didn’t get its own spotlight here.

Purchase Link


This is a complex story that unfolds in compelling layers. Lisa packs an overnight bag and drives to the old family home for a quick weekend visit. But when things unravel, she’s caught in a situation that changes everything.

A stranger knocks on the door, and a few minutes later, Lisa’s father is dead, and her mother is severely wounded. But who and why? Who can she trust? As is often true in real life, sometimes it’s hard to determine just who is the bad guy.

The author takes the reader through a web of lies and deceit as Lisa searches for answers. Then her brother, Trace, joins her, and at least they can face this travesty together. When Trace asks for help from a childhood friend, Ryan, it’s the three of them who search for clues and answers to who and what the father was and had done. There is a complex mystery, crime, murders, government corruption, and high-level cover-ups in this story.

Parts of it hit close to reality, not only incorporating possibility but probability.

One of the things I love the most about this story is the sense of family between Trace, Lisa, and their mother. They all suffered at the hand of the father, and it’s a long and winding road to finding forgiveness and making peace with his actions that affected them all. The story moves at a good pace and held my interest. It is written in the third-person present tense point of view. If you like a story that will keep you guessing and keep you rooting for the good guys to win, you will enjoy this book as I did!

I’m super happy to report that my sister is recuperating from her surgery. She’s been through a lot, but like all of us Smiths, she is a fighter. We do not know the words “give up.”

As I look at my writing life, I’m faced with some decisions and feel like I’m at a crossroads. I know I won’t publish my next book through Wild Rose Press. Why? While it’s great not having to pay for editing, book covers, and formatting, the royalties paid out to the authors are so small it’s just not worth the effort. So, what’s next?

I’m not sure. I have a manuscript that is finished and ready for editing, but I’m not going to rush and do anything with it, although I’d really like to publish it either late summer or early fall. We’ll see. I’m absolutely worn out and tired of swimming upstream. Do you ever feel that way? No, I’m not throwing in the towel, just backing up to reevaluate all of it. We all work so hard to create our stories, then work even harder to try and market them without pausing to take a breath. I need to breathe.

Then, things like this happen and give me a boost.

Above all else in life, I strive to stay positive and upbeat. My greatest joy is when I can be an inspiration to or uplift someone else. I cannot be that if I don’t have joy and peace within myself. So it’s time to work on me.

Have a great weekend, and I look forward to your comments. Hugs!

I’ll share with you my one happy picture from the festival. It was jam-packed – around 15,000.

L-R Doug Rose, Me, Jamie Richards Saturday night at Outlaws and Legends

47 thoughts on “Friday Free-For-All! #MusicFestival #BookReview #Happy Easter @gmplano #BookAward

  1. I love the glow in the dark egg hunt. Great idea 🙂 That would be too long of a day for me too. Sounds like you listened and know its time for a much needed break and regroup. I know you will be led to where your next journey awaits. Great review too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jan 14 hours manning a gate is way to long. I used to do 4 hour shifts at the Easter Rugby Festival hosted by my son’s school and that was tiring. It is interesting what you have said about publishing through a small press. I have reverted to self publishing on Amazon for different reasons but also following a reevaluation of my writing life. I have set novel writing aside for now and am focusing on children’s books, poetry and short stories which I enjoy more and are less demanding. I understand your thoughts and feelings completely 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting that a lot of us are reevaluating our writing life. When writing becomes a chore and not a joy, it’s time to take a second look at it all. I love that you are focusing on the aspect of writing that is less demanding and brings joy. Thank you so much for your comment. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Easter weekend, Jan. I hope you get a chance to rest after the strenuous week. It’s not a bad thing to acknowledge our physical age and find ways to enjoy activities within our comfort zones. Change is okay. Great news about your sister’s recovery from surgery. And I’m not surprised that you’re reconsidering publishing with a small press. I left traditional publishing for the same reason (and more) and haven’t looked back once. Take time to renew your energy and the way forward will be clear. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know how sisters can be that tick in our tock–I love mine like life so I’m glad yours is doing well. If you’re working that hard and have a publisher, you might consider self-pubbing. I doubt I work harder than you, probably don’t sell as many books, but the royalties are excellent! Enough to make it worth it.

    I would love to hang out with you at a Western-themed concert. Some day…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that, Jacqui. Sisters can be the tick to our tock. 🙂 I am so happy Linda is recovering. I agree about having to reevaluate my writing journey and where it needs to go. I have a music festival coming up at the end of May that is always so good. It’s still small and intimate, and I enjoy it so much. It would be fun to hang out with you and enjoy the music! 🙂 Happy Easter! Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It seems the signs are all there to know when to call it good. Either continue with breaks (if not possible, this seems like a flaw of the festival) or let someone else have their turn.

    I recently finished Gwen’s book and enjoyed reading your review to compare my thoughts.

    You’ve got a lot on your plate. Take care, Jan. Best wishes to your sister with her recovery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Pete. You can’t ignore all the signs. I am ready to let someone else have their turn, or else there have to be big changes. I’m glad you enjoyed Gwen’s book. It was a good story. Thank you for stopping by and for the good wishes. I wish you and your family a happy Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kudos to you for getting through that schedule, Jan. Way more than I could do, and I’m a tad younger. I loved your review, and I totally agree. That was a wonderful book. Congrats on the award – welcome home and Happy Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations Jan for winning the first prize! Wow! The picture you’ve shared is lovely and doesn’t show any exhaustion. Enjoy the Easter and that’s a fabulous review of Gwen’s book. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So happy to hear the news about your sister. She sounds like a true warrior lady. I love this statement, Jan, “No, I’m not throwing in the towel, just backing up to reevaluate all of it.” I totally understand! Much to add to this but would take up too many pages. 😉

    Keep breathing my friend. Enjoy your Easter with your family. I love the idea of a “glow-in- the-dark” Easter egg hunt.

    And congrats to another award! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, Mary. You are right. My sister is a true warrior lady! I would love to hear your “much to add” to my comment. Feel free to send me an email. 🙂 Happy Easter weekend to you and yours! I very much appreciate your support!


  9. I’m glad your sister is recuperating from her surgery. That is a thankful thing, for sure. However, age does dictate, at times, our capabilities. You are wise to listen to your body in activities. Don’t know what to say about Wild Rose Press. It always seems terrific to be traditionally published, but there are downsides. If you think about economics (like when you discuss royalties), you need to consider the costs of cover, editing, and formatting as part of your royalty stream. When you pay these costs out of pocket, you need to have, at a minimum, royalty payments to cover them. Since these costs can be over $1000 a book, it is a consideration. Congratulations on the Texas Award. Excellent job on Gwen’s review too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those are all good points, John. My main goal in seeking a publisher was to avoid having to pay out-of-pocket for all those things you mentioned. So, yes, of course, that needs to be taken into consideration with the low royalty payout. Thanks for your always-logical and spot-on comment! And thanks for the congrats!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Jan, I think we’ve all been there. In scrolling through the comments, I realize I am addicted to social media. I’ve cut back some, and while I’m not ready to leave Facebook (there are some groups that I like to keep up with and also friends and family that live far away), I’ve cut back. I’ve also started taking weekends off from almost all social media and blogging. Even though I’m retired now, I still need that break.

    Congratulations on the award. That speaks that you are doing something right and it’s not time to throw in the towel. 🙂

    Great review of Gwen’s book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to social media, but I do enjoy keeping up with friends and family. I’ve definitely cut way back on the amount of time I spend scrolling. I pretty much make my posts, then back out until I respond to comments. Now, if I could just cut back on the amount of time I spend playing word games… 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, and glad you enjoyed the review of Gwen’s book. Happy Easter weekend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts, Jan. I don’t have much energy at all these days, and we have to look after ourselves. It sounds like time to slow down and reevaluate your direction. I understand about the whole publishing thing, and if I can help with anything, please let me know.

    Congratulations to Gwen on that wonderful review!

    Hugs 🤗💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Harmony, you are such an inspiration to me. With all you deal with on a daily basis, I am astounded at the wonderful stories and poetry you keep creating on Vocal. What a great way to keep the creativity flowing. I think that is what I’m missing the most. I’m not feeling the joy and creative spark that accompanies inspired writing. I’m going to be okay, though. Recognizing what’s missing is half the battle. I appreciate your offer to help, more than you know! I’m glad you enjoyed my review of Redemption. Such a good story! Have a great weekend ahead, and thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I appreciate your honesty, Jan. And I understand where you are right now. For me, I believe I have the same energy as I’ve always had, but I’m learning that certain things (social media for one) are sucking that energy and the life out of me. In the past, taking breaks haven’t worked since I have the tendency to jump back on that same gerbil wheel. Lately, I’m examining what’s most important. The biggest discovery has been after my recent one-year anniversary of leaving Facebook, FOMO isn’t important. I might be in the minority, but I do believe scrolling through other people’s life can steal the joy from our own. I’m thrilled to hear your sister is recovering. That’s the best news I’ve heard all week! Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have had the same experience, Jill. When I’ve taken a break from blogging and social media, I’ve tended to jump right back in and take up where I left off. I’ve got a lot of examining to do and really decide what to let go. I can see where scrolling through other people’s lives could potentially steal your own joy, especially if you compare. And what people put out on social media isn’t always the truth but a facade. I don’t pay much attention to that. I do love keeping up with family and friends who live far away. I am so happy with my sister’s recuperation. It’s slow but steady, and that’s good. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I wish you and your family a wonderful Easter weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Congratulations, Jan, for winning first place in Texas Best. That’s an incredible much-deserved achievement and recognition. And maybe it’s another encouragement to focus more on writing and less on festivals. Thank you for sharing your review of Redemption. I’m elated you enjoyed it. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was my pleasure to share my review of Redemption, Gwen. You crafted a compelling story! I agree that life seems to be turning me in a more focused direction. I will never abandon the music world or the family I’ve built there, but my energy is precious, and I have to protect it. Thank you for the congrats! I’m always thrilled when one of my babies gets any recognition. Have a great weekend, and Happy Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of us are feeling it, Craig. I’ve been internalizing it a lot, too, and I know I have to make some changes in the way I do business. I enjoyed Gwen’s book tremendously. She combined family dynamics with a thriller in a really good way. I wish you the best with the road trip you have coming up. I hope it’s smooth sailing for you and Holly!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have come to realize I just don’t have as much energy as I used to. (Still have three times as much as most my age) So I’m being more careful where I use my energy. I’m also making some big decisions on publishing. I’m going to try self-publishing my collection of short stories and see how that goes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know as our bodies age, the energy levels will be different, and I’m coming to terms with that, Darlene. We do have to be more careful where we put our energy. Best wishes to you on the self-publishing. It’s not a bad way to go. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Kudos to you for recognizing your need for self-care, Jan! You stated that this past Monday’s reading did not resonate with you, but I encourage you to look again. You wrote: “If you’ve been overworking, you are encouraged to take a break and recharge.” It sounds like you have just recognized this need in you.

    You also stated in your takeaway that you are open to receive abundance, and this award was brought to you. And the angel card reminds you to breath and awaken your energy to release old patterns. Perhaps, the old pattern you need to release is “striving.” Perhaps it’s time to just be and let life happen at its own pace. Just food for thought… 😉

    Thanks for sharing your great review for Gwen’s new release. It’s on my TBR list, and I know I will enjoy it when I get around to it. 🙂

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my, Yvette! You are so right. It’s like not seeing the forest for the trees. It was all right there, but I was just looking at the physical aspect of the card. Thank you for pointing this out to me! I do need a break, and I have been overworking, so self-care is a must if I am to keep going and being of service to others. THANK YOU!! The Universe just spoke through you directly to me. I have tears in my eyes. Sending you light, love, and massive hugs! And yes, you will love Gwen’s new book when you read it. It’s so good!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.