Life as Amber knows it

"An adventure in the making…"

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Guest Post By Robert Zimmermann

Today I’m thrilled to feature Robert Zimmerman as a guest blogger on AmberJeromeNorrgard.com, after Robert was kind enough to host a guest blog of mine on his website.

My Blogging History

 

Blogging has taken off drastically in the last few years, and this is definitely apparent in the literary world. Book blogging is one of the biggest tools, outside of social media, for authors to use and get the word out about their books.

I entered into the world of blogging a few years ago. I think it was some time back in 2009 when I first decided to start a WordPress account. I did this as a place to share my thoughts, random or otherwise, to whoever would read them. No one did. At least no one compared to where my blog is now. I’m looking over my stats and between November 2009 (when I “began”) and December of 2001 (before I started to actually use my blog) I had a total of 311. In 2012 alone I’ve have over 10,000.

This drastic difference in numbers came from a change in attitude toward blogging. Earlier this year I started reviewing books. I was winning a few every now and then from Goodreads giveaways and figured “that’s what the giveaways are really for, why not review some.” I was posting them on a Tumblr page I set up. But that wasn’t enough. I was noticing, after I started using Twitter more often, that there was such a thing as “book blogging.” I wanted to do that. I love books. It was for me.

Through the combination of meeting and becoming friends with (mainly) Indie authors on Twitter and other book bloggers, I expanded my blog and developed my skill in reviewing. I was no longer just reviewing books either. Since I wanted to have a book blog, I started talking about anything book related I can think of.

I started enjoying this blogging world. It felt right. That’s why I kept doing it. What started as an impulse, to try out a new thing, has turned into what could be considered a full-time (non-paying) job. It’s part of my lifestyle now, and I can’t complain about any part of it.

I’ve learned to cherish many of the rewards the blog gives me. I get to interact with other avid readers and book collections all over the world while sharing my thoughts on the subjects. I get to discover many authors and books through my Authors We Love series. And the most rewarding thing I can think of is when I get a genuine thank you from an author for a review. When I can help out the author of a book I’ve loved and get recognized for it, I can’t think of anything better that could happen. It’s not an ego thing either. Even if it’s a “small-time” published author…it’s still as if someone Stephen King personally said thank you to me.

__________

 

About Robert Zimmermann: 

Robert is a writer. Most of the time his thoughts will grace the pages in the form of poetry, but occasionally some short pieces of fiction will show their faces. His work mainly touches on experiences that shape who he is today and are emotionally engaging but easily accessible to those not familiar with much poetry.

When Robert isn’t writing for himself, he’s writing to help others. In his blog, A Life Among The Pages, Robert posts numerous book reviews, interviews, and other book related posts to help out fellow writers in any way he can.

How qualified is Robert for all of this? Well, he holds an A.A. in Humanities and a B.A. in Creative Writing. Basically it boils down to him having a lot of downtime living at home. At least he has a cute puppy to keep him company while he’s busily at work writing his first collection of poems.

Check Robert out:

Blog: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Robert.Zimmermann.Writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/miztrebor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6435657-rob-zimmermann

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Take My Hand

For Deena and Mark

Take My Hand

Time and distance do not truly matter

Not when your soul calls to me

From here on to ever after
You’re the only one with whom I want to share my dreams
There will be times of trouble
Times of heartache and strife
But none of that will ever truly matter
So long as you take my hand as we walk through this life
Lots of love and joy to two friends of mine….
Amber Jerome~Norrgard

An Interview with the lovely Cinta Garcia

This week I’m joined by the lovely Cinta Garcia, who was not only sweet enough to let me pick her brain and find out more about her, but to do a blog swap with me…

Tell us about your upcoming book: what inspired the story, when you began writing it, when will it be available?  My upcoming book is called “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani”, and it follows the adventures of a funny, crazy little girl who wants to be a witch. Her misuse of her magic wand will lead to all kind of absurd situations, but at the same time it will make Little Nani meet lots of extraordinary new friends. I don’t even know what the inspiration for writing these stories was. I just wrote the first story in my blog one day in the spur of the moment. I simply wanted to prove myself that I could write something different to the emotional stories I use to write. I began writing the book in February, when people started loving the stories about Little Nani and suggested me to write a book about her. When will it be available? Well, I am finding more problems than expected as far as release is concerned, but I guess that it will be available in September.

Who would your guest list include for your fantasy dinner? Jane Austen, Colin Firth (imagine him discussing with Jane Austen about his role as Mr Darcy), and Tim Burton (wouldn’t it be funny if Tim Burton makes an adaptation of any Austen book?).

 What year would you visit in a time machine and why? 2004, because I was perfectly happy living in London and my mum wasn’t ill at that time.

What is your go to movie or tv show?  I watch the many adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels that I own, or I watch Bones or a very funny Spanish TV show about a crazy block of flats where these crazy people live. It is hilarious.

When did you start writing? I started writing when I was very young. I have always wanted to be a writer. Indeed, I won a writing contest in my city when I was 8. I wrote a tale about the importance of looking after the environment.

What book exceeded your expectations?  “Dark Prairies” by Rob S. Guthrie. I knew that it was going to be good, but it turned out to be a masterpiece. I read it in just one day because I couldn’t stop reading it.

Toilet paper/ paper towels: what’s the correct way to put them on the dispenser? I am not sure about how to explain it in English, but I guess if I say “with the piece of paper to pull on top” you will understand me.  It is totally wrong to put the toilet paper with the piece you have to pull closer to the wall.

If you’re going on a long road trip, what drinks and snacks are you going to pack? Ice tea and Diet Pepsi for the drinks, and sandwiches and crisps for the snacks.

Has a fictional character you’ve written ever shown up in a dream? Not really, but I have spent lots of sleepless nights thinking about Little Nani. Does that count?

What made you start writing? I have always had a very lively imagination, and I was always making up tales and stories. One day I decided to write them down. I never thought of writing seriously or getting published since last year, when a very dear friend I met in Twitter told me that I had a natural talent on me. I started to believe in his words (that didn’t sounded too pretentious, did it? Haha), so I started writing more seriously.

What is your morning ritual? I wake up, I get up, I open my patio door, I say “Good morning, Universe!”, I have a shower, and then I start helping my dad to get ready for the day.

Do you have any writing quirks?  When I write my Little Nani stories, I hold my magic wand for extra inspiration. When I work on my Regency novella, I use my Regency writing table and writing tools. I am freaky like that.

What do you think of books turned into movies?  Normally they fail to show the true nature of the book. Most movies made from books make me angry.

If you were going to a deserted island, what three items would you take with you?  Tons of food, tons of drinks, my Kindle.

Name 3 books on your to-be-read list. “Disenchanted”, by Cat and Lynx Raven; “Obsession”, by Dawn Torrens; and “Shadows of the Realm”, by Dionne Lister.

Best thing about where you live?  The food.

What book could you read over and over? Any book by Jane Austen or Tolkien.

Who is your favorite band or musician?  Only one? Well, then I will say Bon Jovi. I have loved them since I was 6 years old 😀 Picture this: summer, 1986, a crazy 7-years-old little girl singing at the top of her voice “Livin’ on a Prayer”. Yep, that was me.

What book do you think is a necessary read?  “On Writing” by Stephen King. If you want to become a good writer, you MUST read that book. It says a lot about what being a writer is.

Cinta, thank you so much for joining us this week!  Make sure to check out Ms. Cinta on Goodreads, Twitter, her website, and “Like” on Facebook.

~Amber

Letting go, when I should have held on tight….

On Monday, November 24, 2008, I wrote a blog post, commemorating the fact that it was my last night as a mother pregnant with one daughter with one on the cusp of turning four years old.

I didn’t write again for over two and a half years.  And it was one of the gravest mistakes of my life.

I can give you what I thought were reasons, but really were just excuses: I was tired.  I had two kids.  I was suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. My father had a horrible fall that resulted in a several months hospital and subsequent rehabilitation stay.

To quote my favorite editor, “BULLSHIT”.

You see, what really was going on was more than just me letting go of my writing, which is one of the greatest passions in my life.  I write, because I quite simply cannot stop.  Writing is essential to my soul, as essential to me as the air that I breathe, the water I drink, the food I eat, and my children who I carried within me for nine months and love with every fiber of my being.  What really happened in those 30 months of no-writing or so, was simple: I forgot who I was at my core, and let go of it.

“You have a gift; do not waste it. Write every day even if its only the words, ‘I have nothing to write,'” Those parting words, the greatest advice I’ve ever been given, were said to me on the last day of ninth grade English class.  And I followed that advice faithfully until the birth of my second daughter.

I think that the real reason I quit writing was shame.  You see, I was ashamed of the fact that I fell so easily into the trap that so many women do when they become mothers, whether for the first time, the second, or the fifth. While motherhood will always and forever be the very most important job I’ll ever hold, and its a job title I take very seriously and am grateful for, I forgot a very simple fact: I existed before motherhood.

Before motherhood, I wore snakeskin pants and biker boots. I could drink everyone under the table and still walk a strait line. I went out dancing with friends. I’d stay up all night, writing poetry, some good, some bad, some phenomenal. I’d have all-night, fall-off-the-bed sex. I laughed loudly and often.  I didn’t just sing along with the radio, I screamed the lyrics as loudly as I could. I almost finished writing a novel about my search for my biological mother. I had my nose, tongue and naval pierced. I had six tattoos (those, I am very happy to report, are still with me). I’d watch dawn break through the clouds at Denny’s.  I worked my ass off at jobs, not because they paid well, but because I was blessed with a boss that was wonderful. I’d meet random strangers at bars, and we’d close the bar down, telling one another our stories, and then find an all night coffee bar to continue on with the intellectual intercourse. I’d go car surfing.

But when motherhood came, in all its miraculous glory, I traded who I was for the identity of “Mommy”. Loving your children passionately, loving your children more than yourself, loving your children enough to lay your life down for them: That’s the job description. But forgetting that you are still you is not.  It’s a betrayal of yourself.

For those 30 months I did not write, I put everyone ahead of myself, sometimes at the risk of my own health, both physically and spiritually. I did all the laundry, I did all the dishes, I made sure dinner was on the the table every evening. I stopped seeing friends, stopped writing, stopped seeing myself as anything other than “Mommy”. Everything I did revolved around my life as a mother.

I lost myself.

A little over a year ago, I began talking with authors on Twitter.  And a shift happened.  I began writing again. And then I began talking with even more authors on Twitter.  When I timidly mentioned I had an idea for a book, I received the same response: “Quit talking, start writing.”  And so I did. Occasionally, I’d work on my book, but mainly, I began writing more frequently in my blog, and asking other authors to look at what I had written and give me their opinion.

In October 2011, I asked my friend Barry Crowther if he would mind looking at some of my poetry to give me his opinion. His opinion? Send him more of my poetry, and let him help me get off my ass and publish it.  He also gave me the chance to guest post on his blog, not once, but twice. 

In early January of this year, Barry Crowther emailed me and told me I was ready to go.  I spent several hours, my hand hover my mouse over the publish button before I finally gained the courage.

And people bought the book.

Which led me to write to an author and tell him how very much his book had helped me through a particularly rough spot in my personal life, simply by being a much needed distraction.  And the courage I gained from people buying my book, reading it, and reviewing it positively led me to ask this writer for his opinion on my work.  Which he gave honestly.  He’s now one of my closest friends, editors, and one of the biggest boots in my ass when I’m spouting off excuses instead of writing.

I’ve published four books since “Color of Dawn” came out in January, and a total of four erotica singles. I’ve started a podcast that is the highlight of my week, every single week I do it, and I love every moment of it (except the “Days of the Week”… Someone PLEASE, I’m begging you, say that you hate them!) I’ve met new friends, and been given opportunities to be interviewed on other podcasts, guest blog, and collaborate on projects.

And I have found myself again.  At age thirty-five, I’ve found myself, and most importantly, I have found my voice.

I am Amber Jerome~Norrgard. While I may no longer drink people under the table, I go out with friends occasionally and have a few drinks. I’m the person you see in the car next to you dancing and singing along to the radio. My laugh has inspired a drinking game with the listeners of my podcast. I write furiously, daily, like an addict. I love my children passionately, and spend time with them, but I also take time that is solely for me, that has nothing to do with me as a mother. I have a group of friends who own pieces of my heart, and while they are spread out all over the world, I wouldn’t change the fact that they are in my life as fully as they are. I write erotica, and it makes me uncomfortable, and I publish it still, because I believe that its necessary to my art to push myself as far as I can. I stay up all night writing or editing my work, or assembling my work into books to be published.

I am a mother, wife, lover, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, sister in law, the “queen of the obscene”, a poet, an author.

I am all those things.  But most importantly, I am me, and I am finally home.

 

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Goin’ Free! And the Birth of a Trilogy…

For three days, Friday, August 17th- Sunday, August 19th, my erotic short story, “James” will be FREE on amazon.com

“James” holds a bit of a special place in my heart, since it was the first erotica I wrote…. Since then, I’ve written five erotic short stories, as well as two erotic poems, and have complied them into a collection called “Wanting”.  And while writing (and publishing) my erotica has always made me uncomfortable, still, I continue on, because it makes me uncomfortable, and forces me out of my natural genre, and I’m able to push myself as a writer, and see exactly how far I am able to go.  So be a sweet-heart, and click click click this Friday, Saturday and Sunday…. Really, all I’m asking for is a few moments of your time to go to Amazon.com and get my erotic short story for free…. You can’t beat that deal, even if you tried.  Click here to get “James” FREE this weekend and help me hit my goal of #1 in the erotica genre on Amazon.com’s bestseller’s list.

And in other news: Last Thursday, I published my fifth book, “My Beautiful Jewel, Book One of the Miracles Trilogy”.  “My Beautiful Jewel” was actually written in 2004, and is taken from my journal when I was pregnant with my daughter, Amethyst.  If you’ve read me, either in book or blog form, you know the story: I was diagnosed as infertile, but some how, against every possible odd that could have been stacked against me, I’ve been blessed with three miracles: my beautiful children.  “My Beautiful Jewel” is, like I said, about my pregnancy with my oldest daughter Amethyst, but is the first book in a set of three.  Book two will be about my attempts to conceive my second child as well as my pregnancy with my daughter Autumn, and book three will be about my pregnancy with my son Benjamin, and how I came to the decision to have a partial hysterectomy at the very young age of thirty-three.  You see, every day, no matter how bad my day is, no matter how big of a mess my children make, or how many loads of laundry I have to slog through, or how exhausted I am, there is one thing I do: and that is say a prayer of thanks for being so very blessed with three amazing, beautiful, and gloriously healthy children who steal my heart every time they smile at me.  I do not forget for one moment how incredibly lucky I am to have my three children.  So these books are essentially love letters to them, so that years from now, they can read over them, and truly know what Mommy was thinking when they were busy kicking my internal organs in alphabetical order and making me barf non-stop.  One bonus of writing “My Beautiful Jewel” was re-reading my pregnancy journal, and one hilarious bonus was remembering how anal-retentive I used to be in regards to organizing everything.  It’s amazing how much motherhood has changed me, all for the positive.  To buy “My Beautiful Jewel”, click here or click here.

 

Lots of love, huggles, and happy reading!

 

 

Amber Jerome~Norrgard

In loving memory of my greatest inspiration

My Grandmother was born on August 7, 1899.  I will never forget the heartbreak I felt when my father told me she had passed away, four days before Christmas in 1996.

There are experiences we have in our lives, whether good or bad, that always stay with us.  Losing my Grandmother almost sixteen years ago is something I will never recover from.  She lived her life in complete and total good faith: faith in the love of her family, faith in the love of her friends, and most importantly, faith in God.  When faced with hardships: burying her husband, losing sons in wars, and burying her children who lost their battles with cancer, she never asked God “Why?” Instead, she simply asked him for the strength to bring her through it.

When I married for the first time at age nineteen, my Grandmother gave me a rosary as a wedding gift. To this day, I always carry it with me. Some links are broken, a corner of the crucifix is broken off, and still, it remains with me, just as she does.

I have tried for a few weeks now to write a poem in her honor.  But how can one write a poem, or write anything really, to sum up, to define, to explain how inspirational, how giving, how generous, how loving, and how beautiful the most inspirational person in our life was?  I have been asked countless times why I am such a positive, happy person after everything I have faced in my life.  The answer is quite simply because of the example my beloved Grandmother set for me.

I have been unable to write a poem for my Grandmother.  Instead, I found one that touched me, and made me think of her:

Light a candle, Missing you

Light a candle,
See it glow,
Watch it dance,
When you feel low,
Think of me,
Think of light,
I’ll always be here,
Day or night,
A candle flickers,
Out of sight,
But in your heart,
I still burn bright,
Think not of sadness,
That I’m not near,
Think of gladness,
And joyous cheer,
I have not left,
I am not gone,
I’m here to stay
My little one,
So when you light a candle
And you see it glow
And you watch it dance
In your heart you’ll know
That I would never leave you
Even when you feel so blue
I’m sitting up here with the Lord
And now watching over you
(Source: Light A Candle, Missing You Poem  www.FamilyFriendPoems.com)

She was a mother to fifteen children, and a grandmother to forty-two grandchildren. I could give you the number of great- and great-great- grandchildren, but that is a number that is still growing to this day.  She left behind a family that mourned her deeply, that was affected tremendously at her loss (almost sixteen  years after her passing,  as I’m writing this, I’m crying, wishing she were here with me), but that still gathers to celebrate the life that she lived, the example she set of how to truly live a life, and how to hold onto your faith, always.

She left behind a legacy of unconditional love that continues on, and will continue on with her spirit in each of us.

Happy Birthday Grandma. Not a day goes by that I do not think of you and all you have given to me.

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

 

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