Category Archives: Erika Beebe

First Impressions Make and Break Books #IWSG

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂


What does our name mean?

As a kid, I remember the first time I actually picked out my own first pet, a dog. She was a two-year old mix between a cocker spaniel and a sheltie. Her hair was black, soft and wavy. Her eyes were giant, brown and watery. Her nose wasn’t fat or thin and everything about her sweet face, her expressions, melted my heart. I took her home and bathed her and then I found her ear had been damaged from what I guessed had been a fight with the other larger dog in her previous home. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t believe someone had left the skin so dirty and crusted over. I cleaned it, cut her hair and sat with her on the back steps in the backyard, drumming my fingers on my knee pondering the perfect name for her. Naming her was the first difficult act and I spent several hours searching for just the right one. My dearest nightmare chaser, my waiting friend at the door when I’d return from school or sports. I called my sweet little lady, Sadie.

THis month’s IWSG question asks: “What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?”

A name is identity, association, personality, even a secret if we don’t like what we get. I’m in the business of public relations and some days I stare at thousands of names as I’m preparing for specific events, publications and news stories. By staring at so many names, and watching so many student faces in school crowds, honors events, and social media feeds, I find it much easier to place a character with a name than titles.

Titles are like a brand. I have the worst time writing news headlines at work. I know they draw the eye in and if the headline doesn’t peek the curiously of the reader, and if you give away too much of the story in the headline, you lose the reader.

True, a brand is also identity. But a brand is far more than a name. It’s something you can remember. LIke an old 80’s jingle. A title is also a visual and it sets the tone for what a reader expects to find within a book. Titles further merge with image, photos and cover designs. I dread book titles. The first point of entry is so critical for any author or news writer. It’s the best victory in the world to finally settle on one. When I know it’s right, it feels really right, too.

Here’s my favorite commercial as a kid with the best motivating jingle song. Not sure how a tiger ever got associated with Frosted Flakes, but I loved the tiger more then the cereal and ate it every chance I could just to stare at the fun face on the box.

Do you have a favorite 80’s commercial? Does a jingle from your past occasionally float into your head and get stuck? Are names or headlines tougher to write?

Happy IWSG Day, all. Make it a “Great” day.

Waking Up Happy: Make Your Day Exactly The Way You Want It


My favorite way to wake up this week….

…snuggled under a big pile of blankets, a soft meow summoned me from my dreams and I cracked my eyes open. The sun snuck in gently through the wooden blinds in the bedroom. Warm light grazed my cheeks and my kitten Maverick snuggled up against my neck meowing—right before his sand paper tongue licked my face. I laughed. The babes hadn’t stirred, and I stretched my arms overhead, hands into fists blinking up at the fan. The movement was hypnotizing, until the smell of coffee snuck up my nose.

I am ready for today, I thought.
 I threw the covers off my bed, grabbed the kitten, and walked at a snail’s pace to the kitchen ready for a nice steaming cup of Joe.
No, I don’t live in the mountains, nor do I live on the beach, but I do live on the outskirts of a pretty line of trees. It’s home. I’m happy. I’ll take it, and I’ve learned through the years, one way to get in a really great mood, is to wake up exactly the way you want to wake up.

Today, I’m thinking about how we can set ourselves up for happy and the little things we can do to start our days off with a bit of a smile—even through the stress and the busyness that some days feels like a heavy coat around our shoulders on a 90 degree afternoon.
I admit, I haven’t always consciously tried to make my mornings full of smiles—but I do know, now that I’m doing it, I find myself smiling and spreading a little more of that energy throughout my day. And I also believe, some days, it gives me the strength I need to switch on that positive light, and keep it burning as long as I can.
So what do I do? What did I find on my search to wake up and feel ready for my day?
It all begins the night before…
  • I clean up the kitchen and spray my favorite cleaner all over the counters. I set the coffee to go off the next morning at 4:30 a.m. because there is something about a cup of coffee that stirs my brain. Smells really work for me. My favorite candles, my favorite cleaner. Even a dryer sheet mixed in with the laundry shifts my mood when I’m folding the clothes.
  • I love to look at pinterest before I go to bed. Really pretty pictures. I dream. I sigh when I see one. I let my mind go for a moment. I’ve also found a huge joy in connecting with my facebook family and saying goodnight.
  • I give good night kisses and hugs to the family.  
  • Listening. Watching those I care about light up when they know they have my full attention by stopping what I’m doing and turning to face them. It makes their day complete, which contributes to a bit of happy for me.
  • Some nights, I don’t give myself an option. I’ve been thinking lately, even when I screw up, tomorrow I won’t have the same challenge. Tomorrow will be a new day. And when I stare at an impossibly busy week, I know without a doubt, there will be an end to the week. This thought has gotten me through the messes, consoled me when I’ve needed it—plus, I have some really great friends and family who I talk to, and they help me let go, too.

It’s true, I’m not happy every day, but I can contribute and laugh and make myself smile and try to be that way. I want to be that way, and that thought might be part of a little morning happy, too.

What about you? What little things in your life make you smile and lift your spirits?


Just the pretty line of trees

My First Review, and Free Stuff Too!


And I’ve been dancing, and laughing, and smiling ever since I heard my short story Stage Fright will debut in J. Taylor Publishing’s One More Day anthology …

… and here is the review!

… a breakdown of each story inside the book, by J.A. Belfield, the author of so many lovely books from Darkness and Light, Into the Unknown, and her newest book Caged, releasing very very soon.

Her words on Goodreads, July 8, 2013:
4 of 5 stars

“Like pretty much all anthologies, this one has it super strong stories, and its not quite super strong stories. However, to varying degrees, I enjoyed them all. And whilst there is a common theme to the stories within this anthology, each of them differ, and each of them bring something different to the table.

Reviewed in the order I read them:

Dragon Flight by J. Keller Ford
Let me just preface this one by saying that, despite its title, there ain’t no dragons in there, and there ain’t no flying. However, the author DOES give us an original, unique, unexpected, intriguing, and heart-warming tale that I found myself enjoying a LOT and left me eager to see what else this antho had to offer.

A Morrow More by Danielle E. Shipley
The world built in this one was well done and interesting, and the concept an intriguing one. However, whilst the ‘dragon’ took me a little by the surprise, I found the ending to be quite predictable. This would definitely suit fans of fantasy-based worlds, though.

Dark Rose by Marissa Halvorson
Whilst an interesting premise, the story was pretty slow to begin, although it did eventually pick up a little. And whilst the ending wrapped it up for the most part, I didn’t feel the what or why of it all was explained as well as it could have been and I was left feeling a little confused.

Sleepless Beauty by Kimberly Kay
This one was a fast-paced fairy tale with a twist, some light-hearted humour, and although I foresaw the ending we’re given, I still found it fun.

Timepiece by Anna Simpson
What an imaginative piece this was. It was kind of like Groundhog Day–but not. And kind of like Back to the Future–but not. It was definitely, however, fast-paced, amusing, entertaining, frustrating, thriller-ish, and extremely sweet all rolled into one. VERY enjoyable.

The Thirteenth Day by L.S. Murphy
This story had a GREAT premise. Very original. Very well executed. With a likeable MC, who I found easy to connect with. Out of all of the stories, this one seemed the most fulfilling, but then as headliner, this story is twice as long as the others. And the outcome at the end? I won’t spoil it for you, but I had definite goosebumps at the realisation of exactly what Nixon’s actions had resulted in. Very good.

Stage Fright by Erika Beebe
This one was also enjoyable to read because the descriptions of the play happening onstage were so well executed, I could envision every step despite never having seen the portrayed musical. However at the same time, the story itself was creepy yet intriguing–but in a good and wholly speculative kind of way.

So, as you can see, I pretty much enjoyed all of these tales at some level, but if I had to draw my favourite, it’s a toughie, because right now, I’m struggling to call it between The Thirteenth Day, Timepiece, and Dragon Flight–so how about we call it a three-way tie. :D”

And now for the opportunity to win some great swag!

L.S. Murphy is the highlighted author in One More Day. She is also hosting a giveaway of lots of wonderful items you can win. So if time permits, please stop by her page, at the following link, and sign up for some great swag.

Have a lovely day everyone! Hugs!

Five Thoughts on Why We Should Study The Clouds

Do you see my butterfly?

Growing up, I always studied the sky. Clouds, stars, the tops of the trees, I loved to lie back, let the wind rush over my skin and slip through my hair, taking in a moment, letting my mind go, and drifting with whatever came into my sight. Life happens and we grow. We take on more responsibility. I forgot about the relaxation and the joy in many of these simple natural moments, trapped in the endless cycle of rushing, and thinking, and getting tasks done.

I’ve recently discovered the wonders of studying the clouds again, and I’m learning the art, remembering what I loved about it so much growing up—I’m teaching my kids to love it, too.

So I’m sharing what I’m learning. I compiled a list of why Cloud Watching is so good for the soul and how to begin it, and some of my thoughts came from the following web post, at cloudman:

1. Visual Distraction/Relaxation.
First, learning to quiet the mind is a difficult task. If I close my eyes longer than 10 seconds, I can’t hang on to a clean slate in my mind for long. Busyness slips in. Tasks slip in. But with the clouds, the sky, and the air all around you, it’s easier to let go, and to remind yourself as those thoughts try to wiggle back in, I don’t want to think about them now. I want a moment just for me.

2. Cost. 

It’s a free way to relax and gain some balance. Breathing deeply is not something that comes easy when you’re stressed. In fact, it’s one of my first indications I’m feeling more stress than I should. As I stare at the clouds, I concentrate and take longer deeper breaths. I feel the rise of my chest and I try to count 5 seconds as I inhale. I visualize the air rushing to the tips of toes and I make sure to press my shoulders away from my ears. If you’re a visual learner and an experiencer like me, the world around you is a perfect place to keep your mind in check. Then you can get your body back in check and approach your stress with a calmer and more refreshed perspective.

3. Anecdote to Boredom. 

Give your mind a new problem to solve. What do you see? When was the last time you saw an animal like that, or an object, and maybe you can backtrack to a great memory—one that makes you laugh or smile on the inside.

4. Science and Earth. 

I’m pulling this one directly from the article a read.

“Planet Earth is unique because of the presence of water substance, and the fact that the 93,000,000 miles distance from the sun allows water to exist in all three of its states (gaseous, liquid, and solid). Simultaneously! Astronauts who made the trips to the moon were profoundly impressed by the beauty of the white/blue/green orb hanging against the blackness of space — the home they had left behind and to which they hoped to return.”

5. Clouds are a Moving Painting. 

If you like art, watch the clouds. They constantly create a canvas of shape, natural beauty, and color. The lighting will never be the same again in that exact second, the next day, or any time down the road you think you might try to study the sky.
If you decide to try and watch the clouds, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear what you saw and how you felt.



How about my sweet elephant?