By now you’ve heard that Brava (the imprint that publishes my contemporaries) has been running the Writing With The Stars contest. For the first part, people were invited to submit manuscripts. Kensington editors Megan Records and Alicia Condon picked their top ten favorites. That was a huge accomplishment on its own, but now those finalists have moved to the next part of the contest. Excerpts of their work are posted at Romantic Times and people get to vote on their favorites. Frankly, it’s really hard to put your work out there and then sit back and read what people say without being able to argue. Authors have to get used to the feeling, but it takes some time.

I was lucky enough to work with one of the contest finalists, Alannah Lynne, as her contest mentor. She’s terrific – very talented and professional and super nice. I wanted you to all meet her. Here she is!

It’s not what’s taught, but what’s caught

On the Brava author blog last week, I talked about a few of the things I’d learned from the Writing With the Stars Competition. This past weekend, I realized I’m not the only one who learned a few valuable lessons.

For years, I was a Mary Kay lady. Not a very good one, sales really aren’t my thing. But I wouldn’t trade the years I spent toting my little pink bag around for anything. Not only did I learn how to match foundation and apply eye shadow (something I rarely do), I learned a lot about being a wife and mother. Mary Kay Ash was a brilliant woman, and if you’ve never read her books, I strongly suggest it.

One of the things Mary Kay often spoke about was the influence we have on our children, and the things they learn by watching us strive to reach our goals. She’d say, “It’s not what’s taught, it’s what’s caught.”

My oldest son is a musician, currently in school studying audio production and engineering and writing his own music. He has enough songs for a mini-album, and by the time he graduates in March, he hopes to have enough for a full-length.
This past weekend, he gave me the highest compliment I can imagine receiving. In talking about his career, and some of the doubts and fears he’s having about himself, he said, “Mom, you are my inspiration. Every time I’m at the house, you’re sitting at your desk, on the computer, working on your writing. You’re dedicated, and you work hard. And you keep me inspired to keep going, too.”


Mary Kay Ash was right. I never could have taught that. But in watching me strive to reach my goals of being a published author, my son has “caught” what it takes to make his own goals a reality. Just for the record, that goes both ways. He keeps me inspired too.

What about you. Have your kids ever said something that let you know they were watching? And it doesn’t have to be as profound as what my son said. It could be along the lines of what my youngest said after missing a shot on the pool table. The word that came out of his little four-year-old mouth told me he’d definitely been paying attention when the big people were playing pool. LOL

P.S. from HelenKay… go read Alannah’s excerpts and vote here.

13 Responses to “Guest!!”

  1. Thanks for having me here today, and for the kind the words!! I feel so blessed to have gotten to work with you!

  2. Hi Alannah – good luck in the Brava contest!!

    Love your question today because it made me remember lots of fun times w/my boys, who are notorious for their one-offs.

    Oldest (at about 20 months), standing in the hallway with hands on hips looking completely exasperated: Dzeezuz Kaist, Mommy. (you need to read that aloud to get it, and I have absolutely no idea where he could have heard that. None.)

    Youngest, in his bar mitzvah speech: Thanked his mom for pushing him to do his best and try new things, because most of the time, he found that he really liked those things, and wouldn’t have tried them without my encouragement. *sniff*

    Hmmm.. may need to do a blog post about this, so I don’t take up all HelenKay’s space…

  3. Hi Alannah, congrats on being a finalist in the competition and good luck! I can’t think of a story about my kids, but yours is certainly great. That’s some serious validation you’re doing something right both in your publishing aspirations and your parenting, so kudos to you. 😀

  4. Great post, Alannah…my daughter had to write a paper to get accepted into the college of her choice…the prompt was the person that most inspires you…she wrote the paper on me…I was blown away when she let me read it! Of course we’re the best of friends…but still, for her to feel that I’m an inspiration…is the best feeling in the world.

  5. It always made me laugh when one of my kids (I have 4) would mimic me telling them off. My youngest would fold her arms, shake her head very slowly and tell me “I’m berry disappointed in you mummy. That deserves you right.”
    It was hard not to burst out laughing, especially when she was right.

    The other thing that I love is when one of my older teenagers tells the younger one that he wished he’d listened to me better because he now realized I knew what I was talking about. LOL

  6. Lori – I can see a little two-year-old doing that now. That is hilarious! When mine were little I tried curb my language (obviously, based on the pool table incident I didn’t do a great job of that), but I’d often say, “Jeezame Christmas!” They knew when that came out, it was time to take cover. 😆

    I can only imagine how proud you were during his bar mitzvah speech. It’s amazing how much they’re “getting it” even when we don’t think they are.

    Thanks for sharing your stories with me!!

  7. Hi Kat!! Thanks! Most of the time, I’m pretty convinced I’m doing a lousy job of parenting. But there are the rare occassions when I feel a little better about. And this was definitely one of those times. Thanks for dropping by and saying hi!

  8. Tess – I can only imagine how that must have made you feel. I know what his compliment meant to me, and it was on a smaller scale. Although I know he was sincere, it’s much easier to throw it out in conversation than to sit down, really think about it, and then put it into writing. I hope you kept a copy of it!

    Thanks for visiting with me and sharing that sweet story!

  9. Kate, I bet your kids are a trip. I mean, you are their mom!! 😆

    Don’t you just love it when they throw stuff back at you like that. My youngest has gotten really good at that lately. I’m a huge believer in positive thinking and visualization. I only talk about what I want, etc.

    Well, at least I try to. I can’t remember what I said the other night but my youngest (who is now 15), looked at me and said, “That’s not putting very good energy out Mom, you might want to rethink that.” :roll: I had to remind myself to be grateful for the reminder and not annoyed.

    And as for the you-were-right-thing. I’ve heard my oldest say that to the youngest recently and it took everything in me not to let out a whoop. But then, they’d have known I was eavesdropping, and I couldn’t have that. LOL

    Thanks for saying dropping by to say hi!!

  10. You have my vote, Alannah! 😛 No kids, but I have repeated things my dad said to me to my nieces. They tend to roll their eyes at me just as I rolled my eyes at my dad.

  11. Hi Liza!!!

    Thanks for dropping by to visit with me here. And for the vote! :)

    Um, yeah, I know that eye roll well. Although, I have to be honest, I still tend to use it from time to time myself. LOL

  12. The statement, “Your Life is a Sermon,” is so true. When my dad drove me to college he told me, “Gladys, don’t spend all of your time in books (I am a bookworm.), you will learn much from the folks you meet.” It seems like strange advice for a student, but it is true. Parents are teachers whether they realize it or not.

  13. Hi Gladys! Your dad gave you great advice. A smart man!

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