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redbud writers guild

Books + Stories
Did you win Everbloom?
May 2, 2017 at 4:21 am 0

What are people saying about Everbloom?

Once I began reading these stories I couldn’t stop. Each writer is a strong woman who has learned much from life and God. Gritty, funny, painful, affirming. No punches are pulled, but grace abounds.” —Luci Shaw, poet, author of The Thumbprint in the Clay “Everbloom contains a smorgasbord of personal stories and reflections that put the strong writing of women and the reality of women’s lives on display. I suspect every reader will find themselves in one or more of these chapters." —Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women and Maelstrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World
   

But the real question is, did you win the giveaway??

The winner of the giveaway for a FREE copy of Everbloom is....

Kellie Langenhop!

(Kellie, make sure you contact me with your address and I'll mail a copy!)

 
  If you didn't win, the book is still selling for less than list price on Amazon. So snatch up a few copies to give to you and all the mothers in your life. And as a SPECIAL FANTASTIC FREE GIFT TO YOU, I'm sending out my essay to all my newsletter subscribers tomorrow. So make sure you sign up and you'll get my essay, "I am a Desperate Woman," in your Inbox tomorrow. Don't miss out; sign up here --->
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Books + Stories
Padded Bras: A Sneak Peak of Everbloom!
April 25, 2017 at 7:44 am 0

What does it mean to be an aging woman?

What do we do with things like sexuality and bodies and all the messy parts of being human?

What does it mean to buy and wear a padded bra?

  Leslie Leyland Fields writes one of my favorite essays in Everbloom. It's laugh-out-loud funny; it's poignant; it gets at what it can mean to be a woman and to grow old. Leslie Leyland Fields is the author of more than 10 books, including her most recent, Crossing the Waters. She lives with her family in Alaska and commercially farms fish as well as leading a writing retreat on Harvester Island (with some drop-your-jaw authors coming). She is a fantastic writer and y'all I totally stopped her in the bathroom at the Festival of Faith & Writing because she was wearing the most fantastic black and white polka dot skirt. And red lipstick. So I obviously just had to say something.

Here's an exclusive sneak peek at her essay in Everbloom


My First Padded Bra

by Leslie Leyland Fields

The year I was to turn fifty I had plans. Big plans. I was going to get my first manicure. I was going to run my first marathon. I was going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with Joni on her fiftieth birthday. Then, my hips and joints started getting cranky. My budget for international travel seized up. I forgot about the manicure. Instead, I had a party with fifty friends. And after that, I did it. I bought my first padded bra. I’m not exactly sure how it happened. It wasn’t premeditated. I was traveling and ended up in a department store, slinking undercover through the lingerie section. (Never quite sure I belong there.) Then— brain flash—I could repay my husband for Mr. Momming the week I was away with a sexy little something. Usually it was the foreign import section for me, but the padded bras beckoned—objects of both fascination and repulsion. I had never worn one. They looked like foamy dishes and came in an astounding range, from little tea cups to Italian restaurant-size bowls. And the sizing is the same as batteries. But no size was my size. (Even batteries come in AAA!) Then on a little end rack, I found it. A flirty, spongy little number that looked small enough to fit. I’ve worn sports bras most of my life. Not the fitted ones—the stretchy fill-as-you-can kind. I’ve felt their power all these years. No matter what I was wearing on the outside, underneath I felt sporty, ready to break into a jog or an aerobic routine at any moment. And often I did. My bra inspired me. I’ve always taken pleasure in my boyishness and the freedom it brought. I’ve felt like Peter Pan refusing to grow up, my chest proof I was still young, nubile, and mobile. Despite our culture’s unflagging obsession with breasts, I’ve never felt insecure about mine. They may be less decorative than others, but few have enjoyed the same utility. Mine have fed people—six, actually—grew them from mewling newborn to stalwart near-toddler. A full six years logged on these breasts, boosting closeness, intelligence, and immunities for us both, a whole string of benefits conferred from my milk-rich low-fat deposits. But my freshman year of high school I would have traded with anyone. Breasts were so much in demand that year that tissue-stuffed bras became something of a norm, a trend I joined while hoping for nature to take its usual hormonal course. I soon gave up on the venture, especially after my tissues crept unbidden out of my shirt one day in plain view of the boy I had a crush on. When I saw his eye wander downward, I should have simply yanked out a tissue with a flourish and blown my suddenly stuffy nose, winking seductively like, Aren’t we girls inventive creatures who can stow the most necessary items in such mystical places? I do recall a few other moments, in college, when I layered a second bra over my first, aiming for some kind of collegial shape to my body. To at least belong among the freshman femininity parading before the male upperclassmen, whom we knew were surveying the goods as we clicked by on our heels, swishing our skirts. (Yes, we wore high heels and [modest] skirts. This was a Christian college where “the men looked like men and the women looked like women.” A great obsession of conservative Christians in the unisex hippie days of flowing hair, platform shoes, and jeans.) But this new bra—all foamy and thick, plush in just the right places—was more. This was not a tame bra; it was leopard-spotted. ... You'll want to read the rest...

Make sure you enter to win your own copy or pick up a few on Amazon! All proceeds go back to Redbud Writers Guild.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks this week!! Enter to win a copy here    
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Books + Stories
Win a Copy of Everbloom!
April 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm 0
Do you ever write a thing (or paint a thing, or say a thing) and then you want to bring those words right back? Well, that was a bit what it was like writing my essay, "I am a Desperate Woman," for Everbloom: Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives. I wrote about bleeding and being a woman and at first, I wished I could take it all back. But here's the thing friends, I'm done with pretending that we all don't need to hear the human experience from the perspective of being female (or male for that matter). I think men should be able to read essays without blushing about birth and menstruation. After all, I read things all the time from a male perspective. So I'm standing by my essay in its vulnerable depiction of health gone awry, of the challenges of being female. I threw my essay into the lot and it's now a part of a book by some amazing writers and women from Redbud Writers Guild. You guys, it's a gorgeous book. I sat curled up and devoured stories from my writer friends. It's gutsy and encouraging, poignant, sad, and laugh-out-loud funny. There's essays. There's heart-wrenching personal narratives. There's poetry. There's prayers. There's writing prompts for you to tell your own brave story.

And I'm giving a copy away to ONE LUCKY READER!


Here's how to enter. Two things. It's simple:

  1. Sign up below for my monthly newsletter (if you haven't done so already)-->

2. Share the giveaway on social media. Be sure to tag me at @aahales on Twitter or Instagram, or at my writer's Facebook page.

I'll announce the winner on Friday!


  1. To whet your appetite, I'm giving you a little bit of my essay below. Please stay tuned, because I'll have excerpts from other essays this week! Don't miss it. 
    Most of my breakdowns happen on bathroom floors. When I did not know much about pain, I cried on the rug in my college apartment over a wedding decision standstill, feeling pulled between daughter and soon-to-be wife. A few years later, when I once had the hope of new life within me, I howled, hunched over the toilet as I miscarried my first baby. Since then, I’ve shut the bathroom door for alone time, hoping to find some inner calm. I’ve cried on the bathmat when the world felt like it was spinning out of control, when I could no longer be the one to hold together all the loose strands. The bathmat has been my altar – soaked with tears and the vessel to hold my sin, shame, and suffering. This last October, I cried in the bathroom because I couldn’t leave the toilet for more than an hour. I wouldn’t stop bleeding. I didn’t know what was wrong. My body felt twisted, confused, and ridding itself of its life force. This was it, I figured: my body was irreparably broken. I cried for healing and still the blood came, day after day, hour after hour. Find out more about how bathroom floor breakdowns helped to show me God in Everbloom
    If you just can't wait, pick up your copy today! If you buy it today on Amazon, you get the pre-order price guarantee of $12.20! Crazy deal!    
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