Thank You

dancing in the window

Releasing a book is unsettling, and I don’t believe that ever changes. Essentially it’s delivering your heart and soul to everyone in the world—not knowing what will happen, not knowing a damn thing, actually.

Thankfully from sunup to sundown on Tuesday I was comforted by you lovelies. Some of you already bought NOLA FRAN EVIE. Some of you did that AND shared the heck out of my book in social media land.

I was truly overwhelmed by the congrats, woohoo’s, yippee’s, hooray’s, yay’s, and woo’s gracing the comment section of the release post that day. The buzz on Twitter and Facebook made me smile my tushie off.

Wow, you guys…THANK YOU.

It was brought to my attention that I was ranking awesomely on Amazon.

I didn’t believe it, because it’s just little ol’ me after all. But there NOLA FRAN EVIE was all day, kickin’ it with the top 100 of Amazon’s Bestsellers in the Sports category.

It was very neat.

Yesterday I managed to get through a long day at work with my book release hangover. My cat editing team was pretty tuckered out…

cat belly

Today life is back to normal.

Now comes the time for—fingers crossed—some reviews. A new reader commented on my release post…

“For those who have read this book and enjoyed it – do the author a huge favor and please take a moment to post a review on Amazon! (no we’re not related!) Reviews mean a lot!”

Um, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Let’s face it, we all read reviews before we purchase anything these days, right? As you all know, I am a little indie author who depends on you guys—my shining community—to spread the good word. A few minutes of your time to leave one would be magnanimously appreciated.

That brings me to NOLA FRAN EVIE on Goodreads! Click right here, loves.

For my Goodreaders out there, be a doll and make sure to add the book to your “currently-reading” or “to-read” lists when you have a sec. I wanted to share NOLA FRAN EVIE’s first bit of praise from a current reader on Goodreads…

“I’m meeting 3 distinct women that share a common past life. I’m looking forward to see which ‘girl’ I’m going to bond with. Too soon to tell. It is definitely not too soon to know how well Britt writes. I like her words a lot. Fine job Britt!!”

Nola Fran Evie Cover Large

 

And if you haven’t scooped up your copy on Amazon yet, I’ll leave you with a shout-out from a dear friend of mine to see if that persuades you a bit.

“Hey! Do you like to read? Do ya like to read cool books written by rad humans?! PERFECT! My friend Britt Skrabanek wrote a book….so go buy it! Bonus, it’s only $3.99 on Amazon! That’s cheaper than Starbucks, and oh so much better. #SupportIndieAuthors”

AMAZON

or

AMAZON UK

Thanks a bunch, sweet friends! Hope your weeks are filled with beauty, sunshine, and awesomeness! Much love…Britt.

Nola Fran Evie is Now Available

I’m gonna be candid right now. Writing my first two books was a damn struggle.

The first, Beneath the Satin Gloves, took me three years to finish. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and I certainly didn’t believe in myself. With the support of my husband and my own stubborn determination, I powered through until the day my shaky finger clicked the publish button.

The second, Everything’s Not Bigger, only took me six months. This book was purely written as therapy. Deep soul-searching was done during this time and though it has been less popular, writing the story was the release I needed to enter a new chapter in my life.

So, I wrote a third…NOLA FRAN EVIE.

I didn’t struggle with this one. Discovering clues from 1954 in a vintage handbag provided succinct inspiration for a story that I knew I was fated to write.

I had a flow, an unstoppable rhythm that moved me.

And most of all during this third round of self-publishing, I had all of you out there. My second year of blogging has brought so many phenomenal humans into my life. The positive spirit of the writing community continues to astound me each day.

Without my husband, my family, my friends, my bloggers, and my readers…finishing another book would never have been possible. So, thank you.

Now I must call upon my beautiful community to help me with the final stages of this project. For today I am releasing NOLA FRAN EVIE into the world.

I have poured all of my energy into this story for the last year and a half of my life. As an indie author I have no team to do my historical research or market my book to the masses.

Yet I also know that I am not alone.

You are all a part of my team. I would be forever grateful for any support you can offer with this book release in the form of reading it, sharing it, and reviewing it.

Because this is a dream I will continue to cultivate. And hey, life is something to celebrate and we can always use one more story.

Without further ado, I am beyond proud to bring you…NOLA FRAN EVIE.

Nola Fran Evie Cover Master SmallThey were unladylike rebels, three young women abandoning rolling pins for baseball bats to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. They changed history and that changed them. After the league folds in 1954 Nola, Fran, and Evie meet by chance on a popcorn-scented summer day where it all began…Wrigley Field, Chicago. They team up once again to fight for a pivotal cause these dames can only win by uniting as one.

Inside these ball players lies a fierce beauty, an unconventional destiny beyond the kitchen. Foregoing the American dream of sparkling cars and pastel suburbia, together they face up to the reality of nuclear drills and civil rights. Their story is uncovered nearly forty years later when Jacks Demonte discovers a trail of clues tucked away in a vintage handbag. The extraordinary lives of these women intersect with Demonte’s as she falls deeper into a heroic past.

BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON

That Unmistakable American Comfort

I played baseball for a bit when I was younger. I was pretty damn awful.

Writing an entire novel with a strong baseball element seemed daunting at first. Writers are told to write what they know and baseball was foreign in so many ways.

Then, I realized it wasn’t foreign at all. For what can be more American than baseball?

In my eyes, watching games on TV never did baseball justice. I was very lucky, because my dad took me to a professional game every summer when I was a kid.

Although I wasn’t a good player, I loved the intense magic of going to a game. The enticing smell of popcorn in the air, the perfection of the combed dirt and manicured grass, and the joyful innocence of every spectator regardless of age.

Even today, these memories with my dad are very dear to me. And it was not until writing this book that I found the right one to dedicate to him…

For My Dad…He taught me I was just as good as the boys.

Funny thing is, this story fell right into my lap.

I’ve always wondered what opening a treasure chest might feel like, and a couple of years ago I found out when I discovered clues from 1954 in this vintage handbag.

 Hidden deep inside the crevices of the musty lining were these…

And this…

On the back of the voting receipt was a shopping list written in a woman’s elegant handwriting…

vintage shopping list

CHOCOLATE

FLY SWATTER

SHOES 

FILM 

LOAN

Suddenly I was linked to the past, to a woman who carried this handbag sixty years ago. I pictured three different women who might have owned it and my imagination went wild.

So wild that I wrote my third book, NOLA FRAN EVIE, which will be out next week.

The baseball tickets were from 1954. Interestingly enough, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League folded that same year. I decided this was fate, so I brought these historic women back to life in my book.

The women who played in the league during WWII were considered unladylike and unusual. But during that time women filled in for men everywhere while they fought overseas, including the baseball field. The boys weren’t there to throw the ball around, since they were busy pitching grenades.

Though at first seen as a girly spectacle, according to aagpbl.org, during the league’s peak year in 1948 the teams attracted 910,000 paid fans. 

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; 1948

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; 1948

Before the movie “A League of Their Own” came out in 1992, the women’s league was hiding out in the dusty shadows of history. The film is actually done quite well, with a decent amount of historical accuracy.

Most importantly, the film brought these incredible women who changed history into our modern lives.

Besides the film and some non-fiction, my online search the other day did not provide any fiction books written about the All-American Girls Baseball League. To tell you the truth, I’m a bit shocked.

I hope this book will honor the female players in the smallest way that I am capable of. For they were brave women who forever deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; 1948

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; 1948

An excerpt from NOLA FRAN EVIE—from the first chapter we meet Nola in 1954, ten years after she has left the league…

Dark shades receded from her face. Nola soon became a welcoming victim to the cloudless skies and breathless majesty of the stadium. Brick red dirt intermingled with apple green grass, both pristinely groomed for the occasion. White bases littered the canvas sporadically, accenting the no man’s land like islands of security.

It smelled like her dreams.

Silently, Nola reached her son’s side and gave him the soda. He drank straight from the rim of the bottle while she applied more lipstick to her curvy straw.

They joined hands and slurped. Energy, awe-inspired energy, radiated through their palms. 

They descended the stairs—toe ball heel, toe ball heel—tiptoeing upon the unsuspecting field with care. Sunlight bounced off their shiny hair, illuminating them as they drank their pops.

At the railing they released hands and leaned forward to absorb every scent on the field. The earth, the sweat, the leather.

Grady spoke first, his voice clear over the murmuring crowd and the provoking announcer. “Can you imagine, Ma?”

Drunk with memories, Nola briefly touched the back of his head. “Imagine what, little sir?” 

He folded his lanky arms on the railing and rested his chin. “All of this.” His blue eyes devoured the field, admiring each player warming up. 

Nola followed his gaze and mirrored his love for all that was happening.

The ball shot through the air, a stitched bird gliding until it met the leathered hand of its receiver. Then it catapulted to another, simultaneously graceful and open-minded about its destiny. Tobacco spit shredded the clean air like tarred fireworks. Backsides were scratched with opulent vigor. Sneers and jeers traded seamlessly from one ace to another.

Like the thick noise of the stadium every part of the experience blanketed her, smothering everything Nola thought she needed, replacing it with what she really craved…baseball.

“Yes, I think I can imagine all of this.”

He squinted at her, confused by her unexpected response.

She cupped Grady’s chin with her quivering hand. “I think I can.”

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; 1948

Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory; 1948

If you missed meeting my characters, please check out “Meet the Dames” and “Meet the Fellows” for a little background.

NOLA FRAN EVIE is coming your way on Tuesday!!!

My Book Gets an Outfit

It’s strange how my book didn’t seem real until I woke up this morning.

Why?

Because thanks to my gorgeous and talented husband, Mr. H, Nola Fran Evie has an outfit…a cover.

I compare the cover not to clothes—something we throw onto our bodies when we are in a hurry or something we are sick of because we wear it incessantly.

No, no. I’m talking about the artistic precision it takes to create an entire outfit to capture an essence.

My story is a living, breathing person to me. In this case with three main characters, there was a unique trio of women to dress, which is no easy task.

An outfit is a look that pulls everything together. It cloaks the physical body of the pages. It hints at every curve of emotion hiding within the words. It expresses the mood and even the very definition of the characters.

A book without a cover is a naked soul. Not an exhibitionist but a demure being who is fragile, in need of that protective shell which accentuates what lies beneath without giving everything away.

So, I can rest easy.

My story is a little less vulnerable today. My story is dressed. My story is now a book.

Nola Fran Evie Cover Large

 

NOLA FRAN EVIE releases one week from tomorrow…July 22.

 

The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with John

Last month Juliann Wetz from Browsing the Atlas shared her awe-inspired love for the liberation that comes with traveling the world. In my monthly series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, phenomenal humans from all over explain why life is so enthralling to them.

Today I’m excited to bring you John Grant, also known as Meticulous Mickall the way from Ireland. Back in March John and I teamed up for a collaborative project, where I created a poem “When I am me, I am free” after being inspired by one of his exquisite photos. It isn’t hard to be enraptured by John’s photos. He captures life crisply with a unique perspective that I can only describe as beauty with an edge. His way of seeing life and sharing its awesomeness makes John a shoo-in for a Life Enthusiast spot.

Connect with John on Facebook

Go for it, John…


Having been asked by Britt to join her Life Enthusiast Group, I now find myself wondering where on earth to start. It wasn’t always like this.

My earlier life is filled with irony. My outer shell projected someone who was confident, a laugh, happy with life and in for a good time. Internally, however, there was a restless angst, continual turmoil that would not settle. Just like a volcano, there were times when the stirrings below were more evident, but I did a great job of keeping the lid on.

It was as if I was trying to prove to everybody I was ok, when in truth I wasn’t happy at all.  And why would anyone suspect? I had a good job, good friends, a string of stunning girlfriends and had some great holidays.

There were times when I was truly alive and typically these would involve nature, elements of travel, meeting different cultures and trying new things.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Galapagos Islands where close encounters with nature were an everyday occurrence. A safari in Namibia saw the excited kid in me bubble up as each corner was turned to reveal another of nature’s incredible creations.

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

People have always amazed me. The smile of a little girl in India on receiving a single banana that we gave her, the look of joy on the indigenous people of the amazon when music started to play, the gentle but strong face of our guide in Borneo.

One of my highlights in life was to be chosen by a local tribal chief in Namibia to pose with him for a photo. Here was this man, tall, proud and stood in not much more than a loin cloth and a woolly hat, and he had asked me to stand next to him.

To me that was a real honour, a proud moment.

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

While the above may demonstrate a love of life, I could not have described myself as a “Life Enthusiast”.

Too much was wrong with my life. Life was interrupted with the death of my closest relative and that was soon followed by redundancy. The death of someone so close, dying so young made me re-evaluate what I was doing and where my values lie. In being made redundant it was as if someone was giving me the tools with which to change my life.

So here I am, having a go at a complete and utter change of direction in my career, seeking to do what I really enjoy and make a living out of it. Some may think of it as reckless, I just think of it as trying to live how I want to live.

I’ve always wanted to have a dog. Well now I have one and he is simply wonderful, a breath of fresh air.

It means a couple of walks every day, and plenty of bounces and smiles to lighten anyone’s mood. Not only that but I have met lots of great local people through the Hound.

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

In undertaking photography closer to home, my eyes seem to notice so much more. That there is plenty of beauty all around us if we could only just take a bit more time to stop and notice.

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

Photo by Meticulous Mick (aka John Grant)

So I haven’t felt like a life enthusiast all my life, but would put myself in that space now. As for the travel, that won’t stop and I am just back from a trip to Iceland, trying new food, lying in thermal pools and above all enjoying what nature has to offer. How can one not be positive about life?

Oh, it also goes without saying that I keep learning every day.