Friday, March 13, 2015

Elizabeth Seckman Defying Reason

Wow. Final day of the tour. I'm tired and I'm sure the blogosphere is tired of hearing from me, but guess who we're not tired of hearing from? Our buddy, Jeff! 

Jeff, we've missed you! So, for this stop...I sent Jeff questions and commanded him to give us an update. So, let's all welcome Jeff to his very own blog and find out what he's been up to. 

(I know, I'm tricky. And Jeff was worried that this wouldn't highlight my book well enough, so here is how this ties in to my story: Defying Reason is a story about characters who understand that people matter more than things and that love and friendship always conquer all the bad in the world.)

Now, here's Jeff!!!

How has Jeff been?

I've finally started adjusting to my "new normal" widowed identity, by far my biggest ever life change event in terms of lifestyle and emotional impact. I've hit frightening dark periods several times, but I've survived them all thanks to friends, faith, family, and even Isis (my little feline goddess). Sometimes we need others to remind (or even convince) us that our lives still have value and purpose in the right here, right now.

Most of the time though I'm doing okay--or at least well enough to be convincing. I'm a better man for having undergone the struggle and for vowing to continue the struggle knowing the battle will last my lifetime. My healing has been slow and painful, but I am healing. I still meet with several members of our Hospice Loss of a Spouse support group weekly for dinner. We've become good friends and walk together down this road to recovery.

What have you been working on?

A few things actually. The Awakening (Strands of Pattern book #2) is again my primary focus. Lots of plotting and drafting going on, some of which has required plotline tweaks in #1. I've also been enhancing Magic Muse, my novel-writing software. And I've been dabbling with a non-fiction project geared toward men recently widowed. A few new short stories are under my belt and I've amassed loads of story ideas yet to be written.

Biggest challenge for me now is simply making good use of my limited time. I wear all the hats now and things don't get done unless I do them, be they professional, social, or domestic. (Retirement has never before looked so desirable!)

What are your plans for the future?


Twenty months after the fact now and I'm still trying to bring my goals into focus. Deciding which of my pre-widowed aspirations are still objectives I wish to pursue has been oddly problematic. The fervor with which I pursue them varies greatly too.

I do intend to pursue publishing The Bonding if nothing else. That wasn't a promise, but it was something Myra wanted to see and she would expect me to follow through and do it. I'm hoping to get back to blogging regularly at some point, even if on a smaller scale. I've made a lot of friends blogging and miss the camaraderie.


I love the idea of a nonfiction book for widowed men. I think it can be harder on men because they aren't always as connected and expressive as women. But I'm also eager to see Strands of Pattern published. I've beta read this story and it's wonderful. And of course, I'd like to see you blog more too. Seems I want it all, so you better get to juggling!

This Jeff Update was brought to you Defying Reason

The Blurb:

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.
Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.
Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.
Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

 
Author Bio:

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach. 

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69 comments:

  1. I can't think of a better person to exemplify that ' people matter more than things and that love and friendship always conquer all the bad in the world.'
    Thank you Jeff. Thank you Elizabeth. I hope both of you achieve your goals.

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    1. Jeff could be the poster man for good friends!

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  2. Hi Jeff - life certainly has its ups and downs and I'm glad you're pursuing the book Myra had hoped you would finish. The Hospice group sounds so helpful ... people do help people and do come together and create that camaraderie.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts ... and its good to see Elizabeth here ... Defying Reason is a great title for a story line ... cheers and thoughts to you both - and yes it'd be good if you can manage to get back to blogging ... Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary! I liked the title too :)

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    2. I initially resisted the Hospice one-on-one counseling. Then I resisted the Hospice support group. I'm so glad I stopped resisting both.

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  3. Welcome to your own blog, Jeff!
    A book for widowed men is a good idea.
    May you continue to heal and lean on the Lord.

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    1. I will certainly make that effort, Alex. Thank you.

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  4. They say time heals all wounds, and in some ways, it does. But I feel some wounds never completely heal. For me, God is my saving balm to soothe a festering heart. Like Alex said, lean on the Lord. He will guide you on your life's journey.

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    1. Cathrina, time is powerful whether we welcome it as an ally or fight it like an adversary. In this, I've come to accept it as a companion, providing memories and offering hope.

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  5. That is an important voice to hear Jeff. And if it was something Myra wanted to see then you should definitely pursue it.

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    1. Hard as it can be to do, Maurice, pursing life as if she were still within my grasp is what she would want more than anything. I owe it to her to do my best.

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  6. What a brilliant idea, Elizabeth, and quite original too. :) Welcome to your own blog, Jeff. It was a bit lonely here. That non-fiction book is a great idea! And Higher Powers know there are many waiting on The Bonding, eagerly. (and the 62th part of the series as well ;)).

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    1. I thought it was a pretty good idea. I'm learning a little something by hanging out with dragons!

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    2. Brilliant, original, and tricksy, yes, that's our Elizabeth, that's our precious. :)

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  7. Big hugs to you, Jeff. I think that's a brilliant idea, and a form of comfort knowing you can help others through such a difficult time.

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    1. I hope so, Anna. The drafts are going in a dozen directions, but each one feels like it has a place in the project. Life alone after years (or decades) of companionship presents challenges few would expect. Men need to know their hurt is just as unique as the wife they lost.

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  8. I'm meeting you for the first time here, but your story touches me. I have found writing is very healing...but taking the step toward it again after a loss can be very hard. It sounds like you've already made those steps. The support in this blog community is amazing. I know Diane Carlisle (http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/) recently lost her husband and she's found comfort in reading.

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    1. I'm very pleased to meet you, Stephanie. I don't know if you know how true those words are. Resuming my writing was (and sometimes still is) amazingly difficult for a multitude of reasons. I will make a point to visit Diane Carlisle's cyberplace.

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  9. I'm praying for you, and that God will give you the direction you need.

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    1. Thank you, Misha. I appreciate the prayers.

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  10. In a similar situation, I found this small quote from author, Kahlil Gibran, strangely comforting: "Love knows not it's own depth, until the hour of separation."

    I really hope you accomplish work on, "a non-fiction project geared toward men recently widowed." (Just my thought - May God give you peace and renew your spirit.)

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    1. I think that excellent Kahlil Gibran quote is almost always true, Dixie. Yet in this one case, I really did know the depth of my love before the hour of separation. I knew its depth and understood how fortunate I was to know it. It's something for which I'm grateful beyond words. Still, it made the sorrow of separation no easier.

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  11. What a great idea, Elizabeth! I think a nonfiction book for widowed men is an excellent idea. Good luck.

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    1. I know I missed Jeff. I figured everyone else did too.

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    2. Christine, Elizabeth has a magical kitchen in which she bakes up one great idea after another. No one can steal her recipes because the recipes include the cook. And thank you for the wish of luck on the project.

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  12. Thanks for visiting your own blog for me Jeff. You're a great friend and wise man to know to never tell the chick no. Hugs and prayers!!

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    1. You are most certainly welcome. You're a ray of sunlight piercing the clouds that have so long hung overhead. It is I who am grateful.

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    2. See? That's why I miss you when you're not around!

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  13. Hey Elizabeth and Jeff,

    After the absence, it's heartening to note that our good friend Jeff has been summoned to his own blog my the lovely, delightful Elizabeth :)

    Through your experience, Jeff, you have grasped the inspiration. Remember, you are remarkable.

    And Elizabeth, kudos and hugs to you.

    Gary :)

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    1. My wonderful Gary, welcome! I could never resist being summoned by Elizabeth Awesome Seckman any more than you could. What soul doesn't want to be in the presence of awesomeness?

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    2. Now you guys will make me blush.

      Missing you too Gary!! Going to have to call you out soon.

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  14. Hi Jeff, it was nice to meet you. I've been where you are, and there's no describing what it's like. Keep writing. I hope time brings you some measure of peace.

    Elizabeth, what a sweet thing to do. Congrats on your release and your blog tour!

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    1. Likewise, Lori. That's so true about there being no way to describe it. Peace, for me, has been a chief objective and I'll take whatever measure time permits. I hope time has brought you the same.

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  15. Hi Jeff and Elizabeth.
    The non-fiction project geared toward widowed males sounds interesting. I'm sure it would have great therapeutic value, and it would be of great benefit to others who have yet to walk this particular path... so it's a win-win.
    I liked your comment that our lives still have value and purpose in the right here, right now. God bless you as you take up the challenge and attempt to juggle all those hats...

    ...and with regards to the Elizabeth Awesome Seckman reference? Yes, Liz is all that and more!

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    1. Michelle, she is indeed. :) And the project has certainly been quite therapeutic. My aim is to be comprehensive enough to benefit the man widowed at thirty years of age or after thirty years of marriage.

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  16. Thank you Elizabeth for introducing me to Jeff, and thank you Jeff for hosting E on your site today, and for sharing where you are in your "new" life now. Eye-opening and heart felt. I appreciate your compassion and honesty, and wish you all the best on your ventures.

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    1. I appreciate the well-wishes, Lisa. Expressing compassion has always been easy for me. It's the honesty part that's more difficult. I found from the earliest days of my grieving that it's so easy to be dishonest with myself. A perfect example was me denying the anger inside me for the longest time. It can be tough being honest with yourself.

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  17. I'm late to this fair. Great way to talk to Jeff and advertise your book too Liz. Jeff, you know I have been waiting for your book Strands of Pattern for a long time and I really thought when your daughter was published it might spur you to action. I know she wants you to get your book out there too. Come on Sir Knight, we are all waiting on you with bated breath.

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    1. My dear Jo, you will never know fully how much your encouragement and prodding has put my fingers back on the keyboard and my mind back on track. I am eternally grateful for you, Grandmother Dragon.

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  18. Its really good to know that you're coping, Jef -f and that you're managing to some writing too! Hugs xx

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    1. Thank you, Suzy. Neither the coping nor the writing has been easy, but I have a remarkable tribe of friends that has helped me carry my load. I fear to think where I'd be now without them.

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  19. This was a unique -- an exceptional -- way of bringing attention to your book. And thanks for updating us on how things are going for you. Very appreciated! :)

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    1. I've learned I should never be surprised by the unique and exceptional Elizabeth Awesome Seckman, DL. (And you're welcome.)

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  20. congrats again on your book Elizabeth! And thank you for bringing Jeff back. I'll buy your book just for that!

    Jeff, it's so good to see you again. I love the idea of a book for recently widowed men. I know when we were in the depths of our infertility struggle, which is a form of grieving, I had many people sympathize with me. Not once did anyone come up to my husband and ask how he was dealing with the fact he couldn't be a father. Men need that support and friendship too. I hope you continue to write. You are the only one who can write those stories and the world would be a sadder place without them. Missed you.

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    1. oh Sara, you know how to make a guy feel good. It is true that men are often overlooked with them portraying the brave, supportive role that's expected of them. I sometimes wonder too if others are simply uncertain how to approach dudes. To be fair, most of us guys would swiftly erect that macho facade and brush away the support we really do need and crave.

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  21. Jeff, This is my first visit to your blog. I don't know what to say since I missed all that came before. It sounds like you're doing really good things to get back to a place of healthy. When your spouse becomes sick, it's catching in a way. You have to get back to a mentally healthy place (in many ways tougher than just physical ailments). Keep going. You've made tremendous progress and I have no doubt that your wife is watching out for you and clapping her hands in delight each time you take a positive step forward.

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    1. I'm very pleased you stopped by, Robin. You're quite correct in that achieving that healthy place mentally/emotionally can be much more difficult than physically. And the internal wounds aren't always as evident.

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  22. Good to hear from you Jeff. We're here for ya!

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    1. That is very much appreciated, Adam. I'm still here due in no small part to others being here for me. :)

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  23. Glad to hear you've been adjusting as well as you can, Jeff, even if there are still periods of darkness. Having people around who care is definitely invaluable during a healing process like this! And Elizabeth, Defying Reason sounds like a fantastic book. I especially love the themes you highlighted at the start of this post. Best of luck with it!

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    1. Heather, if I've been blessed in any way at all, it's the people who have entered my life, both family and friend. In the end, that's really where all our riches lie anyway, right? Hope you're doing well!

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  24. I love how you turned this one around, Elizabeth! It's good to hear from you, Jeff. :) Grief is a long, hard haul. I'm glad you have people around who are helping you through it, and I'm glad to hear of your projects moving forward!

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    1. Thank you, Tyrean. It is indeed a long, hard haul. I can attest to that. And isn't that Elizabeth a clever ("sneaky") little thing? :)

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  25. So glad to know you've got lots of support and are making great strides in your new reality. I hope you find that writing is helping in your healing. Love the twist Elizabeth put on the tour post. It was nice to hear what's going on with you.The blurb for Defying Reason sounds great!

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    1. The strides feel more like baby steps, Nicki, but any forward motion is a good thing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  26. I love this whole post!
    It sounds like you're on a great path, Jeff.
    Heather

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    1. Heather, I'm actually just trying to walk my path as I would want Myra to walk hers had the roles been reversed. It sounds like such a simple thing, doesn't it?

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  27. That path of grief is a tough one whether you've lost a sibling, close friend, or other family. When it's your mate, well, a road filled with deep pot holes where no sun shines. One day you're okay and the next is crash burn and hurt like hell. Glad you have Isis to help out center you and yay on still visiting with the hospice support group.

    A book on grieving as a widower would be a great thing. There are some differences between men and women, but part of that is what people out there and in our family expect or feel is 'normal' for how men express grief and their recovery. Men feel things just as deeply hurt and miss the loved one just as much as women. Besides, writing about it all is a great healer.

    Lots of big hugs, Jeff!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. That tiny, frightened, and hungry kitten showing up on my doorstep last summer was truly one of the best things for me. She's a source of entertainment, loves to snuggle (a cat!), and pulls me out of those periods where emotions begin spiraling downward. And then there are folks like you, Sia, who step in and lend an understanding, virtual shoulder for support. It truly is invaluable.

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  28. Hi, Jeff & Elizabeth,

    As I'm sure Jeff knows, healing takes a lot of time and he will probably never be 100% the same as before.

    While Elizabeth has had fun, I'm sure she's glad the tour is on its last legs.

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    1. Hi, J.L.! Indeed. I knew immediately that "as before" was forever gone, but knowing it and accepting it are totally different animals. oh, and Elizabeth runs on solar power, which is a good thing seeing as how she's a bundle of sunshine.

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  29. Hi Jeff, I am so glad Elizabeth encouraged you into a blog post today. You have been missed. Sounds like you have been keeping up with the writing despite your loss. I am sure Myra would like to see you continue your publishing path.

    Be well. Have a good weekend.

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    1. Thank, Donna. It's odd how forcing myself to continue in the manner Myra would wish can trigger guilt and satisfaction simultaneously. I have to continuously swap places with her in my mind. It's the only way for me to accomplish it. We all want those we love to be happy and live full lives.

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  30. Jeff, it is good know about you. I wish you joy, strength and Happiness. I find the idea of a book for widowed men very relevant, please do publish it and since I do book reviews, I would love to talk about your book on my blog.
    All the very best.
    http://wwww.inderpreetkaur.blogspot.in

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    1. Thanks for those wishes, Inderpreet. I'm not really sure when it will be available. Writing it has been a challenge in many ways. I apparently approach writing fiction and non-fiction quite differently. However, I have this desire (need?) to reach guys like me who find themselves in that suddenly-alone situation.

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  31. Jeff, it's great to hear from you and Elizabeth had a good idea with this post! As someone who has also lost a very close family member, I absolutely understand what you are going through. But I know that those we have lost would want us to go on and fulfill our dreams and make them proud. It sounds like Myra wanted that. I'm glad you've kept up with writing and a non-fiction book like that sounds like it would be very useful. Just hang in there!

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    1. Nick, I thank God I never lost a child. I can't imagine what you've been through. We owe to Myra and Andrew to carry on as we'd want them to carry on had the situations been reversed. It still isn't easy by any means, but the peaceful smiles we put on their faces by doing just that makes the effort worthwhile.

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