Jamaica here I come…(I hope)

Earlier this week we received an invitation to my younger cousin’s wedding in…(yep, you guessed it) Jamaica.  The wedding is in October.  Even though I’ve been to Jamaica before I would love to go back; not only to see my cousin get married but to experience the place as an adult.  The last time I went I was on a school trip for our 4H club.

The wedding is going to be at the Jewel Runaway Beach and Golf Resort.  The hotel is all inclusive, of course and tad bit expensive (at least for me) given that the rates are in US dollars and an exchange rate of about $2.70 Eastern Carribean Dollars (the currency used here in Antigua & Barbuda) to $1 US.  So we would be paying almost three times what he and his family would be paying for the same trip.

For the past few days I’ve been trying to figure out how I could save enough to make the trip in the short space of time…because I really want to go. Really!

My options include:

  • sticking to Ramen noodles for the next few months (FYI: I hate noodles.)
  • robbing a bank (Uh, no!)
  • getting a loan (which I would rather not do)

Then I remembered the 52 week money challenge, one of my Pinterest finds.  If you Google it you will get a bunch of sites that explain what to do, which isn’t exactly rocket science anyway.  The essence of it is basically you save increasing amounts of money every week for the 52 weeks.  So week one you would save $1. Then week two, $2 and so on.  At the end you should have saved $1378.00.


But then the wedding is in about 5 months. The challenge is 52 weeks.  So I asked myself how could I make it work? And self screamed, condense it!

Call me crazy but for the next 52 days I am going to attempt to save $1378.00.  In the past I haven’t done particularly well with condensed timelines, my Camp Nano attempts (here) should be proof of that but I’m going to try it anyway.  The amount would only cover part of the trip’s cost but everything counts.

So my 52 day money challenge will run me from June 6th to July 28th.  At the end of the month, which is roughly the half way point, I’ll update my progress.

Wish me luck!




Interview with WL Samuel, author of Touching Widows

Book: Touching Widows

W.L. Samuel is an Antiguan author, who gave me a bit of advice as an aspiring author. As a self published author I thought it would be great to interview him for my blog and see what other bits of wisdom he could impart.

Brief summary of Touching Widows
“Why am I here?” Were the first words that entered Bishop’s mind when he finds himself in a cemetery. He discovers why as he is pulled into one tragedy after another from New York to Florida.

Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Fiction

Published: 01/19/2009

1. What inspired you to start writing?
I write for the love of writing. I use to write as a hobby, a short story here and there, a poem here and there. Until one day my wife encouraged me to enter a poetry competition which I won. I guess you can say my eyes opened to what my wife has been telling me all along, that I write well enough to be a published author. It was then I was inspired and dreamed to be successful author.
2. Where did you get the inspiration for the book, Touching Widows?
I honestly have to say divine intervention, because my original idea died as soon as the pen touched the paper.
3. Why base the book in the US and not in Antigua?
The story was based in the U.S for two reasons: 1- that is the territory I was most familiar with. 2- I have knowledge of events taking place in the said location. So, even though Touching Widows is fictional, it is fiction based on reality. Scary but true, things happen in Touching Widows that has happened in real life and is still happening today.
4. Do you share any personal traits with your main character Bishop?
I think we all have multiple personalities, especially writers. I believe Bishop is the angelical side of me.
5. Why did you decide to self publish and why use AuthorHouse? I’m thinking to use Kindle Direct Publishing or BookBaby, they both have a print on demand service.
I decided to self-publish because my wife suggested it. I chose Author House (AH) because I submitted my manuscript to several companies and AH responded in two days and express how excited they were about my book and the fact that it wasn’t redundant. They said the story doesn’t sound like it has been told before and it has movie qualities. The mention of movie hooked me.
6. Do you have any favourite authors and did they in any way influence what you chose to write?
My favorite authors are John Grisham, James Clavell, Mario Puzo, James Patterson, and Tom Clancy. They do not influence what I choose to write.
7. Do you have any other books in the works?
I have Poetry From My Mind To Yours which was published December 2012. I am putting the finishing touch on my new novel and hope to have it published by August.
8. Any advice for an aspiring author like myself?
My advice to you and anyone who wants to be an author is never quit. I have seen negative criticism about best selling authors books so that tells me to let them talk because the numbers of your fans don’t lie. And if you’re at a level where you don’t have fans in the millions, its alright, be patient and keep writing.
Where to Buy

Book Review: Touching Widows

Book: Touching Widows

Pages: 88

Publcation Date: 07/31/2008

Publisher: AuthorHouse


Touching Widows is a short novel divided into four parts about an angel sent to Earth. At first Bishop is not sure why he’s here. Drawn by various tragedies, he discovers his purpose and helps unfortunate widows find peace. With only a touch he can see what brought each person to the breaking point in their lives and offers hope for the future. Before he leaves, Bishop gives each woman a parting note.

Rating: ♥♥♥

The book is really short and for a fast reader like me it took barely a full afternoon to finish. To say anything more about it would give away too much.

I like the basic message of Touching Widows; always believe in God, he will see you through. There are a lot of horrors in the world and though we might not have our own guardian angel, the book sends the message that we are stronger than we believe and to never give up hope. Life goes on.

The story progresses very quickly. There’s not much build up except for part 2 which is the longest chapter of the book and a bit graphic and explicit. Another issue is the fact that there is no obvious break in dialogue. Everything flows into one, I don’t know if that was deliberate or a formatting problem. At times I wasn’t sure which character was speaking. I would have to stop and reread it to be clear. With the author being a poet, the notes Bishop leaves are nice little poems of inspiration.

Despite everything it was an interesting book. The story is different.

The book is available on B&N and Amazon.

The Next Chapter

To start off my goals for my blog I wanted to give some insight into why my blog is called The Next Chapter. I know today is Monday and I said I was going to post writing related stuff but I thought it would be good to begin this way.

The Next Chapter is a name I chose because this is a new era in my life.  I’m embracing something that I was always afraid to share with others because I thought it would make me seem more of a nerd than I already was.   I’ve always read alot and I’m into Star Wars and stuff like that.  The people I grew up with had to basically be sick to find them with a book.  I was always the weird one.

I started writing a novel quite a few years ago and didn’t finish because I wanted to go to college and instead of pursuing a degree in English or Creative Writing (I thought at the time they wouldn’t be realistic choices), I chose Hospitality Management and Tourism.  After all I live in the Caribbean, on an island that survivied mainly from that industry, it would be a more practical thing to do.

But the stories never left me.  My strong point in college was writing.  I even worked part time as an English tutor.  So now probably a good decade later I’ve finished writing my first manuscript, a few short stories and working on the outline for another novel.

Call it a not-so-mid-life crisis (I’m 31) or whatever but this time I plan to see this through to wherever it may lead.  So far I’ve been enjoying it.