Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Patricia Leavy is a shining star...plus a book giveaway

You may remember when we featured Patricia Leavy's novel Shooting Stars a few months ago. Well, she now has a sequel called Twinkle. She's here today to share a letter she wrote to the version of herself from ten years ago and she has a set of both books for one lucky reader! We are not sharing the synopsis of Twinkle, as to not spoil Shooting Stars, as one picks up where the other left off. 

Patricia Leavy, PhD is an independent scholar, novelist, and public speaker (formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Founding Director of Gender Studies and Chairperson of Sociology & Criminology at Stonehill College). She holds a PhD in sociology from Boston College (2002). A champion of arts-based research and public scholarship, she has published more than 30 books including the best-seller Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice (first, second, and third editions), Essentials of Transdisciplinary Research: Using Problem-Centered Methodologies and Fiction as Research Practice: Short Stories, Novellas and Novels and the best-selling novels Spark, Film, Blue, Low-Fat Love, and American Circumstance.

She is the editor for ten book series with Oxford University Press, Guilford Press, and Brill/Sense. Frequently called on by the media, she has appeared on national television, radio, is regularly quoted by the news media, publishes op-eds and is a blogger. She makes presentations and keynote addresses at universities as well as national and international conferences. She has received numerous national and international book awards. She has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women's empowerment network, named her an "Influencer." In 2018, she was honored by the National Women's Hall of Fame and the State University of New York at New Paltz established the "Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice." (Bio courtesy of Amazon.)

Visit Patricia online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

A Letter to Myself 10 Years Ago: Breathe, Just Breathe

Today, I’m a full-time author. Ten years ago, I was getting ready to publish my debut novel. I was a professor at a small liberal arts college with a pretty substantial catalogue of academic nonfiction books. Fiction was going to be an entirely new world. Truthfully, it’s the world I always wanted to be in, but I’d been too scared to pursue it, to wear my heart on my sleeve, something novelists do. Feeling frustrated in my career, I decided to go for it, secretly penning my first novel. In the time since, I’ve published more than ten works of fiction. In some ways, I feel like a totally different person and I’ve learned a lot along the way. As they say, if I have only known then what I know now. 

My greatest teachers over the past decade have actually been the characters in my books. All my novels center on women protagonists. They all have their own challenges and dreams. Some struggle for self-worth and positive body image in the context of toxic relationships, some struggle to be creatives in a world  in which “me too” experiences create endless barriers, some struggle to accept their own life choices, some have the kinds of friendships we all long for while others suffer in isolation. In the end, one way or another, they all come to realize that we are each possibilities and we are worthy of love. Through them, I’ve learned the same. 

Over the years people have asked me if this protagonist or that protagonist is in fact me. None of them are me. That’s what I tell people. It’s the truth. But it would also be true to say that because they’ve come through my filter, in some ways, they each represent my hopes, fears, dreams, failings, and successes. Writing fiction is a process of discovery. In writing these women characters and all the supporting casts who populate their worlds, I’ve discovered some things about myself, things I wish I had known ten years ago. If I could go back a decade, these are some things I would tell myself:

Be brave. And when you are brave, own it. It took me a long time to pursue a creative path simply because I was scared. Then when I did release my first novel, many colleagues told me I was brave. I always boohooed it, never thinking of myself that way. In hindsight I can see that it was brave. It takes courage to follow your dreams. It takes courage to put your creative work out in the world, come what may. 

Wear your heart on your sleeve. To really go for anything in life requires vulnerability. Taking that leap brings the greatest rewards. 

Do work you love. Time is the only thing we have of value. There’s nothing better than loving what you do so much that you get lost in it, forgetting to eat lunch. And while I think doing work we love is important no matter what the “outcome,” I also believe that when you do something that really touches your heart, it’s likely to resonate with others too. 

Out of all my characters, I’ve learned the most from Tess Lee, her beloved Jack Miller, and their incredible friends. Tess is my masterpiece, not because of what anyone else may or may not think of her, but because of the once-in-a-lifetime joy I’ve had writing her story over a series of novels, and all she’s given me. Tess is a novelist (yeah, I can relate to her in some ways). She believes that there is only darkness and light and love is the bridge between them, and she enacts this love in innumerable ways. An abuse survivor, her childhood was filled with darkness and healing is a lifelong process. She uses her work to help transform darkness into light. Each Tess Lee novel includes an excerpt from one of Tess’s books. Twinkle, the second novel which was just released, explores love and doubt (and each book can be read as a standalone). It includes the following excerpt from one of Tess’s books:

“She looked up at the night sky, bursting with stars. One twinkling star caught her eye. It drew her gaze as if it were the light at the end of the proverbial dark tunnel. The twinkle pulsed like her heartbeat. Mesmerized, she blocked out all the others and watched her lone star twinkle. Was it a lifeline, an anchor, or a distraction? She wondered: If she could lasso that one star and pull it to her, would the entire sky crumple like a piece of paper? Would it give her a paper cut that would then be all she felt? Overwhelmed, she squeezed her eyelids shut and opened them again. This time, she saw all the stars lighting up the sky. She inhaled deeply, oxygen filling her lungs. Breathe, she told herself, just breathe.”

From Tess I’ve learned perhaps the most important thing I wish I knew ten years ago—the thing that would have helped with everything else.

Breathe. Just breathe. 

Thanks to Patricia for sharing this lovely letter with us and for sharing her books with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Giveaway ends December 20th at midnight EST.


Padmini Rao said...

I’m decorating my Christmas tree with lots of tinsel.

Padmini Rao said...

I’m decorating my tree with lots of tinsel.

traveler said...

baking, cooking and enjoying the grandchildren.

Nancy said...

Being with the children and seeing Christmas through their young eyes adda more sparkle to the holiday season.

Annmarie Weeks said...

I just sent out sparkly holiday cards at the post office yesterday to our friends & family. And my hubby & I hung colored lights outside our front door!

Mary Preston said...

The Christmas lights do lift the spirits.

jodi marinich said...

we are adding more lights around the house to make it sparkle

Charlotte Lynn said...

I put up my North Pole Village. So much glitter, lights, and sparkle

diannekc said...

Decorating the house for Christmas and baking cookies with my Sister.

bn100 said...


rubynreba said...

We have a big 100 year old house and have lights in all the windows!

Nancy P said...

Spending time with my son.

Kelley Blair said...

I’m relaxing this year. No hub hub for us.