Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gratitude Post #10 - The Diversity of my Community

One of the things I love most about living in a large city with a thriving tourism industry is the fact that it makes my community a bit of a melting pot of cultures.

We have an Asian section of the city, another that's primarily Hispanic, and some spots that are mostly black. But those cultures mix into the fabric of the society as a whole. And that's the way I like it.

Now, being in the south, we do still have a couple of those antiquated institutions, like a country club that doesn't allow any black or non-Christian members. That stuff makes me cringe, but I do my best to ignore it, and hope that the ignorance that perpetuates such things will end soon.

I enjoy that my city has a wide range of religious institutions, not just the regular Christian churches, but there are also Jewish synagogues, mosques, Hindi and Buddhist temples, Pagan and Unitarian churches. We have a blending of styles and cultures. And that is important when you consider that people come in all shapes, sizes and beliefs.

So one of the things I am thankful for is my community's diversity in so many ways.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gratitude Post #9 - Volunteer Work

About a year ago, I learned that two of my friends were tutors for our local adult literacy association. I was familiar with the organization because I'd been involved with several book signings over the years that had benefited the charity. But for one reason or another, I hadn't investigated what it would take to become a tutor. Time was an issue, I'm not the most patient person, plus it just never occurred to me that volunteering was something somebody my age did. I figured that was a pursuit I'd look into when I was closer to 'retirement age.'

But I'm so glad that I took my friends' suggestion and signed up for volunteer training and began my journey to becoming a reading tutor to a learning-disabled adult. Watching my student grow in confidence and ability is so rewarding, and that's a part of the experience I'd never anticipated.

Not only does the tutoring help my student, but it enriches my life in a way I can't really put into words. Every time we finish up a session, I have a sense of inner satisfaction, as if I've served a purpose greater than myself. Each new milestone for my student is not only a triumph for her, but it's a warm fuzzy for me. And it's one more thing in my life for which I am deeply, surprisingly grateful. I highly recommend the experience of volunteering. Do something you care about, give to others, and you'll end up giving a lot more to yourself.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Gratitude Post #8 - My Life

I almost died a few weeks ago. There's nothing like a brush with the grim reaper to push your gratitude meter into uncharted territory.

What I assumed was a bad intestinal flu turned out to be diverticulitis, which led to a GI bleed that very quickly caused me to lose more than half my blood. Had my husband not been home with me, I'd have tried to ride it out. He, on the other hand, called 911, which was the thing to do. By the time I arrived in the ER, I needed a transfusion of four units of blood. That's a lot.

I spent the next four days in the hospital in sub-acute care, hooked up to antibiotics and gradually transitioning from no liquids at all to ice chips, to clear liquids to full liquids. It took two days for the bleeding to stop, and I'm still working on getting my strength back to a hundred percent.

My wonderful husband spent every day there with me. I had to kick him out each night after midnight so he'd save his own strength and get some rest and a shower. My kids came to visit, as well as a couple relatives and one of our close friends. A few others offered, but I declined since I really did need to rest.

After I got home, three of my dear friends either came by the house or sent flowers. Others called with offers of help. I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude for those wonderful friends.

But the other night, as I lay in bed, I started thinking about two of my other friends. Both of these women knew that I'd been in the hospital since they'd Liked or commented on Facebook posts. They also knew about the other, way more devastating event in my life last year -- the death of my father. Yet neither of them bothered to call or send a card then or now.

Maybe I'm being petty here, but I've done things for those two 'friends.' I've made donations to charities they requested when they've lost relatives, sent cards, called in times of need and even cooked meals and sent gifts for their big life events, the births, and graduations of their children. Yet they have done none of those things for me in my times of need. Not a card, a phone call, an offer of help, nothing. Only a line of sympathy on Facebook. Big freaking deal. I know everyone's busy, but seriously!

So maybe it's time to cull the friendship roster in my life. After all, like I said, I have a lot of wonderful, amazing friends, whom I love dearly. Friends who show through their words AND their actions that they care.

Yes, I am infinitely grateful for my life, my family and my friends. My true friends. I now know who those are. There's another huge life lesson, for which I'm also thankful. It's sometimes in the darkest hours that things become the most clear.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Release and Giveaway!!

It's finally here! My collection of six super hot stories that includes some of my all-time favorites.

Shades of Sexy features TWO!!! menage a trois books, Customer Service and Overexposed, as well as a bondage tale, Belle Behind Bars, which has a corrections officer hero. (Did you know that Mr. Daniels is a corrections officer?)

Also in this collection is Horsing Around, my one and only cowboy tale. Then there's Rude, Nude and Socially Unacceptable, which features a biker hero. Last, but not least, there's Getting Even with Warren, a story about a widow who learns of her husband's affairs after his death and plans a delicious way to get her revenge.

If any of these stories sound appealing, just enter the Rafflecopter below to win your own copy!

*** a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 27, 2015

Gratitude Post #7 - Great Role Models

The world would be a better place if everyone had people they could look up to who embodied values like honesty, honor and personal responsibility. I was so fortunate to have been raised in a family full of such people.

My father embodied all of these traits, and his death last year rocked me to my core. But he left a valuable legacy to me, my sisters and all of our children. Although he grew up in a world of privilege, he had a strong work ethic and we were expected to excel in school. Dishonesty was never tolerated, and both my parents taught by the examples they set -- lessons like showing respect to their own parents, community involvement, and being politically and socially aware.

My mother attended college in an era when not many women did so, and even completed her degree after having two children and losing her first husband to cancer in her twenties. She's been a lifelong activist who, even at eighty, is ready to go to battle for things she believes.

Our society seems to be lacking good role models these days. Kids look to Hollywood instead of their own living room, school or community to find people to emulate. I wish more people had parents like I did. The world might be a better place.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gratitude Post #6 - My Man

At the very top of my list of things that I'm grateful for, is my husband. Yeah, I know it's corny and probably sickeningly sweet, but it's true. I couldn't post this on Valentine's Day since I'd committed to do a special Scavenger Hunt post (and because that would somehow lump it in with everyone else's lovefests), but since this time is right between that day and coming up upon our anniversary, what better time?

Maybe because I have one of those exceptionally wonderful relationships, I can spot them in other couples. And more frequently, I can sense when they are not so good. I've come to the conclusion that that the symbiotic spark my guy and I share is a rare flower, a gift that we both treasure, because we understand how truly unusual it is.

What works for us certainly wouldn't work for everyone, but we fit together perfectly. And this March, we'll have been married for twenty-five years. And not only do we still love each other, but we still genuinely like each other. I'm thinking that in this day and age of disposable everything, that's something pretty special.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Scavenger Hunt!

Coffee Time Romance Valentine’s Blog Post

The Grand Gesture

In romance novels, when all appears to be lost, the hero often does what’s known as ‘the grand gesture,’ which is basically a big, last-ditch appeal to win back his lover. This could be anything from giving up his inheritance to risking his life, to revealing the details of a long-kept family secret. The point is, it must be something that costs the hero a lot, be that emotionally, physically, or in some other way. And it has to mean something important to the heroine, enough to hopefully sway her over to agreeing to give their love another shot.
Since Valentine’s Day is the day for lovers, it’s only fitting to talk about those romantic gestures. In my latest book, THE SURROGATE HUSBAND, Dex makes such a gesture, not even realizing the effect it will have on Lucy.
In the real world, people often use the occasion of Valentine’s Day to grandstand a bit, to proclaim their undying love and devotion to their mate, sometimes by spending way too much money. Early in our relationship, my guy did that sort of thing to the tune of break-the-bank level!
Now that we’ve been married for a long time, he’s learned that those grand gestures don’t require any money at all. That’s not what they are all about. And frankly, he’s learned how to do this so well, that I have to brag on him. The man has figured out how to turn on the romance without spending a penny. What does he do? One year he drew a huge heart on our picture window with our names inside. Another time he made a similar picture on the windows of my car. There was another Valentine’s Day when he came to my workplace with a special lunch and served it to me on our finest China.
He’s such a romantic that he regularly writes sweet notes on my Facebook page. My friends get a kick out of it, and ask where they can find such an awesome guy.
I tell them that first you have to know what you’re looking for. Read a few romance novels, figure out what it is you’re searching for. There are bits and pieces of my man in every hero I write. How could I not have become a romance writer with a romantic guy like that?
When I get to the part of the book where the grand gesture comes, I love it when I can write that part in a way that involves no monetary cost. No giving up the inheritance, or the lottery money, just a gesture that comes straight from the heart. The kind that means the most.
What was the most meaningful Valentine’s Day gift you ever received? I’ll pick one commenter to win an electronic copy of THE SURROGATE HUSBAND on February 12.

Lucy Hamilton’s mother assures her great aunt on the old woman’s deathbed that confirmed bachelorette Lucy has eloped, in order to make the dying woman happy. When the unexpected happens and Aunt Bev recovers, Lucy must suddenly find a man to play her husband for a family wedding.  
The last woman that straight-laced accountant Dex Levian should pretend to be involved with is his sexy new client, Lucy, especially with the upcoming sale of his firm to a man who frowns upon mixing business with pleasure. But what red-blooded guy would turn down the opportunity to spend a romantic weekend with the sexiest woman in South Beach? When their charade starts becoming all too real, the consequences might be more than they are willing to bear.

Hi folks.
Here’s what you need to do to WIN: Comment below to be entered to win a download of THE SURROGATE HUSBAND. Then write down the word in the picture – you’ll need it on the last day of the scavenger hunt to be in to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK® 7.0!,
Head back to the Coffee Time And More Website to read the next post and find the next clue!
Good luck!

***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT*** I picked Elisa Difino in a random drawing as my winner. Please contact me via my website, www.WynterDaniels.com