Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Beginning the New Year With Intention

And what would that intention be? One word, of course -- gratitude. To anyone who reads my posts on a regular basis on Facebook, Twitter and here, this notion will come as no surprise. The notion of gratitude has permeated much of what I think and do for several months now.

And for a lot longer than that, I've been a huge believer in intention. What you throw out there into the universe -- good or bad -- will come back to you. I try to do everything with intention, from how I think to everyday mundane stuff like cooking. Yes, I cook with intention. I try to infuse every dish with intent and will.

Something else I do more and more is meditate, the focus of which is usually gratitude. If you're wondering why I do so much to foster gratitude, it's because I feel very fortunate to have all that I do. I have a terrific family, a lovely home, and my health. But besides all that, gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can experience.

If you're interested in doing a gratitude meditation yourself, there are plenty of free resources on the internet. You can try
Fragrant Heart, or here's one from YouTube.

You might be wondering what the heck this has to do with my books and writing. Well, nothing. Or everything. No, it doesn't specifically relate to any of my books. But I can tell you that I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had that have put my writing career on the road it's on.

We all have something we can be grateful for. What's yours?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Celebrate Well

'Tis the season of celebrations. between Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule and Kwanzaa, it seems you can't turn around in December without tripping over a holiday!
I try very hard to be respectful of all cultures and traditions because you never know who celebrates what.

I have a very diverse group of friends and I've been fortunate enough to learn about many cultures and different celebrations. One friend told me how her Swedish grandparents celebrate St Lucia Day, marking the day a young Christian girl was martyred for her faith in the middle ages.

Some of my Pagan friends gather for an all night vigil on the winter solstice to await the sun's return as the wheel of the year turns and the days start growing gradually longer.

There's Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Christmas, oh my!

But the very best day for me this year will be New Years Day. It's not just about resolutions or celebrations. What I love most about that is the clean slate. The fresh start. It's about putting those photos from last year in a beautiful frame for display, then setting about to create new moments to cherish.

So whatever you celebrate, I hope you have fun. And I hope the coming year brings you all things wonderful and positive. To start the year off right, I'll give one commenter a copy of my latest release, The Surrogate Husband. Just sign up at the form below.
*** a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Year of Highs and Lows

I'm so glad that 2014 is ending on a high note for me -- a brand new book, and one that I dearly love. The Surrogate Husband was a really fun book to write. What with Lucy's pink hair, multiple piercings, and the colorful cast of characters that makes up her family, her life was just enjoyable to step in to.

And then there's Dex. Mr. Marine-turned CPA has such a hot vibe that I never wanted to get out of his point of view when I was writing. Rather than tell you, I'll give you a snipet.

Shutting his briefcase, he looked out the window and glimpsed a hot-pink Kawasaki Ninja cruising down the road. Too fast. Lucy. She’d told him during one of their phone conversations that she’d recently bought the bike. She wore a matching helmet, a black leather jacket, and short skirt. Beyond hot.
But he held his breath when a car turned in front of her, cutting her off. She stopped short. All he could think about was Caroline, driving that Mustang of hers too fast. Always too fast. Until that rainy night two and a half years ago, the last night of his fiancée’s life.
He scrubbed a hand over his face, then stepped out of the café and tried to walk off the memory as he crossed the street toward Lucy’s building.
She steered into the lot where he’d parked, climbed off the bike, and turned her back to him. Taking off the helmet, she shook out her long black-and-pink hair. Her bangs brushed her dark eyebrows, and he noticed a small gold ball at the arch of the left one. Not his thing, but it looked good on her.
Where else did she have piercings? He dropped his gaze to her breasts and wondered. None of the women he’d dated had pierced nipples, yet the idea was surprisingly arousing.
Now his erotic dreams about her were never going to stop.
“Hey, Dex. What are you doing here?” She unlocked the door to the shop. Her smile was perfect except for that tiny space between her two front teeth. Natural, not the product of years of braces.
He could have called to ask her to email the payroll records, as he did for most of his clients, but then he wouldn’t have gotten to see her again. Plus, he had to give her an answer about the wedding. Following her inside, he tried not to stare. But how was he supposed to resist? Her scent surrounded him. Her legs—covered in shimmery, black stockings—stretched from here to Canada.
“Good morning. How’s the Ninja?”
She set her helmet on the counter, which was actually an antique dresser. “Great. I can’t resist riding when the weather’s this gorgeous.”
“Wouldn’t hurt you to slow down a little.” He tipped his chin toward the road. “I couldn’t help but notice you narrowly missed getting hit.”
She actually flinched at his comment, leaving him to wonder why his well-meant advice would make her react so strongly. She didn’t seem the type to care what anyone else thought. “Would have been the other guy’s fault,” she said with a scowl.

Stubborn woman.

You see why I like Dex? There's something so hot about him. 

Writing and releasing this book was definitely a high for me this year. But this wasn't an easy year for me or my family. We had some really low lows when we lost someone who was very special to us. I've learned that you have to stop to appreciate the good things as they happen because you never know when the bad will come.

I, for one, will be overjoyed to welcome 2015.  Tell me something you're looking forward to in the coming year. I'll pick a random commenter from below to win a print copy of The Surrogate Husband (US or Canada only) or an ebook if international winner. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

True Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder that we all have much to be grateful for. But this year as we go around the table, saying what we are thankful for, I think my words will be more heartfelt than usual.

You see, in recent months, I've been to the doctor many times and had numerous tests to try to determine what's been wrong with me. I won't bore you with details, but my health hadn't been quite right for several month, and the cause was a mystery. Until a few days ago when I went to see a specialist.

In my head, I always go to the darkest place, the land of doom and gloom, and diseases with no cure. But after a rather short visit with a specialist, he came up with an answer. A hereditary condition that is much more manageable than anything my pessimistic mind had envisioned. In a few weeks we should get the confirmation of his diagnosis, although he was pretty sure he was correct.

My husband and I left the office feeling on top of the world. And suddenly, I have true gratitude. I'm not sweating the small stuff. All I can hope is that the feeling lasts. Life is good. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Lips are Sealed

I've always sucked at keeping news to myself. But that's exactly what I must do. My new book is ready to go. The absolutely gorgeous cover is complete, the page proofs are finished, all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. But the release date is more than three weeks away!

Does anyone have a muzzle? Because I can't promote the book for at least two more weeks. I've been securing ad space, writing blog posts, arranging all sorts of fun promo events, so at least that stuff has kept me busy.

You see, I would really like for my book to make a big splash. In order to do that, I need most of the sales to happen right around release day. So mum's the word before then. Which is oh so hard for me. I can tell you a few things about the book, though.

First, it features two fun romance tropes -- the fake marriage, and opposites attract. And when I say opposites, boy, do I mean it!

So you're going to have to bear with me and wait. But I will say, I think this book will be totally worth the wait. I'll give you a heads-up before it goes on sale. Then I'm sure you'll want to snap up your own copy. Trust me. You will!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Back my Mojo

I don't normally read a lot of non-fiction, but a psychologist friend recommended this book, Learned Optimism, by Martin Seligman, over lunch a few weeks ago.
"You've had a rough year," she explained. And she was right. With the long illness and eventual death of my father and a few health issues of my own, the past nine months or so have been challenging, to say the least.

But I've always considered myself optimistic, I told her.

She gave me a subtle grin that I imagine her patients are familiar with. "Point is, you've learned to expect the worst case scenario. And that mindset makes you fearful, and it hold you back from achieving things I know you can achieve."

I was sure she was wrong. And to prove it to her, I bought the book. One of the first things it tells the reader is that most pessimistic people don't believe that they are. Hmm. A few chapters in there's a test with a rather complicated scoring system that measures your optimism versus pessimism in various parameters.

I won't give away exactly how that works, but suffice it to say that I learned something. Although in most of those parameters I am naturally optimistic, there's one area in which I am way on the pessimistic side of the scale. Perhaps that tendency causes me to be so fearful about certain situations that I self-sabotage.

I haven't gotten much farther in the book, but now that I am intrigued, I do plan to finish it. The rest of the book is supposed to help me overcome my pessimistic part so that I can achieve what I want and thus be happier.

Okay - I'm in. I'll report back when I finish the book.

What about you? Would you consider yourself a natural optimist or a pessimist?

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