Monday, December 30, 2013

Another Year Gone

Is it just me or does time seem to just pass us by these days? It seems like just yesterday we were getting ready to bring in the year 2013 and here we are about to embark on 2014.

So much has happened over the past year. Some things I'm grateful for, others, not so much. But overall, as I reflect on the days gone by, I find there are more positive things that happened during the year than negative.

I bought a new (to me) car. My son got a new job and girlfriend (whom I love dearly). Progress on my book series is moving along, somewhat (haha). I met some fabulous writers during the past year and look forward to reading more of their books in the future. I could go on and list many more things, but those are the highlights.

What about you? As you look back over the year that's coming to a close, do you catch yourself finding more good than bad? If not, then what needs to be done to make the New Year a brighter, happier one for you?

One quote I've run across several times this year sums it up... "Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result make a different choice." ~Unknown~ 

So in the upcoming year, make your choices wisely and have a fabulous New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

'Tis The Season

Are you counting the days until Christmas? I know that I am and even though I won't be spending it with my immediate family this year, I'll be with my "adopted" family, so I'm looking forward to the day of celebration.

Now let's talk donations.... 'Tis the Season is the slogan for this time of year. In my younger days that meant celebrating the birth of Christ and giving gifts to others. It seems to me that in this day and age, it's more about being asked for donations for every little thing you can think of. While I agree that it's the time for giving, has anyone ever thought about how hard it is for some to be able to buy the gifts for their own friends and family? Why not challenge these organizations to hold these donation requests in the middle of the year? Maybe a Christmas in July kind of thing when we're not already struggling with our budgets for the gifts we need to buy? I'm always willing to give, when I have the funds, but Christmas time is not that time.

However, I admit that when purchasing gifts I try to buy them from places that help others, like The Veterans Site. Some of the items I purchased not only helps feed a Veteran but also helps women's and children's charities. There are plenty of sites/shops out there that offer this type of deal, so check them out while doing your holiday shopping.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Has Thanksgiving Been Forgotten?

I saw this today and it made me wonder, do we overlook November as the month of Thanksgiving? Retails do. Even when I had my store, I would attempt to wait until the last moment to put up Christmas items because I felt like we were losing the true meaning of the two holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, it was almost impossible not to have your things put out by the end of October. I was always shocked to be asked before Halloween, "When are you going to put your Christmas things out?" 

Part of this is the distributors fault, more so than the individual stores. When you go to market to buy the items for the holidays, you had to order your Christmas stock in January and it usually delivered in July. With limited storage space in most stores, retailers have to start putting it out on the shelves because there was no where else to put it. 

Personally, I miss the excitement of the Holiday items being "revealed" at Thanksgiving time. My favorite childhood memories include having Thanksgiving as a family, then the next day, yes, Black Friday, as the day to not only catch the great bargains, but to see all the decorations the stores had put up and had on display for sale. I would look around with wide eyed wonder at the incredible displays and interesting finds.

Now it seems that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we're already tired of seeing Christmas things and haven't even had the turkey dinner yet. November should be dedicated to giving thanks for all the great things that have happened to you throughout the year and your life. Not just the big things, but the little ones too. When December rolls around we should be remembering the reason for the season. CHRISTMAS... Christ's birth. 

So I say to each of you, have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Eat tons of turkey, ham, dressing, and all the fixin's. Enjoy your family and friends. But most of all, give thanks for all the things that you have been blessed with. I know I give thanks every day for my blessings, including my amazing son, his girlfriend, my best friend and co-author, and all the rest of my family and friends. May each of you be blessed this holiday season. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Time Of Thanks

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's time to think about the things that we're thankful for, so I ask you, what things are you giving thanks for this holiday season?

Me? I'm thankful for....

*... I'm especially thankful for the wonderful son that God gave me. Even though he is an adult now, it seems like just yesterday that he was an infant in my arms. He has grown into a young man that I'm proud of. As with any child, there have been ups and downs in his life and in spite of those he has overcome the obstacles with his head held high. It's nice to know that he is striving to better himself and I'm happy for the fact that he has someone special in his life to help support his decisions. Someone that I can tell has his back, no matter what. How many people can say that in a relationship? These days, not many, I'm afraid. So I guess that leads to the second thing I'm grateful for this season....

*.... A wonderful young lady that has become an important factor in my son's life, along with mine. I'm so thrilled to have her as part of the "family".

*... Next, I'm thankful for the wonderful network of friends I have. Over the past couple of years they have supported me through some rough times. Without them I don't know where I'd be at this point in my life. Everyone should have friends as incredible as the ones that I have. Ya'll know who you are. My peeps from the U.S. of A. to Romania to Australia to New Zealand to South Africa and more. Thank you for all the encouraging words and just being there when I needed to get things off my chest. I love you guys.

*... A fantastic job that I love. My co-workers are the best.

*... The ability to write my thoughts in a blog to share with others.

*... That I've been given the opportunity to write a book series with a great co-author. My friend, you rock! I can't wait until we are ready for the publishing stage of things. Writing with you has been a soul touching experience. Our characters are truly a part of "us" and I can't wait to share them with others.

*... Having books to read by some amazing writers. Please, if you have the desire to write, do so. We can never have too many books. And if you're turned down by publishers, don't let it discourage you. Keep on trying.

There are so many other things that I'm thankful for this year; too many to list if truth be told. Which makes me wonder... do you ever think about making a list of things your thankful for any other time of the year? Maybe we should. Have you ever thought about how these lists make you feel? When I write them I feel a certain peace in my heart, so why not do these lists several times throughout the year? Something to think about.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Books! Books! And More Books!

Is there any such thing as too many books?

No, you say? I couldn't agree more. Just because everywhere I turn there is another stack of books does not mean I have too many, right? Open a drawer, find a stash of books. Slide the closet door open, more books. Under the bed, books and dust bunnies. Isn't that what's under yours? What is that tucked under the window? A pile of books? Why yes. Yes it is.

In my opinion, one can never have too many books. Books provide hours of entertainment. They relax, enthrall, educate, and excite us. Is there anything better than curling up with a good book in hand? Okay, so yeah, there are a few things I can think of but when those particular things aren't happening, then books are the next best thing.

Tonight I sit with my Kindle on one side and a paperback on the other, laptop in front of me. I look around the room at all the books tucked in every nook and cranny and laugh wondering if there are any spots left to tuck a few here and there.

I'm the person who swore she'd never get an e-reader because I love the feel of a real book in my hands. However, I have altered that opinion over the past year, thanks to a friend who gifted me my first Kindle. I've discovered the benefits of the portability of an e-reader; the fact that you can read anything you want without worrying what others think because the cover of the book isn't out there for all eyes to see, whether it's a romance novel or a history book. Although I read book after book on my Kindle, I still have a love and passion for a book with real pages. There are some books that I just have to have the complete collection in print for my shelves and I don't just mean the classics.

So now I wonder where are some of the strangest places that you have books stashed away?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Are there any good men out there?

What is it with men in the dating world these days? 

Obviously the majority of the "older" dating population have moved towards the online dating atmosphere. That's all well and good when you're not into the bar scene anymore and it's a place to meet a wide range of people. 

I've been back in the dating game for three years now and I've met a lot of interesting men. By interesting, I don't necessarily mean "peak my interest". I mean crazy, perverted, loony toons, few fries short of a happy meal, whack jobs. From guys trying to run a scam to those who sound like Mr. Right until they insist on naked pics of you. Seriously? Excuse me, what happened to getting to know you first? Meet in person, have a few dates, see where it leads before the nakedness begins. Really?

First of all, I'm no pin-up model that's for darn sure, but I'm happy with who I am and how I look. However, that doesn't mean I want to take a picture, send it out for the world to see. What if I decided to run for President one day. hahaha. Yeah, right, like that would ever happen. But still. Why do guys think they have to have these pictures of you before agreeing to meet you? Picture of me fully clothed? Sure, no problem. Naked or in sexy lingerie? (snorts) As if. I admit, I'm just like any other red-blooded woman, sex is an important part of a relationship, but shouldn't it be based on more than just sex? 

Tell me that there are still decent guys out there in the world. Someone who actually wants to know the person behind the body. Someone that is interested in your intelligence and then your looks. When I talk with a guy, I try to take in what they're saying. It doesn't matter what's on the surface, I want to see what's underneath in the depths of their minds before I worry about the physical aspect. Or am I the only person in the world that feels that way? 

Come on men, step up to the plate and prove that your species hasn't turned back to the caveman attitude I'm finding on the dating scene these days. I can just picture the guys I've been meeting carrying around the big wooden club, saying, "Me man. You woman. Naked etchings. Now." I know there has to be real men who are up to the standards, out there some where, so roll the rock away from the cave entrance and step out into the light of today's world. The place where women want to be loved for who they are, not the naked pics they send you. If you only want naked pictures of women, then take out a subscription for a porn site or magazine. There are real women in the world who might be sexual creatures but prefer to keep that side of them private; between herself and her lover, spouse, mate (whatever you want to call it). Is that so wrong? 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Today's Spotlight - Cover Reveal

Today's blog is dedicated to the cover reveal for author, Tonya Burrow's book, Honor Reclaimed. Book #2 in the HORNET series. This one will feature Seth as the hero. I personally can't wait for the release, which is several months away, but the wait will be worth it.

Tonya Burrows - Cover Reveal

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

STRESS - A five letter word that can cause so many issues.

STRESS - Is there anyone alive that has never experienced some form of stress in their life? If you know someone, send them my way. I'd love to meet them.

What are ways that you deal with stress? Recently I was asked to create a stress management brief for an individual. Which made me wonder, how many people take stress seriously? Do people understand the negative effects stress can cause? And if they do know, do they take action to alleviate or reduce the stress they're under?

In my training, I have always found that the first and foremost thing to do for quick stress relief is deep breathing. Good air in through your nose, bad air out through your mouth. Take it slow. Hold the breath in for a couple seconds and then expel it fully. It's amazing how just a few breaths can calm you down. Does anyone else suddenly have the vision of a prank caller doing heavy breathing into the phone? That's not the type of breathing I'm talking about when I say do deep breathing exercises. You can do these breaths silently, but it's more effective if you put forth a bit of sound when you let the breath rush out of your lungs.

Here's another tip that I've learned over the years. Start a journal. No, I don't mean write down your inner most thoughts, although that's okay to do, too, but I'm talking about a notebook of funny thoughts, poems, cartoons, that type of thing. When you're having a high stress day, pull out the notebook and flip through the pages, reading what you have. Get a laugh or two out of it and lower your stress level. The saying, 'laughter is the best medicine' is actually more accurate than you may realize.

One of my favorite quotes about stress is: "If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress, and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it." ~George Burns~

Can we avoid worry, stress, and tension in today's world? Probably not. However, we can learn simple methods to deal with these things and practical ways to reduce these things in our lives.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful... Are you?

Websters defines thankful as:

  • glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc.
  • of, relating to, or expressing thanks

Thankful... there are so many things to be thankful for in your life, whether you realize it or not.

What are you thankful for? I'm not asking this just because Thanksgiving is a few weeks away. I'm asking this as a serious question. WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?

If I were asking myself that question, the first answer that pops into my brain is, I'm thankful that I woke up this morning to start a new day. After that, the list could go on for days. There are so many things in life that I'm thankful for. Are there things I'd rather forget? Most definitely. But yet, without the regrets, would we learn from those experiences?

My previous post talked about sharing your love of reading with others. When I mentioned the number of books I've read this year, it made me think about the fact that some people can't afford to buy a book to read. Which brings me around to another point, I'm thankful for, Amazon gift cards. You can never have too many of those, so I'm grateful for each and everyone.

Now, on to more important things, like the air we breathe. What about having a job? Having great friends? A child that just out of the blue sends a text to say hello? What about the student that tells you thanks for listening to them? These things would make my list of items to be thankful for. What about yours?

Alphonse Karr summed it up by saying, "Some people are grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses." Kind of like the glass half empty dilemma. Is it half empty or half full?

Again, I say it's the little things that are the most important. Yes, we all remember to be thankful for the big things in our lives, or we should, but the small things are just as essential. So as we start the season of giving thanks, let's be sure to pay attention to things we may ordinarily overlook.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

November already? What happened to the rest of the year?

Can you believe it's November 1st already? Neither can I. Which makes me ask the question in the title, "What happened to the rest of the year?" It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the New Year and now Thanksgiving is nipping at our heels.

In looking at the number of days that have past this year in what seems like a blue, I've been reminiscing over the books I've read in the past ten months. Then another question pops into my mind. How many books have I read in this time period? Since my average reading time is a book a day, that brings the approximate number up to 300. Of course that doesn't take in account the number of days I read more than one, but it's a close estimate. WOW! THREE-HUNDRED. Not as many as some people, but more than most, I suppose.

Now let's take a moment to reflect on the men and women who are behind the writing of these books and thank them for their continued diligence in providing these works of art for us. There are some very talented people out there working hard to keep us "in the read".

So here's my thought for the day.... With the holiday season fast approaching, why not snuggle up to a good book and a cup of hot cocoa or your favorite "frilly" coffee? I know I'll be doing that on a frequent basis. And, here's another thought.... Why not share your love of reading this year by giving the gift of a good book this Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) to your family and friends? Or donate some books to a local youth center or senior care facility.

Share your love of reading by volunteering to read at a school, children's hospital, senior care facility, or your local library. A book is a gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Buy her books and buy her books and all she does is eat the pages."

"Buy her books and buy her books and all she does is eat the pages." Have you ever heard that saying before?

When I was growing up I heard that more times than I can count. Most of the time it was in relation to the fact that I was blonde and occasionally had a blonde moment. Even blondes with high IQs can have those duh moments.

What's my point? Well, that phrase has popped into my head  today as I finished one book, began the next one, and found three more I wanted to read RIGHT NOW! So I'm wondering, is it possible to just absorb the words from the pages into your system so you can read multiple books in a day? Yeah, I didn't think so. Unless of course you are like me and spend every spare second reading so you can finish one book to start the next great read. Luckily, in my case, I'm a multi-tasker, so I can do multiple things at once while still reading my current book. Which is terrific since there are so many wonderful authors out there.

I've discovered that yes, there are the well known authors that we all fall back on because we love their writing, but if you dig through the suggested reads and new author links, you can find some fabulous up and coming writers out there. Just in the past month I've come across several that I've contacted to let them know I can't wait for their next book.

If you find something new that you've read, why not share it with others? Get the word out there about what you're reading and who wrote it. Drop a line to that author and tell them what you think about their work. The author's I've spoken with lately truly appreciate hearing from fans. I know that as a writer myself, I love to hear feedback from fans.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Harmless and The Santinis Series by Melissa Schroeder

While scrolling through suggested reading on my Amazon account, I discovered the boxed set for the The Santinis series by Melissa Schroeder. After reading it, I wanted more. Finding her website, I discovered she had multiple titles out, so I started reading the Harmless series from the beginning. I'm currently up to book three, A Little Harmless Obsession. Book one of the series captured my attention, book two intrigued me even further, but book three, I'm looking forward to even more. I'm anxious to see how it plays out with Evan and May, to see if he can get over his troubled past to see that he does deserve a woman like May.

(From the author's site: WARNING: The following book contains: sexy Hawaiian settings, crazy relatives, and a submission scene that leaves the heroine breathless and the hero frustrated. There are toys, bondage, and love scenes so hot, you'll need ice water and a towel. Remember, it's a Harmless story, so you know there's nothing harmless about it.)

Schroeder's Book List:

Do you have a favorite series you want to tell others about?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Freedom of speech! Do we still have it?

My question today is, what has happened to our first amendment rights? I've heard stories over the past couple of days that employers are having their human resource departments contact employees to remove items from said employee's personal social pages. Now excuse me for being rude but, WHAT THE HECK?

If I state that I had a bad day at work today, isn't that my right to do so? If I want to post a picture of the American flag with military personnel in the picture, isn't that also my right? I can not believe that employers of The United States are telling employees they need to remove such pictures. Aren't these pictures honoring the men and women who fought for our FREEDOM? Oh wait! Maybe we aren't free anymore since our employers can dictate to us what we can and can not say or post on our own time. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Random Thoughts

What is the best book you've read this year and why? This is a question I'm asked frequently and can honestly say there is no answer to the question. I read nearly a book a day and to pick out one as my favorite is nearly impossible. I'd love to know if you have a favorite, though.