Friday, September 26, 2014

Life Keeps You Humble

This week has been just awesome for me on so many levels. Here is what I felt like a few hours ago:
Why?
Because
  1. My BookBub promotion on Wednesday kicked my sales for WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER into high gear, and the rankings are holding up days later. Woohoo & thank you, Bookbub!
  2. I'm getting my ugly-a$$ kitchen remodeled in October. Bye-bye seventies yellow & brown! Hello Sweedish storage systems!
  3. My in-laws kept my kindergartener overnight on a school night this week, saving me two hours of commuting and giving me a semi-relaxing evening with just my 3yo to take care of. It was like a mini-vacation.

Going into this morning, I was riding pretty high.

Then I had a pool mishap at the gym. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as what happened to this poor guy:
 
I'm happy to say LA Fitness didn't have to close the pool for the day because of me. It was just a little embarrassing chokage.

You see, I've recently learned that I have horrendous front-crawl form. I think I look like this when I swim (you only have to watch a few seconds of the video to get the gist):
But what's really happening is more like this:
I do the front crawl with my head up like the tip of a ski. I don't like having my face underwater. Even with goggles. I can't get the rhythm of when to beathe in and out, and I feel kind of claustrophobic under water.

I'm trying to get better and practice putting my face in the water as I start the lap. Today, it...didn't go so well. I ended up at the end of the lane hacking up half a lung after swallowing chlorinated water.

I try to be so suave when I go to my gym, but I missed the mark today. It's just one way life keeps me humble.

How has life kept you humble, recently? Or is it all smooth sailing?

Thanks for reading!


Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries...you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she's sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
 
Visit Jessi's website to see her lates release. Don't forget to sign up to receive her new release newsletter!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Life isn't fair

How many moms have heard their kids say, "that isn't fair?!" Sometimes with an exclamation point of outrage.  Sometimes with a question mark as if to say are you really going to let this stand? Other times you aren't sure if they mean it with an exclamation or a question, nor do they.

My husband's standard response was always, "You're right life isn't a fair.  A fair is where pigs win prizes."   That never seemed to soothe my son's point he was making.  By the time we reach adult hood, we stop saying things about fairness as often as we want to.  We can see life isn't fair all around us.  We have gotten used to it.

So this comes as no shock when I say life isn't fair.   The question then remains how do we make the best out of the unfairness?  I think as I've matured if I could go back to some of my son's "that's not fair" outbursts I'd ask him to be more specific.  It isn't fair to do chores? Sure it is, everyone should do chores.  You may not like doing them or you may feel like you do more than others do.  That again is part of life.  There will always be a person who carries more responsibility than another.  A janitor may actually work harder in a company than any other department.  It isn't unfair, it is part of the occupational choices available to the individuals.  So a better exclamation might be, "I don't want to!"

It isn't fair that the teacher chooses a certain student to call on every day and ignores the rest of you? You're right that isn't fair.  So how can you change it?  You can't make the teacher call on you, but you could stay after class and ask why.  Or you can decide this is an injustice you can live with. Move on and grow from.  Any individual can take a stand against an injustice or change the world they live in.    Or they can choose to live with the situation, close their eyes, and wait for someone else to take up the crusade.

When I look at current events, especially in my home town, I was thinking about what brought them to the place they are in.  What is really going on under the hostility, anger, and tears?  I don't want to be very specific because that headline isn't really the point of my post.  It was merely the inspiration as I have known for a long time that the city needed to change.  That there were big problems.  I was just one of the many who turned my head and hoped someone else had a better idea, a better plan, or a solution.   I decided I could live with "that's not fair."   It takes great courage to decide you can't live with it anymore.   To decide to do something about it.  I don't think everything that has been done there has been the right thing.   However, these are just people.  People who are tired of life not being fair.   They are right.  There needs to be a change.  Some are going about things correctly, others not, but if in the end it wakes the right people up to start enacting change they win.  They've won against life's unfairness just a little bit.

So maybe, next time my teenager yells, "Life's not fair!"  I need to take the opportunity to hear him. Is he using the phrase out of context or could he perhaps have a point?  It is an opportunity to instill in him the idea that he can change the world.   To give him a portion of the self confidence, courage, and bravery required to change the world.   While we will always live with a bit of unfair in our lives, isn't it powerful to imagine we can change some of it?



Monday, September 22, 2014

Balancing "Reader" and "Writer"



Balancing “reader” and “writer.”



I have always been a reader AND a writer. I started writing my first book when I was about 8, but I didn’t finish a book, writing anyway, until I was 17. 

I tend to “binge” anything I like to do, LOL. So I will go through long periods of JUST writing, where I don’t even think about any books but my own. Or get frustrated with myself because I “missed out” reading a new release from one of my fave authors because I just had to finish the book I was writing.

Reading has always been the same for me. When I am having a streak, I can read 4-5 books a week. I discovered a new author (to me) a few weeks ago (The FAB Coreene Callahan) and burned through ALL her books in the last three weeks.

It’s harder for me to read AND write at the same time, but I find that as a person, it makes me happier when I do. 

Binging is bad.

When I do one and not the other, I MISS the other. And I find when I don’t write it’s worse than when I don’t read. I get grumpy. LOL.

So what works best for me is writing daily, then making myself see the reading as a reward for the work I got done. Sometimes works fabulously. 

Other times I just want to watch TV in my downtime, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. LOL (I watch way too much TV!)

I feel like writers SHOULD read. I don’t know about other writers, but if I do nothing BUT write, I get too much up in my own head, if that makes sense. It just wraps me up and gives me trouble spots in my stories.

It’s good to see what else is out there, what other awesomely creative people are doing. I love it! And I love to explore different genres.

Some authors will tell you not to read the genre you write, but I personally will read anything as long as it’s a good story. 

Historicals (especially Scottish Highlanders) are one of my fave things to read. And I love to read paranormal, and of course a fab romantic suspense, almost as much as I like to write it.
Balance seems to be key for me in anything I do. Blame it on being a Libra, I dunno. Just seems when I have balance I function better, especially with reading and writing.




How do you find balance? When you read, do you prefer one genre over another, or are you good-story-driven like me?





Bestselling, award winning author of romantic suspense and epic fantasy romance, C.A. loves to dabble in different genres. If it's a good story, she'll write it, no matter where it seems to fit!
She's a hopeless romantic and always will be. Risking it all for Happily Ever After is what she lives by!
She's originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She's happily married and has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
She works with kids when she's not writing.




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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Inside a Writer's Mind





Inside a Writer’s Mind
So obviously I can’t tell you about every writer; In fact, I can only tell you about some of the odd things that go on in my mind. One thing I think most of us have in common, though, is the voices. I call them the voices because the individual voices of our characters actually speak to us. In addition to that, I’ve noticed three more things quite a few writers have in common: stalking  voyeurism watching, imagination, reading, and the desire/need to entertain.

Personally, I can watch people for hours! Even as a child, whenever I couldn't hang out with my Dad, I'd have to go shopping with my Mom and sister in the mall. Instead of sticking with them to look at clothes, shoes, even games, I’d ask to sit on the bench in the middle of the mall and watch as people passed. “Why?” you ask. Well, there’s no better way to gather writing material than people-watching. I could make up stories for days based on what I saw during those shopping/people-watching excursions.

The voices and imagination go hand-in-hand. Each character becomes a three-dimensional being in my mind, so the talk, and talk, and talk. In fact, they talk all the time, and only quiet down when their stories are told and in print. As far as they’re concerned, publication isn’t necessary, but they expect me to at least give them a file on my tablet so someone else besides me gets a chance to hear their voices by reading.

As for reading, I can’t reiterate enough how important reading and the love of reading are to a writer. I’m appalled and floored when someone tells me they want to be a writer/author, yet I’ve never seen them pick up a book or express interest in anyone else’s work! I simply can not understand this. The “why?” of it eludes me.

Like any other art or craft, we write because we must – writing is a living, breathing part of us. No illusions here about riches or fame (it would be nice to make a decent living at it, though, now that I think about it). I write because I have no choice. The alternative would mean the death of a part of me. Dramatic, but true. This is one reason we sometimes become nearly frantic about getting our books into the right hands – it’s actually a matter of life or death (or that part of us, anyway).

Finally, I come to the altruistic part of us – the need to share our worlds with readers. I love to read so much, I want to share that with others. A good read takes me away, an escape. In my opinion, everyone needs that. Life can hit pretty hard at times, to say the least.

My characters live with me. I want them to live with you, too, giving you every opportunity to step into their worlds for a few moments or a few days – like taking a vacation. Even though their worlds can be extremely dangerous and wrought with problems too, there’s always the HEA, and my heroes are always protectors – you’ll be safe with them.

As you can imagine, keeping all these things in balance can be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. I am constantly trying to stay afloat and manage yet another “to-do” list, so there’s never time to lollygag. In other words, if you see me sitting in the middle of the mall watching people as they pass, or lying in bed reading a book, I am not wasting time – I’m doing research. It’s what I do.

Wishing you happy reading and writing... 



Saturday, September 13, 2014

The ANGEL is RISING! Watch her soar...

AngelRisingBookOne300

ANGEL RISING BOOK ONE has released! I couldn’t be more thrilled than I am today. It’s hard to believe that just 5 years ago I wrote my very first novel, TRINITY. The stars of the book at that time were Michael and Emma, but lurking in the shadows, waiting patiently for her turn, was Hannah, Emma’s daughter. I always knew her story wouldn’t end with Trinity. She had a whole life yet to live which I’ve been thinking about ever since writing THE END on Trinity. 

Her day has arrived! And in grand style, I might add. NOT ONLY does her story continue here, in Angel Rising Book One, but ALSO in Angel Rising Book Two. Talk about an epic! Now, don’t worry! It won’t be a year before you see her second book. NOPE! You’ll be able to read it on…. OCTOBER 13th! That’s only a month away. Yay!
So, let’s get to the heart of her story, right here. Right now. I’ve a blurb to share with you and an excerpt for your reading pleasure. 
ENJOY and ONE-CLICK HERE for ANGEL RISING BOOK ONE —> http://amzn.to/YmbgdK
BLURB:
Hannah Livingston has the most infamous stalker that ever existed- Satan. She spent her sixth birthday with the Brethren, fighting an apocalyptic war that sent the Dark Prince back to Hell, and the rest of her life wondering if he’d be back for her soul someday. She needn’t wonder any longer.
Gabriel Seeker, Brethren Protector, spends his days and nights rescuing kids from sex traffickers and protecting their lives from further damage. He knows all too well the nightmarish world they’ve been stolen into, and it’s gotten harder to keep secret his own past horrors.
Hannah and Gabriel have always gotten along, first as friends, then as co-workers. She manages his life and he protects hers. A perfect, symbiotic relationship, so it would seem, until suppressed feelings for each other surface and forever change the landscape of their lives. Stricken with PTSD, the determined angel seeks to protect the woman he loves from Satan’s greedy and insidious clutches.
Deceit and seduction, desire and repression, collide in this epic, immortal story of love, duty, and sacrifice.
EXCERPT:  (PG 13-rated)

Through a nauseating haze Hannah heard banging, like a jackhammer, and she wanted to murder the bastard who had no care for the condition she currently found herself in. She searched around with her hands for a pillow to cover her ears and realized she was still on the hallway floor. Sitting up was not an option, but slithering on her belly to the bathroom would work. It was miles away, though, and her immediate concern was tossing her cookies all over her beloved hardwood floor.
Her next concern? Someone had just picked her up off the floor. “Wha…who…?”
“Hannah, it’s me, Gabriel. I got ya, honey. Need the bathroom? Yeah, I think you need the bathroom.”
“Gabriel? What are you doing in my hallway? Oh, Lord. I don’t feel so good. I think I’m gonna….” She burped. “Oh, that’s better. On second thought, maybe not.”
Gabriel set her down by the toilet, where she proceeded to fall to her knees and bend over the seat to throw up. She felt her hair being swept up and away, and concentrated on getting everything inside her, out. Dry heaves followed, and Gabriel place a cool, wet rag on her neck. When her stomach calmed, she flushed and leaned against the tub wall, eyes closed. Her hair fell back down around her shoulders, and soon after, Gabriel tapped her shoulder, offering her a cup of water.
“Swish and spit. Then take a sip.”
“Okay.” She followed his instructions, then handed him back the cup.
He offered her some mouthwash.
“I know. Swish and spit.”
“Yup.”
She complied and threw the cup away. Before she could say or do anything else, he picked her back up and carried her to the bedroom. After laying her down, he pulled a chair over and sat beside her. She smiled weakly and tears flowed again. His face held no judgment, no reprove, not even pity. He looked upon her with… what?
“I can’t believe you’re here right now. I’m so embarrassed. You even held my hair back for me.”
“Yes, I did.” He moved in and gently swiped her cheeks with the backs of his fingers.
“You watched me empty the entire contents of my stomach, and you’re still here.”
“Yes, I still am.”
Tears turned into sobs, which became wails.
“Please don’t cry. What hurts you, hurts me. Let me comfort you, Hannah. Let me take your pain away.” He moved to sit beside her on the bed and gathered her in his arms.
“No, I don’t want to feel better. I want to feel like shit. I want to feel human!”
“Shh.” He rocked her gently, despite her pleas. “Hannah, immortality doesn’t mean you lose what made you human. It simply enhances who you already are. In fact, if anything, emotions are even stronger as an immortal. Relax. Give in to the calm. Accept your fate and the path laid out for you. I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Rick. I really am. But I know, there’s someone out there that’s crafted especially for you. It just wasn’t him.”
“Somebody’s crafted just for me? That’s a lovely thing to say. Gabriel, you’re a wonderful man. I mean angel. You’re a wonderful angel.”
“And you’re going to make a wonderful angel, too.” He kissed the top of her head and pushed a final dose of peace. The surge set her mind to rest and her soul at ease. She fell asleep in her Protector’s arms.
(Copyright 2014 Deena Remiel All rights reserved.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where Were You The Day Everything Changed?


Where were you the day everything changed?
 
I can remember the exact place I was when I heard the horrifying news that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I woke up early that morning because I found out my friend was in labor with her baby so I was driving to the hospital when I heard the news come over the radio to announce a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. That's all we knew so far. I remember thinking 'maybe it's a fluke', 'maybe a plane was just flying too low', many scenarios ran through my brain on my way to the hospital.
 
Once at the hospital I didn't give it much more thought. I walked in, my best friend was kind of out of it from the drugs, I hugged her and sat next to her while everyone sat around watching the news on the television. Labor progressed slowly. Nurses came and went throughout the day. The longer the day went on the more information we learned about that sad event.
 
By that afternoon my friend just about had it with the news. She kept waking up and turning it off but her family would turn it back on. I get it. I completely understood what she was going through. Who wants to think about something so horrible when they are bringing a precious new baby into the world? I was 6 months pregnant myself so the thought scared me as well. Here we were bringing babies into a world that is going into chaos.
 
I will admit I was terrified and I live no where near New York but it was the sheer fear of "holy crap something like this can happen to us? America? No, it couldn't be." I kept thinking some sort of explanation was going to come but I didn't expect the explanation to be terrorists. Within hours America was turned upside down and it hasn't been the same since. I'm proud of how America came together after that horrible tragedy and how many still band together to honor those lost.
 
Now on the anniversary of that dreadful day I want to offer my love and prayers to everyone who is and was effected by that saddening day and I want to send a quick thank you to every single law enforcement officer and fireman who risked their lives that day helping people. I also want to thank every person who is out there fighting every day for our freedom and safety. I appreciate all of you more than I could ever express.
 
Today is the day we remember those lost and remember why our lives and our freedom is so precious. Take a moment to give thanks, say a prayer for those lost and their loved ones, and hug your family close because in the blink of a eye everything could change again.
 
Thanks for reading.
JJ
 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Never Settle by Jennifer Kacey

This is short and sweet but I think everyone needs to hear this sometimes. Take a moment and close your eyes. Breathe. Find that little person inside you, who is chained up and gagged in the corner. The real you. The one you trust with few people or no one at all.
I'm talking to that person. Listen carefully.

Find the real you and never settle for anything less.

*repeat*

Love,
Jenn

The books in the Members Only Series can be found here...

Stand Alone




Jennifer Kacey is a wife, mother, and business owner living with her family in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.

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