Wednesday Wellness: Rebalance

Hi, Friends!

I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, because I noted that so many of my creative friends struggle with wellness, as do I.  Join me on my journey as I muse and make mistakes.  And some discoveries along the way.

It has been a while since I posted on Wellness.  I worked really hard on completing my book and launching it.  The soft launch and book tour went really well. And then I got a little overwhelmed.

Which means I need to practice some self-care.

Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is to NOT write a blog post.  It sounds counter-productive, but it’s true.

Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is to Not Eat That Cookie. But sometimes, the best thing I can do for myself is to Just Eat It, Already. Sometimes I need to crank up the 90s angsty music and sing along, but not if it’s going to make me grumpy the rest of the day.  Sometimes I need to watch TV with my husband, but not if it will keep me up past my bedtime.  Sometimes I need to skip going to Mass, and instead take a long drive to go see the Harp Twins perform live in concert. You get it.

Sometimes it is time to rebalance.  You know how you should look at your 401k allotments once a year to see if you need to rebalance. Anyone?  Well, sometimes you need to do that in your life, too.

I have just discovered creative planning.  I happened upon this subculture of crafty planners on instagram and on Facebook.  Now my readers know, I am an INFP and I had always preferred spontaneity to planning, until becoming a working mom.  Then I discovered the value of Plan, to have Fun!

I used to scrapbook, and I also do collage journals.  I am currently using the Leonie Dawson Shining Year planner– which I think is really fantastic for planning goals and achieving dreams.  Imagine my delight when I happened upon a planner community that uses creative embellishments in their planners!  TA-DAH! And a choir of angels sang.  Or, Ewoks.  Allelu- Ta-Dah! Yub! Yub! (original release, people!)

As I looked at my weekly spread for this week, and I noted that all the entries were for my kids ‘  activities.  It’s softball season, and there’s also band practice, drum lessons, 3rd Grade Musical, mentor sessions. It’s a lot to coordinate. And don’t get me wrong, I love it.  But sometimes seeing it all written out like that, makes it painfully obvious.  I need some Me Time.

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So I am going to see my favorite massage therapist during my lunch, today.  And maybe pick up some Kombucha on the way back to the office.

What are YOU doing for yourself?

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Friday Friends: Sarah E. Boucher & Midnight Sisters

Happy Friday, Friends!  I love to host authors and bloggers on Fridays.  it is my way of thanking the community which has been so supportive of me.  Today I am delighted to feature author Sarah E. Boucher, author of Becoming Beauty and Midnight Sisters, both fabulous interpretations of traditional fairy tales.  Welcome, Sarah!

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1. So, what have you written?

I’m the author of two Young Adult novels, Becoming Beauty and Midnight Sisters. Becoming Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Bella, the Beauty character, is at least as beastly and entitled as she is beautiful. When she’s forced into servitude in the Beast’s household, she must learn to look past the Beast’s exterior to discover what true beauty is.

Likewise Midnight Sisters is an adaptation of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. The cast is crammed with mischievous noblewomen, their angry father, and a household full of servants. Jonas, a gardener who is smitten with the eldest of the ladies, must question everything he’s every learned and risk his livelihood to save Lady Ariela and her sisters from their father’s wrath and their own folly.

  1. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

I’ve spent fourteen years working with kindergarteners and preschoolers. Education is huge with me. I’m always trying to plant the idea of becoming a reader, writer, and a lifelong learner in the minds and hearts of my students. Anyone can get a college education, whether or not their family can afford to send them. Take it from me, there are countless programs out there for those who are willing to work hard.

  1. Are you a Pantser or a Planner?

I’m definitely a pantser. Character-driven writing is my jam. I’m never quite sure where my whackadoodle characters will lead me, but I always know the adventure will be incomparable, and so much more fun than planning every last story detail. Call it luck, fate, or inspiration, but because I write like I do, beautiful patterns emerge on their own. It’s truly magical.

  1. Tell us about your love of all things British.

British movies and TV—especially anything that’s a period piece—are a huge addiction for me. Sherlock, Downton Abbey, The Great British Baking Show, Doctor Who, etc. I adore them all. That means I’m completely in love with Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and about a million other British actors. I’m also totally obsessed with Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Devouring their brand of literature and making a home in their worlds makes me feel smarter, like I’m part of a secret universe only a few others understand.

  1. What is one unusual thing about you?

Anyone might guess that I’m completely in love with fairy tales, but what they may not guess is that I have a pretty large collection of them in my home library. Also, even though I’m a grown up, I sometimes read them to myself at night, like my own personal bedtime stories. It’s just so cozy!

  1. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

If you’re talking about carrots or chicken wings dipped in either of the above, then the answer is ranch. All day long. Otherwise I’m one of those weirdos who usually goes for some type of schmancy vinaigrette, probably with berries or exotic peppercorns in it. Because I’m so fancy. You already know . . .

  1. What are you working on right now?

Another fairy tale twist is in the works! Rumplestilskin is the inspiration for my third novel. Elyse’s life is turned upside down when she loses her parents to illness and must seek employment in a new town. When she’s given an impossible task to prove her abilities, a mysterious stranger comes to her aid. A ball hosted by the crown prince draws near and demand for Elyse’s gowns grows. The stranger once again comes to Elyse’s aid and wins her gratitude. But is it enough to win her heart or will the crown prince claim it as his own?

I’m still in the early stages, but I’m loving this story! It’s a little Rumplestilkin. Cinderella, and The Shoemaker and the Elves rolled into one!

  1. What TV shows/ movies are you watching these days?

Other than Netflix I only watch superhero shows these days. That’s Arrow, because Stephen Amell is both beautiful and amazing and 100% to blame for my DC obsession. And Flash, because that entire cast cracks me up and I’m a little in love with Grant Gustin too. And Legends of Tomorrow, because most of that cast was on either Arrow or Flash at one point, so it was only a matter of time until I fell in love with Legends as well.

  1. Do you have a theme song?

Right now Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya rings pretty true. Mostly because I can get really dolled up. The 50s are my era, my lovelies, and I will use any excuse to don red lipstick, a big dress, a crinoline, and pretty, pretty shoes.

Sure, I’m a pretty girl

Up in a pretty world

But they say pretty hurts

And I don’t wanna sit still

I’m a pretty girl

Up in a pretty world

But no, I won’t sit still, look pretty

 

Then, just when I look amazing, I open my big mouth and my personality falls out. I’m silly. I’m crazy. I’m witty and obnoxious. I’m honest. So no, I can’t sit still and look pretty.

Plus that sounds kind of boring anyway.

  1. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

My journey has been vastly different from the picture I carried in my head when I was a girl. If I could talk to the young Sarie, I’d tell her to strap in and prepare for an amazing ride, because cool stuff is on the way and it will come from directions she’d never expect. Also, I’d give her a little life lesson I didn’t learn until I hit my mid-twenties:

Success doesn’t look the same for everyone.

About the Author:

Sarah E. Boucher is a lover of fairy stories, romance, anything BBC and Marvel, and really, really cute shoes. On weekdays she wears respectable shoes and serves as Miss B., the Queen of Kindergarten. On school holidays she writes stories about romance and adventure. And wears impractical super cute shoes.

Sarah is a graduate of Brigham Young University. She lives and works in northern Utah. Her novels include Becoming Beauty and Midnight Sisters. Visit Sarah at SarahEBoucher.com or connect with her on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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Friday Friends: Dylan Quinn

Happy Friday, Friends!  I have been featuring authors, bloggers and readers on Fridays for the past year.  It is my way of giving back to the community. Let’s hear it for #humanswholovebooks! 

Today I am delighted to feature author Dylan Quinn, who not only has a new book coming out, she has a special free offer TODAY.  Gemini is free on Amazon today. Be sure to click on over to download Gemini (link below). Welcome, Dylan! 
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1. So, what have you written?

What haven’t I written? Lol. When I was five, I would sing songs and make up stuff as I walked to and from school. From there I started writing songs, poems, and short stories. In college, I wrote for the school newspaper and was eventually promoted to editor-in-chief. I got my journalism degree and started freelancing for online news magazines. And finally, in 2015, I finished Gemini in FIVE weeks, my first full-length book and have written two since then, Perfectly Flawed, a RS novel, and Origin, the follow-up to Gemini.

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

Music. It’s my first true love. I was a vocal music performance major and on the road to becoming a singer when life intervened, and my path veered off in another direction, but I sing and listen to music every waking minute and can’t function without it.
And writing. It’s more than just a hobby or a career. I was one of those people who felt invisible, but writing gave me a voice. I found myself when I started to write.

As for causes, one is empowering women. I was raised by a single mom, and I’m a single mom. Women feel like they have to do it all, be it all, and have it all. It’s exhausting, and I see women at each other’s throats rather than supporting them. Woman up and stick together, ladies.

Finally, my youngest son has Autism. It will always be something I support and care deeply for.

3. Are you a Pantser or a Planner?

While I do occasionally attempt to plan out my books, I’ve found that pantsing is the way to go. Of the three books I’ve written, only one was plotted, and TBH, I had SO much more editing to do for that book than I did the pantsing books. That said, I’ve since retired from major plotting. I do have scene ideas in my head that I try to come up with, but I often find myself creating supporting characters on the fly that end up having HUGE roles later in the stories, as well as random scenes that evolve into huge plotlines. That totally happened in both Gemini and Origin! So yeah. Pantsers unite!

4. Tell us about your love of Moscato and chocolate-covered strawberries?

I’m known for having a major sweet tooth, and Moscato D’asti (sweet fizzy beverage fun) and chocolate-covered strawberries are my fave celebratory snacks! I eat my CCS like I eat pizza… I peel off the top (the yummy chocolate covering) first, then move on the juicy strawberry hiding inside. Yum.

5. What is one unusual thing about you?

I can sometimes control my dreams. As in, I can fall asleep thinking of something and dream about it. And I write about it! For reals.

6. What music inspires you?

OMG, SO much I can’t even! I have playlists for everything. When I’m writing a fighting scene and need something upbeat, when I’m writing romantic schmexy scenes, and everything in between. I love hard rock, to alternative, pop and top 40, folk music and even musicals like Wicked… Boom.

7. How many books did you read last year?

I was an intern for Entangled Publishing last year, so I probably read about 20 for them? As for myself, I’d say between editing and reading for fun, add another 15-20? So yeah. Maybe 40?

8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

Ranch.

9. What are you working on right now?

I have to start by saying I’m a wicked multi-tasker, so at any given moment, I have multiple projects in the works. I’m currently writing Genesis the final segment of Cade and Zoe’s story in the Eternal Sacrifice Saga and planning all its companion novels/novellas I hope to publish in the next few years (about 6-7, including a spin-off series!). I’ve started writing a sexy contemporary romance series (w/suspense) and I’m editing book 1 and planning its follow-ups as well as spin off ideas. And finally, I’m doing character development and research for a contemporary romantic suspense standalone I hope to release before the end of the year. Whew. I’m tired now!

10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?

Well, The Vampire Diaries are always somewhere in the background (what can I say, I’m a hardcore Damon Salvatore fan) and when I have time, I find shows that I can use for research. Revenge and Royal Pains (I’m starting a series based in the Hamptons next summer!) Movies, I’ve been watching gambling shows like Twenty-One and Rounders (more research). Whenever I need some inspiration for fighting scenes, I watch John Wick and for romance, I watch Crazy, Stupid Love or The Time Traveller’s Wife.

11. Do you have a theme song?

It’s a total tie: Woman Up by Meghan Trainer and No Good Deed Goes Unpunished from the wicked soundtrack. *drops mic*

12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut.

13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Just a message… Your voice matters. Sing it, baby!

* * *

Gemini is the first novel in my Romantic Contemporary Fantasy Series, Eternal Sacrifice. There will be three more full-length novels and three novellas to be published between now and August, 2017.

Title: Gemini
Series: Eternal Sacrifice, Book One
Author: Dylan Quinn
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance/New Adult Romance
Themes: Family, mythology, angels and demons, coming of age
Heat Level: Mild (See author’s note below)
Publisher: 621-Phoenix Publishing
Release Date: June 21, 2016

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gemini-Eternal-Sacrifice-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B01DVNQQSW/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8#nav-subnav

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29847798-gemini

Message from the author on heat level:
Gemini is not your typical NA/steamy read. It’s a romantic coming of age story that shows the natural progression of Cade and Zoe’s relationship. That said, there is plenty of romance and sexual tension between them, and the heat level will increase as their relationship evolves naturally throughout the series.

Dylan’s Social Media Links:
Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

dylanquinnMeet Dylan Quinn:
Since sneak reading her first big girl romance at the age of eleven, Dylan’s been addicted to Happily Ever Afters. Playing pretend with adorable book boyfriends and their strong leading ladies often keeps her sleep deprived, though she seldom complains about dreaming in dialogue.

With juxtaposed interests, Dylan writes it all ~ Character-driven romance in YA, NA and adult, from sticky sweet to taboo heat. From Urban and Contemporary Fantasy to PNR, and Contemporary to Romantic Suspense. Nothing’s off limits.

When she’s not writing guilty pleasures, Dylan plays stage mom to her daydreamer offspring and her furbaby kitty Loki. This music fangirl goes nowhere without her beats and playlists. She has an affinity for Moscato and chocolate-covered strawberries. Dreams of singing on the Voice with Adam and Christina, and fantasizes about getting trapped in Mystic Falls with Damon Salvatore.

 

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Two Souls. One Sacrifice.
His love was worth dying for
Is their love worth dying for, or is five incarnations more than one soul can take?

Gemini Description:
Northwestern University senior Zoe Adams has spent her fifth incarnation on the run. Abused and abandoned by those she once trusted, Zoe turns her back on a duty her soul accepted lifetimes ago to focus on a music career in this one. Until her Gemini Twin Soul’s untimely arrival forces Zoe to choose between a love she can’t remember and a life she’s always dreamed of.

Cade Adams has waited twenty-one years to reclaim his beloved soul mate, but his elation is short lived. As Zoe struggles to let go of her human life, demons from Cade’s past threaten the Gemini, and he finds himself living on borrowed time.

With more than just the fate of their reunion at stake, love becomes an Eternal Sacrifice Zoe and Cade may not escape.

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Fashion portrait of young beautiful pretty girl posing against lilac bushes in blossom

Gemini Excerpt published with permission © 2016 Dylan Quinn

Cade
While I held her, every nerve woke from its slumber. My heartbeat increased, a hum of electricity coursed through me. Just being near her was intoxicating.
I wanted so much to kiss her lips, but I wouldn’t. Not until she wanted me to. Until her body spoke to me.
“So what can you tell me?” she asked. “What’s the plan?”
“The plan is you get to know me. The way all relationships develop.” I released her just enough to see her eyes. “We spend time together, and your heart will answer the rest. And when you so choose, I am yours—heart and soul.”
Although in time, she would understand that I already was.
“What’s the catch? Other than giving up my life here and going to Aravot? I need all the information if I’m going to make a decision this big.”
“There is a reason you cannot be privy to all the secrets of this life. This must be a decision made by your soul. No logic can go into choosing love.”
Her eyes narrowed, irritation returned.
“Well in case you’ve missed the past millennium, people today don’t just fall in love overnight. Life’s not a Disney movie.” She pulled away.
I let her go, and pushed my hands into my pockets.
She was right. Unions in modern times were complicated. There were many variables humans considered in choosing a mate and Zoe, although the same soul, had different experiences during each lifetime. I could not force her to love me or to choose our life together, as much as I wished that I could.
Each of her lives was a lesson for me as well—in relinquishing control. All I could do was trust in her heart and our love. Trust her soul would remember me.
“I realize all things in life are a choice. I would never force you to love me. And I would never choose my happiness over yours, but yes. I am hoping your heart will choose me.”
Her shoulders relaxed, eyes softened, but never left mine. Her breathing slowed, and her lips parted slightly, just enough to send my heart racing.
My Gemini mark began to pulse. To burn.
I wanted to kiss her. She wanted to kiss me.
After thousands of years loving Zoe, I could read her body as if it were my own.
The flush of her cheeks. Her forehead glistening with perspiration. The way she leaned, shuffled her feet, inhaled short breaths. Her gaze drifting between my mouth and my eyes. The tilt of her head. Her parted lips parting, skimming them with her teeth.
Searching her body for what Raz called her ‘tells,’ I first glanced at her eyes. They were always so telling. They skipped about my face.
Her breaths became shallow, lips parted. A pink flush spread across her high cheekbones as she leaned toward me, shifting nervously between her feet.
Should I kiss her? Part of me was unsure, but my body betrayed my wits.
I had waited twenty-one years for this moment. I could wait no longer.
I stepped closer, inhaled her sweet scent. Lessened the space between us.
Her eyes grew wider, lips parted. Waiting.
I could nearly hear her heart pulsing erratically.
She gave her answer.
“My greatest desire is for you to find happiness.”
I stepped closer. Picked up a long strand of her dark locks, and tucked it behind her ear. Ran my fingers along her jaw. Gently grasped her chin, stroked her bottom lip with my thumb, then shifted toward her.
“You have no memory of our life before this. But I’ve seen us together.” I wrapped my arms around her waist. Pulled her closer, our lips just fractions apart. Our gaze frozen.
“And I will always. Choose us.”
I leaned in, her soft breath blew against my cheek. I pressed my lips to hers. Gentle. Soft. Trembling.
The tingling sensation I had missed so much returned, ran rampant through my body.
I pulled back, not more than a centimeter, to gauge her response.
Her eyes remained closed, lips parted. Waiting for my return.
I brushed my lips to hers, gentle then deeper. They parted further still, and I edged my way in, exploring her sweet mouth.
My body shuddered, a searing heat rushed through me—through my chest, my arms and tingling within my muscles.
Every fiber of my soul, now burned for her. Alive from her touch.
Zoe fell into my embrace, let go of all the tension she’d been holding. She wrapped her arms around my neck, pressed her chest against mine, and tangled her fingers through the hair behind my neck. Moved them down my cheeks, then to my shoulders and waist.
The exploration of her soft fingertips brought my body to life. My soul. Everything woke inside of me.
She pressed her kiss deeper into mine, soft at first, then fervently, as if this was our last.
Her walls were breaking down—the pain replaced with a longing for our love.
She would soon remember everything, and I would have my Chayah back.
Our souls converged as one.
Zoe broke our kiss. Pulled back and gasped for a breath. Slowly, she opened her eyes.
Minutes passed. She relaxed, hands still holding my waist. Her gaze drifted up, peered at me through ebony lashes.
Tears slid from her glistening green eyes. “It’s you.”
I placed my hands on her warm cheeks, held her gently. Gazed into her eyes, breezed my whisper of admission across her cheek.
“It’s me.”

 

Click here for your free download of Gemini!

Friday Friends: C. Streetlights “Tea & Madness”

Happy Friday, Friends!  It is my pleasure to  feature authors and bloggers on Fridays. Today I am delighted to announce that Tea and Madness by C. Streetlights is rereleased!  This gorgeous book really touched my heart.

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Tea & Madness, a memoir written in prose and poetry, is separated into the four seasons inspired by C. Streetlights’ experiences: grieving a lost baby, coping with depression, anger, betrayal, surviving rape, and the accepting that there are some things she cannot forgive. Balanced somehow within this darkness is the wonder in motherhood and empathetic relationships. As her seasons change, she continues trying to find the balance of existing between normalcy and a certain kind of madness.

“Pears” from Tea and Madness
by C. Streetlights

My grandma had already been divorced when she met my grandpa. She was the older woman; eleven years older than him when they were married. He grew a mustache to hide his true age—19-years-old. They settled into a somewhat quiet life in Compton, California. I can appreciate the bravery my grandparents had to have had in order to pursue their love better now that I am an adult than I could as a child. As a child they were just old people. As an adult, I recognize the social dynamics that should have prevented their joy.
By the time I was eight years old it became clear my grandmother had what people called Old Timer’s Disease—Alzheimer’s. And this is how I remember her best; an old tired woman fighting a losing battle against her own mind, not as the vibrant woman I know she must have been.
I had to spend a weekend with my grandparents during a time when Grandma was beginning to deteriorate in her dementia. It was an unmemorable visit except for two things: First, I learned to eat mashed potatoes by melting cheese on it, and second, my grandmother called me a tart after accusing me of stealing her lipstick.
I can laugh about this now.
My grandmother had a vanity table with an oval mirror in her bathroom—very Gibson-girlish. It displayed the cosmetics she no longer wore. I would sometimes run my fingers over their gilded cases and hold up one of her make-up mirrors. Cosmetic cases today are created for disposable or utilitarian purposes rather than display, but my grandmother’s compacts had intricate filigree designs woven around the edges. Lipstick tubes had images of birds or flowers. And what little girl could resist the powder puff?
I came home from school and overheard her being consoled by my grandfather. Curious, I went into their room and bathroom to investigate—neither room had ever been “forbidden” to the grandchildren. I stood there at the bathroom doorway watching the small drama when Grandma turned on me without warning. Her finger in my face, she asked where I put the lipstick, but her eyes weren’t accusatory. Her eyes were afraid. I was confused and told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. My grandfather put his hands on her shoulders and tried to tell her I was her granddaughter. It dawned on me at that moment that my grandma didn’t know who I was, and it broke my heart even though I couldn’t fully comprehend it. All I heard was, “There is no way this tart is my granddaughter. She stole my lipstick!”
***

After writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her memoir, Tea and Madness won honorable mention for memoir in the Los Angeles Book Fair (2016) and is available for purchase on Amazon.

You can connect with C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon Author Central, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.
http://www.cstreetlights.com

 

 

 

Friday Friends: Character Interview with Courtney

Happy Friday, Friends! I love the creative community- and this is my way of giving back to the community. I feature authors and creatives on Fridays.  Today we have something special! A character interview! Introducing: Courtney from Learning Me/ Exploring Me (by Jamie White).

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1. So, tell us how you became involved in acting?

I’ve been acting since Kindergarten. I just thought it looked fun, and now I don’t know what I’d do without it.

2. What subjects&causes are near and dear to your heart?

Anything having to do with the arts, especially acting. I want to learn everything I can about it.

3. What’s your favorite song?

Anything really moody and dramatic. I love dramas best, so anything that gets me in that mood works.

4. What’s your favorite movie?

Got a few days? Seriously … there is no way I could ever pick just one.

5. What is one unusual thing about you?

I’d say I’m pretty boring, really. I mean, I basically go to school, drama, and my boyfriend’s hockey games.

6. Do you want to go to college?

You bet. I really want to get into this drama program at one place, but we’ll see if they accept me. I also need this scholarship to come through…

7. What is the deal with your parents?

I really wish I knew. For whatever reason, they have this massive thing against me acting. I think it’s stupid, but they won’t budge.

8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

Blue Cheese.

9. Do you ever want to go somewhere different than where your creator sends you?

All the time. Especially after the next book or two…

10. What is your relationship with your author?

I plead the fifth before since my parents told me I shouldn’t say anything if I can’t say something nice, but she really pisses me off. I really hope she eases up on me at some point.

11. What’s one thing you wish you could change about yourself?

I can’t really think of anything about me I would change, but if my creator is listening, I would sure love to change my parents.

12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Your parents are never going to accept you wanting to be an actress, so just stop trying. Don’t care as much; it will save you a lot of hurt later.

13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

I guess I’d say that I hope you enjoy my story a lot more than I’ve been enjoying living it.

Thank you for stopping by, Courtney!  It was a pleasure having you on Friday Friends!

Kudos to author Jamie White! Learning Me and Exploring Me are available now. Book 3 will be coming out soon. Stay tuned! 

Wednesday Wellness: Withdraw

Sometimes in my wellness journey, I just have to withdraw from everyone and focus within. It’s funny that on a day which was my work anniversary as well as Administrative Professionals’ Day, there was very little acknowledgement. And I liked it.

The fourth Wednesday is always Board Meetings and Committees, so I didn’t even see my boss. Most other managers were at said meetings, else they soon headed offsite (or called in from behind closed doors).

It was a quiet day for me, and I found I could complete my work tasks easily and without interruption. I thought about how grateful I am for employment and benefits, and how most people I work with are actually pretty nice. Once I saw that everybody had the documents needed for the subcommittee meeting, I ventured to a favorite restaurant for curbside delivery, which I brought back to work and feasted upon at my desk.

My quietness continued even after I got home- the television never got turned on, and my kids chose to read. The absence of a blaring television was music to my ears.  We snuggled as we read our perspective books, enjoying our separate stories and our togetherness. We giggled at family photos from years past.

Just as I thought “I didn’t write a wellness post today-“ I realized I had my topic:  right here.

What did you do for your self-wellness today?

Friday Friends: Elizabeth Barone

Happy Friday, Friends! Today I am honored to feature the delightful Elizabeth Barone, prolific author of several new adult novels and series. I have been especially impressed with her online presence and expert campaigns. She’s wonderful to chat with- please welcome Elizabeth!
1. So, what have you written?

When I first started off, I was all over the place. Then I fell in love with writing New Adult romance and suspense. I currently have seven books. I have my Comes in Threes series, which is about a young woman who gains custody of her little sister right before she’s supposed to start college, because their mother has been forcibly committed. Then I have my South of Forever series, which follows the sassy belles of the band as they build their careers and romantic relationships from the ground up.

I also have several standalones, including Playing for You and The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos—both of which tie into the South of Forever series.

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

I tend to write about contemporary social issues, like substance abuse and taking the offbeat path. I think it’s because I’ve watched a lot of people I love struggle with drugs and alcohol—and I don’t think I know anyone who’s taken the “normal” path in life.

Growing up, I was always under this sort of impression that you’re supposed to go to college, settle yourself into a stable career, then maybe get married and have a family. But my post-high school life was nothing like that. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I met someone I was crazy about. Then I got sick and had to can my already tentative career plans. My husband and I dated for seven years before we got married, and we’re currently child-free.

Life never turns out the way you plan for or want. I really try to tell people, through all of my books, that it’s okay to do things differently or to roll with the punches.

3. How did you conceive the story of Savannah’s Song?

I knew, when I was writing The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos, that these characters had more in store for them, and that they were definitely going to cross paths with the characters in Playing for You. But I really wanted to focus on Max’s story, because though he loves Savannah very much, he is very much his own person. And vice versa.

I wanted to tell Savannah’s side of things but without literally rehashing The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos. And I knew that I wanted to focus on the belles of the band in the South of Forever series. A lot of rockstar series are all about the guys. Maybe I’m stubborn, but I have this love affair with doing things differently.

The first book in the South of Forever series, Diving Into Him, was told from Jett’s point of view. In Savannah’s Song, the torch is passed to Savannah. I’ve lost a lot of people to addiction. It’s really hard when you’re in a relationship and your significant other is struggling. It might be healthier for your own sake for you to walk away, but there’s a lot of guilt involved. I wanted to explore all of that while continuing Max and Savannah’s love story and, of course, weaving in the band’s growth.

4. How did you conceive the story of The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos?

I feel like, in our society, we’ve become really good at supporting single moms. I’ve seen several of my single mom friends struggle so much while raising their babies alone, but I think now it’s much more accepted in society. We tend to completely ignore the single dads, though. I think anyone who can singlehandedly bring up a tiny human should be commended.

Someone I know unexpectedly became a single dad with very similar circumstances to Max’s. I thought his story was extremely moving. Almost overnight, he went from carefree young man to driven father who would do anything for his little daughter. I think a lot of guys get a bad rap as deadbeat dads when in reality it works both ways.

I was supposed to be writing something else but I kept daydreaming about a young dad trying to make it through college while raising his daughter. He’s relied a lot on his parents, which is helpful but not necessarily healthy. So they give him the boot and his adventure begins. Just when he thinks he’s got it all down, he falls in love.

5. What was the most curious thing you discovered in your research?

I actually just learned this after writing the first three books in the South of Forever series. Somehow I’ve got to incorporate it into the last book. Apparently most musicians name their guitars. I’m a lifelong rock fan and never knew this. I’m ashamed.

6. What music inspires you?

If I’m not plugged into my headphones, I’m busting out in random song. I like pretty much everything, except for country. It actually makes me nauseous. I was born in the ’80s so I was raised on Dio, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Prince, and Black Sabbath. In the ’90s I went through a short boy band phase but mostly got hooked on R&B and alt rock, like Aaliyah, TLC, Stone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana. I’m still trying to figure out today’s music, but every once in a while I find some gems.

When I’m writing, I’m almost always listening to something. It usually depends on the mood of the book or particular scene. While writing Crazy Comes in Threes, I listened to a lot of Eagles. I’m writing a much more trope-y romance right now and it’s been fueled by Maxine Ashley and LIGHTS. My go to writing playlist is usually Spotify’s Deep Focus, though. It’s atmospheric rock and really puts me in the zone.

7. How many books did you read last year?

I used to be really good at tracking my reading on Goodreads, but in the last couple of years I’ve really gotten away from adding and reviewing books. According to my account, I only read 12 books last year, but I know it’s closer to 50. I do a lot of beta reading, too, so I’m sure it’s even higher than that.

This year I’m trying really hard to keep track. I’m ahead of schedule; my goal is 25 but I’m already 40% done.

8. Coffee or Tea?

I love tea, but I absolutely cannot function without coffee. I try to keep it to one cup in the morning, but sometimes I can’t resist two or three. I’m a total Starbucks Caffe Verona junkie, but my second choice is Folgers. Mostly I drink water throughout the day, though, with a cup of herbal tea in the evening. Celestial Seasonings’ Lemon Zinger is my favorite.

9. What is your favorite movie?

Hands down, The Crow. If they ever remake it like they’re threatening to, I’m going to get violent. There’s only one Eric Draven.

Lately, though, I’m obsessed with anything Melissa McCarthy or Disney. I could watch St. Vincent and The Lion King over and over. I also saw the Ben Affleck Batman movie recently and loved it. I love dark Batman.

I love movies in general, though. I’ll get together with my best friend or sister-in-law and we’ll just binge movies. Those ladies are my people.

10. Do you have any writing rituals?

If I’ve already had my morning coffee, I’ve got to have some other beverage (usually a nice cold glass of water). And, like I said, I’ve almost always got to have some music on. Then, armed with my outline—which is really just an ultra messy and short first draft—I just go at it. Usually I’ll have a goal for the day that I have to hit. And often I’m interrupted somehow by my cat.

11. Do you have a theme song?

Kind of. Whenever I have to tackle something, I’ll start singing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan: “Let’s get down to business to defeat the Huns…”

12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Get your hair trimmed every two months. Don’t get cocky and let it go. Just because it was super healthy when you were a kid, doesn’t mean you can get away with ignoring it now.

13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

The second book in my South of Forever series, Savannah’s Song, comes out May 6th. I’m throwing a launch party that night. For every 50 people who RSVP as “going,” I release a fun new surprise, like a giveaway or video reading. Click here to RSVP.

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Elizabeth Barone writes contemporary New Adult romance and suspense, starring sassy belles who chose a different path in life. She self-published her first novel in 2012 and has since signed with Booktrope. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books.

Elizabeth lives in Connecticut with her husband, the artist Michael Campbell. Learn more about her books and read her blog at elizabethbarone.net. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Instagram, @elizabethbarone, and on Facebook at facebook.com/elizabethbaronebooks.

 

 

I have to go get my hair trimmed now!  See you at the launch party for Savannah’s Song on May 6th!