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!

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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!”
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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! 

Wednesday Wellness: Reflecting on Holy Week

This week is the confluence of Spring Equinox, Holy Week, and a Full Moon Eclipse.  My friends and creatives, are you feeling a little March Madness?

One of my favorite words is juxtaposition. As I quiz my son on geography, I find myself delighted with the word “confluence .”  I happened upon this gem of a question: What is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and Uruguay? (Rio de la Plata)  Isn’t that question just filled with musical words? Alas, I digress.

I, myself, am a confluence of sorts. I’m Pacific Islander and Caucasian, light and dark, religious and spiritual, traditional and liberal, a zip-liner and a bookworm.  Maybe my constant struggle for balance is rooted here.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So as I attempt to harmonize my new understandings with the faith of my childhood, I give you these for your consideration.

  1. The Miracles of Santo Fico

I reread this book every year at Holy Week. It is a delightful tale of a dysfunctional  parish in a forgotten town. Think: Chocolat in Italy.  It reminds me how even in the bad times, miracles occur. I love I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. It’s a slow beginning but I just love the character interactions. Many times I’ve stayed up too late, reading until I got to a favorite scene.

This is the first time I’m reading it since visiting Italy. I have to say, now that I’ve experienced the unforgiving sweltering heat of July, I can really empathize with these characters even more.

Finally, I remember my dear friend Alva who has now gone to heaven. Last year, I gave her a copy and she read along with me. I miss her so, and she was gone too soon. Now reading this story I remember our special connection. And I hope one of her friends or family members finds the book so that they, too, can enjoy the Miracles of Santo Fico.

2. The Passion Live

This brave production tells the story of Jesus’ last days via popular music and is set in New Orleans. It’s a blend of old and new, traditional and contemporary.  It’s refreshing, although the em-ceeing, reporting, and commercials I could do without.  But we are human.  (see #1) the songs are available on iTunes and the live broadcast is available on Hulu.com.

3. Check Your Alignment

Reaching into my wellness toolkit, I modified a breathing meditation/ visualization in which I sent love and energy to parts of my body- to my chakras.    Chakras are centers of energies: there are seven. Here is a good overview by renowned meditation expert and author Deepak Chopra:    As a poet, have come to understand the chakras as virtues:  Stability, Creativity, Confidence, Lovingkindness, Truth, Clarity, and Peace. I have found as I focus on chakras, my feelings become more balanced. Keep in mind that the thing you desire just may be overstimulated, and you may have to pull back.  My heart chakras, Lovingkindness, has long been out of balance, as I tend to be too generous with my time, to the point of self-neglect. Who’s with me, here? Anyone? Bueller?  I’ve got a long way to go.

Spring Blessings, Joyous Passover, & Happy Easter.

Namaste.

 

Do you honor Spring Equinox and/or Holy Week? What do you do? Please comment and share.  I’d love to hear from you. 

Wednesday Wellness: Walk the Walk

After ten days of El Niño, the California sun returned. I woke up in the darkness that is the first Monday of Daylight Savings Time, y’all know what I mean, but I knew the sun would he coming out.

I’m not gonna lie, my great intentions were waning by mid-morning. I’d thought I would enjoy three meal-replacement protein shakes, then I thought well I’d just eat the salad in the lunch that work provided, but by afternoon I’d eaten the entire candy cookie. But here’s what I did do.

I took a long walk during my lunch break.  I knew the point of half mile, and so after my return it would be a whole mile.  I donned my purple floppy hat, plugged in my Wonder Woman earbuds, grabbed a water and headed west.  I listened to a guided visualization meditation as I walked.

Last year I could have sworn it was it a field   on the next block. This year, even the weeds are a spectrum of color. And then I saw this sign.

image

 

 

And I knew it to be a sign from the Universe, that I was on the right path.

I completed my circle and thought, wow, that felt so good, and I even have time left in this hour to read or write! As I approached my building, the meditation ended and my music shuffle chose to play Once a Day by Michael Franti for me. And I fell into step, as all former marching band members do. Left, Right, One, Two. And I began to see a daily walk as a gift that I give to myself, something actually enjoyable (and not a chore).

All too often, I talk the talk. I know my mantras and meditations, apps and affirmations. But I always seem to fall back into my little indulgences and pretend it’s self-care. But something was different this day.

That night I dreamt that an old boyfriend was telling everyone I knew that he still liked me. And Dream-Me was appalled, thinking ‘He has got to GET OVER me!’ And I woke up knowing I could now let go of my indulgences. It was like I already had.

I walked the next day, as well. A little longer. I joked about my popcorn and Pepsi “diet” and even indulged a little bit here and there, but I didn’t beat myself up about it.

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That night I added a bit to my evening meditation. I visualized sending love and healing energy to parts of my body, especially to the parts I don’t really like. And then I sent Gratitude.  And I went to sleep, smiling.

This afternoon I added the prayer walk to my circle. I entered on the paved side, and couldn’t see how deep into the field it might go. But I went in. The path turned and became unpaved, rocky. I was a little annoyed. Then there was one point where there was a fork. I decided to go right, where there was a quick dusty dead-end, so I turned back around and followed the path back out to the street. Here the rocks began to change, there were rocks of many colors and sizes- red, blues, white and greys. The last bit of the path was under water on one side, but the right side was drier. So I carefully stepped my way to the sidewalk. No sweat.

There are so many wonderful sights along the journey.

image Now I get it. You gotta walk the walk.

Do you struggle with balance? How do you maintain wellness? 

Please scroll down and comment below!