Wednesday Wellness: Writing

Happy Wednesday, Dear Friends!

I started writing on Wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noticed so many of my creative friends struggle with balance and wellness, as do I.  Join me on my journey and let’s explore wellness together!

You guys!  I wrote a book!

I am so excited to share it with you!  It’s called Dee’s Dishes– and it’s a collection of stories and recipes.  You can buy it on Amazon.  I have some exciting activities coming up- including social media promotion, blog tour, Facebook party, a Headtalker campaign, and some giveaways.

Join me as I reflect on my grandparents and share their recipes.  I’ll take you to my favorite restaurants and show you how to make copycat dishes.  Heck, I’ll take you to my mother’s tropical island and show you around, and share some island dishes.

Here is the official blurb:

Dee’s Dishes is a Cookbook…and So Much More

How many times have you had Pepsi dumped on you? I’m talking completely-out-of-the-blue, shocking-and-sticky, all-over dumped on you. Well, it’s happened to me…more than once!

But, that’s actually not what this book is about…well, kind of. Sit down, grab yourself a coffee, tea, or wine, and dive into my personal stories about food, music, Guam culture, family, and how these elements have intertwined and danced throughout my life, resulting in some AH-MAZING recipes that I’ll share with you.

With easy-to-follow organization grouped by Sweet and Savory, I know you’re going to love these dishes! Like Pepsi Brownies, Coconut Candy, Titiyas (flatbread from Guam), Caprese Denisi, my one-pot pasta dish (that I call Seconds Pasta) and more.

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Writing is one way I manage the relative un-wellness and chaos and transform it into something resembling goodness.  I read a book that was short personal stories and recipes, and I thought “HEY!  I could do that!”

It is my hope that if you read my book, you might discover that you have a book inside you, too.

 

Peace,

Denise

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Giving

Happy Wednesday Wellness, Friends!  I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I no9ted many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I.  I hope maybe some of my experiences may help you in your own quest.  Join me on my journey today!

Today I decided to complete and post reviews for another indie author.  I had thought about writing them for some time, I don’t know what took me so long.  I had thought about it so long, I thought I had already done it.  But I did it today, posting on both Amazon.com and on Goodreads. I let the author know I had done so, and she was thrilled.  It made me so happy to know that I had done something.  She had bared her soul in a book of poetry.  And I affirmed her.  Reviews are like gold.

I also completed and shared a testimonial.  Something else that I had been ruminating but not writing.  So I did it today, let the entrepreneur know, and we had a nice friendly little chat.  She provided exemplary service, and I let the world know! Hopefully she can use my testimonial in her marketing materials.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now:  kids’ schedules and chaos.  But you  know what, I gave testimony today.  And the recipients were so thrilled.  There’s something so satisfying about giving.

All is well.

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Have you experienced the joy of giving? 

 

 

My Alaskan Cruise: Day 2

I had slept on the pull-out sofa, which wasn’t good for my back.  The rocking of the boat was quite noticeable, it had grown from subtle to in-your-face.  I don’t mind the rocking, in fact I find it soothing to be rocked to sleep. But I decide to trade sleeping spots with my husband going forward.

Our extended family party of nine met for brunch in the Windjammer Café (buffet) again. There is a crew member assigned to greet diners and also squeeze hand sanitizer into our hands.  He proudly holds the big pouch of clear goo wrapped in a black cloth napkin.  That’s his job.  (Even though there are also three free-standing hand sanitizer dispensers beside him.)  I wonder, when they see the duties posted, do the crew members think “YAY!  I get to squeeze the goo!”  or “Pshaw, I get the goo again!”  We will see this gentleman on each of our seven mornings.

This is a day at sea, and we are happy to explore the ship. We spend time in the Arcade, which has vintage games such as Galaga/ Ms. Pac-Man, as well as air hockey and skee-ball. Great fun to reconnect with one’s inner child, am I right?

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Kids, Let me show you how it’s done!

There is a Starbucks/ Ben & Jerry’s on the promenade deck,  we enjoy some girl time and my niece French braids my daughter’s hair.  I think this is the day we have soft serve ice cream, available on the pool deck, but we eat in inside because it is so cold, windy and wet on the pool deck.  We took this funny video of the Caution sign on the deck. Soon they would close off all exterior decks and place complimentary barf bags near the stairwells, as well as offer free sea sickness pills at the Guest Relations counter.  We have a quick bite of pizza from the  Café Promenade and make our way to the Theater which is showing the film Zootopia. It is fun to watch the film in this fancy theater.  There are some scary parts for little girls, but ultimately it is good fun.  I note that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be playing during dinner tomorrow evening.  I’m so there!

 

We decide to dress now for Formal Night, before making our way to the Ice Skating Performance Show and then dinner. I’m so glad our luggage was found and we can wear the dresses and jewelry I had planned.  Tonight I am wearing my new charcoal scoop neck short dress, Mary Jane’s and this fabulous necklace from Premier Designs.  I am wearing the green side showing, with my hair down.   For our next formal night, I will wear the reverse silver side showing, and my hair up.  Here is a link to my friend Maria’s webpage where you can order your own reversible necklace and more. My daughter is proudly wearing her new dress (similar to her cousin’s) and reversing the brown belt to the black side, so that it matches her “fancy” black shoes.  The guys are wearing khaki’s and polo shirts, which are more comfortable.  We see hardly any tuxedoes  tonight, most men are dressed similarly or don sportcoats. My godson is looking dapper in his suit.  (I do notice a particular group of young girls who seem to casually walk by our party quite often!)

The ice show is entitled Spirit of the Seasons.  Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line with ice rinks on the ships.  It is 1/8th the size of a standard rink. which allows for a very intimate performance. (Later they will open the rink for All Skate sessions.)  It is wondrous seeing the first two numbers, but the rocking has accelerated and the Cruise Director walks on the ice to announce the suspension of the show, due to the safety of the performers. Completely understandable.  Here’s a lil snippet of what the waves looked like. We have some time before out dinner reservation, so we walk around taking photos. Dinner for a party of nine is challenging. I don’t know why the travel agent didn’t advise us to book our dining time early.  We had choices of 5:15pm or 8:30pm on most nights.  5:15 is fine when you are At Sea, but early if you are out on an excursion.  Every day some time was spent trying to change our reservations.  Kind of an annoyance, since it would have been avoidable had we been advised to select early or late dining, or at least book our “My Time” dining reservations earlier.

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Be Our Guest

We are seated near a window on the top floor of the three-floor dining room.  We have two tables pushed together four our large party.  This works better than a large circle table, actually.  It’s easier to sit next to who you want to talk to.  We have noticed that when your party contains children, they tend to seat you in the corners.  This is to our advantage, actually, as we can enjoy views from the windows. The food is not bad, the desserts are pretty good.  (The kids desserts on Princess were better than the kids desserts on Royal.)

 

We take formal pictures, as well as pose in all combinations ad nauseum for casual pics.  Then our group separates and my sister-in-law and I take the kids to the production show in the Theater.  We order Shirley Temples, Cherry Cokes, or Virgin Pina Coladas for all, and enjoy the show.  Afterwards, we swing by the Karaoke event, but my nerves kick in and there are no new songs in the karaoke book.  We say good night, as Dear Daughter knows when she’s turning into a pumpkin.  It is still light out!   A swan towel awaits us in the room (but no chocolates).

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Tomorrow we will be at sea in the morning, and port in Juneau I can’t wait to share with you all my pictures of the gorgeous glaciers, cool wildlife, and especially the cute puppies!  That’s what it’s all about, on this Alaskan cruise.

 

 

Friday Friends: Author Molli Moran

Happy Friday, Friends! I love to spotlight authors and bloggers on Fridays. It is my way of giving back to the book community, which has been so inspiring for me. Today I am delighted to present Author Molli Moran!

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1. So, what have you written?

I’m the author of the Walker Boys series, as well as a standalone (for now) romance, One Song Away. They’re all sort of a crossover between New Adult and adult contemporary romance.

image2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

I’m a big supporter of the movement for YA literature (and really, all literature) to include more diverse characters and books. I try to read and champion as many LGBTQ+ YA and Romance books as I can.

3. Are you a Pantser or a Planner?

I’m more of a connect-the-dots writer. I go into my books knowing a few major threads and then the fun part of writing a book is weaving all them together.

4. Tell us about your love of Southern small towns?

Oh, Southern small towns. I’ve spent some time in big cities but at heart, I adore small towns. The camaraderie between people, the stories they all know about each other–it’s heartwarming.

5. What is one unusual thing about you?

Hmm, probably that I was born three months premature, weighing on 1 lb 12oz. I’m totally healthy now though. 🙂

6. What music inspires you?

Everything! I listen to a lot of country music when I’m writing, but pop, singer-songwriter, country, even some classic rock normally. I love music. I’m always making playlists and I always have music going.

7. How many books did you read last year?

About 20. I used to be a much more voracious reader but that’s slowed down in the last few years.

8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

Always ranch!

9. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on ONE HEART LIKE MINE, the first companion to my ONE SONG AWAY. It follows runner, journalist, and out lesbian Sloane as she falls in love with a bisexual friend who is realizing her sexuality.

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

I don’t watch a lot of movies but I *love* TV. I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries from the beginning (Team Stefan, always), and I also love Supernatural, Doctor Who, Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl.
11. Do you have a theme song?

Probably “Fight Song” because it’s really special to me.

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

I’d tell my younger self to not be afraid to be who you are–that eventually, you get to, without fear, and it’s amazing. Growing up knowing I was gay but not being ready to admit it meant my teen years were scary. I wish I’d known then what I know now. 🙂

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

Yes! I co-run a romance authors/readers group on Facebook called Romance Readers Anonymous. I’d love to invite any of your blog readers to join us (http://facebook.com/groups/romancereadersanon) and thank you, Denise, for having me today. This was so much fun. ❤

Molli Moran | Author of small-town romances with heat, charm, and heart

AS YOU TURN AWAY available now in e-book and paperback.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Author Site: Molli Writes
Author Blog: Books and Whimsy
Twitter: @MissMolliWrites
Facebook: Author Molli Writes
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/KI9m1

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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! 

Friday Friends: K.M. Randall

Happy Friday, Friends!  Today I am delighted to feature author K. M. Randall!  Take it away, K.!

1. So, what have you written?

In terms of books, I’ve written Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga), which is the first in an epic fantasy series. I’ve also written The Reaper’s Daughter, a YA Paranormal novel, also a first in a series. As a Wattpad exclusive (for the time-being), I published Fairytale Lost, the prequel to Fractured Dream. Outside of books, I’ve worked in newspapers, magazines, online media, so I’ve written a lot.

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

I’d say the environment is very important to me. Some of my favorite authors are nature writers like Annie Dillard and Bill McKibben. I try to insert environmental elements in all my books. I’ve also thought about getting involved in anti-bullying organizations. I have a young son and it terrifies me how social media has given bullying such reach. It’s an epidemic.

3. How did you conceive Fractured Dream?

Fractured Dream was inspired by several factors. I had a dream about a girl who lived in two worlds, and at the same time I was reading the Time Traveler’s Wife, which made me think about the physical body and time and space. It was all kind of a light bulb, and suddenly I had the idea of a girl who lived in a real world when she was awake and slipped into another, but also real, fantasy-like world when she went to sleep. It has the elements of a portal story as well, which came from my desire as a kid to find a lake that would take me to a fairy world.

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4. How did you conceive The Reaper’s Daughter?

Strangely, I was looking out the window of my home office and watching the crows that were in the trees and a line about death slipped through my mind, making me think about a young girl who finds out she’s Death.
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5. What was the most curious thing you discovered in your research?

I can’t think of one thing, specifically. But I’m learning a lot right now about dolphins, which are relevant to a new Sci-Fi novel I’m working on.

8. Coffee or Tea?

I like both, but definitely coffee. There’s no blood in my veins, just coffee … and wine.

9. What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on the sequel to Fractured Dream, called Shattered World. I’m also working on a Sci-Fi YA romance that I’m currently titling Sea Shifter. The title could change though.

10. Do you have any writing rituals?

Nothing crazy. I like quiet, my office, and coffee … Always coffee.

11. Do you have a theme song?

I don’t have one specific, but right now I’m feeling kinship with “Shake it Out” by Florence Against the Machine. This because, as people may have heard, my publisher Booktrope announced its closing, so it’s been a lot of shaking it off and out and taking a breath to move on. I’m also feeling “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. I sing it to my five-year-old at bedtime and he sings it with me, so it’s really special.

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

I’d probably tell my younger self to take care of myself better. And to write more.

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

Although my publisher is closing I will still be writing, and may have found one of my titles a new home already. So I’ll be back. In the meantime, I’m running a close-out sale. Fractured Dream is available at a discounted rate at $2.00 on Amazon right now and The Reaper’s Daughter is 99 cents. Thanks for having me! You can always find me at http://www.KMRandallAuthor.com.

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https://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Dream-Dreamer-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00JG8U6TC?ie=UTF8&qid=1462630569&ref_=tmm_kin_swatch_0&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Dream-Dreamer-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00JG8U6TC?ie=UTF8&qid=1462630569&ref_=tmm_kin_swatch_0&sr=8-1

I am going to get Reaper’s Daughter right now! Who’s with me? 

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!