Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Favorite Season…

 

Fall is my absolute favorite season. 

In fall I feel creative, happy, optimistic, and at peace.

But why are we talking about fall at the beginning of summer? (And truthfully, summer hasn’t even begun yet!) Because it’s hot. Really hot. And I thought maybe you, like me, could use a break.

brown farm gate and green grass field

 

Sure there are things I love about summer — my girls are home; I love wearing summer dresses; and I adore going to evening outdoor concerts, bringing a picnic and sitting on a blanket on the lawn.

 

But summer is not my favorite season. Truthfully, between us, if I were to rank seasons, I’m not so sure summer would make my top four. 😉 

I don’t love bugspray or sunblock, and I’m not a water person. I’ll take autumn any day. I love the chilly weather, wearing zip-front sweatshirts, walking through parks bursting with color, apple picking, and the bite of a not-too-cold evening.

In case you’re like me, I thought I’d bring us a much-needed break from the heat.

Take a look at these beautiful photos and think happy–cool–thoughts!

autumn avenue bench fall

Pexels.com

body of water near orange and green leaf trees

Pexels.com

Fall is also the most romantic of all seasons, isn’t it? Think of snuggling together by a fire pit on a chilly evening… Or wrapping up in a blanket on a tiny balcony looking out at the lights of a big city…

So tell us, what’s your favorite season? And what do you love about it?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Advertisements

Adverbs

smoke fume cigarette fag
 Pexels.com

I have come to believe adverbs are cigarettes for writers. We’re told they are no good for us, are highly-addictive, but yet they’re still around, tempting us. Why, oh, why?

 

I just received my latest manuscript back from my editor and have been on an adverb-eliminating quest ever since. By the time I send a book to my editor I try to make my manuscript fairly clean, but apparently this time around I was adverb-happy. 🙂

Are adverbs really that bad?

First, let’s be in agreement about the definition of an adverb. A quick Google search reveals the definition as : “A word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there ).”

In particular, my editor was after adverbs modifying verbs. (And yes, likes and dislikes do change from editor to editor, even within the same publisher, but more on that in another post.)

So the question is: Do we overuse adverbs in writing? And can we be descriptive without them?

A quick glance at a poster today at our local children’s museum argued in favor of adverbs:

IMG_5213

Touch GENTLY. Yes, there’s a difference.

“He touched her cheek gently” is very different than, “He touched her cheek roughly,” or even, “He touched her cheek.”

Of course if he’s caressing her cheek, we probably don’t need the adverb. Most readers would agree a caress is gentle, making the word, “gently” superfluous.

 

woman on hammock reading book

 

And if you read many popular novels, especially Young Adult novels, adverbs are sprinkled all over the pages.

So, what about you? If you’re a writer, do you use adverbs? And as a reader, do you like them? Or do you agree with so many editors who’d like to banish the use of adverbs? 😉

Leave a comment and let us know!

Happy Reading!


Memorial Day Sale!

Love Artists & NYC?

woman on rock platform viewing city

 

Get ready for this Memorial Day with

two sweet & steamy romances…

Books 1 & 2 of The New York Artists Series

are on sale!

Book 1:

Summer of Irreverence-The Rock Star 

Book 2:

To Be or Not To Be-The Actors

99 cents each eBook!

Standalone Novels

Come meet these strong, sexy, artistic, & rebellious Alphas and the smart, surprising women they fall for…

 

Meet Rock Star, Malcolm Angel…

Summer’s eyes darted up toward his. Perspiration dotted her forehead, and she felt her nipples harden. He tugged on her lip gently then let go, allowing his eyes to deliberately drop down to her shirt. He exhaled a deep guttural groan, and Summer felt an intense jolt of pleasurable pain flash through her body she couldn’t—and didn’t want to—explain with any logical medical reasoning. Her body moved toward his, and Malcolm lurched out, wrapping his arms around her waist, pulling her toward him with such force, she grunted. She pressed against him, and he held her tightly, his black eyes warming.

“I don’t even know your last name…” he whispered.

Summer exhaled, frustrated, feeling the moistness in her jeans, knowing there was no way to maintain their intensity once she spoke.

“Okay.”

He held her at arms’ length. “Okay? Your last name is ‘Okay’?”

She rolled her eyes. “No, it’s okay you don’t know.”

His eyes clouded over, and he let his hands slide down her arms until they were no longer touching. A searing pain socked Summer in her gut. She’d have to tell him, or risk hurting him. She stood up straight, and shimmied around a bit, trying to alleviate the contact from the seam of her jeans. Why did he stop?

“Okay, okay…I’ll tell you. But please try to keep your reaction under control.”

Malcolm raised his eyebrows. “I’ll make no such promise.”

Summer blushed. “You know what I mean…” Her voice was a mere whisper.

“Okay, fine. I will do my best. But why are you anticipating a reaction? What could your name possibly be?” Malcolm twisted his mouth as he spoke. He squinted as he offered possible options. “Summer Smith? Summer Saunders…Summer Day?” His eyes sparkled. “That’s it, isn’t it? Summer Day?”

“Wynters.”

“Excuse me?” The look of entertainment came back to Malcolm’s face.

Summer rolled her eyes again and crossed her arms. “You heard me.”

She turned to walk away, but Malcolm grabbed her hand and held her fast.

“Oh, no. No way. You can’t drop that and then just walk off. Did you just say, ‘Winters’?”

“Yes.”

“As in, Summer Winters…?”

“Yes. But it’s not spelled like you’re thinking. It’s W-Y-N-T-E-R-S.”

“I don’t think that’s any better.” Malcolm laughed.

Summer smiled and pouted, playfully storming away. She made her way around the construction zone and back to the table with Malcolm at her heels. “That is the reason I didn’t want to tell you.” Her voice was high, enjoying the banter.

“How did you go through life with that name…?” Malcolm’s eyes flashed with happiness. “I mean, if I wrote it, people would crucify me. What were your parents thinking?”

Summer froze.

“I mean, do they love you at all?” Malcolm chuckled.

Summer’s feet refused to move, and her arms lay limp at her side.

“Summer?” Malcolm’s smile faded. “Sum?”

The sound of her nickname spoken by Malcolm did her in. She desperately fought the mounting tears.

Malcolm stared at her. “It’s not your name you’re upset about, is it?”

Summer clenched her jaw and shook her head.

“I’m sorry.” His voice was low and modulated.

She nodded, looking at Malcolm, and wanting, for the first time ever, to have someone make it all okay. To have him make it all okay.

Malcolm grew quiet. They stood there for whole minutes.“I’m sorry if I touched on a sore subject. Really.”

Summer stared at him—this man who had everything except the answer she needed. How could he be so closed off? How could he care so little about the pain of another living creature?

He stepped forward then, as if reading her mind, took her hand gently, and leaned over, speaking quietly into her ear. “It’s not that I don’t care.”Those few words found a place deep in Summer’s soul.

Malcolm stood tall, and Summer’s eyes followed him. He reached out and stroked her cheek. “But I’ve got nothing more to give than today.”

Meet Rock Star Malcolm Angel

 

Where to get your copy?

AMAZON        B&N   

 iTunes   THE WILD ROSE PRESS

 

Meet Soap Opera Star, Trevor Hughes…

ToBeorNotToBeTheActors_w11155_medHe reached out and placed his hand on her cheek, stroking it gently. His gaze danced across hers.

“I, uh…” Her tummy rumbled with excitement.

“Thank you, Jenna. For all of it.” He pulled back, letting his hand drop to his side. He walked to the clothing rack in the back of the room, dropped the sauerkraut, and dug a small pink box from his leather bag. “Here. I wanted it to be so much more but this just felt right.”

Jenna took the box with trembling hands. She gave it a slight shake, listening to it rattle. “What is it?”

“Open it.”

Jenna’s heart raced as she tugged at the ribbon and lifted the top off the box. Inside were a hundred pink candy turtles—all stamped with the word “Dream.”

She looked up at him, her eyes aching from tears. “How did you?”

“I know you’d want your father here tonight. And I know he’d want you to dream big, because that’s what I want for you.”

“Trevor, I…” Jenna threw her arms around his neck and held him, tightly, her gown bunching between them. When she broke away, she was inches from him.

“Perchance to dream, Jenna.”

She smiled, biting the corner of her lip, exactly where his fingers had been only moments before. He reached up to touch her hair.

“Careful of the wig,” she joked.

“And with that sugar addiction of yours, I figured Valentine’s Day candy was a given.”

“Oh, you know me so well, Mr. Hughes.” Jenna fanned herself coquettishly.

He smiled. Trevor tossed the container aside and scooped Jenna into his arms. He held her tight.

“It feels like the nunnery scene.” Jenna’s voice was soft and breathy.

“Yes, but does this happen in the nunnery scene?” Trevor pulled her closer to him, and his lips nearly brushed against hers.

“Maybe it should?”

“Are you telling me…?” Trevor studied her, his gaze locked on hers. “You want me to—?”

The stage manager stuck his head through the door. “Hamlet? Ophelia? Places, please.”

Her body ached as he released her.

“Damn it.” Trevor shook his head, jumping up and down in place. He stopped and smiled at Jenna, taking her hand and kissing it, before letting go. “Here we go.”

“Break a leg, Trevor.” She smiled at him, adrenaline rushing through her.

“You too, Jenna.”

She made her way to the door and turned back. “Trevor? Here’s to not sucking and having to do dinner theatre in the middle of nowhere.”

Chuckling, Trevor tossed his head back and Jenna scooted out the door.

Will Trevor ever be able to prove to Jenna their love is meant To Be..._

 

Where to get your copy?

AMAZON  B&N 

THE WILD ROSE PRESS    iTunes

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Happy Reading!


Life Without Chocolate Update…

It’s been about two months since I announced I was chocolate free, and about the same amount of time since I’ve eaten chocolate of any kind—including my beloved Caramel Walnut Brownie Luna Bars.

The catalyst for giving up chocolate was headaches. Too many, too often.  So I did this very unscientific experiment to see if my headaches would improve without chocolate.

pexels-photo-1028714.jpeg

The results?

The first month I was off chocolate I had one three day headache.

So it’s hard to tell. Would it have been worse with chocolate? Impossible to know. What I do know is that I missed chocolate. A lot. And my headaches weren’t completely gone. At least, not yet.

So I stayed off chocolate another month, and the result? Still no significant changes in headaches. They still appeared and lasted a day or two, with or without chocolate. However, overall my headaches may have been less frequent.

So my very unscientific experiment yielded good news: eating chocolate does not appear to affect my headaches directly, and bad news: giving up chocolate didn’t help to relieve my headaches completely.

There was one more question I was asked several times during my months without chocolate, did giving up chocolate for two months make me lose weight? Answer: nope. But that may have just been because of all the vanilla frosting I was eating to fill the gaping hole chocolate left behind… 😉

pexels-photo-1026123.jpeg

 

 

All kidding aside, I’ve come to accept that I can eat chocolate—here comes the word I struggle with—in moderation. That means some chocolate every day—not ALL day. But moderation….ah, that’s a theme for another day and another blog post…

For now, I am graciously accepting that I can again eat my Caramel Walnut Brownie Luna Bars once a day—a very happy time of day!—with no additional headaches.

 

 

How about you?  Have you tried giving up chocolate to alleviate headaches? Or any other food? Leave a comment below—we’d love to hear about it!

 

Happy Eating!

 

 

 


Cart Envy.

pexels-photo-1005638.jpeg

I’ll admit I’ve had Cart Envy. The other day while shopping I gazed into this man’s shopping cart and his food choices were well, enviable. He was on the phone chatting away with presumably his wife, asking questions like: “Organic Bosc or Anjou pears?” tossing her selections into his cart already brimming with organic fruits and veggies, grass-fed lean cuts of meat, and brown rice and quinoa. Even his beer was microbrewed and organic. After he finished with produce, he adjusted his baseball hat and rushed off to the gluten-free aisle taking his goods with him leaving me gazing after his cart like an abandoned lover standing at the dock while the ship sails away. Oh sigh, it was a cart to be envied.

 

pexels-photo-264537.jpegOn average, my cart is not bad. It’s stuffed full of chia seeds for our dairy-free yogurt, tofu and organic broccoli (often in a bag because who has time to cook ?)—but it’s usually not enviable like baseball hat guy’s cart loaded with superfoods, some I don’t even know how to pronounce let alone  prepare.  He was rocking his shopping cart.  Even as an extreme label reader, there’s still some processed foods in my cart, namely snacks.

I have kids and yes, we eat veggie chips. And sometimes…worse…

 

Although we never want to be jealous of anyone else—I’m on my path, guy with the rockin’ shopping cart is on his—I figure Cart Envy is okay. It’s fun to see what someone else is buying and spurs us to want to eat better, and who knows? Maybe someday I’ll learn what the heck to do with Rambutan (fruit) or Arame (a type of kelp).

 

pexels-photo-568027.jpegBut the dark side of Cart Envy is judgment. (Isn’t judgment the dark side of everything?) She’s eating that? Or: Who would feed their kids that junk! And judgment is something I experienced just the other day while shopping at Trader Joe’s. At the register I was talking to the salesperson as I always do, and she was commenting on my healthy food choices. (Grin! But truthfully, it’s hard to go wrong at Trader Joe’s.) She chatted away through pounds of organic apples and blocks of almond milk cheese, but when she came to my two bags of pre-washed butter lettuce she nearly gagged on her organic elderberry cough drop.

     “Butter lettuce?” She placed a hand to her heart, gasping.

            “Yes!” I chirped. “It’s delicious! Have you ever tried it?”

            “Oh no.” She quickly scanned the two offensive bags pushing them out of her line of vision. “I don’t eat lettuce that has no nutritional value.”

            Damn. There I was, reveling in the glow of a shopping trip mastered, my cart stuffed with healthy choices, and I was shot down, just like that. Bet that guy in the baseball hat talking to his wife wasn’t buying butter lettuce. What was wrong with me?

“Well, my girls like it.” I countered quickly.

            “Children?” She shook her head. “Every bite counts.”

            I nodded to the bag of “Cruciferous Crunch” she was about to ring up.  (If you’ve never tried it, it’s delicious.) “We sprinkle Cruciferous Crunch on top!”

            She nodded sadly. “That’s something.”

We finished the rest of my order in silence. All the way home I fought the desire to rush to the nearest drive-through to buy us all a dinner of greasy fries made with saturated fat and non-grass fed burgers.

After all, if I could feed my kids butter lettuce, well then, what else was I capable of?

Of course the incident at Trader Joe’s was humorous. Of course judgment of any kind is wrong. Of course we should strive to feed our families–and ourselves–as healthily as possible. But we should also cut ourselves some slack. Butter lettuce is really not the food of the devil. And neither is…brace yourself…iceberg. As a matter of fact, eating right doesn’t require that much thought. If you’re trying to eat right, chances are, you’re making some smart choices.

And that’s all we can do—in all aspects of our lives—our best. Even if it means we eat butter lettuce. 

And as far as Cart Envy goes? Go ahead, take a peek. As long as we’re not judging, a tiny glance into our neighbor’s cart to salivate over her fixings for garbanzo bean and organic kale salad never hurt anyone. Besides, remember next week, that cart could be yours…

 

Happy Eating!


Be Brave…

mountains-nature-sky-sunny.jpg

 

In my constant quest to minimize all the “stuff” we have hanging around the house, I walked into my home office with my cityscape coffee mug and reusable water bottle in hand. As I plopped down at my writing desk, I looked at my office wall which has my book covers and degrees hanging on it—nice—but also had little affirmations and statements that were supposed to help me on my life journey, but instead, had become little more than clutter.

When I began thinking about the affirmation that resonated most with me, only one came to mind: Be Brave.

Most other affirmations circle back to the idea of bravery—being brave in mind and body as the key to success. All other notes came off my wall, but “Be Brave,” remains.

pexels-photo-733658.jpeg

 

To publish a book, succeed in a pitch at work, go on an interview for a new job—all of it takes guts. It’s easier to sit home and watch the world pass by. It takes going to that place, the one that gives you chills and sweaty palms, to really succeed. And when you get to that place of success and others decide they want to criticize and judge (think bad reviews or a “no” from your boss), it’s easy to wish you had never started the journey.

 

 

But the truth is, it is your journey. And you need to take it. Bravely.

 

For so long I would get annoyed when people would say, “Push yourself out of your comfort zone.” I still do. I don’t agree with that statement at all. It’s NOT about doing something you don’t want to do, it’s about having the guts to go forward to embrace the life you DO want. Experiences are great. Embrace them. But if you go bungee jumping just because your daredevil friend pushes you, you’re not honoring yourself. You’re being bullied.

But if you want to publish that book, hit “submit.” If you want that raise, ask for a meeting with your boss. If you want to be a singer, start auditioning.

Remember, you’re on the path exactly where you are supposed to be—now be brave and embrace all that life has waiting for you.

pexels-photo-887173.jpeg

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Reading!


A Room of One’s Own…?

pexels-photo-667838.jpeg

Was Virginia Woolf right? As writers, or anyone creating anything, do we need a room of our own…?

Taking some artistic liberties here regarding interpretation, I began thinking about Virginia Woolf the other day when I rolled out my yoga mat in my living room.

We’re very lucky to live in a nice house in a beautiful neighborhood, with a park just three doors away, walking distance to a quaint downtown with shopping and restaurants. I’m extremely lucky to have a wonderful family, a great husband and two awesome girls, and we like to be together. So when I set up my home office to write, we set up my husband’s desk across from mine, and brought in desks for the girls as well.

We have plenty of room, but also plenty of stuff. And that “stuff” never seems to find its way back to where it belongs…

Which brings me to my yoga mat. As a yoga instructor, I write my classes and run them at home to make sure they work well for my students. On this particular day one of my girls was in the living room with me, building Lego sets that were all over the coffee table and floor. A yoga mat isn’t so large, so I wedged it into a spot, and did my practice.

pexels-photo-374101.jpeg

But when I finished, sweaty and tired with a little Lego person having found his way to my mat, I began to think…do I have a space of my own? Does any mom?

My girls do. They have bedrooms that at any given time may be off-limits to the other. They need personal space. But all you mothers out there know that even your trips to the restroom aren’t private. Inevitably, as soon as you lock that door, someone will call, “Mom!” and someone else will knock. It’s motherhood. That’s just the way it is.

person-woman-apple-hotel.jpgI began to think about my writing time, realizing most of my writing is done huddled in the backseat of my minivan while I wait in carpool lines, or sometimes, late at night, in bed. Would I be more prolific if I had alone time in my office? Probably so, but what pressures come with having a private office to write? What good comes from working in a crowded space?

What do you think?

What about you? Where do you work? Do you have your own space? Share it with kids? Furbabies? Coworkers? Are you a coffee shop creator?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 


%d bloggers like this: