Holiday Wishes & A Surprise!

It’s hard to believe 2015 is almost over. Every year whips past so fast, but I guess that means I’m having fun, right? 🙂

This year was devoted to family, a carryover from all of the busyness in the latter part of 2014. Now that Youngest Son’s house is almost finished, I’m happily anticipating a return to the writing life (as opposed to sandwiching writing in-between hammering nails and sheeting walls).

So to give you a taste of what’s in store for your reading pleasure in 2016, click here to read the first chapter in my upcoming release Caught Between a Rock and a Hunka Man.

From my house to yours, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Talk to you in 2016!

Boxed Christmas Bauble Decorations

I love to hear from you, so in the comments below, tell me about your holiday plans.

Caught Reading: December Reads

Caught Reading: December Reads

Ah…December, the month of snow and cold and Christmas. For the last few days, I’ve debated which books I want to read to wrap up the 2015 Goodreads Challenge.

Since this is the month I traditionally clean the house from top to bottom, cram in the Christmas baking and shopping, AND I’m on deadline (for the last two months, but we’re not going to discuss that book three in the Caught Between series is now a month late!), I need some quick easy reads. Plus my mom recently tumbled down the stairs and she has a compressed fracture in her lower back, so there’s additional vacuuming and snow shoveling at her house.

Enter…novellas. 🙂

I have several Christmas novellas on my ereader that I still need to read, so here’s my list for December

Be Mine For Christmas by Alicia Street   One Snowy Night Before Christmas by Ava Bradley   A Superstitious Christmas by Tonya Kappes

 

 

 

 

As it is, I won’t quite make my goal of 100 books read for the Goodreads challenge, but I’ve far surpassed the number of books I read last year, which was the whole reason for joining the challenge. I’m totally ecstatic!

What’s on your TBR pile this month? And what might possibly take priority over your reading time? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you!

Mindful Interruptions

Mindful Interruptions

This morning I woke up filled with worry about things that haven’t even occurred yet. You know what I’m talking about. Those thoughts that distract you with what may—but probably won’t—happen next week or next month or next year (next year being on my mind because it’s only six weeks away).

Will Christmas arrive before I finish book three in the Caught Between series?

Will I be able to weasel my way out of going to youngest son’s house tomorrow to help hang doors, because really, at this stage of the rebuild, I’m mostly standing around taking up space until we get to the cleaning stage.

Will I be able to fit in a quick vacuum next week?

A visit to my mother?

PANIC…there’s no edible food in the house! (which may or may not include red licorice…just saying.)

Then I remembered Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now which is all about living in the moment. With a vow to focus on one thing at a time today, I pushed my worries away, climbed out of bed, got ready for the day, and grabbed my first cup of coffee. As I set the full cup on my desk, the cup caught the edge of something and in an instant, coffee spilled everywhere.

Spilled Coffee

Okay, so I hadn’t really been focused on setting the cup down. And I hadn’t really been all that enthused about working today…

For the next hour, I wiped coffee from the carpet, the chair mat, under the desk, on top of the desk, inside the desk drawers, off my papers, my sticky notes, my keyboard, and every nook and cranny in-between. For the first time since I woke, I was totally focused on the moment.

There’s something powerful about complete and total focus. It lifts the spirit and sets it on fire. It makes the passage of time unnoticeable. It brings enlightenment out of the dark.

I have a practice of sitting still and quiet for five minutes before I get down to the writing each day. Well, actually it’s less of a “practice” and more of a “I really need to do this every day” wishful thought. But when I manage to discipline myself enough to practice mindful meditation for several days in a row, I quickly notice that I’m more focused and I have less “interruptions”. It’s like the universe recognizes my mindfulness and rewards it with stressless and productive days.

Do you have a technique that helps you focus on the here and now? Or are you often unmindful—and therefore clumsy and scattered—like I tend to be when I let my mindful practice go? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you!

Caught Reading: November Reads

Caught Reading: November Reads

This month for the Goodreads Challenge, I’m on a Sketchnotes kick. If you don’t know what sketchnotes are (I didn’t either until I stumbled across them while Googling something for my current story), then check them out here. I’ll wait.

Oh, you’re back. Wonderful! Aren’t those designs and drawings so cool?!

I’m fascinated with this tool. It feels much like a guilty pleasure (like when I draw the pot of uncooked potatoes instead of putting them on the stove to boil for supper). Now, I’ve never been much into drawing or painting. There are amazingly talented painters in my family, but unfortunately I’m not one of them.

But I love to organize, which is how I plan to use the sketchnotes I create. I’ll be drawing scenes, characters, locations, and maybe one day I’ll even be brave enough to share them. 🙂 I’ve also picked up a few more sketchnote type books to expand my knowledge of simple drawing and organizing techniques.

In addition, I’m reading the first book in Catherine Bybee’s popular Not Quite series and Steena Holmes latest release, The Word Game. And I have a few books that I’ve added to my Goodreads shelf to read this year, but haven’t yet gotten around to it, so hopefully this month.

Beyond Words: A Guide to Drawing Out Ideas by Milly R Sonneman     Picture Your Business Strategy by Christine Chopyak     The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde
 

 

 

 

Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee     The Word Game by Steena Holmes

 

 

 

 
What are you reading? And do you have any current guilty pleasures that you would love to get me hooked on?

Caught Reading: October Reads

Caught Reading: October Reads

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth GilbertThis month, I’m rereading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I loved it so much the first read through that this time I want to take my time going through it. Not that I hurried the first time, or skipped sections so I could “get it done”. It was just that there was so much to love about this book.

For me personally, it was less about dealing with the fear of writing (I’m not afraid of writing or putting my books out there to get loved or trashed, although hopefully there’s more love going around than the other thing!). The book was filled with inspiration, and I especially loved how she talked about ideas, and how they travel around searching for the right person who’s willing to put in the time and effort to bring that idea to fruition.

Coincidentally, after reading the ideas section, I had a dream, one of those intriguing dreams where the story plays out like a movie—color and all!—and the characters and plot and story are fully fleshed out. But somewhere near the end, I realized that the story included aliens invading Earth. I remember this moment vividly because in my dream I said, “I can’t write this story. I don’t write science fiction.”

Well, remember the “blue screen of death” that we used to get when our PC froze or died? (I use a Mac now, so I don’t know if the “blue screen of death” still occurs.) The dream—and the idea—were gone just like that. My dream landscape was just a blank blue screen…and I realized that my idea had heard me and moved on to find someone else to take on the challenge of writing its story.

So there you have it, my number one read for the month, although I do have my eye on a couple of other books. I’m on deadline with book three in the Caught Between series, but if I can fit more reading time in this month, I will. Both authors are new to me, both write romance. One of the books is the first in a series and FREE, which is a great way to try out new authors, don’t you think?

What’s on your to-be-read shelf this month?

Happy reading!

Hide Your Heart by Tracey Alvare  Falling for Mr. Wrong by Joanne Dannon

 

 

 

 

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