Monday, April 17, 2017

Worn Thin

Heart full
Shoulders laden
Hope bruised

Worn down
Worn through
Worn thin

Pain
Heartache

Loss

Defences weakened
Eroded from the inside and out

Our world

So much hate
So much pain

Drained

Worn down
Worn through
Worn thin

But still

Shoulders back
Chin up
Heart open

Hope alive
Hope ready
Hope able

Worn down
Worn through
Worn thin

But

Not worn out
Not yet

Not ever

Monday, March 27, 2017

Still Me After All These Years

Please welcome the lovely Karen Walker to the blog today!
***

It’s a pleasure to be participating in the Blog Tour for STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging by Karen Helene Walker through MC Book Tours.

This is a charming, funny, and enlightening collection of essays about aging. In addition, Karen is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) of STILL ME and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME (International entries). See how you can enter to win below.

STILL ME…AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging
◊ By Karen Helene Walker
◊ Kindle: 2000 KB, 102 pages
◊ Genre: Biographies, Memoirs, Nonfiction
◊ Publication Date: April 4, 2017
◊ Language: English
◊ ASIN: BO6WWRK82K

Poignant...Humorous...Brutally Honest!

A collection of personal reflections guaranteed to keep you inspired and entertained on that journey we all travel together: The Journey of Aging.
With a blend of grace, dignity, warmth and humor, women and men from 60 to 90 and from all walks of life candidly share the blessings and pitfalls of aging – from keeping dreams alive and keeping sex lives active to dealing with retirement, loss of independence and a growing sense of mortality.

A BOOK ABOUT LIVING EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE!

STILL ME is available at the following sites: Amazon (print and Kindle), Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. Be sure to add it to your shelf on Goodreads.


Rev. Clara Alexander is an ordained New Thought minister who creates and performs sacred ceremonies, including unique weddings, funerals, memorial services, baby blessings and house blessings. She is also a popular speaker, inspiring groups with her talks on how we cling to our grudges, how we overuse the phrase “I’m sorry” and how we can live the life we love.
Wendy Brown recently retired from a career in wildlife biology, where she studied sandhill cranes and whooping cranes as they migrated from Idaho to New Mexico. Wendy eventually found a permanent home in Albuquerque, where she and her husband enjoy the sounds of sandhill cranes from their deck. Since retiring from state government in 2014. 

Valerie Capps has bypassed the porch rocking chair to pursue her life-long passion for writing, thereby proving that in today’s world, life can begin again at 65! Valerie lives in Nashville with her husband and their spoiled-rotten Welsh Corgi. www.amazon.com/Valerie-Capps/e/B016VD9V72
Mary W. Clark retired from her law practice in 2007 and transferred her observation and composition skills to travel writing. She is currently working on a book about her father’s World War II experience flying “the Hump” from India to China over the Himalayas. Mary lives in Paris, Texas. www.maryclarktraveler.com
Fran Fischer: “I was born at a very young age and that happened 82 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. I’ve crammed as much living into my life as possible, and I’m not through yet. I’ve traveled extensively and I even flew in the same zero-gravity plane that the astronauts trained in. I live in California with my first (and only) husband, and we celebrated our 62nd anniversary this year.”
Pat Garcia (Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack) is an American expatriate living in Europe. An accomplished musician as well as a writer, she has been writing (and reading) since childhood.
Mark David Gerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction, and compelling memoirs. Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients as coach and consultant, helping them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease. Mark David Gerson
Holly Deuel Gilster plays “make believe” for a living. In other words, she is a professional actress and musician. Holly also loves painting with words as an accomplished poet, an award-winning short-story writer and a book reviewer for The Or Echo.
Aaron Gordon is a retired social sciences community college professor. He and his wife, Ellie, have been married for 65 years and have three children and grandchildren.
Ellie Gordon is a retired public school teacher who spent the best 20 years of her life in the classroom. A Chicago native, she now lives in New Mexico.
Karla “Rosie” Harper recently retired from teaching elementary school, freeing her to return to her early love of dancing. Today, when not helping out with her grandchildren, Rosie is taking dance lessons, spinning on a dance floor or performing in senior centers and retirement communities with Albuquerque’s Sugartime, as a singer as well as a dancer.
Linda Hoye is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, available through major online retailers. A native of Saskatchewan, Linda currently lives in British Columbia (by way of Washington State) with her husband and doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier. www.lindahoye.com
E.V. Legters hasn’t so much retired as she has exchanged one life for another — from rewarding years with career and children (while pursuing the arts on the fly) to a life with the arts at its center. She is the author of Vanishing Point and Connected Underneath and is currently hard at work on her third novel. www.evlegters.com
LD Masterson lived on both coasts before becoming landlocked in Ohio. After twenty years managing computers for the American Red Cross, she now divides her time between writing, volunteer work and enjoying her grandchildren. Her short stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies, and she is currently working on a new novel. www.ldmasterson.com
Kathleen Messmer not only runs a film production company with offices in the UK and the US, she is an avid photographer and wildlife advocate. In the unlikely event that she ever retires, Kathleen plans to live on a ranch with draft horses and pygmy goats and vineyards and fruit orchards, somewhere near the water. Oh, and a cowboy...maybe. www.kathleenmessmer.com
Karen Norstad has worked as cashier/gift wrapper, secretary, boutique seamstress, administrative assistant, manager of employee stock options, executive assistant, and budget analyst. Now retired, Karen’s life revolves around lounging about, wearing PJs until four in the afternoon, obsessing over the news, reading, fusing and slumping glass, practicing piano, keeping a small balcony garden and cooking.
Matt Nyman’s nonlinear career path has included working in the geological sciences, teaching high school, stay-at-home parenting and, currently, training tomorrow’s teachers. Poetry equently resides near the surface of his existence, occasionally erupting onto paper.
Jill Plaman was born and began aging in Milwaukee, but she has lived and worked in Albuquerque since 1977. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MSW from the University of Minnesota. Her special interests are travel, international folk dancing, reading, hiking and spending time with family and friends.
Maureen Polikoff is a clinical social worker/ therapist who has always pursued many other creative endeavors, including painting, playing music and, now, writing. A Connecticut native, she lives in New Mexico with her husband, Michael.
MaryFrank Sanborn left Boston 33 years ago, to apprentice with photographer Walter Chappell in Santa Fe. Still in love with the beauty of the Southwest, MaryFrank photographs, writes, hikes, travels, teaches yoga and meditation, makes soups on Sundays, and dreams of the ocean and whales.
Patricia Stoltey is the author of four mystery novels. The most recent is Wishing Caswell Dead. She lives in Northern Colorado with Sassy Dog, Katie Cat and her husband, Bill. www.patriciastolteybooks.com
Susan Swiderski grew up in Dundalk, Maryland, where everybody calls everybody hon and eating steamed crabs is a sacrament. Although she’s happy in her adopted Georgia, part of her heart still lingers on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, explaining the setting for her novel, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. Susan is currently working on a trilogy, proof that this old gal is still a pathological optimist. www.susan-swiderski.blogspot.com
Jan Castle Walker is a retired teacher and an active artist. She lives in Davis, California with her husband, Mack. www.jancastlewalker.com
Karen Helene Walker is a novelist, memoirist and essayist and the author of The Wishing Steps and Following the Whispers. When not writing, Karen is tap dancing, folk dancing or performing with the musical group Sugartime at retirement communities. Karen is currently working on her second memoir. www.karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com 

You can follow Karen and the other authors along on their tour by checking out the schedule HERE.


This tour-wide giveaway is for two (2) print copies (U.S. entries only) and two (2) eBook copies of STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out this charming book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***
Thanks Karen, all the best to you and your collaborators!

How about you? Does getting older scare you or are you doing it with grace?
Me, getting older hasn't scared me yet. I know more, I have more confidence, and I'm much better at saying No. Sure, it would be great if my body would do a better job at staying strong, but I'm doing okay!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Theresa Milstein & A Moment in Time

Please welcome one of my blog buddies and all around sweetheart Theresa Milstein to the blog today!
***
I have a question I pose at the end of this post:
If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?


Before you answered, I thought I should share my own answer. Then I realized how hard it is to answer this question. Sorry! I could choose the births of my children, but I don’t want to experience all of it again. I could also choose my wedding day—that was pretty great.

One of the poems in my collection is called “Un-Perfect Moment,” which was inspired by a family party a couple of years ago, dancing outside with my cousins and my daughter. Many of my aunts and uncles were there.

“those blood-bond circles of life swirl
through the past and towards the future
you sweep away in a shared moment
as hot and sweet as summer’s breath”

It panged me at the time thinking that in a year or two or five, some people might no longer be there. And that captures me entirely—even in a blissful moment, my head can’t stay there. I’m always thinking back, looking forward.

So I tried to consider if there were times when I was just present. I recalled another summer on vacation. My husband and kids wanted to take surfboarding lessons in Santa Cruz. I had no interest in doing so. They got into gear and climbed down to the ocean. I stayed on top at a small sitting area with my laptop. While I revised on that perfect-weather day with others out there enjoying the day, some older guy played guitar and sang original songs. I revised while I enjoyed the music and periodically looked out at my family, little dots upon at sun twinkled waves.

That was a very good day.


With subtle wit, and poignant imagery, the unrelenting passage of time connects the vignettes in Theresa Milstein’s Time and Circumstance. This reflective collection of real and imagined poetry and prose, speculates on an erratic childhood, the uncertainty of adolescence, and the reality of parenthood, through flashbacks of love lost and found.
Theresa Milstein writes middle grade and YA, but poetry is her secret passion. Her vignette collection, TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE, will be published by Vine Leaves Press in March 21, 2017. She lives near Boston Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. For her day job, she works as a special education teacher in a public school, which gives her ample opportunity to observe teens and tweens in their natural habitat. 

TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE is available for preorder!

$3.99 AUD (eBook)
Kindle AUS
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
iBooks | Kobo | Nook

$12.99 AUD (paperback)
Amazon US
Amazon UK
​Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters Indigo


Leave a comment  and you’re eligible to win a prize during my blog tour!

1 $25 Amazon gift card
1 signed paperback copy
1 ebook

Answer the question:
“If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?”

Extra entries if you share on Facebook or Twitter and link it to me.
@TheresaMilstein on Twitter.
@Theresa Milstein on Facebook
#ReliveMoment or #TimeandCircumstance

Winners will be announced on April 5, 2017

***
Thanks Theresa! There are so many wonderful moments in a life, but finding a perfect moment to return to... so hard. I think I'd choose a bright summer day when my hubby and I were teaching the kids to play t-ball. So much laughter and joy and love. One of those days full of potential.

How about you? What's your moment?






Monday, March 6, 2017

K.A. Servian & Self Publishing

Please welcome K.A. Servian to the blog today!

***
I decided to self publish because I'm a control freak. I am in control of the creative process from start to finish and while I use a development editor and beta readers, I make the final decision as to whether or not their suggestions are implemented in the manuscript.

I was a clothing and jewellery designer for many years and came to trust my own creative judgement. Ultimately, my name is on the cover, so I should be responsible for all the decisions, including the cover-I do them myself on photoshop. 

The only disadvantage with self publishing is the lack of a support team and promotional budget. I have been gathering a team of people around me, including an editor, proof and beta readers and I also have Nas to do the final line edit, formatting and promotional side which is essential. Thank you, Nas. 

When I receive notes from my developmental editor and beta readers, I consider them carefully. If there is more than one editor and/or beta reader, I look for 'trends' in their comments. If one person suggests a change that I'm not sure about, I check to see if anyone else has suggested the same change and then make a decision. 

I've spent my working life as a designer, so my creative efforts have been judged by everyone from agents to shop owners to customers, plus I'm studying applied writing, so I'm used to tutors and fellow students critiquing my work.  

I know not to be precious about my writing or take constructive criticism personally, I see it as an opportunity to learn and improve my craft. Anyone who reveals their creative efforts to the world must accept that everyone who sees their work will have an opinion about it. Some will be positive and some negative, but if you're happy with what you've produced, then that's all that matters.

***
After a twenty-plus-year career in the applied arts industry, including owning her own fashion and jewellery labels, Kathy decided to turn her creative skills to writing fiction.

Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in applied writing in around writing novels and short stories, teaching sewing and pattern making and being a wife and mother.

K A Servian on the web:

Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  

Join K A Servian’s Newsletter and get a free copy of: Missing the Obvious.


Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother's death and handle the unexpected arrival of her ex-boyfriend when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.

In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years. Grace's investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results.


Buy on:

Amazon Kindle      Amazon Paperback

Shame on Who? (Short Prequel to Throwing Light)

In 1979, fifteen-year-old Jane Smith announced to her parents that she was expecting a baby. Thirty-five years later, the repercussions of the decision made by her father on that day come home to roost in the romantic thriller 'Throwing Light.' 'Shame on Who?' is a short prequel to the book and provides insight into the dramatic events that changed Jane's life.


Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win paperback copies of Throwing Light!
***
Thanks K.A.! Being a control freak is a definite advantage if you're going to self-publish!

What about you? Any control freaks out there?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG & Mobs & Cowboys, Oh My!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.


March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?


Short answer: Yep! And nope!

Long answer:

I have my first "Oh, maybe I can really write a novel," WIP sitting around cooling its heels on my hard drive.

Some of it is SO BAD!!! 

Surprisingly, some of it is pretty good. There are a few scenes I really like and the overall storyline has lots of fun elements (mobs, witness protection, cowboys, Italian cooking, quirky characters, gunfights, romance). Now that I know more, I think I can pull this off... one day. The story doesn't fit in with the current story/series that's occupying my time, but it could either be a stand alone or part of another series that's simmering around in the back of my brain.

Now, to find the time to write them all!

How about you? What's languishing on your hard drive that might be fun to pull out?

Monday, February 13, 2017

I Wish You Love

It's Valentine's Week! 

Okay, that's totally not a thing, but it should be!

While Valentine's Day is certainly about Romantic Love (sending all my love to my hubby!!), it's also about Love in general.

Love is an essential part of life. Without it, life would be dull, sad, and lonely. 
The world is often scary and overwhelming so it's good to remember we're often surrounded by all kinds of love.

So, my wish for you all is...

I hope you feel love
for your family
your friends
your job
yourself

I hope you find joy
In giving & receiving
I hope the little things
Make up the best part of your days

I hope you feel loved
I hope you are romanced
I hope you do some romancing of your own!

I hope love fills you up 
I hope it gives you strength and joy
I hope love surrounds you
And allows you to grow & risk

I wish you love

Enjoy the week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Reckless Hearts & Heather Van Fleet

One of the wonderful people I met through the #PitchWars contest I entered is the summer is releasing a book today - and it sounds awesome! Can't wait to dig into it!!
***
RECKLESS HEARTS 
Between boot camp and two TOD’s in Iraq, my buddies Max, Gavin and me have been through some serious hell. So the last thing I ever expected was to find the biggest challenge of my life back home.
My girlfriend died. I couldn’t even attend her funeral, let alone tell her goodbye or that I’m sorry I wasn’t there like I should’ve been.
But she left me a gift. The best and scariest one I could’ve ever asked for. One I didn’t think I could handle…until the day I saw her tiny blues looking up at me in that airport. Chloe.
Now here I am, raising my baby girl—with the help of my two best friends. Things couldn’t be better. Until she walked into my life.
All I wanted was a nanny. Someone to take care of my girl when I couldn’t. What I didn’t count on was Addison, the brown-eyed temptress with a body of sin, and everything I didn’t need, but suddenly wanted.
To enter to win a copy, click on the link! a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also get your copy at these locations!
Amazon            BN            BAM 

Heather Van Fleet
Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high
school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.
Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 with an associate degree and has been working in the publishing industry for over five years. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary.
 ***
Congrats on the release, Heather!!! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG & Reading

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

FEBRUARY 1ST QUESTION: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Wow. Great question.

I'm much more aware as a reader now, although I still tend to get caught up in the stories. Probably always will - which isn't a bad thing. Means the writers are doing their jobs well!

I'm learning to pay attention to the way authors incorporate description. This is an area where I need a lot of work. My brain isn't visual and I really couldn't care less what colour anyone's hair is! I've gotten stronger at realizing where and when those details are helpful for the reader -- mostly thanks to crit buddies and reading books by talented authors!

How about you? Is incorporating description easy or difficult for you? What do you pay attention to as you're reading?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Rachael Thomas & Getting Past the Dreaded Block

Please welcome Rachael Thomas back to the blog today!
***
Every writer, published or not, knows what it’s like to encounter that awful demon, writer’s block. That time when you are certain every word you write is utter rubbish or worse, where you can’t write a word. It begins with a little doubt monster and very soon can get out of control, preventing you from writing anything.
It’s happened to me, but thankfully not for any length of time. So here are a few of my go to solutions. 
Write A Different Way
Writing longhand can often free up your mind. So grab a pen or pencil and pad and continue your work from the point you became blocked or even start a new scene or chapter.
Find a new place. A change of scenery often helps. It could be as simple as another room at home or a local café.
If you can’t continue with your current work in progress, try some freewriting. For instance, it is January now, so where does that take your mind? Put your pen on the page and just let your mind wander, writing down every random thought which comes to your mind for the next ten minutes.
Don’t Write
You may be wondering what kind of advice this is, but sometimes it helps to step away from the keyboard and your work in progress. Take a break and clear your mind.
Take a walk. My dog gets extra-long walks when I need thinking time to unblock my creativity.
Relax and watch your favourite television show or even a movie.
Do whatever makes you happy, as happiness generates positivity and that keeps the monster of doubt at bay, stopping it from becoming a complete block.
If the block is really bad, give yourself the rest of the day off. Tomorrow is another day.
Reward Yourself
Give yourself a small incentive if you hit your session or daily target.
For those larger targets, like reaching the half way point or completing the book, reward yourself with a bigger treat. Perhaps a day out with friends.
And Finally
Don’t wait too long for your creativity to return. Force it to come back. Tell yourself you will write just one paragraph or for ten minutes only. Taking the pressure off might be enough to get past that block. Also, always believe in yourself and your writing. Don’t allow those doubt monsters in.

If you have any others to add, I’d love to know!
***
Rachael Thomas 

I love escaping to distant shores with my characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after.
Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web:
Website         Blog        Facebook                Twitter              Goodreads

A Child Claimed by Gold (One Night with Consequences)
A scandal of their own making 

Nikolai Cunningham has kept his family history secret for seventeen years. So when photographer Emma Sanders is granted exclusive access to his childhood home, he returns to Russia to ensure it stays hidden. 
Though she tries to keep her eye on the story, Nikolai's potent sexuality proves too much for Emma's untouched body to resist! But, convinced she only wanted a scoop, Nikolai casts Emma out, unaware she's pregnant! 
When the consequence of their recklessness is revealed, Nikolai will legitimize his heir—with a gold wedding ring!
Buy Links
M&B Aust       B&N     iBooks

Enter to win signed copies on Goodreads. 
***
Thanks Rachael!

I often get attacked by the Doubt Monster - but I'm learning techniques to quiet him down! Working on a different project often helps me.

What about you? How do you get the mojo back?