Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Let's Check In With My Health, Shall We?

So about six months ago, I posted a fairly long screed on my medical struggles, thanks to my treatment for Graves Disease and the long-term effects of doctors who wouldn't listen to me. You can find that post here, if you want to travel down that rocky Memory Lane.

How'm I doing these days? 

Thanks for asking!

I'm 1000 times better. I'm still not 100% normal (which, if I'm a thousand times better, gives you a pretty good clue how screwed up my body was!) but I'm getting there.

First and most important, I no longer suffer from fibromyalgia. Like, seriously, kids, I haven't had the slightest twinge in six months. And when I was first diagnosed with this insidious condition, I could barely move due to the constant pain. 

I'm calmer and more emotionally even-tempered. No more outbursts, no more bouts of depression I used to call "fugues," no more highs and lows. I smile, even when things suck. I can find the humor in the little things that go wrong and remain optimistic when the big things go wrong.

I've found my coffee intake (the only stimulant keeping me moving on a daily basis, thanks to my burned-out metabolism) dropped from six to eight cups a day, down to two--max.

My hair is no longer falling out and feels soft again. And take a look at my fingernails! 

This photo was taken yesterday. And yes, I know. I desperately need a manicure. Don't judge. I've got a wedding to attend this weekend so I'm waiting til Thursday to get 'em done. But look how long they are! Those aren't fakes--they're my real nails.

The biggest struggle is still the weight, but, I'm happy to announce that, as of this morning, I'm down ten pounds. This may not seem like a lot over six months, but when you consider that I have no metabolism left, it's a huge success. Over the last ten years, no diet or exercise plan (including Weight Watchers and the diet-pills-from-hell, Qsymia) has ever helped me lose more than four pounds in the same time span--weight I always put back on within days of losing it, regardless of my continuation in my goals. Even more important to me, I notice a difference in the way my clothes fit and the way I feel. 

It's a slow progression, thanks to the loss of thyroid function, but it's still progress. And in the meantime, I'm happier about my other improvements.

I'm still a work in progress, but the keyword there is *progress.*

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Friday, June 19, 2015

If You'll Pardon Me, I'm Going to Crawl Into a Romance Novel Now

The Afterlife Series
Available Now from Amazon

I'm often asked, "Why romance?" Why do I write them, why do I read them? I always say it's because anything can happen, but there's always a happily ever after in the end.

These last few months, the universe has thrown me a curve, and as I read my morning paper or watch the news, I discover new reasons to mourn and feel disappointed in humanity.

Then I pick up a romance or dive headfirst into my latest WIP, and somehow, the world warms up and I can smile again. 

Scoff if you want. Drink your scotch, sneer at the "others" who aren't faring as well, or blame someone else for the miseries around us. You have your way of coping. I have mine.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200

I'm stuck. Hopelessly, impossibly, irretrievably stuck. I'm working on a story and I've ripped it apart, pieced it back together, hated it, ripped it apart, pieced it back together, hated it, ripped it apart...

You get the idea.

So I'm taking a break. The book hasn't beaten me. Not by a long shot. But it's time to step back, spend some time replenishing my creative juices. I'll be reading, tossing things over, playing with scenarios, and strengthening my story-telling muscles.


I'll be back. Count on it..

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Oh, Goody. Mother's Day is Coming

Did you detect sarcasm in my title? Good for you. But it's not why you think.

Look, I get it. Moms do a lot for us. And it's nice to have a day to honor the women who gave us life, wiped our butts, sat up at night when we missed curfew, and loved us unconditionally.

What I don't get are the "experts" telling everyone what to buy their mom for Mother's Day. In the hour I've been awake this morning, I've seen people tell me "what Mom really wants" is a skin care system, an embroidered pillow, a set of retro glassware, a box of scented candles, new makeup, a calligraphy kit, jewelry from a major department store, and a card that says "Mom" signed by the artist.

Maybe it's me, but...


Wanna make me happy for Mother's Day? Here's a few things I'd like (and I bet a few other moms might agree):

Clean the house without being asked.

Make dinner (instead of breakfast in bed). Reservations don't count. And clean up afterward.

Planning to get flowers? Get plants and put them in the garden instead.

Write Mom a letter. Share memories of special times, pour out your heart, give her something she can read over and over and cherish each time.

Plan a Mom's day off. Not on Mother's Day. Spend that day with her (if she wants) or send her off on her own to do things she never has time for (whatever that may be). This includes watching little ones if necessary so she can truly enjoy her day.

If you don't live close, call. Not just on Sunday, but other times. Let her know you're thinking of her.  

Tell Mom you love her. Not just on Sunday, but every dang day.

Or you could always get her a book...

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Wanted: Reviewers, Readers, and Book Bloggers

Book III of the Afterlife Series is just about ready for release and I'm currently looking for readers who are willing to read and review an ARC. Honest reviews only, of course. I've got very thick skin. 

Here's the blurb: 

In the third and final installment of the award-winning Afterlife Series, she’s got nothing left to lose; he has everything to gain…

A longtime resident of the Afterlife, Xavia Donovan has vowed to do whatever it takes to get out of the realm of the dead and move on. She didn’t expect “whatever it takes” to mean counseling the baddest bad boy to cross her path—in life or death.  

On Earth, Osiris Cavanaugh spent lifetimes betraying his country, betraying his compatriots, and betraying the one person now assigned to help him become a better soul: Xavia.

With the help of an unusual child on Earth, they’ll conquer their pasts. But now that they’ve come together, will their futures tear them apart?

If you're interested in reading and reviewing this (or any of my books), please contact me for information.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

When Does Inspiration Become Theft?

Throughout time, all artists have been inspired by those who came before them. But when does the use of someone else's idea blur the line between "inspiration" and "theft?"

Note I'm not talking about plagiarism, which is a worse crime in the publishing world. In this post, I'm referring solely to the theft of ideas.  

Anyone in the publishing world will tell you, you can't copyright an idea. And there are many instances of synchronicity: when more than one artist releases a similar concept at the same time. Check out these movies, with similar plots, released in the same year. Remember Dante's Peak and Volcano? More recently, there was Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. How about No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits? Synchronicity does happen, and it's never intentional.

Many authors happily admit they first began writing when they read a particular story and thought they could do it better, or came up with a stronger idea based on it, or wanted to somehow pay homage to the characters or authors. When it's complimentary, this can be a wonderful honor. Look at the sudden influx of erotica novels that have some of the same elements as Fifty Shades of Grey, or the post-apocalyptic YA series like Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Uglies or Penryn and the End of Days. Ideas can always be twisted and rewritten into new settings, new sub-plots, new stories. That's what an inspired artist can freely create.

But there are times when an artist takes an idea or project, recreates it with little to no change to the original work, and never admits knowledge of the source material. Now, in many of these instances, the "inspired" artist doesn't really know or remember their inspiration. I would hope, when such a lapse is pointed out, the artist will have the grace to take responsibility. Case in point: In 1997, the Rolling Stones planned to release a single, "Anybody Seen My Baby" off their new album. When several people who previewed the song mentioned the similarity to kd Lang's hit, "Constant Craving," although the band didn't willfully copy the chorus from Lang, they opted to release a different single and gave Lang writing credit on the album. 

Sometimes, though, an artist intentionally copies another's work without permission, without giving credit, without admitting their inspiration came from some other source. In my mind, that's theft. If you're guilty of such a theft, it's never too late to admit your mistake and make amends to the victim. If not, well, eventually, karma will catch up to you.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter Blows...I Mean Blues

Anybody else tired of winter? I mean, here it is the first week in March and here in my hometown, we're gearing up for not one, but two (!) snowstorms over the next forty-eight hours. I still have the same snow reaching up to my mailbox that fell at the end of January. It's time for Old Man Winter to move on to that great nursing home in Antarctica. 

I miss seeing the blacktop on my driveway. 

I miss every other color but white.

I miss skirts and dresses.

I miss my feet being dry.

I miss blue skies.

I miss the sun, dammit!

Oh, spring, where are you?

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