In case you’ve forgotten, busy is a four letter word.

One of the common themes I heard last week during the women’s network event I hosted was that there are a lot folks are struggling with being overwhelmed because life has become “so busy.” I get asked often how I “do it all” and I always laugh because…uh, I don’t. If I had a nickel for every time someone said “I don’t know how you do it with five kids, I can barely manage with two” I could retire, yesterday. While, I’m more work-in-progress than expert on any of this, it seems to come up often so I thought I’d share what has worked for me. I’m not suggesting that my way will work for you. But I’m also not exaggerating, not even a little, when I say it changed my life.

I, for one, am really over the whole “busy” thing and have been for a while. Grief has been an excellent teacher in that regard. Maybe you get this a little more so when you lose people you love and have to process that death is not a destination. It’s not somewhere, down the road, waiting for you to get there. It’s coming for us all. So, yeah, it’s cliché to say but… life is short. And I found myself in a place where I had to ask what was most important that I got out of it. The result has been (dare I say it) that I’m immeasurably happier now. I spend time doing more of what matters: I read more, I play more, I laugh more. And I love more. The best part of it all is that I also do “nothing” more.

Unfortunately, it’s popular in our culture and even celebrated to be “busy.” You know how it goes, ask someone how they’re doing and they’ll usually respond by telling you how busy they are. And while I have nothing against hard work, I believe busy is possibly the worst four letter word there is. “Busy” gives us an excuse to say someday to the things we really want. We’re too busy now, so we say next time, later on. Busy becomes an excuse for not doing what we know we should be doing.

The lie we tell ourselves is that we’re busy now so we can “have it all” later. When the truth is, it’s impossible to do it all and do it all well. If you aren’t enjoying the journey, my guess is you’re sure as hell not going to enjoy the destination. When I realized this, which like most lessons was learned the hard way, I realized that it was imperative to determine what my priorities were, say no to the rest, which meant letting go, and trust that I was doing the right thing. At first, it felt really strange. I even wrote about it this time last year. 

If you want to get around the bullshit, cut through the red-tape and really get to know someone, try this, it blows minds. The next time you’re in a conversation ask the person you’re speaking with what they really want out of life. BUT only if you really care. And I do mean really care. First, this person will look at you like you’re crazy, then after you assure them that, yes, they heard you right and yes, you’re serious, they’ll usually offer up something arbitrary. But if you don’t let them off the hook, they’ll usually end by saying, well… in a perfect world_____. But since we’re most likely not ever going to live in a perfect world and because you’re going to need an answer when they turn the question back around on you (and they will) you’ll want to first ask yourself what it is you really want. And then begin each day by honestly answering whether or not what you’re spending you’re time doing is getting you there. It’s not easy. Being brutally honest, is scary. But so worth it, I think. For me, doing a few things really well feels a whole lot better than struggling to do many “just good enough.”

One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned was that if you take on more (and more and more) no one is going to stop you. They will let you do it. Have at it, they’ll say. This goes for bosses, spouses, children, and so on. The majority of people are not going to say “No! Wait! You know what…you have too much on your plate as it is. Let me handle that.” They’re just not. It’s up to us to set those boundaries. And it’s very hard to set them if you don’t know what your priorities are, if you don’t know what it is you want, what you’re working towards.

For example, this is how I determine what gets done on a daily/weekly/yearly basis. Every decision I make is made with my top three priorities in mind. Obviously, your priorities will likely be very different than mine– but I want to give you an idea nonetheless of how I broke it down to figure out what made most sense in my life. My top three are: my health, my family, and writing books. In that order. Health comes first because obviously if I’m not taking care of myself…I can’t very well take care of anyone else. For starters, exercise is very important to me. Not because I really like it but because I know that if I want to feel well (mentally and physically) and have the energy level I need to accomplish what it is I want to accomplish, I have to workout. I surround myself with people who are better, faster, stronger than myself (it’s motivating) and I schedule workouts like an appointment, an hour each day, at the same time, first thing in the morning. This way nothing else has the chance to interfere. Because if I let it, and I will, then it will. :) But this hour is my time and I’d be really annoyed with myself (and honestly everyone around me) if I couldn’t even take an hour for myself.

My family is my second most important priority, for me this means being there to pick up my children from school each day, spending the afternoon, evening, and weekends. This time is spoken for and comes before anything else I put on my calendar. Clearly, this may simply sound like motherhood in general–but what I’m trying to get across is that I (typically) don’t schedule work after 2:30 (at least not until they’re asleep) or on weekends. This way I don’t feel guilty over competing priorities. Work stays firmly in the work category. It also means that I have to be fairly smart about and extremely protective of the time that they’re in school.

Lastly, are my writing goals and running AWN. As far as writing goes, I have an idea of how much time it takes me to finish a book and I schedule writing time daily. Nothing else happens during this time, but writing. Unless it’s of greater importance–meaning it’s one of my first two priories. What works best for me is setting a daily word count goal by reverse engineering the number of words I need until completion and not letting myself quit until I’m there. Because there’s marketing and all the rest that goes along with writing–it’s too easy to do something else that is oftentimes less painful.

In terms of AWN and networking in general, unfortunately there’s a lot I have to say no to these days. It’s not fun– but I simply can’t have coffee with or accept every lunch invitation that comes my way, as much as I’d like to. The solution has been opening up a few time slots each month for this (typically before an event) and by attending at least one other large-scale event and inviting others to come along. It’s more fun that way. :)

The other thing I want to suggest, if you’re like me, and have found that you don’t have enough time for the number of people who want to meet with you and “pick your brain” then you may need to find a more effective way to meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to make it work for you, too. If you know me, then you know that I’m all for helping people. That is after all, why I believe that AWN has been as successful as it has. But again, this is where boundaries come in. You have to know where to draw the line, so to speak. If you find that you’re coming up against the same issue, the same questions, then it might be worth asking yourself if there’s a need (a market) for what you’re offering. Don’t be afraid to charge for your time. This could mean charging a consulting fee, it may mean setting up a seminar, or writing a book.

Long story short, it becomes a whole lot easier not to fall into the “busy” trap when you establish what is a priority and are ruthless in making sure what you’re doing is in line with that. It’s easy to say no if you understand that when you say yes, you’re often essentially letting something else go. And sometimes, there’s a higher price to pay than you realize…

P.S. In writing related news, I get asked a lot what is happening on the agent/publisher front (which probably deserves a whole blog post in itself) but for now I’ll just say that after really evaluating my options, my current and future goals, and then weighing all of that with the amount of freedom/flexibility I want to have, I decided to forgo the agent/publisher route and stick with what I’ve got going. :) In addition, the publishing landscape is changing so rapidly right now. But I won’t go in to all of that here. If you’re interested there’s a plethora of mostly decent information you can find on the interwebs starting here.

Done. Done. Done. The Story Within The Story…

“When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.” Margaret AtwoodAlias Grace

The quote above actually explains a lot about the sentiment behind Breaking Bedrock. The story within the story. It’s the idea, the revelation, that it’s hard to know the rhyme or reason things happen, the way they do, when you’re in the thick of them, and that it’s only afterword’s, in hindsight, looking back that it all makes perfect sense.

This morning I finally wrote THE END on Breaking Bedrock and I have to say that feels pretty damned good. Like I can breathe. Like…I just needed to get this story out so that I could move on with things. It’s hard to explain, really, but it all seems a little transitory. And there is something about finishing a book that’s like nothing else I can explain. It’s part giving birth…part crossing the marathon finish line. There’s a certain high you get, that’s for sure.

As an added bonus, judging by the feedback I just received back from the betas, it’s a keep you on edge- in an evil but yummy- work you over sort of way- heartbreaking, yet.. all flows well, kind of story. Oh and the ending blew minds. In a good way. Not in the annoying cliffhanger way I gave you guys last time. Personally, I love cliffhangers…but that’s just me… and I know most don’t. Anyway, I’m satisfied with how everything turned out in the end and I think the readers will be, too. And on that note, I have to say, that sometimes, it’s nice when you shock the shit out of even yourself. ;) A decent analogy, I think, would be the way you held that newborn baby (or newborn babies) in your arms for the first time, in so much awe, and in all of that amazement and wonder, and knowing, you find it quite funny that only thing coherent thing you could possibly even think to say might be: “Damn. Wait a minute…you mean I did that???” So instead of speaking, you simply smile to yourself and think: Yes. YES, I did…and it’s pretty fucking amazing, isn’t it?

Oh and speaking of “working it”…here’s a little something silly and happy and awesome…just because I love it so.

One Year Ago Today…

“Even on my heaviest days, when emotional, financial, or physical responsibilities feel too burdensome to bear, I find lightness in the act of picking up a pen to list the three moments that shined brightly on whatever dismay laid before me.” – Bex Boruki

One year ago today…I started keeping a daily gratitude journal. While I’ve always made practicing gratitude a habit, if I’m being honest I was never really completely consistent with it. Anyway, for some reason (I actually can’t remember what the exact reason was) on this day, exactly a year ago I made the decision to start a writing a DAILY list of three things that happened which I had been grateful for on that particular day. I should mention that this was just shy of two months after my brothers death and at a time when I’d made the decision to leave a job I (mostly) loved in order to pursue what it was I really wanted to do– grow my own business AND write the novel I’d been talking about writing for a very long time. So, to say that my life was in somewhat of a state of upheaval would be a vast understatement.

But I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a day journaling since. Little did I know that this past year would actually get “worse” in the sense that I would lose my grandma too, another person who raised and meant the world to me, all in the span of just a few short months. But the beauty of having kept the journal is that I have a record of things that happened on any given day…things such as “I’m grateful that Nannie did such and such for/with the kids” and “I’m grateful for time spent with Nannie at her doctors appointment.” Now, these entries serve as reminders, providing permanent memories, which at the time may not have seemed like such a big deal. And I promise you…looking back, they weren’t. I remember at one of the doctor appointments her throwing a fit in the waiting room about how much time it was taking, and how terrible their scheduling was. I remember being mortified, even though I was thinking the same thing. Three hours in a waiting room, with someone on oxygen that’s quickly running out, in addition to kids across town that needed to be picked up from school, well, it wasn’t exactly the best of times. Looking back on it now though, I smile when I think of her tantrum, the beauty of being old and saying what’s on your mind, and the fact that at the end of the day, I was (and still am) grateful for that time. It’s a reminder that although sometimes things seem frustrating while you’re going through them they may actually turn out to be blessings in disguise. I swear I’d sit through a thousand more doctor appointments if it meant that I’d get to have one more conversation with her.

I had so many things I wanted to share in this post and post about this week, things like the creative process and how I’ve been struggling a little, experiencing fear (and lots of doubt) as I work on my second book. This time (it seems) the process hasn’t been as “easy.” For one, my characters haven’t been speaking to me in the way they used to. Also, I’ve been confused because Addison’s voice has changed ever so slightly, making it hard to recognize at times. And because what I’m hearing isn’t what I’ve expected I’ve doubted writing what comes to mind. Until yesterday, that is, when I had an “epiphany” of sorts. It dawned on me that maybe her voice has changed because of the experiences she’s faced. She’s not the same person she was last year, in the first book. And that perhaps it’s OK that she doesn’t sound exactly the same…because the story goes on and, well, shouldn’t growth be a part of that process.

Last night after thinking about this post and about gratitude in general I happened to stumble upon a link titled: 5 Steps For Making Your Dreams Come True. You should read it too. Really. Reading what the author had to say was incredibly eerie (you know, the kind of thing where you get chills) because what she wrote, her story, was almost exactly what I’d been planning to say here today. Minus the follow your dreams part. I wasn’t going to write about that. This time…any way. :)

Whomever Bex is, I like her. And I’m thankful. After reading what she wrote, I went to bed, and for the first time, in a long time, dreamt of my characters.

She’s right. Miracles do happen. All is well. Life is good. :)

On all the things that matter. And a few that don’t…

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Neil Gaiman

I’m not sure how nearly a month has passed since we’ve visited but somehow it has…

As for me, I’ve been working on all things balance and although I do mostly believe that “balance” is a myth, I have learned over time what my personal threshold is, and what I need in order to feel that I’m living well. For me personally, that includes pulling back and reacessing my commitments, eliminating clutter, surrounding myself with people who give as much as they take, AND making pleasure top priority. There truly is an art to doing absolutely nothing and being ok with that. :)

Anyway, when I’m not doing “nothing” which really mostly means cooking for, mediating fights between, cleaning up after, and driving to hell and back for those I adore most, I’m usually hard at work trying to push out a second book. In my quest for “balance” and in order to put out my very best work, I’ve decided to delay the release of Breaking Bedrock until a little bit later this winter. To those of you who are waiting (rather impatiently!) for it and aren’t shy about letting me know (I love you and thank you) it truly sucks to let you down. But I do promise that it will be all the better for the delay.

In other news, I am over the moon, grateful to have hit #19 in Romantic Suspense on the Amazon Bestseller List and #45 in Suspense last week. So thank you all for that. I’ve already waxed poetic about the readers and the bloggers over on FB , so I’ll spare you here. But really, thank you all. ;)

If you haven’t yet read Bedrock (seriously, what are you waiting for? ;)) it’s on sale via all major retailers through this Sunday and is just $0.99 in ebook form. Buy links can be found here.

Also, I’ll be signing books at the Texas Book Festival on 10/26/13 from 3-4 pm in The Writer’s League of TX booth. There are a few other events coming up as well as a signing that BookPeople is setting up which I hope to let you know about soon. In addition, I’m doing lots of book club appearances and while I unfortunately can’t be everywhere, I’m so thankful for an awesome little invention otherwise known as Skype.

Oh and one more thing…for anyone considering following a dream or who simply want some tremendously good advice on life…I absolutely LOVE this. Every. Single. Bit. Of. It. So much goodness here. Then again, I have a thing for commencement speeches, probably because I never graduated from higher ed, and if I’m being honest, I have to say that I seriously want to slap some sense into a few kids in this video who look like they’re so “over it.” I want to scream “Wake up! Listen to what he’s saying and be grateful for where you are!!! Oh and P.S. you snotty little brat, even if your parents didn’t take out a second mortgage just to afford for you to be sitting here, they still could’ve done so much with the money they put into their belief in you. I really do apologize for slapping you. You can thank me later. Now, wake up. Oh… and then go make good art.” I know…I know…it’s a sore spot. Clearly. :-)


“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” ― Neil Gaiman


The Gift of 32.

“This is an important lesson to remember when you’re having a bad day, a bad month, or a shitty year. Things will change: you won’t feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe you can’t feel real joy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t know what it’s like to feel holy until you know what it’s like to feel really fucking evil. And you can’t be birthed again until you’ve died.” ― Kelly Cutrone, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

Last week I turned 32. Thirty-two isn’t exactly considered a milestone birthday (even though I happen to think every birthday we’re lucky enough to celebrate should be considered a milestone:) so I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write a list of lessons I’ve learned or why they’re swirling around in my head begging to be let out. But here we are nonetheless…

I wrote this list with my children in mind…these are things I’d want them to know if I weren’t around to tell them myself. While it is my belief that we each learn lessons in our own time, as we experience life (otherwise what’s the point of the journey?!?) and not so much from a list or what someone else has experienced, I do hope this provides an avenue, or at the very least, serves as a conversation starter, in which to discuss the bigger, more important questions in life.

32 lessons I’ve learned in my 32 years:

  1. Every relationship in your life is a mirror reflecting how you feel about yourself. Chew on that for a moment. This one is BIG. And if you learn NOTHING else from these lessons know THIS: There is nothing that you have to do, or be, or achieve to be worthy of love. You are already infinitely precious and truly loved exactly as you are.
  2. Become a master at disobeying. But, of course, only after you’re out of your parents house. The world and those around you will often expect you to conform to their ideal of who you are. Older doesn’t always mean wiser. And others best intentions will not be always be in your favor. Ask the hard questions and live on terms that make sense to you.
  3. Love has a heart of its own. What else is there to say, really? ;) It just is, what it is. It almost never happens like (or when) we think it should. And it rarely makes any sense. Also, it is mostly true, especially in the beginning, what they say about love being blind. Your family and your friends do not need to be in love with the person you’re involved with, you do. While it will hopefully all mesh well, just know it is likely those same friends and family who will clearly see whether or not the person you love brings out the best in you. You know, while you’re too busy being happily blind. All kidding aside, I’ve found that love is almost always worth the risk. Just trust your intuition. It will rarely lead you astray.
  4. Expiration dates on friendships/relationships are ok. The question isn’t always how can you keep them intact, instead you should be asking how alive the two people in the situation are. Are you growing or stagnating? How can this experience bring more to the both of you? Sometimes growth as individuals necessitates moving on.
  5. Make sure to ask yourself if you’re truly emotionally and spiritually alive on a regular basis. You’re breathing, you’re alive! That’s great news. But how alive? Do you wake up excited…or are you “just trying to get through the day?” Getting through the day and surviving is ok, sometimes, but go on like this for too many days and there’s a problem. So many of us are unwilling to ask ourselves these questions because the answers can be scary. Checking in with yourself frequently will lead to fewer problems down the road. A rut can last a lifetime, if you let it.
  6. To understand what love is, you have to understand what love isn’t. Enough said. It is my greatest hope that you learn this lesson as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
  7. Get down to the root of self-love. Ohh, that sounds kind of dirty. Seriously though, most of us think we love ourselves but fail to pay attention to the thoughts running around in our head. Figure out as soon as you can what it means to truly love yourself.
  8. Allow receiving to be as gratifying as giving. There are two sides of the coin. Enjoy both. Admittedly, this is one I haven’t always been so great at. But the ability to allow yourself to be on the receiving end of anything (without feeling guilty about it) is an important quality to have.
  9. Grief and heartache work on their own timetable. And it never seems to work with yours. Let yourself sink into the emotions you’re feeling. It’ll be uncomfortable…but necessary for healing. As cliché as it sounds you’ll need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s easy to mask the discomfort with other things (food, shopping, pick your poison) but don’t. Doing so will only prolong the process. There is no such thing as a quick fix.
  10. Relationships are perfectly imperfect. They are supposed to be containers for growth. For some reason we expect that it’s normal for our jobs, children, friends, etc. to let us down…but not our lovers. In expecting our love stories to unfold perfectly, we set ourselves up for unhappy endings. No one is going to “complete” you. In the best relationships, it is ideal when both people want (and keep wanting) to bring their very best to the table. Don’t wait or depend on the other person to do it first. Relationships are not tit for tat. Communicate what it is you need. Word hard at love. Love fiercely. Like anything worth having, don’t be too quick to give up on it. Aim to please. And forgive fast. Continually, check to make sure you’re still on the same page. But if you find that you aren’t, and one or both of you no longer want to be…if one day you find that it cannot be fixed, understand that’s ok, too. Be courageous in letting go, and know that lesson 11 was meant to be read at this time.
  11. Trust that what’s waiting for you is worth moving towards. Be willing to let go and steadfast in discerning when the time has come. This invaluable advice in business, love, and life in general. It likely will not be easy, in fact it will probably hurt like hell, but I’ve met very few people who say they wished they had stayed in “that job” or in “that relationship.”
  12. To understand the light you have to know the dark. The good tastes all that much sweeter after you’ve experienced the bitter. Life just works out that way.
  13. Fasting of any kind (particularly juice fasts) will cause you to literally go insane. Spiritual experience, my ass. Don’t try this at home, folks. There is a reason that throughout history people traveled to the desert when fasting. If I had to guess, based on personal experience complied data, I’d say that it was so their loved ones didn’t have to suffer through their insanity.
  14. You actually can eat just one. Buy into their marketing BS and you’ll likely have gained five pounds and a bad mood. Food is energy. And as the saying goes: “you are what you eat.” So choose wisely.
  15. When in doubt, pause, and listen. Unless it’s a life threatening emergency. In that case, act and/or call someone with credentials. Remember how important stillness and mediation is. If you aren’t able to sit in silence and be at peace with the quiet, you won’t be able to hear the answer when it comes.
  16. Have the nerve and self love to go on the journey. Following your heart takes courage. Be courageous. It will be worth it.
  17. Be a student of life. Never stop learning. Be open to considering that your way is not the only way. No one likes a know-it-all. They’re boring.
  18. Speaking of boring, don’t be. Have fun and have it…often. I’ve found that few situations call for complete and total seriousness. Unless you’re my pilot or surgeon, be silly. Laugh often. Play hard. Learn to be okay with being the butt of a joke. Because the plus side is…you’ll excel at comebacks. Comebacks are an essential skill in the game of life. Which could very well be a lesson of its own.
  19. Be the one who looks for the silver lining. Optimism is an incredibly magnetic trait. Almost everything has an upside.
  20. Know when to keep your mouth shut. Like I said, almost everything has an upside. Sometimes though, it will be important not to communicate that said upside…because you’re the only one who sees it. Know the difference between the two. A smile or a nod can do just as well.
  21. Always be empathic. Choose your words wisely and consider the appropriate time to use them. You will face situations where you’re uncomfortable standing in another’s pain. There will be times when there will be no “right” thing to say. Don’t tell them you know how they feel. You can’t. Don’t tell them you know someone who has faced this before and he/she did so and so. Don’t say something for the sake of saying something. Fill the uncomfortable silence by just being. Let them know you are there. There will be times when this is all you can do.
  22. When someone shows you who they are believe them. Pay attention. Like your mama told you: actions always speak louder than words. Second chances are ok but only if you’ve communicated what you will and will not tolerate clearly to begin with.
  23. And then trust. Trust that the right relationships/opportunities will be given to you because you have the wisdom to see them. In order to receive the best life has to offer, live with a sense of wonder. If you’re hurt (and you will be) you must be willing to try again. With an open heart. And an open mind.
  24. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. You’re probably thinking I’ve repeated myself here. A few times. There’s purpose in my repetition. Self awareness is one the best gifts you can give those around you.
  25. Never forget…women have a different level of hormones surging through their bodies each and every day. This is important to know whether you’re female or not. In fact, it’s probably more important to consider if you’re not.
  26. Be on a first name basis with failure. If you never fail, how will you ever learn? Remember, all great innovators were at first failures. They simply kept trying. Behind every big hit or blockbuster movie there are usually at least a handful produced that weren’t. The media is quick to tell you about the success story but rarely will you hear about the blood, sweat, tears and “failed attempts.” This tends to keep a lot of people from trying again once they’ve “failed.” But hopefully not you. If you feel called to accomplish something, want to spend your time doing it, and you’re passionate about it (keep in mind there will be days when you aren’t and you wonder why you even bother, these usually pass) then don’t give up.
  27. Cherish those you love. Tell them often. Show them in a way that is meaningful to them. When in doubt, leave love notes in unexpected places.
  28. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. No is about as bad as it can get.
  29. Everything will make more sense once you’re a parent. I invite you to question why things are the way they are. I understand it’s a part of your growing up. Just don’t be surprised when this is my answer. And, yes, it is final.
  30. Never trust anyone who is unkind to wait staff. People show you who they are by the way they treat people they feel have nothing to offer them. This personality trait is magnified in restaurants.
  31. You do not need to be fixed. You are YOU for a reason. Most of us have our own moral compass and understand where we need improvement. Trust that you’re well rounded enough to figure out what needs fixing. Then, yes, be willing to change. Adaptability is absolutely necessary for growth. But please consider your values first. I pray that maintaining a sense of individuality is one of them.
  32. Rarely listen to critics. Everyone has an opinion and they’re more than willing to share it. Hell, these days they even give them out for free. Tune them out.
  33. I know I said 32 and hey let’s not get ahead of ourselves with 33. But, I’m an overachiever, what can I say. :) So…here’s one to grow on…I believe that everything comes back around to love. Giving, and loving until it hurts, as it turns out, will most likely not kill you. Just do it. This world seriously needs more of it.

A Year Later…Life Happens.

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” -Walter Anderson

With the first anniversary of my brothers death fast approaching I just really want to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get back with all of you so I decided to write here to let you guys know that I’m doing ok and that it means the world to me to hear from you.

In regards to my brothers death, honestly, it feels a little funny to even consider it an “anniversary”- in fact that sort of sounds absurd, in my opinion. I understand that grief is very complex and is by no means one size fits all…but for me to wallow in sadness on the day of his death, well that’s just not how I roll. First off, I know that he wouldn’t want it that way. In addition, the way I see it, focusing on the day he died in many ways negates the 29 years that he lived.

That said, it doesn’t mean that dealing with his loss is easy. The truth is I miss him immensely and today really isn’t all that different than it was a year ago. It isn’t easier nor harder. Sure, we got through all of the firsts without him…but this only magnifies that he is truly gone. Forever. Some days this is harder to swallow than others. Today though, well, today I’m doing ok. Instead of feeling sad, I’m choosing to focus on the good. Because no matter what I choose or how I feel life happens, in spite of it all. And what a beautiful, wonderful mess it is…

The 29 years that I had the pleasure to be a bossy, loving, often overbearing (but proud nonetheless) big sister brought so so much joy to my life. Nothing, not a date on the calendar, not even death, can take that away.

P.S. Here’s a happy, silly, cheer you up kind of song. The lyrics fit my thoughts perfectly- because they sound like something he would say- and the video reminds me of the good times and all the crazy stupid fun we had.

Third Time’s A Charm: A Cover Reveal and Other Awesome Related News…

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” – Garrison Keillor

Yes, I know. I’ve been very, very, very bad about talking about anything work (book) related here for longer than is probably acceptable for someone who is trying to sell market books. But don’t let my neglect of all things work kid you. I actually have been working. You see, as it turns out, in order to sell books you have to write them first. Who would’ve thought, right?!? So that’s (mostly) what I’ve been doing. In other book related news, this happened:


Oh and wait a sec….there’s this too….

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have A NEW COVER! Here’s to hoping the third time’s a charm. ;) For the past few weeks I’ve been working with Lisa of Pixel Pixie Design again (she is also responsible for the trailer) to create a new cover for Bedrock–one that would more accurately portray what the story is about. Working with Lisa has once again proven to be so much fun. It’s always inspiring to work with people who put their whole heart into what they do. Lisa is one of those people… I had a vision and she brought it to life. Not once, but twice, and soon to be a third time with the sequel cover. So… without further ado…I am beyond excited to show off Bedrock’s new look:



P.S. I also want to say how incredibly lucky I feel to be able to do something that makes me so happy. Everyday I get the kindest emails and social media messages and I am extremely grateful to know that the characters I created mean something to others. It’s funny and quite amazing how writing this story has enhanced my life- by opening up windows into others lives. When people find out I’ve written a book (as a nicety) they usually ask what it’s about and when I tell them love, infidelity, and everything in between it’s been really neat to see how they open up and how excited they are share their stories. I’ve heard from people who are 17 to 77 and because of this I’ve decided that there are really only two conversations in life that people tend to want to have. There’s love and there’s money. Anyway, I have to say that right now I just really love people. The truth is we’re all more alike than we are different and it’s a humbling experience to have the opportunity to simply observe, without attachment nor judgment.

P.S.S If you haven’t seen the trailer, have a look-see:

So What. Who Cares.

“Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.” 
― Osayi Osar-EmokpaeImpossible Is Stupid

I don’t know why it is that I’m thinking in lyrics these days but Pink’s “So What” came to mind and thus the title of this post. Or… I could’ve just as easily gone with “I’ve got 99 problems but you ain’t one of them.” ;)

I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to write about today because I knew that another post about love just might send some of you over the edge. So there’s this, instead:

Today I decided to be a quitter. And also that it’s perfectly ok. Absolutely freeing, really.

Lately, I just can’t seem to get my act together to do the things I’m “supposed” to do. You know how it is. There’s something on the calendar or the to do list that you just keep shifting from one day to the next…until before you know it you look up and a month (or more) has gone by and there it is still staring you in the face. Well, for me, there are about 20 items that have continuously been shifted over the past few months. So what do I do? I decide that I need to add just one more thing and of course, uh, you know, I’m sure that this time it’s going to be THE thing that kicks my ass in to gear. And just like that I’ve enrolled myself in two intensive training programs that are certain to do the trick. Until the smarter less logical side of my brain kicks in: But it’s summer!! The days are long. And life is short. Play. Have fun. Yada. Yada. Yada. I know it’s right… but what I don’t get is how the logical side is so damned good at making me feel bad about it.

So, here I am on the fourth (or is it fifth?) day of this training program where four of the five emails have gone unread and the videos unwatched, what, who cares. Obviously, these things aren’t all that important or I would’ve done them, right? Right?!?

Then I realize…I am SO over making myself feel bad about the stuff I don’t want to do, the people I don’t want to see, and the meetings I don’t care to take. So, this morning when this little nugget of pure wisdom landed in my inbox, I knew that not only was I meant to read it…but that I’m clearly on the right track. :)

“Life has a much bigger plan for you. Happiness is a part of that plan. Health is a part of that plan. Stability is part of that plan. Constant struggle is not.” Kris Carr

Lover Of The Light.

” LOVE. Love is the ultimate answer to all questions in life. It may take time to realize this, and there may be times in life when we bury this truth so deep in the dirt. But it is always there. Once we realize that love is there—even in the dirt, even in the darkness, even in the loneliness and despair—life will be forever changed. We will be forever changed. Time, distance, and differences have no hold on love. It travels everywhere and permeates everything. All we have to do is open our hearts and minds to this beautiful truth. And we must choose, every day, every moment, to live a life of love. Even when times are dark. Especially when times are dark. Because love still lives in the dark. It lives even there, so that we may grab hold of it when everything else falls away. Love is our light post. And it will show us the way to the other side.” – Rose Alma

Today was one of those writing days where nothing you put out makes any sense. Sure, it all sounds good in your head but then you get it out on paper and as you read it back to yourself you wonder what in the world you were thinking and just where in the hell that came from. But even still, you know (or at least hope) that one day it will all make perfect sense-just not today.

I questioned what Mumford and Sons (it’s who I was listening to), the title of this post and the quote above has to do with what I’m trying to say. Then I realized that the answer was everything and nothing at all. ;)

Sunshine…on a cloudy day.

“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I could write about books or book tours or book sales…or any number of things, I guess. But the only thing I’m truly inclined to write about is love. Love. Love. LOVE. :) I’m so happy these days, over the moon, really. Summer is absolutely my favorite time of year. It has always been the time when I’m most myself…if that makes any sense. Anyway, I’ll spare you (just a little) and write about kindness and acts of service instead. I posted this on my personal FB profile and thought I’d share here, too.

This year there was one safety patrol kid in particular at my sons elementary school who was my favorite. Every time my car landed in his spot and he opened or closed the car door for my son, I felt like we lucked out. Always smiling, he just had the best energy. It didn’t matter if it was the crack of dawn or afternoon, rain or shine, cold or hot…the kid was happy to see you. I embarrassed my kids by acting foolish on the days we lucked out and for always telling the boy he was my favorite safety patrol. Today, as he was leaving the school (no longer on duty, they passed the baton) he tapped on my window to tell me goodbye- he’s moving on to middle school. Long story short…sometimes it’s the small gestures that make our days special. They all add up and our lives become a sum of them. You never know how or when someone will make your days a little sweeter by their acts of service. Maybe it’s silly… but that kid was an inspiration to me daily. I hope my foolishness let him know as much.