#RRBC Spotlight Author: Laura Libricz!

Hello and welcome to Harmony’s place today! It gives me great pleasure to host author Laura Libricz on her Rave Reviews Bookclub Spotlight tour! Take it away, Laura :)

Author Pic

 

Welcome to Day 4 of my #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour. I would like to thank the RRBC and my host for such a great opportunity.

Today we’re talking about an important aspect of German history: the witch trials of the early seventeenth century. This post is a heavier but one I feel is important because this theme is central in my second novel The Soldier’s Return, scheduled to be released in September 2017. This happened years before the famed Salem witch trials. We’ll look specifically at the city of Bamberg in Germany where women and men were being persecuted in the thousands.

Throughout the dark ages, Christianity had difficulties setting down roots among the Germanic tribes. Stories are told of saints who came to the German people and destroyed sacred trees and mystical places to show the people that their gods had no power. Even after Christianity took hold and the Catholic Church was established in the Germanic territories of the Holy Roman Empire, evidence shows that the Germanic people held onto their beliefs in goddesses, magic, herbal remedies, and pagan practices.

Persecution of heathens and witches was regular but not widespread in Germany in the medieval period. But as the Catholic Church grew swollen and corrupt, pagans were seen as a threat. Pope Innocent IV declared in his papal bull Ad extirpanda, dated 1252, that the use of magic, herb collecting, and questionable gatherings in so-called mystical or heathen sites was forbidden and to be enforced by torture. The famed Hammer of the Witches, the Malleus Maleficarum, the handbook by Heinrich Kramer on what witchcraft was and how to deal with it, was first published in 1486 and remained popular for two hundred years.

In the early 16th century, a new opposition to Rome appeared in the Empire among the Germanic territories: the Protestant movements. The most famous of these movements was the Reformation led by the teachings of Martin Luther. The Catholic Church was quickly losing the Germanic regions to this new teaching. By the middle of the 16th century, many major German cities had officially converted to Protestantism. As the 16th century came to a close, severe weather, failing crops, rising prices, disease, and an overall doomsday atmosphere fueled the Catholic Church’s  renewed efforts to win back the territories.

Someone or something was responsible for the woes of the world and whoever or whatever was going to pay. People had deep fears regarding Satan and witches and these fears could be used to re-seize power. Doctrine and rumors spread quickly because of widespread use of the printing press. Illustrations were popular and even illiterate people could be influenced. Scapegoats were found at first among those people who could least defend themselves: women, children, the poor, the uneducated. Even Martin Luther and the Protestants condemned witches and supported their torture and execution.

In the center of this mania was Franconia, Germany and the witch burning stronghold of Europe, the bishopric Bamberg. During the time of the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648), more witch trials and executions took place in this area than in any other area in Europe. Thanks to the efforts of historians (see: Sources, at the end of this article), much of the available information has been catalogued and can be reviewed in their publications.

A few thousand documents survived that dark period from 1616 to 1631 even though they had come close to being lost. At some point between 1830 and 1840, the Old Court in Bamberg had a clear out and sold lots of old papers to a housewares shop. The shop had a stand on the market and wrapped their wares in these old papers. Luckily, a historian named Johann Adam Messerschmitt noticed his order of nails was wrapped in official witch trial documents. He bought all the papers and secured them in the Bamberg archive.

What is left today are the documented fates of 884 accused men, women and children. Among the papers, historians have found protocols of the inquisitions. The questions used by the inquisitors were often so comical that the accused would laugh. The demand for reports of the instances of dancing and dining with the devil, what was eaten and drunk at these parties, and who was among the other participants was at first not taken seriously. The documented torture protocols, invoices for jail stays, and invoices to the families of the executed for the wood used in the witch fire are disturbing at the very least.

The first accused were those most easily arrested but soon branched out to include other victims as well. This included well-to-do citizens whose complete possessions and properties were confiscated by the church. Other high-profile citizens opposed the trials as did the whole of the Bamberg city council. One by one these families were arrested, tortured and executed, city chancellors and their families eliminated. This included the five-time mayor Johannes Junius, whose case is one of the most well-documented. The secret letter he wrote to his daughter explaining his innocence exists today.

The witch persecution ended dramatically in 1632. Swedish troops invaded and occupied Bamberg, ended the persecution, and the last of the detained were let go. A few trials took place after this period but the executions were stopped. In August 2015, almost 400 years later, after a massive initiative by the citizens’ group Bürgerverein-Mitte, the Mahnmal, a memorial to warn of past wrongs, was erected to remember the innocent men, women, and children who were accused, tortured and executed.

We remember because ‘their suffering compels us to stand against all types of marginalization, abuses of power, degradation and every sort of fanaticism.’

*

Further reading:

Ralf Kloos: Witchburner Online Museum: https://www.hexenbrenner-museum.com/index.php/en/;

Birke Grieshammer: Hexen-Franken http://www.hexen-franken.de;

The Memorial: http://www.br.de/nachrichten/oberfranken/inhalt/hexenmahnmal-bamberg-installiert-100.html

* * *

THE MASTER AND THE MAID

Book Coverhttps://www.amazon.com/Master-Maid-Heavens-Pond-Trilogy/dp/0996817786/

BLURB:

She’s lost her work, her home and her freedom. Now, harboring a mysterious newborn, she could lose her life.

In 17th Century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War, 24-year-old Katarina is traded to the patrician Sebald Tucher by her fiancé Willi Prutt in order to pay his debts. En route to her forced relocation to the Tucher country estate, Katarina is met by a crazed archer, Hans-Wolfgang, carrying a baby under his cloak. He tells her an incredible story of how his beloved was executed by a Jesuit priest for witchcraft right after the birth and makes Katarina—at sword point—swear on her life to protect the child. But protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall in disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed his beloved. She could be executed for witchcraft herself. Can Katarina’s love for the baby and Sebald Tucher’s desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay?

Set in Franconia, The Master and the Maid is an accurate, authentic account of a young woman’s life in Germany in the 1600’s, her struggle for freedom and her fight for those she loves.

* * *

AUTHOR BIO:

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing, she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

Twitter – @lauralibricz

Facebook – @LauraLibriczAuthoress

Website – http://www.lauralibricz.com

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Monday Musings Forty-eight: Hearing No Words

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Hearing no Words

 

Children have a knack for hearing what we don’t say. They rely little on our actual utterances. In the same way, people might hear our words, but for sure, they will feel our attitude. So, while it’s important to watch what we say, it is also important to keep an eye on how we say it. Our attitude can change the whole meaning of even one simple word completely, let alone a whole monologue.

Even more so when writing rather than speaking, it is easy for others to misinterpret our intent, and so we have to take even more care when writing an email, sending a text message, or posting a comment online. And still, even without our presence, some of our attitude will seep through. What becomes a bigger problem, though, is that people will be left guessing at our intention much more than when we are in their presence.

If we feel a need to accuse someone of something or point something out, then we have to proceed with utmost caution. And before we write a thing, or say a thing, we have to ask a few questions of ourselves. Why are we doing it? Is it good to say something? Do we have all our facts straight? Will it do any good? If, upon asking these, we still feel it good to go ahead, then we need to approach it in the right frame of mind.

Let your compassion shape your words, not your hurts or misperceptions.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

Remember, we are in competition with no one. I for one have no wish to be better than anyone; I simply wish to be better than I managed to be yesterday. Where are you coming from? What’s your attitude saying about you?

From the other side, what do you do when you feel accused of something of which you are innocent (or believe you are innocent)? We don’t need to learn how to react but rather how to respond. And we are all doing our best all the time. If we truly knew better, we would do better.

An age-old truth tells us that muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.

As discussed in past Monday Musings, silence is often the best answer. With our thoughts (attitude) we make our world. If we want happiness and accord to follow us rather than anger and discord, then we need to keep our attitude (mind) clear and let the silt settle to the bottom.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your unguarded thoughts.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-seven: The Thief in the Night

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Thief in the Night

 

This may seem obvious, but many kinds of stealing exist that we might not even think about, not just the common ones such as money or property, but also time, peace of mind, hope, trust, etc.

While ordinary riches can get stolen, real riches cannot. Within you live infinitely precious riches that nobody can take from you. Only you. How many times do we steal from ourselves by selling ourselves short?

Instead, believe in yourself. Tell yourself that you can do it. You can do anything. You only have to believe. Live it. Breathe it. Make it as though it already is. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t steal from yourself.

Don’t believe all the dark things you might tell yourself at night, in the wee small hours, when you can’t sleep. If you do, you’re apt to become a thief in the night, who steals sleep as well as peace of mind. In the words of Ben Williams, ‘There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

And, remember, just because somebody else says it, you don’t have to believe it. We might think that another can steal our peace of mind too, but really, only we have that power. We make the choice to respond to another person or stay grounded within our hearts and minds.

To embark upon a spiritual path, or a path of self-improvement, doesn’t mean that you won’t face tough times. If anything, you’re more likely to have times of darkness as you become more self-aware, and also more sensitive to the words and actions of those around you. Such times of darkness and difficulty, we can use as tools to help us grow and evolve.

As ever, it all comes down to the stories we make up. What we choose to tell ourselves. One unexpected and random act of kindness can become the most powerful agent of change. While it’s good to offer that to others, don’t forget the person reading this. The buck doesn’t just stop with you, it starts with you, too.

Always, you stand one decision, one thought away from a different life. Even the smallest of events can have profound effects. And, most of the time, we walk into the unknown. We cannot foresee what will happen if we do or say x, y, or z. Which makes trust all important, as well as patient perseverance and our outlook.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-six: An Eye For An Eye

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An Eye For An Eye

 

In the current climate of world troubles and terror attacks, it seems apt to say a few words on revenge and attempting to control others. Violence is never the answer. As the Buddha stated in the Dhammapada:

 

Hatred does not cease by hatred,

by love alone does hatred cease.’

 

Other wise teachings tell us that it is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Only then will we ever find peace. Only here, within this body, right now, can the seed of world peace find a home and begin to grow.

We’ve all heard the common Christian saying taken from the Bible that would seem to tell us to ‘take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. Unfortunately, like another oft misquoted verse (the sun shines on the righteous), this has gotten taken out of context and twisted into something it was never meant to be. The full verse changes the meaning entirely:

Matthew (5:38-42) New Testament, ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.’

So, rather than an instruction for revenge, it offers sage advice to turn the other cheek. When we take a closer look, we find the same with the ‘righteous’ quote too (the sun shines on the righteous and unrighteous alike). As with Monday Musings Twenty-three, forgiveness isn’t what we think and benefits the forgiver far more than the perpetrator.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

No true religion advocates terrorism and has as its basis spirituality, which demands of us compassion for all living things. Terrorism has no religion. Historian Howard Zinn tells us, ‘It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people.’ Remember, hate begets hate. Do you want to live in a world of hate?

Sometimes the best response is no response; i.e. be still and know thyself. Be still and do no harm. Be still. Empty. Let go. Don’t add fuel to the fire of anger. Pour the waters of compassion. Early on in our Monday Musings, we talked about how we make our world, and then we live in it. Mind made are all things. It always comes down to our perception—how we see a thing.

We mould the clay into a vessel, and then we get busy filling the emptiness inside. It saddens me deeply that we miss that we have the choice of what we put into that pristine emptiness. That emptiness holds whatever we want.

Our every action and thought impact us, whether we realise it or not. They effect us far more than they can ever affect another.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Stories to make your mind go into overdrive

Hi everyone!

Having launched my latest book, Moments, on Friday 14th, I wanted to share with you all my very first review. I’m always nervous each time I release a book, and this fantastic first review soon set my mind at ease.

Huge thanks to With Love for Books for taking the time to read and review!

***

Book review
By Anniek
Kindle Cover Moments
Isabelle is a fourteen-year-old girl. She’s on the run from her abusive stepfather. She hasn’t told her mother about what happens when she’s at work. Isabelle sees no way out anymore and badly wants to kill this mean man. When she hides beneath a willow Isabelle finds help in the most unexpected place. What will she do with the knowledge that she’s gained?
Isabelle is just one of the characters you’ll meet in Moments. Harmony Kent’s stories are dark, but always hold a glimmer of hope and light. She addresses topics that most people have dealt with in their lives, for example negative thoughts, grief and illness, but also second chances, choices and love.

One of the poems that I felt deeply in my soul is about dementia. My grandmother is suffering from this terrible disease and this poem brought me on the verge of crying.

In My Shoes

Footprints in the dust
the traffic of life
rubbing them away

Wandering
back in time
no longer present

A stranger wearing my shoes

each step erases
a little more memory

Harmony Kent has written beautiful stories and poems that made my mind go into overdrive. She encouraged me to think beyond the literal content of her stories and made me contemplate the deeper meaning of her poems. In a Letter to my Future Self she writes: ‘Those that matter are the ones that love you come what may’. If you could have written a letter to you future self what is the one thing that you would’ve written down for sure? I loved the questions I couldn’t help but constantly ask myself while I was reading Moments. Normally I’m not into short stories very much, but I loved reading Harmony Kent’s collection. When I’m sending a postcard to someone I always like to personalize the card by using a fitting quote. I’m sure that I’ll consult Moments on many occasions for the poems and the messages they contain.

Advice

If you like thought-provoking short stories and poems with a deeper meaning I highly recommend Moments.

***
The link to the original post is HERE.
You can buy and preview MOMENTS by going to my book page HERE.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing my writing and publishing journey with me! :)
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#RRBC Book and Blog Block Party!

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Welcome to the 2017 RRBC SPRINGTIME BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY!

Welcome to Harmony’s place, Cornwall, UK

 

Prizes I have on offer today:

1st place = ONE copy each of the reader’s choice of TWO of my ebooks. PLUS a $5 Amazon GC.

books banner inc moments without anthologies

2nd place = One copy of the  reader’s choice of ONE of my ebooks.

3rd place = (United Kingdom Only—sorry) A bit of SWAG: Bookmarks and a notepad.

 

Author Swag Pic

Number of winners on this stop: Three!

All you have to do is leave a comment! Good luck :)

1gift-boxes

And the winners are …

1st place is Joan Hall!

2nd place is Flossie Benton Rogers!

3rd place is Michelle Abbott!

Congrats, everyone!

Today, I am launching my latest book, MOMENTS

A Collection of Short Stories and Poems

Well, folks, I thought it was about time that I brought together much of my imagination that has been scattered around for a while, lols. My latest book comes out today, and the order links are listed at the end of the post :)

About the Book:

Come.

Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.Kindle Cover Moments

These tales touch upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement.

And then, after all that, you’ll find the poems.

From the lonely echoes of an empty house to the soaring heights of unexpected love and joy and learning to live as free as clouds and water.

For each of us, a moment encompasses a lifetime and, yet, passes in but the blink of an eye. In but a moment, everything can change. And in this very moment, life beckons in all its potentiality.

When the shadows fall, what will you do?

Excerpt One:

(From The Locked Door)

Blog 03-The Locked Door

Only in its absence did Celeste simultaneously notice and miss the comfort the sound had offered. Shrouded (smothered) in the cold, swirling mist, the world felt muted. As though she may well be the last person on the planet. And now, inexplicably, her shoes no longer clip-clopped an accompanying beat to her hurried steps.

Chilled, and not so much from the weather, Celeste paused mid-step, one foot held a couple of inches above the frigid ground. Her breath frosted the air but immediately became lost in the world of white. When she sucked in the next one, it caught in her throat. Celeste listened.

Halloween had to be the worst night to have gotten caught outside at midnight. And this unseasonably icy fog felt surreal and threatening. What’s more, the further she walked, the thicker and colder it grew.

When had she stopped hearing her footsteps? And why did the air feel so solid all of a sudden? Her next step confirmed her fears; each lift of the leg felt like wading through treacle. Perhaps, she ought to go home. How hard could it be to break in?

 

Excerpt Two:

(From the poem Hello)

Blog 02-Hello

HELLO?

 

Sitting at a crowded table

Good food, good friends, good wine

And still a silent tear escapes

The corner of my eye

 

Surreptitious wipe

Hoping nobody sees

Their sympathy will only

Bring me to my knees

 

And who could truly understand

This empty chair in which I sit

Or the ache masked by my laughter

Is there anyone there?

Buy Moments now!

Amazon US and Amazon UK

For all books available from me, check out my author pages at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Trailer videos: Harmony’s trailers.

Twitter: @harmony_kent https://twitter.com/harmony_kent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

RWISA Author Page: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-harmony-kent/

You can find all the other tour stops on the month long RRBC Springtime Book and Block Blog Party HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Welcome #Author Traci Sanders & Living-Write-Life

Hi, everyone, & welcome to Harmony’s place today.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome author Traci Sanders, who is celebrating the launch of her latest series: WRITE IT WRITE!

Volume I – Before You Publish – Tips on grammar, writing, and editing
Volume II – Beyond The Book – Tips on publishing, marketing, and networking to build your brand
Volume III – Living The Write Life – Tips on making the most of your writing skills

MY 3 BOOKS

TIP 359: 8 ways to save money

(that can be put toward publishing costs)

This tip, and many others on how to survive authorhood can be found in Living The Write Life: Tips on making the most of your writing skills, now available in digital and paperback format.
1.       FOOD: Cook at home as often as possible. Plan a menu that includes every meal for the week and stick to your grocery list. Allow yourself to eat restaurant food only once per week—better yet, once per month. I have found that food cooked at home tastes fresher and is much healthier for your body because YOU control the sodium, sugar, and fat. Have a meal-prep day. Cut your vegetables and prepare sides ahead of time—perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday (for the entire week). Go ahead and set the meat out for that morning and let it be marinating for dinner that night. Then all you have to do is throw it on the grill or in the oven and cook when you are ready. Don’t plan your meal for that week based on Buy-One-Get-One-Free specials at your local grocery store. Instead, plan it with whatever meals you’d like. Then, go purchase the Buy-One-Get-One-Free items to use in stocking your freezer or pantry—basically … overstock. You’d be surprised how quickly your stockpile grows. After a couple of months of doing this. You will realize that your grocery bill will shrink because you will have an ample supply of some items each week. And NEVER shop when you are hungry!
2.       PLAN AND BUDGET FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS: You know these things are going to come up every year–birthdays, anniversaries, and the big one … Christmas! Try to either set aside a “discretionary fund” for these expenses and add a little to it each month, or buy these items when you see them on sale and save them for the upcoming occasions. For instance, shopping for Christmas decorations, cards, and presents, immediately after Christmas can save you a significant amount of money. The same goes with Halloween costumes. The stores need to get rid of the merchandise quickly to avoid returns and restocking.
3.       UTILITIES: In winter, wash and dry clothes during the day to help warm the house. It will keep your thermostat at a steady temperature, which prevents the unit from having to work as hard. During summer, try to only do laundry after the sun goes down, and try to limit it to one to two loads per night. Ask your utility company to come do an “energy conservation” check in your home. They will check for any area that allows leaks of energy—such as windows, doors, etc., which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run on your utilities.ltwl kindle f16 17
4.       INDULGENCES: Love that special gourmet coffee from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc.? Now it is sold in retail stores like Kroger and Publix. If you are a huge coffee drinker and simply must have that “treat” every morning to function, make it at home—add whatever flavored creamer or whipped cream you like.
5.       FUEL: Fill your car up on gas as often as possible, rather than putting in ten to twenty dollars’ worth here and there. Kroger has a great incentive plan where you earn fuel points for spending a certain amount of money in their store. It’s best to wait until the end of the month to fill up your tank because you get the biggest discount. Instead of ten cents per gallon savings, it can be a significant as sixty or seventy cents’ savings per gallon!
6.       SHOPPING: Shopping online for clothing, shoes, etc., can save you a significant amount of time—and fuel. Instead of standing in line at retailers, not to mention the stop-and-go effect on your fuel usage, and wear-and-tear on your car, you can buy many things with the touch of a button these days. And many companies give you added discounts and free shipping! I highly recommend (ebates.com) https://www.ebates.com/r/TRACIS511?eeid=28187
7.       They reimburse you between 2 percent and 7 percent on every purchase you make, for companies they are affiliated with.
8.       CLOTHES: Sell some things you no longer wear or need on e-Bay or Amazon. My rule is, if you haven’t used it or worn it in two seasons, you probably aren’t going to. Give someone else a chance to benefit from it.
9.       PAY YOURSELF: Every time you don’t dine out at a restaurant, forego that gourmet coffee in a store, resist the new shoes you saw in the mall, or didn’t buy that gorgeous bracelet from HSN; reward yourself by putting the money you would have spent on that item in a jar, or better yet, in an interest-earning account.
 
BONUS: Saving money is not a big thing—it’s a lot of little things that add up. It’s choices we make every moment of the day. To eat out or not, to use the stove or the grill, remembering to leave the water running just a little during the winter to keep the pipes from freezing up or not, to allow our kids to play several sports or simply focus on one at a time.
 
These spending habits boil down to—individual needs, personal preferences, and will power. When we choose NOT to go over budget, we are not depriving ourselves of things—we are empowering ourselves with financial security and peace of mind.
About the author:
 DSC_0055
Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. 
An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.
Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.
Twittter handle: @tmsanders2014
 
Traci is giving away two prizes during this tour:

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I 

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II 

To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.

I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.

Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com.

GOOD LUCK!

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Monday Musings Forty-five: Square Peg

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Square Peg

 

For each of us, there comes a time in life when we need to let go of the unnecessary drama. For each of us, there comes a moment when we see how we’ve bent ourselves into a shape that fits the people around us rather than ourselves. For each of us, there comes a point when we see that this has to stop. That we need to unbend. That we need to stop trying to fit the square peg into the round hole.

This will not prove easy, and at times, will feel impossible. However, we must persevere. Some people will only love you if you fit into their box. Don’t feel afraid to disappoint; it’s not healthy to let those sorts of people have that amount of influence over your life.

It is only when we begin to unbend and find our own shape that we discover who we are meant to be. As with Monday Musings Twenty-nine, we need to find our life purpose. Only then will we find contentment and peace.

All it takes is that first moment of seeing, and then making the decision to take the first step toward change. In the words of the Buddha, One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

The greatest prison that we can live in is the fear of what people think. As with Monday Musings Thirty-nine, we don’t need to play the blame game. The only folks that truly matter will encourage you to be yourself and rejoice when you blossom.

The Dalai Lama once asked, ‘What is love?’ And then went on to say, ‘Love is the absence of judgement.’ If we find ourselves surrounded by people who judge us and pull us down, then perhaps the time has come to dig deep for the courage to instigate change.

When you come to a point where you have no need to impress anybody, then your freedom and contentment and peace will commence. In this instance, a good question to ask is, ‘Is it worth it?’ It’s never easy to take a good honest look at our lives, but in the end, it makes for the easier path and the greatest happiness.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Joan Hall

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Joan Hall :)

Take it away, Joan …

 

Hi everyone! Joan here for this last day of the Story Empire Road Show. Can you believe the week has already passed? I want to thank Harmony for hosting me today.

People often attribute the phrase “kill your darlings” to author Stephen King. He was actually quoting another author, William Faulkner. During the editing process, there are times when writers need to eliminate unnecessary scenes—even entire chapters. Often, we are quite fond of these scenes and don’t want to let go. Hence the phrase, “kill your darlings.”

The following scene is one that I deleted after the first draft of Unseen Motives. By removing this scene from the final draft, I was able to eliminate one point of view character without taking anything from the story.

***

Angelica Rossi watched the driver load the bags into the trunk of the taxi from her second story window. After her conversation with Jorge the evening before, she had remained in her room. She didn’t intend to come out until he left.

It came as no surprise when he asked her to leave. She’d seen it coming. Jorge had been restless the past few months and she sensed he had grown weary of their relationship.

She was also tired of him. Yes, she lived in a fancy house, wore the finest clothes, and could lounge on the beach all day if she desired. But in many ways, she had felt like a prisoner. They never went out to dinner. Jorge had forbidden her to have any contact with her family and friends. Their only visitor was his “so called” business partner.

The fact she had convinced him to take a cruise came as a surprise. She hoped it was a sign he would begin to socialize more often. However, once they boarded the ship, he spent the entire time in their cabin. He feigneUnseen Motives Thumbnaild illness, but she knew better. It was almost as if he were hiding from someone.

After they returned from the cruise, she contacted her brother Antonio and told him she suspected Jorge was living a secret life. Antonio had connections. He would learn the truth.

Angel waited until Jorge climbed into the back seat of the limo. Business trip, nothing. He was up to something.

She walked outside to the swimming pool, slipped her cell phone from her pocket and pressed the speed dial button for Antonio. “He just left for the airport.”

“Okay, we’re on it. I’ll call you later.”

Angel slipped off her swimsuit cover and walked to the deep end of the pool. It would be an hour or more before he called back. She dove in and swam a few laps before climbing into the adjacent hot tub. The warm water relaxed and soothed her. She would miss this life of leisure, but she had to get away.

Two hours later, her phone rang. “We tracked him at the airport. He boarded a non-stop flight for Atlanta, Georgia with a connecting flight to Dallas, Texas.”

“You’re sure he got on the plane?”

“Positive. The plane departed twenty minutes ago. We’re tracking the flight.”

“Thanks.” She ended the call and went to her room.

After a quick shower, Angel walked downstairs to find the housekeeper, Lucia.

“Lucia, I feel like having something special for dinner tonight. Would you be so kind as to go to the market and pick up a few things?”

“Yes, Miss Angel.”

She handed the list to Lucia and waited until she was gone before entering Jorge’s study. Lucia wouldn’t talk, but Angel didn’t want to place her in a difficult position. Jorge had ways of getting what he wanted and intimidation was one of his tactics.

Not that it mattered if Jorge learned of her snooping. She would be far away when he returned. She sat down at the desk and smiled as she booted up the computer. Jorge would be surprised to know she could easily crack most computer passwords. It didn’t take her long to figure out his.

She wanted to find something that might give her a clue as to his background. His bookmarked sights revealed nothing. But when she looked at his browsing history she found an interesting pattern.

Why would he be so interested in a small Texas town? Antonio said Jorge had a connecting flight to Dallas.

She clicked on several links and came to an online edition of the Driscoll Lake Reporter. He had viewed several recently published articles. Why was he so interested about a twenty-year-old murder case?

After reading the article and viewing photos of the newspaper staff, she knew why he had remained in their room during the cruise.

Her phone rang, and she jumped at the sound. Relieved to see it was her brother calling she answered. “Antonio, I’m glad you called. I’ve found something interesting on Jorge’s computer.”

“You’re searching his computer? He could have some type of alert system.”

“It doesn’t matter. He’ll be away for several days. I’ll be gone before he returns.”

“You can’t wait. Your life may be in danger.”

“I thought by this time he would be half way to America.”

“He is, but you’re not going to like what we’ve found out about him. I’m sending a car for you. They will be there in twenty minutes.”

“I won’t have time to get all my things together.”

“Never mind them. Throw some things in a suitcase and be ready.”

***

Hard to believe this wraps it up for the Story Empire Road Show. I’ve enjoyed all the tour stops and getting to know you. Unseen Motives is on sale this week for .99. Click here for the purchase link.

Remember, I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one winner.

To be entered in the random drawing, please leave a comment below.

 

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Connect with Joan:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome PH Solomon

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author PH Solomon :)

Take it away, PH …

Hello to everyone and thanks to Harmony for hosting me today. I’m P. H. Solomon and I’m a fantasy author, living in greater Birmingham, AL. It’s great to be a part of Story Empire and be on the Roadshow this week. I hope you’ll enjoy all the stops and authors this week and look at our books. To see our schedule and information about our prizes, please click to our Roadshow page and see where we are making appearances each day. This week I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to the most active commenter.

 

AAATW Book Cover II 300dpi (1)

 

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Buffeted like an arrow in the wind.

 

The hunt for the Bow of Hart continues as Athson and his companions have escaped the clutches of Magdronu and Corgren but they are still pursued. In need of answers to deep mysteries revealed while in Chokkra, Athson must gain possession of the mythic bow to face both his enemies and his tragic past. But Magdronu’s reach stretches among Athson’s companions, endangering Limbreth and even Hastra in schemes to entrap them all. With each turn of the search for the Bow of Hart long hidden secrets surface that threaten to destroy Athson. Will he falter as An Arrow Against the Wind?

 

That’s the blurb for An Arrow Against the Wind in which the quest for The Bow of Hart continues for Athson and his companions. It’s a book that carries the characters into challenges both personal and external, requiring even more perseverance than in The Bow of Destiny. In this short sample, we find Athson is confronted once again by the wizard Corgren who wants the Bow of Hart for his master Magdronu:

 

Athson’s chest heaved and he gasped, “Father.”

Ath shifted at his words. “Is that you, Athson. Run! Don’t let him-.”

Corgren slapped Ath. “Silence!”

Athson hefted his sword. “Do that again and I’ll kill you.”

The wizard displayed a cruel grin. “One step, ranger, and he’ll die.” He motioned with his hand and the hobgoblin held a dagger at Ath’s throat.

Athson’s breath returned but his stomach boiled and his mind seethed. “I’ll kill you both with arrows.” His low growl carried across the bowl-shaped depression in the rock.

“Your good but not that good.” The wizard drew a wolf’s-head dagger. “We’ll kill him either way.”

Athson tightened and loosened his grip on his weapons. He could do it. Maybe. Where was Gweld when he needed him? “What do you want? You brought me here to talk.”

Corgren’s laugh rolled with mockery. “You see, wretch? He’s smarter than you. Maybe he’ll get right what you and you traitorous ancestors didn’t.” He motioned to Athson with his free hand. “You know what I want. Get it and he lives.”

Traitors? This was news. Athson’s vision narrowed with his frown. “What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.” He leaned toward Athson’s father. “Maybe he’s not so smart.”

Ath opened his mouth but the hobgoblin yanked his head back and pressed the blade closer. The blind man shut his mouth.

Athson stared. His father was a shell of the man in his memory. Scarred eye-sockets. His face smudged with dirty and covered with a patchy beard. His body gaunt, drained of vitality. Athson ground his teeth. “I should kill you regardless, wizard, right now. The world would be rid of a monster like you!” He cared nothing for elvish views on revenge in that moment. But he needed something more. “What do you mean ‘traitors’?”

“My master and I can give and take away. Want a taste of what you can have?” Corgren cupped has hand over one of Ath’s eyesockets and uttered a spell. Green mage-fire flared beneath the wizard’s fingers. Ath sat up stiff with a cry and his face trembled.

Athson took a step. “Stop it, or I’ll-”

The troll pressed the knife-point at Ath’s throat. Blood dripped from his neck.

 

I hope you like that but I’ll leave the rest for you to read when it’s released as more happens to twist Athson’s emotions into knots that keep him moving toward the Bow of Hart. An Arrow Against the Wind is due out at the end of April and is now available for pre-orders. Just click the previous link to see all the retailer links.

Thanks for reading this post today and be sure to check out our schedule. While you’re here, feel free to have a look at my current book, The Bow of Destiny and the upcoming release of An Arrow Against the Wind. You can click on my bio banner below to pay me a visit at my website and learn more about me and the rest of The Bow of Hart Saga. Please follow me all week as I share more about my writing each day.

Here are some of the places where you can catch up with me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Pinterest | Google +  Wattpad | Amazon Author

Here are some free novellas that relate to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & NobleSmashwords and on Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Mae Clair

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Mae Clair :)

Take it away, Mae …

Setting as Character

I’m happy to be visiting with Harmony during the Story Empire Roadshow blog tour. There are posts at all SE author blogs today, with tour prizes scattered throughout, so be sure to check the full slate of events HERE. And don’t forget to follow along, as prizes are up for grabs when the tour is complete. I’ll be giving a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card away. The more you follow and comment, the more your chances to win. And there might even be a prize in the mix today too J

 

Today, I thought I’d chat about setting.

Recently, a book reviewer chose Eclipse Lake to illustrate the importance of setting in her post “21 Ingredients of a Great Novel.” I was flattered, but also impressed she keyed in on an element that resonated strongly with me during the development of the story.

I like small town settings and have used them throughout my books. In the case of Eclipse Lake, the setting is loosely based on an area I’m well acquainted with. It’s an odd combination—a resort lake tucked between mountains that attracts recreational enthusiasts, and is home to year-round and summer residents. Properties range from high end mansions to rural homesteads and hunting/fishing cabins. The first time I visited I was struck by the idyllic nature of pastures dotted with cows and sheep, the charm of old antique shops, and the ruggedness of gravel roads cut into the mountains.

countryside landscape; rural farm and farmland field

countryside landscape; rural farm and farmland field

 

Firehouse “eat-alls” are common. By the same token, you can head down to the marina and enjoy lunch on the deck, or take a dinner cruise at night. The location that inspired Eclipse Lake is a combination of affluence and quaintness. That’s exactly the mix I wanted for a story in which old memories cross boundaries. Take a look:

BLURB:
Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

~ooOOoo~

EXCERPT:
“You get unpacked?” Dane asked.

“Yeah.” Jesse jerked a thumb over his shoulder, indicating the loft on the upper level of the cabin. “I took the bed upstairs.”Eclipse Lake Final

Dane nodded. He closed his empty suitcase and shoved it into the closet. The cabin was clean, not overly large, but roomy. A kitchen, living area, two bedrooms and bath were situated on the main level with a loft wedged beneath the roof peak. When he was a kid, the cabins had attracted hunters and fisherman. While that was still true, the appeal had grown, extending to recreational tourists, nature lovers, and a few oddball travelers like the New Age Cultists entrenched around the bend.

I don’t care if they worship toads, the man in the moon or Starbucks, as long as they pay and don’t trash the place,” the chatty woman who’d given him a key to the cabin had explained. “Sign here and Cabin Twenty is all yours.”

“So, this is where you grew up?” Jesse pulled him from his thoughts. He plopped onto the bed looking comfortable in faded denim shorts and a baggy green t-shirt.

“More or less.”

Except for the year he’d spent in Wells City Juvie, followed by six months in an adult prison. How did he tell his kid that? Jesse excelled in everything he did: honor roll, student council. He was even a regional archery champion. Nothing like learning your millionaire dad had been a royal screw-up.

“So when are you going to see your brother?” Jesse prodded.

“Soon.”

“Uh-huh.” A pause said he wasn’t buying it. “Why’d you leave in the first place?”

Because I was a thief who slept with my brother’s girlfriend. A screwed up kid with nowhere to go but down.

~ooOOoo~

Intrigued?
Eclipse Lake is a full-length novel of mystery, sweet romance and family drama.
Presently on sale!

Purchase a copy from Amazon • .99 Cents until April 7

Thanks for visiting with me today. Don’t forget to see what the other SE authors have going on during the Story Empire Roadshow. Leave a comment to be eligible for my grand prize drawing for a $10.00 Amazon gift card (the more you follow my tour and comment, the more your chances to win).

For today’s tour stop, I’ll also draw one randomly selected name for an ebook win. Winner’s choice of Solstice Island, Food for Poe, Myth and Magic or A Thousand Yesteryears.

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Connect with Mae Clair

Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads |Google+ | Pinterest

Newsletter | Story Empire

 

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Staci Troilo

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Staci Troilo :)

Take it away, Staci …

Thanks for hosting me today, Harmony. Hi, Harmony’s followers!

I’m just going to jump right in. Today’s my birthday. First and foremost, I want to lament that my birthday buddy—Mr. Robert Downey Jr.—has once again not contacted me to offer to celebrate our special day(s) together, nor has he said he read and loved any of my work and wants to produce and star in the film adaptation thereof. Of course, I haven’t made this year’s wish yet when blowing out the candles, so I suppose there’s still time. (Fingers crossed.) Still, if history is any indication, I’ll be disappointed again.

I bring up the concept of birthdays because in Mind Control, book two of the Medici Protectorate series, we see a birthday celebration for Jo Notaro, heroine of that particular book. Like me, she prefers not to celebrate her big day because she hates to have all that attention trained on her (but she gets a party anyway), and like me, her favorite cake is almond cake.

I first fell in love with almond cake when I got married. Our wedding cake was an almond cake with what we were told was Lady Baltimore filling. I’ve since researched both Lord Baltimore and Lady Baltimore fillings, and what we got was neither.

wedding cake

But, wow, was it good.

It was an almond-flavored white cake with chopped raspberries and almonds mixed into a subtle (not super-sweet) buttercream between the layers. White chocolate frosting topped the cake. It’s not Lord or Lady Baltimore cake; call it a Royal Pittsburgh cake if you want to call it something. It replaced my prior birthday cake as my favorite cake and will likely always be at the top of my list.

In Mind Control, Jo gets her favorite meal—chili and a Primanti Bros. sandwich—for dinner and an almond cake with raspberry custard filling, whipped cream frosting, and toasted almond slivers on the sides for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Jo and I are both pretty low-key and down-to-earth—neither of us is going to ask for pheasant under glass for dinner—but I’d prefer homemade pasta (preferably my grandmother’s, but any homemade pasta will do, particularly with spare rib sauce, a tossed salad, and garlic bread) for my favorite meal. Although, any of you who have been to Primanti Bros. will understand how that could be someone’s favorite meal, as their sandwiches are fabulous. (You can read about Pittsburgh’s famous Primant Bros. in Mind Control, or visit their website for more information.)

I’ve gone on and on about food for a while now, so I should probably get to the point.

Food is a defining characteristic for Italians/Italian-Americans. As both the heroes and heroines in my Medici Protectorate series are of Italian descent, it only seemed fitting that my novels use food to define the culture and deepen a reader’s understanding of the characters.

Several meals are mentioned in the novels, and we even learn some preparation methods. There have been many requests for recipes, and my publisher is in talks with me regarding a Medici Protectorate cookbook. I don’t know if that will happen, but I do know I have oodles of recipes I could put into it.

The important part to note, however, is that food brings these characters together. They share casual meals as family. They have romantic dinners for two made with slightly more flair. They have huge celebrations with a ridiculous amount of food, because that’s what Italians do when they mark an occasion. Some of their meals are healthy, others are decadent, but all are delicious and abundant.

Because Italians show their love for one another through food.

And that’s one of the ways characters in my Medici Protectorate series show their love for each other. Through the preparation of food and the sharing of meals.dual ad

Yes, I know other cultures use food in similar manners, and yes, I know there are other ways to show love. But I wanted to mention this particular method in relation to this particular series because I believe food helps define these characters.

And aren’t writers always looking for a way to make characters more relatable?

Bleeding Heart (book one of the Medici Protectorate series) and Mind Control (book two) are on sale this week as part of the Story Empire Bookmobile Tour. If you’re interested, check them out while they’re discounted. Book three, Body Armor, will be out soon, so if you enjoy the first two, you won’t have to wait long for the third. I can promise yummy food in each one, and a lot of love between the characters, too.

Well, still no word from RDJ. I guess I’m on my own again this year. It’s Lent, and I’ve given up indulgences until Easter, so I won’t be having any cake today, nor will I get to blow out candles and make a birthday wish until Lent is over. Maybe I’ll get a belated wish from Mr. Downey. (A girl can dream, right?)

In the meantime, if you aren’t abstaining for Lent, perhaps you’d like to have some cake for me. If you’re a baker, here’s a family recipe for almond cake. The best part? It’s made with a cake mix, so it’s super easy. Fill and/or top as you’re so inclined. But might I recommend whipped cream, raspberries, and almond slivers?

Almond Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 White Cake Mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. Almond Extract (extracts are strong; if you aren’t sure about how much almond flavor you like, use less the first time)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place first four ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix on low until just combined.
  3. Add extracts and mix at medium speed until well blended. (Don’t over mix.)
  4. Grease and flour a 9X13 or two 9-inch round pans and pour in batter. (If using two pans, distribute batter evenly between the two.)
  5. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Start checking two minutes early so the cake doesn’t over bake. May require a few extra minute to fully cook. Baking times depend on your particular oven.)
  6. Cool on wire rack. Flip out of pan(s) to finish cooling after 5 minutes.
  7. Fill, glaze, and/or frost as desired.

 

Thanks, Harmony. Sharing a little bit of my culture here today on my second stop on the Story Empire Roadshow was really fun!

And to your readers, I want to reward you for reading this far. One commenter will receive a free eBook of their choosing, not just from the Medici Protectorate series (although you can choose one of those), but from any of my works (the complete list can be found by clicking here). Another commenter (US only) will be sent a Medici Protectorate refrigerator magnet. Good luck!

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Medici Protectorate Series Premise: The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

 

Book One, Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.
Bleeding Heart is only $.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

 

Book Two, Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?
Mind Control is only $1.99 throughout the duration of the tour. Click the universal link for purchase information.

 

Book Three, Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.

 

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#StoryEmpire Road Show! Welcome Craig Boyack

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Good morning, everyone!

What a week this is going to be … myself and a group of five authors, known collectively as STORY EMPIRE, have gotten together and gone on a roadshow. Throughout the week, we will offer book deals and giveaways and prizes. Today, I am delighted to host author Craig Boyack :)

Take it away, Craig …

Welcome to day one of the Story Empire Roadshow. We decided to take some of our fiction on the road to expose it to new readers. What better device to illustrate this concept than an old fashioned bookmobile.

Thanks to Harmony for hosting my first stop, and I’ve got something fun for you today:

I’m pricing my best selling title, Panama, at 99¢ today and tomorrow.

 image1

Panama is the story of two ex-cavalrymen who get asked by President Roosevelt to look into some strange happenings at the construction site of the Panama Canal.

This is a paranormal tale, and because the construction zone was made up of international laborers, I decided any magic there would have an international flavor too. There is a bit of witchcraft, some hoodoo, and even a few shamanistic references.

image2 Aside from the demon rampaging through the jungle, Ethan and Coop have to deal with Carlist rebels who want to reclaim all the Spanish colonies in the New World.

Add in the appropriate steam powered equipment, the backdrop of a brutal jungle, and one horse with a bad attitude, and I think it makes for a pretty good story. This is also a buddy story, and the characters really come into their own in this one. I even peppered in a few appropriate celebrity cameos to keep it fun.

 I hope you’ll take a chance on Panama. The sale ends in two days, and after that it’s back to $2.99. Don’t worry though, I have other promotions going on this week so follow the tour.

 To keep you interested in the tour, at the end of the week I’m going to tally up the comments and award some prizes. I have two gigantic coffee mugs to give away, and they are well worth winning. They feature my personal assistant, and spokesmodel, Lisa Burton alongside a bust of me. Here’s a photo for reference.

I’d appreciate your sharing this across social media, and maybe some of you will find your next reading adventure.

 Story Empire is a co-op of authors, and we’re all working the bookmobile this week. I’m hosting Staci Troilo today, and Harmony is appearing at Joan Hall’s place. You can see the entire schedule at this link. (Our tour page.)

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Monday Musings Forty-four: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice

 

Two kinds of pride exist. One has positive connotations while the other takes on a more negative aspect.

The first pride both comes from and reinforces selflessness. Based on a person’s achievements and qualities, it reflects simple pleasure in a job well done, or our achievements, etc. This feeling comes from deep within and uplifts us. This first kind of pride helps us to feel confident.

The second type of pride comes from our ego, which lends itself to arrogance and selfishness and inflates our opinion of ourselves. This kind of pride brings a false sense of superiority. In the end, though, it just makes us feel insecure and jealous. Which, of course, leads to trouble because we feel a need to prove ourselves and impress those around us. Our ego believes that we have far more importance than we do and, therefore, will not allow us to admit when we get things wrong or that we have made a mistake.

In short, we become unable to ‘own it’. (See Monday Musings 17.) Worse still, even when we know them to be flawed, we justify our actions and thoughts.

This second kind of pride encourages prejudice and judgement. In contradiction, however, the first type of pride encourages sharing and helping others to become the best that they can. That pride enjoys seeing others succeed.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

True pride can take an honest look at both ourselves and others and see achievements for what they are. It doesn’t need to judge or compare or put people down. It sees that we all have equality, and that such equality encompasses inherent differences.

We don’t need to compare porridge with concrete. All we need to know is that you don’t eat concrete. Both have inherent qualities and uses, and rather than judging one against the other, we live in such a way that we make best use of both.

With the right kind of pride, we find that making a mistake doesn’t worry or embarrass us. With no difficulty, we can admit to it and own it. Each day brings something new for us to learn. Each and every one of us learns from birth to death, unless we allow our egos to become so over-inflated that we believe we know it all already and that we’ve become immune to making mistakes.

This provides an interesting paradox: That the most seemingly arrogant or prideful people are, in fact, often the most inadequate. They have fragile egos. Whereas the strongest egos appear unassuming and modest while getting on with their lives in a quiet manner. Those sorts of people always seem to be there when others need them.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Pride makes us artificial. Humility makes us real.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-three: Dark Intent

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Dark Intent

 

‘A Truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the Lies you can invent.’

William Blake (Auguries of Innocence)

While researching for a magazine article I wrote recently, I came across the above poem by William Blake. For the piece, I wanted the opening lines … about the world in a grain of sand. However, these lines near the end of the work also grabbed my attention. They reminded me that it isn’t always best to ‘say it like it is’.

Intention is all important. Whether in deed or speech.

While I don’t advocate outright lying, I would advise circumspection in the truth you choose to tell. As with Monday Musings Forty-one on Gatekeepers, we need to exercise prudence in all that we say. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

The third of those questions is, perhaps, the most pertinent. Is it necessary?

If your intention is to hurt someone, then telling a brutal truth will do far more damage than a lie, no matter how inventive that lie. The truth resonates deep within us. Don’t get me wrong, though; a lie does enough damage too.

I have come across many people who love to say, ‘Just telling it like it is.’ And they feel brash and harsh to be around. Moreover, much of what they profess as truth telling just comes down to spouting their own opinions that grow from their (mis)perceptions.

I spend as little time as possible around people like that. They drag everyone down and are the only perfect person in the room. Whether they realise it or not, their intention is a selfish one. And that kind of attitude usually indicates deeply buried inadequacy, hidden and festering.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

That last line bears re-reading. It shows us how important it is not to judge anyone. All of us have things we need to work on/with. All of us need help, not rejection. In the above case, the more rejection, then the further buried the inadequacy, and the louder the ‘telling it like it is’.

Study your intentions. Examine the motivation behind the words that bubble up behind your tongue. Ask again, is it necessary? If it’s not good to say, then remain silent. That proves far better than lying. And, remember, telling the truth gives you a far easier life; you don’t have to remember anything like you do when you make up a lie.

I have come across numerous quotes to the effect that making someone cry by telling the truth is better than making them happy with a lie; what none of them offer is the option of simply saying nothing.

One lie is all it takes for someone to lose faith in you. So, always remain upfront, and if you can’t do that, then don’t say anything.

This all comes down to integrity. To utter the truth with good intentions can only happen when we can be truthful with ourselves. If you can’t be honest within yourself, then you can never be honest with another. Always, you will only have your version of the truth, rather than the truth itself.

The saddest thing with all of this is that the more you lie, then the more you believe your own deceits. They become your reality and your truth. Eventually, your whole life becomes a lie. From such a place, you have no chance of seeing it like it is, never mind telling it like it is.

When seen through clear vision and said with good intentions, then truth or honest silence is the way to go. The truth may hurt for a while, but a lie hurts forever. And, when we get right down to it, truth uttered with bad intent proves no better than the worst of lies. This is because you are not speaking truth, as such, and certainly not living the truth. All of it comes through negative filters, and the person listening to your words will only hear the malice. No truth can come through because you’ve twisted it into something else.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘The most dangerous liars are those who think they are telling the truth.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Forty-two: The Curve that Sets Everything Straight

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The Curve that Sets Everything Straight

 

It’s so important to smile. What we do with our face has a direct effect on what our bodies do with us. The chemicals and emotions with which they fill us. A smile keeps all of that cocktail on the positive end of the scale. And that upward curve of the lips spreads joy rather than pain.

Briefly, toward the end of Monday Musings Twenty-six, we talked about the importance of having a deep belly laugh at least once a day, and how even the tiniest of smiles contains a universe full of magic. Truly, it holds transformative powers.

Not only does our expression reflect our mood, but our mood can change depending on what we do with our face. If we frown enough, then we’ll end up feeling grumpy. The same goes for smiling. If we curve our lips upward for long enough, then we’ll begin to feel better. And, for certain, those around us will feel happier for receiving a smile rather than a scowl.

Our facial expression reflects in our voice too. When we frown, we tend to sound stern. And when we smile, we sound happier and lighter. So, even on the telephone, where our face remains hidden, it’s important to smile when we speak—or, at least, refrain from frowning.

From a vanity perspective, a smile helps us grow older without deep frown lines. Rather, any skin creases we develop, grow upward and smoother instead and help us maintain a more youthful appearance. The reverse, of course, is that deep frown lines age us immeasurably. I know which I choose.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

To smile throughout the day, and thus avoiding anger and grumpiness in response to events, helps to lower our blood pressure and has all sorts of other health benefits. As stated in Monday Musings Twenty-six, a smile has the power to transform even the blackest of moods and make the world a brighter place. Just that little upward lift of facial muscles can change the whole energy of a room and the mood of those around us.

Think about a time when you’ve walked into a room and immediately wanted to walk back out because the atmosphere has felt so dark and tense. Think about the people that you enjoy being around … what kind of disposition do they have for the majority of the time?

Note that I qualify that last question with ‘the majority of the time’. I do this because not a one of us can remain bright and happy one-hundred percent of the day. We’re all human, and we all wobble now and then. The important thing is that we can reset to a happy medium rather than a grumpy one.

Each one of us has a baseline to which we return time and again. Lottery winners have described an initial feeling of euphoria and walking around on cloud nine. However, after enough time has passed, they each return to their normal baseline of functioning. The same happens when we experience deep despair or trauma. Eventually, we will return to our baseline.

The more we smile, the more our baseline becomes happy and positive rather than gloomy and negative. Like anything in life, it takes time and patient perseverance, but is so worth the effort.

A smile can hide so many other feelings like hurt, fear, and sadness, but it also shows strength. Each time you smile at someone, you give them an invaluable gift. Be someone else’s sunshine. Be the reason that they smile today. And in return, you will receive the sunshine back into yourself.

Always, a reason to smile exists, just that sometimes, you have to hunt for it.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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How to Catch a Cowboy

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Hello, everyone! Today I bring you author Sandra Madden and her Western Historical Novel How to Catch a Cowboy. Sandra will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLURB:

Matilda Rose Applebee isn’t looking for love when she captures Cooper T. Davis at gunpoint. Her younger sister is in the family way and claims Cooper is responsible. Matilda aims to haul the snake-belly back to her sister’s waiting arms. But Cooper insists Matty’s sister is mistaken as they begin a long and dangerous journey.

 

ExcerpMediaKit_BookCover_HowToCatchACowboyCropt:

“You’re the best dancer of all,” she said, gazing up into his eyes, a beguiling smile on her lips.

Moist, pink lips, full and sweet. Lips he yearned to kiss. “Matilda Rose, be careful or you’ll bewitch me,” Cooper warned.

She laughed, a light lilting laugh, as if he’d said something terribly amusing.

As they danced slowly, silently, the tantalizing movements of her body pressed to his, propelled Coop’s heart into an irregular rhythm. The smoky simmer of desire curled through his core, shot to his fingertips. Like some demented soul, he continued to torture himself with a woman he could not have.

When the music ended, his lips grazed the top of her head, stealing a taste of her sweet, silky hair.

Matilda Rose stepped back, her lips parted in a dazzling smile, her eyes sparkling as they met his. She had no idea how he felt, how much he wanted her.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

This mostly truthful biography is longer than most of my books. But the older you become, it seems the more there is to say. Whether it’s important or not. Whether anyone is listening.

I was born in New York City but raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small isthmus that juts into the Atlantic Ocean five miles north of Boston. During the long cold winters – read REALLY COLD! – I read and I wrote. My favorite authors were Bronte and Austin before they became required reading. I wrote stories to amuse myself which led to writing the 6th grade school play. When I discovered drama classes in the ninth grade, I gave up writing for a few years. And, yes, I was the perky cheerleader who played Emily in Our Town. Not a dry eye in the house!MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HowToCatchACowboy

Following high school graduation my family moved to the warmer climate of South Florida – just when I was getting acclimated to the constant cold.

At the University of Miami, I majored in Radio/TV/Film. (As the program was called in those days – and one of the first departments of its kind in the nation.) I minored in drama. For three of my four years in college I acted in thirty- minute radio dramas almost on a weekly basis. Inevitably these live broadcasts of Theater X were love stories in which I played the heroine. Usually, the tragic heroine. I credit this experience as having set me on a course of no return. Romance and fantasy became my fate.

But first I experienced a short-lived career as a broadcast journalist. I was too far ahead of my time to fight the slings and arrows of the newsmens’ contempt, so I switched. I became a broadcast copy/promotional writer and worked in the Miami and Los Angeles markets. But my most rewarding work was as a writer/producer/host for a Miami PBS station. (Due to the public broadcasting budget each person is This mostly truthful biography is longer than most of my books. But the older you become, it seems the more there is to say. Whether it’s important or not. Whether anyone is listening.

 

I was born in New York City but raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts, a small isthmus that juts into the Atlantic Ocean five miles north of Boston. During the long cold winters – read REALLY COLD! – I read and I wrote. My favorite authors were Bronte and Austin before they became required reading. I wrote stories to amuse myself which led to writing the 6th grade school play. When I discovered drama classes in the ninth grade, I gave up writing for a few years. And, yes, I was the perky cheerleader who played Emily in Our Town. Not a dry eye in the house!

Following high school graduation my family moved to the warmer climate of South Florida – just when I was getting acclimated to the constant cold.

At the University of Miami, I majored in Radio/TV/Film. (As the program was called in those days – and one of the first departments of its kind in the nation.) I minored in drama. For three of my four years in college I acted in thirty- minute radio dramas almost on a weekly basis. Inevitably these live broadcasts of Theater X were love stories in which I played the heroine. Usually, the tragic heroine. I credit this experience as having set me on a course of no return. Romance and fantasy became my fate.

But first I experienced a short-lived career as a broadcast journalist. I was too far ahead of my time to fight the slings and arrows of the newsmens’ contempt, so I switched. I became a broadcast copy/promotional writer and worked in the Miami and Los Angeles markets. But my most rewarding work was as a writer/producer/host for a Miami PBS station. (Due to the public broadcasting budget each person is expected to fill a variety of roles for one salary. One small salary.) I focused on How-To series, public affairs – of the political kind – and women’s issues. During this time I met many inspiring women who shared their stories with me, women whose remarkable achievements, great spirits and strength influenced my work as I started to write. First, I became a published poet. It didn’t take much time for me to write short verses.

As with most writers, I wrote my first historical novels in the evenings after my day job. A second wind is required to do this and it magically appears with the passion for writing.

Passion for the writing and persistence in submitting are the keys to becoming a published author. The secrets of the sisterhood gleaned from lessons learned along the way.

Not long after being published I discovered that a writer’s life is not all about the voices in your head demanding release to a page – frequently at an inopportune time. And it’s not all about three figure contracts, champagne tours and as much chocolate as you can consume. Oh. No. A writer’s life includes thundering deadlines, dry spells, assorted blocks, carpel tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulders. Occasionally, the green-eyed monster rears her head and wraps grown women in knots. But most of all, writing romance is a wonderful love story in itself. There is nothing else a romance writer would rather be doing. She is totally in love with romance and with the ability to share her stories with gracious readers. Thank you, dear reader.

 

http://sandramadden.com/

http://sandramadden.com/contact.html#newsletter

http://sandramadden.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sandrammadden

https://twitter.com/sandrammadden

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989664.Sandra_Madden

https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Madden/e/B001KI6OHY/

https://www.amazon.com/How-Catch-Cowboy-Sandra-Madden/dp/1540541134

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Monday Musings Forty-one: Gatekeepers

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Gatekeepers

 

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ How true or not this proves, comes down to the listener. It might surprise you to hear that it has nothing at all to do with the speaker. Hurtful words can only ever truly harm the person who utters them. Everything else, as with so many of our Monday Musings topics, comes down to choice.

Our emotional and psychological responses come down to our particular conditioning and how free or bound we remain by such conditioning. And it isn’t just the words we say with our tongues that have an impact. You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. So, take care to speak kindly to yourself.

Words, in and of themselves, have no substance and prove empty. It is actions that show us who someone is, not their words. Words just prove who someone wants to be. A promise of help gives nothing if not followed up with action. And still, we need to take care of our thoughts and speech.

Whether of the mind or tongue, what we say should have three gatekeepers:

Is it true?Zen Stones for Monday Musings

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

Wise speech can empower. If we have the strength of character to stand up and say, ‘This is wrong,’ then this helps others to do the same. In this context, silence turns out to be more dangerous than words. Recently, I discovered an interesting fact. Apparently, in law, silence implies agreement and condoning. However, within Buddhism (and most spiritual disciplines), the opposite proves true. Silence implies disagreement and disapproval. This makes it essential to understand the situation in which we find ourselves. We have to ensure that our actions and words match with one another and fit the context.

When talking, we should speak in such a way that others love to listen to us. And when listening, we should pay attention in such a way that others love to speak to us. The only way to pay proper attention is to empty our minds as much as possible. A full mind cannot take in any more information and will miss things.

The more silent we become, and the less we speak—whether by mouth or mind—the more our eyes see, and our ears hear.

As with last week’s Monday Musing, The Blame Game, we need to stop and ask ourselves, ‘Is it good to do?’ I might also suggest that another useful question is, ‘Why?’ What motivation lies behind our words?

In the wise words of Zen:

 

‘Do not speak unless you can improve upon silence.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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MY GRL … Relaunch!

Announcing the re-launch of My GRL

My GRL

The cover is new and the book edited once again to enhance the experience. What is really nice is the price has been cut for the introduction. You can buy the kindle version for a special introduction price of

$0.99

Here’s the blurb.

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission. Amazon for the kindle version

Here is the link to Amazon for the Kindle version

Here is the link to Amazon for the Paper version

Check them out and read the first few pages on Amazon.

Also, you can check out John Cannon’s other two adventures, as well as, the new My GRL at John W. Howell’s Author Page

his-revenge-front-finalour-justice-front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

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The Second Time Around

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Hi folks!

Today, we have author Ella Quinn with her Historical Romance Novel, The Second Time Around. Ella will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLURB:

Can a beautiful Worthington widow find love again? Depends on who’s asking . . .

Before he died, Patience was the Earl of Worthington’s second wife. So why shouldn’t Patience be allowed a second chance at marriage, too? Of course, finding a new husband was not something the mother of four had ever planned on. But a surprise encounter with her first love has suddenly made the impossible seem possible all over again . . .

It seems like a lifetime ago that Richard, Viscount Wolverton, was halfway around the world, looking for adventure . . . while Patience, at her coming-out, was left with no choice but to take old Worthington’s hand. Richard never forgot the woman whose heart he yearned for—and now that he’s back, he’s not going to let her slip away again . . .cover-second-time

 

Excerpt:

Patience gasped. Not loudly, she was much too self-contained to draw attention to herself. But Richard could feel her pulse jump, and he was pleased that he still had the ability to shake her calm, to make her react to him. He wondered if her old husband had been able to command her attention in the same way. The corners of his lips twitched. Probably not. Whether she knew it or not, she was his and always had been.

If only he hadn’t been such an idiot. Who forgets the year of his beloved’s come out? A young man who had traveled halfway across the world looking for adventure, that was who. By the time he had returned home, it was just days before her marriage to Lord Worthington. He had argued with her father to be able to see her, but it was as if her parents had locked her in the house. When they’d traveled to Town for the wedding, he had followed. However, his pains had been to no avail. Neither her mother nor father was going to let him ruin their plans for Pae. After all, an earl outranked the heir to a viscount. There was also the scandal that would ensue if she broke the betrothal just days before the nuptials. He would not have cared, but he was the only one. Even his parents would have been appalled if Pae jilted Worthington for Richard.

Too late. That is what everyone had told him. But he wasn’t too late now.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ella QuinnBestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

 

Website: www.ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor

Twitter www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor

Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ella-Quinn/e/B00CAE0FSQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Second-Time-Around-Worthingtons-ebook/dp/B01KRUMV2W/ref=sr_1_1

 

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Monday Musings Forty: Too Tired

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Too Tired

 

Hello, everyone. With today’s post going up a little late because I just couldn’t get to it, I thought how apt it would be to write about the tricks our brains and bodies can play on us.

Usually, I have my Monday Musings posts scheduled and all ready to go by at least the preceding Friday, but not so this week. Last week proved rather hectic and fraught, and I made the classic mistake of putting off for tomorrow what I could have squeezed in today. The trouble was, I just felt too tired to force myself to make that one last effort. And, of course, when tomorrow came, I felt too unwell to get out of bed.

This offered me teaching on a number of levels. Not least of which was a refresher on the importance of letting go. As much as I hated the thought of my post not being up and ready for first thing Monday, I couldn’t do much about it. For sure, I couldn’t write it the way I felt.

Secondly, it reminds me not to put off doing something when I have the opportunity to do it, as we never know what’s around the corner. Last week, a family member got ambulanced to A&E and spent some time in hospital. For everyone involved, we had to drop our carefully laid plans and respond as needed. It would have done no good trying to stay locked on target. So, another reminder: flexibility proved key.

And, still, all of us have work that needs doing and have to make the time somewhere. As you can imagine, the stress levels rose. Little wonder, then, that by Saturday, I felt so tired and drained. What I didn’t know then was that I was sickening for something, which put me to bed all day Sunday. And even this morning, I’m dragging myself around and will make this a short work day.

This leads me to look at the nature of tiredness and prevarication.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

Often, when we feel tired, it is avoidance rather than a true need for sleep. While mine turned out to be a need for rest, it isn’t always so. How many times have you dreaded doing something and felt a complete lack of energy or enthusiasm? How many times have you experienced that energy miraculously burst forth when you switch your attention to something more fun and favourable?

If I’m honest with myself, and you guys, in with some of that mix this weekend was a need to hibernate for a while and just have the world go away. It all got on top of me, and that’s most likely why I came down with yet another cold. I’m sure I could have pushed myself more; however, would that have been the good thing to do? Sometimes, it’s good to push, but at others, it’s better to show ourselves some kindness and allow ourselves the space we need. In between sleeping, I got some good relaxing and reading done. And today, I feel much improved if not yet at a hundred percent.

It’s like walking a tightrope sometimes because if we ignore what’s really going on, we’re likely to end up in trouble. If the fatigue is genuine, we need to listen. And if it’s about avoiding, then we need to listen to that too.

As ever, I would suggest sitting quietly and asking yourself what your tiredness is about. Offer yourself the option in your mind of switching to a task or leisure activity that you enjoy … what happens to your energy then?

Sometimes, we just have to knuckle down and do whatever it is we’re avoiding. And, every single time that I’ve done that, I’ve felt much better once it’s out of the way and sorted. The more I put something off, the more it nags at me. Of course, we always have to listen as best we can. Because, sometimes, that need for avoidance is there because we’re about to do something that isn’t good to do. … Back to that old tightrope.

Sometimes, I don’t know whether I need a hug, a huge cup of coffee, or a fortnight’s sleep. (Or all three!) The important thing is to see what we’re doing and catch when our brains and bodies play tricks on us. And don’t judge. Just let it be. Work with it, not against it.

See, accept, and find the best way forward. Always, make the best of what you have right now. And, whenever (without good reason) you feel tempted to put off until tomorrow what you can and should do today: Remember …

In the wise words of Zen:

 

‘You don’t get the same moment twice in life.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Thirty-nine: The Blame Game

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The Blame Game

 

From early childhood, we receive conditioning that teaches us to look to others to see how we’re doing. To gauge how good or bad a person we are. While this has its place and uses, we also need to see for ourselves. While children need guidance on how to behave until they learn compassion and the rules of polite society, as adults, we need to stand on our own two feet.

Part of this brings us back to Monday Musings 17 and 22 on owning it and not being a herd animal. If we act from a place of avoiding blame or seeking praise, then all of our actions will prove wrong. We will never get it right.

Whether in company or alone, we should act just the same. That is, live life in such a way that we have nothing to hide. Nothing to fear. If we wouldn’t do it in company, then why would we do it in private? If a thing is wrong, it is wrong, regardless of whether anyone but us is present to witness it. The same with those things we would deem as right. If it’s good to do, then do it. You don’t need an audience. No praise, no blame, just right living. For you.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

A side-effect of living in such a way is that we don’t manipulate our environments so much anymore. We are better able to accept what is instead of trying to force circumstances and people to meet our wants. When we need to manipulate, what we are actually doing is hiding. We live our lives in darkness and secrecy. The opposite of owning our life is to reject it.

Do you wish to live like a child or as an adult? The choice comes down to you. And if you live with someone who tries to control you, then it’s time to find skilful ways of managing that situation and your life. And, remember, to seek help is not a sign of weakness but rather one of strength.

To take charge of your world is to take charge of yourself. It is to have the courage to make the changes that you need to make, irrelevant of the opinions of others. It takes resolve and perseverance to forge your own path and become your own person. But, oh, what a relief it is when you achieve your liberation. When you can accept yourself fully, imperfections and all, then you have found true freedom. You have found a place outside of praise and blame. You have found your true heart.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so, the wise are not affected by praise or blame.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Everything And A Happy Ending

Hi folks! 

Today, I am delighted to host author Tia Shurina on her Everything And A Happy Ending blog tour with 4Wills Publishing!

I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to host this brave and delightful lady, so please help me to show her lots of love and support today …

TIA SHURINA author pic

Namaste, Harmony, & a heartfelt thank you for hosting me on Day 4 of my 1st tour! Since I specifically chose Valentine’s Day to start 7 special days, I knew one of them needed to include something especially lovely for the man who made all of this possible for me, my dad. Without his help, I would still be clinging to a half happy life, holding back from going ALL-IN in anything out of fear of just about everything.

As a memoir lover, other’s words have always struck a special chord in me for some reason. As a movie lover, those that include the concept of time, whether via flashback, or parallel interlocking stories that run simultaneously draw me in most. Because of that, the idea for my story in Timeline… in song & quote… was the genesis of my book. Even though I share it at the end, it was really the start! The entire Timeline of my history with the two men that bookend my special trio is comprised only of words that were shared between either me & my dad, or Ray & I. As we continue to celebrate a week of love, I’m honored to share that part of my story here now. It was created with the prayer that as a reader makes their way through other’s words & inspirations, they will see the circle I rounded in my relationship with my dad & know where we stood on the holy day he died, Holy Saturday & how our relationship continued to impact me after he passed over, on a holy day indeed, Holy Saturday. As I began a new journey with the book after it was born, the brutally challenging path that petrified me, promoting it, I added a new song & quote to it that I share here now with all of you…”this is for you daddy” Stevie Nicks Landslide

“Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there’s suffering you’ll find grace in many colors and facets.” William P. Young, The Shack

 “Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” Shirley MacLaine

 “Whatever road you may be on, know you’re never too far gone, my love is there wherever you may be.”

Sara Evans, “Always be My Baby”

 “Every time you forgive, the universe changes. Every time you reach to touch a heart or life, the world changes. With every kindness and service, seen and unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing is ever the same again.” William P. Young, The Shack

 “And I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying.” Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying”

 “‘Has she forgiven me?’ he asked. ‘Forgiven you for what?’

‘I failed her,’ he whispered.

‘It would be her nature to forgive, if there were anything to forgive, which there is not.’” William P. Young, The Shack

 “But I’m learning who you’ve been ain’t who you’ve got to be… but put some faith in me and someday you’ll see there’s a diamond under all this dust.” Tim McGraw, “Better than I Used to Be”

 “Blessed is the influence of one true, loving soul on another.” George Eliot

 “Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj

‘Goodbye,’ said the fox. ‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ ‘What is essential is invisible to the eye,’ the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember. ‘It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.’” Antoine de Sainte-Exupery, The Little Prince

“Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, and when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance

 “How about love? How do you measure the life of a woman or a man? Measure in love.” Daniel Noonan, “Seasons of Love””EAAHE

 “There is a reason God limits our days. To make each one precious.” Mitch Albom, The Timekeeper

“Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath,keep me in your heart for a while.” Warren Zevon, “Keep Me in Your Heart”

 

Easter Week, April 2009

 “Probably we will all regret to leave this world, yet I believe that after I have drained the first cup, and have possibly grown a bit weary of its flavor, I will then turn not unwillingly to the second cup and to the new and thrilling experience of exploring the unknown.” Edmund N. Carpenter II, “Before I Die”

 “‘Que Sera, Sera’ life goes on. Whatever’s meant to be will always be, and baby, what don’t kill you will make you strong.” Sara Evans, “Pray for You”

 “I love you, Tia.” “I love you too, Dad.”

The last words spoken between us that ended our last conversation with each other, April 8th, 2009.

“And in his final words, I found an ace that I could keep.” Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”

 “Hang on Daddy, I’m on my way. I promise I’m almost there.”

A few of my words to my dad as I sat grounded at the Atlanta airport en route to him at the hospital,

Good Friday, April 10th, 2009.

“Hymn to Hope” by Secret Garden

 “That you’re waitin’ from the backroads by the rivers of my memory, ever smilin’, ever gentle on my mind.” Glen Campbell, “Gentle on My Mind”

 “Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”

Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

 “I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom, for me and you.” Kenny G., Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World”

 “Every soul is filled with light, it never ends if I’m right. Our love can even reach across eternity.”

Diamond Rio, “I Believe”

“I didn’t ask for money, or a mansion in Malibu, I simply wished for one more day with you.”

Diamond Rio, “One More Day”

 “Won’t take nothing but a memory, from the house that built me.” Miranda Lambert, “The House that Built Me”

 “You fuckin’ get out there, and use all the shit that you’ve been through, all that fuckin hell, all the shit we’ve gone through over the fuckin’ years, and you put it in that ring right now. This is yours. This is fuckin’ yours.” Dickie Eklund, The Fighter

“This bond between us can’t be broken. I will be here, don’t you cry… When destiny calls you, you must be strong. I may not be with you, but you’ve got to hold on. They’ll see in time, I know. We’ll show them together.” Phil Collins, “You’ll Be in My Heart”

Everything and a Happy Ending, an award winning memoir published by Mascot Books, details the soulful shift of a story as Tia shares her holy grail & trail she took to transform her life. After moving through her own metamorphosis she then helped an old friend, Ray Romano, move through his own transition, going with the flow very privately, but most profoundly.

“My journey almost destroyed me”. Almost. Boy, have I come to like that word. What a pleasurable word “almost” can be. You may almost be ready to buy my book. You may almost be ready to begin an exciting new journey of your own. You may almost be over that rainbow Judy Garland sings about. What great potential “almost” can hold if you can flip your way of thinking. Just imagine, controlled pessimism, doubt & fear flipped into blind optimism, faith & love.

That flip helped Tia move to a place where heaven meets earth…the pearly gates of her own happy ending. Changing the ending for her story brought a pure, precious peace of heart, but kicked her butt a bit as she made her way…committed to keeping her faith. The book was a plan C, maybe even D, but Tia was determined, after a dedicated intention & divine decision to start swimming more with the current of her life, instead of bucking that flow. Her ordinary, relatable story took an extraordinary, fantastical turn when she showed the Universe she was committed to her intention & her desire to be given an opportunity to make some new, different choices for herself. EAAHE is a memoir that shares the “how’d that happen?” & the “how’d she do that?” in a holy hope of helping others to see life in a new way.

EAAHE recounts 3 interconnected relationships & stories that enable Tia to love truly, deeply, & most of all, love herself. Three special circles she rounded with Ray, her dad, & her ex-husband. A woman’s full circle journey to learn how to really trust, how to “thine own self be true”, &then, the “real & true” love it led her ‘round back to. It shares how the power of love & a journey to intimacy helped her make a faithful flip which began a sacred circle and new chapter…one that would allow a different ending for a story she had begun writing for herself when she was much younger. One that Tia feels strongly will inspire other women of a certain age keep faith that it’s not too late to write a new ending for their own, as they embrace their history, not try to re-write it.

Tia is, most days, filled with joy. She is, every day, filled with peace. She looks forward to a happy ending each new day now, however it unfolds, whomever it holds, & whatever way the Universe molds, as she continues to create a new “happily ever after”, staying committed to rising above her fears, moving out of her comfort zones, & going with the flow of her life.

 

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/will-tia-shurina-give-ray-romano-a-happy-ending-new-memoir-reveals-relationship-and-unveils-transformation-300212049.html

http://everythingandahappyending.com/

Here are what some customers are saying on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015I13RDC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1#customerReviews

The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

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RRBC Pay It Forward #PIF Day! Showcasing Nonnie Jules

Hello and welcome to Harmony’s place, today.

I have the pleasure and honour of belonging to an online bookclub that feels more like family than anything and offers so much support for authors. Today, I would like to pay some of that forward to RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S founder and president, author Nonnie Jules! If you’d like to learn more about the club, then please visit HERE.

Oft-times, I’ve heard Nonnie given the moniker of ‘Wonder Woman’, and I have to agree. This gal has her fingers in so many pies, and I just don’t know how she gets it all done. And, still, she finds the time to offer personal support and uplifting where it’s needed. Aside from all this amazement, she’s also written a few books …

THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS, 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can’t Help But Love

Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend (a novel)

Sugarcoatin’ Is For Candy & Pacifyin’ Is For Kids Yes, I Said It!

And you can also find her all over the web …

Watch Nonnie Write!

Ask The Good Mommy

Rave Reviews Book Club

4Wills Publishing

RWISA … Rave Writers International Society of Authors

As well as being so supportive, Nonnie isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Just see her post 8 Ways to Tarnish Your Author Brand for great tips and telling it like it is.

More about Nonnie Jules, in her own words:

Nonnie Jules was born in the mid ’70s in  TX.  When she was a mere toddler, her family relocated to Shreveport, LA where red dirt roads and pick up trucks go hand in hand.  She still lives in Louisiana today with her husband, two daughters and their many animals.  She loves to write from all genres of literature including short stories, poetry, fiction and non, as well as How-To books.  Her first book “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,” 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can’t Help But Love! is on sale now on Amazon, Createspace or autographed copies at BooksByNonnie. You may also watch the trailer to “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…”  here on Youtube.

Her second writing,  a novel entitled “Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend” was just released in  November, 2013,  and was highly anticipated by many who had read only the first two chapters. It’s on Amazon as well as autographed copies at BooksByNonnie.  Check out the trailer.   To find out more about Nonnie’s other releases, please visit BooksByNonnie.  A children’s book is also scheduled for release sometime in the near future.

Nonnie recently started her own publishing company along with 3 partners, 4WillsPublishing.  Noticing some of the work that was being put out in the industry, it became a strong desire of hers to ensure that authors were only putting out THE BEST, and that the readers were only being offered the BEST, and that’s who her company will represent:  those that are already at their best and those aspiring to be the best!  So, if you have a story inside you that you want to get out, OR if you’ve already written and published, but are looking for other awesome marketing tools for your book(s),  simply visit our SERVICES page to find out about the  fantastic services the company has to offer.

In December, 2013, Nonnie founded Rave Reviews By Nonnie Jules and the Rave Reviews Book Club which you’ve probably heard so much about.  In less than 8 months, this organization has reached over 500 in membership and that number increases daily!  If you’re an author (or reader) and you are looking to become a part of an organization that feels like family, one that  will support you to no end, you need to add your name to that roster of the elite members of RRBC.

This Author lives by the premise that A CANDLE LOSES NOTHING BY LIGHTING ANOTHER CANDLE.  She’s always willing to lend a helping hand to another, and her hope is that her fellow authors will do the same for others coming up in the ranks, when they are presented with the opportunity. Nonnie can be be found most often on Twitter @nonniejules, relentlessly promoting other indie authors.  Nonnie says that she will continue to write as long as her readers continue reading her work.

 

Thanks for all that you’ve done and do, Nonnie, even down to creating this opportunity to pay it forward with RRBC PIF Day! :)

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Lifting As We Climb: talented author Lynn Hobbs!

Hello and welcome to Harmony’s place today :) 

It gives me great pleasure to host author Lynn Hobbs on her 4 Wills Publishing and RWISA tour!

RAVE-WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA, is a gathering of award-winning writers who are ‘consummate professionals, dedicated, committed and driven to continually excel at producing the best written works possible’.

4 Wills Publishing offer blog tours and many other services for authors; please do check them out!

Below, we have Lynn’s interview, followed by her wonderful thoughts on ‘Descriptions and Words’. Take it away, Lynn :) 

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  1. How long have you been writing?

         I began writing at the age of sixteen when I moved with my family from my hometown, the city of Houston, Texas, to the small town of Jefferson in North East Texas. My world of going to the Galveston beach almost every weekend with family, riding city buses all over town, ice skating, roller skating, visiting three story libraries, and ice cream parlors changed abruptly to learning how to shoot a rifle, identifying animal tracks, planting a garden, and how to catch and clean fish. I wrote about everything I experienced and sent huge, overstuffed hand- written letters in 4 x 9 inch envelopes; scotched taped on the back flap, to my aunts, uncles and cousins back home in Houston. They passed my letters around and all encouraged me to continue writing. They loved my descriptions, and I discovered how much I enjoyed writing. This led to writing poetry, and years later I became a published gospel song writer. My passion for writing continued. I later married, had my own family, and even later retired from the Texas public school system. I wanted to write more in-depth and now had time to venture out to short stories which soon grew into novels.

 

  1. How many books have you authored?

   I have authored 5 books. None of my books contain profanity or graphic violence. The first three are in a Christian Fiction series titled the Running Forward Series. Book #1 is Sin, Secrets, and Salvation. Book #2 is River Town. Book #3 is Hidden Creek. Real life situations. It is a powerful faith and family saga. Book #4 is a biography; Lillie, A Motherless Child, is about the life of my own mother. Book #5 is Eyes of a Neighbor. It is book one of three in a new Christian Fiction Series titled the American Neighborhood Series.

 

  1. Do you have a writing schedule?

     Yes, I do have a writing schedule. I write Monday through Friday, after an early morning coffee and breakfast; I write until 2 or 3 pm.

 

  1. You are a member of Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

     I have awards that were earned by my writing capabilities. Many others receive writing awards from organizations by the highest number of votes for authors by their individual friends and relatives. Mine were awarded by a closed group of judges reviewing content of material.

I give God the glory for my writing, and my awards.

 

  1. Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

   I constantly learn from other writers, but I stay true to myself, my voice, my standards, and my brand.

 

  1. If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

     It would have to be Cecil Murphy. I have learned more from him than any other writer. I had the opportunity to meet him at a writing conference. He is awesome.

 

  1. Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

     I would prefer having complete control of my work.

 

  1. As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

   I see myself writing and offering my books to more age groups.

 

  1. What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?

     I hand out my bookmarks instead of a business card. It has descriptions of my books, and includes my website, www.LynnHobbsAuthor.com

 

  1. Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISTA Roster of elite members? Why?

   Again, it would have to be Cecil Murphy. He is a writer, speaker, teacher, pastor, and survivor. He has written over 135 books.

 

  1. What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

     Besides attending writing workshops, learn by reading books written by great writers. Their style, their plots, sub-plots, etc. are valuable lessons waiting to be learned.

 

  1. Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

     No, often it is not. There are always exceptions, though.

 

  1. If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?

     I would shelve the book until it was ready, because my name only goes on work I am pleased with.

 

  1. In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

     A great book holds your attention from the first page until the last page.

 

  1. If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?

     First of all, after several edits and several proof reading sessions, mistakes still happen. In my case, I would search the book again, find and correct the issues.

     The second thing I would do is to revise that edition of the book, if possible.

Descriptions & Words, by Lynn Hobbs

Great, short descriptions in a book hook me every time. They show me a writer who continues learning the craft of writing and enjoys selecting the right words for the right situation. It is a fun experience. It can be for you as well.

How can you create remarkable descriptions? Show the action, don’t tell it.

One of the easiest exercises in writing descriptions is to watch and listen to the public. Study body language. Attend a public meeting, and take notes. Honest conversation, unplanned dialogue, facial expressions, and tone of voice abound. Try the post office, grocery store, or a restaurant. Write what you see, and how you hear it. Add emotion, pauses, and background noises. Use this in your descriptions.

Who is your audience? Do you write words you don’t use in your daily conversation? Words you are not comfortable with either? Would your readers have to stop and look in the dictionary for the meaning of a word you inserted?

I once critiqued a chapter that included several words the average person would not know their meaning. I brought that fact to the attention of the author. She remarked she was college educated and would not replace them with other words as it would lower her standards in vocabulary. That’s fine if her readers are college educated, but a learning experience for those who aren’t. Most readers are discovering a great story; not reading to learn new words.

If your reader stumbles over your words you could lose a reader.

What can you learn from listening? Plenty, enough to stop having your characters do anything repetitive. Act out the action before writing it. Readers will relate better.

We all learn and grow as authors, daily. Enjoy the whole process. Happy writing!

 

Sins, Secrets, and Salvation by Lynn Hobbs

lynn hobbs sin, secrets, and salvation

Available at Amazon.com

Lynn’s other books:

Hidden Creek

River Town

Lynn’s twitter handle is @LynnHobbsAuthor

Lynn’s facebook url is https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-Hobbs-Author-Page-284186908279247/

Lynn’s website is http://www.lynnhobbsauthor.com/

Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members!  Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub

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Monday Musings Thirty-eight: Two Loves

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Two Loves

 

Today being right before Valentine’s Day, I wanted to talk a bit about love. In my experience, two kinds of love exist: selfish love and selfless love. The selfish kind grasps and demands and tries to force a person to change and/or conform. Whereas the selfless sort accepts folks just as they are and helps them grow and blossom.

If we find ourselves trapped in a cycle of selfish love, where we cling and struggle to accept what is, then it is highly likely that we are actually rejecting ourselves. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot truly love another. If we truly love ourselves, we cannot hurt another.

I came across a lovely quote today by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross:

‘I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love.’

 This universal need for unconditional love and acceptance makes it so important to see yourself in others; after all, we all tremble before violence and fear death while loving life. When looked at that way, where can we find any differences?

When we live from a place of loving ourselves, we can live without pretence, listen without defence, speak without offence, and love without dependence. Without neediness. Of course, there areZen Stones for Monday Musings times when we struggle with such self-acceptance, and that is when we need a friend to help love us when we forget to love ourselves. However, when it comes right down to it, we don’t need acceptance from others but from within.

A successful relationship doesn’t contain two perfect people, but rather two imperfect folks who have learnt the value of forgiveness and acceptance, as well as mutual support. As I’ve mentioned in a previous Monday Musing, we don’t have to agree to be kind to one another.

Liberation and peace come not from discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but from seeing what is (what exists right now) and allowing it to be. In this way, we starve the ego and feed the soul. We find true, unadulterated love.

Though it is good to give unconditional love, we also have to allow it to flow back to us; otherwise, we shall have no balance in life. We need to accept it without hesitation and without grabbing.

In your life, everyone holds a role. Many will test your resolve and patience, some will use you, and others might teach you. Some, too, will love you. And, sometimes, the same person brings us all these things at different times. Not one of us is just one type of personality all of the time. The truly important people bring out the best in you.

Be that person for your nearest and dearest—if not for everyone that you meet. Don’t be the one that puts people down or holds them back. Life isn’t a competition. In fact, the more love and support that we offer, then the more peace and success that we find for ourselves.

In the wise words of Zen:

 

‘You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Monday Musings Thirty-seven: No Regrets

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No Regrets

 

How many times in your life have you done or said something that you regret? On the flip side, how many times have you regretted avoiding needed action or speech? Even the bad days have something to offer, and we need not lament their existence. Yes, that includes those times that brought us the worst events in our lives.

We all love and crave the good days: they bring us happiness and wonderful memories.

Bad days, we all try to escape or not have in the first place. However, such days offer experience. Even our worst days bring us lessons if we’re open enough. Yes, they hurt, but that doesn’t mean they have no value.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

Whatever it contains, never regret a day in your life. Each and every second is precious and can never come again. And every single thing helps us grow and learn and build our character.

And, if we have missed an opportunity to act or speak, then we can learn from it and make a commitment to do better next time … even here, we need not get stuck in lamentation and regret. Sometimes, afterward, we can make it right, but not always. Usually, we just have to let it go and chalk it down to experience.

If you can say in all honesty that you did your best and followed your heart, then that has to be enough. It’s not possible to do more than your best right now. And, of course, that best remains ever changing, ever evolving, and that’s fine. That’s how it should be. This gives us another reason for not regretting: despite yesterday’s best being less than today’s, at least we now know better; we’ve grown.

When we regret, we fall into a complaining mind, and nothing can ever be enough; we will always feel a lack. Instead, why not try seeing the positive side to every negative? Remember, every coin has two sides. There can be no light without darkness, and no darkness without light. The one contains and defines the other.

In the wise words of Zen:

 

‘Make a decision to talk about your blessings more than your problems. Whatever you focus on expands.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Regenerate

Excerpt_TourBanner_Regenerate

 

Hi folks. Today, it gives me great pleasure to welcome author Sarita Leone with her Paranormal Romantic Suspense Novel: Regenerate. Sarita will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Synopsis:

The Octopus isn’t an urban myth—and its agents are anything but ordinary. The intelligence bureau is so well-hidden most doubt its existence. A handful know its location. And fewer walk the halls in the subterranean compound.

 

Benjamin Sinclair didn’t ask to be a scientific miracle but every mission has its risks and one perfectly-placed bullet ended his life—for a brief moment in time.

 

Nicole Anima battles demons every day. Life as a paranormal resources operative gives her tortured mind a rest—and keeps her from contemplating her own death.

 

When Anima and Sinclair partner on a globe-trotting race to eliminate the threat about to cripple humanity, all hell breaks loose. Leaping from planes, crashing into continents, dealing with voodoo priestesses, and running through jungles with zombies hot on their trail doesn’t leave much time for romance, but this duo somehow manages to sizzle.

 

Two agents. Telepathic mind paired with regenerated commando. One world—and a mission to save it.

Excerpt:MediaKit_BookCover_Regenerate

Nicole ripped the iPod off her bra strap and tossed it, ear buds trailing like streamers from a small black kite, toward the sand beyond the boardwalk.

An ordinary man never would have heard the music playing. He never would have been able to hear the beating of her heart, either. But Ben Sinclair was no ordinary man. He heard both, and now that she remembered the important details of his life she wouldn’t forget them again.

“I can still hear old Mick jiving.”

The near-whisper sent a fresh wave of revulsion along every nerve ending.

“I can hear him. I can give you that satisfaction you need.”

“You don’t know what I need.” The words were hoarse. It was a miracle she could speak at all, given the tightness of her throat. “You have no idea.”

“Give me a chance to show you what I know. I promise, you won’t be sorry.”

“I’m already sorry. I’m sorry you know my name. Sorry you have my number. Sorry you’re even on this planet. Sorry? It’s just the tip of how I feel when I remember you walk among humanity.”

Silence. For one long moment, she thought she might have conquered the spider.

Then, the truth.

“You didn’t always treat me like this. There was a time when—”

“That was before I knew what you are, before I had any idea evil hides under…” She couldn’t finish. Wouldn’t finish. There was no way in hell she was going to admit his looks ever turned her on.

Worse. That he had stolen her heart. And, still held it—despite her attempts at retrieval.

Damn treacherous heart.

About the Author:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RegenerateSarita Leone is an award-winning author who has written romance in many forms including Regency, paranormal, and contemporary. She loves happily-ever-afters in any setting!

When she’s not writing, Ms. Leone spends her time hiking, learning languages, and traveling. She loves adventure and can pack a suitcase, grab her passport, and hit the road in less time than it takes to peel an apple!

http://www.saritaleone.com

https://www.facebook.com/sarita.leone

https://www.amazon.com/Regenerate-Sarita-Leone-ebook/dp/B01N0J61IN/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1480170051&sr=8-3&keywords=sarita+leone

 

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Triple Love Score

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Hey folks, hello and welcome to my place :)

Today, it gives me great pleasure to introduce author Brandi Megan Granett and her Contemporary Romance Novel, TRIPLE LOVE SCORE. Brandi will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the book:

 

Miranda Shane lives a quiet life among books and letters as a professor in a small upstate town. When the playing-by-the-rules poet throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper to write, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world. 

Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man she let slip away. But when the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love or poetry.

Excerpt:

 

“You sure you don’t want to take a cab?” Scott asked her.

“I’m sure. Then we wouldn’t see the diamonds,” Lynn said.

“Tiffany’s?” Miranda asked. “You’re a little young for that aren’t you? Though you are Bunny’s granddaughter.”

“Not like Grandma Bunny’s diamonds! The diamonds on the sidewalk. Look!”

Sure enough, the concrete in front of them sparkled. Four or five runs of sidewalk shimmered with mica flecks, then it went to plain for a block or two, then more that sparkled.

“I want to know what makes them different,” Miranda said to Scott, pointing at the abrupt change from sparkle to non-sparkle on the sidewalk in front of them.

triple_love_score_cover2“But knowing the difference would ruin it,” Scott said.

“You’d rather think it was magic?”

“I like the idea of magic. Don’t you?” he asked.

“I don’t take much stock in that,” Miranda said.

“Daddy, look!” Lynn said.

And there in front of them was a huge elephant balloon with a circus ball balancing on his trunk. The ball wasn’t all the way inflated yet; it wobbled a little and the sides of the elephant shuddered some as the helium pumped in. But an elephant as tall as a house at Central Park was a sight to behold no matter the size or amount of helium left to go. The crowd around them seemed to holding their breath in anticipation as the ball slowly rose.

“See,” Miranda said, “to people watching on television that’s magic. But it’s not magic. It’s a year of planning and then people working all night on the day before a family holiday to pull it off.”

“But it’s magic to her,” Scott said.

Lynn strained at the barricade, craning her neck to see down the street and the rest of the balloons staged there.

“Sure, it’s magic to her. She’s a kid. Kids have to believe in magic. When you really grow up, it’s different.”

“I guess I’m not really grown up then,” Scott said. “And maybe I don’t want to be.”

About the author:

Brandi Megan Granett is an author, online English professor, and private writing mentor. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, Wales, an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, a Masters in Adult Education with an emphasis on Distance Education from Penn State University, and a BA from the University of Florida.newbrandithumbnail

Granett is the author of My Intended (William Morrow, 2000). Her short fiction has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Pleiades and other literary magazines, and is collected in the volume Cars and Other Things That Get Around.

In addition, she writes an author interview series for the Huffington Post, and is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, a community of writing professionals committed to growing relationships, promoting the work of its members, and connecting authors with each other and with readers.

When Granett is not writing or teaching or mothering, she is honing her archery skills. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

 

Author Social Media Links

 

Website:         www.brandigranett.com/

Facebook:      Brandi Megan Granett, Author

Twitter:           @brandigranett

Instagram:       @mrsgranett

Goodreads:     Brandi Megan Granett

Purchase Links

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Monday Musings Thirty-six: Shut up. Just … shut up

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Shut up. Just … shut up.

 

Often, when going through a tough time, all we need is to talk it out. To share with someone. What we don’t need—much of the time—is advice, and certainly not judgement.

The problem is that when a loved one is going through hell, we want to help get them through it. And it proves all too easy to spout our home-grown wisdom and interject our thoughts on the matter at hand.

I know that at the times I’ve felt at my lowest ebb, what I’ve needed above all else is a simple hug. At those moments, words can never fill the hole. Wait … did I just say hole? When it seems things can’t get any worse, that hole feels more like the deepest, darkest pit at the bottom of an impenetrable chasm.

It’s not just our tongues with which we talk too much. We need to learn how to shut our brains up as well. In fact, if we take care of the grey matter, the muscle in our mouth takes care of itself. So, please, shut up … just shut up.

Once we manage to grow quiet enough, we can offer what the person in distress needs the most … an ear with which to truly listen. A hand for them to hold, or am arm to offer that much-needed hug. We can offer our understanding, which is a far greater gift than our opinions.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

Of course, words can and do have a place. The point is to use them sparingly. Make sure they mean something. Only speak when we have something valuable to add. And, we must make sure that we know what we’re talking about.

Always, though, it is best to let people come to their own conclusions and ways forward. Let them get there themselves. Sometimes, they might need you to act like the barriers of a motorway so that they don’t veer off and crash into a tree. Be like the headlamps of the car and light the way.

The last thing anyone needs is for the damned horn to blare all the time. Who can concentrate with all that noise going on? Never mind having to deal with a running commentary on the ins and outs of the freakin’ route.

Above all other advice that you can offer, the most helpful is to help the troubled person to find some measure of peace. To teach them, if they’re open, how to perform a basic meditation. The simplest that I know of is the one I mentioned in last week’s Monday Musings where you count the breaths. When your brain is just too full up of noise to find the peace and quiet that you need, this is a sure way to refocus and calm the mind.

In the wise words of Zen:

 

‘When someone can’t look on the bright side, sit with them in the dark.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: http://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ :)

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Posted in Monday Musings, Work In Progress Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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