Serena Dracis: Between Lives? Don’t Micromanage the Universe

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this fifth installment of the Being Between series, Serena Dracis shares her three-step plan of how to work with the gods when they push you into a new life.

Thank you, Sally for inviting me to guest post on your blog! I’m thrilled and honored to be taking part in this series; it’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

Recently I wrote about reincarnation, a subject I love and will probably revisit again and again. If you have a chance and are interested in the topic, I invite you to hop on over and check it out.

Do we live more than one life? The answer is yes—and not always in the soul migration sense.

I often refer to my animal training career as “my past life.” I worked at the sea lion show of the San Diego Zoo for eight happy years during my late 20’s and early 30’s. My life was all about animals, training and educating people about the environment. It was so much fun! Really, I look back at the zoo as the best job I ever had, and the award from my peers for Excellence in Training still hangs proudly on my wall, alongside my animal pictures. I was single, young, and I loved my life. I used to say they’d have to pry my cold, dead body out of the zoo to bury it.

So how did I end up as a married nurse in Seattle, with the wildest animals around me a flock of chickens? It’s a little bit like the old me died and a new me was born.  Continue reading

Charis Maloy: Between Now and the Next Adventure

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this fourth installment of the Being Between series, Charis Maloy talks about living from day to day while planning for future happiness.

The mad writer Copyright 2012 Charis Maloy All rights reservedWow, Sally really didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she asked me to do a guest spot about transitioning!

Most of my readers know that I’m a busy girl. Multiple jobs plus trying to write and start a small business make for chaos. What Sally wasn’t really aware of are some of the major transitions in my personal life that are affecting the way I relate to work, and the sacrifices that I am making in order to do what needs to be done.

For the last year and a half, I’ve had my status as family doormat thrust down my throat. For the third time in my adult life, I allowed a certain few members of my family to bring me to the brink of bankruptcy. All while I was working nearly 100 hours a week.

In February, the characters in my head demanded that their story be told. On a major writing binge, I began to tell their stories. Then I had to stop and start building timelines to keep them straight because I had anywhere from 8 to 10 characters talking to me at once, telling me that I had, not a book, but a series.

Last May, after nearly twenty years of hiding my true self, I finally worked up the strength within myself to acknowledge that I am lesbian. This, in a small Wyoming town where my biggest support system has always been my very LGBT-unfriendly church. This is also the place where I once put my job on the line by mentioning in an offhand comment that my brother is gay.  Continue reading

Lena Corazon: Learning to Love the Space Between

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this third installment of the Being Between series, Northern Californian poet, novelist and sociology doctoral candidate Lena Corazon talks about her multiple lives and shares one of her poems.

Even though I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since I was a little girl, I always considered it to be little more than a hobby, something I did for fun. The route of academia seemed far more practical, and so I decided that I would study for a PhD and become a college professor.

I was lucky enough to get my wish. I entered a PhD program in sociology straight out of college, and quickly learned that grad school, like academia itself, is one big juggling act. For the last four years I’ve been student, teaching assistant, and scholar. I slog my way through 300+ pages of reading each week, grade what feels like mountains of assignments, and look for spare time to cram in my dissertation research.

It’s little surprise that during my first couple of years as a grad student, I didn’t pick up a single novel or write one word of fiction. Why? I had a skewed fantasy in my head about what it meant to be a “serious” scholar. Serious scholars, as far as I was concerned, did not prance about in make-believe worlds. Serious scholars didn’t waste time having conversations with imaginary people. Serious scholars did Very Serious Things, like immerse themselves in social theory and write books filled with academic jargon.  Continue reading

Happy birthday to us, WANA1011!

In October 2011, I took an online course in social media taught by Kristen Lamb along with almost a hundred other writers. Little did we suspect that one year later most of us would still be in touch, celebrating our successes and easing our struggles.

Happy one-year birthday, #WANA1011! Let’s have another. And another. And another after that.

Magic how new habits take hold

1) My eyes now start to close as 10 p.m. approaches. Stayed awake in bed until 11:30 last night, though, playing with the new electronic toy. Made me remember reading LITTLE WOMEN by moonlight when I was little, while the rest of my family slept. Gorgeous weather and I’m not getting out as much as I’d like, but my office windows open onto our huge live oak so it almost counts as being outside. Still keeping up the garden and doing a few minutes on the elliptical, just not yesterday. Seems like I can do every other day. [Real goal: Health: sleep (lights out at 10:30 p.m.), move (get up from desk every hour, spend at least 20 minutes outside morning or evening, gardening, walking or looking at forest).

2) Worked about 24 hours in the last two days to make the monthly issue deadline while fitting in other work odds and ends. Surprisingly, that left little to do toward it this morning, though I thought I’d be jammed. Happy! Now to get a head start on the Continue reading

Goal check-in

Just a quick flyover since I’m already going to be late for bed.

These last few days haven’t been bad!

My new iPod Touch was delivered and I found an app that can be set to chime every hour. I used it on Friday and it did help me become more aware of time passing! Now I can also easily record what I eat.

On to my goals:

1) Going to sleep at a reasonable time is becoming more natural. I stayed up past 11:30 only once. I was testing whether a glass of wine with dinner would keep me awake. Looks like it does, since I couldn’t get to sleep after drinking only two ounces! Yesterday I did some heavy gardening and this morning I sat on the back stoop to write, so I have been getting outside more. I’ve also started to use Continue reading

One for Wednesday: Silk Road by Colin Falconer

Colin Falconer: Silk Road1260 AD: Christian Knight Templar Josseran Sarrazini is a man divided in his soul. Haunted by a shameful past, he hopes to find redemption in a dangerous crusade: a journey from Palestine to Xanadu to form a crucial allegiance against the Saracens at the legendary court of Kubilai Khan–the seat of the Mongol Empire.

Instead he finds solace in a warrior-princess from a heathen tribe. Beautiful and ferocious, Khutelun is a Tartar, a nomadic rider of the Mongolian steppe. Although their union is impossible, she finds in Josseran what she cannot find in one of her own.

Parched by desert winds, pursued by Saracen hordes and tormented by a passion he cannot control, Josseran must abandon Khutelun if he is to complete his journey and save his soul. Worse, he must travel with William, a Dominican friar of fearsome zeal who longs for matyrdom, but whose life Josseran is sworn to protect. Worse yet, he will arrive in Xanadu just as the greatest empire in human history plunges into civil war.

Winding through the plains of Palestine and over the high mountains of the Hindu Kush, from the empty wastes of the Taklimakan desert to the golden palaces of China, SILK ROAD weaves a spellbinding story of sin, desire, conflict and human frailty onto the vast tapestry of the medieval orient.

Falconer’s novels are “based on dedicated research and a profound knowledge of his subject, stories of passion and human frailty drawn on a vast canvas, about the perennial nature of love and the human spirit.” The Australian

ISBN 9780857891082

Published by Atlantic Books   Corvus Books   Amazon.co.uk   Waterstones

Falconer’s novels for Kindle US and UK   Falconer’s novels on Amazon US

Born in the north of London, Colin Falconer moved to Australia in his twenties. He drove cabs and played guitar in dark bars and rough pubs before joining an advertising agency. He then worked as a television and radio scriptwriter, and as a freelance journalist. Since 1990, he has been a full-time novelist. His work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Street/Street and James

Alicia Street/Roy Street: AphrodisiacAn ancient secret perfume that can make you irresistible. A suicide note that just ain’t right. A killer called the Monster. Two women running for their lives. And a smoking hot boxer who cares…. Brooklyn sex therapist Saylor Oz and her sidekick Benita Morales, a financial analyst/female boxer, are BFFs who race through dangerous situations bickering, bantering, bungling and sometimes blaming, but always forgiving. Set primarily along the streets of a Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood, Saylor Oz RomCom Mysteries are wacky, sexy, gritty crime adventures.

Winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

Amazon   B&N Nook   Smashwords

Alicia Street and Roy Street spent many gypsy years living and working in New York City and Philadelphia, Alicia as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, and Roy in theater, visual arts and standup comedy. Romance Junkies called them “a husband and wife writing team that has managed to capture the best in both men’s and women’s fiction.”

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Nash was bound to Sienna by a blood connection and a deep desire. An Enforcer for the Supranormal community, he protected her from those who coveted her future Angelic abilities–but can he forgive the woman whose faults had devastated his world? Sienna, betrayed by her family, seeks solace in the arms of her reluctant protector Nash, a demon hybrid with a secret of his own. Can she come to terms with her destiny after finding she could be as dangerous as those Nash protected her from?

Pink Petal Books   Available from Amazon for Christmas

Married romance author and Entangled Publishing intern Xandra James has always wanted to write romance books. Even when she was sneaking peaks at the hot bits, too young to fully appreciate them, she dreamt of writing her own. Now, older and wiser, she’s got the opportunity to project her slightly dark and wacky British sense of humour onto others, whilst still writing the hot bits–bonus!


Two for Wednesday: Novels by James and Kobras

Kristy K. James: The Daddy PactJess Bentley’s husband is murdered the night they return from their honeymoon. Soon she discovers that she is pregnant, and married to the murderer’s brother to protect the baby from her vengeful father-in-law.

Available on Smashwords and Amazon

Kristy K. James‘ first goal in life was to work in law enforcement, until the night she called the police to check out a scary noise in her yard. Realizing that she might someday have to check out scary noises in other dark yards if she continued on that path, she turned to her other favorite love… writing. Since then, her days have been filled with being a mom and reluctant zookeeper (7 pets), creating stories and looking for trouble in her kitchen.

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There’s nothing like finding a letter on your breakfast table informing you that you have a teenage son you knew nothing about. That’s what happens to international rock star Jon Stone. Jon drops everything to find the boy–and the boy’s mother, the girl he loved so many years ago. She left Jon when his rock ‘n’ roll life became too much for her to bear. Seeing her is like falling in love all over again. Everything seems perfect–until someone sets out to destroy their idyllic life.

Published by Buddapus Ink   Preorder on Amazon   Publication date Jan. 12, 2012

Mariam Kobras is the author of the soon-to-be published book The Distant Shore, a contemporary romance with a twist of suspense. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she lives in Hamburg with her husband and two sons. After studying American Literature and Archeology at Giessen University, she spent several months in Toronto, Canada. Mariam has worked as an English tutor, served as a lay Judge in Juvenile Court and managed the rookie Hamburg Blue Devils American football team. Most recently, she founded the Theater Project at a local Hamburg high school, where she wrote and staged plays. The success of this venture gave her the courage to try her hand at a novel. Mariam is currently writing the second book in The Stone Trilogy

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Kelley and Schulte

Twelve-year-old AJ Zantony’s world is threatened by an ancient curse that releases wicked pirates who had been trapped for centuries in his Aunt Zsofia’s creepy mansion, Zala Manor.

The pirates–a vampire count, a pegleg skeleton and a zombie–have to find a lost treasure, unleash the restless dead from their graves and settle an old score by destroying the Zantony bloodline. AJ must stop them before midnight during Aunt Zsofia’s Halloween party or the streets of Craggy Cove will be crawling with zombies.

But AJ has a problem–he’s scared to death of monsters!

Available on Amazon in hard cover and Kindle editions

BBH McChiller is the pseudonym of Southern California writers Lynn Kelley, Kathryn Sant and Maria Toth.

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While Olivia Martin observes life through her camera, the abyss gazes back at her. Mysterious men follow her, people close to her are dying and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved.

Olivia’s about to find out there’s a lot she doesn’t know… and sometimes what you don’t know can kill you.

Available for Kindle on Amazon

Liz Schulte wanted to be a veterinarian, then a lawyer, then a criminal profiler. To keep from becoming Walter Mitty, Liz put pen to paper and began writing. As a scribe, she could be all of those things and so much more. Liz loves all things spooky, supernatural and snarky. Her favorite authors range from Edgar Allen Poe to Joseph Heller to Jane Austen to Jim Butcher and everything in between.

Life Is for Enjoying

Guest post by Coleen Patrick

The fragility and courage of young men–why are these qualities so heart-breaking to me? Is it because men are supposed to be stronger than women? Or is it more personal than that, since my son survived cancer when he was a teen?

When I first read Coleen’s post, I knew her brother’s face would remain in my memory for a long time. That’s why I’m honored to have this as my guest post for today. Thank you, Coleen.

November 1st was the start of National Novel Writing Month–NaNoWriMo.  This year I am participating and writing in honor of my brother.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo five years ago, and used the general principles to write my first middle grade story.  I’d been filling notebooks with stories for years, but I did it strictly for the fun of it.  Suddenly I wanted to do more and NaNo seemed like the perfect way to launch that spark.  So I started writing with more of a purpose.  The only person I told at the time (other than my husband) was my brother.  I remember him being fascinated by the idea of writing a thousand plus words a day.  He was a creative type–he drew, wrote, cooked (even went to culinary school), so he was the perfect person to understand the need to do a writing marathon in a month.

When I finished that first draft, I put it away to read it at a later date with fresh eyes.  Then, when the time came to go back to it, I decided I didn’t really want to write.  So I went out and got a job, leaving the story behind.

I was afraid.  Afraid to read the rough draft.  Afraid of what it would mean to move forward with my writing.  So I went about life and work without it.

And then a couple of months later, my brother died.

It was sudden–a brain aneurysm.  He was 31.

My brother was so funny.  He did the best Chewbacca impression ever.  He was also incredibly kind.  Maybe it’s the sharp finality of death that smooths away the rough edges of a life, but I truly can’t remember him ever being anything but nice to me.

But I think he was hard on himself.  He had unrealized dreams.  He had physical obstacles, like when he stopped working in restaurants because he couldn’t be on his feet for that many hours (he battled Type 1 diabetes starting from the age of 11).  But I think maybe some of his biggest struggles were more internal.  He got bogged down by dark moments, the kind that show up to shadow your plans and leave you filled with self-doubt and fear.

I know that fear.

I have one of my brother’s journals.  In it there’s the beginnings of a story, some sketches and some personal notes he wrote to himself.  One of those notes sticks with me:

“Write damn you! Write! Anything, something, Please!”

My first instinct is to feel sad at that personal plea to his self, but then I realize that goes against what he wrote.  Because he didn’t want to get stuck in those paralyzing fears.

In fact the first line in the journal he wrote is: “Life is for enjoying.”

I remember my aunt said at his funeral that she was sad because she couldn’t learn anything more from him and I get that because I would love to know what he would have thought of the LOST finale (our last conversation happened to be about the beginning episodes of season three and the oh so random subject of peanut butter).  I also am curious what his thoughts would be regarding Twitter, the Kindle or his take on the whole new world of publishing.  I would love to hear his opinion on all of this crazy writing stuff I’ve been pursuing. Plus I wonder if he too would be blogging, putting his writing and drawings out there. Tweeting.

But then again I know now, five years later, that I am still learning from him.

I am learning not to be afraid.  I am learning not to worry about regret.

And I am learning to enjoy my life, from random peanut butter moments to marathon writing months.

 What are you looking forward to?

This post first appeared here on October 24, 2011.

Thanks, Coleen!

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Crowther and Warren

Debt collector Matt Spears isn’t having a good day. He’s being framed by the cops over an alleged assault and has inexplicably found himself indebted to the blind but ruthless gangster, Vincent Barbour. When Barbour’s supposedly dead niece, Emma, surfaces in a graphic sexual video on a porn site, he asks Matt to find her in exchange for wiping the slate clean. Within a matter of hours, Matt is plunged into a world of sex, blackmail and murder. Trying to unravel the mysteries of a troubled young girl’s disappearance, he discovers the dark side of the porn industry, complicated family secrets, government corruption, sadistic gangsters, and narcissistic celebrities who all come together to find a girl who is simply … missing.

Novella also available

A Matt Spears Mystery/Amazon 5 stars

Barry Crowther makes his home in San Clemente, Southern California. Originally he’s from Manchester, England. He has had short stories published and this is his first novel on the eBook platform. He continues to work and write on the follow-up novel in the San Clemente sun with his three daughters, wife and chocolate Lab, Coney.

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The queen is dead. The dragons are finally free. But was the cost too high? While the Council of Man and Beast struggles to gain control over a land fractured by war, a young woman wages her own struggle against the ghosts of her past.

Winds From the North is the sequel to Blood of the Dragon.

Samantha Warren is an indie fantasy and science fiction author who spends her days immersed in dragons, space ships, and vampires. Her best selling books are Blood of the Dragon (Book #1), a full-length epic fantasy novel, and her urban fantasy novella series, Jane. She is currently writing the sequel to Blood of the Dragon, along with an as-yet-unnamed science fiction novel.

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Anderson and Owen

DEATH. It’s the one experience everyone will share–except for Jak Hamelton. Three words whirl Jak to a garden paradise where a treacherous interaction ushers death and evil into the world. When a mysterious benefactor offers Jak the opportunity to bring the dead back to life and live forever, it sounds impossible But after Jak’s grandfather unexpectedly begins aging backwards, it appears the dream just might be reality.

Jak and the Scarlet Thread is the first of a series of young  adult/tween Biblical fantasy adventure books that will take readers through the entire Bible, starting with the tumultuous first nine chapters of Genesis.

Nathan J. Anderson is a writer, speaker, radio host, teacher and musician intent on teaching families the Bible in ways that grab their souls and set them on fire to know God. He graduated from Bethel Seminary with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and spent ten years pastoring in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in July 2010, he spends plenty of time thinking about this life and the next, and trying to live with one foot in both places.

Paperback/460 pages   Kindle Edition   ISBN-13: 978-1456477110, ISBN-10: 1456477110, LCCN: 2010919196, BISAC: Fiction/Christian/Fantasy

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Kate is a singer/songwriter pursuing a relationship with computer game designer Phillip. After her grandfather’s sudden death from injuries sustained in a suspicious car crash, Kate is forced to choose whether to focus on Phillip and her music career, or move back to Brands Crossing and honor the promise she made to her grandfather to investigate the mystery surrounding his death.

Thicker Than Water is the first in a series of novels set in Brands Crossing, Texas, centering on a mystery that extends back to the young Texas Republic.

Sharon K Owen is working on the second book in the Brands Crossing Series. Her short stories and poetry appeared in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer’s Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. She teaches university classes in English literature, composition and communications, and on-line classes in creative writing. She lives in North Texas.

Available in paperback and Ebook editions at amazon.com and barnesndnoble.com

Two for Wednesday: Novels by Prudence MacLeod and Diane Capri

Calan MacLeod is a woman who has overcome every challenge she has faced. Now comes the hardest test of all, healing the wounds of her past. Can young Angela help her or is she going to be a further complication?

“You can’t help loving these characters and feeling their fears, hopes, dreams, and above all, love. It thrills me that this is just the first book in a series of five.” Reviewer: Justin Mitchell

Prudence MacLeod is a spiritual seeker, dog trainer, official Reiki Master and interior designer who has turned her hand to writing. “I have roamed far and wide for over sixty years in this realm, and I have seen much; some I wish I had not, and a great deal that I would love to see again. Some days I feel like Bilbo Baggins, for I have been there and come back again.”

Buy the book on Smashwords

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When a famous plastic surgeon’s decomposed body surfaces in Tampa Bay with a bullet in its head, Federal Judge Willa Carson’s little sister is caught in a high-stakes game of greedy lawyers, blackmail and deceit. Carly Austin knew the victim too well. Does she know too much about the killer, too? Can Willa save Carly from herself and the murderous conspiracy? Or have they killed Carly, too? Judge Willa debuts in this fast-paced mystery filled with great characters, humor and suspense.

“Beneath this Judge’s robes is a riveting character – she’s quick, witty and stubborn. Willa Carson finds out the rich are different, and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride that leaves you wanting more!” Tampa Tribune

Diane Capri is a recovering lawyer. She’s a snowbird who divides her time between Florida and Michigan. An active member of Mystery Writers of America, Author’s Guild, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, she loves to hear from readers and is hard at work on her next novel.

Buy the Book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords

Two for Wednesday: Books by Eve and Powell

Later Bloomers, Book One: 35 Folks Over Age 35 Who Found Their Passion and Purpose—the first of four volumes that will cover 140 inspiring individuals. It’ll soon be available on Kindle and Nook, but by joining Debra Eve’s mailing list you can get the PDF **free until Saturday, November 5, 2011** .

LaterBloomer.com seeks to provide late-blooming adults with inspiration to pursue their passions and talents through stories, biographies, book reviews and more. In particular, LaterBloomer.com focuses on those who’ve wearied of the corporate treadmill and crave a more creative, intellectual — artier, smartier – life.”

Late Bloomer Debra Eve left the corporate world to become an archaeologist at age 32. She learned sword fighting at 41 and became a martial arts instructor at 42. At 46, she found the love of her life and got married! Now she writes about fellow late bloomers while plotting her next grand adventure.

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Lured to Ireland, Mae finds herself in a hidden world she never knew existed and falling head over heels for Beck, the man who tricked her into coming there. His deception is complicated by his feelings for the one person who holds the key to merging the ancient races that once ruled the ancient world. In this underground world of witches and vampires–half-breeds of aliens long gone–Mae learns about her parentage and powers. While Beck and Helen’s love for each other spans a millennium, some of the underworld creatures seek to destroy her. Will the knowledge of her existence cause a race war when the true power of her blood is discovered? Or will love become her ultimate downfall?

C.G. Powell has traveled everywhere–thanks to her innate curiosity about the world and the Navy. She has learned aviation electronics, CCNA networking, Gemology and how to get bloodstains out of the carpet (you never know when you might need that). Her latest, all-consuming endeavor is storytelling. When asked why, her response was “I live to challenge myself; I like to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and writing is one of those things that pushes my boundaries.” C.G. Powell lives in Virginia with her husband and children.

Amazon 4 1/2 stars   Createspace Paperback   Amazon Paperback   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble