Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Choice to NOT make resolutions on New Year's Eve

Goals written? Passions identified? Happiness and purpose all sorted? Choking on the pressure to have it all figured out by the thirty-first, signed, sealed and slapped to your refrigerator door with your kid's look what I did school magnet? Don't feel bad, I always did too that's why I stopped doing it to myself a long time ago.

I choose now to reflect on the year that always manages to slip through my fingers faster than I can control and listen to my loved ones' wishes and hopes for the upcoming year. Now, don't get me wrong I do make resolutions I just don't do it at 11:58 pm on December thirty-first and offer them up to the three Fates anymore and I am NOT bashing those who do! I am only sending a reminder about how compressed our lives are, and this may be one situation where you can ease up on the pressure valve a bit.

Why not make a resolution on the third of March, or April tenth or hey, how about August twenty-fourth? Why does it need to be figured out and written down by the thirty-first of December? Isn't March third still technically the new year? And if you chose to find your resolution by the twenty-fourth of August? Or maybe you did make it earlier, and it grew overwhelming you had to shelve it for a bit and now you want to take it down, dust it off and revisit it? Who cares? The importance of the resolution is you made a commitment to yourself regardless of when the calendar said you should make it. Be proud of that!

The gym will be less crowded after February!

Happy New Year Everyone!

God Bless!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Writer's Choice Resources

I've been asked a few times how I got started and where I sought help and information. I'd like to share a few of the resources I've used and a few I'm currently looking into and researching as well.

1. Erica is a published author with Penguin who is co-owner of an editing service. Erica is very compassionate, helpful, thorough and offers great suggestions!

2. Erinn Giblin is quick and amazingly kind. She's a joy!

3. I met Matty at a writer's group recently. She has great resources and an informative website. Definitely going to research Matty's resources!

4. This won't apply to everyone but if you're interested in writing romance this is a great place to get feedback and build new relationships.

5. This is a super informative tool for self-published writers I found through my friend Katya! I love this blog!

In regards to book signings, I researched independent bookstores in my local and surrounding area and asked if they were interested in supporting independently published authors - some were not, but some were very enthusiastic! I'm working on building my local platform by contacting more local bookstores as well as continuing to grow my social media one. After the holidays I plan on visiting in person the new list of local bookstores I 've researched.

I hope some of these resources help on your writing journey. If they do or you have more to share, please I'd love to hear from you!

Take Care and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The choice to change careers from teaching to writing

Changing careers is daunting and terrifying with a mix of motivating and inspiring. When you make the choice to simplify your life and chase your dreams aspects of your life gel together in ways you didn't think possible. Through the love and support of my family along with the support and friendships I've acquired through social media I've been able to make that leap and I'm truly grateful. And if I don't say it enough then here it is again...Thank YOU! For without your help and support I wouldn't be where I am!

I didn't want this blog to be about my first love teaching, but I felt compelled to explain why teaching lost its luster.

Unfortunately, Piaget's hierarchy of cognitive development is ignored in the educational system today. Children, no longer valued for begin able to do what they are age appropriately capable of doing are pushed to accomplish and succeed far beyond their capabilities. A recipe for disaster in the classroom. Tears. Frustration. Anger. And that wasn't just me. My kindergarten babies who struggled with interpersonal skills, social skills, and basic letter and sound recognition were forced to perform at levels higher than their knowledge base. Push. Push. Push.

Indulge me and let's pretend for a moment. You've signed up for a basic chemistry class but suddenly are expected to know quantum physics. Does it motivate you to stay? Does it encourage you to learn? Is learning meaningful taught above and beyond your skill set? Compound that with gaping social and emotional deficiencies making it impossible to express your frustration and anger without punching, biting, kicking and screaming. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. Maybe the educator should meet the class where they are academically and socially, therefore making each class an individual society in and of itself instead of a mass producing assembly line of educational goals formulated for the masses. Hm...the last time I checked teachers were thinking, educated individuals who were able to assess their students and strategize a plan to get everyone on point. Not every class should be held to the same standards. Gee, I don't know maybe goal setting should be individualized for each, separate classroom with a plan created by the person who assessed the students in the first place and not the suit that occasionally popped in at the worst time imaginable. Usually, when your barometer child experienced an extremely high barometric pressure day.

 The goal in teaching is to create one successful learning experience after another fostering independence and stacking skills as opposed to expecting Kindergarteners to write like second graders in September when a majority of them, at least where I taught, didn't even know where they were in the world of Kindergarten. Let's throw a little more gasoline on the fire too shall we. The absence of snack time and play time, crucial for the students I taught ratcheted their anxiety and tension to the roof. And what comes up must come down. Where did all that anxiety and tension land? Certainly not on the administrators who created school standards and hadn't taught in a classroom setting in decades. Nope. Not meeting students where they were academically and socially backfired. Administration wasn't pleased. And who was held accountable? You guessed it.

It was a difficult decision. For me, teaching was doing God's work, especially where I taught but feeling more failure than success didn't motivate me enough to stay and encouraged me to simplify my life. My heart will always be with the little ones, shiny and smiling ready to start their day. But the shell-shocked looks on their little faces at the end of the day haunted me. I couldn't be a part of that nightmare anymore and chose to fill my soul with my successes in Kindergarten and my love for words and stories that give others something to chew on while they're swept off their feet.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The choice to accept life's challenges

You want it. You know you do. Whether it be weight loss, a new home, a new job, a new relationship you want it so bad you can taste it. But attaining it will be difficult, almost painful and flipping uncomfortable and that annoying, nagging little voice of insecurity that started out as a whisper grows into a scream. Screaming so loudly it prevents you from going big, and you wind up going home.

It's a challenge overcoming the voice and the fear that wants to shut you down permanently, eat away at your creativity, swallow your dreams. It's so much easier agreeing with the status quo and living a life that isn't fulfilling you the way you crave. Therein lies the challenge. Some days will be easier than others for sure. Some days you'll be so motivated and filled with energy Oprah would be impressed. You're going after your dreams, seeing your goal on the horizon and suddenly a day hits where the nothing comes together; your hard work isn't rewarded much less noticed and even the dog isn't interested in you. Fear not! It is just the universe's way of testing you a bit. You sure you really want this? How bad do you want it? How hard are you willing to work? So when the urge to lay in bed hits or you want to throw a hammer at your computer or eat that doughnut at lunch time because you had anything but a stellar morning at the office remember it wouldn't be a challenge if it were easy!

You might want to try acknowledging the challenge. Embrace it, welcome the chaos and confusion it brings. You only fear it and shirk away from it because you think you can't handle it, but the opposite is true. You can handle it that's why it fell into your lap. You just need to figure out what the universe already knows about you.

Next, maybe try breaking the challenge into chunks, dissect it, make a plan. Seeing the challenge in smaller, manageable pieces may make it less overwhelming.

Then, seek out your support system. Friends and family make life richer and fuller and help you see things in a different perspective. Don't be afraid to lean on them and ask for help. They love you. More than likely, they would be upset if they discovered you were suffering in silence. Talk it out, express your fears, give them the light they need so you can face the challenge. Keeping your challenge in the dark only makes your fear and your insecurity grow.

Embracing and acknowledging the challenge, making a plan, accepting there will be crappy days but more good days than bad. Think of it this way the strongest steel first walked through fire too. I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from Neale Donald Walsch "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Choosing inspiration and motivation meaningful to you!

Rocky is a staple at my house on the weekends. If my number three isn't watching it, then my significant other is, or they are watching together. Soon I found myself ditching the wash, ignoring the pile of dirty dishes in the sink and suddenly taking a writing break so I can lean in. Tuning in to watch Creed over the Thanksgiving holiday was a definite must for The Blisses.

Seeing familiar sections of the city, recognizing landmarks, feeling a tug on the heartstrings when I remember running up and down the Art Museum steps with my family combined with the rumble in the tummy for those yummy cheesesteaks makes every Rocky movie meaningful to me. But Rocky's motivation and inspiration is more than the setting.

Rocky's underdog message resonates with millions of people. His story never gets old. And now that I've decided to take the leap and follow my passion Rocky's message hits even harder than it did before especially with the latest installment in Creed... "one step, one punch, one round." For me, I'm able to translate Rocky's message about taking those first shaky steps and building your confidence into my writing... "one word, one page, one chapter." It all starts with those first letters and builds from there.

The only thing standing in your way? The reflection in the mirror. You are your hardest enemy, your harshest critic. As a writer, you box yourself, always fighting your insecurities and doubts. Learning to fight your fear of not being good enough or going against the grain of living another person's idea of what your life should be is the first step to success not only in writing but life in general. It all begins with one step, one word, one shift in thinking.
 A little eye of the tiger doesn't hurt either. Just ask Katy Perry! Dance through the fire of your worst fears and go the distance, rise, don't stop! Just you and your will to survive whatever challenge blocks your path!
What's your motivation and inspiration? I'd love to hear from you!



Monday, November 23, 2015

The choice to step outside yourself

When life gets heavy and the weight on your shoulders crushes your joy or motivation it may be time to step outside your problems and assist someone with theirs.  Helping others when things in your life are troubling brings a broader perspective to your troubles and perhaps a smile to someone's face who didn't feel the desire to do so earlier. Everyone has struggles they are facing and sometimes when you embrace someone else's struggle yours aren't so overwhelming. Stepping outside yourself not only invigorates you, lifts your spirit but also the person who's hand you chose to grasp.

I follow Armand Rosamilia on Twitter and through his Twitter and Facebook accounts I've learned about his creative mission to support our service men and women, Authors Supporting Our Military Troops. Armand collects donations of indie authors' paperback books (no e-readers please) and spreads the love throughout the troops. Having family currently serving and family members who have served I thought this would be a wonderful way to show gratitude to the men and women who so graciously and courageously sacrifice their time, expertise and sometimes surrender their lives for our freedom. If my books can provide a moment of escape or a thoughtful exploration of life then the smile is on my face, my storytelling successful. A thumbs up, a great review, a smile on someone's face or an email expressing a shift in someone's paradigms is as rewarding to me as teaching my little five-year-olds how to read. My goal is to get the books out by Wednesday before the holiday rush!

Armand describes his mission best, so I'm pasting the link. Please if you have a minute, and you're an author, whether it be traditional or self-published please click the link and read about Armand's mission. If you're an aspiring writer, maybe this may give you an extra boost of motivation and inspiration to finish that last chapter or maybe start that ambitious endeavor of writing; you know that little whisper in your head that turns into the roar you're always ignoring. Maybe now is your time. You never know who your writing can help. So get your write on! And then send it to Armand!

Armand Rosamilia's Authors Supporting Our Military Troops

You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Choosing to stay postive over the weekend!

This blog post is a little difficult to write considering the insanity that occurred over the weekend in Paris, but my family and I are choosing to remain positive. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people and families in Paris as we celebrated the good news that my niece was safe and sound in London, and I had my very first book signing! Even though we celebrated two beautiful rays of sunshine, we were very aware and mindful of the tragedy, injustice, and inhumanity that swept the world. Good will always prevail, and our prayers are high!

We chose to embrace the positive and in so doing I would love to share the details of the book signing.

My husband and I traveled a little over an hour to get to Harleysville. Lovely drive on a bright, crisp, November afternoon. Stephanie Steinly did a wonderful job organizing and hosting the event, and I couldn't be more grateful! Stef made the event relaxed, fun and informative. Hopefully, I'll be invited back, and I can take a ton more pictures with Stef! I'm sorry about that! My friends and family attended as well as other people who stopped by thanks to Stef getting the word out! My heart was, and still is, full of love, gratitude, and appreciation to everyone who came out to support me as well as the friends and family who couldn't attend Saturday but were there in spirit! Michael, you were just the sweetest stopping by after work! It was lovely to meet you!

My nerves hummed with uncertainty as anticipation of the unknown rolled through my veins, but the excitement was immense as I set up shop in Stef's bookstore with a beautifully draped fall themed table just for me! Thank you, Stef! I had books, reviews, posters and, of course, my cookies! I'm going to try a little harder with the raffle prize for the next signing! Maybe if the next signing is a little closer to home, it might work out better. I haven't given up hope for donating to Delaware Valley's Children's Charity! If anyone knows about any independent bookstores in suburban Philadelphia that I missed, please leave me a post!

I had the lovely opportunity to meet fellow author George DeFrehn who wrote Is Anybody There? Memoir of a "functional alcoholic" George was a wealth of information both professionally and personally. What an extraordinary man! If you're looking for inspiration and education, pick up George's book! I certainly hope our paths cross again. Supremely delightful!

My expectations for excitement and nervousness were gigantic but the information I acquired speaking to both George and Stef? Priceless! Both personable, intelligent and knowledgeable about writing, self-publishing and marketing, Stef and George were a gift above rubies! I honestly felt like a little kid on Christmas morning receiving all my favorite presents!

I can't express enough gratitude for the new readers I had the opportunity to meet thanks to Stef! Thank you so much to everyone who attended the book signing on a chilly Saturday in November with the world raging. I hope that a little book talk and some cookies were able to distract you from the devastation across the ocean. The gratitude I have for the opportunity to visit Stef's bookstore is deep and the gratitude I hold for the new people I met is something I'll cherish always. I look forward to the next one, and hopefully there will be more to come with your continued support as my readership grows and news about my books grows as well. I have you to thank for that!

God bless!

Here it is! My dream come true!
Thank you for being a part of it!
Martha! My love for you is deep!

George! A true inspiration! Can't wait to meet him again!

My mom who taught me the lesson and value of hard work!

My sister who would travel just about anywhere to support me!

My husband who's support made my dream come true! I couldn't have asked for a truer, kinder friend! I love you!

Kathy who told me never to quit! I'm just as proud of her as she is of me! Mwah! I love her!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The choice to cultivate gratitude when life isn't rainbows and butterflies

Gratitude is easy when you ace your term paper, meet your deadline and everyone in the house is healthy and happy. It's easy to be thankful when the sun is shining, and life is rainbows and butterflies. But what do you do when it isn't? What do you do when the gray clouds threaten, and the storm hits? Are you grateful for the rain and tell yourself we wouldn't be able to survive without it? Do you decide to splash in the puddles? Or hide under the covers?

Life's challenges are lessons in the silver lining of those gray clouds. How boring would life be if every day beamed bursting sunshine and beguiling blue skies? What strength of character would develop? One that believes life is good only when the sky is blue.

I learn my best lessons during the worst storms. It's during the storm when your muscles are straining; your brain is screaming, and all you want to do is stay under the covers when you need to dig deep and cultivate gratitude. Capture the gray cloud, sift through it and uncover the gratitude of the struggle to reach the silver lining. Be thankful for the fight. It's the struggle that made you who and what you are. Never giving up during the fierce storm, being thankful for the painful lessons and pushing through the darkness of the cloud to grab that silver lining makes life beautiful even when the cocoons yield moths instead of butterflies and the sky is a stingy, stubborn two-year-old refusing to share its beautiful brilliance.

Tell me when your struggle was the hardest. How did you stay grateful?

Monday, November 2, 2015


Happy Monday Everyone! I hope if you celebrated Halloween you had a blast! I know I did! Delighting in the newest family member, my niece's first baby girl, who was the sweetest baby chick I ever did see was a little slice of heaven!

Now...onto a new week!

To start my week CHOICES is featured in Masquerade Crew's November's Cover Wars which will run until the end of December! I'm honored and tickled pink CHOICES is a contestant with many other beautiful covers! LOTS of covers, 113 to be exact, to choose from! So please spread the word and vote for CHOICES!

Thank you for your support! I am grateful for each and every review for Choices and Forgiveness as well as each and every vote for CHOICES if you choose to vote!

I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my family and friends and the people I've met through my self-publishing journey. There have been bumps in the road, hurdles to clear, mistakes and times I've wanted to quit. But the sweetest victory is the amazing group of readers, authors and bloggers I've met who inspire and propel me forward.


If you'd like to vote, here's the link

Monday, October 19, 2015

The choice to commit to yourself

  Women are committed to their jobs, their significant other, family, friends, and for the mommies out there, their kids. Doesn't leave much time for yourself, now does it? Would you let your friend cheat on her diet, or your husband go for that big interview without some tender loving cheerleading and soul building? Hell no! But when it comes to motivating yourself to chase after that longed for dream - you fall short of the finish line. Why? Because everyone else's problems, situations, events are more important than yours. I'm confident most woman, mothers especially, can relate. I can see you nodding your head. Don't be shy.
     In reality, you're selling your family short because you haven't committed to yourself first. You need to be your own cheerleading, your soul builder so you can be the rock your family needs. How do you go about committing to yourself?

     1. Value. How's your self-worth? Where does your self-worth fall in a relationship? Do you appreciate yourself for who you are or how you think you should be in a relationship? In other words, are you honoring yourself or worrying about what others think about you in a committed relationship whether it be romantic or platonic. 

    2. Holding back. Are you your own worst critic? Sheesh, I know I am. And when I make a mistake I'm ready to whip out the sledgehammer and go to town. Would you do that to a friend, your husband, your child? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. But when you make a mistake you're ready to withhold the self-forgiveness and focus on all the wrong instead of the lesson that fell into your lap. Now's your chance to stop doing that. Awareness is the first step in any recovery program. Take this step to admit that you are just as important as the people you care for.

    3. Recovery. Welcome! You are now a recovering people pleaser! As women, we've been taught to take care of others first. Pretty soon, others grow and the well-spring is dry. Take back your time. Even if it's a simple walk by yourself, without the dog or the stroller. Once your well-spring is full others can drink. You'll have more to give if you drink from your own well-spring first. Goes against the grain, I know, but totes true!

   4. Choices. Ah, my favorite. There are always choices but are they good ones. Are they working for you? You can choose to put others first but how did that work out for you? Did you end up blaming yourself if your advice to them didn't work out? You get one shot at this life, one body, one soul use it wisely. No one else will do that for you

Take care of yourself and let me know how you did!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The choice to forgive

Today's blog post is in honor of my second book in the Choices Series, Forgiveness, which will be available very shortly in paperback.

      Forgiveness, whether it's extended to yourself or someone you know, is a conscious, cultivatable choice. Similar to choosing to be happy even when you're kid backs their car into your new car in the driveway. Say, what? You gotta dig deep some days, and some days even deeper. Forgiving either yourself or the person who done did you wrong follows the same principal. I compare holding onto all the negativity surrounding a painful situation or wrongdoing to living in a windowless, dark, concrete cell. It's manageable, but will your body and psyche emerge intact and healthy? What type of person will you become?

     The neat thing about Forgiveness is the health benefits. The cost you ask? Commitment and stamina. It's not easy to forgive, and the commitment involved is challenging. Some wrongdoings are harder to recover from than others. I'm not making light of the fact how difficult forgiveness can be when the injury is severe. I'm only saying that the health benefits are worth the pain and sometimes agony of commitment. Forgiving someone or even yourself unconditionally increases your life span. Committing to choosing forgiveness reduces tension, anger, depression, fatigue, blood pressure and overall stress. Sounds good to me! Sign me up!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The choice to keep on keeping on!


       Eighth-grade graduation was the highlight of my elementary school career. On the verge of young adulthood, getting ready to enter high school, I received my first prestigious award, perseverance. I wasn't sure exactly what perseverance meant at thirteen until the bumps in life taught me how to cultivate it. Good old Webster's defines it as continuing in spite of difficulty.

      My first major test in perseverance occurred at the age of twenty-five and being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had to resign from my first teaching job. I wanted to hide under the covers and never leave my bed. The debilitating pain in the early days owned me. My pain managed my day and ruled my hours. Until I finally woke up and said no more. There is beauty in the pain of chronic illness. Pain teaches you never to give up, to persevere. Therein lies the beauty, the lesson.

       I chose to commit myself to persevere. Enduring and fighting through the adversity made me who I am today. I researched, investigated and experimented with doctors, remedies and supplements. During the early nineties having a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, commonly referred to as a "woman's disease of anxiety and depression", left me confused and angry. I wasn't anxious. I wasn't depressed. Traditional medicine only offered an antidepressant and more symptoms. Lacking quality care forced me to persevere until I found a doctor who could help. Three years later I found a naturopathic physician in Connecticut who saved my life. I returned to the classroom, furthered my education and raised a family. My life experiences honed my perseverance, and I chose to commit to the lessons each experience offered.

      Writing in this later stage of my life further sharpens my perseverance. Because I choose to persevere and learn from my mistakes, each book I write allows me to grow as a writer. Each day I sit in front of my computer and a storyline makes me scream or dialogue dries up like a desert, I persevere. Every time I attempt to write and characters seem thin or plotlines daunting, I persevere.
My difficulties in writing remind me of the stubborn doctors I visited. Doctors that made me work harder to find the right one. The same way I work harder through difficult stretches in writing to dig for the most creative situations or illustrious words.

      Self-doubt as a writer also triggers my need to hide under the bed covers again. I have two choices. I can embrace it and stay there, or I can power through the cruel sister of confidence. I choose to believe in myself and defeat the ugly beast of insecurity by sitting in my girl cave pounding on my keyboard the stories that hijack my brain. I choose to persevere in my hope that one day more people will find them as interesting as I do.

      Your difficulties are your triumphs if you accept the challenge of pushing through the mud. I hope you join me to commit to keep on keeping on in whatever you do in life. We can share our perseverance journeys! I'd love to hear yours!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The choice to worship freely

I normally don't talk about religion. It's an incredibly personal experience and choice, but I had to shout my pride for the city of Philadelphia after this weekend's spectacular papal visit. Pope Francis began his East Coast tour in Washington D.C. traveling to New York and then to Philadelphia for the glorious outside mass on the Parkway in Philadelphia.

I was born and raised a Catholic. Baptized, schooled, and married in the Catholic church. My children are baptized Catholic, however, I choose a non-denominational church to worship and raise my children. My break from the Catholic tradition did not stop my love of seeing the people's pope. For me, it was a moving experience I'll never forget. I've been fortunate to see two popes in my lifetime. Seeing and hearing Pope Francis' message of love and compassion in the city of brotherly love left many a spectator, including local broadcasters, moved to tears.

Many believed Philadelphia could not deliver the magnitude of hosting such an auspicious event in its city. Philadelphia served its community and then some! With over 300,000 in attendance, people were respectful, compassionate, helpful and loving. Not only was Pope Francis' message uplifting and universal but the city of Philadelphia was as well! People from all over the world attended. Seeing those gold and white umbrellas enter the streets to administer communion to almost half a million souls was breathtaking. I had a difficult time holding back tears. Sharing the kiss of peace with strangers on the street who were united with a common goal of love and support, regardless of faith or religion, reverberated in the truest essence of yourself. People of many faiths came to hear the Pope's message. And in so doing, reminded us all of the power and freedom we have in choice.

This weekend's Festival of Families wasn't just for the Catholic faith. Regardless of your belief or faith Pope Francis' message was universal, love and take care of your family. Evil will never have the last word.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The choice to be courageous!


    Courage isn't something you're born with. Motivation, determination, prayer and as Mom-Mom Rose would say, a good dose of moxie is the spirit that forges courage. Courage runs parallel with fear. Being courageous is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I've told my three lovelies this since they could speak.

     Number two discovered that feeling the fear can be empowering and dangerous if not done thoughtfully.

     Number two enjoyed a sleep-over with a few friends and received a distressing call from a neighbor at about three a.m. when the friends and the family were sound asleep. Number two's friend was in a dire situation. Being the child number two is, number two trudged through a four-foot snowstorm in the blackness of night walking a mile through our development to reach out to our neighbor. My husband and I didn't discover this nugget of information until early next morning when my neighbor arrived to thank number two for saving their child's life. Now, this is where as a parent you're torn between wanting to throttle your child or call the media. As proud as I was of number two's insanely heroic effort, the lecture ensued of the importance of reaching out for help when things were overwhelming and remembering never to endanger yourself. Once the reminder of making smart choices ended, number two simply said, "But he wasn't making smart choices, and if I weren't making smart choices, I'd want someone to help me. I was scared, but I knew in my heart I was making the choice to do the right thing. There wasn't time to let my fear control my decision, and it all worked out in the end." Does it get any more courageous than that? From the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The choice to be empowered

Making choices is valuable in a person's life. Feeling empowered by them? Creates a force that attracts opportunities and people. Embrace your choices and delight in the fact that you have the capability and freedom to make them. Not everyone has the luxury to choose for themselves. When you have the opportunity to make a choice, feel empowered by it, embrace it, own it. Standing behind your choices, good or bad, strengthens your spirit and creates an indelible mark on your soul, imprinting upon your inner core power and dignity. Your choices are unique, creating the strong and fortified individual you are. Feeling empowered by your choices frees your mind and soul. Thank you, I'll take some of that please to go!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Not making a choice is a choice, too

Have a hard time making decisions? Don't we all from time to time, but opting out of choosing on a consistent basis is making a choice, too. Huh? It's a choice not to take the time to care for ourselves. Choosing not to make a decision sends a message to ourselves that other people's priorities and commitments are more important than the stuff swirling and congealing on our plates directly in front of us at the dinner table. Do yourself a huge solid and take the time to make the choice. Ask a few close friends, you don't need to involve Aunt Bessy from Minneapolis, but solicit advice from people you trust. Next make sure you compare apples to apples, write a list of pros and cons, but most importantly make the choice and take the time to take care of yourself. If you don't, people learn from your actions that their priorities and choices are paramount and yours are not. Is that a very good choice?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The choice to simplify your life

Our calendars, schedules, relationships, children, work and accomplishments own are sanity and time. Sounds exhausting, doesn't it? In my numerous decades on this earth, I'm actually beginning to learn a few things. What I've discovered and would like to share today is the first step to simplifying your life- finding the time to renew your energy resources. Well, how does one do that? Oh, I'm so happy you asked! I've come to learn that if you don't take the time to find a method that renews your energy you're about as useful as a dirty, sodden sponge. Whether you take the time to listen to the Lord, meditate, exercise or lock yourself in an empty room of your house is the first step to simplifying your life. Pursuing your passion is the next. Once you have established the passion that burns the brightest and the hottest you are soaring. But, hold on we're not there yet! With the pursuit of passion, you must also experience some pain. Say what? That's correct. Before you experience the nirvana of your passion, you must first embrace some pain. Just like the HEAs I write about in my romance novels. You gotta do the work and experience the pain before you bask in the glow of your rewarding simplified satisfaction. I can certainly attest to that. I have experienced pain as I pursued my choice to simplify my life while I pursued my passion and, unfortunately at my own hand. What do you do then? Throw in the towel, back your bags and forgot about taking that long-anticipated trip that you've salivated over for years. NO! You learn from your mistakes, you embrace your pain, you pick yourself up, use your method of renewable energy resources and you fricking try again! No way in hell are you giving up on your passion that you know in the end will simplify and enrich your life. I encourage you to choose to simplify your life. You won't be sorry. What's your passion?

Friday, August 14, 2015

EEEPPP! My first book signing!

Great news!! I have my first book signing!! Thanks to Stephanie Steinly at Harleysville Books in Harleysville, PA
I'll be there for their local author event Saturday, November 14th from 2 to 4! Check out a great bookstore and come see me for a signed copy of Choices and Forgiveness and some great swag, oh, and cookies! Can't forget the cookies! Stay tuned for more details!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review for Only Human by JD Estrada

Rollicking adventure with imaginative characters…

JD Estrada’s Only Human is just that and so much more. Only Human is a crafty, intelligent, thought-provoking story revolving around intense characters racing toward the heart of humanity. The vampires held me captive until JD crafted multiple fascinating worlds to explore adding layer upon layer of long forgotten legends.

There’s nothing I love more than to sink my teeth into a story that allows me to think about the meaning and purpose of life. With JD’s feral and touching characters, you get to explore humanity in many facets learning about times past and present questioning the purpose and balance of each.

 As one man’s quest for truth and understanding collide against his humanity, his fears aren’t far from your own. Well-researched, filled with tension and suspense, absorbing characters that leave you with more questions eagerly anticipating book number two. Great read!

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Education Choice

Home School VS. The Traditional Classroom.

A hotly debated topic. I compare the education choice to traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. As a formally trained teacher, I'll admit homeschooling irritated more than a few nerves probably in the same way self-publishing irritated many traditional publishing houses. What, everyone's a teacher now? Wait a minute, aren't I doing the same thing with my self-publishing? I'm not a formally trained writer. I have a passion, a need to create, and hope that my creations make a connection with other people. Most parents I know are passionate about their children. That passion drives them to seek the best for their creations. Who am I to judge? I was experiencing a little of the pot calling its kettle black. I most definitely needed to get off my high horse before I fell off it and broke my nose.
 My doubts about homeschooling held me prisoner, but when my number one made the choice for herself to attend a homeschool program, it was the best decision ever. Why did I fight it for so long? Stupid pride, misconceived notions and well, it's just not the way things are done! Phooey! Homeschooling programs today are dynamic, interesting and driven. Don't think you can just breeze by with filling out a few worksheets and calling it a day. My number one's day is full of self-directed, independent learning that she owns. She is the captain of her ship. Her homeschool buddies are respectful, intelligent, motivated (boy, are they ever!), driven, responsible leaders. Don't you want that for your teenager? Now, don't get me wrong lots of teenagers in traditional school settings are just as motivated and responsible. I'm saying that it was a learning curve for me. I was pleasantly surprised by their intensity and quality of their pursuit of learning. The same can be said for self-published authors as well. Once the passion ignites, the fire burns bright and hot. Isn't life about finding your passion and making the choice to pursue it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mommy guilt...yep, it's a choice, too!

Ouch! I know, I know, touchy subject. Every mother experiences it whether you've been a mom for decades, or you're a brand new one. Constantly second-guessing and doubting your decisions because you understand the importance of raising a child. I'm going to share something I've learned about mommy guilt you need to tell it to pack its bag and take a long walk off a short pier as my mother would say. Mommy guilt is just your self-doubt and insecurity rearing its ugly, nasty head! Remember, your kids can smell fear and see it on your face. They're tiny predators waiting for weakness to show in your demeanor, on your face or seep out of your pores, remember they can smell doubt, and bam in for the kill. Your guilt is your weakness. Don't feel it then it doesn't show.
I've spoken to my close friends, my colleagues, and my neighbors for years about mommy guilt. Whether you're an outside of the home working mom or whether you choose to work at home, mommy guilt is always there, lurking behind every corner, waiting patiently to strike. For those working outside of the home, the guilt is multiplied, because sometimes work needs to be a priority over family. My friends who stay at home sometimes feel they aren't contributing enough to the family's welfare. Here's what I say for whatever it's worth. Your children learn what they live. If they see that you are doing everything you can for your family chances are your guilt is yours, not theirs. They only see how hard you're working for your family. You're teaching them valuable lessons about life, priorities, balance, and love. Children are adaptable, and they will adjust to your life and your schedule. It's your fear that allows guilt to fester and poison you and eventually them. So, relax, give yourself a break and know that your children love you whether you work inside, outside or in between side the home. They will survive because you will make sure they survive. That's what we do as parents.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Choices

It's that time of year! The words that make every mom and dad worldwide cringe, "I'm bored!" Vacation-over, pool-boring, camp-done! What now? Here are some summer choices to fill the doldrums! Enjoy!

1. Tie dye shirts! Really, tie dye just about anything! Set up huge plastic tubs in the backyard, the front yard, the pavement, the front porch or your little space of concrete. Wherever! Here are some great links for your masterpieces! Let the kids have it! Super cool! Great fun!

47 Cool Tie Dye Shirt Patterns | Guide Patterns

2. Make a blob for the backyard. Yes, you read that correctly... a blob. Great for little ones! Watch this crazy dad entertain his kids! Of course, mom is the voice of reason, but it looks like super fun! Just don't do what dad did!

Kent Heartstrings: Backyard Water Park Fun// Sayonara Summer ...

3. Go for a nature walk, collect anything that interests you! Bring your treasures home and make a book!

Nature Dragonfly Craft | Crafts for Kids | PBS Parents

4. Go for a walk at dusk.

Palm Walk at Dusk: Arizona State University | David Paul: Photos ...

5. Make fruit popsicles. Sell them at your lemonade stand! Cut up fruit, get some fruit juice and freeze them in the popsicles molds. This link has great non-toxic popsicle molds

Mahanandi » Strawberry & Mango ~ Popsicles or Icepops

6. Paint ceramics! I can't do enough of this! It's so relaxing.

Ceramic Cafe Kansas City | Paint your own pottery and glass fusing ...


7. Henna tattoos! My girls can't do this enough! Patterns Premixed paste or you can mix your own. Take a drive to your local organic health store, pick out your henna, mix it up, and place it an applicator with a pointed tip!
40 Delicate Henna Tattoo Designs - Sortra

8. If Henna isn't your thing try temporary tattoos with watercolor crayons!

9. Build a fort in the living room on a rainy day then make a slide with cardboard boxes and cover the stairs!
5 Ways To Take A Non-Voyage      The Contemplative Creative: Cardboard Slide for lego ramp | Kids ...

10. Camp in your own backyard! Best ever!

Little backyard campsite | Glamping | Pinterest

Here's to your summer choices! Have fun!

School is Almost Out & Summer's Coming Fast. How to Keep Those ...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Give up or Give More

The power of Choice is amazing. Our choices or decisions in life created the direction our lives travel. Some good, some not so good. It's easy to embrace the good decisions with celebrations, but what do we do when we make a bad decision-run, hide, pull the covers over our heads and never see the light of day. NO!
Take a deep breath and check in with yourself. Bad choices are a learning experience, and we can all relate, myself included, but it shouldn't stop you from pursuing a dream. What are you gonna do, give up, or give more? You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and ask yourself how you can do better. Here are some ideas you can ponder as you make your next big decision.

1. Be careful where you place your trust.
2. Try not to make a decision when your anxious. Be patient and wait it out.
3. Reflect on the past.
4. Don't always go with what worked before.
5. Make an informed decision.
6. Do what's best for you and the people involved with your decision, not what other people think.

Good luck in making your next big decision and remember bad decisions are life's learning experiences.

Monday, June 22, 2015


It's been awhile, and I apologize for that. Extremely busy year so I'm making a better attempt at taking care of my blog starting today!

I had the opportunity to sit down with daughter #2 over the weekend and actually watch a movie with her, a rare and priceless experience. Growing up we usually held a game night and a movie night over the weekend, but alas they grow, and carve out their own lives, so sharing air with them in the same space much less quality time is indeed priceless.

We agreed to watch the movie Whiplash. #2 is a budding musician. She played the clarinet and is currently playing the acoustic and electric guitar with a goal of learning the piano. I love to listen to her practice. Whiplash was an excellent choice for so many reasons! Not only did it focus on the love of music, jazz, in particular it was a valuable lesson in the process of making choices about your life. I viewed this movie as a gift to watch with my daughter. The young star of the film was a driven, determined, focused young man. Great goals to have for an older teenager on the precipice of adulthood, correct? Now comes the juicy part. The choices the young boy made either destroyed his life or allowed him to achieve the greatness he so desperately craved, but at what cost? It's really your own personal perspective that determines the outcome of the movie, and opened the door for a great conversation with #2. I don't want to give away too many spoilers so I won't tell you the whole story, I'm just posting my thoughts about the power choice has in your life, good and bad, accomplishments and consequences. Watch the movie Whiplash with your older teenagers if you have them, even if they aren't musicians. The lessons portrayed about the choices we make and the impact on ourselves and our families is potent.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Meet Author Merrie Housdon

Hey! Check out Merrie Housdon's fantastic writing! Can't wait to read it myself! Find out more about Merrie by reading my interview and then when you're done, click the links to read her work!

1.                  Did you always want to write?

I think subconsciously I have always wanted to be a writer but I never had a particular desire to write in school.  In fact, I absolutely hated reading and writing in school.  This was mostly because I did not have a choice in what I was reading and the writing assignments were so constricting and most of the time on a very short deadline.  When I was alone, I loved reading and I always kept a journal.  I had and still have a very vivid imagination and took me a long time before I realized I should be writing my ideas down.
2.         Do you think there is a difference between a writer and an author? If you do how would you categorize yourself?  

I honestly use the two terms interchangeably.  I used to think that you weren’t an author until you have been published, but since being published I noticed that I still refer to myself as a writer.
3.                  Tell me about your writing process.

When I get an idea for a story, I jump on the computer and start writing.  Once I have a solid chapter or scene written, I take a step back and think about what I want my story to include and where I want my story to end.  I create a very basic outline, and then go back to writing.  Sometimes I follow that outline completely and other times my characters run away with my story and I end up with something entirely different than I thought.  I don’t think I could ever commit to a complete detailed outline but for me it’s important to give myself a little directions.

4.                  What have you learned about yourself through your writing process or writing in general?  

I am very superstitious about talking about, or letting anyone read my writing before it’s completed.   I don’t consider myself a superstitious person in any other aspect in my life except for my writing.

5.                  Tell me about any current or future projects you are working on.

Without giving away too many details, I am working on a Fantasy-Romance Novel that just might end up being a series, and I am also working on a historical romance novella that is set in a fictional town in regency England.   When I have completed both of those projects I also have an idea for a psychological thriller.  While romance and fantasy are my biggest passions, there are so many other stories that I would love to write.

6.                  Most important, cake or ice cream, or milk or dark chocolate? Which do you


Chocolate cake without frosting, I hate frosting! Definitely milk chocolate.

7.                  Favorite books

There are so many amazing books that I love, I don’t think I could pick one favorite. To name a few, I love William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.

8.                  Favorite color

I tend to favor bold colors, especially maroon and navy blue.

9.                  Favorite author

There are so many authors that I love, but if I had to choose, I would say Neil Gaiman.  Not only is he a fantastic author and natural born storyteller but he is very inspirational and gives great advice for new authors trying to make their way.

10.              Any tips to share

Write everyday!  Whether working on a story or just writing in a journal, keep writing and don’t stop.  Also, do not forget to support your fellow authors, leave a review for books you read, retweet someone who is trying to spread the word about their book.  We can all use a little help, and it’s a great way to make friends and gain supports for your own work.


A Prince for Valentines
Annie Acorn’s 2015 Valentine’s Day Treasury
 Thanks so much, Merrie!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Well, not exactly, but you are winning free signed paperback book of Choices and one free e-book of Forgiveness!

And...drumroll, please...the winners for the Choices paperback giveaway and free Forgiveness e-book are...

Irma Jurejevcic
Angelina Ocampo
Diana Doan...
Patricia Maia
Dianne Galang

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your prizes and thank you so much for entering! You girls are THE best! Thank you! Thank you! It means the world to me you entered!

Please contact me at as soon as possible with all your contact information, snail mail and e-mail addys.

Can't wait to send you everything and I hope you enjoy your "Choices!"

Monday, March 2, 2015


If steamy romance makes your engine rev, and unconventional characters make you swoon then this is the place for you!

 I LOVE a good giveaway! For the first week of March I'm sponsoring an awesome giveaway for my new release Forgiveness, the sequel in the Choices series. Here are the deets...

10 Signed paperback copies of Choices and the first 5 winners will receive a free E-book of Forgiveness!

Beautiful, brand new paperbacks of Choices and e-books of Forgiveness I can send to you as well. Sounds like a good deal to me!

It means the world to me you stopped by! Thank YOU! I wish you the best of luck!

Click the link

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Forgiveness uploaded...FINALLY!


Forgiveness is uploaded to Amazon! FINALLY! Just waiting patiently for it go...LIVE! Thank you to everyone who helped make Choices and Forgiveness possible! I absolutely loved Todd's story and I hope you do, too. His struggle is heartbreaking, but his reward is glorious! Thanks for your patience! Giveaways will start next week. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cover Reveal for Forgiveness Book 2 in the Choices Series

Forgiveness Book 2 in the Choices Series will debut on Friday, January 30th. Giveaways coming very soon. Stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Indie Authors Support

Hey! Wanna check out some really cool Indie books? Well, look no further...just click the link and you'll find some of the best Indie books available here