Life Isn’t Always Beautiful or Fair

Me and My Girls

It feels like a lifetime ago instead of 8 years. My heart aches for the loss of the beautiful soul taken way too soon. It’s hard to believe that nearly two weeks ago we lost you.

The picture above was one of those rare, magical times where we all seemed to be of the same color coordinated mind and it was too perfect not to convert into a photo op. Now I’m just grateful to have this little memento.

These women and their smiling faces held many of my cherished moments in my memory bank of a prior career. They were all smart, kind, well meaning, and with good hearts filled with kindness. They cherished their families, especially their children.

Imagine my shock when two of the ladies here (and one of the men not pictured) reached out to tell me that the lady in the white blouse standing on the far right was dead. Not only dead, but violently murdered. Shot and killed by her ex in what was being called a domestic violence case.

The response from all of us who knew and worked with her was utter devastation. What about her two young daughters who she used to bring by to show off? The ones she couldn’t stop talking about? They were her whole universe! Her reason for being. What was their world going to be without her? Weren’t they teenagers now? To lose a mom at any time is hard, but in this way during this time? My heart still bleeds for them. I can’t begin to imagine their devastation.

The news reports say she’d finally permanently broken it off and had stopped by the house one last time to get the last thing she’d left behind. Her cat. Because that was a big part of who she was. A lover of animals. She shouldn’t have lost her life.

Truth is, we all remember her ex. I remember thinking he was a bit of an ass and way too possessive. Hot headed, too. But never in a million years did I expect this. I knew they fought sometimes, but I never had any inclination that he had been this violently volatile. So many memories tumble out and I wonder what we missed and if there was anything we could’ve done that might have altered this path and then I realize that those thoughts are pointless.

Live in the here and now. Ache for those left behind, and do what you can to live life. Don’t squander it. In my own way I’ll try to do right by her girls as they deserve to be taken care of and to know that their mom was loved.

And if you are reading this and you are a victim of domestic abuse, know someone going through it, or even suspect it… PLEASE, I’m begging you, reach out for help. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or check out their website HERE!

Yeah… as if COVID, quarantine, and murder hornets weren’t enough, right? Don’t worry, I’m hurting, but ok. My support system is strong and I’m working both my day job and writing my next novel. What’s been going on in your world?

When Broken Is Beautiful – #SharpEdgeofBliss by @SorchaBlack

How can a sex worker be an innocent?

This is the question I asked myself as I read The Sharp Edge of Bliss. How can someone, bought and paid for, retain a generosity of spirit, a tender heart, a sense of optimism, and a willingness to love unconditionally…even all the ugly, messed up parts people hope no one sees?

It boggled my mind.

And she wasn’t naive… She knew she was a commodity. In fact, this quote hit me so hard I had to save and share!

She knows exactly who she is. She understands her role. And yet she brings out the best in both anti-heroes.

Sorcha Black’s new release came out last month, and I’ll be honest… I was hesitant to read it. Not because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. Because the truth is, her stories? They are steaming hot with an edge. But this time? Her description mentioned a sex worker and a possible hit man. It sounded a little dark. And given the climate of the world right now, I hit the pause button.

But…

I couldn’t stay away that long. I can’t even tell you how glad I am that I didn’t because these characters needed to be in the world. Despite all the darkness and roadblocks all these characters were compelling and tugged at you.

If you’re looking for beauty in the midst of all the ugly? Light shining in the darkness like a beacon? Believe it or not, you couldn’t choose a better book than this one, so I strongly urge you to click HERE and get your copy!

And Sorcha! You were my last read in the month of March and YOU were worth the wait.

Kenny Rogers and the Writer in Me

I grew up around music. I’d been singing most of my life. As you can see from this picture, my piano lessons (which didn’t quite take…too impatient) started early, too.

But music was the first art I was introduced to, and it’s what soothes my soul.

My passion, however, belongs to the written word. There’s something about telling a story whether by poetry or by prose that has always captivated my attention. It’s a world in which I have the patience and perseverance to study, to practice, to re-write (you know, the dread word–edit) until you have something of worth and beauty.

Although the first album I ever purchased was Michael Jackson’s Thriller (a classic, to be sure), it was Kenny Rogers who left an indelible mark on my life through his amazing voice and incredible skill at story telling.

The first song of Kenny’s that I recall hearing was The Gambler. The tale had intriguing characters, real life lessons, and a story you could actually see come alive if you closed your eyes. I. Was. In. Love.

Kenny spoke to the writer in me. He fired my imagination. He even made me look at music a bit differently. In fact, music actually features prominently in my writing style. While I can’t listen to it while I’m actually writing (I have a tendency to type whatever words I’m hearing), finding the right music before I start to write helps me effectively convey the correct mindset or emotion for my scene or characters.

For example, if I want to portray a heartless villainess? A song like this one (I’m a military brat, so you do a vet dirty, I’m gonna have issues) will put me in the right mindset to create a real bitch.

Or if I want to convey someone who’s had rough breaks in life, but has always done the right thing, but in his current crossroads, he has to play dirty to be the hero, I’d play something like this one, a personal favorite.

Or maybe the lovers are both dumbasses (because let’s be honest, that happens) and we need them to realize they’re about to lose everything, or maybe that they were never right for each other and it’s time to let go… This one fits the bill.

Or when I need to capture the heart of the relentless soul who dreams big and will find a way to make it happen…

And when my hero is headed the wrong direction and about to eff things up with the heroine because he’s so busy with the wrong things he takes her for granted? This song does it for me…

At the end of the day, it’s his poetry and lyricism that engaged the writer in me so strongly. He made you feel his songs, and they were so relatable.

In fact, in my latest release, A Way With Words, I shared several song lyrics I’d created exclusively for this release and can’t help but feel maybe his energy influenced me. Here’s a taste of one of them…

“Did you see me
Through the haze of desire
The passion and fire
That you shared with someone else,
Did you see me?

Was I stupid?
To believe in promises made,
The foundation we laid
When I gave you my ring.
Was I stupid?

Chorus:

Did your words mean so little
You could throw me away
Tell her you love her,
Worship her body
In the bed where we lay?
Was I so easy to betray?
I deserve more than this.

Will you realize
That my heart can be broken
I deserve more than token
Lies to make me stay, I won’t look away.
Will you realize?

Chorus:

Did your words mean so little
You could throw me away
Tell her you love her,
Worship her body
In the bed where we lay?
Was I so easy to betray?

I deserve more than this.
Did you lose me
Or did I find my rebirth?
Discover my self-worth
In walking away, not looking back
Yeah, I found me.

Chorus:

Did your words mean so little
You could throw me away
Tell her you love her,
Worship her body
In the bed where we lay?
Was I so easy to betray?
I deserve more than this.
Yeah, I found me.”

So I owe a huge debt of gratitude for all the joy and inspiration Kenny’s music has brought me “Through the Years.” (See what I did there?) LOL!

Who inspires you? Is it music? Movies? I’d love to know…

And to close out, I think it’s only fitting I share a song he did with one of his oldest, dearest friends… It’s like they knew. And besides, he felt like an old friend to me, too. Rest in Heaven, Kenny.

Positive Self-Talk and Girl Power #InternationalWomensDay2020

I like to think that I’m a strong woman, but even strong women falter. Fortunately for me, I’m also surrounded by a legacy of powerful women beginning with my mom and continuing on in my sister and myself.

It’s a message I was fortunate to be taught at an early age, and as I got older, I began to realize just how important something I’d always grown up with was as I met other people and made friends. Not everyone had my innate confidence and belief in myself. In fact, I started to realize that while I was raised to believe I could do anything and be anything, many of my friends were unsure…and my mission was born.

We women hear so many things about who and what we’re supposed to be. Many of these expectations are unrealistic, but it doesn’t stop us from beating ourselves up or calling ourselves names. How many times have we called ourselves “dummy” or “stupid” or just gotten plain angry at ourselves? And don’t get me started on all the times we apologize whether we need to or not.

That kind of negative self talk has such a strong impact on our psyches. And the thing is, even in the world of romance novels, the wilting violet heroine in need of rescue is pretty common. I’ll be honest, as much as I’ve always loved romance, these were my least favorite characters.

It’s why I gravitated to authors like Julie Garwood and Nora Roberts and the late, great Johanna Lindsey. Their characters were strong, powerful, and empowered women who rescued their men as much as their men did them.

When I began writing I knew I wanted my females to be strong and empowered both emotionally and sexually. I also wanted my female friendships to be the kind I’d been blessed with. Encourage-rs, supporters, and empowerment mongers. Sure, there are haters, but we make the choice if our lives are going to be hater free zones by not allowing that behavior in ourselves or the people we surround ourselves with.

And I make it a personal mission to try to help build up the women around me. To support them. To remind them of their power when they may forget. To be the friend I’d want to have. And to remember that what makes ups great is having faith in ourselves and those around us no matter how bleak a picture the media may try to paint of our world. I truly believe we can create a world we’d want to live in, but it all starts from within us.

Positive self talk is important and powerful. So is the message you put out to those around you. You are important. You are powerful. You matter. I’m grateful to have people like you who stop by and read my love (and self-love) letters.

What message do you want to share with the women in your world? Yes, these messages are important not just today, but everyday…

Happy Valentine’s Day! #BookSale #KUFree

It’s been an incredibly busy week. I got back from Chicago on Monday where we celebrated my amazing nephew’s birthday…

Then it was back to my daily grind…aka the day job that limits my writing time. Hubby, being the sexy, awesome romantic that he is bought me chocolate truffles and chocolate covered strawberries. He know me well…

I don’t need grand gestures. He shows me his love every day with the little things he does to let me know he loves me, supports me, and he listens.

But then I thought about you guys… My awesome loyal readers and friends… You guys deserve some Valentine’s Day appreciation, too! So I made my new book HALF OFF!

💞💞💞GO GET YOUR COPY! 💞💞💞

Putting Words Into Your Characters’ Mouths and Feeling Grateful #NewRelease #AmWritingRomance

As many of you know, I recently released my first full sized novel. So far it’s been well received and I’ve been blown away with gratitude. One of my coolest experiences came from a Facebook book club I’ve been involved with for years.

They chose to make my book their January Group Read, and as a newish author that meant everything. What was really amazing was that they decided to a thread focusing in on their favorite moments and quotes…. I was blown away and way too entertained. Seriously. Just when you start to second guess yourself, moments like these come up. Moments where someone decides to share YOUR writing and you’re both laughing hysterically because it’s both funny and you forgot you made a character say that, but also you realize…that was legitimately a great line! And it builds your confidence.

The quote at the top of this post was the “kick-off” quote coming from Drew, one of the male leads in this book.

Other honorable mentions? How about these:

“That’s what best friends do for each other.” Ty raised an eyebrow. “Did you think that would change just because you’ve smoked my pipe?”

Ty to Drew in A Way With Words

The above quote was in reference to Drew and Ty and their first intimate moment with each other.

“If you think it sounds like an uptight douche bustin’ a nut, I’d say ‘hell yeah’.”

Ty to Drew in response to overhearing someone having sex

This quote in particular had me laughing so hard my hubby asked if I was ok.

“… apparently waiting to show you her tricked out twat.”

Kalina to Drew

This quote was made by Kalina to Drew when they discovered a woman had sneaked into Drew’s bed, complete with decorated lady bits…

What has this taught me? That I’m extremely fortunate to have amazing people in my life who appreciate my snarky dialogue and that sometimes I actually am kinda witty.

What has chasing your dreams taught you? What’s something your friends/tribe done to support you that’s blown your mind?

And if you’re looking for my book link…Click the book cover on the side and it will lead you right to it. BTW, it’s FREE on Kindle Unlimited and check out THIS REVIEW!

Who Defines Your Beautiful?

It’s been a while since I’ve jumped up on my soapbox, but longtime followers of this blog know my hot buttons…and my lack of filter (hopefully in a good way).

Today I saw something that made me furious enough to write this post; something that hasn’t happened in a while.

An author friend of mine shared a “what-the-fuckety-fuck-is-this-shit” kind of promo privately. She was angry, and rightfully so! She was asking about the trope this “person” was writing in. I wish I could say I’ve never heard of that theme or that it didn’t exist, but it’s as old as time and pisses me off every time I see it.

When did being overweight or “ugly” translate into being undeserving of love? Because the way some of these stories are written, these women are undeserving of these so called heroes and their attention until they either become skinny and gorgeous or have a complete makeover and wardrobe overhaul. And then they’re finally deserving of being noticed and/or loved.

I call bullshit.

What makes a person truly lovable and beautiful, in my opinion, rarely has anything to do with physical appearances. In fact, some of the ugliest people I’ve seen are aesthetically pleasing and/or proportioned to societal standards, but don’t have heart or character. For me, it actually diminishes their physical beauty as well.

Now intelligence? A sense of humor? Empathy? I find those traits sexy as hell! Kindness? Not nearly enough of it in the world, so it beautifies a person just as much as a smile does.

Here’s my take on that lame-ass book trope. It’s right up there with the overuse of “billionaire” heroes. Old and tired.

My exception? If it’s the herione’s own insecurities that prove to be the stumbling block, not the hero’s lack of character and depth. Because here’s another sad truth. When people say “you can’t love someone who can’t love themselves,” there’s a grain of truth, but probably not in a literal sense. People who don’t love or believe in themselves don’t believe themselves worthy of the emotion when others try to give it. They may be receiving it, but they can’t be forced to accept the gift.

That’s something within themselves that they’ll need to fix, and no fault of the hero.

So if you’ve ever been made to feel like you were less somehow, I hope you realize that the deficiency is in them. Not you. You’re amazing just the way you are. BTW, it happens to all of us at some point… Even me. Hell, someone once offered me $1000 to lose weight and another one offered to buy me a boob job so I could fit their versions of beauty. Too bad I like who I am and I know my worth. I hope you know yours too, and shut that shit down. No one needs that kind of undermining negativity in their lives, agreed?

Know what I think makes me beautiful? My belief in the best in people and my willingness to battle for people not powerful enough to fight for themselves. (AKA don’t fuck with an underdog in my presence unless you want to bleed.) I also think my loyalty and intelligence may me a pretty decent catch. 😉

What about you? What makes you a beautiful person? Has anyone ever tried to make you feel less? How did you handle it?