Sunday, December 16, 2012

Enlightened Giveaway

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Hello, friends!  I am participating in the Winter Wonderland Blog Hop with an amazing group of authors.  Check out these great books and download a copy for yourself.   And take a moment to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Enlightened.  Good luck and happy reading.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peace in. Peace out.

There is nothing I can say to ease the pain. There is nothing I can do to change this horrible tragedy.  All I can do is breathe in and breathe out.  All I can do is send every ounce of love and light I can channel to the victims and their families, the responding officers and emergency personnel, and to all of you.  The love and light in me sees and honors the love and light in you.  Namaste.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Enlightened Is On Tour


I am so excited to announce that my debut novel is on tour with Promotional Book Tours! Please join us this month for interviews, exclusive sneak peeks, and reviews of Enlightened.  The tour dates with links are listed at the bottom of this post.  Also, please enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card.  And tell all your friends! 

Enlightened: A Tale of Love and Light

Loti Dupree fears that when her husband died, she lost her soul. Harboring a painful secret, she flees her life in a small Appalachian town for the ashram, the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini. But she is running from more than grief. An ominous nightmare the night before she leaves sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes – and threatens her life.
While dodging psychic attacks from an unknown assailant, she struggles with her growing attraction to a broody, handsome and completely frustrating vampire. Loti races to understand who and what she is before her anonymous enemy catches up with her.
Loti thought she couldn't survive her husband’s death, but among healers, witches, and vampires, she discovers not only a future, but a family.

 Follow Me on Facebook fanpage http://www.facebook.com/MelissaLummis
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Buy Enlightened on Amazon / Smashwords

I'm giving away a $100 Amazon Giftcard! Fill out the form below to Enter. Must be 18+ Open Int or where you can use the Amazon GC Ends 01/06/13 @ 11:59PM EST a Rafflecopter giveaway Follow the Tour!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

There's A Hole in the Bucket


     I’m vibrating with love and pain, a confusing mix of light and dark.  But, sorrow comes with loving, doesn't it? I've been thinking all my life that if I could just get my mind right, I would find the effusive heart to match mine and I would possess the love I so dearly desired.  I am a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of woman.  Always was.  When I was a teenager, I thought I would die from a broken heart with my first love.  I thought no one would ever love me the way I loved them.  Maybe I was defective or broken and no one could love me that way.
     I told a friend a few years ago exactly that:  that I felt I was broken.  We road in her car in the pre-dawn dark towards a yoga conference as I told her, “And, worse, I don’t know how to fix myself.”  I’d been trying for as long as I could remember.  She asked me why I felt that I was broken.  I told her because I had no limits, meaning I had no emergency break when it came to my emotions, especially the affection and love that I feel constantly for the ones I choose to love.  This light floods my being, a brilliance that blinds me, apparently, and then it rushes right through me.  It’s not like it fills me up, and then pours out of me, leaving me empty. It is a constant roaring rush of gratitude and promise.  And when I take a moment to sit still, the peace of it carries me. But for many years I felt like I was a broken bucket that couldn't hold it.  I had a leak. Like the song says:

“There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza,
There's a hole.”

     And I could never hold the light, the love, the rushing fullness. 

“Then, fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.”

     But I’d been trying. I’d run out of ideas.

"With what should I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I fix it, dear Liza, with what?"

     And just like the song, I came up with an idea, but I picked it apart.  I thought, the fix is to let it be. To let myself be. To be myself. To trust myself. To trust who I am.  To love myself.  Because there was nothing to fix.  Who I am is enough to heal any wound, to bring me to a state of grace. Hell, I am a state of grace.  But noooooooo, that wasn't good enough. That was too big, too self-important, too prideful and ultimately it had to be ridiculous, right? Because the hole I thought I had in my heart was caused by my father’s suicide when I was just 12 years old.  I mean, if he couldn't love me enough to stick it out, to crawl out from under the unbearable pain of depression, then who could?  Who ever could?  If my own father couldn't?  I must not be worthy of love like that – unconditional, effusive, sparkling, everlasting.
     And so I couldn't fix the hole because the straw was too long, too big and I needed to cut it, make it smaller, but to cut it, I needed my ax, but my ax was dull and there was no water for the stone to sharpen it and I couldn't carry the water because there was a hole in my bucket.  And so I went, so I go, still, sometimes.  But when I close my eyes and take a deep breath, let it flow out of me, let the breath wander in and out of my lungs, I feel the truth.  
     That I am love.  I am light. That there is no hole.  I am not broken. Nothing leaks and I lack nothing. I am whole.  I cannot hold love because love is not a commodity to be held or possessed or bargained with.  Love is a verb.  The more I love the more I can love.  Lack is an illusion. Abundance is our condition.
Namaste.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Come Play at the Enlightened Virtual Release Party!

Available on Amazon
Help me celebrate the release of my debut novel, Enlightened by joining the Enlightened Virtual Release Party hosted by the effervescent Release Day Diva!  Stop by anytime TODAY, November 19, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. EST.  Join in the fun and games to win some awesome prizes, including a free copy of the book.  Invite your friends, too!

Oh, and just for stopping by my blog, please enter the Release Party Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

The winner will be announced tomorrow, November 20th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 05, 2012

Enlightened Virtual Release Party and Giveaway

Available on Amazon
Help me celebrate the release of my debut novel, Enlightened by joining the Enlightened Virtual Release Party hosted by the effervescent Release Day Diva!  Stop by anytime on November 19, 2012 from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. EST.  Join in the fun and games to win some awesome prizes, including a free copy of the book.  Invite your friends, too!

Oh, and just for stopping by my blog, enter the Release Party Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Enlightened is available on AMAZON

Available on AMAZON
I am ridiculously excited to announce that my first novel Enlightened: A Tale of Love and Light has been released! It is available as an ebook at this time on Amazon and Smashwords.  Other venues and a paperback edition soon to come.


Description
Loti Dupree fears that when her husband died, she lost her soul. Harboring a painful secret, she flees her life in a small Appalachian town for the ashram, the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini.  But she is running from more than grief. An ominous nightmare the night before she leaves sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes – and threatens her life.

While dodging psychic attacks from an unknown assailant, she struggles with her growing attraction to a broody, handsome and completely frustrating vampire. Loti races to understand who and what she is before her anonymous enemy catches up with her.

Loti thought she couldn't survive her husband’s death, but among healers, witches, and vampires, she discovers not only a future, but a family.



Acknowledgements
I need to say thank you to my husband. It has been a long hike getting to this point and although it wasn't all sunshine and daydreams, he was always there, pacing, listening, supporting and generally cheering me on.  I also need to thank C. G. Powell for taking me under her wing and introducing me to the world of indie authors.  If not for you, Christine, I might still be floundering around in shallow writing waters, and I certainly never would have met the wonderful IC.   What can I say about the IC?  You have been my undying support and I am honored and humbled to know you all.  I need to acknowledge my crit partner Olivia Hardin.  Wow!  You are an amazing lady.  And I have to thank my editors Liz Schulte and Kristin Beaird for their eagle eyes and guidance.  Thank you so very much for helping me not only turn this book into something publishable, but for helping me to build my writing muscles and for teaching me how to be more flexible.  And thank you to all my friends and supporters. There are too many to name.  I am truly blessed. Namaste.

Friday, October 05, 2012

My Penn State Family

It’s been years since I’ve been to Penn State for Homecoming weekend and I’m packing up to make the 4 hour drive right now. I am excited and can’t wait to reconnect with my Penn State family - my old friends and make new ones. My Penn State family has been through the ringer over the past year and I wonder where conversations will lead. We are a community full of pride and its been rough. I’ve had strangers in parking lots point to my Penn State license plate and ask me “Aren’t you ashamed of that?” No, frankly, I’m not. I’ve also had several people point to my license plate and say, “Isn’t it a shame what’s been happening?” And we start a conversation and I discover they are a Penn State grad or they have a daughter/cousin/husband/sister/friend who went to
Penn State, or they are from Pennsylvania and are simply avid Nittany Lion fans.

I’ve heard vitriolic diatribes in bars about how Penn State Football should be shut down and I’ve listened calmly, understanding that these are visceral reactions to a terrible, tragic situation. And every time I hear them say that the children must be kept in mind, about how they suffered, I couldn’t agree more. But I find it hypocritical that they think that the football players should be punished, as well.

These young men don’t deserve to have their dreams taken away from them because of the actions of a sick pedophile and the self-serving paper-shuffling of higher ups who knew better. Aren’t we piling injustice on top of tragedy? These young men had absolutely nothing to do with that. And I’ve heard the arguments that the Penn State football program machine needs to be taken down a notch – that it is the untouchable attitude towards the money-making sports program that lead to this tragedy. I see their point and checks and balances need to be put in place – the administration needs to open their doors and be transparent. But I do not believe the football program led to this tragedy. Jerry Sandusky is the culprit. He did what he did. That is the source of this tragedy. And I agree, he should have been handed over to the proper authorities to be investigated immediately. That is part of the tragedy, too.

 So should we perpetuate the cycle of tragedy with more injustice? Convicting a dead man in the court of public opinion with no proof – not even the supposed emails – and taking away young men’s dreams and scholarships? I will never forget a popular sports channel running film footage of Joe Paterno on the field sidelines and the ticker underneath reading “Penn State Football couch accused of molesting young boys.” No Jerry Sandusky in that ticker, just a bold, outright attempt at boosting their ratings by making it appear as if it were Joe who was accused.

Believe me, this is not the end of the Penn State football program and no matter how many wins you take away from us or how we are vilified in the media, we will always know the truth. That we are Penn State…that we are strong and we will grow even stronger for all of this. And we will always remember Joe Paterno fondly, because there is no mistaking the man for anything other than what he was – an honest man who did the best that he could. And those of you who have never, in retrospect, wished you had done more or made a different decision, please, cast the first stone.

"Perhaps strength doesn't reside in never having been broken but in the courage to grow strong in the broken places." ~unknown source (if you know who said this, please comment and I will properly give credit)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour


Welcome to THE NEXT BIG THING!
This is part of an authors’ blog tour.  Each author who is tagged has the privilege of answering 10 questions about their current work-in-progress. I am honored to have been tagged by Olivia Hardin.  You can see the link to Olivia’s blog at the end of this post. I’ve tagged two authors, who will post their blogs on October 3, 2012. (Their blog links are also at the end of this post.) After reading about MY “Next Big Thing” be sure to check out the other authors to see what their NEXT BIG THING is!
What is the working title of your book?
Enlightened, Book 1 in the Love and Light Series
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Wow! That's a tough one because there were several events and moments of pure inspiration that led to this book.  The idea started percolating in my brain when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 1998.  It was a 2100-mile hike from Georgia to Maine and I thought about many things along the way, but the one idea I had was what if people actually lived out here? And there were more trails like this criss-crossing the United States and Canada and South America?  And who would those people be and why would they chose to live like this? I scribbled down my ideas in a notebook I was carrying and tucked it away when I finished hiking and came back to the "real" world. 
A few years later I started my training to become a yoga teacher and a whole new world of insight, love and healing opened up to me.  I discovered my notes from the trail and added to them - ideas about how love is the ultimate healing power.  I was struck by the idea that the book had  to be paranormal romance. And it needed to be about how people overcome their past through love and wouldn't it be great to actually see chakras and prana and ...you get the idea.  I started writing the actual story last winter, but slowly. Then, last winter, my beloved grandmother died and it struck me that she would never read my story. So the idea exploded to make her part of the story - Katie Brown.  And the rest of the story fell into place with little nudges here and there.  
It got so big, I knew I had at least two, maybe even three books.  
What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmmmmm...let's see...
Loti Dupree would have to be played by Nina Dubrev - but she'd need blue contacts
And Wolf Arrighi would be Rodney A. Grant in his younger years (he played Wind in His Hair in Dances with Wolves)
Patrick Lynch would be Sean Connery, of course. I saw and heard his voice when I wrote Patrick
Katie Brown would be Meryl Streep
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Release some love into the fray as a peace offering, a floating, flickering emissary of hope on a sea of suffering.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm an independent author and am excited by this new frontier.  Its a whole new publishing world with so many possibilities.  I used to work in the software industry and I see a lot of parallels. 
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
You mean once I got serious about it?  About 8 months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Huh. I don't know.  There's some elements of all the paranormal romances I've read - Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, Angela Knight's Mageverse series, sort of kind of.  My story is fairly unique, but with some standard bonding and magical principles.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I've always been a writer - I even remember a first grade writing project that I got really excited about and my teacher loved.  I will never forget she wrote on my paper, "you're going to be a writer one day".  I thought, "I'm already a writer" but I knew what she meant.  But as far as getting this particular book written - my grandmother Katie Baer (the inspiration for Katie Brown) and my author friends: C. G. Powell, Olivia Hardin, Lk Rigel, Jessi Gibson and Liz Shulte have been the biggest inspirations and motivators these past 8 months. That doesn't mean there aren't others - there are too many to name, actually.
What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?
The people - they may be magical, but they still have all the heartache and hopes and motivation of real people.  I think everyone will find a character to relate to.  Also, the way magic works in my world - its based on subtle energy theory and the healing practices of yoga, meditation, sound therapy, essential oils, chakra balancing, etc.  I've woven a tapestry of real science and energy theory, of hopes and regrets, fear and love, action and adventure, romance and suspense that I think readers will enjoy wrapping themselves in on a cold, winter night.







Tag, your next, Amanda Harms!
Tag, your next, LM Stull!




Sunday, August 26, 2012

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

This picture was taken on March 9, 1998. That's me on the left. Obviously.

So many things come to mind when I look at this - the fact that it was snowing, the buzzing nerves in my belly, the pure adrenalin rush and the fact that I was embarking on a life-changing journey.

Prof had done it all before, so there was some sense that I could do this.  But the doubt was always there. What if I couldn't hack it?  What if I wasn't strong enough, tough enough, patient enough?  What if I didn't have what it took to live in the woods for 6 months and walk 2,000 miles from Georgia (where we are in this pic) to Maine?

But I did it.  And I learned a lot about myself, what I am capable of and how to get things done along the way.  So whenever new challenges arise or I pick some new thing to learn or accomplish, I have a pretty good idea about what it takes.  It takes patience, with yourself and the process, as well as others you may have to deal with along the way.  It takes commitment and re-commitment on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.  It takes sheer will.  It takes doing the small things in the moment that will add up to the big thing.  It takes putting one foot in front of the other no matter what.  It takes knowing when you need to rest and when you need to march or die.

It takes support from friends - surrounding yourself with positive people with like-minded goals.  The first rule of the adventurer: Don't hang out with losers. That may sound harsh, but the reality is people who don't get what you're doing will drag you down.  You have to hang out with the winners.  You have to. There is no other way.  If the people you hang with have no ambition or complain constantly, you will be carrying their dead weight and will never reach Katahdin.  That, my friends, is no way to win.

And it takes compassion for yourself.  You have to love yourself, cheer yourself on, pat yourself on the back when the hard day's work is done, and dust yourself off when you fall off the log.  Get back up and repeat the mantra that's getting you through that moment: Raviolis and a nap, raviolis and a nap, raviolis and a nap.  Or whatever. Hey, no judgement, man. Whatever gets you there. ;-)

And it takes believing in yourself.  If you've been beaten down by life, a job, a parent or a spouse, that may seem impossible right now. But I promise you, if you keep trying - keep repeating to yourself "I deserve this", "I am worth this", "I am good enough" - you will start to believe.  How do you think you got beat down in the first place? One undermining comment at a time.  So it works the other way, too. Believe me, I've been there and had to crawl my way out of the dark hole myself.  Oh, and start gathering those positive, like minded folks around you.  They'll toss you a life line.

Whatever it is you want - whatever you want your life to be - whatever goal you want to accomplish, it all starts with a single step.  You can do it.

I believe in you, baby.




Monday, August 20, 2012

The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years

Get it at Amazon
Author Noah K. Mullette-Gillman has released his latest novel

Blog friends, first, you know I don't post just any book on my personal blog.  It either had to move me or I have to be really excited about reading it.  This one just released today, so The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years is bumped to the top of my reading list. 

And, last but certainly not least, I have to say, I love this guy!  I met him in a writing group on line and his sense of humor and insight are always spot on. I can't wait to read this book.  Grab it up on Amazon today - on sale for 99 cents this week only.

Book Description: 
Two hundred years after humanity was forced to abandon Earth to the zombie hordes, three humans descend in great armored battle-suits into a world populated only by the ravenous and rotting undead. They will gun down as many hundreds and thousands of the monsters as necessary in their fight to retrieve the most important possession we left behind.

Too bad one of them is an idiot.

The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years is not a love story. It is not a work of spiritual mythology. It is bleeding and biting, cutting and explosions; a written rocket of death and disfigurement, with all humanity’s future at stake. Get ready for a white-knuckled descent into the worst of all possible nightmares. Two centuries after the end of the world, it may be the last story of humanity’s battle to survive.


The purchase also includes the first chapters of Noah K. Mullette-Gillman's Luminous and Ominous and Magic Makes You Strange included at the end of the book.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

About the Author

Noah Mullette-Gillman was born in Montclair, New Jersey. He spent his childhood there, as well as in the town of Manly, Australia, and the woods of Upstate New York. He earned a multidisciplinary degree in Philosophy and Creative Writing at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. 
He recently discovered that he is 3.3% genetically Neanderthal, which explains why he has a big head, hairy toes, uses air conditioning in his car in the winter, still owns his Snuffleupagus from when he was a little boy, and enjoys going for long walks.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chill


     The Presidential campaign season is in full swing and I am already sick to my stomach. I can’t turn on the TV or radio without someone telling me what a slime-ball so-and-so is or how they are going to fix what’s wrong.  All sides are giving me a serious case of the I-want-to-rent-a-cabin-off-the-grid-until-this-is-all-over.

     Anger and self-righteous loathing permeate facebook, twitter and even the grocery store. I literally feel the bile rising even as I dodge the hate bullets. Look, I get it. There are some passionate people out there who really want to make things better, at least as far as they see it. But, and this is a big BUT, hateful tirades about “the other side” are not going to win friends or influence anyone. I promise. The only thing hate accomplishes is despair and, well, more hate.

     I have friends on all sides of all issues - seriously.  And I am getting it from all angles - political opinions, folks.  Geesh.  Where's your mind?  Anywhoooooo, and of course, I have my own opinions. There are times when I feel like venting, too. And I do. So, if I have offended you, my friend, I apologize.  You are more important to me than any political opinion.  Who I share my life with is the most important thing to me.

      So when we get all hot and bothered about whatever our personal mission on earth is let’s take a deep breath and remember we’re all in this together. Maybe the next person doesn’t want to live in a world according to Melissa. I get that. Maybe, just maybe, the other person’s point of view is as valid as mine. Check. Maybe they are a fellow human being struggling just as hard as I am to make their dreams come true. Yeah.

      Maybe we are all in this together. We can hate, or we can love. We can demean and condescend or we can take the high road – show respect and be compassionate. The bottom line is we get back what we give.  The more venom we spew, the more poison we swallow. Someone once said hating another is like holding a hot coal in your bare hand with the intention of throwing it at them. You are the one who gets burned. I think it was Buddha…or Oprah.

      During this violently charged election season, take a chill pill. Bring on the love and light – and smile at the cashier.

Namaste, beautiful friends. Namaste






Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give Me by L.K. Rigel is on Sale!

Amazon







This is one of my all-time favorite books! Check out the review I wrote back in April when I first read it.

The Powerful Magic of Stories

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012


Just finished reading Give Me by LK Rigel last week. Wonderful story, well-weaved, but what I wanted to share with you was how this story found me at just the right time on just the right day. If you've been following my blog, you know that I recently lost my beloved grandmother and I have been heartbroken. Suffice it to say, I have my good days and I have my bad days. Last Monday was one of those bad days where I was lost and befuddled. In retrospect, I can see how all the variables added up to it. The day was dank and dreary and I was wallowing in self-doubt about my own writing abilities. I was feeling lonesome and afraid, aware of the growing distance between myself a couple close friends.

 As usual, I was determined to fight my way through it and be productive. I stood in the laundry room, Tide detergent in one hand, coffee mug in the other, staring at the washing machine. I just couldn't do it, so I put the Tide down and backed away slowly. I brewed a cup of earl grey and retreated to my bedroom. With guilt riding my shoulder, I fussed with the bed clothes and pillows 'til I had a suitable nest. Kindle in hand, I flicked the guilt-bird off my shoulder and cuddled up with Give Me.

From the moment I opened the book, I was exactly where I most love to be: in a magic-filled world of witches - wyrding women, in this case - and mythos. Even when the ancient, wind-swept beach cliff turned into sunny California, 21st century, I willingly, hopefully followed. I trailed after Lilith, scared for her, angry for her, sad for her. Lourdes and Elyse lured me into their world of woes, while Bausiney and Marion brought modern-day Dumnos to life. The drippy, grey world outside my window surfaced just long enough for me to meet my kids at the bus stop, and I vaguely remember preparing dinner for my family. Meatloaf, I think...

Then, I was back, immersed in tragic decisions and lost love, wondering at how well-meaning intentions often lead us astray. Finally, relieved when. . .well, you'll have to read the book, yourself.  Well past bedtime, I was still book-dazed as I brushed my teeth, awash in that familiar fog of fragmented feelings from another world - sadness, relief, anger, regret, hope. And, dare I say, even a little left over lust? That night, I dreamed.

I dreamed I was with my Nan Baer, the where and what fors have disappeared, but I remember sitting with her, holding her hand and telling her how much I love her. The specific words are mostly gone, but I do remember saying, "I wish we could go somewhere peaceful and just talk over tea like we used to." I woke up crying in the dark, feeling adrift, as if I could have been anywhere, anytime. In my mind's eye I was standing under the protective cover of Igdrasil (read the book), watching the bank of clouds roil across the western sea towards me. And in that ethereal moment, I truly believed I had just been with my grandmother.

 If you doubt the powerful magic of stories, my heart is heavy for you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I've been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award

A heart-full thank you to @JLenniDorner at http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/ for the wonderful Liebster Blog nomination.




The rules are:
 1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award. Add the award logo to your blog.
 2. Answer the eleven questions posted for the nominees.
 3. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
 4. Write eleven questions for your nominees and then...
 5. Nominate eleven worthy blogs and contact those bloggers so they know about it! (No tag backs.)

                                                                                                                                                                  
The Liebster Blog Award is given bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

"
As a new blogger, it feels good to know that someone out there that follows me loves my blog and my posts, therefore they love my mind." - Lil
                                                                                                                                   



The eleven questions I was given and my answers to them:


1- What is the most inspiring blog prompt you have encountered?  What are you doing to make your dreams your reality?  You have to take action, not just wish for things.

2- What is the biggest step you have taken toward achieving your dreams? Setting goals, taking action, listening to all the well-meaning advice, and then doing what I think is right, anyway.

3- Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why? Easy - Roland of Gilead.  Hands down, he is the best combination of gunslinger and unwilling philosopher. There are no easy answers or convenient definitions of right and wrong - sometimes you have to wing it.

4- What could someone say about a newly published book that would cause you to go get it immediately? That it's layered:  kick-ass, action adventure in a fantasy world with gritty romance, magic and deep thinking - but the deep thinking is optional. ;-)

5- What is the most fun activity you have ever engaged in with others online? Writing challenges - my favorite writing group gets together and kicks each other in the ass and we get each other writing - over the humps, through the tough stuff, and even the fun stuff

6- Do you care enough to change something in the world; and if so, what is it and how do you try to change it, and if not, why not? I care about the suffering in the world, but I know that suffering is an illusion, too and that we each have to change ourselves first before we can do anything to help anyone else. So, yes, I care, and I'm working on changing myself. When I get that down, I'll get back to you ;-)

7- What makes it all worth it? The real moments, when I'm wide awake and very aware of the smell of grass baked in warm sunshine, my man's hand on my leg while we drive, my kids' laughter echoing through the house, a sip of ice cold, fresh water, that moment of complete peace when I am right where I am.

8- Would it be better to be world famous for a failure or to be considered the greatest but only known by a small group of people? Its all about who you're with, so I pick option number 2 - that's all that matters, a few good friends and a deep sense of satisfaction.

9- Do you feel that the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do onto you) still applies in today's online world of tweeting, Facebook fanpage subscribing, and anonymous page/post commenting? absolutely - even more so.  I've read some rude and bizarre posts and I wonder what the heck that person wants to see happen in his own life.  How weird to inflict pain and suffering. There's enough of that going around - be the change, for goodness sake - spread a little love.

10- What is the kindest act that you have seen someone do in the past 30 days? My daughter give her younger brother the last of her brownie, even though she really wanted it, because he had dropped his in the dirt. Little brothers can be quite the pests.

11- What does your blog offer to the world that no one possibly could? Me and my perspective on life.  That's the beauty in each of us - our unique experience, our shared suffering and celebrations, our voice.  No one else is quite like you - yet, by sharing our life with each other, we comfort.  I know, I know, sappy, but true.

                                                                                                                                  


11 Random Facts About Me


 1.  I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail
 2.  I used to teach High School English
 3.  I love thunderstorms at night
 4.  I'm a Registered Yoga Teacher with YogaAlliance
 5.  I have never left North America
 6.  I have my motorcycle license but am scared to ride my motorcycle
 7.  My favorite food is Indian
 8.  I'm learning to hoop dance
 9.  I believe there are many paths, but just one truth
10.  I was once told my yoga classes were a backdoor to Satan (seriously)
11.  Happiness is my path

                                                                                                             

11 Questions for my Nominees


 1. On your death bed, what would you regret not doing?

 2. When was the last time you tried something new? What was it?

 3. What is important enough for you to go to war over?

 4. Describe your life in a 10 word sentence.

 5. What would be your perfect meal?

 6. Exercise is ....?

 7. Would your friends say you are a glass half-full or half-empty person?

 8. How do you de-stress?

 9.  What is your favorite book genre? Why?

10.  In your dream home, what one room must you have?

11.  What's the most bad-ass thing you've ever done? (ignoring your criminal history, of course)
                                                                                                             


My 11 Nominations are:

 1.  http://www.lkrigel.com/                 @LK_Rigel
 2.  http://www.shadowstephens.com/  @shadowstephens1
 3.  http://oliviahardinwriter.com/         @OliviaH_Writer
 4.  http://bookishwhimsy.blogspot.com/    @bookishwhimsy
 5.  http://youthfulyogini.blogspot.com/   @Youthful_Yogini
 6.  http://thisopenroad.wordpress.com/   @thisopenroad
 7.  http://raebethmcgeeswriting.blogspot.com/   @raebethmcgee
 8.  http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/    @djjramsey
 9.  http://thisauthorslife.blogspot.com/     @jessicajgibson
10. http://www.havocandmayhem.com/     @ComfyMom
11. http://danhkind.blogspot.com/        @DanHKind








Thursday, July 12, 2012

You're No Angel and I'm no Saint





    There’s no need to lie.  Be honest.  Yet, who hasn’t told a lie at some point?  Maybe it was to protect a friend’s feelings, maybe it was to save our butt. Regardless of the reason, we have told lies. I have told lies, even to myself, at times.  Weird, huh?  Or maybe not.  I don’t know.

    These are the thoughts going through my head this morning, and I am lost in a little bit of the great conundrum of right and wrong, good and evil, yes and no, truth and lies.  Is there an ultimate truth to our existence? Is it simply that what is, is?  I keep coming back to that and my head is spinning with the complexity my mind can create.

     When I sit still in meditation, it all seems so basic, so clear. What is, is.  In the moment, light shines or darkness beckons, breath flows in, breath flows out.  My nose itches.  My butt’s sore.  My knee aches.  The world, the universe is one connected matrix of life. It’s all chaos, with no purpose or duty. It’s all an illusion. Suffering is real. Suffering is unnecessary. Suffering is illusion. Sigh.

     When I run, like I did yesterday, with all my might until my heart pounds so hard I think it might actually break, when my lungs are on fire and it hurts to draw the next breath, my mind is clear.  I have no angst. I do not worry that people I’ve admired might actually have human frailties and make huge mistakes. I don’t worry whether I’ve over-extended myself or why I resist certain things – like cleaning my house or accepting my own responsibility when I make mistakes. I just am.  I am muscle and bone and blood pumping through arteries and veins. I am 75% water and that water is running in my eyes, down my back, down my legs, soaking my socks and hair.

     I am.  That is all. That is a great place to be – a great state to be in.  I wish I knew how to keep that state of being all the time, under all circumstances.  I can’t run all day.  I can’t meditate all day, can I?  I have to engage in real life, make dinner, wash the clothes, pay the speeding ticket, discipline my children, make love to my man, cry for my Nan when I miss her so much my throat closes, put lavender and arnica gel on my son’s knee scrape, write my heart.

     I guess I’ll continue to “follow my heart and act real bold, just like Ghandi,” as MC Yogi raps. For now.

     Namaste, beautiful friends.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Giveaway!



We are giving away a $100 Gift Certificate to Oberon Design ! They have eReader covers, necklaces, and more!

Here are the authors bringing you this incredible prize. Click to read more about their books.












Coming Soon!

 
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Hot Chocolate was Not All That

Not every day is a great day. Not every emotion we have feels great and anticipated experiences can be a let down, when our expectations are high and the reality doesn't seem to rise to it. We sometimes set ourselves up for disappointment by building something up too much in our minds. This is a basic lesson, I know, but I was reminded of it again this morning by my 7-year-old son.

He was excited by the prospect of hot chocolate for breakfast. His eyes lit up when I said yes to his request, and off he ran to prepare it himself. He measured the powder and stirred the concoction with the focus of a scientist, eager, yet steady. He cooled it down with a splash of milk and sipped carefully at his creation. Eyes bright, he nodded with approval and sat down at the table. A few more careful sips changed his contenance. With each slurp, he lost a little more of that triumphant glow, until he finally put down the mug and stood up.  He furrowed his brow with the air of a globally renowned researcher who was about to make an important announcement..

"This is too sweet for breakfast. My stomach doesn't like it." He looked at me with mild confusion.  "Do I have to finish it?"

Hmmm. There are so many things I could say about the lessons to be learned, but I'll keep it simple. We expect certain experiences to bring us joy or satisfaction and when we get what we think we want and the good feeling is short lived, we're puzzled. Maybe my 92-year-old grandmother was passed all that, but I guess I'm not. I've realized that, on occasion, I still expect some event or new object to bring me satisfaction. Its kind of silly, but I catch myself doing it way more than I'd like to admit. And when the thing or event isn't "all-that", I feel the disappointment.  Sigh.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Witch Way Bends by Olivia Hardin available FREE

I just finished reading Witch Way Bends, Book 1 in the Bend Bite Shift Trilogy, and I loved it!  If you are a paranormal/fantasy fan, I think you will, too.  And guess what?  Olivia Hardin is offering the ebook for FREE today and tomorrow.  Woo hoo! Grab it up.  Oh, and Bitten Shame, Book 2 in the trilogy is available, so you don't have to wait to find out what happens next. Nice.



Available on Amazon



                                                                                                                                                                     

About the Author

Olivia Hardin realized early on how strange she was to have complete movie-like character dreams as a child. Eventually she began putting those vivid dreams to paper and was rarely without her spiral notebooks full of those mental ramblings. Her forgotten vision of becoming an author was realized when she connected with a group of amazingly talented and fabulous writers who gave her lots of direction and encouragement. With a little extra push from family and friends, she hunkered down to get lost in the words. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and is sometimes accused of being artistic, though she's generally too much of a perfectionist to appreciate her own work. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband and their puppy Bonnie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The One You Feed



An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Choices, Choices, Choices


     There are times when I just doubt myself and this whole adventure that I’m on. I know I am not the only one and that is some comfort to me, but the truth is I get sick and tired of these angsty, pity party trips.  I’m so over them, so why do I keep having them?  Other than the knee jerk samskara-type reactions, I think it may also be who I invite to my party.

     Overall, I have surrounded myself with positive, adventurous spirits who are uplifting, supportive and encouraging.  Thank you so much friends and family for your kindness, and I hope with all my heart that I am such a soul for you, saying positive things and uplifting your spirit, as well.  I strive to, but that doesn’t always mean I accomplish that goal. 

     But, every once in a while some nay-sayer gets invited to the shin-dig and I’m floored.  There was a real negative post on facebook the other day, which for the most part I can blow off, but it was just out of the blue.  It was deliberately negative with malicious intent, and I’m not going to repost what was written.  Time to let it go.  I invited this person into my life quite literally when I accepted their friend request, so, ultimately, I am responsible for them bellying up to my proverbial bar. Then there was the police officer’s attitude when I got pulled over for speeding the other day. Yes, my bad, and I take full responsibility for my actions – I was running a scene in my head from the book I’m writing while driving on the outskirts of town.  Don’t do that; you will miss the posted speed limit.

     Thus, I invited this man into my life with my inattention to the important matter at hand:  driving my vehicle in a safe and responsible manner.  And as the officer so kindly reminded me, driving is a privilege, not a right and one must earn their privileges. Maybe the cop’s attitude when he pulled me over had to do with the kind of day he was having, but it was jarring.  He sounded  truly angry with me, so much so that he scared my 10-year-old when he barked at me, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”  I have to admit that line irritates me in general.  Can we skip the lecture, please?  I’m an adult, you’re an adult, let’s just get this uncomfortable business over with. I try to be completely honest in my blog postings, so here goes.  He was disrespectful, intentionally condescending and unnecessarily intimidating.  I had no idea I was speeding, so my answer to his question was, “I’m sorry, officer, but I have no idea what I did wrong.” 

     “Well, why don’t you give me your license and registration and I’ll educate you.”

     I’m not a stupid woman:  I get it.  He’s the authority figure and I had just violated a traffic regulation and I need to be polite and respectful to the guy in charge at the moment.  I also know a cop’s job is, for the most part, a thankless one. The public is distrustful and resentful, at times, and the pay isn’t that great and you get to deal with the most difficult people on a daily basis, and I’m being kind, I’m sure.  Then there is whatever internal regulations and politics of the sheriff’s office and so on, so please understand this is not a cop-bashing post (I have police officer friends who I love and respect) but here’s where it all breaks down for me.

   We are all people with histories and hearts, and we need to remember that no matter what we are doing.  I try to always keep that in mind, so I was polite, respectful and downright obsequious, but what did I get in return?  Disrespect, anger and a deliberate attempt to intimidate me.  I had my daughter with me, so I was trying to diffuse the situation and be as cooperative as I could, but it was like he wanted me to shake and cry, which I eventually did.  I said not a negative word, didn’t roll my eyes or give the man any reason to think I disrespected his authority, at all.  When he walked away to look me up, my girl said, “Mom, that guys being such a dip to you.”  I paused, trying to find the right words to explain the situation and to be thoughtful with my response, not just blather or be overly emotional.  Finally, I said, “Hey, his job is not easy and I did violate a traffic law.”

     “But you didn’t mean to and he doesn’t have to be so mean.”

     “Well, whether I meant to or not, I did and I need to accept the consequences.  Besides, we don’t know what kind of day he’s having – maybe his kid is sick or his dog just died.”

     “Well, he doesn’t know what kind of day you’re having, either, so why doesn’t he try to be more kind, like you?”

     I didn’t know what to say to that, and by that time, the officer was back and I don’t know why, but he did tone his attitude down.  Well, maybe it had to do with the way my hand shook when I signed the ticket or the way the tear ran down my daughter’s cheek.  God, part of me was so upset with him for making my daughter cry and at myself for putting her in that situation, and I wondered if he felt like he had made his point or if he truly felt bad about it.  Honestly, it got to me that he got to me and I wanted to just get the hell out of there.  When we finally drove away, my girl patted my arm and said, “It’s okay, mom.  We know you’re a good person and that’s all that matters.”

     And I cried right then. Geesh.  What a goofy, sappy piece of work I can be.  Ah, well. What I’m getting at is that you choose who comes into your life, really, by what you do and what you say and who you associate with.  You also have the power to choose the way you react to them and whether or not they get to stay in your life.  I choose not to invite another police officer into my day, period, unless it’s in a social situation with good friends.  I choose to not get rattled by the unhappy people I come into contact with - which, unfortunately, is not so easy, but worth working on – and I choose to un-invite those who consistently make life more difficult than it has to be. 

It all comes down to choices, now doesn’t it?
Why, yes, Melissa, yes, it does.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Great Books by Two Great Authors


Immortal Voyage and Taming the Wolf Available Now!

Please join Stephanie and C.G. on their event page on FB, there will be lots of games, prizes, and chatting with the authors!

Immortal Voyage by C.G. Powell

A Terra Stellar Novel
Before the time of the great pyramids, there was a place like none other, a city of glass and metal rising from the depths of the ocean.  Shrouded in mist, the island of Hy-Brasil and its capital Atlantis lay hidden from the rest of the world by its people, a race of long lived, interstellar nomads.

What secrets would you keep to save your kingdom?  On the Queen’s deathbed, the sonless King Aldric is force into a promise to allow his five daughters to marry for love. A promise he wished he had never made, and one he will have to break to save the kingdom.

The youngest of five daughters, Jael, spent most of her time at her father’s side learning to run a kingdom.  Believed to be the King’s favorite, Jael is shocked when he betroths her to a longtime friend of his, Prince Sarik of Hy-Brasil.  Soon she will learn that world is full of secrets and one of them is her very own birth.  Will the secret that bonds her to Sarik be the ultimate downfall of a kingdom?

Available at   Amazon   B&N   Smashwords




Taming the Wolf by Stephanie Nelson
The Anna Avery Series – Book 1
Attacked by a wolf while hiking in the mountains, Anna Avery's life just got a little hairier. Living in the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, with a group of werewolves who are more animal than human, Anna must try to hold onto her human side. It's not easy when the alpha continues to persuade her into his bed, while another wolf is chomping at the bit to become her mate. To top it all off, dead bodies are showing up and it just so happens that Anna was the last to see them alive. She'll have to work to prove her innocence and taming the wolf who bites first and asks questions never.


Available at  Amazon   





Available at Amazon