Friday, December 20, 2013

A Christmas Yet to Come is Live on Amazon!!! or Maybe I'm Too Excited for My Own Good

Available on Amazon
The lovely ladies of Romantic Edge Books have pulled together for the holidays to offer a collection of Christmas tales (and maybe even some tails) that will make you laugh, cry, and sigh.  It's live on Amazon right this minute and on sale for $1.99.

We wish you an amazing Christmas and magical holidays!

Get your copy of 
A Christmas Yet to Come 











The Ghost of Yuletide Past by CG Powell 
Five years after Lenni's death, Tam is still clinging to his past. But with some gentle prodding from his wife's ghost, he decides it’s finally time to give life a second chance. Soon Tam finds himself waist deep in Dragons and over his head in Merlins—What’s a man to do?  


Nirvana by Melissa Lummis 
What is it about the holidays that brings out the drama in every family? And Christian’s unusual family is no exception to the rule. Christmas was never the vampire’s favorite time of year, but when Loti goes into premature labor during a wintry nor'easter he will learn for the first time what the real meaning of Christmas—and family—is all about.  


Abound Christmas by Lola James 
Love for Ben had never been easy, but he has a new job to keep him busy. From past to present the story bounces around but one things for sure his love will be Abound! 


The Shadow Bells by Tawdra Kandle 
The last time Nell Massler was in the town of King, she left in a straitjacket. But it's Christmas, and her boyfriend Rafe deserves to be surrounded by his family. Nell agrees to go for the holiday, not knowing that their visit home will include a trip down memory lane with two lovers who act like the Ghosts of Christmas Past. The spirits give Nell and Rafe glimpses of their history, before they have to make decisions for their future. 

Mistletoe and Moonlight by Stephanie Nelson 
When a vision takes a hold of Anna, she’ll experience Christmas with the two brothers that have been plaguing her mind: Adam and Anthony. One is her soul mate and bonded with her, while the other is a temptation she’d rather ignore. Will Anna will lose herself, and a little bit of her heart, to the festiveness of mistletoe and moonlight? 

The Trouble with Holidays by Olivia Hardin 
Falling for a human who doesn’t believe in magic was the last thing Lynlee Lincoln needed. Beck Hale was a young architect and she was a Neutralizer-in-training—they were drawn together, but worlds apart. When Beck’s apartment gets flooded, she invites him to her home for Christmas. Lynlee tries to ignore the pull of the mistletoe, but after all, ‘tis the season. 

Do You Slay What I Slay? By Mandie Stevens
Anya is looking forward to a quiet Christmas with her friends. However when new Vampires attack innocent people, she, as the local alchemist and supernatural judge, has to get involved. To track down the person who created this vampire will require the help of the local Imp who is a little too interested in the investigation. Keeping the supernatural community in check is never easy. Especially when Anya can’t be certain that she can trust her partner or that he slays what she slays. 

Good Tidings by Liz Schulte 
1929 was a terrible year for Baker McGovern. The Chicago mafia was in upheaval, the stock market crashed, and prohibition was still in effect. However, life as he knew it was about to change.Ready to give up his career in the mob, all he needed to do was tie up a few lose ends and plan his exit strategy then he was home free. However, nothing ever goes as planned. Three little orphans cross his path and sets Baker on a road he couldn’t have anticipated.Trying to give them a Christmas they would always remember, they end up giving him the best gift of all. 


Unexplained by Amanda Latzel 
Christmas isn’t a holiday for the undead—especially not vampires.Jaxon Keaton, the drummer for the rock band Vhenom, decided that his holiday would be best spent with his fangs dipped in fan girls rather than eggnog. However, fate had another plan. Someone he never saw coming enters his life, challenging him to remember his past and change his future.Can the drummer who loves being naughty learn to be a little nice?

Download the collection on Amazon


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Happy Holidays! or Why I had to Postpone the Release of Samadhi

I'm patting my belly as I sit at the lappy and wondering why the holidays and book releases make me want to eat.  Maybe the stress?  All the yummy turkey and gravy, stuffing and sweet potatoes, and oh, yeah, the pumpkin pie?  Yummmmmm.  I'm going to be working out for two weeks to make up for all the indulging.  *sigh*  Me and my trainer are going to get extra face time.

I'm also going to be working overtime between now and Christmas to get the last book in the Love and Light Series ready for release.  I had hoped to release it by November 30th, but, yeah, *clears throat* that didn't happen.

However, I promise the book will be out by January 2014, so you won't be waiting too much longer.  In the meantime, dear friends, may I bribe your forgiveness with an excerpt from the book?  And don't forget you can get Enlightened -- Book One for just 99 cents.

Enjoy! and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and don't forget to take the time to check out all the Christmas lights and spend some quality time with friends and family this holiday season.  Family is a precious gift, whether it is the one you were born into or the one you created.

Namaste!

Excerpt from Samadhi -- Book Three in the Love and Light Series

When he awoke, his mother was pouring him a glass of water as she sat by his bedside.  A fresh bruise bloomed over her eye and cheekbone.  Christian struggled to sit up, reaching out to touch her cheek.  She turned her head away and his hand hesitated in the air before falling to his side.

“You need to take your medicine, darling,” she murmured as she poured thick syrup into a silver spoon.

“Mamma, he shouldn’t hurt you like this.  He should not hurt you, ever.”  Christian’s blue eyes blazed with fever and fearful indignation, his plump cheeks bright pink.

She laid a hand over his and held out the spoon.  “You are not to worry over me, my sweet boy.  Let me worry over you.” 

The touch of her cool hand on his skin was blessed relief, but the little boy couldn’t let go of the fearful anger. She smiled as only a mother in love with her son can do, and he smiled back with equal affection.  Swallowing his medicine, the youngster fell back into his rumpled bed clothes, weak and woozy with the fever. 

“Now, get some rest and maybe in the morning—if you are feeling better, mind you—we can read some more Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours.”

Christian’s eyes lit up as he took his mother’s hand and kissed it.  “I will free us one day, Momma.  I promise. One day, you and I will travel around the world, just like Phileas Fogg and Passepartout.”

She laughed softly as she kissed his overheated forehead.  “Bonne nuit, mon prince doux.”

Christian drifted off to an unsettling sleep, where he tossed and turned amidst a nightmare about being buried alive.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Is A Happy Life Possible or Get Help for Depression and Anxiety NOW!

There is hope and light and love in this world.
YES! A happy life is possible and depression and anxiety are nothing to fool around with.  Get help and get it now.  Why am I writing about this today?

I woke up at my usual time this morning—5 AM.  No, no alarms, just my body’s idea of when to get up.  *grumble grumble, dang body*   So I did what I always do:  check out the social media sites on my iPhone.  As I’m scrolling through the usual posts and tweets and tumbles, I came across a friend’s post that made me sit up in bed.  He wrote that the bottom has dropped out and he is in the throws of a deep depression today.

Tears welled up immediately and I started to cry.  This is my usual reaction whenever anyone tells me they are suffering with anxiety and depression, because I truly, deeply, physically empathize.  I have been down that rabbit hole and back up several times and it is heart-wrenching, hateful, soul-sucking, and mind-altering.  I quite literally felt his pain.

Then it dawned on me that I have been the witness to several friends' and acquaintances' dark moments recently.  It’s happening all the time to people we love and we don’t necessarily realize what’s going on with them.  I wonder if my online friend’s family and real-life friends know what is going on with him?  I wonder if he’s reaching out elsewhere, not just online?  I hope so.  Oh, I so hope so, because depression may be a personal battle, but it is not to be fought alone.

Depression and anxiety are nothing to mess around with.  If you are depressed or have anxiety,  are buried under a landslide of negative, worrisome thoughts, and dragging yourself through your days with little hope RUN don’t walk to a friend, doctor, barber, milkman, ANYONE who you can reach out to. Don’t hesitate because your life may be at stake, and I’m not just referring to suicide.  Get help now!  Follow this link How To Get Help for Depression.

Being depressed and anxious is bad for your health.  Period.  The research is in on stress and its negative effects on the body and mind, including depression and anxiety.  And while stress can lead to depression and anxiety, the opposite is also true: anxiety and depression are stressful.  Take a look at How Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Effect Your Health on WebMD for more on the health repercussions.

And then there’s the day in and day out torture.  Life feels unmanageable and unbearable when you’re depressed.  For those of you who have never experienced it imagine that everything you do takes 100 times the effort and energy.  Everything tires you out and nothing seems worth that much effort.  Imagine your head is 100 pounds and you can only use your neck to lift it off the pillow.
Imagine all the color has drained away and the world is cold and grey and desolate.  The birds have stopped singing and you are racing down an abandoned highway at 100 miles an hour without any breaks.  You know something awful, horrifyingly painful and tragic is going to happen but you have absolutely no way to stop: all you can do is try to stay on the road and hope you run out of gas soon.

Imagine no one notices that you’re trapped inside a light-less, suffocating box.  You can’t breathe.  You can’t hear anything.  You can’t see any way out.  Imagine you’re losing your mind and you can’t trust your own thoughts.  Disturbing, unsettling images and ideas pop randomly into your awareness and you think, “My God, I’m a horrible, horrible person. What if I do something crazy?”

 And when you do manage to look around at the people bustling by, going about every day life as if all is good, you think, “I’m the only one.  They’re fine.  What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be normal like everyone else?” 

 And that’s just my experience. You can read more about my struggles, if you like.  I’m sure others who have suffered from depression and anxiety would describe it a little differently, but the essence is the same:  fear, self-loathing, darkness, hopelessness.  When you toss anxiety into the mix, like some cruel spice, you add another dimension of fright. I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks so severe, I swear I thought I was dying or sometimes my mind was finally, finally, breaking apart.

 I’m being painfully honest and open for a very important reason: I want those of you out there suffering to know you are NOT alone. You are NOT the only one and no, everyone else is not traipsing along just fine and honky-dory.  More people suffer with this debilitating dis-ease than are reported in the stats.  I’d even venture to guess that every one of us has a dark tea time of the soul or two in our life.  How could we not?  Bad things happen to good people all the time.

Hear this: You are not alone and you are not a leper and you are lovable.

Right now, this very minute, PLEASE PLEASE reach out for help.  There is hope.  Even though the road ahead may look dark and endless, I promise there is a way for you to be at peace.  It will take commitment, hard work, and a willingness to change, but it’s there.  It’s possible.  I know.  I’m walking it now.  I changed my life bit by bit until I found my way.  I am constantly tweaking the formula and I still have bad days, but I have a team of support and family and friends who love me, strategies and knowledge and power. I'll be sharing more on the tool kit I've developed over the years in my next blog post.

I am in control of how I see the world, now. It is no longer bearing down on me at full speed ready to crush me alive.  It is full of color and music and friends and happiness, so when the bad times come, I have that to cling to.  I love the light because I have known the darkness intimately.

Don’t walk one more day in the dark alone, my friends.  Reach out.  I’m here.

Please.

Love and light to every single one of you.

Namaste.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Interview on Buddy's Writing Show or How Many Times Can I Say Fabulous?

My funny writer friend, Buddy Gott, has a YouTube show called...you guessed it...Buddy's Writing Show and he just had me on as a guest.  Woot! Woot! *fist pumps*

This was the most fun I've had in an interview EVER, despite the fact that my internet connection froze up a few times.  I never witnessed the problem and even accused Buddy of being in an altered state of mind.  I must officially eat my words and say it was most definitely MY connection issue.  Maybe my router is having trouble out in the yurt.  Hmmmm...must have my computer scientist hubby investigate.

So, here's the interview and I thought it would useful and fun to jot some notes down about things we discussed and share links, etc.  You can watch the video and follow along with my notes as I have conveniently noted the time into the video the notes correlate with. Aren't I nifty and shit? lol!  Enjoy and please post any comments or questions below, as usual.  And please give my friend Buddy some love and subscribe to his YouTube channel. I promise, you will be thoroughly entertained.



My Notes and Comments:

00:26  I practice yoga just about every day and I love to create funky playlists to go with it.  Here was today's practice playlist 


00:55  I am very aware that I need to be able to describe the Love and Light Series succinctly and with enthusiasm that creates excitement and interest. I'm working on it.  Really.  Here's the link to the Love and Light Series page .

04:10
 

05:54  Yes, I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. It's called thru-hiking and it was truly life changing.  I talk a little about it in my post A Journey of  Thousand Miles.

08:35  Correction: my husband WAS an artist, as in he earned a Fine Arts degree from Radford University YEARS ago. He has not painted an actual picture since I have known him.  It was easier to say "he paints" than to explain that he once-upon-a-time was an artist (actually worked for a living as one), but is now a computer scientist.  Yep, went back to college and got ANOTHER degree.  Over-achiever.  pfft. ;-)

09:00 The writer friend I was talking about is Liz Schulte and she was interviewed by John Mosul on the show Communicating Today on channel 10 in Fairfax, Virginia.  I have a copy of the interview, but I have to ask Liz if she wants it posted.  If she does, I'll add a link here and tweet about it.

09:41  Brainwashing techniques  I sometimes wonder if the NSA has a file on me and my random internet searches about automatic weapons, floaters, laudanum, and BDSM.

17:15  Romantic Edge Books is a group of nine authors writing LOVE on the EDGE ~ Liz Schulte, Amanda Latzel, C.G. Powell, Olivia Hardin, Stephanie Nelson, Lola James, Mandie Stevens, Tawdra Kandle, and me, Melissa Lummis.

21:45  Here are all my contact links:
          Twitter:   @melissalummis
          Facebook:  Melissa Lummis
          tumblr:  Adventures on My Road
          Pinterest:  My Boards
          Google+:  Melissa Lummis

22:25  And, yes, I was able to fix my tumblr blog address.  Duh. *shaking my head at myself*

24:00  I am working on adding the playlists I created for each book to the website, but in the meantime you can check out all of them on my Spotify page.  I've got all the music I was talking about - Everlast, Paul McCartney's new album New, and NIN comeback album Hesitation Marks -- in my playlists.  Happy listening!

That's about it. Thank you for listening and reading and have an awesome day!

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to Build a Happy Life or Are the Shadow Days Over Now, John Mayer?

Image courtesy of Bitstrips
I'm still working on building my happy life in spite of the shadow days, but I’m struggling with the process.  How about you?  Some days I still wake up with anxiety in my solar plexus and it pisses me off.  I am generally an optimist and I can go along for days with a general sense of well-being, that all is right with the world, despite whatever inner demons are at the top of my to-wrestle-with list.  However, some mornings—like today—I just want to tell my eager-beaver ambition to fuck off.

I want to bury my head in the pillows and give in to the despondency, you know, that it’s too hard to maintain the necessary energy to accomplish all I dream of.  Or even just to be happy.  It sucks.  When I feel this discouraged there’s nothing left to be done but get my bliss on.  What is this bliss you speak of, Melissa? Are we going to sing kum by yah while we hold hands, now?  *barf*

Well, sort of.   When the “shadow day” cometh, I get a little lost at first, but I have a plethora of things that speak secret, hopeful messages to me on just such dark occasions.  You see, I got up this morning with the shadow of doubt and dismay hanging over me and I got mad.  Really, really mad, damn it.  Here I've been working on taking care of myself, following my bliss, getting to know myself, and trust myself, and this is the frackin’ result?  Argh!

But I'm learning that I've trained myself well.  I got up and decided to focus on the little things I love about every day: I made myself my favorite cup of coconut coffee and put together a stellar I’m-a-rock-star outfit. Then I sorted through a box of stuff I’d thrown at the foot of the bed and had been bugging me for a week.  What a relief to declutter just a wee bit.  When that was done, I noticed my nails needed a good buff and polish and while I was freaking out over the textured polish I inadvertently bought (looks really good, though!) and listening to my Peaceful playlist these thoughts I’m writing down bubbled to the surface.

And now I’m tapping away, excited to share with you the reminder the Universe nudged me with this morning: I am truly the master of my life.  Every little thing I've done up until this point has culminated in a safety net to keep me on track!! *chills running up my spine* Whatever my goals are, whatever the emotional shadow that passes over me, I am still in charge.  I am still the only one accountable for my well-being.  Me.  I am the gatekeeper AND the key master.

It's a tough job but when it pays off like it has this morning, I am utterly, well, blissed out. What happened?!  Well, remember the Peaceful playlist I mentioned earlier?  I have this theory that music and people are basically the same thing: expressions of the Divine in vibrational form.  Think atoms:  on a subatomic level we all are just vibrations of energy. And what is music?  Ever been to a concert or club and the bass gets inside your chest and you feel a part of the music? Like its something living that melds with your soul?

*clears throat* Okay, I digress in my usual weird fashion, however, my point is this:  I have expended a lot of energy creating habits and collecting good things and good people around me. This is my support, my heart, my love, my hope, my investment in me and my life.  Take my large collection of music of all genres and tempos.  I throw playlists together every day and keep a soundtrack of my life going at all times. And I save a lot of them. When I’m having a morning like today, I pick one randomly and let the music speak to me.

Today it said, “Did you know you could be wrong and swear you’re right?”  Well, John Mayer sang it to me from my “Peaceful” playlist in his song “Shadow Days.”  I sat up straight and as the lyrics sank in, tears welled up.  Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a sap.  But hey, *shrugs* that’s me.  I played the song over and over full of awe that the words I most needed to hear were right there all wrapped up in one beautiful piece of music.

And it dawned on me that this was no accident.  All the hard work I've put into my ambitions, my goals, and my life in general actually amount to something.  I am making progress; I am actually making a difference and things are shifting.  Every thought I've had, every action I've taken, including adding John Mayer’s album “Born and Raised” to my Peaceful playlist have an impact.  None of it is frivolous, my friends, when you’re following your bliss.

And music is my bliss—I may not be writing it, but I’m collecting it and it matters.  It ALL matters.  So when you’re feeling extremely unhappy and discouraged, turn to your bliss. What makes you happy?  Painting your nails?  Kick-ass clothes?  Styling your hair? Lifting weights? Baking? Chatting with a friend? Listening to music?  Running a 6-minute mile in the cold light of a fall dawn?  Prepping healthy meals for the week? Reading Stephen King?

If something isn't feeling right, turn to your favorite page and read the words out loud.  Don’t give up, at least not for too long.  You've spent a lifetime ferreting out your favorites…use them, indulge in them.  Make yourself happy, because you’re the only one who can, with every thing you add and subtract from your life.

Like, are you still doing that daily yoga I suggested?  If you've stopped, start right now, again.  This process of making a happy life is not a straight line.  Its curvy and twists back on itself and nothing is settled in one day or one month or one year.  It’s a journey full of surprises and joys and heart ache and love.

Have you figured out what you've been eating and why?  If you haven’t, give it another go. Re-read my post and see if there’s a different way you could go about it that would work better for you. 

And remember: it all matters, even the so called “mistakes” and “shadow days” because they remind us we are not any one moment, but an amalgamation of our life experiences.  We can let go of the dark and embrace the light whenever we choose.  I choose light right now, here in this moment, and like John Mayer sings, "And I'm open, knowing somehow my shadow days are over now."



Love and light to each and every one of you, dear friends. Namaste.

Need something to read or look at for ideas until next week? Check out my Pinterest Boards and follow me on Tumblr.  I'm always adding tons of yoga, healthy living, chakra, lifestyle, funny and thought provoking stuff.

Have you had a shadow day recently? Tell me about it, please! It helps to get it off your chest and I will pick one brave commentor each month for a free 30-minute consultation.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Blog Hop or Confessions of a Popcorn Ball Addict


Welcome to the Halloween Blog Hop!

I will never forget the year my cousins and I all dressed up like hobos for Halloween, complete with flannel shirts and 5 o'clock shadows.  My mom drove us all over creation visiting our relatives.  We grew up rural, so there weren't any neighborhood blocks to flock to.  We spent a good three hours driving from house to house and when we finally reached my Grandpop's place, my little heart seized in my chest.  His old, stone colonial farm house--the house he was born in, mind you--was eerily dark on the outside, but through the windows dancing, twisting orange firelight beckoned unsuspecting children.

The whole scene was completed with ghostly moans coming from who knew where.  Walking up to the door, I gripped the handle of my plastic goodie bag with sweaty palms.  The youngest of my cousins, I was the first to reach the door, the rest of my posse creeping up behind me with wide open mouths.  The door creeeeeeaked open, and I screamed, jumped, and ran at the face of my Grandpop lit up from below by a flashlight.

Everyone laughed, except me.  I sulked a good long time while I nibbled down a popcorn ball and a half before I saw the humor in it.

What's your fondest Halloween memory?

And now for the hop and the giveaway!! Up for grabs is a $10 Amazon Gift card to load your Kindle with some spooky reading this Halloween. a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to follow the linky for more Halloween memories and giveaways!

Happy Halloween, my beautiful friends.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meet the Writers of Romantic Edge Books! Or 20 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Me #rebelwriters #meetREB


It's time to introduce the writers of Romantic Edge Books--Nine Authors Writing LOVE with an EDGE.

Today, we're sharing 20 Things you probably didn't know about us.  Check out mine, and then follow the linky below for the posts by Olivia Hardin ~ Liz Schulte ~ C.G. Powell ~ Stephanie Nelson ~ Lola James ~ Mandie Stevens ~ Amanda Latzel ~ Tawdra Kandle


20 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Melissa Lummis

Melissa fell in love with vampires when she saw Love at First Bite for the first time and her heart was utterly lost to them when she read her first gothic vampire romance. 

Melissa loves to read the classics, fantasy, science fiction, and lots and lots of smexy books, including erotica. ;-)

Melissa read every Black Stallion book and daydreamed of living on Azul Island with Steve Duncan and Flame.

Melissa wears her cowboy boots with everything--dresses, shorts, jeans, you name it.  And she was born a Yankee.

Melissa's great-great-great grandfather, Henry Harrison Heinman of the 2nd Calvary assigned to guard General Meade, died at Gettysburg, but not before he killed her husband's great-great uncle, Jim Bowie Magruder, the Colonel in command of the Virginia 57th out of Charlottesville, Virginia.


The Money Shot on Katahdin
Melissa thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail with her husband in six and half months in 1998.  Her trail name was Peacepipe.

She has a tattoo of a peacepipe on the back of her right shoulder.

Melissa lived in an intentional community (kind of like a commune) for a year.

Melissa has been known to frequent clothing optional beaches.  


Melissa changed careers four times: from High School English Teacher to Technical writer to Yoga Teacher to Author.


The night Melissa's grandmother died she dreamt they were having tea and her grandmother stood up and said she was going to have to leave now but that Melissa should watch for the butterflies--because they would be her grandmother coming to check on Melissa.
Kodi being cute

Melissa has an Alaskan Malamute named Kodiak, who is a girl.


Melissa was raised by hippies.  No, really.


Melissa graduated from Penn State and bleeds blue and white.


She breathes a huge sigh of relief every year when the first, crisp fall day arrives.


To save her aching back, Melissa had breast reduction surgery and the insurance company paid for it


One of Melissa's guilty pleasures is watching the reality show Full Throttle Saloon and she really, really wants to go to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and meet Jesse James and Michael Ballard and Angie. :-D


Something that makes Melissa very happy:  a shot of wheat-grass with fresh, raw ginger followed by a beet and citrus juice chaser.

The Yurt

Melissa's secret alone behavior:  eating exactly six oreo cookies dunked in milk for exactly the count of 6 Mississippi while watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Shhhhhhh.....


When she's writing in her yurt, she takes a break every hour for 10 minutes and does one of three things: dances to Skrillex, hula hoops to Skrillex, or watches Youtube videos of Skrillex



Please be sure to subscribe to our NEWSLETTER so you can keep up with our shenanigans and all of our books.

 Here are the lovely ladies of Romantic Edge Books spending some quality time together.  If you're going to make it as a writer, don't try to do it alone.  I love these women with all my heart and count my blessings every day that they came into my life.  Writing is a long road and not for the faint of heart; if it wasn't for these women, I would be very lonely and miserable.  They make me laugh, lift my spirits, are always honest with me, and never let me give up.  Namaste, beautiful friends.

Olivia and Melissa
Melissa, Amanda, and C.G.
Lola and Liz

 

                          
Stephanie
Mandie and Tawdra
                 

Jump Around to learn about all the REB Writers.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Haunted U by Author Jessica Gibson is LIVE!


Genre: YA Paranormal
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours


Buy it here!




Blurb:
Ezzie Lovegreen lives in a world where witches and ghosts are real. That doesn’t mean she’s not surprised when she’s suddenly being haunted by one at school.
With the help of her best friend Stella, her boyfriend Beau, and her grandmother Winifred, Ezzie must find out what happened to the ghost and set her free.

Secrets will be revealed that could change Ezzie’s life forever. Will Ezzie be strong enough to face the challenges set in her path?





Author Bio:
Jessica Gibson is a recovering bookaholic, she's down from four books a week to a more reasonable one. It was that love of words and creativity that made her dream about writing her first book. That dream was hidden for years, always put on the back burner, filed away in the "someday" section, until her husband Matt gave her the kick in the pants she needed to actually get off her butt and write.

Jessica and Matt live in Southern California and have a serious addiction to reality tv shows like Pawn Stars and American Restoration. They have one son and hope to add to the family in the near future.

Aside from writing, she runs an online event planning business called the Release Day Diva. In addition to novels, Jessica writes and maintains the blog Book on the Bright Side. Keep up with Jessica and her latest releases and events on her blog.




Excerpt:
Ezzie pulled her Range Rover behind her dad’s vehicle. Beau parked right behind her in his truck. He was at her door in an instant and held a hand to help her out of the car.
Addelyn was waiting for them in the open doorway, a huge smile on her face, and looking perfectly put together in a lavender shirt-dress and black heels.

“Why, Beau, you are getting so handsome. It’s been ages since we’ve had you over for dinner. How’s your mama?”

Beau smiled and kissed the cheek she offered him. “Thank you, Mrs. Lovegreen. You are looking as lovely as ever. Mama is great. I’ll tell her you asked after her.”
Addelyn nodded and turned back into the house. “Let’s go eat. Dinner should be ready right about now.”

“I need to drop my stuff in my room. You can come, or go find my dad. I’m sure he’s in his study.”

Beau gave her a look. “I think I’ll go with you.”

Heat bloomed in Ezzie's cheeks again. The look he had just given her was anything but platonic. She smiled shyly and led him back to her room but stopped at the door. He had never been in her room before. No boy ever had. This was new territory for her. She shook herself mentally and stepped over the threshold into her room.
Beau stood in the doorway for a moment, looking around.

“You can come in,” Ezzie said softly.
He smiled and walked in, running his fingers across the surface of her desk.
“That was my grandfather’s.”

He nodded. “I remember seeing it in his study when we were kids.” Beau took a step toward her. He bridged the gap between them with his hands, drawing her the last few steps.

“Beau...” Her heart pounded in her chest.

He tipped her chin up and touched his lips to hers lightly. Ezzie lifted her hands up and around his neck, pulling him closer to her. She pressed her lips more firmly against his. She couldn't believe they were really having their first kiss in her bedroom with her parents just down the hall. Beau’s fingers wove into her hair. He finally pulled away a bit and laid his chin against her forehead, his arms still around her.

“Just so we’re clear, I want to be more than just your friend, Ezzie,” he whispered.

If Beau hadn’t been holding her up, she would have fallen to the floor. “I want to be more than your friend too, Beau,” she breathed.

Friday, October 11, 2013

If Hugging is Happiness then Can I Substitute Cupcakes for Hugs?


Picture courtesy of Bitstrips and my unnamed friend who shall remain nameless
I have a friend with whom I share an on-going joke:  are cupcakes acceptable substitutes for hugs? She says yes, I say not really, but like a good friend, I accommodate for her idosyncrancies.  And she puts up with my inappropriate attire at public debates (see picture).  When I message her, instead of the usual {{{hug}}} when she needs some comfort, I send her an emoji of a cupcake.

We post things on each other’s timeline’s about the Great Hugs vs. Cupcakes debate and she posts mouth-watering pictures of gourmet cupcakes to torture me…I mean tease me.
It’s all in good fun, but it had me thinking about mindfulness this week…when we eat cupcakes, why we eat cupcakes, who we eat cupcakes with...but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start from the beginning…

So last week I wrote about yoga for a happy life and how I’m so sick of dieting.  I gave you a little assignment: do yoga.  And I gave you a yoga pose/exercise to practice every day.  Did you do it?  I hope so, because it’s really really easy and it’s really really important to take that first step towards being happy.  Its like this:  goals without a plan are just wishes.  And a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And if wishes were rainbows we’d all be a fucking bowl of Skittles.

Mmmmm….Skittles…but I digress, as usual.  What I really want to tell you today is about listening to your body and mindfulness, both yogic practices.  I mentioned this last week and I realized as I was practicing my yoga and trying to listen to my body how damn difficult it is to understand what the body is saying.  Especially if we are new to the process.  Just to get you in the same head space as me, here’s an example of a conversation I had with my body this week:
Me:  I could really go for some wine and cheese.
My body: Yeah, but tomorrow morning I will feel kind of funky.
Me:  Well, if I only have one glass of red with an ounce of Sartori, it’ll be okay.
My body: No, it most likely won’t because you had wine and cheese last night and there’s this building effect I don’t understand, but I certainly feel.
Me:  You’re crazy.  One glass of wine won’t hurt.
My body: You’re correct. One glass of wine won’t hurt, but several glasses of wine three nights in a row most definitely hurts the next morning.
Me: Fine.  Whatever. You’re mean.
My body: *silence*
Me:  I really really want the wine.
My body: *sigh*
Me:  Please?
My body: *flipping through Writer’s Digest*
Me: You aren’t going to speak to me now?
My body: I’ve said what needed to be said, but you always think you’re right, so I’m not going to argue any more.
Me: You’re a jerk and now you’ve upset me, so I’m going to drink some wine just to relax.
My body: *groan*
Me:  A*&hole! *pours wine and drinks* There! :-P
My body: *heavy, lethargic sensation*
Me: See? Isn’t this great?  I feel relaxed already. How about another?
My body: *crick in neck throbs*
Me: Well, I barely feel that because I’m on glass number 3.
The next morning….
My body: *slight headache, bloated, upset belly, stiff joints, swollen, itchy hands*
Me:  Oh, why did I do that?  Why didn’t you stop me?
My body: *gives me the finger*
The long and the short of it is this:  our mind will talk us into ANYTHING, including wine, Ho Ho’s, and –get this—healthy food and exercise.  But our bodies? They are always looking out for us.  There is a truth in the mechanism of the body that transcends both logical and irrational thought.  Is it fool-proof?  Well, that depends.  And this is the thing we need to really pay attention to—what have we done to our bodies that could alter its truth?

Let me give you an extreme example: drug or alcohol addiction.  Have you been abusing your body with substances like cocaine, alcohol, or pain killers?  If so, you have altered your body’s metabolic processes.  Your body is now fine-tuned to demand your substance of choice, which over-rides every other need.  This is a biological fact.  Look it up.  Here’s one article on physical addiction and how it alters your brain and body chemistry: Drugs Alter the Brain’s Reward Pathway

I once heard Dr. Phil state on his television show that if someone is using drugs, then you are not really talking to that person when you have a conversation.  He states it here on his website about Preparing for a Structured Intervention with a loved one who is addicted. You are talking to the drug.  It takes over the mind and body and unless they detoxify and begin a rehabilitation program, they will be held hostage.
 
I also read (I read a lot, what can I say?) that addiction arrests psychological development at the point the addiction began. So let’s say addiction occurred at age sixteen and the person is still addicted at age forty, their reasoning capacity and psychological development is closer to that of a sixteen year old than a forty year old.  Here’s a great slide presentation that explains this process:  Addiction in Adolescents: The Biological, Cognitive, and Social Emotional Effects.

Having, unfortunately, witnessed the process of addiction and decline, I can attest that this appears to be true.  I once asked an addicted friend why they continued to drink after accruing several DUIs and do you know what they said?  “Well, when I’m out at the bar with my friends and they buy me a shot, I don’t won’t to look like a pussy and not drink it.”

*crickets chirping*

That answer blew my mind on so many levels and I could write a book about it, but today the point I’m trying to make is that addiction holds your reasoning and your body hostage.  And that was an extreme example. Let’s take a more subtle one, but just as powerful.

Food addiction.  Apply everything you've just read to this concept.  People become addicted to certain types of food, and without getting into the why’s and wherefores’ and start pointing fingers and playing the blame game, I just want to say this:  sugar, fat and salt are addictive.  Simple, refined, white table sugar is addictive.  Do you have a soda problem?  How about a donut thing?  Bowl of M&M’s on your desk? Subscription to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Weekly?  You may have a food addiction, my friend.

And it doesn’t have to be refined sugar.  Carbohydrates in general can be addictive.  Got a Dorito thang?  Or pizza fetish?  Salt and fat factor into addiction, as well.  Have you ever heard of someone pigging out on broccoli?  Maybe that broccoli-rice-cheesy casserole thing your cousin brings to Thanksgiving, but just broccoli? Very rare addiction, me thinks.  Think I’m spouting off without any scientific proof?  Here’s a great article on WebMD about Food Addiction.

Which food do you bring into the house that you can’t stop eating? In Weight Watchers they call it a “trigger” food.  Mine? Good’s potato chips.  Not any other brand.  Yes, it’s very specific.  It’s not as bad as it once was. I no longer eat the entire bag in a day, but I still feel the compulsion. What stops me now is I am listening to my body’s cues as I eat those crispy, perfectly salted, fried-in-lard darlings and after a handful, my stomach is a wee bit unhappy. After two handfuls, it is downright sick.

The thing is, I had to give up Good’s Potato Chips for a while. *tear glistens in corner of eye*  Why? Because I couldn’t control myself with them, and my addiction to them had a cascading affect.  My blood sugar was all over the place, leading to 3 pm crashes that required immediate, emergency food-fixes like sugary sodas or hot milkshakes (a.k.a. fancy lattes with flavoring)…or more Good’s.  My body bloated up and my self-esteem took a nose dive.

 I was not happy.  I was a slave to my food addiction.  I am much better, now, thank you, but I still have to be careful.  You know an alcoholic is always an alcoholic, right? Even if he’s not drinking?  They call themselves “recovering” alcoholics because it’s never over, this not-drinking thing. And the same is true for food addiction:  once an addict, always an addict.

*sigh*  Makes you want to go curl up with that bag of cheese curls right now, it’s so depressing, isn’t it?  I call bullshit on that response.  You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.  We can overcome our food addictions, but its going to take some practice.  I do not advocate throwing out all your food right this instance and going out with a grocery list I provide and restocking your house.  

What I recommend is taking a good, long look at what’s in your fridge and pantry and identify your addictions.  It’s easy: which foods do you choose when you’re tired, happy, sad, mad, glad, numb, and not thinking? When you think of NOT ever eating that food again, do you get a chill of horror?

Does it make you ridiculously giddy popping open that ice cold can of soda and chugging the first half?  This is harmless, mostly, when it’s a soda once in a while.  It’s an addiction when you are bringing it home in cases and having more than one every day.  I find that this part of the process of creating a happy life makes people pissed…at me.  Because I’m pointing out that their cherished food rituals are in all actuality creating their unhappiness.  *Shout out here to my trainer at Kellie’s Complete Health, who has endured my dirty looks and childish rebelling against her food advice.*

Bummer. BIG bummer, because you thought you were comforting yourself, didn't you?  You thought you knew what you were doing, didn't you?  You thought you were in control?  You thought you could quit those Ho Hos any time you wanted, right?  Yeah, me too.  Read this article about The Emotional Stages of Addiction and honestly consider if it applies to you and certain foods.

ASSIGNMENT: And when you’re done with that, this is a little harder than last week’s assignment, but I want you to seriously take a look at your food habits. 
Don’t go changing (hear the music?) a thing, unless you feel a sincere desire to do so, but look at what you’re eating.  Jot down the things you eat throughout the day.  Put an asterisk next to the foods that you get excited about eating or have more than a reasonable helping.  And when you are done doing your yoga in the morning, take a minute to either sit quietly or in the shower, clear your mind, and ask your body how it feels about that food.

I kid you not, it will tell you the truth.  I have been doing this for a long time and it amazes me the reactions I get from my body just thinking about certain foods.  The problem was, I couldn’t really hear what my body was saying at first because my addiction got in the way.  The salivation and giddiness is a Pavlov’s dog kind of a thing…look it up…and not a real need on your body’s part.  Remember: Addiction hijack’s your brain’s reward pathway.

If you want to have a happy life, you have to start freeing yourself from your addictions, cupcakes or otherwise. And the first step in that process is to acknowledge that you have a problem.  And really, do you want your happiness determined by a can of soda or a cupcake?  Cupcakes are great and I love one of those gourmet ones with real cream cheese icing and chunks of MacIntosh apple in the center with…um…what was I doing? Oh yeah, *clears throat*  So one of those once in a while is fine, but cupcakes have nothing to do with my happiness.  Now, hugs, on the other hand, are another addiction of mine and they DO make me happy.

And they make my body sing.

Namaste, beautiful people.

Need something to read until next week? Check out my Pinterest Boards.  I have tons of yoga, chakra, healthy living, happy living, and just fun stuff to peruse.

Have a food habit or ritual that you can’t imagine giving up?  Tell me about it, PLEASE! I want to read about it.  It may be perfectly healthy or it may be an obstacle to real happiness. Leave a comment below and I will pick one lucky commentator to give a fee 30 minute consultation to each month.  

Friday, October 04, 2013

Yoga for a Happy Life or I'm So Sick of Dieting

I read an article today that gave me chills: It was about how a woman used yoga to stop the endless dieting downward spiral and get happy with herself.  In my household “diet” is a bad word and my kids and husband have made up some fun alternatives to describe my way of eating:  “Mom’s carefully organized eating regiment” is my favorite, but it got me thinking today, too.

If I have learned that “dieting” is a dangerous habit to get into, then why am I still forcing myself to follow strict eating guidelines?  In essence, why am I still dieting?  Because I am. No matter what you call it, when there is a pie chart of nutrients and a daily calorie goal, it is a diet.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…you know what I’m saying.

Now, I am not saying you don’t have to be conscious of what you’re eating in order to maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass.  You absolutely must.  Eating cake for breakfast is going to have negative consequences, no matter how much you enjoy it.  What I’m talking about is learning to TRUST yourself.  Take a deep breath.  Its going to be okay.

You can trust yourself.  Look at me.  While I obviously have a lot to figure out, I have spent over a decade and a half learning about nutrition, exercise, yoga, personal training, and the psychology of a healthy lifestyle.  What does it all come down to?  Listening to and connecting with your body, loving yourself, and TRUSTING yourself.  I kid you not.  So how the hell do we do this stuff?

Doesn't it just piss you off when you read one more self-help book that says “Learn to love yourself” and all your dreams will come true and then they tell you to look in the mirror and pull a Stewart Smally?  “I’m a good person. I’m a kind person, and dang it, people like me.”  *barf*  How does that help?  (Actually, learning to say even silently to yourself “I love you” is a good way to start) 

But seriously, you want action that makes sense. Okay, here it is:  do yoga.  Not the pretzel kind, either.  Yoga has taught me to let go, listen to my body, and be at ease in the present moment--all things you need to know how to do to take real care of yourself.  So, what kind of yoga do we need to do?  Here's exactly what you need to do:

Lay in bed, pull your knees up to your chest and rock side to side.  That’s called “Knees to chest pose”  or Apanasana in Sanskrit, the language of yoga.  While you’re doing that, focus on your low back and ask yourself “How does my back feel?”  Don’t try to describe what you’re feeling. Just feel it.  Then let your knees fall gently to the side and relax.  How’s your back feel now?  How about your hip?  Bring your knees back to center and rest.  How’s your back feel now?  Let your knees fall to the other side.  Relax.  How’s that back now?

Gently return the knees to center, close your eyes and take a few quiet breaths.  Promise yourself you will do this again tomorrow.  That’s it.  That’s the beginning. Congratulations!  You just did yoga.  Now go conquer the world!  Or at least get dressed and feed your kids.

This is the beginning of connecting your mind to your body. It really is this simple.  What’s hard is turning it into a daily practice, because only with regular practice will you really get to know your body and it’s language.  And only when you understand what your body is trying to tell you will you start to make better choices for the two of you.  The mind tends to think it’s the smart one.  Um, well, actually, no.  Your mind plays endless games to keep you both in the dark.  Your body, on the other hand, never lies.  Kind of weird, but it’s the truth. 

So, you need to give yourself this time every day to stop letting the mind rule and let your body take charge.  "How the hell am I supposed to make time for one more damn thing when I already have too much to do?" you ask?  Simple: I advocate doing it in bed before you even get up.  Go ahead, push that snooze button (you were going to already, I know), but instead of going back to sleep, do a little yoga. When the alarm goes off, get up and move on.  It will add up over time and you will start to see changes in yourself.  I can almost guarantee it.

Now, this is step one:  take the first step.  There is more, but I don’t want you to worry your beautiful self about it.  That’s where we get into the deepest trouble: trying to think too far ahead.  Let it be.  Do your yoga.  If you're thinking its not enough, I tell you it is.  Okay, geez, if you MUST have something else, then do this:  do it again when you go to bed at night.  There.  Happy?  I promise I will give you more next week.

And when I say I love you, I mean it from the bottom of my soul to the other end of the universe.  Come back next week and I’ll teach you some more. 

Namaste.

Need something to read until next week? Check out my Pinterest Boards.  I have tons of yoga, chakra, healthy living, happy living, and just fun stuff to peruse.

Have you been on the dieting roller coaster and are sick of it? Tell me about it, please!  Leave a comment below and I will pick one lucky commentator to give a free 30 minute consultation to each month.