Finding My Happily-Ever-After #mgtab

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Hi Everyone!

I’m Tamara Ferguson, and I’m new to the Authors’ Billboard this year.

Well, first things first–I hate writing about myself.

But after admitting that, I have to laugh because I probably have close to fifty published interviews online, mostly because I have a problem with saying no.

So, what I am I willing to reveal about myself?

I’ve led a way too colorful life, with a lot of ups and downs. From the time I was a kid, I’ve had a bunch of different hobbies and worked several kinds of jobs–lifeguard, swimming teacher, secretary, solar energy researcher and teaching assistant, waitress, sales rep, floral designer and a wholesale florist and horticulturist to name a few. And I almost taught college level horticulture—it broke my heart to have to say no because I was pregnant and unable to relocate to Chicago with my husband at the time. Teaching was what I always wanted to do.

So how does my experience aid my writing?

It makes it easy to expand on secondary themes and characters when there’s a little of me in each of them. Plus, I’m a firm believer in happily-ever-after endings. I take a lot of the negative twists and turns that’ve occurred in my own life and spin them around to create a more positive outcome. For me, my writing is all about hope.

What’s an example of that?

I’m the mom and full-time caregiver of a severely autistic son with diabetes. I use my experience and circumstances to develop my character Beth In Two Hearts Unspoken. Like me, Beth is struggling with the quality of care and monetary cutbacks in the state of Illinois while trying to raise her severely autistic son Kyle.

Beth is a single mom, which I once was. But unlike me, Beth decides to follow her dream and ends up in a town she vacationed in as a kid, since a new vocational facility for the mentally and physically disabled has recently been built, and Kyle has been accepted into their program.

Expanding on that–

I mix elements of romance, suspense and humor into my stories in an effort to make my characters more relatable and realistic. Sometimes the reader doesn’t catch the serious undertones that I weave into each story because I write simplistically with humor. I try to view problems through the perspective of the characters I create.

Humor is what gets me through my own life. No matter how overwhelming my problems are, I always try to find a bright side to everything. But wow sometimes this can be really difficult! After something totally devastating occurs, life goes on.

And sometimes you have to decide whether you want life to go on with or without you.

Tamara Ferguson’s contemporary military romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is a moving and beautifully written story about a romance between a wounded veteran and the mother of an autistic son, who have both moved to Crystal Rock for healing and a fresh start. I enjoyed seeing how the two of them felt that instant attraction despite the misgivings and insecurities each of them had, and loved seeing how their relationship grew. While this story is categorized as a romance, it deals with two important and serious issues, namely the rehabilitation of veterans who bear both physical and mental scars from their tours of duty, and the lack of sufficient vocational opportunities for young people with autism, who all too often are shunted away into institutions instead of being surrounded by family—5Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Two Hearts Unspoken is on sale for 99c for a limited time.

Writing steamy yet sweet compassionate stories of fate that are wonderfully romantic, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of The Tales of the Dragonfly romance suspense series, The Kissed By Fate new adult romance series, The Two Hearts Wounded Warrior romance book series and The Daydreams & Dragonflies sweet romance series.

During the last 2 years she’s become a 4X Readers’ Favorite Book Award Winner for short story fiction, romance suspense, earning the silver medal for military fiction, a 2X winner for the Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Award for new adult and anthology romance, a 3X finalist for the IAN Book of the Year, and a New Apple Romance Selection for excellence in publishing.

Since she’s the full-time caregiver of a severely autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects because she’s writing or helping other authors promote their books on twitter.

Thanks for stopping by today!

We hope you enjoyed what we shared with you today! Please take a few moments to share with your friends using the share buttons below. Subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. —>>

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Tamara Ferguson
A member of the Romance Writers of America, Tamara Ferguson is the multi-award winning, #1 international bestselling author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series, the Kissed By Fate Series, and the Two Hearts Wounded Warrior Romance Series.

Her latest wounded warrior romance novella, Two Hearts Unspoken, is included in the top-ten bestselling Holiday Anthology, Mother’s Day Magic…With Love, which was also #1 in Wounded Warrior Fiction. Since being released independently, Two Hearts Unspoken has become a #1 International Best Seller at Amazon as well as a #1 International Hot New Release, and is the 2016 SILVER MEDAL WINNER at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards for Military Fiction.

Presently, Tamara’s working on Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish, the fourth story in her multi-award winning Two Hearts Wounded Warrior series, Emergence, the third book in the multi-award winning Tales of the Dragonfly Novels, and a novella for the next installment of the bestselling Wedding Pets and Kisses anthologies, featuring stories by multi-award winning, bestselling and USA Today authors.

Since she remains a full-time caregiver for an autistic son, you can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects, because she’s writing or helping author friends promote their books on twitter.

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How do authors manage to visit all the places they write so eloquently about? #Travel #Inspiration #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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Did you ever wonder how authors manage to visit all the places in the world they write so eloquently about?

Believe me, if I could travel to exotic locales I would (not so sure about different worlds though!), but most of us have to make do with researching the areas we’re interested in placing our characters into.

Whether it’s a castle in England

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or the vineyards of Italy

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We can get real-time views thanks to modern day search engines like Google. With Instant Street View simply type in any address and you’re instantly transported there with a complete 360 picture of the area.

Another great search tool for authors is Pinterest. You can find just about anything you’re looking for on subjects ranging from fashion to settings, and of course inspiration 🙂

My upcoming release, Hold ‘Em: A Gambling Hearts Romance, is set in the Texas hill country. I had visions in my head of what the area should look like, but needed to make sure of some facts such as what sort of flowers are prevalent in the open ranch fields? I did an online search and came up with this lovely field of bluebonnets:

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Perfect for my scene! Here’s a little taste of what I wrote:

Cassandra stared at him, bemused. The sun had decided to peek out from behind the clouds, turning his hair antique gold in the streaming light. Their clothes were soaked, but on him, it was a good look. His shirt plastered to his torso highlighted strong shoulders and a well-defined chest. One she wanted to rest her head against.

Startled out of her trance, she jerked her gaze out across the most beautiful valley she’d ever seen. Bluebonnets and healthy green grass waved back and forth, teased by a playful breeze. An old log cabin, its roof sagging and covered with moss, crouched by a babbling brook shaded by a giant cottonwood. And just to finish the fairytale, a multi-hued rainbow cast its benevolent glow over the entire picturesque area as though daring the rainclouds to return.

“Wow,” she said. “You weren’t kidding. This place is fantastic.”

A deer broke cover and slowly made its way down to the brook, testing the air every few feet.

Cass grabbed Matt’s arm, intensely conscious of the coiled strength that lay just under the skin. She cleared her throat and pointed, “Look, Matt, it’s a Bambi.”

Matt gazed at her instead of the animal, the quirk of his mouth causing a heart-palpitating dimple to appear. “What is it with women and Disney creatures?”

She laughed and dropped her hand, uncomfortable now with his sole attention. “Are you telling me you never had a favorite character from a movie when you were a child?”

He lifted his head and eyed the deer, his profile reminding her of a proud animal. When he turned back the humor was gone. “We should get down there before the weather decides to break again. You ready?”

Curiously sorry she’d ruined the moment, Cassandra nodded and they started out for the valley floor. The deer took one look at them and bounded away, disappearing into the woods on the far side of the clearing.

“What is this place?” she asked, lagging along in his wake, her hand brushing the top of the grass as they walked.

Matt glanced back, then kept going, his body cutting them a trail. “It was my great-grandfather’s first home. Dad used it as his fishing shack when he wanted a break from ranching.”

Cassandra gazed upon the valley with new eyes. She imagined an adventurous young man with Matt’s face riding across the Texas plains until he happened upon this magical land. Easy to see why he decided to stay.

If you’d like more of my vision for this story, check out my Pinterest board here

What about you? How do you research your settings? Any tips or tricks you’d care to share?

Hold ‘Em releases August 15th, I hope you give this funny, heartwarming book a try!

 

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In the game of love all bets are off

When professional poker player Matthew Shaughnessy wins the pot of a lifetime, he didn’t expect to land himself a fiancée.

Cassandra Gardener is left with little choice but to play the part of a Texan’s fiancée for a week if she wants to clear her father’s gambling debt.

Can two people with so much to lose win the biggest bet of all- love?

http://a.co/9OJfSea

International Link: http://books2read.com/HoldEm

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34682965-hold-em

Thanks for stopping by today!

We hope you enjoyed what we shared with you today! Please take a few moments to share with your friends using the share buttons below. Subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. —>>

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Jacquie Biggar
Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.
And can’t function without coffee.
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How to be a Cool Cat: Then and Now

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First, let me say, by *Cool Cat* I mean hip, as opposed to arctic–as  in freezing temperatures. Myren, my chauffeur, thought I should mention this since he felt that few would associate me with anything to do with hip. We had a loud long discussion about this, but I won’t bore you with those details.

How would I know about cool? you ask. (Or I should say, Myren asked this very thing. Numerous times.)

Let’s say, I’ve had the chance to observe many of the cool-as-in-hip over the years. Sometimes I’ve even acted cool myself.

Why should I care? you ask. Everyone wants to be cool, I say. What planet are you from?

Here are my coolest handy hints!

Top 6 ways to be a Cool Cat:

  1. Don’t use the term Cool Cat unless you travel back in time to the 50s and join a band of beatniks. Or unless you’re referring to the old cartoon character based on beatniks from the 50s. Come to think of it, those beatniks were really cool cats.
  2. Wear a beret. Preferably black.
  3. Never smile.
  4. Always wear sunglasses.
  5. Get some bongo drums.
  6. Wear black. Or black & white stripes.

Okay, so if you don’t want to be a beatnik from the 50s, maybe you can skip the bongos.

Now you’re asking “Can I be a Cool Cat in the 21st century without imitating some ancient-times goth-looking characters?”

Sure, I say.

Top 6 Ways to be a 21st Century Cool Cat:

  1. Change out the beret for a baseball cap or knit cap.
  2. Wear very baggy pants or very tight pants.
  3. Get a tattoo or 4 or 5. Large and colorful ones.
  4. Grow a beard if you’re a guy and enhance your hair and nails if you’re a woman.
  5. Change out the bongo drums for the latest mobil with at least 479 apps.
  6. Join a gym. Muscles are in.

Keep the sunglasses. Shades are forever cool.

 

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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A Bride for Prince Paul on Kindle Scout

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My Kindle Scout campaign for A Bride for Prince Paul has launched.

Here is the URL: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/37BZQ1K8SCMK7

May I count on your nomination? If I get selected you will receive a free copy of this delightful book set in Paris and Rensy Island in the Channels.

After you enter your nomination and rating, please leave your name in the comments or email me at mona@monarisk.com To thank you, I will gift you a copy of one of my books from the Holiday Babies Series.

Here is the URL: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/37BZQ1K8SCMK7

To Nominate me, click HERE

A Bride for Prince Paul (Modern Princes Series Book 1) by MONA RISK

She can’t abandon her patients for his crown!

To please his dying grandfather and protect his country’s autonomy, Prince Paul of Rensy Island must marry an American doctor, descendant of a Rensian princess. Paul, a confirmed bachelor, agrees to meet Amy incognito during her vacation in Paris. Although her career and ex-boyfriend are major interferences, attraction sizzles between Amy and her ‘driver’, but the rumor of her engagement to ‘Prince’ Paul outrages her. Can he convince her that he loves her, in spite of his lies by omission?

I wrote this story while cruising the British Isles. The setting of the book was inspired by the quaint Guernsey island, an island in the Channels.

 

 

 

The guide explained that the residents of Guernsey speak English and French, don’t pay taxes and enjoy free medical care for children under seven and seniors over seventy. The island has alternatively belonged to England and France, and is now part of the British Commonwealth. The ruler is a governor and the constitution states that in case of problems the island would revert to England.

I loved the romantic setting. My muse immediately replace the governor with a prince, just like Monaco or Luxembourg, both in Europe, and my imagination changed their constitution–the heir to the throne must be married. The ruling prince is old and dying, and his grandson is a handsome businessman and playboy who enjoys his freedom and his work. But grandpa worries about the future of his country and summons his grandson!

All of this played in my head while I was in the bus touring the island and visiting the landmarks.

Imagine if Kate Middleton (Dr. Amy in my story) were an American doctor, dedicated to her career and her patients.

 

 

What if Prince William (Prince Paul in my story) wanted to make sure his future wife will love him for himself and not for his crown?

What if he decided to act as her driver and guide, in Paris, to get to know her better?

What if their attraction turns into passionate love?

What about her medical career and her patients?

What if the paparazzi haunt them at every turn? What if the tabloid magazines spoil everything? What if…what if…what if…

 

Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Mona Risk, received an Outstanding Achiever Award from Affaire de Coeur Magazine. She’s a two time winner of Best Contemporary Romance of the Year from Readers Favorite; a winner of Best Romance Novel of the Year from Preditors & Editors Readers Poll; and an EPIC Award finalist.
Mona Risk’s name has often been posted on the Amazon.com 100 Most Popular Authors in Romance list, and her books have garnered: Top Pick, Outstanding Read, Sweetheart of the Week, and Best Book of the Week from various reviewers, and received two mentions in Publisher’s Weekly.
Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy her international romances. Meet the spirited heroines and special heroes who share irresistible chemistry in stories that simmer with emotion.
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Small Towns; Big Hearts

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Flynn_GodBlessTXI spent yesterday fighting the urban traffic snarls that occur daily in Houston and other large cities. At the end of the day, exhausted, I realized traffic was another of the many attractions small towns hold for me.

In a small town, there are no traffic jams. No rush hours twice a day with each one taking 2-3 hours. No rain induced “domino effect” rear end crashes.

If there is an accident, someone will pull over to see if they can help or call your family to come to the scene. People in small town have big hearts.

Ah! Small Towns

I love small towns with businesses decorated to express the owner’s opinions like the store above. Because I grew up in a small town, I know a lot about these unique communities — the social structure, the economics, and, most importantly, the people who live in small towns.

Favorite Book Setting

A small town is my favorite place to set a story, and many of my contemporary romance novels are set in small towns. Small towns are like characters in a book–they give color and depth to the story.

Most of the time, I live in a townhouse in Houston, but on the weekends, my husband and I head to the country to our house there. The sky is bigger it seems in the country. Sitting on the back porch at night with a million brilliant stars above and the quiet sounds of a coyote howl gives a sensation of tranquility.

I subscribe to the weekly newspaper in the town nearest our country house. That small town, with a population of 664, is the largest of the nearby towns. My goodness. That makes my hometown where I grew up look huge with its boasted population of 5,000+. (I also subscribe to my hometown’s weekly newspaper.)

Homage to The Tonight Show Kings

When Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, the kings of The Tonight Show,  read the unintentionally funny items from newspapers and advertisements sent in from viewers, they had me–and probably most of America–laughing.

Since I subscribe to 2 small town newspapers, I see funny stuff in print all the time. Of course, it’s not supposed to be funny!

I just about fell out of my chair when I read in one of those papers about the man who planted a bomb in his wife’s car. No, that wasn’t funny, but the comment from the Sheriff’s Department was.

When the small town reporter asked the Deputy about the explosive device, the Deputy earnestly replied: “The explosive device did not explode, and we can’t tell whether it was homemade or not.”

Excuse me? Homemade or not? Are there stores that actually sell car bombs? I mean, aren’t all car bombs, by their very nature, homemade?

Life Is Just Different

The following is a perfect example of rural Texas life in the oil patch. I don’t think you’ll see a sign like this in the city.

Sign on a local restaurant: “We deliver to surrounding oil fields.”

Now that’s small town.

Life really is different in rural and small town America. The people seem more patient and kinder. It’s almost as if there are stock characters, and every town is required to have its requisite number of them.

The pace is definitely more relaxed. My Romantic Comedy series Texas One Night Stands is all about small town life where you sneeze and someone across town says, “God bless you.”

Sheriff’s Deputy Susannah Quinn, the heroine of The Trouble With Love, that closeness is suffocating. She’s tired of the town knowing everything about “poor little Susannah” and plans to escape as soon as she can. The only thing standing in her way is a tall, dark, and too darn sexy for her own peace of mind FBI Special Agent.

RJAIn the second book of the series, Romeo and Judy Anne, high school principal Judy Anne Palmer is tired of being up on a pedestal of respectability. She kicks over the traces one night in Dallas.

When her one-night lover shows up in her hometown, she’s afraid her night of passion will end up being the biggest scandal her little Texas town has ever seen.

Both of these books, along with my others, are available at most ebook sellers; audio book editions are at Audible.com and iTunes.

Your Opinion

Do you like small towns as a book setting? If not, what’s your favorite setting? Leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free copy of The Trouble With Love.


Joan Reeves writes sexy Contemporary Romance Novels–available at most ebook sellers. (Audio editions available at Audible, and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.”

Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Readers, sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL . Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan’s free NL for authors. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Google+  * Twitter * YouTube.

Joan Reeves
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.

They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.

Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

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Take Time for Simple Pleasures #Summer #Family #mgtab @jacqbiggar

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One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to pack an impromptu picnic lunch and go for a drive with DH until we find that perfect spot to while away the afternoon.

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the hectic pace of everyday life we let the simple pleasures go by the wayside.

Funny thing though, looking back on my life it’s those sort of days I remember the most.

Rising early and driving deep into the forest to my dad’s favorite fishing spot, then walking through the bog, losing my shoe and having him rescue it for me. 🙂 Catching a creel full of trout and grayling and then stopping for lunch along the riverbank.

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Attribution: By Sobebunny – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7274675

 

Or going for a drive up and over the Great Divide to pick raspberries with my aunt who had a condition that had us kids giggling, but must have been frustrating and possibly dangerous for her. You see, she had a condition where she would be talking and all the sudden she’d fall asleep mid-sentence! When she woke up, she’d continue the conversation even though it might be fifteen minutes later.

 

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One of my favorite times was a picnic into the Cadomin mountains with my grandparents. My grandpa was sick with cancer at the time and wouldn’t see the next summer, but for that day, life was good.

 

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Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy simple pleasures, they’re the ones that matter the most.

Jacquie Biggar

http://jacqbiggar.com

Jacquie Biggar
Lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her her husband, daughter, and grandson. Loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. Spoils her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.
And can’t function without coffee.
View website
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5 Steps to Being More Gracious

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GraciousQuoteby Stephanie Queen

Like a Queen – but not me, not this Queen. I’m only writing about the 5 steps because I need to take them myself. I can be the most un-gracious queen or queen-named person EVER at times. So that’s why I made it my business to figure out how to change all that.

Gracious:  pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous; characterized by good taste, comfort, ease

According to expert Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. in his Psychology Today article, “Gracious people are kind and their behavior is characterized by tact. Graciousness may be superficial, but sometimes what is on the surface is good enough.”

I want to be gracious. I should be gracious. Or at least more gracious. But is it possible? I gracious heartsay YES! I looked into it and here are FIVE EASY STEPS that I found to help. It’s helping me (even Myren, my chauffeur and chief proponent of this research and behavioral change experiment, is surprised at the mild improvement). It works best in limited time frame social situations–like when you’re out among the subjects–er, I mean people, at a particular social event. Like a wedding or a book signing.

Five Steps to Being Gracious:

  1. Prepare: By this, I mean mental preparation. Tell yourself, repeatedly and often, that you intend to be gracious, before you step into the room. Look in the mirror when you tell yourself this. Adopting the attitude takes time. Let it seep in.
  2. Smile: And mean it. Look in the mirror when you smile. Your job as the gracious one is to make other people comfortable. You want everyone in the room to feel at ease and happy. Look happy. Make them feel it.
  3. Prepare: By this, I mean have some lines ready. If you’re like me, you’re not necessarily quick with a pithy reply–or at least not one that is gracious or even somewhat nice. (Sometimes you/I may even be sarcastic or snarky.) So if you have a few NICE lines ready for an unexpected awkward moment, you’ll be ready. For example: Someone asks how you like their new dress/hairdo/furniture/etc. You aren’t enthusiastic/you think it’s hideous, but before you let the awkward moment take over and communicate your thoughts before a word comes out of your mouth, you need to jump in with a ready answer. You say, for instance, “Very interesting/different/provoking/trendy/stylish.” Better yet, give them a compliment on something else. If a woman asks about her hair style you say, “I love the color of your hair it’s so flattering, it makes your eyes look gorgeous” and don’t stop, keep going until she’s invisiblecrownforgotten that she asked you about something else.
  4. Listen. Do not jump in with a word about yourself or your opinion. Not until/unless you are asked. This takes a tremendous amount of willpower and concentration for me. I literally need to bite my tongue. And then I need to pretend I’m not in pain as the speakers drones on–er, I mean continues unabated. Nod, smile and ask interested sounding questions if you must speak. If asked, say something funny. Do not be serious (unless there’s a death or something horrible).
  5. Do NOT say one single negative word. About anything or anyone to anyone. This includes disagreeing with anyone on matters of politics or religion if the subjects arise. You don’t need to agree with others, but you should say that you understand/acknowledge their view/point. Of course you have opinions, but no one needs to know about them. Not here, not now. This is another of those VERY difficult to accomplish practices for me to adhere to. But if we’re not attending a political rally or a debate, we can save our (my sometimes too strong) opinions.

Now you’re saying to yourself, “Gee, SQ, this sounds like we’ll have the most boring time ever at this event.” But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. You can be witty. You can compliment people. You can tell intriguing stories when called on to speak about yourself. Prepare yourself by thinking this stuff up ahead of time (see above).

It all starts with attitude and intention. And practice. The more people you don’t know, the more gracious you need to be. The more familiar you are with people, the more automatic it should be–but it’s easy to let your guard down with familiar people. That’s when you should practice.

Of course, this is all for social settings. When you’re at home with your familiars, you can let your hair down (although Myren, my chauffeur wishes I wouldn’t). That’s when the crown comes off and you can share your opinions. But remember, even with our closest friends and family, it never hurts to be gracious, to always want to make them feel comfortable and good.

Here’s to adopting the Gracious Attitude.

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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I Dream In Chocolate

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chcolate strawberries

 

A little over a week ago I did a blog on #gratitude and my experience with Parkinson’s over on the #RSSOS blog I also blog on.

I can’t speak to how others experience Parkinson’s, only on my own experience. Right now I have a slight tremor and that’s about it. It’s beginning to seem it may stay like that for quite awhile and I appreciate that, I truly do.

I will say, however, I think you get treated differently as a patient, when you’re older. I say this, because, besides giving birth, my only other experience with being injured and the health care system, happened over 20 years ago.

I was hit driver’s side, head on by a garbage truck coming around the corner who lost control and came onto my lane going about 45 mph. The front of my car, a Cricket if I remember correctly, crunched down like a thin tin can, until it hit something around the wheel, or close to it.

The truck stopped, everything shuddered and it continued forward. The window shattered into a zillion small pieces held together, by what seemed afterwards to be something like the mac-tac we had used to cover our schoolbooks as a child. It then wrapped around my head. The seatbelt shoulder restraint gave way and it felt as if my body was thrown sideways. One hip hit the gear shift and my right arm seemed to turn into spaghetti, allowing me to touch the car door on the other side briefly, while maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel. Thankfully the car, along with me, was thrown free from the garbage truck.

I was extremely lucky since I walked out of it. But I didn’t escape unscathed. I had constant migraines for months afterwards along with neck and back problems that have continued over the years. Still, I was lucky. I survived and was able to start a family and, basically, have a life.

So what does that have to do with Parkinson’s ? We’ll skip over the fact that the areas of my body most affected by Parkinson’s are the same areas injured most during the accident. The big difference is doctors and therapists assumed I would recover and lead a normal life.

The ER doctor referred me to a physiotherapist that worked outside the hospital, so he ‘could push me harder.’ The physiotherapist’s mantra seemed to be, “I’ve worked on football players that have played football with a broken neck. You can do it.” I was worried about driving because I had constant headaches and felt dizzy sometimes. “Keep driving,”” I was told. If you give up you’ll stop trying and it will be harder to recover. Out of respect for my fellow drivers I wouldn’t follow that advice now. I worried about mixing up words and was told it was within normal limits and just act as if I’d never been injured.

It felt as if I was in some weird type of bubble, divorced from real life. Somewhere I heard of cervical fusion operations which seemed like a great idea at the time. Not so fast. No way was anyone going to do that surgery on me until at least two years of constant, unstoppable pain, that stopped me from doing pretty well anything.

Fortunately, within a year I was much better. And at this stage in my life I don’t think anyone would suggest I have a neck operation.

Parkinson’s was different. I think it took two years before the doctor stopped asking if my balance was off, if I felt dizzy. No, maybe sometimes? Did I drool yet and a pack of other questions that made me go, “God no,” and wonder if I could just shoot myself now. Truly, it wasn’t a future I wanted to think about.

So I focused on my chocolate mysteries and a world filled with chocolate. Maybe it was a cop out but I couldn’t see where focusing on my doctor’s vision would help anything at all. I pictured my heroine, Maxine. In her mid-twenties, she’s given up a career in banking to follow her dreams. I visualized a chocolate shop filled with chocolate delights. I saw her catering events

Maxine

in interesting locals and I pictured Heath, her sidekick along with Detective Patrick Shannon, a hot detective who is in and out of her life. I figured if I was going to drool it might as well be over something worthwhile.Detective Shannon

That doesn’t mean I ignored my illness. I read everything I could about it and took some of the medications my doctor suggested. When I questioned him about others he couldn’t give me a good, concrete reason to take them and there were some pretty big downsides. I asked him about yoga and dance but he really didn’t know anything. I did yoga for years for my back, though, so except for a period to heal my rotator cuff shoulder, I kept doing it. Then I added dance exercise classes. Because I enjoy them and I can.

Some of what I’ve learned helped me come up with a medical romantic suspense series which I’m working on now. But even things inspired by actual experiences won’t necessarily be recognizable. That’s what makes fiction interesting. It’s not bound by the rules of normal life.

To share some of Maxines favorite chocolate recipes, click on the booklet.

recipeBook (1)

The latest book in my Death by Chocolate series is Soul Mates. Click on the cover for further information.

Soul Mates Cover

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