Pandemic Pollyanna

With all the scary news stories spreading faster than the actual Corona Virus pandemic, I think it’s time to play The Glad Game. It was created by one of my Favorite Fabulous Females of Fiction, Pollyanna. The premise is simple: look for the good in every bad situation.
As Pollyanna said, “When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it.” So, let’s search out bright spots!
What are the two suggestions to keep healthy? Hand washing and social distancing. Cool! I have loads of fancy sweet-smelling soaps (a passion of mine: read Naked in the Winter Wind, a perma-free novel) and now I can share a few bars with friends without feeling like I’m suggesting they stink.
Social distancing: lots of schools and gathering places are shut down and events canceled here. What about your area? I believe that’s just a reason to read more (or maybe write more). My daughter’s wedding was canceled when the venue called her and said they were shutting down until further notice. Her glad: she still had her fiance’.
If you’re not sick, remember to be grateful. Or to paraphrase Pollyanna, ‘There’s your glad!’
The moral of the story: Accentuate the positive! But still, wash your hands. You want to spread optimism, not germs.

An eye-opening way to spend those hours of social distancing: reading about this Mama and her triplet chicks! No news updates guaranteed! Read the first four stories of my new series, TRIPLETS: THREE AREN’T ONE, only available in these sets. (The fifth story is still in process)

Invincible Secrets and THE SET UP. Where it all begins: with Mama. Learn Grace’s secret and how she tries to deal with it. Gritty women’s fiction.

All That Glitters: Glitz, Glam, and Billionaires. Come live the life of the privileged in this set of stories about movie stars, princes, and billionaires. This is where you’ll find the story of Vickie in DIAMONDS AREN’T FOR EVERYONE.

Doctors in Love 2: Sexy and Determined. Brought up by a father who ran a non-profit mobile medical clinic, Ria’s healing skills were evident at an early age. Could she mend a wounded heart? THAT MAGIC TOUCH, one of seven stories about healers helping others.

Cute But Crazy – Wacky, Wonderful Women. Once you’ve read about Mama and the first two triplets, you’ll be ready for Tori in HOW LOVE GROWS. Her imaginary friends just might be real, but will the young pot grower who came to help Papa on the marijuana grow site believe her or think she’s CUTE BUT CRAZY? – The Authors’ Billboard first Romantic Comedy set. Preorder now. Read in two days (March 20).

Cracked Open

Oceanside, CA. I miss you! Photo © Ev Bishop

I’ve just returned from a very restful, inspiring, sun-drenched, sand-filled, saltwater-soaked vacation in Newport Beach, California.

I loved playing in the white sand that was hot under my feet. I adored wearing flip-flops as I tripped along the boardwalk, knowing friends and co-workers back home were in their winter gear, suffering fresh snow and below freezing temperatures. (Sorry guys!) And it was very special to spend do-nothing-but-have-fun family time with my husband, nieces, sister, stepmom, and daughter. The biggest impact of the trip, however, came from the ocean.

I was amazed by her. Awed.

Obviously, living where I do, I’m already familiar with the Pacific—but let me tell you: her waters are very different up in northern British Columbia than they are in southern California.

I spent a lot of time playing in the surf, being knocked down and getting up again, being dragged back into deeper water as the ocean readied to send another wave, and, most fun of all, swimming out over my head, beyond the crash line, where even the hugest waves were just starting as rolling swells. Above me, the sky was so blue and just . . . huge. And all around me, as far as my eye could see, was water. Since it’s California’s “winter” too, there weren’t a lot of locals in the water. Sometimes, for hours, I was the only one.

And maybe it was the salt pulling things out of me, the same way soaking in Epsom salts releases toxins. Or maybe it was because it was the first time in far, far too long where I didn’t have anywhere to go specifically or anyone I had to see, and my mind was deliciously free and uncluttered. Or perhaps it was the sounds of the ocean working to bring the tide in or out, the sea birds calling and swooping about, blotting out any noise in my head . . . But whatever the reason or combination of reasons, something deep inside me cracked open, and I had one of those strange epiphanies, where you can see so clearly where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you want to go next.

Sometimes it’s easy to lie to ourselves, to make excuses for why we’re standing still instead of moving forward, to justify our reasons for sticking with things that are no longer a good fit.

I found that out there, salt-crusted, saturated and awed by the unmitigated power, depth and magnitude of the ocean, it was impossible to be false with myself. I might as well have tried to keep the surf from crashing, or the sand from pulling away beneath my feet in the after effects of the waves. But it wasn’t a negative or self-condemning sort of feeling. I didn’t beat myself up for work not done or goals not accomplished. And it wasn’t merely a giddy, momentary flash of newfound enthusiasm (though I did feel those lovely bursts too). The feeling was a deep sense of readiness, of quiet resolution and surety. A sense that change is coming, and instead of fighting it or being afraid of it, I was going to welcome it and move with it.

I kept waking up my first couple of nights home because I missed the sound of the surf—and I’d only been away eight days. I’ve carried the decision I arrived at in the waves with me, however, and while my suntan’s receding, my resolve hasn’t waned.

I’ll be making some exciting announcements the next two months or so. In the meantime, if you can somehow sneak away to a beach—ocean, river or lakeside—to do some thinking and dreaming, I highly recommend it.

So good for what, if anything, ails you. Photo © Ev Bishop

Author’s Note: I have NOT just returned from a sunny beach vacation, but a photo from the 2015 trip I shared about above just popped up as a FaceBook Memory, plus showed on my website as a “past post you might enjoy.” I can take a hint! I do need to have some ocean time again soon, but for now, this was a good reminder and refresher. . . ahhhh!

And the bit about “having exciting announcements to make in the next few months” is absolutely current too! Stay tuned for a big reveal on April 1st—no fooling!)

Can’t get away for a soak in the sea right now, but still craving a little escape? Look no further than INVINCIBLE SECRETS, a 9-novel set brought to you by me and 8 other bestselling, award-winning Authors’ Billboard authors. Book your getaway now! JUST .99 or FREE on KU.

When Joy Prevails With Mixed Emotions

Personally, February presented me with a whirlwind of ups and downs – First, I traveled to California to visit my youngest brother Don and his lovely wife and, in spite of my fear of the coronavirus outbreak, had a terrific time visiting Disneyland during the busiest weekend of the year – President’s Day Weekend. The wine tasting tours were nothing to sneeze at, either.

While I was staying with Don, I needed to do a conference call with social workers, case managers, nurses, and supervisors regarding my brother Eddie, many of whom you know is physically and mentally challenged – and now very ill. The conference call was to set up palliative care for him, a challenge for all parties concerned since he resides in a group home with minimal staff. Long story short, he’s currently on hospice at the group home with 24/7 care, but will not be receiving treatment for his pancreatic cancer. (This is a bummer.)

Christmas 2019

Professionally speaking, February has been outrageously joyful for several reasons. Before I left for California, our new Romance collection IRRESISTIBLE VALENTINE (Irresistible Romance Book 3) went live and achieved a Number One New Release Status in the Love and Romance category, among others on Amazon almost immediately – which brought professional cheer to a sore heart since this author’s story is associated with an Amazon Bestselling Set. The best part? This Collection was Published via the sweat and tears of the talented, Internationally Read, USA Today Best Selling Author Tamara Ferguson. She’s amazing!

Find Your Irresistible Valentine…
Celebrate the season of love with EIGHT BRAND-NEW, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED STEAMY STORIES From Nine New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors:

Ranging from fun and flirty to semi-sweet and suspenseful, this amorous collection of stories will not just hold you captive throughout the year; it’s romance you’ll find IRRESISTIBLE forever! Get it here for 99 cents or, better yet, read the entire collection for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. https://books2read.com/u/3nv2gR

Then, just this past week, The Authors’ Billboard launched its FIRST Romantic Comedy Collection, another set I’m privileged to have contributed to: Cute But Crazy: Wacky, Wonderful Women: Enjoy EIGHT side-splitting tales of love and screw-ups from this international slate of USA Today and NY Times Bestselling Authors. With gracious thanks to the Multi-Talented Dani Haviland, an Internationally Read, USA Today Best Selling Author who harbored a dream and inspired the other authors in this set with her wisdom, clever words, and total patience to make this set rock and cares for us all. Take that curtsy, woman! You deserve the lime light here!

Undeterred by misadventures and challenges, these strong-willed ladies take life and love by the ears, embracing the men they have chosen through good times and bad. Furious ex-wives – ghosts and angels with their own agendas – the challenges of PTSD and imaginary friends – even Cupid, chickens, and a bumper crop of marijuana won’t get in the way of true love for these wacky, wonderful women. You can call them cute. Just don’t call them crazy.

PreOrder here: Just 99 cents or read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0855W6MLB

These wonderful collections have only been made available during the past three weeks – so, if you’re a reader with romance, suspense, humor and lover’s hijinks embedded in your mind, these are your current, go-to collections. I promise you’ll love them.

Hey, I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention our fearless leader, the incomparable Mimi Barbour, the New York Times Best Selling Author who made certain we were all able to follow our dreams, via her expert guidance. If I were to write a story about Mimi, I’d call it She’s A Joy to Work With.

One more thing: As always. The Authors’ Billboard is about to hold their March 2020 Reader’s Contest – You can win Amazon Gift Cards, FREE eBooks, and have a dang good time. Won’t you join us here > http://authorsbillboard.com

Thanks a bunch for tuning in! I appreciate you.

#MGTAB @mimisgang1

Diana Gabaldon and me

Is there someone in your life who made a huge difference even though you’ve never been introduced? Well, I have and her name is Diana Gabaldon.

Photo courtesy Variety – Terrence Patrick

How did she impact my life on such a grand scale? It started with a gift. My eldest daughter gave me a paperback book for Christmas. On it was a little handwritten tag. ‘The story of the most perfect man in the world.’ Yup. Outlander, the story of a time traveler and the man she fell in love with.

The story reignited my fascination with time travel that H.G. Wells had lit when I was a teenager. When checking her website to see if she had more books, I noticed we were born the same year and both attended the same university at the same time. I wondered if she had endured the same jerk I had for Freshman English. Until he came into my life, I loved writing. What stuck with me, though, was her declaration that if you love to write, WRITE!
My passion to create stories had returned. What would happen if I fell into Outlander? I couldn’t get that idea out of my head. Little themes kept sprinting through my head, twisting through forests of elaborate scenarios, bumping into encounters between her fictional characters and mine.
So, overcoming the literary passion-gutting of my Western Literature professor at NAU thirty years earlier, I started to write again. Working full time and with a daughter in school, all I had were late nights and stolen moments for my new obsession. Of course, I couldn’t use Outlander, so I created a different fictional time travel story. The premise remained the same, though: an older woman is rejuvenated and awakes in a different time, interacting with fictional characters from her favorite romance novel.
I didn’t publish anything for a long time, but I did keep writing. Did I even want to be published? Well, sort of. I wanted my novels to be available to my daughters and granddaughter (no male heirs). Being published had to be the best way to do that. Photocopies and journals were easily lost. Searching library systems for Nana’s name would be easier.
I had four books written before I published my first one. The first two in the series still weren’t ready to be shared and I knew it. I cringe when I look back at my early drafts. But you know what? The passion kept me going. Now if I reread my stories, I smile with pride. I didn’t give up. I didn’t think I’d ever finish that first book (now free), Naked in the Winter Wind but I did. Right now, I’m working on number thirty-one. Take that, NAU Professor!

No matter who inspires you, take that kernel of desire and work toward your dream, revel in your passion. Do no harm and be respectful, and who knows, maybe you’ll be an inspiration to others, too!
Thanks, Diana!

Love living the life of the rich and famous but without the debt or paparazzi? Check out ALL THAT GLITTERS: GLITZ, GLAM, AND BILLIONAIRES. See if your Mr. Marvelous is in here.