With Passion

Today someone asked me, “What are the things you like best? The things you like doing with passion? What would you do for hours without complaining?”

Can you answer any of these questions spontaneously–the first thing that crosses your mind, without deeply thinking about it?

My answers came right away:

1-Writing a story: I can sit at my computer for hours–my record was 12 hours–writing non-stop, ignoring the world around me

2-Taking care of my grandchildren, playing with them, chatting with them, cooking or baking for them. That was true until two years ago. Now they are teenagers and drive themselves around, and certainly don’t need babysitting.

3-Swimming in the pool.  A few years ago I would have added, walking on the beach. Unfortunately, my knee hurts now if I walk on the sand.

4- Reading. If I start reading a book I like, I have to finish the story in one sitting.

So how about you? Share your answers.

Here are two newly released boxes of books you won’t be able to put down.

The Senator’s Family Series #1

The Senator’s Family Series #2

If there is one thing Senator Howard Dutton hates, it’s scandal, and all that it entails, juicy gossip, paparazzi, tabloid magazines, and the likes that could negatively affect his career. A family man with political ambitions, he’s happily married to a beautiful woman and he adores his four sons, David, Joshua, Ethan, and Brian, and his only daughter, Julia. Fiercely protecting his stellar reputation, he taught his children at an early age to work hard and avoid disreputable people.

Always elegant and generous, Nancy is the perfect senator’s wife, involved in many charitable events, in addition to her career as lawyer. While in college, the children made him proud, until things turned rotten … just before a re-election campaign.

His sweet Julia, the apple of his eye and a gorgeous fashion designer, breaks her engagement a week before her wedding—the wedding of the century with seven hundred guests, all loyal supporters of Senator Dutton.

Joshua, a successful lawyer and his father’s right hand, now feeds the tabloids by flaunting a new beauty every week. David, a dedicated doctor, has marital problems and is going through a messy divorce. Senator Dutton would rather not talk about Ethan, the black sheep of the family who dropped out of college after a noisy argument with his dad. And what could he say about the relatives who add their share of problems. Thank God, young Brian discreetly restricts his amorous pursuits to his medical school and hospital.

Senator Dutton is ready to issue a warning. They should reform, at least during his campaign season, or else…

Dear Readers,

To thank and help the wonderful members of the Authors’ Billboard and the authors who work hard to provide you with hours of entertainment, please read the following post prepared by Joshua Loyd Fox and apply it.

Thank you and Happy Reading

Hugging

We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need  twelve hugs a day for growth. ~ Virginia Satir

Hugging is healthy  It helps the immune system, cures depression, reduces stress and induces sleep. It’s invigorating, rejuvenating, and has no unpleasant side effects. Hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.

Hugging is all natural. It is organic, naturally sweet, no artificial ingredients, non-polluting, environmentally friendly,  and 100% wholesome.

Hugging is the ideal gift. Great for any occasion, fun to give and receive, shows you care, comes with its own wrapping and, of course, fully returnable.

Hugging is practically perfect. No batteries to wear out, inflation-proof, non-fattening, no monthly payment, theft-proof and non-taxable.

Hugging is an underutilized resource with magical powers. When we open our hearts and arms we encourage others to do the same.

 Think of the people in your life. Are there any hugs you want to share? Are you waiting for someone else to ask first? Don’t wait. Initiate. ~ Charles Faraone

After hugging, reading a good book is also an ideal gift, healthy, great for any occasion, fun to give and receive. May I suggest two new boxes of books just released.

HOLIDAY BABIES SERIES #2 Just released

MODERN PRINCES SERIES Just released

Happiness and goals: gifts we give ourselves

The ‘Wake up in the morning with a smile’ virus

(Dateline: December 22, 2012)
It’s been four years now and I’m still smitten with the happiness virus. Mine is fed by giving in to my love of writing. Such happiness is not to be cured but should be spread. Fortunate is she who has found her love and followed it. My advice to others: if you have something—a talent or maybe just a strong desire—that causes you to awaken with a grin, embrace it, cultivate it, and share it. It might be good for others, too.
Writing is my happiness. Sharing is my privilege. As of December 2012, I have composed four and a half novels (and published two of them), penned numerous novellas, spent a week in and about Greensboro, North Carolina for the sole purpose of research (it’s the home zone of most of my stories), purchased and/or downloaded dozens of research books, and cut and pasted countless rows into my Excel database of storylines for THE FAIRIES SAGA. I compulsively jot random plots, quotes, and themes into notebooks or tap them onto my smartphone, saving them for (possible) inclusion in future works. Writing is still my happiness.
Goals are gifts we give ourselves and my next one is to travel to Australia in January 2014. Part of FAIRIES DOWN UNDER, the fifth in my series, transpires in January 1788 with the arrival of The First Fleet, the ships laden with prisoners transported from England to Australia. I want to endure the climate at the same time of year as did those hardy men and women, touch and smell the exotic flora, tread those historic sites, investigate the museums, and barefoot those seashores. It’s also a great time and place for research since I’ll be leaving Alaska in the icy gloom of winter to spend a couple of weeks in sunny, summertime Sydney.
Give yourself a gift, a small goal, not one of monetary gain, but of seeking happiness. Singing, sewing, serving others: do what truly makes you happy. A song written for the church choir, a cap crocheted for a new baby, a book of poems for your mother, mowing the lawn for the old couple next door. These are simple gifts; gifts to yourself, and also for others.
Happiness is ours to create, culture, and ultimately, to share.
Dani Haviland, author

October 18, 2022
Found recently, I wrote the above blog nearly ten years ago. Reading it was an eerie trip back in time. The feelings remain the same, though. The goals have been modified and the results are even more profound. I made it to Australia (yay!) but haven’t finished my epic, Fairies Down Under. I have written and published a total of forty-one stories now. Quite a leap from four and a half novels in 2012. Back then, I was only aiming for five. THE FAIRIES SAGA series is still unfinished. However, the tale grew in unexpected ways with even more stories. The vibrant characters were so hard to contain, a new separate series (ARLIE UNDERCOVER) emerged. Some of the gang (mostly colorful, dumb crooks) wound up in THAT TWIN THING and TRIPLETS: THREE AREN’T ONE series, too.

In a word, my joy at writing was too great to rein in, so I didn’t.
By next month, I will have achieved another landmark. My little company, Chill Out! Books, will have published one-hundred multi-author sets, too! Publishing the works of others wasn’t even a consideration when I began my little startup. Now it’s a new joy, a guilt-free, calorie-free diversion that also makes me a few bucks each month.
Wow! What a difference ten years make. I’d like to think it was because I had goals that gave me joy when working towards them, an abundance of friends who encouraged me (thanks, husband, Mimi Barbour, and the many ladies in The Authors’ Billboard group), and a positive attitude.

Multitask the FUN way: listen to Alexa read your book!

If life seems a mystery to you, check out my latest Cozy Mystery Collection: MURDER IS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY. You’re not the only one with conundrums to solve. Read with Kindle Unlimited for your best bargain OR listen to the book with Kindle Assisted Reader when you ask your Amazon Echo device to ‘read my book.’ If it’s not already in your KU Library, just ask Alexa to add it for you. Yes, you can ‘read’ a book and cook or crochet or change diapers at the same time with KU and Alexa (her voice is great, too).

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

I should be stronger.

I should be smarter.

I should be slimmer.

I should be healthier.

I should be better.

I should do more.

How many times have you asked yourselves these questions? How many times have you forced out a smile and said, “I’m alright” when someone asked how you are? I bet that the answer is “All the time.” You probably feel that you can’t speak up when you have a bad day, or a bad year, that people will think you’re complaining, that your friends and family have their own issues and you don’t want to burden them with yours.

I know. I’ve been there. Hell, I live there! And you know what? I’ve come to realize that it’s okay to not be okay. That sometimes “How are you?” is an honest inquiry about your well-being, and someone actually cares about the answer.

I rarely open up about my life. I feel that if people know about my problems that’s a sign of weakness and vulnerability. And yes, there have been times when I regretted my candor. But there have been many more times when talking to a loved one or even to a stranger saved my sanity—or at least, it put a band-aid on it.

I’m having the hardest year of my life. In November 2021 my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. It’s a cliché, but I never thought something like that could happen to him. He used to say this kind of illness would never get close to him, but it did. All the doctors I talked to said he probably had a few months left to live. I didn’t tell my father that, and I didn’t believe it. He was the strongest man I knew, I was sure he was going to beat this illness. Although the odds were grim, I kept hoping and fighting with every weapon I had. How weak each of them were…

What followed were six months of an emotional rollercoaster. He did so well when he first started chemotherapy that I began believing he would be okay. I did my best to take care of him, spend time with him, pushed myself to limits I didn’t know I had. But fate tricked us. Each step we took, even before his diagnosis, was always a step behind the illness. The healthcare system moved too slowly, the tests took too long, the doctors didn’t monitor him properly. So in the final month I watched my father go through a terrible agony, before he passed away in May this year. It was like watching Zeus fall.

wellbeing

If hell exists, it cannot possibly be worse than dying like that, or than watching someone you love die. It’s something that changes you forever. There is no going back to the person you were before after watching a loved one die under your helpless eyes.

Needless to say, this was the biggest trauma in my life, and the pain is far from being over. It took a toll on everything, including my writing career. I was already having trouble with writer’s block, and my dad’s diagnosis completely killed my creativity. I only wrote a few pages here and there since November 2021. And all this time, day after day, I have been beating myself up for not being able to write. I’m still beating myself up for feeling down, for being depressed, for being tired, for not meeting my own (unrealistic) expectations, and so much more.

I deleted this article many times before I decided to publish it. I have no idea who will read it, and bearing your soul in front of strangers is damn hard and uncomfortable. But you know what? I think it’s brave too. And sometimes it can bring you relief and peace such as you never knew. Because we are all humans, we all suffer, and we should comfort each other. There is too much hate and pain around us, and the world seems a pretty bad place right now.

So give yourself a break when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Talk to people. Cultivate friendships. Help others. Because a better world starts with you and me. And so does a happier life.

If you’ve come this far, I would like to thank you for reading and to ask How are you? Tell me in the comments, and who knows? You might find a new friend today.

Until next time, sending you love and strength.

Melinda

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