Just the Two of Us #Memories #Anniversary @jacqbiggar

Just the two of us, that’s all we need…

It’s funny, the older I get the more I think about the past. This week, hubby and I celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary. It made me think about the tumultuous first years of our marriage, and how no one thought we would last.

We were like two rams butting heads over the most trivial things, but I think part of that was growing pains. We’d been together since his eighteenth birthday, the night we met, and were still wet behind the ears as far as day-to-day living goes.

He’s the youngest in a family of six kids, with a set of twins just a year older. Everything he wanted or needed was done for him (he admits that himself, lol) while I was the oldest of three, with a twelve-year difference from the youngest in the family. I took care of him when my mom was busy and so learned responsibility at an earlier age.

Hubby had to come into it after we were married. It was undeniably tough for him- for both of us- but our love guided us through the rough patches and grew over time.

Life hasn’t always been easy; we each lost our grandparents, our fathers, and recently, hubby lost his mother, which only verified the importance of counting each day we’re together as a blessing.

My love of romance novels taught me to persevere when times are rough and celebrate the moments that make the journey worthwhile. Being in love takes work. It takes dedication, commitment, loyalty, and humility. Your wants and needs are important, but so is your partners. Compromise; it’s worth it.

For some great #summerreading, check out Irresistible- Shh… It’s a Secret Baby

International: https://books2read.com/IrresistibleShhItsASecretBaby

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/irresistible-shh-it-s-a-secret-baby-irresistible-romance-book-8-by-jacquie-biggar-and-jen-talty

#Romance #Kindle #Reading #Boxset

Personal Development by @AngelaStevens13

Lately, I have been focusing on personal development in my art work, expanding my skills, and really trying to extend myself. I invested heavily in some amazing tutorials and the payoff has been phenomenal. I am now exploring much more complicated scenes and am finally coming to grips with digital painting and overpainting, which I have been wanting to learn for years. Here is my first ‘painted from scratch’ effort.

Ladybug Angela Stevens
It’s no Rembrandt, but I’m loving it! And the added bonus is that my personal development quest is keeping me sane during a major writing slump. 

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

The lack of motivation and inspiration for my writing started as a niggle, manifesting as fewer words per day, then missed writing days, which turned into missed writing weeks, and now sadly, missed writing months! I no longer wake up, grab my laptop, and start writing before I have had my first cup of tea. It’s frustrating and I’m not sure how to make it come back. I started to beat myself up over it, and even made myself sit at the computer and stare at the screen for hours on end. ‘I don’t believe in writer’s block; this is a discipline thing,’ I said to my apathetic self, but shaming didn’t help either. 

So, I tried distraction in the form of digital art tutorials. If I couldn’t be creative in one way, then perhaps I could in another. What do they say, every cloud has a silver lining? Or was it more about, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Either way, I shifted my mindset. ‘I can’t write’ became ‘I am taking a break to work on personal development.’ 

It still sucked that I was not putting pen to paper, but I was being kinder to myself, and it convinced my internal demons that I wasn’t wasting time.

Just When I Wasn’t Looking

A few weeks ago, I was looking at the book covers on a fantasy series of mine that has been out a while. It is under my Sadie Collins pen name, and book 1, The Wolf You Feed, was the second book I ever wrote. I have always wanted to have more illustrative covers for this series, so as part of my writing procrastination personal development, I decided to finally tackle this and create new art work for the books. The plan was to let my imagination run wild and create a scene out of each book.

Here is the one I created for the first book. It depicts Tore, the central character, meeting with his father, the old school, austere, Lycan clan leader.

Personal Development Angela Stevens
Boy did I have fun! I spent way too much time on these, but in my defense, there are 6 books in total in the series, and then two boxed sets, so almost two weeks building each of the core scenes wasn’t so bad. They look so pretty, and I’ve finally uploaded them to Amazon! 

Vargr Clan Series

A Glimmer of Hope

While creating these scenes, I remembered that a couple of years ago, I’d started a seventh book for the series. Deadlines for other books, and a heavier emphasis on my romance stories, meant the book was pushed aside and forgotten. Curiosity got the better of me and I dug it out of my files. Maybe there was enough there for a short story that I could put on my website.

I was surprised to find that I had 50 thousand words. Hmm, not a short story then. Honestly, I was astounded that I had put the thing away with so much of it written. Before I knew it, the day had passed and I’d read through the whole lot. Then something happened… I began typing. A couple of days later, I had written a new chapter. It was like pulling teeth, slow and painful, and I really didn’t want to do it, but it was a chapter. A few days after that there were several more chapters. 

I’m proud to say, I finished the story… all 82 thousand words of it.

It was not plain sailing; in fact, it was quite the struggle. I really had to push myself to get there, and I can’t say I enjoyed the process. There was a lot of deleting, a fair bit of soul searching, and more than once, I stared at the blank page for hours on end before giving up for the day. But I did finish, and I am now knee-deep in the editing process. 

My writing slump isn’t over yet, far from it. I still can’t get myself to start something new, but I have finished drafting this book, and I have set myself a deadline to get it published. The pre-order goes live Sept 1st, so I have to get all the editing done. It is a glimmer of hope, and I am calling that a win–albeit a tiny one.
  

Blood Ties Angela Stevens

Learned A New Skill

This last book is called Blood Ties, and the opening scene involves my skinwalker warriors hunting an escaped mishipeshu, a mythical creature that is part panther with dragon scales on its back. It has a serpent-like tail and a mane of black feathers, oh… and horns. A kind of Heinz 57 type creature. Needless to say, Deposit Photos was decidedly lacking in photographs of such animals. Okay, no problem.  I could create my own fantastical creature. I am tickled pink how well it turned out. Below is the mishipeshu that appears on book 7’s cover.

Mishipeshu Angela Stevens

So the moral of the story? Personal development is not writing procrastination; it is exercising my creativity, and it’s well worth the investment. It might not have rid me of my writer’s block, but I am one step closer to finding my way back. I’m just hoping the second step comes soon.

A Visit to Istanbul and Ephesus

My first trip to Turkey took place in the nineties. We stayed at the Hilton on the Bosphorus, also known as the Strait of Istanbul. This narrow, natural waterway located in northwestern Turkey forms a continental boundary between Europe and Asia.

Breakfast and lunch in Istanbul consisted of baklava, kadaifi, loukoumi, and other delicious sweet pastry, accompanied by a bitter Turkish coffee.

This first picture shows a panoramic view of Istanbul with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia– a Byzantine Basilica that was transformed into a mosque.

We spent three days discovering the huge city on our own and took two guided tours to visit the palaces. Our first guide welcomed us on the modern tourist bus and casually asked if our room had a balcony. When I said, “Yes,” he replied, “Have you heard strange noises coming from the Strait at night? They are the late concubines’ sighs and moans.”

As we looked at him, confused, he explained that the Ottoman Empire was ruled by a Sultan. The Sultan’s mother, the Vadim Sultana was the most powerful woman in the empire and the only one not wearing a veil. She was in charge of his harem. The Sultan’s first wife was the kadin and her first son the heir to the throne. Having accomplished his royal duty, the Sultan indulged in as many concubines as he wanted — often more than a hundred. Most were foreign beauties captured as slaves. When a Sultan died, the new ruler made space for his own harem by getting rid of the former group of concubines. The women were shoved into sacks weighed down with heavy stones and tied with ropes, and then thrown into the Bosphorus, screaming and crying. I couldn’t sleep well that night.

Here are pictures from the Topkapi Palace.

The Topkapi Walls

One of my favorite memories of Istanbul was my two-day visit to the Grand Bazar where I bought several souvenirs: a hand-made bedside rug with the tree of life, a copper pitcher, and small Turkish coffee pot called kanaka, and others…

I never went back to Istanbul, although we booked a cruise in 2016 that included this unique city, the ship canceled the stop because of unrest at the time. Instead we docked in Kusadasi that we have already visited.

The highlight of Kusadasi included a guided tour to the historical city of Ephesus where we saw the ruins of the Library of Celsus, the temples of Domitian and Hadrian, the Great Theater, and the temple of Artemis, the multi-breasted goddess of fertility. St. Paul preached against her shrine, and wrote his Letters to the Ephesians there.

St. John the Evangelist wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. Tradition says that the Virgin Mary and John lived in Ephesus during their final years.

The day in Kusadasi ended with shopping and a break at a café for coffee and pastries.

I didn’t write any book set in Turkey yet. Maybe some day… But I would like to offer you two romance novels I particularly love:

LOVE in the ER In the past, her work in the ER brought her pain and frustration. Can it bring her love and a needed closure now?
LOVE on the SLOPES: Gabriella hides her pain and limp. Dr. Nathan saves her from a ski accident and dates her. Can he win her love and rebuild her knee?
IRRESISTIBLE – SPRING INTO LOVE
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SWFH93Y
International: https://books2read.com/IrresistibleSpring
Love at First Sight… Your eyes meet, and just like that, you know that you might have met THE ONE.
SPRING INTO LOVE with STEAMY STORIES From New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.
UNFORGETTABLE LOVERS
Nine incredible tales – from Sweet to Spicy – for your pleasure. Read about the UNFORGETTABLE LOVERS you want & need in your own life. http://mybook.to/unforgettableloverz

S E N I O R C I T I Z E N S

When I received this email, its title was “Senior Citizens 2021.” It is my humble opinion that these wise recommendations are useful for ALL AGES.

*Dear Senior Citizens –

▪When you get old, never teach anyone anything, unless requested, even if you are sure you are right.
▪Do not try to help unless asked for. Just be ready and available for it if possible.
▪Do not give unsolicited opinion all the time.
▪Do not expect everyone to follow your opinion, even though you feel your opinion was the best…
▪Don’t impose yourself on anyone on any subject.
▪Don’t try to protect your loved ones from all the misfortunes of the World. Just love them and pray for them.
▪Don’t complain about your health, your neighbors, your retirement, your woes all the time.
▪Don’t expect gratitude from children. There are no ungrateful children, there are only stupid parents, who expect gratitude from their children.
▪Don’t waste your last money on anti – age treatments. It’s useless. Better spend it on a trip. It’s always worth it.
▪Take care of your spouse, even if he/she becomes a wrinkled, helpless and moody old person. Don’t forget he/she was once young, good looking and cheerful, may be he/she is the only one who really needs you right now.
▪Understand new technologies, obsessively follow the News, constantly study something new, a new skill, a new dish, a new indoor game, do not fall behind in time.
▪Don’t blame yourself for whatever happened to your life or to your children’s lives, you did everything you could.
▪Preserve your dignity & integrity in any situation, till the end.
▪Do your best, my senior Peers. This is very important. Remember, you’re still alive, someone needs you. Do your best and leave the rest to The Almighty.
▪I guess some friends are already following these tips.

Here an extra one: Read a good romance to stop stressing about your daily problems.

LOVE IN THE ER : Following a traumatic experience, Dr. Sophia Dixon starts a new job as an ER attending physician.
Dr. Ryan Todd is the perfect boss, professional and courteous. While multiplying their effort in the ER, Ryan and Sophia get closer. Over the next few months, they exchange passionate kisses and Sophia often ends the night in Ryan’s arms at his condo. A no-commitment situation that suits them both. But she doesn’t share the pain and the secrets of her past.
When the truth comes out, Ryan is frustrated by her lack of trust and her continuous guilt feelings. Yet he doesn’t hesitate to brave a hurricane for her sake. Will Sophia ever be able to redeem herself and reach a closure?

Love You, Doc series:
A Complete Family
Love in the ER
Love on the Slopes
Secret Kisses

Cute but Crazy
Cute but Crazy 2
Cute but Crazy 3

https://www.amazon.com/IRRESISTIBLE-SECRET-BABY-Irresistible-Romance-ebook/dp/B08YWF2XVD