A Character Study- #NewRelease #NARomance @jacqbiggar

Character Study- Renée

A blogging friend of mine likes to do an introduction to her characters before the release of her books, so I thought I’d do one today.

Image by Shahid Shafiq from Pixabay

Renée Thomas is the most serious and oldest at twenty-one. Her sister, Izzy- Elizabeth Mae Thomas- is two and a half years younger. She’s the moody, intense one of the family. Last, but not least, is their brother Benjamin. At nearly twelve years younger than Renée, Ben is the baby they love to spoil.

As children, Renée and Izzy did everything together, climbing trees, biking, sharing clothes, and secrets. But the night of Renée’s high school graduation and Izzy’s sixteenth birthday, that changed.

Renée is betrayed by her long-time boyfriend, Simon, her sister suddenly hates her guts, and she witnesses her father’s suicide.

Unable to handle the terrible chain of events, Renée leaves town, heading to California and her accepted application to UC Berkeley.

Two years later it’s Renée’s mom who is gone and she is forced to return to face her demons.

Two years later

The town looks the same as when I left for college. The Welcome to Smuggler’s Cove, pop. 7562, sign bows with the weight of the old town’s worries on its aged wooden frame. God, I’m glad I escaped.

My second-hand SUV chugs up the hill and over the bridge. Chinook, the river named after the salmon who travel hundreds of miles to spawn in its muddy brown water, gurgles over the rocks far below. Giant rubber tubes in a rainbow of colors filled with laughing teens dot the surface. I’d joined them many times to get away from the oppression at home.

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay


It’s been nearly two years since I left and would’ve been longer if I had my choice. Hard on the heels of guilt come the ever-ready tears. Fact is, while I soaked up the west coast sunshine and campus life, my little sister had taken over the reins of the house, getting my brother to school, paying the bills, and caring for Mom.

This is the story of two sisters torn apart by unspeakable horror and brought together by tragedy. Can family ties overcome the pain of betrayal?

Letting Go: The Defiant Sisters- Book 1

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3R41NWF

International: https://books2read.com/Letting-Go-Defiant-Sisters

TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61269995-letting-go–the-defiant-sisters-book-1

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/letting-go-the-defiant-sisters-book1-the-defiant-sisters-duet-by-jacquie-biggar

A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them.

 When life gives you lemons…


Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean.

I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.

I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway.

If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much.


The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since.

Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.

My sister hates me. My little brother barely knows me. And Simon… is engaged.

None of it matters- or so I tell myself. I’m here to make amends and face a past haunted by regret.

As long as I can convince myself to stay.

Letting Go is a young adult romance dealing with tragedy, restitution, and love in all its aspects. The story relates to sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.

Are you getting enough sleep? #RachelleAyala @Mimisgang1 #mgtab

How many hours of sleep do you get every night? How many hours do you believe you need?

For many years, I was a firm believer that I only needed five hours per night. I gloried that I was one of those “short sleepers,” especially since I would stay up until 3 or 4 am writing or working and then get up again at 6 to go to work. After all, I reasoned I could do a whole lot more without wasting time with sleep.

That was before I heard of Matthew Walker, a professor of psychology from UC Berkeley. Part of my late night forays is watching self-help videos on Youtube, so it was inevitable that their algorithm would steer me to mind-hacking through better sleep. Wait, what? You mean I can sleep my way to a better life?

Unfortunately, being type A, and an incessant publisher, I had a hard time relating to what he said–until I realized a few salient points.

  • Lack of sleep effects the memory big time. A decade ago, when I first started writing, I could not only keep track of my own storyline but also the characters, events, motivations, goals, and themes of dozens of critique partners as well as published authors who brainstormed with me on their characters. I was always able to say, “Remember when Cassie did this or thought that?” And they were like, “Huh? Oh, which book was that?” Guess what? Now, I’m the one being reminded by my editor that I did that already, or a few paragraphs back this already happened. I now have to keep cheatsheets of my own books or re-read a book and take notes if I want to continue the series. Matthew Walker cites tons of stats about the percentage of memory loss in his speeches. I won’t repeat them here, but it turns out that when you go to sleep, your brain is re-recording or cutting grooves [think of a vinyl record] to store the memory and it does it again and again and again. He talks about imaging rat brains the night after they learned a maze.
  • Lack of sleep makes you emotionally raw. Have you noticed how easily you fly off the handle if you’re tired and bedraggled? How little things that normally won’t bother you will make you go ballistic? Or you get weepy at stories that are only a tiny bit sentimental. Or like a never-ending earworm, you have a worry worm circling your heart filled with anxiety? Matthew Walker tells us that dream sleep is incredibly “therapeutic,” in that it allows you to supposedly unemotionally process the stories of your life and create links to previous stories or experiences. I’m not exactly sure what my recurring and frustrating dreams about broken computer code and or not realizing I have a final exam when I’ve cut all the classes and not done the homework are all about. Maybe it’s PTSD from my academic and computer related work. Recently, though, I’ve been having escape and rescue dreams involving me saving small children and babies under attack. We’re always running and hiding in underground tunnels while terrorists are hunting us or fleeing in disguise in the backs of trucks or buses or safe houses. Don’t try to analyze that! I’d rather have fun foodie dreams where I can eat all the cakes and cookies and goodies without gaining a single calorie. But according to Walker, these dreams are calming my emotions, so I’ll be grateful that they’re only dreams. And the babies or toddlers [who I don’t recognize, but could if I met them in real life] are adorable. The ones last night were twins. My husband had the heavier boy and I had the lighter girl who had a full head of black hair and large brown eyes who called me “Yaya.”
  • Lack of sleep shortens your life and predisposes you to Alzheimers. Yikes, he has proof. According to his studies, sleep is the best blood pressure medication. Sleep also cleans up the “glop” that gathers in the brains of Alzheimers patients. Lack of sleep also shrinks the testicles big time and lowers both men’s and women’s testosterone levels. And of course there’s the immune system. We all know that sleep builds it, and these days, it’s so important.

He’s so adamant about sleep that he says there is no one healthy who gets less than seven (7) hours of sleep per night. Watch the entire video, but let’s start with the testicles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1yGw_hfEfk&t=790s

Looks like I’m going to be getting more sleep. I plan on going to bed two hours earlier, or at least not staying up past midnight. I’m also going to cut down on caffeine after lunchtime.

He also gives one big tip on what to do if you WAKE UP in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. He says not to lie there worrying because you will be training your body that bed is for worrying and not sleeping. Instead, get up and go to another room. Put on a dim light, not bright, and read a book. Then when you’re feeling drowsy, put the book away and go back to bed. An alternative is to listen to an audiobook but do not lie in bed. A change of position is needed so your body associates bed with sleep and one other activity only.

You knew I had to bring in my books somehow, right? I have eighty-four (84) published books to help you get better sleep, including three (3) free audiobooks and nine (9) free ebooks. [Go to https://www.rachelleayala.net/free-books for the free audiobooks and ebooks and https://www.rachelleayala.net/books for my booklist] I’m also in a lot of the Authors Billboard boxed sets. Start with five (5) free Authors Billboard Fabulous Freebies. Choose between sweet and steamy books. Did you know Alexa can also read your ebooks to you? Tell her to read in a low voice and before long, you will be back in dreamland and hacking your mind and life to better health and happiness.

Check out Matthew Walker’s full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1yGw_hfEfk

Happy Sleeping! – Rachelle Ayala

10 Pain Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

According to M. Crouch, AARP,

1. Pain with loss of function The doctors say: If you hurt your leg but can still walk on it, it may be just a sprain. But if you can’t move it and you’re having pain, that should be investigated immediately. Loss of function can indicate a fracture, nerve injury, loss of blood flow or a serious infection. From personal experience: if you have a fracture you’ll be in excruciating pain. Something heavy fell on my toes last week, I’m still in pain and unable to wear shoes!

2. Eye pain that comes out of nowhere The doctors say: It could be caused by a blocked blood vessel, internal bleeding or acute glaucoma, a serious eye condition caused by increased pressure inside the eye. Eye pain can also be the first symptom of shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash. From personal experience: Take the shingle vaccine as I did two years ago and eliminate an unnecessary problem.

3. Chest pain The doctors say: An older adult experiencing any type of chest pain should be evaluated by a doctor right away. A heart attack doesn’t always manifest as sudden, crushing pain, it’s more like a dull pressure or a heaviness. Other signs of a heart attack are dizziness, fatigue or shortness of breath while doing ordinary activities like going up the stairs or gardening. Chest pain may also be a signal that a blood clot has moved to your lungs or heart — a life-threatening condition that needs immediate treatment. From personal experience: So many times I rushed to the hospital with chest pain and was told it was a stomach problem. The stomach pressing on the heart and causing muscle spasm. I would still go to the ER, if I have the above symptoms. No need to take unnecessary risks.

4. Pain in one or both arms, your jaw or between the shoulder blades The doctors say: These lesser-known symptoms of a heart attack are more likely to affect women, according to the American Heart Association. Nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness and light-headedness are other heart attack symptoms to look for. Severe pain between the shoulder blades can also be caused by an aneurysm or a tear in your aorta, a major blood vessel.

5. The worst headache of your life The doctors say:  An occasional headache is usually nothing to worry about. More concerning is one that feels more severe than usual.

6. Severe abdominal pain  The doctors say: “Pain in your abdomen that keeps getting worse — or that is associated with vomiting, swelling or a fever — can be a marker of acute appendicitis, a serious infection, or diverticulitis. You know your body. If you’ve had this pain on and off for years, that’s one thing. But if it’s new and it doesn’t let up or it keeps getting worse, I want to see you.”

7. Calf or thigh pain, especially if in just one leg  Increasing pain in your calf or thigh after a prolonged period of inactivity, even if it’s not severe, can be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This dangerous type of blood clot is especially common in patients recovering from knee or hip surgery. Patients sometimes describe the pain as feeling like a muscle cramp, and it’s often accompanied by leg swelling or redness. DVTs need to be treated right away because the clots can travel through your bloodstream and block the blood supply to your lungs, a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

8. Pain from a minor wound Say you’re working in the yard and something sticks you in the hand. Or maybe you cut yourself doing a home repair. If the pain from a wound (especially one that is red and swollen) keeps getting worse over a few days, that can be a sign of a serious infection that can turn deadly if not treated.

9. Pain after a procedure or injection Spinal injections, biopsies or other therapies that involve injections can occasionally cause infection or bleeding. If you experience persistent pain or loss of function after one of those, call your provider right away.

10. Pain with fever  If you have a high temperature as well as pain, your body may be fighting a dangerous infection. It’s especially important to seek treatment quickly.

On preorder FAMILY PLANS, Love Plan Series, book 7

Left inconsolable by his wife’s death in a plane crash, Tim Kent dedicates himself to his daughter, Brianna. He allows her to get closer to her best friend Debbie whose father died in the same plane crash. When Tim meets Erin Perkins, Debbie’s mother, he’s impressed by the beautiful, young woman struggling to raise six children on her own while working at an exhausting job. He does his best to help her. Attraction develops between them. While Brianna practically lives with her friend Debbie and shares Erin’s motherly attention, Tim acts as a surrogate father for the six fatherless children. But the sorrowful plane crash that brought them together threatens to separate them when shocking secrets are revealed.

Can a brighter future arise from those ashes at Christmas time?

Family Plans is part of the Love Plans Series.

On preorder KISSING PLANS, Love Plan Series, book 6

Susan Chen returns to Cincinnati to work as university professor. Her best friend, Royce Winston who’s been secretly in love with her for years, is determined to change their relationship for the best. Little did he expect Susan to arrive with her mother and a Thai fiancé imposed on her by her family. When Susan asks him to accommodate the unwelcome fiancé until he finds a job, and then help her get rid of him, Royce eagerly obliges.

The best way to succeed is to push the fiancé into another woman’s arms—even if she’s Royce’s former girlfriend and the fiancé has become his houseguest and good buddy. The complicated situation threatens to explode at any minute…and finally does, ripping apart their best laid plans.

Kissing Plans is part of the Love Plans Series.

Car Troubles

I’ve never been able to handle car problems. They make me seethe, curse and cry, and call for help. Whenever I took my car for repair, my husband would reassure me with, “It’s not a big thing. They’ll probably charge you $150 to $ 200.” The mechanic would find four or five defective parts to be changed for a total of $500 to $800. If I protested, I was treated to a patronizing lecture from a well-muscled hunk with tattoos and dirty nails, who ended his speech with, “If you don’t want to fix it, it’s up to you, but I wouldn’t want my mom on the road in a car so messed up.” Sure enough, I would panic and beg him to fix it. At home my hubby would throw his arms in the air. “What? $800 for this? How do you manage to let them cheat you like that?” Do I need to add that my self-confidence about car repair had often hit rock bottom?

When my daughter graduated from college she dragged me to a How to Handle Car Problems three-hour seminar with hands-on experience.

We learned how to interpret the warning lights on the dashboard, change a flat tire and replace a battery. We understood that weird odors indicate an issue under the hood — a coolant leak or mold in the vents. Strange vibrations such as a shaking steering wheel could be caused by unbalanced tires, warped brake rotors and damaged or worn suspension system parts. By the end of the long training, I felt so knowledgeable and confident. Our instructor concluded by saying, “Listen ladies, despite all I taught you today, the best thing for you to do if you run into car problem is to immediately call AAA, Geico, or any other insurance, a mechanic and your husband.”

I was driving from Columbus, OH. to Cincinnati when my car burped and shook. I pressed the brake pedal, waited a few seconds, and slowly raised my foot, steering to the side of the road. The car rolled a few yards along the emergency lane, and then shuddered, thumped, and hiccupped. A light on the dashboard indicated tire problems. I cringed and pushed down on the brakes, knowing I had a flat tire. For two minutes I debated on changing the tire myself. I remembered the theory well, but I also remembered our instructor’s conclusion. To be on the safe side, I called AAA, the insurance and my husband.

How do you handle car problems?

In LOVE IN THE ER the hero and heroine meet during a tropical storm as she’s stuck in her car with a flat tire. “The path to happy ever after is not a smooth one. Both have a lot of problems to solve. This is a good story, my favorite by this author. Lots of drama takes them to different places.”


DOCTORS IN LOVE 2 – Sexy and Determined, the docs alleviate suffering, protect life and health, and restore respect for human beings. http://bit.ly/DocLove2