4 Tips to Get Organized in the New Year by @Donna_Fasano

Get OrganizedA brand new year always gives me a hopeful feeling. A chance to get on the right track. To get organized. And to declutter, clear out, rethink, and reorganize—my home, my work space, my mind, my life. It’s good to re-evaluate how and why we do the things we do or keep the things we keep. Whether it’s a full remodel job (I’m planning a DIY storage system for my walk-in closet) or just a small sprucing up of a room, a desk, or an exercise and diet routine, it’s great to start the New Year with a sense of accomplishment. Here are 4 tips to help you get organized in 2022.

Reassess your daily routine

What’s the best time to rise and shine? Which hours of the day are you most productive in your work? Do normal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) eating times work best for you? Or do you tend to eat off-schedule? Are you giving yourself enough down time? How’s your exercise routine going? Are you getting enough sleep? The answers to these questions will help you reassess and reorganize your daily routine.

Keep everything in its place

Stand in the middle of any room in your home and take a look around. If your gaze lands on objects you haven’t used in a while, seriously consider getting rid of them. (You don’t have to throw them away. Donate usable items to thrift stores.) While inspecting the room, do you see items out of place? Decluttering and keeping my things where they belong always, always makes me more productive.

Make lists

I love making a daily list of things I want to get done. Checking off those “things to do” always has me feeling that I’ve spent my time wisely.

Focus on one task at a time

Let’s face it, sometimes we all have to multi-task. But I find that I do a better job if I take a deep, cleansing breath and focus on one task at a time. Focusing my energy means I will get a job done in less time. Plus, when I do one thing at a time, I find the task is completed at a higher standard than it would be if I’m trying to do several things at once.

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The first three books in my Ocean City Boardwalk Series feature 3 women who live and work in the seaside town of Ocean City, Maryland. Young widow Sara Carson, serious-minded Heather Phillips, and wild-child Cathy Whitley have been friends since grade school. Follow these enterprising woman as they face hardship, life trials, and tense relationships. Life by the ocean isn’t just fun in the sun—love is waiting on those sandy shores!

These books are available:  Amazon  *  Barnes and Noble  *  Kobo  *  iTunes

The eBook version of Book one is reasonably priced at $1.99 at all stores. All 3 books are available in paperback:  Amazon  *  Barnes and Noble.


Ocean City Boardwalk

Travel with Mona to St. Petersburg, Capital of the Tsars

For two whole centuries, St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire. Currently the second largest city in Russia, it is recognized as Russia’s intellectual and cultural hub. When I spent a few days in 2002 on a business trip, St. Petersburg looked like a neglected city compared to Moscow. In July 2017, we stopped for two days as part of a Baltic Sea cruise and were stunned by the difference, the renovated buildings, the cleanliness of the streets, the wealth of flowers everywhere.

Our guide informed us that Putin was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975, and took pride in renovating his city. Saint Petersburg, called the Venice of the North, because of its copious bridges and natural canals, mainly the Neva River, is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Hermitage on the Neva
A view on the Neva at sunset

After walking along the Nevetsky Avenue, we stopped in a salon de thé and enjoyed a lunch of toast with orange caviar and a cappuccino, then headed to visit the famous Hermitage, Winter Palace of the Russian tsars. The Hermitage hosts an art collection to rival the Louvre in Paris.

In front of the Hermitage or Winter Place of the tsars.

Entrance of the Hermitage

This former palace is steeped in splendor and opulence at every turn.

Peter the Great devised the blue prints of Peterhof Palace, its 300-acre park, and superb fountains to rival the grandeur of Versailles.

The fountains are activated at noon for fifteen minutes with a music show.

The Church of the Resurrection, also called Church of Savior on Spilled Blood is the other major attraction in St. Petersburg. Commissioned by tsar Alexander III in 1883, the church was meant to honor the assassination of his father, Alexander II, which explains the name “spilled blood.” This church resembles Moscow’s famous St. Basil’s Cathedral. The most magnificent component is the 7,500 square meter of mosaics inside the church, illustrating scenes from the Bible.

The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a landmark of St. Petersburg, built on the site of the old fortress, which marks the birthplace of the city. The Peter and Paul Cathedral symbolizes imperial Russia, since it once served as a burial site for the imperial family.

Inside St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in the fortress.
The tomb of the last Romanof Tsar

There are so many beautiful churches in St. Petersburg, most of them with a colorful dome in gold, or other colors. We visited St. Isaac Church, Our Lady of Kazan, and so many more…

Just walking in the streets for hours and hours was so interesting. We also used the ultra modern underground metro to go from our hotel to downtown. Remember that in summer the sun sets at 11:30 pm. St. Petersburg is so far north that it experiences nearly 24 hours a day of sunlight from mid-May to mid-July. Even when the sun is down — for a couple of hours after midnight — the sky is white.

Russian metro
A bear for a pet?

You can’t visit Russia without attending a ballet performance or a traditional Russian folk dance in a real palace. During the intermission we mingled with the dancers a glass of vodka in hand.

I hope you enjoyed this quick visit to St. Petersburg.

To relax with a sweet Christmas romance, may I suggest my latest release, WEDDING PLANS, book 5 of the Love Plans Series.

New Release WEDDING PLANS A sweet Christmas story.
When dedicated Dr. Kent rescues a patient and is late for his own wedding, his fiancée greets him with tears, curses, and a slap. Fed up with her hysterics, Tyler cancels the wedding. The recovered patient intends to keep her handsome doctor. But the jilted bride goes out of her way to grab back her former fiancé.
Wedding Plans is part of the Love Plans Series.

New Release: SAILING AWAY PLANS: “A great love story and a second chance at a new life.”

New Release: DATING PLANS: Happiness finally seems within grasp for Matt and Brenda until the bullies in her daughter’s class pull her into their web again.

New Release RESCUE PLANS: Intense, emotional, sensual– Ariana fought hard to escape the slums and become a nurse. Captain Lopez taught her to conquer fear. Can he help her forget the scum from the past and win her trust?

ARE YOU ADDICTED TO ROMANCE?

Today’s Reading

by Stephanie Queen

Don’t ask me. So you binge read romance books. So what? I’m right there with you. You say you’ve been accused of being addicted to romance books? Don’t worry–it’s them, not you.

I looked into it (not that I’m worried) and here’s what I found out.

For All the Romance Binge Readers

According to an article on Women.com, though the addiction label is being tossed around carelessly by some advice gurus, experts Dr. Amy Muise and Dr. Bjarne Holmes state that “just because something is pleasurable (and releases pleasure chemicals in the brain) does not necessarily mean it is addictive – despite what any “Guru” might claim.”

I think Dr. Amy is right. We deserve to indulge and enjoy our books. Although it’s possible, in a very few cases, just maybe, some readers go too far.

What’s too far you ask?
The Top 5 Hints You May Be Addicted to Reading Romance:

 

  1. You call your husband/significant other Rafe in bed. His name is Ralph.
  2. You waited for two hours before Barnes & Noble opened to be the first in line to get the new release from E.L. James. There was no line.
  3. You got a second job so you could afford to buy every one of the top 100 romances on Amazon’s list. Your second job is at a book store.
  4. You argued for five hours driving in a car with your sister over whether enemies-to-lovers is a better trope than friends-to-lovers. You were on your way to a Nora Roberts book signing.
  5. You pull your back out carrying your stack of books from the car to your house after your visit to the library. It was your third visit this week.

Never mind the list, you’re fine. But in case you need something to read, something that will last a while–like maybe a whole day–there’s this new box set…

Available on Amazon. Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Thank me later.

BMOC Box Set

P.S. The winner of the argument is Enemies-to-Lovers of course!

What do you think? Enemies 2 Lovers or Friends 2 Lovers?

Facing Life’s Challenges Head-On- #amwriting @mgtab @jacqbiggar

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

No one said it would be easy…

Why is it some people seem to breeze through life as though they’re blessed by every good luck charm known to man? Gorgeous, popular, healthy, rich, if you want it, they’ve got it.

Obviously, there’s more to these divine beings than what we lower humans see, but it’s hard to believe. They’re just so… perfect.

For the longest time, romance writers focused their H/H on these imaginary deities, the dashing earl or beautiful movie star. But as the industry grew, readers demanded more. They wanted relatable characters. One who go through real life traumas and come out the other side stronger, wiser. It’s not enough anymore to have a meet-cute relationship ending in a happy-ever-after. Writers need to dig deeper, make readers gasp, cry, and swoon as they follow the protagonist’s journey of growth and personal awareness. We want to share their pain, laugh at their blunders, and celebrate their successes.

Romance is still an important component of these books, but not as necessary as knowing in the end, the H/H have overcome their internal crises and vanquished personal demons in order to enjoy a fulfilling relationship with the less-than-perfect love interest.

Because life is real, and while we might dive into a book to escape to an imaginary world for a few hours, we crave a deeper connection and count on our favorite author to make our emotions sing.

The story I’m working on will hopefully achieve this goal. It’s based on the true story of a little girl’s life-changing battle with cancer. I met Luna on Instagram and was immediately taken with her warm spirit and positive attitude even though continuous chemo treatments are ravaging her body. She works hard to stay strong and her beautiful smile is never very far away.

If you get the chance, follow her. She’s an inspiration!

https://www.instagram.com/luna_perrone/

Love, Me

Will a Christmas wish bring two lonely hearts together and give a little girl the family she’s always wanted?

Single parent, Grace Donovan arrives in the small town of Emerson with the hope a trial program at the local cancer clinic will be the answer to prolonging her young daughter’s life. She doesn’t expect to fall for her handsome boss.

As principal of Emerson Elementary, he is aware of the students’ medical issues and his heart goes out to little Cassie Donovan and her mother. When he learns Grace is in need of a job, he fabricates a childcare program, and is pleasantly surprised by its success. Now, if only he could help Cassie’s recovery and get Grace to give him a chance before she learns of his duplicity.

Cassie Donovan barely remembers the father who died when she was just a toddler, but she does know her mother is sad. Even though Cassie wants a puppy more than anything, she gives up her wish to ask for a daddy from Santa Claus, that way if she gets sick again, Mommy won’t be alone.

This Christmas, two families are brought together by a Christmas wish and a child’s need for a miracle.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3iZ5SJv

Universal: https://books2read.com/Love-Me-A-Christmas-Wish-Novel

bookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-me-a-christmas-wish-novel-by-jacquie-biggar

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58805215-love-me

What do you look for in a romance novel?