Happy Birthday to Me! by Taylor Lee

What do Nancy Pelosi, Donna Shalala and Maxine Waters have in common? Clearly, they are all women. If you guessed that they are older women, you’re right. But how old? In their fifties, sixties? Try in their 70’s and 80’s and you’d be right. We all know Nancy Pelosi is 81. Not to be outdone, Representative Donna Shalala, the former US Secretary of Health, became the oldest freshman in the new House class when she was elected in 2019. (She was 79 at the time.) But Representative Maxine Waters can top that. She became the first woman and African-American to lead the Financial Services Committee at age 80. She is still serving at age 84.

Women

According to a fascinating article by Jessica Bennett in the Jan. 8, 2019 New York Times, older women are doing a heck of a lot more than “roaring”. They’re rewriting the roles they are playing in the US today. Is it just political women who are rewriting the “you’re too old” rules? Hardly! Glen Close, at age 71, broke those rules in an arena that, to say the least, does not value age in their women stars. Close beat out four younger women to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress.

Let’s Face It…

The movie industry is not known for their deference to age. Except when it comes to men. Female movie stars rarely crack the “age ceiling”. According to Time magazine, “male actors hit their professional peak at 46, while female actors top out at 30.” Responding to that report, Helen Mirren recalled that, at 37, Maggie Gyllenhaal had been told she was “too old” for a role opposite a 55-year-old man. Apparently she adds “As James Bond got more and more geriatric, his girlfriend’s got younger and younger. It’s so annoying.”

Even in the business world, it was breaking news when it was announced that Susan Zirinsky will take over CBS News in March, 2019. Ms. Zirinsky was the first woman to hold the job. She was also the oldest person to assume the role, at 66. Amazing! Bennet quotes Ms. Zirinsky when asked about the effect of age on her new job, “Age — don’t worry about it. It’s a state of mind. I have so much energy that my staff did an intervention when I tried a Red Bull.”

Representative Donna Shalala agrees. “Age is just a number. What the women’s movement did was develop generations of strong women. We had professional careers, we were achievers in our fields, and you’re seeing the result of that now. And we’re comfortable in our own skin, and we don’t put up with nonsense, and we have a sisterhood.”

Gayle King, who was 64 at the time, a co-anchor of CBS This Morning, said in an email, “I’ve embraced every birthday … what’s the alternative, bitch and moan? I believe if your body and brain are healthy and you love what you do and the people in your life, what’s the downside of THAT?! So I’ll say it loud, I’m 64 and (oh so) proud.”

Happy Birthday to ME!

Personally, I couldn’t agree more. Point of information. Today is my birthday and I am 78 years old today!  Whoee. I have three extraordinary daughters, four gorgeous grandsons and an 83 year old best friend/lover who’s added even more sparkle to my life these last five years. I work out in some way seven days a week. (Usually 8 miles on the elliptical). I do pull-ups on the chin-up bar. I can now hold my weight for ten seconds with my legs extended at a ninety degree angle. My goal is 30 seconds…

Was my life always this great? Heck no. In fact, in the not-too-distant past, in my late 60’s, it was downright crummy. I needed to do something different. So, I decided it was time to turn my strategic consulting firm over to my daughter. I also left a marriage that was making my then husband and me most unhappy.

Then something miraculous happened. On one of my multi-mile runs, I started hearing voices and envisioning almost movie-like scenes. Rather than checking myself into the loony bin, with the encouragement of my daughters, I did something I had never considered. At the ripe old age of 68, I began writing romance novels. Make that steamy romance novels and sexy mystery thrillers. It wasn’t as if I had a choice. My characters insisted that they come alive on the page. Ten years later, I’m writing my 50th novel. Frankly, I’m amazed and a little more than awed at my gift of creativity.  It’s magic!

So happy birthday to me and all of us older women who are not only “surviving” our age, but “thriving in it”. As we should. We are older women. Hear us roar!

My Birthday Gift to You!

5 DAYS ONLY

FREE – July 1-5

RAMPAGE; Book 1: Mayhem on the Mountain

Rampage by Taylor Lee

*She’s an investigative superstar.

*He’s a formidable county sheriff.

*She’s as determined to reveal the insurrectionist leaders as he is to stop her dangerous exposé.

Calian Begay’s an archetypal rugged county sheriff. Arrogance rolls  off of him in sheets. But then having been elected by seventy-plus percent of the voters justified his cockiness. No small feat for the grandson of a famous Ute Indian chief.

Determined to capture the treacherous domestic terrorists threatening to take over his county, Cal admitted the only thing standing in his way was the media bombshell intent on riding  the simmering inferno to national fame.

From her inauspicious role as a beat reporter, Scarlet Comstock clawed her way to the top of the heap, becoming a local, then regional, and soon, if she had anything to say about it, national investigative media phenom.

She knew all her blockbuster exposé needed was for her to capture the leader of the American Patriotic Front addressing the “White is Might” conspiracy crazies.

Remembering Cal’s fierce warning what would happen if she disobeyed him, Scarlett admitted the formidable sheriff had done what no man had. Made her think twice before she blew him off. Which she concluded only confirmed he was to be ignored.

Face it, which was more compelling? Winning a coveted national award or obeying the arrogant sheriff who, after warning her for the third time, had the temerity to threaten her physically if she “didn’t behave.”

If you like brazen media stars, tough-as-nails lawmen, and scorching passion, you’ll love Taylor Lee’s sizzling new thrill-ride. Discover how challenging exposés can be when sex and violence are in the mix. Grab Rampage: Book 1; Mayhem on the Mountain and prepare to be wowed!

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Don’t Stop Believin’

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Kiera Burke was an enigma.  The super-star District Attorney was thoroughly taken by the beautiful, Mensa-smart woman but couldn’t figure her out. What he’d assumed was aloof superiority, he quickly realized was painful shyness. Which he could have handled.  It was when he saw worrisome signs of a much deeper trauma, that he admitted he was facing his biggest challenge yet.

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And Then There Is Cellulite by @TaylorLeeWrites

Leslie Morgan Steiner the author of four books, including “The Naked Truth,” which explores femininity, aging, cellulite, and sexuality after 50 writes:

Women in Summer

“Summer is coming, friends. You know what this means. Bikinis. I’m 56. Like most American women, I’ve grappled with body positivity my whole life. My mother, a college athlete who never dieted, preached that natural thinness was a God-given A+ and muffin-tops a failing grade. My first published article was about surviving anorexia as a college freshman. Working in the New York fashion magazine industry, I got negative reinforcement about the size of my boobs and butt from every Vogue cover and Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Our culture seems to insist that women abhor our own skin. Research shows that a whopping 45 percent of teens have pondered cosmetic surgery; 40 to 60 percent of elementary school girls worry they are becoming “too fat”; and more than 80 percent of women are “sometimes” or “very often” on a diet to skinny up.”

Jiggly Thighs A.K.A Cellulite

On that note, I remember a great article about women’s focus on jiggly thighs. It posited a marketing genius’s conclusion that if you wanted to be a financial wizard assured of rolling in the dough—find an ‘ailment’, a ’condition’ (such as cellulite) that after a certain age 100% of women have. Develop a “surefire” product that supposedly addresses that dreaded issue (but doesn’t), then sit back and roll in the dough.

Okay, point taken. I’m a reasonably intelligent woman and I do know better. I’ll be 78 years old next month, I work out, run six miles a day on the elliptical, weigh tops 110 lbs.  But…last week, I ordered cellulite crème from Amazon. Sigh. What is it about jiggly thighs and a non-existent bootie (guess my exercise regime does something…) that has been drilled into our heads that our bodies no matter what shape we are in are unsightly and something to be ashamed of.

Note that cellulite crème isn’t marketed to men. Let’s go there for a moment.  I’m surrounded by males of all ages. And while they are certainly conscious of their appearances–my grandsons are exercise fanatics, my 82 year old guy primps with the best of them.  But at least as far as the beach goes, I don’t see them or a lot of guys in coverups.

A moment of truth…

I write sexy (make that very sexy) romantic suspense thrillers. I admit my leading women are gorgeous and I have never called attention to a quiver or a jiggle on any of them.  However in defense of my author-me, all of my leading men are also Shemar Moore or Jake Gyllenhaal lookalikes. Ahh…fantasy.

Back  to Leslie Morgan Steiner. She writes: When Deborah Copaken, a friend and author of the memoir “Ladyparts,” was in her 20s, she wore a bikini, albeit reluctantly. She always felt self-conscious running into the water, she told me, her thighs jiggling behind her, her butt cheeks exposed. Why couldn’t she dress for the beach like a man? They never worried about such things. Then she changed her mind. “I decided f— it,” Copaken says now. “If my soft arms, jiggly ass and stomach scars bother you, that’s your problem, not mine.” She switched back to bikinis. “I don’t want to spend a single minute of the life I have left worrying about my body.”

Regarding swimsuits and the like, after considering various ways we women can claim our gorgeous selves, Steiner writes: My most beautiful friend, a grandmother in her late 70s, hates bathing suits so passionately that she only swims naked. Mostly late at night in private pools. Occasionally in a deserted lake. She says she’s too old to endure the torture devices designed to deprive older women of the simple joys of swimming, frolicking and enjoying our birthrights — the bodies that nature gave us.

Now that’s a thought…and a practice I highly recommend. Having done a significant amount of skinny dipping over the years, with sisters, daughters, and yes lucky men–who insisted I was beautiful etc. etc. I definitely agree. Not only for my jiggle-free fictional gals, but for the rest of us gorgeous women, cellulite and all. Hooray!

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Unforgettable Blessings

 

Is Chocolate sexy? by @TaylorLeeWrites

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate Candy

In answer to the question above, the answer is ‘Heck Yes!” Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but if you’re a Romantic Suspense writer like I am, love and romance is a 365-day-a-year adventure. While science and romance may seem to be at odds, I love it when science studies issues critical to those of us who write (and love) Romantic Suspense. The scientific study below (reported by Diana Herrington @DancinginLife) asks: Which is a more powerful sexual turn on – a piece of chocolate or a kiss from the person you love most? Think you know the answer? Read on.

A Study of Chocolate

“According to a study at Mind Lab chocolate stimulated the brain more intensely than a kiss with a partner. They had 6 couples in their 20s wear heart and brain monitors. Each person in the study placed a piece of dark chocolate on their tongue and let it melt without chewing. Later, the couples kissed in the way they normally would. What the study found was that when the chocolate melted in the mouth, all areas of the brain were stimulated far more intensely. Their hearts even beat faster for longer after the chocolate than the intimate embrace.

Chocolate is famous for containing a ‘Love Drug’ because it triggers feelings of attraction, euphoria and excitement, mimicking the brain chemistry of a person in love. Dr. David Lewis, one of the researchers at Mind Lab, said: “There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz. A buzz that, in many cases, lasted four times as long as the most passionate kiss.”

Chocolate Boosts Mood, Eases Depression

Chocolate contains approximately 380 known chemicals, some of which promote serotonin production which boosts our mood and eases depression. They give a hormone rush that is similar to the rush of love-making as the pleasure center of the brain is triggered somewhat similarly to the peaks during an orgasm.

Chocolate has had a reputation as being an aphrodisiac throughout history. This dates back to the Mayan period from about 250 AD to 900 AD. The Mayans were chocoholics and highly valued the cacao bean. A man could hire a prostitute for eight to ten cacao beans. Rumor has it that the Aztec emperor Montezuma known for being a hot lover, drank 50 cups of cacao a day before heading off to his harem.

Nonetheless, the actual truth is cacao has never been fully proven to be an aphrodisiac. It does have the chemical composition, but in quantities so small you would need to consume as much as the emperor Montezuma did (which is not recommended).

A Feel Good Food

Without question, chocolate has been proven to be a “Feel good food.” Research proves that its ingredients help relax us mentally and physically and brings a sense of wellbeing which can promote sexual interest. Since chocolate improves mood, it can improve sex, but it does not need to strictly be an aphrodisiac.”

Back to the question: “Which is more powerful —a yummy piece of chocolate or a kiss from the person you love the most?”  My answer:  Why choose?  Double your odds.  Have them both!

Here is a tasty decadent chocolate recipe full of healthy ingredients using dark chocolate:

Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar

Ingredients:

  • 4 squares (approx. 112 gm) unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid light stevia
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries, chopped in half

Directions:

  1. Dry roast pecans in a toaster oven or in frying pan (stir frequently so they do not burn).
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or very carefully in a saucepan.
  3. Use coconut oil to oil a small pan of approximately 8 inches square.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the cherries and pecans in the pan.
  5. When the chocolate is melted; remove from heat.
  6. Mix in the coconut oil and stevia.
  7. Then mix in honey.
  8. Pour melted chocolate mixture over the cherries and pecans.
  9. Let cool in refrigerator or freezer.
  10. Once set, then cut into squares. Store in covered container in refrigerator or freezer, if desired.

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As you are nibbling on your chocolate and having found a great person to share it with, grab: 

Jorden

JORDEN

Book 3: The Justice Brothers Series By Taylor Lee

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JORDEN, Book 3 in USA Today best-selling author Taylor Lee’s provocative new series, The Justice Brothers.  JORDEN, the oldest Justice Brother, is unquestionably the most distinguished.  But underneath that sophisticated persona is a sexy, challenging lover.

  • An Assistant US Attorney fights the legal battle of his life. This time Jorden’s on the defense and his children are at stake. 
  • An evil woman isn’t about to let her children and former husband go without a fight. And this woman fights dirty! 
  • A family drama that calls for the best and the worst of the two passionate lovers. Unfortunately, Jorden and McKenna discover that Justice—like Love– isn’t always fair or

WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages.  HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart.  Definitely bring a fan!

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Exposed

EXPOSED: Prequel Novella: Sizzling Hot Detective Series (The Criminal Affairs Collection) by Taylor Lee
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The Red Handprint by @TaylorLeeWrites

Rosalie Fish, a nineteen year old track star, made international headlines at a 2019 Washington State track meet when she painted a red handprint over her mouth—and wrote the letters MMIW on her leg. The powerful image of a red handprint has come to symbolize the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women’s movement representing the thousands of women who have been silenced. The MMIW movement underscores that Indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average, and that homicide is one of the leading causes of death for young Indigenous women.

Red Handprint

Rosalie Fish ran for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Image from Women’s Running (dot) com. Click image for more information.

Last fall, a young white woman hiking with her boyfriend was reported missing. The story ruled the national headlines for weeks. The coverage was relentless. The New York Post featured three front-page articles in less than a week. The New York Times published a breaking news story and sent a news alert to subscribers. The case was the main story on the Fox News website, as well as a top online story at The Washington Post, USA Today, BuzzFeed, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News. The hashtag #gabbypetito received more than 794 million views on TikTok. Several months later, the victim’s remains were found in Wyoming. But that didn’t halt the media’s obsession. Their round-the-clock attention turned to confirming the identity of the man who had killed her.

University of Wyoming Study

In contrast to the media coverage of this tragic story, the University of Wyoming released a study finding that in Wyoming–the same state where the white woman’s body was found–710 Indigenous people were reported missing from 2011 to 2020. Fifty-seven percent of those were women, and eighty-five percent were children. To underscore the discrepancy in how missing Indigenous women are treated by the media, a study from the Urban Indian Health Initiative found that 95% of MMIW cases were not covered by national or international news media.

Want to hear a more challenging statistic? In the US, Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience violence than any other demographic. One in three Indigenous women is sexually assaulted during her life. And 67% of these assaults are perpetrated by non-Indigenous perpetrators. In US counties comprised primarily of Native American lands, murder rates of Native American women are up to 10 times higher than the national average for all races. In addition, as of 2016, there were 5,712 cases of missing Native American women reported to the National Crime Information Center.

Growing up in Minnesota

I grew up in Northern Minnesota. Our summer cabin was on an island located in the Chippewa National forest. That I had an activist clergy father and the mid-60’s AIM movement began in Minnesota ensured that from an early age, I knew the issues and travesties facing Native Americans. Over the years I became acutely aware of the MMIW issue. Wanting to ensure that my readers know the critical issue, I wove the murder of a young Native woman into Renegade, the second book in my Mayhem On The Mountain series.

As challenging as the issue is, the MMIW movement is getting a huge boost.  On March 15, 2021, Secretary Deb Haaland, a tribal member of the Laguna Pueblo, made history when she was confirmed by the US Senate to become the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. Secretary of the Interior, no less. Haaland dedicated her Boston Marathon run to a unit within Bureau of Indian Affairs that plans to tackle the decades-long crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans. Announcing the new unit, she said, “Violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades. Far too often, murders and missing persons cases in Indian country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated.”

That simply has to change.

Amen.

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After you’ve had a chance to wrestle with these challenging statistics, I hope you will want to read Renegade, Book 2, in my Mayhem on the Mountain series.  It just went live!

Renegade

Only $0.99 for Kindle Readers for a limited time only

The vicious double murder in the city’s most infamous brothel, followed by the disappearance of a young Native woman later found raped and beaten to death, tear the already simmering county apart.

Calian Begay, the formidable county sheriff, knows that the likely perpetrators are the wealthy kingmakers and political zealots determined to turn his county into a raging inferno. And, not coincidently, take down their real target…the arrogant Native American sheriff…him.

Cal would have reveled in the battle knowing how unlikely it was the reprobates could succeed. Unfortunately he knew if they couldn’t take him down they’d go after Scarlett, the woman he admitted he was falling in love with.

Belying her image of the  blonde bombshell media darling, Scarlett confessed she was a neophyte in the amorous arena. Unlike the accomplished sheriff whose reputation as a rake of the first order was unparalleled, she felt woefully inadequate, not sure how she could ever measure up to the storied lover.

In a county ravished by violent racial and political unrest, the two superstars struggle to defeat the powerful perpetrators…while trying to decide if they can meet a more challenging task. To give into a passion more intense, more demanding than either have faced in their go-it-alone, star-studded lives.

If brazen media stars, tough-as-nails lawmen, and scorching passion light your fire, dive into Taylor Lee’s sizzling new thrill ride. Discover how challenging murder and anarchy can be when sex and passion are in the mix. Grab RENEGADE: Book 2; MAYHEM ON THE MOUNTAIN today and prepare to be wowed!  

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Unforgettable Courage

My Book in the Collection is:

The Courage to CelebrateAfter finding the courage to dare, the courage to love, and the courage to triumph, Luke and Ava  have to decide if they have the Courage to Celebrate. Torrid love scenes, racial violence, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters. A typical Taylor Lee high octane book.