Sunday, December 29, 2013

RETURN TO CANTERBURY HAS LAUNCHED!

Dear Friends,

I'm so excited to tell you that 
the sequel to 
THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE,
 has LAUNCHED

It's now available in print on Amazon.com and will soon be available in Kindle e-book on Amazon and in all digital forms on Smashwords.

You've all been with me on this journey, first with the launch of 
THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
and then through the writing and publishing of this second book. 
Thank you so much for your support and friendship through this journey. 

CLICK ON THE BOOK TO GO TO THE AMAZON PAGE:


Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, 
filled with love, peace and contentment.

I offer you this meditation 
from my yoga practice. 

It's called the Metta Meditation. 
Metta is a Pali word that means "loving-kindness." 

Metta Meditation

May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you dwell in peace


Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway for Igorotdo - The Enlightened Warrior Within

Rexcrisanto Delson ( is that the greatest name ever or WHAT?) asked me to share news about his new book. I am quite intrigued by the background and it sounds like a good story too. I hope you'll check it out. He's got a Giveaway on Goodreads for 20 books, which ends on 12/24. 

Giveaway Link

by Rexcrisanto Delson

From the AuthorThrough Igorotdo: The Enlightened Warrior Within, I hope to inspire a selfless purpose-driven outlook on life and encourage others to take stock in their ancestral heritage, regardless of what it is. Both purpose and cultural heritage are cornerstones in life. They also happen to be the book's two main themes, which I hope readers will take away.  The Igorot culture is one of the least known indigenous cultures in Asia, yet one of the most misunderstood. Although this is a work of fiction, I hope to introduce this dichotomy to world in an entertaining and meaningful way.

Story Summary: How important is your ethnic heritage? For Alex, it can mean worlds of difference. Since immigrating to the United States as a child, his yearning to fit into American society has led to a total disconnect from his Igorot ancestry. Like many immigrants, his true ethnic identity has taken a backseat to the pursuit of the American Dream. Alex's dreams eventually turned into reality: he became a successful businessman, and began living a lifestyle filled with fame, fortune, and women. Despite his achievements, however, an inner void eats away at his soul that is, until unforeseen events send him on a collision course with his estranged heritage. An inheritance catapults him into the worlds of Igorots, soldiers, and samurais. Can his encounters with the Igorots become more than just lessons about the lineage of indigenous Filipino highlanders that precedes him? Will his perilous encounters with them, American soldiers, and Japanese samurai help him find true happiness? How can the events that unfold fill the void, while bringing new meaning and purpose into his life? Unbeknownst to Alex, an enlightened warrior dwells within him, waiting to be discovered.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SOFT LANDSCAPES

Today I'd like to share some of the beautiful paintings my husband, artist JR Secor (aka RVPainter) has recently done. He does weekly demos over at his RVPainter Blog.

This is JR:



JR and I are both late bloomers. I didn't start writing with dedication until my mid-forties, and he didn't start painting until his mid-fifties!

He began painting in watercolor, using only brush and colors in a very soft palette. His style was impressionistic. When we moved to Santa Fe, NM, he switched to acrylics. He began using palette knife along with brush, his paintings took on more depth in both texture and color and his style evolved to be more semi-abstract.

In his latest works, he has done something that I think is quite remarkable - combined depth of color and texture with softness - the best of both worlds.

This is one he did this week, when I asked him to do something with a wintry feeling.




Over the past few months JR has worked some different series. One series I like very much is of canola fields in Montana and Quebec during the various seasons. Another series is called "Soft Landscapes," and you'll see why.

JR has a shop on ETSY where he is offering 20% off the price of all paintings, plus FREE shipping in the U.S, through the end of January. With the sale, many of his paintings are priced less than $100.

You can take a look at many of his pieces on ETSY, but I'll share a few of my own recent favorites with you here. If you like seascapes, he has many of those too.

Click on the painting to go to the listing on ETSY. ENJOY!



9 x 12
$115 (Sale price $92)




9 x 12
$125 (Sale Price  $100)





In the next two paintings, you can see how he worked with light and color to capture the feeling of different seasons.

18 by 24
$250 (Sale price $200)




24 by 18
$250 (Sale price $200)




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Some Books I Liked This Year

I get tired of talking about my own books sometimes (The Christmas Village and its sequel, Return to Canterbury) - OOPS, sorry, I mentioned them again.

So let's talk about OTHER PEOPLE'S BOOKS. A couple of the ones I'm mentioning today are by authors I met here in the blog world. Arthur Wooten is a friend I went to high school with - we reconnected via Facebook and he was a great mentor and support when I published my books(which I already mentioned above and won't mention again :D )

I live by the rule my mother always used:  "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." So if I tell you about a book, it means I liked it.

Dizzy by Arthur Wooten

The fast-paced and witty story of a Broadway diva who learns she has a debilitating vestibular disorder that threatens to destroy her career. It's a fictional memoir, as Wooten himself suffers from this condition. He deftly interweaves the fun of New York City and Broadway with the very real drama of a dancer/singer/actress finding herself faced with the potential devastation of a life-changing illness, and figuring out, with the help of friends, how to navigate - and live - in her new circumstances. As with all of Wooten's books, it's witty and fun, but also moving and filled with compassion.

I know you want to read it now, so here's the LINK: DIZZY by Arthur Wooten

Wooten is also the author of the WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED children's book, Wise Bear William, a New Beginning, and a number of other great reads, including Leftovers and Birthday Pie.

Patchwork of Me by Gregory G. Allen

This is the story of a woman who, with the help of a therapist, uncovers memories from her childhood that stun her. As a result, she travels from Arizona to Maine (passing through New Mexico) to confront her past. Along the way, she must struggle with whether to allow herself to be defined by events long past, or to define herself on her own terms. I liked the story, which takes some unexpected, but satisfying turns, and it was a plus for me that Allen took me from Scottsdale, Arizona, where I lived for seven years, through New Mexico, where I also lived, to Boothbay, Maine, where, believe it or not, I also lived. I think he might be stalking me!!

Find Greg's book here: Patchwork of Me by Gregory G. Allen

Greg is also the author of the children's book, Chicken Boy, The Amazing Adventures of a Superhero with Autism

That Sadie Thing and other stories by Annalisa Crawford

Count me as a HUGE Annalisa Crawford fan! I read her first novella, Cat and the Dreamer, and found it so intriguing. So, even though I am usually not a huge fan of short stories, I was eager to read this collection and I LOVED IT!

Crawford is a terrific writer who uses spot-on description (She's British, so I'm talking British :D) to create vivid scenes and characters. The narrative is very internal, meaning that we are instantly transported inside the heads of her characters, thinking their thoughts right along with them.

Her stories are vignettes; almost-cringworthy-personal glimpses into the lives of others. I picture her sitting in coffee shops, watching people and then making up stories about their lives and their secrets. (I'm glad she doesn't live near me, though I WOULD like to hang out with her!) She has a dark side, and even though I'm not all that dark-sided, I really appreciate hers! Also, I pride myself on being somewhat hard to surprise when it comes to plot twists, and the best thing about Crawford is that she never failed to surprise me! I found myself laughing out loud when she did, in a kind of, "Oh, Annalisa, you GOT me with that!" way.

Check her out; she's awesome and I think she is going to be Wicked Famous.
That Sadie Thing by Annalisa Crawford

Authors put their hearts and souls out there for us all to see, and as a book lover, I feel the best way I can say thank you is to buy their books and tell everyone I know how much I liked them. I hope you'll do the same.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Listen to My Interview and Reading from The Christmas Village on Blog Radio

I had the best time today being interviewed and reading from The Christmas Village on author JD Holiday's Blog Radio program, THE AUTHOR'S WORDS. BLOG RADIO has selected it as a STAFF PICK, so it will be featured on their site starting tomorrow at noon and running for 24 hours.

You can listen to it HERE

And here is the BLOG RADIO LINK.

JD is an author and illustrator with several books of her own, including Janoose the Goose and The Spy Game, which I reviewed here last year (loved it). This is the LINK to her BLOG. And this is the LINK to her AUTHOR PAGE on AMAZON.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JD (Jan) for inviting me to be on your show. It was a ball!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

RETURNING TO THE CIRCLE, A Book of Loving Support for Young Women

It's always an honor and delight to welcome other authors to my site and to share the gifts they are offering to the world. Today though, I am especially happy to make you aware of the book Returning to the Circle, by Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

Her book is intended as a gift of nurturing support, positive affirmation and inspiration to young women. We all remember how hard it is to grow up, but I think that most of us can look at the world today and say a prayer of thanks that we grew up when we did, and do not have to navigate all the complexity, pressures, expectations and unhealthy "role models" that today's world thrusts upon young people. 

Filled with inspiring quotes and real life stories, Linda's book will be a wonderful gift to any young woman suffering from low self-esteem or feeling confused, lost and uncertain about her path. I hope you will read on to find out more about this wonderful book and consider buying it for a young person in your life. 

RETURNING TO THE CIRCLE IS AVAILABLE FROM SMASHWORDS IN ALL DIGITAL FORMS FOR ONLY 99 CENTS! WHAT A WONDERFUL GIFT TO GIVE TO A YOUNG WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE!

First, here is some background on Linda: 

Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas is an educator, writer, poet and interfaith minister. She has two books, Winter of the Soul, (2008) and Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland, (2010). On January 1, 2013, her story, “The Angel in the Bright Green Jacket,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. She teaches English as a Second language, writing and poetry throughout New England. Rev. Neas lives in an enchanted cottage with her beloved husband, where she gains great insight and inspiration from her four daughters and growing number of grandchildren. Visit her blog at: Words from the Heart


Read on after the photo for an excerpt from the book and all the links:


EXCERPT

Returning to the Circle

by Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

           After hearing, again, the story of another young woman who had few life skills, low self-esteem, and no clue where to go for help, I began to wonder how it was that my generation seemed to be able to do so much in spite of our own dysfunctional upbringings. Pondering the question, I quickly began to recall the amazing women in my life that lead by example, shared words of wisdom and poured their selves into all they did.

          To begin, I remembered the two women who touched my heart and soul as a very young child - Miss Foster, my kindergarten teacher and my Aunt Mary. 
Miss Foster was a quintessential fifties beauty. She had black hair, fair skin and a warm smile. She wore ponytails, full skirts, white blouses cardigan sweaters and red lipstick. She taught me that singing was a great way to start any day, police officers were there to help us and anything shared with a friend made life special.
My Aunt Mary looked a lot like Miss Foster. She took me to the L Street Bathhouse, where I learned how to swim. When I was sick, she would come and play with me. On her days off, she would take me to the Boston Commons and during Christmas, to Filene’s and Jordan’s to see the store windows and the holiday lights. She smelled of Jean Nate and always looked neat and put together. My Aunt Mary taught me style and grace. She was the heroine of my formative years.
Later, I remember several Sisters of St. Joseph with fond admiration. They were most definitely teachers of life skills as well as English, Math and History. Sister Margaret Delores (first grade), Sister Clare Denise (fifth grade), Sister Ralph (sixth grade) and Sister Marillac shared their love of music, poetry, dance, humor and theology. The accumulation of their wisdom has seen me through many a dark moment.
Then there was Pat Venuti, my college psychology professor, who taught me the “warm fuzzy/cold prickly” rule. This is a concept I still follow. Pat was one of those people who could light up a room. Her sudden death when I was still a young mother, helped me realize how important it is to say, “I love you” to people we care about. Gratefully, Pat knew the difference she had made in my life.
Another champion in my life was my college English literature professor was Mary Beaudry. She introduced me to Arthurian Legend, which gave me the pleasure of knowing that even grown adults believed in magic! While sharing her love of the written word, she inspired me to develop my skills. She believed in my dreams of being a published author and still is one of my most faithful supporters.
Of course, no list of influential women would be complete without mention of my mother and mother-in-love. You could not find two women that are more different anywhere in the world, but each has blessed my life in ways they could not imagine. My mother was an amazingly strong woman. She shared her love of the arts with me and taught me to look at the little things in life. She gave me a healthy disrespect for conformity. If everyone were wearing blue, she would wear bright red. She took the road less traveled, often and heard a different drummer, which was OK.
My mother-in-love was the opposite. The wife of a Baptist minister, she is a most gracious Southern lady. Our times together have been filled with laughter interspersed between soul-searching discussions about life, faith and dreams.
As far as friends go, there are too many “sisters of my soul” to mention each individually. Suffice it to say, that each one knows how much I value her friendship and love. Each knows how special she is to me. Without them, the rocky parts of life would be unbearable. With them, even the bluest of blue days sparkles beyond belief. I would not be who I am without each of them.
The difference, I came to realize, was the time spent with these women. Whether it was sitting around the kitchen table sipping tea, walking the beach on a gorgeous fall day, staying after school simply to talk or gathered around a campfire, we shared our lives, our dreams, and our wisdom with each other.
As my girls grew, I continued the tradition. However, for this new generation, it seems that IPads, cell phones and texting have created a disconnect. This situation has left today’s young women without the wisdom and lessons that can be learned when we sit across from someone and listen to their stories, which is why I put together the eBook, Returning to the Circle, a virtual gathering of women, who share their wisdom in a thirty-day meditation.
          As I say in the introduction of Returning to the Circle, “I pray that those who read and use this book will be blessed by the words - the wisdom - of the women who appear on these pages. May they help to guide, inspire and affirm who you are and why you are in this life.” 
Linda's BLOG
Linda's WEBSITE
Linda's FACEBOOK PAGE

Saturday, November 30, 2013

COVER REVEAL FOR RETURN TO CANTERBURY!

I'm so excited to show you the cover for 
RETURN TO CANTERBURY
 sequel to 
So, let's not dilly-dally, HERE IT IS!!!



Story Summary for Return to Canterbury

Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But, as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.

Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!


We're on track for a mid-December release, but in the meantime, you can enter the 
for a copy of the book. 

Please tell your friends and family about the books;
 they make great gifts for the young and the young at heart!



Friday, November 22, 2013

GIVEAWAY AND FIRST REVIEW FOR RETURN TO CANTERBURY

So excited!! Today I gave final approval on both the cover and interior of 

RETURN TO CANTERBURY

so it won't be long before we have a REAL BOOK! I will let you know when it's up for sale on Amazon. 

In the meantime, MY BOOK GIVEAWAY EVENT

has gone LIVE on GOODREADS 

so here is the link! HERE, RIGHT HERE, THIS IS IT

And, author Julie Flanders offered to review 


pre-release, and her review has also gone LIVE. 

You can read it HERE, RIGHT HERE, THIS IS IT!.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Story Summary for RETURN TO CANTERBURY, Sequel to THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE!

Hello Friends,

Well, I am on track to release RETURN TO CANTERBURY, the much-anticipated sequel to THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE, in early December! We'll have a Cover Reveal in a few weeks, but right now it's time to tease you with the Back Cover Blurb

So, if we could have a bit of a drum roll please!


RETURN TO CANTERBURY
by Melissa Ann Goodwin

Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But, as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.

Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!

****
Stay tuned for the Cover Reveal, a bit of a Blog Tour, Reviews and Buy Links - all coming soon!


Friday, November 8, 2013

When the Student is Ready

The rest of that sentence is: "the teacher will come."

Recently I have been wanting to move deeper into the philosophy of yoga and the meditation practice. Last weekend I went to the Yoga Journal Conference in Hollywood, Florida and took a one-day teacher intensive with Aadil Palkhivala. It was definitely a case of the teacher coming when the student was ready - his message and approach were just what I was looking for.

It's not a very good picture, but that's Aadil in the center, after the workshop was over

The keynote speaker at the conference was Marianne Williamson. Another case of the teacher arriving on schedule - she is brilliant and speaks so eloquently and compassionately about what is going on in the U.S. today. I bought her most recent book, The Law of Divine Compensation and had her sign it. She is a very special person - she took the time to speak with every person in line and to let them have a picture taken with her. Here's mine:


Me on the left, Marianne on the right

Anyway, I was just thinking how cool it was that I was looking for new teachers to take me in new directions and they showed up right on time. Does this ever happen to you?


Saturday, October 26, 2013

58


Today is my birthday. I say that not so as to elicit thousands of Happy Birthday messages (though feel free:). I say it because a birthday, like New Year's, is a good time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going. I'm a Scorpio, and Scorpios tend to be especially interested in the mysteries of life, like astrology and numerology and spirituality. So I am looking at the numbers of my birthday today and thinking about their meaning in my life. If that's a little weird for you, well, welcome to my weird little world :)

I am 58 today. 5 plus 8 = 13. 1 + 3 = 4.

When I was four, I saw only the beauty, joy and magic of the world. I looked for fairies in the garden. I stopped to stare at flowers and birds and to pick violets and gather chestnuts and acorns. I loved my family and my friends and felt safe in the world. I was a lucky little girl.

In our front yard

I do not remember this scary looking bunny
When I was 13, I still saw the beauty and magic of the world. I was also filled with possibility. I loved books, the library and bookstores. I loved school and my church, my teachers, my family and my friends. My head was filled with stories. I imagined living in castles and going to places like Austria and Switzerland, which looked like fairyland to me.

I don't have a picture of me at 13 - those pics are all in our storage unit in Santa Fe - some of you will remember pictures I posted of that. We have to deal with that stuff eventually, but like Scarlett O'Hara, "I'll think about that tomorrow!"

Now I am 58.

Picture taken of me today on my 58th birthday. 

For much of the time between 13 and 58, I took detours, as most of us do. I still saw the beauty and magic of the world, I still imagined stories and still dreamed of going to wonderful places. But those things weren't at the forefront of my life. I let them slip into the background while I studied and worked and accumulated lots of stuff. The focus was usually more on "what was missing" rather than on appreciation for all the abundance and blessings that were right there in front of me.

Sometime in my 40's though, the 4-year-old and 13-year-old started talking to me, loudly. They said, "HEY! YOU! YEAH, YOU, GOODWIN! WHAT ARE DOING COUNTING NUMBERS AT AN INSURANCE COMPANY? TIME TO GET BACK TO BEING WHO YOU REALLY ARE."

It took some time, some years of transition, but I did find my way back. I found my way to writing, which I knew from the age of ten was what I should do. I also found my way back to yoga, which I also first discovered at the age of ten. Yoga and writing are the two things that have called to me my whole life. In my 40's they started calling, "Come back to us, come back to us, come back to us."

For those of you who don't know much about yoga - well, it's not just a form of physical exercise and it's not a religion. It's simply a path to becoming the best WHO we were meant to be. When we practice yoga, the body moves with the breath, the mind focuses and becomes quiet.

And when the mind quiets; when we can finally stop listening to all the garbage going on in our heads about what we should have done or shouldn't have done, what we are afraid of or feel guilty or ashamed about, what we are worried about or scared of - when we can get that STUFF out of the way, our true Self can finally emerge.

Not the ego self defined by where we live or work, or how we look or how much stuff we have in our storage unit - the true Self we came here to be. The Self who is the best realization of our 4-year-old self's innocent delight and gratitude for life; the realization of the 13-year-old self's imagined potential and possibility.

That's me doing Half Moon Pose in La Paz, Mexico a couple of years ago.

I've made lots of mistakes, wasted time and energy wanting things that weren't good for me, working at things that made me feel empty. I've had my share of loss and sorrow, especially in these last ten years. So it's not like my life has been all happy-happy joy-joy. No one's is. Life is a continuous cycles of ups and downs. But through the yoga practice, we discover that by learning to love and have compassion for ourselves, we can love and have compassion for others. And being in a place of love and compassion helps us weather the cycles of life, and it helps us help others weather them too.

For me, writing and yoga are the same. My writing is my yoga - my path in the world, the way that whatever gifts were given to me when I came into the world 58 years ago are passed through me and given back to the world. Today at 58, I feel like Me; like the Me I was at 4, filled with gratitude and appreciation for the beauty around me, the people in my life and all that is good and kind; and I also feel like the Me the 13-year-old me hoped I might become. I feel like I haven't let her down, and that feels pretty good.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

SILENT OATH BLOG TOUR! Interview with Paul Anthony Shortt, Author of Silent Oath and Locked Within

My friend Paul Anthony Shortt 




has just released his book Silent Oath, 





which is the sequel to Locked Within. He's also the father of adorable twin girls, an avid gamer and a blogger. He's visiting today to let us know about Silent Oath and to share a little bit about his life as a writer and his life beyond writing. 

I hope you'll enjoying visiting with Paul today and will leave a comment to let him know you stopped by. Thanks for coming!

First, a little about Silent Oath:

Hope has returned to New York City. Nathan Shepherd leads a small band of dedicated fighters against the Council of Chains and the city's supernatural masters. But it's not enough. Because from the shadows of Nathan's former lives comes an old enemy, one who knows terrible secrets that Nathan has not yet remembered, secrets that could undo everything he has fought for. 

Nathan's only chance to uncover the memories of his previous existence, and to conquer these new forces of evil, lies in Elena DeSantis, a woman he has fought beside in past lifetimes. A woman he has loved.Together, Nathan and Elena are the only future the city has.

AND NOW, LET'S FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PAUL

ME: Paul, you seem to be a very prolific writer. How often do you write and for how long?

PAUL:  I write every day. My standard schedule is to write during my lunch hour in work, and early on weekend mornings while my daughters are playing in their play chairs or napping. Beyond that, often if we’re not doing anything in particular on a weekend afternoon, my wife will watch the girls while I get some extra work done for an hour.


ME: I've also seen you say you are a "gamer" - what exactly does that mean?

PAUL: I play video games, board games, and tabletop role playing games. The last one there probably stands out as the most unusual. Essentially, tabletop role playing is like improv acting. There are a number of players sitting together, usually in groups of three to six, and each player has their own character, much like they would in a video game. They describe what their character does in the fictional game world and they speak as their character when their character has something they want to say.


One of the players, referred to as the game master, plays the role of all the other characters in the game and comes up with a storyline, or adventure, for the others to play through. There are rules to adjudicate things like combat or tests of skill, typically used to heighten the drama and add an element of uncertainty to the game.


It’s a hobby I’ve been involved with since I was about 14, and to this day many of my closest friends are also gamers.


ME: Does gaming a role in your writing?

PAUL:  Definitely. I’m often the game master in our regular group, and it gives me an opportunity to test out story and character ideas before I include them in a book. Dorian, one of the antagonists of Locked Within and Silent Oath, is actually inspired by the villain from a game I ran based on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show.


ME: Do you have other employment besides writing - if so, what do you do?

PAUL: I work in office admin and customer services. I’m the team supervisor so I have a lot of responsibilities, but thankfully this means I sit at a desk with a computer, so once 1 o’clock comes around I can get straight into writing.


ME: I love seeing the pictures of your twins on Facebook. I can only imagine that your ability to find time to write has changed since having twin girls, yet you seem to still always be writing. How are you managing the balance?

PAULCertainly. Before I could get up early on a Saturday or Sunday and write for hours while my wife slept. Now I get up, and I have to get breakfast ready for the girls. Also, while the girls now have a set bedtime and are usually very good at going to sleep, since they’re teething now they can sometimes have trouble settling down. As my wife has somewhat limited mobility and is in her third trimester with the new baby, I have to go upstairs to check on them if they start crying. It’s hectic and tiring at times, but one smile from my girls and it’s all worth it.

Also, not that this should make any sense, but now that I have to divide my time so much, I actually feel like I’m more productive when it comes to writing.


PAUL'S BIO:

A child at heart who turned to writing and role playing games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.

Paul lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica, and is now expecting their fourth child.
Paul's first novel, Locked Within, was released on November 6th, 2012, by WiDo Publishing. Silent Oath is the second book in this urban fantasy trilogy.

HERE ARE THE LINKS TO PAUL'S BLOG AND HIS BOOKS:

Links:
Twitter: @PAShortt

Let the end of the world come tumbling down
I'll be the last man standing on the ground
And if my shadow's all that survives
I'm still alive


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Sad Case of the Suicidal Tooth

When we stopped RVing last January 1st and settled down here in Punta Gorda, Florida, the first thing we did was find dentists. We were always the twice-a-year cleanings plus check-up and x-ray types, and our year on the road was the first in my lifetime that I didn't get in that second check-up.

Toward the end of our RVing, I had noticed some irritation around a lower right molar. So I doubled my dental hygiene efforts and it seemed to get better. But by the time I finally got to see a dentist in February, the irritation was back. They took x-rays and discovered that the tooth, which is under a crown, was committing suicide.

It's a thing called "internal resorption" and it's rather rare. Yay, Me! Of all the ways to be rare, this is among the least desirable! What happens is that something happens to the tooth - a trauma, a crack, whatever, and the tooth begins to die. It then perceives itself to be a threat to the other teeth, so it selflessly says, "I will destroy myself to save the rest!" It's a nice thought, but not actually helpful!

By the time of the x-ray, the tooth was well on its way to succeeding in its suicide attempt. They sent me to an endodontist to see if the tooth could be saved by way of a root canal. It cost $400 to determine, that NO, it couldn't be saved.

So they sent me to an oral surgeon to have it pulled. They also explained my options for after the removal:
  • Do nothing (live with gap on the chewing side of my mouth)
  • Get a bridge
  • Get a dental implant
I knew the last option was the most expensive, but the bridge wouldn't be cheap either, and the implant will be like starting over with a whole new tooth. So, I had the oral surgeon remove the tooth and do a bone graft. Okay, that's another $1000.

The bone graft heals for 3 to 4 months (and it took all of that). It's all good and ready for the next step - implantation of the titanium rod upon which the new crown will sit. That will be in November to the tune of another $1700. (If I wanted to be completely "knocked out" while they do it, it would cost $2500).

But we're still not done yet! After another 3 to 4 months of healing, a crown will go on. That'll be another $1300. So, let's do a little tally: 400 + 1000 + 1700 + 1300 = $4400!!

Poor, sad EXPENSIVE little suicidal tooth ....

Friday, October 4, 2013

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

Hello friends,

Well, I've been sporadic at best with blogging this year. There have been a lot of life changes yes, but MOSTLY I have been absent because I have been writing - working on Return to Canterbury, the sequel to The Christmas Village. And I'm pleased to tell you that it is DONE, it is with the publisher, and it will be a BOOK by early December!

Last year at this time, RVPainter (hubby) and I were still living in our beloved Dreamcatcher motorhome:

Our Beloved Dreamcatcher Home

We had just arrived in Florida at Ft. Picken's State Park - one of our favorites on that journey. Take a look and you'll see why:

Fort Pickens State Park, Gulf Breeze, Florida

But those of you who followed along with us know that already we were debating coming off the road because ONE OF US, who shall remain nameless, needed a home base. Okay, IT WAS ME.

We came in off the road and settled here in Punta Gorda, Florida. Not a bad place to settle, huh?

Ponce de Leon Park, just down the street from us in Punta Gorda

The RV sold easily. I was able to immediately return to teaching yoga and also immediately started writing again. It was like everything fell into place to support our decision.

Honestly, the decision to stop RVing full time was heart wrenching - I kinda broke RVPainter's heart, but I also kinda broke my own. It was SO wonderful in so many ways, but in some really essential ways it didn't work for me as a full-time lifestyle. Despite my struggles, I look back on it as one of the best year's of my life! You remember all those photos from all those great places??? I mean, really, it was the adventure of a lifetime, to be treasured always.

Fast forward to now, and a book that I feared would never get written is DONE. I've seen the first cover sketch and it's so close to perfect - just a few tweaks and it will be. I am SO proud of Return to Canterbury. At first I didn't really want to write a sequel because

a) I didn't have a good story idea
AND
b) I was afraid I couldn't live up to the first book (you know how it can be with sequels!)

BUT THEN I got a good idea, the story started to flow and just took off. The next thing I knew, I was off on another rollicking roller coaster of an adventure with Jamie, Kelly and Christopher - three of my favorite people.

I feel like I did justice to The Christmas Village with an exciting plot, a few more surprises and just as much of an emotional tug. Return to Canterbury takes place at the Fourth of July, so we don't have the backdrop of Christmas this time around. One of the things I'm most proud of is creating a certain mood and evoking those same emotions without having Christmas to help me. I hope you will agree!

And for those of you who read The Christmas Village, you remember that teensy-weensy itsy-bitsy mystery we were left with at the end? Well, I promise you that Return to Canterbury will answer ALL your questions - and a few you didn't even have!

Well, that's enough for now. I'll be around more now that the book is done. Stay tuned for updates and the release date. And, I'll fill you in on our first year here in Punta Gorda and some of the wonderful things - besides this book - that have come about as a result of settling down here.

See you all soon - I've missed you!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

SUMMER SKY

The hubby's been painting lots of landscapes lately, trying different techniques for different effects.Love this one he just did in palette knife. Enjoy, and pop over to his blog for some of the others and a bit of his humor.

Summer Sky
Semi-abstract in acrylic with palette knife
by JR Secor








Saturday, August 10, 2013

MORE SOFT LANDSCAPES

Here are some more from Dick's recent Soft Landscape series, for your enjoyment. Check out his RVPAINTER BLOG and ETSY SHOP. Paintings are not too large and very reasonably priced.


LECHO DE UN RIO SECO
(DRY RIVER BED)



MONTANA BIG SKY



FLORIDA INLAND
EAST OF THE WEST COAST



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Soft Landscapes

The hubby has been busy experimenting with different techniques, resulting in some beautiful soft landscapes and fun Quebecois style paintings. Check out his latest post at RVPAINTER and get an instant lift of the spirits.


More in his Etsy Shop - exceptionally reasonable prices - he wants everyone to be able to afford art!



Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Christmas Village Wins Reader's Choice Award

THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE is the winner of the 2013 Blogger Book Fair's Reader's Choice Award for action/adventure!

Thank you so much for showing your love and support for The Christmas Village. If you haven't read it yet, check out the reviews via the REVIEWS tab above.

And stayed tuned - I'm getting very close to finishing the sequel and still hoping to release it in the late fall.

Find The Christmas Village on Amazon.com HERE

Again, many thanks!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

BLOGGER BOOK FAIR: MEET AUTHOR HALEY WHITEHALL

About Haley Whitehall:

Since the age of four, Haley Whitehall wanted to be a writer. She went to Central Washington University and majored in her other favorite subject: history. She has social studies and library endorsements. Now she pairs her two passions into writing historical fiction set in the nineteenth century U.S.
She writes what she fondly calls "out of the box" stories. Forgotten history and the complexities of human nature inspire her characters and plots. Mark Twain serves as her writing mentor. Haley loves coffee a little too much. Perhaps that is why she is a night owl. Cats, good books, and a view of the mountains make her happy.



The Power of Love

As children we learn mannerisms, customs, hard lessons, and many other things which mold us into who we are today. But did you know as a child we also learn how to love? That is probably the most important. There are different relationship styles and the interaction children have with caregivers, neighbors, teachers, and even pets helps the child form their primary relationship style which will have a major impact on who they choose as a life partner when they are an adult.

Yes, love is that powerful.

I have written two Childrens stories - a picture book Who Tells the Moon to Sleep? and Journey to Glory: A Story of a Civil War Soldier and his Dog. Both of these stories revolve around love.



In Who Tells the Moon to Sleep? Tess learns from her mama that they are slaves and although they could be separated at any time the love they have for each other cannot be taken away.

Blurb:
Picture book for ages 8 and up.

Having learned from Mama that the world is filled with things that do what they please like the moon and the cat, eight-year-old Tess wonders why she and Mama are constantly told what to do. They are told when to play, when to eat, and even when to sleep. Mama gently explains that they are slaves and are told what to do because they are owned by the couple in the big house whose fields they work. But Tess realizes that a person can never truly be owned. The master cannot control her mind or her heart.

This is a tender story that tells of the heartbreak of slavery and one little girl’s powerful plea for freedom.
This book is on sale for 99 cents during the Blogger Book Fair!

Links to buy Who Tells the Moon to Sleep?



In Journey to Glory Ethan strikes out on his own and enlists in the Confederate Army thinking being a soldier will turn him into a man and maybe he’ll return a hero. His loyal dog Sam does not want to be separated from his master and follows him to war. The strong bond and love they have for each other gets them through many hardships and some dark hours.

Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Ethan Mire is excited when war is declared and is eager to enlist in the Confederate Army. This is the defining moment of his generation and he wants his chance to achieve glory. 

His loyal dog Sam won't be parted from him. Though he thinks human warfare is madness, he becomes the mascot for the Georgia regiment. His job is to keep the soldiers company and raise morale until Ethan's first battle gives him a more important mission.

Will Sam follow Ethan only to find the grave? 
And who will achieve glory in this Civil War tale?

This story is written for a PG-13 audience and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
This book is on sale for 99 cents during the Blogger Book Fair!

Links to Buy Journey to Glory:

About Haley:
Since the age of four, Haley Whitehall always wanted to be a writer. She went to Central Washington University and majored in her other favorite subject: history. She has social studies and library endorsements. Now she pairs her two passions into writing historical fiction set in the nineteenth century U.S.
She writes what she fondly calls "out of the box" stories. Forgotten history and the complexities of human nature inspire her characters and plots. Mark Twain serves as her writing mentor. Haley loves coffee a little too much. Perhaps that is why she is a night owl. Cats, good books, and a view of the mountains make her happy.

Connect with Haley:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752677.Haley_Whitehall