A New Normal

I feel like I have heard this term more and more lately as I have gotten older. It seems to pop up at every milestone in life. Get married, a new normal. Have kids, a new normal. Each child’s milestone, a new normal. Then there are the new normals that happen unexpectedly. Loved one passes away results in a new normal. Tragic accident which changes your life creates a new normal. All of these moments in our lives all have one thing in common. They all force us into a different way of doing things, but does that make it normal?

What about anything anyone does is normal? What makes the aftermath of this x-factor normal? Life after a more common rite of passage I can see being shuffled in with what society constitutes as normal, but what categorizes the subsequent life we must lead following a tragedy? Who deems the shift in our lifestyles as meeting some societal standard of the status quo?sticker375x360-u2

What follows after an event literally rocks your world and forces you to continue in a different manner than you were before would never be considered normal to the one experiencing it, but somehow, they will follow along to try and make it morph into what the world around them expects to see.

I say, screw it. Nothing about life is normal. Nothing about our existence on this planet is normal. If it were, we’d all be clones without a mind of our own. In all of God’s infinite wisdom, he gave us each our on willpower, thus our own minds, our own feelings and intelligence. I refuse to believe that any response we may have to any life altering scenario could be constituted as normal.

How about instead of trying to classify a reaction, we just support each other’s coping mechanisms and lend a hand to those in need? How about instead of expecting someone to reach some made up standard following such an event, we allow them to reach a place in their lives where they again feel like themselves albeit wiser from the experience?

Normal is such a relative, fake word, devoid of real meaning. Maybe the phrase should just be a new chapter in life, but I guess that is just the author in me.

Wake Up Call

I don’t even know what to call this post, so I’m writing it first and naming it second. I’ve been so caught up recently in everything going on. Between work, school, and just the routine of every day, I almost feel like I am looking in on what is going on around me rather than living the moment for all it’s worth. I’m not sure when it started, but I feel like I’ve been rushing everything.

I’ve had very busy work weeks and weekends recently which is why I forced myself to take a step back from social media this past weekend. I’m starting to realize when each day of work starts, or each event comes around, I am already wishing it was the moment after. It’s not that I don’t want to be there or doing whatever it is I am doing, I’m just already thinking of the next thing. Instead of being in that moment, I’m wishing for the next. 

I’m not sure why I felt the need to gut this out, but I think I will use it as my wake up call. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it is that life is too short to be caught up in the future. Never has anyone one ever promised the next moment, the only one I have is right now.

I guess this post is my way of checking myself. I think we could all use a little rattle if we ever feel too comfortable in our current state of being. Take it form me, friends, pay attention to the present. Consider this your wake up call.

How to Handle Bad Reviews

Have you ever tried something that just didn’t go the way you had hoped and turned into a bad experience? Sometimes we can ignore them, others we feel propelled to let others know about our horrible encounters. We all come across these events in our lives not matter the person, place, or thing of focus. Bad customer service; blast them on social media. Malfunctioning product; unpleasant reviews on company website. Read a lackluster novel; ream the author out on GoodReads.bad-reviews-online-yelp

There is no easy way to handle harsh reviews, but I have come up with a few steps to help my fellow providers of any product or service to come out stronger after such abuse. Before we begin, I want to be clear that there is a very real difference between constructive criticism and plain rude comments. Constructive criticism is exactly that, a positive offering from a consumer to help strengthen the seller’s position within any market. Malicious reviews do not fall in this category, and sometimes can be a little hard to swallow. This is where my focus will fall because constructive criticism is part of everyday life, so we should be acclimated to these types of comments whereas verbal lashings for most are a bit further and farther in between.

*Disclaimer: I am an author, so this will be geared more towards my colleagues, but all suppliers are welcomed to cite whatever piece they find valuable from this post.

1. Read the comments with an open mind.

Do not attempt to read reviews or listen to customers with a turbulent or distracted mind. Whatever is going on in another part of your life, whatever has previously upset you either work related or otherwise, forget about it for all of the amount time it is going to take you to complete this process before reading/hearing any sort of cruel negative feedback. Clear your mind, steel it if you are new to this process, and continue to the next step.

2. Don’t take it personal.

Remember the first step. Read the comments with an open mind and don’t take it personal. I of all people know that this is hard to do especially when a reviewer is literally dragging your name through the mud, but we have to remember that to them whatever product or service they were provided with did not meet expectations and therefore has let them down. This can be heightened dramatically as the cost to the consumer is higher. No matter what the reviewer has said, don’t take it personally, and continue on.

3. Find the constructive pieces.

Unless the customer is literally just throwing profanities and cursing your very existence, during these times of frustration, we all just want our voices heard. Again, if the reviewer is just lamenting that you occupy space on this planet, it is best just to ignore it and/or advise them to provide feedback at such a time that it can contain constructive points. If the consumer is frustrated, but still explaining why pertaining to the product, then there is hope for something constructive and possibly a lesson to be learned. It may be hard to sieve through some of the not so helpful points, but again, remember our previous steps and focus on what can be helpful advice.

4. Do not respond.

This may be equally hard to do, but specifically to my fellow authors, do not respond! Unless you are on the phone or in person with the disgruntled customer, do not respond. List out the constructive points as you read the statements with an open mind. Even if you think you have the end-all-be-all comeback, do not respond. This is about learning to find what is helpful to better yourself in the future.

Revert to the previous step if you are face to face with an unhappy consumer: advise them to provide feedback at such a time that it can contain constructive points, and if it does contain such points, acknowledge them, but do not offer excuses or explanations. Just listen and give their concerns merit. Do not take anything said to you to heart. Remember, it isn’t personal. They just want to be heard.

5. Remember that you are not perfect.

No one on this planet is perfect. We all perform the same mundane tasks every day between bathroom usage and clothing rituals. You will never make everyone happy no matter the product or service you provide, but we can at least continue to understand that there is always room for growth and use these scenarios to our advantage. If a reviewer says that your story lacks dialog, try to add more in your next. If a customer states that your product brakes too easily at this certain piece, evaluate their concern and strive to make it better. We can take these moments of criticism and strive to make ourselves. Not perfect, but better.

6. Grow.

We are all human, and life is a continuous saga of learning lessons. Be the bigger person, and better yourself from the experience. Take what you can from each lesson, and let the rest go. (Not to sound too “Frozen”-y.) Everything we do, we can get better with practice and determination. Never give up, just accept this new challenge and rise above it.

My husband will look at me at times and ask how I can stand to see some ill-intended comments. My answer is always that I take them and choose to grow from them. I refuse to let it get me down because then what does that accomplish. We all have too choose to be better, to strive for more, and with each new project, that is exactly what I do. In a way, I guess I am breaking one of my own rules with this post, but to all who have provided feedback on any of my works, I thank you for helping me reach for higher heights, and I will always strive for greater.

Let me know of any tips that I may have left out, or different ways you may cope with such comments. If you just need a listening ear, I am here for that also!

Last Chance for the Alyeska Giveaway!

Today is the last day! If you haven’t received your free e-book copy of Alyeska yet, here’s how you can take advantage of this giveaway: click the below link to “buy” your e-book copy on Amazon, and enjoy! It’s that easy.

And hopefully by the time you have finished Alyeska, spring will finally be upon us!

All I ask, my dear fellow readers, is to rate and review Alyeska as you wish.

Thank you to every single one of you for the constant support, and I hope you enjoy a romance nestled in the mountains of Alyeska, Alaska.alyeskacover

Grab your copy here! – (Amazon link)

The Alyeska Ski Resort and Spa near Anchorage, Alaska is known for its beautiful mountains, relaxing environment, and delicious dining, but for Kayleigh Wilson, a trip to the frozen tundra was meant to offer so much more. After a past full of pain, she lived her life based on how little she had to feel, so when her brother offered a weekend trip to the resort where no one even knew her name, she jumped at the opportunity. For Kayleigh, this trip was exactly what she needed to put herself back in the game of dating and romance, but she never planned on meeting a man who could actually alleviate her past and allow her to experience every emotion she had shut off so long ago. Benjamin Thomas, the man who awakens her heart from hibernation, is full of his own pain, but in his mind, some secrets are better left unshared. As Kayleigh faces her past and confronts Ben’s, she fights to keep herself from falling back into the darkness of unfeeling, but it may be at a price she isn’t willing to pay.

Check out this link for an excerpt of Alyeska.

Don’t Miss This Giveaway of Alyeska!

I can’t thank all of those who have downloaded a free copy of my latest e-book Alyeska enough. Your continued support is why I continue doing what I do. Hopefully you are warm in your home, curled up with hot coffee or cocoa, and your copy of Alyeska! I’m definitely in a cuddly mood in my PJ’s and coffee.

If you haven’t grabbed your e-copy yet, don’t miss your chance! You have until Friday! Here’s how you can take advantage of this giveaway: click the below link to “buy” your e-book copy on Amazon, and enjoy! It’s that easy.

All I ask, my dear fellow readers, is to rate and review Alyeska as you wish.

Thank you to every single one of you for the constant support, and I hope you enjoy a romance nestled in the mountains of Alyeska, Alaska.alyeskacover

Grab your copy here! – (Amazon link)

The Alyeska Ski Resort and Spa near Anchorage, Alaska is known for its beautiful mountains, relaxing environment, and delicious dining, but for Kayleigh Wilson, a trip to the frozen tundra was meant to offer so much more. After a past full of pain, she lived her life based on how little she had to feel, so when her brother offered a weekend trip to the resort where no one even knew her name, she jumped at the opportunity. For Kayleigh, this trip was exactly what she needed to put herself back in the game of dating and romance, but she never planned on meeting a man who could actually alleviate her past and allow her to experience every emotion she had shut off so long ago. Benjamin Thomas, the man who awakens her heart from hibernation, is full of his own pain, but in his mind, some secrets are better left unshared. As Kayleigh faces her past and confronts Ben’s, she fights to keep herself from falling back into the darkness of unfeeling, but it may be at a price she isn’t willing to pay.

Check out this link for an excerpt of Alyeska.

Giveaway Time: Alyeska

With the pending nor’easter about to hit the east coast, what better time to snuggle up with a winter wonderland romance. The time has come, my darling dears! Get your free e-copy of Alyeska now!

alyeskacoverHere’s how you can grab your e-book copy: click the below link to “buy” your e-book copy on Amazon, and enjoy!

It’s that easy, and you have until Friday 11:59 PM to do it.

All I ask, my dear fellow readers, is to rate and review Alyeska as you wish.

Thank you to every single one of you for the constant support, and I hope you enjoy a romance nestled in the mountains of Alyeska, Alaska.

Grab your copy here! – (Amazon link)

The Alyeska Ski Resort and Spa near Anchorage, Alaska is known for its beautiful mountains, relaxing environment, and delicious dining, but for Kayleigh Wilson, a trip to the frozen tundra was meant to offer so much more. After a past full of pain, she lived her life based on how little she had to feel, so when her brother offered a weekend trip to the resort where no one even knew her name, she jumped at the opportunity. For Kayleigh, this trip was exactly what she needed to put herself back in the game of dating and romance, but she never planned on meeting a man who could actually alleviate her past and allow her to experience every emotion she had shut off so long ago. Benjamin Thomas, the man who awakens her heart from hibernation, is full of his own pain, but in his mind, some secrets are better left unshared. As Kayleigh faces her past and confronts Ben’s, she fights to keep herself from falling back into the darkness of unfeeling, but it may be at a price she isn’t willing to pay.

Check out this link for an excerpt of Alyeska.

You Get A Copy! You Get A Copy!

That’s right, my friends! I’m taking a page out of Oprah’s book, and sharing the wealth with you. For five days only, my latest novel Alyeska will be yours for free! You heard me: FREE!oprah-free-car

Here’s how you can grab your e-book copy starting March 13: click the below link to “buy” your e-book copy on Amazon, and enjoy! It’s that easy.

All I ask, my dear fellow readers, is to rate and review Alyeska as you wish.

Thank you to every single one of you for the constant support, and I hope you enjoy a romance nestled in the mountains of Alyeska, Alaska.

Grab your copy here! – (Amazon link)

The Alyeska Ski Resort and Spa near Anchorage, Alaska is known for its beautiful mountains, relaxing environment, and delicious dining, but for Kayleigh Wilson, a trip to the frozen tundra was meant to offer so much more. After a past full of pain, she lived her life based on how little she had to feel, so when her brother offered a weekend trip to the resort where no one even knew her name, she jumped at the opportunity. For Kayleigh, this trip was exactly what she needed to put herself back in the game of dating and romance, but she never planned on meeting a man who could actually alleviate her past and allow her to experience every emotion she had shut off so long ago. Benjamin Thomas, the man who awakens her heart from hibernation, is full of his own pain, but in his mind, some secrets are better left unshared. As Kayleigh faces her past and confronts Ben’s, she fights to keep herself from falling back into the darkness of unfeeling, but it may be at a price she isn’t willing to pay.

Check out this link for an excerpt of Alyeska.

Black Sails Season 4 Episode 6

black-sails-tv-series-on-starz-cancelled-no-season-fiveI’m not OK with this series, either, only for entirely separate reasons than my feelings for The Walking Dead. Black Sails is slowly pushing me away as the finale nears, and I am so desperately trying to hang on! There were so many moments in this episode that I literally yelled at the TV, startling my husband, that this is not how the ending of this show should go! I had a completely different vision for the ending of this show, and this is not it! I’m hoping as the show approaches the series finale that everything will start to fall into place to at least resemble something along the lines of what I had anticipated, something that sort of looks like the preface to Treasure Island, because right now, I don’t see it.

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***Read More »

Let the Countdown Begin

Four terms left, my friends! FOUR! And I will have obtained my Bachelor’s degree. After graduating with my Associates degree in 2010, I wasn’t sure I would ever go back to school, but my husband finally motivated me to go for it. Almost two years later, I can see the finish line with four more terms left!

I think I can. I think I can. I’m almost there!

I really believe that once I graduate, not only will doors within my career open, but so will the flood gates on my creative mind. I literally work at my classes at least two hours a day, five days a week, sometimes more. It has left me feeling dry and overworked, so once I finally graduate, I can imagine a ship sailing into harbor and unleashing my determination to finish my latest project.

I probably won’t attend graduation since it is held on campus in New Hampshire, but I promise you, it will be one the happiest days of my life to finally have that diploma in hand. That one piece of paper will welcome so many new opportunities and alleviate a world of stress off of my mind. Let the countdown begin!