Tomorrow’s Me

What makes any one person believe they were better than they were yesterday? What gives someone the sense that they have somehow taken a step in the right direction from the day before?

Is it accomplishment based? Is it by being kinder? Or is it just noticing a subtle change in your mood compared to the day before?

What makes us believe that today we are a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday, and tomorrow holds even more promise?

I like to think that each day I grow as a person. I’m a little smarter and wiser than yesterday. I’m a little more aware of my flaws and how to change get them as well as my good qualities and striving to better them even more. I’m more positive about the path I am leading, and even more grateful that my past is behind me. Every day I believe I grow a little more like a flower kissed by dew and sunshine. 

Not that I’m comparing myself to a flower. I’m no rose, for sure, but you get my drift.

Today’s me has evolved from my past, but this version of myself won’t recognize me tomorrow. With every sunrise, I change, and hopefully, each time it will be for the better.

Working on me.

It’s been a while since I have posted, mainly because life has just gotten a bit hectic, but I need to write this out.

There are times in our lives when we realize we have taken on so much that we are sinking our own ship. We have to bail it out to save ourselves, take a desperate gasp of air, and regroup before even considering which direction to head into next. It’s times like these we begin to think of the loved ones in our hearts and our journey thus far. We hold on tight to the constants, to the known pieces of our beings, as we wait for the storm to pass and our boat to right itself again.

Once we have finally caught our breath and the horizon is properly placed in our sights once more, only then can we search out the star to lead us home. Only then can we navigate what all lies before us, the unknown destinations waiting just beyond the water’s edge. Only then can the world feel tameable as we search for the next piece to ourselves we didn’t even know was missing.

This, my friends, is where I find myself now. After some time to save my ship and right my world again, I have found a piece of myself I didn’t realize I was missing. I love to write, that much I’m sure is clear, but I didn’t realize how much I love to write this blog as well as my novels. 

This blog has become a missing piece to my creative mind, an intricate piece to my writing cogwork that without it, I have found myself a little lost and overloaded. Not sinking, mind you, just knowing I have a hole somewhere within me which is only filled by emptying my brain every few days. 

Which brings me to my ultimate point of refusing to go any length of time again unless absolutely necessary of not writing even a small blurb on my blog. It’s the piece of me that I can express without fear of retribution. It’s the piece of me that keeps my horizon from tilting. All said and done, writing these posts are part of what keeps me going, keeps me sane, and allows me to be creative. Without out, I’m just a stuffed drain, wishing for relief. 

On that note, I’m back. Let’s do this.

Heart Tissue from Spinach Leaves?

OK, just woah. Woah. WOAHHH!

I know that is not very literary of me, but I think I might actually be at a loss for words. I mean, who the hell sits at the dinner table, eating a spinach salad and thinks, “Hmm, if we remove everything from this leaf and push blood through, maybe we can make heart tissue for people who have had heart attacks.” Like, who are these people?

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are now taking spinach leaves and transform them into human heart tissue…that beats. They are showing promise that removing everything from the spinach leaves and leaving just the vascular system the leaf contains then attempting to grow tissue within it that actually beats can actually help someone who has suffered a heart attack. These leaves would replace the dead tissue left after the attack and beat with the rest of the heart.baby-spinach-leaves

I am extremely grateful for geniuses like these, but could you imagine living in their heads? Holy cow! I’m literally floored by this! I think I’ve rambled enough. Here’s the article and interview of these absolutely amazingly smart people.

Just wow.

Transforming Spinach Leaves Into Heart Tissue – wbur: Radio Boston

 

Loving Me

Not many people know this about me, but I’m choosing to share it because I refuse to let it control me anymore. I am an extremely self-conscious person, so much so that I can be my own worst enemy.

When I was a teenager, it was worse with all of the terrible experiences I endured, but dance and my part-time job were enough to distract me a majority of the time. As I graduated grade school, I had to find other ways in dealing with my self-respect, but it followed me into adulthood and threatened to consume me all too many times.

After getting married and having my daughter I was able to give myself some slack because I had proof that I was at least doing something right. A man who loves me, and a growing, thriving baby girl. Now, as my daughter gets older, I’m finding that I am beginning to fall back into my old pattern of chastising myself continuously for even the smallest of blips. I know it isn’t right or healthy, but I’m struggling to find ways to bring it to it’s final end.

As a teenager, I think I got to the point where I was self-loathing, but I haven’t sunk that low in a long time. I want to be stronger for my husband, and a better role-model for my daughter. I want to grow and live a life of love. I never want to go down that dark road again, so here’s my way of assuring I don’t. tom-ezzatkhah-103592.jpg

I’m vowing right now to love myself. I’m promising that I will not allow my mind to explore the idea that I’m not good enough, or that my efforts are pointless. I’m swearing right now that I will be my greatest cheerleader in the days, years to come. If nothing else is true in this world, we have this one body, one chance to do our best. I refuse to let myself be my own stop sign.

It’s a heavy topic, one that took me a while to really talk about, but I hope this may help someone else see the light, and change their thinking. Love yourself first because you are the only person in this world who really knows you.

Black Sails and The Walking Dead

I’m not sure what got into these writers, but all the sudden both shows have taken a turn toward amazing dialogue​. I’m jumping right in here, so consider this your warning now.

The greatest highlight in the entire Pre-Series Finale of Black Sails was Madi’s conversation with the Governor. My mouth was literally on the floor as she spelled it out for him that he was the reason Eleanor died. The dude looks like he is on the brink of losing his mind, and I literally thought he was going to go nuts right then and there. I wouldn’t have blamed him for an outburst because she literally just twisted a knife in his back that had already been making its way through his chest. It was almost poetic the way she built to the moment where she plunged the dagger into his heart. Man, I was amped during that entire exchange! Not to mention the fact that she said exactly what Flint has been saying all along to Silver. The war was about far more than her and him. 

Then there was a beautiful piece by the old sailor pirate who had long past his prime, but was brought on to help Jack find Skeleton Island. He gave an incredible monologue about his time as pirate, it coming to an end and feeling like a faint memory, but the sea’scall was always there. It was outstanding and sent chills up my spine for it’s perfection and realization that all things must come to an end. Talk about gold!

Now for The Walking Dead. Sasha’s lines were still basic, but at least her scenes had meaning! It was more than just filler moments, and who are we kidding, Negan is the man! I believe this scene was exactly taken from the comics minus the fact that it was Sasha, but it’s transfer to see such basic human right being preserved in a time of chaos, again minus the knife to the neck of the would be abuser.

That about summed up the episode for me because besides getting more guns, that was about all that happened. Oh, and Dwayne showed up in Alexandria. And the Hilltop exposed the jackass in the suit for what he really was: scared peon.

Next Sunday will be no contest for me though as to which extended episode I will be watching as it is aired. Black Sails all day! I can’t see how they are going to end it in such a way that it prequels Treasure Island, but if the Series Finale is anything like this pre-finale, I know I won’t be disappointed. The Walking Dead is just going to have to wait!

Dreams of Pirates

Remember my dear,

As the time draws near,

To look to the horizon,

Farther than what you can set your eyes on

And whisper me a prayer

Of a gentle breeze in my hair

And a life full of adventure,

Even though I wish not to venture

Any further from home

Than my mind already roams.

Remember my love,

As the night taints the dove,

No matter how dark or how frail,

My admiration for you will never fail

Or falter under the weight of the stars

Because as I think of you, I have only these bars

Of magic and dreams

Far greater than they seem

To keep me warm as I travel,

Ever destined to unravel,

Except when I think of you.

Watching too many darn pirate shows. Better than reading about the Great Depression I guess. My dreams to that end are becoming a bit destitute. Although, the one last night was very intriguing, and I actually remembered most of it! Possible storyline, definitely book worthy material, but alas, my current project has hit over 80k words, and I still don’t think it’ll be finished before the end of the summer. We’ll see. Maybe throw in a pirate novel should I dream of any interesting ideas. When is bedtime again?

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.