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.

Movie Review: Arrival

mv5bmtexmzu0odcxndheqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mde1oti4mzay-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_Hubs and I have been playing catch up on our movie watching. The Arrival movie was not one that I was particularly interested in, but hubby wanted to see it. Jeremy Renner is in it, so I figured I’d take one for the team.

IMdB: When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team – led by expert linguist Louise Banks – is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

The above descripition is way more dramatic than I actually think the movie was, and I’m really not sure what chance they are referring to. Silly, IMdB. It could have been a decent movie, but it was ruined for me.

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***

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Black Sails – Episode 403

I’m just going to jump right on in here and give you the lowdown on the third episode of this season.

***SPOILERS***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***

This episode was fantastic and gruesome and fast-paced all in one exhilarating hour worth of pirate drama. I liked this episode, but it almost seemed like they crammed as much as they could into it.

Max and the general guy that I didn’t even care to remember the name of because he was such an ass get into a verbal battle where he insists on her delivering her informants or else be charged with treason and death. Max blows him off and further fortifies why I love her character so much. Loyal and strong no matter the price!

The Governor lays a trap for Blackbeard, Jack, and Anne and overtakes them. He then tortures Blackbeard until finally putting a bullet in his head. What a minute here! Captain Edward Teach, Blackbeard, the man, myth and legend does not die by the hands of England in Nassau or anywhere near it! He is in Treasure Island, for pete’s sake! How could they possibly kill him off?! The entire time he was captured and being drug beneath the ship I was waiting for something to happen, a plan to unfold, but nothing happened! Blackbeard died! How?! It was so rushed and glanced over, they hardly gave him the due camera time for a dignified death! Don’t get the wrong, the torture scene turned my stomach, but even that seemed rushed.

Then we get to the battle in Nassau, and again, so rushed! The general jerk dude didn’t listen to Elenaor when she gave him very clear advice. John Silver and Flint walk into the hanging square and wreck the place. At first it looks like no one has their back, but then people join behind them, even Billy shows up! Billy is obviously there because he supports John, but this will be interesting to see how the dynamic between him and Flint plays out. Finally, Hands slots the generals throat and the episode ends as the fighting resumes on the streets.

Overall, it was a great episode, but again too much too fast! That one battle int eh streets should have been played out way longer than it was. Even Blackbeard’s final moments Gould have been granted longer time than five minutes! Silly writers. I just hope it means they are gearing up for the finally episodes. Going to miss this show.

Movie Review: Deepwater Horizon

If you have never heard of Deepwater Horizon, then my friend, you live under a rock and/or are a vampire. If it’s the latter then I’m glad we’re friends. It was a strange coincidence that my husband and I watched this literally the same week I had a discussion board assignment on the tragedy. There was obvious dramatization to some of it and inaccuracies, but overall I really think this movie was very well done.

mv5botezndu0otgxm15bml5banbnxkftztgwnja0odm2ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_IMdB: In April 2010, there is no oil exploration operation in the Gulf of Mexico to compare with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig with its size or sheer depth of its drilling. However, the project for the BP oil company is beset with technical difficulties to the point where the general operational supervisor, Jimmy Harrell, and his Chief Electrical Engineer, Mike Williams, are concerned potentially dangerous trouble is brewing. Unfortunately, visiting BP executives, frustrated by the project’s long delays, order curtailed site inspections and slanted system tests to make up for lost time even as Harrell, Williams and his team helplessly protest for the sake of proper safety. On April 20, the workers’ fears are realized in the worst possible way when the rig’s various structural and system flaws spark a catastrophic cascade of failures that would create a massive blowout and explosion that threatens them all, even as it also begins the worst environmental disaster in US history.

I’m not going to claim any spoilers because as a proclaimed above, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy has been deemed the worst environmental disaster in US history, so you can pretty much guess what happens in the movie. If you can’t, here’s some light reading for you: 100 Days of the BP Spill. I absolutely loved this timeline as it was part of the reading for my discussion board in my Social Responsibility in Business class.

Mark Wahlberg had a great performance in this movie, but let’s be honest, when does he not perform well. I wonder if he spent any time with the man he was casted to play, but if you watched the CSPAN coverage of the Senate hearings on this tragedy, you heard his story already. Mike Williams stood before a selected committee and recounted the night of April 20, 2010 when Deepwater Horizon exploded and 11 people were lost at sea. This courageous man did everything he could to help his fellow shipmates, but this incident could have been completely avoided had BP not been so greedy.

I was a little wary that this movie was going to be a big political circus, but it was honestly just the retelling of a man’s story with a bit of Hollywood dramatization thrown in. It will make you mad, I promise you that, but not for the wrong reasons. The families that have been torn apart by this tragedy, my heart goes out to them still, even seven years later.

It was a great movie to watch, but the idea that these people had to actually go through something like this is crazy to me. It was 2010! How can something like this still happen? I’ve read where they tightened the regulations on the blowout valve to hopefully avoid another tragedy like Deepwater Horizon. Any engineers out there that can create an even better failsafe? I challenge you!

 

Movie Review: The Girl On The Train

Baby spent the night with her grandparents, so mommy and daddy had a pizza, movie, wine and beer night. I’m wine, he’s beer. Overall, a very healthy evening. (Back to that whole: Weight Loss or Pizza bit.) It’s been a while since we have been able to catch up on the latest cinema hits, so this may be a bit late, but I had to share my feelings on The Girl On The Train. This may start to read like a rant, so you have been warned.

girl-on-the-train-new-trailerIMdB: The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson’s life post-divorce. Every day, she takes the train in to work in New York, and every day the train passes by her old house. The house she lived in with her husband, who still lives there, with his new wife and child. As she attempts to not focus on her pain, she starts watching a couple who live a few houses down — Megan and Scott Hipwell. She creates a wonderful dream life for them in her head, about how they are a perfect happy family. And then one day, as the train passes, she sees something shocking, filling her with rage. The next day, she wakes up with a horrible hangover, various wounds and bruises, and no memory of the night before. She has only a feeling: something bad happened. Then come the TV reports: Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel becomes invested in the case and trying to find out what happened to Megan, where she is, and what exactly she herself was up to that same night Megan went missing.

***SPOILER ALERT***YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***Read More »