Proud Mama…

Yesterday, my niece and nephew had school pictures taken, one of those rights of passage I miss now that my own daughter is an adult.

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Anyway. ..

My sister-and brother-in-law both posted the picture of the two kids as they were leaving for school on their facebook pages and texted them to family members so we could see how great they both looked. My niece, as always, is just stunning. Truly. She is already a blonde beauty just like her mother. My nephew also looked stunning. He is one handsome little gent, made more so yesterday because he wore a tuxedo to picture day. Why, you ask? I did too, and My S-I-L told me he wanted to wear one so he’d look good,  so they rented one for his size.

Really, too adorable for words.

Apparently, on his FB page, under the picture, my bro-in-law put  a caption that read a little like this: Bond, James Bond and a beautiful Bond girl. ( Not an exact quote, but mostly.)

I thought: “How cute.”

My daughter, who happens to be this niece’s God Mother, commented, “*** ( My niece’s name, which I am not going to publicize because she is just a kid!) is not a Bond Girl. She’s the next M.”

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LOL!

Truly, you know you have raised an amazeballs daughter when she puts something like that into the universe! Proud never seems to be an adequate descriptor for me when I talk about her. Amazing. Empowering. Powerful. Intuitive. Brilliant.  All those and many more are better descriptions of the human being she is.

 

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So, for all those mamas who have raised amazeballs daughters who are actually making a difference in the world’s perceptions and thoughts about females : God Bless and Congrats!!!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Life challenges, love, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Public speaking isn’t for sissies…

So, this weekend I’ll be here:

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I’m part of the Vendor’s event on Friday night,  hawking my books and pressing the flesh ( why that always sounds so dirty to me, I can’t tell ya, but it does! )

Saturday I’m giving two “talks” or classes, as the camp is calling them. One is titled DREAM BIG the other, WRITING A BOOK, two concepts I know a great deal about.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. I’ll talk to practically anyone, anywhere any time. My grandmother used to say I’d talk to a rock if it would listen. She’s wasn’t wrong.

But speaking to another person one-on-one or in a small group of your friends is totally different from getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and commanding a topic.

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I tend to babble when I’m nervous. I tend to go off on tangents if something strikes me as funny. I tend to avoid eye contact because I’m so nervous. None of these little idiosyncrasies warms a listener’s heart when they have paid cash-money to hear you speak about a topic you are supposed to be proficient in and an expert on.

There are a million tactics to dealing with this nervous anxiety. Picturing your audience naked is one of the oldest and most quoted pieces of advice. But folks, seriously? I’m a romance writer. I write about naked people all the time! If I started envisioning my audience naked I’d most likely start to think up stories to put couples in the crowd together! Not a good tactic at all.

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Someone else offered me the advice of speaking to the crowd as if they were all a bunch of my friends and we were just chatting. Again- do you know me??? I have more “friends” on facebook than I do in real life. I’m never around more than 4 people at a time. EVAH!!!

One thing I did do for these two talks was write out all the bullet points I wanted to speak about and then transferred them to index cards. At least this way I can stick to topic and not go off on one of my numerous side trips and a non-sensical conversations.

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Arghghgh, as Charlie Brown so correctly says.

What have I gotten myself into? It’s so hard being a 50-ish, chubby, nervous, introvert in today’s youth obsessed, anorexic, let-everything-hang-out-there world.

I think I’ll go back to writing now to calm myself.

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

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Loneliness….

I was out for the day with my besties yesterday. Love that. Just a day of girlfriends, shopping, eating, and laughing.

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One of my girls mentioned she was at a conference recently where this question was posed: What is the number one disease afflicting the world today? My first thought was heart disease. NO. My second guess was mental illness? NO, but closer.

Turns out, the number one disease afflicting a great majority of the world we live in is loneliness.

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When you think about it, it kinda rings true. Because I’m so egocentric(!LOL) I immediately thought about my life as it stands now as a full-time writer.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my routine day for clarification. I get up anywhere from 3am-4am due to this chronic insomnia I have.  Hubman is still asleep so I either write a little or watch a little OnDemand Real Housewives episodes that I’ve missed. Get him up for work a few hours later. He leaves  and most days is gone for between 12 and 13 hours. I do one of two things: go to the gym first or just start writing.

If I don’t go to the gym there are days when I will not speak to or interact with another human being until my husband returns home. That’s approximately half my waking day without human interaction. Without speaking to someone, hearing their voice, engaging them in dialogue. More than half. One of the reasons I joined a gym was so that I had a reason to get out of the house and be around people for a few hours a day and not just sit at home, typing, and being alone for hours upon end. Believe me, if I didn’t consciously go out of the house, I could sosososo be a hermit and never see or hear another person. Not good for someone like me who makes their bread and butter creating relationships between people. I need to see people, hear them, watch them, and talk to them so that my characters feel and sound real to readers.

Well, you troll on Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter you’ll say. That’s social interaction. Yes, to a point. But nothing can replace looking into someone’s face when you are speaking with them, drawing them in with  your expressions, your spoken voice, looking directly into their eyes so that you actually connect with them. Nothing. You don’t get that from hitting a “like” on facebook, or “Re-Tweeting” something on twitter. You just don’t.

Again, you will say, but Skype and Facetime, and other mechanical apps where you can look at the person you are speaking to over the device, face to face, is social interaction. Again, yes, to a point. It’s similar, but just not the same as sitting across from someone in a coffeehouse, being able to hold their hand when they’re sad, or run a comforting caress up their arm;  or sharing a meal with someone in a restaurant and actually engaging them, eye to eye, face to face, in a conversation that actually has substance, value. and meaning. Nothing.

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To most – if not all – writers, being alone is just part of the job. We need the alone time to settle our thoughts, run them through without interruptions, figure out the next scene in silence. Like I said, being alone is part and parcel of the job.

But loneliness is very different from being alone. Being alone has a purpose. You need quiet to focus, to create, to bring forth coherent thoughts on the page. Being lonely is a result. A negative result of an event, or simply just happenstance of life. A spouse dies and your family lives far away and doesn’t visit. You’ve worked all your life and now retirement comes and you realize you don’t have many friends or family members to spend time with. You’ve gotten divorced, moved, experienced a trauma. Anything and everything can contribute to a state of loneliness.

Humans are social animals. We talk, we laugh, we cry, we touch, we love, we communicate with words and without.  We need interaction. We crave the company of another, and when we are isolated or unable to interact with others, severe, depressing, heart-wrenching feelings of loneliness can surface and destroy us.

So, like me, if you are alone a lot, do something that gets you out of the house, even for an hour. Be with people. Go grab a cup of coffee and a bagel. Call up someone you know is sitting at home alone and drag them out with you. Smile. Engage with the world and the wonderful people in it. Don’t give loneliness a chance to develop, grow, and fester.girlfriends2

I am home a lot, that’s true. So if I don’t see you at Panera’s (lol) or the Gym, here’s where you can find me:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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When rejection turns to acceptance…

At RWA16 I was delighted to sit in on a seminar by the wonderful Christie Craig. She spoke of her years of hard work in trying to get published  and her disappointment with each rejection letter she received. Like her, I can relate. Over the years I’ve probably had enough rejections from editors and literary agents to fill a suitcase. Well, Christie Craig did. Fill a suitcase. And she brought it along with her to the seminar to illustrate just how many pieces of paper with her work rejected she’d received over the years.

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I have to tell you it was eye opening.

I’ve always joked I’ve been rejected more times than there are books in the library. But I threw those rejection letters away and never thought about them again. This is my little psychological quirky way of dealing with unpleasant issues: out of sight, out of mind. Hey, it works for me.

Christie did not toss away her rejections. She saved them, accumulated them, stored them away so that one day she could take them out and say “Look. Look at what I had to suffer through to be a published author. Look at the fires I walked through to come out on the other side of my dream.”

Heady stuff.

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She–and I–are not the only  ones who’ve lived through mountains of rejections and so-called failures.

  • R.H. Macy, yes that MACY, started 7 failed businesses before finally hitting it big with his NYC-based store
  • Thomas Edison had 1000 unsuccessful light bulb inventions and attempts before one finally worked.
  • After Fred Astaire’s screen test, the studio director stated that Astaire, “can’t dance, can’t sing, is balding and can dance a little.”
  • Theodor Giesel, who the world lovingly knows as Dr Suess, had 27 publishers reject his first book.
  • Stephen King received 30 rejections of Carrie, one of the most iconic horror books and movies of all time.
  • Jack London’s first story received 600 rejection slips before being accepted.
  • Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the Grand Ol’ Opry, “you ain’t going nowhere, son. Go back to driving a truck.” He then fired him after only 1 performance.
  • Ever heard of Harland David Sanders? His secret recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it, coated their chicken with it and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.

I could go on…and on. But won’t because you get the idea.

Hard work, perseverance,  a backbone of steel, and total belief in yourself and what you have to offer is what differentiates a successful person from one who isn’t.

Think about it.

What are you going to do the next time you get rejected?

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When I’m not being rejected(!), you can find me here:

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Remembering…

911

Historical events and the dates that follow them seem to be seared into our memories for life. People can always tell you where they were the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, or when our astronauts landed on the moon, or even the day Elvis died.  The date, I feel, that is imprinted in the minds of all Americans for the past 15 years and for the next thousand and fifteen, is today, September 11, in the year 2001. The day we all realised that our God-given freedom comes with an exacting price.

I was sitting at work, the radio on, stocking supplies, when I heard about the first World Trade tower being hit. For a few minutes we all thought it was some horribly freak accident. The pilot suffered a heart attack, or the plane went haywire, or something – anything to explain such a tragedy.

Those thoughts went the way of the dinosaurs when the second plane hit… and then the Pentagon was attacked… and finally United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. Then,

Then, then we all knew it wasn’t a horrible mistake. Then, then we all knew we were at war and our world had changed.

Far too many words have already been devoted to why these heinous acts were perpetrated upon our land, upon our people, upon our beliefs and way of life,  and I am not going to add any to the speculation on why.

My words are for the heroes that gave their lives that day. The heroes on the planes, especially flight 93; the heroes at the Pentagon; the first, second, and third responders who are everyday heroes but who showed the world what true heroes are made of when everyone was running away from the burning buildings and they were running toward them, trying to help, trying to save whoever they could. Trying to – as they would simply and humbly  tell you – just do their jobs.

My words are for the survivors of the tragedies, who, to this day still, suffer the physical and psychological effects of an act of terrorism, the likes of which had never been seen before and hopefully never will again. Their countless days of agony and torment, of recuperation and recovery, of never-ending memories, are circumstances they wouldn’t wish on anyone else.

My words are for the families of those that gave their lives  that day. Unborn children who will never know the scope of their father’s bravery, who never got the chance to meet them, show them how they were loved. Children who lost mothers, fathers, siblings, friends. Women who lost husbands and husbands who lost wives. Friends who lost people near and dear to them.

My words are simply this: I will never, never forget about you. My prayers, my wishes, my thoughts, are for you and with you. I will never forget  the freedom we hold so dearly and so tightly, that we’ve fought for, for over 200 hundred years and still battle for to this day, comes with a price. A very exacting price in the sacrifice of our loved ones.

Many more words will be written and spoken today at memorial services, around dinner tables, in houses of worship. News media will broadcast a timeline of events. Some will have interviews with survivors or families of victims. Our country as a whole will mourn, once again, the day that changed our way of life. The day we came to realize freedom isn’t free. The day we recognized America can be battered and bruised, but will never, ever break.

Today, I will be remembering those courageous, unselfish people who gave their lives on a crystal clear blue skied  cloudless day, 15 years ago.

Will you?

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My new “Baby”

I am over-the-moon excited to reveal to you the cover for my new Kensington/Lyrical Book, COOKING WITH  KANDY, book # 1 in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES.  Today kicks off my official cover reveal tour and I’m visiting a  host of bloggers I’ve listed below. The series involves the Laine girls ( 7 in all, plus a hot mom! And a cousin or two).

So…are you ready??? I am!! I’m actually jumping out of my seat, I’m so excited.

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Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by  Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious…

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu…

Yowza!!! The heat level in this book is smokin’!! Just like my kitchen when I’m trying out a new recipe, hahahah! Different kind of smoke, but you get that!!!!

Here’s the pre-order link from Amazon: preorder Kandy.

I am–truly–trembling with excitement over this. I love love love this book and this entire series. Three books have been contracted, but you know me…I’ve got at least 3 more plotted out and waiting to be written!

Here are the places I’ll be visiting today as my cover is revealed to the book reading world ( and how amazeballs does that sound??!!)

Stop by and leave a comment (or two) for the bloggers who are hosting me. I’ll be checking back and visiting the sites all day long.
When I’m not going gaga over this cover, you can find me here:

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Big reveal coming

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The screen shot above is correct – don’t try and focus a picture out of the book title! It’s listed this way on Amazon.com because the cover hasn’t been revealed yet to my next family series, WILL COOK FOR LOVE, the first book in the collection, COOKING WITH KANDY, to be released on April 4,2017. I’ll be having an official cover reveal sometime soon – but I’ve seen the final product and can I just tell you, IT’S PERFECT!! The artists over at Kensington/Lyrical did a phenomenal job depicting my hero and heroine to a proverbial T!

So you can bet when the cover is allowed to be seen by one and all, I will certainly let you know. Until then, go ahead and pre-order this book! It’s a goodie. And I have to tell you, there are recipes included!!! God, I love writing about people who cook!!

When I’m not cooking you can find me here:

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A delicious recipe to go along with a good book!

AS I’ve said numerous times here, I lovelovelove finding authors new to me and then introducing them to my peeps. Patricia Preston is one such author. We both write for Kensington/Lyrical, and she has a new book out titled ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS. She’s giving you a little sneak peak down below, and she’s including something near and dear to me as well : a recipe. And what a recipe! Can you just say delicious!!

Here’s Patricia to tell you all about it.

Hawaiian Ahi Poke Salad Recipe & Gift Card Giveaway!

Part of One Week in Your Arms takes place on a fictional resort on Kauai, the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands and a popular dish in Hawaii is Ahi Poke Salad, which my characters enjoyed during their stay. This easy-to-make basic salad featuring fresh tuna will be a hit with seafood lovers.

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Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, cubed

1 c. soy sauce

2 T. sesame oil

¾ c. chopped green onions

1 T. toasted sesame seeds

2 T. chopped macadamia nuts

1 T. red pepper (optional)

In large bowl, combine all ingredients and chill for 2 hours before serving.

 

ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS

Love Heals All Series

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My newest book, ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS, is mainstream contemporary romance filled with witty, charismatic characters. The fun, fast-paced plot features a secret baby, a billionaire baby daddy hero who needs a pretend girlfriend for a week, and a young doctor who is desperate to keep her child a secret. Unfortunately for the intrepid heroine, Marla, she needs money for her community clinic so she has no choice but to spend a week in paradise with the one man who can destroy her life. How can she say no?

ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS is the first book in Love Heals All series where romance causes havoc, heartache, and humor for a cast of unsuspecting doctors until they realize love heals all. Published under the Lyrical Shine imprint of Kensington Books, each book can be read as a stand-alone. They do feature the same location and continuing characters. The next book in the series is EVERYTHING HIS HEART DESIRES, coming in Jan 2017.

 

Excerpt:

She picked up the letter opener. Her heart palpitated in sheer terror as she slid the opener under the flap of the envelope. With the envelope open, she peeped inside to see one folded sheet of stationery.

After six years, what could he possibly have to say?

She pictured him, standing beside a black truck in the drive of Royal Oaks, an old estate belonging to his grandmother. She recalled the date. June twenty-eighth. The day they had said goodbye had been a warm, blustery day in Tennessee. A summer storm was heading toward the rolling hills near Nashville.

The wind made a mess of Carson’s unruly dark hair. His dark blue eyes were hidden by a pair of mirrored lens aviators, and his alpha-male physique tested the seams of his polo shirt.

“If I’m ever back in town, I’ll look you up,” he promised as their casual affair came to an inevitable end. For three weeks, they had been together and finally, the time had come for them to go their separate ways. She hadn’t realized it would be so difficult.

“Sure.” She forced a smile of goodwill. After all, they weren’t parting in anger, or in love for that matter. And it was unlikely that she would ever see him again.

“I had a great time,” she confessed boldly. She’d loved every minute of their brief, steamy affair. Talk about a summer break to remember. She grinned.

He gave her cheek a stroke. “You’ll make a great doctor.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah.” He grinned. “You certainly know all there is to know about male anatomy.”

“Yours, at least.” She laughed. Then she hopped up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss. “Goodbye, Carson Blackwell.”

She stepped away from him. Now was the time to face what was ahead. A grueling three-year residency. There would be no more time for long summer nights, tangled sheets, and sighs against swollen lips. She walked toward her small, sturdy hatchback. Before she opened the driver’s door, she looked up and met his gaze.

“Goodbye,” he called.

At that moment, she’d had an odd sensation in her chest that her life was never going to be the same.

Buy Links:

Amazon   //  Nook //  Kobo //  iBooks

Author Bio

PPreston HS 250

Patricia Preston writes mainstream romances where love matters most. You are her reader if you like fun, passionate, feel good reads. Must haves in her writing cave include sweet tea and music. Besides writing, she loves music, history, taking road trips, and anything containing chocolate. Her dream-come-true would be a townhouse in the French Quarter. She never misses Supernatural or the Walking Dead. She is repped by the Seymour Agency and currently working on a contemporary romance series, Love Heals All, for Lyrical Shine imprint of Kensington Books.

Author Links:

Webpage

Amazon

BookBub

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Giveaway

I’m celebrating the coming of fall and the release of my first book in my new contemporary romance series by giving away a batch of my Kindle ebooks and a $20 Amazon gift card. You can enter by leaving a comment and email address on this blog and add extra entries by going to my Giveaway post on my blog: http://patricia-preston.blogspot.com/2016/08/celebrating-new-release-monthbatch-of.html Drawing will be on Sept 30th. Winner notified via email and posted on my blog.

 

 

 

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A great idea: I have them sometimes!

So every now and again ( like, once a millennium!) I come up with an idea that just makes me happy. This is the story of one of those times.

Recently, I decided to upgrade. No, I didn’t buy a new house or trade in my trusty Subaru for that 1962 Corvette I’ve been salivating over for 40 years. I upgraded to professional publicity headshots. You may have noticed that the headline banner for this blog is different than it was a few weeks ago. If you check out my twitter feed, my facebook author page, and my amazon author page, you’ll see every one of them has a new look, a new picture, a new, well, me!View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

When I started my actual second career in the writing world 2 years ago, my best friend Jill – who is an amazing amateur photographer – helped me set up my website and took all my publicity head shots. She did a wonderful job and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me how great the pictures are. And they are. Truly. But lately, I realized I needed to upgrade my sites. And for that, I sought out a professional photographer. I didn’t go far. In fact, I stayed in the same family. Namely, Jill’s daughter Stephanie, who is a professional photographer. Her business is Stephanie Rita Photography and if you are looking for wedding, family portraits, or headshots ( like me), she is the business to go to. Click on the above link and you can scroll through her beautiful site.

View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

Not only is Stephanie an amazeballs photographer, she’s also a visual  artist. Click on her site here: Letters From Rita and get a gander at her lovely work.

View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

I’ve known this beautiful young woman since she was five years old. She and my daughter were best friends from the first day of kindergarten and grew into life-long friends and compadres. I’ve been privileged and proud to watch her grow into the lovely woman she is now, in addition to a talented artist, and, as you can see, a gifted photographer. I say gifted because it’s not everyone who can take someone like me – who basically shuns a camera lens whenever she sees one – and actually make me comfortable with getting my picture taken! Truly gifted is the more appropriate term.

So, I hope you like the new photos and I can’t recommend this young lady enough if you’re looking for a photographer. When you get in touch, tell her I sent you!!

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When I’m not getting my picture taken, you can find me here:

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The year of YES

I did a post at the beginning of this year, telling you all that I’d made 2016 the year of saying yes for me to things I don’t usually  say yes to ( or even want to!) Thought I’d give you an update on how that’s going.

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I said yes to attending a woman’s expo earlier in the year as a vendor when an old friend asked me to. I was allowed to have my own “booth”, set up to sell copies of my books. This wasn’t a book conference, or a literary meeting, but an expo for women of all ages, all walks of like, and was filled with all things pertinent to, well, women.  Life style coaches, diet, exercise gurus, local and national vendors alike all converged on my local college for the day. I figured if I sold one book I’d be happy. Didn’t sell one book…sold 50. Mostly to people I didn’t know ( so that’s a plus!) Very glad I said yes to my friend when she asked me to participate. Another reason I was happy I’d said yes was when the guy at the booth next to mine told he was the sponsor of a woman’s retreat weekend, coming up this September and he would be thrilled if I participated and  maybe…wait for it…be a speaker. As a speaker, I’d also be able to sell my books during the weekend’s own trade/vendor show. Since this is the year of yes I said…Yes! I’ll let you know how it goes after it’s over next month.

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Even though I retired from my job last year so I could write full time, I said yes to going back for a few months to help my old office out with a problem. Because I knew there was an end-date on that “yes” I was happy to help out and actually had a good time interacting with my old patients and my crew. I really don’t think I need to tell you how happy my husband was when I said yes to this, since I would be getting paid for my time!

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I was asked to be a judge in our annual Keene Dancing with Stars and said yes – and was sosososo happy I did. I had oodles of fun and made some new friends.

I attended RWA in July ( you know that!) and this year when the call went out for volunteers to work the conference I said…yes. So glad I did because I got to chat up some of my all time favorite authors, like Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins, in a casual, fun-filled, no stress-sweat situation.

Remember my friend who asked me to participate in the woman’s expo? She also asked me to participate in this year’s Taste of Home Cooking show that will be happening this October at our high school, and again, I  said yes, because I get to sell my books to the 600-800 participants this event usually sees attend. More on that after October, but another good reason to say yes to something I’d rather avoid – crowds!!!

 

Here’s where you can find me when I’m not saying yes!:

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