Category Archives: community advocacy

#InternationalWomensDay2017; #StrengthknowsNoGender; My Super power is that I’m a Woman!

As a woman, a mother, a mother of a woman,…today I will embrace the celebration of National Women’s Day 2017. Today I will remember what it means to be a woman and all the wonderful things that go along with that. Things that only a woman can do, like give birth. Hey, men can’t…just saying.

But in celebrating I will also remember the things that women can’t do.  There are still parts of the world where women can’t choose for themselves who they will marry, or even if they want to get married. There are still countries where women can’t drive, go to school, walk about free in public. There are still places where women are viewed as the property of the men and are treated and abused as such. And there are still governments that would rather see a woman die, shamed and vilified than give birth to her eight  ( or more) child.

I grew up in the time Title IX came into effect. Prior to that, girls sports in schools weren’t funded.

My mother grew up in the time where if she didn’t want to have a baby she had 2 choices: don’t have sex, or procure an illegal abortion.

My grandmother grew up in a time where she was struck down and beaten in the streets by men when she protested for the right to vote for the leaders of HER country.

That’s just three generations of women who saw the need to effect change for the better. And did.

My daughter lives in a world where she knows no limits on what she can do with her life. She has the benefit of education, status, choice. What she still doesn’t have is equal pay for equal work. And if things keep going the way they are currently, she will lose even more of those hard-fought RIGHTS the women who came before her died for.

Today, in 2017,  I proudly stand on the shoulders of the courageous, fearless, determined women who came before me. Who fought convention, misogyny, and hate. I won’t forget them or their struggles.

And I will continue to fight –EVERY DAY — to ensure that they didn’t die in vain.

But today…today I will celebrate my gender. Tomorrow..well, tomorrow is another day.

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, female friends, Life challenges, Strong Women

My other life..and yes, I do have one!

 

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I get asked this question A LOT when I tell people I’m a writer. It’s a little snarky, a little condescending, and a whole lot of rude ( to me), but I don’t think the people who ask it are intentionally trying to be rude…at least I hope they aren’t.

The question? “Well, what else do you do?” The implication being I can’t just write.

Well, yeah, ya can. But I get what they mean.

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

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For most people who don’t write – and that would be a very large majority of the free world – they view sitting down and writing something as boring, a time waste ( or a time suck, depending on who you ask), or something you do when you’ve got a few extra minutes. I’m not judging those people. They simply don’t know the hours upon hours of work involved in getting a blog/book/article written. Again, no judging.

But I always like to answer that question truthfully. Yes, I do DO other things. I’m married, so I do all the things that go along with that ( get your mind out of the gutter!) I have friends, I do charitable work, I exercise, although from the size of my a**, not enough!
One thing I’ve been doing the past few years is volunteering for my local High School’s Project Graduation Fundraiser, DANCING WITH THE STARS. Yes, it sounds exactly like the tv show. Yes, we have Stars who comprise people in our community, and Partners, who are either previous stars or who have a little dancing experience. It’s a two night event and the largest fundraiser for Project grad.

And yes, I am participating again this year, my third year in a row. This time I am the PARTNER. (Try not to be too impressed!)

I’ll be blogging about this event until it occurs on April 21 and 22 and filling you in on all the little details, backstage gossip, and other sundries, along the way.

There might even be a romance book somewhere in the future about it……

When I’m not dancing – or needing my inhaler! – you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Characters, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Project Graduation, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#2017…one month in

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Goals are wonderful things. They give you intention, allow you to focus on an outcome, prepare you for the future. Goal setting is something, I feel, most people do between 12/31 and 1/1.  I know I do, and most of the people surrounding me do, as well.

Which brings me to my goals for 2017. We are only one month into the year but I’ve already had to shift and re-evaluate some of those goals. And again, I don’t think I’m the only one.

So, my goals were split into two categories: profession and personal.

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We’ll evaluate the professional ones first because there hasn’t been too much deviation there. Yet. For 2017 I set out to: write 3 books, post to my blog 3-4 times per week – every week – and increase my social media presence with new formats. Since no one can write 3 full-length ( greater than 75000 words) books in 31 days ( go ahead, I double dog dare you to!) I have to evaluate the other two. In the month of January, I posted 24 new blog pieces. That’s an average of 4-5 postings every week. Woot! More than I planned for, so YAY me so far. Second. Social Media. I joined TRIBERR and not only devised my own TRIBE, Strong Women. Loving Men, but followed several others, all linked to my Twitter account. I started January with 1,1oo followers ( I don’t even know 1100 people personally!) and by January 31 I had 1,347 followers. Yowza. Goal 2 already skyrocketing! On the professional side, I’m moving along at break-neck speed.

Okay, so now the personal. And I will tell you right away, break-neck speed does not describe how this is moving.

I always want/need/dream to lose weight. This year, I added going to the gym 5-6 times per week in order to help with that desire. Days January 1- 26, I went to the gym 19 times, which for me is monumental! Day 27 I pulled my back out and day 28 I got the flu. So. I didn’t exactly finish the month on an up-sweep. I did manage to go 19 of 31 times, so even though that’s not the 5-6 times per week ( which would have ended the month between 25 and 29 times) I didn’t do too too too terribly. But I also didn’t lose any weight, so yeah. There’s that.

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So this puts us to February’s goals. The professional ones continue on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The personal ones have gotten a little kick, though, because I just found out I will be dancing in the Keene Dancing With The Stars fundraiser again this year and I’m doing a wicked fast and lively dance.

dwtsWeight loss is almost guaranteed ( yippie) but I also have to be in shape to manage not to have a heart attack while I’m hot footing it. So that means even if I’m tired, sick, infirm, or aching, I go to the gym 6 times per week. Bar none. No excuses. None. Niente.

I’ll check in at the end of the month and let you know if I’m alive…I mean…how I’m doing.

When I’m not setting/achieving/failing goals, you can usually find me here :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Project Graduation, Romance, Strong Women

Does it make a difference where a #writer writes?

I live a solitary existence during the day. I write from home. It’s quiet, I can hear myself think, I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to, and I can talk out loud in my character’s voices when I’m creating dialogue without the fear someone will call the crazy police and have me carted off.

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I know writers, though, who actually write out in the…wilds. Or in this case, civilization. In coffee bars,  sandwich shops, at the local library. Places that have, you know, people, milling around. I’ve never written anywhere that wasn’t isolated and private. Even the library with its noise restrictions is too loud for me because…you know…whispering!

I’ve got a scientific background, so one day I thought I’d put it to rusty use and do an experiment as see how this other creative faction, well, creates.

I actually got dressed – makeup too! – packed up my laptop and ventured north to a popular gathering place in my neck of the northland: Panera.

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 I’ve been in Panera any time of the day and I know it’s always crowded, so the time I began my experiment didn’t factor in. Just for transparency sake, though, I got there a little before 10:30 am. After the morning coffe/bagel rush and before the lunch crowd pressed in.

The place was – as usual – packed, but I found a single booth off in one corner under a window overlooking the busy parking lot. Because I couldn’t just sit there and observe without eating something, I ordered a bagel and a soda and when it was ready, settled down to try and do some work. I was at a critical point in a WIP  plot line and needed to get through some emotional dialogue.

Laptop on and file opened, I took a sip of soda, a bite of bagel, and then put my fingers over the keyboard, ready to see what magic I could make.  Ready to see if I could make some magic without getting distracted, in actuality.

Know what?
Yeah, you’ve probably already figured it out. No magic.

Just when I thought I had an idea, I got distracted by the loudly whispered argument ( well, fight really) going on in the booth behind me between two college-somethings. It was a little difficult to navigate through all the college slang speak of you’s knows, and multiple likes every other word. Plus. neither of them knew how to complete a phrase without adding f**king to the word descriptors. I was able to get the gist of their heated dissertation, though, after a few minutes. Apparently, Freshman A hooked up with Freshman B’s main squeeze at a drunken frat party and now  both these young women had  a date at the school health center for “tests.”

Just when I thought punches would be thrown, one of them got a text and then they both zipped out of there right after.

Back to writing, Or trying to.

I got an entire paragraph down before I heard the squealing, high-pitched scream of someone being vivisected. Or at least I assumed that’s what was happening to the toddler  I spied out of the corner of my eye. He’d thrown himself down on all fours, writhing and pounding his puny fists into the faux marble decorated flooring, his lungs proving he’d have a busy career as an opera singer one day.  tantrumHis gaunt, anorectic looking mother,  red-cheeked and mortified, stood over him coaxing and cooing  him to stop. The more she tried to comfort him the louder his wailing pitched. All patron eyes were zeroed in on these two, rubbernecking the tantrum, myself included. I wondered why no one came to the poor woman’s help and dragged the little brat up by his Baby Gap jeans, giving him a good tongue lashing at the same time, but then I realized that most well-intentioned people didn’t get involved these days because of frivolous lawsuits and backlash.

Eventually, the little bugger got tired and momma was able to pull him up ( I would have yanked!) and led him out of the eatery.

Back to writing – or trying to.

Ten minutes later a very loquacious and vivacious group of three women around my age and garbed in what looked like workout wear ( spandex leggings that barely came to ankles; multicolored track sneaks over tiny socks, and skin tight racer back tops) sat down in the booth in front of mine and proceeded to talk.

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A lot. Like, non-stop. They spoke over one another, trampled on each other’s sentences, guffawed at what they were saying-loudly!- and generally seemed to be enjoying one another’s company. They stayed for over an hour, much longer than the time it took them to eat their salads, just…talking. About anything and everything.

I’d now been in Panera’s for over two and a half hours and had written exactly 76 words. My usual rate for that amount of time is at least 1000-1500, easy. At this point, I felt it was safe to conclude I wasn’t one of those lucky writers who could block all extraneous noise and commotion from my creative subconscious. I wrote better-certainly MORE- when I was alone, it was quiet, and I had no distractions, so I went back home and proceeded to write 10 pages by dinner time.

And even though I proved my hypothesis ( I can’t write with distractions!) I will admit this: being out in the wilds, er, civilization, even for an abbreviated time, helped me hone in on varying speech patterns for age-appropriate dialogue, gave me a new appreciation for how well behaved my daughter had been as a child ( I need to call her to tell her how much I love  her!) and made me thankful I have girlfriends like those 3 women I listened to who- just when I need it the most- kidnap me from my self-imposed isolation and hermit-dom, and bring me back into the living fold.

Now, back to writing. Alone.

When I’m not doing social experiments you can usually find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Friends, Life challenges, love, New Hampshire, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Today’s #PSA on #Moles, Freckles and #SunExposure….

 

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My heritage- as some of you know – is Irish. Born and bred in the good ol’ US of A, but a DNA history that dates from the Celts. With that go many things: a fierce temper, a bawdy wit, a love of poetry, music, and debate, curly hair, light eyes, and a mercurial disposition.

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Oh, and fair, freckled, and spotted skin–the reason for this blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Today was my six month mole check with my dermatologist. I go every six months ( down from every 3!) because of the numerous basal cell cancers and one ridiculous melanoma I’ve had to have treated in the past 3 years. At my last check up I was what is called in the derm world, clean, which meant I didn’t need to have anything cryogenically removed, or biopsied because all looked well.

Not so much today. At this morning’s check, my wonderful derm guy ( who also happens to be a neighbor and friend) found 2 spots that needed attention. Two. One on my ear he froze with sprayed liquid nitrogen. For those of you who know how this works, he literally freezes the s**t off the area. Like minus 100 degrees or some ridiculous temperature. Six hours later and my ear is still cold to the touch! Spot number 2 was on my forehead. He had to numb me first with lidocaine and epinephrine ( which immediately sent my heart racing and my hands shaking like it always does) and then shave – yes, you read that correctly SHAVE the area with a scalpel/razor blade thingie like he was filleting fish skin.

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Needless to say, I was upset. Well, pissed,  if I’m really being honest.

The last time I was in the sun was over 10 years ago. And when I say “in the sun” I mean it just that way – laying out, trying to get tanned, slathered with lotion. For the past decade I have not sun worshiped once. I always wear a hat and sunglasses when I am outdoors – even if it is not blazingly sunny. My moisturizer has a 45 spf block built into it and I douse my skin in 100spf block during the spring and summer months when I tend to wear less clothing. I do no outside sports. I don’t go to the beach. And even if you’d put a gun to my head I wouldn’t be caught dead at a pool in a bathing suit.

I tell you this because my skin damage was incurred long before I quit being a sun worshiper.

As a kid I was extremely fair. My mother – as all mothers did back in the stone age – thought a little color would “health” me up. Meaning, a little sun on my cheeks would make me healthier. A good premise, but, yeah, in the long run, not so much. Before I was 10 I’d already had about 20 bad sun burns. The blistering, peeling, turning to tan kind of sun burns that fair people are famous ( or is it infamous?) for. The rule of thumb dermatologically these days is that the more you burn before the age of 18, the higher your incidence of some kind of skin cancer will be as you age.

Perfect. Instead of “healthing” me up, my mother’s intervention has made my skin a veritable boiling pot and harbor of insidiously growing disease. Not her fault. She only did what she and everyone else thought was good.

But….

When you know better you do better, so here’s the PSA portion of today’s rant: DON’T-

  • sun worship at the beach, at the pool, in your backyard
  • go to tanning booths – the urban myth here is that tanning booths won’t give you skin cancer because, hello, it’s not the “real” sun. Bulls**t! You can get just as much skin damage and skin cancers from a tanning booth as you can from the natural, “real” sun
  • ever go outside without some kind of SPF on your face and exposed skin. Most facial moisturizers have spf built in, but they need to be at least 30 or above. None of this 2spf crap. That’s like going out naked – actually, it IS going out naked!
  • ever go outside without head protection. This includes ears and neck. I had a spot on my ear today that I never even noticed. Guess where I’ll be applying that moisturizer from now on? Wear a hat. I love hats. Ever since Princess Diana made them fashionable I’ve loved wearing hats.
  • reapply that sun tan lotion frequently. Don’t just slab it on at 6 am and think after a day of sweating and swimming you’ll have the same protection at 2pm. Freuqently and a lot – I use 100 spf in the summer and yes, it goes on like Desatin, but I never EVER get any color so you know it works! If it keeps the color from leeching, it’ll keep the cancerous rays from leeching.

Please, if you have babies or young children or even kids up to 18, protect them NOW from the damage they will incur in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. My daughter is 27 and when she was an infant I kept her covered when outdoors, and then after 6 months of age had a 60 block on her ( that’s the highest number they made back when she was little.) If I put a 45 on her, she burned.

Hats, sunglasses, sun block. Preventative measures so you – and your loved ones – will never know the heartbreaking agony of a melanoma diagnosis or its treatment ( which isn’t pretty! I know firsthand)

Enough ranting for today. Take care of yourself. Your skin is your biggest organ and the one people looking at you notice first. Treat it with respect. Treat it with love.

‘Nuff said.

 

 

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#ReadingChallenges and why they are important…

 

goodreads_icon_100x100-4a7d81b31d932cfc0be621ee15a14e70Last year I officially read 150 books in the Goodreads reading challenge. I say officially because I actually read more like 250, but the extra numbers weren’t on my Kindle and I forgot to enter them into the challenge stats whenever I was finished.

My bad.

This year, I’ve signed up again and my goal -again – is 150 books. It will probably be more, but that’s okay. I’ll try to remember to add the paperback and hardcovers after I finish them.

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I tell you all this because I feel a reading challenge is an important undertaking no matter what age you are.

We all remember having reading lists over summer vacation while is school. Some of us found it torture to get through the required books, while others of us ( like moi) asked for extra books because I’d finish the required ones in the first few weeks.

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Those summer reading challenges were meant to keep kids on the reading track and not get lazy and have all those drilled in vocabulary and spelling words forgotten over the 8 weeks of summer recess.

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I read a horrifying statistic the other day that said 33% of college grads NEVER read another book once they graduate. Like in, NEVER! Holy Cow. How can that be??? If I don’t have a book in my purse, or my kindle with me whenever I go out of the house I feel…naked. Emotionally and intellectually and literally ( hahaha- pun meant!)

How can a person never open another book? Never want to be entertained using their mind, imagination, and emotions? Never want to lose themselves for a few hours in the plights, adventures, and romances of characters who jump off the page and into their lives? Never want to educate themselves on new topics, inventions, or learn from the biographies and autobiographies of leaders, movers, and shakers int his world??

I think reading challenges should be mandatory for everyone. I know. Read that sentence again. The word that sticks out is MANDATORY: required by law or rules; compulsory. I know this would never fly legally. You can’t make someone read if they don’t want to. But how about a hard sell of encouragement? Listen, we got two generations of kids off drugs with THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS campaign.brain

I bet we could do the same with people who don’t read. Show something rotting – like five week old fruit and say THIS IS YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU DON”T READ REGULARLY. I’m not an ad executive and don’t work in publicity for a reason, peeps, but you get my drift.

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I am challenging everyone who reads this today to a 2017 reading challenge. The prizes are vast and include: you’ll be smarter, happier, more entertained. You’ll have things(Books) to talk about at parties, opinions about situations you never thought you’d have, and a general feeling of being smarter than you’ve ever experienced before. You’ll come across as erudite, well informed, and well-read.

Try it. Set a reading goal – write it down ( or send it to me!) and put it someplace you’ll see it every day. And then follow it.

Reading, to quote Martha Stewart – an avid reader – is a good thing.

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When I’m not reading you can find me here: :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, branding, community advocacy, Life challenges, Literary characters, research, Romance, Romance Books

My #word for 2017: #Compromise…

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Every year I take a theme or a word that epitomizes what I want to accomplish for the following 356 days. Last year, 2016, it was “the Year of YES.” Which basically meant I was going to be open to saying yes to things I usually knee-jerked a NO. A loud, emphatic, I don’t want to, NO!

It worked out pretty well. I did a bunch of stuff that I ordinarily would have shied away from or outright avoided. No one died. No one got maimed. And I didn’t have a stroke, heart attack, or lose my dignity.

Well….

Nevermind.

Anyway….

For 2017 I wanted to continue with the new, open, and willing to put myself out there mentality, so I’m going to be doing something I rarely– if ever– do. Compromise.

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The dictionary defines it this way: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

My definition is a little more specific in that I will be the one making the concessions. Again, something I rarely, if ever, do. I’ve come to realize after viewing the turmoil this country has found itself in politically, spiritually, and morally, that I like many people, do not often see both sides of an argument. We, and by we, I mean me, tend to form an opinion based on whatever information we happen to see, and then stick with it, oftentimes becoming loudly obnoxious and righteous in expressing that opinion.

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Not anymore. If’ I’ve learned anything in 2016 it’s that every argument and stand has at least 3 sides: mine, the other person’s and the — wait for it — compromise position between the two.

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In 2017 I vow to see that third option as many times as I can and to make the effort to come to compromises which will benefit all sides, not just only my own. When you know better you do better.

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Maturity, thy name is Margaret-Mary. ( let’s hope!)

 

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I need a little #writer and #RomanceReader help…

This is going to be a good test to see if anyone ever reads my blogs!!

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I told you recently that I’m all atwitter and discombobulated because I’m putting together a Power Point presentation for my local NHRWA chapter in March and then for the New England (NECRWA) Chapter in April and I’m learning (slowly) the ins and outs of the PP program.

That’s fine. No worries there.

But…

I need a little help from my romance writer and reader friends. Who ( what author) do you read who writes romance with heroines and heroes OLDER than 45 years old? I’m not looking for writers who write about the fabulous 20 somethings or terrific thirty-year-olds. I want romance titles and books written about folks in their middle years. If you read romance books concerning this age group, please send me book titles or the authors who write them.

I have a few in mind, but I want to explore more. Please.

I’ll say thank you in advance.

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

Of #Romance and #book-signings…

 

toadstoolSo yesterday I was privileged to have a book signing for my latest release, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS  at the ToadStool Bookshop in my home town.  For two hours I got to chat and catch up with a bunch of old friends – some I haven’t seen in quite a while ( Brian, I’m talking about you!) and I met a few new ones as well. It’s always a crap shoot for a relatively unknown author to embark on a book signing because you just never know if ANYONE will turn up. One of the store managers has told me in the past they’ve had signings for authors and one or two readers/buyers may show up, but there have been more times where no one has. I think I’d need to be talked off a ledge if that happened to me! Luckily, I’m still here today, writing this, so you know it didn’t.

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Another fly in the ointment to drawing potential new readers in is the Romance Novel aspect of my books. Again, from the people who work in the shop, Romance is not a big seller for them. They have a beautiful section for their offerings, and all the big names are represented ( plus, little ol’ me!) so it’s not because they don’t stock the books. It’s more, I feel, people who don’t read romance as a general rule go out of their way to stop and buy one. Well, that’s something I hope to fix and change just by being a continual face and vocal presence in my community. Earlier this year I did a radio spot with one of our local talk-radio DJs – a guy who just happens to be a wonderful fringe friend. Don’t ask me to explain that because it’s too complicated and involves HIPPA rules and regs! Anyway, after that spot many many people approached me and told me they weren’t romance readers, but were willing to give it a shot since I’d written the book. This may be the only time MY NAME was the draw for a new reader, hee hee. I’m happy to say I know several people since then who’ve said to me, “I never read a romance book until I found out that’s what you write. Now, I love them.” They’ve gone on to explore other romance genre authors because of that, so in a very real way, that’s my PAY IT FORWARD moment.

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It’s not easy to find new readers, especially since the Internet now rules the planet. The Toadstool is the only brick and mortar retail book shop in my area. There are a few secondhand book shops ( which I love!) but this one is the biggest and has recently relocated to a much better, more foot-traffic laden location. In fact, yesterday during my two hours, the shop was wonderfully packed with holiday shoppers. And they weren’t only shopping, they were BUYING! This gives me a warm and tingly feeling for several reasons. It tells me people still like the feel of a REAL book in their hands. It tells me people still read! Actual words on a page, not listen to a podcast or scroll through a computer. It tells me people still give books for gifts – and that makes me the happiest. I always feel if you give a book as a gift for anything – holiday, birthday, just because – you are giving someone a few hours of escape. A few hours spent in contemplative reflection. A few quiet, stolen hours to just sit back and be entertained. Now that’s a true gift.

So, again to all the wonderful readers and friends who came out to support me yesterday ( Pun included since you bought books!) a very heartfelt THANKYOU! I hope whoever you purchased the books for – Mom, Sis, Daughter, Girlfriend, or just YOU – that the stories make you happy and give you the hope and promise that everyone deserves their own Happily Ever After.

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When I’m not out promoting the Romance Genre, you can usually find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Friends, Life challenges, love, Netgalley Reviewer, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

The power of PEOPLE who care…

I’m going to go off the NaNoWriMo blog bandwagon for a moment because  I want–need–to tell you about an event that happened in my little town yesterday that still has me weeping.

The problem of hunger,  homelessness, and economic disparity in this country is nothing new. Go back to the Great Depression and you can practically mimic some of the events that happened during those devestating years with what is happening in our country today. Hunger, especially, has always been a big concern of mine. I’ve mentioned before I didn’t exactly grow up in the Leave It to Beaver or  Brady Bunch version of a family or household. We were, by today’s standards – poor. The term bandied about nowadays is working poor. My mother and stepfather had jobs, but they didn’t quite make it paycheck to paycheck every month and there were times when the easiest thing to let go was the food bill. I ate a lot of mayonnaise sandwiches growing up, and in a weird way, its kind of like a comfort food for me today.

But I digress…

As I said, hunger and people going hungry have always been a concern for me. I happen to live in a community that has a food pantry, a Saint Vincent DePaul society, and a community kitchen. In October, our local newspaper published a piece about the community kitchen and their struggles to keep available food on the shelves for its recipients and clients. The kitchen had barely enough food to last through Thanksgiving and if their food coffers weren’t filled, they would need to close down right after Thanksgiving. The Community Kitchen serves a large number of families and individuals in this area who–for whatever reason–are not able to adequately feed themselves. The holiday season is an especially difficult time for some families to cope with paying bills, trying to bring some kind of Christmas cheer to their children, and in general, just getting a meal on the table. To have the kitchen close its doors – and at the holiday season – was a grave concern.

Well, enter MOMS On A MISSION.

Yesterday, in an empty storefront in the center of Keene’s busy downtown, these wonderful women organized what was originally billed as 1000 cans in 1000 minutes. Facebook publicity, word of mouth, and in every way they could, these women got the word out that they would be manning this store all day to accept any and all food and monetary donations for the Keene Community Kitchen to aid them in keeping their doors open to the people who so need them.

That 1000 can goal quickly switched to 2000…then 10,000… then 20,000. And when it looked like they might be done, they issued another challenge: why not 25,000 cans/boxes of food?

Final tally last night when they officially closed their donation doors? 25,860 cans/boxes of food raised by the grassroots efforts of 8 Moms who know that no child or family or person of any age should know hunger in this day and age.

I love living in a small town because of unifying events like this. When you really know your neighbors, know their struggles, their strengths, the foundation of their circumstances, you know yourself as a human being in ways you’d never consider in a more urban, non-individualistic, less neighborly area. And you can see the benefits of generosity firsthand.

These women epitomize the good neighbor principle.

I just want to add one more thing before I finish. Yesterday in Mass, my Pastor spoke a homily extolling the virtues of living the Corporeal Code of Jesus as Catholics and Christians.  One of the codes for Christian behavior Jesus asked of us is to feed the hungry. These women, by the virtue of their actions, the love in their hearts, and their  spirit of giving, have shown our community what it means to be generous, selfless,  and charitable. They have truly shown us what it means to walk the walk and talk the talk of neighbor-helping-neighbor.

The power of a Mother on a Mission is one of the greatest and most powerful forces in the universe. I am so proud of these women. Proud to know them, proud to honor them, and proud to tell you about them.

No child, or any person really, should ever know the ravages of a hungry belly. Not at Christmastime or any time of the year. I ask you to be that good neighbor; that community spirited and minded person; that honorable human being. Take care of your neighbors as you’d take care of your own family. Put yourself in the body of someone who doesn’t have enough to eat and see what it feels like to them to know hunger when all around them are full. And, if you’re like me – someone who knew the horrors and pains of hunger and who now lives a full, better life – pay it forward.

A generous spirit, and a knowledge of how to make someone else’s life better make us all better human beings. I live this and I believe this with all my heart and soul.

To support our local Community Kitchen and other Food based charities in our area, click here:

Keene Area Food Pantries

The NH Food Bank

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