I Am Published!!!

It’s been a while since I wrote here, mostly because I’ve been focused on one goal:  getting published as a fiction writer!  I have been terrified to put my work out there because you never know how it will be received, and there was a big part of me that worried that no one would like my work.  But guess what?  I was so very wrong!

I wrote a romance novel.  And I love it!  I think it’s quite good, and I finally got up the courage to self-publish a digital version on Amazon.com’s Kindle Direct Publishing.  Here’s the cover:

HALF Cover

My book follows the story of the romance between Alexandra Orsini and Clayton Michaels:

Alexandra Orsini loved her life in Seattle. Owner of her own financial advisory firm, enjoying all of the spoils the city has to offer, the last place she expected to be was on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming. But when her mentor calls in a favor to ask her to help out his oldest friends save their ranch called Michaels Mob, she simply can’t say no. 

Alex was ready to help a failing business, was ready for the challenge of the mid-western countryside, but she was not ready for Clayton Michaels. An angry cowboy, and father of two, seems hellbent on saving his ranch on his own. He got his family into this mess, and he’s too proud to let anyone help him, let alone some big city accountant who knows nothing of life on a ranch. 

Urban passion meets country pride in this story of family, devotion, and love. Can the cowboy get out of his own way to let the city girl help him? Will the fire that ignites between these two burn bright enough to save the Michaels Mob, or will it burn it to the ground?

People are buying my book.  Just a few people, but that’s how it starts!  And one person even reviewed it and said:

Great story, enjoyed the characters kept me interested will be reading the others in the series!! Recommend you read this book.

And the best part is the reviewer is a complete stranger!  People are reading it as a purchased kindle download, and others are reading is as part of their Kindle Unlimited subscription.  It’s amazing!

Others have asked for an actual physical book to purchase and I’m working on that.  But at the end of the day, I have a published book!  I did it myself!  I made it happen for myself!  I stopped being afraid to put myself out there and just did it!  And so far, it’s been well received.  And most importantly, it’s invigorated me to keep writing and work hard to do whatever it takes to become a professional writer!

If you’d like to read my book, you can order it here:  Have A Little Faith

Super important breadcrumb found!

Ciao for now,

M

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We Can Take the Long Way!!

It’s no secret that I adore the music of one Mr. Jason Mraz, and his latest album speaks to my soul in a way I never thought possible. He’s teamed up with a wonderful band called Raining Jane for this album, and the beats are wonderful, the melodies magical, and the lyrics are absolutely moving.

They just released the official music video for one song called Long Drive, and well, it’s kind of the love dream that I have for my life all laid out in beautiful shots set to Jason’s angelic voice.

I love to go for long drives, and when you get to do that with someone you love, well hell, there’s not much that’s better than that.  A good soundtrack, a full tank of gas, and someone next to you.  Oh, how I’d like that….forever.  And this video, well, it made me a little emotional, especially the end, and got me thinking, where’s my driving partner?

I hope he finds me soon, as there are so many roads I want to explore, and I’d rather not explore them alone.  And I hope he arrives soon, cuz I’m not getting any younger!

Ciao for now,

M

Awaken Your Joy!

awaken your joy

I had an unbelievable experience on Saturday night that I have to write down so that I don’t forget it.  I went to this event with my best friend.  It was called Sea Compression, and the theme was “Let Them Eat Cake!”  It being October, it was a full costume party at this amazing Seattle location, and we fully dressed up in the spirit of the event.

Now, it’s important to note that my best friend and I go out quite often, and inevitably, something goes wonky during the outing.  Sometimes the wonky thing is a huge deal breaker and ends the night before it begins, and sometimes it’s just a small irritation, but never do we get a smooth, easy, drama free night.  Until Saturday night, that is.

I arrived at my best friend’s house where he was ironing the last bits of his costume.  With me in my black corset, black leggings, over the knee leather boots, full bustle floor length skirt in the back, and my cute tri-corner mini hat with its cheeky hot pink feather securely pinned amidst my mile high hair in true Marie Antoinette fashion, and my bestie in his leather pants, white vest, blood red collared shirt, and black velvet calf length livery coat, we were quite the pair.  Another friend joined us, and perfectly clad in her leather corset, and donning one of my venetian metal masks, off we went to this mysterious event.

We arrived and found a perfect parking spot one block away.  My bestie chose to leave his phone at home, so we were not interrupted while out having fun.  We met nothing but wonderfully nice and friendly people, and as we were there quite early, we didn’t even have to stand in line to get inside.

My best friend is one of the most amazing people I know, but he’s also very introverted most of the time.  Rarely liking to be touched by those he likes, and almost never wanting to be touched by strangers, his wit and sass often make him the most sought out company in any arena, whether he likes it or not.  And being an introvert myself, there were A LOT of people at this thing and it was slightly overwhelming.  At one point, my bestie said, “I’m feeling really exposed, I wish I’d thought to wear a mask.”  To which I said, “Well, why don’t you wear the one our friend here is wearing,” and she agreed wholeheartedly and gave him the mask.  And when he tied it on, something magical happened.  And that thing…..is joy.

Donning that mask awakened the joy inside him somehow, and even here, two days and many hours of processing later, I am still not sure what was the trigger.  But the minute the mask was on, he became a different person.  He was open, and happy, and friendly, and dare I say extroverted in the most beautiful way possible.  I’ve known him for so many years, and never in all that time had I ever seen him full of so much joy.

And that joy was beaming out of him like a lighthouse, calling all of the other joyful people home, as his magnetism and happiness attracted many people to come say hello, share a dance, or simply introduce themselves as they complimented our costumes.  He was the belle of the ball, so to speak, and it’s a mind blowing experience I will never forget.  And from the moment we left his apartment to the moment we returned, the evening went smoothly without one hitch, and each moment was linked together by one thing:  his joy.

As someone who is in constant search of happiness, not knowing where to find it on a consistent basis, and often only finding it in false idols and half truths, to watch someone have their joy fully awakened and embraced got me thinking:  what will awaken my joy?

Which actually led to the deeper question of, is there joy hidden somewhere inside me at all?  Do I have joy to be awakened?

And the reason I ask this is because after the event, in reliving the details, my bestie said, “I used to be this joyful all of the time.  I don’t know when I lost it!”  And I had to admit to him, as we keep no secrets from each other, “I don’t think I’ve ever had it.”

Joy and happiness are not things that come easily to me, and not emotions I remember having either as a child or as an adult.  Ask my friends to describe me, and I guarantee you, out of all the wonderful adjectives they choose, happy would not be one of them.  Loyal, funny, sassy, sure, but not happy.

I don’t remember being a happy child, I remember being a disciplined, serious child.  Not a child at all, really, I was always just kind of a little adult.  Always making the responsible choice, always focused on the future, so much so that I never fully enjoyed the present.  A good example of this is high school.  I was so focused on getting good grades and excelling so that I could get into a good college and out of that podunct town I grew up in that I didn’t take the time to really enjoy myself and build and develop lasting friendships.

And since then, not a lot of joy has come my way, and I’m wondering if it’s because when it did arrive, I had no idea of how to be grateful for it and enjoy it, but instead would just worry when it was going to leave.  How have I survived living like this all these years?  And how the hell did I never realize this before?  I think the answer is, until Saturday night, I had never seen joy in it’s purest form.  And now that I have, I want to feel it for myself.

In all this processing I’ve done over the past two days, I am so happy to say it has brought me to a new breadcrumb, in that I need to learn to live in the NOW!  Enjoy and be grateful for the things I have NOW!  I must stop rehashing the past in my brain and trying to make sense of all the things that didn’t work that I can’t change even if I want to change them, so as Elsa says, I need to let them go.  I must also stop worrying so much about the future and what is possibly lurking around the next corner.  And I must start living in this moment.  In every moment.  I think enough moments have been wasted.  It’s time to awaken my joy, which I now know, has to be inside me somewhere.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for now,

M

Love While You Can….Please!

Love has been on my mind for quite some time, and it’s still there, but taking an interesting turn these days.  In an answer to my needy vs. not needy post, a song came across my iTunes and I’m sure I’ve heard it dozens of time before, but for whatever reason it really hit me hard today.

“Love whenever and wherever and however you should.”

This song is from a new play on Broadway called If/Then starting the great Idina Menzel and one of my favorite voices, La Chanze.  This song just slapped me in the face today, and I wanted to put it out there so I didn’t forget this feeling.  Love is friggin fantastic in all of it’s forms, so I need to stop waiting for and worrying about only the true kind, but instead, just be grateful for all the love in my life.

Take a listen….I don’t think you’ll regret it:

Ciao for now,

M

Forgiveness is the Key

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photo courtesy of peacelovewings.com

There’s a song by Savage Garden (I really wish they’d reunite, btw) that has a line that goes “I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness.”  And lately I’ve come to realize that this is true.  Forgiveness.  So much power in one little word. Such a simple concept.  So, then, why is it so difficult to do?

I have many people I need to forgive in order to move forward, and that revelation is the latest bread crumb found on my journey to my new life.  It’s difficult when you sit down and list out the people who have hurt you in your life, and realize how many there are, and how many are still on your heart.  Let me step back, so…forgiveness is the key to my unhappiness.  How did I go about starting to forgive?

First, I sat down and made a list of people who had hurt me over the course of my life.  And sadly, it was a very long list.  I haven’t been treated well by many people.  And then, I went back over that list and crossed out the names who I had already forgiven, and that left me with a smaller, yet very powerful list.  Not because it was a reminder of all the hurt, but it was a revelation on how much I am still carrying around.  How am I to heal, if that many wounds are still open?  Answer:  I won’t.  It’s time to let them scar over.  It’s time to truly forgive, with the hope that I’ll be able to drop this dead weight on my heart, and move forward into happiness.

I need to forgive my parents, most of all.  Both of them.  Both human, both damaged on their own, and both selfish.  Both made choices that affected me, but it’s my decision if that affectation is permanent.  Childhood friends who treated me like crap, ex-loves who didn’t love me as I loved them, ex-coworkers who chipped away at my spirit.  Again, all their actions affected me, but it’s my decision if the effect is permanent.  And most importantly, me.  I’m harder on myself than anyone could be; allowing others’ opinions of me to sometimes shape how I see myself.  I haven’t taken care of my heart in a healthy way up to now, and it’s my decision if I want to continue that way or forgive myself…forgive all these people.  And I choose to forgive.  

Honestly, it’s just words right now, but I know, with enough affirmation (ha!  That’s the name of the Savage Garden song the quote is from!  Love it when that spontaneously happens!) this forgiveness will become real.  It will become truth.  It’s just a matter of time.

Wish me luck!

Ciao for now,

M

Is it ever too late?

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Photograph from artiden.com 

In working through my goals for 2014, I find myself much more in tune of the people around me, and their problems, their concerns, their joys, and their successes.  And in hearing their stories, I find myself doing even more self exploration than I should.  And one story I was told, earlier this week has really hit me hard, and honestly, has made me sad.

I have a friend, let’s call him Jack, who is currently engaged to a woman who, honestly, doesn’t make him happy.  And he feels like it’s too late to call off the wedding, even though he knowingly admits he’s not happy.  Is it too late?  Ok, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s go back to the beginning of this story.  Jack meets, we’ll call her Jill, on a dating website.  Things are great for a little while, but then she makes some career changes, and by changes I mean, quits work and goes back to school.  She’s focused on her studies, so much that her relationship takes a major back seat.  So much so, that I’d say the relationship isn’t even in the car.  I’d say that school is the copilot, her child is the backseat, and Jack, well, Jack is on the side of the road waiting for her to decide to pick him up whenever she damn well feels like it.  And it pisses me off.

Why, you might ask, am I so affected by the way Jill treats Jack?  Their relationship has nothing to do with me.  It shouldn’t affect me.  But it does, and it does because Jack is a good friend.  And more than that, he’s a good man.  A loving man.  A caring man.  An amazing father and provider.  He’s got an amazing body, is in good health, and is loyal to a fault.  He’s wonderful.  He’s what every woman hopes to find one day, and Jill friggin has him!  And she’s wasting him.  She’s taking advantage of all that is good about him because she knows he won’t leave.  He’s too nice of a guy to leave.

So, a year ago, things were really bleak for Jack and Jill.  Jack even mentioned breaking things off.  He had tried everything to get her to make him a priority.  He’d suggested everything from couples counseling, to time away together, anything in an attempt to make things better.  But she wouldn’t participate.  All of her actions were apparent, at least to this outsider, in that his happiness, and his needs were not her concern.  Not at all.  So, imagine my shock when at Christmas, he proposed to her.  I couldn’t believe it.  I thought, “Jack, what the hell are you doing?”  But he was sure this would make it better.  He was sure that now, surely, that she had obtained his ultimate commitment, and a gorgeous piece of hardware to wear on her hand, that his needs would be met.  They were, for a time.  But not that long of a time.  And then it cycled back to him being miserable.

And here’s how great of a guy he is: he doesn’t even let her see his misery.  He just goes to the gym to work out his frustrations, and leaves her to study and do whatever she needs to do.  He puts her happiness first at all times, and it’s so frustrating to see that he doesn’t get that in return.

So, fast forward to this week, and it’s been a bit since Jack and I had a long talk, as we’re only able to talk via work email, because she’s very threatened by my presence in Jack’s life, so he’s forbidden to call or text me.  So, I asked him in an email how things were going with the wedding planning, as it’s only a few short months away, and his answers broke my heart.  He said phrases like ‘i get sweaty palms just thinking about it’ and ‘don’t remind me’ and ‘I’m completely out of the loop’ and ‘it’s her show.’  So, being the brutally honest person that I am, I said to him, “Jack, it’s not too late to change your mind ya know.  If you’re not happy, and this isn’t truly what you want, then don’t do it.”

He responded simply with, “It’s too late.”

I said, “No, it’s not!  The wedding hasn’t happened yet!  You still have time, don’t do this to yourself if you’re not 100% sure!”  He said, “No, it’s too late.  Her family has bought plane tickets, the venue has been booked, her dad had knee surgery so he could walk her down the isle.  It’s too late.”

And I dropped it.

But that conversation has stuck with me so profoundly, because his reasons for it being too late were all about her.  He didn’t say, “It’s too late.  I’ve committed, and I love her, and I want to make this work.”  And to me, watching someone I care about deeply walk over broken glass into the fire, and do so voluntarily is heart wrenching.  Because if I was about to marry a man, and he was telling friends that he’s just marrying me because it’s too late to call it off…yeah, that’s not a marriage I’d want.

I wish him well, don’t get me wrong.  If he’s going to do this, I hope that it works for him.  I hope that at some point she puts his needs first.  I hope at some point that she takes a long hard look at the amazing man who has pledged his life to her and stop taking him for granted.  I hope she stops being the selfish person I see her being currently.  I hope all these things for Jack.  Sadly, hoping rarely makes things true.

But all of this had me thinking, is it really ever too late?  Are there bells you can’t unring?  And for Jack, he feels that it is definitely too late.  I disagree, but we all have to walk our paths.  But I will take this lesson I’ve learned in watching Jack and his selfish Jill head towards the altar, in that, when I get lucky enough to have another relationship, I will make sure to do so selflessly, and ensure that my new man be selfless as well.  If we each put the other first, how awesome would that be?  I don’t ever want to be selfish like Jill.  And I don’t want to make a great man, like Jack, feel unappreciated.  And if I were in Jack’s shoes, if I were in a relationship where I felt unhappy and unfulfilled, and dare I say it, bored (because that’s truly what he is.  He’s bored, she doesn’t inspire him at all), it would never be too late for me to end things for my own sanity.  As my best friend says, “No one is worth your sanity.  No one.”  And he’s right.

So, is it ever too later?  My answer for myself:Image

Ciao for now,

M