How to Clearly See…

In A Different Kind of Reunion, Private Investigator Jim Nelson doesn’t mince words when he learns about the psychic’s involvement in the murder investigation:

“Let’s face some facts here. Most psychics need to make a living. I don’t doubt this lady has some intuitive ability—as many women do—but I don’t think it’s enough to catch a murderer.”

Jim is in good company.

According to a recent survey by YouGov.com, 24% of respondents believe there are actually individuals who possess the ability to see the future. There is a gender split here as well; 28% of women think this power exists, while only 19% of men think the same.

While I’m of two minds here, I do believe it is possible for each of us to have an intuitive awakening. In fact, some of us already possess signs of clairvoyance.

Not sure? Take this quick survey:

  1. Do mental images randomly flash before your eyes?
  2. Can you easily visualize people and places?
  3. Do you frequently have vivid dreams?
  4. Can you quickly complete mazes, puzzles, and other visual-spatial tasks?
  5. Can you see auras (glowing lights) around the people in your life?

Regardless of your score, you can access your inner compass and develop the skill to “clearly see” what is going on in your life. Here are some suggestions:

  • Meditate for a few minutes each day. When you get still and clear your mind, you allow the right (creative) brain to take over and the left (logical) brain to take a back seat.
  • Take note of goose bumps, shivers down your spine, and racing hearts. Your body is letting you know when things are right or off. The key is to trust those feelings and act upon them.
  • Be on the lookout for any God/Goddess nudges that suddenly appear in your life. These could take the form of notices on bulletin boards, titles of books that resonate, or opportunities that present themselves.
  • Release negative feelings. If you are angry or depressed, you cannot make sound decisions.
  • Pay attention to how you feel after talking and meeting with the people in your life. Keep those who empower you and take distance from those who drain you. If you cannot walk away from the latter group, limit your involvement with them.
  • Dream with purpose. Before you fall asleep, focus on any unresolved issues or problems. Imagine possible solutions as you fall asleep. Then, let your brain do the rest. Keep a journal on your nightstand and record those dreams as soon as you awaken.

Any other suggestions to share?

 

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

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Planners: The Great Debate Between Paper and Digital (Hint: Paper Wins!)

I am a planner girl. I use Emily Ley’s daily half-sized spiral planner for my every day task and appointment list, I use a separate Emily Ley full-sized spiral monthly planner (from Target) for my Social Media/Media marketing schedule, I have a Kikki-K A5-sized ring planner for my writing business, another Happy Planner A5-sized disc planner (from Michael’s) to run my household and keep track of meals and my family’s schedules, and I have a huge, ugly whiteboard in the kitchen that holds shows me the family’s commitments for four months at a time.

I even use an Erin Condren deluxe monthly planner specifically for budgeting!

Yet, I can’t seem to figure out how to use my Google calendar. When I was a kid, I realized that if I don’t write things down, like goals, appointments, or due dates, I can’t remember them. Especially things like when my next manuscript is due! I’ve tried saving things to the calendar on my phone, and syncing up digital calendars with my kids and my husband, but if I have to rely on my digital planner I’m completely lost.

Luckily, I’m not alone. As I was searching for solutions, I discovered the planner community on YouTube. In this day of digital-everything, I found people who are just like me. 🙂 People who, for whatever reason, prefer to write down every aspect of their lives (and decorate with washi tape) and are willing to share their journeys online.

Below I’ve included a few of my favorite YouTube episodes that helped me choose the right planner(s) for my each aspect of my life. If you’re like me, you may have seen these already. If you’re a digital-only kind of planner, maybe these will bring you back to the joys of paper!

First up is Sarra Cannon at Heart Breathings. Sarra is a successful YA author who freely shares her love of organizing and planning. I use her HB90 method (downloadable calendars available in her Etsy shop) for all my business/writing planning needs. Here is her recent Plan-With-Me video of how she set up her February schedule in her Kikki K A5 planner.

Next is Stephanie Anne’s video of how she uses an Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner to set up her family’s budget for the year.

Like I mentioned above, I use an Emily Ley daily planner for my everyday tasks and reminders. Here is a video Emily did explaining the pros and cons of this type of planner for work and home.

Here is a great video (with free printable!!!!) on how to use a Happy Planner to manage your household.

In case I didn’t mention this above, I also have a small personal-sized planner for my Christmas  planning. Since I still host at least 18 people for dinner every Christmas, as well as a week’s worth of guests who spend the night, my planning starts on November 1st! Here’s a cute Christmas planner video just in case you’re tempted. 🙂

What kind of planners, if any at all, do you use. Digital? Paper? Scratches on the back on an envelope (like my mother!)? Or none at all? I’d love to know!


Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Gracealways defeats Reckoning.

Her acclaimed debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife.

EVERY DEEP DESIRE is available on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound| Kobo|  Google

And adding it to your Goodreads TBR lisis also always appreciated!

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about DATING #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about DATING

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


She wasn’t into dating. Never had the time, energy, or inclination to bother with romantic relationships.

Kathryn Jane


“I hate Sundays. Dinner at the queen’s tomorrow, along with my ass-kisser brother, his wife and their perfect children. ‘Are you dating yet?’ ‘When are you going to move forward?’ ‘How long do you plan on mooning over Ciara?’”

Ah, yes. They don’t tire of their questions. I wish I could tell them all it’s none of their damn business.

Marian Lanouette


Scott and she weren’t dating by any means, but she liked his innate politeness.

Marsha West


Zack had no business dating self-pity and her baser emotions. Because the most powerless of them all? Nate.

Sharon Wray


“I guess so.” I tossed my hands skyward, praying for an answer to magically appear. “Where, Oh Dating Gods, are the normal men hiding?”

Vicki Batman
The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, Whispers of Winter set


But he didn’t need another woman in his bed and she didn’t need the complications that come with dating a partner.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


I should have picked up on all those troublesome signs during our dating years and six-month engagement.

Joanne Guidoccio


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will a Change of Venue Help Writer’s Block?

Rosslyn_Chapel

Well, it’s not exactly writer’s block … sort of. In 2015, my cousin and I took a trip to Scotland to follow some family ancestry as well as for me to do some research for the fifth book in my series, “Partners, Heart of the Phoenix”. For my main character, AJ Donovan, it took years to find the Scots-Irish father he thought had abandoned him. Now a father himself for the first time, he and his wife, Quin, chose to take a trip to Scotland where Ethan Donovan and his family currently lived. AJ was excited to meet his many half siblings and introduce his son, Reilly to his grandparents.

Ethan’s landscaping business had made him quite wealthy and that wealth bought him enemies. Unfortunately, some of his enemies were within his own family. He had to determine which of his children were embezzling funds from the family business. AJ’s siblings welcomed him warmly … except one. This brother perceived AJ as a threat to his inheritance – to the point he was willing to eliminate him.

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At the RWA conference last year I roomed with a friend who was retired military and had spent much of her life in Scotland and Ireland. She pointed out several flaws in Irish-Scottish relationships that made the background for my story somewhat implausible. Changing those details would require changing background facts going back to Book I. So, I pushed the book aside and went on to other things. Not a good way to enhance a successful writing career.

So, one of the annual writing conferences I attend is “20 Books to 50K”, the focus of which is indie authors supporting indie authors. They are in Vegas every year but have also been doing conferences in Europe. This year, in July, it will be in Scotland. I was immediately interested. It’s time to go back and seek my muse. I need to work through the story issues and come back with the ideas I need to fix them. Not to mention that Edinburgh, Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world.

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I’m curious if other writers find new energy when doing research in countries where your story takes place. Do exposure and new facts make you more zealous to get back to your story?

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about SEX #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about SEX

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


He took a long sip of his coffee and slammed down the mug. “Yeah, I had sex with her a couple of times. I felt sorry for her.”

Joanne Guidoccio


She liked sex, especially with Jason. But if she gave in, it would be a helluva lot more than sex for her, and there wasn’t much chance he felt the same way.

Kathryn Jane


He’d been friends with Louie long enough to understand the Italian word for asshole. And he was correct. Richie Malone was a stronzo and more. “Why him? Didn’t you warn her about his sexual harassment cases?”

Marian Lanouette


Next to drugs and alcohol, meaningless sex was another escape during his darkest days. But none of them ever gave him the high he had experienced with Elise.

S.A.Taylor
A Twisted Fate (work in progress)


The brush of Meg’s body as she moved past him sent heat straight to his groin. The shooting hadn’t affected his sex drive, at least not where she was concerned.

Marsha West


Sarah hadn’t been lying when she’d told Nate it’d been a long time since she’d had sex. But, honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered when the last time was because no man had ever made love to her like Nate had.

Sharon Wray


“The tall blond with the gorgeous green eyes? I have one word for him—-Va Va Va Voom.”

Vicki Batman
The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, Whispers of Winter set


Sex was just that – sex. It was easy to find it when he wanted it. His life was uncomplicated – but empty.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


My libido had shot straight to a ten, and I was ready for a night of wild, uninhibited sex with a new, exciting partner. With Heath Barrow, a kind, compassionate, fun man I found I simply could not resist.

Claire Gem


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Changing

Gratitude and Positivity

 I’m often asked how I manage to stay positive in this crazy world. How I can ignore the horrors we’re bombarded with through social media and television.

This is my story.

Some years ago I worked twelve hour shifts on the receiving end of  9-1-1 calls.

I spent long hours talking to people having really, really bad days. Perhaps the worst day of their life. I listened to the horrors of fights in the background, to mothers screaming because their child’s life was in danger, to fathers demanding someone come and fix their sick child, to people angry because the ambulance was taking too long.

I had to tell people the ambulance dispatched to them had been diverted to someone with a higher level emergency. I talked people out of pulling the trigger. I gave CPR instructions over the phone.

And then at the end of twelve grueling hours I got in my car and drove home. Had a meal and tried to go to sleep so I could go back in less than twelve hours and do it again.

As you can imagine, sleep didn’t come easy. Sometimes it didn’t come at all. Sometimes I’d be lucky to sleep for a total of ten hours in every four day block. (That’s two, 12-hour-days followed by two 12-hour-nights).

As you can imagine this takes a great toll on the body and I needed to find a way to let go of my work day and clear my mind so I could get sleep on a regular basis—and I wasn’t willing to use medications.

That’s when I stumbled upon the idea of a gratitude journal. However, I wasn’t very good at sticking to the program and writing in it every day. That’s when I got the idea of doing it on facebook, so I was kind of publicly accountable.

It worked.

I mean it REALLY worked!

Driving home from a long dispatch shift, instead of reliving all the bad calls of the day, I would have to search for something I could write in my Gratitude post. It made me look around. I began to notice the sunrise, dew on the grass, a hawk soaring in the morning or evening sky.

Occasionally I would think back to a “good” call. To a person I talked out of pulling the trigger, or the wail of a baby who hadn’t been breathing when the call first came in.

And when I got home, before going to bed I would do my Facebook Gratitude post. And I started to fall asleep more easily.

I no longer work in ambulance dispatch, but I’ve never stopped my daily posts. They keep me focused. They make me search for the good inside the bad. They show me hope.

And they show me love, because people respond to my posts. Sometime it’s just a like, and other times it’s a thank you for being a bright spot in a stranger’s day.

I have learned to find some spark of positive in any and everything. Do I see the negatives? Darn sure, but I don’t let them have power over me. Even in the worst of times, I can, and will, find a positive.

I will find hope and I will find the positive.

Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about LOVE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about LOVE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


I wondered: would I ever love or be loved by anyone again who would inspire me to have such a piece created? Until I’d arrived here in Alabama, I sincerely doubted it.

Claire Gem


“I needed to be around people who loved and nurtured me.”

Joanne Guidoccio


Flicked a glance to a higher shelf, to a photo of her at eighteen and madly in love with the tall, scrawny kid at her side.

Kathryn Jane


He pushed her back but held on to her by the shoulders and stared into her eyes. “I promise, Sophia. I love you. You don’t understand what it did to me to when I thought I’d lose you. I promise with all my heart not to get mad.” Grinning, he added, “But you know me better than anyone. I’ll apologize now if I do.”

Marian Lanouette


Their life wasn’t picture perfect, but their love smoothed out any kinks they had encountered along the way.

S.A.Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


Did her looks hinder her doing her job? He bet every man who worked with her fell secretly in love.

Marsha West


“I’m interested in Stuart Pinckney’s death because he was married to Allison Pinckney,” Zack said. “Allison is the woman I love.”

Sharon Wray


“I love those cartoons.” “‘Barber of Seville’ is the best.” “Don’t forget ‘Duck Season.’” He raised his mug and toasted me. “A girl who likes cartoons has good taste.”

Vicki Batman
The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, Whispers of Winter set


She had extricated him from his emotional exile to realize he was worth loving and capable of feeling the same deep love she gave him.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy, Would You Read to Me?

I remember the days when Mom and I snuggled on the couch in the family room and she read aloud to me. Being immersed in the pages and studying the illustrations was nirvana. I specifically remember about age six asking her to read aloud, and she said, “You can read.” I said, “Only out loud.” She said, “Just say the words quietly to yourself.” So I did.

No holding me back after that.

110414vickibatmanmkeirblogchildreadingpixI consumed vast quantities of books. When once reprimanded by a librarian that I had to put back some new treasures from the tall pile cradled to my scrawny chest, my mom saw my sad face and asked what was wrong. I told her what the librarian said. My mom spun me around, marched me to the desk and said, “Check out all these books to her. She’ll read them, probably twice and the ones her sisters get too.”

Again, no holding me back.

As a writer, we have to work our projects so they won’t suck. This means we revise and edit. Because I’m a pantser, I make multiple passes, constantly revising to make the book fresh. Like other authors, I’m looking for new editing tricks, too. I used to read my work aloud and eliminated the awful dialogue and weird stuff I heard. I printed the manuscript and hacked a red, er, yellow pencil all over it.

pencilsyellow

 

Then I got my laptop. In Microsoft Office is a feature that is freakin’ awesome—Read Aloud. I turn it on and voila, my book is read aloud to me! I can set the voice and the speed.

I worked my way through my current WIP, my third romantic comedy mystery, stopping to change words, dialogue, move passages. Now, I’m going through again and making a timeline and documenting the clues. What a treasure this feature is!

No holding me back!

asteriks2I’m pleased with where Temporarily Out of Luck is going. Thought I’d share a bit with you and get your thoughts. So here goes:

Sometimes, I felt like a small white mouse housed in a cage with lots of small white mice, whose sole playground activity was to eat, sleep, and revolve constantly on the exercise wheel. And just like one rodent friend, who I named Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky, having a field day back flipping from the top of the spinning wheel, something happened, and unexpectedly, found myself air born.
Not hurt, a sense of disappointment overcame me, plus a bit of confusion, and a whole lot of colorful descriptives too numerous to list. I, mostly known as Hattie Cooks, shook off the pine shavings and hopped back on the merry-go-round of life.

 

If you like that passage, maybe you’ll like other funny stuffy I’ve written. Check me out at:  Website     Author Central

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All About the Podcast

I love podcasts.

I’m not sure why, but when I’m cleaning the house, making dinner, and walking the dog I love to listen to my favorite teachers, motivational speakers, business specialists, and short stories. Since the New Year started, I made a list of new-to-me podcasters, plus one I discovered last year, that I’m determined to listen to (or finish listening to) this year.

I’ve added my list below and have included the descriptions found on the corresponding websites. I hope you find these useful and if you have any favorite podcasts you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

The Modern CEO with Amber McCue

~ “With pieces of your business flying every which way, your to-do list out of control (and possibly sprouting wings) and your brain is scattered across 1400 different tasks, priorities, reminders, emails, tweets, deliverables, marketing ideas, client conversations, customer inquiries AND that one person you were suppose to follow up with weeks ago (whoops), one thing is certain: If it is freedom you want it’s time for a change.”

Detail Therapy with Amy Landino

~ “Are your ready to go after the life you want? Are you looking for specifics on how to make it happen? Join award-winning YouTuber, best selling author, and entrepreneur Amy Landino as she seeks out successful people and digs into the details of their daily lives to find out what they did to better themselves.”

Buffering the Vampire Slayer by Jenny Owen Young & Kristin Russo

~”Buffering the Vampire Slayer is a weekly podcast in which your hosts Jenny Owen Youngs (professional musician and recreational Whedonverse aficionado) and Kristin Russo (professional writer and former goth teen) discuss Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one episode at a time. Every installment of the podcast also includes a new original song recapping each glorious Buffy episode! *wolf howl*”

TED Radio Hour by NPR

~ “A journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create. Based on riveting TEDTalks from the world’s most remarkable minds.”

The Story Studio Podcast: Writing, Storytelling, and Marketing Advice for Business and Writers by  Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright

~ “Stories turn songs into symphonies, events into memories, and lives into legends. In our crowded world, “knowing your story” cuts through the noise so you can make your mark — whether you want to sell more books, increase profits, or just make a difference.”

The Creative Penn Podcast by Joanna Penn

~ “Writing, publishing, book marketing, making a living with your writing.”

Story Grid Podcast by Shawn Coyne and Tim  Grahl

~ “Resources and a step by step understanding of the Story Grid for beginning writers.”

Living Homegrown by Theresa Loe

~ “This weekly podcast is all about getting the best seasonal, fresh-picked flavor without having to buy the farm! Episodes alternate between instructional “how-to” and interviews with top authors & experts.”

The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

~ “Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary.”

Spark Joy by Kristyn Ivey & Karin Socci

~”Spark Joy is the podcast dedicated to celebrating the KonMari Method and the transformative power of surrounding yourself with joy; and letting go of the all the rest.”

Create Your Empowered Self by Jeannie Hall 

(Yes our very own SOS sister Jeannie! I’ve been listening to her podcasts for a while now and I love them!)

~ “This podcast is all about empowering you to live your best life! By incorporating the principles of Law of Attraction, NLP, meditation, and other spiritual teachings, Certified NLP Practitioner and Creative Empowerment Coach Jeannie Hall will show you the way!”

Like I mentioned above, I’d love to hear what podcasts you love to listen to! I’m always looking for more. 🙂

Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Gracealways defeats Reckoning.

Her acclaimed debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife.

EVERY DEEP DESIRE is available on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound| Kobo|  Google

 

And adding it to your Goodreads TBR lisis also always appreciated!

I’m So Excited!

If all goes well, my seventh book will release in late March. ACT OF SURVIVAL is the 4th book in the Second Chances Series. (The other books are pictured below.) Waiting to hear back from Beta Readers to see what fixes I need to do before sending it off to the editor. Think I may do the whole thing on Draft 2 Digital. I normally upload directly to the various venues except for iTunes which I do through D 2 D. But this time, I think I’ll let D 2 D do all of them and see how that works.

But what I’m really excited about is that I have an idea for the next book! For the longest time, I’ve had no idea. “NO IDEA!” For a writer that is heart stoppingly scary. You wonder if you’ll ever write another book. Maybe there aren’t anymore books inside of you!

I’d kind of settled on a location, which is what I always need to begin with, but I had no idea who or what was going to be happening. What is the conflict? Now I need to do lots of research, but I have the idea. (It could be possible after I do the research, I may not be able to use my location, which is Red River, NM, a place we go frequently on vacation in August, and I truly love. I hope that’s not the case.)

Are you afraid of anything? I am of several things, but one of them is going to prison. Odd, since I’m a real rule follower, but the threat of going to jail just terrifies me. So, what happens if they man you’ve been married to for a long time is arrested for grave crimes? The authorities think you should’ve known what was going on. Is there stuff you know, but didn’t know you knew? Would you testify against him, even though technically they can’t make you? But if you don’t testify, you’re going to jail! What about the rest of your family?

Act of Trust 500x750

Of course, at this point, I don’t know what the heroine’s family looks like, nor do I know her name, but I sure do have empathy for her. So, I have an idea, which is a little like when you meet someone for the first time, and you get that little trill of excitement in your middle. Will a relationship develop?

Act of Betrayal

So where do your ideas come from? Real life or completely out of whole cloth? What do you need in order to begin? How long does it take you to write a book form the kernel of an idea to publication? Love to hear from you.

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog

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