Self-care. What if…

by Kathryn Jane

Something we all, yep ALL, need to pay attention to no matter what our circumstances, is self-care.

We live in a world brimming with information, watching bad news from around the world, and being exposed to a great deal of negativity minute by minute. In some ways this is good as we can see that in the grand scheme of things, a roof over our heads and food on our tables puts us among the fortunate.

Still, there is pressure. Pressure to be the best we can be at our jobs, and within our families. Employers and family need us, depend on us in every possible way. We can’t let them down. But apparently, we are letting ourselves down.

We stay late at work without extra pay, we stay up long past bedtime doing laundry, and we get up earlier than the rest so we can prep lunches. We eat the burnt toast, the stale crust, and the smallest portion of desert.

We are super-women, and we shine at it.

 

Until.

Until the tank is suddenly empty and we don’t know how it happened.

Until we find ourselves at the wrong place to pick up a kid, in the wrong chat group to vent about our boss, or getting pulled over for speeding through a playground zone—because our thoughts were somewhere else.

Until we’re tossing and turning at three in the morning unable to shut our minds down so we can sleep.

Time for some self care.

Sure, right, okay, but how the heck can we combat the burnout if we can’t give up any of our responsibilities?

Self … care.

Which means?

Many things.

Self-care can be getting a massage once a month, , stopping for an ice-cream, dancing to a favorite song, or taking ten minutes every day to just sit in the garden and do nothing.

Or it can be as simple and silly as a game I started for myself the other day.

What if.

What if a genie popped out of a bottle and granted me one very specific wish which was:

You have up to 3 days to enjoy a single experience as long as it is not about meeting or talking to someone… as part of the wish, you will be granted whatever physical ability you will need.

Here’s a list of ideas I built for myself in about ten minutes.

  • Ride in the Kentucky Derby or the Grand National
  • Go on an African safari
  • Swim with whales
  • Interact with lions or tigers in their natural habitat
  • Attend a Streisand concert
  • Hike Machu Picchu
  • Attend the Edinburgh Tattoo

 

And this is a list I built while trying to guess what my friends would choose:

  • A Broadway show
  • A Paris fashion show
  • Climb Mount Everest
  • A Vegas show
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Pyramids
  • Superbowl
  • Olympics
  • Ski the Alps
  • A French Chateau
  • A Scottish Castle
  • Desert Island
  • Great Barrier Reef

So… how about you? Join in my little self-care game and share what you might choose if my genie granted you the same wish.


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the briny scent of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com

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.

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Entertaining?

Do you like to entertain? Do you do it often? Do you do it in your house/apartment/condo or restaurant? For you writers, do you put entertainment scenes in your stories? Usually, I put questions at the end of these posts, but this seemed right this time.

Over our married life, we’ve done more and less entertaining. As a younger married, I can remember having “dinner parties.” Six to eight of us. I did the whole meal back when I actually cooked and didn’t just set out the food. 😊 It was stressful but fun. IMG_1256

Then there were years where we were working such long hours, the idea of entertaining anyone in our home was beyond considering. Now that we’ve moved to the lake, we’ve moved into another phase where we entertain every couple of months. One of the things I missed after we left our old neighborhood, where we’d lived for over twenty years, was our neighborhood coffees. Many of us took turns having folks over for a Saturday coffee. These were lots of fun and pretty easy to do.

After we got settled here, I asked some of the neighbors I’d met to come by on a Saturday morning, and we chatted, snacked, and drank coffee and iced tea. Folks were curious to see what we’d done with our lake cottage which had still been mostly in the 50s when we bought it. Quite a transformation. (But that’s a post for another time.) IMG_1023

People liked the idea and several folks signed up to host. The first year we had three other coffees after ours. This is the second year, and every month is spoken for. Several folks have specifically thanked me for getting these started. This past Saturday was our turn to host. It was fun to catch up on people’s lives as opposed to waving as we pass by.

The other way we entertain is with church friends. We have something called Dinner for 8 every month. People host in their homes or in a restaurant. It’s just a chance to get folks together for more time to really talk. Because we feel we have been blessed with our cottage on the lake, we frequently host at our house. This is really simple (after getting the house cleaned up), we provide the main dish and everyone else brings something. One of the things we do is take a selfie of everyone together. Always lots of laughter trying to make that happen.

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(Confession: None of these pics are from the events I’ve described. Apparently, other than taking the selfie at the end, I’ve not taken other pictures. That will change. LOL )

When I first began writing, my critique partners criticized me for always having my characters eating. I struggled to cut back, but really, we spend a lot of time with others eating. Seven books later, I don’t worry about it quite so much. 😊

So, do you like to entertain? Do you do it often? Do you do it in your house/apartment/condo or restaurant. For you writers, do you put entertainment scenes in your stories? Love to hear from you.

Pic at very top is the Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL

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Blogging- Why all #Writers should be Using this #Free Venue #Writertips #RSsos @jacqbiggar

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To blog or not to blog; I hear this question often. There are many demands on a writer’s time. Most of us have families, day jobs, pets, houses to clean, yards to maintain, the list goes on and on, so how are we supposed to keep up a regular blog as well?

And why should we?

 

 

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I get it, I really do.

But, on the other hand, as authors we want to be recognized, right? There’s no sense (other than personal satisfaction) to waste our precious time writing those stories if we aren’t going to do our best to get noticed.

 

WordPress Now Powers 26% of the Web

The most recent stats are showing that since March 2016, WordPress is actually powering 26.4% of the Web, and it’s on the rise. It is still by far the most used CMS, with 59.4% market share. Also interestingly on a daily basis there are over 500 sites being created on WordPress.

https://managewp.com/blog/statistics-about-wordpress-usage

 

 

As you can see, these numbers are already a couple of years old, but it’s safe to say blogging is a crucial– and often under-utilized– tool in marketing our product.

One of the best things about blogging– it’s free!

Just think, all those users out there, all you need to do is provide them with content.

 

 

In this post, Nicholas Rossis shares a graphic made by Websitebuilder on the phenomenal growth in the blogging world.

18.7 million blogs on WordPress alone! That’s a lot of people and possible eyes on your books. (You have your blog connected to your website with a listing of your books, right?)

 

“But what am I going to say?” you ask.

Well, that’s the beauty of it, your blog, your rules. 🙂

 

 

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The biggest thing is that you’re going to make connections around the world. And if those people like what you have to say, chances are, they’ll check out your books, mention you to their workmates, their friends and family.

See?

All that because you took the time to #blog.

Come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s get connected!

 

Speaking of spreading the word, here’s some shameless self-promotion on two new releases I have coming in the next few weeks. Shares appreciated 🙂

 

 

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Available 01.30.18

 

What happens when two of Tidal Falls’ most beloved citizens have second thoughts just before they get married?

Jared Martin can’t wait to tie the knot with the woman of his dreams and become a real father to his son, Chris.

Annie Campbell is finally going to marry the man she’s loved for most of her adult life and she couldn’t be more excited–and anxious.

An unforeseen event will test their devotion to each other and bring the entire town in on the action. Will Jared and Annie’s love stand the test, or is their relationship doomed?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0788BB53H

International: https://books2read.com/WithThisHeart

Add to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37830620-with-this-heart

 

Excerpt

She yanked the door open and then jumped backward with a shriek as a brown and white shape hurtled through the gap and stumbled in the drive.

“Dad, save Bambi,” Chris cried from inside the cab.

“What was that?” Annie whispered, hands clenched to her chest.

Jared was torn between taking her into his arms or checking on the injured animal for his son. A further cry from Chris as he scrambled to get out of the pickup cemented his decision. He sent a quick glance Annie’s way before hurrying to kneel beside the fawn and stop its frantic movements. “Son, bring that blanket with you. His scent is on it now, it may reassure him some.”

“Is he okay?” Chris hopped down from the crew cab, tugging the blanket behind him. “Hi, Mom,” he chirped on his way by, “guess what Jared did? He hit a baby deer.” The last was said with a mix of nervous tension.

Jared looked up in time to see Annie’s scowl turn to concern. He held out his hand for the quilt. “Here, I’ll cover him up and then you keep him still while I call the vet. Deal?”

“Deal,” Chris agreed, plopping onto the grass and startling the fawn. He scrunched his shoulders and shrugged. “Sorry.”

Jared smiled. “Just take it easy around him for the first few days. You have to remember he’s not used to people. This is all very strange for him.” He wrapped the trembling body, careful to avoid the bad leg. “Pet his head like I showed you before and I’ll be right back, okay?”

Chris nodded without looking away from the delicate face of the deer. “Sure, we’re friends already, see?” He proceeded to rub between the fawn’s ears. “He likes me.”

“Well, sure he does. What’s not to like?” Jared rumpled his son’s red hair—so like his mother’s—and rose. After making sure the fawn was content, he turned to Annie. “Sorry we couldn’t call. Reception was bad out there.”

“What if you’d been injured?” Annie sniped under her breath so as not to alert Chris. “I had no idea where you’d gone. Where to search. It was an irresponsible thing to do.” She folded defensive arms across her chest.

“Whoa, where is this coming from?” Jared grasped her forearm and pulled her resisting body to the front of the truck. “Sweetheart, it’s not like I planned on driving home in the dark and clipping a fawn during our first father-son road trip. You’re not being fair.”

“Fair?” she cried. “Chris is my son, Jared. I have the right to know he’s safe.”

Stunned, he released her arm. “Actually, I thought he was our son. What’s going on, Annie?”

She stared up at him with tear-drenched eyes. “Maybe we’re a mistake.” She looked at his dented vehicle, and at Chris caring for the injured deer, before meeting his gaze with a defiant lift of her chin. “I don’t think I can marry you anymore.”

 

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Available 02.13.18

 

Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078QFJH4H

Universal: https://books2read.com/Valentine

Add to TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38088692-valentine

 

Excerpt

Val stepped closer to the crazy woman guarding her virtue with a kitchen utensil. He’d been enjoying the view for the past five minutes as she swayed to the music, her back to him while she worked at his sister’s kitchen sink. Even though she wore the required hair net, he could see she was a fiery redhead, her body slim and compact beneath the wraparound apron. He should have announced himself sooner, but he hadn’t expected to freak her out so badly. Normally, Sam’s kitchen was a hub of activity; he was surprised to find it empty except for the pint-sized warrior.

“You can put down the weapon.” He hid his amusement behind a placating smile. “I’m harmless, though my sister might be tempted to disagree. Is Sam here?”

When the woman stared at him like he was the creature from the black lagoon, Val waved a hand in front of her eyes and grinned at the resultant snap of temper. He was right, she was a feisty one. “Sorry, I’m in a bit of a hurry. Is there a chance I could get you to answer me any time soon?”

She glared at him, threw the rubber spatula unto the counter, and swept the net from her hair, allowing the coiled layers to flow down her back. “You have a bad habit of sneaking up on people,” she snapped, reddened fingers moving to untie her apron.

What was she…?

Oh.

He snapped his fingers and pointed at her. “You. The klutz that destroyed my dinner the other night. What are you doing here? Don’t tell me my sister was foolish enough to hire someone who can’t even hold onto a pot without it becoming a catastrophe.”

Her eyes narrowed and she stared past him to the big block of knives sitting on the stainless-steel countertop. Val hurried to block her view. “Uh, uh, uh, temper, temper. You don’t really want to stab me, just think of the mess.”

 

JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. 

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar, http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can also join her street team on Facebook: Biggar’s Book Buddies

Or her exclusive Review Crew: https://jacqbiggar.com/join-my-review-crew/

And sign up for her newsletter-

http://www.subscribepage.com/jacqbiggar

 

Smiles are free!

 

Or should be. A smile doesn’t have to be earned. Oh yes, some people make you work for them, but really? Why?

When a random smile can change someone’s day, why would anyone be stingy?

A few days ago, I happened to be sitting in a hospital’s physiotherapy gym, where several people were going through the exercises assigned to them, and one lady was learning how to take hard, hard steps with a walker. I was watching her progress and silently rooting for her–when I was supposed to be chatting with someone else–and when the lady with the walker looked up, I smiled in encouragement.

What had been a dour, or possibly sad face to that point suddenly lit up with a beautiful smile. She’s a stranger, one I’ll never likely see again, but my smile moved her, and hers moved me, and it cost neither one of us anything.

And it lasts. I’m smiling now as I write this, and I hope thinking of that moment brightens her day once in a while too.

So smile. It’s free, and they are so darned worth the tiny effort required!

And there’s a bonus too… when you smile, you can’t help but feel better, no matter how your day is going!


head shot from RWA14Kathryn Jane has yet another new book about to hit the shelves, this one is a Women’s Fiction, with twists and turns that will keep you turning pages and cheering for the characters while they pull themselves up by the boot straps…and the ending will make you cry happy tears!


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Soul-destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.

From shattered dreams to incredible joy.

To get the Special early-bird price of 2.99, just hop over to my website and sign up for the email newsletter, and you’ll receive a heads up when  the pre-order option becomes available.

 


 

Snow joke

Hello, Mother Nature?

It’s me again, Kathryn Jane.

Just a quick question. Do you have another rooky at the helm?  I mean since the idiot who sent us a snow storm a couple of weeks ago?

Um, may I suggest you set your margarita aside, peek out from under your beach umbrella and check your emails?

There are probably a bunch from the Vancouver area, you know, that special corner of Canada affectionately known as the wet-coast. (Pssst that’s because we get lots of rain, but almost none of the cold white stuff.)

Problem? you ask.

Yep.

On the odd occasion you send us snow, we run out and buy shovels and salt, scurry to get snow tires on our cars, and hope for snow days declared at school and work if we hit, maybe 2 to 4 inches of white stuff on the roads.001

That’s 2 or 4 inches — better known as 5 to 10 centimeters in Canadian.

So here’s the deal. The snow outside my door is now about a foot deep, 004

and in areas near by, it’s up to three feet deep and still coming down. Hard and heavy.

Trees are breaking under the weight and taking down power lines, people are getting hurt. It’s not funny anymore. ha ha.

But it’s so pretty, you say…022

True. But still, I have just two words for you…

Stop it!

Well, make that three.

Stop it, please!

In the meantime, I’ll be running out of birdseed soon, so the birds would like you to please, put a rush on that. 013007

 

 

 

 

Thanks.

Kathryn Jane, who is usually quite patient, but you’re pushing me… 🙂




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