What Can I Say?


Welcome to my blog!

For the month of June, I planned to post 30 Days of Definition, well . . . if you’ve stopped by this past week,  you know I haven’t managed to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to get the first week in –  defining moments. Sort of.

You know,  it’s like as soon as I make a plan to do X the universe conspires to make sure it doesn’t happen. Yes, that is an exaggeration,  but it sure seems like it at times.

What’s been happening in my world? Aside from the panic that comes with book publishing after the revisions are dead, I’ve been swamped in the day job. That and a general malaise that I”m trying to overcome with a change in medicines. (Have I said lately that Cancer sucks?)

I feel really bad now because I invited other bloggers to participate in this and I haven’t even managed to post.

Today I’m going to touch on something that defines us as individuals.  Or rather me.

I read a book once, can’t remember the title,  but in the first chapter, it asked –  how do we define ourselves. Without using our usual monackers of mom, wife, sister, our job – what defines US.

I had a tough time with this, and it really made me think. Beware, we’re going to the deep end.

We are not defined by our jobs-  that’s what we do. We are not defined by our titles or monackers – mom, sister, wife.  I was me before I became a mom. It changed me sure,  but I was still me.

It’s not achievements we’ve made, the laurels we have achieved, or battles we’ve won.

So truly, what defines me as different than everyone else? What makes me stand out from the crowd or am I just one in a crowd of lemmings?

I have to be honest,  I didn’t finish the book because it sent me into a tailspin. Since then, I’ve still thought on this many times.

This is the conclusion that I’ve come to: the essence of what defines us as individuals is ultimately our soul. It’s how you treat other people. It’s your humanity, your compassion, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, and the love that you show towards your fellow human being.

Human being – not those who are the same religion as you, same skin color as you, speak the same language, or have the same lifestyle.

I’ve shared my faith before and I am appalled at the hatred and prejudice that comes from many claiming to be Christians.  All of us are in the same human condition – flawed, broken, and mortal.

Love is the answer!

Seriously, would you expect anything less from a romance author? Wait let me amend that –  a romance author and paranormal fantasy suspense author.

The Awakening: Book 1 of the Valkyrie’s Curse series releases on June 20th! Yes, I had to get that in there-  I’m proud of my accomplishment and  I think this one will blow you away!!!

 

 

The Awakening 

Helena Eskildson is obsessed with Vikings and Norse Mythology. Neither Helena nor her sister know they are Freya’s daughters – Valkyries, the shieldmaidens to Odin.
When her obsession leads her to a remote site at Roskilde and it’s two monolithic rune stones, her destiny is awakened.
While the team wages a battle between a cursed site and a sociopathic killer, time is ticking closer to Ragnarok.
Will her friends be able to save her before the gjallerhorn sounds?

 

Available now on PReorder for $0.99

 

Write on my friends, write on!

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Nothing Goes As Planned


Welcome to my blog!

I’ve been doing the MFRW blog hop for a while, kind of hit or miss.  I’ve tried to get back onto the WEWRIWA Sunday Snippets, mostly off. Things have been hectic and overwhelming lately, so of course, I decided to do a new thing! You know how I love new things!

For the month of June, I will be posting Definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first week is defining moments.

de·fin·ing mo·ment

noun
plural noun: defining moments
          an event that typifies or determines all subsequently related occurrences.
~~~~~~~~~
And this is where things have gone terribly off track!
Seriously, I had a plan outlined and scheduled to write on for each day this month.
Then, Tuesday through Thursday,  I was neck deep in it getting my manuscript ready to send to the editor and formatter.
I was determined to get it sent out to the point I have neglected my housework, preparing proper meals (What adult has a PBJ for dinner one night and BLT the next?), and pretty much everything else in order to make certain that I had my t’s crossed and i’s dotted.
So here’s what I’m going to do since I’m a few days behind.  I”m going to give you the abbreviated versions of the other Defining Moments.

Day 5 – Public Speaking

I am an extrovert. I’m the kind of extrovert that most introverts hate.  I will talk to strangers in an elevator.  I will smile and say how you doing to a stranger as I pass them in the hallway.  In fact, I will confront someone who is doing something uncouth.  Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not going to be stupid about it.

When my mother was in the hospital numerous times,  I hate that ‘get on the elevator and stare straight ahead and don’t talk to anyone’ thing.  The guy is holding a plant with a Congratulations on a new baby balloon – heck yeah I’m going to comment “Good news I see”  Or if it’s nothing so obvious I’ll comment about the weather –  whether it’s hot, cold, raining, or gorgeous.

Most people will respond with at least a nod.  Here’s the thing though,  our society has been teaching kids for ages “Don’t talk to strangers”.  But, in a self-defense class, one of the things that they said was rapists and muggers will target the fearful.  I don’t cower.  I don’t walk with my shoulders slumped,  or curved inward.  I walk with my head held high and if a guy is coming towards me with intent to harm me,  I’m going to make the biggest loudest scene I can. 98% of criminals will walk the other way and wait for an easier target.

For that 2% –  I have pepper spray and know some maneuvers to protect myself.  Anyway,  this isn’t about not making myself a victim.  This is about the extrovert thing.

When I was in college and had to give a presentation to the department staff for my senior theses, I was shaking like a leaf.  When I was first asked to speak publicly it was awkward,  filled with OK, and ummms,  but I lived.  The next time it was easier.  If I have the time to add lib a little I can have the audience laughing.

I’ve mentioned before that I try to use the EIEIO method, it seems to work for me. Along with informing and educating,  you have to entertain them at least a little.  If you can do that you can keep their attention.

OK, well it may help that I’ve been told that I should be a stand-up comedian as well.  Not going to happen,  but I use the sense of humor to help with speaking.  My largest crowd so far has only been about 150 people which is small,  but I’m not done yet.

Day 6 -Moment of Clarity

I really don’t have a better way of describing this. So here goes.

Several months ago, the doctor prescribed a medication for me to deal with the increased anxiety after the cancer diagnosis.  Part of that is I can’t “cope” with the same habits I had before.  I am a stress eater.  I have self-medicated myself most of my life to avoid the feels, the hurts, and the emotions. Just being honest. If you have ever watched Biggest Loser,  you’d see that the majority of fatties are in the same boat.  It’s not the simple formula of less food in more calorie output equals weight loss.

Why does someone eat themselves up to 200, 250, 300 or more pounds? It’s insulation.  Insulation from having to deal with life.  Having to deal with our past.  Having to deal with emotional wounds and baggage.

So I can’t do that anymore,  most of the “comfort foods” I would turn to are now off the menu because of the big C. Hence, the increased anxiety.

So I was taking this medicine and my daughter commented that I was considerably more chill.  IF it weren’t for some very bad side effects that I couldn’t live with,  it really did help. During the time I was taking it,  I could see clearly the issues.  I could see that the problem was that I had all these emotional issues that I would have formerly turned to food and that wasn’t an option. I’ve said before,  the best diet in the world doesn’t fix the most important six inches.

During one of those moments of clarity, I was reading some articles that the dietician had directed me to, and one of them was a quiz for a food addict. I got a perfect score! NO, that’s not a good thing.  I had to say yes to every single question. I never put two and two together,  but after answering those questions,  I can see it.

Trigger foods that cause that reaction inside my body or head,  that I have to have more. The biggest triggers across the board are sugar, carbs, chocolate, fast foods, and most junk foods.  A new study shows that the brains of women with food addictions are similar to drug addictions and an alcoholic. Since then, I’ve recognized the cycle and been able to stop before binging.  I”m happy to say I’ve stayed on the wagon.

We all have our issues,  don’t judge.

DAY 7- The Big C

Cancer has a way of leveling the playing field.  One day, you’re carefree and even though you know you’re not immortal, you plan to live to a ripe old age and spoil grandbabies and cause a ruckus at the old folk’s home. (I’ve already warned my kids that if they stick me in a home it better be in Florida or I’ll be causing a scene weekly.)

Then one day you get a diagnosis that literally changes your life. Cancer is an equal opportunity bastard of a disease. It doesn’t care what race, religion, persuasion, financial status, or age you are.

At first, I was in shock. I’ve shared before that from the date of diagnosis to the day of surgery was a whirlwind that didn’t give me time to think.  It’s just as well. It was during the radiation treatment while taking the oral medications that I had a true “Come to Jesus” moment.

I was slapped in my face with my own mortality, and I very much view this as a second chance to get it right.  What was important to me?

What did I want to accomplish in my life?

What would my legacy be?

The most important thing to me is my family. I decided that I would make certain to spend time with my family, including my siblings and extended family.

I wanted to publish as many of my books as I could get out.  I looked at the pace I was going and realized that I was a long way from getting even half of them out if I didn’t kick it into gear. When I first tried to sit down and write,  I couldn’t focus.  My mind was blank.  I cried numerous times thinking that I may have lost my opportunity. However,  after radiation was over and I was slowly beginning to recover,  it started coming back to me and I was determined in a way that I was never determined before.

I don’t even care if people don’t like Roxy Sings the Blues,  it will forever be an important milestone to me because I managed to finish that after Cancer. It made me realize that if I wanted to achieve my goals, I was going to have to put out a concerted effort which meant I have to focus.

There are many other moments in our lives that we could say are defining moments and many other moments.  It’s what we do with those moments that matter.

What are your defining moments?

Write on my friends, write on!

Resignation/Retirement


WElcome to my blog!

I’ve been doing the MFRW blog hop for a while, kind of hit or miss.  I’ve tried to get back onto the WEWRIWA Sunday Snippets, mostly off. Things have been hectic and overwhelming lately, so of course, I decided to do a new thing!

For the month of June, I will be posting Definition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first week is defining moments.

de·fin·ing mo·ment

noun
plural noun: defining moments
          an event that typifies or determines all subsequently related occurrences.

DAY 4 – Resignation/Retirement

For most of my young adult l had focused on career. Graduation from high school was briefly celebrated as I moved to the next stepping stone – college. College was a means to an end – a well-paying career.

I had already made the decision that the double major of forensic anthropology wasn’t going to work, and focusing on cartography. My father worked for Defense Mapping Agency and urged me to pursue cartography.  It’s currently known as National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Cartographers make good money –  I mean, really good money.

Life was great. I was in a department that I enjoyed and had worked my way up to target expert in the digital productions division. I was a shoe-in for the position after working in points during Desert Storm.  I liked what I was doing and I was good at it!

Then I delivered my second child. I returned to work after maternity leave,  but my daughter caught RSV virus at the daycare that we had our children in and ended up in the hospital.  My husband and I alternated who would take off work to stay with her. The opportunity came up to do a buyout, and essentially retire. We ran the numbers and I was shocked to see that despite my great salary,  I was essentially working for 5 an hour after gas, auto maintenance, and daycare expenses. The decision was easier to make after seeing the numbers, and the nudge that made the decision final was another admission to the hospital for my baby. It’s hard to see your child under an oxygen tent, and that was the last straw.  I had to stay home with my kids.

Before that, I identified myself as what I did in my job. I was identifying myself as a mom also,  but when people say tell me about yourself,  the government employment came first.  I was proud of my job, proud of my work,  and proud of who I was.

IT was quite a shock to only be a “mom” for a while.  Don’t get me wrong please,  I love my kids with everything I am. It’s just that I was a professional for ten years before kids. It took some adjustments.

I loved those years though,  and so glad that we made the decision because I was able to raise my children, not someone at a daycare. Which of course means that anything they are screwed up about is on me!

I enjoyed the majority of those years.  I would trade the vomit in a heartbeat, but everything else – priceless!

OUr kids have turned out to be amazing young adults that I am so very proud of, I guess maybe I did a few things right or I was just blessed with amazing kids.

Anyway, leave a comment and brag about your kids if you want!

WRite on my friends, write on!

Get On With It


It’s been a little over a year since my diagnosis, and a year yesterday for surgery. Wow, what a whirlwind ride this has been.

I’m thankful to still be here. I’m thankful to have hair, even though it’s white now.

I promise I am not going to dwell on this forever, but since I’ve been riddled with anxiety for the past week over just about everything, this is part of my healing process.  I have to process these thoughts, learn to manage the emotions and the overwhelm.

What has changed?  Everything.

OH, on the surface onlookers may think I’m the same old same old. but I’m not. I am learning to make myself a priority –  still learning, still trying to use that word NO, and still doing the self-talk to tell myself I’m worth it. Because you know what?  I am!

We all are.  Each one of us deserves a fulfilling life and to achieve our own happiness.  Each of us is a unique one of a kind original. It’s hard to keep that in mind at times when the lemming tendencies of our society scream that we need to fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

How are we ever going to stand out from the crowd if we are doing the same thing, looking the same, wearing the same hairstyle?  There is nothing wrong with being ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with being who you are, regardless of that mean bitch from school says.

Screw her! OH wait,  most of the guys already have!

That was a joke, sort of.

We need to stop being influenced by those mean girls and the pretty people. They are a minority and we outnumber them into the millions. Why do we ever care what they think?

For me,  I’ve always had this element of people pleasing. It’s a lifelong habit that I’m working on breaking.  It’s part of exercising that word NO.

What do you think?  What do you want to do? I”m not saying that you do whatever you want even if it’s illegal or immoral. I’m talking about pursuing your dreams, setting goals for yourself and learning to get our thoughts in line with drawing what we truly want out of life.

There are times when the overwhelm is just too much for me. This was never an issue before cancer. I’ve been thinking about why that is.  Part of it, as listed in the side effects of the chemo meds I have to take is increased anxiety. OH, joy! But I take the meds because I want to live cancer free.

Part of it, I’ve deduced is because I’ve spent a lifetime stress eating and putting myself into a food stupor when I was overwhelmed so that I could numb myself from the pain and anxiety.  Do you think overweight people simply eat too much?  It’s so much more than that.

OK, you take someone who has put on twenty pounds because they’ve been hitting the pizza and beer too often and no biggie,  they cut down on their consumption and within a short time have taken the weight off. But a fat person?  I mean someone who has been overweight for a long time, maybe their whole life, it’s a psychological issue as much as it is about overeating.  Hence the yo-yo up and down the scale.

Anyway,  this isn’t about being fat or me being frustrated that the weight isn’t coming off faster. This is ultimately about change and learning to control the thoughts and emotions.

Some things change quickly –  surgery – I had cancer, they removed the tumors.

Some things take time –  it took many treatments for the radiation to be effective.

Some things take even longer – learning to eat differently, learning new habits, learning new limitations.

Ultimately though, aren’t we all learning? Whether we are adjusting to dietary limitations, or physical limitations or emotional,  we have to overcome, adapt, and learn what our best is each and every day.  Maybe today it’s learning that “I’m OK. Tomorrow it may be “I can’t do that but I can tackle this.”

Early in the week, I was a whirlwind of energy and productivity. Yesterday I fell into a pit of overwhelm and could barely function.  I was a mess of tears, snotting and snorting and nearly hyperventilating. My friend Misty talked me down. She walked me through the sensory steps,  reminded me of the four agreements, and then my husband called around lunchtime and told me to throw away my list.

 NO, not my list! The LIST is like, THE PIRATE CODE.

Cue increased panic.

He reminded me that nothing on my list was mandatory. (But,  it’s my list.  I don’t list unnecessary things to do.) Nothing is mandatory and has to be done today.  The only mandatory things on the list were my day job, getting my blog post up (because it was a personal goal) and making sure I did my physical therapy.

As I glanced over my precious list of twenty-seven items, I realized he was right. As much as I wanted to get those other things accomplished and checked off the list –  only list makers will get that – the world was not going to end if I waited for another day to try to tackle them.

One of those items was a social situation with someone that causes me continued stress. At the end of the day, I realized that it was in my own best interest to say NO, and bow out. The second part of that is allowing myself to not fret over the decision and accept that I need to take care of myself.

Why does it have to be so hard to say no? What is it that I was so afraid of? That they would be mad at me? They don’t like me anyway. Hard to imagine, but they don’t.

I refer to Agreement Number 2: Don’t take anything Personal. Nothing others do is because of you. What others do or say is a product of their own reality, their own dreams and actions. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of suffering.

Breathe.

Inhala . . . exhala . . . and now I can get on with it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Three’s a Charm


I did it! Three days of posting in a row! Yes, this is an accomplishment for me. It’s been a while since I have done more than a once a week post. Ironically a fellow blogger and Romance author commented about my regular blogging and then suddenly,  I couldn’t seem to manage more than once a week if that.

Before I start in on my celebration dance, I suppose we should get to the 3rd and final quote for this challenge. I’ve been nominated to participate in a 3 Day Quote Challenge by Misty Harvey at her blog Misty Harvey. This is the third day of the quote challenge.

Let’s not waste any time dilly-dallying around.

There is tremendous joy in accomplishment. As an author,  I can definitely say that there haven’t been too many “thrills” as satisfying as completing my books.  The combined effort of the creative process that culminates in a completed book – priceless.

Last year,  I wasn’t able to work on my writing at all while going through treatments.  After completing it, I was determined to get myself back on track.  The satisfaction of completing Roxy Sings the Blues, after going through cancer treatment was in my mind,  a great accomplishment that made me uber happy!

Now I come to that part of the challenge to nominate another 3 people to carry the torch.

As for the way this challenge works I  nominate 3 new blogs to carry the torch. I have picked 3 people that have inspired me in various ways and I think will really bring great things to this challenge.

  1. Dana Ellington
  2. BrokeBella
  3. joyful2beeblogs

Thank you for joining me for the 3 Day quote challenge. What quote is meaningful to you? Do you display them in your home? On the walls? As framed art?

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Oh Well!


In the past, I would have been quite upset.

In the past, I would have been ten times bent out of shape because my plans were derailed.

In the past, . . . well you get the idea. I make plans,  they get trashed. You’d think I would get used to it by now, but no.

I can’t afford to get upset over this anymore, it’s not worth it. I can choose to go with the flow, adapt, overcome, and change directions on the fly. Well, sort of.

OK, so maybe I don’t adapt on the fly. There are a few kinks and jagged edges before I accept the inevitable. Alright,  in some cases I am downright pouty that my plans were trashed. Like my plans for January – trashed. I haven’t been in the “Oh well” frame of mind.  I’ve been in the ‘toddler kicking and screaming mentally’ stage. Hey, I know my truth and at least I’m honest about it!

Real mature, I know. I need to adapt a more French “C’est le Vie” approach, or  the “que sera sera” or a more Bohemian -“Oh well.” attitude.

Changing your habits and behavior is a difficult thing and sometimes those learned responses that are programmed into the rabbit tracks of our brains,  you know the automatic responses, still show up even when you think you’ve kicked it.  It’s the same type of thing that triggers PTSD, seriously it’s the same brain parts. I know y’all don’t want to talk about the amygdala and the reticular formation so we will move on.

For example, I had laid out a plan for my blog with themed days again. Mojo Monday with my motivational posts to stir myself and others up! Tasty Tuesday where I will share new tasty Cancer friendly meals. I was undecided on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays would be the MFRW posts, and Sunday to get back to the WeWriWa snippets.

Then . . . LIFE HAPPENS. First, it was the flu, even after getting a flu shot. Then the therapy appointments and doctor appointments. Then, family in the hospital, then funerals, then more people in the hospital,  then the big appointments with the oncologist. (We’ll address that at a later time when I’ve processed things fully and can  be calm.)

All of this has left me with little left to give out, feeling exhausted and drained emotionally and physically. Not that y’all aren’t important to me,  because I’ve told y’all before, I get super excited when I get a new follower, or someone leaves a comment. It really is a high point in my day! But there comes a time when there are other life matters that take priority over what I want, over a self-imposed deadline that only really matters to me.

Seeing a loved one in the hospital in pain,  or the nerve-wracking waiting for them to be out of surgery. This is when you have to accept the moment, be in the moment and realize that the most important parts of our lives are the friends and family we love and that love us.

You are only truly blessed when you love and are loved.

I think this is one of the really sad part of our current society, people will spend hours on social media, yet isolate themselves from the people who care about them.

Do yourself a favor.  Put down your phone, get off your tablet and engage with someone. Call your mom, ask her what’s for dinner and tell her how much you appreciate her. Call your sister you haven’t seen or talked to in weeks or months. Go visit your kids and grandkids! Life is too short.

We need to embrace the moments of joy that life offers. Make part of this year’s goals be spending real time with friends and families and living life.

I have a lot more I’d like to say,  but I need to go to the hospital to visit my sister. The “tyranny of the should haves” is really working overtime on me and I don’t want to add to it.

Go! Live! Laugh! Enjoy life.  Have dinner with someone you love! Visit a friend or at least call. That’s what our phones are really for.

Write on my friends, write on!

Christmas At Home


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

The winner for last week’s Prize Basket is:

Nina Valdez!  Nina, I will be contacting you!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post. That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

The Island of Misfit Toys

Christmas at Home

Black Mountain Pack

by Miranda Lynn

The offkey sound of four young cubs voices ringing together echoed through the house, each throwing their own spin on a classic Christmas song while their mothers warmed the kitchen with baking.

“Why are we all such a misfits?
I am not just a nit wit!
I’m an adorable
Fox…panther…lynx
Why don’t we fit in?”

 

That caterwauling has to stop,” Sterling grumbled.

Rea headed Sterling off as he marched towards the living room. “Let them enjoy themselves. I remember growing up and this time of year was the only happy times I remember. I know their life isn’t like mine was but these classics bring a sense of joy and happiness. Let them be kids.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and silenced his response with a searing kiss.

“Alright for now I’ll leave them. What are you two up to?”

“We’re making Christmas cookies, want to help?” Reana grabbed a pot holder and took out the cookie sheet from the oven replacing it with another full of dough ready to bake.

A cold breeze blasted them as the back door once again opened admitting more of the family. Jerome and Suzanne stomped their boots on the rug before removing them. Suzanne made the rounds hugging everyone. “Where are the cubs?”

In the living room watching Rudolph.” Casey replied kissing Jerome’s cheek in greeting.

“What is that horrible sound?” Mack cringed as he and Sterling came in the kitchen door.

“The children are watching Christmas cartoons and singing with the songs.” Casey answered as she raised her cheek for a kiss.

“They sound like they are dying.” Sterling grimaced.

“Oh give them a break, they are enjoying the classic fun of Christmas shows. Frosty, The Grinch, and currently Rudolph.” Reana laughed.

“Oh for heaven’s sake, we need to introduce them to the real classics. Like Die Hard, now that’s a Christmas movie for the ages.” Mack laughed as he avoided the smack of Casey’s hand.

The singing increased in the living room, the out of tune voices welcome.

“Again, that’s the fourth time today!” Suzanne chuckled moving into the living room. “Who has sugar’s for Meme?” Squeals answered her question.

Jerome smiled as he followed his nose to the finished cookies cooling on the counter. Casey smacked his hand away as he grabbed for one. “They haven’t been iced yet Da, you’ll have to wait.”

“An Alpha never has to wait.” He harrumphed and grabbed for one again.

“If that Alpha wants to eat at all he will.” Casey smacked his hand again.

Mack leaned against the counter enjoying the happiness that filled his heart. His mate, his cubs, his parents, and the rest of those he called family were all gathered for the holidays enjoying some much needed down time. They had gathered at Sterling’s house this year but he planned to have them all come down next year to experience Christmas on a different continent. For now though he would soak up all he could because he knew tomorrow could bring more troubles and dangers. Being shifters, as they were, there would always be fighting one enemy or another.

“What’s running through that head of yours son?” Jerome handed off a confiscated cookie.

“Just trying to enjoy the day, Da. The quiet before the storm you could say.” Mack bit into the gooey chocolate chip cookie his father had handed him.

“As you should, we can’t predict what tomorrow brings, we can only enjoy the joy we find today.”

“Here here.” Sterling agreed handing glasses of eggnog to everyone. “I agree with Jerome, let us enjoy the happiness we have today with each other and let it strengthen us for what may come in the future. Cheers and Merry Christmas everyone.”

Everyone clinked glasses as the cubs ran in hugging their parents and grandparents and stealing a cookie or two from the counter. Jerome and Suzanne gazed on as their son and their closest friend enjoyed the happiness the Fates had provided them and prayed more of their pack would soon find theirs.
~~~~~~

 

About the author:

Travel and Paranormal Romance author. Her Destiny series takes you on a roller

coaster ride through time with sexy

Highlanders and sassy female heroines. If shifters are your kryptonite, then check out her Black Mountain Pack

series, which throws a twist on the traditional shifter lore.

Miranda is a mother to two teenage boys

who are sure they know it all, a 75lb lapdog and a 15lb foot warmer. She is thankful her husband doesn’t mind the extra voices in her head.

Miranda is an only child who grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois which left her plenty of time to make up stories in her head for entertainment. She currently resides in

Tennessee where she wonders if Mother Nature will ever stop with the hormonal mood swings. She fuels herself with coffee, chocolate, and wine.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.mirandalynn.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Lynn/e/B00P0D9X2S/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MirandaLynnBks/

Facebook Readers Group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/367841766921211/?ref=bookmarks

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/authormirandalynn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9287768.Miranda_Lynn

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/miranda-lynn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaLynnBks

 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and show Miranda appreciation for her wonderful story as well as be entered into the drawing for this week’s prize!

Write on my friends, write on.

 

A Blue Christmas


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of Protected By His Grace

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post. That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

Blue Christmas by Sheryl Crow

Blue Christmas

by

Nina Valdez

“Noel? Is that really your name? Oh my Gosh! That’s so festive!”

Yea, yea, yea… My name is Christmasy, I know. I Don’t want to be a Scrooge. It just seems like starting December 1st, I start getting triggered like crazy.

I smile at the cashier but I’m sure it looked more like a grimace because she kind of turned red and whispered, “Sorry.”

Red. I picked up my bag of every blue glittery ornament I could find. It was a bit of a splurge but Cobalt Blue is my favorite color, glitter just makes me happy, Aaaannd… I may or may not have had a bit of a breakdown last night and all of our red decorations stashed in my parents’ attic that I had collected so carefully fifteen/ fourteen/… up to ten years ago mysteriously got broken… I realized I was smiling sadly standing in the snow, freezing my butt off!

I chuckled and threw my bag over into the passenger seat so I could scramble into my little Toyota pickup and get that heater cranking! Here’s the deal, I have been imagining the perfect man for me since I was two. Yes, two. Also, I am a touch love language so not having a significant other in my life has been literally excruciating throughout my life. So naturally, I have been looking forward to and saving little trinkets etc. here and there, for when I got married.

When I finally got together with my ex eleven years ago, I could have sworn He was the one. He was literally ninety-eight percent perfect on paper. He didn’t have tattoos and he wasn’t in the same industry as me. That was the only things off. Or so I thought.

Did I mention that I’m a Model and Actress? Plus Model, I guess I have to specify.

*Insert eye-roll here.*  Most people still look me up and down like, “Yea, O.K…”

But I know who I am. So anyway, I was like – dang! Ninety-eight percent Is probably the best I’m going to find right?

Our first date was on December third. My life literally went straight from heaven to hell in about an hour that followed. We stayed together till December first, about three years after that. Thank God though. I could finally breathe without being contradicted and sleep without… bad things happening.

I snapped out of my reverie to realize I was idling in my driveway with no idea how I had gotten there. That’s not good. I mean, the store is less than a mile away but, Geez!

I have got to get my life together! So I grabbed my bag and picked my way around the slippery bits of the walkway to my camper. One day it will be a legit tiny house, but for now, my little pink and white 1954 Arrow was home. I shivered as I climbed in the door. Thank God it was still cozy and warm with the last embers glowing in the mini wood chip stove I had put in last summer. I tossed a few more pine cones in it and pushed them around a bit till they lit up nicely.

Ooh! The tea kettle was still nice and hot on top. Tonight my soul needed a good cup of hot cocoa! And a movie, something hopeful. You know how people say they are “hopeless romantics”? Well, despite all my baggage and trigger-happy anxiety issues, I prefer to call myself a hope-full romantic.

There is this thing in the Bible where Paul is talking, and he calls himself a “Prisoner of Hope…” There could be no better description of me.

So I crank the carols up on the radio while I slather every bit the of less than 100 square feet of my home in twinkle lights and blue glittery things. When everything was finally swagged to my satisfaction, I opened my little kitchenette cabinet to grab the cocoa mix and a mug and… I was out of cocoa mix.

Ya’ll don’t understand. I know you are thinking, just have tea. Or a nice decaf latte, or Chai, or something. Because in the sliver that is my kitchenette at least half my cabinet space is indeed taken up with every kind of drink mix… Hot drinks may or may not be my drug of choice. But no. I NEEDED that hot cocoa. On a night like tonight, with a cheesy movie and the lights twinkling off of every shimmery piece of Christmas cheer in my cozy little world. After a day like today, and a month like this month. I needed my chocolate!

So I was off to face that cashier again with my face burning this time. And as I was rounding the corner to the Coffee/ Tea/ Hot Chocolate aisle Blue Christmas came on the store radio and, “Ooof.” I Ran straight into a slightly less than a solid brick wall. I looked up into the biggest gray-blue eyes I have ever seen set off by the dark blue dye job on his mess of curly hair. The wall steadied me, gently gripping my arms and to my surprise, I found myself gripping his rugged ink enhanced forearms. I’m pretty sure all those blue snowflakes that they were talking about on the radio melted when he didn’t let go.

It’s been a couple of years now. He still hasn’t let go. Decembers have not been the same since that night.

Did I mention that Blue is my favorite color?

~~~~~~

About the author:

 

 

You can find Nina at:

Nina Valdez on Facebook

Nina Valdez on Instagram

Nina Valdez on Twitter

Nina Valdez on Youtube

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and show Nina appreciation for her wonderful story as well as be entered into the drawing for this week’s prize!

Write on my friends, write on.

 

Meet my Furbaby, Ginger #MFRW


Week 43 – Meet my Pet, MFRW blog Hop.

My furbaby, Ginger is a golden chow. That is a golden retriever mixed with a chow. Her mother was a golden, and the father was a red chow. When she came to us,  she was a fluffy fat bellied fuzzball with a broken tail.

After weeks of deworming, and TLC for her poor little tail, she quickly adapted to being the third puppy in our home. I don’t know what order she was in her own litter,  but for a while, she asserted her dominance over our youngest daughter.  I began watching to see what was going on, and our youngest would lay on the floor and put Ginger on her tummy and pet her. Well, to a dog that is a sign of submission. It didn’t take but a few weeks for both of them  – my daughter and the puppy, to get the order of dominance.

Ginger still pushed it a few times, and Hannah was afraid of her when she would growl, or bark to assert herself.  To Hannah’s defense,  she was just a kid at the time and Ginger seemed like a big dog to her. Now that Hannah towers over me, Ginger only comes to her knees.

She is the most lovable, happy, easy going dog I’ve ever had in my life. That’s saying something because when I was growing up we had a St. Bernard, a gentle giant. He was like an overgrown puppy with a sweet disposition.

Recently, we had to take Ginger to the vet because she was acting disoriented, drunk, was staggering and falling down. Two days of testing and xrays led the vet to determine that she has a brain tumor. Ginger is 13 years old, her muzzle is grey, and has recently dropped weight from her usual 50ish pounds down to barely 40 pounds.

She is a prima donna when it rains,  prancing around with an “I don’t like to get my paws wet” tiptoe around the wet grass.  She loves peanut butter, she loves her mom – me! In the time we have left with her,  we are spoiling her silly with peanut butter and honey sandwiches – by the instruction of the vet because as an old dog, she is showing some signs of low blood sugar at times. Dogs get diabetes too!

Her coat isn’t as full as it once was, but then again my hair has thinned this past year as well.

We will continue to spoil her during the remainder of her time with us. Love my baby!! She helps me with my stress management.

What about you? What kind of pet do you have? You can read what the other authors have to say:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Suddenly


Hey, everyone!

How to write the post I need to write . . .  there is no real clever way so with all the tact I can muster, I’m going to plunge in.

With the A to Z Challenge, I left off with the letter O. I have a new word, that inadvertently has everything to do with my own writing right now –

ONCOLOGY

On March 28, I had my annual OBGYN visit. I shared some concerns with her about the girl parts, namely issues that indicate menopause.  She sent me to the Imaging center for a pelvic sonogram, and the annual mammogram. I expected some news on the lower region but not the tatas.

A scheduled date for a routine procedure for the girl parts was made. Later that day, I got a call saying I needed to return for an additional mammogram and breast ultrasound because I had some areas of concern. OK, that’s a bit disconcerting but no biggie, right? I figured fibrocystic breast syndrome because the girls aren’t exactly smooth like a muscle,  they are kind of like a well-used pillow. NO, I’m not going into detail on that but after nursing two babies, being a ‘mature’ woman I’m grateful they don’t drag the floor.

April 6th I go back for these additional tests and the Dr. that oversees the imaging center came in and told me that it’s cancerous. BUT, don’t worry, most of the time it’s benign.  He had one of those plastic forced smiles that is used to break bad news. I instantly don’t trust him.

April 12th, I have a Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy. Don’t let anyone fool you – it hurts. “Oh, you’ll just feel some pressure and hear a click” LIARS!!! 

IT HURT!  IT HURT FOR DAYS AFTER!  IT still hurts as the bruised area changes from purple to greenish yellow.

I wait for the verdict phone call which was supposed to happen either last Tuesday or Wednesday that never came. On one hand, no news is good news.  If they don’t call it can’t be too urgent right?

WRONG!

I called on Thursday because I suck at waiting patiently.

STAGE 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Yeah, that’s something you want to hear when you are in the office alone. I mean, literally alone. There wasn’t another breathing soul in the office complex.

The only time I’ve ever known doctors to act fast is when it’s serious so it didn’t alleve my fears when they called back to confirm an appointment with an oncology surgeon for the next day. Friday the 21st was a marathon. I would gladly attempt a running marathon as opposed to my day. The doctor explained completely with drawing little illustrations to emphasize the points. My options were presented to me, initial treatment assessment was discussed, and then it was off to the labs for more tests.

Bloodwork – one of my big fears about this whole thing is the needles. I have small veins, they are deep (being fat isn’t the only reason for this) and they roll. When I get blood drawn they use a child’s butterfly needle. What is going to happen if I have to go through chemotherapy and they blow my veins? I don’t have enough time to build my cardio level to have super veins like my husband. He makes a fist and the veins just pop out. Of course, that would look bad on me as a female.

Chest x-ray, EKG, new mammogram, additional close up mammogram slides, 3D Ultrasound – I was there from 8 in the morning until almost 5 at night.

I’ve had the weekend to digest all of this.  I’ve shared with close family what the diagnosis is and the plan for treatment, and have even shared on my Facebook account.  I was almost at a place of peace about accepting this. Nobody wants to go through this. Nobody chooses cancer.

Then, I get another call. Just a few minutes ago actually. I have to go back for an MRI and a second biopsy of additional spots that they found. This may determine whether or not I can have a lumpectomy or have to have the full mastectomy.

I’m not sharing to gain your sympathy. I’m not sharing because I overshare – if anything I hear from people that I don’t let others in, don’t share what’s really going on.

This isn’t about writing yet it is.  I write with passion. My passion. Passion for life, passion about love relationships, passion about the emotions we go through. My plan for today was to share some more from Roxy, a segment that I’ve recently tackled – one that was very difficult to tackle and I had to be in the right headspace to do. Ironically I had to draw on the raw emotions of my own mother’s funeral to write this. I’d put it off for weeks, but finally tackled it and was quite proud of myself for not only tackling it,  I think I did a pretty good job on it as well.

Then I get this news.  Well hell!  Oh trust me, I could write the emotional scene now. I could pour my heart out on the pages and nobody is the wiser that it was me going through this emotional tidal wave with the diagnosis of ‘You have breast cancer’.

Ironically, Roxy’s mother died after a long battle with breast cancer. Should I wait and experience first hand and rewrite? Should I proceed with it as scheduled? I know that women dying from breast cancer is rare, it’s usually when it’s metastasized beyond the breast and invaded other organs. Ultimately it started with breast cancer, and Roxy’s mother was a woman that put off her own medical treatment until it became critical.

For me, they caught it early with the mammogram. Of that I am grateful. Ladies, don’t put it off.  I still can’t feel any lumps even knowing that it’s there. I don’t have a family history of it. I don’t have the usual symptoms that indicate cancer.  In all of my regular doctor’s comments about concerns for being overweight he never said cancer was one of them. Now as I am reading the material provided to me by the breast cancer center, obesity can lead to cancer. Heart disease and diabetes were on my mind, not cancer. Never cancer.We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey.

We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey. April 20th is a day of demarcation for me. My life as I knew it ended that day, so tears were to be expected. Tears of grieving for what was,  what dreams may die, all of the changes that have to be made and tears to face the great unknown.  A little encouragement for saving the woman would be appreciated.

I’ll try to stay away from the pity parties but from time to time I will be sharing my struggles in this battle. I’m not looking forward to the needles. Not looking forward to losing part of my breast or the full breast or breasts depending on what they find. Not looking forward to possibly losing my hair. Not looking forward to much of any of this,  but it’s the path I’ve been put on and I’ll make the best of a bad situation.  I come from good stock and I am my mother’s daughter. My mother was ” a tough old bird”. I hope I have half as much chutzpah as she did.

I plan to continue writing, still pushing for my delayed deadline and praying that I don’t have to push it back further. The A to Z challenge . . . I don’t have the energy to continue that now. I thought about making a video, but I didn’t think I could get through it without an ugly cry and who needs to see that?

Hope you stick around to see me come out the other end of this!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie